LA LA LAND
A sun-blasted sky. We HEAR radios -- one piece of music after
1 EXT. 101 FREEWAY - DAY
Cars are at a standstill. It's a horrific traffic jam.
Morning rush hour. Sun beating down, asphalt shimmering in the
heat. The blown-out downtown L.A. skyline hovers in the
We DRIFT past more CARS. Hear one snippet of audio after
One driver taps his steering wheel to PROG ROCK. Another
sings to OPERA. A third raps along to a HIP-HOP track. We
move from a RADIO INTERVIEW to a FRENCH BALLAD to TECHNO,
until finally we begin to hear...
...a new, original piece of music... [ANOTHER DAY OF SUN]
We settle on the CAR from which this new tune is playing.
The driver is a YOUNG WOMAN. She hums along to the riff on
her radio -- then starts SINGING.
Then -- she EXITS her car. Then -- she starts MOVING down the
One by one, more DRIVERS join her -- SINGING and DANCING
along. Without a single cut, we've found ourselves in a FULL-
FLEDGED MUSICAL NUMBER...
Drivers leap on car-tops, dance Jerome Robbins-style, making
use of the road and the hot gleam of the automobiles. Arms
swaying, feet banging, dancers darting, as the MUSIC blasts.
We WEAVE and SWIRL and DART between and around the cars,
taking the magic in...
Finally -- all the drivers swing back into their vehicles --
and the song comes to a dramatic stop.
Flash title card:
A1 We settle on a new car. A 1983 Dodge Riviera. In it is
SEBASTIAN, 32, L.A. native. He's listening to the radio. He's
playing a track on his music system -- a tape of Thelonious
Monk's "Japanese Folk Song". But he keeps stopping it, over
and over and over -- always rewinding to the same exact spot.
C1 We DRIFT from his car to one further up ahead. A light-green
2005 Prius. Inside is MIA, 27, Nevada-raised. Six years of
"no" in L.A. have toughened her, but she's still a dreamer.
She seems to be on the phone, speaking into her car's system.
Fast, fiery, full of energy --
...and I swear to God, she was wrecked.
It was pure insanity.
Mia stops. Thinks. Mutters to herself: "Insanity"... Then
leans down and grabs a piece of paper from the passenger
seat. It's a SCRIPT.
Pure lunacy. Oh God, I know...
Just then -- the traffic around Mia starts to let up. She's
too focused on her lines to notice.
Then -- a long, sustained honk behind her: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHT.
Mia comes to. Jerked back to reality. The honking car behind
her swerves into the next lane. It's Sebastian. Mia gives him
the finger. We then FOLLOW her as she drives...
4 INT. COFFEE SHOP - DAY
Mia works, photos of Hollywood icons on the wall behind her, as --
This doesn't taste like almond milk.
Don't worry, it is. I know sometimes it --
Can I see the carton?
Mia hands it over. The Customer looks.
CUSTOMER #1 (CONT'D)
I'll have a black coffee.
Mia gets the coffee. Quickly sneaks a look at a script hidden
underneath her counter. The same one we saw in her car...
She hands the coffee to the Customer. We follow the Customer
out through the door -- as a WOMAN walks into the shop. We
don't see the Woman's face, but we see all the eyes in the
shop turn immediately to her. We see one CUSTOMER whisper to
another, discreetly pointing as the WOMAN passes by...
Mia nods. Gets it made. The Manager takes it from her.
No, I insist.
She pays. Then smiles at Mia and drops a bill in the tip jar.
Mia watches as the Woman walks off, is joined by a STUDIO
EMPLOYEE on a golf cart outside -- we realize this coffee shop
is on a STUDIO LOT -- and is driven away...
Then -- Mia's phone rings. It reads: "MOM". Mia presses
"IGNORE" and the time pops up on the phone's screen: 4:07.
Removing her apron and hurrying out, turning back as --
Where do you think you're going?
It's -- five past...
You'd better be here early tomorrow.
-- then realizes she doesn't have her script, runs back to
grab it, hurries on and then -- CRASHES into a table. Coffee
and food spill all over her shirt, and all at once we're --
5 INT. AUDITION ROOM - DAY
Mia's in a thick winter coat, covering her stained shirt. On
her cell, loudly laughing while her adrenaline surges --
And I swear to God, she was wrecked. It
was pure lunacy. Oh God, I know...
Her nerves are practically visible. As she talks, we PULL
BACK -- to see that she's auditioning for a CASTING DIRECTOR.
No, no, Turner's fine. So you -- are you
waiting `til Denver to tell her...?
(as her smile contracts)
Oh. I see...
(silence; she clenches her jaw...)
No, you're right. I understand.
(...and a tear falls from her eye)
Ok... I just... Oh...
An ASSISTANT appears through the glass on the door behind
Mia, waving to the Casting Director: Yoohoo. Can I come in?
No, I'm happy for you... I -- I just --
Mia stops. The Casting Director waves the Assistant in. The
Assistant scurries in, shows her boss a post-it. Mia stands
there, trying to hold onto the tears, hold onto the emotion, as
the Casting Director reads the post-it and thinks.
CASTING DIRECTOR (CONT'D)
...I'll call her back. Tell her I'm almost
done in here.
The Assistant nods. Walks out. Mia waits, trying to maintain...
CASTING DIRECTOR (CONT'D)
You know what? I think we're good. Thanks
for coming in.
Mia looks at her. A beat.
6 INT. LOBBY - DAY
Mia exits. Nerves still on edge. Passes one beautiful redhead
after the next -- all getting ready to cry.
Enters the elevator with two other WOMEN -- tall, statuesque.
7 INT. MIA'S APARTMENT - EARLY EVENING
Mia enters. Exhausted. Heads to her ROOM.
Old movie posters hang on the walls, including a big Ingrid
Bergman one over the bed. There's also a shelf filled with
acting books -- Uta Hagen, Stella Adler. Various other
trinkets: an old globe, an old blue-and-red suitcase. Mia
takes off her shoe. A blister on her sole.
8 WE CUT TO: Mia in the BATHROOM. Just showered, wrapped in a
towel. She hums to herself.
The mirror is fogged up. She turns off the vent. The mist on
the glass thickens. She dabs some of it away. Dims the
With the fog in place, her reflection looks like one of those
soft-focus old Hollywood close-ups. She hums as she brushes
Then -- the door SWINGS open -- and the spell is broken.
Holy Mother of God.
Mia snaps out of it. Turns. Fog is enveloping TRACY, 27.
Ever heard of a vent?
I wanted to give you an entrance.
(appearing in the hall, 26,
Mia! How'd it go?
Same here. Was Jen there? Or Rachel?
I don't know who Jen and Rachel are.
They're the worst.
I don't know if they were there.
As Mia slips away --
I bet they were.
Why is there a convention in the bathroom?
Two minutes, people! Mia you're coming,
WE PAN TO find Mia poking her head out of her bedroom --
(we PAN BACK to Tracy)
Did she say "working"?
A8 We follow Mia INSIDE her room. She closes the door. Takes a
moment. You can tell in her eyes -- work or not, a night on
the town is the last thing she wants to do now.
B8 WE CUT to the HALLWAY, to find Tracy POUNDING on Mia's door.
Look, I know things didn't go well today.
There are four things in my inbox that
you're perfect for and I will submit you.
But right now -- you're coming.
C8 With that -- she barges in and beelines to Mia's closet --
It'll be fun.
It'll be a bunch of social climbers packed
into one of those glass houses.
She pulls out a blue dress. As Alexis hurries in --
TRACY (CONT'D) MIA
This looks familiar. I was going to give it
Alexis moves from Mia's perfume to the dress, lighting up as
she grabs it --
Come on, Mia. When else do you get to
see every Hollywood cliché crammed
into a single home?
Lex! I'm disappointed in you. There's
nothing to make fun of. This party will
be humanity at its finest.
Mia rolls her eyes -- and, with that --
Tracy BREAKS INTO SONG. [SOMEONE IN THE CROWD]
She play-acts the clichés this party will represent. Alexis
and Caitlin join in, giddy and playful. Mia can't help but
laugh. The roommates sing and dance, hoping to persuade Mia
to join the night's revelry...
Mia remains reluctant. Stays behind in her room as her
roommates head out the door. But she's starting to wonder: A
night at home, feeling sorry for herself -- or a night out
with her friends...?
9 EXT. APARTMENT BUILDING / STREET - NIGHT
We're outside now, and BACK with Tracy, Alexis and Caitlin,
marching across the courtyard and toward the street. They
sing, dance, half-assuming Mia is a no-go --
-- until Mia APPEARS, blue-dress-clad. Her roommates look at
her in surprise -- then delight. The energy swells and the
four characters dance their way together down the street.
They dive into a single CAR, and WE DISSOLVE TO...
11 EXT. CITY - NIGHT
An old-fashioned MONTAGE of a night on the town: neon signs
and overflowing champagne glasses. Soon enough, we're at...
12 EXT. MODERN HILLTOP HOUSE - NIGHT
Valet cars lined up. We FOLLOW Alexis, Tracy, Caitlin and Mia
to the door...
13 INT./EXT. HILLTOP HOUSE - NIGHT
...and into a big-glass hilltop pad. We FOLLOW Mia as she
takes in her surroundings.
A D.J. turning tables. A FAT OLD PRODUCER dancing with a
TWENTY-SOMETHING. A trio of AGENTS glad-handing each other in
rhythm by the bar. Yep -- every cliché is here...
Mia tries talking to a pair of WOMEN -- who promptly ditch
Seeing she's now alone, a YOUNG MAN swoops in to hit on her.
She makes a hasty exit toward the bar -- but the line's
She nears the BATHROOM door -- but a COUPLE stands in her way,
She slips in behind them...
A13 Inside the BATHROOM, Mia takes a moment. The joy of seconds
ago is gone from her eyes now. She gazes into the mirror --
-- and SINGS by herself.
This verse, sung in private, belongs to a new style: less
brash, and far more vulnerable...
Once finished, Mia takes a breath, steels herself to once
again face the world, opens the door -- and rejoins the
B13 We MOVE with her slowly now -- surrounded by the party, but
everything set at a snail's pace, the crazed carousers moving
in SLOW MOTION. It's the sadness underneath the revelry, the
pain underneath the clichés...
Gradually we RAMP UP. Follow Mia OUTSIDE, where we see the
splash of blue-green that is the POOL -- and a flurry of FAKE
SNOW falling from above...
As we reach FULL-SPEED, a PARTY-GOER races to the edge, jumps --
-- and we PLUNGE WITH HIM INTO THE POOL.
This is the climax of the number. Everyone joins in,
circling the pool -- a swath of color against the black sky.
Everyone dances, everyone sings -- and the song concludes
with a blast of fireworks.
A14 EXT. STREET - NIGHT
Close on a sign: "NO PARKING ANYTIME: TOW-AWAY ZONE".
We see Mia -- all alone, staring at the sign. No car in
sight. She reaches into her purse, pulls out her cell phone
to call Tracy. It's dead.
19 EXT. HILL / LOS ANGELES STREETS - NIGHT
Mia trudges down the steep hill in her unwieldy heels. She's an
hour-and-a-half walk from her place. She crosses roads and lots,
navigates stretches where the sidewalk stops and gives way to
A19 And then -- she hears something... Music. A piano, in the
distance. And a MELODY -- one we will come to know very well...
Without being sure why, she FOLLOWS THE SOUND. Passes several
doors. Then stops. Has found where it's coming from...
She reaches out -- and slowly opens a door...
AND WE CUT RIGHT BACK TO:
20 EXT. 101 FREEWAY - EARLIER THAT MORNING
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHT. The same 101 traffic jam we began
with. This time we're on Sebastian -- the honker.
He passes Mia's car. She gives him the finger. He drives on,
shaking his head...
22 EXT. RAYO'S - MOMENTS LATER
Sebastian sips a coffee as he gazes across the street -- at
a 30's Deco building. A sign above the door: "VAN BEEK". A
newer sub-heading below: "TAPAS & TUNES".
The door opens. Two EMPLOYEES step out, setting up a valet
stand. Sebastian watches them -- and shakes his head. The
employees notice him. Recognize him. What is it with that
23 INT. SEBASTIAN'S APARTMENT - DAY
Sebastian enters his apartment -- cramped, dingy, bare
walls, no furniture or decoration, boxes filled with dusty
black-and-white photographs and unused instruments on the
floor, a black Steinway upright piano in the center of the
living room -- and sees a WOMAN rummaging around.
You gotta stop breaking into my home.
She looks up. She's 37 quickly going on 50, and dressed like
she doesn't care. This is LAURA, Sebastian's older sister.
You think Mom or Dad would call this a
Seeing that she's seated on a stained, decrepit stool --
Please don't sit on that.
Are you serious?
Yes. Hoagy Carmichael sat on that stool.
The Baked Potato was gonna throw it away.
I wonder why.
I brought you this. It's a throw rug.
Don't need it.
Yeah? What if I told you Miles Davis
pissed on it?
That's almost insulting...
She shakes her head: Unbelievable. Tosses the rug to the side.
When are you going to unpack these boxes?
When I unpack them in my club.
Oh my God. It's like a girl broke up with
you and you're stalking her.
(then, looks at him --)
You're not still going by there, are you?
A beat. Then --
They've turned it into a tapas-samba
place. You believe that?
Who wants to tapas while they samba?
I have someone I want you to meet.
I don't want to meet anyone.
You'll like her.
Uh-huh. Does she like jazz?
Then what are we gonna talk about?
You'll talk about the weather.
Ok. Then I have someone I'd like you to
meet. He's got a face tattoo, but a heart
How long's it been?
You need to get serious. You live like a
hermit. You're driving without insurance.
I am serious. I had a very serious plan
for my future. It's not my fault I got
You did not get "Shanghai'ed", you got
What's the difference?
It's not as romantic as that.
(she starts to walk off)
And everyone knew that guy was shady
except for you.
Why do you say romantic like it's a dirty
Unpaid bills are not romantic. Call her.
She heads to the door. He follows her, won't give it up --
You're acting like life's got me on the
ropes -- what you don't understand is, I
want to be on the ropes. I'm letting life
hit me `til it gets tired. Then I'm gonna
make my move. It's a classic rope-a-dope.
Laura can't help but laugh. Stops by the door. Looks at him.
I love you. Unpack your boxes.
I'm changing the locks.
(out the door with a smile --)
You can't afford it.
She's gone. Sebastian thinks for a beat, then calls out --
I'm a phoenix rising from the ashes!
No reply to his triumphant declaration. He shuts the door.
Looks again at the napkin. Thinks. Tosses it in the trash.
A23 INT. SEBASTIAN'S APARTMENT - LATER
Moments later. Sebastian takes a slice of pizza from the
fridge, pours himself some more coffee, places a Thelonious
Monk LP onto a record player, and sits down at the piano.
"Japanese Folk Song" -- the piece we heard in his car --
Sebastian plays along. Stops. Moves the record back a few
bars. Starts it again. Plays the same passage over. Stops.
Moves the record back a second time. Plays the passage again.
Stops. Over and over, just like in his car -- until, finally,
he gets it right.
He keeps playing, louder now, and we're --
27 INT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT
A red-booth bar-and-restaurant. Christmas decorations all over.
Sebastian steps in. Immediately beelining over --
(putting on a smile)
Bill. Thanks for having me back.
Your welcome. Stick to the set list.
(under his breath as he heads
to the piano)
Though I don't think they care what I
I do, and I don't want to hear the free
How `bout one for you, one for me? Or two
for you, one for me?
(the Boss just glares)
Or all for you, none for me? Ok, that
works. Good deal.
Sebastian sits down at the keys. A WAITRESS passes by.
Well... Welcome back.
There's a nice way to say that.
With that -- he starts playing "Jingle Bells".
28 INT. RESTAURANT - LATER
The restaurant's demographic has changed. It's now younger
stragglers wandering in. Sebastian looks beyond bored. He
finishes "We Wish You a Merry Christmas". Zero applause.
He begins a new chart: "Deck the Halls". But something seems
to come over him now. He's restless. Slowly, his playing
drifts off -- his fingers charting their own path...
And then -- we hear a melody. The one Mia heard outside. The
one we'll refer to from now on as Mia and Sebastian's song...
The door opens -- and Mia steps in. She sees Sebastian at the
piano. Is instantly struck by his playing. [MIA AND
Gradually -- all sounds but the music drop out. We drift away
from reality. Even the walls seem to go slightly darker -- as
though Sebastian and Mia were all alone... He concludes his
piece with a jumble of chords, his playing almost free jazz
now, as we pull back to real life...
...and see the Boss looking on in scorn.
Sebastian finishes. Silence. Mia looks like the wind has been
knocked out of her. Sebastian looks up for a second -- and
sees her. They look at one another. Just a moment.
Then -- the Boss taps Sebastian on the shoulder. WE STAY ON
Mia as she watches Sebastian rise with the Boss. We just see
the Boss talking to Sebastian, can't hear what is said. Then,
we get closer -- and realize:
...every goddamned night.
Sebastian is silent. Then, doesn't want to have to beg but --
I'll stick to the set list, I promise --
Too late. You're done.
You're not gonna find a better player. You
(leans in, and --)
Do you think anyone here gives a shit?
With that, the Boss walks off. We linger on Sebastian. Anger
giving way -- to hurt. He starts hurrying toward the door.
BACK TO Mia -- who didn't hear what was said. She watches
Sebastian -- takes a breath, so moved that she's about to lay
it all out -- swoops in to corner him -- and --
I just wanted to say -- I saw your
playing, and I --
-- but Sebastian just walks right by -- his shoulder
bumping against Mia's for an added measure of disdain.
He heads out the door. Slams it shut. Mia is left standing on
her own. She looks like she's just been slapped.
SMASH CUT TO BLACK.
30 INT. AUDITION ROOMS - DAY
Mia auditions. Pilot season cattle-call -- a series of soul-
crushing try-outs. She's pandering to the hilt. Quick glimpses:
I don't like the fissure on the GT scan.
Did you test for achromatopsia?
31 Then, a second audition --
D.O.A. on 23rd, perp laughing his face off
at P.D. Damn Miranda Rights.
32 And finally, a third audition --
This is my classroom. You don't like it,
the door's to my left.
(a well-dressed forty-year-old
WOMAN reading from sides)
Lady why you be trippin' like that?
No, Jamal. You be trippin'.
34 EXT. PARTY - DAY
Mia wanders around another party. A BAD 80's COVER BAND plays.
There you are! You need to meet someone!
Carlo, this is Mia. Mia, Carlo's a writer.
Nice to meet you, Mia. He's got projects all over
They say I have a knack for world-building.
(takes this in; then --)
Congratulations. I have to grab a drink...
She slips away. Presses toward the bar. The music gets louder,
more obnoxious. She peers toward the band to get a look...
And then she sees him. Sebastian.
Playing keyboard-guitar for the band. Dressed up like his band-
mates in a bright polyester outfit. And hating every second.
The band finishes, and the SINGER addresses the (thin) crowd.
Alright, one more for y'all before we
break. Do I hear any requests?
Sebastian turns. Sees Mia, looking at him with a defiant grin,
enjoying her power. He thinks -- then recognizes the face.
"I Ran" it is.
Wanna start us off, piano-man?
Sebastian stays silent. Mortified. Finally, so reluctant, he
taps his keyboard to count the band in and begins playing.
On the keys, it's a single note, repeated measure after measure.
Mia knew this. Sebastian looks at her. She smiles right back.
I walked along the avenue...
35 EXT. PARTY / INT. HOUSE - MOMENTS LATER
Set break. Sebastian hurries from the keys -- enters the house,
looks both ways, finally spots Mia and --
Ok. I remember you.
Mia looks at him. One eyebrow raised. Yeah?
And I'm sorry if I was curt that night.
Ok I was an asshole. I can admit that.
But requesting "I Ran" from a serious
musician -- it's too far.
My God. Did you just call yourself "a
I don't think so.
Can I borrow what you're wearing?
Because I have an audition next week. I'm
playing a serious fire-fighter.
(irritation building --)
So you're an actress. That makes sense.
Have I seen you in anything?
Uh... The coffee shop on the Warner
Brothers lot. That's a classic.
Oh, you're a barista. Well now I see how
you can look down on me from all the way
(popping in from nowhere)
Sebastian. Second set.
Sebastian looks at Mia. She smirks. Pleased. The Singer walks
He doesn't tell me what to do.
He just told you what to do.
I let him.
What's your name?
Mia. Guess I'll see you in the movies.
He heads back to the keys, and the band resumes:
Never seen you lookin' so lovely as you
36 EXT. PARTY / STREET - NIGHT
The party's finished. Sebastian exits, pulling out his keys,
as we DRIFT and see a long line to the VALET. Standing way in
the back, waiting, is Mia. She's stuck once again with CARLO,
who's regaling her --
...Goldilocks from the point of view of
the bears. Home-invasion thriller. Fox
and Warners are going crazy for it.
Mia spots Sebastian, passing by the Valet with his keys.
...We're going after Charlize. For the
bear. We're flipping it. Feels like a
franchise. But the thing is it's grounded.
Sebastian stops. Looks at her. Surprised.
Did you just get your keys?
Sebastian thinks. Sees the Valet. Playing it off --
Can you grab mine?
...Which one is it?
A beat. Sebastian turns to the Valet's box. Motions to the
Valet: Sorry. One second. Looks. All the keys are Prius keys.
The one with the green ribbon.
Another beat. Sebastian finds it. Grabs it.
37 EXT. STREET - NIGHT
Mia and Sebastian trudge up a hill lined with cars. Mia aims
her key fob. No beep. Sebastian points his own keys, also
aiming for a beep. Silence. They've been at this for a while.
(almost tripping in her heels)
Those look comfortable.
A beat. She aims again. No beep.
Thank you for saving the day back there.
You didn't give me much of a choice.
Strange that we keep running into each
It is strange. Maybe it means something.
I doubt it.
Yeah I don't think so either.
On that, Mia aims again. As always -- no beep. Noticing --
Put the clicker under your chin.
Sebastian demonstrates with his fob. He looks idiotic.
It turns your head into an antenna.
Probably gives you cancer, but you find
your car more quickly.
You don't live as long, but you get
things done faster, so it all evens out.
Oh my God.
Just then, they reach a clearing -- AND THE CITY SKYLINE
APPEARS BELOW. A ribbon of lights, stretching as far as you
can see. It's the most romantic sight imaginable. They look
at each other. A beat. And then --
They walk on, the lights shimmering behind.
Not much to look at.
Agreed. I've seen better.
And on that -- they SING. [A LOVELY NIGHT]
Mia and Sebastian try to downplay the romanticism of this
setting, this moment -- being lost here, at night, alone
together, atop a hill, the city glittering before them. It's
"no big deal", nothing they haven't seen or felt before --
because, after all, there's no chance for romance between
Of course, the music, swelling and building, suggests
otherwise. Mia tires of her heels, finds a bench and fishes
for flats in her handbag. Sebastian sits beside her as she
slips the flats on. They look at each other, suspicious...
He moves his foot. She moves hers. They look at each other
again. Still suspicious...
He moves again. She moves again. They seem to be moving in
sync -- without their even wanting to...
And -- bit by bit -- before our eyes -- they've almost
slipped into DANCE...
Sebastian rises. Mia rises as well. The two look at each
other. Run back to the bench, hop atop it -- the lights
stretch out like a magic carpet. They share a moment -- share
a look -- jump off -- AND START REALLY DANCING NOW...
Mia does a move, Sebastian responds. Sebastian does a move, Mia
shakes her head: "Nope". They make the road their own, growing
more and more energized, as surprised as we are to find --
...that they can really dance together.
Just as this starts to look like a blossoming romance, real
joy peeking through, our two heroes getting closer and closer
and closer, looking at each other almost giddily...
...a sound cuts through. It's a CELL PHONE ring.
Mia and Sebastian turn -- to her handbag, back by the bench.
Snapped out of it, Mia heads over and pulls out her cell.
Hey... Greg...? Can you hear me...? Yeah,
I'm just leaving now... K, see you soon...
She hangs up. Looks at Sebastian. An awkward silence. Finally --
she presses her fob again. Puts it under her chin this time. A
BEEP can be heard. They see her Prius.
Ah. Great... Well... Do you want a ride
to your car?
No, that's fine... Thanks...
Not sure what else to say, she heads to her vehicle. Waves.
Sebastian waves back. Mia drives off. Fast. Silence...
Looking even more disappointed than he thought he'd be,
Sebastian walks on for a bit -- then retreats back down.
A37 Comes to a stop across from the party, and we see his Riviera --
right, it seems, where he knew it was all along. He pulls out
his keys -- they don't have a clicker after all.
39 INT. COFFEE SHOP - DAY
CLOSE on --
Are these pastries gluten-free?
Mia's at work. A typically chaotic day.
What?? I want a refund.
Mia nods, heads to the Manager --
You're closing up Friday.
I have an audition. Remember?
Do I look like I care? Reschedule it.
But you said --
And fix your apron.
With that, the Manager walks off. Mia is silent for a moment
-- wants to talk back but needs this job -- then turns -- and
sees Sebastian at the counter.
What are you doing here?
Meetings. Studio heads.
Uh-huh. How'd you get on the lot?
Piece of cake.
Mia looks at him. He's sweating through his shirt. A beat.
Actually it took me four hours and I
ended up running. We probably have twenty
minutes before the guy finds me. You got
a break coming up?
Mia laughs. A moment.
I'm off in ten.
Great. I'll hide in the bathroom.
40 EXT. COFFEE SHOP / STUDIO LOT - DAY
Mia exits, apron off. She and Sebastian start walking. She points
across the street -- to the façade of a Parisian apartment.
That's the window Ingrid Bergman and
Humphrey Bogart looked out of in
Sebastian nods. They start walking.
What's your Bogart's name...?
(Mia looks at him)
Is it Greg?
How long have...?
We've been seeing each other for a few
An awkward beat. They pass a wooden SALOON -- where a WESTERN
is being shot. Extras in COWBOY costumes drink coffee on the
I love this stuff. Makes coming to work
I know what you mean. I get breakfast
five miles out of the way just to sit
outside a jazz club.
It was called Van Beek. The swing bands
played there. Count Basie. Chick Webb.
It's a samba-tapas place now.
Samba-tapas. It's... Exactly. The joke's on
Anyway, that's L.A. They worship everything
and they value nothing.
They reach a patch of green. Another shoot. A P.A. yells out:
Clear the frame!
We need to wait here.
I know. They shoot movies on my street.
"C-stands." "Apple box." "Don't forget to
Mia laughs. A beat.
Quiet on set!
Mia and Sebastian watch the cameras roll. Then, in a whisper --
How'd you get into all this?
Into...? Oh -- I -- my aunt was an
actress. She was in this traveling
theater company... And there was this
little library across the street from my
house when I was growing up. This was
Boulder City, Nevada -- every house
looked exactly the same. I was ten and
already I needed to get out. And one day,
my aunt flew into town, and she showed me
the library's old-movie section. We spent
a whole day watching one after the other.
Bringing Up Baby. Notorious. Casablanca.
(a beat; then,)
I never knew the world was so big.
Mia and Sebastian resume walking. Now, at full volume --
I started putting on plays in my garage.
I'd write the scripts and print up
programs, and she'd give me props to use
from wherever she'd just been -- New
York, London, Paris. And then she'd jet
off again and I wouldn't hear from her
for another year.
Who would you invite to watch? Your
God no -- I didn't invite anyone. That
would have been terrifying.
C40 CUT TO: The entrance to a giant soundstage.
Honestly, I wish I loved something else.
I've tried so hard to want other things.
She and Sebastian stop. Peer inside the stage.
I left school after two years to come here,
my fourth manager just dropped me, and my
last audition was for a teen soap pitched
as Dangerous Minds meets The O.C.
(a beat; then, deadpan --)
Should've been a lawyer.
They resume walking.
D40 CUT TO: A row of closed soundstages, sandy-tan against the
bright blue sky.
...`Cause the world needs more lawyers.
Well it doesn't need more actresses.
You're not just an actress.
What do you mean, "just an actress"?
You said it yourself, you're a child-
That is not what I said.
You're too modest to say it but it's
true. So you could write your own roles.
Write something that's as interesting as
Last thing I wrote was a stand-up routine
for an open-mic night. It was horrible.
All I'm saying is -- Louis Armstrong
could have played the marching-band
charts he was given. What did he do
instead? He made history.
Ok, I'll stop auditioning and make
Anyway -- I'm getting a feeling there's
something I should tell you...
I hate jazz.
Sebastian stops. Turns to her.
What does that mean? "I hate jazz"?
It means when I listen to it I don't like
But it's such a blanket statement. It's
like saying "I hate animals".
I do hate some animals.
Do you need to be anywhere right now?
Mia looks at him. We hear DRUMS. A swinging ride pattern. And
we're in --
41 INT. LIGHTHOUSE CAFE - DAY
-- an old-school JAZZ CLUB. It's almost empty, only aged JAZZ
CATS here -- except for Mia and Sebastian, watching a QUARTET...
Most people say they hate jazz because
they don't have context. They don't get
where it came from. All these people
packed into flophouses in New Orleans,
speaking five different languages, and
jazz was how they talked to each other.
I thought it was just Kenny G.
Mia looks at him. Already knows just how to get to him.
I associate it with facials. It's
It's not relaxing! Sid Bechet got into a
gunfight `cause somebody told him he
played a wrong note!
(laying it on thick)
Right, but it's good to talk over. Where
I grew up there's this jazz station
they'd play at cocktail parties whenever
they served the salami and cheese.
Mia. These are things you can't unsay.
She bursts into laughter. Sebastian points to the band --
It's not cocktail music -- it's a high-
wire act. These guys are performing and
composing and rearranging all at once.
A beat. Mia looks at the band. We DRIFT over the instruments...
That's why you need to be in the space
and see what's at stake. This whole thing
-- it's dying. In twenty minutes they'll
head off to cut commercial sessions or do
pit at the Pantages `cause they have to --
but when I have my own place -- my club --
they'll play whatever they want.
Mia looks at Sebastian. Her laughter has subsided. She can
see something in him now -- the same passion he's speaking of...
...It's gonna be the old Van Beek. I'm
getting the lease back. It'll be perfect.
He watches the band. Lost in the sound. Then -- sincere --
The world tells everyone to move on. Says
the music's had its moment. But I love it
too much. I'm not moving on.
The band finishes. The ride cymbal sizzles in the air...
He looks at Mia. She's visibly moved.
Just then -- we hear a BEEP. Mia looks at her phone.
42 INT. SIDE CORRIDOR - LIGHTHOUSE CAFE - CONTINUOUS
Hi, I just missed a call...
43 INT. LIGHTHOUSE CAFE - MOMENTS LATER
Mia steps out, dazed. Sebastian's listening to a new tune. He
spots Mia, turns to her -- as, shouting over the music --
I got a call-back!
Really? For what?
That show I told you about.
Dangerous Minds meets The O.C.?
Right. It's -- actually more like Rebel
Without a Cause.
That's amazing! "I got the bulletsssss!"
Mia laughs. But Sebastian can tell something in her laugh...
You've seen it, right?
(a beat; then --)
What? You're the movie person.
It's the one I lie about.
Come on. You can't do this audition and
never see Rebel. The theater near me's
playing it. If you want -- I can take
you. For research.
10pm Monday at the Rialto. Cool?
(another nod, taking it in)
Mia looks at him -- he looks at her -- each of them
suppressing a newfound giddiness... And on that --
44 EXT. LIGHTHOUSE CAFE - EVENING
Mia and Sebastian exit. Wave "good-bye". We FOLLOW Sebastian.
He rounds the corner, nears the Hermosa Beach pier...
...and begins to SING. [CITY OF STARS] Lifted by a strange
new feeling -- a feeling he wasn't expecting. The feeling
that perhaps -- just perhaps -- he's falling in love...
He gazes out at the sea, the purple sky. Dances with an OLD
COUPLE, then continues on his way, as though caught in a
dream. There's an uncertainty in his singing -- he's not sure
if this dream will sustain. But for now, it's a beautiful
The MUSIC simmers down -- and WE FADE OUT.
45 EXT. AUDITION BUILDING - DAY
A Pasadena building. As Mia approaches the door, another cell
ring. It's her MOM. This time, Mia is happy to get the call:
MIA'S MOM (O.S.)
Hi, sweetie. How are you?
Great, actually: I got a call-back on a pilot.
MIA'S MOM (O.S.)
Oh my God! You're going to be on TV??
Well -- it's not picked up yet.
MIA'S MOM (O.S.)
Not picked up?
First they make the pilot, then if they
like the pilot it goes on TV.
MIA'S MOM (O.S.)
And you're in the pilot?
Well, no, I have a call-back.
MIA'S MOM (O.S.)
I see... Didn't you audition for a TV
thing last week?
It's another audition.
MIA'S MOM (O.S.)
I see... So you might get a role in a
thing that might one day be put on TV...
...Well when you put it like that it
sounds like a huge accomplishment.
MIA'S MOM (O.S.)
No, I don't mean that, it's so exciting.
What channel? ABC? HBO?
MIA'S MOM (O.S.)
You know what, I have to go. I love you.
She hangs up. Takes a deep breath. Enters the building.
46 INT. WAITING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
Mia sits, starts reviewing her script.
Looks around her -- the room is filled with ACTRESSES silently
MOUTHING THEIR LINES. It's a bizarre sight: a dozen women
moving their mouths, with no sound coming out at all.
What's more, they're all in variations of the same type of
costume: Michelle Pfeiffer's leather jacket from Dangerous
A few stare at Mia, sizing her up. In the corner, another
one of them GRUNTS while performing stretches. Then -- a
DOOR to the side opens, and Mia can hear --
...We'll be seeing you very soon.
An ACTRESS exits. Absolutely beaming. And then, a bored voice --
47 INT. AUDITION ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
Mia steps in. The pilot's DIRECTOR is seated at a table,
looking in his folder at Mia's head-shot. He looks up at Mia.
Whenever you're ready.
Mia breathes in. Heart pounding. Sweat percolating. Has been
practicing this for days now.
Fighting her nerves, she begins --
Two options. Follow my rules, or follow
my rules. Kapish? You want to bully,
you'd best be ready to get bullied --
Mia is taken aback.
I can do it another way --
No, thanks, that was great.
We linger on Mia for a moment, and then --
48 EXT. PARKING LOT / INT. MIA'S CAR - DAY
Crestfallen, humiliated, Mia hurries to her car. Sees a voice-
mail on her cell. Plays it --
MIA'S MOM (O.S.)
Dad just helped me find Oxygen on the
guide! So exciting! So will you be
getting health insurance now?
Mia switches her phone off and drives. Clenches her jaw.
Turns left and sees a movie theater. The Rialto. Manages a
Something she can remain upbeat about...
49 INT. MIA'S APARTMENT - DAY
Mia in her room, sorting through outfits. Slips into jeans --
-- then spins around, startled. Alexis is at the door, eating
Fritos. Has been crying.
Mia looks at Alexis -- completely confused. Then -- Greg steps
out behind Alexis. Waves to her.
Hey... I'm parked out front. But we
should hurry, my brother just landed.
Mia looks at him, still confused. Then remembers.
Did you forget?
Shit. No. Yes. I'll change...
Mia closes her door -- turns -- and we see her face. She's
crushed. She goes to call Sebastian -- then freezes.
Remembers something else. She never got his number...
We linger on her face, as, on his phone outside her door --
GREG (O.S.) (CONT'D)
Josh! Yep, just picking Mia up now. Will
be there in twenty.
50 INT. LIGHTHOUSE CAFE - NIGHT
Sebastian's playing a jam session. Excited, distracted. 10pm
can't come quickly enough.
51 INT. JAR - NIGHT
Mia, in a green dress, with Greg, his brother JOSH, and
Josh's FIANCEE. The restaurant is posh, modern. Josh wears a
Brooks Brothers suit: he seems better-off than his brother.
That's right -- but now we've got a
surround-sound set-up, so it's like --
It's like being in a movie theater.
It's better than going to a theater,
really. You know theaters these days --
Oh, sure --
-- they're so dirty, and they're either
too hot or too cold, and there's always
people talking, which is just --
(his phone buzzes)
-- just so annoying, I mean you're trying
to watch a movie -- one second --
His Fiancée smiles, looks at Greg and Mia, proud.
Yeah, I'll have to call you back.
(closes and pockets his phone)
So, yeah, we love it.
Awkward silence. Mia hasn't spoken a word.
52 EXT. RIALTO MOVIE THEATER - NIGHT
Sebastian paces. People shuffle in. He looks. No sign of Mia.
53 INT. JAR - NIGHT
Midway through the meal.
Mia is bored, restless, uneasy.
One word for you. Nicaragua.
I've never heard anyone say that. Was it
Oh my God. A five-star jungle eco-resort.
It was unbelievable.
Mia stays quiet, in her own thoughts, the voices around her
fading away. And then she hears it -- coming from the
restaurant speakers, peeking out subtly at first: the melody
we now know so well... Her and Sebastian's song.
She FREEZES. The radio music seems to have morphed into the
melody, and the tune stirs something deep within her...
A few seconds pass. And then she can't deny it any longer.
It's clear as day to her now. She rises from her seat --
-- looks at Greg --
-- and -- as the sounds of a FULL ORCHESTRA swoop in --
-- RUNS out of the restaurant as fast as she can.
54 EXT. JAR - NIGHT
The MUSIC SWELLS, strings carrying us through and lifting
Mia's spirits as she runs down the street in her green dress,
for once absolutely sure of what she's doing...
55 INT. RIALTO MOVIE THEATER - NIGHT
Inside the Rialto, Sebastian settling into his seat, the show
about to begin. He's visibly disappointed that he's alone. The
lights dim. Projector light cuts through the darkness. And
then, as the movie's credits start up, Sebastian spots, out of
the corner of his eye, a figure in the aisle...
He looks. The figure turns. Looks at him. It's Mia.
And, caught like a freeze-frame in the projector light, her
green dress incandescent, the giant movie screen behind her
like a great piece of back-projection, she looks more beautiful
than ever right now. A true old-fashioned screen siren.
Sebastian's eyes go wide. He's surprised. And thrilled. He
waves. Mia hurries toward him. Takes the seat next to his,
as Rebel Without a Cause begins...
56 INT. RIALTO MOVIE THEATER - LATER
Half an hour has passed. The movie plays, lights flickering
on Mia and Sebastian's darkened faces.
He puts his arm on the armrest, she moves hers nervously.
He scoots to his right, she scoots back.
She edges her elbow onto the armrest, he moves his arm.
Inch by inch, their bodies grow closer. Hands approaching,
breaths quickening, hearts pounding...
...until finally their hands touch...
And then, suddenly -- just as James Dean and Natalie Wood
arrive at Griffith Observatory, and Mia and Sebastian seem
about to kiss --
-- burn marks streak their way across the image.
The screen goes blank.
Silence. The lights go on. Mia and Sebastian turn around.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS start murmuring. Sebastian can barely
believe his bad luck.
But then Mia turns to him. Energized.
I have an idea.
57 EXT. ROAD - NIGHT
Sebastian's car, traveling up a winding road, stars glittering
above it, the lights of Los Angeles glittering below it. The sky
is a deep, painted blue. Music plays... [PLANETARIUM]
The car is bending around the turns, making its way up to...
A57 ...the real Griffith Observatory. There, our MUSIC crests.
Our two characters get out of the car and wander, searching
for an open entrance. They find one -- and sneak in...
58 INT. GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY - CONTINUOUS
They ascend a staircase. Make their way past the exhibits --
the Tesla coil shooting off electric bolts.
They reach the pendulum, gaze up at the mural above it, look at
one another. Circle the pendulum, and then -- so tenderly, so
...they begin to DANCE.
This is a dance that fulfills all the promise in their
earlier duet. They circle the floor, gently and gracefully.
The music BUILDS, and they drift into...
A58 ...the PLANETARIUM. It's darkened, empty. Mia removes her
shoes, feels the soft carpet under her feet. Turns on the
projector. The screen STARTS TO GLOW. She and Sebastian take
in the sight -- the STARS and GALAXIES...
Enchanted, they look at one another, the lights from the
screen reflected on their faces. They approach, as though
about to kiss... When --
-- Mia's shoes LIFT UP. Float toward the ceiling -- toward the
star-filled screen. She and Sebastian trade looks. Realize.
And then they too begin to FLOAT...
...RISING from the floor, nothing stopping them. SOARING
past the views of comets and moons and nebulae. Eyes wide,
their emotions seized, as they HOLD EACH OTHER TIGHT...
And so unspools a gravity-free dance.
Mia and Sebastian SPIN and TWIRL through the planetarium as
though they themselves were in outer space, flying through
the cosmos. The music carries them higher and higher, and
their spirits likewise soar -- JOYOUS, EXUBERANT -- until,
...the music SOFTENS.
Mia and Sebastian drift back to the floor like feathers. They
land on a pair of seats.
There, once again seated like audience members at a movie, they
turn and look into each other's eyes. The music picks back up
for the big finish, as the lovers lean in and -- in true movie-
movie old-Hollywood big-musical fashion --
-- LOCK LIPS.
It's their first kiss, and it's a kiss to remember -- full of
all the hope and yearning and terror and wonder of love's first
blush. A swoon-worthy kiss, with the orchestra soaring and the
camera swooping in to catch the embrace in all its glory.
On this triumphant moment...
...we IRIS FADE OUT.
60 INT. MIA'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - DAY
Mia's scribbling in a notebook. It's dialogue. We see character
headings, scene headings. Seems to be some kind of a script...
Mia turns. Tracy has wandered in -- pajamas, eating cereal.
Is that a script?
It's a play. I'm going to put it on myself.
(chiming in from her bedroom)
A play? You better give us roles!
Actually -- it's a -- it's a one-woman
A beat -- and then --
HONKING outside the nearest window. It's a honk we recognize:
...Is that gonna happen every time?
I think so.
61 EXT. MIA'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY
Mia dashes out -- and LEAPS into Sebastian's car and into his
arms. They KISS -- giddy, emotional, as though they'd been
separated for years. Sebastian drives off -- when --
MIA (O.S.) (CONT'D)
The car SCREECHES to a stop in front of a TRUCK going the
opposite direction. Sebastian goes into REVERSE as Mia cracks
up laughing. A BURST OF MUSIC as a title card pops on:
The MUSIC carries us through the following series of GLIMPSES:
62 -- Mia and Sebastian ambling past weathered 30's bungalows in
63 -- Mia guiding Sebastian down a street peppered with SILENT-
ERA HOMES, past old gas-lamps and palms...
65 -- VAN BEEK. Sebastian gestures to the "TAPAS & TUNES" sign.
Excitedly tries to deface it. Mia, aghast, pulls him back...
66 -- The HUNTINGTON GARDENS, where Mia and Sebastian gaze at
the tiny forest...
A66 -- WATTS TOWERS, where the two lovers stroll and kiss...
64 -- The GRAND CENTRAL MARKET, where they grab food...
68 -- ANGEL'S FLIGHT at night, where they stumble and slip into
a tipsy, love-soaked dance...
Interspersed throughout, WE SEE IMAGES OF LOS ANGELES:
1940's high-rises, green movie-movie lettering, ochre walls
shaded by palm fronds, red flowers and Spanish missions, old
lamps and Art Deco hotels. It's a gorgeous city, and the music
only makes it more gorgeous -- building and carrying us to...
70 INT. LIGHTHOUSE CAFE - NIGHT
A Lighthouse JAM SESSION. Sebastian's at the keys, having a
blast. The place is again mostly empty, but Mia is dancing her
heart out. She shoots looks at Sebastian. He laughs, plays out
for her. The two of them are in their own world -- one of pure,
The song ends. Sebastian rises, joins Mia. They sit down as
the band strikes up a new tune, and kiss.
Mia and Sebastian look up, startled. A YOUNG MAN, 35, is
standing next to them. Tall, fierce eyes. This is KEITH.
Holy shit. Come here, man.
Sebastian gets up. Gives him a hug. But Mia can sense an
unease in Sebastian's eyes. It's a strained hug.
This is Mia. Mia, Keith.
(explaining to Mia)
We used to play together.
Hey, Mia. Hey...
Sebastian sits back down. Wants to end the conversation.
So how've you been?
Keeping busy. Got a new combo.
Good for you.
...Looking for keys.
(after a beat)
You sure? It pays.
Sebastian looks at Keith. A moment.
Keith almost smiles. Expected this.
Let's just grab a drink then. Call me.
It's been too long.
Nice meeting you, Mia.
Nice meeting you.
Keith walks off. Mia and Sebastian look at each other. Then --
71 INT. SEBASTIAN'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
CLOSE ON MIA. She looks anxious. CLOSE ON Sebastian. He looks
head-over-heels in love.
...You're just saying that.
No... I'm not.
We PULL BACK -- and see a script on Mia's lap. She's just
finished reading Sebastian her play.
I don't know... Is the whole thing too
That's the point.
But do you think people will like it?
You always say that.
I truly believe it.
Fine -- as long as you sit front-row
`cause I'll probably throw up on the
middle of the stage otherwise.
I'll be front-row.
Mia looks at him. Smiles. It genuinely means the world to
her. Then, a glow in her eyes, wants to reciprocate --
I made something for you.
She hops off the bed, fishes through a bag. Pulls out a
It could be the name design. On the door.
Why does it say "Seb's"?
That's what you should name it.
Sebastian, no one's going to a club called
"Chicken on a Stick".
You don't get it. Charlie Parker got the name
"Bird" because he loved chicken. So my club's
gonna be old-school jazz and beer and
chicken. "Chicken on a Stick".
No. Drop the chicken. Drinks and jazz.
(he rolls his eyes)
And it's time to start looking for other
It's gotta be Van Beek. I can't let them
samba all over its history.
Make your own history.
Sebastian looks at her. Appreciates that line. A beat. Then --
Your play's incredible.
Mia smiles. He approaches her, sits by her side.
The whole world from your bedroom? Who's
I'm doing that.
So who was that guy at the Lighthouse?
The one who offered you a gig.
You mean Keith? He's the worst.
Why was it weird between you two?
It's always weird with him.
He did offer you a job.
Are you going to call him?
A moment passes. They lie down, side by side.
Here's what we know. It's definitely
Chicken on a Stick --
(Mia rolls her eyes)
-- and your play is going to be a
She looks at him. He looks at her. A shared smile.
And on that --
72 INT. SEBASTIAN'S APARTMENT - MORNING
The next morning. Sebastian is in bed. Hears snatches of Mia's
voice -- she's on her phone in the other room:
...No, Mom, it's a one-woman show... No,
I'm acting in it as well... No, I'm not
getting paid, I'm paying to do it...
He's great... He's going to open his own
jazz club. It's going to be incredible...
(beat; then, softer --)
Well he has to get the money together
first, and... He's figuring it out...
Yeah, it's just been a little tricky
Sebastian listens. Takes it in.
MIA (O.S.) (CONT'D)
Look -- he's going to find a way to open
it and you're going to love it. Ok? How's
On Sebastian. He thinks...
73 INT. REHEARSAL SPACE - DAY
Sebastian enters. Keith's combo is assembled.
It's a sign-up practice room in the West Valley. There's a
drummer, electric bassist, and trumpeter: COLE, MALCOLM and
TOM. They're more polished in their looks than Sebastian.
Well-groomed beards, tighter jeans.
Didn't know if I'd see you today.
(a bit awkward)
Well... Here I am.
A moment. Then --
Where's the piano?
Keith gestures -- to an electronic keyboard. Sebastian winces.
Here's the deal. We've got distribution
with Universal, got our own imprint.
We're about to go on the road. We can cut
you in for 1K a week while we tour, plus
an equal share of any merchandise or
ticket revenue that comes in. Sound good?
We see Sebastian's face. Taken aback.
A moment. Keith smiles.
Let's play, see how it feels.
He pulls out a guitar. Cole starts on drums. Keith joins in.
Malcolm and Tom follow suit. Sebastian listens. It sounds like
modern jazz -- electronic in feel, but still jazz...
Sebastian approaches the keyboard. Joins -- slowly, one step
at a time. Then begins playing out a bit more, his fingers
starting to race. Malcolm gives Keith a look: "Damn". Keith
gives Malcolm a look back: "I told you so." Bit by bit,
Sebastian eases into the groove. This isn't so bad...
Then -- Keith moves to a LAPTOP. Introduces a DRUM-MACHINE
Sebastian, into the music, is caught off-guard. Uneasy now.
This isn't him...
Keith plays a riff on his guitar. Tom echoes it on bass, then
Malcolm on trumpet. Now it's Sebastian's turn. He hesitates.
And then -- finally -- he plays the riff...
It doesn't feel so bad. The guys build on the riff. Sebastian
keeps up with them, trying to let go of his presuppositions.
After all -- these guys can play...
The music builds, the whole thing swelling and finally
CARRYING US TO --
A73 LATER: Sebastian and Keith sit across from each other as
the other players pack up. Sebastian looks pensive. Noticing --
I know. It's different.
Sebastian stays silent. Then, leaning in --
But you say you want to save jazz. How
are you going to save jazz if no one's
listening? Jazz wouldn't exist if people
hadn't gotten tired of what they were
listening to before.
I mean, do you really think a bunch of
ninety-year-olds in a basement is the
future of the form? Traditionalists whined
when Kenny Clarke started dropping bombs.
If traditionalists had their way, we'd
still be playing Dixieland.
Sebastian considers this. As much as he might make a play of
resisting -- we can tell the words are getting to him...
You're holding onto the past. But jazz is
about the future.
A moment. Then --
I get it. I got it wrong. Last guy wasn't
as good as you. But you're a pain in the
Sebastian nods. Knows he can't argue with that.
If it's not your thing, just let me know.
I don't want you uncomfortable and trying
to change this into something it's not.
But if you want it -- the job's yours.
Sebastian looks at Keith. A moment. He's really weighing
this. And on that -- his look of uncertainty -- we're --
77pt INT. SEBASTIAN'S APARTMENT - DUSK
The door opens. Mia enters. Takes a deep breath. Hears piano.
Steps forward and sees Sebastian at his piano -- playing a
melody we've heard before. [CITY OF STARS AS DUET]
She smiles. Sebastian begins to SING. Mia sits down beside
him and begins to SING as well. They share a duet -- simple,
unaffected, hopeful -- the music just perhaps suggesting
their uncertainty about what they might be about to do...
As the vocals give way to instrumentation, we're --
78 INT. DINER - DAY
Sebastian and Keith hunched over paperwork. Sebastian signs...
A78 INT. COFFEE SHOP / STUDIO LOT - DAY
Mia handing the Manager her apron. She's done with the job...
80 INT. PRACTICE SPACE - DAY
The band rehearsing in their new PRACTICE SPACE. We see
Sebastian play, see Keith sing this time...
79 INT. CAFE - DAY
Mia hunched over her script, obsessively fine-tuning it...
83 INT. DESIGNER CLOTHING STORE - DAY
Sebastian gets dressed up in a new suit...
84 INT. BLACK-BOX THEATER - DAY
We follow Mia through a BLACK-BOX THEATER in North Hollywood.
The space is small, simple -- but perfect. We see her haggle
with the OWNER -- and then light up. They shake hands...
85 INT. GREEN ROOM - EVENING
Sebastian and the band in a green room, waiting. Sebastian's
wearing the new suit. Looking sharper...
86 INT. VINTAGE SHOP - DAY
Mia looking for PROPS. Another wild assortment -- a TOP HAT,
a CANE, a DIORAMA of London, rolled-up MAPS, an old GLOBE...
88 INT. APARTMENT - DAY
We MOVE IN on a laptop. On it a YOUTUBE video plays -- an
interview with Sebastian, Keith and the rest of the band...
89 EXT. RIALTO - DAY
Mia drives by the Rialto theater. It's now CLOSED...
90 INT. SEBASTIAN'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
Mia sits on the floor, penciling out drawings for her play.
Costume and poster sketches scattered by her feet. She's
tired. The clock on the wall reads: 10:54pm.
A90 INT. SEBASTIAN'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT
Mia gets into bed. Checks her phone. Turns off the light.
B90 INT. SEBASTIAN'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - DAWN
Sebastian enters the apartment. Checks his reflection in the
mirror -- a new addition. The clock reads: 4:57am.
C90 INT. SEBASTIAN'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - DAWN
Sebastian gets into bed, careful not to wake Mia.
D90 INT. SEBASTIAN'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - MORNING
Mia crosses through to the kitchen to get herself breakfast,
careful not to wake Sebastian. The clock: 7:02am.
E90 INT. SEBASTIAN'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - MORNING
Sebastian in bed, fast asleep. And WE RETURN TO...
F90 INT. SEBASTIAN'S APARTMENT - DUSK
...Mia and Sebastian at the piano, before this latest journey
began, finishing their song. The last lyrics resonating as
they look into one another's eyes:
City of stars... You've never shined so
On that -- this image of love, Sebastian playing out the
final chords on his piano -- WE GO DARK.
All sound fades out. And then, we hear --
-- a CROWD CHEERING. [START A FIRE]
We see -- a white spotlight. It reveals Sebastian. We're --
91 INT. THE ECHO - NIGHT
Sebastian is on-stage. He's the only musician we can see. The
floor beyond the stage is FILLED with people.
Among them, we spot Mia -- beaming with pride. Sebastian sees
her, smiles to her as he plays a piano intro. Mia grins right
back, heart swelling...
A SECOND SPOTLIGHT turns on, illuminating Keith. He SINGS. He
has a beautiful voice. Mia bobs her head. It's just Keith and
Sebastian right now, all acoustic, a simple, catchy tune...
And then -- suddenly -- a DRUM MACHINE SURGES IN -- and --
BOOM! The entire CLUB is lit up as the MUSIC EXPLODES. A full-
fledged dance beat and a thick radio-ready electronic track.
Mia is taken aback. But she keeps bobbing her head -- as the
crowd around her GOES CRAZY...
Keith owns the stage, as Sebastian plays out more -- now
switched to an electronic keyboard, complete with synth
sounds. We recognize fragments of melody from when Keith and
Sebastian first rehearsed -- but the tune has been
transformed beyond recognition. Not a hint of jazz...
Keith breaks into the CHORUS -- and a TRIO OF BACKUP SINGERS
are revealed stage-left. The band surges into the song's
bridge -- and BACKUP DANCERS appear stage-right, scantily-
And then -- the lights go NUTS. It's a full-out LIGHT SHOW
now, shafts of red, blue, green and orange cutting through
the dark. The crowd starts CHEERING, pumping their fists...
Mia looks at Sebastian. He's not fighting any of this. He
sees her. She smiles. But something is changing in her
She looks at the lights, the singers, the dancers, Sebastian
and his bandmates in matching magazine-cover-ready outfits.
She looks at the crowd around her -- their hollers growing
more and more frenzied as Sebastian launches into a prolonged
Mia looks back at him, takes it all in: Is this really him...?
As the mass of people swells and moves, Mia finds herself
PUSHED TO THE SIDE, bit by bit, away from the center...
She tries to hold her ground, but is edged FURTHER AND
FURTHER AWAY. Sebastian, deep in his solo, doesn't notice.
Mia tugs against the tide of the crowd, but to no avail.
She's pushed to the back of the club, away from the lights
and into shadow...
The final chorus begins -- floor-shaking, fist-pounding. We
linger on Mia's face -- watching as the band feverishly tear
into their climactic bars, the dancers on-stage and the crowd
below busting out one last burst of CRAZED CHOREOGRAPHY --
ending the song just as we SMASH CUT TO A TITLE CARD OVER
We take a moment to collect ourselves before --
93 EXT. / INT. CHINESE RESTAURANT - LOS ANGELES - DAY
CLOSE on Mia. She looks tired. A bit weathered. She's nursing a
green tea across from Laura. They've finished eating.
Look at him -- watch --
Mia glances out the window. A MAN in his early 40's has just
parked, is walking around his car, inspecting it.
Now he's going to check the other window.
Yep, it's closed. Now he's going to check
again. Yep, still closed.
Mia smiles. The MAN enters the restaurant -- greets Mia -- and
kisses Laura. This is HARRY. Her new boyfriend.
Hey. I'm grabbing some pastries, you two
Thanks Harry, I'm good.
Same here but I think someone's trying to
break into your car.
Harry rolls his eyes, heads to the front. Laura looks at Mia.
Don't stress about the play. Where's Seb now?
I think today's San Diego. I'm not sure...
A moment passes.
You should come over tonight. Harry's
cooking, but don't let that stop you.
(Mia manages a smile; a beat)
What's the matter?
You miss him.
I guess. I'm adapting.
I got used to being alone. Growing up it
was just me and Seb. We only had each other.
He told me.
I wasn't looking for anybody. Then I met
Harry and -- we just fit...
You've changed Seb. You know that?
Laura means it positively -- but Mia seems concerned...
Do you think he's happy?
Is he happy?
I mean with the band, the travel, all of it.
Our dad never got to do what he wanted.
We were always treading water, he took a
job running a washer-dryer store. But
every night at home he'd play his
clarinet along to a Benny Goodman record.
So I look at Sebastian... Playing music,
getting paid for it. I'm happy for him.
She notices Harry through the window, returning. Her thoughts
A beat. She looks back at Mia. Sees her worry.
Don't overthink it. He'll be home soon.
Harry rejoins the table. Hands Laura a sponge cake.
I told you not to get me anything!
Oh, right -- I'll eat it I guess.
No -- I changed my mind.
They laugh. Kiss. Tender. Loving. Mia watches...
94 INT. DINER - NIGHT
Mia eats, her laptop next to her meal. She takes a bite, types.
We see her screen -- an e-mail draft, glimpses of words: "one-
woman show", "one night only", "7pm", "I would be thrilled..."
She thinks. Picks up her phone. Dials Sebastian. Waits. No
Hey it's me... Not sure where you are --
maybe Boston? Or Dallas? Anyway... I
haven't heard from you in a while... I
She hangs up. Resumes typing.
95 INT. SEBASTIAN'S APARTMENT COMPLEX / APARTMENT - NIGHT
Mia walks through the courtyard. Reaches the door. Then hears
something... Music -- LOUD, FAST JAZZ...
She enters -- has to jostle the door handle to do so --
-- and then freezes in place. Sebastian is sashaying around a
fully-decked table, lighting candles as he moves. He looks
up, sees her -- and grins.
She lights up. He lifts up silver serving trays, revealing
what he's cooked. Roast chicken. Pasta.
(he hurries to the kitchen --
and holds up a big apple pie)
There's twenty-five pounds of apples in
it. It probably destroyed an ecosystem
but it tastes good.
Mia laughs. Can't believe it. Sebastian looks at her --
I have to head back in the morning but I
needed to see you.
Mia's eyes seem almost on the brink of tears. Beyond moved,
she runs into Sebastian's arms. A LONG, HEARTFELT KISS...
96 INT. SEBASTIAN'S APARTMENT - EVENING
CLOSE ON: The record player. An old jazz track. We see Mia and
Sebastian seated at the table -- eating, drinking, laughing.
Feels so good to be home.
How's the play going?
What if people show up?
Laughter. Then --
You're nervous about what they think?
I'm nervous to be up on a stage and
perform in front of people. I'm
They should be so lucky to see it.
It's going to be incredible. I can't
A smile. Beat.
What time do you leave in the morning?
You should come.
Yeah, you could knock that off your
Wish I could.
Why can't you?
Come to Boise?
Because I have to rehearse.
Can't you rehearse anywhere?
She looks at him.
You mean anywhere you are?
...I -- I guess...
Well, all my stuff is here and my show's
in a few weeks and -- I don't know, it
doesn't seem practical...
Right... I just -- we're going to have to
do things so we can see each other. We
never see each other.
I know, but when are you done?
...What do you mean?
When are you done with the tour?
But -- as soon as we're done with the
tour we go back and record, and then we
go back on tour.
Mia looks at him. Doesn't seem to understand.
We tour so we can make the record, and
then we go back on tour to sell the
Beat. Mia takes this in.
So it's...the long haul?
...What does that mean?
I mean the long haul -- like, you're
going to be in this band for a long time.
What did you think I was going to do?
I don't know, I didn't think the band
You didn't think we'd be successful.
No, that's not what I meant. What I meant
was -- this band -- you're going to be on
the road for -- what, years now?
Yeah, feasibly -- I could be on the road
for years with just this record.
Do you like the music you're playing?
I don't know how that matters.
It matters if you're going to give up
your dream to be on the road for years.
Do you like the music I'm playing?
Yes. I do.
I just didn't think you did.
Yeah, well, I --
And now I hear you're going to be on the
road for years, and I'm --
What are you doing? Why are you doing
What do you mean why am I doing this?
This is what you wanted from me.
To be in this band?
To have a steady job.
Yes, I wanted you to have a job so you
could take care of yourself and start
So I'm doing that. So why aren't we
Why aren't you starting your club?
You said yourself no one wants to go to
that club! No one wants to go to a club
called Chicken on a Stick --
Change the name!
-- and no one likes jazz. Not even you.
I do like jazz now, because of you.
(not listening to her)
What am I supposed to do? Go back to
playing "Jingle Bells" so I can save
money for some Shangri-La club no one
wants to go to?
People will want to go to it! People love
what other people are passionate about.
Not in my experience.
A beat. Mia realizes she's getting nowhere. A moment of
quiet. Then --
Anyway -- it's time to grow up. You know?
This is what I'm doing. If you had a
problem, I wish you would've said
something earlier, before I signed on the
You had a dream that you were sticking
to, that --
This is the dream!
This is not your dream.
Guys like me go their whole lives and
never do anything that's liked. I'm
finally doing something that people
enjoy. What is wrong with that?
Why do you care so much about being liked
You're an actress, who are you to talk??
Silence. We suddenly realize --
-- the LP has finished. You can hear the needle scratch
against it now -- back and forth, back and forth. Sebastian
looks at Mia.
A moment. Finally --
Maybe you liked me more when I was a
failure because it made you feel better
Mia looks back at him. Can't believe he said that. Tears
starting to well in her eyes. She tries to suppress them.
Are you kidding?
They stare at each other.
Then -- all of a sudden -- the FIRE ALARM blares.
Sebastian turns and sees smoke billowing from the KITCHEN. A
dish in the oven has started to burn.
Sebastian rises, springs toward the kitchen -- then sees Mia
grabbing her things.
But she's out the door. It slams shut, as Sebastian pulls the
burnt apple pie from the oven.
And on that -- WE SMASH CUT TO --
98 EXT. THEATER - DAY
A poster, placed on the front of the theater we saw before.
A title. A name below it: "MIA DOLAN." And a word: "TONIGHT."
We spot Mia, carrying a box of props. She enters the theater.
And we're --
99 INT. THEATER - DAY
The empty theater. Dark. Silent. Then -- a light turns on.
Mia steps in. We stay WIDE. She seems small from this
vantage point, surrounded by her props and backdrops. She
takes a moment. Looks at all the empty seats.
Takes a deep breath. Nervous. And then, nodding to herself --
you can do this -- she starts setting up...
100 INT. PRACTICE SPACE - DAY
A BLAST of music. The Messengers have just finished a
rehearsal. Sebastian packs his stuff, heads toward the exit,
nodding to the others --
See you tomorrow. See ya.
-- when --
You good for tonight, right?
Sebastian stops. Looks at Keith.
Seven. The photo shoot.
(reading Sebastian's face, adding --)
A beat. Sebastian is confused.
I thought that was next Thursday.
No. It's tonight.
We linger on Sebastian for a moment...
Is that ok?
101 EXT. REHEARSAL SPACE - DAY
Sebastian stands out front. Checks his watch. Thinks...
103 INT. THEATER / INT. BACKSTAGE - NIGHT
People are shuffling into the theater. We DRIFT BACKSTAGE.
Mia, now in a male suit and tie, watches behind a curtain.
Checks her phone. 7:04. Breathes in. Nervous, and alone...
She turns. Nods to the OWNER, off to the side. He heads to a
switch, and the lights GO DOWN.
You can hear the murmurs beyond the curtain. The audience,
expecting. Mia tries to get her nerves under control. She can
do this... Sets her phone aside -- one last breath --
-- and walks out.
106 INT. PHOTO STUDIO - NIGHT
LOUD MUSIC. It's the band's song, blaring from a speaker.
They're pantomiming -- the musicians styled and ready for
their close-ups. A PHOTOGRAPHER grabs shots.
Put a light on the drums... I need more
fill in this corner...
We ZERO IN on Sebastian. His hair sticks out at various
angles. An artfully-undone tie hangs from his neck. He
fake-plays, as Keith pretends to lay in sampled beats...
Keith, Tom, Malcolm, Cole -- they all grin, as excited as
kids. Sebastian looks at them -- then down at his
elaborate outfit, then back up at the Photographer
running around, then at his watch...
Bass, head up. Piano, look down at the
Sebastian does as told, but his thoughts are elsewhere. The
Photographer moves in close, SNAPPING shots of just him --
Cut the music. Turn the keyboard live.
Piano look up, play.
The track stops. Sebastian stops as well. The CLICKS of the
Photographer's camera loud now.
No -- piano -- actually play something.
Sebastian is still. Then he starts to play a single melody
on the keys. We recognize it. The first notes of his and
Good, now bite your lip like you're
concentrating on a solo.
Beat. Sebastian stops. Silence. He stares ahead.
That was good. Don't stop.
We PUSH IN on Sebastian...
107 INT. THEATER - NIGHT
We're CLOSE on Mia. In ordinary clothes now.
Behind her is a wallpapered wall, and a small window. By
her side are the globe we saw in her room, and other little
trinkets: a pearl necklace, an old suitcase, a roll of
maps. Outside the window, projection of a starlit Parisian
night sky. Completely silent, Mia moves to a lamp, turns it
We go BLACK.
Then -- the house lights go on. White, fluorescent. Thin
applause can be heard. Mia manages a smile, as we finally see --
-- that the theater is less than a quarter full.
Mia takes a bow. Peers out. One seat, in the front row, has a
"RESERVED" sign on it. The seat is empty.
109 INT. THEATER - DRESSING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
Mia slips inside, holding in her hurt. Starts collecting a
few outfits -- then overhears two AUDIENCE MEMBERS outside --
AUDIENCE MEMBER #1 (O.S.)
I swear to God, if I have to hear one
more hipster waxing nostalgic I'm gonna
slit my wrists.
AUDIENCE MEMBER #2 (O.S.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER #1 (O.S.)
She's not even good. That window
AUDIENCE MEMBER #2 (O.S.)
Christ... Don't quit your day job...
Mia freezes. The nail in the coffin. The voices fade. She
slides into a chair.
110 EXT. THEATER - NIGHT
Sebastian SPEEDING. Screeching to a stop. He's at Mia's THEATER.
He dashes out and runs to the door.
But it's locked. No one's in sight. Fuck.
He spins around, frantic -- when Mia appears from an adjacent
doorway, alone and carrying her box of props to her car.
She turns. Sees him. He runs to her. WRAPS his arms around --
I'm sorry --
-- and KISSES her. The kind of kiss that might once have
swept her off her feet. He starts to move with her...
...starts to DANCE -- but --
She pulls away. Steps back. Sebastian looks at her. Unmoored.
I'm -- I'm sorry I missed it -- and I'm
sorry I was a dick and I -- I promise
I'll make it up to you --
She doesn't say the words with any anger. Just acceptance.
(a beat; then --)
...What do you mean?
I'm done embarrassing myself.
You didn't embarrass yourself...
No one showed up. I can't even pay back
She says this as though just realizing it. Sebastian looks
at her. A moment passes. He doesn't know what to say now.
I'm gonna go home for a while.
...This is home.
Sebastian is silent now. A tear in his eye. He clenches his
jaw. Mia looks at him one more time, steps into her car, and
Sebastian lingers. Doesn't move. Silence. Then, music. Soft,
melancholy, just piano, as...
...WE DISSOLVE TO:
113 EXT. MIA'S CAR - DAY
Mia drives, boxes stacked in the back.
A113 She gets on the 405... Heading out of the city...
114 EXT. / INT. MIA'S HOUSE - NEVADA - DUSK
Mia steps inside a modest house. Her MOM is by the door. Hugs
her. Her DAD stands by the hallway.
115 INT. MIA'S HOUSE - BEDROOM - DUSK
Mia enters her old bedroom. Slides in a suitcase. Moves a couple
of boxes from the hall. Looks around. Old photos. Old soccer
trophies. She sits down on the bed. Takes a breath. And,
116 EXT. ORANGE GROVE - DAY
Laura and Harry's ENGAGEMENT PARTY. We're outside, in a sun-
dappled grove. A small gathering.
Sebastian plays a baby grand piano -- the source, we realize,
of the music we've been hearing...
As he watches Laura dance with her new fiancé -- this woman he
has known for so many years as a romantic cynic, now once
again full of all the youthful innocence of first love -- his
thoughts seem to drift. The music comes to a close and...
117 LATER: Sebastian with Laura, by the orange trees...
You remember the McKenzies?
Oh God, I didn't see them.
Yeah. They kept going, "oh Sebastian's so
Sebastian smiles. Then --
You look beautiful.
I hope it was ok. I haven't played in a while.
You were great
You're always great when you play.
Sebastian is silent. Then --
Now -- listen to me. I want you to save
for a down payment. You understand? You
need a home.
I'm not gonna be hovering anymore.
...You still think New York?
I think so. Maybe Boston. I don't know,
Sebastian smiles again. Some calls from the distance --
Ah I gotta -- the future in-laws...
She lights up. Likes the sound of that.
Is my...my hair...?
Sebastian, without a word, pulls a strand back. Laura smiles,
kisses him on the cheek. A quiet, tender moment. Then she
hurries off. Sebastian stands there. Watches...
WE FADE OUT.
118 INT. SEBASTIAN'S APARTMENT - MORNING
RINGING. Sebastian is awoken. Groaning, he rolls over. Lets
the phone ring. It keeps going. Endless... Finally, fed up, he
reaches for it. Answers --
WOMAN #2 (O.S.)
Hi, I'm trying to reach Mia Dolan.
Sebastian is taken aback. He goes to hang up, saying just --
WOMAN #2 (O.S.)
-- She's not answering her cell and I was
told I might find her here.
Sebastian pauses. Hurt by the mere mention of Mia's name --
Yeah, well...not anymore.
WOMAN #2 (O.S.)
Ok. If you do talk to her --
WOMAN #2 (O.S.)
-- please tell her Jane at Amy Brandt
Casting is trying to reach her.
A beat. Sebastian sits up. Suddenly wide-eyed.
119 INT. MIA'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - NIGHT
Dinner has just finished. Mia's Mom gives her a kiss --
MIA'S MOM MIA
Night, sweetie. Night, Mom.
-- and heads off, as Mia and her Dad stay behind. Getting up
to scrape the dish --
You want some more rice?
You look hungry.
A moment. Mia's Dad puts a few more dishes away, then sits
back down across from her.
It's fun having you back. Your mom
ditches me at ten.
Mia laughs. A moment.
You took down the swing.
She made me.
MIA'S DAD (CONT'D)
I've still got all your old tapes.
Oh God. Throw those away.
Just then -- a loud, persistent HONK. Mia's Dad looks up,
eyebrow raised. Mia turns, hearing it as well. The HONKING
is nearby -- just outside...
Mia's thoughts suddenly sharpen. Ears perk up. She's heard the
MIA'S DAD (CONT'D)
What the hell...?
Disbelief on Mia's face. It can't be. She heads to the nearest
window. There -- at the corner, smack-dab in front of her
house -- is SEBASTIAN'S CAR.
A NEIGHBOR angrily yells at him. Sebastian sees Mia. They lock
eyes. And on that --
120 EXT. MIA'S HOME / SEBASTIAN'S CAR - MOMENTS LATER
Mia and Sebastian stand next to his car.
Why did you come here?
Because I have good news.
Amy Brandt. The casting director.
I know who she is.
She was at your play. And she loved it.
And she loved it so much that she wants
you to come audition for a huge movie
He's brimming over with excitement. But Mia just shakes
I'm not going.
I'm -- no... That will kill me.
So you're happy here?
Why won't you come?
I told you.
I don't buy it.
(finally letting it out, fed up --)
Because it's another audition!
(a beat; then --)
I've been to hundreds of auditions. Do
you want to know what happens? Either
they interrupt me because someone ordered
a sandwich, or they cut me off after two
seconds, or I'm crying and they start
laughing, or I'm one of a hundred
lookalikes in the waiting room who never
has a chance, because --
-- because --
Because I'm probably not good enough.
Yes you are.
No. Maybe I'm not.
Maybe I'm one of those people who's
always wanted to do it but never had a
chance. It's a pipe dream. Maybe it's
like you said. Maybe I need to grow up.
She hesitates. Continues --
I can go back to school. I can find
something else that I'm supposed to do. I
left school to give it a shot, and it
didn't work out, and it took six years,
and I don't want to do it anymore.
Beat. But Sebastian isn't giving up.
Why don't you want to do it anymore?
Mia thinks about this one for a moment.
...Because it hurts a little bit too
Sebastian shakes his head. Nope. Won't accept this.
I told them you'd be there at five-thirty
tomorrow. I'll swing by here before I
drive back at eight. Either you'll be
outside or you won't.
With that, he gets back into his car. Mia is silent. Then --
How did you find me?
Sebastian turns. Points. Matter-of-fact --
The house across from the library.
He drives off. Mia looks up. There, sure enough, is the
LIBRARY, crouched on the corner. The library that once
helped set her on her path to acting.
She looks at it. Thinks...
121 EXT. MIA'S STREET - NIGHT/DAY
Wide on the street. All is quiet. Night becomes morning...
122 EXT. MIA'S HOME - DAY
Sebastian's car pulls over. He sits there. Sips a coffee, a
second coffee in the holder. The time: 8:02.
A moment passes. He taps the wheel. Looks at the house. The
front door remains closed. No Mia. He leans back. Seems
worried. Closes his eyes, breathes out. We MOVE CLOSE on him.
He breathes in and out again...
He opens his eyes. 8:10. The door's still closed. Resigned,
he starts his car up, BEGINS TO PULL AWAY, when --
-- BAM! A KNOCK on the opposite window. He jumps.
It's Mia. She's just arrived at the car from the other side,
two just-bought cups of coffee and a bag of pastries in her
hands. A beat. Sebastian smiles. Then OPENS the door for her.
124 EXT. PARAMOUNT STUDIO LOT - DAY
A cloudy late afternoon. Mia and Sebastian slowly walk
through the lot together. They pass the New York street, the
murals and posters of classic Hollywood, the old Art Deco
ornaments and the big soundstages and backdrops. Neither says
125 INT. WAITING LOBBY - DAY
Mia and Sebastian are seated. Waiting. The DOOR opens. An
ACTRESS exits. A second later --
Mia gathers her nerves. Gets up. And steps in.
126 INT. AUDITION ROOM / INT. LOBBY - DAY
In the room is AMY BRANDT -- mid-forties. Seated behind her
is the director, FRANK.
AMY BRANDT MIA
Hi, Mia. Hi.
I'm Amy, this is Frank. Glad we found you.
Mia nods. Smiles. A moment.
AMY BRANDT (CONT'D)
The movie shoots in Paris. There's no script.
We want to build the character with you.
It's a process. Three-month rehearsal,
So why don't you just tell us a story?
Mia nods again. A moment.
AMY BRANDT (CONT'D)
Whenever you're ready.
Mia thinks. She takes a breath -- then goes silent again. It
seems she might be unsure what to do, might even be about to
choke the audition. We fear she may botch this completely...
A126 WE CUT TO THE LOBBY -- to Sebastian, hearing Mia's silence. On
B126 WE RETURN to the AUDITION ROOM... Brandt and Frank waiting...
My aunt lived in Paris for a bit... She
used to tell me these stories, when I was
growing up, about living abroad...
I remember -- she told me she jumped into
the Seine once...
She pauses, and then continues -- in SONG. [TRACK: AUDITION]
Yes, this audition is different than the rest, and the switch
to song signals just that. Mia's nerves fade away -- all the
accents and fakery of earlier auditions a distant memory. This
is Mia undisguised -- pure and stark and beautiful...
She uses the story of her aunt jumping into the river to
paint a portrait of all the dreamers in the world -- all the
people who are told they're nuts for pursuing their passion --
all the so-called "fools" who take the plunge. She sings
about them and for them. This is why Mia does what she does --
why she simply has no choice...
The song ends, and we linger on her for a moment. Then...
...WE DISSOLVE TO:
127 EXT. GRIFFITH PARK - DAY
Mia and Sebastian sit on a bench, the Observatory perched
behind them. The clouds have parted, and it's now a gorgeous
Los Angeles afternoon, minutes before dusk.
Sebastian looks at Mia. A moment passes.
When do you find out?
They said the next couple of days... But
I'm not expecting to find anything out.
You're going to get it.
No, I'm not.
You are. I know these things.
Where are we?
Sebastian looks at her.
I mean -- where are we?
I don't know.
What do we do?
I don't think we can do anything. Because
when you get this --
If I get this --
When you get this -- you've got to give
it everything you've got.
It's your dream.
What are you going to do?
I've got to follow my own plan. Stay
here. Get my own thing going. You know...
A moment. Mia nods. Sebastian looks at her again.
You're going to be in Paris. Good jazz
there. And you love jazz now.
Another moment. And then, finally --
I guess we're just going to have to wait
Mia's eyes well up, just slightly, as she hears this. She
You know I'm always going to love you.
I'm always going to love you too.
Beat. Sebastian looks up at the Observatory.
Look at this view.
I've seen better.
Then, almost to herself --
I've never been here during the day.
Sebastian smiles. A moment.
We CUT TO WIDE. Sebastian and Mia sit side by side. We linger
here, our two characters framed by the white-and-green
Observatory, the rest of L.A. stretching out beyond.
And then, ever so slowly...
...we FADE TO:
A palm tree, a cloudless sky. We PULL BACK -- to reveal it's
128 EXT. STUDIO LOT - DAY
We're on a studio lot, looking at one of the old painted
backdrops, of a palm tree and sky. A new title card:
Five years later...
We TILT down to the studio's entryway. A CAR enters.
A WOMAN steps out. We don't see her face. We FOLLOW her from
behind. She walks elegantly, poised. The wind picks up a
strand of her hair. She makes her way down side-streets we've
seen before, past Parisian-style façades. Then enters a
COFFEE SHOP we recognize...
129 INT. COFFEE SHOP - DAY
The eyes inside all look the WOMAN's way. She reaches the
counter -- and we finally SEE HER FACE:
Hi... Iced coffee, please.
MIA looks different. Different haircut, different way of
The BARISTA hurries to get Mia's order. We recognize this as
the shop where Mia used to work. A man who appears to be the
NEW MANAGER gives Mia the coffee --
No, no, that's fine.
Mia hands over a few dollar bills. Then drops another bill into
the tip jar. The Barista smiles.
130 EXT. COFFEE SHOP - MOMENTS LATER
Mia exits the coffee shop...and is met by a CREW MEMBER on a
GOLF CART. She gets on the cart -- and is driven away...
CLOSE ON hands on piano keys, fluttering across the ivories.
We PULL BACK: it's SEBASTIAN. We're in...
131 INT. JAZZ CLUB - DAY
...a small jazz club. Simple, tasteful, cool. Stone arches in
1940's style. The seats close to the band, the piano in the
center. The club has the same old-school character as the
Lighthouse -- but it's not run-down. It's polished, inviting.
The place is empty save for Sebastian and an EMPLOYEE. It's
before-hours. Sebastian finishes playing. Feels out the
lowest keys once more, then the highest. Then turns and --
Alright, I'm done.
Harris did a nice job with it.
Took him long enough.
No one touches the instruments. Carson's
coming an hour early to test levels.
I got a check for you to sign.
How'd we do last month?
Not too bad.
(as he signs the check)
Not too bad is great.
(taps the Employee on the
See you tonight.
See you tonight.
132 EXT. CHATEAU MARMONT - DAY
Mia pulls into the driveway.
133 INT. ROOM - CHATEAU MARMONT - DAY
She steps inside. Flowers and cards. We glimpse cursive
"CONGRATULATIONS" written on a few of them. A stack of scripts
on a nearby table. Her name visible. She drops her things,
spots someone, goes in to kiss him. A long, tender, loving
embrace, as we pull back...
...and see that it's not Sebastian.
It's a MAN we haven't seen before: DAVID, mid-thirties. He
and Mia kiss again. And, running over and grabbing Mia's leg,
is a TWO-YEAR-OLD GIRL...
134 INT. SEBASTIAN'S APARTMENT - EVENING
Sebastian steps in. The place is more habitable than his old
digs. Fully furnished, warm and welcoming. He heads to the
kitchen, pulls out some pork cutlets he's been thawing. We see,
sitting on the counter, a Christmas card with a photo attached:
Laura, Harry, and a FOUR-YEAR-OLD BOY, all gathered on a couch
and smiling at the camera.
135 INT. SEBASTIAN'S APARTMENT - LATER
Sebastian eats his meal, in a new shirt and pants. Checks
136 EXT. JAZZ CLUB - DAY
Sebastian pulls up outside the club. New car, same style.
Gets out and passes by a movie poster as he walks. We
can't see the title, but we can catch a glimpse of a face
137 INT. JAZZ CLUB - NIGHT
We're back in the club.
It's bustling now -- the BARTENDERS setting up, DOORMEN
coming in, MUSICIANS sound-checking. Sebastian enters, the
musicians greet him --
Hothouse Eddie -- miss me?
Like the desert misses the rain.
And then -- we see a SAXOPHONIST we recognize. One of the old
Seb -- Edgar's bringing his horn tonight.
Yeah? Tell him to tune it, huh?
That's not Edgar.
Laughs, pats on the back.
138 INT. ROOM - CHATEAU MARMONT - NIGHT
Mia, in a new outfit, crosses the living area and grabs her
purse and jacket. David is by the door, jacket on as well.
Mia bends back around a sofa, where the GIRL we saw before is
seated next to a nineteen-year-old baby-sitter, CHELSEA.
Bye, sweetie. You be nice to Chelsea.
The Girl nods. Mia kisses her forehead. Heads to the door.
Bye, Mrs. Dolan.
140 INT. CAR - NIGHT
David drives, Mia seated beside him. They're on the 101.
Gridlock traffic up ahead.
What if we miss this? What do we tell
We can just see it back in New York...
David nods. Looks at the time on the car. 8:06.
141 INT. CAR - LATER
Mia and David are seated. Still not moving. Mia looks at the
clock again: 8:27.
Do you want to just skip it...? Turn off
here and get dinner?
David looks at her. Smiles.
142 EXT. CITY STREET - NIGHT
Mia and David walk down a street. A few open restaurants and
bars, a few other closed storefronts. A lot of old, weathered
buildings: 1930's stucco, Art Deco signs.
Then -- David's ears perk up. He hears something. MUSIC...
He looks around. Doesn't see the source. Heads to the end of
the block, then sees, just up ahead, a few people entering a
building. Seems to be where the music's coming from...
Mia heads over, curious. The music grows louder -- sounds like
a JAZZ COMBO. Mia peeks toward the door...
...and then FREEZES.
The sign on the door reads: "SEB'S". It's written the way she
drew it for Sebastian, years ago...
Coming up to her side, oblivious --
This looks fun.
David edges past Mia. Glimpses the bar inside. Turns to her,
Mia doesn't know what to say. She follows David...
143 INT. JAZZ CLUB - CONTINUOUS
Inside, a JAZZ COMBO is tearing through a fast bop chart. The
seats around the band are almost all occupied. Young fans,
older couples, passersby trickling in from outside. It's an
excited crowd, far more varied than what we saw at the
Lighthouse -- a real range of ages and styles.
Mia's eyes drift as David heads to the bar. She recognizes the
images on the walls -- all Sebastian's. Recognizes a stool by
the bar -- also Sebastian's, formerly Hoagy Carmichael's...
She turns to David. Wavering, unsure what to do, she follows
him as he manages to find two empty seats close to the
The combo finishes. Hearty applause. A young PIANIST rises
from the keys, waves "thanks".
And -- just then -- Sebastian appears. Mia looks at him,
(taking the microphone)
Manny Halloran, ladies and gentlemen.
I don't know, I told him to play "Jingle
The crowd laughs. Sebastian smiles, looks at them --
-- and sees Mia.
Shock. The two LOCK EYES -- and you can tell it's the first
time they've seen each other in years.
A prolonged silence. Sebastian is speechless.
Then -- forcing himself to keep on a face --
Welcome to Seb's.
More applause. Sebastian sits at the piano. Looks at the keys.
He seems uncertain -- perhaps unsure what to play. He looks at
Mia. Takes the sight in. Beat. Then looks at his fellow
musicians. Murmurs to them. Then turns back to the keys --
-- and finally starts playing.
A quieter tune, just piano, soft and tender and melancholy. A
melody we -- and Mia -- instantly recognize...
It's Mia and Sebastian's song.
Mia looks at Sebastian. He looks at her, then back at his keys.
This is the most beautiful we've ever heard his playing. The
most tender, and full of emotion, it has ever sounded.
We MOVE CLOSER on Sebastian. We recognize this image. It
recalls the visualization of his dream, back at the RESTAURANT
that night in winter, years ago. Gradually, as Sebastian
plays, his surroundings seem to grow DARKER. Slowly, subtly at
first, with just shifts in lighting, then a shift in
perspective, the interior of the club changes, and soon...
144 ...we find ourselves back at that same RESTAURANT... Back when
Mia laid eyes on Sebastian for the first time...
Within this fantasy-flashback, Sebastian finishes his piece.
We stick on Mia, watching him as his Boss talks to him. All is
as before, as we remember it... And sure enough, Mia
approaches Sebastian as he walks near her, and --
I just wanted to say -- I saw your
playing, and I --
-- but instead of brushing past her --
-- Sebastian decks her with a kiss for the ages.
A BURST OF ORCHESTRAL MUSIC. The DINERS in the restaurant spin
around to face Mia and Sebastian -- and SNAP their fingers in
time. Even the Boss starts to DANCE. Mia and Sebastian grin --
and then strut out together, hand in hand... [EPILOGUE]
145 INT. NEW APARTMENT - DAY
Mia and Sebastian push open a new door -- to their new place.
It's a shabby one-bedroom -- but it's theirs...
146 INT. LIGHTHOUSE CAFE - NIGHT
Next, Keith approaches Sebastian at the Lighthouse -- but
Sebastian immediately shakes his head "no".
147 INT. THEATER - NIGHT
Sebastian watches Mia perform -- it's the night of her play.
He stands up to applaud -- and behind him, the entire
theater, utterly packed, rises as well. A huge standing
ovation. Mia's ROOMMATES are there, giddy with joy, as are
LAURA and HARRY...
148 INT. STUDIO SOUNDSTAGE - DAY / NIGHT
Mia and Sebastian walk together outside -- but now that we're
outside we realize this isn't the real L.A. at all..
This, in fact, is an L.A. that doesn't exist. A painted-
backdrop L.A., just like the one we saw Mia pass by when
parking on the lot...
The old orange groves and the gabled rooftops and the moss-
covered bungalows and the ivy-decked lamps, the jacaranda
trees and the giant hills and Griffith and the Santa Monica
Pier -- all painted, all props, all figments of a studio-
backdrop imagination. We've entered a fully fantastical
realm, the realm of the old Hollywood ballets of the 40's and
A148 Everyone DANCES -- the pedestrians and the street performers
and the cops and the guards... AMY BRANDT races up to Mia --
seems to beckon her to audition... We see the audition
silhouetted against a wall... We don't hear Mia sing, but the
music takes on the melody of her song, carrying us to...
B148 PARIS... Sebastian travels there with Mia... We chart the
journey through an OLD GLOBE -- the same one we saw Mia use
for her play -- a miniature plane and dissolves, the old-
Finally, we find ourselves looking at a PAINTED BACKDROP of
Paris -- the same one Mia used for her play. The Sacré-Coeur
and the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower etched in bright
colors, the ornate lampposts and the cobblestones stretching
before us... And then a sign -- "CAVEAU DE LA HUCHETTE"...
C148 We see a jam session at the Caveau -- a crypt-like jazz club.
Sebastian plays, on cloud nine...
C148pt We see a MOVIE SHOOT, Mia surrounded by lights and cranes,
decked in movie-movie glow.
We're BACK to the Caveau. The lights go out -- except for the
TRUMPETER, playing out a lovelorn solo, rim-lit. We MOVE in
close on his horn -- DIVE into the bell --
D148 -- and emerge into NIGHTTIME PARIS. All painted. Mia and
Sebastian wander through this wonderland, pedestrians frozen
around them... Finally, they stop and look at one another...
And -- as the city lights behind them start to glitter like
all the stars of the galaxy...
This is the last time we'll ever see them dance, and they
seem to recognize that, so graceful and poised are their
movements... Remember -- this is a romance more perfect than
a real romance could ever be...
We DISSOLVE again -- to a projector beam...
16mm footage plays on a screen, full of scratches and pockets
of light... Mia and Sebastian sit down to watch together --
and we see the following moments in brief, vivid GLIMPSES, as
we move in closer on the imagery:
149 The first home... (16mm)
150 Mia's pregnancy... (16mm)
151 The newborn child... (16mm)
152 The child's first birthday... (16mm)
153 The child's first day of pre-school, all dressed up... (16mm)
Everything here glows with the warmth of old home movies...
These are memories, fluttering by, grabbed at random -- and
yet all concocted, dreamed up out of nothing... The SCORE
continuing to sway and taking us right up to...
154 Sebastian and Mia, husband and wife, father and mother,
hiring a babysitter because they've decided to go out for a
night at the movies... (We're back to 35mm now.) The look
here is unaffected, just everyday. The MUSIC quiets slightly,
everything goes more natural, as this happily married couple
hit the road...
155 ...then find themselves blocked by a traffic jam...then take
a side route, winding up in another part of L.A...
156 ...then walk down the street, then hear music -- a jazz combo
157 ...and step into a place that looks just like Sebastian's
club... They sit down to listen...
And then -- and this is how our imagined montage-musical
number ends -- the combo's PIANIST, who of course is not
Sebastian, launches into Mia and Sebastian's melody...
...and Mia and Sebastian look at each other, recognizing it.
The music goes full-circle, back to where it started, as Mia
and Sebastian look into each other's eyes, lean in and,
softly, but with all the love in the world...
158 WE CUT BACK TO THE PIANO: Sebastian has just finished his
piece. We're back to reality. The audience in the club
Beat. Mia looks at Sebastian. Looks away. A moment passes.
Do you want to stay for another?
She's silent for a second. Then she looks at David.
No... We should go.
He nods. They rise from their seats and head for the exit.
Just as they reach the door, and as David steps out, Mia turns
and looks back at Sebastian. He looks at her. Their eyes lock.
A hint of a tear in both...
And, ever so subtly, for just a fleeting second, Mia smiles.
It's the kind of smile you could miss if you blinked -- but
it's enough to signal to Sebastian that she recognized the
melody he played, and that she still remembers it, and still
thinks of it to this day...
Then she walks out the door. Sebastian glances at his fellow
musicians. Then, he nods, and they launch into a new chart.
159 EXT. STREET - NIGHT
It's silent outside. You can't hear the music. Mia and David
reach their car. They get in. It pulls out.
Passing by Sebastian's club, the car continues on. We stay put,
the jazz club on one side of the frame, the lights of the car
on the other. Those lights growing smaller and smaller, before
finally disappearing into the big L.A. night...
IRIS FADE OUT.