Saturday, October 22, 2011

Movie Idea: Speak-easy, Kill Softly

The setting is Prohibition era NYC with the roaring '20s raging away and alcohol flowing in the countless speak-easies of NYC. The film opens with a young, female reporter starting out at a new magazine and being shuffled around to their social circle coverage. The first scene is of her getting the lowdown of the lame social 'about town' events and happenings she is suppose to cover. She leaves one dinner party of hoity toity people, and goes with a handsome young man to a speak easy. She gets terribly drunk and loses her notes from the hoity toity party. We then get a shot of what looks like a man making love to a woman in an alley, but really he's strangling her. She decides to write up about the night at the speak-easy and its underworld. Her editor gives her a ripping for not covering the dinner party, but loves the speak-easy column. He has her write under a fake name, and gives her total freedom with covering speak easies. We see the cops working the crime scene and are introduced to the lead detective. Lead detective is an honest cop in a city of bought policemen. He doesn't understand how a strangled woman who reeks of alcohol is in that alley. Other cops look at one another and laugh softly. They know the speak-easy is nearby.

We then would get a series of scenes of the young columnist going to different speak-easies and meeting random folks. She befriends/bangs one guy, and they go to speak-easies together. Maybe a montage with jazz playing over it, which has shots of a jazz band with a black saxophone player she befriends. He's a bit fey, and loves beign able to play for more money with his band in white clubs. The murders keep happening near the speak-easies. Victims are all females, some white, some black. The lead female figures it out, but she can't tell the cops about the speak-easy connection because then they'd shut down the beloved speak-easy night scene. She and romantic partner start detective work, while the young detective keeps up at his game. The next time they are at a speak-easy, there is a 'near miss', and they get to the crime scene too late and have to run away themselves. The female lead and her partner figure it out that it has to be someone mobile, someone who will go to all of the different clubs, and someone who could have an alibi built in. It has to be a jazz band member. They think it's their new friend. The detective figures out at a murder through a weird 'hole in the door' scene that there are speak-easies near all of these crime scenes. While off duty, he decides to go undercover into the speak-easies.

The couple figure it out through their contacts at the speak-easies that one jazz band happens to have played at each bar where a murder happened. They will go to their new friend's band's next performance. The detective asks the illegal bartender about patrons, but he avoids answering. The detective notices a band poster from the night before, and decides to go to their next performance at another bar. Scene at the bar is a jazz joint in Harlem (Hollywood will require that setting). Work in a great dancing scene for the show as the young journalist eyes the detective. Jazz band says they are going to slow it down as some members take 5. Journalist approaches detective to dance. They slowdance and have small, witty 1920s talk while they both eye the band members who are off duty. Never telling one another, they notice that a few are taking five, but they can't account for two of them. One is her saxophone playing friend. The duo stops dancing and excuses themselves. Detective goes out the door. Journalist grabs her man and says she knows which one it is (the sax player). Couple runs through a slightly opened door to find a freshly killed woman. Journalist reaches down to check her and the man is hit from behind, knocking him cold. Journalist screams. Cop hears the scream and thinks it is the murder in progress. He enters from another side of the same building. He sees tall bassist clutching journalist from the back with an arm around her throat and his hand going for her skirt. He turns her to face him and she sees the cop over the bassist's shoulder. She keeps up the act, repeatedly saying "please don't kill/rape me". Detective yells at bassist, he turns, cop shoots bassist (didn't want to shoot him in the back). Cop orders journalist to call for ambulance & police from speak-easy. The docs can save the bassist, the journalist's love interest is OK but have a concussion headache, the sax players turns a witness as he knew bassist was violent and had a 'dark' past and the detective closes the case.

Female Lead - Hilary Swank - Is she too old to play young women now? Maybe Leighton Meester can play the young socialite who plays amateur detective. Kat Dennings?
Romantic Partner - someone good looking and fun. Is Chris Evans available or maybe someone more foppish looking?
Detective - Ed Norton - Could we lure him out of his weird semi-retirement to play this role.
Jazz Band Friend - Anthony Mackie or whichever black young male that Hollywood will cast. I have to say young because Hollywood would probably be idiots and cast 70 yr old morgan freeman as the character.

This film's journalist is based on Lois Long of the New Yorker.

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