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October 24 , 2010

Merchant of Venice, CA Screenplay


A screenplay based on the play "The Merchant of Venice" by William Shakespeare. Some years ago, the late great actor Ron Silver had agreed to play this character; a film producer named Shylock. I pitched the film to Tom Bernard at Sony Classic pictures and pointed out the "No one has made a screen adaptation of Shakespeare's play!" He didn't know that. A few months later, they announced the film adaptation of this play, directed by Michael Radford, starring Al Pacino. So much for inspiring great ideas. I've toyed with the idea of making this Dogme style, and may one day do so - but it's a fun idea for a play about a difficult subject - prejudice. 400 years after the play was first produced, it still hits home when it comes to people's preconceived ideas about heritage, religion and the lengths we go to protect our sense of our selves. The genesis was when I was at a film festival in Shanghai - some French producers were furious about a film poster that looked to be glorifying modern day Nazis - I interceded to help the filmmaker explain to these filmmakers that his poster was against the people on the poster, and against the idea of prejudice. It made me realize how the issue is always lurking just under the surface. Here's my humble version of William Shakespeare's play, set in modern day Venice, California, involving some filmmakers who are trying to raise money for their film, and go to a film producer for the funds.

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