Hollywood banishes screenwriter from forum that made him famous

Movie executives discovered a screenwriter on Reddit, gave him a movie deal—and then asked him to kindly refrain from visiting the very place where his idea was born.    


Kevin Morris


Published Oct 17, 2011   Updated Jun 3, 2021, 2:07 am CDT

It appears James Erwin — the man whose comments on Reddit spawned a movie deal — can no longer comment about the story on Reddit. Warner Bros. won’t let him.

As Erwin recently told Screen Rant:

“I have not been able to spend time on Reddit. This is not because I think I’m too big for my britches now. The Internet is a chaotic, give-and-take place – and that creates nightmares for a lawyered-up industry based on locked-down IP rights. In a perfect world, I would be in that subreddit every day – but that’s not what’s best for the project. I want this to succeed, and that unfortunately meant going dark for a while. I hope the folks in the RomeSweetRome subreddit see this little mash note. I miss em.”

If true, that’s a big loss for Erwin and the movie studio.

The film brings with it considerable online buzz. The subreddit that helped spawn the movie deal, r/RomeSweetRome, boasts more than 9,000 subscribers. This was a viral marketing engine, revved up and ready to go. But more, it represented a foundation for a potentially ground breaking collaborative work — a movie for the masses, made possible by the Reddit masses.

Unfortunately, the lawyers have spoken.

Hollywood reality, apparently, doesn’t mesh with Reddit dreams. But, to their credit, redditors aren’t letting it get them down.

In discussions in r/RomeSweetRome, they’re just too busy congratulating Erwin to care about much else.

“Ya know what, I’m proud of him,” redditor starvo wrote in a discussion on the Screen Rant interview. “Even if the movie gets sent to development hell, or if it’s poorly acted or directed or whatever, at least he made it. He made something out of his writing. And that is a substantial accomplishment.”

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*First Published: Oct 17, 2011, 6:39 pm CDT