DRIVER LES (pdf format) by Larry Postel
When their getaway driver leaves them stranded after a bank robbery, two thieves unknowingly hijack a driverless car with a mind of its own.
Cars, more specifically driverless cars, feature prominently in film. From Johnnycab, the ventriloquist-like dummy of Total Recall, to the flying cars of Minority Report and Blade Runner, to quirky KITT in Nightrider, and Herbie, the titular sentient anthropomorphic 1963 Volkswagen Beetle of the movie of the same name.
We generally associate driverless cars with science fiction, however the horror genre introduced us to Steven King’s homicidal Christine, Pixar gave us Cars, and Thomas The Tank Engine and Friends is a beloved children’s favourite.
And now, writer, Larry Postel expertly blends futuristic with comedy crime-caper and introduces us to the aptly named: Driver Les.
We open on two bank robbers who may well go down in the annals as two of the ‘world’s dumbest’, but also lovable criminal characters. They’ve just ‘won the lottery’- so to speak – only to discover their getaway driver has done a runner, and they’ve been left high and dry in the middle of the street, bag of money slung over a shoulder – notes threatening to spill out onto the pavement – and sirens pealing in the near distance.
Things are not looking good for our guys…
They’re just about to give it all away when quite suddenly and fortuitously they happen upon Driver Les, a fully automated driver-less vehicle rolling down the road without a fare.
In their hour of need Driver Les appears to be a dream come true. He’s amiable and accommodating – if bordering on a little needy – and eager to please, offering a library of music available for the boy’s listening pleasure, and an equally impressive selection of refreshing beverages on hand.
When the boys discover the car is equipped with cameras and their driver possesses a photo-memory, the boys freak out, until Driver Les reassures them:
DRIVER LES (V.O.)
… you gentleman are very pleasant.
There is no suspicious activity here.
Other than the fact that you are skiing
in the middle of July.
The ski masks, numbnuts.
Destination reached, our robbers are so impressed the decision is made to book Driver Les as getaway driver for their next bank heist.
Hmm, whatever could go wrong?
In a funny and ironic final-act twist, just when we think our robbers are into the home stretch and going to get off scot-free, yet again, one of our dim-witted robbers makes a serious error in judgement. It’s a mistake that offends Driver Les – in fact it’s one of Driver Les’s ‘pet peeves’. It’s a big boo-boo that has both boys wishing they’d taken the bus, hailed a cab, or otherwise just hot-footed it up the road with the loot.
Written with perfectly timed humour and wit, Driver Les is sure to be a crowd pleaser at festivals.
Filmmakers: It’s time to take this one to the finish line. Hop in the driver’s seat, get behind the wheel, and put your foot down fast, lest you get run over in the rush.
Production: You’ll want to be a little ingenious with the shoot, but Larry’s made it easier for you with most of the action focused on the two leads in the back seat. Three main characters. One character: V.O. only. A car, some cold hard cash of the counterfeit variety, a couple of ski masks, and you’ll be ready to hit the road.
About the Writer Larry Postel: Over the course of my screenwriting career, I’ve sold and optioned many scripts, and had a handful of short films produced. I’ve also been a finalist and winner in several screenwriting contests, including winning the 2005 Grand Prize in the PAGE Awards competition. Contact Larry at: lpostel1 (a) verizon.net.
Read DRIVER LES (10 pages in PDF format)
This screenplay may not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.
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About the reviewer: L. Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She currently works as a freelance web-content editor and lives with her husband (also a screenwriter) in Sydney, Australia.