On Creative Screenwriting, Ben Rock talks to Joe Carnahan about his new film, Smokin' Aces (above).
How did you go about fine-tuning the dialogue in Smokin' Aces so everyone sounded different?
That was a conscious effort. Like anything else, you have to stay on it, give it real veracity and truth. With Smokin' Aces, I wanted to be able to write, [for instance] two young African-American women from Oakland. Is that possible? Do I know enough culturally or can I educate myself to the point where I feel comfortable doing that? The FBI stuff—that's a different kind of a lingo.
There are all these different kind of freaky people that populate this world, I wanted them to have signature styles of speech and their own kind of slang and their own way of relating to one another. I'd write stuff and I'd say, "That's a great line, but that does not fit with this character so it's gotta go." I'm sure all of us have these gigantic files that have snippets of other scenes that didn't work that we lockbox away in the hopes that someday we'll say, "Oh my God! I've got a great line for this!"