12 Years a Slave screenwriter Ridley worked for free
With a handful of awards under his belt, and a load of nominations to boot, John Ridley is one of the darlings in this year's awards season. However, even before 12 Years a Slave went into production, Ridley requested no fee for adapting Solomon Northup's memoirs into one of the frontrunners in this year's Academy Awards.
US writer Ridley admitted to working on the screenplay for years for director Steve McQueen as a 'spec project', meaning that he worked for free. He was only paid when the project was greenlit and filming had begun.
Ridley has been nominated for the BAFTA and Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, so we'll see if he can continue his success in the awards season.