Saturday, July 10, 2010

Movie Idea: Oedipus Rex in the Wild West

The wild west genre is pretty well developed and has amazing classics that new films rarely match. I mean the post-Civil War era of the American West. When you close your eyes, this is the Wild West you see. The older western films had their hokey bits with John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart wearing white hats and sometimes eye patches. I love those films, just as much as the Clint Eastwood westerns like High Plains Drifter and his man with no name films. For modern westerns, Eastwood's Unforgiven is amazing, 3:10 to Yuma and Tombstone are great, and of course There will be Blood is an unconventional western but outstanding. Here's my pitch for a Western.

Late fall in the West. Young man (Ed) on horseback, ranch hand look with rifles, stumbles upon some dead mining company couriers. There are dead bandits as well. He sees bags of silver. He hears more horses coming. Takes position behind stagecoach. Men see his horse, ID themselves as lawmen, but a 3rd man with them looks like one of the dead bandits. Ed asks them to show ID. They don't and 3rd man starts shooting. Ed takes them all out through sharp shooting and defensive positioning (displays physical/shooting skills). He grabs the silver, checks the men, and sure enough 2 are lawmen. He leaves.

Fast forward to the heat of summer. Frontier town shown with a quick draw asshat running roughshod over the small town. Cliche scenes of him winning at cards, threatening folks, being a drunk shithead. Ed shows up in town, cleaned up, new rifles, new clothes, better looking horse. He sits down for game of cards, has some drinks, calls asshat a cheat, explaining how their is no way asshat has 4 aces in his hand (displays mental/observation skills). Asshat challenges him to a quickdraw. Ed takes him up on it and shoots him dead. Town thanks him and gives him the royal treatment. He inquires whom he has to see about the duel and defend himself to the law. They explain the sherriff and deputy left without a trace last year, and it being a small town, no one stepped forward and federal authroity is weak in this time. Hears from Madam that the sherriff and deputy were a bit dirty themselves. While in the saloon with plenty of hookers around him, Ed takes up the open position of sherriff. Town is happy!

Fast forward decade and you have sherriff Ed, now with family, hear news of dead bodies found miles away with stars on them. Town is growing and a bit tougher to handle so he has his deputies on alert and takes one with him to check the dead. He gets to the site and it is the site of our first scene. This is his shoot out that set him up. He's nervous to not give himself away. Intercut his observations of the scene with his memories. There is a body missing. The 3rd man he shot is missing. He must have lived. The deputy checks the bodies, clothes and finds hankerchiefs. Takes them back. In town, old timers get with sherriff Ed and talk. They hear his story, which he paints as a robbery of a stagecoach gone bad. Old timers see the hankerchief and say it was old Sherriff So & So. Lead Old Timer explains he must have tried to set up a robbery, knowing the coach was going through, and take a cut. He was dirty like that. Weird how all are dead but no money was found. Group breaks and sherriff's wife comes in, sees hankerchief and stops.

Back at sherriff's home his wife acts strange. Sherriff & wife see kids to bed. With all asleep, sherriff and wife discuss her awkwardness after seeing him at the station. Old madam knocks on door and comes in. The women talk, Ed wants answers. Wife tells him how she knew the sherriff. She's been lying about her age to Ed for years. She had been a young prostitute in town (teen). Sherriff got her pregnant, madam leaned on sherriff and he paid to have her sent away to have the kid and later set up in town to keep her quiet. Her youth would have ruined him even if it was small town scandal and he was a bit shady. She had named the boy Ed for her father, Eduardo, and he was given to a family of ranchers. Ed starts to put pieces together but doesn't purely leap to the conclusion of his wife being his mom. The film will never be clear cut about it.

Sherriff Ed sets up a burial for the old Sherriff and deputy. Old timers give quick speeches of his justly and good behavior in older, tougher times, and how the newer era is of vigilance, moving forward, Bible etc. Sherriff Ed gets up to speak and when he starts, he is interrupted by an old Mexican who works with the church. He accuses Sherrif Ed of murdering these two. There is shock and the memorial ends abruptly. Old timers, Ed, deputy, old Mexican bandit, reverend and wife get together to discuss the accusations. Old Mexican tells his tale. He was shot but not dead. Made way back to a town, confessed his evil deeds to reverend and sought sanctuary. Reverend vouches for his story and old bandit's remorse. Sherrif Ed comes clean. Admits to what happened. Wife cries (but for which man?). Old timers ask about the money, and he says it made him who he was. Old timers, reverend and Sherriff all agree he should leave town with his family. Reverend takes his confession and donation for some silence and help in explaining away his departure. Deputy will take over. Sherriff embraces wife but she is colder to him. Movies ends with Ed wagon leaving town with a dejected wife and kids. He stops at town bank (I can work in a Wells Fargo product placement since they existed out west then). He still has his old silver. Movie ends with wagon heading out.

Yes, I just set Oedipus Rex in the Wild West. I also leave it open for a sequel with more Ed adventure and origin discovery. Solve the mystery of him being his wife's child or not.

Potential Cast

Ed - Chris Pine or Ian Somerhalder - Finding young actors who are decent is difficult. Need a guy who can play down in age yet can age him with some makeup. Plus this photo helped for Ian. One Ian rule: no smirking. One Chris rule: No hanging from ledges.
Wife - Sofia Vergara - Can she play 13 years older than Ed but still look good enough that she could lie about her age and trick Ed? Yes. Is she fine? Yes. Perfect for the former teenage hooker who gets a 2nd chance and cleans up later. This Western needs that Spanish influence that really was in the West, and she's good for it.
Old Sherriff - Tom Selleck with blue contacts. I need the dark hair square face blue eyed look of Ian Somerhalder to hint at Ed's paternity. Selleck is born for macho roles, plus he can play a bit dirty here instead of the good guy role he usualy plays. Must have mustache.
Lead Old Timer - Sam Elliott - Born to player Westerns. Must have mustache. One tough hombre. Weathered look is good for the role. Needs to play that link to an even wilder era of the West.
Madam - Raquel Welch - She can play that tough, firm woman role. Need a woman who could play middle age in the flashbacks of the Wife as a teen, but be credible as an older woman. Bingo. She's 65+ in that photo.
Reverend - Tom Skerritt - Need another mustache man for this movie.

Just needs a title.

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