Wait, there's STILL MORE space dust on that whiteboard! 'How Humans Should Not Fail to Cook Forty Aliens'?!? NOOOOOO


Wait, there's STILL MORE space dust on that whiteboard! 'How Humans Should Not Fail to Cook Forty Aliens'?!? NOOOOOO

ARRIVAL

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

EXT. UNIVERSITY

AMY ADAMS mopes into work, oblivious to the PANICKING CROWDS rampaging all around her.

RANDOM STUDENT

(running by)

ERMAGERD ALLIEEENNNSS

AMY ADAMS

(mopily)

Right now everyone thinks I'm depressed over my dead daughter, but looking back from the END of the movie, I guess I just reeeeeeaaallllly hate my commute.

INT. AMY ADAMS'S OFFICE

AMY is trying to avoid dwelling on major news by watching CNN when suddenly Army bigshot FOREST WHITAKER barges in.

FOREST WHITAKER

As you know, there's been an... ARRIVAL. Not THE Arrival, we don't want to deal with any Charlie Sheen bullshit right now.

He puts down a tape recorder that plays FARTING WHALE NOISES.

FOREST WHITAKER

What do you make of this?

AMY ADAMS

Either you made a crappy bootleg audio recording of Star Trek IV for some ungodly reason, or the aliens speak totes different than us... y'know, like aliens. I can't learn shit from this, I need to see them.

FOREST WHITAKER

You can't make demands! We have another candidate too you know. It could be a foregone conclusion BUT, since this is fantastical speculative sci-fi, we might actually pick the overqualified woman.

AMY ADAMS

Ask him what the Sanskrit for "war" is and what it means, then get back to me.

FOREST WHITAKER

Sure. Does he get to ask a question back at you, to make it fair?

AMY ADAMS

Hahaha no.

INT. AMY'S HOUSE - LATE AT NIGHT

FOREST arrives in the WORLD'S LOUDEST FUCKING HELICOPTER EVER.

FOREST WHITAKER

I asked about that Sanskrit thing. Even though I know nothing about Sanskrit, your answer sounds more plausible, so you win.

They get in the CHOPPER and JEREMY RENNER is there too!

AMY ADAMS

Oh hi. Did you give an ultimatum too, or did you get thrown in with my ultimatum?

JEREMY RENNER

Who knows? Hello, I'm a brilliant physicist, and working together we're gonna solve this thing.

(shouting out helicopter door)

That's right, I'm a full and equal HALF of THIS world-saving team, you hear me?!? I, Jeremy Renner, am IMPORTANT!!

AMY ADAMS

(also shouting out door)

That's right!! And I, Amy Adams, am not gonna sit around waiting to get saved or thrown off a building so the hero can show up! I'm a FIRST BANANA on this one, dammit!!

JEREMY RENNER

GODDAMN RIGHT, WE ARE THE FIIRSSST BAANAAANNAAS YOU HEAR THAT WHEEEDOOONNN

AMY ADAMS

FUCKING TRUUUTH EAT SHIT SNYYYDERRRR

JEREMY RENNER

So yeah, I was reading the intro to your book. I like this passage where it says LANGUAGE is the first WEAPON to be drawn in any conflict.

AMY ADAMS

Yes I was pointing out how LANGUAGE can be like a WEAPON, you see.

JEREMY RENNER

Almost as if the words WEAPON and LANGUAGE could be interchangeable in some contexts.

(winks)

AMY ADAMS

Yes, exactly.

(winks)

EXT. FIELD IN MONTANA

Dramatic panning shots and coy build-up all lead to us FINALLY seeing the BIG HONKIN ALIEN SHIP for the first time, unless you saw the poster outside of course. Or any of the commercials. AMY and JEREMY are shown around the MILITARY BASE.

FOREST WHITAKER

Right, get your hazmat suits on, we've flown you in mere minutes before our next contact with the aliens. Corporal Doofus here will escort you into the alien ship.

CORPORAL DOOFUS

First we use this hydraulic lift to get inside the alien ship's central tube. Then we leap out and an internal gravity field allows us to land on the walls and walk up! It's allowed me to fulfill my lifelong dream of being a pinworm.

AMY ADAMS

So these aliens figure it's easier to build ships that land sideways and have a whole internal gravity field to compensate, than to build ships that land right-side-up? Ooookay. Looks like we have visitors from the Unnecessary Complications Planet.

They reach the VIEWING CHAMBER and set up their high-tech equipment, including a COAL-MINE CANARY since humanity has never invented anything that could possibly detect harmful substances in the air.

FOREST WHITAKER

Brace yourselves. Any moment now the aliens will appear.

AMY ADAMS

Yes, I see them now! Through the misty damp haze, large shapes with gently swaying, thick tentacles are slowly drawing closer to the glass! Which reminds me, I really gotta hit up a car wash later.

To begin teaching the aliens English, AMY holds up a whiteboard that says HUMAN on it.

JEREMY RENNER

You do realize that we've invented far more sophisticated methods of teaching language. We're thinking that these aliens have unlocked faster-than-light travel, but wouldn't be able to handle Rosetta Stone?

AMY ADAMS

I got this, Renner! Now that they know HUMAN, which could just as easily have been PERSON or ME or SIGN, let's show them our names, which could just as easily be MAN/WOMAN or TALL/SHORT or LEFT/RIGHT or NOMINATED/NOT NOMINATED or-

The ALIENS each spit out an INK CIRCLE from their tentacles.

AMY ADAMS

And that must be THEIR names, a conclusion I've made entirely on a gut feeling, and the assumption that THEY understood that what WE showed was OUR names...

JEREMY RENNER

How about I do a voice-over to a montage and just skip how the fuck we get through the really tough part.

During the MONTAGE, AMY and JEREMY are able to establish the rudiments of the alien language, and they begin deciphering messages.

AMY ADAMS

The circles they spit out are complete sentences, all at once! This one translates as OFFER... WEAPON.

JEREMY RENNER

But what kind of offer? 50% off? Buy One Get One? Is it a limited time?!? THERE'S STILL SO MUCH WE DON'T KNOW

FOREST WHITAKER

Maybe focus more on the "WEAPON" part, especially as the Chinese are freaking the fuck out over that bit. Plus they got a free U2 song they didn't want, which isn't helping.

INT. MILITARY BASE

CORPORAL DOOFUS wraps up a phone call with his FAMILY back home.

CORPORAL DOOFUS

My family back home is terrified! What to do? I could tell them the facts, that we're talking with the aliens and they've done nothing bad. Or I could feed into their hysteria and try blowing everything up. Hmm.

(flips coin)

Right! Where's the C4?

DOOFUS plants a bomb on the ship, set to explode just as AMY and JEREMY are back for another round of questions!

AMY ADAMS

Oh gosh, the alien spat out a whole cloudful of sentences! Sort of a word cloud, if you will! But what could this be? A whole bunch of words and phrases all organized in one place, gosh, there MUST be a term for that! Anyone got a dictionary?

The BOMB ticks down, but luckily the ALIENS wait until the VERY LAST POSSIBLE FUCKING SECOND before leaping into action, throwing AMY and JEREMY clear!

INT. MEDICAL WARD

AMY groggily wakes up in a hospital bed.

AMY ADAMS

Urgh. What happened?

FOREST WHITAKER

Doofus set off a bomb in the alien ship, killing one alien and making everything a zillion times worse. To be fair, he thought we were in a standard blockbuster movie, where any explosion inside an alien ship immediately makes the whole thing explode, and all aliens everywhere fall over dead. But instead, everyone's freak level jumped to "right the fuck out" and China's gonna attack them and start WW3.

JEREMY RENNER

Plus the aliens sent another message, "THERE IS NO TIME". But I can't decide what kind of time they mean! Standard time? Daylight Savings Time? Clobberin' time? Hammer time? Dammit!!

(wrecks desk)

AMY rushes towards the alien ship which is now hovering HIGHER UP in the air. It sends a GIANT CIGAR to collect her and bring her directly on board inside the alien environment!

AMY ADAMS

Oh hey, this atmosphere is safe for humans! Wish you guys had said something, we've been hauling our asses in and out of those cumbersome hazmat suits for weeks now...

The ALIEN spits out an ink glob that the subtitles translate as OH SORRY, WE THOUGHT THAT WAS DIPLOMATIC FORMAL WEAR OR SOMETHING, WE DIDN'T WANT TO BE RUDE BY DRAWING ATTENTION TO IT

AMY ADAMS

It's alright, alien that we call "Abbott". Um, I don't see "Costello", is he okay?

The ALIEN spits out an ink glob that means WHO THE FUCK ARE ABBOTT AND COSTELLO, WE GAVE YOUR OUR REAL NAMES EARLIER, IT WAS LIKE ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS WE FUCKING TOLD YOU, DID YOU NEVER THINK TO GO BACK AND LEARN WHAT THEY ARE, ONCE YOU STARTED FIGURING OUT OUR LANGUAGE

AMY ADAMS

Oh yeah. We figured it was better to give you guys patronizing cutsie names from our own culture, since that always works out so well in these first-contact situations.

The ALIEN inkglobs another message FAIR ENOUGH, TO BE PERFECTLY HONEST WE HAVE BEEN CALLING YOU JIZZLICK AND GLORYHOLE, IT IS A POPULAR SITCOM WITH OUR SPECIES. YOU CAN PREDICT THE ENTIRE EPISODE BEFORE IT HAPPENS, SIMILAR TO YOUR "HOUSE". THE MAIN CHARACTER EVEN HAS A DAUGHTER, LIKE YOU.

AMY ADAMS

A daughter... what do you mean?.. I don't...

AMY sees a montage of her DAUGHTER sculpting the ALIENS out of PLAY-DOH and DRAWING PICTURES of the ALIENS and getting the ALIEN McHAPPY MEAL and demanding the SINGING ALIEN BACKPACK WITH BLUETOOTH for Christmas and getting the ALIEN ARRIVAL REVIVAL TOUR 10TH ANNIVERSARY T-SHIRT.

AMY ADAMS

Wait a sec... what we thought were flashbacks of my daughter, are actually visions of the FUTURE! The audience only ASSUMED they're memories, and I don't know what I assumed since none of it had happened yet.

AMY returns to the MILITARY BASE to try and convince FOREST what's really going on.

AMY ADAMS

You don't understand! I learned the circle language so now I can see the future! That's what they've been trying to tell us!

FOREST WHITAKER

Oh okay. Pardon me, I'm going to go binge Russian porn and thus gain the power to shoot vodka out of my dick. Then I'll read everything in 144-point bold type from now on and become the Hulk.

AMY ADAMS

No no, that's not what I mean! Thinking of entire sentences before uttering them, it alters your brain and lets you perceive time non-linearly because-

FOREST WHITAKER

Hey, I can do that too! FUCK THAT SHIT. I thought of that entire sentence all at once before saying anything. And what about actors who memorize an entire Broadway musical and have HOURS of communication all mapped out in their head, how about them? Can Lin-Manuel Miranda see the future?

AMY ADAMS

Based on his SNL opening monologue, I'll say no. Argh, how to convince you! What if I magically knew the Chinese general's phone number because he tells it to me in the future?

FOREST WHITAKER

That would do it. But don't tell me this plan, just run around breaching security everywhere until you almost get shot, cool?

AMY puts her plan into action and SAVES EARTH!

JEREMY RENNER

Yay Amy! It turns out when we thought the aliens said WEAPON, they really meant LANGUAGE.

(winks)

AMY ADAMS

Woo-hoo! And now I can see my whole future timeline, including the tragic death of our future daughter.

JEREMY RENNER

Oh man, what a dilemma. Should we really go through with it?

AMY ADAMS

Well, painful though it will be, I'm thinking we should stick to the chain of events where we save all humanity from annihilation.

JEREMY RENNER

Yeah. So does anyone who understands this alien language as well as you, get to see the future? What if one person decides to change the future, and another doesn't? I guess either this new power is meaningless or we just destroyed free will forever...

AMY ADAMS

Let's not worry about that. Instead, let's hug it out, as I focus on the staggering personal ramifications of my decision, and all the emotional baggage that I'm willingly taking on for the good of our species.

JEREMY RENNER

Okay. I guess since we started with an Arrival, might as well end at the baggage claim!

(mugs to camera)

AMY ADAMS

Oh God, already with the Dad jokes and we haven't even conceived yet, WHAT HAVE I DOOOOONNNEEE

END

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