"Thank you for your Baldwin impression, Mr. Dano. You may sit down."

THE EMPEROR'S CLUB

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. THE BROOK-HAMSTER SCHOOL FOR UPPER-CLASS TWITS

Classics teacher KEVIN KLINE arrives at his CLASSROOM.

KEVIN KLINE (VO)

In my decades-long career as a teacher of weighty subject matter designed to help you think differently about the world and your own life, I have found two things to be true. First, that voiceover info dumps are very annoying when you'll plainly see and hear the info they dump over the next two hours. Second, that this gray hair dye makes me look like a wet deerhound.

His STUDENTS enter.

KEVIN KLINE

This morning you heard Headmaster Edward Herrmann recite two of this movie's many, many morals, to say nothing of the other two I recited in my voiceover. Mr. Dano, would you be so kind as to read a fifth moral for us? It's on the sign over the door.

PAUL DANO

"I am Shigurkagurk Blurkity-Blurk, ruler of an empire that no longer exists, worshipper of a god that I'm pretty sure nobody worships anymore, and conqueror of the kind of ancient city that terrorists love to blow up for funsies."

KEVIN KLINE

And what meaning do you take from this passage, Mr. Eisenberg?

JESSE EISENBERG

Blowing up cities for funsies is bad?

KEVIN KLINE

No. I mean, yes, but the other thing. Mr. Mehta?

RISHI MEHTA

The study of classical antiquity should be expanded to include more interesting civilizations than just the Greeks and the Romans?

KEVIN KLINE

Okay, also yes, but here's MY point: Live your life in a way that makes people remember you without a movie in which you're the poster boy for irrelevance.

That evening, he meets up with fellow teacher EMBETH DAVIDTZ.

EMBETH DAVIDTZ

I have a husband. He's not you.

KEVIN KLINE

That's a pity.

EMBETH DAVIDTZ

You and I are very compatible.

KEVIN KLINE

We are.

EMBETH DAVIDTZ

We're both residents of this property where my incompatible husband is not present.

KEVIN KLINE

Correct.

EMBETH DAVIDTZ

...Look, do I need to draw you a map? Saddle up your Trojan horse and BUST INSIDE.

KEVIN KLINE

Huh?

INT. A MONTH OR TWO INTO THE SCHOOL YEAR

HEADMASTER EDWARD HERRMANN enters.

HEADMASTER EDWARD HERRMANN

Pardon the interruption, Mr. Kline, but I'd like to introduce you to your newest student, Mr. Emile Hirsch. He came in a limo.

KEVIN KLINE

You mean...

HEADMASTER EDWARD HERRMANN

Yup, he's one of those.

(leaves)

KEVIN KLINE

Well, Mr. Hirsch, if you'll--

EMILE HIRSCH

This classroom's GAY.

REST OF THE CLASS

(snickers)

KEVIN KLINE

Oh boy. Anyway, you're just in time for us to begin Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, which--

EMILE HIRSCH

Shakespeare's GAY.

REST OF THE CLASS

(guffaws)

KEVIN KLINE

Mr. Hirsch, with all due respect--

EMILE HIRSCH

Respect's GAAAAAY.

REST OF THE CLASS

(tunes into his comeback Netflix special)

EMILE begins introducing PAUL, JESSE, and RISHI to such CONTRABAND as CIGARETTES, FIREWORKS, and the OPPOSITE SEX, which gets them all in trouble with KEVIN.

KEVIN KLINE

I'm very disappointed in you, gentlemen. You pledged when you came to this school that you would remain confined to this property with several hundred other teenage boys with equally raging hormones.

EMILE HIRSCH

That's--

KEVIN KLINE

Shut up.

PAUL DANO

I'm so sorry, Mr. Kline! Winning the Classics-Off is everything to me, just because my father did and apparently for no other reason! I promise I'll never, ever look at another bra again!

KEVIN KLINE

No, you probably won't. Mr. Eisenberg, anything to say?

JESSE EISENBERG

I don't really have a character to reinforce, sir.

KEVIN KLINE

Fair point. Mr. Mehta?

RISHI MEHTA

Can I just point out, sir, that Darius the Great commanded an empire of 2.9 million square miles AND fucked a lot of women?

KEVIN KLINE

Okay, got me there. You three may leave.

They do.

KEVIN KLINE

Now, Mr. Hirsch, please explain to me why you felt it necessary to have turned my classroom of perfect little learn-bots into a pit of miscreance and sloth. And please phrase your explanation in a way that does not include the word "gay."

EMILE HIRSCH

Well, it's like this, Kev: I don't have to give a shit because my rich senator dad will set me up for life. Also, GAY.

KEVIN KLINE

Will he? We'll see about that.

He visits EMILE's father, SEN. HARRIS YULIN.

KEVIN KLINE

Senator, I regret to inform you that your son is an entitled assmunch who you'll probably have to bail out of rape charges one day. Unless you inspire him into being a better man. And if you don't, I'll do it myself.

SEN. HARRIS YULIN

Bullshit, sir. I didn't send him to a school that teaches classical philosophy so he could get inspired. But if it makes you feel better, I'll give him a call tonight that REALLY makes him feel like an assmunch.

(uses antique gun to light cigar while adjusting Confederate flag tie)

(I'm exaggerating but NOT THAT MUCH)

That call provokes EMILE into studying hard enough to make it to FOURTH in his class, right behind PAUL.

KEVIN KLINE

I can only let the top three students into the Classics-Off. Paul cares the most about winning, and it won't make a difference to Emile's life one way or the other if he even participates. The honest thing to do would be to stick to my own rules and keep the standings as they are and FUCK IT THIS IS ABOUT INSPIRATION.

He gives EMILE the extra points he needs while many BUSTS OF ROMAN EMPERORS look down on him with DISDAIN.

INT. THE CLASSICS-OFF

It's down to EMILE and RISHI.

KEVIN KLINE

First question of the final round: Name the Roman senator who was just as cute as Caesar and just as smart as Caesar and who people totally liked just as much as they liked Caesar.

EMILE HIRSCH

(buzzes in)

Hmm. That's a tough one. I don't even want you all to see the confusion on my face.

(stares over his shoulder to read crib notes on index card held up by his valet)

I'll say... Brutus.

KEVIN KLINE

Correct. Next question: Name a type of accent that Alexander the Great absolutely did not have.

EMILE HIRSCH

(buzzes in)

Wow. Really got me there. You're making me sweat a little. I hope you can't tell.

(buries face deep into armpit to read crib notes written there)

Is it... Irish?

KEVIN KLINE

Very good. Next question: Name the last singer on Earth who should soundtrack a movie about the labors of Hercules.

EMILE HIRSCH

(buzzes in)

Sorry, I pressed that button too fast. In fact, I pressed it so fast that my underwear just rode all the way up. Hang on.

(reaches back to read crib notes printed in Braille inside his butthole)

I'm gonna go with... Michael Bolton.

KEVIN KLINE

Something tells me he's not answering honestly, sir.

HEADMASTER EDWARD HERRMANN

Like I give a shit.

KEVIN KLINE

All right, genius, here's one we haven't covered: Name the actress who was way too young and hot to play a mathematician in Alexandria who was murdered in her 60s!

EMILE HIRSCH

(buzzes in)

HAHA YOU THINK YOU GOT ME WELL... um. Well. Uh.

(roots through hair)

(searches behind ears)

(makes himself vomit up another crib sheet)

Okay, the jig's up.

RISHI MEHTA

(buzzes in)

Rachel Weisz.

KEVIN KLINE

SNAP. FUCK EMILE.

EMILE HIRSCH

Oh yeah? Well, this competition will stop meaning anything to Rishi once he goes to university and anyway it's GAY!

INT. 25 YEARS LATER

KEVIN is now married to EMBETH.

KEVIN KLINE

Oh, you're back. Well, I didn't get to replace Edward as headmaster. Apparently I'm a lot better at teaching upper-class twits when they're teenagers than communicating with them when they're adults.

EMBETH DAVIDTZ

Imagine my surprise.

KEVIN gets a call from the new headmaster, ROB MORROW.

ROB MORROW

Emile's running a massive company now and he's going to drive a truckload of his money up to our front gates, on the condition that you, and only you, host another Classics-Off at the hotel he owns.

KEVIN KLINE

Why would I suck up to him to benefit the school that just told me to go fuck myself?

ROB MORROW

I have no idea.

INT. EMILE-A-LAGO

EMILE greets KEVIN.

EMILE HIRSCH

Kevin, it's great to see you! You know, in the past 25 years, I've realized that Harris was a neglectful sumbitch until the very end and you were the closest thing I had to a father in my formative years. Have an entire Caribbean nation full of fruit.

KEVIN KLINE

Wow. Maybe you really are worth more than that truckload of money.

Later, once again, it's down to EMILE and RISHI.

KEVIN KLINE

First question: How historically accurate was Gladiator?

EMILE HIRSCH

(buzzes in)

Worse than 12 Years a Slave but better than Pearl Harbor.

KEVIN KLINE

Well done. You didn't even have crib notes tucked behind your ballsack. Maybe this stuff stuck with you after all! Next question: Who played a Greek hero who in real life was totally... GAY?

His grown-up STUDENTS laugh fondly.

EMILE HIRSCH

(buzzes in)

Brad Pitt.

KEVIN KLINE

Superb. Next question: Name the last actor on Earth who should play a Roman general, a Spartan king, AND an Egyptian god.

EMILE HIRSCH

(buzzes in)

(quickly glances out the window)

Gerard Butler.

Suspicious, KEVIN looks out the window and sees a CRIB SHEET hanging from a DRONE hovering outside.

KEVIN KLINE

Why you--

(throws index cards on the floor)

WHO WAS SHIGURKAGURK BLURKITY-BLURK?!

EMILE HIRSCH

(buzzes in)

(quickly glances out the window)

(stares out the window)

Goddamn it. I missed that day and never looked above the door once.

RISHI MEHTA

(buzzes in)

Ruler of an empire that no longer exists, worshipper of a god that I'm pretty sure nobody worships anymore, and conqueror of the kind of ancient city that terrorists love to blow up for funsies!

KEVIN KLINE

BOOYAH. FUCK EMILE TWICE.

EMILE HIRSCH

Oh yeah? Well, this competition didn't mean anything because I'm going to the United States Senate! What better place is there for liars without values like me?

His 10-year-old SON gasps in horror.

EMILE HIRSCH

Shit... Son, it's not what it sounds like! "Liars Without Values" was the name of the band I started with Rishi and Paul in school. I played kalimba!

INT. THE BROOK-HAMSTER SCHOOL FOR UPPER-CLASS TWITS

KEVIN returns to teaching.

KEVIN KLINE (VO)

After that, I finally accepted that I was never going to get through to Emile and I should go back to something I did well. It was a small consolation that he lost his race for Senate after one of his campaign ads spelled "education" with a 6.

NICK HAGELIN

(enters)

Excuse me, are you Kevin Kline? I'm Paul Dano's son.

KEVIN KLINE

So he did see another bra. I take it this means Paul has forgiven me for screwing him out of the first Classics-Off?

NICK HAGELIN

Sure. Water under the bridge.

KEVIN KLINE

Excellent. Please take your seat so I can begin inspiring a new generation of students who are actually worth my energy.

As he turns back to the BLACKBOARD, he fails to notice the tiny vial of STRYCHNINE in NICK's PENCIL CASE.

END

This script was made possible thanks to the support of Patrons like Mike.

If you'd like to support the site, please check out our Patreon page where pledging can earn you access to an ad-free version of the site, early access to scripts, exclusive scripts, and other cool shit.


Discussion