What do you do if you find out someone else is writing the exact same script you are? At the same time? You push forward, stay passionate, and keep focused on what you’re writing. “We didn’t have a strategy other than to give it our very best,” says David A. Newman, co-writer of Friends With Benefits, the romantic comedy starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. Newman co-wrote the film with his writing partner Keith Merryman and director Will Gluck.
Out July 22, the film is about a couple who decides having sex is better than trying to commit, a plot similar to the afore-referenced Ashton Kutcher-starrer No Strings Attached. But what’s different about Friends With Benefits is how the writers approached the material: “Part of our goal, in a weird way, was to write an anti-romantic comedy,” says Merryman. Did they succeed? Script sat down with Newman and Merryman to discuss character, plot, romantic comedies, and getting the job done, no matter who else is working on a similar script.
Podcast highlights include:
- “The minute we thought of the idea, we knew it was going to be something big.”
- “If you’re just about the work, you cannot go wrong.”
- “If the comedy comes from character, it’ll be more satisfying.”
- “Find your voice; find your truth within your characters.”
Click here to listen: