Archive for ‘A Serious Man’

Own a piece of A Serious Man

Larry Gopnik’s 1966 DODGE CORONET is being auctioned off for charity.  The auction will benifit Variety – The Children’s Charity of Southern California.  After 8 bids and with 6 days to go it’s at $5000.  A steal if your interested in extremely dull cars used in extremely great movies.  Auction | Charity

Coen Brothers Mop up at Cinephile Society Awards

Even though I’ve never heard of the International Cinephile Society I thought I’d report on the outcome of their 2009 awards since A Serious Man won their Best Film prize.  They also won in the directing and original screenplay categories.  The “ICS” was formed in 2003 and is made up of 60 journalists, scholars, and […]

A Serious Graduate

In the upcoming A Serious Man there were 3 actors plucked from casting calls in Minnesota where the film was shot and takes place.  Jessica McManus was one of them and she plays Sarah Gopnik daughter of Larry Gopnik our “Serious Man”.  Seventeen at the time she’s now graduated from High School and is heading […]

Carter Burwell receives career achievement award

ASCAP has bestowed the honor of the Henry Mancini Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements and contributions to the world of film music.  Joel and Ethan Coen sent a congratulatory video for the event which took place May 11th.  Burwell has scored every Coen Brothers film except O Brother, Where Art Thou? Since they […]

Cannes Line-up Announced

      The 2009 Cannes line-up has been announced and as suspected the Coen Brothers are missing.  Another Cannes favorite, Tarantino, will probably steal the show with Inglorious Basterds.  Check out the full list over at Empire.

No Cannes for Coens

It looks as though A Serious Man will not be ready in time for Cannes in May.  Various reports are saying that Joel and Ethan will not be taking their latest film to the Festival that has treated them so well in the past.  Of the Coen Brothers films 8 of 13 went to Cannes.  […]

A Serious Man Release Date

Just confirmed that A Serious Man will have a US limited release date of October 2nd, 2009.

After A Serious Man and The Yiddish Policemen’s Union comes… True Grit???

London’s Daily Mail is reporting that The Coen Brother’s next, next project will be a recreation of the John Wayne classic True Grit. Not necessarily a remake, perhaps more of a retelling of Charles Portis’ 1968 novel.  Full Story

Continuing our look at the cast of “A Serious Man”

George Wyner is an actor a lot like Adam Arkin and Richard Kind. He’s done a great deal of television work including Hill Street Blues, Doogie Howser, and LA Law. He’s also had a few notable Film appearances in Spaceballs and Fletch. In A Serious Man he plays Rabbi Natcher one of the 3 rabbi’s […]

A Look at the cast of “A Serious Man” part 3

Michael Stuhlbarg is set to play Larry Gopnik the lead character in A Serious Man. Gopnik is a professor who’s life begins to unravel after his wife leaves him and his brother (Kind) won’t move out of his house. Stuhlbarg is a Tony-nominated actor who’s done some TV and film work to this point.

Welcome to Coenesque

Joel and Ethan Coen have been making films for over 25 years. From their debut “Blood Simple” in 1984 to the critically acclaimed “Barton Fink” and “Fargo”. To box office winners “Raising Arizona” and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” to the cult classic “The Big Lebowski”. Their latest project “A Serious Man” is due out later this year. Despite their diverse films and audiences The Coens Brothers have managed to stay independent the entire time. They have Gained the respect of Hollywood and become filmmakers that everyone wants to work with.

This is an unoffical fansite. I cannot provide you with information on where to send your great american screenplay or how to get in touch with them or their representives. I can, however, provide you with the latest information on what they’re currently up to and what they’ve managed to do so far. We have a forum where lively discussion is always going on and a store where you can find movie posters, DVDs, and sountracks. Whether you’re looking for scripts, pics, or just facts you’ve come to the right place.

If you have any questions or comments please email them to me webmaster@coenbrothers.net

About Me:

I’m just a guy who enjoys movies, especially those of the Coen Brothers. I’ve been managing this site on and off for 13 years now. I got started when I saw Fargo and thought it was the greatest thing I’d ever seen. It helped that I’m from Minnesota and thought it was pretty cool to see where I grew up on the big screen.

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Miller’s Crossing

Summary

Millers Crossing stars Gabriel Byrne, four-time Academy Award nominee Albert Finney, Marcia Gay Harden, John Turturro, Jon Polito and J.E. Freeman. Set in 1929 in an unnamed Eastern city, it’s the compelling story of the friendship between Leo (Finney), the local political boss, and Tom (Byrne), the man behind the man. Their friendship is severed when Leo and Tom fall in love with the same woman. Tom joins ranks with Johnny Caspar, Leo’s foremost enemy and rival for political power, and a bloody gang war erupts. For a better perspective on the movie, read Dashiell Hammett’s “The Glass Key”: much of the film’s brilliant dialogue is directly from the Novel.

The Man Who Wasn’t There

1949, Santa Rosa, California. A laconic, chain-smoking barber with fallen arches tells a story of a man trying to escape a humdrum life. It’s a tale of suspected adultery, blackmail, foul play, death, Sacramento city slickers, racial slurs, invented war heroics, shaved legs, a gamine piano player, aliens, and Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. Ed Crane cuts hair in his in-law’s shop; his wife drinks and may be having an affair with her boss, Big Dave, who has $10,000 to invest in a second department store. Ed gets wind of a chance to make money in dry cleaning. Blackmail and investment are his opportunity to be more than a man no one notices. Settle in the chair and listen.

Joel Coen

(1954 – )
Biography from Baseline’s Encyclopedia of Film
Occupation: Director
Also: Screenwriter
Born: November 29, 1954, St. Louis Park, MN
Education:
Simon’s Rock of Bard College;
Institute of Film and TV, NYU

Working with his brother Ethan, screenwriter/director Joel Coen has built a reputation as one of the most visionary and idiosyncratic filmmakers of the late 20th century. Combining thoughtful eccentricity, wry humor, arch irony, and often brutal violence, the films of the Coen brothers have become synonymous with a style of filmmaking that pays tribute to classic American movie genres — especially film noir — while sustaining a firmly postmodern feel. Beginning with Blood Simple, their brutal, stylish 1984 debut, the brothers have amassed a body of work that has established them as two of the most compelling figures in American and world cinemas.

Born in St. Louis Park, MN, in 1954, Joel Coen studied at New York University before moving into filmmaking in the early ’80s. He and his younger brother began writing screenplays while Joel worked as an assistant editor on good friend Sam Raimi’s 1983 film The Evil Dead. In 1984, they made their debut with Blood Simple. Both of them wrote and edited the film (using the name Roderick Jaynes for the latter duty), while Joel took the directing credit and Ethan billed himself as the producer. It earned considerable critical acclaim and established the brothers as fresh, original talent. Their next major effort (after Crimewave, a 1985 film they wrote that was directed by Raimi), 1987’s Raising Arizona was a screwball comedy miles removed from the dark, violent content of their previous movie, and it won over critics and audiences alike. Their fan base growing, the Coens went on to make Miller’s Crossing (1990), a stark gangster epic with a strong performance from John Turturro, whom the brothers also used to great effect in their next film, Barton Fink (1991). Fink earned Joel a Best Director award and a Golden Palm at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival, as well as the festival’s Best Actor award for Turturro. A surreal, nightmarish movie revolving around a writer’s creative block, it was a heavily stylized, atmospheric triumph that further established the Coens as visionary arbiters of the bizarre.

Their 1994 follow-up to Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, was a relative critical and commercial disappointment, though it did boast the sort of heavily stylized, postmodern irony that had so endeared the brothers to their audience. Whatever failings The Hudsucker Proxy exhibited, however, were more than atoned for by the unquestionable success of the Coens’ next film, Fargo (1996). A black, violent crime comedy with a surprisingly warm heart, it recalled Blood Simple in its themes of greed, corruption, and murder, but provided more redemptive sentiment than was afforded to the characters of the previous film. The brothers shared a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for their work, and another Oscar, for Best Actress, went to Frances McDormand, to whom Joel had been married since 1984.

Following Fargo, the Coens went on to make The Big Lebowski in 1998. A blend of bungled crime and warped comedy, Lebowski was a laid-back, irreverent revision of the hardboiled L.A. detective genre. It met with mixed critical reception, though it did receive a Golden Bear nomination for Joel Coen at the Berlin Film Festival. The year 2000 brought the Coens into the depression-era with O Brother, Where art Thou? An admittedly loose adaptation of Homer’s The Odyssey, O Brother starred George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson as escaped convicts on a surreal journey through 1930s Mississippi. Wasting no time in production of their next feature, the following year found Joel the recipient of his third Best Director award at Cannes for the darkly comic, monochromatic post-noir The Man Who Wasn’t There. Starring Billy Bob Thornton as a humble, small-town barber who gets mixed up in a tangled web of blackmail and deceit, the moody atmosphere of The Man Who Wasn’t There eschewed the wacky antics of O Brother in favor of a darker, more moody tone that recalled such earlier Coen efforts as Blood Simple and Barton Fink.

Two years later, Joel and Ethan re-teamed with Clooney for Intolerable Cruelty, a film that represented their version of a ’30s screwball comedy. The film was noteworthy in that it was the first movie made by the brothers that did not originate with them; they rewrote a script that was already in existence. Joel and Ethan were also listed as executive producers on the 2003 Terry Zwigoff film Bad Santa, a story that came from one of their original ideas. 2004 saw the release of the Coens’ first remake, The Ladykillers starring Tom Hanks. That film also marked the first time Joel shared directorial credit with Ethan. — Rebecca Flint

Ethan CoenEthan Coen
(1957 – )
Biography from Baseline’s Encyclopedia of Film
Occupation: Producer
Also:  Screenwriter
Born: September 21, 1957, St. Louis Park, MN
Education:
Simon’s Rock of Bard College,
Massachusetts; Princeton University, NJ (philosophy)

Working alongside his brother Joel, Ethan Coen is widely considered one of the most visionary and idiosyncratic filmmakers of the late 20th century. Combining thoughtful eccentricity, wry humor, arch irony, and often brutal violence, the films of the Coen brothers have become synonymous with a style of filmmaking that pays tribute to classic American movie genres — especially film noir — while sustaining a firmly postmodern feel.

Born in St. Louis Park, MN, in 1957, Ethan Coen studied philosophy at Princeton University. Soon after he graduated, he and his brother began writing their first screenplays, and, in 1984, they made their debut with Blood Simple. Both of them wrote and edited the film (using the name Roderick Jaynes for the latter duty), while Joel took the directing credit and Ethan billed himself as the producer. It earned considerable critical acclaim and established the brothers as fresh, original talent. Their next major effort (after Crimewave, a 1985 film they wrote that was directed by Sam Raimi), 1987’s Raising Arizona was a screwball comedy miles removed from the dark, violent content of their previous movie, and it won over critics and audiences alike. Their fan base growing, the Coens went on to make Miller’s Crossing (1990), a stark gangster epic with a strong performance from John Turturro, whom the brothers also used to great effect in their next film, Barton Fink (1991). Fink earned Joel a Best Director award and a Golden Palm at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival, as well as the festival’s Best Actor award for Turturro. A surreal, nightmarish movie revolving around a writer’s creative block, it was a heavily stylized, atmospheric triumph that further established the Coens as visionary arbiters of the bizarre.

Their 1994 follow-up to Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, was a relative critical and commercial disappointment, though it did boast the sort of heavily stylized, postmodern irony that had so endeared the brothers to their audience. Whatever failings The Hudsucker Proxy exhibited, however, were more than atoned for by the unquestionable success of the Coens’ next film, Fargo (1996). A black, violent crime comedy with a surprisingly warm heart, it recalled Blood Simple in its themes of greed, corruption, and murder, but provided more redemptive sentiment than was afforded to the characters of the previous film. The brothers shared a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for their work, and another Oscar, for Best Actress, went to Frances McDormand, to whom Joel had been married since 1984. Following Fargo, the Coens went on to make The Big Lebowski in 1998. A blend of bungled crime and warped comedy, Lebowski was a laid-back, irreverent revision of the hardboiled L.A. detective genre. It met with mixed critical reception, though it did receive a Golden Bear nomination for Joel Coen at the Berlin Film Festival. In 1999, Ethan closed out the decade by publishing Gates of Eden, a collection of his short stories.

The Coens next served up the depression-era comedy O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), which turned out to be their biggest box-office success at that time and spawned a Grammy-winning soundtrack. 2001 saw the release of The Man Who Wasn’t There, yet another ode to film noir and another award winner at Cannes. In 2003, Ethan and Joel were credited as executive producers on Terry Zwigoff’s hit comedy Bad Santa largely due to the fact that the origin of the film’s story came from the Coens. That same year, the brothers re-teamed with George Clooney (one of the stars of O Brother) for the screwball comedy Intolerable Cruelty. In 2004, the duo released The Ladykillers starring Tom Hanks, a remake of the classic British comedy. The film marked the first time Ethan Coen officially shared the directing credit with Joel, as well as the first time they shared producer credit. — Rebecca Flint

Toronto gets A Serious Man World Premiere

The Toronto International Film Festival announced today that the Coen Brothers new film A Serious Man will be premiering there.  The festival begins September 10th less than a month before the official US release date.  Also participating in the festival will be new work from Michael Moore (Capitalism: A Love Story) and Werner Herzog (Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans).





November 9th In Select Theaters

It is upon us, unprepared as always. For those of you in the chosen cities you’ll be seeing No Country For Old Men this Friday. I’ll be at the dentist. Hope you all enjoy.

Comment from Anonymous
Time December 17, 2007 at 10:38 PM

i hardly ever go to the theater but this film was worth the 11 dollars. i commend the bros. for making a compelling movie. and mr mcarthy for the incredible writing. this is proof that hollywood can make a movie that uses violence to make a point. i dont have the faculties to make a poignant interpretation of the underlying meanings but rest as sure i will be pondering it.

Comment from Koby Feldman
Time December 28, 2007 at 1:45 PM

Since you seem to be the top Coen Brothers site, I was hoping you could help me out. I’ve heard rumors that the Coen Brothers are planning on filming A Serious Man in their hometown of St. Louis Park, and are going to be looking for local people to be in the movie. I’m an actor, who has lived in St. Louis Park since I was 14. Do you know anything abotu this? You can e-mail me at KobyNumber9@hotmail.com

Comment from Cent
Time January 11, 2008 at 10:18 AM

I’m writing from .Cent Magazine in London where No Country for Old Men will soon be out. To mark the occasion I am putting together a piece on the Coen brothers and as part of this I am looking for fans to write reviews of their favourite Coen movies, tracking the boys career through the voices of the fans. If you want to write for an international art and style magazine then drop me an email on dan@centmagazine.co.uk.

Thanks,

Dan
Fashion Editor
.Cent Magazine

Comment from Mouths Of Dogs
Time February 16, 2008 at 7:28 PM

If you love this movie as much as the band Mouths Of Dogs did, you’ll love the song inspired by the movie, come listen to Dutchboy… I dare you.

http://myspace.com/mouthsofdogs

…Capture the Sun

Comment from Kris Law
Time February 19, 2008 at 3:38 AM

anybody got the Coens brothers email add? if you do, pls email me at krislawfanclub@gmail.com

Comment from Juanita’s Journal
Time February 24, 2008 at 11:49 PM

Congratulations to Ethan and Joel Coen for winning Best Director and Best Picture.

Comment from fernando
Time August 9, 2008 at 10:09 AM

spanish citizen
coen´s at its best
a metaphor of the violent country you got there
besides, stunnign performance of spanish actor bardem
you should watch all coen´s and bardem´s films
excuse my shitty english
let´s see your spanish

Write a comment





Interview – Coen Brothers – The Big Lebowski

The rascally Coen brothers have never been the best interview subjects, possibly because they rankle at the constant questions about their relationship with each other. (When asked by Elle magazine, “Do you guys ever fight?” Joel Coen replied, “That’s not an interesting question.”)

So it can be a somewhat painful experience to see the brilliant siblings in a hotel hospitality suite being bombarded with questions from a dozen journalists about everything except their movies. Awkward silences, long pauses, and a couple of audible groans were among the responses to various questions.

But when the topic of conversation narrows to specific questions about their hilarious film “The Big Lebowski” starring Jeff Bridges (as “The Dude”, a doobie smoking burn-out who gets mixed up in a wacky kidnapping scam), the boys open up (just a bit).

The movie, which also stars John Goodman, Julianne Moore and includes an hysterical cameo from John Turturro, returns the Coens to the comic-genius territory of “Raising Arizona”.

indieWIRE: You majored in philosophy at Princeton. What is your philosophy of filmmaking?

Ethan Coen: Oooh -I don’t have one.I wouldn’t even know how to begin. You’ve stumped me there. None that I’ve noticed. Drawing a blank on this one.

IW: How much did “The Big Sleep” influence “The Big Lebowski”?

Joel Coen: We wanted to do a Chandler kind of story – how it moves episodically, and deals with the characters trying to unravel a mystery. As well as having a hopelessly complex plot that’s ultimately unimportant.

Ethan: And there was something attractive about having the main character not be a private eye, but just some pothead intuitively figuring out the ins and outs of an elaborate intrigue. And then there’s Walter, whose instincts are always wrong.

iW: Why is kidnapping a favorite theme of yours?

Ethan: It just turned out that way. I don’t know why kidnapping has figured into three of our movies. Not because of any personal obsession.

iW: Did you ever run around with the kinds of Los Angeles bowling-dope-smoking types that are depicted in the film?

Joel: To tell you the truth, we’re still tourists in LA. We have lived there for short periods of time, but we’ve always really lived in New York. But the character of the Dude is based on a member of an amateur softball league, but we changed it to bowling because it was more visually compelling, and it’s the kind of sport you can do while you’re drinking and smoking. And it’s also very retro – just as the characters are products with an earlier time, it seems that there’s so much associated with bowling in terms of design, and specifically in LA.

iW: Is Jeff Dowd one of those types?

Joel: Yeah, Jeff Dowd [an indie producer’s rep and friend of the Coens] is certainly one of those types that the Dude is based on. . .

iW: What’s the attraction of setting the film specifically in 1991?

Ethan: Well, setting the film during the Gulf War was an opportunity to have Walter gas about something –

Joel: That’s the main reason.

Ethan: And it’s more attractive to make something time specific than just present day, because –

Joel: – because just what is present day?

iW: What will you do if you ever win an Oscar for editing? [The Coens edit their own films under the credited pseudonym Roderick Jaynes, a fictional British film editor who supposedly hates their work.]

Ethan: We actually had a discussion with the Academy about that. Proxies can’t accept anymore after Marlon Brando queered it for the rest of us.

iW: Did you set out on this movie to teach America what Nihilism means?

Ethan: (laughs) Nihilism strikes a terrible chord in Walter [John Goodman’s character] who is particularly horrified by it.

Joel: (bitterly sarcastic) Everything’s a lesson for America. 
This Text was taken from IndieWire

JOEL COEN & ETHAN COEN RAISING ARIZONA

OVER BLACK:

VOICE-OVER: My name is H. I. McDunnough …

A WALL

With horizontal hatch lines.

VOICE-OVER: … Call me Hi.

A disheveled young man in a gaily colored Hawaiian shirt is

launched into frame by someone offscreen.

He holds a printed paddle that reads “NO. 1468-6 NOV.

29 79. ”

The hatch marks on the wall behind him are apparently

height markers.

VOICE-OVER: … The first time I met Ed was in the

county lock-up in Tempe, Arizona …

FLASH

As his picture is taken.

CLOSE UP

On the paddle: “NOV. 29 79.”

VOICE-OVER: … a day I’ll never forget.

A bellowing male voice from offscreen:

SHERIFF: Don’t forget the profile, Ed!

ANGLE ON THE STILL CAMERA

It is mounted on a tripod. A pretty young woman in a severe

police uniform peers out from behind it.

WOMAN: Turn to the right.

HI: What kind of name is Ed for a pretty thing like

you?

ED: Short for Edwinna. Turn to the right!

Hi obliges, but still looks at ED Out of the corner of his eye.

HI: You’re a flower, you are. just a little desert flower.

FLASH

On his eye-skewed profile.

HI: Lemme know how those come out.

LOW ANGLE CELL BLOCK CORRIDOR

As Hi is escorted away from the camera toward his cell.

At the far end of the corridor a huge con is sluggishly

mopping the floor.

VOICE-OVER: I was in for writing hot checks which,

when businessmen do it, is called an overdraft. I’m not

complainin’, mind you; just sayin’ there ain’t no pancake

so thin it ain’t got two sides. Now prison life is very

structured-more than most people care for …

INTERCUTTING

Hi’s POV of the MOPPING CON, tracking as he approaches,

and the MOPPING CON’S POV of Hi as Hi approaches.

VO: … But there’s a spirit of camaraderie that exists

between the men, like you find only in combat

maybe …

The mopping. con snarls as Hi passes:

CON: Grrrr . . .

VO: … or on a pro ball club in the heat of a pennant

drive.

NEWSREEL FOOTAGE

A ballplayer connects-THWOCK-for a home run and the

crowd roars.

PRISON HALL

Panning a circle of men who sit facing each other in folding

chairs. 7he pan starts on Hi.

VO: In an effort to better ourselves we were forced to

meet with a counselor who tried to help us figure out

why we were the way we were …

At this point the pan has reached the COUNSELOR, an

earnest, bearded young man who straddles a folding chair

with his arms folded over its back.

He is addressing one of the cons:

COUNSELOR: Why do you use the word “trapped”?

CLOSE UP BLACK CON

The huge muscle-bound black man with a shaved head is

knitting his brow in consternation.

CON: Huh?

COUNSELOR: Why do you say you feel “trapped” .

in a man’s body?

CON: Oh …

He bites his lip, thinking; then, in a resonant bass voice:

… Well, sometimes I get the menstrual cramps real

hard.

PAROLE MEETING ROOM

Three PAROLE OFFICERS-TWO men and a woman-face Hi

across a table.

CHAIRMAN: Have you learned anything, Hi?

HI: Yessir, you bet.

WOMAN: You wouldn’t lie to us, would you Hi?

HI: No ma’am, hope to say.

CHAIRMAN: Okay then.

EXT 7-ELEVEN NIGHT

A beat-up Chevy pulls into the all-night store’s empty

parking lot.

VO: I tried to stand up and fly straight, but it wasn’t

easy with that sumbitch Reagan in the White House …

Hi is getting out of the Chevy in a Hawaiian shirt, holding a

pump-action shotgun.

… I dunno, they say he’s a decent man, so …

He primes the shotgun-WHOOSH-CLACK-and heads for

the store.

… maybe his advisers are confused.

FLASH

Full-face exposure of Hi once again in front of the mug-shot

wall.

ED: Turn to the right!

Hi obliges but shoots sympathetic glances at ED who is

obviously upset, wiping away tears and snuffling behind the

camera.

HI: What’s the matter, Ed?

ED: My fai-ants left me.

VO: She said her fiance had run off with a student

cosmetologist who knew how to ply her feminine wiles.

FLASH

On Hi’s profile. He turns back to ED.

HI: That sumbitch.

SHERIFF (offscreen): Don’t forget his phone call, Ed!

HI: You tell him I think he’s a damn fool, Ed. You tell

him I said so-H. 1. McDunnough. And if he wants to

discuss it he knows where to find me …

As another police officer starts to lead him away:

HI: … in the Munroe County Maximum Security

Correctional Facility for Men …

CLOSE ON ED

Looking up through her tears as Hi is led away.

HI (OS): … State Farm Road Number Thirty-one;

Tempe, Arizona …

BACK TO HI

Struggling to call back over his shoulder as he is firmly led

out the door.

HI: … I’ll be waiting!

The door slams.

LOW ANGLE CELL BLOCK CORRIDOR

As Hi is once again escorted toward his cell.

The mopping CON is now in the middle-background,

having worked his way about halfway up the corridor since

last time we saw him.

VO: I can’t say I was happy to be back inside, but the

flood of familiar sights, sounds and faces almost made it

feel like a homecoming.

CLOSE ON MOPPING CON

As Hi passes.

CON: Grrrr …

PRISON HALL

Group is meeting again.

COUNSELOR: Most men your age, Hi, are getting

married and raising up a family. They wouldn’t accept

prison as a substitute.

Hi looks sheepish.

COUNSELOR: … Would any of you men care to

comment?

Two convicts sitting next to each other, GALE and EVELLE,

appear to be friends.

GALE: But sometimes your career gotta come before

family.

EVELLE: Work is what’s kept us happy.

ANGRY BLACK CON: Yeah, but Doc Schwartz is sayin’

you gotta accept responsibilities. I mean I’m proud to say

I got a family … somewheres.

HIGH ANGLE CELL

Looking down from the ceiling. In the foreground, lying on

the top bunk, hands clasped behind his head as he stares off

into space is MOSES. MOSES is a gnarled, elderly black con

with wire-rimmed spectacles.

On the lower bunk, also with hands clasped behind his

head and staring off at the same spot in space, is Hi.

VO: I tried to sort through what the Doc had said, but

prison ain’t the easiest place to think.

MOSES: An’ when they was no meat we ate fowl. An’

when they was no fowl we ate crawdad. An’ when they

was no crawdad to be foun’, we ate San’.

HI: You ate what?

MOSES (nodding): We ate San’.

HI: You ate sand?!

MOSES: Dass right . . .

PAROLE BOARD ROOM

Hi faces the same three PAROLE OFFICERS across the same

table.

CHAIRMAN: Well B, you done served your twenty

munce, and seeing as you never use live ammo, we got

no choice but to return you to society.

SECOND MAN: These doors goan swing wide.

HI: I didn’t want to hurt anyone, Sir.

SECOND MAN: Hi, we respect that.

CHAIRMAN: But you’re just hurtin’ yourself with this

rambunctious behavior.

HI: I know that, sir.

CHAIRMAN: Okay then.

HIGH SHOT

Of a 7-Eleven parking lot, at night, deserted except for Hi’s

car which sits untended, its engine rumbling.

VO: Now I don’t know how you come down on the

incarceration question …

Hi backpedals into frame with a shotgun and a bag of cash.

… whether it’s for rehabilitation or revenge .

He spins and grabs his car-door handle. Locked. He tries the

back door. Locked.

… But I was beginning to think …

As we hear the wail of an approaching siren, Hi takes it on

the heel and toe.

… that revenge is the only argument makes any

sense.

FLASH

On Hi against the mug-shot wall.

ED: Turn to the right!

SHERIFF (OS): Don’t forget his latents, Ed!

CLOSE ON HI’S HAND

We see his right hand being efficiently manipulated by ED’S

two hands: She is rolling each of his inked fingers into the

appropriate space on an exemplar sheet.

HI (OS): Hear about the paddy-wagon collided with the

see-ment mixer, Ed? . . . Twelve hardened criminals

excaped.

ED titters offscreen.

ED (OS): I heard that one.

She is done rolling off his prints. Her hand lingers on top of

his. Hi’s other hand enters to rest on top of hers.

HI (OS): Got a new beau?

ED (OS): No, Hi, I sure don’t.

Hi slips a ring off his own finger and slides it onto ED’S.

HI (OS): Don’t worry, I paid for it.

LOW ANGLE CELL BLOCK CORRIDOR

The surly MOPPING CON has now worked his way up to the

foreground.

Hi is being escorted past him to his cell.

VO: They say that absence makes the heart grow

fonder, and for once they may be right.

Halfway up the corridor Hi points casually at the floor.

HI: You missed a spot.

The MOPPING CON turns to watch him recede.

CON: Grrrr …

HIGH ANGLE CELL

Same high shot with MOSES on the top bunk, Hi on the lower.

VO: More and more my thoughts turned to Ed, and I

finally felt the pain of imprisonment.

MOSES: An’ momma would frow the live crawdad in a

pot of boihn’ water. Well one day I decided to make my

own crawdad …

We begin to crane down to tighten on the absently staring Hi.

… an’ I frew it in a pot, forgettin’ to put in the water,

ya see …

MOSES’ voice is mixing down as we lose him from frame.

… and it was like I was makin’ popcorn, ya see …

VO: The joint is a lonely place after lock-up and fights

out …

We are now very close on Hi, staring.

… when the last of the cons has been swept away by

the sandman.

HI’S POV

The underside of the top bunk.

A sudden flash whitens and fades to leave the image Of ED,

smiling behind her camera, softly supered on the underside of

the bunk.

BACK TO HI

He wearily turns his head to profile on the pillow and shuts

his eyes.

VO: But I couldn’t help thinking that a brighter future

lay ahead-a future that was only eight to fourteen

months away.

Eyes closed, he is illuminated by a flash.

PAROLE BOARD ROOM

Hi and the same three officers.

CHAIRMAN: Got a name for people like you, Hi. That

name is called recidivism.

SECOND MAN: Ree-peat 0-fender.

CHAIRMAN: Not a pretty name, is it, Hi?

HI: No Sir, it sure ain’t. That’s one bonehead name.

But that ain’t me anymore.

CHAIRMAN: You’re not just tellin’ us what we wanna

hear?

HI: No Sir, no way.

SECOND MAN: ‘Cause we just wanna hear the truth.

HI: Well then I guess I am tellin’ you what you wanna

hear.

CHAIRMAN: Boy, didn’t we just tell you not to do that?

HI: Yessir.

CHAIRMAN: Okay then.

TRACKING

Over Hi’s shoulder as he strides toward a door marked

“Processing” and flings it open.

It is the familiar booking room. ED looks up from her

camera, having just snapped a picture of another suspect

against the hatched wall.

HI: I’m walkin’ in here on my knees, Ed-a free man

proposin’.

Hi cocks a finger at the suspect.

HI: Howdy Kurt.

ED’S ROOM

As she nervously frets at her white bridal gown in front of a

mirror.

VO: And so it was.

SHERIFF (OS): Don’t forget the boo-kay, Ed!

CLOSE SHOT ED

Gazing earnestly into the camera. A congregation is seated

behind her-the bride’s side wearing police blues; the groom’s

side, Hawaiian shirts.

ED: I do.

CLOSE SHOT HI

Also staring into the camera.

HI: You bet I do.

REVERSE

Over their shoulders, the minister.

MINISTER: Okay then.

FLASH

On the newlyweds smiling at the camera.

FLASH

On the newlyweds smiling at each other, profile to the

camera.

HIGH WIDE SHOT TRAILER PARK

In the middle of a vast expanse of desert.

VO: Ed’s pa staked us to a starter home in suburban

Tempe …

INT MACHINE SHOP

Hi is working the drill press, wearing goggles and sweat-

stained overalls.

VO: … and I got a job drilling holes in sheet metal.

Next to him idly stands Bud, a veteran of the shop, with a

grimy face and a pair of goggles pushed up on his forehead.

BUD: So we was doin’ paramedical work in affiliation

with the state highway system-not actually practicin’,

y’understand-and me and Bill’s patrollin’ down Nine

Mile-

HI: Bill Roberts?

BUD (barking): No, not that motherscratcher! Bill

Parker! Anyway, we’re approachin’ the wreck, and

there’s a spherical object a-restin’ on the highway …

He pauses to blow and pop a bubble with his chewing gum.

… And it don’t look like a piece a the car.

VO: Mostways the job was a lot like prison, except Ed

was waifin’ at the end of every day …

CASNIER’S WINDOW

Hi is scowling at his paycheck. Behind the barred window a

fat cashier grins.

VO: … and a paycheck at the end of every week.

CASHIER: Gummint do take a bite, don’t she?

EXT TRAILER

Hi sits in a lawn chair in front of the trailer. ED sits on his

lap, his arms around her.

Both are wearing sunglasses, looking at the setting sun.

The scene is suff-used with a warm yellow light.

VO: These were the happy days, the salad days as they

say …

As the sun sets, the light is turning from yellow to amber. Hi

and ED watch, their heads following its slow downward arc.

. . . and Ed felt that having a critter was the next

logical step. It was all she thought about.

The amber is turning to a more neutral dusky light as the sun

has set. Hi and ED continue to stare at the point where it

disappeared.

… Her point was that there was too much love and

beauty for just the two of us . . .

The dusk is slipping away into darkness.

… and every day we kept a child out of the world

was a day he might later regret having missed.

We are by now holding on pitch black. Crickets chirp. From

the darkness:

ED: That was beautiful.

A CALENDAR

ED is crossing off the last day on the calendar before a day

circled in red.

VO: So we worked at it on the days we calculated most

likely to be fruitful …

INT TRAILER

Hi is wearily entering after a long day at work, clutching his

lunchpail.

VO: … and we worked at it most other days just to be

sure.

ED flies into frame and leaps into his arms, covering him with

kisses.

TRAILER BEDROOM

In each other’s arms, Hi and ED roll over on the bed.

VO: Seemed like nothing could stand in our way

now …

We pan with them rolling and continue off them to the night

table, on which sits a framed pair of photographs of Hi,

probably taken by ED: One shows him full face, the other in

profile.

EXT TRAILER TWILIGHT

ED Sits in a lawn chair knitting a booty. Hi stands in

Bermuda shorts and an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt, hosing

down the minuscule patch of front lawn.

VO: … My lawless years were behind me; our child

rearin’ years lay ahead.

DUSTY ROAD LEADING UP TO TRAILER DAY

A squad car, its siren wailing, kicks up dust as it roars into

the foreground.

VO: So we worked at it on the days we calculated most

likely to be fruitful …

INT TRAILER

Hi is wearily entering after a long day at work, clutching his

lunchpail.

VO: … and we worked at it most other days just to be

sure.

ED flies into frame and leaps into his arms, covering him with

kisses.

TRAILER BEDROOM

In each other’s arms, Hi and ED roll over on the bed.

VO: Seemed like nothing could stand in our way

now …

We pan with them rolling and continue off them to the night

table, on which sits a framed pair of photographs of Hi,

probably taken by ED: One shows him full face, the other in

profile.

EXT TRAILER TWILIGHT

ED Sits in a lawn chair knitting a booty. Hi stands in

Bermuda shorts and an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt, hosing

down the minuscule patch of front lawn.

VO: … My lawless years were behind me; our child

rearin’ years lay ahead.

DUSTY ROAD LEADING UP TO TRAILER DAY

A squad car, its siren wailing, kicks up dust as it roars into

the foreground.

ADOPTION OFFICE

Hi and ED are seated on folding chairs facing an agent’s desk.

Hi wears a sport coat over his Hawaiian shirt. ED is in her

dress blues.

HI: It’s true I’ve had a checkered past, but Ed here is

an officer of the law twice decorated . . .

THE AGENT

Looking, with a dead pan, from the file to Hi.

HI: … So we figure it kind of evens out.

His face still deadly neutral, the agent looks back down at the

file and unfolds the accordioned rap sheet, revealing it to be a

couple feet long.

VO: … But biology and the prejudices of others

conspired to keep us childless.

INT SQUAD CAR

On ED as she stares vacantly out the passenger window.

VO: Our love for each other was stronger than

ever . . .

ON HI

Driving. He looks from ED Out to the road.

VO: … but I preminisced no return of the salad days.

TRAILER BATHROOM

Over Hi’s shoulder as he stares listlessly at himself in the

mirror, a razor held forgotten in one hand, his face half

lathered and half shaved.

VO: The pizzazz had gone out of our lives.

TRAILER BEDROOM

The bedroom is somewhat messy. ED sits on the edge of the

bed, also staring listlessly. Her police uniform is on but not

yet buttoned. Her hands lie palm-up in her lap, like two dead.

fish.

VO: Ed lost all interest in both criminal justice and

housekeeping. Soon after, she tendered her badge.

MACHINE SHOP

Once again Hi works as his sweaty gum-chewing colleague

stands idly by.

VO: Even my job seemed as dry and bitter as a hot

prairie wind.

BUD: So here comes Bill a-walkin’ down Nine Mile-

that’s Bill Parker, y’understand-got his sandwich in one

hand, the fuckin’ head in the other …

ON HI DRIVING

Alone in his Chevy. He looks to the side.

VO: I even caught myself drivin’ by convenience

stores …

HIS MOVING POV

7-Eleven.

VO: … that weren’t on the way home.

TRAILER LIVING ROOM

Hi and ED Sit listlessly watching TV.

VO: Then one day the biggest news hit the state since

they built the Hoover Dam …

ED perks up, reacting to something on TV. Hi notices her

reaction and also sloughs off his stupor to watch.

… The Arizona quints was born.

THE TV

A newscaster silently reading copy. Behind him news footage

of five nurses holding infants mortices in.

VO: By “Arizona” quints I mean they was born to a

woman named Florence Arizona.

BACK TO HI AND ED

Watching intently. Eyes still locked on the set, ED reaches her

hand out to Hi. Eyes still locked on the set, Hi takes her hand

in his.

VO: As you probably guessed, Florence Arizona is the

wife of Nathan Arizona. And Nathan Arizona-well hell,

you know who he is …

THE TV A LATE-NIGHT LOCAL COMMERCIAL

NATHAN ARIZONA, a stocky middle-aged man in a white

polyester suit, is gesturing expansively with his white cowboy

hat toward a one-story warehouse store with a football

stadium parking lot, chroma-keyed in behind him.

NATHAN ARIZONA (mixing up on the TV): So come on

down to Unpainted Arizona for the finest selection in

fixtures and appointments for your bathroom, bedroom,

beaudoir!

VO: … The owner of the largest chain of unpainted

furniture and bathroom fixture outlets throughout the

Southwest.

NATHAN ARIZONA: And if you can find lower prices

anywhere my name ain’t Nathan Arizona!

BACK TO HI AND ED

As they slowly look from the TV set toward each other.

LINE OF NEWSPAPER VENDING MACHINES

Hi lounges near one of the vending machines as a

businessman puts in a quarter.

VO: Yep, Florence had been taking fertility pills, and

she and Nathan had hit the jackpot.

The businessman takes his newspaper and releases the

machine door as he turns to leave.

Hi snags the door before it closes and takes his own five-

finger discount copy.

He flips the paper over to look at the headline.

FRONT PAGE OF NEWSPAPER

The banner headline of the Tempe Intelligencer is:

ARIZONA QUINTS GO HOME! The subhead: “More Than We

Can Handle,’ Laughs Dad.” Next to it is a picture of

NATHAN.

VO: Now y’all who’re without sin can cast the first

stone …

A pull back from the paper shows Hi and ED reading it

together at home. They look from the paper to each other.

Hi opens to an inside page and we pan a row of pictures-

the five tots with their names underneath: HARRY, BARRY,

LARRY, GARRY and NATHAN JR.

… but we thought it was unfair that some should

have so many while others should have so few.

BILLBOARD

In the middle of the desert. It reads: “WELCOME TO

TEMPE! POPULATION 13,948 … PLUS FIVE!”

EXT TRAILER TWILIGHT

We are floating in toward ED who is seated, waiting, in the

driver’s seat of Hi’s Chevy. Hi enters frame and cinches down

a ladder that is tied to the roof of the car. Pieces of red flag

flutter at either end of the ladder where it sticks out beyond

the car.

vo: With the benefit of hindsight maybe it wasn’t such

a hot idea …

Hi gets in the car.

FROM BEHIND THE CHEVY

It starts down the long, winding road leading away from the

trailer, kicking up dust.

vo: … but at the time, Ed’s little plan seemed like the

solution to all our problems, and the answer to all our

prayers.

The title of the film burns in: RAISING ARIZONA

A building chord snaps off in a shock cut to:

SUBURBAN LIVING ROOM EVENING

Tableau of a couple at home. NATHAN ARIZONA is on the

telephone, his stocking feet up on an ottoman. FLORENCE Sits

reading Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care.

The living room is dominated by a large oil portrait of

NATHAN and FLORENCE, gazing out from the wall over the

mantelpiece.

NATHAN (into the phone): Eight hundred leaf tables and

no chairs?! You can’t sell leaf tables and no chairs! Chairs,

you got a dinette set! No chairs, you got dick! I ask my

wife she got more sense! …

A title is supered: THE ARIZONA HOUSEHOLD

From somewhere upstairs we hear an infant start to cry.’

FLORENCE stops reading and looks up at the ceiling. NATHAN

is oblivious.

NATHAN: … Miles, alls I know is I’m away from the

office to have me some kids and everything goes straight

to heck! I ain’t gonna stand for it!

Another title is supered below the first: SEPTEMBER 17, 1985

The baby stops crying and FLORENCE’s attention returns to

her book.

… Yeah, and if a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump

his ass a-hoppin’! I’m sick of your excuses, Miles! It is

now …

As he throws out his wrist to look at his watch a third title is

supered beneath the first two: 8:45 P.m.

. . .8:45 in the P.m. I’m gonna be down to the store in

exactly twelve hours to kick me some butt!

He starts to replace the receiver but brings it back with an

afterthought:

. . .Or my name ain’t Nathan Arizona!

As he slams the phone into the cradle the titles disappear.

Another baby starts crying. FLORENCE looks up at the

ceiling.

NATHAN: That sounds like Larry.

Close on the crying baby as Hi bounces it, gently but

desperately.

HI: Shhhh! Shh! Nice baby . . .

He starts to lower it back into the crib. The crib is unpainted

with the name of each baby burned Bonanza-style into the

headboard: Harry, Barry, Larry, Garry, and Nathan Jr.

Instead of quieting as he is lowered into the crib, the

squalling baby only sets off one of his brothers. Hi hurriedly

lifts him back out.

He looks desperately around the room.

The room is wallpapered with nursery rhyme characters.

There are toys strewn around. There is one adult-sized easy

chair in the corner.

Hi carries the baby over to the chair, stepping on and

reacting to the squeal of a squeeze-me toy on the way. He sits

the baby deep in- the chair and then returns to the crib to deal

with the second crying baby.

He lifts the baby out of the crib and gently bounces it. This

baby stops crying.

Another one in the crib starts bawling.

Hi sets the second baby down on the floor and gives it a

rattle to keep it pacified. He reaches for the third baby in the

crib. Sweat stands out on Hi’s brow. He is desperately

chucking the third baby under the chin when we hear a

muffled pthump!

He whirls to look across the darkened room.

The first baby has dropped off the easy chair and is

energetically crawling away toward a shadowy corner.

LIVING ROOM

NATHAN and FLORENCE are sitting stock-still, staring at the

ceiling. After a moment, another baby starts crying.

NATHAN: What’re they, playing telephone?

They stare at the ceiling.

NURSERY

Loose babies are crawling everywhere.

Hi is skittering across the room in a half-crouch, a baby

tucked under one arm, reaching out with the other as he

pursues a crawling baby across the room.

He hefts the other baby with his free arm and brings the

air back to the crib.

He turns to look frantically around the room.

The other three babies have disappeared.

There is perfect quiet.

Hi goes over to the closet door, which is ajar, and swings it

open.

He reaches under a moving pile of clothes on the floor and

pulls out a baby.

He returns it to the crib and freezes, listening.

The sound of a rattle.

He drops to the floor to look under the crib.

WIDE ANGLE UNDER CRIB

A baby holding a rattle leers into the camera in the

foreground. Behind him Hi, on his stomach, is reaching in to

grab at his leg.

Hi is pulling the baby out, away from the camera, when

with a plop! a baby drops onto Hi’s back from the crib above.

Hi twists one arm back to grope for the baby crawling on

top of him.

He is straightening up, a baby in each arm, when he reacts

in horror to something he sees across the room.

HI’S POV

The hindquarters of a diapered baby are just disappearing

around the corner of the nursery door into the hallway.

LIVING ROOM

FLORENCE and NATHAN are staring at the ceiling. After a

beat we hear a muffled plop! on the ceiling. A beat later, the

bleat of the squeeze-me toy.

NATHAN: … Whyn’t you go up and check on ’em?

They sound restless.

UPSTAIRS HALLWAY

The floor-level wide-angle shot shows a baby crawling toward

the camera in the foreground. Behind him, in the background,

just rounding the open door from the nursery, yet another

baby is making a mad dash for freedom.

Hi emerges from the nursery and, stepping around the

background baby, trots toward the baby in the foreground. By

the time he reaches it the low-angle cropping shows us only

his feet and calves.

CLOSE ON HI

Perspiring as he tiptoes the last two steps to the baby.

HIS POV

The baby and, beyond it, the stairway down to the main floor.

We hear footsteps approaching.

BACK TO HI

He scoops up the baby and hurriedly tiptoes away toward the

nursery.

LOW-ANGLE REVERSE

The baby at the nursery door in the foreground; the staircase

in the background. As Hi reaches the baby we hear footsteps

climbing the stairs.

HI’S free arm comes down into frame to scoop the baby up

and out of frame just as:

FLORENCE’s head appears, bobbing up as she climbs the

stairs.

She approaches the nursery, still clutching the Dr. Spock

book.

NURSERY

As FLORENCE enters from the hallway door.

We track back into the room, on her, as she approaches the

crib. Halfway there she freezes, staring, in shock.

HER POV

All of the babies have been replaced in the crib but not lying

down: They are seated in a row, staring back at her, lined up

against the far crib railing, like a small but distinguished

panel on “Meet the Press.”

THROUGH THE WINDSHIELD OF THE CHEVY

ED’S point of view of Hi approaching the car. He is shrugging

and displaying a pair of manifestly empty hands.

CLOSE ON ED

Barely able to fight down her anger. Hissing:

ED: What’s the matter?!

Hi appears at her-the driver’s-window.

HI: Sorry honey, it just didn’t work out.

He is reaching to open the door but she slaps his hand away

from the handle.

ED: What d’you mean it didn’t work out?!

HI: They started cryin’, then they were all over me . . .

He is trying to open the door, which ED is holding shut with

all her might.

… It was kinda horrifying-Lemme in, honey.

ED: Course they cried! Babies cry!

HI: I know that now! Come on honey, we better

leave-

ED is rolling up the window and locking the door.

ED: You go right back up there and get me a toddler! I

need a baby, Hi; they got more’n they can handle!

Muffled, through the closed window, and very forlorn:

HI: Aw honey I-

ED: Don’t you come back here without a baby!

NURSERY

FLORENCE is holding one of the babies cradled against her

shoulder. She is facing the hallway door; her back is to the

crib and window. The baby, peeping out over her shoulder, is

facing the window.

CLOSE ON BABY

Looking.

BABY’S POV

Of the window, as Hi’s head appears in it.

BABY

Looking.

Hi

Looking back, he holds a finger to his lips.

BABY

FLORENCE starts bouncing it, patting it on the back.

BABY’S POV

Hi and the window bouncing up and down.

LIVING ROOM

NATHAN is leafing through the lingerie ads in the newspaper.

We can hear FLORENCE’s returning footsteps. Muttering:

NATHAN: Christian Dior my butt . . .

FLORENCE enters.

… They pay money for that?

FLORENCE: Yes dear.

NATHAN: How’re the kids?

FLORENCE: Fine dear.

NATHAN: Fuckin’ kids, I love ’em.

We hear the bleat of the squeeze-me toy. FLORENCE and

NATHAN look at the ceiling for a beat, then NATHAN clears his

throat and returns to the newspaper.

CHEVY

ED sits anxiously waiting in the driver’s seat, peering

intently through the windshield. As she catches sight of

something she breaks into a broad smile, unlocks the door,

and slides over to the passenger seat.

Hi is opening the door with one hand, cradling a baby in

the other.

ED: Which one ya get?

As he gets into the driver’s seat:

HI: I dunno. Nathan Jr., I think.

ED: Gimme here.

He hands her the infant, then hands her the copy of Dr.

Spock’s Baby and Child Care.

HI: Here’s the instructions.

ED: Oh, he’s beautiful!

Hi nods as he pulls away from the curb.

HI: He’s awful damn good. I think I got the best one.

ED is gushing and kissing the baby through the rest of the

conversation.

ED: I bet they were all beautiful. AU babies are

beautiful!

HI: Yeah. This one’s awful damn good though.

ED: Don’t you cuss around him.

HI: He’s fine, he is. I think it’s Nathan Jr.

ED: We are doin’ the right thing, aren’t we Hi?-l

mean, they had more’n they could handle.

HI: Well now honey we been over this and over this.

There’s what’s right and there’s what’s right, and never

the twain shall meet.

ED: But you don’t think his momma’ll be upset? I mean

overly?

HI: Well a course she’ll be upset, sugar, but she’ll get

over it. She’s got four little babies almost as good as this

one. It’s like when I was robbin’ convenience stores-

ED suddenly bursts out crying.

ED: I love him so much!

HI: I know you do, honey.

ED (still sobbing): I love him so much!

TRAILER LIVING ROOM

As the lights are thrown on. The room is hung with

streamers. A string of cut-out letters reads “Welcome Home

Son!”

HI (OS): Okay, bring him in!

REVERSE

ED is entering with NATHAN JR.

HI: This is it young Nathan Jr. Just feast your eyes

about, old boy!

ED: Don’t be so loud around him, Hi.

HI: (softly): Damn, I’m sorry honey.

ED: And don’t you cuss around him.

HI: Aw, he don’t know a cuss word from shinola.

ED: Well see that he don’t.

HI (jovially): He’s all right, he is.

He reaches for the child.

… Come on over here, Nathan Jr., I’ll show you

around.

He takes the baby in both hands and holds him out at arm’s

length, pointing him at the various places of interest. The

baby looks google-eyed at each one.

… Lookahere, young sportsman. That-there’s the

kitchen area where Ma and Pa chow down. Over there’s

the TV, two hours a day maximum, either educational or

football so’s you don’t ruin your appreciation of the finer

things. This-here’s the divan, for sociahzin’ and relaxin’

with the family unit. Yessir, many’s the day we sat there

and said wouldn’t it be nice to have a youngster here to

share our thoughts and feelin’s-

Impatient with the nonsense:

ED: He’s tired, Hi.

HI: Well we’ll just sit you right there, boy …

He is propping NATHAN JR. up in the corner of the couch. Hi

sits at the other corner and ED Sits in a facing chair.

… Just put those dogs up’n take a load off.

Hi beams at NATHAN JR. ED smiles at NATHAN JR. NATHAN

IR. looks from one to the other, deadpan. They seem to be

waiting for him to contribute to the conversation.

Silence.

Suddenly Hi slaps his knee.

HI: What are you kiddin’?! We got a family here!

ED is getting up.

… He’s a scandal, honey! He’s a little outlaw!

As she picks up the baby:

ED: He’s a good boy.

HI: He ain’t too good! You can tell by that twinkle in his

eye!

ED: Don’t you think we should put him to bed?

HI: Hang on, honey …

He is frantically reaching for a Polaroid camera.

… Let’s us preserve the moment in pictures!

ED: just one, okay? …

She sits down on the couch with NATHAN IR. as Hi starts

screwing the camera into a tripod.

…I gotta tell ya, I’m a little scared

Absently, as he sets up the camera:

HI: How come is that, honey?

ED: Well we got a baby, Hi. It’s an awful big

responsibility.

As he peers through the lens:

HI: Honey, could ya slide over a tad and raise the

nipper up?

As she complies:

ED: I mean we never done this before and I’m kinda

nervous.

HI: You’re doin’ real good, sugar.

Hi sits on the couch, holding the camera’s cable release. He

puts his arm around ED and smiles at the offscreen camera.

ED nestles her head against Hi’s shoulder.

ED: I love you, Hi.

HI: We’re set to pop here, honey.

ED: You’re gonna help, aren’t ya?

Through his teeth as he continues to grin at the offscreen

camera:

HI: How’s that, honey?

ED: Give Nathan Jr. a normal family background, just

quiet evenings at home together …

We begin to hear distant thunder.

HI: You can count on it, honey.

ED: … Everything decent’n normal from here on out.

HI: Uh-huh.

As he squeezes the cable release-FLASH-the image

momentarily freezes on Hi beaming, NATHAN JR. staring, and

ED looking at Hi with a little bit of concern.

DARK FIELD SAME NIGHT

The rolling thunder has built to a thunderclap at the cut, and

the flash of the Polaroid match cuts to lightning throwing a

momentarily harsh glare on the field.

Rain beats down on the bare patch of ground we are

looking at-by now just a patch of mud.

Faraway lightning flickers and we hear the rumble of more

thunder approaching, then suddenly:

THWACK -A head pops up out of the mud. It is GALE, the

con we saw in group therapy. He bellows as lightning and

thunder flash and crack nearby.

His head is covered with mud, although the driving rain is

already starting to wash it away.

We are beginning to track in an arc around GALE’s head,

who is now struggling, working to get his shoulders and

arms up out of the mud. The end of the 180-degree arc and a

flash of lightning reveal, way in the distance, the wire-topped

walls of a penitentiary.

Still bellowing, as if in some primal rage, GALE has gotten

his muck-covered arms up out of the earth and is now

pushing down to haul up the rest of his body. It comes with

much effort, and with the loud sucking-popping sounds of the

fiercely clinging mud.

Finally he is free.

With a great cry, the mud-covered man plunges his right

arm straight back down into the earth, all the way up to his

shoulder. He gropes intently and then, apparently having

grabbed hold of something underground, he starts pulling.

His arm comes slowly back up out of the mud. Clasped in

his hand is-a human foot.

Bellowing with effort he continues to pull, liberating the

foot … leg … torso of his companion, and finally his head.

As the rain starts to wash the mud off his companion’s

head we see that it is his friend EVELLE.

Both are bellowing.

Mud sucks and pops.

Thunder crashes.

INT GAS STATION MENS ROOM

At the cut the ear-splitting thunder drops out to quiet. We

hear only the muffled patter of rain and the hum of a bare

fluorescent.

The two bedraggled escaped cons are standing side by side,

combing their hair in the mirror. The men seem absorbed in

their task, using hair jelly from a jar that sits on the shelf

between them to restore their duck’s-ass haircuts.

EVELLE cracks the bathroom door and looks out into the

rain.

EVELLE: … Okay.

GALE: What is it?

EVELLE: Mercury. Looks nice.

EXT GAS STATION

The two men are trotting out to a Mercury that sits untended

at a gas island, a gas hose on automatic stuck in its tank.

AS GALE starts up the car EVELLE yanks the hose out and

drops it to the ground. GALE is already starting to peel out as

EVELLE gets in.

WIDE SHOT TRAILER LIVING ROOM

Late at night. Hi sits asleep on the sofa at the far end of the

room, in a pool of lamp light.

We hear faint, distant knocking. As we track in toward Hi

the knocking becomes louder and more present.

As we approach Hi we see that several Polaroids are spread

over his gently rising and falling chest.

By the time we tighten on his face the knocking has become

quite loud.

VOICE: Open up!

Hi starts awake with a grunt.

. . .Open up in air!

He looks up, alarmed.

HI’S POV

The front door of the trailer. Someone is pounding

insistently.

VOICE: Open up! It’s a police!

BACK TO HI

He sits up and tenses. He looks around.

ED stands in her nightgown at the mouth of the hallway,

holding NATHAN JR. and squinting at Hi. She hisses:

ED: Hi! What’s goin’ on?

VOICE: Po-lice, son! Open her up!

Hi gets to his feet, hurriedly tosses the Polaroids under a

cushion of the couch and takes out a gun.

HI: Get in the bedroom.

ED: They ain’t gonna take Nathan?!

HI: Well I’d like to see ’em fty.

AS ED turns back to the bedroom:

VOICE: Open up and maybe we’ll letcha plea-bargain.

BEDROOM

As ED enters and shuts the door. She listens hard at the door:

Hi’s footsteps cross the living room, the click of the door

opening, silence … a burst of raucous male laughter.

HI’S VOICE: … Honey! Come on out here! Want you

to meet a couple friends of mine!

LIVING ROOM

AS ED enters, carrying NATHAN IR. All three men-Hi,

GALE, and EVELLE-are beaming at her.

HI: Honey, like you to meet Gale and Evelle Snopes,

fine a pair as ever broke and entered.

GALE roars with laughter.

… Boys, this-here’s my wife.

GALE: Ma’am.

EVELLE: Miz McDunnough.

ED smiles politely, then squints at Hi.

ED: Kind of late for visitors, isn’t it Hi?

HI: Well yeah honey, but these boys tell me they just

got outta the joint. Gotta show a little hospitality.

GALE is admiring the baby.

GALE: Well now H. I., looks like you been up to the

devil’s bidnis!

EVELLE: That a him or a her?

ED: It’s a little boy.

GALE: Got a name, does he?

Hi and ED look at each other uncomfortably. Hi clears his

throat.

HI: Well so far we just been using Junior.

ED: We call him junior.

EVELLE: Say, thairs good-J.R., just like on the Teevee.

GALE is staring at the streamers and decorations. Reading

aloud:

GALE: “Welcome … Home … Son.” Where’s he

been?

Hi and ED respond simultaneously:

HI: Tulsa.

ED: Phoenix.

HI: He was, uh … he was visiting his grandparents.

ED: They’re separated.

GALE: Was that yer folks ma’am?

ED: No, I’m afraid not.

GALE: I thought yer folks was dead, H.I.?

HI (very uncomfortably): Well we thought Junior should

see their final resting place-Whyn’t you boys have a

seat?

As the two men move toward the couch ED hesitantly pipes

up:

ED: Hi, it’s two in the morning …

She wrinkles her nose.

… What’s that smell?

Apologetically:

GALE: We don’t always smell like this, Miz

McDunnough. I was just explainin’ to yer better haff here

that when we were tunnehn’ out we hit the main

sewer-dumb luck, that-and just followed that to-

ED: You mean you busted out of jail!!

GALE: Waaaal …

EVELLE: We released ourselves on our own

recognizance.

GALE: What Evelle means to say is, we felt the

institution no longer had anything to offer us .

He is looking at the baby.

… My Lord he’s cute.

EVELLE: He’s a little outlaw, you can see that.

ED: Now listen, you folks can’t stay here!

GALE, EVELLE, and Hi look up at ED, dumbstruck. After a

beat:

EVELLE: … Ma’am?

ED: You just can’t stay! I appreciate your bein’ friends

of HI and all, but this is a decent family now …

She looks at Hi.

… I mean we got a toddler here!

GALE leans in close to Hi, a look of sincere concern on his

face, and says under his breath:

GALE: Say, who wears the pants round here H.I.?

HI: Now honey-

ED: Don’t you honey me. Now you boys can set a

while and catch up, and then you’ll be on your way.

There is an awkward silence as she leaves and slams the

bedroom door.

GALE is carefully studying his thumbnail; EVELLE stares

fixedly at the ceiling. Still looking at his thumb:

GALE: Gotcha on a awful short leash, don’t she H.I.?

BEDROOM

Sometime later, as Hi tiptoes in. ED lies in bed facing the

wall; we see only the back of her head. Hi sits gingerly on the

edge of the bed and, smiling, sticks a finger through the bars

of the crib to play with the baby.

The sound of the TV set in the living room filters faintly

in.

ED: They stiff here?

Hi is momentarily startled, then goes on playing with the

baby.

HI: Yeah, they’re just gonna stay a day or two. It’s

raining out honey, they got nowhere to go.

ED finally turns to face him. We hear the two men laugh

raucously in the living room.

ED: They’re fugitives, Hi …

HI turns to face her.

. . .How’re we gonna start a new life with them

around?

HI: Well now honey you gotta have a little charity. Ya

know, in Arab lands they’d set out a plate-

ED: Promise just a day or two.

HI: Tonight and tomorrow, tops.

EXTREME HIGH ANGLE

Looking straight down at Hi, asleep in bed. It is later:

filtering softly in from the other room is the end of the “Star

Spangled Banner” on TV. We are craning down.

VO: That night I had a dream .

FLASH CUT

For a brief moment we see a wall of flames and hear it roar.

BACK TO HI

Still craning down.

VO: … I’d drifted off thinkin’ about happiness, birth,

and new fife …

FLASH CUT

Wall of flames. Deafening roar.

BACK TO HI

Craning down. The faint National Anthem ends: we hear the

WEEEEEEEE of a test pattern.

VO: … but now I was haunted by a vision of-

WALL OF FLAMES

Roaring. At the cut: WHOOOOOSH! a huge low-rider

motorcycle bursts through the flames, its engine roaring even

louder than the fire. Its driver is a huge leather-clad hellion.

The chains worn by the BIKER clank ominously as he rides.

VO: He was horrible . . .

The BIKER roars out of frame.

LOW-ANGLE REVERSE

As the BIKER roars into frame, his rear tire laying down a

wake of fire.

VO: … a lone biker of the apocalypse . . .

TRACKING ON BIKER

As he roars along a ribbon of desert highway.

VO: . . . a man with all the powers of heR at his

command.

The BIKER reaches for his bullwhip.

… He could turn the day into night . . .

The BIKER cracks the whip and, at the crack:

The sky behind him turns instantly to black. Bolts of

lightning crackle across it as thunder roars.

ANOTHER DESERT SCENE DAY

Tracking with and also in on the BIKER from behind as he

roars along a strip of highway. He is reaching for the two

sawed-off shotguns which are strapped crisscross across his

back.

VO: . . . and laid to waste everything in his path.

REVERSE TRACK ON BIKER

Pulling the BIKER from a distance as he levels the two

shotguns. The tracking camera pulls back further to reveal a

running jack-rabbit keeping pace with us in the foreground.

VO: He was especially hard on the little things . . .

CRACK-as the first shotgun spurts orange the foreground

rabbit keels over. The BIKER slues the other gun around.

LOCKED-DOWN WIDE SHOT

On a rock in the foreground, a desert lizard suns himself.

The BIKER is approaching in the distant background.

VO: . . . the helpless and the gentle creatures.

CRACK-from afar, the foreground lizard is blown away.

LOCKED-DOWN LOW-ANGLE WIDE SHOT

Of the empty desert road stretching away. In the foreground

a lone desert flower blooms.

The BIKER roars into frame.

VO: He left a scorched earth in his wake, befouling

even the sweet desert breeze that whipped across his

brow.

As the BIKER roars away, the foreground flower bends with

his draft and then bursts into flame.

TRACKING ON BIKER

From in front. He twirls the shotguns in either hand and

reaches back to plunge them over his shoulders into their

holsters.

VO: I didn’t know where he came from or why . . .

We are moving in on his chest, where two crisscrossed

bandoliers carry two rows of hand grenades, their silver pins

glinting in the sun. We follow the line of one of the bandoliers

up to his right shoulder which bears the tattoo: “Mama

Didn’t Love Me.”

I didn’t know if he was dream or vision . . .

REVERSE TRACK ON BIKER

From behind, booming down as we track. We are approaching

the crest of a rise.

VO: But I feared that I myself had unleashed him …

HIGH SHOT

Of the BIKER approaching, craning down as he draws near.

VO: … for he was The Fury That Would Be …

With the crane down we momentarily lose him from view

over the rise; then suddenly-ROAR-he tops the rise and,

wheels spinning, is airborne

REVERSE

As he crashes back down to earth in the foreground and roars

away. Only now we are no longer in the desert: We are

looking down a twilit street at the end of which is the Arizona

house.

VO: … as soon as Florence Arizona found her little

Nathan gone.

The roar of his engine and clank of his chains recede as the

BIKER qraduall’y dissolves into thin air.

We are left looking at the empty street and the faraway

Arizona house.

The receding roar has left behind eerily beautiful singing, a

woman singing a lullaby. Faintly, behind the singing, there

is also a droning high-pitched noise.

The camera starts floating forward very close to the

ground, moving slowly toward the Arizona house. The high-

pitched drone is becoming less faint under the singing.

The camera is accelerating. The drone is growing louder-

we can now tell that it is a human scream.

As we approach the Arizona house we can see that a ladder

is propped up to a second-story window.

We are moving quite fast now. The scream all but buries

the singing.

We are rushing toward the house, toward the base of the

ladder, the sustained scream drawing us on.

We hurtle toward and then straight up the ladder with

no abatement of speed, sucked forward by the deafening

scream.

We reach the top and hurtle-THWAP!-through the

white curtains of the open second-story window into the

nursery to reveal FLORENCE ARIZONA, her back to us,

screaming over the crib.

We are rocketing toward her.

She is turning to us, hands pressed to her ears, mouth

stretched wide in an ear-splitting shriek and we are rushing

into an extreme close-up of her gaping mouth and her wildly

vibrating epiglottis and we

CUT TO:

EXTREME CLOSE SHOT NI’S EYES

As they snap open.

The screaming snaps off at the cut. The singing that the

building scream covered, however, is now audible again.

Perspiration beads Hi’s forehead. He looks down toward the

foot of the bed.

THE BEDROOM

It is now morning. ED walks back and forth, gently bouncing

the baby as she walks. She is singing it a lullaby.

Faintly, from the next room, we can hear GALE and EVELLE

snoring away like buzz saws.

Hi (groggily): He all right?

ED: He’s all right. He was just havin’ a nightmare.

Hi is getting out of bed.

HI: Yeah, well . . .

He crosses to the bedroom window and cracks the venetian

blind. Orange light filters in.

HIS POV

Beyond a clothes line and a septic tank, a huge orange ball of

sun is rising. We can almost hear the roar of its burning

surface.

BACK TO HI

Looking.

HI: … Sometimes it’s a hard world for little things.

HIS POV

The orange sun, rumbling, perceptibly rising.

ARIZONA HOME FRONT FOYER

At the cut the rumble of the sun is snapped off by the high-

pitched ba-WEEEEeeee . . . of a strobe going off as a flash

picture is taken: We are looking over NATHAN SR.’S shoulder

as he stands at his open front door, facing a battery of press

people who stand out on the porch.

An obie light over a local TV news camera glares in at us;

various flashbulbs pop.

NATHAN: -No, the missus and the rest of the kids’ve

left town to I ain’t sayin’ where. They’ll be back here

when we’re a nuclear fam’ly again.

VOICE: Mr. Arizona, which tot was abducted?

NATHAN: Nathan Jr., I think.

VOICE: Do you have anything to say to the kidnappers?

NATHAN: Yeah: Watch yer butt.

VOICE: Sir, it’s been rumored that your son was

abducted by UFOS. Would you care to comment?

NATHAN (sadly): Now don’t print that, son. If his

mama reads that she’s just gonna lose all hope.

A POLICEMAN from inside the house is taking NATHAN by the

elbow.

POLICEMAN: We really have to ask you some more

questions, sir …

As NATHAN allows himself to be led back into the house he

calls back over his shoulder:

NATHAN: But remember, it’s still business as usual at

Unpainted Arizona, and if you can find lower prices

anywhere my name still ain’t Nathan Arizona!

We are following the two, hand-held, as the PoLicE leads

NATHAN toward the living room.

LIVING ROOM

The room is filled with policemen milling about in several

different uniforms: local police, state troopers, plainclothes

detectives.

The original POLICEMAN is leading NATHAN to a table

where a white-smocked technician is preparing inkpad and

exemplar sheets.

The dialogue is urgent, rapid-fire and overlapping.

POLICEMAN: Mr. Byrum here can take your exemplars

while you talk.

MR. ByRum has taken NATHAN’s right hand and is rolling its

fingers onto the inkpad.

BYRUM: just let your hand relax; I’ll do the work.

NATHAN jerks his hand away.

NATHAN: What is this?! I didn’t steal the damn kid!

Two men in conservative suits are approaching.

POLICEMAN: Sir, these men are from the FBI-

NATHAN (bewildered): Are you boys crazy?! ARs I know

is I wake up this morning with my wife screaming-

BYRUM (patiently): We just need to distinguish your

prints from the perpetrators’, ff they left any.

Giving his hand back:

NATHAN: Course! I know that!

FBI 1: Sir, we have an indication you were born Nathan

Huffhines; is this correct?

NATHAN: Yeah, I changed m’name; what of it?

FBI 2: Could you give us an indication why?

NATHAN: Yeah, would you buy furniture at a store

called Unpainted Huffhines?

FBI 1: All right, I’ll get to the point-

UNIFORMED COP: Was the child wearing anything

when he was abducted?

NATHAN: No one sleeps nekkid in this house, boy! He

was wear-

FBI 1: I’m asking the questions here, officer.

COP: If we’re gonna put out an APB we need a

description of the-

NATHAN: He was wearin’ his-

FBI 2: It’s just that we’re better trained to intervene in

crisis situations (to NATHAN). What was he wearing?

NATHAN: A dinner jacket! Wuddya think, he was

wearing his damn jammies!

FBI 2 (to cop): The child was wearing his jammies. Are

you happy?

FBI 1: Do you have any disgruntled employees?

NATHAN: Hell, they’re all disgruntled! I ain’t runnin’ a

daffm daisy farm!

COP: What did the pyjamas-

NATHAN: My motto is do it my way or watch your

butt!

COP: What did the pyjamas-

FBI 1: So you think it might have been an employee?

NATHAN: Don’t make me laugh. Without my say-so

they don’t piss with their pants on fire.

COP: What did the pyjamas look like?

FBI 1: (pained): Officer-

NATHAN (bellowing): I dunno, they were jammies! They

had Yodas’n shit on ’em!

BELLOWING VOICE OFFSCREEN: Would ya mind, I’m

trying to set up a Command Post here!

NATHAN bellows back:

NATHAN: Get your feet off m’damn coffee table!

Also raising his voice at the offscreen bellower:

FBI 1: Ron, you’re upsetting the victim.

NATHAN is getting worked up.

NATHAN: Damnit, are you boys gonna go chase down

your leads or are you gonna sit drinkin’ coffee in the one

house in the state where I know my boy ain’t at?!

FBI 2: Sir, there aren’t any “leads” yet, aside from this

coat-

NATHAN: Gimme that!

He grabs the overcoat being displayed by FBI 2.

NATHAN: That’s a five-hundred-dollar camel’s hair-

BYRUM: Sir, you might want to wash your hands at this

point.

NATHAN realizes that he’s gotten ink from his fingerprinting

all over the coat.

NATHAN: Well goddamnit!

He is rising to his feet and hurling the coat to the floor.

… No leads?!

He furiously kicks the coat.

… Everyone leaves microbes’n whatnot!

Throughout the speech NATHAN stalks the room, working

himself into a frenzy, furiously putting coffee cups onto

coasters, generally cleaning up, hectoring the police, and

swiping their feet off his ftirniture.

…Hell, that’s your forte, trackin’ down them

microbes left by criminals’n commies’n shit! That’s yer

whole damn raison d’i&tre! No leads?! I want Nathan Jr.

back, or whichever the hell one they took! He’s out there

somewhere! Somethin’ leads to him! And anyone can find

him knows the difference between a lead and a hole in

the ground!!

A HOLE IN THE GROUND DAY

Specifically, it is the hole in the muddy patch of earth that

GALE and EVELLE climbed out of. We hear only the squish-

suck of many feet walking around in the mud offscreen.

We are pulling back to reveal the feet-the shiny black

patent leather shoes and blue pants cuffs-becoming quickly

spattered-of several policemen milling about the hole.

German shepherds sniff around also.

With a roar, motorcycle wheels enter frame. The bike’s

jackbooted rider casually tools around the hole once; police

step back and dogs skitter away to give him room.

He backs toward the camera and stops, standing astride the

bike. The burning stub of a cheroot is dropped into frame; it

hisses angrily and dies in the mud. We start to crane up.

The whipcracking BIKER cue mixes up. The BIKER’S

motorcycle idles with a deep rumble, like the roar of fire on

the sun.

We are now framed looking over the BIKER’S shoulder. The

policemen’s attitude to him seems to be deferential. One cop

in front of him is pointing a direction. The BIKER is shaking

his head; he doesn’t think they went that way.

Suddenly, with a loud whipcrack effect, the BIKER’s head

snaps to profile. He is staring across the field, stock-still,

having heard, smelled or sensed something.

The dogs milling around the hole also react, snapping to

attention, a split second after the BIKER.

THEIR POV

A jackrabbit is bounding away at the far end of the field.

THE DOGS

After a moment, their attention returns to the hole.

THE BIKER

His attention also returns to the matter at hand. He squints,

concentrating. His bike rumbles. Gradually his face sets in a

specific direction.

We pan down to the tattoo on his shoulder: “Mama Didn’t

Love Me. ” His shoulder flexes once or twice as he revs the

throttle; then he puts the bike in gear and it roars out of

frame.

TRAILER KITCHEN CLOSE ON GALE AND EVELLE

They are both intently munching cornflakes, staring at

something offscreen. After a beat:

EVELLE: … Awful good cereal flakes, Miz

McDunnough.

THEIR POV

ED is sitting in the living room, bottle-feeding NATHAN JR.

She is surrounded by the rumpled sheets and blankets used by

the house guests. She does not respond to the ice-breaker.

GALE puts his spoon down and picks up a cigarette which

has been smoking in the ashtray next to him. There is a bead

of milk dribbling down his chin.

He takes a contemplative puff, studying ED.

GALE: … Whyncha breast feed him? You ‘pear to be

capable.

ED: Mind your own bidnis.

Through a mouthful of cornflakes:

EVELLE: Ya don’t breast feed him, he’ll hate you for it

later. That’s why we wound up in prison.

GALE blows out smoke and picks up his spoon to start back in

on his cornflakes.

GALE: Anyway, that’s what Doc Schwartz tells us.

Hi is walking in, yawning.

HI: Boys.

EVELLE: Momin’, H.I.

Sharply, as Hi sits and starts to pour cornflakes into a bowl:

ED: … Hi.

Hi holds the cornflakes box arrested in mid-air. He looks at

ED, who is motioning to GALE and EVELLE with her eyes.

HI: Oh yeah … Say boys, you wouldn’t mind makin’

yourself scarce for a couple hours this afternoon?

ED: We’re havin’ some decent friends over.

GALE and EVELLE are looking dumbly from ED to HI.

HI: Heh-heh … What Ed means to say is, seein’ as

you two boys are wanted, it wouldn’t exactly do to have

folks seein’ you here-I mean for your own protection.

GALE: Sure H.I.

EVELLE: Anything you say.

More relaxed now, to ED:

HI: Matter of fact honey, maybe I’ll skip this little get-

together myself, Glen won’t mind, and I’ll just duck out

with the boys, knock back a couple of-uh, Co’Colas-

GALE: Sure H.I.

EVELLE: We’d love to have ya.

CLOSE ON ED

Looking pleadingly at Hi.

BACK TO HI

Feeling the look, he goes back to his cornflakes.

HI: … Well … maybe that ain’t such a hot idea

either.

GALE leans back to blow smoke at the ceiling.

GALE (bitterly): So many social engagements. So little

time.

WIDE SHOT GAS STATION RATNROON

It is the bathroom where we earlier saw GALE and EVELLE

combing their hair, now empty.

We are looking toward the door. The bathroom is quiet

except for the dripping sink, and the faint rumble of an

approaching motorcycle. It grows louder, then begins to

recede as the bike shoots by the station.

Suddenly we hear the screech of the bike’s brakes.

EXT THE STATION

We are on the road outside the gas station as the motorcycle

screeches to a halt in the foreground. The low wide shot crops

the BIKER at his shins. In the background behind him is the

gas station.

The BIKER pauses for a moment, thinking or feeling.

BACK TO INT BATHROON

We hear the rumble of the bike approaching, very loud.

CRASH-the bathroom door flies open as the BIKER bursts

in astride his hog, bright daylight streaming in with him to

throw him into imposing silhouette. The shafts of light

pouring in are defined by motes of dust dancing in the air.

HI’S POV

Fast track in on the jar of hair jelly sitting on the shelf under

the mirror.

BACK TO BIKER

An extreme close shot shows his nostrils dilating as we hear

him sniff.

He revs the rumbling bike, stealing thunder from a far

mountain.

FRONT STOOP OF TRAILER

Hi, with ED standing by, is just opening the door to a young

couple. GLEN is a short stocky blond man in his early thirties,

wearing Bermuda shorts. DOT is wearing slacks, heels, and a

scarf over her hair.

HI: Glen, Dot-

As the door opens, DOT hops up the stoop shrieking.

DOT: Where’s at baby? Where’s he at?

From behind, GLEN gives ha an energetic THWOK on the ass.

GLEN: Go find him honey!

DOT spins and smacks GLEN across the face with her purse.

Through clenched teeth:

DOT: Cut it out, Glen!

He reels under the blow.

ED (quietly): He’s asleep right now.

DOT shrieks again, but this time muffles it with her own

hand. She tiptoes into the trailer, hand to her mouth.

GLEN, rubbing his cheek, seems angry at himself.

GLEN: Shit, I hope we didn’t wake it!

DOT: Can I just sneak a peek-a-loo?

GLEN at the top of the stoop, turns out to the yard.

GLEN: Come on kids …

WIDE SHOT GLEN AND DOT’S KIDS

A scad of children, ranging in age from two to seven, are

crawling over Hi’s car. One is beating on it with a large stick,

another sits on the hood pulling back one of the windshield

wipers, etc.

GLEN: … Get away from Mr. McDunnough’s car.

TRAILER BEDROOM

AS ED and DOT enter, ED beaming as they go to the crib.

DOT: What’s his name?

ED: Uh … Hi Jr. TiR we think of a better one.

DOT: Whyncha call him Jason? I love Biblical names. If

I had another little boy I’d name him Jason or Caleb or

ED: Oh!-

She puts her hand to her forehead, reacting to the baby as if

she is about to faint.

… He’s an angel!

She hides her face in her hands and looks away as if blinded,

then sneaks a look around her hands.

… He’s an angel straight from heaven! Now honey I

had all my kids the hard way so you goffa tell me where

you got this angel. Did he fly straight down from

heaven?

ED: Well-

DOT: You gonna send him to Arizona State?

TRAILER LIVING ROOM/KITCHEN

The weaving knee-level tracking shot is following a six-year-

old boy in shorts and a dirty T-shirt as he tramps around the

trailer, brandishing a big stick. He strikes the walls,

furniture, various other objects with his stick, hollering

“Bam! Bam-Bam!” with each blow.

The track weaves off him and onto Hi, who is bending

down to pull a couple of beers from the refrigerator. He raises

his voice to make himself heard over the din of all the children

boiling around the room:

HI: Need a beer, Glen?

GLEN: Does the Pope wear a funny hat?

Hi considers this.

HI: … Well yeah, Glen, I guess it is kinda funny.

GLEN: Say, that reminds me! How many Pollacks it

take to screw up a lightbulb?

HI: I don’t know Glen, one?

Hi looks down.

One Of GLEN’S children, in a cowboy hat, is squirting a

squirt gun into his crotch area.

GLEN: Nope, it takes three!

He starts laughing, then catches himself.

… Wait a minute, I told it wrong. Here, I’m startin’

over: How come it takes three Pollacks to screw up a

lightbulb?

HI: I don’t know, Glen.

GLEN: Cause they’re so durn stupid!

He laughs; Hi doesn’t react.

… Shit man, loosen up! Don’t ya get it?

Hi looks over at the TV, which the bam-shouting six-year-old

is banging with his stick.

HI: No Glen, I sure don’t.

GLEN: Shit man, think about it! I guess it’s what they

call a Way Homer.

HI: Why’s that?

GLEN: Cause you only get it on the Way Home.

HI: I’m already home, Glen.

The kid in the cowboy hat is reaching up to slap Hi on the ass.

KID: You wetchaseff! Mr. McDunnough wet hisseff,

Daddy!

GLEN: Say, that reminds me! How’d you get that kid

s’darned fast? Me’n Dottie went in to adopt on account of

something went wrong with m’semen, and they told us

five years’ wait for a healthy white baby! I said healthy

white baby! Five years! Okay, what else you got? Said,

two Koreans and one Negro bom with the heart

outside …

He takes a sip of beer.

… Yeah, it’s a crazy world.

HI: Someone oughta sell tickets.

GLEN: Sure, I’d buy one.

Hi is looking at another child who is just finishing off the T in

FART in crayon on the wall.

GLEN chuckles, looking at his errant child.

… That Buford’s a sly one. Already knows his ABCs.

But I’m sayin’, how’d ya get the kid?

HI: Well this whole thing is just who knows who and

favoritism. Ed has a friend at one of the agencies.

GLEN: Well maybe she can do something for me’n Dot.

See there’s something wrong with m’semen. Say, that

reminds me! What you gonna call him?

HI: Uh, Ed-Ed Jr.

GLEN: Thought you said he was a boy.

HI: Well, as in Edward. Just like that name.

GLEN (not really interested): Yeah, it’s a good one . . .

Course I don’t really need another kid, but Dottie says

these-here are gettin’ too big to cuddle. Say, that reminds

me!-

nffe is the sound of shattering glass. GLEN looks around.

GLEN: Mind ya don’t cutchaseff, Mordecai …

EXT PICNIC GROUNDS

DOT faces Hi and ED across a picnic table covered with grilled

hamburgers, rolls, green jello mold, cooler, etc.

One of the younger children sits in the middle of the table,

occasionally taking a fistful of jello and flinging it at Hi. The

two women don’t seem to notice.

DOT: -and then there’s diphtheria-tetanus, what they

call dip-tet. You gotta get him dip-tet boosters yearly or

else he’ll get lockjaw and night vision. Then there’s the

smallpox vaccine, chicken pox and measles, and if your

kid’s like ours you gotta take all those shots first to get

him to take ’em. Who’s your pediatrician, anyway?

ED: We ain’t exactly fixed on one yet. Have we Hi?

Hi sits stock-still with a stony face.

… No, I guess we don’t have one yet.

DOT shrieks.

DOT: Well you just gotta have one! You just gotta have

one this instant!

ED: Yeah, what if the baby gets sick, honey?

DOT: Her, even if he don’t get sick he’s gotta have his

dip-tet!

ED: He’s gotta have his dip-tet, honey.

Hi shrugs, then flinches as a piece of jello hits his shoulder.

HI: … Uh-huh.

DOT: You started his bank accounts?

ED: Have we done that honey? We gotta do that

honey. What’s that for, Dot?

DOT: That-there’s for his orthodonture and his college.

You soak his thumb in iodine you might get by without

the orthodonture, but it won’t knock any off the college.

Hi sits stoically. DOT is looking offscreen:

… Reilly, take that diaper off your head and put it

back on your sister! … Anyway, you probably got the

life insurance all squared away.

ED: You done that yet honey?

DOT: You gotta do that, Hi! Ed here’s got her hands

full with that little angel!

Hi (dully): Yes ma’am.

DOT: What would Ed and the angel do ff a truck came

along and splattered your brains all over the interstate?

Where would you be then?

ED: Yeah honey, what if you get run over?

DOT: Or you got carried off by a twister?

LAKESIDE PATH

We are tracking on Hi and GLEN as they walk side by side.

GLEN is sopping wet, wearing only swimming suit and wing-

tipped shoes. His body is ghostly pale except for a V-area at

his neck and his arms below the short-sleeve line, which are a

bright angry red.

GLEN: Hear about the person of the Polish persuasion

he walks into a bar holdin’ a pfle of shit in his hands,

says “Look what I almost stepped in.”

GLEN bursts out laughing; Hi walks on in silence.

HI: … Yeah, that’s funny all right …

GLEN: Ya damn right it’s funny! Shit man, what’s the

matter?

HI: I dunno … maybe it’s wife, kids, family life … I

mean are you, uh, satisfied Glen? Don’t y’ever feel

suffocated? Like, like there’s somethin’ big pressin’

down …

GLEN (solemnly): Eeeeeyep … I do know the feelin’.

Hi shakes his head.

HI: I dunno-

GLEN: And I told Dottie to lose some weight but she

don’t wanna listen!

He roars with laughter and slaps Hi heartily on the back. As

he chuckles sympathetically:

… No man, I know what you mean. You got all kinds

a responsibilities now. You’re married, ya got a kid, looks

like your whole fife’s set down and where’s the

excitement?

HI: Yeah Glen, I guess that’s it.

GLEN: Okay! That’s the disease, but there is a cure.

HI: Yeah?

GLEN: Sure; Doctor Glen is tellin’ ya you can heal

thyself.

HI: What do I gotta do?

GLEN: Well you just gotta broaden your mind a little

bit. I mean say I asked you, what do you think about

Dot?

HI (puzzled): Fine woman you got there.

GLEN is eyeing him shrewdly.

GLEN: Okay. Now it might not look like it, but lemme

tell you something: She’s a helicat.

HI: That right?

GLEN: T-I-G-E-R.

HI: But what’s that got to do with-

GLEN: Don’t rush me!

He stops walking. Hi stops also, looking at GLEN, Still

puzzled. GLEN lays a companionable hand on his shoulder.

…Now the thing about Dot is, she thinks-and she’s

told me this-

He looks around as if to make sure they are not being

overheard. His tone is confidential.

… she thinks … you’re cute.

Hi looks suspiciously at GLEN’s hand on his shoulder.

HI: … Yeah. . . ?

GLEN nods energetically:

GLEN: I’m crappin’ you negafive! And I could say the

same about Ed!

Through tightly clenched teeth:

HI: What’re you talkin’ about, Glen?

GLEN: What’m I talkin’ about?! I’m talkin’ about sex,

boy! What the hell’re you talkin’ about?! You know,

“L’amour”?! I’m talkin’ me’n Dot are Swingers! As in “to

Swing”! Wife-swappin’! What they call nowadays Open

Marriage!

Beaming, he takes his hand off Hi’s shoulder and spreads his

arms.

GLEN: I’m talkin’ about the Sex Revolution! I’m talkin’

about-

THWAK-Hi’s fist swings into frame to connect solidly with

GLEN’S jaw.

GLEN’S feet leave the ground. He flies back and lands in a

heap.

LOW-ANGLE REVERSE

GLEN in the foreground, groggily rubbing his jaw; Hi

approaching menacingly.

HI: Keep your goddamned hands off my wife!

GLEN: Shit man!

He is scrambling to his feet.

… I was only tryin’ to help!

HI: Keep your goddamned hands off my wife!

With Hi still advancing, GLEN starts to run.

TRACKING ON GLEN

With Hi pursuing in the background.

GLEN is looking back over his shoulder to shout at Hi as he

runs.

GLEN: You’re crazy! I feel pity for you, man! You-

CRASH!-GLEN runs smack into a tree and drops like a sack

of cement.

INT CAR NIGHT

Hi is driving, his jaw rigidly set, his temple throbbing.

NATHAN J.R. sits in a safety seat between him and ED.

ED: We finally go out with some decent people and

you break his nose. That ain’t too funny, Hi.

Hi (stolidly): His kids seemed to think it was funny.

ED: Well they’re just kids, you’re a grown man with

responsibilities. Whatever possessed you?

HI: He was provokin’ me when I popped him.

ED: How’d he do that?

HI: … Never mind.

ED: But HI, he’s your foreman, he’s just gonna fire you

now.

HI: I expect he will.

ED: And where does that leave me and Nathan Jr.?

HI: With a man for a husband.

He is pulling into a convenience store parking lot.

ED: That ain’t no answer.

HI: Honey, that’s the only answer.

He puts the car in park but leaves it running.

… Nathan needs some Huggies. I’ll be out directly.

As he gets out of the car:

… Mind you stay strapped in.

INT STORE

CLOSE SNOT LOEGGS RACK

A hand enters to take a package of panty hose from the

standing rack.

CLOSE SHOT HUGGIES

A hand enters to take a big carton of disposable diapers from

the shelf.

CLOSE UP CASHIER

A pimply-faced lad with a paper 7-Eleven cap on his head. He

is looking up from a dirty magazine, reacting in horror to

something approaching.

HI’S POV

Hi is approaching the check-out island with a gun in one

hand, the carton of Huggies tucked under the other. The

L’Eggs stocking is pulled over his head to distort his features.

HI: I’ll be taking these Huggies and whatever cash you

got.

CLOSE SHOT CASHIERIS HAHD

As he presses a silent alarm under the lip of his counter.

EXT CAR

ED is reading to NATHAN JR. from a large picture book.

ED: “‘Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin. “Then

I’ll huff and I’ll puff . . .”‘

She pauses for a moment, listening. We can barely hear a

distant siren. She resumes absently, but her voice trails off.-

“. . . and I’ll blow your house in . . .'”

We can definitely hear the WHOO-WHOO of the siren now,

and it is definitely approaching. ED hooks an arm around the

seat and looks behind the car, then looks forzvard.

HER POV

Indistinctly visible through the semi-reflective glass are two

figures at the check-out island. One is pointing something at

the other.

BACK TO ED

As the siren is growing louder. Under her breath:

ED: That son of a bitch.

She unstraps herself and gets out of the car.

INT STORE

Two-shot of Hi and the CASHIER, who is stuffing bills into a

grocery bag. Beyond them we can see ED, outside, circling the

front of the car.

Her shout is muffled through the glass:

ED: You son of a bitch!

With this Hi notices her. He turns to the CASHIER.

HI: Better hurry it up. I’m in dutch with the wife.

But ED is already getting into the driver’s seat of the car.

BACK TO ED

As she slams the car door shut. The siren is quite loud now.

ED: That son of a bitch. Hang on, pumpkin.

The car squeals out of the lot.

WIDE SHOT THE STREET

The squad car tops a rise to bounce into view, its siren

wailing.

BACK TO THE STORE

Hi bursts out the door, still wearing the stocking. The carton

of Huggies is still tucked under one arm.

Bellowing hopefully after his departing car:

HI: Honey!

We hear the SMACK-CRACK of a gunshot and glass impact,

but the approaching squad car is still too far down the block to

have been the source.

Hi looks around the parking lot, bewildered.

The wailing siren is becoming painfully loud.

Hi looks behind him at the plate-glass front of the store,

where a bullet pock mars the glass.

HIS POV

Through the glass we see the pimply young CASHIER with the

paper 7-Eleven cap pop up from behind the counter to sight

down his huge .44 Magnum for another shot. The gun is so

big he uses both hands to heft it.

SMACK-CRACK-the bullet kisses another hole in the

glass.

Hi is off and running.

The squad car is screeching into the lot. An officer tumbles

out of the passenger side before the car is fully stopped. He

rolls on the pavement, then hurriedly rights himself and takes

up a half-kneeling shooting stance.

At the same time the little CASHIER is emerging from the 7-

Eleven with his gun.

The two bang away at Hi’s retreating figure-the

POLICEMAN’s revolver popping, the CASHIER’S Magnum

booming.

We hear the POLICEMAN who is still in the car drawling

over its loudspeaker:

SPEAKER: Halt. It’s a police warning, son. Put those

groceries down and turn yourself in.

TRACKING ON HI

Legs pumping, panty hose still over his head, its unused leg

streaming behind him like an aviator’s scarf. The gun is

tucked into his belt; the Huggies are tucked securely under his

arm.

Behind him we can see the OFFICER and the CASHIER

squeeze off another couple shots, and then the policeman piles

back into the squad car.

ED’S CAR

Driving. She hears distant gunshots.

ED: That son of a bitch . . . Hold on, Nathan. We’re

gonna go pick up Daddy.

She hangs a vicious U-turn.

TRACKING ON HI

Huffing and puffing down the road with his Huggies.

The cop car careens onto the street in the background, its

siren wailing.

The PASSENGER COP is leaning far out his window, one

hand gripping the light-and-siren rack, the other pointing a

gun at Hi, shooting away.

Bullets whizz past.

Suddenly, with a soft pthunk! the Huggies box pops

forward, out from under Hi’s arm-hit by a bullet. Still

running, Hi reaches forward, tries to catch it on the fly,

bobbles it, tips it-loses it. He overruns it a couple steps

before he can bring himself up short.

He turns and reaches to pick up the box but-PING-

PING-bullets chew up the road near his hand.

Leaving the Huggies, Hi takes off through a well-

manicured yard.

The police car is proceeding on down the street to catch him

around the corner, the driver still drawling over his

loudspeaker:

SPEAKER: That’s private property, son. Come back out

to the street and reveal yourself to Officer Steensma and

Officer Scoft-that’s me.

YARD

Hi vaults a fence to land in the backyard.

As he straightens to his feet we hear a horrible snarling

and barking.

A huge black Doberman is bounding across the lawn. It

looks like it means to rip Hi’s throat out.

LOW TRACKING SHOT TOWARD HI

The dog’s racing POV as it bounds toward the paralyzed Hi.

The dog leaps-camera flying up toward Hi’s face-and:

CLOSE SHOT HI’S FROZEN PROFILE

The dog’s slavering muzzle flies into frame and-stops, bare

inches from Hi’s nose, and the dog falls back, having reached

the end of his chain.

Hi resumes running.

CLOSE

On the dog, snarling and straining against the end of his

chain.

TRACKING

Down along the chain toward the spike mooring it to the

ground. As the dog strains, the spike starts to stir in the

ground.

Other dogs can be heard barking now, the Doberman

having started a sympathetic wave.

ED’S CAR

Her jaw set, she takes a hard turn, looking this way and that.

ED: That son of a bitch …

The police car approaches and roars by, the PASSENGER COP

still hanging out his window.

… Lookie Nathan, a police car …

She is looking in her rearview mirror.

… Say, that looks like Bill Steensma.

LOW TRACKING SHOT

The camera is shooting forward at ground level, following the

Doberman as it bounds along. The Doberman is dragging his

chain and spike, which stretch into the foreground, bumping

and scraping along the road.

Far ahead we can see Hi running, then turning down an

intersecting street.

A second dog peels into the road to bound along with the

Doberman.

TRACKING BEHIND HI

Running up a dark street. There is an oncoming pickup. Hi

runs directly at it.

INT PICKUP

The DRIVER screams and brakes-not quite in time.

Hi rolls onto the hood, and off, and gamely trots over to

open the passenger door.

The DRIVER is leaning over to tell him:

DRIVER: Son, you got a panty on your head.

HI: Just drive fast . . .

He is displaying his gun as he starts to climb in.

… and don’t stop till I tell ya.

Before Hi can get his door shut the DRIVER is obediently

peeling out.

Hi is reacting to an oncoming car. He peels the stocking off

to look, and leans across the DRIVER’S lap to bellow as ED’

car passes:

HI: … Honey!

Hi turns to look through the back window.

HIS POV

ED’S car is braking and spinning into a U-turn.

BACK TO HI

Leaning out the window.

HI: Mind the baby now!

Next to him, the DRIVER is screaming.

As Hi turns forward, the entire windshield explodes in.

THEIR POV

The pimply-faced CASHIER from the 7-Eleven is standing in

the middle of the road ahead, sighting down his .44 Magnum

for another shot.

We are rushing in.

THE DRIVER

Still screaming.

THE CASHIER

Ready to fire and-THUMP-he is bowled over by the

arriving Doberman, still trailing chain and spike, and now

accompanied by three other dogs, all braying at the top of

their lungs.

Still screaming, the DRIVER puts his body into a hard right

turn to avoid the CASHIER and hellhounds.

NEW STREET

Roaring up the new street, they are now directly in the path

of the oncoming police car, its siren wailing, barreling

straight at them.

Still screaming, the DRIVER leans into another hard right.

Wind is whistling in through where the windshield used to

be.

Two wheels hop curb as the car skids into the new street,

fishtails, and roars away.

ED’S CAR

She hears dogs, siren, squealing brakes on an adjacent street.

ED: Hold on Nathan, we’ll take a shortcut.

She gives the wheel a hard right turn.

But there is no cross street. The car hops the curb and roars

up someone’s nicely tended front yard, heading for the gap

between this house and the one next door.

POLICE CAR

Recovered and turned around from its near collision with the

SCREAMINC; DRIVER, the squad car is now squealing onto the

street the SCREAMER swerved on to-resuming pursuit.

As the police car roars down the street, ED’S car appears

from between two houses behind it, bounces down the front

yard to the street and follows the police.

SCREAMER’S PICKUP

Raking two-shot of Hi and the SCREAMER. Hi is looking back

over his shoulder at the pursuing police.

Desperately pleading:

SCREAMER: Can I stop now?

Hi looks forward.

HIS POV

They are rushing toward an imposing colonial house planted

at the end of the dead-end street.

BACK TO HI

HI: Maybe you better.

CLOSE SHOT BRAKE PEDAL

Stepped on hard. The brakes scream.

EXT CAR

As the car squeals to a halt Hi is catapulted through where the

windshield used to be, tumbling over the hood onto the front

lawn.

He rolls to his feet and, as he runs up the lawn, calls back

over his shoulder:

HI: Thank you.

INTO THE HOUSE

We are tracking behind Hi as he runs up to the house and

crashes through the screen door.

Still tracking behind him as he runs through the living

room.

A middle-aged couple sits on the couch watching TV. They

look up as Hi rushes by.

Hi plunges down a staircase. As he does so we hear: ka-

chick ka-chock ka-chick ka-chock.

He emerges into a rec room where he and we rush past two

kids playing ping-pong. He runs out the back door.

TRACKING WITH THE POLICENAN

As he runs into the house.

As he runs through the living room we catch a glimpse of

the middle-aged couple gaping at him.

OFFICER STEENSMA plunges down the stairs.

TRACKING ON HI

Outdoors now, running, crossing the street behind the house

and entering the parking lot of a supermarket on the other

side.

BACK TO THE HOUSE

As a pack of dogs thunders in. The lead Doberman with chain

and spike has now picked up about a dozen neighborhood

dogs.

The dogs thunder through the living room and down the

stairs. As they hit the rec room the thunder of their feet turns

into the clatter of nails on tile.

INT SUPERMARKET

As Hi bursts in. Tracking on him as he runs down the broad

front aisle, head whipping as he runs, looking up each

perpendicular lane, searching for something.

He turns up one of the last lanes, races along it and grabs a

carton of Huggies, still on the flat run.

He emerges into the broad back aisle and runs along it, but

at the first perpendicular lane he hits, we see OFFICER

STEENSMA, gun leveled, at the other end. He fires.

Hi keeps running.

The POLICEMAN is running along the front aisle, keeping

pace with Hi running along the back aisle. He squeezes off

shots at Hi as each lane gives him the opportunity.

Hi abruptly stops between lanes and doubles back, losing

the POLICEMAN. He runs down the second lane he comes to

toward the front of the store.

The pack of dogs appears at the end of the lane and

thunders up toward Hi, braying at the top of their doggy

lungs. The lead Doberman holds in his teeth a paper 7-Eleven

cap.

Hi reverses again, and emerges into the back aisle.

BANG! A pyramid of cranberry juice explodes at his

shoulder. The POLICEMAN has been waiting at the end of the

back aisle; he aims once again.

Hi plunges down the next lane but is brought up short as

KA-BOOM! five jars of applesauce explode in front of him.

Hi looks.

Standing in the raised platform-cubicle at the front of the

store is the STORE MANAGER, a fat man in a white short-

sleeved shirt with a lit cigarette dangling from his mouth.

The MANAGER cracks open his shotgun and inserts two

more cartridges-thoonk thoonk-in the smoking chamber.

Hi doubles back once again toward the back aisle.

He is still several paces from the end of the lane when the

POLICEMAN appears there, squaring to face him.

The POLICEMAN is in front of him. The MANAGER is

blowing out groceries on the shelves behind him.

CLOSE ON POLICEMAN

As he coolly levels his police special and takes aim at Hi.

POLICEMAN’S POV

Still on the dead run, Hi is flinging the carton of Huggies.

The carton rockets straight at the camera.

BACK TO POLICEMAN

Futilely raising his gun to avoid-impact: The Huggies catch

him square on the chest. The force makes him stumble one

fatal step backwards-into the back aisle-where:

CRASH-He is hit broadside and bowled over by a

rocketing shopping cart, propelled by an hysterically

screaming SHOPPER.

TRACKING ON SHOPPER

Racing on down the back aisle, bellowing.

HER FEET

Tracking from in front. Beyond her we can see the pack of

furiously barking dogs, nipping at her heels. They boil over

the prostrate OFFICER STEENSMA, and this is the last we see

of him in this movie.

EXT STORE

As Hi emerges through the back door. ED is just skidding

around the corner.

Hi scrambles in the passenger side.

INT CAR

Raking two-shot with Hi in the foreground. The car peels out

of the lot.

HI: Thank you honey, you really didn’t have to do

this-

THWAK-ED gives him a good hard slap and Hi’s head rolls

toward the camera.

ED: You son of a bitch! You’re actin’ like a mad dog!

Rubbing his jaw:

HI: Turn left, honey.

Still at top speed, she leans into a hard left, tires squealing.

ED: What if me’n the baby’d been picked up? Nathan

Jr. would a been accessory to armed robbery!

HI: Nawww honey, it ain’t armed robbery if the gun

ain’t loaded-

ED: What kind of home life is this for a toddler?! You’re

supposed to be an example!

HI: Now honey, I never postured myself as the three-

piece suit type-Tum left, dear.

ED: We got a child now, everything’s changed!

HI: Well Nathan Jr. accepts me for what I am and I

think you better had, too. You know, honey, I’m okay

you’re okay? That-there’s what it is.

ED: I know, but honey-

HI: See I come from a long line of frontiersmen and-

here it is, turn here dear-frontiersmen and outdoor

types.

Hi’s eyes are fixed on something in the road ahead.

ED: I’m not gonna live this way, Hi. It just ain’t family

life!

Hi’s attention is still on the road. He is opening his door,

even though the car is still racing along. He absently

concedes:

HI: Well … It ain’t Ozzie and Harriet.

LOW ANGLE THE STREET

In the extreme foreground sits the first carton of Huggies that

Hi dropped in the middle of the road. The car is approaching.

As the car passes the carton, Hi’s hand reaches from the

passenger door and snags it.

REVERSE

As Hi pulls the carton in and slams his door shut. Crane up

on the car speeding away.

TRAILER LIVING ROOM

AS ED bursts in the front door, holding NATHAN JR.

ED: You two are leaving.

ON GALE AND EVELLE

They look up, dumbstruck and mortified, from the sofa where

the have been watching TV.

ED: Tomorrow morning. Now I got nothing against

you personally …

GALE and EVELLE look appealingly toward Hi, who shifts

uncomfortably behind ED.

ED: … but you’re wanted by the authorities and

you’re a bad influence in this household, in my opinion.

GALE: Well ma’am … we sure didn’t mean to

influence anyone.

EVELLE: And if we did, we apologize.

ED is unmoved.

ED: I’m goin’ in to town tomorrow to see about some

shots for the baby. When I come back you better be gone

or I’ll kick you out myself.

She storms into the bedroom and slams the door.

There is an awkward silence as GALE studies his thumb and

EVELLE stares at the ceiling. Finally EVELLE turns to Hi.

EVELLE: … What’s he need, his dip-tet?

HI: I’m awful sorry boys, but when Ed gets mad, you

know, when she gets an idea …

GALE: Well there ain’t a thing to apologize for, H. 1…

He looks at EVELLE.

… It seems pretty clear what the situation is here.

EVELLE: Yeah, I guess the Missus wants us to clear out.

GALE: Now H. I., you’ll pardon me for sayin’ so, but I

get the feelin’ that this-here …

His gesture seems to take in the trailer and the entire

domestic situation.

… ain’t exactly workin’ out.

HI: Well now Ed’s generally a real sweetheart, I-

GALE: And as per usual, I wouldn’t be surprised if the

source of the marital friction was financial.

HI: Well, matter of fact, I did lose my job today-

EVELLE: Come on Hi. you’re young, you got your

health-what do you want with a job?

GALE: But look, I’d rather light a candle than curse

your darkness. As you know, Evelle’n I never go

anywhere without a reason … and here we are in your

little domicile. We come to invite you in on a score.

EVELLE: A bank, Hi.

Hi is shaking his head.

HI: Aw boys, I don’t-

GALE: I know you’re partial to convenience stores but,

H. I., the sun don’t rise and set on the comer grocery.

EVELLE: It’s like Doc Schwartz says: You gotta have a

little ambition. Why we just heard on the news how

somebody snatched off one of the Arizona babies. Now

there’s someone thinkin’ big.

GALE: And here you are sittin’ around on your butt

playin’ house with a-don’t get me wrong, H.I., with a

fine woman-but a woman who needs the button-down

type.

HI: Well now that ain’t really any of your-

GALE: Just lookahere …

He is handing Hi a folded-up picture.

EVELLE: Picture of El Dorado, Hi.

GALE: Though the locals call it the Farmers and

Mechanics Bank of LaGrange. Looks like a hayseed bank

and, tell you the truth, it is a hayseed bank. Except the

last Friday of every financial quarter there’s more cash in

that bank than flies at a barbecue.

EVELLE: And guess what day it is tomorrow?

GALE: Ya see, H. I., it’s when the hayseeds come in to

cash their farm subsidy checks.

EVELLE: A-One information.

GALE: Got it in the joint from a guy named Lawrence

Spivey, one of Dick Nixon’s undersecretaties of

agriculture.

EVELLE: He’s in for sohcitin’ sex from a state trooper.

GALE: Ordinarily we don’t associate with that class of

person, but …

GALE chuckles.

… he was tryin’ to make brownie points with some.of

the boys.

HI: Boys, I can’t-

EVIELLE: We need someone handy with a scatter-gun to

cover the hayseeds while we get the cash.

GALE: Y’understand, H.I., if this works out it’s just the

beginning of a spree across the entire Southwest proper.

We keep goin’ tffl we can retire-or we get caught.

EVELLE: Either way we’re fixed for life.

Hi is still shaking his head.

HI: Boys, it’s a kind offer, but you’re suggesting I just

up’n leave Ed. Now that’d be pretty damn cowardly,

wouldn’t it.

GALE: Would it? Think about it, H. I. Seems to me,

stayin’ here, yain’t doin’ her any good. And y’ain’t bein’

true to your own nature.

The camera has floated in to a close shot Of Hi, staring glumly

at GALE.

TRACKING ON MOTORCYCLE NIGHT

Following it, very close, we see only its rear wheel and fender

and twin exhaust pipes, one on either side. Flame is boiling

in each exhaust pipe as the hog roars.

HIGHER TRACKING SHOT

From behind the BIKER’s head as he rides through the night.

With the sharp whipcrack effect he suddenly looks left,

searching. With a second whipcrack effect he suddenly looks

right, still searching.

He banks into a turn.

EXT TRAILER

Creeping in. Late at night. We are tracking in toward the one

window that is illuminated, with a feeble yellow light.

In voice-over, Hi is composing a letter.

VO: My dearest Edwinna. Tonight as you and Nathan

slumber, my heart is filled with anguish .

DISSOLVE THROUGH TO:

INT TRAILER

Creeping in on Hi’s hunched back, as he sits over the kitchen

table writing the letter. The yellow lamp sitting on the table

is the only light on in the trailer.

VO: … I hope that you will both understand, and

forgive me for what I have decided I must do. By the

time you read this, I will be gone.

DISSOLVE THROUGH TO:

LIVING ROOM

Creeping in on GALE and EVELLE, sprawled on the sofa and

easy chair respectively, sawing boards.

VO: … I will never be the man that you want me to

be, the husband and father that you and Nathan

deserve …

DISSOLVE THROUGH:

BACK TO Hi

Still creeping in.

VO: Maybe it’s my upbringing; maybe it’s just that my

genes got screwed up-I don’t know …

DISSOLVE THROUGH TO:

INT 7-ELEVEN

Creeping in on the pimply-faced CASHIER, sitting asleep

behind the counter, a dirty magazine lying face-down, open

on his chest.

VO: But the events of the last day have showed,

amply, that I don’t have the strength of character to raise

up a family …

We are slowly panning over to the newspaper rack, revealing

tomorrow’s headline: WHERE IS NATHAN JR.?

… in the manner befitting a responsible adult, and

not like the wild man from Borneo.

DISSOLVE THROUGH TO:

ARIZONA HOME

Creeping in on NATHAN SR. in the living room, asleep in his

ottoman armchair, lit only by the snow from the TV set he is

facing, a half-full glass of milk on the coffee table next to him.

His robe is disheveled; his eyeglasses have slid down his

nose.

VO: . . . I say all this to my shame.

DISSOLVE THROUGH TO:

TRAILER BEDROOM

Creeping in on ED and NATHAN IR., asleep together in the

double bed. ED’s arm is draped protectively over the sleeping

infant.

VO: . . . I will love you always, truly and deeply. But I

fear that if I stay I would only bring bad trouble . . .

We start to hear the rumble of the motorcycle mix up again.

… on the heads of you and Nathan Jr.

DISSOLVE THROUGH TO:

BLACKNESS

Night sky. The motorcycle tire enters frame as the bike comes

to a halt. The BIKER plants a jackbooted foot in the

foreground.

The engine rumbles.

VO: I feel the thunder gathering even now; if I leave,

hopefully, it will leave with me.

We are craning up over the BIKER’s back to reveal what he is

looking at: We are on a bluff overlooking the trailer park. In

the window of one trailer below, a yellow light glows.

I cannot tarry …

DISSOLVE THROUGH:

BACK TO HI

Still creeping in.

VO: Better I should go, send you money, and let you

curse my name. Your loving … Herbert.

FADE OUT

FIRE

Roaring at the cut. Through it we can see the BIKER sitting

on the ground, legs stretched out in front of him, back resting

against his parked motorcycle, arms folded across his chest.

Perfectly motionless, he stares at the campfire.

We are floating in toward him.

As we come closer, eventually drawing in to a close shot of

his face, we gradually realize something peculiar about his

eyes: He seems to have none. Although his eyes are

unblinkingly open we do not see eyeballs, but only fire-

either a reflection of the campfire or something roaring-

burning-inside.

CLOSE SHOT DOOR MAT

It reads: “Come On In! To Unpainted Arizona.”

The smoking butt of a cheroot is dropped onto the mat. A

jackbooted foot grinds it out.

CLOSE SHOT BAR ON GLASS DOOR

Leading into the showroom. The BIKER’S mail-and-chained

fist pushes the door open.

LOW WIDE TRACKING SHOT

Behind the jackboots as they stroll through a showroom of

unpainted furniture and bathroom fixtures.

TRACKING ON THE MAILED HAND

Swinging as he walks, the BIKER’s hand produces a fresh

cheroot from no apparent source-either sleight-of-hand or

magic.

THE OTHER HAND

Similarly producing a long wooden match.

DISCOLORED TEETH

Biting down on the cigar.

HAND

Dragging the kitchen match along the unfinished wood

surface of an expensive bureau, leaving an ugly black scar.

The match erupts into roaring flame.

CIGAR

Crackling as it is lit.

DOOR

Reading “Executive Offices. ” The mailed fist pushes it open.

PEBBLED GLASS DOOR

From the inside of the office. The name on the pebbled glass is

a backwards NATHAN ARIZONA.

There is the shadow of a man approaching the door, and

muffled voices.

SECRETARY’S VOICE: I’m sorry, Mr. Arizona, he just

barged in …

The door swings open and NATHAN stands looking in, his

middle-aged secretary hanging at his elbow.

. . .Should I call Dewayne?

NATHAN is staring toward his desk.

NATHAN: Hell no, why wake the security guard. I’ll

take care a this.

The secretary leaves.

NATHAN’S POV

The BIKER Sits with his back to us, jackboots propped lazily on

the desk.

His head bobs and ducks, as if he is following some

movement in the air in front of him.

BACK TO NATHAN

Eyes on the BIKER he slams the door shut behind him, looking

for some reaction.

BIKER

No reaction. His head continues to bob and duck.

BACK TO NATHAN

Circling the BIKER as he crosses to sit behind his desk.

HIS POV

Arcing around to reveal the BIKER’S face. He still does not

react to NATHAN, not even bothering to give him a glance.

His eyes continue to follow some phantom movement.

When the BIKER speaks it is still without looking at

NATHAN, and with a surprisingly soft voice and mild,

unhurried manner:

BIKER: You got flies.

He finally looks at NATHAN, and smiles faintly.

NATHAN: I doubt it. This place’s climate-controlled, all

the windows are sealed. Who the hell are you?

BIKER: Name of Leonard Smalls. My friends call me

Lenny . . .

He takes a drag on his cigar.

. . .Only I ain’t got no friends.

NATHAN: Stop, you’ll make me bust out crying. Listen

Leonard, you want some furniture or a shitbox, they’re

out on the sales floor.

SMALLS is pleasantly shaking his head.

SMALLS: Nooo, I ain’t a customer, I’m a manhunter.

Ordinarily. Though I do hunt babies, on occasion. Hear

you got one you can’t put your hand to.

NATHAN: What do you know about it?

SMALLS: Wal, that’s my business. I’m a tracker-part

Hopi Indian, some say part hound dog. When some dink

skips bafl, crushes outta the joint, I’m the man they call.

NATHAN: Mister, I got the cops, the state troopers and

the Federal-B-I already lookin’ for my boy. Now if you

got information I strongly advise-

SMALLS: Cop won’t find your boy. Cop couldn’t find

his own butt if it had a bell on it. Wanna find an outlaw,

call an outlaw. Wanna find a Dunkin Donuts, call a cop.

NATHAN: Smalls, first off, take your damn feet off

m’furniture. Second off, it’s widely known I posted a

twenty grand reward for my boy. If you can find him,

claim it. Short of that what do we got to talk about?

SMALLS: Price. Fair price. And that ain’t whatever you

say it is; fair price is what the market’fl bear. Now there

are people, mind you, there are people in this land,

who’ll pay a lot more’n twenty grand for a healthy baby.

NATHAN is looking at him stonily.

NATHAN: What’re you after?

SMALLS: Give you an idea, when I was a lad I m’self

fetched twenty-five thousand on the black market. And

them’s 1954 dollars. I’m sayin, fair price. For fifty grand

I’ll track him, find him-

Quick as a flash the heretofore languid SMALLs bolts forward,

his fist stopped an inch short Of NATHAN’S nose.

EXTREME CLOSE SHOT SMALLS’ FINGERS

His index finger and thumb are pinched together-holding

the leg of a struggling fly that he has just plucked from the

air.

SMALLS: … and the people that took him . . .

He flicks the fly away.

… I’ll kick their butts.

He sits back down.

. . .No extra charge.

NATHAN stares grimly at SMALLS.

NATHAN: And if I don’t pay?

SMALLS: Oh I’ll get your boy regardless. Cause if you

don’t pay, the market will.

NATHAN: You wanna know what I think? I think

you’re an evil man. I think this is nothin’ but a goddamn

screw job. I think it’s a shakedown. I think you’re the

one took Nathan Jr. and my fine friend, I think you’re the

one gonna get his butt kicked …

NATHAN swivels to punch numbers on a telephone.

… I think I’m on the phone to the cops right now,

and I-

He swivels back, looking up, and his speech stops short.

HIS POV

The office is empty. A whipcrack effect builds to the cut and:

CLOSE ON HI

His eyes snap open as the whipcrack echoes away.

He has been slumped over the kitchen table, asleep.

GALE (OS): Up and attem, H. I. Today is the first day of

the rest of your fife …

EVELLE (OS): . . . and already you’re fuckin’ it up.

Hi looks up.

GALE and EVELLE are smiling down at him.

EVELLE: Come on, the missus’ll be back from town

soon.

Hi takes the envelope that he was slumped over, TO ED

written on its face. As he sticks it to the refrigerator door

with a broccoli magnet:

HI: Where’s the baby?

EVELLE: Bedroom, in his crib.

GALE: He’s sawin’ toothpicks, he’ll be fine.

There is a harsh knock at the door. All three tense.

… You expectin’ anybody?

Hi is staring. The knock comes again.

HI: No. You two stay outta sight.

He goes to the door, pulls back its shade and peeks out. Under

his breath:

HI: Shit.

He opens the door.

EXT TRAILER

It is GLEN. He backs nervously down to the foot of the stoop

as Hi stands in the half open doorway. GLEN comes to rest a

few feet away from the stoop.

He is wearing a neckbrace. The bridge of his eyeglasses is

taped together. Cotton wadding is stuffed up his nose, which

is darkly discolored. He holds a rolled up newspaper.

His station wagon is parked behind him, idling.

HI: Morning Glen.

GLEN speaks in a very nasal voice:

GLEN: I ain’t comin’ in if ya don’t mind. I’ll just keep

my distance.

HI: I didn’t invite you in, Glen.

GLEN: Well don’t even bother. First off, you’re fired-

and that’s official.

HI: I kinda figured that, Glen.

GLEN: Well that ain’t why I’m here neither. No sir.

You’re in a whole shitload of trouble, my friend.

Hi is looking at him evenly.

HI: Why don’t you just calm down, Glen.

GLEN: Why don’t you make me?! Know that little baby

you got in there? Remember him? I know what his real

name is!

Hi is suddenly nervous and urgent:

HI: Wanna keep your voice down, Glen?

GLEN: I’ll pitch my voice wherever I please! His name

ain’t HI Jr.! His name ain’t Ed Jr.! But it’s junior an right!

Yes sir, it’s Nathan Jr.!

Hi takes one step down holding out a calming hand.

GLEN takes two nervous steps away and reassures himself

by resting a hand on the door of his station wagon.

… Stay away from me, McDunnough!

HI stops short. GLEN smiles.

GLEN: … Sure, you’re an awful big man when you

got somethin’ around to clobber a guy with!

HI: (softly): I ain’t a big man.

GLEN: That’s right! And now you’re at my mercy!

He spits on the dirt in front of him.

… I’m your worst nightmare! I wanted to just turn

you in for the re-ward. But Dot, she wants something to

cuddle. So it looks like that baby’s gonna be Glen Jr. from

now on!

Hi’s face is set in rigid dismay.

… I’ll give you a day to break the news to Ed …

GLEN is getting into his car.

… Dot’ll be by tomorrow to pick him up.

He slams the door.

… It’s either that or jail. Oh and say, that reminds

me! You’ll find a doctor bill in the mail in a few days. I

recommend you pay it!

And the car squeals off.

Hi looks back at the trailer.

HIS POV

A slat in the window blind drops back into place.

BACK TO Hi

He opens the door.

INT TRAILER

EVELLE is already emerging from the bedroom with the baby

in his arms.

Hi moves toward EVELLE. His teeth are set; he means

business.

HI: What’s goin’ on here.

GALE Steps in front of Hi.

GALE: You know what’s goin’ on, H.I. It’s just

business. Now this can go either hard or easy-

Hi gives GALE a hard push to get past him. GALE staggers

back but recovers and grabs Hi in a bear hug.

HI flips GALE. GALE lands on a coffee table which flips up

and crashes back down.

EVELLE is dancing back out of Hi’s reach. As Hi lunges for

him the prostrate GALE grabs his legs.

Hi goes down hard.

GALE leaps to his feet and-CRASH-bangs his head up

against an overhanging lamp. Both of his hands fly up to

massage the top of his head.

THOOMP-Hi’s fist flies into frame to connect with

GALE’S unguarded stomach. GALE doubles over, clutching at

his gut.

Hi interlaces his fingers to make a club of his two hands.

With GALE’s bowed head a target in front of him, Hi swings

his hands up over his head.

Hi’s knuckles scrape painfully against the plaster of the too-

low ceiling. Skin is flayed, plaster crumbles.

Hi grabs at his knuckles in pain. GALE lunges with a mid-

body tackle that sends Hi crashing into the wall.

GALE, still on top of him, reaches back to throw a punch.

The reach-back sends his elbow crashing through a window

but doesn’t stop the punch.

It connects with Hi’s jaw.

GALE throws another quick punch, all his weight behind it.

Hi’s head bobs sideways just in time and GALE’S fist goes

through the wall. It is momentarily stuck there.

Hi uses the opportunity to grab GALE’S one free arm with

both of his. He is twisting it to make GALE, roaring with

pain, twist around and present his back to him.

Hi climbs aboard, grabbing GALE’S face.

GALE, still roaring, is pulling his fist out of the hole. He

grabs a lath exposed by the hole and pulls; it tears out of the

wall and snaps free, giving him a length of about two feet.

GALE is rampaging around like a.Qrizzlil bear hemmed in a

too-small space. Hi is hanging on for dear life, his own feet

flailing this way and that, knocking over lamps and wall

fixtures as GALE bends and twirls about, trying to shake him

loose. GALE crashes and bounces off the walls, roaring in pain

and fury.

Close shots Of GALE’S face show his features impossibly and

grotesquely contorted by Hi’s hand, squeezing, gripping and

clutching at it.

EVELLE is dancing around with the baby, dodging crashing

furniture and flailing body parts.

EXT WIDE SHOT THE TRAILER

At the cut GALE’s roaring drops out. We hear the chirping of

birds and the laughter of children playing in the

neighborhood.

It is a sunny day.

BACK TO INT TRAILER

GALE still roars. With a last mighty effort, he finally swings

Hi off his body.

Hi crashes against a wall and through it to land in the:

BATHROOM

Amid a shower of plaster dust and lath. Hi has landed,

groggily, against the toilet.

EVELLE enters now with his hands free, apparently having

set the baby down somewhere.

He yanks the cord off the bathroom blinds.

LIVING ROOM

Hi is seated in a straight-back chair, still violently struggling

but GALE’s arms are wrapped around him from behind.

EVELLE is just finishing tying off his wrists behind the chair.

No one talks; there is nothing left to say.

Finished, GALE goes to the door and EVELLE goes to the

bedroom. He emerges with the baby and precedes GALE Out

the door, GALE slamming it behind him.

Hi starts bucking and struggling, weeping tears of rage and

frustration. He succeeds only in tipping forzvard, face down

into the carpet, the strapped-on chair pressing down on top of

him.

His profile is pressed into the carpet.

Offscreen we hear the door of the trailer opening.

HI’S POV

At carpet level. GALE’S shoes enter his field of vision. They

stride over to a mess of debris in the corner of the living

room.

OBJECTIVE SHOT

As GALE paws through the wreckage to expose the copy of Dr.

Spock’s Baby and Child Care. He grabs the book.

HI’S POV

The feet walk away and leave his field of vision.

CLOSE ON HI

As we hear the door slam shut with horrible finality.

Hi’s mouth stretches wide. He ROARS with grief and

frustration.

WIDE SHOT

Moving down the road toward an oncoming car. As the

oncoming car gets closer we can see GALE and EVELLE in its

front seat.

As the car passes we pan with it, to reveal that we have

been shooting from the inside of another car, and we hold on

the profile of its driver: ED. She has just watched the other car

shoot past.

ED: … Good.

QUICK FADE OUT

INT DEVASTATED TRAILER

AS ED sits heavily into frame, apparently in shock, her frozen

profile to the camera as she stares straight ahead into space.

Her foreground hand absently holds a length of cord.

Beyond her in the middle background Hi is rummaging in

the debris. He stands up, cropped from the chest down and

starts loading bullets into the chamber Of ED’S .38 police

special.

HI (frantically): I know you’re worried honey but

believe me, there ain’t a thing to worry about. We’re

gonna get him back, there just ain’t no

question about that …

He snaps the chamber shut and leaves frame, still talking.

… We’ll get him back, that’s just all there is to it. And

you wanna know another thing?

He is walking back into frame holding another handgun now

in addition to the .38, this one an automatic.

… I’m gonna be a better person from here on out.

And that’s final, I mean that’s absolutely the way it’s

gonna be, that’s official. You were right and I was

wrong …

He snaps a clip into the automatic.

HI: … A blind man could tell you that. Now they

ain’t gonna hurt him, they’re just in it for the score …

Hi is leaving frame again, continuing to talk as we hear him

rummaging offscreen.

… But I ain’t like that no more, I’m a changed man.

You were right and I was wrong. We got a family here

and I’m gonna start acting responsibly …

Hi enters frame with the two handguns stuck in his belt,

holding his pump-action shotgun.

… So let’s go honey …

He primes the shotgun: WHOOSH-CLACK.

… Let’s go get Nathan Jr.

TRACKING SHOT

From the front bumper of an automobile. Beautiful desert

stretches to the horizon. The road rushes under the camera.

GALE AND EVELLE’S CAR

GALE drives, gazing out at the road. EVELLE holds NATHAN

J.R., occasionally bouncing him. Contemplatively:

GALE: I luuuuv to drive.

EVELLE: You said somethin’ there, partner.

GALE: … Yessir, I figure with the ransom and this

bank, you’n I’ll be sittin’ in the fabled catbird seat.

EVELLE is looking down at the baby, shifting him in his lap.

EVELLE: Uh, Gale. . . Junior had a, uh, accident.

GALE: What’s that, pardner?

EVELLE: He had a little accident.

GALE looks over.

GALE: Wuddya mean, he looks okay.

EVELLE: No, ya see … Movin’ though we are, he just

had hisself a rest stop.

GALE: Well it’s perfectly natural.

EVELLE (very excited): Hey Gale!

GALE: What now?

EVELLE, beaming, looks up from the baby to GALE.

EVELLE: … He smiled at me!

THE SUN

A huge rumbling rippling red ball that fills the frame.

As we hear his footfalls on concrete steps, SMALLS rises

into frame, apparently climbing a stoop. The sun behind him

throws him into silhouette; the extreme telephoto flattens him

against the sun. Heat waves ripple between us and him,

making his figure slightly waver.

The rumble builds, louder and louder, until it is snapped

off by a-

INT TRAILER

-CLICK. The front door handle clicks open and SMALLS

stands in the doorway. The abandoned trailer is perfectly

quiet.

The room is a complete shambles from the fight. Sunlight

filters in between the slats of the venetian blinds. Smoke from

LENNY SMALLS’ cheroot ripples up through the light.

After only a momentary pause at the door to take in the

scene, SMALLS goes directly to a specific spot in the debris and

nudges some of it aside with his toe, exposing a piece of

paper.

He bends down to pick it up but suddenly freezes, with a

soft grunt of surprise.

HIS POV

At knee-height on the wall in front of him, “FART” is

scrawled in crayon.

BACK TO SMALLS

As he stands up with the piece of paper.

THE PAPER

It is GALE’S picture of the Farmers and Mechanics Bank.

INT CONVENIENCE STORE

Close on a carton of diapers being set down on the check-out

counter.

EVELLE (os): Know how you put these thangs on?

WIDER

EVELLE and the CASHIER, a late-middle-aged man (perhaps

the proprietor of this small mom-and-pop store) face each

other across the check-out counter. EVELLE has various baby

purchases-the diapers, baby food, etc.-piled on the

counter. The CASHIER is ringing them up.

Through the open door beyond them we can see a strip of

the parking lot.

CASHIER: Welp. Around the butt, then up over the

groin area-

EVELLE: I know where they go, old timer. I mean do I

need pins or fasteners?

We see GALE trotting past through the visible part of the

parking lot, cooing “Weeeeee!” as he holds NATHAN JR. Up

over his head.

CASHIER: Well no, they got those tape-ettes already on

there, it’s self-contained and fairly explanatory.

EVELLE: Uh-huh . . .

He takes a plastic-covered squirt gun off a display rack and

drops it on the counter. He is looking around at the other

impulse purchases displayed by the register; he unhooks a bag

of balloons.

. . .These blow up into funny shapes at all?

GALE is trotting by in the opposite direction: “Weeeeee!”

CASHIER: Well no. Unless round is funny.

EVELLE is pulling a gun out of his belt.

EVELLE: All right, I’ll take these too. Now you lie down

back there-

CASHIER: Yessir!

EVELLE: -and don’t you move till you’ve counted up

to eight hundred and twenty-five and then backwards

down to zero. I’ll be back to check-see y’ain’t cheatin’.

The CASHIER is already down on the floor, out of frame.

CASHIER (OS): You the diaper burglar?

As he heads for the door with the groceries:

EVELLE: Looks like I’m one of ’em.

EXT STORE

AS EVELLE hurriedly emerges with the two bags. Faintly we

can hear the CASHIER bellowing: “One one thousand, two one

thousand . . . ”

EVELLE: Get the door, will ya?

GALE is slipping the baby back into his car seat, which sits on

the roof of the car. He starts doing up the straps.

GALE: He’s a real cheerful little critter once he warms

up to ya.

Hands free now, GALE reaches for the back door.

EVELLE: Hurry up Gale …

GALE has the door open. EVELLE starts throwing in the

groceries.

I don’t know how high this one can count.

GALE AND EVELLE’S CAR

GALE drives as EVELLE sorts through his purchases.

EVELLE: Got him some baby grub … baby wipes . . .

diapers, disposable … packet of balloons-

GALE: They blow up into funny shapes at all?

EVELLE: No, just-

GALE is looking around, puzzled.

GALE: Say, where’s Junior?

EVELLE: Wuddya mean, didn’t you put him in?!

GALE: No, I thought-

The two men look at each other.

REVERSE

The two men’s heads whip around to look in the back seat.

BACK TO FRONT ANGLE

They look at each other in horror.

GALE: Where’d we leave hirn?!

The two men’s eyes widen as they remember at the same time:

both look up at the roof of the car.

CLOSE ON GALE’S FOOT

Coming off the accelerator.

CLOSE ON EVELLE

Screaming as he watches the foot:

EVELLE: NOOOOOO!!

-But too late.

GALE’S FOOT

Already plunging down on the brake. SQUEEEEEEEAL . . .

TWO SHOT

EVELLE is screaming at the top of his lungs as the car rocks to

a stop. He peers through the windshield, still screaming, but

nothing has shot off the roof of the car.

He cranes his neck to look up the slant of the windshield

toward the roof. This of course gives him no view; still

screaming, he thrusts his body out his open window to look

up at the roof. His scream is muted as his head disappears

from view, then comes back full force as he ducks back in,

frantically shaking his head.

With this GALE’S last hope disappears and he starts

bellowing also.

GALE’S FOOT

Rising from the brake to plunge down on the accelerator.

EXT THE CAR

As it hangs a squealing U-turn and races off at top speed.

LOW WIDE SHOT

In the foreground NATHAN JR. sits upright in his car seat, in

the middle of the road that fronts the convenience store. He is

placidly looking at the scenery.

Faintly, we hear the CASHIER bellowing:

CASHIER: … Seven hunnert ninety-seven one

thousand, seven hunnert ninety-six one thousand . . .

GALE AND EVELLE

In their speeding car, both staring out at the road ahead,

mouths gaping, emitting ear-splitting screams.

INT STORE

Shot faces the front of the store with some of the street visible

outside. The CASHIER on the floor is out of frame, but we can

hear him loud and clear:

CASHIER: … Seven hunnert ninety-one one thousand,

seven hunnert-ah . . . bullshit.

He rises into frame, back to the camera, just as:

We see GALE and EVELLE’S car, through the front window,

roaring up the street. Quick as a shot, the CASHIER has

dropped back out of frame and resumes bellowing:

. . .Seven hunnert ninety-ought one thousand! Seven

hundred eighty-

The car is starting to squeal to a screaming halt.

BACK TO LOW WIDE SHOT

With NATHAN JR. in the foreground. GALE and EVELLE’S car

comes to a rocking halt behind-and inches shy of-the baby.

EVELLE’s door is already open. He bolts from it and runs

over to the baby, blubbering. He picks up the car seat and

NATHAN JR.

GALE is also getting out of the car.

EVELLE: Promise we ain’t never gonna give him up,

Gale! We ain’t never gonna let him go!

GALE, choked up, speaks in a low unsteady voice:

GALE: We’ll never give him up, EveRe. He’s our little

Gale Jr. now.

Hi AND ED”S CAR

Hi driving. Both are staring wordlessly ahead at the road.

Hi looks over at ED, glum but trying to be kind.

HI: … Ed, I realize I can’t be much of a comfort to

you. But lemme just say this …

He is nodding to himself.

… You’ll feel a whole lot better when-

ED: I don’t wanna feel better.

HI: Honey-

ED: I don’t care about myself anymore. I don’t care

about us anymore. I just want Nathan junior back safe.

HI: I know that-

ED: If we don’t get him back safe, I don’t wanna go on

hvin’. And even if we do, I don’t wanna go on hvin’ with

you.

This shuts Hi up.

After a moment:

ED: … I guess I still love you Hi; I know I do. I ain’t

even blaming you. The whole thing was crazy and the

whole thing was my idea.

Hi clears his throat.

HI: Well, factually, I myself bear a very large-

ED: Lemme finish. Since those jailbirds took little

Nathan I been doin’ some thinking, and I ain’t too proud

of myself. Even if Mrs. Arizona had more’n she could

handle, I was a police officer sworn to uphold the

Constitution of the United States-

HI: Now waitaminute honey, you resigned before

we-

ED: That ain’t the point, M. We don’t deserve Nathan

Jr. Any more’n those jailbirds do. And if I’m as selfish

and irresponsible as you-

HI: Y’ain’t that bad, honey.

ED: -If I’m as bad as you, what good’re we to each

other. You’n me’s just a fool’s paradise.

FARMERS AND MECHANICS BANK

Baking in the noonday sun.

GALE AND EVELLE

Sitting in the front seat of their idling car, looking at the

bank.

EVELLE: There she is.

GALE: Yep. Welp …

They look at each other. GALE reaches for his door.

… Let’s do her.

EVELLE: Waitaminute. What do we do with Gale Jr.?

GALE: Wuddya mean, he waits here.

EVELLE: Are you crazy?! He can’t wait here by hisself.

Supposin’ we get killed in there-it could be hours

before he’s discovered.

INT FARMERS AND MECHANICS BANK

AS GALE and EVELLE bang in through the door. EVELLE holds

a shotgun; GALE holds a shotgun in one hand and NATHAN

JR. in his car seat in the other.

GALE: All right you hayseeds, it’s a stick-up! Everbody

freeze! Everbody down on the ground!

Everyone freezes, staring at GALE and EVELLE. An OLD

HAYSEED with his hands in the air speaks up:

HAYSEED: Well which is it young fella? You want I

should freeze or get down on the ground? Mean to say,

iffen I freeze, I can’t rightly drop. And iffen I drop, I’m a

gonna be in motion. Ya see-

GALE: SHUTUP!

Promptly:

HAYSEED: Yessir.

GALE: Everone down on the ground!

EVELLE: Y’all can just forget that part about freezin’.

GALE: That is until they get down there.

EVELLE: Y’all hear that?

There is a murmur of acknowledgment from all the people on

the ground.

GALE is tossing EVELLE a sack.

GALE: Wanna fill that sack, pardner? We got-shit!

He, is looking in shock at the tellers’ counter.

… Where’d all the tellers go?

There is no one behind the counter.

A muffled voice from offscreen:

VOICE: We’re down here, sir.

EVELLE: They’re down on the ground like you

commanded, Gale.

GALE: I told you not to use m’damn name! Can’t you

even try to keep from forget’ that?!

EVELLE is momentarily abashed, but then brightens:

EVELLE: Not even yer code name?

GALE registers understanding.

GALE: Oh yeah … m’code name.

EVELLE: Y’all hear that?

There is a murmur of acknowledgment from all the people on

the ground.

GALE: All right now everone, we’re just about ready to

begin the robbery proper …

EXT POLICE CAR

The camera is locked down on the roof of the rocketing squad

car, looking past its flashing gumballs.

The car is approaching the townlet, its siren wailing.

BACK TO THE BANK

A teller is finishing stuffing the last of two burlap bags. Close

on her hands, we see her putting in a cash packet that is

really only a few bills and a sleeve surrounding and hiding a

small plastic device.

The teller hits a button on the device and it starts ticking;

she shoves it into the sack.

EVELLE: All right now everone, you know how this

works: Y’all stay flattened for ten full minutes …

He is grabbing the two sacks and tosses one to GALE, who also

picks up the baby. As the two are backing toward the door:

… We might come back in five to check. That’s for us

to know and y’aU to find out.

GALE: Anyone found bipedal in five wears his ass for a

hat.

They bolt out the door.

EXT POLICECAR

Siren jumps in loud at the cut. It is the same locked-down

shot over the gumballs.

EXT GALE AND EVELLE”S CAR

Peeling out from in front of the bank.

INT GALE AND EVELLE’S CAR

GALE is driving; EVELLE starts pawing through one of the

sacks.

GALE: That old timer threw off my concentration.

Otherwise it would a gone smoother.

EVELLE: We done okay. Yessir. This ought to split

nicely three ways.

A thought registers with GALE and EVELLE at the same

moment.

They look at each other. They both twist frantically to look

in the back seat.

Bellowing:

GALE: Goddamnit! Ya never leave a man behind!

KA-POP! With a loud flat crack something detonates in the

front seat and the interior of the car is spattered with bright

blue paint.

GALE and EVELLE, both covered in blue, are screaming in

rage, fear and incomprehension. Blue dollar bills snap and

flutter around the inside of the car.

The car is swerving wildly as GALE drives blind, the inside

of the windshield covered with blue paint. He reaches forward

to wipe clear a patch of windshield.

HIS POV

As the blue paint is smeared away we see Hi and ED’S car

parked broadside in the middle of the road. Hi and ED are in

front of it, Hi aiming his scatter gun, ED ha revolver.

The guns spit orange flame.

HI’S POV

Down the barrel of his shotgun. The car with the blue interior

is swerving crazily at us, one front tire blown out.

Hi lets go with the other barrel.

The shot chews up the front grill, shatters one headlight

and blows out the other front tire. The hood of the car flies

open.

The car is squealing to a halt and GALE and EVELLE pile

out, still bellowing.

GALE: Goddamnit H.I., ain’t we got enough to contend

with?

ED is running over to GALE and EVELLE’S car, throwing open

the back door to look for the baby but coming out only with

Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care.

EVELLE is staggering around in shock, looking in disbelief

at his own blue body.

ED: Where’s the baby?

EVELLE points this way and that, in a state of confusion.

EVELLE: I think we left him on the roof of the . . . he

must be back at the . . .

Hi and ED are climbing into their car.

GALE: Let us come with! . . .

Hi and ED are already peeling out.

. . .He’s our baby too!

CLOSE ON NATHAN JR.

Sitting placidly in his car seat that sits in the middle of the

road in front of the bank.

We can hear the wail of the police siren still approaching.

As we hold on NATHAN JR. we hear the distant booming of a

shotgun.

As we boom up to show the empty street beyond the baby,

we hear the crack of return fire and furiously squealing

brakes. The screech culminates in a loud explosion that snaps

off the siren wail. The police car is apparently history.’

From beyond the crest of the road ahead a ball of flame has

leapt up with the explosion. As the explosion echoes and fades

we hear the deep rumble of an approaching engine.

LENNY SMALLS’ motorcycle appears over the rise. Framed

against fire and smoke, he is coming directly toward us, and

the baby.

FROM BEHIND Hi AND ED

As they top a rise coming from the other direction. We see the

baby sitting in the middle of the street, and LENNY fast

approaching from the background.

LOCKED DOWN TO MOTORCYCLE

The extremely low wide shot, locked down to the speeding

bike, shows us rushing toward the rear Of NATHAN IR.’s car

seat.

With a clank of chains LENNY’s hand drops down into

frame, palm for7vard, tensing to scoop up the car seat that we

are almost upon.

A tattoo on LENNYS wrist reads “No Prisoners.”

REVERSE

Low shot with NATHAN JR. in the foreground.

He is scooped up and out of frame as LENNY roars by.

ON LENNY

Roaring along. He hooks the car seat over his handlebars.

OVER Hi AND ED’S SHOULDERS

LENNY is approaching. Under her breath:

ED: What is he?

HI: … D’you see him too?

LENNY is sawing a shotgun out of his back holster and

leveling it at the oncoming car.

LENNY is sighting down the gun, swinging it around as he

approaches the car.

Hi and ED duck just as:

The shotgun spits orange flame and the windshield

explodes in.

LENNY roars by.

LENNY’S POV

The baby on the handlebars in the foreground; the road

rushing by beyond him.

The bike banks into a hard turn.

FACING Hl AND ED

Shooting through where the windshield used to be, cutting in

at the end of the skid as the car rocks to a halt.

Hi and ED are raising their heads. Facing forward, they do

not see LENNY approaching again through the rear window.

He is sawing out his second shotgun.

Hi looks around, reaches and PUIIS ED down beneath him

just as:

Ka-BOOM!-The second shotgun roars and the back

window spits in.

AS LENNY roars past the back window he casually flips

something in.

LOOKING DOWN AT Hi AND ED

Folded over in the front seat. Below them something bounces

into and around the leg well-LENNY’S grenade.

EXT CAR

As the two front doors fly open and Hi and ED Spill OUT-HI

from the driver’s side, heading for the far side of the road, and

ED from the passenger side.

ON ED

As she dives for cover behind a parked car. Beyond her-

KABOOM!-their car explodes and bounces, pouring black

smoke.

ON Hi

The explosion flings him to the ground in the middle of the

street.

THROUGH FIRE AND SMOKE

Looking up the street to where LENNY is wheeling his bike in

a U-turn. He is not finished yet.

Hi flat on his back, woozily shaking his head.

He weakly raises himself on his elbows to look down the

street.

HI’S POV

Looking down the length of his own body. His legs stretch

away in a V.

Crashing down from a wheelie, LENNY’s roaring bike is

almost upon him-aiming up the middle of the V.

Hi

He rolls. As the bike is roaring by:

HI’S HAND

Reaches and snags a chain on LENNY’S passing boot.

Hi

Dragged several yards before the boot shakes him off, leaving

him on his stomach in the middle of the road.

Hi looks up the road.

HI’S POV

LENNY is again sluing the bike around.

REAR WHEEL OF BIKE

Smoking as it skids around in the foreground, completing its

turn.

Boom Up LENNY’s back to reveal ED stomping straight up

the street toward him-unarmed, unafraid.

ED: I want that baby!

BACK TO Hi

He reaches back to pull up his shirt, revealing a gun tucked in

his pants in the small of his back. He grabs the gun.

OVER LENNY’S SHOULDER

AS ED closes in.

ED: Gimme that baby, you warthog from hell!

LENNY’s arms rise into frame. With a roll of his wrists two

knives appear in his hands.

BACK TO Hi

On his stomach, sighting down the gun toward LENNY.

HIS POV

ED stepping into his line of fire, blocking LENNY.

FROM BEHIND LENNY

Raising an arm to stab.

ED Stoops to scoop the baby from the car seat, revealing:

Hi, behind her. He fires.

LENNY”S NAND

Drilled by Hi’s bullet, drops its knife.

The exit wound spurts, not flesh and blood, but a brief jet

of fire.

LENNY

Quick as a flash hurling the other knife at Hi.

HI

As the knife stings the gun out of his hand.

KNIFE ON THE GROUND AT LENNY’S FEET

LENNY bends to scoop up the knife he dropped.

TRACKING BEHIND ED

As she runs toward the bank, clutching NATHAN IR. to her

chest.

INT BANK

AS ED bursts in. The floor is littered with obedient hayseeds.

From where he lies prone:

OLD TIMER: just lie down on the floor, missie.

BANG: The front door bursts open before LENNY’s roaring

hog.

It sails off a step into the sunken atrium, and lands with a

CRASH amidst the hayseeds.

TRACKING BEHIND ED

As she runs for the back door and pushes through it.

TRACKING BEHIND LENNY

As he slaloms through the wildly scattering hayseeds.

EXT BACK OF BANK

AS LENNY bursts out.

With a whipcrack effect he looks left, then right.

He jerks the bike right, to where an alleyway flanks the side

of the bank.

ALLEYWAY

ED is running up the alley toward the front of the bank as

LENNY enters. He roars after her.

LENNY’S POV

Roaring down the alley.

TRACKING IN FRONT OF ED

As the bike approaches behind her.

BACK TO LENNY’S POV

Closing on ED as she reaches the mouth of the alley.

A plank swings into frame, straight at the camera.

REVERSE

Matching action as HI finishes swinging the plank into

LENNY’S face.

LENNY hits the ground hard as his bike spins out from

under him.

THE BIKE

Riderless, twisting crazily into the street where it collapses.

HI AND ED

LENNY is rising to his feet beyond them as Hi nods

encouragement to ED.

HI: Run along now, honey.

LENNY is reaching back to throw his knife.

Hi, unaware, is turning to face him, presenting the plank

as-the knife is thrown.

It thunks into the plank, piercing it through.

Hi backs up, swinging the knife-studded plank to make

LENNY keep his distance.

TRACKING BEHIND LENNY’S SHOULDER

As he reaches up to unhook a chain from a ring on his vest

shoulder.

LENNY’S HAND

As the free chain drops down into his palm.

LENNY

Swinging the chain-whoosh whoosh-at the backpedaling

HI.

THE PLANK

As the chain snakes around it and rips it out of Hi’s hands.

LENNY

Grabbing Hi by the shirtfront.

LENNY’S OTHER HAND

Swings down and brass knuckles appear on it.

ON HI

AS LENNY’S fist swings into frame to club him forehand, then

backhand.

An uppercut from his heels sends Hi sprawling back.

A PARKED CAR

As Hi lands against it, banging his head. He sinks to the

ground.

LENNY is casually walking toward him, lighting a cheroot.

Hi flops over onto his stomach and starts wriggling under

the car.

FROM UNDER THE CAR

Hi’s face in the foreground as he desperately seeks escape.

Behind him we can see LENNY casually reaching down and

grabbing an ankle.

The shot is framed identically to the shot in the Arizona

nursery where Hi pulled a baby from under the crib.

LENNY PUllS. Hi is dragged away from the camera and out

from under the car.

Hi

Struggling to stand up.

LENNY wraps his arms around him and applies a

tremendous bear hug.

HI’S ARMS

Crushed against LENNY. His hands paw futilely at LENNY’S

chest.

FULL SHOT

LENNY finally flings Hi away.

Hi

Landing in the dust, all the fight beaten out of him.

LENNY

Tired of the fight: He saws out both shotguns

THE HANNERS

On the guns as LENNY’S thumbs draw them back. He raises

the guns to fire.

HI

The end of the road.

He wearily lifts a hand, defensively extending it in front of

him-then stops, staring at:

HI’S HAND

A hand grenade pin hangs, glinting, from one of his fingers.

Pawing at LENNY’S chest he must have hooked his finger

through its ring.

HI

Reacting.

LENNY

Reacting to Hi reacting. He looks down.

LENNY”S CHEST

On the bandoliers across his chest, silver pins glint in all the

grenades-except one. Its squeeze-lever juts at a right angle

from the grenade.

LENNY’S FACE

Hi’s jaw drops.

LENNY’S FEET

The lit cheroot hits the ground between his boots.

Hi

Scrambling to his feet.

LENNY

Trying to drop the shotguns to free his hands. In his panic

his fingers tangle in the trigger guards.

Hi

Starting to run.

LENNY

Finally freeing his hands.

Hi

Diving behind the parked car.

LENNY’S CHEST

His hands fly in to wrap around the grenade-too late-

bright light:

LENNY

Blows sky-high. There is a roar as if the earth were cracking

open and flame as if hell were slipping out.

We pan the fire to the sky.

Fade out.

A white aluminum ladder rises up into the blackness,

clanking softly. The top of the ladder arcs toward the camera.

JUMP BACK

To the interior of the Arizona second-story nursery as the

ladder comes to rest against the window frame.

It is late at night; the nursery is dark and empty.

THE HEADBOARD

Of the unpainted crib with the burned-in names: Harry,

Barry, Larry, Garry, and Nathan Jr.

As we pull back from the headboard ED’s arms are gently

depositing the sleeping NATHAN JR. into the crib. HI puts the

singed copy of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care next to

the baby.

REVERSE

Hi and ED looking sadly down at the baby.

The silence is broken by the bleat of a squeeze-me toy as the

lights are snapped on. Hi and ED turn, startled.

NURSERY DOORWAY

NATHAN SR. stands in his jammies, hair disheveled, holding a

gun and squinting against the light.

Keeping the gun trained on Hi and ED, he slowly raises a

pair of eyeglasses to his nose.

NATHAN: The hell is goin’ on?

He advances cautiously into the nursery, gesturing with his

gun.

. . .Get away from there.

Hi and ED back away from the crib.

NATHAN peers in and studies the baby for a moment.

He lays the gun down, tenderly picks up the baby and

holds him to his chest. A tear forms at the corner of his eye.

Hi and ED are quietly moving back towards the ladder.

NATHAN (sharply): Waitaminute . . .

Hi and ED Stop.

… I ain’t through with you. What’re you doin’

creepin’ around here in the dark? You in with Smalls?

HI: … Scuse me?

As he bounces the baby, studying Hi and ED:

NATHAN: Leonard Smalls, big fella rides a Harley,

dresses like a rock star?

HI: No sir, that’s who we saved him from. It’s a long

story.

NATHAN: Suppose you tell it.

HI: Well, sir, in a re-ward situation, they usually say

no questions asked.

NATHAN : Do they.

Hi shrugs.

NATHAN turns to put the baby back in the crib.

…All right, boy, I guess you got a re-ward coming.

Twenty thousand dollars …

He turns around with a thought:

NATHAN: … Or, if you need home furnishings, I can

give you a fine of credit at any of my stores. Fact, that’s

the way I’d rather handle it, for tax reasons …

HI: Well-

NATHAN throws his hands up in the air.

NATHAN: But it’s up to you.

HI: Tell you the truth, I think we’d prefer the ca-

ED: We don’t want no reward.

Hi does a small take, surprised at this much integrity.

… We didn’t bring him back for money.

NATHAN: Well, we could work it that way too.

ED: Could I just look at him a little bit more?

She stands looking into the crib. Hi steps up next to her and

puts an arm around her shoulder.

NATHAN: Be my guest, young lady … but would you

mind teflin’ me exactly how you-

ED starts crying softly as she gazes into the crib. Hi murmurs

something to comfort her.

NATHAN is studying the two of them.

… You took him, didn’t you? Wasn’t that biker a’tar.

Hi turns to face him. He speaks in a rush.

HI: I took him, sir, my wife had nothin’ to do with it. I

crept in yon window and-

ED (still crying): We both did it. We didn’t wanna hurt

him any; I just wanted to be a mama.

HI: It wasn’t for money or nothin’. We just figured you

had more’n you could handle, babywise. But I’m the one

committed the actual crime sir, if you need to call the

authorities-

NATHAN: Shutup boy, no one’s callin’ the authorities ff

there’s no harm done.

HI: Thank you sir.

ED: Thank you sir.

NATHAN: Aw bullshit. Just tell me-just tell me why

you did it.

ED: We can’t have our own.

NATHAN looks at her. Finally he nods and sighs.

NATHAN: … Well lookit. If you can’t have kids you

gotta just keep tryin’ and hope medical science catches

up with you. Like Florence’n me-it caught up with a

vengeance. And hell, even if it never does, you still got

each other.

HI: Sir, those’re kind words. But I think the wife and

me are splittin’ up …

He indicates ED with a nod of the head.

… Her point of view is we’re both kinda selfish and

unrealistic, so we ain’t too good for each other.

NATHAN: Well ma’am, I don’t know much but I do

know human bein’s. You brought back my boy so you

must have your good points too. I’d sure hate to think of

Florence leavin’ me-I do love her so …

He clears his throat and turns to the door. His tone is harder

again:

… You can go out the way you came in …

He snaps off the lights.

… And before you go off and do another foolish

thing, like busting up, I suggest you sleep on it …

He has disappeared into the hall. We hear his voice receding:

… at least one night.

HIGH SHOT

Looking straight down at Hi, asleep in the trailer bedroom.

We start to crane down.

VO: That night I had a dream …

EXTREME WIDE SHOT

A beautiful dusk landscape. We are floating in over the field,

abutting the prison, that GALE and EVELLE popped out of.

In the middle background of the extreme long shot two men

are walking across the field.

VO: . . . I dreamt I was as light as the ether, a floating

spirit visiting things to come . . .

BACK TO HIGH SHOT BEDROOM

Craning down toward Hi.

VO: The shades and shadows of the people in my fife

wrastled their way into my slumber.

BACK TO FIELD

Still floating forzvard but now much closer to the two walking

men. We see that they are GALE and EVELLE. Both are still

dyed blue.

They are approaching the hole in the ground.

VO: I dreamt that Gale and Evelle had decided to

return to prison …

EVELLE is starting to climb into the hole.

… Probably that’s just as well. I don’t mean to sound

superior, and they’re a swell couple guys, but …

EVELLE has disappeared and GALE starts climbing in.

… maybe they weren’t ready yet to come out into the

world.

FLOATING UP THE WALK OF THE ARIZONA HONE

The front door has a holly wreath on it.

VO: And then I dreamed on, into the future, to a

Christmas mom in the Arizona home …

DISSOLVE THROUGH TO:

ARIZONA LIVING ROOM

Five three-year-olds in their pyjamas are opening presents

around a tree as NATHAN and FLORENCE look on.

VO: … where Nathan Jr. was opening a present from

a kindly couple who preferred to remain unknown.

We have been isolating in on one of the children peeling the

wrappings off a package marked TO NATHAN JR.

Inside is a shiny red plastic football.

FLOATING IN TOWARD A STATION WAGON

Pulled over on the state highway in the middle of the desert, a

police motorcycle parked behind it. GLEN is leaning out the

driver’s window of the car talking to the state trooper who

stands facing him.

VO: I saw Glen, a few years later, still havin’ no luck

gettin’ the cops to listen to his wild tales about me’n

Ed …

GLEN is grinning and talking with his hands cupped in front

of him, as when he told Hi about the Pollack who almost

stepped in the pile of shit.

The trooper, in crash helmet and dark sunglasses, is

listening tight-lipped and stone-faced as GLEN finishes his

story and slaps his knee.

. . .Maybe he threw in one Pollack joke too many . . .

The trooper is clicking open his ballpoint pen and reaching his

citation book from his breast pocket. The name tag on the

pocket says “SGT. KOWALSKI.”

… I don’t know.

FLOATING IN TOWARD A FOOTBALL

It sits on a tee in the middle of a football field.

VO: And still I dreamed on …

A cleated foot boots the football out of frame.

… further into the future than I’d ever dreamed

before.

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYER

Looking up, arms out at his sides, waiting to receive the

kicked ball.

VO: … Watching Nathan Jr.’s progress from afar …

He catches the ball and starts running.

… Taking pride in his accomplishments as if he were

our own …

He is skillfully eluding and stiff-arming tacklers.

… Wondering if he ever thought of us .

He reaches the end zone and triumphantly spikes the football.

He whips off his helmet and we track in on the face of the

rosy-cheeked high-school bruiser.

… and hoping that maybe we’d broadened his

horizons a little, even if he couldn’t remember just how

they’d got broadened.

BACK TO BEDROOM

Still craning down, now very close to the sleeping Hi.

vo: But still I hadn’t dreamt nothin’ about me’n Ed.

Until the end …

DISSOLVE THROUGH TO:

A COUPLE

The man and woman are sitting on a sofa in the foreground

with their backs to the camera. They are in the living room of

Hi and ED’S trailer, which is suff-used with a warm golden

light.

As they face the trailer’s front door, all we see of the couple

is the backs of their heads. They both have white hair, the

woman’s pulled into a bun. The old man wears a cardigan,

the woman a shawl.

VO: . . . And this was cloudier ’cause it was years,

years away.

The front door bursts open. Two young couples are entering

as their kids-about a dozen of them-stream in around

them.

The old couple on the couch raise their arms to embrace

their visitors. The children boil onto the couch.

… But I saw an old couple bein’ visited by their

children-and all their grandchildren too. And the old

couple wasn’t screwed up, and neither were their kids or

their grandkids. And I don’t know, you tell me. This

whole dream, was it wishful thinking? Was I just fleein’

reality, like I know I’m liable to do?

FLOATING IN TOWARD A LONG DINING TABLE

In the trailer. The table is all laid out with a Thanksgiving

dinner, a huge turkey sitting at the far end.

Cut-out letters at the other end of the room say: WELCOME

HOME KIDS!

The grandchildren are running into frame and taking their

seats at the table, accompanied by their parents.

VO: . . . But me’n Ed, we can be good too . . .

The elderly couple enter from either side of the camera and

stand in the foreground, backs to us, facing the table.

… And it seemed real. It seemed like us. And it seemed

like well … our home . . . If not Arizona, then a

land, not too far away, where all parents are strong and

wise and capable, and all children are happy and

beloved…. I dunno, maybe it was Utah.

The elderly man drapes an arm around his wife’s shoulder

and draws her close.

She rests her head against his shoulder, and we:

Fade out.

Interview – Coen Brothers – The man who wasn’t there

Many of my fellow journalists, in meeting up with the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, come away disappointed, or even disillusioned. Considering their smart, subversive, playful films like their Raising Arizona, Fargo or The Big Lebowski, we anticipate two happily verbal guys bubbling with fascinating things to say about their movies. But their Brother Where Art Thou? press conference at Cannes in 2000 was a typical Coens’ showing: the duo smug and diffident, strangely disconnected from the Q&A. Their short-cut, frustratingly evasive answers made them appear tired of discussing their movie – although it was the world premiere!

In an interview for Moving Pictures magazine, the reporter, Damon Wise, challenged the Coens’ stand-offish attitude. The Coens were unrepentant:

Ethan: “You make the movie and journalists have to write about something… There it is. I don’t know.”

Joel: “What I think you are referring to is to the fact that we often resist the efforts of… people who are interviewing us to enlist us in that process ourselves. And we resist it not because we object to it but simply because it isn’t something that particularily interests us.”

So I was braced – braced to get nothing! – at Cannes 2001, when a gathering of American journalists interviewed the leads and, again, the Coen brothers about The Man Who Wasn’t There, their Billy Bob Thornton-starring homage to the hardboiled “noir” view of novelist James M. Cain.

First we got Thornton, an off-the-screen little guy in a Metallica t-shirt and anxious to talk… about how he adores his wife, Angelina Jolie. He leaned over the table to show the gathered fourth estate the vial of spouse-blood which hangs about his neck. “For our anniversary, she gave me her will,” he said, proudly. “She got us both burial spots in Arkansas next to my brother, who died in 1988.”

What about Thornton’s character in this movie, small-town barber, Ed Crane? “It’s this guy and the guy in A Simple Plan who are closest to myself. I feel like ‘the man who wasn’t there.’ I got my wife, my kids, my mom. I’m not interested in things outside the basement and the back yard. I always identify with John Lennon, who loved to stay home.

“I really don’t care about commerciality. God knows if anyone will see this film. But I love these guys, the Coens, and their sense of humor. I agreed to do the film when Joel told me, ‘It’s about a barber who wants to be a dry cleaner.’

“I love all the Bogart movies, and Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity. I think MacMurray is a great actor. For this movie, I didn’t try to look like Bogart. I was thinking more about Frank Sinatra. When you get into that mood, you look like those guys. In real life, we’re not in black-and-white, but somehow that feels more real in this movie, more monochromatic. You can feel people sweating in black-and-white.”

Next up was Frances McDormand, wife of director Joel Coen, Oscar winner as the cornflakes Minnesota cop, Marge, in Fargo, and acclaimed as the protective mom in Almost Famous. “Marge was the embodiment of all things an actress is supposed to be,” McDormand said, nostalgic for that once-in-a-lifetime part, “and in Almost Famous, I felt voluptuous and free, very alive and jiggly and complex.” In marked contrast, she said of her femme fatale, Doris, in The Man Who Wasn’t There, that “the role was more technical than usual, me caring that my lipstick was right, the hair was perfect. The challenge was mostly the black-and-white. The movie is about Ed Crane, not Doris.”

What about the Coen Brothers’ communicativeness? McDormand, who is straight and open, shook her head, bemused. She knows, because the vacuum that journalists feel is also present on the set. Even for McDormand, being directed by her husband, Joel. “Sometimes it’s easier getting direction from Ethan,” she confided. “He’s more direct. Since Blood Simple, it’s a huge improvement how they have dialogue with actors. Their not communicating was to the peril of certain performances.”

Are they really opening up? McDormand told us that The Man Who Wasn’t There is a more personal project than earlier Coen brothers films.

Finally, the Coens: Joel, the taller one with the longer hair, director and co-writer; Ethan, producer and co-writer.

A journalist nudged them. “Frances says this film is more personal. How is it personal?”

Ethan: “I don’t think it’s more personal or less personal. There’s nothing autobiographical.”

Joel: “It’s set in the 1940s, and that’s not personal. These are stories which take us away from first-hand experience.”

The Coens at Cannes spill all! You’ve read it here first.