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Scripter Finalists Named by USC Libraries

01/12/09
Compelling stories about aging, poverty, conformity, heroics and the Holocaust vie for this year’s USC Libraries Scripter Award.
By Dan Knapp
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in "Revolutionary Road"

Photo/Copyright 2008 Paramount Vantage
The writers behind The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Iron Man, The Reader, Revolutionary Road and Slumdog Millionaire have been named finalists for the 21st annual USC Libraries Scripter Award.

This year’s finalists, in alphabetical order by film title, are screenwriter Eric Roth, who shares story credit with Robin Swicord, for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald; screenwriters Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby and Art Marcum & Matt Holloway for Iron Man, based on the comic book series authored by Stan Lee and Don Heck; screenwriter David Hare and author Bernhard Schlink for The Reader; screenwriter Justin Haythe for Revolutionary Road, based on the novel by Richard Yates; and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire, based on Q & A by author Vikas Swarup.

Three of the 2009 finalists are Scripter alums. Fergus and Ostby won in 2007 for their work on the writing team that adapted P.D. James’ Children of Men. Hare adapted Michael Cunningham’s The Hours for his 2003 Scripter win.

The Scripter selection committee, chaired for the second time by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal, chose the five finalists from a field of 58 eligible films.

“This year’s screen adaptations are a rich field of work that entertains and moves,” Gyllenhaal said. “That enriches and enlightens. That sets the standard for what the best of literature and film can be.”

The selection committee includes writer and producer Lawrence Kasdan; dramatist and screenwriter Tony Kushner; chairman of Phoenix Pictures Mike Medavoy; Catherine Quinlan, dean of the USC Libraries; Fox Filmed Entertainment CEO Tom Rothman; Jennifer and Suzanne Todd, producers of Tim Burton’s upcoming adaptation of Alice in Wonderland; and Spider-Man producer Laura Ziskin.

The studios distributing the Scripter finalist films and the publishing houses currently publishing the books on which they are based are: Paramount Vantage for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, published by Penguin Classics in the anthology The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Stories; Paramount Pictures for Iron Man, published by Marvel Comics; the Weinstein Company for The Reader, published by Vintage International; Paramount Vantage for Revolutionary Road, published by Vintage Contemporaries; and Fox Searchlight for Slumdog Millionaire, based on the book Q & A, published by Scribner.

For the first time in the history of the award, Scripter winners will be announced on the evening of the black-tie gala. The event will take place Jan. 30 in the Doheny Memorial Library. Author and award-winning actress Jamie Lee Curtis will serve as emcee.