"A short time ago in a gas station far, far from L.A....."
Black screen, with scattered yellow-white dots. Suddenly, something zooms by; a car. Camera pulls back to show that it's not space, but a stretch of blacktop in the middle of the desert, with pieces of garbage and paper strewn all over it; the car has scattered them. By the side of the road is a gas station. It's near sunset. It's the middle of nowhere. From a radio in the gas station can be heard a news report:
NEWS ANNOUNCER: "...and the box office leader this weekend was again the latest episode in the 'Star Wars' franchise. Meanwhile, filming is getting started on the next and final instalment of the series, featuring Hayden Christenson, Natalie Portman, Ewan Macgregor, and Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson scotched rumors that he was dissatisfied with the way he's had to play his role in the film, saying, quote, 'I've never worked with a better director than George Lucas,' and, quote, 'This will be my greatest role since "National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon" back in ninety-three.'" So here's a tune for all you Sam Jackson fans..."
Theme from "Shaft" plays.
Exterior. Night. Gas station. We're looking from the station towards the road, through the run-down pumps. A FIGURE shuffles into view, leans over one of the pumps, arms folded on top -- we see him from the back, as he looks towards the sunset. He's clad in a filthy t-shirt and ratty old pants. We hear his voice:
ATTENDANT: The shaft. Hey, I know all about getting that. (He turns away, and the camera pulls back, to silhouette him against the sunset, so that we still can't see his face. He walks dejectedly towards the road.)
ATTENDANT: I guess I'll never get out of here now. Just work here all day, then stare at the sky from dusk till dawn. (He stands dejectedly by the road.) To think I once had it all. A contract with Miramax. Dates with Mira Sorvino. And now, look at me. A mere nobody. Not even a desperado, just desperate.Oh, well. I guess it was good while it lasted, and you've got to know when it's over. (He goes and lies down in the middle of road. Or, he goes to a gas pump, takes out the nozzle, splashes gas all over himself, and takes out a lighter.) So long, world, and f....
VOICE: Wait! Stop! (The ATTENDANT looks up in surprise...which turns to amazement. Hovering over him is the shimmering holographic figure of a bearded man. [OK, so Harvey Weinstein isn't really bearded, but who knows that? This would be the role I'd really want Dale to play -- he just looks like a Harvey Weinstein, doesn't he?])
ATTENDANT: Harvey Wein -- [pronounced to sound as much like "Obi-Wan" as possible]...(gulp) -- Harvey Weinstein?
WEINSTEIN: Yes, my boy.
ATTENDANT: But...I thought you were dead.
WEINSTEIN: No, my boy. We pretty much got shut out of the Oscars, and we've had to lay off a bunch of people, but we're not yet dead.
ATTENDANT: But...what do you want with me?
WEINSTEIN: It is a dark time for the independent film industry. Big budget studio films have driven the cinematic rebels from our fan base and chased us from the multiplexy.
ATTENDANT: But what about Rob Sundancer? Wasn't he your new hope? The Kid with the shaggy blond hair?
WEINSTEIN: The base he and his followers had established on the snow planet of Park City has been infiltrated by the agents of the studio lords. Soon, they too will be forced to surrender to the overwhelming might of the star empire, and to turn out hundred million dollar special effects action thrillers with no plots or character development. Then darkness will truly fall upon the cinema.
ATTENDANT: But what can I do?
WEINSTEIN: You must confront the Dark Lord himself, before he has taken every interesting cinematic and literary idea and turned it to his dark ends, corrupting it into childish New Age pap, which makes you feel excited and full but nourishes you not at all, the visual equivalent of diet soda.
ATTENDANT: The Dark Lord? You mean --
ATTENDANT: But I used to worship him. He made great, low budget, provocative movies, like "THX-1138", or when he produced expensive ones, they were at least good, loving tributes to bygone eras of filmmaking that didn't take themselves too seriously, yet kept the humor in its place, like "Raiders of the Lost Ark". And though yeah, I could have done without the Ewoks, there is still nothing to match the first three "Star Wars" movies for people of my generation. He inspired me. I can't face him.
WEINSTEIN: Yes, he was a great filmmaker. And a good friend. But he turned to the Dark Side of Film, to easy gimmickry and recycling other people's and his own ideas, rather than expressing anything new and beautiful. His movie are more machine than human now. You too have been tempted by the Dark Side, and made stupid derivative films while you acted as if you were the greatest thing to happen to movies since the Lumiere Brothers. But you have suffered for it, and have learned your lesson. Now, you must face the Dark Lord, and win him back to the forces of light, before it is too late, for him, and for the Miramaxy.
ATTENDANT: Will you really be forced into Chapter 11?
WEINSTEIN: (suddenly conversational, no longer portentous) Well, the failure of Talk magazine really hurt, but our book publishing arm is doing pretty well. And Amelie was a big hit, for a foreign film, at least. I could shoot myself for passing on "Memento", though. But back to the Dark Lord. (back to portentousness) Will you undertake this task for the good of all, or is all hope lost?
ATTENDANT: I...I....don't know.
WEINSTEIN: You must look inside yourself. You must believe in the Film.
ATTENDANT: So, if I get him back and save your asses, will you give me a contract for, say, three movies over seven years with twenty five million dollar budgets for each, complete creative control, five million salary for me, and a percentage of the gross?
WEINSTEIN: (conversational again) Well, I wouldn't go that far. We'll give you ten million for one movie, and see how that does. I mean, we're pretty tight -- do you realize how far Scorcese's gone over budget on "Gangs of New York"? The guy is insane -- don't turn out like him, whatever you do. Now those Farrelly brothers, they're nice boys, and they meet their deadlines.
ATTENDANT: OK, fifteen mil, and I'll write the script too.
WEINSTEIN: All right. But only because tanked and we're really desperate.
ATTENDANT: Not my fault.
WEINSTEIN: No. Perhaps it was the will of the Film. Then quick, there is no time to waste. Put off this disguise, and wear again your warrior's costume. (He reaches out his hand....energy shimmers around the attendant, and he is suddenly clad in sleek black.) Your transport is standing by....
(Camera pans over to show a 60's Cadillac convertible over by the side of the road, perhaps glowing. The ATTENDANT looks at the car, and as he does do, turns, so we see him from the front for the first time. It's QUENTIN TARANTINO, in a black suit, white shirt, skinny tie. Brown duster coat over all that. He reaches under his jacket to whip out something black in his hand, and he sweeps it out to arm's length -- thus opening a pair of wraparound shades, which he puts on, and then stands for a moment, exalted. [Alternately: it's a chopper motorcycle instead of a car.]) Now, Quentin Tarantino, go to meet your destiny. And may the Focus be with you. (Music swells. Wipe to:
Exterior. Day. A barbed wire fence, with a gate. On the gate, a sign. "Skywalker Ranch -- Home of Lucasfilm Ltd. and Industrial Light and Magic." [Note: We could easily drive up there and shoot the actual gate and sign, or whatever is actually there.]
Interior. Conference Room. Day. At a long table, a meeting is going on. LUCAS'S LAWYERS and ACCOUNTANTS and OTHER BUSINESS PEOPLE, in grey and black business suits, but with tricolored plastic badges over their right breasts. There are pitchers of water and coffee on the table; in front of the attendees are cups and glasses, most with lemon wedges in them. Some sort of sales chart on the wall, perhaps graphing the earnings of "Episode II" over the weeks since release.)
BUSINESS PERSON: Until the digital projection system has become universally implemented, we are vulnerable. The studios are too dependent on the large theater chains for the distribution of their films. The amateur and independent filmmakers are too well equipped; you can get a digital video camera for under a thousand bucks and produce pretty impressive animation on a home PC. The independents will continue to gain support with the distributors as long as their costs are low...(ANOTHER BUSINESS PERSON enters. LUCAS stands behind him. He wears a black turtlneck and a black jacket; a digital camera hangs around his neck, positioned over his abdomen, its various switches highly visible.)
SECOND BUSINESS PERSON: The distributors will no longer be of any concern to us. I have just received word that the Chairman and CEO has cut them out of the process completely.
BUSINESS PERSON: (aghast) That's impossible. How will we arrange for our films to be shown in theaters?
SECOND BUSINESS PERSON: The company will negotiate directly with the theater chains. Fear will keep them in line -- fear of the digital projection system. As it becomes the standard, the last remnants of the "film" will be swept away.
BUSINESS PERSON: And what if the projection system doesn't work? Don't forget how Sony's CD protection scheme turned out to be able to be easily defeated with a Magic Marker.
SECOND BUSINESS PERSON: Any attempt to resist the adoption of digital projection would be useless. Nothing can match the appeal of exotic backgrounds, high speed chases, and cataclysmic explosions in crystal clear images that does not degrade with each showing. This system is now the ultimate power in the cinematic universe; I suggest we use it.
LUCAS: Don't be too proud of this technological wonder you've constructed. The ability to show astounding special effects in perfect clarity is insignificant next to the power of a good script that taps into universal human archetypes about heroism and spirituality.
BUSINESS PERSON: Don't try to frighten us with your mystical modern mythologist's ways, George Lucas. After all, every "creative" idea in your films has been stolen from classic science fiction novels and movies, or from World War II and samurai flicks, or recycled your earlier movies. It's totally obvious to anyone but the most inexperienced filmgoer, such as a child, and you've admitted it yourself. (Takes drink of water.) Your professed devotion to the teachings of Joseph Campbell has not helped you out-earn "Spider-Man" at the box office or...(suddenly starts to choke. An ACCOUNTANT gives him the Heimlich maneuver, and he coughs out a lemon wedge.)
LUCAS: I find your lack of faith disturbing. We have dispatched our lawyers to scour the informational galaxy for any signs of infringement of our intellectual property rights. If anyone uses anything even remotely resembling our ideas, even if we stole them from someone else in the first place, we shall crush them with the power of legal force. Then, no one shall make a financially successful movie without our consent, and none shall oppose our rule.
[(Interior. Day. Lucas's office.)
LAWYER: (In suit. Perhaps a woman, with a Vader-helmet shaped black shiny hairstyle; we see her from the back only. As LUCAS covers phone.) We can't be letting other people make copies of our intellectual property. Our legal staff is now the ultimate power in the universe. I suggest we use it.
LUCAS: Oh, ah, yeah, listen, why don't you just stay there for a few minutes, I'll send someone to take care of you....
LAWYER: Once we have demonstrated the power of this stationery, no one will dare challenge our Empire or our copyrights.
(Exterior. Day. Telephone booth.)
TARANTINO: Take care of me? Hey, George, that's great, I really appreciate it...
(Interior. Day. Lucas's office. TARANTINO's last few words are heard through the phone. LUCAS nods to lawyer, who makes a gesture to black-clad ASSISTANTS at computer consoles. Phone booth is visible on one monitor; Bay Area on another, North America on another, Planet Earth floating in space on another. ASSISTANTS type on keyboards.)
LAWYER: Commence Cease and Desist Injunctions. Launch restraining orders.
(ASSISTANTS type some more. Sounds of equipment powering up.)
(Exterior. Day. Telephone booth, wide shot.)
TARANTINO: George? George?
(Car drives up, parks next to phone booth. Out step two guys in identical dark suits and dark ties, sunglasses. They grab TARANTINO, shove papers at him, kick and punch him. TARANTINO screams, but they gag him by shoving papers into his mouth and putting tape over it. Then, they bind him with more tape, and shove him back into phone booth, get back in their car, and drive off. TARANTINO is left dazed, moaning. But something bright in the sky catches his eye. His eyes open in horror as camera pulls back, to show phone booth bathed in red light coming from above. As camera pulls back further, booth explodes.)
(Interior. Day. Lucas's office. ASSISTANTS watch explosion on consoles. One pushes back and says to lawyer:)
ASSISTANT: The target has been destroyed.
LUCAS: Well, I don't imagine we'll be troubled by any more strongly similar fan films or other exact imitations of our ideas. And I'm sure that all the other studio systems, like those of "Blade Runner" and "Lord of the Rings", will be too cowed to even think of suing *us* for stealing -- er, borrowing -- from their movies, even making ones that are nearly identical.
LAWYER: (As camera comes around her to show green face of YODA.) Victory! Victory you say? Director Lucas, not victory. The rebellion against us is only starting. begun the clone war has!
(Black screen -- end title -- credits.)]
Wipe to: Exterior. Night. A highway, on ramp to Interstate 5. Highway sign indicates North to San Francisco, South to L.A., with distances. TARANTINO's car rolls into frame, then stops. Shot of TARANTINO's face, looking nervously one way, then the other. Then shot over his shoulder. WEINSTEIN appears.
WEINSTEIN: Quentin! Quentin!
TARANTINO: Yes, Harvey-Wein.
WEINSTEIN: You must go to the Retired Directors' Home. There you will find Wilder. [Pronounced "Wilda".] He was a great director once, the most learned in the ways of Film. But he was driven into exile by the Dark Side, and hunted by the studios. He will teach you, as he taught me.
TARANTINO: Wait -- the only things you've ever directed are "Playing for Keeps" and "Gandahar". Is he going to teach me to make stuff like that?
WEINSTEIN: Hey, "Playing for Keeps" launched the career of Oscar-winning actress Marisa Tomei. But no, from him I learned to make my other movie, "The Gnomes' Great Adventure." Really. You'll understand when you see him. Now go.
Wipe to: Interior. Retired Directors' Home. Cheery room with lots of white, pink, autographed pictures of stars, Oscars. WILDER (Billy) is a tiny, wisened 95-year old gnome. He is addressing TARANTINO, in a slow, middle-European accent.
WILDER: When the ways of Film you have learned, then a director will you be.
TARANTINO: I know how to be a director.
WILDER: Oh! You think that because small I am, big I could never be. But big I was once. The pictures it was that got small. If heed me you will not, waiting on some forgotten star shall you always be. Already have I seen it.
TARANTINO: Why do you talk that way, anyway?
WILDER: Because German my first language is, you twit. The verb at the end in that language we put. If high school you had finished, know these things you would.
TARANTINO: OK, OK. So, teach me.
WILDER: Cynical may you be, but in sweetness wrap it you must. Fame! Riches! Awards. A director craves not these things. A director craves...Audrey Hepburn, in pearls, and nothing else.
Interior. Projection Room. Projectionists in black uniforms and scary helmets are working around the Digital Projection System. LUCAS and SECOND BUSINESS PERSON look on approvingly. Suddenly, NATALIE PORTMAN comes storming in.
PORTMAN: George Lucas, I should have known. Only you could have been so lame.
LUCAS: What is it, your highness? Are you dissatisfied with your salary for the next Episode?
PORTMAN: The salary is fine. But the part you have written for me is completely unacceptable. I am an accomplished actress and a student at Harvard, and you have given me lines befitting a fourth grader. The Screen Actors Guild shall hear of this. Unless this role undergoes substantial rewrites, I shall refuse to appear in Episode III. A copy of the script is already in the hands of amateur filmmakers, who are analyzing it for weaknesses and organizing its release onto the World Wide Web.
LUCAS: Miss Portman, before the execution of your contract we would like to give you a little demonstration of our computer graphics capabilities and our digital projection system. Once their power becomes known, no actor will dare resist our demands, for fear of being replaced by an entirely CGI simulacrum. Since you are reluctant to speak the words we have set out for you, we have decided to test our machines' constructive power...on you.
PORTMAN: No! You can't! I saw "Final Fantasy"...the technology isn't there!
LUCAS: And I've seen "Where the Heart Is". Given your acting abilities, we were easily able to create a digital version of you that could match them. After all, if even the human characters are written to talk like robots, who needs actual human actors to play them? What we could do with Jar Jar and Yoda and most of the other aliens and machines, we can do with people. Or (To the PROJECTIONISTS.) You may proceed when ready.
PROJECTIONIST: Commence beam generation. (The projectionists press a series of switches, and a beam shoots out of the projector. On the screen we can see the face of [our] NATALIE PORTMAN, speaking....)
PORTMAN ON SCREEN: (at first, just an electronic garble, resolving into intelligible speech in her voice) ...and I think George Lucas is just like the greatest director, the foremost creative genius of our era or any other...
PORTMAN (IN PROJECTION ROOM): (sobbing) No! No! I'd never say that! (On screen, we now see [our] NATALIE PORTMAN wearing one of her skimpy costumes from Episode II. She begins to slip it off, slowly starting to strip...before we really see anything, of course, cut to PORTMAN (IN PROJECTION ROOM), with look of horror, then tears. Cut to open mouthed SECOND BUSINESS PERSON, and smiling LUCAS. Another PROJECTIONIST ASSISTANT holds up to LUCAS a laptop computer; he types a few keys.)
LUCAS: There. I've just sent these pictures to thousands of Websites, and a message announcing their availability to every adolescent male in North America. (Standard animated image on computer screen of the earth, with network of lines running around it representing the Internet, with lights running along the wires representing the flow of information.) The resulting overload will shut down ifilm and atomfilms and all the other purveyors of my stolen intellectual property for days.
SECOND BUSINESS PERSON: And as for the missing script, we shall soon recover it, and your puny spoiled princess act of rebellion will be crushed. Now run along, before you are late for class.
Interior. Retired Directors' Home. WILDER's room. WILDER is showing TARANTINO something on the computer -- an Academy Awards website.
WILDER: Remember, a good director can see his listing of Oscars getting longer and longer.
TARANTINO: That controls your actions?
WILDER: Partially. But it also rewards your efforts. (Suddenly pained.) Ooooh. I sense a great disturbance in the Internet, as if millions of boys were crying out in ecstasy, and then silence as their parents came in and caught them. I think something wonderful has happened. (Begins typing madly. Brings up pictures of NATALIE PORTMAN from previous scene. Stares. Then burps.) Oooh. I sense a great disturbance in my intestines, as if thousands of kernels of popcorn were crying out indigestion. I fear I should not have had the large bucket. (He gets up. Now...(pointing to a door)..that place..is strong with the Dark Smell of the Fortz. [Note: "Fortz" is a Yiddishism for "fart".] You must go in there.
TARANTINO: Will I need weapons?
WILDER: Only this. (Hands him toilet plunger. Tarantino looks confused.)
Dark room. Door opens a crack, and TARANTINO sticks head in. Wrinkles nose at smell. Enters further...hits leg against something. With a look of fear and anger and determination, reaches down with plunger, furiously moves it up and down with both hands on shaft. Flushes toilet. Looks up...and sees own face looking back at him. Suddenly the light comes on; he is looking in the bathroom mirror. WILDER is standing behind him.)
WILDER: Now understand you?
TARANTINO: Yes, I understand.
WILDER: Never would I have gotten a successful director like Cameron Crowe to unplug my toilet for me.
Exterior. Lawn of Retired Directors' Home. WILDER sits in directors chair. TARANTINO stands on one foot. He has large film reels around his arms and extended leg; he's trying to keep them all twirling.
WILDER: Good! Feel the film flowing through you, as if you were the camera, the projector. But beware the Dark Side. Cheap laughs. Mindless violence. Idiotic dialogue. Once you start down that path, it will consume you, as it did the Dark Lord.
TARANTINO: I feel it. Wilder, is the Dark Side stronger?
WILDER: No. Quicker. Easier. More seductive.
TARANTINO: Like Barbara Stanwyck in "Double Indemnity"?
WILDER: Yes. Big knockers the Dark Side has, and tight sweaters it wears to show them off. (Shot of TARANTINO's car, across the lawn. A police officer is ticketing it, and towtruck driver is attaching tow to front to pull it down hill.)
TARANTINO: Oh, crap! (Reels come crashing down.) My car! I didn't realize this was a one-hour zone! Now I'll never get it out of here!
WILDER: Concentrate. Feel the Force...the police Force. (Cop turns around -- we see it's a an attractive female.)
TARANTINO: I'd like to. I'll try. (Goes up to police officer. Stretches out hand.) Hey officer, how about I spend the money for the ticket on dinner for us two tonight, and instead of impounding the car you let me use it to drive you back to my hotel afterwards?
POLICE OFFICER: Yeah, right! (Slaps summons into his outstretched hand. Signals to tow driver. TARANTINO stands there, at a loss. WILDER hobbles up, stretches out hand, puts around OFFICER's waist -- she doesn't seem to mind.)
WILDER: Remaking "The Seven Year Itch" I am. Someone for the Marilyn Monroe role I seek. Interested would you be?
OFFICER: (Totally impressed.) Really? Me? I've always wanted to act...Marilyn's like my idol...up there with Pamela Anderson in "Barb Wire"!
WILDER: Just because you will be a character actress doesn't mean you don't have...personality. Meditate on you...on this..we must. In my room.
OFFICER: Oh, yeah! Like now? That would be great. (Signals to towtruck driver, who releases car, which bumps down and bounces back up hill. Shot from behind of WILDER and OFFICER walking back towards house. Officer towers over WILDER, has hand on his head; he's saying something and she's giggling. WILDER has hand in DRIVER's back pocket, feeling her butt. Looks back over shoulder at amazed TARANTINO, smiles broadly.)
TARANTINO: I don't believe it.
WILDER: That is why you fail.
Interior. WILDER's room. WILDER and TARANTINO are sitting on a couch, watching TV.
TARANTINO: This is boring. Where's the remote?
WILDER: Patience must you learn.
TARANTINO: Listen, I've seen "Stalag 17" twenty million times and Bill Holden's cool and all, but couldn't we see what's on HBO?
WILDER: Through Film you may see many things. Past, future, and what looks like the future but supposedly happened a long time ago so it's really confusing. Control you must learn. (TARANTINO has been fumbling under couch cushions, but now gives up. Takes a breath, stretches out hand. Closes eyes. Suddenly, station changes. It's Uma Thurman in "The Avengers". He watches in horror. He closes eyes again, and station changes. Now it's John Travolta in "Battlefield Earth". He looks horrified.)
TARANTINO: My friends! They're in trouble! Their careers may die! I've got to go to them!
WILDER: But completed your training you have not! The story of how I banged Garbo behind the set of "Ninotchka" must you still hear!
TARANTINO: Oh, come on, you didn't really expect me to believe your crap stories anyway, did you?
WILDER: Why you little...and to think I trained you...uh...(as if suffering heart attack.)
TARANTINO: Oh, come off it, Billy, you're as healthy as a horse. (WILDER doesn't respond.) Billy? Master Wilder, you can't die!
WILDER: Soon for me the credits will roll, and the spilled popcorn the ushers will sweep up. The house lights I see coming up...
TARANTINO: No! No! Don't go towards them! I need you to complete my director's education!
WILDER: A director you are. But the Dark Lord you still must confront. Now go I to find out if Shirley Maclaine was right about life after death....
TARANTINO: What did she tell you about life after death?
WILDER: She told me that if we slept together, at first I'd feel like I had died, but then like I'd been born a new man...and boy, was she right! But now, rest I must....I'm...I'm....ready for my close-up...(closes eyes and dies. TARANTINO bows head.)
Exterior. WILDER's house. Night.
TARANTINO strides out, gets in car, and roars off.
Wipe to: Interior. Lucas's Office. LUCAS enters. Kneels before one wall. Hologram of RUPERT MURDOCH appears, in a black suit, in front of a bank of TVs tuned to various Fox channels. If necessary, he can have a sign on his desk that says "K. Rupert Murdoch -- Chairman and CEO -- The News Corporation"
LUCAS: What is thy bidding, my master?
MURDOCH: There is a great disturbance in film.
LUCAS: I feel it. Weinstein is up to something. He is sending someone against us.
MURDOCH: He is strong in the ways of film. He could greatly harm us.
LUCAS: If he could be won over, he would become a great asset. And if he couldn't, we could exagerrate the costs of fighting him on our quarterly reports and take a nice writeoff.
MURDOCH: See to it, then. (LUCAS bows.)
Exterior. Day. The gate, seen through the windshield of a slowly approaching car. On the gate, a sign. "Skywalker Ranch". Camera zoom in slowly; now we can read "Home of Lucasfilm Ltd. and Industrial Light and Magic." Sound of car stopping on gravel; camera pans down to read: "Trespassers and pathetic geeks in costumes camping out will be shot on sight." TARANTINO's right hand and wrist, with white shirt cuff and black suit cuff, pinky ring, comes into view in front of camera; makes small gesture; the gate opens, and the car goes through.
Interior. Day. Reception area of Lucasfilm. Cavernous corporate lobby. At desk sits RECEPTIONIST. She is pale, with very bleached long hair combed to suggest head tentacles of Bib Fortuna. TARANTINO, viewed from the back, looms in front of her. She looks up.
RECEPTIONIST: Can I help you?
TARANTINO: I have a delivery for (looking at name on envelope, saying as if unfamiliar) "George Lucas". Is this the right address?
RECEPTIONIST: It certainly is. And I'd be happy to sign for it.
TARANTINO: I'm afraid the instructions are to deliver it only to him personally.
RECEPTIONIST: Everybody says they have something personal for Mr. Lucas personally. You can submit your screenplay just like anyone else, to the scripts department, but he writes all his own material with a few close associates so I'm afraid I can't offer you much encouragement. And if you don't like it, we'll just have to send a squad of security up.
(Side shot of TARANTINO, holding large envelope in hands.
TARANTINO: Listen, I don't know who this Mr. Lucas of yours is, and I don't much care. I'm just a messenger, and if the delivery says personal, then the man has got to sign for it himself.
RECEPTIONIST: (Angry. Security guards in blazers have arrived, approaching curiously behind her.) What company are you from? They're going to hear about this. (Lifting phone.) What's your operating license number?
TARANTINO: (In slow motion , unfolds both ends of envelope, reaches in with both hands, pulls back out with a .45 in each, firing with both hands, puts five or six shots into RECEPTIONIST, then leaps up onto desk, mows down GUARDS until they are nothing but bloody bodies slumped against walls. TARANTINO stands with empty, smoking guns, making sure no one is moving.) That was a boring conversation anyway. (Calmly presses button on RECEPTIONIST's desk, goes through door behind her.)
Black screen. "Star Wars" music begins, and logo appears, getting smaller and smaller as camera pulls back to reveal that it is just the logo on a poster on a wall in....
Interior. Day. George Lucas's office, decorated with "Star Wars" memorabilia, Oscars, whatever. TARANTINO comes in. The hood of his coat shades his face. Walks slowly around, looking at all the stuff. Suddenly, another door opens...and LUCAS walks in. He grins broadly.
LUCAS: So. You've come at last. I felt your presence.
TARANTINO: I didn't bring any presents. Except this. (Draws rolled sheaf of papers from coat.)
LUCAS: So, though it won't affect how I'll crush you utterly, I'm curious, who has Harvey-Wein sent against us as the champion of independent film? Is that David Lynch in there? I'm sorry, but "Dune" really sucked. No surprise that it didn't even make back its investment, was it? Especially when I had sabotaged it by stealing all of Frank Herbert's best ideas from the books for my movies. Oh, you did realize that no one who had seen Tatooine and Luke Skywalker was going to be terribly interested in Arrakis and Paul Atreides, didn't you?
TARANTINO: No, you're wrong. Your overconfidence will be your undoing.
LUCAS: Oh, yeah? And what's your doing lately? Not much, I'll bet. Well, I don't think you're Soderbergh -- if he wasn't with us already, he certainly is after "Ocean's 11"...so who the hell are you?
TARANTINO: It's Quentin.
LUCAS: Quentin. (Not recognizing name. Confused) Wait, you just escaped from San Quentin? I can't think of any directors who went in for murder...I mean, there's Roman Polanski for statutory rape and Woody Allen for...well. So who the hell are you? Please tell me you're not that Kevin Smith jerk. I REALLY can't stand him.
TARANTINO: No, my name is Quentin...Quentin Tarantino.
LUCAS: (Vague.) Quentin Tarantino?
TARANTINO: Yeah! You remember, don't you? All those cool crime movies from the early 90's?
TARANTINO: You know, "Reservoir Dogs"? "Pulp Fiction"? "Four Rooms"? Come on, Sam Jackson introduced us once. (Now pleading, has totally lost confidence.)
LUCAS: Oh, yeah. (Totally unimpressed with him, not even paying attention to him anymore.) Hey, can you hang on a second, I've got this call...
TARANTINO: Sure...wait, no! Umm, listen, George -- may I call you George? -- I've come to win you back from the Dark Side!
LUCAS: "Mr. Lucas" will be fine. But um, listen, I'm kind of busy, maybe next week...(he's pushing buttons on phone, trying to call security, but there's no one there. He looks at a security camera, and sees the dead guards in the reception area.)
TARANTINO: No! We are going to talk now!
LUCAS: (Annoyed) What are you going to do, force me at gunpoint?
TARANTINO: No. (TARANTINO opens coat to show he is not carrying any weapons.) I threw them away. I have no weapons -- only this. (He holds out roll of paper.)
LUCAS: (Unrolls it. Looks at first page, then second, then flips through rest.) I see you have constructed a new screenplay. You have learned much since "Jackie Brown". But then, I guess you haven't much else to do since then. (Tosses it back.)
TARANTINO: Yeah, well. People said I only had one story in me, I just kept using it over and over. But hey, what's wrong with that? (Looks straight at him to emphasize point.) This is the script you're going to use for your next movie -- the last Episode.
LUCAS: You are too late. It is already written. It cannot be changed. (Whips out another sheaf of rolled up papers, brandishes around.)
TARANTINO: No. No! Your movies may look awesome, but the dialogue sucks. I mean, you know that, right? It's like what Harrison Ford said to you twenty years ago, "You can write this stuff, but you can't say it." I can write better lines after I've had a fifth of tequila and then been gang-raped in the back of the bar and left to die in the dumpster behind. I'd compare my screenplay to yours any day of the week, and twice on Sundays. (He whips his roll of paper forward, crossing LUCAS's.)
LUCAS: (laughing) Let free your anger. It will only deliver you into my power.
TARANTINO: Oh, no. I'm not really a paper delivery boy. And how could I be angry at you? I know there is good in you. I love your work, Mr. Lucas, I mean, you made "American Graffiti" -- "the first to use multiple storylines". You made "The Empire Strikes Back". I mean, like, you know, I had like every "Star Wars: figure, I had like Han Solo IN CARBONITE surrounded with Salacious Crumb and Rocket-Firing Boba Fett. And then, "Howard the Duck"!! Well, I...
LUCAS: (suddenly listening.) You liked "Howard the Duck"?
TARANTINO: Oh, man, I LOVED "Howard the Duck"! I memorized every friggin' line! I was friggin' Phil Blumburtt for Halloween that year! 'Cuz, see, I'm almost as tall as Tim Robbins. And then Jeffrey Jones -- "I am one of the Dark Overlords of the Universe." Now *that* was friggin' dialogue...
LUCAS: Excuse me, but could you watch YOUR dialogue? Terms like "friggin'" are offensive to the ears of a resolutely PG-13 filmmaker...
TARANTINO: But that's where I come in! I can write great lines for you, the sort of thing you used to do. The kind that people will quote, not make fun of. None of this "You fought for my father in the Clone Wars" crap either. You know, just like I did on "Crimson Tide" and "The Rock". You don't even need to give me a credit. I'll tell everyone I did it. Just a few bucks. You know, enough to get a room at the Y for a few weeks?
LUCAS: Well, yes, you know, I have heard those complaints, and so I've been thinking of bringing a script doctor, but someone I've got a little more of a history with, who's worked with the material a little more.
TARANTINO: Oh, yeah, I heard that you were bringing in Carrie Fisher, but look, Steve Spielberg did that on "Hook" and you see what happened...anyway, look, who's got more experience recycling material from 70's movies than I do? And that whole flashback thing, you know, going back and telling the whole previous story of a character who the audience has already seen get wasted. Who else has such facility handling lots of stories going on at the same time throughout a huge, sprawling region, full of stars, and through which you can only get around in high-speed vehicles, with all kinds of different areas, from oceans to sand to mountains to infinite cityscapes, and with every possible kind of person...
LUCAS: Really? Hmmmm. What would you have done differently...say, with "Episode I"?
TARANTINO: (Suddenly on the spot) Well....first, I'd have had a different title. Maybe, take it back to the original name for Luke, and call it "Natural Born Starkillers"? Or maybe, "Artoo Romance"? Or wait...wait... I've got it....
(Screen goes black, then....
Orchestral version of surf classic "Misirlou" begins...
Black screen with stars.
Crawl: "Episode 1.1
Pulp Science Fiction"
Scene: Interior. Day? Night? We're in friggin' space, you cant' tell. A small spaceship, with two seats next to one another. QUI-GON and YOUNG OBI-WAN are talking. [Note: In theory, Qui-Gon, being older and more experienced, should be the one telling Obi-Wan things. I wrote it this way simply because at other times, Qui-Gon will be identified with Jules, the Sam Jackson character. But the lines could easily be switched without anyone noticing, I think.])
OBI-WAN: It's the little differences. A lot of the same things we have here, they have there, but there, they're a little different.
OBI-WAN: Well, they have the hyperdrive, same as us. But they call it, "the warp drive".
QUI-GON: (Getting his tongue around this, thinking it's a little funny but respectfully trying to pronounce it right.) "The warp drive".
OBI-WAN: And blasters? They call them "phasers".
QUI-GON: (Same) "Phasers".
OBI-WAN: And the Republic. They've basically got that, but they call it "the Federation".
QUI-GON: "The Federation". So what do they call Jedi Knights?
OBI-WAN: See, they don't have the Force over there. They wouldn't know what a Jedi Knight is.
QUI-GON: So what do they call them?
OBI-WAN: "Star Fleet Officers".
(Exterior. Day or night. Docking port. The two JEDI step out of their ship, unclipping lightsabers from their belts.) We should have blasters for this kind of deal.
QUI-GON: How many of them up there?
OBI-WAN: Seventy thousand battle droids.
QUI-GON: (Smiling) We should have proton torpedoes.
(Interior. Day. Spaceship corridor. We see them from behind, walking side by side.)
OBI-WAN: What's her name?
QUI-GON: Ahhh...Mia? Ahh..midala. Amidala.
OBI-WAN: How did she get to be Queen?
QUI-GON: (Channeling Graham Chapman from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail") The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that she, Amidala, was to rule Naboo. THAT is why she is the king!
OBI-WAN: (Channeling Michael Palin.) Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government! Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony! (QUI-GON turns to him, in profile; OBI-WAN turns to him, and they just stare at each other a moment -- "what came over us?") (Back to normal.) I'm sorry, Master.
QUI-GON: (Unnerved.) Forget about it, Obi-Wan. (They arrive at a door, and it opens -- Jar Jar Binks lets them in. Inside are NUTE GUNRAY and SIO BIBBLE of the Trade Federation. QUI-GON and OBI-WAN ignite lightsabers.) Hey kids. How you boys doing? (No answer.)
QUI-GON: (Courtly, polite, and thus, all the more menacing.) Do you know who we are? (No answer.)
QUI-GON: We are associates of your business partner, Chancellor Valorum. You do remember your business partner, Chancellor Valorum, don't you?
NUTE (to SIO): These ambassadors are Jedi Knights!
QUI-GON: So let's see if I have this right -- you're Nute, right? (NUTE nods.) You know what they call Jedi Knights in that other galaxy? (NUTE shakes his head.)
QUI-GON: Inform him, Obi-Wan.
OBI-WAN: "Star Fleet Officers".
QUI-GON: Now why do you think that is?
NUTE: Because they don't have the Force?
QUI-GON: (Indicating NUTE's huge, oddly shaped head.) Check out the big brain on Nute! (Pause. Courtly, polite, as always.) Now, why don't you just show us where the controls for your droid army are. (NUTE points to a sort of large laptop like device; OBI-WAN opens it; an image of a green planet hovers in the air; OBI-WAN looks at it, mesmerized. QUI-GON calls to OBI-WAN:) We got it? Blockade lifted? (OBI-WAN nods.)
NUTE: We just want to say how much we regret the strain in our relations with the Republic and the Chancellor. We got into this out of a sincere desire for mutual improvement...(QUI-GON slashes SIO BIBBLE in two.)
QUI-GON: I'm sorry, did we break your train of thought? Please, go on about the "desire for mutual improvement"...(No answer.) Well, then, could you perhaps tell me a little about Chancellor Valorum?
NUTE: Chancellor Valorum? He...he's tall...and he has white hair...and he looks like one of the guys in "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" ---
QUI-GON: (Interrupting) Is he a droid?
QUI-GON: (More forcefully) IS HE A DROID?
QUI-GON: Then why are you trying to order him around like a droid?
NUTE: I did not!
QUI-GON: Yes, you did! Are you familiar with the teachings of the Jedi Masters? Here's a little lesson that I particularly like. 'The path of the Jedi is beset in all directions by the temptations of the Dark Side and the conspiracies of the Sith Lords. Blessed is he who in the name of the Jedi order maintains peace and justice throughout the Galaxy, for he is truly a Jedi Knight, and the protector of distant planets. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance -- excuse me, with great return -- and strong feeling all those who seek to poison or destroy a Senator. And you will know that we are the Jedi, when we lay our sabers upon you!" (The two JEDI both slash at NUTE GUNRAY, so that, completely shredded, he falls out of the frame.
Interior. LUCAS's office. Same as before, with TARANTINO leaning way over LUCAS's desk, with wild expression to hands and face. LUCAS, who had been listening carefully, leaning back in chair, with hands in front of him, fingertips together, suddenly starts forward.)
LUCAS: Now wait, you can't go killing those guys off at the beginning of the movie...we need them around until the end, or there would be no one to fight. (TARANTINO looks stunned, doesn't know what to say for a moment.)
TARANTINO: Wait, I've taken care of that. Just trust me. We'll keep some villains around. Please. (LUCAS glares suspiciously.) OK, so....
Back in the room -- the JEDI finish carving up NUTE and he falls out of the frame. Pause. Jar Jar, in corner, droops completely. Suddenly, an enormous BATTLE DROID comes charging in, making lots of noise, firing. The JEDI take a second to react, then deflect the bolts. The BATTLE DROID stops, out of ammo, and the JEDI reach out their hands and tear it to pieces remotely. Then stop and look at each other.)
QUI-GON: That was...incredible.
OBI-WAN: You were pretty good yourself, Master. (They look at each other, suddenly unnerved, look away.)
QUI-GON: There's no way those bolts could have missed us. That was a miracle. That was the Force at work.
OBI-WAN: Master, we're Jedi. We used the Force to deflect the bolts.
QUI-GON: (Seems a little spacey, staring, takes a long time to answer.) Oh, yes, right. Sorry. (They head out, yanking JAR-JAR along.)
Interior of small spaceship. JEDI in front seat, JAR JAR in back.
QUI-GON: I have been from one end of the Galaxy to the other and I've never seen anything that would make me believe in a single, all powerful Force like that. I mean, if there is such clear evidence, what's the point of faith? There is definitely an imbalance in the Force.
OBI-WAN: Come, Master. It's nothing I haven't seen you do a thousand times before. A Jedi can see things before they happen -- so you have taught me.
QUI-GON: As soon as we finish this mission, I'm going straight to Yoda and retiring. I'm too old, anyway, and you are ready, my Padawan, to become a Jedi and replace me. Then I'll have myself neuralyzed, forget all this, and go work as a Republic bureaucrat on Alderaan or something.
OBI-WAN: Um, yeah. (Turning, with lightsaber still in hand.) Say, Jar Jar, what do you think of that? (Suddenly, OBI-WAN's saber ignites, shooting out, right through JAR-JAR's head, pretty much vaporizing it.)
OBI-WAN: Oh bantha droppings -- I just killed Jar-Jar!
QUI-GON: Don't worry! You even managed to do it before he could really utter a single line! You'll be a hero to all fans above the age of seven everywhere!
Interior. LUCAS's office. LUCAS looks mad -- arms folded.
LUCAS: (Humorlessly.) That is not funny.
TARANTINO: Ummm, OK, OK. (Has lost his rhythm, his story is upset.) So, uh, they're in an unfamiliar part of the Galaxy and have to stop at this planet to clean out the car...(getting no positive reaction from LUCAS)...to...to....to fix the hyperdrive, yeah, let's leave Jar-Jar out of it altogether like that editor guy did...(LUCAS starts forward, as if to interrupt...)...I mean, come on, the way he never shuts his mouth, you should have called him "Ajar-jar"...(LUCAS looks really mad; TARANTINO placates)...and...um,...they get it fixed, but their Jedi robes get all wet swimming, so they have to change, and they set off, and they go back to the planet, and they're just having a nice meal, but what they don't know is....
Interior. Large room, in spaceship, perhaps. The two JEDI are still arguing. They are dressed in shorts and very geeky t-shirts, perhaps advertising some sci-fi or programmers' convention, technical institute (whether MIT or DeVry), or band like They Might Be Giants.
QUI-GON: All I am saying is that there is some sort of unusual disturbance in the Force, maybe suggesting the presence of the Chosen One whom the prophecies said would bring balance to the Force after all these years.
OBI-WON: Master, I don't believe this. Are you really going to quit, just when the Republic needs you most?
QUI-GON: Yes, my Padawan. I'd only be in the way.
OBI-WAN: But then, aren't you going to go to conventions anymore, or camp out in costume before in front of the theater two weeks before the next instalment opens?
OBI-WAN: But that are going to do with your unmatched collection of collector's memorabilia going back to the first movie in 1977?
QUI-GON: Oh, sell it. Use it to buy some decent clothes and a haircut that isn't totally dorky.(OBI-WAN looks at his reflection in the window, fingers his braid, suddenly uncertain.)
OBI-WAN: But you? What will you do with yourself?
QUI-GON: Oh, maybe go back to playing Irish and Scottish patriots, righteous if conniving German businessmen, that sort of thing.
Interior. Same room, but a different part. DARTH SIDIOUS and DARTH MAUL are engaged in rapid, intense conversation.
DARTH SIDIOUS: ...I'm just tired of ruling these hick outlying planets that no one cares about. Why can't I run my own planet of Naboo?
DARTH MAUL: Well, they only have Queens here...the rulers are women.
DARTH SIDIOUS: Hey, I could be just as good a Queen as this high school prom committee chairman they've got.
DARTH MAUL: Sure. After all, you wear that long dress all the time.
SIDIOUS: Hey, you're the one with the red lipstick and black eyeliner all over your face.
SIDIOUS: The thing about these planets is, it's just a matter of money, of taxes and trade. Remember that last planet we landed on? We seized their treasury and resources, and then other ships kept coming along to trade, and you started seizing them, too. Now that was smart, my apprentice. You have learned much.
MAUL: Thank you, Master.
SIDIOUS: See, look around at these life-forms. Nobody wants to get hurt. They don't want to get hurt. We don't want to hurt them. They just want to wander around through the Mediterranean-style cities and fields and lakes. It's like a whole planet is Tuscany, but without the Italian train system, thank God. You've got a volunteer army that doesn't really want to risk their lives fighting and doesn't know how to anyway, and you've got a bunch of submarine frogpeople who don't give a pile of dewback's breakfast what happens to the folks on the surface. We take over a place like this, we can take all their money they have stored up, and tax their trade with other planets as they come and go. Lot of trade comes and goes here.
MAUL: I'm ready, let's do it.
SIDIOUS: This place? When?
MAUL: Right now.
SIDIOUS: OK, I'll manipulate the Trade Federation, you handle the Jedi.
MAUL: Roger. (Both take out lightsabers, look at each other deeply, or as deeply as they can from within hoods.)
MAUL: I love you, Darth Sidious.
SIDIOUS: I love you, Darth Maul. (They ignite lightsabers; MAUL jumps up on table, brandishes double saber.)
SIDIOUS: Everybody stay put, this is a planetary takeover!
MAUL: Nobody move a finger...or a toe...or a tentacle...or an eyestalk...or any other part of your body...or I'll execute every one of you!
SIDIOUS: We're coming around with a spaceship...put your valuable trade goods in the hold, now!
(QUI-GON and OBI-WAN draw sabers, hold under table. SIDIOUS comes around.) Surrender the planet to me, now! And give me all your valuables and cash.
QUI-GON: I'm afraid we can't do that.
SIDIOUS: What do mean, we can't do that?
MAUL: Can I kill them?
QUI-GON: I mean, we don't have any valuables, and we don't carry any cash.
MAUL: You're lying!
SIDIOUS: How do you buy stuff then?
QUI-GON: Master Card.
SIDIOUS: Master Card? What kind of Master Card? (QUI-GON and OBI-WAN rise, igniting sabers, engaging SIDIOUS and MAUL.)
QUI-GON: *Jedi* Master Card. (Prolongued and exciting battle. Finally, QUI-GON disarms SIDIOUS, holds saber to his throat. OBI-WAN and MAUL stand off.)
QUI-GON: Now just be cool!
MAUL: You touch him and I'll chop you in two!
QUI-GON: Now just be cool! We're going to be three Masters of the Force here. What are Masters of the Force like? (No answer.) What are Masters of the Force like?
MAUL: They're calm, mindful of the future, but not at the expense of the present.
QUI-GON: Right. Now, I can't give you my money, because it's in Republic Credits and they're not accepted out here. But I *can* let you take over this planet, which after all is your home world.
OBI-WAN: You can't do that. They're evil!
QUI-GON: Stop sounding like George Bush, Obi-Wan. Now, they're only evil because they've been shut out of the opportunity to seek office appropriate to their skills. By letting them take over Naboo, I'm defusing a crisis situation short of violence...and eliminating the issue that this guy would otherwise have used to secure the even more powerful Republic Supreme Chancellorship!
OBI-WAN: But this is exactly the sort of appeasement policy that we practiced with Hitler at Munich in nineteen thirty eight and it got us into the second world war!
QUI-GON: Hey, what's this "we" business, Brit? I'm Irish, we were neutral in the World War Two.
Interior. LUCAS's office. LUCAS looks surprised. TARANTINO equally so.
LUCAS: Where did that come from?
TARANTINO: I don't know. Where's Munich?
LUCAS: Phew. For a second, I thought you were going to ask, what's World War Two...
TARANTINO: So anyway, the Sith Lords are going to reform, and the Jedi let them go, and ... (the last few words are a voiceover to:)
Interior. Same as the scene before. The two JEDI walk out, stand before the door, turn off their lightsabers, hook them into their shorts underneath their shirts, and walk out, to the music of an orchestral version of "The Lively Ones" by the Surf Riders.
Interior. LUCAS's office. LUCAS is aghast. TARANTINO has an expression of, "So, isn't that great?", hands spread apart, "Ta-daaa!" Long pause.
LUCAS: You've got to be kidding.
TARANTINO: (crestfallen) Don't you like it?
LUCAS: You can't have all the problems solved at the end of the first movie, with the villains renouncing evil. And no one getting killed.
TARANTINO: Before you didn't want so many people getting killed!
LUCAS: Well, it depends which people.
TARANTINO: But this way, it's all about redemption. I mean, you're into redmption, aren't you, you know, like the way Darth Vader gets redeemed at the end of "Return of the Jedi"?
LUCAS: Yes, but that was the last instalment...this is the first. The whole purpose of these movies is to explain the conditions that gave rise to Darth Vader in the first place---
TARANTINO: No. Come off it. The purpose of these movies is to make money and entertain a whole new generation of fans with the latest in special effects.
LUCAS: Well, but it has to make sense...
TARANTINO: Oh, come on, like it makes sense now? For Obi-Wan to hide himself -- still in his Jedi robes -- and the son of the most evil guy in the universe right on that guy's home planet?
LUCAS: Well, speaking of that guy -- he's the center of all this, and you've you've left him out entirely.
TARANTINO: (on the spot) Oh...the kid, the kid...well, um, a lot of people didn't really like that kid --
LUCAS: (Emphatically, laying down the law) *I* did.
TARANTINO: (Improvising wildly.) OK, so, the kid...
Interior. House on Tattoine. Small blond boy is playing with machinery, electronics. SHMI SKYWALKER enters.
SHMI: Anakin, this is Ben Kenobi. He was with your father in the Clone Wars.
BEN KENOBI: When your father went off to the Clone Wars, he took this gold lightsaber. After he died, I kept it hidden for years in my...cave. Those stormtroopers would have loved to have found it, but I knew it was your birthright, so I held onto it. Now, I'm giving it to you. (Hands lightsaber to BOY. Cut to:)
Dark, smoky bar. We see the BOY over the shoulder of JABBA THE HUTT...
TARANTINO: (Very excited.) And then, see, he doens't blow the race, he double crosses Jabba, who sends some hit men after him, but then he kills them, and then he and Jabba get captured by these Tusken raiders, and they're like raping Jabba, but then the boy escapes, but instead of just leaving Jabba, he goes back and saves him, and kills the Tuskens with his lightsaber, and he's like, ha, I killed them all!! and so Jabba forgives him but buys him his freedom and tells him to get off Tattoine,, which he wanted to do anyway, and he gets on this speeder motorcycle thing, and goes racing off, and...(LUCAS is appalled.)
[LUCAS tells TARANTINO that the Jedi cannot be identified with gangsters, even though TARANTINO says they're a bunch of bad mother--(LUCAS interrupts), that his efforts have all been for naught, that this was just a trap to get him to reveall his ideas, which LUCAS is going to steal, and then accuse TARANTINO of stealing his own intellectual property. TARANTINO pleads with him, saying there is good in him, and they have lightsaber duel with their rolled up screenplays, and LUCAS starts to listen, but just then, MURDOCH appears on TV, telling them that he is going to discredit LUCAS by revealing that LUCAS released the Portman pictures and borrowed all his ideas from elsewhere, and TARANTINO by saying that he is really Johnny Knoxville. Lightning shoots from the TV to torture LUCAS and TARANTINO. LUCAS says that he has to make commercial movies, since he has to provide for his kids; TARANTINO claims that he is the cinematic child of LUCAS..."I am your child, Lucas". LUCAS relents, grabbing TV with MURDOCH, and throwing into garbage can (which turns out to be infinitely deep ..."Now who's got the shaft", says TARANTINO) and LUCAS switches to CNN and AOL Time Warner. He tells TARANTINO to hell with commercialism, they'll make the movie well, according to TARANTINO's script, which is "Reservoir Jedi". Which we see.]
Interior. Day. A diner. Jedi in robes are sitting around a table, drinking coffee or other liquid. With them are Joeda and Mace Guy Eddie. The mood is convivial.)
MASTER BROWN: (skinny, talkative guy, long face, nowhere near as smart as he thinks he is. He will be played by the same actor who is playing TARANTINO, so that his speech is a continuation of TARANTINO's final words, with the transition being indicated by the change in the voice from coming through the phone, to coming directly, and with diner noise -- plates clinking, people talking -- in background instead of traffic.): ...the whole lightsaber thing is a metaphor for big --
MASTER BLONDE: (handsome, dark-haired guy, interrupting) No, it's about a girl whose planet is very vulnerable and it's been nearly taken over by the Trade Federation. Then she meets a guy whose really sensitive --
MASTER BROWN: It's not about a girl who meets a sensitive boy. Now, granted, that's what "Phantom Menace" was about---
MASTER ORANGE: (youngest guy there, skinny) I heard "Phantom Menace" sucked---
MACE GUY EDDIE: (Black man, bald, deep voice, great dignity and gravity) Hey, that was a big role for Amidala.
MASTER BLUE: (biggest guy, long red hair and beard - Qui-Gon Jinn) I liked Amidala's early stuff, you know, as Queen. But once she got into her Senator phase...
MASTER WHITE: (young, bearded -- Obi-Wan) Wait, weren't you dead by then? (A droid passes, fills their coffee cups.)
JOEDA: (wrinkled, green guy, reading from a little book or PDA-type device, talks very long and slowly) Obi. Obi? Obi? Obi-Wan?
WHITE: Give me that thing. (Takes book away)
JOEDA: Hey, what the Force do you think you're doing?
WHITE: I'm tired of hearing you read from it, Joeda.
JOEDA: Back to me it now give!
BLONDE: You want me to cut him in two, Joeda?
WHITE: You cut me in two in a dream, you better wake up and apologize.
JOEDA: Rambling must we get. Pay for breakfast I will. The tip must all you take care of.
MISTER PINK: (skinny, kind of bug-eyed and snaggle-toothed.) I don't tip.
MACE: You don't tip? Have you gone over to the Dark Side or something?
WHITE: Hey, these service droids work hard. Serving tables is the number one occupation for droids without a higher conceptual thinking module. It happens that waitressing is the one job basically any droid can do.
PINK: So? Let them learn Bocce and be protocol droids.
MACE: Shut the Force up. (All laugh, rise, and walk out, passing in front of brick wall [or view of infinite cityscape], in slow motion, seen first from the front....)
VOICEOVER: (tired Steven Wright drone, begins as soon as slow motion begins, and all other sound -- laughter, diner -- goes silent.) This is radio station Kay-Three-Pee-Oh, with more of the greatest hits of the 70's.
("Star Wars" music begins -- 70's disco version. Half of screen goes covered with star background, on which opening crawl scrolls; the other still shows actors moving in slow motion.
Opening crawl: "Episode 2.1, Master Blue"
Framing shot on MASTER BLUE, walking towards camera in slo-mo, draws lightsaber -- it's blue...crawl words disappear into distance, and then
"Episode 2.2, Master Pink"
On the other side of the screen, the camera moves over slightly, and in, to frame MASTER PINK, walking alongside and slightly behind BLUE, he draws lightsaber -- it's pink, or magenta or whatever...
Crawl: "Episode 2.3, Master Orange"
Same deal: camera moves over to frame ORANGE, who draws ORANGE lightsaber...
Crawl: "Episode 2.4, Master White"
Same idea, with MASTER WHITE...
Crawl: "Episode 2.5, Master Brown"
Same idea, with MASTER BROWN...
Crawl: "Episode 2.6, Master Blonde"
MASTER BLONDE draws yellowish lightsaber...Cut to fullscreen side view of JEDI walking in front of cityscape, perhaps towards a spaceship they are boarding....at bottom of screen is word: "ARE"
Freeze on walking JEDI, and that image rises, along with word "ARE", and gets smaller, in the manner of the "Star Wars" opening crawl [the other words were doing this too, but only on half the screen.]
Crawl: "RESERVOIR JEDI"
Skip a line:
"It was the perfect plan. For a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights had maintained order and peace throughout the Galaxy....[New paragraph]Until something went wrong... (Black screen. In back, sounds of blasters, explosions, cries, lightsabers. It's the battle on Geonosis. Over black screen, we hear..)
Scene: A small spaceship cockpit, with two seats, one behind the other. In the back, ORANGE is slumped. His arm has been cut off and he is bleeding all over. In the front, WHITE, driving like mad through space.)
WHITE: Just hold on, my Padwan.
ORANGE: I'm gonna die, I know it!
WHITE: Oh, excuse me, I didn't realize that you could see things before they happen. Can you see things before they happen? Whoops, bad question. Listen, along with right through the gut, the arm is the most painful area a guy can take a light saber in. But it takes a long time to die from it. You got a long time to go in a galaxy far, far way. So just hang tight. We're gonna get you back to Coruscant, and Joeda's gonna get you a medical droid to fix you up, and you'll get a nice mechanical hand, and the Force will be with you. (singsong) Say it, the Force will be with you! (No response) Say the words: the Force will be with you!
ORANGE: The Force will be with me.
VOICEOVER: And now, they've got to figure out who set them up...
Scene: The Jedi Temple. MASTER ORANGE lies on the floor in a spreading pool of blood; MASTER PINK and MASTER WHITE are talking worriedly.
WHITE: So how did you get out?
PINK: Cut my way out, same as you. Sliced up a lot of battle droids. Did you kill anybody?
WHITE: A bunch of droids.
PINK: No real people?
WHITE: Just droids.
PINK: Could you believe Master Blonde?
WHITE: That was insane. How could a guy like that ever have passed the trials?
PINK: That guy had no control over his feelings. Everybody gets scared. But fear leads to anger, and anger leads to hatred. He just started whacking at everything in sight. You're not supposed to do such things.
WHITE: What you're supposed to do is act like a Jedi.
PINK: So who's the rat then? Who's gone over to the Dark Side?
WHITE: I've known Joeda a long time. He trained me in the ways of the Force. I can tell you he didn't have anything to do with it.
PINK: He trained me too. But me saying he didn't do it is ridiculous. I know that I didn't do it, because I've looked deep within myself. But I can't definitely say that about anybody else, because the Dark Side is clouding our minds. For all I know, you're the rat.
WHITE: For all I know, you're a Sith Lord.
PINK: Now at least you're reaching out with your feelings. (They stare at one another. PINK makes a small hand gesture.)
WHITE: The mind trick won't work on another Jedi.
PINK: (scowling, indicating ORANGE) Well, what about him? For all we know, he's been seduced by the Dark Side and will eventually exterminate virtually all of the Jedi.
WHITE: That kid is dying from a lightsaber stroke that I saw him take. Don't call him a rat.
PINK: Well, somebody is. (Turning away.)
WHITE: Not him! (Grabs PINK, pulls him around.)
PINK: Get the Force off me! (They fight, wrestle with elaborate gymnastics; PINK is thrown down, draws his lighsaber. WHITE, standing above him, draws his; their blades cross.) Force you, you Forcing Force! You're acting like a six-month old Padwan; I'm acting like a Jedi.
VOICE: Hey, guys, when you get angry, your power ceases.
(It's MASTER BLONDE.)
PINK: Master Blonde! You OK? (PINK and WHITE turn off lightsabers.) We were worried about you. What happened?
BLONDE: There is deception in your speech.
WHITE: Yeah, well, try this then. You acted like some psycho bounty hunter back there on Geonosis and almost got us all killed.
BLONDE: I told 'em not to bring in the droids. They brought 'em. I cut
'em in two. If they hadn't done what I told 'em not to, they'd still be alive today.
WHITE: I can't believe they let a sick Force like you into the Order.
BLONDE: Are you gonna blast, little droid, or are you just gonna beep? (WHITE turns towards him, lightsaber in hand.)
PINK: Hey, knock it the Force off, both of you are my elders, and I'm the only one acting like a Jedi. Master Blonde is the only one I completely trust. Even the Sith Lords don't kill indiscriminately; they have discipline. (WHITE puts his lightsaber away.)
BLONDE: Well, that was sure exciting. (to WHITE) You watch a lot of William Shatner movies, don't you? (pause)
Anyway, I just talked to Mace Guy Eddie and he said he'd be here in just a few parsecs. So we're just gonna wait for him. Meanwhile, look, I've got a surprise for you. (Pulls from behind a column a battle droid, with C-3P0's head. The three grab bars or staves and begin beating him, until his head shoots straight up like on the old toy "Rock 'em, Sock 'em Robots." Enter MACE GUY EDDIE.)
MACE: What the Force is going on here?
WHITE: Where the hell is Joeda?
MACE: Oh Force, look at young Orange.
PINK: We were set up. Someone went over to the Dark Side.
MACE: Yeah, who then?
PINK: We don't know. Maybe our senses are clouded.
WHITE: We need a medical droid for Orange -- where's Joeda?
MACE: He's on his way. With a Clone Army. (To BLONDE.) I guess this is the droid you told me about? What the Force were you beating on him for?
PINK: So he'd tell if there was a set-up.
MACE: Come on, droids just follow orders, they'll say "Roger Roger" to anything if you hit them enough...
PINK: Then he'd tell us who did the set-up...
MACE: There is no set-up! Now, listen. We took a hit in the hyperdrive and we need to get parts for it. You two come with me, while Blonde stays here. (WHITE and PINK put up hoods, bow, and follow him out. BLONDE is left alone. Looks at droid.)
DROID: (In C3PO voice.) But I don't know anything! I'm really a protocal droid .. this is all a mistake...(Music begins -- "Cantina Band" from original "Star Wars". BLONDE turns on lightsaber, dances around with it to music. Suddenly lashes out, cutting off droid's head. C3PO head falls to floor, bounces over towards ORANGE.)
C3PO: Oh dear, where shall I find someone to give me head? (BLONDE is raising his lightsaber to slash the droid body, when his body is wracked with glowing electrical bolts. Camera whips over to show ORANGE half arisen, shooting the bolts out of his left hand. BLONDE writhes, finally collapses. ORANGE wriggles a little over to the HEAD, picks it up.)
C3PO: Oh, thank goodness. It's the Maker!
C3PO: Yes, Master?
ORANGE: I'm a Sith Lord.
Exterior. Day. The phone booth, with TARANTINO in it, homeless people still banging on doors.
TARANTINO: So, whaddaya think, Mr. Lucas? I mean, George? See, it's about *redemption*.. You know? People do bad stuff, but then they make up for it. Like Darth Vader in "Revenge of the Jedi." I mean, "Return". Or Han Solo. You know, he's gonna leave, but then he comes back at the last minute to blow away Darth Vader in his TIE fighter?
LUCAS: (in office) Yes, but you see, the next episode has to be about how Anakin BECOMES Darth Vader...
TARANTINO: Yeah, yeah, well, I can handle that...
(Exterior. Day. ORANGE, in different clothes, and DARTH SIDIOUS, in a robe.)
ORANGE: What's this?
SIDIOUS: It's a scene. Memorize it. If you are going to go undercover, you must be naturalistic. This is an amusing story about something that happened on a job.
(Interior. Evening. ORANGE is talking to AMIDALA across a table.)
ORANGE: ....so then we settled the matter with some "aggressive negotiation"....
AMIDALA: What does that mean?
ORANGE: We brought out our lightsabers...(AMIDALA smiles)
(Exterior. Day. ORANGE and SIDIOUS.)
ORANGE: Well, I'm in. Joeda wants me to be a Jedi.
SIDIOUS: Did you use the negotiation story?
ORANGE: Yeah, it worked real good.
SIDIOUS: Tell me more about Joeda.
ORANGE: You remember "Sesame Street"?
ORANGE: Grover. He sounds like Grover.
(Interior. Day. ORANGE's apartment. He sits, crosslegged, medidating. A hologram of MACE appears before him.)
MACE: It's showtime. Grab your cloak...we're hovering outside. (ORANGE buckles on belt, with lightsaber, puts on cloak, heads outside, stops, and looks at self in mirror.)
ORANGE: They don't know. They aren't mindful. You're not gonna get hurt. You're Spock. You're totally calm and they don't suspect a thing, 'cause the Force is with you.
(Interior. Day. The guys are all there.)
JOEDA: (In front, briefing.) Set this up myself I have. Approached all you I have, approached me have you not. Know each one of you I do, know your records. Except for this one. A learner yet he is. But in him strong the Force is, or here he would not be. Aliases shall we on this be using. (Points to each JEDI.) Master Brown, Master White, Master Blonde, Master Blue, Master Orange, Master Pink.
PINK: Hey, why do I have to be Master Pink?
JOEDA: Because a faggot you are.
PINK: Why can't we pick our own color?
JOEDA: A Jedi craves not these things.
PINK: How about I'll be Master Purple.
MACE: (drawing purple lightsaber.) No, you won't.
(Exterior. Day. ORANGE and WHITE are in an open speeder.)
WHITE: Let's go over this again. Where are you?
ORANGE: Outside Amidala's chamber. No one goes in.
WHITE: Where is she?
ORANGE: Underneath me...I mean, in bed, alone.
WHITE: Where am I?
ORANGE: On the roof, watching for attack from outside. What if someone attacks anyway?
WHITE: If it's a bounty hunter, they get paid anyway. They won't fight you. If you get one who thinks he's Buck Rogers, you just draw your lightsaber. Scares the crap out of em. If you get a Droideca, it's a different story. You gotta slice 'em in half. I'm hungry, let's get a food capsule.
Outside AMIDALA's chamber. WHITE is talking to ORANGE.
WHITE: Now, I'm going to be away for a little while, so I want you to take care of the Senator. Take her out.
ORANGE: "Take care" of her? "Take her out"? But I thought that was what the mysterious assassins were trying to do. You mean, investigate who is behind this?
WHITE: No, guard does not mean investigate. Just take her out, make sure she has a good time and doesn't get lonely.
(CUT TO: 50's Theme Diner. AMIDALA and ORANGE, she in tight white shirt and pants, he in loose black Jedi attire, are dancing ferociously...)
[In here will also be some romancing between ORANGE and AMIDALA, combining that between Vincent and Mia in "Pulp Fiction" and that in "Episode II".)
(Exterior. Day. Arena on Geonosis. WHITE, ORANGE, and BROWN rush in, deflecting blaster bolts with their lightsabers. BROWN gets hit, falls. WHITE has a lightsaber in each hand, deflecting blaster bolts back at droids, who fall.)
BROWN: Master Orange? (ORANGE looks shocked as BROWN dies.)
WHITE: Is he dead? Snap out of it. (WHITE pulls ORANGE along; they run into a cave or vaulted room, with COUNT DOOKU and TUSKEN RAIDERS. DOOKU knocks down WHITE, slashes off ORANGE's arm, then runs. ORANGE draws lightsaber in left hand, slashes down all TUSKENs, looks at them with horror, and at his arm. WHITE pushes him into spaceship. Replay of initial scene in spaceship:)
WHITE: Just hold on, my Padawan.
ORANGE: I killed them. I killed them all. They're dead, every single one of them. And not just the men, but the women and the children, too! They're like animals, and I slaughtered them like animals! I HATE THEM!
[JOEDA arrives, with clone troopers. Accuses ORANGE; WHITE defends him, but then ORANGE admits it; WHITE tells JOEDA to escape; CLONE TROOPERS try to stop him byt he succeeds; WHITE fights ORANGE as CLONE TROOPERS order them to stop; ORANGE severely wounded; WHITE escapes; CLONE TROOPERS place Darth Vader mask on ORANGE. Credits roll.]
[At Oscars, LUCAS and TARANTINO stand up, shake hands as audience applauds. Walk down aisle, audience comes to attention. They come onto stage; NATALIE PORTMAN smiles, gives them Oscar, which is C3PO...Holograms of WEINSTEIN, WILDER appear, smiling.]