Monday, March 2, 2015
Touched By An Angel
Hey there, crime kids. Happy Monday. It's time once again to take a trip to the dark side, where your most violent fantasies become sins of the flesh, right here, where the hardboiled action is non-stop, at the coolest crime joint in cyberspace ... at That Killing Feeling.
Today I'm going to start sharing another story that's never been on my blog. SPIRAL was my first screenplay, written back in the late 90's. I had been a television executive at the Playboy Channel and had left there to try my hand at being an independent film producer. This was during the go-go independent film boom raging at the time, and the streets were lined with deals. One of my old friends at Playboy had been friends with the infamous porn start Savannah (real name Shannon Wilsey) who committed suicide. He had met her through a friend of his that was her stylist, and the three of them ended up staying up all night partying in her Hollywood Hills mansion night after night. To make a long story short, I got so excited about this true story that took place in the porn industry, I decided to try and write the screenplay myself.
Later on, my creative partner and I were able to pitch Miramax about the project, which they seemed to love -- in fact, they loved the story so much, they wouldn't let us leave. I had learned that a typical pitch was ten-twenty minutes, thirty at the most, but they kept us there for an hour and a half. Stars in our eyes, we flew from NYC back to LA, sure we had a deal.
But then something happened. The powers that be at Disney -- who owned Miramax at that time -- decided that a film about the porn industry didn't fit their slate, and the project was shelved -- never mind the fact that our story was behind the scenes -- there was in fact only one scene on a porn shoot. Then New Line came out with BOOGIE NIGHTS, and the rest is history.
So today I'm proud to present SPIRAL in all it's ragged glory. Please be kind, as it was my first screenplay, and I'm gonna be reading it for the first time myself in many, many years.
I hope you enjoy.
In Chapter 1 of SPIRAL, porn star Shannon Wilsey, aka 'Savannah' gets into a nasty car accident in the Hollywood Hills. Meanwhile, Andy Bernardi leaves home and drives to Hollywood, stars in his eyes ...
EXT. 101 FREEWAY - NIGHT
SUPER: "North Hollywood. July 12, 1994. 2:30 AM."
Over the action, pulsing, THROBBING
techno music: Republica's "Holly."
EXT. 101 FREEWAY - AERIAL SHOT - SAME
A white Corvette Stingray convertible ZOOMS
down the freeway like a jackrabbit on fire.
The car SWERVES VIOLENTLY through traffic.
Cars HONK. Tires SQUEAL.
EXT. CLOSE UP OF CAR - SAME
A GIRL and a GUY are in the car.
The girl is SHANNON WILSEY, (early 20's),
blonde and gorgeous.
She PUNCHES the gas and FISH TAILS
the car across three lanes of traffic.
She SCREAMS with laughter,
then takes a swig of her beer.
Shannon's passenger is JASON SWING,
(early 20's), dark-haired, good-looking,
and right now, completely terrified.
Shannon FLINGS the beer bottle
out the window.
It SHATTERS with a loud POP.
EXT. 101 FREEWAY - SAME
The car SHOOTS like a rocket
east towards Hollywood.
EXT. PRIVATE ROAD - NIGHT
The car BARRELS up a steep,
winding road up into the
North Hollywood Hills, tires SCREECHING,
loud rap music THUMPING on the car stereo.
Shannon! Shit! Be careful!
What are you, a fucking PUSSY?
Jason grips the door handle
with both hands.
LOOK OUT FOR THAT...
Suddenly the car SLAMS
into a fence on the side of the road.
The night is pierced with
the horrible SHRIEK of metal tearing
the CRUNCH of wood SPLINTERING.
INT. CAR - NIGHT
Shannon is THROWN into
the windshield face first.
A dull THUD of flesh and bone
as it SLAMS into the glass.
Jason is barely scratched.
He was wearing his seat belt.
Shannon, are you okay?
The car HISSES like a wounded animal.
Steam rises from the car hood,
now crumpled like an accordion.
EXT. HOUSE/DRIVEWAY - DAY
A late 70's Mercedes Benz convertible
is parked in the driveway of
a nice suburban house.
It's filled with luggage.
The car is shiny, spotless,
and GLEAMS in the sunshine.
Andy Bernardi, mid 20's, good looking,
HUGS his MOTHER, early 50's, overweight,
and right now, very emotional.
I'll call you tonight from the motel.
You sure you won't change your mind?
Andy's FATHER, late 50's, Italian,
GRABS him in a bear hug.
You're gonna knock 'em dead, kid.
Watch out for the starlets.
They're gonna have to
watch out for me, Pop.
EXT. CAR - MAGIC
Andy cruises in the Mercedes.
The top is down,
the wind blows in his hair.
The radio plays Loretta Lynn's
"Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad."
He PUNCHES a button.
The music switches to
smooth 80's synth-pop,
like Tears For Fears.
He reaches into a cooler,
pulls out a beer
and CRACKS it open.
The CAMERA pulls back to reveal
the car flying down a long,
flat stretch of two-lane blacktop
in the Painted Desert
somewhere in New Mexico.
I'd gone home for a
couple of months to chill out.
I'd fallen in with the wrong crowd
and ended up falling into
Hosome very bad habits.
INT. CAR - MAGIC
He finishes the beer and
CHUCKS it out of the car.
EXT. SHOULDER - MAGIC
The beer can rolls to a stop
in the shoulder.
It happened so quickly.
I'd never been to parties
like that before.
I'd never met people
like that before.
Everyone was so gorgeous.
Everything was so cool.
EXT. CAR/HIGHWAY - MAGIC
The car SHOOTS down the road.
The sun is starting to set,
and gorgeous colors play shadows
on the brilliant cliffs and rocks.
Now that I had my head back on straight,
I was gonna give it another shot.
EXT. ROADSIDE - SAME
A sign reads "Los Angeles - 596 Miles."
EXT. CAR/HIGHWAY - MAGIC
The Mercedes drives off
into the horizon.
I just didn't plan on
meeting an angel --