You don't have to be a gun. You are what you choose to be. You choose. Choose.
My own giant robot. I am now the luckiest kid in America!
[while on Espresso, speaking very quickly] So she moved me up a grade because I wasn't fitting in, so now I'm even more not fitting in. I was getting good grades, you know? Like, all A's. So my mom said, "You need stimulation," and I go, "No, I'm stimulated enough right now!" [Dean: That's for sure.] So she goes, "Uh-uh. You don't have a challenge. You need a challenge." So now I'm challenged, all right. I'M CHALLENGED TO HOLD ON TO MY LUNCH MONEY, because of all the big mooses who wanna pound me because I'm the shrimpy dork who thinks he's smarter than them. But I don't think I'm smarter; I just do the stupid homework! If everyone else just did the stupid homework, they could move up a grade and get pounded too; is there anymore coffee?
It's bad to kill. Guns kill. And you don't have to be a gun. You are what you choose to be. You choose. Choose. [To the Giant, who is in battle mode]
You'd be surprised how many people want to steal scrap. But, man, once I make it into art, I can't give it away. I mean, what am I? A junkman who makes art or an artist who sells junk? You tell me.
Two nights ago, at approximately 1900 hours, S.A.T com radar detected an unidentified flying object entering Earth's atmosphere, losing contact with it two-and-a-half miles off the coast of Rockwell. Some assumed it was a large meteor, or a downed satellite, but my office in Washington received a call from someone reporting an actual encounter with the object. This is no meteor, gentlemen! This is something much more serious. So...
LAUNCH THE MISSILE NOW!!!
No, Marv. Big things happen in big places, and the sooner I file my report, the sooner I can get back to them.
Biggest thing in this town is probably the homecoming queen... (sees his passenger seat, chomped up) ...oh, my GOD!!![jumps out of the car]
Screw our country... I wanna live!
Don't listen, general! Destroy the monster while we still have a chance!
Stop it now, general! Our future's at stake!
It's a trick! Launch the missile!
The army will arrive in the morning, Hogarth. Don't get cute.
(to Hogarth, about what Earl said) Sorry kid, I didn't really see anything. But if we don't stick up for the kooks, who will?
Sorry about the crowbar, kid. You'd be surprised how many people want to steal scrap. But, man, once I make it into art, I can't give it away. I mean, what am I? A junkman who makes art or an artist who sells junk? You tell me.
(to Hogarth) This is espresso. It's like Coffee-zilla.
(to the Giant) There are two kinds of metal in this yard: (points to scrap pile) Scrap (points to metal art pieces) and Art. If you're going to eat one of them, eat the scrap. What you currently have, IN YOUR MOUTH, is ART!
(to Hogarth, about the bullies at his school) Who cares what those creeps think? They don't decide who you are, you do. You are who you choose to be.
This rich cat, some industrialist, wanted him for the lobby of his company. He whipped out his checkbook right on the spot. I said, "Hey, you got him for the rest of your life. But what, I gotta let go the moment I give birth?" I mean, come on! Give me some time to cut the umbilical, man.
This can't last forever, Hogarth. We gotta tell somebody about it.
I'd like to apologize everyone and pay an advance for this! (unzips his pants, Hogarth's pet squirrel comes flying out of his pants, and wrecks havoc in the diner.)
(the film begins) A very peaceful, stay-at-home kind of day in a town very much like your own. But then, suddenly, without warning...(the bomb in the film explodes in a similar way to the nukes of Soviet Union and the bomb Little Boy which destroyed Hiroshima)ATOMIC HOLOCAUST!!
[Singing] Time to Duck and Cover. The bombs are coming down. A radiation shower will pour throughout your town. Hands up your head, keep low to the ground. Time to Duck and Cover. The bombs are coming down. Duck and Cover. Duck and Cover. Get under the desk with your sister and your brother. Duck and Cover. Duck and Cover. That goes double for your dad and your mother. So, hands over your head, keep low to the ground. 'Cause all the kids who don't will cease to be around.
Hogarth: Hey, Mom! You won't believe our good luck. Guess what I found?
Annie: Hogarth, we've been through this before. No pets.
Hogarth: But he's not a pet, Mom. He's a friend.
Annie: Hogarth, we've got to rent a room this year if we're gonna make ends meet, and no one wants to live in a place with shredded upholstery.
Hogarth: You'll never know he's there. I'll keep him in a cage.
Annie: Until you feel sorry for him and set him free... in the house. You remember the raccoon, Hogarth? [Shudders] I remember the raccoon.
Hogarth: [to the Giant] Do you talk? You know, words, "Blah, blah, blah" like that? Can you do that? Blah, blah, blah.
Giant: [in a rusty voice] Blah, blah, blah.
Hogarth: Well... you get the idea anyway. (picks up a rock) See this? This is called a rock. Rock.
Giant: [picks up a boulder] Rock?
Giant: [picks up a tree] Rock!
Hogarth: No, no. That is a tree. [points to boulder] Rock... [points to tree] tree. Get it?
Giant: [looks at boulder] Rock... [looks at tree] tree.
Hogarth: That's right!
(Kent is talking Marv about the power surge)
Kent: Frankly, I'm not entitled to reveal the specifics of the division I work for, and all of that implies...
Marv: Do you mean...national security?
Kent: Let's put it this way. Every once in a while, things happen that just can't be rationalized in a conventional way. But the people want to know that their government has a response. I am that response.
(Kent is on the phone with Rogard.)
General Rogard: Damn it, Mansley, you call me at home for this?
Kent: You don't understand, sir. It-it-it it-it ate my car.
General Rogard: And you saw this happen?
Kent: No, I didn't actually see it... It ran off...into the woods.
General Rogard: So you don't have any evidence?
Kent: But sir, I've got an eyewitness!
General Rogard: An eyewitness with a concussion.
Kent(shouts): Sir, this thing... (Lowers his voice) ...this thing is a menace. It tore up a power station. And caused a train wreck!
General Rogard: What did? Tell me again, Mansley, and this time, listen to yourself.
Kent: (sighs) A giant...metal...monster.
(Hysterical laughter on the other end. Kent turns around a kitchen mitt that seems to mock him.)
Kent: Please, sir. I've got a feeling about this one.
General Rogard: That's lovely, Kent. But let me try to explain how this works: If you told me you found, say...ah, a giant footprint, I might send over a expert to make a plaster cast of it. Hell, you get me a photograph of this thing and I could probably get some troops over there! But you tell me you have a feeling...
Kent: All right, then fine. You want evidence? I'll get you evidence. And when I do, I'm gonna want a memo distributed.
General Rogard: That's just swell, Kent.
Kent: (yelling) I'm gonna want that memo carbon COPIED AND RE-DISTRIBUTED AND--!
(Rogard hangs up)
[After Dean gets washed into the street by a lake's tidal wave the Giant created]
Man:[in truck] Hey!
Dean:[clearly annoyed] Yeah?
Man: You're right in the middle of the road!
Man: Alright... [drives away]
Dean: I think that's enough fun for one day.
Hogarth: [has just had espresso with Dean, and is not used to its effects] So she moved me up a grade because I wasn't fitting in, so now I'm even more not fitting in. I was getting good grades, you know, like all A's. So my mom says, "You need stimulation" and I go, "No, I'm stimulated enough right now."
Dean: That's for sure.
Hogarth: So she says, "Uh-uh. You don't have a challenge. You need a challenge." So now I'm challenged, all right. I'm challenged to hold on to my lunch money because of all the big moochers who want to pound me, because I'm a shrimpy dork who thinks he's smarter than them. But I don't think I'm smarter, I just do the stupid homework. If everyone else just did the stupid homework, they could move up a grade and get pounded too. Is there any more coffee?
Dean: (sees the Giant eating some metal junk and shakes with fear as he is about to take a sip of his coffee) So... where'd he come from?
Hogarth: He doesn't remember. He's like a... little kid.
Dean: Little... yeah... (starts chuckling, then stops) Wait a minute. You can talk to him?
Hogarth: Kinda. He can't say a lot of words yet, but he understand things pretty good.
Dean: Oh yeah, I see.
(Hogarth and Dean start chuckling as the Giant is still eating some metal junk, then they stop)
Hogarth: He needs food and shelter. (Dean gets up from his chair, pours his coffee onto the ground, and walks back into his "office", slamming the door. 37 minutes later, Hogarth is still pleading to Dean to let the Giant stay in the junkyard, but to no avail.) You got plenty of room here. This place is perfect!
Dean: Go away.
Hogarth: I can have him push the door down. You know I can!
Dean: (finally tired of Hogarth's pleading; opens the door) Hogarth! I can't hide it here!
Hogarth: Him, not it.
Dean: Whatever. You don't even know where he came from or what the hell he is!
Hogarth: He's my friend.
Dean: Yeah, yeah. What am I? Am I your friend? (starts walking back in to his office) Bring some Franken-bot with out-of-state plates over here and make me change my tune. I don't like that jazz. (lays down on his couch) God, I'm tired.
Hogarth: So... he can stay?
Dean: Tonight. Tomorrow... well, I don't know about tomorrow.
(Hogarth closes the door and breathes a sigh of relief)
(At the pharmacy)
Hogarth: First, you take a chocolate bar. Any bar'll do. Do you mind if I...?
Kent: No, knock yourself out, skipper.
Hogarth: [crumbles up coca-lax] You crumble up the chocolate into little pieces. [stirs the ice cream] Then you kind of just stir it into the ice cream. See?
Kent: Yes, I see. What do you call this again?
Hogarth: Landslide. It's new. Very new. [drops the coca-lax wrapper in the garbage.]
Kent: Mmmm. Landslide. Topnotch. Mmmm. [while Hogarth makes himself a Landslide with a chocolate bar] You know, Hogarth, we live in a strange and wondrous time: the Atomic Age. But there's a dark side to progress, Hogarth. Ever hear of Sputnik?
Hogarth: Yeah, first satellite in space.
Kent: Foreign satellite, Hogarth, and all that implies. Even now it orbits overhead - Boop! Boop! - watching us. We can't see it but it's there, much like that giant thing in the woods. We don't know what it is or what it can do. I don't feel safe, Hogarth. Do you?
Hogarth: (puzzled) What are you talking about?
Kent: What am I talking about? (loses patience) What am I talking about?! I'm talking about your gold darned security, Hogarth! While you're snoozing in your widdle jammies, back in Washington we're wide awake and worried! Why? Because everyone wants what we have, Hogarth! Everyone! You think this metal man is fun, but who built it? The Russians? The Chinese? Martians? The Canadians? I don't care! All I know is we didn't build it, and that's reason enough to assume the worst and blow it to kingdom come! Now, you are going to tell me about this thing, you are going to lead me to it, and we are going to destroy it before it destroys us! (his stomach begins to rumble) Hold that thought and stay right there! Uh-oh!
(Kent rushes to the restroom. As soon as he's gone, Hogarth rushes out the door.)
Hogarth: [sees the Giant, looking upset about the deer, which was shot] I know you feel bad about the deer. But it's not your fault. Things die. It's part of life. It's bad to kill, but it's not bad to die.
Giant: You... die?
Hogarth: Well... yes, someday.
Giant: I die?
Hogarth: I don't know. You're made of metal... but you have feelings. And you think about things. And that means you have a soul, and souls don't die.
Hogarth: Mom says it's something inside of all good things... and that it goes on forever and ever. [Hogarth leaves. The Iron Giant lays back to look at the stars]
Giant: Souls don't die.
Kent: (interrogates Hogarth in the barn) You're late for dinner, Hogarth. (Hogarth tries to escape from the barn but Kent locks the door and stops him) Your mom's working late tonight, Hogarth. So it's just us guys. And we're gonna have a little chat. Sit down! (shoves Hogarth onto a chair and shines a bright light on him) How's that? A little too bright? Good. Forgive me, Hogarth. I wanted you to learn something.
Hogarth: What can I learn from you?
Kent: You can learn this, Hogarth: that I can do anything I want whenever I want if I feel it's in the people's best interest. The giant metal man... where is it?
Hogarth: I don't know what you're talking about.
Kent: You don't? Well... (tosses him his pictures, first one of the piece of metal that Hogarth lured the giant with) Does this ring a bell? (Hogarth doesn't answer) No? (tosses him another picture which Hogarth accidentally took of himself - with the Giant behind him) How about this? You've been careless, Hogarth.
Hogarth: It doesn't prove anything!
Kent: It's enough to get the Army here with one phone call.
Hogarth: Then what's stopping you?
Kent: (Angrily, knocking the lamp over the table)Where's the giant?!(grabs Hogarth by the jaw) You can't protect him, Hogarth - any more than you can... protect your mother.
Hogarth Hughes: (worried puzzledley) My mom?
Kent Mansley: (lets go of Hogarth's jaw and sighs) It's difficult to raise a boy all alone. We can make it more difficult. In fact, we can make it so difficult that it would be irresponsible for us to leave you in her care. And all of that implies... you'll be taken away from her, Hogarth.
Hogarth Hughes: You can't do that!
Kent Mansley: Oh, we can... and we will.
Hogarth: (sees that there is now no other alternative and looks down in defeat of despair) He's in the junkyard. McCoppin's Scrap, off Culver Road.
Kent: The junkyard. Of course! Food for the metal eater. I wouldn't worry about this, Hogarth. It isn't really happening. This is only... a bad dream.
(Kent stuffs Hogarth with chloroform, knocking him out, and leaves him unconscious)
Annie Hughes: For some reason the army is in our front yard, Mr. Mansley.
Kent: Please, call me Kent.
General Rogard: (furious with Mansley)You'll be chief inspector of subway toilets by the time I'm finished with you! Now pack up. I'll expect you back in Washington to clear out your office.
Kent Mansley: Yes, sir.
Hogarth Hughes: Bye, Kent, and all that implies.
General Rogard: That missile is targeted to the Giant's current position! Where's the Giant, Mansley?!
Kent: [Upon realizing the Giant is right above them] Wha--? Ooh... We can duck and cover! There's a fallout shelter right there, if we--
General Rogard: [Angrily] There's no way to survive this, you idiot!
Kent: You mean we're all going to...
General Rogard: To die, Mansley. For our country.
Kent: Screw our country! I wanna live! [He attempts to escape Rockwell to save himself but is stopped by the Giant. The troops surround Kent and hold him at gunpoint to arrest him.]
General Rogard: [to the troops] Hold him, men. Make sure he stays here, like a good soldier.
Kent: Thanks for letting me use your phone, Mrs....
Annie: Hughes. Annie Hughes and this is my son, Hogarth.
Kent: Thank you, Annie. Hobart.
Hogarth Hughes: That's Hogarth!
Kent: [starts the car] Hogarth? That's an embarrassing name. They might as well call him Zeppo or something. [after thanking Hogarth's family] What kind of sick person would name a kid Hogar-?
[stops and looks over to Hogarth's smashed B-B gun. It reads part of Hogarth's name: Hog- Hug-]
Kent: Hog Hug. Hog Hug? Hogarth Hughes!
[stops the car he was driving]
[the door knocks]
Hogarth: [opens the door for Kent] Kent Mansley. You work for the government.
Kent: I wasn't gonna say that. I have something for you, Hogarth. [hands out Hogarth's B-B gun]
Annie: Your B-B gun. Where did you find that?
Kent: Up at the power station.
Annie: Hogarth was out there the other night.
Kent: Really? See anything unusual, Hogarth?
Hogarth: No thing...unusual, really?
[The Giant looks down to Hogarth]
Giant: Hogarth. You stay. I go. No following.
[The Giant faces the missile]
Hogarth: I love you.
(As the Giant is about to sacrifice himself to save the town)
Hogarth: [voice over] You are who you choose to be.
Hogarth Hughes: [rolls his eyes, then sees the Giant's hand walking through his kitchen] Oh, my God! [his mother looks up at him] Uhh, Oh my God...We, uh...thank you for the...food that Mom has put in front of us and- STOP! ...Uh, uh- the devil! From doing bad things. And uh- get out of here! Uh...Satan? Go! Go...so that we may live in peace. Amen.
Annie Hughes: Amen. That was...really unusual, Hogarth.
Hogarth: [Sees the screw knocking on his bedroom window and Hogarth opens the window to release the screw after remembering the Giant can fix himself and is not dead] See ya later!
Dean:[to Hogarth] I'm gonna have some coffee. What do you want, some milk, or what? Milk?
Hogarth: Coffee's fine. [Dean gives Hogarth the look] I drink it. I'm hip.
Dean:I don't know. This is espresso, you know? It's like coffee-zilla.
Hogarth: I said, I'm hip.
Annie: [after observing Dean's artwork] Hmm. I see why Hogarth sneaks out here.
Iron Giant was brought to Warner Bros. by Pete Townsend of The Who, and Des McAnuff, who directed the stage version of Tommy. They wanted to do an animated musical. Pete had already done a musical adaptation of the original Ted Hughes story (The Iron Man) for the stage play as well as an album based on those songs.
I was at Turner developing Ray Gunn when Warners and Turner merged. Warners had even less interest in Ray Gunn than Turner did, and since there was three months left on my Turner contract, Warners asked me if I was interested in any of the projects they already had in development. They had a ridiculous number of projects "in development," but I picked three to read and one of them was Iron Giant.
I'd read the Ted Hughes book and loved it for its poetic simplicity... but I also had some new ideas of my own on what the film could be about. I'm a huge fan of Pete Townshend's work, but I really didn't see Giant as an animated musical. The meat of the story, to me, was the relationship between this little boy and the Giant. My main problem with the book was that it veered away from that relationship about halfway through, and became a contest between the Giant and this Giant Space Bat flying back and forth to the sun.
I came back to Warner Bros., said I was interested in IG, but wanted to a go a different direction with it. Then I asked them: "What if a gun had a soul and didn't want to be a gun?"
That kind of stuck with them, so I went further and pitched them my new storyline. Rather than setting the film in a timeless England, I wanted to set the film in America in 1957-- at the height of the Cold War. I added the beatnik character Dean and the government character Kent Mansley and the army and such-- none of which are in the book.