Author Topic: Comparison between '03 to '05 screenplay: would we still be discussing this film  (Read 31097 times)

Offline dly64

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Note: Sorry about the length ... there are just a lot of diferences.I have alternated the points from regular to bold so it is easier to follow.

I was reading through the 2003 screenplay version of BBM and wondered … if this was the version that was filmed, would we still be here talking about this movie? Would there be all of these forums for that matter? The 2003 draft followed the short story more closely. For those who have not seen or read the 2003 version, here are some key differences:

1.   The first bar scene is expanded. The interesting thing is that it makes it explicit that Ennis cannot afford a second beer (unlike the 2005 version where we just see  Ennis with one beer and Jack with two). Jack tells Ennis to drink as much as he wants, because he’ll (Jack) will pick up the tab.
2.   TS1 really doesn’t exist (certainly not like the ‘05 version). The audience sees up to the point where Jack takes Ennis’ hand and puts it on his groin and Ennis wakes up startled. After that, however, the camera goes outside of the tent and all one hears are sounds (belt buckle, jeans rustle, Ennis spitting and sharp intakes of breath. After that, the camera goes back into the tent.
3.    TS2 doesn’t exist. It goes from the FNIT to the implication that they are having a lot of sex and then having the “discussion” about … “this is a one shot thing.” Then, through Aguirre’s binoculars, he sees Jack and Ennis pulling clothes off each other and cutting up. This segment especially would have been similar to the book.
4.   The Chilean sheepherder incident was expanded. Jack shoots off his mouth (as if to impress Ennis) until he realizes that the Chileans can’t speak English. Jack realizes that his bravado was all for naught.
5.   When Jack meets Lureen, they speak briefly to each other during a photo session (of the winners) and then it goes to the bar scene. There is no car/ sex scene at all. And then, the birth of Bobby … the scene is in the hospital. Jack is treated more cruelly than in the ’05 version. The nurse comes in with Bobby and is about to hand him to Jack. Jack reaches out and L.D. takes the baby from the nurse’s arms and ignores Jack completely. There are no words exchanges between L.D. and Jack.
6.   The reunion scene: the audience sees no kissing. We only see Alma’s POV …. Ennis’ straining shoulders, Ennis back, head tilted sideways and downward (it is clear what they are doing, but the kiss is not visible).
7.   The middle section of ‘03 is where there are significant changes. The motel scene is expanded. It is almost exactly like the story (including the whole conversation about Ennis asking Jack if he (Jack) had sex with other men). There is no scene with Ennis coming home to Alma and the mountain scene does not exist. All those conversations take place in the motel.
8.   Monroe’s role is expanded. There is a whole scene with Monroe delivering groceries to Alma and there is major flirting going on.
9.   The post-divorce scene … Ennis says, “Jack, I got the girls this weekend … otherwise you could stay.” The tone of the scene is different in that it does not depict Ennis as paranoid.
10.   Jack’s life in general is more like the story. He is poor until L.D. dies. The Thanksgiving scene is still when L.D. is alive. But instead of Jack confronting L.D., he (Jack) leaves.
11.   There is a scene where Jack and Lureen stop to help Randall and LaShawn with their pickup. Jack and Lureen end up giving Randall and LaShawn a ride to the dance. The dance scene itself is almost the same and the conversation between Randall and Jack outside is similar except Randall says to Jack (after talking about the cabin), “Think you’d like to go down there some weekend? Drink a little whiskey, fish some. Get away, you know?”  Randall is much more direct.
12.   There is a rather humorous scene between Cassie and Ennis at the drive-in watching “The Empire Strikes Back”. Ennis is complaining and Cassie gets all whiny about Ennis not taking her anywhere, but is willing to “drive all over just to go huntin’ and fishin’.”
13.   The lake scene has Jack saying, “… I miss you so much sometimes I could whip babies” … like the short story.
14.   The pie eating scene implies that Cassie still thinks of herself as Ennis’ girlfriend. He is eating pie at a Denny’s instead of a bus stop. The exchange between the two has Ennis much more cruel and Cassie a lot needier. Cassie tells Ennis she has been driving around for hours to find him and Ennis replies, “Didn’t know you was my parole officer.” Then Ennis gives Cassie a look and she realizes that she is not “the one” and leaves crying.
15.   The scene at the Twist’s follows the story much more closely. One key difference: after OMT talks about the “fella” who was going to live with Jack, Ennis has the same flashback of Ennis’ father taking K.E. and Ennis to see Earl. But instead of seeing Earl, he sees Jack.
16.   The final scenes have Ennis ordering the postcard, Junior seeing her father … but Ennis does not say … “This Kurt fella … he loves you?”  After that, we go back to the store where Ennis picks up his postcard, goes home and tacks up the picture by the shirts and says, “Jack, I swear ….”


There are also some minor differences like Jenny being called “Francine” (like the story) and Lureen’s last name being Phillips. Instead of sledding with Alma, Ennis and Alma are in the car spinning donuts in a parking lot. Alma and Ennis are watching “Hud” at the drive-in instead of “Surf Party”. There are different song choices. Instead of the swing scene we see Ennis and Alma at a school play. And it doesn’t once show Lureen “punching numbers in her adding machine”.  Lureen is depicted as a much more cruel and frigid person than in the '05 version.

It is hard to know how I would have reacted to BBM if I never saw the '05 version. However, IMO, the film wouldn’t have been as powerful as it is now. Do you like some of these scenes vs. the '05 version? Do you think that the whole film's message would be different? Your thoughts?
Diane

"We're supposed to guard the sheep, not eat 'em."

Offline serious crayons

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Wow. That version sounds terrible. Well, not terrible I suppose -- except in comparison to the version we know and love. Would I still be here discussing it? Hard to say. But every single difference in the earlier screenplay is much, much worse, except maybe:

Quote
through Aguirre’s binoculars, he sees Jack and Ennis pulling clothes off each other and cutting up.

And possibly

Quote
The post-divorce scene … Ennis says, “Jack, I got the girls this weekend … otherwise you could stay.”

Offline Front-Ranger

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Sounds like "Brokeback Mountain Meets Terms of Endearment!" The women are more fleshed out (though not kindly) and the romance between Jack and Ennis is barely there. So glad Ang Lee came along. He's my hero (swoon).
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Unquestionably, the film as we know it is much more powerful than it would have been if it had been made from the 2003 screenplay.

That scene of Ennis and Cassie at the drive-in? Let's just hope that was one of James Schamus's additions. ...  ;D
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Offline Daniel

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mvansand76

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Sounds like "Brokeback Mountain Meets Terms of Endearment!"  

 ;D ;D ;D That is so funny. Oh God, how could they have written this??? I read it a few months ago...Can you imagine what a joke this movie would have been if it was filmed according to this 2003 screenplay?

Offline jpwagoneer1964

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The one thingthat is better, more montages, dialog, from more of the later camping trips.
Thank you Heath and Jake for showing us Ennis and Jack,  teaching us how much they loved one another.

Offline nakymaton

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I think I've still got a copy of the 2003 screenplay saved on my little keychain drive (along with a copied version of the story and, I think, an intermediate version of the screenplay, and a gazillion clips that I downloaded before the movie came out here... and I should add that I've got the story in two versions that I paid for, too, so I'm not ripping off Annie Proulx!). If anyone wants to read the whole thing, pm me and we can exchange e-mail addresses.

I don't think the 2003 screenplay (or the intermediate draft) is nearly as good as the final movie is. I've been trying to figure out why, and I think that, actually, the locations manager may have summed it up for me. (Full interview is here: http://www.findingbrokeback.com/Interviews/Solly/Solly.html)

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I think that on some level, Ennis is a character all about regret. It is amazing; regret is a theme in a lot of Ang’s movies where true love is postponed for something more important. And the character always regrets it. Falls because of it. If you look at The Ice Storm, a couple passes over true love trying to get by in the suburban jungle. They could be happy but instead they opt for the politics of the suburban jungle. And in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, the lead swordsman passes on true love for duty. Here, Ennis passes over true love for the judgment of other people, out of fear. It is a theme throughout Ang’s movies. When you read it for the first time, you can see it. It’s there. It’s jumping out at you. You’re enjoying reading it, but you are also feeling so bad.

This theme of "regret" is really reinforced by all the little differences between the movie and the story. By seeing the love on the mountain -- the second tent scene, the warmer tone to the sheep-sorting scene, all the little gestures of caring between Ennis and Jack, the removal of the sense that Ennis couldn't look Jack in the face during the dozy embrace -- we come to understand, on some kind of gut emotional level, exactly what Ennis is giving up.

And the movie de-emphasizes the rural homophobia, too -- Jack's mother is incredibly sympathetic, and seems to deliberately give Ennis the means to understand how much Jack loved him; Jack's father is still a jerk, but less clearly homophobic; Ennis's daughter may know he is gay, in her conversation with Cassie, and seems entirely on Ennis's side; and the scenes with Aguirre and Jimbo could be taken either to imply a threat or not. (I'm leaving out the fact that Alma doesn't confront Ennis about Jack until she has divorced and remarried, because that's in the story.) For evidence of why Ennis is afraid, we're left with Ennis's memory of the brutal murder his father forced him to see, and Ennis's imagining of Jack's death. (Well, those, plus the ghost of Matthew Shepard, the rumors that BBM wouldn't be shown in small towns, the lame late-night talk show jokes, and the Oscars snub. The real world tells us why Ennis was afraid. But there was less explicit homophobia in the movie than there was in hoopla surrounding it.)

So we're left with this sense of true love that could have been, if only... if only. Regret, and loss.

It's no wonder that some people feel the need to go off and write happily-ever-after AU fan fiction. Or that others re-start the movie at the beginning and watch the mountain scenes again. Or that the movie hurts too much for some of my friends to keep watching it so much... I know people who think it is an incredible movie, and who just can't watch it or talk about it, because they've got some grief or another that is just too real, and they can't handle the pain.

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Offline Front-Ranger

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Have you noticed that many topics turn eventually into "could they have lived happily ever after" discussions? That's one thing I can't get into. BBM is a tragedy, and that's part of what makes it so great. I can't understand why people would want to see a rose-colored milquetoast version of it. Am I a curmugeon or something??
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Offline serious crayons

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BBM is a tragedy, and that's part of what makes it so great. I can't understand why people would want to see a rose-colored milquetoast version of it.

I don't they really want that. I once started a thread (it might have been at imdb) envisioning a version where, as Ennis is driving away from the lakeside argument scene, we see him suddenly say, "Oh, fuck this!" and crank the truck around in a U-turn, back to Jack. I asked people if they'd rather the movie ended that way.

Everybody, or almost everybody, said no.

But I think the power of the movie lies in the way it leaves the viewer, like Ennis, thinking "if only ..."  We can't just blithely say, "Gee, I'm sure glad Jack is dead and Ennis is stuck in a permanent grief-stricken hell and they both lost their big chance at happiness, because that's what makes this movie so good!"

It's the very fact that we wish things had turned out better for them that makes the movie agonizing and compelling and great. We're forced to keep pondering how things might have been better -- what if Ennis had decided to change? what if Jack had lived? what if when they first left the mountain they'd decided to hang out together a while? what if in the post-divorce scene Ennis had invited Jack to stick around until the girls were gone? etc. etc. -- just to soothe ourselves, even though we know it's hopeless. It's that terrible clash of feelings that keeps us here, I think, month after month, trying to find some happiness for them and peace of mind for us.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2006, 04:55:44 pm by latjoreme »