It's not often we get to chat with screenwriters!
We got a call from Diablo Cody (Juno) to talk about her new film Paradise, her super cool writing group The Fempire and of course--screenwriting.
"I've always loved to write, since childhood it's been my favorite thing to do," Diablo said. "But I thought I'd be a novelist. Being from the mid-west, I never thought about filmmaking because I didn't know anybody who wrote or directed movies and I'd never been on a set."
But somewhere along the way in her mid-twenties, she met a mentor of sorts. "Somebody who was a fan of my writing approached me and said, 'I manage screenwriters, and you should try writing a screenplay,'" Diablo told us. "Once I realized you can actually make movies, I didn't want to do anything else."
Meeting the right people seemed to be Diablo's thing. She's in a writing group called The Fempire which includes Liz Meriwether (New Girl), Lorene Scafaria (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) and Dana Fox (What Happens In Vegas.) "I'm very lucky to have those women in my life," Diablo said. "I'm so proud of everything they've accomplished in the last few years. Women in Hollywood realize it's sort of essential we support each other. We're the underdogs in a lot of ways."
Underdog or not, Diablo's now making her directorial debut with Paradise. "I think the impatience was driving me," she said. "I really wanted to make another movie and I didn't want this to sit in development while we look for a director." But this experience did teach her something. "I learned that I definitely have issues with being an authority figure," she told us. "There was always somebody running production for me so this was my first time really having that level of power and it was weird for me."
She might have authority figure issues, but she's got screenwriting down to a science. "The jumping off point was the character of Lamb," she said about the film's inspiration. "And the idea of writing about a protagonist who had never been exposed to pop culture in any way." Diablo moved quickly on this screenplay. "I think the first draft took me about a month," she said. "When I finished this one I thought of Julianne [Hough] right away."
Just because Diablo seems to effortlessly knock out screenplays like Juno and Paradise doesn't mean it happens overnight. "Write as much as possible," the 35-year-old told us. "You need to do it every single day. You need to learn to be less precious about what you write--meaning write a scene, and if you don't love it, move on and write the next scene. There's a time and place for that [next] level of detail, but getting it done and writing is the most important part."
Paradise will be out in theaters on October 18.