Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Handwritten Theatre: Summer Bonus Track #1

Just because the actors have all gone to the beach, doesn't mean we're not going to soldier on here at Handwritten Theatre. A presentation from the archives: A scene from a movie I wrote a couple of years back, the remake of a key film from my youth, Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman. While not conceived for this podcast, I can guarantee that it was handwritten at the time.

The movie was directed by Christopher Guest and produced by Debra Hill with Daryl Hannah in the titular role. In the great tradition of B-movie science fiction pictures, the movie was short. So short the studio insisted we go back and add scenes to pad the running time. While this had an unfortunate impact on the pace, it gave me the unique opportunity to go back and write new scenes for two of the actors, O'Neal Compton and Victoria Haas who played the sheriff and deputy in the town rampaged by a giant Daryl Hannah.

Sheriff Denby and Deputy "Charlie" Spooner were characters at the edge of the action, but Victoria and O'Neal had the most remarkable...I refuse to say chemistry. Let's just say they were really good in scenes I'd written before I met them. The need to add screen time gave me a chance to write something specifically for their voices. What I came up with is a scene that does nothing to move the picture forward, just the Sheriff and the Deputy talking about two thirds through the movie. It's pure padding, but it's one of my favorite scenes. And I think it's one of the perfect counterfeits in a movie filled with scenes meant to sound like they were lifted from a Jack Arnold Universal-International picture made between 1954 and 1957.

Give a listen to two very good actors who got to go back after a movie was finished and play a scene written expressly for them.

About an hour into the picture, Sheriff Denby and his deputy are discovered in his office where he times Deputy Charlie to see how fast she can load her revolver. This leads to a general discussion of life and what's been going on up at the Archer place where the beautiful Nancy Archer has grown to five stories tall, yet hopes to keep her marriage with the philandering Harry intact.

Handwritten Theatre: Summer Bonus Track #1
Performed by Victoria Haas and O'Neal Compton
Running Time: 7:02
All Audiences

If you'd like to see the scene...as well as the rest of the picture, you can rent my version of Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman at Netflix...
Netflix, Inc.
...or buy a DVD for your very own at Amazon.com

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