Author Topic: Comparison between '03 to '05 screenplay: would we still be discussing this film  (Read 31366 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

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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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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 »

Offline opinionista

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Does anyone have more information about the 2003 version of the screenplay? I think the differences between that version and the one we saw on screen have to do with the circumstances the BBM project was under when that screenplay was written. For instance, who was the director attached at that moment? Was it Ang Lee? Also if Ossana and Schamus had some kind of negotiation with some studio and they cut down on the sex and kissing scenes to be able to sell it, and get the movie done. It'll be intersting to see how the movie industry's dirty business actually affects the content of films, not just Brokeback, but all films. I believe that BBM became a film only James Schamus took over Focus Pictures. Before that it was being tossed like a hot potato from producer to producer.
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Offline nakymaton

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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??

No, I agree, I think it's the tragic aspect that makes the movie so powerful. That's why I'm hangin out on this forum and not writing or reading BBM fanfic... because, at some level, I think the story is so powerful because of the pain, and because I think both the story and the movie are perfect as they are. (Apologies to people who do read and write fanfic (Jeff!), because I know it always sounds like an insult when people don't read your stuff!)

But even though pain is powerful, it's still hard to take. Sometimes it feels like I'll finish going around the coffee pot someday and manage to find peace for Ennis and Jack, maybe, if I talk about them enough. And then I discover I've started off on another lap around the coffee pot again. Maybe the damn handle broke off when Jack died, or something.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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No, I agree, I think it's the tragic aspect that makes the movie so powerful. That's why I'm hangin out on this forum and not writing or reading BBM fanfic... because, at some level, I think the story is so powerful because of the pain, and because I think both the story and the movie are perfect as they are. (Apologies to people who do read and write fanfic (Jeff!), because I know it always sounds like an insult when people don't read your stuff!)

Thanks, but no apologies needed. I agree with you that it's the tragedy that makes this movie great, and I don't take fanfic that seriously, even my own. Fanfic isn't for everybody, and not all fanfics are for all fanfic fans. (For example, I can't abide the idea of the so-called "Moving-on Ennis" fics because to me an Ennis who "moves on" and finds another male lover is neither the Ennis of the film nor the Ennis of Annie Proulx's story; I just don't see it as in his nature.) My early "canon" fanfics were attempts to deal with the pain, and then I turned to writing "AU" stories because I can't live with the constant pain of the "reality" of two fictional characters who have become as much a part of me as the buddies I drink with on Saturday nights. So my "AU" stories are kind of like my own personal Brokeback morphine, I guess.
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Offline dly64

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Does anyone have more information about the 2003 version of the screenplay? I think the differences between that version and the one we saw on screen have to do with the circumstances the BBM project was under when that screenplay was written. For instance, who was the director attached at that moment? Was it Ang Lee? Also if Ossana and Schamus had some kind of negotiation with some studio and they cut down on the sex and kissing scenes to be able to sell it, and get the movie done. It'll be intersting to see how the movie industry's dirty business actually affects the content of films, not just Brokeback, but all films. I believe that BBM became a film only James Schamus took over Focus Pictures. Before that it was being tossed like a hot potato from producer to producer.

I think you are making an interesting point. As I was writing this thread, I thought of that question, but put it on hold to see where the discussion led.

Gus Van Sant (of “Good Will Hunting” fame) was the first director who was going to direct the film. Did he have any influence over the 2003 screenplay? Possibly … it’s hard to know. I do believe, however, had Gus done the film, I wouldn’t be sitting here spending endless hours talking about the film.

The question becomes: how much influence did Ang have over the 2005 version? Although several months ago I would have said “some” … now I have to say that Ang had a great deal of input and clout. I am aware that Ang insisted on breaking up the motel scene into three different scenes (the motel, Alma and Ennis’ apartment, and the mountains). Additionally, Ennis’ line, “I can’t stand this any more, Jack …” (when Ennis collapses into Jack’s arms), was not in the screenplay. The symbolisms, more than anything (IMO), have the mark of Ang Lee all over it. I doubt that had Gus done the film, we would be discussing bookends, the meaning of numbers and sheep and clocks and windows, etc.

Diane

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Offline malina

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I don't think it sounds terrible. But.. no second tent scene?? No reunion scene except from Alma's pov? Obviously I'm very glad it evolved the way it did.
The '03 version sounds like a different movie, one I wouldn't be adverse to seeing, and I think it would still have a good deal of its power, but a parallel-universe bbm, not ours.
One detail I rather like: Ennis imagining Jack in the place of Earl. That feels quite accurate, really.

Offline Daniel

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I also miss the second tent scene, but I am enjoying all the extra little bits of personality that Jack and Ennis are showing in the 03 version. I had not read it until very recently, and I was astonished and delighted to find that Jack does indeed buy Ennis's beers for him in the first bar scene (as I had played him on the Performance Thread), and I also liked it when Jack tried to show off for Ennis with the Chilean Sheepherders.... that sounds so much like him, I almost cried while reading that scene. Also the Newsome Thanksgiving scene was quite a bit different.

So its different, I like the final version better, but perhaps we can consider this a different version of the Gospel. Much like in the New Testament of the Bible, there are four different accounts of what happened, here we have the short story and at least two different screenplays, and the final film itself...
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Offline nakymaton

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I wouldn't call them "gospels" -- I would call them different works of art, because the way in which events are portrayed changes the dynamic of the story/movie, and develops the characters and themes differently.

I also miss the second tent scene, but I am enjoying all the extra little bits of personality that Jack and Ennis are showing in the 03 version. I had not read it until very recently, and I was astonished and delighted to find that Jack does indeed buy Ennis's beers for him in the first bar scene (as I had played him on the Performance Thread), and I also liked it when Jack tried to show off for Ennis with the Chilean Sheepherders.... that sounds so much like him, I almost cried while reading that scene.

It's interesting. There's a lot more dialogue in the beginning of the movie in the older versions of the screenplay, and although it sets up the situation and the place, I think it's better without it. For instance, Ennis talks quite a bit at the beginning of the older screenplays. And that sets up the place, but I think it undermines Ennis's character development. I think the scene where Ennis starts opening up is so good, in part, because it's true that Ennis has said very little up to that point.

Quick quiz. Don't look at your screenplay book. What is Ennis's first spoken line in the movie? And how much development of the character and the place has already happened before he says it?

And I wonder how many of the changes were directly the work of Ang Lee, and how many of them arose through the complete movie-making process -- the way Ang got the actors thinking about their characters, and then stepped back. (I wonder in particular how much input Heath had into the way Ennis is characterized, in part because we know that switching the shirts was Heath's idea. The boy should have gotten a damn Oscar for that suggestion alone.)
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Offline dly64

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Quick quiz. Don't look at your screenplay book. What is Ennis's first spoken line in the movie? And how much development of the character and the place has already happened before he says it?

I believe the first word Ennis said was “Ennis.”  We have already established the location, Jack’s attraction to Ennis, Ennis sizing up Jack, Aguirre explaining where they’ll be (BBM) and what they’ll be doing (herding sheep), that Jack is more gregarious and that Ennis is quite tight lipped. How accurate am I?

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And I wonder how many of the changes were directly the work of Ang Lee, and how many of them arose through the complete movie-making process -- the way Ang got the actors thinking about their characters, and then stepped back. (I wonder in particular how much input Heath had into the way Ennis is characterized, in part because we know that switching the shirts was Heath's idea. The boy should have gotten a damn Oscar for that suggestion alone.)

I do get the sense that it was a collaborative effort between Ang, the actors and the screenwriters (especially Diana since she was on the set everyday).

How many things can you think of that someone fought for, changed and/ or suggested?

Examples:
•   Heath – switching the shirts
•   Ang – breaking up the motel scene
•   Diana – keeping the reunion kissing scene in the story

Can anyone think of anything else?
Diane

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Offline serious crayons

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Well someone -- Ang, right? -- added TS2. And if you ask me, that's the most significant change of all.

Offline dly64

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Well someone -- Ang, right? -- added TS2. And if you ask me, that's the most significant change of all.


Honestly, I don't know where that came from. Let me snoop around and see if I can find something about it.
Diane

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Offline nakymaton

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I believe the first word Ennis said was “Ennis.”  We have already established the location, Jack’s attraction to Ennis, Ennis sizing up Jack, Aguirre explaining where they’ll be (BBM) and what they’ll be doing (herding sheep), that Jack is more gregarious and that Ennis is quite tight lipped. How accurate am I?

Perfect. ;D What would you prefer for your prize: a can of beans, an elk, or the complete set of secret footage shot by the tent-cam? ;D

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How many things can you think of that someone fought for, changed and/ or suggested?

Examples:
•   Heath – switching the shirts
•   Ang – breaking up the motel scene
•   Diana – keeping the reunion kissing scene in the story

Can anyone think of anything else?

I'm going back to wanting a DVD with a compete set of extras (though not with footage added to the actual movie), because those kinds of stories are the things that tend to get told on the commentary tracks. (For instance: Jack's first line, "S**t," isn't in the story-to-screenplay book. So was that actually Jake hurting his foot when he kicked the tire, and Ang decided it fit the character perfectly? Or was Jake getting into the spirit of Jack's "bitching" already?)

Katherine: do we know that the second tent scene was Ang's idea? I think it probably was, and I remember something about someone saying there needed to be some scene on the mountain that showed "commitment" or something like that, but I don't think I've ever heard the whole story behind the decision to include it. (And yes, it really is the most important change, isn't it? Gah. I'm so unable to be rational about that scene... I think it's the Best Movie Love Scene Ever, but I'm not sure that's my rational side talking when I say that.)
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Offline dly64

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Katherine: do we know that the second tent scene was Ang's idea? I think it probably was, and I remember something about someone saying there needed to be some scene on the mountain that showed "commitment" or something like that, but I don't think I've ever heard the whole story behind the decision to include it. (And yes, it really is the most important change, isn't it? Gah. I'm so unable to be rational about that scene... I think it's the Best Movie Love Scene Ever, but I'm not sure that's my rational side talking when I say that.)

FOUND IT!!!! This was in an interview with Ang:

Question: I can't remember any film that trusted its source material as much as this one.
Lee: Not only did I want to be loyal to [Annie Proulx's] writing, but I needed to do additional scenes to confirm her writing, because we don't have the internal depictions which she did most brilliantly. We don't have that benefit. We are photography. So, that tent scene for example—I needed to add another tent scene, to confirm that they commit to the love, so it's reasonable for the next twenty years they want to keep going back.

I am finding a bunch of other stuff out there as well. I'll sort through it an post later.
Diane

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Offline serious crayons

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Somewhere I heard Ang say he thought he'd have to fight Annie over TS2. Or maybe that she actually did disapprove, at least at first.

I think it's the Best Movie Love Scene Ever, but I'm not sure that's my rational side talking when I say that.

I think it's the Best Movie Love Scene Ever, too. And the reunion scene is the Second Best Movie Love Scene Ever. (Or wait, is it the other way around?) I am being completely rational.

But given what Mel has said (if I understand you correctly, Mel) about their love in the story not fully revealing itself until the end of the story, I'm not sure if I agree with Ang's quote about requiring TS2 to convey what the story conveyed in words. The story really DIDN'T convey in words what we get out of TS2.

What if there were no TS2? What if we only caught hints of love over the years, maybe particularly in the reunion scene, but didn't totally get the whole picture until the closet scene? Would that have worked? I mean, it would be a different movie, but wouldn't it be more like the story?

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Question: I can't remember any film that trusted its source material as much as this one.

Actually, I don't really agree with the interviewer's question, either.  I thought that, too, when I first saw the movie, having read the story (though not recently). Their plots are almost identical. And I thought the two were almost exactly the same, except that the movie was longer and Jack and Ennis were cuter.

But now I think the film takes some different directions with scenes, characters and even themes. Obviously everyone involved in the movie had huge respect for the story, so they never admit it, but they appear to have made some different choices.


Offline dly64

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Question: I can't remember any film that trusted its source material as much as this one.

Actually, I don't really agree with the interviewer's question, either.  I thought that, too, when I first saw the movie, having read the story (though not recently). Their plots are almost identical. And I thought the two were almost exactly the same, except that the movie was longer and Jack and Ennis were cuter.

But now I think the film takes some different directions with scenes, characters and even themes. Obviously everyone involved in the movie had huge respect for the story, so they never admit it, but they appear to have made some different choices.

I agree with you completely, Katherine. Interestingly, it seems to me that the 2003 version of the screenplay is  very much like the story. However, the story as Ang directed and filmed does  differ substantially in some key areas …. the biggest one being that Ennis’ homophobia was much more pronounced in the film vs. the story. The story had Ennis verbalizing how much he liked having sex with Jack … there is none of that in the film. And the change in “this is a one-shot thing we got goin’ on here ….” The story had Jack saying that, not Ennis. IMO, by changing that around altered the entire dynamic of that scene. (BTW – as it was presented in the film, what did the line “this is a one-shot thing ….” convey? Was it … “we did this once and it won’t happen again” or “this is only going to happen this summer and when we leave, it’s done”?  Just curious).
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Offline Daniel

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That has been a difficult question for me to answer too...

I'm not certain what it was meant to exactly imply... but it does make us painfully aware that Ennis has never done anything like that before, and really wasn't quite sure what was supposed to happen next... he was struggling for answers and none were coming so he said what he could to bring back a sense of control of the situation.

To me, it sounded like Jack's next line was an argument against that, basically saying (in a typical Jackian way), that Ennis shouldn't be worrying about what happened. Ennis doesn't believe him of course, and he continued to throw up another hasty defense... Jack looked over at him with a sense of painful endearment and confirms that for him... It is sad to think that the label "queer" was so negative to both of them, and they sought out some way to reduce the shame of that experience by seperating themselves further from that label.
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Offline serious crayons

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I think "one shot thing" means it's just for the summer. I don't think it can mean "we did this once and it won't happen again," first because of the open-ended phrasing -- "this is a one-shot thing we've got going on here," not "we had going on there" -- and second because that would make the very next scene shot number two. Somebody -- maybe Ruthlessly? -- argued that by "one shot thing" Ennis means it's just the two of them together forever but, much as I'd like to believe that romantic scenario, it seems kind of far-fetched. (Unless maybe he -- Ruthlessly or whoever it was -- was talking about it meaning that at some deep symbolic level, which I guess is possible.)

It is sad to think that the label "queer" was so negative to both of them, and they sought out some way to reduce the shame of that experience by seperating themselves further from that label.

Yes, it is sad. I'm guessing it's partly because they associate that label not just with having sex with men (although they -- Ennis in particular -- may be reluctant to embrace that part of it, too), but also with a whole set of characteristics they don't see themselves as having and which, in their world, would be an anathema.

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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"Queer" as a label was negative--period--in 1963. There were no such things as "queer studies" then, and it was--what?--another twenty years before the American Psychological Association decided that homosexuality was not a pathology. "Queer" didn't just mean that you had sex with people of your same gender. It meant you were diseased in your mind--not just different, but downright sick. People feared "queer"--many, of course, still do. It's perfectly understandable to me that Ennis wouldn't want to be stigmatized by anybody as being diseased in his mind.
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Offline nakymaton

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I think "one shot thing" means it's just for the summer. I don't think it can mean "we did this once and it won't happen again," first because of the open-ended phrasing -- "this is a one-shot thing we've got going on here," not "we had going on there" -- and second because that would make the very next scene shot number two.

I always interpreted it as meaning "Look, this isn't going to happen again"... I still don't think that Ennis knew TS2 was going to happen until he got to his feet and headed for the tent (and even then, I think he was kind of scared, as well as probably excited, and wasn't sure what was going to happen). Yes, I know the verb tenses suggest otherwise, but you know... verb tenses are one of those things that tend to be a bit sloppy with rural dialects. (If somebody uses the subjective tense, they're faking the dialect. ;D )

But I can see how it could be interpreted the other way, too.

(I also think that movie-Ennis is more introverted than story-Ennis, and therefore his homophobia is expressed in different ways. I can't see movie-Ennis coming out and talking about the sex directly, even if he and Jack went off and started their little cow-and-calf operation.)

***

Quote
I'm guessing it's partly because they associate that label not just with having sex with men (although they -- Ennis in particular -- may be reluctant to embrace that part of it, too), but also with a whole set of characteristics they don't see themselves as having and which, in their world, would be an anathema.

What were the connotations of "queer" in 1963? In 2006, I think of "queer" as implying a certain sort of rebelliousness, of reclaiming a term. (Like there weren't people doing graduate work in "queer studies" in 1963, but there are today.) And in older literature (though mostly British, I think) the word "queer" is used without any apparent connotations of sexuality. So I'm curious how Jack and Ennis would have heard the word. (Mostly as a slur to be used against gays, I'm guessing?)

(Whatever the connotations, yes, it is sad.)

(Oops. Jeff answered my question already. Thanks, Jeff. :) )
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Offline Daniel

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Thank you for clarifying that... :)

As a young person some of the references and cultural acknowledgements of the 60's still escapes me.
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Offline serious crayons

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"Queer" as a label was negative--period--in 1963. There were no such things as "queer studies" then, and it was--what?--another twenty years before the American Psychological Association decided that homosexuality was not a pathology.

Right. "Queer" was always used as a pejorative in them days, and now it isn't necessarily. But just to avoid confusion over the particular word, I don't think it matters what label they used, they would have wanted to avoid association with the concept.

Speaking of verb tenses, I've always thought it strange that when movie-Ennis is talking on the phone to Lureen, he says "No ma'am, we was herdin sheep on Brokeback ..." Both the story and the screenplay say "we herded," so maybe it's just how it happened to come out when they filmed the scene. But it's an odd and kind of unnatural way to put it, even for someone with sloppy grammar, so I've also wondered if there's any reason for it.

Offline Daniel

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If you notice...this is a deeply emotional statement for Ennis....

It's more like "No ma'am.... we was..... herdin' sheep on Brokeback.... one summer." as though he is finding the statement too painful to say, and at the same time, coming to grips with what had happened to him, and how much Jack meant to him.

"We was herdin' " allows a contemplative/aching pause where "We herded" doesn't.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2006, 01:47:22 pm by Daniel »
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Offline dly64

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I always interpreted it as meaning "Look, this isn't going to happen again"... I still don't think that Ennis knew TS2 was going to happen until he got to his feet and headed for the tent (and even then, I think he was kind of scared, as well as probably excited, and wasn't sure what was going to happen). Yes, I know the verb tenses suggest otherwise, but you know... verb tenses are one of those things that tend to be a bit sloppy with rural dialects. (If somebody uses the subjective tense, they're faking the dialect. ;D )

Mel - I agree with you. Somehow, in the film, I felt as though Ennis was saying ... "we did this once and it stops here ..." The story, however, implies that the "one-shot thing" is for the summer. In essence, it could be both. However, the change from the story (which was the same in the 2003 screenplay) and the 2005 screenplay indicates that Ennis is thinking it won't happen again. Furthermore, the way the 2005 version describes Ennis' motivation before TS2 indicates that he is debating what he is going to do ....  then he decides. Maybe that  is why Ang wanted to add that scene ... to reflect the inner conflict between "I shouldn't do this, but I want to do this ..."

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Offline nakymaton

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"We was herdin' " allows a contemplative/aching pause where "We herded" doesn't.

Yes! Good way to put it.

There's also, for a brief moment, the possibility that Ennis might say something else. (Not that I could imagine him saying anything else, but...)

But, yeah, the rhythm of the language really works well, even if the tense is strange.

(I'm trying to run through all the different ways of using verbs that I'm familiar with, and I think... I think that using the past perfect tense when the regular past tense ('was herding' as opposed to 'herded') is pretty common in some places. But it does imply a kind of continuity that 'herded' doesn't. Like that summer is still going on in Ennis's head.)

Diane: you mean you don't think that Ang added TS2 in hopes of turning the entire audience into an obsessed mass of goo? ;)

Edit: To be more serious about TS2 and the "I'm not queer" statement... I think that Ang included TS2 because the other scenes that were written just didn't convey the emotion he wanted.

And I think that Jack's "one-shot thing" statement in the story is more of an attempt to reassure Ennis. "A one-shot thing. Nobody's business but ours. Now, could you please keep doing what it was that you were doing back when we weren't talking about the sex?" ;)
« Last Edit: September 26, 2006, 02:02:50 pm by nakymaton »
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Offline dly64

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(I'm trying to run through all the different ways of using verbs that I'm familiar with, and I think... I think that using the past perfect tense when the regular past tense ('was herding' as opposed to 'herded') is pretty common in some places. But it does imply a kind of continuity that 'herded' doesn't. Like that summer is still going on in Ennis's head.)

It is funny ... I never thought of that line as being strange. I guess I am used to hearing language like that. Stuff like "we was bailin' hay last week ..." Sometimes I have to watch myself so that I don't say something that sounds, for lack of a better word, "hickish". (Even that word is a bit hick …)

Quote
Diane: you mean you don't think that Ang added TS2 in hopes of turning the entire audience into an obsessed mass of goo? ;)

He may have done it for that reason, too .... :laugh:
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Offline serious crayons

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Stuff like "we was bailin' hay last week ..."

Well, "we was bailin hay last week" makes a little more sense because it's so recent. In a way that "we was herdin sheep 20 years ago" doesn't. But Daniel's explanation makes sense.

Back to "one-shot thing." When Jack says it in the story, it seems like "it's nobody's business but ours" -- a reassurance for Ennis. When Ennis says it to Jack, it seems like a setting of the ground rules.

The way I interpret it is, after leaving the camp Ennis rides along mulling over the night before. The death music sounds ominous, but Ennis seems less disturbed than thoughtful. Then the dead sheep -- a warning. But he kills the coyote, as if vanquishing the bad omen. He thinks about the situation all day before Jack shows up, deciding this is an opportunity. He might as well take his "one shot" at living the way he'd secretly like to.

To me, it's a prolonged, more complex dramatization of the story's "without saying anything about it both knew how it would go for the rest of the summer."


Offline jpwagoneer1964

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.

Back to "one-shot thing." When Jack says it in the story, it seems like "it's nobody's business but ours" -- a reassurance for Ennis. When Ennis says it to Jack, it seems like a setting of the ground rules.

To me, it's a prolonged, more complex dramatization of the story's "without saying anything about it both knew how it would go for the rest of the summer."


Well put. You notice how up with the sheep after "You know i ain't...." Jack and Ennis just sit there close just a few inches apart, to me it's so important how that scene is held. I don't think they hardly said a word until we see Ennis by the tent, but I'll bet they rode down together, and fixed supper, barley inches apart the whole time.
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Offline dly64

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Back to "one-shot thing." When Jack says it in the story, it seems like "it's nobody's business but ours" -- a reassurance for Ennis. When Ennis says it to Jack, it seems like a setting of the ground rules.

The way I interpret it is, after leaving the camp Ennis rides along mulling over the night before. The death music sounds ominous, but Ennis seems less disturbed than thoughtful. Then the dead sheep -- a warning. But he kills the coyote, as if vanquishing the bad omen. He thinks about the situation all day before Jack shows up, deciding this is an opportunity. He might as well take his "one shot" at living the way he'd secretly like to.

To me, it's a prolonged, more complex dramatization of the story's "without saying anything about it both knew how it would go for the rest of the summer."

I understand your rationale … it makes sense. The story definitely follows this logic. The biggest thing that holds me back with that explanation for the film, however, is right before TS2. I mentioned this before. Help me to understand your POV…. The 2005 screenplay states:

Ennis, pensive, glances over towards the tent. Decides. Gets up. Goes to the tent.

If they were setting the “ground rules” (which is  what they do in the story), what would Ennis have to decide? Why is he thinking before going into the tent? It seems to me that he knows if he goes into that tent (which he wants to do, but is scared) they will continue what had begun the night before. Isn’t that his decision? To continue what has begun, or to stop it?
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Offline serious crayons

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I see what you are saying about the "decides." Setting that aside just for a moment, what it appears to me that he's doing when he's sitting by the fire is gathering up his courage. He's nervous but excited, maybe thinking something along the lines of, "OK, here we go. Am I ready for this? I hope so." Meanwhile Jack, inside the tent, looks like he anticipates Ennis coming in and is getting undressed in preparation. When Ennis does go in, they both look like that's exactly what they expected to happen.

So what about the "decides"? I guess from this perspective it means either that he decides that OK, here I go, now's the time, or maybe that he is still harboring some tiny bit of doubt and decides to ignore that and go for it. Or maybe it's just one of those stage directions that fell by the wayside, like the one about Ennis sending Carl a murderous look.

In any case, even if the "decides" just doesn't make sense under this interpretation, to me it makes no less sense than Ennis' open-ended verbs in "this is a one shot thing we got goin on" under the other interpretation. That is, either way you look at it, you have to ignore something incongruous. But if I have to ignore something I guess I'd rather have it be in the screenplay than the movie itself.

Offline dly64

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I see what you are saying about the "decides." Setting that aside just for a moment, what it appears to me that he's doing when he's sitting by the fire is gathering up his courage. He's nervous but excited, maybe thinking something along the lines of, "OK, here we go. Am I ready for this? I hope so." Meanwhile Jack, inside the tent, looks like he anticipates Ennis coming in and is getting undressed in preparation. When Ennis does go in, they both look like that's exactly what they expected to happen.

OMG, Katherine! I never thought of it that way at all ... but I love the interpretation. Hmmmmm ..... guess I'll just have to watch it tonight with that in mind!  ::)
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Offline serious crayons

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OMG, Katherine! I never thought of it that way at all ... but I love the interpretation. Hmmmmm ..... guess I'll just have to watch it tonight with that in mind!  ::)

That's very dedicated of you to make that commitment in the name of research!  ;)

Offline serious crayons

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OK, here's a story/movie comparison that I just thought of. You know how we're always observing that Ennis is less homophobic in the story? Well, that's not the only difference; he's also much more chatty. In the movie, he's downright taciturn ("that's the most I've spoke in a year"). Whereas in the story, he talks more or less the same amount as Jack, as far as I can tell. That's another reason the characters seem less distinguishable in the story.

But also, it suggests something to me about the two Ennis' childhoods. I always figure Movie Ennis is quiet not only because that's his inherent nature (although, as a big believer in genetic influence, I would probably argue for that in RL). I think it's because he's extremely inhibited, and for a good reason. For Movie Ennis, the Earl experience was just the tip of the iceberg. If Ennis could even consider the possibility that his dad, someone he seems to have respected, tortured someone to death for being gay, we can assume that his entire childhood was pretty terrifying and confusing and shame-filled and awful -- from the time he noticed he was attracted to men, presumably at an early age, until his dad died, and of course beyond. The fear of revealing that one big part of his nature scared him into keeping ALL of himself hidden.

Talkative Story Ennis, on the other hand, doesn't hesitate to tell Jack about wringing it out and realizing he shouldn't have let him out of his sights and Jesus H, sex with women ain't nothin like this. Granted, he's talking to someone he trusts, but so is the far more inhibited Movie Ennis, and yet he's all "Me? Uhhhh .... I dunno."

And that goes along with what always seemed to be the big reason for Story Ennis to reject Jack's offer: he saw a man who'd been killed for living with another man, so he knows it's dangerous. From that perspective, his response to Jack's offer seems a pragmatic, even reasonable, decision rather than the result of inner conflict. The larger implications of how the Earl incident might have affected his whole youth are still there if you think about it -- and I'm guessing that wily Annie Proulx probably means for us to do just that. But they're not so vividly played out in Ennis' personality.

Sorry if everybody else is rolling their eyes and thinking, "Well, duh!" Though I had thought of all the parts of this before, I'd never put them together quite that way.

BTW, I have come very close to starting a whole thread about Ennis and the Earl incident. So often I see people say Ennis behaved the way he did because "he was forced to view the body of a man who'd been killed for being gay" or something like that -- that is, explaining his behavior in terms of one isolated horrifying incident. Whereas in fact that's just an incident that lends itself to telling, both by Ennis and the film/story, but really suggests so much more than that. "For all I know, he done the job" is really a key line.

Offline Front-Ranger

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Yes, and you have to also remember the older brother who teased, beat, and harassed him (in the story) and the fact that Ennis had to go live with him after his ma and sister abandoned him, and then even his older brother kicked him out. In that light, his reticence and self-repression is very believable.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Yes, and you have to also remember the older brother who teased, beat, and harassed him (in the story).

OT for the screenplay discussion, I guess, but reading this (thanks, Lee!), it just finally clicked: this is where Ennis learned to solve problems with violence. His brother kept picking on him and his father told him the way to get it to stop was to "ambush" his brother and beat on him, which he did, and after he did it a couple of times, his brother left him alone.  :-\
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Offline jpwagoneer1964

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OT for the screenplay discussion, I guess, but reading this (thanks, Lee!), it just finally clicked: this is where Ennis learned to solve problems with violence. His brother kept picking on him and his father told him the way to get it to stop was to "ambush" his brother and beat on him, which he did, and after he did it a couple of times, his brother left him alone.  :-\
In the book it explaines Ennis's reason for the punch, a reflex brought on by his roughousing with K.E.
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Offline serious crayons

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Yes, and you have to also remember the older brother who teased, beat, and harassed him (in the story) and the fact that Ennis had to go live with him after his ma and sister abandoned him, and then even his older brother kicked him out. In that light, his reticence and self-repression is very believable.

True, although in RL -- or even in other stories -- having to stand up to his brother and fend for himself might make him more outgoing. Like, say, Huck Finn who stood up to his abusive father and all of society and had to fend for himself and yet wasn't shy. But I do find Ennis' reticence and repression believable. Maybe that's why I'm such a believer in genetic influence -- your environment definitely influences you, but what it influences you to do or be depends a lot on what you were in the first place.

Uh-oh, here's a confession: Just this moment, reading back on previous posts, I realize I meant to put my last post that on a different thread -- the story vs. screenplay thread, not the 03 screenplay vs. 05 screenplay thread. Oops.  :laugh: Well, since it's mostly the same people talking on both, I hope you all don't mind?

Or maybe I'll repost it there. Hopefully in a shorter form.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2006, 02:51:23 pm by latjoreme »

Offline serious crayons

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OK, I just reposted. And when I went over it again, I made it much shorter without really taking out anything substantive. Jeff, I need an editor.  :-\

Offline Front-Ranger

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I noticed U didn't talk about the screenplay, but I assumed we had evolved away from that discussion, like we usually do!!  :D
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Offline serious crayons

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Sometimes I think all our conversations could be in one big gigantic thread!  :laugh:

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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OK, I just reposted. And when I went over it again, I made it much shorter without really taking out anything substantive. Jeff, I need an editor.  :-\


Sometimes we all do, little darlin'.  :D

And these conversations tend to be organic anyway.  :)
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Offline nakymaton

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I think story-Ennis had at least as traumatic of a childhood, at least from the events that we hear about, as movie-Ennis. Both were forced to see Earl's dead and mutilated body, and both thought their father may have been responsible. And as Front-Ranger pointed out, story-Ennis also was taught violence by being told to punch his older brother to solve the bullying problem. (Movie-Ennis, on the other hand, says his brother and sister "did the best they could.")

But given how little movie-Ennis says about anything, it wouldn't surprise me if he didn't have the same traumatic childhood, but is less willing to talk about it.

I wonder if movie-Ennis was simply a more sensitive child in general? That sounds weird, I guess. But you know how Heath described Ennis as being very sensitive to light, to sounds, to everything? Well, the tiny amount of reading I did in child-raising books (before I threw them on the floor and went to chase my own child...) told me that even kids who can't speak yet respond to people in totally different ways. (Like some kids break into tears when somebody tells them "no," and others -- mine, for instance -- just keep on going as if they didn't hear you, no matter how angry or upset you sound.) So I'm wondering if story-Ennis simply dealt the abuse in a different way -- by burying some of his emotions, for instance -- whereas movie-Ennis pulled away from people and withdrew completely?

(That is SO pop-psychology. Sorry, everyone!)
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Offline serious crayons

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(Movie-Ennis, on the other hand, says his brother and sister "did the best they could.")

But given how little movie-Ennis says about anything, it wouldn't surprise me if he didn't have the same traumatic childhood, but is less willing to talk about it.

Yes, I think "did the best they could" is also evidence of movie-Ennis's willingness to make do with beans.

Quote
So I'm wondering if story-Ennis simply dealt the abuse in a different way -- by burying some of his emotions, for instance -- whereas movie-Ennis pulled away from people and withdrew completely?

Yes, that could be. I guess both Ennises had more or less the same childhoods; it's their adult personalities that differ. So yeah, I guess they were just inherently different people. Er, uh, characters.

Quote
I wonder if movie-Ennis was simply a more sensitive child in general? That sounds weird, I guess. But you know how Heath described Ennis as being very sensitive to light, to sounds, to everything? Well, the tiny amount of reading I did in child-raising books (before I threw them on the floor and went to chase my own child...) told me that even kids who can't speak yet respond to people in totally different ways.

I can attest to this as the mother of two sons who are close in age but very different in personalities, in ways that were obvious from the time they were about one week old.

My older son, in fact, is probably one of those ultra-sensitive-to-sights-and-sounds kids. And it's hard to imagine anybody whose personality is less like Ennis'. One of our therapists theorized that he responds to the constant barrage of sensory information by insisting on absolute control over his environment. In other words, he doesn't settle for beans, and if you don't fix it, he can't stand it.

Offline dly64

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After reading this discussion I wonder who influenced the final "Ennis" we saw on the screen? Had the '03 version been filmed, Ennis would have been portrayed more like the book ... much more talkative. Jack would have been less gregarious. And since Heath described Ennis (as Mel pointed out) as one who was sensitive to light and sound (almost wincing at everything) ... did that influence a script change? Jake saw Jack as a bad rodeo cowboy and ranch hand, but who also tried his hardest to do the best he could. Did that influence the final version?

I had stated earlier, wrongly, that Ang wanted to cut out Jack and Ennis kissing at the reunion scene. What I realized is that Ang wanted to cut out Alma seeing Jack and Ennis kissing when they reunited because he thought it would be too shocking. Thank goodness DO and LM fought to keep that in since that is such a key scene!

Maybe this becomes one of those discussions ... "what came first? The chicken or the egg?"
Diane

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Offline serious crayons

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And since Heath described Ennis (as Mel pointed out) as one who was sensitive to light and sound (almost wincing at everything) ... did that influence a script change?

This is another comment that probably belongs on the story/film thread, but ... I'm always kind of surprised that Annie said something like, Heath understood Ennis better than she did. Because the Ennis we see Heath playing is such a different person. I would argue he's a more fleshed-out character, which may be what she's alluding to. (Though I know not everyone would agree with that.)

Offline nakymaton

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This is another comment that probably belongs on the story/film thread, but ... I'm always kind of surprised that Annie said something like, Heath understood Ennis better than she did. Because the Ennis we see Heath playing is such a different person.

Maybe Ennis was a real person in her head, and she felt he was hard to capture in words, and she felt like the character that Heath created was what she had been aiming for all that time, but which still eluded her, even after all the revisions.
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Offline serious crayons

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Maybe Ennis was a real person in her head, and she felt he was hard to capture in words, and she felt like the character that Heath created was what she had been aiming for all that time, but which still eluded her, even after all the revisions.

That makes perfect sense to me. I think of it as, Annie created this character, Heath (and/or Ang) read it and took it another step further, Annie saw that and said, yeah, that's what I meant. Which is not, I hope, a derrogatory comment about any of them. Ennis was sort of a product of collaborative effort. And what a product!
 


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Bumping for Throwback Whateverday.

Offline southendmd

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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).

Funny, because, of course, Larry McMurtry wrote the screenplay for Terms of Endearment!

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Bumping this thread again, five years later.

Weren't you all so clever! 

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Thanks for the bump! I read every post. I miss nakymaton and am so glad most of the posters are still here.  :-*
Too much to do. . .I don't have time to get old!

Offline serious crayons

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Thanks for the bump! I read every post. I miss nakymaton and am so glad most of the posters are still here.  :-*

I often miss nakymaton, too. She and I met in person once and had dinner. As for dly64, aka Diane, me and her was good friends, too.
 
(Or would that be "me and her were good friends"? Or "she and I was good friends"? If you deviate from proper grammar, do you have to go all the way?

I need the rules for how to break the rules.  :laugh:


Offline Front-Ranger

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(Or would that be "me and her were good friends"? Or "she and I was good friends"? If you deviate from proper grammar, do you have to go all the way?

I need the rules for how to break the rules.  :laugh:

 :laugh: :laugh:
Too much to do. . .I don't have time to get old!