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Oscar-Winning Screenwriter to Teach, Talk at Emerson

Fresh off his Oscar win for Best Adapted Screenplay, Charles Randolph, who co-wrote The Big Short, will come to Emerson College next week to talk to students and screen his award-winning film.

On Wednesday, March 16, Randolph will visit a Writing for Television class, and then lead a master class for students in spec, the campus screenwriters’ group. Later that evening, following a screening of his film at the Paramount Center, he will answer questions from the audience.

“It’s a great event, to bring in someone who’s written a current project, to have them here in person,” said Jean Stawarz, associate professor in the Department of Visual and Media Arts and advisor to spec.

The Big Short, which Randolph adapted with director Adam McKay, is based on the nonfiction book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis. Both the book and the movie follow the people who forecast and devised a way to profit from the housing collapse of 2007–2008.

The film—which stars Oscar nominee Christian Bale, Steve Carell, and Ryan Gosling, and was also nominated for Best Picture—turned the episode into a dark comedy.

Stawarz said she gave Randolph a broad brief on his presentations to screenwriting students.

“We made some suggestions; we told him we’d like to learn about the process of adaptation, the process of working through the screenplay in terms of choosing what stays in and what doesn’t,” Stawarz said. “I explained to him what the class has been doing, but really it’s up to him.”

The classes are closed, but the community is invited to the Bright Family Screening Room at 7:00 pm on March 16 to watch The Big Short and quiz Randolph on the film and his work on it. The event is free, but tickets are required.

The box office opens at 5:00 pm. Some will be set aside for faculty and staff, but any tickets not picked up by 6:45 pm will become available to the general public.

Spec has offered a forum for Emerson student screenwriters to workshop scripts and swap ideas for roughly 15 years.

The organization has hosted a number of notable screenwriters over the years, including Carl Gottlieb, who co-wrote Jaws; D.V. DeVincentis, one of the writers to adapt Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity to the screen; and legendary horror film writer George Romero, who gave the world the Living Dead series.

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