How to Craft the Perfect Villain Monologue - Arc Studio Blog (2023)

When we think about crafting our screenplays, the hero is often the first character to come to our minds. Whether your hero is quirky, handsome, an underdog, cocky and brave, or quiet and understated, they are nothing without a great villain to test them.

Every villain has their motives for pursuing the hero. This is at the heart of the human experience and every grand narrative: a hero can be a villain in someone else’s story and, a villain can be heroic in their own story.

Craft The Perfect Villain Monologue

So, is your villain human? If so, what are their motives for obstructing the hero? What is their point of view? What are they trying to achieve? All of these questions need to be addressed in the villain monologue.

Villain monologues are a chance for the villain to explain themselves and their inner conflicts that should be hinted at throughout the script. The hero should then get an opportunity to explain to the audience why the villain’s motives are misguided and wrong. Villain monologues traditionally come at the end of your screenplay and give the viewer a sense of catharsis and fulfillment.

Let's dive into the details of what to include and exclude in monologues.

Avoid Exposition Dump In Villain Monologues

When a villain sums up their motives for their actions, it is easy for them to explain everything in one long speech. However, be careful with long villain monologues.

You should reward your viewer if they have stayed until the very end with some answers to some long-awaited questions. But, the final few minutes of your screenplay can fall flat if your villain explains everything. You have nowhere else to go.

Be sure to leave some questions unanswered or merely hinted out. Some elements of the villain’s motivations and backstory should be sprinkled throughout the script and then confirmed or elaborated on in the climax. The final villain monologue should not introduce new character traits.

The Joker and Batman In The Dark Knight

How to Craft the Perfect Villain Monologue - Arc Studio Blog (1)

(Video) How To Write A Terrifying Villain — The Boys

A great example of a villain monologue that gives us just enough information to whet our appetite is the climactic sequence of The Dark Knight.

After a final rooftop fight, Batman pushes The Joker off the side of the building, seemingly to his death. For a few seconds, it appears Batman, infuriated, has caved in to his instincts and has decided to kill The Joker. Batman has won, but in doing so, he has compromised his moral integrity.

At the final moment, Batman repents and shoots a web to save The Joker. As he is strung up from a Gotham City skyscraper, helpless and dangling in mid-air, The Joker begins his villain monologue:

"You just couldn’t let me go? This is what happens," he says. "When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You truly are incorruptible, aren’t you? You won’t kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness and I won’t kill you because you’re just too much fun."

Here we see the relationship between the hero and the villain examined. The Joker compares himself to Batman: he suggests that the two of them will battle forever.

The Joker also reveals that he has been goading Batman to prove a point. Everybody is corruptible. The speech reveals The Joker’s cynical and nihilistic worldview. This is why he manipulated Harvey Dent and turned him into Two-Face and why he gave detonators to two boats full of civilians and prisoners, hoping they would each kill the other.

This nihilism has been hinted at several times already in the film.

"Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money, they can’t be reasoned with, bullied or negotiated with," Alfred the Butler tells Bruce Wayne when describing The Joker. "Some men just want to watch the world burn."

Earlier in the film, we also saw how The Joker intimidated members of the mob to get a cut of their bank heist funds, only for him to set fire to all of it. "It’s not about the money," the Joker mumbles. "It’s about sending a message."

(Video) Ninja Kidz Movie | Season 1 Remastered

At the end of The Joker’s final monologue, he is left motionless and hanging. We don’t get full closure and we don’t know what happens to him after this. This is a metaphor for The Joker’s nihilistic philosophy: there is no endpoint nor is there any real backstory.

Frank Underwood and The Breaking Of The Fourth Wall

How to Craft the Perfect Villain Monologue - Arc Studio Blog (2)

Perhaps the most famous villain monologues of recent years are Frank Underwood's in House of Cards.

Underwood is the central character of the show, but he is undoubtedly also the central villain. His famous monologues break the so-called fourth wall between viewer and characters, a term coined by the literary critic Denis Deidrot in 1758.

Throughout the series, he justifies and explains his motives to viewers. This invites us into his thought process. At times he makes us feel complicit in his crimes on his accession to the White House.

Having your central villain speak to the audience directly is unconventional, but it can pay off.

Underwood’s monologues take place in asides. In the script, Underwood’s dialogue is simply described in brackets as ‘to the camera’.

This is easy to format on Arc Studio Pro. You can write the character’s name (ctrl+3) and then use parenthetical (ctrl+4) where you can write (to camera) or the less conventional (addressing the audience).

How to Craft the Perfect Villain Monologue - Arc Studio Blog (3)

(Video) How to Develop a Picture Book: From Idea to Final Manuscript | Reedsy Live

In this opening, Underwood sets out his political philosophy directly to the audience. He paints himself as someone who makes tough but ultimately necessary choices. This sets the tone for the rest of the show. We witness him commit adultery, murder, vote-rigging, and almost complete corruption and then listen to him justify it to us.

The viewer is presented with a moral maze throughout the series. It ultimately culminates in Underwood resigning the presidency and explaining to us "why we [the viewers] watch."

"Oh don’t deny it," Underwood says into the camera. "You’ve loved it. You don’t need me to stand for anything. You just me to stand."

He stands up from his seat and wanders around the Congressional chamber and, the other characters can’t hear him, so we know he is talking directly to us.

He mocks us, the viewers, for being "addicted to action and slogans. With all this foolishness and indecision. Why not a man like me?"

Raoul Silva in Skyfall: The Arrogant Villain and The Hero In Jeopardy

How to Craft the Perfect Villain Monologue - Arc Studio Blog (4)

Another point in the narrative where you can place a villain montage is at the beginning of the third act of the screenplay. This is when the villain has captured or wrong-footed the hero, and they are in great jeopardy.

The villain assumes that they have triumphed over the hero and takes a moment to explain themselves to the hero. Most viewers would assume that the hero is likely to escape. The key to a great villain monologue is to make the dialogue so convincing that viewers feel the hero is genuinely in real jeopardy and might die.

A great example of this is Raoul Silva in Skyfall.

(Video) 🧜‍♀️ how to write interesting characters - my thoughts + tips

James Bond has been tied up in a chair. He’s in a very long room and in a wide-angle shot, we see Silva slowly making his way towards the camera. It takes about thirty seconds of screen time before we hear him speak.

Overconfidence and arrogance are often the greatest flaws in a villain, especially when they think they have triumphed. Silva begins with, "Welcome, do you like the island?"

He is not in a hurry. He feels he can take his time. Then, he begins narrating anecdotes from his childhood. This includes details about his grandma owning an island until one summer it became infested with rats.

He tells us how his grandmother tied coconut to an oil drum, trapping all the rats in the drum. Unable to escape or get the food, they ate each other; it is a metaphor for how Silva has lured Bond and MI6 into a trap and, Bond and Silva are the final two rats remaining.

Silva, having hacked into MI6’s computer systems, then reveals how M lied to Bond about his medical tests.

We can compare this scene to a much more vulnerable monologue later in the film where Silva is tied up in MI6 headquarters and seemingly not in control. He is finally reunited with M where he can say his piece, telling M and the viewers about their past relationship and how he felt M had abandoned him.

We hear Silva’s point of view in this monologue. He felt he had no other option after being captured and abandoned but to take a cyanide capsule, hidden in his tooth. It didn’t kill him but burned most of his insides.

M refuses to show any remorse, remarking, "regret is unprofessional," but when Silva pulls out his false teeth and we see the damage the cyanide has caused, it’s clear from the expression on M’s face that she feels troubled. As viewers, we might side with Silva over M here.

Perfecting Your Villain's Monologue

A great villain monologue should convince us of the villain's point of view. Ultimately, a great villain monologue makes us empathize with and convinces us of the Villain's point of view, even when that is antithetical to the hero’s beliefs and objectives.

(Video) How To Vastly Improve Your Writing Skills (By Playing Video Games) | Buy Me Bonestorm or Go To Hell!

A great monologue should humanize your villain just as much as your hero and it should allow us to see the hero’s actions in the context of the villain’s point of view.

FAQs

How do you make a good villain monologue? ›

The villain assumes that they have triumphed over the hero and takes a moment to explain themselves to the hero. Most viewers would assume that the hero is likely to escape. The key to a great villain monologue is to make the dialogue so convincing that viewers feel the hero is genuinely in real jeopardy and might die.

How do you make a good villain arc? ›

How To Write Great Villains
  1. Great villains are people, too. ...
  2. Great villains are more than themselves. ...
  3. A villain's motivation isn't a straight line. ...
  4. 'Villain' doesn't always mean 'bad guy' ...
  5. A great villain stands out. ...
  6. Villains have to win some, too. ...
  7. We love villains who surprise us.
6 Nov 2020

What characteristics make an ideal villain speech? ›

Most great villains share a common set of characteristics.
  • Strong connection to the hero. The best villains are inextricably connected to the hero, and aid in the hero's character development through their inherent opposition to them. ...
  • Clear morality. ...
  • A worthy opponent. ...
  • Compelling backstory. ...
  • Villains should be fun.
29 Sept 2021

How do you write a villain story? ›

Villain Characteristics Checklist:
  1. He's convinced he's the good guy.
  2. He has many likeable qualities.
  3. He's a worthy enough opponent to make your hero look good.
  4. You (and your reader) like when he's on stage.
  5. He's clever and accomplished enough that people must lend him begrudging respect.
  6. He can't be a fool or a bumbler.
20 Apr 2016

What 5 things should you include in a monologue? ›

5 Tips for Writing Dramatic Monologues
  • Start with a compelling opening line. Monologues lack action and dialogue, which can leave the audience unengaged. ...
  • Present a strong point of view. ...
  • Develop a storyline. ...
  • Know your parameters. ...
  • Wrap up with parting words.
7 Jun 2021

What is the longest arc in my hero academia? ›

The longest arc in My Hero Academia clocks in at 17 episodes. Within these 17 episodes, the Yakuza group Shie Hassaikai is introduced as a group of villains that have managed to create weapons that can erase a hero's quirk entirely. This 17 episode arc also introduces the U.A.

How do you make a female villain? ›

Make your villain passionate about something other than a relationship or the potential for a new romance by creating storylines about family, friends, secrets, loss, etc.
...
Don't Use Romance As Motivation
  1. Extinction.
  2. Climate Change.
  3. Economic Hardship.
  4. Equality.
  5. Abuse.
  6. Avenging a Death.
5 Dec 2018

What makes a good villain voice? ›

Don't forget that a good villain is never boring. So, your voice should have an extreme amount of energy to it, no matter what the volume, speed or pitch. Evil never sleeps, and whether quiet or loud, slow or fast, a villain is always plotting and acting meticulously and on purpose.

What words describe a villain? ›

synonyms for villainous
  • nefarious.
  • shady.
  • vile.
  • wicked.
  • atrocious.
  • bad.
  • corrupt.
  • crooked.

What is a good goal for a villain? ›

Most villains share a desire to obtain power. Some villains only want to have power over your main character. Others want to take over the world and achieve ultimate power. When crafting your big bad, you should analyze your evil villain's relationship to power.

How can I be a villain? ›

How to Be a Villain on Stage and Screen
  1. Understand What Kind of Villain Your Character Is. ...
  2. Explore Rage. ...
  3. Find Your Character's Poker Face. ...
  4. Find a Great Costume and Voice. ...
  5. Don't Be Afraid to Get Ugly. ...
  6. Find the Humanity and Humor. ...
  7. Watch Great Villains on TV and in Films.
29 Apr 2022

What are 5 characteristics of a villain? ›

5 Characteristics of an Epic Villain
  • Powerful. Great villains are staggeringly powerful. ...
  • Intelligent. Effective villains are intelligent. ...
  • Immoral. True villains are immoral. ...
  • Wounded. Memorable villains are usually wounded individuals. ...
  • Determined. ...
  • Other Characteristics.
22 May 2011

How do you write a dark villain? ›

Fortunately, if you're trying to write a villain of your own, these six steps will help you make them truly memorable.
...
What Makes a Terrifying Villain?
  1. 3.1 Find Their Desire:
  2. 3.2 Mirror Your Hero:
  3. 3.3 Create Impact:
  4. 3.4 Ditch the Evil:
  5. 3.5 Make Them Real:
  6. 3.6 Push Them to the Edge:
13 Aug 2020

What should you not do in a monologue? ›

Don't Talk to the Air

Also, unless asked to do so, avoid looking at casting directors while performing a monologue. Doing so can bring them out of the role of the observer and suddenly put them on the spot as if they're part of the scene. And it can make casting feel uncomfortable.

What are the 3 types of monologue? ›

  • Soliloquy (monologue in drama)
  • Dramatic monologue.
  • Operatic monologue.
  • Comic monologue.
  • Monologuing.

How long do actors get to memorize lines? ›

Most of the actors I talked to said they could memorize a six-page script (translation: a six-minute scene) in about an hour. "If you're giving me six pages to memorize," said Russell, "I would love to say, 'Give me an hour to learn it, and then give me a 15- or 20-minute nap.

What is the fastest way to memorize monologues? ›

Start by breaking the monologue down into chunks, either using natural breaking points like paragraphs or simply dividing it into even sections. Focus all of your attention on the first chunk until you have it committed to memory. Then move on to the next one, adding it to the first one after you have both memorized.

Is a 2 minute monologue too long? ›

An effective monologue should be around one minute, or 90 seconds max. Length goes hand in hand with entertainment, because you don't want your audience to become bored. It is far better to fill a 30 second monologue with great acting choices than to dredge on for 3 minutes of mediocre acting.

What is the fastest way to learn lines for a monologue? ›

Get Cast Today
  1. Read it aloud. Auditory linking is another helpful piece of the memorization puzzle. ...
  2. Break it up. Don't overwhelm yourself by trying to learn it all at once. ...
  3. Try using a mnemonic device. Write down the first letter of each word in each of your lines. ...
  4. Get visual.
15 Jun 2021

What arc is vigilante DEKU? ›

The Vigilantes Beginnings Arc is the first story arc in My Hero Academia: Vigilantes.

How old is All Might? ›

It turns out that All Might is actually 49 years old, which is actually revealed through Endeavor's age being 46, which comes to light during the Provisional License Exam.

Who is the No 1 villain in the world? ›

Villains
RankVillainFilm
1Hannibal LecterThe Silence of the Lambs
2Norman BatesPsycho
3Darth VaderThe Empire Strikes Back
4The Wicked Witch of the WestThe Wizard of Oz
19 more rows

Who is the most loved villain? ›

These villains give beloved protagonists a reason to exist, to entertain, to go above and beyond in the pursuit of justice.
...
The Wikipedia page views were given less weight to compensate for not every villain having a page.
  • Tyler Durden. ...
  • Bane. ...
  • Sauron. ...
  • Hannibal Lecter. ...
  • Warden Norton. ...
  • Two-Face. ...
  • Joker. ...
  • Darth Vader.
19 Jun 2018

How can I hide my villain? ›

Hiding Your Villain in Plain Sight
  1. Use first-person point of view. ...
  2. Provide a sympathetic background. ...
  3. Establish motivations and goals. ...
  4. Throw a wrench in your hidden villain's plans. ...
  5. Demonstrate virtue and show emotion. ...
  6. Show positive interaction with other characters. ...
  7. Watch voice and tone closely.
3 May 2022

How do you dress like a villain? ›

Elements of villain-era fashion include plenty of leather, black clothing, and chains. Invoke your favorite villain with long, skin-tight dresses, cutout outfits, and playing with corsets and lace-up designs. Basically, embrace whatever makes you feel fierce and dangerous.

How do you turn a hero into a villain? ›

Turning A Villain Into A Hero
  1. First, you present the villain in all their awfulness. ...
  2. Second, give the villain's point of view. ...
  3. Third, show a redeeming quality or two that still exists within the villain. ...
  4. Fourth, present someone even worse than they are. ...
  5. Fifth, the villain starts making choices that make him a hero.
21 Oct 2016

What makes a voice scary? ›

The science of making a sound truly scary often lies in the frequency. Frequency is essentially the pitch or tone of a sound. A higher-frequency sound is high in pitch, sometimes squeaky or shrill, and lower-frequency sounds are tones that rumble, drone, or cannot be heard at all.

How can I sound more evil? ›

The key to sounding evil is usually prolonging the laugh for an extended period. Making the laugh especially deep or loud can also help it sound more threatening. It often helps to start with a low laugh and have it become louder and deeper as it progresses. The pace of your laugh can help it sound more sinister too.

What kind of voice does a villain have? ›

A deep voice makes the character sound strong, mature and competent, so it is a common trait for major villains that the audience is supposed to fear and respect. Consequently, such villains will usually speak in baritone register (or in villainesses' cases a contralto register), more rarely in bass register.

What is a female villain called? ›

A villain (also known as a "black hat" or "bad guy"; the feminine form is villainess) is a stock character, whether based on a historical narrative or one of literary fiction.

What is a fancy word for villain? ›

bad guy. nounvillainous or criminal person. antagonist. antihero.

What is villain called in English? ›

villain. / (ˈvɪlən) / noun. a wicked or malevolent person. (in a novel, play, film, etc) the main evil character and antagonist to the hero.

What makes a villain a villain? ›

This structural role of antagonising the main character is the reason the villain is often described as the antagonist. They are a character who stands in negative relation to the spiritual, emotional, moral or financial progress of the main character, a character who is often described as the protagonist.

How do you write a villain in pure evil? ›

A Pure Evil Villain must have no redeeming qualities. This type of villain cannot show empathy, compassion, regrets, remorse, or love for anyone. In addition, any actions out of genuine concern or for altruistic reasons are disqualifying factors and the villain cannot count as Pure Evil.

Why would a villain want power? ›

Often, power is a core character motivation. Villains often gain power over others because: Other characters have misplaced trust in them (Othello's mistaken trust in Iago in Shakespeare's play, for example)

Can a villain be loved? ›

Even evil characters (and real people) can find someone to love. Often, that love is twisted, a cause for villainy, or an act, but sometimes a work can show an evil character's love is genuine and deep.

What makes a villain super? ›

But in the end, the truly defining feature of a supervillain is that they warp their world around themselves. Their presence, their actions, their choices change the rules of the story, raise the stakes, and make the heroes adjust to them rather than the other way around.

What powers can a villain have? ›

Sub Tropes include:
  • Complete Immortality: Control over one's own death, or major injury.
  • Meta Power: Control over an opponent's abilities.
  • Mind Control: Control over an opponent's mind.
  • People Puppets: Control over an opponent's body.
  • Reality Warper: Control over the reality itself.

What are villains weaknesses? ›

A list of flaws that could explain your antagonist's goals include:
  • Greed: Excessive desire for more than what a person rationally needs (power, money, food, control, etc.)
  • Jealousy: Envying and wanting what others have.

What do all villains have in common? ›

#1 An obsession. This is perhaps the most obvious characteristic of every villain. Typically, villains are obsessed with three main things: 1) power, 2) wealth, and 3) revenge. Many times, these obsessions intersect.

Why is it called a villain? ›

Villain comes from the Old French word vilain, which does not mean “a bad guy in a cape lurking in the shadows.” It originally meant, in the twelfth century, a “peasant, farmer, commoner, churl, yokel.” In other words, a villain was just a regular guy who was unfamiliar with the trappings of high society.

How do you write a twisted villain? ›

5 Tips for Writing a Good Plot Twist
  1. Kill off a seemingly important character. ...
  2. Let your character discover a plot twist organically. ...
  3. Elevate a seemingly minor character. ...
  4. Have your big reveal instigate a twist ending. ...
  5. Make sure your plot twist is earned.
29 Sept 2021

How do you write a smart villain? ›

4 Tips for Writing a Great Villain in Your Novel
  1. Choose a real-life model. Find a real person to model your villain after. ...
  2. Put yourself in their shoes. When it's time for your villain to act, put yourself in their place. ...
  3. Consider their motivation. ...
  4. Introduce a villain with a bang.
29 Sept 2021

What are some good villain ideas? ›

An evil queen who wants to rule over her own kingdom. A pirate captain in search of treasure and revenge. A monster who terrorizes the townspeople. A villain who's misunderstood and has a tragic backstory.

How do you write a good secret villain? ›

Hiding Your Villain in Plain Sight
  1. Use first-person point of view. ...
  2. Provide a sympathetic background. ...
  3. Establish motivations and goals. ...
  4. Throw a wrench in your hidden villain's plans. ...
  5. Demonstrate virtue and show emotion. ...
  6. Show positive interaction with other characters. ...
  7. Watch voice and tone closely.
3 May 2022

What makes a monologue good? ›

A great monologue will capture the audience's attention and imagination with length and tone but cut short just at the right time. Put simply, if a monologue goes on too long the audience will get bored.

How do you write a terrifying villain? ›

4 Fail-Safe Steps for Writing a Truly Terrifying Villain
  1. Make Them More Than the “Bad Guy” Cookie-cutter villains are no fun. ...
  2. Make Their Plans Logical. There's something to be said about those villains that make sense. ...
  3. Give Them Control. ...
  4. Make Them Scare the Hero. ...
  5. Bonus Tip: Give Them a Cool Outfit.

How do I look like a villain? ›

Elements of villain-era fashion include plenty of leather, black clothing, and chains. Invoke your favorite villain with long, skin-tight dresses, cutout outfits, and playing with corsets and lace-up designs. Basically, embrace whatever makes you feel fierce and dangerous.

What are some villain words? ›

synonyms for villainous
  • nefarious.
  • shady.
  • vile.
  • wicked.
  • atrocious.
  • bad.
  • corrupt.
  • crooked.

How do you make a pure evil villain interesting? ›

Make them evil because of their choices or actions, not their identity. Evil isn't simply something that someone is, it's something that a person chooses. Give your reader a sense of why this character is evil and not good. Have the villain personally do evil acts (not just order them to happen).

How do you write a manipulative villain? ›

There are a few important things you should keep in mind:
  1. Your manipulative character should have a clear goal she's trying to achieve. What does she want and why?
  2. They should be willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goal. ...
  3. They should have the ability to read people and understand what makes them tick.
6 Jul 2022

What are the 4 types of monologue? ›

  • Soliloquy (monologue in drama)
  • Dramatic monologue.
  • Operatic monologue.
  • Comic monologue.
  • Monologuing.

Videos

1. Sing-Along: Revisiting Joss Whedon
(samwonk)
2. Ellen Degeneres is Officially CANCELLED After This Happened...
(The Showest)
3. 60-80's Hollywood Actresses and Their Shocking Look In 2021
(BIG STAR-X)
4. Kim Jong-Un brutally shoots an orchestra conductor 90 times in front of every artist in Pyongyang
(Voice of North Korea by Yeonmi Park)
5. How to Write a NEGATIVE Character Arc
(Abbie Emmons)
6. He Took A Photo Of His Pregnant Wife, But When He Saw The Photo
(World Revealed)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nathanael Baumbach

Last Updated: 02/12/2023

Views: 6129

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (75 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nathanael Baumbach

Birthday: 1998-12-02

Address: Apt. 829 751 Glover View, West Orlando, IN 22436

Phone: +901025288581

Job: Internal IT Coordinator

Hobby: Gunsmithing, Motor sports, Flying, Skiing, Hooping, Lego building, Ice skating

Introduction: My name is Nathanael Baumbach, I am a fantastic, nice, victorious, brave, healthy, cute, glorious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.