I spent the morning on the set of “3 Nights in the Desert,” a drama starring Amber Tamblyn, Wes Bentley and “Boardwalk Empire” star Vincent Piazza as former bandmates who reunite for an uncomfortable extended weekend on the occasion of their coincidentally close 30th birthdays. What I glimpsed was a promising three-hander from director Gabriel Cowan and I’ll save a full set report to closer to the film’s release, but I couldn’t leave without asking Tamblyn about something she teased when she left her recent stint on the TV series “House,” telling TVLine she was “taking a little break and adapting a book that I worked three years trying to buy the rights to.”
Before I even finished asking what book it was, Tamblyn exclaimed, “It’s Janet Fitch’s last novel “Paint it Black.” I wrote the script and it’s in development right now.”
The adaptation of “White Oleander” author’s 2006 story — about a survivor of the Los Angeles punk scene of the ‘80s (a role that would presumably be a nice fit for the former "Joan of Arcadia") who has more trouble escaping the suicide of her boyfriend, though she begins a touch-and-go relationship with his mother — would be Tamblyn’s first stab at a screenplay, though it’s hardly her first work as a writer. Alongside her acting career, she’s long been a poet, releasing two poetry compilations and even starting up a nonprofit to support the artform, but as she notes writing a screenplay is very different beast.
“It’s really different from poetry because poetry is really stream of consciousness, but there is of course a craft to [screenplays],” Tamblyn said. “Scripts are very, very thought out, but it was easy because the book is very cinematic.”
So would there be a chance she’d want to try to direct it too?
“No way, I hate it,” Tamblyn said. “I love writing. It’s what I’ve done my whole life. I have no interest in doing what these guys do [pointing back at the set]. It seems so hard and painful and heartbreaking. The reason I did it is because I read a book that I thought would make a fantastic film and not to use the old actors’ gripe, but also rarely do you read things that are great female-driven [films] that aren’t ‘Sex and the City’ clichés. That’s one of them. So I felt some sort of duty to see if I could try and make it happen. I might fail. I might epically fail. But at least I have to try.”