To combat this new trend, studios are getting secretive. Instead of sending out scripts to agents -- who then read them and file them in their library where any employee can peruse them and post them online -- many film companies are now sending out only snippets of screenplays. In some instances, they're not even doing that. Instead, they're making actors and creative types come to their offices and read the scripts while being observed. That can't be fun.
As Deadline points out in their exclusive article on the topic, this isn't an entirely new phenomenon -- the difference is that it's happening with more frequency now and for films that aren't made by a Kubrick or Woody Allen. The Wachowski's next project, CN (or Cobalt Neural 9, as it was just revealed), is the latest to be shrouded in secrecy. All we know is that it's about a homosexual romance between an American and Iraqi soldier. It joins numerous comic book films, the recently talked about M. Night Shyamalan project, and several other mid to high profile titles on the list of scripts that no one's really allowed to see.
But does a script appearing online hurt anything? Sometimes, it feels as though we forget that not everyone is a movie geek like we are. You and I might devour every available detail about The Avengers, but the more casual moviegoer (who outnumbers us significantly) isn't out there reading detailed script breakdowns or entire screenplays -- in fact, I think most people would never make it through a screenplay if they tried reading one. Plus, this makes it difficult for actors -- how can you know if a project is right for you if you can't even read the whole story? Deadline points out that casting for the newest Spider-Man featured some pages of the script with villains and everything glossed over and with so little of the character motivation that the director had to guide them through the scenes. Granted, it's Spider-Man and not Shakespeare, but still ...
Of course, it's easy to see the studio's side -- this is sort of like piracy in that it can hurt the bottom line. And with trailers now showing ending scenes of films in some instances, is this really an issue? I'm torn on this one. Do the studios have a point or do viewers want to have early access to script details and breakdowns before shooting ever begins? Chime in below.