Bringing A Life…To Life


Imagine being given the task of telling a story.  A real story.  Imagine being given the task of telling the life story of someone you don’t personally know.  Now, make it not only believable, but emotional and true.  That is the very job that actor, director, and screenwriter Patrick Coyle has undertaken.  He is the writer behind “The Magician“.  The true story of former Miami Dolphins WR, Marlin Briscoe.  What he pens on paper is what we will see on screen.  A daunting task for sure.

Last week, after several scheduling conflicts Patrick and I agreed to an interview VIA Email.  Patrick has finished production on his latest directing effort and has moved into his post-production endeavors.  Today, we give you some insight into how Mr. Coyle has approached the telling of Marlin Briscoe’s life.  For more exclusive interviews and more on the progress of the Marlin Briscoe story, visit our special dedicated page here or visit

PP: What is the difficulty in writing a script about the life of an individual, in this case Marlin Briscoe?

  • PC: The main difficulty is—it’s an entire life, all of it interesting to me, and I have only two hours of screen time to focus on.  What to tell?

PP: In the case of the Marlin Briscoe story, is it difficult to maintain a un-opinionated approach.  His story has many levels that play on emotions.

  • PC: I don’t believe there is any such thing as “un-opinionated” in screenwriting.  It’s highly subjective, and should be, otherwise you have newsreel on your hands.  Marlin’s story is beautifully complex, a screenwriter’s dream: hardworking, model citizen, hometown hero (to me) and drug-addicted street person in the same story.  You can’t make it up.

PP: Speaking of emotions, how do you write a script in a way to affect the emotions of the viewers?

  • PC: With Marlin’s story, you just try to tell it truthfully.  If you do that, the audience’s emotions will be there.  It’s an amazing story.

PP: Is there an area of this story that you have been concentrating on the most, for example, are you focusing on his early life, the NFL years, the addiction years, or the recovery, or are you balancing this story from all aspects?

  • PC: I tried to get to the core of Marlin the person, what motivated him to achieve so much and fall so far from grace and then find the strength to crawl back.  He’s a quietly driven, moral, complex, talented man, I believe, and I have endeavored to get under his skin.  His roots interest me the most, the impact of family—those present and those not, like his father—and friends and relations that helped shape him.

PP: How did you become involved with this story?

  • PC: My friend John Beasley contacted me about writing the script.  Then I met producers Terry Hanna and Dave Clark.  We’re all from the same hometown, Omaha, NE, just like Marlin, and I was attracted to the idea of Omaha boys telling an Omaha story about an Omahan.  (typed Smiley here)

PP: You are currently in production on a film titled “Into Temptation”, in which you wrote the screenplay and are directing, how is that film progressing for you?

  • PC: I just wrapped INTO TEMPTATION.  It stars Jeremy Sisto (LAW AND ORDER, SIX FEET UNDER) Kristin Chenoweth (PUSHING DAISIES, THE WEST WING) and Brian Baumgartner (THE OFFICE.)  I’ll be working on post production for the next several months and it will be released next year.   In my really biased opinion we have a beautiful film in the can.  It’s a funny, frightening drama about the power of forgiveness, a theme that is laced through THE MAGICIAN as well.

PP: Are there any other projects you are working on for the future?

  • PC: Yes, I am developing another script titled THE PUBLIC DOMAIN I hope to shoot next year.

PP: Can you share with us how you have set up the opening sequence of the film, “The Magician”?  Perhaps a preview of the first few lines or time frame?

  • PC: The opening sequence of THE MAGICIAN is a little microcosm of the rest of Marlin’s life.  He is threatened by forces bigger and stronger than him, he eludes them by being so clever and quick, he faces them down on his own terms in his own time, and he works his tail off to move on to bigger and better things, finding ways around all obstacles.  Marlin’s story is inspirational to me and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to tell it cinematically.