December 22, 2007:
Recently, Brent Maddock, one of the writing partners who created Tremors, stopped by the Museum and enjoyed the exhibits.
When the Director Ron Underwood, writer S.S. Wilson, and Producer Nancy Roberts visited a few years back and did a panel at the Festival, Brent was unable to attend. He is busy with projects, even though the writers' strike has slowed everything down. He comes through Lone Pine from time to time because his brother-in-law lives in Bishop and was surprised by the museum and all it had on display. He also enjoyed the orientation film immensely.
He had very kind words for the Tremors exhibit, which, of course, he had a great interest in. Looking at some production stills on display, he was surprised how much younger he was when he was here working on the film. He was particularly pleased with all the work and enthusiasm our student intern Sage Haithcoate had put into his design of the exhibit. High School Senior Sage is a great fan of the movie series and designed the entire exhibit.
Nancy Roberts facilitated the gift of the graboid puppets and other props from Universal studios. Michael Gross contributed his script, hat and chair back from the location. The Langley collection of Tremors posters from around the world have also added to the quality of the display. The Museum is always interested in more material.
When Executive Director Chris Langley spoke with Maddock about the plans to make one of the themes of the 2008 Festival "Writers of the Purple Sage," he was very enthusiastic about working on a panel focused on the art of adapting prose to movie script. During the chat, he stressed the "discipline of telling the story in 90 pages and getting everything moving quickly but entertainingly." He hopes to be able to attend the Festival October 10-12.
He and his writing partner Steve Wilson have just signed on to adapt a novel called The Adventures of Slim and Howdy, a novel to be published in early 2008, to the screen. The book is written by Kix Brooks, Ronnie Dunn and Stephen A. Bly. Bly is the writer of Christan westerns and Maddock indicated that the film project would be a western.
Maddock and Wilson wrote many other successful projects including the science fiction film Short Circuit. He has stated that the idea came out of an educational film that Wilson had written called "How to Write a Library Report." "That little film had a small robot (built and stop-motion animated by Steve) as its star. We thought we could use the film as a selling tool to raise money to do a low budget feature film about a robot. We wanted our film school buddy, Ron Underwood, who had directed this particular short, to direct the feature if and when we ever got it written and found funding."
The script turned out to be Short Circuit and everyone wanted it. It was produced but Ron was not hired as the director, so eventually the team wrote Tremors for Underwood to direct. Wilson has explained the idea came from ant lions he had observed while working on an educational film at Ridgecrest.
Brent updated us on Ron Underwood's work lately. He just directed a film for television called Holiday in Handcuffs, which was very well received. He also directed a Reaper episode titled "Magic" and two Boston Legal episodes. Brent said that William Shatner had started calling Ron "The Kid," which gave Ron a "big kick."
Hopefully we'll see this team reunited soon and back in Lone Pine working, who knows, maybe on a western.