Thursday, May 01, 2008

Thoughts on the script: Tonight, He Comes (AKA Hancock)

Yesterday and today, according to my plan, I finally got around to reading Tonight, He Comes, which was the original title for the new Will Smith film Hancock. I'm not sure how many changes have been made to the draft I read because it was a version from 2002 and it read very much like a spec. It's pretty obvious already that there are some significant changes from this version to the screen which makes me sad because I think Peter Berg could have shot this as is and it would have been satisfactory, but he usually does good work so I'm willing to trust him a little.

But seriously this may be the best god damn screenplay I've ever read.

No, really. I'm not even fucking kidding.

I'm really, really glad I scrapped that super hero with social anxiety script because this is a similar concept executed a thousand times better than what I was planning.

Why did I love this script so much, you may ask?

A lot of that probably has to do with my personal preferences in film anyway. It's no secret I like a lot of violence in my stories, but I also love relationships featuring a strong woman and a man who can't quite prove himself the way he should but understands her better than he knows. I also love flawed heroes. This story has all that.

Hancock is a Superman like hero who strongly believes in doing the right thing, but can't handle the pressure of being solely responsible for protecting people. He can't get close to anyone and he's cracking up. He befriends a family run by a patriarch with no balls of note who is of course humiliated by the fact that this stranger can protect his family better than he can.

It's about different kinds of courage. It's about not letting life drag you down. It's about accepting who you are. It's about what true love means. It's about family. I laughed out loud six times. I cried a little. I smiled warmly at the end. I fucking loved this script.

Some of that is also probably a result of the style. The writer, Vy Vincent Ngo, who up to now has only some minor television credits, has a really distinct writing style. It borders on too much personality at times, but for the most part it's fun as hell to read.

For example:


Your average market, mom and pop.

Artichokes! Mary handles an artichoke, contemplating. Nick (30), the grocer, moves in behind her. He's handsome in a greasy, grimy, rebuilt carburetor kind of way.

That's a lovely dress, Mary.

If he could mount her, he would.

You're sweet Nick.

There's a lot of little chuckles embedded in the script and I really enjoyed the read. There are some that don't work (A look "squatted" on someone's face comes to mind) but you get a real sense of a broken world in desperate need of fixing on the part of everybody involved in this story.

Sadly, I just read a few articles on the film and it looks like they gutted the script I loved so much.

I am sad.


  1. Okay, I give up. It wasn't at Drew's, it wasn't at Daily Script...pretty please, tell us, teacher to teacher: where'd ya find it?

    Shane Black said, if you're writing a spec and you're not having fun, something's wrong.
    I used to have lots of fun. Now, I'm always thinking, will it sell, will it sell?

  2. I don't think I could write if I wasn't having fun. Even if it doesn't sell, I'm still doing something I love.

    I got the script from a friend. I get most of my scripts that way. I'm more than happy to do a script exchange with anybody who wants something I've got. Not sure how legal that is, but who cares?

  3. I'm about halfway through this script ... and I have to agree, it is very well written and would make a great movie. I hope the final film didn't stray too much from this script. Great read!

  4. I'm desperate to finally read the original script. Can anyone point me in the direction? Thanks in advance

  5. I read "Tonight He Comes" back in 1994 and was blown away by it. I still remember the opening voice over, it was brilliant. I saw the movie last night and was dissapointed. It was a fun movie, but they did a major rewrite on it and made parts of it really goofy. (I thought Peter Berg would be smart enough to realize he had pure gold in his hands with the original script.) Oh well, it happens every day in this town. I tried to find the original script but couldn't. If someone has it, please post it on line.


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