Stefano Boscutti

Author, Screenwriter, Creative Consultant

 

Stefano Boscutti - Boscutti's Don Simpson - Screenplay

 

“Boscutti’s Don Simpson” (Screenplay)

And you thought your life was a movie.

Outrageous legendary producer Don Simpson is famous for packing as much excess into his life as into his movies. His blustering blockbuster model became the standard Hollywood formula. But he wants to change his bombastic life. He wants to make a film he is proud of.

“Boscutti’s Don Simpson” is an award-winning Hollywood screenplay based on a true story. More sex and drugs and movie stars than a Hollywood orgy.

Is the notorious Simpson going too fast to turn his life around?

‘What happens when you have everything and you still want more, still need more? When enough is never enough? When your ambition starts to feed on itself? I guess that’s what I was trying to discover.’ Stefano Boscutti

★★★★

‘Lurid details and lucid insights give way to a memorable, indispensable look at Hollywood in all its glory.’ Joan Young

‘Illuminates the source of Don Simpson’s long emotional torment more than any factual biography.’ Tony Rossitto

‘Astonishing, sprawling and spectacular look at American life as seen through the movies.’ George Bauchens

“Boscutti’s Don Simpson” was a finalist in Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope Screenwriting Contest and Amsterdam International Film Festival. Features improved screenplay format to make it easier and more enjoyable for you to read.

Rated R / ISBN 9780987446527 / 23,000 words / 92 minutes of fast and furious reading pleasure

Prefer to read free online? Scroll on to read the whole screenplay.

 


‘They may hate me, but they want me. That’s being a member of the club. And without that, you might as well be dead.’ Don Simpson

 

STEFANO BOSCUTTI

BOSCUTTI’S DON SIMPSON

 

 

Author Edition
Copyright 2015 Stefano Boscutti
All Rights Reserved ISBN 9780987446527

Discover new stories, screenplays, novels and more by Stefano Boscutti at boscutti.com

 

 

OPENING TITLES - MONTAGE

Fade up live version of Jimi Hendrix’s psychedelic “Are You Experienced?” under flash cuts of DON SIMPSON’S life played back in reverse.

Backward-looped drums and scratch guitar. Lyrics full of temptation and bravado slip and slide with the music.

 

INT. ENSUITE - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - FIRST LIGHT - 1996

Simpson, 52, slumps on upstairs toilet, bloated body wedged hard against black marbled wall. He’s in a black silk bathrobe, head down into his chest with both eyes closed.

Smudged reading glasses perch on the end of his nose.

Greasy hair pulled back in a limp ponytail. He looks like an older, taller, bearded and overweight Tom Cruise.

A new hardcover book rests in his dead right hand.

It’s opened on page 267. Nothing moves, not even the air.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Why the fuck are we opening on a freeze frame?

Book slowly slides out of his hand and falls onto the black tiled floor.

Reading glasses slide off his nose, tumble off his body and land on the book.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Well, thank Christ for that. You never open a movie on a freeze frame, right? Even on a shot of a dead man.

Glide to book on expensively tiled floor. Title reads “Stone: The Controversies, Excesses, and Exploits of a Radical Filmmaker.” Black and white photo of a worried Oliver Stone on the cover.

Animate the corner of Stone’s lips into a sly smile. Glide out of the toilet towards the main bedroom.

 

INT. BEDROOM - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - FIRST LIGHT - 1996

Continue glide into large main bedroom of a man with too much money, past a wall of closets. It’s dark. The heavy black king bed is unmade, black silk sheets spill off. Lit by the static hissing from a massive black Zenith television.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Oh shit, can we defer the immediate cause of death? No? Really? A coroner?

Glide past black night stand to one side of the bed.

Behind a bottle of 1991 Siduri Pinot Noir and a half-empty wine glass there’s a black AT&T speakerphone with answering machine. The small green indicator light is not flashing. The drawer underneath is closed.

Glide toward black night stand on the other side of the bed. There’s a small mound of crushed cocaine on top and an open single-blade Swiss Army Knife cast aside. The top drawer is open.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
But we don’t need an autopsy, right? We don’t need to start cutting?

Peer into the top drawer to reveal a black leather bible embossed with gold lettering and gold cross, a shiny gold vibrator and a postcard of a wooden signpost with signs pointing to cities around the world.

The postcard is stamped with the words Welcome to Anchorage, Alaska in gold.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
What are my chances of getting a woman coroner? On the youngish side? Good looking? Smart? Hey, I’m just asking.

A breath of air rustles the curtains. Crushed cocaine flits and flickers down into the drawer.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Who am I? Fuck, I’m Don Simpson. I’m an original. A true American original.

Close on postcard as cocaine flutters down like gentle snow.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
That’s what Mankiewicz wanted to call “Citizen Kane” - “The American”. Mankiewicz? He was the original writer.

 

MATCH DISSOLVE:

EXT. SIGNPOST - CITY CENTER - ANCHORAGE - SUNRISE - 1943

Snow blows over the real signpost pointing to cities all over the globe.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Whipped it up in three weeks while drying out in the Statewell sanatorium. Welles wanted to call the movie “John Q”. It was RKO studio chief George Schaefer who forced the title onto him. So what the fuck does a director know, right?

Underneath the word Anchorage it reads Air Crossroads of the World.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Schaefer came from Anchorage, Alaska. Captain James Cook discovered the place after he discovered Australia and before he was eaten alive by natives in Tonga or some fucking island in the middle of the Pacific.

Sounds of jet tearing the sky.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
About the only interesting thing that ever happened in Anchorage was Mount Spurr erupting for the first time in recorded history the day I was born.

 

EXT. PARKING LOT - LAKE SPENARD BAPTIST CHURCH - ANCHORAGE - MORNING - 1948

717 jet shears a white vapor trail through the clear blue sky like a line of creamy, flaked cocaine. All the working-class cars are perfectly parked.

PASTOR CULLEY (O.C.)
The cowardly, the unbelievers, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur, in the everlasting flames of hell.

The lake is calm. The sun is shining.

PASTOR CULLEY (O.C.)
You cannot save yourself. You are born in sin and you will die in sin and only Jesus Christ the Lord can save you. Pray this prayer, and mean it with all your heart.
SIMPSON (V.O.)
The way you keep people in line is to scare the shit out of them and tell them the only way they are going to escape that fucking fear is to believe in whatever you’re preaching. I knew they were full of shit. Even as a child I knew.

 

INT. FRONT PEW - LAKE SPENARD BAPTIST CHURCH - ANCHORAGE - MORNING - 1948

Don Simpson, 5, kneels in a tight-fitting jacket and tie. Eyes open wide and crying scared. He’s a pudgy child.PASTOR CULLEY

PASTOR CULLEY makes a prayer seem like eternal punishment.

PASTOR CULLEY
Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and unless you save me I am lost forever.

Simpson is weeping.

PASTOR CULLEY
I come to you now, Lord, the best way I know, and ask you to save me. I receive you as my Savior. In Jesus Christ, Amen.

Simpson’s MOM, 31, a housewife, kneels next to him.

His DAD, 31, a Boeing mechanic, kneels next to her and glares at him.

His dad tightens his right hand into a fist. His mom whispers down to him.

MOM
(whispers)
Donald, you know Lord Jesus don’t like little boys crying.
SIMPSON (V.O.)
My dad never had a cigarette or a drink his whole life. Had a huge temper, though. Kick the shit out of me whenever he got angry. I never saw him happy.
MOM
(whispers)
If you stop crying, I’ll get you that new sweater you want.
SIMPSON (V.O.)
My mom was the smart one.
MOM
Or how about I take you to see the circus?

Simpson swallows his tears.

 

EXT. SIDEWALK - DENALI THEATER - ANCHORAGE - AFTERNOON - 1952

Art deco picture theater with its name sizzling from the large vertical neon sign that rises above the marquee.

His mom strides towards the open door, holding Simpson’s hand as he tips a packet of crystalline Rock Candy into his mouth, frantically looking around. He is 9 years old. He wears a new sweater.

SIMPSON
-- But this ain’t where the circus is?

His mom yanks him in past one-sheet posters and insert cards for Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Greatest Show On Earth”.

Past lobby cards, window cards and stills of the Technicolor spectacle of life behind the scenes of the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Sounds of DEMILLE narrating the opening of the movie.

DEMILLE (V.O.)
A place where disaster and tragedy stalks night and day. Where death is constantly watching for one frayed rope, one weak link, one trace of fear.

 

DISSOLVE:

INT. FRONT ROW - DENALI THEATER - ANCHORAGE - EVENING - 1952

Simpson stares up at the screen, open-mouthed. His mom sits next to him.

On the screen in the aftermath of the greatest train wreck on earth, BUTTONS (James Stewart) is out of his clown costume but still wearing his clown face. He nods down to BRAD (Charlton Heston) whose life he’s just saved - and moves to join the arriving CROWD but is stopped by the FBI AGENT (Henry Wilcoxon).

On the screen, the FBI Agent glumly shakes Buttons’ hand before slipping on the handcuffs and arresting him.

SIMPSON
(wails)
No, no, no, no, no, no.

Simpson screams at the screen. His mom shooshes him.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I mean, shit, how could they arrest the clown? How could they arrest Jimmy Stewart for killing his wife?

PATRONS shift uncomfortably in their seats, annoyed at Simpson’s antics. MOMS sniff haughtily, FATHERS light up cigarettes. GRANDPARENTS shake their heads. CHILDREN start grizzling.

Simpson becomes hysterical.

PATRONS begin to leave before the movie’s finished, peeved.

On the screen, HOLLY (Betty Hutton) in trapeze costume sings out the theme song while swinging from a makeshift trapeze and leading thousands of TOWNSFOLK to an impromptu show.

As the theme song plays out, the star-studded Paramount Pictures logo fades up and away.

Heavy velvet curtains close over the screen as house lights fade up to an empty movie theater save for the petulant Simpson and his mom.

MOM
Stop right this instant, Donald Simpson.

His mom stands to leave.

SIMPSON
I ain’t going home till you change the ending.
MOM
Donald, it’s just a movie.
SIMPSON
Not to me it ain’t.

Simpson kicks his heels against his seat and starts screaming.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I know what you’re thinking and you’re right. It was my little Rosebud moment. I discovered what I wanted to do for a living. If a movie could have this kind of effect on me, I wanted to be in the movies.

Mom drags him out of the seat.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
DeMille produced and directed and even did the narration. I always liked DeMille. A man’s man. Sam Goldwyn, Harry Cohn. Renegades, lone wolves. My kind of guys.

 

EXT. SIDEWALK - DENALI THEATER - ANCHORAGE - EVENING - 1952

Mom drags screaming Simpson out of the movie

 

EXT. SIDEWALK - SIMPSON’S BOYHOOD HOME - ANCHORAGE - NIGHT - 1952

Mom opens the door and drags screaming Simpson into the small two-bedroom timber house.

 

INT. HALL - SIMPSON’S BOYHOOD HOME - ANCHORAGE - NIGHT - 1952

Mom drags screaming Simpson down the narrow hall towards the closet. Simpson starts squirming. She tightens her grip and opens the closet door. He starts whimpering. It’s dark inside. Very dark.

SIMPSON
I’m sorry, mommy. I’m sorry.

Simpson looks petrified as his mom pushes him into the darkness and slams the door shut.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Shit, I wasn’t sorry. I refused to go to school for two days.

 

INT. FIRST BEDROOM CLOSET - SIMPSON ESTATE - LOS ANGELES - MORNING - 1996

Glide from locked closet door into the television screen hissing static.

 

INT. LIVING ROOM - SIMPSON’S BOYHOOD HOME - ANCHORAGE - MORNING - 1957

Black and white television set in the corner is switched off. Glass screen reflects Simpson, 14, lying on the floor, eating Peter Pan peanut butter straight from the glass jar. He’s surrounded by “Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos” comics, and swooshing a model jet fighter through the air.

It’s snowing outside. He yells out to his mom in the kitchen.

SIMPSON
I don’t want to play outside with my sled. Sleds are for babies.

He is still plump. His hair is neatly combed.

Simpson swooshes the model jet fighter over a garish comic cover with a snarling SGT. FURY on the cover, unleashing his machine gun at TWO HITLERS in an underground bunker.

Sgt. Fury’s iron-jawed face with a lick of hair over the forehead and a cigar clenched between his teeth morphs into Simpson’s young face. Machine gun fires to life as the scene animates with COMMANDOS bursting through doors, SS TROOPERS firing back and both HITLERS scurrying away like rats.

Simpson grins from ear to ear. He looks up at the television and screams out to his mom.

SIMPSON
Why can’t I watch the damn TV?
MOM (O.C.)
Donny, don’t you dare use that word in this house.

Simpson mouths his mom’s words.

MOM (O.C.)
You know Lord Jesus hears every word you say.
SIMPSON
Why the hell not?

Mom steps into the living room, both hands on her hips. She shakes her head at Simpson.

SIMPSON
It’s not even a swear word.

Mom steps into the hall.

 

INT. HALL - SIMPSON’S BOYHOOD HOME - ANCHORAGE - NIGHT - 1957

Mom steps to the closet, opens the door and stands to one side.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Where do I get my ideas from? It’s pretty simple. I lived and breathed TV and comic books when I was growing up. Hey, fuck you! I know what you’re thinking - ‘no wonder his movies are the way they are’. But I wouldn’t have them any other way.

Simpson steps into the hall, head down. Forlorn.

He stops at the closet, looks into the darkness. He closes his eyes and steps in.

Move into the darkness. Sounds of closet door slamming shut.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Who is more foolish? The child afraid of the dark, or the man afraid of the light?

 

INT. SECOND BEDROOM CLOSET - SIMPSON ESTATE - LOS ANGELES - MORNING - 1996

Two black Jenn-Air built-in bar refrigerators sit side by side. On top of one is a framed black and white 8x10 glossy of Simpson looking buff. It was taken when he was in his early 40s. It’s autographed.

Glide towards Simpson’s glossy. In the photograph he stands backlit, three-quarter pose, all smiles.

 

EXT. PARKING LOT - LAKE SPENARD BAPTIST CHURCH - ANCHORAGE - AFTERNOON - 1960

Black and white headshot of Simpson, 17, in the Anchorage South High School Yearbook. Underneath his name it reads: Best Dressed Prize.

Move back to reveal his mom proudly holding the yearbook open on the page. She talks with MRS. PRESTON, 34, who looks like a demure Jayne Mansfield. Her lips are very red, very glossy.

Simpson stands next to them in a suit and tie, holding a bible. He’s slimmed a little but still beefy.

MOM
Can you imagine? Voted best dressed? My Donald?

Simpson squirms.

SIMPSON
Mom, don’t call me Donald. I ain’t a duck.
MOM
Well, I think you still waddle like one.

Mrs. Preston leans over to straighten his tie with a smile. So close he can smell her Joy perfume.

MRS. PRESTON
Well, I think you’re a very handsome young duck.

Simpson blushes.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Walking around with my cock in one hand and the Bible in the other. It was a lot of fun - go to church three times a week, get on your knees on a concrete floor and thank God for the fact he didn’t kill you that day.

 

INT. PULPIT - LAKE SPENARD BAPTIST CHURCH - ANCHORAGE - AFTERNOON - 1960

Pastor Culley frowns down at the kneeling teenage Simpson.

A painfully heavy black metal cross looms behind him. Simpson touches his tie.

SIMPSON
I have these thoughts, these feelings about Mrs. Preston.
PASTOR CULLEY
What thoughts?

Simpson blushes. Pastor Culley leans down on one knee, cocks an ear towards Simpson.

PASTOR CULLEY
(low)
What feelings?

Pastor Culley bows his head. Simpson whispers in his ear.

Pastor Culley opens his eyes in horror. Simpson keeps whispering. Pastor Culley puts his hand up, motioning Simpson to stop.

Simpson keeps whispering.

PASTOR CULLEY
Our almighty God knows every one of your thoughts, Donald Simpson. Why would you provoke his everlasting wrath with such evil, wicked, sinful, lustful thoughts? With such unclean desires?
SIMPSON
But I ain’t finished.
PASTOR CULLEY
Renounce your lust -- the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eye. Do not give in to unbridled temptations, Donald Simpson.

Simpson straightens his tie.

PASTOR CULLEY
If you think about it beyond this moment, you will live in hell forever. And if you do anything about it, you will live in hell forever.

Simpson thinks twice.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Damned if I do. Damned if I don’t. That’s when I decided to get laid.

Pastor Culley drops to his other knee, clasps his hands together in rigid prayer. Simpson looks up at the cross.

PASTOR CULLEY
Put yourself right before God.

Simpson gets up, pats the dust off his knees and turns away from Pastor Culley.

PASTOR CULLEY
You cannot save yourself. You are born in sin and you will die in sin and only Jesus Christ the Lord can save you

Simpson turns and walks away.

PASTOR CULLEY (O.C.)
Pray this prayer, Donald Simpson, and mean it with all your heart.

Pastor Culley’s voice fades away as Simpson leaves.

PASTOR CULLEY (O.C.)
Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and unless you save me, I am lost forever ...

 

EXT. SIDEWALK - CHESTER FLATS BROTHEL - ANCHORAGE - EVENING - 1960

Fade up Jimi Hendrix’s slinking “Red House” as the teenage Simpson anxiously prowls up and down the sidewalk in front of a well-loved timber house.

There’s an electric lamp on in the bedroom window. The front door is open. The neat timber porch has no furniture.

The timber steps step to a concrete path. Mountain ash shrubs grow low where the path meets the sidewalk.

Faint sounds of two cats fighting.

Simpson keeps glancing up at the bedroom window, rubbing his palms on his trousers and breathing deep. Whoever is inside drapes a red silk scarf over the lamp. The cold light becomes warm, inviting.

Simpson spins around in mid-step and hurries towards the path. BLACK CAT and WHITE CAT leap out of the shrubs, hissing and spitting. Simpson tries to step over the spatting cats but accidentally steps on one and slips over.

SIMPSON
Damn cats!

Simpson picks himself up, brushes himself down and heads down the path.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I lost my virginity down at Chester Flats, at the black end of town. You never forget your first hooker.

Simpson doesn’t pause as he leaps the steps and bounds into the house.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Yeah, and I got to admit I ran a little wild after that, stealing cars and shit. Rebel without a cause? More like rebel without a fucking clue.

Lonely car drives past.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Never did figure out how to hot-wire a car. So I could only steal cars with the keys still in the ignition.

 

EXT. DIRT ROAD - DENALI WILDLIFE RESERVE - ANCHORAGE - NIGHT - 1960

Timber paneled station wagon parked at the end of a dirt road. Lit by flashing red and blue lights of a parked Anchorage Police motorcycle.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Which in Anchorage meant a lot of station wagons.

Next to the driver’s side door stands the teenage Simpson in white tee-shirt and freshly pressed jeans. His hair artfully tousled, arms behind his back.

Burly MOTORCYCLE COP in black leathers and peaked leather cap handcuffs Simpson.

He ratchets them tight. Simpson winces.

Motorcycle Cop leans into Simpson’s back, pressing him against the car. Slides out his black baton.

Looks into the front seat. Spots a copy of J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye.”

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Yeah, I stole the book too. Wasn’t proud of that.

Motorcycle Cop takes a step back. Slaps the baton into his palm.

MOTORCYCLE COP
Turn around, son.

Simpson slowly turns down. around. Motorcycle Cop looks him up and down. Simpson looks down at the ground

Motorcycle Cop spits on the ground.

MOTORCYCLE COP
Son, I’m going to make this real simple.

Motorcycle Cop pushes baton down on Simpson’s shoulders, forcing him to his knees.

MOTORCYCLE COP
You’re going to do a little something for me. And when you’re done doing that, you’re gonna drive outta here and you’re gonna turn left or you’re gonna turn right.

Reflect Simpson being forced to his knees in the glossy black patent leather bill of the Motorcycle Cop’s leather cap.

MOTORCYCLE COP
You’re either going to be the most fucked guy in San Quentin or you’re going to have a life you like.
SIMPSON (V.O.)
All things considered, that really did straighten me out.

Sounds of zipper opening.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I went straight to San Francisco.

 

INT. THIRD BEDROOM CLOSET - SIMPSON ESTATE - LOS ANGELES - MORNING - 1996

Black leather cap with glossy patent leather bill reflecting black thigh-high leather boots in various sizes, dog collars with metal studs, large and small strap-on dildos, handcuffs, gags, masks with zippers over the eyes and mouths, rubber skirts, nipple clamps, paddles, whips, belts and caps.

Lots of caps. Especially black leather caps with glossy patent leather bills.

Glide out to first closet with the door locked.

 

INT. LOBBY - ART 1 THEATRE - SAN FRANCISCO - DAY - 1972

Door bursts open and FILM CRITICS rush into the lobby of the Spanish Colonial movie theater. Through the doorway, closing credits of Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg’s “Performance” roll on the screen.

Jack Nitzsche’s dark theme music seeps out of the theater.

Film Critics head to the concession stand where Simpson, 29, is rolling joints and freely handing them out amongst the Milk Duds, Twizzlers and Reese’s Pieces. He wears a brown fringed suede jacket and looks happy.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
My first press screening as a film publicist taught me you always got to have a good ending. The better the ending, the better the film.

Film Critics light up, laughing.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Can you believe Warner Brothers had me fired for buying the weed?

Simpson tells a Film Critic a joke.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Shit, I didn’t even put it in for expenses.

Simpson laughs.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
What could I do? I moved to Los fucking Angeles and dreamt of becoming a movie star.

 

EXT. TENNIS COURT - PLUMMER PARK - WEST HOLLYWOOD - DAY - 1975

Simpson, 32, in tight tennis whites at center court, puffing and sweating and pissing on the net.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I fucking hate losing.

He’s out of shape and carrying extra weight. TENNIS PLAYERS roll their eyes.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
What I lacked in skill I made up with desire.

Simpson zips up and sizes up the Tennis Players.

SIMPSON
Fucking double or nothing, right?

Tennis Players shake their heads.

 

INT. CHAIRMAN’S OFFICE - PARAMOUNT STUDIOS - HOLLYWOOD - DAY - 1976

BARRY DILLER, 40, nods his head. He sits behind his large chairman’s desk, wearing a heavy dark suit, crisp white shirt and strong gold tie. He’s bald and looks like a younger, bullish Bruce Willis.

DILLER
Everything we do ends up on television where the American public tunes in every night hoping to see --

MICHAEL EISNER, 34, tries to balance a stack of screenplays. Top one slides off and falls to the ground.

EISNER
-- our stuff --

Simpson, 33, picks up the fallen script. JEFFREY KATZENBERG, 26, wears the same grey suit as Eisner.

DILLER
-- two people screwing --
SIMPSON (V.O.)
Barry Diller gave me my first real studio job at Paramount. Total fucking fluke.
KATZENBERG
-- every night --

Simpson adjusts his jacket. It’s a little tight around the shoulders.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Jerry Bruckheimer lent me his sports coat so at least I looked the part. I moved fast, I talked fast and I didn’t worry about the consequences. Shit, what did they know? They were just television guys. All they could do was interrupt each other.
DILLER
-- obviously we can’t have people fucking on television but let’s always keep it in mind --
SIMPSON (V.O.)
Television? Who gives a fuck? It’s just a toaster with pictures, right?

Simpson looks out the window and sees an army of cavalry and feet passing by like a terrible mob towards Stage 9.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
It was a fucking fodder factory. Nobody knew what they were doing. Within a year I was named Vice President of Creative Affairs.

The cavalry spurs their horses and the infantry breaks into a dogtrot until they disappear behind half a Mississippi steamboat.

 

EXT. FIRST OFFICE - PARAMOUNT STUDIOS - HOLLYWOOD - DAY - 1978

Simpson, 35, sits at a big white desk in a big office snowed under with screenplays. There are three piles of screenplays with coverage notes attached. The center pile is the largest by far.

Simpson tosses a screenplay on top.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
A year after that I was promoted to Vice President of Production.

Simpson tosses another screenplay on top of the center pile.

SIMPSON
(shouts)
Harry! Harry!!

HARRY, 53, rushes in. He nervously adjusts his reading glasses. He has no fashion sense.

Simpson tosses another screenplay on top of the center pile. He keeps reading coverage notes and doesn’t look up.

SIMPSON
You’re a fucking reader, right? You’re supposed to give me coverage on every script, right?

Harry gulps. Simpson tosses another screenplay on top of the center pile. He continues reading coverage notes without looking up.

SIMPSON
But all you’re giving me is ‘maybes’. I can’t live on fucking ‘maybes’.

Simpson picks a pen and a new screenplay with a blank reader’s coverage note attached.

It’s a standard form with star-studded Paramount logo and three boxed choices that read Recommend, Maybe and Don’t Recommend.

SIMPSON
Because I’m a kind man, because I’m a wise man, I’m going to make this really easy for you and really hard.

Simpson clicks the pen and furiously scrawls out the boxed choice that reads: Maybe.

Simpson looks up at Harry and smiles.

He hands him the new screenplay with the amended reader’s coverage note.

SIMPSON
From here on you either ‘Recommend’ or ‘Don’t Recommend’. There will be no more ‘Maybes’. I don’t have fucking time for fucking ‘Maybes’.

 

INT. HALLWAY - PARAMOUNT STUDIOS - HOLLYWOOD - DAY - 1979 Simpson, 36, rushes down the hallway, harried.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Another year and I was made Senior Vice President of Worldwide Production.

Diller strides the opposite way and stops him in his tracks. He holds out a slip of paper like a parking ticket.

DILLER
Simpson, here’s a memo. I’m aware you don’t read memos but I do want you to read this one.
SIMPSON
Can’t you just tell me, Barry?

Diller hands him the slip of paper.

DILLER
It’s not true until it’s written down.

Simpson takes it. Diller continues on his way.

Simpson checks his watch. Then peers at the tiny print, clears his throat and reads the memo out loud.

SIMPSON
(reads)
‘It is so often assumed that Paramount likes to keep its pictures at a running time of one hundred minutes because we want to maximize turnover by having as many shows as possible in any given night. That’s simply not the case. It comes down to pleasing the audience. At one hundred minutes, people’s minds begin to wander. They start worrying about whether or not the dog has been fed. Whether or not they’re on their second hour of parking.’

PARAMOUNT STAFF peer out of their office at Simpson who keeps reading the memo out loud.

SIMPSON
(reads)
‘They start worrying about everything except what’s in the movie. That’s why in today’s kinetic world, we feel it wise to keep our movies at one hundred minutes.’

Simpson looks up at the staff.

SIMPSON
‘Kinetic’? What the fuck does ‘kinetic’ mean?
SIMPSON (V.O.)
And that’s how it was. Keep them short, keep them light. And keep them coming.

 

INT. SECOND OFFICE - PARAMOUNT STUDIOS - HOLLYWOOD - DAY - 1979

Simpson sits at a bigger white desk in a bigger office. Walls are white. Some of the other furniture is white too.

There are only three screenplays on his desk. His secretary, LAURA, 45, takes dictation. Simpson leans back in his plush chair, excited.

SIMPSON
Okay, capital letters at the top of the page. Bold type.

Simpson parts his hands like curtains unveiling the screen in a movie theater.

SIMPSON
(loud)
Paramount Corporate Philosophy.

Simpson drops his hands down a notch

SIMPSON
First Par.

Simpson doesn’t draw breath as his consciousness streams out.

SIMPSON
The pursuit of making money is the only reason to make movies. We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make a statement. Our obligation is to make money. But in order to make money, we must always make entertaining movies. A powerful idea is the heart of any successful movie. The creative premise is what first attracts people to the product. A good idea is one that seems imaginative, original. And in some way new and unique. The power of the biggest blockbusters is that they come from out of nowhere and break new ground. In many cases a compelling idea may not be strictly original. But it will seem different and exciting for its time. The most distinctive quality of a strong concept is that it does not seem familiar. The appropriate star or cast is important. As are the contributions of the movie’s writer and director. But they are all secondary to the concept. The success of a movie is unlikely if the basic concept lacks a spark of uniqueness.

Laura’s hand almost shakes from trying to keep up.

Simpson draws a deep breath then points at Laura’s notebook.

SIMPSON
And a sympathetic protagonist who goes through a transforming experience with which the audience can relate.

 

INT. THIRD OFFICE - PARAMOUNT STUDIOS - HOLLYWOOD - DAY - 1981

Biggest white desk in the biggest white office. White walls with white linen easy chairs and couches.

Gleams all the brighter because the desk is topped by a single sheet of thick glass.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
By nineteen eighty-one I was President of Production. Nobody could fuck with me.

Framed business cards chronicling Simpson’s rise from the bottom to the top of the Paramount executive ranks line one wall.

On the wall behind his desk are white shelves neatly stacked with Mead Marble Cover Composition Notebooks.

Simpson’s new secretary, LAURA, 25, steps in. She looks like his older secretary’s daughter. She leads in a reporter, ED GREENE, 22.

Greene fidgets with his small upright Mead Beige Cover Wire- Bound Notebook.

Simpson emerges from the bathroom at the back of the office. All smiles.

SIMPSON
You’re that new reporter from The Los Angeles Times, right? What time is it?

Greene checks his watch.

GREENE
Four o’clock.
SIMPSON
You know what I like to do at four o’clock, Ed?

Simpson clicks the outside line on his speakerphone.

SIMPSON
(into speakerphone)
Laura, be a darling and get me that screenwriter who pitched me this morning.

Simpson pours himself a glass of Stolichnaya vodka from a cut crystal decanter. Offers a glass to Greene who politely refuses.

Simpson smiles and takes out a folded packet of cocaine. Empties the powder on the glass-topped desk.

Takes out a single-blade Swiss Army Knife.

SIMPSON
Be prepared.

Simpson flicks open the knife and dices the coke. Deftly slices it into six lines.

Takes out a $100 bill and rolls it into a tight straw with one hand.

Offers it to Greene who again politely refuses.

Simpson smirks and snorts one, two, three, four, five, six lines. Takes a deep gulp of vodka.

LAURA (O.C.)
(through speakerphone)
Mister Simpson, your screenwriter is on line seven.

Simpson snatches handset off cradle.

SIMPSON
(into handset)
You’re the stupidest son of a bitch in Hollywood, you asshole.

Simpson downs his vodka and grins at Greene.

SIMPSON
(into handset)
You’re a talentless piece of shit.

No one respects you. Everyone knows you’re a fucking idiot. You’re nothing but a stupid cocksucker.

Simpson is enjoying himself.

SIMPSON
(into handset)
You’re an embarrassment to your parents. You’re an embarrassment to yourself.

Greene doesn’t know where to look.

SIMPSON
(into handset)
You don’t get it, do you? You don’t belong here. Why do you even fucking bother? You’re just wasting everyone’s time. You’re wasting your time. The sooner we get rid of people like you, the better the business is going to be.

Simpson shakes his head.

SIMPSON
(into handset)
You’ve got no idea for the first act. There’s no fucking second act. There’s no fucking third act. Which means there’s no fucking movie. There’s no idea. There’s no concept. There’s fucking nothing. You’re fucking nothing. You have no fucking future in this business.

Simpson slams down the handset. Smiles at Greene. Sniffs.

SIMPSON
So, let’s talk about my slate of movies.

Greene reaches for his pen, flips open his wire-bound notebook. Tries to look like he isn’t fazed. Coughs to clear his throat.

GREENE
So, what stars have you lined up, Mister Simpson?
SIMPSON
Stars? Are you talking astrological or meteorological?
GREENE
Movie stars.
SIMPSON
Movie stars? Who the fuck needs movie stars? You only need movie stars when you don’t have any ideas.

Simpson leans forward.

SIMPSON
And I’ve got plenty of ideas.

Simpson thumbs the shelf of notebooks behind him.

SIMPSON
See those? Know what they are?

Greene shakes his head.

SIMPSON
My ideas books. Every one of them is filled with ideas for movies. Hundreds of ideas. Thousands of ideas for movies.

 

INT. THIRD OFFICE - PARAMOUNT STUDIOS - HOLLYWOOD - NIGHT - 1981

It’s late and Simpson writes quickly in a notebook.

SIMPSON
Title - “Zone of Silence”. Location - New Mexico. Premise - Brilliant but maverick scientist uncovers a government UFO conspiracy when he unearths a meteorite in the middle of the desert containing crystalline structures that far outdate the solar system. Where did it come from? Why?

He flips the page and keeps writing.

SIMPSON
Plot: Pit scientist against an unbelieving scientific community and a secretive, covert military force that knows the truth. That’s great, that’s great.
SIMPSON (V.O.)
That’s always been my rule, if I want to see it, we make it.

He keeps writing.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
And if I don’t want to see it, we don’t make it. Simple, right?

Simpson pulls out a blank notebook, opens the cover, creases it with his palm and starts writing.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
That’s me. Work, work, work. Idle hands are the devil’s playthings.

 

EXT. POOL - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - NIGHT - 1982

Fade up Jimi Hendrix’s mesmerizing “You’ve Got Me Floating.”

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Even when I was partying I was working.

Party in full swing as a shrilling STARLET is hurled into the pool. Splaaaash. Simpson lopes past, scrawling notes into one of his notebooks.

PARTY REVELLERS drink alcohol, smoke marijuana and snort cocaine. Simpson hears a young woman scream from the garage.

 

INT. GARAGE - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - NIGHT - CONTINUOUS

Sounds of party in full swing outside.

DRUG DEALER, 32, spinning out on crystal meth is hitting TIFFANY, 24, with a Callaway golf club. Other Callaway golf clubs are scattered on the cement floor. Empty Callaway golf club bag has been cast aside. Golf balls are rolling away.

Tiffany is cowering, trying to protect her slim face. Matted blonde hair.

SIMPSON (O.C.)
What the fuck are you doing with my golf clubs?

Drug Dealer whips around to see Simpson picking up a golf ball.

DRUG DEALER
She owes me money.

Simpson sees Tiffany is bleeding from a gash in her forehead.

SIMPSON
What the fuck!

Drug Dealer moves to strike her again. Tiffany flinches.

DRUG DEALER
She’s just a whore, man.
SIMPSON
Who the fuck are you? Jack Nicholson
DRUG DEALER
Fuck off!
SIMPSON
No, you fuck off! This is my fucking house!!

Drug Dealer swings back the golf club and is about to rush Simpson.

Half a beat.

Drug Dealer blinks and Simpson hurls the golf ball into his eye. Drug Dealer stumbles back, dropping the golf club and clutching his bleeding eye.

DRUG DEALER
Fuck! Fuck!! I’m fucking blind!!!

Drug Dealer scrambles out of the garage. Simpson crouches down to Tiffany who is crying.

SIMPSON
Hey, it’s okay. He’s gone.

Simpson looks at the gash on her forehead.

SIMPSON
(soft)
It’s not too deep.

Simpson tears a page out of his notebook and presses it lightly against the wound. Tiffany flinches. Simpson presses a little harder.

SIMPSON
(soft)
Ssshhhh, sssshhhh. It’ll stop the bleeding.

 

EXT. EXECUTIVE PARKING LOT - PARAMOUNT STUDIOS - HOLLYWOOD - DAY - 1982

White Porsche 911 tears into the parking lot outside the executive building. Tires shriek as it turns on a dime and almost slams into the back of a parked stretch limousine.

It’s a big limousine. Cadillac and black. Inside a uniformed CHAUFFEUR sits calmly behind the steering wheel, window open. His cap embroidered with a Gulf + Western logo.

Porsche grumbles, growls and spits. Horn blasts the air for a full ten seconds. STAFF come to the windows to see what’s happening.

Porsche driver’s door slowly opens and Simpson steps out.

He calmly strides up to the limousine.

Chauffeur’s electric window closes. Simpson smiles as he looks over the limousine.

SIMPSON
Will you look at this fucking boat? It looks like a fucking tuna boat.

Simpson nods.

SIMPSON
And I’m going to teach the tuna boat captain not to park in my fucking car space.

Simpson steps over to the rose garden where a heavy metal post bears the Paramount logo.

Jeffrey Katzenberg flies out of the front doors of the executive building, arms waving furiously.

KATZENBERG
Don, stop! Stop!!

Simpson yanks the metal logo post out of the ground.

KATZENBERG
It’s Bludhorn’s limo!!!

Simpson swings the metal logo post hard into the windscreen, plowing the Paramount logo into the shattered glass.

 

INT. EXECUTIVE DINING ROOM - PARAMOUNT STUDIOS - HOLLYWOOD - DAY - 1982

VARIOUS EXECUTIVES are sitting down for lunch. They’re all wearing suits and ties, except Simpson who’s in Levi’s and a white collarless shirt.

Executives are discussing the menu as soup is served.

Hushed tones, very serious.

Simpson faints head first into his soup. Splasssh. Executives don’t skip a beat.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Man, what can I tell you? I was tired. I’d put twenty projects into development in about as many days.

EXECUTIVE motions another EXECUTIVE to pass the salt.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I didn’t sleep. I didn’t eat. I just worked and worked and worked.

 

INT. RECEPTION DESK - BETTY FORD CENTER - RANCHO MIRAGE - EVENING - 1982

Simpson looks a little frazzled, a little unsteady as he makes his way to the reception desk. Wearing a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses with darker than usual lenses. Carrying a black leather Louis Vuitton overnight bag.

RECEPTIONIST, 21, looks up. Smiles warmly.

RECEPTIONIST
Welcome back, Mister Simpson.

 

INT. SLOTS - BALLY’S HOTEL AND CASINO - LAS VEGAS - NIGHT - 1982

Fade up Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes’ romantic “Up Where We Belong” through the house speakers.

Simpson looks up at speakers and blanches. He looks unwell with his arm draped over a particularly well-endowed TERRI, 27.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
God, I hated going to ShoWest. Meeting and greeting movie theater owners from all over the country who were only interested in coming to Vegas for fucking and gambling.

SHOWEST ATTENDEES spill out of the Jubilee Theatre and onto the main casino floor lined with traditional arm-pull slot machines.

The machines chug and whirr and every so often expel a torrent of coins.

Sounds of excited CASINO GUESTS whooping and laughing.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I tell you, Vegas is one fucked up place. It’s like pussy paradise. I don’t think I ever met a woman who wasn’t a hooker in that town. It’s all that neon. All that phosphorous. Does something to a woman. Lights her up from the inside.

Simpson looks bilious as he takes in the crowd.

CORNELIUS T. HALL, 50, sidles up to him. He looks like a fat John Goodman with wavy hair and a Macallan Scotch on ice in his hand.

He’s wearing a nauseous tie and staring at Terri’s cleavage.

HALL
I’m the biggest theater owner in all the tri-state area.

Simpson swallows hard.

HALL
There ain’t none bigger.

Hall swigs his Scotch without taking his eyes off Terri’s cleavage. Simpson tightens his lips.

HALL
Richard Gere tells me you’re the man who made him do the picture.

Simpson clamps his thumb and forefinger over his lips.

HALL
Here’s to you.

Hall smiles, tips his glass and is about to take another swig of his Scotch when Simpson throws up all over him.

 

INT. CHIEF EXECUTIVE’S OFFICE - PARAMOUNT STUDIOS - HOLLYWOOD - AFTERNOON - 1982

Eisner sits calmly behind his desk. Sunlight dapples in.

SIMPSON
A morals charge? You’re firing me on a fucking morals charge? You’ve got some dickwads from the Board fucking boys up the ass in the back of their limos in the fucking parking lot and you’re firing me on a fucking morals charge?
EISNER
We’re not firing you, Don. We’re giving you a deal, a producer’s deal. It’s less corporate.

Simpson glares at him.

EISNER
You’re not a corporate kind of guy, Don. You and Bruckheimer can team up and make movies without all the politics.

Simpson fumes.

Beat.

EISNER
We’ll let you have an office on the lot. We’ll even throw in some staff if you like.
SIMPSON
(soft)
Will you let me make “Zone of Silence”?
EISNER
Excuse me?
SIMPSON
Will you let me make “Zone of Silence”?

Eisner has no idea what Simpson is talking about.

SIMPSON
My UFO conspiracy movie.

Eisner looks blank. Simpson looks disappointed.

SIMPSON
Don’t tell me you didn’t read the coverage.

Simpson rolls his eyes.

EISNER
This isn’t about me.
SIMPSON
I thought the point of the deal is I get to make the movies I want.

Eisner smiles and pushes a screenplay to Simpson.

EISNER
Since it’s Paramount’s money it’ll be the movies Paramount wants you to make.

Simpson looks at the screenplay. The title reads: “Flashdance”. He pushes it back to Eisner.

EISNER
It’s got a girl in it.

Simpson reluctantly picks it up and flips through the pages.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Fuck, it was awful. I’d already rejected it twice. Some soap opera of sex, alcohol and stupidity. I only kept the title and the idea of the girl who becomes a dancer.

Simpson closes the cover and sighs.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Even her name stunk. Raven? I changed it to Alex. Came up with a seventeen-page outline and hired some writers to work it up.

 

INT. SCREENING ROOM - PARAMOUNT STUDIOS - HOLLYWOOD - MORNING - 1983

Simpson, 40, shepherds in a dozen JANITORS. They look a little bewildered as they take their seats in front of the small screen.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
We never had any executives at our screen tests. We brought in janitors straight from the lot.

JERRY BRUCKHEIMER is in the background, in the shadows. Stroking his light beard.

Simpson hands out bottles of cold Pabst Blue Ribbon beer to the Janitors.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Actors? Dime a dozen, man. They’re just chimpanzees dancing for pennies.

Janitors start drinking their beers. Simpson nods to the PROJECTIONIST up in the projection booth. Film projector sparks and whirs to life.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
When you’re casting for an actress you’re casting for fuckability. No question about it. You can do all the research you like. But it boils down to one thing.

Light dims.

SIMPSON
(to Janitors)
Just pick out the girl you’d most like to fuck.

Janitors snicker amongst themselves. Even the Mexican Janitors understand.

Shafts of light slither into the room from the film projector.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
They never picked Demi Moore.

Shimmering light refracts off the screen.

 

EXT. TIMBER DECK - RED MOUNTAIN RESIDENCE - ASPEN - AFTERNOON - 1985

Shimmering light refracts off a small single-sided mirror topped with cocaine. Single-blade Swiss Army Knife is furiously dicing the fresh powder in time to the sounds of hammers hammering and saws sawing.

The mirror teeters on the handrail of the timber deck. CARPENTERS are furiously extending the timber deck as Simpson, 42, is furiously cutting the powder with one

hand and holding the mirror in place with the other. Slices up three thick lines. Snaps the knife shut.

Rolls a note into a tight straw. Thrusts it up one nostril. Lifts his hand off the mirror to block his other nostril.

Leans down to snort the first line just as a power saw rips into one end of the hand rail, vibrating the timber and toppling the mirror over the edge.

Simpson watches the cocaine fall into the mountain of snow below.

SIMPSON
Fuuuuucccckkkkk!

Simpson’s expletive echoes down into the valley.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
It was our first Aspen party and I wanted to get it right. It was like my coming- out party.

Carpenters continue working more quietly. Simpson looks out at the alpine vista, taken aback by the imperial beauty.

In that moment of grace an idea comes to mind.

He takes out a folded packet of cocaine, opens the top of it, flicks open his knife, scoops some powder on the tip, holds it under his nose and snorts it straight up.

A smile crashes across his face, his eyes gleam.

 

EXT. TIMBER DECK - RED MOUNTAIN RESIDENCE - ASPEN - NIGHT - 1985

Simpson stands in the same place on the enlarged timber deck as GUESTS mill about in a blur.

Simpson is the only one in focus. He looks incessantly happy. Behind him is the dramatic home with its soaring ceiling and walls of glass.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Jesus, I was so anxious I must have snorted a gram of coke before each person arrived. And boy, did they arrive. They just kept on coming.

More GUESTS swirl about.

 

INT. LIVING ROOM - RED MOUNTAIN RESIDENCE - ASPEN - NIGHT - 1985

Simpson is still the only one in focus as more GUESTS swirl about. Everything is draped in white muslin. Dozens of small white Christmas trees are decorated with tiny white lights.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
All the VIPs came - Ted Turner, Jack Nicholson, Michael Douglas, Goldie Hawn, Sally Field, Bob Kerry, Ivan Reitman, Jim Cameron. Don Johnson, Melanie Griffith when she had decent tits.

 

INT. FIREPLACE - RED MOUNTAIN RESIDENCE - ASPEN - NIGHT - 1985

Simpson is still the only one in focus as GUESTS whirl about. A log fire roars in the colossal fireplace behind him.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
More than two hundred guests. We even had a bunch of Kennedy cousins, like twelve of them, who came to the door and demanded to be let in.

Past Simpson into the log fire raging in the fireplace.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I put the ski town on the map. I did that. I ruined Aspen. Just ruined it.

Match dissolve as flames die down as red and orange embers glimmer and glow.

 

INT. SLOTS - BALLY’S HOTEL AND CASINO - LAS VEGAS - NIGHT - 1986

Red and orange lights flash to life atop a new range of electronic slot and video poker machines. Sounds of coins tumbling and tumbling.

SHOWEST ATTENDEES spill out of the Jubilee Theatre and onto the main casino floor.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Everyone thought “Flashdance” was going to tank. They all thought it was the anchor around my neck that was going to take me down to the bottom of the fucking sea. And what did it do?

Simpson looks happy with his arm slung around PAMMI, 26.

She is wearing an outrageous yellow jumpsuit that she’s almost leaping out of.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Ninety-five million domestic. Paramount’s second-highest grossing movie for the year.

Sounds of coin being slipped into a slot machine.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
And it was made for a fucking dime.

Simpson looks out at the Attendees.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Jerry and I were fucking heroes. We were ShoWest’s Producers of the Year. Which made going kind of bearable. As did Pammi.

Attendees part like the Red Sea to reveal a blustering Cornelius T. Hall, 53, swathing through towards Simpson.

He’s packed on a few more pounds since last time. And his tie is even more squeamish.

He doesn’t look at Pammi’s cleavage. He looks Simpson straight in the eye. Simpson flinches as he remembers the last time he met Hall.

HALL
You keep making that kind of box office, son, and you can throw up on me any time you like.

 

INT. PRODUCTION BUNGALOW - PARAMOUNT STUDIOS - HOLLYWOOD - MORNING - 1986

Simpson sits behind his new desk in a story conference with French screenwriter FRANCOIS FERRAND, 45. TWO JUNIOR ASSISTANTS are jotting down notes.

Simpson gets up, all excited. Ferrand keeps throwing out ideas.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
The director ain’t the auteur any more. It’s the producer who’s the man.

Simpson juggles a few ideas.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Once the budget passes ten million it’s the producer who has the vision.

Simpson starts pacing.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
It doesn’t matter what movie you’re making, you want to make a hit movie. And to make a hit movie the central character must triumph. And before the central character triumphs he must first be reduced, psychologically, and almost be destroyed before the final comeback. He’s got to live down in the pits.

Simpson makes the point in mid-air.

SIMPSON
Then the picture’s got to end on an incredibly high, upbeat note.

Ferrand gets up, paces around to Simpson’s side of the desk.

FERRAND
But what is more upbeat than the scientist boarding the UFO and soaring up, up into the heavens?

Ferrand’s all out of ideas. He flops down on Simpson’s new chair.

Room goes silent.

SIMPSON
Excuse me, what the fuck are you doing sitting in my fucking chair?
FERRAND
It is a nice chair.

Beat.

SIMPSON
Keep it.

Simpson turns and storms out.

SIMPSON
You want to talk to me, you call me at home from now on.

 

EXT. DRIVEWAY - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - AFTERNOON - 1986

Screenwriter JAMES LEE BARTLOW, 35, strides past the high metal gates into the estate as irate screenwriter JOE GILLIS, 35, skulks out.

GILLIS
Wear a bullet-proof vest.

Bartlow looks confused until he spots Simpson at the top of the driveway in front of the Spanish Colonial Revival style mansion built in the 1970s.

Two stories, 6,500 square feet, with a large pool. Painted metal struts hold up an oversize chimney.

Simpson is naked save for tight leopard-skin underwear, mirrored Aviator sunglasses and peaked leather police cap.

He’s also waving an Uzi submachine gun with a laser scope at a petrified ROOF TILER trying not to lose his balance on top of his terra cotta roof.

SIMPSON
(screaming)
You’re freaking me out, get the fuck down. It’s not fucking safe.

Bartlow steps up and snaps a switch lock on the Uzi.

BARTLOW
You might want to keep the safety on.
SIMPSON
Hey, you’re the new writer, right? Let me tell you, script is king with me.

Simpson smiles.

SIMPSON
I love writers. Roof tilers I can live without.

Simpson heads indoors.

SIMPSON
Come on, I want to show you the concept.

Bartlow follows him in.

 

INT. LIVING ROOM - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - AFTERNOON - 1986

The only art on the wall is a framed check.

Simpson shows Bartlow a torn-out page from a California magazine article with a photo of two guys in leather jackets and sunglasses standing in front of the biggest, fastest jet fighter you’ve ever fucking seen.

SIMPSON
(proud)
There it is!
BARTLOW
What?
SIMPSON
The concept!

Bartlow squints.

BARTLOW
What concept?

Simpson looks at Bartlow as if he’s retarded.

SIMPSON
They’re wearing leather jackets.

Bartlow looks at Simpson as if he’s retarded.

BARTLOW
It’s not a concept. It’s just a picture of two guys standing in front of a fighter jet.
SIMPSON
They’re pilots from the Top Gun Naval Flying School.
BARTLOW
That still doesn’t make it a concept.

Simpson looks askew.

BARTLOW
What’s the idea, what’s the story?

Simpson is almost dumbfounded.

SIMPSON
The only story - stick to your dreams, overcome incredible odds, outlive your mentor, get the girl. Shit, you’re the writer. You know the drill.

Simpson gets up and heads to the bathroom.

SIMPSON
Open with a sunrise - end with a freeze frame. First draft Monday.

Simpson calls out without turning around.

SIMPSON
And make the central character a young loner, a maverick.

 

INT. SIMPSON’S SUITE - HOTEL BEL-AIR - BEL-AIR - DAY - 1987

Palatial simplicity. Exquisite furnishings, luxurious Italian linens.

LISA, 23, lies naked on the king bed. Tiffany, 29, blonde and statuesque, is naked too.

She no longer looks like the frightened young woman Simpson first saved in his garage. She kisses Lisa.

SIMPSON (O.C.)
Lisa, you lick Tiffany there. No, no, a little lower.

Sounds of Simpson taking a shot with a Polaroid camera.

SIMPSON (O.C.)
Yeah, that’s great. That’s great.

Lisa licks deeper.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Someone once asked me to explain my weakness for prostitutes. Man, it’s not a weakness. It’s an interest. It’s my entertainment, for fuck’s sake.

Sounds of Polaroid camera taking more shots.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
And they’re not really prostitutes. They’re MAWs - model, actress, whatever. They’re like half-hookers.

Simpson tosses the last Polaroid shot onto a pile of shots of Lisa and Tiffany.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
It’s nothing that unusual. Girls having sex with each other. Girls pissing on each other. Girls beating each other up. You know, stuff like that. Nothing weird or sick. Man, what do you take me for?

Simpson is naked except for a fighter pilot leather jacket and sunglasses like in the magazine.

He picks up his open single-blade Swiss Army Knife. Smiles at Lisa and Tiffany.

Picks up an open packet of cocaine, scoops some powder on the tip, holds it under his nose and snorts it straight up.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Why two girls? Jesus, man, which bit of ‘twice as fucking good’ don’t you understand?

Simpson rips off the leather jacket and joins in.

 

INT. SEAT 1A - FIRST CLASS - AMERICAN AIRLINES 727 - EVENING - 1987

Simpson flips through the latest copy of Penthouse magazine. He’s a little drunk on champagne.

A Gulfstream brochure sits on top of copies of Variety magazine on the vacant seat next to him.

Simpson unfurls the centerfold and tilts his head to take in the view of that month’s Penthouse Pet.

AIRLINE STEWARD (O.C.)
Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to put that away.
SIMPSON
It’s cool. I fucked her in Hawaii. Five thousand. And worth every cent.

AIRLINE STEWARD - Sir, either put it away or I’m going to have to take it away.

SIMPSON
Are you fucking kidding me?

Airline Steward doesn’t blink.

SIMPSON
This is America. It’s my fucking constitutional right.
AIRLINE STEWARD
Pornography is not a constitutional right, sir.
SIMPSON
Hey, you’re just pissed because it’s a pair of tits and a cunt.

Simpson gets up and heads to the bathroom.

SIMPSON
If it was a stroke mag with a nice cut cock you wouldn’t be complaining.

Simpson opens the bathroom door.

 

INT. BATHROOM - RAINBOW BAR & GRILL - WEST HOLLYWOOD - NIGHT - 1987

Simpson opens the bathroom door to a sea of spirited PATRONS partying like there’s no tomorrow. All are doing cocaine and oblivious to the fact they are standing in a bathroom.

Rock and roll pounds in through the wall. Simpson can hardly squeeze in.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Cocaine was everywhere you wanted it to be. You couldn’t take a piss without taking a line.

Simpson takes out a folded packet of cocaine, opens the top and taps it onto the back of his hand. It’s empty.

Simpson peers in the packet in disbelief. Shit, it really is empty.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
This is a people business. You don’t want to be rude, right? Simpson steps out of the bathroom.

 

INT. DINING ROOM - RAINBOW BAR & GRILL - WEST HOLLYWOOD - NIGHT - 1987

Simpson strides through the dining room towards the sidewalk.

 

EXT. SIDEWALK - RAINBOW BAR & GRILL - WEST HOLLYWOOD - NIGHT - CONTINUOUS

Simpson checks his watch and looks up at Sunset Boulevard. MORE EXCITED PATRONS are arriving.

HOMELESS MAN wearing a heavy, stained overcoat almost bumps into him. Hands cupped in front of him.

Simpson recoils from the smell of piss and sweat and God knows what.

HOMELESS MAN
(mumbles)
Sir, spare a dime?

Simpson drops a $100 bill in his hands. Homeless Man clutches Simpson’s hand.

HOMELESS MAN
Thank you, sir. Thank you.

Simpson yanks his hand free in disgust and heads back into the dining room.

SIMPSON
Get a fucking job, man.

Simpson glances back at the Homeless Man with a wry smile.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Want to see how it was done?

 

REWIND AND REPLAY:

EXT. SIDEWALK - RAINBOW BAR & GRILL - WEST HOLLYWOOD - NIGHT - REPLAY

Slow motion Simpson checking his watch and looking up at Sunset Boulevard. More Excited Patrons arriving. Homeless Man almost bumping into him.

Slow motion Simpson recoiling from the smell of piss and sweat and God knows what as the Homeless Man pleads for change.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Frank the homeless guy carried all the inventory and was never searched by any policeman.

Freeze. X-ray vision reveals dozens of small folded packets of cocaine in various sizes stashed in various parts of his coat.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Quarter grams, half grams and grams. Size of the deal depended on what you handed him.

Slow motion Simpson dropping a $100 bill in his hands.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Twenty-five dollars for a quarter of a gram. Fifty for half a gram. And a hundred for a gram.

Slow motion Homeless Man reaching for Simpson’s hand.

Zoom in Homeless Man slipping him a gram packet of cocaine and giving thanks.

Slow motion Simpson pulling his hand free in disgust and heading back into the dining room.

Slow motion Simpson glancing back at the Homeless Man on the curb with a wry smile before stepping in.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
It was fucking beeeautiful!

Slow motion as Homeless Man squats on the curb, lost in his own world.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Frank the homeless guy was an actor from New York. You know, method type. Took his role very seriously. Never bathed, never washed his hair or clothing. And before starting work each night he’d piss on himself to get into character. Man, you got to love that kind of dedication.

Freeze on Homeless Man. X-ray vision reveals a Screen Actors Guild membership card in top left pocket of his shirt, above his heart.

 

INT. DR. AMMERMAN’S OFFICE - WEST OLYMPIC MEDICAL CENTER - LOS ANGELES - MORNING - 1988

Framed medical degree from the University of Oregon.

DR. STEPHEN AMMERMAN sits at his desk, writing out a prescription for Simpson’s medication. His hair is thinning.

DR. AMMERMAN
Next time you get anxious, I want you to take two of these, okay?

Simpson sits on the other side of the desk. Dr. Ammerman keeps writing and doesn’t look up.

DR. AMMERMAN
You know, what I really want to do is write.
SIMPSON
Yeah, I can see that.

Dr. Ammerman signs off.

DR. AMMERMAN
Oh no, not this. I want to be a real writer, a scriptwriter.

Beat.

SIMPSON
Really.

Beat.

Dr. Ammerman hands the signed prescription to Simpson who takes it.

DR. AMMERMAN
I just have to work a bit more on my dialogue.

 

INT. PRODUCTION BUNGALOW - PARAMOUNT STUDIOS - HOLLYWOOD - AFTERNOON - 1988

EXECUTIVES sit around a conference table. There’s an expensive Comdial speakerphone in the center of the table.

TALL EXECUTIVE leans over, adjusting the volume on the speakerphone. Through the speakerphone, Simpson sounds like he’s having trouble breathing.

SIMPSON (O.C.)
(through speakerphone)
So how are all my little Jews doing today?

Each Executive has a Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer Productions notebook and pencil placed in front of them.

One Executive keeps doodling penises.

ANGRY EXECUTIVE
What did he frigging call me?
OLDER EXECUTIVE
Relax, it’s just Don. He’s kidding.
ANGRY EXECUTIVE
Little? I’m six foot.
TALL EXECUTIVE
In heels.

Jerry Bruckheimer watches the Executives from the background. He opens a small bottle of Perrier mineral water.

Speakerphone hisses. It’s a bad line.

OLDER EXECUTIVE
Can you hear us, Don?
SIMPSON (O.C.)
(through speakerphone)
Yeh --

Speakerphone crackles. Simpson sounds like he’s heaving.

SIMPSON (O.C.)
(through speakerphone)
Oh yeah, yeh --
TALL EXECUTIVE
Sounds like he’s having a heart attack.
OLDER EXECUTIVE
Everything alright, Don?

Speakerphone fizzes. Simpson sounds strangely strangled. Executives lean forward, trying to make out what he’s saying.

SIMPSON (O.C.)
(through speakerphone)
-- yeah, yeh --

Speakerphone beeps as the line goes dead. Angry Executive shakes his head.

ANGRY EXECUTIVE
Why can’t he take a frigging meeting on the lot like everybody else?

Bruckheimer sips his mineral water.

ANGRY EXECUTIVE
What could he be doing that’s so frigging important?

 

INT. STUDY - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - AFTERNOON - CONTINUOUS

AT&T speakerphone on Simpson’s desk beeps with the dead line. A small mound of crushed cocaine is next to it.

Simpson leans back on his leather chair. Head back, eyes closed. Smiling away.

SIMPSON
Yeah -- yeah --

Tiffany is on her knees between his legs, naked. She’s deep-throating him all the way.

SIMPSON
Yeaaaah --

Simpson comes and comes.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Tiffany was the first one I let into my house. Let into my life.

Tiffany looks up. Pushes her hair back with the back of her hand.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Did I love her? It’s a good question.

Simpson reaches over and presses a button on the speakerphone. Beeping cuts short.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
But you know, love is not something I really understand.

Simpson picks up his single-blade Swiss Army Knife, scoops some cocaine on the tip and snorts straight up.

TIFFANY
You’re a handsome man, you know that?

Simpson smiles.

SIMPSON
You’re just saying that because I’m paying you a thousand bucks to fuck me.

Tiffany laughs. Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographic portrait “Lisa Lyons, 1981” hangs framed on the wall. It’s a black and white gelatin-silver nude of female bodybuilder Lisa Lyons, both arms raised above her head.

SIMPSON
You know I called Madam Adams and asked for you.
TIFFANY
Am I worth it?
SIMPSON
You’re special. But your tits are too small.

Simpson scrawls something on a Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer Productions notepad, rips out the page and hands it to Tiffany.

SIMPSON
Call this doctor.

Tiffany takes the page.

SIMPSON
It’s covered. I’ll pay. They always want girls with big tits.

Tiffany agrees.

SIMPSON
It’s day surgery, nothing to worry about.

Simpson notices an eyelash on Tiffany’s cheek. He reaches down and gently lifts it off.

Move to Robert Mapplethorpe’s “Lisa Lyons, 1981.”

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Tiffany was never jealous. I guess I loved that about her.

Robert Mapplethorpe’s “Lisa Lyons, 1981” comes to life as the nude bodybuilder flexes her muscles even tighter.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I love centerfolds, Penthouse Pets. Big hair, big thighs, big tits. Muscled, sculpted.

Lisa Lyons relaxes her pose.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
The way I look at it is if you wake up and you’re ugly, you know what real pain is. That ain’t fun.

Lisa Lyons poses her side.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
So I don’t want to hear how difficult it is to be good-looking and be taken seriously. Give me a fucking break. The truth is, the more attractive you are the easier life is.

Lisa Lyons poses her biceps.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
But I ain’t attracted to them just because they’re good looking. They got to be extremely smart, extremely funny, extremely ambitious.

Lisa Lyons poses her triceps.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Hey, don’t get me wrong. I don’t cross the street, let alone the room, to meet a woman just because she’s got a nice personality. I can’t fuck a nice personality.

Lisa Lyons poses her back, looking down over her shoulder.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
And if I ain’t got a nice ass, they don’t want to meet me either. That’s showbiz, right?

 

INT. STAGE BAR - MISS KITTY STRIP CLUB - CITY OF INDUSTRY - EVENING - 1989

Fade up live version of Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding’s frenetic “Satisfaction” through the club’s sound system.

DRUNKEN MEN and WOMEN are whooping it up around the mirrored stage bar while energetic STRIPPERS lose their clothes piece by piece. It’s more strip than tease.

Spirits soar. Music pumps into the raised VIP Room at the back of the club.

 

INT. VIP ROOM - MISS KITTY STRIP CLUB - CITY OF INDUSTRY - EVENING - CONTINUOUS

Simpson sits by himself in the plush back booth, nursing a Stolichnaya vodka.

French screenwriter PAUL JAVAL, 39, bounds up to Simpson.

JAVAL
Where did your partner go?
SIMPSON
He picked up at the bar. He’s probably getting a blowjob in the back of the limo right now.
JAVAL
So why are not you chasing any women?

Simpson sips his vodka.

SIMPSON
It’s not how it works.
JAVAL
What?
SIMPSON
My partner will ask nine women to sleep with him and nine women will turn him down in a row. The tenth woman says yes, and he goes home with her.

Simpson gulps his vodka.

SIMPSON
Me, I ask one woman to go out with me and she says no, and I want to go home and put my head in the fucking oven and blow my brains out.

Simpson drains his vodka.

SIMPSON
I’m no good at subtlety between men and women. I don’t understand the subtext.

Simpson whips out his platinum American Express card.

SIMPSON
All I understand is American Express. With this I can fuck any girl I like any time I like. I love this card more than life itself.
JAVAL
Do not leave home without it?
SIMPSON
Man, I don’t leave the bedroom without it.

Simpson takes out a Motorola MicroTAC cellular phone, flips it open and starts dialing.

SIMPSON
(to Javal)
Let me call Madam Adams and she can send over some girls.

Simpson waits for his call to be answered.

SIMPSON
(to Javal)
What color do you like?

Simpson cups his other hand in front of his chest.

SIMPSON
(to Javal)
Big? Small? Really big?

 

INT. MADAM ADAMS’ BEDROOM - BEL-AIR BROTHEL - BEL-AIR - NIGHT - 1989

MADAM ADAMS, 52, a short, squat widow, sits propped up in an enormous Dutch antique bed, working four telephones.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
For a time there Elizabeth Adams was Hollywood’s top madam.

Madam Adams is surrounded by a dozen of her favorite cats - DALI, PICASSO, GEORGE, GEORGINA, CHAGAL, MIRO, COCTEAU, FATIMA, LEGER, MATISSE, BRAQUE, GIACOMETTI.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Her place was just up the road from mine. She called it “Casa de Pussy,” on account of all the fucking cats.

Madam Adams is also working her two-gram-a-day habit from a gilded rococo mirror resting on a plump pillow.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Man, the place reeked of cat piss.

FILIPINO MAIDS in uniform are cleaning up after all the cats.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Cats and cash. On any given night, twenty to twenty-five girls on duty earning a thousand to two thousand per client per session. Higher for clients with special interests.

Madam Adams snickers into the phone.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
She worked the girls exclusively in Bel-Air, Beverly Hills and Brentwood. Young, fit and willing girls.

Each night stand on either side of the bed is laden with a huge bouquet of white Calla lilies.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
See those flowers? I sent those. I was her top client. Minimum five girls a week. She used to call me “Beverly Hills Cock.”

Filipino Maid picks up a cat clawing the bedspread. Cat hisses and spits.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
You see, I don’t date. I fuck. I don’t make love. I fuck.

Madam Adams cackles into the phone.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
And in Los Angeles, prostitution is just another service business. Like photocopying or catering.

Cat lashes out at the Filipino Maid, scratching the back of her hand. She drops the cat.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Hiring a girl is just a lot easier than trying to pick one up. There’s no complications and you’re not wasting any time. Plus they’re professionals.

Filipino Maid sucks the back of her bleeding hand.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
And I like professionals. I love the ones that take pride in their work.

Madam Adams shoos away the Filipino Maid.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I mean, sure, I could fuck starlets. But between you and me, they can’t fuck for shit.

Madam Adams taps the pillow next to her and the cat slinks towards her.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Hey, you can ask some girl out and she can say no. Or she can say yes and then not want to go to the restaurant you want. She can even say she doesn’t want to sleep with you.

Cat sidles up next to Madam Adams who pats it.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
This way, you get everything you want. They go out where you want, they take their clothes off when you want, they fuck you when you want and then they leave when you want.

Madam Adams taps the cat away.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
That’s the deal. You don’t pay them to come, you pay them to leave.

Madam Adams hangs up the phone and reaches for more cocaine.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
You don’t pay them to fuck. You pay them to fuck off.

Madam Adams’ face is reflected in the mirror as she dips her head to snort another line. Her eyes come into focus.

 

INT. PORSCHE 911 - STONE CANYON ROAD - BEL-AIR - MORNING - 1989

Simpson’s eyes widen, pupils dilate. Sound of police motorcycle siren whipping the air.

SIMPSON (O.C.)
Fuck!

Simpson’s eyes are reflected in the rear-view mirror as he speeds down the road. He can see a MOTORCYCLE OFFICER behind, motioning him to pull over.

Simpson pulls over and sees the Motorcycle Officer pull up behind and dismount.

It’s a tall policewoman in beige leathers, mirrored sunglasses and helmet.

Simpson smiles. Touches up his hair in the rear-view mirror. Opens the window.

Motorcycle Officer steps up to the window.

MOTORCYCLE OFFICER
Are you aware this is a residential zone, sir?
SIMPSON
Yeah, I live just down the road.
MOTORCYCLE OFFICER
Any reason why you were speeding, sir?

Simpson blushes.

MOTORCYCLE OFFICER
May I see your license, sir?

Simpson checks his pockets for his license without luck.

He blushes again.

SIMPSON
I’m Don Simpson. I make movies.

Motorcycle Officer steps back to her motorcycle, opens a pouch and takes out what looks like a docket book.

She starts writing.

Simpson looks in the rear-view mirror. Rolls his eyes.

Motorcycle Officer steps up to Simpson and hands him what he thinks is going to be a ticket.

But it’s a black and white 8x10 glossy of her in a bikini. She’s written a telephone number in the bottom right-hand corner.

MOTORCYCLE OFFICER
That’s my home number.

 

INT. STUDY - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - AFTERNOON - 1989

Simpson is dressed in black, surrounded by walls of black Sony audio and video equipment.

He’s coked out of his mind and watching the new security monitors. One surveillance camera is trained over the high driveway gate, second surveillance camera over the driveway parking area, third surveillance camera over the front door.

There’s cocaine all over his desk. There’s an uncashed check from Paramount Pictures for $2 million on top of a slew of glossy magazines.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Another day, another Paramount check for “Beverly Hills Cop”.

Simpson picks up the check, rolls it up into a tight straw and snorts a real hefty line of coke.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Action comedy? That’s me. I made the fucking genre. I made Eddie Murphy. I made Mel Gibson. I made Bruce Willis. All those jive-talking dickwads. That’s me. I made them.

Simpson wipes cocaine off the top of his desk with his finger.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Do you know how much they get paid now? Twenty million a pop, thirty million a pop, forty million a pop plus points.

Simpson rubs his cocaine-laced finger across his top gum.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I invented Tom Cruise. Before me he was just a stupid little Scientologist with shitty teeth. Now he’s an Operating Thetan at twenty million pay or play.

Simpson looks at the glossy magazine with Tom Cruise looking determined on the cover.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Fuck, why didn’t I become an actor!? I could have been an actor. I could have been a great actor.

Cut on glossy cover of Tom Cruise. Sounds of coke being diced up.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I was fucking great in “Days of Thunder”. I upstaged that little midget and then I cut out my part to save his face.

Cut closer on glossy cover of a determined Tom Cruise.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Fuck him! Fuck Nicole! Fuck the whole lot them! Fuck the whole Screen Actors Guild!

 

EXT. DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY - DAYTONA BEACH - AFTERNOON - 1990

Tom Cruise wears dark racing leathers and helmet. He looks determined behind the wheel of a souped up, 700+ horsepower Winston Cup NASCAR race car, staring out at the speedway track ahead. Rev revving.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
“Days of Thunder” started with a budget of forty million that blew out to seventy million. Hey, it didn’t all go up my nose.

WRANGLERS sprinkle birdseed over the speedway track.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
The studio was screaming for a summer movie. We knew the script wasn’t ready.

CAMERA CREW stand by on the bank of the speedway track in front of the birdseed. Gulls flutter down, happily pecking at the birdseed.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
But we had a window on Tom Cruise. So we had to roll with it.

FIRST ASSISTANT DIRECTOR nods to the DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY.

FIRST ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
(screams into headset)
Action! Action!! Action!!!

Cruise’s race car rockets forward and runs over dozens of gulls. Splat, splat, splat.

FIRST ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
(screams into headset)
Cut! Cut!! Cut!!!

Cruise’s race car grumbles and spits to a stop, a dead gull splattered on the windscreen.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
It was a fucking mess.

Cruise leaps out of the race car.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
The race cars kept breaking down. That meant delays, that meant money.

Cruise undoes his helmet and hurls it onto the track.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
And when they weren’t in the shop they were spinning out of control and slamming into banks of cameras.

Cruise storms off the set.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
We wrecked thirty-five fucking race cars at a hundred grand a pop. It was taking forever and we weren’t getting anything.

First Assistant Director hurries after Cruise.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
We had weather problems. Shit, at one stage it rained for six days straight.

SECOND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR hurries after First Assistant Director.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
The studio was locked into the release date. The cost of flying in hookers was the least of it. We had three crews shooting simultaneously. We had four teams of editors working. We were doing everything we could.

THIRD ASSISTANT DIRECTOR hurries after Second Assistant Director.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Tom Cruise wanted to make a race car movie so we had to make a race car movie. And why did the dipshit want to make a race car movie? Because Paul fucking Newman took him ‘round a track once. Fuck me.

Wranglers hose dead gulls off the speedway track.

 

EXT. DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY - DAYTONA BEACH - AFTERNOON - 1990

Simpson plays the part of veteran race car driver ALDO BENNEDETTI. He wears tailor-made blindingly white racing leathers with a bright-red stitched panel advertising Goody’s headache powders.

He stands in front of a matching red Chevrolet Lumina NASCAR race car, being interviewed by an ESPN REPORTER.

He looks good. He acts fine.

BENNEDETTI
I’m glad he’s well enough to come back, and I hope I beat him at the same time.

Simpson as Bennedetti smiles.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I worked hard for the part of Aldo Bennedetti. Worked out every day. Got down to a lean, muscled one hundred and seventy pounds.

Match dissolve blindingly white racing leathers into pitch black racing leathers with a bright red stitched panel advertising Goody’s headache powders.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Had collagen injections in my chin and cheeks to give me better definition, better angle. Had a forehead lift and eyebrow restructuring for a sterner, sharper look.

Simpson as Bennedetti starts to dissolve away.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Cruise cut me out because he didn’t want anything to take away from his bar scene.

Simpson as Bennedetti disappears altogether.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I fight tooth and nail to get that fucker the seven million he wants to do the movie and this is how he thanks me? Fucks me up the ass behind my back. Little cocksucker.

 

INT. EDIT SUITE - POST-PRODUCTION FACILITY - DAYTONA BEACH - AFTERNOON - 1990

Dim light as FILM EDITOR at Steenbeck spools forward through the dailies.

Simpson has his head in his hands, depressed.

SIMPSON
Fuck, fuck, fuck.

Simpson looks up then drops his head in hands again.

SIMPSON
We’re fucking fucked.

Simpson looks up at the Steenbeck screen as images whir past.

SIMPSON
There’s no story here. We barely have a first act, and then we have nothing.

Film Editor stops on a frame of NICOLE KIDMAN delivering a line.

SIMPSON
And this stupid redhead from Australia that Tom’s fucking, I can’t understand a fucking word she’s saying.
FILM EDITOR
She’s got two dialogue coaches.
SIMPSON
She needs a fucking speech therapist.

 

INT. HALLWAY - THE SHORES HOTEL - DAYTONA BEACH - EVENING - 1990

PRETTY GIRLS are lined up outside Simpson’s suite.

Local girls, young and impressionable. Gushing and giggling.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I had this special hormone formula flown in from Germany. Inject it straight into my penis and it would keep me hard for twelve hours at a stretch.

Simpson’s Personal Assistant, MONICA HARMON, 26, has seen it all before. She stands at the head of the line, pen in hand with a clipboard cradled in her arm.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I could fuck my brains out for half a day before my dick needed a break.

Simpson steps out of his suite in a bathrobe, combing his wet hair.

HARMON
How was the last one?
SIMPSON
Not bad. Next!

NEXT GIRL steps into Simpson’s suite.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Casting couch? It’s a fucking myth. It’s such horseshit my partner and I used to laugh about it all the time.

Simpson steps in behind the Next Girl. Harmon closes the door.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Anybody who thinks they can fuck their way into this business is a fucking idiot.

 

INT. BATHROOM - WRECK RIVERFRONT BAR & GRILL - DAYTONA BEACH - NIGHT - 1990

RACE NEWMAN, 26, opens a cubicle door on Simpson sniffing coke.

NEWMAN
Oh shit, I’m sorry.

Simpson is all smiles.

SIMPSON
Ain’t nothing to be sorry about.

Simpson holds up his folded packet of cocaine. It’s open at the top.

SIMPSON
Want some coke?

Newman looks around.

NEWMAN
If you’re a cop, you do know this is entrapment? No right of entry, no secondary exit, no --

Simpson dangles his folded packet of cocaine.

SIMPSON
I’m Don Simpson. I make movies.

Newman smiles, puts out the back of his hand.

NEWMAN
I’m Race Newman. I love movies.

Simpson taps some coke out of the folded packet onto the back of Newman’s hand. Newman sniffs it up in a heartbeat.

Newman reaches into his back pocket and pulls out a small Ziploc bag packed with flaked coke. There’s about seven grams inside.

He dangles the Ziploc bag with a smile. Simpson smiles, puts out the back of his hand.

SIMPSON
And I love coke.

Newman opens the Ziploc bag and taps some coke out onto the back of Simpson’s hand. Simpson sniffs it up in a heartbeat. It kicks straight in.

SIMPSON
‘Specially coke like that.

Newman tips some more coke on the back of Simpson’s hand. Simpson sniffs it straight up.

NEWMAN
You know you shouldn’t be buying by the gram.

Simpson takes a deep breath.

NEWMAN
Buy an eighth of an ounce at a time and you know what you’re getting. Especially from me.

Simpson smiles, synapses rattling.

SIMPSON
It is fucking great coke. Where’s it from?

Newman dips the tip of his finger in the cocaine and draws the structural formula of cocaine in midair like pixie dust.

                CH3

               /

              O

               \

                C=O

               /

    CH2--CH--CH

   /     /     \

CH2     N-CH3   CH-O

   \   /       /    \

    CH2 ------CH2    C=O

                    /

                   Ph

Simpson is awestruck as the formula glows white before dissolving away in sprinkles of light.

SIMPSON
How did you do that, Race?

Newman smiles wide.

NEWMAN
I’m a coke dealer, Don. I can do anything.

 

EXT. PARKING LOT - FORESHORE - AFTERNOON - DAYTONA BEACH - 1990

Simpson stares vacantly at TEENAGE BOYS and TEENAGE GIRLS sprawled out on the sand.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
All my movies are rock’n’ roll movies. “Flashdance” is rock’n’ roll in a steel mill. “Top Gun” is rock’n’ roll in a fighter jet. “Days of Thunder” is rock’n’ roll in a race car.

Simpson smiles.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
All you got to do is find a good song, cut a three-minute clip and run it on MTV. It becomes a three-minute commercial you don’t have to pay for. When you launch the movie, the clip goes on high rotation which makes the song a hit which makes the movie a hit which makes -- well, you get the picture.

SLIM EXECUTIVE, 42, and POLISHED EXECUTIVE, 41, approach. They’re from Paramount. They’re wearing suits. They mean business.

SLIM EXECUTIVE
Don, we see what you’re doing.

Simpson doesn’t look at them.

SIMPSON
What?
POLISHED EXECUTIVE
You’re trying to get into their heads to figure out what they want to see.
SIMPSON
You’ve got it ass around. They don’t tell me what they want to see. I tell them.

Simpson smiles.

SIMPSON
And I’ll let you in on a secret.
SLIM EXECUTIVE
What?
SIMPSON
They all want to see the same thing.

Uncomfortable beat.

POLISHED EXECUTIVE
You want to tell us what it is?

Simpson smiles.

SIMPSON
You give me twenty-two million dollars and I’ll show you.

Slim Executive tries to smile.

SLIM EXECUTIVE
We already have.
POLISHED EXECUTIVE
And then some.
SIMPSON
What is this? Good cop, bad cop?

Both executives smile.

SLIM EXECUTIVE
Don, we have to go through the budget again before we fly back.

Simpson rolls his eyes.

SIMPSON
What the fuck do you want Jerry and me to do? We’re killing ourselves out here.

Simpson is serious.

SIMPSON
There are no five-star luxury hotels here in Daytona Beach. There are no four- star hotels. We may as well be staying in a fucking Holiday Inn.
POLISHED EXECUTIVE
Don, we’re concerned about the picture.
SIMPSON
What the fuck do you know about making a movie?
POLISHED EXECUTIVE
Don, I do have an MBA.
SIMPSON
I wouldn’t piss on your MBA.

Polished Executive adjusts the cuff on his shirt.

SIMPSON
You guys are all the same. You wouldn’t know how to make a movie if your fucking life depended on it. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You never know what you’re talking about. So fuck you.

Simpson heads back to The Shores Hotel.

SIMPSON
Fuck all of you.

 

INT. SIMPSON’S SUITE - THE SHORES HOTEL - DAYTONA BEACH - SUNSET - 1990

Shimmering picture postcard view of soft waves ebbing into the distant golden horizon.

Hotel chair rolls and tumbles in slow motion towards the setting sun. It stops in mid-flight and bounces off.

SIMPSON (O.C.)
Fuuuuuck!!

Simpson grabs the chair in both hands and slams it into the panoramic window with all his force. The window explodes, showering glass everywhere.

Monica Harmon flinches, cupping a hand to protect her face. Simpson screams at her as he brushes off glass splinters with one hand.

SIMPSON
Now look what you made me do!

Harmon looks at the floor.

SIMPSON
Didn’t I fucking ask you for a suite with windows that opened?

A shard of glass teeters from the top of the window frame. Simpson is still holding onto the chair.

HARMON
None of the suites have windows that open.
SIMPSON
So fucking what? You’re my personal assistant.

Teetering shard of glass slips from the window frame and shatters on the floor.

SIMPSON
It’s your job to deal with it.

Simpson plants the chair on the floor by the smashed window, sits down and looks out to the fallen sun.

 

INT. FOURTH BEDROOM CLOSET - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - NIGHT - 1990

Tiffany is naked, stroking a tiny kitten and peering inside the closet. She shakes her head.

TIFFANY
That’s so sick.

Reveal inside the closet. It’s stacked floor to ceiling with pairs of new black Levi’s jeans.

Simpson sits hunched over on the other side of the bed, naked with his back to Tiffany. He tugs at something, grunting.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Hey, I purchase them in bulk, wear them once and then discard them.

Tiffany kisses the kitten’s head.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I’m a legitimate twenty-nine/thirty-two. But they shrink about half an inch when washed - which makes them about half an inch wrong.

Simpson stands.

SIMPSON
Hey darling, check these babies out.

Simpson clomps around the bed to Tiffany. He’s wearing new cowboy boots with the price tag still swinging from the top.

They’re snakeskin with a fanged cobra head on each foot.

Tiffany drops to one knee for a closer look. Her tiny kitten bristles, bares its teeth and lashes out at the dead reptiles.

Simpson topples back, almost loses his footing.

SIMPSON
Jesus, Tiffany, you know I’ve got a thing about fucking cats.

Tiffany soothes the kitten.

TIFFANY
It’s not a cat, my little Eskimo. It’s a kitten.

Tiffany coyly offers up the kitten to Simpson.

TIFFANY
Kissy, kissy, kissy.

Simpson pulls back, arches his fingers and hisses back at the tiny feline.

 

INT. PORSCHE 911 4S - ANGELO DRIVE - BEL-AIR - MORNING - 1990

Simpson shifts down and accelerates. Wind buffets the rear Euro wing.

Car radio fades over the next song. It’s Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes’ duet “Up Where We Belong” from “An Officer and a Gentleman.”

Simpson looks at the radio with disgust.

SIMPSON
Fuck!

Simpson kicks in the radio with the heel of his cowboy boot

SIMPSON
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

Simpson keeps kicking in the radio until it spills out wires like tangled spaghetti.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Should never have been a hit. I didn’t even want the song in the fucking movie but the director threatened to take his name off because he was fucking the stupid bitch doing the vocals.

Song keeps playing out.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Number one for fifteen weeks in a row. Fuck! Fifteen fucking weeks.

Simpson kicks out more wires as the speeding Porsche takes a corner too tightly.

He double spins the steering wheel but the Porsche spins out of control, mounts the curb, crashes through a white picket fence and plows into a charming cottage.

 

EXT. COTTAGE - ANGELO DRIVE - BEL-AIR - MORNING - CONTINUOUS

Simpson opens the Porsche door and staggers out. Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes’ duet ‘Up Where We Belong’ keeps playing out of the disemboweled car radio.

Bits and pieces of the suspension litter the freshly mowed front yard.

Simpson flips open his cell phone and auto dials.

SIMPSON
(into phone)
Yeah, I need another one. No, not that shit basalt black. Real black.

Orange rear indicator light on the crashed Porsche blinks.

 

EXT. FOOTBALL FIELD - SOUTH ANCHORAGE HIGH SCHOOL - ANCHORAGE - NIGHT - 1990

Fade up live version of Jimi Hendrix’s rapturous “Star- Spangled Banner.”

SCHOOL MARCHING BAND plays “Star-Spangled Banner” loudly and proudly. Buffeted by pulsing winds. Bell 206 L3 Helicopter descends from a night sky littered with too many stars.

Simpson slides open the door and steps out, resplendent in a white suit and coked out of his mind. He’s got a bottle of Flying Dog beer in hand.

He looks up at the huge vinyl sign draped over the entrance to the auditorium lashed by the wash of the helicopter propellers. It reads: WELCOME TO SOUTH ANCHORAGE HIGH SCHOOL REUNION.

FORMER STUDENTS spill out of the auditorium to see what all the commotion is about. Simpson throws down his beer and tosses the empty bottle over his shoulder.

Two spectacularly-endowed Penthouse Pets step out. They’re TINA and GINA, 28. And they’re twins.

Simpson takes one in each arm and saunters towards the auditorium. They teeter on their stilettos. The mouths of one or two Former Students actually drop open as Simpson sails past.

 

INT. AUDITORIUM - SOUTH ANCHORAGE HIGH SCHOOL - ANCHORAGE - NIGHT - CONTINUOUS

COVER BAND plays Jimi Hendrix’s version of “Cocaine.”

Simpson circuits the auditorium with the voluptuous Tina and Gina, greeting old friends along the way.

Cover Band stops playing as FORMER STUDENTS stop dancing to take in Simpson and his girls.

EVERYONE in the auditorium tries to catch a glimpse. Simpson sweeps out.

 

EXT. FOOTBALL FIELD - SOUTH ANCHORAGE HIGH SCHOOL - ANCHORAGE - NIGHT - CONTINUOUS

Simpson strides to the helicopter. Helps each of the girls step in first. Waves at everyone now gathered at the auditorium entrance.

He looks up into the night. A light snow begins to fall. He steps into the helicopter and slides the door shut.

Slow motion from underneath the helicopter as it spirals up into the heavens above.

 

INT. TEST SCREENING - CINEMAPOLIS MULTIPLEX - ANAHEIM HILLS - AFTERNOON - 1990

Simpson stands nervously at the back of the theater, gobbling pills like candy.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I made all these successful movies because I had this great rapport with the audience - and then I went and fucking lost it.

AUDIENCE laughs inappropriately.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
And since I don’t know what the fuck it is or how I got it in the first place, I had no idea how to get it back.

 

INT. ENSUITE - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - NIGHT - 1990

Simpson sits on the toilet, reading Janet Maslin’s film review from “The New York Times.”

SIMPSON
(reads)
‘Mister Scott, who also directed Mister Cruise in “Top Gun”, does his utmost to pump up the audience’s adrenaline at all times, which means that the film’s big moments - the races, the crashes, the news that someone needs brain surgery - don’t seem that different from the small ones. Most of “Days of Thunder” plays like a commercial for an unnamed product, a commercial replete with waving flags, cheering fans, picturesque rural Americana, filtered blue light and other nice-looking touches.’

He holds the newspaper closer.

SIMPSON
(reads)
‘Another of Mister Scott’s trademarks is the use of enough upbeat soundtrack music to generate toe-tapping in the dead.’

He scans the review in disbelief. Then rips it out and wipes his ass with it.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
A movie is like a parachute.

He flushes the toilet.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
If it doesn’t open on that first weekend, you’re fucking dead.

 

INT. STUDY - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - AFTERNOON - 1991

Simpson sits behind his desk, absentmindedly watching an amateur VHS videotape he filmed. Dominatrix Videotape #01.

Simpson mashes the remote control six frames forward, six frames back so it looks like the bodies on the Sony television screen are fucking. Simpson presses the play button and the VHS videotape plays.

On the screen we can see he shot the video in his bedroom.

A naked PATRICIA, 31, stares down the camera. Very black, very built. 180 pounds of pure muscle, wearing a black strap-on dildo. On the screen a naked Tiffany has her hands on her hips, declaring she ain’t anyone’s bitch. Naked redhead MONICA, 27, looks dazed and confused on the bed.

On the screen Patricia mounts Monica from behind and goes through the motions of fucking her. Simpson screams at Patricia to fuck her properly. Tiffany paddles her ass.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
What happens when you’re the one who raised the bar? You have to keep raising the fucking thing. Hey, I ain’t complaining. But in what other business does making eighteen million dollars in one weekend spell disaster?

On the screen Simpson sounds increasingly bored. He yells that it’s all bullshit. He wants somebody to turn Monica out. He discards the camera, saying he’s going downstairs to watch a movie. He yells at Tiffany to find him a fucking freak, find him someone who’s fun.

 

INT. KITCHEN - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - MORNING - 1991

Tiffany frantically searches through cupboards.

TIFFANY
What have you done with him?

Simpson ambles past in a bathrobe, morosely eating Häagen- Dazs Peaches and Cream ice cream straight from the tub.

He answers with a mouthful of ice cream.

SIMPSON
Wh --
TIFFANY
Kitty? Where’s Kitty? What have you done with Kitty?

He spoons more ice cream into his mouth and answers in undecipherable blobs.

SIMPSON
-- nth -- rate -- or --
TIFFANY
Where?

Simpson swallows and points with the spoon.

SIMPSON
In the refrigerator.
TIFFANY
What!?

Tiffany whisks the large Jenn-Air refrigerator door open and rifles through the contents, knocking over jars and bowls. Checks in the dairy compartment. Checks in the fruit and vegetable compartment.

She slowly looks up at the freezer door. She slowly opens it. Kitty is inside, shaking with cold. Tiny icicles have formed at the end of his tiny whiskers. He lets out a tiny frozen meow.

Tiffany is in shock. She delicately picks up her frozen kitten as chilled air licks out. Tears well in her eyes.

TIFFANY
How could you do something like that?

Simpson is eating another mouthful of ice cream.

SIMPSON
-- arc -- tit --

Tiffany starts crying.

TIFFANY
Why would you do something like that?

Simpson is still mouthing ice cream.

SIMPSON
-- arc -- tit -- ing --

Tiffany leaves, clutching her kitten. Tears streaming down her face. Simpson calls out after her.

SIMPSON
Arctic training!

Simpson scoops another spoonful from the tub. He screams out after her.

SIMPSON
Hey, I come from Alaska! One day that cat will thank me!

 

INT. BEDROOM - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - AFTERNOON - 1991

Simpson sits on the edge of the massive bed. He holds something behind his back, looking sheepish.

Tiffany closes her eyes and extends both palms to him, excited.

He pulls out a small Tiffany Blue Box. It’s been tied with a simple white-ribbon bow. He gently places it in Tiffany’s hands.

She slowly opens her eyes wider and wider when she sees what it is. She gently pulls on the bow which unravels itself and cascades away. She expectantly lifts off the lid.

Then parts the pure-white tissue paper to reveal a small Tiffany Silver Spoon on a 16” silver necklace.

The handle is encrusted with tiny diamonds. It’s the most expensive coke spoon Tiffany will ever see.

Simpson pulls out a small Ziploc bag of fresh coke, dangles it with a smile.

Tiffany smiles too.

 

INT. STUDY - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - AFTERNOON - 1992

Simpson sits behind his desk, absently watching an amateur VHS videotape he filmed. Dominatrix Videotape #02.

On the screen a naked Patricia is fucking a naked MICHELLE, 27, hard from behind with a black strap-on. Michelle is thin with big tits and dirty blonde hair. She’s also pretty frazzled on crystal meth. A naked Tiffany attaches pussy clamps on Michelle who calls for them to be tightened harder, harder.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Anything worth doing is worth overdoing. How can you know it’s enough until it’s too much? It’s the only way to find out.

On the screen Patricia sweats and sweats, Michelle pants and pants. From behind the camera Simpson complains that Michelle is not playing her role properly, she’s loving every fucking minute of it.

 

INT. LIVING ROOM - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - NIGHT - 1992

Party is in full swing. PARTYGOERS are flitting all over the place.

Simpson is huddled down with independent filmmaker PAUL SCHRADER, 45. Deep in conversation.

Simpson snorts coke from the tip of his single-blade Swiss Army Knife which he keeps dipping into a Ziploc bag packed with creamy, flaked Colombian powder.

Schrader rolls a five-paper spliff without any tobacco.

SIMPSON
Start fast and hard and loud and then stay that way. Don’t let up for two hours.

Simpson offers Schrader some coke from the tip of his single- blade Swiss Army Knife. Schrader begs off.

SCHRADER
What about story problems?
SIMPSON
Character logic? Fuck it. Turn up the music. I know what Americans want.
SCHRADER
And what do Americans want?
SIMPSON
Sex. Loud music. Sex. Hot clothes. Sex. Illicit drugs. Sex. Fast cars.

Beat.

SIMPSON
And then some more sex.
SCHRADER
That’s a lot of sex.
SIMPSON
Americans want to see people screwing. Never forget that.

Schrader rolls his eyes.

SIMPSON
What? You gay or something?

Schrader shakes his head.

SIMPSON
You a fucking prude?

Schrader sighs. Simpson looks at Schrader in disbelief.

SIMPSON
You want to make art!

Schrader blushes. Simpson laughs.

SIMPSON
Fuck off. Next you’ll want to talk about dialogue.

Schrader opens his mouth to say something but Simpson jumps in.

SIMPSON
Dialogue? Fuck off. Americans don’t want to see people talking. They want to see shit blowing up.

Schrader opens his mouth to speak but again Simpson beats him to it.

SIMPSON
Dialogue? Put your money where your mouth is. You go make your relationship movie, I’ll go make one about fucking and getting loaded. See you at the box office.

Schrader offers the freshly rolled spliff to Simpson.

Beat.

Simpson takes it, Schrader flames a lighter and torches the tip. Simpson inhales.

SCHRADER
But the box office isn’t everything.

Simpson explodes into a coughing fit.

SCHRADER
What was the highest grossing film in nineteen forty-one?

Simpson recovers. He has no idea.

SIMPSON
It wasn’t “Citizen Kane”.

Simpson passes Schrader the spliff.

SCHRADER
No, it was a piece of war propaganda by Howard Hawks called “Sergeant York”.

Schrader smiles.

SCHRADER
And which one are we going to remember? Which one is going to make the history books? The one that made money or the one that made art?

Schrader passes Simpson the spliff.

SCHRADER
Art outlives us all.

Simpson inhales deeply. Several of the Partygoers dissolve away like wisps of smoke.

 

INT. LIVING ROOM - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - NIGHT - LATER

Schrader exhales.

SCHRADER
You’re wasting your time making these studio movies. You’re just making dollars for some corporation that already has too much money.

Schrader passes Simpson the spliff.

SCHRADER
You’re a rent boy for the studio. You cover all their overages, you cover all the extra shit they load onto the budget. And they make you pay two percent over prime.

Simpson inhales deeply and thinks.

SCHRADER
They don’t even realize cinema has become the new church. They don’t understand we’ve become the new gods.

Simpson inhales again. Last of the Partygoers dissolve away like wisps of smoke.

 

INT. LIVING ROOM - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - NIGHT - LATER

Schrader exhales.

SCHRADER
One day we’ll die for our sins and we’ll look back and what will we see? Our life’s work?

Schrader passes the spliff to Simpson.

SCHRADER
Movies that made money? Or films that made art?

Beat.

SCHRADER
A life of spreadsheets?

Beat.

SCHRADER
Or a higher calling?

Smoke wisps away.

 

INT. CADILLAC LIMOUSINE - BALBOA BOULEVARD - GRANADA HILLS - EVENING - 1992

Through tinted rear passenger window as Simpson pulls up alongside in his new black Porsche 911 Turbo S with Euro wing and wheel flares. The traffic lights are red.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I’m in awe of CEOs who make more than me. I know, it’s a weakness. Creatively they’re fucking idiots, right. But man, can they pack that wealth on.

Simpson turns and recognizes whoever is in the back of the limousine. Lowers his electric window and mouths something to the passenger.

Whoever is in the back of the limousine lowers the electric window. Simpson repeats himself.

SIMPSON
(louder)
How’s my little gay Jewish houseboy doing?

 

INT. PORSCHE 911 TURBO S - BALBOA BOULEVARD - GRANADA HILLS - EVENING - CONTINUOUS

DAVID GEFFEN glares at Simpson.

GEFFEN
Fuck you, Simpson. I’m selling my record company for a billion dollars. I’m a fucking billionaire.

Limousine’s electric window rises up.

Simpson takes off before the traffic lights change to green. Rapidly accelerates to a hundred miles an hour. Checks his rear-view mirror with a smile.

Takes a bend too wide and clips one, two, three, four, five, six parked cars. Mounts the curb and flies into the display window of a lighting store.

 

INT. LUCE LIGHTING STORE - BALBOA BOULEVARD - GRANADA HILLS - EVENING - CONTINUOUS

Glass shatters and sprays every which way as Simpson’s Porsche flies through the display window and crashes into glass and crystal chandeliers, pendants, sconces, lamps.

Electrics short-circuit, sparks spray. Porsche engine rumbles and gears grind as Simpson shifts it into reverse. White reverse light lights up.

Tires spin out on all the shattered glass as Simpson tries to back out.

 

INT. STUDY - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - AFTERNOON - 1992

Simpson sits behind his desk, hardly watching an amateur VHS videotape he filmed. Dominatrix Videotape #03.

On the screen a naked Michelle is splayed on the bed, giggling to herself. A naked Patricia goes to open the first closet. From behind the camera Simpson screams at her to stop.

A naked Tiffany grabs Patricia’s hand and leads her to the ensuite. From behind the camera Simpson complains about the lack of action.

On the screen Tiffany steps out of ensuite wearing a black peaked leather cap and mirrored Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses. Between her legs she wears the black strap-on dildo.

She looks at the bedraggled Michelle and declares that this is over and she’s going to finish it. Simpson, behind the camera, cheers her on.

On the screen she strides to the bed and flips Michelle on her hands and knees. Lifts her hips in the air and pushes her face into the bed. Then plows the dildo straight into her ass. Simpson moves in.

On the screen Tiffany pulls back both Michelle’s arms and starts fucking her ass furiously. She pulls back her arms so hard Michelle squeals in pain until one of them breaks with a loud snap. Then she screams. Simpson looks out from behind the camera, eyes wide reflected in Tiffany’s sunglass lens.

On the screen Tiffany asks him whether he’s happy now. Simpson looks at his reflection in Tiffany’s sunglass lens.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
The more money you make, the more you have to deal with something pretty heavy.

Simpson looks at himself looking at his reflection on the screen.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
It’s called you.

 

INT. BEDROOM - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - AFTERNOON - 1992

Simpson points out the first closet to his house assistant TOD MARRERO, 23.

Jerry Bruckheimer’s soft, gentle voice flows out of the black AT&T speakerphone with answering machine on the bedside night stand. It sounds like the voice of a kind God.

BRUCKHEIMER (O.S.)
(through speakerphone)
Don, we love you. But this is your life. You can’t keep going down this road. You have to turn it around.

Simpson looks frayed. Tod looks tense.

SIMPSON
Just get a lock put on it, right. Don’t look inside. Just the lock.
BRUCKHEIMER (O.S.)
(through speakerphone)
For your own sake, Don. I want you to hand your life over to me. I can help. I want to help.

Tod leaves. Simpson calls out after him.

SIMPSON
I mean it.
BRUCKHEIMER (O.S.)
(through speakerphone)
It’s what I’m here for.

Simpson looks around the room, trying to see where the voice is coming from.

Beat.

SIMPSON
Who the fuck is this?
BRUCKHEIMER (O.S.)
(through speakerphone)
It’s Jerry. It’s your partner.
SIMPSON
Jerry?

Simpson looks around the ceiling.

SIMPSON
Where the fuck are you?

Glide to AT&T speakerphone with answering machine.

 

INT. DR. AMMERMAN’S OFFICE - WEST OLYMPIC MEDICAL CENTER - LOS ANGELES - AFTERNOON - 1992

Dr. Stephen Ammerman sits at his desk, writing out a prescription for Simpson’s medication.

DR. AMMERMAN
I want you to take these to keep you sparked up, okay. They’re new.

Simpson stands on the other side of the desk. Dr. Ammerman keeps writing and doesn’t look up.

SIMPSON
What are they?

Dr. Ammerman signs off.

DR. AMMERMAN
Technically they’re antidepressants. But they’re a new generation. No nasty side effects.
SIMPSON
How’s the script coming along?

Dr. Ammerman hands the signed prescription to Simpson who takes it and leaves.

DR. AMMERMAN
You know how it is. Too many distractions.

 

INT. STUDY - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - AFTERNOON - 1992

Security monitor screens Tiffany and Michelle and Simpson at the front door. Michelle has her arm plastered and in a sling. She’s well and truly out of it.

Tiffany also looks a little shaky on her feet. Simpson stands in a bathrobe with his back to the open front door.

SIMPSON
I can’t believe it! You’re trying to shake me down, you fucking stupid bitch.

Simpson reaches into the pocket of his bathrobe and throws a pile of notes at them.

SIMPSON
Here’s a thousand bucks, now fuck off. Get out and stay the fuck away from my house.

Simpson steps inside, slamming the front door behind him.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Hey, that’s life. You’re just an extra in everyone else’s movie.

Tiffany starts crying. Michelle starts trying to pick up the notes as they flap away.

 

EXT. TARMAC - BURBANK AIRPORT - BURBANK - LATE NIGHT - 1993

Simpson stands in the middle of the tarmac, looking up at the shattered stars. He wears dark sunglasses. He’s packed on the pounds.

A black Jeep Cherokee pulls up, the driver’s door opens slowly and Jerry Bruckheimer steps out. He walks up to Simpson and speaks in a near whisper.

BRUCKHEIMER
Don, it’s two-thirty in the morning. What do you want?
SIMPSON
What do I want? I want a jet.
BRUCKHEIMER
No, Don, you don’t want a jet. You want some serious medical care.
SIMPSON
What are you talking about?

Bruckheimer sighs.

BRUCKHEIMER
There’s a facility we’ve arranged for you. No one needs to know.
SIMPSON
John Travolta’s got two fucking Gulfstreams, Jerry. The world’s gone fucking crazy.
BRUCKHEIMER
Everything’s been organized.
SIMPSON
Even Julia fucking Roberts has got a fucking Gulfstream. Jesus, Jerry, everybody’s got a fucking jet except me.

Jerry looks at his friend and partner.

BRUCKHEIMER
Why do you need a jet, Don?
SIMPSON
A Gulfstream, Jerry.
BRUCKHEIMER
Why do you need a Gulfstream, Don?

Beat.

SIMPSON
Barry Diller’s got one.
BRUCKHEIMER
That’s not a good reason, Don.
SIMPSON
Geffen’s got one, too.

Jerry hangs his head. Simpson looks up into the stars, swooshes his hand into the moon and smiles.

SIMPSON
I want to fly over Aspen and into the sun.

Jerry turns and walks away.

 

EXT. ENTRANCE GATE - PROMISES TREATMENT CENTER - MALIBU - NIGHT - 1993

Simpson’s new black Porsche 911 Turbo ST roars into the side driveway and plows straight into the high stone wall.

Driver’s door swings open and Simpson spills out. He picks himself up, dusts himself off. He’s wearing dark sunglasses.

SIMPSON
Who the fuck moved the gates?

Red rear brake light glows in the dark night. Simpson’s cell phone rings. He flips it open.

SIMPSON
(into phone)
It’s the Don.

He looks around, dazed.

SIMPSON (into phone)
Yeah, yeah. I’m here. I’m checking in. I’m just waiting for somebody to park my car.

 

EXT. OLD SWIMMING POOL - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - NIGHT - 1993

Simpson sits at the bottom of his empty swimming pool, guzzling a large bottle of Stolichnaya vodka. Empty pill bottles are scattered around him.

In his hand he has an architectural scale model of his estate with a new pool and pool house.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I was going to fill it in and put a tennis court on top but I changed my mind. I decided to make the pool bigger.

The scale model is so detailed it has tiny patio furniture surrounding the pool as well as tiny model girls.

They’re all naked and on display poolside.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Figured I’d finally learn how to swim. Put in the laps, tone up, get healthy.

He peers into the scale model. A tiny model man chases a tiny naked model girl around the pool, flicking his towel at her ass.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
You can always use a bigger pool, right?

 

INT. ENSUITE - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - DAY - 1993

Simpson sits on the toilet, eating mouthfuls of popcorn from a jumbo-sized cardboard tub and looking down at his dick.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
And the other thing I made bigger was my dick. Penile augmentation? Sounds like a fine idea, right? Dual widening and lengthening procedure. Thicker and longer. What more could you ask for?

He shakes his head in disappointment.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Doctor Dick was my man. Top cock man in Los Angeles. Six thousand plus costs. For lengthening, the good doctor cuts a V- shaped incision just above your pubic bone and severs your suspensory ligament.

Simpson downs another mouthful of popcorn.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
For widening, fat is removed by liposuction from the abdomen and injected into your cock. Recycling, right? Sounds great, right?
SIMPSON
(to his dick)
Dickwad!
SIMPSON (V.O.)
Until infection sets in and the fat reabsorbs.

Simpson flops his flaccid dick side to side.

SIMPSON
(to his dick)
Hey, you listening to me? You better pick it up, Jack.

 

INT. LIVING ROOM - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - DAY - 1993

Simpson sits opposite producer JOEL SILVER, 41, and agent BILL BLOCK. Silver and Block look at each other. Simpson looks unwell.

He picks up a handset from a side table, wheezing. His voice quavers.

SIMPSON
(into phone)
Where’s the UFO script, you cocksucker?

Block looks worried.

SIMPSON
(into phone)
The pages? Where are the fucking pages? Send me the pages, you prick.

Silver looks at the phone line snaking back towards the wall. It’s not connected.

SIMPSON
(into phone)
What do you think I fucking pay you for?

Block spots the unconnected line too and looks at Silver.

 

EXT. TARMAC - LOS ANGELES AIRPORT - LOS ANGELES - DAY - 1994

Bruckheimer strides towards a row of private jets, talking on his cell phone. Calm and collected.

BRUCKHEIMER
(into phone)
Obviously we’d love to. However, Don’s back in rehab. So we really can’t move on it for at least three weeks.

 

EXT. ENTRANCE WALL - CEDARS-SINAI MEDICAL CENTER - LOS ANGELES - AFTERNOON - 1994

Time lapse as sun sets on the rendered concrete wall.

It looks high and imposing. More like a correctional facility than a medical facility.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
It got a little serious there for a while. So I checked myself into Cedars- Sinai.

Time lapse as sun sinks.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
But, you know, I wanted to hedge my bets. So I told my driver to stay in the neighborhood.

Time lapse as night rises.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
After a few hours I’d seen enough. Found a pay phone and called him to come rescue me. I went over the wall in a pair of fucking pajamas.

 

INT. NEWMAN’S APARTMENT - BURTON WAY - BEVERLY HILLS - NIGHT - LATER

A hand cuffed with a pajama sleeve pounds on the front door.

Race Newman opens the door to reveal an anxious Simpson standing there in a pair of pajamas.

SIMPSON
Can I get a line?
NEWMAN
Man, you just got out of rehab.

Simpson hurries inside. A black Town Car idles by the curb.

SIMPSON
One line can’t hurt.

Newman closes the door. RCA television screens “Entertainment Tonight” in the corner.

Newman takes out a Ziploc bag of coke, sprinkles some powder on his glass coffee table and starts cutting it up.

NEWMAN
One line, right?

Simpson watches ROBERT DOWNEY JR. discussing his newfound sobriety on television.

SIMPSON
Hey, it’s Bob.

Newman is cutting the coke.

NEWMAN
Yeah, he’s coming around in an hour or so.

Simpson smiles. Newman starts slicing a line.

NEWMAN
One line?

Simpson’s smile widens. Slice cuts as Simpson snorts it and another line is sliced. And another. And another. And another. And another. And another.

Slice dissolve Downey Jr. sitting next to them, wearing dark sunglasses. He wears exactly what he was wearing on television. Even the thick orange make-up.

Downey Jr. cooks up some brown Mexican heroin in a spoon, loads a syringe and passes it regally to Simpson.

DOWNEY JR.
Be not afraid of greatness.

 

EXT. NEW SWIMMING POOL - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - LATE NIGHT - 1995

Dr. Stephen Ammerman, 44, lies back on a chaise lounge, injecting himself with another dose of prescription-strength morphine.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Shit, no one told me Doctor Ammerman was a recovering addict. He told me the morphine was for scalp pain. And anyway, where was the Narcan?

Ammerman wears a loose bathrobe. He moves to get up and steps on a spent morphine ampule, crushing it under his bare foot. Another three spent glass ampules lie on the ground.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
He’d been living at my house to help me detox after his hair transplant operation.

Blood seeps out from under his foot. He doesn’t feel a thing as he shakily stands up. Perspiration beads on his forehead.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
He’d help me get off all the drugs.

Slow motion as his breathing slows down and his pupils shrink to pinpoints.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I’d help him with his screenplay.

Slow motion as Ammerman begins to shuffle poolside towards the pool house.

Slow motion as he slips on his bloodied foot and careens into the pool.

Freeze frame as the water splashes up.

 

INT. ENSUITE - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - MORNING - NEXT DAY

Unfreeze frame as the water splashes down in the basin.

Simpson washes his face and pats it dry with a hand towel. He doesn’t look at his reflection.

He’s overweight. His greasy hair is pulled back in a lank ponytail. He presses a button on the intercom.

SIMPSON
(into intercom)
What’s for breakfast?

 

EXT. NEW SWIMMING POOL - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - MORNING

MICHELLE MCELROY, 26, slides open the glass kitchen door and walks to the pool house. Sounds of opening and closing the freezer inside.

Michelle walks back, holding a string of sausage links. Glances over to the pool and sees Dr. Ammerman floating face down, tendrils of blood trailing from the gash on the bottom of his foot and hundreds of pinpricks on the top of his head.

She drops the sausages, screams.

 

INT. MAIN BEDROOM - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - MORNING - LATER

Telephones are ringing every which way. Simpson frantically stuffs armfuls of clothes and well-thumbed notebooks into suitcases on his bed. Tod Marrero is trying to help.

SIMPSON
You got to get me the fuck out of here.

Marrero flings a pair of Armani stone linen pants into a suitcase. Simpson flings them out.

SIMPSON
No, not those. I don’t fit into those anymore.

Simpson tries to close the lid on a suitcase overflowing with clothes.

SIMPSON
You got to get me on the next flight out of town.
MARRERO
Where to?
SIMPSON
Seat one-a or I ain’t paying.
MARRERO
Where do you want to go?
SIMPSON
Anywhere but here.

 

INT. MAIN BEDROOM - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - AFTERNOON - 1995

KEEN POLICEMAN, 32, shakes his head as he closes the second closet. Tries to open the first closet but it’s locked. Tries with more force. It’s locked tight.

He looks around and pulls a metal twist from his belt.

He jams it in the door frame to pry the lock open as HEAVYSET POLICEMAN, 42, walks in.

KEEN POLICEMAN
No key.

Heavyset Policeman shakes his head.

HEAVYSET POLICEMAN
No warrant.

Keen Policeman reluctantly slips out the metal twist.

 

INT. JUBILEE THEATER - BALLY’S HOTEL AND CASINO - LAS VEGAS - EVENING - 1995

SHOWEST ATTENDEES move inside as Simpson ambles to the stage. Everything is several sizes too small for his expanding girth - black leather jeans, black boots with red highlights, collarless dress shirt buttoned close to his neck and a black Armani sports jacket.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Nineteen ninety-five was my best year professionally and my worst personally.

He wears dark sunglasses and shields his eyes from the spot light. He cannot see Jerry Bruckheimer standing in the back of the theater.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
“Crimson Tide” then “Bad Boys” then “Dangerous Minds”. Hit after hit after fucking hit.

His hair is long and greasy and pulled back into a ponytail. He hasn’t shaved.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
But I was dying. I didn’t know it at the time but I was already dead.

Simpson leans into the microphone which feeeeeedsback.

He recoils and steadies himself. Clears his throat.

SIMPSON
I’m taking all this fucking heat for drugs and a few whores. I mean, what the fuck? What do you do when you’ve got studio heads who’ve screwed the same whores busting your balls?

ShoWest Attendees shift uncomfortably in their seats.

SIMPSON
I’m supposed to take the bullet for it? But they pull you aside at a party, ask how you’re holding out and say you’re their hero for the things you do.

Simpson straightens his sunglasses.

SIMPSON
Fuck, it doesn’t make any sense.

He shakes his head.

SIMPSON
I mean, a lot of people die in swimming pools, right? What’s the big fucking deal?

In the back of the theater, Bruckheimer drops his head and turns and walks out towards the slots.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
As for losing my partner?

Bruckheimer disappears into the crowd.

 

INT. SLOTS - BALLY’S HOTEL AND CASINO - LAS VEGAS - LATER

SIMPSON (V.O.)
It ain’t a big deal. I could finally work on some real films.

ShoWest Attendees ooze out of the Jubilee Theater past banks of the latest generation of interactive slot machines based on favorite television shows like the Twilight Zone, Laverne and Shirley, Gilligan’s Island, The Price is Right. Sounds of credit cards being slipped in and out of machines.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
I could always get another partner, right? Someone to do the mule work, do the fighting with the studios.

Cornelius T. Hall, 62, has a big lumpy arm around Simpson’s shoulders, blubbering on about concession sales.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Is splitting up the most successful Hollywood partnership a blow? Yes.

Simpson is lost in his own thoughts.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
But it ain’t a serious one. Ain’t the end of the fucking world.

Simpson glooms.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
It opens up a lot of opportunity for me.

Simpson frowns.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Jerry’s a suit. I’m more of an artist. I’m the type of guy who will put a million dollars of my own money into a movie.

Simpson glowers.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Jerry’s never wanted to do that. Jerry’s never done that.

 

INT. SUITE - BALLY’S HOTEL AND CASINO - LAS VEGAS - NIGHT - 1995

Simpson sits up in bed, talking on the telephone to Paul Schrader.

He flips through a worn notebook titled “Zone of Silence”. A soft breeze ripples in from an open window.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
I hadn’t planned on starting over at this stage of my life. But hey, that’s what I got to do.

He flips through a few more pages, scanning the notes written inside.

He pinches his bottom lip.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
Remember all those years ago when you said my UFO conspiracy movie was shit?

He closes the old notebook.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
Well, you were right.

He frisbees the old notebook out the open window.

Then reaches for a new Mead Marble Cover Composition Notebook and a pen.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
I’m working on a new project.

He writes out the title on the cover.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
It’s called “The Blood of the Christ”.

Simpson opens the notebook to the first page and starts writing.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
It’s about a scientist and a priest who try to clone the body of Jesus Christ from the Shroud of Turin.

He keeps writing.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
That’s right. That’s where they get the DNA from.

He keeps writing.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
Of course it’s a good premise. I may be a cunt but I ain’t a stupid cunt.

He keeps writing.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
Of course I need a script. Why else would I be talking to you?

He laughs at what Schrader says. Smiles as he writes.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
In the beginning was the word.

He beams as he writes.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
And the word was with God.

He grins as he writes.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
And the word was God.

He hangs up and writes more.

 

INT. SECOND BEDROOM CLOSET - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - DAY 1995

Simpson oversees a HANDYMAN, 60, installing the second black Jenn-Air built-in bar refrigerator next to the first.

SIMPSON
Yeah, in case the other one breaks down.

Simpson holds the framed black and white 8x10 autographed glossy of himself taken when he was in his early 40s.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
As long as you’re making money, Hollywood allows anything.

Simpson looks at the glossy of himself.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Man, it ain’t easy breaking old habits. I think we live our childhood until we’re too old to do anything else.

Simpson looks closely at his younger face.

 

INT. ENSUITE - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - NIGHT - 1995

Simpson looks at his reflection in the mirror.

He’s aged a lifetime since the photograph was taken.

A single overhead light deepens his face in a chiaroscuro effect. His eyes are sunken, his features poignant.

His shoulder-length hair is parted in the center and falls on either side of his face. His beard is neatly trimmed.

He closes his eyes and for the briefest of moments his face looks like the face on the Shroud of Turin.

He opens his eyes and gently smiles.

 

INT. MAIN BEDROOM - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - MORNING - 1995

Simpson sits up in bed, talking on the telephone to Jerry Bruckheimer and reading an article in the Hollywood Reporter.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
Says here we’re no longer on speaking terms.
BRUCKHEIMER (O.S.)
(through telephone)
Don, do you know what time it is?
SIMPSON
(into telephone)
Fucking wolves. They smell blood and they’re in for the kill.

He doesn’t look at his watch.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
It’s nine o’clock, Jerry.
BRUCKHEIMER (O.S.)
(through telephone)
In the morning.

He keeps reading the Hollywood Reporter article.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
I know. I’m working.

He shakes his head.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
Wolves, Jerry. Fucking wolves.

He opens the drawer of the night stand by the bed and pulls out a Ziploc bag of coke. Opens it with one hand.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
Do you know how an Eskimo catches a wolf?

He opens his single-blade Swiss Army Knife.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
First he coats his sharpest knife blade with animal blood and lets it freeze. Then adds another layer of blood, and another, and another, and another, until the blade is completely concealed by frozen blood.

He digs the tip into the cocaine and scoops a pile out onto the top of the night stand.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
Then he fixes the knife in the hard snow, blade up.

He starts dicing the cocaine.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
Before long a wolf smells the blood and discovers the bait. He licks it, tasting the fresh frozen blood. He begins to lick faster, more and more vigorously, lapping the blade until the sharp edge is bare.

He keeps dicing the cocaine finer and finer.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
Harder and harder the wolf licks the blade. Feverishly, frantically. His craving for blood becomes so great he doesn’t notice the razor-sharp sting of the naked blade on his own tongue.

He slices the cocaine into a neat line.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
He doesn’t notice his insatiable thirst is being satisfied by his own blood. He just craves more and more until the dawn finds him dead in the snow.

 

INT. BOARDROOM - UNIVERSAL PICTURES HEADQUARTERS - UNIVERSAL CITY - AFTERNOON - 1996

Simpson pitches a table of studio executives. He’s dressed top to toe in too-tight white linen Armani.

SIMPSON
It’s a metaphor. You do know what a fucking metaphor is, right?

Chief Executive CASEY SILVER sits at the head of the table. LYNDA OBST sits next to him. Fanned around the table are SLICK EXECUTIVE, SMOOTH EXECUTIVE and SUAVE EXECUTIVE who seem more interested in impressing each other.

SLICK EXECUTIVE
But Jesus pictures never make money, Don.

Slick Executive flicks through a new Gulfstream V brochure.

SIMPSON
If it helps, don’t think of it as a Jesus picture. Think of it as a Jewish picture.
SMOOTH EXECUTIVE
“Schindler’s List” picked up ninety-six-point-one million domestic.
SUAVE EXECUTIVE
Twenty-eight-point-five million in Germany.
SLICK EXECUTIVE
What was the global gross?
SMOOTH EXECUTIVE
Seven Oscars from twelve nominations.
SIMPSON
No stars, no entourages, no hassles.
CASEY SILVER
“The Blood of the Christ”?

Simpson parts his hands like curtains unveiling the screen in a movie theater.

SIMPSON
In big red type.
SUAVE EXECUTIVE
It does have name recognition.
SIMPSON
You think so? Yeah, I think by now pretty much everybody on the planet knows who the fuck Jesus fucking Christ is.
CASEY SILVER
Is that it, Don?

Silver stands up. Simpson nods. Silver walks out the door. Simpson follows him out.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Look at all those MBA fucksticks. Dull and stupid cunts. Ex-lawyers, ex-agents. They’re not filmmakers. They don’t know anything about a script. They don’t know how to make a film. All they know how to make is a phone call.

Polite smiles all round. Except for Obst who glares at her colleagues.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
That’s what’s wrong with Hollywood - middle-management. Schleppy little vice-presidents with access to the parent company jet. Fuck, I don’t have a jet.

Slick Executive looks over the interior shots in the new Gulfstream V brochure.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Why don’t I have a jet?

 

INT. BOARDROOM HALLWAY - UNIVERSAL PICTURES HEADQUARTERS - UNIVERSAL CITY - AFTERNOON - CONTINUOUS

Simpson stops Silver from walking away.

SIMPSON
This is a major, major film, Casey. You guys need this. You haven’t had a hit in eighteen fucking months.

Silver has his hands in his pockets.

CASEY SILVER
I’ll call you, Don.

Beat.

SIMPSON
Casey, I need this production deal.

Simpson looks him straight in the eye.

SIMPSON
I need a home. Universal would be great for me.

Silver walks away.

CASEY SILVER
I’ll call.

 

INT. BOARDROOM - UNIVERSAL PICTURES HEADQUARTERS - UNIVERSAL CITY - AFTERNOON - CONTINUOUS

Slick Executive, Smooth Executive and Suave Executive share a private joke.

OBST
Hey, get fucked, okay. If it wasn’t for Don Simpson we wouldn’t even be here. He created the high-concept movie.

She stands.

OBST
Don created the three-act structure we all use, the one that McKee and Field take credit for.

She motions at the posters of recent releases framed on the wall.

OBST
The hot first act with an inciting incident and the second act with the dark bad moments where the hero is challenged and the third act with the triumphant moment and the redemption and the freeze frame ending.

Slick Executive goes back to his Gulfstream V brochure.

OBST
That’s his. That’s Don’s.

She storms out, slamming the door behind her.

 

INT. STUDY - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - EVENING - 1996

On the wall is Mark Rothko’s painting “Untitled (1943).”

SIMPSON (O.C.)
So what’s my schedule tomorrow?

Tod Marrero checks the appointment book.

MARRERO
Nothing. It’s open.
SIMPSON
Ain’t I supposed to be at UCLA Medical Center for cardiology tests?
MARRERO
That’s the day after.

Marrero closes the appointment book and leaves.

Simpson leaves for upstairs but steps back in and turns out the light. Then heads back up towards the light at the top of the stairs.

 

INT. BEDROOM - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - NIGHT - 1996

Simpson sits up in bed, talking to Paul Schrader on the telephone. In a bathrobe with his “The Blood of the Christ” notebook in hand.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
I can’t go out to dinner tomorrow. I can’t. I look grotesque. I have to lose some weight first.

He turns over a new page.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
What? I said that? I’d be a bad boy until fifty and then I’d become a holy man.

He leans back.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
Yes, Paul, I’m aware I’m fifty-two. But I ain’t quite ready for the holy man part. Give me twenty years.

He laughs.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
Got to pay for all those past sins.

 

INT. BEDROOM - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - NIGHT - LATER

Simpson is still talking to Paul Schrader on the telephone.

On one night stand sits an opened bottle of 1991 Siduri Pinot Noir and wine glass, half full.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
Yeah, I know. Everybody knows scientists carbon-dated the Shroud of Turin to the middle ages.

He sips his wine.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
But what if they used an invalid sample? What if the sample they used to test the age of the Shroud was from a rewoven area of the cloth?

He puts the wine glass down.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
What if new pyrolysis-mass spectrometry tests prove the radiocarbon sample wasn’t part of the original Shroud?

He opens the drawer of the other night stand and takes out a Ziploc bag of fresh cocaine.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
Fuck it, too technical. Too boring.

He opens the bag with one hand.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
No, no. Go to the bathroom. I’ll hang on.

He opens his single-blade Swiss Army Knife and scoops cocaine out onto the top of the night stand. Lines it up and snorts it straight up.

Idea hits.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
Hey, let’s say the carbon-dating is right.

Simpson smiles as synapses pulse.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
Let’s say the carbon-dating is right because it’s not the face of Jesus.

Beat.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
It’s the face of a false messiah. It’s the face of the devil.

He lines up more cocaine.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
Yeah, they resurrect the devil. The second coming of Satan? Fuck, that is a good twist.

He laughs to himself.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
That’s fucking great. Act one down, two to go.

He scrawls into his notebook.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
Alright, yeah. You too. Call me tomorrow.

He writes out the last line, then shuts the notebook.

SIMPSON
(into telephone)
Sweet dreams.

He hangs up. He grabs the remote control and snaps on the massive black Zenith television. Hissing static lights the room.

Simpson reaches over and opens the drawer on the night stand. Takes out his reading glasses and James Riordan’s just-published biography of filmmaker Oliver Stone.

He gets up and heads to the ensuite. He sees the first closet door is unlocked and slightly open. He reaches inside. Then steps into the toilet, leaving the closet door slightly open.

 

INT. BEDROOM - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - FIRST LIGHT - NEXT DAY

Dissolve as Simpson’s body slumps against the black marbled wall.

Dissolve as his head sags down into his chest with both eyes closed.

Dissolve as book slowly slides out of his hand and falls onto the black tiled floor.

Dissolve as reading glasses slide off his nose, tumble off his body and land on the book.

 

INT. BEDROOM - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - DAYBREAK - LATER

Dissolve as curtain breathes lightly.

Dissolve around closet door to reveal what’s inside the first closet for the first time.

Shelves of meticulously lined up bottles and packets of pills, tablets, capsules, ampules, syringes. All in alphabetical order.

Time lapse as the new day pours in over the pharmaceuticals.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Hey, hey, hey. Doctor’s orders. Vicodin, diphenoxylate, diphenhydramine and Colanadine, plus Promethazine, Benztropine, Unisom, Atarax, Compazine, Benadryl, Haldol, Xanax, Desyre, Tigan. Multiple daily injections of Toradol for pain, Librium for mood swings.

 

INT. BEDROOM - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - DAWN - LATER

Time lapse as dawn light spills in over the pharmaceuticals.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Ativan every six hours for agitation, Valium every six hours for anxiety, Depakote every six hours for acute mania, Thorazine every four hours for anxiety in case the Valium wasn’t doing the trick, with Vistaril every six hours for backup. I don’t like feeling anxious. I can’t work when I’m anxious. Which probably explains the Lorazepam.

 

INT. BEDROOM - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - MORNING - LATER

Time lapse as morning light rises over the pharmaceuticals and gleams over three spent Narcan syringes.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Oh yeah, and Narcan in case everything fucked up. The cocaine was for fun. So was the heroin.

 

INT. BEDROOM - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - DAY - LATER

Time lapse as daylight floods in over the pharmaceuticals.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
And looking at it now, it must have been the Narcan that did me in. I knew taking too much Narcan could trigger a cardiac arrest. Just didn’t know how much was too much.

 

INT. BEDROOM - SIMPSON ESTATE - BEL-AIR - AFTERNOON - LATER

Time lapse as afternoon falls over the pharmaceuticals.

SIMPSON (V.O.)
Kind of ironic, ain’t it? The one drug that’s supposed to save me when all else fails is the one that kills me in the end.

Curtain falls still.

Beat.

Sounds of AT&T speakerphone with answering machine ringing in an incoming call. Answering machine bleeps and picks up the call. Glide towards speakerphone.

SIMPSON (O.S.)
(answering machine outgoing message)
It’s the Don. You know what to do.

Bleep.

CASEY SILVER (O.S.)
(answering machine incoming message)
It’s Casey Silver, Don. From Universal. We’ve been talking about your project and, well, there’s no other way to say this --

Glide closer towards speakerphone.

CASEY SILVER (O.S.)
(answering machine incoming message)
-- we want to do it. We want the Jesus film, we want the production deal, we want you.

Glide closer still.

CASEY SILVER (O.S.)
(answering machine incoming message)
Call me. We need to talk terms.

Bleep. The small green indicator light flashes to life.

 

INT. FRONT SEAT - FORWARD CABIN - GULFSTREAM V - SUNSET - 1996

Golden urn sits on Jerry Bruckheimer’s lap as the jet slices through the sky.

 

EXT. TARMAC - ASPEN/PITKIN COUNTY AIRPORT - ASPEN - SUNSET - LATER

Golden urn is carried by Bruckheimer from the deep gray Gulfstream V into a whisper gray limousine.

 

INT. LIMOUSINE - STATE HIGHWAY 82 - ASPEN - SUNSET - LATER

Golden urn sits on Bruckheimer’s lap as the whisper gray limousine drives up the road.

 

EXT. GONDOLA BASE - ASPEN MOUNTAIN - ASPEN - SUNSET - LATER

Golden urn is carried by Bruckheimer from the whisper gray limousine to a silver gondola.

 

INT. GONDOLA - ASPEN MOUNTAIN - ASPEN - SUNSET - LATER

Golden urn sits on Bruckheimer’s lap as the gondola climbs to the top of Aspen Mountain. Mountain peaks topped with ridges of snow fringe the horizon.

 

EXT. GONDOLA DECK - ASPEN MOUNTAIN - ASPEN - SUNSET - LATER

Fade up live version of Jimi Hendrix’s immortal “Purple Haze.”

Light snow begins to fall as the golden urn is carried by Bruckheimer to the edge of the deck overlooking mountains and highlands.

He twists the lid off the urn and scatters Simpson’s white ashes into the wind, into the setting sun.

An updraft swirls the ashes up and into the falling snowflakes in time to the lyrics. Ashes and snowflakes mingle and merge until it’s impossible to tell them apart.

Freeze frame.

Roll credits in time to lyrics as music slips away

 

FADE TO WHITE

 

 


Bio

Stefano Boscutti is an award-winning writer based in Melbourne, Australia. Stefano is also a highly experienced creative consultant specialising in world-changing creative projects and campaigns for Ford, Foxtel, Lexus, Porsche, Qantas, SBS, Warner Bros. and more. McKinsey & Co? Not after the consultancy’s role in helping Saudi Arabia target online critics. Questions? Email stef@boscutti.com

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