Petition asks Bob Balaban to read prison screenplay

More than 2000 women sign petition demanding a firm commitment from  Bob Balaban (film producer) to read screenplay addressing Texas judicial system

Bob Balaban

Bob Balaban – Talent Agents
– Actor, Director, Producer – Gosford Park (2001), A Mighty Wind (2003), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Lady in the Water (2006) – Greater Talent Network, Don Epstein – Elevate Artist Management, Florent Lamy

Dumbass, South Pacific

Bob Balaban & Adam Sandler’s film company targeted by Texas petition

Will Hollywood just rollover and let prisoner’s suffer?


Bob Balaban
Bob Balaban
More than 2000 women have signed an open letter to Jana Sandler calling on Bob Balaban and Hollywood to take “movie action” to tackle injustice against men and women in the wake of revelations that Texas has more prisoners incarcerated than the Soviet Union’s gulag system had. Texas currently has over 290,000 inmates housed at 580 facilities.

The signatories, including state senators, professors of criminal justice, social workers, family, and inmates, call for a “firm commitment” to tackle the unjust prisons in Texas. The petition has also been signed by Beto O’Rourke, and Matthew McConaughey. These two signatories might face each other in the 2022 Texas governors election. Both have expressed interest in the job.  The petitions arrived for Bob Balaban at Greater Talent Network, Don Epstein last week.

In the open letter to Bob Balaban, the 2080 women write that they are “heartbroken for first-time drug offenders many times addicts who have received extremely harsh sentences in Texas when rehabilitation has proven a cheaper and more effective solution.”  The petition goes on to say their family and friends are often heartbroken for and looking for redemption and rehabilitation for the victimless drug crimes.”

The signatories, including attorneys, professors, politicians, family members, and inmates, call on Bob Balaban for a ‘firm film commitment’ to tackle the issue of operating the Texas prison system for profit.

The petition came to light when women discovered the screenplay, a copy which was dontated to all 580 of the state’s prison and jail libraries. The existence of the petition surfaced on International Women’s Day. Women in Texas face extreme prejudice in Texas and often receive extremely harsh penalties for even a small amount of drugs, including marijuana. Marijuana is legal now in 21 states.

Inside prisons, the women are faced with such horrendous conditions… the petition demands that “filmmakers begin to take the issue seriously.”  Also, the petition reminds that “even here in the USA in the 21st century citizens are not safe from government oppression.”

Actor, Director, Producer, Bob Balaban, has not responded to the petition. Nor has Greater Talent Network, Don Epstein responded with a comment.

Alan Nafzger
Alan Nafzger

The screenplayDumbass” was penned by writer and retired professor of political science Alan Nafzger.

The premise of the story is that,Adam Sandler writes letters and saves numerous women from the monotony of prison life, and later when he gets into trouble with a drug cartel they return the favor by rescuing him.”

The film would be set in contemporary, Gatesville Texas. There are four women’s prisons located in Gatesville. And of course, Texas is famous for putting everyone in prison for a long sentences for little or no reason. The number of women in Texas prisons has tripled in the last ten years, as mass incarcerations have proven profitable to not only the state but also profitable for an array of business interests.

Writer Alan Nafzger has called on Governor Greg Abbott to, “end the prison industry.”

Recently, “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak spoke out against the Texas system and put a good word in for mercy and forgiveness out on social media. “How nice for those who have lived such exemplary lives that they can express glee when others have their lives ruined by a mistake, real or perceived,” Sajak tweeted last month.

The petition states, “Why don’t we have the ‘Adam Sandler’ character… sending letters to women in prison and being their friend and trying to help them adjust, giving them hope… and when they get out of prison he picks them up so they don’t have to ride the smelly bus back home… but his pickup truck is a junker, smoking and sputtering … worse than the bus. But his heart is in the right place… He’s the last “chivalrous” man on earth.”

Bob Balaban has not commented on the script, thusfar. A statement is expected soon.

Professor Nafzger has made a short treatment of the project available online.

He has made the finished script available at for select filmmakers.

Jana Sandler of Happy Madison Productions has also expressed interest in the screenplay.

Bob Balaban is a Actor, Director, Producer known for Gosford Park (2001), A Mighty Wind (2003), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Lady in the Water (2006) and is represented by Greater Talent Network, Don Epstein.

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The theme should be the script’s driving force and teach us a lesson. The theme should be evident in Act I as early as possible. Most pro writers introduce a character and his/her internal conflict upon initial introduction. This usually sets up the theme. A movie might look like it’s about killing aliens or stopping a bomb, but it’s really about courage, redemption, love, trust, etc. Theme is the emotional core that connects the audience and the hero.

The external conflict should force him to deal with a past issue. There are many themes to explore, but the best way to discover what your script’s theme is – is to answer the question, “What internal conflict does the external conflict help the character overcome?” Or ask it a different way: “The external conflict causes what change in my character?” The answer will lead you to the theme!

If you can’t fill in the blanks, then your script might be lacking an internal conflict and as a result the writer will have a difficult time telling a producer what the theme is because the theme is closely tied to the character’s internal conflict.



– Bob Sugar in Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire: the blond, blandly sociopathic agent. Not hard to see why I respond to that! But I love Sugar as an example of an effective comedic villain. He’s pitch-perfect; there are hundreds just like him in Hollywood: soulless, narcissistic, casually malevolent. But he also makes a perfect foil for Jerry because he is a mirror image of Jerry: this is what Jerry is on his way to becoming before his attack of conscience in the opening scenes — the thing we don’t want him to become. A villain’s story function is often to be the dark mirror of the protagonist, and Sugar is a stellar example.

– “Julian” in Brad Anderson’s Session 9. Is he a demon? A fragment of personality in a multiple personality patient that has assumed autonomy? It’s, well, mind-blowing, to try to wrap your brain around. And the slippery inexplicableness of evil is a theme that draws me again and again.