Shannon, an ambitious young
marketing executive, seems set to make her biggest career move yet by
marrying Grant, a wealthy property developer - until she falls in love
with Sean, a charming male stripper.
Love, sex, rock and roll - plus the hottest
male dancing you've ever seen - all set on Australia's luscious south-east
coastline. This is "Pretty Woman" with role reversal.
Here's what the critics wrote:
"... a box office potential which can, I suspect,
be taken for granted. The dialogue is crisp, funny, and the scenes are
full of lovely twists and turns ... Significant audience appeal both
locally and overseas ..."
(Script Assessor for Film Queensland)
"Given a director with style and sensitivity,
and cast with incredibly attractive but non-common people ... I feel
the work could have a unique and compulsively watchable quality."
(co-author of "Breaker Morant"
in a script assessment for Film Queensland)
(Click here to read the first
Your Basic Love Story
Shannon is an intelligent and ambitious
young marketing executive living in Sydney. But she's frustrated however
by the problem nearly every career woman faces - persuading a male-dominated
world to take her seriously.
When she meets Grant, a dull but wealthy property
developer, it seems she has found a convenient ladder to success. Then
her father, a failed rock'n'roll singer, dies, and with Grant away on
business, Shannon drives up to Queensland for the funeral alone.
Breaking down along the way, she accepts a lift
from Sean, a male stripper travelling to the Gold Coast to take part
in a nationwide stripping competition. Their encounter develops into
a love affair that forces Shannon to re-evaluate her antipathy to her
father and ultimately to decide between a comfortable life of emotional
compromise with Grant, or taking a chance and following her heart. Sean
is also forced to choose between his footloose and fancy-free lifestyle
and the rewards of a more permanent relationship.
The plot is similar to "Crocodile
Dundee" (professional woman chooses working class guy over rich
boyfriend) but the characters are closer to "Pretty
Woman" - Shannon as the unemotional business person, and Sean
as the warm-hearted lover from the wrong side of the tracks. This sort
of role reversal is a central feature of a love story aimed mainly at
a female audience.
Back in the 80s and early 90s, male striptease
was a popular, mainstream form of entertainment. Male revues like Australia's
Manpower and America's Chippendales drew wildly enthusiastic female
audiences around the world because they combined romance with raw, sensual
"A Town Called Paradise"
exploits that excitement, delivering the powerful visual experience
of male stripping, wrapped up in a simple love story, with most of the
focus on the lead female character.
Meet the Characters
"A Town Called Paradise" presents characters rarely seen
in Australian films - normal, educated, middle-class people with grown-up
attitudes about life, love and sex ... people who know a world exists
outside Australia: international characters.
An ambitious marketing executive in her late
twenties, Shannon is intelligent, articulate, attractive and sexually
experienced. But blaming her father for her mother's death, she's
grown up cold and hard, determined to get ahead - seemingly at any
cost. Kylie or Nicole would be perfect.
The name says it all. Sean is masculine without
being macho, working class without being an ocker. Tall, late twenties,
with short hair and a lean build, he doesn't fit the stereotype of
a male stripper. He's travelled, tried his hand at a lot of different
things, but still hasn't found what he's looking for. He is left wing
in his views, but laid back and sympathetic - a younger version of
the character played by Clint Eastwood in "The
Bridges of Madison County". Guy Pierce, for example?
Being about stripping, this film would inevitably
feature some of the raunchiest rock'n'roll music in the world - everything
from Tom Jones and T-Rex to Prince and INXS - backed up by the sexiest
male dancing ever seen on the big screen.
This story showcases some of the best locations
on Australia's east coast: the lush gardens of suburban Sydney, a deserted
beach near Byron Bay, the highrises and beaches of Surfers Paradise,
an old bullnosed Queenslander in the lush hinterland of the Gold Coast,
a rainforest rockpool ... Added to its universal
theme, attractive characters, and great soundtrack, "A
Town Called Paradise" would have international appeal and major
box office potential.
A Unique Look
"A Town Called Paradise"
is like a women's magazine story on celluloid - an attractive heroine
forced to choose between love and the money. I think this aspect could
be exploited to give the film a unique feel and look. By using devices
like text headlines that float across the screen at strategic points,
or Roy Lichtenstein-like cartoon graphics that come to life as the start
of new sequences, the film could achieve an extra dimension. These gimmicks
- which mirror techniques used extensively on the Internet and therefore
being absorbed into the collective consciousness - would, like the flamboyant
stylistics of "Strictly Ballroom", help
separate this film from the rest of the herd.
To help finance "A Town Called
Paradise" I'd recommend blatant product placement. This would
be in line with the film's theme of sex being a commodity, and in harmony
with the style suggested above. For instance:
- When Sean is visiting
Shannon at her father's old Queenslander on the Gold Coast hinterland,
he goes across to a fridge on which is written 'God's Oil' and opens
it up to get a beer - which beer? This scene could be 'sold' to one
of Australia's breweries, together with the rights to use it in their
marketing campaigns. Similarly, when Shannon
realizes she wants to be with Sean and has to fly from Sydney up to
the Gold Coast, which airline does she go with? The
striptease competition depicted in the film would be shown on a TV
network and have sponsors - which network and which sponsors?
- Another 'feature' of the film which could be
sold is the nightclub 'Hell'. The name and design would inevitably
be copied and used if the film was made (there's a successful nightclub
on the Gold Coast called 'Cocktails and Dreams' which is a direct
rip-off of the concept used in "Cocktail"),
so why not sell the rights prior to the film's release? My idea would
be to market it as an international chain of hi-tech nightclubs, all
linked live via the Internet.
- Australia is a great tourist destination. "A
Town Called Paradise" would be a great preview of Sydney, the NSW
coastline and the Gold Coast, so maybe a state or national tourist
body might be persuaded to kick in some cash.
In the first act we meet Shannon, a marketing consultant
in Sydney, and watch as her career and lifestyle improve beyond recognition
when she becomes involved with Grant, a dull, but very successful property
We also meet Sean, a landscape gardener who works
nights as a male stripper and learn of his rivalry with another stripper.
The first turning point comes when Shannon, driving
up to the Gold Coast in Grant's Mercedes for the funeral of her failed
rock'n'roll singer father, breaks down. She accepts a lift from Sean
who is heading north in his panelvan to compete in Australia's first
Male Stripper of the Year contest which has a cash prize of $100,000.
The physical attraction between them is immediate
and when they have to spend the night beside the beach, after Sean's
panelvan gets bogged in the sand, they learn more about each other's
backgrounds, hopes and fears. By morning, following a chance encounter
with dolphins, the seeds of love have been planted.
Interrupted (and rescued) on the beach by tourists
just as things are getting serious, they continue on to the Gold Coast.
After Sean has dropped her off, Shannon begins to reaquaint herself
with her father, meeting the people who knew him and going through his
belongings out at the rundown old house where he lived, up in the Gold
The following evening, Sean cooks dinner for Shannon
in the high-rise apartment where he is staying - a sequence of seduction
that ends with them making love, an event marking the film's midpoint.
The next day their affair continues. Sean persuades
Shannon to ignore her compulsion to work and together they take a joy
flight over Surfers Paradise. This is followed by a sexy encounter in
the changing rooms of a Pacific Fair clothes store, and later by dinner
out at Shannon's father's house. By now it seems obvious that the two
of them are falling in love.
The following afternoon however, Shannon gets a
call from Sydney, telling her that Grant is flying back early from Japan
to be with her for her father's funeral. Reluctantly, but resolutely,
Shannon tells Sean to leave.
After her father's funeral, Shannon returns to
Sydney with Grant, seemingly prepared to resume her hectic career and
social life. It is first when she picks up a parcel sent by her father
to her old apartment, that she starts to have second thoughts about
embarking on a life with Grant, who has now asked her to marry him.
Sean, in the meantime, who desperately wants to
win the competition not just for the prize money, but also for the satisfaction
of beating his rival Brent, is missing Shannon and having trouble finding
his motivation as a result.
The last act shows Shannon deciding between love
and money, climaxing in a race against time to reach Sean before he
goes on stage with all the odds against him.
Read the First
Town Called Paradise"
uses Hollywood's standardl 'three act paradigm', (see Syd Field's 'Screenplay'
and 'The Screenwriter's Workbook').
Click here to read the first
"A Town Called Paradise"
(© 1996) is an original manuscript
Christopher John Arlaud
PH: + 45 48 71 17 87
This manuscript is registered with the Australian Writers'
Guild and has the number: 5529