John Milius was once a force of nature in Hollywood. He co-wrote the first two Dirty Harry films, received an Academy Award nomination as screenwriter of Apocalypse Now, and wrote and directed The Wind and the Lion, Conan the Barbarian and Red Dawn.
Here’s an interesting anecdote about Milius, from the Castalia House blog:
My all-time favorite Milius story concerns his frequent battles with producers and other movie executives.
One day, Milius was describing the concept of a movie he was writing to a woman who was high up on the studio chain. It was a macabre tale of a soldier betraying his king, filled with murder, sex, and madness.
At the end, the female movie executive gets up and exclaims; “Mr. Milius, what you have told me is absolutely disgusting and awful! We have no interest in making any film like that, and hope you will work hard to come up with something better!” She walks off.
Milius then looks at a man who witnessed all this, shrugs his shoulders, and says “Some people just don’t dig Shakespeare.” He had described Macbeth to her.
Good thing he didn’t pitch Coriolanus.