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Screenplay atypical, says writer

Sunday, November 09, 2003

By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

At a July Writers Guild party in Hollywood, John Fasano ("Another 48 Hours," "Tombstone") said writing "Saving Jessica Lynch" was not a typical screenwriting experience.

"When I began this project, everyone had a very strong feeling about what happened to Jessica Lynch," Fasano said. "Then as the BBC report came out and the Army report came out, every draft has changed and every day something comes up in the press that's new and the director calls and says, 'I just read in the paper ...' I've never been involved in a project where the newspaper the next day could affect what goes into the movie."

He compared it to writing the movie based on the trapped Quecreek miners -- while they were still underground.

Fasano said the script changed as the story of Lynch's experience changed. In his first draft, Lynch stood up, emptied her gun, then emptied her pistol and then stabbed a few guys.

"Now the first third of the movie is about what really happened," Fasano said, "which was a lot of military misdirection that led them into an ambush in which everybody was as heroic as they could be, but ultimately they were all shot down and all the weapons malfunctioned.

"It's actually more of a horror story now. The first one was like a 'Rambo' and it was actually weak because it was almost too Hollywood," Fasano said. "The great core to the story is an Iraqi saves her. It really is an apolitical story. It isn't pro-American, it isn't pro-Iraq. It's about people who were in trouble in a terrible situation and crosses the lines of nationality. It's based on humanity, so it becomes a much more interesting story than a war hero story."

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