My writing partner William Rabkin and I had just turned in the seventeenth draft of a screenplay based on .357 VIGILANTE, a novel I’d written under the pseudonym “Ian Ludlow” (so I’d be on the shelf next to Robert Ludlum). We were a few weeks away from pre-production on the movie. The producer called us in, saying he only had a few minor notes that would only take a few minutes on the computer.
“I just need a tiny polish,” he said. “Just a few little nips and tucks.”
“I’d like you to flip Act Two and Act Three,” he said.
I laughed. He didn’t. “You are joking, right?”
“No,” he said. “It will be easy with your computer. Just flip the two acts, make Act Three Act Two, and make Act Two Act Three.”
“But you can’t do that,” I said.
“Why not?” He asked, genuinely perplexed.
I walked out and never came back, leaving Bill behind. I’m not sure he’s ever forgiven me for that, by the way. Other writers came in, including Michael Blake, who would later win an Oscar for “Dancing With Wolves”. Not surprisingly, the movie didn’t get made… though every few years the producer will call us up with some new scheme to resurrect it.