Monday, February 28, 2011

Emails #11: Letters From Soldiers

Cap feels the blood pouring from his shoulder, the uniform is ripped open there. His gaze follows the path of the bullet through the silver dollar-sized hole in the shield that was meant to protect him. Smoke wafts from the hot edges. A few inches to the left and it would have been his head. He shrugs and the shield falls to the earth, still smoking. Cap stands without cover against his foe, the Red Skull. This will be a fight to the finish, good and evil.......

Saw an American flag flying upside down and at half mast yesterday (20th). Sore losers who are now expressing themselves by being extremely loserly and insulting. Democracy in action. Today, Obama moved to close Gitmo. The toughest lobbying restrictions were put on his incoming staff. Transparency rather than secrecy was given as the the guiding principle of his administration. The emphasis was on service, serving the public good rather than their own interests.

Now is the best time for a Cap movie. Or series. Think Rambo: First Blood Part II.....

Hope all is well,

Friday, February 25, 2011

Emails #10: Biggest Fire You Can



1944. France.

We pan back to reveal Cap: He launches an ax over his head and brings it down neatly splitting the block of wood before him. He lifts the ax many more times and brings it down with precision. Wood cracks open.

There is a foot of snow on the ground. He stands in a clearing surrounded by log piles. Steam is rising from his body as he works. The air is frosty puffing from his mouth. He works smoothly and efficiently. He piles wood on his shield and drags it back to camp. Soldiers, half dead are huddled around a tiny fire drinking coffee and looking absolutely frozen.

A GI looks down at wood:
We need the heat Cap but we can't afford to alert the enemy...
A big fire will give us away.

Cap hands the soldier a block of wood.

Build a fire. Build the biggest fire you can. Let the whole world know that you are American soldiers. When the enemy comes, we will be warm and ready. We must prevail. Evil must be defeated. The light of humanity must never be allowed to flicker and perish. Today we face the cold, tonight the entire Germany army. Give yourselves hope. Give the world hope. What you do here today will be remembered as long as people live in freedom. Should your blood be spilled today on this frozen soil you will be mourned as heroes and inspire countless others to rise up. Let the cry of battle give strength to your hearts. This evil will not grow and we have a duty to oppose it even if our own lives are forfeit. This tyranny shall not stand.

Cap brings the ax down splitting a piece of wood with utter finality. The men erupt in cheers.

Logs are thrown pell mell onto the growing fire. Orange sparks trail up into the bleak sky.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Emails #9: My shield...bring it to me...



Thank you for the Cap/Red Skull material you have sent. I feel as though we have gotten off to a great start. There are many issues to explore. What happens to a man when he is catipaulted in time 65 years?



My friend,

Thanks much, I agree, a great start!

I got this crazy idea over lunch. I was thinking, wouldn't it be funny if we were to send a letter, a 1-sheet description and a treatment for our film to President Elect Obama asking for a written endorsement of our concept so when we go to Marvel, they'll listen to us:) The letter would state that we think it is simply THAT important to America that this symbol is treated with respect and that he exemplifies the struggle we all face to keep freedom ringing.

If not that, I also wondered if we should post a treatment online for people to read and sign a petition of support or something. With the inter-connectedness of the net, it could go "viral." That of course could get the whole concept "gacked," (stolen) but it would be a risk we'd be taking in any case. Also, it would be a spec script on a licensed property so, we'd have to decide how much time we're willing to invest into something that may never see light. For some reason though, I don't think it would take us long to write. Maybe we should do it?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Emails #8: Don't go! They'll cut you to pieces!



Howdy! How was your Hallowzeeve? I hope it was good. Interesting wee story here. This scenario with Red Skull sounds a little Mafia-like, but if it's surrounded in Gestapo-themes, it would work. I don't know if you'd like it, if the VO in the beginning was one of his scientists and he started out rolling up his sleeves and then picks up the gun, I think that would establish he's more Hitler-like - less likely to get his hands dirty. You'd have to tell me though, because I don't know The Skull very well at all. Interesting to think of Red Skull walking around with a gun with bullets like that. Like Lex Luthor and packing Kryptonite.

So why is Cap in prison? :) Did you really dream this? I'd believe it!

Working on keeping above water here. I'm doing better now, but could always use more moola. Film things are moving along.

Rock on,


Dear Mr. Rock On....

Cap in prison. Obviously, he is there to meet an inside contact for the Red Skull. Geez, Ben. Actually I don't know why. There is just some strong statement about liberty here. I am not 100% sure about the Red Skull except that he is a bad ass. I just wanted the Cap shield to be left in a smoking tangle, totally Swiss cheesed.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Emails #7: Red Skull. Yeah Baby.


I just rewatched a portion of Unbreakable. Bruce Willis is in the house with the killer and the curtains are fluttering so that the characters are obscured. I am thinking along the lines of that.

As for "hero". This is a good touch but soften it.

"You Joes are heroes. No hot food or water, no sleep, under constant attack and still you fight on. I won't let you down...." Steve Rogers as Captain America grabs the standard and plants himself on top of the hill for all to see, even the enemy who begin using him as a target. The American soldiers pop to readiness. They are being lead by someone more than human who fights for the cause of liberty and justice for all. Weariness is forgotten, petty gripes are forgotten, fears are forgotten. There only remains Captain America standing flag in hand as a steady shining example calling them to charge.

Sort of a cross between the opening of Dances with Wolves and Braveheart.

The image dissolves.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Emails #6: A Golden Eagle Screams



Maybe a horribly disfigured Robert Deniro can play Loki?

Okay, back to Cap....

Start with the ultra cool establishing shot.

Blackness. Yeah. Blackness.

Fade in to the ripple and wave of gigantic American flags, intertwined.

Cue the sound. Flapping, soft at first then growing deafeningly loud and crisp.

As the flags move, the figure of Cap is partially, tantalizingly revealed walking in slow motion toward the camera. At first you are not even sure he is really there.

Cue sounds of battle, gunfire and explosions.

Close-up of a red gloved hand gripping the wood of the flag pole.

Close-up of the top of the flag being hoisted up into the sky. A golden eagle, perched on top screams.

Cut to full shot of Cap on the top of a hill standing proudly with the flag. The sound of explosions and gunfire are loud. He is calm, steady.

"For freedom! For liberty! For justice!"

Monday, February 14, 2011

Emails #5: Thank You For Your Interest In Captain America


In case of emergency, break glass.

The technology to revive the frozen Captain American did not exist for over fifty years.

Until now.

The world he awakens to is a vastly different one than when he left. The cold war is over. The Berlin Wall is fallen. The threat of terrorism has pushed the government to trample the constitution, taking away liberties that he has always fought to protect. Yet, one threat remains all too familiar. An evil so deadly and violent that nothing but the taste of pure anarchy will satisfy him. The Red Skull! Cap races time to uncover and foil the plot the Red Skull has woven. Real allies step forward and traitors lurk in the shadows as Cap fights corruption, complacency, and cowardice in his quest to save the republic which now treats him as a quaint relic from a bygone age. queue organ music dun dun dunnnnnnnn


Friday, February 11, 2011

Emails #4: Cap Recites the Constitution



America is a nation of immigrants. A nation of ideals, of freedoms, hopes and dreams.

One soldier knows we can lose it all to the scourge of fascism. One soldier stands ever vigilant, tall, unapologetic ready to wade into battle against our enemies, to come to the aid of our allies, to defend the beliefs that fuel the flames of liberty......His name is a cry to action. His actions are a shining example for the patriot lying dormant in all men.

Okay, its Cap.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Emails #3: Terrible Times Demanding Terrible Sacrifice

Original Email Dated: 2-20-08
From: Ben
To: Rick


I don't know how "worth it" it would be to continue to actually write a script. What I wrote was more fan boy fun even though I feel in my bones something could be developed out of it. I would need to do a heck of a lot of research to write the film effectively and all that time could be for naught if some douche bags somewhere are sitting on their hands and on the movie rights (with no idea how to write or market it.) It would be fun to continue talking about though! I'd like to see why they thaw him. I'd like to see what the events were that inspired him to want to join the war effort, too. Was his dad a WWI soldier? WWII? Was his mom sending pantyhose to the front lines, working at the factory and sewing their own cloths? Are Cap's parents still alive when he gets thawed? What would the culture shock be for the biggest patriot ever to wake up in the 60's? Gives me chills! One other question is if Cap is able to walk around as Rogers or not. I ask because I see Superheroes as being bigger than us. Sups has to slouch to look human. Thor and Hulk have to turn into humans. Wayne and Stark are humans. So, it's an interesting thought. Should Rogers be Hulk Hogan size? Bigger? Or is it the suit and the legend that makes us perceive him as larger than life? And if there is a contrast, how might that be shown on camera?

Cool stuff! Anyhoo, thanks much for reading and for your comments. I look forward to musing about it further.

All my best,

PS How time flies! My Subject (Pop/Cap) reminded me... You were right, we were talking about Cap... I found an email I sent you a YEAR ago (Jan 23rd, 2007 in fact). I think we had been talking about it before then, too....

"You must not fight too often with one enemy..."

Not part of email continuity...
"You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war."
-Napoleon Bonaparte
From time to time, posts will be drop in that are not part of the regular continuity of emails Ben and I shared. The titles will not be numbered and it will be indicated at the top before the start of these extra posts that they are not in the continuity. We hope that any added materials will enhance the clarity and effectiveness of the overall experience.

Ben and I have a variety of opinions on how visual storytelling should work. What began as the two of us dropping harmless quotes into our emails ('Things Cap Might Say' for 200, Alex), escalated to us sharing fictionalized scenes or blathering about what the "right" approach to take when filming a possible Cap movie. We started our back and forth a while before Captain America was announced for Marvel as a film project and by then we had amassed a great deal of written material.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Emails #2: Beacon of Liberty

Original Email Dated: 2-20-08
From: Ben
To: Rick


I totally hear you. This was a take on Cap being a shining light instead of a wraith. To take all eyes off the Brits. My intent was to put the Brits on the brink (good suggestion), but I see I didn't really indicate it. This was kind of a rapid throw down of ideas so, it's bound to be more "fan" than good writing:) Heh, I was wondering if that felt too long for him to drop. You're right, that would lag on screen.

Still, on the Beacon vs. Legend point, I think a more dramatic reveal to the audience would be good, but I'm not sure the same goes for the Nazis. Is he the Beacon of Liberty or is he the Wraith of Justice? Perhaps my focus is off. Is he a Beacon to the the folks back home and a whispered legend on the battlefield? In that way, in America there might be idealized (the comic book) images of him in bright colors, whereas in reality he's in fatigues only slightly different from other soldiers. My version is similar to the Ultimates' WWII Cap seen here: which is between the two.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Superbowl Movie Trailer Roundup

Captain America! Redefining Modern Myth is not meant to be a superhero "rehash" blog site although if readers want to pose questions or direct lines of reasoning to areas they are interested in, you will find an exploratory tone here. Our primary objective is to delve deeply into a particular character from a view point of developing suitable material for a screenplay.

This post does not fit in the regular continuity of the blog yet is a timely, direct response to the Superbowl. During the course of it, many movie trailers will be shown. With the huge world wide audience for the sporting event, studios are shelling out as much as $3M for a thirty second spot to create brand awareness. Will this translate later into ticket, DVD or T-shirt sales? It surely is a gamble but one that several studios are taking with their properties.

I would like to direct my efforts here to giving my fresh impression of the Captain America trailer shown tonight, Feb. 6th on the FOX network. This is the material the studio is picking. They are paying a great deal to air it and insights into the character, story and look of the film have been carefully managed. This is what they purposefully intend to show us as potential ticket buyers. It is what they what us to see. I must also note here that several other films are putting their trailers out including but not limited to Fast and Furious 4, Cowboys and Aliens, Transformers 3, Super 8, the Pirates of the Caribbean prequel and Thor.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Emails #1: THERE IS NO TEA!!

Welcome to the first entry of the blog! Herein you'll find the first email exchange between Rick and I as well as the script teaser I wrote. Enjoy! -Ben

Original Email Dated: 2-16-08
To: Rick
From: Ben
Subject: Cap


I was driving to Albany recently and I got so excited about a film concept, I almost pulled over to write it down. I was just listening to the Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack and Captain America came to mind. So I started musing and really liked my ideas. I finally got to sit and write a few pages last night and just had a blast. I actually started writing it in this email and ended up staying up well passed by bed time to finish it. If you'd be willing, I'd love for you to read this first draft (only 6 pages) and tell me what you think. I'd also love to tell you where I think the story could go next.


PS I hear they just killed off Steve Rogers again. Such silliness.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Preamble #4: A Discussion Series on Modern Myth!

What is your destination? Papers please.

Why Cap? Why now? Major comic characters are being pitched to the movies and for TV all the time. Is there a concise listing somewhere indicating all the heroes that have burst onto the media scene? I am sure someone is keeping track. It used to be a rare event when superheroes got a movie or a show but several factors have moved in their favor.

First, time has passed. Kids who read comics in the sixties and seventies are now firmly entrenched in all levels of media. This is important because it creates a tacit level of acceptance to the idea of comics and heroes.

Second, special effects have become so easy to do that creating the powers of a superhero using CGI is really effective. I defy you to walk into any film or TV art department and not find it infested with comic readers.

Third, the positive qualities of superheroes - honesty, courage, loyalty, persistence and valor creates stories with an easy to follow narrative. Good versus evil will never go out of style and audiences have clamored for this kind of tale more than any other.

Fourth, as important as the other factors, a string of blockbusters featuring superheroes have created a "jump on the bandwagon" atmosphere. There is money to be made and studios/production houses are all to willing to go for the gold.

Thaw in case of emergency -- Cap is the subject of rumor and conjecture by the Allies and has become mythologized by the Germans. He rallies the troops by bolstering their patriotic fighting spirit. To the Germans he is like a ghost, a wraith, an unstoppable force said not to exist but causing even hardened generals to pause. Field troops often surrender to him personally. -Rick

Preamble #3: Pearl Harbor, FDR and the World at War

Pearl Harbor. There are more than a few theories about who knew what when but the truth of the matter is that this dramatic event propelled the United States into a world war that was already underway. The gloves came off. No more anxiously churning out weapons in our factories as an arsenal of democracy. We were now in it. The revisionist "Yanks to the rescue" mantra couldn't be further from the truth. Victory against the Japanese or the Germans was never assured. Fear of what failure could mean in this dark time created powerful motivation. The toll in dead and captured was staggering before America arrived.

Steve Rogers wanted to volunteer. His country was calling him and knew that evil must be met head on. He understood that the war could be lost, would be lost without a titanic effort. Now was the time!

Many able bodied American men signed up following the outrage of Pearl Harbor. The rush at enlistment centers was frenzied and every effort was made to classify as "4F" those who could not qualify for service. Due to heart problems and other ailments, Steve Rogers is continually denied enlistment despite trying several times. Note the tenor of Franklin D. Roosevelt as he directly appeals to both the American people and to the Congress while addressing a joint session...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Preamble #2: Depression Era Imagination


Young Steve Rogers is prone behind a gigantic stump using a crutch as a makeshift rifle. His toy soldiers are lined up in various positions on the flat surface of the stump and he is studying them keenly.  His metal leg braces gleam in the bright sun.

I see you're playing soldier again, Stevie.

STEVE (7 y/o)
Yes, father.

Why aren't you horsing with the other kids today?

STEVE (7 y/o)
(glances at legs in brace)
They went to the river. I can't be near the water.

Preamble #1: "I must enlist, sir!"

Steve Rogers knew two constants while growing up.

First, there was sickness and plenty of it. He had been so sick in fact, that doctors from other counties would travel just to diagnose him. His health might improve for a time and then descend again into a series of painful or near death experiences. There were the broken bones, the fevers, the raspy coughs, swollen glands, rashes, bumps, nose bleeds and the list just wore on. He missed a lot of school and spent half of his life bed ridden.

Second, Steve grew up during the depression and the fear of it loomed large in every adult conversation.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

By Way of Introduction

Welcome reader!

Over three years ago Ben Alpi and Rick Arthur began a private email exchange not intended for outside eyes. A single, simple premise developed that guided what was to come next. How would you take a character with 70 years worth of history like Captain America and bring him to the screen in a modern feature film? This underlying challenge provided fertile ground for exploration, debate and creativity. It was only much later that the enormity and complexity of this material demanded the discussion be open for all to engage in.