For being mostly confined to my apartment of late, it’s been an eventful week for my lower body.* Not only can I bend my new knee past 90 degrees again, but a couple creative colleagues of mine felt the urge to turn me into a merman. (Which was pretty kickass, if I may say so myself.) I had also been attempting to outline my next Unreality article, however, and wasn’t making tons of headway; my pitch queue can’t always compete with my short attention span. Then this comment—from another Unreality contributor, as it happens—popped up on my Facebook timeline:
Pictured: comedians interacting in the wild.
I think Sara’s on to something. Granted, Disney no doubt has the rights locked down ad infinitum, and the green screen stuff would be a logistical nightmare. But with all the Avatarian CGI budgets getting tossed around these days, I’m a little flabbergasted that nobody’s breached this franchise yet. And since one Facebook comment can be exactly the amount of muse I need to get those creative synapses snapping, I found myself brainstorming potential storylines. Then… I sort of started drafting a script.
Anyway, since you guys are inevitably part of my world (so to speak), I’m letting you in to part of my head. Here’s a rough synopsis for Under the Sea, along with a couple scenes from Act I and II.
*Insert obvious perv jokes here, fellow man-children.
[Note: To be clear, I do a lot of things in this world for my own personal amusement, and have no idea how serious I am about this little endeavor. I’m a grown man writing a screenplay for a gritty Little Mermaid reboot, and that’s not even the dumbest sentence I’ve written today. But heck, if enough of you are on board with this nonsense, shout it out in the comments; I’ll gladly finish the damn thing and send it off to James Cameron by mid-April. Because I can.]
SETTING: 18th-century England, amid the reign of King George III. America is on the verge of revolution, and both countries are gearing up for war.
SYNOPSIS: During a time of superstition and global exploration, we meet Goddard, an English merchant (and closet atheist). Near the end of an otherwise uneventful voyage, Goddard’s ship is caught in a violent storm, and he is knocked unconscious. When Goddard awakes, he finds the blood-splattered vessel to be eerily vacant; the crew has disappeared into thin air. Days pass, and in desperation Goddard cries out to the Christian God for the first time. He is answered by musical laughter off the side of the boat, the source of which being a beautiful teenaged mermaid: Ey’taoin (pronounced AY-deen). Goddard is immediately entranced by this creature, who vaguely warns him that he’s been spared for a reason. After Ey’taoin disappears underwater, the ship begins moving swiftly back to port—as if pulled by an invisible hand. Goddard is apprehended as a diabolical mass murderer and thrown into prison to await his execution.
Meanwhile, conflict is brewing beneath the oceanic depths. Thanks to their own technological advances, merpeople begin evolving exponentially faster than humans (the increasingly-frequent sightings are actually a result of improved oxygen tolerance). When the first mer-child with hybrid fin-legs is born, some view the subjugation of humanity as the next logical step in evolution. Others would prevent our potential genocide.
After a mysterious assassin aids Goddard’s escape, the two embark on a multi-year quest to find Ey’taoin and determine the fate of Goddard’s crew. Lost sailors, however, are only the tip of this story’s iceberg, and the deeper Goddard descends, the clearer it becomes: his lineage will determine the fate of the human race.
INT. REMOTE UNDERWATER CHASM – TIME UNKNOWN
Four plumes of dark purple mist rise in the distance of a vast, dimly lit chasm, their sources obscured on the ocean floor. LEONIS (45) is an assassin, contracted by an UNNAMED ENTITY to discretely execute all mermen born with “increasingly humanlike characteristics” (e.g., receding abdominal scales, earth-toned hair, extended fin separations). He stares impassively at these plumes while casually wiping blood off a futuristic-looking spear. After a moment, LEONIS turns to a TERRIFIED YOUNG MERMAN (12), who is shaking uncontrollably and clutching his tail, which has been partially severed. LEONIS levels his spear at the injured boy.
It’s a brutish sort of place, lad. The world we live in, that is.
TERRIFIED YOUNG MERMAN
(frozen in fear)
Why…why are you…?
LEONIS momentarily rests the tip of his spear on the boy’s nose, his expression unreadable. He uses the spear to rearrange the boy’s floating bangs, revealing a nearly imperceptible LOCK OF DIRTY BLONDE HAIR on an otherwise jet-black head. Satisfied, LEONIS withdraws the spear and releases his grip, adroitly catching the weapon with his snake-like tail, curling it behind his back, and gesturing to the distant plumes.
You know, I often ask myself that very question: “Why am I doing this thing?” Used to think my motivations were fiscal…
TERRIFIED YOUNG MERMAN
…And maybe they were for a while. But not anymore.
TERRIFIED YOUNG MERMAN
You can’t stop the Reshaping… it’s already too—
Certainly there are political motivations for my employer, though I don’t share them. If I may be frank, the reason behind what’s about to happen to your face is a lot simpler than you might think.
In two fluid motions, LEONIS flips the spear over his shoulder and decapitates the TERRIFIED YOUNG MERMAN. He then stoops to collect the LOCK OF DIRTY BLONDE HAIR as SHARKS begin circling above.
(with a faint smirk)
I just don’t like change.
INT. EY’TAOIN’s BEDCHAMBERS – NIGHT
EY’TAOIN’s room is modestly furnished and decorated with fossilized coral. She reclines seductively in the far corner, her tail coiled beneath her. Also, she’s topless. GODDARD clumsily swims through the doorway, allowing a long, bubbly sigh to escape before collapsing into her arms.
We don’t have a chance, do we? Humans, I mean.
I must admit, it’s a wonder you made it this far.
GODDARD returns the royal messenger’s smile, reaching for her cheek. His NEW TAIL begins to twitch.
You know, I’ve been meaning to ask you something for a few months now …
Well…if I may be forward… and I really thought I could figure this out on my own…
Before GODDARD can continue, EY’TAOIN pushes him to the floor and flops onto his chest, entwining her tail in his. As their lips connect, a familiar sensation begins in GODDARD’s groin, which feels oddly claustrophobic this time around.
(aroused yet frustrated)
I’ve never been so confused! Where the hell is my penis, and how
[Editor’s Note: I’m sorry, but TJ really thought this scene through. What follows is the most imaginatively awful description of interspecies (?) sex I’ve ever read. With tails. I cannot publish it in good conscience.]
Well, you get the idea. I’m thinking Waterworld meets The Immortals meets 50 Shades of Grey. Who’s with me?
Pictured: just one more reason to never Google the phrase “mermaid sex” at 3 in the morning.