Would Interactive Screenplays Make You Read More of Your Favorite Movies?

Would Interactive Screenplays Make You Read More of Your Favorite Movies?

Aug 05, 2013

Leave it to the guys behind Shaun of the Dead to come up with the idea of an interactive screenplay. Posted for free to view online or download as a PDF file, this colorful version of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg's shooting script is illustrated with stills, supplemented with clips and adorned with storyboards, notes and other goodies from the making of everyone's favorite zom-rom-com. Here's hoping they release another one for each of the "Cornetto" trilogy -- that would be Hot Fuzz and the upcoming The World's End.

This is my first time reading the Shaun screenplay, though it is one of my favorites off the page. I only wish the interactive thing was also annotated, because there are plenty of little bits of trivia and references and cleverness (such as the foreshadowing line "We'll have a Bloody Mary first thing, have a bite at the King's Head, have a couple at the Little Princess, stagger back here and be back at the bar for shots.") that ought to be attached to this thing somewhere. Of course, Shaun fans will already know that stuff, courtesy of the DVD commentary and other extras such as the animated plot-hole explanations, which also would be neat to see included here, too.

While not a hard-core script reader (I'm definitely not one who reads leaked scripts for movies that aren't out or even produced yet), but in my film-school days I used to read a lot of my (then) favorite movies, namely scripts by Hal Hartley, David O. Russell, Terry Gilliam and the Coen Brothers. Those are all in trade paperback-book form, though. In screenplay format -- as in those xeroxed copies you can buy on the street or at the mall -- I have my favorite script of all time, Daniel Waters' Heathers. I've even annotated it myself with ideas I like and corrections regarding what's on the page versus what's in the film. 

I'd definitely love an official interactive and/or annotated version of Heathers, and there are plenty of other movies I'd be interested in seeing this done with, too. Anything by Quentin Tarantino would be a great considering all the quotable dialogue and many allusions to older films found in his writing. Charlie Kaufman's scripts could possibly provide a nice interactive rabbit hole.

And I also love learning about, not just reading, the screenplays to the films of Frank Capra, Billy Wilder, Orson Welles, Paul Thomas Anderson and Terrence Malick. On the Badlands Criterion disc, Sissy Spacek mentions wishing she still had her original copy of the script because of how different it is from the film (mostly she notes the absence of voiceover narration). I also wish I could see that and its many other iterations in a layered multimedia file of some kind.


What are the best screenplays to read?

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