Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Possibly my favourite cinematic moment ever. I was Googling something and found the screenplay of Total Recall, by Ronald Shusett and Dan O'Bannon (with revisions by Shusett, Steven Pressfield and Gary Goldman). I thought perhaps you might like to see how one of my favourite movie scenes of all time is written.


     CLOSE ON PASSPORT:  BAM!  An official seal stamps down on the
     document, leaving the circular imprint:  MARS FEDERAL

     An IMMIGRATION OFFICER hands the passport back to its OWNER,
     who takes it and moves on.

                         IMMIGRATION OFFICER

     The Immigration Hall is filled with passengers arriving from
     Earth, queued up in three long lines.  SOLDIERS on a high
     state of alert stand guard with AUTOMATIC RIFLES.

     QUAID'S SATCHEL sits on the floor behind a white line.  A hand
     reaches down, picks it up, and carries it forward.  FROM THE
     BACK, we see that the person carrying the satchel is a tall
     FAT LADY in a loose-fitting dress.  She steps up to the
     Immigration Officer at his desk.

                         IMMIGRATION OFFICER (CONT'D)

     As the Fat Lady hands over her passport, SOLDIERS rush
     directly towards her from the rear of the hall, shoving people
     aside.  Richter, Helm, and EVERETT, a stern military officer,
     urgently follow in the path cleared by the Soldiers.

     They get closer and closer to the Fat Lady...and pass right
     behind her without noticing anything in the least suspicious.

               Mr. Cohaagen wants to see you right

               Any news of Quaid?

               Not since you lost him.

               Watch your mouth, Captain.

     The group walks past the Immigration desks and exits the
     frame.  HOLD ON the back of the Fat Lady.

     The Immigration Officer studies her passport.  CLOSE ON her
     PHOTO.  He looks up.  CLOSE ON her FACE.

     She bears no resemblance to Quaid.

                         IMMIGRATION OFFICER
               How long do you plan to stay on Mars?

                         FAT LADY
               Two weeks.

               Look at this shit.

                         RICHTER (O.S.)
               What the hell is this?

     BEHIND THE DESKS, Richter stops at a wall defaced with
     graffiti: "KUATO LIVES!".

               The Martians all love Kuato.  They think
               he's fuckin' George Washington.

               Kill the bastard.

               Nobody knows who he is.

     The Immigration Officer picks up the seal, ready to stamp the
     Fat Lady's passport after one last perfunctory question.

                         IMMIGRATION OFFICER
               Have you brought any fruits or
               vegetables onto the planet?

                         FAT LADY
               Two weeks.

     He stops himself from hammering down with the seal.

                         IMMIGRATION OFFICER
               Excuse me...?

     Fat Lady covers her mouth, embarrassed.

                         FAT LADY
               Two weeks.

     Richter glances at the Fat Lady but keeps walking toward the

               And things are getting hot around here.
               The rebels took over the refinery last
               night.  No turbinium's going out.

     THE FAT LADY is having some kind of fit.  She keeps repeating
     the same phrase over and over, each time SLOWER and MORE
     DISTORTED, like a phonograph record running down.  Everybody
     stares at the poor woman.  She holds her mouth and tries to
     shut herself up.

                         FAT LADY
               Twooo weeeks.  Twoooooo weeeks.
               Twooooooo weeeeeeks.

     Richter stops and looks suspiciously at the Fat Lady. The
     Fat Lady sees him staring.  They lock eyes.  Richter knows!
     He points!

               Quaid!  That's Quaid!


               There!  The woman!

     The Fat Lady edges to the side along a wall.

               Get him!

     Everett and his men are confused.

                         RICHTER (CONT'D)

               Arrest that woman!

                         FAT LADY
               Twoooooo!  Weeeeeks!

     Richter, Helm, Everett and soldiers run over.  The Fat Lady
     twists her ear.  She is shaking radically.  Her face splits
     down the middle, revealing Quaid inside!


     Quaid throws the split face at a SOLDIER near a window.  The
     Soldier instinctively catches the face, which snaps together
     and addresses him in a normal voice.

                         FAT LADY FACE
               Get ready for a big surprise.

     Just as the Soldier reacts, BOOM!  The face explodes.

"BOOM! The Face Explodes" is the name of my new chillwave band.
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