Why Isn't Jonathan Nolan Credited for Terminator Salvation?
Our friend Peter Sciretta at SlashFilm noticed earlier this week that Christopher Nolan's brother Jonathan Nolan was missing from the credits block at the bottom of the official website for Terminator Salvation. He started doing some research and even ended up calling the Writer's Guild today to try and get to the bottom of this story. If you went to the New York Comic-Con or WonderCon and saw McG talk, you'll know that he always brings up the story about how they went to Jonathan Nolan and had him do some revisions to make the story good enough for Christian Bale. But if he did all that work, then why isn't he credited?
If you look at the website or any of the final posters, you'll see that only two writers are credited: John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris. These are the two guys who wrote Terminator 3 and wrote the very first draft of Terminator Salvation. Beyond that, we've only heard from McG himself that Jonathan Nolan and even Paul Haggis have potentially helped revise the script before shooting. We all know that McG talks a lot and most of the time he's just blowing hot air, but I don't think he'd lie about Jonathan Nolan, especially when his influence can even be felt in the trailers. So what exactly is going on here? Why isn't he credited?
Well, most importantly, it's about the WGA and the way they approve who gets a credit. Changes in dialogue, character, mood and tone are not necessarily considered big enough changes. Nolan would have had to change "51% or more of the story" to earn a credit. And because arbitration at the WGA is a political process and often disputed, it looks like Jonathan Nolan didn't make the cut this time. That is, if we are to believe that Nolan did contribute enough. I, for one, do believe McG, and think Nolan did make a lot of revisions, but obviously we have yet to see just how many (and we won't know until they screen it).
In an interview with Boxoffice Magazine earlier this month, McG admits that, "I never met Michael Ferris and John D. Brancato, who ultimately got credit, and I thought we changed the script a great deal." He adds that, "it's not like the Ferris and Brancato draft deserved that writing credit." And that "I credit Jonah as the architect of the picture, and I'm certain Christian feels the same way. He represents the hard time on the ground in Albuquerque, N.M., when we shot the film and really got it going." So what gives, WGA? Is Jonathan Nolan being robbed here? Or is there maybe more to this story than we actually know about?