Summing up Carrion

I read something by John Truby about Breaking Bad (2008- ).

Truby had some interesting insights on the character development of Walter White. A journey described by the shows creator Vince Gilligan, explaining he’s “a straight arrow character (Walt) who decides to make a radical change in his life and goes from being a protagonist to an antagonist”. Walt’s change from protagonist to antagonist can best be summarised with another quote from Gilligan, his initial pitch to Sony, “I want to take Mr. Chips and turn him into Scarface“.

Mr. Chips to Scarface” has been with me since I read it. It’s a brilliantly concise premise for Breaking Bad, and one I have been struggling to emulate for Carrion.

I got one half of the equation relatively quickly. Adam Leigh becomes Che Guevara. Adam doesn’t share Guevera’s politics, but when most people think Che Guevera they don’t think of his specific politics, they think rebel, and that’s Adam’s primary characteristic by the end of Carrion.

So by the end of the screenplay, Adam has been transformed from self-righteous policeman into a freedom fighter, willing to take up arms against the oppression of prohibition.

That half of the equation set its complement has taken a little longer to pin down. I’ve found it hard to come up with a policeman with the right amount of character flaws that doesn’t end up being thought of as Dirty Harry. Today I think I might have found my Mr. Chips. John McClane from Die Hard (1988).

The more I think about it, the more it seems to fit. Adam Leigh might be a little darker than McClane but he’s a good hook to hang Adam’s character coat on. I’m still not sure if it works completely.

“I want to turn John McClane into Che Guevara.” Perhaps it works better as a question, “what would turn John McClane into Che Guevara?”

You tell me?


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