Nobody likes to talk about Carla Claus, Santa's erstwhile cousin.


Nobody likes to talk about Carla Claus, Santa's erstwhile cousin.

RENT

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. EMPTY THEATER

The ENSEMBLE lines up onstage.

IDINA MENZEL

So... we're really going with this setup for the most memorable number in the show, huh?

DIRECTOR CHRIS COLUMBUS

Just sing, OK? There's paychecks to be had.

ENSEMBLE

(to tune of "Seasons of Love")

Thirty-one million six hundred thousand dollars

Almost ten mill less than the studio dropped

Thirty-one million six hundred thousand dollars

How do you measure, measure a flop?

INT. EAST VILLAGE LOFT

Starving filmmaker ANTHONY RAPP arrives and greets his roommate, starving musician ADAM PASCAL.

ANTHONY RAPP

I'm taping random scenes in my friends' lives and slapping them together without rhyme or reason. It's basically going to be the movie from Reality Bites, but unlike Winona Ryder, I would NEVER let MTV turn it into a slick, stylized montage with rapid cuts.

ADAM PASCAL

Because it already is a slick, stylized montage with rapid cuts.

ANTHONY RAPP

...Huh.

They get a PHONE CALL from their landlord, TAYE DIGGS.

TAYE DIGGS

(singing)

MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HAAAAA!

Where is the rent?

I must have the rent!

Dollars, dimes and nickels

I need them all right noooooooow!

(hangs up)

ANTHONY RAPP

What the fuck? Last year he let us live here without paying a dime for rent and utilities! He's totally dicking us over!

ADAM PASCAL

Can you BELIEVE those sellouts who expect you to pay for things? Taye never would have done that before he became financially stable.

ANTHONY RAPP

Well, that settles it. No financial stability for us! We're going to squat in this shitty, violent neighborhood without food or electricity as long as it takes to achieve artistic greatness!

ADAM PASCAL

Which is exactly your resolution in the third act. Are you going to learn ANYTHING?

ANTHONY RAPP

Nope. Not even a little.

(to tune of "Rent")

Everyone else in the movie has a much more complex, vital story than me

Because I narrate the stage show

Columbus thinks that I'm the lead

All I do is complain

But I'm in half the frames

I'm just kind of there

I'm just kind of there

I'm just kind of there

EVERYWHERE!

INT. ALLEY

ANTHONY and ADAM's friend JESSE L. MARTIN is mugged. WILSON JERMAINE HEREDIA finds him.

WILSON JERMAINE HEREDIA

You OK, honey? Your friends will probably get bored of looking for you within five minutes, but I'll clean you up.

JESSE L. MARTIN

Thanks. You seem really genuine and compassionate. What are you doing here?

WILSON JERMAINE HEREDIA

I exist to die eventually of AIDS, which was a widespread health crisis in the 80s that provoked massive protests, especially in New York, so we should probably talk about that at some point.

JESSE L. MARTIN

But in a completely inoffensive way, right? I mean, if we fought the system keeping life-saving drugs from us, we might make some viewers feel icky.

WILSON JERMAINE HEREDIA

Would it help if I dressed like a 10th-place Drag Race contestant and kissed you on the mouth?

JESSE L. MARTIN

A little, but it's been nine years since our Broadway debut, so MAYBE we can push the envelope a bit?

WILSON JERMAINE HEREDIA

One time I drummed a yappy dog to death for money.

JESSE L. MARTIN

That'll do.

INT. EAST VILLAGE LOFT

ANTHONY and ADAM's downstairs neighbor ROSARIO DAWSON shows up.

ROSARIO DAWSON

I should tell you: I've got a baggie of PRIMO shit, want some?

ADAM PASCAL

I should tell you: I've already been a junkie and now I'm trying to stay clean, so spare me your stash AND your ass. But mostly your stash, because holy fuck.

ROSARIO DAWSON

I should tell you: I'm going to exploit the hell out of your weakness for self-destructive women who need to be rescued, and also I have AIDS.

ADAM PASCAL

I should tell you: I also have AIDS and that thing we share is going to break down my resistance to enjoying anything except wallowing in my writer's block.

ROSARIO DAWSON

I should tell you: You're going to regret this deeply.

ADAM PASCAL

I should tell you: Yeah, you're right. Let's go see Idina Menzel's psycho performance art.

INT. STAGE

IDINA performs the weirdest ONE-WOMAN ACT ever that doesn't involve pouring HONEY on herself.

IDINA MENZEL

(singing)

Let it moo

Let it moo

I am one with the talking cow...

POLICE

(burst in)

Idina Menzel, that was awful. You're under arrest for crimes against poetry.

A SCUFFLE ensues. Everyone escapes to a nearby RESTAURANT, where they spot a familiar PATRON.

IDINA MENZEL

Well, look who it is: the guy destroying everything real about our art for his own profits.

TAYE DIGGS

(looks up)

IDINA MENZEL

No, not you. HIM.

(points accusingly)

DIRECTOR CHRIS COLUMBUS

(to tune of "La Vie Bohème")

Why ever did they pick me for this movie

When they could have picked Rob Marshall?

Or even that guy from School of Rock?

There's no way I belong here

Something's wrong here

It's a laugh

I subvert all tension

With boring, flat direction

Just sticking to convention

Hating invention

Hating dimensions

Not to mention, of course

Cutting "Goodbye Love" in half

Screenwriting that's just okay

By some indie douche

A cast that's nine years past the proper age

Onstage, you wouldn't know

But on the screen, it shows

A 46 percent score

On Rotten Tomatoes!

ENSEMBLE

He ruined Reeeeeeent!

INT. FANCY BALLROOM

The GANG celebrates IDINA's engagement to TRACIE THOMS.

ANTHONY RAPP

Tracie, as Idina's ex-boyfriend, I am uniquely qualified to inform you that she is a raging slut. She will hit on anything that moves. Anything. She made out with a balloon once.

TRACIE THOMS

Yeah, I kind of suspected that, but SHE proposed to ME, so that's over, right?

ANTHONY RAPP

SHE HIT ON THE BARTENDER JUST NOW.

IDINA MENZEL

Oh, come on! Is it my fault that everyone becomes impossibly attracted to me after I stroke their faces?

TRACIE THOMS

Actually, yes, it kind of is!

(to tune of "Take Me or Leave Me")

Every single scene

I'm an uptight bitch

But you're the one who said

"Heeey, let's get hitched!"

Why do you have to flirt

With everything in a skirt?

IDINA MENZEL

It's expected of me, Pookie

Tell you why

It's 'cause I'm bi

And in movies, bi equals slutty

TRACIE/IDINA

We're incompatible

Let's not get in too deep

Since we will never change

Fuck off, baby, and dump me!

They storm off.

ROSARIO DAWSON

Speaking of uptight bitches, Adam, I should tell you: Forget about living easier in Santa Fe and stay here to rescue me!

ADAM PASCAL

Well, I should tell you: I don't trust you anymore because you used to date Taye and you still talk to him sometimes, which is adequate proof that you're boning!

ROSARIO DAWSON

Well, I should tell you: GO FUCK YOURSELF!

INT. ONE YEAR LATER

EVERYTHING is worse now.

ROSARIO DAWSON

(to tune of "Seasons of Love")

Adam left and now I'm back to using real heavy

ANTHONY RAPP

Can't make my film because I have to get paid

ADAM PASCAL

I'll walk the mountains like I'm selling a Chevy

WILSON JERMAINE HEREDIA

Hey, over here, you jerks, I'm dying of AIDS!

INT. EAST VILLAGE LOFT

ADAM returns.

ANTHONY RAPP

You're back in New York! And I'm back to being unemployed, mooching off Taye, and making my utterly nonsensical film!

JESSE L. MARTIN

Wow, we haven't made ANY forward motion!

ADAM PASCAL

Actually, I've finally written the one song that will bring me glory. I just need a sufficiently melodramatic moment to sing it.

IDINA and TRACIE burst in, carrying an unconscious ROSARIO.

IDINA MENZEL

OMG ROSARIO IS LITERALLY SECONDS FROM DEATH!

ADAM PASCAL

My sufficiently melodramatic moment has come, bitches.

(to tune of "Your Eyes")

I should tell you

I should tell you:

In another context

This would sound like Air Supply!

ROSARIO wakes up.

ROSARIO DAWSON

I should tell you: That was the worst song in the whole show.

TRACIE THOMS

Hey, Rosario, I don't want to be mean, but we found you suffering from exposure on the street after swapping your AIDS medication for heroin. How are you not dead?

ROSARIO DAWSON

Well, I was ABOUT to die, but then I had a vision of Wilson. She told me to go back and tell you all to get fucked for honoring her memory by stealing from ATMs, JESSE...

JESSE L. MARTIN

(ashamed)

ROSARIO DAWSON

...instead of fighting for justice for AIDS victims, like you've talked about doing a few times but haven't actually done.

EVERYONE stands around in AWKWARD SILENCE.

ANTHONY RAPP

(to tune of "No Day But Today")

What of the movement

For lives to last?

ADAM PASCAL

Who cares?

It's all about this cast!

ENSEMBLE

There's only us

And not much else

Despite the fight

For basic human health

Which would make great stuff for Broadway

Someday, not today!

You won't learn shit

From this movie

But in nine years

You really ought to see

The Normal Heart

Out on Blu-Ray

Someday, not today!

END

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