The genesis of “Magazine Dreams” emerged in the early days of the pandemic. Bynum, like most of the world, was pondering the subject of isolation and in the spirit of funneling that into a creative outlet, wanted to zero in on a character forgotten by society. Sitting in the gym one day, he noticed the way everyone’s eyes slid right off of a massive bodybuilder who inspired such fear that no one wanted to make eye contact. This, he realized, was the character he was looking for.
During a chat with The Hollywood Reporter, Bynum revealed that the first draft came quickly after that encounter. But it wasn’t the satisfying follow-up to “Hot Summer Nights” that he was looking for, so he shelved it and looked elsewhere for his next directorial project. Then, much like the bodybuilder who served as the initial spark, came another random jolt of inspiration: this time it took the form of Jonathan Majors’ face on the side of a Los Angeles city bus.
“That’s when it really clicked. ‘Oh, I haven’t been thinking about the character the right way,'” Bynum told THR. “I started writing the script all over again, specifically for him. And that turned out to be the script that we shot.”