Wednesday, April 15, 2009

LEGS: The Big Hangover

While I'm outlining and writing the next sequence for GUN-WILD, I thought you might like to take a little trip with me back to my early work.

LEGS is my second screenplay, writte about ten years ago. My first, SPIRAL, was a true story that I worked on with the person who's story it was -- it about his freindship with Savannah, the world-famous porn star that committed suicide. It was a great story that got a lot of attention, but it was pre-BOOGIE NIGHTS, and no one would touch it. It was full of cool stuff -- she dated Slash, Marky Mark and Pauley Shore. (Ha.) We even pitched Miramax -- for 90 minutes! But it died on the vine. The partner was a nightmare to work with -- he kept trying to rein in my imagination. Live and learn.

I wrote LEGS as a way to find my true voice. This is the origin of my hardboiled/noir/crime persona. 'Leg's is Carrie Love, a hard-drinking, chain-smoking private eye living in Venice Beach. (The inspiraion was originally Jim Rockford, which eventually morphed into Phillip Marlowe.) I ended up writing a trilogy of stories about her exploits (LEGS ... DAZED, BEAUTIFUL & BRUISED ... and WILSHIRE BOULEVARD). She also appears in my media satire HIT & RUN HOLIDAY.

Needless to say, she's a great character.

Semi-autobiographical? Most certainly.

But I'm not that violent ...

Here's where we first meet her, on page 2 of LEGS ...


Uncommonly lovely.
And a bit weathered from a trip in the fast lane.
But still, her long chestnut hair, caramel tan
and pillow lips make most men stare.

And more than a few women.

CAMERA pulls back to reveal --
A brassy detective theme, ala PETER GUNN.
The first light streams in through the blinds, to reveal --

CARRIE LOVE, (27), a tall, tight drink of water
in an hourglass-shaped goblet, asleep like the dead,
sprawled across her thrashed bed.
Mouth open. A trail of spittle.

REVOLVER, a cuddly cocker spaniel sleeps at her feet.

My god, I look so peaceful.
But when I wake up, look out.
Hangover city.
I gotta stop betting people I can out-drink them.
'Cause I always win.

She starts coughing. Leans over.
Grabs a glass of water. Glugs it down.
Throws the covers over her.
Burrows back in.

I smoke too much.
My doctor tells me the only reason
I've gotten away with it for so long
is 'cause I work out every day.

The phone RINGS.
She YANKS it off the hook.
SLAMS it down.

Fucking bill collectors.
Don't they know it's Sunday?


She whips off the covers, seizes the phone --
and RIPS out the cord.

I've got this habit of taking out my anger on appliances.
They love me at Radio Shack.
You shoulda seen what I did to that toaster oven.

She slowly, achingly gets out of bed.
Tries to stretch. Ouch.
We see she's still dressed from her night out.
She unzips her skirt. Peels it off. Tosses it.

My name's Carrie. Carrie Love.
But everyone calls me Legs.
People say my legs are my best feature.
Comes from rollerblading ten miles a day.
Being five foot ten doesn't hurt either.
More legs per square inch.

She looks at herself in the mirror.
It's not a pretty sight.

I think my best features
are my ironic smile and my rapier wit.
But what the fuck do I know?
Most guys just stare at my boobs.

Carrie watches the Mr. Coffee do its thing.

Ever see those guys waiting for their methadone?
At least I get to have more than a little paper cup.

She pulls off her top, tosses it across the room --
revealing a black bra. And a leather shoulder holster.

That's right. I carry a gun.

She reaches behind. Grabs her piece.
Gingerly rubs her spine.

I'm a private dick.
I do Rockford Files kinda stuff, nothing dangerous.
Guys who cheat on their wives hire me to prove
their wives are cheating on them.
I also do missing persons --
last week it was some Beverly Hills asshole
trying to find his junkie son
who swiped his Humvee.
It pays the rent.

I've thought about bounty hunting --
I mean, that's where the real bucks are --
but I like breathing, thank you very much.

A view of the ocean, lush with trees and flowers.
On the patio, a big, old wooden hot tub. Steam rising.

is a headless female body.
Red smears the green water.
A chlorine floater bobs against an exposed breast --
with a tattoo of a hummingbird feeding off the nipple.

I'm reasonably happy.
Being a low rent dick keeps food on the table,
and I get a few cheap thrills every now and then.
I mean, what can I say?
I grew up on Charlie's Angels.
Carrie squints in the sunlight,
cups her mug with both hands like it's the Holy Grail.
Revolver runs out onto the patio.

Welcome to my life.
Hope you enjoy the ride.

She sips her coffee. Looks at the ocean.
Smells the scent.

(out loud)
Another fucking beautiful day in paradise.

The dog starts BARKING.
Carrie sees the body. SCREAMS.
Her mug hits the ground -- CRACK.

Oh my god, oh my god, OH MY GOD!

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