Surprising Screenplays Written by Famous Authors

It’s not unusual for artists and other creatives to dabble in different mediums, especially when it comes to writers. Hollywood saw many well-known novelists pounding the pavement, looking for work — particularly through the 1950s. They were a hot commodity in Tinseltown when the demand for convincing characters, dialogue, and story lines became essential to box office success — and they were broke. Sometimes, though, the famous authors who took a turn at screenwriting have surprised us with the scope of their cinematic endeavors. Some of these unlikely pairings were in it for the paycheck. Other writers did it to flex their creative muscles, and several just seem to be really big geeks for genre films, which makes us love them even more. Whatever the reasons, you’ll find a few surprises past the break. Check out which of your favorite authors also wrote for the big screen after the jump.

William Faulkner wrote The Big Sleep (with Leigh Brackett)

With several titles already under his belt, including The Sound and the Fury — one of the greatest 20th century novels — William Faulkner still found himself broke, so he picked up work as a screenwriter. He arrived in Hollywood to get started on noir classic The Big Sleep (70 years ago today), which fellow novelist and sci-fi author Leigh Bracket eventually joined him on. The film became a critical success, and the duo even provided input about one of the film’s murder sequences, which had been left unresolved by author Raymond Chandler in the book version. Faulkner had also worked with director Howard Hawks on 1944’s To Have and Have Not. Need we elaborate on why Faulkner writing the script for a Hemingway adaptation is kind of hilarious?