Yeston is nominated for the Best Original Song Oscar for "Take It All" from the film Nine. He originally penned Nine as a Broadway musical, which debuted in 1982 and earned him the Tony for best musical and score. Based on Federico Fellini's film 8 1/2, Nine is up for four Oscars, including a Best Supporting Actress nod for Penelope Cruz.
"Adaptations," he explains, "is making something new in a different way. Fellini gave me permission for 8 1/2. The question is, 'What are you adding?' I'm certainly not Fellini, but fiction can be inspired."
Unlike many writers who can be precious and defiant about screen adaptations, Yeston took a very different approach to the film version of Nine.
"I told [director] Rob Marshall to make believe I was dead," Yeston says with a laugh. "Most musicals are written by dead people anyway! I didn't want to be in the way of Rob's vision."