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Traitor: Second Thoughts

By November 25, 2008No Comments

Eugene Levy, Queen Latifah and Steve Martin in Bringing Down the House

Steve Martin (right) uses the 90 per cent of his brain that isn’t required for acting in Bringing Down the House to write Don Cheadle’s Traitor.

Actually, not so much second thoughts as something interesting discovered after the the review went to print.

In the blog roll to the right you will find a link to the Creative Screenwriting podcast, which is never less than interesting despite host Jeff Goldsmith’s sometimes annoying ability to miss the interesting follow-up question.

Anyway, I make a point of not listening to a podcast until after I’ve seen and reviewed a particular film — I try and watch everything unmediated by anything more than the trailer — but that sometimes means I miss a gem of context that might illuminate (or add value in some other way).

Last week I was listening to writer-director Jeffrey Nachmanoff talk about the Don Cheadle war-on-terror thriller Traitor and he outlined how the film got its start: an idea from comedian Steve Martin that he had while working on the Queen Latifah “comedy” Bringing Down the House. Evidently, he had the idea, wrote a treatment, sold it to Disney and then got the heck out of the way.

It obviously went through a few changes since then (as these things always do) but that whole “terrorists want to blow up 50 buses, tricked into all getting on the same bus” thing? All Steve.