Info: The Beaver won the prestigious top spot on this year’s Black List and will supposedly be starring Steve Carrel in the title role.
Writer: Kyle Killen
When a friend brought up not too long ago that scripts get bought all the time for reasons other than their quality (starring vehicle, trend, etc.) I hadn’t yet read a script I felt fell into that category. Or if I did, I had no way of knowing the reason. Well I think I’ve found my first one. Because The Beaver was bought for one reason and one reason only: Steve Carrel and a beaver puppet on a poster together = 100 million dollars. That’s it. That’s the reason.
The story follows our suicidal main character, Walter, whose depression is so bad that his family has kicked him out of the house (what a loving supportive family!). Walter finds a sock puppet that likes to talk in a British accent and when he puts it on, it essentially takes over his life, doing all of the talking for him. Everything gets better – his work life, his family life, even his sex life. As a result, the puppet becomes a little greedy and decides he wants to live Walter’s life for good. Despite how warped that sounds, the script strikes a nice balance between silliness and drama and it’s probably one of the reasons the script was so well-received.
There were two scenes that really stuck out to me though: one in the middle and one towards the end, that both give very thoughtful and powerful assessments of how we as humans live our lives. The first is the beaver in an interview with Matt Lauer (yes, Matt Lauer) and is a voice over from Walter’s son. It’s heartbreaking stuff about how our life is pretty much set up for us and all we can really do is go along for the ride. They’re so powerful and so dead-on that you completely forget you’re reading a script about a man wearing a beaver hand-puppet.
The last thing I’ll say about this script is that it’s not the best I read of The Black List, but it’s definitely the most memorable. And I think there’s a lesson here. That maybe being quirky and out there in your scripts is more imporant than telling a traditional story, even if you tell it well. Because you won’t remember that nicely told tale. But you will remember a man with a puppet that talks in a British accent.