* Unless otherwise noted all screenplays are PDF format
Fall 2014 available screenplay downloads:
Spring 2014 available screenplay downloads:
Spring 2013 available screenplay downloads:
TRUE GRIT (2010), TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, HANNA, JANE EYRE (2011), FUNNY PEOPLE,
IT'S COMPLICATED, TOY STORY 3, PUBLIC ENEMIES, WINTER'S BONE, GET LOW
Fall 2011 - Spring 2012 available screenplay downloads:
THE AMERICAN, DESPICABLE ME, CITY ISLAND, ALICE IN WONDERLAND (2010), BLACK SWAN,
THE KING'S SPEECH, FOR COLORED GIRLS, INCEPTION, THE SOCIAL NETWORK, THE TOWN, GREENBERG
The Write Stuff:
The Art and Craft of Screenwriting
Final Shooting Script
Walter Hill / David Giler
Dan O'Bannon / Ronald Shusett
Contrary to popularly accepted belief, that legendary “Xenomorph” first encountered on planetoid LV-426, which would forever alter the course of all future science fiction and horror films, was not given birth by gestating larval / parasitic-like within the belly of the Nostromo’s Executive Officer Kane, then violently bursting forth upon reaching physical maturity. Uh, uh! But rather it’s original incubator was the fertile mind of late science fiction author (and eventual film director) Dan O’Bannon (1946 - 2009), who’s own years long battle with the gastrointestinal disease “Crohn’s Syndrome” served as inspiration for what has become one of the most memorably disturbing single sequences in the annals of cinema history - ALIEN's now legendary "chest burster" scene.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1946, O’Bannon, the son of a carpenter, possessed an indelible creative streak since childhood. After high school this would lead him to Washington University in St. Louis where he created make up for student theatrical productions, wrote and performed stand up comedy routines, and illustrated for the school’s newspaper. It was also there that he’d room with future THE BIG CHILL, PULP FICTION producer Michael Shamberg. With a more focused interest in film he then attended USC (The University of Southern California) where, with good friend (and future HALLOWEEN, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, THE THING director) John Carpenter he’d collaborate on the sci fi / comedy student film, DARK STAR, which the two later expanded into a feature, … with none other than O’Bannon himself in the role of “Sgt. Pinback”.
a reputation as a filmic jack-of-all-trades, he’d turn down an
opportunity to head up the special effects department on George Lucas’
then-in-production STAR WARS for the opportunity to do the same on
Chilean filmmaker / playwright Alejandro Jodorowsky (EL TOPO, SANTE
SANGRE)’s legendary attempted mounting of Frank Herbert’s DUNE. For
DUNE Jodorowsky had commissioned numerous concept illustrations by Swiss
surrealist painter H.R. Giger, best known at the time for his
disturbingly elegant blending of “steam punk”-like industrial designs
with blunt sexuality into a unique mélange the artist referred to as
“Biomechanical. With sets constructed and millions already poured into
the production, Jodorowsky’s DUNE collapsed as a film project, and
O’Bannon, now associated with what was a major failure in the eye’s of
many in Hollywood, returned home to the U.S. homeless and penniless.
He’d be taken in and allowed to live on the couch of good friend and
fellow aspiring screenwriter Ronald Shusett.
Dan O'Bannon & Ronald Shusett (circa 1978)
Like O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett was possessed by the creative arts
from an early age - he producing stage plays at UCLA during the 1960s,
and penning numerous published short stories. Also like O’Bannon
however his “big break” as a L.A based screenwriter always seemed to be
agonizingly just out of reach. While O’Bannon crashed indefinitely in
Shusett’s living room, the two decided they’d perhaps stand a better
chance of success by combining talents and energies; and they decided to
do so by collaborating on a thriller. O’Bannon had for some time toyed
with the idea of a monstrous “invader” aboard some kind of vessel (a
notion which would also see life a few years later in his similarly
themed World War II “B-17” segment of the animated film HEAVY METAL),
and the two struck upon the narrative-empowering conceit of using the
public’s discomfort with “sexually themed imagery” to burrow their story
under the skin of the audience’s sub-conscious, not unlike a parasite
surreptitiously burrowing it‘s way beneath a dog‘s fur.
With this in mind O’Bannon remembered H.R. Giger’s subtly erotic
(if one looked closely enough) conceptual work on the aborted DUNE.
With what little resources they had, O’Bannon and Shusett commissioned
good friend, illustrator / designer Ron Cobb (of STAR WARS, then later
THE LAST STARFIGHTER and CONAN THE BARBARIAN), to “flesh out“ a series
of concept sketches depicting the technological look, feel, and most
importantly TONE of the story‘s future setting.
But in regards to their
monster, for all intents and purposes the star of their film, the
writing duo would refer to a copy of the Swiss painter / sculptor’s
recently-published-to-critical-acclaim coffee table book, H.R. GIGER’S
NECRONOMICON: the artist’s bio-mechanical images here inspired by the
works of renowned early twentieth century horror author H.P. Lovecraft
Giger on Jodorowsky's DUNE
Born in 1940 in Chur, Graubünden to extremely practical parents, Hans
Rudolf “Ruedi” Giger rebelled by becoming a practitioner of what his
chemist father referred to as “a breadless profession” - the arts.
Moving to Zurich in the early 1960s he’d study industrial design and
architecture at that city’s School of Applied Arts, then work various
jobs and commissions until in 1968 he was convinced to abandon his
nine-to-five lifestyle in order to devote himself fully to his art.
designed and built his first film “monster” during this time for the 30
minute short SWISSMADE; then over the next six years his work ignited
the European (and underground American) art world, causing sensation … and controversy at numerous museums and exhibits. This attention peaked the admiration of more than a few recording artists who hoped the surrealist genius would design one-of-a-kind graphics for their albums. And one of his most famous would be the cover illustration for Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s 1973 progressive rock compilation - BRAIN SALAD SURGERY.
Director Ridley Scott on set
While O’Bannon and Shusett’s hybrid sci-fi / horror “creature aboard a vessel” script garnered attention around Hollywood, it still hadn’t garnered enough for any major studio to actually commit to it. That is until it landed on the desk of filmmaker multi-hyphenate Walter Hill. A life long fan and practitioner of the cinematic pulp milieu (western, crime drama and science fiction), Hill had begun his career writing for Sam Peckinpah on films like THE GETAWAY and assistant directing on classics such as THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR and BULLITT before becoming director of the minimalist (and visually striking) cult favorites HARD TIMES, THE DRIVER, THE WARRIORS, SOUTHERN COMFORT and THE LONG RIDERS.
Brandywine Productions' Walter Hill, Gordon Carroll and David Giler
With broad appeal hits such as 48HRS., RED HEAT and JOHNNY HANDSOME just around the corner, in the late 1970s Hill founded Brandywine Pictures - based at 20th Century Fox, with fellow filmmakers writer / producer David Giler (THE PARALLAX VIEW, FUN WITH DICK & JANE) and producer Gordon Carroll (COOL HAND LUKE, PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID, BLUE THUNDER).
Enamored by more than anything in O'Bannon and Shusett's script, it was the now legendary "chest burster" scene which caused Hill to champion it to then 20th Century Fox head Alan Ladd Jr. Ladd had in recent years become a hero at the studio when he himself championed both THE OMEN (1975) and George Lucas’ original STAR WARS (1977) to the company brass when no else believed in either project and execs eventually became eager to pull the plug on both. They would of course go on to become two of the studio’s most long enduring and lucrative franchises.