The hero is frequently the first character that comes to mind when we are writing our screenplays. Regardless of how eccentric, appealing, courageous and cocky, quiet and modest, or underdog your hero is, they are nothing without a formidable antagonist to put them to the test.
Each villain has a reason for wanting to catch the hero. A hero can be a villain in another person's story, and a villain can be heroic in their own. This is at the core of the human experience and every epic narrative.
The best villain monologues illustrate the concepts of a movie while also providing the performers with a feast of language to work with to build a memorable character, such as in Hans Landa’s Inglorious Bastards or Agent Smith in The Matrix. Study the art of creating a gripping villain monologue.
What is a Villain Monologue?
A villain monologue is a protracted monologue delivered by the antagonist, antihero, or "bad guy" in a film script. A character may speak in a monologue to the audience or to themselves, or they may address other characters in the scene. To provide the audience with more information about a character or the plot, monologues have a specific function in storytelling. When used wisely, they can be an excellent technique to reveal a character's inner thoughts or background or to provide more precise information about the plot. The word "monologue," which is the opposite of the word "dialogue," which derives from the Greek word for "conversation," means "alone" and "speaks."
Villain monologues may display the villain's evil or expose the speaker's inherent humanity. Strong actors can bring these characters to life, but brilliant screenwriters are the foundation of all great movie monologues.
How to Write a Great Villain's Speech
A strong villain monologue should persuade the audience to agree with the villain's viewpoint. In the end, a superb villain monologue persuades the audience to share the villain's point of view, even when it conflicts with the hero's values and goals.
An excellent monologue should make the antagonist as sympathetic as the protagonist and enable the audience to view the hero's actions from the antagonist's perspective.
To write the most effective villain speech, follow these steps:
- Describe the monologue's goal. Among other things, monologues can advance the story or explore the backstories of characters. Know how your monologue functions and how the design of your screenplay affects where it is placed. Make sure that each word you use has a purpose.
- Listen to your speech. read aloud. Once you've finished writing your monologue, read it out loud and have an actor or a peer read it. Consider how natural-sounding the speech is, and consider whether the villain in question would deliver this monologue.
- Give your villain some reality. Despite being a fictional figure, your antagonist's evil might be more symbolic than actual. Set the villain's actions in context. Villains ought to have objectives, motivations, and a three-dimensional personality in addition to their venom.
- Experiment with various forms. Villain monologues can be written in a variety of ways. There are backstories (in which a character reveals their motivations), torture descriptions (in which the antagonist foreshadows the brutality they will use), and appeals to pity (in which a character expresses remorse for their wrongdoing).
- Make changes to your speech. Edit as necessary after writing and hearing your monologue. Edit your writing until it communicates what you want it to, as certain parts may be unclear or overwritten.
Three Tips for Writing Villain Monologues:
You can use these three suggestions to write concise and potent villain monologues for your story or screenplay.
- Oppose the characteristics or speaking habits of your protagonist. Give your villain a gloomy, slow cadence if your protagonist has a rapid, upbeat speech pattern. The difference between the villains and your primary characters can be highlighted in monologues.
- Place your villain's monologue near the conclusion of the story. The antagonist, albeit not always, appears as a supporting character rather than the main character. You must allow the audience or readers enough time to become familiar with the character because of this. Only then, and frequently during a climactic conflict, should your villain receive their big chance to either convince the audience of their point of view or change it.
- Consider giving your villain a slogan. The power of three is sometimes used by writers: A story's beginning, middle, and end can be more easily followed by audiences if a sentence is repeated three times. If your villain has a catchphrase, you should let them use it at the beginning, during the rising action, and at the conclusion.
Six Excellent Villain Monologues:
Hollywood is rife with great villainous monologues. Famous instances from movies and television include:
- In the 1979 film Apocalypse Now, Colonel Kurtz describes the horrors of war and admits to poisoning children with polio in his monologue. Kurtz concludes that the best soldier is the one who lacks emotion and instead evolves into a cold-blooded killing machine.
- The Matrix (1999): During an interrogation of a kidnapped Morpheus in the cyberpunk film The Matrix, Agent Smith reveals his plan to destroy Zion, the underground city where individuals who have left the Matrix go to find freedom. The speech emphasizes how Smith is Morpheus's opposite: the latter seeks to break free from it, while the former has chosen to live within a planned system.
- The Incredibles (2004): A great villain monologue can be found in an animated film. The protagonist of The Incredibles, Syndrome, tells the narrative of how he came to be: He was a fan of Mr. Incredible and wanted to be his sidekick, but Mr. Incredible turned him down. Syndrome became enraged as a result, and she generated fake superpowers to wreck havoc on the Incredibles.
- The Dark Knight (2008): This Christopher Nolan movie, which comes in between Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012), features a few well-known supervillain rants by The Joker (2012). The Joker first explains how he acquired his scars to Bruce Wayne's love interest, Rachel, and then he reveals to Batman how similar the two are.
- Inglourious Basterds (2009): Anti-Semitic SS commander Hans Landa delivers a monologue to hawks that criticizes Jews and the police in order to maintain the cycle of life. This film, which is set in World War II, and Landa's monologue highlight the ideals that resulted in the persecution of countless people.
- Game of Thrones (2011–2019): Throughout the eight seasons of this popular HBO drama, Cersei Lannister, a character with a penchant for power, receives numerous monologues. Ellaria Sand, the one who poisoned Cersei's daughter, is tormented by her toward the end of the series. The same sort of retaliation will be sought by Cersei against Ellaria's kidnapped daughter, she says.
A Final Word: When writing villain monologues, avoid exposition dumps.
It is simple for a villain to summarize all of their justifications for their behavior in a single, prolonged speech. but watch out for lengthy villain rants.
If a viewer stays until the very end, you should thank them by giving them some long-awaited answers. But if your adversary explains everything, your screenplay's closing few minutes may fall flat. There is nowhere else you can go.
Remember to leave some questions unanswered or just partially addressed. The villain's objectives and backstory should be hinted at in passing throughout the script before being verified or expanded upon at the climax. The villain's closing monologue shouldn't reveal any brand-new characteristics.