All IS A BLUR. . .
...then WORDS appear, twisting and vaguely transparent,
reflected on the window GRADY TRIPP stands before as he
reads from a sheaf of NEATLY-TYPED PAGES.
'The young girl sat perfectly still in the
1 INT. CLASSROOM - UNIVERSITY - AFTERNOON
Grady--45-year-old novelist, professor, and insomniac--is
in the midst of reading a story to the dozen college
STUDENTS who make up his Advanced Writing Workshop.
...listening to her father's boots scrape like
chalk on the ancient steps of the church, then
grow faint, then disappear altogether.'
As he finishes, GRADY ponders a PAIR of MAINTENANCE MEN,
perched on ladders in the quad below, stringing a LARGE
BANNER between two bare trees. The BANNER reads:
WELCOME TO WORDFEST
GRADY turns, peers at his students. They look as if
they've been on a field trip to the DMV.
(a wave of the pages)
A GIRL with jet-black hair turns to a PALE YOUNG MAN
sitting at a desk in the back of the classroom. He is JAMES
LEER, 19. Like GRADY a moment before, he is staring out the
Let me get this straight. The girl with the
big lips is depressed because, each night, when
her father goes off to work at the bakery, her
mother sneaks some mysterious lover into the
house. Not only does this girl have to listen
to her mother working this guy in the next
room, she has to wash the sheets each morning
before Daddy gets home. After a few weeks of
this, she starts to go a little nutty/ so Daddy
takes her to confession--only, once she gets in
the box, she gets a whiff of the priest and
realizes he's the mother's secret lover. Is
James Leer says nothing, huddling lower in the PATTY
OVERCOAT he wears.
I mean, Jesus. What is it with you Catholics?
All right. Let's try to keep it constructive,
shall we? Howard, what about you?
I hated it.
That's not exactly what I meant by
I think James should try to be more
constructive. This is my second semester with
him. His stories are brutal, man. They make me
want to kill myself.
GRADY glances at James, but his face remains impassive.
Then--with a visible sense of relief--GRADY notices the
raised hand of the achingly beautiful HANNAH GREEN.
I think maybe we're missing the point. It
seems to me James' strength as a writer is that
he doesn't take us by the hand. He treats us
like adults. He respects us enough to forget
us. That takes . . . courage .
GRADY nods, smiles subtly. Appreciative.
Well put, Hannah. And a good note to end on, I
(as the students rise)
Don't forget about WordFest this weekend. And
those of you driving V.I.P.s to
tonight's cocktail party need to have them at
the Chancellor's house no later than 5:30.
Hannah Green gathers her things, pauses by Grady.
Thanks for that. He all right?
I think so. ..What about you?
Me? Sure. Why?
GRADY watches her glide away in her CRACKED RED COWBOY
BOOTS, then starts to exit himself.
Turn out the light, please.
GRADY pauses, studying the wan figure sitting at the back
of the classroom, then--reluctantly-hits the switch on the
wail, leaving James Leer alone in the DARK.
2INT. STAIRWELL/CORRIDOR - AFTERNOON (MOMENTS LATER)
GRADY hurries down the steps, then spies SARA GASKSLL,
45, standing below. She is talking to a BOY with an armful
of SLICK PROGRAMS.