Film Watching The Bourne Supremacy this evening, I thought of this opening for a film and story idea. It's (c) Stuart Ian Burns if you want to license it.
Fifty-three seconds of logos.
Cut to interior of a car. I don't know anything about cars but let's say that it isn't wildly expensive and hasn't been replaced in a while, the sort of thing an emergency doctor might drive if they're just starting out and need to get to work quickly.
Michelle Monaghan is behind the wheel (I'm choosing her because she was curiously in The Bourne Supremacy in the group searching for the spy and she's brilliant in everything she's in) (plus Rachel McAdams is probably busy) and she's mid-conversation about racing the hospital because there's some kind of major incident happening and she's being called in on her day off.
She's all game face and professional.
Traffic is gridlocked and she's stuck at traffic lights. Abruptly there's a knock on the glass. Metallic tapping. She turns and on the reverse we see Mark Urban shouting through the passenger window (I'm choosing him because he was curiously in The Bourne Supremacy playing a Russian assassin and he's brilliant in everything he's in) (plus Cillian Murphy is probably busy) (um).
Panicking she takes her hands off the wheel and watches Urban run around the outside of the front of the vehicle pointing his gun at her.
"Out, out!" He shouts. In the background we can still hear the person Monaghan's been speaking to on the phone asking after her health.
"Okay, okay." She shouts back as she gets out and steps away. Urban jumps into the driver's seat and we then see he's somehow found a gap in the traffic and is speeding away leaving Michelle standing in the middle of the road in shock.
"Hey, that's my car!" She shouts as she begins idiotically to run after it only to realise her idiocy pretty quickly and slowing down, only to begin running again at full pelt as she spots her car turning the corner at the end of the road into moving traffic causing two others cars to collide with each other.
As she reaches the two cars which were involved in the collision, we can see that her own car is long gone and that carnage hasn't just been limited to these two vehicles. She immediately gets to work assessing what needs to be done.
This is a film about the people left behind in the aftermath of an action car chase.
Working title: "BYSTANDERS"
Perhaps as I get older, I'm noting this more and more, the cars and people and destruction left behind in car chases in action films, people who were simply going about their day, with a million things to do, who suddenly find their cars destroyed, even dealing with fatalities sometimes in horrors created by someone who's nominally supposed to be the hero or at least the protagonist.
It's the syndrome of characters being morally allowed to die within a fictional construct if we don't know them.
I wondered what a film would be like about them. The original idea was for a comedy, a character loses their car in a similar circumstance to this and then spends the rest of the film trying to get it back, the final scene being the news that its been totalled and abandoned or even driven into a river.
But that's the obvious thing to do.
A drama's much more interesting. Michelle Monaghan goes amateur sleuth and will spend the next two hours trying to find out all she can about the car chase and who the people involved were. But it's brick wall and the whole thing is not a thriller. It's about her obsession and the effect it has on her.
During the process she talks to the various people affected by the car chase but the reasons for it are entirely obscured although I like the idea of there being a montage sequence in which people whose cars were wrecked or witnessed some of it have all kinds of wild theories that are essentially like something from a Michael Bay film, Die Hard or the Bourne franchise.
But she never quite cracks it and gets on with her life. Until something else happen major happens in her city and she goes to the place knowing instinctively that he'll be there. The man who stole her car, the man who haunts her dreams.
Ooh, now that I've written that, I quite like the idea of her having various fantasies throughout the thing with her imagining what he's like. But we never do know.
I know to an extent this is Doctor Who's Love & Monsters, but the scale is different and it doesn't have the inherent mythological baggage.
The final scene has her finally confront the man who stole her car.
The problem is without him being the cause of some personal pain for her, I can't think of an ending or a proper arc for her other than to find out if he is a villain or hero. If he's a villain then we're into the ludicrous territory of her becoming an action hero herself and doing him in. If he's a hero then she receives the equally awful lesson of "Well all these horrible things happened but they were for a good cause."
My best idea is for her to find him in a very public place like a railway station and for the follow exchange to occur.
You. It is you.
Yes it's me. Who?
No. I just want answers.
Do I know you?
You stole my car. You destroyed half the city.
Suddenly there's the sound of gunshots. People run back and forth screaming. Urban slams Michelle to the ground, but we just see her face as it hits the deck and his hand on her shoulder. We realise that she's stumbled into the midst of his sequel.
Michelle looks up at Urban who's checking into the rafters of the station for the shooter.
I just want to know why?
Cut to black.