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FLIGHT

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. MOTEL

DENZEL WASHINGTON wakes up surrounded by empty containers of alcohol. The song "Alcohol" plays.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Holy shit, I look really convincing! Maybe this motion capture stuff is finally-

DIRECTOR ROBERT ZEMECKIS

It's okay, this one is live action.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Oh thank FUCK. Can you believe this is the first time you've done live action since that plane crash movie twelve years ago? So what's this one about?

DIRECTOR ROBERT ZEMECKIS

...Nothing. Now come on, I want to wash the family-movie taste out of my mouth, let's see if we can get some strong language, drug use and full frontal nudity into the first minute of screentime.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

(doing coke off of a naked lady)

Fuck yes!

DENZEL gets a good buzz going and the song "Feelin' Alright" plays.

INT. PLANE

DENZEL boards the PLANE he'll be piloting to its doom.

TAMARA TUNIE

Hiya, Denzel! Still not interested in coming to church with me?

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Uh, no. Do you really repeatedly get on your coworkers' cases about going to your church? Because that's insanely inappropriate and unprofessional.

TAMARA TUNIE

I guess, but God is pretty much one of the main characters in this movie and we need to start mentioning him as soon as possible. GOD.

DENZEL staggers into the cockpit and slumps down next to co-pilot BRIAN GERAGHTY.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

BLUGH, can somebody get me some black coffee and a couple aspirin, while I take a hit of oxygen? And heads up, Bri, once we're cruising I'll probably just pass right the fuck out.

BRIAN GERAGHTY

I see you decided that getting a tattoo on your face saying "I AM WASTED AT ALL TIMES INCLUDING NOW" would be going too far. You do realize the entire plot hinges on the idea that you successfully conceal your alcoholism, right?

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Hey, you think MY problems are over-the-top, check out my eventual love interest.

EXT. SEEDY APARTMENT

KELLY REILLY shuffles tremblingly outside HALF-DRESSED with a fistful of WADDED CASH and NEEDLE-MARKS ON HER ARM and a BANDAGED WRIST.

KELLY REILLY

HEROIN NEED HEROIN GUHHH.

DRUG PORN SLEAZEBAG

Okay, feel like doing some porn for it? We're bringing Rule 34 to Othello!

KELLY REILLY

Hey, I don't have sex for money! Which makes my establishing shot extremely misleading. Or I do, which makes some of my dialogue pretty confusing!

She heads home, alone and disenfranchised, while "Under the Bridge" plays.

INT. PLANE

Suddenly, the plane starts SPAZZING OUT, going into a swan dive while shedding parts!

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Don't worry! Lower the landing gear! Nose down! Let's spin the plane upside down then go to full power!

BRIAN GERAGHTY

Wow, you're handling this situation masterfully!

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Presumably, yes. The neat thing is, as long as there are no aeronautics experts in the audience, I can say whatever the hell I want as long as I do it urgently. Jettison the engines! Release the parking brake! Decompress the furble hatches!

The plane CRASHES INTO A BAPTISM, because ROBERT ZEMECKIS handles symbolism with all the subtlety of a PLANE CRASH. Into a BAPTISM.

INT. HOSPITAL

BRUCE GREENWOOD visits DENZEL, who is BEAT TO SHIT.

BRUCE GREENWOOD

(smiling awkwardly)

Uh, great job, guy, you saved everyone on the plane except a few people including that chick you were banging.

(avoids eye contact)

Um. You're a national hero now. Everyone knows it was the plane's fault and you're a straight-up miracle pilot and, ah, everything is awesome.

(clears throat, shuffles feet)

Yep. It's all cool. Um. Er.

(sweats)

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Somehow I get the impression there might be something you're not telling me. Is there some kind of shitstorm you're not adequately preparing me for?

BRUCE GREENWOOD

Hey, had you considered that I wanted to break it to you in the right way? By, say, abruptly introducing you to a tactless criminal defense attorney?

(pause)

Not that everything isn't one hundred per cent fine.

(pause)

(coughs)

(leaves)

KELLY REILLY

Hi, Denzel, I'm here too. I overdosed on-

JAMES BADGE DALE

(appears)

Hi everybody, I'm a random cancer patient, here to first lightly mock the "dying people are deep" trope then to play it right to the hilt! So here's my pre-mortem slice of wisdom: God Definitely Exists. That's it, that's pretty much all you need to know about anything, gotta go, tip your waitress!

(disappears)

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Wha - okay, I guess that was his entire part then. What an appropriate thing to jam right into the introduction of the romantic subplot.

KELLY REILLY

It's okay, I'm sure the remainder of our scenes will be done with way more effort and I'll be developed into a consistent, well-rounded character. Right? Guys?

DENZEL'S DRUG DEALER JOHN GOODMAN arrives while the song "Sympathy for the Devil" plays. ROBERT ZEMECKIS finally fires the MUSIC SUPERVISOR for sheer obnoxiousness.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

I need to lay low where the press won't find me. Take me to the house where I grew up, which is in my name.

JOHN GOODMAN

Won't they track down those details in like eight seconds?

DENZEL WASHINGTON

We're talking about reporters who have my fucking phone number, and just left a message and are waiting politely for me to call back. Clearly we're dealing with press from Bizarro World.

DENZEL goes to his hidey-home and throws out all the booze, pills, hooch, weed, liquor, alcohol and booze.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Phew! This house was pretty well-stocked for a place I haven't been in years and swore never to visit again. I guess you just get to a point of inebriation where your stash spills over into additional buildings.

INT. RESTAURANT

DENZEL is brought before the cold, soulless eyes of DON CHEADLE.

DON CHEADLE

Bad news, Denzel. Did you know the NTSB take tox screens of flight crew after accidents like yours?

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Oh, okay. When do they want to do it?

DON CHEADLE

...When... I'm sorry, did you seriously just - why would they take one now? What would be the point of that?! They did it on the day, you nincompoop!

DENZEL WASHINGTON

OH SHIIIIIIIII-

DON CHEADLE

Don't worry, I may be able to suppress the test results if I can find some technicality-

(finds ten technicalities)

Oh, well. Hooray for spectacularly incompetent medics, I guess. Now I just have to pressure the investigators to find the accident an Act of God.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Act of God? No, it was a mechanical failure. That's a completely different-

DON CHEADLE

No, listen. Act of GOD. Eh? Eh? Oh, one last thing: obviously you'll need to stop drinking.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Well, that was actually the plan, but ironically as a direct result of this conversation-

(gets trashed and stays trashed)

INT. HOSPITAL

DENZEL visits a recently de-comatized BRIAN.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Hey, Bri. How's that shattered spine working out for ya?

BRIAN GERAGHTY

FUCK YOU, Denzel. Fuck you FOREVER.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Woah! Come on, man, you know the accident wasn't my fault!

BRIAN GERAGHTY

Was so! By getting into the cockpit drunk, you called down the wrath of God onto the plane! But then, through you, God flew the plane and saved us all! ...From the plane crash he caused!

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Oh. You're one of THOSE Christians. You do realize that the whole "bringing down the wrath of God" thing is the exact reasoning that brings us stuff like "gays cause earthquakes", right? Fuck off.

(goes to leave, stops)

Hang on. The investigators are probably going to want to question the co-pilot, aren't they?

BRIAN GERAGHTY

They'd be horribly derelict in their duty if they didn't.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Any chance you'd lie about the part where I was obviously stinking drunk?

BRIAN GERAGHTY

I can't imagine my character doing that under any circumstances.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Ah. In that case, can we actually not broach this subject at any point, and hope the audience doesn't give the matter any thought whatsoever?

BRIAN GERAGHTY

Broach what subject?

(winks)

INT. DENZEL'S HOUSE

DENZEL returns home to KELLY.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Oh yeah, this subplot. I guess with your drug addiction and my rampant alcoholism, we've probably got a real Days of Wine and Roses situation going on, huh?

KELLY REILLY

Oh, no, I've actually quit.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Quit? As in - quit heroin? Isn't that supposed to be really, really hard? Like, a long, torturous process filled with physical suffering and mental anguish?

KELLY REILLY

Yeah, we just sort of skipped past all that shit. I do go to an AA meeting once, so there's that.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

...Don't you mean Narcotics Anonymous?

KELLY REILLY

Nope, AA. I even put up my hand and admit to being an alcoholic, even though I don't think I have a single drink in the entire movie... man, it's like not even the screenwriter could be bothered keeping track of my character.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

To be fair, you're not really a "character", per se. You're more of a pretty trophy I get if I grow as a person, or don't if I don't.

KELLY REILLY

Nuh-uh! I'm totally a fully-realized individual!

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Oh really? Watch this: AW FUCK OFF WITH YOUR REHAB, WOMAN, IF I WANNA DRINK I'LL DRINK!

KELLY REILLY

IN THAT CASE I LEAVE YOU AND BY EXTENSION THE MOVIE! ...Oh. Dang.

After KELLY leaves, the PRESS finally grow enough of a brain to track down where DENZEL is staying.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Damnit! Bruce, can I hide out at your place?

BRUCE GREENWOOD

Well all right, but you have to actually for realsies not drink between now and the hearing, for fuck's sake. I know that'll be difficult, you'll probably get the DTs something awful-

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Nah, I can use a trick I just learned from Kelly, check it out.

We just sort of SKIP PAST ALL THAT SHIT.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

See? Now it's a week later and I'm squeaky clean and fresh as a daisy! I just gotta hole up in a hotel room until the hearing tomorrow, free from any possible - hey, what's this?

THIS is in fact the ADJOINING HOTEL ROOM, which is accidentally UNLOCKED, and DESERTED, and stocked with ALL THE ALCOHOL THAT HAS EVER EXISTED.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

You know, normally I'd call this a painfully manufactured moment. But after hitting the religious theme so hard, we can just write it off as God testing me, or the Devil tempting me, or whatever. Nothing's contrived when you have Jesus!

He gets TEN KINDS OF BLITZED, and in the morning BRUCE and DON find him nearly COMATOSE.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

(translated from mumbled slur)

It's okay. Just give me some cocaine and I'll be lucid again.

DON CHEADLE

Just like all those guys you see at parties who get wasted then do coke and as a result act completely calm and normal, gotcha. I, a respectable and conservative lawyer, will indeed buy you illegal drugs to dangerously mix with alcohol.

DENZEL gets high with a little help from JOHN GOODMAN. The MUSIC SUPERVISOR, having snuck back in through the vents, jams "Sympathy for the Devil" and "Feelin' Alright" onto the soundtrack again, and also manages to throw in "With a Little Help from My Friends" before being tackled by security.

INT. HEARING

DENZEL is being questioned by MELISSA LEO.

MELISSA LEO

Before we begin, I'd like to mention that we've determined which specific part of the plane malfunctioned and ruled out pilot error altogether.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Oh, so, investigation over. Awesome. See you never.

(gets up to leave)

MELISSA LEO

Hold it! Even though you've been cleared of all possible culpability in this investigation, I don't see any reason not to interrogate you anyway. Aside from the obvious legal and ethical reasons, of course.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Uh, Don? Want to step in here? No? Fuck.

MELISSA LEO

Now, since beverage service was suspended on your flight, who in the crew is responsible for the empty bottles of vodka in the plane's trash? The only admissible, positive tox screen was for your now-dead fuck buddy. You just have to pin this on her and you walk free.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Aw, man! Fine, it was me. I'm not about to accuse her of being irresponsibly drunk at work.

MELISSA LEO

But she was irresponsibly drunk at work. We just said that. You wouldn't have been accusing her of anything that hadn't already been medically proven.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

...I don't suppose I can get my last remarks stricken from the record?

INT. PRISON

DENZEL has been in prison for a year, and has finally gotten sober, like he had a choice.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

So yeah, I've cleaned up, come to terms with my punishment, repaired my relationships. I even have photos of Kelly in my cell, which is really all the resolution that plotline deserves. Things are looking up!

PRISONER

Isn't there something you've forgotten?

DENZEL WASHINGTON

What do you mean?

PRISONER

You didn't mention You-Know-Who.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

...Voldemort?

PRISONER

God! You know, the guy you've been rubbing in our faces for the past two hours? Come on, you've dragged us this far, are you at least going to tie this film together thematically? Or was that all just a bunch of go-nowhere evangelical bullshit?

DENZEL WASHINGTON

God who?

The film ends quickly before any lurking music supervisors can throw "Spirit in the Sky" or "Sky Pilot" or something over the credits.

END.