Paul Gross tells The Calgary Herald he was fired as screenwriter from the Hollywood mega-film Battleship, which opened in North America last weekend to generally lousy reviews and even worse box-office.
“Alongside fellow Albertan scribe John Krizanc, Gross took a run at revising a screenplay originally written by Jon and Erich Hoeber,” writes the Herald’s Eric Volmers. The two lasted long enough to sit in on “green light” meetings with small armies of studio executives, where they learned the film’s second unit budget alone was $25 million — $5 million more than the entire budget for Gross’s own 2008 labour-of-love, Passchendaele. Eventually, though, director Peter Berg phoned up to suggest they, er, take a break.
“I said to Pete, ‘Are we fired?’ He said ‘No, no. The studio is just asking you to put down your pens for awhile.’ Hollywood can not bring itself to fire anybody. So they invent all these euphemisms for what’s happened.”
Whatever. A guy as talented as Gross has better things to be doing anyway (like currently playing the lead in John Guare’s new play Are You There, McPhee? — though it’s been getting some dodgy reviews too). What baffles us is this: Alberta scribes? If memory serves, Gross left Alberta about 30 years ago and Krizanc more like 40 years ago. We’re sure they’re loyal prairie boys who return home every Christmas and can still rope a cow while quoting W.O. Mitchell — well, actually, we’re not sure of that at all, but they might be — but if they’re “Alberta scribes,” what does that make, say, Rudy Wiebe? An “uber Alberta scribe”?
Really. Isn’t there some kind of statute of limitation on these things?
– Zeff Davies