Todd Robinson graces the Provenance Room Studios and sits down with host Kurt Caceres on his What's Your Name Again? podcast.
Todd's film, The Last Full Measure, releases nationwide on January 24th, 2020. It's a true story about Airman William H. Pitsenbarger, Jr. ("Pits"), who saved hundreds of American soldiers lives during a brutal ambush and firefight in Vietnam. As Todd is clear to mention, this is not a pro Vietnam film, nor is it about politics, socialism or religion. It is a story about heart, love and camaraderie. It is not a "war film", but instead, a first hand account from the men who were there that day and their wives coming together 34 years later to make sure that William Pitsenbarger receive what he so valiantly deserved. The nations highest military honor, the Medal of Honor.
It has an all-star cast including Sebastian Stan, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Plummer, William Hurt, Ed Harris, Bradley Whitford, Diane Ladd and Peter Fonda in his final film before he passed.
Todd also discusses his life and career outside of The Last Full Measure. He won an Emmy for his documentary, The Legend of Billy the Kid. He originally was going to turn that story into a screenplay, but when he was on location doing research, he ran across another writer, John Fusco, who was doing the same concept that ended up being the hit film, Young Guns. Todd started filmmaking at a young age because his father owned a camera, so the neighborhood kids took him in so they could use the camera, and they started making horror movies. Though he went to theater school in college, he soon realized he was a better writer than actor and eventually sold some scripts to Disney and began writing episodics for television. He is clear to say that the screenplay is the blueprint, but the editing room is where you really make the film. He loves and admires actors who are always walking the razor of fear, vulnerability and terror, but are never afraid to fall off the fence post because they trust the director.
And finally, he discusses his big break, the screenplay he wrote for White Squall that starred Jeff Bridges, Scott Wolf, Jeremy Sisto and Ryan Phillippe. He had originally pitched it to his agent who shot it down because she thought it was a period piece about sailboats. He connected with a Los Angeles Times journalist who helped Todd give it some traction, but that eventually hit dead ends. Finally one day when he was walking out of an office, he got ballsy and decided to hand the script to some random development girl across her desk. It just so happened she worked for Ridley Scott, and a feature he was directing with Robert Redford and Jodie Foster had fallen through because of discrepancies, so the girl handed the script to Ridley. He read the script, came flying out of his office and shouted to the girl: "Find this guy, this is my next film". And the rest is history.