Devil in a Blue Dress script
Synopsis: In late 1940s Los Angeles, Easy Rawlins (Denzel Washington) is an unemployed black World War II veteran with few job prospects. At a bar, Easy meets DeWitt Albright (Tom Sizemore), a mysterious white man looking for someone to investigate the disappearance of a missing white woman named Daphne Monet (Jennifer Beals), who he suspects is hiding out in one of the city's black jazz clubs. Strapped for money and facing house payments, Easy takes the job, but soon finds himself in over his head.

1 INT. CHAMPION AIRCRAFT - BENNY GIACOMO'S OFFICE 1

A battered wooden desk drawer groans open and light brown

skinned hands with dirty fingernails twist the cap off a

pint of rye whiskey and pour liquor into a coffee cup.

O.S. VOICE

You know, when you fire somebody

you have to stick to your guns.

They screw the cap back on and lay the bottle in the drawer.

O.S. VOICE

(continuing)

The men might get to thinkin' that

I'm weak if I take you back.

The cup rises to the face of BENNY GIACOMO, late forties,

with salt and pepper hair that was once jet black. Skin

darker than a Louisiana Creole.

He takes a sip and bares his teeth in a grimace from the

whiskey. As he talks we gradually see more of him -- feet

kicked up on the desk, fully in charge.

A Betty Grable like pin-up girl is giving us background in

more ways than one in a swimsuit and high heels on a

calendar tacked to the wall: May, 1948.

BENNY:

(continuing)

And I didn't tell Dupree that I'd

give you your job back... All I

said was that I'd be glad to talk

to you if you said the right

thing... Do you have something to

say?

A stream of cigarette smoke snakes through as the back of a

man's head and shoulder nudges in and shifts nervously.

MAN:

Mr. Giacomo, when one of the white

guys has come off a double shift

and says he's too tired to work

overtime, you don't fire him.

BENNY:

Fella, what'd I tell ya? If you're

not willing to give a little extra,

Champion can't use you.

EASY RAWLINS, thirty, handsome and a much darker brown than

Giacomo, takes a drag off a Chesterfield cigarette.

2.

1 CONTINUED:
1

Through the window behind him, a team of men pour over a

partly assembled airplane, their voices echoing in the

hangar that surrounds the office.

Benny measures out his words one at a time.

BENNY (O.S.)

Now... Do... you... have...

something... to say?

Easy swallows his frustration in silence and thinks about

swallowing his pride as well. And then:

EASY:

I want my job back, Mr. Giacomo. I

need to work and I need a good job.

BENNY (O.S.)

Is that all?

Easy looks down into the smoke and sits up straight to keep

from bowing his head.

EASY:

No, that's not all... I need money

so that I can pay my mortgage and

eat... I need a house to live in

and a place to raise children... I

need to buy clothes so I can--

BENNY:

I'm sorry, fella, but I gotta get

back to work...

And he swings his feet down and stands up to go. But Easy

is up too, blocking his way out the door.

EASY:

Ezekiel, Mr. Giacomo.

BENNY:

Hunh?

EASY:

My name is Ezekiel... Ezekiel

Rawlins.

Benny clinches his fists and focuses on Easy's chest like a

fighter. And Easy rocks back on one foot ready to score a

field goal with his right knee.

Slowly, Giacomo's face creases into a plastic grin and he

shrugs.

3.

1 CONTINUED:
(2) 1

BENNY:

S'cuse me, Ezekiel.

And he walks around Easy, shaking his head as if amused.

Easy watches him go as the low moan of the baritone sax from

Duke Ellington's "Absinthe" snakes up like sin and we

2 FADE TO BLACK 2

And watch the titles, the last one reading "Two Weeks

Later"...

FADE IN:

3 EXT. JOPPY'S BAR - DAY 3

Black and grey cars, Packards and Buicks from 1928 to 1948,

come and go on Central Avenue. Two-storied storefronts with

canvas awnings, above black men and women in hats... all in

a hurry.

The Red Car rumbles through and then a white Cadillac

convertible pulls to the curb in front of a butcher shop.

Above the shop on the next floor are large partly open

windows with JOPPY'S BAR in boldface letters. Inside sits

Easy, back to the window reading the classified ads.

4 INT. JOPPY'S BAR 4

T-Bone Walker's "Westside Baby" plays on the jukebox as Easy

takes a final drag off his cigarette and stubs it out.

THE FRONT PAGE of the LOS ANGELES TIMES lies face up on the

table beneath the ashtray displaying A PHOTOGRAPH of a

middle-aged white man and his pretty young woman companion

smiling and waving.

Above the happy couple is a headline "CARTER DROPS OUT OF

RACE"... The caption under the photo reads "Wealthy civic

leader, Todd Carter, shown here with his lovely bride-to-be,

Daphne Monet, at a fundraiser last month was unavailable for

comment on his surprising withdrawal from the Mayor's race."

O.S. VOICE

Catch ya later, Joppy.

BACK TO SCENE:

SPLACK! An older black man hitching up his pants underneath

a bloodstained butcher's apron has slapped his empty beer

glass down hard on the counter on his way out.

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Carl Franklin

Carl Franklin (born April 11, 1949) is an American actor, screenwriter and film and television director. Franklin is a graduate of University of California, Berkeley, and continued his education at the AFI Conservatory, where he graduated with an M.F.A. degree in directing in 1986. Franklin is most noted for Devil in a Blue Dress, which was based on the book by Walter Mosley and starred Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle. more…

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"Devil in a Blue Dress" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 14 Dec. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/devil_in_a_blue_dress_98>.

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