Our last (but not least!) mentor for the Liberty Lab for Film is a record-breaking screenwriter. No, he didn’t set a record for growing the biggest pumpkin or juggling the most chainsaws. Instead, mentor Bill Marsilii (along with co-writer Jerry Rossio) sold the time-travel thriller Deja Vu to super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Touchstone Pictures for an unprecedented $5 million. The resulting film, starring Denzel Washington, grossed more than $180 million worldwide.
Of course, as with most “overnight successes,” many years of sweat and hard work went into preparing for that moment. Bill spent years working in improv and theater, acting in and writing plays before he moved onto movie scripts.
Since the Deja Vu deal, Bill has sold several other screenplays and pitches, including 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Captain Nemo to Walt Disney Pictures, and Blood of the Innocent, an adaptation of the Dracula vs. Jack the Ripper graphic novel, to Inferno Entertainment. He also adapted the classic children’s novel The Wind in the Willows which is currently in production at Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop, starring Ricky Gervais.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: whoever is assigned Bill as a mentor is very, very lucky. And one more secret before I wrap up here: The final day to apply for the Liberty Lab is May 15 — just two days from now.
If you’re a procrastinator like I am, you may have left your application to the last minute. Not to worry! You’ve still got time to write that one-page treatment and turn it in right under the deadline, even if you have to set a writing record of your own.