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BPS 114: The Craft of Screenwriting Tentpole Films with Boaz Yakin (Remember the Titans)
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We have for you on the show today screenwriter and director, Boaz Yakin, The writer behind The Punisher, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, The Rookie, & Safe and directing, The Fresh, Remember the Titans and the comedy-drama, Uptown Girl among others. Growing up in a talented theatrical family, it was only natural for Yakin to pursue a life in film or some sort of performing arts. His dad, who was a teacher at Juilliard and a theater director enrolled Boaz into the famous Stell Adler script analysis class when he was only 17 years old. Thereafter, he tried out film school at US City college, later transferred to NYU, before quitting school after his first script was auctioned and got him in the door at 19 years old. At age 22, Yakin wrote his first produced film, Marvel's The Punisher. When Frank Castle's family is murdered by criminals, he wages war on crime as a vigilante assassin known only as The Punisher. In 1990, Yakin co-wrote one of the action films of the times, The Rookie, starring star boy Charlie Sheen, and Clint Eastwood who also directed the film. But his big hit came right after, FRESH, Yakin’s directorial debut is an emotional coming of age story, that offers a realistic glimpse of the dangerous life in New York City's projects during the crack epidemic. Michael, nicknamed Fresh, a 12-year-old kid running drugs for gangsters, notably Esteban, inspired by the chess lessons of his father, an alcoholic speed-chess master played by Samuel L. Jackson. Fresh devises and executes a brilliant plan to extricate himself and his drug-addicted sister from their hopeless lives. Next up for Boaz was directing the box-office smash REMEMBER THE TITANS. Academy Award® winner Denzel Washington shines in REMEMBER THE TITANS. Based on real events, this remarkable story celebrates how a town torn apart by friction and mistrust comes together in triumphant harmony. After leading his team to fifteen winning seasons, beloved football coach Bill Yoast (Will Patton) is demoted and replaced by tough, opinionated Herman Boone (Washington). How these two men overcome their differences and turn a group of hostile young men into champions is a remarkable portrait of courage and perseverance. You and your family will never forget the Titans! His blockbuster smash, Now You See Me featured big industry names like Morgan Freeman, Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Michael Caine, etc. The $75 million budget film grossed $351.7 dollars. The plot follows an FBI agent and an Interpol detective who track and attempt to bring to justice a team of magicians who pull off bank heists and robberies during their performances and reward their audiences with the money. Boaz continued his blockbuster ways by working on the $200 million tentpole film Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, starring Jake Gyllenhaal. A young fugitive Prince and Princess must stop a villain who unknowingly threatens to destroy the world with a special dagger that enables the magic sand inside to reverse time. Boaz and I chatted about his creative process, the business side and political side of screenwriting and directing in Hollywood during this conversation. He was extremely raw and honest about what it really is like working inside the Hollywood machine. Enjoy this conversation with Boaz Yakin.