Genre: Drama/Thriller
Premise: After a man’s wife and daughter are brutally raped and murdered, his humanity disappears, and his lone goal in life becomes revenge.
About: The original “Death Wish” was made in the 70s with Charles Bronson. It was so successful, it inspired four sequels. The remake is one of the first movies Joe Carnahan wanted to make after the success of The Grey. The movie has had its trials in search of a green light though, as Carnahan really wanted rising star Frank Grillo to headline, but MGM wanted the eternally bored Bruce Willis. So Carnahan went and made the indie “Stretch” instead (about a stretch limo driver). But of all the movies on his upcoming slate, Death Wish is the one he wants to make most. And you can see that here in his writing. There is a hardcore love for this material on every single damn page.
Writer: Joe Carnahan (inspired by the novel by Brian Garfield)
Details: This looks to be an early draft, as it tips the scales at 141 pages (9/12/12).

frank-grillo-mainWith Grillo moving up the star chart, might Death Wish still happen with him and Carnahan?

Even when Joe Carnahan has operated inside the Hollywood system, he’s always managed to keep one foot outside of it. You can sense his disdain for the rules and it’s what’s allowed his movies to always feel a little off-kilter, a little different from the rest of the pack.

I think Carnahan’s secret sauce, the thing that allows him to distinguish himself, is that he’s unflinching. He’s not afraid to push you to the place you feel least comfortable in. We don’t like how raw and real Ottway’s contemplation of suicide is in The Grey, how bleak his outlook on life is. But that’s exactly what’s so different from everything else we watch – the safe “don’t worry, this is just a movie” sheen that Hollywood always sprays its films with isn’t there with Carnahan.

Death Wish is no exception. This script has the harshest rape scene I’ve ever encountered. And yet, it’s not what you’d think when you imagine the harshest rape scene you’ve ever encountered. I’ll get to that more later, but let’s lay out the plot first.

40 year-old Paul Kersey is a kick-ass trauma surgeon. He not only saves lives, he cares about the people he saves. Even if you’re a 17 year-old street banger, you get Paul’s full attention when he’s trying to keep your heart pumping.

But Paul isn’t perfect. He’s a coward. We see this early on when he and his wife are at his daughter’s basketball game and he gets into it with the father of one of the opposing team’s players. The ripped father challenges Paul to a fight and all Paul can do is back down and apologize. He may be superman at the hospital. But he’s Clark Kent outside of it.

After the game, Paul preps a secret present he’s giving his daughter for her birthday, but while taking a nap, Paul wakes up to a brutal beating. He’s being tied up, and he can hear awful things happening upstairs. Still dazed, Paul is helpless in his attempts to fend off his attackers, and watches as gasoline is poured everywhere and the place is set afire.

Paul passes out, but wakes up, ironically, on a surgeon’s table. Except now he’s the one whose life is being saved. After surgery, Paul learns the devastating truth. His wife and kid were raped and killed. With their deaths, the old Paul dies as well. In his place is a new Paul, a Paul who is anything but a coward.

Paul lies to the police (one of whom is his brother) about his attackers, saying he remembers nothing about them. He then sets about getting revenge. He goes out and buys a gun. He learns how to shoot. He gets in altercations with street thugs, and he starts his investigation.

Paul will find the people who took his two girls away. And he will make them pay. He will fucking make them pay.

"Smokin' Aces" DVD Launch PartyCarnahan

Man, this script is BRUTAL. Carnahan takes the Taken approach where he utilizes the entire first act to set up the family. He knows that you’re not going to care if a wife and daughter are killed if you don’t know them.

So he sets up this loving marriage. He sets up Paul’s surgeon job. The great neighborhood they’re in. The daughter’s birthday party. Everything just seems…. Perfect.

And that’s partly why that rape/murder scene hits so hard. But why is this particular rape so memorable? Because we don’t see it. I’m not even sure we hear it. Carnahan makes a shocking choice when the attack on Paul occurs to SWITCH TO FIRST PERSON POINT OF VIEW. So we’re now inside Paul’s mind. And it’s terrifying because he’s disoriented and he’s just woken up and he’s getting beaten and he thinks he hears his wife screaming upstairs.

Some of you might say, “That’s just a gimmick.” But it’s not if Carnahan is using it to help convey how it will appear on-screen. I’m assuming we’ll be in close with Paul from this point forward. We’ll get close-ups, we’ll be right behind him. In a sense, WE’LL BE HIM, and that’s what this first-person writing conveys.

But afterwards, as Paul starts plotting his revenge, Death Wish runs into its first problem. There have been a lot of movies like this already – most of them inspired, ironically, by the original Death Wish.

You have The Brave One. You have Edge of Darkness. You have The Equalizer. You have John Wick. You have the Taken franchise. You even have Batman, which is, in a lot of ways, the same premise. This is a crowded space. So I could see a studio being like, how do we make this different?

And to Carnahan’s credit, he puts it all out there. I mean he is a really fucking great writer. He can do it all. He can write prose. He can write action. He can write dialogue. He can write characters.

Here’s his description of Paul’s co-worker…

“He meets the gaze of JANINE RAY, 30s, Chief anesthesiologist and proof that sometimes long hours, constant stress and sheer exhaustion simply cannot dent or diminish great beauty.”

I have seen the bad version of this description a couple hundred times in my life. It goes something like this: “JANINE RAY, 30s, was once beautiful, but time and stress have worn her down.” That gets the point across. But Carnahan’s version INSTALLS the description in you.

And here’s a section of the rape scene where Carnahan pulls out all the stops to convey the chaos in the house. This is not how you write if you’re looking for a paycheck. This is how you write when you’re giving a script everything you’ve got.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 3.56.12 PM

Ironically, Carnahan is so good, he’s able to distract from some of the script’s problems through his great writing. I mean we don’t get our first lead in the investigation until around page 70 or 80, when Paul’s ring shows up on a man in the emergency room. Before that, we’re casually showing Paul’s “Taxi Driver-like” transformation. He goes to the shooting range. He buys guns. He roams the streets.

We’re a little ahead of Paul here. We know what he’s up to, and you can’t help but get a little impatient. I would’ve liked for a little more variety in this second act and a few twists and turns as well. Anything to throw us off the trail. Then again, maybe this is an early 140 page draft and Carnahan plans to cut it down, in which case we won’t be waiting around as long for things to happen.

In addition to what I mention in the WYSR below, Carnahan taught me a couple of things with this script. To be unflinching. Go to darker or “further out” places than maybe you feel comfortable with. You can always rein it back in if you’ve gone too far. – And experiment with the medium a little more. He really tries some cool things with the format, particularly during the rape scene that, I thought, added more to it than a standard approach would’ve.

Death Wish is a hard script to read because Carnahan takes you as far down that alley as he can. It’s got some great writing, some great dialogue, and some memorable characters. It’s just too chunky in the middle right now. Assuming he’s since found a way to speed that portion up, this could be really good.

[ ] what the hell did I just read?
[ ] wasn’t for me
[x] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: Carnahan always has a PURPOSE when he writes a scene. He knows what each character wants out of the scene, and he knows what HE wants to do with the scene. So the scenes always have PURPOSE. Contrast this with Tusk, which I was talking about yesterday. Kevin Smith goes at his scenes in the exact opposite way. He just sees where his characters will take him. This is why his scenes often drift aimlessly and go on for way too long. – Look, it’s fine to feel out scenes when you’re writing a first draft. It’s a great way to find your characters’ voices and to discover some interesting plot threads. But as you near your final draft, all your scenes should have purpose – they should have a clear point going into them so that they DRIVE the scene forward.

  • Midnight Luck

    I haven’t seen THE GREY, but I know it was very loved. and especially by many on here. I didn’t see it for personal reasons.

    Anyhow, I have seen the trailer for STRETCH, and it looks like it could be great. Looks like it could be fun, and different and really interesting.
    However, it also actually looks like it might suffer for the precise reason you spelled out in your description Carson. It seems like Carnahan might have been Bored while hanging out waiting to see if he could get DEATH WISH made, so he decided “Ok, maybe I’ll do this movie (Stretch) in the meantime”. Therefore, it looks like it might suffer just a bit from not being that inspired. He is holding back, wanting to give his all to Death Wish, instead.
    Now I don’t know anything about Stretch, or its backstory, or how it came about, other than what you detailed, so I might be making too much of a leap about it. Yet, that is what I came up with when piecing together the trailer, along with your timeline of him doing The Grey, and then trying to get Death Wish made, then stepping back and deciding to do Stretch.

    Still, I can see his skill just from the trailer to Stretch, so am hoping for great things from it.

    • andyjaxfl

      From our conversation yesterday about “check your brain” movies, Stretch is not one of them. It’s pulp formula 101 with energy to spare, but I loved every second of it. There’s just enough originality and weirdness to make it one of the more unique comedies I’ve seen all year. I don’t understand why someone other than Carnahan hasn’t found a way to take advantage of Patrick Wilson’s screen charisma.

    • MGE3

      STRETCH was a passion project for Carnahan. It’s interesting you mention this however, as STRETCH has a ‘chunky’ second act, just like DEATH WISH. It’s something I hadn’t made the connection on before, but *spoiler* the driver (Patrick Wilson) goes on this whacky side mission for roughly half of Act Two. It feels like the midpoint in both scripts needs to be achieved quicker.

      Re Carson’s review, this is spot on. Unfortunately, this movie will probably never get made by Carnahan & Grillo because it’s so dark (read: different) and they’re both heavily involved in TV at the moment.

    • drifting in space

      I fell asleep during The Grey. In the movie’s defense, it was super late. I just got a feeling of bland second act and I was never drawn in until that point.

      I never got around to finishing it though… Hmm.

  • Zmanx

    Read this many moons ago and I agree wholeheartedly that you can feel the blood on the page. This was written in such a distinctive voice it really made me take notice how boring and mundane a lot of other scripts are. Anyone who don’t wish to write the usual drivel should really give this a read if they haven’t already.

    • andyjaxfl

      Hi zmanx, I’d love to check it out if you can send it along — amuller33 at gmail. Thank you!

      • Midnight Luck

        Hey Andy, not sure if you ended up getting DEATH WISH or not.
        If you did, could I ask if you would please send a copy along?
        Thanks mucho so mucho,

        m [at] blackluck {{dot]] com

        • andyjaxfl


          • Midnight Luck

            thank you so much

        • andyjaxfl

          Google mail sent me a failure to deliver notice. Sometimes the message actually goes through, but if not I will resend.

      • ursus

        Love to have a read as well. Thanks!
        jrushbear [at] aol {{dot}} com

    • Citizen M

      Would appreciate a copy. at gmail. Thanks.

      • Somersby

        Me too, please. Thanks.
        scriptwriter [at] total. net

      • Eddie Panta

        If you could pass along it would be much appreciate.
        theodorefremd at gmail

    • uncgym44

      I would love to read it as well:

      Thanks so much!

    • fourjacks

      Big fan of Joe C. NARC will always be one of my favorites. Would love to read this script. Bring on the Brutal!


    • drifting in space

      driftinginscripts at gmail dot com if you have a copy.


    • TheBoza

      Zmanx: Would love to read the script; can you share it? Thx

    • Dimitri

      I’d love to read this, could you sent me it of you still have it? dim_Janssen at

      Gotta love a man with nothing to lose.

    • Midnight Luck

      if you have time, i’d love to see how this script looks as well.
      thanks much

      m [at] blackluck {{dot]] com

      • kenglo

        Me tooo!!! glover_13000 at Yahooooo

  • brenkilco

    Death Wish was a huge hit back in the day. But it was and remains a lousy movie. It was a zeitgeist hit. Fun city was a pretty scary place back in the early seventies. In the original Bronson was an architect- and honestly the only good scenes in the movie involve him figuring out an architectural problem. The rape scene is not just explicit but one of the nastiest scenes in seventies cinema, and commercial movies were a lot more hardcore back then. It isn’t a revenge movie. I don’t even recall whether Bronson catches up with the particular, subhuman vermin who killed his family, one of whom was played by Jeff Goldblum. He just goes Bernie Goetz for an hour mowing down any mugger who accosts him. The thing is nearly plotless. The police do pick him up eventually and then let him go because his vigilante rep has brought the crime rate down. The end. Not sure why a first rate filmmaker would want to remake this. I hope there is more to this script than simply an artful portrayal of bloodlust. But I’m not sure what else that would be.

    • Poe_Serling

      I’ve always been a huge Charles Bronson fan. For me, he’s the definition of the Hollywood tough guy.

      And yeah, the success of Death Wish did cast a shadow over the latter part of his career, especially in regard to his film output at Cannon Films.

      As a leading man, here’s just a handful of Bronson’s films that I’ve come to appreciate more and more over the years:

      (In no particular order)

      >>Red Sun
      >>The Mechanic
      >>Hard Times
      >>Breakout Pass
      >>Once Upon a Time in the West
      >>From Noon Till Three (playing against type in this one)

      • brenkilco

        Once Upon is a masterpiece. Walter Hill never made a movie better than his debut Hard Times and Bronson was never better than as the bare knuckle Shane. Alistair Maclean was weakest when he tried to write mysteries and Tom Gries was a so so driector but I still have a soft spot for Breakheart Pass. Red Sun is a fun premise. Just wish the movie were better.

        Elam: Looks like we’re shy one horse.

        Bronson: You brought two too many

        Love that.

    • klmn

      Anyone who kills Jeff Goldblum is okay in my book.

      • drifting in space


    • filmklassik

      While unquestionably ugly, DEATH WISH exerts a crude visceral power, at least for me. Raw, messy, inelegant, it’s also gripping and suspenseful — and very well-acted by its lead. People forget just how great Bronson could be in the right role. He had that indefinable thing called Screen Presence. While his range was limited, he was a highly skilled actor… always restrained and believable.. effortlessly compelling… until the 80s rolled around and he signed on for one Golan/Globus shitfest after another.

      I’m not sure he made even ONE halfway-decent movie between 1980-1990, and that’s saying something.

      My favorite moment in DEATH WISH: The very end, when the exiled Bronson steps off the train in Chicago, and the clear implication is that he is going to resume his nocturnal predations in the Windy City.

      • brenkilco

        Apart from his good supporting performances, and maybe he would have been better off reputation wise if he had stayed a character actor, I always liked Bronson best in the parts where he played laid back and affable. There weren’t many of those and they weren’t the best movies but in the meandering mystery thing St. Ives and the patchy south of the border prison break picture Breakout he’s fun to watch. He was also good in the generally feeble Valachi Papers. But that movie has one of my all time favorite shots. It’s supposed to be 1930 or thereabouts and Bronson is tooling around NY in a vintage car. But even though it’s dark you can plainly see that the car in the next lane over is a Volkswagen beetle. Guess the budget was tight.

        • filmklassik

          Hilarious. I never saw VALACHI but I know it has its defenders, but I have seen and quite enjoyed ST. IVES, BREAKOUT, BREAKHART PASS and of course HARD TIMES (and you’re right — it’s arguably his best role).

          I guess Chuck’s heyday as a leading man was roughly from 1972, with the release of THE MECHANIC, till about 1976, with BREAKHART PASS. Several good-to-very-good movies in that window… and then began the slow, inexorable slide toward mediocrity, culminating with godawful fare like ASSASSINATION, MURPHY’S LAW, DEATH WISH 3, 4 and 5, etc.

          • brenkilco

            Also kind of fond of the nothing special Mr. Majestyk, which was in the middle of that brief heyday you cite. Amazing how small and modest even A level action movies were back in the day.

  • mulesandmud

    The original DEATH WISH is a flashpoint for one of Hollywood’s ugliest enduring trends: the dead family as a plot device to justify any and all violence from its hero.

    A notable recent example of that trend is JOHN WICK, which reduces the device to its most absurd: the death of our hero’s dog prompts his epic revenge killing spree. We’re supposed to root for this holocaust because the guys he kills are all Russian gangsters, aka not real people, and also because that dog was a gift from his wife.

    I get that on some level JOHN WICK is a parody, but that doesn’t excuse its refusal to acknowledge that its hero is a complete psychopath who murders dozens (hundreds?) of people, including old friends and co-workers, for the sake of a puppy.

    DEATH WISH was a damn ugly piece of entertainment, one that pandered to audiences’ basest bloodlust. It was a sick joke compared to other 70s movies like TAXI DRIVER or DIRTY HARRY, which employed similar exploitation elements but added layers of depth and awareness around them.

    Compared to JOHN WICK though, DEATH WISH seems downright responsible. At least it acknowledges that Bronson is off his rocker, refuses to sanitize his acts of violence, and even finds a sliver of social commentary here and there (e.g. the disturbing racial tension, or the way the city cops put him on a bus out of town at the end rather than actually dealing with the mayhem he’s caused).

    In some ways, the fact that JOHN WICK isn’t disturbingly gory or gritty, just loud and splattery, makes it even more repellent to me. I recognize the power of revenge stories, and love me some good movie carnage, I just hate it when a story refuses to own up to the morality of its premise. If a movie is about an ugly subject, be honest about that ugliness, don’t hide it behind gloss and saccharine.

    • rickhester

      ‘Compared to JOHN WICK though, DEATH WISH seems downright responsible.’

      DEATH WISH was one of the great wish fulfillment films. The seventies version of FALLING DOWN. At the time of its release crime was at an all time high, society was seen as breaking down, and audiences identified with this man taking the law into his own hands and establishing order. That itself was social commentary.

  • Brainiac138

    Much like post-apocalyptic films, I really have really begun to make an effort to stay away from revenge films. While I understand the story elements, and meditations on the human condition, so much darkness and dread seems like more crap being piled on top of a huge mountain of it from the media, internet, and just about everywhere else. Maybe it is impossible, but I would love to see more films that had all the tension and conflict of great darker films, but also be optimistic.

  • ripleyy

    This just goes to show that you should break the mold one and a while. Just really crush it and do something different, something unlike anything else. :)

    • walker

      Hey Carson has advised us to write movies as opposed to scripts, and what better way than to write something that has already been a movie three or four times?

  • Andrew Parker

    It’s interesting that Act One is so tight & purposeful, only for Act Two to be more shapeless & exceedingly long.

    Carnahan’s a pro though. You write Act One for the studio guys to greenlight, you write Act Two for yourself, you write Act Three for the audience. I unfortunately don’t think Stretch did anything to help him get this off the ground though.

    • rickhester

      Huh. Very interesting.

    • filmklassik

      Can you please elaborate on your rules for Acts one, two and three? Are you saying that studio guys never read beyond Act one, and that if Act one is tight and “studio friendly” the suits will be inclined to give the greenlight without even reading the rest?

      • Andrew Parker

        Sure. Here is an example Act One: Who is the main character? Where & when does the story take place? What is his/her normal life like? What happens that changes their life? How will they react to this change? What will be their goal for the rest of the screenplay be?

        If you don’t have a clear and compelling first act, then the likelihood of anyone wanting to watch the movie are greatly diminished. And if no one is going to watch your movie, then no studio will want to make it.

        Act two you have more leeway to meander and examine b-stories. You have more freedom in act two. By act three, you want to tie things together so the audience leaves the theater happy.

        How many times do you read a scriptshadow review and 90% of what he discusses happens in the first act? If you have a problem with the third act, your problem is the first act.

  • jw

    Hugely biased when it comes to Joe, but I can say that the guy is as real in the every day as he is on the page, and the juxtaposition of brutality to heart in his scripts I would consider unparalleled.

    Top 5 Carnahan films you need to see:

    1. NARC – if you haven’t seen this film you haven’t been living. One of the best ever. Head over to Netflix instantly and you can thank me later.

    2. Blood, Guts, Bullets & Octane – just a bad-ass, low budget, indie film that Joe did in SacTown. His first.

    3. Smokin’ Aces – one of the most quirky ensemble action films of all time. A fun, fun ride!

    4. The Grey – another gritty tale with heart oozing out, and who can deny Neeson versus (not the wolves), but his battle to survive internally.

    5. Stretch – just absolutely loved how quirky, off-beat and cool this film was. As I said to Joe, half the Hollywood budget with double the heart!

    Joe’s success continues into TV with The Blacklist and State of Affairs! Can’t wait to see what he does next.

    • wlubake

      I also loved his contribution to the BMW Films:

      • jw

        Those were absolutely amazing! Spot-on!

        • wlubake

          That was my first introduction to Carnahan and Owen. I remember ordering the DVD from BMW in college and watching every entry upon its arrival. Carnahan’s was clearly the best. Guy Ritchie’s with Madonna was also pretty fun.

    • rickhester

      Loved Narc, though I almost never had any idea what was going on while watching. Jason Patric was a big surprise, really phenomenal acting. Didn’t realize Carnahan was the writer.

      • jw

        Writer / director, yep! Watch the behind the scenes and DVD commentary! It’s amazing!

      • jw

        BTW – how in the hell did you not know what was going on? They were investigating the murder of an undercover narco officer.

        • rickhester

          Well yeah, I got that part.

          • jw

            AHAHAH! That was the entire movie.

  • Eddie Panta

    Cool Review.

    With the success of Mad Max and Taxi Driver in the late 70’s, vigilante movies became rampant in the 80’s. With real life stories like Bernie Getz and the Guardian Angles playing on the nightly news, it was extremely relevant for the time.

    It was almost its own genre, even spreading to female leads with films like Ms. 45, Coffy, and the ANGEL trilogy. In some ways the third act of every screenplay is a revenge story, no matter if its comedy, drama, or action.

    The difference between Death Wish I and Death Wish II is a great lesson in why not to make things too easy on your lead. When your character doesn’t make mistakes or face challenging obstacles , it looks like Death Wish II instead of Unforgiven or Blue Ruin.

    I highly recommend checking out Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films.
    Golan and Globus joined with MGM to make and distribute the low-budget Bronson and Norris action films as well as cult classics like The Last American Virgin. Because of the new Home Video craze they were able to churn out schlocky but successful films.

    • klmn

      Anyone know what movie the orangutan starred in?

      • Eddie Panta

        That was GOING BANANAS with Dom DeLuise.

        It’s on youtube.

    • susanrichards

      i cant wait to read this when i get home.
      its been a long time since i saw the original, and i saw it quite young. basic shootemup with revenge and retribution sprinkled throughout.

      what i like about THIS version tho, is the dramatic irony in our protagonist. hes a surgeon..someone who saves lives. and hes backed down from violence before.

      i want to read about him.

    • S_P_1

      I did watch a lot of Canon films in the 80’s. I guess this ties into Carson mentioning his brothers movie choices. If what you’re watching is entertaining then other opinions won’t deter you.

      Seeing this clip essentially they were the more successful version of Troma films corporate structure. Pop culture films made at a reasonable budget for high ROI. Notice I didn’t say low quality films.

      I know this has already been brought up, but if Hollywood abandons the mid-budget and extremely low budget range the film industry will shrink. Ultimately that means less writing opportunities especially for new-comers.

      The culmative health of the industry benefits everyone. The executive roundtable that grendl posted proves my point. Less is not more when it comes to opportunities.

  • fragglewriter

    I’ve rewatched Death Wish a few months ago, and I can say that the movie moved faster than I expected. The reson being is that there was no “Taken” family moment in the beginning of the film, but you also have to rework the original with a fresh take. I think if the writer removes the birthday party and replace the daughter with a son. The rape of a young son (maybe with a mental disability if you want sugar on top) will still hit hard.

  • brenkilco

    I never got to prone. “A heart monitor falters, then fails to the drone of a flatline.” I know what he means. I just don’t know what the fuck he’s saying.

  • susanrichards

    why do i see people write out their emails like that instead of

    • drifting in space

      Spammers scan forums/blogs and lift email addresses to add to their spam lists. By doing it that way, you can avoid (most of) them.

      At least that’s why I do it…

      • susanrichards

        ah. thanks.

    • GoIrish

      John Smith added to yet another spam list…

    • Midnight Luck

      there are automated program bots that scour the web looking for any and all email address’, so the more you can throw them off the better. however, they are always getting smarter.
      and there are a million things they do with your email, besides spam.

  • drifting in space

    This is great. It reminds me of the people that read the title of an article and think of themselves as experts on the subject.

  • brenkilco

    What do you call a guy who refuses to use the work prone correctly? An aprostrate.

  • Bifferspice

    “He meets the gaze of JANINE RAY, 30s, Chief anesthesiologist and
    proof that sometimes long hours, constant stress and sheer exhaustion
    simply cannot dent or diminish great beauty.”

    I have seen the bad version of this description a couple hundred
    times in my life. It goes something like this: “JANINE RAY, 30s, was
    once beautiful, but time and stress have worn her down.” That gets the
    point across. But Carnahan’s version INSTALLS the description in you.

    but they’re opposite descriptions, they’re not saying the same thing at all.

    and i prefer the second one. the first is cheesy as hell.

    • drifting in space

      I knew something didn’t sound right when I read the two descriptions… thank you for pointing it out for my feeble mind!

      Guy must have been listening to Kanye West when he wrote the ass kissing part.

    • charliesb

      They are both kinda saying the same thing, though aren’t they?

      Janine is 30, tired and stressed.

      Carnahan’s says you can still see that she is beautiful. Emphasis on the beauty.
      Carson’s says that you can tell she was beautiful. Emphasis on the tired.

      Either way, the casting would be similar and is calling for a 30ish woman who is beautiful but run down. I’m thinking Monica Bellucci in Tears of the Sun.

      • Bifferspice

        carnahan’s says that time and stress haven’t diminished her beauty. carson’s says they have. they’re completely different.

  • brenkilco

    This is wrong every which way. You want to write poetry, write poetry. You think you’re James Joyce, fine. Rules of grammar exist so you don’t have to decode what is being said. And other than news writing I can’t think of another sort of prose that benefits more from immediate clarity than screenwriting.

  • drifting in space

    Okay, random guy.

  • Altius

    Carnahan certainly has some skill with words, but I wasn’t taken with this script. It may have been a fresh genre in the 70s, but it feels pretty worn and tired now. There was so spin on this, nothing unexpected, nothing fresh. Felt like a well-executed paint by numbers revenge flick that we’ve seen plenty of times before.

  • Bifferspice

    yeah, who gives a shit about words? writers shouldn’t. any ol’ word will do, even the wrong one. that’s a good lesson to take away from all this. fuck it. it’s only a screenplay. probably get rewritten anyway. not really worth choosing the right word, is it?

    • brenkilco

      At the risk of being recumbent I confer with your prospectus.

  • LV426


    Joe Carnahan and Frank Grillo for a new film adaptation of Marvel’s THE PUNISHER?

    That could give us the best of both worlds. Death Wish style vigilantism mixed with a more down to Earth comic book anti-hero. Likely only if it could be done as R-rated on a reasonable budget. Although maybe Marvel doesn’t want to rock the boat and bring out their darker stuff just yet? This kind of thing would probably work as a Netflix or premium cable series.

  • Malibo Jackk


    EK: Yes, people in the business read it and politely declined. That goes
    for what you said in terms of “selling hope.” I had gotten dozens of
    no’s on multiple things the past couple of years, even the exact same
    version that went out. Goes to show you can’t ever give up.

    — Eric Koenig talking about MATRIARCH
    (from an interview in Scriptmag dot com by Jeanne Veillette Bowerman)

    The script placed in top ten (did not win) in Tracking Board’s Launch Pad.
    Afterwards, he gains representation, deletes the last 25 pages to rewrite the third act,
    and sells the script to Paramount.

    • Illimani Ferreira

      I don’t trust The Tracking Board. That’s what they had to say about my script Super Epic:

      I mean, I pitched a script that is a comedy, and they send it to an uptight drama lover/comedy hater? Bunch of hacks.

      • rickhester

        Exactly. I hate those kind of notes. Write your own movie!

        • Illimani Ferreira

          I know that scripts of any genre can get this kind of useless feedback, but I can say that it’s a major issue when it’s up to comedies. Some readers should just admit that they don’t get/like comedy and stick to other genres.

      • Adam W. Parker

        I disagree. I find this feedback very helpful, it’s worth at least considering. I agree with the sauna note, at least in spirit. One thing that violated any tension between he and his friends was that they made him kiss his buddy. If a group of straight guys make each other kiss, I don’t think they would have any problem with one being homosexual.

      • Malibo Jackk

        Wouldn’t totally dismiss the LP based on one reviewer’s review.
        They’ve had decent success for a relatively new competition.

        • Illimani Ferreira

          When I got a stupid review from a script I stored on the Blacklist, I wrote a message proving that the reviewer was a hack. They agreed and canceled the review and offered another one. When I did the same to the Tracking Board they stood for the author of the masterpiece above. I won’t get into further details.

          Anyway, the main reason why I don’t trust the Tracking Board or the Blacklist is their lack of transparency and accountability about who reviews the scripts. That must change.

      • S_P_1

        Welcome to the club. I’ve received harsh critiques as well from readers and judges. You’re lucky your script was read cover to cover. I’ve paid for evaluations and I know the reader didn’t read my script in full. Either take the commentary as valid or dismiss it all together.

  • Illimani Ferreira

    In case Carson hinted at writing game reviews next year, you just wrote the cue he needed to do so.

    • James

      They really could. Too often do I read video game reviews from reviewers I otherwise respect (of whom their are very few) and read comments pertaining to the writing that are completely and utterly wrong. They’re not simply differences of opinion, but uneducated and misguided attempts to analyse the art of narrative and character construction – something these reviewers prove time and again to have no real notion of.

      MASS EFFECT 3 was a terrific example. Critics praised the story and characters, but when the game hit it the controversy was enormous. The ending was worse than you could possibly imagine and the outrage was just and earned. Yet many game “journalists” stood by BioWare even as stories leaked from the studio about the project director writing the ending in three hours in a locked room, without peer review or any re-writes, then rushing it to production THAT DAY.

      What’s worse, was that the entire game was ropey from the start. Tonally incompatible with the other two, driven by pursuit of a device that should have just been called “the MacGuffin,” and utterly miserable and dreary throughout with a terrible villain and no interesting character twists.

      The writing in the game was awful. It was Matrix-sequels levels of awful.

      But video game “journalists” desperately want them and their medium (many call games “their” medium despite not actually being in the games industry, but the journalism industry) be taken serious almost to the point of academia.

      It’s ludicrous! It would be like Paramount earnestly submitting Transformers 4 for Best Picture and thinking they had a shot. (I refuse to believe they didn’t do this as a joke).

      Most studios have staff writers who have no idea how to write a compelling, original narrative with a compelling, original character. And if they ever do hit upon that, you can be sure they’ll mess it up at some stage like BioWare did with MASS EFFECT 3.

      But they get away with it, because the video game community (most notably the journalists) allow them to. Imagine a community that was raised on chain pizza restaurants. They hold Dominos up as the shining example of what a pizza can be, what a pizza should be.

      And everyone outside that town just laughs at them from the windows of their New York pizzerias. THAT’S what it feels like to read and listen to gamers and game critics analyse writing. I’d laugh if it weren’t so sad that these people seem to think Dominos is the best pizza that will ever exist.

  • susanrichards


    • jgrey

      Any chance I could get a copy too? Would love to read it. Thanks! jgrey888 at yahoo dot com

  • rickhester

    What doesn’t drive you up the fucking wall?

  • Logline_Villain

    Just watched per your recommendation. Enjoyable indeed… thanks!

  • Kirk Diggler

    OT: Anyone see Whiplash yet?

    Jesus titty fucking Christmas, what a brilliant film. Birdman has some company.

    • pmlove

      What were your thoughts on Birdman? (sorry if I’m late to the party, I only just saw it).

      There was a lot of good there, it was daring, inventive, but I couldn’t escape the feeling it thought it was cleverer than it actually was. And I really hated when it screamed it’s superiority AT me (eg Riggan as Birdman and the ‘people love explosions/philosophical bullshit’ bit).

      I’ll add Whiplash to the list.

      • Midnight Luck

        Birdman was incredibly interesting, and it had some good things going on, but for my money, I would go with Whiplash over it, every time.

        • filmklassik

          My wife and I might be seeing WHIPLASH this weekend. I know you dug it. Is it your favorite of the year so far?

          • Midnight Luck

            still too soon to tell.

            I am seeing WILD tomorrow (another one I have been waiting anxiously to see), and also want to see FOXCATCHER something fierce. I also need to see THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING still. I really wanted to see it, but it keeps slipping through the cracks.

            Of the movies out so far, it is definitely in the top 5.
            Not sure if it is my fave of all or not.
            So far actually, my favorite would be HECTOR AND THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS (I know, who would guess? such an odd sounding choice, but it was just great), followed in no particular order by WHIPLASH, BOYHOOD, NIGHTCRAWLER, BAD WORDS, and KILL THE MESSENGER.

            Not sure if that helped you decide or not?

      • Kirk Diggler

        Birdman was my favorite film so far this year. Though I’m having the debate if Whiplash is better and it very well may be because the ending is so friggin good with so many twists and turns.

        The Birdman ending felt a little like a balloon deflating. It didn’t quite have the courage if it’s own convictions vis a vis the ‘gun on stage’ bit. But still, I enjoyed it thoroughly, and there were several amazing performances where each actor had at least one truly great scene, some had more than one great scene, which is a rarity. I was sure Edward Norton was the odds on favorite for best supporting actor, but hell JK Simmons may have aced him out, assuming they don’t put him in the lead category.

        Truly amazing performance. And Miles Teller, I like what he does.

    • Midnight Luck

      yep, posted about it a few weeks ago. one of the best fils i have seen in quite some time.
      i asked the same question: “has anyone seen Whiplash”, all i got were crickets.
      I also asked why Carson and others don’t include films like it more in the discussion.
      Again, crickets.
      People can yammer on forever about some Star Wars thing, or can talk about overblown CGI crapfests, but an incredible character piece with an abundance if GSU, and everything else, and it seems no one has even heard of it?
      Whiplash broke out like a lightning bolt at last January’s Sundance. I had been waiting for it to be released forever.
      I sometimes wonder where everyone gets their news.
      ok, now i’m just being snarky. but still, i think my point is valid.
      need a wider net of interesting movies on here.

      • Kirk Diggler

        The script has a wonderful structure to it as well. Perfect almost.

  • S_P_1

    One exception to basically a spot on comment. Lee’s death in The Walking Dead was the only time I felt sadness for a video game character.

  • S_P_1

    Just noticed somebody posted the same info.

  • Midnight Luck

    I can’t believe it is out already. I just saw the preview on IMDB like a few weeks ago. thought it was coming to the theater soon. instead it is bypassing it? Sucks.

  • susanrichards

    so,im not sure what to think. yes, yes mr carnahan is a great writer and storyteller. its different from the original, has more of a story to it. i feel like in the original, i wanted paul to succeed at his vigilantism .but i feel like in this version, i want to see him succeed at finding his way back.
    it was easy to read, even after the story switched to first person. however, i dont know if i like that. how is that filmed? does he narrate? or was it just for the benefit of the reader? i guess thats up to the director? am i stupid? i feel stupid.
    we’ve seen some pretty…unconventional writing styles lately. but just because its different and new doesnt mean its good.
    i feel like im being told to write for an audience, no wait..write for producers, no youre wrong, you have to write for the production companies.. hold you have to write for the reader. but no still..its all of it!
    ffs…i just want to write one good solid freaking story. one good solid story im proud of that someone somewhere will like.

  • Malibo Jackk

    OT: The 2014 Hit List is out.

    Don’t bother telling me I’m not on it.
    I already looked.

    (Yeah, what do they know.)

    • klmn

      You’ll get ‘em next year.

    • Midnight Luck

      I’m on the sHIT List.
      And no one can take that from me.

      It’s a parody of that other list everyone talks about. Whatever.

      It compiles the scripts everyone likes to laugh at and make fun of.
      much like the Razzie’s

  • mikekujak

    Could someone please hook me up with this script? mike (dot) kujak (@) gmail (dot) com