Great Monologues Get Great Actors
A great monologue can still net a great actor. Monologues can feel dicey to write. A weak monologue is a pace-killer for a screenplay. But a stellar monologue can be catnip to a great actor. And securing a major star can be the difference between a film getting made and not getting made.
Here are some examples of great monologues in film history. Can you spot the common factor?
“Well, I believe in the soul. The cock. The pussy. The small of a woman’s back. The hanging curveball. High fiber. Good scotch. That the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a Constitutional Amendment outlawing Astrotruf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas eve. And I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days. Goodnight.”
A FEW GOOD MEN
“We live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. You use them as a punchline.”
“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgement. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the “new.” The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.”
“When I met Nick Dunne, I knew he wanted a cool girl. And for him, I’ll admit, I was willing to try. I wax-stripped my pussy raw. I drank canned beer watching Adam Sandler movies. I ate cold pizza and remained a size two. I blew him semi-regularly. I lived in the moment. I was fucking game. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy some of it. Nick teased out of me things I didn’t know existed. A lightness, a humor, an ease. But I made him smarter, sharper. I inspired him to rise to my level. I forged the man of my dreams.”
The common factor is that these monologues express highly vulnerable, personal worldviews, in passionate, emphatic, unfiltered language. Do you have a monologue in your script that does this? Let us know in the comments below.