ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY columnist Mark Harris sat down with Pultizer Prize winning playwright Tony Kushner to discuss the highly anticipated film LINCOLN. Kushner, best known for Broadway's Angels in America, penned the screenplay for the upcoming Steven Spielberg epic. In the November 9th issue of the magazine, Kushner revealed that another collaboration with the legendary director is currently in the works.
Responding to the question of whether he will miss working with Spielberg, Kushner shared, "I haven't told this to anyone, but I'm already working on a new script for him, so we'll be talking all the time again. I just started on it a couple of weeks ago. I can't say any more than that."
The writer also spoke about how he became Spielberg's "go-to" guy, commenting, "I like working with him and I think he likes the difficulties that working with me present. I take a long time, and I can't do it until I'm really ready to do it, and I'm not an experienced screenwriter, and I'm probably too old at this point to learn how to start being one. I want to be a playwright. That's what I am."
Kushner also explained how screenwriting differs from writing plays. "With plays, it's not as important to be a great storyteller," he begins. "Shakespeare, who was the greatest playwright of all time, basically used the plots of other people's plays. Movies plunge you more into a story. In the theater, you're always aware of everybody coughing and making noise, and that can affect a performance. Movies don't care if you're coughing or having a coronary; the movie will keep playing."
Kushner is best known for Broadway's Angels in America, a play in two parts: Millennium Approaches and Perestroika, a seven-hour epic about the AIDS epidemic in Reagan-era New York, which was later adapted into an HBO miniseries for which Kushner wrote the screenplay.
His other plays include Hydriotaphia, Slavs!: Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness, A Bright Room Called Day, Homebody/Kabul, and the book for the musical Caroline, or Change. His new translation of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children was performed at the Delacorte Theater in the summer of 2006, starring Meryl Streep and directed by George C. Wolfe. Kushner has also adapted Brecht's The Good Person of Szechwan, Corneille's The Illusion, and S. Ansky's play The Dybbuk.
In the early 2000s, Kushner began writing for film. His co-written screenplay Munich was produced and directed by Steven Spielberg in 2005. In January 2006, a documentary feature about Kushner entitled Wrestling With Angels debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. The film was directed by Freida Lee Mock.