October 23, 2021

Joe Johnston asked to read prison screenplay

Petition asks Joe Johnston to read prison screenplay

More than 2000 women sign petition demanding a firm commitment from  Joe Johnston (film producer) to read screenplay addressing Texas judicial system

Joe Johnston

Joe Johnston – Talent Agents
– Director, Visual Effects, Producer – Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), The Rocketeer (1991), Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) – A3 Artists Agency, Adam Kanter –

Dumbass, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair

Joe Johnston & Adam Sandler’s film company targeted by Texas petition

Will Hollywood just rollover and let prisoner’s suffer?


Joe Johnston
Joe Johnston
More than 2000 women have signed an open letter to Jana Sandler calling on Joe Johnston and Hollywood to take “movie action” to tackle injustice against men and women in the wake of revelations that Texas has more prisoners incarcerated than the Soviet Union’s gulag system had. Texas currently has over 290,000 inmates housed at 580 facilities.

The signatories, including state senators, professors of criminal justice, social workers, family, and inmates, call for a “firm commitment” to tackle the unjust prisons in Texas. The petition has also been signed by Beto O’Rourke, and Matthew McConaughey. These two signatories might face each other in the 2022 Texas governors election. Both have expressed interest in the job.  The petitions arrived for Joe Johnston at A3 Artists Agency, Adam Kanter last week.

In the open letter to Joe Johnston, the 2080 women write that they are “heartbroken for first-time drug offenders many times addicts who have received extremely harsh sentences in Texas when rehabilitation has proven a cheaper and more effective solution.”  The petition goes on to say their family and friends are often heartbroken for and looking for redemption and rehabilitation for the victimless drug crimes.”

The signatories, including attorneys, professors, politicians, family members, and inmates, call on Joe Johnston for a ‘firm film commitment’ to tackle the issue of operating the Texas prison system for profit.

The petition came to light when women discovered the screenplay, a copy which was dontated to all 580 of the state’s prison and jail libraries. The existence of the petition surfaced on International Women’s Day. Women in Texas face extreme prejudice in Texas and often receive extremely harsh penalties for even a small amount of drugs, including marijuana. Marijuana is legal now in 21 states.

Inside prisons, the women are faced with such horrendous conditions… the petition demands that “filmmakers begin to take the issue seriously.”  Also, the petition reminds that “even here in the USA in the 21st century citizens are not safe from government oppression.”

Director, Visual Effects, Producer, Joe Johnston, has not responded to the petition. Nor has A3 Artists Agency, Adam Kanter responded with a comment.

Alan Nafzger Alan Nafzger/caption]

The screenplay “Dumbass” was penned by writer and retired professor of political science Alan Nafzger.

The premise of the story is that,Adam Sandler writes letters and saves numerous women from the monotony of prison life, and later when he gets into trouble with a drug cartel they return the favor by rescuing him.”

The film would be set in contemporary, Gatesville Texas. There are four women’s prisons located in Gatesville. And of course, Texas is famous for putting everyone in prison for a long sentences for little or no reason. The number of women in Texas prisons has tripled in the last ten years, as mass incarcerations have proven profitable to not only the state but also profitable for an array of business interests.

Writer Alan Nafzger has called on Governor Greg Abbott to, “end the prison industry.”

Recently, “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak spoke out against the Texas system and put a good word in for mercy and forgiveness out on social media. “How nice for those who have lived such exemplary lives that they can express glee when others have their lives ruined by a mistake, real or perceived,” Sajak tweeted last month.

The petition states, “Why don’t we have the ‘Adam Sandler’ character… sending letters to women in prison and being their friend and trying to help them adjust, giving them hope… and when they get out of prison he picks them up so they don’t have to ride the smelly bus back home… but his pickup truck is a junker, smoking and sputtering … worse than the bus. But his heart is in the right place… He’s the last “chivalrous” man on earth.”

Joe Johnston has not commented on the script, thusfar. A statement is expected soon.

Professor Nafzger has made a short treatment of the project available online.

He has made the finished script available at for select filmmakers.

Jana Sandler of Happy Madison Productions has also expressed interest in the screenplay.

Joe Johnston is a Director, Visual Effects, Producer known for Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), The Rocketeer (1991), Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) and is represented by A3 Artists Agency, Adam Kanter.

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The easiest way to learn to write comedy is to study it. Watch a movie and look for use of misinterpretation, tragedy, punch-lines, tie-in threes, subtext, reversals, etc.

Misinterpretation is another common technique. It’s where the hero (or other characters) thinks one thing is happening based on a set of false assumptions, when in reality something else is happening. An example is a commonly used scene where the character walks in on the end of a conversation and misinterprets the meaning. The character then wrongly acts upon this information, thus creating comedy.

Fish-out-of-water is a common technique used to create comedy because it puts a character into a situation or place he is unfamiliar with. In the hit comedy Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo a fish tank cleaner is inadvertently thrust into the world of male prostitution and becomes a gigolo.

Contrast can create comedy. Remember the Danny Divito, Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Twins? Talk about contrast!

It really pays to start taking note of the Midpoints of films and books. If you find that your story is sagging in the middle, the first thing you should look at is your Midpoint scene.

– In Notting Hill, Julia Roberts has asked Hugh Grant up to her hotel suite for the first time, and Hugh walks in to find that Julia’s movie star boyfriend, Alec Baldwin, whom Hugh knew nothing about, is already there with her. We know that Hugh’s GHOST is that his ex-wife left him for a man who looked just like Harrison Ford (Alec is pretty close!), and to add to this blow, Alec mistakes Hugh for a room-service waiter and tips him, asking him to clean up while he takes Julia into the bedroom. Total emotional annihilation.

– In a romance, the Midpoint is very often sexual or emotional (“Sex at Sixty”). In Sense and Sensibility, the Midpoint is the emotionally wrenching scene in which Lucy Steele reveals to Elinor that she has been secretly engaged to Edward Ferrars for five years. We are so committed to Edward and Elinor’s love that we are as devastated as Elinor is, and just as shocked that Edward would have lied to her. The Midpoint is even more wrenching because Elinor’s sister, Marianne, has also just been abandoned by her love interest. It’s a double-punch to the gut.

After Clarice confesses painful secrets, Lecter gives her the clue she’s been digging for: she is to search for Buffalo Bill through the sex reassignment clinics. And as is so often the case, there is a second climax within the midpoint, what I think of as a double punch: the film cuts to the killer in his basement, standing over the pit, forcing a terrified Catherine to put lotion on her skin. It’s a horrifying curtain and drives home the stakes.