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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BIG FISH . EDWARD What’s a Gypsy? ZACKY Your momma’s a Gypsy. WILBUR FREELY. we find ourselves at the gates of. 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 happy just to be there. is the black asthmatic son of a sharecropper. DON PRICE Your momma’s a bitch. Damn. His brother DON PRICE is 12. Shit. EDWARD Is it true she got a glass eye? WILBUR FREELY I heard she got it from Gypsies. present. also 10.. and a lot bigger than the others.. Redheaded RUTHIE MACKLIN.FINAL 12. . Screw. Red-headed ZACKY PRICE is 10. WILBUR FREELY ZACKY DON PRICE There’s ladies She’ll see MOVING UP behind the kids. 8. EDWARD (whispering) Turn off your flashlights! ‘em. RUTHIE You shouldn’t swear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

just listening. WILL (V. Sandra takes Will’s hand in hers.BIG FISH . The fish passes us with a SPLASH.O.) That was my father’s final joke I guess. 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. They live on after him. THE END . RIVER / UNDERWATER . CUT TO BLACK.FINAL 122..O. WILL (V. which FADES.DAY 202 A fat and happy catfish swims towards us. he becomes immortal. CROSSFADE TO: 202 EXT.) And in that way. Will smiles as his son continues the tale. A man tells his stories so many times that he becomes the stories.. SON See.

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