Michael Mitnick: The Current War was a ten-year process of writing, first as a musical and finally a film
Michael Mitnick says The Current War was a ten-year process of writing and how the story took all sorts of unexpected, tragic and thrilling turns.
Not many screenplays have had their genesis in the rush of a college orientation week. But that's exactly where The Current War began. On its screenwriter, Michael Mitnick's first day at Yale University's School of Drama he was given a simple assignment: to bring an idea from history to class.
"My mind flashed back to an Apple computers poster of Thomas Edison I'd had on my childhood bedroom wall," he remembers, adding with a laugh: "I'd picked [that poster] mainly because I thought Edison looked like a mad scientist." That first night in New Haven, he set to work researching the famous inventor. He quickly discovered that there was much more to his story than the invention of the light bulb and a shock of mad scientist hair.
"I stumbled upon The War of the Currents — an epic battle between Edison and [industrialist] George Westinghouse to determine the world's standard of electricity," Mitnick says. The story took all sorts of unexpected, tragic and thrilling turns. There was a scurrilous smear campaign, the secret invention of the electric chair, the violent death of a man, and the advent of a unique scientific talent in Serbian immigrant Nikola Tesla. It was a eureka moment. "I remember thinking, 'How did I not know this?'" he marvels. "Then it became a ten-year process of writing it, first as a musical and finally as a film."
With a starry cast that includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Tom Holland, and Nicholas Hoult, PVR Pictures brings 'The Current War to cinemas on the 1st of November, 2019.
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