Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Incredible Opening Scene

The opening chase scene of Casino Royale--Daniel Craig booking it across rooftops in Madagascar after the bad guy-- was amazing. Action. Action. Action! I actually said "wow" out loud about a dozen times. At the same time I was also calculating in my head just how one would go about writing a scene like that. Someone had to write it first, right? Yes, you can write, "He climbed up the crane to dizzying heights and fought the bad guy, almost falling hundreds of feet to his death bla bla bla." How do you write this with the same hold-your-breath affect that the sweeping camera angles give you? How do you give the reader that sense of Bond's unfailing confidence; his reflexive without-need-of-thought reactions; the burn in his eyes as he tracked the bad guy unblinking like a lion tracking his prey. Well, you get my point.

There are other details that were vital to the tension: The way both the chaser and the chasee lept and jumped and rolled and did all those things that make you cringe thinking "for sure something is broken this time."

I would love to see the screenplay for this movie to see if it's possible to get the same thrill out of reading the scene...or even if it's possible to write more than "he jumps and rolls here" or if the director just shot his own interpretation. Action scenes are not my strong point and as many thrillers as I've read that make writing them look easy...I've yet to read one that made me say "wow" out loud.


Anonymous said...

Shannon~ the original manuscript was much different than the director's shooting script, from what I've heard from reliable sources. It sounds to me like the end product ended up being more like an interpretive dance by the director than anything that was written on a page somewhere.

That was an inspiring opening sequence!

Shannon said...

That's interesting. You know, most of us dream of having our novel played out on the big screen, but I bet it's not as glamorous as it seems. I bet it's hard seeing someone else's interpretation of your work played out, as would only be inevitable.