HOPING FOR A HOLLYWOOD ENDING.
"Wildcard" is the story of two scam artists who target the perfect sucker for $1.5 million in cash, and if Marshall Moseley gets his screenplay "greenlighted," his con-game thriller could be coming soon to a theater near you.
Moseley, a 44-year-old software manager who lives in Eugene, is one of three finalists in the screenwriting competition for the cable TV show "Project Greenlight." The Bravo channel program, which is the brainchild of actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, seeks out undiscovered writers and directors and gives the winners the chance to make a movie. Moseley will be flown to Los Angeles this weekend, where he will have one final opportunity to pitch his screenplay to a group of Hollywood insiders.
"I'm really interested in what happens to people under pressure, I think those are the most compelling films," says Moseley, who calls writer/director John Sayles his filmmaking idol. "The ones that leave me most entertained are ones where people are subjected to extreme emotional conditions - sometimes through their own making and sometimes not - and how they deal with it sort of changes their character."
The pressure-cooker plot behind "Wildcard" involves two swindlers in a strained relationship, an outside love interest who also happens to be a potential "mark" and a determined cop in hot pursuit. Set in Eugene, the film began as an independent project that Moseley dreamed of directing and producing himself for about $1 million.
"When you read the screenplay you'll notice there are no car chases, nothing blows up, there's only one thing you could call a stunt and it's pretty mild. That's all by design," Moseley says.
Ideally, he says, his film would star Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Katie Holmes and Holly Hunter, but that's for the producers of "Project Greenlight" to decide. If "Wildcard" gets chosen, the winner of the program's directors' contest will oversee the making of the film. Moseley will find out this weekend whether he has been selected, but he's contractually obligated to keep his mouth shut until July 13.
One person who won't be surprised if "Wildcard" gets the go-ahead is Kenneth Brady, a co-worker of Moseley's and fellow member of the local fiction writing group the Wordos.
"Everything that he did in this script pointed toward (the fact) that he was going to do well with it," says Brady, producer of the indie film "Jacks."
"I think his writing is very very solid, he has a very good command of character and a very good command of setting and development."
Moseley credits the Wordos with helping him to polish his screenplay, which he wrote over the course of eight months in 2002 and 2003. He worked on his lunch breaks and late at night. He also did a lot of the writing while on retreats in Rockaway Beach with the Oregon Writers Colony organization.
Moseley submitted a copy of "Wildcard" to "Project Greenlight" in early 2004 and survived three different rounds of cuts before learning in early June that he was one of five finalists. Each of those writers was given correction notes on their screenplays, then required to resubmit, and the field was further whittled down to three.
Moseley's ultimate hope is to be both a writer and director like his idol Sayles, but for now, he's just concerned with getting past the first hurdle.
"I want to be a working screenwriter, and I want to be a filmmaker," says Moseley, who lists "Casablanca" and "The Third Man" as two of his favorite films. "I want to direct films at some point, but I don't want to put the cart before the horse."
ON THE WEB
To read a copy of "Wildcard" go to www.projectgreenlight.com