Being John Malkovich

Synopsis: In this quirky cult-favorite comedy, unemployed New York City puppeteer Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) reluctantly takes a temp job as a filing clerk for the eccentric Dr. Lester (Orson Bean). While at work, Craig discovers a portal that leads into the mind of renowned actor John Malkovich. When he lets his attractive co-worker Maxine (Catherine Keener) in on the secret, they begin both an unusual business scheme and an odd relationship that involves Craig's restless wife, Lotte (Cameron Diaz).
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Production: Gramercy Pictures
  Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 48 wins & 75 nominations.
 
IMDB:
7.8
Metacritic:
90
Rotten Tomatoes:
93%
R
Year:
1999
112 min
Website
740 Views


INT. CHEERLESS ROOM - DAY

The room is bare, dusty. A ceiling fan turns. The

wall clock ticks. Craig, 30 years old and small, sits at

a collapsible card table. The only item on the table is a

book. Craig picks it up, looks at the jacket. It's entitled

"Sit." Craig opens the book. It reads: "sit sit sit sit

sit..." over and over, page after page. Craig closes the

book. He begins to stand, but thinks better of it, sighs.

He looks at the book again. It is now entitled "Die." He

opens it up. "die die die die die..." A rooster crows.

CUT TO:

INT. CRAIG AND LOTTE'S BEDROOM - MORNING

Craig jolts awake. A rooster stands on Craig's chest,

crowing. Lotte, also 30, in the middle of dressing for

work, hurries in and pulls the bird from Craig's chest.

LOTTE:

Sorry, hon. I didn't know Orrin

Hatch was out of his pen. Good

morning.

Lotte leans down and kisses Craig on the forehead.

CRAIG:

Morning.

LOTTE:

Gotta run. Shipment of grub worms

coming in first thing.

CRAIG:

Enjoy.

LOTTE:

Craig, listen, honey, I've been

thinking... maybe you'd feel better

if you got, you know, a job or

something.

CRAIG:

We've been over this. Nobody's

looking for a puppeteer in today's

wintry economic climate.

LOTTE:

Well, you know, maybe something else

until this whole puppet thing turns

around.

CRAIG:

(bitterly)

The Great Mantini doesn't need a day

job.

LOTTE:

(sighs)

Craig, everyone can't be Derek Mantini.

(beat)

Well, grub worms are waiting. Do me

a favor?

CRAIG:

What?

LOTTE:

Would you check in on Elijah? He seems

to be a little under the weather this

morning.

CRAIG:

Which one is Elijah again?

LOTTE:

The monkey.

CRAIG:

Yeah. Okay.

CUT TO:

INT. CRAIG AND LOTTE' S GARAGE - MORNING

The place is a mess. Vivaldi blasts through cheap speakers.

A small marionette stage stands in the back of the garage.

The stage is lit and on it is a finely sculpted puppet

version of Craig. The "Craig" puppet paces back and forth,

wringing its hands with incredible subtlety. We see Craig,

above and behind the stage. He is manipulating the puppet.

His fingers move fast and furious. The puppet breaks into

a dance, a beautiful and intricate balletic piece. Soon the

puppet is leaping and tumbling through space, moves that one

would think impossible for a marionette. Sweat appears on

the real Craig’s brow. His fingers move like lightning. The

puppet moves faster and faster. Sweat appears on the puppet's

brow. We see that the sweat is being piped from a special

device that the real Craig controls. The Craig puppet

collapses on the floor of the stage. It puts its hands up to

its face and weeps. Craig hangs the puppet, and comes down

around the front of the stage. He is heaving. He switches

off the music, picks up a beer and takes a swig.

CUT TO:

INT. CRAIG AND LOTTE'S LIVING ROOM - DAY

The room is filled with penned and unpenned animals of all

kinds:
snakes, lizards, birds, a dog, cats, etc. Craig sits

on the couch and looks at the want ads, the TV is on in the

background. Elijah, the monkey, sits next to Craig holding

his stomach and moaning weakly. On the TV, Derek Mantini is

working a 60 foot high marionette from the top of a water tower.

The assembled crowd is enthralled.

TV ANNOUNCER:

The crowd is enthralled as Derek

Mantini, arguably the greatest

puppeteer in the history of the

world, performs "The Belle of

Amherst" with his 60 foot Emily

Dickinson puppet, directed by the

inimitable Charles Nelson Reilly.

Charles Nelson Reilly floats by in a hot air balloon.

CHARLES NELSON REILLY

Beautiful, beautiful! Nyong-nyong.

CRAIG:

Gimmicky bastard.

Craig switches off the TV. He comes across an ad for a

female puppeteer to teach at a girls school. Craig rubs

his chin in thought, then stands with great determination.

MUSIC IN:
TRIUMPHANT

CUT TO:

INT. CRAIG AND LOTTE'S BEDROOM - DAY

Craig searches through Lotte's closet, looking for the

right dress.

CUT TO:

INT. CRAIG AND LOTTE'S BATHROOM - DAY

Craig waxes his body, shaves his face.

CUT TO:

INT. CRAIG AND LOTTE'S BEDROOM - DAY

Craig paints his nails while he chats on the phone. Craig

pulls stockings and underwear from Lotte's drawer. Craig

picks a wig from a mannequin head on Lotte's dressing table.

CUT TO:

INT. CRAIG AND LOTTE'S LIVING ROOM - DAY

Craig, at the sewing machine, is sewing padding to go onto

his chest and around his hips.

CUT TO:

INT. CRAIG AND LOTTE'S BATHROOM - DAY

Craig applies make up in the bathroom mirror.

CUT TO:

INT. CRAIG AND LOTTE'S BEDROOM - DAY

Craig, now looking very much like a woman, admires himself

in the full length mirror.

CUT TO:

EXT. STREET - DAY

Craig hails a taxi in his get-up. Men on the street turn

and leer at him.

CUT TO:

INT. HEADMISTRESS’S OFFICE - DAY

Craig and the headmistress chat over tea. Craig is quite

animated and charming. The admiring headmistress smiles

and nods her head in approval.

CUT TO:

INT. CLASSROOM - DAY

Craig instructs a class of uniformed girls. He draws

complex diagrams of puppets on the blackboard. The

students are transfixed, except for one troubled girl who

eyes Craig sullenly from the back of the room as she plays

with a switchblade.

CUT TO:

INT. THEATER - DAY

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Charlie Kaufman

Charles Stuart "Charlie" Kaufman (born November 19, 1958) is an American screenwriter, producer, director, and lyricist. He wrote the films Being John Malkovich (1999), Adaptation (2002), and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). He made his directorial debut with Synecdoche, New York (2008), which was also well-received; film critic Roger Ebert named it "the best movie of the decade" in 2009. It was followed by Anomalisa (2015). more…

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Submitted by acronimous on May 16, 2016

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