Screenwriter Alan Trustman has sent in a response to my review of THE JUDAS PROPHECY. With his permission, I'm reprinting his email below.
Well, it wasn't as bad a review as I expected, but I was surprised that you reviewed it as a novel. It isn't a novel. It is a novelized screenplay, a format that is more readable than a screenplay but less readable than a novel for the reasons you correctly noted and a few others, including the complete absence of any of the delicious wordplay so beloved by the TIMES BOOK REVIEW and PUBLISHER"S WEEKLY. I will send you the screenplay if you wish but you are busy and your comments about the character and structure are applicable to the screenplay as well as the novelized screenplay.
I still think a JUDAS movie would make a ton of money, and think the revelation of what is going on would carry the second act and the puzzle of how it would end would carry the third act. But what do I know?
As for the characters, I deliberate underwrite those characters whose characterizations depend on their not talking very much and that is true of most of my characters.
With McQueen, I communicated the character in person and at great length and since there was minimal dialogue the character was really not in the scripts. I screened 40 hours of film on him and tailored the character according to what he could do, and what made him comfortable, and then explained it to him. He loved it and played that character in both of my pictures. For a couple of years I was his boy. He would tell everybody that he didn't know how, but I understood him, and he was right, I did. Our relationship lasted until I refused to write his racing car picture because he was determined to make it the story of a loser and I insisted that his audience wanted him to be a winner. I lost the argument and lost him, and lost my movie career because Stan Kamen was not pleased by my refusal. Sic transit gloria mea.
As for my autobiography, I have written it but cannot publish it for reasons personal, legal, and safety-related. How's that for a teaser?
Mr. Trustman, after reading that paragraph about your working relationship with McQueen, I think it's safe to say that it our loss that you can't publish your autobiography. Thanks for your communications with me, and through me, my readers.