Robert McKee of the eponymous screenwriting course, testified that Sahara was a bad novel and worse script. Glenn Bunting reports on the breach-of-contract case between author Clive Cussler and tycoon-turned-producer Philip Anschutz. Anschultz paid $10 million for the rights to the book, and got stuck with Cussler as screenwriter, to boot, but Sahara tanked at the box office.
McKee’s seminars are well-attended–former student, Charlie Kauffman wrote one into a scene in Adaptation. (But not McKee–Brian Cox played him, as he didn’t want to appear in a bad movie.)
The open secret in Hollywood is that McKee’s never had a screenplay produced. To be fair, he did television work for Kojak and Columbo and his scripts have been optioned, which is pretty much a sympathy shtup.
McKee’s getting paid well as an expert witness, too. $500 a hour to say things like:
Bad writing offends me.
Join the club, pally.