1. Fall In Love
Stanley Kubrick said (something to the effect of): The best part of adapting other people’s work is you get to be a fan first. And, as with most everything else, that dude is totally right. With an original idea, you may think you’re on to something, you might even be proud of your work—but, unless you’re a complete sociopath, you’ll never love your own stuff the same way you love another’s. That’s just human nature.
In the case of The Disaster Artist, we were quite head over heels in love with our source material. Greg Sestero and Tim Bissell’s book is exhilarating for anyone with a modicum of interest in filmmaking. And for everyone else, there’s this friendship at its core, these two guys Tommy and Greg who couldn’t be more different and yet are drawn to one another because they share an impossible dream. As long as we kept our eye on that emotional center, we knew there was a really fun, perhaps even powerful movie in this story.
Sometimes you’re not as in love with the thing you’re adapting. Maybe just the main character. Or a voice. Or the opening scene. Maybe someone described it to you incorrectly and you loved their description, only to be hugely surprised that the book in question isn’t what they described to you at all. We’ve done versions of all of those to varying degrees of success. The key is to love something—cause that’s the thing you’ll hold on to, that will get you through the dark days when nothing is working and everything seems brutal and grim and you want to give up cause you’re not as good at this as you hoped you were.