The Abridged Script
A THEATER AUDIENCE watches a silent movie featuring JEAN DUJARDIN in which a THEATER AUDIENCE watches a silent movie featuring JEAN DUJARDIN. CHRISTOPHER NOLAN scoffs.
While the audience applauds, JEAN DUJARDIN goes out on stage and brings his co-star MISSI PYLE out on stage after needlessly BEING A DICK ABOUT IT.
Jean, I'm mad at you, but I'm unable to express my anger with anything but comical mugging due to the excessively restrictive format of the film!
JEAN smiles charmingly.
Luckily, Missi, said format prevents you from technically having any speaking lines, so your paycheck will be in Target gift cards!
JEAN exits the theater and runs into NOT RACHEL MCADAMS, BÉRÉNICE BEJO. A newspaper photographs them standing together and runs it with the headline "JEAN DUJARDIN STANDING WITH MYSTERY GIRL," the 1930's equivalent to "JEAN DUJARDIN CHEATING WITH MYSTERY HOOKER, NOW EXPECTING TWINS!"
BÉRÉNICE proceeds to show the newspaper to 10 SECONDS OF MALCOLM MCDOWELL and EVERYONE ELSE she can, nothing stalkerish about that.
INT. MOVIE STUDIO
JEAN meets with his producer, JOHN GOODMAN, whose intertitles you are going to unintentionally read in his voice.
Jean, we need our next movie to be really Oscary! Like, painfully so, to the extent that even the type of people who care about the Oscars won't bother talking about who will win this year because it's a foregone conclusion!
JEAN smiles charmingly.
How about if it's an homage to a long-gone era of filmmaking? In fact, we can make it focus on film as a major story element! Like Hugo, but for adults, barely!
JOHN points to a picture of QUENTIN TARANTINO, holding NO BEST PICTURE OSCAR, and shakes his head. JEAN thinks charmingly.
What if we just go further back in time, past Tarantino's 70's and to the 30's? Then we can hide our bland, generic storyline behind the gimmick of silent film!
JOHN gesticulates wildly.
We can even shoot it in black and white at 1.375:1 "Academy Ratio" so our intentions are completely laid bare!
JEAN nods enthusiastically and also charmingly.
It will be a complete waste of everyone's expensive home entertainment systems when they pick it up from Redbox since nobody is going to watch this shit in the theater!
JEAN'S DOG does something ADORABLE while JEAN smiles charmingly. BÉRÉNICE BEJO enters.
Hey Jean, did you see me in the newspaper? I'm trying to ride my 15 minutes of fame all the way to the top, like a 1930's Snooki. Put me in a movie. Not a Three Stooges movie though, that would be fucking degrading.
JEAN stops trimming his PEDOPHILE MOUSTACHE for a minute and points to JOHN.
Not now, Bérénice. We're trying to figure out the story for our film about the silent film era.
BÉRÉNICE rolls her eyes and motions toward a poster for SINGIN' IN THE RAIN. Suddenly, JOHN'S eyes light up and all of the veins in his FOREHEAD try to ESCAPE.
Talkies, of course! We can just do what everyone else does and make it about the transition to sound in film and how that somehow sucks!
JEAN smiles at BÉRÉNICE charmingly while separating his eyebrows from each other as much as possible.
Bérénice, I want you in my next movie! Can you dance at least as well as any other woman in this film, which is to say not at all?
BÉRÉNICE dances poorly and JEAN shrugs will approval. She also uses JEAN'S JACKET to pretend he's feeling her up, nothing ultra-creepy stalkerish about that.
She proceeds to become a STAR as audiences embrace TALKIES and JEAN acts like a WHINY BITCH ABOUT IT. JOHN consoles him with ANGER.
Jean, nobody wants to watch silent movies anymore! Mel Brooks could probably get away with it, but that's it!
JEAN pouts charmingly.
No, there's something inherently more artistic to silent films, and in no way was it merely an unfortunate technical limitation forced upon filmmakers at the time!
JOHN grabs JEAN'S wallet and opens it to reveal it's empty.
Jean, you're going bankrupt! You've had to auction off everything you own! Why the fuck do you refuse to speak on camera, do you sound like Mickey Mouse or something?
Suddenly JEAN'S WIFE, PENELOPE ANN MILLER, leaves him.
PENELOPE ANN MILLER
I can't take it anymore, Jean! You're supposed to be the protagonist but you're coming off like a petulant child! It's almost as insufferable as the pacing of this film's second act!
JEAN starts to regret his "PENELOPE MILLER" tattoo but remembers BÉRÉNICE'S character is named PEPPY MILLER and, relieved, he smiles charmingly.
That night, he has a NIGHTMARE in which he can hear phones ringing because IT'S 2011 AND WE GOTTA HAVE SOME NONSENSICAL META BULLSHIT.
INT. JEAN'S HOUSE
JEAN becomes depressed at his unwillingness to fix his own career. His driver, JAMES CROMWELL, does lots of stuff other than DRIVING for him.
Jean, it's been over a year since you paid me, so...
JEAN fires him charmingly. JAMES is sullenly accepting of this.
Wow, I'm fired? Well, I assume you'll at least pay me for the year that you owe me, right?
JEAN shakes his head charmingly. JAMES leaves.
JEAN, depressed, decides to set all of his highly flammable films on fire in the middle of his flammable bedroom rug. Amazingly, this quickly turns out to be a BAD IDEA.
Oh no, I'd have known film was extremely flammable if I'd only watched Inglourious Basterds!
JEAN passes out. His DOG finds a POLICEMAN to help.
What's that, boy? This scene strains credulity even in consideration of the rest of the film?
The DOG barks and, frankly, shows an awful lot of PENIS.
Jean Dujardin set his films on fire? Oh, well there's no hurry then, I'm sure the extremely toxic gas that burning film produces would have killed him by now. I'll go and help move his corpse, I guess.
The POLICEMAN discovers JEAN, still alive, and takes him to the hospital. BÉRÉNICE finds out and rushes to see him.
Jean, thank goodness you're still handsome! Let's get you out of the safety of this hospital and into my mansion, paid for by money that you resent me for having!
JEAN sleeps for a while, then wanders around the house until he discovers a SHRINE WITH ALL HIS OLD SHIT, nothing ultra-terrifyingly-creepy stalkerish about that.
JEAN puts a gun in his mouth, but BÉRÉNICE stops him and offers him a part in her movie. JEAN nods emphatically.
I'll do it! Imagine that, saved by the very thing that could have saved me at any point during the last ninety minutes!
THE ACADEMY takes a break from supporting the STOP ONLINE PIRACY ACT to praise THE ARTIST, a film about a MAN who futilely fought, at great financial risk, the fact that his comfortable way of life was made obsolete by advancements in TECHNOLOGY.
NATALIE PORTMAN gives the film ALL OF THE OSCARS IN ALL OF THE CATEGORIES while she SPOILS THE ENDING. JEAN smiles charmingly.
Oh, so that's what it takes for a French actor to win Best Actor: no more than one line of spoken dialogue.