After Hours, Frankly

Interesting. The script for one of my favorite Scorsese films, his dark, odd 1985 After Hours, appears to have been heavily lifted from a 1982 performance by Joe Frank, one of my favorite dark, odd radio dramatists. Andrew Hearst has connected the dots, apparently for the first time in print.

Joseph Minion's script for After Hours began as a screenwriting class project at Columbia. His original title was reportedly Lies, which is the same name as Joe Frank's piece. The film's story, the arc, and a whole host of details significant and minor are identical to Frank's play. According to Hearst and a Salon article on Frank, the writer received a large settlement from the producers, which is certainly the least they could do.

Even more intriguing, though, are Frank's own references to the plagiarism scandal in a 1986 show titled, "No Show," which has been performed, aired, or released in 2-hr, 90-min, and 1-hr versions. [There's mention of a torrent version of the show, but I haven't been able to find it online.]

In "No Show," Frank apparently performs phone conversations with Minion, wherein the young screenwriter begs for leniency and help saving his career. Hearst thinks that Minion's IMDB profile after After Hours is thin, a consequence of being frozen out by the industry. But he still made films with Nicolas Cage and Kathleen Turner, and his current project has Lisa Kudrow attached and producing, so he hasn't been too blackballed.

Though I'd like it to be true because it's a perfect, Frank-ian twist, I don't believe the speculation on the Joe Frank mailing lists that Minion is actually Frank. Though frankly [sic], does Frank-as-Minion actually writing After Hours seem any more implausible today than a SoHo populated by artists and weirdos, yet without cars or ATM's or more than one place to go at night?

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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first published: May 27, 2008.

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