Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Emails #24: The Black Wall

Steve Rogers sees a group of vets kneeling at a wall. He goes to talk to them. It is the Vietnam War Memorial- a black wall listing the fallen from that war.

BEN: I like that. He should probably walk through the cemetery of foreign wars first, the familiar, then to the unfamiliar.

RICK: Or... From older to present day to tie them together by association.

Steve Rogers is sitting at a bar knocking back shots of Kentucky Bourbon. A group a tough looking bikers come in. "That your bike out front?!"

Cap fights with bikers. Cap befriends bikers who turn out to be vets from wars he knows nothing about. It is battle which binds them. Each in turn feels betrayed and let down by their country, the people. Caps understands this...
I think this kind of scene is kind of cliche, but I totally like the idea behind it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Emails #23: He Licks the Blood From the Blade

Red Skull pops an expensive bottle of French champagne. He sits at a table heaped with caviar, lobsters, shrimp and a roasted pig with an apple in its mouth. On each arm are hot German fashion models sporting chains and collars and red flowing evening gowns. They are snorting cocaine and licking the leather of his Nazi uniform. He is surrounded by industrial big wigs and their coke snorting, eye candy mistresses. All are laughing.

"There is money to be made gentlemen, untold piles of it. A candidate for President that I have hand picked for you. The initial startup money of two billion dollars each will be repaid a hundred times over in the first year." Red Skull lights and puffs on a cigar for emphasis. "This alliance shall be known as the Red Axis. Do I have your attention gentlemen?" Applause and laughter.

"What about Captain America? Reports indicate that he has also been reanimated."

"Captain America is a symbol of an older time, a simpler time. A symbol who has outlived his usefulness and no longer has the power to inspire." Red Skull draws a Luger pistol and fires a clean shot through the head of the man who posed the question. The revelry stops. "No more talk about Captain America. He's washed up..."

Red Skull gets up from the table and all eyes follow him. "There is only one true superman, one master race, one destiny. Join me now or join him." He draws and throws a knife into the chest of the fearful man next to the guy who spoke up. He puts a boot on the guy's chest and pulls the knife out. He licks the blood from the blade.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Emails #22: Cap: American Style


"Cap, your feet are icy cold."

"I have been suspended in a block of ice for fifty years."

"Maybe this will help break the ice..." Kisses Cap full on the mouth then again more passionately.

"Call me Steve."

Hahaha... good one.

Rick and I continue our sketching of a spec film outline using our previous concepts and ask more burning questions about how we'd write a Cap film! Read on, we have a question for YOU!* -Ben

Act II


Pinch 1
  • Cap is used as a celebrity, finds conflict with that. He has "handlers" ushering him everywhere. He rides in limos.
  • Starts to save people (against orders)
  • New President is almost too good to be true.

  • 9/11 or like event. Pres takes war powers
  • Red Skull returns. Says terrorists are poo compared to the master race. (maybe make him the right hand of the world ruling society.)
  • Cap starts to patrol DC and leaves Marvel for Bucky to oversee...
  • Cap is called back to military service.
  • Pres. suspends Habeas Corpus in the name of security. Government has imprisoned "domestic terrorists."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Emails #21: Sweet Land of Liberty

This is an example of how Rick and I began work on a film outline. It's an incomplete sketching out of events as well as questions. Although it's incomplete you'll see many of the musings you've read over the last two months begin to gel together. Remember, I'm green while Rick's notes are blue. -Ben


  • Cap’s WWII battlefield entrance
  • Cap participates in or a news reel tells of Normandy
  • Cap fights with the men

Flashback to...
  • Cap’s Creation Myth(s)
  • Red Skull’s Creation Myth(s)
  • Cap meets Bucky

Return to current time...
  • Cap on battlefield
  • Cap flag waving scene

Plot Point 1:
  • Cap’s Frozen Vegetable Entree (by fate or intention?)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Emails #20: Frozen Vegetable Entrée

Cap takes the flag from an injured soldier and rallies the troops.
Cap on the top of a hill standing proudly with the flag. The sound of explosions and gunfire are loud. He is calm, steady. Smoke wafts passed him. Tumultuous clouds roil behind him. Black smoke rises in the distance.; An explosion blasts in the near distance. Tracers spray through the air glowing in the twilight.

"For freedom! For liberty! For justice!" He waves the flag and plunges headlong toward the enemy...
original post
In some films, like Superman Returns, the perspective changes slightly to where the hero is watched from afar, then we join him, then we watch from afar... Do you see us doing that here? I ask because the flag waving scene would only work if it was from Cap's POV. (He sees the guy go down.) I'm thinking we should sometimes take the POV of other soldiers so we can feel some of the honor and respect they feel for Cap. If we cut away from Cap and see a wide master of the battlefield, some shots among the soldiers and then we're with the kid as he goes down. We can experience the scene from his POV and feel some of what he feels being hoisted up by Cap. Those are the parts of Superman Returns that choke me up. I saw him fly through the city from the POV of people on the street and got choked up! How long I had waited to see that!

In Highlander the movie, there was a scene cut where Connor finds a little girl and he blows a Nazi away. (She ages into the old lady who works for him.) Connor was very cool and even had a one-liner. Do you see Cap as being like this or perhaps more somber? I mean, he'll have different moods, but I'm wondering what his prevailing attitude might be. A serious chap with a hate for Nazis? Or, perhaps a more fun-loving adventurer?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Emails #19: Torture During Wartime

RICK: Cap wanted prisoners treated humanely. No water boarding. No beatings or retaliation. He would even know a few phrases in German to speak to his enemy face to face.

These are the logical ideas of Captain America born in WWII.

BEN: I feel there is a propaganda angle to explore here, too. I wouldn't want to slow down the story any more than the substantial amount of ground we have to cover especially in WWII era, but I'd like at least for Cap to have a newspaper blow up the street with "American Devil!" or similar.

Nope. The propaganda should be thick and furious. Radio! People on the street. The German's will do anything to deflate the image of the Americans. Let us not forget the distinction between Cap's WWII and the real WWII. Part of Cap's angle is that he must find himself in a position of being crushed, defeated, demoralized, marginalized, ignored, hounded... He must feel the full weight of the hatred against him, the distrust even among allies. In one terrible moment he must doubt himself and his country and think bout folding it up. It is only then, when we are about to break him, when he is on the verge of collapse that Cap finds his true fighting spirit, an unquenchable flame that can not perish!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Emails #18: Gambit, Wolverine and foil covers

RICK: Is there room to fit Gambit in this story? It is a Marvel property after all. Someone suggested Wolverine make an appearance. You know, he goes around to different wars with his half brother so they can fight and kill and use their healing powers and snarl all over the French landscape...

Tone: This is THE Cap we have always wanted to see come to the big screen. He is larger than life. His exploits and adventures, perils and triumphs are sweeping, uplifting, broad, colorful, powerful, emotional, patriotic, and HEROIC! Cap is heroic. He is not a brooding mishmash of moral uncertainty killing everything in his path that stands against him. Cap is a force for good, untiring and unwavering. He believes in God! Country (the constitutional kind)! Truth and Justice! He seems old fashioned even in his time but his simplicity and willingness to act make him a born leader. This is the story of his birth in WWII, his becoming a legend, and his death and subsequent rebirth in present day.

The Cap I want to see is brutally honest about the horrors of war, the death, the destruction, the rape, the corruption on all sides. He fights wars because they need to be fought. Americans have a responsibility not to shirk from difficult tasks. We must not turn away from the face of evil but stare it down and stamp it out. Cap's victory is one of the spirit. No surrender, no capitulation, no compromise in the face of certain defeat or death.

My Cap has a pistol. My Cap kills in wartime. My Cap knows compassion for friend and foe alike. Into each dark hour, he steps not to save the day but to lead by example, to make others find strength they had given up on.

BEN: I don't know if I like the pistol idea. I feel like the original wouldn't have one. Although, ironically I feel he would pick up a Thompson and riddle Nazi's with bullets. Hmm. Perhaps it's the pistol of a commander? Paths of Glory has one of the most amazing battle scenes I've ever seen. Perhaps not so much what I saw, but what the platoon was doing, what odds they were running into and then the visuals on top of that-- amazing and terrifying. Kirk Douglas leads (literally) his men into battle blowing a whistle and waving his pistol.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Emails #17: Marvel Alliance 2

BEN: Interesting design from the video game Marvel Alliance 2. (move the Flash graphic to the left)

RICK: Love the top half of Cap. Chain mail tunic looks very heavy and effective. Like belt. Needs weapon otherwise he looks like he is doing a home improvement show. Can do without ribbed legging however. Distracting. Shield is perfect. Looks heavy and made of solid steel. Colors also muted by dirt, diesel oil and blood. Looks like a frame out of our movie. Let's sue!!!

BEN: Agreed. I thought was thinking Cap's "feathers" could be made out of metal like Scale Mail. It would still be arranged like his suit whereas this is more straight-lined.

RICK: PS. Just WHAT does Iron Man think he is going to blast with his repulsor ray?

BEN: Heh, no worries, Cap wears adamantium undies :) Ever read "The Ultimates"? I'm getting a not-so-impressed feeling about it, but I haven't read or seen it. I guess Cap and the Avengers movies are going to be based on it. Meh.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Emails #16: D-Day Footage



Praise God and Pass the Ammunition...

I meant to mention I thought the film postcard from Cap's dad while on a winter stroll. I kept thinking of Bruce Springsteen and other American musicians through time. I hate it when they put music in films expressly to sell albums, but like in the instance of Forrest Gump, that was a way to span the decades of the story. I listened to Bruce while writing 'Cap goes home.' Powerful. Started using Pandora to sample 40's music. Glenn Miller, Bing Crosby, Kay Kyser, Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey and a couple others just dominated the charts. I think music is such an important part of our fabric that it can't be ignored in this film.

Thought I'd pass this along... Only a few years ago I learned that director George Stevens' had the only color film camera in WWII and his footage is hardly known. I really want to see D-Day: The Color Footage (1999) and George Stevens: D-Day to Berlin (1994) found a sample:

I was thinking also today that this really may not be all that expensive a film to make. It's not like Cap flies or spins webs or needs a computer generated counterpart all that much. There need to be explosions, but I don't think we need $200M. Surprisingly, Iron Man cost $186M. I didn't really see where they spent that.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Emails #15: We Need A Symbol



Thanks much! I'm not sure if we'll be able to fit many (let's call them) testimonials in the film, but I think any time we feel we must write "letters to Cap" we should do so without delay. I think those are snippets of inspiration-- the surfacing of subconscious, raw feelings about Cap. I realized that perhaps more than any of their other characters, Cap is Marvel's Superman. I think "The King" and "The Man" developed into creators interested more in dramatic characters than in idyllic ones. Cap is really their one ideal hero which makes sense given when Kirby/Simon created him. Any hero must deal with being good, but I think Sups and Cap have extraordinary expectations put on them. Cap is the light never wavering. Any human (or Kryptonian) would have a problem with that at some point. Surrounded in temptation and evil, his nagging doubt waaay in the back of his mind might be something Skull would exploit. Cap is the ultimate Aryan after all and holds favor of billions of leaders, media and people around the world. Lex always wanted Sups so they could take over the world, but not in such an absolute way as Skull would want. Of course, I have to admit that I know almost nothing about the Skull as most of my experience with him is from childhood. Actually, I haven't read very much Cap which, if I was really to write a film, I'd want to read every last comic. Anyhow, I think if Skull could actually be helping orchestrate how Cap is used in the field and just be moving all the pieces of the board to culminate into a moment when the audience will wonder if Cap will turn! In the end, Cap could still be considered an impressionable youth, depending. It's easy to forget that he's all of what? 18 when he goes off to war? Making him not much older depending on how long we keep him unfrozen. He'll have the maturity war forces on soldiers no matter what, but unless he stays unfrozen a long period, he'll still be young.

One other note, it's interesting to read about Cap's rising and falling popularity since his creation. In the 60's when he's unfrozen is pretty cool explanation for not being in print for over 10 years, actually. The only thing is, he was unfrozen by the Avengers. I suspect that is Marvel Films' idea for their film series. Such and ill-fated plan that is!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Emails #14: Watch Out Red Skull

Mr. Alpi-

This is hot stuff. Indeed. Really like what you have done here.

Coupla' notes anyway....


The general smokes a pipe as Cap stands watching the sun go down. Cap wears the dark, star-less version of his uniform. Cap's shoulders are forward and his eyes weary.

"I couldn't believe my own eyes. You are alive after all these years. I don't know if you remember me Cap. I was a private back in '42, fresh from boot camp and eager to get my head shot off killing Nazis. I was there the night you rallied the troops and we overtook a far greater German force. You were magnificent. Your bravery and passion kept us alive and helped us win that battle. I never forgot what I saw that night. True courage. True leadership...

"When the war ended, I wanted to find you to thank you. My inquiries were unanswered. Letters politely returned. So, I thought you were dead. World War Two was over and there was dancing in the streets. I decided to dedicate my life to service and you were never very far from my thoughts...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Emails #13: Going Home


Scenes by
Ben Alpi


Cap stands watching the sun go down. He wears the dark, star-less version of his uniform. Cap's shoulders are forward and his eyes weary.

The General enters smoking a pipe and carrying a thick folder. He slides Cap the folder, on the cover is stamped: TOP SECRET.

Inside, Cap finds yellowed sheets marked: Department of War. Super Soldier. Mortality ratio. 44F candidate, Steven Rogers.

The General stares at the sunset.

Cap looks through the pages in awe. Then, his brow furrows. The page reads: "...will be cryogenically frozen until such time as 44F can be properly controlled."

He tosses everything in a spray of yellowed pages.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Emails #12: No Ordinary Man



All the ideas you mentioned are good ones. I think we should explore this further to see if we can come up with a powerful enough thread to make a movie treatment. So far we have a bunch of disembodied scenes that look nice and with a little bit of a feeling. What will we be writing about? I like the idea of letters. The reading of the letter in Saving Private Ryan is a particularly dramatic and important moment.

"What are these?"

"Letters, Cap. You have lots of them. They just keep coming."

"I don't understand..."

"Word about you is reaching everywhere, even stateside. Go on, open one."

Cap picks up an envelope and examines it. It reads: Send to: Captain America c/o U.S. Army. From: Martha J. Higgins of Battle Creek, Michigan. Postmarked a month ago. He opens it and unfolds two neatly spaced hand written sheets.

Dear Captain America,

I am not sure if you really exist or if this letter will find you. It was important to write this letter to say thank you for all you've done...

...I lost two sons in this war and both of them wrote about the action you took to lift the spirit of our fighting men in dark hours..... not despair. There is only one fight worth winning. Our church group is praying for you....

Cap takes another.