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About The Film
Secret Window began its voyage to the screen when Columbia Pictures' executives became intrigued by Stephen King's suspense stunner Secret Window, Secret Garden part of the Four Past Midnight collection, which prompted one reviewer to write: "Four spell-binding tales of evil. These are can't-tear-your-eyes away stories that burn your imagination.” 

The studio approached writer/director David Koepp to adapt the novella to the screen, according to the film's producer Gavin Polone. Columbia Pictures has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with Koepp that included his masterful screenplays for the recent hit films Spider-Man® and Panic Room.

"King's novella was reminiscent of Stir of Echoes (one of Koepp's previous writing/directing efforts) because it's about a guy who seems to lose touch with reality,” Polone says. "There were also similarities to the claustrophobic atmosphere of Panic Room, a thriller that essentially played out in one tiny room.”

"I like ‘guy-in-a-house-going-crazy' movies,” laughs Koepp. "I enjoy the challenge of working out a story that takes place in a confined space. Even though there are some outdoor scenes, the story is really about Mort Rainey's (Johnny Depp) living space. It's about somebody who's in a really bad place in his life where he is just spending way too much time alone at home. I wanted to explore the confinement and paranoia themes, which have always interested me. Confinement can be really scary, and having bad things happen in your living space can be truly unsettling.”

King's tautly written novella also investigated the twin disasters of a prolific author undergoing a painful divorce and suffering from writer's block. Koepp, a successful, well-respected screenwriter, was able to bring an insider's perspective to the sometimes torturous process of writing. "I identify with Mort on some level because I'm familiar with his lifestyle,” says Koepp. "Like many writers, he has a vivid internal life that he often has trouble expressing outwardly. For instance, when I write, I'm usually in a room by myself, so I'm not used to interacting with many people. It can be difficult to make that change when you're so accustomed to living inside your own head. Then, John Shooter (John Turturro) shows up and Mort has somebody literally bursting through the door and that can be tough, especially because he is at a real emotional low point in his life.” 

Mort's affliction with writer's block only adds to his misery. "The process of writing is completely self-motivated,” Koepp continues. "So if you're depressed, it's very hard to get up and work. The couch always looks so inviting. We were careful to cast just the right couch for Mort. I tested all of them and personally napped on the one we ended up using because I don't know any writer who doesn't have a good nap couch.”

Having input from a real writer, who was also the director, was a boon for Depp, who plays the tormented Mort. "David was very inspirational,” Depp notes, adding that, from the start, he felt a kinship with Koepp, with whom he coincidentally shares the same birthday. Depp was further impressed that Koepp traveled all the way to the Caribbean - where Depp was playing the memorable rogue Captain Jack in The Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl - in order to woo him for the role of Mort Rainey. 

What sold Depp on the part, however, was the quality of Koepp's writing. "What I remember most was reading the screenplay, getting 10-15 pages into it and thinking, wow, this is incredibly well-written. The dialogue is real and not forced, with an interesting train-of-thought quality to it. The situations felt true. As I kept reading, I got to the point where I was totally invested emotionally in Mort and his dilemma. And then, when I got to the ingenious plot twist, I was completely shocked. I really didn't see it coming, which is very satisfying

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