Rev. 3/25/92 (Blue)
Rev. 4/03/92 (Pink)
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN
HOLLYWOOD PICTURES PRODUCTION REVISION
500 South Buena Vista
Burbank, CA 91521 March 17, 1992
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92
1 A FLASH OF LIGHT 1
A radiant shiny something dazzling in EXTREME CLOSEUP.
CAMERA very slowly PULLS BACK. The sparkling surface
turns out to be a lot of carats. WE SEE the stone, then
the ring, then suddenly, in b.g., something HUGE SWEEPS
by. REVEAL a mechanical claw above the ring, hanging
from a crane. The ring sits in a sea of tiny dolls,
joke eyeballs, and other carnival junk.
The claw descends on the ring again and again, sometimes
catching it for a moment then tragically dropping it --
accompanied by OOHS and AAHS (O.S.) of hope and disap-
pointment. INTERCUT with the HANDS of a young black man
working the controls. The EYES of a young black woman
watching him work. Another guy's HANDS digging in his
pocket for change. QUARTERS going into the slot.
MAN'S VOICE (O.S.)
This'll never work, Tommy.
Be positive, Armando. Course it will.
The claw inadvertently snags a rabbit's foot.
Look. See what a lucky fuck I am?
WOMAN'S VOICE (O.S.)
He don't mean the ring, hon, he
means the whole plan.
So do I.
The claw catches the ring and closes on it. QUICK CUTS
of their FACES as the crane rises. A very pretty lady.
A beefy Latino with a two-day beard. Their apprehension.
Tommy's confidence. Then his exceptional smile. He gets
2 INT. PENNY ARCADE - DAY 2
Okay -- one down, one to go.
(returning to the
You got quarters, Loretta?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 2.
3 EXT. FLORIDA LUXURY HOTEL - DAY 3
Palm trees. The smell of money. Valets in Foreign
Legion khakis greeting arriving luxury cars.
4 INT. HOTEL FUNCTION ROOM - DAY 4
A big crowd of GUESTS at a cocktail reception. A lot
of lime jackets, cherry trousers, and blue hair. People
wear name tags.
ON Tommy, in pastel bow tie and full waiter drag, con-
firming orders for a group of guests. He speaks in a
PRISSY, OVER-SOLICITIOUS VOICE:
That's a diet ginger ale, an extra-
spicy virgin mary no salt, a club
soda -- good choice -- a lime
rickey, and a bourbon and a
planter's punch. Five people,
five drinks... it's Kismet!
Tommy turns away, looking toward the entrance to the
5 INT. LOBBY - DAY - CLOSE SHOT - THE RING 5
glittering on Loretta's finger. LORETTA, stunning in
designer clothing and accessories, enters. Her looks
6 INT. FUNCTION ROOM - DAY 6
Tommy, maintaining his vantage point, repeats another
order, this time in a heavy CARRIBEAN ACCENT:
That's a vodka tonic, a Pellegrino,
lime and no ice, a gin Gibson
straight up with ex-tra onions
-- I am also fond of de onions --
and a Chardonnary spritzer...also
with extra onions -- no, no, do
not worry, that is just a little
joke. There will be no onions
whatsoever in your spritzer!
He LAUGHS HUGELY, rather amused with himself. The guests
You don't need to write it down?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 3.
6 CONTINUED: 6
Mr. Memory? Do not make me laugh!
He LAUGHS HUGELY, turns, takes two steps away and makes
absolutely no effort to get their drinks. He looks
toward the door.
7 INT. HALLWAY/ENTRANCE TO FUNCTION ROOM - DAY 7
Loretta approaches the function room, where pert DEBBIE,
wearing a JOHNSON FOR CONGRESS button, staffs a felt-
covered table. On a nearby easel, a photo of a silver-
haired Man with a legend in blue and gold: JEFF JOHNSON.
THE NAME YOU KNOW.
I'm not too late, am I, dear?
(extending a hand)
Hello, darling, Alma Preston,
how are you today?
Thanks for coming, Ms. Preston,
I'm Debbie Bartle.
(consulting a list)
Do we have your check yet?
Loretta pulls a Mont Blanc pen and a checkbook from her
No, honey, I don't think you do, we
just got in last night from our
place in Barbados -- how much is it?
Five hundred a person. Barbados?
Yes, we're just down the beach
from Mick Jagger and Jerry.
You wouldn't turn down a couple of
thousand, would you?
A pleased smile from Debbie. Loretta opens the check-
book, flashing the immense RING in front of Debbie.
Um, that's a lovely ring.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 4.
7 CONTINUED: 7
Oh, thank you. I thought it might
be a little gaudy...who should I
make this out to?
Johnson for Congress. It's not
gaudy, it's just...nice and big.
That's my Carlos...I can't even
look in a store window. We're
walking down this street in Rio,
we pass a jewelry store...I didn't
even turn my head and he's in the
(holds up ring)
...$250,000. I said it's crazy...
but you know Carlos.
I wish I did.
ON Tommy watching Loretta. A Guest standing just behind
Tommy -- wearing MRS. ZEKE BRIDGES name tag -- watches
JEFF JOHNSON gladhand the room robustly.
I hear they had him open for six hours.
ZEKE, a very fat cigar-smoker, marvels at Johnson's
The sum' bitch looks terrific.
Tommy, eavesdropping, joins Zeke's chuckle, which unfor-
tunately turns into a wheeze and then a cough. Zeke
turns to Tommy.
How about taking our orders, son?
Absolutely my friend! How can I
Bourbon straight up and a Perrier
rocks for the lady.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 5.
7 CONTINUED: (2) 7
Ah! Fire and ice! Wonderful!
But may I suggest you make that a
double sir? After all, so many
guests, so few of me -- who knows
when I may be back?
Sure, why not.
AT THE ENTRANCE LORETTA pauses before going into the room.
You know where the powder room is, hon?
I should freshen my face before I go in.
It's just over there.
ON JEFF JOHNSON with his well-groomed wife, VERA, and a
barrel-chested Man in full resort wear, wearing an OLAF
ANDERSEN name tag.
So how the heck are you, Olaf?
I should be asking how you are, congressman.
Johnson pats his chest and smiles at Vera.
This old ticker never felt better.
It's good to see you back on your
feet, Jeff. We need you in Washington.
Inconspicuously, a pretty young redhead whispers to Vera.
This is JENNIFER, Johnson's Administrative Assistant
How's that granddaughter of yours,
Olaf? Ready for the Olympics?
She'll be thrilled you asked after her.
8 IN THE HALLWAY Loretta emerges from the Ladies' Room... 8
catches a spike heel... recovers her balance... then
frantically searches her hands and clothes, SCREAMS,
and gets down on hands and knees.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 6.
8 CONTINUED: 8
My God! My God! Oh my God!
Debbie rushes over to her.
What's the matter?
My -- my ring. My diamond. I took
it off in the ladies' room to wash my
hands. I was just putting it on --
I must have dropped it.
Let me help you, we'll find it.
9 IN THE FUNCTION ROOM Tommy maintains his watch on 9
Loretta. Zeke Bridges taps Tommy on the shoulder.
Hey, what about our drinks?
Tommy instantly assumes an ANGRY YOUNG STREET BLACK
Yeah? What you want?
What? You already took our order.
That wasn't me! You must be
thinking of Jamal. I'm Karim.
What you want?
Bourbon straight up and a Perrier
He walks two steps...and once again makes no attempt to
get the drinks. Zeke returns to Jeff Johnson.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 7.
9 CONTINUED: 9
Don't get me wrong, Jeff. Pyramid
Insurance doesn't want special breaks.
I just think we ought to be able to
set our own rates without Uncle Sam
sticking his nose in our business.
Johnson signals Jennifer to come over.
Do you know my AA? Zeke Bridges,
this is Jennifer, my Administrative
Assistant. Zeke's been a
tremendous help to us. I'd like
you to listen to his view on health
I'd be very happy to.
At Pyramid Insurance, we call our
approach the Patient's Bill of
10 IN THE HALLWAY Loretta and Debbie are on hands and 10
knees, still looking. A pair of shoes comes INTO FRAME.
They LOOK up at a bullet-headed man.
Ms. Preston? Bruno Handler, hotel
My ring! My ring! Oh my god...!
Now just calm down, Ma'am... can you
describe the ring?
It's a diamond ring! A big diamond
ring! Oh my Christ!
She's frantic. Debbie takes Bruno aside.
I saw it. It's huge... it must be
like eight carats. She says it was
a quarter of a million dollars!
Bruno turns back to Loretta, trying to calm her.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 8.
10 CONTINUED: 10
Ma'am... calm down. Now, is the
Of course it's insured! But you
know how it works -- if I report
it, they'll cancel me. And I don't
want another ring! I need this
ring! The ring Carlos gave me.
Bruno turns, speaks into the walkie-talkie he's carrying.
Where the fuck is housekeeping? I called
for those dickheads ninety seconds ago.
11 IN THE FUNCTION ROOM the Guests have gathered to hear 11
Johnson speak. As Andersen introduces him, Tommy con-
tinues eyeing Loretta.
Now I won't run through Jeff's
record -- he's been in Congress
twenty years, and I've only got two
minutes. I'll just say this: When
those of us in pharmaceuticals, or
agribusiness, or insurance, or
utilities, or you name it -- when
we've needed him, Jeff's been there
for us. And we've been there for
Jeff, too -- we raised a hundred
thousand dollars today!
Without further ado, our man in
Washington, Jefferson Davis Johnson.
12 IN THE HALLWAY Debbie hears the APPLAUSE (O.S.). She 12
I should be in there. Good luck,
Ms. Preston. I hope you find it.
She leaves. Loretta, mascara smeared, gets up, as
I can't go in there like this. God!
Please... listen... I'll pay a ten
thousand dollar reward for anybody
who finds my ring. Just don't tell
He'll kill me.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 9.
13 IN THE FUNCTION ROOM, as Johnson takes questions, Tommy 13
What do you make of all this campaign
reform business, Jeff?
Well, y'know Ernie... these days,
everyone's down on the political
action committees and so-called
special interests. But, heck, I
think you and Fran have a right to
participate in our democracy in
exactly the way you're doing today.
I'm in Congress to represent you.
I don't want any so-called reform
to take that power away from you.
14 APPLAUSE (O.S.). IN THE HALLWAY Bruno issues orders to 14
two Maintenance Men.
I want every heating grate opened and
inspected. I want every air
conditioning duct vacuumed. Do you
understand what I'm saying?
AS he speaks, Bruno SEES Tommy pass through the hallway
... spot something on the floor... pick it up... furtive-
ly put it in his pocket... and walk rapidly toward the
door to the kitchens.
(running after him)
Hey, you! Waiter! Hold it right
Bruno puts an arm on Tommy. Tommy instantly assumes a
frantic, wimpy, craven persona, along wth his CARRIBBEAN
No! Please! Do not report me!
I will be deported!
Calm down. What've you got in your
I told the CIA everything! I agreed
to poison the pineapples! My green
card is in the mail!
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 10.
14 CONTINUED: 14
Stow it! I'm not Immigration, I'm
hotel security. Now, what did you
just put in your pocket?
I'm warning you, flathead, get cute
with me and I will tear you a
second asshole. Now a valuable
diamond ring is mising...
We can almost see the light bulb click on above Bruno's
Very valuable. All right, I'll
give you a hunnert bucks for it.
A hundred and five?
Bruno snorts agreement, goes for his wallet... Tommy goes
gor the ring... then suddenly leaps back in a cringe!
No! It's a trick! You will
call me a thief and send me back
and the Security Police will make
me stand on my head in the guano
pit! I have seen such things on
Bruno snaps and GRABS TOMMY BY THE COLLAR.
Jesus, I'm not trying to trick
No, no... it is a trap! I must
turn this over to police.
He starts to leave. Bruno grabs him.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 11.
14 CONTINUED: (2) 14
Listen, dipshit... a valuable ring
is missing and there's thousands
of dollars in reward money waiting.
So you'd better fork over...
How big is this... reward?
Um, five hundred dollars.
You said 'thousands.'
Yeah. Right. A thousand dollars.
No, no, no...you said thousands.
With an 'S'. This is plural.
This means "two or more thousands."
Okay, you win. Two thousand.
Or more. Two or more.
Bruno's had enough -- his grip tightens around Tommy's
Just making a point.
15 IN HOTEL LOBBY AT THE CASHIER'S DESK Bruno slides a 15
check to the Cashier, who counts a stack of bills.
Bruno picks up a house phone, dials.
16 INT. HOTEL ROOM - DAY 16
ARMANDO, still unshaven, answers the RINGING phone.
INTERCUT with Bruno in the lobby.
Hello, may I speak with Ms. Preston?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 12.
16 CONTINUED: 16
She's in the bathroom. This is
Carlos. Can I take a message?
(smiling to himself)
No, thanks, I'll call back.
ARMANDO hangs up the phone and exits the hotel room.
BRUNO crosses to the far side of the lobby, where Tommy
waits inconspicuously. He gives him the money. Tommy
gives him ring.
Now get back to work!
As Tommy heads back to the function room, Bruno picks up
a house phone, dials, listens. He dials again, listens.
No answer. He dials the operator.
This is Bruno in Security. Put me
through to 502 -- there must be
something wrong with the line, I can't
get an answer... What do you mean,
there's no one in 502? I just spoke to
them!... No one's registered in 502? Are
you sure?... Well, check again!... Shit!
He hangs up, looks at the ring, and realizes he's been
taken. His face twisting with rage, he hurries after
17 ON TOMMY MOVING swiftly through the function room toward 17
an exit. Zeke Bridges grabs him.
Hey! Where the hell are our drinks.
Surprised, Tommy opts for an EAST INDIAN ACCENT.
I remember... you were the sloe gin
fizz and the mango daquiri? With
perhaps a small umbrella for the lady?
Bourbon neat and a Perrier, dammit!
And would you still be wanting the
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 13.
17 CONTINUED: 17
As Zeke's face flushes in anger, Tommy SEES Bruno come
into the room, blood in his eye. Tommy turns sharply and
heads out the terrace doors to the --
18 EXT. COURTYARD - DAY 18
Tommy conceals himself behind a pillar, across the court-
yard, away from the Guests. But from another direction,
Johnson and Andersen approach, arm in arm, and sit on a
bench by the pillar.
Olaf, there's something I wanted to
sound you out on. As a special
Tommy moves away from the pillar, sees Bruno roaming the
terrace, and retreats.
I'm thinking of retiring from
Andersen's eyes widen in astonishment.
I'm thinking maybe I won't run.
Maybe I should listen more
(indicating his heart)
to this. Really appreciate these
years. Sail around the world.
Climb mountains. Enjoy the finer
things of life.
Jeff. Listen to me. You can't
retire. Florida needs you. I need
you. I need you on rates. I need
you on regulations. I need you on
those environmental nutcases --
Olaf, if I retire this year, I get to keep
all the money left over in my campaign
treasury. Comes to a very tidy nest-egg.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 14.
18 CONTINUED: 18
It's called the grandfather loophole.
Bruno has gone. But Tommy stays. His eyes light up at
Come on, Jeff. Look at what you'd be
giving up. Going to the best resorts
in the world and calling it "official
business." Golfing and skiing and
fishing, and never picking up a tab.
And, Jeff -- there's no aphrodisiac
like power. You can have some of the
most intelligent, attractive women
in the country. You've got it made!
Oh, I suppose that one-point-three
may seem like spare change to the
head of Gulf Coast Power, but to a
country boy like me --
Okay, Jeff. I get it. Look. There's
a little software company that's
about to go through the roof.
Johnson smiles at the direction the conversation is
ON Tommy also smiling, in admiration at the transaction
A few thousand worth of stock options
would stand to make you quite a pile.
As long as your blind trust buys them,
you're clean -- the SEC can't shake a
stick at you. Half a million, easy --
and that's just a start.
Well, if you put it like that... I
now see I have a duty to continue
my career in public service.
Johnson stands, puts his arm on Andersen.
Tommy emerges, shakes his head, and laughs.
I'm in the wrong business.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 14A.
19 EXT. BAIT SHACK - DAY 19
A ramshackle bait shack, paint peeling, on the inland
waterway. At the rear of the shack, Armando shoots hoops
into a tattered net. Loretta, back in jeans, looks at
A bondo-patched Econoline van pulls up. Tommy jumps out,
big smile. He gives Loretta an energetic round of
The best li'l roper in America!
But she doesn't want the charm.
You took your time.
Cops bust you, Tommy?
Busted? Moi? Fuck no.
He pulls out the wad of bills. Their faces brighten
That look like busted?
20 EXT. CAPITOL - NIGHT 20
Washington, D.C. The illuminated dome of the Capitol.
21 INT. CONGRESSIONAL OFFICE - NIGHT 21
CAMERA ROAMS the well-hung walls. From the photos and
memorabilia, we realize that we are in the office of Rep.
In the reflections on the frames, we GLIMPSE some
MOVEMENT on the desk explaining the considerable
BREATHING and MOANING (O.S.).
Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my...
But then a strange GURGLING sound (O.S.) escapes from
A silent beat. Then a horrified CRY. Jennifer rises
Oh my god!
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 14B.
22 INT. CHURCH - FLORIDA - DAY 22
The congregation is SINGING. We SEE the widow Johnson.
At her side, in the aisle seat, a powerful man with bushy
eyebrows, about 60, in a three-piece suit and watch
chain: congressman DICK DODGE. The HYMN ends. Dodge
steps up to the pulpit.
It was my honor to serve in Congress with
Jeff Johnson for a generation. No one
could have been a better legislator. No
one could have been a finer husband and
father. And now --
He presses the tips of his fingers together and looks
skyward, as if communing with his memory of the deceased.
And now God has called his servant home.
ANGLE ON Jennifer, in black.
We will miss him. But we are grateful
that his passing was so peaceful -- and
so like him -- working late into the
night at his desk, the consummate
22 CONTINUED: 22
Vera sneaks a look at Jennifer, who is poker-faced.
23 EXT./INT. VERANDA/JOHNSON HOME - DAY 23
On the veranda of the gracious home, mourners pay
respects to the family. Dodge puts a gentle hand on
the widow's shoulder and draws her aside. He throws
a look at Jennifer, who joins them.
Vera, I know you're still in shock
from Jeff's... passing. But we have
to talk about his seat.
Vera stares at Jennifer. She knows the score.
Mrs. Johnson, if you'd like to
discuss this in private --
You can stay -- what's the
Vera, I'd like you to announce that
you're going to run for Congress.
Let a few days pass to show proper
respect. But next week, I want to
stand next to you at a press
conference where you declare for
Jeff's seat in the House.
No, Dick -- no.
There's nothing to be afraid of,
Vera. With your name, you can't
lose. People around these parts
are so used to voting for Jeff
Johnson -- why, Mrs. Jeff Johnson
would win in a walk.
Dick, I was a Washington wife for
twenty years. Twenty years of
Potomac bullshit is plenty for one
Vera, we're talking about becoming a
Member of Congress. We're talking
about a sure thing.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 16.
23 CONTINUED: 23
Don't worry about running the
office -- I'll be there night
I'm sure you would, dear. But I
couldn't give you the same job
satisfaction Jeff gave you.
Jennifer, embarrassed, didn't know Vera knew. Nor
24 OMITTED 24
25 EXT. CONDOMINUM COMPLEX - DAY 25
A retirement community in the Florida sunshine.
26 INT. CONDO ELEVATOR/HALLWAY - DAY - THE ELEVATOR DOORS 26
open. A supermarket shopping cart full of groceries,
tied with a big bow, rolls out, pushed by Tommy. Loretta
Tommy BUZZES at a door. It's answered by Tommy's
GRANDMA, a limber lady in leggings and a bright top.
She sees the groceries, kisses him.
This is very sweet of you, darling.
But you shouldn't have done it.
Where did you get the money?
You don't want to know.
27 INT. GRANDMA'S CONDO - DAY 27
Tommy and Loretta are watching the track results on the
local tv news. Tommy, playing solitaire, shuffles bril-
liantly. Grandma comes in from the kitchen, shaking
How did I end up with a thief
for a grandson?
Grandma -- I told you. I'm not a
thief. I'm a con man. An artist.
But also a crook.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 17.
27 CONTINUED: 27
But I only con crooks, Grandma.
You can't con an honest man. Only
somebody who wants something for
But the good Lord must have been
fond of pigeons, because he made
so many of them.
Sometimes I just wish you were
more like your Daddy...
You mean, dead?
No, smartmouth... I mean someone
who made something of himself.
(pointing at TV)
LOOK...it's the ad!
VIDEO...a cheap TV spot -- a busty blonde in a skimpy
outfit tossing her hair and pouting.
(fake Swedish accent)
I am Inga. I'm here from Sweden
and I'm s-o-o lonely. I need a
man...and so do my girlfriends.
VIDEO...Scantily-clad babes to match the names. Loretta
speaks along with the V.O.
LORETTA (AND V.O.)
...Maria, my hotblooded Spanish
friend...Babette, the Parisian
pussycat...and many others. So
call the "Girls of Many Nations,"
SUPER: CALL 1-900-555-NATO.
So what do you think of my accent,
Compared to what? Loretta, why
don't you go baste the turkey?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 18.
27 CONTINUED: (2) 27
Loretta gets up and goes for the kitchen. We hear a
high-pitched ELECTRONIC WARBLE. Tommy reaches into
Loretta's purse and pulls out a cellular phone.
(calls to Loretta)
See? I told you TV advertising
He opens the phone and speaks in a toneless, recording-
Hello...you have reached Girls of
Many Nations. For Hot Blooded
Italian Wildcats, press "one" now.
For Perky American Cheerleaders,
press "two" now.
For a Sultry Swedish Love Goddess,
press "three" now...
He covers the mouthpiece and calls to Loretta.
Bingo! Loretta...guy wants to
speak to Inga.
Tell him to call back. I'm
TOMMY grins mischievously and speaks into the phone in
the husky voice of a SWEDISH WOMAN.
Ja, this is Inga. Hello Paul...
how are you tonight? You are
feeling naughty? That's all right
...you have your what in a bowl of
oatmeal? Yes, that is very
naughty, and maybe a little sick.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 19.
27 CONTINUED: (3) 27
Oh NO! It's my husband Lars.
He's home early, I must go before
...you want to talk to Lars too?
So you like to talk dirty out of
both sides of your mouth.
Man, you are one twisted bastard!
Laughing, he hangs up.
Sorry, grandma, just getting a
third minute out of him.
He clicks off the phone and slams it back into Loretta's
purse. Loretta, meanwhile, has reappeared.
You hung up on Paul? He's one of
my best customers.
I can't believe any relative of
mine does that for a living.
C'mon Gramma...it's only my voice.
They never actually meet me.
So my granddaughter talks dirty
for a living and my grandson's a
What's up, Grandma? Are you
embarrassed to show my picture
around the pool?
Of course I'm not. Look.
She goes to her sewing basket and pulls something from
it. She unfolds it: a long piece of needlepoint she's
been working on.
It spells out Tommy's full name: Thomas Jefferson
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 20.
27 CONTINUED: (4) 27
Look what these arthritic hands
BACK TO SCENE
Make me proud of you, Tommy. Make
me proud of the name you carry.
In the silence between them that follows, we HEAR the tv.
I'm Ned Grable, vice president and
general manager of WFLA. We think
Mrs. Jeff Johnson did the right
thing in not running for the
congressional seat left vacant by
her husband's death.
The editorial catches Grandma's attention.
Jeff Johnson's name may still be magic.
But it'll take more than the magic of
name recognition to solve our region's
problems. I'm Ned Grable.
Name recognition. Lordy, what a
notion. People have to be some
boobs just to vote for someone
because their name is Johnson.
Tommy's eyes widen.
I remember once back in Georgia,
they even elected a dead man. His
name was still on the ballot --
people were just used to voting
What did you say, Grandma?
28 EXT. BAIT SHACK - DAY 28
HOMER, the proprietor of Homer's Pit Stop, wearing fuel-
smeared overalls, is dieseling a Customer's boat down by
Homer! Get your ass over here!
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 20A.
28 CONTINUED: 28
Up by the racks of junk food and beer, and pails of fish
slop, Tommy and Armando await Homer. In b.g., an older
black gentleman plays checkers, solo. This is VAN DYKE.
What's this about, jefe?
Loretta! Get off the damn phone!
This better be good.
"This better be good." Loretta!
ON LORETTA on the pay phone, moaning in Swedish ecstasy.
Oh, ya, ya, God, you're so big!
(waving at Tommy)
Uh-oh, I have to go now, my
husband Sven is home early...
Tommy grabs the phone. He pushes aside a protesting
Goddammit, Inga, is it that
pervert again! Damn!
He smacks the receiver with his hand.
Listen, you little shit -- I just
spent eight years in the joint,
nobody talks to my woman like
that! I got your adress, I got a
machete, I got two Rotweilers...
I'm gonna come to your house and
tear your ass up!
(hangs up, laughing)
Okay, Tommy, what's so damn
Yeah, I got work to do.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 21.
28 CONTINUED: (2) 28
They all look at him expectantly. He takes a dramatic
pause, then launches into a "Come to Jesus" speech.
My friends, I want to tell you
about a town where the streets are
paved with gold. This is a town
where the marks give you money
before you ask. A town where they
take you to dinner after you fuck
'em. A town where when they need
money, they just print more. This
is a town where a guy bounced nine
hundred checks and he didn't even
have to skip town!!!
Ain't no town like that.
You mean Vegas?
Washington, D.C. I'm going to run
His big smile meets their blank surprise. Their faces
What is this, a joke?
I don't get it.
What's the con, Tommy?
Van Dyke. You remember Willie
Of blessed memory.
You remember what he said? They
asked him, Why do you rob banks?
And he said, That's where the money
is. I tell you, people -- Washington.
That's where the money is.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 22.
28 CONTINUED: (3) 28
Tommy produces a sheaf of Xeroxes and pamphlets.
I found this shit in the library.
You know how much a congressman
makes? A hundred and thirty a year
-- and that's just base pay for
getting your ass elected. Then
there are these things called PACs,
and these lobbyists, whose whole
point in life is to buy you off.
It's the con of a lifetime -- and
the damn thing is, it's legal!
This is hot, people, we can do this!
Who "we," white man?
You never heard of staff, Armando?
I get in, I get a staff allowance
of five hundred and thirty-seven
grand a year --
-- which I will generously share
And how exactly were you going to
get your butt to Congress?
Yeah -- why would anyone vote for
Not for me, Homer. For Jeff
Johnson. Name recognition -- that's
what it's all about. You think
folks know their congressman died?
I get on the ballot as Jeff Johnson,
I guarantee they'll vote for me.
Now all's I have to do is get on the
Which is how?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 23.
28 CONTINUED: (4) 28
Which is where you folks come in.
(picking up a ream
All's we have to do is collect
five thousand six hundred
twenty five signatures.
You shittin' us?
In your dreams, Tommy.
You people got a better idea?
29 INT. SILVER FOXES CHAPTER - DAY 29
Senior citizens fold brochures, stuff envelopes, make
phone calls. Van Dyke and Tommy enter.
Okay... gimme the four-one-one on
these Silver Foxes Again. It's a
bunch of old folks who like to
Don't laugh, they get an enormous
turnout. But the big thing is,
they have their own line on the
ballot. They already got the
The lady we're meeting, Hattie
Rifkin, they call her the condo
So all I have to do is snow one
old lady. Don't sound like major
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 24.
30 INT. INNER OFFICE - SILVER FOXES - DAY 30
Tommy and Van Dyke are seated opposite HATTIE RIFKIN, a
high-energy woman, 70s, with a frizz of white curls.
So, what brings you here? You want
to talk politics... talk!
We were wondering who you were going
to run for Congress this year.
Oh, the usual sacrifical lamb.
Probably Sylvia Roland. She just
lost her husband, she needs to meet
new people. Why?
Mrs. Rifkin... I want to run.
Well, I want to run too -- but with
this plastic hip, it's not gonna
Tommy breaks up. In spite of himself, he's charmed by the
salty old babe.
What I mean is... I'd like to run
for Congress on the Silver Fox
ticket. I care about you and your
Yeah, that's what my son says. But
does he call? Anyway, what makes
you think a group of alter cockers
are gonna support a man who hasn't
clipped his first nose hair yet?
Because I can win.
No, no... a Democrat can win. A
Republican can win. A Silver Fox
can only make a symbolic point.
Mrs. RIfkin, if you give me a ballot
line, and if I can get support
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 25.
30 CONTINUED: 30
If... if. Ven die bubbah halla
tsehen qulishkes, het gehaya zadeh.
Sure, but... besser die viller ein
Hattie cracks up. Tommy leans over and translates for
She said, 'If my grandmother had
balls, she'd be my grandfather.'
Where the Hell did you learn to
The same place I learned to hustle
shtarkers at gin rummy. From Morris
Elfbein... the Gin King of Miami
No kidding... you knew the Rudolf
Valentino of Dade County?
He taught me a great deal. He
taught me you don't always need the
best cards to win.
Maybe not in gin, but in politics,
young man, you need money to win,
you need a name to win, you...
Oh, I have a name.
What, you're an athlete, a movie
star? I don't get out as much as
I used to. You're not on MTV, are
No ma'am. My name is Johnson. Jeff
Johnson. The Name You Know.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 26.
30 CONTINUED: (2) 30
She ponders for a minute. And then she gets it. A
Jeff Johnson. Well, that's a name
even our Alzheimer's Group will
(beat; shakes her head)
Still, for a full-up campaign, we'd
need materials, we'd need ads...
You leave that to me, Mrs. R.
31 INT. JOHNSON HOME - DAY 31
The widow Johnson is pouring tea for Tommy, now in super-
nerd drag -- wire-rim glasses and tweed sport jacket.
I'm not sure I understand, Professor
Franklin -- you wrote your doctoral
thesis on my husband?
He was a great man, Mrs. Johnson.
He did so much for my people.
Oh, yes. I'll never forget when he
said 'Welfare is a drug -- and you
gotta kick it cold turkey.' It
Really... well, I'm sure...
And I was actually in the audience
when he said, 'If you people would
just get off your dead asses and
look for work, this country might
be fit to live in again.' Powerful
It's very kind of you to say so.
And you're very kind to come all
the way from... where was it?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 27.
31 CONTINUED: 31
Wilson-Pickett State Teachers College.
But I didn't just come to pay
respects, ma'am. I came because
your husband deserves an archive.
A place where scholars can study
his legacy. A storehouse for the
record of his remarkable career.
I see. So you want... his papers?
Oh, not just his papers, Mrs.
Johnson. Everything. Buttons,
posters, bumper stickers. All the
paraphernalia of his campaigns --
proof of his political genius. Now
I realize that you may have a
sentimental attachment to a few
I beg your pardon.
Take 'em all. Would you like the
wedding photos, too?
Well, I don't think that's necess...
Good -- that way you won't have to
go rooting around in the garbage.
Is there anything else?
Well, um... no.
More tea? Or something stronger?
I know it's only ten-thirty, but,
hell, sun's over the yardarm
Actually, ma'am, I should be getting
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 28.
31 CONTINUED: (2) 31
You're in pretty good shape for a
professor. D'you work out?
Tommy rises and packs his briefcase hastily.
Look, I, um, have a class to
teach. You know how blind
students are... they're so
(edges toward door)
Don't worry ma'am... your
materials will be in good hands.
32 EXT. WHARF - DAY - CLOSE ANGLE - A SCISSORS 32
cuts the RE- off a RE-ELECT JEFF JOHNSON bumper sticker
in familiar blue and gold.
Van Dyke, Armando, and Homer have a production line going,
doctoring the old Johnson campaign materials, slicing off
and painting out the RE-'s and the years.
Are you sure you don't want to come
to Washington with us, Homer?
You bums got time on your hands.
(indicating bait shack)
I got a business to run.
ON LORETTA working the RINGING pay phone.
Hello? Who? The League of Women
Voters? Sorry, Mr. Johnson won't be
attending the debate. No -- no,
Betty, I'm sorry, I can't tie up
(hangs up; it RINGS)
Hello? The Sarasota Star-Ledger?
I'm sorry, we're out of photographs.
No, you can't, Mr. Johnson has just
had surgery for a deviated septum.
(hangs up; it RINGS)
Ya, this is Inga.
PAN TO TOMMY training a home video camera on a poster that
reads JEFF JOHNSON FOR CONGRESS.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 29.
32 CONTINUED: 32
We're not going to show you Jeff
Johnson waving a flag. We're not
going to show you Jeff Johnson
kissing babies. We're not going
to show you Jeff Johnson doing
anything, because you already
know what Jeff Johnson can do.
33 INT. JOHNSON HOME - NIGHT - ON TV SCREEN 33
The poster fills the screen.
Tomorrow, vote for Jeff Johnson.
The name you know.
A very puzzled Vera Johnson watches the ad on tv.
34 SERIES OF SHOTS - NIGHT (MOS) 34
The congressional district sleeps. But in the darkness,
a kind of D-Day onslaught is under way. QUICK SUPER-
IMPOSED CUTS of Tommy's secret army of Silver Foxes,
opening crates, fanning through parking lots, swarming
over lawns, driving in stakes, tacking up posters
INCLUDE Tommy climbing a telephone pole... Armando shinnying
up a light pole across the street... Loretta and Van Dyke
pulling on a rope... which hoists a huge bundle to Tommy...
who opens and unfolds it... and gets an end through the
air to Armando. They unfurl the biggest banner imaginable.
JEFF JOHNSON: THE NAME YOU KNOW
35 EXT. COMMERCIAL STREET - DAWN 35
CAMERA TILTS DOWN. Every square inch of town seems to
have been plastered with JOHNSON FOR CONGRESS material.
It's on billboards, bumpers, bus shelters, balloons,
banners, utility poles... all in the late congressman's
36 QUICK SERIES OF SHOTS - DAY 36
The Econoline, now a JOHNSON ad on wheels, ghetto-blasters
mounted front and back on the roof, rolls by a Jewish deli
...a soul food joint... a whitebread country club... a
Chinese restaurant... At each, Tommy's amplified VOICE says:
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 30.
36 CONTINUED: 36
Jeff Johnson. The name you know.
In a different appropriate accent.
37 EXT. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL - DAY 37
In front of a polling place, Van Dyke pulls up in a hearse
with an ELECT JOHNSON banner. So, driving muscle cars, do
Armando, Homer, and Loretta -- Tommy's get-out-the-vote fleet.
Exhilarated senior citizens pile out, led by Hattie.
38 INT. POLLING PLACE - DAY 38
An ordinary Couple, 40s, sign the registration book, then
enter adjacent voting carrels. After a moment, the
HUSBAND leans out.
Who are we voting for Congress?
Don't we always vote for Johnson?
That's it -- Johnson.
HIS HAND punches the hole in the ballot next to Johnson.
39 VIDEO 39
A NETWORK ANCHOR at an election-night news set.
If you're just joining us, our
exit polls project that in Florida,
an unknown, independent candidate
whose sole asset appears to be his
name may just possibly win a slim
40 OMITTED 40
43 EXT. BAIT SHACK - NIGHT 43
Blinding lights. Media circus. TV power cords, a huge
tangle snaking back toward mobile generators. Cameramen
narrowly miss knocking each other into the water. A
STEEL DRUM BAND plays "Happy Days Are Here Again."
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 31.
43 CONTINUED: 43
The small crowd -- Tommy's cronies, their pals, and a
jubilant contingent of Panthers led by Hattie -- lets
out a great WHOOP.
FLORIDA REPORTER #1
Is that him? Tricia, I believe
Congressman-elect Johnson is
coming this way.
For the first time, we see Tommy wearing a beautifully-cut
suit. He's instantly engulfed by lights, cameras, and
An amazed CAMERAMAN, watching Tommy, whispers to a Producer.
Jesus -- he's not... white. I
actually voted for the guy. I
thought he was Jeff Johnson.
Tommy jumps onto a bench. APPLAUSE from his Supporters.
Thank you, thank you, all of you,
for your help. Give yourself a
round of applause.
They do. As APPLAUSE continues (O.S.), CAMERA PANS from
Reporter to Reporter to Reporter, their mikes bearing the
call-letters of different channels.
ON GRANDMA being interviewed. She wears a JOHNSON FOR
CONGRESS button and speaks with manifest pride.
I've never been so proud in all
my life. He was always such a
good boy...well, I think he meant
well. Sometimes -- well he was a
clean child. That's important, I
PAN TO FLORIDA REPORTER #2 doing a stand-up.
FLORIDA REPORTER #2
Then in Massachusetts, there was
a guy named Kennedy who got
elected, but he wasn't really a
PAN TO --
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 32.
43 CONTINUED: (2) 43
FLORIDA REPORTER #3
A lot of dead incumbents get
re-elected, actually. It's an
ON Tommy. Speaking meaningfully, with great sincerity,
he shows a gift for political discourse.
We ran a positive campaign. We
campaigned on the issues. The
issue is leadership. Leadership
for the future. Ask not what you
can do for your country. The
people have spoken. The only
thing we have to fear is fear
itself. If you can't stand the
heat stay out of the kitchen.
Live Free or Die. And in
conclusion...read my lips!
(APPLAUSE and CHEERS)
44 INT. AIRPLANE - DAY 44
Tommy looking out the window at the city below.
45 EXT. WASHINGTON, D.C. - AERIAL VIEW - DAY - (STOCK) 45
The approach to National Airport gives a good view of
Washington and its landmarks.
The promised land.
46 EXT. AIRPORT RUNWAY - DAY 46
The plane touches down.
47 INT. NATIONAL AIRPORT - DAY 47
Through the airport move our Floridians. They look like
they're going to opening day at the track.
Congressman Johnson! Congressman
Tommy looks. It's REINHHARDT, a young straight-arrow
bearing two huge document briefcases, which he puts down
to shake hands.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 33.
47 CONTINUED: 47
Arthur Reinhardt. You remember me
-- I Fed-Exed that material to you
in Key West?
Reinhardt, my man! Of course!
You look just like I pictured you.
Nice wing tips.
Thank you. Congressman, I hope you
don't think I'm out of line for
meeting you here -- I thought you
might want some help with logistics,
settling in at your hotel --
Since you didn't make it to the
Harvard seminar, I put together a
set of their papers for you.
I like your initiative, Reinhardt,
but to tell you the truth, I've
never been much of a student. Maybe
you can brief my staff sometime.
Reinhardt looks Tommy's cronies over. Not your classic
But thank you, I will take you up on
those logistics. Hey! Entourage!
What hotel we at?
They look at one another, puzzled.
Reinhardt, it appears that the
staff has neglected to nail down
Oh, Jesus, the IMF's in town. Where
are we going to find a room?
48 OMITTED 48
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 34.
49 INT. AIRPORT BAR - DAY 49
The entourage is enjoying a round of libations.
Reinhardt runs up.
I got lucky at the Madison. Thank
god there's been a coup in
Uruguay. Their delegation just
You're a wizard, Reinhardt. I
knew you could handle it.
50 EXT. AIRPORT TAXI RANK - DAY 50
Tommy's entourage and their luggage are being packed into
a cab. Tommy turns to Reinhardt.
So when does the House open for
Reinhardt hasn't heard it put quite that way before.
Reinhardt gets his courage up.
Say, Congressman, you got my
resume, didn't you?
(hasn't a clue)
I'm sure I did.
There's something I wanted to ask you.
I know it's a big step, but -- I'd
like you to consider me to be your AA.
That's quite an offer, Reinhardt,
very decent of you, but I'm just a
No. AA. Your Administrative
Assistant. I worked for
Congressman Johnson. I'd like to
work for you, Congressman Johnson.
Tommy looks at his own troops, then back to Reinhardt.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 35.
50 CONTINUED: 50
You mean like an affirmative
Tommy opens the cab door.
Tell you what -- I'll think about
Tommy gets in and closes the door.
(through the open
Thanks for getting us settled,
really appreciate it.
51 OMITTED 51
52 EXT. MEMORIAL BRIDGE - MAGIC HOUR 52
The bridge over the Potomac has a classic view of the
Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. Their
taxi drives by.
53 OMITTED 53
55 EXT. CANNON BUILDING - DAY 55
Morning. Tommy and cronies get out of a cab and bound up
the grand flight of stairs. In b.g., the Capitol dome.
56 INT. CANNON GROUND FLOOR CORRIDOR/ELEVATOR - DAY 56
They walk the superb ground floor corridor of Cannon,
salivating. Marble columns... chandeliers... grand
offices. Real class.
AT AN ELEVATOR with a sign above it -- MEMBERS ONLY --
they stop. Tommy presses the button. The door opens.
The seated ATTENDANT gets a load of this group.
Sorry, folks, this elevator's
for Members only.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 36.
56 CONTINUED: 56
That's okay, they're with me.
Sixth floor please. Cannon 609.
I'm going to my office.
I said Members only.
I am a Member. Now take us to six
before I haul your ass in front of
the committee on disrespectful
Elevator don't go to six. You
have to get off at five and walk.
57 INT. CANNON STAIRWELL - DAY 57
Looking puzzled, they make their way up a drab stairwell.
58 INT. CANNON TOP FLOOR - DAY 58
Not classy. On one side of the hallway, the windows give
out on a brutally ugly courtyard. On the other side of
the hall are cages: windowless storage bins behind metal
fences crammed with junk -- and an occasional xerox
machine, Mr. Coffee, and pitiful staffer at a tiny desk.
Tommy opens the door to 609.
59 INT. TOMMY'S RECEPTION AREA - DAY 59
Tommy's office is a small, dark garret, with dirty car-
peting, bare shelves, and a pile of bulging canvas U.S.
He heads further into the office.
60 INT. TOMMY'S OFFICE - DAY 60
Equally unattractive. Perched on the desk: Reinhardt.
Good morning, congressman.
What is this shithole?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 37.
60 CONTINUED: 60
Oh -- you missed the freshman lottery
for offices. They assign them by
draw. You didn't show for the draw,
so you got the worst office in Congress.
I missed what lottery?
It was all in the briefing books I
What else did I miss, Reinhardt?
Are you hiring me, congressman?
Tommy gives Reinhardt a good once-over, seeing him anew.
You're shaking me down, aren't you?
Tommy laughs, then clasps Reinhardt's shoulders.
This is fantastic, Reinhardt. I
haven't been here five minutes,
and you're shaking me down. God,
I'm gonna love this town. You're
hired, man. Just tell me what to
do next. I don't want to miss out
on any of the good shit.
The dinner for new Members is
tonight, at Union Station. Do you
have black tie?
BEGIN elegant, spirited classical MUSIC.
61 INT. UNION STATION - MAIN HALL - NIGHT 61
With its hundred-foot barrel-vaulted ceiling and grand
windows, the magnificent Beaux-Arts station has been
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 38.
61 CONTINUED: 61
A big crowd slowly makes its way along a red carpet to
Tommy was born to wear a tux. In his lapel, a red-and-
gold eagle pin. On his arm, Loretta, in a dramatic
shoulderless and nearly backless gown, with three-quarter
gloves. The other Women in sight are far more conserva-
62 INT. UNION STATION - ADIRONDACKS RESTAURANT - NIGHT 62
A STRING QUARTET provides the music. Tommy and Loretta
linger uncertainly near the entrance. Then:
Let's meet some natives.
Tommy leads her over to two Men, 30s, excellent haircuts.
Both wear pins. He extends a hand.
Tommy Johnson, how'd you do, nice
party, heck of a railroad
station, isn't it?
Rafe Simon, freshman from Tulsa.
And this is Bo Chandler --
-- from Lufkin, Texas. You must
be the one who didn't come to Harvard.
No, I couldn't, it was my Princeton
Jeff Johnson? You're Jeff Johnson?
The guy from Florida?
The rest of us are out there on the
campaign trail, raising money,
kissing ass, making speeches,
dragging our butts from place to
place -- and he slides in on pure
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 39.
62 CONTINUED: 62
He puts his face close to Tommy.
Let me tell you something, Jeff.
A tense beat. Then Rafe breaks into a smile.
Bo winks at Tommy.
Thank you. Thank you both very much.
Isn't that nice, now, don't you think?
(to Rafe and Bo)
This is Miss Loretta, boys.
She extends a regal hand to each, Liza Doolittle at the
How do yo do. How do you do.
And it's Tommy. My friends call
me Tommy. "Jeff" is my...
professional name. So what line
of work were you boys in before
you got elected? You lawyers or
Oh, no, I did morning weather and
traffic for KTOK in Tulsa.
You don't remember me? I was a tight
end for the Oilers -- my knee gimped out.
The origins of the gentlemen's political success is not
lost on Tommy.
Hey, stop by my reception after
the swearing in tomorrow, okay?
Yeah, but don't you go to his
reception before you go to my
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 40.
62 CONTINUED: (2) 62
Fine, but I'm gonna be real
offended if either of you miss my
I think we have to have a
AT THE BUFFET, as Tommy and Loretta help themselves
generously to oysters and champagne, they overhear TWO
MEMBERS passing by.
So then I ran an ad calling him a
draft dodger, but then he ran an
ad calling me a plagiarist.
What did you do?
Oh, leaked a rumor that his father-
in-law was a Nazi. I went up ten
points in a weekend.
We're in the majors, doll.
62A THE BALCONY is full of people working one another. As 62A
Tommy and Loretta pass some large stone statues, a man
extends his hand -- liquor lobbyist KEN KORNGOLD.
Congressman? I'd like to introduce
myself. Ken Korngold. National
Distilled Spirits Association.
Tommy Johnson. Distilled Spirits,
is that right?
It's super that you won, congressman.
Any way we can help, please don't hesitate.
Pleasure's all mine, Ken, hope you
can make it to my reception. Do
you happen to have a card?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 41.
62A CONTINUED: 62A
(giving him one)
I sure do.
63 INT. UNION STATION - MEN'S ROOM - NIGHT 63
Tommy is along a wall where other guests are similarly
You now what I love about this place?
The way everyone calls you a
Member. Every time I hear that,
it makes me think of Mr. Happy
The Member next to him bursts out laughing.
Don't you be peeing on my shoe.
They go to the sinks. The Member introduces himself.
Mike Strangland. Iowa -- first CD.
You got a CD? Shit, I missed
First Congressional district.
Ohhh. Tommy Johnson. Florida.
So Iowa -- how'd you get to
Washington? You do the crop
report on tv?
IOWA has a big open face and a flat Midwestern voice.
No -- I owe it all to the Vietnamese.
P.O.W. When I got back to Cedar Rapids,
I spent so many years telling the
Rotary Club what was wrong in Washington,
they finally told me to put up or shut
up -- so I put up. And here I am.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 42.
63 CONTINUED: 63
Wait a minute. What's wrong in
C'mon -- there's acid rain killing
fish, and no one's stopping it...
there's topsoil washing away, and no
erosion program... there's chemicals
in our livestock -- God, I sound like
a Boy Scout.
That's alright, Iowa -- this place
could use a few geeks like you.
64 INT. UNION STATION - ADIRONDACKS - TOMMY'S DINNER 64
TABLE - NIGHT
Tommy shakes hands around the table, taking business
cards as he goes.
Pete Slocum. Asbestos Information
Mike Gustofson. Freedom to
Paul Zeckhauser. American Tobacco
Hey... thank you... nice to see
you... hope you can make it to my
reception. Have y'all met Miss
TOMMY'S TABLEMATE is lawyer-lobbyist TOMMY O'CONNOR, 40s.
As Waiters serve lobster bisque, he hands TJ a business
Tommy O'Connor. Soon as I saw how
you got elected, I knew you were a
real comer. Hell, I bet old Olaf
Andersen voted for you.
Who's Olaf Andersen?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 43.
64 CONTINUED: 64
O'Connor points. ON THE DAIS, Andersen is engrossed with
I won't tell him you asked.
Chairman of Gulf Coast Power.
Constituent of yours, client of
BACK TO SCENE
Pays the rent, know what I mean?
Say, could I host a little welcome-
to-Washington thing for you down at
my law firm? Meet some of my clients,
five hundred a head -- you could
pick up twenty, twenty-five grand
to get you started.
And how much of that do you get?
Oh, it doesn't come off the top.
Down the road, I'll bill 'em each
five hundred an hour whenever I
take you to lunch.
Tommy, I think this is the beginning
of a beautiful relationship.
65 INT. UNION STATION - ADIRONDACKS - NIGHT - ON DODGE 65
making a speech from the dais.
Tonight we unite the two great
pillars of our system -- political
and financial. To the forty-four
newly-elected Members of Congress,
I say, Look around you tonight.
Look around, and be thankful for
Tommy inspects the sea of barracudas.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 44.
65 CONTINUED: 65
The people you see not only provided
tonight's hospitality. They are the
people you serve. That's our system
of checks and balances at its best.
Their support helped get you
elected... your work will help
them... and their support will help
you in your next campaign, which I
remind you is already less than two
66 INT./EXT. ADIRONDACKS - LARGE DOORS - NIGHT 66
In b.g., the Capitol dome. As Tommy and Loretta leave,
they pass Dick Dodge, who is saying goodnight to guests.
He stops them.
You know, Mr. Johnson, it's
customary for new Members to pay a
courtesy call on the old fogies in
the leadership. Especially from
their HOME STATE.
Well, I would have, but I just got
to town. It's an honor to meet you,
sir. A real privilege. This is
She pronounces the word so carefully, it sounds lewd.
How do you do?
You could make up for it by having
a nightcap with me.
May I have my car take you home?
67 EXT. CAPITOL HILL - NIGHT 67
Tommy and Dodge walk up steps toward the Capitol.
68 INT. HALLWAY - CAPITOL - NIGHT 68
A darkened hallway. A hand-lettered sign by a door reads
COMMITTEE ON POWER AND INDUSTRY. THE CHAIRMAN. MR.
DODGE. Tommy and Dodge approach. As Dodge unlocks the
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 45.
68 CONTINUED: 68
Excuse me, Mr. Chairman, but this
ain't no homo shit we up to, is it?
No. No, it's not. But --
Good thinking, Johnson. I'm
impressed by your instincts.
69 INT. DODGE'S OFFICE - CAPITOL - NIGHT 69
A single table lamp lights Dick Dodge's office, reflecting
off the velvet drapes, sculpted ceiling, and crystal
chandeliers. Tommy and Dodge are in leather armchairs,
ties undone. On the table between them, a bottle of Jim
Beam. Dodge casts a cool eye on Tommy.
Tell me, Johnson. Why did you come
Well... of course... it's a chance
to do something for my country. I
mean, there's the topsoil thing, and
acid rain is killing the cattle --
Cut the bullshit, Johnson. I saw how
you got elected. Flukes like you are
either nutcases or troublemakers.
I just want to know which one I have
on my hands. Who sent you here?
No one sent me.
You pulled off that upset on your
Kid's got his talents.
I'm impressed, Johnson, I am. But
why did you run for Congress?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 46.
69 CONTINUED: 69
Opportunity knocks. This town is
the fuckin' Yukon.
A stunned silence from Dodge -- then deep and generous
What a refreshing answer.
He laughs again, richly amused. Tommy joins in the
70 EXT. CANNON - DAY 70
Shining in the bright sun.
71 INT. TOMMY'S OFFICE - DAY - ON TOMMY'S DESK 71
Hundreds of business cards. An expert riffle, a one-
handed cut, and Tommy deals lightning fast, a perfect
diamond formation with two cards in the middle. He turns
them over one at a time.
Ken Korngold, National Distilled
Spirits Association. Bob Rafferty
...Wisconsin Cheese Board.
What do you want me to do?
You're on cheese. I'll handle
He reaches for the phone...
72 EXT. DISTILLER'S BUILDING - DAY 72
Pan from Capitol Hill to gleaming glass office building.
(taking the phone)
Ken! Ken Korngold! Tommy Johnson
here... Right -- last night. How's
it going, big guy?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 47.
73 INT. KORNGOLD'S OFFICE - DAY 73
Expensive furniture, rugs, and art.
How are you on this helluva fine
day! I'm looking forward to your
INTERCUT TOMMY AND KORNGOLD
Actually, that's why I'm calling,
Ken. You said if I needed some
You name it, congressman. Issue
papers, testimony, floor speeches --
Tell you what I have in mind. I
was just thinking, wouldn't it be
a plus for old Ken Korngold if I
was to -- how should I put this --
showcase some of his distillers'
products at my reception? You know,
like they put Reese's pieces in
E.T.? It's called "product
placement." People come in, they
have a tremendous time, they see
your products, they think well of
you -- and they think well of me,
too. It's good for both of us,
Ken. What do you say?
Well, it's a new one on me, but
hey, sure, I think we can help you
out. Say, while I have you on the
line, there was one thing...
74 INT. HOUSE CHAMBER - DAY 74
The SPEAKER administers the oath of office to the
Do you solemnly swear that you
will support and defend the
Constitution of the United States...
ON GRANDMA next to Tommy, eyes welling with pride. It's
the one day a year that non-Members (meaning families)
can be on the floor.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 48.
74 CONTINUED: 74
... against all enemies, foreign and
domestic; that you will bear true
faith and allegiance to the same...
75 INT. TOMMY'S OFFICE - DAY - VIDEO - WIDE SHOT OF HOUSE 75
The 435 Members (with family) taking the oath, watched
on C-span by Loretta, Armando, Van Dyke, and Reinhardt.
... that you take this obligation
freely, without any mental
reservation or purpose of evasion...
76 INT. HOUSE CHAMBER - DAY 76
ON IOWA taking the oath, his toddler in his arms. PAN
along faces of other Members... to Tommy.
... and that you will well and
faithfully discharge the duties
of the office on which you are
about to enter. So help you God?
TOMMY (AND MEMBERS)
Congratulations. You are now
Members of Congress.
Sustained APPLAUSE. Tommy kisses Grandma.
INTERCUT Tommy's cronies APPLAUDING.
ON THE FLOOR Tommy dries Grandma's tears with a finger.
It's just that -- I'm so happy you
Tommy smiles ambiguously. As APPLAUSE continues, his
eyes roam the room and make contact with Dick Dodge,
standing at one of the leadership tables. Tommy winks
conspiratorially at him. There's such diabolical glee in
it, it even takes Dodge aback.
77 INT. CANNON TOP FLOOR - DAY 77
A beautiful black woman, 20s, walks briskly down the
busy Cannon corridors. CELIA. There's intelligence in
her eyes, and fire.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 49.
77 CONTINUED: 77
She makes her way down the corridor,
exchanging AD LIB greetings, glancing in at the sedate
receptions, and drawing closer to the source of the
REGGAE (O.S.) -- Tommy's office. She looks in.
78 INT. TOMMY'S RECEPTION AREA - DAY 78
It's packed, mainly with men. Everyone has drinks and
talks noisily. It looks like a fraternity smoker for
lobbyists. MUSIC comes from a boom box. The bar -- a
tablecloth over some desks -- is lavishly stocked. So are
the bookcases, which now look like liquor store shelves.
ANGLE ON LORETTA, in a cocktail dress and a HELLO MY NAME
IS MISS LORETTA badge, staffing a little table, handing
Celia a name-tag.
Celia's hands print CELIA KIRBY. PRO BONO.
BACK TO SCENE - ON Tommy and Reinhardt talking with a
It's an informal breakfast. You
give us your views, we give you
bacon and eggs, plus a couple of
thousand dollar honorarium.
For your favorite charity.
Tommy looks at Reinhardt, who explains.
The Tommy Johnson Foundation.
(savoring the word)
Honorarium. I like that.
Loretta appears with a platter of food.
Uh, no thanks.
Really? We've got it in cream sauce
and in wine sauce.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 49A.
78 CONTINUED: 78
I think I'll pass.
Tommy steers her aside and takes a roll of soggy,
What is this? Where's the cheese?
The cheese guy didn't return my
call. So I called the guy at the
American Smoked Fish Institute.
She points at the food table. There's nothing but a
few boxes of crackers and two huge mounds of herring --
one white, one pink. The centerpiece is a large
smoked fish, eyes staring accusingly.
Oh, that's just wonderful. Sixty
heavy hitters drop in, and I'm
feeding 'em cat food.
He breaks off, as Celia comes into view in the doorway
behind. Tommy picks her up on his radar.
We'll talk about this later.
We follow Tommy through the crowd until he reaches Celia.
Hi there. Glad you could make it.
So you're... Celia Kirby. That's
an extremely beautiful name. For
an extremely beautiful woman.
Wow! That's smooth. After ten
straight hours on my feet making
small talk and breathing cheap
cigar smoke, that's exactly the
kind of line I'm ready to fall for.
Whoa, slow down.
Sure, sure, forget it. Can you just
tell me, which one's Congressman
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 49B.
78 CONTINUED: (2) 78
What if I said... me?
Oh. I see. So tell me, Congressman,
just how deep is the shit I'm
Tommy has to laugh.
Don't worry about it. Why don't
we just start over again?
Celia Kirby. I'm the legislative
director of Pro Bono.
Ah. Pro Bon. That's an extremely
beautiful name. For an extremely
beautiful organization. Um... what
We're a public interest research
and advocacy group. I'd like
to brief you on our priorities this
session. Can I call your AA to get
on your schedule?
Why don't you brief me over dinner
I want an appointment, Congressman,
not a date.
Yeah, sure, we'll type it up on the
schedule, it'll be an appointment,
except with wine and flowers on the
No thanks. I really should be going.
Won't you at least stay for a drink
and some herring?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 49C.
78 CONTINUED: (3) 78
I'm afraid I'm busy.
Well then, can I tempt you with a
(extending her hand)
Nice to meet you. I'll be in touch
with your office. I especially look
forward to hearing your view on
extending the sexual harassment law
to include congressmen.
I love the way you say that.
She slips out through the sea of revelers.
79 EXT. CAPITOL - DAY 79
A fine Washington morning.
80 OMITTED 80
81 EXT. CAPITOL STEPS - DAY 81
Rep. ELIJAH MARSHALL, 50s, black, and a pain in Dodge's
ass, is shaking hands and saying goodbye to some
Constituents. Dodge approaches.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 3/25/92 50.
81 CONTINUED: 81
I heard in the steam room you're
going to try to screw up my ethics
Not screw up. Amend.
Come on, Eli, your amendments don't
have a chance in hell to pass. My
bill isn't perfect, I know, but
it'll pass. And the President'll
"Isn't perfect"? Dick, your bill's
the Incumbents Protection Act! How
can you even call it an ethics bill?
Because the public wants an ethics
bill! So that's what we call it.
But it's got no teeth! It won't
change a thing, and you know it.
Come on, Eli, you're a politician,
too. The less you're going to do
about something, the more you have
to talk about it. You know that.
They start walking.
I see. We close the bank, we
stop the rubber checks, we raise
the prices in the barber shop, we
stop fixing parking tickets, and
abracadabra! We say we've cleaned
up Congress. Well, I don't think
the American people want what
this place has become.
That's the beauty of it! They
must, Eli -- they keep re-electing
Not anymore! This new Congress is
full of new faces.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 51.
81 CONTINUED: (2) 81
Oh, I wouldn't read too much into
that. A few extra retirements, some
redistricting -- nothing more than
that. It's still business as usual
Dodge takes his glasses from his pocket and wipes them.
I live in the real world, Eli.
Do you? What's unemployment up
to in your district? Eight
Eight point six.
Power and Enterprise is about to
fund a solar demonstration plant,
Eli. It could mean a whole lot to
a district -- new jobs, new
construction -- that interest you?
You can't bribe me, Dick.
82 INT. DODGE'S RECEPTION AREA - DAY 82
Dodge and Marshall enter.
Eli, the people who elected you.
They sent you here to help them.
Don't you want to?
Not if it means supporting your bill.
All you want is the perfect platform
to campaign for Speaker. Dick Dodge.
Mr. Clean. What a joke!
Come on board, Eli.
You know -- you can't save the
world if you can't save your seat.
Tommy enters. Marshall gives him a once-over and extends
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 52.
82 CONTINUED: 82
We haven't met. Eli Marshall.
I know. The Florida upset. Well,
now that you're here, what are
you going to do with it? You
gonna feather your own nest, or
are you gonna make something of
I plan to be as good a congressman
as all the others.
Exactly what does that mean?
Well, ever since I got back from
Nam, I've wanted to do something
about the rain forest --
No, do me a favor, don't tell me.
I try not to get depressed until
the second week of a new
(ushering Tommy into
Eli, you'll excuse us -- we have a
83 INT. DODGE'S OFFICE - DAY 83
Johnson, I'm the chairman of a
committee up here called Power and
Industry. We've got an open seat,
and I was wondering if you'd
consider filling it.
Is this good news?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 53.
83 CONTINUED: 83
(tongue in cheek)
Well, it is a difficult assignment --
look at what we cover: energy,
environment... the committee is
constantly beset by a swarm of
special interests. These are
powerful people, they've got all the
money in the world, and they're
not shy about using it.
So... this is very good news.
Most members would give their right
nut for it.
So what do you want from me, Dick?
Congressman... I just want you to
smile for the cameras.
84 INT. POWER AND ENTERPRISE COMMITTEE - DAY 84
The committee members -- all white males, except Tommy --
mill around, awaiting the start of the hearings. As the
TV cameras whir, Dodge shakes Tommy's hand warmly. Big
smiles and an explosion of flashbulbs.
Dodge breaks off and Tommy drifts over to Reinhardt.
So, Congressman, welcome to the
honey pot. You should be one
Yeah? Well, I'm not. I'm suspicious.
One thing I've learned is, when
somebody gives you something for
nothing, the nothing ain't nothing.
It's something. What is it? Why
Reinhardt puts his hand on Tommy's shoulders.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 54.
84 CONTINUED: 84
Congressman, I don't want you to
take this the wrong way, but...
you're black. And I mean that in
the nicest possible way.
Dodge wants to run for Speaker.
And he ain't gonna make it without
votes from the black caucus.
Suddenly, Dodge reappears. He throws his arm around
Tommy, someone I want you to meet...
Dodge steers TJ to a preppy-looking man at the witness
table -- BARCLAY "SKEETER" WARBURTON.
Skeeter, do you know Tommy Johnson?
Meet the new member of the committee.
Tommy, this is Barclay Warburton.
Pleased to meet you, Barclay.
WARBURTON'S voice is aristocratic, a la George Plimpton.
Skeeter. Please. Been called
that since boarding school.
Damned fine to meet you.
As Dodge and Tommy head for the dais, Tommy imitates
"Tommy. Please. Been called
that since reform school."
Dodge chuckles, shakes his head in mock rebuke. Tommy
takes his seat at the lower dais, smiles at the Members
on his left and right.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 55.
84 CONTINUED: (2) 84
ON THE UPPER DAIS, Dodge gavels...
This EPA oversight hearing of the
Committee on Power and Industry
will come to order. I'd like to
welcome our first witness, the
distinguished Administrator of the
Environmental Protection Agency...
... but before I do, I note that
a new Member is joining us today,
the distinguished gentleman from
THE BIGGEST EXPLOSION OF FLASHES YET... and as the motor
drives whir, Tommy flashes his biggest smile yet.
85 INT. TOMMY'S RECEPTION AREA - DAY 85
Tommy's office walls are now richly hung with plaques,
awards, and framed photos. We see he has been named the
PESTICIDE COALITION'S Man of the Month. The winner of
the NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION'S Achievement Award. The
MOTION PICTURE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA'S Outstanding Young
Legislator. Etc. The liquor is gone.
Loretta is at the receptionist's desk. A LOBBYIST
Morning. Ron Yaeger. Snack-PAC --
Snack Foods Political Action
Committee. I have a ten o'clock.
Please have a seat. The congressman
is running just a little bit late.
He sits and opens his briefcase. Van Dyke approaches him
with the dignity of a superb butler.
Would you care for some herring?
86 INT. CAPITOL FUNCTION ROOM - DAY 86
Tommy rises to speak at a breakfast meeting. The podium
bears the seal of the American Poultry Association.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 56.
86 CONTINUED: 86
Let me start with a confession. I
don't know much about poultry.
But I do know something about
people. And let me tell you: I
like you people. So when you have
something to say about poultry,
I listen. Thank you very much.
He sits down to generous APPLAUSE. ON Armando, in
attendance, CLAPPING, marveling at the response TJ gets.
87 INT. CATACOMBS - MOVING - DAY 87
Capitol Hill is actually two worlds: the aboveground
buildings that visitors and television cameras see, and
the catacombs, the busy tunnels and corridors connecting
the congressional office buildings and the Capitol.
They're surprisingly unglamorous -- exposed pipes, white-
washed brick walls, dumpsters, pizza carry-outs -- and
through them move the legislators and their staffs.
And here is Tommy, whistling ZIPPEDY DOO DAH. He loves
this place. Passing a snack bar, he greets the Cashier.
He blows a kiss to a pretty Teller in the credit union.
Passing the barber shop, he calls out to the Shoeshine
Guy. He passes a black TELEPHONE MAN at an open panel of
Tommy! What's up, man?
Sweet Sue. Third race at Santa Anita.
88 INT. TOMMY'S RECEPTION AREA - DAY 88
Several lobbyists are now awaiting Tommy balancing plates
of herring on their knees. Some are enjoying it more
than others. Tommy breezes in.
Hey, how you folks doin', good to see
you, Van Dyke making you comfortable?
Tommy hits a button on a tape deck, turning on some EASY
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 57.
88 CONTINUED: 88
Be with y'all shortly.
BEHIND THE DIVIDER, outside Tommy's office door, Tommy has
a word with Reinhardt. Tommy indicates his office.
She in there?
Reinhardt nods. Tommy gives himself a couple of squirts of
Stick around for this, Reinhardt.
I've finally figured something out
about the women in this town.
89 INT. TOMMY'S OFFICE - DAY 89
Tommy and Reinhardt meeting with Celia and an elfin guy
Thank you for seeing us, congressman,
we won't take up much of your time.
This is Ira Schecter, our research
Hi, good to meet you, you folks know
Reinhardt, don't you? Don't rush, Miss
Kirby, we can take as long as we want.
But you have people waiting, and --
That's all right. They can wait.
She pulls documents from her briefcase and hands them to
These are issue papers. This
session we're targeting auto
insurance premiums, child safety,
and food additives. As votes come
up, we know you'll be hearing plenty
from the other side. We'd just like
a clean shot at making our case, too.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 58.
89 CONTINUED: 89
So, we'll follow up with your staff
in the next week or...
Wait a minute, you just got here. I
clean my calendar, and you're out
the door. Let's back up, give this
stuff the attention it deserves.
Car insurance... Ira, what do you
Oh, I've got an '85 Plymouth, about
six-fifty a year...
Six-fifty? Highway robbery! A chop
shop wouldn't give you more than a
hundred forty for a junker like that.
Or so I've heard.
But I'm flying blind here, I need
depth. Could Miss Kirby put together
a briefing? Maybe schedule a
Saturday or two to really dig into
(surprised and pleased)
Oh... we'd be delighted. We've got
some figures that will amaze you.
I'm sure you do.
Well, we won't take up any more...
Whoa, whoa, hold on, what about
Well, we're sponsoring a bill
imposing safety standards on
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 59.
89 CONTINUED: (2) 89
Great! About time! I hate imported
toys. What about food additives?
How about we block out a few
evenings, you can take me through
Celia, if that's what the
Congressman wants... any problem?
You want to do this in the evening?
I'm away for the next two weeks.
She gives him a look. Ira turns to Tommy.
So, when can Celia start your
Saturday night sounds fine.
Fine. Wednesday morning. Nine-
90 INT. CATACOMBS - NIGHT - CLOSE ANGLE - A SIGN 90
On a door in the House sub-basement: MEMBERS ONLY.
91 INT. HOUSE GYM - NIGHT 91
The regular evening pickup basketball game. Even among
these ruthless players, Tommy's street moves are outstand-
ingly down and dirty. His principal accomplice: Elijah
92 INT. LOCKER ROOM - HOUSE GYM - NIGHT 92
A standing poker game among the towel- and robe-clad
It's Tommy's shuffle and deal. He is convincingly awkward.
A BULLDOG of a man examines his hand, tosses two cards in.
He assembles his new hand. Four fives and an ace.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 60.
92 CONTINUED: 92
ON Tommy's hand. A pair of threes.
The betting starts, at a couple of chips, and comes round
to Tommy. He pushes a stack of chips to the center.
Let's get serious, fellas.
93 INT. CATACOMBS (OR CORRIDOR) - NIGHT 93
Tommy, Marshall, and the Bulldog, back in suits, exit the
MEMBERS ONLY door and move through the catacombs.
I need your help on the ethics
bill, Leon. I want you to co-
sponsor my amendments.
You make a persuasive case, Eli.
That wasn't a yes.
I promise to give it the attention
The Bulldog gives Tommy a friendly squeeze --
Better luck next time, son.
-- and leaves them. Tommy and Marshall continue on.
He took six hundred dollars off
you that last hand, didn't he?
Yeah, he's taking a real shine to
If I didn't know better, I'd say
you lost to him on purpose.
Nothing wrong with letting the
chairman of the ethics committee
roll you once in a while.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 60A.
93 CONTINUED: 93
(shaking his head)
You fit in real well up here. Too
So Eli, how come you haven't asked
for my help with your amendments?
Give it a rest, Tommy. You've got
a great jump shot. But everyone
knows you're Dick Dodge's boy.
I'm nobody's boy, mister.
Don't waste your outrage on me.
I know what you are.
I'm no different from anyone else.
That's not true. Some people here
actually try to do something
besides save their own ass.
You know, Eli, I like you, I really
do. You remind me of my father.
Oh, really? How so?
He thought I was scum, too.
BELLS begin RINGING and LIGHTS FLASHING on all the clocks
and sconces down the corridor. Three RINGS, pause,
three RINGS, pause... Marshall does a U-turn. Tommy
doesn't follow suit.
Aren't you going to vote?
Vote? Is that what that is? We
got a pool going in the office on
when it'll go off next.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 60B.
93A INT. LOBBY OUTSIDE HOUSE CHAMBER - DAY 93A
It's called "Gucci Gulch." The lobby just outside the
doors to the House chamber is pandemonium -- a sea of
lobbyists, lawyers, PACmen, Members, and staffers
urgently trying to find their masters and signal them
thumbs-up or-down. Tommy enters, sweeps the room with
his eyes, looking for Reinhardt, shrugs, then goes
through the doors onto the floor.
93B INT. HOUSE CHAMBER - DAY 93B
Tommy goes to a console on the rear of a seat.
A blue light says OPEN. Tommy inserts a card (it looks
like an electronic hotel key). Red, green, and amber
lights at buttons labeled NAY, YEA, and PRES. Tommy
shrugs, pushes NAY.
93C INT. LOBBY OUTSIDE HOUSE CHAMBER - DAY 93C
As Tommy heads away, he passes a class trip -- a dozen
fifth-graders and their TEACHER, who hails him.
Excuse me -- Congressman? Do you
have a moment? We're from the
Hawthorne Avenue School, in Union,
New Jersey? I'm Mrs. Kozlowski.
Social Studies. We were just
learning how a bill becomes a law.
Was that a vote?
Yes, it was.
And what did you vote?
I voted "Nay." It's a terrible
bill. It'd destroy the fabric of
And what was the vote on?
Tommy hasn't a clue. He calls out to Rafe, who is among
those leaving the chamber.
Hey, Rafe! Tell these kids what
that vote was about.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 61.
93C CONTINUED: 93C
Guy's got a real knack for
Well, it was a motion to reconsider
the motion to reconsider.
Bo, passing by, intervenes.
No, it was the rule on amending the
You're in excellent hands, kids.
94 INT. RESTAURANT - DAY 94
A NOISY restaurant popular with lobbyists. Power photos
on the wall. Table hopping. People SHOUTING greetings
across the room. Waiters in long aprons. Tommy is
having lunch with Tommy O'Connor.
You're a gentleman, Tommy. We can
always do bid'ness -- I like that
in a Member.
Thank you, Tommy. I love you too.
Listen, I'd like to do more money
for you -- I just need to know
your positions on a few issues.
O'Connor takes out a pen and leather notecard case.
For instance, where are you on
sugar price supports?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 62.
94 CONTINUED: 94
Tommy has no idea, but he's certainly open to
Sugar price supports. Where do
you think I should be, Tommy?
Shit -- makes no difference to me.
If you're for 'em, I got money for
you from my sugar producers in
Louisiana and Hawaii. If you're
against 'em, I got money for you
from the candy manufacturers.
Let's put you down as for. Now
what about putting limits on
You tell me.
Well, if you're for 'em, I got
money from the doctors and
insurance companies. If you're
against 'em, I got money from the
trial lawyers. Tell you what,
let's say against. Now how about
(indicating his plate)
I'll stick with the salad.
Not for lunch, shmuck, for PAC
money. A lot of the frozen
pizzas use phony cheese. There's
a law pending requiring them to
disclose it on their labels.
Where do you stand?
Tommy thinks it through.
If I vote for the labels...then I
get money from the dairy industry...
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 63.
94 CONTINUED: (2) 94
And if I vote against the labels,
I get money from the frozen food
Excellent! And don't forget the
ranchers, because they get hurt
if pepperoni sales go down!
A pepperoni lobby. I love this
So which is it?
Fuck the cheese people. Thanks to
them my office smelled like smelt
for a week.
All right. For.
So Tommy, tell me -- with all this
money on every side, how does
anything get done?
It doesn't! That's the genius of
95 INT. TOMMY'S OFFICE - DAY 95
A briefing in progress. Flip charts, ring binders, Celia,
Ira, a couple of other Pro Bono types. Tommy is riveted
It comes down to a question of
what is acceptable risk. Are we
willing to feed our kids a
substance that causes cancer in
lab rats? More important, who
gets to make the decision?
Bureaucrats and big corporations,
or the people whose lives depend
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 64.
96 INT. TOMMY'S BOILER ROOM - DAY 96
Tommy's staff shares one small office. Everyone's on the
Mr. Willie? Congressman Johnson is
calling. Can you take his call?
Thank you. Please hold.
Van Dyke puts him on hold, counts to three, gets back on
I'm sorry, Mr. Willie, he just
picked up another call. Listen, I
know why he was calling -- he
hasn't heard from you about his
PAN TO Armando.
... That's right, Mr. Brown, on
the thirtieth... A thousand a
couple...A whole table? He'll be
so happy to hear it. Thank you so
Loretta! Put down nuclear power
for ten g's.
PAN TO Loretta, who chalks the figure onto a toteboard.
Mr. Newburg? It's Miss Loretta,
from Congressman Johnson's office,
how you doin'?
On Loretta's bulletin board is a map of the United States,
with flags, pushpins, and air travel routes.
Say, the congressman's going to be
out your way next week... Palm
Springs, the Bob Hope Classic --
yes, a celebrity player. As long
as he's on the coast, we were
wondering whether you aerospace
people might want to lay on a lunch
so you can hear his views... Uh-huh
... Uh-huh... Lovely. Now what kind
of contribution to his foundation
you folks thinking about?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 65.
97 INT. TOMMY'S OFFICE - DAY 97
Celia continues her briefing.
...And in the 1988 study, it was
up to eight per hundred-thousand.
Um...am I losing you on these
No, I was just wondering how much
of this is a statutory problem,
and how much is a regulatory one?
I mean, didn't the Merton Act
cover most of this?
Hmmm, that's an excellent point.
Let me see something...
As she starts rummaging in her briefcase, we TRACK AROUND
to a COMPUTER SCREEN on Tommy's desk -- it displays THE
EXACT WORDS HE'S JUST SPOKEN.
Wow...you're right. Maybe we can
get them to amend Merton-Simmons.
RACK FOCUS...reveals REINHARDT in b.g., sitting at
another computer terminal. He is typing in Tommy's
responses, which appear on Tommy's screen.
Well, for Merton to apply you have
to show high contagion...sounds to
me like your contagion rates are
no higher than the common clod.
In b.g., Reinhardt DIVES FORWARD to his keyboard and
begins correcting his typo. Celia looks puzzled.
Must have picked up a little
dyslexia over the weekend.
I see. Well, I must say I'm pretty
You're also impressively pretty.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 66.
97 CONTINUED: 97
Celia is startled. Tommy is embarrassed...the dumb
compliment he's just spoken was one Reinhardt typed on
the computer screen.
Oh come on...
You're right. Sorry. Excuse me a
Without explanation, he THROWS HIS PENCIL hard out of
98 EXT. GULF STREAM JET - AIRBORNE - DAY 98
A jet flies through the sky.
99 INT. GULF STREAM JET - DAY 99
Tommy and handful of other Members listen to their GUN
Frankly, we think the semi-automatic
has gotten a bad rap. That's why
the American Sporting Gun Users PAC
put together this trip.
ON TOMMY AND DODGE enjoying champagne and hors d'oeuvres.
100 EXT. DUCK BLIND - DAY 100
Tommy, wearing full L.L. Bean drag, wading with the other
Someone blows a shrieking DUCK CALL. A flock takes flight.
Everyone in the group raises their weapons: AK-47s. A
burst of GUNFIRE. Rambo time.
We SEE the flock still flying.
One duck drops at the feet of the hunters.
Must have had a heart attack.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 67.
101A EXT. GOLF COURSE - FIRST TEE - DAY 101A
A LARGE SIGN READS:
SCRAP IRON INSTITUTE CELEBRITY PRO-AM.
Tommy tees off. He is wearing a veritable pro shop of
custom golf gear, all emblazoned with logos of corporate
sponsors and lobbies. He hits the ball about 200
yards...but more or less perpendicular to the hole.
REVEAL BOB HOPE standing nearby, watching.
I knew all these congressmen get
a slice, but I didn't know it was
101 INT. JET - DAY 101
Tommy on the phone.
Did you miss me?
102 INT. PRO BONO OFFICES - DAY 102
Celia at her desk in the somewhat ratty Pro Bono offices.
Where did you go?
INTERCUT CELIA AND TOMMY
Oh, a fact-finding mission, some
issue conferences, a few speaking
engagements, a charity event... the
More like the Petroleum Institute
Ski Cup, the NRA Open, the --
Hey. Have lunch with me tomorrow.
I can't -- we're having a press
What is it -- the ozone layer? No
fault? Killer apples?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 68.
102 CONTINUED: 102
Toy safety. Wait a minute.
Tomorrow's Friday. Aren't you
You remembered! That means you
103 EXT. JEFFERSON MEMORIAL - NIGHT 103
Tommy and Celia walk over the bridge to the cherry trees
by the Tidal Basin.
So, how'd you end up hustling for
Pro Bono instead of pesticides? I
mean, you could have been a big-
time lawyer, right?
Oh, I was for a while. It...
At a hundred grand a year, how
depressed can you get? Doesn't
it depress you to lose all the
Sometimes. Mostly it gets me
angry. And the anger keeps me
going. Sure, I wouldn't mind
winning a few. And it's not like
I'm allergic to money...
So why do you do it?
She skips a stone on the water.
God, it's so embarrassing to come
out and say it.
Meaning. I need my life to mean
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 69.
103 CONTINUED: 103
This actually hits Tommy. Celia, embarrassed, changes
My question is, how'd you get
named after a Memorial?
Grandma like Jefferson. Y'know,
"Life, liberty and the pursuit of
happiness." It's a lot to live
up to, so I specialized in the
And how's the pursuit going?
Fine...'til I met you. Now...the
better I do, the worse I feel.
They have stopped walking. They are standing close
together. They kiss.
So...when can I see you again?
How about dinner Saturday night?
She shakes her head.
How about Sunday morning?
104 INT. OLD CHURCH - BALTIMORE - DAY 104
In the pulpit, Rev. Elijah Marshall thunders:
The wages of sin is death! And
to the man who values Gold over
Goodness...the Lord allows no
REVEAL TOMMY and Celia in the front pew. Marshall
appears to be preaching directly to Tommy, who wears a
slightly sick smile.
To the man who shows no respect
for the privilege of walking this
Earth, God allows no deductions!
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 70.
104 CONTINUED: 104
And to the man whose pockets are
bulging and whose soul is empty...
the Lord grants no 90-day extension!
And when the last trump sounds,
believe me, you will be audited!
(aside to Celia)
This is one hell of a date.
105 EXT. CHURCH - DAY 105
On the steps, Marshall shakes hands with his Congregants.
Tommy and Celia exit the church. Marshall takes Celia by
the hands and kisses her familiarly. Tommy is taken
Hello, darling. Glad you could
I liked the sermon, Uncle Eli.
My niece says you're not half as
slimy as I thought.
That would put you somewhere
between a lizard and a toad.
Quite a step up.
Tommy looks from Marshall to Celia and back again.
How could I have missed the
106 EXT. CANNON BUILDING - DAY - ESTABLISHING 106
107 INT. CANNON TOP FLOOR - DAY 107
WHISTLING happily, Tommy rounds the corner and heads to
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 71.
107 CONTINUED: 107
Ahead of him, encamped in the hallway, he sees a phalanx
of SENIOR CITIZENS, many carrying placards, and some
camera crews. Tommy adjusts his tie, turns on the charm,
Ladies! Looking good! How can I
help you folks today!
But Hattie Rifkin and her troops will have none of it.
Don't "Ladies!" me, you dick!
The camera lights go on.
108 INT. DODGE'S OFFICE - DAY 108
Now let me get this straight. You
voted to make people on Medicare
pay more money to their doctors?
The Medical Association made a
persuasive case. Ten grand from
their PAC, plus Christmas in Aspen.
(shaking his head)
Tommy -- if I'm not mistaken, you
wouldn't be here without the good
senior citizens of your district.
You got to dance with the girl
that brung you, son. If you have
a bit of business to do, do it
quietly... in the corridors... in
the subcommittees... with little
amendments. You mess around on
the big ones like Medicare, you'll
be dead meat on election day.
Yeah, well, then it's thanks for
the memories, and on to the next
Do you know what your problem is,
son? You don't think big enough.
You have a real knack for this
town, but you have the soul of a
two-bit hustler. Listen to me,
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 72.
108 CONTINUED: 108
Five hundred thirty-five Members
of Congress. Some are smart, and
some stupid. Some good, some not.
But all of them, son, all of them
consumed by the single overriding
imperative that defines the very
Washington way of life.
Wait a minute. You're talkin'
'bout my re-election?
You don't know what percent of the
incumbents who ran last time got
re-elected, do you?
Ninety-six. And ninety-eight
before that. It's like that
election after election. If you
don't fuck up, you can be here,
raking it in, for life. Life,
Tommy considers this. Then a big smile.
I can think of worse places to
I knew you had it in you.
So how do I get the Silver Foxes
off my ass?
Oh, throw them a bone... why
don't you co-sponsor a bill for
mandatory universal health
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 73.
108 CONTINUED: (2) 108
What's that mean?
Nothing. It'll never pass.
109 INT. TOMMY'S RECEPTION AREA - DAY 109
A couple of Lobbyists await Tommy. Van Dyke mans the
desk. In come ELLEN JUBA, 40s, and her 13-year-old
daughter, MICKEY, whose pony tail sticks out from her
Florida Marlins baseball cap.
May I help you?
Yes, I'm Ellen Juba. This is my
daughter, Mickey. We'd like to
see our congressman. We live in
Just a moment, please.
(dials; into phone)
Could you come out? Thank you.
Be right with you.
I like your hat.
Loretta comes out and extends a hand.
How do you do, I'm Miss Loretta,
public liaison for the congressman.
Ellen Juba. My daughter Mickey.
We'd like to see him.
Y'all from the district? Up here
seein' the sights? How'd you folks
like some gallery passes? Go on
over and listen to the great debates
of our day?
She reaches into Van Dyke's desk drawer to get some passes.
We don't want to go to the gallery.
We want to see Congressman Johnson.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 74.
109 CONTINUED: 109
How 'bout a House key ring for each
of you? Here -- see that? Isn't
that something? Turns into a pen.
You don't understand. We're not
tourists. We're constitutents.
You aren't with some organization,
are you, honey?
I'm a goddam citizen! Isn't that
We're not leaving here till we
Loretta exchanges a look with the Lobbyists, who get the
picture. She picks up the phone and speaks nonchalantly.
Oh, Armando? Could you come out
Tommy enters, carrying an enormous tennis trophy.
Look what I won! Must be that
Armando has come out to hear this.
There a problem, congressman?
Armando tries to escort her out.
Get your hands off me!
Mickey tries to block Armando.
Let go of her, you creep!
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 75.
109 CONTINUED: (2) 109
Careful, she may be armed!
Stop it! Get away from her!
Armando, defending himself from Mickey, manages to knock
her hat off. With the hat comes her (apparently false)
ON MICKEY. She's bald. Her skull bears the mark of surgery.
Everyone stops. It's quiet.
Mickey's eyes burn into Tommy's. Then she picks up her
Come on, Ma. It's okay. Let's go.
Wait. What happened to you?
Not just me.
110 INT. TOMMY'S OFFICE - DAY 110
Tommy and his staff listen to the Jubas.
I was lucky. They said they got it
all. I'm going to be okay. But
what about the others?
They call it a "cancer cluster."
Oh, at first, none of us in the
neighborhood wanted to believe it,
but then we all saw it -- for me,
it was when the two-year-old across
the street developed a brain tumor,
same as Mickey. We looked at
everything -- the water, the air,
dump sites, insects, you name it.
But we didn't have to look that far.
It was staring us in the face.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 76.
110 CONTINUED: 110
High-voltage power lines. The
wires cause magnetic fields -- and
the magnetic fields cause cancer.
Especially in children.
I never heard of that.
Mickey pulls a stack of journals and xeroxes from her
book bag and gives it to her mother, who in turn gives
the materials to Tommy.
The studies, the numbers -- it's
(to Tommy, skeptical)
You're not actually going to read
those, are you?
Oh, they'll be read...
Why don't you come see for
Tommy has no quick answer.
111 EXT. PARK/SCHOOL - FLORIDA - DAY 111
Children playing on swings and seesaws in a small public
park. TILT UP. A pair of electric power derricks
carrying 225,000-volt lines almost directly overhead.
The derricks cast shadows across a nearby school.
We SEE the neighborhood. Quite a few FOR SALE signs.
A house with a moving sale in progress on the front lawn.
ON Tommy taking it all in. With him are Celia and the
Five children in the neighborhood
have cancer. One more has
precancerous lesions. Pregnant
women around here are scared to
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 77.
111 CONTINUED: 111
This is Mickey's school?
Turns out a lot of schools are near
power lines. The land's cheap, so
the schools tend to buy it from the
power companies in the first place.
But isn't the school district
We asked the superintendent to
measure the magnetic field inside
the school. He said, Okay, only
it'll cost forty thousand dollars,
and what program did we want him to
cut that from?
We're nobody, congressman. You're
somebody. We need your help.
Tommy takes Celia aside.
Do you believe it?
It's impossible to know. No one's
really looked into it hard enough.
But why isn't it being investigated?
Why didn't they investigate breast
implants all those years? What
about those side-effects of that
sleeping pill, Halcion? Why isn't
anything being investigated? It's
always the same.
You got it.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 78.
111 CONTINUED: 111
There must be something I can do
for those people.
Don't tell me you're actually
developing a conscience.
Shit, I hope not -- it'd be a
fucking nuisance in Congress.
No, that's not fair. Some people
on the Hill actually believe in
things, and try to do a decent job,
and don't forget why they went to
Washington, and who sent them.
Oh, yeah, I met one of those
geeks. So what can I do?
Make a stink. Round up some
Members and hold a press
conference. Get that committee of
yours to hold hearings. Haul in
in the Environmental Protection
Agency, the Surgeon General, the
National Academy of Sciences. Get
the issue on every breakfast table
112 OMITTED 112
112A INT. POWER AND ENTERPRISE COMMITTEE - DAY 112A
A press conference. Half a dozen congressmen, Tommy
among them. Iowa is speaking to the few Cameras and
Reporters. Beside him, Mickey Juba and her mother.
Reinhardt and Ceila among the handful of staff and
This goes beyond personal tragedy.
It goes to a public health hazard
of unknown proportions. It goes
to the right of ordinary people to
know all the facts --
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 79.
112A CONTINUED: 112A
Yeah, right -- people ought to
know if their neighborhoods are
Amen, gentleman. Amen.
They turn, somewhat surprised to see Dick Dodge, who
joins Iowa at the microphones, a natural leader.
What a fine effort this is. I am
totally sympathetic. Congressional
hearings should be scheduled as
soon as possible. The American
people deserve no less.
He puts an arm around Mickey.
Message: we care.
112B INT. TOMMY'S HOUSE - NIGHT 112B
Tommy and Celia are watching the press conference on TV.
Well, congratulations. You've
found yourself your own hopeless
Speaking of hopeless causes...
They kiss, and slide OUT OF FRAME.
113 OMITTED 113
115 INT. DODGE'S OFFICE - NIGHT 115
An impressive THUNDERSTORM pounds on Dodge's windows.
On the rocks, or neat?
Whatever you're having.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 80.
115 CONTINUED: 115
Well, why ruin good bourbon with
the taste of some shitty Sears
icemaker, that's what I always say.
(handing Tommy a glass)
Dodge downs his drink. Tommy follows suit.
Son, you're a real comer. I
wouldn't be surprised if you ended
up in the leadership. I'll say
this: if I were Speaker, I'd
sleep better with you as a
Why, thank you, Mr. Chairman. You
know, to tell you the truth, I
didn't know you'd be on my side on
those power lines.
But I'm not.
But you said you were sympathetic --
Of course I did. We're all
sympathetic to little girls with
cancer. But I'm not sympathetic
to holding an inquiry.
But you said --
I know what I said. But that was
just a press conference, son. I
wasn't under oath.
The intercom BUZZES.
Yes?... Bring them right in!
Look. Son. It's great to get
your name in the paper.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 81.
115 CONTINUED: (2) 115
I bet the gentleman from Iowa was
all over the evening news in Des
Moines tonight. Getting good
press -- letting them know you
care -- that's what it's all about.
Smart move, Tommy. But that's as
far as I'd go with this, if I were
The door opens. Dodge turns to see Olaf Anderson, Tommy
O'Connor, and Zeke Bridges enter.
What a surprise!
Mr. Chairman! Hello, Tommy. Zeke
you're looking well, good to see you.
Good to see you, you old sum' bitch.
Evening, Mr. Chairman, thanks for
taking the -- Tommy, you s.o.b., they
let you in here?
(indicating Andersen and
You folks finally get to press flesh!
Olaf, meet Tommy Johnson. Tommy, Olaf
Andersen. Chairman of Gulf Coast
The boys here have told me a lot
Yeah -- I told him you voted for him!
They all share a laugh. Except for Bridges, who squints
Glad to meet you, son. They tell me
you've got a real talent for the
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 81A.
115 CONTINUED: (3) 115
And this is Zeke Bridges, CEO of
Good to meet you.
Help me with these, would you,
He hands Tommy a couple of drinks.
Chivas on the rocks?
(taking the drink)
You look awfully familiar.
Tommy just smiles.
Tommy and I were just talking about
Yeah, what a coincidence. I
thought this little party might be
You may not like this.
I think we should hold those
You really fell for the line that
parents group fed you, didn't you?
Tommy is struck by Dodge's intelligence.
How'd you know I met the parents
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 81B.
115 CONTINUED: (4) 115
Oh, I keep my ear to the ground,
that's what a good politician does.
Listen, Tommy, why don't we just get
Olaf's take on this.
It's tragic, cancer's a terrible
thing, but there's no way you can
link it to power lines. Truth is,
there's a bigger electromagnetic
field given off by an electric
blanket, or a microwave oven, than
by those derricks.
But there are studies that say --
For every study that says one thing,
I'll show you a study saying another.
We've studied it ourselves. Nada.
There's not a single state health
official anywhere in this country
who says power lines cause cancer.
But what if you're wrong?
As Tommy persists, Andersen looks increasingly angry.
People didn't use to say smoking
causes cancer, either. What if the
evidence is just building, and some
day we wake up and discover that
your power lines are killing us?
"Kill us"? "Kill us"? You calling
me a murderer? You're saying there's
blood on these hands? How dare you
talk to me like that, you --
O'Connor puts a restraining arm on Andersen.
Calm down, Olaf, calm down, he
didn't mean it that way, did you,
son? Alright, gentlemen. Easy.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 82.
115 CONTINUED: (5) 115
Andersen backs off, regains his composure. The outburst
makes an impression on Tommy.
I'm just saying, it's worth looking
Tommy -- do you want to move the power
lines? Do you know how much it
would cost to bury them? Millions.
Tens of millions. I don't have that
money. The state doesn't have that
money. You people up here sure
don't have that money. You know
who'd end up paying for it? Folks
who sent you here, that's who.
Now how'd you like the people in
your district to think of you as the
putz who tripled their electric bill?
You think they'd thank you for that
on election day?
All I'm saying is, maybe we should
hold hearings to look at --
Think for a minute, boychik. You
hold your hearings. Overnight,
everyone who lives near a substation
finds the value of his home in the
toilet. You kill the real estate
You kill the insurance companies.
You kill the school district.
You kill the local economy.
For a smart boy, you're not
thinking very politically.
Tommy watches the LIGHTNING.
Maybe I should think about it.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 83.
115 CONTINUED: (6) 115
Yeah, the system ain't perfect,
but the fleas come with the dawg.
Oh, by the way, Tommy, on a completely
different subject -- You don't have a
state PAC yet, do you? I'd like to
give you a hundred thousand dollar
corporate contribution to start one
My company would be honored to do
Can you do that? I thought there
were limits --
Oh, it's all aboveboard, we all
believe deeply in the rules. It's
just that the state rules are often
more flexible about these things.
Are you interested?
I'm always interested in the
happiness of my constituents.
I'll drink to that.
Dodge and Andersen shoot each other a look.
116 OMITTED 116
118 EXT. TOMMY'S HOUSE - NIGHT 118
Tommy pulls up in a Corvette with Florida congressional
plates in front of his Capitol Hill row house.
119 INT. TOMMY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT 119
Tommy slips into bed next to Celia, who's half asleep.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 84.
119 CONTINUED: 119
So what did he say?
Dodge. The hearings.
Oh -- I, uh, haven't asked him yet.
Celia suddenly looks quite awake.
It wasn't the right moment.
Besides, I was thinking, maybe I
ought to line up some other Members
first -- you know, get my ducks in
120 INT. HOUSE STEAM ROOM - DAY 120
Dick Dodge and several other towel-clad MEMBERS.
You see that ABC poll?
President in trouble like that, he's
liable to do something desperate.
Some damn fool stunt.
Declare war on Congress, more like
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 3/25/92 85A.
120 CONTINUED: (A1) 120
The door opens. Eli Marshall, fully dressed, comes in.
You shafted me on the ethics bill.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 86.
120 CONTINUED: 120
Hello, Eli, good to see you. Why
don't you loosen your tie?
It's a closed rule. I can't get my
amendments on the floor. I can't get
a recorded vote. I can't get squat.
Last time I looked, it was the Rules
Committee in charge of that. This
isn't the Rules Committee, Eli.
This is the steam room.
This is the U.S. Congress! The
American people deserve better than --
You know what your problem is, Eli?
You've got sermonitis.
The other Members chuckle.
Can't open your mouth without
climbing into the pulpit, can you?
Why don't you just calm down, have
a massage --
I've got news for you, Dick. I'm
going to run against you for Speaker.
I may not have a rat's ass of a
chance to beat you. But I sure as
hell can tell the world the kind of
sleaze you stand for.
121 EXT. CAPITOL TERRACE - DAY - TOMMY AND DODGE 121
I went too far with him, I know it.
You know him pretty well, don't you?
Oh, I don't know...
Come on, you play basketball
together, you're seeing his niece,
you've been to his church --
How did you know that?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 87.
121 CONTINUED: 121
Dodge indicates his bloodhound nose.
He'll listen to you, Tommy. I want
you to go make peace between us.
Tell him we'll work something out
on his amendments -- not a vote, I
won't go that far, but at least
he'll get to say his piece on the
floor. Just get him off my back.
Can you do that for me?
That's not a question, is it?
That's right. Is there a problem?
No, no -- I've still got my right
nut, I can work with that.
122 INT. CRAB HOUSE - NIGHT 122
A WAITER removes an empty pitcher of beer.
Sure, why not.
Marshall takes a boiled crab from the platter between them,
places it on the butcher paper in front of him, christens
The honorable Dick Dodge.
-- raises a big wooden mallet, and SMASHES it on the crab,
You know, Eli, sometimes people do
things they regret. Everyone makes
mistakes. Fact is, Dick's been
under a lot of pressure lately --
That man's a walking quid quo pro
-- prid quo -- quid pro quo, and
you know it. He put you up to
this, didn't he?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 88.
122 CONTINUED: 122
What do you mean?
Don't shit me, Tommy. You're Dick
Dodge's yes-man. I know what
you're up to. This is damage
I'm not a yes-man. When Dick says
no, I say no.
Marshall SMASHES down again with the mallet. Crab carnage.
You know why no one on the Hill
drops a dime on anyone else? Mutual
assured destruction. Our little
gentleman's agreement. Everybody
has something on somebody, so nobody
has anything on anybody, because
everybody wants to save his own ass.
Oh, yeah? What do they have on you?
They think I'm a pompous ass.
Shit, that ain't no secret.
123 EXT. CRAB HOUSE - NIGHT 123
Reinhardt and Loretta about to go in.
You sure they don't want to be
No, no -- I bet they've been talking
about the ethics bill all night.
Come on, Loretta, you'll know how to
get Marshall's mind off business.
124 INT. CRAB HOUSE - NIGHT - ON MARSHALL AND TOMMY 124
Shit, this place isn't about passing
laws any more. It isn't about doing
good any more. All it's about is...
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 88A.
124 CONTINUED: 124
Loretta and Reinhardt approach their table.
Well, as I live and breathe. Tommy!
Tommy is surprised to see them. She flashes a smile at
Eli, this is Loretta Hicks, from my
staff. Loretta, Congressman Marshall.
Pleasure to meet you.
You know Reinhardt, my AA?
Marshall nods. Reinhardt turns to Tommy.
Excuse me, congressman, could I just
do a couple of quick calendar things
Would you care for a drink?
Tell you the truth, nothing for me.
Well, when a pretty lady shoots him
down, an old man knows it's time to
Marshall rises, pulling out his car keys.
You kids have a good time.
Listen, you gentlemen look like
you've had a few -- Loretta, why
don't you be a designated driver?
Loretta stands and takes Marshall's keys from him.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 89.
124 CONTINUED: (2) 124
Ah. The good Samaritan.
Good night, y'all.
Now we've already got the Bankruptcy
Institute breakfast tomorrow, but if
you don't mind we could wedge in the
Prune Board --
This isn't what Tommy wants to be doing now. He gets up.
I'm packing it in.
Can we talk while I drive you?
Thanks, I'll walk. I could use
125 INT. MARSHALL'S CAR - MOVING - NIGHT 125
Marshall and Loretta are singing.
MARSHALL and LORETTA
"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
that saved a wretch like me -- "
126 EXT. CAPITOL HILL STREET - NIGHT 126
Tommy is on foot. Marshall's car, with its Maryland
congressional plates, pulls over.
Come on, honey, no use you getting
127 INT. MARSHALL'S CAR - MOVING - NIGHT 127
MARSHALL and LORETTA
"I once was lost, but now am found;
was blind, but now I see... "
Tommy, in the back, cradles his head. As Loretta heads
into a traffic circle, she SEES
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 90.
128 EXT. TRAFFIC CIRCLE - NIGHT - A HOOKER 128
in high sling-back heels.
129 INT. MARSHALL'S CAR - NIGHT 129
(turning to look)
Check out the fuck-me pumps on that.
Mm-mm. I gotta get me some shoes
Loretta! Please! Your mouth!
130 EXT. TRAFFIC CIRCLE - NIGHT 130
With a SCREECH of brakes and a CRUNCH of metal, a TAXI
rear-ends them, SLAMMING Marshall's car into a lamppost.
131 INT. TAXI - NIGHT 131
The Taxi Driver looks at the wreck for a moment. Then
he lays rubber and SQUEALS away.
132 INT./EXT. MARSHALL'S CAR - NIGHT 132
On the back floor, Tommy stirs. Seems to be okay.
Lifts himself to see up front. The windshield is
smashed. Loretta and Marshall are both unconscious.
Tommy climbs into the front but can't get the door open.
He kicks out a broken window and climbs through.
He runs to a phone on the corner and dials 911.
I need an ambulance right away.
IN THE CAR no motion from Loretta or Marshall.
AT THE PHONE he dials another number.
Evening, Mrs. Dodge, Tommy Johnson
here, sorry to call at this hour,
is Dick back from the Gridiron
dinner yet? Could I speak with him
for just a moment?
133 INT. DODGE BEDROOM - NIGHT 133
MRS. DODGE is in bed. She hands the phone to Dodge,
who's in white tie and tails, looking more sinister
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 91.
133 CONTINUED: 133
INTERCUT Tommy and Dodge.
How did you know?
Good news doesn't come at this hour.
I went out with Marshall. We got into
an accident. He's out cold. I'm okay.
Dodge looks off balance.
Were you driving?
No. Someone else. Loretta.
Dodge recovers his equilibrium.
The girl from your office?
Yeah. She's out, too. I don't
like the way it looks. For anybody.
Look. You said you wanted to get
back into Marshall's good graces.
Well, here's an opportunity.
Listen carefully. Tell the
ambulance to take you to Walter
Reed. It's a privilege they give
congressmen. It's also the only
hospital without a bunch of goddam
reporters shtupping the nurses in
exchange for leaks. They'll keep
it quiet. I'll handle the police.
You go home and keep your mouth shut.
134 INT. PARKING GARAGE - NIGHT 134
Two figures approach one another in the shadows:
Reinhardt, and the Taxi Driver who rear-ended Marshall's
car. The cabbie nods. Reinhardt hands him an envelope.
The Driver inspects the cash.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 91A.
135 INT. TOMMY'S BATHROOM/BEDROOM - MORNING 135
Tommy is shaving. He HEARS the local tv news from the
WASHINGTON ANCHOR (V.O.)
... and the Beltway is bumper-to
bumper, so you might as well take a
day of annual leave and enjoy
yourself. At the top of the news,
Maryland Congressman Elijah Marshall
is in satisfactory condition at
Walter Reed Hospital after an
overnight accident in the District.
Tommy bolts into the bedroom. On the television he sees
136 VIDEO - EXT. WALTER REED HOSPITAL - GATES - DAY 136
A CORRESPONDENT doing a stand-up.
That's right, Tom. Marshall
reportedly had alcohol in his blood.
Also slightly injured was an
unidentified woman whom police say
has a record in several states for
Tommy looks sick.
Oh sweet Jesus.
Linda, Congressman Marshall --
that's Reverend Marshall, isn't it?
Right you are, Tom. How this plays
into his longstanding campaign to
reform congressinoal ethics is now
Thank you. In other news...
Tommy leaps for his clothes.
137 INT. HOSPITAL CORRIDOR - DAY 137
Tommy races down the corridor. Ahead of him, Celia,
coming out of Marshall's room. She freezes at the sight
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 92.
137 CONTINUED: 137
Get away from him.
He approaches her.
And get away from me.
I have to talk to you.
I was set up!
You were set up? You were in the
car! I didn't hear your name on the
No, someone screwed him --
Celia, something stinks here --
Yeah -- it's you! You don't give a
damn about anything! And to think,
the other night, I actually thought
you cared about someone else.
He puts his hand to her face. She brushes it off.
Not me, you jerk -- Mickey Juba!
You caved on those power lines,
didn't you? I knew it. Damn it, I
knew it! What did you get for it?
Tommy O'Connor's box at the
Redskins? Someone slip you a condo
in the Virgin Islands?
If you'd give me a chance to --
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 93.
137 CONTINUED: (2) 137
God, I hate this town -- the only
reason I stay is because I hate it
Get the hell out of here.
138 EXT. FLORIDA PARK - DAY - LONG SHOT - TOMMY AND 138
sitting on the ground, backs to us, beneath the power
lines. A quiet moment.
REVERSE ANGLE - TWO SHOT. Mickey is shuffling a deck of
Is it thumb over, or thumb under?
She tries her hand at a false shuffle.
Not bad, kid. You've got potential.
So what's happening? I thought you
were going to kick some ass on --
She indicates the derricks. Tommy looks at her, comes to
He takes the deck from her, fans it face up, pulls all the
kings and aces, stacks them on top, and squares the deck.
This is one's called the double
duke. How many players?
Who's the mark?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 94.
138 CONTINUED: 138
She points to an imaginary poker player.
Number two -- over there.
Tommy, smiling, calculates something for a moment, then
gives the deck four shuffles. He hands Mickey the cards.
She deals out six hands in a circle on the ground.
Look at the sucker's hand.
She turns over the hand at number two. It has the four
kings. Mickey WHISTLES at the hand.
Look at your hand.
She turns over her own hand. It has the four aces.
Mickey looks at the power lines, at the hands, at TJ.
That's what you're going to do?
Tommy nods. Her face opens into a big smile.
Let's kick some ass. What do I do?
Something very important.
139 INT. TOMMY'S LIVING ROOM - DAY 139
Tommy pow-wows with Loretta Van Dyke, and Armando. Aside
from a sling, Loretta looks okay.
Why are we meeting here, Tommy?
There trouble at the office?
"I keep my ear close to the ground."
His ear my ass. He had an inside
That little fuck Reinhardt?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 95.
139 CONTINUED: 139
Hot damn -- I knew my driving wasn't
that bad. Speaking of which -- you think
I should wear one of those whiplash
things, Tommy? There some insurance
angle I should be working here?
We got bigger fish to fry, darlin'.
What do we do?
The big con.
We gonna git that sucker.
Dick always said I should think big.
Whoa! Aren't we gettin' out of our
league, man? That Dodge is a pro!
You can't con a con, Congressman.
Shit, that's right, Tommy -- these
politicians are serious slick fish.
You people gone soft on me? Bunch
of fuckin' incumbents I got here.
Now listen up. Thursday morning
Dodge has a breakfast with the Arts
Caucus in the Longworth Room. Armando
-- find out how fast I can get from
Longworth to my office. Loretta --
we need some scoop from the EPA for
the roper, I'll give you a list.
Van Dyke -- call Hattie at the Silver
Foxes, and --
Wait a minute -- we need a new roper,
don't we? Everyone around here
knows our faces.
Outside a HORN sounds (O.S.). Tommy looks at his watch.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 96.
139 CONTINUED: 139
Right on the nose.
He throws open the bay window of the narrow house. Just
below is a pickup truck with "Homer's Pit Stop" lettered
on the side. Homer gets out.
The others come to the window to see Homer, still wearing
his fuel-smeared overalls, and SHOUT greetings.
Now let's get to work.
140 INT. POWER AND ENTERPRISE COMMITTEE - DAY 140
The Members are being seated for a hearing. At the dais,
Tommy approaches Dodge. A beat as Dodge studies Tommy's
Eli Marshall caught his tail in a
crack, didn't he?
You kept my name out of it.
I owe you one.
You learn fast.
Do me one favor, Dick. Next time
you pull some heavy shit involving
my ass, tip me off, okay?
This hearing of the Power and
Enterprise Committee is now in
order. The health of America's
securities industry --
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 97.
140 CONTINUED: 140
Reinhardt approaches Tommy and slips him a packet of
Thanks. Listen, Reinhardt, something's
come up, and I don't quite know how
to handle it. There's a guy from
the EPA -- I don't know him -- says
he wants to see me. Tonight. Out
of the office. Alone, he says.
Sound of it makes me nervous. I'd
feel better if you were there.
You got it, jefe.
141 EXT. GRANT'S STATUE - NIGHT 141
A man waits, alone, in the shadow of a large statue.
It's Homer. In a jacket and tie, his stubble shaved off,
he looks like a plausible government worker. Tommy and
I thought you'd be alone.
He's my AA. He goes where I go. If
you can trust me, you can trust him.
Homer eyes Reinhardt a moment, then continues.
Congressman, I have information I
think you may want. It's about
something going on at the EPA.
What have you got?
I got a wife and three kids, and a
note on my house, that's what I got.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 98.
141 CONTINUED: 141
Nothin' comes for nothin' in this
town, do it?
You got any cash on you? I'm kind
You can't do that!
This stuff's pretty good?
In the right hands, it could mean a
Okay. Sunday. Fifth race at Del
Mar. Blueboy is running twenty to
one. I'd take a major position.
You have to be shitting me.
No, not at all -- my Cousin Henry
spends his days pumping water into
horses' stomachs and stuffing
Percodan up their butts. Trust me.
Reinhardt is interested in this. And he admires Tommy's
(after a moment)
Alright. The White House is putting
heat on the EPA. They want us to
announce a major investigation of
the relation between power lines and
But didn't the EPA already do a study?
Yeah, but when the draft got to the
White House, they didn't like it. So
they brought their own scientists in
to kill it.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 99.
141 CONTINUED: (2) 141
Why did the White House change its
Is there new evidence?
Yeah -- their polls have dropped
like a rock. They need an issue.
This one makes them look good on
the environment, and they don't have
to spend a penny.
And what good is this to me?
Come on, congressman, in this town,
information is currency. And
advance information is gold.
Reinhardt nods in agreement.
But you've got to move fast. Once
the White House goes public with
this, they can't turn back. If your
friends at the power company want to
kill this investigation, they'd better
do it now. Evening, gentlemen.
After Homer leaves:
Blueboy. Twenty to one. Is your
Cousin Henry always right?
I ain't got no Cousin Henry.
142 EXT. PAY PHONE - BY REFLECTING POOL - NIGHT 142
MRS. DODGE'S VOICE (V.O.)
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 100.
142 CONTINUED: 142
Mrs. Dodge, it's Arthur Reinhardt.
May I speak to the Chairman, please?
Are you sitting down?
143 INT. ART CAUCUS ROOM - DAY 143
The Longworth Room, a small circular committee room with
an ornate rotunda. The Arts Caucus breakfast is ending.
Unless there is further business,
our caucus stands adjourned.
Dodge gets up. As he makes to leave, Tommy comes in.
Got a minute, Dick?
Tommy takes him aside. The room empties except for them.
Listen, Dick, I heard something.
There's got to be some bid'ness in it.
Tommy very discreetly gestures with his thumb and palm:
Maybe we can go in on it together.
The EPA is going to make a stink
about power lines. The White House
is pushing them to do a big study.
That's very interesting, my friend.
I've heard that, too.
Nothing gets by, do it?
Tommy touches his nose, in tribute to the master.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 100A.
143 CONTINUED: 143
But thank you, son -- I'm glad you
chose to share it with me. We do
make quite a team, don't we?
I -- I hope it wasn't my press conference
that started this.
No, this is a stunt for the polls.
So do you think there's something
in it for us?
If we got the EPA off Olaf Andersen's
back, he'd be extremely appreciative.
And how do we do that?
My committee writes the EPA's programs.
We audit their funds. We confirm their
appointees. I've got them by the balls.
And you're going to -- ?
Tommy makes a squeezing gesture, grins.
Oh, no, not at all -- just...
persuasion. Strenuous persuasion.
Persuasion, yes. Intimidation, no.
But it's a gray area. Who's to say
which is which?
Dick, wait a minute -- shouldn't we
check out the tip? Make sure the
EPA's really going through with this
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 101.
143 CONTINUED: (2) 143
(looks at watch)
He should be in by now.
Skeeter Warburton, of course.
Always go right to the top, son.
144 INT. DODGE'S RECEPTION AREA - DAY 144
Dodge passes his Secretary's desk on the way into his
Get me the EPA Administrator, please.
145 INT. CORRIDOR/STAIRWELL - CANNON - DAY 145
Tommy jogs along the corridor. A tourist Family stares at
him. He explains his haste with a smile --
There's a vote on the floor.
-- and ducks into the stairwell.
146 INT. CATACOMBS - PHONE CABLE ROOM - DAY 146
In a chamber crammed with cables, the Telephone Man
listens to a handset. He now sports a gold Rolex on his
wrist -- his horse must have come in. Van Dyke, also
there, looks at any array of dials and meters, whose
hands all suddenly move. Some electronic phone CHIRPS,
then the filtered RINGING of a call.
Here he comes.
The Telephone Man nods, adjusts some wiring, smiles
And there he goes.
147 INT. TOMMY'S OFFICE 147
Loretta wears a beaded sling, which adds to her look.
She is at Tommy's desk, watching his phone as it RINGS.
Tommy comes in.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 102.
147 CONTINUED: 147
Loretta picks up the phone.
Office of the Adminstrator.
Thank you, I'll put you right
She hands the phone to Tommy, who mimics the George
Mr. Chairman! I do hope there's
something I can help you with today.
148 INT. DODGE'S OFFICE - DAY 148
I need a straight answer from you,
Skeeter. Is the White House on
your ass about power lines?
Off the record?
I was looking forward to some
serious sailing this week -- Tish
and I have a lovely spot right by
Kennebunkport. Instead, here I am
at three in the morning, writing
testimony to your committee about
Thanks for your candor, Warburton.
Not at all. You must come sailing
with us. Cheers. Bye-bye.
Tommy passes the phone back to Loretta.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 102A.
149 INT. ANDERSEN'S OFFICE - DAY 149
Zeke Bridges on line two.
Andersen punches the button to connect the call.
150 INT. TOMMY'S OFFICE - DAY 150
I'll just put you through to him.
She passes the phone to Tommy.
Olaf, Zeke Bridges. Listen, you
sum' bitch, I'm so mad, I can't
sit down to shit. Have you heard
what I heard?
INTERCUT with Andersen.
The EPA's fixing to make a big
stink about power lines and
cancer. They're going to serve
us up for breakfast.
Wait a minute. There's no
scientific proof --
Proof don't mean shit. We're
talking politics. They make a
federal case out of power lines,
I'm screwed. Whole insurance
business is screwed. You know how
much cash I'd have to pay out in
settlements? Even if I stiffed
everybody on claims, the legal
fees'd be enough to kill me.
I can't believe it.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 103.
150 CONTINUED: 150
You better believe it. You're
screwed, too. Every hot dog trial
lawyer in America soon be lining up
to sue both our asses. We got to
move on this, Olaf. If I wasn't
tied up here, I'd go to Washington
myself. Shouldn't you be getting
on a plane? Just between us -- you
find a way to stop this, I'll find
a million bucks if I have to.
151 INT. CORPORATE JET - DAY 151
A very worried Andersen.
152 INT. HILL CORRIDOR - DAY 152
Tommy and Dodge walking along a Capitol hallway.
Olaf will be at my office at five o'clock.
How do we play it?
Cool. Real cool. You just follow
153 INT. DODGE'S OFFICE - DAY - DODGE, TOMMY, ANDERSEN, 153
I don't know how I can help you on
this one, Olaf. This is the EPA.
This is the President.
This is my lifeblood!
I see that, Olaf, I see that. But
in this town, you pick your fights.
This could mean six figures, Dick.
Dodge says nothing, but makes his eyebrows fly.
High six figures.
Dodge flicks his eyebrows again: More.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 104.
153 CONTINUED: 153
Between us. It's not that much --
what can you get for half a
million these days?
How the hell can I funnel that
kind of money to you?
If that's what you want, we can
always find a loophole. No one
will see your fingerprints.
No one will know?
No one will know.
You're only in trouble if someone
can prove a connection.
Of course there's no connection.
Olaf's just making a contribution
as a patriotic citizen. And in
return for it, he's getting --
Exactly. A little access, that's
154 INT. ORNATE CAPITOL HALLWAY - DAY 154
Dodge, Andersen, Tommy, and O'Connor walking along. Up
ahead, a cocktail reception. On an easel by the door:
HAZARDOUS WASTE ASSOCIATION MEET YOUR REPRESENTATIVE NIGHT.
I've got to do a drop-by. You
gentlemen like to join me for a drink?
155 INT. ORNATE FUNCTION ROOM - DAY 155
Dodge and Tommy work the room genially. Tommy spots
Celia talking to some Guests and goes over to her.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 105.
155 CONTINUED: 155
(to Guests, smiling)
She turns, starts to walk away. Tommy stops her.
Look. Whatever you think of me,
just promise me one thing.
She glares at him angrily. But then she's surprised to
Come to the Clean Air hearing
Power and Enterprise. Noon.
He gives her an enigmatic smile and slips away.
As he rejoins Dodge, Tommy SEES WARBURTON enter the room.
Alarmed, TOmmy moves in on Dodge, steering him to avoid
the EPA Administrator.
Shouldn't we be heading off, Dick?
Let's work the room just a bit more.
Congressman! Mr. Chairman!
As Dodge turns to see him --
-- he SEES Warburton.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 106.
155 CONTINUED: (2) 155
Good to see you, sir. By the way,
I thought your opening statement in
committee yesterday was brilliant.
Dodge points out Warburton to Tommy.
Well. Look who's over there --
Skeeter Warburton from the EPA.
The very man we want to see.
(trying to turn him)
Have you tried the oysters, Dick?
At a hazardous waste event?
I think we'll go talk to him.
No, he's the wrong man --
(bemused by Tommy)
You don't understand -- he's the
But -- but you don't want to bother
him with this. Talk to one of his
Dodge looks at Tommy with curiosity, not understanding his
Nothing beats man-to-man.
Here? Not here!
A public place. What could be better?
But it's the wrong time!
While the iron is hot, son.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 107.
155 CONTINUED: (3) 155
No time like the present.
Shut up, Reinhardt, I'm talking to
the Chairman. Beat it, okay?
(smiling to Dodge)
I'll go get him.
Reinhardt heads for Warburton.
(puts hand on abdomen)
You heard about this stomach thing
Come on, son, we've got the
people's business to do.
He leads Tommy off to one side. Reinhardt brings
Warburton to them.
Mr. Chairman. Congressman.
I've got a big problem, Skeeter.
Your power lines investigation.
What power lines investigation?
Tommy is sweating bullets.
We're off the record, Skeeter.
This witch-hunt for cancer clusters
is bad news for everyone.
I don't know what you're talking
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 108.
155 CONTINUED: (4) 155
Alright, I know you're being a
good soldier --
No, I'm being straight with you --
Then let me be straight with you. You
announce this study -- I'm not talking
about the results down the road, mind you,
I'm just talking about the announcement
-- and there's broken crockery everywhere.
Real estate. Utilities. Insurance.
Schools. Local governments.
It'll cost jobs. Uproot families.
I agree with you completely. There
isn't going to be an investigation,
old chap, I promise you.
I'm glad we understand each other.
Yes, I think we do.
Tommy silently rejoices in his good fortune.
And we'll just forget about that
phone call this morning?
We didn't speak on the phone.
Dodge claps him on the shoulder, then heads off with Tommy,
who is delighted to have dodged a bullet.
"There isn't going to be an
investigation, old chap."
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 109.
155 CONTINUED: (5) 155
They join up with Andersen and O'Connor.
Worked like a charm. We scared him
shitless. The investigation's dead.
See you at the Clear Air hearings.
156 INT. TOMMY'S RECEPTION AREA/CORRIDOR - DAY 156
As Reinhardt comes into the office, Tommy intercepts him.
Morning, Reinhardt! Got a minute?
I need your advice on something.
Tommy leads him back into the corridor.
157 INT. TOMMY'S BOILER ROOM - DAY 157
Van Dyke, Armando, and Loretta work the phones.
Is this the assignment desk? Yes,
I'm calling from Chairman Dodge's
office, on the Hill. We wanted
to be sure CNN was sending a crew
to the Clean Air hearing today.
No, not the new emission standards.
We're breaking news. This is the
biggest thing since Watergate.
This is Cynthia Leeson in the White
House Press Office. My boss wanted
me to let you folks know -- we're
making a major announcement at the
Clean Air hearings today.
No, I can't tell you, but it's hot.
Well, if the New York Times wants
to be the only paper in town to
miss the story of the year, that's
up to y'all.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 109A.
158 INT. TOMMY'S CAGE/CORRIDOR - DAY 158
Tommy has drawn Reinhardt into the cage.
I want to do a little something
nice for Dodge. That EPA thing --
he's been good to me, Reinhardt. Is
there some way I can, like, throw a
bouquet to him at the hearing today
without having to sit through
that boring testimony shit?
Why don't you ask him to give you
the floor at the start?
He's do that?
For some flattery? In a New York
minute. Just tip him ahead of time.
They return to the corridor. Tommy looks at his watch.
Say, Reinhardt, my Grandma's plane
comes in at ten. You wouldn't mind
picking her up and driving Miss
Daisy around, would you?
Can't one of the others do it?
No, I don't trust them the way I
TOMMY pats him on the back and sends him on his way.
159 INT. TOMMY'S OFFICE - DAY 159
Tommy, joined by his cronies and the Jubas.
This is it, people. Game time. Let's
get it right.
Tell me one thing, jefe. How do
you know Andersen is going to bite?
I don't. You run a con, you run a risk.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 110.
160 INT. POWER AND ENTERPRISE COMMITTEE - DAY 160
A hundred or so members of the public -- trade groups,
Hill staffers, lawyers, tourists -- settle into their
VAN DYKE escorts Hattie Rifkin and a busload of Silver
Loretta comes in with Ellen and Mickey Juba.
GRANDMA comes in, on Reinhardt's arm. She is dressed up
as a biddy, down to a hat with fruit on it.
COMMITTEE MEMBERS head for their seats at the dais.
OLAF ANDERSEN is at the witness table, along with a couple
of other businessmen. In a seat behind Andersen, Tommy
THE PRESS. A good turnout, with several camera crews.
WASHINGTON REPORTER #1
You know what this is?
WASHINGTON REPORTER #2
It's very hot. Electric cars.
CELIA is seated with Ira, her Pro Bono associate.
I'm cutting out early.
Don't want to run into him?
You got that right.
AT THE DAIS Tommy has a private word with Dodge.
Dick, I thought it might be a nice
way to open if I congratulated you
on the fine work you been doin'
on this committee. Really express
our appreciation. Especially on
behalf of the minority community.
Why, thank you, son.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 111.
160 CONTINUED: 160
Wouldn't hurt to have tape like that
in the bank, would it, Mr. Speaker?
HOMER slips in next to Reinhardt, who is surprised to see
Mr. Yancey? Arthur Reinhardt. Are
you testifying for the agency?
Hello, Homer, dear.
No, Mrs. Johnson, you must be
mistaken -- let me introduce you.
This is Mr. Yancey of the EPA.
Don't be silly, child.
Homer Norton. Homer's Pit Stop,
Homer's known Tommy since they were
What the -- ?
From the row behind Reinhardt, Armando clamps Reinhardt
Move and you're history.
DODGE GAVELS the meeting to order.
This meeting of the Power and
Enterprise Committee to consider
the reauthorization of the Clean
Air Act is now in session. Today's
first business is a panel of
national leaders in the field of
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 112.
160 CONTINUED: (2) 160
Before I welcome them, Chair would
like to yield to the gentleman from
Florida for a word. If there is
no objection from the Committee -- ?
The gentleman may proceed.
Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the
other members of this committee,
and on behalf of myself, I have a
very personal statement to make.
From the bottom of my heart, I want
to thank you -- thank you for your
leadership, for your insight, for
Dodge preens for the cameras, until:
... and for your courage.
Especially your courage.
Your courage in exposing the
corruption that eats away at this
institution. Your courage in
taking on the special interests.
Your courage in taking a major new
But I've... I've... I've done
nothing new, nothing at all -- what
are you talking about?
You're right -- integrity isn't new
to you, Mr. Chairman, it's second
nature to you. Still it's a rare
public servant who'll take on the
special interest money, take on the
ANDERSEN, wary, senses danger.
take on the lobbyists and fat cats --
CELIA is fascinated.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 113.
160 CONTINUED: (3) 160
... and who'll stand up instead for
ordinary American citizens...
ON ELLEN AND MICKEY JUBA
... the plain people who just want
peace of mind -- who just want to
know they're raising their kids in
safe neighborhoods and sending them
to safe schools.
ON THE DAIS Dodge wants to wrap this up.
Yes, courage, Mr. Chairman, is a
quality that you have in abundance --
Well, yes, thank you, but we have to
move along, if the gentleman would --
Ladies and gentlemen, yesterday, the
Chairman and I had a meeting in his
office with Olaf Andersen of Gulf
Coast Power, and his lobbyist,
Mr. Tommy O'Connor --
these gentlemen here. Chairman
Dodge and I listened in astonishment
as Olaf Andersen offered us seven
figures -- that's one million
dollars, ladies and gentlemen.
A BUZZ in the room. O'CONNOR leans forward to Andersen.
Dodge double-crossed us.
One million dollars, if we would
stop the EPA from investigating the
connection between power lines and
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 114.
160 CONTINUED: (4) 160
Shocked MURMURS sweep the room. REINHARDT is aghast.
HOMER and ARMANDO are delighted.
Isn't that right, Mr. Andersen?
Tommy flicks his eyebrows at Andersen, provocatively,
That's a vicious lie.
Dodge GAVELS sharply, turns to Tommy.
Will the gentleman yield?
That's not possible! You can't
give anyone that kind of money!
Dodge continues GAVELING.
Oh, yes, you can. As Mr. O'Connor
said to you, quote: "If that's
what you want, we can always find
a loophole. No one will know."
Remember saying that, Tommy?
I do not!
I insist that the gentlemen yield!
Tommy also stands, and produces a video tape.
You can't deny it, Mr. Andersen! We
have the whole thing on this tape!
The room erupts. THE PRESS loves it. Still cameras CLICK
and WHIR. DODGE despairs. REINHARDT puts his hand over
Yesterday, at Chairman Dodge's
courageous suggestion, I taped the
whole conversation. It's all there.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you. The
people thank you. America thanks you.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 115.
160 CONTINUED: (5) 160
AUDIENCE APPLAUDS DODGE. The clapping is considerably
sweetened by the Panthers and the rest of Tommy's claque.
DODGE gauges their reaction, gets an inspiration. The
storm leaves his face, and becomes a smile, which he
beams on Tommy.
I thank the distinguished gentleman.
And I thank my fellow citizens. Our
methods in this investigation may
have been unorthodox, but together --
(indignant, at Andersen)
we have exposed a canker at the very
heart of democracy.
APPLAUSE. Tommy is amazed at Dodge's survival skills.
REINHARDT, delighted at the turn, claps heartily.
ANDERSEN, livid, leaps up and shouts at Dodge.
You bastard! You set me up!
Witness is out of order!
You stood to make a million bucks
off of me! Who offered you more?
I want to know!
A new BUZZ sweeps the room. O'Connor tries to restrain
Andersen, who sloughs him off.
You're as big a whore as he is!
MICKEY JUBA catches Tommy's eye and mouths a question.
Tommy shakes his head: no.
161 INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY 161
The phone by Eli Marshall's bed RINGS. He answers.
Hello? No. You're joking.
(to Man in next bed)
You mind if I put on C-span?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 116.
162 INT. POWER AND ENTERPRISE COMMITTEE - DAY 162
There's no loyalty any more, is
there, Dick? What about the three
hundred grand you squeezed from me
for that goddam voter registration
front of yours -- that just water
under the bridge?
O'Connor tries again to restrain him.
Don't touch me, you scum!
MICKEY JUBA mouths:
Tommy shakes his head again. No.
What about the two hundred k for
your phony foundation, Dick?
How about the ten thousand copies
if your goddam autobiography you
muscled me to buy -- what's all
that, ancient history?
Andersen advances toward the dais, pointing now to six or
seven other Members of the Committee among the total of
And you -- what about those bundled
checks from my executives? I gave
you my condo in Vail! I gave you my
corporate jet to fly all over the
world! I gave your kids summer jobs!
I put up scholarships to put your
kids through college! I hired your
goddam wife to redecorate my office!
You telling me none of that counts
Andersen grabs Dodge by the throat.
I thought you people were for sale!
I was wrong -- you're just for rent!
Dodge struggles free of Andersen, who is dragged away from
Dodge by Capitol Police.
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 117.
162 CONTINUED: 162
How dare you impugn my integrity!
Everything I've done has been
Mr. Chairman! You mean to say you
did all that stuff? You took all
Shock in the room. Some BOOS. IOWA does a nice HOG
CALL. TJ sends a little wave and smile to Celia.
There's nothing I've done that --
(indicating other Members)
-- that these gentlemen haven't done!
Committee Members rush to dissociate themselves from
No!... Not me!... Just him!... I
never!... He crossed the line!
They're whores! All of them!
MICKEY JUBA tries again.
TJ nods yes.
Throw the bums out!
LAUGHTER and APPLAUSE. She's touched a nerve. TJ leaps
into the moment.
Damn straight! Throw the bums out!
This place is an outhouse!
ON THE PUBLIC. GASPS, WHOOPS, and APPLAUSE. Reinhardt
sinks lower and lower into his seat.
Throw the bums out! Throw the bums
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 118.
162 CONTINUED: (2) 162
Tommy, enjoying the triumph, can't help rubbing Dodge's nose
I owed you one.
Dodge wheels on Tommy, exploding.
You lowlife hustler! Who are you
to talk? You got into this House
through fraud. You think I didn't
check up on you?
He pulls a piece of paper from the pile at his place.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have here
some rather startling revelations
about this Mr. Johnson before you.
This man is nothing but a con man!
A fresh BUZZ from the room.
A common grifter!
He's wanted in three counties for
bunco! He's a convicted swindler!
Some BOOS. REINHARDT emerges from his hole, encouraged.
A fugitive from justice for card
sharping, bookmaking, confidence
ON DODGE AND TOMMY
-- and other charges the FBI has
only begun to investigate! I dare
you to respond!
A hush in the room.
You know what? He's right! But
let me tell you something -- all
that's nothing, compared to what I
pulled here in Washington... and
this shit's all legit!
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 119.
162 CONTINUED: (3) 162
LAUGHTER and APPLAUSE. Dodge BANGS the gavel repeatedly.
The gentleman is out of order! The
gentleman is out of order! This
committee is adjourned!
GRANDMA leaps to her feet.
Stop banging! Stop banging! That
man has something to say!
Massive APPLAUSE. Dodge is stunned by the enormity of
the sentiment against him.
Adjourned? Fine. Leave.
Turn your backs on the whole
country. That what you want to
The Members remain in place, paralyzed.
(to the room)
I'm a con man. A small-time con
man. Do you know what it was like
for me to come to Congress? It
was for like dying and going to
heaven. If I did back home the
kind of scams I've run in Congress,
my ass would be in Sing Sing. But
no, I'm not a crook -- up here,
I'm a distinguished gentleman!
163 INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY 163
Eli, watching on television.
TOMMY (ON TV)
Now don't get me wrong. They're
not all bums. But boy, do the
rotten fish stink up the barrel.
Marshall APPLAUDS. The Man in the next bed joins in.
164 INT. POWER AND ENTERPRISE COMMITTEE - DAY 164
Now tell me, people -- while these
guys are buying and selling each
other, who's standing up for you?
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 120.
164 CONTINUED: 164
I'll tell you who. Nobody! Nobody
gets five hundred bucks an hour to
lobby for the average Joe! There's
no Shnook PAC! There's no National
Association for Ordinary Assholes!
Sure, everyone's against cancer, but
"everyone" doesn't have an office
on K Street!
(to committee Members)
Don't you folks get it? We're
supposed to be the people's lobbyists.
Congress is supposed to be America's
political action committee.
APPLAUSE and SHOUTS of support. Several Members on the
dais join the applause, seeing a winning issue.
CELIA shakes her head in wonder.
Tommy goes to Mickey and stands her up on a chair.
She's right. Throw the bums out --
starting with me! I'm gonna found
me a new party. The Don't Vote For
Me Party. Any of y'all want to
APPLAUSE and CALLS of enthusiasm.
Well, come on, then! C'mon, get
up, we got work to do!
The room erupts, electrified, chanting.
Throw the bums out! Throw the bums
Tommy is engulfed by people and lights.
Dodge, Andersen, and O'Connor -- desperate, snarling --
are pinned to the wall by the SHOUTING Press Corps.
Loretta AND GRANDMA watch Tommy bask in his new
That Miss Oprah's gonna love his
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN - Rev. 4/3/92 121-124.
164 CONTINUED: (2) 164
CELIA arrives where Tommy is standing. She looks at him
a beat. Then a big smile. They kiss.
Tommy Johnson. Kamikaze congressman.
165 EXT. CAPITOL STEPS - DAY 165
Tommy and Celia walk down the steps, arm in arm.
I can't wait to see that tape you
Tommy pulls it from his pocket, glances at it, and tosses
Why? I bought it this morning.
As they continue down the steps, CAMERA CRANES UP to WIDE
SHOT of the Capitol and the town beyond.
Distinguished Gentleman, The
Writers : Adam Resnick
Genres : Comedy