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.

My summer was too busy. TOO BUSY.

I am working on a Graphic Novel about a group of killers. I am not writing it.

Head above water chap.

Allies. Russia was an ally against Germany. France, England were allies.

We will have to sit down and write a scene. Already a Marvel movie in the pipe. Maybe they want a Cap TV show. I would give him a golden lasso (ha ha).

Things will brighten. We have a black president now. Anything is possible.


PS "We can't get any closer. We need to wait for reinforcements."

Cap strides past the officers huddled behind a wall.

"Wait Cap! Don't go! They'll cut you to pieces!"

"Tyranny must never be allowed to flourish. The light of liberty and righteousness must shine in the darkness and be a beacon of hope to all who see it."



I think your Cap dialog is very cool. It's like he's quoting scripture. In the film, I could see that becoming his crutch, then he questions it. In the end, he finds that it's not his country he truly believes in, but what his country represents. He's not forsaken by liberty and freedom even if his country turns against him. To make a more perfect union. Sometimes it takes a turn for the worse to make us realize what bad is and encourages us to work for good. Valkyrie looks super cool with an amazing cast. My only trouble is that it's "mis en scene" is too contemporary action. It's no longer a WWII film, it's a Tom Cruise brand film. It's a Vin Diesel brand film. It's Arny brand. It's Mission: Impossible: WWII with older technological solutions. Sure, WWII was an amazing time of scientific discovery which is the very basis of Cap, but I don't think any of the 1930-40's portions of our film should feel contemporary. Saving Private Ryan had major WWII action, but Spielberg used a muted color pallet, slow cuts and broad shots and moves to make the film fit the era (obviously referencing WWII war footage.)

Do you think Cap should fall into crime fighting? As in, here he is a soldier doing soldiery things and being a spokesman for liberty when-- "Hey, wait a second! Those police are in trouble! I have to make an appearance at the capitol, but... Driver, stop the car." I wouldn't want him to make cleaning up the streets a big part of this first film, but perhaps a sub-plot as long as it's not too cliche /sappy/hokey. If you've never read Without Remorse by Tom Clancy, it's an amazing story of a reclusive retired soldier who runs headlong into a 1970's drug cartel while the government wants to send him over to save American POWs. It's a prequel, a John Clark origin story and of course it's about much more than becoming a vigilante (which Clark does), it's actually a book about honor and being a man. Cap would never kill anyone unless totally necessary (Clark racks up quite the body count), but the book contrasts war out there with "war" here. Might be something to explore a bit. How his broad ideals may not totally mesh with life at home.

To reCap our ideas, we start in WWII and illustrate Cap's glorious beginnings (introduction into battle and establishment as a beacon, news reels, newspapers.) We step back to show him while he tries to join the Army and his entrance into the super serum program. We then freeze him. (Consider thawing him for Vietnam for similarities to now. Scenes of him coming to his parent's home and they being alive. Either that or they've been dead a while and the house is stuck in the 50's.) Then we move into him being thawed now. (Not sure if we want to thaw him in the 80's ((comes home to parents dead, house preserved 70's style, his bedroom still 30's style)) and keep him thawed. Or, if we should just thaw him now.) I like the idea that he's been thawed for years because it's the most he's been thawed since his youth. Culture shock. Computers, corporate power, branding. Then, 24 hour news, internet, cell phones. He feels marginalized, stale. They make cartoon shows of him and toy lines. He's into that at first, but then he doesn't feel like he's really contributing. He's a soldier. He fights in Iraq, but politics hold him back from the front lines. It's not PC to let him do his thing. He becomes hokey. "Out of touch." 2001 hits him like a physical wound. He disappears from the lime light.

"I know this is a difficult time for you, Cap. But your country needs you."

He's glad for the call to service, but it's not what he expects. Black Ops missions. Special Forces insertions. No suit. No shield. He sees himself becoming a sword. Nostalgia for WWII rises. The Greatest Generation. Cap made a symbol of Homeland Security, but not sent on high profile missions. Feels used. Video games show him killing people. Meanwhile, the government spies on citizens, uses torture and sends terrorists to Turkish prisons and Gitmo to be tortured. His faith in America is shaken. When the government sends a groups of US citizens to Gitmo suspending Habeas Corpus, Cap does the unthinkable, he deserts. He becomes a vigilante and is sought by the law. He steals the suit and shield and works to subvert the government. The government spins the media and Cap is declared an Enemy of the State. He finds clues that make him suspect the Red Skull is pulling the strings. Cap has to work smart when he's used to being a blunt instrument. He confides in someone, perhaps Nick Fury who leads the law to him. He has to battle three fronts now. We can flashback to when Red Skull and Cap first met/battled. Not sure if we want to run that in the beginning. I like the idea that we imply him very subtly in the beginning, but the audience thinks the government is the villain. Then, we pull out Red Skull as a twist. I like your idea of the prison, but if Cap was sent to prison it would be super villain prison so, no Aryans or other gangs. He'd have to be sent in by someone who could create a fake identity for him (Black Widow, ahh yeeeah.) Skull has survived through serum treatments developed by Nazi, then his scientists. He looks pretty bad for it, too. I'm not sure if Cap scarred him or anything or if the serum disfigures him. In the end, Skull is captured or believed dead and freedom is restored. In the comics, it seems that gas put Skull in suspended animation after WWII which is how Buck Rogers originally survived until the 25th century in his comic strip. There are a couple of versions though. The creation myth of the Skull as essentially a terrorist trained by Hitler is actually pretty cool. The version I don't like is the one where Skull's brain is transferred into clone of Cap. I like the idea that his physique is in contrast to Cap. We're forced to write him with brains that way. He's a trained soldier though and thus no slouch and your magic bullet idea is more his style, I think. I like this from the wiki... "He typically armed himself with a trick cigarette that could fire fatal poison gas — his trademark "Dust of Death" — toward his victim that distorts the victim's face into a "red skull"." I'm not sure if they stole that from Batman/Joker, but it's fun.

Okay, that's all I gots for now. Let me know what you think!

All my best,


PS Yeah man, I hear ya. Anything is possible. Obama isn't the second coming or anything, but America needs a beacon right now. So, Cap movie!! :)

The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.
-George Washington

Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!
-Patrick Henry

1 comment:

  1. Nature abhors a vacuum. Opposites attract. Fate will always bring them together. Captain America and Red Skull are trapped together in a web of hatred spun before either of them were born. Both play their part. Neither would dare stand aside for the other.

    As part of the hero's journey, Cap must find the courage to destroy the Red Skull before the war can end. I would like to think that in the crazy last days of the war Cap pursues the Red Skull mercilessly. For his part, the Red Skull is privy to a lot of resources, troops, weapons and secret weapons. It is only on the last day, the last hour of the war that Cap catches up to and corners him. With no place to run, this will be the fight to the finish!

    To give meaning to the battle, Cap must have faced the Red Skull before and been badly beaten and humiliated. Cap must be severely weakened or handicapped in some way while the Red Skull must be at the height of his powers and have home court advantage. At some point, Cap must be on the verge of giving up and the Red Skull must seem to have the advantage with victory almost in his grasp.

    Why must Cap seem so weak? It is important that he be the underdog so that when he turns the tables it is all the more dramatic an example of his virtues defeating those of his opponents. If they are more equally matched or Cap has the upper hand going in, audiences will easily mistake the drubbing Red Skull gets as a personal vendetta compared to an act of bravery and heroism that the whole rest of the film tries to set up. Cap is not about vengeance.

    Think about the final conflicts in a lot of the movies, particularly action movies and how many of them are predicated on attaining revenge. When you see the "hero" spouting pithy one-liners then killing a lot of bad guys the juxtaposition of elements tells you that they are not heroes at all but revenge seekers. Ultimately, there can be no pay off on a spiritual level. Revenge is not a virtue. Nothing is gained. In order for the audience to feel anything, the conflict must result in shock rather than growth. Entire films have been ruined this way with a strong build up and under satisfying finish.

    If the villain is not dead at the end of the movie and the hero ends up in a block of ice, is it a victory?