James L. Brooks
EXT. CITY STREET - DAY
A restaurant supply truck is curbside, near a small
restaurant. GERALD GRUNICK, forty-one, is closing the back
door of his truck, feeling good about the world, a common
state for him. He moves towards the cab of the truck and gets
inside as we SUPER:
KANSAS CITY, MO. - 1963
INT. TRUCK - DAY
As he sits down beaming over his recent good fortune... now we
REVEAL his twelve-year-old son, TOM, seated quietly beside him.
He seems a bit down. Gerald glances at his son.
I don't know a recent Saturday I've
sold more. You didn't think I'd
sell that health restaurant, did you?
No. Not even you.
Why so glum?
I don't know.
No, nothing. I've got a problem,
Were you bothering by those
waitresses making a fuss?
No. But, honest. What are you
supposed to say when they keep
talking about your looks? I don't
even know what they mean -- "Beat
them off with a stick."
Gerald stiffs a grin.
You know, Tom, I feel a little
proud when people comment on your
looks. Maybe you should feel that
Proud? I'm just embarrassed that
I like when they say those things.
As long as that's your only problem
He looks directly at his father and talks quietly, and sincerely.
I got my report card. Three Cs,
two Ds and an incomplete.
Oh my. I see you studying so hard,
Tom. What do you think the problem is?
I'll just have to try harder. I don't
know. I will.
I will. I will. I will.
He shakes his head for emphasis, glad he's received this pep
talk from himself -- he hands the card to his father.
Thanks, Dad, this talk helped. Will
you sign it, please?
(as he signs)
Would it help if I got you a tutor?
That would be great.
It better help. What can you do with
yourself if all you do is look good?
SUPER THE LEGEND -- "FUTURE NETWORK ANCHORMAN"
BOSTON, MASS. - 1965
INT. HIGH SCHOOL - AUDITORIUM - DAY
AARON ALTMAN, looking almost preposterously young in his
graduation gown -- is delivering his valedictory. He is a
rare bread -- a battle-scarred innocent.
...and finally to the teachers of
Whitman High School, I don't have the
words to express my gratitude which
may have more to say about the quality
of the English Department here than
my own limitations...
He awaits a laugh and gets only the weird sound of collective
...that was, of course, not meant to
be taken seriously. A personal note.
I am frequently asked what the special
difficulties are in being graduated
from High School two months shy of my
fifteenth birthday. I sometimes
think it was the difficulties
themselves which enabled me to do it.
If I'd been appreciated or even tolerated
I wouldn't have been in such a hurry to
graduate. I hope the next student who
comes along and is able to excel isn't
made to feel so much an outcast. But
I'm looking forward to college; this is
the happiest day I've had in a long
time. I thank you and I forgive you.
This is very little applause.
ANGLE ON TEACHERS
I'm always so confused by Aaron.
Is he brave and earnest or just
a conceited little dick-head?
BACK TO AARON AS WE SUPER: "FUTURE NETWORK NEWS REPORTER"
ANGLE ON STAGE
As Aaron walks to his seat past three full grown tough looking
semi-literate high school graduates.
EXT. SCHOOL YARD - DAY
Clusters of graduates at the fence bordering the sunken school
yard looking down as the tough cap and gowners seen earlier
cuff Aaron around.
Aaron feeling from a blow -- his lip bleeding -- his teeth
covered with blood...as he gets to his feet. He is livid --
something primal triggered by this brutality.
Go ahead, Stephen -- take your
(points at his
But this will heal -- what I'm
going to say to you will scar you
forever. Ready? Here it is.
He dodges as they come after him. They catch him by the hair
and hurl him to the ground. As he gets up he hurls his
devastating verbal blow.
You'll never make more than
nineteen thousand dollars a year.
Ha ha ha.
They twist his arm and grip him -- his face scraped on the
Okay, take this: You'll never
leave South Boston and I'm going
to see the whole damn world. You'll
never know the pleasure of writing
a graceful sentence or having an
original thought. Think about it.
He's punched in the stomach and sinks to the ground. As the
Young Toughs walk off Aaron catches a phrase of their
Nineteen thousand dollars...
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - 1968
INT. SUBURBAN HOME - NIGHT
JANE CRAIG, ten years old, is in her room typing. Above the
desk where she works is a bulletin board with letters and
pictures tacked to each one. Her desk has several file racks
which contain bulging but neat stacks of air mail envelopes --
a roll of stamps in a dispenser is to one side. Jane types
very well in the glare of her desk lamp.
(voice over; as
Dear Felatzia, it's truly amazing
to me that we live a world apart
and yet have the same favorite music.
I loved the picture you sent and
have it up on my bulletin board.
You're growing so much faster than
I am that I...
SHOWING Jane's FATHER standing near the door.
...am starting to get jealous.
I read in the newspapers about
the Italian strike and riots in
Milan. I hope you weren't...
Jane SCREAMS, and grabs her heart, breathing heavily, babbles
nervously at her Dad.
Oh God -- Daddy -- don't...don't...
don't ever scare me like that --
We SUPER: "FUTURE NETWORK NEWS PRODUCER"
Her father is himself taken aback with the shock of her reaction.
Falling back towards the door:
Jane -- For God's sake...
Look, it's time for you to go
I just have two more pen pals and
then I'm done.
You don't have to finish tonight.
(he doesn't get in)
Nooo. This way the rotation stays
Finish quickly. I don't want you
getting obsessive about these
things. Good night.
We REMAIN WITH Jane who has obviously become disconcerted and
INT. HOUSE - NIGHT
As Jane moves to room at the other end of the hall -- a family
room where her Father reads the latest Rolling Stone of the
mid-60's -- Hunter Thompson, the New Journalism, the slim
Jann Wenner -- Jane bursts into the room.
Dad, you want me to choose my words
so carefully and then you just throw
a word like 'obsessive' at me. Now,
unless I'm wrong and...
...please correct me if I am, 'obsession'
is practically a psychiatric term...
concerning people who don't have anything
else but the object of their obsession --
who can't stop and do anything else. Well,
Here I am stopping to tell you this. Okay?
So would you please try and be a little
more precise instead of calling a person
something like 'obsessive.'
She advances furiously on her Father since even this strung out,
even with two additional pen pal letters to get off, she had
enough sense of duty to kiss him good night before storming from
the room. She exits the room INTO BLACK.
Stay on BLACK as we begin MAIN TITLES:
OVER EXT. SMALL MID-WESTERN CITY - DAY
Emerging from the blackness -- Jane Craig -- now a
twenty-eight-year-old woman -- a long speed walker wearing a
jacket to which reflecting stripes have been glued -- the kind
of gear only possessed by someone who runs at off-hours. The
Jacket itself is a wish-I-had-it souvenir from some important
news assignment, the sort of treasure you love about all else
yet never mention. She stops running as she feeds quarters into
the first of a phalanx of newspaper machines -- getting seven
different papers before moving on.
INT. MOTEL ROOM - DAY
As she enters from the bathroom, having showered and dressed.
The sun is jus now rising. She sits next to her phone.
INSERT: JANE'S ROOM
The Filofax book is almost an additional character -- a crucial
hand-fashioned tool of Jane's trade. She flicks at a page --
takes down a typewritten sheet scotch-taped to it showing the
room number of her crew and reporter.
As she dials one room number.
INT. DUPLICATE MOTEL ROOM - DAY
ANGLE ON CAMERAMAN -- his equipment in evidence though
essentially asleep holding his bedmate's hand, as he listens
It's thirty minutes before you have
to meet me in the lobby -- nudge
BACK TO SCENE
There's probably no time to eat...
but there's a cafeteria at the bus
depot once we get down there. I
love working with you two...It
saves me a call.
INT. DUPLICATE MOTEL ROOM
Where Aaron is switching his TV from station to station,
monitoring the early morning news. His PHONE RINGS.
Hi. Turn on your TV...
Good Morning America, the
Morning News and Today are all
about to talk to Arnold
Schwarzenegger and I think he's
live on at least two of them.
BACK TO SCENE
At six o'clock on the wake-up
news they used the wrong missile
Now listen, Arnold just said that
he's been making three million a
movie now. But he's not ever
gonna change. He's still the same
person when he was making two
million dollars a movie. He feels
no different. He also bought a brand-
new condo with Maria, they gonna
A half hour in the lobby.
Okay, I'll see you in the lobbies [sic].
She hangs up -- takes the phone off the hook and lays it on the
bed for a moment's solitude. She sits stiffly, palms on top of
her legs. It looks like someone with unusually good posture,
waiting for something, and now we BEGIN TO SEE the first signs
redden and she begins to cry. Now she sobs -- then miraculously
shakes it off and exits quickly to the bathroom. This crying
episode is clearly part of her morning routine.
INT. BUS STATION - DAY
Jane standing behind her husband-wife - camera-sound team
as they train their attention on Aaron; who is getting ready to
do a stand-up. There is a DERELICT off to one side. Aaron holds
his microphone at the ready.
Your hair's a little funny.
It's an ethnic curl, I can't do
anything about it.
In front of a little -- it's a bit...
You want a mirror?
No -- Don't worry about it. Let's
Jane nods her assent.
AARON SEEN THROUGH CAMERA
In other times, for other purposes,
there might be a band and bunting
here at the bus depot for J.D. Singer's
return from war. He...
I'm sorry. But look at how
wonderful his face is.
She points to the derelict.
Oh, you mean use him...That's
I'll put him in the low corner of
the frame -- good.
In other times, with other purposes,
there might be a band and bunting
here at the bus depot for J.D. Singer's
return from war. Last week he was
decorated by a president for heroism
in a war. But it was the civil war --
in Angola -- and he was in it for the
He puts the microphone down.
He passes a vending machine and checks the stray hair.
INT. GATE AREA - DAY
Jane in the distant b.g. on the phone. Aaron and crew shooting
as the bus pulls up, hisses to a stop and tired, rumpled
passengers exit the bus. J.D. SINGER, strong, 9'6" figure
emerges and is displeased to find a camera trained on him.
He reacts with all the grace of a short mercenary.
J.D. gets his luggage from the compartment under the bus. The
Just a few questions?
He starts walking -- the four person newsteam staying with him.
We came from Washington.
Move away from me.
How long has it been since you've
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuckes. Snot...
Fuckee. You want to use that?
It depends on how big a news day it
They reach Jane. She calls to him.
J.D. I'm Jane Craig. I spoke to
you in Angola. I gave you some
sugarless gum and Handi-Wipes.
As he reacts to her:
INT. JANE'S ROOM - NIGHT
Jane sitting next to Aaron making detailed timing notes as she
screens the material shot that day on a portable monitor unit.
Where's where I asked him about
You should work on your speech.
No. It makes me nervous to think
about it. Let's do this.
She consults her notes and goes back to the exact spot.
All this business of war -- do you
(on tape; he smiles)
I'm a little freaked right now about
seeing my father though.
He laughs self-consciously and turns briefly away.
I love that turn away.
INT. AUDITORIUM - DAY
Jane is at the lectern in the darkened auditorium as two large
monitors display some taped news pieces she has assembled. On
the lectern is a sign telling us we are at the Conference of
Local Television News Broadcasters.
There's a point I'm trying to make
about these pieces coming up.
A WOMAN'S OUTLINE blacked out from behind -- her VOICE
I don't think any client of mine
makes less than fifty thousand dollars
a year which means they can afford the
best and you're damn right I feel good
that that includes me.
ANOTHER ANGLE - ANOTHER WOMAN
in blackness, her VOICE DISGUISED.
No. You'd be surprised at who a
working girl meets. I've been a
working girl for what? -- over a year
anyway and that must be a thousand
men and I don't think there's an age
or type that hasn't been in there.
Policemen? -- Doctor? -- Lawyer...?
Oh, sure. Television reporters.
A laugh from the audience. There is a:
ANOTHER ANGLE - FULL FIGURE
A WOMAN in blackness.
I'm seventeen now and I've been
working the streets for two years
and I guess to be honest -- I stopped
thinking of it as temporary.
The lights come up on the room. The two screens go black...
there is general APPLAUSE. Jane blinks nervously.
Please don't applaud.
Sitting in groups of three -- NEWS TEAM from around the country,
remarkably similar in comparison...a great looking woman, good
looking man (either young or attractively avuncular) and a Black
or Hispanic. They still APPLAUD -- not yet having grasped the
sincerity of Jane's plea which she presses with more urgency.
I gathered these pieces as an
example of what's WRONG with local
The applause stops.
The excerpts from THREE SEPARATE
SERIES on prostitution were
SIMULTANEOUSLY broadcast by all
stations in one city during sweeps
week. By what bend of either or
suspension of duty is that broadcast
She pauses half a beat for possible applause -- hearing none,
she continues. An anchorman sneezes -- four people shout
"gesundheit" simultaneously -- they laugh.
The legacy of Edward R. Murrow,
Eric Sevareid, William Shirer,
David Brinkley and Walter Cronkite
is being squandered in a desperate
popularity contest. Our profession
is in danger:
As Jane continues, REVEALING that the news team now have even
more in common. They do not like Jane.
Yesterday's compliment has somehow
managed to become today's kiss of
death. To be considered a serious
journalist is no longer flattering.
It presents the risk of being labeled
ponderous, or worse yet, elitest,
Women playing with their hair, young man bored...one
middle-aged anchorman fusses with a spot on his tie...
Briefly departing from text.
All of you know what I'm talking about.
We're all trying to act together than
we are. But we care. So, we're all
secretly terrified, aren't we?
Not a peep -- she is thrown but doggedly presses on with her
prepared speech though her throat constricts a bit, her voice
begins to rasp.
We are being increasingly influenced
by the star system. The network
anchormen are so powerful they
compromise our last best hope. The
current group is clearly qualified,
tied still to our best traditions, but
who follows these men?
TRACKING SHOT MOVES TO TOM GRUNICK
Seated with other members of his news team, a young blonde
woman whose hand is resting on his inner leg, a good looking
Hispanic. Tom feels a growing excitement -- Jane is not just
a speaker, she seems a savior.
His female colleague looks at him.
Oh, I've known so many women like
that. They don't like their looks
so they're angry.
BACK TO JANE
Fumbling with her cards, sunk but game -- gamer than she would
I was going to talk about other
...the magazine shows, news at
profit, influence of
Entertainment Tonight, the danger, the
hope, the dream, the question...Oh, I
was going to show you a tape -- a story
that was carried by all networks on the
same night -- the same night -- not one
network noted a major policy change in
Salt Two nuclear disarmament talks...
Here's what they ran instead...Go ahead.
Show the tape.
Showing the Japanese Domino Championships as broadcast by all
networks in the Spring of 1985. It is quite spectacular -- the
dominoes falling into one another provoking waves, crossing tiny
bridges, setting off little fireworks. JANE'S AUDIENCE applauds
loudly and squeals with delight.
Jane between the two monitors. She begins to speak loudly OVER
the AUDIENCE NOISES of approval.
I know it's good film. I know it's
fun. I like fun. It's just not news.
(as they continue
Well, you're lucky you love it --
you're going to get a lot more just
STRAY VOICE - SHOUT "GOOD"
Jane sitting rocked into momentary catatonia, by the event.
Dazed as an animal stung by a tranquilizer dart. She takes
some irregular breaths waiting for normal life to return.
Tom the last person remaining in the room. He approaches her --
she is totally unaware of his presence, even when he casually
mounts the stage with an athletic leap. It takes courage for
Tom to fully intrude himself, which he now does:
She looks up at him.
ANGLE ON TOM
Earnest, nervous -- handsome...Just when she needed a mirage
there it is.
I just wanted to tell you how great
you were. My name's Tom Grunick.
They hated me. I don't hate them.
Well, they say if you can reach
even one person, it means something...
And you did that.
Jane looks up at his smile -- a beat then:
Would you like to have dinner
INT. HOTEL RESTAURANT - NIGHT
Jane arrives at the maitre d' stand. She has attempted to dress
up to the extent that packing for a short-day trip allows. She
looks for Tom. Tom rises from a table and is immediately at
Hi. I was worried I was early.
I was a lot earlier.
They are lead to a table and sit down.
I kept thinking what a great break
it was for me to get to see you
tonight. More than a great break,
maybe just what I needed...just when
I needed it...Angel of mercy --
I like "godsend."
I haven't been in news that long.
I've just been looking for the
right person to talk to. I have
about two thousand questions for you.
He notices that her head has gone into her hands where it
continues to rest. He looks at her a beat.
It's possible now's not the right
She lifts her head.
If we could just eat first.
Totally understood. Totally
wrong of me to talk shop after
the day you've had. Totally
Nooo. If I could just have a
roll, I'd be okay.
She takes a roll from the roll plate. He smiles at her. She
takes a bite.
EXT. CONVENTION HOTEL - NIGHT
As they walk along -- dumping occasionally and self-consciously.
Jane is feeling a version of being turned on -- that is, a little
adrift and temporarily free of obligations. She is open to
making a memorable mistake.
Another thing I can't stand --
Is this dull?
Tom shakes his head almost violently.
No, no, no, no...
Jane looks at him curiously -- then:
Another thing I can't stand is
...when White House reporters
bullshit with each other after
a briefing and then one of them
has a theory and the other quotes
it in his story as "White House"
That actually goes on...
Yes. My room is down here --
I'm not tired. Do you want to
INT. JANE'S ROOM - NIGHT
A small good room -- her working paraphernalia very much in
evidence...the quality briefcase...the reams of well organized
notes...the thick contact book -- Jane is sitting on the bed --
Tom, not far away in the room's only chair. One lamp is on
and it serves to place Jane in the shadows and cast Tom in an
enormously flattering light. MUSIC comes from her miniature
portable STEREO system.
Come on...Even I'm not that
hard on myself.
No, I really got this job on a
fluke and wait till you hear where
it ends up.
Jane smiles a calming smile.
I was doing sports at the station.
The newspaper ran this untrue story
that I was leaving and they got all
these tons of protest mail. So they
made me anchor.
So great -- right?
Except I'm no good at what I'm being
a success at.
How are you at back rubs?
Jane shifts her position so that her back is to Tom... He is
immobilized by the sudden turn. Jane waits, just a bit longer
than it would take a man to run from the chair to her side before
experiencing the ghost-like clutch of rejection. She moves
briskly past the moment -- grabbing a "good night" chocolate
from the pillow and munching it as she return to his agenda.
It's sort of normal -- the way you
feel. In graduate school everyone
thought the only mistake the
admission committee made was letting
He moves to the bed.
Listen to me. You keep on thinking
I'm somebody ho lacks...confidence.
That's not it. I know I can talk well
enough and I'm not bad at making contact
with people, but I don't like the
feeling that I'm pretending to be a
And half the time I don't really get
the news I'm talking about. It isn't
that I'm down on myself. Trust me,
I trust you.
I didn't even have the chance to get
really good at sports. I wasn't bad.
I thought I was starting to do
interesting features but hockey is
big at the station and...
What about the obvious remedy?
Reversing things. Maybe getting a
job on a newspaper.
I don't write.
Jane laughs or, more accurately, scoffs as Tom Continues.
But that didn't stop me from
sending out audition tapes to
bigger stations and the networks.
Well, come on -- it is your life.
Nobody is tying you to the fast
track. Did you go to college?
One year...almost one year.
So, you're not well educated and
you have almost no experience and
you can't write.
He nods agreement.
And I'm making a fortune.
Jane laughs very briefly -- then rubs her face vigorously with
her hands... He's making her feel a little crazy. She gets off
It's hard for me to advise you
since you personify something that
I truly think is dangerous.
(holding it in)
I agree with you -- you're not qualified.
(letting it out)
So get qualified. You can insist on
being better prepared. You don't have
to just leave it as...
'I don't write. I'm not schooled.
I don't understand the news I'm reading.
But at least I'm upset about it, folks.'
A beat, then he mumbles softly to himself.
Whoa, this was a mistake.
Just what do you want from me, anyway?
Permission to be a fake? Stop whining
and do something about it.
He gets up to leave. She follows him.
Well, you don't have to start right now.
He turns to her.
I hated the way you talked to me just
now...and it wasn't just because you
INT. JANE'S HOTEL - NIGHT
She is on the phone.
No. It wasn't just the speech --
the same thing happened with this
guy. I have passed some line some
place. I am beginning to repel people
I'm trying to seduce.
INT. AARON'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
As he talks with Jane.
He must have been great-looking, right?
Why do you say that?
Because nobody invites a bad-
looking idiot to their bedroom.
Okay. Let's do me.
Okay. I feel like I'm slipping but
do people who are actually slipping
feel that way or is it always the
really good people who are moving up
who invariably think they're slipping
because their standards are so high?
This conversation is not worthy of you.
I'd give anything if that were true.
Wouldn't this be a great world if
insecurity and desperation made us
more attractive? If needy were a
Call if you get weird.
INT. JANE'S HOTEL - NIGHT
She hangs up -- pulls back the bedspread on the double bed --
on the other half are papers, schedules -- tapes. She doesn't
clear them off so that she is literally sleeping with her work.
The PHONE RINGS.
I was just thinking it was the
shortest phone conversation we
EXT. PHONE BOOTH
A deserted well-lit area. Tom on the phone.
I never told you the reason I was
telling you everything for.
Those audition tapes I sent out...
I've been hired by your network for
the Washington bureau. So I'll
probably see you at work. Sorry.
Jane is rocked and soured.
EXT. WASHINGTON D.C. STREET - MORNING
Jane and Aaron walking to work -- agitated.
They didn't hire Peter Stiller from
the Times and he had a great
You want to start going over who they
could have gotten? They can't take on
people like this for network news. For
God's sake. What's going on?
INT. NEWS BUILDING LOBBY - DAY
Tom arrives for first day of work.
INT. ERNIE MERRIMAN'S OFFICE
ERNIE MERRIMAN is the network's Washington Bureau Chief. He
is in his early 60's, has worked for the network about 40 years
-- part of the golden age -- a family man, an honorable man,
a good guy. Right now he is welcoming Tom to the network
thereby good-naturedly helping with the destruction of all he
holds dear. As he hands Tom his credentials:
Any particular area you feel
To be honest, I was best at anchor.
Ernie gives him a long look -- is he kidding?
Why don't you take a few days observing
the system? Then we'll put you on
EDITING ROOM - NIGHT
Two small TV monitors -- a smallish room. Jane goes over her
timing notes which correspond to the time code SUPERED on the
monitors. BOBBIE -- an extraordinarily silent man -- is doing
Jane's bidding. On the monitor we SEE the mercenary piece
which Jane is editing against a tightening deadline. The
PHONE RINGS periodically -- Jane conducting abrupt conversations
which continuing to edit. The pressure is palpable to begin
with but builds and builds; almost like a family fight getting
out of hand and threatening to bend lives. Through it all, Jane
remains remarkable calm. Her focus is amazing; her command sexy.
Go back to 316, Bobbie. The sound
bite in the cab -- it starts, 'I
don't know how I'll feel...'
Please, Bobbie, we're pushing.
As Bobbie expertly reverses the tape, Tom's face appears in
the glass doorway and then he enters the already crowded room --
Jane's eyes click to him briefly. She makes not a move to
welcome him. He pauses, but is committed and tries to find
a piece for himself against the wall.
They said I should observe the...
Jane is distracted by the noise... Tom leaning over towards her.
They said it would be okay if...
We're working here!! You can stand
over in the uh, uh, uh...
She momentarily can't think of the word 'corner.' Then back
Play back the last line...
He said something about...
Let me hear it!
Bobbie, taking the sharp commands with ever increasing,
yet still repressed resentment.
The Assistant Director, BLAIR LITTON, enters the editing room.
She is about 26 and every night since she got her job as
Assistant Director she has been the first to crack under pressure.
We'll need it in ten minutes. We're
putting it directly into...
Jane holds up a finger of warning to Blair as she picks up a
ringing phone and talks to Bobbie at the same time.
Craig, just a second --
Let me hear it!
Through much of this chaos we focus on:
Wedged into an uncomfortable position between two tape racks --
He is wide-eyed at this circus of tension and fear. His eyes
dart around constantly -- trying to take in as much as he can,
always returning with wonder to focus on Jane.
It's been a long time since I've seen
my folks and all but...I don't expect
any big-deal homecoming.
(into phone she's
I want to shoot a picture from
a book I have in the office.
You don't have time. Not a chance.
I'll be right down. It's right tight.
She crosses out.
I've got to tell Ernie...because
there isn't enough time.
Yes, there is.
Blair leaves, as Jane gathers up her notes. She charges out
leaving Tom awkwardly along with Bobbie.
I'm Tom Grunick. I started on
General Assignment today.
Bobbie stops the machine, turns in his chair and shakes hands.
Then he smiles secretly and speaks his first full sentence.
I don't think she's going to make it.
INT. BUREAU NEWSROOM
Aaron is having a theoretical discussion with Ernie and
JENNIFER MACK, a correspondent in her early 40's, a pioneer
beauties in news. She is well-schooled, bred, trained and
known... GEORGE WEIN, a black correspondent in his 40s, and
MARTIN KLEIN, formerly with the Johnson administration --
State Department correspondent for the network.
Okay, what about this? Here's a
tough ethical one. Would you tell
a source that you loved them just
to get some information?
Jennifer didn't know there
was an alternative.
Jennifer laughs that laugh one always hopes beautiful women
will laugh when one says something funny. Aaron smiles at her.
Here's one. They allow us to have
cameras at an execution in Florida.
Do you broadcast tape of the guy in
the chair when they turn on the
Nothing like wrestling with a
moral dilemma is there?
Blair enters the scene, Tom trailing several feet behind,
continuing to monitor the budding deadline crises.
Excuse me, Ernie, we're several minutes
to air and Jane's shooting an insert
still for tonight's piece.
She knows how much time she has.
Blair flashes a tortured smile -- panic is growing.
Okay. I just wanted you to know.
What is she shooting?
Norman Rockwell's 'Homecoming.'
Oh, that's nice...
We'll need some new lines.
INT. EDITING ROOM - NIGHT
Jane up against it now -- but still seemingly calm. Tom
watching, keeps on glancing at the clock fascinated,
Okay, Bobbie, just a two-second
dissolve to the Rockwell.
Just a two-second dissolve.
Oh, Jesus, we have three minutes...
Why do you do this to me. Is it
because I won an award?
INT. RECORDING BOOTH - NIGHT
Where Aaron is writing his last line on a folded over piece of
paper even as he gets ready to record. He times it with a
Norman Rockwell's enduring portrait
of a Homecoming The return of a
fighting man has always been one of
the more moving ceremonies of war...
Tearful women, proud men, excited
children. But J.D. Singer was right --
his homecoming was no big deal.
INT. EDITING ROOM - NIGHT
We have a minute and a half. It's my
responsibility to tell them we won't
Uh-uh. We're be ready.
Blair glances frantically at her watch.
In 84 seconds?
Sweeping from 28 minutes to -- 84 seconds from deadline. Aaron
walks in, Jane looks up.
Eleven and a half.
Oh, God. Back it, Bobbie -- Bobbie?
ALMOST SIMULTANEOUS DIALOGUE FOLLOWS. IT BUILDS UNTIL IT
DUPLICATE THE SOUND OF LOUD AND BAWDY SEX.
You're saying 'Oh, God..." They are
going to go to up and the screen will
be black -- they're going to go to black
because we're not there. How about
careers, huh? How about careers?
42 seconds away.
We're not going to make it.
Bobbie makes a small bobble -- Jane giving the merest evidence
of the strain, scratching her face repeatedly.
Whoops?!? Whoops?!? No, please...
no, ooh, ahhh, ohhh.
Shit, shit, shit...
You're almost there, you can do it --
can do -- can do.
And as the pitch reaches its zenith, 27 seconds left. Bobbie
hands the tape to Blair.
INT. NEWSROOM - NIGHT
Blair hikes up her skirt and takes off.
Our "chase scene" as Blair soars through the newsroom, leaping a
chair smoothly, smashing her leg against a table in full flight,
the adrenaline deadening the pain -- she arrives at a waiting
elevator -- uses a key dangling from her neck to unlock it... jumps
nervously during the ride and now, in FULL EXTENDED FLIGHT, barrels
down the long corridor heading to the control room where she
arrives; slamming the tape into a technician's hand even as it is
introduced on the air.
INT. NEWSROOM - NIGHT
Aaron, Jane, the others looking at the end of the piece on the
air -- Tom in the b.g. as Blair enters -- relaxed, almost jaunty.
I was a little nervous there for
Oh, come on -- tell us another.
The end of the piece -- the Rockwell painting giving way to the
mercenary's actual homecoming which matches the portrait. The
irony works nicely. The network anchorman comes up for his close.
BILL RORISH, 50 years old and able to flutter much younger pulses.
He is able and experienced -- a reporter who has become a
(on monitor, smiling)
Bill Rorish...Thank you...Good night.
Look at that smile. Oh, that was
good and oh my, Bill smiled -- he
He loved it. Big smile.
He gives Jane a congratulatory sock in the shoulder which she
returns -- Tom in the b.g. of the SHOT.
I haven't seen Bill smile like that
Ernie has walked a few steps to the office.
Ernie, you missed his close... He smiled.
Thank you...Good night.
I saw the smile -- good piece.
I'm gonna go look at it again.
They leave -- Aaron waving to Tom who stands in the b.g. The
others leave. Tom approaches Jane.
I'm sorry if I was in the way. It
was totally impressive. Great piece.
You weren't. Thanks. How does it
feel being here?
I can't believe I'm really here. No
kidding. If you're through work now --
No. Aaron and I go to Central America
on Wednesday -- so I'm cramming.
I thought you were incredible in there.
I know how much I have to learn. I'd
really -- a lot -- appreciate it...if...
'Really a lot appreciate it...'
You make me nervous. Anyway if I
can pick your brain --
Jane grimaces at "pick your brain."
I can't help you, sorry. I'm not
here to teach remedial reporting.
And it has nothing to do with the fact
I left your room instead of staying
Jane looks at him.
(then, almost gently)
You're gonna have to understand
something. This isn't personal.
EXT. CENTRAL AMERICAN JUNGLE - MORNING
As Aaron, Jane and their CREW march along with a CONTRA SQUAD deep
in their own conversation. Except for the DIN of TROPICAL BIRDS
they seem almost like a cranky married couple on their way to work.
I didn't sleep. They're giving me less
and less air time. They don't think
I'm at all anchor material.
If we don't get to their camp soon,
we won't be able to tape the supplies
Last time Paul was sick they gave
Connie the weekend news instead of me.
You spend too much time -- much too
much worrying about that crap...
They have entered a clearing where supplies have been dropped,
the Guerrillas already tearing apart boxes with army boots
A guerrilla soldier rubbing his shoeless foot. A pair of new boots
sit alongside him. Jane's Cameraman prepares to shoot, saying in
Spanish, then English:
Put on the boot.
Jane rushes into the scene incensed.
Stop! We are not here to stage the news.
Wait and see what he does.
Then to the totally confused soldier.
Sir, you do whatever you want. It's
By now there is a fair-sized cluster of armed men as well as
the news team staring at the guerrilla, who is at loss as to
what is expected. He looks to Jane, who can offer no help
save her own determination not to interfere. Finally he puts
on the boot.
He shoots the scene.
INT. HAY ADAMS HOTEL
Tom, in shirt and tie, is on the phone. This is a big day.
Okay, I'll meet the crew there then.
Could you give me that address again?
Great. Yes, it's good to finally be
getting to work. Okay that's
17204? 1-7-2-0-4. Thanks.
INT. HOTEL LOBBY - DAY
As Tom gets directions from the CONCIERGE.
It's only ten minutes if you prefer
(as he walks away)
I'll look for you on the news tonight.
EXT. HOTEL - DAY
Tom has a real sense of the moment -- of having arrived. The
strange bubble of pleasure rises to the surface as he walks off
to cover his first story. He laughs out loud, loving his lot.
EXT. CENTRAL AMERICAN JUNGLE - LATER AFTERNOON
Jane in the f.g. with her crew while Aaron talks in rapid Spanish
to the GUERRILLA LEADERS.
AARON (in Spanish)
Are you guys kidding or do you really
think you'll run into something...?
I mean, do you feel that every time
and it never happens? Or is it the
first time it felt that way and it's
going to happen?... I mean, how bad
can it be?... Are you nervous...?
What's the chances on a scale of one
to ten -- that we're going to be in
a war within the next few hours?...
He starts to walk towards Jane -- one of the men he was
talking with calling after him with an added thought.
Thanks, you speak English very well
Great news. He says they've been
engaging the Sandinistas pretty
regularly and that he'd be really
surprised if we didn't take fire
Jane reacts -- a flash of exhilaration. Aaron is amazed at her
Look at her.
If anything happens to me tell every
woman I've ever dated I was talking
about them at the end. That way they'll
have to reevaluate me.
Jane laughs out loud, attracting the Guerrillas' attention.
Aaron repeats his speech in Spanish. The Guerrillas laugh.
EXT. JUNGLE - NIGHT
Aaron and Jane in line behind the Guerrillas. They HEAR A SHOT.
The head of the patrol gestures -- deploying his men. Aaron
grabs Jane and heads for some cover to the left. As they run --
more SHOTS. Jane in work mode. As soon as they settle.
Much too dark. Black.
ON AARON BARELY DISCERNIBLE
As they start taping he is breathless with the nervousness of
the nearly gunfire.
The first shots were fired not thirty
seconds ago. The Contras feel they
must be outnumbered this is so small
a unit: that's a given. Still they
hold their ground despite the fact
that their weapons have been acting
up -- misfiring or jamming. A new
shipment of rifles is expected tomorrow --
all they got today were the shoes.
There is the SOUND OF GUNFIRE.
Great line at the end.
Did you shoot their boots?
We can cut back at the end.
To the pan of the supplies boxes --
Can you believe it? I just risked my
life for a network that tests my face
with focus groups.
EXT. GOVERNMENT BLDG - AFTERNOON
Tom, squashed in amidst a small mob of reporters... behind a
police line. He HEARS a reporter next to him say:
I think he's coming out now.
(to his crew)
They say he's coming out now.
Is that him?
Tom checks his notes.
INSERT - TOM'S BLACK BOOK
The same model we've seen Jane use. A list of questions
written in big color highlighted letters. As he looks down
to study them, everyone else moves suddenly off.
The mass of journalists and technicians shouting questions.
"Will you dispatch troops?" after the Ambassador they've been
awaiting -- clumping on his limo and then being shaken by the
movement of the vehicle.
Standing alone and forlorn as his crew trots back.
I had a lot of questions here. I
missed the story.
Don't worry, it's okay. I got
a piece of his face.
EXT. GUERRILLAS CAMP - MORNING
Jane is standing -- talking to her crew. Others asleep
in b.g. -- a drowsy, morning-after feeling.
Are you all packed and ready?
The stuff in the dark is not good.
Nobody wants news lit like that.
Will you just get packed?
She waves him off -- then she walks several yards away, holding
a knapsack in her hand. She takes off a brush and runs it
through her hair -- opens a plastic case and takes out a travel
toothbrush, brushes her teeth and rinses her mouth with water
from her canteen. She puts everything back in place, then looks
about, sobs for several beats. One of the Guerrillas hears her
sobbing and enters the scene -- he stands a respectful distance
away. Jane finishes, notices him, makes a face by way of
explanation, and exits the scene feeling measurably better.
INT. WASHINGTON CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT
The Washington Control Room. Jennifer, Jane, Aaron, Blair stand
watching the intro to the Central American piece. Tom stands in
the distant b.g. There are over a dozen monitors -- including
one which is constantly on the anchor man, Bill Rorish.
ON TELEVISION MONITORS
Bill Rorish on camera -- an INSERT behind showing Aaron in
blackness planted into a Central American map bordered by rifles.
A separate monitor shows the INSERT alone.
BILL (voice over)
A fire fight along the Nicaraguan
border...in one minute.
The INSERT MOVES OUT AT US TO FILL THE SCREEN -- WE SEE Aaron's
dim outline and HEAR him say:
AARON (voice over; on camera)
The first shots were fired not thirty
The MUSICAL "EVENING NEWS" SIGNATURE COMES IN ever-so-briefly.
The SCREEN GOES TO A COMMERCIAL -- as Blair screams
Great graphic, great graphic.
Ernie ENTERS THE SCENE... He kisses Jane in greeting -- pats
Aaron on the back.
You finally got a piece in a few
minutes early and I hear Bill loved it.
Jennifer gives Jane a mock pat on the back.
I have somebody downstairs who one of
the clerks brought in and vouches for.
He says he has something to say about
gays getting promotions at State...
It can't hurt to tape him.
As she feels Tom staring at her -- turns and notices him
for the first time.
How's it going?
Can I buy you dinner sometime soon?
I just got back -- I don't know
which end is up.
In the b.g. WE MAY HAVE NOTICED Bill Rorish on one monitor as he
picks up the phone at his anchor desk, during the commercial
Jane! Bill Rorish wants to speak
to you at the break.
(as she hands it to her)
I never heard of him handing over
compliments in the middle of the
There is a stillness in the Control Room as Jane speaks to the
anchor man in New York who WE CAN VIEW on a monitor.
We see Bill Rorish.
Well, darling, if it gets any better than
that, I'm going to have to bring you up
here to New York.
Thanks. I just wish you'd kept the first
Blair cringes at Jane's blunt reply.
Well, the visual with the boots at the
end was just perfect.
Jane covers the mouthpiece and turns to Aaron.
God, he loved the boots.
Aaron reaches happily for the phone.
Aaron should be hearing this so I
have an extra witness.
Well, you always want to give the
credit away, do you?
No, I don't. He happens to deserve
the credit. He's right here.
I'll speak to you soon
We see Rorish over the monitor. He hangs up.
He had to read over some new copy.
We see on the monitor that this is not so. It's a very eggy moment
Aaron. Tom breaks the silence.
(to the rescue)
Okay if I watch you tape that interview
As he passes Jane he leans next to her and WE HEAR him WHISPER.
Please laugh so they think I'm not
dying inside but have so much style
I just said something funny.
Jane does her part enormously well -- laughing with amusement...
but her eyes blaze -- her friend has been needlessly humiliated.
Blair wants desperately to be inside Aaron's joke.
What did he say?
(as if still amused)
I'll never tell.
INT. SMALL TELEVISION STUDIO - NIGHT
BUDDY FELTON waits alone. A CAMERA CREW watches him. He is
well dressed, exceedingly nervous. He summons the courage to
ask a question.
Could I see how I photograph?
'Cause for the interview they're
going to use a screen and disguise
me to protect my anonymity so could
I see myself before that?
The Camerawoman punches a button and immediately Buddy's image
comes up on a standing monitor on the studio floor. He's not
happy with the image -- but works at concealing his reaction --
gasping a bit of air -- trying to touch it. Aaron enters.
Tom smiles a friendly smile which flusters Buddy momentarily.
But again he almost manages to conceal his private rush. Buddy's
internal drama is such he invariably finds himself covering up,
fearful roomfuls of people will simultaneously guess his
Aaron directs him behind a screen and looks at his notes.
It's Mr. Buddy Felton?
That's your full name?
I might as well ask you the questions
on tape. Is that all right?
You worked at one time as
Foreign Service Trainee in the
I was there two years and was promoted
on merit nine times.
Eventually rising to...
(curbing his amusement)
No, I'm sorry.
Aaron is having a hard enough day, He is visibly annoyed.
You're saying the fact that you're
gay had something directly to do with
Eventually rising to?
G.S. I don't know.
(scratches his head)
I don't know numbers.
Tom laughs. Aaron shoots him a look.
You're saying the fact that you're gay had
something directly to do with your promotions?
I don't like the word gay.
Which would you prefer?
Stop the tape, okay. Forget it,
Ellen. Let's call security and
get him out.
As Aaron walks out -- Tom is momentarily fixed on the sight of Buddy
walking in small circles giving himself a talking to.
Great time to act out, Buddy. You
won't be happy until you turn the
whole world off.
He notices Tom.
They're not really going to call
security are they?
No, I don't think so.
How do I get out of here?
You talked me into it.
INT. ELEVATOR - NIGHT
Tom distracted -- his day has been a bit of a bummer. Buddy
self conscious -- the proximity creating an almost unbearable
tension of romance and adventure.
INT. BUILDING LOBBY - NIGHT
A Guard on duty -- a BLACK WOMAN. She sees Buddy.
Oh, you're the gay guy. I was just
coming to find you.
EXT. STREET - NIGHT
Walking. Buddy in step with him.
Tom turns. Buddy talks rather quickly -- He cares very much
about leaving Tom with the right impression. The last words
of his speech he hadn't expected to say.
Thank you for not shunning me and
I really did have all that information
but I thought I might just be being
vindictive to get a little hunk of
the ol' spotlight. I know, horrible --
but I didn't do it, so okay? And
thanks again and would you like to
have a drink -- at a regular bar?
Oh, sure. Okay.
His heart racing, Buddy attempts casual matter-of-factness.
Is there a regular bar around here?
INT./ENT. REGULAR BAR - NIGHT
Tom and Buddy on adjoining stools. For Tom, the last weeks have
been humbling, antagonistic. He's enjoying Buddy who listens
attentively and wholeheartedly endorses every word Tom speaks.
I've been doing some morning show
stuff, but mostly radio -- that doesn't
bother me. I'm in no rush for
anything. It's just the snotty
attitude, even if I have it coming,
Yes. That's right.
I know...I mean you didn't do anything
special for me tonight. You just had
what I think are good manners, decency.
And it really makes me want to be nice
back and it has nothing to do with any
(looks right at him)
Because I don't know if you've
homosexual or not and -- you're not,
Tom signals for the check.
I wasn't doing anything.
I really have to go.
Okay. At least let me show my
appreciation. The Secretary of Labor
is going to be indicted on Wednesday.
For the graft thing he supposedly did
before he was appointed.
Yes, it's true. They're going to
make it public Wednesday but isn't
it a big deal for you to have it a
day and a half early?
Yes. How do you know?
My roommate's very social -- somebody
from Justice was over and...I always
hear things before they happen. Hey,
and from now on, so do you.
INT. ERNIE'S OFFICE - DAY
George Weln, the black correspondent and Tom are seated in the
office with Ernie -- they are in mid-meeting.
I'm virtually certain it's not true.
He may be indicted eventually, but I
don't think it will be this month.
You want to be alone with me --
tell me your source?
If I told you I'm not sure it would
totally convince you, but I totally
believe the guy.
Labor is my Department -- I can't
conform it and my contacts go very
So if it's true -- I'm terrific,
It's not even a close call. Of
course we can't go with it.
INT. EDITING ROOM - FOLLOWING DAY
Jane is working with Bobbie the editor... Snatches of the tape
make it obvious that the Labor Secretary has been indicted --
George Weln stands behind Jane, who is dialing a number.
Do you want him all the way to the
No stop where he's all besieged.
Right there, Bobbie.
So he was indicted?
We were right not to go with it.
But I was right -- just somebody give
it to me. I had a good story.
Give it to him -- so we can concentrate.
Ah, I don't want any credit. Bobbie
and I serve anonymously.
He pats Bobbie on the back... and exits.
(pausing in his work)
You know, I like Tom, because hi...
INT. METRO BUS - DAY
Crowded rush hour... Buddy and Tom stand next to each other.
...and the White House is hoping to
keep a lid on it for a few days till
they figure out what to do.
Thanks a lot, Buddy.
(brushing it off)
Oh, please. So they were really
impressed with you at work.
Not impressed exactly -- but a break
in the clouds.
I see the change in you -- I see it.
INT. WHITE HOUSE PRESS ROOM - DAY
The 10 A.M. briefing just breaking up -- Jennifer leaves her
network seat in the front row, only to be grabbed by Tom who
steers her outside.
EXT. WHITE HOUSE EAST WING - DAY
In the near distance a circular driveway and a silent armed
MARINE GUARD, standing at attention.
So he bought this Peugeot sedan at
a greatly reduced price while he was
there in charge of the White House
How come you're not chasing it down
Look, I'm junior man -- and it's
Boy, that's nice...I wish we could
all deal with each other like this.
I'll check it. Anything I can do
This is my first time at the White House.
Is there any chance to look at where
he works and the rest of it?
I didn't have the guts to ask when
I first came up. I'll get you a
INT. BAR - EARLY EVENING
Buddy and Tom watching the Evening News as Jennifer finishes
(voice over; on TV set)
The President says it's not a violation
but nonetheless White House sources
say the full price will be paid for the
Peugeot and new rules will put future
bargain hunting off limits for
Presidential Aides. This is Jennifer Mack
at the White House.
Tom and Buddy smile at each other... energized -- up.
Forgive me, but it really is intoxicating
being a news source.
Nobody else had it.
I wish it were you giving the story.
What if we just don't tell them
anything anymore unless they let
you do the story?
No. Really...don't worry about it.
Okay. And look, in the future I can
call you when I have news for you.
Don't feel you have to spend time
with me just to get the information.
(a breath; then
Well, that wasn't as hard to say as
you thought, was it, Buddy?
What do you mean? You're one of the
few people in this town I can talk
Buddy puts his hand to his heart and makes a LOUD SOUND OF
The BARTENDER and some nearby patrons turn and look. Tom shifts
Hey, Buddy, don't do that anymore.
INT. WASHINGTON BUREAU - NIGHT
Jane waiting for an elevator... It comes and she steps on just
as Tom clearly excited comes around the bend from Ernie's office
calling for her. He goes to the stairs.
INT. WALKWAY - NIGHT
He runs out and sees Jane in the lobby below, then takes off
INT. LOBBY - NIGHT
As he enters and runs outside, looking in both directions then
running off to the right. A BEAT -- REVEALING Jane has stopped
to talk with Blair -- now she exits.
EXT. WASHINGTON STREET - NIGHT
Tom on the street, ahead of her, thinking he's behind her...
He runs another half a block and stops dejected... Turns to walk
back to the office. He keeps looking back to see if he missed
her, so that his head is turned as Jane reaches him, says a
Hi, how are you?
She keeps moving -- Tom spinning after her.
Wait -- I need you.
I've got another story.
Some public official skipped a week
on his Christmas Club?
The House Armed Service Committee
has a secret report which says that
the General Stillwell tank the Army
has dumped a fortune into plain
won't work. I have it cold,
confirmed. They have five million
dollars in this thing already.
Okay, billion...right, of course.
They told me I could have any producer
I wanted -- and I want you.
As Tom savors the moment.
INT. TELEVISION STUDIO - EVENING
Various bureau personnel standing at their desks watching Tom's
piece being broadcast. We SEE a TANK MISFIRING.
One source referred to it as a
five billion dollar metal sculpture
to ugly to look at and too big to bury.
You write this?
I write for you sometimes.
Not because you have to.
We SEE a General walking away from Tom.
General Elton McGuire is in charge of
the weapon system.
ON MONITOR - TWO SHOT
I've been in the Army twenty-seven
years -- so I'll let the Army ask
the questions, not you.
General, I don't want to bother you
anymore or your family. But tomorrow
there will be a mob of me back here --
so, if you have anything to say, why
not say it now, sir, the way you want?
He is a study.
Looking at himself -- and though it's far from his first time on
television -- it's the first time he's seen himself doing serious
work and, by all appearances, doing it well. As the General
answers in the b.g. --
I think it's great of us to have left
in what you said -- just great of us.
Tom smiles modestly.
Yeah, let's never forget. We're
the real story. Not them.
Tom and Jane look over -- then Tom looks to Jane for a verdict.
In the b.g., the news goes to a commercial.
Yeah, I know, I went back and forth
I liked it. He's not afraid to be
Ernie ENTERS THE SCENE with his fourteen-year-old DAUGHTER
in tow... He approaches Tom.
My youngest wanted to meet you.
This is Ellie.
You should be honored -- she
never cares about meeting
anyone here. But she liked you
on television just now.
Hi, Ellie -- remember me?
I'm sorry -- from where?
I've been to your house a lot...
And Aaron went on that fourteen
day raft trip with us last year.
Oh yes -- hi.
INT. NEWSROOM - NIGHT (LATE)
Tom is on the phone.
Hi, Dad...Did you see it? Great --
I'll send you a tape...I'm sorry I
haven't called. Things were a little
bumpy for a while. It's not important...
I'm fine now.
(what he's been
wanting to say aloud)
Hey, Dad -- I just may be able to
do this job...Well, I'm glad you
INT. ERNIE MARRIMAN'S VIRGINIA HOME - DAY
Ernie is hosting the news staff for Sunday brunch -- they stand
around drinking in small groups... Aaron is standing with Blair
and a MAN in his fifties we have not seen before.
I don't know why we have to feel
defensive about it. Newspapers
are in business to make money --
why not us?
Aaron looks at her in amazement.
They criticize us for supposedly
pandering while they run WINGO
GREY HAIRED MAN
Exactly right. Excuse me. I'm
paid to mix.
Blair and Aaron laugh appreciatively as he walks off to another
Take care, Paul.
(back to Blair)
It takes a certain kind of courage
for you to say that in front of
the President of the News Division.
You think anyone who's proud of
the work we do is an ass kisser.
No. I think anyone who puckers their
lips and presses it against his boss'
buttocks and then smooches is an ass
My gosh, and for a while there, I was
attracted to you.
She walks off.
Wait a minute -- that changes
At the bar getting a drink.
Jennifer ENTERS THE SCENE... and leads Jane down the hall until
they are standing alone.
This is very awkward.
Go ahead -- what?
Ummm -- it's dumb dorm stuff but
I see Tom around you a lot and this
is such a small office and I'd like
to see him outside of work, unless
there's some reason for you to mind...
in which case I just won't do anything.
God Almighty -- Whew. Do I mind?
Why do I mind? I do mind. What
a shock -- I don't have a right to...
I don't think I like him. I know
I don't respect him...So what am
I talking about -- what am I saying
You're saying stay away from him.
I can't be.
She blinks in wonder.
We don't have to settle this
definitively right now.
Jennifer moves toward the drinking table -- Jane, unsteadied
by the dose of self-revelation, moves towards Aaron's circle
and scratches his back in friendship... Tom approaches an she
moves off -- not wanting to deal with him. She takes a few
breaths as she keeps walking. We HEAR snatches of PARTY
Tell me one person who ever left
television news to work on a
She moves on; Tom still following.
(holding Paul's arm)
I felt so proud when he turned
down News Vice President so we
could stay here. Suddenly, after
all these years, we have a life.
Jane turns -- sees that Tom is still looking at her from a few
She stands there, genuinely frightened. She must deal with him
now. He crosses to her.
It's the firs time I've seen
you dressed like this. You look
so clean and pretty.
What do you mean clean?
At work there's always this
sort of film over you.
Well, thumps like me leave appearance
to guys like you.
You're great at taking the edge
off a good time.
Jane starts twitching. She pauses -- holds a hand lightly on
his arm to steady herself.
Yes. Just don't say anything mean
for a while. Thanks.
She meets his gaze for an instant -- and, in that instant, loses
control for the first time in her memory. She looks strange as
she retreats from this glimpse of upheaval.
I've got to find someone. It's
important. Excuse me.
She walks away.
ON AARON AND ERNIE
I had the strangest thing happen
yesterday. Anne and I have been
married what? -- Thirty-six years...
Everything fine -- two days after the
promotion came through, I was checking
myself in the mirror and she was
making a face at me behind my back.
So yesterday I looked in the mirror
and she was doing it again.
You didn't say anything to her?
He shakes his head.
My instincts tell me not to.
Annie comes up.
The office is phoning, honey.
He EXITS SCENE as Anne watches him go.
I hope he moves that fast when
it's me on the line.
As she passes a chair with an afghan shawl on the back -- she
picks it up and wraps it around herself, a bit chilled. She
sees Jennifer on the stairs and moves toward her calling in a
too loud, anxiety-ridden voice as she goes.
Jennifer. Hey, Jennifer.
Jennifer turning as Jane whips up the stairs.
Forget what I said -- you do
whatever you want to with him.
She pushes at Jennifer a little.
Well, there's nothing I'm going
to do right this second.
Jane pushes her again.
But it's a party, right?
Jane smiles back feigning female bonding -- Jennifer goes back
down the steps and crosses to Tom.
Aaron takes in Jane, who is taking in Jennifer and Tom -- then
Aaron begins to sense a new dynamic in the room as Ernie re-enters
and huddles briefly with Paul... The News President is intent...
The two of them walk over to Tom and Jennifer. We PICK UP just
a few words:
This would be a good time to tap
that source of yours. He could
have an angle or something.
Tom is startled but cool -- nods his head -- Jennifer is amazed
looking at Tom with new and even prettier eyes... Paul and Ernie
now move toward Jane, a whole flow of movement creating a new
energy in the area. Jane sheds her Afghan as she rises to meet
We want you to exec produce a
Aaron has come over to join them now in time to HEAR.
A Libyan plane shot up one of our
bases in Egypt. It's all still
Let's figure out the field.
Unfortunately, since Paul's here,
he's made out the assignments...
Jennifer at the White House...
George at the Pentagon...Martin
at State...and we need an anchor
since Rorish is in his boat, so we're
gonna do the whole report this
afternoon from here...with Tom.
That's it. I resign as of now.
I'll tell you what. I'll stay if
Tom knows how to spell Gaddafi.
Ernie, as much as I like you, I
think I have to tell Paul what I
think, because this is really sort
of obscenely stupid.
Jane, if you want to, go ahead. I
don't disagree with you.
Jane moves quickly off, awed at the prospect of taking on the
As she moves past Tom who is talking on the phone, eventually
catching up with Paul. In the b.g. Tom has just HEARD the
"BEEP" of an ANSWERING MACHINE.
Hello, Buddy. It's 1:35 -- and
this is Tom. You can reach me
at the office. It's important.
I can use a little help.
Jane, because of the proximity to Tom is speaking in whispered
Tom isn't ready for the job
you're about to hand him. Not
near ready. Not by the longest
shot. Aaron's spent six weeks
in Tripoli, he's interviewed
Gaddafi -- he reported on the
Eight-one story. I think he's
essential to do the job we're
capable of and I think it's my
responsibility to tell you that.
Okay, that's your opinion. I
It's not opinion.
You're just absolutely right
and I'm absolutely wrong?
It must be nice to always believe
you know better. To think you're
always the smartest person in the
(from her depths)
No, it's awful. Oh my, it's awful.
(turning to leave)
We'd better get moving.
As they move out... Jane goes to Aaron... He moves with her
towards the door.
I'll tell you later -- where
you going to watch from?
I'll come by your place, right
after...drink, take pills...
She runs out the door. Aaron turns mean and mocks Jane's
last words -- screwing up his face in a savage burlesque.
Yeah, love you, too.
EXT. DRIVEWAY - DAY
As Jane briefly pauses to see which war has room. Tom opens
the passenger seat of his car -- she gets in. It moves off.
INT. TOM'S CAR - DAY
As it moves off.
Jane looks over at him -- there's no question he's just told
INT. TOM'S OFFICE - DAY
In the b.g. we SEE the Bureau Newsroom beginning to pulse with
activity. Tom closes the door. He sits down behind his desk
and opens a bottom drawer -- a clean whit shirt lies there.
He opens the center drawer -- two ties are inside. He picks
one. He reaches for a package of new red suspenders. He takes
off the shirt and puts on the new one -- all of this the work
of an expert craftsman. By the time he finishes he looks like
the authority figure we know he's now.
INT. BUREAU NEWSROOM - JANE AND BLAIR
Jane is NOT hyper. She is purposeful -- organized -- even
calming Blair with a little physical contact -- a touch on
the arm, to still her colleague's hysterical demons.
Tell George and Jessica to try
and cover everything without
Tom having to ask additional
And Bobbie says...
Did you hear what I just said --
do you have that? Take a breath.
(a breath, then)
In the b.g. Tom has exited his office and looks about --
waiting for some indication as to what to do next.
And the most important thing
make sure his earpiece works,
have back-ups ready. That's
never been more vital. He
must be able to hear me at
every second and clearly.
Jane sees him. She moves across the room -- takes Tom by the
We have twenty minutes -- you can
wait in the studio.
Tom coughs nervously into his hand and takes a pen from a
nearby desk, clips it into his inside pocket and walks off.
GRAPHICS ROOM - DAY
Jane is screening and asking corrections in a graphic
representation of an F-14 shooting down a Libyan Air Force
Put in the radar plane that spotted
them to begin with.
We have no pictures on file.
I can't draw -- but this is a
She uses the stylus from the ELECTRONIC PAINT MACHINE to outline
an American Air Force E-2C Hawkeyes Radar Plane. Her work is
INT. AARON'S APARTMENT - DAY
He has a glass in hand -- some chips on the table with a
bottle of wine as he selects a Cassette Desk to play. He picks
a French song -- looks at some of his books. He might even
read. He is feigning disinterest for an audience of no one.
He SINGS ALONG with the RECORD in perfect French.
INT. STUDIO HALLWAY - DAY
Tom checking copy in the long hallway leading to the studio --
there is the merest of hubbubs causing him to look up. Buddy
is being stopped at the other end of the hallway.
ON BUDDY AND SECURITY GUARD
I have to check first.
(a bit frantic)
Well, then check -- but hurry --
There he is!!!
Buddy runs the length of the hallway to Tom's aide despite Tom's
gestures to slow down.
Is everything all right?
Yes. You didn't have to come here.
It's just that I'm going to anchor
this special report on this Libyan
Yes, stop! I wondered if you could
find out anything about what's
(on Buddy's reaction)
I broke up with my roommate --
He was really the magnet for
everyone who knew anything.
Look, I can start up with him again
if you really...
No. I'm doing fine...Look.
Tom stands there -- a man at home in this media castle.
Good. He's on the world's longest
ego trip, let him take it alone.
Hey, okay. Look Buddy -- I've
got to go to work.
I'll speak to you.
Well, who knows. Just let m tell
you what my favorite teacher ever,
told me -- 'Don't be afraid to be
He leans forward, gives Tom a quick embrace, a small kiss on
the cheek. Tom turns and walks off down the hallway to meet
his immediate destiny as Buddy looks on.
INT. CONTROL ROOM - DAY
Jane mounts some steps in the control room -- she moves past
the DIRECTOR and TECHNICAL CREW up to the next level where the
two news execs, Ernie and Paul stand with their backs to the
wall, and then up one more step slightly above the desk and
table occupied by Blair. Now she slips into the large well
paddled throne-like seat -- as WE BEGIN MUSIC CUE.
Literally at her fingertips is the row of buttons which provide
immediate access to the field reporters at the Pentagon, State
and the White House. In front of her the bank of monitors, the
Technical Team and past them the studio where Tom is seated at
Anchor, a FLOOR PRODUCER and WRITER feeding him copy.
ANGLE FAVORING BLAIR
As she looks at Jane, poised to control the complicated apparatus
of minds and machines comprising the big time network news.
And Jane Craig is at the helm. Blair experiences a flash of
emotion which transcends envy and verbalizes it.
(sotto to Jane)
Executive Producer -- wow.
Jane looks at her and, in a moment of atypical merriment, does
a choking gesture at her own throat as the monitors flash a
graphic reading: SPECIAL REPORT... We HEAR an ANNOUNCER'S VOICE
say, "This is a Special Report from..."
INSERT: JANE'S CONTROL PANEL
Each of four buttons labeled so that the microphone can connect
her to Tom and the Field Reporters. She presses the button
You hear me, Tom? Tom? Tom?
Damn it...He can't hear me...
I told you if there was one thing...
Tom's VOICE on speakers.
(voice over; relaxed)
I can hear you. I was just teasing.
Gulping the air in relief, she slumps nonetheless impressed by
the macho cool as:
Tom smiles towards her then -- poises himself just as the
Announcer's last words clear.
...in Washington, Tom Grunick.
He begins his report. He seems authoritative, compelling, even
in a low key way. We trust him.
Good afternoon. A Libyan fighter
plane attacked a United States
Military Installation early this
morning and was, itself, shot down
by American F-14 Interceptors.
Another monitor shows the Graphic running. In the b.g. two
men approaches Paul. They look out of place, decidedly
Mr. Moore, I'm Marvin Usher and this
is my brother, Stuart.
The Libyan Missile destroyed an Army
Warehouse which, just thirty minutes
earlier, had been crowded with
servicemen. No one was injured.
INT. AARON'S APARTMENT - DAY
Aaron is seated, feet up, drinking, listening to MUSIC -- reading
a book, two remote controls are on the cushion next to him. He
SINGS OUT LOUD with the record as he reads -- at one point
providing his own lyric line OVER THE MUSIC.
And I can read while I sing.
He picks up the television remote-control device an puts the
television on, the SOUND OFF.
We SEE the graphic of the Libyan plane's flight route, its
missile firing -- the U.S. planes taking off and the shooting
down of the Mirage jet... At one point Aaron lowering the MUSIC
and raising the TV SOUND hearing Tom.
The heat seeking missile virtually
disintegrated the plane on...
Aaron turns down the TV SOUND and turns up the MUSIC.
Jane's hand flicks at the button marked "PENTAGON."
George, you're ready.
ON PENTAGON MONITOR
We SEE George and HEAR him through Jane's voice box.
Should I cover everything or should
I save something for Tom to ask about?
(hitting Tom's button)
We're going to George. Say 'the
Joint Chiefs are meeting -- we have
George Weln at the Pentagon'.
George Weln is at the Pentagon where
the attack launched by the lone
Libyan pilot has resulted in a massive
movement of military might.
INT. AARON'S APARTMENT - DAY
Where he still balances STEREO and TV SOUND.
A lot of alliteration from anxious
anchors placed in powerful posts.
He picks up the phone.
INT. CONTROL ROOM - DAY
As Blair hands it to Jane.
I think the pilot that shot down the
Libyan in 1981 is stationed right
here. Maybe you could get him --
and maybe Tom should say that our F-14
is one of the hardest planes to fly.
They're nicknamed 'Tomcats'.
The F-14 is one of the most difficult
planes to master.
Oh, you call them 'Tomcats' and in
the 70's the first crop had a number
George, isn't the F-14 Tomcat one of
the most difficult machines for a
pilot to master?
I think you're right -- it's certainly
one of our hottest planes.
INT. AARON'S ROOM - DAY
I say it here -- it comes out there.
There was trouble with them in the
early days -- back in the 70's.
Aaron dials again... As we SEE Jennifer standing at the
Me again. Hi. Listen Gaddafi doesn't
foam at the mouth or anything. When
you speak to him he's not at all nuts.
He seems like a leader -- very
what's so strange.
Right and we have the '81
pilot on the way in -- Nobody else
will have him.
You're welcome. Sow how does it
feel to...I know you gotta go --
Me too. We're very busy here.
He hangs up -- LONG SHOT... Aaron with his remote controls.
The picture switches back to Tom. He turns UP the VOLUME.
...outlaw nation but strangely those
who have interviewed Gaddafi find
him, in a phrase we like to use in
this country, very 'presidential'.
INT. CONTROL ROOM - DAY
Jane is on the phone. The atmosphere buckling with strain.
Just a minute.
Her finger hits the "Tom" button.
To State for the message from Libya,
then you'll have the carrier pilot
from the Sidra in time to...
(a sudden shriek)
Jolted by the shriek in his earpiece but nonetheless continuing.
BACK TO JANE
As she SCREAMS INTO the phone -- this is more than volume, she
is over-the-top livid, her face red, neck cords popping.
We only have ten minutes left --
how can you talk to me about parking
problems? No, not you'll try...you'll
do it -- do it or I'll fry your fat
ass, Estelle. Good-bye.
As she BANGS the PHONE down. Paul comments sotto to Ernie.
I had no idea she was this good.
(hitting Tom's button)
Fill for a second.
The latest message seems to indicate
that the Libyan pilot was acting on
his own without authority from anyone
(into camera directly)
In other words, I think we're okay.
INT. STUDIO - EIGHT MINUTES LATER
MOVING CAMERA FROM Tom's left profile TOWARDS HIS RIGHT PROFILE,
TAKING IN THE Production Assistant who madly shuffles pages,
even as Tom talks on camera, the monitor through which he sees
the subject of his interview at the Pentagon, the clusters of a
assistants on the floor and now WE CONTINUE TO CIRCLE BEHIND him,
beginning to SEE the Control Room in the b.g. and as we MOVE IN
TOWARDS HIS EAR, the white ear piece firmly in place, we BEGIN
TO HEAR, the barely audible crackle of Jane's VOICE as she tells
him roughly what to say and how long he has to say it.
...So, Commander, it must have been
a bit tougher today -- shooting down
the French-made Mirage Jet. The one
you got was a SU-22...etc...
And NOW ALL IS OBSCURED EXCEPT THE ANCHOR'S EARS, the ear piece
and the RED LIGHT on the CAMERA and beyond... almost an abstract
INT. CONTROL ROOM - DAY
...Once again: The Libyan Government
has disavowed any prior knowledge of
the flight. This has been Tom Grunick
reporting from Washington.
The special report ended, Jane breathes a breath -- she and
Blair momentarily grasp hands. The first talk concerns Tom.
He was brilliant. I've never been
as proud of one of my decisions.
(calls back to Jane)
Great work, Jane, really -- You know?
She nods... totally depleted.
Well, there were no major gaffs anyway.
Ernie scoffs in her direction.
She exits the scene.
(to the Usher brothers)
This was important for Tom -- there's
that bonding thing that happens with
the public and an anchorman during a
crisis. It's not the conventions
anymore; it's this kind of moment.
Tom enters. He is exuberant.
What a baptismal. Congratulations.
Thanks. With all the help you get,
it's sure easier than local.
Paul and Ernie exchange a glance.
Where's Jane? I'm still juiced.
Ernie points off... as Tom exits. The Usher brothers hover.
(to the Usher brothers)
Can I help you?
We're here to play the new news theme.
New theme? You don't need me for this.
Stay. Why should I be the only one
to feel silly?
We need a synthesizer -- but this
will give you an idea.
Wasn't he great?
Man Two has the keyboard out and begins playing the prospective
news theme: a suite meant to have majesty and drive, a towering
composition -- the effect of it somewhat lessened by the fact
that the two men VOCALIZE OTHER INSTRUMENTS over the keyboard.
INT. NEWSROOM - DAY
As Tom makes his way across it -- crews are drifting in... He
enters Jane's cubby, flushed with the electricity of the "win"
the most noteworthy moment of his working life.
INT. JANE'S CUBBY - DAY
You're an amazing woman. What a feeling
having you inside my head.
(a bit thrown)
Yeah. It was an unusual place to be.
Indescribable -- you knew just when to
feed me the next thing, just a split
second before I needed it. There was a
rhythm we got into, like great sex.
Jane looks at him and nods slightly -- an unconscious spasm of
You have to celebrate with me, don't
you? Everybody's going to that bar
on the corner, 'Caps.'
I'm going over to Aaron's. Maybe I'll
hoop up with all of you later. How
long do you think you'll be there?
Tom indicates that it's an impossible question to answer. They
enters the elevator.
EXT. NEWS BUILDING - NIGHT
As several people cross the street towards the bar. Tom has
been holding back on one question.
It's tempting to ask you how you think
(she starts to reply)
No. I'm enjoying myself. Take it easy.
He starts across the street.
(trying to be casual)
Maybe I'll see you over there.
You'll never show up.
He starts across the street -- then turns and calls to her.
I'll wait for you till seven.
Tom races to catch up with the others -- Jane in the distant b.g.
pauses a beat before walking off in the opposite direction. Jane
moving quickly along.
SOUND OF MEN VOCALIZING NEWS THEME comes UP AND continues
EXT. AARON'S APARTMENT - EARLY EVENING
As Jane approaches and is surprised to find him sitting on the
Happy to see her, rising fairly soberly to his feet. He APPLAUDS
as she comes toward him.
Really? It was good.
He nods and APPLAUDS some more.
Your calling in that information --
you're the classiest guy I know.
He waves her off... And sits down on the stoop.
It was strange to watch him. What's
the next step? Lip synching?
She sits a step or two above him, waiting to gauge his mood.
I've been doing some of the most
important thinking of my life. I
wonder if this is the right time to
tell you about it.
She steals a glance at her watch.
Well, whatever you think.
I figured out exactly why it is I'm so
hung up on getting a chance at weekend
anchor...It's because if I do that well,
they'll pay me more, treat me great and
my life will be better. That's why.
Sounds like you may be on to something.
Which means I'm at their mercy and who
wants that?...I'm not going to tell
you where this thought led me...
Anyway, well, why not tell you? --
it's a happy thing. In the middle of
all this I start to think about something
that does nothing but make me feel good
and makes immediate sense and that's you
...And I'll stop here but, Jane, I'd give
anything if you were two people so I could
call up the one who's my friend and tell
her about the one I'm in I...I don't think
I should go any further. Come on --
I'll walk you to the corner.
He tales her by the arm and leads her to the corner.
You know you've had a strange day...
I'd sleep on all these things you've
Absolutely...You go have a good time...
You have some place to go?
He grabs her and hugs her exuberantly -- takes her face in his
hands and kisses her full on the lips.
Well, I felt something.
He leaves her on the corner and walks back.
As the SOUND OF NEWS THEME VOCALIZING PICKS UP ONE MORE...
Jane moving quickly, hailing a cab.
INT. CAB - EVENING
We're going to Caps Bar at
Seventeenth and Vermont;
Connecticut is clear on Sunday...
take that over to Fifteenth, then
around Vermont and we'll bypass
the circle that way...if you don't
go over forty we should catch mostly
ON the DRIVER'S annoyed look.
Come on -- don't take it the
wrong way. I just know about
He hits the meter.
EXT. CAPS BAR - EVENING
As the cab pulls up, Jane gets out and pays him.
Great route. I never made
anywhere near that fast before.
Thanks -- good driving --
Thanks. Coming from you I
As she turns to enter the restaurant -- Tom and Jennifer exit.
As they confront each other:
I didn't think you'd make it.
Well, I thought I'd check if all
of you were still here. I'll just
go in and join the gang and you
two go on.
There's no gang in there -- We
were the last ones.
Well, I'll go in and have a bite.
Jennifer, you want to have another
Hey, I know how to have a burger by
myself. I feel like a little solitude.
(as they move off)
I sure know that feeling. Terrific
Right back to you.
Thanks for getting me through.
He puts his hand behind her neck in an awkward gesture of
camaraderie. She awkwardly disengages... waves and steps
inside the door to the restaurant... standing there between
the two sets of doors watching Tom and Jennifer walk away.
ON TOM AND JENNIFER
As they walk to his car, first exchanging a look of reflection
over Jane... then bumping accidentally, then bumping back, a
look, then kissing with passion, wrapped around each other.
INT. JENNIFER'S APT - NIGHT
As Tom and Jennifer rush in locked in an embrace, shedding
clothes even as they enter.
INT. JENNIFER'S APT - NIGHT
We are aware of MOVING FORMS.
Damn all you sons-of-bitches. Oh
shit, you bastards...
They finish. A beat, then:
ON TOM AND JENNIFER
Tom taken aback by the outburst from this woman he's just made
No, it's okay...People say different
things. They do...the plural threw
The last time I was with someone we
went through this awful mutual disease
questionnaire but I guess it beats
getting paranoid the next day. Okay,
I'll go first. I haven't...
It would never occur to me to worry
at all about you.
Jennifer is touched...
You know something? I'm deeply
complimented. Isn't it strange to
be deeply complimented because the
man you're with doesn't think you
have a venereal disease?...
Tom slides out of bed naked -- she moves quickly across the bed
one outstretched hand reaching for his ass, a free -- even lusty
sort of motion punctuated by her comment:
Give me some of that.
He dances away -- out of range -- liking the action, a stupid
grin on his face.
Where's the bathroom?
Through the closet.
He opens the door and turns on the light in the closet.
INT. CLOSET - NIGHT
It is a converted room -- given over the racks of clothes and
shoes extraordinarily well organized. Tom stands there agape.
Various rain coats -- clothes for all climates -- lots of
She joins him in the closet -- holding out a sheet in front of
I converted a bedroom -- this
stuff builds up. Wait till
you've been doing this sixteen
I'm not knocking it. It's a
great solution. Not only the
storage but you can see everything
Jennifer laughs -- he follows her gaze and sees himself in
silhouette against the door -- his penis prominent in outline.
Do you do bunny rabbits?
Tom is enjoying himself immensely.
Isn't this a great date?
We HEAR the SOUND OF SCRATCHING as we:
INT. JANE'S EDITING CUBICLE - MORNING
Jane feeds another tape in -- she is taking editing notes alone
and SCRATCHING her arm. She looks worn out -- STOCK FOOTAGE OF
STATESMEN move across the small screen. She sighs and, without
realizing, implores the heavens to help cure a malady she's yet
to recognize in herself.
God help me.
People have begun to filter into the newsroom in the b.g.
Jesus, Jane. How long have you
A long time. I was restless.
Will you crack my neck?
He starts massaging her neck as the phone rings. she lets it
ring for a beat as Aaron works on her. As she picks up the
receiver we HEAR a CRACK. She reacts to it at the same time
she utters a greeting.
-- ello. You sure they said the
(hangs up; then
They want me to be at the
They're not that dumb, after all.
He pats her on the back.
INT. WALKWAY - DAY
Do you know you're the second woman
in network news history to produce?
No, I'm not. I'm the fourth.
Joan Richmond. Pauline Fredericks
got that credit once on a U.N.
special and there's Susan Zirinsky.
INT. MANAGEMENT MEETING - DAY
Paul is running the meeting from behind Ernie's desk.
TWO OTHER NON-EDITORIAL MEN are in attendance. As Paul
discusses the more pressing problems of the network news
division, Jane sits near the window strangely unmoved by
her first moment at the seat of power. She has the blues.
Anyway, they seem to be very serious
about making me out eight million from
the budget and that means massive firings.
I'm doing everything I can... It's too
early to make up a 'death list' but I
just wanted you to be aware of the
situation... We're also going to cover
the Alaskan serial killer trial on a
continuing basis. I'd like it done out
of Washington which means we've got to
get somebody on a plane for Anchorage.
We can't fool around anymore...Jane...
She looks up at him -- a bit sleepy-eyed.
This is going to be high-profile on
the Evening News -- who do you think?
George Weln or Jennifer?
(much, much too quickly)
The men look at her curiously. She repeats herself more
INT. TOM'S OFFICE - LATE AFTERNOON
He has been reading from a respectable stack of mail -- Jane
appears in his doorway. For the first time, we notice that
she is woefully ba at at least one endeavor -- flirting.
Come on, I'll buy you a drink.
There's a big thing over at the
I'm not sure I'd be good
I'll be the judge of that.
INT. ITALIAN EMBASSY - NIGHT
As they walk in -- one MAN looks at Tom with a glint of
recognition. Then another -- a handshake -- A WOMAN introduces
herself. A small knot of people form.
It's much too soon for you to have
this kind of buzz around you.
Do I have to stand here in the middle
and meet them all?
I'll get you through. Move and smile.
(she pushes him
And smile and move...
They start crossing the room -- he is moving now, making progress.
But an EGYPTIAN BUSINESSMAN stops him.
Is it safe for me to fly home?
Yes. We're fine now.
He smiles -- people smile back.
ANGLE ON STAIR LANDING
Where Aaron (Pimm's Cut in hand -- a cucumber sticking out)
stands with Martin Klein. Martin is eating from a huge platter
The Italians serve the second best
things right after the Chinese...I
could do an article comparing Embassy
food...Gourmet free-loading...sell it
anyplace. I'm sure not getting the
Who the heck could that be?
From the excited group of people blocking his view,
it's clear there is some personage in attendance.
And now he sees that it's Tom.
Is God testing me or something?
Paul loves him. I heard him give
him the most poetic compliment in
his command. 'He's hot.' Sometimes
groups of executives get together just
to say that work back and forth...'He's
hot, oh, she's hot. Oh, he's really
(looking at Aaron)
And here we are.
Martin, you're not allowed to use the
word 'we' or I'm moving.
Maybe Jane would like my food idea as
a spot...Try the one in the middle.
He moves off to intercept Jane -- as he stops her... Tom is
stranded -- then sees Aaron and moves over to his side.
Hi, Aaron...What's doing?
Same old stuff. I'm watching a man
who won three Overseas Press Awards
pitch an hors d'oeuvre idea.
A MAN stops and introduces himself to Tom -- shaking his hand:
You want to go out there --
get out of this for a second?
Why don't you lead? I'll just
follow the flurry you cause.
Tom turns -- the sharpness of the tone unsettles him.
What did I do to you?
You've made my dreams silly.
Tom decides not to deal with the remark. He's jolted by the
hostility. He leads the way out French Doors to a ground floor
terrace, where Aaron joins him, closes the door and the two men
stare at the party.
(gesturing at the
They look inside.
(several beats; then)
How you doing?
Great. Network news, Washington...
I love it. What do you do when your
real life exceeds your dreams?
Keep it to yourself.
You know the other day I really wanted
your reaction to how we did with the
Libyan report -- I was going to ask but
I guess I feel a little intimidated with
Oh, stop it.
On Tom's reaction.
You can't talk about feeling
intimidated when you're on top of
the world. It's unseemly.
I'm not buying into any of that. I
have a load to learn. I'm not going
to act as if...
(finishing for him)
You have the job you have...
The sudden debate is important to Tom -- but it's moving too
fast for him.
Shut up a second...
Okay. Pretty petty party, isn't
(picking his words)
I made one rule for myself when this
started and I realized I was going
to take a lot from you people because
of being from sports...
And the rule was...
Never to pretend to know more than
Can you name all the members of the
Okay, let's drop it. I didn't mean
I'd take a test for you -- I mean if
that came up in conversation I'd...
We're conversing...Oh my, the names
of the entire Cabinet has slipped my
mind. What are they?
Tom is getting pissed.
Don't name them. Just tell me if
Yes, Aaron. I know the names of
There are only ten.
Aaron's suddenly a good deal happier -- damned if it
isn't a little infectious.
You're feeling good, aren't you?
I'm starting to... We may do
the capitols of the states.
Aaron almost smiles.
Tom enters the party leaving the door open.
Aaron in the f.g. -- his BACK TO CAMERA... Beyond him
Tom being approached... then joining Jane.
EXT. JANE'S STREET - NIGHT
As Tom's car comes to a stop.
INT. TOM'S CAR - NIGHT
I'm so exhausted. Punchy. Sick
tired. I can't think and I can't move.
I'm just a dead lump of poured out
Would you like to come up?
Tom thinks -- then:
Maybe we could just sit here --
talk a little?
Okay. You didn't like the party, huh?
Too many smart people in one room --
it's not healthy...
Jane's confused by this. She looks at him.
I'm going to have to do a story
from beginning to end on my own.
Eventually. Does it have to be
Believe me, I wouldn't be doing this
unless it was absolutely necessary.
I have an idea for something.
I just read about it in a magazine
and it affected me.
Well, what is it?
If I tell you, can you manage not
to put it down or tell me why it
won't work or is in bad journalistic
taste or anything like that?
Yes, Tom -- I think I can manage.
He turns towards her -- about to stick his chin out. Hesitates.
It's about women who are attacked
by someone they know on a date...
'Date-rape,' that's the piece...
Jane clamps a hand over her own mouth.
Okay -- good move. Keep it there.
She continues to clamp her mouth shut as he exits the car,
opens her door and then begins to half carry, half pull her out.
She keeps her hand clamped over her mouth. Laughing from
behind her door and runs for it.
His spirits lifted.
Behind the door, trying to hide the glow in her eyes.
INT. JANE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
The phone rings... Jane's hand bounces off her nightstand to
turn on the light knocking over and breaking the clock radio
instead. Three alarm clocks stand next to the clock radio...
Finally the light comes on. Jane's voice is so thick with
sleep the words she utters are just barely distinguishable.
Hello...Who is it?
INT. TOM'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
I'm not sure I dialed right --
Jane, yes. Tom? Tom, is that you?
Is this Tom?
I had to sleep fast so I took two
allergy pills to help me...I'm
sorry...Hey, you called me.
It's not important.
Says who? Not important -- ha-ha-ha.
I was dreaming -- Oh, no -- can't
tell -- how embarrassing for me.
What pills did you take? You
sound more like someone on a general
anesthetic. Maybe I'd better speak
to you tomorrow.
Nooo. Is it your story?
No. Are you going to the
Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday?
Why, you need me for the story?
No. Were you going to you?
Maybe I'll get off work. I'd like
We can go together.
So you like me, huh?
I like you as much as I can like
anyone who thinks I'm an asshole.
INT. JANE'S EDITING ROOM - DAY
Tom editing a piece with Bobby -- He also has a little typewriter
table set up. He is reading from the page in the typewriter as
he looks at the piece he has written.
But cops on the street continue to
view it as...
Shit -- too long. But street cops
say...that fits. That last cut work
for you, Bobbie?
Yes, and thanks for asking.
INT. NEWSROOM - NIGHT
As the regulars watch the Evening News, in particular the Date
Rape piece which is now in progress. Tom anxiously eyeing Jane
out of the corner of his eye as she watches the monitor. Her
face impossible to read as she studies the screen.
What can you do? If a woman invites
a man in and he says they uh, had
sex and she says he raped her and
then you find out they've been out
together two, three times...how can
you prove a crime?
NEW SHOT ON MONITOR
Tom and a woman of about thirty -- dignified but fragile -- she
looks like someone who might be cast for a church production
of "Glass Menagerie."
It will be a year next month since it
happened...I never thought I'd talk
about it outside of counseling...
As Aaron enters the scene.
He is shushed by every woman in the room, accepts this and takes
up a position near Tom and Jane to watch them.
We'd gone out twice and I hadn't
enjoyed myself that much but it gets
to a point -- I don't know if you can
appreciate this but where you don't
want to sit home or be with your
girlfriends and people had always been
telling me that I was 'too picky.'
I'm not. It's just you want to meet
a nice guy...So anyways, it was that
'give-him-a-chance' thing. No, it
wasn't. I was lonely. So we went
to a movie and when he brought me home
he said could he just come up and have
one beer and then he'd go. How do you
say 'no', to that? So first it was
this wrestling match which was awful
enough because it got to be really
a fight...because I'm a modest person...
then he ripped my clothes and he
forced me to...make love. He stayed in
my apartment and forced me more times
-- he didn't leave until...
(she has started to cry)
I promised myself I wouldn't cry...
It's just hard not to --
You sure have a sympathetic face.
(she cries a bit more)
...I was so sure I wouldn't do this --
but the whole thing messed me up --
maybe more than it should...
As the news piece cut to: Tom's face -- he turns clearing a tear
from his eyes.
These watching struck -- perhaps embarrassed but riveted. Aaron
is aghast. Aaron approaches the set.
Can I turn on the news for a second?
...Oh, wait a minute. Sex -- Tears --
This must be the news.
Tom stares daggers at him as a public official appears on the
I don't think you can overestimate it --
on any given Saturday night tens of
thousands of women are being attacked
and there isn't much they or we can do
The victims often remain too terrified
to talk -- the police powerless and all
the social welfare groups can finally do
is monitor this epidemic of crime without
punishment. This is Tom Grunick in
As his piece concludes.
Tom continues to glare at Aaron.
I'm in a pissy mood. I'm sorry.
What's wrong with it?
Nothing. I think you really blew
the lid off nookie.
Blair moans with displeasure. Aaron exits scene. Others start
to congratulate Tom on the piece -- in the b.g. on the:
We SEE frozen wilderness -- men digging in the ground -- clumps
of people watching them work.
Probing her own ambivalence -- or, to be more accurate, working
towards a positive stance.
I've got to get a crew off the clock.
She starts off -- Tom stopping her.
ON TOM AND JANE
Now off a bit by themselves.
So what did you think?
It moved me. I did relate to it -- I
really did. It was unusual for you to
cut to yourself when you tear up -- and
that might not have been my choice...but
it's real and it got me...and I think a
lot of the time I'm too conservative about
that kind of stuff. Okay?
He walks back towards the area of the monitor.
Tomorrow the jury returns to this
site as each day brings more revelations
of horror, four more bodies now taken
from the frozen earth...This is Jennifer
Mack in Wota Hamlet, Alaska.
INT. NEWSROOM - TWO WEEKS LATER (SPRING) - DAY
Ernie's been looking for you.
As Aaron walks to his office.
INT. AARON'S OFFICE - DAY
As he enters and finds Ernie bent over his desk.
Oh, I was just writing you a note.
What do you say we take a walk?
EXT. WASHINGTON STREET - DAY
Ernie is silent... He's having difficulty. Aaron is feeling knots
form. Finally Ernie breaks his silence.
I don't know if we have any
younger man more respected in our
operation than you.
Just tell me what's really going
on. I think we know each other
well enough for me to expect that.
We know each other well enough
for me to care how I put something
to you which could wipe you out.
So I will phrase things the way I
think they should be phrased. All
Wipe me out?
Ernie sits on a bench.
Anyway. I want you to think of this as...
Just blunt talk, okay? I'd really
Upper management thinks you're dull.
Aaron, I've never seen them like
this -- I think Paul's nervous
about his own job and for some
reason he thinks you only appeal to...
Wait. Bullshit me a little...I'm
beginning to appreciate it.
I'm no suggesting the worst will
happen...but someone with your
brilliance gets nibbles about other
jobs and maybe, the next time that
happens, down the road -- you should
look into it.
Ah, damn -- the fucking jerks -- My,
God. They want to fire me.
All I know is that they've got to
fire a large number of people...
and they're not going by seniority.
There's a recklessness in the air.
Do one thing to me? Get me one shot
at anchoring the Weekend News -- they've
never seen me do it. I think it could
turn them around.
I could do it this Saturday -- everyone
wants off for the Correspondents' Dinner.
Aaron turns -- his spirit lifted by the unexpected ray of hope.
Do it then.
Please prepare carefully. This
couldn't come at a better time.
Prepare what? You have Saturday's
It's been a while since you read
the news -- I'll have somebody work
with you. Just on superficial
Okay. I think I'd better be alone
for a while.
I understand. I'll go with you.
INT. SMALL TELEVISION STUDIO - NIGHT
Aaron is seated behind a desk -- some old news copy in
his hand. An unmanned camera is pointing at him. Tom
is standing a few feet further back studying him.
This is uncomfortable for me --
because, well, I don't mean it as
a knock, but we approach this
We sure do. I don't mean it as a
Go ahead. I'll just say what I think
and you can disregard it if you want.
It just might not work for me because
of our different approaches.
Tom nods and gestures that he proceed. Aaron begins reading
the news. Barely a sentence in, he is interrupted.
Your coat jacket is rising up in
Aaron ignores the tip.
When you sit down -- sit on your
jacket a little -- that gives you
a good line. Look at yourself in
Aaron looks but is unimpressed and resumes reading the news.
Tom, not about to be ignored when he knows it's important, moves
behind Aaron and begins to force his jacket down.
I don't like being handled.
Sit on it! Now look.
Just don't physically...
(he sees himself in the
monitor and is suddenly
Fantastic tip -- fantastic.
He starts to read again.
No. That's not going to tell us
anything. Let's get this prompter
It's not loaded.
I'll find some copy. Be right back.
Tom exits -- Aaron looking after him, clearly taken with the
genuine camaraderie... the unmistakable joy Tom derives from
helping out. Several beats and Tom comes back with a CAMERAMAN in
I got copy, I got Ellen to heat up
the camera and I got Master Control
taping so you can study it later.
He puts the roll of copy in the prompter.
I'm very appreciative.
SAME SCENE - LATER
Tom totally focused on him down one knee checking him from
various angles. He interrupts. Aaron reading from the prompter.
Don't let your eyes go from the
beginning of the sentence to the end
like that. You don't want to look
shifty, do you?
Oh, God, no!
And the left side of your face is the
good one. Go again. And try to punch
one word or phrase in every sentence --
punch one idea a story. Punch -- come
Aaron does same with the story he is reading...
Aaron acknowledges the compliment in news mode. Punching the
Thank you for the compliment, Tom.
He draws a laugh from the Cameraman as he goes right into the
Try not to move your head or wrinkle
your forehead...this is good, very
EXT. NEWS BUREAU - NIGHT
Aaron, tape in head, is saying his farewell to Tom. He is facing
his left side as he will do for the rest of his life on earth.
You were smokin' toward the end there.
The pointers were great. I'll study
Tom is into helping Aaron he finds himself delivering a locker
room pep talk:
And remember -- you're not just reading
the news or narrating. Everybody has to
sell a little. You're selling them this
idea of you. You know, what you're sort
of saying is, 'trust me. I'm, uh,
credible.' So whenever you catch yourself
just reading...stop and start selling a
little. So long.
He moves off -- Aaron watching him go, feeling decidedly
uncomfortable by this last piece of advice and vaguely corrupted.
INT. JANE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
Jane FLIES INTO FRAME, carrying her dress, two large shoulder
pads clipped to her bra-straps. She is obviously running a little
late. Now she slips on the dress -- her pace so quickened that
it momentarily dulls the effect of seeing her in a pretty formal
gown; the kind good girls wear on special nights. The DOORBELL
RINGS... She opens the door while trying to put on her necklace...
Aaron enters carrying four bulging garment bags and a fistful
I spilled some rum on the outfit you
picked out. Let me show you the
She eyes the amount of clothing, goes to the phone and dials.
Tom...why don't I meet you there?
I've got some last minute stuff I've
got to take care of...Hey, how did
you resolve your dilemma -- did you
rent the tux or buy it...I knew it.
How much? Wow...Okay...See you
I didn't know you were going with him.
Did you bring your grey suit?
Yes...I was thinking that way too...
She holds them in her hand -- indicates with the necklace that
she wants him to help her... he fastens her necklace while looking
over her bare right shoulder as she riffles through his tie
(the clasp in place)
Thanks. Try this one.
She hands him the tie and he extracts his grey jacket from a bag --
puts it on and ties the tie... She reaches into a white paper bag
full of fresh purchases and takes out a vial of perfume with a
built-in atomizer and sprays the air in front of hr and walks into
the mist. ON Aaron's reaction:
I read about it -- that's how you can
make sure you don't put on too much
Could you at least pretend that this
is an awkward situation for you --
me showing up while you're getting
ready for a date.
It's not a date. It's co-workers going
to a professional conclave.
Jane, unnoticed, reaches into the paper bag, takes a small box
of condoms and drops it into her evening bag.
EXT. WASHINGTON STREET - NIGHT
Jane on a public phone, Aaron standing nearby within sight
of a taxi stand.
How long will it tale you to send
She hangs up... paces... Then looks at Aaron, relaxes.
You look terrific.
Aaron poses a question which he feels in his deepest core:
Because this is important -- so don't
just be polite. I'd really like to
look...what's the word I'm looking for?...
As good as humanly possible.
Well, the line of the jacket -- No
really....just very nice...just right.
I wish I could be there.
Me too...Hey...if it gets dull a little
before 11:00, drop by the studio.
I'm not sure I'll be able to...I...
If...if not, I'll have the tape...I'll
wait for you at my apartment.
Okay, great -- good luck.
Before she can deal with that, a cab arrives.
Thanks, Jane. Have a good time tonight.
Aaron takes her in -- she looks lovely.
I'd hug you, but why risk mussing
either of us?
She half-laughs... kisses him, wipes the slight lipstick mark
from his cheek and, in a sudden decision, takes each of her
shoulder pads from her jacket and puts them in his -- improving
his look while diminishing her own. She gets in the cab.
Jane, leaning all the way over the front seat, giving detailed
instructions to the DRIVER as the cab pulls away... As Aaron
turns and walks off.
INT. CAB - NIGHT
Jane, in her formal, sitting back -- anticipating her date.
EXT. WASHINGTON HOTEL - NIGHT
A hefty percentage of the Washington journalism industry's
men and women dressed formally for one of those evenings where
they can finally assert their own glamour. Jane ENTERS THE SCENE.
INT. WASHINGTON HOTEL - ATRIUM - NIGHT
As Jane enters, lost momentarily in the lobby -- greenhouse,
the majority of the throng passing through in formal clothes.
A bit of DIALOGUE OVERHEAD from TWO MEN in dinner jackets.
The L.A. times is a great outfit. Best
severance pay in the business.
Jane keeps looking for Tom -- passing another MAN, talking to
his SHARP-LOOKING DATE.
He was lecturing me and finally
I just said -- I'm sorry, I refuse
to look at it as a negative that
I'm young and my news appeals to
people my age.
And it's not like he just didn't
hire a twenty-six-year-old producer
No kidding, twenty-six.
Jane moves to the steps and starts up, greeting several
people nervously. More bits of DIALOGUE, leaking from
conversations of both substance and expedience.
ANONYMOUS OLDER MAN
Remember Brinkley's great line
-- "It's as irrevocable as a
Now, on the second level, she scans the crowd.
The floor below. Tom in the world's best-fitting tux... Clusters
of people from around him but he works his way easily through them
as he looks for Jane and grins his greetings, men are buoyed,
women's pulses throb.
As she silently mouths the words -- "smile and move and smile
and move." Which is exactly what he's doing. Then a contract
with the gods.
If he doesn't see me soon, we're not
supposed to be together.
Seeing her. -- He does a tap step -- a brief giddy burst, the
meaning of which is not lost on Jane. He is acting like her
Anxiety stripped away revealing a first glimpse of Jane as a
joyous pretty young woman.
Moving quickly up the stairs -- as she walks toward him.
It's incredible who's here.
She laughs. Almost completes an affectionate gesture -- takes
his arm instead.
INT. NEWSROOM - NIGHT
Aaron seated in the main newsroom in shirt-sleeves, writing. He
takes the just-completed page out of the typewriter and walks over
to the weekend news PRODUCER. (W.N.P.)
Want to look at this?
George Weln appears...
What are you doing here?
The weekend news...anchoring...
anchoring the weekend news.
Way to go.
Aaron nods, as the Producer finishes the copy.
This is terrific news, Aaron. It's
a pleasure to read.
Thanks. Oh, there's water on the set,
isn't there, in case I get an attack
of cotton mouth.
Sure. You'll be fine.
I'll be fine! Yes!! I know!!!
INT. BALLROOM - NIGHT
Bomb sniffing dogs, SECRET SERVICE MEN and D.C. POLICE monitoring
the members of Washington's most trustworthy elite as they pass
through the metal detector. The line moves slowly -- Jane and
Tom several couples back.
Can I have your autograph for my wife?
Tom and Jane turn to see a grinning Paul.
How you doing, Paul?
So this is why you wouldn't do the
Weekend New, you can't turn down
a free meal.
Yes, born to party.
Paul enjoys the riposte, looks at Jane who is shrinking within
I'll see you two inside -- I think
we're all at the same table.
(sotto to Jane)
You're finally learning to be flexible.
Glad you changed your mind about Tom.
He passes through the detector... Tom starts to step through it --
she pulls him back.
I'm sorry. I don't want to go in
there and sit with everybody.
I can't...why don't you go?
He considers this option as she waits.
Suppose I go in for a little while and
you wait in the lobby-bar. How's that?
Good. That's it...See you.
She walks off. He runs a few steps to stop her.
You're not going to take off on
me, are you?
She steps on the escalator... Riding upwards, concern deepens,
Watching her to up the escalator, he finds himself doing
simplest thing, stepping onto a moving step.
Jane four steps ahead of him -- not yet aware of him. He moves
past one other man until he is standing directly behind her.
I just want you to know that my
giving up the Correspondents' Dinner
puts tremendous pressure on you.
Jane turns and is a bit blown away by his gesture -- life
threatens to be good. And now Jane bumps a bit at the top of
the escalator, regaining her balance by grabbing Tom's offered
hand. As they walk they continue to deliberately hold hands.
INT. NEWS STUDIO - NIGHT
WE are on the studio floor, FOCUSING on the activity around
the Anchor Desk and three cameras... The FLOOR MANAGER stands
ready to cue Aaron, the script is ready to roll on the prompter
Making sure he is seated on his jacket -- taking one last look
at the hand mirror being held by the MAKEUP WOMAN. She starts
off -- but Aaron regrabs the mirror almost making her lose her
footing -- a check -- then another check -- he points to a spot
on his forehead which she dabs with the makeup sponge... Both of
them fuss enormously with his hair -- four busy hands.
He watches the Makeup Woman scurry underneath a camera lens,
resits on his jacket and finally has the moment the system has
been denying him for years. We can HEAR the END OF HIS CUE
in a barely AUDIBLE CRACKLE from the Floor Manager's earphones...
"...with Aaron Altman."
Good Evening...In mood and language
better suited to an espionage novel
than the delicate world of the Western
Alliance, the British Foreign Secretary
today pounced on what he termed, 'The
nest of profession spies and amateur
traitors who were turning NATO
Headquarters into an instrument whose
only true function is folly.' We begin
our coverage with Edward Towne in London.
Aaron looks up -- takes a breath. He's done well -- he's
punched his words and his one thought for the story. His gaze
has been steady, his voice firm but he has begun to perspire.
He dabs with his finger at the first trickles from his brow --
brushes some more prominent sweat from his upper lip... He
beckons nervously to the Makeup Woman -- who comes in and dabs --
then dabs again as Aaron feels himself under his arms...
She scurries away, Aaron reaching for another Kleenex from her
box and missing it... A graphic illustrating his next scripted
section appears behind him.
...the sub-bases referred to are
located in five countries...
And now the moisture on his face is clearly discernible -- the
Floor Manager and Makeup Woman grimacing at the growing specter
as they look at a large monitor.
France, Belgium, the Netherlands,
And now so much moisture sprouts from his upper lip that he
pushes his lower lip out to slurp away the sweat... The Makeup
Woman laughs briefly out loud before catching herself...
Aaron's eyes dart angrily in her direction.
We well as Great Britain...Our own
State Department was rocked not only
by the revelation but from the highly
unusual persistence from the State
Press Corps. Martin Klein reports on
the ruckus at Foggy Bottom.
Half-beat until he's sure that he's off -- his shirt now
showing distinct sweat stains...
The Makeup Woman picks up her Kleenex box -- then thinks
better of it...
Someone finds me some big towels.
He blots his face -- some makeup streaked -- by the towel.
ON MAKEUP WOMAN
As she scurries away, this time entering the control room
trotting up one stair to look at the monitor... the Director
talking to his Camera Operators.
I'd go looser but we wouldn't
see the graphic.
(to other Technician)
No -- this is more than Nixon ever
The Makeup Woman now looks at the bank of monitors.
Can't you just die for him?
Aaron's makeup-streaked face.
EXT. WASHINGTON STREET - NIGHT
Tom and Jane walking drinks in hand, her arm around his waist.
They stop -- he rests a drink on a ledge and boosts her up
and then sits next to her.
REVEALING that they are sitting on an anti-terrorist concrete
abutment protecting a major government building on a beautiful
night in our capitol. He is still holding her hand -- and
now he notes this.
(loudly to himself)
Why can't I let go of this woman?
He interrupts her with the smallest of kisses -- so mall and
swift a kiss that she is left doing her return kisses to mid-
air. And then he does something he's thought about many times
before -- he briefly caresses her breasts -- while continuing
to look at her.
At least kiss me when you do
You just can't stop editing me.
This is hysterical.
She laughs a little -- then kisses him. They break --
surprised and aroused and look at each other...
I was half hoping I wouldn't
have a good time tonight. You
Because you're nuts.
Right, right -- Isn't she fun to
He leans forward and speaks softly and truly.
More and more lately when I've
watched you in action -- seen all
your energy -- I've been
wondering what it would be like
to be inside all that energy.
She takes a gulp of her drink -- puts a hand to feel the heat
on her own cheek. Then turns to him.
Right back at you.
I don't remember saying anything
like that -- exactly...I don't
know why I just did.
(immediately at work)
Oh let's see -- wait a minute, well,
I can think of two reasons.
Three...I just thought of a third...
If you talk about it, you don't have
to do it.
That's not it.
Good...Another is you're trying to
make it all about sex and heat and
She looks at him -- he's thinking.
Or it's that great feeling that you
don't want to hold anything back.
You know, intimacy.
She elbows him. Tom takes in the choices -- then:
Oh, shit. I'm a creep.
She moves off the concrete wall.
I forgot all about Aaron. I
promised to stop by and see
how he did.
I'd like to know. I'll go along.
No. I'll see you at your apartment
as soon as I can.
She starts to flurry with activity -- moves to the curb when
out of nowhere Tom barks a sharp command, the first time any
of his actions has been tinged with fury.
Thrown, she stops and turns. He walks to her.
Don't run off -- like everything's
settled the minute you make up your
He might be weird -- he can talk more
freely if I go alone -- why's that so
hard to understand?
It's not that it's hard. I just want you
to give me a minute to catch up.
(she hugs him)
Don't yell at me like that again,
you scared the life out of me.
EXT. AARON'S HOUSE - NIGHT
As Jane exits a cab and moves up the steps.
INT. AARON'S APARTMENT - HALLWAY - NIGHT
It is at the top of a flight of steps. She KNOCKS on the DOOR.
RINGS. KNOCKS. Aaron opens it. He is wearing a sweatshirt
I was in the shower.
INT. AARON'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
How'd it go?
You didn't see it or speak to
Then it went well.
Did it really go well?
Define your terms.
Do you feel good about it?
Do others feel that you did well?
Then what was good about it?
I lost six pounds...
Aaron, will you tell me?
It was great...writing my little
first rate copy, sitting on my
jacket, punching my one thought.
But I had this historic attack of
flop sweat so they'll never let
me another again. Oh, I lost one
of your shoulder pads -- how was
your evening anyway?
What do you mean, flop sweat? --
you're making too much out of
it...I'll bet you were the only
one aware of it...
People phoned in.
Stop kidding. I want to know
I'm not kidding.
There were complaining phone calls
because you were sweating?
No, nice ones worried that I was
having a heart attack.
If all that happened, how come you're
I don't know. At a certain point
it was so off the chart bad --
it got funny. My central nervous
system was telling me something.
Jane -- sweat running down my face --
makeup falling into my eyes -- people
turning this fusillade of blow dryers
on me -- all so I could read
introductions to other people who
were covering stories which is
what I like to do anyway. And I'm
chipper because you finally showed
up. I thought I'd cook for us.
Tequila and eggs sound good?
I have to be somewhere.
He looks at a clock reading 1:15 in the morning.
I told what's his name -- Tom --
that I'd meet him.
Call him -- I mean it can wait,
(now the plunge)
I don't know. I may be in love
(as if he just burned
She starts for the door.
This is important to me.
Yeah. Well...I think it is
important for you too. Sit down.
She sits. He walks to a desk and looks at her briefly... Silence.
(looking at her)
Let me think a second. It's
A remarkably long silence -- her mind wanders, she takes stock...
it is evident that he is straining to get it right, reaching
(glancing at note)
Let's take the part that has
nothing to do with me. Let's let
me be your most trusted friend,
the one that gets to say awful
things to you. You know?
(testy and wary
Yes, I guess. Yes.
You can't end up with Tom because
it goes totally against everything
Yeah -- being a basket case.
I know you care about him. I've
never seen you like this about
anyone, so please don't take it
wrong when I tell you that I believe
that Tom, while a very nice guy, is
This isn't friendship.
What do you think the Devil is going
to look like if he's around? Nobody
is going to be taken in if he has a
long, red, pointy tail. No. I'm
semi-serious here. He will look
attractive and he will be nice and
helpful and he will get a job where
he influences a great God-fearing
nation and he will never do an evil
thing...he will just bit by little bit
lower standards where they are important.
Just coax along flash over substance...
Just a tiny bit. And he will talk about
all of us really being salesmen.
(seeing he's not
And he'll get all the great women.
She is getting pissed.
I think you're the Devil.
No. You know that I'm not.
Because we have the kind of
relationship where if I were the
Devil, you'd be the only one I
She's briefly impressed. He has a point.
You were quick enough to get
Tom's help when...
Yes, yes. I know. Right. And
if it had gone well for me tonight,
maybe I'd be keeping quiet about all
this...I grant you everything but
give me this...he does personify
everything you've been fighting
against...And I'm in love with you.
How do you like that? -- I buried
He pauses to catch his breath -- breathing deeply through his
I've got to not say that aloud;
it takes too much out of me.
Sit down, stop.
Aaron slumps down -- it's been a long round.
I've never fought for anyone before.
Does anybody win one of these things?
INT. TOM'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
A CAR DOOR SLAMS in the street below -- he goes towards the
window which is blocked by his sofa -- puts his knees in and
A woman walking from a car.
Momentarily thinking it's Jane. Elated.
It is not Jane. The PHONE RINGS.
BACK TO SCENE
As he answers and we have the following conversation between
Jane, who is using the phone, with Aaron seen just a few feet
away. Tom in his apartment.
Hi. It's me.
Where are you?
I can't get away just yet. I'm
I'm not sure. It seems like he
had sort of a mishap on the news.
I know. I taped it.
It wasn't as bad as he think, was
it? -- it wasn't unprecedented or
Not if you count 'Singing in the
Rain.' Do him a favor and don't
treat it like a tragedy. You want
me to talk to him?
Her eyes meet Aaron's.
He says you could hardly notice it.
Aaron beckons for the phone. Jane hands it to him, as she does
Don't say anything about anything.
Hi. Will I ever sing again?
Everybody has one like that. I
thought it was great when you
started to laugh at the end.
Yeah -- well, I'm sorry I'm tying
up Jane, I didn't realize you two
would be going this late. Sorry.
No. Don't worry about it.
I'll put her on.
She takes the phone.
Hi, again. Sorry about...
No. That sounds more important.
Let's forget about tonight.
I don't know if that's absolutely
I've got my father coming through
tomorrow anyway. I should get
(hampered by Aaron's
I'll see you at the office. Good night.
Several beats of silence. Finally:
Okay. Good night.
Jane, I'm not some chore you have
to finish so you can stay on schedule.
Okay, great, Grunick -- Easy shots
now -- huh? Good night.
She puts the phone down. A beat -- she looks stricken. Aaron
looks at her.
He just cancelled. He had a
chance to think and he
She bows her head.
I can't breathe.
Over a guy?!?
But I can't -- I can't breathe.
She gulps a breath. Her hands on her knees, leaning over --
another deep breath. Aaron takes in the specter.
Well, Jane, it was nice of you
to drop by.
INT. JANE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
As she enters -- goes immediately to the phone.
Cradled in an answering machine -- indexes for sixteen
one-button calls, mostly people from work -- "Parents" etc.
Jane plays her answering tape. It is silent -- no messages...
She fast forwards to double-check. Just the SOUND of blank
tape. She pushes the button next to the "Tom Grunick." We
HEAR a busy signal.
She hangs up the phone. Then compulsively hits the "Tom"
button again. Busy. And again. Busy. She considers for
a moment hitting the button next to Aaron's name.
She presses the button next to Tom's name. Busy. And again.
EXT. ERNIE MERRIMAN'S HOUSE - MONDAY MORNING
As he picks up for newspapers dotting his lawn and opens the
door of his car -- just as his wife calls from the door.
Ernie, they're calling from work.
Tell me I'm on the way in.
Ernie, just a bit concerned, walks back to his house -- the
four newspapers thick enough to be an awkward carry.
INT. ERNIE'S HOUSE
A phone in the immaculate living room.
He holds the phone down at his side for a beat, composing
himself in the face of a sudden and horrible turn of events.
Would there be any point to my going
to New York and talking to them? Would
there be any point in going over it with
you? No, I'm still coming in.
He hangs up.
They fired me.
She takes his hand and kisses it -- then hugs him.
How horrible. We'll be fine. You'll
be fine. Stay here with me -- we'll
go for a drive, have some drinks, make
No. They're firing even more people
than they said. Some will want to
talk. It could help.
I could use somebody to talk to on
a day like this.
(on his reaction)
Sorry. Go ahead.
He kisses her sad face.
He walks towards the door -- picks up his newspapers on the
tray beneath the hall mirror and does a start.
In the mirror he SEES his wife making faces at him behind his
back. He EXITS his home without comment.
INT. EDITING ROOM - DAY
Jane is sitting in her editing cubby -- it is past noon. She
rises and stands in her doorway looking toward Tom's office --
the door is open, the room is empty. Blair ENTERS carrying
an armload of tapes. She looks extraordinary.
I've got four hours of French
Jane waves it off.
Some of it they use water cannons.
Jane takes the tape.
What are you dressed up for? Oh,
that's right -- because the Evening
News is here this week.
I spent a fortune on this.
Blair EXITS... Jane pops the tape in, automatically making
timing notes, then standing -- looking again towards Tom's
The door now closed.
She stops the tape -- summons herself. She walks towards Tom's
office and opens the door. Tom is seated behind his desk.
I kept trying to call you -- you
never called me. Were you just
diddling me? Is that it--? I'm
great if I'm helping your career.
But when I'm a woman for a second, I
get immediately fucked around by
She is obviously in pain but still alert enough to catch Tom's
INT. TOM'S OFFICE - DAY
Jane, this is my Dad.
And, now OPENING the door a bit more -- Tom's father is REVEALED
seated across from him.
Please forgive what I said.
As she retreats:
You just light up a room and leave,
She laughs nervously as she exits.
TOM AND HIS DAD
You want my opinion?
The thing that's easy to miss about
You want my opinion? And it's okay
if you don't.
Tom thinks a beat.
Yes, I would.
The way she just acted is not the
way an affectionate person acts.
Tom finds the comment off-the-wall enough to be thought
INT. NEWSROOM - DAY
Paul arriving with Bill Rorish. The first time we have seen
the multi-millionaire anchorman in the flesh. He has the grace
and dignity of a man who spends every waking moment working on
grace and dignity,
He and Paul are in the midst of an important conversation --
muted and ominous.
Just when do you start, telling people?
I'd like to take everyone out after
Bill...This is hard on all of us
and it's no time for compliments.
But I think it's extraordinary of
you to come down here for this.
If we're not here for each other
during the tough time, we're not a
Blair ENTERS scene. The smallest flicker of interest from Bill,
but more than enough to justify her going into hock for the
Welcome back to Washington.
A self-conscious look of greeting to Paul and she's gone.
I've forgotten. Was she on the list?
Paul nods "yes."
This is a brutal layoff...And all
because they couldn't program Wednesdays.
You can make it a little less brutal
by knocking a million dollars or so off
AS Bill turns:
Just a bad joke. I'm sorry. Awful.
It's a miserable day and that was
some kind of totally sick-joke
defense mechanism which does not
indicate any of my feelings -- not
one -- but just shows the kind of
stress this represents for all of us.
Tom and his Father ENTER the scene from Tom's office. Bill
walks to Tom.
Hi. It's about time.
Good to see you, Bill.
AS they shake:
A great handshake.
ON MR. GRUNICK'S FACE
touched, as he watches the networks' most prominent journalist
greet his son.
This is my father.
Good to meet you, sir.
Equally touched as he watches the world's most prominent
journalist greet his Dad, who turns goofy with excitement.
He puts a big hand on his son's cheek -- a farewell pat. Then
whispers in his ear.
I'm going to go back home and tell
all your old teachers.
Tom watches his father walk off and moves immediately to Jane's
INT. JANE'S EDITING ROOM - DAY
AS Tom enters...
I feel terrible about what happened.
What did he say?
He -- uh -- said he liked you because
you looked like you had -- fire and
No. Did he really?
Yes. Then he said a really weird
(he means this)
That it would be a treat to make
someone like you feel better...
He gets like that sometimes.
That's so perfectly...It really
makes me feel a little faint...
Blair enters wildly into the scene.
They canned me. Well, my brother
will feel great -- now he's not the
Bobbie sticks his head out of his office...
Tom -- Paul wants to see you.
AS Tom focuses and moves off:
INT. NEWSROOM AND HALLWAYS - DAY
Moving with Tom. Nervousness growing, confidence gone, he
proceeds down the hallway.
INT. ERNIE'S OUTER OFFICE - DAY
He'll just be a minute.
Tom sits down -- pats his tie in place... A beat and the door
opens. Paul leads out Martin Klein. They shake hands.
You know I'm just old enough to be
flattered by the term, 'early retirement.'
That's wonderful...what a lovely line.
If there's anything I can do.
I certainly hope you die soon.
A little smile to Tom and he's off.
Tom enters the room. A nervous cough in evidence as he
crosses to a seat.
We're having a severe cutback, Tom --
17 people in this bureau including
technical personnel and we're going
to reorganize at the same time.
We're going to take you out of Washington
for a while and assign you to London.
INT. NEWSROOM - LATE AFTERNOON
Aaron and Ernie are off to the side in the newsroom -- People
are packing their belongings -- as secretaries cry and embrace --
from an office rumbles a shouted denunciation:
No. I won't keep my voice down.
Those sons-of-bitches...They are
worse than accountants -- they
are bad accountants.
Tom enters scene.
Have you guys seen Jane?
She's in there becoming the first
woman bureau chief we've had here.
Tom takes this in.
What did they do with you?
They booted me out of Washington.
Impossible. There's no system that
wouldn't value one of us.
Why? What did they do to you?
(pointing at Aaron)
It's what he did. I'm proud of
They told me they'd keep me because
they could plug me into any story
and my salary was in line.
The cost-efficient reporter.
So I quit.
A weeping woman bursts into their circle and sweeps Ernie away.
Tom and Aaron stand there -- comrades at last -- victims of
the same sword.
You packing up tonight?
Yes. And I'm sorry that they're
sending you down for a while, but
you'll make it back...Where they
London. That's a promotion!
I don't think so.
It is. Yes -- that's where they
had Rorish, for God's sake, before
they made him anchor. I can't stand
it -- they're grooming you for it
all and you don't even know it.
Hold it down, okay?
Can I ask you something? You only
had one crew on the date rape piece,
He extends his hand.
Yes. You're not going to stick
around for the farewell party?
No. I don't know how much fun it
will be when Martin Klein and Ernie
have to drop off their credentials
with the security guard.
Aaron looks at people packing their belongings in boxes -- a
few pockets of conversation... Ernie reading some copy.
This story they won't cover. And if
the network doesn't cover it -- it
must not be important so why worry.
I'm going to miss you -- you're a
prick in a great way...
Aaron taken by surprise -- laughs.
You know what I...
No, I liked the way it made me sound.
Okay. Be good. So long.
INT. TOM'S OFFICE - DAY
AS he picks up a clean wastebasket and deposits his belongings.
A scheduled book, clean shirt, two ties, cuff-links, a travel
mirror, cassettes of his Washington reporting. His desk clear --
he writes on a clean piece of copy paper. He centers it on his
INSERT - PAPER
"Good luck, you'll love the bureau chief... Previous Occupants."
INT. NEWSROOM - DAY
AS Tom enters from his office, a wake is slowly igniting. Tom
moves along the edge of the room, carrying his wastebasket full
of belongings, not really a part of the mournful festivities.
Jane across the room hugging one person after another.
AS she embraces an older secretary.
You know what I always wanted to
tell you -- that...
Shhh. This isn't the last time
we'll see each other. It's not.
A two-armed tight embrace of Martin Klein.
We'll get them back -- it's going
Blair is at hand as they embrace.
Except for socially, you're my role
And now she sees Tom -- he mouths one word at her -- "London."
She nods that she already knows and then lets her body sag a
little. He gestures her towards her editing room, so they can
INT. EDITING ROOM - DAY
AS Tom enters and waits for Jane. When she enters he closes
These people -- it's all so awful.
It just hurts physically, doesn't
it? Like something's wrong with
your bones, like your organs are
shifting inside your body.
She looks at him expectantly. It's not what he's feeling.
Maybe I haven't been here long
But, hey, congratulations on the
How can you say that to me?
I can't stand here feeing bad that
I don't feel worse. This has happened
at every station I ever worked for.
Look, I think it's crazy for you to
come in here tomorrow and start a
new job. I have a week to get to
my job. Let's get the hell away to some
island fast and find out how we are
together away from this.
A beat -- Jane takes it in.
Well, I just think that' an extraordinary
That's more than 'yes' -- that's
INT. AARON'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
The phone rings. He answers.
INT. JANE'S OFFICE - NIGHT
Jane -- still at the office -- it is quite late.
Bastard, sneak, quitter.
I just found out. You didn't say
anything to me? You just resign?
Will you meet me now? -- No, now!
I'm going away tomorrow. Please.
INT. SIDEWALK - RESTAURANT - NIGHT
Across the street from the bureau's building. Aaron and Jane
are having a beer. They are in mid-conversation.
Why not try it for a few weeks?
Stop. Ernie thought I was good too --
he couldn't help. My agent has a
hot prospect -- the number two station
in Portland. The general manager says
he wants to be every bit as good as the
networks. Personally, I think he should
Tell me the God's honest truth --
are you leaving because of me?
Because if you are...
Ernie told this story. How he used
to write obits and when the people
in town called him up with death
notices, he cried. He was till
that way when they promoted him
out of obits. He says you're lucky
if you can get out while you could
I should have quit this place three
You're just trying to say all great
stuff so I'll feel even worse that
you're not around.
I just want to sit here longer, I mean
the feeling is powerful -- why's that?
Maybe the best part of your life is over
and you don't want to get up and start
the bad part.
Jane looks at him levelly.
You are now required to sit here with
(a beat; then)
Come on...be smart for a second --
what do you think will happen to us?
Okay, that's very easy. Five, six
years from now I'll be in town to
collect an award representing the surge
in foreign coverage by local stations.
(smile, it's like
I'll be walking with my wife and two
children -- we'll bump into you on
the street, my youngest son will say
something and I'll tell him...
...it's not nice to make fun of single,
You won't be able to stay mad at me,
I hope so...
(on her look he relents)
No. I'm not really mad.
(nodding head as if
reciting a catechism)
I'll miss you, we'll talk, we'll always
be friends...we'll get hot for each other
every few years at dinner and never act
on it, okay?
Jane smiles -- Aaron has grown suddenly angry. He rises,
walks away, then turns.
Jane, you know how Tom had tears in
the piece the other night? Ask
yourself how we were able to see
them when he only had one camera
and that was pointing at the girl
during the interview.
(on her reaction)
I'm fairly sure I was right to tell
EXT. OFFICE - NIGHT
We LOOK THROUGH THE WINDOW as Jane enters -- in a frenzy --
searching the stacks.
INT. TAPE LIBRARY - NIGHT
As she locates the cassette labelled "DATE-RAPE - 9/26 -
EVENING NEWS - OUTTAKES."
INT. TAPE CUBBY - NIGHT
As she inserts the tape into the player.
ANGLE ON JANE... AND MONITOR
As she watches... this is what she sees...
...but the whole thing messed me
up more than it should.
She cries. We HEAR Tom.
Okay, that will do it. You okay?
The tape is rocky now -- the Sound Woman and Cameraman
continue to roll as they move towards their next shot --
at times the camera pointing towards the carpet -- but
the sound continues. The crew chatting -- mentioning
that the tape is still rolling.
That's enough. That's enough.
Are you okay?
Yes, I'm sorry.
Don't be silly. What are you sorry
The way you were looking at me, I just went.
Tom moves through the SHOT.
I just need you for another minute now,
so we can shoot from behind towards me,
...that way we have someplace to go when
we cut. And I just sit here, I nod my
head and look nerdy.
Young Woman chuckles.
It kills me we didn't have a second camera.
It was so powerful seeing your reaction.
YOUNG WOMAN'S VOICE
Yes, it is.
SOUND WOMAN'S VOICE
For a second there, I thought you were
gonna cry yourself. That would have
Then give me a minute...
As Jane watches we SEE Tom work up the tears we saw in the
Evening News piece -- as he does so:
YOUNG WOMAN'S VOICE
Oh, that's amazing.
ON Jane's shocked reaction:
EXT. BWI AIRPORT - DAY
Jane's cab pulls up to the curb. She gets out -- she is
carrying no luggage. She sees Tom who hurriedly walks up
to her. Jane is fighting to maintain a calm.
Look who's the organized one.
I've got everything.
He briefly opens a paper gift shop bag he is holding and shows
her he has bought them each a bathing suit.
I'm not going.
He looks at her with anticipatory distaste evident on his face.
I saw the taped outtakes of the
interview with the girl. I know
you 'acted' your reaction after
Tom half turns from her and moves back toward the bench. Jane close
behind, stalking him.
I felt funny about it afterwards. It's
verboten, huh? I thought since I did
it for real the first time -- but I get
you. That's not the reason you're not
(raising her voice)
Of course it's the reason. It's
terrible what you did.
We disagree on how God-awful it
was. Why don't you come with me
and we can disagree and get a tan
at the same time?
Jesus, if you're glib about this
I'm going to lose it. I was up
all night and...
Jane, Jane, Jane, Jane, Jane...
It made me ill. You could get
fired for things like that.
I got promoted for things like that.
Working up tears for a new piece
cutaway...You totally crossed the
It's hard not to cross it; they keep
moving the little sucker, don't they?
It just proves that the difference we
This is a one-way argument. We've got
six days; if you go and we fight and
we hate it -- we'll come home. If you
don't go? Well, that's a much bigger
deal. I go to London right after that.
So, it'd be very big deal if you stay
here. The plane's boarding. You're
good at deadline. Here's your ticket.
It's amazing. You commit this
incredible breach of ethics and
you act as if I'm nitpicking. Try
and get this. When you edited that...
I'm leaving now. Gate 43.
He simply turns and walks away -- looking back once as Jane
stands there mucked up by his sudden departure -- the lack
of resolution to their confrontation is palpable.
INT. TERMINAL - DAY
On Tom moving past the metal detector. He too is frustrated
-- pissed off at her.
INT. OTHER TERMINAL AREA
Jane moving quickly along towards the metal detectors.
INT. METAL DETECTOR
As Jane passes through and sets off the buzzer. She stands
there -- the heel of her hand pressed to her brow trying to
stem the tears. As others look on, she takes a huge key ring
from her pocket -- deposits it in the box -- walks through
without a buzzer and moves on.
INT. BOARDING RAMP - DAY
Tom waiting while in the b.g. "People Eater" busses ferry
passengers to the plane.
As one full "People Eater" pulls away and another empty one arrives.
This is the last one.
Others start to board. He sees Jane moving towards him.
He walks to her, she gestures back towards the street.
That's not going to be the way
we say good-bye. Even though I
think what you did was rotten --
it's not all impersonal. You mean
something to me.
You keep coming after me and
looking down on me. It's starting
to make me batty.
She looks at him.
I can't help it that they like me.
And I like that they like me. And
I think there's a lot of this job that
I do well. What do you think it takes
to do this job -- the way they have
I don't wan to discuss work.
Well, let's do a special report on
that...I mean that's news.
I knew what you meant.
What I don't know, I can learn and
what I know, nobody can teach.
Excuse me for saying it about myself,
but I think it's true.
What do you think?
Never mind what you think.
They look at each other.
You're lucky I came after you so
you got that off your...
Yes, I am. Thanks. I mean it.
The pressure begins to bend Jane's resolve.
So you have an extra bathing suit, huh?
(wary but hopeful)
You want to come?
It's just that one of the few things
I'm not confused about is what I
was saying downstairs, that...
(giving up -- sadly,
Then you should stay here.
It's better when you let me say it.
He hugs her. Now that it's over, they can each openly care
for each other. While in the embrace:
Take it easy.
Why did I have to do this to
myself? Watch you take off.
Call me if you need anything.
He kisses her lightly -- looking at her... Then heartfelt:
He walks to the People Eater and gets on, still holding his
paper bags of bathing suits. The bus pulls away.
Watching him go.
Tom standing at the front window of the bus -- framed very
much as he is when on television.
INT. AIRPORT TAXICAB - DAY
Jane gets quickly into cab.
(after collecting herself)
Dupont Circle, please.
The cab pulls away.
Don't take the beltway, because at this
time of day there's gonna be a lot...
(stops herself, then)
...Go any way you want.
She sits back in the seat (containing herself) before finally and
quietly adding what she knows to be true:
But New York Avenue's faster.
EXT. CONVENTION CENTER - DAY
Much the same place where Jane and Tom first met. The
words "SEVEN YEAS LATER" appears on the screen.
A sign off to one side tells us it's the annual meeting of the
Local Television Broadcasters... and that at 2 P.M. Tom Grunick
will be speaking on "Responsibilities of Broadcast Journalism
for the '90s."
INT. AUDITORIUM - DAY
Much the same audience, though two members of the audience
may strike particular interest -- curly haired man seen
from behind holding a similarly curly haired five-year-old.
Tom is in mid-speech.
... when they told me Bill had decided
to retire and offered me the Evening
News, I thought it was the same kind
of joke we used to pull back at the
station -- turning off somebody's
prompter in the middle of a show.
Some good-natured laughter.
And then when they heard my reaction --
they thought I was kidding. I told them
I'd be their anchor but I didn't want
to be the Managing Editor -- that there
were people better qualified than I to
control the content and if there
weren't we were all in trouble.
The audience really enjoys this:
SAME SCENE -- SOME MINUTES LATER
The anchor teams -- leaning forward. They love this man,
a humble specialist refusing the generalist trap. Imagine
the feeling -- you see, on the top of the mountain, a man
not unlike yourself.
And now to something more
important... I'd like to introduce
(gestures to a woman in
the front row)
A svelte, classic, warm beauty gets to her feet.
ON CURLY HAIRED MAN AND BOY...
Aaron and his son as Aaron cranes for a look at Mrs. Grunick.
INT. AUDITORIUM - STAGE AREA - MOMENTS LATER
Tom and Lila shaking hand. Aaron, his son in his arms, wait.
As he sees Aaron... he is clearly delighted.
Holy shit, Aaron.
He claps him on the back... Aaron is as pleased as he is
uncomfortable with the attention.
Lila -- this is Aaron Altman.
(high British accent)
Oh, yes -- you're one of Tom's
50 or so role models.
Well, this kid couldn't possibly
belong to anyone else. What's
Do you know who this is, Cliff?
The big joke?
Tom looks at him -- Aaron gives his son a disciplinary nudge.
I'm just bringing him over to give
Jane a look at him --
I thought she'd be here. I'll
go with you.
I'll see you back at the hotel.
He starts off. She pulls him back for an urgent communication.
Tom, the speech was magnificent.
Oh, I didn't say anything about
I appreciate it.
INT. WALKWAY - DAY
Tom, Aaron and the boy walking along. Tom plays with Cliff
as they move. The boy is delighted. Jane is in a park -- a
blanket spread out -- she is wearing shorts and a top -- she
has some wine and a small picnic -- a toy for Clifford.
She HEARS her name being called.
Shielding her eyes from the sun -- now making out Tom. As
they reach her.
Well, why not?
(as they arrive)
Hey, what is this? My life's
rushing in front of my eyes.
I thought for ol' Cliff here --
Look at you? You're more adorable
than your pictures. Look what I
got for you.
She hands him a toy.
What do you say, Cliff?
The boy kisses Jane's hand.
He excels at gratitude.
Are you any closer to a decision?
I think so...They've been talking
to me about being Tom's Managing
I'm going to take it.
What a great surprise. I didn't
think we had a chance. I heard
you wanted to stay in Washington.
Well, there's a guy, but he says he'll
fly up a lot.
Well, we should talk. You going to
have time for dinner? I'd like
you to meet Lila.
I'm sorry because I was looking
forward to that, but I' m going
back in a few hours.
Okay...It's so good to see you.
She gives him a quick kiss. He shakes hands with Aaron.
It's nice to see you.
Congratulations on history's longest
If you ever get restless in Portland,
let me know.
Tom shuffles uncomfortably.
Smiling, appreciating Aaron's attitude toward a blandishment of the
(to Jane as he leaves)
Tom walks away. He's a good twenty yards away when Aaron looks up
to see his son running after Tom.
Hey! Cliff! Cliff!
Tom now notices the boy, leans down and pats him.
Go back to your daddy.
The boy starts back.
Come on, Cliff. Come on.
As Clifford runs back to his father, Aaron sits next to Jane.
So who's the guy?
Well, we met about three months ago.
He works at the surgeon general office.
He loves boating. So, he's been
getting me into water skiing.
Aaron laughs at the very notion of Jane finding water sports a lure.
Jane deliberately moves past this moment.
I like it! So, doll, what about you
Well -- my wife got this new job...
He continues to talk. As the two former colleagues catch up,
their ease returns, if not their intimacy, as the frame locks and
the scene slowly recedes into a black b.g. and we...