Well, I heard from the manager about the script last night and the news wasn't all bad. Honestly, I was expecting him to shred the thing to pieces. However, he thought it was "pretty good" and liked the direction. I probably shouldn't be telling you he thought it was "pretty good" because it makes me sound like a lame writer. I don't know folks; I think I write okay. It's just that this beast (and it really is a beast at this point) is in that genre of the "thriller". No, even better, it's a "political thriller". Thus, besides having to keep you on the edge of your pants, I need top make sure it makes sense... politically.
This is NOT what I thought I would be doing ten years ago. Christ, 1997 was a golden year, wasn't it? I'd just finished "Southern Cross" and was about to work on some sci-fi script with Tony.
For those of you who don't know (and I know you're out there... I've seen your comments), "Southern Cross" was the original working title for "King's Highway." I know, I know, enough with that fucking movie already! [By the way, you can still watch it in its entirety by clicking on the link to the right].
Where was I? 1997. Wasn't that the period when any dork with a script and a camera could get a movie deal? I was wrong.
Like, Springsteen is playing right now. "Shut Out the Light", which is one of his most emotional songs about a Vietnam vet who returns from the war and doesn't feel like he belongs. His life is shattered. His folks and his wife try to make everything like the way it was before he left, except that he's not the same. It's tragic. This beautiful song (available on the "Tracks" box) was originally the b-side to "Born in the USA". Remember b-sides. Let's take a minute......
So, "Shut Out the Light" represents one view of the war and "Born In the USA" another. My idea was what if these two guys from the same hometown return from war and have different experiences. The character from "Shut Out the Light" volunteered for the war. He's the hometown football hero and felt it was his duty to serve his country (think Ron Kovic). The war ruins him. Meanwhile, you have the guy from "Born in the USA" who has had run ins with the law and the judge sentences him to go to war. This guy is a complete fuck up. The war makes him stronger. He was placed on the front line, but he survived.
So, now you have these two men back in their hometown and we watch how they try to cope. To me, that's a story. It would be sort of a modern retelling of "Best Years Of Our Lives" (which is, by far, one of the best movies ever to portray the post war experience for veterans). If you have not seen "Best Years..." you must rent it or TiVo it the next time it's on Turner Movie Classic. I challenge you not to cry during that movie.
Man, I'm rambling. My original point is that these small stories were what I wanted to write. How did I end up working on a Jason Bourne movie?