Category Archives: Independent Film Production

Independent film production company Brothers’ Ink Productions experiences and stories from the making of Reveille, Locker 13 and the writing of numerous screenplays and scripts.

TWENTY-SIX REASONS TO AVOID FOREIGN PRE-SALES For Independent Feature Films

Guest Blog Post Written by Film Finance Attorney, John Cones. With over 23 years experience in Los Angeles, John Cones is a film finance attorney, author and lecturer working in the broad field of film finance with a focus on the legal work associated with investor-financing of independent entertainment projects (primarily independently produced feature and documentary films) and business start-ups. Film finance legal services include investor financing of independent film; film finance contracts, film finance books, film finance articles, lectures and seminars.

In my 30-year practice as a securities/entertainment attorney, working with independent film producers seeking to obtain film finance from private investors, some of these producers have from time to time raised the question (or possibility) of financing some or all of the production costs of their film through foreign pre-sales. This method of film finance has been around for many years and, in fact, is actively (and sometimes aggressively) promoted by certain people in the film industry because it is financially beneficial for them. These people include (1) individuals who work for the banks that make such loans (entertainment lenders), (2) individuals who work for the completion bond companies (since all of the entertainment lenders require completion bonds on films financed in this manner), (3) the foreign pre-sales agents who represent the independent producer’s film package at the film markets (e.g., Cannes in the South of France, the American Film Market in Santa Monica, the European Film Market in Berlin and the Toronto Film Festival and Market, among others) and (4) the territorial distributors themselves. Sometimes, entertainment attorneys and/or producer’s reps may also play a role in helping a film producer put together the pre-sales package designed to attract the interest of these territorial distributors.

All of these folks have a financial incentive to promote foreign pre-sales. They are regularly and actively involved in writing articles and books, along with giving lectures or appearing on film finance panels, promoting how wonderful the foreign pre-sale transaction is for financing some or possibly all of your proposed film’s production budget. They tend to overlook the disadvantages of this form of film finance. It is not in their interest to point that out. And unfortunately, most independent producers are not sophisticated enough or willing to ask the more difficult questions relating to foreign pre-sales. Thus, this article presents the other side of the issue, in an effort to counter-balance this ongoing wave of information, and sometimes misinformation, offered to filmmakers every year by the foreign pre-sale crowd (i.e., you don’t hear much about the downsides of foreign pre-sale financing in film school, or even in Hollywood for that matter, because most people with expertise in foreign pre-sales benefit from such transactions and are interested in persuading filmmakers to pursue this approach to film finance, even though the results do not necessarily benefit the producer, or any others who rely on or participate in the producer’s share of a film’s revenues).

Financial Conflicts of Interest – One of the earliest problems to be encountered by the independent film producer in seeking foreign pre-sales financing for their films is the fact that all of these people want to be paid and, of course, should be paid, but they all get paid before the producer, and anyone else relying on a share of the producer’s profit participation. In other words, all of these people benefit financially from the foreign pre-sale transactions before the film’s producer ever sees a dime in profit participations, so their financial interests are not necessarily aligned with that of the producer. In many instances, they could care less whether the actual release of the film generates any profits, since they’ve already made their money. Thus, all of these people have a financial reason for promoting foreign pre-sales that is quite independent of whether the film deserves to be produced in the first place, or whether the film will result in a profit for the producer.

Development Costs – Secondly, putting together a film package that will attract the interest of territorial distributors typically requires a significant expenditure of money. There may be costs associated with acquiring the underlying rights to a story, or rights to a script. In order to get a professionally-prepared and reliable production budget, a fee may need to be paid to an experienced line producer.

Attachments – The most expensive item of all, however, is the cost associated with attaching elements to the project. It is extremely difficult to attract the interest of territorial distributors in a film project without recognizable names attached, either for the lead roles and/or the film’s director. If these individuals have enough name recognition to add value to the film project, they are also most likely to be at a point in their careers to demand at least a non- refundable deposit in exchange for the commitment of their time. In other words, if they are actually committed to appear in or work on your film, they have to contractually block out a specific time period on their own calendars, and turn down any other work opportunities that conflict with that time commitment. They and their agents want to be compensated for that commitment. And typically, if there is no money at risk (i.e., the producer is subject to losing the non-refundable deposit if the production costs of the film are not ultimately raised) then there is no attachment – no firm commitment), and it is horribly inappropriate to run around Hollywood saying you have some name actor attached, when you really do not.

Most independent film producers do not have the cash on hand to cover these preliminary (i.e., development costs). That’s one of the reasons why we often see wealthy individuals get involved in helping to finance this stage of a film project. They have the money and are willing to assume the risk – at least somebody was able to talk them into assuming this risk. In the alternative, an independent producer could conduct what we refer to as a “development offering” to investors, where the money needed for the development costs, script, budget, attachments and other expenses are raised from passive investors. This allows the producer to avoid having to pay out of pocket for these development costs and tends to spread the risk amongst a larger group of passive investors. Such offerings typically however, involve the sale of a security, and the producer will need to associate with a securities attorney in order to properly conduct such an offering. That’s another article.

Foreign Pre-Sales Agent Expenses – So, let’s say you are able to assemble an attractive film package, with a commercial script (and you have a clean and demonstrable chain of title), a professionally-prepared production budget and a legitimately attached recognizable name director and lead actors (the basics), along with a one-sheet, poster, trailer and/or pitch deck (the additional bells and whistles that may be helpful in marketing your film package to prospective territorial distributors), and you want an experienced and reputable foreign sales agent to represent your film package at one or more of the film markets. That will also cost money. There are fees to be paid to the film market to both attend, and for the right to set up shop at the market and promote your film package, in addition to the expenses to be incurred by the foreign sales agent (travel, hotel, meals, entertainment, etc.) that need to be covered.

Another Conflict of Interest – This is a tricky area. Is it possible that some foreign sales agents who agree to represent the film packages of more than one independent film producer at the same market, will inflate their estimated expenses, or worse, ask each producer to cover 100% of the foreign sales agents expenses, thus creating a situation in which the foreign sales agent is making money by double or triple-dipping into several producers’ pockets for the same expenses? How does a producer prevent either of these problems from happening? And, how does a producer know that the foreign sales agent is making his or her best effort in representing the producer’s film package as opposed to the other film projects the foreign sales agent is also representing, at the same market? Again, we have a conflict of interest – not uncommon in the film industry. I don’t know whether you’ve noticed or not, but the film industry has long been a haven for a lot of sleazy people – scam artists of all sorts and every background (see my book Hollywood Wars – How Insiders Gained and Maintain Illegitimate Control over the Film Industry). So, your best judgment is under great pressure in these circumstances, when you are trying to select a reputable foreign sales agent, and trying to monitor whether he or she is acting in good faith on your behalf. Here’s a tip! Contractual language won’t prevent an unscrupulous foreign sales agent from engaging in such behavior, and your after-the-fact remedies are quite limited.

Ok but let’s assume that you have somehow come up with the money to pay for the development of your film package, you have the script, budget and attachments, and you have avoided the potential problems associated with the foreign sales agent and their representation of your film project at one or more film markets, and your film package is actually getting interest from some of the territorial film distributors in the top ten foreign film markets (i.e., countries). Now, you may be confronted by a whole new set of problems.

Market Fluctuations — First, we have to consider that the market for pre-sales comes and goes as the economies of various foreign territories weaken or strengthen, and as the number of available films in the marketplace in any given year increases or decreases. You cannot rely on what happened last year or the year before in any given territory.

Buyer’s Market — So long as there such a great disparity between the number of films produced and the number and capacity for distributors to distribute, the market will be a so-called buyer’s market for distributors. That tends to give more leverage in pre-sale negotiations to the territorial distributors, and they typically do not hesitate to take advantage of that disparity in negotiating power.

Increased Distribution Costs Make Pre-sales Less Practical — Fractionalized and split- rights agreements have become less practical in recent years because of the increasing relative cost of U.S. theatrical distribution. You might want to check out the list of distribution expenses attached to a distribution deal (see sample film industry agreements at www.filmfinanceattorney.com).

Cost-Value Trends do not Favor Fractionalized Pre-sales – As film production and distribution costs have increased, the percentage of revenue generated through a film’s domestic theatrical release has been reduced in relation to other media or territories. In addition, as the value of ancillary rights has increased, domestic theatrical distributors have been more likely to insist on requiring the domestic ancillary rights as part of any domestic theatrical distribution deal.

Domestic Theatrical Release Creates Value in Other Markets and Media – Also, the domestic theatrical distributors point out that their expenditures on advertising and publicity helps to create value for a film in the other markets; thus, in all fairness, they should be allowed to participate in those markets.

More Offers Means Less Reason to Pre-sell – Theoretically, the more value a film is presumed to have, the higher the offers distributors and ancillary buyers are willing to make to keep their competition from buying the same rights. But the more offers the producer gets for ancillary rights, the more confident the producer can be that the film actually has value and that all rights can subsequently be sold to an important distributor.

Foreign or Fractionalized Pre-sales May Eliminate Domestic Distributors – U.S. theatrical distributors often insist upon all or substantially all rights to help cover recoupment not only of advances to the producer, but also their increased distribution costs. That is, any ancillary right that has significant value will be demanded by the domestic theatrical distributor as a prerequisite of distribution. Thus, the producer who pre-sells any of the rights (e.g., territorial or specific media) to a film runs the risk of pre-selling the film out of a domestic theatrical release. And since these other rights will probably require a domestic theatrical release at a specified level (e.g., number of theatres), if there is no domestic theatrical release, then these pre-sell agreements are likely to be voided.

Pre-sales Bring Lower Prices — We have to recognize that territorial distributors know their market better than the independent producer, or the foreign sales agent. They have a much better idea how much money they could possibly make by distributing your film in their country, but to hedge their bets, they are not going to offer you (the film’s producer) top dollar for those rights. They are going to low-ball you. The reality is that such distributors are considering several films to fill their distribution slots for the year and on the whole, we’re producing way too many films each year. As a result, the price that a buyer is willing to pay before seeing a prospective film will generally be less than that which the same buyer would pay for the same film as a completed motion picture. These territorial distributors want to be assured that they will make a profit off of your film.

Giving Away Your Film’s Upside Potential — Film production companies relying on pre- sale strategies may succeed in reducing but not eliminating their downside risk, while giving away much of a film’s upside potential. Why do we say that? (see Collection Difficulties below)

Collection Difficulties — Pre-sales are based on contingencies, for example, the actual collection of moneys due from the providers of pre-sale contracts have turned out to be difficult in many instances – often more difficult than collecting from domestic distributors. In other words, by agreeing to a minimal distributor advance (payable upon delivery of the completed film to each territorial distributor) that is likely to be all of the money you’ll ever receive from that territorial distributor for that country. So, in effect, by engaging in a foreign pre-sale transaction, you have effectively given away your upside potential for being paid any profit participation for the exploitation of your film in that country – one of the top ten film markets in the world). If you combine that with half a dozen other such territories, you’ve given away a significant part of your potential profit. If you’d like to see many of the reasons why it is difficult to collect profit participations from any film distributor, take a look at the monograph “337 Business Practices of the Major Studio/Distributors”. So, when you are talking to foreign sales agent, ask the question: “Can you refer me to some of your former producer clients who have actually collected profit participations from that particular territorial distributor or in that territory?”

The “A”Picture Dilemma — Many industry observers today suggest that it is difficult to pre-sell rights in major markets around the world without an extremely strong film package, the so-called “A” picture. On the other hand, if a producer has an “A” picture, why should it be necessary to seek pre-sales? Furthermore, the stronger motion picture package will generally require more money to produce; therefore, more pre-sales will have to be made. In addition, the stronger the pre-sale package is, the more money it will take to obtain the firm commitments from talent.

Takes too Much Time — Since it generally takes much more time to contact and negotiate with multiple interested buyers of pre-sold rights in the various media and territories, producers using pre-sales may encounter a lengthier time lag between the start of their pursuit of pre-sales and the start of production than some other forms of film finance. Of course, this further complicates the attachment problem, since you’ve had to commit in advance to a specified start date in order to obtain the firm commitments from talent.

Higher Cost of Capital — Companies relying on pre-sales will inevitably have a relatively high cost of capital compared to some other forms of film finance. For example, in a foreign territory pre-sale, the entertainment lender’s principal, interest and fees are collected out of the distributor advances upon delivery of the completed film. Some completion guarantors charge an up-front fee (based on a variable percentage of all production costs other than the contingency, interest and finance costs) and agree to rebate a portion of it to the producer if no claims are made after the film is delivered. This is sometimes referred to as a “no claims rebate.” Also, as noted earlier, the sales agent’s expenses may have to be advanced prior to his or her attendance at markets and the sales agent’s fee will typically be recouped out of the film’s revenue stream, in addition to the costs and fees of the foreign distributor, before the producer will receive payments, if any, beyond the producer’s advance.

Only Part of the Financing Needed – Generally, foreign pre-sales can only provide a part of the total financing of a film’s budget. Thus, in addition to spending the time and effort developing some expertise in and pursuing this form of film finance, a producer will also have to spend time and effort developing some level of expertise in and pursuing other forms of film finance to cover the entire budget.

Contractual Quagmire — From a contractual point of view, it is difficult to coordinate the various contractual concerns of the bank, the completion bond company, the producer and the various media and territories when negotiating and drafting multiple pre-sale agreements. If you are paying your attorney on an hourly fee basis, this could get expensive.

Default Disaster — If a licensee (i.e., the pre-sales purchasing entity or buyer) sees a rough cut of the film and decides it is so much worse than expected (or otherwise unsatisfactory), the buyer may notify the producer that it will not be paying the balance of the minimum guarantee and will forfeit its deposit, if any. In that event, the bank may demand that the producer repay the loan, and the producer may have to seek payment from the distributor. If the producer fails to repay the loan, the bank might foreclose on the negative if it took a lien as further collateral, or attach the film and its proceeds even if it did not have an original lien.

Simply not Available — As noted earlier, the availability of foreign pre-sales varies from year to year depending on larger economic issues in each of the countries that traditionally offer such pre-sales. As an example, as the marketplace generally is flooded with more and more feature films, it becomes less necessary for distributors in foreign territories to pre-buy the rights. They may opt to simply wait until the films are completed.

Survival of the Weakest — Pre-sales often support projects that perhaps could not and should not otherwise have been made; thus, producers seeking pre-sale commitments may be looked upon with disfavor in some segments of the industry.

Reversion Rights and Library Values — When pre-selling rights to a film in various markets and media, the production company or its attorney must be careful to coordinate provisions relating to the reversion of such rights to the producer following exploitation of the film in such markets and media. If not, the film is likely to have less value as a library asset, and confusion over the status of such rights may make it difficult to include such film in the sale of a production company’s film library.

Macroeconomics — Feature films financed in this manner increase the number of films produced in a given year and thereby increase the demand for, and thus the cost of, various film elements that are theoretically in limited supply (e.g., screenplays, directors, actors, sound stages, etc.). Also, since there are more films produced each year than there are capable and willing distributors available to distribute, the oversupply of films contributes to a significant imbalance in the bargaining strength between producers and distributors.

Losing in the Long Term — Over the long term, the relatively few films that are highly profitable for a producer using pre-sale strategies are likely to be insufficient in number or in degree of success to recoup the losses of the firm’s many non-profitable projects. In other words, the thinner potential profit margins of pre-sold films make it less likely that such a production company will financially succeed in the long run (see the study by David Royal, “Making Millions and Going Broke, How Production Companies Make Fortunes and Bankrupt Themselves”, American Premiere, November/December 1991).

Conclusion – So, what sort of conclusion can we possibly draw from these counter-points to the constant promotion of foreign pre-sales as a film finance method? One friend, in his peer review, suggested that he was relieved to learn that there are only 26 reasons to avoid foreign pre-sales, when there are 43 ways to finance his feature film. In effect, however, this article is written as a response to the suggestions made from time to time by some of the people involved with foreign pre-sales, that there are a lot of problems with investor financing of independent films. As my book points out, there are advantages and disadvantages to every form of film finance and none are easy. But, if you are bound and determined to pursue the foreign pre-sales, at least, this article may serve as a checklist of problem areas that need to be addressed and hopefully resolved. Good luck!

* This article is partly based on a section in my book 43 Ways to Finance Your Feature Film, Third Edition (Southern Illinois University Press).

Feedback – As you might expect, I did get some push-back on the above article. Here are a couple of the points made in defense of foreign pre-sales:

Point 1: First, I’ll quote one of the responses: “For most independent producers it is nearly impossible to fund 100% of the budget with equity”. This is the same sort of film industry myth that the foreign pre-sales promotion group has used for years. It’s the reason I wrote the above article. It is wildly speculative. We have no idea what “most independent producers” are capable of. On the other hand (and as a matter of fact), 62 of my independent producer clients have done exactly what this person claims is “nearly impossible”. They raised 100% of their feature and documentary film funding from investors (equity financing) for film budgets ranging from $100,000 on the low end to $20 million on the high end. Secondly, nobody said that 100% of these budgets have to be raised from investors, after all, the same tax incentives that are available to be combined with foreign pre-sales are also available to be combined with investor financing.

Point 2: Another responder suggested that knowledgeable filmmakers seeking a foreign pre-sale based production loan do not rely on after-the-fact profit participations. That instead, they inflate the budget of the film for purposes of obtaining the loan, then figure out ways to produce the film for less and pocket the balance as producer profit. Of course, he does not consider whether this amounts to bank fraud, or if some passive equity investors are also involved for a portion of that same budget, whether such misleading information rises to the level of securities fraud. Good luck with that.

Mr. Cones’ film finance related consulting concerns the choice of finance method as well as the choices relating to: form of production company, investment vehicles for raising investor funds, the advantages and disadvantages of securities versus non-securities offerings (passive investor versus active investor), federal and state securities law compliance, proper marketing of the offering, use of the Internet and expanding the pool of prospective investors for private placement offerings. In addition, he works with producer clients in developing the associated financial projections for such offerings, in preparing and submitting state and federal notice filings, creating the selected entity, box office comparables and other disclosures required to be included in the securities disclosure document (PPM, offering circular or prospectus).

In addition to the above, Mr. Cones has prepared film finance offering disclosure documents for feature film development, packaging, production, completion fund and distribution activities. His experience extends as well to live stage plays, infomercials, television pilots, music projects and other business start-up and project financing needs. Lastly, his work encompasses the preparation of film finance business plans for active investor solicitations, as well as the conduct of limited liability company, limited partnership and corporate stock offerings.

His producer client film finance offerings have successfully raised the investor financing to produce some 57 feature and documentary films (see Filmography).

He is also the author of seven books relating to film finance and distribution (see Books) and numerous articles on related subjects (see Articles). For 15 years, he has also answered thousands of questions from independent filmmakers all across the country at his question and answer website focused on Film Finance: Investor Financing of Independent Film (see Finance Forum).

Mr. Cones typically works on a modest flat-fee project basis with more than half of the fee deferred to be paid out of the offering proceeds. Filmmakers may request information relating to film offering disclosures, an engagement letter and fee schedule at jwc6774@gmail.com.

John Cones is a member of the California and Texas Bar Associations.

Presented with permission from John Cones. http://www.filmfinanceattorney.com/

Little Known Actor Aaron Pedersen, In a Slew of Great Mysteries

In 2013, I came across a wonderful Australia actor named Aaron Pedersen who played outback detective Jay Swan in a marvelous little independent film written and directed by Ivan Sen. There was a followup sequel in 2016 called Goldstone and a new TV Series based on the films, also called Mystery Road, broadcast in 2018 ( and, I hope, many more seasons to come).

Mystery Road Aaron Pedersen

The biggest compliment I can give him as an actor is that he seems so genuine in all the characters I’ve seen from him that it actually feels like he is not acting but just happens to be the real character come to life  that has stumbled onto the movie or TV set and is trapped by the cinematographers lenses and now inhabiting the world we see on film. He’s wholly authentic in spirit if not in flesh and blood. I never see him acting, or looking like he’s reciting lines written by a screenwriter…he just is.

I have since watched all 3 Jack Irish movies featuring Guy Pearce along with Pedersen and the 2 seasons of Jack Irish available on Acorn Media– all of them marvelous and engaging mysteries. In the US, we don’t seem to have any more mysteries written in film or TV, and we have to look to the UK or Australia for great stories in this genre. 

Pedersen has worked with some fantastic actors over the years with some of them being my all time favorites with Hugo Weaving from Mystery Road, Guy Pearce in Jack Irish and award winning favorites, Jacki Weaver in Goldstone and Judy Davis from the Mystery Road TV Show. We should starting seeing him in more prominent features and shows and hopefully someone in Hollywood will offer him a juicy part sometime very soon!

Goldstone (2016) Movie Trailer Aaron Pedersen Jacki Weaver

Goldstone (2016) Movie Trailer Aaron Pedersen Jacki Weaver – Indigenous Detective Jay Swan arrives in the frontier town of Goldstone on a missing person inquiry. What seems like a simple light duty investigation opens a web of crime and corruption. Jay must pull his life together and bury his differences with young local cop Josh, so together they can bring justice to Goldstone.

Posted by Unofficial: Movie Trailers on Thursday, December 13, 2018
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Why is No-one Talking About Logan Marshall-Green in Upgrade?

I don’t single out actors very often…rather as often as I should, but sometimes a performance is so perfect that it screams to be talked about. Logan Marshall-Green has one of the finest performances in a genre picture than I have seen literally in years. And because it’s a genre picture…meaning sci-fi horror action (not award season bound) it’s never going to be given the proper praise it deserves.

Logan Marshall-Green is BRILLIANT as Grey Trace, who is a self-described technophobe in a future version of earth that is FILLED with technology. His world gets literally turned upside down when his wife is killed by a group of military assassins and he is left paralyzed from the neck down. He sets his mind to solving her murder when he is given a second chance at life, and revenge, when an experimental chip, called STEM is implanted in his spine, giving him the ability to walk again. But along with that ability comes a whole computerized litany of technology-based abilities that he uncovers over the course of the mystery.

To see how incredible Logan Marshall-Green is in the role, you just have to go to the very first scene of his investigation to find his wife’s murderer, when he breaks into the house of one of the men who ambushed them. I won’t be a spoiler here or anywhere in this article by revealing any surprises or plotlines– but just know that it’s off the hook from here on out. The BRILLIANT part of his acting is to see his face react one way–while his body does the exact opposite. It’s a tour-de-force of acting that I simply have never seen before– and so good that you don’t realize what the actor had to do to be THAT natural and realistic. He reacts EXACTLY as we do as the audience–in complete awe.

My only word for it is BRILLIANT (obviously) and I truly hope that this film does well and that Logan Marshall-Green is finally noticed as a top-tier A-list actor. He’s becoming one of my favorite actors to watch, and I can’t wait to see what he has coming up next. You’d probably recognize him from Prometheus, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Devil or a slew of TV shows. Logan, if you ever read this– keep up the good work, man, I love it!

Upgrade, is written and directed by the fantastic Leigh Whannell. Everything he touches benefits from his contact. Leigh, you just released my favorite movie of the year. Great job.

Upgrade (2018) Movie Trailer Leigh Whannell Logan Marshall-Green

Upgrade (2018) Movie Trailer Leigh Whannell Logan Marshall-Green – Set in the near-future, technology controls nearly all aspects of life. But when Grey, a self-identified technophobe, has his world turned upside down, his only hope for revenge is an experimental computer chip implant called Stem.

Posted by Unofficial: Movie Trailers on Thursday, August 2, 2018

 

Indie Comedy Film About Veterans Features Impressive Line-up Including Hollywood Legends Dick Van Dyke and Louis Gossett Jr.

Summary
May 25th, 2017 – Los Angeles:  The film, “Capture The Flag”, about a Navy veteran (Dick Van Dyke) and an Army veteran (Louis Gossett Jr.) fighting over a flagpole in a retirement community recruit a group of ragtag US military vets to wage war against each other in a game that would give the winner the right to raise the flag every morning.
 
Twin Brothers Donovan and Adam Montierth team up with Producers Barry Van Dyke and Eric J. Adams to adapt the Emmy Award winning short film, “Reveille” into what they call their patriotic “Grumpy Old Men”.  The film boasts an impressive ensemble that includes some of Hollywood’s great character actors, such as Barry Corbin, Paul Dooley, John Amos, and Rance Howard. 

 

 
***
It feels like a natural progression to try and turn the Emmy Award winning short film, Reveille, into a feature film comedy. The twin brothers behind the veteran tribute are Adam and Donovan Montierth, and their company Brothers’ Ink Productions.  The short film has also won awards at over 20 film festivals worldwide, as well as appearing on the Armed Forces Network and the Pentagon Channel.  It’s touched a cord with audiences online as it’s become a viral sensation with over 10 million views.

 

In Capture the Flag, the playful banter, teasing and prank war that escalates into a paintball war game seems to fit the rivalry between different divisions of the US military well, and the bickering veterans degrading to childish behavior seems real and effective within the confines of their environment. Besides, it’s great fun.

 

“We felt that this was a movie that could find an audience and that people would connect with the heartfelt, comedic and patriotic tone of the screenplay.” Adam recently said. The twins soon realized that was true when they had the opportunity to have Barry Van Dyke see the short film and from there read the feature film screenplay, the twins were developing. He immediately felt a connection to Reveille and told the brothers that he wanted to help them get the film made.

 

It was just the spark the Indie film needed.  “We’ve always been impressed with Barry and his work, so to have him come back with such a strong reaction helped validate the importance of the project to us.” Donovan goes on to say, “He immediately connected with the fun and heartfelt story.”  So much so, that he shared the script with his Father, the legendary actor Dick Van Dyke.  And Dick, having served himself in the Army Air Corp for two years from 1944-1945, immediately connected with the story and the characters.  To the point where he surprised Barry by asking to play the lead role.  Dick told Barry, “These are actor’s dream roles, I would love to play this part.”

 

Barry recalls that the response has been incredible.  Everyone he’s introduced the project to has had a similar reaction.  As a result, the team has been able to attach the Brother’s dream cast by adding Academy Award winning actor Louis Gossett Jr., and legendary character actors such as Barry Corbin, John Amos, Paul Dooley and Rance Howard.  

 

They have been courting some excellent directors for the project, but are keeping their choices under wraps for now. Barry has, however, managed to pick up another Hollywood great by introducing the project to his friend stunt coordinator / second unit director, Allan Graf.

 

The team behind the production is very passionate about creating a film that realistically but thoughtfully depicts the lives of a handful of war veterans and that would stand as a tribute to all men and women who have ever served under the American flag.

 

This Memorial Day Weekend, if you would like to know how you can honor our vets and help to bring back the type of family comedy that could be seen on TV during many US patriotic holidays for years to come, please visit www.Film4Vets.com.

 

For press inquiries, please contact:

 

Donovan Montierth
Brothers’ Ink Productions
 602-578-5660

 

Top 15 Luc Besson Produced Movies

 

Over the years, I’ve been a big fan of Luc Besson. Not only has he been a fantastic director, but a great writer and producer as well. I can really appreciate that kind of career, he’s got his hands on so many projects. He is amazing at developing interesting projects. Sometimes the ideas are originated by him and then handed off to other filmmakers, sometimes he takes them all the way through till release and he’s never one to turn away a great project that needs him to just produce. Here are my top 15 favorites that he’s had a hand in creating:

15 – Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

OK, Ok, this hasn’t come out yet, but I just know it’s going to hit my list. It’s the original inspiration for Star Wars and The Fifth Element, so I know I’m going to like it. This film is based on a French sci-fi comic book series created in 1967 by writer Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mezieres. Mezieres was also involved in creating visuals for Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element.

14 – Lucy (2014)

Many of his best stuff lay in 2 genres; Science Fiction and Action. This one film combines both aspects very well. In an interview on March 8, 2014, Besson said that this project took ten years to become a reality. Also, he admitted that he knew that some scientific assumptions were erroneous, ie; that humans use only ten percent of their brains. Nonetheless, he said that “(such an assumption) would be a great start for a sci-fi movie”. A woman, (Scarlett Johansson) accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

13 – 3 Days to Kill (2014)

Here’s one that Besson wrote but didn’t direct. It was directed by McG. A dying CIA agent (Kevin Costner) trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter is offered an experimental drug that could save his life in exchange for one last assignment. The meaning and relevance of the film’s title is that it refers to the estimate number of days that Ethan Renner (Costner) has to complete his mission prior to facing death from terminal brain cancer. Reminds me a great deal of a great film noir movie called DOA (Dead on Arrival) about a man who has been lethally poisoned and has to solve his own murder before he dies.

12 – Lockout (2012)

If you can excuse the main character’s dive out of a spaceship and not burn up on re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere and sky dive to a city below, then this is a pretty dang good flick. It totally would have made a fantastic “Escape From…number 3″ with Snake Plissken, but only because of Guy Pearce. He’s great. The plot totally reads like a Snake Plissken movie:  A man wrongly convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage against the U.S. (Guy Pearce) is offered his freedom if he can rescue the president’s daughter from an outer space prison taken over by violent inmates. Call it Escape From Outer Space. Besson came up with the original idea and even wrote a draft of the screenplay.

11 – Colombiana (2011)

Zoe Saldana is great, I did a blog about her a while back called Zoe Saldana Takes Over the World. Here’s a starring vehicle with her as an assassin, kind of a reoccurring theme with Besson, just look at Leon and Nikita. It’s no wonder as this film was originally supposed to be Leon part 2. The film was based off a script that was set to be a sequel for Leon: The Professional. The story was set to follow Natalie Portman’s character Mathilda as she tracked down and killed characters that had wronged her and Leon. Portman’s success kept her from availability and the script was eventually re-written into Colombiana and cast with Saldana.

10 – From Paris With Love (2010)

In Paris, a young employee (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) in the office of the US Ambassador hooks up with an American spy (John Travolta) looking to stop a terrorist attack in the city. John Travolta is the real reason to watch this film, he just crackles with electricity. When Caroline enters James’s apartment you can clearly see the book ‘Nikita’ which was written and directed by Besson, who wrote “From Paris with Love”. This is a spy genre film and it is interesting to note that the title of the earlier film To Paris with Love (1955) is said to have been the inspiration for James Bond creator Ian Fleming for the title of his 1957 James Bond spy novel, From Russia With Love which was later made into the 007 movie.

9 – District 13: Ultimatum (2009)

This is a sequel to one of my all-time-favorite stunt movies, District B13. Follows up with great stunts and action with Cyril Raffaelli and David Belle. For those of you that like the Daredevil series on Netflix, you’ll recognize Elodie Yung (Elektra) in the film. Cyril is a great stunt coordinator and he choreographed all the fight scenes in the movie and David, who invented Parkour, did all of his own stunts, without practice ahead of time. Most of the ones that you see in the film were of him performing the stunt for the first time.

8 – Tell No One (2006)

Luc Besson was lucky this project crossed his path. He was one of the Executive Producers on the film and it’s based on a fantastic book by Harlan Corben. Police find two bodies at an old murder scene and evidence to suggest the first victim’s husband is a murderer. The husband receives clues suggesting his deceased wife is actually alive and begins to investigate. This film is definitely worth finding, but it is in English subtitles, as it’s a French-language film. Originally, author Harlan Coben had optioned off his novel to Hollywood, with director Michael Apted attached. During this time, director Guillaume Canet, who had loved the novel, had been calling up Coben with his take on the novel. Coben was immediately impressed with Canet’s passion for the story, and his vision, stating that Canet understood that the novel was a love story first, and a thriller second, which Hollywood never got. When the option with Hollywood fell through, Coben contacted Canet and decided to give him a chance.

7 – Bandidas (2006)

In turn-of-the-century Mexico, two very different women (Salma Hayek, Penelope Cruz) become a bank-robbing duo in an effort to combat a ruthless enforcer terrorizing their town. This is directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, who are coming out with Disney’s Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales later this year. Steve Zahn also plays a character in the film, and it’s good to see Penelope and Steve back together again.

6 – Leon: The Professional (1994)

Mathilda (Natalie Portman), a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin (Jean Reno), after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin’s trade. Luc Besson got the idea of doing this movie while working on his previous movie, La Femme Nikita (1990). In that film’s third act, Victor the Cleaner appears to deal with the aftermath of Nikita’s botched mission. Realizing the potential of the character was underused in that movie, Besson decided to create a story that focused on the activities of such a character. Both Victor and Leon appear dressed in a long wool coat, sunglasses and a knit cap. Both are played by Jean Reno. The film’s working title was “The Cleaner”.

5 – The Big Blue (1988)

The rivalry between Enzo and Jacques, two childhood friends and now world-renowned free divers, becomes a beautiful and perilous journey into oneself and the unknown. This film was such a hit in France that it played for over a year in theatres. The most financially successful French film of the 1980s. This film was probably the closest to Besson’s own upbringing. “I was never polluted by the world of cinema. I didn’t even have a TV until I was 16. My expression is a reflection of the world I have seen, and in that world everyone was barefoot in bathing suits, following the order of the sea, the natural order of sunrise and sunset. I never went to the cinémathèque. I didn’t know much about the masters of world cinema,” Besson has said.

4 – La Femme Nikita (1990)

Convicted felon Nikita (Anne Parillaud), instead of going to jail, is given a new identity and trained, stylishly, as a top secret spy/assassin. Luc Besson had Anne Parillaud train extensively with guns so that she would be completely at ease with them. Parillaud took to practicing loading and unloading a fake gun in her car which led to her being pulled over by the police and having their guns drawn on her in traffic one day as they thought her weapon was real.

3 – District B13 (2004)

I wrote about this great stunt film in my blog: David Belle and District B13. Set in the ghettos of Paris in 2010, an undercover cop and ex-thug try to infiltrate a gang in order to defuse a neutron bomb.

2 – The Fifth Element (1997)

I just love this film, although, I would have to admit that Chris Tucker has ruined it for me over the years. He’s so obnoxious in the film that he virtually makes it impossible to re-watch the film. Other than that, fantastic film. I was so upset after the film was released that no toys followed the film, as I wanted to buy all the action figures after I saw it. They could have really sold a lot of toys if they had this prepped like the Star Wars films. Another film that I loved enough to write a whole blog about; Fifth Element.

1 – Taken (2008)This film proves that Luc Besson has a magic touch. Again, he just wrote and produced this one but was genius when he hired Pierre Morel to direct as he was perfect for the job. It also gave Liam Neeson new life as an action star. Liam Neeson initially expected the film to bomb, but he signed on, in order spend four months in Paris, and learn karate, while playing the kind of role he had rarely been offered in the past. Ironically, not only was the film a massive hit, but created a new on-screen image for Neeson, as an action hero. Liam Neeson performs a good amount of his own stunts. Over the course of the movie, Bryan kills 35 people in order to get to his daughter.

James McEachin, Patriot

 

I first met James McEachin when I worked for a marketing firm around 2002, called BookZone. I was an online marketing consultant for authors and publishers and one of my clients, turned out to be James McEachin. At that point, James was a retired actor…but I knew him as an independent author and publisher. He had written the books; Farewell to the Mockingbirds, The Heroin Factor, Pebbles in the Roadway, Say Goodnight to the Boys in Blue, and The Great Canis Lupis. We were helping him with his website and helping him with marketing his books online.widescreen-james_robe_13_boots-cap_4vj4

We would have several discussions a month and often found ourselves talking about his acting career. Being a big film buff and at-that-time, wannabe writer and director myself, I was very interested in his acting and writing career. He is most famous for his roles in movies such as Play Misty For Me, Buck and the Preacher, 2010, True Grit, The Undefeated and on TV in Tenafly, the Perry Mason Mysteries, The Rockford Files, First Monday and so, so much more.

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I was interested in his Army career as well and at that time, my twin brother and I had decided that we wanted to showcase our abilities in writing and film, by directing and producing the proper short film to do so. But we didn’t want to just do any old film. Our grandfather had died some months before and we were tossing back and forth, an idea of doing some kind of tribute film, for him as an American Veteran. We wrote a script we liked, very short about 3 pages and so I mentioned this to James after we were talking about his service one day and he asked me to send it to him.james-garner-james-mceachin-1974

I did, and he literally flipped for it. He wanted to play the Army Veteran so badly in our short. I was thrilled. Very quickly after that all the pieces seemed to fall into place and that summer in July in 2004, we set to film what would become our signature film, Reveille, with him and David Huddleston as the Navy Veteran. It was a magical 4 days, even through what would be the hottest days of the year. David and James went home and told us, they didn’t give the project much thought after that.coversmall

We finished post on the film and then scheduled a small screening in Los Angeles for David and James. They both loved the film, but afterwards, James said something that proved prophetic later. He said, “I don’t think you know what you have here. This is a really powerful film.” I think he was right. Here we had a short film, a tribute to our grandfather, that we then decided to add a tribute to all people who had served…which was supposed to be a sample of our work. A short film that could establish our abilities, become a calling card to get us hired as filmmakers in Hollywood.vet-james-mceachin

The film became so much more than that. I think James, more than any other person recognized that early on. He asked if he could put the film online…now this was in 2005, before “films” went online. We filmed the short in 35mm and back then they didn’t have digital transfers, or digital was still in it’s infancy. We told him that would be fine. He got the film digitized in low rez, because video still took up a lot of space and he found a place to put it. There was a new thing called Google Video. A pre-cursor to YouTube. He put it up there and it went viral before anyone really knew what viral was.veteran-james-mceachin

It took off! It started to get passed around like you wouldn’t believe. Now, Adam and I were still going the traditional route with this little film, in 2005 and 2006 we went to over 30 film festivals with it, submitted it to the Academy Awards…all while online, it was being shared. We found that it became quite the little hotcake…1 Million views, 2 Million views, 3 Million…it would top out the year in 2006 just over 4 Million views. We were flooded with requests to show the film at schools, churches, events, tributes, memorials, to the troops in Iraq, on the American Forces Network, on the Pentagon Channel…we were overwhelmed.james-mceachin-army-veteran

Now, on the side, James McEachin started to represent the film and his character in his own way. He reached back and embraced his military career and started to speak to large groups of people in uniform. He spoke about what it was to be a Veteran, have pride for the service and the flag. He became an inspiration to so many people. He wrote a monologue featuring the “Old Soldier” character and performed that in front of massive audiences all across the country. He released a patriotic CD. He even produced, directed and wrote an unofficial sequel to Reveille that also had David Huddleston reprising his Navy character. James McEachin had a great career in the Army, then as an actor, then as a novelist and now it all came back full circle and he was having his last career as an image of pride.widescreen-james___david_saluting_1_89re

We salute you, James, and your wonderful service to your country, our little film, and especially to the men and women who all serve under one flag.

Locker 13 the Lost Episodes Part 3

 

And the last lost episode for the Locker 13 movie…it’s appropriately tited, L.O.C.K.E.R. and it was written by Jason Marsden:

BLACK.

FADE IN:

INT. WAREHOUSE – DAY

ECU on a LOCKER.  Locker THIRTEEN, to be exact.  It stands alone, atop of a Roman pedestal, heroically in the center of a large, black room.  Locker 13, appears heavy, thick, weathered and ominous…but enough about that.

Across from Locker 13 is an audience of FARMERS. Several rows of chairs, inhabited by a group of old-ish, denim overall wearing, bearded, land owners of yore.  They sit patiently when:

A DOOR opens from the black background, illuminating BRIGHT

WHITE LIGHT that floods the inside of vast room.  From the door, at a quick pace, walks EDGAR JACKSASSY (30), smartly dressed and slick, followed by his minion, GUNTHAR RETCH (29) a lowly composite.  Edgar walks pointedly towards the farmers, pulls himself up a metal chair right in front of Locker 13 and after a beat says to the group:

EDGAR

Chickens.

Gunther, stands off to the side. Obediently watching Edgar.

The Farmers, listen…intrigued.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

The Earth’s full of ’em.  We all gotta have ’em. You’re familiar with how that goes I don’t have to tell you.  (beat) But where do you PUT ’em?

Angle on the Farmers as they react with the occasional “harfrumps, and hmmmphs”.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Sure, a coop.  Right?  A coop for all their little chicken toes and chicken fingers to get caught, maybe broken?

Gunthar giggles to himself.

GUNTHAR

Chicken fingers.

Edgar shoots him a look.  It freezes the room.  Gunthar giggles again. Edgar composes himself and continues.

EDGAR

I know farmers. I like farmers. Heck, I’m like a farmer myself. Outstanding-in-my-field!

He impresses himself with his own joke and chuckles.  The farmers weren’t amused. Gunthar is still trying to figure it out.

Edgar breaks the silence by marching up to Locker 13 and slapping it on the side!  A dreadful, hollow, metallic sound reverberates from the slam!  It grabs everyone’s attention. Edgar continues.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

This is what you came here for!  This is what you need.  The EA JACKSASSY, military production unit…L.O.C.K.E.R.!

Big hero shot of Locker 13!  It’s ominous and spooky sitting in the middle of the room.  It’s as if the other lockers just don’t want to hang around him.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Lithium OCtane Killius Earthanium Receptacle.  (beat) This is model thirteen.

Gunthar wheels in a tray of, we-don’t-know-what, underneath a velvet sheet. Edgar walks around Locker 13 as he explains.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

The war’s over.  But the battle has just begun!  Military doesn’t need these anymore because we’re suddenly “pro” life.  Goodness gracious. And at the same time, people want their chickens roaming the country side and free!  Free range!  Free range!  Give a chicken free range and next thing you know it’s gonna want to vote!

Gunthar thinks about chickens voting.

The Farmers seem in agreement.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Do you know how many KFC’s there are in this country alone? Koo Koo Roos?  Popeyes? Roscoes? El Pollo Locos? Stir fry, country fry, chow main, baked, broiled, sandwich, salad, I don’t have to tell you!  Everyone needs chicken!  “What about the vegetarians”, you say? Sure, there are plenty of hippies, dippys, yuppies and buppies, in the world.  But our planet isn’t going vegetarian yet!  We’re carnivores by nature! So rest easy my friends, for you have job security.

The farmers are lost and they’re seeming less interested.

Gunthar, is just lost.  Edgar, ramps it up!

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Human kind is jonesing for fowl and you are the dealers! Demands will rise, as well as your stock!  Cages are ‘spensive!  And are you really gonna be the hillbilly bufoon on your block with thousands of chickens roaming the hillside like the Sound of fucking Music?! NO!(beat) That’s why you need this.

Edgar, returns his attention to Locker 13, touching the cool steel.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Made from the alloy,  Killiusearthanium.  This shit was top secret.  Still is.  Adamantium is pudding next to this.  One, sixteenth of an inch thick.  That’s paper thin!

Just as he says this, from the table of goodies, Gunthar, produces a perfectly timed paper lined hoop for Edgar to punch through in punctuation!

EDGAR (CONT’D)

But with hulk-like density.

Also from the goody cart, Gunthar hands Edgar a .44, which he cocks and points at Locker 13.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

And one hundred and ten percent bullet-proof!

BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! Sparks dance around Locker 13.

It moves not an inch.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

So your chickens will remain intact! Gunthar!

Gunthar, hops to it, unlocks Locker 13 and swings open the door.  About a dozen CHICKENS pour out, excitedly!  Feathers fly everywhere.  Gunthar scrambles to collect the chickens.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

And it’s porous, which deters suffocation.

Edgar double takes as he notices a lone, dead, chicken resting at the bottom of the locker.  Without missing a beat:

EDGAR (CONT’D)

That one was already dead.

ECU through the BULLET HOLE on the side of the locker, right to Edgar, who looks to Gunthar, indicating for him to “take care of it”.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Gunthar.

As Gunthar crosses, Edgar scoops the gum (Gunthar’s been chewing all this time) from Gunthar’s mouth and covers up the bullet hole on the sly.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Tragic.  She was my favorite.  In fact, that was her name, Tragic.  She was the sick one.

As Gunthar collects the dead chicken, fresh BLOOD squirts out of the bullet wound, spraying Edgar and the Farmers. Gunthar, quickly runs out to dispose of the carcass.  Edgar breaks the tension, by SLAMMING the locker door shut!

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Anyway.  L.O.C.K.E.R. 13 is also predator proof!  Anything kept inside, stays inside.  Including odors.  Foxes, wolves, possums, any carnivore with a keen sense of smell, and with chicken on it’s menu, will never detect your valuable feathered friends if kept in this baby.  Gunthar!

Gunthar runs to attention as a rogue chicken innocently hobbles by.  Edgar maliciously snatches it up! Then cradles it in his arms, kindly strokes it’s neck as he continues:

EDGAR (CONT’D)

For example. Pretend Gunthar, is a predator! A squat, ugly, ravenous beast that hasn’t eaten in weeks.

Gunthar, gets into it, trying to emulate Edgar’s description, with hilarious, physically comedic results.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

(re: chicken in his arms) Gunthar, try to get this chicken.

Gunthar, licks his lips, bears his “claws” and pretends to stalk and attack the chicken in Edgar’s arms.  Just as he gets close enough, Edgar flings out his fist and WHAM! punches Gunthar in the face!  Gunthar, spins from the impact and sails to the ground.  Edgar continues to the farmers.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Now you shouldn’t have to exert yourself like that. Save it for your wives and daughters, eh?  Your hands are your investment!  Instead of challenging the problem with your fists, eliminate the problem altogether!  (to Gunthar) Gunthar!

Gunthar struggles to his feet and opens the locker door.

Edgar carefully places the chicken inside. 

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Simply insert a chicken into our catch-proof locker doors, and…

SLAM! Gunthar shuts the door too fast and catches Edgar’s finger!  He reels in pain!

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Ahhhgh!

Edgar holds his finger and stares daggers at Gunthar.  Edgar takes a peek at the damage and a squirt of his own blood shoots in his face. ANGLE on the Farmers as they get sprayed…again.

Gunthar, meekly offers a hanky.  Edgar snatches it away, wraps his hand, and continues…most condescendingly…

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Now say the predator happens to miraculously sense the chicken inside our locker right here.  Which he won’t.  But let’s say he does.(pointedly to Gunthar)  Say, the worm infested, mange covered, diseased, gluttonous little bitch, approaches LOCKER 13 and tries to get inside.  Go ahead.  Try and get inside.

Gunthar looks to Edgar, sheepish.  He doesn’t wanna.  Edgar shoots him a look.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Go on now.  That a boy.

Gunthar pretends to paw and claw at the locker door.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

That’s it, now try and bite it.

Gunthar reacts, confused.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Try to take a bite out of it. Open your mouth, really wide, then place your teeth around the corner there.

Gunthar, with trepidation, opens his mouth wide and places it on the corner of the locker.  Just then ZZZZZZZAP!!!!

LOCKER 13, vibrates with colorful bolts of electricity like a

Tesla-Coil!  Smoke emanates from the door, as well as Gunthar’s eyes, mouth, and ears!  His hair stands on end.

His mouth, fused to the locker!

Edgar produces a STUN GUN, which he has jabbed onto the backside of the locker, unbeknownst to everyone.  He releases the charge and a smoking Gunthar, falls to the floor.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

As a special bonus, not included in the final sale, we can equip L.O.C.K.E.R. 13 with a stun device, that would react not unlike the way you just saw.  (beat)  But what the heck, cuz I like you guys.  I’ll just go ahead and throw it in for free!

L.O.C.K.E.R.’s door slowly swings open, revealing a very cooked chicken!

The Farmers react, skeptical.  Edgar brings it home.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

I don’t know if I mentioned this, but L.O.C.K.E.R. 13 is the last one of its kind.  The only one left in the entire state of Arizona!  The only one left on this planet!   Every land owner, barn-hand, and chicken farmer would sell me their youngest daughter for one of these (beat) What say we start opening bids!

Gunthar springs to his feet, albeit a bit wobbly, and holds up a sign reading “$1000.00”.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

One thousand dollars. For L.O.C.K.E.R. 13 and free predator deterrent.  (re: fried chicken) And chicken dinner for one.  Who’ll start the bidding at one thousand?  One thousand dollars.

The Farmers ain’t biting.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Ah.  We’re all here for a bargain, aren’t we.  Well I beg your pardon. Nine-fifty!

Gunthar scrambles to find a sharpee in his pocket and crosses out “$1000” and writes “$950”.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Let’s open the bids at nine-fifty!  (ala auctioneer)Nine-fifty,doIhearnine-fifty,ninefifty,rightherenine-fifty…

He trails off as the Farmers continue to stare, stoic.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

(to Gunthar) Let’s go to eight hundred.

Gunthar crosses off “$950” and scribbles “$800”.

The Farmers don’t budge.  Edgar grows restless.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

(to Gunthar)  No no no.  Make it seven.  Seven hundred.

Gunthar scribbles.  Edgar tries the Farmers for approval.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Seven?  How about six?

Gunthar makes the change.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

This is a military device here, gentleman!  Billions of dollars in research went into…

Farmers don’t care.

Edgar’s finger is throbbing.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Alright, but I’m gonna get in trouble with my bosses if I… (new thought)  Hey.  If you don’t tell ’em.  I won’t.  Five-fifty.

Gunthar is growing weary of the changes.  There is very little room left on the sign.  ANGLE on the FARMERS – one, raspberries in disapproval.

Edgar stares at them with disappointment. He sizes them up like spoiled children. Finally he offers.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Seventy-five dollars?

A Farmer, FARMER #1, raises his hand.

Edgar jumps with excitement!

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Seventy-five dollars!  (auction mode)  Seventy-five, we got seventyfiveseventy-fivedollars. Do I hear two hundred?! Who wants to give me two hundred?  TwohundreddoIheartwohundred…

He continues vying for two hundred as Gunthar finds a new piece of paper and writes “$200” on it.  The Farmers aren’t budging.  The bidding Farmer sits back, proud.  Edgar is losing ’em.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Two hundred? No two hundred WegotseventyfiveI’mlookin. ‘fortwohundred. Seventy-fivetotwohundred? Seventyfiveto…eighty.  Can I get eighty?

A different Farmer, FARMER #2, raises his hand.  Farmer #1 scowls in offense.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

EIGHTY! I have eighty!  Can I get eighty-five Whowantstogivemeeighty -five, eighty-five, wegoteightyIwanteighty -five, who’llgivemeeighty-five? Eightyfive? Anyone? Eighty-five?

Edgar notices a Farmer, FARMER #3, counting change in his hand.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Eighty-two-fifty?

Farmer #3, excitedly raises his hand!

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Eighty-two-fifty! Igoteighty-twofifty, doIheareightytwo-seventyfive? Lookingforeighty-two-seventyfive, helpmeoutwitheightytwoseventyfive.

The Farmers all reach in their pockets for change.  Some pull out hankies, hay, a wrench, and the occasional change.  Farmer #1 raises his hand again!

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Eightytwoseventyfive! Wegoteightytwoseventyfive, who’llgimme eightytwo-eighty?!  Do I hear eightytwo-eighty?!

Farmer #2 throws up a hand.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Eightytwo-eighty! Wegoteightytwo- eighty, who’llgivemeeightytwoyninety?! Gunthar is desperately trying to catch up!

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Eightytwoninetylookingforeightytwon inety, who’llgivemeeightytwoninety?

Farmer #1 again!

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Eighty-two, ninety! Now, eightytwoninety-five! Who’sbraveenoughtoforkouteightytwoninety-five?!

Farmer #3 takes the bait!

EDGAR (CONT’D)

EIGHTY-TWO-NINETY-FIVE! Let’s go for a clean hundred!

All the Farmers stop fishing for change and shoot a collective look at Edgar. Edgar, reacts. Then covers.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Eighty…three, dollars.  Who’s gonna offer eighty three?!  Eightythree.  Looking for eighty three.

The Farmers resume counting change, but none are biting.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Eighty-three, eighty-three, anyone, eighty-three.

The Farmers are still counting change.  Some are even making trades and discussing combining funds.

Edgar looks to Gunthar, who has scribbled on everything in sight, trying to keep up with the bidding.  Edgar sees no future in this.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Eighty-two dollars, and ninety-five cents, going once.  One, authentic, military approved, L.O.C.K.E.R., going twice. This is model number 13. It will hold a capacity of 50 plus chickens, going, eighty-twoninety-five, still going twice…fuck it, SOLD! To that guy.

Edgar, half hearted, points towards the Farmers, then turns to Gunthar.

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Get the cash.  Count it.  And get them out of here.

Gunthar leaps to. The winning Farmer, celebrates.  The other Farmers offer congratulations, rise from their seats and pile out.

We stay with Edgar, who retreats to the background, removes a pack of gum from his pants pocket, unwraps it and sticks it in his mouth in disgust.

SOFT in the FG: We can make out the commotion of Gunthar removing L.O.C.K.E.R. 13 from it’s pedestal and wheeling it out with the winning Farmer as Edgar shakes his head and checks his wounded finger.

After the Farmers exit, we FOLLOW Edgar as he makes the long walks back towards the door from whence he came.  He throws open the door, bathing us in light and enters: INT. BACK WAREHOUSE – CONTINUOUS

A florescent lit kitchenette!  There’s a fridge, water dispenser, several cabinets, drawers, rows of various tea, a coffee machine, plate of bagels and a vegetable plate.  Edgar grabs a bottled water from the fridge, a bottle of vitamins from the cupboard, his favorite tea bag, and favorite mug, which he fills up with piping hot water.  He searches for a band-aid, for his wounded finger, shortly followed by a change of shirt. He then unscrews the water bottle and dilutes the tea with a bit of cold so’s he can drink it right away. Gunthar enters and crosses frame.

GUNTHAR

I’m sorry I…

EDGAR

Shut up.  No one asked your opinion.

GUNTHAR

You didn’t have to…

EDGAR

(mocking) You didn’t have to… (then) Just, shove them in there so we can get on with round two!

Gunthar Exits.

OFF SCREEN – We hear deep, guttural, BARKING sounds and Gunthar, opening a cage.  We hear him ad-libbing distress as he is attempts to wrangle some boisterous, unseen, animals. We hear the sound of a door opening.  A familiar, METALLIC DOOR. And Gunther, forcing the animals into it.  Finally, he manages to corral all the creatures before finally slamming the door.  A familiar METALLIC SLAM!

We PAN over to find Gunthar, pushing another L.O.C.K.E.R. on a dolly. The BARKING sounds are muffled, almost mute.  Edgar, slaps a sticker marked “13” on the side.

Behind them, ala Raiders of the Lost Ark, HUNDREDS of L.O.C.K.E.Rs waiting to be sold.

Gunthar pushes the dolly through frame, we HOLD on Edgar.

Who gulps his tea, straightens his jacket, places his hair, and walks out of the room.  We CONTINUE with him as he makes the long walk back to the pedestal, where Gunthar has placed the new L.O.C.K.E.R. 13.  We PAN around to find, an audience of ESKIMOS!  All decked out in their thick, winter coats, spears, etc.  We continue PANNING, resting on Edgar, sitting in a chair, just like in the beginning.  He looks at the Eskimos and after a BEAT, says:

EDGAR (CONT’D)

Baby seals!

CUT TO:

BLACK.

Locker 13 the Lost Episodes Part 2

 

Here is part 2 to the unfilmed segments of Locker 13. This next one is written by Adam Montierth and is called, Apache Tears:

FADE IN:

EXT. GOLDFIELD NEW MEXICO 1885 – DUSK

Five MEN on horseback ride slowly into town.   The TOWNSFOLK eye the men suspiciously.

The lead horse carries a large grizzled man in dark leather.  He is JACOB CALHOUN.   He grins ominously with a full set of dirty teeth and looks over at his younger brother, RUSS CALHOUN.  Russ smiles too, mimicking his Brother, but he is missing most of his teeth.

Russ is a thin reed with wild hair, resembling a weasel more than a man.  He turns to look at the three following close behind.

One of the men has a face full of scars, aptly nicknamed SCARFACE.  The man on the other side is horribly disfigured with a burn covering his bald head and half of his face, nicknamed ASH.

Russ frowns at the RIDER in the middle.  He is a stark difference to the others, as he is ruggedly good looking. 

He has strong hard features.  It looks as if God made him out of granite.

RUSS CALHOUN

Why’d ya hafta bring him?  He’s trouble I’m tellin’ ya.

JACOB CALHOUN

We need a safe guy, don’t worry he knows Sanchez.

RUSS CALHOUN

But I’ve seen his face before.

JACOB CALHOUN

Probably with Sanchez.

Russ looks back at Rider who gives him a steely gaze.

The men ride up to the bank in the center of town and hitch their horses on the post in front.

Scarface and Ash stay on their horses, the others dismount.

JACOB CALHOUN (CONT’D)

Now you two bone heads keep your eyes peeled this time.

SCARFACE

Boss, he’s as skittish as a mule.

ASH

Me?  You’re as skittish as a Jack Ass.

SCARFACE

A Jack Ass is a mule…

JACOB CALHOUN

Enough!  If’n you two…  Don’t try me.

Scarface and Ash both nod.  Then they turn to each other and glare daggers. Jacob turns to the others.

JACOB CALHOUN (CONT’D)

Alright, stick to the plan.  Let’s go.

Jacob, Russ, and Rider head for the bank’s front door. 

Before they have a chance to go in, a beautiful WOMAN in cowboy dress comes out of the bank.

It is HELENA STORM.  She appears to be half Native

American and half Caucasian.  She looks up at the three men and locks eyes with Rider in surprise. 

A moment of recognition arises, as both pause in awkward silence.  Riders eyes seem to plead with her.

HELENA STORM

Terence…

Russ snaps his fingers in remembrance and points at Rider.

RUSS CALHOUN

Terence Dean, I knew it.  Marshal…Terence Dean!

Jacobs’ eyes squint in anger. 

Russ goes for his gun, but MARSHAL TERENCE DEAN is too fast for him and immediately has his six shooter out and guns him down. Scarface’s horse jolts from the gun shot. 

ASH

Let’s get outta here.

Jacob draws his Colt 45 and immediately grabs Helena from behind.  He puts his gun to her head as Marshal trains his gun on him. Ash and Scarface ride off in a cloud of frantic dust.

Marshal Dean evaluates the situation as each man pauses in stalemate.  Jacob eyes his brothers motionless form on the ground beside him.  He quivers in rage as he spits his words out at Marshal Dean.

JACOB CALHOUN

You’ll pay dearly for that, Marshal.  Now throw your gun down or I open up another hole in this pretty little thing’s head.

Marshal puts his hands up in surrender.  He slowly and carefully places his pistol on the ground.

JACOB CALHOUN (CONT’D)

Now, see?  That wasn’t so hard.

Jacob swings his gun around to the Marshal, but before he’s able to shoot, Helena lays an elbow hard into his face.  In a flash she brings up a knife from her other hand and stabs Jacob in his shooting arm.  He drops his gun.

Helena steps back.  Jacob yells in pain and frustration as he looks up to stare at the barrel of Marshal Terence Dean. 

Jacob freezes.

Marshal looks over at Helena, still in shock at the sight of her.

TERENCE DEAN

Helena.  You’re alive!

Helena smiles at him, unsure of what to say.

Jacob smiles at her with an evil glint in his eyes. 

JACOB CALHOUN

(Whispers.) Helena.

Terence clubs Jacob in the face with the back of his revolver.

EXT. GOLDFIELD NEW MEXICO – MORNING

The sun rises over the desert landscape.  A stagecoach is drawn up to the jailhouse.

The door opens and Terence comes out with Jacob in handcuffs.  Jacob has a bad bruise on his face left from the events of the previous day.

The towns’ SHERIFF follows them out carrying a bag.  He throws it on the stagecoach.

SHERIFF

Do you really think it’s wise to leave so soon?

TERENCE DEAN

Jacob’s a popular man, the Judge in Tombstone’s anxious to see him.  He’s got a date with the reaper.

SHERIFF

Give me time to send for my two Deputies.  They can go with you.

Terence puts Jacob in the stagecoach and handcuffs him to the iron bars on the doors window. 

Helena Storm walks over to the Stagecoach from across the street. 

TERENCE DEAN

Thank you Sheriff, but we’ll be fine.

The Sheriff tips his hat and goes back inside.

Jacob smirks at the sight of Helena.  Terence slams the door in his face. Terence walks over to meet her.

TERENCE DEAN (CONT’D)

I thought maybe you were a mirage.  We didn’t get to talk last night before you disappeared.  But thank you for coming to see me off.

HELENA STORM

Terence, I didn’t come to see you off,    I’m the driver.  This is my coach.

Helena has a hard time looking Terence in the eyes.  She busies herself with getting the Stagecoach ready.

TERENCE DEAN

What?  Helena, what the hell is going on here?  I thought you were…I mean…the fire-

HELENA STORM

Yeah, the fire.  There was a bad storm, lightning hit.  I tried to stop the fire, but it was no use.

TERENCE DEAN

You were no where to be found, you made me think-

HELENA STORM

I made you…?  Look, you were better off.  I couldn’t wait for you forever.

TERENCE DEAN

I had work to do.  I told you I’d be back.

HELENA STORM

You were gone for 13 months.  I had to move on.

TERENCE DEAN

So the fire gave you a chance to start a new life?

HELENA STORM

Yeah, something like that.

FATHER WINTERS shows up.  He looks uncomfortable with interrupting the heated conversation. 

TERENCE DEAN

Father.

Father Winters nods politely and hands Helena his bag. 

She secures it to the top of the stagecoach.

The Father opens the stagecoach door and hesitates at the sight of the prisoner in handcuffs.  Jacob smiles wickedly.

JACOB CALHOUN

Father.  How the hell are ya?

Father Winters nods politely and enters the stagecoach, clutching his Bible tightly.

TERENCE DEAN

Helena say something?  You’re still my wife.

HELENA STORM

Another time and place maybe.  You weren’t made to settle down and I couldn’t wait for you.  You ran away long before I did.

Terence stands before Helena not knowing what to say. 

She climbs up to her perch on the front of the stagecoach and looks down at Terence expectantly.

He stares blankly.  She slaps the reins and the stagecoach takes off.  Terence catches the open door and enters. He closes the door and sits back dazed. 

They ride out of town.  Jacob gazes out of the window as the stagecoach passes a plain pine box where his brother lie still.  The undertaker shuts the lid and begins to nail it into place.

INT. DEAN’S RANCH – NIGHT – PAST

The cabin has been recently decorated with the comforts of a newly wed couple. 

A younger Terence and Helena are in their king sized bed looking lovingly into each others eyes.  A fire illuminates the room.

TERENCE DEAN

So how is Mrs. Dean enjoying her second day of marriage?

HELENA STORM

Better than the first.  Every day seems like a dream.

TERENCE DEAN

It should.

HELENA STORM

I’m afraid that I’ll wake up one morning and you’ll be gone.

TERENCE DEAN

I’m not going anywhere.

HELENA STORM

But you’re not a rancher.

TERENCE DEAN

I am now.  I don’t miss it.  Wasting my life chasing demons.

HELENA STORM

You were good at it.  Too good.

TERENCE DEAN

Yes I was, but I’ll be a better rancher.  This is my heaven.  My reward for being good.

HELENA STORM

I hope it’s enough.

INT. STAGECOACH – DAY

Terence shifts uncomfortably in his seat, lost in thought.  Jacob eyes him closely.  He looks at his gun and then to his handcuffs at the window. 

Terence catches him and smiles for the first time.  Jacob scowls.  The Priest quietly reads to himself.

JACOB CALHOUN

So how do you know Sanchez?

TERENCE DEAN

Hung him in Wells.  Robbed a stagecoach, killed the driver.

JACOB CALHOUN

Who hasn’t?

TERENCE DEAN

Had a nice chat before he swung.  Told me where to find ya.

The Stagecoach begins to slow.  Terence becomes alarmed.

He eyes Jacob suspiciously, who shrugs his shoulders. 

Terence looks over at the Priest and then pokes his head out the window to see what’s up.

EXT. STAGECOACH – DAY

The Stagecoach comes to a halt.  Terence exits, guns drawn.  Helena grabs her rifle and jumps down from her seat.  The Priest exits behind Terence. 

JACOB CALHOUN

What about me?

TERENCE DEAN

Stay put Father!

The Priest hangs back with Jacob. 

Terence and Helena see an old wooden foot locker on the road with a rusted iron padlock on the front.  They slowly approach the chest, looking around.

HELENA STORM

What is it?

TERENCE DEAN

Trouble.

They look at the chest puzzled.  Suddenly, they hear a knock from the inside.  They both jump back.  The knocking ceases.

Terence slowly walks forward and knocks back on the wood. 

The chest begins to rock back and forth as a frantic voice is heard muffled.

Terence looks up at Helena who looks nervous.  He aims and shoots the lock off the chest and opens the lid.  A little man, BENNY LANG, jumps out.  He is gagged and tied up.  Terence unties him.

TERENCE DEAN (CONT’D)

What the hell?

BENNY LANG

Thank you kindly.  I thought I’d never see the light of day again.

TERENCE DEAN

How’d you get in there?

BENNY LANG

That is quite the story, and see’n as I like to tell them, should make for a good time.  Got anything to drink first?

BENNY LANG(CONT’D)

I done poured out all my fluids in that thing, if’n you know what I mean.

Helena tosses him a water canteen.  Benny drinks greedily. He finishes and wipes his mouth on his sleeve.

BENNY LANG (CONT’D)

Thank you again so kindly.  There’s no end to your generosity.  Ah yes, my current unfortunate predicament.

TERENCE DEAN

Cut to the quick, we need to move on.

HELENA STORM

Terence let him catch his bearings.

BENNY LANG

No need Ma’am, I’m sorry to delay.  The situation is simple enough.  Names Benny Lang, and I’m a gambler by profession.  I happened on four fellers last night and they welcomed me into their camp.  As is my nature, a poker game began and they didn’t take so kindly to my winning.  They locked me in my trunk, evidently taking my wagon and all my worldly possessions with them, leaving me for dead.  You’ve taken all the passion from my tale, in your haste, but there it is.

Terence takes an uneasy look around.

TERENCE DEAN(To Helena)

We need to move on.

BENNY LANG

Please sir, I don’t mean any disrespect to your generosity, but could you drop me off at the next stop.

TERENCE DEAN

I don’t think that’s a good idea.

Benny’s eyes plead with Terence.  He looks to Helena for sympathy.

HELENA STORM

Terence we can’t leave him.

TERENCE DEAN

We’re only a half a day out, we’ll send someone back.

BENNY LANG

But sir, these men, were the unsavory types…

TERENCE DEAN

Evidently.

BENNY LANG

What if they come back?  Plus, I don’t have food or water.

HELENA STORM

He can sit on top with me.

TERENCE DEAN

This is not a leisure trip.  We are delivering a dangerous man.

HELENA STORM

Well then we better go now, but I won’t leave him.

Terence sighs in frustration, having dealt with her stubbornness before.

BENNY LANG

Thank you, thank you, I will be no trouble, I assure you.  Heaven has sent two angels my way.

TERENCE DEAN

Let’s go.

Terence turns to go back to the stagecoach.

BENNY LANG

Please sir, could you help with my chest?

Terence turns back getting annoyed.  Benny motions to the  foot locker and smiles.

TERENCE DEAN

Leave it.

BENNY LANG

It’s my only possession now.

Terence looks at Helena and then back to Benny.  He sighs again.

He walks over and closes the lid and then picks it up.

BENNY LANG (CONT’D)

Again, many thanks.  You don’t know, it’s been in my family for generations.  I will be no more trouble to you.

Terence hefts the trunk on top of the stagecoach.

Helena helps Benny to the perch as Terence walks over to her.

TERENCE DEAN

You keep your eyes open, I don’t trust him.

HELENA STORM

Do your job Marshall, I’ll do mine.  When this is over, we can go back to our own lives.

TERENCE DEAN

You mean our life?

Helena’s only response is to look away.

Terence takes her hand and feels for her wedding ring.

TERENCE DEAN (CONT’D)

What if I told you this was my last job?

Helena looks him straight in the eye.

HELENA STORM

I’ve heard that before, remember?

Helena steps up to her seat on the stage coach and grabs the reigns.

Terence is again left standing there as Helena starts the horses.  He has to rush to catch the stagecoach door and climb in.

INT. STAGECOACH – SAME

Jacob is smiling broadly.

JACOB CALHOUN

Never gets old.

FATHER WINTERS

What’s going on Marshall?

TERENCE DEAN

Luke, Father, chapter ten.

JACOB CALHOUN

The parable of the Good Samaritan.

Terence and Father Winters stare at Jacob who continues to smile.

JACOB CALHOUN (CONT’D)

With that in mind, my arm where your girlfriend dug her knife, is paining me.  Is it possible to move my shackles?

TERENCE DEAN

When we get there.

JACOB CALHOUN

So kind.

TERENCE DEAN

Not another word.

Terence looks out the window at the passing red rock vistas.

EXT. DEAN’S RANCH – DAY – PAST

Young Helena exits the barn with a fresh bucket of milk. 

In front of the house, she notices two US MARSHALS mounting their horses. Terence stands between them.

US MARSHAL # 1

See you day after tomorrow.

The Marshals see Helena, nod and then ride off.

Terence looks at Helena.  She looks down worried and continues past him into their home.  He tries to say something, but can’t find the words.

EXT. STAGECOACH – DAY

Benny and Helena sit silently on the perch.  She steers the stagecoach through the winding desert, lost in thought.  The sun is falling closer to the horizon.

BENNY LANG

Personally, I’m not one to settle down.  Almost fell for a petite dancer in Georgetown, then I thought better of it and headed for the West.  Heard the cards were highly regarded out here.  They are, after all, my first love.

Helena smiles at Benny’s chatter, eager for a distraction from her thoughts.

BENNY LANG (CONT’D)

Love takes commitment.  The kind a traveller like me can’t afford.

He pulls something out of his vest pocket.

BENNY LANG (CONT’D)

You know what this is?

Helena looks down.  Benny is holding a deep black obsidian stone.

HELENA STORM

A rock?

BENNY LANG

Yes, but do you know what they call it?

 

HELENA STORM

(More hesitation.) A rock?

BENNY LANG

Yes, of course.  But it’s much more than that.  They call it an Apache Tear and it’s very rare.  Do you know how it got it’s name?

Helena shakes her head no.

BENNY LANG (CONT’D)

Alright, story time.  There is a legend behind the Apache Tear.  There were two young Indian lovers who were from different tribes.  They were warring factions of the Apache people.  They were commanded to treat the other as hostile, but they desperately loved each other.  They would meet in secret, making an oath of their undying love.  When their tribes learned of their treachery, they were each sentenced to death unless they denounced their love.  They would not.  Each one escaped from their tribe and they met again on the cliff of the mountain top, with the tribes in pursuit.  With no other option before them, they jumped off the cliff to their death.  Legend has it, the Apache Tears were made when the mountain wept.

HELENA STORM

That’s a beautiful story.

BENNY LANG

Commitment and sacrifice is true love.

Helena turns away with a tear in her eye.

HELENA STORM

That’s why it’s so rare.

INT. STAGECOACH – DAY

Terence is also lost in thought.  Jacob eyes him closely.

JACOB CALHOUN

I’m gonna kill you.  You know that?

Terence snaps into the present.

JACOB CALHOUN (CONT’D)

For killin’ my Brother.  You shouldn’t a done that.

Father Winters looks up from reading his Bible.

TERENCE DEAN

Actually, you killed him.

JACOB CALHOUN

How’s that?

TERENCE DEAN

Your life led you to that moment.  You created it years ago when you became an outlaw.  What do they say Father?  Live by the sword, die by the sword?  Only our swords have changed, haven’t they?

Terence pats the six shooter on his hip.

JACOB CALHOUN

Your moment’s coming Marshall.

Suddenly, the stagecoach begins to slow again.

Jacob smiles knowingly.

Alarmed, Terence pokes his head out of the window to see what’s going on.

EXT. STAGECOACH – DUSK

The stagecoach comes to a complete stop.

Terence exits with his guns drawn.

TERENCE DEAN

I told you not to stop.

Terence stops in his tracks and stares into the tree before him.

Two men ominously swing on nooses in the large oak tree by the road.  The first has a crude sign painted on him in red that reads, “Horse thief”.

TERENCE DEAN (CONT’D)

This is not right.

Terence swings around just as one of Jacob’s men, Ash, comes rushing around the back of the stagecoach with a rifle.  Terence raises his pistol.

SCARFACE

I wouldn’t do that Marshall.  Drop your guns.

Terence slowly turns to find Scarface swinging in the trees with the first man, but he is very much alive and has two six shooters aimed directly at him.

Helena reaches for her rifle, but Ash is there to take it from her.

ASH

I don’t think so little darlin.  You and the boy jump down.

BENNY LANG

Who you calling a boy?  I’ve more whiskers than you.

Helena and Benny climb down from the stagecoach.

JACOB CALHOUN

You bone heads gonna keep me in here all day.  I need the key in Marshall’s left vest pocket.

Ash walks over and cautiously approaches Terence.

SCARFACE

Marshall, why don’t you kindly throw my buddy the key then.

Terence looks up at Scarface who cocks his guns.

He takes the key from his vest pocket and throws it to Ash, who rushes it over to Jacob. 

Jacob unlocks his handcuffs and rubs his bandaged wrist.

Ash hands him a gun.

Jacob triumphantly walks up to Terence.

JACOB CALHOUN

Well, well, well.  Who’s moment is it now Marshall?

Jacob looks over at the dead man next to Scarface.

JACOB CALHOUN (CONT’D)

Who’s that?

SCARFACE

He’s a horse thief.  Where’d you think we got the idea.

JACOB CALHOUN

Get down from there.

Scarface struggles.

SCARFACE

Boss, I need help.

Jacob ignores him and turns back to Terence.

JACOB CALHOUN

You killed my Brother.  Now it’s my turn.

Jacob turns to look at Helena.  Terence moves towards Jacob who shoves a pistol in his face.

TERENCE DEAN

You got me, leave her alone.

JACOB CALHOUN

Or what, Marshall?

TERENCE DEAN

So help me, I will travel to hell to make you pay.

JACOB CALHOUN

Strong words, for a man in your position.

Jacob walks backwards towards Helena, with his gun drawn on Terence. He reaches her and looks around.

JACOB CALHOUN (CONT’D)

We’re missing someone.  (Yelling)  Oh Father, come on out.  I’ll need you to deliver some last rites.

Father Winters slowly exits the stagecoach.

Jacob turns back to Terence, as Father Winters raises a hidden pistol.

SCARFACE

Boss, look out.

Father Winters shoots Scarface dead, as a whirlwind of motion occurs simultaneously.

Scarface drops one of his six shooters and Terence catches it. Ash turns and shoots Father Winters, who goes down.

Terence shoots Ash dead.

Benny runs for cover behind the stagecoach.

Helena gets to her rifle and raises it to Jacob, just as he grabs the barrel and swings behind her.

Terence trains his gun on Jacob, who now has Helena in his grasp with his gun to her head. They face each other once more.

JACOB CALHOUN

Deja vu Marshall.  Seems like we been here before.

TERENCE DEAN

Let her go, and you live.

JACOB CALHOUN

Nice trick in there with the padre.  One of your Deputy’s I presume?

TERENCE DEAN

You can’t win.  Give it up!

Jacob cocks his pistol and pushes it into Helena’s temple.

JACOB CALHOUN

Why Marshall, I’ve already won.  I just want you to pay.

TERENCE DEAN

Don’t!  Okay, okay.  Take me, not her.

Terence drops his gun and holds his hands up in surrender.

JACOB CALHOUN

Oh how very chivalrous, but that’s not the point.  How does the scripture go?  An eye for an eye?

Helena swings a knife over, but Jacob intercepts it this time and throws it to the ground.  He squeezes her tightly.

JACOB CALHOUN (CONT”D)

I don’t think so, little lady.  Not this time.  You see Marshall, I’m going to take something from you now.

With a wild banshee cry, Benny Lang jumps out from behind the stagecoach with a small Dillinger aimed at Jacob.

Jacob just turns and shoots him square in the chest.  Benny looks helplessly down at the gaping hole in his chest and falls to the ground dead. Terence goes for his gun.

Jacob aims again at Marshall Dean.  Both guns go off simultaneously.  Jacob gets shot in the head and falls backwards. 

Helena looks up at Marshall Dean breathlessly.  He smiles.  She smiles back.  A red stain suddenly appears on his shirt. She hesitates unbelieving.  He staggers to the ground. 

She rushes over and kneels down and cradles him in her arms.  She begins to cry. He struggles to breath. 

HELENA STORM

Don’t leave me again, please don’t leave me.

TERENCE DEAN

I should have loved you more.

His eyes go blank as he stops breathing.  She cries.

HELENA STORM

Please, please no.  I will do anything.  Just come back to me.

A voice is heard behind her.

It is Benny Lang now standing and uninjured.  His eyes blaze red. Helena stares at him, puzzled.

BENNY LANG

Would you?  Would you do anything?

HELENA STORM

What?  I thought you were…

BENNY LANG

Sacrifice and commitment, remember.  The sign of true love.  Would you do anything?

HELENA STORM (Confused)

Of course I would!

BENNY LANG

Would you give your life?  Your… soul for him?

Helena looks down at the still form of Terence and whispers.

HELENA STORM

Yes.

BENNY LANG

So be it!

Benny snaps his fingers and Terence wakes up.  He looks into Helena’s eyes and kisses her.  She immediately falls limp, dead. 

Terence looks to Benny who smiles wickedly.  He holds a white wisp in his hand.  The faint voice of Helena can be heard in the wisp.

HELENA STORM (From the wisp)

I love you Terence, I always will.

The Marshall jumps up and goes after Benny, who quickly climbs up to the top of the stagecoach and opens his wooden trunk.  Terence advances and Benny jumps inside, slamming the door shut on top of him.

Terence pulls the trunk down off of the stagecoach and it crashes to the ground open, empty. Terence yells helplessly in the desert.

INT. SALOON – NIGHT

Another time, another place, a seemingly normal poker game proceeds in a dark and crowded saloon.  Benny Lang is smiling and rakes in another deep pot with a full house, aces high. 

The GAMBLER across the table sits unblinking.  Benny folds up the deed on top of the stack and puts it in his jacket pocket. 

GAMBLER

That’s it, that’s everything.  What have I done?  I’ve ruined myself and my family.  I would do anything to have the last few minutes of my life back.

Benny looks at him intently and his red eyes blaze.

BENNY LANG

Would you?  Would you do anything?

CUT TO BLACK:

Locker 13 the Lost Episodes Part 1

 

I bet you didn’t know that there were officially 3 segments of the movie Locker 13 that went unfilmed, due to the fact that we couldn’t raise the funds to shoot them during the recession of 2008. I thought it would be interesting to publish in the blog the 3 missing scripts, for those of you that liked Locker 13 and would like to read what could have been. Would’ve made for a VERY different movie.

Here’s the 1st one called, Midnight Blues:

BLACK.

DANTE (V.O.)

Nietzsche once said, “The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.”

FADE IN:

EXT. CEMETERY – SOMETIME AFTER DUSK

A plain black casket lay closed on a pallet above a freshly dug grave. The casket is closed.

The cemetery is void of people, except DANTE CHARON. In profile, Dante is a pale white haired man dressed all in black. His hat in hand, he looks sadly at the casket as he says his last good-byes.

DANTE (V.O.) (CONT’D)

He never said anything about the bad times. There are some things we wish we could never remember. But sometimes…we have to. It’s the bad times that can remind us who we really are.

In silhouette, Dante looks up just as a CAR BACKFIRES, a flock of birds nearby release into the air with a start.

DANTE (V.O.) (CONT’D)

So I guess the reverse must be true as well. The burden of a good memory is that one must suffer often the painful memories HE holds…almost as if he’s paying some kind of endless penance for some past mistake…

Dante’s hand reaches down and cups some earth, he pauses a second…then tosses it into the grave.

DANTE (V.O.) (CONT’D)

But I guess that’s my fate. A life lived in solitude.

The morning sun hits Dante’s face. He is disfigured…

CLOSE-UP: DANTE’S EYE

His left eye is sealed shut and massive scars cover the surface from brow to cheek.

DANTE (V.O.) (CONT’D)

But it’s not only my life. I’ve made it my job.

Dante puts on his black hat. The hat of a chauffeur. He turns and walks toward a big black CADILLAC. But it’s no ordinary Cadillac.

It’s a HEARSE.

SMASH CUT TO:

INT. OFFICE – EVENING

A WOMAN screams.

It is SARA LIPTON, a middle-aged woman, stern and of fading beauty.

She wrestles with 2 YOUNG MEN. A hand with a rag filled with some kind of liquid is roughly placed over her mouth. She slowly goes slack and loses consciousness.

The men start laughing. One of them, JAKE, looks nervous. His eyes shift back and forth as a hand wipes nervously at a white powdered nose. The burly man, JIM, slaps Jake on the arm.

JIM

It worked!

Jake laughs at Jim and nods. He looks down at Sara and nudges her with his foot as she lays sprawled out ungenerously on the carpet.

JAKE

It’s payback, bitch!

CUT TO:

EXT. HEARSE – NIGHT

The Hearse door shuts.

Feet walk past to the back where it is parked next to a set of double doors.

The man in black passes a plaque that reads, “Phoenix City Morgue” on his way through the double doors.

CUT TO:

INT. HALLWAY – SAME

The man in black walks to an entry desk in the back. A MAN IN A WHITE LAB COAT sits with his feet up on the desk watching “Matlock” from a miniature television while chewing on a piece of beef jerky.

His name tag reads, “ROBERT DIENER”.

He looks up and just about chokes on his jerky.

ROBERT

Holy shit!

Robert sees the scarred eye of Dante for the first time.

Dante ignores the reaction and pulls a name tag out of his pocket and waves it at him. It reads, “Dante Charon, Green Acres Cemetery”. He taps a clipboard.

DANTE

Here for a pickup.

Robert tries to compose himself.

ROBERT

Course.

He shuffles some papers around. Can’t find what he’s looking for. Dante seems to make him nervous.

DANTE

New here?

ROBERT

I been round the block if that’s what you mean…

Robert lifts the TV and looks under it. Dante breathes out slowly.

DANTE

This block?

ROBERT

Damn! OK, so I been here about an hour, it’s my first shift, I just had that file…

Robert tries not to look at Dante’s eye. But it’s obviously freakin’ him out.

ROBERT (CONT’D)

Ok, ok. So? You’re makin’ me nervous ok, could happen to anyone.

DANTE

Which one?

Robert stops shuffling papers. He’s confused.

ROBERT

What? I wasn’t lookin’ at the eye if that’s what you mean…I mean it’s frickin’ strange and all, but I’m no peep…

Dante looks at the clipboard.

DANTE

Cold chamber. Which one?

ROBERT

Oh, locker 13.

Dante nods and exits through a large metal door.

Robert sits back down and breathes out a huge jet of air.

ROBERT (CONT’D)

Sorry, about the eye…thing…

He trails off talkin’ to himself.

CUT TO:

INT. COLD CHAMBER – SAME

CLOSE-UP: METAL LOCKER DOOR WITH THE LARGE “13” ON IT DEAD CENTER.

Dante unlatches the metal latch.  Cold air rushes out of the locker. Dante pulls out the casket on rollers. He pushes it towards the metal door in the back.

CUT TO:

EXT. HEARSE – SAME

Dante loads the casket into the Hearse.

CUT TO:

INT. HEARSE – SAME

The door opens and Dante gets in and buckles up.

He lowers the visor to reveal a group of postcards, with a picture of Edward Hopper’s painting, “Nighthawks” on top. The postcards say, “Chicago Museum of Art” in the lower left hand corner of each card.

He takes the cards down and shuffles them until he finds the one he’s looking for. He puts them back under the visor with a picture of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” on top.

He closes the visor and starts the engine.

He reaches down and pulls out a “Hall and Oates” CD. He puts it into the CD player and skips to song number 4.

CUT TO:

ESTABLISHING – The city at night.

The Hearse drives through the freeway at midnight.

Hall and Oates, “She’s Gone” plays in the background.

CUT TO:

INT. HEARSE FRONT SEAT – NIGHT

Dante thumps on the steering wheel with the music.

INT. HEARSE BACK – NIGHT

The casket lays in silence. Something’s not quite right. Something BUMPS softly from inside the casket.

INT. HEARSE FRONT SEAT – SAME

Dante looks out the rearview mirror.

CUT TO:

EXT. HEARSE – SAME

The Hearse pulls through the large metal gates of a cemetery.

CUT TO:

INT. HEARSE FRONT SEAT – SAME

Dante looks left and right as he slowly drives down the small path.

INT. HEARSE BACK – SAME

The THUMPING gets louder, more insistent.

HEARSE FRONT SEAT

Dante stops the car and listens.

HEARSE BACK

The THUMPING is very loud and panicky.

HEARSE FRONT SEAT

Dante turns the CD player off and hears the thumping coming from the back.

CUT TO:

EXT. HEARSE – NIGHT

Dante gets out and walks around to the back. He opens it and pulls out the casket on rollers. The THUMPING is very fast and LOUD now.

He opens up the casket and Sara Lipton sits up and gasps for air.

She looks very much the worse for wear. Her hair is a mess, her makeup smeared on her face, and wearing what appears to be a mechanics grey jumpsuit. Dante doesn’t look surprised.

SARA

What’s going on! Why did you put me in here?

DANTE

I didn’t put you in there.

SARA

Where am I and how did I get here?

DANTE

You’re in the Green Acres Cemetery and I drove you here.

Sara gets out of the coffin and dusts herself off. She gets hysterical and runs over and starts beating on Dante.

SARA

ARE YOU CRAZY? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT! THIS IS KIDNAPPING! I HAVE TO CALL THE POLICE…

Dante grabs her wrists and stops her from hitting him.

DANTE

Ma’am, calm down… I can help you through this.

She stops and cries.

SARA

You’ve done this before?

DANTE

I’ve helped people though a lot worse.

He points to his eye.

She notices it for the first time. This calms her down.

DANTE (CONT’D)

Do you remember who you are?

SARA

Of course I do, my name’s…

She’s puzzled. She can’t remember her name.

SARA (CONT’D)

My name is…

She’s terrified.

SARA (CONT’D)

I can’t remember…

Dante opens the car door and pulls out the clipboard.

DANTE

Sara Lipton.

She remembers.

SARA

YES! YES! Sara…of course my name is Sara!

He nods. She nods.

DANTE

Do you remember how you got in there?

She shakes her head. He shakes his head.

DANTE (CONT’D)

What’s the last thing you remember?

 

SARA

I remember working today. I’m a CPA…

CUT TO:

INT. OFFICE – DAY

Sara is at her desk, she’s yelling at someone.

SARA

That’s it! NO MORE CHANCES! I’m sick of the lies! The backstabbing! I won’t take it anymore…

She throws a file into a startled man’s lap.

SARA (CONT’D)

GET THE HELL OUT OF MY OFFICE! YOU’RE FIRED, JAKE!

CLOSE-UP: Jake.

Jake’s eyes are panicked.

JAKE

You can’t do this! I been with this firm 10 years, I can’t start over…

She pushes him toward the door.

SARA

I just did! I never want to see you around here again! Don’t come back…

He walks away, stunned.

She SLAMS the door.

SLAM CUT TO:

EXT. HEARSE – NIGHT

Her eyes remember little things, but her brow furrows.

SARA

I had a bad day today…I can remember some things…but not how I got here…

DANTE

It will come to you.

CUT TO:

INT. HOME – EVENING

Sara comes home to an empty house. She opens the front door, turns on the hall foyer light. She reads the mail on a side table.

INT. KITCHEN – SAME

She opens the fridge. Hardly anything in there. Nothing interests her.

INT. BEDROOM – SAME

She turns on the bedroom lights and looks at the bed. There is only one pillow in the center of the bed. She leaves.

INT. FOYER – SAME

She stands in the empty room. She stands in an empty house.

She is alone.

She leaves and SLAMS the door behind her.

SLAM CUT TO:

EXT. HEARSE – NIGHT

She’s crying now. The memories are coming on stronger now.

SARA

I couldn’t go home so I went back to the office…

CUT TO:

INT. OFFICE – EVENING

Sara screams.

She wrestles with 2 YOUNG MEN. A hand with a rag filled with some kind of liquid is roughly placed over her mouth. She slowly goes slack and loses consciousness.

FLASH CUT TO:

EXT. HEARSE – NIGHT

The memories are flooding in a torrent against her. She cries openly, trying to gain her composure.

SARA

It was Jake…he wanted to get back at me for firing him…but he was a junkie…I couldn’t have that in the office anymore. I covered for him way too long…

FLASH CUT TO:

INT. WAREHOUSE – EVENING

She slowly wakes up from the floor. She gets up groggily. She can hear voices in the next room. She shakes her head and walks over to the door.

INT. ROOM – SAME

Jim and Jake are arguing. There’s a table between them with cocaine and hard liquor scattered about. A gun sits in front of Jim.

JIM

…we can get a ransom!

JAKE

From who? She’s got no friends or family, everyone hates her!

JIM

-Then what, JAKE? WHAT DO WE DO WITH HER?

JAKE

Make her clear her bank account! Get all the stuff from her house–

Sara opens the door and staggers in. She’s not quite right yet, still not lucid from being drugged.

SARA

I’ve got to get to the police! You’re going to JAIL! YOU’RE…

Jim picks up the gun, startled as she hobbles forward like a creature from a horror movie.

She sways forward, woozy, Jim thinks she’s coming to get him. He pulls the gun up and everything SLAMS to slow motion…

His finger pulls the trigger.

The gun FIRES…

She gets shot in the chest. Looks down at the gaping hole where her heart should be. She crumples to the floor.

CUT TO:

EXT. HEARSE – NIGHT

Sara stops. Dante nods.

DANTE

You remember now, don’t you?

She reaches up and unzips the jump suit to reveal a Y INCISION on her chest.

DANTE (CONT’D)

They only do a Y-Incision when there’s been an autopsy…

She looks at him, in amazement.

SARA

You knew?

DANTE

It always goes smoother when they find out for themselves. I’ve been through this before remember?

She looks over at the casket. She walks over and lifts it.

The body of Sara Lipton still lies inside. She is looking at herself.

SARA

But how?

DANTE

The ones who aren’t quite ready yet, just need a little time to adjust. To get use to the idea of passing through…

SARA

Passing through, where?

DANTE

A much better place.

She cries.

SARA

Really?

DANTE

Yes. You have loved ones, Sara.  They are waiting for you.

SARA

For me?

DANTE

Yes, Sara. You’re not alone. There is a place for you, and you’re not alone. A much better place than here.

She walks forward and wipes her tears. She smiles up at Dante. She reaches over and touches his eye.

SARA

You see much better than we do, don’t you?

He smiles at her.

She turns and walks away.

SARA (CONT’D)

You’re the ferryman, aren’t you? The river Styx, come to bring me to the other world…

DANTE

The river Acheron actually. My name’s Charon.

He nods to her.

DANTE (CONT’D)

You’re free to go, Sara. Go in peace.

SARA

Thank you, Charon.

She smiles and slowly fades away.

He walks over and closes the casket.

SMASH CUT TO:

EXT CEMETERY – MORNING

A plain black casket lay closed on a pallet above a freshly dug grave. The casket is closed.

The cemetery is void of people, except Dante Charon.

DANTE

Aristotle once said, “Happiness is the highest good, being a realization and perfect practice of virtue, which some can attain, while others have little or none of it…”

CUT TO:

INT. HEARSE – SAME

He lowers the visor and takes the postcards down. He shuffles them until he finds Georges Seurat’s painting, “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.” He puts that on top and closes the visor.

He skips the CD to number 2 and “Sara Smile” from Hall and Oates starts to play.

He smiles.

DANTE

But what the hell did he know.

SMASH CUT TO:

BLACK.

Peter Jackson and The Frighteners, A Scary and Fun Ride!

 

It’s very rare for a film to cross genres effectively, but The Frighteners (1996) is just one of those special films. It’s altogether funny, and terrifying, but most of all a thrilling fantasy. The film is about Frank Bannister, who develops psychic abilities, after a car accident kills his wife and he is injured, allowing him to see, hear, and communicate with ghosts. He gives up his job as an architect, letting his unfinished “dream house” sit incomplete for years, and puts these new skills to use by befriending a few ghosts and getting them to haunt houses in the area to drum up work for his ghostbusting business; Then Frank proceeds to “exorcise” the houses for a fee. But when he discovers that an entity resembling the Grim Reaper is killing people, marking numbers on their forehead beforehand. With the help of his ghostly pals, Frank pursues this ghastly creature. Meanwhile, Dr. Lucy Lynskey is investigating Patricia Bradley, a woman who was involved in a mass-murder as a teenager, and has been experiencing ghostly attacks. Despite the fact that the police, and FBI Agent Dammers want to pin the murders on Frank, he and Lucy realize that something supernatural and sinister is happening in Fairwater and will stop at nothing to find the truth.the-frighteners

This film didn’t do too well at the box office, because frankly, no one knew what to make of it so the marketing fell apart. If you want to watch some both funny and scary…both fantasy and thriller…then this film can be a great mix! Michael J. Fox plays Frank Bannister with his usual charisma and instantly pulls you in effectively to this strange new world. No other actor was considered for the Frank Bannister role other than Michael J. Fox. Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh were having a meeting with Robert Zemeckis (who produced) about the film and his name came up. Zemeckis liked the idea, and sent the script to Fox. The film was originally planned as a Tales from the Crypt (1989) feature, but producer Robert Zemeckis liked the script so much, he decided it should stand on its own and not be part of a series. Danny Elfman was so impressed with Peter Jackson’s previous movie, Heavenly Creatures (1994), that he offered to do the score for one of Jackson’s next movies, and agreed to this movie without even knowing what it was about. milton-dammers-the-frighteners

Michael J. Fox performed many of his own stunts in the film. Ironically he broke his foot by a simple fall whilst filming in the forest at night. Peter Jackson said Fox’s injury was actually a blessing in disguise because it allowed him to work on the script some more, and edit some of the film’s scenes while Fox recovered for a week. When Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson were writing the part of the Drill Sergeant in the graveyard, they wrote the part as a spoof of R. Lee Ermey’s character in Full Metal Jacket (1987) with the intention of getting an actor in New Zealand for the role. But they didn’t feel the actors who auditioned were right and finally ended up approaching Ermey himself, and he said YES! The shot of R. Lee Ermey screaming down at Frank Bannister in the cemetery is a clear reference to the shot of him screaming down at Pvt. Joker in Full Metal Jacket.frighteners-ermey-fox

The film’s serial killing couple is based on real life people. Charles Starkweather, the real life killer referenced in the movie, killed 11 people (and 2 dogs) during a nearly two month killing spree. His 14-year-old girlfriend (Carillon Ann Fugate) accompanied him for, and participated in most of the killings. He was caught, tried, convicted, and executed (by electric chair), in a seventeen month span. Caril was not executed, but sentenced to a “Life” term in prison. She was paroled after serving 17 years in prison. In order to trick the audience into believing that Patricia Bradley (the Caril character) was innocent of the Fairwater murders, Peter Jackson specifically wanted Dee Wallace for the part. He figured that her role as Elliot’s mother in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) was about the sweetest character you could find, and therefore no one in the audience would suspect her.frighteners-2