I've written about my screenwriter friend Bart Baker a few times here, usually because of his wonderful "BartRants" (tm), which tend to be about politics and are near-Shakespearean in the depth, breadth and outspoken eloquence of his blunt, hilarious vituperation.
But I've also explained here about what a terrific writer he is, which is how he's long-earned his living when not ranting. He's written feature film screenplays (most notably, Live Wire, with Pierce Brosnan), as well as a great many TV movies, many of which he also produced -- including a series of Mother of the Bride romantic comedies. And he's also written a couple of well-regarded novels, Honeymoon with Harry and What Remains.
I'm particularly biased about Honeymoon with Harry, since I served as editor of the book. But I'm also right about how wonderful it is. The novel not only has a five-star rating on Amazon from 63 user reviews, but he sold the movie rights to New Line Cinema for $750,000. (I'm not speaking out of school -- it was reported in the trade papers.)
For those interested, I wrote an article here about the long, frustrating and fascinating history behind the book -- centering on its journey through Hollywood with people like Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson and Bradley Cooper being involved at various points.
Happily, things recently took a huge leap forward when writer/director Dan Fogleman was signed to take on the film project. Fogelman has long been one of Hollywood's more successful screenwriters, with such films as the animated movies Cars (and Cars 2), Tangled, and Bolt, as well as The Guilt Trip, Crazy Stupid Love, Last Vegas, and created the TV-musical series, Galavant, whose Season Two is scheduled to begin next month. And last year, he directed the terrific feature film, Danny Collins, with Al Pacino. All of which made him one of the hot writer-directors now in Hollywood. All of which makes his involvement with Honeymoon with Harry all the more notable.
Bart says he loves Fogelman's adaptation of the book, which returns much closer to the novel than other adaptations that have been done by others. (Bart had the option to write his own adaptation, but because some Really Big Screenwriter Names have been involved throughout, he always stood aside for them.) And though there still are a lot of steps ahead to get from "here" to an actual movie, this is just a major boost for the book -- which you can find here -- finally getting to that destination.
All of which lead to Bart doing a half-hour interview with Phil Giandgrande on his online show. If you've ever wondered what the fellow behind BartRants (tm) sounds like and how he comes across as a human being -- especially since he brooks no fools, looks so imposing not unlike the Mr. Clean character and could stare down a Rottweiler -- this is your chance. And it's pure Bart. He's hugely enthusiastic, charming, loves telling the plot of his films and books, and gracious. Indeed, I often laughed while listening because he's far more warmly gracious than is actually deserved in several cases, but then for as blunt and in-your-face protective as Bart can get when pushed inappropriately and the push-back is well-deserved, he's in fact an incredibly warm, utterly endearing soul with a huge laugh that he uses regularly. (Hey, he wrote the freaking Mother of the Bride romantic-comedy series of films, for goodness sake.) As he comes off here.
It's a very nice interview, as well, on writing and on taking one's book to screen, along with the whole machinations of dealing with selling book rights. It's a lot of fun, too, since ultimately Bart is just a thoroughly effusive guy.
Okay, I'm biased again because if you listen closely someone you know from these parts gets mentioned around the 19-minute mark. But again, being biased doesn't mean I'm wrong....
Alas, I can't embed the interview, but you can find it here.
And I wasn't lying about the whole "looking like Mr. Clean" and staring down a Rottweiler thing.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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