Denise decides that whatever meeting's across the hall HAS to be a better option.


Denise decides that whatever meeting's across the hall HAS to be a better option.

THE BIG SHORT

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

EXT. FLASHBACK MONTAGE

RYAN GOSLING (V/O)

Hey everyone, I’m Ryan Gosling. My character doesn’t actually do a whole lot, so I’ve been given narrator duty to help make up for that.

(pause)

So back in the 1980s, a bank guy came up with the idea of creating bonds based on mortgages, since they were considered rock-solid. But this nifty new gimmick would later grow monstrously out of control and threaten to obliterate all civilization, kind of like shared cinematic universes.

(pause)

And now for an upbeat, charming yarn about how we're all going to die in chaos and anarchy. See ya later!

INT. HIGH POWERED WALL STREET OFFICE - 2005

Open-toed renegade investment fund manager CHRISTIAN BALE meets with some RANDOM SUITS.

CHRISTIAN BALE

I’m also a glass-eyed semi-autistic genius doctor, because at this point, playing just some dude is no challenge anymore. Anyway, by looking at reams of raw data I’ve realized there’s a housing bubble that’s about to collapse. I would like to use this information to make fuckloads of money.

RANDOM SUITS

(pissing themselves laughing)

HAHAHA WHAT A FUCKING LOSER IDIOT

CHRISTIAN BALE

(semi-autistically)

Please create a thing that allows me to bet that the housing market will crash.

RANDOM SUITS

(shitting out kidneys with hysteria)

WHAT A FUCKING WHACKJOB HEE HEE SURE

CHRISTIAN BALE

(glass-eyedly)

Thank you.

INT. BANKER PARTY

RYAN GOSLING hears about BALE’S idea to make heaps of money off financial catastrophe.

RYAN GOSLING

That sounds neat. I would also like to make fucktons of money. In case anyone’s having trouble understanding how non-rich people are getting fucked by all this, here’s a rich person doing rich things to help explain.

NAKED HOT-TUB MARGOT ROBBIE explains some financial instruments directly to the audience, thus breaking the FOURTH WALL STREET. And now here to explain that joke is NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON!

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON

(flying his Ship of the Imagination through an interstellar credit default swap)

You see, what we just did there was to combine two expressions that share a common word, to create a humorous new hybrid expression. This kind of phrasal-overlap portmanteau traces its roots back to Lewis Carroll, but more importantly, Isaac Newton. Later bitches!

(zooms into bank hole)

INT. STEVE CARELL'S COMPANY

RYAN GOSLING’S company accidentally phones STEVE CARELL’S company and spills the beans about BALE'S plan.

STEVE CARELL

Now that we know about this plan to make assloads of cash from vast hardship, we'd also like to do that, please.

RYAN GOSLING

Why in fuck should I do business with you?

STEVE CARELL

Because I’m an abrasive asshole who pisses people off constantly? But my brother died, so I’m the closest damn thing this movie has to a sympathetic character.

MARISA TOMEI

Also I'm here! This isn't just some big ol' whiteguy sausagefest, nope! Allow me to add my Oscar-winning talent to the proceedings by

INT. BIG POWERFUL WALL STREET OFFICE LOBBY

Plucky young up-and-coming investors JOHN MAGARO and FINN WHITROCK stumble across BALE’S plan just lying around in a lobby somewhere.

JOHN MAGARO & FINN WHITROCK

Wow, that’s a great plan. We should also do this plan.

(pause)

We admit outright that this is not how this part happened, and yes, in the time it took to explain that, we could have told the real version. The important thing is we're two random dudes who added our names to the list of people who didn't get utterly colon-shredded by this.

JOHN and FINN try to enlist BRAD PITT’S help.

BRAD PITT

I don’t do that shit any more. It’s immoral and vile and profits off the suffering of others.

JOHN MAGARO & FINN WHITROCK

Please?

BRAD PITT

Okay.

(waves magic wand)

There, now you too can wring untold riches from this impending tragedy.

JOHN MAGARO & FINN WHITROCK

YAAAY!

BRAD PITT

But don't seem too happy about it. I want to see glum, glum looks as you sip $800 scotch in your custom Jaguar parked on your diamond-encrusted yacht.

JOHN MAGARO & FINN WHITROCK

We can manage that.

INT. STEVE'S OFFICE

RYAN brings a game of JENGA to STEVE to explain things.

RYAN GOSLING

See, this Jenga tower is a bunch of mortgages bundled together. The bottom ones are pure shit which means the whole tower will collapse.

STEVE CARELL

I'm not getting it.

RYAN GOSLING

Okay, this Settlers of Catan game is the housing market. And I'm that player who convinces you to build on 6 sheep and 8 sheep, and then trades you more sheep, all the while holding the Monopoly card that he's gonna use to steal all your sheep and leave you fucked.

STEVE CARELL

I hate that fucking asshole. But it's still not clear to me.

RYAN GOSLING

Imagine playing Roll for the Galaxy except instead of a light, engaging game of strategy and chance for 2 to 5 players involving dice, cups, and planets, you get violated through every orifice by searing-hot serrated Bowie knives covered in leper sweat.

STEVE CARELL

Now I get it. The middle class is about to become a sack of used porn condoms left out in the sun too long and then Batista bombed.

(pause)

We GOTTA make money off this.

STEVE’S TEAM travels to MIAMI to see just how fucked everything is.

EXT. MIAMI

STEVE'S TEAM explores an area of ABANDONED MCMANSIONS until they find somebody at home.

RANDOM TENANT

Er, hi. Am I in trouble? I rented this house from a landlord who signed his mortgage by jacking off onto the contract. And on my rental agreement I'm listed as "Patsy McSuckerson".

STEVE CARELL

Rather than explain or try to help, we'll just recoil slowly in horror. Good luck!

(pause)

And yeah, in the movie I'm not here personally, but if Adam McKay can randomly change shit and then get off the hook by admitting it, well so can this script. Let's check out another place...

CROCODILE IN POOL

(attacking)

HELLO, I OWN THIS HOUSE ALONG WITH TEN CONDOS, COULD I INTEREST YOU IN A FLIPPING OPPORTUNITY

STEVE CARELL'S TEAM

AIIEEEEEE

(flees)

After some more searching they find evil mortgage brokers MAX GREENFIELD FROM NEW GIRL and NOT HIM.

MAX GREENFIELD

Bwah ha ha, I'm so evil! I'm selling mortgages like they were Big Macs! I sold a mortgage to my own poop this morning! Then I threw an old lady into a vat of acid just because! Then I caused Hurricane Katrina and cancelled the NHL regular season and rigged it for Crash to win Best Picture and

STEVE CARELL

(aside to team)

My God this is even more fucked up than we thought. The whole economy is based on a fragile house of cards. And not even the good quality pure-plastic poker cards, like, shitty cheap gas-station bridge cards.

(pause)

We REEALLY gotta make money off this.

AUDIENCE

(buys 300 tons of canned goods)

INT. ANTHONY BOURDAIN'S KITCHEN

ANTHONY BOURDAIN explains more stuff to the audience while NAKED IN A HOT TUB in his RESTAURANT.

ANTHONY BOURDAIN

So then as a way of selling all the shit mortgages that were piling up, tons of bad shit got all bundled together into a big bag of shit, which then got rated as though it were filet mignon. Imagine buying a "Great Cinema of the 2000s" collection but then finding all Nic Cage movies... oh God, even thinking of that... MMBULPPH...

(vomits up elegant nine-course meal)

INT. BALE'S COMPANY

Meanwhile CHRISTIAN BALE, having set the plot in motion but with nothing more to do really, bums around churning out award-winning acting footage.

BALE’S BOSS

You’re crazy. You've doomed this company. Stop this shit.

CHRISTIAN BALE

(semi-autistically blasting rock music)

Nope.

EXT. LAS VEGAS

Everybody but BALE goes to a LAS VEGAS CONVENTION and obviously this is where they all MEET UP and form a new superteam called THE INVESTORS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST PORTFOLIOS and they fight the LIQUIDITY WAR after enduring the AGE OF NULL-BONDS except nobody meets anyone new and whoopdie fuck.

Instead STEVE and his team go to a RESTAURANT so that STEVE can talk to a GUY REJECTED FROM BEING AN "ANGEL" VILLAIN FOR BEING TOO CARTOONISHLY EVIL.

SATAN B. EELZEBUB

(evilly)

Ah waiter, I’ll have the baby back ribs please. By which I mean please bring me an actual, living human baby, so I can tear the flesh off its spine and ribs with my bare teeth. Now how can I help?

STEVE CARELL

I'm concerned the audience might be holding out a small shred of hope for the future of our society. Thought you could help squash that out?

SELENA GOMEZ

Allow me! Imagine I play blackjack and then double down. Then somebody ELSE bets whether I'll do full penetration during my set on Saturday Night Live. And someone ELSE bets whether anyone would even notice. So you see, when I proceed to lose at blackjack it destroys everyone, even the people on bet on me to lose, somehow.

STEVE CARELL

My God this entire country is totally, utterly, deeply, groin-wrenchingly fucked.

(pause)

We should make ALL THE MONEY WE CAN off this. Like, SO MUCH MONEY.

AUDIENCE

(builds double-fortified fallout shelters)

INT. BALE’S OFFICE

BALE’S BOSS

Seriously dude, quit now. The investors are shitting bricks, then using those bricks to build new stories on their office towers just to leap out of.

CHRISTIAN BALE

(eccentrically air drumming)

Nope.

INT. WALL STREET

The HOUSING BUBBLE BURSTS but WALL STREET pulls some bullshit to cover their ass before the shit really goes down. Our HEROES rush in to valiantly try and save their own vast profits.

STEVE CARELL

Melissa Leo, you suck. Your rating agency is supposed to be watching these assholes. Now that I've pointed this out, could you instantaneously reverse years of corruption please.

MELISSA LEO

Ah, but you'll notice Wall Street's hand is completely up MY asshole and is using me as a puppet. No can do.

JOHN MAGARO & FINN WHITROCK

Don't worry guys, we’ll blow the whistle on all this! Whaddya say, the only reporter we know personally?

REPORTER

Sorry, also an asshole puppet.

JOHN MAGARO & FINN WHITROCK

So much for THAT idea!

Finally, all the shit goes down for real, and people's lives are destroyed.

JOHN MAGARO & FINN WHITROCK

(get rich)

BRAD PITT

(gets rich)

CHRISTIAN BALE

(gets rich)

RYAN GOSLING

(gets rich)

STEVE CARELL

Hmm.

(pause)

Okay.

(gets rich)

AUDIENCE

Wow. That sure was a frightening look at the vulnerability of our financial system, but at least maybe the worst is--

A title card explains that the real-life version of BALE is now investing everything in WATER.

AUDIENCE

--uh-oh.

The audience STAMPEDES OUT and trades everything they own for WATER and SEEDS and MORE CANNED FOOD and BATTERIES and SOLAR CELLS and LEATHER CLOTHES and a CONCRETE FORTRESS and KNIVES and GUNS and AXES and FFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

END

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