Gattaca, early draft, by Andrew M Niccol
U N T I T L E D
A Screen Play
by Andrew M. Niccol
A white title appears on a black screen.
"As night-fall does not come at once, neither
does oppression...It is in such twilight that
we all must be aware of change in the air
- however slight - lest we become victims of
Justice William O. Douglas
The title fades off, replaced by a second title.
"I not only think that we will tamper with
Mother Nature, I think Mother wants us to."
The second title fades off, leaving a dark screen.
The darkness gradually gives way to a dawning light.
We are confronted with sight of a barren, empty landscape. A
wide expanse of wasteland.
Suddenly, without warning, an elephant tusk falls from the sky
and crashes onto the parched ground. The earth-shuddering
impact causes the tusk to rebound once in slow motion before
finally settling to the desert floor in a cloud of dust.
The first tusk is quickly followed by a second, also dropping
from the heavens. It lands near the first. Another tusk
smashes to earth several yards away. Yet another comes crashing
into the foreground.
Finally the dust settles upon a graveyard of tusks.
A BARREN, EMPTY LANDSCAPE
In another region of the wasteland, a forest of tree trunks
suddenly rains down from the sky. The trunks thump to the hard
ground, also rebounding in slow motion. Cleanly sawn,
branchless, palm-like trunks, they come to rest in the dust only
to be followed by a second cascade of lumber.
When the dust finally clears. the felled tree trunks lie in a
huge, log-jam in the desert.
A BARREN, EMPTY LANDSCAPE
Next to descend from the sky, a torrent of firewood. One shower
after another, crashing to the plain. Enough chopped lumber to
fuel a thousand hearths.
A BARREN, EMPTY LANDSCAPE
Joining the rest of the debris is a deluge of slate - sheets
of shale from a great unseen quarry in the sky come slamming to
earth. Some of the pieces shattering, some rebounding into the
air until the granite litters acres of landscape as far as the
eye can see.
TITLES ARE SPACED APPROPRIATELY THROUGHOUT THE PRECEDING
SEQUENCE. THE FINAL TITLE READS:
T H E N O T - T O O - D I S T A N T F U T U R E
The camera commences a long, slow pull-back from the pile of
elephant tusks. Gradually they are revealed as human
fingernails magnified many hundreds of times.
The tree trunks are mere hair follicles. The firewood,
whiskers. The slate, flakes of skin.
INT. INCINERATOR. EARLY MORNING.
A naked MAN, thirties, seen in profile, is crouched upon a metal
floor inside a small, brushed stainless steel tank, rubbing his
skin raw with a wire brush. JEROME MORROW.
Having completed his scrupulous ablutions, Jerome arches his
lean frame through the small, oval door of the metal room
with practised ease.
Securing the thick, fireproof windowed door behind himself, he
turns a switch to release gas into the vacated chamber. The gas
instantly ignites in what is now revealed to be a gleaming
modern stainless-steel custom-made incinerator.
We refocus on a MAGNIFIED CLOSE UP of his exfoliated flesh in
the incinerator as it blackens, curls and burns.
Jerone covers himself with a silk robe and steps into a pair of
INT. EUGENE'S CONDOMINIUM. EARLY MORNING.
JEROME emerges from the incinerator room into a large, luxurious
loft-style condo containing a bizarre assortment of equipment -
arranged somewhat like a production line.
Long, scrupulously clean metal work benches are arranged along
one entire wall. Laid out on the benches in neat rows are
dozens of plastic bags - some filled, some unfilled. Instruments
on trays - various types of tweezers, scissors and other less
familiar utensils. Round, stainless steel containers filled
with hairs of differing lengths and other body matter.
JEROME approaches another man slumped over one of the benches.
EUGENE. He clutches an empty vodka bottle. He is snoring
lightly - sleeping off the night before. As JEROME gently
prises the bottle out of his hand, we are struck by the
similarity of Eugene's face to Jerome's.
Jerome pulls Eugene's chair back from the desk with surprising
ease. A wheelchair - a modern, ergonomic design. Jerome wheels
Eugene to a bedroom and, with some difficulty, hauls the larger
man onto the bed. Through his alcoholic fog, Eugene feebly co-
operates - his paralyzed legs a particular dead weight.
After covering Eugene with a blanket, Jerome enters a bathroom
containing a surgically-clean stainless steel basin, sink,
shower and toilet.
Beside the toilet stands a large, industrial-style stainless
Donning protective gloves, Jerome opens the liquid-nitrogen
cooled refrigerator. A cloud of condensed water vapor billows
out. Revealed inside the fridge are racks of labelled jars and
silicon pouches - some containing a yellowish liquid, some a
deep, red liquid.
In front of one of the jars is a handwritten shopping list -
"TRUFFLES, CIGS, VODKA". Jerome smiles to himself as he
retrieves the note along with one of the jars. He checks the
jar's label. Satisfied with the date written there, he breaks
the seal and pours the contents into the clear, silicon pouch of
an IV-like device lying on the steel bathroom counter.
He seals the pouch and checks the apparatus by opening the valve
on its fine tube and squirting a small quantity of the liquid
into the nearby toilet bowl, as one would test a syringe. We
remain on Jerome's face as he reaches between his legs and
inserts the pouch.
Reopening the refrigerator, Jerome slides out a tray containing
neat rows of slim, fingertip-sized plastic sachets filled with a
deep, red-colored liquid. He removes his gloves, selects one of
the sachets and carefully adheres the sachet to the pad at the
end of his index finger. He prepares a second sachet for his
middle finger. Jerome then applies skin-colored cover-up makeup
to the sachets, blending them in with the color of his fingers.
JEROME, still dressed in his robe, climbs a large, spiral
staircase to the floor above.
INT. JEROME'S CONDOMINIUM. EARLY MORNING.
He emerges at the top of the staircase into a similarly large,
loft-stlye condominium. Through the floor to ceiling window
that opens onto a balcony we see that dawn is only just starting
to leak into the night sky.
In the bedroom JEROME removes a shirt from a drycleaning bag.
Printed on the bag - "Confidentiality Guaranteed". He emerges
from his bedroom, dressed in a smart albeit unconventionally cut
suit. He adjusts his tie in the mirror, careful not to disturb
the sachets attached to his fingertips.
INT. INVESTIGATOR'S POOL. MORNING.
A lone MAN swims a ferocious lap of freestyle in what appears to
be a pool of enormous length - yet he never reaches the pool's
end. We pull wider to reveal that the man is swimming against
an artificial current in a pool barely larger than himself.
Abruptly, the man stops and stands up - the fast-flowing current
instantly stilled. We glimpse the face of INVESTIGATOR LUCAS.
Thirties, he has a youthful yet rigid face. We have the
impression that he does not swim for pleasure.
EXT. CONDOMINIUM COMPLEX. MORNING.
It is still early as JEROME exits the building's underground
parking garage in an immaculate Studebaker Avanti and proceeds
down the long straight driveway. He exchanges a wave with a
GARDENER trimming a lawn.
The whir of the car's electric powered engine belies its
EXT. GATTACA AEROSPACE CORPORATION. DAY.
JEROME's car exits a highway and turns up the sweeping road
leading to the parking lot of "GATTACA AEROSPACE CORPORATION".
A sleek, modern, low-rise industrial compound boasting perfectly
manicured landscaped gardens.
INT. GATTACA AEROSPACE CORPORATION. DAY.
JEROME strides purposefully up to the entranceway with hundreds
of other GATTACA EMPLOYEES. He carries himself with a certain
arrogance, a cool detachment. All employees wear similarly
unconventionally-cut suits, short coiffed hair and robust tans.
The Gattaca employees are a seemingly equal split of men and
women and a diverse range of ethnicities.
They filter through a row of channels supervised by SECURITY
GUARDS. Each channel contains a computerized security device,
featuring a slim groove in which the employee places a finger
under the watchful eye of a Security Guard.
Jerome gives a polite nod to a Guard as he places his index
finger in the groove. His fingertip is jabbed with the
finest of needles and a minute blood sample taken.
The blood specimen confirms Jerome's identity - an ID photograph
appearing on a computer screen.
Out of the corner of his eye, Jerome spies a young woman
entering through the adjacent channel. She is also sneaking a
glance in his direction - IRENE. Catching each other looking,
they both quickly avert their eyes.
As Jerome enters the computer facility of Gattaca Aerospace
Corporation he furtively glances at the pin-prick puncture in
his fingertip sachet.
SOMEWHERE IN DEEP SPACE.
A GATTACA spacecraft skirts an asteroid. Taking advantage of
the rock's gravitational pull, the craft slingshots deeper into
the black void. Then abruptly the craft and the asteroid freeze
in mid-space, suddenly reverse direction and proceed forward
again - the spacecraft taking a slightly adjusted course.
We pull back to reveal that the journey is merely a highly
realistic graphic representation on a GATTACA computer screen
operated by JEROME.
Appearing simultaneously alongside the computer animation is a
seemingly never-ending column of computer instructions for this
celestial navigation - the incomprehensible language of the
Jerome is transported - plotting a path through the heavens.
As his fingers fly across the keys he does not once take his
eyes from the screen.
His is one of hundreds of ergonomically designed work stations,
arranged in ever-widening circles in a huge, curcular, well-
appointed if antiseptic room. Each curved desk contains a
computer terminal consisting of a keyboard and a slim,
transparent screen behind which is seated a PROGRAMMER,
designing software for the aerospace agency. At the center of
the room is a donut-shaped command console, chairs facing
outwards, from which operations are monitored.
Floor to ceiling smoked-glass curved walls offer the only
concession to nature - a tinted view of a man-made, meticulously
Jerome tears himself away from his screen and picks up a
discreet mini-vac. He vacuums between the keys of his keyboard.
DIRECTOR JOSEF, 50's, a shorter, official-looking man
approaches. His assistant IRENE stands at his shoulder.
You keep your work station so clean, Jerome.
--Next to Godliness, isn't that what they say?
The Director smiles at the notion and places a computer disc
on Jerome's desk.
I reviewed your flight plan. Not one error
in a hundred thousand keystrokes. Phenomenal.
(placing a hand on Jerome's shoulder)
It's right that someone like you is taking us
to the Belt.
(glancing to notification on Jerome's screen)
You have a substance test.
The Director briskly departs, Irene in tow. At a nearby work
station, a painfully thin programmer, NAPOLEON, perks up at
the mention of the test.
Jerome merely shrugs and pretends to reach down and scratch his
ankle. However he surreptitiously produced one of Eugene's
transparent specimen bags from his sock. An EXTREME CLOSE UP
reveals the bag's contents - flakes of skin, hair follicles,
eyelashes, a fingernail. Cupping the bag in his hand to avoid
detection, Jerome sprinkles the fraudulent body matter over his
keyboard, desk surfaces and the floor around his work station.
He opens his desk drawer and casually scatters the remainder of
the bag. Finally he inspects a comb already laced with two
Jerome rises from his work station and makes his way towards the
INT. GATTACA AEROSPACE CORPORATION - TESTING LABORATORY. DAY.
White-coated LAMAR, forties, buzzcut, a man's man, checks
JEROME's eyes with an instrument. Satisfied with his
examination, he passes a transparent plastic container to
JEROME. Standing directly in front of the technician with his
back to camera, Jerome opens his fly. A steady stream of urine
begins to flow into the container from Jerome's hidden pouch.
(staring admiringly at the discharge)
Jerome...never shy. Pisses on command.
You've got a beautiful cock. I ever told
you that, Jerome?
(deadpan as he continues to urinate)
Only every time I'm in here.
Jerome hands the container to Lamara who seals and label it as
Jerome refastens his trousers.
I see a lot of cocks. I speak from experience.
Yours is a beautiful example. Why didn't my
folks order a cock like that for me?
LAMAR pours the urine sample into a high-tech device where it
is instantly analyzed. The urine identifies Jerone while also
registering a negative drug reading. The computer reads
(walking Jerome to the door)
If everything goes to plan, this could be the
last time I see you for a while. One week to
go. Please tell me you're the least bit excited.
I'll tell you at the end of the week.
INT. GATTACA - RESTROOM. DAY.
JEROME enters the restroom and glances at the toilet stalls.
Only three in the bank of twenty is occupied. He tarries at the
mirror above the uniform line of basins, unnecessarily
reknotting his tie.
A toilet flushes and a COLLEAGUE exits one of the stalls. He
and Jerome exchange a nod. When the man has exited the restroom,
Jerome enters the man's vacated stall.
INT. GATTACA - TOILET STALL. DAY.
JEROME immediately feels around the back of the toilet bowl and
detaches a secreted stainless steel container.
With surprising swiftness and dexterity, Jerome removes an
extremely fine contact lens from each eye and drops the pair
into the toilet bowl. He inserts two replacement lenses from
the container and reattaches it in its hiding place.
Jerome flushes the toilet and exits the stall. He checks in the
mirror that his new contact lenses are properly inserted.
INT. GATTACA - CORRIDOR. DAY.
Walking back along one of the long, glass-walled corridors,
JEROME becomes aware of a peculiar noise in the complex -
or to be more precise, a lack of noise. The incessant tapping
of computer keys has stilled.
As Jerome gazes through the glass walled corridor, we see the
reflection of his face, deep in thought.
The most unremarkable of events. Jerome
Morrow, Navigator First class, is only days
away from a one-year manned mission to 951
Gaspra in the Outer Asteroid Belt. Nothing so
unique in that. Last year over one thousand
citizens from every walk of life embarked on
some space mission or other. Besides,
selection for Jerome was virtually guaranteed
at birth. He is blessed with all the physical
and intellectual gifts required for such an
arduous undertaking, a genetic quotient second
Jerome's gaze drifts to the sky.
No, there is truly nothing remarkable about
the progress of Jerome Morrow, except that I
am not Jerome Morrow.
EXT. BEACH. DUSK - THIRTY-ODD YEARS EARILER
A starry sky. The camera tilts down to find palm trees
swaying against a setting sun.
I was conceived in the Riviera. Not the
The camera tilts down further to find a Buick Riviera parked in
a deserted beachfront parking lot on a polluted stretch of
The Detroit variety.
Through the car's steamed windows we see Jerome's mother and
father, MARIA and ANTONIO, early twenties, making love.
They used to say that a child conceived in love,
has a greater chance of happiness. They don't
say that any more.
INT. FAMILY PLANNING CLINIC. DAY.
MARIA, wearing a medical gown, lies on an examining table, feet
in stirrups. A NURSE, forties, wheels an instrument tray
towards her. Maria suddenly disengages her feet from the
stirrups and swings her legs off the table.
What are you doing?
(shaking her head)
I can't do this.
(misinterpreting the problem)
I told you, the government pays. It's all
taken care of.
No, you don't understand. I can't.
The nurse places a comforting hand on Maria's shoulder.
The doctor will give you something.
(removing the hand, adamant)
I'm not doing it.
(trying to make her see reason)
Honey, you've made one mistake--
The remark stings Maria.
(softening her tone)
--I've read your profile. I don't
know about the father but you carry
enough hereditary factors on your own.
You can have other children.
(holding her swollen stomach protectively)
Not like this one.
(trying to be diplomatic)
Honey, look around you. The world doesn't
want one like that one.
Maria gets off the table and reaches for her clothes laying
across a chair.
You don't know what it will be!
The nurse watches Maria as she dresses, genuinely bewildered.
(calling out to Maria as she disappears
out of the door)
The child won't thank you!
INT. DELIVERY ROOM. DAY.
We focus on a crucifix dangling on a rosary. Tilting up we find
the rosary clasped between MARIA and ANTONIO's intertwined
Those were early days--days when a priest
could still persuade someone to put their
faith in God's hands rather than those of
the local geneticist.
Bathed in sweat, Maria gives a final push on the delivery table.
While still attached to his umbilical cord, the heel of the
NEWBORN BABY BOY is immediately pricked by a masked NURSE. A
minute drop of blood is inserted into an analyzing machine.
Even as the baby is put into Maria's arms, page after page of
data begins to appear on a monitor, pulsing warning signals
throughout the spreadsheets.
Two assisting NURSES exchange a look. Antonio senses something
Of course, there was nothing wrong with me.
Not so long ago I would have been considered
a perfectly healthy, normal baby. Ten fingers,
ten toes. That was all that used to matter.
But now my immediate well-being was not the
Antonio turns his attention from his baby to the data appearing
on the monitor. We see individual items highlighted amongst the
data - "NERVE CONDITION - PROBABILITY 60%", "MANIC DEPRESSION -
42%", "OBESITY - 66%", "ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER - 89%"--
My destiny was mapped out before me--
all my flaws, predispositions and
susceptibilities - most untreatable to
this day. Only minutes old, the date and
cause of my death was already known.
Antonio focuses on a final highlighted item on the monitor's
screen, "HEART DISORDER - 99% - EARLY FATAL POTENTIAL.".
"LIFE EXPECTANCY - 33 YEARS".
(typing details into birth certificate)
For the certificate.
--No, Vincent Antonio.
With a computer stylus he signs the nurse's handheld screen.
EXT. TRACT HOME - BACKYARD. DAY.
2-YEAR-OLD JEROME (REFERRED TO BY HIS GIVEN NAME OF "VINCENT"
FOR MOST OF THE FOLLOWING FLASHBACK) running with a toy rocket
falls more in clumsiness than fatigue. MARIA suddenly whisks up
Oh, Vincent, Vincent, Vincent...I can't let
you out of my sight.
Maria frantically listens to her young son's heartbeat. For
his part, Vincent appears surprised by the attention. Maria
places a portable oxygen mask over Vincent's mouth.
I was born Vincent Antonio Luca. And from
an early age I came to think of myself as
others thought of me - chronically ill.
Every skinned knee and runny nose treated
as if it were life-threatening.
INT. DAY CARE CENTER. DAY.
MARIA and ANTONIO drop off dark-haired 2-YEAR-OLD VINCENT at a
Day Care Center.
And my parents soon realized that wherever
I went, my genetic prophecy preceded me.
While HEALTHY CHILDREN play outside on tricycles, clamber over
jungle-gyms and finger-paint, the PRE-SCHOOL TEACHER shows
Vincent into a room where CHILDREN WITH OBVIOUS DISABILITIES
sleep on mats.
Maria wheels around and marches out of the center with Vincent
in her arms. Antonio follows close behind, pleading with his
wife to see sense.
They put off having any more children
until they could afford not to gamble -
to bring a child into the world in what
has become the "natural" way.
EXT. HOME. DAY.
ANTONIO reluctantly shows off his spotless Buick Riviera to a
It meant selling the beloved Buick.
The two men haggle over the price while MARIA, holding VINCENT
in her arms, looks on. Finally money and a pink slip are
My father got a good price. After all,
the only accident he'd ever had in that
car was me.
As the BUYER drives away, Antonio shrugs to Maria to hide his
EXT. GENETIC COUNSELLING OFFICE BUILDING. DAY.
ANTONIO, MARIA and 2-YEAR-OLD VINCENT exit a packed commuter
bus and enter a Genetic Counselling office building bearing
the sign - "PRO-CREATION".
INT. GENETIC COUNSELLING OFFICE. DAY.
A GENETICIST stares into a high-powered microscope as ANTONIO,
MARIA and 2-YEAR-OLD VINCENT are shown into the office by a
NURSE. On the counter beside the Geneticist is a glass-doored
industrial refrigerator containing petri dishes arranged on
racks several feet high.
(to the nurse, without taking
his eyes from his binocular microscope)
Put up the dish.
While Antonio and Maria take a seat in front of a television
monitor, the Nurse puts a labelled petri dish under a video-
equipped microscope. The Geneticist swings around in his chair
to greet his clients.
Four magnified clusters of cells - eight cells on each cluster
- appear on the television screen.
Your extracted eggs...
(noting the couple's names from
data along the edge of the screen)
...Maria, have been fertilized with...
Antonio's sperm and we have performed an
analysis of the resulting pre-embryos.
After screening we're left with two healthy
boys and two healthy girls. Naturally, no
critical pre-dispositions to any of the major
inheritable diseases. All that remains is
to select the most compatible candidate.
Maria and Antonio exchange a nervous smile.
First, we may as well decide on gender.
Have you given it any thought?
(referring to the toddler
on her knee)
We would like Vincent to have a brother...
you know, to play with.
The Geneticist nods. He scans the data around the edge of the
You've already specified blue eyes, dark
hair and fair skin. I have taken the liberty
of eradicating any potentially prejudicial
conditions - premature baldness, myopia,
alcoholism and addictive susceptibility,
propensity for violence and obesity--
--We didn't want--diseases, yes.
We were wondering if we should leave some
things to chance.
You want to give your child the best possible
start. Believe me, we have enough imperfection
built-in already. Your child doesn't need
any additional burdens. And keep in mind,
this child is still you, simply the best of you.
You could conceive naturally a thousand times
and never get such a result.
(squeezing Maria's hand)
He's right, Maria. That's right.
Maria is only half-convinced, but the Geneticist swiftly moves
Is there any reason you'd want a left-handed
Some believe it is associated with creativity,
although there's no evidence. Also for
sports like baseball it can be an advantage.
I like football.
(injecting a note of levity)
I have to warn you, Mr Luca, he's going
to be at least a head taller than you.
Prepare for a crick in the neck in
sixteen years time.
Antonio beams proudly.
(scanning the data on the screen)
Anything I've forgotten?
(hesitant about broaching the subject)
We want him--we were hoping he would get
married and have children. We'd like
I understand. That's already been taken
Now you appreciate I can only work with
the raw material I have at my disposal but
for a little extra...I could also attempt to
insert sequences associated with enhanced
mathematical or musical ability.
Antonio, the choir...
(interjecting, covering himself)
I have to caution you it's not fool-proof.
With multi-gene traits there can be no guarantees.
How much extra?
It would be five thousand more.
Antonio's face falls.
I'm sorry, there's no way we can.
Don't worry. You'll probably do just
as well singing to him in the womb.
(rising to end the appointment)
We can implant the most successful
pre-embryo tomorrow afternoon.
Maria is staring at the four magnified clumps on the screen.
What will happen to the others?
They are not babies, Maria, merely
Removing the petri dish from beneath the lens of the microscope,
he points out the four minuscule specks.
Smaller than a grain of sand.
INT. TRACT HOME. DAY.
A red pencil draws a mark on a doorway at the height of a
child's head. The child moves away and the name, "ANTON 11" is
written beside the mark by proud father, ANTONIO.
That's how my brother, Anton, came into the
world - a son my father considered worthy
of his name.
There is little physical similarity between 11-YEAR-OLD ANTON
and 13-YEAR-OLD VINCENT standing beside him, apart from their
height. In fact Vincent is mortified to see that his younger
brother's mark is a fraction of an inch higher than the mark
beside his own name, "VINCENT 13". Vincent runs from the room.
EXT. BEACH. DAY.
13-YEAR-OLD VINCENT and 11-YEAR-OLD ANTON sit together on a
Anton picks up a broken shell and deliberately slices the tip of
his thumb with the sharp edge. He hands the shell to Vincent
who hesitantly follows suit.
By the time we were playing at blood
brothers I understood that there was something
very different flowing through my veins.
The two brothers press their thumbs together, merging the blood.
And I'd need an awful lot more than
a drop if I was going to get anywhere.
EXT. BEACH. LATER IN THE DAY.
While ANTONIO and MARIA doze under a beach umbrella, ANTON and
VINCENT enter the water, diving through the waves. From above
we watch their two young bodies swimming beside each other
beyond the breakers.
Our favorite game was "chicken". When our
parents weren't watching, we used to swim outside
the flags, as far out as we dared. It was about
who would get scared and turn back first.
Suddenly VINCENT stops swimming, pulling up sharply in the
water, exhausted and fearful. He watches ANTON swim on into the
Of course, it was always me. Anton was by far
the stronger swimmer and he had no excuse to fail.
INT. SCHOOL - CLASSROOM. DAY.
A TEACHER gives a physics lesson. The bespectacled 13-YEAR-OLD
VINCENT has his arm energetically raised at each opportunity but
is never called upon. Eventually he lowers his arm in defeat.
My genetic scarlet letter continued to follow
me from school to school. When you're told
you're prone to learning disabilities, it's
sometimes easier not to disappoint anybody.
EXT. STREET. NIGHT.
13-YEAR-OLD VINCENT stands at a cul-de-sac at the end of a long,
straight deserted street. He places a basketball in the middle
of the street to represent the SUN and begins to unwind the huge
reel of string attached to the ball. 11-YEAR-OLD ANTON walks a
pace behind him. Several yards along the trail a bead is
threaded through the string to represent the planet MERCURY.
How many astronauts are there, anyway?
Vincent ignores him and continues to reel out the string.
I bet I could be one.
Vincent stops and regards his younger brother with contempt.
You're standing on Venus.
Anton lifts his foot. There is a bead beneath it.
INT/EXT. CAR / SATELLITE DISH. DUSK.
VINCENT has developed into a handsome 17-YEAR-OLD. His
spectacles hidden, he and a YOUNG WOMAN are necking in the front
seat of a beat-up car, parked overlooking a huge satellite dish.
I was popular enough until it got around
that I wasn't a long-term proposition.
The love-making intensifies. The YOUNG WOMAN moves down
Vincent's chest and unzips his fly.
Those who didn't know already could easily
find out for themselves. It was certainly
no problem coaxing the information out of me.
We remain on Vincent's face as he climaxes. The YOUNG WOMAN
turns her head away from the spent Jerome and, out of his
view, trickles semen from her mouth into a clear specimen vial.
I didn't blame them. You need to know if a
prospective husband can qualify for a mortgage
or life insurance or can hold down a decent job.
INT. HOME. DAY.
In the living room of their modest home, the dark-haired, 17-
year-old, bespectacled VINCENT sits opposite his PARENTS. The
crestfallen Vincent has a book on his lap entitled "CAREERS IN
(trying to break it gently)
Vincent, you have to be realistic. A
heart condition like yours--
--I don't care. I'll take the risk.
It's not just you they have to be concerned
about. Perhaps we could get you one of
those new pacemakers. They're not perfect
(letting his frustration show)
For God's sake, Vincent, don't you understand.
The only way you'll see the inside of a space
ship is if you're cleaning it!
Vincent looks at his father in disbelief.
On a dinner table on the other side of the living room, 15-YEAR-
OLD ANTON looks up from the biological specimen he is studying
with a magnifying glass.
INT. PERSONNEL OFFICE - WAITING ROOM. DAY.
17-YEAR-OLD VINCENT hides his glasses in his pocket as he enters
a WAITING ROOM. He gazes around at other APPLICANTS.
My father was right. It didn't matter how
much I lied on my resumÈ, my real C.V. was
in my cells. Why should anybody invest all
that money to train me, when there are a
thousand other applicants with a far cleaner
profile? Of course, it's illegal to discriminate -
"genoism" it's called - but no one takes the
As Jerome enters the office, we focus on the doorhandle he has
If you refuse to disclose, they can always
take a sample from a doorhandle...
Vincent hesitates before shaking the PERSONNEL OFFICER's
...or a handshake...
We focus on Jerome's envelope attached to his application form
sitting on the Manager's desk.
...even the saliva off your application form.
Sitting opposite the manager, Jerome's face falls. The manager
puts a clear, plastic cup in front of Jerome.
But for the most part we know who we are.
And if all else fails, a legal drug test
can just as easily become an illegal peek
at your future in the company.
Vincent saves the Manager the trouble and exits the office,
leaving the cup where it sits.
EXT. BEACH. DAY.
17-YEAR-OLD JEROME walks up the beach to find 15-YEAR-OLD ANTON
sitting with the YOUNG WOMAN Vincent had previously dated.
I didn't blame Anton for his free ride. You
can't blame someone for winning the lottery.
The Young Woman hastily departs.
LATER the two brothers face each other on the sand. Anton is
the more statuesque of the two.
You sure you want to do this?
Vincent's answer is to walk towards the water. Anton smiles
mockingly at his brother's grim "game face" and
From an aerial view we watch VINCENT and his younger brother, ANTON,
swim beyond the breakers.
It was the last time we swam together.
Out into the open sea, like always,
knowing each stroke towards the horizon
was one we had to make back to the
shore. Like always, the unspoken contest.
We watch the two young men swimming stroke for stroke. They
swim far out, beyond the point. Suddenly ANTON starts to slow,
his strokes becoming labored until he becomes motionless in the
water. He begins to sink like a stone. VINCENT, realizing
Anton is no longer beside him, turns back to lend support.
Vincent takes him in a lifeguard hold and begins to nurse him
back to shore. Finally the two boys are coughed up onto the
shallows. They collapse, just beyond the waterline, exhausted,
gasping for air. ANTONIO and MARIA arrive on the scene. ANTON
is the first to recover while VINCENT clutches his side, his
face screwed up in pain. Maria kneels down and starts to
administer to Vincent but his father, Antonio, is unable to
conceal his anger and contempt for Vincent.
Vincent, you damn fool! You could have killed
Anton with your ridiculous contest! Why should
he risk his life to save yours?! When are you
going to get it through your thick head--you
can't compete with your brother! Why try?!
Maria takes Antonio aside. Anton and Vincent exchange a look.
Why didn't you say anything?
Why didn't you?
(staring back at his father knowingly)
It's okay. It's the way they want it.
It confirmed everything in the minds of
my parents - that they had taken the right
course with my younger brother and the
wrong course with me. It would have been so
much easier for everyone if I had slipped away
that day. I decided to grant them that wish.
INT. HOME. NIGHT.
ANTON stands at the mantlepiece in the dimly-lit living room.
He gazes at a framed family portrait - Vincent's face has been
torn out of it. He suddenly spies VINCENT exiting the front
gate, carrying a suitcase. Anton goes to shout Vincent's name
but the words don't get out.
EXT. GATTACA. DAWN.
A pick-up truck, packed with a CLEANING CREW, pulls into the
rear of the building. They are no longer strictly the migrant
workers we have come to expect but rather a mixture of
ethnicities - all members of a genetic underclass that does not
discriminate by race.
As VINCENT exits the truck and turns towards the camera, we
discover that he has now matured into the man we have come to
know as JEROME. The only visible differences are the glasses he
wears and his hair, still naturally dark.
Like many others in my situation, I moved
around a lot in the next few years, getting
work where I could. I must have cleaned
half the toilets in the state.
We follow VINCENT through the course of a day. Cleaning
restrooms, toilets, picking up litter, sweeping, washing
windows - gazing at the AEROSPACE WORKERS below. The building
is part of the Gattaca facility, located near a shuttle launch
site. Throughout the day, with the regularity of 747's, Vincent
spies rocket ships in the distance, launching into the sky.
Jerome's is the only head that turns and looks up. Long after
the sun has set, Vincent is still working. Another rocket ship
lights up the darkness. Vincent gazes forlornly into the
EXT. GATTACA - GLASS WALL. DAY.
VINCENT cleans a window from the outside, staring in at the
arrogant GATTACA EMPLOYEES entering the security channels -
a smaple taken from their fingertips. Jerome, in a trance,
constantly cleans the same spot of glass. He fails to notice an
Older Janitor, CAESAR, appear beside him.
When you clean the glass, Vincent, don't
clean it too well.
What do you mean?
(glancing to the Gattaca workers)
You might get ideas.
But if the glass is clean, it'll be easier
for you to see me when I'm on the other
side of it.
Caesar smiles at Vincent's cockiness.
INT. GATTACA. DAY.
VINCENT empties garbage into a dumpster adjacent to Gattaca.
His attention is drawn to something in the trash. A discarded
manual on Celestial Mechanics and Navigation. He wipes food
residue off the corner.
INT. ASTRONOMY & TELESCOPE SHOP. DAY.
A forest of telescopes on tripods in an astronomy shop. VINCENT
enters the store with a bucket and squeegee and immediately goes
to clean the storefront window. The STORE OWNER looks up from
his tabloid - "STAR" magazine.
He fell. Lucky it was only the second floor.
The owner nods and returns to his magazine. When he looks up
again one of his tripods is missing its telescope and Jerome is
nowhere to be seen.
INT. IN-VALID HOUSING PROJECT. NIGHT.
JEROME returns to his bare apartment. He removes the cloth
covering the bucket to reveal a dumpy-shaped telescope snugly
wedged inside. He starts to pour over his collection of
textbooks. Other tattered space paraphenalia adorns the wall.
Of course the best test score in the world
wasn't going to get me in the front door
unless I had the blood test to go with it.
EXT. GATTACA. NIGHT.
While his fellow WORKERS sit on the steps at the service
entrance to Gattaca, passing around an unlabeled bottle of clear
liquor, VINCENT sits some distance away studying his text book.
In the absence of a computer, he practices typing commands on a
keyboard handdrawn on the flap of a cardboard box.
A tiny, seedy-looking man, GERMAN, forties, appears from
nowhere and takes a seat beside him.
(offering his hand)
Vincent, I'm German--
(anticipating Vincent's response)
That's my name.
He looks the apprehensive Vincent up and down.
What do you think?
I think I could do something
(glancing to the text book)
provided you know what you're doing
and you can meet the terms.
Vincent pulls a plastic e-money card from his overalls.
You got a photo of yourself?
Vincent produces a snapshot of himself - torn from the family
portrait. German feeds the snapshot into the pocket-sized
computer he carries. The picture is instantly scanned and
appears on the computer's small color screen. German returns
the photograph and hastily departs.
CAESAR, the elderly janitor, notices German's exit.
I thought I told you not to get any ideas.
High up the side of a building, washing windows, VINCENT pauses
occasionally to practice typing commands on his cardboard keys -
viewing a screen in his imagination - or the nightsky itself.
He hears his name being called.
(staring through his glasses)
German, is that you?
Vincent, come down. I've found him.
INT. IN-VALID HOUSING PROJECT. NIGHT.
GERMAN leads VINCENT through a maze of corridors.
For the genetically superior, success
is easier to attain but is by no means
guaranteed. After all, there is no gene
for fate. And when, for one reason or
another, a member of the elite falls on
hard times, their genetic identity becomes
a valued commodity for the unscrupulous.
One man's loss is another man's gain.
He gives a conspiratorial nod to another passing DNA BROKER,
both men carrying their palm-top computers.
(enthusiastically reading from data on
his portable screen as he walks)
He has the heart of an ox. He could run
through a Goddamn wall--if he could still run.
Actually, he was a big college swimming star.
I hope he's not just a body.
No problem. Before he dropped out he was
an honor student, the right majors--
How do I square the accident?
(still reading data from his
It happened in Australasia. He checked
in yesterday. No family complications, no
record he ever broke his neck. As far as
anybody's concerned, he's still a walking,
talking, fully-productive member of society.
You just have to get him off the pipe and
fill in the last two years of his life.
Excuse me, your life.
German has stopped walking as if they have arrived.
(looking around for a likely
candidate but finding none)
Where is he?
German reaches towards a PARAPLEGIC sitting in his wheelchair
in the stairwell directly in front of them, his head slumped, an
incriminating bong nestled in his lap. German pulls the man's
head up by the hair. EUGENE. Depsite the patchy, unkempt
beard and thick glaze over his eyes he bears a striking
similarity to Vincent. Vincent holds a mirror beside the face
of the lethargic Eugene to compare his own reflection.
What did I tell you? Which one's the mirror?
(still not fully convinced)
That's the hair color in his profile?
German checks an entry in his computer: "HAIR: BLONDE"
(touching his own dark strands)
I'd have to bleach my hair.
Why are you inventing problems? You two
are a couple of goddam clones. You look
so right together, I want to double my fee.
(a thought occurs, addressing the
paraplegic for the first time)
How tall are you?
Four foot six.
Vincent grins, realizing that Eugene is referring to his seated
height. There is an instant connection between the two men.
Okay, how tall did you used to be?
(apathetic, still under the
influence of whatever he's been smoking)
(to German, disappointed)
He's too tall.
You can wear lifts.
Even with lifts I'm never that tall.
There's a way.
INT. BACKSTREET SURGERY. NIGHT.
In a primitive operating theatre, VINCENT lies on a table, his
lower legs masked off for surgery. The SURGEON switches on a
surgical saw and lines it up with handdrawn incision marks.
Metal struts are ready to elongate his legs.
INT. IN-VALID HOUSING PROJECT - APARTMENT. DAY.
GERMAN wheels the dazed EUGENE into the apartment, cluttered
with space paraphenalia. One wheel of his rusting wheelchair is
flimsily held on with wire. VINCENT follows behind on crutches,
both lower legs in casts and cross-braces. Vincent signs the
contract German puts in front of him.
EXT. STREET OUTSIDE A BAR. DAY.
EUGENE, glassy-eyed, strides out of a bar, past camera and into
the street. We hear a squeal of brakes and a sickening thud.
INT. HOUSING PROJECT - APARTMENT. DAY.
EUGENE awakens with a scream, bathed in sweat, arms bound to a
bed - the only real piece of furniture in the room. VINCENT,
sitting on a crate beside him, soaking a towel in a bowl of
water, is taken by surprise. Eugene continues to scream and
thrash, fighting against his bindings. Vincent stuffs the towel
into Eugene's mouth and holds onto his arms.
I confess, at first I wondered if I had rescued
a man who was already dead.
INT. HOUSING PROJECT - APARTMENT - BATHROOM. NIGHT.
VINCENT holds EUGENE's head over the toilet bowl as he vomits
violently. Eugene's paralysis and Vincent's broken legs make
the operation doubly difficult.
Finally Eugene has nothing left in his stomach to vomit. He
drops to the floor in exhaustion. Vincent, also exhausted from
the effort of holding Eugene over the bowl, joins him on the
broken linoleum. Both men stare up at the ceiling that carries
a map of the constellation.
You okay, Jerome?
(ironically referring to
their mutual immobility)
Yeah. You want to go dancing tonight?
INT. HOUSING PROJECT - APARTMENT. NIGHT.
EUGENE turns his nose up at the plate of boiled meat and
potatoes that VINCENT puts in front of him. Vincent catches the
What's wrong with it?
I think I'd better choose the menu. After all,
you're learning how to be me, I'm not learning
how to be you.
(trying to be more diplomatic)
Listen, I don't want you to think I'm ungrateful
--I know you and that little broker--what do you
You're both going to a lot of trouble--
(trying to be tactful)
Maybe you can con somebody into believing
you're me to get your foot in the door--but
once you're inside, you're on your own. I'm
sure you're sincere...
(glancing to the space paraphenalia)
...but I was being groomed for something like
this myself. Even without the accident I don't
think I would have made it. My point is--how the
hell do you expect to pull this off?
Jerome merely stares back as if the thought of failure has never
occurred to him.
(shrugs and states it simply)
I don't know exactly, Jerome.
At least you're honest.
(a thought occurs)
Call me by my middle name--Eugene--If you're
going to be Jerome, you may as well start
getting used to it.
NB: FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE SCREENPLAY "VINCENT" IS REFERRED
TO AS "JEROME".
INT. HOUSING PROJECT - APARTMENT. NIGHT.
JEROME looks through Eugene's personal effects, including a
photograph album. He is drawn to a swimming medal inside the
album at a page displaying a photo of a wealthy, austere
MOTHER - Eugene evidently comes from money.
Even as he wheels into the room in his rickety wheelchair we see
that EUGENE has the bearing of someone of good breeding. He has
a bag of blood on his lap. More blood is being drawn from his
arm through an IV. Eugene catches Jerome looking at the album.
(guiltily closing the book)
I have to know where you come from.
If anybody asks, tell them the truth--
your family disowns you. You are a
(referring to Eugene's medal, impressed)
What about this?
Wrong color. It's silver.
(tossing the bag of blood to Jerome)
It's not easy living up to this.
Eugene wheels away.
INT. HOUSING PROJECT - APARTMENT. DAY.
JEROME practises writing with his right hand, trying to
replicate Eugene's signature.
(wheeling by, looking over Jerome's
shoulder at the signature)
It needs work.
You had to be a right-hander.
Noone orders southpaws anymore.
INT. HOUSING PROJECT - APARTMENT. DAY.
A pair of spectacles lie on the bed. JEROME, still wearing his
twin casts, sits behind an optometrist's portable examining
device. GERMAN hovering in the background, an OPTOMETRIST
custom-fits JEROME with gossamer thin contact lenses.
Myopia is a dead giveaway - one of the earliest
and most justifiable of the quality-of-life
corrections. Anybody with impaired vision is
certain to be suffering from all the other
deficiencies of a "nonadvantaged" birth.
(inspecting the lens in Jerome's eye)
It's no good. I can see an edge. He may as
well walk in there with a cane.
INT. HOUSING PROJECT - APARTMENT. DAY.
The Optometrist has been replaced in the living room with a
BLACK MARKET DENTIST who bonds JEROME's small, gapped teeth to
match EUGENE's perfectly straight, white picket fences.
INT. HOUSING PROJECT - APARTMENT. DAY.
Hair already bleached and cut to match Eugene's hairstyle,
JEROME sits in a chair against a hastily erected white paper
backdrop. From his wheelchair, EUGENE puts the finishing
touches to Jerome's hair. He wheels himself out of the way.
The final accomplice in Jerome's deception, a BLACK MARKET
COMPUTER GRAPHICS DESIGNER, takes Jerome's photo with a video
camera. Manipulating the captured image, the Designer morphs
Jerome's face into the face of Eugene. The resulting photo that
spits out of a printer is neither one nor the other but an
acceptable combination of the two.
INT. HOUSING PROJECT - APARTMENT. DAY.
EUGENE is starting to prepare Jerome's specimen bags for the
first time. He winces in pain as he plucks several hairs from
his head. JEROME, now out of his casts, prepares job
(still grimacing, referring to the follicles)
You really need that much?
More than that. You'll get used to it.
(yanking out another hair)
God, what wouldn't you do to leave the planet?
(inspecting a hair follicle)
Leave? Just a few million years ago every atom in
this hair--in our bodies--was a part of a star.
I don't see it as leaving. I see it as going home.
(marvelling at Jerome's earnestness)
God, you're serious, aren't you?
Jerome ignores him. Having learnt his lesson, he hands the
envelopes to EUGENE to lick the flaps.
INT. HOUSING PROJECT - APARTMENT. DAY.
JEROME is doing a late-minute cram on a geriatric computer from
the late 1990's. Checking the time, Jerome hurriedly picks up
the shirt that EUGENE has been ironing from a prone position on
It's not too late to back out.
You don't know what a relief it is not to
be me. Are you sure you want the job?
Jerome contemplates the question for a moment.
What about you? What's in this for you, Eugene?
(referring to the bladder bag he wears)
Listen, I bag this stuff anyway. It may
as well pay my rent.
Jerome hurrise to the bathroom where, with some difficulty, he
inserts his urine device for the first time. The new improved
Jerome emerges into the living room ready for his interview.
INT. GATTACA CORPORATION - TESTING LAB. DAY.
JEROME emerges from a bathroom and hands a TECHNICIAN his
plastic cup full of fraudulent urine and inserts it into the
(reading off the profile)
What about the interview?
(referring to the cup)
That was it.
EXT. GATTACA. DAY.
JEROME, scarcely able to disguise his delight, exits Gattaca,
trying not to stare at the superb specimens who are now his
The majority of people are now made-to-order.
What began as a means to rid society of
inheritable diseases has become a way to design
your offspring--the line between health and
enhancement blurred forever. Eyes can always be
brighter, a voice purer, a mind sharper, a body
stronger, a life longer. Everyone seeks to give
their child the best chance but the most skilled
geneticists are only accessible to the priveleged few.
In a nearby park MODEL CHILDREN from MODEL PARENTS play
Anyone who is the product of an altered
DNA is proudly referred to as a "DAN",
"self-made man or woman", "man-child".
INT. HOUSING PROJECT - APARTMENT. NIGHT.
JEROME wheels EUGENE out of their housing project. He takes in
the neighborhood for the last time. We focus on a POOR COUPLE
cradling an INFANT.
Those parents who, for moral or, more likely
economic reasons, refrain from tampering with
their offspring's genetic makeup or who fail
to abort a deprived fetus condemn their children
to a life of routine discrimination.
We glimpse other PEOPLE in the neighborhood. They appear poor
but, for the most part, physically normal. However a pall of
gloom hangs over them.
Officially they are called "In-Valids"*. Also
known as "godchildren", "men-of-god", "faith births",
"blackjack births", "deficients", "defectives",
"genojunk", "ge-gnomes", "the fucked-up people".
[* "IN-VALID" pronounced as in "an invalid license"]
They are the "healthy ill". They don't
actually have anything yet - they may never.
But since few of the pre-conditions can be
cured or reversed, it is easier to treat them
as if they were already sick.
As they enter a car, driven by GERMAN, Jerome spies a beautiful
young GIRL, 11, sitting on the steps of the housing project,
staring forlornly into space. While there is no outward sign of
any deficiency, she is somehow aware that she is damaged goods.
Jerome glances in the rearview mirror.
By means of a donor I have cheated the
system for the last four years to open doors
that would otherwise be closed to me.
Jerome wheels Eugene into the palatial condominium complex where
the two men now reside.
INT. GATTACA. PRESENT DAY.
We return to JEROME's reflection in the glass. Other GATTACA
EMPLOYEES are gradually gathering behind him.
In the guise of Jerome Morror I have risen
quickly through the ranks of Gattaca. Only one
of the Mission Directors has ever come close
to discovering my true identity.
We now see what Jerome has been gazing at through the window
the whole time - the sight that has brought a hush to the
complex. Through an open office door lies the body of a large
man - the MURDERED DIRECTOR, lying where he has just been
discovered, in a pool of his own blood.
Strange to think, he may have more success
exposing me in death than he did in life.
Jerome wipes his eye and also goes to investigate. We focus on
an extreme close up of his EYELASH. Loosened by Jerome's hand,
it breaks free and floats gently down to the floor where it
comes to rest.
INT. GATTACA AEROSPACE CORPORATION. MORNING.
DETECTIVE HUGO, late-forties, wearing a crime-scene hygenic suit
and gloves and a full clear mask - looking more like a surgeon
or a toxic waste worker than a detective - places a blood-
spattered computer keyboard alongside the Director's shattered
skull. The indentations match the blunt corner of the keyboard.
Hugo detaches the dangling keyboard from its parent computer and
seals the likely murder weapon in a marked, transparent plastic
A CREW of similarly-suited homicide detectives systematically
vacuum the surrounding office area with metallic, industrial-
looking mini-vacs. Once each work space has been vacuumed, the
transparent plastic vacuum bag is detached, sealed and labelled.
OTHER DETECTIVES video the scene with camcorders. Video prints
spit out of the cameras for instant inspection.
EXT. GATTACA - LANDSCAPED GARDENS. DAY.
A silicon police tape cordons off the crime scene. From the
landscaped garden, a crowd of GATTACA EMPLOYEES view the
proceedings through the glass walls.
(staring at the Director's body)
Yeah, awful it didn't happen sooner.
Nervous smirks from nearby employees. We focus on JEROME.
Standing slightly apart from the others, he does not appear to
share the joke, or perhaps even hear it. Jerome watches, wide-
eyed, as a DETECTIVE approaches his work station with a mini-
vac. A chill goes through Jerome as the detective's cleaner
passes over his desk.
Jerome is distracted by a smear on the window, obstructing his
view. Without thinking, he breathes on the glass and rubs the
smear away with his elbow. Nearby, elderly janitor, CAESAR
notices Jerome's fastidious act and reads the panic in Jerome's
eyes. DIRECTOR JOSEF suddenly appears at Jerome's shoulder.
Standing a pace behind the Director, computer notepad in hand,
You're lucky to be getting out of this.
We're still going ahead as planned?
The launch window is only open until week's
end. Tragic though this event may be, it
hasn't stopped the planets turning.
He glances towards a group of Detectives headed by HUGO.
You'll have to excuse me, Jerome. I have to
meet with the authorities--naturally, we're
co-operating in any way, although I won't
tolerate a major disruption.
(as he departs)
I wish I was going with you, Jerome.
As the pair depart, Jerome and Irene exchange a glance. Irene
is also aware of Jerome's unease.
INT. GATTACA - CORRIDOR. DAY.
We focus on JEROME's eyelash, still lying on the floor.
A huge crescent-shaped hair that fills the screen. Suddenly
there is a roar of a mini-vac and the eyelash is sucked up. We
follow the eyelash's journey, down the throat of the cleaner
into the specimen bag where it is sucked against the bag's
clear, plastic wall.
INT. GATTACA - COMPUTER COMPLEX. DAY.
The DIRECTOR's corpse is sealed in a plastic bodybag and wheeled
away on a gurney. The blood and other body matter from the
murder scene is sucked up by a portable wet-vac and the sample
bag appropriately labeled.
EXT. GATTACA - COURTYARD CAFETERIA. DAY
A chime sounds over the P.A. follwed by an announcement.
Thank you for your co-operation. Please
return to your work stations immediately.
The PROGRAMMERS get to their feet en masse and begin filing into
the work room.
What, no counselling?
INT. GATTACA COMPUTER COMPLEX - DIRECTOR'S OFFICE. DAY.
A WOMAN ASSISTANT whose keyboard was used in the attack has to
pause as a MAINTENANCE WORKER gives her work station a final
spray to return it to its former pristine condition. A new
keyboard is plugged into her monitor to replace the one taken as
INT. GATTACA COMPUTER COMPLEX. DAY.
JEROME opens his desk drawer to check his comb, now plucked
completely clean. He carefully places two of Eugene's hairs to
the comb and scatters another bag of fraudulent matter around
his work station.
INT. GATTACA - SIMULATOR ROOM. DAY.
In a large, bare room a simulator does a slow dance back and
forth on its hydralic legs, miming the path of the space
craft Jerome will soon be aboard. The simulation ends and
JEROME exits the simulator through a small door. IRENE
hesitantly approaches, carrying a slim electronic tablet.
Excuse me, Jerome. I'm sorry to bother you.
Jerome turns, not displeased by the interruption.
(referring to her notepad)
I've been asked to compile a log for the
investigators--they want to know everyone's
whereabouts last night.
Last night? I was at home.
Irene makes a note with her stylus.
Can that be, er, verified? Were you alone?
No it can't be verified. Yes I was alone.
Irene makes another note.
Looks bad, doesn't it, Irene? What about
you? Where were you last night?
I was at home.
Were you alone?
So we don't know for sure about you, either.
(wary, wondering where the
conversation is headed)
Why don't we say we were together?
Why would we do that?
I have better things to do this week than
answer the foolish questions of some flatfoot.
Irene contemplates the question.
Well, shall we say we spent the evening together?
Irene is still unsure whether or not Jerome is serious.
To be convincing, Jerome, I would have to know
what that was like.
Irene turns and departs. Jerome watches her go.
INT. EUGENE'S CONDOMINIUM. NIGHT.
The paraplegic EUGENE, seated by the window, meticulously cuts
a long fingernail into numerous clippings. He places the
clippings in small plastic bags and seals them. He then begins
to fill tiny sachets with blood. He turns as he hears JEROME
enter down the spiral staircase with the groceries.
You didn't forget the truffles?
JEROME places the items in the refrigerator in the bathroom and
retrieves a bottle of vodka - the vodka incongruous-looking
beside the blood and urine specimens. Joining Eugene at his
workbench, he pours them both a drink.
(sensing something amiss, trying
to keep his humor)
The Mission Director.
(misinterpreting the deadpan remark)
They found him in his office this morning--
beaten so bad they had to check his nametag.
Eugene takes in the news, a smile broadening across his face.
What an act of benevolence--a service to the
community. So that's it. Now there's nothing
between you and ignition.
He was still warm when they confirmed.
(confused by Jerome's attitude)
This calls for a celebration. Doesn't it?
The place is crawling with Hoovers.
So what? You didn't kill him, did you?
Jerome shoots him a glance for the inappropriate remark.
That's not the point.
Hey, how much of you can be there? Even if the
"J. Edgars" do find something, in a week--
(glancing up to the night sky)
you'll be slightly out of their jurisdiction.
Come on, we've got to get drunk immediately.
(still tempering Eugene's enthusiasm)
You're going to have to earn your supper. I've got
my final physical tomorrow.
Jerome wheels Eugene's chair to a specially constructed platform
that allows the wheels to spin in mid-air. Jerome tapes an
electrode to Eugene's chest and attaches the wire to a slim
recording device. Eugene begins to spin the wheel of the chair
faster and faster. Jerome monitors Eugene's steady heartbeat
through a set of headphones.
INT. GATTACA AEROSPACE CORPORATION - COMPUTER COMPLEX. NIGHT.
The complex is virtually empty - only a handful of the hundreds
of PROGRAMMERS working late into the night. IRENE approaches
JEROME's work station on the pretext of delivering some
documents. Trying to act casually, she looks under the papers
on his desk, then opens the top desk drawer.
We see an EXTREME CLOSE UP of the comb lying there - the two
hairs trapped between the teeth of the comb. Irene removes one
of the follicles and drops it into an envelope she is carrying.
INT. 24-HOUR SEQUENCING LAB. NIGHT.
"SEQUENCING-WHILE-U-WAIT". Similar to a 1-hour photo lab, the
store - little more than a booth - displays a price list on the
wall. "FULL SEQUENCE - $80". IRENE waits in line with a cross-
section of other CUSTOMERS. She checks the contents of the
envelope that contains the hair.
The YOUNG WOMAN in line ahead of her allows the TECHNICIAN to
take a swab from her full lips with a Q-tip.
(mustering patience, referring
to the Q-tip)
I kissed him five minutes ago. A real good one.
Overhearing, several PEOPLE in the line snicker.
I'll see what I can do.
The technician hands the swab to an ASSISTANT. The Young Woman
is handed a number and takes a seat. Irene hands her envelope
over the counter. She too is handed a number. We follow
Jerome's follicle as another TECHNICIAN places it in an
INT/EXT. SEQUENCING LAB / PARKING LOT. NIGHT.
The TECHNICIAN returns the envelope to IRENE along with a
miniature compact disc.
(remarking on the profile result)
Irene does not appear to share the technician's enthusiasm.
She emerges from the sequencing lab and enters her car. Taking
a palm-top computer from her purse, she inserts the disc into
the computer. Jerome's counterfeit genetic profile appears on
the screen. The details confirm her worst fears.
EXT. MICHAEL'S DINNER CLUB. NIGHT.
JEROME and EUGENE, dressed to the nines, pull up in the car
to a darkened doorway in a poorly lit street. A VALET appears
out of the shadows. Familiar with the car, he goes immediately
to the trunk to retrieve Eugene's collapsible wheelchair.
Jerome tips the valet - a credit card wiped through a device.
INT. MICHAEL'S DINNER CLUB. NIGHT.
The chic, elegant establishment inside belies its darkened
exterior. JEROME wheels EUGENE into a decadent dinner club
full of an odd assortment of people. They are immediately
greeted respectfully by MICHAEL, the owner and maitre d'.
Jerome and Eugene are obviously regulars.
Good evening, gentlemen. Your table is ready.
(referring to Jerome's mission)
Not long now, sir. You'll be upstairs
before you know it. We're going to miss you.
Not as much as I'll miss your Stroganoff.
I'd like to take one of your chefs with me.
INT. MICHAEL'S DINNER CLUB. NIGHT.
In a secluded booth JEROME and EUGENE toast from a bottle of
1999 vintage Bordeaux. Eugene drinks longer than Jerome.
Jerome dabs his mouth with a napkin. He fails to notice a
minute FLAKE OF SKIN dislodged from his chin. We follow the
flake as it comes to rest beneath the table.
LATER, Eugene and Jerome watch COUPLES dancing a samba on the
dance floor. A WAITER vacuums the table with a discreet,
handheld miniature vacuum while a WAITRESS clears the plates.
She accidentally drops a knife onto Eugene's leg.
(aghast at the sight of his lifeless legs)
I'm so sorry. Did I hurt you?
(smiling, a trace of bitterness)
Honey, if you'd hurt me, I'd be cured.
Eugene, the worse for drink, gropes for the waitress's leg but
she easily avoids his clumsy pass.
You want to meet a real-life spaceman?
Jerome, always aware, scanning the club, suddenly spies
NAPOLEON, his Gattaca colleague, on the other side of the
room. Napoleon is taking a hit from a vial concealed in his
hand. Jerome abruptly turns his back to avoid being recognized.
Let's get out of here.
(knocking back his drink,
misinterpreting the hasty departure)
You're right, there's more atmosphere
where you're going.
INT/EXT. CAR. NIGHT.
Driving along the freeway, Jerome's car suddenly dives down an
escape road. EUGENE looks sideways at JEROME.
INT/EXT. CAR. NIGHT.
The car careens around and around a small circular building -
a cloud of dust billowing up behind the car. We focus on a
BRICK wedged against the car's gas pedal.
EUGENE is at the wheel, JEROME in the passenger seat.
The hard turn is repeated with increasing recklessness, Eugene
fighting to control the bucking car.
(screaming in both fear and exhilaration)
I gotta stop!! I gotta stop!!
Keep going!! Keep going!!
Finally the car spins to a halt in a cloud of dust. When the
dust settles it is revealed that they have been circling the
base of a huge satellite dish in a desolate location.
EXT. SATELLITE DISH. NIGHT.
EUGENE lies on the hood of the car, leaning against the
windshield, drinking from a bottle of vodka. In the
background, the unmanned satellite dish. JEROME relieves
himself against the building at the base of the satellite.
(gently chiding Jerome over the joyride)
You idiot. You could ruin everything
with a stunt like that.
Eugene spies a spacecraft launching from Gattaca city.
(gazing up into the night sky)
At least up there your piss will be worth something.
(smiling at the thought)
You'll all be showering in it, right?
(zipping his fly)
And drinking it. It's like Evian by the
time it's filtered.
(referring to the rocket ship)
What is that one?
Jerome doesn't bother to look in the direction of the craft but
merely glances to his watch. He joins Eugene on the hood of the
(looking at his watch)
11.15 to the port. A maintenance crew.
How long do you stay up there before you go?
A day or so.
I still can't believe they're sending you to
the Belt--you of all people--never meant to be
born, on a mission to discover the origin
Eugene laughs to himself and passes the bottle to Jerome.
You should be going instead of me.
Jerome taps Eugene's lifeless legs with his foot.
Up there they wouldn't be a problem.
(glancing heavenwards, shaking his head)
You know I'm scared of heights.
INT. CRIME LABORATORY - AUTOPSY ROOM. NIGHT.
The body and clothing of the MISSION DIRECTOR, lying on a metal
examining table is scanned with a blue-light magnifying
instrument. Fingernail specimens are taken for analysis. In
another area of the laboratory, the labelled vacuum bags are
attached to analyzers and the contents sucked out and
automatically identified. ID names and photographs of GATTACA
EMPLOYEES begin appearing on a computer screen at high speed
along with other personal details - all data automatically
logged for later review.
The photographs and personal details of JEROME and IRENE flash
past, amongst the faces of other employees.
We focus on a magnified close up of JEROME'S EYELASH, still
clinging stubbornly to the side of its specimen bag. We
continue to follow its journey as it is finally sucked into the
INT. CRIME LAB - ANALYZER MACHINE. NIGHT.
Inside the machine, a minute, cell-thin sliver is sliced from
JEROME'S EYELASH and analyzed.
INT. INVESTIGATOR'S CRIME LAB. NIGHT.
A severed HUMAN TONGUE sits on a tray in a sterile, sealed
chamber. Using gloves that protrude through the chamber's glass
wall, face buried in a binocular eyepiece, the INVESTIGATOR
takes a swab from the tongue.
(to the tongue, as he inserts the
tip of the swab into an analyzer)
Let's see what you've got to say for yourself.
A FEMALE ASSISTANT, looking on, hardly has time to smile at the
remark before information begins to appear on a nearby computer
terminal. The computer gradually builds a portrait of the owner
of the tongue using genetic predictors. The Investigator
wanders over to the window as his Assistant reads the
information from the screen.
The tongue is male. Mature. Blonse hair.
Brown eyes. Light complexion. Between
5'11 and 6'1. Pronounced Caucasian nose.
Thin lips. Weak chin. Lobeless ears.
Prematurely balding. Slightly bow-legged.
Broad shoulders. Barrel chest...
(mildly amused, checking the
monitor for himself)
The tongue is blind?
Who cuts out the tongue of a blind man?
Someone who is mindful that the blind
The INVESTIGATOR is alerted by the chime of his nearby computer.
On the screen, he discovers the face of 20-YEAR-OLD VINCENT
and the accompanying flashing message: TRACKING IN-VALID
883000181105-10 - NEW DATA -
INT. CONDOMINIUM COMPLEX - PARKING GARAGE. NIGHT.
Having plugged his car into an overnight charger, JEROME pushes
EUGENE in his wheelchair to the elevator. Bottle in hand,
Eugene leans over and vomits on the ground. Jerome shakes his
head resignedly. Eugene looks drunkenly up at Jerome.
(sarcastically referring to the pool of vomit)
I'm sorry. Did you want it?
Jerome meets Eugene's gaze. There is a trace of bitterness
in Eugene's drunken smile.
Let me get it for you.
Eugene bends down to scoop up some vomit with his hand but the
elevator arrives and Jerome quickly wheels him away. Eugene's
head flops to the side as he passes out.
INT. EUGENE'S CONDOMINIUM. NIGHT.
JEROME unlocks EUGENE's condo and wheels his chair inside. We
see their reflection in a full-length mirror as Jerome pushes
Eugene to the bedroom. After removing Eugene's soiled clothing,
he heaves the tall man from the chair and onto the bed.
(maudlin, sobbing like a child)
I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
(attempting to comfort)
It's okay, Eugene.
You know I wasn't drunk--I knew what I was
doing when I walked in front of that car--
--What car?--Go to sleep.
--I walked right in front of it. I was never
more sober in my life.
Jerome looks at Eugene's lifeless legs, trying to cover his
shock at the revelation.
It's all right.
(grabbing Jerome by the collar)
I'm proud of you, Vincent.
Eugene's head falls back onto the pillow.
(smiling to himself)
You must be drunk to call me Vincent.
But Eugene does not reply, drifting into sleep once again.
Jerome pulls a blanket over him.
On the verge of leaving, Jerome's attention is drawn to a wall
on the far side of the room. Approaching the wall, near
Eugene's mirrored closet, he detects a faint mechanical whir
coming from inside the adjacent condominium. Jerome
contemplates investigating but exits the condominium instead
- climbing the spiral staircase to his own condominium.
INT. JEROME'S CONDO - LIVING ROOM. NIGHT.
JEROME fastidiously vacuums with an upright cleaner. Using a
hose attachment he cleans around a picture frame that contains
Jerome's original computer keyboard handdrawn on the flap of a
INT. GATTACA - COMPUTER COMPLEX. DAY.
In the vast room of COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS we pull-focus to
discover that we have been filming the complex through the
transparent specimen bag containing JEROME'S EYELASH.
On the mezzanine floor overlooking the scene of the crime,
the INVESTIGATOR holds the bag, transfixed by the lash. The
lead homicide detective, DETECTIVE HUGO, finishes interviewing
a GATTACA SECURITY GUARD and approaches the Investigator.
A large telescope in the background.
Although Hugo is deferential to his more youthful superior, his
body language betrays his displeasure. Hugo clearly does not
relish the Investigator's involvement in his case.
I don't understand why you were dragged out
here, Sir. It's hardly worth wasting your
time--a no-nothing case like this.
(gently rebuking his subordinate)
A man's dead, Detective.
Of course, Sir. We're checking the entry log,
(looking out over the balcony)
I look around, I see a lot of dry eyes.
The Director was not...
(searching for the words)
...universally loved. He was leading the
cut-backs in the program. You're looking at
a room full of motives.
(shaking his head adamantly,
referring to the bag in his hand)
No, this is your man.
(not so convinced)
With respect, Sir--it may be the only
unaccountable specimen but the profile
--What about his profile?
Hugo refers to a print-out of 20-YEAR-OLD VINCENT's profile
including his Genetic Quotient. (The fifteen-year-old photo of
Vincent now bears little resemblance to his assumed identity.)
According to this, he's a sick man. Congenital
heart condition. Who knows how long the specimen
has been here but there's an 80 percent chance
the owner of that eyelash has already died
himself from natural causes.
So there's a 20 percent chance he's not dead.
Detective Hugo goes to comment further, then revises his
remark in his head before speaking.
Even if this Vincent Luca is alive, is it
likely he could bludgeon a man to death?
No. Not likely.
The Investigator's tone suggests that the identity of the
culprit is no longer a matter for debate. There is an awkward
pause before the Detective falls into step with his superior.
I take it you're thinking along the lines of a
robbery gone sour--a thief disturbed in the act?
The Investigator merely shrugs.
Of course that doesn't jibe with what we
found. This was an angry killing.
(glancing to the profile in Hugo's hand)
Who knows with these "deficients"? His profile
indicates a proclivity for violence.
(trying to appear co-operative)
I'll run a crossover on the eyelash for
any family or associate connections--
--I've already run it. There's no record
of any living relative.
What a pity.
(irritated, glancing to the sample bag)
Detective Hugo, it's a simple case of lost and
found. All we have to do is locate the man who's
minus an eyelash and this murder will solve itself.
We focus on JEROME at his work station. Although he continues
to work, he clrarly feels the presence of the INVESTIGATORS on
the mezzanine floor behind him.
A MEDICAL DIRECTOR approaches the programmer in the neighboring
work station - NAPOLEON, the programmer Jerome encountered in
the nightclub the previous evening.
Napoleon, you're late for your substance test.
Napoleon looks up, ashen-faced. Jerome intervenes.
Director, Napoleon's helping me today.
The Director regards both men suspiciously.
Well, you take it for him, Jerome.
The Medical Director departs. Napoleon, stunned by the
reprieve, approaches Jerome's work station and pretends to
study the program on his computer screen.
Why did you do that?
(exiting to the testing lab)
Don't worry about it.
INT. GATTACA - TESTING LAB. DAY.
From behind we observe JEROME standing in front of LAMAR,
issuing forth his steady stream of fraudulent urine.
EXT. GATTACA AEROSPACE CORPORATION - WORKOUT CENTER. DAY.
Twenty GATTACA EMPLOYEES, identically-outfitted men and women,
run in a perfectly straight line towards the tranquil lake of
the picturesque grounds, never getting any closer to their goal.
They run at a steady 10mph on twenty identical state-of-the-art
treadmill machines sunken into the floor and arranged in a
uniform row facing a floor to ceiling window. The strain is
beginning to show on many of the faces. The heartrate of each
employee is monitored via a wireless electrode attached to the
Outside in the sunshine the next batch of twenty EMPLOYEES
limbers up in readiness for their physical. JEROME's only
preparation consists of thoughtfully dragging on a
cigarette while staring out at the man-made lake. His
nonchalant attitude disheartens nearby colleagues, including
IRENE who is amongst a group of workers excused from the run
by benevolent, over-protective TRAINERS.
You're excused, Irene. You may resume your duties.
On the way into the work-out facility Jerome stubs out his
cigarette in a stainless steel ashtray. Only we are aware of
the slim credit card-sized recording device that he furtively
slips out of his cigarette pack and secrets in his hand. As he
takes his place on one of the treadmills and adheres the
cordless electrode to his chest, Jerome surreptitiously attaches
his device to the underside of the running machine's control
INT. GATTACA - WORK-OUT OBSERVATION ROOM. DAY.
From a mezzanine floor above the work-out room, LAMAR, the
medical officer, monitors computer read-outs displaying the
pace and pulse of the runners on each treadmill machine.
INT. GATTACA - WORK-OUT CENTER. DAY.
One by one the GATTACA EMPLOYEES drop out until JEROME is the
sole remaining runner. Several of the other employees stand
around and watch Jerome run as they towel off.
He appears under little duress, staring directly ahead,
seemingly in a trance. As we focus on his chest, only we are
aware of the sound of his furiously pounding heart making a lie
of his calm exterior.
INT. GATTACA - WORK-OUT OBSERVATION ROOM. DAY.
Jerome's heart registers a far more measured beat on the
computer in the observation room. The DIRECTOR is at LAMAR's
shoulder, beaming proudly.
(marveling at Jerome's heartrate)
Six miles later it's still beating like a
Goddamn metronome. I could play piano by that
heartbeat of his.
The INVESTIGATOR and DETECTIVE HUGO enter the observation room,
escorted by IRENE.
Director Josef, this is our lead Investigator.
The two men exchange a polite handshake. However the
Investigator is immediately taken with the SOLE RUNNER with his
back to him, on the treadmill below.
How often do you test, Director?
Surely you know what you have.
We have to be certain. Once they're up, we
can hardly turn the boat around.
On the treadmill below, Jerome glances to his watch as he runs,
the distress starting to show. Caught up in the conversation,
Lamar has forgotten to end the work-out. Remembering, he
finally presses the "WARM-DOWN" button, slowing the treadmill.
(still marveling at Jerome)
I swear if I went to lunch and came back, he'd
still be there.
We focus on Jerome's recording device attached to the bottom of
the control panel. It clicks to a stop, indicating that the
bogus heartbeat recording has ended before the workout.
The heartbeat monitor in the observation room suddenly races
from 80 to 250 beats per minute. Lamar catches the discrepancy
out of the corner of his eye but before he can take a second
look, Jerome has whipped his electrode from his chest. The
physician shrugs it off as a glitch in the machine.
The Investigator has turned his back on Jerome to face the
We believe we have a suspect.
What a relief.
(referring to the profile of VINCENT
on Hugo's computer notepad)
This unaccountable specimen was found in
the south wing corridor.
In the room below, Jerome nonchalantly steps off the treadmill,
stealthily retrieves the recording device from beneath the
control panel and returns it to his cigarette pack.
He casually wipes off drops of sweat from the machine with a
towel, briefly glances to Irene with the Investigators and exits
to the locker room.
The Director idly regards the image of VINCENT on Hugo's
handheld screen. He does not recognize the face.
An age enhancement is being prepared as
(referring to his assistant)
Irene will make it available to security.
INT. GATTACA - LOCKER ROOM. DAY.
JEROME wears his assured smile all the way along the corridor
and into the now empty locker room. He exchanges a cheery
greeting with an exiting COLLEAGUE, enters a shower stall,
closes the door behind him and promptly collapses on the shower
The effects of the gruelling work-out are only now apparent. No
longer sucking up the pain, he gulps air into his oxygen-starved
lungs, his heart looking for a way through his tightened chest.
He writhes in agony on the white-tiled floor - a brutal reminder
of the physical frailty he seeks to disguise.
EXT. GATTACA - GARDEN. LUNCHTIME.
In Gattaca's perfectly landscaped gardens JEROME, dressed and
recovered from his ordeal, joins his COLLEAGUES for lunch at one
of the umbrella-covered tables. While most of the others pick
at unappetizing salads and take their individualized medication,
Jerome carries a steak sandwich on his tray.
The sight of the juicy steak is greeted with envious looks from
his colleagues. Jerome pretends not to notice and rubs it in by
liberally sprinkling salt onto the meat.
However when Jerome looks over towards IRENE, she avoids eye
contact. When she abruptly gets up and leaves, Jerome follows -
thinking twice before depositing the napkin in the nearby
trashcan. A janitor reaches for the napkin. It is the Old
Janitor, CAESAR, from Jerome's former life.
I'll take care of that for you, Mr Morrow.
The two men exchange a conspiratorial smile.
EXT. GATTACA - WIND FARM. AFTERNOON.
A forest of wind turbines, supplying energy to the aerospace
complex. However the blades of the turbines are motionless in
the still afternoon. JEROME finally catches up with IRENE. She
turns, unsurprised by his appearance. Standing beside her, he
looks out over the complex as if he too has come for the view.
(eyes fixed on the view)
We were looking at each other. You stopped.
Irene, also keeps her gaze ahead.
I'm sorry. I didn't mean anything.
(shrugging as if it makes
no difference to him)
We were just looking.
I know about you.
Jerome turns to her, startled, trying to read her face. Irene
takes a deep breath and abruptly plucks a long, dark hair from
(offering the hair to Jerome)
Here, take it.
Jerome, confused, takes the hair - more in reflex than intent.
If you're still interested, let me know.
Jerome contemplates the hair in his fingers for a moment, then
deliberately lets it fall to the grounf.
(never taking his eyes from her)
Sorry, the wind caught it.
Irene meets his gaze. There is not a breath of wind. The
hair lies, plainly visible on the ground.
EXT. GATTACA AEROSPACE COMPLEX. AFTERNOON.
As JEROME and IRENE walk between the wind turbines, Jerome
pretends not to notice that Irene keeps furtively checking the
pulse on her wrist. They pause in the shade.
(as if making conversation)
Have they found our friend?
It was a mercy-killing after all.
They found an eyelash.
In the South Wing.
Does it have a name?
Just some In-Valid. Vincent--
(trying to come up with the last name)
Jerome turns away to disguise his alarm. He quickly recovers.
Perhaps we ought to celebrate, Irene.
(a smile playing around her lips)
You celebrate, Jerome?
INT. EUGENE'S CONDO. NIGHT.
EUGENE talks irritably on the phone, examining a container from
a newly opened case of hair bleach.
--I know what I ordered. I ordered "Honey
Dawn" and you sent me "Summer Wheat".
JEROME descends the staircase, taking the steps two at a time.
He immediately goes to the refrigerator, removing trays of
samples. Eugene abruptly hangs up the phone.
Any particular reason?
(collecting up sample bags from
the work bench)
We can't stay here.
What are you talking about?
They think I offed the Director.
Eugene wheels himself over to Jerome, unconcerned.
What makes them think that?
They found my eyelash.
(a flicker of anxiety)
In a corridor.
(blasÈ once again)
Could be worse. They could have found
it in your eye.
Jerome half-smiles despite the situation.
(resuming his collection of samples)
Come on--we're taking off.
I'm not going anywhere. Less than a week to go.
Not on your life--
--You don't understand, they'll make the
connection, they'll hoover again. We should
cut our losses.
(angrily grabbing a tray from Jerome's hands)
Where is your head, Jerome? You're acting
like a guilty man. They won't marry the eyelash
to you. They won't believe that one of their
elite navigators could have suckered them for the
last five years.
They'll recognize me.
How could they recognize you?
(referring to the torn photo of
20-year-old Vincent on the wall)
I don't recognize you. Anyway, you don't have a
choice. You run, you may as well sign a confession,
turn us both in right now. No, we stick this out--
find out what we can but change nothing. This is
a minor inconvenience is all it is. We've taken
worse heat than this.
Jesus, if I'd known you were going to go
belly up on me at the last fucking gasp, I
wouldn't have bothered. You can't quit on me
now. I've put too much into this.
(returning the samples to the fridge)
Besides, this stuff is mine. I had other offers,
you know. I could have rented myself out to
somebody with a spine. You want me to wheel in
there and finish the job myself?
(meeting Jerome's gaze)
We'll take off all right, from pad 18 just like
Jerome slumps down in a chair, Eugene's tirade starting to get
And keep your lashes on your lids where
they belong. How could you be so careless?
I think I was crying.
Eugene is uncomfortable at the notion.
Well save those tears.
Jerome shrugs awkwardly and pours them both a drink.
You really had other offers?
I'm sure I could have.
INT. CONDOMINIUM - INCINERATOR. NIGHT.
The naked JEROME scrapes away at his skin with even greater
ferocity than usual. After exiting the incinerator, he deposits
all the incriminating trash he has collected during the day into
the furnace and ignites the gas.
INT. EUGENE'S CONDOMINIUM. NIGHT.
From outside, a car horn sounds. JEROME, in a formal suit and
spectacles, abruptly enters the condominium. He goes to a
closet and starts searching through Eugene's clothes.
Mind if I borrow a tie?
EUGENE is more interested in the car parked outside the
condominium. IRENE sits in a convertible Citroen DS, dressed in
a classic but provocative black suit. Unaware that she is being
observed she touches up her lipstick in the rearview mirror.
So it's not just the Hoovers who've got
You're the one who said not to change anything.
She's my ear to the investigation.
Is that all?
I've got enough on my mind without that.
If you say so.
(referring to the ties in Jerome's hand)
(agreeing with the selection)
Jerome fumbles with the knot. From his chair, Eugene knots
Jerome's tie for him. Jerome is intrigued that for once Eugene
is abstaining - he has not touched his drink.
(referring to the fridge)
We've got enough virgin samples to last us the week.
I don't feel too good. I think I'm still
drunk from last night.
Never stopped you before.
(regarding Eugene's head)
And for God's sake stop plucking your hair.
Someone went to a lot of trouble to make sure
you wouldn't go bald.
If I were you I'd worry about myself.
(nodding to Jerome's spectacles)
Haven't you forgotten something?
Jerome pockets the spectacles and enters the bathroom for his
contact lenses. The horn sounds outside the window a second
time and Jerome hastily exits. We stay with Eugene. Irene
catches a glimpse of him before he moves away from the window.
Jerome emerges from the building.
As the couple drive away, Eugene wheels himself to the full
length mirror. He regards his own reflection for a moment and
opens the mirror - a disguised door opening into the adjacent
apartment. A cloud of condensed water vapor billows out.
GERMAN, the DNA Broker, emerges with an ENGINEER.
He sends the engineer on his way and joins Eugene at his desk.
Eugene hands German a credit card that he wipes through his
We still need to overhaul the back-up generator.
(fixing Eugene with a penetrating stare)
What's going on, Eugene, I thought he was going
away, not you--you going on vacation?
You got it, German.
You deserve it.
INT. CONCERT HALL - AUDITORIUM. NIGHT.
JEROME and IRENE step over feet, apologizing as they go,
eventually finding their seats in a box in a sold-out concert
On the stage below, a YOUNG PIANIST - a teenage prodigy - has
already taken his place at the keys of a grand piano. The
pianist removes his white gloves and begins to play - an
extremely complex and beautiful piece we have never heard
before. IRENE looks to JEROME. He is clearly caught up in the
EXT. IN-VALID HOUSING PROJECT. NIGHT.
The music from the piano recital continues under the following
contrasting action. A huge, brooding housing project. PEOPLE
hang around on street corners. Menace in the air - a feeling of
Suddenly unmarked police cars appear from all directions,
blocking any escape route. Dozens of PLAINCLOTHES DETECTIVES
pour out of the cars and onto the street.
People scatter, many running straight into the arms of the
Detectives. OTHERS, spilling out of the housing project, are
also immediately apprehended.
The Detectives quickly weed out those suspects not fitting
Jerome's description - WOMEN, OLD MEN and TEENAGERS. They are
shepherded off the street. A line of IN-VALIDS is formed
several hundred yards long. Detectives begin to laboriously
move along the line, taking finger-prick blood samples from each
suspect - instantly confirming their identities with portable
analyzers worn on their hips.
As if having the idea at the same time, TWO SEPARATE MEN
suddenly bolt from the line, knowing that their blood will
incriminate them. Other Detectives, watching for such escape
attempts, esaily apprehend them and escort them to a waiting
With the raid under control, DETECTIVE HUGO indicates to the
INVESTIGATOR that it is safe to exit his car. The Investigator
appears irritated, only half-glancing at the TWO MEN already in
custody, apparently certain that neither one is his suspect.
Not our fish, but sometihng stuck in the net.
The Investigator clearly does not share Hugo's enthusiasm. The
Detective offers the Investigator an age enhanced photograph,
computer-generated from the last existing photo of VINCENT as
This is the age enhancement we're working with.
The Investigator ignores the photo, preferring instead to trust
his own eye as he wanders along the line of suspects.
(referring to the line-up)
As you requested, we've kept the parameters
wider than usual.
The MEN they scrutinize are hardly mutants - the differences
between an IN-VALID and a DAN are subtle at best. Some shorter,
some wearing glasses, some with receding hairlines or bald, many
with no discernable physical difference at all. The
Investigator is only halfway down the line before he turns and
starts walking back to his car.
The mystified Detective Hugo follows his superior.
We're in the wrong place. We're wasting time.
This is the most likely location--
The Investigator wheels on Hugo, suddenly angry, clearly unused
to having his judgement questioned.
--There's that word again. I have a feeling
This man doesn't play the odds, Detective. Not
exactly a slave to probability. Is it "likely"
that a man who has successfully eluded authorities for
fifteen years--a brutal killer--is going to come
to us now like a lamb?
(taken aback by the outburst)
Is there something more we should know about this
suspect, Sir? I mean besides what's on his sheet.
Since going underground, traces of this In-Valid
have shown up at the scene of four serious
felonies. Do you need any more than that?
With respect, Sir, many perfectly innocent
citizens have left specimens at as many crime
scenes. Maybe he's just unlucky.
I don't like anybody this unlucky.
Widen the sweep. The West side. Draw a five mile
radius around Gattaca. Hoover some of the classier
establishments. Random car stops.
We're already getting complaints about
This is a murder investigation. The public
should be happy to co-operate, to get this
disease off the streets.
INT. CONCERT HALL. NIGHT.
A standing ovation. The YOUNG PIANIST on the stage bows deeply,
soaking up the applause of the AUDIENCE. The pianist tosses one
of his white gloves into the front row where it is caught by an
adoring FAN. The second glove he tosses up to the box where
JEROME and IRENE are standing. Jerome snares the glove out of
the air and immediately hands it to Irene. She promptly slips
the glove on her own hand.
The glove fits snugly over her five fingers. However one finger
of the glove remains unfilled. Jerome is stunned to realize
that it is a six-fingered glove.
(catching his look of astonishment)
You didn't know?
(trying hard to convince)
(picking up a resentment, confused)
Why would I be angry? It was beautiful.
He quickly turns away to lead the applause. On stage, the
pianist raises his hands to acknowledge the crowd. Both his
hands contain a perfectly formed extra finger.
INT. IN-VALID HOUSING PROJECT - PROSTITUTE'S BOUDOIR. NIGHT.
From an upstairs window we observe the INVESTIGATOR's car
cruise slowly back into the squalid housing project. A MAN is
buckling his pants at the window.
Shit! One of those Hoovers is back.
A prostitute, VALERIE, a slender, sylphlike beauty, joins him at
It's alright. He's here to see me.
Her client looks at her askance. Despite her assurances, he
hurries into his clothes anyway.
(to an unseen woman in the next room)
Sonja, I can't see anyone else tonight.
INT. IN-VALID HOUSING PROJECT - PROSTITUTE'S BOUDOIR. NIGHT.
The INVESTIGATOR, sits up in the bed, glass in his hand.
VALERIE lies on the tangled sheets, naked, making no effort to
cover herself. She regards the Investigator curiously.
I don't understand you, Investigator.
The Investigator glances idly in her direction.
You hunt us by day and fuck us by night. Do
you only get it up for In-valids?
The Investigator smiles and rejoins her on the bed.
Wouldn't you be happier with one of your
(gently stroking her hair)
You are so beautiful, are you sure you weren't
altered? This is not the face, the body, of
a Godchild. How could something so lovely
be a product of chance?
Is that what keeps you coming back?
(meeting his gaze)
Look at you. Such angry, beautiful, perfect eyes.
Do you ever wonder what they would see if they
weren't quite so perfect? They will never see
what I see.
The Investigator tries to laugh off her assertion but his
tight-lipped smile betrays his displeasure.
(a cruel edge to his voice)
You have so much wrong with you, you'll
be lucky to see next year.
He roughly forces himself on top of her but she remains defiant.
Are you so much more alive, Investigator?
(parting her legs)
I'm not paying you to talk.
INT/EXT. IRENE'S CAR. NIGHT.
IRENE drives, JEROME at her side. Cars are being flagged down
by uniformed POLICE OFFICERS. Irene slows down behind the car
in front. Spying an OFFICER shine a flashlight in the eyes of
the MALE DRIVER up ahead, Jerome wipes the contact lenses from
his eyes and flicks them out of the passenger window when Irene
is not looking.
An OFFICER approaches Jerome and, without a word, opens an
electronic testing kit worn on his hip. He removes a sterilized
Q-tip and motions for Jerome to open his mouth so he can scrape
a culture. Jerome waves his hand in front of his mouth,
(nodding in Irene's direction)
Don't want to give you a contaminated
specimen...if you get my meaning.
IRENE plays along, shrugging coyly at the cop.
We see an EXTREME CLOSE UP of Jerome's hand as he furtively
retrieves a hair follicle attached to his shirt cuff. With the
hair already in his fingers, he pretends to pluck a hair from
his head, faking a wince at the appropriate moment.
The cop, wearing transparent latex gloves, takes the follicle
and places it in a receptacle in his kit. After a short moment
the hair confirms JEROME's driving ID which appears on the kit's
electronic screen. As the cop departs, Irene looks
questioningly at Jerome.
(answering her unasked question)
You never know where those swabs have been.
Irene nods, however clearly not convinced. She shakes the doubt
from her mind.
I want to show you something.
She accelerates away. We see the road ahead from Jerome's POV.
Without his contact lenses, it is a blur.
INT. MICHAEL'S CLUB. NIGHT.
After closing time, suited DETECTIVES vacuum the club in which
Jerome and Eugene dined the previous evening. MICHAEL, the
owner, looks on disdainfully. Waiting in the background, the
regular CLEANERS - most likely In-valids themselves - smirk to
each other, enjoying watching the cops do their work for them.
EXT. OCEAN HIGHWAY. NIGHT.
With no place to turn the car around, IRENE parks on the cliff
side of the six-lane highway. In the darkness she dashes from
the car and, without a second thought, runs directly out into
the heavy commuter traffic. Easily negotiating the on-coming
cars, she emerges safely on the other side of the highway.
JEROME, rounding the car from the passenger side, is about to
follow, when he suddenly pulls up sharply at the curb. We focus
on his eyes, deprived of the benefit of their contact lenses.
From Jerome's POV, we see that the headlights rushing towards
him are nothing but a series of fast-moving blurs - blurs that
merge together. He is unable to distinguish between the
vehicles or judge their distance.
(calling back urgently from the
other side, mindful of the light
beginning to leak into the sky)
Come on! We'll miss it!
Irene stares expectantly back at Jerome with her 20/20 vision,
unaware of his predicament. Jerome puts a foot off the curb at
the wrong moment and is almost collected by an on-coming car.
Irene is taken-aback at his mistiming. Does she detect a squint
on Jerome's face? To Jerome, the figure of Irene on the other
side of the highway is merely a featureless shape but he feels
her expectation. He touches the spectacles, still in his
pocket, but they are an unthinkable option.
He shakes the idea from his head and turns back to the swiftly-
flowing highway. He makes up his mind - he cannot allow himself
to be shamed, even at the risk of life and limb. Hardly even
glancing at the traffic, he suddenly bolts blindly across the
road. Headlights hurtling towards him, cars fortuitously
brushing past his heels, horns blaring. Jerome makes a final
leap to the haven of the far curb, the rush of air from a large,
fast-moving truck blowing him the final inches to the sidewalk.
Irene is stunned by the near miss. She is about to comment but
Jerome takes her by the arm and ushers her towards the dunes.
Come on. We'll miss it.
EXT. BEACH. DAWN.
JEROME and IRENE huddle beneath an overcoat as the sun crests
the horizon, staining the sky with an ochre blush.
What did I tell you?
Jerome nods. However, to his eyes the rising yolk is nothing
but an out-of-focus, abstract ink blot.
I envy you, Jerome.
You'll be next.
I don't think so. The only trip I'll make
in space is around the sun--
(letting a handful of sand
slip through her fingers)
--on this satellite right here.
Irene turns to Jerome.
(blurting out what's really on her mind)
--Listen, I don't want to waste your time
and I really don't want you to waste mine.
I don't know what you're after but I have
a feeling I'm not it.
Irene suddenly takes Jerome's hand and puts it up her
sweater, onto her breast. Although taken aback, Jerome makes
no effort to withdraw his hand.
(enjoying his unease)
It's here. My heart.
I'm careful--weekly check-ups. I'm on a
drug maintenance program, blood thinners,
(slowly removing his hand)
I just want you to know what you'd be getting
What exactly is wrong?
Nothing yet. I'll start experiencing
symptoms in my late-fifties.
But unless they come up with something between
now and then, I won't live much past 67.
Jerome's mouth drops a little, betraying his surprise at the
statement from a woman plainly still in her twenties.
Of course I think about it every day.
(still not quite recovered from his surprise)
INT. POOL. MORNING.
The INVESTIGATOR swims his race with the unseen opponent. The
Investigator's ASSISTANT, carrying a phone, tries to attract his
EXT. JEROME'S POOL. MORNING.
JEROME sits at his own poolside in his robe, feet dangling over
the edge, smoking a cigarette. EUGENE, from his wheelchair, is
applying bleach to Jerome's hair and eyebrows with gloved
At the same time, Jerome plays a sleight-of-hand game with a
How was your evening?
Complicated. I couldn't stop her apologizing.
You are a catch. No doubt she's worried that
she would lower the standard of your offspring.
Everybody wants to "breed up".
What's wrong with her?
(trying to be blasÈ)
You know how it is with these altered births
--somebody told her she's not going to live
forever and she's been preparing to die ever
You're not thinking of telling her, are you?
Of course not. But she's have to know eventually.
She doesn't have to know. She doesn't want to know.
The camera travels down Jerome's scarred legs to find that the
pool is completely drained. We now realize that it never
A BARREN WASTELAND.
A desolate landscape, resembling the surface of the planet Mars.
We pull back to find that we are peering at this forbidding
desert through a circular aperture.
INT. CRIME LAB. DAY.
The INVESTIGATOR lifts his head from the eyepiece of an
electron microscope through which he has been examining a tiny
fragment of skin - the skin is identified as belonging to 20-
YEAR-OLD VINCENT. DETECTIVE HUGO stands at the Investigator's
side - his attitude more respectful in light of the discovery.
Detective Hugo points out a location on a computer-generated
The skin flake was found in Michael's Restaurant.
The employees are all accounted for.
A customer? Does this Michael's cater to misfits?
(shifting the view of the map
to include the Gattaca complex)
No. But one or two "borrowed ladders" have
shown up there in the past.
The Investigator understands the significance. They wander over
to a blow-up photograph of the 20-YEAR-OLD VINCENT.
We have to consider the possibility that he's
playing somebody else's hand.
A smile gradually broadens across the Investigator's face.
(taking a perverse pleasure in the
slowly dawning revelation)
Of course. He's a "de-gene-erate".
(glancing to a photo of the
Gattaca crime scene)
He works at Gattaca. Why else would we find
the eyelash near the washroom? Nobody stops to
take a leak during a murder.
(quickly covering himself)
It's still possible the eyelash specimen came
from a janitor, delivery man--it could have blown
in through an open window.
The Investigator appears not to be listening, his mind made up.
He was afraid of being exposed. That's why he did it.
It is hard to believe he could be one of
their elite workers. You've seen their
security system. They know who works there.
(referring to 20-year-old Vincent's profile)
Even if you ignore the man's expiration date,
his profile suggests that he doesn't have the
mathematical propensity let alone the stamina
to pass their physicals.
Don't underestimate these imposters.
(skeptical, referring to a file of
Gattaca employee ID photos)
None of the ID photos match the enhancement.
(smiling to himself)
A man can change his face--but blood is forever.
Sample every employee within the parameters I gave you.
Hugo's mouth drops open at the mention of "intravenous".
You know their workforce. Two-thirds at
least fall into the category. We'll be
closing down their operation for days.
(seeking a compromise)
At least go with a fingertip sample or urine.
(shaking his head)
Blood. From the vein.
The Investigator turns on his heel to prevent further protest.
The Detective and his ASSISTANTS exchange looks of exasperation
behind the Investigator's back.
INT. GATTACA. DAY.
JEROME, drinking water, stands in front of a large video
bulletin board. Among other things, it displays the electronic
mugshot of 20-YEAR-OLD VINCENT alongside the recent computer
generated age enhancement of his face.
Some distance away, CAESAR, the elderly janitor, discusses the
mugshots with a YOUNGER JANITOR.
Look like anybody to you?
Not to me.
Ugly sonofabitch though, isn't he?
Jerome half-smiles, realizing that the conversation is for his
benefit. Having made it clear that they do not intend to expose
their former colleague, the two janitors continue their rounds.
Jerome crushes his paper cup. Forgetting himself, he
drops the cup into the wastebasket.
INT. CRAFT. DAY.
JEROME familiarizes himself with the interior of a spacecraft
under the supervision of DIRECTOR JOSEF and the MISSION
COMMANDER. The screen that Jerome sits at is identical to the
one he operates in the computer complex - displaying asteroid
--Somewhere in the dust of Gaspra is the key.
(warming to his theme)
Back to the beginning of the book--the life we
became. With the original building blocks who
knows how far we can take "the godding".
Even someone as advanced as Jerome will be
last year's model by the time we're done.
I wouldn't get your hopes up, Commander.
Irene enters the craft.
Excuse me, Mr Morrow. The investigators have
begun their testing.
This is so inconvenient, Irene. They can
make an exception for Jerome.
I'm afraid not.
I apologize, Jerome.
It's not yor fault, Director.
If your predecessor were still around
we may not be going to Gaspra at all.
That's what I would call inconvenient.
Jerome exits the craft with Irene.
INT. GATTACA CORPORATION - CORRIDOR. DAY.
A line of MALE GATTACA EMPLOYEES snakes out the door and down
the corridor. The INVESTIGATOR walks slowly down the line,
trying to eyeball his suspect. Concentrating on the shorter,
dark-haired men in the line, he looks straight past JEROME.
However, as the Investigator ignores him and walks by, we see a
haunted look in Jerome's eyes.
INT. GATTACA - TESTING LAB. DAY.
Every available TECHNICIAN is working to accommodate the testing
of the thousand or so PROGRAMMERS. Twelve testing stations
operate simultaneously. A HOMICIDE DETECTIVE supervises each
station. JEROME reaches the head of the line. He notes an
exiting COLLEAGUE holding a cotton ball to his arm.
A NURSE directs Jerome to LAMAR's testing station. Lamar
deposits the previous patient's labeled vial into a blood
carousel under the watchful eye of a large DETECTIVE, clearly
not relishing his assignment. Jerome rolls up his sleeve.
(referring to the table lined with syringes)
What's with the plungers, Lamar? What are
you doing, opening a blood bank?
The syringes are clearly not Lamar's idea.
The gentlemen of law enforcement are concerned that
my testing methods may have been compromised.
Lamar inserts a fresh syringe into Jerome's arm. As Lamar draws
the blood, Jerome suddenly flinches and flexes his arm
violently, causing the needle to bend and buckle, exiting the
skin from a second puncture point.
Having pulled away from Lamar's grasp, Jerome withdraws the bent
needle himself, blood still squirting from his vein.
(grabbing a nearby wad of gauze)
Jesus--I'm sorry, Jerome.
The large Homicide Detective winces and turns away from the red
arcing spray, a splash of blood spattering his shoes. In the
midst of the commotion, with his practised sleight-of-hand,
Jerome removes the vial from the syringe and replaces it with
another concealed vial.
(unfazed, putting Lamar at his ease)
You must be out of practise, Lamar.
Lamar hurriedly takes the syringe from Jerome.
(examining and removing the
switched vial from the bent syringe)
I've got enough here.
(regarding the squimish detective,
as he holds the gauze to his arm)
Need any more, you can always get it off his shoes.
The Detective notices the spatter of blood across his brogues
and, with a look of disdain, wipes it clean. He tosses the
incriminating tissue down a hygenically sealed garbage shoot.
Lamar places Jerome's labelled vial in the carousel where it is
immediately analyzed by the computer. Jerome's "legitimate"
Employee ID code appears on the screen - "VALID". Another
EMPLOYEE enters the testing lab.
INT. GATTACA. DAY.
JEROME exits the testing lab with the gauze held to his arm.
IRENE is standing outside the door.
So you didn't do it after all.
I guess somebody beat me to it.
INT. GATTACA - MEZZANINE FLOOR. LATER IN THE DAY.
From above, the INVESTIGATOR and HUGO observe the final EMPLOYEE
exit the testing lab.
LAMAR, following the employee out of the lab, throws a look of
vindication to the two cops.
That's the last.
Something's not right.
(losing his patience)
He's not here. It's a blind alley.
No, we've missed something. We Hoover again.
We don't have the manpower.
Get it. From outside, if you have to.
From what budget?
(angered by Hugo's excuses)
I'll take it out of your damn pension if
you question my authority one more time!
The INVESTIGATOR turns his back on his subordinate and idly
contemplates the nearby telescope. Hugo resignedly relays the
news to Director Josef who is standing some distance away.
Josef's immediate reaction is to march towards the Investigator,
Hugo trailing behind. DIRECTOR JOSEF collects himself as he
notices the Investigator's hand on the telescope.
Would you care to look--in the telescope?
Thank you, no.
(still referring to the telescope)
One look through there and you would know why
I can't possibly allow you to disrupt operations
You're so unconcerned that you have a killer
in your midst.
Right now, your presence is creating more of
a threat. I don't think you have any concept
of what we do here--how meticulous our
preparations must be. We are about to send
twelve people through 140 million miles of
blackness to rendezvous with an object the size
of a house and the color of coal. So it's rather
critical to point them in the right direction.
And we certainly don't need you looking over our
shoulders. Besides, I don't believe there is
any evidence that the killer is amongst us. I
don't see too many other dead bodies littering
(surveying the mostly empty facility)
No, but since there aren't too many live ones
tonight either, you won't mind us conducting one
further sweep. If he does not work here, then
there should be no other trace of him.
I think you'd better get some people out of bed,
(a thought occurs)
In the meantime we can re-check his favorite
Director Josef quietly seethes.
(to Josef, referring to the telescope)
You see, Director, I prefer my microscope.
INT. EUGENE'S CONDOMINIUM. DAY.
JEROME readies himself for an evening out - a bandage around his
arm from the needle puncture. EUGENE wheels himself in.
Where are we going?
I'm sorry. I've got plans.
(referring to his bandage)
She's already got her doubts. I have to act
like nothing's wrong.
I'm sure you'll be very convincing.
Jerome ignores the remark.
Where are you taking her?
Eugene looks at him askance.
Everybody goes there.
(incredulous, glancing around the room)
You may as well invite her here.
(afterthought as he picks up his jacket)
Will you be okay?
Don't worry about your little pin cushion.
To be honest, I'm looking forward to having
the place to myself.
(seeing through the bravado)
We'll still be able to talk when I'm away.
The conversation will just keep getting longer.
By the time I'm at the Belt, you phone and
say, "How are you?" Forty-five minutes
later I reply, "Not bad. How are you?"
I guess I'd better have something important
to say if it takes that long to get an answer.
INT. MICHAEL'S CLUB. NIGHT.
IRENE and JEROME step off the dance floor of the smoky, decadent
dinner club and take a seat at their table. Irene is agog at
the strange assortment of PATRONS, the cigars, the laden dessert
trolleys. It is all slightly off from the pristine world she is
What is this place?
(wry smile, enjoying her fascination)
You've never been here?
(a dessert trolley is wheeled up)
Let me order for you.
Jerome selects a chocolate torte from the trolley. Jerome
savors a spoonful. Irene is tempted but then remembers herself.
I'd better not.
She reaches for her elegant pill box. Jerome takes another
So sure of what you can't do. Do you even
know what it tastes like, Irene?
Irene goes to deny it but cannot.
MICHAEL suddenly approaches the table with a WAITER in tow.
Irene is about to steal a taste of the dessert with her finger
when their plates and glasses are whisked away and the table
immediately hoovered. Michael whispers in Jerome's ear.
Take the side door.
Jerome looks up in time to see DETECTIVE HUGO coming through the
front entrance with several other DETECTIVES.
(to his colleagues)
Check for lenses, hairpieces--
A Detective shines a flashlight in the eyes of a MALE PATRON.
A SECOND DETECTIVE tugs the hair of a SECOND PATRON. Jerome
takes Irene by the hand and escorts her out of the side exit.
Several other COUPLES make for the parking lot.
Why are we leaving?
(attempting to explain the hasty exit)
Those checks take forever.
EXT. MICHAEL'S CLUB - SIDE ALLEY. NIGHT.
Spilling out of the exit, JEROME and IRENE find a burly
plain clothes DETECTIVE barring their way. Before the Detective
can say a word, Jerome has wrapped his fist in his jacket sleeve
and smashed him in the face. He continues to beat the Detective
until he lies motionless on the ground.
Spying other Detectives some distance away in the parking lot.
Jerome leads Irene out of a hidden side gate.
What about the car?
(grabbing her by the hand)
Who are they?
(holding his bruised knuckles)
It's not safe. I shouldn't have brought you here.
Jerome drags Irene across a vast, desolate lot, lit only by
moonlight. Feeling exposed, he breaks into a run.
My medication. I left it back there.
We'll get it later.
(forcing her to look him in the eye)
Irene realizes his seriousness. She begins to run with him.
The clearing is wider than Jerome anticipated. They are only
halfway across - extremely vulnerable if the Detective think yo
look in their direction.
INT. MICHAEL'S. NIGHT.
The INVESTIGATOR is grilling MICHAEL, the club's owner. The
investigator suspiciously regards the multitude of mini-vacs in
the kitchen and the incinerator burning the refuse.
(an accusing tone)
You run a clean establishment.
Are you a health inspector?
(showing Vincent's mugshot)
Do you recognize this man?
My eyes aren't so good.
Hugo calls out from the side door where he has discovered
his fallen colleague.
The Investigator hurries to him.
(to the still dazed Detective,
examining his injuries)
Did he hit you with his fist?
(head in his hands)
More like a hammer.
(reprimanding the beaten Detective)
Don't touch your face. Don't swallow.
Quick, clean his teeth.
Hugo uses a flashlight and a small dental-like implement to try
to pick skin from Jerome's knuckles from between the Detective's
teeth. The Investigator finds the hidden side door.
EXT. DESOLATE LOT. NIGHT.
JEROME and IRENE continue to sprint across the enormous vacant
lot in the moonlight, splashing through deposits of mud and
water. Just as the gate opens in the distance, Jerome hurls
Irene into the safety of the undergrowth on the other side.
Irene, out of breath, desperately feels for her pulse.
(upset, a strangled protest)
Are you trying to kill me? Are you?!
Don't you understand, I can't do that!
Jerome tenderly removes Irene's hand from her pulse.
You just did.
Irene looks back across the vast clearing they have just
negotiated, realizing what she has just done.
From across the other side of the clearing comes an echoing
cry from the center FIGURE.
EXT. MICHAEL'S. NIGHT.
The INVESTIGATOR is about to cry out Vincent's name once again
when he realizes DETECTIVE HUGO and the other DETECTIVES are
watching him, askance.
(to Hugo, covering his frustration)
What are you waiting for?
Where do we start?
We'll vacuum these streets if we have to.
(handing the Investigator Irene's pill box)
We caught them trying to flush these, Sir.
The Investigator carefully examines the heart pills.
EXT. IRENE'S APARTMENT. NIGHT.
JEROME walks IRENE to the steps of her apartment. Jerome thinks
about departing but Irene takes him gently by the hand.
So sure of what you can't do.
Jerome follows her inside.
INT. IRENE'S BEDROOM. NIGHT.
JEROME and IRENE climb a staircase to her bedroom. Without
another word they begin to make love.
LATER THAT NIGHT, JEROME cannot sleep. He rises quietly so as
not to disturb IRENE. He silently opens the double-windows of
the upstairs bedroom. He carefully gathers his pillow from the
bed and shakes it out of the window.
Slowly Jerome turns to gaze at the wood floor. In the moonlight
we see an EXTREME CLOSE UP of a single hair lying on the
floorboards. Jerome bends and picks up the hair, trying to
identify it in the dim light. On his hands and knees he tries
to clean the floor with a towel. Irene turns over in the
bed. Jerome freezes but she continues to sleep. He realizes he
may be spreading even more of his skin and hair over the floor.
Overcome with frustration and the enormity of his task, he
begins to quietly weep.
EXT. A FIELD. DAWN.
A light shroud of mist hangs over the trees that encircle a
grassy clearing beyond Irene's building. Something lies in the
center of the clearing.
We jump-cut to an EXTREME CLOSE UP of two or three blades of
grass. Bristles rain down on the blades. Withotu access to his
incinerator, the crouched, naked figure of JEROME disposes of
his whiskers, skin and hair in an open field. His clothes sit
in a neat pile at his side. He pours glycolic acid over his
body and scrubs at his back, feet and hands with a brush. There
is a haunted, tortured look in his eyes as he tries desperately
to rid himself of himself.
INT. POOL. MORNING.
The INVESTIGATOR swims obsessively in his aquatic treadmill.
INT. IRENE'S APARTMENT. LATER THAT MORNING.
Back in the bedroom, JEROME, partially dressed, holds IRENE
in bed. She softly touches the scars on his shins.
(referring to the shins)
You remember the '99 Chrysler LeBaron?
It's the exact height of the front fender.
Looked right instead of left.
(comforted by the thought)
So you're not so smart after all.
(awkward about raising the subject)
I want you to know--if it ever came to it--
I'd be willing to get an ovum from the Egg
Bank. In fact, I'd rather use a donor egg--
(quickly covering herself again)
--if it came to it.
But "if it came to it" then it couldn't have your--
(searching for an appropriate body part)
(stroking her face)
How perfect does your child have to be?
(mildly irritated by what she
perceives as his mocking)
You hypocrite. Do you think for one moment
you'd be doing what you're doing if it wasn't
for who you are--what you are? Don't you get
any satisfaction knowing that your children
will be able to live to a ripe old age unless
they do something foolish?
That's precisely what scaresme--that they
won't do anything foolish or courageous or
anything--worth a Goddamn.
Irene is taken aback by Jerome's passion, regarding him in a new
INT. EUGENE'S CONDOMINIUM. MORNING.
EUGENE urinates into a large plastic container while drinking
bottled water at the same time. He already has several other
containers of urine on the table beside him.
INT. GATTACA. MORNING.
The INVESTIGATOR and DETECTIVE HUGO keep a wary eye on the
outfitted DETECTIVES re-vacuuming the empty computer complex
with their mini-vacs.
My wife and I--we're thinking of starting a family.
These new personality corrections I've been
You worried about the cost?
(regarding Hugo with a condescending smile)
They said the same thing about myopia and
obesity. You think your children would be
less human if they were less violent, angry,
spiteful? Maybe they'd be more human. From
where I sit the world could stand a little
We dwell on one DETECTIVE in particular, snatching a garbage
bag from CAESAR, the janitor.
Don't touch that. It's evidence.
He puts a pile of discarded paper cups aside for later testing.
INT. GATTACA CORPORATION. LATER THAT MORNING.
In the vast, empty Gattaca complex the INVESTIGATOR inspects a
specimen bag containing Jerome's paper cup with DIRECTOR JOSEF
and DETECTIVE HUGO.
Positive saliva match. The cup was
definitely used since the original sweep.
So we have two choices. Either our suspect
came back to the murder scene for a drink of
water and I don't know anybody that thirsty or...
(looking out over the empty complex)
...he is here.
We test again. You're right, Hugo, this was a
desperate act. Someone had a lot to lose that
night--perhaps their place in line.
(to Director Josef)
I'd like the profiles of everyone with an
Twelve have a mission within the week.
This time I will supervise each test personally.
INT/EXT. GATTACA. MORNING.
JEROME and IRENE walk towards the entrance to Gattaca. Spying
the Homicide Investigation trucks parked at the rear of the
building and the silhouette of the INVESTIGATOR in the doorway,
Jerome pulls up sharply. Irene notices his unease.
What is it?
I forgot something--something at home.
I'll see you later.
Jerome kisses her. Irene, also aware of the trucks,
interrogates Jerome with her eyes.
I'll miss you.
Jerome is still focussed on the entranceway.
--when you go away.
We could go together one day.
Irene considers the idea. She enters Gattaca alone.
INT. GATTACA AEROSPACE CORPORATION - COMPUTER COMPLEX. DAY.
IRENE prepares a stack of ID photos of CREW MEMBERS for the
INVESTIGATOR. She closely inspects the doctored photo of
JEROME, hesitating before adding it to the file.
The camera dwells on JEROME's vacant work station. The
INVESTIGATOR curiously regards the empty chair. He is
accompanied by DETECTIVE HUGO, DIRECTOR JOSEF and IRENE.
He's the only absentee.
A little nausea. Quite common.
At least it's nothing contagious.
I will not permit any further testing on the
eve of a mission. We're already counting
The INVESTIGATOR ignores Josef and takes a pocket knife from his
jacket. He prises out the "ESC" key from Jerome's keyboard,
places the key in a specimen bag and deposits it in his jacket.
(picking up a phone)
I'll call and let him know.
The Investigator gently but firmly removes the phone from
Irene's hand and replaces the receiver in the cradle.
Let's not spoil the surprise.
I understand you can show us the way.
The anxious Director Josef calls out to protest one further
time but the Investigator is on his way out of the door.
EXT. STREET OUTSIDE GATTACA. DAY.
Outside the entrance to Gattaca, trying to hail a taxi, JEROME
is startled to see a car carrying the INVESTIGATOR, DETECTIVE
HUGO and IRENE roar out of the driveway. JEROME calls on his
INT. EUGENE'S CONDOMINIUM. DAY.
EUGENE, at his window, filling sachets as usual, hesitates
before answering the phone.
How would you like to be yourself for the day?
I was never very good at it, remember?
INT. EUGENE'S CONDOMINIUM / HALLWAY. DAY.
With a look of resolve, EUGENE hangs up the phone.
He wheels his chair up to the sweeping staircase and regards the
first of many dozen steps. The daunting staircase spirals away
INT. INVESTIGATOR'S CAR. DAY.
HUGO drives. The INVESTIGATOR looks to IRENE in the rear seat.
You don't know who he is, do you, Irene?
He hands her the pill box found in Michael's.
You think you have problems?
INT. EUGENE'S CONDO/JEROME'S CONDO. DAY.
Having wheeled his chair out of sight, EUGENE eases himself out
of his wheelchair and onto the floor. Using his elbows,
commando-style, dragging his lifeless legs behind him, he
proceeds to crawl across the floor and up the first step of the
long spiral staircase. We observe his agonizingly slow progress
up a staircase that, from Eugene's point of view, appears to
have doubled in length.
EXT. CONDOMINIUM COMPLEX. DAY.
The INVESTIGATOR and DETECTIVE HUGO emerge from their car with
IRENE in tow. They take in the impressive complex - the
Investigator gets a glimpse of the empty pool. They approach
the intercom at the entrance.
INT. JEROME'S CONDOMINIUM. DAY.
EUGENE, bathed in sweat, finally crests the landing of the
staircase. No respite. As he drags himself across the floor
the internal phone rings. He frantically stretches up and
knocks the phone off its hook so he can talk from his prone
position on the floor.
INT. CONDOMINIUM - LOBBY. DAY.
IRENE is on the phone, closely watched by the INVESTIGATOR and
(through intercom, no trace of his distress)
(a moment's hesitation)
Hello, sweatheart. Come on up.
INT. JEROME'S CONDOMINIUM. DAY.
With no mean effort, EUGENE finally manages to replace the phone
on its cradle. He desperately crawls up onto the sofa.
However, spying the upright vacuum cleaner in the open closet,
he is forced to crawl there and remove the vacuum bag. He
frantically crawls back towards the sofa and stuffs the bag
behind a cushion.
INT. JEROME'S CONDOMINIUM. DAY.
IRENE enters the door deliberately left ajar, closely followed
by the INVESTIGATOR and DETECTIVE HUGO. EUGENE is propped up on
the sofa, TV remote control placed in his useless hand to cover
his paralysis. He has a stainless steel bowl next to him and
has crossed his lifeless legs for a more natural effect. Eugene
calmy motions the confused Irene towards him.
Where's my kiss?
The Investigator scrutinizes Irene's reaction. With only the
merest hesitation she takes her cue from Eugene and kisses
him affectionately on the forehead. She perches herself on the
arm of the sofa. Eugene takes the opportunity to rest his
arm on her leg.
Good to see you're feeling better.
Now you're here. Who are your "friends"?
It's about the Director.
The Investigator slowly circles Eugene, regarding him with the
utmost scrutiny. He compares his face to the doctored Gattaca
ID photo - a passable likeness. Eugene bends towards the bowl
and dry retches.
Forgive me for not getting up.
Irene puts a comforting hand on Eugene's shoulder.
(to the Investigator)
Couldn't we do this another time?
I don't believe so.
Detective Hugo takes a seat in the chair beside the sofa and
unpacks a syringe from the kit he carries.
This won't take a moment.
Detective Hugo swabs Eugene's inner arm. All eyes are trained
on the tip of the needle as it punctures the vein.
(reassuring to Irene, referring to
the blood flowing into the syringe)
It's okay. Maybe they can find out what I've got.
Under the Investigator's watchful eye, Detective Hugo withdraws
the syringe and immediately inserts a small amount of the blood
into the portable analyzer he wears. Naturally, it confirms
that Eugene is Jerome.
Irene does her best to conceal her shock. Hiding his
frustration, the Investigator distractedly tours the room while
Hugo packs up his gear. The Investigator idly toys with
the telescope pointed out of the window.
Next he wanders towards the closet and reaches for the doorknob.
Mind if I take a leak?
As long as you don't do it in my closet.
(nodding to the other side of the room)
INT. JEROME'S CONDOMINIUM - BATHROOM. DAY.
The INVESTIGATOR immediately pulls a specimen bag from his
jacket pocket and closely inspects the stainless steel toilet
and sink. They are both spotless. The shower stall is also
scrupulously clean. He flushes the toilet and exits.
Lost in thought, the INVESTIGATOR approaches the closet again
and wheels out Jerome's upright vacuum cleaner. He is
disappointed a second time to find no vacuum bag inside. The
Investigator returns the vacuum cleaner to the closet and
produces a mini-vac from Detective Hugo's crime bag.
(to Eugene, referring to ther mini-vac)
Clean the whole house if you want.
(taking Eugene's lead)
Actually, the kitchen needs doing.
The Investigator switches on the mini-vac to take a specimen
from the floor, then promptly kills the machine. Looking down,
the Investigator notices the trail of Eugene's perspiration
on the highly polished floor leading to the spiral staircase.
Eugene, reading the Investigator's mind, goes to call out but
the words remain frozen on his tongue. Hugo follows his
superior as they start to descend the stairs. Irene and Eugene
are left staring at one another.
INT. CONDO - STAIRCASE. DAY.
JEROME catches the merest glimpse of the INVESTIGATOR and
DETECTIVE HUGO before he slips behind a doorway in Eugene's
Jerome anxiously regards Eugene's empty wheelchair sitting
there. On the stairs, Hugo's phone rings.
DETECTIVE HUGO (OC)
(into phone, increasingly encouraged)
The Investigator is already at the foot of the stairs in
Eugene's condo when the Detective calls to him.
(urgent, to Investigator)
Come quickly. We have him.
The Investigator's eyes light up. He retraces his steps
up the staircase after Detective Hugo.
INT. JEROME'S CONDOMINIUM. DAY.
JEROME, white as a ghost, climbs the stairs, emerging into his
own condominium. He embraces the beaming EUGENE, still sitting
on the sofa.
How are you, Jerome?
Not bad, Jerome.
How the hell did you get here.
I could always walk. I've been faking it.
Jerome almost laughs, despite the situation. Only now does he
notice Irene on the other side of the room, her mind racing.
She looks at Jerome and Eugene together and runs from the
(calling after her)
Jerome goes to follow but Eugene stops him.
INT. CRIME LABORATORY. DAY.
An EXTREME CLOSE UP of dried blood - brittle and cracking - on
a pair of soiled latex gloves. A latex head mask, suit of
clothes and shoe covers are similarly caked. The INVESTIGATOR
and DETECTIVE HUGO watch as a white-coated FORENSIC TECHNICIAN
feeds a minute sample of the dried blood into an analyzer.
The INVESTIGATOR wanders over to a one-way glass window through
which he can observe DIRECTOR JOSEF, sitting numb but strangely
serene in an interrogation room. The Investigator, in a state
of shock himself, cannot yet bring himself to believe what is
(gazing at the Director, struggling
to come to grips with the turn of events)
This can't be him.
The Detective regards his superior incredulously, intrigued that
he could still cling so stubbornly to his theory in the face of
such overwhelming evidence.
We found his spit in the dead director's eye.
He's signed a confession--supplied us with the
suit he wore on the night. What more do you
(a trace of desperation, grasping at straws)
Luca could still be an accomplice.
The Investigator turns away, unwilling or unable to accept the
explanation. Hugo regards the Investigator with a trace of
sympathy. He furtively retrieves the Investigator's tissue
from the trash.
INT. GATTACA. DAY.
JEROME sits in a formal briefing room with the other CREW
MEMBERS of his mission, receiving their final pre-flight
instructions. LAMAR looks on approvingly.
--Finally, I'd like to welcome Navigator Morrow
on his debut mission--if we get lost out there,
nobody has a map of the heavens in his head like
Jerome looks up bashfully.
(adopting a more serious tone)
I'm gratified that there is no longer a cloud
hanging over tomorrow's launch. Now we can put
this unpleasantness behind us and concentrate
on the task at hand. I don't have to tell you how
important this mission is--the Belt could hold
the key to the origin of life - why we are what
(injecting a note of levity)
I know many of you have been asking that
question about me for long enough.
(referring to a projected photograph
of a misshapen asteroid behind his head)
Gaspra--how could something so ugly hold so
many beautiful secrets?
Polite smiles from his colleagues.
Enjoy your final evening with your families.
We'll all be a year older when they see
us next. And don't be late tomorrow. You
don't want to miss this.
We focus on Jerome. He appears to have his head in the heavens
INT. CRIME LAB. NIGHT.
The tormented INVESTIGATOR lies on the floor of his lab, staring
at the ceiling. he winces in discomfort. He is lying on
something. He rolls over and retrieves the irritation from his
pocket. It is the "ESC" computer key he prized from Jerome's
He gazes at the key for a moment and then gets to his feet. He
resurrects an old fingerprint kit from a cupboard. Carefully
removing the key from the specimen bag - marked, "MORROW,
Jerome" - he begins to dust it for a fingerprint.
He places the key under a camera. The enlarged print appears
on the lefthand side of his computer screen. The word "MATCH"
blinks onto the screen. However the face that appears from the
computer's databank is not that of "MORROW, Jerome" but
"LUCA, Vincent". The Investigator regards the photograph in
DETECTIVE HUGO casually enters the lab, something odd in his
Hugo! I've found him!
I've found him too.
(not listening, referring to his discovery)
A fingerprint. There's something to be
said for nostalgia.
(realizing what Hugo has said)
What did you find?
Hugo puts a specimen bag on the counter. It contains the
Investigator's discarded tissue. The Investigator does
not recognize it.
It's not exactly him.
Where did you get this?
The Investigator immediately deposits the tissue into an
(referring to the tissue)
But this man does share some common
characteristics with your suspect. Not so
many but enough. It appears the eyelash
has a brother--of a kind.
The Investigator realizes the significance and looks guiltily
to Hugo. Hugo exits the lab, leaving the Investigator to stare
at his own FACE in his analyzing machine.
INT. GATTACA - JANITOR'S LOCKER ROOM. NIGHT.
CAESAR, the old janitor, enters the locker room. He is about to
wearily open his locker when he senses another presence in the
He turns to find JEROME sitting there on a bench. Although
clearly delighted, CAESAR tries to disguise his pleasure.
So you've finally seen sense and come back
to your old job, Vincent.
Not yet, I'm afraid.
No? What's keeping you?
I guess I'm a slow learner.
I guess so.
(looking up through the
Well, while you're up there, maybe you could
tidy the place up a bit.
I'll see what I can do.
The two men embrace, Caesar breaking off before Jerome.
And don't go getting everybody lost out there.
You'll give us a bad name. You won't have
me to keep an eye on you, you know.
(glancing to Caesar's locker)
By the way, I left some trash in your locker.
(happy to oblige)
I'll take care of it.
Jerome departs. Caesar watches him go and turns back to his
locker. He opens it to find a brand new, high-tech telescope
The old janitor gets over his surprise and beams broadly -
he looks back in Jerome's direction but he has gone. The
old janitor cannot help himself and reverently reaches for the
INT. GATTACA - COMPUTER COMPLEX. NIGHT.
In the dimly-lit, empty computer complex, JEROME takes a last
look around. He sits at his computer, one final time replaying
the graphic representation of his path through the cosmos that
he is on the eve of taking for real.
He notices the key missing from his keyboard. Instantly
realizing the significance, he rises from his seat to flee.
Jerome is stopped in his tracks by the sound of his given name
and the voice that calls it.
He makes no further attempt to flee but turns to face his
pursuer. The Investigator steps out of the shadows.
Vincent, what are you running from?
The two men face each other for the first time in a long
time. The Investigator is transfixed by Jerome's face -
scarcely able to believe his eyes.
Has it been so long, you don't remember
who I am?
(nodding to the Investigator's badge)
Maybe it's you who's forgotten.
(meeting his gaze)
What are you doing here, Anton?
It is finally apparent the Investigator is Jerome's younger
brother Anton [AS WE SHALL REFER TO THE INVESTIGATOR FOR THE
REST OF THE FILM].
I could ask you the same question.
(glancing to the impressive complex)
I have a right to be here, you don't.
Jerome smiles at him condescendingly.
You almost sound like you believe that.
(ignoring the remark, extending his hand)
Come with me now, Vincent. You've gone as far
as you can go.
(refusing Anton's hand, glancing
to the telescope above them)
There are a few million miles to go yet.
(shaking his head)
Is that the only way you can succeed, Anton,
to see me fail?
It's for the best.
God, even you want to tell me what I can't do.
In case you hadn't noticed, Anton, I don't
need rescuing. But you did, once.
Anton is clearly stung by the memory.
Well? You have all the answers. How is that
You didn't beat me that day. I beat myself.
Who are you trying to convince?
I will prove it to you. Come swim with
me now, Vincent. Now--tonight.
Jerome regards Anton with a knowing smile. Somewhere in Gattaca
a phone rings.
INT/EXT. IRENE'S CAR OUTSIDE CONDOMINIUM COMPLEX. NIGHT.
IRENE, sitting in her car outside Jerome's condominium, hangs up
her portable phone. In her agitation, her finger involuntarily
goes to her pulse. She catches herself and removes the finger
from her wrist as if it has burned her. She exits the car.
INT. JEROME'S CONDOMINIUM/EUGENE'S CONDOMINIUM. NIGHT.
IRENE quietly knocks on Jerome's door but there is no response.
Trying the handle, the door opens. Her curiosity takes her
inside. All is quiet. IRENE calls out.
No reply. Irene hesitantly ventures further, drawn to the
spiral staircase. She tentatively makes her way down the stairs
and into Eugene's dimly lit condominium. With wonder and
reverence, she examines the instruments and samples laid out on
Eugene's work benches. She opens the refrigerator in the
bathroom and inspects the samples and sachets. Finally she
regards the empty incinerator.
Quite something, isn't it?
Eugene has entered through the mirrored door, not at all
displeased by her unexpected visit.
(referring to the incinerator)
That's where we get rid of the traces of him
although we never truly succeeded.
I've been looking for him. Do you know where
He's probably leaving some more of me
around the place before he goes.
Eugene idly inspects one of the blood sachets.
Don't be deceived, Irene. These are
just the clothes. He has to wear them.
Something I could never do.
What's wrong with him?
You have more in common than you know.
Irene's hand involuntarily goes to her heart.
But they say hisis already ten thousand beats
overdue. I have my doubts.
For all my gifts, they could never engineer
me a heart like Vincent's.
Irene turns back to the incinerator, lost in though.
EXT. BEACH. NIGHT.
JEROME and ANTON walk down a dune together towards the beach not
far from Gattaca - an ocean beach pounded by an angry, black
sea. Jerome picks up a sharp piece of shell and slices the end
of his thumb. A drop of blood oozes out. He offers the shell
to Anton but Anton does not take it.
Both men begin to disrobe. The brothers stand beside each other
on the sand once again - Anton still the more athletically-built
of the two.
Together, they enter the raging surf. Diving through the
breaking waves, they begin to swim.
In the moonlit night, we watch their two bodies swimming side by
side. They swim a long distance, Anton waiting for his brother
to tire. But the pace does not slacken. Anton pulls up in the
water. Sensing his brother is no longer beside him, Jerome also
pulls up. They tread water several yards apart.
(attempting to conceal his distress)
How are you doing this, Vincent? How
have you done any of this?
Now is your chance to find out.
Jerome swims away a second time. Anton is forced to follow
once again. Angry now, gritting his teeth, Anton calls
upon the same determination we have witnessed during his
constant swimming in the pool. He puts on a spurt, slowly
reeling in Jerome.
Anton gradually draws alongside Jerome, certain that this effort
will demoralize his older brother. But Jerome has been foxing -
waiting for him to catch up. Jerome smiles at Anton. With
almost a trace of sympathy, he forges ahead again. Anton is
forced to go with him. They swim again for a long distance.
It is Anton who gradually becomes demoralized - his strokes
weaken, his will draining away. Anton pulls up, exhausted and
fearful. Jerome also pulls up. However his face displays none
of Anton's anxiety.
They tread water several yards apart. The ocean is choppier
now. The view of the lights on the shore is obscured by the
peaks of the waves.
(panic starting to show)
Vincent, where's the shore? We're too far out.
We have to go back!
Too late for that. We're closer to the other side.
Anton looks towards the empty horizon.
What other side? How far do you want to go?!
Do you want to drown us both?
How are we going to get back?!
Jerome merely smiles back at his younger brother, a disturbingly
You wanted to know how I did it. That's
how I did it, Anton. I never saved anything
for the swim back.
Anton stares at Jerome, aghast. The two men face each other in
silence, treading water several yards apart in the dark, rolling
Jerome turns and heads back towards the shore. Anton is left
alone with the terrifying realization. The only sound, the wind
and the water.
EXT. CONDOMINIUM. NIGHT.
JEROME, dishevelled and distressed, arrives back at the
condominium. He notices IRENE standing at the edge of the pool.
She turns. He approaches her. They stand several yards apart.
Looking into each other's eyes, they do not speak. Jerome
abruptly pulls a hair from his head - for once one of his own.
(wry smile, offering the hair to Irene)
Here, take it.
Irene takes the hair, the significance not lost on her.
(echoing Irene's words from
their first encounter)
If you're still interested, let me know.
Irene contemplates the hair in her fingers for a moment, then
deliberately lets it fall to the ground.
(never taking her eyes from him, echoing
Jerome's words from their first encounter)
Sorry, the wind caught it.
Once again there is not a breath of wind. The hair lies,
plainly visible on the edge of the pool.
From an upstairs window, EUGENE observes the couple.
INT. JEROME'S CONDOMINIUM. NIGHT.
We watch the silhouette of IRENE and JEROME making love in
INT. EUGENE'S CONDOMINIUM. NIGHT.
EUGENE, sitting in his darkened room, unscrews the cap of a
plastic container and places it on a nearby table. We remain
on Eugene's face as he opens his fly.
INT. JEROME'S CONDOMINIUM. NIGHT.
IRENE and JEROME lie in bed together after making love. For
once Jerome is able to sleep unconcerned. It is Irene who lies
awake, head against JEROME'S chest, listening to the sound of
his erratically beating heart. However it has a soothing
effect on her.
She kisses Jerome and reluctantly rises from the bed.
A year is a long time.
Not so long--just once around the sun.
Jerome smiles. For once Irene seems to be looking forward
to the trip. She exits the room.
INT. INCINERATOR. MORNING.
Inside the incinerator, JEROME scrapes away at himself - for the
final time. He wistfully regards the brush in his hand.
INT. EUGENE'S CONDOMINIUM. MORNING.
JEROME, dressed for his departure, emerges down the spiral
staircase into Eugene's condo. Jerome notices several suitcases
at the foot of the stairs.
EUGENE wheels into the room.
I have your samples ready.
Have you forgotten? I don't need any samples
where I'm going.
(meeting Jerome's gaze)
No, but you might need them when you get back.
Eugene wheels across the room and opens the mirrored door. The
water vapor billows out. Jerome regards Eugene.
Eugene leads Jerome inside for the first time.
Inside are two rows of four identical, industrial refrigerators.
They contain thousands of blood and urine specimens.
Jerome regards them with awe and more than a little unease.
Everything you need to last you two lifetimes.
EUGENE points out an extra specimen of semen in the first
There's an extra specimen. I wish I
could give it to her myself.
But then, you always were better at being me.
Eugene leads the way out of the refrigerator room.
(struggling to come to terms
with the discovery)
Why have you done this?
(as he seals the mirrored door)
In case you get back before I do.
Where are you going?
(glancing to the suitcases)
I'm travelling too.
Jerome goes to question Eugene's travel plans but thinks better
of it. He kneels before his friend and embraces him.
I got the better end of the deal. I just
lent you my body--you lent me your dream.
Jerome smiles and hugs Eugene a final time. Eugene stuffs an
envelope into Jerome's pocket.
(referring to the note,
Not until you're upstairs.
Jerome exits. Eugene watches him go.
INT. GATTACA - DEPARTURE LOUNGE. NIGHT.
JEROME enters a large holding area along with his other eleven
Jerome's heart sinks as he recognizes LAMAR, greeting the crew
for one final unexpected substance test. His colleagues
groan good-naturedly but it is clearly far more than an
inconvenience to Jerome. He looks towards the door he has just
entered but there is no way back. One by one the crew are
ushered behind a screen. Before he can think of a way out, it
is Jerome's turn. He enters the cubicle.
(as he takes the plastic cup from Lamar)
What's this, Lamar?
From behind, we see Jerome unzip his fly. However for once
Jerome does not urinate on cue - unused to operating his own
equipment in front of the physician.
(intrigued by the
Flight got you nervous?
There's a problem, Lamar.
(apparently not listening)
Did I ever tell you about my son, Jerome? He's
a big fan of yours. He wants to apply here.
Jerome realizes he has no choice. Resigned to his fate, he
begins to fill the cup.
(as he urinates)
Just remember, Lamar, I could have gone up
and back and nobody would have been the wiser--
(cutting him off)
--Unfortunately my son's not all that they
promised. But then, who know what he could do.
Lamar takes the cup from Jerome in his gloved hand. Jerome
anxiously watches his sample poured into the analyzer.
Confirming Jerome's worst fears, the face of 20-YEAR-OLD VINCENT
appears on the computer screen. However Lamar does not look at
the screen. He stares Jerome in the eye.
For future reference--
(a brief glance to where
Jerome has just zipped his fly)
--righthanded men don't hold it with their
left. It's just one of those things.
Never lookig at the screen, Lamar presses a button marked,
Have a safe trip, Vincent.
Jerome exits up a long enclosed escalator, realizing that Lamar
has known all along.
INT. EUGENE'S CONDOMINIUM. NIGHT.
EUGENE knocks back a vodka. With a certain reverence he places
his silver medal around his neck.
INT. ESCALATOR. NIGHT.
At the top of a long escalator, the door to a craft is secured.
INT. EUGENE'S CONDOMINIUM. NIGHT.
Eugene's wheelchair, empty, sits beside the door of the
incinerator, also secured.
EXT. LAUNCHPAD. NIGHT.
A CLOSE UP of the flame of a rocket's engines igniting - the
ball of fire engulfs the launchpad - filling the screen.
INT. EUGENE'S CONDOMINIUM - INCINERATOR. NIGHT.
Inside the incinerator another ball of fire - this time
engulfing the unseen figure of EUGENE. We glimpse the medal
around his neck, melting in the fierce blaze.
EXT. GATTACA - LAUNCHPAD. NIGHT.
As we have seen so often in the past, a rocket launches into
the sky over Gattaca - however on this occasion it carries
INT. SPACECRAFT. NIGHT.
We focus on JEROME's face - seeing little if any of the craft.
Jerome's eyes are closed. His head is still - alarmingly still.
Could the launch itself have been too much for him? He hear the
thoguhts in his head.
We came from the stars so they say, now
it's time to go back. If I was conceived
today, I would not get beyond eight cells,
and yet here I am. In a way they were
right, I don't have the heart for this world.
The question is, why am I having so much
Jerome's eyes blink open. He holds the letter from Eugene in
his hand. It contains no words, merely a lock of EUGENE'S hair
- for once preserved solely for its sentimental value. The
hair, weightless, floats off the page.
We focus on a porthole looking out upon a starscape.
As we pan across the constellations, a title is superimposed
upon the starscape:
In a few short years, scientists will
have completed the Human Genome Project,
the mapping of all the genes that make
up a human being.
After 4 billion years of evolution by the
slow and clumsy method of natural selection,
we have now evolved to the point where we
can direct our own evolution.
The first title is replaced in the heavens by a second title.
If only we had aquired this knowledge
sooner, the following people would never
have been born:
A succession of portraits and photographs of RENOWNED and
HISTORIC FIGURES fades in and out of the constellations - the
accompanying titles list their affliction rather than their
Blind from birth
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
(Lou Gerhig's Disease)
Blind and deaf
Lou Gerhig's Disease
The face of Charles Darwin fades off and another title appears
out of the stars.
Even Charles Darwin, the man who told of
the survival of the fittest, numbered
amongst our frailest.
The title fades off and is replaced by one final title in the
Of course, the other birth that would
surely never have taken place is your own.
CUT TO BLACK