Daily Dialogue theme for next week: Interrogation

June 22nd, 2013 by

As we wrap up a week’s worth of dinner scenes, thanks to a recommendation by Turambar, we move into solicitations for next week’s Daily Dialogue. That theme: Interrogation, suggested by Def Earz.

“Where is she!”

I can think of dozens of great interrogation scenes. How about you? Got some ideas? Maybe I gotta send over the Bat Dude to rough ya’ up a bit to get your lips flapping. Or you can just make it easy on yourself by heading to comments and provide some suggestions.

The usual drill:

* Copy/paste dialogue from IMDB Quotes or some other transcript source.

* Copy/paste the URL of an accompanying video from YouTube or some other video source.

I’d also ask you to think about why the dialogue is notable. Is there anything about the dialogue which provides some takeaway re screenwriting?

Here is the lineup for upcoming Daily Dialogue themes:

July 1-July 7: Profanity [JasperLamarCrab]

July 8-July 14: Begging for one’s life [Despina]

July 15-July 21: Horror scene [@JaimePrimak]

See you in comments for your suggestions featuring this week’s theme: Interrogation.

Comment Archive

8 thoughts on “Daily Dialogue theme for next week: Interrogation

  1. AD79DAVE says:

    The photo above from “The Dark Knight” is top of the list, but what also grabs me as brilliant use of police interrogation is Spike Lee/Russell Gewirtz’s use of the interrogation as Narration, VO & Traditional Dialogue though out the picture in “Inside Man” 2006:

    “My name is Dalton Russell. Pay strict attention to what I say because I choose my words carefully and I never repeat myself. I’ve told you my name: that’s the Who. The Where could most readily be described as a prison cell. But there’s a vast difference between being stuck in a tiny cell and being in prison. The What is easy: recently I planned and set in motion events to execute the perfect bank robbery. That’s also the When. As for the Why: beyond the obvious financial motivation, it’s exceedingly simple… because I can. Which leaves us only with the How; and therein, as the Bard would tell us, lies the rub.” – Clive Owen

  2. Debbie Moon says:

    From “Marathon Man” (1976), screenplay by William Goldman from his own novel:

    Christian Szell: Is it safe?… Is it safe?
    Babe: You’re talking to me?
    Christian Szell: Is it safe?
    Babe: Is what safe?
    Christian Szell: Is it safe?
    Babe: I don’t know what you mean. I can’t tell you something’s safe or not, unless I know specifically what you’re talking about.
    Christian Szell: Is it safe?
    Babe: Tell me what the “it” refers to.
    Christian Szell: Is it safe?
    Babe: Yes, it’s safe, it’s very safe, it’s so safe you wouldn’t believe it.
    Christian Szell: Is it safe?
    Babe: No. It’s not safe, it’s… very dangerous, be careful.

    Fantastic use of repetition to increase the tension, and we really feel Babe’s desperation as he realises just how many nuances of meaning there are in those three little words…

    1. Illimani says:

      “Election” (1999) (by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor)


      Tracy is seated in a chair. JIM hovers above her, alternately leaning
      on a desk and pacing.

      JIM : I guess you know why you’re here

      TRACY : If it’s about the posters, I think it’s so awful. It’s a travesty.

      JIM : A travesty. Huh. That’s interesting, because I think you did it.

      TRACY : Wait – are you accusing me? You’re not serious.
      I can’t… Mr. McAllister, we have worked together on SGA for three solid years and… I mean, I can’t believe it. I’m… I’m shocked!

      JIM stares at her.

      TRACY (CONT’D) : Mr. M., I am running on my qualifications. I would never need to resort to, you know, to vandalism like a, you know… Plus, my own best banner was torn down. Did I do that too?

      JIM : Were you or were you not working in the Watchdog office over the weekend?

      TRACY : I was. So? Mr. Pecharda let me in. As you know, with all my responsibilities I often come in on the weekend and have permission to do so. But I left very early, around 6:30.

      JIM : 6:30. How do you know what time the posters were torn down?

      TRACY : I don’t. I just know they were there when I left. I’m giving you helpful information is all. You know, instead of wasting time interrogating me, we should be out there trying to find out who did this.

      JIM : Okay, Tracy, so who do you think did it? Whom should we “interrogate?”

      TRACY : Well, I don’t know. It could have been anybody. There are a lot of, you know, subversive elements around Millard. You know, like Rick Thieson and Kevin Speck and those burn-outs. Or Doug Schenken – what about him? Or what about Tammy Metzier? Her whole thing is being anti-this and anti-that.

      JIM shifts gears

      JIM : You’re a very intelligent girl, Tracy. You have many admirable qualities. But someday maybe you’ll learn that being smart and always being on top and doing whatever you need to do to get ahead, and yes, stepping on people to get there, well, there’s a lot more to life than that. And in the end, you’re only cheating yourself.

      TRACY : Why are you lecturing me?

      JIM : This isn’t the time or the place to get into it, but there is, for just one example, a certain former colleague of mine, who made a very big mistake, a life mistake. I think the lesson there is that, old and young, we ail make mistakes, and we have to learn that our actions, all of them, can carry serious consequences. You’re very young, Tracy underage, in fact — but maybe one day you’ll understand.

      TRACY : I don’t know what you’re referring to, but I do know that if certain older and wiser people hadn’t acted like such little babies and gotten all mushy, everything would be okay.

      JIM : I agree. But I also think certain young and naive people need to thank their lucky stars and be very, very grateful the whole school didn’t find out about certain indiscretions which could have ruined their reputations, and chances to win certain elections.

      TRACY : And I think certain older persons like you and your “colleague” shouldn’t be leaching after their students, especially when some of them can’t even get their own wives pregnant. And they certainly shouldn’t be running around making slanderous accusations. Especially when certain young, naive people’s mothers are para-legal secretaries at the city’s biggest law firm and have won many successful lawsuits. And if you want to keep questioning me like this, I won’t continue without my attorney present.

      JIM draws a long breath as he tries to control himself

      Unfortunately I couldn’t find the complete scene online, that’s the best I found: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jA0RnDQiFbQ

      This particular scene casts nicely the general plot of the movie: a condescending school teacher bullying a ruthless and ambitious student. I like how this scene shows the interrogator being cornered by the interrogated character.

  3. hobbs001 says:

    Two of the best scenes ever – never mind Interrogation – are from Tarantino. Firstly, Chris Walken interrogating Dennis Hopper in “True Romance” and, basically QT copying himself, Hans Landa interrogating the French farmer in “Inglorious Basterds”. I prefer the Walken scene but couldn’t argue with anyone who prefers Landa. As “talking heads” scenes go, these are about as good as they come. (Couldn’t get the “Landa” scene in a single clip)

    1. hobbs001 says:

      Full version of the Walken/Hopper scene.

  4. Mark Walker says:

    BLADERUNNER – 1982. I did think about the opening scene with Leon at first, but then, although that is a great opening scene, setting up our world, I thought that the interview with Rachel provides a better example of the Voigt-Kampf interrogation, with a greater impact on the developing story.



    It’s too bright in here.

    Tyrell hits a button.

    The windows darken, a polaroid effect that seems to
    give Tyrell the power to turn off the sun.

    Deckard is placing the Voight Kampff case on the table.

    The Voight Kampff opens like a butterfly as the room


    Rachael’s eye fills the screen, the iris brilliant,
    shot with light, the pupil contracting. We hear
    Deckard’s voice and we have the impression the test
    has been going on for a while.

    DECKARD (O.S.)
    You are given a calfskin wallet
    for your birthday…

    Tyrell stands silhouetted behind Deckard, who sits in
    front of Rachael.

    The needles in both gauges swing violently past green
    to red, then subside.

    I wouldn’t accept it, also I’d
    report the person who gave it to me
    to the police.

    You have a little boy. He shows
    you his butterfly collection, plus
    the killing jar.

    Again the gauges register, but not so far.

    I’d take him to the doctor.

    You’re watching TV and suddenly
    you notice a wasp crawling on
    your wrist.

    I’d kill it.

    Both needles go red. Deckard makes a note, takes a
    sip of coffee and continues.

    In a magazine you come across a
    full-page photo of a nude girl.

    Is this testing whether I’m a
    replicant or a lesbian?

    You show the pciture to your
    husband. He likes it and hangs
    it on the wall. The girl is lying
    on a bearskin rug.

    I wouldn’t let him.

    Why not?

    I should be enough for him.

    Deckard frowns, then smiles. His smile looks a little
    like a grimace or the other way around.

    Last question. You’re watching
    an old movie. It shows a banquet
    in progress, the guests are enjoying
    raw oysters.


    Both needles swing swiftly.

    The entree consists of boiled
    dog stuffed with rice.

    Needles move less.

    The raw oysters are less acceptable
    to you than a dish of boiled dog.

    Deckard switches off his beam.

    Well, Mr. Deckard?

    Deckard is looking at Tyrell and wincing indecisively.

    He doesn’t get it. Are they playing with him?

    Perhaps some privacy will loosen
    your tongue, Mr. Deckard.

    He turns to Rachael

    Would you step out for a few moments,

    Rachael exits looking a little shaken. What’s going

    (apologies if the format goes screwy after I post!)

    What is great about the scene is how it wrong foots both Deckard and the audience. We think we know about replicants and how they can be easily identified and “retired”. But Rachel is different, and the ides that she is a replicant is worrying for Deckard….and throws a curveball at the audience. What we thought we knew about replicants is pulled from under us. If Rachel can be tricked into thinking she is human, what does that mean for the rest of us? (Sssssh Deckard is a replicant). So it is a great turning point in the film when we start to question what we know about this world and the characters in it.

    Bit of trivia from IMDB

    While the film is loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, the title comes from a book by Alan Nourse called “The Bladerunner”. William S. Burroughs wrote a screenplay based on the Nourse book and a novella entitled “Blade Runner: A Movie.” Ridley Scott bought the rights to the title but not the screenplay or the book. The Burroughs composition defines a blade runner as “a person who sells illegal surgical instruments”.

  5. Off the top of my head great interrogation scenes that reveal Character.

    The French Connection Bad cop and Badder cop:
    You ever been to Poughkeepsie?


    Get Shorty:
    I’m Frank Barboni from Miami. Where’s my @#$! money.


    Touch of Evil
    The interrogator becomes the interrogated. A very awesome scene that will stretch your own boundaries.


  6. angiecart says:

    From “There’s Something About Mary”: The interrogation scene after Ted is arrested during the truck stop raid is one of those classic comedy misunderstandings. Ted thinks he’s in trouble for picking up a hitchhiker, the cops think he’s a completely apathetic murderer. The humor escalates the more Ted talks, further incriminating himself in this crime he didn’t commit, and culminates in physical comedy when the cop snaps and starts slamming Ted’s head against the desk. A very funny moment that adds another obstacle to Ted’s journey to be reunited with Mary.

    Ted: Look, I didn’t solicit any sex, OK? This is a huge misunderstanding. I was really going out to pee, I was walking to the bushes, I tripped over this guy – and suddenly all those cops and their helicopters…

    Detective Stabler: Ted, Ted, it’s OK, we believe you. The problem is we found your friend in the car.

    [Detective Stabler refers to the dead body found in Ted’s car, which unbeknown to Ted was left by the hitchhiker. Ted has no idea about the body. He thinks the police is going to charge him with giving a ride to hitchhiker, as the hitchhiker told him it was a felony in that state]

    Ted: [smiles] Oh, the hitchhiker? That’s what this is about, the hitchhiker? Oh, oh, great. This is my luck – I get caught for everything.

    Detective Krevoy: [pats strongly on Ted’s shoulder] So… you admit it?

    Ted: Ah, yeah, guilty as charged. Look, I know you guys got a job to do, alright? And I’m really sorry. I did it, I admit it. You know, the guy even told me, the hitchhiker told me it was illegal.

    Detective Krevoy: Well, uh, can you tell us his name?

    Ted: Ah… no, I didn’t catch it. Can we cut to the chase, I mean, am I like in a lot of trouble here?

    Detective Stabler: [nods] First tell us why you did it.

    Ted: Why I did it? Ah… I don’t know. Boredom? The guy turned to be a blubber mouth who just would not shut up.

    Detective Krevoy: [trying to control himself] Ted, this wasn’t your first time, was it?

    Ted: No.

    Detective Krevoy: How many are we talking here?

    Ted: [confused] Hitchhikers? My whole life? Ah… I don’t know – twenty-five, fifty… I mean, who keeps track? Hey, you know, I know this is the Bible Belt and everything, but where I come from this is not that big deal, I mean…

    Detective Krevoy: You son of a bitch! You’re gonna fry!

    [exploding in rage due to Ted’s seemingly indifference to murder, detective Krevoy roars, grabs Ted by his shirt and repeatedly slams his head against the desk. Ted yells in pain]

    Detective Stabler: Take it easy! Calm down!

    [Stabler manages to separate between Krevoy and Ted. Ted falls backward on the floor]

    Detective Stabler: [to Krevoy] Are you OK?

    Ted: [to Krevoy] What the hell is wrong with you?

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