Oh boy, wait till Old Jimmy finds out Young Zod's taken over the Daily Planet!


Oh boy, wait till Old Jimmy finds out Young Zod's taken over the Daily Planet!

THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

EXT. TRAIN PLATFORM

BEN STILLER is on the phone with PATTON OSWALT who works for EHARMONY.

PATTON OSWALT

(over phone)

So how can I help you with your eHarmony account? Is it TOO awesome? Are you being TOO easily connected with all kinds of compatible hot singles? Audience, sign up from your cell phones now!

BEN STILLER

It's not that. I have a crush on my co-worker Kristen Wiig, but there's some glitch where I can't send a note to her eHarmony profile. I was hoping you could help?

PATTON OSWALT

Let me see. The obvious answer here is that she's blocked you for being a pervy stalker, but all right. I'll get back to you when the setting is more humorously incongruous, okay?

INT. LIFE MAGAZINE OFFICES

BEN arrives at LIFE and walks past the LIFE MOTTO which is:

LIFE MOTTO

To see the world,

Things dangerous to come to,

To see behind walls,

Draw closer,

To find each other and to feel.

That is the purpose of life.

The MOTTO is inscribed on a GIANT 30,000-TON ANVIL which then TOPPLES OVER and CRUSHES THE AUDIENCE. The FILM continues on, its dim light impassively flickering over the ENORMOUS SMEAR OF GOO that was once dozens of innocent people.

ADAM SCOTT

(addressing office)

Listen up, I'm here to downsize the company, and... Ben? Hello?

BEN STILLER

Sorry, I have this habit of zoning out and getting lost in daydreams. It's this heartwarming, quirky thing I do just in time for the holiday season.

ADAM SCOTT

Well we've all been waiting patiently while you slowly drooled all over yourself, and since the CEO spot is already filled, that's not helping you.

BEN STILLER

Wait, those happen in real time, in our universe? I literally stand in place like an unresponsive zombie for minutes on end? This is starting to feel less like whimsical charm and more like a severe neurological condition.

INT. BEN'S PHOTO LAB

BEN arrives at his PHOTONEGATIVE STORAGE AND PROCESSING LABORATORY and says hello to co-worker ADRIAN GONZALEZ, who takes a break from MANUALLY TYPESETTING THE LUTHERAN BIBLE and INVENTING FIRE to retrieve their SNAIL MAIL.

BEN STILLER

Oh boy, ace photographer Sean Penn sent me his latest negatives. But wait, the very best one, #25, is missing!

ADRIAN MARTINEZ

The picture for the last cover of LIFE ever? That's hugely important, have you searched absolutely everywhere inside the package?

BEN STILLER

I have, there's nothing else except this wallet full of negative-sized pockets, each of which could comfortably hold a single missing negative. I'm stumped.

ADRIAN MARTINEZ

I guess you have to embark on a quest to find Sean Penn! Well, that was a fairly average set-up time, but at least the plot is off and running...

(pause)

...Ben? Hello?

BEN STILLER

Huh? I was daydreaming that "The Watch" didn't suck wet rhino balls. What did you say?

ADRIAN MARTINEZ

You need to go find Sean Penn?

BEN STILLER

(frowns)

But that would require some kind of heartwarming, plot-propelling journey just in time for the holiday season. Why would I do that?

ADRIAN MARTINEZ

(shakes head)

INT. LIFE BUILDING - CAFETERIA

BEN is making some SEE THE WORLD COFFEE in his DANGEROUS TO COME TO MUG with two lumps of SEE BEHIND WALLS and a splash of DRAW CLOSER, FIND EACH OTHER AND TO FEEL when he spots KRISTEN WIIG.

BEN STILLER

Hey, Kristen. I was wondering-

KRISTEN WIIG

Hi, yeah, how can I-

BEN STILLER

-oh right, we should talk-

KRISTEN WIIG

-talk over each-

BEN STILLER

-over top of each other's lines, it might-

KRISTEN WIIG

-they might sound less boring-

BEN STILLER

-realistic, naturalism, you know-

KRISTEN WIIG

-semi-improvised-

BEN STILLER

-gives an organic feeling-

KRISTEN WIIG

-just gets tedious really-

BEN STILLER

-easier to write out a whole scene this way-

KRISTEN WIIG

-drags along-

BEN STILLER

-have this heartwarming problem-

KRISTEN WIIG

-really annoying-

BEN STILLER

-need to find Sean Penn-

KRISTEN WIIG

-move the plot-

BEN STILLER

-has this, like, negative thing-

KRISTEN WIIG

-he's in Greenland-

BEN STILLER

-if only I knew where-

KRISTEN WIIG

-Greenland I said-

BEN STILLER

-find each other and to feel-

KRISTEN WIIG

HE'S IN FUCKING GREENLAND GO TO GODDAMN GREENLAND

INT. BEN'S MOM'S PLACE

BEN arrives to check on his MOM, played by heartwarming actress SHIRLEY MACLAINE just in time for the holiday season.

BEN STILLER

Hi Mom, how is your GRAND PIANO??!?

SHIRLEY MACLAINE

Why thanks for asking, my GRAND PIANO is fine!

BEN STILLER

Gosh, I hope I can use these negatives for clues, one of them is of a mysterious object and I'm glad to hear your GRAND PIANO is okay!

KATHRYN HAHN

(leaning into shot)

Yeah, I'm in this movie too... I just wanted to say something so I'd get a metatag.

(vanishes)

INT. LIFE BUILDING - ELEVATOR

BEN gets on the elevator and has just pushed the button for the SEE-THE-WORLD-THINGS-DANGEROUS-TO-COME-TO-TO-SEE-BEHIND-WALLS-DRAW-CLOSER-TO-FIND-EACH-OTHER-AND-TO-FEEL-THAT-IS-THE-PURPOSE-OF-LIFETH FLOOR when ADAM enters.

ADAM SCOTT

Why the fuck are you still here? You should have reached Greenland scenes ago.

BEN STILLER

I had more plot points to set up first, like getting my childhood Stretch Armstrong doll, bonding with Kristen's kid over skateboarding, and revealing that I used to work at PAPA JOHN'S! Yum yum, sweet delicious PAPA JOHN'S pizza, available in YOUR town! Plus I had a weird Benjamin Button daydream that really should have been a second-to-last SNL sketch.

ADAM SCOTT

How about we daydream about me KICKING YOUR ASS IF YOU DON'T START THE MAIN PLOT ALREADY!!

(attacks)

BEN and ADAM have a MASSIVE CGI CITY-DESTROYING MATRIX-FIGHT!

ADAM SCOTT

(doing Godzilla damage)

GET THE GODDAMN PLOT MOVING ALREADY YOU FUCKWAAAAAAAAD

BEN STILLER

(doing Avengers damage)

YOU CAN'T MAKE MEEEEEEEEEE

ADAM SCOTT

(doing Pacific Rim damage)

FOR FUCK'S SAKE DUDE PLEASE, EVEN THE LIFELESS GOO IS GETTING BORED

BEN STILLER

(doing Man of Steel damage)

FINE

EXT. GREENLAND

BEN goes to GREENLAND and stumbles upon the DRUNKEN COPTER PILOT that flew SEAN PENN thanks to a heartwarming HORRIBLY CONTRIVED COINCIDENCE just in time for the holiday season.

DRUNK PILOT

Hey, I'm about to fly new radio parts to the ship Sean was on! Come with me?

BEN STILLER

It would be sheer irresponsible lunacy to get into a helicopter with such a crazy drunk pilot. How about you deliver the radio parts to them, and assuming you survive, ask them to call me.

Suddenly he imagines that KRISTEN WIIG with a GUITAR is there!

KRISTEN WIIG

I'm a manifestation of the psychotic break in your brain, telling you to indulge in self-destructive behaviour! So go do it, you pussy!!

BEN STILLER

How uplifting!

(boards helicopter)

They TAKE OFF! Eventually BEN LEAPS into the OCEAN and PUNCHES A SHARK in his loveable-loser sad-sack fashion, winding up on the SHIP.

CREWMEMBER

Well Sean was here in Greenland with us, but now he's in Iceland.

BEN STILLER

Considering how 93% of the audience doesn't know the difference, couldn't we have gone straight to Iceland?

CREWMEMBER

Probably.

EXT. ICELAND

BEN sets out on a BIKE but manages to WRECK it against the ONLY OBSTACLE IN A 50-MILE RADIUS in case you forgot he has SEVERELY IMPAIRED COGNITIVE ABILITY, I mean, LOVEABLE QUIRKS.

BEN STILLER

Hey kid! Trade me your expensive skateboard for this old rubber doll from the 1970s!

KID

No kid on Earth would ever make that trade, but, sure.

Suddenly BEN'S PHONE rings.

PATTON OSWALT

(over phone)

It's me! You don't mind incurring a few thousand bucks in roaming charges do you?

BEN STILLER

Nah, it's cool. For some reason nobody here wants to chat, they all pile into cars and drive off screaming "HEY IDIOT THE FUCKING VOLCANO IS ABOUT TO ERUPT". I think that's Icelandic for "good morning"?

BEN engages on a LIFE-AFFIRMING SKATEBOARD RIDE towards the small town about to be ENGULFED IN LAVA which detracts just a WEE BIT from the LIFE-AFFIRMING aspect.

ICELANDIC GUY

Hey, knobface!! I tried warning you at the top of the hill and you wouldn't listen, so I followed you down here to rescue you! Now get in my car already!

BEN STILLER

Oh man, so my inspiring journey down the hill meant nothing at all?

ICELANDIC GUY

Er, yeah... the journey DOWN THE HILL meant nothing, that's it. Um.

The volcano ERUPTS! Overhead we see a BIPLANE flying towards it with a PHOTOGRAPHER standing on the wing who is presumably SEAN PENN. But just then BEN'S PHONE announces he has an TEXT!

ADRIAN MARTINEZ'S TEXT

Ben, come back quick, Adam is super mad!

BEN STILLER

Well yeah, he was mad before. That was the whole reason I left. And if I return without the photo he'll be even more mad, and I just spotted Sean so I'm closer than ever, and it's not like I have infinite money to bounce between countries at a moment's notice and oh hey I'm back.

INT. BEN'S MOM'S PLACE

BEN STILLER

Oh man, Adam fired me. Fuck life. And fuck LIFE. Fuck this wallet.

(throws out wallet)

I'm glad that when I transferred my old wallet stuff to this one, I never opened up all the pockets in it, like normal people do with new wallets.

(sits down)

Hey wait, negative #24, it's a photo of the GRAND PIANO!

SHIRLEY MACLAINE

That's right dear. Sean Penn came to visit earlier, and I took his professional-grade camera that he makes his living with, and fucked around with it wasting his expensive film, because I am an awful host.

(pause)

Anyway he's in Afghanistan now.

BEN STILLER

Oh boy, this gives me fresh energy and motivation to resume my quest! More than enough to bolt off to Afghanistan, but not quite enough to get my wallet back out of the otherwise empty trash bin I put it in ten minutes ago.

EXT. AFGHANISTAN

BEN bribes some WARLORDS with DAYS-OLD CAKE and then plays the MOST TEDIOUS GAME OF CHARADES IN HUMAN HISTORY with a pair of SHERPAS. But he manages to find rugged, heroic photojournalist SEAN PENN!

BEN STILLER

There you are! Do you have negative #25?

SEAN PENN

No, it was in the wallet, numbnuts.

BEN STILLER

Dammit, I should have realized! I should have known a professional media photographer wouldn't leave me hanging like that!

SEAN PENN

Indeed, Ben. For truly, photojournalists are the most honourable specimens of humanity, drawn by a higher artistic calling. I only hope that with this role I, Sean Penn, can do justice to these noble professionals we call photojournalists.

TMZ

(brains explode)

INT. AIRPORT

BEN decides to pick a fight with AIRPORT SECURITY and gets ARRESTED! Luckily his EHARMONY PROFILE is incompatible with DAILY COCKLECTROCUTION IN THE MONKEY-FECES ROOM AT GUANTANAMO so he is released.

INT. PIANO STORE - BACK IN AMERICA

BEN is helping SHIRLEY sell the GRAND PIANO.

BEN STILLER

I'm so sorry. I know it was a gift from Dad.

SHIRLEY

Don't be silly dear. It may be one of the last connections to my late husband, but ultimately it's just a thing. There's no point holding on to material possessions, no matter what their sentimental value.

(pause)

Oh, I dug your wallet out of the trash by the way, the one your co-worker gave you?

BEN STILLER

Oh boy! And here's the negative!

SHIRLEY MACLAINE

Great!

(pause)

Any chance this will help you get your job back, so that maybe we can hold off selling the pian-

BEN STILLER

Thanks Mom!!

(rushes out)

INT. LIFE BUILDING

BEN motivates ADAM to use SEAN'S PICTURE by INSULTING HIM A WHOLE LOT and then LEAVING, which WORKS.

ADRIAN MARTINEZ

So what was the picture?

BEN STILLER

(wistful smile)

Heartwarmingly enough, I didn't even look at it, just in time for the holi-

ADRIAN MARTINEZ

FUCK'S SAKE DUDE YOU SPENT LIKE NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS TRAVELLING THE FUCKING GLOBE TO FIND THAT FUCKING PICTURE WHY WOULD YOU NOT LOOK AT IT

(brain explodes)

EXT. NEW YORK - DAYS LATER

BEN meets up with KRISTEN.

KRISTEN WIIG

Hey look, the final issue of LIFE!

BEN STILLER

Wow, the missing photo... is of me. Looking at the slide of negatives with the missing photo. So Sean's original package to me, contained a photo of something that hadn't happened yet. What the fuck?

KRISTEN WIIG

Isn't it obvious? This whole movie was an extended hallucination that started back at the original train platform, where you have since died from exposure.

BEN STILLER

That might just be the happiest possible ending. Have a whimsically inspirational holiday, everybody!

LIFELESS GOO

Oh, fuck off.

END

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