Sunday, June 8, 2008

Just Add Money: Closet Dweller

Here's another news story that could easily be made into a movie. It's a short article if you want to read it, but here's the gist: A Japanese man discovered a homeless woman that had been secretly living in his closet for over a year.

I see two very different directions it could go. Option #1 would be a romantic comedy and Option #2 would be a horror/thriller.

Title: With Option #1, you need something cute and sweet that also plays with the fact that someone is secretly hiding in a person's house. Yet you don't want it to sound creepy. Since they would obviously eventually fall in love at the end, I like "Right Under Your Nose."

You also want to play with the subject matter for Option #2, but the title needs to be a bit unsettling. I'd go with "Uninvited."

Format: Both options would be feature films.

Tone: Not many "realistic" romantic comedies are made anymore, but just for clarification's sake: Option #1 would be an over-the-top romantic comedy. An even more far-fetched version of Win a Date with Tad Hamilton. (That will make more sense once I explain my idea for the story.)

It would also have a lot of slapstick/physical humor where the woman is about to be discovered and then hides at the last moment. That's always funny.

Option #2 has the chance to be really cheesy, but I think a deeply serious tone would make for a pretty great film. My idea for it sets it up as something entirely different from what it ultimately becomes, so think along the lines of Hard Candy.

Story: It should go without saying that in both options we're switching everything to America. Also, I think we need to significantly shorten the amount of time the woman goes undetected. Truth is stranger than fiction, after all.

Option #1: The basic idea is that a girl obsessed with a celebrity sneaks into his place and winds up living there, either continuously or off and on. Obviously you have to figure out some way to make this not as creepy as it should be and avoid making the girl look completely insane.

You'll need a younger actress playing a girl in college. Her friends/sorority sisters dare her to go into some heartthrob's house and steal something for their collection. He arrives back home, and she has to hide. She learns a lot about him and falls in love for real.

It might be nice to keep him home for an extended period (at least at first) so that she can't get away. Maybe he's under house arrest. Or maybe he has to stick around for the weekend to read some script.

However, at some point they have to meet in the "real world" so that she can use the inside information she's gained to make him fall for her.

At some point while she's hiding at his place, she should do little things that she knows he likes, such as make his bed in a certain way or buy some treats he likes. He can think the maid is doing it. Even though it's still creepy, it's also sweet.

Option #2: A homeless woman ventures into an empty house looking for food. The husband and wife that live there show up, and she has to hide. She spends the night and realizes it's a sweet deal for her if she can stay hidden.

For awhile, we're afraid for the couple because she spies on them and things like that. But at some point she witnesses the husband mistreating his wife.

NOTE: It would be easier if she simply witnessed him killing someone (might not be his wife...perhaps an affair), but I'd like it better if he was just a horrible abuser.

So now the tables turn, and we're on her side when she begins to terrorize him. Slowly at first, but then she catches him by surprise and makes him her prisoner so she can get back at him for the bad things he has done.

Ending: I think the ending to Option #1 is obvious. When the celebrity discovers the truth, he tells her off of course, but since he secretly has fallen in love with her, he doesn't press charges. Then when he wants to win her back, he has to sneak into her sorority house and stay hidden until he can find her. Done.

With Option #2, it all depends on how dark you want to take it. If the guy has actually committed a murder, then the homeless woman probably has him tied up but doesn't want to call the police because she has no proof of what he did and no one would believe her story (as the guy will point out). So she has to get him to tell her where to find some of the evidence. And at some point, after she has the evidence she needs, he gets loose and seems to have the upper-hand before she kills him.

If he isn't a murderer, it becomes a much darker story of this woman taking out all the abuse she's suffered on this man who, while a bastard, doesn't deserve what she dishes out. Who lives and who dies is up in the air, but no one makes it out of this version unscathed.


Jon Pyle said...

Great ideas. I think the rom-com woman should be a papparazzi or something. I imagine that she's fresh out of journalism school and unsatisfied with her low-brow job for a trashy magazine. BUT, she tries to break a big story to solve her problems with debt caused by the untimely death of her Father while she was still in school.

I think that sympathizes her more and detracts from the creepiness of stalking someone at home.

AJF said...

The short play that I wrote junior year of high school is about an actress who falls in love with the stalker who's been waiting under her hotel bed for three days.

She falls in love with him because he gives her the kind of attention she didn't want to admit she had always craved.

So yeah, I was ahead of the curve. But my God, looking back on it now it was incredibly sexist. (Although the actress character definitely reminds me of...well, multiple people.)