If you’re anything like me, you’ve been dreaming about writing the next great comic book movie script ever since you saw The Dark Knight this past summer. However, if you are anything like me, you have little idea about how the next great comic book movie script should get written.

Never fear my friends and would-be David Goyers out there! For our bible has arrived. With The Dark Knight rounding the last turn toward the billion-dollar mark, Warner Bros. has decided to keep the movie fresh in fans’ minds by releasing the TDK screenplay online for your downloading pleasure.

Want to see what the greatest Batman movie of all time looks like on paper? Then check it out!

It’s interesting to read the original vision the Nolan brothers and David S. Goyer had for The Dark Knight; it’s interesting to see where the actors took liberties with their lines, where certain segments where revised on set, or certain scenes rearranged to earlier or later points in the film. The Joker parts are really fun to explore: while the Joker reads like a well-developed and engaging character, you get a deeper sense of just how much life Heath Ledger pumped into the character. The paper-Joker doesn’t have even half of he chaotic fury Ledger brought to the role. He did more with the character than any writer could have ever hoped to.

…And to prove that very point, I thought I’d treat you to the screenplay version of one of The Dark Knight’s most memorable scenes:

From the back of the room comes LAUGHTER. It grows and
grows, until it fills the room. All eyes turn:
The Joker. Sweaty clown makeup obscuring the AWFUL SCARS
which widen his mouth into a PERMANENT, GHOULISH SMILE.

THE JOKER
I thought I told bad jokes.

GAMBOL
Give me one reason I shouldn’t have
my boy here pull your head off.

The Joker pulls out a freshly sharpened pencil.

THE JOKER
How about a magic trick?

The Joker SLAMS the pencil into the table, leaving it
UPRIGHT.

THE JOKER (CONT’D)
I’ll make this pencil disappear.

Gambol nods. His BODYGUARD MOVES at the Joker- who SIDE STEPS GRIPS
his head- SLAMS it, FACE DOWN, onto the table…
The Bodyguard goes LIMP and slides off of the table. The
PENCIL is gone. MAGIC. The Joker BOWS. Grins at Gambol.

THE JOKER (CONT’D)
And by the way, the suit wasn’t
cheap. You should know. You bought
it.

Gambol STANDS, furious. The Chechen stops him.

CHECHEN
Sit. I wanna hear proposition.

The Joker nods his thanks. Rises.

THE JOKER
A year ago these cops and lawyers
wouldn’t dare cross any of you. What
happened? Did your balls drop off?
See, a guy like me-

GAMBOL
A freak.
Laughs. Which the Joker tries to ignore.

THE JOKER
A guy like me… I know why you’re
holding your little group therapy
session in broad daylight. I know
why you’re afraid to go out at night.
Batman. He’s shown Gotham your true
colors. And Dent’s just the
beginning.
(indicates Lau)
And as for his so-called plan- Batman
has no jurisdiction. He’ll find him
and make him squeal.
(smiles at Lau)
I can tell the squealers every time.

CHECHEN
What you propose?

THE JOKER
It’s simple. Kill the Batman.

Pretty cool-but nowhere near as cool as the finished product, no? One of things I liked best when I saw that scene was the part when the Joker points to Lau on the television screen and says “And as for the TV’s so-called plan–Batman has no jurisdiction.” In the script it’s just “And as for his so-called plan…” Not nearly as good as what Ledger did with the line just by changing a single word! Gives you real sense of the fluid, give-and-take relationship between actors, writers and directors. And in the case of The Dark Knight, it seems those relationships were a matches made in heaven.

You can download the full Dark Knight script for free by going HERE. Read through it and let us know what you think. And if you’re on the mission to write the next great comic book movie, you need to study this example!!!

Source: Warner Bros. via Rope of Silicon