Monday, April 16, 2012

MAN WITHOUT FEAR

There’s a long version and a short version of this story and I’ll opt for the short one:  In the mid-nineties I was working on a screenplay for producer/screenwriter Chris Columbus:  an original I’d pitched, and sold, to his company, 1492 Pictures, called Straight On Till Morning.  Around the same time I met—and became instant best friends with—a wonderful director named Carlo Carlei.  Well, it turned out that Carlo was also working with Chris and his partners—helping them to develop Marvel Comics’ blind superhero, Daredevil, into a feature film.  The movie had been through a number of drafts and the creative team was looking for a new take.  Short story even shorter:  Carlo wanted me involved and, since I was already working for 1492, Chris and Company were happy to bring me on board.  They presented me with two earlier versions of the script (there’d been several more)—one by Columbus, one by Carlei—and set me loose.  (I found both of those earlier scripts to be superb and folded many elements into my version.)
I learned, very quickly, that, even with a background in both comics and film, turning a superhero saga into a movie was no easy feat; but after some false starts—and fantastic input from Carlo, Chris and two exceptional members of the 1492 team, Jim Mulay and Michael Barnathan—I completed a detailed treatment that seemed to please all involved.  I was delighted, to say the least, but delight turned to ecstasy when I came home one day to find a message from Stan Lee—one of my childhood heroes and a man I still admire beyond words—on my answering machine.  He’d read my treatment, he said (in his uniquely Stan way), and absolutely loved it.  Stan “The Man” rhapsodizing about my work?  It took about a week for my feet to touch ground again.
With that positive response, it seemed certain that my treatment would be approved by the Powers That Be at Fox—the company that held the DD rights—and I’d soon get to work on the screenplay.  But...
Hollywood being Hollywood, the Fox executive in charge of the DD project wasn’t as thrilled with my treatment as Carlo, Chris, Stan and the others were.  The rights, which were coming up for renewal, were allowed to lapse and new producers, writers and directors came along, ultimately bringing Daredevil to the screen in 2003.  (I like to think that somewhere, in some alternate universe, the version I worked on made it into production and there’s a special edition DVD sitting on my shelf.)
Here, just for the fun of it, is (roughly) the first third of the treatment.  And keep in mind that’s all it is:  a treatment.  The screenplay would have gone deeper into the characters and fleshed out the world.  If you want to see more let me know:  I’ll be happy to post the rest in the coming weeks.  (One quick note:  I injected the names of many comic book creators into the treatment.  I suspect they all would have been removed before I ever started the first draft of the script.)

And let's not forget that the Daredevil universe is ©copyright 2012 Marvel Entertainment.
Enjoy!
***

DAREDEVIL,

THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR
Final Draft Treatment
by 
J. M. DeMatteis
ACT ONE
FADE IN—
—on the Manhattan neighborhood called Hell’s Kitchen, fifteen years ago, where we find a gang of teenagers strutting their stuff down the hot summer streets.  The clear leader of the group is sixteen year old MATT MURDOCK...a cocky young Cagney, with energy, anger, and an attitude.  He’s the focus of the group’s attention:  their unquestioned leader.
As they strut, Matt’s clear second-in-command, GENE ROMITA, asks about Matt’s father.  “Who’s he fighting this week, huh?” Gene says with a laugh.  “Michael Jackson?”
Without thinking, Matt backhands Gene across the face, knocking him to the pavement.  “Shut up about my old man...”
“Hey,” a defensive Gene says, wiping blood off his lip, “it’s nothin’ you don’t say all the time...”
“I can say whatever I want,” Matt growls.  “You keep your fat mouth shut.”  Then Matt softens.  An astute observer would see a flicker of regret, of shame, in his eyes.  “You okay?” he asks, helping his friend up, trying hard not to sound too concerned.  “Yeah, yeah,” Gene says.  “No big deal.”    
The group stops across the street from an overweight, overheated policeman,  OFFICER KELLY...who’s standing outside a Korean deli nursing a cold bottle of soda.  “There he is,” Matt says.  “This ain’t such a good idea, Matt,” Gene says.  “Kelly knows you.  You cross him one more time and—”
Matt reaches into his back pocket, pulls out a ski mask.  “Who says Kelly’s gonna see me?”  He slips it on.  Stan’s not convinced.  It’s too risky.
“That’s the whole point,” Matt says as he bolts. “You know me...I’m a freakin’ daredevil!”
He moves, with the speed and stealth of an urban ninja, across the street, and ever-so gently snatches Kelly’s billy club.
By the time the policeman realizes what’s happened, Matt’s just a blur, racing up the street.  The policeman gives chase...as do two other cops in a passing patrol car—
—and we see that Matt, far from being frightened (this kid seems to have been born without fear), is finding a heady exhilaration in the chase.  Just as the cops are closing in, Matt...with the effortless grace of a gymnast (he’s a natural athlete)...grabs the bottom rung of a fire escape and, in a few astonishing moves, scales the building, takes to the roof, and runs, leaping—again, without an iota of fear—from rooftop to rooftop.  He’s running at top speed, approaching a between-buildings chasm that would give anyone pause—
—but Matt’s eyes are alive with a recklessness, a delight in the challenge and the dare.  He leaps—and in this moment he seems truly, fully alive.
Having ditched the cops...and the ski mask...Matt stands on a roof-edge, surveying the city, so full of potential and excitement and danger.  This city’s mine, his eyes seem to say.  I can just reach out and take whatever I want, whenever I want it.  
Matt hurls the stick high into the air, then effortlessly snatches it as it falls.  Grins as he holds it tight in his hand:  a trophy.   A symbol of his youthful arrogance, his wildness.  Of the devil in his soul.  CUT TO:
The Murdock apartment.  Several days later.  Curtains drawn.  No lights.  Stacks of filthy dishes in the sink.  A squalid mess.  
Matt’s father, JACK MURDOCK, is on the couch, half-a-dozen beer cans scattered on the floor, talking on the phone.  “I know, but...but this wrestling thing...yeah, yeah...but it’s humiliating, it’s...yeah, Mr. DeFalco, yeah...”  We see the defeat in his eyes, as he clutches a flyer advertising a wrestling match between “Mephisto” Murdock (Jack, in a tacky devil’s suit) and “Ape-Man” Miller (a hulking brute in a cave-man costume).  Matt comes in....walks past his father heading for his room.
Jack slams down the phone.  “One damn minute,” he says.
Matt turns to see his father...drunken rage in his eyes...holding the nightstick in his hands.   He found the nightstick on the roof, he says.  He pulls out a duffel bag filled with other stolen goods...dumps them on the floor. “Along with alla this.”  Matt doesn’t say anything.  “Why?” Jack growls.
“Because I could,” Matt says, defiant.  Not an iota of fear in his eyes.
“My own son,” the boozy, bloated Jack slurs, “a common thief.”
“My own father,” Matt spits, the words out before he even realizes it, “a drunken joke.”
Jack backhands Matt across the face, sending him sprawling.  
Matt gets up without a word and leaves the apartment.
Jack stands there, shame and regret shadowing his face.  He staggers into the adjoining bedroom.  In the corner is a little table with pictures of the saints, a crucifix on the wall, and—clearly the central image, the holiest of holies—a framed photograph of Matt’s mother, Jack’s late wife, MAGGIE.  A desperate Jack looks at Maggie.  “What am I gonna do?”  he says.  “Maggie...what am I gonna do?” 
    
CUT TO:  The roof of the Murdocks’ apartment building. Matt sitting on the edge, feet dangling over.  There’s a vulnerability, a little boy softness, on his face we’ve never seen before.  The second self that hides behind the tough-guy facade.
Jack comes out through the roof door, approaches Matt—and the boy’s shields go back up.  “Get away from the edge,” Jack says, “you’re makin’ me nervous.”  “Heights don’t scare me,” Matt says, arrogantly.  Then, after a beat, with absolute sincerity.  “I’m sorry.”
Jack sits down.  “Yeah.  Me, too.  Not too far from the truth, though, is it...what you said?”  
“You’re a great guy, Dad.  The best.  It’s just that...lately—”  And that “lately” carries the weight of the world.
Jack tells his son how much hope Maggie had for him, what dreams she nurtured about her son’s future.  How she prayed that one day he’d be a doctor or a lawyer.  “But I know you, Matt.  I know you like a book.  There’s something wild inside you.  A devil.  I know—’cause you got it from me. 
“But I’m a loser, Matt,” Jack confesses.  “A jerk in a Halloween costume tossing guys around a wrestling ring.  Don’t end up like me,” he pleads.  “Yeah, you got me inside you...but you’ve got her, too.  Don’t lose her, Matt.  Don’t throw her away.  I’m begging you, I’m begging you...”
Something in his father’s vulnerability touches Matt:  “Don’t you lose her, either,” he says, starting to cry.  Matt clutches his father, holds him close.  “Swear to me, Matt,” Jack says, “swear on your mother’s grave that  you won’t live by your fists, won’t go dancin’ with the devil.  Swear to me.  Swear to her.
Matt looks up at the father he still loves so much. “It’s gotta work both ways.  You swear.  That you’ll stop drinking.  That you won’t give up on yourself.”
Jack smiles.  “You got my word, Matthew.  On your mother’s grave.”
Matt:  “And you’ve got mine.”  CLOSE on Matt, tears streaming down his face.  “I swear,” he whispers.  PULL WIDER—as Jack says—indicating the bag of stolen goods—”Now whadda we gonna do with this?”   CUT TO:
The rectory of Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church—as FATHER NOCENTI walks into his office...and finds the sack, emptying it out on his desk.  Watches, rings, wallets...and a night-stick?  CUT TO:
An abandoned gym, boarded up, heavy with dust and memories.  On the wall is a tattered poster from Jack Murdock’s glory days as a heavyweight boxer.  At the bag:  Matt Murdock pounds and pounds and pounds till his fists are raw and bloody.  The devil inside him will not be dispatched so easily.  CUT TO:
“Mephisto” Murdock in the ring, being tossed around in an obviously faked match with a wrestler dressed like a 1950’s Man From Mars—while the crowd howls with laughter.  The we CUT TO:
Jack’s dressing room, after the bout.  Murdock strips off the hated costume, just as TOMMY “THE FIXER” DE FALCO—a local wiseguy who’s managing Jack’s wrestling career—comes in, accompanied by two of his goons, O’NEIL and MAZZUCHELLI.
DeFalco says he can see how Jack feels, how awful this wrestling thing is, how humiliating.  He remembers what a great fighter Jack was when he was at the top of his form.  How close he came to reaching the big-time.  Fixer informs Jack that he’s been talking to Mr. Fisk about him.  (Fisk’s name is spoken with hushed reverence.)  And they’ve decided that a fighter like “Battlin’” Jack Murdock deserves another chance.
Murdock can’t believe it.  A second chance is all he ever wanted.  If he can make his boy proud of him, regain his self-respect.  
“Have I ever,” DeFalco says, smiling, “steered you wrong?”  CUT TO:
Autumn.  The roof of the Murdocks’ apartment building.  Matt sitting on the ledge, his head in a text-book, studying.  Around him we HEAR the sounds of the city, the temptations of the night.  
A look of anger and frustration on his face, Matt slams the book closed.  Almost hurls it off the roof.  But he struggles, forces the demons down.

And returns to his studies.

CUT TO:  Our Lady of Refuge Church.  Rows of votive candles.  Matt on his knees, in prayer.  He wants to be everything his Dad wants him to be....everything his mother dreamed for him.  But it’s so hard.  “Dad was right...there’s something inside of me...and it won’t let go.  It won’t let go...” He begs God for help in staying clear of temptation, keeping on the right path.

And in the shadows of the church, Father Nocenti stands silently watching.  Feeling the torment in this boy’s soul.  CUT TO:

Matt walking home from the church (which is still visible behind him).  He cuts across a vacant lot, finds his way barred by the very gang of kids that worshipped him just a few months earlier.  Now led by Gene Romita—who has assumed Matt’s cocky Cagney stance and attitude.  Beneath his bluster, Gene is clearly hurt and confused by Matt’s rejection of their friendship; by his sudden transformation into a straight arrow, more interested in studying than in raising hell.

They begin to push Matt around.  “So come on...Daredevil,” Gene says.  “Let’s see if you’re still as tough as you used t’be.”  We see the devil rising in Matt’s eyes—

—as Romita and the others beat the living hell out of him, taunting him with every blow:  “Daredevil...Daredevil... Daredevil...”

Matt’s body tenses; vow or no vow, he’s going to take these kids apart.  He reaches out for a broken beer bottle in the dirt, wraps his fingers around it, ready to smash Romita across the face.  But then Matt sees something— 

—across the street:  a BLIND MAN steps off the curb, into the traffic.  He doesn’t see the truck barreling toward him.

Matt drops the bottle, leaps to his feet, pushing through his attackers.

As Romita and the others watch in dumbfounded amazement, Matt races into the street—

—and leaps:  knocking the blind man clear.

Matt falls, hard.  The truck  careens into a lamp post, flips over.  Barrels of radioactive material eject from the rear cabin, crash to the street.

The liquid moves, almost with a life of its own, toward the semi-conscious Matt...pools around his eyes.

He SCREAMS.

CUT TO:  a hospital, where Matt, eyes bandaged, sleeps.  His grief-stricken father sitting by his bed.  There’s a gentle knock at the door. 

Tommy DeFalco enters.  He tells Jack how terrible he feels about what’s happened to his little boy.  On top of that, he knows that Jack has no insurance to cover the hospital stay.  But he doesn’t want him to worry. “I spoke to Mr. Fisk personally about this.  Everything’s gonna be taken care of.  Your boy’s gonna get nothing but the best.”

Jack can’t believe this.  He can’t accept this, he says. How could he ever pay them back? How—

The Fixer tells him that the time will come when Jack will do something for them in return.  But for now—don’t give it a second thought.

CUT TO:  Later.  Matt bolts awake in bed.  Panicked.  Clutching his ears.  It’s as if every sound in creation is pouring into his head.  As if every scent that ever existed is flooding his senses.  A million hearts beat.  A million babies cry.  A million gun shots crack the night.

Matt staggers out of bed, whimpering, overwhelmed.  He drops to his knees, pounds his head against the floor, trying to make it stop, make it stop. “Make it STOP!”

CUT TO:  Several days later.  The bandages are off.  Matt’s eyes are wide and blind.  But we see that something has changed.  What was overwhelming at first is becoming integrated.  The radioactivity has heightened his senses—

—senses he casts out across the room, across the city, like a net...capturing the information he needs. 

He settles back into bed, picks up a newspaper left by a visitor, runs his fingertips over the ink, “reading” it—

—just as his father walks in.  “It’s gotta be hard,” Jack says.  “So many things you used t’be able t’do.”

Matt puts the paper down.  Looks up at his father, almost tells him what’s happened...and doesn’t.  (He can’t say why.)  What he does say is that he’s not a quitter or a whiner.  “If you came back, Dad, so can I.  You’ll see.  I’ll make you proud.”

Jack smiles; fights back a tear.  “We’ll make each other proud, Matt.”  CUT TO:

Matt, in his ski-mask and blacks, out on the rooftops, dead of night.  Exulting in his new senses, racing, leaping, whirling.  Tasting the city, his city:  every sound, every scent, every heartbeat.  Feeling, in his blindness, an exhilaration he hasn’t felt in years.  A primal wildness.  A reckless freedom.

And a devil, whispering in his ears.  That’s why he couldn’t tell his father.  This is his.  This belongs to him.  Here, in the night, in the blackness, he can be reunited with his true self.  CUT TO:

A MONTAGE that INTERCUTS between—

Jack, back in the ring, battling his way up the ladder toward the championship.  Matt, in the crowd, always cheering him on.  Fixer watching every bout intently, intensely.   Collecting piles money on Murdock’s meteoric rise.  

And—

—Matt, applying himself to his studies at home, enthusiastically participating in class...avoiding his old gang while continuing his secret workouts on the rooftops and in the gym...striking up a friendship with a straight-laced, overweight kid named FRANKLIN “FOGGY” NELSON.  Finally, we see Matt—eighteen years old, a handsome young man—graduating high school. 

We END THE MONTAGE with a shot of a poster, announcing Jack Murdock’s upcoming title bout.  Then we DISSOLVE THRU TO:

The Fixer’s office—where DeFalco calmly informs Jack Murdock that he’s going to take a fall on Saturday.  It will be lucrative for all of them.  All these months of fixing Murdock’s fights, making him look like a returning hero, are going to pay off.

Jack is stunned.  He can’t believe it.  His entire comeback, engineered by DeFalco.  His battle to regain his self-respect, his self-worth, a fraud?  He refuses to believe it.  And he refuses to take the fall.

DeFalco stays calm.  “Jack, Jack—you can’t turn your back on us now...not after all we did for you.  And for your boy.  It ain’t me I’m thinking of, Jack.  But we have to keep Mr. Fisk happy.  He’s got a lot riding on this.  A huge investment.”  DeFalco smiles.  “Keep Mr. Fisk happy, Jack.  Believe me, you won’t like what’ll happen if you disappoint him.”

CLOSE ON JACK—as his soul collapses inward in shame.  His dreams go up in flames.  CUT TO: 

The fight.  Jack in the ring, being mercilessly beaten by his opponent.  Matt, with Foggy, in the crowd, can’t understand it.  It’s as if his father’s just letting this gorilla destroy him.   Jack falls.  He’s down.  Face swollen.  Bloody.  A broken man.  DeFalco grins.  “Good boy,” he says.

But then, through the bloody haze, Jack sees his son.  Sees his dreams.  All that’s good and decent in his life.

And heroically, miraculously, he gets to his feet.  DeFalco steaming.  (“What the hell is he doing?”)  Matt, with Foggy at his side, is triumphant and proud as—

—Jack pounds his opponent to his knees.  He wishes it were different, but Jack knows that the ring is the only place on earth he can find a little dignity and a little grace.  No matter the price, he will not have that dignity taken away from him.   And he will not disappoint his son.

One blow, two, three.

And he’s the new heavyweight champion.

Matt and Foggy cheer.  DeFalco curses.  He looks across the stadium to a pricey box where a hulking, yet paradoxically dapper, figure is sitting:  WILSON FISK, THE KINGPIN.—accompanied by his gorgeous and elegant wife, VANESSA.  Fisk fixes a cold stare on DeFalco.  Nods his head.  CUT TO:

After the fight:  As Jack heads to meet Matt and Foggy for a victory dinner, he’s waylaid by DeFalco, O’Neil and Mazuchelli.  “Mr. Fisk isn’t happy, Jack,” DeFalco says.  “And neither am I.”  They take him off to a nearby—

—WAREHOUSE—where they beat him to a bloody pulp.  Fixer wants Jack to beg for mercy, but he whispers only two words:  “Maggie” and “Matt.”

IN THE RESTAURANT:  Matt’s hyper-senses pick up his father’s words.  To Foggy’s surprise, Matt rushes outside.  Casts out his sense-net.  Zeroes in on the ugly sound of fist against pulped flesh.

He runs.

IN THE WAREHOUSE:  Fixer puts a gun to Jack’s head.  Cocks it.

IN THE STREET:  Matt, hearing all this, doubles his speed.

IN THE WAREHOUSE:  Jack whispers, “I love you, Matt”—and the Fixer fires.

IN THE STREET:  That gunshot is the loudest sound Matt Murdock has ever heard. 

Matt arrives at the warehouse just as Fixer and the others drive away.  One of the goons notes Matt’s presence.  “A blind kid,” Fixer laughs; “what’s to worry about?”  Matt—

—rushes inside, cradling his father in his arms—

—as Jack Murdock dies.   And Matt Murdock is reborn in grief and rage  CUT TO:

The upper East Side.  A high-priced house of prostitution on the top floor of a luxury apartment building—where O’Neil and Mazuchelli are indulging in a drunken bacchanal with half a dozen women. 

The lights go out.  The brownstone is plunged into pitch blackness.   In drunken confusion, the goons scramble for their guns.  The prostitutes run.

We TRACK WITH a figure, moving through the house.  We “see” what he sees:  this world of darkness illuminated by an eerie radar sense. 

Our POV shifts back to the darkness—where a figure is moving, all around O’Neil and Mazuchelli, like a ghost.  Every time they think they have a bead on him, fire, he’s gone.

Finally, at the top of the stairs, O’Neil thinks he has him. Shoots once, twice.  A body falls at his feet:  It’s Mazuchelli—badly wounded, but alive.

Then the intruder leaps down onto O’Neil’s back, tumbles with him, down the stairs.  O’Neil sprints.  The wild-man, using a metal cane, swats him him through the window onto the fire escape.  The moon shines down—   

—on an impossible sight.  “Mephisto” Murdock—back from the dead.   It’s Matt—wearing his father’s old wrestling costume.  The symbol of Jack’s greatest humiliation...will be the symbol of Matt’s vengeance.  O’Neil looks up, terrified.

Matt pounds him mercilessly, then hops up to the railing of the fire-escape, O’Neil hanging by his tie, dangling and choking.  In the distance, we HEAR POLICE SIRENS, coming CLOSER.  “You killed Jack Murdock,” Matt hisses.  “Confess your sins.” “I didn’t do nothing...” O’Neil insists.  Matt loosens his grip.   “Confess.  Your.  Sins.”

And O’Neil confesses.  Matt yanks him back up, just as several police cars screech to the curb down below.  “And now,” he says, “you’re going to tell that to the police.  Or I’ll be back to finish this.”  “Anything,” O’Neil whimpers, “anything you say.”

We go in CLOSE on Matt’s face:  For all the justifiable anger, for all the broken-hearted seeking of vengeance, there’s a dark pleasure Matt’s taking in the hunt.  A naked thrill.  He’s enjoying this too much.  At last, the devil inside him has found a valid excuse to break free; to become him.  “Y’know,” he says, “I could get to like this...”   CUT TO:

The Mafia “social club” where the Fixer headquarters himself.  Dead of night.  A nervous DeFalco playing cards with two of his goons, while half a dozen other armed goons stand guard.

The lights go out.  DeFalco panics.  And rightfully so.

Matt, in the wrestling costume, is there.  We “see” the room through his blind eyes; his radar-sense guiding him more confidentially than any sighted man as he tears through Fixer’s army like an unstoppable demon from Hell.

The goons buy the frightened DeFalco—who’s sure this is Jack Murdock’s ghost, come to punish him for his sins—time to run for his car.

There follows a chase—with Daredevil, vanishing and reappearing, playing with DeFalco, taunting and terrifying him; ultimately forcing the Fixer off the road. 

The Fixer scrambles out of his crashed car.  Races for a subway station.  On a deserted platform,  DD advances on the winded mobster—whose hand goes to his chest.  He’s having a heart attack.  “Please,” the now-pathetic DeFalco whimpers, “please help me...”

Matt grins an awful, soulless grin.  “Just shut up,” he says, “and die.”

The Fixer obliges. 

We go in CLOSE on the grinning Matt—as his expression shifts to one of revulsion and disgust.   As he finally realizes the dark joy he’s taken in this.   CUT TO:

The confession booth.  Father Nocenti on one side; Matt, on his knees, on the other:  “Forgive me, Father,” Matt whispers, “for I have sinned.”  And then we—

CUT TO:  A courtroom.  Matt, Foggy at his side, watches triumphantly as O’Neil and Mazuchelli are sentenced.  As the law has its victory.  Perhaps, his face seems to say, he doesn’t need the devil.  Perhaps the law is bigger, nobler, than one man’s passion for vengeance.   “We got the puppets,” D.A. TOWER—a fortyish district attorney who still clings tenaciously to her idealism—says to Matt; “too bad we can’t get our hands on the puppeteer.”  “What do you mean?” asks Matt.  “Not a breeze blows in New York,” Tower replies, “without the Kingpin’s say-so.  But he’s made of teflon.  No one can  touch him.  Most people in this town don’t even know he exists.  But he’s the real power, Matt.  And that power’s growing every day.”   This is the first Matt has heard of Fisk.

CUT TO:  Wilson Fisk and his closest advisor, JOHN MACKIE.  O’Neil and Mazuchelli, Mackie says, will be out in three years.   Their loyalty will be rewarded.  “Good,” says Fisk; “and then...as soon as they’re back on the streets...I want them dead.  Their incompetence should be rewarded, too.”

CUT TO:  The courtroom.  CLOSE on Matt.  In this moment, he chooses his life’s path.  He will embrace the law, use it to protect little guys like his father.  And when the law isn’t enough—

CUT TO:  Matt, standing on the roof-edge of his apartment building.  The wrestling costume is crumpled at his feet.  In one hand he’s holding a yellowed poster for one of “Battling” Jack Murdock’s fights.  Matt’s fingers gently move across the poster, caressing his father’s face.

He lets the poster go.  It’s carried off on the winds, wafting across the city Matt so loves.  Then, an expression of determination on his face...it’s as if he’s embracing his destiny...Matt reaches down, picks up the wrestling costume, holds that devil’s mask in his hands.  We go in CLOSE on the mask, then—

—CAMERA PANS out to the lights of the city as Matt casts his sense-net into the night.  We HEAR the SOUNDS of New York:  love and rage, hope and fear.  Then we PAN BACK to Matt—

—to see him standing not on the roof of a Hell’s Kitchen tenement, but atop the towering Chrysler Building.  He’s wearing a costume of red and black, the letters “D.D.” emblazoned on his chest.  The costume is clearly modelled on his father’s wrestling suit...but more dramatic, more majestic.  And more foreboding.

Daredevil listens intently to his city.  HEARS a SCREAM piercing the night air. 

He presses a button on the cane in his hand.  It splits in two, both sections connected by a heavy metal wire.  The wire shoots across the street to the opposite rooftop, its curved end hooking the ledge.  Daredevil holds tight to the bottom half of the cane—

—and leaps, swinging directly toward “camera” as we— 


END ACT ONE

BRIDGING  ACT  ONE  AND  ACT  TWO

We have a SPLIT SCREEN MONTAGE, as the years fly by:

ON ONE SIDE OF THE SCREEN:  We see Matt and Foggy in law school.   Their graduation.  Matt in a courtroom, arguing passionately.  We ALSO get a series of news reports about a strange costumed figure who has been irregularly reported in New York.  Stopping robberies, drug deals, busting mob operations.   A TV reporter asks the question:  “Does Daredevil exist?”  He appears, we learn, so infrequently and the reports about him are so confusing, that most people aren’t sure if he’s real...or just New York’s equivalent of Bigfoot.  

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SCREEN:  We witness Wilson Fisk’s double life.  To the world at large he’s a philanthropist, a businessman, whose empire grows larger and more far-reaching every day.  But the underworld knows him as the Kingpin of Crime.  We see drug operations, hijackings; the Kingpin meeting with the city’s mob leaders.  The same reports that lionize Wilson Fisk speculate about the identity of the man who allegedly holds all of New York in his hands. 

ACT TWO

Winter in New York.  A lower Manhattan Chinese restaurant.  Eight p.m. and the place is packed.  Businessmen.  Politicians.  Families. 

An exhausted, nerdy looking TOURIST with a shock of red hair, glasses, buck teeth and an ill-fitting suit walks in.  He’s told that there’s a long wait, but if he’d care to sit at the bar—?  He does.  The bartender puts down water, a napkin, chopsticks. “Uh...could I have a knife and fork, please?” the tourist says, timidly, clumsily handling the chopsticks, “I’ve never been able to eat with these things...”  The bartender obliges.

The tourist looks out across the room full of diners.  In the back, six men—they don’t have the word “Mafia” stamped on their foreheads, but it’s pretty obvious—sit drinking and laughing.  The clear leader of these men is mob-boss CARMINE DECICCO.  Beside him is a six foot slab of MUSCLE with wary eyes, who keeps watching the room.

The tourist looks at the menu, orders some dumplings and chow fun, fiddles with his silverware—

—then leaps up onto the bar—

—simultaneously hurling the knife and fork, with astonishing speed, across the room.

The knife sinks, handle-deep, into Carmine DeCicco’s forehead.  The fork does the same to his wary-eyed muscle.  They fall back, dead.  The tourist grins:  “Bullseye,” he whispers.  (My feeling is that we would never LINGER on any of this.  The violence would happen very fast, quick cuts.)

Before anyone can react, the tourist flips forward off the bar, pulling two guns from his coat, blasting away at the remaining wiseguys.

No bullet is wasted, every one hits its target straight through the heart.  But one of the goons dives under the table, opens fire.

The restaurant is screaming chaos.  One woman in particular is out-of-control;  desperate to run for the door.  Her husband is trying to hold her down, keep her out of the line of fire.

CUT TO:  Blind lawyer Matt Murdock—on his way home from work—in the back seat of a taxi, caught in rush-hour traffic.  “Can’t you go any faster?”  “Yeah, sure,” says the cabbie, “I’ll just sprinkle my pixie-dust on the cab and I’ll fly ya home.”  Matt shakes his head in disgust, rifles through some braille legal briefs—

—and then freezes.   We HEAR the sounds of the city as he sifts through them; finally arriving at the sound of screaming and gunfire.

CUT TO:  The restaurant.  The remaining goon gets a clear shot at the tourist.  The hysterical woman breaks away from her husband.  The tourist casually grabs the woman, using her as a shield.  She takes three bullets while her husband looks on, helpless and horrified.

CUT TO:  Matt, HEARING that scream in all its amplified terror.  He jumps out of the cab, tossing a ten at the cabbie.  We PULL WIDE to see that Matt is in the middle of four lanes of gridlocked traffic that seem to go on into forever.  CUT TO:

The restaurant.  The goon under the table springs to his feet.  Rushes forward, screaming, guns blazing.

The tourist drops the wounded woman, grabs a fountain pen off the counter by the cash register, whirls, hurls it through the air—where it enters the goon’s mouth, lodging in his throat.  While the goon gasps and flails, the tourist draws a bead and puts a bullet through the goon’s head.  Then he’s out of there.

CUT TO:  Matt—as he dives down, rolls underneath one of the gridlocked cars—and keeps rolling.  We catch shadowed glimpses of him as he rolls between cars and then finally—

—an astonishing figure in red and black leaps up, races over the tops of the cars:  Daredevil!  From the end Daredevil’s billy-club, the grappling line shoots out—and DD swings around a lamp-post...up into the air...sailing high above the gridlocked traffic.

CUT TO:  Outside the restaurant.  The fleeing killer strips off his breakaway business suit (he’s dressed all in form-fitting black underneath), his wig and glasses...tosses his guns into the sewer...and vanishes into the crowd (casually lighting a cigar as he runs):  this is JUAN DEL TORO, also known as BULLSEYE.  

CUT TO:  Daredevil, arriving in the restaurant, surveying the carnage via his radar sense.  Blind or sighted, this is horrible.  He kneels by the wounded woman...her husband crying hysterically at her side...and she dies in Daredevil’s arms, leaving a smear of blood across his blood-red uniform.

We go in CLOSE on DD—and his silent rage is terrifying to behold.

Daredevil rushes outside.  Finds the discarded suit.  Picks up the scent like a bloodhound.  “Still here?” he says—scanning the streets, listening for a particular kind of heartbeat to match the scent.  Someone with icewater for veins.  An island of calm amidst the chaos.

But, where?  Where?

There!  CUT TO:

BULLSEYE—hunched like a gargoyle atop a tower on the Manhattan Bridge.  Suddenly, the cable of DD’s billy-club comes whipping around from behind, yanking Bullseye off the tower, down toward one of the suspension cables where DD is standing.  As Del Toro falls he does a mid-air flip, double-kicking Daredevil, who slips but—using his billy club cable to hook onto the bridge—manages to save himself, swinging spectacularly around and landing behind Bullseye.

Del Toro looks at Daredevil, amazement and delight on his face.  He’d heard about this masked devil, he says (hurling several shuriken, which DD astonishingly dodges).  But he never believed that such a man existed. 

“Believe it,” says DD, charging forward, butting Bullseye in the head, then hitting him unrelentingly.  Bullseye gives as good as he gets:  they punch and kick each other mercilessly.  But where Daredevil is Grimness Personified (it’s as if, when he puts on the mask, all vestiges of Matt Murdock vanish.  As if all the demons in Matt’s soul take control), Bullseye is clearly from another school:   “Who designed that get-up?” he asks.  “It is so cool!  You think I could get one like it?  But I want an original, y’know, I don’t wanna buy it off the rack—”

DD’s not amused.  “I don’t care about DiCicco and his men,” he hisses.  ”They got what the deserved.  But an innocent woman died back there.”

We HEAR POLICE SIRENS as a dozen cop cars converge below.

“You think she matters?” Del Toro says.  “You think any o’ those ants down there matter?”

That arrogance goes right to DD’s soul.  He loses it, pounding Del Toro right off the cable.  Bullseye falls—

—and reaches out, taking Daredevil with him: they tumble toward the river together.

Again, Daredevil’s billy-club cable saves the day.  He hangs there above the water...Bullseye holding on to his hand.  The two of them dangling like puppets.  “You gonna pull me up, or what?”  a casual Bullseye says.

“Confess your sins,” is Daredevil’s only reply.

“You’re kidding, right?”

“Confess.  Your.  Sins.”

“Okay,” says Bullseye.  “I’ve had lustful thoughts about Kathie Lee Gifford.  When I was little I flushed turtles down the toilet and I enjoyed it.  And I prefer classic Star Trek to the new stuff.”  Bullseye laughs:  No one gets a bigger kick out of him than he does.

Daredevil’s not amused.  He lets go.

Bullseye tumbles—down into the water.  He howls, delightedly, as he falls.

ON Daredevil—a moment of shock...as he realizes what he’s done.

Down below, Bullseye surfaces, gasping for breath—

—to find himself surrounded by police boats shining spotlights.  A dozen rifles trained on him.  “I don’t know what you’re bothering with me for,” he says; “the real nut-case is up there.”

The spotlights sweep the upper pylons of the bridge.  We glimpse a red and black figure swinging away and then—

CUT TO:  A haunted Daredevil swinging across the city.  He hunches on a rooftop overlooking Our Lady of Refuge Church.  But, after a poignant pause, he moves on.  The time for repentance, for forgiveness, is long past.  CUT TO:

A hotel called “The Top of New York”:  the tallest building in the city.  Just across from it, a second building, an extension of the first, is being constructed.  Monuments to the man whose ego built them.

On the top floor of the completed hotel is the living quarters and business center  of that man:  Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin.  Head of Fisk Construction, Fisk Import and Export, Fisk Entertainment, and a dozen other high-powered businesses.

Fisk sits in his office...clutching the diamond-tipped walking stick that’s always at his side...looking down on the city he controls.  He’s in the middle of a conversation with the Mayor (and it’s clear who holds the power in the relationship)...when Fisk’s dear friend and business associate, Greek shipping magnate NIKOS NATCHIOS enters.  Nikos has come to New York for a huge charity ball Fisk is throwing, under the banner of the Vanessa Fisk Foundation.

Fisk dumps the Mayor, welcomes Nikos warmly.  We see the clear and genuine bond between these two men.  “And where is Elektra?”  “Exhausted from the flight.  She’s gone straight  to bed.”   Nikos notices something haunted in his friend’s eyes.  “What is it, Wilson?”

Fisk takes out a key, unlocks the door to an adjoining room.  He lights one candle and then another and then another and then another—and the room slowly comes into focus.

The walls are covered with photos and paintings of Fisk’s late wife, VANESSA.  “The Foundation,” Fisk says, “was a dream of hers, Nikos.  She had...such a good, such a pure, heart.  She wanted to use our wealth...to help people.  I’ve waited too long...to make her dream a reality...”  He pulls out a bottle of cognac, pours for both of them, raises a glass.  Speaks with a vulnerability and a passion that is utterly surprising.  Choked with emotion:  “To the woman who, for too brief a time, showed me that that love and decency...could exist...in this cold and brutal world.  ‘Grow old along with me,’” he goes on, quoting Browning, “‘the best is yet to be.  The last of life for which the first was made.’” 

Then, in an instant, that vulnerability is gone.  His eyes ice over.   He exits the room and locks the door behind him.

“As much,” Fisk says, “as I would like to sit and talk...I’m afraid I have to leave you.  A pressing business meeting...”

Nikos looks at his watch.  “At this hour?”

Fisk nods.

“Wilson,” Nikos says, “let the birth of the Foundation be a new birth for you.  Wilson Fisk has the world.  Let the Kingpin rest.  Let him die.  Isn’t that what Vanessa wanted...more than anything?”

Fisk turns away, looks at the lights of the city, glittering like jewels.  “I own New York.  Nothing happens here—not the smallest drug deal, not the highest corporate decisions—without my consent.  I have achieved...everything.  And everything is far emptier than I ever imagined.”

Nikos:  “Then let it go...”

Fisk:  “I am not you, Nikos.  You walked away from the life...and never looked back.”

Nikos, with great emotion:  “I had good reasons...”

Fisk nods, agreeing:  “But I need challenges  I need to climb, fight, the way I have my whole life.  Perhaps, if Vanessa was still here...”  He shakes his head.  “I’m not ready to sit back like Don Corleone and tend my garden.”

Nikos, a sad smile:  “There’s much to be said for a garden...” 

Fisk heads for the door.  “Rest well, my friend.  I’ll see you in the morning.”

The door closes.  An anguished Nikos stands alone and we—  

CUT TO:  Fisk and his advisor John Mackie heading for a private elevator that takes them to the roof.  Mackie is furious about Del Toro’s apprehension.  Bullseye was told to do the hit on DiCicco (who had been planning a move against Fisk) discreetly.  Instead he walks into a crowded restaurant in the middle of Manhattan, kills an innocent bystander, witnesses everywhere—
They can’t afford to have any wild cards around.  Especially not  on the eve of their greatest triumph.  Now, more than ever, Fisk’s hold on the city must be clear and unchallenged.

“Leave Juan to me,” is all Fisk says as they approach his private helicopter.  Six other copters are ready to go—armed men in each one.  Fisk gives the signal—

—and the copters take off.  CUT TO:

Daredevil, swinging across the city, sees a woman...standing on the edge of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  Fearing a suicide attempt, he swings for the Tower.  Scales it.

But the extraordinarily beautiful young woman is no jumper.  It’s Nikos’s daughter, ELEKTRA (although we don’t know that yet)—who throws a rope, creating a tightrope between the two towers.  To DD’s amazement, she steps out—and effortlessly, with extraordinary grace, walks the rope—one hundred and ten stories above the world.  She whirls, pirouettes, leaps.  Almost falls—and recovers with ease and style.

Daredevil can’t stay away:  He can feel the daring, the wildness, in her soul.  He leaps for the rope, lands in front of her.  It’s love at first sight.

Elektra, thinking this is an attack, defends herself...and her skills as a hand-to-hand combatant are as advanced—hell, more advanced—than any Daredevil has ever seen.  They battle briefly there, high above the world, Daredevil trying to convince her that he’s not out to hurt her, he just wants to talk.  She smiles a disarming smile—

—as then leaps—over DD’s head, racing to the South Tower, cutting the rope (with a distinctive Sai), sending Daredevil falling.

Elektra watches, smiling—she’s clearly intrigued by this man—as DD’s billy club wire whips out, hooks a ledge, and Daredevil saves himself. 

Then she’s gone.

Daredevil surreptitiously follows her—

—to the “Top of New York,” where he observes her taking a private elevator...up to Wilson Fisk’s top-floor living quarters.  However intriguing this woman was, she’s far more so now that he knows she’s connected to Fisk.

CUT TO:  A private yacht, miles off the New York coast, where Fisk’s helicopter lands.  The other helicopters circle the ship, Fisk’s soldiers ready to descend at the first sign of trouble. 

Mackie is barred from the meeting by armed guards—and Fisk is ushered in to meet BARON VON STRUCKER:  a former German crime-lord who heads a very exclusive international arms cartel called HYDRA.  Von Strucker brusquely welcomes Fisk—and it’s instantly clear that there’s bad blood between these two men. 

Fisk insists (as he does in all his criminal dealings) that he be called Kingpin.  It’s as if Wilson Fisk doesn’t exist in this world.

“‘A rose by any other name,’” Von Strucker says.  He reaches for a remote control and brings a bank of video monitors to life.  Onscreen, we see:

VORTEX WEAPONS, capable of shooting shockwaves that travel hundreds of miles an hour...with most explosive results.

MICROWAVE WEAPONS—capable of creating both microwave “force-fields”—and literally cooking a man to death. 

Blinding LASER RIFLES that can destroy a man with light. 

ACOUSTIC GUNS that can use sound to kill.

And, perhaps most amazing of all, a silvery CRAB-LIKE VEHICLE (think of a state-of-the-art tank, with claws instead of wheels, capable of moving across any terrain, scaling mountains, climbing walls)...on which any and all of these weapons can be mounted.

Fisk watches with interest.  “I have transferred the money into the account, as you requested,” Fisk says.  “The remainder will be deposited after the weapons arrive.” 

“Excellent,” says Von Strucker, “Few men can pay Hydra’s price.”

“Few men,” Fisk replies, “are the Kingpin.”  He rises, turns to leave.

“One more thing,” Von Strucker says.  “My business depends on extreme secrecy.  Our client list is very exclusive.  And as such, we require...assurance that our existence will remain unknown.”

“You have my word,” Fisk says.

“My associates and I require more than that,” Von Strucker says.  “A man like you, Kingpin, knows that a business transaction of this magnitude...must be sealed...with blood.”

Fisk turns. 

“One death,” Von Strucker says.  “Only one...and we will consider our covenant complete.”

CLOSE ON Fisk...he knows what’s coming,

CLOSE on Von Strucker as he speaks two words: “Nikos Natchios.”

Fisk explodes.  It was only Nikos’s insistence, he says, that spared Von Strucker’s life all those years before, when he kidnapped and tortured Elektra.  When he murdered Maria Natchios.  “Do you really think that I would do this...to my friend?  For what?”

The images of the new weapons play out on the monitors behind him.
“For power,” Von Strucker says.  “I know that you are attempting to unify all of America’s crime families under your control.  My weapons will help you achieve that end.  How much does it mean to you...to truly be the Kingpin?  How much are you willing to sacrifice?” 

We go in CLOSE on the wild-eyed Fisk, then—

—PULL WIDE...as Fisk whirls, firing a blast from the end of his walking stick.  Von Strucker looks up, smiling (but glistening with sweat):  there’s a hole, three feet wide, in the conference table.  And off that we CUT TO:    



***


That seems like a good place to break.  If you'd like to see more, leave a comment below.

60 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this. Nice balance of things i'd expect and things i wouldn't. Lots of cool touches. Love to read more

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  2. I would LOVE to see more. I'd also like to see the whole script as a PDF, if possible.

    This is awesome stuff to see, thank you so very much.

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  3. Glad you enjoyed it, Witty. In a way, all of this is just the set-up and the story really kicks in after this.

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  4. You're very welcome, Ryan. It's a kick for me, too, since I really haven't looked at this in years. It's far from perfect, but I think it's a solid blueprint for what could have been an excellent film.

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  5. Very cool! I especially enjoyed the dramatic implication that Matt's act of sacrifice is an answer to his prayer about temptation. Not surprisingly, I'm a BIG fan of the religious elements in DD's story. And I love the irony of a God-fearing Catholic dressing up as the devil every night to fight crime. So religion, symbolism, duality, all elements which play to your strengths! I wish we'd seen it come to pass. I know they've got another DD live action film project coming down the pipeline, but maybe we could eventually see a DD animated series with you as the lead writer...that would be cool.

    On another note, if you ever get the chance you should check out BATTLIN' JACK MURDOCK by Zeb Wells. It's a miniseries that focuses on the time leading up to his fateful boxing match from his perspective.

    --David

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  6. Not surprised that this was up your alley, David, and very glad you enjoyed it. Look for Part Two some time next week.

    A DD animated series? Sign me up!

    I didn't know about the JACK MURDOCH mini -- but it sounds terrific.

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  7. I thoroughly enjoyed your treatment, Mr. DeMatteis! It would've made a solid movie! Silly Fox executive..

    Can't wait for part two!

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  8. I don't know, I don't think you put in quite enough references to writers and artists. No lil' Billy Everett or Mr. Gerber? Not even a wrestler named Marv "the Wolfman" Mckenzie?

    But in the end I liked it, and I'm sure having Mr. Lee compliment your work on one of his characters was at least as much if not more of a thrill as seeing your name on the silver screen.

    I also think that you made an interesting point about the difficulty of transferring comics to movie. Transferring a serialized character usually with a history decades old can not be easy. The time constraints alone of 2 hours is a challenge, which I believe that after the original viewings the first two spider-man movies (which I did enjoy) left a tad unsatisfied.

    But what I am really interested in after reading this is... what are your takes on DD as a whole? You clearly have a love for the character, but how much? When did it begin? Come on Dematteis, you gave us the scoop on your relationship with ol' Captain flag-waver, when first you mentioned him here, and now it's the the sightless scarlet swashbucklers turn.

    Wishing you nothing, but goodwill and hipness from the stars,
    Jack

    P.S. Battlin' Jack Murdock is a good read, which I also recommend, but Mark Waid's current run is also pretty grand and refreshing.

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  9. This is great stuff! I'd love to see this in a movie heck, even better in comic book form! To me it even lends itself to a Daredevil television show.

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  10. Thanks, Troy! In defense of the Fox executive, it can't be easy making decisions where millions, sometimes hundreds of millions, of dollars are on the line.

    Hope you enjoy the next part as much. And thanks for checking in!

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  11. You're right about the difficulty of translating those characters and their worlds, Jack -- which makes me appreciate, all the more, the efforts of those that have succeeded. Last summer, for example, was such a great one for Marvel, with THOR, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS and CAPTAIN AMERICA all hitting it out of the park. I applaud everyone involved with those films.

    As for my feelings about DD. I've always enjoyed the character -- I have a special place in my heart for the Stan Lee-John Romita-Gene Colan era -- but didn't really begin to appreciate Daredevil on a deeper level till I (briefly) wrote the book in the 90's. And then working on this treatment made me really think about the essence, the core, of DD in an even deeper way. So it's another case of not fully appreciating a character till I've been asked to write him.

    And, yes, I hear nothing but good things about Mark Waid's current run on the book.

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  12. I think a DD television show would work, Anonymous, because Daredevil is such a ground-level character. You wouldn't necessarily need a parade of villains in costumes. I thought about our potential movie version as a kind of GODFATHER with superheroes and I think that would translate well tot he small screen.

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  13. I'd like to see more, yes.

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  14. It shall be done, Lisa! (Some time in the next week.)

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  15. interesting that us fans could have gotten this as a dare devils film debute espically love the part of kingpin having elektra's own father as an advisor instead of killing him. can not wait for more

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  16. This is terrific! Was it frustrating for you to have to deal with the reality that it wouldn't come to be at the time Mr. DeMatteis?

    Can't wait for the next part!

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  17. There are some interesting moments ahead relating to Elektra and her father, Demoncat. Hope you enjoy what's coming.

    It's been interesting for me to read this, as well, as I haven't really looked at it in many years. So the twists and turns in the story have surprised me.

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  18. The nature of the beast when you're dealing with Hollywood, Adam, is that many many projects don't get made. Do you get used to it? Sort of. Does it still frustrate? Absolutely!

    Part Two should be up on Friday. Deep thanks for your enthusiasm.

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  19. Gonna take me a few days to get around to reading this, but I know I'm going to want to read more once I do, so I feel it's safe to say, KEEP IT COMING!!!!!!

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  20. Noted and logged, Mr. Greenberg! More coming on Friday.

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  21. Gosh I loved this. Can't wait to see more.

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  22. Thanks, Spacekicker. I just read through the rest of it this morning: it's been so long that the story even surprised me, so I hope you'll enjoy the rest. As noted elsewhere, I'll put up Part Two on Friday and the finale next week.

    By the way: What's your name? I'm assuming your birth certificate doesn't say "Spacekicker."

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  23. Well Mr. Dematteis, it seems like a good portion of your loyal fans (myself included) want a DD T.V. (television) show. And looking at the programming on AMC, FX, and many premium channels this could be the time to do it. Looks to me like someone's got a bit of leverage over Marvel comics. I say that when you're in that board room wheeling and dealing you push for a stage version of MOONSHADOW, with a 50 state tour.

    As far as those Lee-Romita-Colan issues, agreed. I never understood why 60's Daredevil is considered a blight in some circle, I for one loved it, and let me ay in the magic of black and white Marvel essentials few artists can still look as natural sans color as the late great Gene Colan. But with the Bullseye and Elektra elements of yous script I can't help but wonder what your views on Miller's DD. I mean, did you put it in just because it was expected, or was there real appreciation for ol' Frank's work. Did you read and enjoy it, or was it just some guy in another department at the time making wave that other editors expected you to get in line and surf along. The real reason I wonder tough (and this is true) is that I remember reading a comic from Marvel's now defunct Epic line where Mr. Miller endorsed Moonshadow, and ever since then I've always wondered about your views on his work. Granted it is VERY differant from your method of storytelling, but that doesn't necessarily mean it would be dismissed or categorized as "I respect what he does, but not for me."

    Wishing you nothing, but goodwill and hipness from the stars,
    Jack

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  24. I'm up for that stage version of MOONSHADOW, Jack. (I actually think it would make an amazing show. And I'll be happy to write the music!)

    As for Frank Miller's DAREDEVIL, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I especially loved his second go-round, in collaboration with David Mazzuchelli. Terrific stuff. Miller is a great storyteller: he pulls you in and carries you along and you don't lift your eyes from the page till the story's over. Frank left his mark on comics and on all of us working in the business. A massive talent.

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  25. Cool stuff, man. It seems like you really captured the character.

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  26. its a real shame this was never made. fantastic work, i'd love to see more

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  27. Apparently news broke yesterday that the latest DD film isn't moving forward anytime soon:

    http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00049736.html

    Poor Daredevil just can't stay out of development hell!

    --David

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  28. Thanks Anonymous (funny how many people have the same name). I'm glad I dusted this one off and shared it here. Glad, too, that you think I captured the character. I remember really agonizing over that; trying my best to get to the core of Matt Murdock, in costume and out.

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  29. The sad truth is, Ari, that the movie business is all about scripts that never get made. There are writers who make a fantastic living writing movies that only exist on paper. Coming from the world of comics, where the work is so immediate, and the time from the page to print can sometimes be astonishingly short, that's a very strange concept.

    All that said, very glad you enjoyed it and I hope you enjoy Part Two just as much!

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  30. This was an excellent 1st act, and I'd love to see the rest of it... I highly encourage you to consider posting it....

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  31. This is realllllllllly good. I really want to read the whole script. Or......maybe this should be made as the DD reboot. This, with the right actors/actresses and directing, could be a great film. Reading this makes me want to get back into DD comics. This NEEDS to be a film or an ongoing comic series. I love how Von Strucker was modernized as well as HYDRA. Great storytelling.

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  32. This is fantastic. I really enjoyed reading it. I look forward to what comes next!

    -Another Adam

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  33. So DD's in Development Hell's Kitchen. eh, David? (Sorry. Couldn't resist.) They'll figure out a way to bring him back. In fact, I've got an idea...! : )

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  34. Thanks for the vote of support, Benjamin. You'll get Parts Two and Three in the next week or so for sure!

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  35. Deep thanks for the enthusiastic response, Rob. It's been really interesting resurrecting this old piece of writing and seeing how people are reacting to it.

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  36. Very glad you enjoyed it, Other Adam. Things get very big and very explosive as the story unfolds. Check back after I've posted them and let me know what you think.

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  37. Really enjoyed what you've shared so far! Thanks!

    (I have a copy of one of Columbus/Carlei drafts around here somewhere I've been meaning to get to, but now I think that it won't be at the same level of what you put together...)

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  38. I built on a lot of what Carlo and Chris did, Rich, and my memory is that their drafts were excellent.
    I absolutely recommend reading whatever you've got there.

    Carlo, by the way, is busy directing a new version of ROMEO AND JULIET right now and I suspect it's going to be amazing.

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  39. Hope you put up act two. This is amazing. Daredevil needs this kind of love

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  40. The next part is definitely coming on Friday, ToadStamp. Please feel free to check back in after you've read it and let me know what you think.

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  41. I very much enjoyed it... I plan on being a film maker, I hope I'd get a chance to direct your adaption.

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  42. so as a young writer who just finished a 5th draft on a feature script, I have to say your treatment is so good it makes me want to go back and write a better draft. I was honestly blown away, I could "see" the film playing out while reading this and imagined the tone and feel of it. I would love for Fox to pick this up, I'd also love to read the rest of it!

    Also Kravens Last Hunt is amazing!

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  43. Act 1 was leaps and bounds better than the whole Ben affleck daredevil movie. Really looking forward to reading the rest once it is posted. Just imagining this movie play out in my head as I was reading was well worth it. J.M. Dematteis for director of DareDevil reboot!

    -Augie

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  44. man this is excellent.. i'm @ work pretending to be working but after the first few paragraphs all i can say is that fox guy should be shot... kudos man... i really hope it gets to become a movie sometime in the future

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  45. Thanks, Dylan! And best of luck with your career in film. I'm a great believer in chasing, and manifesting, your dreams, so I look forward to seeing your name on a movie screen on of these days.

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  46. If reading this inspired you in any way, Rossy, I'm DEEPLY gratified. And thanks so much for you kind words about KRAVEN'S LAST HUNT. I'm constantly amazed at the long life that story has had.

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  47. Thanks for the good wishes, Anonymous at work!

    Re: the Fox exec. He was just doing his job. And, really, I have no clue what other factors came into play that made him come to that decision. I've learned, over the years, that when a story of mine is rejected it doesn't always have to do with the story itself. There are so many factors involved, especially in the TV and movie business where millions and millions of dollars are at stake.

    Was I disappointed when the project fell apart? Absolutely! But another thing I've learned as a freelancer is that you have to take a few days to lick your wounds and then move on to the next project. Creativity, as I like to say, is the best revenge.

    Hope you enjoy Part Two as much as Part One...and thanks for checking in at Creation Point.

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  48. Director of the reboot, Augie? If you insist!

    But, as you noted, you can watch the movie play out in your head as you read this; and sometimes the movies in our heads are the best of all.

    Comics are like that, aren't they? You look at a page with drawings and words in balloons and somehow your mind converts the static images to movement, assigns voices to the characters and the next thing you know you're immersed in a holographic experience playing out on the screen of your mind.

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  49. Re: DEVELOPMENT HELL'S KITCHEN. You might have just launched the next Daredevil film franchise AND a reality television show about Hollywood!

    --David

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  50. I think it would be one of the single most depressing reality shows ever, David. Frustrated, depressed people sitting around cursing and whining and drinking too much.

    Oh, wait. That's half the reality shows on TV! : )

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  51. I have just read the first part of your story, and this make me very curious of what's happening later... It was an interesting beginning.

    Well, now, I know where MSJ took the idea for the naming of his characters after Marvel authors in his movie... What surprise me is that you were allowed to use the HYDRA...

    If the DD rights returns to Marvel someday (the last David Slade twitt wasn't very optimistic in him making the movie), you should propose it to the Marvel Studio.

    I've read somewhere that Stan Lee not only thought that you wrote a great script, but he also said that it would make the best superhero movie ever (well, in pre Nolan world, of course, things were different before 2005), was it right ?

    All of this make me want to know what happened in the rest of your script. Will we see it ?

    -- Gael

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  52. You'll absolutely see it, Gael: Part Two will be posted tomorrow.

    Yes, Stan was very effusive with his praise, back in the day. And you're right: the comic book movie terrain has shifted dramatically since the mid-nineties. All you have to do is look back to the summer of 2011, with Marvel's incredible trifecta of THOR, X-MEN and CAP, or just ahead to AVENGERS and the DARK KNIGHT. We're really in a Golden Age of superhero cinema.

    Hope you enjoy the rest of the treatment!

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  53. Mr. DeMatteis,
    Thank you very much for this peek behind the curtain! I'm really enjoying this story!
    I wonder, now that you've had a chance to look at the piece after so many years, and in light of the type of comic book movies being produced today, would you make any changes to the tone/ action to enhance the verisimilitude of the work?

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  54. I'm sure if I sat down to do a rewrite of the piece, Jason, I'd find plenty to change—not so much because the landscape of superhero movies has changed, just because there's always more work to be done on a piece of writing.

    At the same time I respect the writer I was fifteen years ago and, despite the fact that I've changed and grown since then, I'm enjoying the work of the Younger Me for what it is...if you know what I mean.

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  55. You know, word is that the current "Daredevil" film project has hit a snag and isn't making any progress at this time. David Slade, who is supposed to direct, is going to go ahead and move on to another project it seems, and plans to come back to DD when things get moving again.

    Maybe you should talk to them about considering your treatment again. I certain think this kind of approach might get a better reception now from the studio than it did back when you first wrote it.

    Look forward to reading the rest tomorrow!

    Best,
    Mark

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  56. Interesting idea, Mark: maybe I'll float a trial balloon into the Hollywood ethers. That said, I'm just happy I've had a chance to share this and that the response has been so positive. As I've said elsewhere, at least we can watch this version of Daredevil on the movie screens of our minds.

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  57. Wow. I would SO love to see this on the big screen. Thanks for sharing! It's helpful to see how the pros do it. Is there a way to see the whole thing? Then I could "watch" it in my head. :D

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    1. Glad you enjoyed Part One, Victoria: Parts Two and Three are up on the blog as well, right after this one. Just look through the April posts. And please check back to let me now what you think! All the best -- JMD

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