Thursday, September 20, 2007

BE HANDSOME (draft 2)

Scene 1. Updated. Draft 2. More as it comes.

EXT. MICHELLE’S BALCONY - MORNING
The hum of an old radio song. Credits. Iris in.
A small tea table is set up. The balcony is decorated for a gerdener, a small gate with vines wrapping around it, a variety of plants. Everything is not quite taken care of. On the center of the table sits a radio, salt & pepper shakers, a small plate with a flower or cactus. An unassuming woman sits, fiddles with the cactus. This is Evelyn. She presses her finger against a spine as hard as she dares, which isn’t too hard, and looks into the house where another woman, more frantic, scuttles around. The scuttler is Michelle.
Michelle hurries out, sets them down some tea and a snack, fries or chips. She blinks anxiously in front of the radio. If she was frantic inside the house, she’s trying to hide it now and it’s not working. Evelyn is, in relation, less than excited.
MICHELLE
You, madam, are in for a treat.
EVELYN
Mm. (long pause. She realizes, incorrectly, that she should drink the tea.) Oh mm hmm tea is good.
She drinks in hindsight.
MICHELLE
Shh!!
Michelle turns the radio up, Evelyn swallows. Michelle’s voice comes out of the radio, and it is the most sultry thing you have ever heard.
INSERT: RADIO
MICHELLE (V.O.) (CONT’D)
(guitar jingle) Are you tempted by age? Are you unsatisfied by...age? (sound effect. Manaical laugh)
Michelle looks excitedly from the radio to Evelyn. Evelyn returns the look with a calm grin.
MICHELLE (V.O.) (CONT’D)
Age I don’t think is anything to worry about. Dont you have bigger worries? Sex gets me up and gets you down, so so far so good for you and your wood (jingle).
Michelle looks flat-eyed at the radio, Evelyn is still excited, then Michelle drifts her eyes out to the garden, and Evelyn is confused by Michelle’s choice of face.
MICHELLE (V.O.) (CONT’D)
In just eight weeks or nine weeks you can have it like you’ve always wanted it: Love yourself!

The voice on the radio is orgasmic, the one in person is unsexy, to say the least. Evelyn takes a sip of tea to stay occupied: she knows this is going horribly and needs something to cover her face.
MICHELLE (V.O.) (CONT’D)
Love yourself. Just call 1-888-B-HNDSM and remember: it can be inside you. 1-888-B-HNDSM. Don’t worry, you won’t regret it.
Michelle cringes as her voice pronounces the phone number phonetically rather than spelling it out. She shuts her eyes tight and her body recoils at the sound of her own voice.
Evelyn takes a breath and opens her mouth to speak, to console, but she lingers there and closes her mouth as the ad is quickly ammended.
ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
Be Handsome is trademark Clear Channel and cannot literally be inside you. Be Handsome cannot be held responsible for regrets, Saint Louis Missouri.
Evelyn turns down the radio a bit. The hum of an Bobby Womack tune continues under the conversation. After a beat:
EVELYN
It wasn’t bad.
As quickly as she came Michelle has picked up the plates with a clatter and gone back inside. She stays there a moment at the sink. Should she flee? She could just flee now. She should flee.
INSERT: DOOR LATCH
The sound of the door unlatching.
INSERT: STAIRWELL
The sound of feet down the stairwell is cut off half way by a nice, all encompassing silence. No more feet, no more dishes clattering, and for Christ’s sake no more Womack.
CUT TO:
EXT. BUSY STREET - DAY
The camera tracks down the street in total silence. Flee! Flee!
CUT TO:
EXT. BEACH - DAY
Waves crash and a sea breeze blows through Michelle’s hair. On her head are a pair of industrial sized, shooting-range ear muffs. Zen.
I/E. MICHELLE’S BALCONY - CONTINUOUS
Michelle grips the counter.
EVELYN
Don’t worry about it.
(noting her poor choice of words)
Really. I mean it.
Michelle comes back outside and sits expectantly. Evelyn doesn’t pick up on this immediately, watches her for a beat while she fiddles with a salt shaker, and then figures it out.
MICHELLE
That was awful and I have to quit.
EVELYN
(quickly but sincerely)
No no it wasn’t. You have to take it with a grain of salt. The company is strange, you knew that going in, though. Right?
Michelle nods sheepishly.
EVELYN (CONT’D)
Then don’t worry so much. It sounded great, especially considering the circumstances.
MICHELLE
You don’t think it sounded tacky?
EVELYN
(too quickly)
No.
MICHELLE
You don’t think I sounded like a total floosy?
EVELYN
(too slowly)
No.
Michelle thinks about this for a long, uncomfortable beat. Evelyn picks up her tea and drinks it, a gleam of fear in her eyes: Has Michelle found me out? Does she know I know she’s got no talent?
MICHELLE
I thought it was awful. It sounded so forced and so fake and that jingle, oh my god. Oh my god. I can't even stand it. I can't imagine what I was thinking or where that even came from. I'm an ass. What was I thinking? How could I have thought that doing that was a good idea? (gesturing towards the radio) I act sultry it goes out and everyone knows now. Everyone knows its me and that I am a hack. I haven't even hardly -- that was my first time and I'm a hack! Did you hear me? Some fucking two bit whore for a telephone number ughh.
Evelyn opens her mouth to laugh at this last line but quickly checks herself. She empathizes for a beat. She knows what is to come and doesn’t exactly want it. Michelle looks right at her.
EVELYN
You’re right you should quit.
Michelle scoffs.
MICHELLE
I refuse.
EVELYN
You thought you were doing something good but that’s obviously not true. They made you put yourself out on national airways.
She lets this sink in.
EVELYN (CONT’D)
As the B-Hndsm girl.
Michelle is glazed over with confusion.
EVELYN (CONT’D)
If you didn’t think they were trashy before you should now. Do you think you’ll even get paid?
MICHELLE
What? No. Yes! It wasn’t that bad. I can’t quit. It’s just salt. It’ll get better, I’ll just dust myself off and won’t ever have to actually acknowledge that I did that and it won’t matter because it’s not that bad. Come on.
The ad come back on the radio.
RADIO
(guitar jingle)
Are you tempted by age?
MICHELLE
Jesus Fuck Jesus.
She snaps the radio dial off as quickly as possible. They both sit there stunned.
INT. ROGER’S CAR - CONTINUOUS
Roger sits in his car listening to the radio.
RADIO
Are you unsatisfied by...age? (sound effect)
Roger bounces up and down.
ROGER
Woo boy Michelle! Gimme some of that sexy woo boy!
He breaks, flips a u-turn.
EXT. MICHELLE’S BALCONY - CONTINUOUS
Michelle pours a lot of pepper on her fries and gives her friend an ice cold glare. She eats a fry, practically gags, probably out of shame.
She eats. They stare.
Stalemate.
MONTAGE:
1. The same track down the busy street, except this time pan to Evelyn. She’s smirking.
2. Roger picks up a tomato plat from his back yard and examines it politely.
3. A radio tower looms over a hill.
INT. HOUSE - DUSK
Michelle sits at her rotary phone and dials a number. She listens to her own voice over the phone dictating new directions for the B-Hndsm phone line. Oh, she hates herself.

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