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Last week, I posted my ramble on EYE OF THE BEHOLDER. But I forgot to post the memo from that episode. Here it is.
This is from October of '94, though the episode wouldn't air until September of '95.
Steve Perry wrote a first draft script (which I know longer have), edited by Michael Reaves. This was my memo to Michael in response to that first draft. Usually, these memos come at the outline stage. I'm not sure why this waited until the script stage. Making changes at this stage creates pressure. And I think that pressure is reflected in my brusker tone. (A tone which I regret in rereading it now.)
Notes on "EYE OF THE BEHOLDER" Script...
This will be a fairly extensive rewrite. Mostly necessitated by Xanatos coming across as weak and moonstruck for the entire episode. We've got to do some restructuring to solve that problem. Sorry.
We cannot weaken Xanatos to the degree we do here. He should appear to be his normal machiavellian self through the whole episode. Going through life, despite minor setbacks, with an ever-present ace up his sleeve. With only two exceptions... at the crisis point, when he finally has to admit to Goliath and himself that he cares about Fox, and at the end when he feels Goliath has the goods on him. Both of these are important but brief moments. At the very end, we need to feel like Xanatos is more well-rounded, but still formidable.
In the first scene, please mention Fox's facial tattoo in description. No matter how fancy she dresses, it's a reminder that she still has the beast within. Like Xanatos, let's not play her sappy or moony. She's cut from the same cloth as he is. She may truly love him. But she's not gonna easily be carried away by those feelings. Do we want to give Fox a real name? I feel like she would have had hers legally changed. Maybe not. But how about Janine instead of Janet? Sounds slightly more exotic. Do we want the Werefox to be proportioned like a bodybuilder? She'll have super-strength of course, but shouldn't her proportions remain similar to Fox's design?
You'll see below, that I've added a bit for Travis Marshall. If you can figure a way to get the exposition smoothly across without Travis, you can skip him. In either case, during Elisa's first battle against the Werefox in the grocery store, let's reuse the store and store keeper from -013. Charlie H. did that voice and you'll probably need him for Travis. (This doesn't mean the store keeper has to speak, it just gives us a convenient option and saves our artists some work.)
IT'S A CHOKER NOT A PENDANT
I know we discussed that.
TODAY'S THEME: VULNERABILITY
It's there, but I think we could be hitting it harder. (It's not that I advocate a lack of subtlety, but in our scripts we need to emphasize the theme to maintain the audience's focus. We always have so much going on that it would be easy for them to feel like it's just a lot of fighting and not about anything.)
NO 40 PAGE SCRIPTS
I don't want to see any script that is longer than 39 pages. Even at the first draft stage. Please make sure that this is to length. This shouldn't be tough. The script seemed heavily padded to me. There are entire scenes that can come out.
Please make sure that this is complete. Elisa was left off. I've cut Dr. Stein. Also don't forget to include characters with no lines. They are still needed for design purposes. And describe the costumes of Elisa, Brooklyn, Broadway, Lexington and the costumed man. You don't have to go into great detail. Just make sure that it's noted that they appear in normal garb and in these other costumes.
1. SUPER: OCTOBER 1st. Our prologue. Xanatos proposes, in a decidedly business-like manner. We don't get to see the Eye. (This scene is largely successful in Steve's draft.)
2. SUPER: OCTOBER 31st. On the streets, late afternoon. Halloween prep going on. Wind, leaves. And Elisa walking with her (unrevealed) costume by the store as the bookrack flies through the store window. She goes in, coming into conflict with this monster WEREFOX. We should see the Werefox eating. Establish that basic motivation. We should also see the EYE. Werefox escapes.
3. Time cut to aftermath. Brief moment between Elisa and Morgan, as Travis Marshall reports live. This is not the Werefox's first sighting.
4. Back at the castle, Xanatos and Owen click off the television (and the Travis Marshall report) as Fox enters. She's got an overcoat pulled tight around her neck. Xanatos asks her if she is wearing her engagement present. She says nervously, that she never takes it off. She exits. He and Owen look at each other. They clearly suspect something.
5. At clock tower, gargoyles EXPLODE awake. Elisa's there. Tells what happened. Brooklyn figures that blows his theory that the Monster sightings were all pre-Halloween shenanigans. (Let's get in here that they are excited about Halloween and being able to appear in public. Hudson's less sanguine.) Goliath takes Elisa aside: "I should have been with you." But Elisa won't let him feel guilty. He can't be with her all the time anymore than she can spend every hour of daylight guarding him. They're all vulnerable. It's scary, but knowing someone cares whether they make it through the day makes it worthwhile. (Or something like that.)
6. Back at the castle, Xanatos calmly approaches Fox and asks for her engagement present. He wants to have it engraved. She tries to demure. He insists, gently pulling her collar away from the EYE!!! She slams him back and transforms into the werefox!
7. Xan was more-or-less ready for this, he has a tranquilizer gun, but she's much more powerful than he anticipated. The dart doesn't seem to slow her down. Owen enters prepared, with what appears to be another tranquilizer gun. But it's really a tagging device of some sort. The Werefox escapes. (This is tricky, given the setting.) Xanatos: "So much for doing things the easy way." Owen's tagger tracks the beast and sends back vital signs. Owen explains that her metabolic rate is skyrocketing, explaining why the tranquilizer had no effect, and also revealing that she's gonna burn out and die. Xanatos seems unconcerned. (This is a facade, but even he doesn't realize it yet.) He needs to get the Eye of Odin back. If he had known it was anything more than a fancy jewel he'd never have given it away. "Oh, well. On to plan B."
8. Elisa finds Goliath in the library. She's gotten an anonymous tip about where to find the Werefox. (She doesn't know it, but it's from Xanatos.)
9. Xanatos in his battle armor, tracks and confronts the Werefox on the rooftop. (Of a bakery? Or a meat packing warehouse? In any case, reestablish her metabolic hunger.) He tries to get in close enough to remove the Eye. Goliath and Elisa arrive and, thanks to a little play-acting by Xanatos, become convinced that the Werefox is another of Xanatos' victims (ala Maggie Reed). They try to intervene, but obviously the werefox isn't too helpful. Xanatos takes this opportunity to make his grab for the Eye. He's blasted by magical energy. And the Werefox trashes his armor. He's forced to flee. Goliath tries to talk to Werefox, but she slams him into Elisa, nearly knocking the latter off the rooftop. Goliath and Elisa recover, by which time, Werefox is gone. They confer. Elisa is convinced that Xanatos has victimized this poor creature just as he did her brother. He's clearly after the eye. They have to gather all the gargoyles and make sure they get it first. Goliath looks suspiciously toward the Castle in the distance. Maybe he can barely see Xanatos limping toward it.
10. Xanatos comes in for an unsteady landing at the castle. He's greeted by Owen: "So much for plan B." And Xanatos: "True. But now plan C is activated. Goliath and company are, as usual, determined to thwart me. They'll pull out all the stops to get the eye off Fox before I do. They'll do all my work for me." Owen is confused. How will this help him recover the eye? (This is a hint that the eye isn't really Xanatos' main concern.) But before Xanatos can address that question (or even give conscious thought to the answer), Goliath and Elisa dramatically reveal their presence. It's clear they've heard everything. (Or almost everything.)
11. Goliath is major angry. (But kind of proud of himself that he didn't get fooled again.) Xanatos can do his own dirty work. Goliath and Elisa start to go. And suddenly, almost against his own will, Xanatos stops him. Reveals to himself, Goliath and audience that he really cares for Fox. He needs help to get the eye off of her. The legend says that this is what the Norse God Odin traded for POWER AND INSIGHT. He had no idea the legend had any basis in fact or that the eye had any real metamorphic abilities. Goliath comments wryly that it should give Xanatos some "insight" as to Fox's true bestial nature. It's made her more like herself. (Xanatos does not find that unattractive.) Why should Goliath help? Xanatos makes the Demona reference. (At some point in here, Xanatos should make physical contact with Goliath. Touching his arm. Needing his help.) Goliath starts to waiver, but Elisa's convinced that this is just another scam. A plan D, if you like. Goliath nods agreement. In any case, it's Xanatos' mess. He can fix it himself. They leave. Xanatos seems momentarily desperate, but then controls himself. Asks how long it will take for armor repair. Owen says a couple of days and then takes a quick look at his tracker/scanner. Fox doesn't have that long.
12. Greenwich village. The party. Let's take some time to play this. The trio and their costumes. And particularly, play the beauty of Goliath and Princess Elisa. Maybe a band is playing something classical on Bleeker Street and they dance. Suddenly Goliath spots the werefox. He grabs the creature. Only to discover it's a guy in a costume. But it starts him thinking. He's going to help Xanatos. Elisa protests (not too strongly; she's not immune either). But Goliath has good reasons. The Werefox is dangerous to his "castle". But truly, if a man like Xanatos can love...well, there's hope for the whole world. From behind Xanatos agrees. How did he find them? Almost embarrassed, Xanatos pulls a Scarab transmitter off Goliath's arm. Old habits die hard. He pulls out the scanner. Come with me.
13. Elsewhere in the village, there's a lot of free food being given out at booths. (I know this would never happen in real life, but let's just assume that local restaurants are looking at it as an advertisement expense.) All the trio, not just Broadway, are partaking. But the Werefox is hungry too. Her attack is closely followed by Goliath, Elisa and Xanatos' arrival. Ultimately, Goliath gets her in a full-nelson that allows Xanatos to reach in with his gauntlet-covered hand and painfully remove the Eye. Fox transforms back, in Goliath's arms. Goliath demands the Eye; he won't trust Xanatos with it. (Xanatos will assume he's being asked to trade the eye for Fox. This is not Goliath's intent, but leave it ambiguous.) For once, Xanatos can't refuse. The exchange is made. Xanatos, cradling Fox in his arms: "Well, Goliath, now you know my one weakness." Goliath regards him with disdain: "Only you would regard love as a weakness." He, Elisa and the Trio depart with the Eye. As all this is happening, Owen has pulled up in the limo. He caught the tail end of the conversation. He agrees with Goliath: "Frankly, Mr. Xanatos, you've never looked quite so formidable." Xanatos smiles. Fox awakens. He says something tender, but it's clear he's back to his old self, just as dangerous as ever.