When murder gets real- fiction takes over!
A writer of a seedy private-eye t.v. series- plagued by the appearance of his main fictional creation(only he can see/hear him)- becomes the leading suspect in a multiple murder with his fictional character his only alibi.
IAN is a writer of a t.v. series concerning a grubby private-eye MALCOLM. He uses Malcolm’s character as an excuse to return to his old neighbourhood. While there- he finds his first girlfriend-RUTH still living there. So- he observes.
We open with Ian in his old neighbourhood- listening/taping local slang- and observing the entry to an apartment block. He is mistaken for a drug-squad snoop and harassed by two youths. At home, he re-creates the scene, with Malcolm taking over Ian’s role. (As he types into his computer, we slip into ‘it’s’ world, via deep-focus). We see the same incident – except Malcolm, (his fictional creation) gives the youths a hard time and squirts them with mace.
Malcolm appears to Ian one night, demanding changes to his character. Ian assumes Malcolm is a burglar– until his wife- ANNE interrupts and he realises no-one else can see or hear Malcolm. Ian is confused- assumes he’s experiencing the onset of a mental breakdown. Malcolm derides this- threatens to strike – unless changes are made to his character. He also questions Ian’s subliminal writing; vicariously living-off Malcolm’s exploits-having him do things Ian would love to- but hasn’t the nerve to try.
What bothers Ian most- is Malcolm’s timing. Appearing as Ian is about to have sex with Anne -as he is outlining an idea to his producer- and as the police question him about a his involvement in a brutal murder…with Malcolm his only alibi!
Malcolm makes the most of those moments, creating humour and grief for Ian. Moreover, when Malcolm falls in love with another of Ian’s fictional characters- Ian goes haywire- ‘What do you mean,….love? I write the script! I decide these things – okay?’
Creative notes: Originally written for the UK- I’ve transposed the screenplay to suit the US- including alteration of locale/scenes/dialect/dialogue
An Original Screenplay by Alex Hay