So I got up to the mike and I said to William Goldman, I said:
“Bill, I just wanted to let you know first of all how much The Lion In Winter means to me. It’s one of my favorite movies. In terms of dialog, I think it’s probably one of the greatest movies ever written. My question is this: Did you find that it was helpful that you wrote it as a play first and were able to work the bugs out before you adapted it to the screen?”
Mr. Goldman took a breath, smiling his kindly, wisely smile, then:
“You’re thinking of my brother.”
“No, I’m not. I’m thinking about how sweaty my upper lip is! You may be a great writer but you don’t have UNCANNY PSYCHIC POWERS!!” I cackled.
“I didn’t write ‘The Lion In Winter’, he continued, “My brother James wrote ‘The Lion in Winter’.”
Such a great talent. And humble too. Was there anything this guy couldn’t do? But I would not be swayed:
“Ha! That’s great! Ha! Yes! Ha!” I ejaculated.
“Now you’re going to ask me about ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’, right?”
“No. Actually, my next question was about ‘Lord Of The Flies’. Why did you make it twice?”…
Some other stuff William Goldman said at the panel discussion (also featuring David Koepp, moderated by Den Shewman):
“You’ve got to protect your writing time when you’re starting out. Find out when you can write and protect that time. You have to protect it. If you don’t protect it, nobody will. You can accomplish a lot in two hours.”
And of his differences of opinion with studio executives:
“I believe the movie is the star. And they don’t.”