Alan Watts talks about his screenwriting career and his love of The Beatles
A screenwriter’s career is an interesting one, with different paths taken for every actor, director and writer, but Alan Watts, the father of screenwriting and one of the greats, had a much different path to take in the 20s than other actors of the time.
When Watts was still a teenager, he was offered the part of an eccentric but talented film-maker named Albertine B. (nicknamed ‘Baptiste’), a woman with an interest in music and who later became a successful actress.
She was so popular with the film-makers she made a fortune by appearing in films with her husband and children.
Watts said that at one point she made more money on film than any other actress, and that she could also earn millions in advertising, publishing and stage work.
Watsons father, Allan Watts, was also a screenwriter, and he remembers the first time he met his son.
“I was 16 years old, and I was sitting on a bus, and the bus driver pulled over to the side and said ‘Alan, I have just seen you in the movie, what do you think about that?’ and I said, ‘Well, I don’t know about that, I think you’re right, it’s a great film’.
I had just met my father.”
Watts was very proud of his son, and they became close friends, but Allan was a little wary of the young man’s sudden interest in film.
“The first thing I did was make a list of all the things he wanted to be in a film, and at the end of that list I had a letter from him in the mail.
I went and gave it to him, he said, well that’s a bit weird, you shouldn’t send that, it might spoil your movie.
But I didn’t, I sent it anyway, and when he got it, he read it and was just blown away.
And it was just one of those things, I guess he thought, I could do that.
And I think he just knew what I was capable of, and it just came naturally.”
As for Albertine, she was a talented young actress, but she was not quite ready to make the leap from the stage to the screen.
Watt had some reservations about her, because he felt she was too young, and too ambitious, and not prepared for what she would eventually become.
So the relationship between the two grew slowly and steadily, with Albertine trying to convince Watts that he should consider a career as a screen writer instead of an actor.
Wuns was very protective of his young actress and, at times, he tried to steer her away from making a career out of theatre, but Albertine was adamant about her desire to play a role in the film industry.
“She was a very talented young woman, but I remember the first day she got out of the studio she said to me, ‘Alan I want to be a writer.
I want the opportunity to write for people who will love the movie’.
And I said to her, ‘No, I’m not interested in writing for the people who are gonna love the film, I want them to love the story, the character, the music, the way the film is being made, and we can’t be together’.
She just said, you’re a wonderful person, but you need to get out of film, because you’re not a good writer.”
Alan Watts had already had a long relationship with the musical theatre and, by the time he made the jump to film, he had a love for the musicals.
“One of the first things I did when I got the part was go and see the ballet at the Royal Opera House, and there was a great audience of people there, and a young girl came up and said, Alan, it looks like we should go to the theatre for the first dance in a while, what are we doing, what would you do?'”
I thought, well, I love musicals, and my wife loves musicals too, but what am I going to do?
I said ‘I’ll make a film’ and I thought, if I’m going to make a movie, I should do it as a movie.
And that was the beginning of my career as an actor.
“Watt went on to become a screenwriting director on such films as The Godfather, The Godmother, The Maltese Falcon, The Misfits, The Sopranos and, of course, his own films, including The Prestige.
Watters screenwriting credits include the award-winning drama The Godkiller, the action thriller A Beautiful Mind, the romantic comedy The Big Lebowski and the science fiction film The Andromeda Strain.
He is also credited with creating the genre of action-comedy, the film that changed the way action films were made.
Watkins was a master of comedy, and his