Monday, March 01, 2010

I Warned You About The Shakespeare

“I was thinking more in terms of an action-adventure film with a female protagonist.”
- Screenwriter Linda Woolverton explaining how she came to change one or two things in Lewis Carroll's Alice books for Tim Burton's upcoming screen version.

(The office of a famous Hollywood producer. Two fresh-faced young men enter and sit.)

“Well, what have you got for me, boys? Let’s hear it.”

“You…are going to love us…so much, JR!”

“…so much!”

“Because we have found a property no one’s touched yet! And it’s perfect!”


“So, what is it?”

“Two words, boss: Edward Lear.”

“Lear? That’s not like King Lear, is it? ‘Cause Shakespeare stinks up the joint unless we can get Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox.”

“No, nothing like that, boss! He’s like that…you know, the Alice In Wonderland guy, whatzisname…”


“Yeah, Carol somebody. So he’s a Victorian, too, just like her, which really captures the zeitgeist right now…”

“It’s the whole, you know, ‘Hey, let’s break out the doilies’ thing…”

“Right, right, only Lear, right, has this whole contemporary feel…”

“Right, finger on the pulse!”

“So what’s the story?”

“Well, you know how it is, JR, there’s no real story, per se…”

“…not really a story, no…”

“So we have to kind of, you know, thumbnail it, find the themes…”

“The themes are the whole picture!”

“So, dig this: we’ve got this Pobble that’s got no toes, awright?”

“No toes! Can’t balance!”

“It’s like our world today! Out of balance? Global chaos? Al Gore? Get it?”

“What’s a Pobble?”

“This year’s Hobbit, that’s what he is, JR!”

“It’s Lord Of The Rings meets Narnia!”

“But…how will they know what a Pobble is?”

“No sweat, JR, that’s all taken care of in a Star Wars style intro crawl! You know, ‘In the time before the Rebellion’ blah blah blah…”

“They’re up to speed!”

“So why hasn’t he got any toes?”

“You’re gonna love this! He lost them…in the whole Iran/Afghanistan conflict!”

“…you’ve got your whole…contemporary war angle…”

“…post-Obama generation Z…”

“This is all in the book?”

“More or less! But of course there’s got to be a conflict!”

“Nothing without a conflict!”

“So we’ve got our Doctor Doom, our Darth Vader, our big bad!”


“Yeah! Get this, see it, feel it…(closes eyes, strokes air as if to indicate a title) ‘The Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!’”

“Is that fantastic? You couldn’t write this stuff!”

“Now The Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo is our Phantom Of The Opera here: unrequited love, passion that can never be…”

“It’s Narnia meets Star Wars meets Romeo and Juliet!”

“I warned you about the Shakespeare.”

“But The Bo, which is what his buddies call him…”

“He travels easily among the common man…”

“The Bo’s a twisted genius, right, ‘cause he’s all backed up on account of the Pobble screwing up his wedding!”

“We move into Judd Apatow territory…”

“But to have his revenge he needs one more thing to complete his ultimate weapon: a Runcible Spoon!”

“…so you’ve got the whole…quest angle…”

“It’s Star Wars meets Transformers meets Indiana Jones!”

“So it’s a race against time?”

“You bet, JR! Whoever gets the Runcible Spoon gets to call the cosmic shots, if you see what I mean…”

“But The Bo, see, has a bit of a weight problem…”

“…all the repressed rage…”

“And just as it looks like he’s going to beat the Pobble to the Spoon, he gets thrown off this plane for being too fat!”

“It’s the whole…Kevin Smith…”

“…American over-consumption…”

“We even make him up to look like Smith, you know, kind of a shout-out to those in the know…”

“…easter egg…”

“Kind of a fanboy thing.”

“It’s Narnia meets Watchmen meets Clerks!”

“Meantime, there’s all of these secondary characters…”

“…you know, the comic relief…”

“We’ve got Scroobious Pip…”

“That’s pure Star Wars, JR! But this Lear guy made it up first!”

“We’ve got the Quangle Wangle Quee…don’t tell me he didn’t hang out with Yoda at the Cantina after quittin’ time!”

“Tim Burton would give his eyeteeth for a Quangle Wangle Quee!”

“But that’s not all, JR!”

“It isn’t?”

“Nope, not by a long shot! ‘Cause here’s where we get all muhfuh meta on your ass!”

“Hang on, JR, ‘cause it’s Lost meets Fringe time!”

“Because we’re not just telling this story, awright? We’re telling…Lear’s story, too!”

“You get it?”

“We’re weaving them together, awright? Showing the roots of the story as we show you the story itself! Weaving in, weaving out, weaving in, weaving out…”

“…loom of the gods…”

“Now it turns out this Lear had a cat…”

“…loved the cat…”

“Couldn’t do without it…had a big funeral for it…”

“Pushes him over the edge…”

“So that at the end, when The Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo is finally unmasked…”

“…stick a fork in him, he’s done…”

“We find that it’s really… are you ready?”

“…no good, no evil, shades of gray…”

“…Lear himself! Is that fantastic?”

“It’s Narnia meets Harry Potter meets The Dark Knight!”

"And Benicio Del Toro is on his knees to play the cat! He's begging!"

“So what do you think?”

(There is a pause.)

“Boys…I see a viral campaign that we break out at Comicon: ‘WHO IS THE BO?’”


“All you see is a silhouette from the back, right? But there in the corner, bright red, is this small unremarkable spoon…”

(Fade out)