Beowulf: The Script Book

Beowulf: The Script Book

by Neil Gaiman, Roger Avary


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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!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061350160
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/23/2007
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.76(d)

About the Author

Neil Gaiman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Norse Mythology, Neverwhere, and The Graveyard Book. Among his numerous literary awards are the Newbery and Carnegie medals, and the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and Will Eisner awards. 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.


Minneapolis, Minnesota

Date of Birth:

November 10, 1960

Place of Birth:

Portchester, England


Attended Ardingly College Junior School, 1970-74, and Whitgift School, 1974-77

Read an Excerpt


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.

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)
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.

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.


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.


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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Beowulf: The Script Book 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
bibliojim on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
'Beowulf: The Script Book' is a tremendous book for the typical interested reader. The book includes narrative of the movie Beowulf's history from its conception in Roger Avary's high school English class assignment through creation of the original script in 1997 to production of the film released in full 3-Dimensional representation in 2007. There are not one, but two full scripts of the movie. The second is the script for the movie that was made. The first is the original script for the movie that was not made, representing the original vision for the film. Beowulf was not originally envisioned as a digital blockbuster - it was envisioned as a low-budget adventure film. There were very significant changes between the two versions, and it is fascinating to see what it might have been, but is not. It is additionally fascinating to read in the script of the film that was produced the intent of what should be communicated through action. Often enough, we, the movie-goers, do not see what was meant, and the extra text of the script illuminates parts of the movie we did not note or understand when seeing it. The other fascinating narrative is the comments from Roger Avary and Neil Gaiman on their experience in taking the movie from an idea to the film it is. This tale is given no more than twenty pages, but is fully as fascinating as the scripts. Neil Gaiman makes a comment in the Afterward that may draw one into this part of the world of movie-making we do not see. "There are those who believe that the art form of Hollywood is movies. I believe this - except on my cynical days, when I believe that the art form of Hollywood is contracts, and that occasionally a movie gets made as an unavoidable part of the contract-making process." The original tale of Beowulf was created as part of the Scandinavian oral tradition. Incorporated into high school and college literature curricula, it was considered for movies but regularly discarded because of seemingly insurmountable obstacles of storyline and the uncomfortable attachment to classroom lessons. Roger Avary was dedicated to making the film, Neil Gaiman overcame the greatest of the obstacles, and finally under the direction of Robert Zamekis the film became a reality as the first full-length movie ever created entirely in 3-D. As a work of literature, the script is not the equal of either the original tale in its ancient language or the novelistic rendition of the movie as 'Beowulf' by Caitlin Kiernan. But as history and illumination of a movie likely to be held as a landmark in the future, 'Beowulf: The Script Book' is unique and fully as entertaining as the movie or the literary works. On this basis, the reviewer assigns a five-star rating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really bad,dont understand 0 stars