CHRISTIAN BALE and KRISTEN BELL sit in the waiting room of their agent’s office. The celebrated Delaney, agent to a galaxy of stars, well, some, is in a meeting with fellow agent Montgomery Moncrieff Micawber-Mycroft, and his terrifying secretary Janine has banished his two clients from her office to the outermost reaches of the Delaney establishment; a room entirely devoid of potted plants. Bale and Bell sit on opposite sides of the room with a large candle on the desk in between them. Bale is idly flipping thru a screenplay. Bell is slowly reading a bound book.
BALE: (sighs, putting down screenplay, glances at Bell) What is that thing? A new Paul Thomas Anderson script?
BELL: (looks up) What? No. It’s a, it’s the book for a new musical on Broadway.
BALE: You can sing?
BELL: (puts down the book, offended) Yes I can sing!
BALE: I didn’t know.
BELL: Did you not watch Veronica Mars?
BELL: What about solidarity between stable-mates?
BALE: Oh, come on. Did you watch Reign of Fire?
BALE: Oh… My apologies.
BELL: I sang Blondie in a karaoke scene. (sings) “One way or another I’m gonna find you, I’m gonna gonna gonna gonna getcha, one way or another”.
BALE: Okay, you can sing. That’s a pretty good song to use on a detective show.
BELL: It really is, isn’t it? That’s what we thought when we decided to freaking use it, you Welsh moron.
BALE: Hey! I was about to be nice!
BELL: Oh yeah? How?
BALE: Maybe you might to take a look at this. (tosses his script to her)
BELL: (she flips thru the first few pages). Ugh! An Abba musical.
BALE: You don’t like Abba?
BELL: I love Abba. I hate that musical. It’s so badly written it’s not funny. I’ve been in Reefer Madness. I’ve done Sondheim. I want something that’s at that level.
BALE: Picky picky.
BELL: Well, not all of us can recover from choices like Reign of Fire…
BALE: HEY! I apologised for that already!
JANINE enters from the door on the right.
JANINE: Sorry to keep you waiting, but Mr Delaney will be about another 10 minutes.
BALE: (groans) AWWWWW… Fine, whatever. Can I get a coffee?
JANINE: I’m afraid we’re not allowed to give you coffee anymore Mr Bale after the incident regarding the espresso…
BALE: THAT WAS A TOTALLY LEGITIMATE COMPLAINT ON MY PART!!!
(Janine stares at Bale for 30 seconds without saying a word, during which time he becomes slightly cowed, and then she lights the candle on the desk.)
BELL: What’s the candle for?
JANINE: It makes people calm.
BELL: I’ve never seen it there before.
JANINE: You’ve never had to wait with Mr Bale before.
BALE: I wanted a triple espresso and I got a double espresso. Anyone would freak!
BELL: (ignoring him) What’s the hold-up with Delaney?
JANINE: Mr Delany is in a meeting with Mr Micawber-Mycroft.
JANINE: When the time comes to know who he is, he will find you.
Janine walks back into her office. Bell stares after her, nonplussed.
BELL: Well that was fairly Yoda like… (looks over at Bale and sees multiple scripts flying up in the air) What are you doing?
BALE: (rooting around in his bag) I’m trying to find a decent screenplay.
BELL: Ha! Join the club.
BALE: I’m serious! That’s what I’m doing here. Delaney keeps sending me crap.
BELL: And again, join the club.
BALE: I mean look at this! (brandishes screenplay) It’s a raunchy comedy about some guy who breaks up with some girl and goes to Hawaii to forget her, but, wait for it, she’s gone there too, with her new boyfriend. Hilarity freaking ensues. What am I supposed to do with that?
BELL: Mug for laughs?
BALE: I’m not good at broad comedy. Or you know comedy comedy.
BELL: Comedy comedy?
BALE: I can do comedy when it’s relief in a dramatic setting, I can do comedy when it’s black and part of a role, but I can’t do comedy when that’s all there is. Underneath, I need to be more. In a comedy there’s nothing under the role.
BELL: Whatever. I’ll see your holiday comedy and raise you a pointless role as the love interest in some dumb Terminator reboot. Like I want to stand around beside John Connor and some other guy, pouting concernedly while stuff blows up…
BALE: Delaney sent you a Terminator movie?!
BELL: Have it if you like. (she tosses the script to him)
BALE: (flicks thru the first few pages) Ooh, nice! If I took John Connor I wouldn’t be the lead, strictly speaking, but I’d be the name if I could convince them to cast an unknown in the other part. That way it wouldn’t be my fault if it tanked, but I could claim I was the draw if it worked; and then BOOM – another franchise.
BELL: I thought you just wrapped on The Dark Knight, don’t you want something different?
BALE: I don’t want to do this all my life, no one would.
BELL: What, make franchise movies?
BALE: Be Batman. I need a new franchise so I can make small films like Harsh Times.
BELL: I didn’t see that.
BALE: No one did. That’s why I need to make franchises. What else have you got?
BELL: Um, (rummages in her bag) I’ve got some truly boring love interest part with almost nothing to do except stand around and look concerned in a really long and painfully dull Michael Mann script about some 1930s bank-robber. I’ve got some absolutely whack-job script about some guy who pretends to be a priest during the Rape of Nanking and then starts to save girls from prostitution.
BALE: Doesn’t sound too whack-job…
BELL: The story’s not whack-job. But like, what the hell does Delaney want me to read it for? All the female parts are Chinese. I could maybe have played the lead Chinese prostitute in 1950 with awful make-up, but I wouldn’t want to do it even if I could somehow still get away with it now in 2007. It would be like you breaking out the boot polish to play Othello. And finally I have an actual good script. It’s a bit clichéd, about some underdog boxer who overcomes adversity, but the 4 main parts are all pretty juicy. The girlfriend is a good role but… it’s set in Boston and I can’t even do Mayor Quimby. What have you got?
BALE: (rummages in his bag) Playing second fiddle to some girl in Rome in a rom-com, this script is actually even worse than the Abba comedy. Oh, also, some raunchy comedy about a guy and a girl who might break up so they go Hawaii to reconnect, even worse than the other couples in Hawaii script I got. Also some bizarre movie about some chick who goes to a strip-club and thru a lot of backstabbing becomes the star stripper who sings. It’s weird. It’s like this campy PG-13 version of Showgirls.
BELL: There’s an oxymoron…
BALE: It’s truly terrible, but at least it stands out. There’s this other script which might as well just be 20 pages of set-up and then 80 blank pages with the words ‘Hilarity Ensues’ where the page numbers ought to be. Some girl finds that some girl she hated in high school is going to be her sister-in-law. I actually fell asleep reading it. And there was a truly diabolical script I didn’t get past 30 pages of where a woman chains her husband to a toilet just before his young squeeze arrives and then they get burgled. Chained to a toilet! Why in God’s name would I want to do that part?
BELL: Why is Delaney sending you so many godawful rom-coms?
BALE: I don’t know! That’s why I’m here. Maybe he thinks I need something different, light, but I need a franchise! And what’s with your scripts? Minor turns behind male leads?!
BELL: I mean is this how people think of Kristen Bell and Christian Bale?
BALE: (leans forward, stunned) Say that again.
BELL: (quizzically) Kristen Bell and Christian Bale.
BALE: Mumble it like Delaney does, when he’s trying to hide his cluelessness.
BELL: Kristen Bell and Christian Bale…
(The penny drops for both of them simultaneously. Delaney has been mixing up their scripts for quite a while because of their soundalike names.)
BALE: (screams in fury) DELANEY!
BELL: (howls in anguish) DELANEY!
Janine pokes her head around the door.
JANINE: Oh God, what’s he done now?