Joseph Gordon-Levitt

It was an adventurous weekend. So adventurous, I wrote a short story. The short story was so good, I’ve decided to try and get it published. It needs another pass or two and to be trimmed to an accepted length, but I’m pretty excited about it.

I went on Playboy to see about publishing it. I remember they publish a short story every month in their magazine and I think this story would fit well in their pages. While I was on Playboy, I noticed a 20Q article about Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his new movie. It was a refreshing article because it talked about a couple of things. The first thing was when he said,

    “I love when someone approaches me and tells me they’ve seen me in something that made them feel something and that they connected to it. That’s part of why I do it. The other interaction is with people who really don’t care about the movies or anything like that. They just sort of buy into the fame thing, and that feels icky to me.”

That’s good, because when I ran into him at The National concert and blabbed about how much I loved The Lookout and thought he was fantastic in Mysterious Skin, I worried he was thinking, “oh, great, another douchebag that’s not going to leave me alone.” But I think he understood I was a true fan of his work. I hate the fame thing as well. People are famous for being horrible vain selfish people and it creeps me out.

The other thing he talked about was his character on 500 Days of Summer:

    “The (500) Days of Summer attitude of “He wants you so bad” seems attractive to some women and men, especially younger ones, but I would encourage anyone who has a crush on my character to watch it again and examine how selfish he is. He develops a mildly delusional obsession over a girl onto whom he projects all these fantasies. He thinks she’ll give his life meaning because he doesn’t care about much else going on in his life. A lot of boys and girls think their lives will have meaning if they find a partner who wants nothing else in life but them. That’s not healthy. That’s falling in love with the idea of a person, not the actual person.”

I’m glad he recognized it because that’s why I hated the movie and couldn’t finish it. He was a horrible character and I didn’t enjoy it.

Also, he talks about why right now is so exciting. I have lots of friends that live in the past and they love 80s music and 80s movies and I think if they could, they’d live their whole lives in the 80s. I agree with Joseph that with the power of the Internet and computers, you can create anything and find an audience. No one is beholden to anything. We’re all free to do what we want and that is extremely exciting. Sure, politicians suck and corporations suck, but when have they not? Wall Street was just as evil and greedy in the 80s as it is today.

And last, he talks about cars. I’m from Detroit. My father greatly benefited from GM as well as most of my friends. My girlfriend works in the car industry. I used to as well. I hate cars. I look at them and see giant vacuums sucking money out of my pocket. I just want a cheap car that gets me from A to B without breaking down. The fetish of muscle cars and classic cars and luxury cars and all that crap is completely lost on me as well. Money could go into so many more useful things.

I’m done ranting. I recommend reading the entire article.

Off to see about getting published.

Page 77.

Here is the cameo of Wolf. Obviously, I need to rethink the role. There should be more to him.

(Page 77)
INT. JIMMY’S OFFICE

Jimmy is going over the books when his cell phone rings.

JIMMY
Hello?

WOLF
Hey, Jimmy, it’s Wolf.

JIMMY
What did you find out?

Wolf pulls out his pocket-sized notepad with his notes scribbled across.

WOLF
Okay, Your suspicions are correct. Saul is operating a counterfeit money operation. However, I don’t know how he cleans the money. He’s not depositing it.

JIMMY
I have an idea. Anything else?

WOLF
Yes. Recently, he bought an eighty-three thousand dollar ring and paid cash for it. Clean cash. As far as wire taps or anything like that, I found nothing.

JIMMY
Thanks, Wolf.

WOLF
You’re welcome. Will there be anything else?

JIMMY
No, thanks.

Wolf hangs up.

Pages 75, 76.

(Pages 75 & 76)
EXT. STORAGE UNIT BUSINESS – LATE EVENING

The sun is starting to set over the horizon.

Martin opens the garage and steps out. Fat Tony is still standing there.

Martin’s hands are covered in bruises and blood as he lights a cigarette. He’s sweating like he just went ten rounds with someone.

FAT TONY
Everything okay, boss?

MARTIN
Hmm? Yeah.

Martin pulls out the phone and dials.

JIMMY (PHONE/OVER)
Yeah?

MARTIN
I’m getting nothing from him, boss.

JIMMY (PHONE/OVER)
He ain’t talking?

MARTIN
Oh, he’s talking, but nothing is making sense. I’ve heard everything from him winning the lotto to him stealing from a tribe of Jamaican witch doctors. He’s trying to find the answer that’ll get me to stop, but he doesn’t know what it is.

JIMMY (PHONE/OVER)
What about the case?

MARTIN
He says he found it in a dumpster. In a dumpster near where Sam said he put it, but not the same one.

JIMMY (PHONE/OVER)
So, someone else found it, took the cash and dumped the case?

MARTIN
That’s what I think.

JIMMY (PHONE/OVER)
Okay. Let him go.

Martin hangs up. He turns to Fat Tony.

MARTIN
You got a water?

CUT TO:

INT. SAM’S BATHROOM – NIGHT

Sam is examining the bruises from the pummeling today in the mirror.

Sam takes out his shaving supplies. Badger hair brush, apothecary mug and straight razor. He whips up a lather with the brush and applies the lather.

Sam grabs out the straight razor and begins shaving. The woman appears behind him and starts to guide his hand down the cheek. Down the chin. Across the throat..

..the phone rings. The woman is gone.

INT. BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS

SAM
Hello?

JIMMY (PHONE/OVER)
It’s not your money.

SAM
Bullshit it ain’t.

JIMMY (PHONE/OVER)
You still owe. I’ll give you another week.

SAM
You’re out of yo…

Jimmy hangs up cutting him off.

Sam looks at the phone.

SAM
Fuck!

Sam slams the phone onto the receiver.

Pages 70-74.

As I was writing this scene, I realized we haven’t seen Claire in a while. I better fix that.

(Pages 70-74)
INT. SAUL’S HOME – EVENING

The house looks like it came out of a Godfather movie. Marble floors, Roman statues, generic large pictures of Italy on the walls.

Saul’s wife, CAROL, 65, walks into the house. The lights are turned off and candles light up the home. Carol seems a bit surprised.

CAROL
Saul?

SAUL (O.S.)
In here!

Carol walks down the hallway and enters the dining room. Saul is standing at the table waiting for Carol. The table is elegantly set with fine china, candles and a dozen rose centerpiece.

CAROL
What’s all this?

SAUL
It’s my way of saying I’m sorry.

CAROL
Saul…I…this isn’t nec…

SAUL
(interrupts)
I know this isn’t going to fix anything, but I think it’s important that you know how much I love you. I don’t think I tell you enough.

CAROL
No, you don’t. But……okay.

SAUL
Have a seat. Let’s just enjoy the evening.

Saul holds out the seat for Carol. She takes it.

Instead of sitting across from her on the long table, Saul sits down right next to her.

SAUL
Pierre!

CAROL
Who?

CHEF PIERRE, 45, enters wearing his chef apron.

PIERRE
Oui, monsieur?

SAUL
Nous faire une bouteille deChateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge, s’il vous plaît.

Pierre leaves.

SAUL
That’s Pierre from Giorgio’s. He’s here to make us a delicious French meal.

CAROL
Well, this is a first.

SAUL
I’m going to cut through the bullshit and not tiptoe around it. I know you know that I’ve had mistresses for much of our married life. And I know you decided to ignore it to keep the family whole and happy. I’m sorry I put that burden on you.

CAROL
(interrupting)
Saul, you don’t have to do this.

SAUL
But I do. Please. I don’t deserve you, and I know it. And I know that saying the other girls didn’t mean anything is a cliché, but it’s true.

CAROL
(interrupting)
I know it’s true, Saul. That’s not why I got so upset.

SAUL
(interrupting)
I know why you got upset.

Pierre walks in with the bottle of wine breaking the tension.

SAUL
Verser le vin, alors nous donner une minute, s’il vous plaît.

PIERRE
Assurément.

Pierre pours each of them a glass and exits.

SAUL
I know why you got upset. It’s because you don’t think I appreciate you enough.

CAROL
That’s a part of it Saul, but there’s more to it than that.

SAUL
What then?

CAROL
You used to come home and be so happy. So excited to see the kids, to see us. And when you were here, you were here. Your mind wasn’t off thinking about work or friends. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t care about the other women, because you never treated me worse. And, although I don’t want to admit it, I think having the other women made you happier and I didn’t want to take that happiness away. But, Saul, lately you’re not the same. When you’re here, you’re not here. Somethings going on and I got scared. It’s like you don’t love me anymore.

SAUL
Carol, that’s not it at all.

CAROL
Then what is it?

Saul starts fidgeting with the tablecloth.

SAUL
Eh, I don’t know. I think it’s boredom. You know, those kids of ours haven’t given us grandkids, I sold the restaurant. It’s just, what am I doing? It’s like I’m sitting around waiting to die. It scares the shit out of me. I miss the action.

Carol places her hand on Saul’s cheek. She leans in and kisses him.

CAROL
That’s why I love you so much, Saul. You live.

SAUL
There are many people that aren’t so happy about that.

CAROL
Fuck ’em.

They both laugh.

Saul fumbles around inside his jacket pocket and pulls out the jewelry box.

Saul gets down on one knee.

SAUL
Carol, honey, will you marry me, again?

Saul opens the box exposing the massive ring.

CAROL
(crying)
Yes, yes!

She leans over and kisses Saul.

CUT TO:

Pages 68 & 69.

It’s coming along. Starting to find my groove again. Can’t wait to get this draft finished, polished and read by a couple of people. I’m really looking forward to starting a new script. I’d love to have two finished scripts by the end of the year.

(Pages 68 & 69)
EXT. STORAGE UNIT BUSINESS – DAY

Martin pulls into a Storage Unit business.

INT. CAR – CONTINUOUS

DINO
You’ve got her in a fucking garage?

MARTIN
Well, I wasn’t going to take her home.

DINO
Are you fucking nuts, she could die in there.

MARTIN
Don’t worry, someone’s in with her taking care of her.

Dino jumps out of the car.

EXT. STORAGE UNIT BUSINESS – CONTINUOUS

Dino is scrambling to get inside of a unit, but walks frantically because he has no idea which one it is.

Martin exits the car.

DINO
Which one is it? Open it up. Come on!

MARTIN
Calm down.

Martin walks to a unit and opens it up.

INT. STORAGE UNIT – CONTINUOUS

Helen is sitting on a couch with a magazine in her lap. She looks unharmed, but has her legs and hands tied with rope.

FAT TONY, 40s, a massive man earning his nickname Fat, is sitting across from her in a chair playing a portable game unit. When Martin opens the door, he turns the game off and stands up.

Dino rushes to Helen and drops to his knees.

DINO
Oh my god, baby, are you okay?

HELEN
I’m fine, I’m fine. They didn’t hurt me.

Dino starts kissing her forehead, her cheeks, her lips.

DINO
I’m so sorry, baby. I never meant for them to hurt you.

Dino places his head into her hands.

DINO
Please forgive me.

HELEN
It’s okay, Dino, I’m okay.

Martin walks over to Fat Tony.

MARTIN
Hey Tony, how you doing?

FAT TONY
Good.

MARTIN
Do me a favor.
(leans over whispering into Fat Tony’s ear)
Stand out front and make sure no one hears anything. If someone comes around, knock on the door.

FAT TONY
Sure thing, boss.

DINO
(to Martin)
Got a knife? Untie her.

Fat Tony walks out of the unit and closes the garage door behind him.

Dino turns around.

DINO
What’s going on?

Martin pulls out a switch-blade.

MARTIN
I’ve got some questions for you Dino. For once in your life, I think you should be honest.

Martin hits the button on the switch-blade and the blade pops out.

CUT TO:

Pages 65, 66 & 67.

(Pages 65-67)
INT. RESTAURANT

Perry walks in. Jimmy and Sam are still sitting at the booth.

JIMMY
Take Sam home.

SAM
Hospital.

JIMMY
You go to the police and you’ll be six feet under before you could ever testify.

SAM
I’ll take my chances.

JIMMY
Okay then.
(to Perry)
Bury him.

PERRY
Yes, sir.

SAM
Just take me home.

Jimmy gets up and grabs the briefcase. Sam recognizes it.

SAM
(yelling)
You do have my fucking money!

JIMMY
What?

SAM
That’s my briefcase. The one I put the money in.

Jimmy takes a glance at Perry.

JIMMY
This one was just given to me by someone else.

SAM
With money in it?

Jimmy doesn’t respond.

SAM
My money in it?

JIMMY
Yeah, money in it. How do I know this is your case?

SAM
It’s my case. Why would I lie about it? It’s my fucking case. The same one I dropped off for you.

JIMMY
Desperate people do desperate things. Of course you’d lie about it.

SAM
(looking Jimmy directly in the eyes for emphasis)
It’s my case.

JIMMY
(beat)
Okay. Let’s find out.

Jimmy takes out his phone and starts dialing.

INT. CAR – CONTINUOUS

Martin’s phone starts ringing.

MARTIN
(answers phone)
Yeah, boss?

JIMMY (PHONE/OVER)
Sam’s tells me that the case Dino brought in is the same one he dropped off for us.

MARTIN
Really?

JIMMY (PHONE/OVER)
I want to know how Dino knows my business. Apply pressure.

MARTIN
Yes, sir.

INT. RESTAURANT – CONTINUOUS

Jimmy hangs up the phone.

JIMMY
Take him home, Perry.
(to Sam)
I’ll let you know what Martin finds out.

SAM
So we’re square then?

JIMMY
Just go home.

Sam gets up and exits the restaurant with Perry.

Jimmy sits for a beat, contemplating.

Jimmy motions to a waiter.

WAITER
Yeah?

JIMMY
Bring me a shot of Metaxa.

Jimmy pulls out his phone and dials.

WOLF (PHONE/OVER)
Wolf here.

JIMMY
Yeah, I’ve got a problem and I need your area of expertise.

CUT TO:

Pages 63 & 64.

I’ve recently come up with several new scenes. My favorite is near the ending when Martin goes to kill Sam. Sam’s wife, Claire will be in the room and she’s finally going to speak and Martin and Claire will be saying the same thing, but Sam will be responding to Claire but Martin thinks Sam’s talking to him. I think it will work out very well and be a fitting ending — until the twist.

But another scene I really like that I thought of was Jimmy hiring The Wolf to investigate Saul. Yes, The Wolf from Pulp Fiction and yes, I’m going to look into getting Harvey Keitel for a cameo. I have no idea how to do it, how much it will cost or if I can get the rights to the character, but I have to try it. It will be perfect for this kind of movie and I think audiences will really enjoy seeing The Wolf again. I know I would. I’ve been racking my brain on getting the perfect name actor into the movie that wouldn’t break the bank and help me sell the film to a distributor and I think this would be perfect. If there’s any actor that’s independent friendly with enough cred to get asses in seats, it’s Harvey Keitel.

(Pages 63 & 64)
INT. CAR
Martin is driving Dino to the location.

DINO
So where are you keeping her?

MARTIN
You’ll know soon enough.

DINO
You haven’t done anything to her have you?

MARTIN
Done anything? You mean like fuck her? No, Dino, I haven’t fucked her.

DINO
You know what I mean.

MARTIN
Yeah, I know what you mean, that’s why I just said it.
(beat)
So how’d you come up with the money.

DINO
I hit the lotto.

MARTIN
Okay. Don’t tell me.

DINO
I just did. Why won’t anyone believe me?

MARTIN
Because you’re a fucking liar, Dino, that’s why no one believes you. You’re just in bed with another loan shark, that’s all. Have fun skipping town.

DINO
Whatever.

MARTIN
Let me give you a tip to avoid all the mistakes you knuckleheads usually make. Don’t come back. Don’t contact anyone you know and love. Don’t use your name ever again. And I would leave the country if I were you. Otherwise, you’re dead.

DINO
Thanks for the tips.

CUT TO:

Pages 60 & 61.

I’m stuck in a hotel room for the next week, so I should get a lot of writing in.

(pages 60 & 61)
Jimmy opens up the case and there’s a lot of money. Jimmy counts it.

JIMMY
Looks good, Dino. So, how’d you come up with it?

DINO
I hit the lottery.

JIMMY
(beat)
Okay, you don’t have to tell me. It doesn’t matter, I’m just happy to have my money back. Martin will…
(his phone starts ringing, interrupting him)
Excuse me.
(answers phone)
Yeah, Perry?
(beat)
(in Greek)
So the location does exist?
(beat)
Okay, head on back.
(to Dino)
Where were we?

DINO
You were saying something about Martin.

JIMMY
Oh yeah, Martin will take you to the girl.

Jimmy places the briefcase on the seat next to him.

Martin walks up with Sam in tow. Jimmy nods to Martin.

JIMMY
Take Dino to pick up his merchandise.

MARTIN
(surprised)
Really?

JIMMY
Really.

MARTIN
Okay, let’s go Dino.
Dino and Martin exit.

SAM
What about me? I need a ride to the hospital. I need to get my concussion looked at, then I’m going to need a ride to my attorney’s office. I have someone I need to sue about my concussion.

JIMMY
Sit down, Sam. Perry will take you when he gets back.
Sam sits down.

JIMMY
I normally don’t deal with people of your uh, um…intelligence. I mean, most people in your field don’t need to take loans from loan sharks. A bank would be happy to give it to you. Especially a surgeon that makes as much as you. So when I purchased the books from Saul, I was surprised to learn about you, and I had a sneaky suspicion that you’d be trouble.

SAM
(interrupting)
I’m no trouble. I fucking paid.

JIMMY
You’ve paid when the money is in my hands. Until then, you’re no different from the dealers and pushers getting to me. And I’ll treat you the exact same way.

SAM
Obviously.

JIMMY
Obviously.

SAM
Times were better when Saul was in charge.

Beat.

JIMMY
We’re called sharks for a reason. Just like sharks, we can smell blood in the water from miles away. And I can smell blood on you. I can smell lots of blood on you.

Page 59.

I don’t like the last several pages. They seem flat. I’m trying to connect Act 2 to Act 3, but it shouldn’t be a chore to do it. But I don’t want to get bogged down on details and not move forward, so I’m going to push on and hope to come up with something better later on.

(Page 59)
Sam braces his hand on the wall, and with Martin’s help, manages to stand up. He sways while Martin cleans him up and puts on his clothes, like a son dressing a disabled father.

Jimmy just watches.

Once Sam is dressed, Martin goes to place the hood over his head, Sam pushes it back.

SAM
Would you give me a fucking break with that thing? I know we’re in the restaurant. I’m not a fucking moron.

Martin looks at Jimmy. They both shrug their shoulders.

CUT TO:

INT. RESTAURANT – NOON

Dino is sitting at a booth, fidgety, and clutching the same briefcase that Sam dropped off under the bridge.

A waiter passes by.

DINO
(grabbing the waiter’s arm)
Can I get some water?

WAITER
Sure.

Jimmy walks up and has a seat in front of Dino.

JIMMY
So, what do you have for me?

DINO
Here you go.

Dino slides the case to Jimmy.

DINO
(anxious)
It’s all there. You can count it. So where’s the girl? Is she okay. You better not of hurt her. Please, Jimmy, don’t tell me you hurt her.

JIMMY
Calm down and keep your voice down. We didn’t hurt her. I’m going to count the money and if it checks out, I’ll have Martin take you to her. Okay?

DINO
Okay. Great. That sounds great. Thanks.

Jimmy opens up the case and there’s a lot of money. Jimmy counts it.

JIMMY
Looks good, Dino. So, how’d you come up with it?

DINO
I hit the lottery.

JIMMY
(beat)
Okay, you don’t have to tell me. It doesn’t matter, I’m just happy to have my money back. Martin will be up soon and he’ll take you to her.

Jimmy sets the briefcase on the seat next to him.

CUT TO:

Page 59.

I thought I was finished with the last scene, but I started thinking that wouldn’t it be interesting for Jimmy to have to watch the effects of what he’d done? So I decided to add another minute to it and have Jimmy watch Sam, an older man, struggle with getting pummeled. I’m not sure if it works, but I thought it would be interesting to try.

(Page 59)

(scene continued…..)

Jimmy walks around and has a seat at his desk.

Martin leans over and unties Sam. He then tries to help Sam up.

Sam spits up a mouthful of blood and he pulls out a tooth.

SAM
Ugh..great. I’m going to need dentures.

MARTIN
C’mon, let’s go.

Martin pulls Sam up. Sam stumbles away and hits the wall and tumbles to his ass.

SAM
The room is spinning.

The phone rings. Jimmy answers it.

JIMMY
Hello?
(beat)
Oh, yeah? I’ll be right up.

Jimmy hangs up.

JIMMY
Dino here’s.

Martin is standing over Sam still trying to help him up.

MARTIN
Let me guess. No money, still wants girl. I wonder what he has to offer?

JIMMY
Nothing I want I’m sure.
(to Sam)
Let’s go! I’ve got a business to run.

MARTIN
C’mon Sam, let’s go. You’re fine.

SAM
Fuck off. I’m not fine. I have a concussion.

MARTIN
Bullshit, let’s go.

Sam spits blood all over his t-shirt.

MARTIN
Oh, come on! There’s no need for that. Just swallow it.

Sam braces his hand on the wall, and with Martin’s help, manages to stand up. He sways while Martin cleans him up and puts on his clothes, like a son dressing a disabled father.

Jimmy just watches.

CUT TO: