It isn’t much of a revelation to say that Paul Schrader is a wordsmith. The “First Reformed” writer-director, who also penned the screenplays to “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull,” got his start as a critic before becoming a filmmaker. Even so, his Words With Friends prowess is impressive: In a discussion with A24, Schrader reveals that he’s won more than 2,100 games of the Scrabble-esque time-killer.
This began “probably about four or five years ago,” according to Schrader. “Larry Karaszewski turned me onto it. You’re always waiting five or ten minutes for a meeting. Larry said, you know, ‘What do you do with those minutes? You should play Words With Friends, because that’s what I do.'”
He only partakes “whenever there are those dead times” and has made it a rule to “only play people I know. I play Robbie Doyle the Irish soccer player. What’s the name of the guy who wrote ‘The 25th Hour’? I play him. Spike Lee adapted that novel.” (As pointed out by Schrader’s conversation partner, “Game of Thrones” co-creator David Benioff wrote “25th Hour.”)
Schrader his a distinct approach to the game, unsurprisingly. “In Words With Friends, you have all the time you want and you can make all the mistakes you want. You can sit there and try out ten or twelve words that might not even be words, you’re just guessing,” he says.
“There are plenty of online aids to tell you how many words can be made from the letters you have, so if you’re playing someone and you suspect that they’re using online aids, then you have to be extremely defensive, and make sure that you don’t open up anything that they can pounce on. So often you’ll choose a word with fewer points, but that simply keeps the board constipated.”