‘Grace of Monaco’ screenwriter dismantles the film in live Tweet session

05.28.15 3 years ago

You might remember “Grace of Monaco.” A Grace Kelly biopic directed by Olivier Dahan (“La Vie en Rose”) with Nicole Kidman in the lead and Tim Roth as her Prince Rainier, the film was picked up for distribution by The Weinstein Company and landed an opening night slot at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. It seemed like a perfect combination of material and talent, and a possible awards player. But it ended up panned on the Croisette and destined for a premiere on the Lifetime television channel here in the US.

Earlier this week, the film's screenwriter, Arash Amel, took to Twitter to live-Tweet the Lifetime airing and, well, he had a lot to say. “The purpose of this live Tweet is to correct the record, an explanation, an apology and most of all a bit of lighthearted fun,” he wrote, tagging each of his Tweets with the #GOMFacts hashtag.

If anyone didn't grasp the “lighthearted fun” element, it had to have been Dahan, whose creative vision of the project was apparently at drastic odds with Amel's. It seems Dahan was after something approaching Alfred Hitchcock's “Vertigo” (which, Amel notes, did not feature Kelly). But ultimately he ended up with something that falls off that thin line into the gaudy.

In one Tweet, Amels claims that after he saw the finished film, he complained to Harvey Weinstein about this direction. “He heard me,” Amel wrote, “but under French law, director say is final…I fought the good fight. But the law is the law. Sometimes you get Truffaut. Sometimes you get this.”

Ouch.

If there's any news to be gleaned from all of this, it might be that the version that aired on Lifetime was in fact a third edit of the movie, according to Amel. There was the French edit, the unfinished Weinstein Company edit and this one. Amel seemed to think it was better, perhaps because it was mercifully swift in pace, clocking in somewhere around 75 minutes plus commercial breaks.

I've pulled a few choice Tweets below for you to sample this unique dissection. And a dissection it is. After all, Amel wanted the live-Tweet session to be “a valuable lesson in how a script becomes a film. Coppola made 'Heart of Darkness.' I lived it.”

To be clear, Amel experienced nothing like what Mr. Coppola did filming “Apocalypse Now' in the wilds of the Philippines (watch the documentary “Hearts of Darkness” for a taste of that madness), but his story is his own “filmmaking Vietnam,” and everything is relative after all. This is valuable reading for anyone interested in a screenwriting career, to say the least, so enjoy…if that's the word.

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