Scriptmag.com interview with Olympus Has Fallen screenwriters Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt [interviewer: Ryan Kelly]:
RK: Let’s talk Olympus Has Fallen. Tell me about the film.
CR: The original idea I had several years ago was, “What would be the most impossible building to take over in the world?” I thought that would be the White House. Marrying that with the idea of a secret service hero… we hadn’t really seen that the movies in a little while, at least not in my opinion. I thought there might be something there that audiences would be interested in.
RK: There definitely is. I understand the script was acquired by Millennium just last year. Can you tell us a little about the process of selling the script?
CR: That was an interesting process. Katrin and I, we’ve been writing for several years now. We’re the proverbial “nine-year overnight success.”
KB: Creighton and I actually met in a screenwriting class in Philadelphia thirteen years ago… He had attended the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, graduating from the English Honors Program. He fell into a regular corporate career for a few years. He took some screenwriting classes at night and really felt he loved it, that it was his passion. He was getting up at 4 a.m., before his corporate job, writing before work, going to his job, coming home at night, and then screening movies and studying scripts and writing weekends. We met in screenwriting class in 2000, and at that time, I was also working a corporate job, doing the same thing.
CR: In 2002, I was fortunate enough to win the Academy Nicholl Fellowship with a Korean War epic script called, The Chosin. That really gave me the confidence and impetus to focus solely on screenwriting as a career. Katrin and I started to write together, and we moved out to California [in 2007]…
We said, “If we’re going to do this, we’re going to try every way we can”… We had a number of scripts that looked really promising, that someone was going to buy and for whatever reason, it didn’t happen. We had different representatives. In 2011, we offered another spec script of ours, called Cali … That’s when we got Gersh, with Devra Leib and Alex Lerner at Kaplan/Perrone. Alex looked at our body of work – we had been writing for over nine years – we had over twenty completed screenplays. He looked at all of them and said, “The one we’re going to go out with first is Olympus Has Fallen.” Katrin and I were both thrilled because we always believed that this idea was such a good idea and it would make for a successful movie.
From the fall of 2011, when we sign with them, until March of 2012 when it went out, we did four full rewrites for them to make it as strong of a script as possible. It went out. It sold to Millennium. We were very thrilled with that. Our reps told us that Millennium is buying it – they’re probably going to make it, so I think we should take this offer.
For more of the interview, go here.