A Proper Villain

Problem: The villain in my screenplay is weak.

Physically, he’s strong. Tall, handsome, and charming- the sort of man a girl takes home to meet her family. Except it turns out that lurking beneath his mega-watt smile, he’s a dime-a-dozen douchebag; a compulsive liar and cheat, which are admirable, albeit superficial, qualities for a villain, but such characteristics do not satisfy my hunger for depth.  He is but an empty vessel, void of substance and spine.

That, my friends, is the problem. A shell of a man cannot be the bad guy. Not in my story.  Shallow men only make for the pathetic henchmen as they fail to display the intelligence and cunning strategy of a proper villain.  My antagonist is a Family Dollar paper plate at a prominent black-tie affair: simply disposable. What sort of a challenge is he for my hero?

None whatsoever.

Solution: Hire a new villain.

I didn’t even have to place an ad on Craigslist.  My true villain, the one with the steady gaze and cautious speech, waited patiently in his Georgian wing chair while I attempted to gussy-up the lackey.  After I failed and dismissed the minion to the sidelines, the enigmatic adversary uncrossed his legs, brushed a crease from his ebony slacks, and arose with a glint in his eye.  He strode directly to me and grazed my arm as he plucked his cassock off the silver hook behind me.  He smelled of ancient books, rich leather, and the distinctive remnants of cedar and spice gifted by one Fuente Anejo, still burning in a marble tray.  He draped the cassock over his arm, traced my jaw-line with his fingertips, and left the room with an amused look on his face.

Father Dunne.  Hello, my brilliant rogue.

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8 thoughts on “A Proper Villain

      1. Le Clown

        Michelle,
        I will prevail. My patience is known throughout the galaxy, as non-existent, but let’s not despair and hope for the best. Le Clown is here to stay.
        Le Clown

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  1. I would try and make them (the hero and the villain) as human as possible. Your villain doesn’t have to be a “bad” person, just a person who’s goal in life is diametrically apposed and in conflict with your hero.

    Like in Bridget Jones Diary, Bridget – as much as she enjoys being single – really just wants to settle down in a long-term relationship. Daniel Cleaver, is a playboy who just wants to have fun. Why does she fall in love with him? Because he’s a lot of fun, he rescues her when she’s in trouble, and he really likes girls with big bottoms and granny panties. But he’s still the villain, because at the end of the day, he is a playboy who sleeps with another woman in order to save his job.

    All the best! Anyone who takes on the task of writing a screenplay (and finishes) deserves to be applauded!

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    1. Thank you!

      I agree with you. Interestingly, the Daniel Cleaver (btw when I say his name in my head, it’s with Bridget’s British accent) character is somewhat like my original villain. For this particular story, I need a character with a stronger presence, yet one who will maintain charm and dry humor– especially with the ladies. It’s been a tad tricky since he’s a priest, but it makes him all the more interesting.

      In fact, I’m running into some problems because I’m almost rooting for him to come out on top.

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      1. Then go with it. The Anti-hero has a strong tradition and is making a comeback with shows like “Dexter”, “Breaking Bad”, “Mad Men”, “The Sopranos” etc.

        I’m a mister’s son, so it comes as no surprise to me that your character is all those things.

        Like

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