Last of the Mohicans - Michael Mann's style

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  • Last of the Mohicans - Michael Mann's style

    Look at this pivotal scene in Last of the Mohicans, certainly a tremendous movie. This is the shooting script. Is that why Mann writes - throughout the script - what someone is thinking and feeling?

    Or is it simply because he is Mann and he can do what he wants, since he's directing and he knows how to set this up?

    Because we're always told you can't do this in a spec script.


    FIRE - HAWKEYE
    wanders among the dancers and musicians clustered in groups,
    lit by the firelight.

    Someone catches his eye and he moves in that direction...

    HAWKEYE'S POV:
    CORA
    in the shadows, leaning against the wall, searching... we
    sense she's been looking for him. He comes up to her. She
    turns in surprise.

    CLOSER
    Somehow she breathes easier because he's there. She's in a
    white shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Hawkeye leads her
    away from some of the people.

    CORA & HAWKEYE
    Hawkeye takes Cora's hand. Cora is awakening to a new spirit,
    a new wind blowing through a new land, a new selfdetermination...
    She's drawn to this rough yet graceful man
    with his direct manner. Hawkeye settles against a wall. She
    leans next to him.

    Their shoulders touch.

    CORA
    To her everything about him seems to be somehow right. She's
    discovered that the passions and outrage that move him, move
    her... And her readiness to give herself to what stirs the
    deepest resonances of her soul is the same as his.

    HAWKEYE
    looks at her. She's beautiful in the firelight. Cora's eyes
    find his and she folds into his arms. His lips find hers and
    tears stream down her face. She's suffused with an elation
    she can't explain. In the night before doomsday a romance is
    born in rebellion amid the huddled people in this small
    stockade ripped from the black earth of the forests of a
    wild continent.

    CUT TO:

  • #2
    Re: Last of the Mohicans - Michael Mann's style

    Please do not ever write a script that way unless you are the director.

    The answer to your question is that he was the director of the film. He was, in effect, providing acting notes to the actors in the script. He was explaining who they were, as characters, what was in their minds, and what he wanted them to display in their acting.

    "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

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    • #3
      Re: Last of the Mohicans - Michael Mann's style

      There's some actual action lines scattered in there occasionally, but stuff like this:

      "To her everything about him seems to be somehow right. She's
      discovered that the passions and outrage that move him, move
      her... And her readiness to give herself to what stirs the
      deepest resonances of her soul is the same as his."

      Is probably not going to cut the mustard in a spec script. There are no visuals there, it is just flowery prose that tells the actor to swoon and bat her eyelashes a lot.

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      • #4
        Re: Last of the Mohicans - Michael Mann's style

        First action line of HEAT: "A monolith with alienating foregrounds." Love it.

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        • #5
          Re: Last of the Mohicans - Michael Mann's style

          Originally posted by GoJoe View Post
          First action line of HEAT: "A monolith with alienating foregrounds." Love it.
          What in the world does that mean?

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          • #6
            Re: Last of the Mohicans - Michael Mann's style

            Michael Mann, along with any other director who writes, could literally put down "cool stuff happens here" and that would be perfectly alright...because he's the director.

            So unless you're directing your own script, you need to put the cool stuff down on paper. That's called writing.

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            • #7
              Re: Last of the Mohicans - Michael Mann's style

              Started rereading an early draft of ALIENS tonight. Began with:
              Silent and endless. The stars shine like the love of
              God...cold and remote.

              Some folks, like Mann (who I love, and I'm a HUGE fan of LOTM), may put in stuff that aren't on the screen or won't be. Some other folks just can't help to color the entire script effectively with every key stroke they hit. Because they just live and breath the script, the theme, the tone, the story, through THEIR PORES.

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              • #8
                Re: Last of the Mohicans - Michael Mann's style

                Originally posted by Johnnycomelately View Post
                What in the world does that mean?
                Lol
                Excedrin Migraine. Red Bull. Fade in.

                Sinister Scrawlings

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                • #9
                  Re: Last of the Mohicans - Michael Mann's style

                  Originally posted by seh View Post
                  Started rereading an early draft of ALIENS tonight. Began with:
                  Silent and endless. The stars shine like the love of
                  God...cold and remote.
                  And that's acceptable in a spec because it's short and to the point. It draws us into another world.
                  "What's worse than being talked about? Not being talked about."

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                  • #10
                    Re: Last of the Mohicans - Michael Mann's style

                    Started rereading an early draft of ALIENS tonight. Began with:
                    Silent and endless. The stars shine like the love of
                    God...cold and remote.


                    Yes, that is a great, great line of description. Immediately sets the tone for me.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Last of the Mohicans - Michael Mann's style

                      Not only is "Aliens" one of my favorite films, it also spawned one of my favorite film reviews. Here's what Rodger Ebert had to say about about the movie:

                      "...It's here that my nerves started to fail. "Aliens" is absolutely, painfully and unremittingly intense for at least its last hour. Weaver goes into battle to save her colleagues, herself and the little girl, and the aliens drop from the ceiling, pop up out of the floor and crawl out of the ventilation shafts. I have never seen a movie that maintains such a pitch of intensity for so long; it's like being on some kind of hair-raising carnival ride that never stops.

                      I don't know how else to describe this: The movie made me feel bad. It filled me with feelings of unease and disquiet and anxiety. I walked outside and I didn't want to talk to anyone. I was drained. I'm not sure "Aliens" is what we mean by entertainment. Yet I have to be accurate about this movie: It is a superb example of filmmaking craft."

                      When I read that, not only did I think "I have to see this movie", I felt "I want to MAKE that movie".

                      ONE MORE NOTE: The screenplay for ALIENS is actually published in book form with a very good 24 page introduction. Unfortunately it is not available in the US, but if you check out the online book sellers you can locate the UK version... It is definitely worth it.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Last of the Mohicans - Michael Mann's style

                        ****ing great, that's what I say.
                        http://www.pjmcilvaine.com/

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                        • #13
                          Re: Last of the Mohicans - Michael Mann's style

                          Originally posted by Deion22
                          I'm writing for an A LIST DIRECTOR right now and he had me read "HEAT" before me and my partner started writing. He straight up told me "F*CK" that fake PRODUCER/STUDIO B.S. scripts. "I want to breath and and know everything the actor is thinking and where they come from". So now after that I write somewhat VERY DESCRIPTIVE in the beginning of who my CHARACTERS are when I introduce them. ACTORS like this much better I've been told. I think Michael Mann is one of the best screenwriters in the business.

                          Tell us more.

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