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ALL SCRIPTS




                         GET ON UP



                         Written by

    Steven Baigelman, Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth



                               
                        Screenplay by
           Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth



1                                                                1
    EXT. ROAD. AUGUSTA. 1988.

    A hot muggy Georgia morning. A pickup truck comes around a
    corner and moves towards us. Inside, music plays on the
    radio. We can't quite see who's driving.


2   INT/EXT. PICKUP TRUCK/AUGUSTA STREETS. MOMENTS LATER         2

    The driver heads down the road. He beats his hand on the
    steering wheel to the rhythm of the music. The driver turns
    up the music. As the rhythm speeds, so does the truck.


3   INT. BATHROOM - SAME TIME                                    3

    A WOMAN, 40, sits on toilet within a stall using the
    bathroom. She's smoking a cigarette.


4   EXT. PARKING LOT. MOMENTS LATER.                             4

    Cars parked in rows. The pickup pulls into the lot and
    screech-stops.


5                                                                5
    INT. ADJACENT OFFICE. INSURANCE SEMINAR. DAY.

    About 30 people are attending a seminar. Behind a SEMINAR
    PRESENTER, The truck can be seen outside a window, stereo
    thumping.

                         SEMINAR PRESENTER
              Which brings us on to Dental
              Insurance. Generally speaking, when
              you receive care from a
              participating PDP dentist, your out-
              of-pocket expenses will typically
              be lower than if your were to
              accept care from a dentist outside
              the group. The law deems it illegal
              for dentists to charge any more
              than the network approves... But
              listen, in my three and a half
              years of experience in this
              business people mainly care about
              keeping their premiums low. So,
              each of you must be prepared to
              sell the network to your clients
              and always cater to their specific
              condition.

    Annoyed, the presenter turns momentarily to the truck.
                                                             2


6                                                                 6
    INT/EXT. PICKUP TRUCK / PARKING LOT

    A fifty-five year, out of shape black man in mirror shades
    and a shell-suit. He's breathing heavily. Patting the
    dashboard, as the song ends. The man sits there a moment and
    exits.

    JAMES BROWN hitches up his pants, and walks across the lot.


7                                                                 7
    INT. NONDESCRIPT OFFICE

    There's no one around. He's jumpy. His movements odd.
    Twitchy.

                        JAMES
                  (To himself)
              Where's everybody?

    Around a corner he comes face to face with a cleaner, MAVIS,
    who is wearing headphones as she vacuums.

    Mavis screams and removes her headphones.

                        MAVIS
              Mr. Brown. You scared me!

                        JAMES
              Mavis. Where's everybody at? I got
              a meetin' this mornin'.

                        MAVIS
              It's Sunday, Mr. Brown.

                        JAMES
              No, it's Tuesday, Mavis.

    James is caught flat-footed. SOMEWHERE OFF a toilet flushes.

    He rounds the corner. No-one. Opens the bathroom door. Looks
    inside. Sniffs. Slams it and storms off down the corridor
    passing a sign outside his office that reads: GET ON UP.


8                                                                 8
    INT./EXT. ADJACENT OFFICE/ PARKING LOT. DAY.

    As the INSURANCE SEMINAR presenter continues, the woman who
    was on the toilet takes her seat.

                        SEMINAR PRESENTER
              Now, understand that not all people
              have the same type of needs. When
              it comes to an insurance plan
              everyone is different.
                        (MORE)
                                                           3

                    SEMINAR PRESENTER (CONT'D)
          You can't possibly sell the same
          monthly premium to just anyone who
          strolls through your door. If you
          learn one lesson this weekend, let
          it be this: We must accommodate the
          specific condition of the client.
          Bottom line! Their needs are-

The adjoining door flies opens as James enters, pissed.

                    JAMES
          OK Stop. Sir. Stop. Who been in
          there?

                       SEMINAR PRESENTER
          Excuse me?

                    JAMES
          I own this building, someone has
          been in there used my commode. Now
          who was it?

                    SEMINAR PRESENTER
          Sorry. We're actually renting this
          part of the building today, and
          we're in the middle of a seminar.

                    JAMES
          I don't care if you're in the
          middle of a heart attack son.
          Someone been in there, I hear the
          chain flush, I can smell it. Now
          who it was?

                    INSURANCE SALESMAN
          It is. It's fuckin' him.

BACK AT THE FRONT someone sniggers.

James spins round. SILENCE. Someone sniggers behind him.
James spins back round and approaches the salesman.

                    JAMES
          Something funny?

                       INSURANCE SALESMAN
          No, sir.

                    JAMES
          Then why you cats laughing?

                    INSURANCE SALESMAN
          I wasn't laughing. It wasn't me.
                                                           4


James stares at the man. Turns on his heel.

He storms out of the building and across the lot to his
pickup truck

THE PAYBACK starts: insanely tight, deep funk.

                    INSURANCE SALESMAN (CONT'D)
          I'm telling you that was James
          Brown.

Outside a window behind the seminar presenter, James can be
seen rifling through the back of his pickup truck.

The woman who used his bathroom watches James' every move.

                    SEMINAR PRESENTER
          Look, I suggest we just continue...
          OK. So. How does the program work?
          Initially, participating dentists
          undergo an extensive credentialing
          process which, if approved, allows
          customers to pay the minimum
          deductible allowed and the
          remainder is insured. But with non-
          participating dentists the cost per
          visit is much higher and comes
          completely out of pocket. So some
          people may want a high deductible
          because they have more to cover,
          but most common folks simply want
          the lowest possible plan... and
          remember our key takeaway!?

Entire seminar in UNISON.

          We must accommodate the specific condition of-


The office door flies open. James comes back in with a
SHOTGUN.

                    JAMES
          OK listen up people.

The room goes still and completely silent.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Being it's Sunday and all I'm gone
          ask each of you to imagine you're
          sittin' in church right now. While
          today's sermon may be good they's
          something else on your mind. You
          realize you gotta take a shit.
                    (MORE)
                                                             5

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Real bad. And you don't want to
          shit at the church house, naw sir.
          So you just sit there and think
          about getting home to your own
          toilet in your own master bath on
          Beech Island, South Carolina. I
          gotta a bidet in my master bath.
          Love my bidet. And a big pretty
          oval tub too.

James spins around to man.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          You got a bidet, Sir?

He shakes his head.    James looks to a woman.

                       JAMES (CONT'D)
          You?

She shakes her head.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Well you gotta get you one. You all
          gotta get you a bidet. Are y'all
          sure its really Sunday today?

A woman nods.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          What was just saying... Oh, that's
          right. Yes! You gotta take shit.
          So, after church, you speed back
          home and you run like hell to the
          house scared you ain't gonna make
          it. But you do. Now imagine
          unhitching your pants as your open
          your bathroom door. And then you
          see me. James Brown. Sittin' on
          your master toilet taking a break.
          What would you do?

More sniggers from all over the room. James raises his gun
and KABLOOM!!!

James accidentally blasts an enormous hole in the ceiling.

SCREAMS AS EVERYONE HITS THE DECK.      James looks up the the
hole in the ceiling.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
              (sotto)
          Good God. Tear up the devil. I'm
          gone have to get that fixed.
                                                          6


James looks to the gun unsure of how it went off.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Now I'm a busy man, and I'm
          guessin' you cats are too. But
          someone has abused a personal
          convenience. Now I ask you nicely.
          I'm gone ask you again. Which one
          of you gentlefolk hung a number two
          in my commode?

James approaches the salesman.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Was it you, Sir? Was it you?!

                    INSURANCE SALESMAN
          Don't shoot.

                    JAMES
          I ain't gone shoot nobody, son.

Then, as if told by God, James spins around and locks eyes
with the woman who used his bathroom. He approaches her.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Ma'am, it was you wasn't it? You
          took a break in my bathroom, didn't
          you?

She shakes her head and begins to cry.

                    FEMALE SALESWOMAN
          Yes sir, Mister Brown.

                    JAMES
          Yes you did. Now, don't cry. It's
          gone be okay.

James lowers the gun to the floor.   As he tries to console
the woman.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          You had to use the toilet. You saw
          an opportunity and you took it.
          Yeah, I got mad but, Lady, you did
          right by yourself. I've spent my
          whole life doing right by myself.
          I'm James Brown and I made a
          difference.

JAMES LOOKS TO CAMERA AND TALKS DIRECTLY TO US:
                                                                  7


                          JAMES (CONT'D)
                You cats may not own my records but
                you can bet every record you have
                got a piece of me in `em. Ain't
                nobody singing today that ain't
                been touched by James Brown.

      James turns back to the woman.

                          JAMES (CONT'D)
                So, Lady, you did right by
                yourself. And there ain't no other
                way to live. You understand me?

      The woman nods. James turns back to us.

                          JAMES (CONT'D)
                You understand me?

      Police sirens are heard in the distance.    James turns to his
      truck outside the window.


9                                                                     9
      EXT. COUNTRY ROAD. DAY.

      SUDDENLY - a pickup truck passes at a hundred MPH. FOLLOWED A
      MOMENT LATER by two city cop cars.


10                                                                    10
      INT. PICKUP TRUCK. DAY.

      James rocks in his seat. Odd guttural sounds. In the
      rearview. The two cop cars close upon him. Hits the gas,
      hard.


11                                                                    11
      HELICOPTER SHOT: EXT. ON RAMP - I-20. DAY

      The pickup truck skids onto the interstate where two city
      cars are now joined by two Highway Patrol cars.


11A                                                               11A
      EXT. STREET LEVEL

      A police car pulls up next to him, the officer aiming a
      weapon and flagging the car down. James sees him and
      flinches.

                          JAMES
                Don't hurt me. Don't stop me. Don't
                stop me.

      He rams the cop car. It retreats.
                                                                8


12                                                                  12
     EXT. I-20. DAY

     Three prowlers and a highway patrol RV form a road block. A
     high engine note pierces the air. The police take up firing
     positions.


13                                                                  13
     INT. PICKUP TRUCK. DAY

     James sees the roadblock ahead.

                         JAMES
               Don't stop me. Don't stop me.

     He smashes through road block. The windscreen is blown out
     with gunfire showering James with glass.

     He glances in the mirror as wind whips around the truck:

     Up ahead another police car sits in the middle of the road. A
     policeman steps out from the car firing his pistol at the
     pickup truck.

     James makes a hard right down a dirt road.


14                                                                  14
     INT/EXT. PICKUP TRUCK. GRAVEL PITTS, DAY

     James's front tires are blown out. James struggles to control
     the skidding vehicle.

                         JAMES
               C'mon. C'mon.


15                                                                  15
     EXT. GRAVEL PITTS, DAY

     The pickup truck rolls to a stop. Five various police cars
     from different jurisdictions enter the Pitts from five
     different entrances and take up positions blocking exit
     routes.


16                                                                  16
     INT. PICKUP TRUCK. DAY.

     James sits staring straight ahead. Breathing hard. A loud
     hailer off screen: "EXIT THE VEHICLE WITH YOUR HANDS ABOVE
     YOUR HEAD." James opens the door scattering glass onto the
     ground.

     Around the perimeter armed police tense. Safety's off.
     Keeping James in their sights. A young officer sweats
     nervously.
                                                                 9


     James stands next to the bullet riddled wreckage of his
     pickup, hands above his head. He leans back and sings to the
     sky.



                         JAMES
               "I Don't Feel Noways Tired".


17                                                                   17
     EXT. AUGUSTA COUNTRY CLUB.   NIGHT.   1942   JAMES 9 YRS

     A wide, opulent looking club has taken residence in a huge
     antebellum home with wrap around porches.

     A crowd of Deep Southern white folk, in cocktail attire, fill
     both levels of the porches and spill out onto the lawn
     surrounding a BOXING RING.

     A GROUP OF SIX BLACK MUSICIANS FORM A DIXIELAND BAND. Without
     inspiration they play methodically to the all white crowd.

     A FAT, SWEATING ANNOUNCER, walks into the ring, grasps a
     dangling mic.

                         ANNOUNCER
               Aaannd now folks, before the main
               event, the Augusta Country club is
               proud to present to y'all it's
               Annual Charity ex-travagaaanza..!
                   (Drum-roll)
               Ladies and gentlemen..The Battle...
               Royale!

     Music. HALF A DOZEN BLACK BOYS enter the ring. Hyped. A glove
     is pulled onto one hand. The other tied behind their backs.
     They are blind-folded.

     A WHITE MAN with a BUCKET OF WHITE PAINT daubs a number onto
     each boy's chest.

     DING! DING! The boys stagger out, blindly swinging. The crowd
     roars, bangs the tables as they stumble, lurch, in the baying
     din.

     The smallest of the boys stands stiff. He struggles to throw
     much less land a punch. The number "One" is painted on his
     chest.

     A much bigger boy, "Number Six" punches "One" in the gut.
     "One" goes down but then slowly rises.
                                                        10


The dixieland band watches the exploitation with both horror
and intrigue as they can't help but wonder who will be left
standing.

The band's sound begins to change. It becomes as energized
as the match before them. They sink into the rhythm, and the
effect is one of heightened energy.

The drummer begins to pull the beat and the bass player
instantly follows suit finding the new pocket. The drummer
and bass player share a glance.

This inspired pocket soars across the lawn and into the ears
of boy "Number One".

We are now transported into the mind of "Number One".
Complete silence except for the sound of the band. Then one
by one all other instruments fade away leaving only the drum
and bass.

James turns to the band and lowers his blindfold from over
one eye. He catches eyes with the drummer and bass player.
The drummer nods at James and smiles.

James nods back and closes his eye. The sound morphs again as
"Number One" begins to arrange the music in his head to his
own liking.

James opens his one eye and sees only the drummer and bass
player on the stage. They are now playing what we and James
are hearing in his head.

James covers his eye again with the blindfold and forms a
slight smile. His stance becomes more relaxed. His body
begins to swing and morph like rubber.

He throws a punch. IT LANDS.

ALL AT ONCE "Number One" dances forward, dips, swings and
sweetly CONNECTS to "Number Four". As the vanquished head
hits the canvas, the victor, "Number One", bloodied, panting
in the waves of laughter and summer heat, stands alone.

As the boys hit the deck and are deemed "out" they are pulled
off the mat and carried to the bed of a parked truck.

"Three" goes down. Then "Two" and "Five". A ringside punter
THUMPS the canvas with a fistful of dollars, berating him.
People screaming with laughter. Only "One" and "Six" remain.
Panicky, jerky, they stalk one another. Listening.

"Number One" connects with lighting speed. "Six" removes his
blindfold, jumps off the ring and runs across the lawn
disappearing into the nearby woods.
                                                              11


     "Number One" stands victorious. The crowd goes wild. "Number
     One" absorbs the admiration as he slowly pushes up the
     blindfold and looks toward the bandstand.

     All the band members have returned to the stand as in reality
     they always were. They clap wildly as the beat and rhythm of
     this budding continues in his head.

     THE EIGHT YEAR OLD JAMES BROWN LOOKS RIGHT AT US. A level
     gaze. That million dollar smile, teeth coated with blood.

     THE BEAT CONTINUES OVER...


18                                                                 18
     CLOSE UP ON:

     The June 1968 cover of Look Magazine: A silhouette portrait
     of James: "IS THIS THE MOST IMPORTANT BLACK MAN IN AMERICA?"


19                                                                 19
     EXT. PLANE. VIETNAM. DUSK.   1968 JAMES 35YRS

     A rickety old twin prop army plane flies low over the jungle.
     SUDDENLY below, tracer fire BURSTS out of the canopy.


20                                                                 20
     INT. PLANE. VIETNAM. IN THE BELLY

     Marva Whitney, Clyde Stubblefield, Jimmy Nolen, MACEO PARKER,
     Waymond Reed and BOBBY BYRD sit in a line opposite a line of
     soldiers. The soldiers hold rifles. The band hold
     instruments.

     PING! PING! PING!

                         BOBBY
               What was that?

     They glance at each other nervously. PING! PING! PING!

     OUTSIDE - A rocket propelled grenade streaks up out of the
     canopy and explodes near the plane, rocking it violently.

     BELOW - The world explodes, as Napalm sears across a football
     pitch size of jungle, a hundred feet below.

                         BOBBY (CONT'D)
               They're shooting at us.

                         MACEO
               Please, Lord! Please!

     They look at the soldiers, who are also nervous. Marva looks
     out the window. Nothing but fire below.
                                                        12


                    MACEO (CONT'D)
              (Shaking)
          Oh. My. God.

Drummond taps the soldier opposite. Points out the window. A
soldier looks out, turns white.

                       SOLDIER
          Holy shit.

IN THE COCKPIT - The pilots wrestle to keep the craft
upright. Between them, a completely unruffled James Brown is
holding court.

                     JAMES
          See Captain Jenkins, the James
          Orchestra is a 22 piece, but the
          Gov'ment or the Army, powers't be
          say I can only bring six fellas.
          Right now I got 16 pieces sittin'
          in a Bangkok hotel. If I'm paying
          my own money to be here, and I am,
          I oughtta bring as many cats as I
          want. Breaks my heart, son. `cause
          I know they all wish they was here
          right now.

                    PILOT
          Mr. Brown, it's probably best if
          you go back now.

                    JAMES
          We gone be fine, Captain.

                    PILOT
          We're under attack Mr. Brown.

                    JAMES
          Settle down, Captain. James Brown
          was born dead but then I breathed.
          God didn't want me then and he sure
          ain't gonna call me back now.

The soldier from the back rushes in.

                    SOLDIER
          The port engine's on fire.

The PILOT looks back.

                    PILOT
          How far to Tan Son?
                                                             13


     IN THE BELLY - Everyone is frozen. Saying prayers. Moaning.
     James appears.

                         JAMES
               Marva, fellas, Listen up. We under
               attack.


                         MACEO
               No shit, Mr. Brown.

     James flashes five fingers at Maceo four times.

                         JAMES
               Watch that mouth, Maceo. That's
               twenty dollars right there.

     The plane suddenly lurches forty five degree and lets out an
     awful groan. Everyone screams. Except James who is still
     standing like rubber even though he wasn't holding onto
     anything. Bobby sees this.

                         JAMES (CONT'D)
               Mr. Byrd, I've decided to open
               tonight's show with "I Got The
               Feeling".

     James demeanor somehow gives comfort to Bobby. James nods at
     Bobby and smiles.

                         JAMES (CONT'D)
               How's that sound?

                         BOBBY
               Sounds good, Mr. Brown.

     Bobby smiles at James. The plane lurches again, Bobby
     screams.


21   INT. HANGER - SAME TIME                                      21

     A very white female news journalist talks into a camera, as
     scores of rowdy troops rush toward a make shift stage. Next
     to her, a group of BLACK SOLDIERS wait to be interviewed.

                         NEWS JOURNALIST
               Soul Brother Number One James
               Brown, the Hardest Working Man in
               Show business is embarking on a
               tour with a difference.
                         (MORE)
                                                                14

                         NEWS JOURNALIST (CONT'D)
               In association with the USO, Mr.
               Brown is playing a series of shows
               for battle fatigued US troops
               across Vietnam-

     A BLACK INFANTRYMAN grabs the mic and looks into the camera.

                         BLACK INFANTRYMAN 1
               80 percent of 9th Division is
               brothers. We been here 2 years.
               What do we get as thanks?


     Another Infantryman leans in.

                         BLACK INFANTRYMAN 2
               Country music.

                         BLACK INFANTRYMAN 1
               Country and fuckin' Western. But
               James is ours, man. He's comin'.
               Bringin' some fuckin' soul,
               brother.

     The other Infantryman grabs the mic.

                         BLACK INFANTRYMAN 2
               Welcome to the shit, nigger!

     The Infantrymen laugh and slap hands. As they walk toward
     stage...

                         NEWS JOURNALIST
                   (To Cameraman)
               We can't use that.


22                                                                   22
     INT. PLANE. IN THE COCKPIT.


                 PILOT                          SOLDIER
     I'm losing her. We're going     Oh mother of Christ!
     down.

     The wounded beast judders in low over the canopy and starts
     sinking into it when the jungle suddenly clears.


23                                                                   23
     EXT. TAN SON NHUT AIRFIELD 9TH DIV INFANTRY CAMP OUTSIDE
     NOM PEI. JUNE 1968. SAME TIME

     The damaged plane breaks out over the field with both engines
     smoking. Barely regaining control, the pilots make a very
     hard landing.
                                                                15


     MUSIC: "There Was A Time" begins.

     Army personnel race toward the plane. Next to the runway an
     old hanger is teeming with soldiers.


24                                                                   24
     EXT. AIRFIELD. MOMENTS LATER

     Biblically pissed, James and Bobby walk from the flaming
     plane alongside CORPORAL DOOLEY.



     Behind them, in deep shock, Maceo and the rest of the band,
     clutching instruments.

                         CORPORAL DOOLEY
               Welcome to Bear Cat, Mr. Brown.
               Corporal Dooley. USO Liaison
               officer. Can I first say I'm a big,
               big fan of your mus-

                         JAMES
               You in charge when Bob Hope was
               over Corporal?

                         CORPORAL DOOLEY
                   (proudly)
               I was.

                         JAMES
                   (to Bobby)
               Mr. Byrd, You think Bob Hope's
               plane got shot down?

                         BOBBY
               No sir, Mr. Brown.

     As they approach the hanger filled with troops, a chant
     begins inside.

                         TROOPS
               James Brown! James Brown!   James
               Brown!

                         CORPORAL DOOLEY
                   (Tightly)
               Sorry about the plane trouble-

                         JAMES
               Plane trouble? They tried to kill
               James Brown today. You wanna go
               down in history as the man who
               killed the funk?
                                                                16


     James and crew near the rear stage entrance of the hanger.

                         CORPORAL DOOLEY.
               About the show, if you could just
               keep it to 25, 30 min-

                         JAMES.
                   (Interrupting)
               Whoa, whoa, whoa.

                         BOBBY
                   (under his breath)
               Oh no.


                         JAMES
               Corporal, let me tell you the first
               thing about James Brown. The first
               thing is James Brown don't tell no
               man his business. He won't tell you
               how to take Pnom Ridge or how you
               screwed up the Tet offensive. I
               don't tell you how to fight your
               war Corporal. So don't tell me
               when, where or for how long I can
               be funky.


25   INT. HANGAR. CONTINUOUS.                                        25

     HUNDREDS OF HOT, STEAMING TROOPS ROAR, like a thousand space
     rockets taking off at once. It's awesome, shaking the stage.

                         TROOPS
               James Brown! James Brown!    James
               Brown!

     James and Bobby enter the hanger. We walk with them and strut
     up six steps and onto the stage.

     Bobby stands back and watches as James grabs the mic and
     looks out over the sea of faces.

                         JAMES
               Sorry we're late.    Are you cats
               ready?

     The troops roar even louder.

     James turns straight to camera, flashes his smile and talks
     directly to us.
                                                             17


                         JAMES (CONT'D)
                   (quietly)
               Are you cats ready?


26                                                                26
     EXT. A PINE WOOD. 1941. DAY.    JAMES 8 YRS

     A cold fog hangs in the fading sunlit trees.

     Eight year old James stands alone in a forest clearing. He
     looks all around him.

                           JAMES
               Momma?

     He scans the trees. He's alone.

     SUDDENLY in the trees he glimpses someone. A woman. 30. Red
     dress. She giggles as she scampers from behind one tree to
     another. She peeps round. He beams.

                           JAMES (CONT'D)
               Momma!

     He chases her. She's laughing.

                         SUSIE
               You can't catch me!

     Each time he loses her she peers from behind a tree he
     squeals in delight but she disappears. He is suddenly alone.

                         JAMES
                   (Scared)
               Momma?

     She jumps out from behind a tree and scoops him up.

                           SUSIE
               I gotcha!

     He squeals and laughs in her arms.


27                                                                27
     EXT. WOODED PATH. DAY. 1941

     Susie and James walk hand in hand.

                         JAMES
               Momma, I'm hungry.

                         SUSIE
               You ain't hungry baby. That feeling
               in yo tummy?
                         (MORE)
                                                                18

                         SUSIE (CONT'D)
               That feelin' is the spirit inside
               you. He's in there tickling your
               belly right now cause he knows you
               such a good boy. You ain't hungry.
               He's just trying to make you laugh.

     Susie begins tickling James.   James starts to laugh.

                         SUSIE (CONT'D)
               Are you a good boy?

     He tries to speak but can't from laughing.

                         SUSIE (CONT'D)
               I can't hear you.

     Susie continues to tickle James.

                         JAMES
                   (through laughter)
               I'm a good boy!


28   EXT. SHACK. BROWN FAMILY HOME. DEEP WOODS. SOUTH CAROLINA. 28

     Cold. James sits on the porch with a stick. He continually
     beats the stick on the porch post forming a beat.

     He suddenly stops as a man in a thick worn work coat and
     heavy boots, is approaching singing the blues to himself.

     The man puts his pack down, ruffles the kid's hair, says
     nothing and walks inside.

                         SUSIE
               Where you been? I been sittin' here
               for nine days with your child. You
               nine days late Joe. Where you been?

                         JOE
               Working turpentine, baby. Chippin'
               trees.

     James peers around the opened door and watches.

                         SUSIE
               Where you been? Gamblin? You spent
               the money again?

                         JOE
               No.
                                                                19


                          SUSIE
                DON'T LIE TO ME JOE! Give me some
                money.

                          JOE BROWN
                I ain't lyin'!

                          SUSIE
                Give me some money!

      Susie tries to put her hands in Joe's pocket.   He shoves her
      hand to his side.

                          SUSIE (CONT'D)
                I'm here all alone here for four
                weeks. And we got nothing. Nothing!

                          JOE
                Susie. Shut your sweet mouth get
                those panties off baby.


      Joe grabs Susie and carries her into the cabin.


28A   INT. CABIN. CONTINUOUS.                                    28A

      Joe and Susie kiss and begin tearing at each others clothes.
      Joe's been gone A LONG TIME.

      As they lower to the bed, we see James watching through the
      opened door.

      James soon turns his head and walks off into the woods.


28A                                                              28A
      EXT. FOREST. BARNWELL. DAY. LATER THAT DAY

      James walks down a worn path deep in the woods singing a song
      to himself. He suddenly stops.

      There, about ten feet up in the air, hanging in a tree is a
      black man. Aged about eighteen.

      The child stares up at the lynched man who is dressed in nice
      clothes. Then to his feet within beautiful leather shoes.

      Silence. He looks at him carefully.

      James reaches his small hand up to touch the suspended foot
      of the man. Pulls on his laces. His shoe comes off.
                                                                20


     James drops the shoe and removes the other.

                                                              CUT TO:


29   OMITTED                                                         29


30                                                                   30
     INT. DARK CORRIDOR. DAY.      TAMI SHOW 1964

     BEN BART, 50's, running along the corridor backstage. He
     reaches the door with JAMES BROWN written on it. Outside sits
     an enormous, middle aged black woman, knitting.

                         BEN BART
               I need to speak to James.

                         GERTRUDE
               He resting, Pop.

                         BEN BART
               Gertrude, it's important.


                         GERTRUDE
               He resting. Nobody allowed in.

     Ben offers Gertrude some money. It's a twenty. She takes it.

     Gertrude kisses Bart on the cheek. She opens the door.

                         GERTRUDE (CONT'D)
               Mr. Brown will see you now, Mr.
               Bart.

     We go inside with Ben. Sitting slumped, back to us, on a
     burnished throne in front of a lit mirror, James Brown.

     HENRY STALLINGS attends to the towering bouffant on James'
     head. Bobby Byrd sits in a chair next to James going over a
     play list.

     James stares at Ben in the mirror.

                           JAMES
               Gertrude!

     Gertrude walks in.

                         GERTRUDE
               Yes, Mr. Brown.
                                                        21


                     JAMES
          I said I didn't want to be
          disturbed.
              (holds out his hand)
          That'll be twenty dollars.

Gertrude walks over and hands James the same twenty spot Ben
gave her. Ben winks at Gertrude as she exits.

                    BEN BART
          James, I just spoke to the
          producers. They've requested the
          Rolling Stones close the show.

James looks confused.

                    JAMES
          Huh?

                    BEN BART
          Rolling Stones, James. You'll go on
          right before them. It'll be you,
          then the Rolling Stones top of the
          bill.


                    JAMES
          The Rolling Stones, huh?

James to Bobby.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Then why we here, Bobby?

                    BOBBY
          We here to play, James.

                    BEN BART
          You're here because they want you
          here, James. You're James Brown! I
          want you here. Because this isn't
          the chitlin' circuit man. We're
          done with that shit. This is an
          audience full of white faces and
          you're gonna make them love you.
          You're just not closing the show.

His eyes focus.

                    BEN BART (CONT'D)
          James. Now don't start. Let it go.

                    BOBBY
          This don't matter, James.
                                                        22


THE DOOR FLIES OPEN. JAMES BROWN STRUTS DOWN THE CORRIDOR AS
BEN BART FOLLOWS.

                    JAMES
          The Rolling Stones ain't even had a
          hit record here.

They pass several dressing rooms along the way.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          They ain't even ever played in
          America. Have they?

James passes a dressing room where a group is rehearsing.

                    BEN BART
          They're just kids. In a year from
          now we won't even know who they
          are. It's business, James.

                    JAMES
          And it's my business to hear what
          they got to say about this.


He passes another dressing room with a group of guys
harmonizing.

James stops, glances at the VERY WHITE CALIFORNIA GROUP and
then to Ben.

                    BEN BART
          James, don't...

James is off again. He rounds the corner walks straight up to
the Stones dressing room. On the door it says THE ROLLING
STONES.

A guy on the door stands but knows he can't stop James Brown
who walks straight in. Ben stops at the door and watches.

                    JAMES BROWN
          Fellas, how ya doin'. Mr. Jagger.
          Mr. Richard. Hear you boys are
          closing the show. Did you know
          that?

                    MICK JAGGER
          Uh..That's what they're saying.
          Yeah. They just told us.

Mick looks over to Keith and the rest of the Rolling Stones.
                                                         23


                    JAMES BROWN
          Uh-hmm. Well, I was told I'm
          closing the show. That's why I flew
          out here.

Mick leads James to a couch. They sit.

                    MICK JAGGER
          Listen man. We're filming a movie
          here today. This isn't live.

                    JAMES
          I know that.

                    MICK JAGGER
          What I mean is, the order in which
          we play makes no difference.
          They're going to edit and arrange
          the show any way they want later.

James raises and shakes Mick's hands. James shakes a couple
of the other guys hands.

                    JAMES BROWN
          Y'all have a great show, fellas.


We march out with James. He turns to Ben.

                    JAMES
          I'll be on stage in five. They
          better be ready. And the white
          people.

                    BEN BART
          Yes Sir, Mr. Brown.

JAMES struts to the side of the stage. On a television
backstage we see a live feed of:

ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE: THE SUPREMES FINISHING THEIR PERFORMANCE.

James waits in the wings. On the other side of the stage, the
Rolling Stones watch. James flashes his trademark smile. They
all wave back.

Archival Footage:

JAN AND DEAN approach the microphone and introduce the
flames.

ZAP -a white follow spot burns into James as he stands head
bowed. Check jacket, waistcoat, black pipes and mirror boots.
                                                          24


He throws his head back, steps forward and the groove starts.
The screams rise to a deafening pitch-

He's already on the move, in a snake hipped side slide, mash
potatoes, up on one leg, level with the mike, spin and BAM!

                    JAMES
          You got your high-heel sneakers on-

The teens in the audience lose it. Bobby Byrd and the Flames
in immaculate tuxedos snap and step in time.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          You know you out of sight-

IN THE WINGS - The Stones and Ben Bart watch a television
being fed the show in real time.

A big smile crosses Ben's face.

CLOSE ON TELEVISION/INSERT ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE

INTERCUT FILMED STAGE AND ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE OF JAMES AND THE
FLAMES ON TELEVISION.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Say I...I...I...I love you so!


ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE: Teenagers shake their heads completely in
the thrall of the minutely controlled and manipulated
frustration and reward.

BACK STAGE - James stalks off past the Stones and Ben.

Keith Richards is slack jawed. Ben swallows a laugh. James
continues on. We go with him.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Welcome to America.

James looks right at us. Sweating. Focused. Wide awake.

CLOSE ON TELEVISION/INSERT ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE

The Rolling Stones begin their first song. TIME IS ON MY SIDE
The crowd goes wild. A sea of white faces screaming for Mick.

James is watching the monitor. His face registers a
realization. James stays on the Stone's as he talks to us.
                                                             25


     CLOSE ON JAMES MOUTH IN PROFILE SURROUNDED BY BLACK AND WHITE
     SCREEN

                          JAMES (CONT'D)
               The British Invasion make a man
               strong. Make him stand up. You
               ain't never been down how ya gonna
               get on up?

     James turns to us with an even deeper intensity.

                         JAMES (CONT'D)
               I can't never quit cause it get
               hard. You quit, you going
               backwards. You going backwards,
               you dead. So, I take it. But I take
               it and flip it. I go forward. And I
               live.


31                                                                31
     INT. SHACK. WOODS. DAY. 1941. JAMES 8 YRS

     Fall day. Under the eves, James climbs round the side of the
     house. He reaches the corner to see HIS MOTHER STANDING ON
     THE PORCH of the cabin, a suitcase packed. Her eye is
     swollen.

                         JOE BROWN
               You leavin' you take your child,
               girl. You his momma. I don't need
               no hungry child.

     Confused, James approaches. Looks up at his mother.

                         SUSIE
               You keep him. You can feed him. I
               can't.
                   (She holds him, kisses him)
               Bye, baby. You be good.
               She leaves. Joe calls after her.

                         JOE BROWN
               That's right. Why don't you go try
               to sell your ass on Twigg Street.
               That's right. Buy yourself a dress.
               Maybe I pay you a visit.

     Alone with his son, Joe stares at him. The boy stares back.

                                                           CUT TO:
                                                             26


32                                                                32
     INT/EXT. SHACK. DAY. 1941

     A MORNING IN THE CABIN. James watches his father silently
     pack a few meager belongings into a sack.

                         JOE
               Be back in a week or so. Mind you
               don't makes no mess.

     James runs over to the glassless window to watch his father
     lead a mule, barrels on its back, away into the woods.

                                                           CUT TO:


33                                                                33
     INT. SHACK. NIGHT. 1941

     Wind howls and blows the door open. Shivering, Young James
     pulls a chair across the door of the shack and makes a nest
     of blankets under the bed. He crawls in.


34   TIME LAPSE PHOTOGRAPHY OF NIGHT                              34

                                                           CUT TO:


35   EXT. SHACK. DAY. 1941                                        35

     Morning. James tries to fetch water from a stream. He pulls a
     bucket via a rope. The bucket tips over and spills the
     water.

                                                           CUT TO:


36                                                                36
     EXT. PRODUCE STAND. 1941

     James approaches a woman who's selling produce. Annoyed, she
     picks up a over-ripened tomato and throws it to James' feet.

     James picks up the tomato and walks away.

                                                           CUT TO:


37                                                                37
     EXT. WOODS. DILAPIDATED CABIN. MOMENTS LATER

     James approaches a dilapidated cabin that has been flattened
     by a fallen tree. He raises his stick and begins tapping it
     on the cabins rusted tin roof.
                                                                27


     Slowly he begins to work out a simple, familiar tune. He
     begins to stomp his feet, move his hips.

                                                            CUT TO:


38   TIME LAPSE PHOTOGRAPHY HERE - LEAVES BEGIN TO CHANGE            38


39                                                                   39
     INT. SHACK. DAY - 10 WEEKS LATER. 1941

     Joe's back. Fully bearded. He unpacks his sack onto the bed.
     In the doorway appears the boy. Half naked. Covered in mud.
     Its clearly been weeks rather than days he's been alone.

                         JOE
                   (Chuckling)
               Look at you boy. You go clean
               yourself up `fore you come in here.

                                                            CUT TO:
               Int. SHACK. KITCHEN TABLE. DAY.
               1941

     James sits opposite his father at the table. Joe eats and
     hums and sings a blues tune, No More My Lord.

     James beats his stick on the leg of the table perhaps to join
     in and impress his dad.

     Joe acknowledges the beat that James is creating. For a
     brief moment, father and son are making music together.

     Joe quits singing but James continues beating the stick on
     the table.

                         JOE BROWN
               Quit that. Driving me crazy.

                         LITTLE JAMES
               Keep singin'.
                   (James taps the stick quieter.
                   (Staring at his father.)
               "No more my Lord"

                         JOE BROWN
               I said stop!

     Joe gets up. Takes the stick and snaps it in two. James
     stares hard at his father's face.

                         JOE BROWN(CONT'D)
               You gawkin' at me?
                                                                28


     James stays on Joe.   Joe quickly rises and yanks James out of
     his chair.

                                                             CUT TO:


41                                                                   41
     INT./EXT. SHACK. DAY. 1941

     From outside the shack, we hear the sounds of abuse.

                         JOE BROWN (O.C.)
               Stop crying. I said stop crying.

     Suddenly the shack door opens, and James runs out.

     He sprints full pelt through the woods. He comes to a
     clearing. He slows, approaches us and suddenly stops,
     breathing heavily, he stops and looks straight at us.
     Levelly.

     BLACKOUT. A THUMPING RHYTHM BEGINS.

     Beneath his tears a smile emerges...

                                                             CUT TO:


42   INT. HOLLWOOD SOUND STAGE - DAY   - 1964 JAMES 31YRS            42

     CLOSE ON: An argyle sweater.   The intro to I GOT YOU (I FEEL
     GOOD) ramps up.

     We widen to see James Brown singing.

                         JAMES
               I feel good! And I knew that I
               would now...

     Even wider to reveal BOBBY BYRD and the rest of the flames
     dancing in sound stage dressed to resemble a Ski Lodge.

     FRANKIE AVALON and THIRTY VERY WHITE EXTRAS dance around
     James and the flames. Everyone is in argyle and bright
     colors.

     To the side, FILM CREW MEMBERS AND A DIRECTOR do their best
     to keep up with the rhythm. James is killing it. His
     legendary moves in full force.

                         JAMES (CONT'D)
               I feel nice. Like sugar and spice.

     SLOW MOTION PHOTOGRAPHY
                                                         29


Music stops. (Tom Newman theme here) James watches the cast,
crew and Flames doing their thing for camera.

James turns to us and speaks.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Take it and flip it.

END SLOW MOTION. END TOM NEWMAN THEME.

James removes his sweater and begins dancing and singing
again but now to a faster version of "I GOT YOU". He smiles
at us, looks into our eyes. We push in tight.

We pull back to reveal James now singing this song in the
future at The Olympia show. He's sporting a "natural".
Beautiful girls dancing behind him.

Flash- We are back to "Ski Party". Now the boring extras are
up on their feet. They dance with precision the way Mr. Brown
would prefer. Just for us, James has transformed the "Ski
Party" into something way cooler.

James' feet slide and move him back toward the door of the
ski lodge set.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          I feel good and I knew that I would
          now. So good. So good. Cause I
          got you.

James moves outside the door and does a split in the pile of
fake snow.

We are now back to reality. James is again wearing the
sweater. The extras are now seated and clapping in a corny
fashion.

The stage bell rings. Over a loudspeaker-

                    VOICE
          That was great James.

Frankie Avalon runs up to James.   James remains in his split.

                    FRANKIE
          Wow, James. You've got some groovy
          moves my friend.

                    JAMES
          Thank you, Mr. Avalon.   And please
          call me, Mr. Brown
                                                                30


       As Frankie nods and walks away, James catches eyes with BOBBY
       BYRD, 30. Bobby stares quizzically at James as he remains on
       the floor in his split.

                           BOBBY
                 Get up, James.

                           JAMES
                 How many times have I done this
                 split Bobby?

                           BOBBY
                 A thousand, maybe five thousand.

                           JAMES
                 Exactly, and now the first and only
                 time I rip my pants has to be in
                 front of all those white people.

       Bobby cracks up.

                           BOBBY
                 In white boy sweater.

                           JAMES
                 My trumpet, bass, and drums are
                 spread out all over this cold
                 floor.

       James begins to laugh.

                           JAMES (CONT'D)
                 Go get my towel!

                           BOBBY
                 You got it boss.

43     OMITTED                                                       43


44                                                                   44
       INT. CAR. 1949 DAY.   JAMES 16 YRS

       A man's three piece suit hangs in the rear of a sedan.

       SMASH. An elbow shatters the back door glass.   A hand comes
       inside and pulls the suit out of the car.


44AA   EXT. RURAL ROAD. MOMENTS LATER.                          44AA

       A picturesque country road flanked by high, earthen
       embankments lined with trees.
                                                               31


     James sudden bolts out of the trees with the stolen suit and
     runs down the embankment.

     Just then a police car speeds down the road towards him.
     James drops the suit and runs to the opposite embankment.

     As James tries to climb the embankment, the police car stops,
     two officers get out.

     James can't get a footing on the steep embankment.   We now
     see that James is wearing the lynched man's shoes.

     CLOSE ON SHOES:

     Digging deeper and deeper in the soil embankment.    BLAM! A
     gun fires.

     James stops climbing and turns to see two guns pointed at
     him. He slides back down the embankment and raises his
     hands.

                                                             CUT TO:

     FLASH! James gets his mug shot. Front and side.

                         JAMES (O.S.)
               I'm seventeen...


45                                                                  45
     EXT. RICHMOND COUNTY JAIL - THAT NIGHT

     CLOSE ON: James speaking through bars.

                         JAMES
               Know what that means,   Big Junior?
               Means they can try me   in Superior
               Court. Means they can   send my
               juvenile ass down for   a man's term.
               3 maybe 4 years.

     Reveal a young man, BIG JUNIOR, 25, standing on the lawn by
     the jail house holding a lantern. He looking up to James on
     the second floor speaking out of the window.



                         BIG
               For robbing a suit?

                         JAMES
               You reach my daddy?

                         BIG
               He's in the Army, James.
                                                             32


                         JAMES
               I know he's in the Army. So you
               gotta go find him.

     Big Junior looks to the ground and nods.

                         JAMES (CONT'D)
               What'd Aunt Honey say?

                         BIG
               Aunt Honey say she can't help you
               right now. Not this week.

                         JAMES
               Go find my daddy, Big. Please!
               Okay?

     Big Junior sighs, really uncomfortable.

                         BIG
               Aunt Honey already talked to him,
               James. Your daddy say it's a bad
               time too.

     James fills with panic.

                         JAMES
               So, he knows I'm here?

     Big looks all around, everywhere except at James.

                         BIG
               He say ain't nothing he can do. Got
               money problems. Sorry.

     He shrugs and walks away.


46                                                                46
     INT. CELL. NIGHT - CONTINUOUS

     James turns from the window. He goes to the sink of his tiny
     cell, heaving for breath. He looks at himself in the tiny
     cracked mirror.

                         JAMES
               Don't cry Junior. Don't cry now.

     James begins expertly tapping his sliding his feet on the
     floor. A more developed version of the tune he arranged in
     his head during the boxing match is heard. James stares at us
     in the mirror. He smiles.
                                                                33


                         WARDEN (O.S.)
               And you were thinking of this as a
               profession...


47                                                                   47
     INT. PAROLE REVIEW BOARD, ALTO REFORM SCHOOL. 1952. DAY

     James, 19 years old, sits on a bare wooden chair. James'
     aunt, HONEY, 40, is in attendance. Next to her sit two young
     black women dressed very sexy.

                         WARDEN
               So you want to be a singer?

                         JAMES
               Oh no Sir. Truth is I ain't really
               into all that so much. Not no more.

     Five white adults sit behind a long table, studying him.

                          WARDEN
               But the other boys, they call you
               Music-box.

                         JAMES
               It's just a old nickname is all.
               I'm looking for something stable.
               Steady. I want to be a Mechanic.

                         WARDEN
               So first a singer and now a
               Mechanic?

                         JAMES
               Yes Sir. There's a fella I know
               back in Augusta, he owns a garage,
               he said he could find me a job if-

                         WARDEN
               You can't go back to Augusta.
               In the event of parole, the Court
               in Augusta ruled you not be allowed
               to set foot in Richmond County til
               the full term of your sentence.

     James is silent. Aunt Honey locks eyes with the Warden and
     smiles.

                         WARDEN (CONT'D)
               Do you know anyone outside Augusta
               who could act as your parole
               sponsor? Any family? Associates? Is
               there anywhere else you could go?
                                                                34


     Aunt Honey and the girls raise their skirts up there legs
     ever so slightly with subtle sexual gestures.

     The Warden gives Aunt Honey and the girls a disapproving
     stare.

     STAMP! A red stamp hammers down - REFUSED.


48                                                                   48
     INT. HALL. ALTO. DAY.   JAMES 19 YRS

     A BAND, The Starlighters "entertains" the inmates. A tall
     black kid in a white tux, flanked by four other boys.

                         BOBBY BYRD
               We the Gospel Starlighters, from
               right here in Toccoa. Three Four..

     The vocal group rip into a juiced up "Mary Don't You Weep".
     And its good. James watches intently. The music plays over...

     James begins to sing along and dance. Two rows back, a huge,
     badass looking kid is staring. James turns and stares
     straight back.

     The big kid walks up to James.

                         BIG KID
               You eyeballin' me, Music-Box?

     The big kid punches James in the gut. James struggles to his
     feet and punches the BIG KID and fights back fearlessly.

     All hell breaks loose. Two rough factions break out and the
     melee spreads. James picks up a chair and throws it at the
     big kid. He ducks.

                                                            CUT TO:


49                                                                   49
     INT. INFIRMARY, ALTO. LATER THAT DAY

     Bobby sits in a chair outside the infirmary.   He holds a cold
     press to his nose.

     James, bruised and torn but apparently victorious is led by a
     warden into the infirmary to cheers from his friends. He's
     seated next to Bobby and cuffed to the chair.

                         JAMES
               What happened to you?

                         BOBBY
               Someone threw something.
                                               35


                    JAMES
          Gee, that's too bad.

They sit there. James shrugs.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Walk in the jungle sometimes you
          get bit by a snake.

                    BOBBY
              (Deadpan)
          I'll try an' remember that.

They sit there.

                    JAMES
          Say. What's that song you done?

                    BOBBY
          We only done half of it. "Mary
          Don't You Weep" is an old gospel,
          man. You ain't heard that before?
          Everybody be doin' it.

                    JAMES BROWN
          I ain't heard nothing since my
          radio got busted. That's a cool
          song bro'. You sung it great. That
          sounded real sweet.

                    BOBBY BYRD
          Crowd sure went crazy.
              (James smiles. Then:)
          You like music?

                    JAMES
          Only thing keeps me sane in here.

                    BOBBY
          How long you in for?

                    JAMES
          Five to thirteen years.

Bobby moves his chair an inch or two away.

                    BOBBY
          What did you do?

                    JAMES
          Robbed a suit.

A nurse leads Bobby inside the exam room.
                                                        36


                    BOBBY
          They give you five to thirteen
          for...
              (Shakes his head)
          That's time man.

James turns to the doorway and continues talking to Bobby as
the nurse tends to his nose.

                    JAMES
          Tell me about it.

                    BOBBY
          You get parole?

                    JAMES
          Board say I need a permanent family
          address and a job. But see I don't
          know no folks here.

                    BOBBY
          Where yo' folks at?

                    JAMES
          My Daddy's in the army. And my
          momma... well, she left.

                    BOBBY
          Sorry to hear that.

They sit there.

                    BOBBY (CONT'D)
          Seriously. You think I sung it
          good?

James looks at Bobby. He moves his seat a bit closer to the
door.

                     JAMES
          You got that swing feel. Hittin' it
          late. Buh, dum, Bop. That's what a
          song need.

James rises up, pulling the chair with him.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          See without that feel, song just
          sit there. Don't move. You gotta
          fill it with something. You know
          what I'm sayin'?
                                                               37


     Suddenly James breathes in deep, and sings "Mary Don't You
     Weep". It's sweet, hard, deep, raw all at the same time.
     James holds the chair and begins to dance.

     The nurse shuts the door.   Bobby and James stay on each other
     through glass.

     James' talent hits Bobby like a ten pound hammer between the
     eyes. A warden forces James to his chair. We hear one
     unforgettable line of the song before we...


50                                                                  50
     ESTABLISHING. TOCCOA STREET. THE BYRD HOUSE. 1952. DAY.

                         BOBBY (O.S.)
               He can do Roy Brown and The
               Dominoes and Louis Jordan and
               and...


51                                                                  51
     INT. BYRD HOUSE. KITCHEN. DAY

     Bobby, panting, petitions his impassively busy mother.

                         BOBBY
               -you should hear'm holler momma!
               You ain't heard nothing LIKE IT. He
               sings every day in chapel. He's a
               very, very religious boy Momma.
               He could sing in St. Stephens!

                         MRS. BYRD
               Bobby. We got us enough mouths to
               feed an' enough butts to clothe.
                   (Yelling out the door)
               Daryl! Sarah! Get down here!

                         BOBBY
               He sings every day in chapel. He's
               a very, very religious boy Momma.
               He could sing in St. Stephens!
               Since Old Henry passed you been shy
               a baritone...he a showstopper.
               Momma? This is it. It's like a
               miracle. This is what Jesus wants!

     He knows he's over-done it.

                         MRS. BYRD
               Jesus speak to Bobby Byrd now. He
               tell you that himself?
                                                             38


                         BOBBY
               Momma, he could be in there another
               ten year just `cause he got no
               folks. He got no-one.

                         MRS. BYRD
               Bobby. The answer is NO. Now, go on
               outta here and get cleaned up.

     Crestfallen, he plays his final card.

                         BOBBY
               What's that thing you always told
               me, since I was real small. About
               Mercy. What's that saying momma?
               That thing you always say?

     She glares at her son.


52                                                                52
     INT. BYRD HOUSE. DAY    JAMES 19 YRS

     Dinner at the Byrds. Mom, Pop, and Grandpa, sister SARAH, ten
     year old brother DARYL, BOBBY.... and James. He's clearly
     uncomfortable.

     James' eyes dart around the well-appointed dining room with
     its beautiful wallpaper and curtains hanging from a window.

     James traces the lines of the curtain noticing its lace and
     perfect pleats.

                         MRS. BYRD
               Like I always say.
                   (Sighs)
               "Its a sin to stand in Mercy's
               way".

                         JAMES
               Thank you, Mrs Byrd.

     Grandpa stares hard and James for a moment.   Then...

                         GRANDPA BYRD
               So what you in the pokey for?

                            BOBBY
               Grandpa-

                         GRANDPA
                   (to Bobby)
               You know how would have felt you
               bringing this boy over here?
                                                39


                    BOBBY
          Big momma married you and you were
          in the pokey before.

Bobby gets a look from his mom.

                    MRS. BYRD
          Bobby Byrd!


                    GRANDPA BYRD
              (to Bobby)
          If I'm going to be forced to have a
          jailbird in my house I at least
          like to know what I'm dealing with.

                     BOBBY
          Grandpa-



James looks to Bobby.

                    JAMES
          No. He got a right to ask. I am a
          jailbird. I've done wrong and I
          gotta own up to that.

James turns to Bobby's grandfather.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          I stole a man's three piece suit.
          You want to know me? I tell ya.
          My daddy is in the army. My momma
          left when I was five. I'm skinny
          but I'm strong. I can read a little
          bit and I like to sing. That's
          who's sittin' here.

James becomes emotional and sincere.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          And I think God knew that when I
          took that suit that I might end up
          with you. I ain't never sat at a
          table with such a fine group of
          people in my life.

Sarah looks admiringly at James.
                                                                40


                          JAMES (CONT'D)
                I used to wish I could put that
                suit back, but now I'm here with
                y'all. Fried chicken. Green beans.
                Corn bread. Those nice curtains.

      Grandpa Byrd turns to the curtains.

                          JAMES (CONT'D)
                A house smells good. I'm happy I
                stole that suit. And I thank you
                for having me here.

                          GRANDPA
                Boy, pass them beans before you get
                your bullshit all over them.

                          MRS. BYRD
                    (Changing subject)
                James is going to sing with us in
                church this Sunday Sarah.

                          SARAH BYRD
                Really. Well maybe we could work up
                a little harmony together.

      Sarah turns to James and gives a tiny wink. James stops
      chewing.


52A   INT. BYRD HOUSE. NEXT MORNING.                             52A

      Bobby Byrd sleeps in his bed. James sleeps in a cot that has
      been brought into Bobby's room.

      Grandpa Byrd enters the room holding a suit.    He approaches
      the sleeping James.

                            GRANDPA BYRD
                Jailbird!

      Startled, James and Bobby rise up from their pillows.

                          GRANDPA BYRD (CONT'D)
                    (to James)
                This out to fit ya.

      Grandpa Byrd throws the suit on top of James and exits.
      James smiles at his new suit.
                                                               41


53                                                                  53
     INT. BYRD HOUSE. NEXT MORNING.

     Bobby comes in with NAFLOYD and BABY ROY who are all dressed
     for church

                         BOBBY
               There's coffee in the kitchen,
               Nafloyd. Make yourselves at home.
                   (Calls)
               James!

     Bobby vaults upstairs.

                         BOBBY (CONT'D)
               James. Come meet the band.

     Opens a door. INSIDE James has Sarah pressed up against the
     wall. They are having vigorous sex. James' pants are around
     his ankles. Sarah's church dress is pushed up her body.

     Sarah has her hand over James' mouth trying to keep him
     quiet.

     Bobby throws it into reverse, shutting the door. Did he just
     see that? A full gamut of emotions cross his face.

     Mrs. Byrd starts up the stairs.

                         MRS. BYRD
               Sarah! I ain't tellin' you again.
               Get down here.

     Bobby panics.   He crosses and meets his mother at the top of
     the stairs.

                         BOBBY
               She's coming, Momma. She's coming.

                          MRS. BYRD
               Sarah!

                         BOBBY
               Go fix Nafloyd and the boys some
               coffee. We got guests, Momma.

     Mrs Byrd nods and heads down the stairs.

                         MRS. BYRD
               Nafloyd?! Where you boys at?
                                                                 42


54                                                                    54
     INT. ST. STEPHENS CHURCH. DAY.

     A congregation watches as BOBBY, NAFLOYD, BABY ROY, SARAH AND
     JAMES sing righteous gospel. "Steal Away To Jesus".

     Above their heads a HOME-MADE SHEET-BANNER: "The Gospel
     Starlighters"

     Bobby looks to Sarah and James with a searing gaze. Sarah
     innocent, James really giving it up.

     James steps out front. His voice soars sweetly over the
     congregation. Bobby's gaze softens.

     MRS. BYRD and GRANDPA watch on. Mrs. Byrd leans forward and
     catches Bobby's eye. Gives a small nod of approval. Bobby's
     smile is...more equivocal.


56                                                                    56
     FLASHBACK: INT. SHACK. BARNWELL. DAY. 1942 JAMES 9 YRS

     James is asleep in his bed. Alone. It's been a year after his
     momma left.

     Suddenly, Joe approaches and throws a burlap sack at James.

                         JOE BROWN
               Pack up. We leaving.

     James wakes and sits up in bed. Joe is clean shaven and
     wears his nicest shirt and neck tie.

                           JOE BROWN (CONT'D)
               Hurry up.

     James waits a beat to make sure his father is gone.

     James gets out of bed and crawls deep underneath. He backs
     out holding the dead man's pair of shoes and places them in
     the burlap sack.


57   EXT. AUNT HONEY'S HOUSE. LATER THAT DAY.                         57

     Joe and James walk down Twigg street.      Joe pulls his donkey
     along with them.

                         JOE BROWN
               You miss your momma, boy?

     James nods.

                         JOE BROWN (CONT'D)
               We gone fix that.
                                                                43


     James flashes a hopeful smile.


58                                                                   58
     EXT. TWIGG STREET, THE TERRY. DAY. 1942    JAMES 9 YRS

     Red dirt street. Shacks. Joe and James walk around to the
     back of "AUNT HONEY'S" house. The donkey has been tied to
     Aunt Honey's fence.

     BACKYARD

     We find Aunt Honey sitting a chair.     She holds a small dog in
     her arms.

     SEVEN PROSTITUTES wash clothes in tubs and hang them on a
     line to dry.

     Aunt Honey clearly runs the house. She rises from her chair.
     Clearly she takes no shit.

                          JOE
                ..S'much appreciated Honey. Sure is
                mighty kind..

                          AUNT HONEY
                What the hell am I supposed to do
                with that donkey, Joe?

                          JOE BROWN
                Thought you could sell it.

                          AUNT HONEY
                I don't sell donkey, Joe. And
                Jumpin' in the Army ain't gone make
                this boy go away.

     Joe looks away from Honey.

                          JOE
                    (to James)
                Look after yourself Junior.

     Aunt Honey and James watch Joe cross the street and
     disappear.

                          AUNT HONEY
                Everybody gotta be somewhere.
                What's your name, sugar?

                          JAMES
                Junior.

                          AUNT HONEY
                Guess you Little Junior now.
                                                              44


     Honey turns to a small two story building in the rear of the
     yard.

                         AUNT HONEY (CONT'D)
               Big Junior!

     A huge 15 year old boy comes out of the building and begins
     walking down the stairs. This is the younger version of Big
     Junior who we met outside the jail.

                         AUNT HONEY (TO JAMES) (CONT'D)
               You show me you can bring it in you
               an me ain't got no problem.
                   (as Junior approaches)
               Junior'll show y'how to do.


59                                                                 59
     EXT. THE TERRY. STREET. DAY.

     Big Junior leads James away from Aunt Honey's. Big Junior
     turns to James.

                         BIG JUNIOR
               I do this...
                   (BJ touches his hat)
               You say `Pretty girls', unnerstand?
               So when they come, you be ready,
               alright? I'll say-
               Yessir, yessir, come on down the
               street-we got sweet whiskey, we got
               music-
                   (touches his hat)

                         JAMES
               Pretty girls.

                         BIG JUNIOR
               We got cards, we got dice, dancing-
                   (touches his hat again)

                         JAMES
               Pretty girls.

                                                             CUT TO:


60                                                                 60
     EXT. BUS STOP. THE TERRY. AUGUSTA. DAY.   JAMES 9 YRS

     Soldiers disembark from a troop Bus. Big Junior and James
     stand on the platform playing and dancing in bare feet. The
     soldiers ignore James.
                                                              45


     We again begin to hear "James' Theme" in James' head. He
     dances faster, sharper. The soldiers stop and take notice of
     his ever sharping skill.


61                                                                 61
     INT. AUNT HONEY'S PARLOR. LATER THAT NIGHT.

     The Brothel is in full swing. Girls. Soldiers. Drunks.
     Hustlers. Music. Ten soldiers scramble over only five
     prostitutes.

     James hands over money to Aunt Honey. She bundles him up and
     kisses him. He holds onto her tightly. She sets him down.

                         AUNT HONEY
               You done good Little Junior. You
               the sweetest little boy in the
               world. Hear me?

     James nods as two soldiers begin fighting over one of the
     prostitutes. Each pulling her in a different direction.
     Honey rises.

                         AUNT HONEY (CONT'D)
                   (to James)
               Go on in the kitchen. Find you a
               scrap to eat.

     Aunt Honey pulls out a knife that has been nuzzled inside her
     bra. James watches as she fixes the situation.


62                                                                 62
     INT. BARBERSHOP. THE NEXT DAY.   JAMES 19 YRS 1952

     The band has just gotten their hair-cut like Louis Jordan
     (and James Brown).

     Bobby Byrd looks at his hair in the mirror.

                         BOBBY
               I don't know, James.   This don't
               look too gospel.

                         JAMES
               What you talkin' about? Your hair
               is rising up to the Lord right?
               Like a flame.

     Nayfloyd looks deep into the mirror in front of him.

                         NAYFLOYD
               The flames of hell. We're the
               Gospel Starlighters. We a gospel
               group. This is R & B hair.
                                                             46


                         JAMES
               What you think "Caldonia" is,
               Nafloyd.

                         NAFLOYD
                   (Ruffled)
               We just playin' around with
               "Caldonia" when we practicing.
               That don't make us R & B. We still
               Gospel.


63                                                                63
     INT. BIG BILL'S RENDEZVOUS. TOCCOA, 1954. NIGHT.

     The place is packed. On stage the 22 year old Little Richard
     is all over the piano, singing the hell out of Tutti Frutti.

     AT THE BACK -- Bobby and the band stand in shock and awe.

                         NAFLOYD
               I swear he's gonna break that
               piano.

     James is transfixed. Motionless. Soaking it up.

     ON STAGE -- The song ends. The crowd explode.

                         LITTLE RICHARD
               We'll be back in ten to flip you
               again! Whoooo! Yeah!

     Bobby scans the crowd.

                         BOBBY BYRD
                   (Frustrated)
               Look at these people James. Man!
               I'm ready. You know'm saying? When
               it gone be us up there?

     James hasn't moved. He's still staring at the stage.

                         JAMES BROWN
               Now.

                         BOBBY BYRD
               What?

     James turns to Bobby.

                          JAMES BROWN
               There's a piano. And a stage. And
               right now.
                   (Looks at it)
               Ain't no one on it.
                                                        47


                    NAFLOYD
          What you talking about? We can't go
          up there.

                    JAMES BROWN
          Why not? Like you said, Nafloyd,
          "We just playin' around with
          "Caldonia". So let's go play
          around.

Bobby nods, and James strides towards the stage and gets up.
The others look at each other: HOLY SHIT! and scramble after
him. James gestures to them to pick up instruments.

                    JAMES BROWN (CONT'D)
          Ladies `n Gentlemen. Hope you're
          enjoying the show.

Nafloyd speaks into his mic.

                    NAYFLOYD
          We're the Star-

James quickly interrupts.

                    JAMES
          We're the Famous Flames.

Nafloyd looks at Bobby.

                    NAFLOYDS
          Flames?

                    BABY ROY
          Famous?

James hollers. The Flames hit their queue, bang on, and they
TEAR INTO Caldonia. James loosens with every bar. Unhooks the
mic. Throws a move. As he hits the hook again the audience is
drawn to his energy like a magnet.

BACKSTAGE DOOR - Leaning against a wall backstage, Little
Richard looks up from his pocket mirror. Frowns.

                    LITTLE RICHARD
          What is that?

IN THE WINGS - the club manager watches on unsure what to do.

ON STAGE - James and Bobby, hollering into the same mic are
ripping the place up.

IN THE WINGS - Little Richard appears at his side, fuming.
                                                             48


                         LITTLE RICHARD (CONT'D)
               Get those bitches off my stage!

     Power to the stage is cut off. The performance is over but
     the crowd go batshit. NAFLOYD, BABY ROY are shaking.

                         NAFLOYD
               We the Flames.

     BOBBY looks at JAMES. A new, knowing look. They bow as one,
     turn, and walk offstage, CLEAN PAST a furious Little Richard.
     James returns his glare with an even straighter one.

                         JAMES BROWN
                   (Deadpan)
               Just keepin' it warm for ya.

     He walks past.

                         LITTLE RICHARD
               Hey. What's your name?

                         JAMES
               The Famous Flames.

     James looks back levelly.

                         LITTLE RICHARD
               No. What's your name?

     They look at each other. Neither blinks.


64                                                                64
     EXT. MALT SHOP. NIGHT.

     2AM. James sits alone at a table off to the side of the order
     window.

     Little Richard dressed as a chef comes out of the kitchen and
     drops two burgers in front of them. James and Richard,
     cigarette in a long holder, holds forth.

                          LITTLE RICHARD
               I play a show in Lafayette last
               week twenty thirty girls pass clean
               out. Need oxygen. I'm killing `em
               James. They should lock me away. I
               cut loose it's like a spaceship
               land. Did I say I got a record out?
               They drop it five times a day on
               WIBB. Five times a day.
                    (He looks at James)
               And I'm flippin' burgers. You know
               why?
                          (MORE)
                                                         49

                    LITTLE RICHARD (CONT'D)
          Cause WIBB antenna reach 60 mile.
          60 mile. This country is 5000 miles
          top to toe and 7000 coast to coast.
          You catch the wind, get a hit, a
          real hit, every inch of that is
          yours.

                    JAMES BROWN
          So how we catch the wind?

Richard smiles. Stops the waitress. All charm.

                    LITTLE RICHARD
          Sugar, may I borrow your pencil?

He takes a napkin. Starts writing on it. All business.

                    LITTLE RICHARD (CONT'D)
          You got a hundred bucks?

                    JAMES BROWN
          No.

                    LITTLE RICHARD
          Rob a liquor store. You take a
          hundred bucks to WIBB in Macon. Ask
          for Big Sauk. Say Richard sent you.
          You make an acetate. Ten copies.
          You send them to these people.

He writes them down. James watches.

                    JAMES BROWN
          It's that easy why don' you do it?

                     LITTLE RICHARD
          I already did. Baby, this is the
          last time you're gone see my
          beautiful ass 'cep on TV. Six
          months the whole world gone know
          me. I gone be bigger than
          Cleopatra. It's written in the
          stars James. Yes Sir. I'm gone have
          the world on a string.
              (Then)
          And that's when the trouble start.

                    JAMES BROWN
          And why that.

He fixes James. The air turns cold.
                                                                50


                         LITTLE RICHARD
               That when the Devil come. And he
               ain't gonna be red with no fiery
               tail. He gone be white. In a fancy
               suit. And he gone look you in the
               eye and he gonna ask what you want.
               And you best not shake, nor
               tremble. You best not blink one
               eye.

     Swats a fly on the table. James doesn't blink.

                         LITTLE RICHARD (CONT'D)
               You gone be ready for him James?
               You got it inside?

                         JAMES BROWN
               You tell me Richard. You tell me
               what you see.

     James stares at Richard, who stares the same stare back.

                         LITTLE RICHARD
               What happen to you?

     He looks real hard.

                         LITTLE RICHARD (CONT'D)
               I know what happened to me. What
               happen to you?

     James looks away.


65   OMITTED                                                         65


66   OMITTED                                                         66


67                                                                   67
     INT. UPSTAIRS AT TWIGG STREET. DAWN.   1942 JAMES 9 YRS

     James lies awake in a bed with four or five other sleeping
     bodies. He looks out of the window. Dawn is breaking through
     a cracked pane.

     Way off in the distance he hears music and singing. He gets
     out of bed.

     He passes a room, TWO SOLDIERS wait their turn with one of
     Aunt Honey's PROSTITUTES.

     James reaches the front of the house. He looks to Honey, out
     cold in a chair. A needle protrudes from her harm.
                                                                51


     He walks out of the house passing several people asleep in
     the yard.


68                                                                   68
     EXT. CHURCH/ DIRT ROAD. DAY

     Early morning. James continue his walk towards the music.


69   INT. UNITED HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL PEOPLE. DAY                 69

     A evangelical congregation lit up by the spirit.

     SWEET DADDY GRACE: a suavely coiffed but ferocious southern
     firebrand preacher wearing a suit made of dollar bills
     screams and berates the congregation into a frenzy.

                         DADDY GRACE
               Do you love him?!

     People are having fits on the floor, beating themselves.
     Shrieking and weeping hallelujah.

                         DADDY GRACE (CONT'D)
                   (even higher pitched)
               Say you love him!

     Daddy raises his voice even louder ending in a shrilling
     falsetto.

                         DADDY GRACE (CONT'D)
               Say it louder for Jesus! Say it
               louder!

     Daddy Grace falls to the floor and is attended by alter boys
     who drape a cape around his shoulders which he flings aside.

     James looks around the room at the people. Then at the
     preacher.


70   EXT. TWIGG STREET BUS STOP. NIGHT. 1942                         70

     James stands silhouetted against the high beams of the
     approaching troop Bus. James begins to dance to the theme in
     his head. He's dancing differently now. Mimicking the moves
     of Sweet Daddy Grace. James does a spilt in the beams of
     light.
                                                                   52


71                                                                      71
        OMITTED




71A     INT. BYRD HOUSE.                                            71A

        Mr. and Mrs. Byrd listen to Please Please Please on the
        radio. They aren't pleased.


71B     INT. AUNT HONEY'S BEDROOM. NIGHT                            71B

        Aunt Honey has just injected herself with Morphine. She
        opens a drawer and places a needle and vial inside.

        She crosses to her bed and lays down. Please Please Please
        plays on a radio. Aunt Honey sings along and closes her
        eyes.


71C     INT. CAR - NIGHT                                            71C

        RALPH BASS drives and hears Please Please Please.   A smile
        crosses his face.


71D     EXT. BOARDING HOUSE - LATER THAT NIGHT. 1954                71D

        Establishing of exterior boarding house with the crappy
        station wagon parked out front.

72-73   OMITTED                                                   72-73


74      INT. BOARDING HOUSE - LATER THAT NIGHT.                         74

        All the flames asleep laying across as single bed in one
        motel room.

                                                               CUT TO:


75                                                                      75
        INT. BOARDING HOUSE. NIGHT.

        James and Bobby sleep next to each other. James whispers to
        Bobby:

                            JAMES
                  Bobby. I can't make practice
                  Thursday. I gotta get married.
                                                          53


                    BOBBY
              (Whispers)
          What are you talkin' about? Who you
          marryin'?

                    JAMES
          That chick I met after the Stone
          Mountain Show. Velma.

A silence falls.

                    BOBBY
          What about my sister?

James flashes a devilish smile.

                    JAMES
          Oh, I'll still harmonize with Sarah
          from time to time.

                    BOBBY
          I ain't playin', James. How you
          gone do all this?

                    JAMES
          Do all what?

                    BOBBY
          Practice. The road. Makin' records.
          Startin' a family.

                    JAMES
          I ain't startin' nothin', Bobby.
          Except what we doin'.

James reaches under the bed and pulls out the acetate they
just recorded.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          That us. We in there Bobby.

James holds the record close and studies it with Bobby.




                    BOBBY
          That's all the money we got.
          And some we don't.

                    JAMES
          But, it is beautiful. All those
          little grooves. That's us. It's
          been written.
                    (MORE)
                                                                54

                         JAMES (CONT'D)
               Now, men gone lay with women.
               That's nature. But a woman ain't
               never gone stop a real man from
               what he's supposed to do. That's
               God. Husband? Daddy? That gives a
               man purpose. Man gotta have
               purpose. But purpose don't stop me
               neither, Bobby. Ain't nothin' gone
               stop us. Nothin'. And that's God
               too.

                                                              CUT TO:


76                                                                   76
     INT. KITCHENETTE. 1955. DAY.   JAMES 22 YRS

     James Brown stares back at his infant son with the same wary
     look.

                         JAMES
               You gone smile for me, Teddy Brown?

     He bounces him on his knee once.

                         JAMES (CONT'D)
               Come on, boy.

     Twice. The kid smiles. James suddenly becomes moved. He
     leans over and kisses his son.

                         VELMA
               We out of greens. You want me to go
               pick some up?

     Velma, a cute nineteen year old girl is fixing dinner.

                          JAMES
               No baby.

     A car horn outside. He looks out the window.

                         JAMES (CONT'D)
               Baby. I gotta go.

                         VELMA
               But I got your supper.

     He hands her the baby, kisses her passionately. She melts.

                         VELMA (CONT'D)
               Wake me up.

     James pretends to look shocked, covers Teddy's ears.
                                                                55


77                                                                   77
     EXT. JAMES AND VELMA'S KITCHENETTE

     James bounds off the porch towards the station wagon.

     Velma steps onto the porch with the baby. She suddenly looks
     very young.

     James turns to his family and pats his hand over his heart.

                           JAMES
                     (shouts out)
                 I got you right in here, Teddy
                 Brown.

     Velma raises Teddy's hand and waves it at James.

     James begins to serenade "Lost Someone" to his family...


78                                                                   78
     EXT. CRAPPY STATION WAGON. RURAL ROAD - SUNSET. 1955

     CLOSE ON:

     James continues to sing. Only now he's humming as if working
     out a new way into "Lost Someone".

     We widen to see The Flames, Baby Roy, Nafloyd, Bobby and
     James pushing an old crappy Chevy station wagon down the
     road. Nafloyd has the easy job of keeping the steering wheel
     straight.

     Nafloyd is clearly annoyed by James' humming.

                           JAMES BROWN
                 Nafloyd, you know in "Let's Make
                 It" when it goes (he hums). If you
                 go up there and hold it, like.
                 (hums). It's gone be sweet. Make it
                 like you got a harmonica stuck in
                 your throat.

     Nafloyd looks back at Bobby Byrd.

                            NAFLOYD SCOTT
                 You know what? Why don't you sing
                 it, James?

                           JAMES BROWN
                 What? I can't sing it. It's your
                 song man.

                           NAFLOYD SCOTT
                 But I ain't singing it right James.
                 I just ain't.
                           (MORE)
                                                          56

                    NAFLOYD SCOTT (CONT'D)
          I ain't got a harmonica in my
          throat. But you do. We all know
          you do.

James continues with his humming. Nafloyd stops pushing and
walks alongside with a finger on the wheel.

                    NAFLOYD SCOTT (CONT'D)
          You know how it be done. You got it
          all worked out. Don't you?

                    BOBBY BYRD
          James ain't saying that `floyd.
          He's just hearing something.
          Get back to pushing the car.

                    NAYFLOYD
          Let's all take a break for a
          minute.

Everyone stops pushing. Bobby turns to Nafloyd. Fuming.

                    BOBBY BYRD
          What I say in Peterstown? Huh?

                    NAFLOYD SCOTT
          I know what you said.

                    BOBBY BYRD
          What I say?

                    NAFLOYD SCOTT
          You said `Fill her up Floyd.

                    BABY ROY
          That's right. That's what he said.

                    NAFLOYD SCOTT
          I know you he said fill her up,
          Baby Roy! Problem is we don't got
          the dough to fill it.
              (to Bobby)
          We don't got the dough because
          Bobby here let James spend all our
          money on some fake record which is
          right now sittin' in trash cans
          outside King, outside RCA, outside
          Chess.
              (to James)
          You took all our money, James.
          Where my money at?

They are about to throw down.
                                                                 57


                         BABY ROY
               Cool it Floyd!

                         NAFLOYD SCOTT
               Where my money, James?!

                          JAMES
               I'm taking you to the money,
               Nafloyd.
                   (James tap his head)
               Right now.

     This lands hard on Bobby's ears.    He smiles

                         BOBBY BYRD
               So, push the Wagon, Nafloyd.

     Nafloyd resumes pushing the wagon.


79   INT. PEACHES DINER. 1955. EARLY MORNING.                         79

     James stands in the rear of an African American diner talking
     on a pay phone. He's a sweaty mess having walked through the
     night.

     His face drops.   It registers sudden concern.

                         JAMES
               Are you sure, Baby?


80   INT. PEACHES DINER. MOMENTS LATER                                80

     James joins Bobby at a booth of the diner.      Bobby is also a
     sweaty mess.



                         BOBBY
               The Tuxedo Room already cancelled
               tonight's show. Said if we couldn't
               show up last night then why we
               gonna show up tonight.

     James shrugs.

                         BOBBY (CONT'D)
               Now we got twenty four hours to get
               to Prestonville. Hundred and forty
               miles West. We got no gas. No
               bread. No show. I miss anything?
                                                           58


                    JAMES
          Velma's pregnant again.

Bobby looks at him. Deadpan.

                    BOBBY
          Congratulations.

James nods.

                    BOBBY (CONT'D)
          So now, we gotta make us a business
          decision.

He reaches in his pocket. Puts a few coins on the table.

                    BOBBY (CONT'D)
          Thirty cents. The question is, do I
          call the Two Spot, find out we got
          any messages. Or do I get me a
          coffee. Or do I skip the coffee,
          and get me a donut.

James considers this. Reaches in his pocket. Puts some coins
on the table.

                    JAMES
          Knock yourself out.

A black waitress comes over. Bobby acts as if he's a high
roller. Living the life. Perusing the menu.

                    BOBBY
          Hey honey. Can I get me a coffee...

Looks at James. Now for the ultimate luxury.

                    BOBBY (CONT'D)
          ..and...let's see...a donut?

                    WAITRESS
          You boys from outta town?

                    JAMES
          We're Musicians. We the Famous
          Flames.

                    WAITRESS
          Flames?
              (noting their disheveled look)
          More like a flicker.

James reaches over and grabs the waitress' hand.
                                                        59


                    JAMES
          All we need is a spark, baby. So we
          can turn the lamp down low till
          this sun rise up on us in the
          morning.

The waitress pulls her hand back.

                    WAITRESS
          Y'all's broke ass is splittin' that
          donut, ain't you?

Bobby starts to laugh.

                    WAITRESS (CONT'D)
          I'll bring it with a knife.

James winks before the waitress walks away.

                    BOBBY
          I gone call the Two Spot.

James expression instantly changes.

                    JAMES
          Oh no.

                    BOBBY
          What?

Over at the door, A white guy. Obviously a cop. He waves our
waitress over.

                    WHITE GUY
          Excuse me ma'am, I just came from a
          place called the Tuxedo Room. I'm
          looking for the boys who were
          supposed to be playing there
          tonight?

                    JAMES
              (whispering)
          I ain't supposed to leave Bibb
          County without telling my parole
          officer.

                    BOBBY
          Shit James! What we do?

Bobby looks around and James has disappeared under the table.
Bobby drops like a stone under the table as well.

Bobby peers around the booth for a peek.
                                                        60


                    BOBBY (CONT'D)
          He's coming this way. Oh shit.

                    JAMES
          I can't go back to prison Bobby.

The waitress sits the man down at a nearby table.

                    WHITE GUY
          I've been driving across over two
          states looking for these boys. They
          have to be here in Macon. Tell ya
          what, I'll make it worth your while
          if you can tell me where they are.

The man hands the waitress ten bucks and a business card.
The woman shrugs as she reads the card.

                    WAITRESS
          King Records? What did they do?

                    WHITE GUY
          Everything right.

Bobby and James look at each other.

                    JAMES BROWN
              (pole-axed)
          King records?

Bobby crawls out from under the table suddenly all business.

                    BOBBY
          Evening, Sir. I'm Bobby Byrd this
          is my associate James Brown.

James crawls out and stands before RALPH BASS.

                    JAMES
          Hi.

                    BOBBY
          I understand you're looking for the
          Famous Flames.

LATER AT THE DINER - Bobby and James sit with Ralph Bass. The
breakfast crowd has cleared out.

                    RALPH BASS
          I'm Ralph Bass from Federal records
          in Cincinnati. An imprint of King
          Records. I heard your acetate. I
          want you to come to Cincinnati. I
          want you to make a record for King.
                                                               61


     Bobby looks back at him. Nods.

                         BOBBY
               King records. As in King Records.
               The King records.

     The waitress arrives with a donut and a plate of steak and
     eggs. She places the steak and eggs in front of James and
     winks.

                         RALPH BASS
               You sure put a lot into that cut.
               The main vocal. You got some soul
               right there.

                         BOBBY
               Uh.. That's not me. That's uh.
               That's James.

                         RALPH BASS
               That you singing?

     James looks BACK TO US.

                         JAMES
               Yeah. That's me.


81                                                                  81
     EXT. FEDERAL/KING RECORDS, CINCINNATI. DAY.   1956

     James stands alone looking up at the towering building.

                                                             CUT TO:


82                                                                  82
     INT. RECORDING STUDIO. DAY. JAMES 23

                         JAMES BROWN
               Please, Please, Please....!

     They put everything they've got into "Please, Please,
     Please".

     James leans into a chrome studio mic and sings: Please...
     please...please... He leans out and the Flames lean in to the
     same mic. "Please please don't go"..

     IN THE BOOTH --

     Gene Redd mans the desk. Ralph stands nervously while SYD
     NATHAN, the impressively fat 60-year-old owner of King sits
     in jamjar spectacles and Bakelite Headphones, listening.
                                                           62


                    JAMES
          Wait...wait a second here-

Raggedly they all come to a halt. Nafloyd seems annoyed.

                    NAFLOYD
          What we stop for? That was cookin'.

Everyone looks pissed at James who seems agitated. Byrd's
nervous they're wasting time.

                    BOBBY
          It's OK sir we OK. We can just
          start right at the top.

                    JAMES
          It ain't right. It's too slow.     We
          gotta pick up the pace fellas.

James begins to pace.   Bobby grows concerned.

                    BOBBY
          What are you doing, James? These
          men been doing this for a long
          time. We need to listen to them.

                    JAMES
          I need to come in early..push it.
          Drive it. Early. Before the beat.
          Then speed it up, man.

Ralph Bass speaks to James from the booth.

                    RALPH
          James, this is a ballad. The pace
          we've set is perfect.

                    JAMES
          I know it's a ballad, Mr. Bass.
          But a ballad is supposed to get her
          in the mood, not put her to sleep.

The Flames all look at Bobby who looks at the impatient faces
waiting on the other side of the glass.

                    BOBBY
          Let's just get it done OK?

                    JAMES
          But it ain't right.

THEY LAUNCH INTO PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. JAMES NAILS HIS LEAD
but the pace remains the same.
                                                           63


IN THE RECORDING BOOTH

Syd Nathan, takes of his headphones, and turns to Ralph,
pissed as hell.

                    SYD NATHAN
              (Takes off cans. Yells)
          What the hell is this Ralph?!
          Where's the rest of the song?

                    RALPH BASS
          Syd-

                    SYD NATHAN
          He just keeps hollering that one
          word over and over. "Please".
          "Please" what, Ralph?! Please jerk
          my dick? What the hell does he
          want? If he doesn't tell me, you're
          fired.

IN THE STUDIO

Bobby and Nafloyd can see something is wrong. James oblivious
still singing, lost in the moment.

IN THE BOOTH

                    RALPH
          Listen, Mr. Nathan. This song-

                    SYD NATHAN
          I don't hear a song Ralph. A song
          has verses. A snappy chorus. It's
          not just some unfortunate nigger
          pleading. Who needs that? Give me
          the fucking song Ralph. The song.

                    RALPH
          It's not about the song.

Nathan stops. This is sacrilege.

                    SYD NATHAN
          What?

                    RALPH
          It's not the song.

Nathan turns to and looks again. His eyes narrow UPON James
Brown, his heart and soul pouring out onto the tape.

                                                      CUT TO:
                                                                 64


82A   INT. BIG BILLS RENDEZVOUS. 1954. NIGHT.                     82A

      THE FAMOUS FLAMES are back on stage at Big Bills only now
      THEY OWN THE ROOM. A packed standing room only house is
      going wild for James and the flames.

      Side doors to the club have been opened.    People pour outside
      and dance.

      James sings PLEASE! at a much faster pace than at King. Aunt
      Honey and her girls bump and grind to the music.

                           JAMES
                Please!   Please!   Please.

      James lowers to the floor and belts his heart out as the song
      concludes.

      James walks off stage and just outside Big Bills. A bath
      towel is put over James' back and head to absorb his sweat.

      James is breathing hard, completely exhausted. The crowd is
      not wanting the show to end. The band is vamps amid cheers.

                          CROWD
                James Brown, James Brown, James
                Brown.

      James slowly rises his head from under his towel and looks
      right at us. He begins to smile.

      He then looks over to Bobby and nods.   The band resumes
      Please, Please, Please.

      Suddenly James throws the towel off of himself and runs to
      the stage. The cape act is born.

                           JAMES
                Please!   Please!   Please!

      James jumps onto the floor singing as if for his life. He
      soon disappears into a sea of women pulling at his clothes.


83                                                                    83
      INT. KING RECORD. MEETING ROOM. DAY JAMES 23

      James Brown sits on a couch next to Ralph Bass.

                          RALPH
                James. I want you to meet somebody.

      Ralph Bass gets up and opens the door. On the chairs outside
      the meeting room a friendly looking man looks up from a
      magazine.
                                                                65


                          RALPH (CONT'D)
                James, this is Ben Bart. Ben is
                President of Universal Attractions.
                New York's biggest booking agency.

                          BART
                That was a great show last week
                over in Jersey.

                          JAMES
                Well thank you Sir, we worked real
                hard to-

                          BART
                Not we James. Not the Famous
                Flames. You. James Brown.

      James looks from one to the other.

                          RALPH
                What Bart is saying James is-

                          JAMES
                I know what Mr. Bart is saying. I
                heard him. Loud and clear.

      He looks at them both.

                          JAMES (CONT'D)
                I see where we goin'. Saw it this
                morning when your secretary called
                ask me to come here an hour early.
                Alone. I knew it six months ago.
                Hell, I knew it the day I was born.

      James looks back. He doesn't blink. He looks to us.

                          JAMES (CONT'D)
                There's some things I'm gonna want.




83A   INT. KING RECORDS. CONFERENCE ROOM. LATER THAT MORNING.    83A

      A receptionist shows the rest of the band in. The Flames join
      Ralph, Syd Nathan, Ben Bart, and James.

                          BEN BART
                Come in Boys. Come in.

      There's no chairs. They stand.
                                                        66


                    BEN BART (CONT'D)
          Boys, I have something to show you.

He hands them each a record sleeve. They look down.

                    BOBBY
          I don't understand. Is this some
          sort of mistake?

                    NAFLOYD
              (Reads)
          His Famous Flames?

The sleeve has clearly printed on it "James Brown and his
Famous Flames."

                    BABY ROY
          Sir, this ain't right.

                    BEN BART
          We agree. See I believe it should
          say simply James Brown. The fact is
          Gentlemen, James Brown doesn't need
          the Famous Flames. King records and
          Universal don't need the Famous
          Flames. But James has requested
          that the name remain in some form.
          Now if you want to stay, stay, but
          from now on you work for James
          Brown, on James Brown's records.
          Should you find this disagreeable
          in part or whole, you can go home.

                    NAFLOYD
              (Stunned)
          James?

James stares straight ahead. Nafloyd throws the record at the
wall. Bobby stands there, stunned.

Slowly, James looks at Bobby and then crosses to him.

                    JAMES
          Bobby. It's just a name. Ain't
          nothing different between us. This
          for all us not just me. It's gone
          be good.

Bobby stares back. Nafloyd steps up to James.

                    NAFLOYD
          James Brown. I never liked you.
          Come on. Let's get outta here..
                                                                  67


     He turns and walks away with the band.    Bobby rises and
     follows out the door.

     PUSH IN

     On James. Bart sits down opposite him.

                         BART
               So. Do you know what you want
               James?


84                                                                     84
     EXT. WOODS. DILAPIDATED CABIN. 1941.

     FLASHBACK - JAMES, aged eight, outside the shack in Barnwell,
     beating his stick against the shack.

                         YOUNG JAMES
                   (Incredulous)
               I know exactly what I want.


85                                                                     85
     INT. KING RECORDS. CINCINNATI. DAY.    1962   JAMES 29 YRS

                         SYD NATHAN
               Forget it. King doesn't make live
               albums. They're too expensive.

                         JAMES
               I think a live album-

                         SYD NATHAN
               James, your audience is Negro.
               Negroes don't buy albums. They
               don't have the resources.
               Especially not for a bunch a songs
               they already got.

     James turns to Ben Bart.

                         BEN BART
               James, Recording live is five, six
               times as expensive as the studio.
               And that's for some violin concerto
               at the Met. No one jumps up and
               shouts "Blow it fucker!" in the
               middle of The Magic Flute.

                         JAMES
               But, Pop, you know my show.

     James turns to Syd.
                                                              68


                         JAMES (CONT'D)
               Mr. Nathan, you ain't ever even
               seen the show. My show.

                         SYD
               Don't need to.

     Syd rises and begins to dance. He attempts the "Mashed
     Potato".

                         JAMES
               Mr. Nathan-

                         JAMES (CONT'D)
               What are you doing?

                         SYD
               The "Mashed Potato".

                         JAMES
               That ain't the "Mashed Potato".

                          SYD
               Exactly.

                         SYD (CONT'D)
               I can't do the "Mashed Potato".
               That's your job. That's the show.
               But what I can do is the business.

     Syd goes back to his desk and sits.

                         SYD NATHAN
               So I stick to what I know. You
               stick to what you know. And that's
               the showbusiness.


86                                                                 86
     INT. ELITE RESTAURANT. 1962. DAY.

     Ben Bart and James, in a booth. James silent, tense.

                         JAMES
               Book the Apollo. I'm gonna spend my
               own money on this. Syd Nathan's
               wrong.

                         BEN BART
               I'm not going to let you do that,
               Jimmy.
                                                         69


                    JAMES
          Book it out next week for the whole
          week, go in, we drill it, we drill
          it, we drill it, then we drop it.

                    BEN BART
          Forget it, Jimmy. It's too big of a
          risk. Let's order something to eat.

Ben signals for a waitress to come over.   James grows
intense.

                    JAMES
          I don't understand risk?

James stiffens.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          I don't understand cos I'm just the
          "show"? Is that all I am to you,
          Pop? The show? The money?

                    BEN BART
          Of course not, Jimmy.

                    JAMES
          Sure it is. That's all me and my
          black brothers are to the "White
          Devil". We the show and you the
          money. And that's how the White
          Devil keeps it all.

                    BEN BART
          I'm not the "White Devil". I'm
          trying to protect you. I'm doing
          my job.

James becomes intense. A waitress walks over.

                    JAMES
          Pop, look me in the eye.

Ben stays on his menu.

                      JAMES (CONT'D)
          Pop.

Ben looks up.    The waitress scurries away.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Yeah, I'm the show. But, if I'm
          spendin' my own money on the show,
          then I'm gone be the business too.
                    (MORE)
                                                               70

                         JAMES (CONT'D)
               And after we kill The Apollo, I'll
               kick over a few bucks to the white
               devil. Whatever I think he
               deserves. And If I'm payin' you,
               Pop, you gone show me how to do it.

     Ben takes this in.

                         BEN BART
               I'll call Nola Sound. They got
               these new three track stereo
               recorders from Ampex.

                         JAMES
               And I want the best engineer in
               town. I don't care what it takes. I
               don't care what it cost. I want
               everyone in uniform, the ushers,
               front of house, the peanut
               peddlers.

                         BEN BART
               We'll need the band in New York
               immediately.

                         JAMES
               And I want `em in Sapphire blue
               suits. Pop. Sapphire.

                         BEN BART
               Sapphire Blue. Underwear too. How
               does that sound?

     Pop smiles as does James.


87                                                                  87
     INT./EXT. CAR/ APOLLO THEATER. 1962. NIGHT.

     Ben Bart drives a sedan. James rides in the front seat.

                         JAMES
               It's cold. It's cold. It's too cold
               man. It's too cold. Cold. Cold.

     They round the corner.

                         JAMES (CONT'D)
               C'mon. C'mon. C'mon. C'mon. C'mon.

     SUDDENLY and for the first time, we hear the classic James
     grunt, guttural.

     A THUMPING RHYTHM BEGINS. James, stock still, no longer
     looking out of the window. Head completely still.
                                                               71


     Out of the window: a line of people. On and on. We round the
     corner. More people. Another corner. More.

     The doors of the theatre open as we pass. People rush forward
     as THE CAR PULLS UP. James gets out outside by the stage
     entrance. Ben follows.

                         GERTRUDE
               Evening, Mr. Brown. Cold out
               tonight.

                         JAMES
               Gertrude. See if you can get some
               coffee for the folks in line.

     James walks into the stage door entrance of the Apollo. Ben
     follows with a big smile. It's happening.


88                                                                  88
     INT. APOLLO THEATER. STAGE. NIGHT. 1962

     ONE BY ONE TWELVE PAIRS OF PATENT LEATHER SHOES HIT THE
     STAGE.

     THE NEW JAMES BROWN REVUE file in with instrument cases like
     some ultra hip sect.

     In the dimly lit back stage we see the motions of opening
     their cases and begin setting up their stations, A beautiful
     black girl pulls up her mini to reveal even more leg.

     James enters looking amazing in a cobalt sharkskin. He
     approaches the all new band.

     A member of the band, whose back is to us, peers out of the
     scarlet curtains towards the packed house.

                         JAMES
               You ready Mr. Byrd?

     Bobby Byrd turns from the curtains. THE ONLY SURVIVING MEMBER OF
     THE STARLIGHTERS. His profile lighted by a powerful spot.

                         BOBBY BYRD
                   (Ice cool)
               Ready Mr. Brown.

     Gertrude rushes to James with his jacket. He smooths his hair.

                         FATS V/O
               Are you ready for star time? Thank
               you and thank you very kindly-
                                                                72


89                                                                   89
     INT. APOLLO. STAGE. NIGHT.

     Syd Nathan and Ben Bart stand in the wings. Syd shouts in Ben's
     ear.

                         SYD
               We got the level on his main mic
               way up to drown out the crowd. You
               gotta get him to hold back a little
               in the first number!

     CLOSE UP: Big two inch tape magnacorders turn on brushed
     aluminium spindles. Recording live.

     Ben Bart looks over at James at the curtain edge. A man
     possessed.

                          BEN BART
               I think its too late for that. You
               ain't got a breeze, Syd. You got a
               hurricane.

     James looks at Bobby. Bobby nods. James nods back. The band
     vamp.

                           JAMES
               Watch me.

     The curtain opens. BANG! James Brown & the New Revue are in
     perfect timing looking impeccable in their new sapphire blue
     suits. The crowd goes wild with excitement.

     Mr. Dynamite steps on stage-- and floats and dances across bare
     planks like they were polished ice. He reaches the mike.

                         JAMES (CONT'D)
               You know I feel alright.
                   (Yeah!)
               You know I feel alright children.
                   (Yeah!)
               I feel aaaaaaaallllriiiiiiight.

     Les Buie whacks the guitar strings and the world ceases to
     spin. A rising 6/8 blues riff pulses up like adrenaline.

     As he sings the song, a shock wave blasts out from the stage
     of the theatre on 125th street and into the Universe.

     Bobby might as well be sitting on the moon.    He never misses
     a beat.

                                                             CUT TO:
                                                                73


     James Brown and the New Revue are tearing up their second
     number, "Think."

     SYD NATHAN now sits in the audience surrounded by a SEA OF
     BLACK FACES. We gather that Syd has never really experienced
     "The Show". He smiles and nods to the beat.

     Just then a female seated behind him shouts as the horns kick
     in.

                         FEMALE IN AUDIENCE
               Blow it fuckers!!!

     James stares into the darkness. He's already begun to sweat.
     The drums stop a six punch combination from the horns dead.
     He reaches for the mic without looking. Leans in and locks
     eyes with Syd.

                         JAMES
               Think...Think...Think...About your
               bad self...

     James drops to his knees. The crowd goes wild.

     A few rows behind Syd, we find Susie Brown sitting in the
     audience. James' mother has come to the show.


90                                                                   90
     INT. APOLLO DRESSING ROOM. NIGHT.

     After. The cheers still ringing out. People packed into his
     dressing room. Champagne corks pop. Congratulations from all.

                         JAMES
               Thank you. That's very kind of you.

     Bobby, at the door. Can't get to him. Turns to Gertrude.

                         BOBBY
               Gertrude. Get everybody out.

                         GERTRUDE
               What?

     ACROSS THE ROOM

                         JAMES
               We gone celebrate tonight. And then
               tomorrow we gone Wilmington and do
               it to it all over again.
                                                                74


                          BOBBY
               Mr. Brown. Excuse me. Mr. Brown.
                   (Then)
               ...James.

     James stops. Turns to face Bobby's grave expression.     Bobby
     whispers in James' ear.

                         BOBBY (CONT'D)
               There's a woman here, Mr. Brown.
               She says she's your mother.

     James stops dead. COMPLETELY STILL. We push in. He doesn't
     blink.


91                                                                   91
     FLASHBACK - EXT. STREET. NIGHT.      1942. JAMES 9 YRS

     Little Junior walks Twigg street at night. Passing dives and
     joints.

     Suddenly he stops, across the street, he sees a woman coming
     out of a bar arm in arm with a BLACK SOLDIER.

     He follows her up the street. She's weaving and laughing with
     the drunk soldier.

                            JAMES
               Momma?

     SUSIE and the soldier walk into a side yard where a party is
     in full swing.

     James approaches her from behind.

                         JAMES (CONT'D)
               Momma it's me. It's me.

     She turns. Focuses blearily.

                         SOLDIER
               You know this little nigger?

     For a moment it looks as if there is a flicker of
     recognition. Then swivels her head to look at the soldier.
     She shakes her head.

                            SOLDIER (CONT'D)
               Beat it.

                            YOUNG JAMES
               But Momma!

     The soldier picks up a rock a throws it.
                                                               75


                          SOLDIER
                Get the fuck out of here.


92    INT. AUNT HONEY'S BEDROOM. NIGHT. 1942                        92

      Aunt Honey and James lie in bed together.   James has been
      crying.

                          AUNT HONEY
                Don't cry, Little Junior. Don't
                cry. Now, child, I want you to
                listen to me. You gone be okay. You
                hear me? Little Junior, you were
                born dead. Did you know that?

      James shakes his head.

                          AUNT HONEY (CONT'D)
                When your great Aunt pulled you
                into this world you were dead. You
                had gone cold. She slapped your ass
                hard too but you never drew a
                breath. Your momma and daddy had to
                say goodbye to you. But then your
                Great Aunt breathed in you one last
                time. And then you turned warm and
                then you screamed. So loud we heard
                it all the way here in Augusta.
                You're special, boy. Cause you got
                the spirit in you. And that spirit
                told me you gone be a rich man,
                Little Junior. And Everybody gone
                know your name. Ain't nothin' can
                touch you. You hear me? Nothin'.


      James nods.
92A                                                                92A
      INT. TOUR BUS. DAY. 1964

      The band on the bus. Bobby Bennet frowns and turns to Bobby
      Byrd. A new girl, YVONNE FAIR, gets on.

      DOWN THE BUS -- The others watch.

                          MACEO
                Who's this?

                          BOBBY BENNET
                    (quietly)
                James gone wear that seat out.

                          MACEO
                Which seat. Her's or the bus?
                                                             76


     Having overheard, Yvonne spends around.

                         YVONNE
               I'm Yvonne! I'm a singer. Let me
               worry about my seat.

     Bennet and Maceo snicker.


93                                                                93
     EXT. STREET/FISH HOUSE. DAY. 1965

     James and Ben Bart walk up a street. They turn a corner to
     see a gleaming new Cadillac parked next to the Fish House.

     We see a DRIVER inside. The driver exits.

                         BART
               Compliments of Universal
               Attractions.

                         JAMES
               This for me? Looky this! We got us
               a chauffeur.

                          JAMES (CONT'D)
                    (to the chauffeur)
               Gimme the keys. What they payin'
               you?

     James takes the keys and then pulls out a roll of bills and
     counts out six hundreds. He hands them to chauffeur.

                         JAMES (CONT'D)
               This here's a month's pay, help you
               get yourself another job. I gone
               drive myself.


     The chauffeur smiles, hands Bart his hat and walks off down
     the street.

                         JAMES (CONT'D)
               Don't mention it.
                   (turns to Ben Bart)
               That's six a month goin' somewhere
               else.


94                                                                94
     EXT. FISH HOUSE - DAY

     James and Pop sit at a small dining table outside the Fish
     House.
                                                        77


                    JAMES
          Pop, see there's something I been
          meaning to ask you.

                    BART
          What's that Jimmy.

                    JAMES
          I got a seventh grade education
          Pop, so you'll have to excuse me. I
          was looking over those figures you
          sent me, and something occur to me:
          we don't pay the promoter, the
          promoter pay us.

                    BART
          Just standard Jimmy. Guarantee
          against fluctuating ticket sales.
          Lets plan a-

                    JAMES
          -sure we planning, see I ask
          myself, what if we don't got
          fluctuating sales. What if you
          knocking the tar out of every show.

Ben Bart watches James with a new outlook on his partner and
friend.

                    BART
          Well let me explain the way it
          works. When you book a show. Take
          Chicago. Now our promoter in
          Chicago is-

                    BART (CONT'D)
          Lenny J Frank. Lenny's the number
          one promoter in Chicago has been
          for twenty years.

                    JAMES
          I don't doubt it.

                    BART
          Now when Lenny pays us a flat rate,
          we can account. You know, number
          one, you're getting top rate and
          number two-

                    JAMES
          What if we took the gate?
              (Bart stops JAMES looks over)
          What if we took it ourself.
                    (MORE)
                                                             78

                         JAMES (CONT'D)
               And still got the show promoted,
               but better.

                         BEN BART
               Better than Lenny Franks?

                         JAMES
               Lenny Franks a James Brown fan? How
               old he, sixty? Why's he gone try
               harder for James Brown than for Sam
               Cooke? Or Ray Charles. Or Tom
               Jones. See Pop. We go to the radio
               stations.

                         BART
               Jimmy, I understand your
               frustration but you gotta realize
               you're entering a game where the
               rules are set out. If you were a
               ball player you can't walk in and
               change how many innings they're
               gonna play just because...

     As Bart drones on, James loses interest and starts addressing
     us directly.

                         JAMES
               You see my point right? OK. Listen
               up. We go to the radio station. We
               go to the young cats. The hungry
               cats. The late night cat.


95                                                                95
     INT. RADIO STATION.

     James talks to us as he stands next to a DEEJAY, ALAN LEEDS,
     The deejay doesn't hear James talking to us.

                         JAMES
               The twenty year old white deejay in
               Richmond Virginia who's getting
               paid nothing and is only doin' it
               because he loves music. We go to
               him we ask him if he want to be the
               sole James Brown promoter for the
               Richmond show. For a percentage. He
               gone say:

     The deejay suddenly looks up to James.

                         YOUNG RICHMOND DEEJAY
               Are you fucking kidding me? Do you
               know how much they pay me?
                                                                 79


      JAMES WALKS PAST THROUGH THE STATION TALKING TO US.

                          JAMES
                Between nothing and fifty bucks a
                week. But he love my music.
                He digs James Brown. And he got a
                microphone and a turn-table and
                four hours airtime to kill.

                          YOUNG RICHMOND DEEJAY
                Screw Payola.

      LATER - THE RADIO STATION.

      He spins it. MUSIC starts: "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag."

      JAMES BEGINS TO GROOVE.

                          JAMES
                And at the end he gone say..


95A                                                            95A
      ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE. VOICE-OVER OF DEEJAYS ANNOUNCING THE
      UPCOMING SHOWS OVER.. "MAKE SURE YOU CATCH JAMES AT THE ARENA
      IN RICHMOND THIS TUESDAY!!! " ETC.


96    INT. FISH HOUSE. DAY.                                           96

      BACK AT THE FISH HUT, JAMES IS TALKING TO US AS HE ORDERS A
      PLATE OF FISH.

                          JAMES
                Now because he's twenty he's got
                strong legs. And he knows everyone.


97                                                                    97
      EXT. THE STREETS. 1965.

      THE VARIOUS DEEJAYs -- riding around town on bikes, on
      skates, diving out of cars, pasting up posters everywhere.

                          JAMES (V.O.)
                He know the guy in the barber shop
                knows the guy at the pool hall, the
                guy at the garage.
                                                             80


98   INSIDE JAMES PAYS FOR A LARGE PLATE OF FISH.                 98

                         JAMES
                   (to us)
               That way we get our record played
               outside Payola, we get our show
               promoted better, harder, cheaper,
               and we keep the gate.


99   EXT. FISH HOUSE - CONTINUOUS                                 99

     James exits the fish house and sits down at a rickety card
     table with Bart.

                         JAMES
                   (to Bart)
               And the best part is, you can put
               it all through the books. Item.
               Promoter.
                   (He turns to Bart)
               What'd you think Pop?

                         BART
               Its beautiful Jimmy. I can't do it.

     Bart picks up a piece of fish and eats it.

                          JAMES
               Why not?

                         BART
               Universal Attractions promotes many
               acts. I can't piss off the 60 or 70
               promoters in this country to skim a
               little extra on the James Brown
               Show.

                         JAMES
               It's not a little. If the show
               sells, and it's sellin', we talking
               thousands of dollars a night.
               Difference per year between 2 and 3
               million dollars.

                         BART
               And I'm out of a job. Think you're
               forgetting I don't just work for
               James Brown.

                          JAMES
               And there's my next point Pop. Why
               not?
                    (Bart stops)
                          (MORE)
                                                                  81

                          JAMES (CONT'D)
                I can do something for you, and you
                can do something for me, and it
                ain't buy me no Cadillac. Did you
                buy Wilson Pickett a Cadillac? Did
                you buy Jackie Wilson a Cadillac?
                You know which way this thing is
                going Pop. I got people around me
                who don't see it.

      Bart looks at him for some time as a black 1965 limousine
      pulls up to the fish house.

      James looks straight back to us. Smiles. Ben Bart rises and
      grabs a piece of fish.

                          BEN BART
                    (to James)
                I thank you for the fish. And I'm
                gonna need some benefits, boss.

      Bart crosses to the limo and leaves.

      BLACKOUT. SCREAMS. HORNS VAMPING.


100                                                                100
      INT. THEATER. NIGHT.   1965   JAMES 32

      The whole band on stage looking sharp. Knocking the shit out
      of MAN'S WORLD. James falls to his knees

      James turns to backup singer, YVONNE and winks.    She winks
      back.

      James scans the front row and sees a very beautiful black
      woman, DEDE, dancing in the audience.

      James and Dede lock eyes.     The attraction immediate.

      Man's World continues over the next three scenes.

                                                                CUT TO:


101                                                                101
      INT. SECURE ROOM

      Ben Bart counts bundles of cash. He shuts a case full of
      money. Hands it to 300lb MINDER. An ASSISTANT tries to
      handcuff it to his wrist. It won't close.

                          BART
                Po-lice have the same problem.

      Bart looks at the three hundred pound minder. Tacitly decides
      it's probably safe.
                                                               82


102                                                                102
       EXT. STREET IN CINCINNATI. 1965. DAY.

       Two shiny cars pull up to the bank. The 300lb MINDER, and a
       couple of his fellas, head into the bank each carrying
       several suitcases full of money.


103                                                                103
       INT. BANK. DAY.

       They form a queue as the good folk of Cincinnati stare agog.

       The carriers hand over BUNDLES AND BUNDLES OF CASH.

       BEHIND THE COUNTER The manager spots how many suitcases they
       have.


103A                                                           103A
       INT. THEATER. NIGHT.   LATER THAT SAME NIGHT.

       James is concluding his show with Please, Please, Please.     He
       is at the tail end of his cape routine. The cape is
       brilliant blue with rhinestones.

       He glances at Dede one last time from under the cape.


104                                                                104
       INT. BACKSTAGE. POST SHOW. NIGHT. 1965

       James walks down the corridor backstage. Stops. Sniffs. Opens
       an equipment room door. NEW BAND MEMBER is inside smoking
       reefer.

                           JAMES
                 Who you play Sax with son?

                           NEW BAND MEMBER
                 James Brown Orchestra, Mr. Brown.

                           JAMES
                 What's the rule?

                           NEW BAND MEMBER
                 No hopheads. No reefer heads. No
                 junkies.

                           JAMES
                 Not on the bus. Not backstage. You
                 a talented horn player, son. You
                 gotta keep your game tight. Now you
                 wanna smoke a little groove on your
                 own time, that's yo' business.
                 But we out here to work hard and we
                 gone do just that you dig? Fifty.
                                                                  83


      Puts out his hand. NEW BAND MEMBER counts off bills and walks
      down the corridor.

      James turns around to find a beautiful black woman staring
      back at him. She holds a notebook and pen.

                             JAMES (CONT'D)
                  Hello pretty thing. You want an
                  autograph?

      She nods.

      James approaches and tries to grab the notebook.   She pulls
      it back from his grasp with a smile

                            JAMES (CONT'D)
                  You want to come with me? So I can
                  sign it somewhere private?

      James flashes that million dollar smile.   They walk away
      together.


105   INT. JAMES BROWN'S HOME. BEDROOM. WALTON WAY. AUGUSTA.       105

      James walks into the bedroom of his home. Dede is sitting at
      the end of their bed looking beautiful in a sexy negligee.

                            JAMES
                  I called you yesterday, you ain't
                  home.

                            DEDE
                  I was home all day.

                            JAMES
                  You were home all day. So why you
                  didn't pick up the phone?

                            DEDE
                  I don't know. What time you call?

                            JAMES
                  I call you at one and quarter past
                  one, then I call you at two. And I
                  call again at three.

                            DEDE
                  You must've wanted to talk to me
                  pretty bad.

                            JAMES
                  Where were you?
                                                                 84


                          DEDE
                Yesterday. I don't know..in the
                bath?

                          JAMES
                For two hours?

                          DEDE
                You want me to take shorter baths?
                You don't have a phone in the
                bathroom, James. What you gonna do?
                Fine me?

      He looks at her levelly as he walks past and grabs a phone
      from the bedside table.

      He yanks it out of the wall. Dede turns, James races towards
      her but passes and heads into the bathroom.


106   INT. BATHROOM - CONTINUOUS                                  106

      James walks in with the phone. James throws the phone at a
      bathroom mirror. It shatters.

      BACK IN THE BEDROOM

      Dede is still as stone.   James looks to Dede and then begins
      to smile.

                          JAMES
                I ain't gone fine you, baby.   You
                fine enough already.

      Dede smiles.

                          DEDE
                Then get over here, Mr. Dynamite.

      James approaches Dede and begins taking off his clothes.

                          JAMES
                Got you a phone in the bathroom
                now.

      James and Dede begin making love.

      MUSIC. MONEY WON'T CHANGE YOU. Over.
                                                              85


107                                                            107
      EXT. CADILLAC. 1965. DAY.

      James, Dede and Bobby are standing outside James' Cadillac.
      Dede has her hands over Bobby's eyes. Dede has a huge diamond
      ring on her finger.

                          DEDE
                Keep your eyes closed Bobby. Keep
                `em closed.

                          BOBBY BYRD
                They're closed, Dede.



                          JAMES
                You peekin' brother? OK. OK.
                    (James stops the car.)
                You ready. You ready? OK. Open `em.
                    (Bobby does. )
                Check it Bobby. Is that something?

      Bobby opens his eyes and sees a Lear Jet stands on a runway.
      "James Brown" on the side.

                           JAMES (CONT'D)
                That something Bobby? Is that
                something?

                          BOBBY
                Yeah brother. That's something.

      Velma pulls up in another car. It's full of James kids. Teddy
      plus four more. He picks them all up and hugs them. As he
      does, Bobby sheepishly greets Velma.

                             BOBBY (CONT'D)
                Hey Velma.

                             VELMA
                Hey Bobby.

      James and Dede come over. Bobby takes a step back.

                          VELMA (CONT'D)
                Teddy got impetigo.

                             JAMES
                Impetigo?

                          DEDE
                It's a skin infection.
                                                               86


                          VELMA
                All that mess round his mouth.
                That's impetigo. It's highly
                infectious.

      Velma turns to Dede.

                          VELMA (CONT'D)
                I'm just sayin' Mrs. Brown, I
                wouldn't go too near Teddy. Not
                unless you wanna catch impetigo.

                          DEDE
                Thank you, Velma. I'll consider
                myself warned.

                          VELMA
                Warned? Oh, that's a whole other
                conversation. Welcome to the
                family.

      Dede and Velma smile at each other.

      James looks at the two women then to Teddy.   He pulls Teddy
      in close. James turns to his other kids.

                          JAMES
                Listen up. Which one of you cats
                want to fly to Reno on daddy's
                airplane?

      The kids all say "me!... me!" The kids, Bobby and Dede walk
      up the steps onto the plane as Velma gets in her car.

      James lingers.

                          JAMES (CONT'D)
                    (to Velma)
                You need anything?

                          VELMA
                I'll let you know. I'm putting a
                big list together right now.

      Velma smiles and cranks her car.


108   EXT. RENO PRIVATE AIRPORT. ESTABLISHING. DAY. 1965        108


109                                                             109
      INT. PRIVATE AIRPORT TERMINAL. LATER THAT DAY. JAMES

      James is giving a press conference to a group of journalists.
                                                       87


Bobby, Teddy and Dede stand next to James.

                    INTERVIEWER
          Welcome to Reno, Mr. Brown. What
          exactly do you call your style of
          music?

                    JAMES BROWN
          I call it James Brown music. What
          I mean is, it's so far ahead of
          it's time that they ain't got a
          name for it yet. Take another
          record, any record from your stack
          at home. I don't care if it's from
          Motown or Stax or whatever...and
          put it on your box. None of them
          are gonna sound like mine. Not
          even my own old records. Just like
          the title says, it's a "new bag".
          See the funk is in the bass. The
          bass never changes. It's a groove,
          lady. Soon as you hear that
          groove, I know I got you.

                    INTERVIEWER
          And what exactly is the groove?

                    JAMES BROWN
          The groove is something you feel.
          The groove is solid. Bam Bap. It
          don't move. It's like a heartbeat.
          It's inside you, driving
          everything. Hard. Flat. A groove.

                    INTERVIEWER
          But how exactly do you define it?

                     JAMES BROWN
          I just did.
              (Then)
          See Miss. See there's some things,
          they're just too big to fit in a
          magazine. But we all feel it. Even
          little Teddy here know it when he
          feel it.

James groans "Um booga chooca. Um". Teddy is lit up;
thrilled. He sings.

                    TEDDY
          "Um Booga Chooca"
                                                                 88


                          JAMES BROWN
                See. Right there. We all feel it
                together. And that's the groove.
                Understand?

                          INTERVIEWER
                    (Checks her questions)
                So what's your favorite food?

      James catches Dede's eye. She and James share a knowing look
      with Bobby. Bobby takes the mic as James walks away to a
      side room where Ben Bart is waiting.

                                                        CUT TO:




110   INT. AIRPORT MEETING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER                   110

      BART, James study at a map. BOBBY sits across the aisle.

                          BART
                Then we got a day between Raleigh,
                Carolina and Columbia two days
                after.

                           JAMES
                Day off?

                          BART
                Sure. Regroup. Rest the horses.

                          JAMES
                We ain't payin' the horses to rest
                `em. Besides, we got a day off in
                two weeks in New Orleans. The boys
                can get their wives, girlfriends
                along, kick back. What's between
                Raleigh and Columbia? Spartanburg?

      BACK THE PRESS CONFERENCE:

                          BOBBY BYRD
                Well see, James started out in
                Augusta. Then his family moved to
                Toccoa. That's where we met.

                          JOURNALIST
                And tell me about James' first
                band, the Famous Flames.
                                                89


                    BOBBY BYRD
          Well there was five of us to start
          with. Nafloyd Scott, Baby Roy
          Scott, Sylvester Keels..

                    JOURNALIST
          And they left...

                    BOBBY BYRD
          Yeah. They left.

James walks into the interview area.

                    JAMES
              (interrupting)
          Bobby? What's the name of the
          theater in Spartanburg...

                    BOBBY
          Uh.. The Viceroy. The..

                       JAMES
          The Regal!

                    BOBBY
          Yeah. That's it. The Regal.

                    JAMES
              (to Bart)
          On Howard Street and main. Hold
          about 750 people. Guy named Bennett
          used to own it. Yeah, Spartanburg.
          Yeah, we'll play there and I can
          bring in my masseuse from Anderson.

James disappears again.

                    JAMES (O.C.) (CONT'D)
          Call `em up, Pop.

The journalists laugh.

                    JOURNALIST
          Wow. He's got an amazing memory.

Bobby nods to himself.

                    BOBBY
          Yeah. James remembers everything.
                                                               90


111   EXT. JAMES BROWN'S HOME. WALTON WAY. 1967. CHRISTMAS.        111

      On the lawn of James' and Dede's new home a Christmas
      spectacular is staged. The Brown's Colonial is smack dab in
      the middle of Augusta's most elite, white neighborhood.

      Fake snow is being sprayed on the lawn by Teddy.   Kids of all
      races play in the white stuff.

      We widen to see a huge line of people waiting to meet James
      who is dressed as Santa Clause.

      Dede is dressed as a sexy Mrs. Clause. Dede wears sexy fish
      net hose which rise up her legs, disappearing into a short
      red skirt. Dede holds an infant girl.

      One by one, kids and their parents approach James.   He hands
      each Kid a five dollar bill.

      A little white boy approaches.

                          JAMES
                Hey little man, you been good this
                year.

                          LITTLE BOY
                Yes, Mister Brown.

      James hands him a five spot.   Dede hands the little boy a
      candy apple.

      Another little white boy and his father approach. James as
      James speaks to the little boy.

                          JAMES
                Merry Christmas, Little Man.

      James then notices the boy's father checking out Dede.

      The little boy moves on to Dede.   She leans over and picks up
      an apple from a tray.

      The boy's father takes full notice of Dede's ass. James takes
      full notice of the entire thing.


112   INT. JAMES BROWN'S HOME. WALTON WAY. AUGUSTA. LATER THAT 112
      DAY.

      James and Dede enter the Brown home, passing a huge life size
      portrait of James hanging in the foyer.

                          DEDE
                Great crowd today, Baby.
                                                                 91


      James passes Dede without a word and heads to the back of the
      house.

      Dede follows James thought the living room and into the
      kitchen.

      James disappears around a corner.

                          DEDE (CONT'D)
                You want some dinner?

      Dede follows James around the corner and disappears.

                          JAMES (O.C.)
                You stand up in James Brown's yard
                dressed like that? So every man can
                see you?

      Then suddenly, A SMACK is heard. Dede's Body falls back into
      frame and collapses on the kitchen floor.

      A towel flies into frame and lands next to Dede.

                          JAMES (O.C.) (CONT'D)
                Cover yourself up.


113   INT. JAMES BROWN'S HOME. WALTON WAY. AUGUSTA. CONTINUOUS 113

      We are now with James in the room off the kitchen. Behind
      James we see Dede starting to get up off the floor.

      The camera is on James' face. We get the sense that James
      wants to look at us and talk directly to us but he won't.

      Out of Shame, James leaves the room and goes to Dede's aid.

                                                               CUT TO:


114                                                               114
      EXT. HOTEL POOL. NEW ORLEANS. 1967. DAY

      The long awaited day off. The James revue kicks back by the
      pool in the sunshine, wives, girls, and kids.

      An idyllic scene. Kids playing with fathers.     Kids towelled
      down by mothers.


115   EXT. HOTEL POOL. CHECK IN STAND.    CONTINUOUS              115

      A WHITE FEMALE TOURIST in swimming kit has been complaining
      to a HOTEL MANAGER. Her HUSBAND, tries to make peace.
                                                                 92


                             HUSBAND
                       (regarding the manager)
                   Honey, his hands are tied. The pool
                   area has been reserved for a
                   private function.

                             WIFE
                   We're good people and we've paid
                   good money. We didn't come all the
                   way to New Orleans to swim in a
                   pool full of-

                                                   HUSBAND
                 WIFE (CONT'D)
      Niggers.                          Entertainers.

      Just then a band member's kid does a cannonball in the pool.

      BACK AT THE POOL

      Bobby, poolside, messes about with the new singer, Vicki
      ANDERSON.

                             VICKI ANDERSON
                   You a bad man Bobby Byrd.

      Suddenly he pulls her to him. They NEARLY share a kiss. But
      laugh instead.

      Bobby turns his head to a hotel balcony. Vicki grabs Bobby's
      face and turns it back toward her.

                             VICKI ANDERSON (CONT'D)
                   Quit lookin' for James Brown and
                   keep your eyes on me, Bobby Byrd.

      She sexily rises and goes and sits on a lounger.

      Bobby watches her all the way. She catches his eye. Looks at
      him, raises an eyebrow like "what you looking at?" He feigns
      innocence, turns, and smiles.


116   EXT. HOTEL BALCONY - SAME TIME                              116

      James discreetly watches from behind a blind on his balcony
      high above.


117   EXT. HOTEL POOL. CONTINUOUS.                                117

      Pee Wee, in jams, walks with a new band member, FRED WESLEY,
      who is still wearing a suit.
                                                        93


                       PEE WEE
             Fella's this is Fred. I thought
             we'd show him how things work?

Pee Wee pulls out a cheap wig from his pocket and puts it on.

Everyone around the pool begins to laugh as Pee Wee begins
demonstrating how things work to Wesley. Pee Wee is full on
imitating James Brown

                       PEE WEE ELLIS
             So when I do this..
                 (Turns head, stamps foot)
             Means you give it some punch. See.
             When I dip like this.
                 (Dips hip and slides)

                       BOBBY
             Means less sharp. Bring it down.

Fred nods.

                       PEE WEE ELLIS
             When I do this.
                 (Juts chin back and forth)

                       MACEO
             Mean I give it some heat.

                       PEE WEE ELLIS
             Right. Now when I do this.
                 (Stamps foot and moves elbow.)
             And you stab..

                       ALL
             On the one.

                       PEE WEE ELLIS
             See? And when I pop his head like
             this, it mean.

                       ALL
             Take it to the bridge.

                       MACEO
             What about when he do this..?

Maceo crunches his shoulder blades together.

                       PEE WEE ELLIS
             I ain't ready to tell you that one
             yet. I'm in control Mr. Parker.
             Got it. Don't ask about that again.
                                                                94


      Pee Wee flashes his hand at Maceo.

                          PEE WEE
                That'll be ten thousand dollars.

      The band loses their shit at this one.    Laughs all around.

      An hotel employee walks out with a note and hands it to Pee
      Wee. Pee Wee reads. Pee Wee removes the wig.

                          PEE WEE (CONT'D)
                He's called a rehearsal.

                            BOBBY
                When?

                            PEE WEE
                Now.    We gotta go get dressed.

                          MACEO
                You're kidding. Tell me you
                kidding.


118                                                              118
      EXT. HOTEL ROOM BALCONY / POOL.

      Hiding behind a partition, James raises a cigarette to his
      mouth.


119                                                  JAMES 34 YRS 119
      INT. NEW ORLEANS HOTEL REHEARSAL ROOM. 1967

      The band, all in their suits, with their instruments. All
      glaring. One more pissed off than the next. Vicki stands in
      the corner.

      James is in the middle of an extended anecdote.

                          JAMES
                See My great grandmother on my
                momma's side, she Asian. She got
                Asian blood. See Asians are a
                flexible race.
                You get with an Asian chick? That a
                whole other story. No spank but
                they got it baby they got it.
                Anyway what was I talkin `bout?

                          MACEO
                Your Chinese knees Mr. Brown.

                          JAMES
                That's right. That it. I got these
                Chinese knees.
                          (MORE)
                                                         95

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          That's how come I can dance the way
          I do. Anyway. One. Two. Three.
          Four. Hit it.

The band starts up. During the introduction to COLD SWEAT,
MACEO comes in late on the Sax. Everything stops.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Stop. Maceo.
              (Laughs)
          What you doing man? You coming in
          maybe a little too late. What's the
          matter son. You lost your feeling?

                    MACEO
              (Flatly)
          No Sir. I ain't lost no feeling.

SILENCE. James tunes into the vibe for the first time.
SOMETHING's wrong.

                    JAMES
              (Innocently)
          Something wrong, Maceo?
              (SILENCE. Directly)
          Is something wrong, Maceo?

                    BOBBY BYRD
          James-

James rounds on Bobby.

                    JAMES
          You got something to say Mr. Byrd?
              (Silence. Smiling)
          Because a man got something to say
          he should say it. You got something
          to say?

SILENCE. Vicki looks away. All at once James loses it.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
              (Shouting)
          Well then you just HOLDING UP THE
          REHEARSAL Mr. Byrd.



                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          I can't have people HOLDING UP THE
          REHEARSAL. If I can't do it right I
          ain't gone do it at all. We got to
          GET ON. GET AHEAD. Now you know the
          rule.
                    (MORE)
                                                         96

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          You late, you off or you hold us
          up, it's no good, Mr. Byrd. Its
          gonna cost you 50 dollars.

Bobby's jaw tightens. Everyone holds their breath.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Now are you ready Mr. Byrd. Are you
          ready Mr. Byrd?

Pause.

                    BOBBY BYRD
          Yes, Mr. Brown.

James glances to Vicki and winks.

                    JAMES
          Good. I ain't fattening frogs for
          snakes. From the top. One Two...

COLD SWEAT resumes. Bobby sings his backing part.

James stands in the middle of the floor. Its good but-

                    JAMES BROWN
          Quit it.
              (They all stop)
          Clyde man. Lets get that POP! Dee..
          app..POP! Unnerstand? It drop
          before you reach the beat. Dig?

Jimmy Nolen looks worriedly at Pee Wee.

                    MACEO
              (Whispers to Waymon)
          Does he mean top of the bar?

                    PEE WEE
              (To Maceo)
          He means the down beat.

                    JAMES
          It goin' wrong there Pee Wee, when
          it rise up.

                    MACEO
          But Mr. Brown.

Maceo pauses and waits to be acknowledged by James. James
turns and glares at Maceo.
                                                        97


                    MACEO (CONT'D)
          We rehearsed it like you told us.
          We got it like you like it.
          Jimmy can't do that with the part
          he's playing. We can change the
          part if you want.

                    JAMES BROWN
              (Suddenly angry)
          Did I say change the part? Don't
          change the part. How many records
          you got?

James sarcastically responds to Maceo's silence.

                    JAMES
          Thank you! I like the part he
          playin' now. I just want it in a
          different place.

Blank stares from the band. James walks over to Clyde's snare
and points.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          What's this, Maceo.

                    MACEO.
          It's a snare, Mr. Brown.

                    JAMES
          A snare what?

                     MACEO.
          Drum.

                     JAMES
          Correct.

James moves over to Jimmy. Points to his guitar.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          What's this, Maceo?

                    MACEO
          Guitar, Mr. Brown.

                    JAMES
          No it's not.

James goes back to Clyde and points to Maceo's sax

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          What's that, Pee Wee?
                                                        98


                       PEE WEE.
             A drum, Mr. Brown?

                       JAMES
             Now you're getting it.

James crosses to Pinckney and points to Odum's guitar

                       JAMES (CONT'D)
             What's that he's holding.

                       PEE WEE
             A drum?

James points to the horn section.

                       JAMES
             You Fellas. What are those shiny
             things you holding.

                       EVERYBODY IN THE ROOM
             Drums.

                       JAMES
             Now we all got our drums. Now when
             you're playing the drum it don't
             matter what key you're in, what bar
             your in or what planet you on.
             Dig?

                       MACEO
                 (With trepidation)
             But Mr. Brown.

Maceo pauses and waits for JB to acknowledge him.

                       MACEO (CONT'D)
             Clyde'll be in a different time to
             the rest of the band. That doesn't
             work musically.

They all know it.

                       JAMES BROWN
             But does it sound good?

The band nods.

                       JAMES BROWN (CONT'D)
             Does it feel good?

More nods.
                                                                 99


                           JAMES BROWN (CONT'D)
                 Then it's musical. So play it like
                 I say. From the top.

       The groove of COLD SWEAT comes to life. The beat heavier,
       almost irregular but actually in the pocket, the horns and
       Bass clipped, drum-like, the off rhythm of Jimmy's guitar
       bringing the whole room together.


119A   EXT. POOL AREA BAR. SAME TIME.                            119A

       Our racist couple has now bellied up to an outside bar.     Cold
       Sweat leaks out into the bar area.

       Unable to help themselves, the couple rises and begins to
       dance.


119B   BACK INSIDE THE REHEARSAL:                                119B

       The band is really hitting it hard.   Vicky, Bobby...everyone
       feelin' it.

                           JAMES BROWN
                 Mmmn! Huh! Now that a groove.

       By God it is. James starts singing the cut.


120                                                                120
       INT. HOTEL BAR. NIGHT.   1967

       The recording session is over. James has long since gone.
       Maceo and Bobby relax at the bar.

                           MACEO
                 Bobby, James Brown's my meal
                 ticket. So I just shut my ears and
                 chomp down his bullshit. But why
                 you soak it up man? You his best
                 friend. You know him for time
                 brother. And he treat you like
                 that. I was you I'd bust him in his
                 damn mouth.

       Bobby Byrd nods his head.

                           BOBBY BYRD
                 I hang in there cause I remember
                 the day that I knew. Knew I was
                 never gonna be in front.

       He looks at Maceo with a calm, measured sense of reality.
                                                              100


                          BOBBY BYRD (CONT'D)
                You work so hard at this one thing
                and then one day you realize it
                ain't supposed to be you. You can
                get mad. Try to fight it but if
                it's God's truth. It's God's truth.
                James is supposed to be in front. I
                saw it happen. And the man in front
                has to BE the man in front. It
                ain't always pretty but that's the
                man's responsibility if he wanna
                stay there. And you and me can't
                know what that is. We ain't
                supposed to. So, don't lie to
                yourself Maceo.
                Every man in this band walks taller
                because he with James Brown. Every
                man in this band believe in himself
                a little more because he's with
                James Brown.

                          MACEO
                You sure you just ain't too scared
                to be in the front?

                          BOBBY BYRD
                No. But my ears a' open. Open your
                ears, Maceo. He's a genius. And
                he's takin' us with him.

                                                             CUT TO:


121                                                              121
      INT. KING RECORDING STUDIO. DAY. 1968 JAMES 35 YRS

      Boiling studio. James drenched in sweat howls at the
      microphone.

                          JAMES
                Mother, she got to have. Say, you
                got to have a mother for me. Yeah,
                popcorn!

      The band sit right into the groove of MOTHER POPCORN and
      sweet thunder rolls onto another master tape. Everyone's eyes
      are glued to James standing in the centre: directing them
      with body movements and gestures, playing the whole band like
      a single instrument.

                          JAMES (CONT'D)
                Quit it.
                    (They stop.)
                We missing something.
                    (They look at each other. It was perfect.)
                          (MORE)
                                                                 101

                           JAMES (CONT'D)
                 Pee Wee, get over here by the
                 microphone. And bring that horn
                 box. That's where you keep the wig,
                 right?

       They all stop. Oh. Shit.

                              PEE WEE
                 Mr. Brown?

                                                               CUT TO:

       Now Pee Wee stands at the Microphone, uncomfortable, with the
       wig on, singing the song.


       James is in with the horns, who are all crying with laughter,
       enjoying the hell out of this rare moment of levity. James,
       deadpan, eggs him on. Pee Wee calls for a horn solo from him.

       SUDDENLY there's a commotion in the mixing booth. James
       brings them to a stop.

                           JAMES
                 What is it? Why we stop Henry?

       The engineers hands go to their faces. Shaking heads.

                           JAMES (CONT'D)
                 What? What is it?

       Bobby enters the room.

                           BOBBY BYRD
                 It's King. They shot Dr. King.


121A                                                              121A
       BLACKOUT: SFX: BURNING. SIRENS. GUNFIRE.

       TELEVISION FOOTAGE. Riots all over America. Police beating
       back groups of rioting youths.


122    INT. KING RECORDS - SYD NATHAN'S OFFICE - NIGHT.            122

       James sits watching the carnage unfold. Ben Bart knocks and
       enters

                           BART
                 Jimmy, Mayor of Boston's office
                 called. Wanted you to know they've
                 cancelled tomorrow's show at the
                 Garden. For reasons of public
                 safety. He's worried about rioting.
                                                             102


      James doesn't look away from the screen.

                          JAMES BROWN
                Tell the Mayor, I sold 30 million
                records and ninety five percent of
                them are to the black community.
                They listen to me. They won't riot

                           BART
                We have virtual race war looming
                across the South, Jimmy. Politics,
                101? Don't put 10,000 angry blacks
                together in one place in the middle
                of a city, and broadcast it live to
                the world.

                          JAMES
                Get the Mayor on the phone.

                                                            CUT TO:


123                                                               123
      INT. KING RECORDS. SYD NATHAN'S OFFICE - NIGHT.

      James is on the phone with the mayor

                          JAMES
                Mr. Mayor, the way I see it, you
                already lost your next election.
                You lost it at 7:05 PM Memphis
                time.

                                                            CUT TO:


124   INT. BOSTON MAYOR OFFICE - NIGHT.                           124

      The mayor listens intently with the phone pressed to his ear.

                          JAMES
                Now tomorrow night, you either got
                10,000 angry folks in the Boston
                Garden, or you got 10,000 angry
                folks on your front lawn. Take your
                pick son. Which one you want?


125                                                               125
      INT. BOSTON GARDENS. NIGHT.   1968 JAMES 35 YRS

      Tension in the air. Police on every exit. Dogs. On stage,
      MAYOR WHITE speaks to a restless audience.
                                                        103


                    MAYOR
          All of us are here to night to
          listen to a great talent. James
          Brown. But we're also here to pay
          tribute to one of the greatest
          Americans, Dr. Martin Luther King.
          So, let us look at each other and pledge that
          whatever else any other community might do we in
          Boston will honour Dr. King in peace.

James steps forward.

                    JAMES
          Brother before I get to this next
          thing I wanna say. He's a young man
          you dig.
          He's a young man so he's thinking
          together. The man is together. Give
          him another round of applause.

James watches the restless, shouting, crowd. He looks at the
cameramen. The tension is unbearable. He lets it build.

                       JAMES (CONT'D)
          Hit it.

A fast, rhythmic drum solo. Building. Faces in the crowd. The
police. Tense promoters and politicians to the beating
rhythms.

The band whipcrack into I GOT THE FEELING. James pulsates.
Spins. Pushes the stand away. Zip! It's back.

A kid at the front gets onto the stage and sprints for James
only to be tackled by James' security. Another clambers up
but is kicked back by a police officer. The audience react
badly.

Another kid gets on stage and cops harshly push him to the
floor and throw him back into the audience. Police come out
onto the right side of the stage and shine torches down into
the audience. They shove people back down.

A kid in a white jacket leaps on stage right in front of
James. For a moment everyone stops. A white cop appears from
nowhere and viciously bodychecks the kid back into the front
row in full view of the cameras.

The mayor stands in the wings flanked by policemen.   Dede
stands behind them watching nervously.

                       MAYOR
          Oh no.
                                                       104


On stage James stops the band.

                    JAMES
          Wait a minute. Step off. Move off.
          I'll be a'ight here. I be fine.

James waves the police off the stage on either side to cheers
and whistles from the audience.

Suddenly a ten year old kid appears next to James from out of
the audience. He seems amazed to find himself there.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Do you wanna dance son? You dance.

No longer held back by police more kids invade the stage.
James respects them all, shaking hands and looking at them
eye to eye. Kids throng around him on stage. He's losing
control.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          C'mon. C'mon now. Y'all go down. Go
          back down. Don't nobody else come
          up. Wait a minute. Wait. Ladies and
          gentleman. This is no way. This is.
          We are black. We are black.
              (Cheers.)
          Wait a minute go back. Can't y'all
          go back down and lets do the show
          together. We're black don't make us
          all look bad. Let me finish the
          show. Step down there. Be a
          gentleman. Lets represent our own
          selves. Lets represent our own
          selves.

One by one they step back down into the crowd.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Now I ask the police to step back
          because I figure I could get some
          respect from my own people. Now we
          together ain't we.
              (Cheers! Screams!)
          Hit that thing man.

The band strike back up and James kicks back into "I Can't
Stand Myself" The stage clear. The crowd calmed. The panic
over.

                    MAYOR
              (to a policeman)
          Holy shit. He did it.
                                                             105


                          DEDE
                    (sotto)
                Of course he did.

      Dede smiles proudly.

      I Don't Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing kicks in over intercut
      Archival footage of Newscasters discussing the last minute
      decision for the concert to go ahead.


126                                                               126
      INT. ARCHIVAL NEWS REPORT.

      HEADLINE, under a picture of James: RACIAL PEACE RESTORED IN
      CAPITOL AFTER RIOTING.

                          ARCHIVAL NEWS REPORT
                City officials in Washington DC
                have praised James Brown. Order has
                returned to the city hit by rioting
                largely because of radio and
                television appeals from the soul
                singer over the weekend.

      OVER JAMES' PERFORMANCE AT THE GARDEN AS YOUNG BLACK GUYS
      DANCE.

                           JAMES (V.O.)
                In America today you've either got
                to be an entertainer or a ball
                player or what? If you poor, young
                and black, what is there? And you
                ask me why they on the street? It
                ain't politics we watchin'. It's
                economics.


127                                                               127
      INT. JAMES BROWN PRODUCTIONS LEAR JET. NIGHT.

      James is on the plane with Ben Bart.

                          JAMES
                You got kids out there that can't
                eat, robbing and stealing and doing
                what they have to do to make it.
                And if you don't do something about
                it we gonna lose the country. I go
                to Harlem, talk to Rap Brown, talk
                to the Nation they call me a
                separatist. Here we're on our way
                to the White House, Pop, and they
                already calling me an Uncle Tom. So
                what I supposed to do?
                          (MORE)
                                                             106

                          JAMES (CONT'D)
                Write a check for Rap so he buy
                rifles, machine guns, rally on
                125th and take it south? What it
                say to you, a street kid from
                Augusta, Georgia in the White
                House?

                          BART
                It says you kissin' up to the Man
                James.

      James is taken aback. No-one else in the world could say
      this.

                          JAMES
                You asking me to turn this plane
                around and stand up the President?

                           BART
                No. I'm saying who gives a shit.
                You're already screwed, James.
                Think about it.   If you stand up
                Lyndon Johnson to go kiss up to the
                Panthers, you ain't gone be playin'
                Vegas anytime soon because if they
                think you can stop a riot, they
                sure as hell will expect you to
                start one.

                          JAMES
                So here I am. Just a sorry soul
                brother whining inside his private
                jet, huh?

      They both laugh. But James is troubled. Bart tone changes.

                          BART
                Don't be scared my friend. Because
                if you're scared, it doesn't end
                well for the black man. Do your
                thing, James.
                    (He looks at him hard)
                It's worked for you so far.


128   INT. WHITE HOUSE - NEXT MORNING - 1968                     128

      CLOSE ON JAMES WITH HIS HEAD TILTED BACK TALKING UPWARD:

                          JAMES
                I want to go to Vietnam. I want to
                show unity for the boys out there.
                The beleaguered, the tired and in
                the dark.
                          (MORE)
                                                                  107

                             JAMES (CONT'D)
                   And we need to bring awareness, and
                   Mr. President, we need to bring the
                   super heavy funk.

       We widen to see 5'7" James looking up to the 6'4" Lyndon
       Johnson. President Johnson shakes James' hand.


128A   INT. HANGER. VIETNAM.                                         128A

       We are now back in Vietnam at the hanger concert.     James
       looks right at us.

                             JAMES
                   Take it and flip it.


129    EXT. GOLF COURSE - MORNING.                                     129

       Ben Bart is playing golf with several friends. Bart drives
       the ball straight and hard. We watch as the ball land three
       hundred yards down the runway.

       Back on the tee box. Ben Bart lays face down dead in the
       turf. His friends race to his side in shock.

       CLOSE ON:

       Ben's face is pressed sideways on the grass.      His opened,
       dead eyes stare right at us.


130    EXT. CEMETERY - DAY                                             130

       A casket lays at the bottom of a grave that has been dug.
       TEN MALE FUNERAL ATTENDEES IN SUITS AND YAMMAKAS take turns
       shoveling dirt onto Ben Bart's casket.

       Dede and James stand to the side. Completely distraught.
       James starts to panic and lowers to the ground. Dede catches
       him under the arm.

       One of the men approach James with the shovel.      James can't
       bring himself to put dirt on the casket.


131                                                                    131
       INT. RECORDING STUDIO. LOS ANGELES. NIGHT.

       BAND MEMBERS FITTED WITH THEIR AFRICAN DASHIKIS are rolling a
       funky vamp together into a groove. Clyde hits a fat `pop pop'
       beat. Sweet Charles locks the bass line in to the beat.
       Country finds a chunky B-flat-9 rhythm on the guitar and the
       groove takes shape.
                                                        108


The door opens. James and Teddy walk in. James and Teddy's
hair is cut into a short natural. Everyone looks at each
other.

                    JAMES
          Hit it.

The band starts. James makes a few adjustments. Jimmy Nolen
strikes up a womp-womp sound on a single string. The horns do
the James trademark ladidadidat.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Quit it.
              (he pushes the intercom to the booth)
          Bring `em in.

The door opens. 32 children enter the room. Most kids are
black, except for a few Mexican children. Dede and Teddy are
there, along with some of James' other kids.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          How we all doin'. Hope this ain't
          too late for you folks.

James and Teddy stand before the group.   James puts his arms
around Teddy as he addresses the kids.

                     JAMES (CONT'D)
          I brought you all here today so I
          could tell you something very
          important.
          I want you all to know that you can
          do or be anything you want in this
          world. Don't let anybody tell you
          anything different. You understand?
          When I was a boy I used to shine
          shoes in front of radio station.
          Now I own that radio station. You
          got to build it. And then you gotta
          learn it... and that's when you
          earn it.

James gets all the kids around one mic.   He puts Dede and
Teddy to the side of the kids.

                                                       CUT TO:

Later everyone is cued. Maceo whispers to Pee Wee Ellis.

                    MACEO
          You think they fuck up he gone take
          they pocket money.

Pee Wee laughs and nods his head.
                                                                109


                           JAMES
                 We ready fellas?

       The groove starts again. James flies into I'm Black and I'm
       Proud.

       WHICH PLAYS OVER ADDRESSING US DIRECTLY

                            JAMES (CONT'D)
                 I think about a lot of things.
                 About problems. About solutions.
                 You know one way of solving a lot
                 of problems that we've got in this
                 country...is letting a person feel
                 that they important.
                 Feel that they somebody. It's it.
                 Man can't get hisself together...
                 ...until he know who he is and be
                 proud of what and who he is and
                 where he come from! WHERE WE ALL
                 COME FROM!

       James leaves us and continues with the song.   He looks to the
       children

                           JAMES (CONT'D)
                 Say it loud!

       They scream into the mic.

                           CHILDREN
                 I'm Black and I'm Proud!

       James catches eyes with Teddy. He nods proudly. Teddy smiles.

       JAMES BROWN - GHETTO REALITY BEGINS TO PLAY AND CONTINUES
       OVER THE NEXT FEW SCENES


131A   EXT. AUNT HONEY'S 1968 HOUSE IN THE LATTER YEARS - DAY     131A

       James and Teddy pull up in front of a small shotgun house in
       the Terry. They exit and walk up to the house.


131B   INT. 1968 AUNT HONEY'S 1968 HOUSE IN THE LATTER YEARS-     131B
       DAY

       Aunt Honey, now 70, sits in a chair in front of a small TV.
       We soon gather that she has "retired" and is at the end of
       her colorful life.

       James has brought Teddy to meet Aunt Honey for the first
       time.
                                                               110


        Teddy extends his hand toward Aunt Honey. Aunt Honey shakes
        his hand and then brings him in close for an embrace.

132-134 OMITTED                                              132-134


135     INT. JAMES BROWN PRODUCTIONS. JAMES BROWN'S OFFICE. NIGHT 135

        James is standing in his office bathroom smoking a joint. He
        lights it and has four or five epic pulls as he scans the
        walls admiring his framed accolades and gold records.

        END GHETTO REALITY:


135AA   INT. JAMES BROWN PRODUCTIONS. NEXT MORNING.            135AA

        James Brown enters his recording booth to find Teddy at the
        controls. Gertie sits in a chair behind Teddy.

                            JAMES
                  You the man, Teddy Brown?

                            TEDDY
                  I'm the man, Mr. Brown.




        James notices the band sitting idle on the other side of the
        glass.

                            JAMES
                  Gertie. The band ready?

                            GERTRUDE
                  They're ready Mr. Brown.

                            JAMES BROWN
                  Don't look like it.

        James grabs Teddy.

                            JAMES BROWN (CONT'D)
                  Come watch how Poppa don't take no
                  mess.

        He and Teddy walk straight into the-


135A                                                            135A
        INT. JAMES BROWN PRODUCTIONS. STUDIO. DAY.

        The band is there.
                                                       111


                    JAMES BROWN
          Y'all act like y'all don't know
          what time it is. What you doin'?

Nothing happens. James looks Maceo in the eye. Maceo
approaches.

                    MACEO
          I've been elected spokesman to
          speak on behalf of the band.

                    JAMES
          Spokesman? Elected?

                    MACEO
          We asked to get paid on time. We
          haven't been paid in weeks. We
          asked for scheduled days off. Every
          day off we get you make us
          rehearse.. We asked to get paid for
          recording but you included it in
          our salary.

James turns to Teddy.   The two stare at each other.

                    JAMES BROWN
          Teddy, go on and wait outside.

                      TEDDY
          Yes, Sir.

Teddy exits.

                    JAMES
          Fellas. I hear ya. I really do. And
          I appreciate the honesty. That
          can't be easy. No Sir. You got
          grievances. You got your own selves
          to think about. Hell, you're men. I
          dig it.

                    PEE WEE
          I don't think you understand.

James looks to Bobby.

                    MACEO
          We know you owe the government back
          taxes.
          Your restaurant, radio stations,
          recording studios, labels, all
          different businesses, Unaccounted
          cash passing between them.
                    (MORE)
                                                          112

                     MACEO (CONT'D)
           It's a mess, Mr. Brown and if you
           want us to be a part of it, we
           gonna need our cash too. Right now.

James looks at them all for a very long time hiding his
shame.

                     MACEO (CONT'D)
           And most of all none of us ever
           want to be fined for anything ever
           again.

James nods.   Studying them.

                     JAMES BROWN
           I'll tell ya what I'm gonna do. I'm
           gonna think about it. That's all.

They look at each other and file out. Waymon, Pee Wee, Maceo,
Kush and Jimmy Nolen file out. Leaving Bobby and James alone.

SILENCE.

He looks at the empty room. Smiling. Unable to show any pain.

                     JAMES
               (He shakes his head.)
           It's like I always say Bobby. You
           gotta know who you are. You got to
           know where you are in this world.
           Five minutes ago, those boys were
           the best band on the planet. Now
           they nothing. Now they a bunch of
           sidemen with their hearts beatin'
           fast. Maceo comin' in here talking
           about my taxes. All I've done for
           this country and they comin' after
           James Brown? How you gone keep
           everybody happy? Huh? And stay on
           top? You along for the ride while
           everything is groovy and now they
           gone kick me when I'm down? People
           either on the bus or they off it.

James crosses to the door and opens it for Bobby to exit

                     JAMES BROWN
               (He turns to Bobby.)
           Well go on. Get out of here.
           Y'might catch `em they gone need a
           singer.

Bobby rises and walks past James into the foyer. He turns.
                                                       113


                    BOBBY
          Negro, what makes you think I'm
          leaving? I been here all the time,
          Mr. Brown. I'm still here.

James looks at Bobby.

                    JAMES
          See that's the thing about the
          funk. The funk don't quit.

                    BOBBY
          Last time I checked.

                     JAMES
          Cause if the funk gone up'n'quit
          that's it.

                    BOBBY
          That's why the funk don't quit.

                    JAMES
          Are we done here Mr. Byrd?

                    BOBBY
          I'm afraid we ain't Mr. Brown.

                    JAMES
          Are we done?

                    BOBBY
          I think we got more funk in the
          trunk.

James laughs.

                    JAMES
          That's right. Two Musketeers.

Bobby looks at James. Remembers. Beams. James beams back.
Then, James is all business.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          What's those kids from Cincinnati.
          The New Dapps...Blackenizers? Who
          that kid play bass?

                    BOBBY
              (Smiles)
          Bootsy.
                                                                  114


135B   INT. OLYMPIA THEATRE                                        135B

       A pre-show theater in action with stagehands and riggers busy
       setting up. The new kids are now all in suits and bow ties.

                              CATFISH
                    Fancy suit bro'.

                              BOOTSY
                    Backatcha slick. How you doin,
                    Chicken?

                              CHICKEN
                    Just shit my pants.

                              BOOTSY
                    Easy now. Don't forget. Don't ever
                    call him James or nothin'. He ain't
                    no-one but Mr. Brown.


                     CATFISH                            CHICKEN
       Check.                             Gotcha.

       James Brown walks in from the wings. They all stand
       straighter. He looks at them.

                              BOOTSY (CONT'D)
                    Good evening Mr. Brown.


                     CHICKEN                            CATFISH
       Mr. Brown.                         Mr. Brown.

                              JAMES
                    Do that button up son.
                        (Chicken does)
                    You know Kansas City?
                        (Blank faces)
                    You know Cold Sweat? Do you know
                    Please Please?

                              BOOTSY
                    Can I stop you Mr. Brown. We been
                    learning off yo' records since we
                    was nine years old. You already
                    taught us the songs. So with
                    respect. We ready. Mr. Brown.

                               JAMES
                    They say they ready Mr. Byrd. What
                    you think?
                                                               115


                           CATFISH
                 We been waiting for this moment our
                 entire lives, Mr. Brown.

                           JAMES
                 How old are you son?

                              CATFISH
                 Twenty.
                     (Then)
                 Mr. Brown.

                           JAMES
                 Cats know Super Bad?

       Bootsy lays down a mammoth bass line on his plugged in bass.


135C                                                            135C
       INT. PARIS HOTEL ROOM. LATE AFTERNOON.

       The backup singer, Yvonne, nude, carries two glasses of
       champagne from a wet bar to a very sweaty James who is lying
       in bed.

                           YVONNE
                 Why won't you say it? I said it.
                 Why won't you say it back?

                           JAMES
                 Baby, I gotta get to my show. I
                 can't be playin' around right now

                           YVONNE
                 I love you.

       Yvonne rests the cold glass on James' stomach.   He squirms.

                           JAMES
                 You know I don't drink.

       Yvonne pours a little champagne onto James' stomach.   She
       then begins licking it with her tongue.

                           YVONNE
                 Say it, Mr. Brown. Say you love me.

       In a flash James rolls over and pins Yvonne down on her back.
       She screams with delight.

       He whispers in her ear.

                              JAMES
                 Happy now?
                                                              116


       She kisses him.

                           YVONNE
                 I'm pregnant.

       James stares back at her without expression.



135D   FLASH FORWARD - ADULT JAMES, IMMACULATE, LOOKING AT US. 135D
       THE SKYLINE OF PARIS IS BEHIND HIM. 1971

       James walks along the outside of Olympia Theatre in Paris in
       full costume.

                           JAMES
                 Now it's true, we work hard. A man
                 gotta work hard if he wanna break
                 ground. And we breaking new ground
                 everyday...

       James enter the theatre front door.


135E   INT. OLYMPIA THEATRE. LOBBY. CONTINUOUS.                   135E

       James begins walking toward us.

                           JAMES
                 My record Live at the Apollo is the
                 first R&B album in the history of
                 the world to go top ten. Stayed up
                 in there for 66 weeks..

       James walks into the rear of the packed house.

       GIRLS AND GUYS SCREAMING, DANCING. JAMES IS INVISIBLE TO
       THEM.

       From the rear of the house, James watches himself and the
       band performing on stage. He and his band are IN MID-GROOVE.
       A BEAUTIFUL BLACK DANCER DANCES ON A RISER BEHIND THE BAND.

       Vicki Anderson, sings backup.

                           JAMES (CONT'D)
                 That record come across. I mean it
                 hit hard!!! Uhn!


135F   INT. OLYMPIA THEATRE. STAGE. CONTINUOUS.                   135F

       James walks among his performing band members. He watches
       himself on stage at the microphone driving the crowd crazy.
                                                               117


                            JAMES
                  And slowly, the whole World knew
                  who we were.

       James walks to each band member and places a twenty dollar
       bill in each of their pockets. They don't see the James who
       is talking directly to us.

       He straightens a band members tie. James turns to stage left
       and sees his son, Teddy Brown, dancing. He then gives Yvonne
       a wink who's also standing in the wings looking HOT.

                            JAMES (CONT'D)
                  See in showbusiness, you got two
                  parts. You got the show and you got
                  the business. And brother.
                      (Deadly serious)
                  You better believe. You looking at
                  both.

       He spins around and runs up to the microphone.   He replaces
       himself and begins to sing.

       SCREAMS. HORNS VAMPING. James performs out of his skin. A
       medley of three songs, "Soul Power," into "Sex Machine," into
       "Super Bad".

       Backup dancers and singers are tearing it up!

       On James' signal the rag tag band of kids behind the
       godfather of soul take off like a rocket ship into one of the
       above songs. It sounds nothing like the old version. Its raw
       urgent, stripped down. The Bootsy's bass rumbles like trouble
       brewing and Catfish's over driven guitar slicing clean
       through the hook.

       Before them a standing room crown dance and sing from the
       stage to all the way back to entrance

       James and Bobby look at each other. Holy shit.

       James drops into the splits, flips up again.

       The crowd is seeing something for the first time on European
       soil. They erupt with joy and begin dancing in their seats.

                                                              CUT TO:


136-138 OMITTED                                              136-138
                                                             118


139                                                            139
      INT. OLYMPIA STAGE. SAME NIGHT.

      The crowd has left. A custodian roams the isles picking up
      trash. James and Bobby sit on the edge of an empty stage,
      laughing.

                          BOBBY
                You know what I think? After we put
                out my next solo album, I bet I
                could play Paris or the Apollo.

      James TUNES IN

                          JAMES BROWN
                How's that?

                          BOBBY
                I was just saying when me and you
                put out my new record, I bet I
                could fill this place all myself.
                No problem.

      James stiffens at this comment.

                          JAMES BROWN
                What the hell you talking about?
                "Fill this place all myself"? "No
                problem?" You sayin' I'm slippin'?

                          BOBBY BYRD
                No I don't think you slippin'.   You
                James Brown. You ain't never
                slippin'. I was just...

                          JAMES BROWN
                People copy me, Mr. Byrd. People
                gonna copy my moves till the earth
                goes dark. You understand? You
                think people are gonna buy that
                record like they buy my record?
                That what you sayin'?

                          BOBBY
                No.

                          JAMES BROWN
                Who you been tellin' this too? You
                been telling that to the Apollo?

      Bobby gets mad.

                          BOBBY
                No, James! I haven't told nobody
                but you. We were just talking.
                          (MORE)
                                                       119

                    BOBBY (CONT'D)
          I thought you be cool with that.
          You always been talking about...
          About... About... standin' on my
          own feet.

                    JAMES BROWN
          Bobby, how you gone stand on your
          own feet? You just spent twenty
          years gettin' fat on a man's
          dollar. I produce a record for you
          and now it's gone to your head.
          You go talking big behind my back.
          You go sneaking round, raising heat
          off another man's name. We here, we
          doing something and you making
          plans sucker?

Bobby gets more upset. He's using a tone with James we've
never heard before.

                    BOBBY
              (Shouting)
          I ain't told nobody or made any
          plans. We just talkin' about it.
          Now. That's it.

                    JAMES
          I'm ashamed of you, Bobby. And you
          should be ashamed of you. Now you
          tryin' to run around with Vicki.
          Don't jive yourself bro'. Now,
          Vicki, she could fill this place.

                    BOBBY
          Well, Vicki ain't yours. So, Vicki
          and me ain't none of your damn
          business.

James smiles.

                    JAMES
          But she's been my business before.


Bobby walks up close to James and stares him in the eye. He
balls his fist.

                    BOBBY
          I can't do this no more, James.

                    JAMES BROWN
          Damn right you can't do this no
          more.
                                                               120


                          BOBBY
                I said I can't do this no more.

      James looks absolutely poleaxed. THEN. He laughs. And looks
      at Bobby, almost affectionately.

                          JAMES BROWN
                See, the funny part. You say that
                like it's a big thing. Like
                "oh my God, Bobby Byrd gone leave
                James Brown on his own."

      Bobby fights to control himself. To find anything left to
      give.

                          BOBBY
                I ain't leaving you on your own,
                Mr. Brown. You already on your own.
                Always were.

      He shakes his head and walks across the stage.   He turns.

                          BOBBY (CONT'D)
                Is that God too?

      Bobby turns and leaves James ALONE.


140                                                                140
      INT. OLYMPIA. NIGHT.   1970

      Bobby walks across the big empty stage and for a split second
      looks right at us. He continues past us and away.

                                                       CROSSFADE TO:


141                                                                141
      INT. APOLLO CORRIDOR / DRESSING ROOM.

      FLASHBACK - Corridor in 1962. The Night of Live At The
      Apollo.

      MUSIC: Wonder When You're Coming Home plays over:

      A woman in a flower print dress and a cheap hat sits on a
      bench with a coat over her arm. A young Bobby comes out of
      the dressing room. She stands.


142                                                                142
      INT. APOLLO DRESSING ROOM. NIGHT.

      BOOM! A flashbulb goes off.
                                                       121


James sits next to his mother, on a couch, SMILING Happily,
having the moment documented. She is smiling too. Bobby and
other guests in the room watch the photographers.

The photographer is ushered out of the room by Bobby Byrd.

                    JAMES
          Bobby? Get everybody out of here
          and wait outside.

Bobby ushers the guests outside.

James sits opposite his mother. She is very, very
uncomfortable but trying to appear relaxed.

                    SUSIE
          I was on the Subway last week, and
          the two kids next to me was arguing
          who was the best, James Brown or
          Little Willy John. And this one
          boy, he was saying "James Brown the
          best" "There ain't no one better
          than James Brown", he got so mad I
          thought he was gonna whup this
          other boy. And then-

James holds up his hand. She falls silent.

                    JAMES
          Why tonight?
              (She stops, her face falls.)
          Why you come here?

She starts to flap.

                    SUSIE
          Well. Sugar, I live over in
          Brooklyn... and you my baby and you
          here playin' the Apollo.

                    JAMES
          I don't want you to feel proud.
          I ain't your sugar. I ain't your
          baby. Not then. Not now. And I
          don't want you to tell anyone you
          my momma, because you and me know
          that ain't true.

                    SUSIE
          Your daddy beat me. Beat you. I
          stayed because I loved you. I
          didn't know nothin' about being a
          wife. Nothin' about being a mother.
          I did the best I could. I did that.
                    (MORE)
                                                       122

                    SUSIE (CONT'D)
          I left because I loved you. I ain't
          had nothing to make no other
          choice. I was shamed. I was.

He holds up his hand.

                    JAMES
          See I thought about this. I know it
          weren't personal and that's why
          this ain't neither. It turned out
          fine. I didn't need you. I looked
          after James Brown. Made sure he was
          OK. No-one else. No-one help me.

She starts to cry.

                    SUSIE
          I never wanted to be a momma. But I
          carried you, boy. I didn't know
          nothin' about being a wife or being
          a momma. But I carried you and I
          loved you when you were in me. I
          chose you. I chose you.

                    JAMES
          Don't cry. Don't cry. Don't cry.

He stiffly offers her a handkerchief.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Clean yourself up. That's it.

James softens.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          I'm James Brown. And James Brown
          don't need nothing. Don't need no-
          body.

Susie looks back a James. She doesn't move.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Why are you really here? What do
          you want?

She shakes her head, searching his face. James looks back
unmoved. James reaches in is pocket and pulls out some money.
He hands it to her.

                     JAMES (CONT'D)
          Here. That's a hundred dollars.
          I'm sorry but I'm gonna ask you to
          leave now.
                                                               123


      He sits perfectly still as she gets up. She walks to the door
      and turns to James.

                          SUSIE
                You're so beautiful. You're so
                pretty.

      Susie exits into the party outside and shuts the door.


143   EXT. CABIN - BARNWELL S.C. 1941.   JAMES 8 YRS              143

      We return to the day that Susie left. We stay on her face as
      she leaves her family behind. Tears stream down her cheek.

      James tries to chase after his mother but Joe restrains him.

      Joe pulls a pistol from his belt. He fires.

      Bark explodes from a tree a few feet from where Susie is
      walking.

      Susie flinches but never turns.


144                                                               144
      INT. CORRIDOR.

      Bobby waits. The door opens, and Susie comes out, tears in
      her eyes. She looks wildly into Bobby's face who has clearly
      heard everything. She runs off down the corridor.

      Bobby looks through the open door. Devastated, James sits
      staring at the floor. He looks up at Bobby.

                          JAMES
                Tell Pop to make sure she's taken
                care of. Whatever she needs.

      As Bobby nods, James gets up, walks over to the door, and
      slowly closes it.


145   INT. JAMES BROWN'S HOME. 1988. 18 YEARS LATER.              145
      JAMES 55 YRS

      CLOSE ON - Numerous framed pictures of Teddy span all ages of
      his life now fill the top of James' dresser.

      We widen to find James Brown sitting very alone in his
      bedroom staring at the pictures of his son.

      He wears a bathrobe.   His hair is up in rollers. He's twitchy
      and sweating.
                                                               124


      He raises a glass pipe to his mouth, lites the PCP within and
      inhales it.


146                                                                146
      EXT. COUNTRY ROAD. LATER THAT DAY. 1988

      A peaceful road. SUDDENLY - a pickup truck passes at a
      hundred MPH. FOLLOWED.. A MOMENT LATER - by nine cop cars.

      A cop car pulls up next to James' truck.   James looks to the
      car.

      SLOW MOTION SEQUENCE:

      In the front a cop drives but James' father, Joe, rides in
      the back next to his mother, Susie. They stare blankly at
      James.

      Glass shatters in the truck.

      SLOW MOTION ENDS.

      James turns back to the cop car next to him.    The vision of
      his parents is gone.

      Two cops ride together. The cop in the front seat aims his
      revolver directly at James. It's clear he intends to kill
      him.

      James speeds up as the cop fires.   The bullet strikes the
      truck just behind him.


147                                                                147
      EXT. GRAVEL PITTS. 1988. DAY.

      The pickup truck rolls to a stop. Police cars from different
      jurisdictions take up positions blocking exit routes.


148                                                                148
      INT./ EXT. PICKUP TRUCK/ GRAVEL PITTS. DAY.

      James sits staring straight ahead. Breathing hard.

                          JAMES
                I'm OK. I'm OK. I'm OK.

                          LOUD HAILER
                EXIT THE VEHICLE WITH YOUR HANDS
                ABOVE YOUR HEAD. DO NOT RUN. DO NOT
                ATTEMPT TO START THE VEHICLE.

      James opens the door scattering glass onto the tarmac.
                                                                125


      Around the perimeter armed police tense. Keeping James in
      their sights.

      ONLY NOW, YOUNG JAMES STANDS IN PLACE OF HIS ADULT SELF. He
      stands next to the bullet riddled wreckage of his pickup,
      hands above his head. He leans back and sings to the sky.

                          YOUNG JAMES
                "I Don't Feel Noways Tired"


149                                                               149
      INT. PRISON WING. DAY. 1988

      A warden walks a dishevelled James along the corridor. They
      stop. The cell door buzzes open. They put him in the cell.


150                                                               150
      INT. CELL. DAY.

      The doors slide close. CLANK. James leans on the tiny sink.
      He looks up into the mirror and faces what's he's become.
      His face is bloated, his eyes wild, hair unkempt. We feel
      James wanting to turn to us but shame won't allow it.


151                                                               151
      FLASHBACK - INT. ST. STEPHENS CHURCH. DAY. 1952

      BOBBY, NAFLOYD, BABY ROY SARAH AND JAMES sing righteous
      gospel that first time together in St. Stephens Church.

      James is Really giving it up singing Send it on Down. His
      voice soars sweetly over the congregation.

      MRS. BYRD and GRANDPA watch on. Mrs. Byrd leans forward and
      catches Bobby's eye. Gives a small nod of approval for James.

      Bobby looks to James. They catch eyes. In awe of James'
      talent, Bobby unconsciously, stops singing. He just stands
      their watching and listening to his friend.


152   END FLASHBACK - BACK AT THE MIRROR                          152

      James pulls back from the mirror and splashes some water on
      his face and begins to press his hair down with his hands.
      He breathes harder and harder as he assesses his life.

      He stands straight and proud. Still looking in the mirror,
      he begins to chant quietly to himself.

                          JAMES
                James Brown, James Brown.   James
                Brown, James brown.
                                                                 126


153    EXT. SUBURBAN STREET. ATLANTA. MORNING. 1993 JAMES 60 YRS 153

       A pool cleaning truck pulls up outside a suburban home. A
       thirty something white guy gets out with a satchel. He
       rings on the door.

       Bobby Byrd, aged sixty, comes out of his house in a robe
       and slippers.

                           POOL CLEANER
                 Morning Mr. Byrd. Come to open up
                 the pool.

                           BOBBY
                 Got a real algae problem.

                           POOL CLEANER
                 I'll take a look.

                           BOBBY
                 Sure. You need anything, I be
                 inside.

       As the Pool Cleaner walks around to the back yard, Bobby
       walks towards the pool cleaning truck parked on the
       street.


153A   EXT. STREET. BEHIND TRUCK. MOMENTS LATER.                  153A

       Bobby pulls out a pack of cigarettes from his pocket as
       he walks behind the truck. He pulls out a smoke and
       lights up.

       Bobby soon notices a Limo parked on the other side of the
       street. He stares at it for a while. The door opens.
       James Browns gets out of the Limo and waves.

       Bobby watches as James approaches. He's clean and sober
       in a suit looking sharp. James' appearance and presence
       throws Bobby.

                              BOBBY
                 Mr. Brown.

       They shake hands.

                           JAMES
                 What you doing out here in your
                 robe, Mr. Byrd?
                                                       127


                    BOBBY
          What? Oh. See, I snuck out for a
          smoke. I s'posed to quit. Vicki
          don't know.

He laughs. They both do.

                    JAMES
          Well I ain't gone tell.

They laugh a little. When they stop, there's a long lull.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Well I was just passing. Playing a
          show tonight at the Omni.

                    BOBBY
          Right.

                    JAMES
          Say. Maybe you and Vicki could come
          along. We got a great new horn
          section. Tight. We getting there.

                    BOBBY
          We got plans tonight. Vicki got
          family coming over.

                     JAMES
          Well you think about it. See what
          Vicki say.

Bobby laughs. Rumbled.

                    BOBBY
          Yeah. She still in charge.

They both chuckle at this. A nod of understanding. But then:

                     BOBBY (CONT'D)
          You look well.. Man. I ain't seen
          you since-

                    JAMES
          Teddy's funeral.

Bobby pauses, grows uncomfortable. Bobby throws his cigarette
to the ground and stomps it out.

                    BOBBY
          Right. Teddy's funeral. Damn. You
          look well. You shoulda called-
                                                       128


                    JAMES
          You know, Bobby, they still don't
          know what happened to Teddy and
          that boy. Those boys weren't
          drinkin' or doin' drugs.

                    BOBBY
          I know, James.

                    JAMES
          No sir. Nothin' like that. He was
          a good boy. The car just hit that
          bridge head on. We ain't ever gone
          know how or why. They say he didn't
          feel a thing.

Bobby nods.

                    BOBBY
          That's good, James.

                    JAMES
          But we brought him back to Augusta
          didn't we? Got him home then sent
          him on to the Lord.

                    BOBBY
          We did, Mr. Brown.    We did.

James stands there, fixedly. The Pool cleaner comes from
around the truck, breaks the tension.

                    POOL CLEANER
          OK. Mr. Byrd. I fixed your problem.
          I'll be back in the Spring to open
          her up.

                    BOBBY
          I'm much obliged. Do I have to-

                    POOL CLEANER
          No no. We'll send the bill on. Well
          that's that. Good day Gentlemen.

He gets in his truck and pulls away leaving Bobby and James
standing in an awkward silence.

                    JAMES
          Look at that. We got white folk
          cleaning our pool. Come a long way
          huh, Mr. Byrd?

                    BOBBY
          Yeah. We come a long way.
                                                       129


Suddenly this is awkward. For both of them. Bobby defuses it:

                    JAMES
          You still makin' the steps, Mr.
          Byrd?

                    BOBBY
          Here and there.

                    JAMES
          You hurtin' a little in the hips?

                    BOBBY
          A little. You?

                    JAMES
          Not me. I just get stronger ever
          day. Gettin' better every day.

James pulls out two concert tickets from his jacket and hands
them to Bobby.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          Maybe you and Vicki got some
          friends who could come tonight.
          Good seats, too.

James turns sharply and walks back to the Limo. He sings to
himself.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
              (Sings)
          Oh, Mary Don't You Weep...

Bobby listens. And remembers.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
              (Sings)
          Tell Martha Not to Moan.

He stops and turns to Bobby.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          What's the next line?

Bobby looks at James.

                    BOBBY
          I can't seem to recall. Was a long
          time ago.

James nods.   After a moment Bobby nods.
                                                              130


                          BOBBY (CONT'D)
                See you around Mr. Brown.

      Bobby turns.   James watches as he walks back to his house.

                          JAMES
                See you around Mr. Byrd.

      James walks towards his Limo.

      SFX: Audience noise, cheering, whistles, clapping. Louder.
      Louder.


154                                                               154
      INT. DRESSING ROOM. 1993. NIGHT.

      Show time. James sits in front of the mirror, putting on
      greasepaint with the assistance of a make-up artists.

      A much older Gertrude comes in.

                          JAMES BROWN
                How we doin, Gertrude?

                          GERTRUDE
                To the rafters Mr. Brown.   To
                rafters.

                          JAMES BROWN
                That's good. You two gimme a minute
                here.

      Gertrude and the make-up artist look at each other. They
      leave him.

      Alone, he looks around the dressing room. At the walls. The
      ceiling fan. Finally at his reflection. He holds his own
      gaze. We push in, as he fights it. And fights it.

      Slowly, inevitably the sound from the auditorium grows.
      Thousands of people shouting his name: "JAMES BROWN JAMES
      BROWN, JAMES BROWN, JAMES BROWN.".


155                                                               155
      FLASHBACK - INT. JAIL CELL. 1949. DAY.

      JAMES AGED SIXTEEN, SITS ALONE, staring at the wall.
      Incanting his name, quietly. Intently.

                          JAMES
                    (Quietly)
                JAMES BROWN JAMES BROWN, JAMES
                BROWN, JAMES BROWN...
                                                             131


156                                                            156
      INT. AUDITORIUM.

      The crowd are going wild.

                          CROWD
                JAMES BROWN JAMES BROWN, JAMES
                BROWN, JAMES BROWN.


157                                                            157
      EXT. CHURCH/ DIRT ROAD. DAY. 1941.

      Young James, 8, walking through the forest alone, hollering
      his name.

                          YOUNG JAMES
                JAMES BROWN JAMES BROWN, JAMES
                BROWN, JAMES BROWN.


158                                                            158
      INT. AUDITORIUM - EVERYONE CHANTING

                          CROWD
                JAMES BROWN JAMES BROWN, JAMES
                BROWN, JAMES BROWN.


159                                                            159
      EXT. BARREN PATH. DAY. 1942.

      YOUNG JAMES, nine, battered, bruised and shirtless walks
      toward us with the number "One" painted on his chest. He says
      his name to himself over and over.

                          YOUNG JAMES
                    (quietly)
                JAMES BROWN JAMES BROWN, JAMES
                BROWN, JAMES BROWN.

      We soon realize this is the same path where he discovered the
      body of the lynched young man.


160                                                            160
      INT. AUDITORIUM - EVERYONE CHANTING.

      We see Bobby and Vicki in the crowd.

      Slowly Bobby begins to whisper..

                          BOBBY BYRD
                    (To himself)
                James Brown. James Brown...

                          CROWD
                JAMES BROWN JAMES BROWN, JAMES
                BROWN, JAMES BROWN.
                                                               132


161                                                               161
      EXT. RIVER.   DAY. 1942.

      Bloodied 9 year old James begins walking by the side of a
      river.

                          YOUNG JAMES
                    (quietly)
                JAMES BROWN JAMES BROWN, JAMES
                BROWN, JAMES BROWN.


162                                                               162
      INT. DRESSING ROOM.

      SLOWLY James stands, buttons his jacket and opens the
      dressing room door.

                          JAMES
                James Brown. James Brown. James
                Brown.


163   INT. BACKSTAGE CORRIDOR.                                    163

      James marches out of the room into the corridor..

                          CROWD
                JAMES BROWN JAMES BROWN, JAMES
                BROWN, JAMES BROWN.

      ...two assistants fall into step and we follow on his
      shoulder as he struts his way past the dressing rooms, to the
      wings, where the band stand.


164                                                               164
      INT. STAGE WINGS.

      Alone, JAMES closes his eyes. Bows his head.

                          ANNOUNCER V/O
                ...the Hardest Working Man in show
                business, Mr. Dynamite...


165   EXT. RIVER. DAY.                                            165

      Over announcer's introduction we watch Young James reach the
      river's edge,

                          ANNOUNCER V/O
                Mr. Please, Please himself..

      His head and body proud, overlooking the mighty river.
                                                                133


                           DANNY RAY V/O
                 ..ladies and gentlemen its
                 showtime...the one and only
                 JAAAAAAAMES BROWN!!!

      YOUNG JAMES, eyes closed saying his name over and over.

                           YOUNG JAMES
                 JAMES BROWN JAMES BROWN, JAMES
                 BROWN, JAMES BROWN.

      YOUNG JAMES suddenly opens his swollen eyes and looks right
      at us.

                           YOUNG JAMES (CONT'D)
                 I paid the cost to be the boss.

      James leans back, widens his arms and looks to the sky.


166                                                               166
      INT. THE STAGE.

      James steps forward and strides across the stage to the mic
      stand.

                           CROWD
                 JAMES BROWN JAMES BROWN, JAMES
                 BROWN, JAMES BROWN.

      He looks out over the crowd. Then... He begins to sing a
      capella. He stares right us.

                           JAMES
                 Try me. Try me. Darlin tell me.
                 I need you. Try me. Try me.
                 And your love will always be true

      The crowd goes silent.   All we hear is Mr. Brown's soulful
      voice.

                           JAMES (CONT'D)
                 Oh I need you (I need you)
                 Hold me. Hold me. I want you right
                 here by my side. Hold me. Hold me.
                 And your love we won't hide

      Slowly Bobby smiles. Tears in his eyes.

      THE END.

Get on Up



Writers :   Steven Baigelman  Jez Butterworth  John-Henry Butterworth
Genres :   Drama


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