Rick’s too perfect. His life too easy. No hardships. No heart-knocks. No failures. No fall on his face. No family shames. No drugs. No bad shit. Sally and I get the feeling he’s grown up in upper-class gated community in Hollywood (that could be a bit shameful as he’s ventured now to Paris, to see other ways of living), living the glossy picture American life with weekend sailing, golfing with politically active dad, adoring his mom because she says so, no siblings to fight with, everything taken care off, servants, a driver, he probably never have had to bike to school, or make his own lunch pack? And now he wants to break free from the prim and proper life of his domineering mother (he believes her demands and etiquette and control is normal?), who has high hopes for his academic achievements? And, worse, he thinks Sally’s his ticket to freedom, to the wild life, to a new kind of living?
With a Rick so perfect, Sally’s gotta be imperfect: a wounded woman, difficult childhood, heart broken, dreams broken, untrusting of men, of love, of intentions, and prefers to keep in control, seducing and being seduced, but keeping a distance, to not get hurt or into awful relationships built on compromises. She’s actually romantic, a dreamer, she wishes she was born in the Belle Epoque, Paris always brings this side of her alive, this possibility of true love, a deeper kind of love, but mostly she’s staying realistic, street smart, used to fending for herself and what she wants. She has a hedonistic streak. Though her Danish family is somewhat intact, dysfunctional, loud, lots of power struggles, everyone rather individualistic, wanting life on their own terms, so she’s taken care of herself since she was a teenager. She prefers it this way. Denmark is a lot more pragmatic, down to earth, less dreamy, less romantic, more practical and collectively oriented, a conformity that gives the illusion that everyone’s the same, none more or less than the other, and yet, everyone secretly longs to be special.
Why did Rick and Sally connect in the first place? What brought them together, and to Paris? Why was Sally tempted?
The sweetness of Rick perhaps, the naivety and happy-go-lucky attitude? His confidence and lack of filters? I’m not sure. But I do know we need to create some serious tensions between what they want, and whether they will get it or not. Perhaps in the end they share a longing to the seen and received as who they are, though that unveiling might take a lifetime.
Let me answer those questions too:
Who are they when the story starts?
Sally’s fed up with her latest job and guy, she quit both, and she’s really wanting to begin her travelers and writing career. She’s been to Paris a few times, here she feels womanly, attractive, and her soul and inside seems to be matched by the outside – the architecture, the food, the mentality of the French, the sensuality and love of beauty, all those things.
Where do they live?
She’s lived in Denmark, she just gave up her apartment, and she’s traveled quite a bit since she was 16. So she’s in her suitcase, looking for the next place and project in her life.
Who do they live with?
Single, she used to have some roommates. She’s lived with a boyfriend, her first love, for 3 years between 18 – 21. Since, she’s had a series of loves, a few heart breaks, and she’s a bit fed up.
Who do they love?
She loves adventure, travel, great books, good wine, new tastes, music, dancing, people that makes her laugh, surprise her, open her minds, teaches her things, takes her places, brings out the best (and perhaps the worst) in her. Nature. She likes skinny dipping. Animals. Being naked on a hot summer day.
Who do they hate?
She hates superficiality, conformity, sameness, numbness. She not into watching TV, sitcoms, sports. She’s provoked by too perfect people, too prober, too stuck up people. She hates insincerity. She’s impatient with fearful people.
What do they like to do?
I just said that. I’m sure there’s more. Like the scent of Lilac in the Spring, the first strawberry of summer, the midnight sun of the high North, the vast desert of Morocco, even she’s yet to go, great movies, stories, encounters that moves her. Freedom. To go places. Do things. Feeling free. Light.
What annoys them?
Conceptual art, she’s not always sure she gets it, most of it looks so random any person could dream it up and do it, like no effort. She doesn’t like people who puts no effort into things, or her. ha ha. She’s suspicious of overly confident, happy people, who no matter what, seems optimistic and wide-smiled. People with no compassion, or passion, for that matter. Humdrum living. No change. No movement. She’s actually rather responsible for what she agrees to do, and tries to follow up, even if she’s hating it. She likes to ‘do good’ and keep word. Integrity is important.
What do they do with their time? (Work, school, etc?)
She’s taken a degree in pscyhology, but now she wishes she’d studied writing. She’s had a few jobs, the latest with the new progressive political party, but it gets so mental, strategic and conceptual, lots of discussions, lots of words, and she longs for more sensual, creative work. She’s love to work in an art cafe or something simple. Go with a cabaret show.
What does their family look like? (Mom/dad/siblings, no family, foster family, cobbled together family?)
Typical Danish family, a few siblings, working class, always a lot of work, it seems, to make ends meet. Childhood at grandparents farms, a heaven for her. Later some family drama and traumas came to light. She was heart broken already as 10 year old. She moved out when she was 16. Traveled. Educated. Family is okay, but no easy bunch of people.
Are they a flee-er or a fighter?
She’s a fighter, but learning to pick her fights. Though she likes change and travel, she may resort to escapism at times, if she’s unhappy or don’t like what’s going on, or if she’s bored with herself.
How do they manage in a crisis?
She’s flexible with situations. She’s can show up and stick out the discomfort for a bit, to understand what the crisis is. She’s not putting up with shit, she’ll speak her mind, but she’s always respectful of authority, even fearful, so it’s a bit ambivalent, at one hand confidently promoting her integrity and values and views and at the same time, fearful of being rejected, punished, whatever. And again, if she doesn’t like the stink, she’s got no problem leaving the kitchen. Survival skill. Even if not that old, she’s sort of clear, she can’t change another, only herself, and sometimes you just gotta leave to avoid getting sucked into problems.
What are their flaws? (Even a hero has flaws.)
Rash judgements. Takes a lot to trust others. Arrogant. Perhaps a bit selfish. Edge-seeking. She’s a bit precious. She likes to be adored, treated well, respected.
What makes them heroic? (Even an antagonist has a hint of heroism in them.)
Her loyalty. Protective of those weaker. Her sense of justice and fairness. Her willingness to go in front, take leadership, do the right thing. Her adventurousness and willingness to venture into the unknowns.
What is their deepest secret?
Probably that she’s more normal and romantic than she cares to let the world know. That she feels unworthy of love, if someone really got close and knew her, flaws and all, they’d not want to stick around. Or she’d get bored and a bad bargain. High expectations on her part?
How have they been hurt?
Early rejections by her father, mom too busy for her, she had to help her from early on with the other kids, she was forced to hide her dreamy, creative, girly side, her dog killed by a horse, her next dog by a car, her best friend killed by a freak accident, and the early love of her live choose her girlfriend instead, and well, other weird shit in the family that was hard to understand. In adult years, she choose to stick with her boyfriend, so moved to the not preferred town, choose the not preferred education, to be with him, only to experience that he was having affairs at the university. Such things.
Okay, there maybe some discrepancies, things that don’t quite line up, but does Sally look like a complete counter match to Rick tick now?
I think she’s a little too much like me. ha ha. And I think one of them ought to be more modern, high tech and onto Tinder big time, otherwise we’ll be dating ourselves too obviously in these two 20 years younger characters. Think about that. So let’s get worse-r.
And next up, let the rough plotting begin … how to make this not-boring, cliff-hanging, modern day romance.
Did you watch One Day by Scherfig? Midnight in Paris? You better begin to watch some romantic movies, Bradley. 🙂