Any film that succeeds in touching on deep themes through perfect comedy is bound to build a lasting connection with audiences. In his DVD commentary for Groundhog Day (1993) Harold Ramis recalls some of the feedback he received on the film and plenty of fun tibits from it’s production.
What a genius script looks like: Groundhog Day screenplay by Danny Rubin [pdf, scanned draft]. (NOTE: For educational purposes only)
How did you come up with the idea for “Groundhog Day?” There’s so many parts to answering that question. I think the big idea, if there is a — the big think or the accidental happenstance was when I was trying to solve a story problem. If a person could live forever, if a person was immortal, how would they change over time? I was curious about whether one lifetime was enough for somebody. There are some people, those arrested development type men who can’t really outlive their — out grow their adolescence and I thought, well, maybe one lifetime isn’t enough. Maybe you need more. So, I was just thinking through if a person could live long enough, how would they change and that seemed like a cumbersome experiment because of having to deal with changing history. So, I was trying to solve the problem how you can have a person be immortal without having history change from underneath him so that the movie would not — the story of the movie would not have to deal with the French Revolution and with the future and things like that.
And then, to solve that, I remembered an idea I had had about a year or two before that about a guy repeating the same day and I realized that having a person repeat the same day turns an eternity into a circle and that’s when all the dramatic possibilities came and the comedic possibilities and all the resonances with repetition. So, that was the idea like that. I was actually getting ready to read one of Anne Rice’s novels about vampires and I was sort of thinking about why I thought that was interesting and the most interesting thing to me was that it was a different class of people. They were just like people except some of the rules were different and the most interesting one being that they were immoral and that’s what got me thinking about immortality. There, that’s all of it. —Big Think Interview With Danny Rubin
Screenwriter Danny Rubin, also a professor of screenwriting at Harvard, graciously agreed to come to Red River Theatres for Q & A following a screening of his beloved comedy/romance Groundhog Day. Coincidentally, Rubin’s Kindle Edition e-book on the screenplay How to Write Groundhog Day was released by Amazon.com the day before this appearance.
In his book, How to Write Groundhog Day, the man who wrote the legendary movie shares the story behind the film and his secrets for aspiring screenwriters. Here, his Top 10 rules for writers.
When the MPAA took their scissors to the fight scene, the thing that they objected to the most was not the beating of Alabama, but it was Alabama fighting back, which is very strange. The MPAA literally said, “Ok you gotta rid of that, I just can’t deal with that.” And I go, “Why? She’s fighting back. She’s the hero.” “Well, it’s because she becomes an animal.” “Well that’s the fucking point!” It got to the point of actual story content that they were trying to eliminate.
-Quentin Tarantino on the “True Romance” commentary
"What makes a man a man? A friend of mine once wondered. Is it his origins? The way he comes to life? I don’t think so. It’s the choices he makes. Not how he starts things, but how he decides to end them."
Guillermo del Toro, Hellboy: The Art of the Movie (via tubulartrevor)