Inventing the Abbotts script
Synopsis: In the 1950s, brothers Jacey (Billy Crudup) and Doug Holt (Joaquin Phoenix), who come from the poorer side of their sleepy Midwestern town, vie for the affections of the wealthy, lovely Abbott sisters. Lady-killer Jacey alternates between Eleanor (Jennifer Connelly) and Alice (Joanna Going), wanting simply to break the hearts of rich young women. But sensitive Doug has a real romance with Pamela (Liv Tyler), which Jacey and the Abbott patriarch, Lloyd (Will Patton), both frown upon.

FADE IN:

1EXT. ABBOTT HOME - STREET (HALEY, ILLINOIS) - DAY(LATE SPRING, 1957)

OPENING CREDITS ROLL over a TENT MONTAGE -- ASSORTED

ANGLES of a group of men hard at work erecting a largestriped "big-top" style canvas tent, INCLUDING: The longsteel stakes being sledge-hammered into the lawn,

practiced hands rapidly rigging the lines, the tallcenter poles being leveraged upright, the heavy rolled-upsections of canvas being maneuvered into position, andENDING WITH the canvas being hoisted up the poles as thetent assumes its full and finished form.

1

NEW ANGLE - TENT

-- on the front yard of the Abbott mansion. The

residence is on Main Street, four blocks from where the

commercial district begins. The mature, over-archingtrees makes this street of prosperous houses a grandpromenade.

2EXT. ABBOTT HOME - STREET - DAY 2

JACEY HOLT and DOUG HOLT walk along the sidewalk on theirway to school. Jacey is seventeen; he's as handsome andseemingly self-confident as his younger brother isrumpled and impulsive. Doug is fifteen, a popularculture chameleon who takes on the colors and

affectations of whomever his "hero" is at the moment

(which presently happens to be Elvis Presley).

Jacey stops and stares with open-faced misery at the tenton the Abbott's front yard (the installation of the tentindicates that the Abbott's are having yet another of themany parties they throw every year).

DOUG:

Didn't get invited, huh?

JACEY:

Go to hell.

DOUG:

Who cares? I'm not going and Igot invited.

JACEY:

Who invited you?

(CONTINUED)

INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 2.

2CONTINUED:

DOUG:

Pam, I guess. I don't know.

Didn't open the envelope. I mean,

come on, every time an Abbott girl

gets her period they have some

party.

JACEY:

Oh, shut up.

DOUG:

Kotex parties, Kotex party hats,

pin the Kotex on the...

JACEY:

Shut up!

Jacey swats Doug's school books out from under his arm -Doug

charges his brother to retaliate but they are rudelyinterrupted by a CAR HORN. They scurry out of the way asLLOYD ABBOTT pulls his 1957 Cadillac out of the drivewayand cruises down the street. Lloyd is a well-dressedand-

fed man in his mid-forties. A Midwestern burgher, heexudes the status he enjoys as one of the preeminentpillars of this community. Doug is embarrassed byLloyd's passing, but Jacey evidently experiences a deeperhumiliation -- he gives Doug a glance of betrayal, turnsand walks down the block.

3 OMITTED 3

4INT. HIGH SCHOOL - CORRIDOR - DAY (SHORT TIME LATER) 4

ELEANOR ABBOTT gathers some books from her locker.

Eleanor is sixteen, outgoing, sarcastic, and verypopular. She is the middle of the three Abbott

daughters. Eleanor closes her locker, turns and

discovers Jacey standing behind her. He follows her down

the busy hall.

JACEY:

I tried to call you last night but

the line was busy.

ELEANOR:

No it wasn't.

(CONTINUED)

INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 3.

4CONTINUED:

JACEY:

It was busy all night.

ELEANOR:

Maybe you had the wrong number?

JACEY:

Are you mad at me?

ELEANOR:

No. Are you mad at me?

JACEY:

No. Who said I was?

ELEANOR:

I did.

JACEY:

I just wanted to talk to you last

night.

ELEANOR:

We can talk tonight at the party.

JACEY:

I wasn't invited.

ELEANOR:

Yes, you were.

JACEY:

No, I wasn't.

ELEANOR:

Well, now you are. But if you're

mad at me you don't have to come.

She gives him a sultry smile, turns and glides into aclassroom as the BELL RINGS. The corridor is quicklyvacated by all but Jacey -- he savors the aftertaste ofEleanor's smile.

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Ken Hixon

Ken Hixon is a screenwriter whose films include Welcome to the Rileys, City by the Sea, Inventing the Abbotts, Incident at Deception Ridge, Morgan Stewart's Coming Home, and Grandview, U.S.A.. more…

All Ken Hixon scripts | Ken Hixon Books

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