a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Saturday, July 22, 2006

So I Need a Name...

I'm currently involved in the umpteenth rewrite of my supernatural thriller, and one of the things getting overhauled is the villain. He's getting more depth, more evil, a more coherent motivation.

Sounds like an MTV show. "Pimp My Villain".

Anyhow, what he also needs is a new name, because the old name -- John -- is just too dull to cut it. I was just leafing through a baby name book, but nothing is jumping out.

So I'm taking suggestions, now.

First name, last name, if it's evocative I'll take it. Nothing too on the nose, though -- I don't want to call him Damon, or Lou Cypher, or any riff on anything Satanic.

A brief thumbnail sketch --

He's in his late 30s. Wealthy, shady businessman, but with a lot of charm; think Clive Owen. Comes across as a loving father to his son, but he's really a total sociopath.

Come up with a good name, and I'll name a minor character after you.


At 3:21 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Phillip Reynard
Shane Bradford
Christopher Fenton (Chris, to his friends)

At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charles or Richard are always sinistar. George works (right now, anyway) too. Any last name will suffice with those.

At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Jen Doe said...

David McNamara, after the creators of PROFIT.

At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Julie said...

Versailles may be a bit (a bit?) over the top, but it's been a favorite of mine for awhile. Try: Caleb, Elijah or Dominic.

At 4:13 PM, Anonymous EM said...

Anon, Devin, Sebastian, Gannon, Zacharias, Wilhelm, Petre, Rex, Vincent...

Hard to find good, original names anymore it seems. Now we have to take unoriginal names like Anderson, and change them up, like Anderton. Might work with first names, too.

At 4:46 PM, Blogger Webs said...

Timothy Swift.

At 5:01 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

Tennessee Miller

At 5:18 PM, Blogger Justin James said...

Jacob Augustine

At 5:20 PM, Blogger Brett said...

Benton Shore ("Shor" is a Nordic god of the underwold)

Vin Hooker ("Hooker" just has a nice brutal sound to it)

Damon Brody ("Brody" is an old Scottish name meaning "a muddy place")

At 5:43 PM, Anonymous danny said...

Commander Coriander

The "V" 's of course:


Last names:

one-syllable last names evoke power to me. can't think of any right now though.

At 6:50 PM, Blogger wcmartell said...


Sounds cold and machine-like, but plays off Harper Lee's character.

Actually, all of my characters in a specific script are a puzzle. They all have something in common. It's fun when someone figures it out (usually they don't).

- Bill

At 6:54 PM, Blogger Spanish Prisoner said...

Just "Frank".

Most evil name when you think of "C'era una volta il West".

At 6:57 PM, Blogger Spanish Prisoner said...

quote excerpt from imdb.

[Frank and his gang are standing in front of Timmy McBain, after killing the other family members]
Gang member: What are we going to do with this one, Frank?
Frank: Now that you've called me by name?

At 7:42 PM, Blogger Naila J. said...


Last names:
Johnson (as a tribute to the original character)

I could come up with loads more... Just the kind of thing I LOVE to do! :)

Of course, without knowing a whole bunch about the character, I'm not sure exactly what you're going for.

At 7:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you like a little irony in your name - Drake Goodfellow

At 8:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

or sticking with the ironic - Julian Blanc

Or any last name that starts with Saint ie: James, Michael, etc.


At 8:20 PM, Anonymous Zach said...


At 9:05 PM, Blogger Robert Hogan said...

I like to steal from Shakespeare for villain names. How about Sebastian Berowne.

At 9:51 PM, Blogger deepstructure said...

mal vincent

At 10:31 PM, Blogger stu willis said...

Hmm, based on that description I'd go for something Old Testament for either the first name or surname e.g. Jacob, Isaac, Lot, Laban, or Aaron.

Then I'd combine it with something either Regal or Political. Something which reasonants subconsciously with the audience as indicating his power and (perhaps) alluding to his psychopathic tendencies. e.g. Fortinbras, Petiot, Oberon, Iago (but I'd make that a variation, e.g. Iagov, Iagos), Richards, Nihil, Moriat (alluding to than Moriarty)

My pick:

Aaron Moriat

At 12:15 AM, Blogger Cathy Krasnianski said...

How about Tristan Mallory?

At 1:35 AM, Anonymous Leif Smart said...

How about George Bush?

Seriously though,

Donald Hargraves

At 3:07 AM, Anonymous Anil Khedun said...

Harry or Jason Miller

At 3:14 AM, Anonymous ian said...

Jericho Salt

At 5:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, I've got dibs on the villian named hargraeves.

You sound like you need a used-car-salesman type name. What about Chip, Bertie, Buddy, or anything-boy?

Bertie Gudmunsen.

BTW, your description reminds me of the guy in Fargo: Jerry Lundegaard.
-C dubya

At 5:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chester J. Hewitt

At 6:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Layne Sharpe


At 6:28 AM, Anonymous Joe Unidos said...

I like:

Percival Crayne.

But I am probably the only one who does.

At 7:39 AM, Blogger William said...

Josef Ranes
Ian Chambers
Nikola Logan

or some combination of those three.

At 8:05 AM, Blogger Tom said...


Just to go against type.

At 8:06 AM, Blogger Webs said...

I thought of a similar one I like better: Timothy Snell.

Brett: I never thought of Brody as a Scottish name. Every Brody I've ever known has been Hungarian Jewish. Odd, eh?

At 8:21 AM, Blogger Dave Olden said...


(That one popped into mind before I read "Clive Owen")

And the polititian who has the name, well.... let's not use his last name (Hatch) and say...

Orin Dobbs.

At 10:00 AM, Blogger A. M. said...

Old money or new money? hmmmm

Duncan Derkham
Marc Berkoff
Roy Alcott
Alec Kingston
Kurt Karman
Stephan Hassor
Gordon Rossman
Ross Lynch
Cliff(ord) Scott
Don Baldwin

oh well. I suck at naming chars. Use a ouiji board or somefing. Rory “A. M.” Suckoloff.

At 10:08 AM, Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

I always like the Irish. All their heroes seem to be villains too. There's that whole patriot/traitor dichotomy thing going. Therefore:

Doyle MacGowan

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Dave Olden said...

I know how to spell politician. I do. Honest.

At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is Xander Drax already taken?

At 12:51 PM, Blogger jefe said...

Tyler Manning.

Edward Ashford.

William Farrington.

I never like names that try too hard.

At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jacob Barrister

At 1:59 PM, Blogger writergurl said...

Bobby Montana, late 30's, well dressed with a gleam in his eye, his grin charms and seduces.

At 4:56 PM, Anonymous kid said...

Demetri St. John

At 6:14 PM, Blogger Abe Burnett said...

Vanten Poleros

At 6:17 PM, Anonymous em said...

Olden Webs.

At 6:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Broderick Caine.

Broderick: Usually a surname, but occasionally spotted in use as a distinctive first name (see actor Broderick Crawford); derived from the Welsh, or possibly Old German ("famous power"). "Rick" is a possible diminutive, if you need one.

Cain(e): You know the story here.

So! Exactly what kind of minor character will I be?

At 7:17 PM, Anonymous ian said...

Preston Snow

At 8:44 PM, Anonymous Shrader said...

Phineus Jackson King
Camden Thrace
Theo Vargas
Bruce Landis

some thoughts

At 8:55 PM, Blogger Brett said...

Herndon Thermopylae

Roscoe T Flangemuffin

Alouicious Kinarffindale.

At 9:43 PM, Anonymous ian said...

If you want something different:

Alan Tiscio (anagram of 'antisocial')

At 10:15 PM, Anonymous Keenan B said...

I think that Mercer would be a good first name given that he's a salesman.

At 12:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harmon Geery

At 4:58 AM, Blogger said...

hahahahaa Mal Vincent... that's the name of our idiot movie reviewer in our news paper.

But I'm no help on this subject. I'm horrible with character names. But for guys, I always go for odd names... like Colton or Harlan.

At 5:31 AM, Blogger shecanfilmit said...

Liam Williams.

At 8:26 AM, Anonymous DH said...

Garret Singate

At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dick Balls

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Eric said...

Willard Gacy

At 11:44 AM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Thanks for all the input so far.

I sort of like Brody, even though that's the name of the guy from Jaws. Still, reclaiming the name for the dark side is interesting. (And my baby name book says it is Gaelic for "ditch").

Otherwise, I kind of like the tight, one-syllable names. Drake. Beck. Cale. Doyle.

Keep more of these coming. Don't worry about first and last; he'll just be one name for most of the script.


At 12:02 PM, Blogger Emily Blake said...

You have to use German sounding names with villains. Lots of hard consonants. And then for a last name, a subtle adjective.

So here' my suggestion:

Kirk Leary.

At 1:09 PM, Blogger Thomas Crymes said...

How bout my name? It works because I'm pure evil.

Name him Thom just to be quirky.

At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Jen Doe said...

If you want to reclaim a name for the dark side, how about Luke?

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

I think the Dukes of Hazzard movie did that just fine.

At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Shrader said...

Hmmm... mono-syllabic, huh?

How about:

Thad (kind of sounds like Vlad the Impaler)
Gideon (okay, it's more than one syllable)
Rory (kind of sounds like "Roar")

At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Shrader said...


At 3:16 PM, Blogger jefe said...

Mono-syllabic. One name.


Bran. (short for Brannon)




At 4:29 PM, Anonymous ian said...

I prefer the name Cole rather than Cale.

At 4:43 PM, Blogger Twixter Scripter said...

Hugh Grant


Randy "Red" McKillerson

Which one is more on the nose?

At 5:45 PM, Blogger MaryAn Batchellor said...


At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Shrader said...

Cage. (It's his last name, but what everyone calls him.)

At 7:27 PM, Anonymous ian said...

Running out of names, yet? How about:


Or you could bite the bullet and name him Clive.

At 11:05 PM, Blogger wcdixon said...

Simon Korn

Derek Suede

Garth Dokken

(I like to slip in music/band references if possible)

At 12:04 AM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

So I think I'm going to go with...


So I guess Ian wins. I'll name some squirrelly character after you :-)

Thanks everyone for playing....

At 3:32 AM, Anonymous ian said...

Thanks, Scott. Glad I could help.

(Hmm... squirrelly... yeah, that sounds about right.)

Good luck with the script!

At 5:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Johan (close to your John) Vanderspike (just made it up) so that is Johan Vanderspike

At 9:18 AM, Blogger Tim Clague said...

benedict rush

At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Leo said...

But "Cole" is such a soap opera name. Every soap from Dynasty to General Hospital has a Cole. Even "Charmed," that kitchy WB show, had a villain named Cole. Hell, even "Soapdish," the movie that parodied soaps made sure to have a Cole in the cast.

Cole, Jesse, Jagger, Stryker, Dylan: all over-used soap names.

Why not change it up at least a little bit and call him Cal or something.

At 10:52 AM, Blogger Thomas Crymes said...

Methinks The Scott has made up his mind on this. I don't think the Supernatural Thriller crowd is going to be intimately familiar with the goings on in General Hospital.

At 11:56 AM, Blogger PJ McIlvaine said...

Lincoln Boatwright

At 12:10 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Well, I'm not going to do the Cole-for-John replacement until tonight.

You have about 10 hours to change my mind.

At 11:16 AM, Blogger PJ McIlvaine said...

How about Laird (first name)? If it's good enough for Sharon Stone....

At 3:12 PM, Blogger Naila J. said...


I was gonna suggest Cole as well, but then, like someone else said, I thought it would be too much like Charmed.

At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Or it might be fun to go with something innocuous...


At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blanner Baines

At 6:38 PM, Anonymous Steverino said...

Hayden Ash?

I think it's not a bad idea to make sure that your villain's name doesn't have a dimunitive form, like Stevie. That is, unless there's a cultural context (like Stevie Ray Long, the baddest chinaman from China Grove, Texas.). The greatest bad-guy names, to me, are foriegn but don't initially seem to push the cliche (also they become cliche afterwards): Joel Cairo, Hannibal Lector, Rene Belloq, Darth Vader, etc.

At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trent Crowley ( or maybe Seth)


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