John Milius on CNN: Most scripts today ‘are garbage’

There’s an interesting interview with John Milius (Apocalypse Now, Red Dawn) on that may be of interest to Script readers when it comes to writing their own scripts.


After marinating in the zeitgeist for 30 years, Milius’ iconic movie lines have flavored American pop culture — embraced by “The Simpsons,” mocked on “Saturday Night Live” and spoofed in Hollywood comedies.

A lot of it is hard work, of course. But sometimes, as Dirty Harry might note, you just feel lucky. Robert Shaw’s “Jaws” speech about how sharks attacked survivors of the torpedoed USS Indianapolis was written “literally over the phone,” Milius said. “I gave it to them, and they went out and shot it.” (Milius work on the film was uncredited; Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb are the credited screenwriters.)

And then there’s the famous “napalm” line from “Apocalypse.”

“I just wrote it — it just came up,” said Milius, describing the famous line uttered wistfully by Duvall’s surfing Col. Bill Kilgore. “That’s what happens. People love to think that all this stuff happens when you write a famous line — that you really thought about it a lot.”

Click here for the entire interview.