‘Prisoners’ writer Aaron Guzikowski on ‘long and winding road’
Aaron Guzikowski’s script for “Prisoners” appeared on the Black List of the best unproduced screenplays of the year in 2009, but it took four years to bring the 2 1/2-hour kidnapping thriller to the screen. At various points, actors Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio were all attached to the film as well as director Bryan Singer.
Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal would ultimately star, with Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve at the helm, and “Prisoners” has proven a critical and commercial success. Speaking at the Envelope Screening Series, Guzikowski and Gyllenhaal talked about what it took to get the film made.
“When I was writing it, I never imagined I would sell it, first off, and especially that it would ever get made as a studio film,” Guzikowski said. (“Prisoners” was financed and produced by Alcon Entertainment and released by Warner Bros.) “It just all seemed way too dark and just kind of an exercise in futility.”
He added, “Once Denis came aboard, I think it all sort of solidified fairly quickly after that because, you know, he’s a genius. And I think he was able to attract the very talented cast that we were able to put together, and that was a huge part, and Hugh Jackman — all of these things helped to finally get it to actually being shot. It was a long and winding road, for sure.”
Gyllenhaal also discussed what drew him to the film. “I think you have to believe and try and find meaning in what you do,” he said. “As an actor, I read something, I don’t write it. I will interpret somebody’s writing. I will service the director’s vision. … I think I just realized that if you move towards the things that move you, we all have incredible instincts. It’s all about those friendships and that artistic connection, and it will lead you in the right direction.”
For more from the cast and crew of “Prisoners,” including co-star Melissa Leo, watch the video above, and check back for more highlights.
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