Tab Murphy

He is the screenwriter of Alexander Bruckner‘s The Passenger Dollar Baby film.

SKSM: Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

Tab Murphy: My name is Tab Murphy. I’m a screenwriter/director and have been working in Hollywood since the early 80’s. In 1988, I received an Academy Award nomination for writing ‘Gorillas in the Mist’, the story of Dian Fossey.  In the 90’s, I wrote several Disney animated movies including, Tarzan, Atlantis: the Lost Empire and Hunchback of Notre Dame. I also wrote and directed ‘Last of the Dogmen’, a western fantasy that starred Tom Berenger and Barbra Hershey. I have written several DC animated movies including ‘Batman: Year One’ and ‘Batman/Superman: Apocalypse’.  My latest Project is a remake of ‘The Changeling’, a cult ghost story scheduled to film in Ireland in the spring of 2021.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a screenwriter?   

Tab Murphy: I transferred to USC film school in my sophmore year of college.  During my first semester, I took a screenwriting course. I had always liked creative writing and had grown up going to and loving movies. That screenwriting course is where everything came together and I realized that screenwriting was a way into the director’s chair.

SKSM: How do you communicate with a director to design a screenwriter strategy for a film? 

Tab Murphy: With regard to ‘The Passenger’, I read the short story (Rest Stop) and discussed with Alexander some of the filmic challenges. In the short story, the lead character has a dual personality and much of the dialogue he has with his ‘other’ personality is in his head. Obviously, that would have been difficult to film. I suggested creating a separate character out of the dual personality so that the audience wouldn’t realize both characters are the SAME character until the end of the film.

SKSM: You worked in a Dollar Baby based on a Stephen King short story. It was your most challenging film? 

Tab Murphy: No. I would say it was my most fun script in quite awhile. And it was an honor to adapt a story by the great Mr. King.  ?

SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much? 

Tab Murphy: I think a lot of men wrestle with the idea of masculinity and how they define it in their own lives. This was a story about a character who was timid and weak but yearned for courage and strength, much like Edward Norton’s character in ‘Fight Club’.

SKSM: Can you tell us about the filming steps? Funny things that happened so far (Bloopers, etc). 

Tab Murphy: I was only on set for about an hour of filming.  I’m sure Alexander has plenty of those stories.  ?

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays? 

Tab Murphy: I just finished writing a script for a remake of ‘The Changeling’, a cult ghost story scheduled to shoot in Ireland next spring.

SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work? 

Tab Murphy: Yes, particularly his early work. The Stand, The Shining, The Mist, Carrie, etc etc. Huge fan.

SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? 

Tab Murphy: I have 6 children.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Something you’d like to tell our readers? 

Tab Murphy: If they are fans of my Disney films, particularly Atlantis: the Lost Empire, there is a HUGE resurgence of interest in those movies, one that I was frankly unaware of until a few months ago. Visit the Facebook fan page ‘Atlantis – the lost empireposting’ for a sample of some fun things I’ve been posting from the movie!  ?

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