Awakenings script
Awakenings (1990)
Synopsis: Awakenings is a 1990 American drama film based on Oliver Sacks's 1973 memoir of the same title. It tells the true story of British neurologist Oliver Sacks, fictionalized as American Malcolm Sayer (portrayed by Robin Williams), who, in 1969, discovered beneficial effects of the drug L-Dopa. He administered it to catatonic patients who survived the 1917–28 epidemic of encephalitis lethargica. Leonard Lowe (played by Robert De Niro) and the rest of the patients were awakened after decades of catatonia and have to deal with a new life in a new time. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards.

the script a pattern of deterioration. He reaches the last

entry again and stares at the few recognizable words drowning

In "the waves."

SAYER:

It was an immense project. "

I was trying to extract a decigram

of myelin from four tons of

earthworms.

REV.12/15/89 (GREEN) Pg.5

7.C0NT. DIRECTOR 7.

(pause)

Really.

SAYER:

I was on it for five years.

I was the only one who really

believed in it. The rest of them

said it couldn't be done. t

KAUFMAN:

It can't.

SAYER:

Well, I know that now. I proved

it.

The director offers a slow tentative nod before consulting the

resume again.

DIRECTOR:

Maybe before. At Saint Thomas.

(Sayer is already

shaking his head no)

All research. Earth -?

SAYER:

Pigsbrains ... they•requite

similar to human brains.

DIRECTOR:

(hopefully)

Are they?

SAYER:

Oh,yes ... threeyears.

As the Director retreats back to the resume, hoping against

hope of finding in it something germane, Sayer glances away to

a window. He wishes he were outside it. He has no business

being here. He should leave.

SAYER:

Excuse me, I made a mistake coming

here. Clearly you're looking for

someone with more of a clinical

background.

He stands up to leave. Kaufman stands to see him out. But the *

director keeps searching the resume.

Q:

REV.12/15/89 (GREEN) Pg.6

7.C0NT. SAYER . 7.

I've taken enough of your time.

You must have a hundred applicants

more suitable.

KAUFMAN:

Thanks anyway.

DIRECTOR:

Back in medical school ...

Kaufman shoots the Director a look that says, No, we're not

that desperate.

DIRECTOR:

I mean, you couldn't have

graduated without some clinical

experience. .

Sayer hesitates. And eventually manages sort of a shrug and a

nod., v'

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Steven Zaillian

Steven Ernest Bernard Zaillian (born January 30, 1953) is an American screenwriter, director, film editor, producer, and founder of Film Rites, a film production company. He won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award and a BAFTA Award for his screenplay Schindler's List (1993) and he has been nominated for Awakenings , Gangs of New York and Moneyball. He was also presented with the Distinguished Screenwriter Award at the 2009 Austin Film Festival and the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement from the Writers Guild of America in 2011. more…

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