INT. AARON'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Aaron is asleep in his Murphy bed. Suddenly there is a sharp knock at the door. Aaron's eyes pop open. He glances at the digital clock. It's 3:33.

                                                                 AARON
                                What the...

Now there are many more knocks on the door, hard and loud. Aaron climbs out of bed wearing only sweat pants.

                                                                 AARON
                                Jesus! You're gonna wake the neighbors.

He opens the door and there stands Cathy. She is absolutely furious and throws the screenplay right in his face as hard as she can.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Are you out of your fucking mind!?

Aaron grabs his nose where the script hit him. He looks at his hand and his nose is bleeding. He can see his neighbors' doors opening. Cathy pushes him inside, steps in and slams the door shut.

                                                                 AARON
                                So does this mean that you don't like the script?

                                                                 CATHY
                                                           (intense)
                                Don't get cute with me you fucking asshole! You
                                took my personal life -- and the most intimate details
                                of my personal life -- and are putting them up on the
                                big screen for everybody in the whole world to see!

                                                                 AARON
                                No one knows it's you.

                                                                 CATHY
                                                           (derisively)
                                Carey Sanderson? Gimme a fucking break.
                                                           (shakes her head)
                                I have never been so offended in my whole life.
                                How dare you!

                                                                 AARON
                                It's a good story. Everyone likes it.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Shut the fuck up! I do not want to hear about everyone
                                having read this! And another thing! How could you
                                cast that slut Sheree Williams as me?!

                                                                 AARON
                                I think she's sexy.

                                                                 CATHY
                                You're out of your mind!
                                                           (her eyes really widen)
                                And where on Earth did you find out about me and
                                Shauna and Bobby Light, for God's sake? I never
                                told you that.

Aaron doesn't answer. He looks away.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Where, Goddamnit?!

                                                                 AARON
                                Well... Shauna told me.

Cathy's mouth drops open.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Shauna told you? About my life?

                                                                 AARON
                                It's her life, too.

                                                                 CATHY
                                You went out with Shauna?

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (shrugs)
                                Yeah.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Did you sleep with her?

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (evasive)
                                Well...

                                                                 CATHY
                                You slept with her. You son of a bitch!

Aaron seizes the technicality.

                                                                 AARON
                                We didn't sleep together.

                                                                 CATHY
                                So you just fucked her. Maybe I should call
                                Milwaukee and check and see if you've fucked
                                any of my other friends yet! Or my parents!

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (becoming indignant)
                                Calm down, for Christ's sake already! I can sleep
                                with whoever I damn well please. We're not going
                                out.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Fuck you!
                                                           (she stomps to the door)
                                I just hope I never see you again in my whole life!

She exits and slams the door.

INT. PRODUCTION OFFICE - DAY

Aaron is sitting in the production office the next morning when Cathy comes walking in. He smiles.

                                                                 AARON
                                Never's a long time, baby.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Up yours. I'm not losing a good job because you're
                                an asshole. Just don't talk to me. I'll do my job, you
                                do yours. Just stay away from me.

She walks past him. The people nearby look up like, "What did we miss?" Aaron smiles, shakes his head and goes into the next office.

INT. ADJOINING OFFICE - DAY

Tom is alone in the office and is on five phone lines simultaneously. Aaron walks right up to him.

                                                                 AARON
                                Did you hire Cathy Anderson?

Tom looks up.

                                                                 TOM
                                                           (into phone)
                                Hold on.
                                                           (he pushes hold)
                                Yeah. I hired her.

                                                                 AARON
                                Why?

                                                                 TOM
                                                           (shrugs)
                                Because she did a good job on "The Dead Don't
                                Die." Besides, that's what you wanted, wasn't it?

                                                                 AARON
                                That's what I wanted?

                                                                 TOM
                                She said you asked for her.

                                                                 AARON
                                She did, huh? Do you know who the character in
                                the script is based on?

                                                                 TOM
                                Which character? Mine?

                                                                 AARON
                                No. Hers.

                                                                 TOM
                                Cathy's? Which character is based on her?

Aaron just stands there.

                                                                 AARON
                                ...Forget it.

And then Ben comes walking in. He looks serious and doesn't smile. Tom waves, but continues talking on the phone.

                                                                 AARON
                                Hi, Ben. What brings you here?

                                                                 BEN
                                Could I talk to you in the hall for a second?

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (wary)
                                Yeah. Sure.

INT. HALLWAY - DAY

Ben and Aaron step out into the hall. Aaron takes out his cigarettes and offers them to Ben. He takes one. Aaron lights them both.

                                                                 AARON
                                What's up?

                                                                 BEN
                                I read your script.

                                                                 AARON
                                And?

                                                                 BEN
                                And I think you're making fun of me.

Aaron is stopped for a second, then shakes his head.

                                                                 AARON
                                I respect you too much to make fun of you. The
                                audience did laugh. That's the way it was.

                                                                 BEN
                                But why did you choose that event?

                                                                 AARON
                                Because it was one of the funnier true life events
                                that I've been involved in.

                                                                 BEN
                                But why about me?

                                                                 AARON
                                Ben, you happen to be a lead character in my life
                                story. I showed the movie was a hit.

                                                                 BEN
                                But you've got it being a hit in spite of me.

                                                                 AARON
                                No, it's completely due to you. Had you done
                                the script straight without all of your wild
                                directorial touches I don't think it would be
                                nearly the success that it is. People are paying
                                to see what you do as a director. I don't think
                                they're paying for the script or the cast or the
                                location. It's all what you brought to it. It wasn't
                                meant to be malicious.

                                                                 BEN
                                Really?

                                                                 AARON
                                Yeah. Really and truly.

                                                                 BEN
                                Well...

                                                                 AARON
                                So... We're still friends?

                                                                 BEN
                                How can we be anything else? We've known
                                each other too long.

Aaron and Ben both finish their cigarettes and stub them out in the ashtray.

                                                                 BEN
                                Don't fuck up, this is your big chance.

                                                                 AARON
                                I won't.

                                                                 BEN
                                Good luck. Put 'er there, pal.
                                                           (they shake hands)
                                To movies.

                                                                 AARON
                                Right. To movies.

EXT. BEACH - DAY

A wave comes rolling into shore. A boy and a girl, both wearing jeans and sweaters, walk up the beach with a Dalmatian puppy. They stop walking and look out to sea.

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (O.S.: yelling)
                                Cut!

Further up the beach is a film crew -- thirty people with a 35mm movie camera, reflectors on stands, big HMI lights, and other movie paraphernalia. Aaron turns to the script girl, who holds a clip board.

                                                                 AARON
                                Print one and three, please. Everyone else be
                                careful of footprints in the sand near the actors.

The girl on the beach portraying Cathy is Sheree, the blonde star of "The Dead Don't Die." The boy resembles Aaron except that he's taller, more muscular and better looking. He is ERROL. Sheree turns to Aaron.

                                                                 SHEREE
                                Was that okay, Aaron?

                                                                 AARON
                                It was fine.
                                                           (to the crew)
                                Have we got a stick for them to write in the sand
                                with?

Cathy steps forward holding a stick.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Will this do?

                                                                 AARON
                                That's perfect. Will you go over there, being careful
                                not to leave footprints, and write in the sand what
                                needs to be written, please?

                                                                 CATHY
                                Sure.

Cathy goes over to the water with the stick. Aaron turns back to the camera crew.

                                                                 AARON
                                Let's get the camera on the baby legs shooting up
                                at the two of them, then we'll tilt down to the sand
                                where he's writing and, of course, it'll already be there.

The director of photography (D.P.) and the camera crew start moving the camera.

                                                                 D.P.
                                Right.

Aaron steps carefully around to where Cathy is drawing in the sand with the stick. What she's drawing doesn't look anything like it really looked. She has actually drawn the dancers with dimension and is now putting in cross-hatch shading.

                                                                 AARON
                                What're you doing?

                                                                 CATHY
                                                           (looks up)
                                What?

                                                                 AARON
                                You've changed it. It wasn't like that.

                                                                 CATHY
                                I'm improving it.

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (firmly)
                                Don't improve it. Do it the way it was.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Why? This isn't reality, it's a movie.

                                                                 AARON
                                But it's a close representation of reality.

                                                                 CATHY
                                No it's not. You've got a happy ending on this story.
                                That has nothing to do with reality. So what's the
                                difference?

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (intense)
                                The difference is that I asked you to fix it.

                                                                 CATHY
                                You get to change things, so why can't I change
                                this?

                                                                 AARON
                                Because I just told you to make it the way it was.

Tom comes walking up.

                                                                 TOM
                                What's going on? The whole crew is just standing
                                there. This is costing five hundred dollars a minute.

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (to Cathy)
                                Are you going to fix it?

                                                                 CATHY
                                I think it's fine.

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (to Tom)
                                Cut her a check and get a new production designer!
                                                           (Aaron strides away yelling)
                                All right! Where are the actors? Let's get moving!

Everyone jumps to their feet and starts moving. Cathy watches Aaron walk away. She drops the stick in the sand and turns to Tom as if to say something, but words won't come.
Aaron looks at the shot through the camera, then back to where Cathy was standing. She and Tom are walking away up the beach. Ace steps up behind him and begins roughly rubbing his neck.

                                                                 ACE
                                How would you like a nice thick juicy hamburger
                                for lunch?

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (smiles)
                                That'd be great.

Ace pushes him.

                                                                 ACE
                                Nice to want. It's cold-cuts.

INT. AARON'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Aaron is asleep in his bed. There is a light knock at the door. One of Aaron's eyes pops open. He looks at the clock. 4:33.

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (mumbling)
                                I need my sleep. I've got to have my sleep.

He crawls out of bed and staggers to the door. It's Cathy.

                                                                 CATHY
                                I'm really, really sorry to wake you up. But I have
                                to say this tonight or I'll never get another chance.
                                I want to keep working on the movie. I'll do a really
                                good job. You know I can...

Aaron shrugs.

                                                                 AARON
                                Well... I don't know...

She steps closer and looks up into his eyes.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Please?

                                                                 AARON
                                You lied. You told Tom I asked for you.

                                                                 CATHY
                                That's because I really wanted the job. I still do.

Aaron looks at her and doesn't answer. She steps even closer to him.

                                                                 CATHY
                                Please?

                                                                 AARON
                                Well...
                                                           (she moves against him)
                                ...Do you promise not to undermine my authority?

                                                                 CATHY
                                I promise.

                                                                 AARON
                                And to be happy in your work?

                                                                 CATHY
                                I will.

Aaron hugs her.

                                                                 AARON
                                Okay.

Cathy pecks him on the cheek, backs away and extends her hand.

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (confused)
                                What?

She takes his hand and shakes it.

                                                                 CATHY
                                You won't be sorry.

She walks away. Aaron drops his weary head against the doorjamb, watches her go and sighs.

INT. CATHY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Sheree, dressed in tight silk shorts, moves around Cathy's apartment. She straightens this and moves that. The handsome actor portraying Aaron, Errol, walks up. He looks at Sheree's butt and sighs. She turns, sees him and smiles. He waves his hand around the room.

                                                                 ERROL
                                It looks great. It's perfect.

                                                                 SHEREE
                                                           (smiles)
                                You should see my apartment. It's empty.

Errol turns around.

                                                                 ERROL
                                Where are the actors?

An ACTOR that resembles both Aaron and Errol steps up and an ACTRESS that resembles Sheree steps up with a Dalmatian puppy. Sheree walks out of sight. Errol turns to the two actors.

                                                                 ERROL
                                All right. This is the last scene of the movie. I
                                want to really feel it. Give me everything you've
                                got. Any questions?

                                                                 ACTRESS
                                Is there going to be an actual sound for the
                                doorbell?

                                                                 ERROL
                                No. I'll make the sound.

                                                                 ACTRESS
                                Okay.

                                                                 ERROL
                                All right. Everybody ready?

The actors, as well as many voices from behind the camera, all reply.

                                                                 EVERYONE
                                Ready.

                                                                 ERROL
                                All right. Let's do it.

Errol and the Actor step out of frame leaving the Actress and the puppy sitting on the couch.

                                                                 ERROL
                                                           (O.S.)
                                Roll sound.

                                                                 SOUND MAN
                                                           (O.S.)
                                Rolling.

                                                                 ERROL
                                                           (O.S.)
                                Roll camera.

                                                                 CAMERA OPERATOR
                                                           (O.S.)
                                Rolling.

A SLATE PERSON steps into view holding the clapboard.

                                                                 SLATE PERSON
                                Mark.

He snaps closed the clappers.

                                                                 ERROL
                                                           (O.S.)
                                And... Action.

The Actress pets the dog and glances at the silent TV set.

                                                                 ERROL
                                                           (O.S.)
                                Ding-dong.

The Actress goes to the door and there is the Actor.

                                                                 ACTRESS
                                Arnold. What are you doing here?

                                                                 ACTOR
                                I was just passing by and I saw your lights on.
                                Can I come in?

                                                                 ACTRESS
                                Look, Arnold, I don't think we should see each
                                other anymore.

                                                                 ACTOR
                                Ever?

                                                                 ACTRESS
                                Maybe not forever...

The Actor steps inside. The dog comes up and he pets it.

                                                                 ACTRESS
                                ...But definitely not for a while. It didn't work,
                                can't you see that? Everything went wrong. It
                                wasn't meant to be...

Our view has widened to the point revealing that Cathy's apartment is really a free-standing set on a sound stage. Lights, C-stands, and a boom microphone are visible. So is Errol, sitting in a director's chair, and Sheree standing beside him. They watch the scene.

                                                                 ACTOR
                                But we got through the worst of it. I think now
                                we might actually have something that's worth
                                something.

                                                                 ACTRESS
                                Arnold. We crashed and burned. This relationship
                                didn't work out in a monumental way. I don't think --

                                                                 ACTOR
                                -- Kiss me one more time.

The Actor steps up to her. She shakes her head.

                                                                 ACTRESS
                                But I don't love you.

                                                                 ACTOR
                                I don't care.

The Actor takes the Actress in his arms and kisses her.

Sheree and Errol, in the foreground, look away from the scene and into each other's eyes. Errol pulls Sheree to him and kisses her.

Our view widens further to reveal Cathy sitting on a box and watching the scene. Aaron stands nearby looking at her. She turns and sees Aaron staring at her. Cathy glances right into the camera and looks embarrassed.

A hand reaches up and opens the barn-door on one of the movie lights.

Soft light washes across Cathy's face. She laughs and looks at Aaron. Aaron gives her a "Why fight it?" shrug. Cathy stands. She walks over to Aaron. She puts her arms around his neck and kisses him.

We now have the Actor and Actress kissing, Errol and Sheree kissing, and Aaron and Cathy kissing.

Our view continues to pull back. Aaron and Cathy disengage their kiss just long enough for Aaron to look into the camera and call...

                                                                 AARON
                                                           (smiling)
                                Cut.

                                                                                                       CUT TO BLACK:


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