"The Just John Goodman Staring At You Show" was too intense for some viewers.


"The Just John Goodman Staring At You Show" was too intense for some viewers.

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

EXT. SECLUDED COUNTRY ROAD

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD is driving when her RECENTLY ABANDONED FIANCE calls her up.

BRADLEY COOPER

(on phone)

Baby, please come back, I didn’t - wait, the voice of Bradley Cooper? That’s random. And hey, I thought you’d learnt your lesson about unnecessary opening scenes which fuck up a movie’s unity of setting.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

Huh? ...Oh, you mean because of the prequel to The Thing! Man, even I barely remember that one. What put you in mind of that monster movie where I hid from a vaguely-defined terror in an isolated location with people who I didn’t know if I could trust and wow, now that you mention it-

A PICKUP TRUCK rams her RIGHT THROUGH THE OPENING TITLES.

INT. SERIAL KILLER BASEMENT

MARY wakes up in a creepy utilitarian room with her LEG chained to the WALL.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

OH FUCK. What kind of crazy am I dealing with here, Jigsaw crazy or Annie Wilkes crazy?

JOHN GOODMAN

(entering)

Hi there. I’m here to take care of you and not go the least bit murdery on you, scout’s honor.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

Annie Wilkes it is then. AAGH NO PLEASE DON’T HURT ME!!

JOHN GOODMAN

Goodness, you’re terrified. Now would be the ideal time to explain exactly what’s going on and why I brought you here.

(pause)

Welp, seeya!

(leaves)

Some more MOVIE happens with MARY MacGyvering herself a weapon and failing to stab JOHN, then we get around to the EXPLAINING part that could easily have already HAPPENED.

JOHN GOODMAN

We can’t leave this creepy survivalist bunker because there’s been some kind of attack on the surface. I’m a bit vague on the details but it could be nuclear or gas or germs or even Martians!

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

Is there any possibility it was actually some kind of animal attack? Say, oh, I don’t know, a giant spindly double-jointed albino thing covered in xenomorph-fleas?

JOHN GOODMAN

Hmmmnnno. No, there’s absolutely no indication of anything like that.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

Are you sure? There’s a certain movie title that’s making a lot of coquettish little smiles in that direction. Come on, level with me, if I go outside I’m gonna be assaulted with shaky-cam til I puke, right?

JOHN GOODMAN

Eh, maybe. Or maybe J.J.Abrams thinks that the two films sharing a cheesy “I dunno, what do YOU think this movie is about?” advertising strategy is enough to justify the title. Or maybe he’s just trolling us, the way he did with the entire second Star Trek movie. Look the point is I believe the air outside is poison so I brought you down here to save you.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

Okay. And you chained me to the wall because why?

JOHN GOODMAN

(shrugs)

Creep’s gotta creep.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

All right, I think I see what we’re going for here. There might have been an attack, OR you might be imagining things because you’re nuts, OR you might be lying as an excuse to keep me prisoner. The ambiguity of whether there’s an actual threat outside serves as this movie’s main-

JOHN GALLAGHER, JR.

Hi there! I’m here too, I knew about John’s bunker and FOUGHT my way inside because I personally witnessed the attack and BY GUM WAS IT SUPER REAL OR WHAT.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

...Wait, seriously? We’re just gonna lay it all out like that, this early?

(thinks)

Okay, maybe you’re a question mark as well! You could be either in cahoots with John, or you know he’s a nutbag but you’re playing along in the hope that I’ll eventually sleep with you, or something like that.

JOHN GALLAGHER, JR.

(dopey innocence)

Nope! Basically, picture a basset hound puppy that’s accidentally fallen into a laundry hamper and is struggling to untangle itself from a bedsheet. I’m about two degrees less sinister than that.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

Fine then, you saw SOMETHING, but I’m sure it’s open to interpretation, right? Maybe it was a weather balloon or like a really big bird or whatever!

JOHN GALLAGHER, JR.

I guess it could have been one of those birds that look like the horizon being swallowed by a gigantic flash of eerie red fire.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

That’s... pretty conclusive.

(frowns)

And also not particularly kaiju-esque. Oh, I know, it could have been that “Hammerfall” thing the military did at the end of Cloverfield! ...In New York City in 2008, whereas this is the Midwest sometime after the release of the iPhone 5.

JOHN GALLAGHER, JR.

Gotta say, our narrative ambiguity and franchise relevance are both seeming pretty dicey right about now.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

WAIT! A large-scale attack might be confirmed, sure, but the whole “toxic air” thing is still just John’s say-so! So there’s still one TINY ELEMENT of our imprisonment that might be bullshit.

JOHN GOODMAN

Oh you think the air’s not poison? Well what killed my pigs then?

(takes her to front window)

See? The fact that I have mutilated livestock rotting in my front yard PROVES I’m not a psycho!

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

Uh huh, fascinating, say while we’re up here do you think you could give me another slow, deliberate demonstration of what keys open what locks here at the front airlock?

JOHN GOODMAN

No! In fact I’m gonna put my big keyring back where it belongs, jutting tantalizingly off my hip like I’m a jailer from a 1920s silent comedy or something.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

(strokes chin thoughtfully)

Hmmm, I need to get those keys, because if I want to escape it’s got to be now, while the evidence is stacked heavily on the side of “if I leave here I die horribly”. Is there any way I can get John to come physically close to me, whilst getting him so distracted that he fails to notice me yanking a large weight off his belt?

JOHN GOODMAN

BLAARGH MY HAIR-TRIGGER TEMPER SURE DOES MAKE ME LIABLE TO GRAB SOMEBODY INTO A CHOKE HOLD AND FOCUS ON NOTHING BUT MY DESIRE TO CRUSH THEM LIKE AN INSECT!!!

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

...Um... any other suggestions?

(silence)

Ugh, FINE. Let’s go with Operation Strangulation.

(bats her eyes at John Junior)

Say, other John, mind if I flirt with you until it whips John into a volcanic murder frenzy?

JOHN GALLAGHER, JR.

Leave me out of your suicide plans, lady!

JOHN goes APESHIT and pins MARY to the wall, during which she manages to swipe his KEYS.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

(gurgling)

Awesome, got the keys! Hey wait a minute, if I was going to steal a large metal object off his hip, maybe it would have been smarter to go for the OTHER hip where he continually keeps his loaded pistol. Oh well, live and learn!

She smashes a BOTTLE over JOHN’S HEAD and makes a run for the SURFACE! But when she gets to the FRONT DOOR she finds there’s some WOMAN knocking on the WINDOW.

WOMAN

Hi there, neighbor! I was wondering if you could see your way to lending me a cup of HEEEELLLLP, LET ME IN FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

Er, what’s with the bloody lesions all over your face?

WOMAN

That, uh, they were like that when I got here! Hahaha seriously I’m fine, this is just what I look like, “old Mrs. Lesionface” they call me, OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR GRAARGH.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

(stares)

WOMAN

What?

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

(stares)

WOMAN

You’re waiting to see if my head explodes like Lizzy Caplan’s, aren’t you.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

(stares)

(sighs)

No, I guess not.

Defeated, MARY heads back inside.

JOHN GOODMAN

Now if you’ve had your fun, you can stitch up my bleeding head. Oh, and look at this: a canister of liquid carbon dioxide! This is a thing that we have.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

...Okay?

JOHN GOODMAN

Did you know that this substance can be used to freeze and shatter metal?

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

Couldn’t figure out a seamless way to introduce the stuff, I take it.

JOHN GOODMAN

What do you want from us, it’s insta-freeze gas. Not exactly a thousand household applications for that shit.

INT. THAT SAME PLACE, BUT I THOUGHT I’D THROW IN ANOTHER SCENE HEADING TO BREAK THINGS UP A LITTLE

MARY, JOHN, and JOHN JUNIOR spend the next week or so WATCHING MOVIES, doing JIGSAW PUZZLES, and somewhat pointedly NOT PLAYING FUCKING MONOPOLY.

JOHN GOODMAN

Oh, and just to take a little bit of potential ewww out of this whole setup, allow me to make it clear that my predatory interest in Mary is as a SURROGATE DAUGHTER, repeat, DAUGHTER. My wife and actual daughter ran out on me because of my doomsday craziness and my plans of shutting us up in a creepy bunker for the rest of our lives.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

Maybe they would have been fine with it if the room you built for your daughter wasn’t a fucking cell.

JOHN GOODMAN

Aw, how was I to know that it’s not “cool” anymore for your bedroom door to be an impenetrable steel slab that doesn’t open from the inside? Kids these days!

Suddenly there is a WEIRD RUMBLING OVERHEAD.

JOHN GOODMAN

That must be the Russians or North Koreans or space aliens or whatever, searching for survivors!

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

Well if you’re right, at least that means that if I go out there myself in a couple of days they’ll be long gone, right? Because by then it’d be utterly stupid of them to still be searching this random rural backwater that’s mostly crops and dirt.

JOHN GOODMAN

Whatever it was, all that seismic crap fucked up our air filtration system. To go fix it somebody will have to crawl through the ducts. The tiny, cramped ducts.

(looks down at huge giant fat hulking behemoth body)

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

(looks down at slender childlike physique)

Well crap. Should’ve known my McClane genes would get me into this kind of jam someday.

She climbs through the VENTILATION SYSTEM, consisting of rationally-sized 250mm x 400mm ductwork such as you would actually fucking instal in an actual fucking residence, thank you very much for once Hollywood, and restarts the AIR FILTER.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

But what’s this? There’s another exit here. And somebody’s scratched “HELP” into the window, from the inside! And here’s an earring, exactly like the one identifiable object John’s daughter was wearing in a photo he showed me! And there’s blood on both the scratched message AND the earring!

(looks around)

But no note saying “To Whom It May Concern: John murdered me. Signed, Dead Girl”. So I suppose that’s ONE small way in which this clue could have been more hamfistedly convenient.

MARY shows this MURDER CLUE to JUNIOR.

JOHN GALLAGHER, JR.

Wait a minute, that photo with the earring isn’t a photo of John’s daughter. That’s of some local girl who disappeared! This means you aren’t John’s first abductee!

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

Holy shit! And to think we would have never known this if he’d just shown me an actual photo of his daughter, instead of playing pretend with a snapshot of his murder victim for no reason.

(frowns)

Okay, we clearly need to get the fuck out of here. I’ll use my clothes-designing skills to create a hazmat suit so one of us can leave this place without breathing in a bunch of poison.

JOHN GALLAGHER, JR.

Uh huh, and if the unknown threat turns out to actually be radiation?

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

What, just because you saw a giant weird explosion, and then the only survivor we’ve seen was covered in lesions, you think the attack might possibly have been nuclear? Get real!

JOHN GALLAGHER, JR.

Right, silly me. So here’s the plan. First, we trick John into throwing out his shower curtain. Then we secretly retrieve it. Then we steal some scissors and duct tape and hope he doesn’t notice them missing. Then we create the suit very very cautiously with him like one room away at all times. Then we steal his gun and tie him up and neutralize him as a threat. Then one of us goes out-

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

Woah, hang on. Maybe we should make that “incapacitate John” thing into step one, then just do all that other stuff openly without having to sneak around and hope John doesn’t find out and shoot us in the face?

JOHN GALLAGHER, JR.

No way! The possibility that the fat guy from Roseanne might flip out and murder everybody is the only thing providing this movie with any tension.

MARY and JUNIOR work on the SUIT, but then JOHN figures out that they’re UP TO SOMETHING.

JOHN GOODMAN

I found the stolen scissors and duct tape, but not the half-finished suit which you kept in a separate hiding place because the plot requires you to! Tell me what you were planning or I’ll throw you into the acid!

JOHN GALLAGHER, JR.

Why the fuck do you have a giant barrel of flesh-dissolving acid?!

JOHN GOODMAN

A shark tank turned out to be prohibitively expensive. Now talk!

JOHN GALLAGHER, JR.

Fine! You know how I’ve acted a bit paranoid about contamination from the surface? And how my room is the only one without a door? Well I was planning to fashion my bedsheets into a makeshift barrier so I could seal myself off in an emergency.

(pause)

See, that’s one of several simple, plausible lies I could have come up with to defuse this situation. But instead what I actually say is: I WAS GOING TO CRAFT A WEAPON THEN ATTACK YOU AND STEAL YOUR GUN, THEN I WOULD BE THE PSYCHOTIC KING OF THE BUNKER! I AM SO VIOLENT AND UNTRUSTWORTHY!

JOHN GOODMAN

Well if you were trying to see how disastrously ill-considered a story you could make up off the top of your head, congratulations!

He SHOOTS JUNIOR DEAD.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

Well on the upside, now this abridged script doesn’t have to keep screwing around with a cast that’s two-thirds Johns.

INT. I’VE BEEN TOLD THAT THE READERS DON’T LIKE IT WHEN THERE’S NO SCENE HEADINGS, YOU SEE

Soon afterwards, JOHN discovers MARY’S HALF-MADE SUIT! He goes BERSERK and tries to KILL HER, but she dumps the ACID all over him. The acid CATCHES FIRE somehow and MARY tapes on the SUIT and escapes into the VENTS.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

But shit, John’s turned into Fat Two-Face and is stabbing at me right through the ductwork! Just stabbing through the metal, with a fucking knife! So I guess instead of being made of 1.2mm-thick SAE 304 stainless steel like you’d think, these ducts are constructed of pie-plate tinfoil, DAMNIT MOVIE YOU WERE DOING SO WELL.

JOHN GOODMAN

But how else was I supposed to menace you right now? Shoot at you with the gun I’ve been carrying around the entire movie? ...Come to think of it, that’s not a bad idea, can we start over so I can-

(burned and exploded to death)

MARY gets to the HATCH in the AIR FILTER ROOM, FREEZES THE LOCK OFF using that CLUMSILY-FORESHADOWED CARBON DIOXIDE, then escapes outside to find that the air isn’t toxic after all, but the farm is currently being menaced by-

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

Space armadillos? FUCKING SPACE ARMADILLOS?! I know we strung this mystery out to the point where almost no revelation could have lived up to the hype, but GODDAMN. We could have at least tried.

(sighs)

So that’s it, then. No fucking connection with Cloverfield at all. This movie might as well have been called 27 Inception Drive, or 43 Saving Private Ryan Avenue, or 319 The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford Boulevard.

SPACE ARMADILLO

But don’t you see, it’s a spiritual successor! The movies are clearly related by being the only two movies EVER to use the utterly unique theme of people trying to survive a threatening situation!

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

Look, I’m just saying, if we were going to have the threat turn out to be silly-looking monsters anyway, why NOT go with Clover?

SPACE ARMADILLO

Because then this climax would have consisted of “Holy shit it turns out the attack was-” *SQUISH*

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

Fair point. Anyway, DIE, CGI-BEAST!

MARY fights off the ALIEN and it’s actually a pretty scary scene, at least during the brief moments where the audience can stop thinking about the fact that it’s a SPACE ARMADILLO attacking a girl who is dressed in a SHOWER CURTAIN with a RUBBER DUCKY on it. Then she gets slowly lifted up by a SPACESHIP, or an ALIEN that LOOKS like a SPACESHIP, or a SPACESHIP ALIEN, or whatever, it’s a big floating thing with tentacles and we can barely see it.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

Well, shit. I guess I can pin my last desperate hope on the Randy Quaid gambit?

She lights a MOLOTOV COCKTAIL and throws it into the SHIPLIEN’S MAW.

ALIEN-SHIP THING

And what was that supposed to accomplish? Seriously, what kind of animal or vehicle would I be if putting a small fire in my mouth caused me to-

It COMPLETELY EXPLODES for WHATEVER REASON! Then MARY gets into a CAR and GETS THE HELL OUT OF DODGE!

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

Okay then, both the insidious well-developed threat and the preposterous climactic threat have been dealt with, so now I just need to close with some heavy-handed character stuff to make this seem more like a proper narrative.

RADIO

Attention citizens! We are winning the war against the aliens, which makes it extra weird that some of them are still out scanning random wheat fields for people to kill. If you happen to be at a literal crossroads, you can either go to the completely-secured Safetown, or if you have combat or medical experience we need your help in Alienwarville.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

Combat or medical experience? Well having given stitches one time and pushed a barrel over at an old man, I feel completely qualified to go into a war zone and offer assistance to the actual army!

Having completed her character arc and become suicidally reckless brave, MARY takes a HARD LEFT onto GODZILLA STREET and goes off to presumably get killed within the hour.

END.

ABSOLUTELY NO CHARACTERS OR NARRATIVE ELEMENTS WILL RETURN, IN THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: SOMETHING SOMETHING CLOVERFIELD!

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