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4 October 2010   Comments Off on Aspiring screenwriter Wentworth thinks he’s got the write stuff

Wentworth Miller spent four seasons breaking out of prisons on the small screen on Fox’s Prison Break and now he’s in theaters blasting virus-infected zombies alongside Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil: Afterlife, the fourth film in the video game-turned-movie franchise. However, the only screen the actor is interested in these days is the one next to his keyboard.

Miller, 38, is now focusing all of his creative efforts on screenwriting. After wrapping Afterlife last December, Miller headed east for the holidays and found himself with a totally cleared work schedule. He says he didn’t quite know why that was until he started writing his first script for a horror/family drama called Stoker, about a teen girl whose odd uncle returns to her clan full of family secrets after her father’s death.

“The idea started taking shape maybe four years ago. I like to say I spent four years telling myself I didn’t know how to write a script, and then four weeks proving myself wrong,” Miller says, laughing.

Luckily, he didn’t delve into screenwriting with a sore body. “Prison Break was great training as far as stunts and the physical side of being involved in a story that’s inherently action-adventure, or sci-fi as is the case with Resident Evil,” he says. It also left him confident enough to play second fiddle to action goddess Jovovich.

“I’ve gotten my taste of what it is to be the guy with the weight on his shoulders, and I’m not saying it’s not an arena that I’ll step back into at some point, but for the moment, I’m enjoying riding shotgun.”

He is still feeling something in his shoulders, but that’s more from the stress of sitting at his computer for 12-hour stretches over a few weeks as he wroteStoker and its prequel, Uncle Charlie.

“It was frenzied, but in an enjoyable way, and it was quite physical,” he says. “My shoulders were up around my ears by the time I was finished just from sitting in one position!”

His strategy for writer’s block? Literally taking a walk around the block. “If I hit a wall and I’m suddenly at a loss for inspiration, a change of scenery is a great idea,” he says.

While an English major at Princeton University, Miller spent a lot of time reading other people’s works, which inspired him to tell his own stories when the time was right. He first took a shot at doing a one-hour TV pilot for an animated short in the vein of Family Guy, but discovered it was harder than it seemed.

“It was meant to be offensive and funny. I got the offensive part right. The funny didn’t really work out,” he confesses.

That quickly went back in the drawer, but to get some extra writing practice, Miller took a couple of his audition scripts and rewrote them instead of checking out books on screenwriting from the library.

“It was the equivalent of taking apart a car and putting it back together in the hopes that you’re gonna teach yourself something about how it all works,” Miller explains. “I definitely had a respect for writing as an art and a science. I knew there were formulas involved, but it really took a long time to jump over the edge and see what it was that I could do.”

He has some work to do before either of his scripts are production-ready, and expects to have to do a series of rewrites and polishes before they’re finally sold. And if they’re not? Well, a theater stage is only one venue where he could take them.

“I feel as though we’re living in a time where you write a screenplay for a movie and then it becomes a comic book and a video game and a Broadway musical and an ice show,” he says with a chuckle. “Right now, all I want to do is hand it off to a group of people I trust as much as one can in this business, see the movie made and made well, and then I’ll see you at the premiere. I’ll sit down with my bucket of popcorn and hopefully be surprised in a positive way.”

Source: http://www.usatoday.com/

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