Clint Eastwood is developing A Star is Born to direct. It may sound like just another remake until you hear the screenwriter’s take on it. Will Fetters is writing the script for Eastwood and he spoke about his approach while promoting his Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Lucky One.
Star is the age old story of has been Norman Maine (Frederic March, James Mason, Kris Kristofferson, etc.) who helps young starlet Esther Blodgett (Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, etc.) to stardom. The names were changed in the Kristofferson/Streisand version but you get it. Fetters invoked a rock god in his take.
“I think I’ve reinvented the Norman Maine character, the lead,” Fetters said. “I wanted to do A Star is Born because I’m a huge Kurt Cobain fan. That was like my Kennedy assassination when I was a teenager. When he died it was a huge horrible thing. So I approached A Star is Born, for me the framework was all right, if Kurt Cobain never got to go Unplugged and survived and it’s 20 years later and it’s now, and he wanted to try to do that album with that understanding as this grunge icon. That’d be tough to get done if he was past his prime, no longer selling, how does he get that album?”
Fetters is also finding the modern day relevance of the timeless story of fame, by focusing on the music industry aspect of the story.
“The whole movie for me is this balance of art and commerce, which is when you first start in this business, you are smack in the face of it. That’s why I say if I wanted to be an artist I’d go off and write a book. There’s nothing wrong with what I do now but you’re walking this line. George Clooney said something at the Oscars. It’s always good to throw George Clooney into a conversation. He said something in an Oscar roundtable defending sequels, defending what the big studios do. He kind of used his own parallel, he does these Italian coffee commercials and gets paid millions of dollars that allows him to go do Ides of March. So you’re always balancing it.”
No actors have been cast in the roles yet, and their chemistry will matter, but that’s not Fetters’ job.
“The love story is there and it’s been done five times, but I was more interested in I feel like right now is an interesting time. My industry’s changing and trying to deal with it. People aren’t going to the movies as much anymore. The music industry’s changing. It’s harder to be a successful artist and make money off it, especially if you’re a dinosaur. If you’re a guy in your 50s, in a world of Justin Bieber, if you’re Kurt Cobain now in your 50s, what do you do? How do you exist in this world?”
The script is not finished, and won’t be until casting is announced. Fetters will still have work to do depending on which A-lister Eastwood attaches. “Clint’s talking to people. I call him Clint because we’re like that. He’s meeting with actors. He exists in a different realm, but he’ll just call these actors. He’ll just get their phone number and call them because he can because that’s what you can do when you’re Clint Eastwood. So he’s right now trying to find the actor and I’ll write more. Whoever it ends up being, if it’s going to be a pretty big name presumably, they’ll have ideas about the character and I’ll have to shape them.”