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Ruby Sparks

RUBY SPARKS

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. PSYCHIATRIST'S OFFICE

PAUL DANO

God, my life sucks so hard. I wrote a beloved and best-selling novel when I was nineteen, and now I have writer's block! All day I just sit in my expensive-yet-charmingly-bohemian house and fail to write. And do nothing else, because I'm rich and famous.

ELLIOT GOULD

I'm finding it a little hard to sympathise.

PAUL DANO

Hey, it's really hard being me! Girls want to sleep with me because they think I'm a genius!

ELLIOT GOULD

Ugh. Why do all of Woody Allen's self-inserts have to be so insufferable?

PAUL DANO

What? This isn't a Woody Allen movie.

ELLIOT GOULD

...Are you sure? Cause it's a talky dramedy about a bespectacled nebbish who is a successful writer and is speaking to his therapist, like, right now.

PAUL DANO

This movie is about five hundred per cent too hipster to be Woody Allen and you know it.

EXT. DREAM

PAUL dreams of meeting ZOE KAZAN, who is dressed up as EVERY ZOOEY DESCHANEL CHARACTER EVER.

PAUL DANO

You seem mysteriously familiar, have we met?

ZOE KAZAN

Hm, I don't know. Ever been lost on the Oregon trail?

PAUL DANO

Wait a second, I thought the premise of this movie was that you materialise after I write about you. If you appeared to me in a vision first, doesn't that suggest all kinds of alternate-

ZOE KAZAN

Shh! If we completely ignore the implications of this, maybe they'll go away altogether!

PAUL wakes up and starts writing obsessively about ZOE.

PAUL DANO

Oh no, I'm starting to fall in love with my own fictional character. This isn't healthy.

ELLIOT GOULD

I think it's great!

PAUL DANO

You what? You've been trying to help me connect with other human beings, and instead I'm wallowing in my own solipsism with a shallow dream girl who's not even real!

ELLIOT GOULD

(actual line)

Isn't she?

PAUL DANO

What kind of therapist are you?! Jesus, what would you tell a paranoid schizophrenic? "Hear the voices out, maybe they've got a point"?

INT. PAUL'S HOUSE

Suddenly, ZOE shows up in the flesh!

ZOE KAZAN

Honey, could you double-check about that Woody Allen thing? Cause now we've got magical realism and male wish fulfilment fantasy all over the place.

PAUL DANO

I'm hallucinating! BWAARGH!

(calls brother)

Help, I'm suffering from some kind of mental breakdown! I'm talking bona fide psychotic delusions, here!

CHRIS MESSINA

What a minor inconvenience. I'm in an important meeting, so just deal, okay?

PAUL DANO

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Is anyone other than me at all concerned about my mental stability?

ZOE KAZAN

I'm certainly not. In fact, my only reaction to your deranged behaviour is to take it personally and get into a right snit about it!

PASSERBY

You tell him, real person I can totally see!

PAUL DANO

Wait, you're real?! BWAARGH!

ZOE KAZAN

This slightly different deranged behaviour, on the other hand, I find sweet and charming. Let us frolic!

They frolic in a CUTESY MONTAGE which seems to cover several days at least.

CHRIS MESSINA

Oh hey, I'm only just now finding the time to check in on this "complete nervous breakdown" of yours. So, how's that going?

PAUL DANO

It's cool, it turns out she's actually real and I can control her through my writing, as I now demonstrate.

CHRIS MESSINA

BWAARGH!

PAUL DANO

I know, right?

ZOE KAZAN

Now that you're both acting deranged at me in stereo, my reaction is one of very mild perplexion. I certainly don't have a consistent policy on crazed blithering.

CHRIS MESSINA

Dude, you have the powers of a god! Have you considered the full extents of what you're dealing with here? You could write that she discovers a cure for AIDS, or brokers peace in the Middle East, or-

PAUL DANO

Fuck that, I've got a girlfriend! Who cares about unlocking the secrets of the cosmos or using my newfound superpowers to change the world when I've got a regular lay?

He proceeds to do PRECISELY DIDDLY-SQUAT with his reality-warping abilities for MONTHS.

CHRIS MESSINA

Months?! Seriously, I understand not wanting to magically alter your girlfriend, but have you even tried writing something unrelated? Even, like, "once upon a time there was a sugar-free cola which didn't taste like ass". Come on.

PAUL DANO

Sorry, can't hear you over all the blow jobs I'm getting.

CHRIS MESSINA

Wow. You could not be a less likeable character right now.

PAUL DANO

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

PAUL evolves into ULTRA-DOUCHE. He treats his MOTHER like CRAP, then treats his STEPDAD like SHIT, then treats ZOE like GARBAGE.

PAUL DANO

Whoops - sorry, baby, I was on a roll by then and couldn't stop.

ZOE KAZAN

I think we should spend some time apart, unsurprisingly.

PAUL DANO

Fuck! While I could probably fix this just by dialing my behaviour back to "acceptable for a human", I'd better play it safe and just rewrite reality.

(types)

"ZOE misses PAUL and takes him back".

ZOE KAZAN

In a perfectly reasonable interpretation of that, I'm now so clingy that so much as breaking physical contact with you causes existential despair! WAAAH CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY!

PAUL DANO

Yikes. Well, now that I know this writing thing acts pretty much like an asshole genie, I see no harm in writing

(types)

"ZOE becomes SUPER HAPPY, and no I don't feel like clarifying that even a little".

ZOE KAZAN

WHEEEEEE, I'M SO HYPER NOW IT SHOULD MAKE EVERYBODY ALARMED ABOUT MY SANITY BUT SEEMINGLY IT DOESN'T!

PAUL DANO

Oh for the love of - fine, I'll relinquish control over her emotions, which will be presented as a sacrifice on my part even though the only alternative is to let her keep acting like a Teletubby on cocaine.

(types)

"ZOE goes back to normal".

ZOE KAZAN

My reaction to that is to become surly and despondent, which is kind of random and has nothing to do with anything.

PAUL DANO

Since I can't use my writing to keep you from leaving me any more, I guess it's about time I resorted to becoming a better persAH HA HA, just kidding! I'm going to be more douchy than ever!

He drags ZOE to a party then immediately leaves her by herself for half an hour.

PAUL DANO

What a jerk, right?

ZOE KAZAN

Yeah, and even worse, when you find me and the host in our underwear together-

PAUL DANO

Wait, what?

ZOE KAZAN

-you get all uppity about it!

PAUL DANO

Um. You know that's a bit of a relationship no-no, right? Most - most people know that.

ZOE KAZAN

ARGH, I'm so sick of your arbitrary rules like "don't go off and get naked with my friends"!

PAUL DANO

Wow. You're bringing the audience dangerously close to siding with me right now. Don't worry, I can fix this, I've been saving up a special dick move. Ahem: guess what, honey, you're made up!

(types)

"ZOE OVERACTS".

PAUL manipulates ZOE like a puppet, in a scene that awkwardly straddles the line between "horrifyingly creepy" and "unintentionally hilarious".

ZOE KAZAN

AAAAHHH, I'M FICTIONAL! My concept of reality has been shattered! It'll be fascinating to watch how I react to-

ZOE disappears until the LAST TWO MINUTES OF THE MOVIE.

ZOE KAZAN

Fucking WHAT.

PAUL DANO

Sorry, only I may have a character arc. Which reminds me, time to resolve that fucker.

(types)

"ZOE is no longer under PAUL's control". There, I no longer subject my girlfriend to secret mindrape! Truly this shows how I've grown into a mature, unselfish human being.

CHRIS MESSINA

What's more, your writer's block is solved, since you now have a great story to tell: this one!

PAUL DANO

This movie? The stuff of great literature? Are we allowed to make that call?

CHRIS MESSINA

Sure! Hear that, critics? You can't complain about this movie, its quality is CANON.

EXT. PARK

Some time later, PAUL runs into ZOE.

ZOE KAZAN

Hey there, person I've never met.

PAUL DANO

Hold it, by un-enslaving you I wiped your memory? I did NOT get that.

ZOE KAZAN

That's okay, it wasn't explained very well. Wanna hang out?

PAUL DANO

Awesome, I get my masturbatory fantasy relationship after all! It's not creepy at all to date somebody who doesn't remember the horrible, horrible things you once did to them!

(pause)

Just by the by, you can never ever ask me about the inspiration for that novel of mine you're reading, okay?

(pause)

Oh, and don't be freaked out if my mother, stepdad and sister-in-law all seem to think they already met you.

(pause)

In fact, just don't give this ending much thought at all if you don't mind.

ZOE KAZAN

Trust me, I didn't.

END.