A fantastic reader of ours, James B., tipped us off to this week’s Bill Simmons podcast, B.S. Report, in which he interviews Peter Berg, the director of the film, Friday Night Lights and the creator of the television series. On that front, Berg talked a little about the Friday Night Lights film, basically reiterating that it won’t happen unless someone convinces Kyle Chandler to do it (Chandler thinks the series ended perfectly, and sees no reason to mess with perfection. I’m inclined to agree with him).
Anyway, talk turned to television, as it is wont to do, and after Berg talked about a couple of shows he’s been involved with, talk turned to Breaking Bad, which Berg referred to as one of his top five shows of all time (he did, however, express some frustrations with this final season, though he didn’t go into it because he didn’t want to spoil Simmons’ listeners).
Then Berg told an awesome story about his beef with Vince Gilligan, who some know — but many do not — wrote the original script for Will Smith’s Hancock, one of the best ever superhero movies … for two acts. Then it totally and completely sh*ts the bed. I like to think that the other guy who came in to rewrite the script, Vincent Ngo, was responsible for that third act, which is why he hasn’t had a writing gig since Hancock.
Anyway, it’s a pretty interesting peek into Vince Gilligan’s life before Breaking Bad, and it’s great to know that he’s always been one of the most decent human beings on the planet.
I took the liberty of transcribing the Vince Gilligan portion of the podcast, but you can also go listen to the entire thing, and hear Peter Berg suggest that Brandon Jacobs is going to save the New York Giants this season (ha!).
Hancock was originally a script called Tonight He Comes, about a superhero alcoholic who could not make love because if he climaxed, he would kill a woman with the power of his climax. And it was really this kind of dark, twisted script. You know who wrote it? Vince Gilligan …
… So I came on, and Will Smith is a perfectionist, and he will just drive writers into the ground. I say this with respect, but Will will do 10-12 hour meetings and by the time I got on, Vince had been heavily into the process with Will and his team. I came in and I didn’t really understand the history. Vince was going to go do another rewrite on the script. I didn’t realize this was probably rewrite 10, and I had heard that Vince had this TV show he wanted to go and do, and I was like, ‘Whatever. You have to finish this script. It was something about a chemistry teacher who gets cancer, and I was like, ‘Whatever, dude. You gotta finish the script.’
Vince finished the script, and I thought he was going to stay on and keep writing. But when he finished the script he was like, ‘OK. Alright, I’m out of here, and I’m going to go do this TV show.’ So I called Vince, and I was like, ‘What the hell? You can’t run out on us!’ I was at a Laker game, and I was talking kind of loud, and I was a bit intense. I was probably a little younger and more immature than I am today, and I was raging on at Vince, probably dropping a few F-Bombs at him.
There was a long pause, and he kind of accused me of being drunk. He’s like, ‘Pete, are you drunk.’ And I’m like, ‘No, I am not drunk. How can you leave us to go do your television show and your stupid idea. And I basically said fine, F-you, and I hung up.
And then I tried to get people to take my side, and I said, ‘Can you believe that Vince did this? And everyone was saying, ‘Vince Gilligan is the most decent human being we’ve ever met, Pete. Pete, we don’t understand what you’re talking about.’ I couldn’t get any support at all for my rage against Vince.
Of course, it turned out that Vince knew what he was doing because it was Breaking Bad that he was going to do.
… and scene.
(Source: B.S. Report)