Written by Howard Fridkin
Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller, Crime
For the ultimate revenge, an internationally renowned mystery writer uses his latest novel as a blueprint to steal the Eiffel Tower.
Get to know writer Howard Fridkin:
1. What is your screenplay about?
For the ultimate revenge, an eccentric Parisian crime novelist financially persuades the world’s greatest detective, scientist and architect into helping him execute the greatest heist of all-time: stealing the Eiffel Tower.
2. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
It brings back to the cinema a more mature high action/adventure thriller in the tradition of such eventful classics as “The Guns of Navarone,” Where Eagles Dare,” “The Towering Inferno” and Goldfinger,” which were all box office giants. With nothing but Marvel and DC comic book movies flooding the theatres, I thought this would be something challengingly fresh to excite audiences with…in other words, “Mission Impossible meets “Ocean’s eleven.”
3. How would you describe this script in two words?
4. You are the first writer to have ever had three feature screenplays read at our festival. Two of them high concept scripts that the actors LOVED performing. You can’t possibly have more feature screenplays completed….do you?
Unless I’m retiring, there’s always another in the pipeline.
5. What makes this screenplay and your previous script (The Last Adventure of Shay Blaze) stand out from the pack is your ability to mix genres. Crime Extraordinaire can be categorized as a “Crime meets Mystery meets Adventure meets Action, with a little bit of Romance mixed in!” Is mixing so many genres into one completed story a calculated decision in prep?
To help make my mark, I tend to take big risks with extravagant concepts and that usually means fusing different genres together, which I always love experimenting with. But the real trick is to ground them in some basis of reality so your audience will trust you to win them over with an exciting, new approach to your story and not something that eventually turns incredulous.
6. You make it very convincing that the Eiffel Tower could be stolen in your screenplay. Can it really happen? (AKA – Is your engineering and math realistic in the script, or did you make it all up?)
No. I really had to do my homework on this one. I researched ad nauseam all the mechanics of the operation in order to keep things credible. However, for the sake of pure entertainment, some suspension of disbelief is camouflaged by reality based information.
7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?
As a kid, I was always infatuated with two historical landmarks: the Eiffel Tower and the Great Wall of China. One of my favorite films is the original“The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. For some reason its title inspired me to come up with a plot about taking something big, so since I was preoccupied with the Tower, it seemed like a logical choice to marry the two ideas together and see what happens with it in a screenplay. And who knows…maybe one day the Great Wall will be a sequel.
8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
The most demanding challenge, of course, was creating convincing characters that would eliminate the reader’s skepticism that an operation of this magnitude could actually be accomplished, and not to drop the ball in its execution; otherwise, the script would have just been a house of cards.
9. The hero/anti-hero/smartest guy in the room in your story is a writer himself. A man who figures out all the pieces of the complicated puzzle to make this ultimate caper happen. Do you really think the great & successful crime writers have the ability to use their past research in prepping their stories, plus their imagination to pull off something like stealing the Eiffel Tower?
Well, you just can’t go around every day stealing any national monument you want and get away with it. You must become an expert on the subject you’re writing about to be taken seriously. Anything is possible so long as you’re willing to do the homework and back up your imaginative ideas with a set of logical rules to abide by.
10. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I’ve been extraordinarily lucky with WILDsound’s feedback over the years. It helped me achieve three table reads, which are so important to improve on what I thought was my final draft. You can drive yourself nuts reading your material over and over again, trying to reach perfection. But until you actually hear the dialogue and scene descriptions being read by other voices, sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees. These table reads have helped me catch overlooked errors that I never saw with my own two eyes on the pages.
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
Giving someone advice is like telling them how to dress. Everyone has their own style (voice) and wardrobe (scripts). Rather than giving advice, I’ll take my own: “I write every screenplay as if it were my last, so it has to be the best.