Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Myth Adventures, the Movie


Myth Adventures are comedic fantasy novels created by Robert Asprin.  They're clever, funny, and were extremely popular for several decades.  The fact that nobody has made a film out of them continues to blow my mind.

Here's the premise: Skeeve is an amateur magician apprenticed to a powerless demon.  They set out to save the world (and make a quick buck) along with a beautiful, green-haired, troll assassin; a handsome but painfully ignorant demon hunter; and Skeeve's immature pet dragon.  Along the way, they visit bizarre, bazaar worlds; swindle Imps and Deveeels; get executed; and confront serious evil (or, at least, total nuttiness).

How can Hollywood resist?

There's already been dozens of books and comic books, and games.  However, the part of the original book that grabs me the most comes in the first chapter and tends to get left out of the adaptations: Skeeve learning magik.  My hope is that, when someone inevitably makes a movie or tv show, they keep it in.

Just to show how it could be done, I've written it up in screenplay format.

               EXT. SMALL CLEARING - NIGHT

               The woods surround a ROUGH HUT with a single window.  Inside,
               lit by a few candles on tall candlesticks, SKEEVE the
               apprentice (a scrawny, eager-faced boy) is waving his arms
               about frantically.



               INT. ROUGH HUT - DAY

               SKEEVE is still waving his arms, while being watched by
               GARKIN (a tall man with a salt and pepper beard and rich
               clothes), who is eating the leg of a roast animal, a cross
               between a turkey and a lizard.

               Skeeve directs his motions at a single, white feather, which
               floats through the air following his gestures.  The effort of
               moving the feather is taking quite a toll on him; he's
               sweating and red-faced.

               He brings the feather to rest on the pages of an ancient book
               sitting on a table.  With a sigh of relief, he claps his
               hands together and the book snaps shut on the feather like a
               crocodile.

               Skeeve turns to Garkin, hoping for approval.

                                   GARKIN
                         A trifle showy, but effective. 
                         That's the first time you've
                         managed to get the feather into the
                         book.

                                   SKEEVE
                         I've been practicing.

                                   GARKIN
                             (raising an eyebrow)
                         Have you?

               He stands and extends the animal leg.  Skeeve reaches out to
               take it, but Garkin puts the leg down with the rest of the
               roast.

               He walks past Skeeve and picks up one of the candles.  He
               blows it out and places it in front of Skeeve.

                                   GARKIN (CONT'D)
                         Let's see you light the candle,
                         then.

               Skeeve sighs sadly.

                                   SKEEVE
                         Garkin, it occurs to me I could
                         concentrate better on a full
                         stomach.

                                   GARKIN
                         Skeeve, it occurs to me you're
                         stalling.

               Skeeve stares forlornly at the unlit candle.  Garkin paces
               around him and the candle in a circle.

                                   SKEEVE
                         It's just that I've never been able
                         to-

                                   GARKIN
                         Negative thought.  Stop it.

               Skeeve takes a deep breath and concentrates.

                                   SKEEVE
                         I will light the candle this time. 
                         I will light it because there is no
                         reason I shouldn't.

               A sepia-toned image appears of a strong man proudly pushing a
               plow.

                                   SKEEVE (CONT'D)
                         My father has a farmer's bond with 
                         the earth.  Like him, I tap the 
 strength of the earth.
               The image turns to a beautiful woman reading a book.

                                   SKEEVE (CONT'D)
                         My mother was an educated woman. 
                         The knowledge she gave me is like a
                         lens, letting me focus.

               Now Garkin appears, taller and more handsome than the real
               one.

                                   SKEEVE (CONT'D)
                         My teacher is a master magician. 
                         His wisdom directs my efforts. I will 
                         light this candle.
               The candle remains unlit.  Skeeve is sweating, clenched.

                                   GARKIN
                         Don't tense.  Don't try to force
                         it.  Let the energies pass freely.

               Skeeve takes a deep breath again and relaxes.  He reaches a
               finger out then drops it.

                                   SKEEVE
                         I can't do it.

                                   GARKIN
                         Negative thought.  Stop it.

                                   SKEEVE
                         I will light the candle.  My
                         father-

                                   GARKIN
                             (slapping him on the back
                              of the head)
                         No!  Negative thought.  Don't rely
                         on others for your strength.

                                   SKEEVE
                             (fed up)
                         I will light the candle because I
                         am Skeeve.

               Embers of light appear underneath his skin and crawl randomly
               over him like ants on a hill.  His voice echoes slightly.

                                   SKEEVE (CONT'D)
                         I am Skeeve.  I am stronger than
                         any of them.

               The image of his father reappears, this time in muted colors. 
               Now his father is whipping a Skeeve who is pushing a plow. 
               Skeeve hits him and runs away.

                                   SKEEVE (CONT'D)
                         My father tried to chain me to a
                         plow.

               The image of the mother reappears, now severe, ugly, cold. 
               She's raps Skeeve's knuckles, then clutches at her chest and
               collapses.

                                   SKEEVE (CONT'D)
                         My mother died a heartless monster.

               Garkin appears, talking to Skeeve, who looks past him at a
               golden statue on a table.

                                   SKEEVE (CONT'D)
                         Garkin is a gullible fool who took
                         a thief for an apprentice.  I have
                         beaten them all.

               The images disappear.  Now it's just Skeeve and the candle. 
               Skeeve points at the candle again and the embers of light
               flow down his arm.

                                   SKEEVE (CONT'D)
                         I am Skeeve.  I will light the
                         candle.

               He drops his hand.

                                   SKEEVE (CONT'D)
                         It doesn't even matter if I light
                         this candle.  I am Skeeve.  I am
                         powerful.

               The candle ignites.  Then it flickers and goes out.  Garkin,
               standing behind him, grabs Skeeve's shoulders with
               excitement.

                                   GARKIN
                         Excellent, lad!

               Then all emotion drains from his face.  He punches Skeeve
               hard in the ear, knocking him from his chair.

                                   SKEEVE
                             (clutching his ear)
                         What was that for?

                                   GARKIN
                         I thought so!  You still want to be
                         a thief.  You want to use my magiks
                         to steal!
That only took me a few minutes to write.  I could probably crank out a screenplay in a week or two. Hey, Hollywood!  Call me! 

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