From an interview I found with a San Francisco newspaper....
Kamen's original screenplay for "The Karate Kid" was even more introspective. The memorable Mr. Miyagi character, which earned Pat Morita an Oscar nomination, was based on Meitoku Yagi, a martial arts inspiration for Kamen. Meitoku was a disciple of Miyagi Chogun, the Okinawan father of Goju- ryu -- which is the basis for the training of bullied "Karate Kid" protagonist Daniel LaRusso.
"The Karate Kid" is a good display of Kamen's way with dialogue. It contains believable conversations between kids and adults, often using humor to make a ridiculous scene or plot point more human.
"How did you do that? How did you do that?!" Daniel Larusso exclaims in "The Karate Kid," after Miyagi karate chops the heads off three beer bottles left by tough guys who are hassling the pair.
"Don't know,'' Miyagi responds. "First time."
Disney knew it had a quality movie, but the studio wasn't sure how to market it. By 1984, lead actor Ralph Macchio had appeared in Coppola's "The Outsiders," TV's "Eight is Enough," a Bubble Yum commercial and little else. Morita was best known for the supporting part of Arnold, the malt-shop owner in "Happy Days." Desperate for buzz they sneak screened the movie in big cities, a move that was unprecedented at the time.
"They put nothing into the advertising of the movie," Kamen says. "They advertised the first two weeks and then it just carried itself by word of the mouth."
After the modestly budgeted movie grossed nearly $100 million, the studios wanted more of the same from the writer. And while the paychecks kept getting bigger, Kamen's deeply personal stories took a back seat to the fighting-themed movies that he was becoming known for.
Kamen penned two "Karate Kid" sequels and the third "Lethal Weapon" movie. But the writer's most lucrative move came in the early 1990s.
"It was all going pretty good, and then my agent got me this job with Warner Bros. to be their script assassin,'' Kamen recalls. "I started re- writing all their stuff that went into production.''
For large sums of money (seven figures for a few months work isn't unusual) script doctors drop in at the 11th hour -- often after a movie has started filming -- and make last-minute repairs to some of the studio's biggest investments. Kamen worked on Warner Bros. hits including "Under Siege'' and "The Fugitive," sometimes making radical changes without getting his name on the finished product.
Posts: 1251 | From: Anaheim, CA USA | Registered: Jun 2002 | Site Updates: 0
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Cool info, thanks for that man...guess that "digging in the past" pays off...very cool, look forward to more.
Posts: 180 | From: Marathon, NY | Registered: Mar 2004 | Site Updates: 0
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