Harry looks at Richard Kelly's script for DOMINO a film by Tony Scott!
Tony Scott hasn’t made a GREAT film since TRUE ROMANCE around 10 years ago. At the time the script was coming from one of the hungriest best fairly unknown talents around. Quentin Tarantino, and for that matter some wonderful unaccredited work by the equally damn fine unknown talent, Roger Avary. For years now I’ve been going to Tony Scott films hoping that I was going to find a film as alive and borderline insane as TRUE ROMANCE.
Tony Scott is currently prepping to shoot MAN ON FIRE, a film starring Denzel Washington from a screenplay by Brian Helgeland. I have no idea if that project is going to be great. It has some nice possibilities, but it isn’t the script I’m here to talk about.
DOMINO by Richard Kelly.
The first I had heard about this project was a mention from Roger Avary nearly two years ago from a meeting he had with Tony Scott. At the time, I didn’t know any details, well.. ex-Ford Model turns into bad ass Bounty hunter – based on a true story.
Then the trades announced that Richard Kelly would be writing DOMINO for Tony Scott to direct… and my interest skyrocketed. Richard Kelly is a hobby of mine. I found the script to DONNIE DARKO a million years ago it feels like. As soon as the script sold and he got repped by CAA, I made it my duty to keep tabs on Mister Kelly. Right now the world kinda knows DONNIE DARKO. Film geeks discovered the film and it is an absolute fave amongst those that found it. It is quickly becoming one of those films that the really cool people show the people that haven’t seen it so that they can step away from the unwashed masses whom we’ll refer to today as “THOSE THAT KNOW NO BETTER”.
I’ve seen 3 other Richard Kelly movies. KNOWING, BESSIE and DOMINO. Not a frame of all three of these titles have been shot, but the scripts absolutely paint the films in my head.
KNOWING will most likely be Richard Kelly’s next directorial effort and the last thing I had heard was that the film was having problems over at SONY because the executives over there felt it was too smart for the public. SIGH!!! I hear that the producers have been taking the project and Kelly to some other SMARTER companies, let’s hope it isn’t TOO SMART for any company in Hollywood.
BESSIE is the crowning genius of Richard Kelly’s future career. Brilliant on levels that make me giggle and shake. This is a very naughty secret film. A project that would instantly elevate Richard Kelly to Terry Gilliam status. With this script, you can see everything that is absolutely perfect about Richard. There’s a vitality and a breathless imagination at play that makes me cheer while reading. YES, HE GETS IT! YES!
Then there is DOMINO.
DOMINO is very different. It isn’t a Richard Kelly film. It is a Tony Scott film. The Tony Scott film that Tony Scott is capable of making with the reins off. The Tony Scott movie that if you were going to dream of a Tony Scott movie, it’s the movie you’d dream.
This movie is not politically correct. It isn’t “For All Audiences”. I haven’t read a script that made me more want to time travel with a group of 5 friends, 4 cases of beer and access to the Alamo Drafthouse since I read Tarantino’s KILL BILL. DOMINO is that good.
What is Domino?
Well at some bizarre glib level, I suppose you could call it a BIOPIC. (giggle) The script is… um… BASED on a true story. You see, once upon a time there was an actor named Laurence Harvey – he played the guy that Denzel Washington’s character has to stop in the remake of the original MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. Anyway, this Laurence Harvey character married a woman named Paulene Stone – a fashion model of the sixties that produced Laurence Harvey’s only child… DOMINO HARVEY.
She was raised a Catholic School Girl. She was supposed to be part of that whole BEVERLY HILLS 90210 scene… not the show, but the lifestyle. She had access to the parties and the glamour and the drugs and the fun. She found only emptiness there. She preferred the Sex Pistols type of crowd. But even there… even there she was a bit more hardcore. She ceased to be a Model and a socialite and became a Los Angeles Bounty Hunter. A really badass one.
Her opening scene in the script DOMINO… wait, hang on a second.
About the script for DOMINO, I think there’s probably a CD that is supposed to go with this script. I didn’t get one, but the inside front page has a definition for the word, “Accompaniment” and notes that you should play the track and song signified. Given the tracks listed throughout the script… this film could have an AWESOME soundtrack. Ok…
Her opening scene in the script DOMINO (to the tune of some Johnny Cash & U2 song) begins with Choco (named after his penchant for choking folks) and Ed (named probably by his parents) bust down this door as a woman is in the midst of watching THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. As Choco and Ed part… in saunters Domino, I imagine the light blindingly silhouetting her… The lady lets loose her pit-bull who leaps to rip out Domino’s throat. The dog’s head explodes in mid air as we trail to the smoke from the barrels of Ed’s shotgun. The woman wails in mourning for here sweet little pooch. That doesn’t even touch the disarming of this woman’s son or her desperate bit of decoding or her remarkable preparation of Folger’s Crystals. Wow.
The script reads… How to put this? Hmmm… Imagine if Charlie Kaufman had written CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND as a predominant ACTION film, but with the exact same sense of bizarre, weird and imaginative flair. Imagine if you would, what TRUE ROMANCE would look like had Kaufman had a go at it. Though, I don’t want to say Kelly is Kaufman-esque… He’s actually his own brand of insanity. Having the BEVERLY HILLS 90210 characters be her mental Greek chorus – but entirely in character. Imagine if those voices in your head were vacuous Fox Heart Throbs and Bikini Fillers.
This film has Steve McQueen toughness. A Lee Marvin dose of grit, but with a surrealist flair. There’s a bit of that OUR MAN FLINT absurdity, but it is set in the truth and consequences of modern crime hell. As mean as NARC and as nutty as ADAPTATION and with the hip-swaggeringly cool sexiness of KILL BILL… This script kicked my ass hard.
Now what could go wrong?
They could change a word.
I mean, this script is crying to begin shooting this week with Cameron Diaz. I mean it. Put her in and let’s get started. EVERYTHING is cool about this. From the brilliant opening title descriptions (which I won’t describe for fear of someone else ripping off) to the NOTE PERFECT wrap up…
To me, this script is a gauntlet tossed at the feet of Tony Scott beckoning… “Do you have the balls to shoot me?” I mean it. My only fear is that Tony gets a severe case of the scaredy cats, and picks rewriters A, B and C.. through at least L, to tweak and groom a masterpiece of HOLY SHIT CINEMA.
This is a script filled with great characters… From the Blacktino woman that wants America to recognize various racial sub-groups as their own types to well hell, I’m not good enough to describe them all… This thing is chock full of sex addicts, crazies, gangsters, mafiosos, producers, agents, lawyers, frat brothers, rockers and rollers, and on and on and on. Each vividly drawn and sketched by Kelly’s letters.
I’m just anxious. I haven’t been this excited about a Tony Scott project in years, and that’s a shame. He’s got gold sitting on his desk, can’t wait to see it made. Now excuse me, I have to track down all these tracks to re-read with.