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Local author goes Hollywood

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Albany/HV: Local author goes Hollywood
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Imagine going from local author to Hollywood screenwriter. Our Vince Gallagher caught up with a talented writer, and has his story.


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- There's not many people that have written a novel, never mind doing it in just three days. But that is just what local screenwriter Chris Millis did, and now his work is being adapting into a movie in Hollywood.

"It's about as strange man named Franklin Franklin who kills his landlord and tries to get away with it," said Chris Millis, an author and film screenwriter.

It's called "Small Apartments." And it attracted some A-list actors, including Billy Crystal.

"I told Billy Crystal the first day I saw him on set, I said ‘Billy I had no expectations somebody like you would play this role’ and he said ‘you write good, kid, you're funny,’" said Millis.

After Crystal was on board, other familiar faces joined, such as James Caan, and several others, as you can see by the autographs on the actual original script.

"There's Rosie Perez and James Marsden, and Dolph Lundgren, who is the only one signed the script as his character, Dr. Menicks," said Millis.

Millis, a former teacher from Saratoga Springs, got into writing full time after a chance meeting with another screenwriter. While attending graduate college in Vermont, he met instructor Neil Landau, who just happened to write the script for "Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead."

"And Neil gave me some great advice on how to adapt my book into a novel and he told me one of my favorite phrases for screenplay writing which is ‘nobody wants to watch a movie about someone's second worst day,’” said Millis.

And he took that to heart. The film's main character isn't exactly your typical hero.

"And so the challenge of the film is to see if I can win you over, start to try and let the audience to feel empathy for Franklin,” said Millis.

After the LA screening it was now time for the Saratoga Springs premiere, but after Regal Cinema recently closed in Wilton, Millis had to go to the next stage, or more specifically, the next screen.

"Just before my movie comes out, my hometown doesn't have a movie theater anymore, the only one is the film forum which plays great independent films but I didn’t think it was a big enough venue to do what I wanted to do,” said Millis.

So now, there's a premiere event screening Friday night at the Saturday Music Hall, which has already sold out. A second screening is scheduled for Saturday night at the Gennet Auditorium at Skidmore College.

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