22 November 2015

Sam Hamm’s Plan for Robin, part 3

Way back here, I was sharing excerpts of Sam Hamm’s early screenplay for the 1989 Batman movie, a version that featured Robin. Here’s more.

At this point, Dick Grayson’s parents have been killed during their trapeze act—not by Boss Zucco ’s enforcers but by the Joker. Dick wants to go after that villain. Bruce wants him to stay safe in stately Wayne Manor. They fight. In losing the fight, Dick figures out that Bruce is Batman.
INT. BATCAVE - EVENING

TIGHT ON a tiny electronic device: two cylindrical steel casings bracketed together, topped by a DIGITAL TIMER.

BRUCE watches the TIMER tick off seconds: 30. 29. 28. At 25 seconds, BRUCE kills the countdown and CLAPS THE DEVICE into an empty packet on his utility belt.

He stands up wearily. Behind him, hanging back discreetly in the shadows, is his loyal butler ALFRED.

BRUCE
Where's the boy?

ALFRED
Upstairs. He's quite docile.

BRUCE
I know the feeling. It won't last.
(sighing)
He's a long way ahead of where I was at his age.

ALFRED
Respectfully, sir... there'll never be another one like you.

BRUCE smiles sadly. He takes a moment to survey the Batcave as ALFRED looks on tremulously.

BRUCE
How long's it been, Alfred? A quarter of a century?
(beat)
It seems like yesterday. I guess we ended up doing more harm than good.

ALFRED
Don't ever say that, sir. Don't ever believe it.

BRUCE
If not for you I never would've made it. You know that. My own parents couldn't have...
(taking Alfred's shoulders)
... The boy, Alfred. You'll both be provided for. Don't let all this go to waste.

Their eyes lock for a long moment. ALFRED is unable to speak. Finally BRUCE turns and starts slowly up the long circular stairway which leads from the Batcave to Wayne Manor.
After some foofaraw, Batman goes out to confront the Joker, armed with nothing but an advanced fighter plane equipped with missiles.
EXT. STREET - ON JOKER

He LAUGHS INSANELY as the BATWING bears down. At the last instant he hoists a SUBMACHINE GUN. BULLETS pepper the dome of the cockpit.

BATMAN'S MISSILE goes wide right, EXPLODING on the sidewalk. The JOKER drops to the street, unharmed, as the BATWING swoops past. The rear stabilizer wing is trailing THICK BLACK SMOKE.

INT. BATWING - MOVING - THAT MOMENT

BATMAN knows he's in trouble. He buckles a parachute around his chest, finds a button on the control panel. THE COCKPIT DOME flies free of the BATWING, leaving BATMAN exposed to the buffeting wind.

EXT. STREET - ON JOKER

He's scored a hit. He HOWLS IN TRIUMPH. But his maniacal glee is short-lived.

Standing not twenty feet away, in the clearing smoke from the rocket explosion, is an ominous figure in a RED-AND-GREEN GYMNAST'S SUIT.
This is obviously some new usage of the word “ominous.”
DICK GRAYSON -- eager for the kill -- sets out in pursuit of the JOKER.

INT. BATWING - MOVING - THAT MOMENT

BATMAN is losing altitude. HIS CAPE billows wildly around him as he reaches for a SECOND BUTTON -- this one labelled 'EJECT.'

He punches the button. His SEAT disengages. But Batman finds himself suddenly JERKED BACK INTO THE COCKPIT.

HIS CAPE HAS SNAGGED ON THE EJECTION MECHANISM!!! He clutches frantically at this throat as the plane plummets to earth!

EXT. STREET - THAT MOMENT - NIGHT

THE JOKER, on the lam, darts around a parade float. DICK vaults onto the float, LAUNCHES HIMSELF into the air, and DROPS the JOKER with a flying tackle.

But before he can strike... A RESOUNDING CRASH shakes the street.

ANGLE ON BATWING

The plane lies in pieces on the pavement. FLAMES ERUPT. BATMAN's been thrown free, but he's PINNED BY THE WRECKAGE. It's a matter of seconds until the gasoline tank goes up.

EXT. STREET - ON DICK AND JOKER

DICK watches in shock. On one side, the killer of his parents. On the other, BATMAN -- who will surely die unless someone pulls him free.

There's only one choice, and they both know it. DICK glares at the JOKER for the merest of seconds, then TURNS HIM LOOSE. MAD LAUGHTER echoes in the streets as the JOKER escapes -- and DICK races off to BATMAN's aid.

EXT. STREET - A MOMENT LATER - NIGHT

BATMAN grimaces in agony as DICK struggles to free him. His right leg -- shattered -- is like rubber beneath him. His ribs are crushed. He's barely alive.

BATMAN
How did you...

DICK
I hitched. MOVE IT!

DICK drags BATMAN to safety as the remnants of the Batwing BLOWS UP.

BATMAN
The Joker. Is he -- ?

DICK spots an abandoned .38 on the pavement -- left there by one of the JOKER'S GOONS.

DICK
Forget it. Relax.
(reaching for the gun)
... He's mine now.

BATMAN
DICK!

THE BATMAN tries to pull himself erect. The pain is unendurable. His body has finally failed him.

He collapses on the pavement, powerless to intervene, as DICK races off with murder in his eyes.
Okay, now it’s a teenager in a red-and-green gymnast’s suit with a gun. Because that’s what the Batman mythos is all about.

But it’s interesting that Hamm was decades ahead of The Incredibles in warning about the danger of capes and aircraft.

No comments: