Twin Blades, penned by Ingrid Eskeland-‐Adetuyi (Screenwriting, ’15), began production in Hong Kong and Mainland China June 2019. The script was one of seven specs sold in 2017 written by a “first-‐timer” and sold to Cristal Pictures (Hitman’s Bodyguard) and Wanda Media (Wonder Woman) with Lauren Shuler Donner and Jack Leslie of the Donners’ Co. (X-‐Men, Deadpool, Logan) attached to produce. The film stars Beth Behrs (2 Broke Girls) and China’s Queen of Comedy, Ma Li.
What inspired the script?
Professor Erish blew my mind when he screened John Woo’s The Killer in his film history class. I wanted to write a Hong Kong buddy movie with women leads. When crafting stories, I double down on what I find interesting. With “Twin Blades”, that was the clash of two vastly different women, both markedly competent in their respective fields. At that point, I was looking for any excuse to learn a computer language, so I decided one of these women would be a computer coder. I took a Python class and read everything I could about Stuxnet, and I’d like to think it added some verisimilitude to the story. The discoveries certainly influenced the MacGuffin.
What did it feel like to sell your first script out of college?
I’m in this for the long haul and I was prepared to pay my dues for a few years. So when the script went to market and sold so quickly, I was elated.
What was the process like?
I had to consider different requirements for an American-‐Chinese co-‐production – governmental as well as international audiences’ varied taste. While collaborating with bonafide legends Donner and Leslie, I was privy to the tried-‐and-‐true story essentials that have generated their elevated, mega-‐hit action movies. Compounding that with the Chinese mandates that were informing Cristal’s notes, funneled through their EVP of Production, I realized that my script improved significantly because I didn’t have the latitude I was used to. Constraints yield the most creative outputs. That was Professor Roy’s Finch’s big thing, it’s an idea I definitely subscribe to.
What did you get out of Dodge?
A comprehensive education, work ethic, and confidence! I don’t go a month without hearing someone in the Industry bring up The Sequence Approach (perhaps the coolest take on story structure since Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey), so I always get a kick out of name-‐dropping Professor Paul Gulino. In addition to being a wellspring of knowledge, Paul Wolansky helped cultivate the habit of knocking out pages every day. Bill Rosenthal (The Human CAT Scan of TV Structure) immediately responded to my point of view as a writer and did a great job nurturing it. I took every class of his that I could. He pushed me like crazy. If I came in with pages slightly below my usual quality, he called me on it. Because he made it clear that he believed in me, his notes always felt very constructive.
Advice to Current Students?
Take as many classes from the teachers who you deeply respect (like finding a work of literature you resonate with, and following it up with another from the same author) and those who RESPECT YOU! This is the time to cultivate your confidence! And it feels nice to be cheered on in the way that Rosenthal, Finch, Gulino, Wolansky, and Erish did for me.