Pleasantville script
Pleasantville (1998)
Synopsis: Impressed by high school student David's (Tobey Maguire) devotion to a 1950s family TV show, a mysterious television repairman (Don Knotts) provides him with a means to escape into the black-and-white program with his sister, Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon). While David initially takes to the simplistic, corny world of the show, Jennifer sets about jolting the characters with doses of reality that unexpectedly bring a little color into their drab existence.

FADE IN:

INT. HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM. DAY.

A college counselor stands at the Podium lecturing the high

school seniors about their future.

COLLEGE COUNSELOR

... For those of you going on to college

next year, the chance of finding a good

job will actually decrease by the time

you graduate. Entry level jobs will drop

from thirty-one to twenty-six percent,

and the median income for those jobs

will go down as well ...

There is some rustling in the audience.

COLLEGE COUNSELOR (CONT)

Obviously, my friends, it's a

competitive world and good grades are

your only ticket through. By the year

Two Thousand ...

INT. HIGH SCHOOL. HEALTH CLASS.

A different teacher lectures a different class of students.

HEALTH TEACHER:

... The chance of contracting HIV from a

promiscuous lifestyle will climb to one

in one hundred and fifty. The odds of

dying in an auto accident are only one

in twenty-five hundred.

(beat)

Now this marks a drastic increase ...

INT. HIGH SCHOOL. SCIENCE CLASS.

Same angle. Different teacher.

SCIENCE TEACHER:

... From just four years ago when ozone

depletion was at ten percent of its

current level. By the time you are

twenty years old, average global

temperature will have risen two and a

half degrees. Even a shift of one

degree can cause such catastrophic

consequences as typhoons, floods,

widespread drought and famine.

REVERSE ANGLE. STUDENTS.

They stare back in stunned silence. One of them, DAVID

WAGNER, sits in the front row with a pencil in his mouth.

Nobody moves ...

SCIENCE TEACHER:

(chipper classroom tone)

Okay. Who can tell me what famine is?

CUT TO:

1958.

Birds are chirping. The sun is shining. All the hedges are

neatly pruned and the lawns are perfectly manicured. A sweet

stillness hangs over the SUBURBAN STREET, which is bathed in

beautiful BLACK AND WHITE.

MAN'S VOICE (OS)

Honey, I'm home.

SUBURBAN HOME.

GEORGE PARKER enters the front door and hangs his hat on the

coatrack. He sets his briefcase down and moves into the foyer

with a huge smile on his face. It's a frozen smile that

doesn't seem to be affected by too much in particular--like a

tour guide at Disneyland.

WOMAN'S VOICE (OS)

Hello darling.

WIDER.

MRS. GEORGE PARKER (BETTY) enters, untying the back of her

apron. She is a vision of '50s beauty with a thin figure and

concrete hair. Betty crosses to her husband and hands him a

fresh martini. She kisses him on the cheek.

BETTY:

How was your day?

GEORGE:

Oh, swell. You know, Mr. Connel said

that if things keep going the way they

are, I might be seeing that promotion

sooner than I thought.

BETTY:

Oh darling that's wonderful!

(an adoring gaze)

I always knew you could do it.

WAGNER LIVING ROOM. NIGHT.

1996 -- (LIVING COLOR)

DAVID WAGNER sits on his couch watching this entire action on

a sleek new Sony T.V. He stares riveted at the set with a big

smile on his face. David wears black shoes, black pants,

black t-shirt and a black baseball cap, not a nerd exactly

... He reaches next to him into a huge bag of Doritos, never

taking his eyes off the show.

GEORGE (OS)

(on T.V.)

Hey, Pumpkin! What's that smell?

(sniffing)

Is that your meat loaf?

DAVID:

(by rote)

"It might be ..."

BETTY (OS)

(shy smile)

It might be.

He leans over and kisses her--again on the cheek.

GEORGE (OS)

Oh Pumpkin! You sure know the way to

this man's heart.

There is a loud and inappropriate LAUGH TRACK. David smiles

wider and is just about to reach for more corn chips, when

his real MOTHER'S VOICE rings out from the other room.

DAVID'S MOM (OS)

... Bullshit Barry, that wasn't the

deal

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Gary Ross

Gary Ross is an American film director, writer, and author. He directed the film The Hunger Games, as well as Pleasantville and the Best Picture nominated Seabiscuit. more…

All Gary Ross scripts | Gary Ross Books

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"Pleasantville" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 14 Dec. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/pleasantville_498>.

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