Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski Interview: ‘Dolemite Is My Name’ writers
“We concentrate on people that are extremely passionate about what they want to do,” explains “Dolemite is My Name” screenwriter Larry Karaszewski about the subjects he and writing partner Scott Alexander choose to tackle. “Usually their passion is in something that society in general thinks is wrongheaded,” but “they have a belief in themselves” that carries them through. Watch our exclusive video interview with Karaszewski and Alexander above.
That’s certainly the case with Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy), a struggling standup comedian who struck gold by throwing everything he had into a Z-grade blaxploitation movie that turned into a huge hit: “Dolemite” (1975). For the men who penned biopics on such offbeat American figures as Ed Wood (“Ed Wood”), Larry Flynt (“The People vs. Larry Flynt”), Andy Kaufman (“Man on the Moon”) and Margaret Keane (“Big Eyes“), Moore was the perfect protagonist.
The writers tend not to focus their biographical efforts on “presidents or great inventors or great statesmen, or people who have changed the world for the better,” Alexander reveals. “We care about people who have lived interesting lives, and maybe they’re in the margins, but they really believe in what they did. We feel like everybody’s life can be valid.” Moore’s life certainly fit that mold.
“Dolemite is My Name” could land the veteran screenwriting duo in the Oscar race for the very first time. They’ve come close before, winning a Golden Globe for “The People vs. Larry Flynt” (1996), earning a WGA nomination for “Ed Wood” (1994), and picking up an Independent Spirit Award bid for “Big Eyes” (2014). On TV, they hit the Emmy jackpot with the FX anthology “American Crime Story,” winning Best Limited Series in 2016 (“The People v. O.J. Simpson”) and 2018 (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace“) and receiving a writing nom for “People v. O.J.”