The First Groundhog Day October 23rd, 2007

In the first draft of Groundhog Day I decided to begin in the middle. Phil wakes up to the Sonny and Cher song on the radio, then immediately proceeds to amaze us. He seems to know what the radio D.J.s are going to say before they say it. He knows what the various people he encounters in the bed and breakfast are going to do before they do it. He slugs some guy for apparently no reason whatsoever. And onward goes the day as this remarkable weatherman seems to have supernatural powers of prediction. It’s a great character and a fun way to open a movie. PLUS we get the “reveal”, when he wakes up on the same morning and we learn that all his amazing powers can be explained by this one little thing.

But clearly this is not where we ended up beginning. We ended up beginning closer to the beginning, where we get to see Phil as he was before the “time loop” began. Changing the beginning changed the personality of the movie a little bit, and it definitely made the story more accessable to some of the people at the studio, but in the end it didn’t change the movie. The movie came out fine, right?

I remember voicing my desire to keep my original beginning intact, perhaps feeling that 1) it was a particularly great beginning, and 2) taking something great out of the movie would make the movie less great.

And yet there were good reasons to open the way we ultimately did. 1) There is great entertainment as Phil grapples with the first repeating days. 2) It is comforting to have this slightly off-beat story grounded in a familiar place before going nuts. 3) Beginning at the beginning not only serves to estabilish Phil in his normal world but also estabilishes Rita.

Still, either beginning would lead Phil on the same journey. That doesn’t change.

Just the idea that I could really have begun anywhere is a liberating notion.

And look what I did, here. I began my bloglife somewhere in the middle of the story.


Is that one of my repeating patterns?

Welcome one and all to the Blogus groundhogus. Thanks for visiting. I’ll try to keep things interesting, okay? In the meantime, check out the lab, visit the library, and let me know what’s on your mind.



Comment by Al Long
2007-11-09 20:53:37

I’ve grown comfortable with the movie as it was filmed. Your original beginning seemed confusing. Yet, as you’ve just explained it I can see what you had in mind. Perhaps there will be a remake of “Groundhog Day” some day–one filmed with your beginning? It wouldn’t diminish my regard for the original film, but it would be fun to see the same material covered with such a different beginning.

Comment by Scott
2008-02-23 17:52:00

Danny Ruben i thought the movie was amazing ground hog day espcaily how he did it by7 kidnaping of the ground hog day had a very impacted on my life its with love poems thet has the a specail way explain how much you or love these girl burring in her Heart you live in her heart for ever and shes pecks at my heart and i live heart becouse she was born on thanklgiving and i was the ground hog becouse a ground hog thet live in her heart is specail

Comment by Lenora
2008-10-28 09:46:32

Well written article.

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