Do you think Jackson Rathbone wants out of the Twilight series before they get to Breaking Dawn? If so, he may be getting his wish, as his copy of the script for Eclipse, the third film in the Twilight saga, has leaked onto the internet. How do we know it was his copy? His name is stamped on every single page.
So I don’t actually care about Eclipse, and while I thought Rathbone was okay in Dread, Anthony DiBlasi’s effective adaptation of the classic Clive Barker short story, I don’t actually care about him. What I care about is the latest example of a script hitting the web. Scripts get out there with stunning regularity, aided by the fact that most of them are in PDF form these days. It used to be that when us interwebz dudes got scripts we got paper, and they were harder to get out and easily traceable. Now every script is just one email away from being in the wild.
This is obviously a major problem. While I don’t specifically care about Eclipse getting out there, I care about other, good scripts getting out. I care about fanboy nation ruining it for themselves with their desire to find out info early. Screenwriter John August recently blogged about scripts getting out onto the web and while I find some of his thoughts on the matter a little facile he is correct that leaks like this will just make it tougher for scripts to get around.
What’s ironic is that it was almost certainly a fan of Twilight who posted the script online. The people posting scripts tend to be fans, or at least enthusiasts, but all they’re doing is hurting the people who are making the movies they’re excited about. That will change eventually – much as JJ Abrams’ Superman script was leaked to Ain’t It Cool News to kill it, some script will get released on the web to do the same. But for now it’s all about misguided fandom.
Where does it go from here? I don’t know how Hollywood can make scripts more secure. There are high level scripts that will remain secure – big movies where the scripts never hit PDF and where actors only get their pages and where a guard hangs out while you read it – but those will be few and far between. What’s disconcerting is how many people want scripts in advance – there’s rarely a week that goes by where someone doesn’t email me asking for a script, as if I would just send them out if I had them.
A few decades ago Hollywood was the big green floating scary head, operating secretly and out of sight of the public. Today it’s the revealed man behind the curtain, goofy old Professor Marvel. Secrets and scandals and inside info are all fair game, and I wonder how the industry will cope with all of this going into the next decade.