So Tarantino seems to think this is the year of the writer. Well, let’s take a look at some of to whom he may be referring.
Out here in the wilderness of Oscars 2014, where people are still mulling over last Sunday night, which is certainly tempting to do, there’s a fascinating segue into the coming season: That curly haired guy standing next to Ben Afleck and George Clooney Sunday evening: Grant Heslov, co-Monuments Men screenwriter. I admit to just now looking into his profile, primarily due to some early Monuments Men research. Well, meet Grant Heslov. He seems in many ways the less People magazine covering cohort to George Clooney’s recent awards season outings. He’s a name you will see in many ways alongside Clooney when they all come together in those Producing, Directing, Writing, sometimes Acting columns. Actually Grant is another seemingly archetypal, up and coming shooting star of a primary actor turning Renassiance Man. As a matter of fact, a few higher profile Acting roles could make him perhaps in a couple of years as big a star.
As I continue to delve into the Grant Heslov rabbit hole via the wonderful IMDB (The Oscars prognosticators best friend out in the Winter/Spring), things get more interesting. Heslov’s next acting stint will be as a Film Producer in Phedon Papamichael’s next film Lost Angeles. Papa-who? Director of Photography for such fare as The Descendants, The Ides of March, Sideways, and yes Nebraska and The Monuments Men. These folks are definitely all in some sort of Hollywood version of linkedin. Anyways, Heslov. He has been, prior to his Clooney world inhabiting, in dozens upon dozens of minor film/tv roles. Actually, most probably are most familiar with him due to his minor role as “Car Thief” on the “Smelly Car” Seinfeld episode!
Anyways, so far as the Clooney connection. He wrote with Clooney for Good Night and Good Luck, The Ides of March and now the Monuments Men; Acted in Leatherheads; Produced on Good Night and Good Luck, The American, The Ides of March, Argo, obviously, as well as the upcoming August: Osage County (without a Clooney connection) and The Monuments Men (thus could be competing with himself on Producer, and with Writer/Producer credits on one). He also, to boot, directed/produced The Men who Stare at Goats. Oh yeah, he and Clooney also host a weekly quiz night down on Mulholland. (ha ha)
So, that’s not really news. He’ll surely be at another Oscar telecast, without being noticed much, some people may think he’s trying to steal their car, but you might want to pay attention… because his name could very well be in more Oscar nomination credits than any other in 10 months time.
At the other side we have Terence Winter. Winter is an Emmy/Golden Globe winning tv writer who Scorsese surely became aquainted with through Boardwalk Empire. Winter is one whose career is fun to track. After starting out writing on The Cosby Mysteries, Flipper and Sister, Sister, he pivoted at Xena: Warrior Princess to go 180 degrees into 50 Cent movies, then settling into writing many, many episodes of The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire. In many ways Wolf of Wall Street is his breakout film writing opportunity, but he is very, very experienced writing for succesful, gritty gangster HBO series.
So, when reading your way through The Monuments Men and The Wolf of Wall Street, in book form, it may be helpful to think of them being filtered into the styles of Seinfeld Car Thief and Sopranos/Boardwalk Empire phenom: Grant Heslov and Terence Winter.