Monday, July 18, 2016

TODAY'S NUGGET: Greystoke (1984) - When You're Ahead of Your Time

[Quick Summary: A human baby is adopted and raised by African apes.]

I do not normally read early rough drafts.

However, this one stirred my curiosity.

First, this draft is solely written by Towne.

Second, he must not have liked the rewritten version, as he used a pseudonym in the credits.

After reading Towne's undiluted vision, I can see why he and the producers probably didn't see eye to eye.  It is an inventive script, but years ahead of its time:

- This is a story about Tarzan mastering the raw, primal jungle elements, which I liked.  (More commercial fare would probably focus on Tarzan and Jane, or how Tarzan adjusted to society.)

- It's nearly a silent film, i.e., apes don't talk. (I liked this, but others might prefer more dialogue.)

- Energetic action chases in the trees, killing a bushpig, etc. well suited for using CGI...except this script was written in 1977 when CGI wasn't possible.

ex. "SILVER BEARD

who has grown more frenzied, charges from behind  her and actually grabs at her baby, tearing it out of her arms, shaking the screeching little ape at the stormy sky as he plunges toward the trees.

KALA

is horrified. She lets out a frenzied scream herself and chases after Silver Beard.

BY THE TREES

she catches up to him, bites him on the neck and nimbly plucks her baby out of Silver Beard's grasp.

SILVER BEARD

is astonished at being challenged. His shock turns to rage. With a roaring scream, he takes off after Kala.

KALA WITH HER BABY

clinging onto her back leaps into the trees in an effort to elude Silver Beard."

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Let your imagination really soar, even if the current technology isn't ready yet.

This script could easily be bought today, though it is 39 yrs. old. Its emotions are still THAT engaging.

Greystoke (1984)(draft dated 8/4/77)
by Robert Towne
Based on the novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs

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