The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Esquire's summer movie issue: Hotter than Megan Fox?

May 7, 2009 | 10:57 am

Megan-fox-esquirre-cover I know that most people who pick up the June issue of Esquire are going to be, ahem, distracted by the steamy cheescake photos of "Tranformers" starlet Megan ("I know I have a wild reputation ...") Fox, who even did an equally steamy promotional video for the magazine, where she lolls around in a suggestive swimsuit poolside.

But I confess that I was distracted by another story in the special issue, the one by Tom Junod about "Terminator: Salvation" director McG, which isn't up on the magazine's website yet but arrived today in my mailbox in the old-fashioned print version. That means you'll have to trust me when I tell you that it's headlined: "McG Is Not a Douchebag and James Cameron Is Not Jesus Christ." 

The story itself is harmless enough, but if you ever wondered why Hollywood screenwriters appear so cranky and disputatious, you'll better understand their lack of self esteem after seeing how McG, a man best known for directing not one but two "Charlie's Angels" films, describes his contributions to the new film. It's not that the story says anything awful about the screenwriters who worked on the film -- and there were oh-so-many of them -- it's that it never mentions them at all.

To hear McG tell it, the film had one script problem after another, and it was McG, even though he has no writing credit on the film, who kept finding a way to fix it. (The credited writers are John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris, though it's an open secret that "Dark Knight" scribe Jonathan Nolan and "Crash's" Paul Haggis were both involved in rewrites.)

Junot explains that Moritz Borman, who had the rights to the "Terminator" series, summoned McG to his office to look at the script Borman had developed. Here's McG's account of what happened:

"So I read the script, and I didn't like it. But I had a vision about how I could take it higher. And part of taking it higher was having a very credible actor playing John Connor. So my list was a list of one. I think the most credible and talented actor of his generation is Christian Bale. So I started to fix the script, and I started dialogue with Christian. ... I got to talking with him about what I wanted the movie to achieve. He said, 'That sounds great, but I read the script and I don't like it.' But he said, 'If you could get the script to a place where you could read it cold and make it entertaining. ... we'd have something to talk about.' And I said, 'All right, I'm going to get that done.' "

We'll have to see the movie to see if he got it done, but if he had any help from any of those highly paid screenwriters, it was apparently something of a silent contribution.