Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Logline Central - Source Code

Logline Central is an irregular segment that takes a deeper look at loglines of scripts or projects that have just been purchased, as listed on DoneDealPro.

Ok, this week's Logline Central was picked in part for its familiarity.

Title: Source Code

Logline: A soldier wakes up in the body of an unknown commuter and is forced to live and relive a harrowing train bombing until he can determine who is responsible for it.

Writer: Billy Ray

More: Rewrite of spec script by Ben Ripley. Mark Gordon and Vendome's Philippe Rousselet & Jordan Wynn will produce. Duncan Jones will direct. Jake Gyllenhaal will star. Firs set up in January 2007.

Back in 2007, I was being what can best be described as "passively courted" by a manager at a respectable LA based company. He'd read my comic book style spec, and was interested in what else I had or could do. Mildly interested, since none of the few phone calls we set up ever happened. It was a lesson in frustration at the time, but in hindsight, a pretty good (though disappointing) introduction to the industry and trying to get a foot in the door as a young writer.

Anyway, he was looking for tent-pole action writers at the time (people who could churn out Will Smith's big summer blockbusters as quickly as he could star in them), and was cultivating me to be one of those writers. So, he sent me a few scripts as samples of what was getting recognition around the industry in that genre.

I read the first writer's draft back in the summer of 2007, and I have to admit that I loved it. I had no idea how that script could ever become a major summer blockbuster. It was too intimate (very few character... maybe 4) and too convoluted for mainstream audiences. The entire script took place either in the military's tech room where this soldier is hooked into the computer or on the ill-fated train. It was much more akin to the wonderful PRIMER and SLEEP DEALER (both worth watching for examples of small-scale sci-fi) than to MINORITY REPORT or other big-budget, sci-fi mind-benders. Of the three scripts that manager sent me, this was hands down my favorite.

The plot revolved around a soldier who realizes that he's forced to relive a terrorist train bombing time and time again until he can figure out who was responsible. Of course, there's a woman on the train who piques his interest, as well as a man he becomes convinced is the bomber. I forget the specifics, but there might have been an element of the soldier having been on the train, with his brain kept alive just long enough to get the info from it, before the military lets him succumb to injuries he received in the explosion. Whatever the exact plot and setup, I really dug the script. I'll be keeping an eye on this one. I wonder if this is going through development again to extend its mass appeal.

(Quick ending note: newly appointed writer Billy Ray has the credits under his belt to make me think this could be doable. I caught his FLIGHTPLAN on TV the other night and got his SUSPECT ZERO through Netflix a while back. Both were OK. I really enjoyed SHATTERED GLASS, though, which he has a "written by" credit on. And, he's doing the new WESTWORLD, so we'll see.)