"Call it a hunch, call it intuition, but I suspect the murder weapon may be hidden... somewhere... in this very room."

KNIVES OUT

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. ELEGANT IMPOSING COUNTRY MANSION, OF THE TYPE SUITABLE FOR MURDER MYSTERIES

Housekeeper EDI PATTERSON begins her morning routine.

EDI PATTERSON

Ah, it's another fine day here at the big huge murder mystery mansion as I prepare breakfast for rich old Christopher Plummer, the hard-headed patriarch of a horrible wretched secret-clutching family who all rely on his largesse and fortune to avoid utter ruin-

She finds CHRISTOPHER TOTES DEAD with his THROAT SLASHED THE FUCK OPEN.

EDI PATTERSON

Yeah that tracks.

(updates LinkedIn)

INT. THE MANSION, ONE WEEK LATER

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER'S STAR-STUDDED FAMILY is brought to the mansion for further questioning by POLICE LIEUTENANT LAKEITH STANFIELD and PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR DANIEL CRAIG, who made SUCH AN IMPRESSION in his tiny unbilled cameo in THE FORCE AWAKENS that he's been given a BIG BREAK STARRING ROLE, WAY TO GO DANIEL!

LAKEITH STANFIELD

My gosh we've got quite the megawatt lineup of suspects: horror icon JAMIE LEE CURTIS, DON "Miami Vice" JOHNSON, OSCAR nominee TONI COLLETTE, MULTIPLE Oscar nominee MICHAEL SHANNON andinternationalsuperstarchrisevans SO LET'S GET TO IT!

(checks notes)

I have a lot of questions here, plus I need to fill in our audience as to who everyone is. Please bear with me. Now, you were all here for Plummer's birthday the night before he was found dead. We ruled it a suicide before remembering we promised everyone a big fun murder mystery movie, so now-

DANIEL CRAIG

(plays single note on piano)

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Oh that's right, Daniel and I worked out a code in advance for when he wants to ask questions. B-flat three octaves above middle C means "Did you all arrive together?"

JAMIE LEE CURTIS

As Christopher Plummer's daughter, I think so... Oh except for my husband Don Johnson, who had to leave a few hours early to help with preparations. Apparently he had to pick up some supplies from a skeezy motel on the outskirts of town along with a few dozen condoms.

DON JOHNSON

And Plummer sure didn't threaten me with exposing the affair that I'm not having that he knew nothing about because it doesn't exist, THAT'S for sure!

MICHAEL SHANNON

As Plummer's son who nominally runs our publishing company, but who disagreed about everything with him, and who generally sucks, I certainly agree he wasn't about to fire my ass or anything.

TONI COLLETTE

Oh indeed! Hello, I'm the widow of Plummer's other son. Perhaps I can interest you in some tea while I certainly wasn't stealing heaps of money from Plummer? We have orange pekoe and English breakfast flavours, but we're totally out of "Plummer found me out and was cutting me off completely and told me the night before he died", in fact we've NEVER had that flavour since it never happened, ha ha.

DANIEL CRAIG

(in deep-fried Popeye's Cajun accent representing the Southern part of some planet, somewhere)

Hm. Ah soospect fawl plei.

JAMIE LEE CURTIS

Oh God, is that how you talk in this movie?

DANIEL CRAIG

Yeeaas, boot since nowboady waints to reed ahl mah dyealoog lak this, I'll speak normally from now on. Thank you all for your time, we'll be in touch.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Huh? But we still haven't talked to the fourth family member who got cut off by Plummer and had a huge argument with him and who has second billing...

DANIEL CRAIG

(blinks)

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Y'know, Chris Ev-

DANIEL CRAIG

No no no, it's too soon. We're keeping him under the radar for now, for some reason. Instead I'd like to talk to Plummer's personal nurse Ana de Armas, who we also summoned. Especially as she has the hilarious character quirk of puking any time she lies.

ANA DE ARMAS

Wha? No I don't.

(projectile vomits)

Okay I do.

DANIEL CRAIG

Excellent. We have a long and detailed account of last night's events. You can corroborate it so we can try to spot where someone was... LYING!

ANA DE ARMAS

Actually everything happened exactly like they all told you.

DANIEL CRAIG

Ah. Then perhaps you can give your account of last night? To help organize your thoughts, why not have a complete flashback spanning several hours while I flip this coin in the air. Ready? and..... GO!

(flips coin)

INT. THE MANSION, LAST WEEK

Wee see the big PARTY for CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER'S BIRTHDAY, at the end of which ANA helps him upstairs to prepare for bed.

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER

Ah what a great party. I provided at LEAST four separate motives for murder, plenty to keep a hypothetical audience guessing I'd say. Now I insist we play our usual game of Go before bedtime.

ANA DE ARMAS

What is it with you and this game? It's not like critics give higher star ratings to movies with board game content. I mean, that would be absurd.

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER

Ha ha, indeed.

(gestures to shelf holding Terraforming Mars, Wingspan, Mansions of Madness, Cryptid, Spirit Island, Museum, Clank! In! Space!, Acquire, Concept, Roll Player, Dominion Nocturne, Lanterns Dice, Point Salad, Second Chance, Cockroach Poker, Songbirds, Zen Master, Circus Flohcati)

CHRISTOPHER decides to knock the board over rather than lose, also sending his medication tumbling! ANA picks everything up and administers the regular shots, BUT!

ANA DE ARMAS

Oh fuck, I mixed up the morphine with the not morphine! I've overdosed you and you only have eight minutes to live! Plus the antidote is gone! Also, symptoms won't appear for five minutes, which is handy for plot purposes I must say!

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER

Well shit. Luckily ONE symptom has already appeared, which is me being totally level-headed and remarkably accepting of the situation.

(thinks)

No way can help arrive in time. And killing me accidentally will go horribly for both you and your undocumented Mom, so we have to stage this as a suicide.

ANA DE ARMAS

Like, you're going to quickly write a suicide note and then go kill yourself in front of everyone, thus removing any suspicion of murder?

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER

Oh fuck no, that's not nearly complicated enough. Here's the real plan which I've just invented at a moment's notice under extreme duress, kind of a remarkable feat for some random...

(pause)

Let's make my character a famous mystery writer, okay? Okay, cool. Anyway here goes. You leave, loudly announcing the time which is never suspicious. Drive just past the security cameras and stash your car, hoping nobody else leaves right after you and spots it. Return to the house and climb the outside latticework, hoping it won't break but it will but so what. Sneak in the fake window, disguise yourself as me and head downstairs, making sure people ONLY see you through frosted glass or hazes of smoke or some shit. Come back up, sneak out again, cross the big huge open grounds a SECOND time without being seen, and hey presto! It's a foolproof plan.

ANA DE ARMAS

Um I think there's a few prob-

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER

(slashes own throat)

ANA DE ARMAS

Famous writer, never heard of running your shit past an editor first? Come on.

INT. BACK TO THE PRESENT

DANIEL'S COIN lands in his hand. Fully aware she can't lie without HEAVING UP CHUNKS, ANA chooses her words carefully.

ANA DE ARMAS

Um yes. I prepared Christopher for bed, he was DEAD TIRED. Then I UTTERLY MURDERED HIM at Go before injecting him with things at various dosages, then I left humming SUICIDE SOLUTION to myself.

DANIEL CRAIG

Hmmmmmmmmmm. You know, I'd like you to help me examine the grounds further.

ANA DE ARMAS

What really? Why?

DANIEL CRAIG

Because we've exposed everyone's motives and how Plummer died, and you trying to cover your tracks is gonna have to provide the suspense for the next little bit.

ANA DE ARMAS

But we still don't know who mysteriously hired you! That's suspenseful right?

DANIEL CRAIG

I guess, but we've stopped referring to that detail so I can dramatically remind everyone later. So for now, hijinks it is!

EXT. AROUND THE ESTATE

DANIEL, LAKEITH, and ADA look for clues around the grounds.

DANIEL CRAIG

Perhaps there might be footprints in that mud.

ADA DE ARMAS

Huh? What did you say?

(drives 4x4 through mud)

(does donuts)

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Oh hey, I got the VHS of the security tape from surprise cameo M. Emmett Walsh.

ADA DE ARMAS

Let me hold onto that for you, I'll just stuff it into my giant magnet bag. AAA-CHOOO

(unspools tape, blows nose with it)

DANIEL CRAIG

I say, is that wooden latticework missing a piece-

ANA DE ARMAS

Whoopsie!

(flamethrowers entire side of mansion)

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Dammit, if only we could find some solid leads!

(throws up hands)

ANA DE ARMAS

(gagging)

Please don't do that.

INT. MEMORIAL

RIAN JOHNSON acknowledges the AMERICAN THANKSGIVING release date of the film by having the FAMILY sit around YELLING POLITICS at each other with all the subtlety and nuance of SLEEP-DEPRIVED CABLE NEWS PUNDITS. Nevertheless the CAST bravely soldiers on, trying to distract themselves from the sinking feeling that NONE OF THESE CHARACTERS ACTUALLY MATTER.

INT. THE NEXT DAY - THE READING OF THE WILL

FRANK OZ shows up to read the will, and finally CHRIS EVANS, only glimpsed in flashback to this point, enters the movie for real!

CHRIS EVANS

Hey everyone! Big star, arriving late to the foreground of the story, don't mind me!

(reads "Watchmen" comic)

JAMIE LEE CURTIS

I know we're all on edge, since we were all told to our face that we suck and/or we're getting cut off. But let's try and be civil while Frank reads the will okay?

FRANK OZ

Ahem. Will changed it was. Shit-all you get, Ana only beneficiary she is.

MICHAEL SHANNON

WHAAAAT?!? HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN WHAT THE FUCK

DON JOHNSON

THERE WAS NO PRIOR INDICATION THIS MIGHT COME TO PASS

Everyone FREAKS OUT and SWARMS ANA but CHRIS EVANS offers her a ride to safety!

INT. DINER

CHRIS and ANA have some comfort food in their comfort sweaters.

CHRIS EVANS

No, please, have more baked beans. Another burrito? I can't finish this lamb curry, you have it.

(pause)

Now tell me everything, and remember that I, and everyone within a 50-foot radius, will know if you're lying.

ANA DE ARMAS

Oh boy, I bet sympathetic pukers are LOVING this fucking movie.

(sighs)

All right, fine.

(tells whole story!)

CHRIS EVANS

Hm. Okay look, I'll help you because my family sucks. And as long as you give me my share of the money.

ANA DE ARMAS

Well if you expose me for manslaughter, I'd lose the inheritance and you'd get your share for sure.

CHRIS EVANS

Strangely, I don't want to do that.

INT. ANA'S PLACE - THE NEXT DAY

ANA gets an unmarked letter with part of a BLOODWORK report saying I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST WEEK, but then with LAST WEEK crossed out with a note SORRY THAT SEEMED LIKE TOO MUCH OF A SHOUT-OUT, ANYWAY YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. ANA takes the letter to CHRIS EVANS.

CHRIS EVANS

There's only one thing to do, we have to go to the ME's office and steal that bloodwork report, then make the rendezvous with your blackmailer and steal the copy.

ANA DE ARMAS

What rendezvous? It doesn't say anything about...

CHRIS EVANS

You sure? I think maybe if you check your email there miiiiight be something about a rendezvous. It'll probably have a subject line like "Hey there Morphy McMorphineFace", to take a wild guess.

Indeed THERE IS AN EMAIL! But first they drive to the ME's and discover that it's ON FIRE!

ANA DE ARMAS

Oh good, the evidence is destroyed! Now Daniel Craig is back to square one, however square one appears to be right over there, as he's looking directly at me. Well since I'm a nurse maybe I can think of some plausible reason to be visiting the medical examiner, OR!

(activates SUPER GUILT MODE on console)

(squeals tires, drives off extra guilty style!)

There is a SILLY CAR CHASE between COP VEHICLES and ANA'S SHITTY CAR that ends with ANA crashing into a GIANT LAMPSHADE.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Freeze, Chris Evans, you're under arrest! Now you'll pay for harbouring the King of Wakanda's murderer, Bucky Barnes! Sorry, obligatory Marvel joke, you understand.

CHRIS EVANS

(nods solemnly)

CHRIS is hauled off and DANIEL hitches a ride with ANA to the station.

ANA DE ARMAS

Oh, um, I just happen to have something to pick up in this area? It's a normal mundane errand that was waiting at the end of our huge chaotic car chase. Ha ha ha.

DANIEL CRAIG

Certainly! I'll wait here, fire up some tunes, and amuse the audience with my drawlwarbling.

ANA goes to the rendezvous and finds a darkened room with... EDI PATTERSON!

ANA DE ARMAS

Well well, Edi the housekeeper. Care to explain what the hell's going on? Oh, you can shake with morphine overdose symptoms all you like, I want answers! Don't think you can confuse the issue with collapsing and shutting down vital organs and goddamn it fine I'm calling an ambulance.

ANA calls 911 and gets EDI to hospital, but the JIG is now TRULY UP, no more DOWNJIGGING for ANA.

INT. BACK AT THE MANSION

DANIEL CRAIG

I guess we're finally at the point where I can no longer pretend to NOT see your obvious culpability.

ANA DE ARMAS

I guess so.

(divulges entire story)

All that's left is for me to confess to the family, renounce the inheritance, and go to jail. It occurs to me that if you REALLY want the case against me to be air-tight, there might be yet another copy of that bloodwork report with Edi's marijuana stash in the study.

DANIEL finds the report, reads it, and LEAPS INTO ACTION!!

DANIEL CRAIG

Holy shit, I've solved everything! Fucking A! Aw yeah we're in the endgame NOW, assholes!!

LAKEITH STANFIELD

I already did the obligatory-

DANIEL CRAIG

Shut it, time for the big huge reveal scene! With a huge monologue and shit!! ARE YOU READY FOR THISSSS

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Okay okay, settle down. So we'll gather the family together as per tradition, I assume?

DANIEL CRAIG

Hm, not deconstructive enough. Instead I'd like to confront ONLY the guilty person to get rid of all that extra suspense. Let's all go to the Iron Throne room with the chair made of weapons, that's the BEST place to confront a murderer in.

DANIEL and ANA go to the IRON THRONE room and LAKEITH brings in... CHRIS EVANS WHAAAAAT?!?

DANIEL CRAIG

You see the bloodwork showed that Chris Plummer was actually fine. Chris Evans switched the meds, but Ana unconsciously realized they were switched so she switched them back, but didn't realize her switch unswitched the switch.

ANA DE ARMAS

But why did he even do that?

DANIEL CRAIG

Ah, because Evans knew you were going to inherit everything. Once he saw the trope forming of "rich old fuck gives his estate to the one kind-hearted hard-working person he knows", he knew there was only one way that could end.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

So who hired you?

DANIEL CRAIG

THAT is the donut within the donut within the donut! I'm obsessed with donuts now, you see. Anyone have any donuts? No? Nobody?

(sighs)

Where was I. Right, Chris hired me to catch Ana, but later on when he realized the switch was unswitched, he had to switch plans and destroy the evidence of the unswitched switch.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

So Plummer's Mom character isn't anyone in disguise? Damn, I was banking on that.

CHRIS EVANS

Compelling theory, Daniel, but light on actual proof! And it's not like Edi can testify-

ANA DE ARMAS

(phone rings)

Hello? What's that, Edi is out of her morphine coma and ratting out Chris Evans?

(gags)

And eyewitnesses saw Evans burning down the ME's office?

(heaves inside own mouth)

And Plummer secretly videotaped Evans switching the meds?

(stomach bile leaks out ears, nose)

CHRIS EVANS

FINE! Yes I switched the meds, tried to kill Edi, burned the office, ALL OF IT, YOU HEAR ME?! I, CHRIS EVANS, AM ONE-MILLION-PERCENT GUILTY! PLUS YEAH I BUSTED ANT-MAN AND MY BUDDIES OUT OF SUPERJAIL, RULE OF THREE, FUCKERS!!!

ANA DE ARMAS

(spews vomit head-to-toe over Evans)

CHRIS EVANS

Oops.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Plus I recorded all that on my phone! Audio only, thank God.

CHRIS EVANS

I can still get revenge on Ana! Let's see, I'm sure any of these 500 weapons attached to this chair will do the trick, I mean what are the odds I'd choose-

(stabs Ana with prop knife)

This is NOT my day.

DANIEL CRAIG

(helping her up)

I'm glad you're safe, Ana. This is... no time to die.

(winks)

ANA DE ARMAS

(winks)

With the TRUTH revealed, CHRIS EVANS is arrested, and ANA gets the whole inheritance! She heads to the balcony to see the assorted FAMILY sulking outside.

ANA DE ARMAS

Sorry guys, I don't think I'll be sharing that money after all.

JAMIE LEE CURTIS

Money, schmoney. You couldn't share ANY of the exciting conclusion with any of us? Fuck you.

END

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