I am screenwriter Margaret Nagle. You might know me from Boardwalk Empire, Red Band Society, or my latest film, The Good Lie. I've had every part-time job in the world supporting my writing career, and was an actress on MY SO-CALLED LIFE. AMA!
I was "The Weird Kid" in school, and always worried about the next disaster, and have always been obsessed with injustice. But I'm really fun at parties! I'm an oddball. I was very proud, because recently Jezebel called me a badass... I was always telling stories to entertain myself as a kid, but I never thought of screenwriting as a career, so I became an actress thinking that was a way to tell stories, and then when I was on the show MY SO-CALLED LIFE Winnie Holzman (who created the show, and later wrote WICKED) took me aside and said "I have some very, very bad news for you. You're not an actress, you're a writer." And I was like "WHAT" and she was like "You're so deep in the closet as a writer, and you have gotta come out." And Winnie was a closeted writer as well - and she had gone into acting, and avoided writing, because it's not a career that women are very welcome in, you don't see a lot of women doing it, but also nobody encourages you to do it - nobody encourages you to tell the truth, you always get in trouble for it. I'm always in trouble for telling the truth.
So Winnie encouraged me, and then I started writing, and I did 8 million part-time jobs to support my writing career, and I wrote a spec script called "Warm Springs" and that got me the job to write THE GOOD LIE eleven years ago. I've spent eleven years trying to get this movie made.
And I started writing for television to support getting this movie made!
That's how I started writing for TV, I was going to write movies exclusively, and this movie got stuck, and I was out of money, and my agents were like "Everyone wants you to write for TV" - by then WARM SPRINGS had gotten made for HBO, and I was so desperate for money at that point I was like "Okay, sure, I'll do it." I said yes, and that got me my first TV job.
So Terry Winter was someone I had met when I was struggling to go from acting to writing, I had sent him the script for WARM SPRINGS which he was reluctant to read, and he read it, and he said to me "It's Rocky, about FDR." And I sent him my script for THE GOOD LIE, and he loved it because it's so funny. It's very funny in ways you don't expect at all. And he just remembered that, and then I got a call from Terry one night in 2007 or 2008, saying "Why haven't you listened to your messages" and I went "I have a message?" and he said "I called you a week ago, I offered you a job on Boardwalk" and I said "you're kidding!" and I listen to my voicemail, I was in a drive-thru at McDonald's, getting a Happy Meal, and he says "are you in a McDonald's line?" and he said "Get me a Big Mac! I offered you a job a week ago! We need you, we're going to sit in a room and create this map." So I called my agents and said "I'm going to work on Boardwalk Empire" and they said "What!?"
SO I worked with Terry and two other writers on season 1. I was learning about the birth of the Mob, and prohibition, and Atlantic City, and one of my part-time jobs as I was supporting my writing career was I sold purses out of the trunk of my car. And Terry had a thought that - you probably know more about bootlegging than I do! Because I'd tried to make money any way possible, I was a good person to put on the show. So that's how I got Boardwalk.
You can check out the official trailer for THE GOOD LIE here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5mrvffezmM&feature=youtu.be
The film opens on Friday, October 3rd, and by October 24 should be in theaters all over country.
Victoria's helping me get started today. Ask me anything. I'm very honest, so I may get in trouble, but I tell the truth.
Edit: Everybody come see THE GOOD LIE this weekend or when it comes to a theater near you, and contact me on Twitter @MargaretNagle73, and let's talk after. Let's all just keep talking to one another. Thank you so much for your questions, and I'll ask the question Elvis Costello asks: "What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?"