By using a series of relationships with corrupt politicians, crooked cops, notorious gangsters and powerful businessmen, Gaynell Moretta and Archie MacDonald rise to the pinnacle of Southern California’s socially elite society. Ironically the relationships they use to satisfy their worldly lusts are the very same ingredients that create a family tragedy of horrific consequence, which in turn propagates one of the most famous murder mysteries of the twentieth century.
Narrator: Hannah Ehman
Gaynell: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Band Leader/Renny: Steve Rizzo
Get to know the screenwriters:
1. What is your screenplay about?
Our script is a pilot script for a proposed 13 part-limited series. The story is so rich in content that it could be worked into a 3 to 4 year series,
The story deals with our family's involvement in the murder of famed gangster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel and our logline sums up the story fairly well.
When two families' insatiable hunger for wealth and social status leads them down a treacherous path, their lives become entangled with influential politicians, corrupt law enforcement, the glamourous world of Hollywood, and merciless criminals. As their desires are fulfilled through these intricate connections, they unwittingly become center figures in creating a notorious murder mystery that reverberates throughout the twentieth century.
2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?
3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?
The story is epic - It not only solves one of the most famous mob murders in history, but it takes viewers through 1930 and 1940 Hollywood, and the two primary characters' lives intertwine with some of the most fascinating people in American history - Howard Hughes - Bugsy Siegel - J Edgar Hoover - Hollywood movie moguls - Famous politicians - Famous movie stars and even a US President.
The primary reason this would make a great limited series - Besides the fact that it is a true story - Is our LEAD CHARACTER is a STRONG FEMALE - My "great aunt" Gaynell Rockwell Moretta - Was one of the most powerful women in LA during the 1930s and 1940s - She knew everyone's secrets and when push came to shove - She could be as "badass" as any man of the era - She is a "career-maker" for the up-and-coming actress who get this role.
4. How would you describe this script in two words?
5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?
6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
The story has been in the works since 1996 - Our first book on this story came out in 2004 - We wrote a feature script in 2010 on the story (it did very well on the festival circuit and was even optioned twice) - HOWEVER - In 2019, we came to the conclusion that the story could be told best as a limited series - We started marketing this pilot in late 2022 - early 2023.
7. How many stories have you written?
Two books - Three feature scripts - Three limited series pilots.
8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)
My wife and I are "more seasoned" than most of the writers you probably have submitted to your festival - So our favorite song was our wedding song from 1989 - Starships - Nothing going to stop us now.
9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
Our biggest challenge was deciding what worked better for telling the story - Feature film or limited series - I've heard the story my entire life - Writing it was the easy part - Getting it made will be our biggest challenge.
10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Filmmaking - We make documentary films - Our first - A Band to Honor - Tells the story of the USS Arizona Band - A group who all perished on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor - We were blessed to team up with a composer - Holly Amber Church - Who did our amazing soundtrack, and we think we told a very important story that will help preserve the legacy of 22 men who lost their lives on that fateful day. BTW - Holly has gone on to write the Main Title for Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities - AND - Has agreed to work with us on our Privileged Deceit documentary - How can you not be passionate about telling stories when you have great material and amazing people to work with.
11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?
We love FilmFreeway - So easy - So efficient.
12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
Your reputation is very good, as is your reputation for giving constructive feedback - We are working to improve the script, and getting "eyes" on the story in an attempt to get feedback that will be helpful in ensuring that when we do get the opportunity to submit to a network - That the script is as good as I can be - Also - Since the story is a period piece - It is always good to get the opinions of professionals who may not have too many opportunities to read a story that takes place in the 1930s and 1940s - The positive feedback is always appreciate, but the true value from feedback comes when you can pull some of the suggestions that are made from the notes, and make your story better.