The Ghost Writer

Synopsis: An unremarkable ghost-writer has landed a lucrative contract to redact the memoirs of Adam Lang, the former UK Prime Minister. After dominating British politics for years, Lang has retired with his wife to the USA. He lives on an island, in luxurious, isolated premises complete with a security detail and a secretarial staff. Soon, Adam Lang gets embroiled in a major scandal with international ramifications that reveals how far he was ready to go in order to nurture UK's "special relationship" with the USA. But before this controversy has started, before even he has closed the deal with the publisher, the ghost-writer gets unmistakable signs that the turgid draft he is tasked to put into shape inexplicably constitutes highly sensitive material.
Director(s): Roman Polanski
Production: Summit Entertainment
  33 wins & 54 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
128 min

Come on!

But you realize

I know nothing about politics?

- You voted for him, didn't you?

- Adam Lang? Of course I did.

Everyone voted for him.

He wasn't a politician, he was a craze.

Well, there you go.

Look, it's a new ghostwriter he needs,

not another goddamn politico.

He was paid $10 million for these memoirs,

but rumor has it

the manuscript's a crock of sh*t.

Rhinehart's lending him his house

at the ocean so they can fix it,

and the pressure

must have gotten to McAra.

Pathologist said his blood was,

like, three parts booze.

You mean he drowned by accident?

Accident, suicide, who cares?

It was the book that killed him.

Well, that's encouraging.

Who is this McAra?

Should I have heard of him?

Yeah. He was some kind of aide to Lang

when he was Prime Minister,

so don't admit that you haven't.

He was with him for years.

I don't know, Rick.

This is a great opportunity for you.

Plus the money is good. Kids won't starve.

- I don't have any kids.

- I do.


Who're you expecting to bomb you,

Random House?

We're publishing Lang's memoirs.

That's enough to make us a target,


Thank you.

- How many have you seen?

- Five. You're the last.

I must be honest.

I don't think you're the right man

for this assignment.

Then it's a good job

it's not your decision, Roy.

John Maddox, chief executive

of Rhinehart, New York.


Sidney Kroll,

Mr. Lang's Washington attorney.

Mr. Kroll.

And Nick Ricardelli I believe you know.

All right, Rick.

All right, I gather from Rick

you're aware of the situation?

Perhaps you can enlighten us

and tell us what exactly

you're gonna bring to this project.


No, I'm not gonna pretend

to be someone I'm not.

You have my CV.

His last effort was

the autobiography of a magician,

I Came, I Sawed, I Conquered.

Yeah, and it went straight

to number one, so...

After you turned it down, Roy.

Look, I don't read political memoirs.

Who does?

And I gather you've spent

$10 million on this book.

How much of that are you gonna see back?

Two? Three?

It's bad news for your shareholders.

And it's worse news

for your client, Mr. Kroll.

Adam Lang, he wants a place in history,

not in the remainder tables.

Oh, please!

It's because I know nothing about politics

that I'll ask the questions that get

right to the heart of who Adam Lang is.

And that is what sells autobiographies.


Wow! That's nicely done.

- What utter balls.

- You think so?

John, of course.

Adam Lang's a world historical figure.

His autobiography is gonna be

a world-publishing event.

Yeah, well, I got warehouses filled with

world-publishing events

waiting to be pulped.


Adam is obviously still very upset

by what happened to Mike McAra.

He was irreplaceable.

Irreplaceable, and yet he has to be replaced.

Adam can certainly appreciate the benefits

of trying someone different.

In the end, it's about chemistry.

Do you work out, maybe?

- Not really.

- That's a pity. Adam likes to work out.

Actually, I know a good writer

on the Guardian who uses a gym.

Okay, maybe we could just run over

the publishing schedule, yeah?

We need to wrap this up in a month.

- A month?

- Yes.

- You want the book in a month?

- We already have a first draft.

Yeah, well, it needs a lot of work.

That's why I like your rsum here.

You're fast, and you deliver.

You name it, he ghosts it.

And you're a Brit.

The ghost should be a Brit.

To get the jolly old tone right, right?

- Do you have any family commitments?

- No, I have no family. Why?

Adam is locked into a US lecture tour,

also a fundraising program

for the Adam Lang Foundation.

It's a month in the States. That's okay.

Couldn't I bring the manuscript back here

to work on?

I'm afraid not. It's in a secure environment

in Marty Rhinehart's own house.

Only a few people are allowed to handle it.

Sounds more like a bomb than a book.

I will need to see it myself at some point.

I am supposed to be editing it.

Yeah, in theory.

Actually, we need to talk about that.

- How soon can you get over there?

- As soon as you want.

- He'll fly tonight.

- Rick.

It's okay.

Okay, you're in.


- Congratulations.

- Thank you. Thanks.

- Rick.

- Thank you.

Actually, I have something here

- you might want to look at.

- Is that... Is that...

No, no, no, this isn't Adam's book.

No, it's another client of mine.

Yeah, perhaps you can let me know

what you think.


Okay, if you're gonna get

that evening flight,

we'd better talk contracts with Rick here.

Wanna show our friend to the door?

Would you?


Call you in an hour, buddy.




There's something not quite right

about this project.

- What? Me, you mean?

- Obviously you.

And McAra. Suicide?

He didn't strike me as the suicidal type.

Always nice to see you, Roy.

Good luck.

Oh, God.

Thank you.

- Yeah?

- Congratulations!

- On what?

- On having me as your agent.

Yeah, I can hardly believe my luck.

Are you packed?

I just got mugged.

Sh*t! Are you okay?

Yeah, all they took was the manuscript

that Sidney Kroll gave me.

What? Why?

I don't know. You tell me.

Are you hurt?

No, I'm fine. I think they must

have followed me from Rhinehart's.

Why would they do that?

Well, maybe they thought

I had Lang's book.

I knew this whole thing was a bad idea.

You're still okay to fly tonight, right?

Rate this script:3.7 / 3 votes

Robert Harris

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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