Tomorrow’s “It Starts With the Script” screenwriters’ panel at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, a two-hour event set to begin Saturday at 11 am at the Lobero Theatre, has been cancelled because everyone except three writers (two of the loyalists being Enchanted‘s Bill Kelly and The Great Debater‘s Robert Eisele) called up and went “waaah, I’m sick” or “waaah, I’m afraid to drive up to Santa Barbara in the rain.”
The significant cop-outers were Diablo Cody (Juno), Glenn Gers (Fracture, Mad Money) and Nancy Oliver (Lars and the Real Girl). Their reasons, I’m told, were (a) they were suffering from the flu and/or (b) were afraid to drive up to Santa Barbara in the rain (although this second excuse may possibly apply to only one writer). I’m no one to talk, having been felled by a 24-hour virus in Park City only three days ago, but is a flu really raging around Los Angeles now? I’m asking.
Let’s face it — if Diablo Cody hadn’t bailed they would have gone ahead with the panel anyway because she’s a big name and sassy-ascerbic and the writer of a huge hit film, etc. So let’s call a spade a spade and say that Cody’s cop-out sent the whole thing down the tubes. The audience would have been plenty satisfied if they could seen and listened to her alone.
I’m not saying Cody wasn’t sick, but this is the second high-profile media appearance thing she hasn’t appeared at. Remember that ridiculous no-show at the Critic’s Choice Award because she didn’t find out it was happening early enough due to strike issues and couldn’t get home in time to dress and then the dog ate her car keys?