The Ghost Writer (2010) by Roman Polanski
Ewan McGregor, in The Ghost Writer (2010), screwed up big in his career and all it took was polishing the memoir of the former Prime Minister, played by Pierce Brosnon, whose previous ghost writer washed up on a beach, dead.
I figure that's not what you are aspiring to become, a ghost writer on the brink of failure just because you made ten small, but career-altering mistakes. Here are ten easy and crucial habits McGregor should have upheld:
1. Don't be intimated by anyone, even if it is the prime minster.
2. Know what you're getting into before you take the job. Gather information.
3. Keep your distance in subtle things like accommodations, in-house tensions and
enemies. Always be professional.
4. Stay within the perimeter of your contract and duties. Cross any line and you can be
5. Expect applied pressure like an instant decision to tighten the deadline.
6. Decide beforehand if you believe the truth is everybody’s business. Is it worth fighting for?
7. Just because the package is cheap does not mean the content is . Handle all manuscripts with
a degree of reverence and fierce protection. Then judge it after you have read it.
8. Chaos has meaning. Jumbled written scenes might, in fact, reveal many things. Be patient and
don’t be so quick to X them out.
9. Keep the original draft.
10. Speak for yourself and be responsible. You know your capabilities and what you have to bring
to the table. And no one can “get you into a situation” without you first giving them
So, what I love about this movie? The setting, most of the movie occurs outside the city and in a coastal community. It was bleak, grey and worked well with the theme. Although the writer had such intimate access to a powerful public figure, every detail down to the house showed stalk isolation and coldness. Both the prime minister and his manuscript were on lock down.
I liked the simplicity of the plot and the fact that the ending made me wonder and my jaw drop. This movie showed that the content of a manuscript, unpublished, is equally powerful to its published self and can influence or harm you if you're not careful.
Photo Credit: Guy Ferrandis/Summit Entertainment