4 Highlights From An Interview with Fight Club’s Screenwriter Jim Uhls
You might have noticed that the Internet has become a grayer place since LoSceicco1976‘s twitter and Youtube accounts closed. A bunch of videos got shut down, including Fight Club’s BTS (if you find them again, let me know!) and as I was trying to find them again, I stumbled upon this 10 min interview with Fight Club’s screenwriter, Jim Uhls, on Cinephilia and Beyond.
The interview is short and sweet, but that doesn’t prevent it from containing its share of interesting facts, and here are 4 of them that I felt were worth mentioning:
#1 – Read As Many Screenplays As You Can
Sounds familiar? That might be because that’s exactly what Michael Haneke said in his masterclass. For Uhls, the exposure of constantly reading that format created an analytical understanding along with an intuitive absorption of what a screenplay is.
#2 – Beware of Outline: It Shuts Down Your Instinct
An interesting take that departs fromm many screenwriters and books about screenwriting: Uhls, to quote him, despises outlines. Uhls considers that outlines shut down the screenwriter’s intuitive side, allowing the analytical side to take over and making for a bland script.
#3 – Interview Your Characters and Piss Them Off to Find their Voice
Instead of outlining, Uhls privileges stream of consciousness, notes taking and… interviews on paper with his characters, where he plays the role of the journalist and tries to piss them off. What it does is that it helps him find each characters’ voice and make them three dimensional.
#4 – Work As Hard On a Book Adaptation As You Would On an Original Screenplay
Ultimately, what you want is to deliver a ‘workable screenplay’. Uhls explains that writing a screenplay that is faithful to the novel but can’t become a good film only means one thing: you will get replaced as a screenwriter. So if you decide to adapt a book, make sure to find the right space where you can extricate the essence of what makes the book special, all the while giving it a cinematic spin.
Watch the full interview below to learn how Uhls managed to become the screenwriter for Fight Club, even though he had not a single produced screenplay produced at the time.