I had a screenplay once where I was 90 pages in and I knew it was all over. I knew it was a disaster. And it was driving me crazy because the studio had gone down a path with me, so there was no getting out and I didn’t know how to go past these 90 pages. And then it all worked out—and the change which made it from absolute despair that there was no way to save it to it all working out was minute. But, but key. INTERVIEWER: Which screenplay was that? JAMES L. BROOKS: Uh, it was Terms of Endearment.
There was a great director who directed a picture that I wrote who barred me from the set—quite appropriately—and said, “I’m sorry, Jim. When you’re directing, you don’t need to know everything. You need the illusion that you do.” And, you know, and I WOULD be there—behind him trying to signal the actors in, you know, in a way I wasn’t even aware of.