To LaKeith's chagrin, trepanning didn't help him understand this movie.

SORRY TO BOTHER YOU

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. EVIL INC.

LAKEITH STANFIELD goes to interview for a JOB with a SOULLESS CORPORATION.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Hi there! Is this where I apply for the baby kidnapper job? You need people to kidnap infants and sell them to a dog food company?

ROBERT LONGSTREET

No, this is a telemarketing job.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

EW! Geez, I don’t know if I’m THAT desperate.

(cardboard shoes disintegrate)

Oh fine whatever. The protagonist of this movie will henceforth be a telemarketer. I just figured that we would have wanted to give the audience a more likeable main character, such as a Fran Drescher impersonator with Tourette’s, or a splinter of glass lodged behind their eyeball.

TESSA THOMPSON

Make that the TWO main characters! I, your morality barometer girlfriend, will also get a job as a professional annoyance!

LAKEITH STANFIELD

My what girlfriend?

TESSA THOMPSON

Morality barometer? You know, that thing where the character’s girlfriend breaks up with him whenever he gets to be too much of a jerk, and gets back together with him when he turns good again?

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Oh right, because we don’t trust audiences to follow even the simplest of character arcs and instead have you explicitly state whether I’m being an asshole or not.

TESSA THOMPSON

Well considering your character STARTS as a fucking telemarketer, it probably does get a bit hard for any viewer to tell when they’re SUPPOSED to hate your guts.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

But how much can they really trust a second goddamn fucking telemarketer to gauge my-

A FEDERAL INJUNCTION is issued which bans THIS SCRIPT from harping on the TELEMARKETER HATE anymore, thus allowing us to finally proceed with the story.

INT. CALL CENTRE

LAKEITH and fellow telemarketer DANNY GLOVER are making unsolicited sales calls to perfect strangers, an activity about which we pass no comment.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Good day, sir! Have you ever thought, Wikipedia is great and all, but what you really wish is that somebody would take a fraction of a percent of it and print it out in a huge space-hogging version that you have to pay for and that takes forever to search and doesn’t have links and never updates-

(hung up on)

Fuck, why does that always happen?

DANNY GLOVER

I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that the product is pointless and the sales method is obnoxious, and everything to do with the fact that you are a black person with a black person voice. Try sounding whiter.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

What, you mean I should put on a deliberately lame, reedy nerd voice like a black stand-up comic from the nineties?

DANNY GLOVER

Naw man, you should try sounding like actor/comedian David Cross!

LAKEITH STANFIELD

...I cannot see any difference between that and what I just said.

DANNY GLOVER

Trust me, the whole point is to sound as white as possible. Everybody trusts a white voice and throws their money at it, no matter how shrill and wimpy, this is the premise we’re working from.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Fine, I’ll do the Tobias voice, what do I have to lose.

He starts making his sales calls in the not-quiiiite-well-dubbed-enough voice of DAVID CROSS.

CUSTOMER

Well gee now, I normally wouldn’t make expensive purchases on a whim based on some guy calling me on the phone, but since it’s the high-pitched, nasal voice of the evil record executive from Alvin and the Chipmunks that’s selling this stuff, TAKE ALL MY MONEY!!

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Awright, now I’m the most successful salesman in the company! Way moreso than Danny, even though it’s only thanks to his advice that I’m even selling anything! Now I’m finally able to crawl out of poverty and become financially successful.

TESSA THOMPSON

Financial success? In a SATIRE?! Morality alarm tingling! LaKeith, resist the allure of being a wealthy corporate drone. Join me and the rest of us less-successful salespeople in protesting our company, because of the low wages they pay!

LAKEITH STANFIELD

So when I want the company to pay me more I’m on a slippery slope to moral bankruptcy, but if you do it it’s a just and noble cause?

TESSA THOMPSON

Uh, shit, good point. Let’s say then that it’s a confused sort of double-protest, where we’re also criticizing the company’s allegiance with Big Pharma!

(not evil enough)

Oh. Big Oil, then?

(still not evil enough, keep trying)

Geez, what then? Monsanto? Halliburton? EA Games?

(getting there but think EVIL evil)

I don’t know what you want from us then, unless we’re gonna throw reality aside and just say it’s a company that does, like, literal human trafficking-

(there, that, do that)

What? Fuck off. Slave traders, really? We’re really going to go that hamfisted and over-the-top in attacking corporate greed?

LAKEITH STANFIELD

What, you expected some kind of subtlety from this movie? My character name is literally “Cash Green”, we don’t give a fraction of a shit. Anyway, speaking of cash, have fun with your little protest while I go off to get promoted and rich!

TESSA THOMPSON

Ohhhh, you are so...

(checks morality readings)

Well you’re not QUITE dumped yet, but you’re redlining like crazy, just so you know.

INT. EVIL INC., SWANKIER DIVISION

LAKEITH is promoted and brought upstairs by OMARI HARDWICK to work with the high-rollers.

OMARI HARDWICK

Welcome to the big time! Here you’ll be selling our company’s upper-tier merchandise, by which I mean WEAPONS. We’re a company that sells encyclopedias and explosives and firearms. Over the phone.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

And slaves sort of?

OMARI HARDWICK

Right, slaves sort of, that too.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

You do realize that this no longer even vaguely resembles any kind of existing company, right? How is it even satire when your villains are basically The Umbrella Corporation?

OMARI HARDWICK

It’s okay, this is a nutty dadaist satire, which means we can throw in whatever weird cartoon crap we think of and call it “heightened reality”! Remember the bit where the elevator tried to seduce you in the voice of Rosario Dawson? LOL so random!

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Fine then, I guess I’m an arms dealer now. Although I’m guess that that’ll mean that me and Tessa-

TESSA THOMPSON

(morality meter explodes)

Oh holy FUCK you’re so mega-dumped.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Come on, like you’re so high-and-mighty. You do remember that you have a second job where you ALSO put on a fake white voice to sell stuff?

TESSA THOMPSON

Not slaves and guns! My other job is in the modern art world, which in terms of corruption, profiteering and moral rot is... er... well it’s not slave trading at least.

(storms off)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to do a piece of performance art where I constantly yell one line from an old martial arts movie while people pelt my mostly-naked body with bullets and blood, and hoo boy, I really hope this isn’t just Boots Riley’s fetish.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Satirizing art that’s weird for the sake of being weird? I’m not sure this movie wants to open that particular can of worms.

INT. EVIL INC. CEO’S SWAGGER MANSION

LAKEITH is doing so well he’s invited to a party at the house of EVIL INC. CEO and five-time winner of People Magazine’s WORLD’S WHITEST MAN, ARMIE HAMMER.

ARMIE HAMMER

Yo, LaKeith, ma dawg! I’m so stoked that I can finally not be lying when I tell people I have black friends! Hey, hey, show us some black guy stuff! Sing a rap song for us! Smoke some crack! Get incarcerated!

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Um, weren’t we doing a whole thing about how I have to avoid acting black at all costs if I want to get accepted around here? Now we’re saying I have to act AS BLACK AS POSSIBLE to get accepted around here? Which is it?

ARMIE HAMMER

It’s both at the same time! At this point we’re just throwing social commentary at the wall and seeing what sticks.

ARMIE invites LAKEITH to a back room and feeds him a PLATE OF COCAINE.

ARMIE HAMMER

Now LaKeith, you’ve been doing so well with the upper-echelon stuff at Evil Inc. that I want to bring you on board on some HYPER-MEGA-UPPER echelon stuff. Feel like seeing what your downward spiral has to throw at you now?

LAKEITH STANFIELD

I dunno man, I came into this movie with the promise that it was going to be trippy as fuck, but so far it’s just been a pretty typical “Rich white people are evil har har” comedy with a bunch of superficial weird flourishes, kinda like if Charlie Kaufman took a single pass on a Mike Judge script. I’m starting to thing this isn’t the balls-crazy freakout movie I was-

Suddenly HORSE PEOPLE.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Wait what. WHAT. WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS.

ARMIE HAMMER

Oh yeah, we’ve been mutating our slaves into super-strong half-human half-horse monstrosities. We were desperately trying to find a way to make our company even more cartoonishly evil, and it was either this or blow up Alderaan.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

OH GOD. THESE THINGS LOOK SO MESSED UP. WHY DID WE SPEND OUR ENTIRE SPECIAL EFFECTS BUDGET ON THIS.

ARMIE HAMMER

Yeah, they’re not particularly happy horse-person monsters. That’s where you come in! My job offer is you take the special horse-ifying drug, be LaKeith Horseman for a while, use some of that salesman charm to sell these guys on the idea of spending the rest of their lives as unpaid labor/Lovecraftian abominations.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Woah, woah, HANG ON. You didn’t already slip me the mutant drug, did you? That weird cocaine you gave me, that wasn’t it, was it?

ARMIE HAMMER

Don’t be silly! What, you think I’m gonna take somebody I know to have the charisma to be the horse king, and forcibly transform him into a super-strong freak who hates me and has an army of monsters at his command? Even a one-dimensional villain stereotype like me wouldn’t be THAT short-sighted, surely.

LAKEITH flees.

INT. TESSA’S PLACE

LAKEITH explains everything to TESSA.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

...And they’re turning people into mutant slave labor! Which is a comment about class in America, or maybe it’s about race, or both? Honestly this is so bananas that I can’t figure out what satirical points we’re even trying to make at this stage.

TESSA THOMPSON

Don’t worry about it, if your movie is independent arthouse stuff about social issues, you can throw in bizarre plot twists with unclear messages and everybody will just pretend they get it to avoid looking stupid. You were in Get Out, you know how it goes.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

True. Anyway, I am DONE with that company now. I want to finally join you in bringing them down!

TESSA THOMPSON

(checks re-built morality meter)

Awesome, that means you’re a good person again, and you and I can get back together!

(frowns)

But wait. Have you actually changed your mind about any of that gun-running and slavery stuff that I originally broke up with you about?

LAKEITH STANFIELD

I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure I’m just pissed they want to turn me into a horse.

TESSA THOMPSON

Eh, fuck it, that’ll do.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

To bring down Evil Inc., I should release the footage I got of Armie yelling at his secret horse mutants. And since just contacting the media isn’t nutty or satirical enough for us, I’ll air it on a game show which dumps its contestants in feces.

He DOES THIS, but the revelation only makes EVIL INC. STOCK RISE and everybody love ARMIE.

ARMIE HAMMER

Ha ha, yes! After all, being involved in a high-profile scandal only HELPS powerful peoples’ careers in this day and age, as we all know! NOD ALONG OR EVERYBODY WILL KNOW YOU’RE NOT WOKE!

TESSA THOMPSON

Don’t worry, LaKeith, we can still win! We’ll just hold a protest outside the Evil Inc. building, like the several that happened earlier in the movie and affected fuck-all!

They gather the PROTESTORS and block the entrance to EVIL INC.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

All right, everybody, let’s stop the company’s executives from getting to work, thus stalling part of one day’s business! We must achieve this arbitrary and meaningless winning condition at all costs!!

The PROTESTORS start to RIOT, fighting the EXECUTIVES and the COPS. Things aren’t going too well, but then the HORSE MUTANTS show up and WIN THE WHOLE MOVIE for our PROTAGONISTS, YAY!

HORSE MUTANT

Victory! We horse monsters are now free! And Armie won’t just make more because the movie is over.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

I’m sorry, what? I didn’t really take in what you were saying, this movie’s been crammed with voice cameos so far and I was trying to figure out-

HORSE MUTANT

Forest Whitaker. I’m Forest Whitaker for some reason.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Cool, thanks.

LAKEITH and TESSA move back to their old crappy apartment, because all of the money LAKEITH made earlier in the movie has DISAPPEARED.

LAKEITH STANFIELD

All right, so we did wind up resolving at least a couple of plot points in this crazy mess of a movie. And now we get to live happily ever after I guess!

TESSA THOMPSON

Yes, for all its excesses and weirdness this was kind of a fun film! Unless of course they totally shatter the vibe we’ve got going by throwing in an unnecessarily mean ending in the last few seconds-

LAKEITH STANFIELD

(turns into a horse)

(murders Armie)

TESSA THOMPSON

Should’ve seen that coming.

END.

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