So roughly fifty years ago (okay, four months, it just feels that way), I put up a fan post detailing a hockey screenplay I was in the process of finishing a second draft of, and soliciting anybody interested in reading it.
Once it was finished, I let it sit for a month just to give myself some distance from it so I could do a proper re-write.
Then I went to the Austin Film Festival in October as a winner and guest, and my whole world was turned upside down (in a positive way) by meeting some film people who expressed interest in the pitch.
That led to me having a month long panic attack that the script sucked, and I went through a crippling writer's block that left the rewrite sitting and waiting.
Fast forward to early December, and a couple of production company execs, having read another script of mine that was a winner at Austin, wanted to read THE CAPTAIN.
Cue more panic attacks.
Then my grandmother died two weeks before Christmas, and I went on a week long drinking bender. And when I was done, I decided it was time to buckle down and finished the motherfucking script once and for all. And with a little inspiration from Michael Arndt (the credited screenwriter of Toy Story 3), I finally found the proper hook to fix the script. I'm now thirty pages away from finishing (five days of work if it's flowing smoothly, and it has been so far).
In the meanwhile, I've cleaned up the logline (the one or two sentence description of the script) and the synopsis. Because the movie is set in the NHL and more specifically involving the Rangers, I figured I'd share 'em. And once the script is done I'll have a watermarked version to read for anyone interested.
After the jump, the stuff you've waited (or forgotten about completely) four months for. All thoughts are welcome, especially any haiku from frankiec.
THE CAPTAIN is a mix of SLAP SHOT and BULL DURHAM, a comedy/drama about Brendan Connor, a veteran hockey player who's never won a championship trying to win the one award that's eluded him in hopes of cementing his legacy. The team has other plans, and trades for an arrogant young superstar named Ryan Kelly, whose attitude on and off the ice split loyalties in the locker room and threatens to derail Connor’s championship dreams. THE CAPTAIN is set to work within the world of the NHL, where the Stanley Cup is the most sought-after prize in sports and leads grown men to play through painful, debilitating injuries in hopes of having their names inscribed on it.
A veteran hockey captain's final shot at a championship is threatened when management begins rebuilding the team around an arrogant rookie superstar.
As the long-time captain and face of the New York Rangers, Brendan Connor has won every trophy in the National Hockey League except the one that counts most: a Stanley Cup Championship. As THE CAPTAIN opens, Connor has watched his team self-destruct in the decisive Game 7 of the finals in Detroit, losing the Stanley Cup. Not content to retire on a sour note, Connor returns for one final season, a last shot at winning, only to discover that the team's title-crazed owner has traded for Connor's eventual replacement: an arrogant teenage phenom named Ryan Kelly. Kelly's presence and attitude cause friction in the locker room that worsens when Kelly's on-ice performance proves better than the declining Connor, who takes to hiding an injury to keep from being taken out of the lineup. Kelly’s agent, a slick hustler named Boyd, begins planting stories with the press that Connor is intentionally playing poorly because he’s unhappy with the presence of Kelly and thus an unfit leader, turning parts of the media and the fans on their longtime idol.
With the team's on-ice play inconsistent, the Rangers’ coach is fired and replaced with a younger assistant who immediately demotes Connor to a checking line and strips him of the captaincy, handing it over to Kelly as a show of support, and the team begins soliciting trade offers for Connor, now believing him to be a poisonous influence in the locker room.
Kelly proves unprepared to take control of the team and the veterans refuse to stand up for him. A trade sending Connor to Chicago is negated when he fails the physical, and his injury finally comes to light and the team learns why his play has dropped off so badly. Connor realizes he doesn’t need the captaincy to be a leader, and Kelly, upon finding out his agent is responsible for leaking the stories about Connor being unhappy, fires Boyd and vows to help Connor win a championship.
With the team finally coming together, the Rangers fight their way back to the finals and a rematch with the Detroit Red Wings, which again comes down to a seventh game in Detroit. With twenty minutes left in the game and losing just as they were the year before, Connor reveals the extent of his injury: he’s been playing with cracked ribs and wearing a bullet-proof vest for protection, and implores his team to be better for just the final twenty minutes. Inspired to leave everything on the ice, the Rangers rally to tie the game, and with five minutes left Kelly sets up Connor for the Stanley Cup winning goal, giving the former captain the championship he's waited fifteen years to win.