I was hired to re-write a film called Deceived while I was still working on the production of Jacob’s Ladder. I think Ghost had just finished shooting. I did not particularly want to do the film at that time as I had so much else on my plate. I gave the producers free script advice as a favor, but that only convinced them that I was the right person to doctor the script. I kept turning it down and they kept offering me more money. At one point I realized I could buy my parents a house for this work and it felt immoral to turn the offer down. I spent a month in a suite at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Hollywood and worked morning to night to deliver the script. Then, after more doctoring by the original writer and others, I was asked to come back yet again. I learned a lot on this project—mostly that I did not like re-writing other writers and I did not enjoy writing when it became “work.” It was my last re-write.
I’m credited in the final film as Derek Saunders. I chose a pseudonym because I had been a gun for hire and did not feel that the work represented my core vision. Derek Saunders is a name I came up with when I was twelve. It was going to be my screen name. My dad said, “You look like a Derek." I think he meant an oil derrick, since I was a bit overweight. After that, I decided to let the name go. But when I had to come up with a nom de plume for Deceived, I said, “Well, Derek Saunders...” I think Deceived became a very satisfying film and I am glad I was able, in some small measure, to help it get made.