Today’s Post: Femme Fatale

This post was brought to you by… your face from the Nineties, courtesy of Lisa Eldridge.

So I’m home at the Hacienda now – after a month’s worth of being on-edge over my research projects – and I’m still working on the Untitled Possible Next Screenplay, especially the Proust questionnaires for the two main characters. My main male character – again, still unnamed – remains elusive; one moment he’s an overgrown teenager in a fortysomething’s body, and the next he’s suddenly contemplative after getting blindsided by his wife’s death. (Yes, I’ve decided to make him a widower.) Since he’s supposed to be the protagonist in a comedy full of immature people – think: John Cusack in Hot Tub Time Machine – I don’t know if I’m ready to let him carry this much of a burden on his shoulders, unless he wants his dialogue to be purely expository.

The female counterpart, on the other hand, is another story.

Iris Garcia was supposed to be the Mary Sue: she’s meant to be impossibly beautiful and intelligent and funny, which obviously makes her the endgame love interest for our man-child of a protagonist. What she isn’t, in a sense, is sympathetic: how much virtue could you bring out of someone who had been arrested over a practical joke gone wrong?

What she is, as it turns out, is a catalyst – that is, her presence in the story puts everything in motion.

Our man doesn’t fall in love with her right away because of her strong ties to the school and the administration, not to mention her establishment-following ex-boyfriend who’s about to be honored during the alumni homecoming weekend. He mistakes her idealism for prudishness, just as she dismisses his immaturity as a form of mid-life crisis; it goes without saying that they’re in a constant state of trying too hard to antagonize one other, and it takes him a much longer time to realize that Iris is a much dangerous anarchist than he is.

Does this make Iris a femme fatale?

One of the things that I’ve learned from film theory class is that the traditional femme fatale never has a happy ending; if she doesn’t die, or face the consequences of her actions, she will find herself “domesticated” by the expectations of society, especially if she becomes the wife of someone who may or may not love her. But Iris already shows up as a domesticated creature, a former alumna in good standing as a respected science teacher, and there are hints that she has – supposedly – paid for her sins in the way that our hero should have done in the first place. There really is nothing bad-ass about her… or so it seems.

Feminist? Probably not. Weak? The jury’s out. But compelling enough to figure out how the male protagonist deals with his “issues,” women included? Definitely.

Love, Stella

2 Responses

  1. So I actually sat for a full 11mins and watched that make-up tutorial. I'm so not a make-up person, don't know what drew me, but it was cool. And I remember a lot of those early 90s references she was talking about. LOL

    New screenplay huh? I really like the idea of the 'man-child' dealing with the shock of his wife's death. Will this be a comedy or more of a drama? It could totally work either way, just the tone would be so incredibly different.

    Iris as a femme fatale? How so? Are you saying this because she sort of is an anti-Mary Sue?

  2. Yup, it's a new screenplay! It does sound tragic at first, with the widower angle and everything, but what I had in mind was writing one of those man-child comedies along the lines of American Pie and The Hangover, with drunken foolishness and partying all around.

    Since I'm close to coming up with a more solid premise, I'm working on the "femme fatale" angle a little more for Iris, since she's the one who organizes the reunion weekend (even though she's a few classes behind) and spends a good half of her screen time taunting and annoying the boys. On the other hand, however, she's so perfect that she still can't do no wrong, even when she's spouting nonsense about penis size while stoned out of her mind. And one of the few things that prevent Mr. Unnamed Protagonist from ending up with Iris is the fact – or perception? – that his wife will always be more perfect and beautiful, and even more of a Sue than Iris will ever be. So it's up to him to confront that as well.

    More juicy details as we go along. 🙂

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Stella Torres

is the author of the adult contemporary romances Save the Cake, Crushingly Close, and Nine Years Away, as well as the short story “Be Creative” in the anthology Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Vol. 1.

In her previous life, she has worked in public relations, taught English as a second language, and even attended graduate school (twice!). She has lived in Indonesia, Honolulu, and Quezon City before moving back to her hometown of Los Banos, a few hours’ drive (with traffic) from the heart of Manila.

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