Rumor has it that the long-standing and successful partnership between Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu and writer Guillermo Arriaga may be coming to an ugly end, just as their forthcoming festival fave "Babel" is set to hit theaters.
According to the LA Times, a rift between the two had opened in recent years after Arriaga publicly attributed the success of the pair’s Oscar-nominated "21 Grams" to his own writing; this year, Innaritu returned the slight by banning Arriaga from the Cannes premiere of "Babel," where the film won Innaritu the Best Director award. The two first worked together on 2000’s Spanish-language "Amores Perros," which earned an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign film and helped to jumpstart Mexico’s recent cinematic revival.
While Innaritu has never directed a feature-length film without Arriaga as his screenwriter, Arriaga wrote "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" for director Tommy Lee Jones, for which he won the 2005 Cannes award for Best Screenplay.
The writer has commented in the past about the growing recognition of writers in film. Doing press for "21 Grams" back in 2004, the sometime novelist indicated to the Guardian that good writers are increasingly becoming more important than directors:
"It’s happening already. I think people are waiting for the new Charlie Kaufman movie rather than worrying about who is directing it. I think most people go to David Mamet‘s films because of Mamet the writer, not Mamet the director. People go to films for the stories. They remember the films for the stories. And there’s a huge crisis in stories and storytellers."
Meanwhile, the multi-lingual, linearly fractured drama "Babel" currently sits on an 89% Tomatometer and is garnering more and more awards-season attention its October 27 release approaches.