Monday, January 23, 2012

Read the award-winning scripts of the season

Around this time of year many studios post PDFs of screenplays online as part of their marketing for awards consideration. It seems very likely that most screenplay awards are handed out without most or any of the voting members having read any of them. Why would they even need to if they already saw the finished film? A good story is a good story, right? This is true for the most part but I think to truly appreciate a writer’s work you would need to read the script. Call me old fashioned. I was curious to see how some of my favorite films of the season were written so I downloaded a few scripts from their respective studio websites. One of those was Steven Zaillian’s adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo which was just as exciting to read as watching David Fincher’s interpretation of his script. Here’s a scene from the script where we first meet the heroine of the story, Lisbeth Salander:



Ms. Salander’s here.

Armansky breathes a defeated sigh, taps the intercom button twice to say ‘okay, let her in.’

Lisbeth Salander walks in: A small, pale, anorexic looking waif in her early 20’s. Short black-dyed hair – pierced eyelid - tattoo of a wasp on her neck; probably several more under her black leather jacket - black tshirt, black jeans, black Caterpillar boots. Frode is only middlingly successful in concealing his initial reaction to her. This isn’t punk fashion. This is someone saying, Stay the fuck away from me.

This scene comes across no differently on screen but it’s still fun to see how Zaillian wrote it out. What I always love and appreciate when I read a script, are the detailed descriptions that can sometimes get lost in the translation to screen. It’s moments like these in scripts that show the true style and character of the writer. Zaillian is one of the best working screenwriters today (he was the recipient of our Distinguished Screenwriter Award in 2009) and he has a one-two punch this year with Dragon Tattoo and Moneyball.

You can read the rest of the script in the link below. I also included downloadable links for other scripts of some of my favorite films of the season. Enjoy!

"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" by Steven Zaillian

"The Artist" by Michel Hazanavicius

"Beginners" by Mike Mills

"Bridesmaids" by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig

"The Descendants" by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash

"The Help" by Tate Taylor

"The Ides of March" by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Williman

"Moneyball" by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin

"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" by Bridget O'Cconnor & Peter Straughan

No comments: