Written By: Norith Soth
To become a great screenwriter, you must… Kill Your Babies!
Think you have what it takes to be a great screenwriter? Do you cry under pressure? Do you take your coffee black? Okay, tough guy, do you kill babies? You know, that amazing scene in your screenplay that serves no purpose, except to demonstrate your incredible insight into humanity?
Shane Black viciously killed toddlers from the beginning. From his very first screenplay. Yes, “Lethal Weapon.” The very script that jettisoned the gold rush of screenwriting and catapulted the buddy genre, one of the industry’s great cash cows.
Shane did not just lop off great scenes to achieve blockbusterism, he removed a beautiful written scene that introduced Martin Riggs (the maniac cop played by Mel Gibson) and explained how he met his dog. WARNING: The action scene you are about to read features homophobia and animal cruelty.
Why was this awesome intro scene to one of cinema’s greatest cop anti-heroes truncated? Because the next scene of Riggs busting the coke dealers was a better intro. You weren’t sure if Gibson was playing a cop or a criminal. It was a perfect way to understand the “unpredictability” of this psycho cop, which was the thematic question of the entire film. The film also belonged to Danny Glover and you couldn’t intro one decent cop then another decent cop. You need that counter-force. One of them has to be on the edge. And they rode that for four sequels. Kill Your Babies, muthafuckas!