Nancy and Danny- Feature Film Analysis- Daniel Livnat
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Nancy and Danny- Feature Film Analysis- Daniel Livnat
Title: NANCY & DANNY
Medium: Feature Film Format:
Writer: Reader: Daniel Livnat
Draft Date: Pages: 120
Genre: Drama Time: 1980’s
Location: Illinois Coverage Date: 4.25.2015
Sub To: Sub By:
Logline: Inspired by true events, a stunning young woman manipulates her Naïve boyfriend as they both degrade to a life
of crime in order to achieve a life of glamour at all cost.
Set in Kankakee, Illinois - 1986, we meet NANCY RISH, a gorgeous 27 years old waitress working the late-night shift in
a dead-end diner. Two federal agents enter the diner shortly after her shift ends. Nancy runs through the woods and comes
across a marked tree. Next to it, she finds an underground hiding place.
We’re now in 1969, and 9 year old Nancy is in a junior pageant, accompanied by her single mother CONNIE RISH
(30’s). Nancy’s charm enchants the crowd as she wins the contest. She’s a true born star. Nancy meets her new neighbor
JIMMY KEENE (10). Nancy shows Jimmy the town and they encounter STEPHEN LITTLE (Mid 30’s), one of town’s
richest men, driving with his mother ELAINE (55). The kids head for the woods, where Nancy shows Jimmy her secret
hiding place. They play around, letting the sparks of first love fly. Fast forward to 1981, Nancy and Jimmy are slow
dancing at prom, promising never to lose each other. We now see Nancy modeling for a low rent catalog. A sleazy model
scout, JOEL LESTER, 30, Approaches Nancy and gives her his business card. A few days later Nancy calls Joel. Nancy
meets with him and he tells her she’s going to New York. At the Ford agency in New York, Nancy has a brief interview
with two agents, who mock her makeup and innocence. Back at her apartment, Nancy receives a call, letting her know
At Kankakee, Nancy is an unhappy waitress at a diner. She spots Mr. Little and attempts to seduce him, but he ignores
her. Nancy meets with her friend KIT, 25, who tells her that Jimmy, who left for Chicago a while ago, might show up at a
local party. At the party, Nancy is approached by DANNY EDWARDS (30’s), a shy yet handsome new kid in town.
Nancy dances with Danny, who instantly falls for her. BOOMER FLEMING, 28, the owner of the house and a local drug
dealer, pulls Nancy away. They go to the basement and Nancy sniffs coke. Later that night, Nancy wanders around
looking for Jimmy. She finds him in the midst of a drug deal with Boomer and his partners. Nancy pleads for Jimmy to
take her to Chicago. He agrees, but flees with his friends soon after, leaving Nancy crying on the street. Danny gives her a
ride home and asks for a date. She ignores the offer, dismissing him as a loser.At the diner, Nancy spots Danny and Mr.
Little discussing business. Seeing the new potential in Danny, she approaches him and agrees to a date. Danny and Nancy
are having dinner at a fancy restaurant. Danny tells her his business is back in Ohio. Nancy is positive she’s found her
gold mine. While making out in his truck, Danny gets a call from Mr. Little and they drive to Little’s residence. Danny
heads for the kitchen while Nancy explores the mansion. Nancy walks back the kitchen to find Danny fixing the oven. She
realizes he’s the handyman and blames Danny for lying about who he is.
Nancy almost gets raped on a date with a local, rich man. Later, she calls Danny and asks if he’s serious about them as a
couple. Nancy takes Danny on a shopping spree, transforming him into a cool guy, turning him into Jimmy. At dinner,
Nancy gives Danny coke, which he sniffs for the first time. Nancy offers Danny a way to make more money he’s ever
dreamed of. Nancy and Danny are in a night club, where they meet Boomer and his goons. Nancy presents surprised
Danny as a drug dealer from Cleveland. Boomer warns Danny to stay away from his turf and makes an insulting remark
about Nancy. Danny punches Boomer and him and Nancy gets kicked out by CECIL, who tells them he wants to do
business. The next day, Nancy tells Danny to withdraw all of his savings. Though hesitant, Danny obeys. Nancy meets
Jimmy and begs him for help with contacts. Jimmy gives her GERRY TIFFANY’s, 50, number. Danny and Nancy bring
Gerry the cash, and get one Kilo of coke.
Before meeting Cecil, Danny admits he’s having second thoughts. Nancy reassures him that it’s a onetime thing. At a
night club, Danny, Nancy, and Cecil successfully deal until they run out of coke. The couple gets more coke from Gerry.
Danny becomes a pro and business is going better than expected. Danny and Nancy enter the club, where Boomer and
Danny had the quarrel, and get treated as royalty. Nancy pays a bouncer to kick Boomer out of the club.
Nancy celebrates her birthday at the Four Seasons hotel. She gets a call from Jimmy and they meet alone. Jimmy tries to
kiss her, but she shuns him off, explaining she’s with Danny. At her apartment Nancy reads an article about a million
dollar ransom paid to kidnapers. Boomer calls his contact at the police.
During a deal, Danny and Cecil get ambushed by undercover cops. Danny gets thrown to jail while repo men clear their
new place of everything. Nancy is hopeless. She finds the kidnapping article and begins to make a plan.
Three weeks later, Danny is released and the couple moves back to Connie’s house. Danny reluctantly gets a job at a
hardware store. Nancy notices his dejection and manipulate him to kidnap Stephan Little for ransom. Danny begins to
build a box to burry Mr. Little. Nancy picks her old hiding place in the woods as the burial site. Danny brags to Nancy
about the time switch and air system he built inside the box.
Nancy calls Little in the middle of the night, telling him there was a break-in at his restaurant. Little gets into his car and
Danny, whose waiting in the garage, kidnaps him. After a short drive, Danny commands Little to stop then cuffs him.
Little struggles with Danny and manages to exit the car. He heads towards the road, sees a truck, and begs for help.
The truck driver is Nancy, who realize Little saw her face. She floors the vehicle, throwing Little hard on the ground.
Danny gets a hold of Little again and forces him to record the ransom request. Together, Nancy and Danny toss Little into
the box. Later, Danny calls Little’s mother, Elaine, and plays the recording. Elaine gathers gold certificates from her vault.
Danny gets back home, sets the clock to 9:30 and goes to sleep. Nancy wakes up, changes the alarm clock to 10:15, takes
a boom box and exits.
Underground, in the box, Little begins to suffocate. Someone is messing with the built-in air fan. Elaine gets another
phone call, with her son voice saying he’s still alive and that she has exactly 1 hour to deliver the money before he dies.
Elaine is in the woods placing the money in a blue bag. She then follows the sound of a song and finally reaches the burial
site. She throws the bag to the direction of the sounds, which comes from underground. Later, Danny calls Elaine, telling
her to drop off the money at Eagle park. Elaine explains she already dropped off the money. Danny is confused. Elaine
decides to notify the authorities. Elaine explains to the cops that she got two calls: one from her son and the other from the
kidnaper. The feds decide to check the park first. At the park, Danny is waiting for the drop off. He uses a nearby phone
booth and calls Elaine, blaming her for lying about the drop-off. The feds at the house tap the call and finds out Danny’s
whereabouts. Danny drives back home, unaware that he’s being followed. Once at home, the swats break in and arrest
him. He takes the cops to the burial site and finds Little dead. Danny is in prison again. The lawyer tells him that Elaine
died from a heart attack and the money was dropped off to a guy named Eddie, who was never found. Danny doesn’t
understand who Eddie is.
A few days later, Danny sees Nancy and Connie interviewing on TV, where smiling Nancy blames Danny for everything.
He realizes that Nancy set him up. Danny tells the cops about Nancy’s plan. We’re now back at the beginning of the
movie: Nancy is in her hiding place, a blue bag stuffed with gold certificates and the boom box besides her.
At a beautiful beach in Bora Bora, Nancy is looking at an advertisement she tore from a magazine a long time ago and we
realize she’s wearing the same clothes, at the exact same pose as the model in the ad. She looks at a photo of herself and
Danny in a newspaper. She smiles and throws the paper to the ocean.
Excellent Good Fair Poor
Nancy & Danny is a story about the destruction of morals and basic humanity caused by the obsession to achieve the
American dream. While it succeeds in delivering this theme, it doesn’t create empathy for the protagonist and her journey.
Nancy is not meant to be likeable, but she should have a journey that inspires empathy. We need to connect with her.
Films such as The Godfather and Catch Me If You Can, though structured differently, feature anti-heroes like Nancy.
However, the former act with empathetic motivations. Michael Corleone descends to crime in order to protect his family
and Frank (Catch Me If You Can) cons to get the money to reunite his divorced parents. Both of them have back stories
that make them human. Nancy acts for herself, manipulating Danny to serve her own needs. Without a proper
understanding of her character’s development, her motivation to have money and glamour by any means necessary is one
that I couldn’t connect with. Her character never communicates a deeper meaning due to a narrow range of internal
In the first act, the writer shows us Nancy’s childhood: pushed by her mother, Connie, to become a star. Connie was
raised with the belief that beauty and money made happiness. She pushes these same societal expectations on Nancy,
wanting her to have the life she always dreamed of. This relationship is not developed to its potential. Her mother acts as a
weak nudge towards perfection more than the push that creates a monster. In the movie Monster, Aileen’s character is
brutally sodomized. She transforms from a prostitute to a serial killer. While we don’t approve of her, we feel empathy
because we know her past. Nancy character needs a defining moment to explain her character. This is attempted with the
scene in which Nancy gets rejected from a modeling agency in New York, but it does not create a strong enough
A weak back story contributes to this disconnection. Nancy’s father, who left when she was a kid, is mentioned in only
two brief scenes. The real Nancy Rish had an alcoholic father, married at 15, and gave birth to a child. While no movie
can contain a lifetime in two hours, the writer could play on these familial traumas to provide a focus of empathy for her
story. Connie’s character could also be more antagonistic, pushing her daughter to the limits.
The writer exploits Nancy’s character to support an underlying societal message. Symbolic points drawn from her
childhood, such as pageants and Nancy’s Barbie doll meeting Jimmie’s rubber ball, and those drawn in the getaway to a
beach -- where she lies with her dream man, wearing clothes that echo the advertisement she still holds for validation --
show an popular point of discussion in the feminist movement. If this theme is the reason for her lack of depth, it needs to
be more purposefully developed.
Danny’s character has a better character arc. He transforms from a small town boy to a successful coke dealer. Like
Nancy, his back story is unclear and he wants to live the glamour life. Unlike Nancy, his glamour life is Nancy herself.
When he returns from jail, he’s forced towards a dead-end job and misses the exciting dealer days. Unlike Nancy, he
accepts the fact that these days are over. That is the conflict in the story’s main relationship. Nancy is never willing to
compromise and Danny is willing to compromise everything, just to be with her. She wants the money and, for Danny,
she is the money. The writer uses this character to support the theme as well: Danny loves Nancy blindly because of her
appearance, ignoring her manipulative personality. However, we still feel sorry for Danny because he is easier to relate to.
He’s deceived by what he believes is true love and being blindly in love is human. There are connecting elements in
Danny’s story that invite the audience to step into his shoes while Nancy’s gives us nothing to stand on.
The structure is well woven and the plot is exciting. The first act has a lighter tone and we quickly learn character
personalities and motivations. The second act tells the rise and fall of Nancy and Danny’s drug dealing career. In the final
act, Nancy’s scheme assures us of their impending doom. Her escape to Bora Bora with Jimmy is an unanticipated twist.
It is entertaining to watch her outsmart both Danny and the police.
There is uneven pacing in the first act. At the beginning of the script, in 1986, Nancy is 27. In the Junior Miss Dairy
contest, in 1969, she’s 9 years old and Jimmy is 10 years old. The issue begins when prom is situated in 1981. Jimmy is
said to be 17 and we’d assume that Nancy would have gone to prom before turning 18. However, if doing the math from
1969, Jimmy would really be 22 years old and Nancy would be 21. Immediately after the prom scene, we jump back to
1976 and it is very difficult to understand how old Nancy is when she leaves for New-York. Following the math, Nancy
would be 13. This seems unrealistic. Perhaps the writer meant 1986 instead of 1976. When Nancy gets back from New-
York, its 1986 and she’s 26, working at the diner. The time line is unclear and the story suffers from this lack of
The execution is good and the visual writing brings the script to a higher level. However, there are formatting issues.
1. (Page 41) INT. NANCY’S BEDROOM — MORNING — A SERIES OF SHOTS. What follows this slug line is
just ordinary action description and not actual shots.
2. (page 62) CLOSE ON INOSITOL. This scene takes place in their kitchen, but the scene that came before was at
the night club. The writer should mentions that we’re at their house and not relay on the reader to figure it out. It
is vague, confusing and frustrating. This happens way too much throughout the script, especially in this particular
sequence (NANCY GLIDES INTO A LORD & TAYLOR STORE, WE’RE INSIDE GERRY TIFFANY’S
OFFICE AS etc.) No clear understanding of if it’s Day or Night.
3. (Page 64) NANCY AND DANNY ON A BRAND NEW HARLEY - MOVING – NIGHT. This is wrong. It
should look: EXT.ROAD – BRAND NEW HARLEY – MOVING – NIGHT. Nancy and Danny should be a part
of the action description.
4. (page 65) INT. FOUR SEASONS RESTAURANT — PRIVATE ROOM — CONNIE CARRIES. There is no
place for an action in a slug line.
5. NANCY SMOKES AT ‘THE YESTERYEAR RESTAURANT’ BAR — NIGHT. Same as above, no action as a
6. (page 107) “Keeps checking thr rear view mirror” – Typo.
A writer doesn’t have to insert a new slug line every time he switches from one room to another or when the actions
takes place at a continuous time frame, but doing so helps the reader focus on the story rather than character locations.
The script needs a thorough touch up.
The dialogue flows well and most of the characters have distinctive voices. A few lines in the first act don’t feel “age
sensitive” (A 9 year’s old Nancy tells Jimmy he’s not her type, and she’s looking for the rich and famous). There were
a few lines that enhanced a scene and the whole theme effectively:
Jimmy tells Nancy before she leaves to New-York: “End of the rainbow up here, Ci-Ci. Better hurry or
you’re gonna miss the sun coming up.” – Beautiful line. We get how important that chance really is.
When the agents are contemplating how Danny ended up to be Nancy’s boyfriend:
AGENT TILLER (O.C.) ...”How’s a guy like him ever land a girl like her?”
AGENT DEACON (O.C.) (laughs) “That’s the million dollar question”. - Good use of subtext.
Nancy & Danny is a compelling story with a strong theme and underlying truth. Nancy’s achievement of her goal was
actually a loss, a false dream was implanted in her by her mother, the media, and society. She had to degrade herself to
achieve it. It’s a conflict between two different points of view and a question of how far we can go to achieve a goal. The
major issue is that the reader tends to empathize with Danny far more than Nancy, weakening Nancy’s journey. With
more character development, retouched format issues, and clearer pacing in the first act, this script will go from good to
great and should draw the attention of the academy.