CINEMA: Miracle Surgery

When a big movie like Speed or Wolf has an ailing screenplay, Hollywood calls in the script doctors

Old hollywood joke: a movie executive at a story conference exclaims, "This is a great script! Who can we get to rewrite it?"

They are something more than typists, something less than geniuses. Their names are rarely on the picture, but they carry big clout. Their job is to fix something -- a character, some dialogue, a plot perplex -- that the moguls think is broken. And to fix it quick. "When you're staring down the gun barrel of a release date," says Robert Towne, whose uncredited work on Bonnie and Clyde, The Godfather and other films has made him chief...

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