Magnolia - The Shooting Script
Introduction  Jan 2000

by PTA

I'll try and narrow down the blah, blah, blah here and get on with it, but being a writer I can't stop, so let me thank a few people who made this possible:

I'd like to thank Fiona Apple. She is my girlfriend and we share a home. She is a songwriter. She is one of the great songwriters, and she taught me something that I'd never really known before: Honest and clear IS possible and good and it makes for better story telling. I think I knew this before I met her but I didn't exactly know how to do it. 

While I was writing this script, she was writing songs. I was able to witness the translation into verbs, nouns, and letters that equaled "lines in a song". She taught me about clarity and about something I'd only sort-a-had, which is this thing I've talked about: "Trust the gut."

"Trust the gut" equals quite a many pages. So blame her. Thank you, love. 

 

Interview   (excerpt)

Q: What about the boy genius, Stanley?

I've always thought that Spielberg did such a great thing with portrayals of kids in his earlier career. The kids in Close Encounters and in E.T.-- they were like the portraits of kids that only Salinger had done. And I remember seeing Anna Pacquin in The Piano and seeing how a kid could be so fascinating and complex, that she could both hold on to her mother and betray her.

Add all that to the psychoanalysis inside me, writing about a kid character while Boogie Nights was coming out and there was all this pressure and observation on me. And feeling like, hey, I wanted this and created it, but I'm far too young and I'm far too fucking juvenile to truly be in this position. 

On top of that, I had recently met Fiona and she had told me this story about how, when she first started performing, there was a situation where she really wanted to go to the bathroom, but her managers or whoever made her go out on stage. Here's this nineteen year old girl who was totally feisty and strong as a motherfucker, but also at times, as she would totally regret having to say now, Bambi-ish and beaten up. She wanted to go to the bathroom, but being forced to "grow up", to be a fucking professional, to get out on that stage. And with Stanley, there's this thing where you really feel like, wow, I'm a genius, but I can barely tie my shoelaces. "

Q: How did you decide to make Aimee Mann's songs a kind of character in the
film?


..... Aimee was the person who turned me on to the investigation of who you are and what your background means to you. And there's this theme that recurs in her music, and in Fiona's; this idea that being in love is the hardest fucking thing in the world, and you don't want to put yourself through the tragedy of trying to be in love with me.