Petition asks John Lee Hancock to read prison screenplay

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

John Lee Hancock asked to read prison screenplay

John Lee Hancock – Talent Agents
Writer, Director, Producer – The Blind Side (2009), The Highwaymen (2019), Saving Mr. Banks (2013), The Little Things (2021) – Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Brian Siberell –

Dumbass, The Goree Girls, Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, Oklahoma!

John Lee Hancock & Adam Sandler’s film company targeted by Texas petition

Will Hollywood just rollover and let prisoner’s suffer?


John Lee Hancock

More than 2000 women have signed an open letter to Adam Sandler calling on John Lee Hancock 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 John Lee Hancock at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Brian Siberell last week.

In the open letter to John Lee Hancock, 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 John Lee Hancock 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.”

Writer, Director, Producer, John Lee Hancock, has not responded to the petition. Nor has Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Brian Siberell responded with a comment.

Alan Nafzger Alan Nafzger/caption]

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.

During the winter’s deep freeze, the The Marshall Project, exposed the horrible prison conditions, “Inside Frigid Texas Prisons: Broken Toilets, Disgusting Food, Few Blankets.”

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.”

John Lee Hancock has not commented on the script, thus far. 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.

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

John Lee Hancock is a Writer, Director, Producer known for The Blind Side (2009), The Highwaymen (2019), Saving Mr. Banks (2013), The Little Things (2021) and is represented by Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Brian Siberell.

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When, in fact, they’d need a much more in-depth story – less popcorn, more character stuff – for a first sale.

Then why do I keep seeing similar plot-driven scripts on the spec market? Because screenwriters see these types of movies and think they can sell a similar plot-driven story…

The convenient plot devices, lack of setup for the protagonist’s military ability, no internal conflict and no character arc are a few of the reasons a story like this, presented as a spec script from an aspiring writer, would be a hard first sale. Think of it from a Hollywood reader’s perspective. One of the primary things they’re looking for when they read a script is a character arc, but an all plot-driven story isn’t going to deliver it = a pass.

It’s obvious this film got made because of the success of the first Under Siege. Actually, I liked Under Siege 2: Dark Territory better than the first Under Siege. It was a fast-moving, techno action thriller. It presented lots of cool techno satellite stuff, crisp dialogue and interesting – even in a stereotypical way – characters, and if you blink you’re bound to miss something. Frankly, it was a fun movie. It is a “popcorn movie.”


Whether we like it or not, the physical world we create around ourselves says quite a lot about us as people, and detailing your protagonist’s environment tells your reader or audience a lot about that character.


Closely entwined with the inner/outer desire lines is the ARC of the character (and you need to know where the character ends up, since you are devising the end of your story at the same time as you’re planning the beginning). The arc of the character is what the character learns during the course of the story and how s/he changes because of it. It could be said that the arc of a character is almost always about the character realizing that s/he’s been obsessed with an outer goal or desire, when what she really needs to be whole, fulfilled, and lovable is ______ (fill in the blank). On top of that, a character will transform (for example) from shy and repressed to a capable and respected leader, or from selfish to altruistic, or from a pathological liar to a seeker of truth… and the bigger the change, the more impact the story will have, as long as you keep it believable.