synecdoche [sih-NECK-doh-kee], noun. A figure of speech inwhich a part is used for the whole, as in the screen for movies.
From Charlie Kaufman, perhaps the most distinctive screenwritingvoice of our generation, comes a visual and philosophicadventure of epic proportions. Much as he did with hisgroundbreaking scripts for Being John Malkovich, Adaptation,and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Kaufman twists andsubverts the form and language of film as he delves into themind of a man who, obsessed with his own mortality, sets outto construct a massive artistic enterprise that could give somemeaning to his life. Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman,Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, Catherine Keener,Emily Watson, Dianne Wiest, Jennifer Jason Leigh, HopeDavis, and Tom Noonan, and directed by Kaufman,Synecdoche, New York is an epic story of grand artistic ambitionsand creative madness.
This Newmarket Shooting Script® Book includes:
- Exclusive introduction by Charlie Kaufman
- Complete Shooting Script
- Exclusive Q&A
- Color photo section
- Complete cast and crew credits
About the Author
Charlie Kaufman previously collaborated with director Spike Jonze on Being John Malkovich, which was nominated for the Academy Award® for Best Screenplay. Kaufman's other scripts include Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Human Nature, and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.
Read an Excerpt
THE SHOOTING SCRIPT SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK
By CHARLIE KAUFMAN
Copyright © 2008
All right reserved.
Chapter One Master White Script March 12, 2007 Blue Revision (Full Script) April 27, 2007 Pink Revision May 18, 2007
A1 INT. CADEN AND ADELE'S BEDROOM - FALL 2005 - MORNING A1
Darkness. The sound of a radio and pots and pans clanging fades in. Caden, 40, opens his eyes in bed, and groggily looks at himself in the bureau mirror. The bedside clock reads 7:45.
1 INT. CADEN AND ADELE'S KITCHEN - FALL 2005 - SAME 1
Adele, 40, in t-shirt and sweats, mixes a bowl of instant oatmeal, puts it in the microwave.
RADIO VOICE ... a Labor Day luncheon today -
OLIVE (O.S.) RADIO VOICE Mommy! Done! - at Stuckey Hall -
ADELE RADIO VOICE Okay! - in downtown Schenectady -
Adele leaves the kitchen. Caden, also 40, enters as she's leaving. He's dressed in a ratty terrycloth robe.
CADEN ADELE Morning. Morning. Tried not to wake you.
CADEN Thanks. You didn't. I was just -
As Caden's voice goes under, we follow Adele into -
2 INT. CADEN AND ADELE'S BATHROOM - FALL 2005 - CONTINUOUS 2
Olive, 4, sits on the toilet. Adele enters, rips some toilet paper off the roll and proceeds to wipe Olive. The phone rings in the kitchen.
ADELE CADEN (O.S.) Caden, could you get that? It's Maria. I don't want to.
ADELE Ugh. Caden! (looks at bright green smear on toilet paper) That's weird.
The phone stops ringing.
OLIVE Is something wrong with my poop?
ADELE MARIA'S VOICE No, honey. It's just green. Hi, it's me. Where are you? Maybe you ate something I'll try you on your cell. green.
OLIVE (CONT'D) I didn't! What's wrong with me?!
A cellphone rings in the other room.
ADELE Honey, I have to get this. You're going to be fine.
OLIVE But, Mommy -
Adele runs into -
3 INT. CADEN AND ADELE'S KITCHEN - FALL 2005 - CONTINUOUS 3
She rifles through her purse, grabs her cellphone, answers.
ADELE Hey. (laughing) Oh, wiping Olive's ass. You?
Caden is pouring himself a cup of coffee. He sips it and stares out the window. It's raining.
ADELE (CONT'D) You're kidding! Holy fuck!
Caden exits with his coffee, annoyed about the phone call.
CADEN I don't feel well.
4 INT. CADEN AND ADELE'S BATHROOM - FALL 2005 - CONTINUOUS 4
Caden passes the bathroom. Olive is staring into the toilet bowl. Adele can be heard chatting in the background.
OLIVE Daddy, my poop is green.
Caden enters the bathroom, looks into the bowl at the green feces and smeared toilet paper. He seems freaked out.
OLIVE (CONT'D) Am I going to be okay?
CADEN Of course, honey.
OLIVE Did you have green poop when you were little?
CADEN OLIVE I'm sure I did, honey. Am I going to die?
CADEN OLIVE Of course not. You probably I didn't! I didn't eat ate something - green!
CADEN It'll be fine, sweetie. I'll be back in a minute.
OLIVE (O.C.) (calling) Is poop alive?
5 EXT. CADEN AND ADELE'S HOUSE - FALL 2005 - MORNING 5
Caden steps out the front door in his bare feet and hurries down the driveway in the rain. He picks up the newspaper, pulls the mail from the box. As he heads back inside, he flips through the mail. There's a magazine called Attending to your Illness addressed to Caden. A diseased person on the cover. Across the street a gaunt man watches Caden, unseen.
6 INT. CADEN AND ADELE'S KITCHEN - FALL 2005 - MORNING 6
Caden sits at the kitchen table with his coffee, reading the paper, dated Friday, October 14, 2005.
ADELE All right, baby. See you then.
Adele clicks off her cellphone.
CADEN Harold Pinter died!
ADELE CADEN Yeah? Huh. Well, he was Oh wait. He won the Nobel old, right? Prize. Good for him.
OLIVE (O.S.) Mom!
ADELE OLIVE (O.S.) What?! Do you need to come look at my poop again?!
ADELE OLIVE (O.S.) No, Olive, it's fine. Just What if it's alive? What if flush. I kill it? It's green! Like plants!
ADELE CADEN It's not alive, honey. God, remember that production of The Dumbwaiter I did at Albanyfest?
The toilet is flushed.
OLIVE (O.S.) (CONT'D) Everything's alive. Everything grows big. That's how you know.
ADELE I have your oatmeal, honey.
OLIVE I want peanut butter and jelly.
expired. Jesus. But you are being changed by it. Second by second. Every breath counts off time.
Caden goes back to his paper. Adele puts a peanut butter sandwich in front of Olive.
ADELE Here. Now you better eat this.
OLIVE CADEN I will. The first black graduate of the University of Alabama died. Vivian Malone Jones. Stroke. Only 63.
Adele stares out the window at the rain.
7 INT. DENTIST'S OFFICE - FALL 2005 - DAY 7
Caden is in the dentist's chair, a bloody bib around his neck. The dentist, in surgical mask, probes his open mouth, calls out numbers to an assistant, who records them.
DENTIST 2, 2, 1. 3, 4, 2. 3, 4, 4. (to Caden) Family coming for Thanksgiving?
8 INT. CADEN AND ADELE'S BATHROOM - WINTER 2005 - NIGHT 8
Caden shaves. A faucet explodes and smacks him in the forehead. He is sent staggering backwards with a yelp, into the far wall, his razor flying and blood pouring from a jagged cut above his right eyebrow. Off-screen, we hear the pounding footsteps of someone running toward us. Half of Caden's face is covered with shaving cream. Rivulets of blood intermingle with it. Water shoots out where the tap was, spraying the mirror, which is spattered with blood. Adele, dressed in heavily paint-splattered clothes, hurries in and takes in the scene: the wet, the mess, the blood.
ADELE Jesus! Caden! What the fuck - ?!
Olive, in a nightgown, stands quietly in the doorway, her curled toes clenched. She holds a large stuffed owl.
CADEN ADELE Um. I was shaving and - My God! Jesus! Look at your head!
Dumbly, Caden tries to look up at his forehead, then squints nervously at himself in the mirror.
ADELE (CONT'D) (to Olive) Honey, don't look.
Olive turns around.
ADELE (CONT'D) Put pressure. Press. Press!
CADEN Do I press above or below it?
ADELE I don't know! Just ... both!
Caden sits on the toilet, presses a towel to his head. Adele squats, goes into a spasmodic coughing fit, finishes, opens the cabinet under the sink, pushes her arm through bottles of cleaning products, old sponges, old toothbrushes, toilet paper rolls and other junk to the shut-off valves.
ADELE (CONT'D) I can't turn it! It's gonna flood!
Olive hugs the owl tightly and it speaks.
OWL ADELE Whooo. Whooo. Whooo are I can't - Oh wait, got it! you?
Adele turns off the water. Olive looks back into the room.
OLIVE Mommy, Daddy has blood.
9 INT. EXAMINATION ROOM - WINTER 2005 - NIGHT 9
Caden sits on a metal table. The room has some meager Christmas ornaments. A doctor stitches Caden's forehead.
Caden squints into the bright light the doctor uses to see his work. In the background we hear another patient.
PATIENT (O.S.) (crying) Please, please, please ...
Caden sees a nurse shoving a tube far up into a man's nose. Another nurse wipes away the blood leaking out his nostril.
CADEN Will there be a scar?
DOCTOR Probably. It looks like a mudflap.
CADEN I prefer there not be a scar.
DOCTOR That fellow is annoying. He's in here every week. Like clockwork.
The off-screen patient continues to whimper. The doctor finishes his work on Caden.
DOCTOR (CONT'D) There. I think that should -
He looks at Caden's eyes, turns off the bright lamp and looks again. He turns the lamp back on and looks once more.
The doctor feels Caden's pulse, then listens to his heart. He presses hard against the glands in Caden's neck.
DOCTOR Changes in bowel movements?
CADEN A little more yellow than usual. What?
DOCTOR I'd like you to see an ophthalmologist.
And today is Friday and ...
Olive's singing continues but goes under.
ADELE So what exactly did he say?
CADEN My pupils weren't properly dilating and, um, not doing the opposite ...
CADEN ADELE No. Yes. The bump to the head?
CADEN He doesn't know. Maybe. He said he doesn't think so. But maybe. But he doesn't know. But -
Excerpted from THE SHOOTING SCRIPT SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK by CHARLIE KAUFMAN Copyright © 2008 by Charlie Kaufman. Excerpted by permission.
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Table of ContentsContents Introduction by Charlie Kaufman....................vii
The Shooting Script....................1
Stills....................following page 82 Q & A with Charlie Kaufman....................133
Cast and Crew Credits....................153
About the Screenwriter/Director....................161