Script To Screen: “Grosse Pointe Blank”

November 21st, 2012 by

From the 1997 movie Grosse Pointe Blank [screenplay by Tom Jankiewicz and D.V. DeVincentis & Steve Pink & John Cusack, story by Tom Jankiewicz].

Setup: Martin Blank [John Cusack] is a professional assassin. He is sent on a mission to a small Detroit suburb, Grosse Pointe, and, by coincidence, his ten-year high school reunion party is taking place there at the same time. Here he meets with Grocer [Dan Aykroyd], another assassin.

               INT. DINER - LATE MORNING

               Martin sits in a window booth splitting nutrient caplets 
               into an apple juice and looking out the window.

               GROCER

               slides into the booth, across from Martin.

               MARTIN AND GROCER

               Martin draws a nasty little PPK pistol from his waist, and 
               levels it at Grocer under the table-- but Grocer is already 
               drawing his pistol down there, and there is an instant Mexican 
               breakfast stand-off.

                                     GROCER
                         Easy, tiger.

               A waitress approaches.

                                     WAITRESS
                         Hi. Welcome to B.I. McCafferty's. My 
                         name is Melanie and I'll be your 
                         server this morning. Let me tell you 
                         about some of our specials. Today we 
                         have the "Alfalfa on My Mind," our 
                         feature omelette. And there's our 
                         "Gatsby's West Egg Omelette." And if 
                         you're in the mood for something 
                         different there's the "I left my 
                         heart in San Franchezie."

               Martin and Grocer's eyes remain locked.

                                     GROCER
                         I want two eggs poached, hash brown 
                         well-done. English muffin for the 
                         bread. And a coffee.

                                     MARTIN
                         Whole-grain pancakes. And an egg-
                         white omelette.

                                     WAITRESS
                         What would you like in the omelette?

                                     MARTIN
                         Nothing in the omelette. Nothing at 
                         all.

               The waitress nods pertly and leaves.

                                     GROCER
                              (re: the omelette)
                         Come on, live a little. I'm sorry 
                         about the incident yesterday.

                                     MARTIN
                         No harm no foul.

                                     GROCER
                         A little misunderstanding among my 
                         associates.

               Beat.

                                     GROCER
                         I told them to kill you and they 
                         didn't.

                                     MARTIN
                         Hard to get good help these days.

                                     GROCER
                         But since we're both here, I think 
                         it's time to take a fresh look at 
                         our relationship.

                                     MARTIN
                         I didn't get into this business to 
                         have "associates." And I don't want 
                         to join your Goddamned union. "Loner--
                         " "Loner gunman." Get it? "On my 
                         own." That's the whole point. Why 
                         don't you become a cop, or something. 
                         You can drink coffee in the morning... 
                         with friends!

               Grocer looks a little hurt.

                                     MARTIN
                              (easing up)
                         Look, this is a one-on-one business... 
                         Every time you get to know people, 
                         bad things happen. If it'll make you 
                         feel any better, this is my last 
                         job. So what do you say we put our 
                         guns away and forget the whole damn 
                         thing.

               Grocer loses it.

                                     GROCER
                         Fuck you! No scabs! From now on, 
                         everything's regulated!

               Long beat as Grocer gets a hold of himself.

                                     MARTIN
                         No deal.

                                     GROCER
                         Fine. But we're not going to let you 
                         do your job. Because we're gonna do 
                         it. And then, after we do your job, 
                         we're gonna do another little job...

                                     MARTIN
                              (Wry)
                         Is that right?

                                     GROCER
                         Yeah-- after I shoot you through the 
                         fucking forehead I'm gonna fuck you 
                         in the bullethole.

                                     MARTIN
                         Nice talk, Sugarmouth.

The scene from the movie:

I’ll see you in comments for a discussion of this scene from Grosse Pointe Blank.

One of the single best things you can do to learn the craft of screenwriting is to read the script while watching the movie. After all a screenplay is a blueprint to make a movie and it’s that magic of what happens between printed page and final print that can inform how you approach writing scenes. That is the purpose of Script to Screen, a weekly series on GITS where we analyze a memorable movie scene and the script pages that inspired it.

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