Script Apart
Script Apart
Nov 16, 2021
Point Break with W. Peter Iliff
Play • 1 hr 10 min

Surfing into the Script Apart hot seat this week is W. Peter Iliff – writer of the astonishing Point Break. Peter was waiting tables in restaurants around LA when he began work on this dazzling adrenaline-hit of a movie, about a FBI cop who goes undercover with a bank-robbing surfer gang. The idea came to him while hanging out with the filmmaker Rick King who helped him flesh out the story, before Peter turned it into the blueprint for one of the great movies of the 1990s. The resulting film, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, was both an electrifying action thriller and something that transcended the genre entirely, with plenty to say about America, adventure and the bonds forged between men. 

In this fascinating conversation, Peter explores the connection between his own struggles with alcohol and the film’s life-on-the-edge characters, always chasing their next buzz. He also details how the film's most stunning sequences came together on the page, and how the iconic climatic fight between Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze’s characters drew inspiration from samurai movies. You may also want to listen out for a tantalising breakdown of a Point Break TV show that Peter’s currently writing. You’ve met Johnny Utah. Now get ready to meet Joanny Utah, in a climate change-inspired sequel series that Peter’s been hard at work on.

Script Apart is a podcast about the first-draft secrets behind great movies. Each episode, the screenwriter behind a beloved film shares with us their initial screenplay for that movie. We then talk through what changed, what didn’t and why on its journey to the big screen.

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Support for this episode comes from Screencraft and WeScreenplay.

Script Apart is hosted by Al Horner and produced by Kamil Dymek, with music from Stefan Bindley-Taylor. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, or email us on

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