HANNAH (female, 21), HANNAH’S MOM, ANNOUNCER, ATLAS (male, 13), RATHMAN, COANCHOR, MASUDA (male), JESUS (male), ATLAS’ MOM, MARCY (female), GRETCHEN (female), LITTLE GIRL FAN, BABY (male), FANS, NINA (female), MARSHALL (male), LITTLE GIRL, STARCK (female, 47), COORDINATOR (female), BRENDAN, CARRIE (female, 10), CLERK, INDIAN, SOMEONE SHE KNOWS, MATRON, ASSISTANT, TONY, STRANGER, SCHIZOPHRENIC, GREYHOUND ATTENDANT
1—INT FIVE-STAR SUITE—NIGHT
HANNAH Gonzalez, 21, lies on a bed watching TV in one room of a five-star hotel suite. She talks on the phone. The phone is impossibly huge against her face.
HANNAH I can’t. We’re in rehearsals.
HANNAH’S MOM (OS) Just know you’re always welcome.
HANNAH No. Mom. Shut up.
HANNAH’S MOM (OS) I’m just saying..
HANNAH Be nice. You’re making me feel guilty.
Hanna ups the volume on the TV. Julian ATLAS, 13, fills the screen. He is black. His gestures are meticulous, his eyes alert, intelligent.
ANNOUNCER (OS) ..when acclaimed biographer Julian Atlas takes on quarterback Andrew Rathman, recently coined All Star of the Universe by The Sports Minute.
HANNAH’S MOM (OS) I’m not trying to make you feel guilty. It’s just an invitation and you don’t have to say yes. We just miss you. You there?
We see Atlas sitting with RATHMAN in a locker room, talking like old friends, Rathman throwing a 60-yard pass to completion in a national game, Atlas alone in his library.
ANNOUNCER (OS) In this special two-hour Interview, Atlas will examine Rathman’s meteoric trajectory..
HANNAH Mom. I gotta go.
ANNOUNCER (OS) ..from the athlete’s simple beginnings in a Pennsylvania mining town to his current status as unprecedented innovator of the pigskin.
HANNAH’S MOM (OS) OK. Call us soon, OK? Wait, your dad’s here. .. Your father wants to talk to you. .. Hannah?
HANNAH What? What I can’t hear you. There’s stuff going on here.
HANNAH’S MOM (OS) Your father wants to talk to you.
HANNAH’S MOM *(OS) Your father would like to talk with you.
HANNAH No, I don’t think so.
HANNAH’S MOM (OS) Baby.
HANNAH I’m gonna have to call you back.
HANNAH’S MOM (OS) Just talk with him a minute.
HANNAH I’ll call you tomorrow.
HANNAH’S MOM (OS) Please take good care of yourself.
Hannah disconnects. She watches Atlas and Rathman in an interview setting.
ATLAS When was it that you knew it was love?
RATHMAN We met in a field, little field outside Tulsa, most beautiful woman I’d ever seen, I knew right then—
It cuts to Julian, live, at a newsdesk in the studio.
ATLAS Join me this Sunday, and take a deeper look at Andrew Rathman.
It cuts to a slow-motion video of Andrew Rathman throwing a football in his back yard.
ANNOUNCER The Atlas Interview, Sunday at eight, only on NBC.
One of RATHMAN’S YOUNG SONS attempts to tackle him, while the other completes the pass. It cuts to Atlas in the studio. His COANCHOR turns to him.
COANCHOR That looks like an exciting segment, one I’ll be sure not to miss. What’s next for The Atlas Interview?
ATLAS I’m currently interviewing the painter, Hiromi Masuda.
COANCHOR Can you tell us a little about him?
ATLAS He’s the most reclusive of the contemporary abstractionists, born in Japan, his compositions to the Western eye are..stronger than what we’ve become accustomed to. I’ll save further details for the Interview but I can tell you that he has a show opening this weekend at Starck in New York.
COANCHOR Well, we look forward to it.
To the camera:
COANCHOR We’ll be right back.
It cuts to a preview of the Hiromi MASUDA interview. The screen shows images of Masuda: Camping in the Canadian outback. Caught on film while getting into a car.
ANNOUNCER (OS) Two weeks from now, the painter Hiromi Masuda. Reclusive, eccentric. Critics have compared his work to Rothko, detractors have accused him of sexual deviancy.
Hanna touches the screen. The screen fills our entire field of view.
ANNOUNCER (OS) Take a deeper look, when Julian Atlas speaks with Hiromi Masuda. The Atlas Interview. May nineteenth. Only on NBC.
It cuts to commercial. Hannah grabs her keys and phone and speed-dials a number. When she leaves her hotel room, the TV is still playing.
2—EXT HOTEL HALLWAY—NIGHT
Hannah comes into the hallway. Her bodyguard, JESUS, muscular, overweight, stands from a stool he has been spilling over outside Hannah’s door. Another GUARD, with a CIA-like earpiece, sits on a chair nearby. This one checks the suite’s door to make sure it’s locked and he and Jesus follow Hannah down the hall. Hannah’s call connects.
HANNAH What’s up with you, my nigga? .. It’s my turn on the contest, right?
Hannah is at an elevator. Her guards back her up. She presses the button (there is only one—the elevator can only go down from here).
HANNAH He is rich. He’s an artist. A painter. .. I saw him on TV. .. Of course he’s cute. .. Arright. No. No. That’s fine. .. It’s on.
Hannah disappears into the elevator. Her guards follow.
3—INT LIVING ROOM—NIGHT
The blue light of a TV is the only light in the room. Atlas wakes up on the couch. Sitting next to him, his YOUNGER BROTHER zones out holding a PlayStation controller. He’s playing Final Fantasy.
ATLAS What time is it?
His brother shrugs. Atlas gets up from the couch.
The sky is coming to life along a horizon fragmented by buildings. Only a thin vertical shaft of sky seems to reach all the way to the ground. Atlas comes outside, shlepping video recording equipment. He sets his stuff down next to a bike which is chained to the stoop’s handrail. ATLAS’ MOTHER comes out after him in her slippers and bathrobe.
ATLAS’ MOM. What’s so important? What’s so important you don’t have ten minutes? Atlas..
ATLAS I’m not responding. Thank you, but I’m not responding.
ATLAS’ MOM. Baby..
ATLAS I’m not dying of scurvy, here, Mom! I eat!
ATLAS’ MOM. But when do I get to see you? Is your brother still awake. I’m gonna take that damn thing away, you mark my words. Can’t get Andre to eat a TV dinner, he won’t take his eyes off that machine. When you coming home tonight? Huh? Oh, Atlas, baby, look at me.
ATLAS I already told you, I’m not having this conversation.
Atlas unlocks a thick silver chain and wraps it around the frame, locking it back. He puts the recording equipment in a basket on the back of the bike. He goes back inside the house. His mother watches him go inside, then sits on the porch and fishes in her pocket for her cigarettes. She lights one. When Atlas comes out he’s loaded up with more equipment, pads of paper, a laptop. He sees his mother smoking.
ATLAS’ MOM. Don’t say anything.
ATLAS I wasn’t going to.
Atlas puts all this stuff into the basket on the front of the bike. Both baskets are packed to the gills like a stack from a Dr. Seuss book. There’s no way they could be stable. Yet they hold. He avoids looking at his mom. When he’s done packing, ready to mount the bike, he does look at her.
ATLAS I’ll see you tonight?
Atlas’ mom nods. Atlas saddles up and rides away. The mom stands and watches her son go.
ATLAS’ MOM. I think you work too hard, my boy.
Atlas’ mom goes inside the house.
5—EXT NEW YORK STREETS—DAY
The opening credits of the movie play over a sequence of Atlas riding from the upper west side to midtown Manhattan, the streets becoming more crowded as he goes. The sun rises.
6—INT TELEVISION STUDIO—DAY
NBC Studios. Atlas steps out of an elevator, his bike beside him. Desks, people everywhere. Atlas goes down the main aisle. A woman, MARCY, joins him.
ATLAS Am I late?
MARCY. You’re all set up in two.
She takes his bicycle.
ATLAS I need that camera patched into c-p-twelve-eighty-seven.
ATLAS And whatever’s on my notebook in the transfer folder—
MARCY. ..in the transfer folder..
They have a moment: Atlas tries to figure out whether she’s making fun of him or not. The look on her face indicates that she cares what determination he makes in this regard.
ATLAS That’s right.
They part ways.
7—INT EDITING BAY—DAY
Atlas sits at his console and puts on a pair of headphones..they dwarf his head. He taps in a key sequence on the board before him: fingers lighting quick. Without looking at him, Atlas speaks to one of the TECHS nearby.
ATLAS I’m missing hot-store on Avid three.
There are a million screens before him. Atlas glances over them. Video fragments pop up all over.
ATLAS This thing is two weeks out, two weeks out and we have maybe thirty-five percent of what we need that’s not your fault. That’s my fault cause for some reason I’m sucking wind in these interviews. I’ll take care of that part just help keep me get what we already got cut down in nice little modular chunks so we can swap it around at the last minute OK?
Atlas breathes in and then out at the magnitude of the impending work. Marcy rushes into the seat beside him, straps on her headpiece. Atlas is so engaged with the screens he doesn’t notice her.
ATLAS (looking to the wrong side) Where’s Marcy?
Marcy waves at ATLAS. Atlas sees her. He momentarily disengages from psychic overdrive.
ATLAS How are you?
MARCY. I’m fine.
Atlas smiles curtly and turns back to his screens.
ATLAS I’ve got two hours.
8—INT HANNAH’S LIMOUSINE—DAY
Hannah checks herself in a huge dressing mirror that has been permanently installed in her limo. Nothing is good enough: she adjusts her skirt. Next to Hannah in the back of the limo is a GRETCHEN, 24, a starlet-looking vixen, white girl, with the calm and the clothes of someone who has a lot of money in the bank. Gretchen flips through a magazine. She has a cigarette burning. Hannah speaks to her DRIVER.
HANNAH Stop a block away.
Jesus sits in the front next to the driver. He has a baby face, sensitive eyes.
JESUS It’s better if we stop in the same block, you won’t have to cross the street.
HANNAH The point is I don’t want to pull up right in front.
JESUS (mainly to the driver) We can stop right after the intersection.
Jesus speaks into a walkie-talkie.
JESUS Pull in front of us when we stop.
Gretchen shows Hannah something in the magazine.
GRETCHEN. Look at this. Do you believe him?
Unintelligible static comes back over Jesus’ walkie-talkie.
JESUS Copy that, I need four, two and two, make a box. You’re out first, on us, street side, I repeat, street side, copy?
More unintelligible static comes over the air. Hannah continues fidgeting with her dress.
HANNAH Is this OK?
Jesus looks through the sliding window.
JESUS You look beautiful.
Hannah hits Gretchen.
HANNAH Shut up.
GRETCHEN. I’m serious. I hate to say this, but you’re gonna lose this one.
HANNAH Have I ever lost?
GRETCHEN. I’m just sayin’.
HANNAH OK. We’ll see then.
GRETCHEN. Yeah, we will see.
They lock pinkie fingers and shake, gangsta-style. Gretchen shakes her head and smirks. Hannah punches Gretchen in the chest. The magazine falls.
GRETCHEN. Fuck, bitch!
And Gretchen is going for Hannah, reaching for her hair. Jesus’ phone rings. He checks the caller id.
JESUS Baby. For you.
Hannah leans up and kisses Jesus on the cheek. She takes the phone and ducks into the back. Gretchen retrieves the fallen magazine. She is shaking her head as she looks back to it. Hannah is primping when Gretchen fakes a punch at her. Hannah flinches, then makes a punchy move in at Gretchen which is really a display of her middle finger. Gretchen is face-down in the magazine, making a slow middle finger back. The limousine pulls through an intersection and stops in the red zone on the corner. One black sedan pulls around front, the other stays in the intersection. Four concealed-carry security guards exit the sedans, two from each car. They form a box next to the limo door, two near the door on each side and two standing in the street. It’s Saturday at 11am; Manhattanites are already forming crowds to see who gets out of the limousine. Jesus gets out of the limo and goes in-between the box. He opens the door for Hannah. Hannah gets out. Gretchen stays inside.
8—EXT HANNAH’S LIMOUSINE—DAY
HANNAH (to Gretchen) Bye girl.
9—INT HANNAH’S LIMOUSINE—DAY
Gretchen hasn’t moved. Her eyes are on the magazine in her lap.
GRETCHEN. Good luck.
Gretchen reaches for the cigarette.
10—EXT HANNAH’S LIMOUSINE—DAY
A LITTLE GIRL FAN on a leash comes up to Hannah (those leashes parents use to avoid losing their kids in a supermarket).
LITTLE GIRL FAN. Hannah!! I love you!
Hannah is all smiles, shining as the sun, in her reply.
HANNAH I love you too!
The guards hold back a throng of fans as Hannah steps onto the sidewalk. Everyone knows who she is. She flips open the cellphone that Jesus handed her.
On the other end, we hear Hannah’s producer, BABY.
BABY (OS) Where the fuck are you?
HANNAH I’m doing a sighting.
BABY (OS) There’s no sighting on the schedule.
HANNAH It’s impromptu.
Hannah strolls along the sidewalk.
HANNAH Can you hold on for a second.
BABY (OS) I’ve got a room full of dancers here..
HANNAH Yep, just one second, OK?
She pulls down the door on a mailbox and drops the phone inside. Lets the door slam shut. The phone echoes a thundering thud at the bottom of the mailbox. Fans are screaming:
Girls swoon. Men stop in their tracks. Hannah’s guards hold back the mob as Hannah smiles and reaches to all of them.
11—INT ROBYN STARCK GALLERY NYC—DAY
Robyn STARCK, art dealer, forty-seven, at a massive desk. She hears the screams of “Hannah!” from outside, turns her head. Bold stenciled capitals spell out “STARCK” on the glass of her SOHO storefront. A shoe hits the window. Starck marches to the front. On the way, she passes Hiromi Masuda, who is kneeling on the floor, barefoot, applying cryptic strokes in permanent marker directly to the wall. Two ASSISTANTS stand nearby. Ploosh hair. Insane NY fashion. Julian Atlas kneels beside Masuda, capturing the detail of Masuda’s hand with his camera. When Starck gets to the front of her gallery, she can see the crowd. The guards shield Hannah as the six of them come into the gallery. Two of the guards hold back to block the door.
STARCK What the fuck is going on?
She sees Hannah. Her demeanor changes.
STARCK Miss Gonzalez. Next time let us know.
HANNAH Is that him?
They both look at Masuda.
STARCK. That’s him.
HANNAH What’s he doing?
STARCK. We try to keep him in canvas, but he prefers the wall.
HANNAH Can I talk to him?
STARCK. You’re welcome to try.
The assistants take notice, but play it coolly, as Hannah passes them. Hannah comes up beside Hiromi. Julian keeps his camera in place, but follows Hannah with his eyes. Hiromi keeps his eyes on his work. Hannah glances around the gallery.
HANNAH This is nice.
Hiromi keeps working.
HANNAH I could imagine this in my kitchen.
Atlas’ camera tracks to Hannah. She sees this, but pretends not to have; she acts as if she’s all alone with Masuda.
HANNAH You wanna come to my show?
Hiromi does not turn his head.
MASUDA I’m ignorant about music.
HANNAH There’s a little party after. You could be my date.
Masuda changes markers. His eyes narrow; he is hardening himself to outside influence.
STARCK. I doubt he’ll attend your party, but you are certainly welcome to attend ours. Just a little get-together for the opening of the show.
Hannah’s brow furrows. She stands and goes to Starck.
HANNAH Is this for sale?
Robyn doesn’t understand which thing Hannah means: everything in the gallery is for sale.
STARCK. Is what for sale?
Hannah gestures toward Hiromi.
STARCK. That what? The wall?
HANNAH Yes, what he’s working on, the wall.
STARCK. See, Hiromi, I told you, someone’s going to want to buy that and now what can I tell them? We’ll have to paint over it in a month. You’re throwing your work away.
HANNAH That’s OK.
Hannah gestures to JESUS He is by her side instantly.
HANNAH Get Jeffrey in here to move that.
Starck doesn’t believe this. Even Jesus is unsure.
HANNAH He’ll know how to do it.
STARCK. That’s shared with the shop next door.
HANNAH We’ll replace it.
STARCK. I would love for you to have that, but it’s part of the show. We need it for the opening.
HANNAH (like: what’s the problem?) Move it after the opening.
Starck motions to one of her assistants. The assistant comes over with a pen and a pad of paper. Hannah walks away, looking at the paintings. Starck says something to the assistant. The assistant scribbles something on the pad of paper. Hannah faces Hiromi Masuda.
HANNAH (nonplussed) Is the rest of this stuff for sale?
12—INT ROBYN STARCK GALLERY NYC—NIGHT
The gallery is abuzz. Socialites mingle and browse. Robyn Starck laughs with a small crowd. Tuxedoed waiters bring drinks around. Hannah is there, Jesus standing close by. Hannah’s other bodyguards are there, but now they blend into the crowd. This crowd is versed enough to pretend not to notice Hannah. Hannah’s producer, BABY, is there with her. Also Gretchen, in a designer evening gown, one arm across her chest, the other craning up to hold a bowl-like wine glass to her lips. Hannah is further flanked by young woman, NINA Williams, hip-hop looking, Euro style, and a young man, MARSHALL Law, in basketball garb with designs chiseled into his head.
BABY. Who is this guy?
Marshall makes his hand into the shape of a gun.
MARSHALL. (duh) That’s Masuda, cutty.
Hannah gestures around the room.
HANNAH (isn’t it obvious?) A painter?
BABY. What is “cutty”?
Photographers swoop deftly in, snap them, flash, take another, swoop away, take another from a distance.
GRETCHEN. How long you here?
NINA. (she has a British accent) Doin’ twelve weeks hard time, cutty.
Baby has the show’s flyer in his hand.
BABY. What is this term?
Everyone stares at him like he’s a sheltered child.
BABY. What? What is it?
He turns the flyer over to the back. It’s blank.
BABY. I’ve never heard of this guy.
MARSHALL. No one can help you if you’re visually illiterate.
HANNAH He’s a New York guy.
BABY. Still, I woulda heard of this guy.
NINA. (a toss-off) How’s your fuck?
GRETCHEN. (so sick of it) That fuck is so fucked up.
Starck swings by Hannah and Baby. She leans in confidentially to Hannah.
STARCK. You haven’t happened to see—
BABY. Hi. I’m—
BABY. Baby Garafolo.
STARCK. Robyn Starck.
MARSHALL. Mr. Garafolo here is an art critic with the San Francisco Chronicle.
Starck seems impressed. Baby looks at Marshall. Hannah sees Julian Atlas at the gallery door. He’s pushing a wheelchair. The man seated in the chair is dressed in a wickedly tacky suit, something from the seventies.
STARCK. You haven’t happened to see our Mr. Masuda, have you?
Hannah nods toward the door. Masuda is wearing a wig: dark brown hair parted weightily to one side. A brown plaid suit, something horrible, something from the seventies. Gretchen’s knees buckle, and simultaneously she grabs Nina’s arm and wine sprays out of her mouth—laughing.
NINA. Fucking hell.
GRETCHEN. (her mouth still full) Sorry..
Masuda wears dark glasses, no shoes, holds a tall red-tipped white cane, feigns blindness, and drinks from a bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag. Nina is wiping off her dress. She’s good-naturedly shaking her head at Gretchen, who is trying (with futility) to be discreet as she sets her glass on the floor. Julian Atlas pushes Masuda into the showroom. Gallery-goers cast wondering and disapproving glances in his direction. Starck is mortified. Atlas stops the wheelchair near a crowd. When Masuda haltingly stands, Atlas comes to his aid. Using the cane, Masuda sloppily rises from the chair, trips, and falls into the crowd. His cane clacks to the floor. The crowd reels back. Masuda catches the arm of a GENTLEMAN to break his fall. The gentleman reluctantly helps Masuda stand. Another guest hands Masuda his cane. As soon as the artist is righted, he falls again. This time, while he’s being helped up, he manages to knock the dark glasses off his own head. Starck rushes over. Atlas busts out his camera.
STARCK. (to the gentleman) I’m so sorry. (to Masuda) What’s in the bag?
MASUDA It’s a free country, lady.
Masuda takes a big swig. Gallery-goers gawk.
STARCK. Ladies and gentlemen, believe it or not, this is—
MASUDA Save it. We all know who I am.
Masuda jumps on the wheelchair and throws his wig straight up into the air. He speaks into his drink like a rockstar holding a microphone.
MASUDA I am Atlas! God of weightlifting and heavy burdens!
Masuda jumps off the chair and leans in close to Starck’s face.
MASUDA Join me tonight as I take a deeper look at the gallery-owner, Robyn Starck.
Masuda sticks the microphone in Starck’s face.
MASUDA Are you a lesbian, Miss Starck?
Starck is taken off her guard. She says nothing. Atlas catches all this on his camera. Hannah comes into frame. It’s as though she’s taking over Starck’s character in the interview.
HANNAH Define lesbian.
Masuda doesn’t miss a beat.
MASUDA A woman with a predilection for members of her own sex.
HANNAH Now for members of our viewing audience who aren’t familiar with that term, Mr Atlas..
MASUDA Which term is that?
MASUDA It means she eats bush.
Starck slumps into the background. A WELL-DRESSED MIDDLE-AGED MAN asks her something. From his body language we get that he’s asking what’s going on.
HANNAH (grabbing Masuda’s bottle) Can I have some of that?
MASUDA (disdainfully) You only had eleven steps to go!
As Hannah swigs from the bottle, the paper bag falls off. Hannah sees that it’s Dasani and makes a sour face.
STARCK. Have your fun, just don’t do it here.
This time Masuda is speaking to Starck.
MASUDA There you are.
MASUDA Can I call you Robyn?
13—INT GALLERY STOCK ROOM—NIGHT
Atlas and Masuda in the stock room, sitting on wooden crates, a bottle of wine between them. Masuda has shed his disguise; his mannerisms are now his own. Atlas has his camera beside him, but he is not filming.
MASUDA She lives with you?
ATLAS Yeah, the three of us. I can’t leave the house. She thinks I should still be in school.
MASUDA Is Andre smart like you?
ATLAS He’s smart.
MASUDA But not like you.
The door opens and Starck leans in.
STARCK. I have people who’d like to meet you.
MASUDA In a minute.
STARCK. Help me help you sell these paintings.
MASUDA Those paintings are already sold.
STARCK. Help me sell the next ones.
MASUDA Who said there’s gonna be any next ones?
Starck is fed up. She leaves and shuts the door.
14—INT ROBYN STARCK GALLERY NYC—NIGHT
Starck pulls shut the stock room door. Hannah is in her face. Hannah’s crew is visible in the background: Gretchen drunkly confides in Nina, Baby uncomfortably endures the conversation of an AGING PLAYBOY.
HANNAH Can I go in?
STARCK. It’s boy time, I’m afraid.
Starck goes out into the gallery to rub shoulders. Hannah knocks on the door. No response. She knocks louder.
ATLAS Come back later!
MASUDA Go away!
HANNAH Please. There’s no one to talk to out here.
She waits a bit. The door opens two inches. She pushes it open more and goes in.
15—INT GALLERY STOCK ROOM—NIGHT
Hannah comes in tentatively and closes the door.
HANNAH Not filming?
MASUDA Just friends tonight.
HANNAH How’s the interview going?
MASUDA If you’re gonna be like that go back out there with the reptiles.
Hannah plays her next moment carefully. She thinks about sitting down. She thinks about going back into the gallery. She looks from Atlas to Masuda, then back at Atlas. She turns her back to them, walks measuredly to the back entrance of the stock room. It’s a door with a horizontal release bar. Without looking back, she pushes the door open and goes out into the darkness of the alley. The door closes behind her. Masuda and Atlas look at each other. Masuda smiles. They both get up and head for the door.
16—EXT HANNAH’S LIMOUSINE—NIGHT
Atlas leans out of one of the limousine’s back windows. The vehicle is cruising north on Broadway, headed through Times Square. This is the first time we see him when he looks like a kid. Masuda is looking out of the window on the other side. Lights reflect in the black glass and lacquer paint of the limousine.
17—INT HANNAH’S LIMOUSINE—NIGHT
Hannah is kneeling on the floor near an extensive inlaid bar. She pours three full shots of Bacardi 151 and makes her way to the middle of the back bench seat between the boys. Atlas is still leaning out the window. Hannah gives Masuda a chunky shot glass and downs her own, tossing the glass toward the floor at the front of the limo. Masuda, keeping his eyes locked with Hannah’s, nonchalantly throws his shot (glass and liquid, both) out the window. Hannah laughs. Atlas leans back in. Hannah gives him a shot glass. Atlas sees that neither of the other two has one. He smells it, recoils, and gives it to Hannah. She drinks that one too and hands the glass to Masuda. Masuda tosses it out the window. Hannah smiles. She takes the hands of both her new friends, but she gives Masuda a special look.
18—INT FIVE-STAR SUITE—NIGHT
Hannah is kneeling on the floor near an extensive inlaid bar. She pours three full shots of Bacardi 151 and makes her way to the middle of the back bench seat between the boys. Atlas is still leaning out the window. Hannah gives Masuda a chunky shot glass and downs her own, tossing the glass toward the floor at the front of the limo. Masuda, keeping his eyes locked with Hannah’s, nonchalantly throws his shot (glass and liquid, both) out the window. Hannah laughs. Atlas leans back in. Hannah gives him a shot glass. Atlas sees that neither of the other two has one. He smells it, recoils, and gives it to Hannah. She drinks that one too and hands the glass to Masuda. Masuda tosses it out the window. The TV in Hannah’s room is on, as though it’s been on this whole time. Hannah is standing on the giant bed holding a gallon of strawberry ice cream. Masuda sits on the bed, with his bare feet on her covers. Atlas squats on a chair, filming.
HANNAH Do you want some food?
Masuda shakes his head. The door opens. Jesus leans in with a call.
JESUS It’s your mothe—
HANNAH Jesus! JESUS Don’t. Interrupt me.
Hannah looks at him harshly. She is not kidding. Jesus bows out, pulling the door closed.
HANNAH ATLAS Food?
ATLAS What do you have?
Atlas keeps filming, she faces him: they talk through the camera.
HANNAH Well..we have..what do you want?
ATLAS Grilled cheese.
Hannah bends to remove a room service menu from one of the side tables. When she opens it, it is very big in her face.
HANNAH Catch of the Day, Please inquire. Napoleon of Sautéed Veal, With Wild Mushrooms and Grilled Tomatoes..Fresh Mozzarella Gratin Red Wine Sauce that sounds pretty good. And on the kids menu we have..a Cavatappi Pasta with Tomato Sauce.
Hannah raises her eyebrows.
HANNAH And..ah..grilled cheese. You really want one?
Hannah fishes around in the covers. She finds her phone, speed-dials Jesus.
HANNAH JESUS I want a grilled cheese sandwich with a slice of tomato on it.
ATLAS No tomato.
HANNAH Thank you Jesus.
ATLAS No tomato.
Hannah clicks off and drops the phone on her bed. The phone is huge by modern standards.
HANNAH Trust me, you’ll like it better with the tomato. Don’t you think he’ll like it better with the tomato?
ATLAS I don’t eat vegetables.
HANNAH Well a tomato isn’t technically a vegetable. Or is that ketchup?
HANNAH You’re a man of few words, Hiromi. Can I call you Hiromi? (to Atlas) Isn’t he a man of few words?
ATLAS You have to ask the right questions.
HANNAH And what would these right questions be.
Atlas comes over to the bed to get a better shot of Masuda. When he interviews, it’s like he’s just talking to you.
ATLAS Your style..the style you paint with now..you developed that when you were twenty-six.
Masuda opens up. Hannah watches intently.
MASUDA I’m a slave to the groove, man.
Jesus leans in. He’s holding the phone, covering the mouthpiece with his hand.
JESUS **HANNAH. It’s Baby.
Hannah throws a shoe from the bed at Jesus’s head. It glances off his neck and shoulder and ricochets into the hall.
HANNAH You’re fired. OK? Leave us the fuck alone.
Jesus backs away, pulling the door shut. Hannah sits on the bed, intent on the interview.
ATLAS Don’t you get tired of continuing to repeat that same style?
MASUDA I was tired of it when I was twenty-six.
ATLAS (an imperative) Change.
MASUDA That’s like you changing the format of your show to be stand-up comedy. (to Hannah) Or the first song you had on the radio..don’t you find yourself characterized by that, even now?
HANNAH But you can paint anything you want.
MASUDA But not sell it.
HANNAH You tell Robyn Starck to go fuck herself. If I don’t smile at every single one of these people do you know how many people will see pictures of it the next day? “IS HANNAH DEPRESSED?..HANNAH SNUBS FANS!..HANNAH PREGNANCY SCARE”..who knows what the fuck what.
An ad for The Atlas Interview comes on television. Atlas glances over. He’s the only one who sees it.
HANNAH Do you know what would happen if I did what you did tonight at one of my shows?
Masuda goes to the door. Opens it. Gestures for them to follow.
MASUDA Let me show you something.
19—INT FREIGHT ELEVATOR—NIGHT
Going up, lights outside the elevator illuminate the threesome. Atlas films.
HANNAH You don’t have bodies stored in here or something.
MASUDA The frozen corpses of beautiful young women? Regretfully, no. Unless you’d like to submit an application.
Hannah bends to retrieve a pack of cigarettes from her boot. Masuda notices a tatoo on the small of Hannah’s back. When Hannah comes up she sees Masuda looking at it. She offers Masuda a cigarette. Masuda takes it. Hannah lights it for him, then lights her own. Then she lifts her shirt and pushes down her skirt so he can get a clearer view of the tattoo. It’s a caterpillar. Masuda touches Hannah’s skin, and he lets his touch depart. Hannah leans against the elevator wall opposite Masuda. There are stares between them. The elevator stops. Masuda opens the elevator doors.
HANNAH What is this place for real?
MASUDA My hideout.
Masuda goes out.
20—INT MASUDA’S PRIVATE WAREHOUSE—NIGHT
Hiromi switches on the lights. They’re in a warehouse space, maybe 5000 square feet, two stories tall, with a room built inside it and stairs leading up to the interior room. Paintings everywhere, the walls are painted, the stairs are painted, the floor is amess with color, tarps, woodslabs. He’s stretching canvasses. The windows are blacked out. Hiromi picks up a tiny remote that was on a shelf and turns on music. The place is dense with books; he has freestanding bookshelves perpendicular to the wall, old movie posters. There’s a wide chair swing mounted from the ceiling with chain. It is plushly cushioned like a most comfortable couch. Empty wine bottles litter the floor. The place is ridiculously appointed, eclectic, messy, lived in. Atlas films. Hannah goes in. She sees a large-format book of underwater animals, opens it. There’s writing over every page in the book: Masuda’s notes, a cryptic mesh of English and Japanese. Hannah closes the book. Next to it is an unopened bottle: the 1787 Château d’Yquem, plain label, bottle a bit too wide and round for modern tastes.
MASUDA Open that if you want.
Masuda picks up an empty wine bottle.
MASUDA (his pronunciation of the German is perfect) This is Maximin Grunhaus Abtsberg Spatlese, 1989.
He throws the bottle at a wall and it shatters.
MASUDA That’s what I drink.
Hannah closes the book. She sees the paintings in this studio. They’re completely different than what was in the gallery. These are not Masuda’s signature style. Those were technical, those were industrial. These are still abstract, but these are biological. Those were black and white and shades of gray. These are green, and blue, and deep red. Those were brushed and markered and photocopied. These were applied solely with hands and feet; Masuda’s fingerprints, literally, are in them. Hannah is overwhelmed.
HANNAH Why don’t you show these.
MASUDA (he makes quote marks with his fingers) “Hiromi Masuda” didn’t paint those.
Hannah sits on the floor. Masuda dials a number.
MASUDA I need a grilled cheese sandwich and another case of Grunhaus.
Hannah turns to Masuda. Masuda hangs up the phone. Atlas films everything.
21—INT MASUDA’S PRIVATE WAREHOUSE—NIGHT
They all sit on the chair swing, Hannah in the middle. Masuda expertly refreshes Hannah’s glass. He admonishes Atlas for continuing to film.
MASUDA Atlas, drink your drink.
Atlas puts the camera in his lap. He has some of the wine.
MASUDA How close are we, anyway?
ATLAS We have a long way to go.
MASUDA Weeks? Days? Doesn’t it air in like thirteen days?
ATLAS Indeed it does.
Atlas hits the wine, hard. Hannah picks up Atlas’ camera. It’s still recording.
MASUDA Don’t worry man, you’ll get it. How does it look so far?
Hannah points the camera at Atlas.
ATLAS (looking into the lens of his own camera) I don’t usually discuss that with the subject.
MASUDA That’s OK, I was just being polite.
Atlas goes back to a normal conversation stance with Masuda; he seems to ignore the camera’s presence.
ATLAS Are you gonna watch it?
MASUDA I’ll watch it.
ATLAS Do you have a television?
MASUDA I’m sure someone..on this floor..has a television. I will watch it.
HANNAH Why don’t you do an interview on me?
ATLAS Cause someone stole my camera.
HANNAH There’s probably a big review board or something to decide Who is the Next Subject of the Atlas Interview. How do they decide?
ATLAS I decide.
HANNAH What made you pick Hiromi here.
ATLAS The review board told me to.
MASUDA Is that true?
ATLAS Nah I just liked your art.
HANNAH Saw his painting in a window?
ATLAS Saw him painting on a window.
ATLAS Yeah, I was riding my bike and you were out there with masking tape and sharpies decorating someone’s window. I’m pretty sure your contribution was not solicited by the owner of the window.
MASUDA What gave you that idea?
ATLAS Um, I don’t know, maybe the fact that you were wearing a ski mask?
MASUDA I get this nice letter in the mail saying Julian Atlas would like to interview me..NBC letterhead..had no idea you were scouting me out on the street.
Atlas hesitates..then he goes ahead and says it.
ATLAS I’d been filming you for eleven days before they sent that letter.
MASUDA Is that illegal?
ATLAS Not once you’ve signed the release forms.
Masuda isn’t concerned, he’s just interested in the technicalities.
MASUDA But that..retroactively..?
ATLAS It’s hard to prove. Who can say when that stuff was filmed. Unless you were filming me filming you.
MASUDA Maybe I was.
Atlas chuckles. Masuda finds, for the first time, a shred of concern.
MASUDA What kind of stuff were you filming?
Atlas takes a long swig of the wine.
22—INT MASUDA’S PRIVATE WAREHOUSE—NIGHT
Atlas has passed out from the wine. His camera is back in his sleeping hand. Hannah moves Atlas’ leg so she can get up from the swing. She takes a wine glass from Atlas’ other hand and sets it down quietly. Masuda gets up from the swing, standing politely. Hannah stretches. She and Masuda trade glances.
MASUDA Let’s take a walk.
23—EXT ATOP THE ROOF OF MASUDA’S WAREHOUSE—DAWN
Hannah and Masuda come out of a stairway onto the roof of the warehouse. The bottom parts of the sky are starting to show yellows and blues. Hannah carries a fresh bottle of wine.She skips to the edge of the roof. There’s a small raised lip around the perimeter. She looks over, then climbs up and sits on the edge. Masuda is not worried. He sits with her. They drink together, sharing the bottle. He looks down and sees Hannah’s limousine parked across the street.
MASUDA That must get annoying.
HANNAH Just wait.
The front seat, passenger-side door of the limo door opens. Jesus steps out. His phone is to his ear. Hannah’s phone rings.
HANNAH Yes Jesus.
Jesus is gesticulating rather wildly with his free hand.
HANNAH I know JESUS I will. Don’t sweat it.
She hangs up. Jesus shakes his head and gets back in the car.
MASUDA He’s worried you’ll jump?
HANNAH He’s worried someone will see me.
MASUDA And if someone does?
HANNAH He doesn’t have any backup security so it’s just him and the driver. They wouldn’t be able to handle the mob.
HANNAH Oh yes.
MASUDA (he says it like a prayer, he’s giving thanks) I am glad to be invisible.
Someone screams up from below. It’s a LITTLE GIRL walking with HER BROTHER to school. They’re maybe in the first or second grade.
LITTLE GIRL. Hannah Gonzalez!
HANNAH (raising the bottle of wine) Hello little girl!
Jesus gets out of the car. He raises his arms and shrugs like: what are you doing? Hannah yells down to him.
HANNAH What? (to the little girl) Have a nice day at school!
Someone opens a window and looks out. The girl’s brother drags her onward. He opens a giant umbrella over them, as if in protection from the voice from above. Hannah thwarts their progress.
HANNAH What’s your name little girl?
The little girl’s face lights up like a Christmas tree. She turns and stops, beaming up at Hannah.
LITTLE GIRL. It’s Hillary!
Hannah stands up on the ledge. She balances herself with outstretched arms, one hand still gripping the wine. Jesus’ phone goes to his ear.
Masuda takes Hannah’s free hand in his, encouraging her off the ledge.
HANNAH (on the surface, energetic and believable, but obviously something she’s said a thousand times) I love you Hillary!
LITTLE GIRL. (totally sparked, totally genuine) I love you too Hannah!
The girl’s brother drags her onward. They do go, but Hillary keeps stealing glances at the roof. Similarly, Masuda leads Hannah from the ledge. She takes a large gulp of wine. Masuda takes the bottle from her and sets it on the roof. Hannah’s phone is ringing.
HANNAH (angrily) What is it?
By the limousine, a couple of ONLOOKERS are already starting to take note. One tries to peer inside the limo. The other looks up at the roof.Jesus stands on the street. For the moment he benevolently ignores the onlookers. He speaks into his phone.
JESUS We gotta go.
25—EXT ATOP THE ROOF OF MASUDA’S WAREHOUSE—DAWN
Hannah and Masuda go into the stairway and down the stairs.
HANNAH Bitchin wine.
MASUDA Yeah, those Germans know their stuff.
The mostly-full bottle of Grunhaus 1989 sits on the roof as they go out of sight.
26—EXT I-95 SOUTH OF MANHATTAN—DAY
ALL IN ONE SHOT: Hannah’s caravan of tourbusses, limousines, and 18-wheelers is parked along the side of interstate highway 95. Drivers and roadies and security guards all stand and sit around. Fields and then factories and then the Manhattan skyline lie behind the caravan. Hannah, Masuda, and Atlas are the only ones moving: all the crew people are stationary. Atlas is filming Hannah take Masuda’s hand and try to lead him into her bus. Masuda won’t go.
HANNAH Come on.
MASUDA You’re drunk.
HANNAH So what?
MASUDA I don’t hold hands.
HANNAH Just come inside for a second.
HANNAH I wanna lie down, I’m tired.
MASUDA Go ahead, then. Lie down.
HANNAH I wanna show you something.
HANNAH Not that. Fine. Whatever.
She goes inside the bus. Masuda turns to Atlas.
MASUDA You OK?
Atlas nods silently behind the camera.
MASUDA Let’s take a little break.
Atlas lowers the camera and watches Masuda go inside Hannah’s bus. The door closes.
HANNAH (OS) See this? This is what I wanted to show you.
A moment passes.
MASUDA (OS) Wow. That is beautiful.
MASUDA (OS) Can we show Atlas?
HANNAH (OS) No. Come with me to LA.
MASUDA (OS) We’re filming the interview.
HANNAH (OS) Film it on the way.
MASUDA (OS) This interview is my first priority right now.
HANNAH (OS) I’ll leave you two alone.
MASUDA (OS) The thing is, it’s the other way around: he has to be with me. All the time. Whatever I’m doing, he’s there.
HANNAH (OS) I understand that.
During this time, Atlas has gotten bored and discouraged, has kicked the dirt, looked around at the roadies who look at him like he’s a freak, and finally sat down on the ground. Atlas’ back is to Hannah’s bus when the door opens and Masuda leans out.
MASUDA Wanna go to Los Angeles?
Atlas doesn’t realize Masuda is speaking to him.
MASUDA (smiling) You wanna go to Los Angeles?
Atlas stands. Masuda holds the door open for him. Atlas goes to the bus, walks up the steps, and disappears inside.
27—EXT I-95 SOUTH OF MANHATTAN—DAY
WIDE ANGLE FROM STREET LEVEL: Hannah’s bus pulls onto the road. The caravan is on the road. Clear skies. Limos turn up dust as they peel out and join the 18-wheelers and busses in a long line.
MONTAGE: HANNAH SHOWS OFF HER STUFF. IT’S MTV CRIBS ON CRACK TO FUN ROAD MUSIC, MAYBE DEVIL’S HAIRCUT—BUT SOMETHING WITH THAT TONE I THINK. Masuda and Atlas follow her through narrow hallways lined with mirrored closets. Hannah models dresses for them. They climb stairs that lead to the roof of one bus where she has a jacuzzi semi-recessed in the roof. They are miraculously in another bus now. In this one Hannah has a dance club with a full bar, strobelight, blacklight, disco balls. Atlas strikes a pose. Masuda takes a shot on a red felt-topped pool table. He’s a pro. Atlas opens a refrigerator and looks at Hannah like she’s crazy: it’s stocked to the gills with Red Bull cans, their labels all facing the same direction. Hannah takes a Red Bull and pops the cap. Atlas opens the next refrigerator: the whole thing is full of chewy toys for infants, rubber ducks, water toys. Masuda goes to the third refrigerator; Hannah blocks him from opening it, her back against the door. Masuda forces her out of the way. Hannah struggles to cover the lens of Atlas’ camera. It’s not cold inside this refrigerator: this one has been converted into a closet lined with diamonds. It’s full of whips, vibrators, masks, straps. Hannah closes it.
HANNAH End of interview.
Atlas drives one of the busses for a split second. We see him seated before the huge steering wheel, facing enormous windows, speeding along the open road. The three of them are inside another bus. Hannah flips on the lights: it’s a bowling alley with two lanes. Atlas ties on a pair of bowling shoes way too big for him. Out of nowhere, he has on a bowling glove. He stumbles up the lane and launches the ball. It hits hard when it falls. Hannah gets a strike. Masuda bowls backward, through his legs. The caravan crosses over the bridge south of Philadelphia, heading toward the airport and the refineries. The three of them chill in Hannah’s dining room. Hannah has three pairs of clothes on, all on top of each other, two different shoes, huge dark sunglasses. Masuda wears one of Hannah’s fur coats and no shoes. Atlas straightens his jacket. Two formal waiters serve the threesome lobster while they smoke long cigarettes and drink champagne and laugh and generally act the fool (Mad Hatter tea party feel). Now they speed through Pennsylvania hills as the sun goes down.
29—INT MASUDA’S COMPARTMENT—NIGHT
In a compartment that Hannah has designated for Hiromi Masuda, Hiromi sits on a massive couch while Atlas interviews him. The camera sits on a shelf, framing Masuda.
MASUDA We wrote letters, I mean she must have written me thirty letters that summer. She had such neat handwriting, print, very artistic/visual. My first kiss was with that girl.
The door opens. Hannah tip-toes in, sits gingerly.
MASUDA Yeah, in a church! Our church youth group was having a sleepover and she conveniently forgot to bring her sleeping bag, so we had to share.
Atlas notices Hannah, and is visibly made uncomfortable by her presence, but he says nothing.
ATLAS What about your parents, or.. Were there adults at this sleepover?
MASUDA They weren’t paying much attention to us. We used to get away with all kinds of things. We used to ditch church and go across the street to Rite Aid and steal makeup and horoscopes, those ones that come in the little rolls? The guys would steal makeup for the girls to impress them. Shit, in Vancouver we used to break into soda machines and steal the cash box, this is on a church outing. I won’t even tell you what we used to get into at national conferences, these Christian youth conventions.
ATLAS What did you get into?
MASUDA That same type of shit.
Atlas waits. Masuda’s not going into it.
MASUDA I don’t want to bore you. All I have to say about that is that pastor’s kids are the craziest people you’ll ever meet.
ATLAS Who’s the minister in your family?
MASUDA My mother.
ATLAS Do you consider yourself to be crazy?
MASUDA Of course.
ATLAS Let’s take a break.
Atlas goes to the camera and switches it off.
ATLAS I don’t usually interview with an audience.
HANNAH I’m sorry.
Hannah gets up.
ATLAS We’re done for the moment.
ATLAS I thought we had an understanding here. You can see that I’m working.
Atlas wipes his forehead.
ATLAS You can see that, right?
Hannah goes to him, takes his hands in hers.
HANNAH I’m sorry. When you want to be left alone, just let me know.
Atlas takes his hands back.
ATLAS The assumption should be that unless I tell you otherwise, I am working. I appreciate your hospitality but if I’m in a room and the door is closed..
Atlas is totally flustered. He tries to keep the surface calm, though.
ATLAS Can you have them stop? Have them stop.
30—EXT OHIO HIGHWAY—NIGHT
The bus and Hannah’s limo pull off to the side of the road. The bus door opens, Atlas steps out. Headlights approach from a long way off, pass, and vanish in the night. Atlas breathes to relax. Hannah comes to the door and looks out. Masuda comes outside and goes to Atlas.
MASUDA You OK?
ATLAS I’m rethinking the angles on this one.
Another car flies by. Atlas watches it go, then looks the other way, into the darkness. He turns and goes back to the bus, past Hannah, who stays looking at Masuda. Masuda turns to Hannah and it’s like, somewhere deep within, he’s trying to discern something.
30—INT MASUDA’S COMPARTMENT—NIGHT
Masuda situates himself on the couch. Atlas goes over his notes. Hannah lingers at the door.
MASUDA Do you want her to leave now?
Atlas doesn’t look up from his notes.
ATLAS What? No. No, Hannah..
He looks at her.
ATLAS Please stay, if you like.
HANNAH I can go.
ATLAS No, stay and help.
Hannah goes to Atlas.
HANNAH OK. What can I do?
ATLAS Sit on that couch.
Hannah considers this. Atlas doesn’t wait for her to decide. He presses record on the camera.
ATLAS What’s something you’ve never told anyone?
MASUDA I had two snakes once. They were California King snakes. I fed one to the other.
Hannah goes to the couch and sits.
MASUDA It’s a cannibalistic species, they eat snakes, even other kingsnakes. I was tired of having them, they were making my room stink, so I put them in the same cage together.
30—INT MASUDA’S PRIVATE WAREHOUSE—DAY
We see the act Masuda is describing as he tells it: the two snakes, one thrown in with the other, instantly poise for death or killing: the albino clings to the roof of the cage.
MASUDA (VO) The most beautiful one is the one who lost.
Lightning strike—instant fast! The melanistic snake hits the albino. The albino’s head is caught in his jaws.
MASUDA They do this to each other naturally, in the wild, they eat each other.
Masuda is standing above the cage. This is his doing.
30—INT MASUDA’S COMPARTMENT—NIGHT
Masuda is staring at the surface of the couch.
MASUDA In nature, this would have happened anyway.
Masuda looks directly into camera.
MASUDA But those two wouldn’t have eaten each other if I hadn’t put them in together.
31—INT MASUDA’S PRIVATE WAREHOUSE—DAY
The melanistic snake mercilessly devours the albino. There is no hope for the loser.
32—INT MASUDA’S COMPARTMENT—NIGHT
Atlas looks at Hannah.
ATLAS What about you?
HANNAH What about me what?
ATLAS What’s something you’ve never told anyone?
HANNAH I don’t know.
ATLAS Sure you do. Tell us a secret.
HANNAH Don’t you have to get me to sign a release form or something?
ATLAS Only if I want to use it.
HANNAH I wanna hear more about Hiromi’s first kiss, that girl in the church, what was her name?
MASUDA Her name was Adele.
HANNAH You wanna kiss me now?
Hannah moves in on him on the couch.
MASUDA Don’t you have a boyfriend?
MASUDA I was sure I read you had a boyfriend..or a relationship..with..a.. Baby?
HANNAH God no.
MASUDA Is that his whole name?
HANNAH Are you gonna kiss me or not?
MASUDA Is it OK with Atlas?
ATLAS Do whatever you like.
HANNAH I’m gonna ask you a question right now and I want you to answer honestly.
ATLAS He always answers honestly.
Hannah takes off her shirt.
HANNAH Do you like my body? Do you want to fuck me?
The camera hones in on Masuda’s face.
Hannah kneels over Masuda and they kiss. Atlas stops recording.
ATLAS Interview’s over.
Atlas goes out of Masuda’s compartment into the hallway. Hannah crawls off Masuda and puts her shirt on. Masuda stands up and turns away from Hannah. Hannah leaves the compartment. Masuda thinks.
32—EXT OHIO CORNFIELD—DAY
The caravan is stopped beside and in a cornfield. The bulk of the busses and trucks are parked on the side of a two-lane road, but Hannah’s bus and limo are in the field. Roadies, guards, assistants are everywhere, smoking, playing cards, reading, watching TV, drinking beer, women crew flirting with the men crew, chilling, it’s the afternoon. Hannah, Masuda, Atlas, and Jesus sit in giant lawn chairs, sunning. Jesus has his shirt off, the wide glass in his hand cradling a frozen, fruit-filled Marguerita. Atlas is on the phone.
ATLAS Everything’s fine. We’ll coordinate that by phone. I hired those guys to cut, I don’t have to edit every single shot. I’ll give it a once-over. Besides..you’re sending my laptop..and a bunch of other stuff. I’ll message you a list when we get off the phone. I have no idea. (to Hannah) Where are we?
HANNAH Yellow Springs.
ATLAS We’re in Ohio. Yellow Springs. (to Hannah) How long are we gonna be here?
HANNAH Leaving tonight.
ATLAS Where are we gonna be tomorrow?
JESUS Kansas City, Kansas.
ATLAS Send my stuff to Kansas City overnight. Kansas. Actually, fuck it I’m not gonna text you a list just send me everything in the cage. And send my bike.
Atlas hangs up.
ATLAS HANNAH Can one of these guys run an errand for me?
Hannah slurps her drink through a wide straw.
Jesus motions to one of the security guards. The GUARD comes over and kneels beside Atlas. As Atlas is relaying his list to the guard, a helicopter descends. The guard leans in close to Atlas and Atlas yells his list. Masuda looks up at the helicopter. Hannah and Jesus are nonplussed. The helicopter lands in the middle of the cornfield, sixty feet from where they’re sunning themselves. BABY, 34 and balding, gets out of the helicopter. He’s wearing a black suit and designer sunglasses. Gretchen also gets out of the helicopter. She brushes off her shoulder and looks freakishly at the corn: where the fuck is she? Baby carries a violet nylon laptop computer bag, cheesily out of place with the rest of his attire. He tears across the cornfield, man on a mission. A new set of trucks and busses arrives. A COORDINATOR, a woman in a skirt suit, gets out of an SUV from this new caravan and meets Baby in the field. She carries a stack of ruled yellow pads. Somehow, she is using them all at the same time. Baby points to a place in the field.
BABY I want the big tent right there and get those air conditioning guys in here. Talk to Mandy. Get the dancers ready. We need crew food. I thought I saw a Quiznos on the way in, get everybody subs. Find me an Indian place, there’s a huge Indian community here. I want chicken vindaloo, no spice. The tent. Get the tent up right away.
The coordinator leaves. She goes to the people getting out of the vehicles of the new caravan and starts coordinating. Baby continues to where Hannah and friends are sunning. Masuda is the only one paying Baby any attention.
BABY These your friends?
Hannah keeps her glasses on.
HANNAH Hiromi Masuda. Julian Atlas.
BABY Baby. Nice to meet you. (to Hannah) Where the fuck you been?
Hannah looks around like: we’ve been right here. Gretchen sits on Masuda’s lap. Hannah is not happy about that. Gretchen takes Masuda’s drink. Masuda lets Gretchen take it, but he doesn’t seem interested in her.
BABY Playtime’s over. Thirty-five minutes. Thirty..five..minutes. In the tent. The new choreography.
Baby and Hannah keep each other’s gaze. Neither wants to back down first. The helicopter noise has subsided somewhat. Baby turns and goes. Masuda sizes up Baby, looks to see Hannah’s reaction to him. Atlas finishes relaying his list.
ATLAS Just get all the batteries they have. And I need a very long extension cord, you know, hardware store, like a hundred feet, get two. And get me some qtips. Q-Tip brand qtips, wooden stem if they’ve got it. And a bottle of witchhazel and some Panna waters.
Hannah watches Atlas, especially when he says “witchhazel”. Atlas meets her gaze; he’s not embarrassed. Nor is Hannah judging him. Gretchen leans back on Masuda. Her hand falls on Masuda’s leg.
GRETCHEN Jesus, I can feel your dick.
Hannah punches Gretchen in the leg.
HANNAH Step off, bitch!
Atlas is unphased.
ATLAS Throw in a bottle of witchhazel for my friend here.
Hannah smirks. The guard is writing this all on a scrap of paper. He catches up, nods. Atlas hands him his American Express card. It seems especially large in the thirteen-year-old hand.
ATLAS Thanks, man.
33—INT THE TENT—DAY
The tent is set up. There are fifty people inside. Some sort of modular air-conditioning system has been assembled inside. There are racks of lights, stadium speakers mounted from frames, technicians at a huge mixer. Dancers lounge everywhere, stretching. Baby is sitting at a folding table with his face in a laptop. The cheesy nylon case is open, papers and junk sticking out of it, and he has photos of dancers strewn around the desk. Baby checks his enormous, tacky watch. The coordinator comes to him.
BABY Find Hannah.
The coordinator goes, but before she gets to the door of the tent Hannah comes in. She’s dressed in a zip-off athletic warmer, a baseball cap, dohpe Nikes. Atlas is in tow, but he quickly splits off from Hannah and finds a large water cooler to sit on. He finds GUS, one of Hannah’s road crew, and sits with him. Gus is one of the roadies who looked at Atlas like a freak when he and Masuda first went to Hannah’s caravan. By now the two have developed a rapport: Gus greets Atlas like he’s one of the boys. Gretchen is with them. She plays Final Fantasy on a portable console; Atlas takes notice. Baby notes Atlas’ presence and motions to the coordinator. She goes to Baby. Hannah goes to the front/center of the portable floor. The other dancers take their positions, the litter of them suddenly becoming rigid, organized.
BABY Thank you.
Hannah zips off her suit top. She has a sleeveless spandex top on underneath. Someone takes her suit top away and leaves a Dasani at her feet. The choreographer, BRENDAN, steps up beside Hannah. He nods to someone at the sound board, and music starts. Baby leans in toward the coordinator.
BABY That kid tries to film anything in here I’ll fuck NBC so far up the ass they’ll be storing toasters.
Atlas intently observes Brendan and the rest of the dancers executing a series of moves. Hannah watches Brendan for the moves, but it’s a relaxed thing for her, it’s not like she has to work too hard to learn them. Baby gives the coordinator two stacks of oversized photos.
BABY These are probablys, these are maybes. Get em all in a studio Wednesday and have Brendan take a look.
The coordinator takes the photos and starts making calls. As Brendan and the other dancers go through the moves, Hannah picks them up, she executes portions of the sequence.
BRENDAN Grrl, you been eatin’ ice cream, I can see it on your ass. Two and three and. (a chant, in time with the music) Strawberry ice cream makes me fat. Chocolate ice cream makes me fat. Good. Good. Now just watch me on this next part.
Just Brendan does this part of the sequence. Hannah picks up her Dasani and, while drinking, looks at Baby. Baby winks.
34—INT HANNAH’S BUS—DAY
Hannah rushes into the bus. She throws down her workout gear, goes to the back—no one there. She makes her way to the very front of the bus. She pulls back a curtain. Atlas is there, sitting cross-legged in the passenger seat. He’s watching footage on his camera’s viewfinder. His clipboard is out. He’s taking notes with a pencil.
HANNAH Where’s Hiromi?
Atlas nods out the massive front windows. A storm is brewing.
ATLAS In the field.
Hannah leaves him.
35—EXT OHIO CORNFIELD—DAY
Hannah comes traipsing through the field. The sky is gray behind her. Wind sweeps the tall stalks back and forth. Hannah looks ragged. She looks this way, goes that way. She doesn’t see him. Then she comes upon him. Masuda is lying on his back staring at the brewing storm. There’s a brown paper bag beside him, ripped such that most of its original form is lost. Hannah kneels beside Masuda and looks in the bag.
HANNAH What is this?
Tears are streaming down the sides of Masuda’s face.
HANNAH Baby. You should have found me.
Hannah puts her arms around him, she sits him up from behind. The rearrangement that happens as Hannah sits him up causes a knife—a plain black rectangle with cord wrapped around one end meant to serve as a handle—to fall on the dirt. Hannah sees Masuda has cut his legs. He has bled, but tentatively. He didn’t cut himself all the way. Masuda is broken down—the drugs have unearthed his rawest self.
MASUDA I’m done. I’m fucking done.
Hannah checks Masuda’s pulse on his neck. She tosses the knife aside. Masuda scrambles to pick it up. Hannah goes after him.
Masuda gets the knife. He stands, staggers. Hannah catches him and he throws her off. She hits the ground.
MASUDA I am a SUPERMAN. I am a sane extraordinary human FUCKING being THESE PEOPLE have NO IDEA how to talk to ME and they haven’t for quite SOME TIME!
Hannah watches fearfully. Then Masuda falls. Hannah picks him up again, holding her in his arms. Masuda is terrified. Hannah comforts him.
MASUDA You’ve been nice to me.
Hannah just holds him; she rocks him back and forth. Masuda gently picks up the knife. They both look at it. Masuda lets it fall.
MASUDA I was watering the earth.
Hannah picks it up and tosses it out of view, into the corn.
MASUDA I’ve been as far out as a person can go. Now, if I can only find my way back again.
Hannah tries to stand him up.
HANNAH Come on.
MASUDA No. I’m fine. Stay here. We’ll stay here. We’ll watch the storm.
They settle, and Hannah wipes Masuda’s tears and holds him in her arms as the wind and the rain and the sky begin to unfold.
36—INT HANNAH’S BUS—DAY
Hannah and Baby are in Hannah’s private bus. Baby plays a full-sized portable keyboard: the melody of some cheesy pop song. It’s bright outside.
HANNAH That’s not all it’s about.
BABY That’s what it’s about, baby. You’re not gonna sit there and tell me—
HANNAH I know that’s part of it. But there’s more to it than that.
HANNAH (as in what’s that mean: “OK”) What’s “OK”?
BABY Forget it. Don’t get hyperactive.
Hannah stands and backs away.
HANNAH I’m just asking you what “OK” means.
BABY It means nothing. Sit down.
She won’t move.
BABY Come on. We got ten days on this.
HANNAH You do it.
BABY I think you might be the most immature person I know.
HANNAH Fuck you.
She sits down.
BABY (as in, “OK, here we go”) OK.
He plays with one hand on the keyboard.
BABY (singing) ..like we’re on a rollercoaster..
HANNAH And you think that’s about sex.
BABY It implies it.
HANNAH Oh, come on. Little kids listen to this shit you think they think it’s about sex?
He thinks a sec.
Hannah pushes herself back from their sprawling work area.
HANNAH Oh, god.
BABY On a certain level, on a certain level yes.
Hannah’s gathering her things, going for the door.
HANNAH We can do this later.
BABY If this Dasani deal falls through—
HANNAH I need a massage. Maybe tonight we can finish this up—
BABY Jesse has to approve the lyrics before the concert tie-in deal is approved—
BABY The script for the commercial is based on these lyrics—
HANNAH Uh huh, OK—
BABY And if these lyrics aren’t finalized—
HANNAH I’ll talk to you in a couple hours.
HANNAH Why don’t you blow me.
BABY This is eighteen million dollars.
HANNAH Um, yes, I know that.
BABY Come on..I need you. Sit. Sit.
HANNAH It’s not gonna be “like a rollercoaster.”
BABY Fine, we’ll punch it out together.
HANNAH We’re not gonna punch it out, either, this is not how I do this.
BABY (musically) I’ll take you out after..
She sits. Baby starts to play.
BABY (singing) like a rollercoaster / feels just like you are inside me
HANNAH Exactly how is that a Dasani tie-in.
BABY Don’t fuck me on this Hannah. You agreed—
HANNAH I didn’t agree to that!
BABY OK, your little Enzo? You know who paid for that?
HANNAH I did!
BABY Who got you the Dasani deal?
Hannah is quiet.
HANNAH Ron Murphy called me the other day—
BABY I DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT RON MURPHY!!
Baby lifts one end of the keyboard and throws it down on the table. The sheet music and music stand fall off.
BABY RON MURPHY HAS MAURINE WONDERBITCH! THAT’S ALL HE’S GOT. YOU KNOW WHAT THAT GIRL IS GONNA BE IN EIGHTEEN MONTHS!?
Baby kicks the chair he was sitting in.
BABY YESTERDAY’S WHORE.
Hannah stares at Baby.
BABY This is the industry. This is how this is done.
HANNAH Fuck it, lemme hear your version.
BABY You can tweak it..
Hannah just sits. Baby puts the music stand back on the keyboard and the sheet music back on the stand. He rights his chair. He starts to play and sing. Hannah glares at him.
BABY I’m inside you / you’re inside me / rolling over / rollercoaster
HANNAH What about that part.
Baby stops. He puts his hand on Hannah’s leg. Hannah pulls her leg away, looks at him like “why did you do that?” He looks at her like “what did I do wrong?”.
HANNAH Is that part in the contract?
37—INT HANNAH’S BUS—NIGHT
Hannah, Masuda, and Atlas are lounged in the bedroom part of Hannah’s private bus. Atlas isn’t filming, but his camera lies close to hand.
HANNAH Come on. Come on in.
Jesus is at the door. He comes in hesitantly. The room is filled with smoke, red lights are on. Masuda is taking drags off a joint.
HANNAH Join us, Jesus, relax yourself.
Jesus sits on the edge of the bed, the only place other than the floor to sit. Hannah and Masuda are on the floor. Atlas is also on the edge of the bed. Hannah spreads herself out on the expanse of floor.
HANNAH Come down, down. Down to the floor. You’ll be much more comfortable.
Jesus uncomfortably settles onto the floor. Hannah rolls over. Masuda offers Jesus the joint. Jesus takes it, smokes.
HANNAH We were just thinking of playing a game.
Jesus looks at Hannah with something like fear. He takes the joint from his mouth. Hannah goes to him.
HANNAH Don’t worry, don’t worry. It’s just pot.
Hannah laughs. She guides Jesus’ joint hand to his mouth. This last comment elicits interest from Masuda.
HANNAH Now. Is that better?
Jesus coughs. Smoke fills the air. Hannah is dancing around the room.
HANNAH What game should we play?
JESUS Guitar Hero.
HANNAH (really scolding; she’s not gracious here) Don’t be a dickfuck I’m not playing Guitar Hero.
Jesus starts to get up.
JESUS I’m tired, Hannah. Got a long day tomorrow.
HANNAH Sit the fuck down. You can take tomorrow off.
Masuda is fascinated.
HANNAH Now. We’re gonna play my game.
Hannah goes to her closet, the one that looks like a refrigerator but is really for toys. She opens it. Only she can see what’s inside. She takes something out and puts it behind her back. She comes back to the pseudo-circle of visitors and sits on the floor. She addresses everyone.
HANNAH This is the middle of buttfuck Indiana, and I’m trying to forget that.
As she speaks, Hannah takes a matte black bag from behind her back. It is closed with a drawstring. Perhaps 1/3 of the total volume of the bag is full..unknown items. Poky edges and bulges shape the cloth surface.
HANNAH Jesus and I have invented a foolproof method..
Hannah sets the bag on the carpet before her.
HANNAH ..for transporting ourselves far away from places like these. When we happen to find ourselves in them. (to Masuda) Bring us a drink.
Masuda goes to her bar.
HANNAH (looking not at Masuda but at Jesus) Jesus gets to choose.
Jesus says nothing.
HANNAH Go ahead, choose.
Jesus looks like he’s about to crack.
HANNAH Oh, that’s an appropriate choice. Geographically, I mean.
Masuda is confused.
HANNAH It’s in the cabinet.
While Masuda is looking Hannah tugs open the drawstring on the bag and peers into it.
HANNAH In the Tupperware container?
Masuda selects a tall rectangular container from the cabinet. It’s 3/4 full of clear liquid. He peels back the lid and inhales.
HANNAH JESUS This is your part of the show.
To Masuda’s and Atlas’ shock, Jesus stands up and takes off his shirt. He shuffles off his pants. Jesus standing, Hannah takes the Tupperware container from Masuda and gives it to Jesus. Jesus starts chugging. He drinks more Everclear than the average-sized person could survive. Hand shaking, he sets the Tupperware container down. Hannah looks up at Jesus. His forehead is covered in sweat.
HANNAH Now. Let’s begin.
Hannah empties the bag onto the floor. We don’t see what was in the bag, only the sounds of its contents hitting each other as they fall into a pile. There are flat plastic sounds. Perhaps dice. Some items make no sound at all. The most prominent sound is clinking steel..chain links. Atlas stealthily goes for his camera. Hannah shakes her head severely. Atlas puts the camera down.
38—INT UNDERGROUND LOADING AREA—NIGHT
An enormous underground loading area, like what would be under a stadium or concert hall. Hannah’s bus, flanked by security vehicles, limos, and other busses, is parked there. Neon lights show concrete columns and floors. The space seems to recede forever, as though there isn’t a back wall. A door on Hannah’s bus opens. Jesus comes out, half dressed, holding his shirt to his chest. He’s been crying. He makes his way down the stair. Masuda comes out after him, puts an arm on Jesus’ shoulder. Jesus recoils. Masuda backs off. Masuda stands watching as Jesus goes to one of the other busses and goes inside. The sound of Jesus closing the door makes a cavernous echo. Masuda holds open the door to Hannah’s bus, then steps back, closes it, and walks off in the opposite direction that Jesus went. The caravan is completely silent from the outside.
39—INT HANNAH’S BUS—NIGHT
Hannah sits on the edge of her bed smoking a cigarette. Atlas stands opposite Hannah, facing her, in shock.
HANNAH We do this all the time.
HANNAH He’s used to it. Get Hiromi.
ATLAS You get him.
HANNAH Does Hiromi have a girlfriend?
HANNAH I’d like to submit an application.
ATLAS I’m not his secretary.
Atlas starts to go.
She pats the bed beside her. Atlas stays, but he doesn’t sit on the bed.
HANNAH Tell me about him.
Atlas holds the camera out to Hannah.
ATLAS Are you interviewing me?
Hannah looks at Atlas down her nose (you’re crazy). Atlas shrugs and starts, again, to go.
HANNAH I wouldn’t be on camera?
Atlas goes to her. He puts the camera in her hand.
ATLAS You record me.
Hannah turns on the camera, points it at Atlas.
HANNAH You won’t use this?
ATLAS For what? Hannah Gonzalez interviews Julian Atlas? I express my opinions on the painter Hiromi Masuda and make a joke of my credibility?
HANNAH If you use this we will sue you.
ATLAS I know how it works.
HANNAH Someone will. It won’t be me, but someone will.
Atlas settles onto the bed with Hannah. He poses: his impression of an interview subject. Hannah presses a giant record button.
She trips out laughing at the circumstance (and because she’s high), falls over sideways on the bed. Rights herself.
HANNAH I’m here tonight with Julian Atlas. We’re taking a deeper look at the painter, Hiromi Masuda.
Atlas smiles politely.
HANNAH Thanks for being with us, Mr. Atlas.
ATLAS I’m glad to be here.
HANNAH Tell me, how well do you know Hiromi Masuda?
ATLAS I’ve been interviewing him for five weeks.
HANNAH No shit. So, is he like a pervert or what.
ATLAS What do you mean by pervert.
HANNAH Does he suck on little boys’ pee-pees, I have no fucking clue..
Hannah falls over laughing. She continues the interview on her side.
HANNAH Do you think he likes me, Atlas?
ATLAS I don’t know. What makes you so into him?
HANNAH Has he talked with you about me?
HANNAH Oh, fuck you, I know he has.
ATLAS He’s very closed-lipped about some things. Do you want me to bring you up in conversation and see what he says?
HANNAH Would you?
ATLAS If you like.
HANNAH Well if it seems natural. What kind of girls does he like?
ATLAS Young ones.
HANNAH How young are we talking about here?
ATLAS Your age. Plus or minus about ten years.
Hannah is still lying on her side. The way she’s speaking with Atlas is intimate and quiet, as though they’re lovers lying in bed with each other.
HANNAH Who’s he seeing now.
ATLAS He says he’s on sabbatical.
Hannah’s voice is sleepy.
HANNAH What’s sabbatical.
ATLAS When you take a year off work.
ATLAS Why did you do that to Jesus?
HANNAH He likes doing it. Everyone likes doing it. Don’t you—oh, wait, you’re thirteen, you don’t know anything. About that I mean. Do you?
ATLAS When’s the first time he did that with you?
HANNAH I have no idea. Do you know what happened to me in Fresno? I’m at this venue, this is last year. A guy throws his underwear on stage and they had shit in them.
ATLAS What else have people thrown at you?
HANNAH Bottles, shoes, Chapstick, wallets, knives, tampons, umbrellas, condoms—not often, but sometimes. I mean all the time in the wrapper. Only sometimes used. Water bottles..fucking..crumpled receipts, whatever, people are crazy.
Hannah lets the camera fall out of her hands. She spaces out. Atlas picks up the camera and turns it on Hannah. She looks at him, she sees that he’s recording her.
ATLAS Do you mind if I take a closer look at you?
HANNAH What do you want to know about me? That I’m a tainted psychopathic freak? I am.
Hannah covers the lens. Her hand fills the frame, blacking it out.
HANNAH End of interview.
She lets the lens come uncovered. She laughs, then settles down. Julian films her in silence for a moment before he speaks.
ATLAS Where’d you meet Jesus?
Hannah looks straight into the camera. She answers sincerely, and soberly.
HANNAH He’s a relative, actually.
40—INT ATLAS’ COMPARTMENT—DAY
In some bus, Hannah has apportioned a compartment for Atlas to use. His editing station is set up in there. A million screens before him, though not quite as many as in New York. He sits in the dark, reviewing footage. It’s the tape that he and Hannah recorded the other night. In this footage, Atlas is behind the camera.
ATLAS (OS) He’s a quiet guy.
HANNAH Not with you.
ATLAS (OS) With me he knows it’s gonna be on TV.
HANNAH Don’t you think he would find me cute?
ATLAS (OS) I imagine so.
HANNAH Have you seen him with anyone?
Masuda comes to the door of Atlas’ compartment. He looks in.
ATLAS (OS) I don’t sleep over the guy’s house.
HANNAH He doesn’t talk about anyone?
ATLAS (OS) I try never to force a question.
Masuda quietly steps into the editing room. Atlas doesn’t notice.
HANNAH Maybe I’m too Latina. Do Japanese people hate Mexicans or something?
ATLAS (OS) If he doesn’t think you’re beautiful—
ATLAS (OS) Nothing.
HANNAH What were you saying?
ATLAS (OS) If he doesn’t see that you’re beautiful, then he’s crazy.
HANNAH Awww..you’re so cute.
ATLAS (OS) No I’m not.
HANNAH But you are. If you were a couple years older, who knows.
Hannah smiles warmly into the camera.
HANNAH (CONT’D) Anyway, it seems the trail’s gone cold.
ATLAS (OS) I wouldn’t know.
HANNAH You don’t think he would have made a move by now?
ATLAS (OS) I wouldn’t know.
Atlas jumps back to an earlier point in the footage and re-watches it.
HANNAH Awww..you’re so cute.
ATLAS (OS) No I’m not.
HANNAH But you are. If you were a couple years older, who knows.
Hannah smiles warmly into the camera. Behind Atlas, Masuda quietly backs out of the room.
41—INT HANNAH’S BUS—NIGHT
Hannah and Masuda are in Hannah’s bedroom. Hannah and Masuda are on the bed. Hannah is feeding Masuda strawberry ice cream.
HANNAH Atlas says you don’t like Mexicans.
MASUDA I never said that.
HANNAH I’m pretty sure he said he had you on tape, saying that.
MASUDA It’s possible. I can’t remember.
They’re laughing. Atlas comes in, shlepping his equipment. He has better sound equipment than he’s been using the last day or so. Everything seems unwieldy in Atlas’ arms.
ATLAS Can I come in?
HANNAH Aww, Atlas, it’s really not a good time.
MASUDA Nah, let him in.
Hannah glares at Masuda.
HANNAH But leave the techno-dweeb junk outside, OK, this is where I sleep.
ATLAS We’re working on our interview.
HANNAH There is no interview, I was just playing—
ATLAS Not that interview.
Masuda sits up.
MASUDA You want to work now?
ATLAS Stay where you are. I want to get you in your natural habitat.
Hannah plops the ice cream container down dejectedly.
MASUDA How did the footage from last night come out? Do we need to reshoot any of it?
ATLAS No, that’s stuff’s fine. I was just feeling inspired.
Jesus ducks in with a call.
JESUS It’s your mom.
HANNAH I’ll call her back.
Jesus goes. Atlas is checking the focus on his camera.
HANNAH Actually, Atlas, I really don’t want you in my room right now.
Masuda and Atlas look at Hannah.
MASUDA We’ve got eight days left on this thing, and it’s airing.
ATLAS That means we’ve got three days left for interviews, cause I don’t like to work last minute.
HANNAH So what?
MASUDA Can we interview in here?
HANNAH Well, I was kindof in here right now.
ATLAS Is that yes or no?
ATLAS (to Masuda) Why don’t you get back up there on the bed.
Masuda gets back on the bed. As Julian busts out the lights, Hannah tries to act natural. She leans in to Masuda.
HANNAH I really don’t want him in here right now.
MASUDA I told you my first priority is the interview.
HANNAH Atlas, leave. OK. Just leave. I don’t care about your deadline. This is my bedroom. This is my friend. We were in here, and you can’t be in here.
Atlas starts to pack up. Masuda gets up from the bed.
HANNAH What’s your problem?
MASUDA We’ve got eight days.
Hannah shakes her head.
HANNAH Oh, fuck.
She motions (with the ice cream container) for Masuda to return to bed. Atlas continues setting up to shoot.
42—INT BASKETBALL ARENA—DAY
Inside a basketball arena, Hanna, Baby, the coordinator, Brendan, and the dancers are assembled. Baby has his makeshift work center operational. Music blares. Hannah and the dancers execute a routine. Brendan faces them, talking through a large electric megaphone.
BRENDAN Ladies, someone must be running a sale on peanut butter. Peanut butter makes you fat. Stacy, I’m going to send you back to Wisconsin if you ruin that step one more time. That’s right. You’ll be making cheese on your family farm in Wisconsin. Carolyn, you can go make cheese with Stacy in Wisconsin cause I don’t know where you’re from. Fabulous, that looks better. Six days from now you’ll be on stage. Six days from now you’ll be on stage. People are paying eighty dollars for these tickets.
Brendan looks to the coordinator. She makes an “up” sign with her fingers.
BRENDAN Correction, people are paying one-hundred dollars for these tickets.
The coordinator makes an “even-higher-up” sign with her fingers.
BRENDAN I have no idea what people are paying but they don’t want to see you fuck up your moves. Jennifer, Julie, Whatever the Fuck your Name Is With the Eighties Leg Warmers, get off my stage. That’s right. Now. Thank you. Don’t come back. Thank you. Good and one and—Hannah, you can dance but that’s not the choreography. Stop everything.
The music stops.
BRENDAN Let’s see it again, this time with the real moves.
The music starts, but Hannah walks off the basketball court toward Baby’s mobile work center. Brendan narrates.
BRENDAN Hannah, those are not the moves. Baby cannot help you now. Hannah, please, back on stage. Baby, please, send her back. Rehearsal is not over yet.
Baby makes a “cut it” sign to Brendan. The music stops. Everyone stops dancing. Hannah leans in to baby.
HANNAH Tell him to take ten minutes off.
HANNAH Can’t we get a choreographer who’s not a faggot?
BABY I’m not even sure that he is gay.
HANNAH It’s not that he’s gay. It’s that he’s a faggot. (yelled) Brendan, can you please take ten minutes off?
BABY Stay put Brendan. (to Hannah) What is going on with you?
HANNAH I’m sick of this faggot telling me what to do.
BABY Can you please not say the word faggot.
Hannah goes back on the basketball court. Baby stands up.
HANNAH Brendan, just..take ten minutes off.
BABY Hannah what the fuck is this?
Hannah takes the megaphone from Brendan. Brendan does the motion of a Vegas dealer showing that his hands are empty, and he steps back toward the bleachers.
HANNAH (to the dancers) We’re gonna change this part, OK, the other thing’s not working for me—
BABY Look, honey—
HANNAH Brendan, what you do is wonderful, don’t take this personally—
BRENDAN I’m not taking it personally—
BABY The way Brendan has it is fine—
HANNAH OK, you’re not a choreographer.
BABY Neither are you.
HANNAH Why don’t you..work on getting us an Evian tie-in or something.
BABY Just calm down.
He puts his hand on her shoulder. She shrugs out from under it.
HANNAH I’m calm. Don’t fucking touch me.
BABY Excuse me?
HANNAH Don’t fucking touch me. Brendan take a break. We’re changing a few of the steps. I can lead rehearsal for the next few minutes—
BABY Everybody, take five minutes, we’ll be back in FIVE MINUTES.
HANNAH (to Baby) What is this? (to the dancers) There’s no break.
The dancers enter a state of confusion.
BABY There is a break. (to the sound people) DON’T play the song. (to the dancers) Everyone TAKE FIVE. Thank you.
The dancers disperse. Only Hannah and Baby are left.
BABY This is not the time for this.
BABY Brendan and everyone else but you has learned the new choreography—
HANNAH I know the choreography—
BABY Has learned and accepted the choreography.
HANNAH This’ll take five minutes.
BABY It’s not the five minutes. It’s the introduction of changes at the last minute. You can learn it like that. (he snaps) Some of these kids need a couple days for it to look natural.
HANNAH We have six days.
BABY But what’s tomorrow, see? More changes? It’s not just your whim that’s at play here.
HANNAH I don’t even know why you’re in rehearsals. This is not your part of the business.
BABY Well it’s not necessarily yours either. You’re not a choreographer. (he points at Brendan) That guy has done twenty—
BABY —twenty Broadway musicals—
Hannah turns back.
HANNAH This isn’t a musical!
Brendan hears this. Hannah and Baby stare each other down for a moment.
BABY Are you gonna push this?
They stare each other down for a moment more. Then Hannah shoves the megaphone at Baby.
HANNAH Have Brendan drill em. I’m outta here.
Hannah goes toward the exit at one end of the court. Baby gives a head nod to Brendan. Brendan gets up from the bleachers and goes toward Baby.
BABY (to Hannah) We’re gonna do it the old way.
Hannah gives a middle-finger sign to Baby without turning around, on her way out of the stadium.
43—INT SEDONA TRINKET SHOP—DAY
Her face covered with huge dark glasses and wearing a baseball cap, Hannah browses greeting cards in a trinket shop in Sedona, Arizona. She reads one of the cards and laughs to herself. A little girl, CARRIE, 10, is beside Hannah, looking up at the superstar. Hannah has been recognized. Hannah pulls her glasses down a smidgen.
CARRIE You’re Hannah Gonzalez, aren’t you?
HANNAH And who are you?
CARRIE I’m Carrie McCarty Harrison.
HANNAH Well, Carrie McCarty Harrison, do you think I look like Hannah Gonzalez?
CARRIE You are her, aren’t you.
HANNAH I don’t know. I’ve never seen what (Hannah makes quote marks with her fingers) “Hannah Gonzalez” looks like. So I wouldn’t know.
Hannah puts her glasses back over her eyes. Carrie pulls a heart-shaped locket out from under her shirt. Hannah pretends to browse the cards but Carrie opens the locket and holds it out for Hannah to see. Inside is a tiny picture of Hannah Gonzalez, snipped from a magazine. A CLERK speaks to Hannah.
CLERK Can I help you find anything?
Hannah ignores the clerk.
HANNAH Carrie!? Is that you?
HANNAH Carrie McCarty Harrison. I knew it was you.
Hannah holds out her hand.
HANNAH How have you been?
Carrie takes Hannah’s hand. Hannah leads the two of them out of the trinket shop to the street.
HANNAH I haven’t seen you since we graduated. How’ve you been?
The clerk watches them as they go.
CARRIE Um. Fine.
HANNAH Didn’t you used to date Kevin..what was his last name? Ramsey?
CARRIE I don’t know.
HANNAH How could you forget your own boyfriend’s last name?
Hannah stops walking and bends to Carrie.
HANNAH Was it Ramsey or was it something else?
CARRIE I think it was Ramsey.
44—INT CHEAP MOTEL—NIGHT
An Arizona motel. A $20/night place. Masuda and Julian are watching TV. It’s a rerun of The Atlas Interview. There’s a half-drunk six pack on the bed. The boys are laughing. A RICH MAN in a stylish Tyvek windbreaker plays poker in the high-roller room of some casino. Atlas interviews him. The man is some past subject of The Atlas Interview.
ATLAS Fuck. That guy owns the Houston Astros.
MASUDA I don’t think I’ve ever heard you cuss as much as tonight.
ATLAS Stop feeding me beer.
Atlas tosses aside his beer can. It hits the floor and sloshes on the carpet. Masuda and Atlas look at each other and laugh. Knocking at the door. It opens.
HANNAH I hope you boys are dressed, I have company.
Hannah comes in, still with her baseball cap and dark glasses. Carrie is riding on Hannah’s shoulders.
HANNAH Carrie, these are the boys.
Atlas and Masuda look upon Carrie with interest. Hannah lets Carrie down on the bed and Carrie sits down, trying to make herself smaller in the room. Hannah closes the external door. Her movements seem drunk.
HANNAH Carrie, this is Julian Atlas. Say hi.
HANNAH And this is Hiromi.
HANNAH Boys, this is Carrie. We went to school together.
ATLAS What school is that?
CARRIE. High school.
HANNAH Atlas. Be good. We went to high school together. I just happened to see her downtown and we’ve been catching up. Are you drinking this?
Hannah picks up the half-drunk six pack.
MASUDA Have one.
Hannah pops one out of the plastic holder and hands it to Carrie.
HANNAH What are you watching? Oh, god, Atlas, that’s pathetic.
Carrie fiddles with the pop top but has trouble opening it.
MASUDA It’s the only thing on. Unless you count music videos.
HANNAH Oh you should have seen the sunset out there. I get that, by the way, and you..
Hannah throws her arms around Masuda and speaks directly in his ear.
HANNAH ..can fuck yourself.
Carrie is staring at this interaction. Hannah disengages and sees that Carrie cannot open the beer can. Hannah takes it and opens it, then gives it back to Carrie.
MASUDA We did get that for the two of us, you know.
HANNAH I’ll get more.
Hannah picks up the phone.
MASUDA It’s broken.
Hannah hangs up. Carrie looks uncomfortable. Hannah helps the can to the girl’s mouth, helps her tip it back.
HANNAH I’ll go out then.
CARRIE I’m sorry.
HANNAH It’s fine.
Hannah puts on her hat and is about to put on her glasses. She’s going to the door.
HANNAH Don’t be rude to my friend. (to Carrie) I’ll be back in a minute.
Masuda lets Hannah get halfway out the door.
MASUDA There’s more in the bathtub.
Hannah comes back in.
HANNAH Why the bathtub?
MASUDA Fridge is broken.
HANNAH So what’s in there?
HANNAH (to Carrie) Why don’t you get me a beer.
Carrie sets hers down politely and goes.
MASUDA What are you doing?
HANNAH Seriously, this is about as pathetic as me watching concert videos.
ATLAS Which I’m sure you do.
MASUDA Who is she?
HANNAH I told you.
MASUDA Do her parents know she’s here?
HANNAH Atlas, change this.
Atlas shoves the remote in Hannah’s direction. Hannah flips through channels.
MASUDA You’re seriously going to get us in trouble.
Hannah grabs Masuda’s beer. The three of them space out looking at the TV. Nature shows. A news show about a mass shooting at a college. A Dasani commercial featuring Hannah. Hannah quickly flips past it.
ATLAS How pathetic is that?
HANNAH At least I’m not watching it.
Carrie comes back into the main room holding a fresh beer for Hannah.
CARRIE (tentatively, fearfully) Hannah?
Hannah turns warmly to the little girl.
HANNAH Come here, baby. Get your beer. Have you ever been on TV? Atlas here’ll put you on TV if you’re good.
Hannah can’t open her own beer. Masuda sees that she’s already been drinking. She’s holding the can out.
HANNAH Can you help?
Masuda takes the can from her. Hannah puts Carrie on her lap and holds the little girl, putting her arms around her like a big doll. Hannah kisses her on the cheek and sways the two of them back and forth.
HANNAH (to Masuda and Atlas) Carrie and I used to play soccer together.
CARRIE I was goalie, right?
Hannah turns Carrie around so the two of them are facing.
HANNAH Do you remember the goalie on the other team? He was sooo cute..
CARRIE He kissed me once.
CARRIE In my mom’s basement.
Masuda looks over at Atlas like “what the fuck is going on?”. Atlas picks up his camera. Masuda gives Atlas a look of warning. Atlas removes the lens cap, presses record, and points the camera at Hannah and Carrie.
CARRIE He wanted to do more but I wouldn’t let him.
HANNAH You might have liked it if you had.
Carrie leans in to Hannah and whispers in her ear so quietly that only Hannah can hear it.
CARRIE (whispering) What do you do when you do more?
Hannah lights up. She pulls Carrie close like sisters.
HANNAH Oh, let me tell you..
45—INT HANNAH’S BUS—NIGHT
Masuda comes into the bus from outside. Hannah, following close, closes them in.
HANNAH There’s nothing like a hostage.
She throws her arms around Masuda’s neck.
MASUDA Oh, boy.
Masuda takes her arms off him.
MASUDA I don’t know what you’re talking about.
HANNAH She’s not really a hostage.
MASUDA She’s your guest.
Hannah takes off her shoes.
MASUDA You can’t really keep her.
HANNAH Just for the night.
MASUDA Not even.
HANNAH She reminds me of my sister.
MASUDA I thought you were an only child.
Hannah loosens her hair.
HANNAH I know, I know. But she reminds me of my sister anyway. I should have had a sister.
MASUDA What would you have done with her?
HANNAH Whipped her.
Masuda looks at Hannah.
HANNAH I’m kidding.
MASUDA You might be.
HANNAH Do you think they’ll do anything?
MASUDA Who? Atlas and..her?
HANNAH If I was that boy I would get my jim off in that little pussydog.
MASUDA Do you think Atlas has sex?
HANNAH The great Julian Atlas? Pillar of journalistic integrity? I’m’onna have to guess no on that one. How old is he?
HANNAH I bet she has a tight little hole, too.
Hannah moves up on Masuda.
MASUDA How old is she?
HANNAH I have no fucking clue.
Masuda turns away from Hannah.
HANNAH Why. You wanna fuck her?
MASUDA You, my friend, are warped.
HANNAH Don’t you love it?
Hannah goes up on Masuda. He seems to yield. They start to do it. Masuda stops.
MASUDA It isn’t me.
HANNAH It isn’t you?
MASUDA I don’t.. I never..
Hannah hangs back. She understands what he’s saying.
HANNAH Make an exception.
Masuda goes for the door. Hannah thinks he’s leaving her, but when he gets to the door, he turns around.
MASUDA Walk with me.
46—EXT RESERVATION LIQUOR STORE—NIGHT
On an Indian reservation, blinding neon light spills through plate glass onto cracked sidewalk pavement. An overweight native American INDIAN exchanges a brown paper-wrapped package for some of Masuda’s cash in front of the store. Hannah hangs back behind Masuda, looking awkward. The Indian takes one of Masuda’s bills and gives it back to Masuda, briefly holding it up like a toast.
INDIAN To life being a full circle.
The Indian, remaining cash in hand, goes off. Masuda leaves in the opposite direction, taking Hannah by the hand, leading her.
Hannah and Masuda wander in the desert.
HANNAH I’m not sure you really know me.
MASUDA What is there to know?
HANNAH That’s funny. That’s real funny. What’s your middle name?
MASUDA You stopped making sense somewhere in the last vicinity.
HANNAH You’ve never made sense from the moment I saw you on television.
MASUDA You saw me on television?
HANNAH Sure. It was a preview for The Atlas Interview.
MASUDA I’ve seen you on TV too.
HANNAH What did they say about me? I mean.. What was I doing?
MASUDA You were singing.
HANNAH Oh, fantastic, some bullshit, it’s ridiculous, a concert? I hate that motherfucker. But he’s OK, really, he’s OK.
Masuda takes the brown paper bag from Hannah.
MASUDA Cowgirl, take it easy.
HANNAH Don’t even bother. I ate it all.
Masuda looks in the bag. Hannah is true: the bag is empty.
HANNAH Sorry, did you want some?
MASUDA I had some.
HANNAH Right. That’s right. I remember that. Well, I ate the rest.
MASUDA So it seems.
HANNAH Was that OK?
MASUDA OK with me.
HANNAH When you were a kid, I mean.. Did you think you were gonna turn out like this?
MASUDA Yeah, I think I always knew it.
HANNAH When did you know?
MASUDA In some way, I always did. I mean I doubted I really was who I imagined people could become, but..
HANNAH But you did it.
MASUDA (laughs) I did something.
HANNAH No. You did it.
MASUDA What about you, Pop Queen? Do you feel like you did it?
MASUDA Yeah, but—
HANNAH You don’t know what I do, it’s this ridiculous.. It’s farcical pretentious bullshit—
MASUDA Yeah but—
HANNAH At least what you do is real—
MASUDA Would you shut the fuck up I’m saying something.
HANNAH Sure. What are you saying?
MASUDA What I’m saying is: when is the last time anyone I know walked into a room..and did something that made forty-thousand people stand up and scream?
Hannah has a flash-forward to her LA concert. A grand auditorium filled with fans. Spotlights search the crowd. The stage explodes in firework tracers, sparks. Hannah appears. Forty-thousand people stand up and scream.
Hannah and Masuda trip over each other as they descend a broad stone face. Hannah almost falls, but Masuda has her, and they pause looking out at the sky.
HANNAH I think we’re lost.
MASUDA I know we are.
Hannah falls again.
HANNAH I’m really high.
Masuda catches her.
MASUDA So am I.
A white-tailed rabbit runs across the rocks below them. It’s like he’s in a spotlight.
HANNAH Look! A bunny!
MASUDA Hold onto me.
They continue their descent.
They’ve lit a fire. Big sky desert is black behind them. Masuda sits, looking at Hannah approvingly. Hannah raises her arms to the sky, going around the fire.
HANNAH When I was born I never—when I was born I was twisted. Do you know what I’m saying? I know I’m not making any sense. But that’s OK because neither are you. No, I know, no..don’t say anything. I’ll curl up in the sky and just cuddle. I think you know what I mean. I think I met you in a notebook, once, as a sketch. You were all lines and a little bit of cross-hatching. I think you could see me, out from the pages.
They share a look.
Masuda is holding Hannah in his arms and Hannah is so tripped out it takes her a second to realize that Masuda is holding a rattlesnake.
MASUDA Move slowly.
HANNAH Where’d he come from?
MASUDA He just saddled up here a minute ago.
HANNAH That’s—oh my god—is that real?
MASUDA I think so. I’m pretty sure—
HANNAH He’s real. You know he’s real.
MASUDA Move slowly.
HANNAH Can I pet him?
MASUDA I wouldn’t recommend it.
HANNAH And yet—he seems to like you.
The snake goes up Masuda’s arm, around his face, and Hannah is with them, intertwined.
The fire wanes. Masuda pulls his shirt over his head. Hannah cuddles up to him. He puts his arm around her.
HANNAH It’s like this little night’s a poetry.
MASUDA Moonlight sonnet, and—come close.
He pulls her close.
53—EXT CHEAP HOTEL ROOM—DAWN
Jesus knocks quietly on the door. There’s no answer. He tries the handle and, finding it unlocked, opens the door and goes in.
54—INT CHEAP MOTEL—DAWN
Inside the room, Jesus sees Atlas asleep on the floor, six pack expired beside him, part of the bed’s comforter pulled down and somewhat around him. In the bed is Carrie, this little child, wrapped in a sheet. The light is on in the bathroom. The TV plays without sound. The room is a wreck. Jesus takes Carrie in his arms and leaves the room.
55—INT CARAVAN BUS—DAWN
A nasty roadie compartment. Gretchen wakes up next to a fat Mexican who is still snoring. She looks at who she just slept with, framed by the sobriety of the next morning. He has a fat belly and slobber runs out the side of his mouth.
GRETCHEN Jesus goddamn motherfucking Christ.
Gretchen grabs her shirt and gets up. She’s leaving the compartment.
GRETCHEN I’m a terminal goddamn psychopath.
56—INT BLACK SUV—DAWN
Jesus places Carrie in the front passenger seat. She is still wrapped in the sheet, sleepy-eyed. The sound of Jesus closing the door wakes her up a little. Jesus opens the driver’s side door and gets in. He puts his hands on the steering wheel. The weight of the world is on him.
JESUS Can you tell me how to get to your house from here?
Carrie nods. Jesus starts the car.
57—EXT DESERT—SEDONA SUNRISE
Hannah and Masuda are sleeping in the desert. Godlight comes from the east, stunning the canyons with orange. Hannah wakes first. She and Masuda are tangled, but like brother and sister. Their clothes are in place. Hannah stands up, walks away from MASUDA She is looking at the sun. Masuda wakes, behind her, and somehow Hannah can sense it.
HANNAH I never knew about this place.
MASUDA They say it’s magnetic.
MASUDA There are poles, magnetic poles..
HANNAH It’s quiet.
Masuda is with Hannah, behind her, next to her.
MASUDA ..they say if you stand at one of the poles..
HANNAH What happens?
Masuda steps in front of HANNAH He bends to the ground, letting sand run through his fingers. There is a shell there, a shell that looks like it comes from the ocean.
MASUDA People come here from all over.
Hannah kneels to be close to Masuda.
HANNAH What happens when you stand at the poles?
MASUDA It’s like..mineral baths..hot water..coming from the earth.
HANNAH Do you have any more of that stuff?
MASUDA You haven’t had enough?
HANNAH I think I want to return to the ocean.
Masuda stands, facing away from Hannah.
MASUDA It grows..it grows all over here.
HANNAH Does it?
Masuda takes Hannah’s hand.
MASUDA It grows from the earth.
They are beaming, holding hands, looking at the sun.
Hannah, Masuda, and Atlas are on the beach. A pair of girls run in an arc that contains our threesome, then return to their parents, laughing. There isn’t a single bodyguard in sight. Hannah wears her glasses propped up on her head. Atlas’ camera is strapped to his hand as always, but he’s not filming right now. Hannah grabs hold of Masuda’s arm. Masuda cups the back of Atlas’ head in his hand, a filial slap. Atlas smiles. The Santa Monica pier is before them, dead ferris wheel, stopped rollercoaster. Hannah hums. It is a song of her own creation. Then she breaks from Masuda and runs ahead, skipping, does a cartwheel in the sand and falls. Masuda is pointing at something on the horizon, and Atlas looks to see it. Hannah, alone for a moment, pinches her arm and swears to herself the following:
HANNAH Don’t you ever forget this.
Then Masuda and Atlas are with her.
MASUDA We brought you something.
ATLAS It’s a shell.
Atlas hands her something from the ocean, about the size of Atlas’ hand. It’s pink and smooth and curved.
MASUDA I don’t know, I think it’s a tooth.
Atlas views the specimen through his camera, recording it in Hannah’s hands.
ATLAS This might be strombus sinuatus, but it’s a little too big.
MASUDA It looks like a shark tooth to me.
HANNAH Give me that.
Hannah takes the camera from Atlas and turns its focus on the biographer.
HANNAH You know what this is Atlas?
HANNAH This is a beach. That’s the ocean. This is sand.
HANNAH You’re on vacation.
ATLAS Can I have my camera back please?
HANNAH No. You can sit right there and answer my questions.
Masuda shakes his head and smiles. He puts his arms around Hannah from behind her.
HANNAH Now. My name is Hannah Gonzalez and today I’m taking a deeper look at Julian Atlas. Atlas, where were you born?
ATLAS New York.
HANNAH Have any brothers or sisters?
ATLAS I have a brother.
HANNAH When did you start interviewing?
ATLAS I don’t remember.
HANNAH What’s the first interview you gave, huh? How long have you had this thing? Don’t you ever run out of questions?
ATLAS I’d like my camera back.
Hannah stops recording. She uses the longer strap on the camera and strings it over her shoulder.
HANNAH We’re having a picnic. I’ll give it back later.
MASUDA We don’t have any food.
ATLAS Please give me my camera.
MASUDA We don’t have picnic blanket.
Atlas turns and walks away, toward the ocean. Hannah looks to Masuda for approval, disapproval, advice, something. Masuda won’t give it to her. Hannah goes to Atlas. He’s intent on the horizon, he won’t look at her. It takes Hannah a second to be able to say this.
HANNAH Look, I’m sorry.
Hannah gives Atlas his camera. Atlas straps it around his neck and shoulder, placing the camera body behind him, on his back. Hannah and Atlas go back to Masuda together. Hannah sits.
HANNAH Now. Picnic.
Atlas sits. Masuda follows.
ATLAS We don’t have any food.
HANNAH It’s a pretend picnic.
ATLAS A pretend picnic.
HANNAH Don’t you ever play pretend?
Masuda pulls an imaginary something out of somewhere.
HANNAH What’s that?
MASUDA Maximin Grunhaus.
Masuda corks the bottle.
HANNAH I remember.
Hannah holds out an imaginary wine glass. Masuda pours her some, then hands her the bottle. She pours him a glass. Then Hannah offers to pour Atlas a glass. Atlas hesitates. Then he grabs the bottle and drinks from that. Hannah and Masuda laugh. Atlas wipes some wine from his lips with the back of his arm.
ATLAS Can I have a pretend cigarette.
HANNAH You can have a real cigarette.
MASUDA Can you have real cigarettes at a pretend picnic?
HANNAH Oh yeah.
Hannah lights it for Atlas.
ATLAS Thank you.
And then they’re all having one, and they’re smiling and talking in a triangle on the beach.
59—EXT ROBYN STARCK GALLERY LA—NIGHT
A black-tie art crowd is gathering outside Starck’s LA gallery. Starck is among them. The gallery doors are closed, and have been covered with paper from inside. Hannah’s black, superstretch limousine arrives. The crowd takes subtle notice. Jesus gets out and opens the door for Hannah. She is dressed to the hilt. We haven’t seen her like this before. Formal, black, with her hair up, heels, dark lipstick. Jesus helps her out of the car. She waits. Atlas is with her. He is also dressed formally, but in a more contemporary way: a buttonless, collarless shirt and dohpe Nikes. His camera is with him. Hannah’s guards keep a close eye, but also some distance, as she and Atlas enter the crowd. Hannah sees SOMEONE SHE KNOWS. They lean toward each other.
HANNAH What’s up!
SOMEONE SHE KNOWS Aren’t you going to introduce me?
HANNAH This is Julian Atlas.
Atlas shakes the person’s hand but smirks.
SOMEONE SHE KNOWS (to Hannah) I’ll call you.
Gretchen arrives at the show in a 2010 Rolls Royce prototype. She has a RAPPER BOYFRIEND on her arm, and she’s decked out like a triple-x whore. Photographers descend. Hannah and Atlas make their way to Starck, at the gallery doors.
STARCK Hannah, thanks for coming.
HANNAH Is he here?
STARCK He’s doing some last minute adjustments.
HANNAH Can you let us in?
STARCK Even I’m not allowed in until the stroke of nine. Strict orders, sorry. Help yourselves to snacks.
Starck leaves them. Julian films the crowd. People’s interest is obviously fake..a nubile cradles her dog like a human..disdainful looks from one clique to another.
HANNAH People need to stop being from LA.
ATLAS (from behind the camera) I can’t see how you do it.
A MATRON approaches Atlas.
MATRON Do you have a permit to film here?
Hannah leans in to the Matron and speaks so others can’t hear her.
HANNAH He doesn’t need a permit to film your fat ass.
The matron is appalled.
MATRON You can’t have that camera—
Jesus steps in.
JESUS Please. Back away.
MATRON He needs a permit.
JESUS I’m gonna need to ask you to back away, Ma’am, or else I’ll have to involve the police.
MATRON The police!? I’ll call the police.
JESUS I would welcome that.
Jesus hands her his cell phone. The matron shakes her head. Starck’s voice pierces the crowd’s chatter.
STARCK Everyone, thank you for waiting. Sometimes we have to indulge the whims of the eccentric, but, I assure you, as always, that tonight’s show will be spectacular. Hiromi has been putting some last minute touches in place—what they are remain something of a surprise, even to me. For the last hour I have been locked out of my own gallery with strict orders not to open the door until nine o’clock, on the dot. Nine o’clock has come, so I suppose we should be allowed to see the show. The only problem is I don’t have the key.
Restrained laughter from the crowd.
STARCK I’m serious, I don’t have the key.
Atlas looks at Hannah strangely. Hannah opens her purse. She pulls out a small gift box. Opens the wrapping. Takes out a key. Atlas and Hannah are already at the front. Hannah gives the key to Starck.
HANNAH He gave it to me yesterday.
STARCK (nonplussed) Brilliant.
Starck unlocks and opens the doors. Hannah and Atlas are the first to go in.
60—INT ROBYN STARCK GALLERY LA—NIGHT
Inside the gallery, the place is lit like a nightmare. “Hiromi Masuda” style is nowhere to be seen. It’s all his secret style, the one from the warehouse in New York. Work lamps crudely illuminate the work. Masuda has turned paintings upside down, slashed some of them. His handprints are on the wall in red. Hannah and Atlas are at the gallery entrance. Hannah sees it first. She stops moving, her mouth open. In the middle of the gallery is Masuda’s body, dead. A dozen rattlesnakes, coiled and stretched, lie throughout the room. Masuda is barefoot. His arms and ankles are covered with bites. Starck steps back. People in the crowd see the snakes and react backwards. Hannah goes in. Starck grasps Hannah’s wrist but Hannah shuffles it off. She takes a few steps into the gallery, impervious to the snakes, and collapses. The rest of the way to Masuda she crawls, stumbling, and she shrieks, once. In this moment, though, it isn’t sadness she feels—she’s not crying—her shriek is one of rage. The snakes are nothing to her. She throws them off, one flying in the direction of the crowd. And she takes Masuda in her arms. Gretchen and her rapper boyfriend are at the front of the crowd. Starck pushes them back from the door as the thrown snake goes into the lawn in front of the gallery. Atlas takes a few measured steps forward, to get a better angle. He is not unaware of his emotions, he’s not callous, but this is his job. He kneels. And brings the camera to his face. He films the paintings. He films the snakes. He films Hannah holding Masuda in her arms. She is quiet now, and she looks at Julian without flinching, openly, devastated, empty, without anger or judgement. She lets Masuda’s body go, and she stands. There’s a stain on the wall. Hannah goes to it and follows the trail of red to the floor. Kneeling, she touches the broken glass that was a bottle of Grunhaus 1989.
Spotlights sweep over the crowd in a massive auditorium. Fans scream unintelligibly, their cries mixing in a deafening wash. The stage is set up for a performance, but no one is there to perform. Other than the brief swipe of a spotlight, the stage is dark.
62—INT BACKSTAGE ROOM—NIGHT
Some ASSISTANT talks with a radio.
ASSISTANT. No. No. I can’t! She won’t come out!
63—INT PRODUCTION BOOTH—NIGHT
Baby is in a room where a team of engineers occupy a mixing board eight feet wide. The room is set up to control a live television broadcast, monitors everywhere, an army of people. The coordinator is at Baby’s side. Baby slams his headset down on the desk as he stands.
64—INT BACKSTAGE HALLWAY—NIGHT
Baby is almost running down the hallway, coordinator, assistant, and other assistants in tow.
BABY I don’t care. Get her out of the room. And don’t tell me you can’t get her out of the room.
Baby throws himself against the wall, hitting, kicking. It looks like the wall, or him, or both, are coming apart.
BABY GET HER OUT OF THE MOTHERFUCKING ROOM!!
65—INT BACKSTAGE HALLWAY—NIGHT
Baby and crew come to the end of a hallway. One of Hannah’s shoes is outside the door. There’s a little sign on the door that very simply says “HANNAH GONZALEZ”. Gretchen is knelt at the door; she’s been pleading with the cell’s occupant.
** GRETCHEN** Oh, Hannah..
Baby pushes Gretchen aside and knocks rapidly on the door. He speaks with a faux-calm, faux-loving voice.
66—INT DRESSING ROOM—NIGHT
Baby bangs on the door.
BABY (OS) This is gonna cost us both a lot of money.
Hannah is scrunched up, sitting on the floor, cradling a small TV. Her face is red with tears. She is watching the Hiromi Masuda episode of The Atlas Interview. We see the opening graphics for the show.
ANNOUNCER (OS) this timely episode of the acclaimed Atlas Interview, focusing on the internationally-renowned pop artist..Hiromi Masuda.
It cuts to Atlas, face huge, in a 2-chair interview setting.
ATLAS Thank you for joining me. This week, I take a deeper look at the Japanese-born abstract painter Hiromi Masuda.
Atlas turns to Masuda.
ATLAS You’re a man of few words.
MASUDA The verbal detracts from the visual. The visual detracts from the verbal. You are either in one room or the other.
ATLAS Some have said your art is too popular to be truly serious.
MASUDA What do we mean when we say art is serious or not serious? When we say that art is serious, aren’t we really saying that people are serious about it?
ATLAS Don’t you care whether people like your paintings?
MASUDA I’m of the mind that you should always be destroying yourself. If I do my job well, then at the end there will be nothing of me left.
ATLAS Do you mean that literally? Explain.
MASUDA I mean it in every way. The proper conclusion to a play is that the stage be left empty. At the end of a great speech, there is silence. With my work it is the same. I aim to make a painting after which it will not be possible to paint again.
It cuts to Masuda walking backward through an Ohio cornfield. The footage is handheld. Hannah holds the camera, following Masuda.
MASUDA You’ve gotta give that up, caring. It’s what you make for yourself, that’s the only reason to do it.
HANNAH (OS) But you’ve gotta get paid.
MASUDA Not really. You are compelled to sing. You are compelled to write. Death is better than not writing if you are a writer. Sometimes, even death is a project you take on for yourself. It is something that disregards others, something that applies fully to you.
Masuda comes close to the camera. Hannah stops walking. Masuda’s arm comes close to the camera, his hand on Hannah’s shoulder, off-screen.
MASUDA (smiling) Suicide is probably the most individual act there is.
Hannah stays where she is. Masuda continues away from her, through the corn.
A rich but bleak office, the whole thing is open space. Gray-blue carpet. The entire back wall is top-to-bottom windows. It’s bright outside, dark inside, and we can’t see out. Hannah sits in an armchair in front of a huge desk. A man we haven’t seen before, TONY, sits behind the desk. Baby and a few other people dressed like LAWYERs, are sitting or standing around. But Tony is on one side of the desk, and everyone else is on the other side. There’s a short stack of paper, a contract of some sort, on Tony’s desk.
TONY From the business side this is outside the realm of what we can manage. It goes on TV.. It goes on TV it could ruin you. And us. This isn’t the Mickey Mouse Club anymore. This isn’t you and your friends putting on a show for Mom. This contract, if this is real—and don’t tell me if you signed it cause I don’t want to know if you signed it—we can come to a consensus on that later. Hannah, listen to me. This is how people like you get forgotten by the world. The Atlas Interview is a weekly ritual of celebrity bloodletting.
Baby touches the contract.
BABY If this release holds up in court..
Hannah is deep in her own thoughts. She doesn’t even hear Baby talking.
BABY At this point, there may be nothing we can do to protect you.
Hannah’s eyes come into focus.
BABY It’s simple procedure. And last night.. If that happens again I’ll walk.
Something in Hannah snaps.
HANNAH Tony. Cut Baby a check.
Tony is confused; but he works for Hannah.
TONY For how much?
HANNAH Forty-thousand dollars.
Hannah stands up. She shakes Baby’s hand.
HANNAH Nice knowing you.
Hannah walks out, simply, quietly. Everyone in the room looks at each other like “what the fuck is going on?”.
BABY Hannah. Hannah.
58—EXT PARK AVENUE—DAY
Hannah comes out of the glass front of a tall building. Dark glasses cover her face. Baby comes out after her.
A STRANGER comes up to Baby.
STRANGER Are you Baby Garafolo?
BABY And who the fuck are you.
Baby pushes the stranger off. The limo is waiting, and Jesus is leaning against it reading a novel. He goes to the door and opens it.
BABY Who’s gonna write your music now? You?
Hannah walks around the back of the limousine and into the street. She crosses carelessly over two lanes of traffic. Drivers slow their vehicles so not to hit her. She has her hand up and a yellow cab stops for her on the side opposite Jesus. Jesus stands behind the limo, New York traffic between them. Hannah looks at him over the top of the cab before she gets in. Baby watches, and Jesus watches, as Hannah’s cab drives off, down the avenue, and hers is lost among the other cars.
59—INT NEW YORK GREYHOUND STATION—DAY
The Port Authority bus station at 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue. Hannah stands in line to buy a ticket. Someone notices her. She pulls the hood of her sweatshirt over her head and waits. A SCHIZOPHRENIC on a nearby bench sees his attacker. He throws himself onto the floor, victim to the invisible menace. Everyone stares as the schizo flails around.
SCHIZOPHRENIC Oh, God in heaven. Save me from this demon. I renounce you. In the Revelation. Sickness..
Hannah gets to the front of the line. The GREYHOUND ATTENDANT looks at her funny. He recognizes her (he knows who she is).
GREYHOUND ATTENDANT Where you headed?
Hannah looks at the schizo writhing on the floor.
HANNAH You wanna call an ambulance?
60—INT GREYHOUND BUS—DAY
In the last seat of an almost-empty Greyhound Bus, Hannah’s face is shrouded by the hood of a big sweatshirt. She stares out the window at the grass going by. Her eyes are glassy, and everything moving outside—fences, a stream, a stand of trees, cows, a modern farm—are a blur.
The bus drives along a nighttime highway.
62—EXT GAS STATION—DAY
The bus pulls into a gas station. The pumps here don’t take credit cards. There’s a rusty truck abandoned in the station’s garage. The logos are still from the 1950s. It’s a foggy morning. A boy waits on a bench with a crew cut and an olive drab duffel bag. He is 18 years old. This is his first time leaving town. The Greyhound’s door opens. The crew-cut boy stands. The bus driver steps out. He’s overweight, aging, and it takes him some time to get down the stairs. He fishes around for his cigarettes. Hannah steps off the bus. The bus driver smiles approvingly at her, like a proud father. Hannah and the boy peer at each other, but they are strangers. He looks away, gets his bag, and approaches the bus with his ticket in hand. Hannah goes on down the road. She doesn’t look back.
Hannah walks through a small cemetery on a hill. The fog envelops her and the headstones. She doesn’t seem to be looking for anyone in particular. She walks aimlessly, not in a straight line, and without care. She lets her feet be lazy..she stumbles around.
64—EXT QUIET NEIGHBORHOOD—DAY
Hannah goes down a residential street in a country town. The houses are beautifully painted, there are plants and flowers on the porches, and swings, and mailboxes, and lawns. But no one is outside, no cars driving, no sounds of people, only Hannah, walking by herself.
65—EXT HANNAH’S HOUSE—DAY
Outside the neighborhood, she comes to a lone house. She stops in front of this house. There are no cars visible, no lights on inside. But a front window is open, and the curtain blows in and out with the breeze.
66—INT EDITING BAY—NIGHT
LEDs and blue-ish screens punctuate the otherwise dark room. Atlas is the only one there. He watches a rough cut of his show on one of the monitors.
ATLAS Hi, I’m Julian Atlas. Thanks for joining me. This week I take a deeper look at the American pop star, Hannah Gonzalez. Hannah Gonzales was born in the rural outskirts of Bloomington, Indiana, and before going into the music business earned a degree in English Literature, having graduated from high school a full two years early.
This monitor plays footage of Atlas speaking, establishing shots of Bloomington, Indiana, and pictures of Hannah as a little girl. A monitor next to it plays raw footage of Hannah and Carrie in the hotel room. Hannah and Carrie drink beer together. Hannah hugs Carrie as though they’re friends. Hannah dances around on the bed with half her clothes on. Atlas’ camera follows Carrie, drunk, into the bathroom to get another beer, where we see the bathtub has been made into a giant icebox, and is filled with beer.
ATLAS A performer from an early age, Hannah first starred in musicals at her high school, then won several lead roles in productions by the renowned music college of Indiana University. Among others, she played Juliet in an operatic Romeo and Juliet.
Atlas taps his keyboard. The first monitor switches to some footage of Hannah we have seen before. It’s the footage Masuda caught Atlas looking at over and over. (Nighttime, in Hannah’s bus, Atlas behind the camera.)
HANNAH Maybe I’m too Latina. Do Japanese people hate Mexicans or something?
ATLAS If he doesn’t think you’re beautiful—
HANNAH What were you saying?
ATLAS If he doesn’t see that you’re beautiful, then he’s crazy.
HANNAH Awww..you’re so cute.
ATLAS No I’m not.
HANNAH But you are. If you were a couple years older, who knows.
Hannah smiles warmly into the camera. Atlas pauses the feed on that monitor. He turns on the sound on the other monitor. It’s a shot of Jesus, disheveled, in a compartment in one of the busses, bawling his eyes out in confession to Atlas.
JESUS She doesn’t know, it’s just because someone did it to her, maybe, I don’t know that for a fact—she’s just alone—no one really talks to her like she’s a person—ohh—
It cuts to a shot of Hannah at her refrigerator that is really a closet full of sex toys. She’s taking one thing out, then another, showing them off, cutesy-like. It cuts to a shot of Hannah in the bus-top jacuzzi. Masuda is next to her. They’re kissing. Hannah looks across the jacuzzi.
HANNAH Come here, Jesus.
It cuts to a shot of Jesus in the jacuzzi, looking nervous.
HANNAH Come here, come here come here come here.
Atlas pauses this. He sits back in his chair. He exhales deeply and sits staring at the screens for a long time. Then he flips off the computers and the monitors go blank. He grabs his sweater and leaves the editing bay. When the door closes behind him, everything is dark except for LEDs, and monitors tuned to nothingness.
67—INT HANNAH’S BEDROOM—DAY
Hannah’s childhood bedroom. Her mother has kept it exactly as it was when Hannah last lived there. Stuffed animals and boy-band posters line the walls. Everything’s pink. Hannah comes into the room. Her eyes trace over the toys and posters. Then she goes to the bed and takes her sunglasses off the top of her head. She puts the glasses down. She lies down on the bed with her shoes still on, and she pulls the comforter around her without getting under it properly. She buries her head deep, and shuts out the light with her eyes.
68—INT LIVING ROOM—DAY
The family living room. Family pictures: a mother, a daughter, and a father. Beautiful dishes and a wood table that was probably passed down for a couple generations. A moth plays against a window screen, trying to escape. Hannah enters, sleepily. There’s a piano in the room. Hannah sits at the piano, opens the cover on the keys. She looks as though she’s going to play a song. But, instead, she only plays a single note. Then she hangs her head and she covers her face, shaking. The sound of a car outside. It pulls up, the engine turns off. HANNAH’S MOTHER appears in the living room doorway, stands for a silent moment, then walks to the piano. She bends to Hannah and puts her arms around her daughter. Their faces are close together. Hannah’s mom kisses her on the cheek and gently rocks back and forth, back and forth.
Under the Santa Monica pier. Almost sunset. Atlas studies—with his naked eye—the layers of barnacles attached to the bottoms of the wooden posts supporting the pier. Empty-handed, barefoot, he walks out from under the pier. He sits on the sand, reaches into his pocket, manages to come up with a receipt and a pen. He writes, intermittently looking out over the ocean. Waves lap the sand. Julian’s phone rings. He puts it to his ear.
HANNAH (OS) Atlas?
HANNAH (OS) It’s me.
Atlas takes the phone away from his ear and stands. He surveys the horizon. Then puts the phone back to his ear.
HANNAH (OS) What are you doing?
ATLAS Pretend picnic.
Hannah laughs. Atlas walks along the beach as they talk.
HANNAH (OS) I was gonna watch your show, but..it’s not on.
Atlas is quiet.
HANNAH (OS) I thought this week you were taking a deeper look at the pop star Hannah Gonzalez.
ATLAS Couldn’t get the footage I needed.
They’re both quiet.
HANNAH (OS) You couldn’t.
Atlas waits for Hannah to speak.
HANNAH (OS) So..who’s the next subject of The Atlas Interview?
ATLAS I’m not doing interviews.
This stumps Hannah.
HANNAH (OS) What are you doing?
Atlas stops walking. He holds his arm in front of him, palm open. He’s not marking a frame, but, still, it’s like he’s pitching his story to the ocean, envisioning it before him.
ATLAS I’m doing a story about a thirteen-year-old biographer who develops a crush on one of his interview subjects.
Atlas lets his hand drop to his side.
HANNAH (OS) Really?
ATLAS No, I’m not doing that story.
HANNAH (OS) Really.