A NOVEL by Jonathan Safran Foer.
It’s not a book for everyone but it starts of in a unique, creative and intriguing fashion, you read on without even realizing it because it’s more like eavesdropping on a 5th grade recess conversation only in this case it is a conversation of one. Oskar Schell, whose Dad died in the second tower collapse of 9/11.
EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE used many nontraditional writing techniques known as visual writing. It follows multiple but interconnected storylines, is peppered with photographs of doorknobs and other such oddities, and ends with a 14-page flipbook. Foer’s use of these techniques resulted in both glowing praiseand excoriation from critics. Despite diverse criticism, the novel sold briskly and was translated into several languages. In addition, the film rights were purchased by Warner Bros. and Paramount for a film to be produced by Scott Rudin.
PG. 1 (chapter one entitled WHAT THE?)
We immediately get to know the personality of our lead, 10 year-old Oskar, through his narrative mind of random thought and inventions, which we will learn are a staple of his.
It’s not clear if this is how he always is or if it is a method of coping with the loss of his father, this little nuance gives the narrative its drive throughout, enhancing the plot.
We immediately grasp his mature knowledge on EVERYTHING and how it is a borderline mental disorder. We understand his love for his parents and his ‘heavy boots’, a term that is incredibly simple, yet completely profound.
By PG 3 we know his age, his Mom’s new friend and what he thinks of this scenario.
PG 3 – 4 adeptly segues to his first limo ride and its driver that will help our protagonist close out the story of this portion of his life.
PG 9 – focuses on his Grandmother a character even more important than his mother, and more of his Dad’s personality and death and how it correlates to his fascination with FLIGHT OF THE BUMBLEBEE.
PG 10 – 11 things begin to loosen up and we learn another of his habits, writing to Stephen Hawking. And while these letters don’t drive the plot, they add character and play a huge part in most compelling pages before the climax.
1st Chapter pdf download: http://www.theprojectmuseum.com/share/chapterone.htm
The most important thing you need to know about the screenplay before you read it, is that it was written by Eric Roth
Eric does not adhere to any studio guidelines much less screenwriting ones. I was in a screenwriting chat with him just after he completed Benjamin Button, and I have to say, he is the most pragmatic, singular example of pure screenwriting success without one ounce of B.S.
Only Eric Roth could adapt the material and stay true to the story AND STYLE of the novel EXTREMEMLY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE. If you do read the script, it should not be for an example of how to break in, but for an example of adaptation. It is in no way close to a shooting script and no doubt it gave the line producer and script supervisor a full-time pre-production gig. BUT it does pull off the feel of the novel and will not cheat those that love the book. With HANKS and BULLOCK and a wonderful ensemble, it will no doubt be a huge hit –- especially if they pull it off in time for the anniversary of 9/11.
Remarkably, even though the script is ‘heavy booted’ at 130 pages (this is true to Eric’s style) it very much achieves the same elements in the first 10 pages that the novel does. Though peppered with V.O., the visuals are clearly indicated making a very subtle but noteworthy shift from book to screen. It is a must read for anyone wondering how to make a movie as good as the book it was based on.
There is a public link to the screenplay that 1st 10 pages does not host, but I don’t want to post it, because the film has not been released. You may however email me for details.