Welcome to the GITS Script Reading & Analysis series, Volume 26. This week we will be analyzing the screenplay for the 1993 movie Groundhog Day, screenplay by Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis, story by Danny Rubin. The movie received the BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay.
You may download a copy of the script here.
Some reviews of the movie:
Roger Ebert [February 12, 2003]
New York Times [February 12, 1993]
Variety [December 31, 1992]
Here is an excerpt from a Big Think interview with Danny Rubin:
Question: How did you come up with the idea for “Groundhog Day?”
Danny Rubin: There’s so many parts to answering that question. I think the big idea, if there is a – the big think or the accidental happenstance was when I was trying to solve a story problem. If a person could live forever, if a person was immortal, how would they change over time? I was curious about whether one lifetime was enough for somebody. There are some people, those arrested development type men who can’t really outlive their – out grow their adolescence and I thought, well, maybe one lifetime isn’t enough. Maybe you need more.
So, I was just thinking through if a person could live long enough, how would they change and that seemed like a cumbersome experiment because of having to deal with changing history. So, I was trying to solve the problem how you can have a person be immortal without having history change from underneath him so that the movie would not – the story of the movie would not have to deal with the French Revolution and with the future and things like that.
And then, to solve that, I remembered an idea I had had about a year or two before that about a guy repeating the same day and I realized that having a person repeat the same day turns an eternity into a circle and that’s when all the dramatic possibilities came and the comedic possibilities and all the resonances with repetition. So, that was the idea like that.
I was actually getting ready to read one of Anne Rice’s novels about vampires and I was sort of thinking about why I thought that was interesting and the most interesting thing to me was that it was a different class of people. They were just like people except some of the rules were different and the most interesting one being that they were immoral and that’s what got me thinking about immortality. There, that’s all of it.
Let’s use this post today for your general reactions to the script.
Did you enjoy it? What aspects about it made the most impact on you? Would you consider it a ‘good read’? What struck you most about the writing? Any key differences between the script and the movie?
Here are some scenes from the movie:
Our schedule for discussion:
Monday, January 28: General comments
Tuesday, January 29: Structure
Wednesday, January 30: Characters
Thursday, January 31: Themes
Friday, February 1: Dialogue
If you source any video or written interviews or behind-the-scenes features about Groundhog Day, especially anything focusing on the script, please post in comments.
“How to Write ‘Groundhog Day’” by screenwriter Danny Rubin is an excellent book, both for fans of the movie and for anyone interested in the craft of screenwriting. You may learn more about the Kindle edition here.
Join me this month as we read and analyze the script for Groundhog Day.