Overview

Who will come to the aid of beleaguered King Hrothgar, whose warriors have become the prey of the vengeful outcast monster Grendel?

In the able hands of #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman (Anansi Boys, American Gods) and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Roger Avary (Pulp Fiction, Silent Hill), a timeless classic adventure takes on a astonishing new life. Here are the initial draft and final shooting script of the star-studded blockbuster film from Paramount ...

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Beowulf: The Script Book

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Overview

Who will come to the aid of beleaguered King Hrothgar, whose warriors have become the prey of the vengeful outcast monster Grendel?

In the able hands of #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman (Anansi Boys, American Gods) and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Roger Avary (Pulp Fiction, Silent Hill), a timeless classic adventure takes on a astonishing new life. Here are the initial draft and final shooting script of the star-studded blockbuster film from Paramount Pictures and Academy Award-winning director Robert Zemeckis (Forest Gump, Back to the Future), plus concept art, fascinating insights in the screenplay's evolution, an introduction by Avary, an afterword from Gaiman…AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061977589
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/6/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 903,292
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Neil Gaiman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books for readers of all ages, and the recipient of numerous literary awards, including the Shirley Jackson Award and the Locus Award for Best Novelette for his story "The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains." Originally from England, he now lives in America.

Roger Avary is the writer-director of the neo-noir crime thriller Killing Zoe and the filmed adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel The Rules of Attraction. He received an Academy Award® for his work as a writer with Quentin Tarantino on Pulp Fiction. Originally from the United States, he now lives in England.

Biography

Neil Gaiman thought he wrote comic books. But a newspaper editor, of course, set him straight.

Back when he was riding the diabolical headwinds of his popular series of graphic novels, The Sandman, the author attended a party where he introduced himself as a comic-book writer to a newspaper's literary editor. But when the editor quickly realized who this actually was -- and the glaze melted from his eyes -- he offered Gaiman a correction tinged with astonishment: "My God, man, you don't write comics, you write graphic novels." Relating the story to theLos Angeles Times in 1995, Gaiman said, "I suddenly felt like someone who had been informed that she wasn't a hooker, that in fact she was a lady of the evening."

Gaiman's done much more, of course, than simply write graphic novels, having coauthored, with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens, a comic novel about the Apocalypse; adapted into hardcover the BBC miniseries Neverwhere about the dark underworld beneath the streets of London; and, inspired by his young daughter, put a horrifying spin on C.S. Lewis' wardrobe doors for Coraline, a children's book about a passageway into a magical, yet malevolent, land.

But it is The Sandman that is Gaiman's magnum opus.

Though he had told a career counselor in high school that he wanted to pen comic books, he had a career as a freelance journalist before his first graphic novel, Violent Cases, was published in England in 1987. DC Comics discovered him and The Sandman was born. Or reborn, actually. The comic debuted back in 1939 with a regular-Joe crime fighter in the lead. But in Gaiman's hands the tale had a more otherworldly spin, slowing introducing readers to the seven siblings Endless: Dream, Death, Desire, Destiny, Destruction, Despair and Delirium (once Delight). They all have their roles in shaping the fates of man. In fact, when Death was imprisoned for decades, the results were devastating. Richard Nixon reached The White House and Michael Jackson the Billboard charts.

Direction from newspaper editors notwithstanding, to Gaiman, these stories are still comic books. The man who shuttled back and forth between comics and classics in his formative years and can pepper his writing with references to Norse mythology as well as the vaudevillian rock group Queen, never cottoned to such highbrow/lowbrow distinctions. Comparing notes on a yachting excursion with members of the Irish rock band U2, the writer who looks like a rock star and Delirium and the rock stars who gave themselves comic-worthy names such as Bono and The Edge came to a realization: Whether the medium is pop music or comic books, not being taken seriously can be a plus. "It's safer to be in the gutter," he told The Washington Post in 1995.

In 1995, Gaiman brought The Sandman to a close and began spending more time on his nongraphic fiction, including a couple of short-story collections. A few years later he released Stardust, an adult fairy tale that has young Tristan Thorn searching for a fallen star to woo the lovely but cold Victoria Forester. In 2001, he placed an ex-con named Shadow in the middle of a war between the ancient and modern dieties in American Gods. Coming in October 2002 is another departure: an audio recording of Two Plays for Voices, which stars Bebe Neuwirth as a wise queen doing battle with a bloodthirsty child and Brian Dennehy as the Angel of Vengeance investigating the first crime in history in heaven's City of Angels.

Gaiman need not worry about defining his artistic relevance, since so many other seem to do it for him. Stephen King, Roger Zelazny and Harlan Ellison are among those who have contributed introductions to his works. William Gibson, the man who coined the term "cyberspace," called him a "a writer of rare perception and endless imagination" as well as "an American treasure." (Even though he's, technically, a British treasure transplanted to the American Midwest.) Even Norman Mailer has weighed in: "Along with all else, Sandman is a comic strip for intellectuals, and I say it's about time."

The gushiest praise, however, may come from Frank McConnell, who barely contained himself in the pages of the political and artistic journal Commonweal. Saying Gaiman "may just be the most gifted and important storyteller in English," McConnell crowned Sandman as the most important act of fiction of the day. "And that, not just because of the brilliance and intricacy of its storytelling -- and I know few stories, outside the best of Joyce, Faulkner, and Pynchon, that are more intricate," he wrote in October 1995, " but also because it tells its wonderful and humanizing tale in a medium, comic books, still largely considered demimonde by the tenured zombies of the academic establishment."

"If Sandman is a 'comic,'" he concluded, "then The Magic Flute is a 'musical' and A Midsummer Night's Dream is a skit. Read the damn thing: it's important."

Good To Know

Some fascinating factoids from our interview with Gaiman:

"One of the most enjoyable bits of writing Sandman was getting authors whose work I love to write the introductions for the collected graphic novels -- people like Steve Erickson, Gene Wolfe, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, Mikal Gilmore, and Samuel R. Delany."

"I have a big old Addams Family house, with -- in the summertime -- a vegetable garden, and I love growing exotic pumpkins. As a boy in England I used to dream about Ray Bradbury Hallowe'ens, and am thrilled that I get them these days. Unless I'm on the road signing people's books, of course."

"According to my daughters, my most irritating habit is asking for cups of tea."

"I love radio -- and love the availability of things like the Jack Benny radio shows in MP3 format. I'm addicted to BBC radio 7, and keep buying boxed CD sets of old UK radio programs, things like Round the Horne and Hancock's Half Hour. Every now and again I'll write a radio play."

"I love thunderstorms, old houses, and dreams."

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    1. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 10, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portchester, England
    1. Education:
      Attended Ardingly College Junior School, 1970-74, and Whitgift School, 1974-77
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Beowulf

The Script Book
By Neil Gaiman

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Neil Gaiman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061350160

Chapter One

Northern Denmark
518 A.D.
The Age of Heroes

Fade in:

1 Ext. Herot—Day

Extreme close up on: The face of King Hrothgar. He is a man past the prime of his years, but still a mighty warrior, and a charismatic leader of men. As he bombastically talks, with full volume, to a large audience, we slowly pull back.

Hrothgar
A year ago I, Hrothgar, your King, swore that we would celebrate our victories in a new hall, a mighty hall and beautiful. Craftsmen from all over the land of the Danes, and from all the civilized world have worked on this hall to make it the finest mead-hall on the face of the earth.

Pull back to reveal that Hrothgar is atop his horse in front of a huge mead hall, which is called Herot, and that around him are a huge band of Danes—closest to him are Warriors, and advisors, including Esher, an elderly man, and Unferth (with long black hair streaming out from his winged helm and intense black eyes).

Further away are the merchants and the women and children and dogs. Everyone is Filthy. For that matter everyone in the film is filthy.

The queen, Wealthow (who is lessfilthy than everyone else), stands a little behind the King, with a couple of her ladies. Wealthow is over thirty years younger than Hrothgar, his second wife, and is radiantly beautiful. Her chief lady is Yrsa, a girl with intense blue eyes and contrasting black hair to the queen's blond locks.

The King is happy, shouting loudly enough to be heard by the furthest dog.

Hrothgar (cont'd)
(continuing)
In this hall I shall have my throne. In this hall we shall feast and tell of victories. In this hall shall the scops sing their sagas. And in this hall we shall divide the spoils of victory, the gold and treasure. This shall be a place of merrymaking and joy from now until the end of time.

1. Continued:

Hrothgar holds out a huge bejewelled cup to a page, who pours mead into it from a jug. Hrothgar holds up the cup.

Hrothgar
I name this hall...

He takes a huge swig of Mead. His eyes are bright. Then he pours the rest of the mead on the doorway.

Hrothgar
(continuing)
...Herot!

And the crowd cheers.

Cut to:

2 Int. Herot—Mead Hall—Night

Everything is golden and burnished. The crowd are noisy and cheering and happy. We see golden mead being poured from jugs into goblets. One warrior sticks out his helmet, mead is poured into it and soon he is drinking from it. A brace of golden roasted geese are brought out on wooden serving platters. The fire is burning golden-orange in the fireplace. It's noisy and riotous.

Hrothgar is sitting at a huge throne, and beside him is a pile of golden treasure—wristbands, rings, neck-rings, helmets and the like.

Cut to:

3 Ext. Herot—The Moors—Night

We are a short distance away from Herot. All is blue-grey and still. Mists hang low on the moor. Smoke and Muffled Jubilation come from the Hall. A door opens and a man stumbles out to piss.

Cut to:

4 Int. Herot—Mead Hall—Night

Noise once more assaults our senses. Hrothgar is laughing loudly at some dirty joke. He picks up his queen, Wealthow, and kisses her long on the mouth, while she beats at his chest with her fists, demanding to be put down. His warrior Thanes cheer him on.



Continues...

Excerpted from Beowulf by Neil Gaiman Copyright © 2007 by Neil Gaiman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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