Welcome back to Movie Quibble’s archive of rejected movie pitches, written by myself and turned away by every single major and independent studio in Hollywood. Even the co-dependents wanted nothing to do with me, and we all know how much of a mess they are!
The film, a sequel to the 2012 Hitchcockian diamond heist thriller ‘Man On A Ledge’ starring Sam Worthington, was going to be titled ‘Man On A Higher Ledge’.
This edition of Rejected Movie Pitches has been released to the public in special honour of Australia Day 2017.
“Call that a film script? This is a film script!”
Tagline/summary/blurb: A possible suicide jumper (Sam Worthington) who was having a film made about his threatening to leap from a high ledge is upstaged by a man (Hugh Jackman) who steps out onto an even higher ledge.
EXT. DAY – A 15th Floor Hotel Window Ledge
We open on a misty Monday morning in the Big Apple as Australian actor Sam Worthington (Avatar…and… others) teeters precariously on a 15th floor hotel window ledge.
Narration V.O comes in from unseen man with gravelly Australian twang.
Unidentified Man: He’s been out on that darn ledge for some time now, mates. But he’s had his fleeting moment in the sun. Now, I am well aware that it ain’t at all sunny today like it is in Australia right now on this the greatest of all days, Australia day, but it gets the picture across. I’m gonna give that bogan a minute or two more to soak up the glory, and then it’s my time to shine.
Narration fades out, leaving the viewer alone with the suicidal and desperate Worthington.
Sam W: I’m warning ya! If you don’t bring out another fuckin’ Fosters right now I’m going over. I won’t say it again. Beer me! Don’t you know it’s Australia day for Crikey’s sake? This is oppression. Bloody racism, that’s what it is!
Murmurs are heard from people below as Sam frantically paces back and forth on his six-foot long, three-foot wide platform. Snatches of conversation are heard – mainly mockery and encouragement. The citizens of New York want him to jump. They want a story to tell in the bar rooms and barber shops.
Sam W: Yeah that’d make you fuckwits’ day wouldn’t it? This ain’t no Crocodile Dundee 2 mates, this is for real. Bunch of fucking clowns, you can blow my Tasmanian Devil you drongos!
From out of the window of Sam’s hotel room pops the head of Officer Kim A. (hopefully played by Rachel McAdams but in case of budgetary restraints, Elizabeth Banks will do). She’s a hard living woman from the Bronx and as usual she’s hungover as a motherfucker, but she remains aware of her astoundingly striking beauty.
Officer Kim: You know what? I’m about sick to freakin’ death of this. We’ve told you… I don’t know how many times. We can’t give you any more beer, Sam. A couple more cans and you’re as likely to fall off the ledge by accident. You’ve had enough.Now why don’t you come on inside?
Sam W: Look love I could put away a crate of twenty before midday, alright? I’m not even half way rotten yet. Although I will be taking a big old leak off this ledge in a mo’.
Officer Kim: Look Sam, Officers Minsky and Chadwick have rustled you up a nice Australia Day barbecue. They’ve got the grill going just inside the room here. We’re breaking all the hotel rules for you here Sam. So how about you help us out?
Sam W: It’s a barbie, not a B-B-Q, ya nitwit! Why are you even out here? I want to speak to someone else. I’m a reasonable bloke, but you’re about the most irritating Sheila I’ve ever had the misfortune to behold. Get me a beer or that’s that. I’m taking off. And not back to Australia, neither. Though I will be going down, if you catch my drift, and at some point six feet under. So, when you look at it like that Officer K, maybe I am going home.
Officer Kim: Alright, so I said it wrong. They have a BARBIE going just for you. Can’t you smell that sweet musky smoke drifting towards you? It’s calling you, Sam.
Sam W: [sniffing in the air lustily] Yeah, yeah, I smell it alright. Smells right beaut. But you won’t get me that easy. My word is my word and on my word I’m leaping off if you don’t get me what I want. And right now, love, what I really want is another Fosters.
Kim takes a few deep breaths and a huge gulp of coffee followed by a hefty donut dunk which she chases down with another steaming gulp of Jo, compulsively lighting up a cigarette out of sheer habit. She is hungover as all hell but she still looks ridiculously – implausibly, even, given her lifestyle – attractive and ready to take on the world all at once to get the job done. She’s a loose cannon with everything to play for who’s willing to put it all on the line to save the day, no matter who or what gets hurt along the way.
Officer Kim: Enough, Sam. We should’t have supplied you with that six pack in the first place. You’re cut off. That’s final.
Sam W: Stop gabbing at me like you got leverage. You’re no Australian national sweetheart Naomi Watts, y’know! You got one bargaining chip and one only: Fosters, the nectar of the Gods.
Officer Kim: OK, OK, you’ve shown me that the Aussies can play hardball even better than us New Yoikers. Point proved. If you come inside, you can have a whole keg. Come on now, come on in, how about it? Sam, I know you don’t wanna go through with this.I know you.
Sam W: You don’t know me from Adam, girlie. That’s Adam Garcia by the way, the Australian actor and singer-songwriter. You probably don’t even know me from Joel Edgerton, or the Hemsworth boys! Do you even fuckin’ watch films? Bloody figjam cops, think they know everything, Crikey almighty I mean –
Officer Kim: Wait… what? Why are you breaking the fourth wall by referring to your movie star status and comparing yourself to other well known actors who’ve all starred in multiple blockbuster smash hits, while here I am pretending to be some dumpy wannabe NYPD shrink instead of being myself?
Sam W: Look mate, stop trying to do this reflexive actor-audience interaction garbage. Who the bloody hell do you think you are, Oscar winning Australian actress Cate Blanchett in the film Coffee and Cigarettes in which she portrays a caricature of her real life self and also her own fictional cousin both talking to each other in the same scene? Stop trying to play with the form love, the suit don’t fit.
Officer Kim: All I’m saying is that it’s be nice to given more challenging roles at this stage in my career. Is that too much for a hard working All-American character actress to ask for?
Sam W: Shut it! Beer me up, or… or… I get it! Yeah, the me gets it. Oh, ánd out of curiosity, where do you think Mel Gibson grew up?
Officer Kim: What? He’s American! Why are you bringing up that guy, he’s not welcome in New York after what he did in Malibu.
Sam W: [murmus to self] Silly gally probably thinks Russell Crowe’s English, too. Struth.
INT. DAY -Plush 17th Floor Hotel Room
Huge Jackman pulls back the curtains and unlatches the window, which legally really shouldn’t be able to open that far in an inner city hotel for the safety of both guests and the public.
Hugh Mungus Jackman the actor: Alrighty then. Let’s see how the fine people of good ol’ New York City like this. Oh what a day, what a lovely day!
Actor Hugh Wolverine swings a grotesquely vascular leg over the window pane and out into the freezing , smoggy early morning air of NYC in January.
Hugely Jacked-Man: Attention everyone! Attention please!
Everyone instantly gives Whose Jacket, Man their undivided attention – not just Sam and Officer Kim, but the entirety of downtown Manhattan, all of whom can somehow hear and see him clearly despite the heavy winds, noise pollution, and lack of a megaphone or speakers on his part. A team of rooftop construction workers two blocks down fall to their deaths in the confusion – the footage is captured by the director M.Night Shyamalammanman, who coincidentally is shooting the construction yard scene for his mystery thriller sci-fi epic The Happening.
Weaving Jackman, screen performer extraordinaire: Listen up mates, today is Australia day, and to celebrate I’m gonna do a Foster’s foam slip n’ slide from the 17th floor of this hotel wearing a Kangaroo onesie while singing the national –
A deafening crackle of microphone feedback cuts him off before Hugo directed by Martin Scorsese Jackman can spew another syllable.
Unknown Man on Yet a Higher Ledge Still: Listen up, yanks. You thought I was dead and buried. You thought it was ‘fitting’ that I won a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. You thought wrong. Australia Day has no respect for the puny universal laws of mortality. Here I am, back on form and on the ledge. I am the legend. I am… Ledger!
EXT. DAY – New York Skyline
CNN, Fox News, Russia Today, Koala-Bungee.TV, and Newsround helicopters swoop in on the scene to capture the footage live and distribute it worldwide. In Australia, despite it being 2am Friday Sydney time, every single Aussie is wide awake on the pure rush of Nationalism which has carried over from the previous day. Drunk and high on irrepressible pride for their country, they break into patriotic tears as they watch this historic event unfold before their sweaty, slightly obscured (by hats with wine corks on strings) lines of vision on gigantic screens in public squares across the outback. In Canberra, the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, wearing a suit made entirely of eucalyptus leaves, does one final line of coke snorted through a didgeridoo and prepares to make a celebratory speech at Parliament House.
Koala-Bungee Tee Vee Helicopter News Reporter: Aboriginie crickets mates, its fuckin’ Heath Ledger! On a ledge!
PAN 180 DEGREES TO…
EXT. DAY – 19th Floor Hotel Window Ledge
Heath Ledger: Now what I want is some durries, some grog, and an Aussie flag planted at the top of Trump Tower, or else I’m fucking jumping right fucking now. And that really will be the end of Heath ‘the ledge’ Ledger. On a ledge, no less! Your move, ya cunts.
Another man appears at the precipice of the ledge one floor above Ledger’s. He looks strangely familiar to frequent cinema goers.
WHIP PAN UP TO…
EXT.DAY – 20th Floor Hotel Window Ledge
Joel (L)Edg(e)gerton: G’day ya muppets, it’s me Joel Edgerton from Warrior and The Great Gatsby. But from now on, you can call me Joel Ledgerton!
It was at this point – after only two days – that I was dismissed from my month-long trial internship at the Industrial Scripts head office in London, and told never to return. My supervisor accused me of of wantonly wasting the company’s time and money, and refused to believe my claims that Australian singer/songwriter/composer/script-writer/actor Nick Cave had advised me on the Aussie slang personally. To add insult to injury, he didn’t even put the script in the ‘possible future projects’ pile.
The planned 120 page screenplay for ‘Man On a Higher Ledge’ remains unfinished.
Happy Australia Day!
If this article offended you: Eric Bana put me up to it. Take it up with that joker*.
*not a reference to Heath Ledger’s The Joker.