It may be difficult if not impossible to find a photograph of phantom New Jersey screenwriter Kelly Masterson, whose original script of Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead (written in ’99) finally made it to the screen this year. Directed by the great Sidney Lumet, it’s become one of ’07’s best reviewed films. Masterson’s reclusiveness is not on the level of Thomas Pynchon or Glenn Gould. He takes part in WGA picket lines and has given the occasional interview. This one with with AICN’s Elston Gunn — not given in person or over the phone, of course, but via e-mail — is worth reading.

Masterson comment #1: “I did not know I was writing a heist film; I thought I was writingacharacter piece. When I first sent it to my agent, I told him it was a dark drama about people who tragically can not extricate themselves from their own stupid behavior. It was not until later I realized that it was a heist movie with noir overtones.

Masterson comment #2 (responding to Gunn’s observation that BTHDKYD‘s nihilism is mixed with a wide range of emotion and melodrama, suggesting that ‘nihlodrama‘ could be the wave of the future): “I was not consciously writing a ‘nihlodrama.’ I wanted to burrow inside each of these four people and tap into their darkest impulses and then follow them as they tried to find the light despite their own darkness. I think of the story as more existential than nihilistic.”