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Runner Runner

RUNNER RUNNER

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. PRINCETON

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Hi, I’m Justin Timberlake - oh fuck, am I? I’m supposed to be a likeable protagonist and that’s not a great start. Okay, well, I can’t get an assistance grant for college because of my former career as an - an INVESTMENT BANKER?!

BEN SCHWARTZ

An investment banker named “Richie Furst”.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Holy fuck, I sound like a Muppets villain. Never mind. Moving on. I tried to earn my tuition with a job persuading people to gamble online dear GOD. Five minutes in and I’ve already got the entire audience trying to reach through the screen and punch my douchestubble off.

BEN SCHWARTZ

Look, if you’re worried about tuition fees, with your excellent grades you could probably get a deferment long enough to secure a loan-

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

“Stake your entire savings account on a night of online gambling”, you say? I like your thinking!

BEN SCHWARTZ

What?! Are you out of your fucking mind, you should know better than anybody what a money pit those sites are!

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

No, man, I got a SYSTEM! If you know game theory you’re guaranteed to win at poker, which is why everybody who’s ever studied the subject is a millionaire!

JUSTIN goes online and LOSES ALL HIS MONEY like a PUTZ.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

HEY, NO FAIR! This game must be rigged! To beat me like that you’d have to be a great player, and this guy was playing like a BAD player, and PRETENDING to be a bad player is a strategy that would never occur to any gambler ever!

BEN SCHWARTZ

Welp, you’re screwed now. What are you gonna do, hop a plane to Costa Rica and ask the owner of the online casino to give you your money back? Ha ha ha! ...Why are you packing?

EXT. COSTA RICA

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Huh, you know, if I’m actually going ahead with this, it’s weird that I didn’t arrange to meet with Michael Esper, my one contact inside Ben Affleck’s gambling site, and for that matter my one contact inside all of Costa-

(steps outside airport)

-oh hello, Michael, I was just thinking about you. I need to meet with Ben Affleck.

MICHAEL ESPER

Yeah, good luck with that. The guy’s basically unreachable.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Really? That’s disappointing.

(visits Gemma Arterton)

Hey Gemma, can I come to Ben’s party tomorrow?

GEMMA ARTERTON

Okay.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Yep, this movie’s setting me some fiendish obstacles all right.

JUSTIN goes and gets an audience with BEN AFFLECK.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Your casino cheated me! My proof is this statistical analysis that shows how really, really unlikely it was for me to lose like that!

BEN AFFLECK

What a compelling argument. All right, I apologize and give you all your money back, plus enough more to pay for your tuition. Would you care for a complimentary footrub?

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Ohh, I see what’s going on here. This is the part where I’m charmed by your outwardly congenial facade, only to later find out what a psychotic bastard you are when I’m already in too deep, right?

BEN AFFLECK

Yes, but we put in a surprising twist where I never manage to seem very menacing or interesting at all! Now, you could go back to Princeton, OR you could stick around and go for a glitzy, high-paying job of questionable stability.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Why not, since that worked out so well for me last time!

JUSTIN dives headfirst into a life of decadence and excess. If by “decadence” you mean “sometimes he gets to drive a fast car”, and by “excess” you mean “he works a whole lot”.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Wow, who knew the high-flying casino kingpin lifestyle could be so very very boring? Let’s just skip right to the part where things go to shit, before the audience falls asleep.

JUSTIN gets ABDUCTED BY THE FBI.

ANTHONY MACKIE

Excuse me, sir, we need to inform you that your new employer is in fact a wanted criminal. We can protect you if you cooperate with us.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Oh my! Certainly I’ll help, what do you need?

ANTHONY MACKIE

Huh? No, no, if you actually work with us this movie’ll be over WAY too quickly and easily. Let me start over.

(pause)

HEY TURDNUGGET, you belong to us now! Do whatever we say or I’ll hook you up with a lifetime supply of prison rape, bitch!

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Much better, very needlessly alienating. So what kind of crimes is Ben guilty of?

ANTHONY MACKIE

General ones. Who cares. You’re going to bring us evidence against him, that’s all that matters.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

But you already have so much evidence on Ben that you can arrest him the second he sets foot on US soil. Why not just extradite him?

ANTHONY MACKIE

Look, I don’t even serve any narrative purpose until the last scene of the movie, so who really cares if I act logically or not?

JUSTIN goes and confronts BEN about the whole wanted-by-the-FBI thing.

BEN AFFLECK

Pshh, those guys are just fishing. Have you known me to do anything illegal since you started working for me? On an unrelated note, could you do me a solid and commit some outright blackmail and bribery for me, thanks a bunch.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Uh, does that sort of thing really fall within my job description? What exactly do I do for you anyway?

BEN AFFLECK

You’re my whatever-the-hell!

JUSTIN heads off and blackmails SAM PALLADIO.

SAM PALLADIO

You monster, how can you do this?

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

That’s actually an excellent question. A second ago I was merely naive and over my head, now suddenly I’m committing extortion without any hesitation or remorse. This doesn’t make any sense at all. I guess I’ll just take care of that bribery thing real quick, then change back to my old self just as inexplicably.

He goes and BRIBES SOME GUYS, but it’s NOT ENOUGH BRIBES so they beat his face in.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Ben, what the hell?! I just got beat up because you, for some insane reason, only partway bribed a guy! Why bribe somebody just a little bit? It defeats the entire purpose of the entire fucking interaction! Fuck me!

BEN AFFLECK

Hey, of COURSE this job involves getting punched in the face by angry thugs from time to time. What’d you expect?

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Wow, this is how you convince me NOT to rat you out to the feds?

BEN AFFLECK

Oh, all this talk of informing to the FBI puts me in mind of your gambling-addicted dad. Whose sizeable gambling debt I happened to buy recently, just so you know. HINT HINT.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

That’s all you got? It’s a debt. I could just pay it off with some of the millions of dollars you’ve been paying me.

BEN AFFLECK

...Ah. I suppose you could. Okay, I call do-over. Give me a minute to think and we’ll do the thinly-veiled threat scene again, but it’ll be good next time, I swear.

(runs off)

MICHAEL ESPER

Justin, bad news! Our computer guy went through the accounts and found that Ben’s been embezzling from the casino! The gamblers’ accounts are actually empty! Any money they cash out actually comes from a small float, while Ben uses the rest as he sees fit!

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

...But... why? The reason the players don’t miss the money is because they wind up losing it. TO BEN. His big criminal scheme is to set up a complex system of illegal money transfers in order to get a hold of money HE WOULD HAVE GOTTEN MINUTES LATER ANYWAY?!

MICHAEL ESPER

Uh, I guess so. But look, he’s pinning it all on you! While the bulk of the money has evaporated into untraceable numbered accounts around the globe, a modest portion of it was put into a bunch of accounts labeled “JUSTIN’S SECRET ILLEGAL MONEY, DO NOT TOUCH”.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

How convincing. You know, if only I had somebody I could report this to. Some kind of federal bureau of something.

BEN AFFLECK

Wait, before you finish that thought, I’m ready to re-intimidate you now! To be safe, this time I’ve jumped about eight levels of villainy at once and I’m letting you watch me feed my enemies to some crocodiles.

He POURS CHICKEN FAT on some guys and DUMPS THEM INTO HIS CROCODILE POND like he's fucking DR. NO.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

God, FINALLY! After an hour of boring white-collar crime, you’re finally turning out to be somebody you wouldn’t want to mess with. Maybe now the audience can take you seriously as-

BEN AFFLECK

OH NO, THE CROCODILES ARE REALLY ATTACKING! SHIT SHIT SHIT!

(rescues victims)

Sorry guys, that was meant to be a joke!

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

WHAT?! Oh, you know what, fuck it. I WAS going to find some clever and daring way to save myself from your machinations, but you’re just not fucking worth it. Now it’s just bribes. I’m bribing everybody until my problems go away. That’ll do. Fuck.

BEN AFFLECK

Hey, you can’t do that! We keep talking about how every single human being in the country is on my payroll. You can’t just go out and reverse-bribe people who are already bribed!

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

(rolls eyes)

Oh yes, you’re such an impressive and threatening character, surely I couldn’t defy your will that half-assedly. I’m shaking in my boots here.

JUSTIN just keeps HANDING PEOPLE MONEY and they TAKE HIM AND HIS DAD OUT OF COSTA RICA and BRING BEN TO AMERICAN SOIL, where he is IMMEDIATELY ARRESTED BY ANTHONY.

BEN AFFLECK

Curses, you foiled my ingenious plan!

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

It was the DUMBEST plan, Ben. Seriously, you wanted a fall guy, so you went and hired a guy you knew to be really bright, then gave me full run of your casino, including letting me hire my own computer guy to poke around the very accounts you were using to frame me? Why the hell did you even pick me for your patsy in the first place?

BEN AFFLECK

Because you came to my party and accused me of cheating you!

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Wh- seriously? You picked me SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE I’d already spotted corruption in your casino? Are you a fucking moron?!

BEN AFFLECK

That’s big talk coming from somebody who’s about to hand the FBI the evidence I deliberately rigged to make you look guilty, then immediately flee the country in what I’m pretty sure is a stolen plane.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Fair point.

(flies away)

All right, so I could go and continue my education. But that might suggest I’ve actually learned anything at all, so instead I’ll just keep living the jetsetting lifestyle. Or rather, however much of it I can afford on the couple of million dollars I got from Ben, less the hefty bribes I just threw around.

GEMMA ARTERTON

Don’t forget whatever vague amount of money I have, honey.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Gemma?! How long have you been my love interest?

GEMMA ARTERTON

Pretty much the entire time. We just never bothered mentioning it because it was the least interesting part of the movie.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Of THIS movie? Holy SHIT.

END.