They came with their hearts filled with love and hope, but that one fateful night at the Chernobyl ice rink would change everything.

SERENDIPITY

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. GIANT DEPARTMENT STORE

We open with the sound of JINGLE BELLS, a mark of QUALITY since--

JOHN CUSACK

Wait. This is a Christmas movie?

CAMERA

(tilts up and down)

JOHN CUSACK

So why are we doing this script now? It's May.

CAMERA

(briefly Dutch-angles)

JOHN CUSACK

Oh, this is one of those Christmas movies where Christmas is irrelevant to the plot, right?

CAMERA

(tilts up and down)

JOHN CUSACK

Okay. Thanks for clearing that up.

He meets KATE BECKINSALE.

JOHN CUSACK

I want to buy these gloves.

KATE BECKINSALE

I also want to buy these gloves.

JOHN CUSACK

By all means, buy these gloves.

KATE BECKINSALE

No, you should buy these gloves.

JOHN CUSACK

I insist. Buy these gloves.

KATE BECKINSALE

Why, thank you for letting me buy these gloves.

JOHN CUSACK

Are we done ending every sentence with "buy these gloves"?

KATE BECKINSALE

Yes. Let's talk about destiny.

JOHN CUSACK

Um... well, that's different.

KATE BECKINSALE

You see, I believe that all of our actions are controlled by some unseen amorphous force. For example, if I hadn't been cast in the world's worst war movie by a jerkass director who didn't think I was pretty or thin enough, I might never have been sympathy-cast in this thing. It's fate.

JOHN CUSACK

No, that's Michael Bay being blinded by lens flare.

KATE BECKINSALE

And if the word "serendipity" hadn't appeared in director Marc Klein's word-a-day calendar, you wouldn't be charmed by my insistence on trying to create happy accidents to bring us together instead of our own free wills. See? Fate.

JOHN CUSACK

No, that's lazy writing.

KATE BECKINSALE

Look, I'll make it simple for you. Either you can use free will and get my marshmallow tonight only, or you can wait for fate to do the rest and get a lifetime supply of my marshmallow eventually.

JOHN CUSACK

And by "marshmallow" you mean...

KATE BECKINSALE

OH JUST GO WITH IT.

JOHN spends the rest of the evening indulging KATE's ridiculous notions until they finally lose each other, forcing JOHN to harass EVERY NEARBY BRUNETTE, none of whom is her.

JOHN CUSACK

Well, I guess the woman I've only known for a few hours isn't my true love. It's probably for the best. I bet she thinks you can treat cancer with lemon juice.

INT. SEVERAL TIME-LAPSE TEST SHOTS LATER

KATE is now engaged to JOHN CORBETT.

KATE BECKINSALE

Wait a second. Isn't he as bland as the other John?

CAMERA

(tilts up and down)

KATE BECKINSALE

So why do I look so unhappy?

CAMERA

(zooms in on her not-quite-fitting engagement ring)

KATE BECKINSALE

Well, what did you want him to do? Measure my fingers in my sleep?

CAMERA

(rack-focuses on JOHN's clarinet)

KATE BECKINSALE

Yeah, he plays weird Yanni-ish music, but...

CAMERA

(rapidly zooms in and out on KATE's face)

KATE BECKINSALE

I wouldn't live with him if that was a turn-off! Give him a break!

Meanwhile, JOHN is now engaged to BRIDGET MOYNAHAN.

JOHN CUSACK

Wait a second. Doesn't Bridget look bizarrely like Kate?

CAMERA

(hesitates a beat, then tilts up and down)

JOHN CUSACK

Meaning she possesses the only quality I had the time to like about Kate. And it seems like she has plenty of other good qualities. So what am I so hesitant about?

CAMERA

(whip-pans to KATE and back)

JOHN CUSACK

So what? Did Jess M. make a mistake marrying her husband instead of stalking that guy she had a crush on in freshman year?

CAMERA

(pans rapidly several times)

JOHN CUSACK

Well, how is this not the same thing?! Ugh, never mind!

INT. EVERY POSSIBLE INCH OF NEW YORK CITY

KATE and JOHN drag their respective best friends. MOLLY SHANNON and JEREMY PIVEN, across the city looking for SIGNS.

KATE BECKINSALE

Okay, hear me out. His name was John. I'm engaged to a John right now. That has to be a sign!

MOLLY SHANNON

No, that's the most common men's name in Western history.

JOHN CUSACK

She had freckles on her arm in the shape of Cassiopeia. My character talked about Cassiopeia with a girl in 1985's The Sure Thing. That has to be a sign!

JEREMY PIVEN

No, that's borderline plagiarism.

KATE BECKINSALE

We just passed a dalmatian on the street. John Cusack was born in 1966, exactly ten years after the publication of The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith. That has to be a sign!

MOLLY SHANNON

No, that's a ten-year difference.

JOHN CUSACK

Her ex-roommate was a weird artist. She's engaged to a weird musician. That has to be a sign!

JEREMY PIVEN

No, that's the kind of person you meet in New York 25 times a day.

KATE BECKINSALE

I'm ending every line with the same phrase again! That has to be a sign!

MOLLY SHANNON

No, that's lazy writing.

JOHN CUSACK

"No, that's lazy writing" is something I said earlier in this script! That has to be a sign!

JEREMY PIVEN

No, that's a joke we should really wind up.

KATE BECKINSALE

Okay, fine. Maybe I should have a serious conversation with my fiancé about his occasional self-absorption, which is a problem, but not such a big problem that we can't work through it if we care about each other.

JOHN CUSACK

And maybe I should decide to be happy with the gorgeous, thoughtful, straightforward, completely blameless woman I'm about to marry.

The exact SIGNS they're looking for fall straight into their LAPS.

KATE BECKINSALE/JOHN CUSACK

NOPE.

They turn around and dump their PARTNERS.

BRIDGET MOYNAHAN

Well, I haven't felt this lousy since Chris Noth cheated on me with Sarah Jessica Parker last year on Sex and the City.

JOHN CORBETT

And I haven't felt this lousy since Sarah Jessica Parker cheated on me with Chris Noth last year on Sex and the City.

BRIDGET MOYNAHAN/JOHN CORBETT

(look up at each other)

...Nah.

They walk off in opposite directions and resume their LIVES. Meanwhile, KATE and JOHN finally blunder into each other.

KATE BECKINSALE

My faith in the unseen amorphous force has been restored!

JOHN CUSACK

There's no other explanation for the only two people in the world crazy enough to live like this to come together!

INT. THEIR INEVITABLE FUTURE

KATE and JOHN plan their WEDDING.

KATE BECKINSALE

So I really hate the song "Shout," but I figure fate will lead the DJ not to play it, so we don't have to tell him that.

JOHN CUSACK

Got it. Now, I'm deathly allergic to shellfish, but I assume fate has already led the caterers to leave it off their very first sample menu, so we can just run with whatever's on there.

KATE BECKINSALE

Brilliant. Now, I haven't called the venue yet, but I'm trusting fate to leave them wide open for our June 1 wedding, so we can just show up the day of.

JOHN CUSACK

Perfect. Now, Jeremy hasn't spoken to me since I dragged him all over the city looking for you, but I'm counting on fate to reveal a long-lost brother to me at the last possible second...

KATE BECKINSALE

...who is also the crown prince of a deliriously wealthy European principality, and can therefore foot the bill for the entire wedding AND the honeymoon...

JOHN CUSACK

...so I don't need to apologize to Jeremy...

KATE BECKINSALE

...and we don't need to set a budget.

CAMERA

(tilts up and pans back and forth rapidly)

JOHN CUSACK

Oh, don't give us that look.

END

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