Posts Tagged ‘writer characters in movies’
Man of Steel’s Writer Character Lois Lane and Her Compelling Conflicts: Protecting Your Subject, Falling for Your “Subject” and More
The 2013 Superman reboot Man of Steel is a pleasant addition to the superhero movies with its brilliant cast (Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Diane Lane, Michael Shannon, Amy Adams, Henry Cavill), a satisfactory (back)story and some great effects that unfortunately didn’t exist in the time of Christopher Reeve (Superman from 1978).
However one of the things that made me like this Superman movie a lot more than all the other Superman movies (and this coming from a Reeve & Donner fan) and many other comic book adaptations is that there are several compelling “writer” conficts that are relatable.
Now, you can read the plot and movie review here. But I’ll provide strictly Louis Lane-related plot points (and conflicts) below:
Lois Lane (Amy Adams) is an award-winning journalist sent to a military base in Canada to observe the weird craft (ruled out as a submarine) found. There she follows one of the new workers (Clark Kent, played by Henry Cavill) there as he finds the answers to his origins. He gets to save Lois’ life and then disappears, working to improve his abilities.
But when Lois’s boss refuses to publish her story (that doesn’t sound plausible), she leaks the story other channels, and then looks for Clark herself. Up to now, including the story, he’s a mystery man whose identity and background are unknown.
When she finds him (or he lets her find him), and Clark explains her the reason for his hiding the truth, she decides to keep his secret. But then Zod, the killer of Clark’s biological father, sends a threatening message: Either humans give Clark to him, or he destroys them all.
Lois is arrested by the FBI, but she isn’t exactly willing to talk. Clark doesn’t trust Zod, but he agrees to turn himself in for the safety (and freedom) of Lois.
Then Lois and Clark find themselves on the spacecraft of Zod. He tries to persuade Clark to join their plans of recreating Krypton on earth, but Clark doesn’t want anyone to be killed. On the craft, Lois gets to “meet” Clark’s father, and learns some critical strategical information.
From then on, Lois becomes an integral part of the team determined to stop Zod from destroying everything.
The Famous Writer Character: Lois Lane
Lois in Man of Steel is the ideal journalist. She goes to whereever her leads (and curiousity) take her, no matter how dangerous things might be. She then writes about her experiences without holding back, and gets frustrated at her boss for not giving her the green-light, even though her story sounds, quite improbable. And when she can’t make herself heard through the publication she works for, she gives her story to a guy who is famous for writing stuff like that- even though this could cost her her job.
But when she learns why Clark has been hiding who he really is, she keeps his secret- even if it eventually leads to her arrest. When Zod asks her to come on board with them, she willingly leaves; and this has nothing to do with the story.
Of course the more Clark and Lois know each other as a person, they more connected they feel. So we have a mutually protective, risk-taking and loyal relationship combined with a lot of attraction.
And as much as things got very complicated and dangerous, all ended well for both characters. But things could have gone really wrong for Lois, had she been a real person and her “subject” not a superhero.
She could have lost her job, the guy she wrote about would probably be less sweet and understanding about her story, and none of them would probably survive such dangerous situations.
But it makes for a fun and appealing story. The romance is delightful because it includes friendship, chemistry, understanding, loyalty and bravery. Lois proves to be more into her story than her career (and her life), which is really admirable (though this would probably send her parents to an early grave.) And she has the courage to step up when the world needs her.
Of course Man of Steel isn’t just for writers. But with all the Loises I have seen on both TV and big screen, Amy Adams’ is the coolest and most likeable. She is also a lot more than a damsel in distress.
How far would you go for your story? For your subject (love)?
And did your stories ever bring you real life romance?
Bradley Cooper doesn’t write in real life as far as we know. But he sure did play some remarkable writer characters in his films, the most recent being The Words.
Before talking about his character in The Words, let’s remember what Bradley Cooper has been writing:
Alias – Will Tippin
Alias is one of my favorite shows of all time. It tells the story of double-agent Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) who’s working for CIA to bring down a terrorist organization network-a network that originally hired her disguised as the actual CIA.
When she realizes that she’s been working for the enemy after a very tragic event, she goes to the real CIA, and starts an even more dangerous life as a double agent.
Of course being a double agent requires her to lie to her very best friends for their own safety. This includes Will Tippin, a newspaper reporter who doesn’t let go of investigating the death of Sydney’s fiance (the tragic event that opened her eyes) and gets into a whole new level of trouble afterwards…
Will Tippin is a nice, smart and fun guy. A great friend. He was also a bit in love with Sydney, but he was unlucky when it came to timing. First there was Danny, the fiance she was mourning. And then there was Michael Vaughn (Michael Vartan), her CIA handler- who happened to be the only person she could share everything with. It’s hard to compete with that.
But worry not. Alias is too good for girls-fall-for-bad-guys cliche. Michael Vaughn, despite being a field-trained agent, was one of the nicest guys ever seen on television.
Limitless – Eddie Mora
Eddie Mora (Bradley Cooper) is a struggling writer. But when he stumbles upon a pill that allows him to use his brain in a capacity beyond his wildest dreams, he also gets to become a bestselling author – his manuscript finished overnight.
Of course the pills, fame and super talents will come with a price; threatening his and his girlfriend’s (Abbie Cornish) lives.
Limitless is a great movie for writers, becuase one part of the movie is about a fanasty coming true- ultimate creativity and productivity resulting in the fame and recognition we have always wanted (meaning we sold our manuscripts and can make a good living writing!). And of course part of it brings the price he pays because of the “unnatural” means he used to achieved this.
It doesn’t stop me from fantasizing about something that will come without the side effects and the bad guys,though. Nope, I don’t want drugs.
The Words – Rory Jansen
Rory Jansen is a struggling writer who lives with his girlfriend (Zoe Saldana).Their happiness is sometimes threatened by his unrealized dreams as he can’t find a publisher for his novel.
But during a visit to an antique shop, his girlfriend buys him an old briefcase, which turns out to hold a manuscript. As Rory devours it, he feels both mesmerized and inadequate. He starts typing it, just so he can feel like those are his words for a while.
However his girlfriend reads it, and loves it so much that she pressures him into sending it to an agent. To his surprise, the publishing house he works for (in a non-writing capacity) publishes it and he becomes a best-selling author with critical acclaim. He later successfully publishes again.
But he is being followed by an old man (Jeremy Irons), the writer of the manuscript, who later confronts him and tells his story.
As Rory struggles with his conscience, the old man doesn’t help him much with the process.
In addition to Bradley Cooper, Jeremey Irons, Ben Barnes (Irons’ youth) and Dennis Quaid also play writers. Dennis Quaid is the first writer we meet, as he tells us the story of Rory. It’s up to the viewer to decide whether Rory’s story is fiction, or a semi-autobiographic confession.
Have I missed any of Cooper’s writer characters? And what’s your favorite writer character from him?
And how about you? Have you created any writer characters?
My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend Writing Character: Ethan played byChristopher Gorham
Ethan is a writer who can’t get published. His last novel is turned down because it is not realistic enough where it matter (and it is also not appealing enough to women’s fantasies of Mr. Right. ) Baffled and ready to give up, he goes to a café. There he meets the beautiful Jesse (Alyssa Milano). They like each other, and she says that she is all the inspiration he needs. They start dating, Ethan keeps writing.
Unbeknownst to Ethan, however, Jesse is also dating Troy (Michael Landes) – a guy who seems to be Mr. Right personified: He is a successful advertising executive with his own company whereas Ethan is living rent free in his flat as long as he performs his super duties.
Jesse feels bad, as she starts falling for both and both men start falling for her. She will have to choose pretty soon….
The Novel, and The Movie Twist
(This part of the post features spoilers for the movie. You can read the unspoiled review for the movie on my entertainment blog.)
The movie has us believe that Jesse is a two-timing girl who doesn’t quite deserve wither of these too-good-to-be men. But as it turns out, Jesse is not two-timing. Troy doesn’t exist.
Troy is the male protagonist Ethan creates to please his publisher, who just happens to be the improved version of Ethan. And while we often see Jesse conflicted, it is never openly said that she needs to choose between two guys. As it turns out, while she has been keeping a secret from Ethan only to ensure his happiness, it is not about another man.
So Ethan doesn’t give up fighting for Jesse in the end. He also doesn’t give up writing his novel- which finally gets him a publishing deal. We learn about “Troy” the moment Ethan provides us with the manuscript called Troy Meets Girl.
A Romantic Movie with a Creative Ending, and a Fictional Writer We Can Be Inspired By
While I was rooting for Ethan the entire time (both for his book and girl), I could also totally see what the publisher was talking about. We don’t want to finish a romantic novel or a movie and say “That would never happen”. We want to say “That might happen, and I hope it happens to me”. And that is what the movie does.
Can we believe a decent guy being a writer, barely making ends meet but yet reluctant to make ends meet? Absolutely. Can we buy Christopher Gorham as a cute, albeit not gorgeous, movie lead? Definitely. And we can definitely see that his character is realistic. As sweet as he is, he is still a guy who loves Star Wars, hates musicals and can’t really see why the girls can’t get sick of Mr. Darcy.
So while it is not the best movie out there, it is inspiring, uplifting and motivating- whether you want to find The One, or make your writing dreams come true. Give it a shot- both to the movie and your writing. OK, especially to your writing.
If you liked this post, you might want to read posts from my Fictional Writers: Writer Characters in Movies, TV Series and Books category.
Straw Dogs : Creating the Perfect Writing Environment, and The Writing Retreat from Hell
This post’s writing character comes from the 2011 remake of Straw Dogs. This new version stars James Marsden and Kate Bosworth.
The Writer Character and The Perfect Writing Room
American screenwriter David Summer is working on a movie script that takes place during WW2. His actress wife Amy’s old family house in the south sounds like a perfect writer’s retreat. And it is indeed beautiful: It is big, has a gorgeous view of the lake and a wonderful study room.
Soon David transforms the room into a writer’s haven: the pool table is covered with models of WW2 houses and streets, the walls now carry a large green board for all his notes and he has even surrounded himself with books about the era. He listens to classical music as he writes- not necessarily because it is his favorite, but because it goes with his story.
The Writing Retreat from Hell
The problem is, the house is in a remote area of a small town. The house doesn’t get cell reception. I missed why they don’t have a phone in the house. Yikes.
The town folk are not very tolerant or open-minded, and soon they gain enemies without trying. It doesn’t help that David’s world views, and his wife’s behavior is enough to trigger the animals in their employees- the Amy’s ex Charlie (played by True Blood’s Eric-Alexander Skarsgard) and his crew, who were hired to repair the roof.
As great as the house and his room is, their life turns into a nightmare. They’re terrorized, and David decides to fight off their attackers one by one, even if that’s the last thing he’ll live to do. For the details on the terror, you can read my Straw Dogs movie review.
The Writer’s Story and His Life Overlap
In David’s story, a country’s soldiers beat the other country’s soldiers even though they are outnumbered.
In the end (yes-here come the spoilers), David manages to get rid of (=kill) a group of armed and irrational men with the help of his brains, and his frantic wife.
Finding The Perfect Writing Retreat in Real Life
Of course in the end, the perfect writing retreat wasn’t worth it. He and his wife were probably scarred for life.
But then again, as much as I like my lake views, I could never write alone in such a place, with just one person to keep me company, unless of course that person is Nikita or Sydney Bristow or John Reese…
But why leave the city? You can always opt for a nice holiday resort where you can be as alone as you want, and you can deprive yourself from technology only as much as you choose to for those flowing writing periods.
Yes, I often mute my cell-phone when I work. I try not to pay attention to the internet. And no, I am not always successful in turning off my distractions. But I like the fact that there can be distractions, and several ways of communicating with people outside my house.
Maybe it has a lot to do with growing up in a city, where we lock our doors and bolt them, even in the safest neighborhoods. Where there are houses and shop nearby. Where people don’t really care what you do, or what you believe in.
Or maybe it is and reading about and watching way too many “cabin-in-the-woods”, psychos-attack-ordinary-couple type of stories. But remote town houses freak me out. No technology? In the middle of nowhere? No thanks!
How do you feel about writer retreats? How isolated do you like to be while you are writing?
Would you like a cabin in the woods, or a town house like the one in Straw Dogs?
And If you have you seen the movie, what do you think Amy and David should have done?
For more writer characters, you can read:
18 Movies with Writer Characters featuring Michelle Pfeiffer, Jennifer Aniston, Anne Hathaway and More