“The Fugitive Method” of Screenplay Writing

I recently sat down with a writer-director friend of mine who had offered to look over my screenplay for “Clive“. He shared a great anecdote from the 1993 film “The Fugitive” that I thought I would, in turn, share with you.

Remember that scene in the tunnel where Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones first meet, just before Ford makes the jump over the waterfall? The original screenplay contained twelve pages of dialogue between the two actors. Ford explained about how he came home, found his wife dead, one-armed man, etc. Jones replied how Ford’s purported innocence was of little concern to him; his job was to bring Ford in.

The two veteran actors, not wanting to insult the audience with exposition that they already knew, decided to pare the twelve pages down to two simple, compact lines:

Ford: “I didn’t kill my wife.”

Jones: “I don’t care.”

And thus, an iconic scene is born. Proving once again that less can be more. And that’s why I dubbed it “The Fugitive Method.”

See you out there!

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Author Richard S. Todd
Author Richard S. Todd

Richard S. Todd is a novelist, screenplay writer, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.


Author: Richard S. Todd

Pro copywriter. Expressive voice artist. Award-winning public speaker.

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