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Gil CatesLinda LavinSamantha MathisDennis Doty

From Stage to Screen
The Producer's Job

Producer Dennis Doty
Producer Dennis Doty:  From Stage to Screen

It was one of the easiest play-to-screen translations I've ever experienced.

Dennis DotyThe play of Collected Stories had its first production at the South Coast Repertory where it won the L.A. Drama Circle Award. Then it went on to the Manhattan Theater Club in New York, with Debra Messing in the role of Lisa. That's where Gil first saw it. It was while he was directing it at the Geffen with Linda Lavin and Samantha Mathis that he and I realized what a wonderful film it would make. So we optioned it, but weren't sure what to do with it until KCET came along.

We knew this was a great little story... having two characters with this kind of conflict, the mentor-student relationship that grows into friendship and trust then becomes a question of betrayal... If you go back 50 years to All About Eve, it's the same dynamic, a relationship between a young wanna-be talent and an older star that had it.. Did one actually steal a secret of another for her own gain? And to see that evolve through the course of the play was really what made the essence of what could be a great drama. It was on the stage and I think it really was in the film as well.

      Stagebill from the Geffen's production of Collected Stories

Donald is a New York playwright at heart. He's also a Pulitzer Prize winner and from the beginning he had certain things he wanted to do and not do. And we were in complete agreement with them, so it was really left to Gil to work with Donald on how to be faithful to the play while opening up enough to be an interesting film. It was one of the easiest play-to-screen translations I've ever experienced. It really entailed only one draft. The second draft was minimal... just little changes the actors wanted.  [ Next Page ]


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