10 Totally Confusing Hollywood Screenwriting Disputes
Who actually wrote these Hollywood movies?
Think you know who wrote your favourite movies? There’s a good chance what you know is wrong.
One of the most controversial subjects in film production is writing credits. While the romanticised view of screenwriting involves one or two writers collaborating on a screenplay, scripts for Hollywood movies are often passed from writer to writer, with no actual discussion until the film goes into production. Worse, even if a dozen writers work a screenplay, only a handful will receive on-screen credit. Deciding who gets that credit often causes behind-the-scenes issues.
Many of those issues stem from the Writers Guild of America (WGA). In theory, the WGA exists to ensure that executives do not unintentionally or intentionally strip a screenwriter of well-deserved credit. While most screenwriting credits are assigned without argument, the WGA arbitrates any disputed credits with the intention of giving credit to the writer(s) who established the initial concepts and/or did the most work on the script. Unfortunately, this is an imperfect system that sometimes results in writers getting credit for scripts that they had little or nothing to do with.
Because writing credits are extremely valuable on a screenwriter's resume (opening doors for future work and higher fees), some fights over proper credit have been extremely bitter. The following ten movies each had controversial and confusing battles over the authorship of the screenplays.
10. Two Teams Of Writers Get Credit For Jurassic World
The movie that would become Jurassic World had been in gestation for over a dozen years and had numerous creative talents associated with it. In June 2012, Rise Of The Planet of The Apes screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver were hired to write the Jurassic Park 4 screenplay. However, when Colin Trevorrow signed on to direct the film in early 2013 he and writing partner Derek Connolly wrote a new script. According to Trevorrow and Connolly, the only elements that remained from Jaffa and Silvers script were the concepts of trained raptors and a previously unknown super-dinosaur as the main villain.
A few weeks before the movie’s release the WGA ruled that Jaffa and Silver would be given both “Story by” credit (suggesting they developed the story) and also “Screenplay by” credit, which they shared with Trevorrow and Connolly despite not having written a single word of the final shooting script. Trevorrow later expressed disappointment in having to split screenplay credit with the other writing team. One thing is for certain: now that Jurassic World is number three on the all-time box office list, it’s not surprising people want to take credit for it.