Friday, October 26, 2012

Logline Central - Left Behind

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.

For this issue of Logline Central, I want to take a look at a logline that I at first wrote off, then thought about for a second, and the wheels just started spinning. Ultimately, I think it succeeds on a number of levels and in ways that, if not written exactly as follows, could render it a failed logline.

Title:Left Behind
Logline:Centers on a group of survivors during the first few hours after the Rapture.
Writer:John Patus Paul Lalonde 
Genre:Action Thriller 
More:Reboot of the series which started in 2001. Based on the novels by Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins. Paul Lalonde and Michael Walker will produce. J. David Williams will executive produce. Vic Armstrong is attached to direct. Nicolas Cage is in talks to star. The film is budgeted around $15 million. Production is planned for early spring of 2013 in Baton Rouge. 

My first reaction when reading it was, meh. What does it mean to have to "survive" for "the first few hours" after the Rapture? I don't care.

Then I thought about it. Wait a sec. This is actually pretty cool (potentially). In the Rapture, those destined to go to Heaven ascend - body and all - at either the end of days or before the second coming of Christ. As I highly doubt the Nic Cage starrer will be a theological debate, all I believe we need to know to get a handle on the idea is that the good people are all gone. The population of Earth will be (at least marginally) reduced, and those "left behind" are... not good individuals. Think, the airplane in ConAir, only it's the entire planet, and there's no John Cusack cop trying to save the day.

So, we know that the planet is now inhabited exclusively by bad people, and Nic Cage is among them. Presumably, he has to stop even worse people from doing very bad things, which, because Heaven has already been introduced via the Rapture, might earn him salvation in the end. If not full, go to Heaven salvation, then he might at least come away with the hope of entering heaven during a later Rapture (there are thought to be stages of Rapture). Either way, this could be a really interesting set up for a movie rife with bad people doing bad things in an action-packed way. 

It also has the potential to be just that and to not capitalize on the theological elements at all. The basic setup introduces the empyrean, so I have to assume that Heaven and Hell, maybe even angels or demons will be a part of the film. But that's not a guarantee. Perhaps all this is is a setup, and the rest is Nic Cage shooting people from his motorcycle. The logline doesn't offer much, but the questions it does provide are ones that pique my interest and make me want to read more. The script could very well suck for all I know, but if I was a producer and that came across my desk, I would ask to see the pages.

I looked up the writers, and they don't have many credits on imdb. That doesn't mean anything - they could have a hundred uncredited rewrite or script doctor jobs under their belts apiece, or might have sold material that never made it to the screen. (Oddly, John Patus has a writer and producer credit for something called Left Behind: World at War from 2005, about a nuclear war - no relation to this project from what I can tell.) Regardless, I think I'll track this one.