GEM VS. BURLESQUE (2010)
The leaked scripts of Burlesque (2010)
In early 2012, I stumbled across an old forum post that linked to a script for Burlesque, and that led to others. Evidently two scripts -- 2008 and 2009 drafts -- were leaked in April 2010 (the movie was shot November 2009--March 2010 per Wikipedia). They can currently be found at:
The sources are not identified. Being posted seven months before the film's release suggests the scripts came from an insider, but there's no way to tell if they've been altered. And there were many subsequent revisions, based on differences with the actual movie. For that matter, I can't prove that the files I downloaded are the same ones that were posted in April 2010. So -- interesting to read, but authenticity not established.
Comparing the Burlesque scripts with the movie
I only superficially checked the Burlesque scripts against the 2010 movie. The most apparent difference is that the movie cuts story and character development in favor of musical numbers. Tess seemed to be a larger role in the scripts, not just dialogue (e.g. the monologue on burlesque) but she also did the "Dr. Long John" number which Nikki performed in the movie. There was also more comedy in the scripts (like a recurring "She'll be back" bit).
Compare with Liz in Gem (page 42):
The photos are described as:
None of these pictures are in the movie, nor did I see a book called, The Golden Age of Burlesque (I've never heard of that title, apparently it was invented).
(skipping ahead to the ending:)
In the movie, the scene continues with Tess doing Ali's makeup and reminiscing about watching her mother as a little girl (Cher's added dialogue).
Comparing the Burlesque scripts with Gem
I looked for the unfilmed monologue that Steven Antin described in his DVD commentary, but these two scripts only have a paragraph; hardly a "monologue." It doesn't share much with Gem except the concept of providing a history, but the setup has an echo of Star Bright (Singer in flashback) and Chorine (young Ann), on page 91:
Burlesque 2008 script, page 32, Tess replying to Ali:
Burlesque 2009 script has a modified version on page 34.
and then on page 33, setting up her final song:
Burlesque 2009 script, page 1-2 (paragraphing and descriptive text omitted):
Burlesque 2008 script has a half-dozen uses of "honey" by various characters, but no "hon" or "hun."
Burlesque 2009 script, "hon" pops up twice, both times in new dialogue by Ali's co-worker Loretta (Dwight's Bar):
Burlesque 2008 script does not use the word.
Burlesque 2009 script, in descriptive text per Gem:
And on page 67:
Burlesque 2008 script does not use the phrase.
Burlesque 2009 script, page 20, after Ali insults her:
And on page 66, Ali sees Sean:
Burlesque 2009 script, page 51, Ali's audition doesn't begin well:
Gem page 73 (portions omitted), Liz has a mishap:
Burlesque 2008 script, page 48, Ali has a mishap:
Gem page 73, Liz's mishap pushes her to cut loose:
Burlesque 2008 script, page 48-49 Ali's mishap pushes her to cut loose:
(descriptive text omitted)
The 2009 version is much like the above. Both Burlesque scripts have Ali "own" or "owning" the stage in multiple places; the 2008 version has it on pages 49, 52, 58, the 2009 script has it on pages 52 and 91. Like Gem, the phrase is used in descriptive text, not in dialogue as it was in the movie (0:33:00).
The movie's dance scene (0:32:20) is similar to the scripts, but Ali does not stumble, nor does Sean come on stage to help her.
Burlesque 2009 script, Jack returns home, finds Ali sitting on his steps and asks her what's wrong (page 38):
The 2008 Burlesque script has an almost identical exchange (pages 35-36).
The scene appears in the movie at 0:25:40, but without the dialogue above. We see Jack finding Ali on his doorstep, then it cuts to an interior shot of them walking in the door, Ali's face streaming tears.
The pearls, and the risk of them causing a fall, are used as a plot device, as is Star leaving some of them for Chorine to find (page 96):
Now the 2009 Burlesque script, page 19-20. Nikki objects to Ali staring at her:
Ali mistakes Nikki for a female impersonator, which enrages Nikki. She's about to unleash when:
Ali takes the beads home with her, puts them on her cat, and that's it for the beads, they don't tie in with anything, doesn't seem to be any reason for them being there. Most likely they're an artifact of my screenplay -- compare the last sentence above, with this one in Gem, page 84:
The 2008 Burlesque script has a shorter version of the same scene (page 18-19) without Nikki verbally upbraiding Ali. There are no dropped beads, and no use of the word "shimmer."
The scene, changed and shortened, is in the movie at 0:14:15. No beads.
FYI, beads do play a part in the 1995 movie, Showgirls. At 1:19:20 the chorus is dancing when one of the girls deliberately drops a handful of glass beads on stage. A dance team slips on them and falls, the woman breaking her knee. For the record, I didn't see Showgirls until I was researching Burlesque in early 2011, ditto Chicago (2002) and Coyote Ugly (2000).
Copyright © by Michael Wren
Burlesque scripts quoted as Fair Use
page created May 24, 2012, last modified March 29, 2015