About a decade ago, Chris Charles went to writing partner Danny Kravitz with a simple idea for a movie.
Charles, who had always been interested in the border area between the United States and Mexico, told Kravitz, a former Pepper Pike resident and an Orange High School graduate, that the border area is rich in interesting stories and in people waiting to be represented on the big screen.
Dreaming about having his screenplay turned into a movie, Kravitz told CJN that he immediately agreed, and the two began to work out the screenplay and script.
“The idea came up pretty quickly,” said Kravitz, a Chicago resident, where in addition to writing full-time, he teaches storytelling and screenwriting at Columbia College Chicago. “We really quickly got hooked on a few characters and defined the structure of the story. Once we had a shot, it was a matter of breaking it down into sequences.
The writing duo painted the story of an older protagonist lost in his life and living on a remote stretch of the Arizona border. He meets a young boy and his mother who are crossing the American border to escape a Mexican drug cartel. When the boy’s mother is injured, it’s up to the protagonist to take the boy to his family in Chicago, while avoiding the cartel assassins on their trail.
“Along the way, these two unlikely characters end up being the only two people in the world who can help each other get what they both need right now,” said Kravitz, who attended Park Synagogue. in Cleveland Heights and Pepper Pike before moving to Chicago.
Six to eight months later, Charles and Kravitz completed their first draft of “The Marksman”. They started sending the project out to hopefully spark the interest of members of the film industry.
After years of hard work trying to make the film, Oscar nominated producer and director Robert Lorenz has joined us.
“Once that first draft is written, that’s when Hollywood business comes in and it goes, ‘How does this movie get on screen? “Kravitz says.” The stars have to line up to find the right actor, director and studio.
“Robert Lorenz is a master. When he got on board, the scenario got even better.
Once Charles, Kravitz, and Lorenz completed the script, Liam Neeson joined the film to play the protagonist.
On January 15, “The Marksman” opened in theaters around the world.
For Kravitz, seeing his handwriting turned into a Hollywood movie using the second script he and Charles had ever written together was surreal. He and his writing had been involved in much smaller productions, but this was his first of this size.
“My hope when I started writing the screenplay was to turn it into a movie,” Kravitz said. “It was a total dream to think it would be such a big day, and frankly, I never thought it would.”
Now that he’s made his Hollywood movie debut, Kravitz can’t wait to have more opportunities to show the world his and Charles’ abilities, he said.
“As a screenwriter, the hardest part is making your first big movie,” Kravitz said. “After that, if you keep creating good work, the doors open a bit. If you work really hard, you can keep going through this door.
Kravitz said he still sees northeast Ohio as a hotbed.
“I’m calling Chicago one of my homes right now, and I say that because Cleveland is still my home,” he said. “My parents still live in the house I grew up in and I’m back in Cleveland all the time. … I still consider myself (a member of) Park Synagogue.