Genre: Comedy
Premise: A man and woman working for a black market organ delivery service try to deliver a heart to a client while being pursued by the woman’s insane female boss.
About: Nat Faxon & Jim Rash are plenty busy these days. The Academy Award winning duo (The Descendants) jump back and forth between writing and acting projects (you’ve seen Rash as the unforgettable Dean in the recently cancelled “Community”) and are coming off of the indie flick, “The Way Way Back.” Their newest project, The Heart, has Kristin Wiig attached, and seemed like a go movie until a couple of months ago, when Indian Paintbrush got nervous about the budget. From what I understand, the movie isn’t cancelled or anything. I think they’re just trying to figure out how to make it for cheaper.
Writers: Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
Details: 109 pages (February 24th, 2014 draft)

294348-kristen-wiig

I don’t know what Kristin Wiig is doing. Ever since Bridesmaids, she’s chosen to be in all these tiny indie movies that go straight to Itunes. And look, I think going indie is fine. You develop some street cred. Show everyone that you’re about the art.

But those decisions only work if the movies are actually good. And none of Wiig’s have been. Friends with Kids. Girl Most Likely. Hateship Loveship.

Hateship Loveship???

Someone really made a movie called “Hateship Loveship?” And people allowed this to happen?

Part of the problem is that the roles Wiig’s been choosing aren’t very interesting. The whole point of going indie is to play characters that you wouldn’t be able to play otherwise. Stretch your acting muscles a little. Her characters have been one step above mumblecore – which is to say they’re invisible.

And that’s my biggest problem with The Heart. Our main character (or, co-main character), Lucy, is invisible, keeping her emotions and opinions inside for the most part. This is one of the trickiest things a writer can tackle, is creating a reserved main character. Reserved main characters don’t “pop” on the page. They get lost amongst the action paragraphs and the sluglines while any character with something to say overshadows them.

That’s why I loved Cake so much, another female-driven indie flick. Cake’s main character, the grieving, angry, says-what’s-on-her-mind Claire made her presence felt on every page. Lucy keeps her thoughts in check unless she feels something needs to be said. The thing is, if that person isn’t active or constantly making choices that are disturbing the story, they just become the “boring character who doesn’t talk.”

Oh, I haven’t actually told you what the plot of The Heart is, have I?

So this woman, Lucy, has a grandmother who needs special care. So she needs money. Her current job, which entails delivering equipment for Chuck E. Cheese type establishments, isn’t exactly satisfying, particularly because her psycho boss, Dawn, is currently trying to prostitute her to clean up a bad business transaction.

So when Joe comes around, a courier for an illegal organ trade operation, and offers her ten grand to help him deliver a heart to Florida, she doesn’t have a choice. She has to take it. Of course, Lucy thinks this is all above the board. So when the only stipulation is that they use her van, she doesn’t think much of it.

However, when shit starts going south, Joe’s failure to mention the “illegal” part of his job comes out quickly. But Lucy isn’t exactly an innocent party here. She quit work without telling her boss. And she didn’t deliver the box of stuffed animals she was supposed to deliver. And those stuffed animals just happen to be packed with COCAINE because Dawn – it turns out – is running more than just a Chuck E. Cheese product delivery service.

That sends Dawn on their trail, who believes Lucy stole the cocaine on purpose. When she then finds out about this heart though, a heart that’s worth half a million dollars to its recipient, Dawn decides that she’ll be taking that heart and upping the delivery price. Throw in Joe’s criminal boss and our angry heart recipient (who’s a Pecan Roll Restaurant magnate), and pretty soon everyone’s trying to get their hands on this heart before it stops beating.

Nat_Faxon_Jim_Rash

The Heart starts off really clunky, as the script strains to introduce all of our characters. Beware ye, the screenwriter, of the hero introduction scene. This is the scene where you need to tell us who our main character is. If said character is afraid of commitment, you want to open with a scene where they break up with a girlfriend because things are moving along “too quickly.”

Good screenwriters know this, and therefore spend a lot of time trying to perfect this introductory scene so the audience knows exactly who’s taking them through the story. Here’s the problem though. We writers can get TOO wrapped up in these scenes. We’re working so hard to sell the character, we fail to notice that the scene is starting to feel like a great big advertisement for our main character instead of, you know, a seamless piece of a giant puzzle.

Lucy’s introductory scene, where she’s trying to get a kid off one of the machines so she can re-stock it, feels too “set-up-y.” You can feel the writers underneath the scene “making sure” that the character is coming off the way they need her to. And the irony is that when you do this – when you spend more time on this scene than any other scene in the script to make sure it’s right – it ends up feeling the least natural of them all.

Here’s the solution. Whenever you write this scene (or really ANY scene that requires you to stuff a lot of shit in it – like exposition), take an “entertainment pass” on the scene. In other words, don’t read the scene seeing if you were able to slip in that one key character trait. Or see if you accurately portrayed their flaw.  Just read the scene to see if it entertains you. Does the scene work on its own, independent of any of the things you’re trying to sneak in there?

Because here’s the shitty thing about writing. I know when a writer is trying to do something clever – like slip some exposition into a line of dialogue. And I commend them when they do it well! But the audience doesn’t know or care about that stuff. They don’t clap and say, “Yeah! Did you see the way that writer hid his exposition!? Wow!” All that stuff is invisible to them and supposed to be a given. All that matters to the audience is that they like the scene. So if anything feels stilted, they’re not going to enjoy it.

However, once The Heart gets on the road, it gets a lot better. I mean, for awhile there, I was like, “What were these guys thinking?” But I’ll tell you when I changed my mind. It’s when we find out that Lucy’s boss was secretly a coke-dealer using her business to deliver the drug. That was the first time I felt like the writers hadn’t just slapped this together.

That’s important. Because unless we encounter some unexpected plot points along the way in your story, the implication is a lazy effort. As soon as a reader senses laziness – that you didn’t work your ass off on each and every decision – they know that script is going nowhere fast. But yeah, after that moment happened, the script really started to take off and challenge the reader. I thought I knew where this was going, but instead, I was inundated with surprise after surprise.

Probably one of the best things these guys do is they have something going on with EVERY CHARACTER, even the smallest ones. And I think I know why. Faxon and Rash are character actors. They’re used to playing characters who were an afterthought to the writer. You can tell they use their writing to make sure that that never happens to an actor in one of their movies.

And what’s great about beefing up your secondary characters is that it often opens up new plot possibilities. For example, we have Gordy, our heart recipient. He has this whole backstory with his family and his restaurant franchise. That allowed Faxon and Rash to discover Gordy’s brother, who has his OWN backstory (he secretly likes Gordy’s wife and therefore wouldn’t mind if Gordy bit the dust). Because they went so far as to build up those backstories, it allowed them to come up with the brother trying to interfere in the heart transfer, as he becomes yet another player who goes after Joe and Lucy. In his case, he wants to destroy it.

So not only does it make the characters pop more. It invigorates the imagination and opens up more avenues for you to be creative.

As for the script as a whole, it’s got solid GSU (Goal – get the heart there, Stakes – both our heroes lives are on the line PLUS they both need the money badly, and urgency – the heart stops beating in 36 hours). Along with the unexpected twists and turns in the plot, it was a really fun read.

But the opening and the underwritten Lucy kept this from being anything more than a casual recommendation. Lucy is so restrained and so introverted for the majority of the time, combined with the fact that she’s not dictating any of the action (Joe is), that she’s not memorable enough. And the opening is trying to set up too much. We don’t get on the road until page 35, and I think that’s a direct result of too much information being jumbled into that first act.

So it was a cool script. It just needs to be tuned up in a couple of places.

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

What I learned: In a big rowdy movie with lots of big personalities, the quietest character is usually going to get lost in the shuffle.  So you have to think real hard about making that quiet character one of your protagonists. It’s not that a quiet protagonist can’t work. You’re just severely handicapping yourself when you use one.  So think twice about it.

  • Stephjones

    Nice, Carson!
    I would love this script if anyone has it. Kalikalot at hotmail dot com
    Thanks!

    • Bifferspice

      ooh, me too: bifferspice at yahoo dot co dot uk :)

      • crazedwritr

        and moi — moviegurl at me dot com. Thanks!

    • Blackwell_Z

      I would like too. blackwell.mks at gmail dot com
      please and thank you.

    • b
    • N.A>

      likewise and thanks in advance. hquattlebaum at gmail dot com.

  • Jarman Alexander

    Yes. Nat Faxon and Jim Rash are it for me. They know my humor. They know what I like in a movie. The BEEF UP SECONDARY CHARACTERS.

    I think this is the greatest advantage any writer (especially a comedy writer) can add to their story. Not only does it allow for more plot options as Carson pointed out, but it allows more options for the jokey-jokes!! It allows us to know and care that the clerk at the store who sells lemons to our protag has only one goal in his life right now that is to get off of his mothers couch. This allows you to avoid the sometimes loveable Seth Rogan/ Evan Goldberg route of adding in numerous dick jokes in a row, each one trying to top the last, and instead pop in a joke about the clerks neck being slanted to the side.

    Now when our protag buys lemons and sees the clerks head lean, he can quickly ask what’s wrong and we get a humorous response about how his mom gave his room to the cats, so he slept on the pullout last night. This approach allows you to find jokes from exploring the plot and they never feel forced. I love to see it. I love to read it. I love to write it. I just love.

  • leitskev

    This ‘main character needs to pop off the page’ thing should be reconsidered.

    Does Luke Skywalker pop off the page next to Hans Solo?
    Does Dorothy pop of the page next to the lion and the scarecrow?
    Does Michael Corleone pop off the page next to Sonny?
    How about Capt Willard in Apocalypse Now next to the colorful people he encounters?
    Christian’s Bale’s recent character in American Hustle does not pop like the other characters do. Even his wife pops more.

    The protagonist is the vehicle which carries us through the journey, a journey on which we encounter many colorful characters. The important thing, usually, is that we react to what happens to this main character, the choices she makes, the connections she forms.

    The other characters often present the hero with other possible paths and approaches, sometimes false ones. Hans Solo fights for himself. Luke idolizes him but has to resist the temptation to be like him. The only reason we feel the power of the temptation is BECAUSE Hans is more colorful. If Luke were more colorful than Hans this wouldn’t work as a convincing temptation.

    Same with Sonny Corleone. Michael must not be like his hot-headed brother if he is to save the family. He must be cool and calculating. It’s memorable, but doesn’t pop off the page like Sonny does.

    Capt Willard';s battle in Apocalypse is to maintain some kind of sanity, difficult to do with the crazy characters around him. It’s critical that those characters be more colorful than him.

    Maybe for a spec script by an unknown writer it’s more important to have a protag jump off the page because it’s so hard to separate from the pack. Maybe. Just maybe.

    But I think in general this idea that the hero needs to stand out among the characters needs to be reconsidered, because I think the opposite is more often the case.

    • Cfrancis1

      Luke and Michael may not “pop” in terms of eccentricities but they are still strong characters: likable, young, enthusiastic guys who you want to root for (until Michael turns to the dark side, that is). They certainly don’t get lost on the page as Carson claims Lucy does.

      • leitskev

        Agreed. They are excellent, strong characters. But they don’t pop off the page. Protagonists don’t usually pop off the page. They do succeed in getting us to care what happens to them. We root for Michael to take over the family and defeat his enemies. The power of the film is that it is only at the very end that we realize we have rooted for the destruction of Michael’s soul.

        When I read a novel, I want the story to give me a reason to turn the page. I think a good protagonist brings us along on a journey where we can’t wait to see what happens next. Harry Potter’s a pretty bland character, isn’t he? But we start out sympathizing with him because of his oppressive uncle.

        A great protagonist succeeds in putting us in his shoes. In that way we experience the journey more subjectively, less as an observer. It’s much harder to be in the shoes of a colorful character because we usually don’t see ourselves as colorful. We see ourselves as normal. So an effective protag usually seems somewhat normal to us. We identify with the problems of Dorothy, Luke, Michael, etc. If those characters pop too much, it’s hard to identify with them.

        • bex01

          Harry Potter is always my go-to example of a boring character! Ron and Hermione are way more interesting than Harry – most of the characters, in fact, are way more interesting than Harry. He’d never hold up as a supporting character – we only like him because he’s the boy who lived

          • leitskev

            Exactly! But that’s actually your typical protagonist. Except in comedies.

    • IgorWasTaken

      Even his wife pops more.

      Excuse me…?

      • leitskev

        lol, pops off the page, stands out.

    • brenkilco

      Frequently the leading man in a movie is a whole lot less “interesting” than the gallery of supporting players he encounters. Square jawed, capable, heroic, chock full of integrity, maybe cool, but also a little dull. I’m not sure this is generally true of comedy. How many great comedies are there where the main character is repressed and withdrawn? There’s ‘Being There’ I suppose, but that one is really too unique to count. Most comedy leads are dynamic and often the craziest characters in the film. Seems to me you should be able to construct a comedy where the main character is the sane eye of the storm around which all the insanity revolves. I’m sure there have been comedies like this. Just can’t think of any.

      BTW a lot of comedy stars love to play these kind of characters. Carrey, Carrell, Stiller and Murray have all seized the chance to play sad sacks. Prove to themselves that they’re true actors I guess

      • leitskev

        Yup, comedy is different.

      • witwoud

        “Seems to me you should be able to construct a comedy where the main character is the sane eye of the storm around which all the insanity revolves.”

        You could argue that a character like Marty McFly is this. Even though he hangs out with the Doc and is a bit goofy, he’s essentially a well-rounded kid who gets dragged into this adventure through no fault of his own, and has to run around trying to put everything right. It’s everyone else in the film who’s howling mad.

        • Poe_Serling

          On TV…

          There have been quite a few ‘sane’ main characters anchoring comedies over the years. A couple that come to mind:

          Eddie Albert’s character from Green Acres… six seasons being the Steady Eddie to all the oddball residents of Hooterville.

          And the always watchable Bob Newhart. He was pretty much the straight man in both of his hit shows from the ’70s and 80s.

          • witwoud

            Mary Tyler Moore, too. She was more or less the straight woman surrounded by goofballs.

            Maybe it was a 70s thing ….

          • brenkilco

            Specifically didn’t get into TV but was thinking of Eddie Albert in particular, the sole sane man in an entirely irrational world that everybody except him seems to get. Absolutely right that the star as straight man anchor is a fixture of TV comedy.We don’t mind spending two hours watching a frantic nut but who wants to spend time with one every week. It should be recalled that Jerry Lewis failed spectacularly in his efforts to conquer TV. Bob Newhart, the thoughtful, low key, comic reactor was probably the ultimate sitcom actor.

          • astranger2

            I agree with your thoughts — but I don’t recall Jerry Lewis trying to conquer TV… although maybe his efforts were short-lived. Unless you’re speaking of specials, or his telethons. Did he have a sit-com? I wouldn’t count a comedy hour special…

          • brenkilco

            He had a weekly two hour variety show- yeah, two hours- in the early sixties that crashed and burned.

          • astranger2

            On almost EVERY TV sitcom the main character is the Bud Abbott straight man — he is the astonished average guy whose jaw drops at the insanity: Barney Miller, Alex Reiger, Frazier, Raymond, Al Bundy, Andy Griffith, Maude… and, one of the most-beloved… Mary…

            Not that all of the mentioned didn’t have their comedic moments, but the man character in sit-coms is there to ground the insanity; the person who reflects the audience’s reaction to “how is this stuff happening!?”

          • witwoud

            Yeah. Although you notice that in modern sitcoms, the roles tend to be more changeable. Frasier is sometimes the straight guy and sometimes the zany. Often it’s Martin raising an eyebrow and saying ‘WTF?’ at his latest social-climbing scheme. Same thing with, say, Leonard in Big Bang.

          • astranger2

            To support my viewpoint, I purposely left out the most un-straight man straight man of all — Dick Van Dyke. He fits your definition perfectly. The more things change, the more they… ; )

          • Poe_Serling

            The Dick Van Dyke Show. Another timeless classic. Easily my favorite episode of the series – It May Look Like a Walnut. Such a wonderful and funny spoof of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

          • astranger2

            Wasn’t Danny Thomas in that? … not sure, but I remember the closet full of walnuts spilling out and burying him at the entrance way… the best sit-com of all time. Such a wonderful cast.

            And, Van Dyke was such a creative genius, so many classic film tropes came from that show. I remember an episode where Rob, Laura, the Helpers, and the PTA were putting on a play, Cleopatra. Rob was “directing.”

            Because of all the petty jealousies, it became an obvious nightmare of casting. Bob Crane originally was chosen to play Anthony — but didn’t want to have the plain-jane third grade teacher play Cleopatra. Not when he had to kiss her… but in the b.g. while Crane is complaining to director, Rob, the teacher is unpinning her hair, tossing it side to side, and revealing… a Jayne Mansfield smile and figure.

            Bob Crane changed his mind… but then, so did his wife… SCREAMING at him from outside… that they needed to go, right now!

            I don’t recall that trope being used prior… but it’s been used a zillion times since… lol

            God help me, I love these walks down memory lane… so many beautifully rich moments… ; v )

          • Poe_Serling

            Yeah, Danny Thomas was the guest star and played the part of the alien named Kolak.

          • Poe_Serling

            Speaking of Andy Griffith….

            One of my all-time favorite shows… which only gets better with time in my opinion. ;-)

            If you recall, during the first season, Andy’s character was more the country bumpkin and actually got himself into quite a lot of funny situations, especially in his relationship with Ellie Walker.

          • astranger2

            Andy’s character was taken from his popular comedic recordings, and his great film, No Time for Sergeants. (Where Don Knotts had a memorable pre-Barney role…) You obviously know all this…

            But more to the relevant point, Andy started the series with a much more pronounced North Carolina drawl, and progressed to a much smoother one as the other characters became more whacky.

            When Floyd the barber was first introduced, he was fairly normal. His odd ramblings progressed as the series went on, as is the history of most sit-coms.

            He is the paradigm for the Jim Ignatowskys, the Seinfeld Kramers, the Ted Baxters, the Sheldon Coopers, the Cliff Clavens, or any of the bizarre characters that wander around clueless, six-bricks shy of a load, through that particular sit-com world.

            I loved Ellie Walker — although while “Kitten” was beautiful and charming, and prone to pass out sugar placebos to drug store patrons — if I were Andy, my superficial self might’ve opted for the new manicurist in town… Barbara Eden…

            So many favorite Andy shows, don’t know if I could choose… but if I did, it might be the episode where Barney sides with the State police, when the Mayberry sheriff deduces that a cow wearing shoes… is the real culprit…

            And who can forget the Darlings?? Yes… it is a show that grows richer year by year… ; )

          • Poe_Serling

            You’re so right – so many favorites to choose from. The haunted house episode, three wishes for Opie, the ‘fun’ girls… just a few that come to mind.

            One that always makes me laugh: Barney teaching Goober some dating skills.

          • astranger2

            Great clip! LOL…

            Barney teaching dating skills is like when he demonstrated self-defense techniques to Andy.

            When Barney tries to teach Andy some moves, and Andy’s natural strength easily overcomes Barney’s judo “skills,” Barney gruffly says, “you’re doing it wrong!”

            Maybe the reason I’m not quite the horror fan you are, is because of ONE movie.

            I lived in Phoenix as a boy. I remember being bored at Church one hot summer evening. Next door to our church was a drive-in… separated by a chain-link fence. I was six years old…

            The screen was HUGE, and you could hear the sound perfectly from the many car-mounted speakers… the parents were busy doing what parents do inside, and I had a movie to watch… alone… in the deep darkness of the summer night…

            The movie? INVADERS FROM MARS!!!

            All I remember… the opening… eerie Moody Blues-type music, and a young boy awakening to a flying saucer landing in the blackness…

            … and these GIGANTIC VATS of plasma… that produced … slowly, and then much more quickly — MARTIANS!!!

            Butt-ugly Tim Burton-like Martians!!!

            … but later, the boy in the movie awoke… it was a dream…

            Peace… but it WASN’T REAL…

            … and then, the eerie sound again, the BOY WAKES UP ONCE MORE… and the same saucer lands…

            … a RECURRING NIGHTMARE… NEVER ENDING…

            I’ve been more of a rom-com fan since… ; P

          • Poe_Serling

            That’s such a great story about your encounter with the aliens from Invaders From Mars… and I totally understand why you’re a rom-com fan ever since. :-)

          • astranger2

            I am curious to see it again… to see how it holds up… I did read in Wiki that in the UK, they changed the ending to make it less haunting…

            They climaxed it with the Martian flying saucer being blown up… rather than have the potential of the invasion being an infinite looping nightmare, a real Martian invasion. or….

            To me, without the courage to revisit that particular film, it remains a distant and indisputable SECOND to the most terrifying HORROR film of all time…

            … but second, nonetheless…

        • brenkilco

          Close. But as I recall Fox’s early comic stock in trade was fighting to appear calm as he grew increasingly frazzled and frantic. He does an awful lot of running around in the BTTF pictures.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Heard it said a few years back
      — the villain is often more interesting than the protag.

  • brenkilco

    This quote by Walter Kerr, the venerable NYT Dramatic critic is taken from Pauline Kael’s famous essay on Citizen Kane. Kerr is reviewing a revival of The Front Page, certainly the greatest American stage comedy and one of the most famous screen comedies too. It’s the best thing I’ve ever read on the introduction of a principal comic character. Introduce the character being exactly who he/she is. All you have to do is make sure that the essence of the character serves the story and is funny. BTW despite the fact that His Girl Friday is by far the best of the four screen versions of Front Page, only the original screen version introduces the character in this way.

    “Walter Kerr goes on to describe the second-act entrance prepared for Walter Burns, the scheming, ruthless managing editor of The Front Page:

    He can’t just come on and declare himself…. He’s got to walk into a tough situation in order to be brutally nonchalant, which is what we think is funny about him. The machinery has not only given him and the play the right punctuation, the change of pace that refreshes even as it moves on. It has also covered him, kept him from being obvious while exploiting the one most obvious thing about him. You might say that the machinery has covered itself, perfectly squared itself. We are delighted to have the man on, we are delighted to have him on at this time, we are aware that it is sleight-of-hand that has got him on, and we are as delighted by the sleight-of-hand as by the man.”

  • Nobel This

    Carson, Carson, Carson… I can’t testify to the other films (nor am I interested in a story about human organ trafficking – and the Way, Way back is cynical issue film); but ‘Hateship Friendship’ is based on a story written by Alice Munro who is regarded as not only the greatest short story writer of our time, but recent recipient of the Nobel Prize for literature. It looks like a great character to play – some real meat there – far as a female role goes. I get that it’s not your thing – but it actually looks pretty good… and if Alice Munro is involved (or her story is), rest assured this a meaty role. I beg to differ, I think it’s a good choice. No, it’s not Star Wars or Superman, etc., but that’s an interesting character she’s playing there – yes, Alice Munro is Canadian so you have the quirky elements in play, but I don’t think it’s sincere to dismiss it out of hand.

  • Randy Williams

    A “quiet and restrained character” for me, doesn’t “get lost in the shuffle” if I sense in their heads that they are thinking ahead of everyone else.

    Which, I think goes for most quiet and restrained people, myself included. We are in our heads so much that our thoughts are racing beyond where everyone else is focused on, and we find the way out before everyone else even gets in the vicinity. We often don’t verbalize it though.

    This “thinking ahead” can be expressed by their dialogue, jokes, actions, but best by just being.

    Not a role but for the most skillful of actors, I think.

  • IgorWasTaken

    Carson, today’s is another great WIL. Not that it supplies any ******* answers for how to do that! (Actually, I don’t know if there are any bullet items for that, other than the usual ones about characters and protagonists in general.) But yeh, that’s key to keep in mind.

    But even then, getting the “quiet protagonist” to not become the dreaded “passive protagonist” is also damn tough.

    Frankly, I think a number of good protagonists in good films are passive. But, because the film works, they are not called “passive protagonists”. Their passive decisions (their reactions, versus actions) are deemed “active”. And so, I might add to today’s WIL: “… and make sure they are in a script that works so well that no one objects that your protagonist is ‘passive’.”

    Anyway, just for today’s WIL about this script, I now have it on my to-read list.

  • cjob3

    Sorry to be OT but I don’t think there’s anyone on this site who wouldn’t appreciate this:

    http://www.avclub.com/article/imagine-alternate-cinema-history-these-inventive-p-206077

    • Poe_Serling

      Thanks. Those are some great What If posters.

      My favorite: Pam Grier returns in Aliens. The tagline: She came back not just to kill one, but to kill them all.

      • Marija ZombiGirl

        The LOOPER poster is great as well, with young F. Langella and C. Lee :)

        • Poe_Serling

          Makes you kinda wish that you could watch a few of them. Bogie and Bacall in Blade Runner sounds fun.

          • witwoud

            Give it a few years, and I’m sure the technology will be there.

            iTunes will look like this…

            Select movie: Blade Runner
            Select lead actor: Humphrey Bogart
            Select lead actress: Lauren Bacall
            Select antagonist: Self
            Select comic relief: Lucille Ball
            Add zombies? No
            Add unicorns? Yes
            Deambiguify ending? Yes
            Add musical finale? No
            Select nudity level: 23
            Play now? No
            Revert to original? Yes

            Can’t wait … can’t wait …

    • IgorWasTaken

      The one there that really intrigued me was Peter Sellers in “Groundhog Day”.

      That’s a tough one. I mean, Bill Murray was perfect. But when you think about how Sellers did different roles, first you just have to figure out which Sellers would show up.

    • Midnight Luck

      Oh just to image.
      So many great posters, and such great casting choices.
      I would definitely see that version of DRIVE.

    • tobban

      Great posters !

  • Lennox Snow

    Hello There –

    I hate to change the subject, but saw Edge of Tomorrow last night and really enjoyed it.

    Does anyone have a version of the script they’d be able to send along?

    lennox (dot) snow (at) gmail (dot) com

    I’d greatly appreciate it! Thanks :)

  • Midnight Luck

    Wiig was also just in Secret life of Walter Mitty. Which might not be quite a blockbuster but was a definite big movie. Yes playing the quiet quirky love interest, but still, not invisible.

  • Rachel Woolley

    After this scene from The Way Way Back it’s pretty much guaranteed that I’ll watch anything Faxon and Rash work on in the future.

    http://vimeo.com/80413978

  • Ambrose*

    I haven’t read this script but there’s a major problem from the outset: the Urgency part of the GSU.

    I’m not a doctor (and I don’t play one on TV) but even with my limited knowledge of the human body and transplants (Thank you, ‘Boston Med’ on ABC, et al. Not you, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’) I was pretty sure that a heart cannot survive anywhere near 36 hours once it’s removed from a living body.

    At best, it can only survive for 4-6 hours and even a cursory web search immediatly reveals this easily found fact:
    http://www.transweb.org/faq/q24.shtml

    As I said, I haven’t read this script so maybe the writers have some weird experimental way to keep the heart usable for 36 hours. (Submerged in Red Bull?)
    But if your story is based in reality, then I say stick with the facts of modern medicine.

    Judging just from the information in Carson’s review, it makes the story completely unbelievable for me, both as a reader and then an audience member if the movie gets made.

    I haven’t read any of the comments today so maybe one or more people touched on this subject.
    And maybe some or most readers don’t care about the actual window of medical viability.
    To each his own.

    Maybe the heart recipient needs to call Jude Law and Forrest Whitaker.

  • astranger2

    Great article, Carson!

    I’m late to the party again, but there were many key points you make I found particularly insightful:

    “Good screenwriters know this, and therefore spend a lot of time trying to perfect this introductory scene so the audience knows exactly who’s taking them through the story. Here’s the problem though. We writers can get TOO wrapped up in these scenes. We’re working so hard to sell the character, we fail to notice that the scene is starting to feel like a great big advertisement for our main character instead of, you know, a seamless piece of a giant puzzle.”

    Most of the time that protagonist is in the infamous FIRST TEN pages. So, we constantly pour over, and re-write the intro. And if not careful, with vampiric keys, we type out and drain all blood from them…

    “And the irony is that when you do this – when you spend more time on this scene than any other scene in the script to make sure it’s right – it ends up feeling the least natural of them all.”

    The balance between pure creative chemistry, and a stilted, overly-orchestrated performance is so hard for us to see sometimes. We see the rough, but inspired draft, notice the typos and clumsy, over-written action and dialogue lines — and tweak… and tweak… and tweak some more… until the David we once sculpted is just a simple mannequin, that even Andrew McCarthy would not give a second look to…

    Wonderful article, Carson! ; V )

    (If there is ANY hope — it lies with the proles… )