1 EXT. OUTBACK AUSTRALIA. LATE AFTERNOON
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
# 1 BILL CLINTON'S LOVE CHILD Genre: Broad Comedy
Broad Australian comedy is the only film genre that has, with any reliability, appealed to mainstream Australian audiences. So, I have tried my hand at it. Whether BILL CLINTON’S LOVE CHILD is funny or not, whether it has potential to be a box office success or not, is not for me to decide. I have done my best. It is up to readers to decide. One set of potential readers that will not read the screenplay (developed with zero funding from any source) reside within the hallowed halls of our peak film funding body – Screen Australia. Regardless of the quality of the screenplay, regardless of its potential, Screen Australia’s ban on me as a screenwriter means that no-one within the organization is allowed to read it. Yes, this is not a typographical error on my part. The reading of BILL CLINTON”S LOVE CHILD would, in the view of Ruth Harley and her compliant Board, place the reader at risk! At risk of what, you might ask. Ask away, you will not get an answer. The answering of legitimate questions is not something that the Screen Australia Board feels that it is under any obligation to do.
1 EXT. OUTBACK AUSTRALIA. LATE AFTERNOON
Opening Credit Sequence. Music Over.
A red dirt road cuts through a vast dry landscape under an impossibly blue sky.
Graphic: BILL CLINTON’S LOVE CHILD
Tracking from above, a bright yellow car kicks up a rooster’s tail of dust as it speeds towards the sun - low in the sky.
Graphic: Starring xxx
The yellow car has a small bright red satellite dish clamped its roof.
Saturated primary colours dominate the visual style of this outback farce.
Graphic: Guest appearance by God
From the car radio, Bill Clinton’s voice:
BILL CLINTON’S VOICE
I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.
Graphic: THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, 6.18 PM, 26TH JAN 1998
2 INT. CAR. DAY
JOSIE, 19, short pink hair, sits in the passenger seat, open wallet in her hands. She speaks with a plummy British accent.
JOSIE is talking to the driver, VENUS, also 19 - peroxide blonde and wearing eccentric sunglasses shaped like Sydney Harbour Bridge. VENUS speaks with a broad Australian accent.
All men are liars.
Don’t ‘whatever’ me, babe!
And stop apologizing.
JOSIE mouths ‘whatever’, looks at VENUS.
JOSIE grins. VENUS looks disapprovingly over the top of her sunglasses at JOSIE – whose tatty pale blue t-shirt has PARTY ANIMAL written on it and two round dark sticky patches over her breasts. Josie’s red suitcase rests between her legs.
JOSIE smiles sheepishly. VENUS shakes her head in disbelief. JOSIE looks at her empty wallet; sighs.
Deported? (JOSIE NODS) How much d’ya need?
$5000 in the next three days…that’s when my visa expires
Wotchya gunna do about it?
There’s nothing I can do.
Bullshit. There’s always something you can do.
JOSIE nods, bites her lip.
You sure you haven’t got any pills?
JOSIE shakes her head, becomes aware of the large truck heading towards them on the dirt road.
JOSIE’S eyes widen in fear as she realizes that the oncoming truck is occupying the entire width of the road.
Sorry. (A BEAT) Sorry…for saying ‘sorry’, but…shouldn’t you, like, move over…
VENUS ignores JOSIE, smiles, puts her foot on the accelerator, moves to the middle of the road. Chicken!
VENUS (SOTTO VOCE)
You don’t scare me one little bit mate!
JOSIE is scared shitless, however. The truck is only 50 metres away now, closing in fast. On the large sign above the passenger cabin is written THUNDER DOWNUNDER.
JOSIE screams as a head-on collision seems imminent. VENUS laughs. The truck is almost on them when its driver pulls over into the gravel and roars past. VENUS laughs triumphantly as her car disappears into a cloud of dust and gravel hits the windscreen.
JOSIE’s terror does not diminish as VENUS continues to drive fast into the dust cloud - visibility zero. After a few moments the dust thins. JOSIE relaxes a little.
What would you do…if you needed money…a lot of money…fast?
If you want something bad enough you do whatever it takes, babe. Whatever it takes.
JOSIE nods, bites her lip, wishes she had VENUS’ courage; closes her wallet and returns it to the black carry bag resting on her lap.
A BICYCLIST appears up ahead - travelling in the same direction as Venus’ yellow sedan in the middle of the road. As VENUS closes in on the BICYCLIST (a bare-chested young man) she honks her horn to get him to move over. The BICYCLIST ignores her. VENUS slow down, puts her hand on the horn and leaves it there. The BICYCLIST, long hair tied in a bun on top of his head, raises his right hand - index finger extended in response to VENUS’ impatience.
JOSIE, enjoying this battle of wills, reaches into her black carry bag and extracts a yellow cardboard box camera.
VENUS drives up so close behind the dust covered BICYCLIST that she almost hits him. She then passes - only inches from him. The BICYCLIST, a 28 year old bush eccentric we will get to know as NOTCH, responds by again raising his index finger.
JOSIE lifts her yellow cardboard camera and prepares to take a photo.
NOTCH, his face covered in a film of dust, turns and smiles for the camera, extending his raised finger as close to the lens as he can. Click.
JOSIE laughs, looks back at VENUS – scowling as she watches NOTCH grow smaller in the rear-vision mirror.
Hope wind doesn’t change...
JOSIE mimics VENUS’ scowl. VENUS raises her left index finger. JOSIE lifts the yellow cardboard camera and takes a photo. Click.
VENUS grabs Josie’s camera, throws it out the window.
Hey! What the…That’s got…
No one takes my photo, right! No-one.
Whatever! (A BEAT) Sorry.(A BEAT) Mad bitch!
What did you say?
Mad bitch. As in…stark raving…
VENUS puts her foot on the brake.
3 EXT. OUTBACK AUSTRALIA. DESERTED ROAD. LATE AFTERNOON
The yellow sedan screeches to a halt in a cloud of dust.
VENUS pushes JOSIE out. As JOSIE leans in to grab her suitcase VENUS floors the accelerator and speeds off – the passenger door still open.
JOSIE, in shock, watches the yellow sedan drive off. 50 meters up the road the passenger door opens and Josie’s red suitcase is pushed out – breaking open as it hits the road and sending the colourful garments in it flying everywhere.
Moments later, as JOSIE runs up the road towards her red suitcase, a black object is thrown from the driver’s window.
JOSIE runs past her suitcase – the colourful clothes it contained scattered alongside the road – towards the black object lying in the dust:
Her covered black carry bag, covered in dust.
As JOSIE picks up her bag she catches sight of something moving in the red dirt several feet from her – a small snake slithering away from her. JOSIE lets out a terrified scream and runs further up the road, looking back over her shoulder as if expecting the snake to be chasing her.
JOSIE, in shock, stands in the middle of the road, holding the black carry bag at shoulder height in case she needs it to fight off a snake attack. She looks up and down the road. Nothing but sage brush in every direction. She lets out another scream when she sees a small lizard scurry across the road. The sound of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March intrudes.
JOSIE looks around for the source of the sound - puzzled, confused. When she realizes that the music is emanating from the black carry bag she lowers it, opens it and looks inside, reacts with shock; extracts a slender pink plastic object that looks more like a sex aid than the mobile phone.
JOSIE stares at it, trying to make sense of what has happened. As Mendelssohn’s Wedding March continues JOSIE extracts from the bag a driver’s license with “VENUS APHRODITE” under a photo of Venus - with shoulder length brunette hair. Without her sunglasses on Venus looks very much like Josie. They could easily be sisters; maybe twins!
Realizing what has happened, JOSIE picks up the slender pink mobile and looks for the right key to press to answer it. Before she has finds it, Mendelssohn’s Wedding March stops.
Further delving into Venus’ bag by JOSIE reveals:
Two wigs (brunette and red) a pair of outsized pink-rimmed heart-shaped ‘Lolita’ sunglasses, several passports and:
A blue plastic VHS case with BIG TONY written under a photo of a bald man standing at a lectern. Behind ‘Big Tony’ is a poster of his smiling bald self with FAMILY FOREMOST written in large letters. A politician.
The slender pink mobile starts ringing again. JOSIE picks it up, presses the appropriate key.
Venus! You drive a hard bargain, sweetheart! I just hope the Big Tony tape’s worth five grand!
The line is breaking up.
No, no, Terence, this is Venus’ phone but I’m not…Hello…hello…
The line cuts out. JOSIE looks closely at the blue VHS with ‘BIG TONY’ written on it
JOSIE pulls from the black carry bag a handful of credit cards with different names and a doctor’s prescription pad.
Lastly, JOSIE pulls out a worn manila folder, opens it to discover:
Lots of newspaper clippings. JOSIE’S attention focuses on a glossy ‘HOT GOSSIP’ magazine cover with a photo of a young woman and a baby and the banner headline:
I HAD BILL CLINTON’S LOVE CHILD.
Mystery Clinton lover’s bombshell paternity claims…
JOSIE looks into the setting sun; puts on Venus’ ‘Lolita’ sunglasses to protect her from the glare. She thinks for a moment, picks up the pink mobile, prepares to make a call, decides against it, lowers the mobile to her waist, (holding it in a manner suggestive of an erect penis) looks into the distance over the top of her ‘Lolita’ sunglasses.
She opens her mouth starts to exclaim “Fuck!” but the image freezes before she gets past ‘F’.
4 EXT. REMOTE OUTBACK ROAD. DAY
A blue sedan drives on a dirt road through a vast desert landscape – trailed by a thick cloud of red/brown dust. Clamped to the roof is a small satellite dish.
Graphic: THE DAY BEFORE
5 INT. CAR. OUTBACK ROAD. DAY
VENUS, wearing her outsized pink heart-shaped ‘Lolita’ sunglasses, drinks a beer as she drives, jiggles her right leg nervously. She takes one hand off the steering wheel, looks at it. It is shaking badly.
Graphic: NOT TOO FAR FROM THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
VENUS rummages around in the glove compartment for a cassette, puts it into the tape deck: A Beethoven sonata.
6 INT. OLIVER’S CAR. OUTBACK ROAD. DAY
OLIVER, an impeccably-groomed man in his early-30’s, listens to the Beethoven sonata emanating from a sophisticated (for 1998) recording device on the seat beside him as he drives. An unlit cigarette dangles from his mouth. Also on the seat is a laptop computer – on the screen of which can be seen a red flashing dot moving across an aerial map of the terrain Oliver is driving through.
7 INT. CAR. OUTBACK ROAD. DAY
The music does not have the desired calming effect on VENUS. She massages her tight neck muscles with one hand but this does not relieve her stress either.
Placing the beer bottle between her legs she reaches into the black carry bag on the seat beside her (identical to Josie’s), extracts several bottles of pills, chooses one, (seemingly randomly) unscrews the lid, tips three or four into her open hand (steering with her knees), throws them into her mouth and washes them down with a swig of beer.
The sound of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March emanates from inside her black carry bag. VENUS reaches into it, takes out her slender pink mobile phone, turns the tape deck down.
The Debt collectors are here again…
VENUS plants her foot on the brake. Her car skids to a halt.
8 INT. OLIVER’S CAR. OUTBACK ROAD. DAY
OLIVER, unlit cigarette in his mouth, slows as he notices that the red dot on the computer screen has stopped moving.
MARY (VOICE OFF)
…and mum’s given the last of her money to…
VENUS (VOICE OFF)
Some Christians in need!
9 INT. VENUS’ CAR. DAY
VENUS has her mobile to her ear. Mary’s laughter is heard.
MARY (VOICE OFF)
You’re psycho sis!
Psychic, ya mean!
MARY (VOICE OFF)
Yeah, that too.
VENUS smiles, does a U-turn.
10 INT. OLIVER’S CAR. OUTBACK ROAD. DAY
OLIVER has pulled to the side of the road; is looking at the laptop computer screen. The red flashing dot is moving towards him. He looks up to see Venus’ car driving towards him. He picks up a magazine, pretends to be reading it.
11 INT. VENUS’ CAR. DAY
VENUS pulls up alongside OLIVER in his car, parked at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere; unlit cigarette dangling from his mouth.
OLIVER, ever so polite, speaks with an American accent.
Fine thank you mam.
VENUS notices that he is holding the magazine upside down, nods. She is about to drive off when she notices that the glossy magazine OLIVER is reading upside down has I HAD BILL CLINTON’S LOVE CHILD on the cover.
VENUS smiles to herself as she drives off.
12 INT/EXT. PHYLLIS’ HOUSE. DAY
VENUS approaches her mother’s run-down fibro house, pulls up behind a large van with DEBT CONSOLIDATION written on it – into which THREE MEN IN BLUE OVERALLS are loading a lounge suite, dining table and other household goods.
As VENUS walks up she becomes aware of a shiny brand new red truck parked closeby. Taking out her wallet, VENUS walks up to one of the MEN IN BLUE OVERALLS.
How much this time, Roger?
G’day Rhonda...Venus. Five hundred bucks. Sorry to…
VENUS, tight lipped, holds up her hand to deter ROGER from explaining; opens her wallet.
13 INT. PHYLLIS’ HOUSE. DAY
As VENUS strides in through the front door she is greeted by MRS SMITH – trying to control a brood of feral children running wild. In the background the THREE MEN IN BLUE OVERALLS can be seen unloading the lounge suite etc. and carrying it back to the house. A TV set is on in the room (a news broadcast) but the volume is turned down.
Who are you?
Mary Smith. (A BEAT) The Lord sent us.
Venus’ sister MARY (15 years old) walks in and greets VENUS with a hug.
Mrs. Smith got a message from God that a woman called Phyllis would help the family in its time of need.
MR SMITH walks in, arm in arm, with Venus’ mum, PHYLLIS – in her early 40s and quite plump.
Jesus! With a new truck?
MARY nods, raises her eyebrows.
Praise the Lord!
PHYLLIS smiles beatifically, kisses VENUS on the cheek.
Hello Rhonda darling.
Jesus, mum! What happened the last time God sent someone to you in their time of need?
When the Good Lord tells me to turn a blind eye to the poor and needy I’ll…
VENUS’ attention is caught by an item on the TV news. As she moves to turn the volume up:
You almost lost your house. Remember.
On the TV screen, a bald politician (recognizable as ‘Big Tony’) stands in front of a large placard which reads FAMILY FOREMOST. The caption identifies him as 'Tony Babbit':
BIG TONY (ONSCREEN)
The mainstay of a healthy community has always been and must remain, the family and I pledge that as your member…
A sedan pulls up in the street; its middle-aged driver waving to PHYLLIS with a smile.
Oh, look, the man from the Bank…Mr. Phillips. Such a lovely man.
14 EXT. PHYLLIS’ HOUSE. DAY
MR PHILLIPS, wearing a cheap pitch black toupee over his greying hair, beams an unctuous smile at PHYLLIS and VENUS.
Five thousand dollars? By the end of the week!?
MR PHILLIPS (NODS)
The last thing the bank wants to do, of course, Phyllis, is repossess your house, but…
PHYLLIS smiles beatifically.
I understand, Mr Phillips, but you don’t need to worry because the Lord will provide…
PHYLLIS turns to VENUS with a happy smile. VENUS humours her mother with a smile as she shakes her head.
15 INT. VENUS’ CAR. DAY
VENUS drives, pink mobile at her ear.
I need $5,000 for the ‘Big Tony’ tape Terence.
No can do, sweetheart. We agreed on $3,000.
Yes, but it is my prerogative as a woman to change my mind.
I need $5,000. Think about it.
VENUS hangs up, crosses her fingers; tosses a few more pills in her mouth as she waits for Terence to call back.
The pink mobile rings. VENUS picks it up eagerly; is deflated when she realizes that it is her mother.
Just wanted to remind you to pray, darling. If you and me and Mary all pray very hard…
VENUS shakes her head; sighs.
NOTE Whilst Josie and Venus will be played by the same actress, efforts must be made with make-up to make them NOT look like identical twins. Whilst they can be mistaken for each other (particularly when they want to), most people would mistake them at this point for sisters only; not twins.
16 INT. STRIP CLUB. DARWIN. NIGHT
VENUS, wearing a pair of her collection of bizarre sunglasses, in a hot pink wig, a 12 foot python wrapped around her very scantily clad body, performs an erotic dance in a crowded smoke-filled strip joint. Behind her, a sign: VENUS APHRODITE.
RANDY, late 20s , sun-lamp tanned, in a loud floral shirt, sunglasses propped in his blonde-streaked hair, has a film Director's viewfinder hanging around his neck.
A DRUNKEN MAN slips a $100 bill into VENUS’S g-string and puckers his lips in hopes of a kiss.
RANDY raises the director’s viewfinder to his eye. Through the viewfinder we see:
VENUS approaching the DRUNKEN MAN as if to kiss him – indicating that he must close his eyes. He does so. VENUS presents him with her bottom to kiss. He does so.
RANDY lowers the viewfinder; laughs. His teeth are impossibly white and perfect.
17 INT. CAR. OUTSIDE STRIP CLUB. NIGHT
OLIVER sits in his car looking at the screen of the laptop computer resting on his lap – on whose screen can be seen his BOSS - a CIA emblem on the wall behind him.
You realize what’s at stake here.
In the background, across the road, VENUS can be seen emerging from the Strip Club - her hair wrapped in a colorful scarf and wearing pink-rimmed heart-shaped Lolita sunglasses.
Failure is not an option.
18 EXT. DARWIN STREET. NIGHT
VENUS approaches a taxi parked outside the Strip Club, reaches into her black carry bag, takes out her pink mobile.
OLIVER’S BOSS (VOICE OFF)
There are profound implications at stake here for the Australia-United States alliance.
OLIVER can be seen parked across the road.
OLIVER’S BOSS (VOICE OFF)
We have to find out what she knows.
As VENUS punches numbers into her pink mobile phone, lifts it to her ear, gets into the back of a taxi, RANDY walks out of the Club talking in a Southern US accent on his chunky 1998 mobile phone.
You can't! (A BEAT) No, I didn't call you a…I said 'can't'. C-A-N-T.
19 INT. OLIVER’S CAR. OUTSIDE STRIP CLUB. NIGHT
OLIVER turns on a tape recorder on the seat beside him, switches on the ignition as VENUS drives by in the taxi, pink mobile at her ear. The sound of a male voice emanates from the recording device.
We can give you $4,000 max for the video, darlin’!
In the background RANDY shouts into his mobile phone.
But, but…you can't dump me now. (A BEAT) Serena? Not NOW!
20 INT. TAXI. NIGHT
VENUS sits in the back seat of the cab, pink mobile held to her ear.
TERENCE (ON TELEPHONE)
Okay, let’s say $4,500.
21 INT. OLIVER’S CAR. NIGHT
OLIVER drives behind the taxi – in which Venus can be seen from behind with her mobile at her ear.
It’s a seller’s market, Terence. $5,000
22 INT. TAXI. NIGHT
VENUS sits in the back of the cab, mobile at her ear.
He is naked, right? Big Tony? Like...totally!
23 INT. OLIVER’S CAR. NIGHT
OLIVER, following behind, slows as he sees Venus’ taxi pulls up outside an apartment block. He watches her walk from the taxi into the building, lifting her pink mobile to her ear.
Sorry to wake you, mum, but…
24 INT. PHYLLIS HOME. NIGHT
PHYLLIS sips a cup of tea as she looks at a large portrait of a blonde-haired and bearded Jesus Christ on the wall.
It’s OK sweetheart. I’ve been talking with God about that $5,000...And He has reminded me of Phillipians chapter 4, verse 19...
PHYLLIS smiles beatifically at Jesus!
25 INT/EXT. TAXI. NIGHT
VENUS talks into her pink mobile as she gets out of the taxi and enters her apartment building.
It’s OK, mum, you’re not going to lose the house.
“My God shall supply all your needs...”
I’ll have the money in a few days...
26 INT. PHYLLIS HOME. NIGHT
“...according to his riches...”
...so call the bank manager tomorrow…
27 INT. VENUS’ APARTMENT. NIGHT.
VENUS, mobile to her ear, enters her apartment, turns on the light and walks into the main room, takes off her sunglasses.
Praise the Lord. Thank you, Lord.
Mum…mum? It wasn’t the Lord…
The power of prayer, sweetheart! The power of prayer.
VENUS nods, sighs, removes her head scarf, revealing her own wavy brunette hair.
28 INT/EXT OLIVER’S CAR. NIGHT
OLIVER sits in his car listening to the sound emanating from the recording device, watching as two BIG BURLY MEN get out a black Mercedes parked close to the entrance of Venus’ apartment building.
Gotta go, mum.
OLIVER, confused, lifts a camera to take a photo of the men surreptitiously as the BIG BURLY MEN enter the building.
Don’t forget to say your prayers sweetheart.
29 INT. VENUS’ APARTMENT. NIGHT
VENUS sits in front of her computer, typing.
CLOSE ON the screen as THE PENTAGON home page appears.
VENUS finds the sub-heading she is looking for and clicks on it. A “HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL” Pentagon web page appears – with a box into which must be typed a password.
VENUS deftly types in numbers and letters. A moment later, in red flashing letters, she sees: ACCESS DENIED
VENUS crosses off the 10th or so entry in her note-book, starts to type in code number 11.
30 INT. OLIVER’S CAR. NIGHT
OLIVER looks at the laptop computer screen. On the “HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL” Pentagon web page Venus’ latest attempt at entering a password can be seen. OLIVER takes a cigarette out of a packet, puts it in his mouth.
31 INT. VENUS. APARTMENT. NIGHT
VENUS raps her fingers nervously on the table, pours herself a glass of wine.
Onscreen: ACCESS DENIED
VENUS minimizes the webpage, opens a folder on her desktop entitled TOM CRUISE.
CLOSE ON: Computer screen. A photo of Tom Cruise’s head, turned towards the camera, alongside another shot of a naked man, seen from behind, on a luxury cruiser. VENUS uses Photoshop to move Tom Cruise’s head onto the naked body.
VENUS smiles to herself, sips wine, kneads her stressed shoulders with her hands and prepares to write. Beside her is the open manila folder filled with sensational gossip newspaper and magazine articles about celebrities – the most prominent of which is the I HAD BILL CLINTON’S LOVE CHILD article. Alongside the folder: several vials of pills. After a moment’s contemplation,
My first night with Tom was HOT!!!
VENUS’ neck is killing her. She picks up a vial, tips a few pills into her hand, knocks them back with a slug of wine.
There is a loud knocking at the door. VENUS calls out.
Who is it?
Friends of Reggie’s.
VENUS (SOTTO VOCE)
Shit! (LOUD) Be there in a sec.
Moving at lightning speed VENUS dresses, unclamps a small fold-up satellite receiver attached to the window sill, packs it into its red plastic case; packs the blue VHS video cassette case with BIG TONY written on it and her manila folder full of newspaper clippings into her black shoulder bag, along with her pink mobile phone.
32 INT. HALLWAY. NIGHT
The TWO BIG BURLY MEN stand at the front door. BURLY MAN #1 bangs on the door loudly.
BURLY MAN #1
Hey, Venus, we don’t got all night!
33 INT. OLIVER’S CAR. NIGHT
OLIVER’S eyes are on the black Mercedes as he hears:
VENUS (VOICE OFF)
Just getting dressed…
OLIVER registers the driver of the Mercedes – a Mafiosi thug out of Central Casing - in sunglasses; his thinning hair tied in a long pony tail. We will get to know him as REGGIE.
34 INT. HALLWAY. NIGHT
The two BIG BURLY MEN exchange looks, agree on the plan of action and charge the door in unison – knocking it to the floor.
35 INT. VENUS’ APARTMENT. NIGHT
The two BIG BURLY MEN search the apartment looking for Venus.
36 EXT. APARTMENT. NIGHT
VENUS, bags and cases hanging from her shoulders shimmies down the drainpipe at the side of the building. Her black shoulder bag catches hold of the drainpipe and in the process of freeing it, some of it’s contents fall out.
Seen from below: Various items fall past us: the blue plastic VHS case and several pill bottles.
The bottles of pills shatter on the ground – sending pills flying off in all directions.
VENUS looks down, starts to exclaim “Fuck!” but the image freezes before she gets past ‘F’.
…to be continued…