Big Fish

written by John August

based on the novel by Daniel Wallace

FINAL PRODUCTION DRAFT includes post-production dialogue and omitted scenes Copyright © 2003 Columbia Pictures

This is a Southern story, full of lies and fabrications, but truer for their inclusion.

FADE IN 1 A RIVER. We’re underwater, watching a fat catfish swim along. This is The Beast. EDWARD (V.O.) There are some fish that cannot be caught. It’s not that they’re faster or stronger than other fish. They’re just touched by something extra. Call it luck. Call it grace. One such fish was The Beast. The Beast’s journey takes it past a dangling fish hook, baited with worms. Past a tempting lure, sparkling in the sun. Past a swiping bear claw. The Beast isn’t worried. EDWARD (V.O.)(cont’d) By the time I was born, he was already a legend. He’d taken more hundreddollar lures than any fish in Alabama. Some said that fish was the ghost of Henry Walls, a thief who’d drowned in that river 60 years before. Others claimed he was a lesser dinosaur, left over from the Cretaceous period. 2 INT. WILL’S BEDROOM - NIGHT (1973) 2 1

WILL BLOOM, AGE 3, listens wide-eyed as his father EDWARD BLOOM, 40’s and handsome, tells the story. In every gesture, Edward is bigger than life, describing each detail with absolute conviction. EDWARD I didn't put any stock into such speculation or superstition. All I knew was I’d been trying to catch that fish since I was a boy no bigger than you. (closer) And on the day you were born, that was the day I finally caught him. 3 EXT. CAMPFIRE - NIGHT (1977) 3

A few years later, and Will sits with the other INDIAN GUIDES as Edward continues telling the story to the tribe.

stands with him at the door. EDWARD You can see my predicament. but also the force of Edward’s charisma. glinting in the firelight. peanut butter. now 17 with braces. EDWARD I tied my ring to the strongest line they made -. is fuming and ready to leave. LITTLE BRAVE (confused) Your finger? Edward slips his ring off. they said. the symbol of fidelity to my wife.NIGHT (1987) 4 EDWARD Edward is chatting up Will’s pretty DATE to the homecoming dance. And just as fast. he snapped clean through that line. I’d tried everything on it: worms. She is enjoying the story.from whom he gets his good looks and practicality -. EDWARD (cont’d) The Beast jumped up and grabbed it before the ring even hit the water. EDWARD Now. lures. While the other boys are rapt with attention. the usual bait wasn’t going to work. BLOOM FRONT HALL . soon to be the mother of my child. Edward points to his wedding band. He’s heard this story before. But on that day I had a revelation: if that fish was the ghost of a thief. He’s hypnotizing. His . Will looks bored.FINAL 2.and I cast upriver. peanut butter-and-cheese.strong enough to hold up a bridge. 4 INT. Gold. was now lost in the gut of an uncatchable fish. mother SANDRA -. I would have to use something he truly desired.BIG FISH . if just for a few minutes -. WILL. My wedding ring.

soon to be mother of a hundred others. She couldn’t be any happier if this were her own wedding. but doing so I would be killing the smartest catfish in the Ashton River. until I finally had him boxed in. crowded with their friends and family. sits with his gorgeous bride JOSEPHINE. Josephine tries to hold him back. Edward has the floor. I looked him straight in the eye. WILL’S DATE What did you do? EDWARD I followed that fish up-river and downriver for three days and three nights. when in fact it was a her. I reached in and snatched that fish out of the river. but Will is furious. His mother pats him sympathetically. 5 INT. The room is EDWARD This fish. Edward doesn’t even notice. cozy and drunk. now 28. we spot Sandra. EDWARD With these two hands. This is their wedding reception. Over near the doorway. And I made a remarkable discovery. just returned from the restrooms. The whole time we were calling it a him. . but he gets up and leaves. ostensibly for a toast.FINAL 3. I could gut that fish and get my ring back. Will can’t take any more. They should be joyful. and was going to lay them any day. It was fat with eggs.BIG FISH . EDWARD Now. TINY PARIS RESTAURANT (LA RUE 14°) . Will regards his father with exasperated contempt.NIGHT (1998) 5 WILL. ON WILL AND SANDRA WILL (low but insistent) Make him stop. She looks gorgeous. I was in a situation. then adjusts his tie. the Beast.

Will mutters in perfect unison with his father-EDWARD AND WILL We were part of the same equation. Edward motions for Sandra to get up here with him. EDWARD Sometimes.and has always been -. the only way to catch an uncatchable woman is to offer her a wedding ring. you may well ask. SANDRA Honey. He just leaves. Will reaches the door. why did it strike so quick on gold when nothing else would attract it? (closer. As she crosses. since this lady fish wasn’t the ghost of a thief. EDWARD Now. Edward tweaks her chin a special little way. The crowd APPLAUDS. EDWARD (cont’d) Did I want to deprive my soon-to-beborn son the chance to catch a fish like this of his own? This lady fish and I. This story is -. we can see that thirty years of marriage has not lessened their affection for each other.FINAL 4.BIG FISH . Will can’t articulate his anger. Josephine covers well for her absent husband. a smile as warm as summer. He focuses his words on Sandra. Edward downs his champagne in a gulp. A LAUGH from the crowd. . Edward toasts the happy couple. we had the same destiny. the day my son was born. where his mother intercepts him. he holds up his ring) That was the lesson I learned that day. well. it’s still your night. As they kiss.about her more than anyone. As he leaves.

not after a thousand times.FINAL 5. Both men are a little drunk. they don’t.. I do not like the story. How can you not understand that? A long beat. It revolves around me and my wife. Will won’t let him get the last word. a father’s not allowed to talk about his son? WILL (disbelieving) I am a footnote in that story. I can tell them as well as you can. EDWARD What. Which never happened! Incidentally! You were selling novelty products in Wichita the day I was born. Everyone likes that story. WILL Friend of yours? of a bind? Did you help him out EDWARD Come on. (closer) For one night. EDWARD (low) Sorry to embarrass you. I am the context for your great adventure. WILL No Dad. EDWARD (shaking his head) Jesus Christ. the universe does not revolve around Edward Bloom. one night in your entire life. Dad. then.BIG FISH . OUTSIDE LA RUE 14° . 6 EXT. Will. especially as it gets more heated.NIGHT 6 We come into the middle of an argument on the sidewalk.. Not anymore. I know all the punchlines. . Occasional PASSERSBY take notice.

He walks away. BLOOM HOUSE KITCHEN .BIG FISH . Dad. ANGLE ON Will. we FREEZE FRAME. Will sorts through a bundle of mail dropped on his desk.O.. NEWSROOM (PARIS) .. WILL (V.NIGHT 9 Sandra stands by the window.DAY 8 At the table. Edward takes a seat. WILL (V. You A hand to wave. A.O. Mom would say that Dad was out driving.O. WILL (V. . Returning to the mail. starting to eat his sandwich. In her letters and Christmas cards. ANGLE ON Edward. watching as. Fine. WILL (V. WILL (ON PHONE) (without pauses) William Bloom with the Associated Press if I could just.)(cont’d) After that night. still fuming with righteous anger. I didn’t speak to my father again for three years. enough of you. we never talked about our not talking. Rips it open.) When I’d call.)(cont’d) We communicated indirectly I guess.O.FINAL 6. my mother would write for both of them. On hold with the phone cradled under an ear.) (cont'd) True to form. Or swimming in the pool. WILL You’re embarrassing yourself. He’s put back on hold. 8 INT. just don’t see it. 7 INT.P.. 9 INT. Sandra talks on the phone while Edward fixes a sandwich. BLOOM HOUSE MASTER BEDROOM .DAY It’s then 7 A typically busy day. he finds a hand-addressed envelope..

Sure enough. then the Beast spits out Edward’s gold ring. BLOOM BACK YARD . where Edward’s reflection is caught in the dark water. He brings the catfish up to his face. the man from the myth. RIVER . it’s a younger EDWARD BLOOM. water. WILL (V.O. this Edward thrusts both hands into the water. WILL (V.BIG FISH . Smiling. A beat. Looks it right in the eye.FINAL 7.) In telling the story of my father’s life. As the water ripples past. We LOOK DOWN at the river. We were like strangers who knew each other very well. The best I can do is to tell it the way he told me. as we LOOK UP again.O. a lion in wait.) (cont’d) It doesn’t always make sense. 11 EXT.NIGHT [CONTINUOUS] He’s born to the 10 Edward swims laps in the family pool. I didn’t see anything of myself in my father. staring into the water. Suddenly. TITLE OVER: . it’s impossible to separate the fact from the fiction.O. then throws the Beast back into the water with a splash. WILL (V. grabbing hold of THE BEAST. WILL (V.) The truth is. 10 EXT. and most of it never happened. Edward takes the ring. not just charming. It’s as if all the forces of the natural world had conspired to create him. He’s not just handsome. and I don’t think he saw anything of himself in me.) (cont’d) But that’s what kind of story this is.O. 20’s.DAY 11 Edward stares intently into the water. something changes.

) My father’s birth would set the pace for his unlikely life. A cradle is still in its carton. YOUNG DR. HALF-DARK PARIS APARTMENT .. -. She’s flustered and sweating.(PRESENT) DAY 14 Over the sound of rain. but no one can hold it. And as strange as his stories got. we know we’re not in the U.. 13 INT. As the newborn sails upward TOWARDS CAMERA..it has that insistent European sound. On three. out a collective sigh of relief. 14 INT. BENNETT Now.FINAL 8.. the newborn knocks over a tray. Everyone lets WILL (V. Everyone races after it. One. BENNETT Grab that baby! A NURSE finally scoops up the slippery baby. The NURSES and the Husband try to grab the baby. As it keeps RINGING.S.DAY 13 Bursting through the doors -YOUNG DR. I’ll need you to give me one good push. but the doctor has a comforting bedside manner. but larger. HOSPITAL HALLWAY . we can see a GIGGLING SMILE on its face. which provides it a ramp to slide right out of the room.O. the endings were always the most surprising of all. Mrs. No longer than most men’s. BIG FISH 12 INT. we hear a POP as a slimy mass of human being rockets into the doctor’s unprepared hands. By the tone of the ring. Bloom.BIG FISH . Suddenly. we look to see the apartment is mostly empty. . HOSPITAL ROOM . but the infant is slippery like a fish. Bennett tries to hold tight.DAY 12 Young Dr. As it falls. just a few half-unpacked boxes. Bennett stands between the Wife’s legs. It shoots up into air. a phone RINGS on a chair.

I’ll wait. trying to gauge how bad the news is. LAUGHTER in the hallway. It’s bad. Uh-huh. concerned. Allo oui? Will begins stripping out of his wet clothes. This won’t be good JOSEPHINE Looks over to Josephine. JOSEPHINE (cont’d) (on phone) Yes.BIG FISH . the bottoms collapsing from the rain. Bennett say? sure. As Josephine takes off her rain coat. WILL It’s more than they thought. She listens carefully to Will’s side of the conversation. KEYS in the lock. let me talk to him. trying to get a reaction out of Josephine. each layer unleashing a new drizzle. The door swings open to reveal a drenched Will (29) carrying four sacks of groceries. JOSEPHINE You need to go. news. JOSEPHINE . WILL (on phone) Hi. he’s here. She hands the phone to Will. A beat. Half-stripped. we see she is very. He covers the mouthpiece. No. very pregnant. His wife Josephine (28) pushes past him to get the phone. WILL Probably tonight. They’re Okay. Will takes the phone. Uh-huh. JOSEPHINE (cont’d) It’s your mother.FINAL 9. going to stop chemo. WILL (cont’d) What does Dr. He plays it up.

She can pinpoint what he's feeling before he can. A beat. Taking his hands. a STEWARDESS recites the welcome spiel in French.NIGHT 16 Hours later.NIGHT 17 . he notices a BORED BOY in the next row over. There's an effortless intimacy between them. PRELAP) So which one’s it gonna be? The Monkey in the Barn.come to find Edward making the shapes. making a convincing bird. Will has a window seat in coach. Will watches her sleep. she rubs the excess into him.. The kid is pretty good. its shade off to cast big shadows on the wall. Will (6) sits in his pajamas on the floor next to him.S. a passable monkey.FINAL 10.. the Dog in the Road? Focusing on the final shadow. Her head is propped against Will’s shoulder. we. 16 INT. 747 / FLYING . 15 INT. BLOOM HOUSE . then Off the glow of the reading light. The endtable lamp lies between them. EDWARD (O. brushing back her hair. Most of the PASSENGERS are asleep. AIR FRANCE 747 . including Josephine. putting on hand lotion. JOSEPHINE I’m going with you. the boy is using his hands to cast shadows on the seat back.. and the lights are dimmed.BIG FISH . WILL You don’t have to.NIGHT 15 As the plane continues boarding. We PUSH IN on the silhouettes. JOSEPHINE (a simple fact) I’m going with you. . and finally a dog. Josephine sits beside him.. MATCH CUT TO: 17 INT.. her hands tucked under her belly.

alive. seeing if his wife is in earshot. Edward holds up his hand. Don and Zacky. EDWARD (cont’d) This all happened in the swamp outside of Ashton. He then leans in. But there were five of us out there that night: Me. EDWARD Neither was I. Five kids walk past in silhouette. 18 EXT. You get nightmares.NIGHT The night is WHIRRING and BREATHING. and the Price Brothers. crashing into YOUNG EDWARD (10).. on account of the snakes and spiders and quicksand that would swallow you up before you could even scream. Ruthie. We are. The fifth keeps tripping. WILL I’m not scared.FINAL 11. complicitous. Wilbur Freely. casting long shadows. Edward looks around for a beat. As his hand moves past the light. 18 The moon hangs FIELD AT THE SWAMP EDGE . low. Will smiles. counting the names on his fingers. we COME TO: A flashlight SWEEPS past. EDWARD Zacky. EDWARD Your mom says I can’t tell you that one anymore. turn your flashlight on! ZACKY I don’t got any batteries! .. excited to hear the forbidden story. Four have flashlights on. Kids weren’t supposed to go out in the swamp.BIG FISH . At first. EDWARD (cont’d) Not a one of us knew what was in store. WILL The one about the witch.

also 10. Red-headed ZACKY PRICE is 10. present. is happy just to be there. Redheaded RUTHIE MACKLIN.. His brother DON PRICE is 12.FINAL 12. DON PRICE Your momma’s a bitch. Damn. WILBUR FREELY ZACKY DON PRICE There’s ladies She’ll see MOVING UP behind the kids. 8. Screw. WILBUR FREELY. RUTHIE You shouldn’t swear. EDWARD Is it true she got a glass eye? WILBUR FREELY I heard she got it from Gypsies. EDWARD What’s a Gypsy? ZACKY Your momma’s a Gypsy. we find ourselves at the gates of. .BIG FISH . and a lot bigger than the others. EDWARD (whispering) Turn off your flashlights! ‘em. DON PRICE Then why’d you bring it? ZACKY I don’t want to be in the swamp with a witch and no flashlight. is the black asthmatic son of a sharecropper. Shit..

and BACK. DON PRICE (cont’d) Or are you too scared? EDWARD I’ll go in right now and get that eye. A CREEPY OLD HOUSE . . which was said to contain mystical powers. and eerie gargoyles half-buried in the dirt.NIGHT ADULT EDWARD (V. revealing more of the Gothically creepy house: its broken windows. strangling vines. you can see how you’re gonna die. She’s Who DON PRICE You’re so sure. there was one who was the most feared. Edward looks back at the spooky house.FINAL 13. 19 EXT. not even a real witch. it’s common knowledge that most towns of a certain size have a witch. We finally come to the kids. DON PRICE Then do it.)(cont’d) Yet of the all the witches in Alabama. EDWARD That’s bull-s-h-i-t. Witches use those bones to cast spells and curses that make the land infertile.BIG FISH . Even bats are afraid to fly over it. 19 We PULL BACK.O. For she had one glass eye. EDWARD Fine.) Now. staring in through the gate. knows what is lurking in the shadows? ADULT EDWARD (V. why don’t you go in and get that eye? I heard she keeps it in a box on her nighttable. if only to eat misbehaving children and the occasional puppy who wanders into her yard. WILBUR FREELY I hear if you look right at it.O. that is. I will. In the moonlight. the house is especially sinister.

Anything could jump out of them. she makes soap out of people. Edward is scared. Truth be told. APPROACHING THE HOUSE Edward curves around the tall bushes that hide the front door.BIG FISH . but he continues on. don’t! WILBUR FREELY She’ll make soap out of you! (to Ruthie) That’s what she does. Wilbur looks to Ruthie. They get the hell out of there. but he forges ahead anyway. The doorknob is ancient brass. RUTHIE Edward. 20 . He hands Zacky his flashlight. reaching closer and closer before he finally RINGS THE DOORBELL. 20 EXT. Catching his breath. He steps on the porch. EDWARD (calm and straightforward) Ma’am. I’m doing it. and there’s some folks’d like to see your eye. my name is Edward Bloom. EDWARD Fine. Yet Edward extends his hand. DON PRICE Fine. She looks like she’s been dead for years. two projections that look like horns. Edward reaches the front door. Edward drops down on the far side of the gate. but Don holds him by the collar. Impossibly fast. the door opens. you do it. A cat SCREAMS OUT from a broken wicker rocker. then starts climbing the gate. revealing an OLD WOMAN with a patch over her left eye. The boards SQUEAL and CREAK. and they’re in complete agreement. Zacky would run too. but too stubborn to lie down.FINAL 14.

the ladder gives way and he falls. changing a lightbulb. flipping up her eye patch. 23 EXT. 21 EXT. each moment more convinced he’s already dead.BIG FISH . Suddenly. DON PRICE I wasn’t old at all. it shines with a hellish glow. ZACKY I saw how I was gonna die. he’s back at the gate.NIGHT 25 The latter has tears Don and Zacky both tremble with fear. 25 EXT. FRATERNITY HOUSE BATHROOM .DAY 24 Twenty-year old Don Price falls face-forward on the tile. DON PRICE You get the eye? EDWARD I brought it. We RUSH IN on Zacky. who is paralyzed by what he sees.NIGHT 23 We RUSH IN on Don Price. CUT TO: 22 EXT. BACK AT THE GATE . DON PRICE (dubious) Let’s see it. FRONT PORCH OF HOUSE .NIGHT 21 Zacky and Don Price wait for Edward. and I fell. CUT TO: 24 INT.FINAL 15. Very much dead. in his eyes. But suddenly.DAY 22 An OLD MAN -. I was old.stands on a wobbly stepladder.Zacky -. . AT THE GATE . AT THE GATE . When their flashlight beam hits her left eye. The Old Woman steps out of the shadows behind Edward. face mushed in the grout. Dead.

26 EXT. couldn’t it? Because you’d know that everything else you can survive.Edward looks into The Eye. Edward smiles. Edward turns The Old Woman nods. Whatever he sees. He could leave now. EDWARD (cont’d) I mean. it could kind of screw you up. I was as good as immortal. MATCH CUT TO: . The Old Woman turns leaning her face right in front of his. Huh. a crooked grin of broken teeth. His future has something strange in store. As Edward leaves. About seeing how you’re gonna die. But it could kind of help you. I no longer feared death. The Old Woman turns to him slightly. ADULT EDWARD (V. The Old Woman smiles a little. The brothers suddenly bolt. EDWARD (cont’d) I guess I’m saying. perplexed and amused.BIG FISH . EDWARD (cont’d) That’s how I go? Still a little overwhelmed.) From that moment on. EDWARD I was thinking about death and all. Still standing next to the Old 26 AT THE OLD WOMAN’S DOOR . the door swings SHUT on its own. two.O. I’d like to know. still not facing him. on one hand. This time we don’t cut. Woman. three -. He stares transfixed. we HOLD ON Edward as he witnesses his death. Instead. if dying was all you thought about. And on a silent count of one. And for that. but curiosity gets the better of him.FINAL 16. it’s not as dire as the other boys.NIGHT Edward helps her back inside. and leaves.

squeezing her son tight. They hug. BLOOM HOUSE ./EXT. REVERSE to Will’s mother Sandra (53). Hi.FINAL 17.. it’s not that big really. SANDRA I’ll bet you need to -- . That hug finished. Starting over. SANDRA How did you get here? WILL We swam. Mom. Thank you. surprised and a little annoyed. Seeing the size of her belly -SANDRA You shouldn’t have flown.(PRESENT) DAY 27 The front door opens to reveal Will and Josephine on the porch with their bags. beautiful. A beat.. WILL You just It’s the truth. You look But... She surrenders. JOSEPHINE It’s good to see you. didn’t. The Atlantic. 27 INT. They’ve always been close. SANDRA (simply) You didn’t need to do that. Sandra pushes past her son to her daughterin-law. WILL We rented a car. SANDRA Ruth McHibbon offered to pick you up at the airport. Will and his mother are cut from the same cloth -strong-willed but practical. It’s not flattery. SANDRA I’m so glad you’re here.BIG FISH . He leans in and hugs her.

and nicely grown into the lot. SANDRA Down the hall on the right. WILL Is that Dr. BENNETT . Josephine squeezes past. three bedrooms. still winded from coming down the stairs. Yes.BIG FISH .. The door sticks. Will heads back to the rental car to retrieve luggage. WILL How much time does he have left? SANDRA You don’t talk about those things. Heading back to the house. He’s still the town’s best physician. big for the neighborhood. And because he won’t eat. And because he’s weaker. Bennett’s car? SANDRA He’s up with your father. KIDS are playing on the street. a smile to her husband -.DAY Not 28 WILL JOSEPHINE Sandra is pouring iced tea for Will and Josephine. DR. we get to see the house for the first time: an older suburban home. he doesn’t want to eat. 28 INT.FINAL 18. You have to really pull it. Will. Coming down the driveway. Sandra follows him. He was the town’s first Black physician. JULIUS BENNETT (85) enters from the foyer.. yet.be nice. he gets weaker. He won’t eat. How is he? SANDRA He’s impossible. DR. KITCHEN .

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19.

WILL Dr. Bennett. It’s good to see you. (they shake) My wife, Josephine. DR. BENNETT A pleasure. He judges her belly. DR. BENNETT (cont’d) You’re seven months. JOSEPHINE (impressed) To the day. He leans close to her, whispering in her ear... DR. BENNETT It’s a boy. She smiles, surprised but not doubting. Will looks over -what did he say? Josephine shakes her head. Back to the main subject... SANDRA You don’t think he looks any worse. No. DR. BENNETT I would say he’s the same. It wasn’t

And in the silence that follows, a lot is said. the upbeat reply Sandra was hoping for. WILL Can I see him? DR. BENNETT Absolutely. Be good for you to talk to him.

A moment of awkwardness -- everyone here knows they haven’t spoken in years. Sandra hands Will a squat can of Ensure from the case on the counter. SANDRA Get him to drink one of these. won’t, but tell him he has to. He

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20.

29

INT.

FOYER - DAY

29

Coming out from the kitchen, Will slowly climbs the stairs. They CREAK with every step. The wall is filled with family photos, happier times. Most of the pictures are of Will, starting when he was an infant and ending at his wedding. As he climbs the stairs, we can see him growing up with every step. 30 INT. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - DAY 30

A crack of sunlight spills around the half-open door at the end of the hallway. Will walks towards it, running a hand along the wallpaper. Almost at the door, he stops for a beat. Then goes inside. 31 INT. GUEST ROOM - DAY Gets his breath. 31

Edward Bloom, 61, lies asleep on the bed. Although he’s not the vibrant man we’ve seen before, it’s not as bad we feared. The illness has been quick, and left him largely intact. There are no I.V.’s, no monitors, nothing. Coming up to the bed -Dad? Edward cracks open an eye, a beat before he focuses. tries to say something, but no words come out. He WILL

He looks over at a pitcher on the nightstand. Will pours him a glass of water, helping him hold it to his parched lips. Finished, Edward sets down the glass by himself. A very long, tense beat. Will almost speaks again to fill the silence. Finally... EDWARD You -(he points) -- are in for a surprise. Am I? WILL

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21.

EDWARD Having a kid changes everything. I mean, there’s the diapers and the burping and the midnight feedings... WILL Did you do any of that? EDWARD No, but I hear it’s terrible. Then you spend years trying to corrupt and mislead this child, fill its head with nonsense and still it turns out perfectly fine. WILL You think I’m up for it? EDWARD You learned from the best. Will doesn’t rise to the challenge. A beat, then he remembers the can of Ensure. Holds it up. Edward recoils. WILL Just drink half the can. I’ll tell her you drank the whole thing. Everyone wins. A beat, then Edward rolls his eyes. Fine. Will cracks open the can, finding a straw on the nightstand. EDWARD People needn’t worry so much. It’s not my time yet. This isn’t how I go. Really. Truly. EDWARD I saw it in The Eye. WILL

WILL The Old Lady by the swamp. EDWARD She was a witch. WILL No, she was old and probably senile. Maybe schizophrenic.

FINAL 22. EDWARD True story. Wouldn’t want to ruin it for you. He walked into that. EDWARD And every day I gave him a quarter.BIG FISH . then pushes the can away. WILL When did you ever work in an office? EDWARD There’s a lot you don’t know about me. A beat. Edward slurps down as much of the Ensure as he can stand. EDWARD (cont’d) There was this panhandler who used to stop me every morning when I came out of this coffee shop near the office. Every day. Really. is not how it happens. Then I got sick and was out for a couple of weeks. you know what he said? WILL What did he say? EDWARD You owe me three-fifty. Edward gives a wry smile. WILL WILL . WILL So how does it happen? And this EDWARD Surprise ending. Okay. And when I went back there. EDWARD I saw my death in that eye. WILL You’re right. He swallows with difficulty.

He’s at the door when. WILL I’d just like to know the true versions of things. And look at us. Dying is the worst thing that ever happened to me. both of us.BIG FISH .. We’re storytellers. which becomes a COUGH.. EDWARD Your mother hasn’t been keeping up the pool. WILL I thought you weren’t dying. Being stuck in bed. I speak mine out.FINAL 23. Will. here. WILL Dad. EDWARD You mean. Edward LAUGHS a little. you write yours down. Will gets up to go. Events. You. If you wanted to you could. remember? I used to do it a lot. Same thing. EDWARD I was never much for being at home. EDWARD Your mother was worried we wouldn’t talk again. It’s too confining. The HACKING escalates until another drink of water gets it under control. Stories. WILL . It’s not clear whether any of this was an act to keep from talking. He didn’t mean for that to sound so pointed. He smiles at his joke. I’m hoping we can talk about some things while I’m here. And this.. Will won’t commit to Edward’s assessment. while I’m here. We’re talking fine.. I will. EDWARD You know where the chemicals are? WILL I used to do it when you were gone. Taking the halfempty Ensure.

. Then pulls again. YOUNG EDWARD -.where an eight-year old Will is propped up in bed. YOUNG WILL Dr. EDWARD I said this isn’t how I go. Edward was right. he loosens his tie. Two more buttons fly off.DAY [FLASHBACK] As he 33 . leaves frame. TINY CHURCH . I once had to stay in bed for three years. YOUNG WILL Did you have chicken pox? I wish. his face getting red.DAY 34 EDWARD Wearing a white shirt and tie. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY . He’s showing Edward how many bumps there are on his arm.DAY 32 Shutting the door behind himself.. His friends Wilbur Freeley and Ruthie look over. his face covered with chicken pox and pink calamine lotion. One hits a CHUBBY WOMAN in the neck. WILL’S BEDROOM . wondering what’s wrong.sings “Down to the River My Lord” along with the CONGREGATION. Edward just keeps SINGING. He’s starting to undo the collar button when it POPS off by itself. 32 INT. Will drinks the rest of the Ensure himself. And then another. Bennett says I’m going to have to be home for a week. his voice CRACKS and DROPS a half-octave. Starting to panic. It tastes horrible.still about 10 -. EDWARD That’s nothing.FINAL 24. Embarrassed. 33 INT. Suddenly.BIG FISH .. Will walks past an open door. He pulls at his collar. trying to follow along with the baritone part.. we STAY BEHIND to look inside. His voice is high and thin. Heading for the stairs. . CUT TO: 34 INT. Trust me on that. The last part is much more unusual. but he gives it his all.

no one quite knew what was wrong. ON HIS SHOES As we watch. INSERT: The encyclopedia article. the goldfish will remain small.FINAL 25.O.) My muscles couldn’t keep up with my bones.O.) It occurred to me then. that perhaps the reason for my growth was that I was intended for larger things. YOUNG EDWARD’S BEDROOM . YOUNG EDWARD (reading) “Kept in a small bowl.) Truth is. Most times. EDWARD (V. After all. I had made it all the way to the “G’s. Edward’s pant cuffs rise inch by inch -.” Young Edward thinks this through.” hoping to find an answer to my gigantificationism.DAY 35 Young Edward lies in bed. So I spent the better part of three years confined to my bed. his limbs connected to various pulleys and levers to support his weight.that’s how fast he’s growing. and my bones couldn’t keep up with my body’s ambition. a giant man can’t have an ordinarysized life. I found myself in a hurry. or quadruple its size. when I uncovered an article about the common goldfish. BASEBALL FIELD . EDWARD (V. a person grows up gradually. and another dozen on the floor. crowd CHEERS the swing. 35 INT. and especially the batter as he rounds the bases. . EDWARD (V.O. With more space. He has a dozen encyclopedias around him. triple. with the World Book Encyclopedia being my only means of exploration.BIG FISH . 36 EXT. the fish can grow double.DAY 36 The The CRACK of a bat announces the game-winning home run. complete with drawings.

“Bloom Landscaping. 38 SINGLE SHOT: A lawnmower ROARS along the grass. this is our first real exposure to GROWN-UP EDWARD. who we’ll follow from roughly the ages of 18 to 30. We LOOK UP to see who’s pushing it. Although we’ve seen him briefly before.) As soon as my bones had settled in their adult configuration.DAY 40 Edward carries a dog out of a burning house.DAY 37 SINGLE SHOTS: Football hero Edward leads his team to victory. Don Price throws his crappy lima bean plants in the trash. 39 INT. BASKETBALL COURT . On the sidelines. As the crowd goes wild for Edward. I set upon my plan to make a bigger place for myself in Ashton. 41 INT. he makes it. but it’s not Edward. Edward is back at the truck. SCHOOL FIELDS . Don Price is the only teammate who doesn’t mob him.DAY 41 Edward wins a blue ribbon for his invention.DAY 39 Edward takes an impossible shot at the buzzer from the other end of the court. A FLASH. 38 EXT. which is painted to read.FINAL 26. glowers. He signs an autograph for an ADMIRING CUB SCOUT. a machine labelled “Perpetual Motion. Naturally. 40 EXT.BIG FISH . NEIGHBORHOOD .DAY Don Price looks over. EDWARD (V. SCIENCE FAIR . It’s one of his teenage EMPLOYEES. winning the game. . TOWN .” He and the JUDGE pose for a photograph. a PRETTY GIRL admits the name of her secret love: GIRL Edward Bloom! The other GIRLS SQUEAL in agreement. 37 EXT. Pissed.0.” He has workers on every lawn.

DAY 46 A MOB of about 50 have gathered. but no human could be that large. 46 EXT. a stranger arrived.BIG FISH . 42 INT. GRADUATION STAGE .DAY 43 The PRINCIPAL hugs him tight. SHARECROPPER He ate an entire cornfield! LITTLE GIRL He ate my dog! HOT-BLOODED SHOTGUN TOTER If you ain’t gonna stop him Mayor. Edward accepts his diploma. Amid the crowd we see Don Price. FARM .DAY They 45 Two fat ewes look up. Their protests continue as they’re carried away. a shadow falling across them. It’s roughly the shape of man. many of them with shotguns. BLEAT in panic as TWO OVERSIZED HANDS reach in and scoop them up. we REVERSE to a show a massive hole punched through the side of a barn. Edward soaks in his applause. He’s the star of the show. 45 EXT.) I was the biggest thing Ashton had ever seen. one under each arm. HIGH SCHOOL STAGE . COURT HOUSE . smiling and gracious.DAY 42 A dashingly handsome Edward leads the CAST out for a curtain call.FINAL 27. Off to the side. has someone tried talking to him? . we see Don Price is the ass-end of a horse costume.DAY 44 As two FARMERS shake their heads. SHEEP PEN . EDWARD (V. We still haven’t seen the full stranger. we will! MAYOR I won’t have mob violence in this town.O. 43 EXT. 44 EXT. Until one day. Now.

EDWARD I’ll talk to him. a thunderous voice: GO AWAY! The giant’s voice has such force. EDWARD Trust me.S. The crowd parts to Don Price glowers. A VOICE (O. VOICE (O. HILL OUTSIDE ASHTON .DAY 47 Edward climbs up the last bit of the steep hillside. Outside. to move on. it blows Edward’s hair back. reveal none other than Edward Bloom.S.FINAL 28.) I’ll do it. SOME FARMER You can’t reason with ‘im! SHEPHARD He’s a monster! Agreement from the crowd. 47 EXT. reaching the mouth of a cave. Edward calls out: Hello! There’s no answer. See if I can get him MAYOR Son. In his most serious voice. Everyone turns to see who said that. he’ll have to try. buzzards squabble over the remains of the giant’s feast: broken barrels.. And then. EDWARD (cont’d) My name is Edward Bloom! I want to talk to you! From deep in a cave.BIG FISH . that creature could crush you without trying..) EDWARD . bones picked clean.

I preferred to keep my bones unbroken. The town decided to send a human sacrifice. ready to play David to Goliath. mean..BIG FISH . Hunched over. Edward picks up a stone. I’d be tempted to eat them myself. Edward throws his rock. and I volunteered. I knew the giant couldn’t kill me. Edward starts to worry. settling on. the giant bursts forth. KARL Why are you here? Edward ponders the best response.)(cont’d) Armed with the foreknowledge of my own death. the ground starts to shake. Then suddenly. God knows what’s living in his matted hair. then we hear a RUMBLE. like a train coming. Edward braces himself.FINAL 29. blocking the sun. he slams into a stunned Edward. All the same. What remains of his clothes are ragged and muddy. Not just tall. with a beard to his elbow and skin scratched and blistered. but there’s some good eating on my legs. KARL THE GIANT is bigger than any man you’ve ever seen. EDWARD So you can eat me. The giant didn’t even notice it. but massive. Karl’s eyes narrow. (beat) (MORE) I . EDWARD I’m not going anywhere until you show yourself. He’s completely feral. fists ready for a fight. A beat. Even EDWARD (cont’d) My arms are a little stringy. Karl leans over Edward. Edward stands up. knocking him halfway down the hill. As the RUMBLE gets louder. Just how big is this guy? EDWARD (V. confused. but it just bounces off.O. if that’s what it’s going to take..

BIG FISH - FINAL EDWARD (cont’d) So I guess, just, if you could get it over with quick. Because I’m not much for pain, really.

30.

Edward closes his eyes, hands at his side, ready to be eaten. Karl just stares at him, not sure what to do. After a beat, Edward opens his eyes a tiny bit, just to see what the giant is doing. Relieved to see he’s not licking his chops -EDWARD (cont’d) Look, I can’t go back. I’m a human sacrifice. If I go back, everyone will think I’m a coward. And I’d rather be dinner than a coward. Karl sits down with a BOOM, dejected. EDWARD (cont’d) Here, start with my hand. It’ll be an appetizer. Reaching up, Edward shoves his hand into Karl’s mouth. the giant spits it back out. KARL I don’t want to eat you. I don’t want to eat anybody. It’s just I get so hungry. I’m too big. And that’s the sad truth. Karl is less a monster than a freak -- a giant man, but in the end, just a man. Edward takes a seat beside him. EDWARD Did you ever think maybe you’re not too big? Maybe this town’s just too small. I mean, look at it. Circling behind them, we look down at Ashton -- a tiny town in a tiny valley. EDWARD (cont’d) Hardly two stories in the whole place. Now I’ve heard in real cities, they’ve got buildings so tall you can’t even see the tops of ‘em. Really? KARL But

BIG FISH - FINAL

31.

EDWARD Wouldn’t lie to you. And they’ve got all-you-can-eat buffets. You can eat a lot, can’t you? I can. EDWARD So why are you wasting your time in a small town? You’re a big man. You should be in the big city. Karl smiles, but then it fades. A certain sad suspicion -KARL

KARL You’re just trying to get me to leave, aren’t you? That’s why they sent you here. EDWARD What’s your name, Giant? Karl. EDWARD Mine’s Edward. And truthfully, I do want you to leave, Karl. But I want to leave with you. (closer) You think this town is too small for you, well, it’s too small for a man of my ambition. I can’t see staying here a day longer. KARL You don’t like it? EDWARD I love every square inch of it. But I can feel the edges closing in on me. A man’s life can only grow to a certain size in a place like this. (beat) So what do you say? Join me? Karl thinks a moment. Okay. Then -KARL

KARL

BIG FISH - FINAL

32.

Okay. They shake on it. EDWARD (cont’d) Now first, we gotta get you ready for the city. 48 EXT. RIVER - DAY 48

EDWARD

IN A SINGLE SHOT, Karl cuts his hair with hedge clippers, while Edward cuts up a surplus army tent to make him a shirt. 49 EXT. MAIN STREET OF ASHTON - DAY 49

Spirits buoyed by the high school MARCHING BAND, all the good CITIZENS of Ashton are gathered to see off Edward and Karl. There’s a few tears amid the familiar faces. MAYOR (loudly, for the crowd) Edward Bloom, first son of Ashton, it’s with a heavy heart we see you go. But take with you this Key to the City, and know that any time you want to come back, all our doors are open to you. Edward ducks a bit so the Mayor can put the key around his neck. The crowd CHEERS. And with that, Edward and Karl start walking, waving as they go. Only DON PRICE, smoking on the corner, isn’t sad to see Edward go. He crushes his cigarette under his heel. He wishes he could crush Edward. Many of the townfolk come onto the street to hug Edward or shake his hand. EDWARD (V.O.) That afternoon as I left Ashton, everyone seemed to have advice. VARIOUS TOWNFOLK Find yourself a nice girl! Don’t trust anyone in Kentucky! Watch your pride, Edward Bloom! EDWARD (V.O.) But there was one person whose counsel I held above all others. As the crowd parts, he finds himself face to face with

. EDWARD (V. EDWARD (V. EDWARD (cont’d) (to the Old Woman) Okay. as if a strange spell has been cast. Although we’re VERY CLOSE. The advice only succeeds in confusing Edward. a new one which was paved.) (cont’d) Since I had no intention of ever returning to Ashton.BIG FISH . and an older one that wasn’t. THE OLD WOMAN. The Old Woman shuffles off. The old road is blocked with signs and warnings of danger. 50 EXT.O. wary. KARL What did she say? Beats me. Karl looks at the dirt road. Edward and Karl come to a bend. People didn’t use the old road anymore. somehow knowing her advice will go unheeded. Thanks.) (cont’d) She said that the biggest fish in the river gets that way by never being caught. where the paved road veers left and an overgrown dirt road runs straight.DAY 50 EDWARD We TILT UP from the road to reveal Edward and Karl walking out of Ashton.O. and it had developed the reputation of being haunted.) There were two roads out of Ashton. we can’t hear her voice.FINAL 33.O. so she can whisper something to him. The ruckus slows and quiets. ROAD . Each wears a backpack with all his earthly possessions. Edward and Karl keep walking. She motions for Edward to lean down. EDWARD (V. this seemed as good a time as any to find out what lay down that old road.

Edward WHISTLES. thorny vines growing across the path. even though it means more for him to carry. He carefully steps through the thorns. The forest is dead quiet. FURTHER ALONG . . A little paranoid.DAY 51 The sun is The road is overgrown. would be easier to go back.. his PITCH DROPS as he sees thick. He was going to Paris. KARL You know anyone’s who’s taken it? EDWARD That poet. For the first time. 53 FURTHER ALONG 53 It A scratched and sweaty Edward waves off various STINGING BUGS flying at him. He stops. KARL You’re not trying to run away? EDWARD Just to be sure. Coming around a bend. You take the other way and I’ll cut through here. We can hear the fabric TEAR. and the birds still CHIRPING. France. because it’s a day meant for whistling. Meet you on the far side. still shining. Karl perks up. but not altogether creepy. (beat) Tell you what.BIG FISH . It’s tempting to go back. finally whipping off his hat to swat at them. 51 EXT.. His trouser legs catch on the barbs. catching particles in the air. because no one ever heard from him again. 52 EXT. Edward WHISTLES. Still. DIRT ROAD .ROUGH PATH 52 The road has narrowed to a rough path. Norther Winslow did. He looks back the way he came. he realizes the birds have stopped singing. But Edward presses on. He must have liked it. Spikes of sunlight break through the thick canopy.FINAL 34. you can take my pack. Spinning the Key to the City.

A half-broken sign lies in the road. the gravel road has returned. heavy from the rain. One is stuck in his sleeve. EDWARD (cont’d) And what I recalled of Sunday School was that the more difficult something became. I was never a reasonable man. He stops his swearing.BIG FISH . and he has to dance to get it out.smaller even than Ashton -.. Edward tosses the sign and forges ahead. 55 EXT. the more rewarding it was in the end. smooth and dusty and comforting. Ahead lies a tiny one-street town -. The swarm roars out.DAY 55 Edward picks it up. . brushing the last cobwebs off and shaking the spiders from his shirt. Reads it: WARNING! JUMPING SPIDERS! Sure enough. Edward emerges from the forest.FINAL 35..with powerlines emerging from the woods to feed it. but grabs a rock and throws it.) There comes a point where a reasonable man will swallow his pride and admit he’s made a terrible mistake. The truth is. EDWARD (V. into the spiderwebs. convinced another one is left behind. 54 EXT.O. Even then. battered and bee-stung.DAY [LATER] 54 Edward is bruised. their laces tied together. CLEARING / THE ROAD . EDWARD You stupid sonofa. up ahead he sees the path is overgrown with thick cobwebs. each step still precarious. Edward high-tails it. THE DARK FOREST . At his feet. he still keeps twitching. Just then a CAWING crow swoops down and grabs the hat right out of his hands. Dangling from the line above he sees two dozen pairs of shoes. The stone ricochets off a tree and into a BEE’S NEST.

Most are smiling. BEAMEN Welcome to ya. BEAMEN EDWARD MAN’S VOICE . he’s the closest thing the town has to a mayor.DAY 56 It’s a main street with stores on each side: Cole’s Pharmacy. In fact. Everything is old. Here! Right here.. Beamen checks the clipboard.. Still looking. What’s more. BEAMEN Bloom like a flower? Yes.. Friendly but a little drunk. EDWARD You were expecting me? Not yet. Edward Bloom. A helpful woman named MILDRED chimes in: MILDRED You must have taken a shortcut. There are even a few tears of joy. Not finding the name. He passes a sign that reads “Welcome To Spectre!” 56 EXT. there’s a group of about 20 CITIZENS spilling out to see Edward approach. BEAMEN Oh. He’s carrying a clipboard. he flips forward a few pages. Talbot’s Five and Dime. but this isn’t a ghost town. What’s your name? EDWARD Edward Bloom. all of these people are barefoot.FINAL 36.BIG FISH . We weren’t expecting you yet. Al’s Country Store. Still confused. THE TOWN OF SPECTRE . Friend! A forty-year old man named BEAMEN comes out of the seed store to greet Edward..

Edward takes a second slice of apple pie. And truthfully. I did.DAY You’re early. though he’s never left the state. EDWARD It nearly killed me. MILDRED Much longer. BEAMEN And you’re here now. The poet? EDWARD What ever happened to him? BEAMEN He’s still here. already running late.FINAL 37. . I’ll have him tell you. BEAMEN’S HOUSE . BEAMEN Son. everyone’s laughing. 57 INT. I’ve gotta meet somebody. Let me buy you a drink. Beamen’s daughter JENNY (8) hides behind her father. I already told you.BIG FISH . He and Beamen are joined by NORTHER WINSLOW (30). peering around to look at the handsome stranger. Best kept secret in Alabama. Life’ll do that to you. I’m He didn’t mean it as a joke. BEAMEN Mmm-hmm. Says here you’re from Ashton. but it’s longer. but for some reason. I’ll tell you all about it. 57 Sitting at the kitchen table. and that’s what matters. EDWARD What is this place? BEAMEN The town of Spectre. right? Last person we had from Ashton was Norther Winslow. the long way is easier. who fancies himself a cultured artist. Hell. EDWARD No.

DAY 58 EDWARD She races for the As she runs. playing just for you. Hey! He chases after her. Reaching the edge of town. she tosses the shoes up and around the power line -. Wait! EDWARD I need those! NORTHER WINSLOW There is no softer ground than town. 58 EXT. EDWARD It truly is.FINAL 38.. Still focused on his shoes. . Suddenly. who is confused and overwhelmed. TOWN / MAIN STREET . The women hug him. There’s no way he’s ever getting them down. door. Even the water is sweet. At night the wind goes through the trees and you’d swear there was a whole symphony out there. The gathered citizens of Spectre CHEER for Edward. Jenny ties Edward’s laces together.BIG FISH . BEAMEN Now tell me if that isn’t the best pie you ever ate. too humid. too cold. Never gets too hot. MILDRED That rhymes! BEAMEN He is our poet laureate. UNDER THE TABLE Young Jenny is stealthily untying the laces on Edward’s shoes. NORTHER WINSLOW Everything here tastes better.a perfect throw. Men shake his hand.. Jenny YANKS OFF Edward’s shoes.

NORTHER WINSLOW This is why you don’t show work in progress.O.. NORTHER WINSLOW I’ve been working on this poem for 12 years.) Sometimes in a dream.FINAL 39. EDWARD Norther. do you ever regret not making it to Paris? NORTHER WINSLOW I can’t imagine any place better than here. 59 Edward sits with Norther Winslow. Really. and I had arrived.DUSK The fireflies are out.. My journey had scarcely begun. NORTHER WINSLOW There’s a lot of expectation. EDWARD (V. Norther hands him his noteboook. filled with friends you’ve never met.O. you’ll visit places that seem instantly familiar. EDWARD (V. 59 EXT. want to disappoint my fans. EDWARD It’s only three lines long. The townsfolk continue to congratulate Edward. UNDER A TREE .) A man might travel his entire life and never find a place so inviting.BIG FISH . I don’t EDWARD . Thousands of them. Norther grabs his notebook back. A beat.

it’s okay! I got it. understandably terrified that a man is coming at her. Which isn’t a snake at all. he looks around to discover that the Girl in the River is gone. He swims as hard as can.BIG FISH . squeezing the water out of her golden hair. You oughta be able to. It leaves a break in the water. Edward looks at what he holds in his hands. has to be. The woman dives back underwater. trying to make sense of it all. Wait! EDWARD (CONT’D) I’m sorry.she must have been swimming underwater. He stares at himself in the reflection. He smiles. We never see her face.FINAL 40. Edward soaks his feet in the water. I got the As the splashing subsides. oblivious to his presence. She stands in the river with her bare back to Edward. EDWARD No. Edward dives in. Then he sees the snake. On pure instinct.NIGHT By the light of the full moon. Just goes back to his notebook. And a non-threatening one at that. He never even saw her face. its small reptilian head aiming for her flesh. It’s a cottonmouth. While Edward ponders his mistake. Hello?! . Edward is breathless. GRABBING THE SNAKE just as it’s about to strike. It’s then that a WOMAN emerges at the far side of the river. 60 BY THE RIVER . There’s no decision to be made. 60 EXT. And maybe if you’d seen more. EDWARD You’re a poet. you could. Norther doesn’t answer. It’s the first woman he’s seen in her natural state. The Key to the City dangles around his neck. No telling where she came from -. but rather a common stick. and he doesn’t dare move lest he frighten her away. snake.

uh. ever catches her.. He starts to wade back to the bank. Edward keeps expecting her to surface. but she never does.S. JENNY (cont’d) Fish looks diff’rent to diff’rent people. EDWARD .. He pulls up his pant legs to reveal three shiny leeches clinging to his skin. completely drenched. where young Jenny Hill is watching him. My daddy said it looked like the coon dog he had when he was kid.. Edward climbs up onto the shore.CONTINUOUS A GIRL’S VOICE (O.. Shoot.) There’s leeches in there! Edward looks to the bank. He stands alone in the river. BY THE RIVER .BIG FISH . Edward isn’t inclined to follow up on the issue. He starts to work pulling them off. JENNY (matter-of-fact) It’s not a woman. EDWARD Did you see that woman? JENNY What did she look like? EDWARD Well.. somewhere. EDWARD 61 No one Given the day he’s had so far.FINAL 41. back from the dead. she.. it’s a fish. Yeah. JENNY Was she nekkid? Embarrassed to admit it. wondering what tricks his eyes are playing on him. 61 EXT.NIGHT .

Edward Bloom..NIGHT 62 Edward and Jenny walk back. everyone wants to dance with Edward.BIG FISH . We . EDWARD (a little wary) You’re pretty good at arithmetic. two WOMEN have grabbed him by the arms. It’s hard to hear over the MUSIC. Eager to get off this subject. all do. EDWARD Sure is a lot now. Lanterns and streamers hang on cables across the street. you’ll be 28. The whole town is there in celebration of its newest citizen. Beamen plucks his LAUGHING daughter away to dance with her. pulling him in to dance with them. huh? 63 EXT. though. you’ll only be 38. and they spin wildly. And that’s not much difference at all. JENNY I’m eight. That means when I’m eighteen. And when I’m 28.NIGHT 63 EDWARD As Edward and Jenny approach Main Street. you’ll be 48. he’s having a blast. they find “downtown” has been transformed. JENNY How old are you? Eighteen. The resulting dance number seems both choreographed and complete chaos. JENNY And when I’m 38. From FARMER to BAKER’S WIFE. who finds himself tossed around like a stick caught in a whirlpool. and a small stage has been built at one end to hold FIDDLERS. MILDRED Jenny thinks you’re quite a catch. Before he can protest. 62 EXT.. MAIN STREET . Then Mildred cuts in to dance with Edward.FINAL 42. PATH BACK TO TOWN . Jenny grabs both his hands. Still.

She’d tackle him if she could. some shaking their heads. supposed to. then he heads for the edge of the crowd. EDWARD I promise.BIG FISH . Jenny runs to him. The townspeople stop dancing. Someday. BEAMEN JENNY Promise me you’ll come back. I’m not ready to end up anywhere. Poor Edward Bloom’s gone crazy. Beamen is there. EDWARD I have to leave. Why? EDWARD This town is everything a man could ask for. When I’m really . disbelieving. A beat. But the fact is. And with that. EDWARD (not hearing) What? MILDRED I said you’re quite a catch! Edward stops dancing. And if I were to end up here. JENNY How are you gonna make it without your shoes? EDWARD I suspect it will hurt a lot. I’d consider myself lucky. BEAMEN (calling after him) You won’t find a better place! EDWARD I don’t expect to.FINAL 43. BEAMEN No one’s ever left. Edward walks down Main Street. Tonight. with Jenny on his shoulders.

After all.BIG FISH . walking. but it will have to do. grabbing for his ankles.) As difficult as it was to reach Spectre. but the chain finally breaks.NIGHT Edward keeps 64 VARIOUS SHOTS: Edward negotiates the thorns in his bare feet. With a sudden calm. no man can avoid reaching the end of his life. It’s horrible. but as we hear the wood CRACKING and GROANING. Another lightning FLASH. Scrambling forward. The silver key disappears into the mud. kicking off one tree trunk to grab another one’s branches. this wasn’t the end of my life. 64 EXT.. EDWARD (V. At first. there’s no mistaking it: they’re trying to block him. Edward is lying shoeless and torn in a muddy puddle. EDWARD (cont’d) (aloud) This isn’t how I die. Now all the trees are moving to block him. their spiky crowns bending down to crush him. THE DARK FOREST . He SCREAMS up at the night. Snake-like WHITE ROOTS shoot out of the ground. He swings off. it just seems to be the wind blowing the branches. EDWARD (V. And LAUGHING.) (cont'd) And then I realized.O. Almost unendurable.. I was fated to get there eventually. the chain holding the Key to the City gets caught. he looks for a way out. He’s almost strangled. It’s not good enough. . And then it gets worse.O. their dark shapes towering over him in the flashes of LIGHTNING. lands and rolls. He leaps up. and suddenly the trees are back where they’ve always been. until his breath is gone. The trees ahead are moving.FINAL 44. But the trees have encircled him. staring up at the rain. As he ducks under branches.

With that. It was incredible. He’s exhausted from the trip downstairs. Will finally breaks the silence. bloody feet. KARL What happened to your shoes? Edward looks down at his muddy. Although Edward has a small plate of food in front of him. SANDRA We’ll have to pick up a copy. 65 EXT. coming down the larger. JOSEPHINE I spent a week in Morocco for the story. paved road. Really! SANDRA That’s wonderful. with Sandra and Josephine in the middle. the men start walking down the larger road. WILL I don’t know if you’ve seen it. A beat.DAY 65 His bare foot steps onto asphalt. THE ROAD . EDWARD They got ahead of me. Edward suddenly speaks: . CROSSFADE TO: 66 INT.NIGHT 66 A DEEP VOICE Edward and Will sit at opposite ends of the table.BIG FISH . Friend! Edward turns to see KARL to his right. but Josephine has some photos in the most recent Newsweek. The other three eat awkwardly. As Will scoops out another serving of potatoes.FINAL 45. but determined to maintain the family dinner ritual. DINING ROOM . each CLINK and SCRAPE of a knife or fork resonating. he hasn’t touched it.

67 INT.everything but religion. movies.NIGHT 67 Will shakes a shopping cart free from the pile-up while his mother checks her list. WILL Mom.FINAL 46. you’d hear them speaking the most elaborate French. Josephine. JOSEPHINE (amused) Really. EDWARD Oh. A beat. Those parrots talk about everything: politics. in their native home of the Congo -. fashion . EDWARD I don’t know if you’re aware of this.BIG FISH . But if you were to walk through the jungle. AT THE PRODUCE SECTION Sandra starts to bag string beans. WILL Josephine actually went to the Congo last year.. EDWARD You’re lucky to get four words out of them in English. GROCERY STORE . so you know. but African parrots.. would you say you understand Dad? Of course.they speak only French. You never know who you’re going to offend. WILL Why not religion. Taking the bait. SANDRA . All three stop to listen. Dad? EDWARD It’s rude to talk about religion.

SANDRA Yes. we dated. She moves on to the carrots. She’s more amused than annoyed. It’s exactly the same. WILL But that’s a different. (beat) The problem is. you both think William Bloom is a very smart man. Just the same as you two. SANDRA (cont’d) Would you say you understand Josephine? Yes. and we married -. and not as someone’s wife. You can’t discount that. do you really know what’s going on in his head? Yes. Your father and I met.FINAL 47. WILL What I mean is. you try to ask him a question and suddenly it’s another one of his stories. you only see me as your mother.BIG FISH .. WILL Josephine and I have a lot in common.. . SANDRA SANDRA No it’s not. WILL How is that possible? I mean. And don’t presume things you don’t know. Will.we chose each other -because we understood each other on some fundamental level. SANDRA Yes. I do. And I’ve been his wife longer than I’ve been your mother. but Will is entering dangerous territory. (decidedly) You can’t honestly say you know him.

approaching with a Newsweek magazine. She accidentally makes eye contact with Will as he passes. with blue jeans and sneakers. Will racks his brain -. Though she’s Sandra’s generation. Just remember. Or ever will. WILL But I understand you. Mom. You just ended up together. he didn’t choose to be your father and you didn’t choose to be his son. With a look. You could pick numbers out of a dark bag and it’d be just the same. But I’m not the mystery you’re trying to solve right now. If you ask me. 68 INT. clearly you don’t.NIGHT 68 Will is Reaching the CASHIER. . have. who tracks Will as he reaches Sandra. she carries herself like a much younger woman. It’s hard to read her reaction: does she recognize him. SANDRA I know it’s not easy. or just find him attractive? Will notices the gaze. AT THE CHECKOUT . Sandra hands over her coupons. Sandra acknowledges the stakes. But I’ve known him my whole life. your father has papers in the basement I’d like you to go through. WILL True. Two checkstands over.BIG FISH . I wouldn’t know what’s important. and I don’t feel like I know him at all. it’s a wonder parents and children can stand each other at all. We HOLD ON the woman. I always SANDRA Well. an ATTRACTIVE BLONDE WOMAN in her 50’s is getting her change.FINAL 48. The woman turns away.does he know this woman? SANDRA Before I forget.

EDWARD (playfully lecherous) Hello. though.FINAL 49. Blonde Sandra looks. Noticing that both Will and Sandra are looking. She reaches over Edward to switch off the radio. At the window. do you know who that is? hair. Turned low.he wasn’t fully asleep -. GUEST BEDROOM . Edward lies asleep on his back. Hi. He can only get a profile as the CASHIER Never seen her before. 69 INT. recognize me. WILL (distracted) Mom. SANDRA (no idea) Was she one of your teachers? WILL No. the Blonde Woman turns again. She smiles. the RADIO on the nightstand is playing a call-in AM sports show.NIGHT Pretty. She seemed to SANDRA (to the cashier) Do you know who that is? The Cashier turns to look. JOSEPHINE What were you dreaming about? . JOSEPHINE How are you feeling? EDWARD I was dreaming. just a wash of background chatter. Josephine quietly lowers the shade. 69 A portable fan quietly WHIRRS in the corner.and sees Josephine stretched over him. she smiles a little before taking her cart to leave. After a beat. But it’s weird.BIG FISH . woman leaves. He stirs from the silence -. semi-casually.

And true enough. Until one night the crow came back and said.” (beat) Well. is it okay for her to sit on the bed? He nods. “Your Aunt is going to die. And he said not to worry. that next morning my Grampa was dead. he wasn’t himself. He sits up a bit in bed. But finally I told my father. Josephine motions. They told me it was just a dream.FINAL 50. EDWARD (cont’d) For the next couple weeks. his strength returning. You know what that word means. to go back to bed. I ran right back to my parents. EDWARD I don’t usually remember unless they’re especially portentous. EDWARD Terrible for her. waiting for something to drop on his head. Gramps is fine. (MORE) . That next day. Wasn’t three weeks later that the crow came back to me in a dream and said. but I could see there was trepidation. My father said. “Your Daddy is going to die.” Well. JOSEPHINE That’s terrible. portentous? She shakes her head. but it’s already gone. I didn’t have another dream. EDWARD (cont’d) Means when you dream about something that’s going to happen. no. But the next morning. but I could tell he was rattled. (beat. He tries to recollect. I had a dream where this crow came and told me. gathering) Like one night.BIG FISH . “Your Grampa is going to die. young boy with that kind of power.” I was so scared I woke up my parents. I didn’t know what to do. my Aunt Stacy was dead. but think about me. always looking around.

Licking the popsicle. “Good God. As Edward continues. deadpan.FINAL EDWARD (cont’d) Because the crow didn’t tell how it was going to happen. just those words: your Daddy is going to die. I just had the worst day of my life. A long beat. especially as the metaphors get more vulgar. EDWARD He was slipping her a little extra cream.” (beat) “You think you’ve had a bad day. And when he finally came back. JOSEPHINE No. like he was waiting for the axe to fall all day. EDWARD They were squeezing the cheese. She’s starting to cry from laughing. he looked terrible. EDWARD (cont’d) He was buttering her rolls. She nods. she can’t help but laugh harder. JOSEPHINE .. Josephine smiles. He was making deliveries around back. Well. Stop. my mother was banging the milkman. “This morning the milkman dropped dead on the porch!” 51..” she said. I understand. Splashing milk in her box. a half-laugh. he went into town early and was gone for a long time.BIG FISH . EDWARD (cont’d) He was filling her basket. He said to my mother. EDWARD (cont’d) Because see. Then. EDWARD (cont’d) Cracking the eggs and making an omelet. which gets him smiling too. Clanking the bottles. a bit more of a laugh. Pumping her churn.

doing a good job JOSEPHINE EDWARD That’s because we didn’t have a wedding. JOSEPHINE (interrupting) Can I take your picture? EDWARD You don’t need a picture. JOSEPHINE (O. a flash of pain. She returns with her camera. Around others. We STAY WITH Edward in bed. EDWARD (cont’d) Spooning the sherbet. Please? He rolls his eyes.FINAL 52. EDWARD Will never told you that? (she shakes her head) Probably just as well. She regains her composure. JOSEPHINE (loading film) I never knew.) (cont’d) I have photos from the wedding to show you. She was engaged to somebody else.S. Just look up handsome in the dictionary. He controls his breathing. trying to push through it. There’s a great one of you and my father. Edward grimaces. Edward smiles. he’s hiding how much it hurts. he stops. but alone we can see how bad it is. why not. Josephine leaves. heading down the hall to get her camera.BIG FISH . I’ve never seen any. Your mother-in-law was never supposed to marry me. masking the pain.S. I had an extra print made.) (cont'd) I want to see pictures of your wedding. (MORE) . JOSEPHINE (O. With that.

O. We are. and scratched up from his trip through Spectre... you may think you’ve seen the unusual. A devilish smile.where the second-rate carnival is parked for the moment in an Alabama field.BIG FISH . He’s still carrying the backpack we saw earlier.) I had just left Ashton. Pushing past Edward. You may think you’ve seen the bizarre. he heads into the big-top. MATCH CUT TO: 70 A SPINNING PINWHEEL 70 held by a LITTLE BOY. .. and was on my way to discover my destiny.NIGHT 72 A troupe of STILT-WALKING FIREBREATHERS finishes their act to tremendous APPLAUSE. it’s not a short one. 72 INT.. 71 EXT. we spot Edward. so this is a tall tale? EDWARD Well. being carried towards a big-top tent. But I’ve travelled to the five corners of the world. He may only be four feet tall. and let me tell you.FINAL EDWARD (cont'd) He would have told it wrong anyway. EDWARD (V. To the left. halfway through a bag of peanuts. I’ve never seen anything like this. He’s slumped over his FATHER’s shoulder. All the facts and none of the flavor. JOSEPHINE Oh. BIG TOP . 20-ish.NIGHT 71 . AMOS Ladies and Gentlemen. but Amos has a titanic presence. I explored every opportunity that presented itself. OLYMPIA CIRCUS . Not knowing what that would be exactly. we settle on the 53. the circus’ owner-andringmaster AMOS CALLOWAY (50) approaches the stands. As the performers clear away. whirling fan. Joining the crowd.

From behind Amos. GASPS from the crowd. With his shaved head and giant club. A foot suddenly bursts out from within.The Shadow -because when you were working beside him. who seems unimpressed.BIG FISH . Ladies and Gentlemen. Intrigued. (a long beat) He’s not going to hurt her. As the drum beat intensifies. (she trembles) But he won’t. But if this man wanted to. the head. he could crush your head between his toes. AMOS (cont’d) Not to alarm you. Finally. a quieter moment. then the ball starts to bulge from inside. we look up to see just how massive he is. revealing faces in the crowd. In the bandstands. a second foot breaks out. Edward looks closer. That foot is massive. disbelieving. he was picking oranges in Florida. In the stands. AMOS (cont’d) When I found this man. Shoulders. From a very LOW ANGLE. because he’s our own Gentle Giant. He seems to fill the Heavens. folks. This is COLOSSUS. I give you Colossus! The carnies back away from the ball as a deep DRUM ROLL begins. Some reach out to touch him. Colossus passes Edward. .FINAL 54. he blocked out the daylight. WHISTLING to get the big man’s attention. CARNIES start rolling a massive ball towards the crowd. Ma’am. Colossus walks down the row. Amos comes up to a MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN in the first row. I had to pay his crew boss $10. He leans with the spotlight. letting the crowd get a better look at him.000 just so I could take him with me. He could take a whole tree in his hands and shake off the fruit. a YOUNG BOY’s jaw drops in awe. Followed by hands. he seems more ogre than man. His fellow workers called him El Penumbra -. A tight spotlight follows him. A moment.

where his friend is sitting on the dirt -KARL THE GIANT stands up. ANGLE ON Colossus. She’s wearing a blue dress and hat. And I met mine. realizing the gig is up.NIGHT .CONTINUOUS 74 KARL Does he talk? It’s As Amos pulls Karl aside to give him the hard sell. EDWARD (V. he rests his club on his shoulder and walks away into the shadows. great. There’s a GASP from the crowd. 74 INT.) It was on that night Karl met his destiny. BIG TOP .what will happen next? ANGLE ON Amos. AMOS (cont’d) Great. AMOS (cont’d) “Unconscionable contract?” Nope. Karl. BIG-TOP .BIG FISH . so big the spotlight has to widen just to hold him. megaphone dangling. He’s a good foot taller than Colossus. AMOS What’s his name? not important. along with nervous anticipation -.O. Edward notices a BEAUTIFUL YOUNG WOMAN (16) leaving with her family. For no good reason. AMOS Tell me Karl. CUT TO: 73 INT. stunned.FINAL 55. He points to the edge of the stands. Almost. have you ever heard of the term “involuntary servitude?” Karl shakes his head. With a resigned shrug.NIGHT / LATER 73 As the stands empty. . she looks back at Edward. Edward and Karl talk to Amos. That’s fantastic.

ducking underneath arms to get closer and closer to this woman. And as they do. And that’s true. searching for his fated love. flames locked in place. FREEZES. 76 The last pickup truck stops He’ll 77 He As the truck pulls out. it passes a dejected Edward. 75 EXT.)(CONT’D) They say when you meet the love of your life. time stops. Amos hands off the contract to a CLOWN. What they don’t tell you. Hey kid! a star. The two make eye contact.BIG FISH .NIGHT 75 Edward checks in windows as cars pull out. running down the rows. helpless in time. all motion A fiery baton remains mid-twirl. . CROSSFADE TO: 76 THE EMPTY LOT Colossus is thumbing for a ride. and lets him climb in back. winding his way between the frozen bodies. never find that girl. Only Edward is free to move. and the young woman is lost in its wake. Not finding her.FINAL 56. is that once time starts again. spots Edward walking back into the tent. the love of his life. Even the elephant is mid-poop. it moves extra fast to catch up. 77 INT. EDWARD (V.O. everything RUSHES. each kernel like a snowflake. he becomes more frantic. BIG-TOP . Now it’s Edward who’s frozen. Suddenly. The crowd becomes a blur. AMOS Your friend just made himself EDWARD That’s great. DIRT PARKING LOT .NIGHT Amos leans over so Karl can sign a contract on his back. A spilled box of popcorn hangs in mid-air.

kid? I haven’t seen a customer so depressed since the elephant sat on that farmer’s wife. (beat) Get it? “Depressed?” Karl chuckles.BIG FISH . blonde hair. I know it. AMOS (introducing) My attorney. EDWARD I just saw the woman I’m going to marry. EDWARD (with absolute conviction) I’m going to spend the rest of my life looking for her.FINAL 57. Real pretty. Mr. AMOS What’s the matter with you. See! AMOS (cont’d) The big guy likes it. Mr. then waddles off. AMOS Jesus. family. But then I lost her. Soggybottom. Most men have to get married before they lose their wives. blue hat? Yes! AMOS I know her uncle. Friends of the EDWARD EDWARD Who is she? Where does she live? . That or die alone. kid. (realizing) Let me guess. EDWARD Good to meet you. AMOS Tough break. Soggybottom HONKS his horn.

You said I don’t have a plan. You’ll be happy there. AMOS Kid. where no backpack is to be found. Edward hurries to catch up with him. You don’t have a plan. but here in the real world. Getting in front of Amos.FINAL 58. Amos smiles. You don’t have a job. EDWARD (cont’d) (realizing) Someone stole my backpack. I’m going to find that girl and marry her and spend the rest of my life with her. EDWARD I’ve got a whole backpack full of clothes! He points to the bleachers. You don’t have anything but the clothes on your back. you got squat. EDWARD Wait. AMOS Kid. Take my advice and go back to Puddleville. This here is the ocean. You were hot shit back in Hickville. Edward stops him. Don’t waste your time. Karl follows as well. I do. but I have more determination than any man you’re ever going to meet. but I would have a job if you gave me one. you were a big fish in a small pond. amused.BIG FISH . And I may not have much. of your league. You don’t even know AMOS Sure I do. . and you’re drowning. She’s out As Amos starts to walk away. EDWARD (cont’d) I don’t have a job. EDWARD What do you mean? me.

EDWARD (V. What the hell. and as we PULL BACK.) The only thing that kept me going was the promise of meeting the girl who would be my wife. Edward falls backward.DAY 79 Which makes His eyes droopy from lack of sleep. The beast’s sharp teeth are just poking his skin. and four days without sleeping. Ultimately. Edward shakes Amos’s hand before he can retract the offer. That’s my final offer.O.BIG FISH . which makes the lion antsy. there’s no way he can say no. we see why: he’s holding it in a MASSIVE LION’s open mouth. Edward antsier. THE HYDRA . into the path of the spinning arms.NIGHT 78 CLOSE ON Edward. EDWARD (V. BIG TOP CENTER RING . Edward is dead. Calloway asked. throwing him up and away. Nodding off. If the lion so much as flinches. He shrugs. and a lot of things he didn’t. Edward mans the whirling amusement park ride. and you won’t have to pay me. 79 EXT.) From that moment on. I don’t do charity. I did everything Mr. I’ll tell you one thing about her. We move into a MONTAGE: 78 INT.FINAL 59. AMOS Sorry.O. kid. . His head is tilted to the side. The CROWD applauds. sailing 200 feet through the air. EDWARD I’ll work night and day. You just have to tell me who she is. Amos takes a long look at him. I’d go three days without stopping to eat. One of the Hydra cars hits him square in the gut. AMOS Every month you work for me. smiling nervously.

He walks away. falling in the mud. a smile on his EDWARD (V. Amos stops. STABLES . the love of your life. FIELD .DAY 81 Amos Karl the Giant bandages Edward’s arm as well as he can. (to Karl) Daffodils! 82 INT. He goes back to shoveling. lucky. We PUSH IN on Edward. every month Amos would tell me something new about the woman of my dreams. His hunt leads him through the back of a tent. favorite flower is daffodils. tripping over tent cords. looks at the young man. hitting him in the shoulder. concept... is walking past. Finally. But all he can think about is. face.BIG FISH . Calloway! It’s been a month today. To the left. enraptured by the EDWARD Daffodils.FINAL 60. 80 EXT.DAY 80 Edward chases a costumed pig. EDWARD Mr. where he’s unwittingly stepped in front of a line of motorized birds.DAY 82 Edward shovels shit in the nastiest stables you’ve ever seen. Then a half-blind OLD WOMAN pulls her trigger. CUSTOMERS are shooting with rifles. BEHIND A TENT .O. EDWARD (to himself) Daffodils! The wonder of it. He dodges four SHOTS that knock down the birds around him.. . 81 EXT. He catches his breath. Her AMOS This girl..)(cont’d) True to his word.

) Over the months. then the door handle begins to RATTLE. EDWARD (to himself) Music! She likes music. I learned a lot about the woman I was going to marry. biggest you’ve ever seen. Edward walks up to the battered camper.NIGHT 85 Under a full moon. It has green glowing eyes and a lick of fire for a tongue. and is about to knock when he notices it’s rocking.NIGHT 86 Under a full moon.. pondering his latest bit of information. Not just that. College! EDWARD She’s going to college! A sudden EXPLOSION as Edward is shot.. That time had come. need to talk to you. 85 INT.NIGHT [CONTINUOUS] 84 . A DARK PLACE . A lot. but not her name. STABLES . there’s MOANING coming from inside. its mouth snapping at his throat. .FINAL 61. 86 EXT. Suddenly. A beat.out of a giant cannon.O. Calloway! It’s Edward Bloom.BIG FISH . But Edward KNOCKS anyway. lost in quiet reverie. Edward is knocked down by a massive black dog. AMOS CALLOWAY’S TRAILER . EDWARD Mr. Edward feeds the animals. the door BURSTS OPEN. the rocking and moaning stop. Edward wrestles with the beast. BIG TOP . 83 INT.NIGHT 83 CLOSE ON Edward. I Suddenly... I couldn’t wait any longer. Edward turns the knob. 84 INT. too! I like music EDWARD (V. and not where to find her. It seems to be stuck.

Licking its chops. Edward throws the stick again. No. Mr.FINAL 62. Edward throws the stick as far as he can. Entwined. He rolls The hell hound squares back on its haunches. At the last moment. ready to strike it. Like magic.hold on tight.O. The dog takes off in a new TRANSITION TO: . He finds only a small stick.. The dog bounds after it. but the creature’s hands -.. He waves it at the dog.BIG FISH .it has hands instead of paws -. looking for some kind of weapon. It bounces EDWARD (cont’d) Seeing an opportunity.) (cont'd) It was that night I discovered that most things you consider evil or wicked are simply lonely. Mr. GROWLING. they roll across the dirt. which it drops at Edward’s feet. Loads a silver bullet. direction. ready to play fetch. wait! Edward moves just as Mr. ready for another leap. The other nearby CARNIES scatter for cover. The carnies GASP. Soggybottom sheds a clown tear. Edward tries to push himself free. knocking him down. aiming the revolver at the dog. Soggybottom pulls a revolver out of his clown suit. It returns a beat later with the flaming stick. Soggybottom FIRES. Edward finally succeeds in throwing the beast off. and lacking in the social niceties. to his feet. the dog’s whole demeanor changes. the dog approaches the helpless Edward. who feels the ground around him. EDWARD (V. excitedly. The bullet catches Edward in the shoulder. Its tail whips back and forth. Blocking with an arm. SMASHING DOWN THREE CARS.

FIELD . as soon as possible. You could get any girl. which he takes out as Edward approaches.BIG FISH . you got a lot of. Edward throws the stick into the woods. 87 EXT. so you better hurry.FINAL 63. The still-spry dog goes after it.DAWN 88 Amos Calloway stands up behind a bush. You may not have much. long enough that Edward becomes concerned. did I? EDWARD A few rabbits. He has to get there EDWARD Amos sits down and scratches his ear with his foot. buck naked and hairy. He follows it into the woods. AMOS (cont’d) I was wrong about you kid. Edward walks away. AMOS Good luck. WOODS . but I think one of them was already dead. AMOS Her name is Sandra Templeton. He still has the stick in his mouth. EDWARD There’s only one I want. Thank you. A beat. AMOS That would explain the indigestion. AMOS Didn’t kill anything. She’s going to Auburn.PRE-DAWN 87 Exhausted from playing fetch all night. Edward tosses him his jacket to cover his privates. It’s gone for a long time. Then starts running. The semester’s almost over. 88 INT. kid. . but what you got.

He changes out of his grubby shirt into a new one. 91 EXT. pure and simple as sunlight. She’s effortlessly beautiful.) After saying my goodbyes. 89 Edward shakes Karl’s giant hand. And I know it now more than ever. nervous. 90 EXT. but by the conservative dress of the passing STUDENTS. All she can finally think of to say SANDRA . had my ribs broken twice. but it’s all worth it to see you here. Through the crack we can see the edge of a YOUNG WOMAN. just out of the package. Finally.DAY 91 Edward stands with a bouquet of daffodils in front of a halfopen door.O. The door opens to reveal the woman of Edward’s dreams. I’ve been shot and stabbed and trampled a few times. 89 EXT. He can’t believe he’s finally reached her. ON SANDRA. a decision is reached. talking in hushed tones with another girl we can’t see.. Because I am destined to marry you. That makes her laugh. and to finally get to talk to you.BIG FISH . I hopped three trains to get to Auburn that afternoon.DAY They hug. but my name is Edward Bloom and I am in love with you. AUBURN UNIVERSITY . BIG TOP .DAY 90 We DESCEND ON the main quad. to find Edward Bloom dunking his head in the fountain. I’m sorry. overwhelmed. It’s the mid-1960’s. He half-laughs. not sure what’s going on. EDWARD (V. SORORITY HOUSE . Sandra Kay Templeton.FINAL 64. now. I’ve spent the last three years working to find out who you are. it could be any era. is. I knew that from the first moment I saw you at the circus. EDWARD You don’t know me..

.S.I’m engaged to be married.. at least by reputation. have bothered you. 94 THE STREET CORNER / ASHTON PARADE 94 93 92 EDWARD He tries to suppress A smoking Don Price crushes his cigarette as Edward leaves town..FINAL 65. BACK TO: 95 EXT/INT. I’m actually engaged to a boy from Ashton. SANDRA But you’re wrong. See. I’m the luckiest person you’re going to find today. we find Edward beats Don every time. 93 VARIOUS H. the reaction. Edward Bloom from Ashton.NIGHT Young Don Price shines his flashlight on Edward.BIG FISH .. SORORITY HOUSE . I.. He was a few years older than you. Don Price.THE GATE . ATHLETIC COMPETITIONS Recapping earlier football. I’m sorry to EDWARD Well. CREEPY OLD HOUSE . I mean. FLASHCUTS TO: 92 EXT. baseball and basketball highlights.. He turns and walks down the front steps. 95 With all the strength he can muster. . put on a brave front. finger. I do know you. She puts her hand on the door frame. ON EDWARD as his heart falls 20 floors. Oh. On her left ring SANDRA No I’m sorry.THE DOORWAY Edward is dumbstruck. EDWARD Don’t need to apologize to me. Congratulations. we see a diamond.

He switches on the overhead projector without looking at it. We CIRCLE as he shouts: EDWARD (cont’d) Sandra Templeton! I love you! am going to marry you! 96 INT. Stop it. and a time when he needs to accept that his destiny is lost.) (cont’d) The truth is. Sandra isn’t paying a lot of attention. SORORITY HOUSE FOYER .FINAL 66. There’s a TITTER from the STUDENTS. leaving only the sorority house in the background. tears just starting to form. EDWARD (V. We hear GIGGLES from inside as her sorority sisters get to the bottom of this. After all this work to leave Ashton.BIG FISH . feeling genuinely horrible for what’s happened. looking at the sorority house. LECTURE HALL . boy. that the ship has sailed. EDWARD (V.DAY The tweedy ECONOMICS PROFESSOR continues his explanation.) Fate has a cruel way of circling around on you.O. I’ve always been a fool. . But eventually she goes back inside.O. but he doesn’t notice.) (cont’d) There’s a time when a man needs to fight. and that only a fool would continue. That poor We LEAD Edward as he walks away. A beat.DAY Is 97 And I 96 Sandra and her SISTERS peer out through the curtains. Edward steps back INTO FRAME. She stays in the doorway for a few beats.O. He EXITS FRAME. EDWARD (V. SANDRA It’s not funny. this guy crazy? 97 INT. the girl I loved was now engaged to one of its biggest jerks.

She wipes SANDRA . it off. 100 EXT. All down Greek Street. Daffodils? EDWARD They’re your favorite flower. who looks up. We look up to the blue sky. Out of nowhere. disbelieving. joyful and scared. Edward stands amid the sea of flowers. The professor finally notices what’s written there. A classmate nudges Sandra.DAY He’s waited there six 100 Sandra walks out to him. QUAD . 98 EXT. a just-woken Sandra looks out the second-story window to find the lawn filled with TEN THOUSAND DAFFODILS. STUDENTS are coming out to see the display. where a giant sky-written heart floats in the wind. Sandra shakes her head. SANDRA’S BEDROOM .” She’s horrified and excited at the same time.DAY 98 Walking with her books. confused.FINAL 67.[THE NEXT] MORNING 99 At her Sisters’ prompting. SANDRA You don’t even know me. hours. She’s smiling. 99 INT. Written on the projector is “I Love Sandra Templeton. SANDRA How did you get so many? EDWARD I called everywhere in five states and explained this was the only way I could get my wife to marry me.. EDWARD I have the rest of my life to find out. a tear drops down Sandra’s cheek. From down the street. SORORITY HOUSE .BIG FISH ..

And he’s pissed. A beat. ass nine ways to Sunday. . Then proceeds to kick Edward’s SANDRA Too scared to EDWARD (V. Don Price decks him. DON PRICE What the hell are you doing? my girl. Mine! This is EDWARD DON PRICE EDWARD I didn’t know she belonged to anybody.FINAL 68. SANDRA Promise me you won’t hurt A MAN’S VOICE EDWARD If that’s what you want. Don slugs him again. but makes no move to defend himself.BIG FISH . it was Don Price who was ultimately defeated. Don shrugs. fraternity-proud muscle. Sandra! It’s Don. Edward gets right back up. I swear to it. knocking him down. Unfazed. him.O. He’s 230 pounds of footballplaying. Stop it! DON PRICE (ignoring) What the matter. Skynard-loving. A gang of his BROTHERS walk behind him. The adult DON PRICE arrives. Bloom? fight back? EDWARD I promised I wouldn’t. fine. Bloom! Don.) (cont’d) While I took the beating of a lifetime.

DON PRICE You love this guy? . his heart wasn’t strong enough. we INTERCUT WITH: 101 INT. As the ass-whupping continues. A beat. Where is it? What’s going on? What. he grasps his chest and collapses face-first on the tile. Don Price pinches a loaf while reading the new Playboy. EDWARD (V. trying to shit the unshittable. SANDRA Edward. keeps waiting for the next punch. Put simply.DAY [FLASHFORWARD] 101 Sitting on the can. his mind reeling. ready to be knocked down again. FRATERNITY HOUSE BATHROOM . SANDRA (cont’d) I will never marry you. Don stands stunned. WITCH’S HOUSE / GATE .FINAL 69. MATCH CUT TO: 102 EXT.O. Don! Don is about to slug Edward again when he turns.DAY 103 The thrashing continues. There’s an audible AHH! from her sisters. and an OHH! from Don’s brothers. whose eyes are swollen almost shut. Sandra pulls off her engagement ring. THE SORORITY HOUSE .) All the physical activity had worsened a congenital valve defect. Edward somehow fights his way back to his feet. Suddenly.NIGHT [FLASHBACK] 102 The same image of Don’s dead face on the tile is reflected in The Eye.BIG FISH . RETURNING BACK TO: 103 EXT. Don Price squeezes down hard.

) As it turned out. But not before decking Edward one last time.. his teeth bloody. SANDRA (cont’d) How can I convince you to stop? EDWARD Go out with me. CUT TO: 104 INT. GUEST ROOM . As the MUSIC reaches a crescendo. we CRANE UP above the flowered battlefield. daffodils. CUT TO: 104 SANDRA His head lies on the . While he’s drinking.. Sandra was able to keep her same date at the chapel. EDWARD (V. but there was a complication. EDWARD Well. Okay.O. She hands him the ring. thirstier than he imagined. She watches him while he slowly drinks the entire glass. SANDRA He’s almost a stranger and I prefer him to you.NIGHT [PRESENT] JOSEPHINE I thought you said you didn’t have a church wedding.. then Don storms off. Only the groom had changed. but Josephine already has it for him. Another beat. He smiles.FINAL 70. we were all set to. Sandra leans over Edward’s broken body. we suddenly. we..BIG FISH . As the crowd of students APPLAUDS and CHEERS. He reaches for his glass of water.

EDWARD And I like you. He doesn’t let the moment linger with undue sentimentality. Will shifts to a new position. The thing about working for a circus is you don’t have a regular address. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY . and after three years I had a lot of undelivered mail. letting him look in on his father and his wife. JOSEPHINE (O. 105 INT.BIG FISH . Never really known why. back from the grocery store.S. See. reaches the top of the stairs. not exactly sneaking. but not exactly announcing his presence. He hears voices coming from the bedroom. EDWARD I didn’t forget. 106 . letting himself listen to the story one more time..S. There’s a story to be told.FINAL 71. most men. The door is open a few inches. JOSEPHINE (gently) You were talking about your wedding. I’ve been thirsty my whole life.. JOSEPHINE I like your stories. they’ll tell a story straight through. but it won’t be interesting either. 106 INTERCUT HALLWAY / BEDROOM EDWARD (cont’d) There was one time when I was eleven. EDWARD (cont’d) Now.) Truth is. In the hallway.NIGHT [CONTINUOUS] 105 Will.) Is it the medicine that’s making you thirsty? EDWARD (O. Will quietly approaches the door. and it won’t be complicated. I was just working on a tangent.

Reading it.O. So I took every hazardous assignment I could find. his face drops. with the hope of getting my time down to less than a year. EDWARD (cont’d) During the four weeks I was in the hospital. EDWARD (V. Edward gets to work cutting through the cable. and having waited three years just to meet Sandra. His cord is caught up in the assembly. .. He rips open an official-looking letter. he can see the white parachutes disappearing into the darkness. Edward squats with a dozen other SOLDIERS.NIGHT 108 With a buzz cut and paratrooper gear. their chutes clipped to a main line. ARMY AIRPLANE . Edward jumps from the plane..O. HOSPITAL . . Digging a knife out of his pocket.DAY 107 Bruised and bandaged.but he’s stuck.S.. When his time comes. 107 INT. Edward leaps. FLUTE and DRUM.) It turned out that while my heart belonged to Sandra. It finally POPS.FINAL 72. EDWARD (V. Edward sorts through a big bag of mail with help from Sandra. The JUMP LEADER yells.BIG FISH . The noise of the ENGINES is deafening. music rising to a military cadence.. He twists and struggles. Looking down.. trying to free himself. Government. I knew I couldn’t survive being away from her that long. but Edward is engrossed in an Asian phrasebook. They’re already long gone. GO! GO! JUMP LEADER GO! One by one the men jump out. 108 INT.) A hitch in the Army was up to three years at that point. the rest of my body belonged to the U.. the postmaster finally caught up with me.

110 EXT. UP ON THE CATWALK. PING Sometimes a girl can feel so alone Without a lover to call her own. who is drifting right for the stage. The two men begin to SCUFFLE. above the chute just as sea of excited He’s the 111 She’s She stands with her hips turned in profile. disconnecting his the curtain goes up. He barely grabs on. bored. but finally gives in.NIGHT 110 We LOOK DOWN with Edward. Wants to grab the first man she sees and tear off his clothes. a BLAST of fireworks from the sides of the stage. watching the equivalent of a U. ON STAGE The curtain rises to reveal PING (27) at a microphone.S. WHISTLING and HOLLERING. show. a vampy torch song. OUTSIDE STAGE . The soldiers are on their feet. We have no idea what they’re saying to each other. HIGH ABOVE THE STAGE .NIGHT 109 A THOUSAND CHINESE SOLDIERS sit. she wants to explode. but every act is fundamentally the same. Sometimes it’s so bad. . dress cut to reveal skin. as gorgeous a woman as you’ll ever see. The lights go out as a DRUM ROLL begins.BIG FISH . A CHINESE VENTRILOQUIST is on stage with his Communist puppet. Every one of them would kill him. He lands with a CLANG on the lighting catwalk stage. But then.O. The Ventriloquist protests. MUSIC starts. He can’t steer. 109 EXT. She knows what they want. The EMCEE comes on to usher him off the stage before he’s finished. Her body is a knockout. He’s helpless. The Emcee makes a “shoot him in the neck” motion to one of the ARMED GUARDS off-stage. legless cricket left on the anthill. A ROAR from the soldiers. 111 EXT. Edward is surprised by an ENEMY SOLDIER. Ping sings melody while an off-stage voice carries perfect harmony. Edward looks out at the soldiers.FINAL 73. It’s just enough cover for Edward to remain unseen.

Because that girl. Edward sees the twins from behind. does a double-take. She needs a special special different unusual man. Ping is one-half of SIAMESE TWINS. one. she can’t. but she has needs. For the first time. because I’ve got Twice the love to give. Two times the bad times in half the years. Cried double the tears. Backstage. Her identical twin is JING. Jing. No. His determined opponent follows him down. who’s been singing harmony all this time. She has wants. Ping turns.FINAL 74. PING (chorus) (cont’d) I’ve had twice the adventure. Still fighting. Edward jumps for a pole on the far side of the catwalk. She’s Jing. PING (cont’d) But she won’t. PING (to the crowd) I’m Ping. (MORE) It She’s the good . sliding down it to end up BACKSTAGE. They are two separate women who join at the waist. one set of perfect legs beneath them. I need a strong man. STOMPING on the bleachers. costs him a punch to the jaw. PING (cont’d) (speaking) Any of you got needs? The soldiers ROAR LOUDER. JING Hello Jing.BIG FISH . PING (cont’d) Say hello. and now we see why she was standing in profile. the two men are still fighting. Who looks like me.

FINAL PING (cont'd) (closer) I’m the bad one.. revealing EDWARD’S PARACHUTE. replaced by a concerned RUMBLE. As the MUSIC builds towards the climax. ON STAGE Ping has no idea what’s happening.. Ping HUFFS. lighters waving. Edward slips behind curtains. exposing Edward’s hiding place. As Ping and Jing reach the last chorus. The APPLAUSE dies.BIG FISH . At the closet. Edward finishes the fight. out there alone. The curtain slowly lowers. In Chinese. their arms forming the arches. . DRESSING ROOM . JING You weren’t alone. sweet and bookish. trying to get away. 112 INT. Off-stage. while Jing is quiet. they strike a final pose in the shape of a heart. The soldiers are SHOUTING for an encore. turning her back on her sister. yells for the Guards to search. their personalities become quite apparent: Ping is brash. bitchy and ambitious. Jing reaches deeper into the closet to find a new dress. knocking the guard out with a right hook. 75. Jing reaches into her cleavage to pull out her eyeglasses. PING Who the hell are you? EDWARD (in Chinese) I’m not going to hurt you.NIGHT 112 The Emcee As ARMED GUARDS search the halls below the stage. She GASPS. PING How could you miss your cue? You make me look like a fool. subtitled. Ping and Jing shut the door to their dressing room. they start to change outfits. Ping turns to look. their backs forming the curves.

(yelling) GUARD! Jing grabs her. Desperately flipping through his Asian phrasebook. It’s Sandra.O. rifle-toting GUARD looks in. PING What makes you think we’ll help you? Edward pulls a photo out of his flak jacket. We all knew it would be dangerous. Still subtitled: PING And what are we supposed to do when we get to America? . a barge to Cuba and a small. CROSSFADE TO: 113 VARIOUS SHOTS EDWARD (V. a hand over her mouth.O.) Over the next hour. Hearing the story. Pretending to be her bitchy sister -JING Tell your men not to bother us! lock that door! And A The guard obeys. this love was my salvation. dirty canoe to Miami. little affected.. Even Ping is a 113 EDWARD (V.FINAL 76. involving a whaling ship to Russia. Jing wipes away a tear. I need your help. EDWARD Please. and the ordeal that brought me before them.)(cont’d) We put together an elaborate plan for escape. but it’s too late. It was destined to be. I described my love for Sandra Kay Templeton. Ping shakes her sister off.. PING Damn right you’re not.BIG FISH . he finds. As it had always been.

TEMPLETON FAMILY HOUSE . The pain of her shout 115 BEHIND THE TEMPLETON HOUSE . there was no way to send a message back to America. Two ARMY OFFICERS get out.O. When the phone rang. watching the shadow ripple across the white fabric.O. A black car pulls up.)(cont’d) And so it was no surprise that the Army believed I was dead. Sandra CRIES OUT.) And so the twins and I began our arduous journey halfway around the world. she didn’t think it was somehow me calling her. EDWARD (V.) After four months. Pulling a dress out of the basket. forming a tunnel of fabric. She freezes. When a car drove past.BIG FISH .FINAL 77. TRANSITION TO: 114 EXT. Unfortunately.O. makes church bells RING. EDWARD (V. I know the biggest man in show business. Sandra had gotten over the worst of the nightmares. blowing so softly in the breeze. He’s dead. Hearing the news. Sandra looks up to see A MAN’S SILHOUETTE on the sheet in front of her. EDWARD I can get you bookings. 115 EXT. . EDWARD (V.DAY 114 EDWARD JING Sandra checks the mail. hoping for a letter from Edward. she didn’t get up to check out the window. She knows it can’t be him. Bob Hope? Bigger.DAY Sandra hangs sheets to dry on the clotheslines.

We are actually. JOSEPHINE What about the details? How they fell in love.. a kind of limbo.DAY 117 . just waking up. Did you? A look to say. She turns away. where a man’s hand traces the curves of a woman’s bare back. disbelieving. With all the strength she can gather. Legs entangling. WILL . Without another moment’s hesitation.FINAL 78. then she turns over in bed. 117 INT. She blinks slowly. JOSEPHINE But it’s romantic. She GASPS. You never told me any of that.. It is destiny. she kisses him. but his hand is real. Neither wants to get up. A kiss good morning. she sees not a shadow but Edward himself standing before her.BIG FISH .. WILL That’s because most of it never happened. He’s been up for a while. Will is watching her. WILL They met at Auburn. CROSSFADE TO: 116 BRIGHT SUNLIGHT 116 filters through soft sheets. We’re under the covers. JOSEPHINE I talked with your father last night. she hangs up that dress and digs another one out of the basket.where the couple stays cocooned under the sheets. WILL AND JOSEPHINE’S ROOM .. revealing her to be JOSEPHINE. A beat. should I be worried? JOSEPHINE You never told me how your parents met. Looking up. The Circus. The War.

I know better than to argue romance with a French woman. And the reason he tells all those stories is because he can’t stand this boring place. JOSEPHINE But it’s not true. He moves his head out from under the sheet. Maybe he never wanted a family.. he was gone more than he was here. what. Or maybe there is no family. He leaves us. And I started thinking -maybe he has a second life somewhere else. With another house. Mmm. He’s a very She follows him JOSEPHINE . another family. A beat. JOSEPHINE (repeating) Do you love him? Will doesn’t want to answer yes or no.” JOSEPHINE Do you love your father? WILL Everyone loves my father. But whatever it is. WILL (non-committal) Mmm. to the “outside. likeable guy. When I was growing up..BIG FISH . he goes to them. WILL What is “true?” I’ve never heard my father say a single true thing. WILL You have to understand. Off her silence. what? WILL Mmm.FINAL 79. maybe he likes that second life better.

BIG FISH - FINAL

80.

WILL Look, I know why you like him. I know why everyone likes him. But I need you to tell me I’m not crazy. JOSEPHINE You’re not. WILL I need you on my side. JOSEPHINE I am always on your side. you should talk to him. 118 INT. GUEST ROOM - DAY And I think

118

The family finishes eating breakfast off TV trays set up around the bed. For his part, Edward is looking better. Certainly not recovered, but there’s an optimism to his expression. And for the first time, he’s actually hungry. He watches as Sandra puts the cap back on the syrup. EDWARD Did I ever tell you about how... WILL (interrupting) Yes. Edward is startled. WILL (cont’d) The maple tree and the Buick. it. EDWARD (re: Josephine) I think someone hasn’t. JOSEPHINE The tree fell on the car, spilling the syrup, which attracted the flies, which got stuck to it and flew off with the whole car. A beat. We heard

BIG FISH - FINAL

81.

EDWARD (undeterred) But the real story is how I got the car. You see... WILL (interrupting) Dad? Son? WILL Can we talk? Sandra SNAPS the cap back on the syrup. SANDRA I’m going to get started on dishes. JOSEPHINE I’ll help you. Both women quickly gather plates. Will and Edward both smile. The women clearly want this to happen. It settles for a beat after they leave. WILL Do you know much about icebergs, Dad? EDWARD Do I? I saw an iceberg once. They were hauling it down to Texas for drinking water, only they didn’t count on an elephant being frozen inside. The woolly kind. A mammoth. WILL (interrupting) Dad! What? WILL I’m trying to make a metaphor here. EDWARD Then you shouldn’t have started with a question. Because people want to answer questions. (MORE) EDWARD EDWARD

BIG FISH - FINAL EDWARD (cont'd) You should have started with, “The thing about icebergs is...” WILL (frustrated) The thing about icebergs is you only see 10 percent of them. The other 90 percent is below the water where you can’t see it. And that’s what it is with you Dad. I’m only seeing this little bit that sticks above the water. EDWARD (joking) What, you’re seeing down to my nose? My chin? WILL I have no idea who you are because you have never told me a single fact. EDWARD I’ve told you a thousand facts. That’s all I do, Will. I tell stories. WILL You tell lies, Dad. You tell amusing lies. Stories are what you tell a fiveyear old at bedtime. They’re not elaborate mythologies you maintain when your son is ten and fifteen and twenty and thirty. And the thing is, I believed you. I believed your stories so much longer than I should have. And then when I realized that everything you said was impossible -- everything! - I felt like such a fool to have trusted you. You were like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny combined. Just as charming and just as fake. EDWARD You think I’m fake. WILL Only on the surface. I’ve ever seen. But that’s all

82.

Edward looks away, angry and disbelieving. WILL Dad, I’m about to have a kid of my own here. (MORE)

BASEMENT STORAGE AREA . The pool has long since gone native. Will and Josephine. Will is so startled that he drops the pole.BIG FISH . He looks around. everything. bad. an underwater shape RIPPLES against the water’s surface. casually walks away. and it wouldn’t do to have it in the house. Two beaten metal file cabinets sit beside it.DAY 119 With a skimmer pole. Will cleans the leaves and debris out of the pool. Clearing a path. dead bonsai trees. 119 EXT. We also find boxes of products Edward used to sell. . show me who you are for once. slime covering the cemented rocks.FINAL WILL (cont'd) It would kill me if he went through his whole life never understanding me. its ribs covered in dust. not mine. 120 INT. You’ll know better than me what’s important. BACKYARD . relieved that no one saw that. a shiny slick of algae on the surface. A beat. Will? want me to be? Who do you 83. staring into the mouth of oblivion. The storeroom is a museum of hasty decisions and half-finished projects: partially built outboard motors. EDWARD It would kill you. which disappears into the murky water.DAY He 120 The doors open to reveal Sandra. SANDRA Your father decided he needed to have an office. Suddenly. huh? Finally -EDWARD What do you want. Good. Frankensteinian lawnmowers. Just EDWARD I have been nothing but myself since the day I was born. WILL Yourself. it’s your failing. but it’s a fool’s errand. Sandra leads Will to a roll-top desk. And if you can’t see that.

FINAL 84. Your father went missing. He hasn’t thought about this device in years. Sandra and Josephine have worked through two trash bags of papers to throw out. Josephine. Will’s getting used to being startled..BIG FISH . Josephine kisses him. WILL What is it? Sandra hands Will a yellowed telegram. They thought he was dead. Looking through a new file.. then Sandra stands. held in the hand. He shares it with SANDRA It was during the war. SANDRA I’m going to check on him. With a HISS. he tucks it into a strange mechanical hand on the desk. Go. Will forces up the desktop. We slowly PUSH IN on the telegram. a memory.DAY [LATER] 121 Will. Will re-reads the WILL Looking for a place to put it. A beat. With some effort. a neighbor’s cat makes a run for it. Will can’t believe what he’s reading. WILL That really happened? SANDRA Not everything your father says is a complete fabrication. A memory. JOSEPHINE I need to lie down for a bit. still bewildered. . BASEMENT STORAGE AREA . It clamps down automatically. telegram. then follows Sandra. Edward’s VOICE begins as a memory. Will smiles. Sandra makes a small sound. 121 INT.

.. Edward pitches a brilliant new product to the crowd.. The company is called “Confederated Products. I took a job as a travelling salesman. Hold the dog away from kittens. Each had an advantage over me.officially -deceased. COUNTY FAIR . EDWARD I’ve travelled from Tennessee to Timbuktu.) After the war. It suited me. Hold a baby. a TOUPEED MAN. you can do a handstand with no hands at all. 123 EXT. DOWNTOWN OFFICE . The crowd APPLAUDS. Scratch yourself while wearing mittens. Like a flower.BIG FISH . and if there’s one thing people have in common. If there’s one thing you can say about Edward Bloom. It’s strong enough. the sons of Alabama returned home. 122 INT. Hold a book. EDWARD (V. Indeed.FINAL 85. Edward sets down a contraption. with this product you can.(TM) EDWARD Why. it’s that I am a social person.) With my prospects few. a remarkably agile Edward is able to support his entire weight on it. This is the Hand Around the House. They were alive.DAY [STORY] 123 On a low platform.” The OFFICE LADIES all love Edward. while I was -. is we could all use a hand around the house.DAY [STORY] 122 Edward shakes hands with his new boss. which looks something like a metal lava lamp. EDWARD (V. looking for work. QUICK MONTAGE as he demonstrates: EDWARD Open a jar.O. it unfolds to reveal five fingers and a thumb.O. Open a letter.

124 EXT. until my territory stretched from the coast to western Texas. EDWARD (V. . 127 INT. It’s me.BIG FISH . 126 EXT. The crowd LAUGHS. we come. But every other Friday.O. TRAILER PARK .. The hand points a finger at an HEAVYSET MAN IN OVERALLS. As the line snakes around through the ropes. NORTHER WINSLOW Norther Winslow.FINAL 86..DAY 125 Edward kisses his pregnant wife goodbye. HORIZON SAVINGS & LOAN . I’d put all the money I’d made into an account set aside for a proper house with a white picket fence. his hand out in the wind. in line.. Edward? THE MAN Edward Bloom? The man is none other than. and other cities. EDWARD (V. Edward fills out a deposit slip.. A COUNTRY ROAD .DAY 126 Establishing this Texas institution. the man in front of him gets a look at Edward. Or beautiful women. Or dangers. 125 EXT. EDWARD We’re still working on that one.) I could be gone for weeks at a time. HORIZON SAVINGS & LOAN .DAY 124 Edward drives. EDWARD You can use it to point out important information.DAY 127 Taking his place The bank is busy with the lunch-hour crowd.O.) Soon I added other products. as much in love as ever.

FINAL 87. The skinny SECURITY GUARD makes a halfhearted reach for his gun. but Norther waves him off. Still. disbelieving this lucky coincidence. when you left Spectre it opened my eyes. EDWARD (cont’d) So what are you up to now? NORTHER WINSLOW I’m robbing this place. Every day a new adventure. I want all of you to I’m gonna be cleaning out drawers. EDWARD That’s great. Reaching the front of the line. He takes the guard’s gun. EDWARD (cont’d) I don’t believe it! NORTHER WINSLOW I want you to know. (MORE) (cont’d) lie down. half of South America.he might as well be asking for a Budweiser. and my associate to handle the vault. that’s my motto. Edward senses it would be best to do as he says. NORTHER WINSLOW (cont’d) (to Edward) Would you mind grabbing that? There’s nothing threatening about his delivery -. I saw France.BIG FISH . Norther. So I travelled. FIRING both into the ceiling. EDWARD (V.) I was astonished to see the greatest poet of both Ashton and Spectre all the way out in Texas. The guard takes out his gun and slides it over. SCREAMS all around. I’m happy for you. The men shake. I can’t believe I helped. There was a whole life out there that I was not living. NORTHER WINSLOW (to the crowd) Now. and Africa. the cash here is going . He’s genuinely proud.O. Norther pulls two pistols out of his coat.

TELLER WOMAN (dead serious) You gotta promise you won’t tell anybody. 128 INT. It’s an empty country road for miles. THE VAULT .there’s no money.. but by speculators in Texas real estate.. I just don’t want anybody to get hurt. EDWARD’S CAR . EDWARD (V. She pulls open the vault door. . He decides he better go. but he truly doesn’t want to shoot Norther. I’m really sorry. Nothing else. TELLER WOMAN . 129 INT. TELLER WOMAN It’s not that. CUT TO: 130 INT.) It turned out the savings and loan had already been robbed -. No one’s following them. not sure what to do.DAY 128 The Teller Woman is crying as she works the combination.FINAL NORTHER WINSLOW (cont’d) (pointing to a Teller Woman) You help my friend.BIG FISH . AT THE VAULT . Edward feels horrible. though truthfully they’re going just a little over the speed limit.DAY 130 Edward drives the getaway car.not by armed bandits. ANGLE ON Edward..O. We’re completely bankrupt.DAY 129 The inner sanctum of the Horizon Savings and Loan holds exactly one folding chair.. He has a gun. The Teller Woman is already waving him to the back. 88. it’s just. EDWARD Look. okay? The TELLER WOMAN nods.

) I told Norther about the vagaries of Texas oil money and its effect on real estate prices. Four hundred dollars! Not bad for just the drawers. NORTHER WINSLOW I should go to Wall Street. You see. Digging through the vault bag. There’s something you should know. the reason why. it’s got your deposit slip on it.DAY 131 EDWARD Norther leans in the driver’s side window. Edward winces. .. EDWARD Look.FINAL 89. Hearing this news.. That’s Edward looks over at Norther.O. I just didn’t want you to go empty-handed. EDWARD (V. Edward continues his narration. the reality sinking in. He rips it open. Norther HOLLERS with body-tingling joy as he counts the money.BIG FISH . Even some dimes and pennies. TEXAS ROAD .. Norther. NORTHER WINSLOW Sixty. and how lax enforcement of fiduciary process had made savings and loans particularly vulnerable. ‘Fraid so. NORTHER WINSLOW (cont’d) This is it? The whole vault. Caught. Norther was left with one conclusion: 131 EXT. NORTHER WINSLOW Edward.. Eighty. but doesn’t say anything yet.. Norther is surprised to find only a single deposit envelope. where all the money is. Let’s see what you got from the vault. Edward has to confess.. revealing just a little cash inside.

But it was enough to buy my wife a proper house with a white picket fence. The two men wave at each other as Edward drives off. Norther for a beat. last moment. Will (5) runs past her to greet Edward. it was all the riches a man could ever want.) I knew then that while my days as a criminal were over. BLOOM HOUSE BATHROOM . which begins to fill. .) And for that. We HOLD ON At the EDWARD (V. EDWARD (V. Norther calls out: NORTHER WINSLOW Edward.DAY 132 Sandra is watering the garden. he sent me a check for ten thousand. Still wearing his pajamas. dreaming of his future. Norther’s were just beginning. Edward climbs into the tub. EDWARD (V. EDWARD (V. I protested.) Ten thousand dollars is no fortune to most men. letting it run on the lawn. but he said it was my fee as his career advisor. BLOOM HOUSE [MID/LATE ‘70’S] . TRANSITION TO: 133 INT. Edward kisses his wife.DAY [PRESENT] 133 CLOSE ON Edward’s hand as he turns knobs. the nicest one in the neighborhood. just returned from another trip.BIG FISH .FINAL 90. Sandra drops the hose. We reveal the Bloom house.O.) When Norther made his first million dollars. thank you for the hand! He’s talking about his Hand Around the House.O.O. Carefully lowers himself.O. 132 EXT. CLOSE ON water SPLASHING into the claw-foot bathtub.

BIG FISH . Edward’s eyes are closed.FINAL 91. but usually ends up tossing the whole thing in the trash. He goes through the folders page by page. He leans forward and kisses her. Her dress is soaked. then pulls his knees up. but she doesn’t mind. He’s about to toss a file when he stops. Will’s made it through another file cabinet. making room for her in the tub. He smiles. He sits up to find SANDRA sitting on the edge of the tub. The other eye. He wipes them away. she has Perched awkwardly on a canoe. A beat while she considers. Sandra steps out of her sandals and climbs into the tub. tears hanging in her eyes. facing him. EDWARD I was drying out.her husband has always done this. SANDRA I see. A long beat. As the water reaches the third button up on his pajama shirt. . We can spray you like a fern. then stop. Come now. 134 INT. Edward suddenly slides UNDERWATER. except for the distant SPLASHING of water from the spigot. We need to get you one of those plant misters. Edward opens one eye. BASEMENT STORAGE AREA . Then the SPLASHING water goes silent. Something doesn’t make sense.DAY 134 EDWARD When they separate. SANDRA I don’t think I’ll ever dry out. Bubbles rise from his nose for a few beats. Another. Takes another look. She doesn’t seem particularly worried -. It’s quiet.

WILL Did you and Dad have any other property? SANDRA (thinking) I suppose your grandmother’s house when she passed on.. 136 SANDRA He turns. He continues heading up. Your cousin Shirley bought it.DAY / DRIVING 138 Will checks the address on one of his father’s files. SANDRA Heavens no.DAY 135 Will is headed upstairs when his mother comes around the corner with an armful of laundry.BIG FISH . 135 INT. WILL’S CAR . WILL Is he awake? SANDRA He just fell asleep. 10 miles. She passes him. Mom? Yes? Will quickly debates whether or not to ask her.DAY Takes his keys off the nightstand.. including her wet dress. BLOOM HOUSE / STAIRS . 137 Will’s rental car drives past a sign reading. But we sold that right away. 136 INT. Will nods. COUNTY ROAD .DAY Will changes his shirt.FINAL 92. just curious. WILL So you never bought any land. .” 138 INT. WILL Josephine’s with WILL AND JOSEPHINE’S ROOM . 137 EXT. We had a hard enough time keeping the mortgage on this place. “Ashton. him.

DAY 141 Sitting at the edge of a swamp. (MORE) JENNY . WOMAN’S VOICE (O. Dapples of light break through the trees. left. ROAD . Badly. Right hand only.FINAL 93. WILL Hello. It is surrounded by a white square-picket fence. Will checks the name on the form. Oh. ASHTON GAS . right. A LONE HOUSE . This is the house. that’s how I recognize you. Confused. Reaching the porch. He checks the number: 33. And you’re Will. WILL Are you Jenny Hill? JENNY I am. who points him in a direction. a light breeze swaying the branches.DAY 140 Will drives down a road that seems somewhat familiar. Will notices this. And then we realize why: a roadsign reads “Welcome to Spectre!” 141 EXT.DAY 139 Will talks to the ATTENDANT. we hear a PIANO playing inside. Re-checking the number on a form he’s carrying. Will KNOCKS. 140 EXT. 139 EXT. The piano stops. identical to his mother’s. Her name is Jenny Hill.S. Oh.BIG FISH . the WHIRR of cicadas grows.) Go back to the start. the little two-story feels lonely. rights. FOOTSTEPS. The piano starts again. She and Will are startled to see each other. I’ve seen your picture. The door opens to reveal a blonde woman in her 50’s -. set deep in its lot. As Will walks from the car.the woman from the grocery store. JENNY I wasn’t expecting you. then gestures a series of left.

STUDENT Do I have to give it back to my Mom? JENNY I won’t tell her if you won’t.FINAL JENNY (cont'd) I almost said something at the store. JENNY (cont’d) (to the student) Listen. so he was through here all the time.. you just said it. WILL Were you and my father having an affair? JENNY (taken aback) Wow. She hands him five dollars out of her pocket. I was expecting to dance around this for another half hour. WILL I’ve seen him with women. Everyone in town knew him. Wow. 142 INT. Kenny. Speaking of awkward.BIG FISH . flash. but it would have been awkward. You don’t have to tell him twice.DAY He’s out the door in a 94. He’s 142 While Will sips his iced tea. A beat. She hands it back to Will. (MORE) He flirts. Jenny flips through a form she never expected to see again. has stopped.. Not flinching. The PIANO STUDENT. He always has. . a black boy of eight. JENNY’S KITCHEN . (a beat) Like this. watching the conversation at the door. Why don’t we skip the lesson today? We can go again next week. WILL How did you know my father? JENNY This was on his sales route...

WILL My father talked about a lot of things he never did. and people took a liking to him. The second time. JENNY Can I ask you a question? Why did you come here today? If you found this deed. and Edward is pensive. The first time. You have one image of your father and it would be wrong for me to go and change it. and I’m sure he did a lot of things he never talked about. he was early. when he hit a thunderstorm unlike any in his life. 95. She moves. And yet he did. She’s a tangle of conflicting emotions. trying to get out of the corner he’s boxed her into. A long beat. 143 INT.) Those days. I just never had proof. your father was working for himself. JENNY Look. Especially this late in the game. One night he was returning from three weeks on the road.BIG FISH . it’s that he was a social person. Once she’s finally free. table.. Jenny takes a seat across from him at the JENNY The first thing you have to understand. . EDWARD’S CAR / DRIVING .FINAL WILL (cont'd) On some level. twice.NIGHT 143 It’s late. I presumed he was cheating on my mother. is that your father never meant to end up here. Fair enough. JENNY (V. I don’t know how much you want to know about any of this.O. Jenny is taken back by the suddenness of it. I’m just trying to reconcile the two. why didn’t you just ask Eddie? WILL Because he’s dying. If there was one thing you could say about Edward Bloom.. he was late.

NIGHT 145 -. hers. It’s not even rain anymore -there’s no space between the drops. but where there used to be air is water. The world is close and echoing. As Edward gathers his last pair of socks. which broke open when he dropped it from HIS CAR. . Birds CHIRP. She’s swimming outside the car. and the sun shines brightly. still wet from last night’s rain.FINAL 96. Edward gathers the clothes that have spilled out of his suitcase. She puts her hand to the windshield. she remains just as beautiful.BIG FISH . rubs it off.the car is underwater. wipers. While we never see her face exactly. Trees drip and the grass shines. but softly SPLASHING. Water is trickling in through the crack between the window and the door. He puts his up to meet FLASH CUT TO: 147 EXT.The Girl in the River. It’s like being caught in a waterfall.NIGHT 146 Realizing his plight. a deluge descends. He pulls it out. The tires are still on the road. because -145 EXT. Puts on the handbrake. he notices a shiny piece of metal sticking out of the dirt. as the first time we saw her. EDWARD’S CAR . just as mysterious. EDWARD’S CAR . For now. The first raindrops hit the windshield. Edward tries to remain calm. That’s when he sees her -. he’s fine.no longer pounding. And smiles.[THE STORM] Edward turns on the 144 Suddenly.NIGHT . Edward stops the car. THE CAR . Just as suddenly.DAY 147 It’s morning. 144 INT. but very slowly. which balances precariously ten feet up in an elm tree. the sound changes -. No choice. Three catfish swim in front of his headlights. 146 INT. FIELD BY DIRT ROAD . It’s that loud.

. This town didn’t seem the same now that he was older. JENNY (V. if they could get the price low enough. Almost everywhere you looked.DAY 151 150 There are We slowly MOVE THROUGH a foreclosure auction to find Edward watching.. Edward walks down the center of the road.DAY 149 Amazed and disbelieving.VARIOUS SHOTS We look around the town. ROAD . 150 EXT. people were bankrupt. Either way. “Welcome to Spectre..) Fate has a way of circling back on a man. stick out among the bidders. and taking him by surprise. MAIN STREET . on and off Main Street. a tired Edward walks toward a one-street town in the distance.) A new road had brought the outside world to Spectre. Two very corporate MEN IN SUITS. Spectre would be destroyed. TOWN OF SPECTRE .) Two different corporations were looking at buying the town. The other. He looks up to find his faded shoes still dangling from the power line. It’s a key.O.) A man sees things differently at different times in his life. We pass a rusty sign. SPECTRE .O.BIG FISH . Edward raises his hand. JENNY (V.O.” 149 EXT. 151 EXT. along with the rest of the town’s.DAY 148 Carrying his busted suitcase.O. and with it. One wanted to open a chicken processing plant. 148 EXT. no cars coming from either direction. JENNY (V. “FOR SALE” signs in many of the windows JENNY (V.FINAL 97. a municipal dump. liens and debt. banks. It’s the Key to the City he lost years ago.

in order to save it. Then he bought the houses. They were just asked to keep doing as they were doing. Edward talks to Ping. 154 INT.) He was never a wealthy man. . JENNY (V.) And so Edward Bloom decided to buy the town. the people were not asked to leave or pay rent or anything./EXT. Edward shakes hands. 153 INT. but he had made other men rich. He sold them on the dream..O.O.BIG FISH . NORTHER WINSLOW’S MANHATTAN . he could make sure the town would never die. JENNY (V. JING You can structure it as a historical trust. 152 INT. EDWARD Fifty-thousand! Everyone turns to look at this new bidder. As Edward takes notes.DAY 154 Finishing up with AL.DAY 152 Edward pitches his plan to Norther. VARIOUS LOCATIONS . JENNY (V. It’s all or nothing. JENNY (V.) So first he bought the farms. In that way. Jing and Amos Calloway.) Whatever he bought.O. Then he bought the stores.O. and now he asked for their favors. But you’ll need every contiguous piece of property.O.) Most of them had never seen Spectre -they only had Edward’s words to describe it.DAY 153 VARIOUS SHOTS: Expressive and passionate as always.. AL’S COUNTRY .FINAL 98. That’s all they needed. JENNY (V.

SHACK .DAY 156 The inside is nicer than you’d think. Jenny Hill plays the piano. We hear a PIANO playing from inside the shack. ROAD IN THE SWAMP . He walks toward it. A fire burns in the stove..FINAL 99. his trust had purchased the entire town. 156 INT. the road having literally stopped. she says. so old it’s nearly fallen. . EDWARD Apparently I’ve overlooked this one piece of it. in order for the town to be preserved. With her back turned to him. the marshy ground SQUISHING up around his feet. JENNY (V. but it can barely penetrate the trees’ thick canopy. Without turning. JENNY So I’ve heard.. You see.O. You’re buying the town. With one exception. which swings open by itself.BIG FISH . And no one would have business with me except for you. JENNY You must be Edward Bloom. Edward doesn’t recognize her as the little girl who used to have a crush on him. EDWARD How did you know? She keeps PLAYING. and I’d like to remedy that. the trust must own it in its entirety. In the distance. and curtains hang in the windows. The sun is shining. 155 EXT. a real home. Edward KNOCKS on the half-hung door. soaking the hems of his trousers.) Within six months.DAY 155 Edward climbs out of his car. JENNY No one would come out here unless they had business. he sees a shack.

Edward still doesn’t recognize her. No one has really She turns . I want the best for everyone. Do I have that right? Strange to hear it put that way. I’ll be here.FINAL 100. why are you buying this land? Some sort of midlife crisis? Instead of buying a convertible. You can ask anyone in town. Bloom. Jenny stops playing. EDWARD I’ll offer you more than it’s worth. If nothing is going to change. A long beat. puzzled and surprised. And you know you won’t have to move. JENNY Mr. Nothing will change except the name on the deed. and you’ll come and go as you please to one place or another. to face him. but -EDWARD In so many words. EDWARD It’s not like you’re going to lose anything. asked before. you have my word. but it’ll still be mine. You’ll own the house. I’ve been nothing if not generous. JENNY Then I don’t think so Mr. JENNY Now let me get this straight. I’d just as soon it not change in the way it hasn’t been changing all this time. but I’ll stay in it. Bloom. You’ll buy the swamp from me. yes. EDWARD Helping people makes me happy. you buy a town? He looks at her. JENNY I’m not convinced you should be happy.BIG FISH . her piece not quite finished.

Your last Turns out that Before he can say anything more. A bit bewildered.NIGHT 157 Young Jenny Hill watches barefoot Edward leave Spectre for the first time. SWAMP SHACK .BIG FISH . SHACK . FLASHBACK TO: 157 EXT. Bloom.FINAL 101. EDWARD You’re Beamen’s daughter. EDWARD Have I offended you? She finally turns to face him.DAY 158 Finally realizing who this woman is. SPECTRE . 159 EXT/INT. JENNY (cont’d) I won’t be selling you this house. He was 28. I’m sorry. JENNY No. I was just expecting you sooner.DAY 159 Edward pulls the door shut behind him as he leaves. surprised and annoyed. EDWARD I thank you for your time. name is different. It’s not the clean exit he was hoping for. was a big difference. (realizing) You married. Mr. BACK TO: 158 INT. . Edward tips his hat to her as he leaves. You came back. I see. you did exactly what you promised. JENNY I was 18.. but it breaks off in his hands.. Inside Jenny looks out...

O. watching him go. But Edward was not like most men. Edward tries to set the door square. falls in. he Turns and heads back towards his car. EDWARD It holds for a beat then EDWARD We STAY ON Jenny. JENNY JENNY Go. He leans the door a different way. I’m sorry I. I’m sorry. Edward tries to lift the door back on the hinges. Something softer. I’ll. EDWARD I can get it. She’s dead serious. just leave it. Edward unloads a brand new door from a pickup truck.. finally backs away... SHACK .) (cont’d) Most men in that situation would accept their failure and move on. Just go. but there’s something more in her feelings for him. The door frame buckles and the whole shack CREAKS. Karl pushes against the side of the house until it fits. . 160 EXT. but it keeps slipping. EDWARD (cont’d) Lord. SWAMP SHACK ROAD .FINAL 102. JENNY It’s okay.DAY 161 While Jenny watches. half-amused.ANOTHER DAY 160 With Karl the Giant’s help. SMASHING a small table. Please. 161 EXT...BIG FISH . I can just. Go. Weighing the scales of chivalry. half-annoyed. He tries to lean the door against the frame. JENNY (V. She’s furious.. but they SNAP off.

Finished with his work. 164 INT. A look between them. there’s no reason for him to be staying any longer. 162 INT. JENNY (V..O. A white picket fence.. Jenny is making soup. Through the golden pollen hanging in the air. In every detail it is impossibly charming. we had a whole new routine worked out for them. Does she really mean it? . SHACK .ANOTHER DAY 163 Edward and Karl cut down a tree. EDWARD Of course. It’s tiny and white. SWAMP . laughing at the story he’s telling. he found more and more things to fix. By the time the twins and I got to Havana.BIG FISH .ANOTHER DAY 162 Holding nails between his lips. 163 EXT. He takes his hat off the rack. A beat. with just a ukulele and a harmonica. letting in a flood of light.FINAL 103.DAY 164 Edward is screwing a hat rack into the wall in the foyer. And watching him with deepest affection.) As the months passed. Edward puts in new windows himself. the best part was creating new material. A beat. we RISE UP to see the shack is now THE LOVELY HOUSE we saw before. JENNY’S HOUSE . until the shack no longer resembled itself. Perfect. EDWARD (cont’d) I suppose I should. JENNY You can leave it there. Jenny leans against the doorframe listening to his story. with black shutters and a steep roof. With that last job done. he takes his hat off the chair and hangs it on the rack.

JENNY (V. swallowing it in a tangle of vines and mossy branches. Jenny.) One day. She comes closer. No. Edward Bloom left. Then goes. EDWARD And from the moment I saw her until the moment I die. she’s the only one. She’s very close -just a half-inch from kissing him when --. 166 EXT.. She freezes. JENNY HILL’S HOUSE . JENNY Lucky girl. he thanks her. EDWARD I’m sorry. I know.O. 165 EXT..MAGIC HOUR 165 Edward takes a final look at this perfect little town.DAY TO NIGHT 166 As we watch.FINAL 104. and never returned to the town he’d saved. (beat) I am in love with my wife. She takes his hand. EDWARD EDWARD (cont’d) Don’t. he begins to leaves. Don’t be embarrassed. I should never have let you think that. SPECTRE . the swamp begins to overtake the house. stunned and humiliated. Hands it to him.BIG FISH . lifting his hat up to the peg. JENNY With that.Edward gently holds her back. Edward holds his ground. I am. . With a look. He climbs in his car and starts the engine. She pulls away. Wait! JENNY Edward! She finds a pen and hastily signs the deed to the house.

BIG FISH . 167 INT. JENNY (V. JENNY No. WILL Logically. now. there’s only two women: your mother and everyone else. Will smiles to hear it called that. Snakes 105. WILL You didn’t become crazy.PRESENT DAY 167 Will and Jenny are still sitting at her table. They are kind and unbelievably cruel at the same moment. A beat. then they run away. Well. because she was old back when he was young. See. I was living in a tale.)(cont’d) As for the girl. . and crazy at that. They hurt each other without meaning to. We REVERSE to find FOUR KIDS looking in through the rusty iron gate with flashlights. slither through the marsh. I’m not sure I should have told you any of this. a pitcher of iced tea between them.O. the common belief was that she’d become a witch. I was never fairy JENNY therapy. She became something of a legend herself. to him. Her composure is starting to break. it’s logical if you think like your father. JENNY HILL’S KITCHEN .FINAL Shoots burst up through the planks in the porch. Day becomes night. you couldn’t be the Witch.O. JENNY (V.)(cont’d) And the story ended where it began. JENNY (cont’d) People aren’t like they are in stories. Like me. And one day I realized in love with a man who could love me back.

JENNY I wanted to meet you for the longest time. 169 EXT. Congratulations. no talking. I mean. but ultimately turns it off. I wanted to be as important to him as you were. I’m glad I know. didn’t you? CUT TO: 168 INT.P. Every moment he loved you. that’s the thing. incidentally. . no TV. both staring at their iced tea. BLOOM HOUSE . He unlocks the door. everything. were real. JENNY (cont’d) And as brightly as the sun would shine when he was with me. sorting through his swirling thoughts. every time he left it disappeared. The way Eddie would talk about you when you were at Missouri.FINAL 106. WILL No. BLOOM HOUSE FOYER . JENNY (cont’d) You knew that. and I was never going to be.DUSK 169 Will walks up the front steps.DUSK 170 It’s half-dark and quiet in the house. 170 INT. Jenny is working herself into more of a state by not talking. And when you got the job at the A. he was so proud of you. you. A long beat. I was make-believe and his other life. WILL’S CAR . There’s a subtle change to his expression. He’s trying to think. ANGLE ON Will. She’s fighting tears.. a dark cloud lifted. not the first ones she’s shed over this. (a smile) I envied you so much. I did.DAY / DRIVING 168 Will skips through the stations on the radio. I wanted to know. Will sets his keys on the table.BIG FISH . that award you won.

171 Will looks in. A beat. trying to decide the best place to start. He’s upstairs with your mom and Dr. the stairs. so Will forges ahead. The sheets are in a tangle on the floor. looking into his and Josephine’s room. was calling him.BIG FISH .DUSK Looking over his shoulder. 176 INT.S. KITCHEN . 173 INT. WILL What happened? JOSEPHINE Your father had a stroke. WILL Is he going to be okay? She hangs up. then Will half-runs back down the hall.NIGHT 175 The hospital is so new. Bennett.thick plastic hangs from exposed framing. 174 INT.DUSK 172 He 173 We follow Will. We LOOK RIGHT. where the “MESSAGE” light blinks on the answering machine.DUSK Empty. aims for the guest room at the end of the hall. FOYER . it’s not even finished -. GUEST ROOM . HOSPITAL ENTRANCE .FINAL 107. behind him -Will! He turns to see his wife at a payphone. 175 INT. Then. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY . WILL (calling out) Hello? Mom? Dad? 172 INT. we see his father’s bed is empty.DUSK Back down 174 Headed out.NIGHT 176 Will reads a directory board. There’s no one at the information desk. HOSPITAL HALLWAY . Will grabs his keys off the table. 171 INT.) . She JOSEPHINE (O.

Why don’t you go home with Josephine and I’ll stay tonight. In case he. DR. together. one of us should be there. How can she answer? Of He half-smiles.. just an oxygen tube under his nose. BENNETT . There are no beeping monitors.. course his father’s not going to be okay. Bennett) That’s okay? It’s fine. reeling from the 177 HOSPITAL ROOM .. no blinking lights. SANDRA (to Will) You’ll call if. I will. She cuts him off -No. news. WILL I’ll stay. realizing the idiocy of his question.. 177 INT. will he get back to the way he was when. JOSEPHINE He won’t. A beat. Sandra squeezes Will’s hand tightly. We HOLD ON Will.FINAL 108. WILL I’ll call. (beat) In case he wakes up. but it’s been a tough day. And like that. Bennett has just gone through the details for the third time.. it’s done..NIGHT Edward sleeps peacefully. WILL (cont’d) What I mean is. I’m sorry.BIG FISH . It’s mercifully quiet. She’s holding herself Dr. SANDRA I don’t suppose one of us could stay with him. SANDRA (to Dr.

As she kisses his fingers.acknowledging the inevitable but refusing to surrender to it. It was alive and kicking. I did. HOSPITAL HALLWAY . Like clockwork. TRANSITION TO: 178 INT. but I felt like I always had a piece of him with me. It was the same when I was carrying Will. Sandra has accidentally evoked a storm of emotion. JOSEPHINE It seems every hour I have SANDRA I know.his signature move. She neatens his hair. but I loved every minute of it. to.NIGHT 178 Sandra waits outside the women’s restroom. Holds his hand.. so he was gone.FINAL 109. A beat.BIG FISH . A nod. It sounds peculiar. SANDRA Do you like it.. Eddie was travelling a lot. Sandra is alone in the room with her husband. Almost a whisper. being pregnant? I do. no hurry. Josephine emerges. she tweaks her chin with them -. SANDRA I loved it. do you want some time with Dad? Yes. WILL Mom. then Will holds the door for Dr. I’m sorry.. She struggles to keep it in check. JOSEPHINE . SANDRA Thank you. Her face is a study in strained composure -. Bennett and Josephine as they leave. The two women start to walk. A little part of his soul inside me.. I could feel it.

Sandra tries to hold on. Will searches for an answer. never talk. He doesn’t have . JOSEPHINE Don’t stop. Dr. letting the moment be. SANDRA I really miss that. A beat. then Sandra finally melts. We Dr. Regulated hypertension. Bennett hangs the chart back on the bed. working through the crossword puzzle. It’s one of my greatest annoyances. Maybe more.NIGHT 179 Hold back. BENNETT Thirty years. Don’t.FINAL 110. Bennett smiles as he checks Edward’s chart. One-eighty.BIG FISH . (beat) How would his son describe him? Tables turned. ready to leave for the night. one. HOSPITAL ROOM . 179 INT. With a few breaths. DR. BENNETT (re: chart) Five-eleven. Bennett enters with his overcoat and bag. Will sits in a chair beside the bed. A KNOCK as Dr. WILL (cont’d) How long have you known my father? DR. WILL How would you describe him? DR. when people talk to those who can’t hear them. BENNETT Glad to see you’re not trying to have a heartfelt talk. WILL My father and I have an advantage. Josephine holds her. The two women stand together in the hallway.

DR. BENNETT (cont’d) Not very exciting. 180 The list keeps getting longer. uncatchable fish. Will half-smiles. is it? And I suppose if I had to choose between the true version and an elaborate one involving a fish and a wedding ring. Patting Will’s shoulder. You were born a week early.FINAL 111. just the sounds of the hospital. but there were no complications. 180 INT. I might choose the fancy version. Dr.BIG FISH . HOSPITAL ROOM . on account of your father was on business in Wichita. We STAY ON Will and his father for a long time. He caught an DR. The real story. then Will takes his pen and starts making a list. Now. But that’s just me. . BENNETT (cont’d) Did your father ever tell you about the day you were born? WILL A thousand times. your father was sorry to miss it. A long silence. Did he DR. Bennett leaves. And that’s the real story of how you were born. BENNETT Your mother came in about three in the afternoon. so I can’t see as it would have been much different had he been there. DR. It was a perfect delivery. but it wasn’t the custom for the men to be in the room for deliveries then. BENNETT Not that one. doctors being paged. ever tell you that? WILL (suddenly interested) No. Her neighbor drove her.VARIOUS SHOTS Will flips to a new page.

he looks up at his motionless father. crooked from sleeping on it wrong. EDWARD Tell me how it happens. Will already has his finger on the orange “nurse call” button. On his fourth page. woke him up? He looks to his right. fighting to hang on to this world. scared and confused.PRE-DAWN 181 It’s very early morning. He holds it to his father’s lips. Dad! WILL (cont’d) Do you want me to get a nurse? His eyes WILL Holds his gaze for a breath. WILL . the pen in his hand. Still in his chair.FINAL 112. WILL (cont’d) What can I do? Can I help? you something? Water? Can I get Edward nods. are open. The river? It takes Edward all his strength to put together each thought. remembering something.BIG FISH . and the first blue light of day is glowing through the vertical blinds. He wanted something else. then we slowly CROSSFADE TO: 181 INT. Will wakes up a bit at a time. What Edward shakes his head unambiguously. It’s like he’s only half-there. Dad? His father is awake. A beat. but Edward won’t drink. He cracks his neck. EDWARD (whispering) The river. He pushes it away. silently GASPING for breath. The notepad is on his lap. Will pours a glass from the pitcher on the nightstand. but doesn’t push it. HOSPITAL ROOM . He smiles.

FINAL 113. WILL You mean what you saw in The Eye? Edward nods. I wake up and I see you. increasingly desperate. ON EDWARD. WILL (cont’d) I don’t know that story. realizing. confused and increasingly scared. It’s morning. Like this. You Yes. He sees the end approaching.BIG FISH . Fighting the urge to panic -WILL (cont’d) I can try. EDWARD Will pushes his fingers under his father’s heavy hand. Dad.. but doesn’t know exactly what’s coming. Edward looks around. WILL (cont’d) Okay. ON WILL. and holds it. that’s what he was trying to say.. Without the story. waiting for Will to begin. tell me how it starts. WILL Okay. He really wants to press it. I’d fallen asleep in the chair.. A long beat. EDWARD Just Will looks around the room.. If you help. He looks to the nurse call button. There’s nothing else to do. never told me that one. he’s lost. Okay. WILL How what happens? How I go. and you and I are in the hospital. Dad. and. CUT TO: .

you’re in no condition to.DAY With the blanket draped over his head like a ghost. Will heads for the bathroom.) Somehow. Different. 183 HOSPITAL HALLWAY . As soon as we get off this floor.FINAL 114. You’re getting ready to go. combing his hair. Faster! They pass a HEAVYSET NURSE.DAY [STORY VERSION] Dad? WILL 182 It’s dawn. HOSPITAL ROOM . WILL  Dad. and the first golden glow is shining through the vertical blinds. Rounding a corner. EDWARD There’s a fold-up wheelchair in the bathroom. Hurry! 183 INT. Sure enough.. Wrap a blanket around me. Edward points for his son to steer the wheelchair thataway. WILL (V. And I say. EDWARD Let’s get out of here. the wheelchair is EDWARD (cont’d) We don’t have much time. But Edward throws back the covers.O. WILL (cont’d) (louder and concerned) Dad? We LOOK OVER to find a nimble Edward sitting up in bed. they nearly crash into Dr. 182 INT.BIG FISH . there. we’ll be in the clear... Bennett.. you’re better. who turns to look. EDWARD .

Security! DOWN THE HALL At the elevators. EDWARD I need water.O. Scrambling in back. he douses himself.What are you doing? Before he can answer. sliding with both feet. ELEVATOR . Soaks the blanket. bowling them down. WILL (V. but instead of drinking it.. Will finds a liter of Arrowhead. Will sets him in the passenger seat. The chair nearly crashes into the back wall as the doors close. The Heavyset Nurse leans out of Edward’s hospital room. Water. EDWARD No time to explain! Follow us! NURSE Stop them! Seeing SECURITY GUARDS heading their way. Sandra and Josephine step out to find Will and Edward barreling straight at them.BIG FISH . 184 INT. PARKING LOT . BENNETT I. Will spots Edward rolling the chair himself. Will! DR. Hands it off. 185 EXT. Will pops the trunk. a quick-thinking Sandra shoves a nearby cart into them.DAY 185 Will races Edward down the row.DAY 184 Will brakes hard.. I can’t explain it. Edward unscrews the cap. pumping both arms. Starts to fold up the wheelchair.FINAL 115. Will dashes to catch up with him.) I pick you up and you hardly weigh anything. finally reaching the Chevrolet. . AT THE CAR Will lifts his father out of the chair.

ASHTON RIVER . clearing a path by brute force. Leave it! EDWARD (cont’d) We won’t need it. WILL And we have to take Glenville to avoid all the church traffic.DAY The River! Will stops short. TIGHT ON Edward. 189 A CROWD of The same stretch of the river where it all began. the traffic backed up. trying to hold back tears as he talks.FINAL 116. enjoying that detail. . the cars start moving. up ahead.) Then. . shoved aside by massive hands.. But it’s no use. I ask. 189 EXT.DAY [REALITY] 186 TIGHT ON Will.BIG FISH . more than 100 waiting. trying to EDWARD 188 WILL (V. HOSPITAL ROOM . BACK TO: 187 EXT. Edward leans out the window and waves. get around the jam.O.) Where are we headed? You say. BACK TO: 186 INT.DAY [STORY VERSION] 187 WILL (cont’d) He’s focused The Chevy slaloms through the Sunday-morning traffic.. TIRES SMOKE as the car peals out. because those damn church people drive too slow. GLENVILLE BLVD.. He HONKS. CHEVY .DAY Karl waves back. WILL (O. 188 INT.S.. It’s Karl the Giant. completely on Will’s story.

Soggybottom. Norther Winslow. where we see. 191 INT. Sandra.. Strangely. tying the laces together. Crossing to the passenger side. She throws them up at the powerline. Karl comes just after that.BIG FISH . We also find Edward’s Mother and Father. 190 YOUNG EDWARD reflected. and many others from along the way. Behind him. the Mayor. No one has aged a day since we saw them last. including Mr. Josephine and Dr. Will lifts his father out. And I mean everybody. They loop over. WILL It’s unbelievable.) As we get closer to the river. 191 190 THE CHEVROLET . While Ping scans the horizon. 192 EXT. Hill smiles. Jing nuzzles with her boyfriend. Will turns to his father. RIVERSIDE . He’s here! The crowd CHEERS. WILL (V. So does the Old Woman. This is what he saw. Amos Calloway is here with the circus folk. pats some people on the cheek. Bennett pull up. The Ashton marching band PLAYS. overwhelmed by the crowd.DAY Amazed. As he passes.O. It’s Ping who first spots the Chevrolet. Jenny PING We PUSH IN on the Old Woman’s glass eye.DAY 192 Will gets out of the Chevrolet. Edward shakes some hands. and gives others a good poke in the ribs. EDWARD Story of my life. He The crowd parts to let Will and Edward get to the river. we see everybody’s already there. Will carries him easily. . APPLAUSE and CHEERS.FINAL 117.. he’s gotten even lighter. Edward pulls off his shoes. hands them to Josephine.

The reflection of the light off the water gives Sandra an unearthly glow. She kisses him. then. but their moment remains strangely private. We watch as the catfish circles. watching Edward Bloom swim away into the sunlight. there’s not a sad face to be found. A look to Will. She’s more tranquil and more beautiful than we’ve ever seen her. . disappearing. Will and his mother stand knee-deep in the water. Will takes the For Edward suddenly drops out of Will’s arms with a SPLASH. WILL (V. As the kiss ends. Edward tries to pull off his wedding ring. Edward waves.FINAL 118. The crowd HOLLERS in approval. But it’s stuck.) And the strange thing is. Finally. He turns back so his father can face the crowd. and send you off right. he’s no longer a man. pulling it free with his teeth. Only Will is there to witness.O..Sandra. ring out of his mouth. He tweaks her chin. a smile with a glint of gold. EDWARD Goodbye everybody! Farewell! Adieu! THE CROWD (VARIOUS) Goodbye Edward! / See ya! / We’ll miss you! But one face is missing from the crowd -. he sucks on it. Josephine is back on the shore. EDWARD My girl in the river. then heads for deeper water. Will walks into the river. Will turns to see she’s already standing in the river beside them.. but rather A FAT CATFISH swimming at his feet. along with the entire crowd.BIG FISH . Everyone’s just so glad to see you. up to his knees. MUSIC BUILDS to a climax.

HOSPITAL HALLWAY . Edward Bloom is entirely happy. a GIANT FISH suddenly jumps out of the water. (he smiles) And that’s the way it happens. letting white sunlight in. Edward smiles. He presses closer to the phone. proud of both of them. very big fish.DAY 194 The A Will shuts the door to his father’s room behind him. And ringing. WILL You become what you always were.DAY 193 Will has tears hanging in the corners of his eyes. Exactly. It then dives back under with a SPLASH. His eyes are so pale and so open. MUSIC begins that will carry us through the next passage. In every atom of his body. . That’s all he can get out before the dam breaks inside him. EDWARD (a whisper) Yes.DAY 196 She Josephine opens the curtains. in every thought. HOSPITAL ROOM . WILL (voice cracking) Hi. And this is how he goes. It’s ringing. 196 INT. walk to the payphones seems to take a lifetime. starts to dial. Down the river. we can almost see his soul. trying to shield himself. 195 INT. cutting a beautiful arc across the sunset.FINAL 119. 194 INT. CROSSFADE BACK TO: 193 INT. He finds a quarter. GUEST ROOM . HOSPITAL RECEPTION . He has to squint to see through the water in his eyes. strips the bed.DAY 195 Will waits at reception as Sandra and Josephine come off the elevator.BIG FISH . The other end answers.

CEMETERY / GRAVESIDE . Bennett and shakes hands with his WIFE. This man is KARL. He smiles. but the man who steps out is barely visible over the door. Will guides his mother to a seat near the grave. 198 CEMETERY / ROAD . Sitting beside Will. Josephine hugs Dr. Will doesn’t recognize him.BIG FISH . He shuts it to reveal himself to be 70.FINAL 120. Will looks left to see an Oldsmobile parking. now 55. BEDROOM . CLOSE ON the license plates. UP to see this man is huge. for Will to wear at the funeral. It’s a real thing. many more than expected. We TILT The Driver climbs out. It’s PING and JING. The passenger side opens.DAY 197 Will and his mother pick out one of Edward’s ties. Will tries to button the cuffs on the shirt he borrowed. 197 INT.DAY 199 As the service gets ready to begin. She’s wellcomposed. an identical face with glasses peers out -. trying to find a matching pair. not nearly the wreck we might have expected. 198 EXT. He goes through the top drawer of the dresser. . 199 EXT. disbelieving. a size 15 foot on the gravel. A beat later. more than 200 people.the woman’s twin sister. Further down. he finds a ribbon tied to THE KEY TO THE CITY.DAY Will helps his mother out of a black sedan. but at CLOSE ON Will. but they’re the kind that need links. Josephine spots a stunning ASIAN WOMAN (50) behind them. He’s not 12 feet tall. Missouri. It’s Amos Calloway. As his mother talks to a WELL-WISHER. The service is crowded. bewildered to see that this man really exists. least six-eight.

laughing. We slowly CIRCLE BEHIND a monument. SON (to the other boys) So he said he’d fight the giant who was fifteen feet tall. A sea of familiar faces. we can see they’re telling stories. but then Jing steps forward. all of them aged through the years: BEAMEN. who turns to look. the sisters seem conjoined.DAY [LATER] 200 After the service. CEMETERY . TRANSITION TO: 201 EXT. They’re really two separate people. 200 EXT.BIG FISH . that’s right. BLOOM HOUSE BACKYARD . letting it black out the screen. WILL (V. isn’t it? WILL Something like that. No way. watching his SON play in the pool with two NEIGHBOR KIDS. SON (calling over) Dad. we see the crowd gathered in small groups. and ZACKY PRICE. Josephine almost GASPS. Will joins in. From this angle. We find Will watching them. By the LAUGHTER and hand gestures. the MAYOR. They’re telling Edward’s stories. KID .DAY [SUMMER] 201 Will sits on the porch with Sandra and Josephine.O. NORTHER WINSLOW. You remember why you loved it in the first place.) Have you ever heard a joke so many times you’ve forgotten why it’s funny? But then you hear it again and suddenly it’s new. She elbows Will.FINAL 121.

DAY 202 A fat and happy catfish swims towards us. WILL (V. CUT TO BLACK. A man tells his stories so many times that he becomes the stories.) And in that way. THE END . which FADES.FINAL 122. RIVER / UNDERWATER . he becomes immortal. They live on after him.. just listening.BIG FISH .O.O.) That was my father’s final joke I guess. CROSSFADE TO: 202 EXT. Will smiles as his son continues the tale. WILL (V. So he was a giant but my grampa was going to fight him because he wasn’t afraid of anything because he’d seen how he was going to die in this old lady’s glass eye. Sandra takes Will’s hand in hers.. SON See. The fish passes us with a SPLASH.

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