"Philadelphia", by Ron Nyswaner
by RON NYSWANER
September 21, 1992
VARIOUS SHOTS OF PHILADELPHIA EXTERIORS (EXT./DAY) ...
which may include the Liberty Bell, the Italian Market,
scenes along the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers,
Independence Square, the Russian Orthodox neighborhood, the
ghettos of North Philly.
MAIN TITLES PLAY OVER THIS SEQUENCE which culminates in a
PHILADELPHIA'S GLORIOUSLY ORNATE CITY HALL (EXT./DAY) ...
TITLE: "Philadelphia City Hall."
CITY EMPLOYEES, JUDGES, COPS, LAWYERS, CRIMINALS, TOURISTS
pour into City Hall, into...
TWO STORY HIGH CORRIDORS THAT REEK OF HISTORY (INT-DAY).
Young lawyer JAMEY COLLINS darts through the crowd, carrying
an accordion file under his arm like a football.
Jamey elbows his way through a JAPANESE TOUR GROUP.
Jamey trots up a marble staircase, two steps at a time
JAMEY RUNS LIKE HELL DOWN A THIRD FLOOR CORRIDOR, FOOTSTEPS
making a racket...
Jamey rushes toward a door marked "JUDGE TATE."
RAISED VOICES from inside Judge Tate's chambers:
JOSEPH MILLER (OS)
This construction site is
causing mortal and irreparable
harm to an unsuspecting public!
ANDREW BECKETT (OS)
My client has one of the finest
and most respected safety records
in the business, Your Honor!
Jamey shoves open the door, REVEALING TWO LAWYERS (BACKS TO
CAMERA) STANDING BEFORE JUDGE EUNICE TATE: ANDREW BECKETT
(in conservative gray) and JOSEPH MILLER (in pinstripes).
One at a time. Mr. Miller?
Your Honor, since Rockwell Corp.
began construction, the
neighborhood has been enshrouded
in a cloud of foul-smelling,
germ-carrying, pestilent dust.
My client is being forced to
breathe known carcinogens daily!
Other residents are coming forth
on a daily basis to add their
voices of outrage!
Your Honor, I submit there were
no complaints until Counselor
began knocking on doors,
drumming up business. And the
dust, which Counselor refers to,
has appeared on only three
occasions. Each time it has
been examined and the results...
Behind his back, Andrew wiggles his fingers. Jamey stuffs
a document into Andrew's hand.
Limestone. Messy, but innocuous.
Andrew submits the report to the Judge.
Defined by Webster's as harmless.
I know what it means. Your
Honor, imagine how the children
in this neighborhood have been
made to feel. The pounding of
construction ringing in their
ears as this skyscraper, a
tribute to mankind's greed,
grows daily, casting an ominous
shadow over their lives, filling
them with dread even as they are
surrounded in a black, toxic
fog, blocking out the sun while
poisoning their lungs! And
Counselor calls it harmless?!
His back turned momentarily to the JUDGE, Andrew mouths to
Jamey: "Not bad." But he whips around, serious again:
Your Honor, Counselor is
attempting to portray my client
as a hideous manifestation of
evil and corruption. But
nothing could be further from
the truth. Rockwell has
generously contributed ten
thousand dollars to this
neighborhood's schools, clinics
and youth centers! Granting a
restraining order on the
construction site will throw
hundreds of Philadelphians out
of work, and will lend
validation to this contemptible
and groundless nuisance suit,
which speaks directly to the
kind of greed and treachery that
today is threatening the very
fabric of our society.
Judge Tate looks skeptically at both lawyers.
Let's not go off the deep end,
gentlemen. I thought we were
talking about some dust.
A MAN ON CRUTCHES HOBBLES INTO A COURTHOUSE ELEVATOR AND IS
joined by Andrew and Joe, crowding inside (INT./DAY) ...
As soon as the doors close, Andrew whips out a micro-
cassette recorder, making notes, and Joe, in the opposite
corner of the elevator, does exactly the same thing.
... plaintiff seeks to re- ... whereas decedent had
strain defendants from con- pre-existing asthmatic
tinued improper use of trade condition and ride on
name without... Ultra Loop caused sub-
Andrew and Joe stop at the same time, look at each other...
And turn toward the corner, seeking privacy.
ANDREW (CONT.) JOE (CONT.)
... plaintiff's permission or ... complainant seeks
There's a PERSISTENT BEEPING, Andrew and Joe pull out their
portable telephones at the same time.
They look at each other: which phone is ringing?
Andrew resumes his telephone conversation.
The ELEVATOR OPENS: Andrew breezes past the MAN ON
CRUTCHES, saying to Joe:
Client of yours?
Andrew hurries down the corridor. Joe waits a moment... then
pursues the MAN ON CRUTCHES.
Excuse me..? Sir? Yo!
ANDREW EKERGES FROM CITY HALL, ONTO DILWORTH PLAZA BUSTLING with
PEDESTRIANS (EXT./DAY) ...
... DARTS into the street, hailing a cab.
THE CAB PULLS UP TO A BROWNSTONE ON A RESIDENTIAL STREET,
Andrew hopping out, stuffing papers into his briefcase
RUSHING to the door marked "Dr. Roberta Gillman, Internal
Coming out is a YOUNG ASIAN MAN with a cotton ball taped to
the inside of his elbow.
CLASSICAL MUSIC (INT./DAY) ... AS CAMERA PANS PATIENTS
(MOSTLY YOUNG MEN) in a cheerful room... some, like a UPS
DELIVERY MAN, are attached to IV's, some sit with arms
extended, waiting to be hooked to an IV by TYRONE, a BLACK
CAMERA FINDS ANDREW sitting quietly, with an IV drip running
into his arm. Andrew is wearing a Walkman, the source of
the CLASSICAL MUSIC, and he's reading a legal brief. Most
of the people in the room look SICKER than Andrew.
DIALOGUE CAN BE HEARD under the CLASSICAL MUSIC (although
MUSIC dominates the SOUNDTRACK).
(slapping a thin
Gonna have to start looking for
veins in your feet, sweetheart.
DR. ROBERTA GILLMAN, passes through, speaking to Andrew:
Andy. Can you stop at my office
on your way out?
Andrew is distracted by A HISPANIC MAN across the room,
rolling up his sleeve for an IV -- his bare arms, hands,
face and neck are marked with PURPLE BLOTCHES.
Andrew closes his eyes, concentrating for a moment on the
CLASSICAL MUSIC... then goes back to work.
ANDREW HURRIES OUT OF THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE, HAILING A CAB
ANDREW HOPS OUT OF THE CAB, IN FRONT OF AN IMPRESSIVE
skyscraper in downtown Philly, at the end of the work day
Andrew pushes through glass doors into the plush "Wheeler
Building," pressing through the tide of WORKERS headed home.
A BLACK PARALEGAL, ANTHEA BURTON, LEADS A YOUNG, BLACK LAW
CLERK (in suit and tie) to the elevators, at the sedate,
expensively appointed offices of Wyant Wheeler Hellerman
Tetlow and Brown (INT./DAY) ...
... up to Tax, on fourteen, and
get right back, I need you.
Andrew BLASTS out of the elevator, flashing Anthea a four-
star smile. They stride down the corridor together.
Just the dazzling paralegal I
wanted to see.
I know what that means, and the
answer is no. I have a class
tonight. Exploit someone else.
And since you've asked ...
They pass a silver-haired partner, KENNETH KILLCOYNE.
Solid work on the Rockwell
situation, Andy. Top-notch.
Thank you. 98. I gotta go...
Andrew reaches the secretaries' station. A cheerful
secretary, SHELBY, shoves documents at him.
Conference call's up. They just
started the roll call. Here's
the settlement agreement, the
red-lined copy's on your desk.
Need me in there?
No. Great. Thanks, Shelby.
(checking his watch)
It's 6:30, go home.
Andrew passes a colleague on her way out, RACHEL SMILOW:
I'm late, I have to pick up Amy
from her afterschool but I want
to talk to you about that Hansen
Catch me later, I'll be here.
And tell Amy, I love her
painting, it's on my wall.
Andrew SAILS toward his office.
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
ANDREW ENTERS HIS OFFICE, KICKING THE DOOR SHUT (INT./DAY).
... DROPPING the documents on his desk, SCANNING them.
... ADMIRING a child's painting taped to the wall.
... PUNCHING into the speaker phone on his desk.
The SCREEN SPLITS, REVEALING A TELECONFERENCE OPERATOR:
... Karen Hargreave, representing
Lloyd Management Corporation?
The SCREEN SPLITS INTO THIRDS: Andrew, the OPERATOR, and
HARGREAVE (a sharp, California lawyer.)
As the OPERATOR continues the roll call, the SCREEN
CONTINUES TO SPLIT and HARGREAVE is replaced by a SERIES OF
LAWYERS in offices around the country, (MOSTLY WHITE MALES)
saying "Present" while in Andrew's section of the screen...
... Andrew dials a number on another telephone line,
Andrew Beckett, representing
Andrew punches into the conference call
The MULTI-IMAGE SCREEN is now joined by SARAH BECKETT, a
suburban, 60ish American MOM, in her backyard garden,
answering a portable phone.
Hi, Mom. It's me.
The LAWYERS are into the conference, in their portions of
the screen, (their VOICES HEARD underneath Andrew's
conversation with his mother).
Andy! This is a nice surprise.
How are you, hon?
What's Dr. Gillman say?
Hold on, Mom.
(punching into the
There's no way my client will go
along with that.
Andrew Beckett. Hi, Karen. I'm
sorry I interrupted...
He punches out of the conference, back to his Mom (glancing
over his shoulder to make sure the door is shut).
Gillman says I'm fine. My blood
work is excellent. T-cells are up.
Just a sec ...
Yes, I think that would alleviate
most of our concerns.
(back to Mom)
My platelets look good too.
Are you on one of those conference
calls? I hate when you put me on
CUT ON ANDREW'S LAUGHTER TO:
THE MOON ABOVE THE WHEELER BUILDING LATE AT NIGHT (EXT.)
TITLE: "One-thirty a.m."
ANDREW AT WORK IN THE FIRM'S LIBRARY (INT./NIGHT) ...
Andrew's fingers FLY across the keys of a notebook computer.
Needing a reference, he shoves his rolling chair away from
the computer... opens a reference book... grabs a carton of
Chinese food... (NOTE: The library may be equipped with a
computer terminal which Andrew uses for reference, rather
than a book.)
Andrew eats sauteed string beans with chopsticks, finding a
Ah hah! Yes!
(chewing a string bean)
Rentworth v. Pennsylvania...
court of appeals affirms jury
award of punitive damages for
wrongful interference with
A SHADOW falls across Andrew. He IGNORES IT.
ANGLE: TWO MEN IN SILHOUETTE. WALTER KENTON says:
Look at this fucking guy. He's
Andrew's hands DO NOT LEAVE the keyboard.
The SECOND MAN steps forward, a silhouette becoming visible
This is BOB SEIDMAN. He and Kenton wear tuxedos.
Are we interrupting, Andy?
In a word, Bob...
Charles is right behind me.
ANOTHER SILHOUETTED FIGURE APPEARS. This image has a
horror-film feeling to it.
Andrew WHIPS AROUND to face them.
I was just about to take a
break. Good evening, Charles.
CHARLES WHEELER, also in tuxedo, remains in shadow.
Andy? Could you step into my
office for a sec?
I feel like firing someone
Andrew throws an arm over Seidman's shoulder.
We're gonna miss you around
CUT ON LAUGHTER TO:
THE RECEPTION AREA (INT./NIGHT): A DOMINO'S PIZZA DELIVERY
MAN, waiting for clearance from a SECURITY GUARD, on
Andrew's dim and quiet floor, WATCHES AS...
Seidman, Kenton and Andrew follow Charles Wheeler up a wide,
carpeted staircase. Wheeler finishes a story and everyone
A BOX OF CIGARS BEING HANDED AROUND (INT./NIGHT) ...
Andy's expressed a keen interest
in the Kronos Inc. situation,
Charles. Is that correct, Andy?
The lawyers have gathered in Wheeler's spacious office, with
its floor-to-ceiling view of the Philadelphia skyline.
The fate of the participants
interests me, yes sir.
Wheeler, Kenton and Seidman proceed with the male ritual of
preparing cigars to be smoked: snipping the ends with a brass
clip, rolling them over their tongues to wet them, sliding the
cigars in and out of their rounded mouths.
Andrew, holding a cigar but NOT preparing to light it, watches
with a not completely concealed twinkle in his eye.
Wheeler leans back in his chair, swirling a brandy snifter.
He exhales cigar smoke with a great deal of pleasure.
It's good to be King, hey
Kings are out of fashion. I'd
rather be thought of as a
It's an anti-trust action.
It is, and it isn't, Charles.
Macrosystem's new software
copies all the best-known
elements of Kronos' spreadsheet
program. If they're allowed to
sell it, Kronos will get undersold
right out of business. For me, the
legal principle, involved is
Bearing in mind that Bill
Wright, the chairman of
MacroSystems, is a close, personal
friend of mine... which side of
this mess would you desire to be
on, Andy? And don't allow my very
tight, personal relationship with
Bill to influence your answer in
Andrew knows this is a test. And he loves it.
Sorry, Charles, but...
Andrew is distracted -- BY A LIGHT FALLING ACROSS HIS FACE.
I'd like to see Kronos win.
Walter Kenton has shifted a lamp, so that its LIGHT FALLS
ACROSS ANDREW'S FACE, REVEALING: a faint purple blotch
about the size of a quarter, much like the blotches we saw
on the HISPANIC PATIENT in Andrew's doctor's office.
Because they deserve to, Walter.
Andrew lifts his hand, finding that his hair has been pushed
back, revealing the blotch.
He stands, nonchalantly running a hand through his hair to
cover the blotch.
If MacroSystems wins, an energetic,
young company will be destroyed,
five thousand Americans will be
out of work. Moreover, the laws of
copyright and anti-trust were
enacted to prevent exactly the
kind of bullshit Macrosystems is
trying to pull.
Andy, do you know who reps Kronos
Get with the program, Andy. As
of this evening, about 8:05 this
evening, right after the soup
course... Kronos Incorporated is
represented by Wyant Wheeler
Hellerman Tetlow and Brown. Or,
more specifically, senior
associate Andrew Beckett.
A moment before it sinks in, then: Andrew clenches his fist
in a victory salute.
You'll have to get right on it,
Andy, we're up against the
statute of limitations.
An ASSOCIATE LAWYER in shirtsleeves taps on the office door.
Tokyo on four, Bob.
Great. Excuse me, fellas.
(picking up a phone,
Connichiwa. Itsumo osewa ni nari
mashita. Arigato gozaimasu.
Andrew offers his hand to Walter Kenton.
What's that on your forehead,
Whacked with a racquetball.
(taking Wheeler's hand)
I appreciate your faith in my
Faith, Andy, is the belief in
something for which we have no
evidence. It doesn't apply to
(slapping his shoulder)
Go home. I mean, get back to
Andrew and Wheeler are eye-to-eye, an intimate moment.
(with a father's
No sweat, buddy.
Smiling, Andrew exits the office.
CLOSE ON WALTER KENTON, THINKING...
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
ANDREW STEPPING INTO THE EMPTY CORRIDOR, TAKING A FEW STEPS
away from Wheeler's office (INT./NIGHT), then...
... DOING a JOYFUL END ZONE DANCE, running in place the way
football players do when then score a touch down, saying
"Yes! Yes! Yes!" to himself, soundlessly.
The SOUND OF CLANGING METAL interrupts Andrew: HELENA, a
maintenance worker is emptying a trash can. She's seen his
little dance and starts to laugh.
Smiling, Andrew puts the unlit cigar into his mouth, WINKS
at Helena and says:
(in a funny, kind of
It's good to be King.
ESTABLISHING: ANDREW'S LOFT BUILDING (EXT. DAY)
TITLE: "Ten days later."
CLOSE ON ANDREW'S FACE MARKED WITH FOUR BLOTCHES (WE'RE IN
Andrew's loft -- INT./DAY)
It's a mirror image. The BLOTCHES vary from the size of a
dime, to the size of a half-dollar. He looks awful.
A YOUNG, BLACK WOMAN'S FINGER applies makeup to Andrew's
face, trying to cover the blotches. This is his friend
You want to apply the foundation
as evenly as you can, Andy. You
don't want to look like you've
thrown it on with a spoon.
CAMERA PULLS BACK REVEALING Andrew sitting at a table in his
loft, a towel around his neck, protecting his shirt from makeup.
Chandra applies the makeup gently, supervised by another friend
named ALAN. (Andrew's loft has been turned into a lawyer's
command post: stacks of books, documents, etc.). A third friend,
BRUNO, sits in the corner, flipping through channels on the TV.
Okay. You try.
Andrew tries applying makeup to his face.
Chandra? Don't you think this
color's a little... orange for me?
Tahitian Bronze works best on
Think of it as the "I just back
from Aruba" look.
IN THE BACKGROUND: Andrew's fax machine receives a fax in
Andrew's "work area": desk, personal computer, etc.).
I got it.
Bruno removes the fax from the machine, walking it over to
Andrew, handing Andrew the fax, while munching an apple.
(giving the fax
a quick scan)
(to Alan and Chandra)
I've been out of the office four
days. I don't want them to
think I've been to the beach.
(searching for something)
Okay. Check this out.
Andrew puts on a pair of big glasses with tortoise shell
frames, meant to help conceal the blotches.
Hides everything, right? What
do you think?
You know who you look like,
Andy? That actor, in that
movie. Not the one where he was
autistic, the one where he
dressed up like a lady on a soap
You want to try Light Egyptian?
Suddenly, Andrew winces, gripping his gut.
(clearly in pain)
Excuse me a sec...
Andrew starts out of the room -- suddenly HAVING TO RUN.
Just like my cousin Fredo.
CAMERA HOLDS ON Chandra, Alan and Bruno. SOUND OF BATHROOM DOOR
Bruno saunters across the room and knocks on the bathroom
You okay, Andy?
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
TIGHT SHOT ON ANDREW, FACE TWISTED IN PAIN (INT./DAY) ...
Andrew rests his head against the wall, sweat covering his
face. A storm of fire has passed through him, and he's hoping
it's over for now.
I think I need to go to the
MIGUEL ALVAREZ RUNS URGENTLY DOWN SPRUCE STREET, DODGING
traffic as he crosses Eleventh Street, toward Jefferson
Hospital (EXT./DAY). He hustles up the ramp toward the
MIGUEL SHOVES THROUGH GLASS DOORS, INTO THE BUSTLING
Emergency Room (INT./DAY), FINDING
ANDREW sitting on a gurney, holding a cotton ball against
his arm, where blood has been drawn, wearing a blanket over
his shoulders, fighting chills.
Chandra and Bruno are waiting with Andrew. They exchange
quick hugs with Miguel and Andrew, ad libbing greetings and
Thanks, you guys.
Yeah. Thanks, guys.
Miguel puts his arms around Andrew.
Gillman's out of her office today.
I told her to take a day off, and
she did, can you believe it? Did
you get someone to cover your
Miguel touches Andrew's face, checking for fever.
Don't worry about it. They took
blood? A specimen?
Andrew holds an empty specimen cup.
Aren't you giving an exam?
I said, don't worry about it.
Miguel places a gentle kiss on Andrew's sweaty forehead.
You got a fever, baby.
Suddenly, the facade cracks and TEARS STING Andrew's eyes.
I almost didn't make it to
the bathroom, Miguel. I almost
lost control right in front
So what? It's nothing to be
ashamed of. You have nothing to
be ashamed of, okay?
Andrew pulls himself together, brushing aside tears, in
control of his emotions once more.
Wait, here's my guy... Hey!
Andrew catches the attention of a harried INTERN, whose
surgeon's greens are covered with blood.
Mr. Beckett, I'm sorry...
About my blood work?
Miguel opens a small notebook, making notes.
... meanwhile, I'd like to
prepare you for a colonoscopy,
so we can take a look inside.
Why do you need to do this?
Who are you?
Who are you? Doctor... ?
This is my partner. We keep
records of hospital visits.
It's not a pleasant procedure,
but if the KS is causing the
diarrhea, we ought to know right
It could be parasites, an
A reaction to AZT...
That's possible, but.
He's not going through some
painful procedure until we've
cancelled out everything else.
I'm trying to help your
"partner." You're not a member
of his immediate family, I could
have you removed from the ER.
(to the Intern)
He's upset, he's sorry.
Don't apologize for me.
He's not sorry, okay, fine.
Why don't we see what we find
out from the blood work? I'll
work on getting a specimen, I'm
sure hospital food could help in
that direction. Maybe, by then,
we'll hear from my doctor, and
we'll go from there. Okay?
Allright. I'll get on the lab
about the blood work.
(to the Intern)
The INTERN walks away. Andrew's BEEPER BEEPS.
That's the third time. I better
call the office.
(smiling at Niguel)
Would you relax, please?
I am relaxed.
Andrew HOBBLES toward a pay phone, outside a VISITOR LOUNGE,
where weary relatives are watching TV.
Andrew drops a quarter into the phone.
JOE MILLER'S VOICE
"If you or someone you know..."
ANDREW'S POV ON TELEVISION: Joe Miller on the screen, with the
words "Negligence... Malpractice... Auto accidents"... and in
the background, PHOTOS of MAIMED, BURNED, INJURED CLIENTS.
"... has been injured through
the fault of others, you may be
entitled to legal remedy...
Andrew LAUGHS. Then, his call is answered:
Shelby? It's me. Jamey's been
beeping me, I... Okay, okay,
calm down. Put Jamey on.
FIRST YEAR ASSOCIATE JAMEY COLLINS, SITTING AT ANDREW'S DESK
(INT/DAY), GRABS THE PHONE when Andrew's intercom BUZZES...
Andy?! This is a disaster! We
can't find your revisions on
the Kronos complaint!
Slow down, Jamey, for Christ's
I went down to Word Processing
to pick up the corrected copy,
but they said you haven't
delivered the corrections.
I told them you've been working on
it at home, and...
Andrew forgets his physical pain, this is more important.
I brought it in last night, around
midnight. It's in my computer.
What did you file it under?
Jamey puts his hands on Andrew's computer keyboard.
Jamey types the file name.
Jamey, I don't have to mention,
do I, that we're up against a
statute of limitations on this
complaint which runs out in...
(checks his watch)
Jamey stares dumbfounded at the computer monitor.
It's not here, Andy.
Andrew closes his eyes. He can't believe this.
You go down to Word Processing
and tell those motherfuckers
they better come up with that
complaint, now! Or they are
fucking dead! You tell them that
comes from me!
Andrew SLAMS the phone into its cradle.
He pauses, takes a deep breath, and says to himself:
Every problem has a solution.
Every problem... has... a...
Calmer, Andrew returns to the gurney, putting on his shirt.
Every problem has a solution...
Miguel approaches with tea purchased at the canteen.
Why are you getting dressed?
You're not going to like this.
Please try to smile...
Andrew puts his arms around Miguel.
Thanks for leaving school, and
coming here, and...
(pulling back, putting
on his jacket)
I will be back. An hour, tops.
You're going to the office?!
You're not smiling.
Andrew rushes toward the exit doors.
You're leaving the hospital?
You're going into the office
looking like that? Are you
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
ANDREW RUSHES TO THE STREET, HAILING A CAB (EXT./DAY) ...
ANDREW STEPS OUT OF THE TAXI IN FRONT OF THE WHEELER
Building, heading for the entrance (EXT./DAY) ...
But he changes his mind, darting to the corner of the block.
Andrew stops to buy a baseball cap from a VENDOR.
He trots down an alley, past bags of garbage, entering the
building through a garage door.
FROM A HIGH FLOOR, ANDREW CAN BE SEEN CLIMBING THE STEPS OF
an emergency stairwell (INT./DAY) ...
Andrew passes CAMERA, out of breath. He's wearing the ball cap
PULLED TO HIS EYEBROWS to hide blotches on his forehead.
ANDREW OPENS THE FIRE DOOR ON HIS FLOOR AT WYANT WHEELER, removing
the ball cap, baring the purple blotches. (INT./DAY)
He walks quickly down the hall. Passing a COLLEAGUE, Andrew
pretends to scratch his face, attempting to hide the blotches
as nonchalantly as possible.
He dashes past an office, ignoring Anthea.
Didn't expect to see you... ?
He ducks into his office.
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
SECRETARY SHELBY AT ANDREW'S DESK, FRANTICALLY SEARCHING
through papers (INT./DAY) ...
Startled when he sees Shelby, Andrew spins toward the wall.
I'm looking through the files but...
Call the messenger service, have
someone standing by...
(she reaches for the phone)
Andrew keeps his face averted, until she's out of the room. He
goes to his computer, the monitor already glowing.
Think. You brought the discs in, you
Rachel comes into his office.
I thought I was supposed to be
covering for you.
God, Andy, you look awful.
Fucking Word Processing lost my
Kronos complaint. Which must be
filed by fucking five o'clock!
If it's late, there's no case...
Every problem has a solution.
What can I do?
Get down to Word Processing.
Help Jamey look.
She rushes out.
Andrew begins shoving floppy discs into the slots on his
computer, bringing up each disc's directory.
He throws the disc to the floor. Shoves in another.
Shoves in another, bending it in half.
He pulls open a file drawer, dumping legal briefs onto the
floor, frantically spreading them around with his foot.
Andrew THROWS a document across the room, takes a breath.
He picks up the telephone.
Bob? Something's come up. With
Kronos. I don't want to
upset Charles, but...
(letting down his guard)
Oh, shit, Bob, the complaint's
due in forty minutes and I can't
No, you don't have to come...
(hanging up the phone)
Great. Fucking great.
Andrew rubs his eyes, this is a nightmare.
He switches off the overhead light. He slants the window
blinds, filling the room with shadow
Bob Seidman comes into the office, typically cheerful.
C'mon, Andy, you didn't lose
Seidman is struck by the mess in the office, and Andrew's
I don't know what to do, Bob.
You'll never find it in the dark.
Seidman FLIPS ON the overhead light. Andrew flinches.
Seidman approaches. Andrew gives up trying to hide the
purple blotches, facing his mentor straight on.
What in God's name... ?
What's wrong with your face?
What's wrong with my face? You
want to know what's wrong with
my face? I've got a skin
condition. Next question, Bob?
No more questions? Fine. Now
can you help me find the complaint?
Allright. Calm down.
Seidman sits in front of Andy's computer.
What was the file name?
Maybe you mistyped the name when
you were saving it. We'll try
combinations of those letters...
Seidman goes to work. Andrew leans over his shoulder.
You're right, I probably just
Walter Kenton is standing at Andrew's door. His demeanor is
casual. So casual it seems a little forced.
Some sort of problem?
Andrew has kept his face averted. But now he TURNS DIRECTLY
TOWARD CAMERA, showing his face to Kenton.
Yeah, Walter. Yeah. Some sort of
HOLD ON THIS CLOSE UP OF ANDREW...
SOUND OF A BABY CRYING CROSSES THE CUT TO:
A NEWBORN BEING LIFTED INTO A DOCTOR'S HANDS (INT./DAY) ...
There she is, okay. You can relax
LISA MILLER has just given birth to a baby girl. She
collapses on her pillow, gasping for breath, moaning in
pain, quietly crying a little.
TITLE: "One month later."
The NURSES and the (FEMALE) DOCTOR move professionally
around the bed, doing their jobs.
At Lisa's side, Joe fumbles with a camera while darting
amazed looks back and forth between Lisa and the baby.
Oh my god... a girl... oh my
god... Lisa... oh my god...
You load the film... ? No, on
this side... or this side?
Don't move the baby!
Give me the camera, Joe.
Lisa pops the film into the camera, hands it back.
Thanks, hon. Oh my god...
With wildly trembling hands, Joe begins SNAPPING PHOTOS.
Oh my god... oh my god, look at
her... oh my god...
JOE, WALKING THE HOSPITAL CORRIDOR, STILL WEARING SURGEON'S
greens, SPEAKING INTO HIS PORTABLE PHONE (INT./DAY) ...
Go to Famous Fourth Street and
buy a pound of Nova. No! She
likes Scotch salmon better. Ah
heck, get a pound of both! Get
a dozen onion rolls. Get some
bagels. Get a dozen. Get a
bottle of champagne. Dom
Peringon... A hundred bucks a
bottle?! Better get a good
Passing a PATIENT IN TRACTION, ROLLING BY ON A GURNEY, Joe
drops a business card into the PATIENT'S broken hand.
(to the PATIENT)
Give me a call.
(into the phone)
Get everything over here as soon
as you can, she's starved. No,
not the baby! Lisa! ... Iris,
listen: any calls I should know
about? ... Uh huh... Uh huh...
Beckett? Who's Andrew Beckett?
Turning a corner, Joe comes face to face with HIS RELATIVES,
who charge at him joyfully:
JOE'S MOTHER/AUNTS/UNCLES, ETC.
Congratulations! How is Lisa?!
When can we see the baby?!
QUIET... JOE, LISA AND THEIR BABY CUDDLED TOGETHER IN
Lisa's hospital bed, surrounded by debris from a party,
paper plates, empty champagne bottle (INT./NIGHT) ...
The relatives have gone. It's late at night.
Lisa holds the baby. Joe holds them both.
AN INTERSECTION IN THE HEART OF OLD, DOWNTOWN PHILLY: A
movie palace (now a six-plex) across the street from the
Peter Pan Coffee Shop, PHILADELPHIA WORKERS going about the
business of the day (EXT./DAY) ...
TITLE: "One week later."
Above the Peter Pan Coffee Shop is a string of large
windows, each of which is painted with a question:
HEART ATTACK? ACCIDENT? MEDICAL MALPRACTICE? DOG BITE?
In bigger letters, across several windows:
D I A L 1 8 0 0 A - L A W Y E R
We hear JOE MILLER'S VOICE-OVER:
How big was this hole you fell
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
A HALLWAY BULLETIN BOARD ANNOUNCING THE VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS of
"Macready and Shilts Legal Services" (INT./DAY), including
"Auto/DUI/Collisions with Deer... Product liability... Medical
malpractice... Pet bites..."
The bulletin board stands at the entrance to a warehouse of
lawyers' cubicles formed by office dividers and plastic ferns...
PHONES JANGLING... INJURED CLIENTS LIMPING ABOUT...
JOE (OS) (CONT.)
And this hole was right in the
middle of the street?
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
JOE IS IN HIS OFFICE, A BOX OF CIGARS ON THE DESK WITH PINK
bands announcing "It's a girl!" (INT./DAY). On the walls are
photos of INJURED CLIENTS (the same photos we saw in the
background of Joe's TV commercial)...
A FEMALE CLIENT (MRS. FINLEY) faces Joe, her arm in a sling.
Why didn't you cross at the
Why should I?
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
ANDREW IS SEEN FROM BEHIND, SITTING ON A SOFA IN THE WAITING
area. Very little hair shows beneath a Phillies ballcap...
A MAN WEARING A NECKBRACE, sitting next to Andrew, RISES,
MOVING to a seat opposite Andrew. From this new position the
MAN WITH THE NECKBRACE STARES at Andrew.
MAN WITH NECKBRACE'S POV:
The PURPLE BLOTCHES on Andrew's face are beginning,to recede,
not as angry looking as before, thanks to chemo therapy.
Andrew is dressed casually, in jeans and a softball jacket
(from the Wyant Wheeler team) with "Andy" embroidered over the
Joe's assistant, IRIS, approaches.
Andrew rises, following Iris past office dividers, HARRIED
SECRETARIES and overflowing file cabinets.
Iris cannot look at Andrew as she walks beside him.
(Outside Joe's door is a sign: "Beware Mad Dog" with "Mad"
written by hand.)
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
ANDREW STEPS INTO JOE'S OFFICE (INT./DAY). ANDREW GLANCES
at the photos while Joe wraps up...
(to the FEMALE CLIENT)
Explain this to me like I'm a
six year old, okay? The entire
street is clear except for one
small area under construction,
with a huge hole that is clearly
marked and blocked off, and you
decide you must cross the street
at this spot. You fall into the
hole and you want to sue the
city for negligence? ...
Yeah. Do I have a case?
Of course you have a case! Now,
I want you to go with my
assistant, Iris, and fill out
some forms. She'll tell you
about our fee arrangement.
(as they're leaving)
Mrs. Finley? Any back pain
since the accident? Dizziness?
Now that you mention it...
Tell Iris all about it.
(leading her out)
Take good care of Mrs. Finley,
Beckett, come in.
Joe offers his hand, getting a look at Andrew's face.
Jesus Christ, what happened to you?
I have AIDS.
Joe WITHDRAWS his hand, before it touches Andrew's.
It's okay. Can I sit down?
Andrew hesitates. Joe doesn't sound sure.
Andrew sits, Joe returns to his desk. (Joe finds himself
acutely aware of where Andrew places his hands.)
One week old.
Little baby girl.
Kids are great.
Thanks, Beckett. I'm real
excited about it.
(glances at his watch)
What can I do for you?
I was fired by Wyant Wheeler. I
plan to bring a wrongful
termination suit against Charles
Wheeler and his partners.
You want to sue Wyant Wheeler
Hellerman Tetlow and Brown?
Correct. I'm seeking
I misplaced an important
complaint. That's their story.
Want to hear mine?
How many lawyers did you go to,
before you called me?
I was diagnosed with AIDS eight
months ago. During a bout of
pneumonia. I recovered quickly
and was back at work in ten
days. Since I was doing so well
on the AZT, we decided against
telling anyone about it.
My lover and I.
Miguel Alvarez. We've lived
together for nine years.
I dove back into work,
everything was fine. Until the
SUDDENLY PICTURE CUTS TO:
TIGHT ON ANDREW WAUKING THROUGH THE LOBBY OF THE WHEELER
Building (INT./DAY). He's wearing MAKEUP, which sort of
covers the blotches. (NOTE: PICTURE and ANDREW'S VOICE OVER
do NOT match up. This is no ordinary flashback) ...
ANDREW (VO) (CONT.)
First on my leg. Then my
forearm, my back. Then... my
face. For a short period, I
avoided the office during the
day, waiting for the chemo
therapy to clear up the
IMAGE: ANDREW RIDING THE CROWDED ELEVATOR ON A WORKDAY.
ANDREW (VO) (CONT.)
But I never let anything slide.
I made all my calls from home.
I worked sixteen hour days on a
complaint for a 350 million
dollar copyright infringement
IMAGE: JOE IN HIS OFFICE, ABSORBED IN ANDREW'S STORY.
ANDREW (OS) (CONT.)
But the day the complaint was
due, it disappeared. Erased
from my computer. I thought I
was losing it, mentally...
IMAGE: ELEVATOR DOORS OPENING, ANDREW STEPPING INTO WYANT
WHEELER OFFICES. NOW HE SPEAKS DIRECTLY TO CAMERA:
That can happen, it's called
AIDS dementia when it gets into
your brain. But miraculously, a
copy of the complaint was
located at the last minute, and
we got it to court on time...
IMAGE: ANDREW'S POV OF COLLEAGUES, STAFF IN THE OFFICES,
GIVING HIM LOOKS, WHISPERING. ANTHEA BURTON NODS HELLO.
ANDREW (OS) (CONT.)
The next morning, I was called
to the office for a meeting with
the managing partners. Walking
down that corridor was strange.
Felt like everyone was staring.
REVERSE ANGLE ON ANDREW AND JOE WALKING AT ANDREW'S SIDE.
Hell, they are staring. What's
that shit on your face?
ANDREW'S POV: RACHEL OUTSIDE HER OFFICE, SAYS "GOOD LUCK."
The partners were waiting for me
in the main conference room.
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
CAMERA TRACKS INTO THE CONFERENCE ROOM, GIVING US ANDREW'S
POV as he enters the room where Wheeler, Kenton, Killcoyne,
Bob Seidman are waiting (INT./DAY) ...
Sit down, Andy.
Wheeler's secretary, LYDIA, takes notes.
Thanks for coming in.
Bob Seidman CANNOT look directly at Andrew.
Andy. Before we begin, I'd just
like to say: everyone in this
room is your friend.
You're in trouble.
(NOTE: Joe IS SEEN IN HIS OFFICE, or LEANING AGAINST A
WINDOW IN THE CONFERENCE ROOM whenever he speaks.)
I know that, Charles.
More than your friend. Family.
Charles, I must apologize again,
for the Kronos mishap.
It was a scary few minutes
around here. Wow. But thank
God, the complaint was found.
And no damage was done.
This time. What about next time?
There won't be a next time, I
Andy. It seems that something
has come over you, lately: A
kind of... stupor, a fogginess,
a lack of focus... Earth to
Andy. Anybody home?
That's right, Andy. The last
four, five months you've seemed
really out of it...
At least... different, somehow.
(keeping it positive)
Perhaps... you're right. I've
certainly been busy. With the
Kronos complaint, a preliminary
injunction hearing and the
Saunders trial all falling at the
Some people think you have an
attitude problem, Beckett.
Really? Who thinks that, sir?
Wheeler seems very grave.
I had no idea there was a concern
in that area. Hey:
I'll get to work on it right away.
NO ONE else smiles.
We've been talking it over, Andy.
Your future that is... We feel that,
because we respect you so much, we
have to be honest with you.
Honesty is always best.
Do you really think so, Andy?
Yes, Bob, I do.
(to the group)
Excuse me? Am I being fired?
Let's put it this way, Andy:
your place in the future of this
firm is no longer secure.
In a word, yes.
We don't think it's fair to keep
you here, where your future is
limited. But we wish you luck,
Andy, all the luck in the world.
Wheeler rises, wearing a friendly smile.
And I hate to rush you out of
But he's got lots of other
people's lives to ruin...
... we've got a committee meeting.
Excuse me, Charles. With all
due respect... this is...
preposterous! It doesn't make
any sense, it sounds as if we're
talking about someone else.
Pardon the lack of humility, but
I've had the distinct impression
I was kind of... one of the
rising stars around here. And I
feel that wasn't just my
imagination. And I also think I
deserve to know what's really
going on here, Charles.
Oh, you're right, Beckett, you
don't have an attitude problem.
Take it easy, Walter.
If you'd lost confidence in me,
why did you give me the Kronos suit?
I hoped the challenge would
improve your performance. You
could say it was a carrot.
I buy that.
As in, the vegetable?
Andy, you nearly blew the case,
for God's sake! That alone is
inexcusable. It would have been
catastrophic for us. Put
yourself in our shoes, Andy.
There's no coming back from an
error like that, regardless of
who you are!
I'm sorry, Andy.
Andrew FREEZES -- the full nature of this situation hitting
home. He looks each of the PARTNERS in the eye...
Uh huh... Okay... I see...
... at last LOOKING DIRECTLY AT Wheeler's secretary Lydia,
whose pen is poised above her notebook, waiting for someone
to say something.
Wheeler breaks the silence.
Good luck, Andy.
Wheeler, Kenton, Killcoyne, Seidman and Lydia file out.
Andrew doesn't move.
A SECURITY GUARD enters the room.
Who are you?
I'm here to escort you to your
office so you can organize your
CAMERA PULLS BACK FROM ANDREW, WE'RE IN JOE'S OFFICE (DAY) ...
Okay. Explain to me like I'm a
two year old, because there's an
element to this I can't get
through my thick head: Didn't
you have an obligation to inform
your employer you had this
dreaded, deadly, infectious
Andrew removes his ballcap -- his hair is cut short, to
disguise the effects of chemo.
The law says people with
disabilities cannot be
terminated, so long as they can
perform the duties required by
Okay, okay... They discover you
have this horrible, disgusting,
terminal illness, and they
panic, for any number of
perfectly valid reasons.
They're frightened for
themselves, their families...
Maybe it's the homo angle.
Maybe they don't want to rub
elbows with someone who's just
popped out of the closet with a
terminal case of acne. And how
do they explain your status to
the client for Chrissake?
Joe, from the day I arrived to
the day they fired me, I
thoroughly and with absolute
excellence. And if they hadn't
fired me, that's what I'd be
Okay... They want you out. It's
against the law to fire you for
having AIDS, so they make you
look like a fuck up. Which
leads us to the mysterious, lost
They sabotaged me.
I knew you were going to say
that. I don't buy it, and I
don't see a case.
Look. I know I have a case. If
you don't want to take it for
Correct. I don't.
Andrew rises, thoroughly business-like.
Thanks for your time.
Beckett? I'm sorry about...
what's happened to you. It's a
fucking kick in the head.
Don't send flowers, Joe. I'm
not dead yet.
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
ANDREW LEAVES JOE'S OFFICE, MOVING DOWN THE CORRIDOR
as Andrew's leaving)
Have a nice day.
Andrew nods, passing one of Joe's colleagues, a hustler
named FILKO, who STARES SHAMELESSLY.
Joe approaches Iris's desk.
Find out if Armbruster can see
me this afternoon.
What the hell's wrong with him?
THE STREET: ANDREW EMERGES FROM THE LAWYER'S BUILDING
(EXT./DAY). CLOSE ON ANDREW, standing there as an endless flow of
people passes by. He watches them go, thinking...
A SUBURBAN DOCTOR'S OFFICE IN A MIDDLE-CLASS NEIGHBORHOOD
DR. ARMBRUSTER (OS)
You had contact with someone who
has AIDS, and you're worried.
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
A DOCTOR UNRAVELLING A BLOOD PRESSURE GAUGE (INT./DAY)
I'm not worried. What are you doing?
Joe sits in his shirtsleeves on the examining table.
Checking your blood pressure,
The DOCTOR wraps the blood pressure unit around Joe's arm.
I didn't have contact. What do you
consider "contact?" We were sitting
in the same room, three, four
feet... What if you shake hands?
Wait. I know the answer. Only sex,
or sharing needles. I know that.
We didn't shake hands, anyway.
Dr. Armbruster squeezes the blood pressure pump,
The HIV virus can only be transmitted
through the exchange of bodily
fluids, namely blood and semen.
Joe begins rolling down his sleeve.
Yeah, but Doc, isn't it true they
keep finding out new things about
this disease? So you tell me, today,
there's no danger, and I go home,
and I hold my baby, and six months
from now I hear on the news: "whoops!
We were wrong.' You can carry it on
your clothes, your skin, and now I've
got to worry about my kid. What
are you doing?
Dr. Armbruster has been preparing a syringe.
We're going to draw blood.
Why are we going to do that?
Joe. I don't care a whit about your
You want to give me an AIDS test?!
Joe HOPS off the table.
The guy sat in my office! You can't
get AIDS that way, right?
It doesn't travel through the
air, by breathing, or touching,
Not by touching, or shaking hands,
or hugging, using the same toilet...
Even kissing someone with AIDS is
safe. But it there's something in
your past you're worried about...
Thanks, Doc, but I don't need an
AIDS test. Are you crazy? But
thanks for the information. Really.
Joe throws on his jacket, opens the door... then TURNS BACK:
In my past?
IV drug use.
Joe shakes his head.
DR. ARMBRUSTER (CONT.)
A homosexual encounter.
Unprotected sex with a prostitute.
(thinking it over)
Uh.... No. Not really.
Or unprotected sex with someone you
didn't know very well, any time
during the last twelve years.
Joe returns to the examining table, and rolls up his sleeve.
ESTABLISHING: JOE'S HOUSE IN THE SUBURBS (EXT./NIGHT) ...
LISA (VOICE OVER)
You have a problem with gays,
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
JOB CRADLES HIS BABY AGAINST HIS CHEST (INT./NIGHT) ...
Lisa eats standing up, at the stove, while Joe walks the
BABY in their modern kitchen.
How many gays do you know?
How many do you know?
Karen Berman. Aunt Teresa. My
cousin Tommy who lives in
Rochester. Eddie Meyers from the
office. Joe Cantwell, he's one of
the partners. His lover, Greg.
Stanley, the guy who's putting in
our kitchen cabinets.
For a moment, Joe is struck dumb. Then he says:
Your Aunt Teresa is gay? That
beautiful, sensuous woman is a...
Probably since she was born.
Allright. I admit it: I'm
prejudiced. I don't want to work
with a homosexual. You got me.
I mean, two guys, doing the
horizontal thing? I don't get
it. Don't they get confused?
"Is that mine? I thought it was
yours." Hey, call me old
fashioned, call me
conservative... I think maybe
you have to be a man to get just
how nauseating the whole basic
idea really is.
And the way they work out,
pumping up, so they can be macho
and faggot at the same time... I
can't stand that shit. Now I'm
being totally honest with you.
That's perfectly clear.
CLOSE ON JOE, LOOKING DIRECTLY INTO CAMERA:
Would you take a client if you
were constantly thinking: "I
hope this guy doesn't touch me.
I don't even want him to breathe
THE STREETS OF PHILLY ARE DUSTED WITH SNOW, STORE WINDOWS
decorated for Christmas. Joe steps out of the Famous 4th
St. Deli, with a package (EXT./DAY) ...
TITLE: "Two weeks later."
JOE SITS AT A TABLE IN THE PUBLIC LAW LIBRARY, SURROUNDED BY
books and legal pads, hard at work. He's eating a pastrami
sandwich which he hides behind a reference book when a LIBRARIAN
saunters by (INT./DAY) ...
A CHAIR SQUEAKS and Joe LOOKS UP TO SEE:
Andrew taking a seat across the room (the blotches have been
reduced by chemo, but he's struggling with a cold). Andrew
removes notepads and pens from his briefcase. He takes out a
package of tissues, blowing his nose.
(under his breath)
Joe slides to the far end of his table, stacking seven or
eight HUGE REFERENCE BOOKS in front of him.
JOE'S POV, PEERING THROUGH THE REFERENCE BOOKS:
Andrew opens a book, taking notes. Rubs his eyes. Writes
A LIBRARIAN delivers a book to Andrew.
This is the supplement. You're
right, there is a section on...
(lowers her voice)
... HIV related discrimination.
Andrew takes the book from her -- but she remains.
We have a private research room
I'm fine, thanks.
Andrew BLOWS HIS NOSE. Now other PATRONS are watching.
Wouldn't you be more comfortable in
a research room?
No. But would it make you more
The LIBRARIAN turns away, shrugging to a PATRON, indicating
she's done all she can do.
As Joe continues to watch: one of Andrew's NEIGHBORS picks
up his books and moves away.
Joe rises, gliding down an aisle of books, keeping one eye
on Andrew, who concentrates on his work.
Joe approaches, nonchalantly, as if he just happens to be
sauntering by. Suddenly he "notices" Andrew.
Oh, Beckett. How's it goin'?
Andrew goes back to his work.
Who'd you get?
Find a lawyer?
I'm a lawyer. How's your baby?
Huh? Oh. Great. She's great.
What's her name?
Rayisha. Very nice.
Andrew focuses on his work. Joe steps away.
Joe comes back.
How did they find out?
(a second, then:)
One of the partners spotted a
lesion on my forehead.
Nearby, a CHINESE PROFESSOR looks up, startled, when she
hears the word "lesion."
Andrew concentrates on his work once more.
How do you get from one lawyer
spotting a lesion, which could
have been a bruise, to the
partners deducing you had AIDS
and basing a decision to
terminate you on that
The CHINESE PROFESSOR moves away.
Andrew removes a legal pad with "KENTON" written in big
letters across the top, and lots of notes underneath.
The partner who spotted the
lesion, Walter Kenton, used to
work for Benton, Myers, in D.C.
There's a paralegal there, Maria
Torres. She's had lesions on
and off for three years. She
says it was common knowledge
around the office that her
lesions were caused by AIDS.
They didn't fire her?
No. They didn't fire her.
Andrew goes back to his work. Joe stands there.
So Kenton connected the... lesion,
and whatever suspicions he had about
your personal life... to this
woman, Maria... and blew the
whistle on you. Suddenly you're
losing files, and it's time to
let you go. But, up to this
point, you've been their Golden
Boy, their rising star... Their
behavior is... inconsistent.
Andrew goes back to work.
There is no relevant precedent.
(not looking up)
Arline decision. Supreme Court.
Andrew SHOVES the legal book toward Joe.
CLOSE ON ANDREW'S HANDS (with one blotch) on the book's white
The book is still facing Andrew. If Joe wants to read it,
he'll have to turn it around.
Joe looks at Andrew's hands. A MOMENT.
Joe turns the book around, begins to read:
"The Federal Vocational
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits
CAMERA CRANES UP, TOWARD THE CEILING... JOE CONTINUES
READING IN VOICE-OVER:
JOE (VO) (CONT.)
"... against otherwise qualified
handicapped persons who are able
to perform the duties required by
CAMERA GOES HIGHER, LOOKING DOWN ON THE ROWS OF BOOKS AND THE
LONG TABLES DOTTED WITH PEOPLE...
JOE (VO) (CONT.)
"Although the ruling did not
address the specific issue of
HIV and AIDS discrimination..."
DISSOLVE TO SAME ANGLE AN HOUR LATER: Andrew and Joe face each
other at their table, but NO ONE ELSE remains at that table,
or at the table next to it...
"Subsequent decisions have held
that AIDS is protected as a
handicap under law, not only
because of the physical
limitations it imposes..."
DISSOLVE TO A SAME ANGLE AN HOUR LATER (DAY IS TURNING INTO
NIGHT): Joe pacing, Andrew reading. Their section of the
library is COMPLETELY EMPTY but for Andrew and Joe.
ANDREW (VO) (CONT.)
"But because the prejudice
surrounding AIDS exacts a social
death which precedes the actual,
DISSOLVE TO SAME ANGLE, LATER: Andrew and Joe sit on the
same side of the table, reading the same book.
"This is the essence of
opinions about others not based
on their individual merits but,
rather, on their membership in a
group with assumed characteristics...
The library is QUIET. Andrew SNEEZES.
Joe scoots his chair away from Andrew by eight inches.
DISCO MUSIC RISES ACCOMPANIED BY THE SOUNDS OF GRUNTING,
HEAVY BREATHING AND SLAPPING FLESH AS WE...
MUSCULAR, SWEATY MALE BODIES SLAMMING INTO EACH OTHER, sounds of
GRUNTS, skin SLAPPING against skin (INT./NIGHT) ...
... Hand SLAPPING a butt under satin shorts
... Sweaty armpits... the ROAR OF A CROWD...
... BASKETBALL PLAYERS embracing, twirling each other around, high
WIDE ANGLE REVEALS: A basketball game in progress, Sixers
versus the Celtics in Philly's Spectrum Arena.
ON CLOSED CIRCUIT TV: ROBERT PARISH going for a lay-up...
Watch this guy! Nail him! Ouch!
Charles Wheeler, Walter Kenton, Kenneth Killcoyne, Bob Seidman
and SEVERAL LAWYERS and SPOUSES watch the game from a plush,
private box, complete with TV, bar, snack table. The lawyers wear
Ralph Lauren polos, chinos and ball caps. The place reeks of
cigar smoke. Walter Kenton has a twentyfive year old WIFE.
Charles Wheeler's nine year old GRANDSON sits nearby.
Wheeler turns the GRANDSON'S ballcap around, smiling
lovingly at the boy.
JUST BEYOND WHEELER: The door to the box is opened by a SECURITY
GUARD and a well-dressed, charismatic MAN looks in.
JULIUS ERVING enters, greeted by the LAWYERS.
How's it goin', Doctor?/This is
an honor!/etc ...
The door is opened again, by the SECURITY GUARD, REVEALING
Joe Miller (in jeans and basketball jacket) and a MARSHALL.
Excuse me. Charles Wheeler?
Wheeler turns. Joe SLAPS a document into Wheeler's hand.
Summons. For you.
NOW the box is QUIET.
Say. What's up, Chuck?
THE BRIGHTLY LIT, RESTRICTED, INNER CORRIDOR OF SPECTRUM
Stadium (INT./NIGHT) where Wheeler walks beside Bob Seidman,
with Walter Kenton and Kenneth Killcoyne just behind. SOUNDS
OF THE GAME STILL IN PROGRESS can be heard, but FAR AWAY.
Occasionally the lawyers are passed by FOOD SERVICE or LAUNDRY
... interview every employee,
support staff, associates, partners.
Did any of them know Andy was sick?
How did they know? Did he tell them?
Did they notice something was wrong
with his appearance? None of this
information got to the managing
partners. We know that. Make sure
everyone else does too... And
Beckett: I want to know everything
about his personal life. Did he
frequent those pathetic bars on
What about other homosexual
facilities, whatever they are?
What deviant groups or
organizations did he secretly
What is it, Bob?!
Let's settle with Andy and put
this whole tragic mess behind
They arrive at a quiet, semi-private cul de sac.
Andrew brought AIDS into our
offices, into our men's room.
He brought AIDS to our annual
goddamn family picnic.
We ought to be suing him.
For Christ's sake, where's your
Compassion? Andy sucks cocks,
Bob. He takes it up the ass.
He's a pervert.
Only Seidman shows any kind of REACTION.
That's kind of... extreme, Walt.
Andy's private life is none of
Bob. You're trying my patience.
Andrew Beckett is making his
private life our business. We
gave him Kronos. Did he say,
"I'm sick. I might not be able
to see this through?"
He was doing a great job.
Bob. I must ask you to shut the
fuck up. Did Andrew Beckett say
"I might not be able to serve our
clients to the best of my ability?"
He said nothing. And now, Andrew
Beckett proposes to haul me into a
court of law, to sling accusations
at me, in full view of the entire,
establishment. My God.
Beckett doesn't want to go to court,
he's hoping for a quick tasty
A jury might decide that Andy has a
Wait a minute. The man was fired for
incompetence, not because he has
AIDS. You didn't know he was sick,
did you, Bob?
Holy Shit. Did you, Bob?
(after a moment)
No. Not really.
Wheeler walks away, followed by Kenton and Killcoyne.
Bob Seidman stands alone in this dark place.
CITY SOUNDS ON A WORK DAY AS WE CUT TO:
EXTERIOR, JOE'S OFFICE BUILDING, ON A THURSDAY MORNING.
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
JOB'S COLLEAGUE, FILKO, LOOKING DIRECTLY INTO CAMERA (in
Joe's offices, INT./DAY):
Charles Fucking Wyant Wheeler?!
Joe sweeps by, just arriving for work.
Filko keeps pace with Joe down the corridor. ANOTHER
COLLEAGUE calls out from an office as Joe passes:
Hey, it's the local chapter of
You're a Republican, Joe! You
belong to the NRA!
How many toilet stalls are there
in the women's restroom on this
How many... what?!
Filko follows Joe into Joe's office.
Two. How many toilet stalls are
there in the men's room? Two,
plus four urinals. How many
wheelchair accessible toilets in
either of those restrooms?
Zero. In this entire building?
Zero. Get the picture, Filko?
Discrimination! You find
yourself a female, paraplegic,
legal assistant who is qualified
to work here, except she can't
take a leak... and you've got
yourself a sex discrimination
suit and a handicapped
discrimination suit. Not
handicapped. What do you call
someone who can't use a normal
Behind Joe, out a large window: PAINTERS on a scaffold.
Iris comes into the office and says:
Wyant Wheeler's asking for a
postponement on the prelim, Joe.
Joe is dialing the phone.
Low-life, sleazy scumbags. Of
course they want a postponement,
I've got a client with a terminal
disease. They're going to drag
their heels every step of the way,
the rotten bastards.
(tapping on the window, to the
Is that spelled right?
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
EXTERIOR, JOE'S OFFICE BUILDING, WHERE PAINTERS ARE ADDING A new
question to the line of windows (DAY):
D I S C R I M I N A T E D A G A I N S T ?
Hey, Beckett. This is Miller.
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
JOE'S VOICE COMES THROUGH, ON THE ANSWERING MACHINE IN
Andrew and Miguel's loft (INT./DAY)
JOE (VO) (CONT.)
I just wanted to tell you...
CAMERA DRIFTS THROUGH the loft, finding Andrew in the rooftop
solarium, sitting crosslegged in front of a candle.
JOE (VO) (CONT.)
... we're trying to set a date for
the prelim. Hang in there.
Andrew's eyes are closed. Next to him rests a tape player. A
WOMAN'S VOICE IS HEARD, accompanied by NEW AGE MUSIC:
I can heal myself.
I can heal myself.
I can heal myself.
I can heal myself.
ANDREW AND MIGUEL IN THEIR BEDROOM AT NIGHT, LYING CLOSE TO
each other in bed (INT./NIGHT) ...
I was coming out of the gym
today, and I ran into Jimmy. Do
you know what he asked me?
"What's it like knowing your
boyfriend's going to die?"
Jerk... What did you say?
I said, "Everyone's going to
die, Jimmy. But Drew's not
going to die of AIDS. There's a
cure around the corner, and he
plans to be around to take
advantage of it."
Miguel strokes Andrew's hair.
You got that right, Mikey...
You still believe that, don't
Yes. I think it will be a
simple solution. They'll put it
in a syringe, inject it into
your bloodstream. It'll
neutralize the virus. It'll
revitalize the immune system,
and people with AIDS will become
HOLD ON MIGUEL AND ANDREW, ON THIS QUIET MOMENT.
FADE IN: ESTABLISHING, EXT. PHILADELPHIA COURT HOUSE
TITLE: "Three months later."
A LONG CORRIDOR IN A CITY COURT BUILDING -- FAR DOWN THE
corridor TWO FIGURES WALK TOWARD CAMERA (INT./DAY) ...
The figures APPROACHING CAMERA are Andrew and Joe, stepping
into and out of sunlight falling through tall windows.
TITLE: "Pre-trial settlement conference."
REVERSE ANGLE -- DOWN AN OPPOSITE CORRIDOR:
A PHALANX OF LAWYERS -- at least ten -- APPROACHING CAMERA, a
bulwark of white shirts and dark ties.
ON ANDREW AND JOE:
Andrew's hair is short, but growing back, the blotches have
receded,his weight is up. He's in a stage of recovery.
ON THE OTHER LAWYERS:
Charles Wheeler (seeming ironic) and Walter Kenton (he's
pissed) lead the battalion.
Behind them, walk young lawyers BELINDA CONINE and JEROME
GREEN. Belinda is white, Jerome is black.
HUSHED VOICES (INT./DAY) ...
A JUDGE'S CHAMBERS, with couches, soft chairs scattered in a
loose circle, like a casual living room.
Joe and Andrew whisper to each other. The Wyant Wheeler team
takes up several chairs. Belinda Conine and Jerome Green sit
next to Wheeler and Kenton. Some of their ASSISTANTS stand.
Wheeler is looking across the room at...
Andrew, who catches Wheeler's stare.
You're looking better, Andy.
How do you feel?
SILENCE. Everyone watches Andrew for his reaction.
Fine, thanks, Charles.
JUDGE LUCAS GARNETT enters his chambers (not wearing a
Judge's robe). He shakes hands with Wheeler and Kenton.
Congratulations on the new
Thank you. We're very happy.
The Judge brushes by Joe and Andrew without a word. The room
becomes SILENT as the Judge takes a seat.
Attorney for the plaintiff?
Joseph Miller, Your Honor.
Macready and Shilts Legal Services.
I've seen your television commercials.
"If you or anyone you know has
been injured through the fault of
others... It should say, "through
the negligence of others."
I'll take that under consideration,
On behalf of the defendants?
Belinda Conine. Of Petersen,
Lehigh, Monroe and Smith.
And Jerome Green.
And a WASPISH lawyer wearing round glasses:
A white-haired lawyer next to Belinda:
You're outnumbered four to one.
(to the others)
Whom do I address?
I can't talk to four lawyers at
I'm chief litigator, Your Honor.
Fine. I've asked the litigants to be
present for this conference, in the
hope we can settle this matter
today, among ourselves... There is
nothing I hate more, than to see
lawyers suing each other. If you
look at the opinion polls, when Mr.
John Q. Citizen is asked to rank
professions according to the
respect he holds for them... Where
are the lawyers? Somewhere below
personal fitness trainers and only
slightly above child pornographers.
If we keep suing each other, if we
fail to settle the smallest
difference among ourselves with
mutual respect, if we continue to
scrap like bucks in heat, we'll
fall lower on that list. And when
people lose respect for lawyers,
they lose respect for the law. And
when this society loses all respect
for the law, we'll be murdered in
our beds, my friends, our cherished
institutions will be burned to the
ground and our children and our
grandchildren will live like
If it please Your Honor, we hope to
settle this matter.
By God you will settle it! If you
force this case to trial, young man,
you'll regret it for the rest of
your natural-born days...
Now, Joseph. What would you
require to settle this matter
Reinstatement at full salary.
Back pay covering the period of
Hold it, Joe.
He wants to come back to work,
That's impossible, Your Honor.
That's impossible, Joe.
If it please Your Honor, we're
prepared to offer a cash
settlement of twenty-five
Your generosity overwhelms me,
Belinda, considering my client
was earning over a hundred thou
when he was terminated almost six
Give me a break, Joe. Let's cut
through these false attitudes.
Give them a figure. How much do
I want to go back to work, Your
You're here at my indulgence,
young man. I'm waiting for a
Andrew and Joe confer with each other.
Based on what my client would
have earned over the next three
years, including benefits and
projected raises, and the
extraordinary cost of medical
care for someone with Acquired
Immune Deficiency Syndrome...
We would settle today for the
very fair amount of one million
five hundred thousand dollars.
Very good, Joe. Now, Belinda,
I've got a figure over here, of
one million, five. I...
Andrew WHISPERS to Joe, who interrupts the Judge:
One more thing, Your Honor...
Any settlement agreement must
include, and this is critical,
a letter of exoneration, making
clear my termination had nothing
to do with the quality of my work.
Charles Wheeler WHISPERS to Belinda Conine.
Your Honor, Mr. Beckett's
incompetence nearly sabotaged a
350 million dollar suit.
I was the one who was sabotaged.
We have complaints about Mr.
Beckett's lack of preparation,
his disorganization, his
arrogant, defensive attitude...
The list goes on.
We have letters.
Why haven't you produced these
Take it easy.
What's the big deal, Chuck? The
boy wants a letter, to show to
his mother, for her to keep after
he's gone. Why are you being hard-
assed about this?
I wish I could exonerate you, Andy.
But I'd have to lie to do it.
You can save it for the jury,
Charles. I want to hear you say,
under oath, in front of a judge and
a jury, I'm a bad lawyer.
Don't do this, Andy.
What do you expect them to say,
you're Alan Dershowitz?
A trial takes time, Beckett. Do
you know what I'm saying?
I think I catch your subtle drift,
Andrew saunters out.
You'll be sorry, Beckett.
Andy, you don't want this.
Joe scans the room, all eyes are on him. His frown turns into
a grin. He faces the Judge.
With all due respect, Your Honor,
my client chooses to pursue his
right to a trial.
HAND HELD CAMERA SHOT OF: THE FRONT YARD OF A TWO-STORY
Colonial house in Downington, Pennsylvania (EXT./DAY) ...
Andrew walks toward the house, TALKING DIRECTLY TO CAMERA.
This is the house where I grew up.
In Downington, Pennsylvania.
(pointing to the ground)
See this... ?
The CAMERA POINTS to SEVERAL PAIRS OF CHILD'S HAND PRINTS in the
sidewalk, then, BACK TO ANDREW IN CLOSE UP, SMILING.
Those are my cute little hand
prints. And my brother's and my
And today is... ?
Today is my parents' fortieth
Andrew goes inside, speaking to the CAMERA:
This is the front door. I caught a
finger in this door, once...
(holds it up)
This one. Broke it.
This is the hallway, my mother
calls it a foyer...
INSIDE THE HOUSE (INT./DAY):
CHILDREN are running through the house, while WOMEN sporting
corsages confer in the kitchen. A SIX YEAR OLD GIRL jumps into
This is my niece, Alexis. Say
Mommy's pregnant again.
(doing Walter Cronkite)
You heard it here first, folks.
News as it happens.
Andrew's older and very down to earth sister JILL, puts her
arms around Andrew, squeezing tight.
This is my sister, Jill, the most
fertile woman on the planet. She's
married to Reverend Jim.
You feel thin.
(over Andrew's shoulder)
As Jill leaves Andrew's arms, the CAMERA IS TRADED OFF TO
ANDREW, who SHOOTS JILL GIVING MIGUEL A HUG.
Hey, Jill. Nice to see you,
(referring to Andrew)
Is he eating?
We don't discuss his weight.
(to Andrew, behind CAMERA)
CAMERA MOVES DOWN THE CORRIDOR...
And what will we find in... da duh
da duh da duh... the KITCHEN!
A GROUP OF LADIES SCREAM when CAMERA ENTERS KITCHEN.
There he is! Hi, Andrew! Don't
point that thing at me! etc...
Andrew's mother Sarah wears an unpretentious flowery dress.
Hi, Mom. How do you feel on your
Ancient. How do you think I feel?
Put that thing down and give me a
(he keeps it pointed at her)
Andrew, stop! ... He still
He's out in his shed showing your
uncle his new riding mower.
One of Andrew's YOUNG NEPHEWS SHOVES HIS FACE into the
CAMERA, UNTIL SCREEN GOES BLACK.
QUIET (INT./DAY) ...
Andrew and his immediate family are gathered in the den, sitting
quietly, facing each other. Andrew's father, BUD, with an
American flag pin in his lapel, sits next to Sarah. Jill holds
the hand of her husband, REVEREND JIM. Two of Andrew's brothers,
MATT and RANDY, (big, athletic guys with mustaches) are there.
Andrew sits next to Miguel.
Things might be said, at the
trial, that... are not going to
be easy for you to hear. Things
about me, about my private life.
And I want to make sure it's
okay with everybody.
I appreciate you asking, Andy,
but really, it's your call.
What do you think, Jill?
To be honest, I'm worried about
Mommy and Daddy. They've had to
go through so much already...
And, we all know...
(very difficult to say)
There's going to be even worse
things to deal with, eventually.
I wonder if it's fair to put
them through this.
Andrew's father STARES at his folded hands.
All I know is, you got through
your diagnosis fine, like a
trooper. But when they fired
you... you were so devastated,
Andy... I don't expect any of
my kids to sit in the back of
the bus. Fight for your rights.
Thanks, Mom... Dad?
There's a pause before Bud Beckett speaks.
Supposedly, the Lord doesn't
give you more trouble than you
can handle. But I'm having a
hard time believing that these days.
Andrew's construction worker brother, RANDY, wipes tears
from his eyes. Clearly their father is in alot of pain.
Andy, the way you've faced this
whole thing, you and Miguel, with
so much courage... your mother and
I have been so very impressed...
Andrew gazes at his father with incredible love. Miguel puts
an arm around Andrew.
I can't imagine there is anything,
that anyone could say, that would
make us feel less proud of you.
(full of emotion)
Thanks, Dad. I love you guys. How
about you, Randy?
Hey. You're my kid brother, Andy.
That's the bottom line. I mean,
what are those bastards going to say?
You're gay? Shit, I knew that
when you were five years old.
Everyone LAUGHS. Andrew and Randy high five.
Wait a minute...
More laughter. But Jill speaks seriously:
What about you, Andy? You're not a
militant type. You've always
been so private.
CLOSE ON ANDREW:
I guess... I don't have time for
that any more.
Jim? Will you lead us in a
Everyone bows heads, holding hands in a circle.
Dear Lord. Sometimes it is
difficult to remember to be
CAMERA PANS THE CIRCLE, THE PRAYING FACES.
REVEREND JIM (CONT.)
To remember, in our times of
sorrow and confusion, that we
have You to turn to, and each
other. Bless and keep Andrew
and Miguel, dear Lord, deepen
and strengthen their love as
they face the struggles that lay
ahead. Bless and watch over all
of us, fill us with Your love,
Your light, and Your peace,
which passeth all understanding.
In Jesus' name, we pray...
ROMANTIC MUSIC CROSSES CUT TO:
BECKETTS' LIVINGROOM, SEEN THROUGH THE VIDEO CAMERA (DAY) ...
A local entertainer (GUIDO PAONESSA) launches into a
standard, accompanied by a single guitar player, and Bud and
Sarah begin to dance, surrounded by family and friends.
"After all the days of Spring
VIDEO CAMERA PANS: RELATIVES eating cake, KIDS chasing each
other, a GRANDMOTHER in a wheelchair holding a NEWBORN,
watching silent, video home movies.
CAMERA FINDS Andrew and Niguel eating anniversary cake
(Andrew barely touches his). Playing for the camera, Miguel
dips his finger into icing and smears it onto Andrew's nose.
Andrew tries to reach the icing with his tongue.
CAMERA PANS WITH ANDREW as he comes forward to dance with his
mother, while Jill dances with their father.
CAMERA RETURNS TO MIGUEL. MATT (behind the camera) says:
Hey, Miguel, can you imagine any
two people being together for forty
ZOOM IN CLOSE ON NIGUEL (who's watching Andrew):
Yes. I can.
VIDEO CAMERA PANS to Andrew dancing with his Mom, lingering on
JOE (VOICE OVER)
Forget everything you've seen on
TV, and in the movies...
HELICOPTER SHOT, REVEALING ALL OF PHILADELPHIA (DAY) ...
TITLE: "Eight months later."
JOE (OS) (CONT.)
There won't be any last minute,
A MAN LOOKING INTO CAMERA: HE'S YOUNG, CONFIDENT, ALL
American, a Marine (INT./DAY) ...
TITLE: "Opening statements."
The MARINE is a JUROR. CAMERA PANS others: a BLACK LADY
SCHOOLTEACHER, a POSTAL WORKER, an ASIAN COLLEGE STUDENT.
JOE (OS) (CONT.)
No one will break down on the stand
with a tearful confession...
REVERSE ON JOE, ADDRESSING THE JURY.
You are presented with a simple
fact: Andrew Beckett was fired.
You will hear two explanations for
why he was fired. Ours. And
Joe crosses the courtroom, coming to stand in front of...
ANDREW, whose appearance has changed: thinner, paler than we've
ever seen him, some blisters on his lips. But the most disturbing
thing about his appearance is the way he moves, slowly, like a
much older man. He's taking notes (which he will do
relentlessly throughout the trial.) And he has a cane at his
side, which he'll use throughout the trial.
It's up to you, to sift through
layer and layer of truth, and
determine for yourselves the
version that sounds the most true.
Charles Wheeler, Walter Kenton, Bob Seidman, Kenneth Killcoyne
sit BEHIND their lawyers, Belinda Conine and Jerome Green, and
SEVERAL ASSISTANTS at the defense table.
JUDGE GARNETT presides from his bench.
Among the spectators, Miguel sits next to Sarah, and
Andrew's sister Jill. AIDS ACTIVISTS in the background.
There are certain points in our
version, that I must prove to
you... Point number one: Andrew
Beckett was... is a brilliant
lawyer. A great lawyer. Point
number two. Andrew Beckett,
afflicted with a debilitating
disease, made the legal,
understandable, personal choice
to keep the fact of his illness
to himself... Point number three:
His employers discovered his
illness. And ladies and gentlemen,
the illness I'm referring to, is
Joe pauses, letting that sink in.
Point number four. They panicked.
And, in their panic, they did what
most of us would like to do with
AIDS... Get it, and the people
who have it, as far away from us
Joe walks away from Andrew.
The behavior of Andrew Beckett's
employers may seem reasonable to
you. It does to me. After all, AIDS
is a deadly, incurable, disease...
CLOSE ON MEMBERS OF THE JURY.
But however you come to judge the
behavior of Charles Wheeler and
his partners in moral, ethical,
human terms... When they fired
Andrew Beckett because he had
AIDS, they broke the law.
With a swift, direct glance at the Judge, Joe speaks with
considerable power and emotion:
And, when lawyers break the law,
when this society loses respect
for the law, when that day comes,
our cherished institutions will be
burned to the ground, and our
children and grandchildren will
live like savages.
BELINDA CONINE ADDRESSING THE JURY (INT./DAY) ...
Fact. Andrew Beckett performed
at a consistently mediocre
level. Fact. He made a grievous
error on a multi-million dollar
lawsuit... Fact. He claims he is
the victim of lies and deceit.
Fact. Andrew Beckett lied to his
employers, going to great efforts
to conceal his disease from them.
Fact. He was successful in his
duplicity. The partners at Wyant
Wheeler did not know Andrew
Beckett had AIDS when they fired
Belinda pauses in front of the plaintiff's table
Fact. AIDS is a tragedy...
Andrew looks directly at Belinda.
Fact. Andrew Beckett is dying.
Joe watches Andrew for his reaction.
Fact. Andrew Beckett is angry.
Because his "lifestyle," his
reckless behavior, has cut short
his life... And in his anger, his
rage, he's lashing out. And he
wants someone to pay.
ON THE WITNESS STAND: A SOLIDLY BUILT EXECUTIVE FROM A
large insurance company, MR. LAIRD (INT./DAY) ...
Andrew Beckett represented your
company in a lawsuit in 1990, is
Wyant Wheeler represented us.
Andrew glances toward the jury box: the MARINE JUROR writes in a
But, Andrew Beckett was in charge of
litigation for the suit.
Were you pleased with his work?
We were satisfied.
Joe and Andrew exchange a LOOK -- Laird's response surprises and
Were you satisfied, or were you
Laird glances toward Charles Wheeler before answering.
We were satisfied.
Joe refers to legal documents.
Mr. Laird, when I approached you
about being a witness at this
trial, and you agreed, you gave
sworn testimony in a deposition.
Is that correct?
According to the deposition, you
said you were "thrilled, impressed,
overwhelmed" by the quality of
Andrew Beckett's work. Do you
remember saying that?
I may have said something like
that. But that's not how I feel at
Joe takes on a street-tough tone:
Okay, Mr. Laird. Explain this to
me like I'm a four year old: Did
Andrew Beckett win your lawsuit
for you or not?
Did that thrill, impress and
It satisfied me.
Joe STARES at the guy.
It's a long way between being
overwhelmed and being satisfied.
A cheeseburger may be satisfying
whereas caviar and champagne and
roast duck and baked Alaska for
dessert might be considered
overwhelming. Do you agree?
Five months ago you characterized
Andrew Beckett as caviar and now
you're calling him a cheeseburger.
Your standards have shifted a
great deal, and I'd like to know
why you've changed your mind.
Since that time I've devoted more
thought to the subject, and that's
how I feel now.
QUICK CUT TO:
JEROME GREEN CROSS-EXAMINING LAIRD (INT./DAY).
Partner Robert Seidman was the
supervising attorney for your
Does the supervising attorney guide
the litigating attorney during
Often, he does.
As far as you know, in the handling
of your lawsuit, Andrew Beckett was
simply following orders.
That's a fair assessment of the
Andrew glances over his shoulder: at Robert Seidman, who
meets his gaze.
SPECTATORS STREAM OUT OF CITY HALL INTO THE HUBBUB OF TWO
DISTINCT GROUPS SHOUTING AT EACH OTHER (EXT/DAY): GAY RIGHTS
ACTIVISTS in T-shirts with pink triangles, denouncing
discrimination; BORN AGAIN ACTIVISTS waving placards citing AIDS
as God's punishment for homosexuality; POLICEMEN keeping them
apart; A MEDIA CIRCUS getting it on videotape.
Joe and Miguel FLANK Andrew, who walks weakly. with a cane.
Sarah and Jill follow close behind, running the gauntlet of
ACTIVISTS and REPORTERS.
Andrew's POV on a placard: "We Die - They Do Nothing!"
Jill's POV on a placard: "AIDS Cures Homosexuality!"
A TV CREW shines HOT LIGHTS on Andrew.
TV REPORTER (ANGELA MEDINA)
Do you see this as a gay rights
I'm not political. I just want
compensation for being fired.
But you are gay, aren't you?
IMAGE: ANDREW SEEN ON A TV SCREEN (INT./NIGHT):
"I don't see how that's any of
But yes, I am."
WIDE ANGLE: WE'RE IN A SPORTS BAR WHERE JOE WATCHES THE SIX
O'CLOCK NEWS WITH FILKO, A LOCAL COP, OTHERS (INT./NIGHT) ...
ON THE TV SCREEN: A microphone is shoved at Joe.
"Do you believe that homosexuals
deserve special treatment?"
JOE (on TV)
"Angela, we're standing in
Philadelphia, the City of
Brotherly Love, the birthplace
of freedom, where our Founding
Fathers authored the Declaration
of Independence. And I don't
remember that glorious document
saying "All straight men are
created equal." I could have sworn
it says, "All men are created
CHARLIE THE COP
Give me a goddamn break!
ON THE TV SCREEN: The REPORTER wraps up her story.
"This case is sending a cold chill
through the legal community. One of
Wyant Wheeler's key clients, the
Grace Foster Foundation, which
supports several AIDS charities,
has taken its business to another
firm until this matter is
As the TV DRONES ON, CHARLIE THE COP, OTHERS GLARE at Joe.
(a wink to the COP)
You're not starting to get a
little... light on your feet
here on us, are you?
Joe does not laugh.
Yeah, Filko. I am.
(stepping toward Filko)
I'm on the prowl, Filko. I need
a man. Not just any man. I need
a hunk. A hunk like you. How
about it, Filko? Want to play
sailor? This time, I'll be first
mate and you can be Columbus.
Chill out, Joe.
Those people make me
sick, Filko! But a law's been
broken, okay? The law. Remember
CHARLIE THE COP has relaxed a bit.
CHARLIE THE COP
At least we agree on one thing,
Joe... They make me sick too.
HOLD ON JOE, but WE HEAR THE TV REPORTER in the BACKGROUND:
TV REPORTER MEDINA
"... now the public knows that
your son has AIDS and he's gay.
How does that make you feel?"
All eyes turn to the TV: SARAH BECKETT IN CLOSE UP.
"This is a world full of war,
famine, poverty, homelessness...
and people make a fuss because
two men or two women want to
live together, or make love.
Seems kind of silly, doesn't
The bar ERUPTS with a CHORUS OF BOOS AND CATCALLS.
JOE ADDRESSING A WITNESS IN COURT (INT./DAY) ...
And Walter Kenton knew the
lesions on your face and arms
were caused by AIDS?
The witness: MARIA TORRES, Hispanic, 35, healthy-looking.
Definitely. People were going
around, whispering things. I
figured I didn't have anything
to lose, so I told all the
How did Walter Kenton treat you,
after you told him you had AIDS?
CLOSE ON KENTON, looking confident.
Every time he came into contact
with me, he'd get this look on
his face. I called it, the
"Oh God" expression. As in "Oh
God, here comes that woman with
Ms. Torres? Have your employers
fired you for having AIDS?
No. When I need time off, for
medical reasons, we work it out.
Thank you. No more questions.
Jerome Green rises.
Miss Torres. How did you contract
the AIDS virus?
During a transfusion. I lost
a lot of blood giving birth to my
In other words, in your case
you happen to be an innocent
victim of the AIDS tragedy.
Look. I'm no different from
everyone else who has this
disease: I'm not guilty, I'm
not innocent. I'm just trying
QUICK CUT TO:
JOE, APPROACHING A WITNESS (INT./DAY) ...
Beyond noticing the marks on
his face, were there other
things about his appearance
that made you suspect he had
THE WITNESS: Paralegal Anthea Burton.
He was losing weight. He looked
kind of tired sometimes. But he
was working so hard... Still, I
felt something was wrong.
(looking at Wheeler)
And I can't believe they're
saying they didn't notice
Just answer the question.
Ms. Burton. You're black.
Is that a question?
No. Have you ever felt
discriminated against, at Wyant
Wheeler shakes his head, disgusted. Kenton fumes, outraged.
Seidman looks surprised.
In what way?
Well... One time, Mr. Wheeler's
secretary, Lydia, told me Mr.
Wheeler had a problem with my
Anthea is wearing large, dangling African-style earrings.
Apparently, Mr. Wheeler felt
they were too... "ethnic" is the
word she used. She said he
would like it if I wore
something smaller, less garish,
and... more "American."
What did you say?
I said my earrings are American.
Thank you. No more questions.
Belinda Conine approaches Anthea.
Miss Burton? Do you still work at
Were you recently promoted?
Yes. I'm now in charge of the
A PHILADELPHIA EXTERIOR, A FALL AFTERNOON (LATE DAY) ...
JOE COMES DOWN AN AISLE OF A DRUG STORE, EXAMINING THE BABY
cold medicines, carrying a box of Pampers (INT./DAY) ...
A YOUNG MAN in grass-stained sweats, carrying a football under
one arm, buying a tube of toothpaste, speaks to Joe:
How's the trial going? It's
a great case.
Joe looks up surprised. The YOUNG MAN smiles.
YOUNG MAN (CONT.)
I saw you on television. I'm a
law student. At Penn.
Joe is flattered by the YOUNG MAN'S interest.
Good school. What year?
Would you like to have a drink
with me? I just finished a
game, I could use a beer.
I don't pick up people in drug
stores every day.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa... do you
think... ? You think I'm...
What's the matter with you? Do
I look gay to you?
Do I look gay to you? Relax.
Relax? I ought to kick your
faggoty little ass for you!
Take it as a compliment. Geesh.
But Joe is really upset. People are watching.
Don't you know this is exactly
the kind of bullshit that makes
people hate you guys?
Fuck you! You want to kick my
ass? You want to try?
You're the asshole, buddy.
Get a life.
Joe stands there, holding the Pampers, people STARING.
LISA'S WORKING ON HER COMPUTER, AT HOME, WHILE JOE PACES
around her desk, really upset (One year-old Rayisha sits on
the desk playing with wooden salad spoons.) (INT./NIGHT) ...
But what was it?! What was this
guy thinking... ?!
Don't know, Joe.
Is there some kind of expression
I've picked up from Beckett?!
Some kind of fairy attitude I've
unconsciously adopted?! Am I
walking different?! Some kind
of vocal thing?! Have I picked
up some kind of homo vibe?!
Have you changed your aftershave?
Very funny. I had a box of
Pampers under my arm for
LISA AND JOE'S DARKENED BEDROON, WHERE THEY LIE IN BED,
almost completely obscured by shadow (INT./NIGHT) ...
They speak softly, careful not to wake the baby.
Two men making love... ? Now
tell me again... why is that
(a tired sigh)
Lisa, c'mon. One guy sticking
his dick in another guy's mouth?
They lie in silence for a moment. Then:
Okay, so... help me with this
one, Joe... Is it disgusting for
someone to put his dick into
someone's mouth? Or, is it
disgusting for someone to take
a dick into their mouth?
(after a beat)
Great, Lisa. Thank you.
EXTERIOR: CITY HALL, AN AUTUMN DAY...
"But, ultimately, the complaint
was found, wasn't it?
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
WIDE ANGLE ON COURTROOM: JAMEY COLLINS ON THE STAND (DAY).
Yes. We found a copy. It been
TITLE: "Plaintiff's case, day ten."
We got it to court on time.
ANGLE ON THE JURY: Several JURORS write in notebooks like the
Marine's; he's been handing them out...
Joe seems ill at ease today, a little off his game. When he
glances at Andrew, it's with irritation.
Has a file ever disappeared like
that before? Vanished into thin
air, all of a sudden, only to
reappear in the nick of time?
Jamey answers nervously:
I've never known that to happen
(fires this question)
Did you have something to do
with this file being lost
Did you have anything to do with
this file being... misplaced?
Joe stands, staring at Jamey. Too long. Jamey squirms.
Are you a homosexual?
Joe pressing forward, toward Jamey.
C'mon, Mr. Collins. Are you
homosexual? You know, gay?
The COURTROOM ERUPTS: ACTIVISTS booing Joe, Wheeler's crowd
expressing OUTRAGE, JURORS looking confused.
Andrew takes in the commotion, as the JUDGE BANGS HIS GAVEL.
Hold it, hold it!
Andrew trains his attention on Joe.
Objection! Where has this come
from?! Suddenly Counsel is
attacking his own witness. Mr.
Collins' sexual orientation has
absolutely no relevance to this
I said, HOLD IT!
(the courtroom QUIETS)
Mr. Miller. Could you kindly share
with me exactly what's going on
in your brain, because I don't
have a clue at the moment.
Joe faces Andrew, also curious to know what Joe's up to.
Your Honor, everyone in this
courtroom is thinking about sexual
preference, sexual orientation,
whatever you want to call it.
They're looking at me, and
wondering about it...
(looking at Andrew)
They're looking at Mr. Beckett, and
wondering about it. They're looking
at Mr. Wheeler and wondering about
it. They might even be looking at
you and wondering about it. So,
let's get it out in the open. Let's
talk about what this case is really
about: the general public's
hatred... our loathing, our fear of
DEAD SILENCE while the Judge thinks it over.
CLOSE ON ANDREW.
CLOSE ON BELINDA CONINE.
CLOSE ON CHARLES WHEELER.
CLOSE ON MIGUEL.
CLOSE ON WALTER KENTON.
CLOSE ON BOB SEIDMAN.
CLOSE ON THE MARINE JUROR.
CLOSE ON JAMEY COLLINS, sweating bullets on the stand.
In this courtroom, Mr. Miller,
justice is blind. To matters of
race, creed, color, religion.
And sexual orientation.
With all due respect, Your Honor...
We don't live in this courtroom,
No. We don't... However, as
regards this witness, I'm going to
sustain the defense's objection.
COURTHOUSE MEN'S ROOM, FIVE URINALS, THREE SINKS (INT./DAY).
The MARINE JUROR, the RETIRED POSTAL WORKER JUROR, and AN
UPTIGHT BUSINESSMAN JUROR stand at the urinals, with an empty
urinal between each of them. The MARINE JUROR whistles while
he pees (a classic rock tune, like "Radar Love.") The
BUSINESSMAN sighs, "Ahhhhhh."
The RETIRED POSTAL WORKER JUROR jingles change.
The ROCK MUSICIAN JUROR enters, stepping up to the urinal
between the BUSINESSMAN and the MARINE. He unzips, and it seems
to take him an incredibly long time to extricate his urinary
organ. This does not escape the MARINE'S notice.
ROCK MUSICIAN JUROR
(innocently, to Marine)
I have some gay friends. What's
The MARINE says nothing.
ROCK MUSICIAN JUROR (CONT.)
Everybody has a couple of gay
friends. Don't you?
No, sir. I do not.
The MARINE moves closer to the urinal, so that no one can see
his private parts.
ROCK MUSICIAN JUROR
You might have them, and just
not know they're gay.
The MARINE shakes, zips, flushes, turns away. He pauses to look
directly at the ROCK MUSICIAN JUROR.
WALTER KENTON ON THE WITNESS STAND (INT./DAY) ...
And how many weeks at a time
would you be out to sea, without
stopping at port?
Anywhere from two weeks, to
Any women on board?
Kenton glances at the MARINE JUROR.
Not when I was in the Navy.
So during those long voyages,
months at a time, out to sea, no
women in sight, a hundred,
hardworking, robust, young men,
in the prime of their life, at
the peak of their natural
appetites, desires, their god-
given, hormonal instincts...
Anything going on?
Going on... like...?
Like... two sailors playing hide
Andrew covers his face with his hands.
We had one guy like that.
You haven't ruled on my
objection, Your Honor.
Kenton seems eager to tell his story. Joe stands with
crossed arms, waiting.
You had one guy "like that?"
Yeah. But we took care of him.
How did you do that?
We stuck his head in the
latrine, after ten of us had
LAUGHTER and SOME APPLAUSE from some SPECTATORS, and some
JURORS. ACTIVISTS BOO and HISS.
The JUDGE POUNDS HIS GAVEL.
You taught him a lesson.
Yes, we did.
Like firing Andrew Beckett
taught him a lesson?
(moving on quickly)
You were aware, when you worked
with Maria Torres, that she had
She didn't try to conceal it.
So you are aware of the
difference between a lesion and
a bruise, is that correct?
I know the difference. That
doesn't mean I'm always able to
recognize the difference.
But didn't you avoid contact
with Ms. Torres, after you found
out she had AIDS? She says you
acted repulsed by her and you
avoided her, is that correct?
I felt, and still feel, nothing
but the deepest sympathy and
compassion for people like
Maria, who have contracted this
terrible disease through no
fault of their own.
CUT TO LOUD CLASSICAL MUSIC:
IN THE KITCHEN OF THEIR APARTMENT, MIGUEL POURS MEDICINE
into an IV drip unit (INT./NIGHT) ...
LOUD CLASSICAL MUSIC IN THE BACKGROUND.
Miguel glances at a chart on the wall, in which a day is
broken into hours, with medical instructions for each hour
(shouting over MUSIC)
Drew! Are you ready? If we
start at eight, we'll be done by
Miguel taps the IV bag, getting the drip started.
A cat jumps onto the counter. Miguel holds it.
ANDREW SITS AT THE DININGROOM TABLE, MAKING NOTES ON A LEGAL
pad, holding out his left arm (INT./NIGHT). A catheter is
imbedded into Andrew's arm, and Miguel is trying to get the
IV drip started through the catheter. The MUSIC is lower...
It's not going through.
(focused on his work)
We'll have to flush it again.
Andrew reaches for a law book.
Hold still. Shit.
The goddamn vein's clotted. We
have to go the goddamn hospital,
so they can change the goddamn
I have too much work to do.
Skip the treatment.
We're not skipping this
I said, skip it, Michael. It's
Fuck you. This shit's probably
not doing me any good anyway.
That shit's saving your life,
Miguel shoves away from the table.
What's wrong with you?
Close the law book.
I'm not going to close the--
CLOSE THE FUCKING LAW BOOK!
Andrew slams it SHUT.
ALLRIGHT IT'S CLOSED!
The least you can do is look at
me, while I'm sticking this shit
into your arm. Forget the
fucking case, one hour a day,
and give me a little of your
You don't think there's much
time left, do you?
That's not what I said.
You're scared. You think we're
near the end.
Maybe I should start making plans, is
that what you think? Start
planning my memorial service?
"Begin to prepare for the
Maybe you should think about it.
What's that mean?!
Maybe you should think about it.
I'm not going to die.
That's right. We're on the
Positive Plan. You
don't have a Fatal Disease, you
have Manageable Illness.
You want me to give up? Let this
thing turn us into victims?
Then, what are we, Drew?! The
winners? "Ladies and gentlemen,
the first prize of AIDS goes to
Andrew Beckett and his lover
Miguel..." Excuse me, I'm not
your lover. I'm your Care Partner.
I'm not ready to die.
Do you think I'm ready for it?!
I hate this shit. I'm not a
fucking martyr! I hate every
goddamn part of it!
Miguel slides down the wall, sitting in a heap.
Andrew goes to him. They hug. Miguel holds him tight.
Please don't leave me. I love
you so much. Don't die, don't
leave me, please...
Miguel rocks in Andrew's arms. Andrew kisses the top of his
head, holding tight.
I am so scared. I am so fucking,
incredibly, fucking scared...
A MOMENT. Andrew stroking Miguel's hair, as he calms down.
You know, there's only one thing to
We have to have a party.
JOE AND LISA STAND OUTSIDE ANDREW'S APARTMENT -- IN COSTUME.
DANCE MUSIC is playing inside (INT./NIGHT) ...
Lisa is dressed as a giant sandwich. Joe's costume looks quickly
thrown together: he's wearing a suit, but has pages from a legal
document stapled all over the suit.
Did I ever tell you, I hate
My lettuce is wilting.
The DOOR IS OPENED -- by the LEAD SINGER OF WHITE SNAKE: big
hair, leather, guitar.
ANDREW (AS ROCKER)
We're friends of Beckett's.
It's me, you dork.
I'm Lisa Miller.
Glad to finally meet you. Come on in.
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
JOE AND LISA FOLLOW ANDREW INTO THE APARTMENT (HE LIMPS, relying
on his cane, but he's got A LOT OF ENERGY). The room is filled
with two Madonnas, an M.C. Hammer, three nuns, a can of soup
I have to introduce you to the
can of soup. You can enter the
costume contest together as a
Miguel approaches, dressed as a MEMBER OF MEGA-DEATH or ANTHRAX.
He strikes a pose, contorts his face and hits an air guitar riff.
Andrew crosses guitars with Miguel. Then:
This is Lisa Miller. Miguel Alvarez.
Miguel's sister MARIA is passing by with a GROUP OF FRIENDS.
Everyone ad libs greetings.
My sister, Maria.
Pastrami on rye?
Want to dance?
Miguel leads Lisa away. Joe is reluctant to give her up.
Beckett. You seem... better.
Energized, more alive...
I had a blood transfusion today.
I feel great.
Andrew studies Joe, trying to figure out the costume.
I'm a law suit.
Let's find you a drink.
Andrew leads Joe through the crowd, greeting Rachel, skin
painted blue (SMURFETTE) her daughter AMY (BART SIMPSON),
Anthea, TYRONE from Dr. Gillman's office (A COWBOY), and
TYRONE'S LOVER (A HORSE) ... Some of Dr. Gillman's PATIENTS
are here too, including the YOUNG ASIAN MAN who is now in a
wheelchair. And, one or two of ANDREW'S SIBLINGS may be
present as well. And Alan, Bruno and Chandra, and some arty
friends and neighbors.
What do you want?
(patting his briefcase)
We need to go over your Q and A.
Excuse me, I'm having a goddamn
party, is that allright with you?
Sure. It's fine.
No, we have to do it. But
A MAN dressed as LA TOYA JACKSON (with fake snake) squeezes
past Joe, reaching for a beer.
'Scuse me, darling.
Andrew is SMILING at Joe.
You think I'm uncomfortable...
Joe spills beer down his shirt.
CUT TO A SERIES OF PARTY MOMENTS OVER LOUD MUSIC:
--Andrew and Miguel ROCKING to HEAVY METAL MUSIC, playing a
battle of the guitars. At one point, Andrew has to sit
down, but he doesn't stop "playing," while Miguel jumps all
--Joe talking to a MAN DRESSED AS MARIE ANTOINETTE:
I'm an accountant. What do you do?
I'm a lawyer.
(points to Lisa)
That's my wife!
--Andrew's mother Sarah, as Marge Simpson, delivers a tray
of hors d'oeuvres to Joe (standing next to a POLICEMAN):
Have a cocktail wienie.
(to the POLICEMAN)
It's not a costume, I just got
off work. You're cute.
(pointing to Lisa)
That's my wife. Want to see a
picture of my baby?
(reaching for his wallet)
Absolutely. Want to see a
picture of my baby?
--Everyone SLOW DANCES to the Talking Heads tune "Heaven"
(Simply Red cover version): Joe and Lisa, Andrew and
Miguel, Rachel with a sleepy Amy in her arms, the POLICEMAN
and TYRONE, Sarah Beckett and MARIE ANTOINETTE, LA TOYA and
"HEAVEN" CONTINUES OVER:
A CAB IDLING IN THE STREET, LISA KISSING JOE (NIGHT).
I'll see you in an hour, max.
Lisa climbs into the cab which she is sharing with the NUN
and MARIE ANTOINETTE and LA TOYA.
NUN/MARIE ANTOINETTE/LA TOYA
"HEAVEN" CONTINUES OVER:
QUIET IN ANDREW'S CONDO, THE PARTY LONG OVER (INT/NIGHT).
Joe opens his briefcase, removing a legal pad with notes.
Andrew clears away party debris from the table, making space
for his legal work. He is attached to an IV line, which is
connected to a drip bag on a rolling stand, that can move
with him. He is no longer in costume.
You survived your first gay
Let me tell you something, okay?
When you're brought up, like the
rest of us, in a place like where
I was brought up, there's not a
whole lot of discussion about...
As a kid, you're taught right away
that queers are weird, queers are
funny, they're a danger to kids,
they're afraid to fight, and they
all want to cop your joint. And
that pretty much sums up the
general thinking out there, if you
want to know the truth.
Thank you for sharing that with me,
Let's review these notes for your
testimony. We have a big day on
Joe begins ticking off a list of courtroom reminders:
When you refer to Wheeler, call him
Charles, to show how you'd been
admitted to the inner circle, you
were considered one of them.
Charles. Okay. Miller?
Do you... pray?
Joe hesitates. They're having a personal conversation?
Joe goes back to the notes:
Then we establish how Wheeler's
boys recruited you after law
What have you prayed for?
For a healthy baby. For Lisa to
make it through the delivery.
For the Phillies to get into the
There's a possibility I won't be
around for the end of this
I've considered that.
We proceed, representing your
I've made provisions in my will
for some charities. Miguel will
need a lawyer. I know it's not
I know a good probate lawyer.
Do you like opera?
Andrew moves to the stereo, pulling the IV line with him.
Want to hear my favorite aria?
SUDDENLY, AN ARIA BY MARIA CALLAS FILLS THE ROOM --
startling Joe with its VOLUME.
(over the MUSIC)
Andrea Chenier, by Giordano.
This is Madeleine. She's
telling how, during the French
revolution, a mob set
fire to her house. Her mother
died, saving her.
The place that cradled me was
Do you hear the heartache in her
voice? Then, here come the
strings. Everything changes.
The music fills with hope.
Andrew sways through the room to the music, pulling the IV
at his side. He seems truly free and relaxed.
"It was during that sorrow that
love came to me!
A voice filled with harmony
Live still, I am Life!"
"I am the god that descends
From the heavens to the earth
To make of the earth
ANGLE ON JOE: Shifting, uncomfortable.
"I am Oblivion!
I am Glory!
I am Love, Love, Love!"
The MUSIC ENDS.
Joe sits there, fidgeting. He reaches for his briefcase
organizing his notes.
I think I'll... I told Lisa.
Andrew collects himself, as Joe rises from his chair.
Andrew follows Joe to the door.
I'll look over the Q and A.
You're ready, don't worry.
An awkward moment, both men standing with their hands at
their sides -- will one of them initiate a handshake?
Joe gives a little "salute," then leaves.
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
JOE COMES DOWN THE HALLWAY OF THE MODERN CONDO BUILDING
Suddenly, Joe HEARS: OPERA MUSIC PLAYING AGAIN.
He pauses, listening.
ANDREW MOVES THROUGH THE ROOM, DRINKING IN THE BEAUTIFUL,
passionate MUSIC (INT./NIGHT) ...
The IV stand catches against the sofa, tugging the line.
Andrew pulls the line out of his arm. He moves, freer now.
JOE STANDS OUTSIDE ANDREW'S DOOR, OPERA MUSIC PLAYING
Joe lifts his hand to KNOCK.
He changes his mind.
Joe moves down the corridor, rings for the elevator.
ANDREW MOVING THROUGH SHADOWS, IN THE APARTMENT, LETTING THE
MUSIC pull him along (INT./NIGHT) ...
JOE STEPPING INTO THE ELEVATOR (INT./NIGHT).
The doors closing.
ANDREW AND THE MUSIC (INT./NIGHT).
MUSIC FADING, CROSSES THE CUT TO:
EXTERIOR: JOE'S SUBURBAN HOUSE LATE AT NIGHT...
Joe crosses the yard to his dark house.
MUSIC DISTANT, CROSSES THE CUT TO:
JOE'S BABY LIES SLEEPING IN HER CRIB (INT./NIGHT).
Joe looks down on the baby, adjusting the blanket.
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
LISA FACES CAMERA, ASLEEP IN THE DARK BEDROOM (INT./NIGHT).
Joe doffs his jacket, sinking quietly onto the edge of the
bed, careful not to disturb Lisa.
With his BACK TO CAMERA, Joe puts his head into his hands...
And begins to weep.
FADE IN: PANORAMIC SHOT OF PHILADELPHIA EXTERIORS...
HIGH, WIDE ANGLE ON THE COURTROOM, IN SILENCE (INT./DAY) ...
Andrew moves very slowly with his cane across the courtroom,
toward the witness stand.
--JUDGE GARNETT crosses his arms, waiting.
--JOE glances at some notes.
--MIGUEL and SARAH BECKETT look on anxiously.
--WHEELER and the others observe in silence.
CAMERA HOLDS ON BIBLE BEING CARRIED IN GLOVED HANDS, ACROSS
THE COURTROOM. OVER THIS SHOT IS A...
TITLE: "Plaintiff's case. day fourteen."
The BAILIFF places the Bible in front of Andrew (a purple
blotch is showing in front of Andrew's ear.)
Place your left hand on the
Bible and raise your right hand.
Andrew places his hand on the Bible.
"Do you swear to tell the truth...
DIALOGUE OVERLAP AND DISSOLVE TO:
ANDREW ANSWERING A QUESTION AN HOUR OR SO LATER (INT./DAY).
Wyant Wheeler had aggressively
recruited me. They were the
most prestigious firm in
Philadelphia, full of
opportunity. And I was
impressed by the partners.
Including Charles Wheeler?
(Andrew frequently wipes sweat from his forehead with a
handkerchief. His voice is hoarse, raspy.)
ANGLE ON WHEELER.
What impressed you about him?
He was... the kind of person I
thought I wanted to be.
What kind of person is that?
Possessed of an encyclopedic
knowledge of the law. A razor
sharp litigator, a genuine
leader, gifted at bringing out
the very best in others. An
awesome ability to illuminate
the most complex of legal
concepts to colleagues,
courtrooms, the person on the
The kind of person
who plays three sets of tennis but
doesn't sweat. But underneath the
elegant surface, was an
Belinda Conine MAKES A NOTE ABOUT THAT.
Obviously, at this time, you
It's possible I was infected with
the HIV virus at that time, but I
wasn't diagnosed until several years
You didn't look then, the way you
REVERSE -- ON ANDREW IN THE WITNESS STAND, BUT NOW HE LOOKS
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT (The healthy. pre-AIDS Andrew.)
No. I was thirty pounds heavier.
I was athletic.
A regular all-American guy?
I suppose you could say that.
Except... you were gay?
I still am.
In the years you worked at Wyant
Wheeler, did you ever tell
Charles Wheeler you were gay?
No. I didn't.
Can you explain why you didn't?
You don't bring your personal
life into a law firm. You're
not supposed to have a personal
life, really. Anyway, I did
plan to tell Charles,
eventually. But then, this
thing happened at the tennis
IMAGE: WHEELER. ANDREW. SEIDMAN. OTHERS IN A LOCKER ROOM OF
A TENNIS CLUB, WEARING TOWELS, ENTERING A SAUNA (INT./DAY).
Longstreet's interested in the
I'm seeing him this afternoon.
INSIDE THE SAUNA: CAMERA PANS SEVERAL MEN.
ANDREW (VOICE OVER)
"Somebody started telling jokes."
What do you call a woman who has
PMS and ESP at the same time?.
A bitch who knows everything.
LAUGHTER. Andrew keeps his eyes closed, leaning against the
wall of the sauna, next to Wheeler, relaxing.
How does a faggot fake an orgasm?
Andrew opens one eye.
CHARLES WHEELER (CONT.)
He spits on your back.
Charles, that's revolting!
All the men LAUGH, and Wheeler LAUGHS THE HARDEST.
JOE (VOICE OVER)
How did that make you feel?
IMAGE: BACK TO THE COURTROOM. ANDREW IN THE WITNESS STAND (And
it's the sick, thin Andrew with AIDS).
Relieved. That I'd never told
him I was gay. Very relieved.
ANGLE ON CHARLES WHEELER: shakes his head, a denial.
Are you a good lawyer?
I'm an excellent lawyer.
What makes you an excellent
I love the law. I know the law.
I excel at practicing it. It's
the only thing I've ever wanted to do.
What do you love about it?
Well... many things. But I
think the thing I love the most,
is that every once in a while,
not that often, but
occasionally... you get to be
part of justice being done.
It's really quite a thrill when
BELINDA CONINE STANDS BEFORE ANDREW (INT./DAY).
You said earlier you aspired to
be the kind of person who had
"an adventurous spirit." Is
Something like that.
Do you take risks?
In my work? Yes. Calculated
risks. You have to.
In general. Do you take risks
in other areas of your life?
Not unnecessary ones.
Have you ever been to the Apollo
Cinema on Sansom Street?
Joe cringes a little with discomfort.
(looking Belinda right
in the eye)
A few times.
IMAGE: FLASHING LIGHTS AT THE "APOLLO" THEATER ENTRANCE
What kind of movies do they show
BACK IN COURT (INT./DAY):
Gay pornographic movies?
Do men have sex with each other
in that theater?
IMAGE: MOVING POV SHOT PAST ROWS OF GAY PORN MAGAZINES
How about you, Mr. Beckett?
IMAGE: MOVING POV SHOT PAST FACES OF THE JURORS (INT./DAY)
BELINDA (OS) (CONT.)
... Have you ever had sex with
someone in that theater?
IMAGE: MOVING POV SHOT PAST A GLASS COUNTER HOLDING SEXUAL
DEVICES, LUBRICANTS, CONDOMS (INT./NIGHT).
BACK IN COURT, ON ANDREW:
IMAGE: MEN LURKING OUTSIDE PRIVATE SCREENING BOOTHS (THEY
VARY IN AGE. TYPE. ETC. -- MOST LOOK PRETTY DAMN NORMAL)
IMAGE: ANDREW (PRE-AIDS) SMILES AT A FRIENDLY YUPPIE, STANDING
INSIDE A PRIVATE BOOTH (INT./NIGHT).
Andrew steps into the booth.
Now what do we do?
Robert laughs, closing the door of the booth.
I think we'll figure it out.
BACK TO THE COURTROOM (INT./DAY):
Joe sits with a stone-sober expression: this isn't easy.
When? Approximately what year did
this event take place?
I guess it was 1984, 85.
Were you aware in 1984 or 1985
that there was a fatal disease
out there, called AIDS, and that
you could contract it through
It's impossible to know exactly
when or how I was infected with HIV.
But you were having anonymous
sex in porno theaters in 1984
That happened once. People
weren't talking about AIDS then,
the way we are now. Or safe
You'd heard of AIDS in 1984, 85?
I'd heard of something. The gay
plague, gay cancer, but... we
didn't know how you could get it,
or that it could kill you.
CLOSE SHOT ON ANDREW -- losing strength.
(sounds far away)
Do you need a break?
While you were employed at Wyant
Wheeler, you did everything you
could to make sure no one knew
you were an active homosexual,
That is not correct. I never lied
Did you keep a picture of your
lover on your desk?
Do other lawyers at the firm keep
pictures of their spouses or
fiances on their desks?
IMAGE: ANDREW IN BOB SEIDMAN'S OFFICE, WORKING, SPOTTING A
PHOTO ON THE WALL OF BOB'S WIFE AND CHILDREN (INT./DAY).
Some do. I didn't.
As a homosexual, one is often forced
to conceal one's sexuality, is
In some situations.
Isn't it true you have spent your
life pretending to be something
you're not, so much so that the
art of concealment and dishonesty
has become second nature to you?!
I'll withdraw it. Mr. Beckett?
Were you living with Miguel
Alvarez in 1984 or 1985 when you
had your anonymous sexual encounter
in the porn theater?
ANGLE ON MIGUEL, sitting next to Sarah.
You could have infected him, isn't
Miguel has not been infected. As
I said, we weren't aware of AIDS,
then, or how it is spread.
Andrew wipes sweat from his forehead.
You've testified the lesions on
your face were visible to the
people you worked with, correct?
And it's your contention, that
when the partners were made
aware of the lesions, they
jumped to the conclusion you had
AIDS and fired you.
Do you have any lesions on your
face at this time?
One. Here, in front of my ear.
An ASSISTANT hands Conine a shaving mirror. She holds it
Remembering you are under oath,
answering truthfully, can you
see the lesion on your face, in
this mirror, three feet away?
Andrew looks in the mirror: the lesion is NOT very visible.
By the time I was fired, there
were four lesions on my face,
Answer the question, please.
No. I can't really see it.
Andrew rubs his eyes.
JUDGE GARNETT (OS)
This would be a good time to
break for the day...
Your Honor? May I have ten
minutes in re-direct?
JUDGE GARNETT (OS)
Andrew finds the Judge looking at him.
JUDGE GARNETT (CONT.)
Can you go on for ten minutes?
Joe JUMPS UP from the plaintiff's table.
I only need five!
(to Belinda, reaching
for the mirror)
Joe approaches Andrew, with the mirror.
Do you have any lesions on any
part of your body, at this time,
that resemble the lesions that
were on your face at the time
you were fired?
Yes. On my torso.
If it please the court, I'd like
to ask Mr. Beckett to
remove his shirt, so that the
jury can have an accurate idea
of what we're talking about.
We object, Your Honor. It would
unfairly influence the jury.
Your Honor, if Mr. Beckett was
forced by his illness to use a
wheelchair, would the defense
ask him to park it outside?
We're talking about AIDS, we're
talking about lesions. Let's
see what we're talking about.
ANGLE ON MEMBERS OF THE JURY -- LOOKING APPREHENSIVE.
(a moment, then)
I'll allow it. Would you mind
removing your shirt, Mr.
ANGLE ON MIGUEL -- TENSE.
The COURTROOM TURNS SILENT.
Andrew removes his suit jacket. He's weak, so the smallest
gesture requires effort.
ANGLE ON BOB SEIDMAN -- WATCHING.
Andrew undoes his tie.
ANGLE ON THE MARINE JUROR -- WATCHING.
Andrew unbuttons his collar buttons, working his way down.
ANGLE ON SARAH BECKETT -- WATCHING.
Andrew stands, pulling his shirttails out of his trousers.
ANGLE ON CHARLES WHEELER -- WATCHING.
Andrew removes his shirt -- THERE ARE PURPLE BLOTCHES
SPLAYED ACROSS HIS CHEST AND ABDOMEN AND ARMS.
The SCHOOLTEACHER JUROR GASPS.
Sarah Beckett is silently crying.
The LESBIAN JUROR closes her eyes.
Can you see the lesions on your
chest in this mirror?
CAMERA MOVES IN ON CHARLES WHEELER...
COURTHOUSE CORRIDOR, ACTIVITY (INT./DAY) ...
Charles Wheeler strides down the corridor, flanked by
Kenton, Killcoyne and Belinda, discussing strategy.
Bob Seidman steps to Wheeler's side, keeping pace.
I've discovered something
... keep them from that area,
on grounds of relevancy.
No matter how hard I try, I
can't lose a file in my
NOW he's got EVERYONE'S attention.
The system automatically makes a
Belinda holds up both hands, interrupting with:
I don't think I should hear this.
She walks away, giving a glance over her shoulder as:
You can erase the backup...
(a challenge to Wheeler)
But why would you?
What's the point, Bob?
Very interesting, Bob. Let's make a
note of that. Andy didn't lose the
complaint in his computer. He
never put it in. He lied about
If you feel differently, Bob, you
should say so, when you're called
to the stand. After all, this
isn't a conspiracy.
Wheeler and the gang moves on, leaving Seidman alone in the
Belinda hesitates, before re-grouping with Wheeler and the
rest, casting a curious glance toward Bob Seidman.
CAMERA PULLS BACK FROM CHARLES WHEELER -- ON THE STAND...
Why did you recruit Andrew Beckett
to your firm?
Andrew uses all his strength to concentrate.
Charles Wheeler speaks with great sincerity.
If you're the owner of a major
league ball club, you recruit the
hot rookie. And Andy was tremendously
promising as a young attorney.
That's why we went after him,
that's why we hired him, and
that's why we stuck with him,
year after year... waiting for
the promise to be fulfilled. But
it never was.
You kept giving him another chance?
Of course we did. When you've
groomed someone they way we groomed
Andy, nurturing him, lavishing all
kinds of special treatment on him...
you've made quite an investment.
We were waiting for his promise to
kick in, and deliver. But,
ultimately, we could no longer
ignore the gap between the promise
and the reality... This is one of
the saddest times in my life. To
sit in this court, testifying to
Andy's ultimate failure to make
the grade. To discover that he is
one of those people who wants to
benefit by the system, but doesn't
want to play by the system's
rules. To think you know someone,
only to find out... you don't know
them at all. It's heartbreaking.
Thank you. That's all for now,
Joe rises. Adjusts his jacket. Wheeler waits.
Explain to me, if you can, Mr.
Wheeler, explain this to me like
I'm a ten year-old. This trial is
not about a disease, is that what
you're saying? Not about your
understandable, if unfounded, fear
of catching AIDS through casual
contact with someone who has it?
You're saying, this trial is about
Andrew Beckett's character. Am I
getting this right?
Yes, character. To the extent that it
affects a person's ability to do
a great job.
Andrew looks away -- face shiny with sweat, breathing
difficult. He takes in the rest of the court, while
Wheeler's words THROB THROUGH THE AIR...
Andy worked when he wanted to work,
telling us what he thought we
needed to know about his
ANDREW'S POV -- ON RACHEL, sitting among the spectators. Rachel
begins speaking, her WORDS OVERLAPPING Wheeler's (we should get
the feeling she's giving her testimony).
I didn't mind covering for Andy,
but I did wonder... when was he
planning to deal with his problem?
Andrew blinks... what's going on?
Looking back to the court: Joe presses in on Wheeler.
Everything seems normal.
Sometimes it seems like society
is run by these kinds of people.
What kind of people?
People who want to bend the rules...
ANDREW'S POV -- KENNETH KILLCOYNE at the defense table:
If you want to be a leader in this
society, you have to make
Wheeler keeps speaking:
... to suit their personal desires,
and the rest of us have to live
ANDREW'S POV -- WALTER KENTON:
You have to make a decision: is
this guy partner material?
Who makes the rules, Mr. Wheeler?
ANDREW'S POV -- BOB SEIDMAN:
Yes, I did see the lesions. I
suspected he was sick...
CLOSE ON ANDREW: closing his eyes.
THE VOICES GET LOUDER, FIGHTING WITH EACH OTHER:
The everyday, common person with
It seems like he wasn't willing to
face the reality of his situation...
Andrew slowly rises, the VOICES GETTING LOUDER:
I didn't tell the others, I
was afraid to...
... But now, we're standing up for
... But we shouldn't have fired
... It's time to get this society
back on track!
Andrew OPENS HIS EYES... WE SWITCH TO HIS POV:
The Judge, the Jury -- everyone silent, looking concerned.
ANDREW'S POV of the courtroom floor.
Andrew falls into his own POV SHOT. In slow motion.
He lies on the floor, looking up.
ANDREW'S POV -- Joe steps over him.
Could you call an ambulance,
A CRISIS IN A HOSPITAL ROOM (INT./DAY) ... MEDICAL STAFF
working frenetically, trying to intubate Andrew, who IS
HAVING SERIOUS TROUBLE BREATHING, his body HEAVING. The
tube they're trying to put in place seems to be making
Miguel stands to the side, furious:
It's making it worse. Take it
out. Take it out!
Dr. Gillman RUSHES into the room, in street clothes,
obviously having answered an emergency call. She tries
assessing the situation, just as the tube is removed and
Andrew GASPS for breath. A NURSE places an oxygen mask over
Andrew's face and he drinks in the air. His eyes are wide
open with fear, sweat covering his face.
PHILADELPHIA CITY HALL, A BUSINESS DAY (EXT./DAY).
TITLE: "Two weeks later."
LESBIAN JUROR (VO)
If he was "mediocre," why did
they gave him this major
assignment three weeks before
they fired him?
POSTAL WORKER JUROR (VO)
They were testing him.
JURORS SITTING AROUND A LONG TABLE IN A ROOM WITH TALL,
grimy windows (INT./DAY) ...
TITLE: "Jury deliberations."
They wanted to see if he'd rise
to the challenge.
An American flag hangs on the wall.
They wanted to give him a final
POSTAL WORKER JUROR
I'd still love to know what
happened to that missing file.
Wouldn't we all?
POSTAL WORKER JUROR
Ask the computer.
COLLEGE STUDENT JUROR
They say he wasn't competent. But,
you heard him on the stand.
ROCK MUSICIAN JUROR
He sounded pretty smart to me.
Why would they fire him? Why
not a medical leave, or...
COLLEGE STUDENT JUROR
They freaked out over the AIDS.
They hate homosexuals.
It's not against the law to
disapprove of homosexuals.
It is against the law to fire someone
for having AIDS. That's why we're
You're the foreman. You haven't said
anything. What do you think?
ANGLE ON -- THE MARINE, sitting at the head of the table.
CAMERA MOVES IN SLOWLY ON HIM:
They're saying he wasn't a good
lawyer. He was mediocre. And the
fact that they gave him the most
important lawsuit they'd ever had,
for one of their most important
clients... they say that doesn't
prove anything, because that was
just a test. What did they call
it? A carrot. To see if he'd rise
to the occasion... Okay... Say
I've got to send a pilot into
enemy territory, and he's gonna
be flying a plane that cost 350
Who am I going to put into that
plane? A rookie who can't cut the
grade, because I want to see if
he'll rise to the challenge? Or am
I going to give that assignment to
my best pilot, my most experienced,
my sharpest, my top gun... The very
best I've got?
CLOSE ON THE MARINE:
MARINE JUROR (CONT.)
Could somebody please explain that
to me... like I'm a six year old?
HOLD ON THE MARINE, AS THE JUDGE'S VOICE FADES IN:
JUDGE GARNETT (VO)
Members of the jury, have you
reached a verdict?
AND CUT TO:
THE COURTROOM -- NO ONE STIRRING (INT./DAY).
Joe is utterly cool. Sitting beside Andrew's empty chair.
Among the spectators, Andrew's siblings, Jill, Matt, Randy, and
his parents, Bud and Sarah... Rachel, Anthea and Miguel's
The Marine rises to his feet.
We have, Your Honor...
Charles Wheeler looks the Marine in the eye.
We find for the plaintiff,
Joe smiles, just barely, remaining calm.
Charles Wheeler whispers to Belinda Conine.
Have you awarded any damages?
Yes, we have, Your Honor.
(referring to a list)
For back pay and loss of benefits
... one hundred fortythree
Joe shakes his head, disappointed, writing down the amount.
Wheeler and his crew SMILE -- THIS IS THEIR VICTORY.
MARINE JUROR (CONT.)
For damages related to mental
anguish and humiliation... we give
Joe is extremely disappointed.
MARINE JUROR (CONT.)
And punitive damages we award...
Four million, eight hundred and
eighty two thousand dollars.
Joe throws his pen over his shoulder.
COURTROOM BURSTS INTO AN UPROAR.
Andrew's supporters, Joe's colleagues from his office rush
forward, pounding him on the back. Andrew's family members
hug each other...
CAMERA CRANES AWAY FROM THIS GROUP, RISING TOWARD THE
CEILING AS THE SOUNDS OF THE CROWD FADE...
OPERA MUSIC FADES IN, TAKING US TO...
ELEVATOR DOORS OPENING... JOE STEPPING INTO THE CORRIDOR OF
a hospital (INT./NIGHT), carrying two shopping bags from the
Famous 4th Street deli...
Joe moves down the corridor, looking for a particular room.
Dr. Gillman stands outside a hospital room, talking in a low
voice to Bud and Sarah Beckett. As Joe passes them,
entering Andrew's room, he hears:
... if he comes out of the
hospital this time, you mustn't
expect him to be like he was
Joe steps into...
ANDREW'S HOSPITAL ROOM (INT./NIGHT) ...
A hand-painted banner is strung over Andrew's bed:
OPERA MUSIC plays on a portable CD player. ANDREW lies in a
hospital bed, with a pressurized oxygen mask on his face.
JILL sits on the edge of Andrew's bed, holding his hand,
smiling, speaking to Andrew in low tones. With his free
hand, Andrew gently strokes Jill's forearm. (Andrew has an
amazing assortment of tubes and IVs running into various
parts of his body.)
Andrew's brothers MATT and RANDY are sipping beers with REV.
JIM, MIGUEL, Miguel's sister MARIA, Bruno and Chandra, while
Matt does a dramatic re-creation of the Marine Juror rendering
the judgment. Matt's audience is loving it.
As Joe comes into the room, Jill rises to take the shopping bags
from him. Joe exchanges nods and greetings with the others.
People KEEP THEIR VOICES LOW, but there's a certain energy, and
happiness evident in the room.
ON ANDREW: Watching his friends and relatives with sparkling
eyes and a weak, but grateful and peaceful smile.
ON JOE: Glancing across the room, catching Andrew's look.
Andrew smiles at Joe and pats his hospital bed, indicating he
wants Joe to sit there.
Joe crosses the room, sits on the edge of the bed.
With some difficulty, Andrew removes his oxygen mask. His
voice is raspy, weak:
What do you call a thousand lawyers
chained together at the bottom of the
A good start.
Excellent work, Joe. I thank
It was good working with you, Andrew.
(sees the oxygen mask)
Hey. Shouldn't you put
that thing back on?
Andrew begins fitting the mask back in place, but his hands are
weak. Joe helps adjust the straps behind Andrew's ears.
I better get home. Lisa and I
are having some friends over.
(muffled by the mask)
I'll see you, Beckett.
Andrew nods, weakly. But he's still smiling and his eyes
Thanks for coming by.
You bet. We'll see you later.
Joe heads for the door, meeting Miguel there.
He's looking good. I wouldn't
be surprised if he gets out of
We just want to get him home.
Thanks for stopping by, Joe.
Miguel puts his arms around Joe and hugs him. Joe slaps
Miguel begins circulating among the "guests," saying:
He's tired. He ought to sleep.
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
JOE STEPPING INTO THE HOSPITAL ELEVATOR (INT./NIGHT), AND
saying to a GROUP OF DOCTORS and NURSES:
What do you call a thousand
lawyers chained together at
the bottom of the ocean?
The elevator doors close.
CONTINUOUS CUT TO:
ANDREW'S HOSPITAL ROOM...
Matt gives Andrew's hand a squeeze, before leaving.
Night, Andy. See you tomorrow,
Rev. Jim pats Andrew's shoulder.
God bless you, Andy.
Bud Beckett kisses Andrew on the cheek.
Get some rest, okay?
Sarah Beckett is strong, kissing Andrew on the forehead.
Goodnight angel, my sweet boy...
Randy Beckett loses control of his emotions as he bends to hug
his brother. He begins to sob.
Andrew puts his weak arms, with the IV lines connected,
around his brother Randy, to comfort him.
I'm okay, bro. I'll see you tomorrow.
Jill hugs Andrew, giving Miguel a kiss as she leaves the room.
Maria waves goodnight from the doorway, closing the door.
Miguel sits on the edge of the bed, kicking off his shoes.
Miguel stretches onto the bed next to Andrew, picks up the
remote control, and TURNS ON THE TV.
Andrew pulls aside the oxygen mask, to say:
Ready for what, baby?
I hope you're ready for "Studs,"
because that's what's on.
Andrew replaces the oxygen mask.
They lie next to each other, watching television.
FADE OUT/FADE IN:
EXTERIOR: JOE'S HOUSE AT NIGHT, ESTABLISHING...
From inside the house: the phone rings.
JOE AND LISA'S DARK BEDROOM, QUIET (INT./NIGHT) ...
Lisa is sitting up in bed, having answered the phone.
Joe is just waking up.
Joe sits bolt upright.
EXTERIOR: ANDREW AND MIGUEL'S LOFT BUILDING, DAY.
A TAXI ARRIVES and an elegant, well-dressed older COUPLE
RACHEL OPENS THE DOOR OF THE LOFT, FINDING MIGUEL'S FAMILY
on the other side: very dignified, handsome people who have
just arrived from Spain. They enter the apartment, where...
A wake is in progress. Lots of food. People sharing stories
about Andrew. Some people laughing. one or two softly crying
as they hug each other.
Someone has set up a "memento" table, with pictures of Andrew
at various stages of his life, and things that meant something
to him, like programs from the opera, a ballcap, photos of his
favorite cat, etc.
THEME MUSIC PLAYS, but we hear BITS OF DIALOGUE under the
music ("You're Miguel's parents?" "Do you remember when
Andy..." "I went to college with Andy..." etc.)
Bud Beckett sits alone, very quiet.
Miguel leads his parents over to Bud. Bud looks up, rises,
extending his hand to MIGUEL'S DAD. Miguel's father shakes his
head in sadness, reaches for Bud and pulls him into his arms for
CAMERA MOVES THROUGH THE CROWD, SEEMING TO SEARCH FOR
CAMERA ZEROS IN ON THE TV SET, across the room, where BLACK AND
WHITE IMAGES ARE FLICKERING, ignored by everyone...
AS CAMERA GETS CLOSER TO THE TV, it becomes apparent that the
images are BLACK AND WHITE HOME MOVIES, converted to video...
THE HOME MOVIES FEATURE a bright-eyed LITTLE BOY...
Riding a bike with training wheels...
Swinging wildly at a wiffle ball...
AS CAMERA TRACKS INTO THE TV, PARTY SOUNDS AND THEME MUSIC
FADES... People are still talking, still laughing, still
crying, but we CAN'T HEAR THEM ANY LONGER. Instead...
We hear only the SOUNDTRACK from the HOME MOVIES...
Andrew SHOUTING GLEEFULLY as he chases a new puppy...
Andrew SQUEALING as he jumps into a tiny swimming pool...
Andrew on a swing, going higher and higher...
FADE TO BLACK.
ROLL END CREDITS.
May we never find space so vast,
planets so cold, heart
and mind so empty
that we cannot fill them
with love and warmth...
Writers : Ron Nyswaner
Genres : Drama