3c Spec Script

Contact | Index

TRAILER

Exploits of the Billjim – 1916 to 1918
(24iii, 15m 33s, 98.9Mb)

Share: http://youtu.be/Ny2AXVIrdSs

EXPLOITS OF THE BILLJIM – 1916 to 1918

(Spec Script)

CAST OF CHARACTERS

“Cast against type” for box office succes – David Lean

o Thomas Edward ‘Ned’ Lawrence
(16 August 1888 – 19 May 1935, 47) ….. ideally to be played by [someone the factual height – 5′ nothing!]
Ironically, ‘Lawrence’ was a name he had little respect for, often using aliases. His father, Sir Thomas Chapman, a landlord in Ireland, was a bigamist, having run off with a servant. Later he took her family name – Lawrence, although she too was illegitimate, of Scottish ancestry, and gave birth to Thomas Edward, who was dubbed ‘Ned’, in a town in Wales while they were on the run.

Olden beat Lawrence to Damascus

o Major Arthur Olden
(1881 – 1949, 68) – 10 ALH – beat Lawrence to Damascus – 1 October, 1918 ….. ideally to be played by [Russel Crowe, Eric Bana…]
Note Olden’s memoir (published 1921): “Westralian Cavalry” – 10th Light Horse Regiment in the Great War 1914-1918.

o ‘The Composite Billjim’
Either Olden or somebody else, perhaps given the name William ‘Bill’ James or eve more apt Bill Gamesh (‘Bilgames’).

o “Waler” (nickname for starring horse)
The Billjim’s horse. [Walers were specially bred in New South Wales.] Just as the real star of a LoA was the ‘desert’, in our movie it is the ‘Waler’

Col. Nowell de Lancey Forth

o Col. Nowell de Lancey Forth
– Dame Elisabeth Murdoch’s (Rupert’s mother, turned 101 on 8th Feb 2010 – see her support letter in the ‘About’ page) uncle – the ‘fighting Colonel’ of the Camel Corps, Commander 3rd Camel Corps Battalion and uncle of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch ….. ideally to be played by [Russel Crowe, Eric Banner…]

o Col. Newcombe
o Col. Meinertzhagen
o Col. Guy Dawnay
Just some of the officers involved in clandestine ops – dressed Arab costume – blowing up railway tracks (which the Turks quickly had rebuilt). Col. Dawnay assisted Keith Murdoch in persuading Prime Minister Asquith to get our boys out of Gallipoli.

o Ross Smith
‘Australian Air Cav.’ – officers of No. 1 Sqadron of the Australian Flying Corps (beginnings of the RAAF)) – did most of the air strikes, even Lawrence used them to puck up the tenuous support of the Arabs (in any event they weren’t interested in putting their lives on the line for dubious British motives).

General Chauvel Entering Damascus

o Gen Harry Chauvel
– The Palestine Campaign was going nowhere, so they replaced Gen Murray with Allenby and the first thing he did was appoint an Australian to command the spearheading force – Colin Friels would be perfect to play Chauvel, not only is he a great actor, but is also the husband of Judy Davis, and is a longtime ALH enthusiast, to boot.

o Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
– Commander of the Turks [in a bit more Jungian Synchronicity, now apparently Bruce Beresford’s (shares Lawrence’s 16 August birthday) has been planning a film on him.]

o General Liman von Sanders
– Brilliant German tactician – who had given the Australians a rough time in Gallipoli – the Turks had plenty of expertise at their disposal, and could easily have held out until the end of the War, if not for the formidable Australians.


o George Reynolds
– Discovery MidEast Oil ‘1908 – Anglo-Persian Oil Company – later British Petroleum (BP).

o Winston Churchill
(‘1874 – ‘1965, 89) – Oil; Gallipoli Fiasco…
o The Jewish Rothschild (etym.: red+shield) brothers (one in each major European city) were bankers to both sides – they didn’t care who won. The rich make a lot of money out of wars. First, they need to start one, the bigger, and longer it goes, the better. Half way through WWI the German high command could see they were outgunned with the Americans coming in. They tried to do a deal to bring it to an end. And of course, when it did end, it was only 20 years before they got it started again. If the rich were to kill only one person in the process of getting richer, it would be murder – they could be fingered and hauled into a court, when millions of poor on both sides are to be murdered, it’s euphemistically called a war – teflon.
o Herbert Samuel (‘1870 – ‘1963)
– Oil – son of Shell Oil founder Marcus Samuel, named High Commissioner of Palestine. He was the first Jewish ruler in the land of Israel since Herod Agrippa. Samuel’s oil tankers were bringing oil through the Suez Canal to be delivered to Churchill’s newly oil-fueled Royal Navy.

o Chaim Weizmann
o Arthur Balfour
– Balfour Declaration 2 November ‘1917 – Jews to get Palestine (Battle of Beersheba – 31 October, ‘1917) originally it was going to be somewhere in Africa, even Australia.

Keith Murdoch & Billy Hughes

o Keith Murdoch
– Ruperts father – gets the Billjims out of Gallipoli and back to their horses in Eqypt

Lowell Thomas

o Lowell Thomas
– Journalist – Creator of Lawrence of Arabia – sent by U.S Government to work up stories to get ‘Isolationist’ Amercia interested in entering the War


o Capt. Frank Hurley
(15 October 1885 – 16 January 1962) – raised in Glebe, Sydney – Lowell Thomas used his film for his Lawrence of Arabia yarn.

o U.S. Soldiers
– ‘1917 U.S. finally enters War – brief montage of soldiers on troop ship to Europe carrying the deadly ‘Spanish Flu’ later traced to Fort Riley Kansas – kills more people than the war itself.
o Richard Aldington
(‘1892-‘1962) – attempt to expose Lawrence only creates more sychophants and interest in getting the movie made.

Who gets the credit?!

o Sam Spiegel
– LoA Producer

David Lean

o David Lean
(25 March ‘1908 – 16 April ‘1991, 83) – LoA Director – Lawrence of Arabia movie (‘1962) makes his career.

“Cast against type” for box office succes – David Lean

o Peter O’Toole
(‘1932 – ) ….. ideally to be played by [someone 6’ 2″!]
o Beleaguered Billjim Producer / Narrator / Time Traveller
[Ideally to be played by ?? (Richard Gere – worked with Bruce Beresford in ill-fated “King David”, ironically set in exact same part of the world!) More at Script Notes]

o Japanese Characters
Re scene of Billjim producer first getting idea of respecting deeds of ancestors from O-Bon festival while living in Japan in ‘1990s. (Relates to earlier montage of Admiral Perry’s U.S. Black Ships ‘1853 that force Japan to open, leading to Pacific War and Baz Luhrmann’s emphasis on Darwin Bombing in his “Australia” movie.)

o Indian Characters
Re scene where an Indian brigade foils Lawrence’s attempt to beat the Australians to Damascus.

o Female Lead
[Judy Davis?? – hails from lesser known Perth WA, just like Arthur Olden] – actor plays herself [a la Charlie Kaufman – Being John Malkovich] – kicks ass – comes to aid of Billjim Producer / fellow time traveller ….. [Nicole Kidman or Naomi Watts, et al, … (even make it a young fresh new generation role – like a Rose Byrne or Trilby Beresford)]

o Main Female Supporting Actress
[Rose Byrne ??] – meaty role – lover / wife of major Billjim character

o Supporting Cast
– other Billjims; Egyptian / Turk / Palestinian / Arab / Israeli / British / French Cast

[ACT I – Note Scene Summary at end]

FADE IN:
EXT. BYRON BAY – DAY c.’1902

* Big ocean swells rolling to the shore fill the screen. Sweeping aerial PAN BACK back to Cape Byron, the Lighthouse, the township of Byron Bay – ‘1902. Pan still further back to a nearby farm on Coopers Shoot. A family is saying goodbye to 3 sons/brothers who are about to head north to Queensland on a pioneering expedition.

The sound track starts. It’s the sound of an impatient crowd at the start of a rock concert. Then an electric guitar solo starts, it’s Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer” – can only be his ’91 concert tour live version in protest of the Gulf Oil War.

DISSOLVE TO:
AERIAL PAN DOWN TO EGYPT – PORT OF ALEXANDRIA – LATE 1918
[HEAD CREDITS MONTAGE]
CAMERA from aerial view pans down over Egypt, closer and closer to port of Alexandria, end of WWI late 1918 preparations to board troop ships to return home to Australia – head credits roll – CLOSE SHOT of face of ‘Billjim’ (horseman with ‘thousand yard stare’) sitting around camp fire with tin mug of tea in hand and ‘rolly’ smoke hanging from lips. Gets up and heads over to his beloved ‘Waler’ (specially bred horse). POV of “Waler”, our starring horse…
(Some of the critical scenes throughout the Movie will be from Waler’s (the horse) POV, particular the opening and closing.)

[Music fades. …”Directed by [Bruce Beresford ??]” – end of credits] FADE OUT

INT. “LAWRENCE OF ARABIA” SET – DAY

TITLE: ON THE SET OF “LAWRENCE OF ARABIA” – ‘1961

CLOSE UP of lower legs as someone is walking onto the set in WWI British uniform. Wearer is too tall for the standard issue pants.
LEAN
Cut! Peter there is something wrong. I’m not sure what it is.
O’TOOLE
It’s this ridiculous hairstyle, how could it be matted down with hair cream all the time, in the bloody desert, with constant dust storms?
SPIEGEL
I tell you he’s no good, I know it.
LEAN
Mmmm, I think it’s…
SPIEGEL
It’s the uniform. It doesn’t fit. Baby, I told you he’s too tall for Lawrence. Everyone knows he was 5 foot nothing. And O’Toole’s an alcoholic. Let’s try Brando again. I’ll buy him that fucking island in Tahiti. Please David!
LEAN
And I told you, ‘Whoever heard of a short hero?!’ The American audience will laugh us out of the theatre. And we we’ll be walking out of the Academy Awards holding our dicks.
SPIEGEL
From the get-go, you’re drawing attention to the lack of authenticity. We haven’t got one Australian left in the script. Not even Gen Harry Chauvel and he commanded the spearheading force.
LEAN
Ah huh. I know your tricks Sam, you old bugger. You don’t give a shit about authenticity. You got one of your writers to ply you with some arguments because you want to get rid of Peter, because he’s an unknown, he’s not a bankable star at the box office. You couldn’t even find bloody Australia on a world map if your life depended on it…
Reverse psychology. I’m using the ill-fitting clothes. It symbolizes his anti-authority, Lawrence hates wearing the uniform. He has no respect for generals. Doesn’t care how he looks. He’s vain. He’d rather be in his Arab costume. Peter will do this picture.
[And then the beleaguered scriptwriter’s 5 yo daughter stopped painting and wanted to go swimming – “I only wanna go to Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre, I’m not going to Bondi Beach!”…
No. The scribe gets assassinated (etym. ‘hash smoker’) – a sniper (perched on the same branch as that Yellow-Crested Cockatoo) from the tree near El Alamein Fountain, Kings Cross…
IAExcuse leaving mostly more outlining: ]
CUT TO:
INT. ENGLISH HOME – DAY ‘1890s

Flashback to the ‘1890s – a young TE Lawrence, ‘Ned’ as he was called, overhearing a conversation between his parents – devastated as he learns of the family’s dirty secret – they eloped, they’re not married, ‘Lawrence’ is not their real family name – lives are a sham. This incident is a ‘game changer’ – it has a profound effect on Ned – from then on he has to find a way to ‘show’ that he is ‘above’ everybody else, “to back into the limelight”, but he also knows that if anyone looks closely he is “on thin ice”.

CUT TO to another young man half way around the world in a small outback town in Australia. Already an expert horsmen. Arthur Olden will grow up to beat Lawrence to Damascus.

The ALH’s own special nickname Billjim is introduced to the public – differentiates them from all other military groups and ‘Diggers’ – a primer for our merchandising operations.

And just as the real star of a LoA was the ‘desert’, we are now introduced to the real star of our Movie, the ‘Waler’, the Billjim’s horse (he names him “Waer”) We see the close bond that builds between them from the first time they lie eyes on each other to the tragic end.
[Some of the critical scenes throughout the Movie will be from Waler’s POV]

CUT TO the present and the trials and tribulations of a modernday Billjim, its Producer, trying to get anyone interested in making the Movie… and just when he looks like making a breakthrough, it is mysteriously hit on the head – someone wants the Billjim project, indeed the producer himself, ‘snuffed out’. Who is behind it? Carroll Quigley Establishment lobby…?

The Movie has lots of subplots, including, following the parallel lives of Ned and [Arthur??] a century ago, and the beleaguered Producer / Protagonists of the film we are watching [a la John Malcovich / Charlie Kaufman].
The Producer has been trying all kinds of things to get support for the Movie, in vain.
We see a montage of all the prominent Australians he has ‘tapped on the shoulder’ – the calling, the ‘Cooee’ to help out the Billjim.
But just when things are going totally downhill – serendipity strikes.

Unexpected help comes along. But that comes later.

First we have some candidates our Producer is considering tapping on the shoulder.
Most will pretend they were never tapped – they’ve never heard of “Australians of Arabia”, haven’t got a clue what it is – IAE support for the Billjim will not be forthcoming from them.
In the pre-Internet days that wouldn’t be a problem for their reputations, now it is.
They will be shamed for posterity on our Un-Australian webpage.

These scenes will be reduced down to the montage, depending on what works.

Of course, the project has now taken on a life of its own (even if the Producer meets with sudden demise – his Trustee will take over). Like a meme it is propagating by itself – word of mouth advertising.

It will look much nicer for some Australian reputations if they offer to help before having to be formally tapped – if they just hear about, Google it, see that it’s fair dinkum, and offer to help in any way they can.

Wouldn’t it be just typical (re Australian Film Industry History / Fiasco and the loss of the early edge we had – we made “the world’s first full-length feature, The Story of the Kelly Gang, ‘1906 and what is arguably the world’s first screenplay, The Australian Cinematograph, was written by Henry Lawson”, c.’1899 – p.57 Shooting Through – Australian Film and the Brain Drain, by Storry Walton, Platform Papers, July ‘2005) if the first help comes from an overseas entrepreneur (Indian, Egyptian, Arabian, Japanese, American…) who hears about Billjim and goes, “Hell this storyline is International, Epic – along with the potential for lots of merchandising and spin-offs, it’s gonna be bigger than Batman and the Titanic put together!”

Anyway for now, the Australian the Producer formally taps next will depend on a number of factors.
For instance, at some point have the tap on a ‘Famous Australian Actress’; or the tap on the beleaguered Opposition Leader, Malcom Turnbull [because on 19×08, our Producer after dropping off his 5 yo daughter at school, walks past a newsagent poster, with Rudd at 71% approval rating – Turnbull has not made a dent]; [others to come include: Prime Minister Rudd, new NSW Premier Nathan Rees – his government is “finished” read another headline – all these guys because the world is careering towards a long-term Recession and the public is looking for fair dinkum leaders who can think outside the box – vision – introducing original projects that are Recession Proof – Billjim is something the whole country can share in, with multi-benefits, lasting value, release year will be 50th Anniversary of LOA – ‘2012 – 3 to 4 years of development and production – jobs, Tourism – a leg up on the Baz Luhrmann Australia Campaign…]; [another tap might be on an executive of a local Film School, NIDA even – their students to be used to shoot ‘pre-production’ Trailers to help drum up support]; …

At some point, the Producer will tap a Famous Australian Actress in a desperate attempt to get the movie to 1st base.
He knows if he can just land that first one, it will be a heck of a lot easier to find the next supporter, like a domino effect.

EXT. SYDNEY STREET – DAY ‘2008
BILLJIM PRODUCER
Ms Davis can I take just 60 seconds of your time? I know you must get this line all the time.
JUDY DAVIS
You’re right, and I’m really in a hurry.
PRODUCER
It’s a chance to get back at David Lean. You know he was a misogynist. He gave you a rough time in ‘A Passage to India’. But you stood up to him. He didn’t have any female part in Lawrence of Arabia, which left out the Australian Light Horse, completely. They beat Lawrence to Damascus, they kicked the Turks out of the Middle East. The Lawrence myth was created an American journalist…
DAVIS
OK. You’ve got 30 seconds left to make your pitch.
PRODUCER
Jungian Synchronicity. This year is the Centenary of Lean’s birth. The 50th anniversary of the movie is coming up. Karma – what goes around, comes around. History is full of dead white males. We make a movie exposing the myth: “Australians of Arabia”. I need to make my first connection with someone in the business, to get to first base. You know everybody. And we need a strong female lead, but there are no female characters in the historical accounts. So you just play yourself. Have you seen “Being John Malcovich” written by Charlie Kaufman – a movie with a movie? We flash back and forwards, a hundred years ago, and the present – the beleagured producer talks accomplished Australian actress, that was one the few female actors, post Lawrence, to be in a Lean picture – into helping to get the Movie made.
DAVIS
I play myself in a movie within a movie about exposing David Lean’s… Even if I wanted to hear more, everbody has a great idea for a movie, but they can’t get the money to make it.
PRODUCER
I know that, I read Bruce Beresford’s “Josh Harnett definitely wants to do this”. A National Lottery! Instead of trying to get 60% tax breaks like Baz Luhrmann got – $160 million still flops. Plus the taxpayer funded $40 million Tourism Campaign which is also a dog. Why keep wasting taxpayer money that way? Remember the Opera House Lottery when we were kids? We talk Prime Minister Kevin Rudd or even Premier Nathan Rees into setting up the “Australians of Arabia Lottery” The people fund it. A national mission, every fair dinkum Australian can be part of it. The government supports savvy thinking outside the box at a time when the world is facing a long-term Recession. Our Billjim Movie is Recession Proof, it will create jobs, more bang for the buck after the Baz’s Australia Tourism Campaign disaster. We do what Joel and Ethan Coen did with their first movie, ‘Blood Simple’ – we shoot a pre-production Trailer to drum up support. A simple scene, the one in Prime Minister Rudd’s office, we use a Film School to shoot it, NIDA actors even, you started there. Heck, more synchronicity, you were even in the Coen Brothers ‘Barton Fink’ movie after they became successful. At the same time we promote Australian Filmmaking. It will be a role model for our children… “We don’t want to grow up watching American DVDs, we want to produce them!” Everything is on the Net. Just Google it.
DAVIS
A Natianal Lottery to fund Australian films like they do in the UK… I wonder why we are not already doing that?
CUT TO:
More intercutting the parallel lives of Lawrence and [Olden??]. Lawrence the latent homosexual. [Olden??] the macho Australian and later family man.
Outbreak of the War. Recruitment.
‘1915: Arriving in Egypt – diverted to Gallipoli fiasco – Keith Murdoch gets our boys out with his famous letter to the PM – frantically running around in London to get something done.

[II – Scene Index]
Impresario Percy Burton brought his show to England in August ‘1919 – until then the public there had never heard of Lawrence.

Lowell Thomas – Lawrence Myth-Maker

*”It is the most astonishing cavalry achievement in the whole history of war, ancient or modern.”
Thomas’ fairy tale story about Lawrence fascinated the public and forced a title change for later shows, adding “…And Lawrence in Arabia”
Before the British public latches onto Lawrence, Lowell Thomas was promoting the Light Horse, his poster states at the very bottom: “It is the most astonishing cavalry achievement in the whole history of war, ancient or modern”
So even for Lowell Thomas, Lawrence was a secondary character to the Billjim.

ALH Beersheba Charge

But, when Lowell Thomas comes along the British public are desperate for a hero.

Myth perpetuated through the years.
Richard Aldington’s exposé inadvertently renews interest in Lawrence.
(Terrence Rattigan’s play “Ross”, film version quashed by Spiegel…)
Leading to David Lean film.
Lean casting tall Peter O’Toole for short Lawrence.
Script leaves out Australians.

History is rewritten by Hollywood. The achievements of the Billjim are totally displaced – they even get shafted by their own country.
Lawrence blows up a few railway tracks which are quickly repaired. But he’s not the only one. The Camel Corps also ride Camels (including the Uncle of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, mother of Rupert) other special forces blow up the railway too. Clearly, take out Lawrence, no change to the result.
Main battle scenes emphasize indispensable unique skills of the ALH – nobody else could have done what they did in such a short time.

In clear and present danger our Billjim Producer continues to hawk around the script and try to get interest in the Movie.

[III – Scene Index]

Double Climaxes
1. Just when it looks like the end for our besieged producer, a White Night (a powerful, rich influential benefactor) comes to his rescue, forcing a complete turnaround by mainstream media, as if they were always onside, the Movie is going to get made.

2. Suspense of the race to Damascus – which Lawrence is supposed to have won – triumphantly entering one of civilization’s oldest cities on a camel. But the truth is, he was upstaged by the uncouth Australians – Major Arthur Olden and the 10th ALH brigade. Lawrence arrives in a Rolls Royce!

Above map is from Official War Records shows the ALH (Australian Light Horse) all over Damascus on the eve of their liberation of the city on October 1, 1918. (Note: 4th and 5th Cav. Divisions were made up mostly of Indians, who were rather green, having arrived only in the last couple of months of the campaign.)

30 September 1918 – The Final Assault in pushing the Turks out of the Middle East… Major Arthur Olden of the 10th Australian Light Horse takes the surrender at Damascus Town Hall the following morning at 6 o’clock…

Australians beat Lawrence to Damascus

‘Killer’ Last Scene :
Dénouement – now one of the most powerful scenes in our movie, the Billjim is sitting there, knows what he has been ordered to do by some General, some clerk back at HQ, who’s never been near a horse – to kill the, now dispensable, half of the partnership that got the powers that be the spoils. The ultimate double-cross and the beginning of the shafting, “And thanks for delivering Middle East land and oil guys, and by the way, nobody’s even gonna know you were even here, all the credit is going to a lone Pommy poseur, you will be written out of history!”. Thousands of ‘mates’, they’re not just dumb animals without… are about to be… and they know… the blood, the horror…

EXT. ALEXANDRIA – DAY (Late 1918)
Soon to board troop ships home, but there just one last hitch. Bill sitting in camp – the thousand yard stare. Puts down his tin mug. He gets up, flicks his smoke, picks up his rifle and heads over to Waler…
BILLJIM
Well ol’ fella we’d thought we made it… But it seems after all you’ve done… we wouldn’t have made it all the way to Damascus without ya… Some “errand boy sent by grocery clerks” says it’s too much trouble, too much money to take ya home. They wouldn’t even be sitting in their fancy Cairo office, cocktails at 5 o’clock… if it wasn’t for us, it would’ve been taken over by the Turks… Good bye old mate.
WALER
(Waler’s POV staring into
tearing eyes of Bill,
he knows…)

(DISSOLVE TO montage flashback of Bill and Wally together all these years, all they’ve been through…
BANG a shot rings out…)
Not a dry eye left in the house.

FADE OUT

THE END


Postscript:
Really, for those films that go to the very heart of what it means to be fair dinkum, like Billjim, it could even be an “Open Source Script” – where anyone can contribute (à la Wikipedia), particularly if they have a Billjim in the family history. That would work hand in hand with the National Lottery Funding proposal.
Pete

Exploits of the Billjim – 1916 to 1918
Spec Script
v2.1, 4iii10

Billjim
Producers – Tara & Peter Hogan
PO Box 1
Potts Point
NSW 2011
(Sydney Australia)


The Billjim Song
(3m28s, 14.3 Mb, 16iii)
Share: http://youtu.be/tphh9BKGXXc

The BILLJIM Song at SoundCloud Audio
(Music only for download to your mobile/ringtone)

play-the-billjim-songGet them to play The BILLJIM Songat the Cricket T20

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: