Robert Towne wrote the original screenplay for “Chinatown.” He was from Los Angeles and studied philosophy at Pomona College (Writers Guild of America).
Information about Robert Towne can be found on the Writers Guild of America website. There are snippets of interviews from different sources (mainly from AFI) that explain some of his writing process for “Chinatown.” Here are a few pieces from those interviews that I thought would be interesting for others in class to see:
“Originally, I had Evelyn [Mulwray] kill her father, and I had the detective try and stop her...But it (the end) was bittersweet in the sense that one person, at lease, wasn’t tainted—the child”
Towne goes on to say, “So I thought, I don’t want to do a crime movie about the kind of things that don’t anger me…The destruction of the land and that community was something that I thought was really hideous. It was doubly significant because it was the way Los Angeles was formed, really.”
“It seems like it took me forever to write—at least 10 months…[A]ll screenplays that are highly structured are difficult…Always the hardest part of any story is to figure out the point of entry where your story begins.”
Here is a link to an actual page of the screenplay:
Here is the link to the interview snippets: