How could the man who wrote Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures, like totally, and also write a crime thriller with elaborate plot twists such as Now You See Me? Meditation is his answer. With every project screenwriter Ed Solomon takes on, he rediscovers the craft of writing and what drew him to it in the first place.
Now You See Me is the story of four rebellious magicians – played by Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco – who design elaborate tricks of illusion in order to pull of mega heists. Or do they? That is the question. How can magicians, from a stage in Las Vegas, rob a bank in Paris? You have to see the movie to find out. It’s a whole lot of fun for the audience. But if you’re the writer, you have to know what’s going on going in, or you’ll be left with a blank page and no plot to twist.
Solomon – typically known for his action and comedy films such as Charlie’s Angels, The In-Laws and Men in Black — gives away some of his tricks of the trade. “Getting those plot twists to work took a lot of geometry, or math…” Solomon says. “In terms of pacing it out, piece of information by piece of information, that’s where keeping yourself clear is important.”
How does a writer keep him or herself clear? That’s the real magic question. Solomon used to listen to music to try to get into the zone when he first started out in the business, but now he uses the technique of mediation every morning to try to get deeper into the plot. “A lot of times I try to drop down into the feeling and get emotional, so I can put that into what is written,” he says.
Any why does he have to do that? He wants to keep his relationship with the movie, the audience and the characters authentic. For him, it’s the only way to stay in touch, alone in a writer’s office far away from the theater or any feedback. It all comes with writing, writing, writing, Solomon says.
Now You See Me releases in theaters March 31 and stars Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Melanie Laurent. ScreenwritingU sat down with Solomon to find out how mediation can create a plot twist like you’ve never seen before.
Photo credit: Summit Entertainment