Eric Roth is best known for his award-winning Forrest Gump screenplay, but he's also spent the last two decades mixing it up with some of Hollywood's hardest players.
From Steven Speilberg to Michael Mann, Roth is used to demanding directors. His latest project, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, was no different...
How does it feel now that Benjamin Button is out there and getting attention from the Academy?
It feels great. We’re obviously in a competition with Slumdog, but it’s great that people have seen and appreciated the movie, and we’re getting some notices about our work.
Does it measure up to how you saw the picture as you were developing it?
I guess you have certain aspirations. Mine always starts with hoping the audience is really happy with it. That the audience responds to it. Has an emotional involvement with it.
David Fincher wasn’t the first director attached when you came on board…
He was the first director attached with me. We had one other director briefly, but for about a week I think.
Were you a fan of Fincher before?
Very much so. I found that some of his movies I liked, some of them I didn’t like. But I found him really interesting as a film-maker. I didn’t know much about him, but he seemed like a personality.
It’s an interesting combination if you look at both your histories…
Very different… very different. I have worked with probably the most - how do I put it - aggressive film makers, you know. I’ve worked with Zemeckis, Michael Mann, Steven Speilberg. So at least the most self-assured kind of guys. David sits in that.
There’s been a lot of debate online about the similarities between Forrest Gump and Benjamin Button...
I think people are reading a little more into that. I know they've made some things out of certain things that have unconsciously gone in, but they’re quite different movies.
The biggest thing that is similar is probably the picturesque, incidental things. In its own way, Benjamin is a much more mature movie. It deals with a man’s life. Forrest Gump deals with his times.
One of the obvious comparisons is the way the movie's framed - with Cate Blanchett in the hospital, telling the story just as Gump does on the bench…
That was just a way of telling the story. My mother was dying at the time, and I had a personal involvement in that and a passion about that, but I thought it might be interesting to see how a woman looks at her life in her last days.