FUNNY WOMEN #134: We Want to Make Your Feminist Action Thriller into a Blockbuster Hit!
Dear Ms. Murphy,
We here at Hollywood loved your innovative feminist screenplay and believe you may truly be the voice of a generation or wave. You are honest and unflinching in your vision and perspective, which we really value, but it wouldn’t be Hollywood if we didn’t fine-tune a little (LOL!).
First of all, we love, love, love the protagonist, Tiffany. We love the idea of giving our hero—we mean heroine; how abnormal to type that—a hyper-feminine name and applying it to someone who is not typically feminine—in that she doesn’t whine or pander or put effort into her appearance at all—thus thwarting our expectations of femininity in general. We thought, however, that maybe we could change her name to Christina or Danielle or even Samantha and have her go by Chris, Danny, or Sam. We think it may be cool to take unisex—but still traditionally masculine—names to prove that chicks can be as badass as dudes, you know? We think it might be more confusing for the audience if our hero is a girl named Tiffany. I mean, no Tiffany I know would chew off her own arm, break off a piece of her forearm, and use the splintered bone as a weapon to escape a hostage situation to save the world from terrorists. They’re getting mani-pedis! You’re a smart broad, so you see what I’m saying.
We think it is fantastic that you have an action-centric narrative with a dynamic female lead without relying on cheap romantic subplots to get the audience invested in her story. She’s already likeable without asserting this through her likeability to men. In fact, you do a great job of insuring every male character is secondary and used only as devices to push the apocalyptic narrative forward. We think that’s incredible, but, hear us out: what if Guy #1 (the one who says, “I may have physical strength, but without emotional intelligence, how can I save this planet? This is clearly no man‘s job!”) became a love interest, and, in the final battle between good and evil, when our lead is impaled by the Empire State Building but continues to fight through the pain, she is saved, not by her mother, as it is currently written, but by Guy #1 right in the nick of time! It will be especially effective if she has been ignoring all of his advances up until this moment, because, as strong and brave as she appears to be, she is actually a coward, rejecting love, because, we will come to know, of a previous relationship that left her emotionally wounded and unable to accept love into her life out of fear.
Which leads us to our next minor adjustment: the backstory as is (watching her sisters burn to death in front of her while she is tied up and tortured by an escaped mental patient, being separated from her mother, and the twenty-six years she spends in a desert with no resources but a rag and shoe which she fashions into a bow and arrow to fight off the zombie-like creatures—a.k.a. the allegory for society’s deterioration—as she tries to track down the only family she has left, yada yada yada) is good, but the wronged-from-previous-relationship concept may just be more relatable, especially for our lady viewers who make up most of the audience. You know how fixated women are on love and heartbreak. They can’t get enough of watching strong, intelligent women get beaten (physically or symbolically, whichever) by ugly straight white men with low self-esteem, and then slowly overcome it by meeting and succumbing to a better looking “reformed” straight white man with really high self-esteem. Women, am I right? Asking rhetorically, of course, as no women are employed in our executive office.
Lastly, the three ghosts of her sisters are all fascinating characters with some of the best-written dialogue we’ve seen in years, and it is a chilling illustration of one woman’s grief by making these illusions her only true companions. We wanted to tweak that just a teensy bit by getting rid of them completely and adding a really quirky, unlucky-in-love best friend whose only goal in life seems to be helping the protagonist succeed in her romantic relationships—to be played by one of those actresses whose names you always forget and isn’t ugly, but definitely isn’t pretty by traditional standards (which, I guess, are the standards we, Hollywood, created! Circle of life, huh? ROTFLOL).
Anyway, those are our big notes. I’ll be sending over my best guys (Chuck, Tripp, Alistair, West, and Phineas) to go over the more minor details (simple “add a cat fight here,” “put in a period joke—or otherwise humiliate the protagonist—there”) and help you really punch up this promising screenplay. And don’t worry—these guys are experts at feminist action movies, so you’re in good hands, which is not to be misconstrued by you as sexual harassment. I can’t wait to make Babes at Hell’s Gate into a reality (we played around with the title a bit, but we think this one really elevates what your story is trying to do way more effectively). I think we’ve really got a hit here! Looking forward to your thoughtful revision, sweetheart—
Rumpus original art by Annie Daly. Purchase Annie’s art here.
Please submit your own funny writing to our Rumpus submission manager powered by Submittable. See first: our Funny Women Submission Guidelines.
To read other Funny Women pieces and interviews, see the archives.