Dawn with her rose-red fingers rises over a dusty country
road. A car chugs over the horizon.
As far as con man stories go,
I think I’ve heard them all.
Of grifters, ropers, faro fixers,
tales drawn long and tall.
But if one bears a bookmark in
the confidence man’s tome,
twould be that of Penelope,
and of the brothers Bloom.
2 EXT. COUNTRY HOUSE – MORNING 2
The car deposits two shabby boys (10 & 13) in front of a
Both in black. Each with a suitcase.
At ten and thirteen Bloom and
Stephen (the younger and the old)
3 INT. KITCHEN (FLASHBACK) 3
The two brothers and an oafish FOSTER FATHER sit eating
had been through several foster
The FOSTER FATHER slaps Bloom upside the head. Stephen
LAUNCHES across the table, tackling the dad and beating the
crap out of him.
Thirty eight, all told.
4 INT. CHILD WELFARE OFFICE – DAY 4
CLOSE ON – A CHILD WELFARE FILE COVER
“Bloom” stamped on it. It opens, and dozens of reports flip
by. Under the “REASON FOR RETURN OF MINORS” field we catch
different entries: “BEHAVIOR INAPPROPRIATE”, “UNMANAGEABLE”,
“MOLESTED CAT”, “SOLD OUR FURNITURE”, “CAUSED FLOODING”.
4 CONTINUED: 4
Mischief moved them on in life, and
moving kept them close.
5 EXT. COUNTRY HOUSE PORCH 5
The brothers on the porch, suitcases in hand.
For Bloom had Stephen, Stephen
Bloom, and both had more than most.
The front door opens, and a pair of FOSTER PARENTS eye the
6 EXT. SMALL TOWN SQUARE – LATER THAT DAY 6
A wide dusty Main Street, which the two brothers survey.
Another home, another main street.
Stephen looked around,
then summed the burgh up thusly:
Bloom, we’ve hit a one hat town.
One theater. One car wash. One
cafe. One park. One cat. Which,
through some mishap, had one leg.
The cat sits on a roller skate, rowing itself down the street
with its one leg.
Sweet Jesus. Look at that.
7 EXT. SCHOOL – DAY 7
A group of children flee the school joyfully.
One school, which meant one tight-
knit group of local well-off kids.
8 EXT. CANDY SHOP 8
The children run out of the candy store, all slurping Rocket
Their pocket-change bought rocket
9 INT. CANDY SHOP 9
The brothers at the counter. Bloom watches the children go,
while Stephen counts out pennies.
Stephen slaps the change down angrily and points with a
10 EXT. PARK 10
The children play, resplendent with their Rocket Pops.
They were the `they’. All well
loved, rooted, happy as you please.
Bloom and Stephen sit off to the side of the park, none too
happy nursing their Pixie Stix.
Always there. In every town.
Stephen glares, flicks the Stix away like a cigarette.
The playground bourgeoisies.
He storms off. Bloom lingers, staring silently at the
11 EXT. FOREST 11
The brothers amble down a wooded path. Bloom stops, staring
into the trees.
Through the dense thicket of foliage… the children playing.
And one gleaming eye framed perfectly through a small open
patch in the leaves.
Bloom pushes the leaves aside. A girl. Golden curls.
Summer dress. Standing in the distance on a wide lawn.
Bloom gazes. Stephen places his hand on Bloom’s back.
12 EXT. PARK – CONTINUOUS 12
Bloom stumbles from the trees (very much as if he’s been
shoved) and regains his footing and freezes, not shielded at
all now from the playing kids and the girl.
Could he simply
Talk to her!
Just drop his fears and go? Leave
his brother in the woods, and join
The girl makes eye contact, twisting a daisy chain between
her tiny fingers. Bloom’s adam apple convulses.
He turns tail and runs back into the woods.
13 INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT 13
Brothers in bed. Bloom gazes window-ward. Stephen gazes Bloom-
wise, shuffling a pack of cards.
13 CONTINUED: 13
You shuffle when you’re thinking
something through. So whatcha
Not a thing.
This wasn’t really true.
Cause in the root of Stephen’s
psyche, something now began.
A seed of grand epiphany. A hook.
14 EXT. WOODS – DAY 14
Stephen spreads out a hand-drawn flowchart on a stump, and
talks Bloom through it.
A fiction made for profit, in which
both boys played a part.
A simple con in fifteen steps.
And this is where we start.
Stephen runs his finger backwards down the connected boxes,
each neatly numbered, stopping at #1…. “Bloom Talks To
15 EXT. PARK – DAY 15
Children and the gold haired Girl playing. The wall of
foliage where the forest begins shimmers.
And then, as if a curtain had been
pulled back from the sky…
Some barrier within the younger
Bloom was broken.
Bloom bursts through the trees and strides across the wide
lawn, confident, glowing, stopping face to golden face with
15 CONTINUED: 15
They talk. They run. They laugh. They play.
So Bloom performed his role in
Stephen’s story to a T.
BOX #2 on the flowchart – “Bloom wins the kids’ trust”
16 EXT. TOWN SQUARE 16
Bloom does indeed, sitting and laughing with a circle of
kids, suddenly a natural born charmer.
And being who he wasn’t, could be
as he wished to be.
The Golden Girl smiles at him.
From the shadows of an adjacent alley, Stephen watches,
pleased. He slinks away.
SERIES OF SHOTS-
17 EXT. CAVE – DAY 17
BOX #3 – “Stephen finds a cave” dissolves to Stephen scouting
out a cave deep in the woods.
18 EXT. PARK – DAY 18
In the park, Bloom runs with the kids, laughing.
19 INT. HARDWARE STORE – DAY 19
BOX #5 – “Stephen buys supplies” dissolves to: Stephen in a
hardware store, pointing. A flashlight, snow boots and
several large coolers are purchased.
20 EXT. PARK – DAY 20
Back in the park, Bloom says goodnight to the kids and walks
homeward in the warm twilight.
21 INT. CHURCH – DAY 21
BOX #8 – “Stephen scouts church” dissolves to: Stephen’s
eyes poke up from behind a pew in a church. He manages to
look devious as he snags a SUNDAY SCHOOL SCHEDULE.
22 INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT 22
Bloom enters, hears running water from the bathroom. He
glimpses down at the flowchart on the bed, scanning down to:
Box #10 – “Bloom comes home to find Stephen filling the
Stephen backs out of the bathroom trolling a heavy cooler.
Oh – kay. How’s it going on the
So, on to step eleven, then. The
Tale. You tell them –
Bloom’s lip quivers, obviously conflicted.
Must the numbers rattle on? Must
the fiction end?
I think I need more time to win
Bloom. They’re not your friends.
They’re part of this, and this aint
real. Remember, it’s a con.
And when it’s done, we’ve just got
us. And we’ll be moving on.
So, the tale. You tell them
23 EXT. PARK – DAY 23
Bloom holds court with the kids.
hermit in the woods. A one eyed,
steel toothed vagabond…
24 INT. ATTIC 24
Back to Bloom and Stephen in the attic
…with blood red eyes?
That’s good. He stopped you coming
home from school…
25 EXT. PARK – DAY 25
…and told me of a cave.
What kind of cave?
A cave of wonders.
Shut up, Dave.
At noon on every Sunday, there
appears a ball of light, which
flutters like a butterfly…
That’s right. It guides you
26 INT. ATTIC 26
…if you can keep up…
27 EXT. PARK 27
…to where the treasures lay.
So where’s this cave?
28 INT. ATTIC 28
Ah-hah. The hermit didn’t say.
He got this greedy glinting look,
the filthy red-eyed leech… and
said he’d tell for thirty bucks.
Something in Bloom’s face falls.
29 EXT. PARK 29
The girl’s bright, trusting face looking at him. A moment of
silence. Then, triumphant, an excited boy leaps to his feet.
Well that’s just two bucks each!
The kids all rejoice, and fist-fulls of dollars are thrust at
Bloom. He looks almost crestfallen as his eye catches the
girl’s joyful gaze.
So Sunday came…
30 EXT. WOODS 30
Children in their bright Sunday clothes run through the dark
woods, led by Bloom.
30 CONTINUED: 30
…and straight from church, into
the woods Bloom led.
31 INT. CAVE 31
In the dim light of a cave, Stephen overturns the coolers of
water and retreats into shadow. A flood soaks into the dirt
floor, as outside the mouth of the cave the group of panting
children come into sight.
They stopped. Their hearts leapt.
There it was.
32 EXT. CAVE 32
The children look at the craggy mouth of a forboding cave.
Just like the hermit said!
Deep in the cave’s dark maw, a spark of light.
The children gasp collectively. The Girl grabs Bloom’s arm.
Bloom stares, transfixed as any of them.
The spark becomes a glowing, fluttering point of light, which
hangs in the mouth of the cave for a tantalizing moment, then
recedes deeper into the gloom.
With a cry the children, Bloom included, dash into the cave.
33 INT. CAVE 33
The light glows just around the next corner… the children
run after it, slipping in the mud, laughing, turning the
And the light glows just around the next corner. They
scramble, they slip and slide, they can’t catch the light,
but they’re all having the time of their lives.
Bloom included. Holding the girl’s hand, laughing, eyes full
33 CONTINUED: 33
For just one moment, Bloom forgot
himself and ran too fast.
He puts on a burst of speed, gets ahead of the crowd.
He’d catch the light and find the
Turning a corner, he (alone) sees the rather tawdry image of
Stephen, flashlight in hand, shooing him back as he turns the
Bloom stops running.
But the moment passed.
The other kids and the girl pass him, but Bloom stands dead
still, a strange expression on his face.
The girl turns back towards him, still running, and holds out
her hand for him to follow.
But he doesn’t. He stays behind, and is soon left alone.
34 EXT. PLAYGROUND 34
They didn’t catch the will-o-wisp,
but didn’t really care.
The muddied children walk home, laughing, while Bloom leans
against a lamppost. Stephen appears behind him, counting
It seems to me that in the end, the
perfect con is where
each one involved gets just the
thing they wanted.
Yeah I guess so.
Our fledgling thieves were
35 EXT. FOSTER HOUSE – DAY 35
A front door opens, revealing a porch-full of 30 angry
parents holding 15 muddied kids by their ears.
The children’s parents, less so.
The Foster Parents exchange a glance.
QUICK SHOTS –
Stephen is smacked.
The wad of money is snatched from a grubby small hand by an
angry big one.
A telephone slams down.
On a form, the field “Reason for return:” is filled with
36 INT. BEDROOM – DAY 36
Two suitcases on a bed are snapped closed and pulled away.
The bed sits solid and vacant in the dusty afternoon
A bitter ending? Maybe. But
there’s sweetness in the mix.
Beneath the bed, forgotten, a piece of paper. On it, the con
flow-chart. Numbered boxes.
The brothers Bloom had found their
One of the boxes… number six…
As shown in number six.
BOX #6: “Cut % O’Henry’s”
`Cut’ meant to negotiate, `percent’
37 EXT. SMALL TOWN SQUARE – DAY 37
Through a storefront window – rows of the children’s muddy
Sunday clothes hang, each tagged.
`O’Henry’s’ was the town’s one dry
And striding out of the store beneath the `O’Henry’s
Cleaners’ sign is Stephen, fifty dollars in hand, sucking a
Rocket Pop. The OWNER leans out of the door, looking a
little nervous. Stephen throws him back a salute.
38 EXT. BACK ALLEY – DAY 38
Bloom sits against a wall, suitcases beside him. Boxes of
Rocket Pops, and one in each fist. Stephen plops down beside
So how’s it feel?
Bloom’s eye catches the children, and the girl, playing in
In truth, young Bloom won’t know
for twenty years just how he felt.
HONK! A `Child Welfare’ car waiting out on the street. The
brothers pick themselves up.
And so, we’ll skip ahead now in our
Stephen tosses his Rocket Pop.
Let `em melt.
The con man team of the brothers Bloom, suitcases in hand,
strides down the alleyway.
Stephen in front.
38 CONTINUED: 38
Bloom a few steps behind, stealing one last glance back at
the children playing in the sun.
39 OPENING CREDITS 39
40 INT. LIBRARY – NIGHT 40
Flames spread over a wall of bookshelves.
TITLE CARD: BERLIN, 25 YEARS LATER
A YOUNG MAN in a nice suit and bowler hat steps in front of
the flaming books.
He gets the scarab, you get the
money, I get the girl… so in the
end, everyone gets everything he
Three gunshots, two bloody holes in the nice suit and the
young man folds to the ground.
A sweaty man named CHARLESTON (40s) lowers his gun, while
behind him the rest of the library roars in flames.
Wha – Charleston, what – oh my god
are you… oh god he’s dead,
Victor’s dead… you’ve killed us!
We had it he was right it was all
in the bag and now we’re dead, why?
Why, you stupid son of a bitch?
The owner of the voice, a MAN a bit younger than Charleston
in a derby cap, snatches the gun away and slaps Charleston
40 CONTINUED: 40
Cause the Turk was right. After
seeing her, after that night on the
airstrip, after Cairo everything
changed, and he couldn’t see the
play through that one milky eye,
but the Turk was right about one
thing, that there’s nothing
beautiful about money. She’s
This isn’t happening…
He’ll never have her now. She’s
free. And I’ll never see her in
scarlet again, her chestnut hair,
but it’s worth the money and my job
and his life and the rest of my
life that she’s free.
Charleston. I can’t be here…
You’re not here. Neither of us
are. It’s Mowcher’s gun.
Mowcher is at the bottom of the
Spree with a cowl in his neck!
Charleston gets to his feet.
They won’t find him for a week, and
the Albino will chalk it up to
Davey, he won’t talk. We’re clean.
Listen to you – four months ago you
were an investment banker! Now
you’re nothing. The Scarab’s lost.
The money’s gone. It’ll rot in the
Peruvian earth. It’s gone.
Charleston limps to the flaming doorway.
40 CONTINUED: (2) 40
The man named Charleston you met
nine months and a thousand years
ago at the hotel bar in Jodhpur is
dead. If we see each other again
it’ll be as strangers. As for the
money… let it rot.
He exits, leaving McGuire stooped beside the crumpled form of
Victor. A long beat. The distant roar of an engine, tires
Then through the smoky doorway steps a beautiful ASIAN WOMAN,
early 20s. She gives a nearly imperceptible nod.
He pats Victor, who sits up, spitting blood. McGuire looks
to Victor and the woman for a reaction. Gets none.
Wow is the word you’re both looking
The Asian woman nods slightly.
You’re a genius, Stephen.
For McGuire is, of course, Stephen.
We’re a genius, Bloom.
Just as Victor is, indeed, Bloom. He spits.
Tastes like tin foil.
So does real blood. Buy you a
Stephen escorts the Asian woman out, while Bloom wipes his
41 EXT. HOUSE – PRE-DAWN 41
A stately house in the middle of nowhere, on fire. Stephen
holds the door of a car open, while Bloom steps from the
“Four months and a thousand years
ago.” That’s Kipling, isn’t it?
He stole that from Kipling.
42 EXT. BERLIN – PRE-DAWN 42
Hazy light over the sprawling city.
43 INT. DEUTCH MARK 43
A low, cozy basement level bar. A dozen people crowd it, all
expectant in a surprise-party type way.
A TURKISH GENTLEMAN in a white linen suit and eye patch
raises his drink when Bloom, Stephen and the woman enter.
Make way, make room for the
The bar bursts into cheers.
44 INT. DEUTCH MARK – LATER 44
A DWARF dances on the bar. Stephen plays cards with the
Turk, an ALBINO and a small crowd of character types.
Nine months, six countries, three
faked deaths, for one mark. You’re
a beautiful antique, my friend.
They clink glasses.
44 CONTINUED: 44
One thing baffles me. The entire
con would have fallen apart if
Charleston had walked away. How did
you know he’d pull the trigger?
Stephen riffle shuffles a pack of cards.
Just think of any card. Got one?
Stephen cuts the deck randomly – 2 of spades.
But if I do it enough, eventually
it’ll work on someone. And then
it’ll be the best card trick in the
Wink. The dwarf slips, plummets from the bar. Stephen kicks
a chair across the room, into which he lands with a crunch.
It’s true you never work with the
same crew twice?
Well shit. Except for the uh, for
Back at the bar – the Asian woman. The CHINK. Being hit on
by a weasly ROMANIAN.
Yeah, I’m pretty big into anime.
44 CONTINUED: (2) 44
She almost imperceptibly rolls her eyes.
Our fifth Beatle. She knows the
ins and the outs, and so far as I
can tell, speaks three words of
She taps on the bar.
She says `no’ with a look.
So she’s with you and Bloom till
Just till the wind changes.
Stephen makes a gun with his finger and shoots at the Chink.
She flicks a champaign flute to make a `DING!’ and mimes the
bullet bouncing off her.
Where is Bloom?
In the corner of the bar, in a private booth with drawn
velvet curtains, Bloom sits alone playing solitaire. Stuck
with a queen of hearts he can’t play.
A beautiful woman in scarlet with auburn hair pokes her face
through the curtains.
There you are. Hiding?
I’ve been learning. Stephen likes
to talk about you.
Did he tell you the cave story?
44 CONTINUED: (3) 44
Is it true?
What else did he tell you?
I’m not going to tell it as good as
Stephen. You two kicked around
till your early teens, then stowed
away on a merchant marine freighter
and ended up in St. Petersburg,
where you spent five years under
the tutelage of a shadowy old
swindler named the Diamond Dog.
And he was your Fagin and Stephen
was his Artful Dodger, but it ended
suddenly and badly.
Stephen took his eye out with an
Why did he do that?
And then the Brothers Bloom lit out
on their own to make their fortune
as gentleman thieves. Sounds
She pushes the cards aside and slides clumsily onto the
table, her face inches from Bloom’s, eyes closed, expecting a
Bloom’s eyes stay open.
You want to know how Stephen did
it? With Charleston?
It’s not the first thing on my
45 INT. LIBRARY – NIGHT (FLASHBACK) 45
A replay of Bloom in front of the flaming bookshelf.
He positioned me in the same spot
where, seven years ago,
Charleston’s wife stood and told
him she was leaving.
The room transforms, becomes daylit, not on fire, seven years
ago, a WIFE standing in Bloom’s place.
BLOOM (O.S.) (cont’d)
He chose my outfit to mirror her
Sure enough, the colors and shape of Bloom’s suit matches the
BLOOM (O.S.) (cont’d)
He even phonetically matched my
final words to hers.
This is the end. Charelston, you’ve
always been a dunce.
Everything snaps back to Bloom in the flaming room.
BLOOM (IN FLASHBACK)
So in the end, everyone gets
everything he wants.
46 INT. DEUTCH MARK 46
That’s what he does, he writes his
cons the way dead Russians write
novels, with thematic arcs and
imbedded symbolism and shit. And
he wrote me as a vulnerable anti-
hero. And that’s why you think you
want to kiss me. It’s a con.
He leaves Rose lying on the table and sweeps through the bar
towards the exit, passing Stephen.
46 CONTINUED: 46
I need air.
(plays a card)
That’s the big 2.
47 EXT. BERLIN STREET – EARLY MORNING 47
Bloom stumbles up stone steps to street level. A THOUSAND
YEAR OLD MAN sweeps up across the square.
Bloom sits wearily on the curb, bowler hat in hand, shirt
bright red with fake blood, face long as hell.
Putting the broom aside a moment, the old man walks painfully
across the street to Bloom. Standing nearly toe to toe with
him, the man pulls a huge joyful smile across his grizzled
He then smears his hand over his mug, pulling the smile off
his face and rubbing it on Bloom’s mouth. When he takes his
hand away, Bloom plays along and has the same big joyful
smile. The old man winks at him and walks back to his broom.
As soon as the old man is away, Bloom drops the smile.
Stephen paces out into the street.
We missed the sunrise. That
would’ve been nice.
They walk across the street to the Tiergarten.
48 EXT. TIERGARTEN – EARLY MORNING 48
Berlin’s Central Park and zoo, dead and brown. The brothers
stroll through the woods, Stephen a few steps ahead, Bloom
trailing behind, lost in thought.
Camel heads poke over a wall with `Kamelhaus’ painted on it.
Stephen throws open the wall’s gate.
Back to the swamps!
The camels are unimpressed. Bloom slouches into a bench.
48 CONTINUED: 48
Stephen shows the deck of cards to Bloom, who nods. Stephen
cuts the deck, shows him a card. Bloom shakes his head, no.
At least you’re honest.
Bloom stares into space.
Alright, let’s do this. Let’s just
get it done. So first you say `I’m
quitting, Stephen. I’m out.’ Then
`Do we have to go through this
Then you make a show of putting on
your jacket and say `no I mean it
this time Stephen, this time I’m
Then you say `let’s have a drink,
and in the morning Bloom you’ll
have come to your senses’
Stephen pulls a flask, unscrews it.
(re: Bloom’s bright red
That’s a major design flaw in fake
blood, by the way.
`and we’ll be moving on.’
Real blood turns brown after a half
Listen to me, Stephen.
This scotch costs more than your
48 CONTINUED: (2) 48
Listen to me.
And the flask stopped a bullet from
a black powder rifle at Appomattox.
Bloom bats the flask away. A camel catches it, tips its
camel neck back and gulps it down.
That’s my new favorite camel.
I hate you. I hate this life, I
hate it, I hate that you won’t
fucking listen to me for one
goddamn second. Just listen.
I can’t wake up next to another
stranger, who thinks they know me,
or even wants to know me, cause I
don’t know – who – I’m thirty five
years old, and I, I’m useless, I’m
crippled, I don’t, I’ve only ever
lived life through these roles that
aren’t me, that are written for me
Tell me what you want.
Why? So you can write me a role in
a story where I get it? You’re not
listening to me. I want a real…
thing, I wanna do things how I
don’t know are gonna work out, a,
I, want, a…
You want an unwritten life.
48 CONTINUED: (3) 48
I want an unwritten life!
(realizes Stephen just
wrote that line for him)
The camel belches. Bloom makes a show of putting on his
I’m going away. Somewhere you or
even the Chink won’t be able to
track me down, so don’t try. No
Bloom tosses Stephen the bowler, and storms off. He gets
about ten feet, then hesitates.
I love you. Bye.
The camel nudges Stephen’s jacket, looking for more scotch.
Stephen puts the bowler on its camel head.
Sorry bud. I’m dry.
Stephen watches his brother walk off into the rising morning
mist, lost in thought.
His hands mechanically begin shuffling the pack of cards.
49 EXT. ITALIAN COUNTRYSIDE – DAY 49
Beautiful green hills surround the walled medieval city of
TITLE CARD: Ferentino, Italy – 3 months later.
A tiny red car inches its way across the countryside. It
winds its way up and deeper into the city on the hill.
50 EXT. FERENTINO APARTMENT – DAY 50
The tiny stone porch outside a private apartment. The red
car’s bumper pulls up, parks.
On a small wood table, empty booze bottles and a loose pack
of cards. Fingertips spread the cards, then the fingertips’
owner heads for the apartment door.
51 INT. FERENTINO APARTMENT – DAY 51
Stephen steps in cautiously, surveys the apartment.
A goddamn mess. Empty bottles and glasses, very little
light. Stephen opens the curtains, light streams in the
window. A groan of displeasure comes from the gloom.
Bloom stirs, passed out in a hammock. Unkept beard, a few
extra pounds. Crushed cigar hanging on his lip.
A rotund GRANDMOTHER waddles in, cleaning up bottles and
berating Bloom in a constant stream of angry Italian.
She’s right, you know.
Why are you here, Stephen?
Put on your face, let’s eat.
52 EXT. FERENTINO APARTMENT – LATER 52
Stephen guides a dressed Bloom out the door. The grandmother
follows them, still barking angry Italian at Bloom. At the
last moment she says a few kind words, kisses him on the
cheek and sends them off.
53 EXT. FERENTINO CAFE – DAY 53
A few tables on a stone walkway overlooking the countryside.
The red car parked nearby. Stephen eats, Bloom stares.
How’d you find me?
53 CONTINUED: 53
How’d the Chink find me?
Stephen’s eyes: “Are you joking?”
How’ve you been?
I’ve done a lot of thinking the
past three months. You don’t want
out. You think you do but you
don’t. Here, c’mere. I want to
show you something.
I’m quits, Stephen.
Stephen stands, strolls off. Bloom wearily follows.
Where are we going?
Well lemme get my jacket.
54 EXT. AN AIRPLANE ROARS RIGHT TO LEFT 54
55 EXT. LUDICROUS MANSION – AFTERNOON 55
A long private road through a tunnel of trees leads to a
ludicrous mansion. Our trio watch it from the road.
Looks like an etching from a Bronte
55 CONTINUED: 55
Stephen flips open a first edition Jane Eyre. The
illustration inside is in fact an exact match, right down to
a plaster deer in the front yard.
Huh. Look at that. Well thanks.
I’m gonna head back to Italy.
Big money. Inheritance. Dad died
early, Mom died two years ago after
ten years fighting an illness that
I can’t pronounce.
The Chink writes a number in the snow with a stick. Just
when we think she’s done, she adds several more zeros.
Stephen pulls Bloom into the trees as a cherry red
Lamborghini roars down the private road, does an unruly donut
and crunches painfully into a tree, kicking up a cloud of
dust and smoke.
Thumping bass from the audio system turns off, and from the
dust cloud emerges PENELOPE, early 30s, beautiful but in a
Bloom watches her through the trees, none too happy.
56 EXT. THICKET – LATER 56
Off to the side of the house. They lean on the hood of their
rental car, an old school Cadillac.
In the background, a tow truck arrives with a brand new
Lamborghini, and leaves towing the old one.
What am I doing here, Stephen? I
have one rule, and you’ve never
even tested it.
56 CONTINUED: 56
Stick with me.
No women. One rule. You know we
don’t do women, I don’t, and it’s
not a morality thing or- a thing-
it’s, whatever it is it doesn’t
matter what it is, that’s just our
rule. So what are we,
(RE: the rental car)
Did you rent a `78 Caddy?
Stephen nods to the Chink. Bloom nods appreciatively.
Controversial choice. So no, is
what I’m saying. I’m quits anyway.
I’ll be in Italy. Drinking.
The front door of the mansion slams, and they watch Penelope
drag a harp around into the back yard.
Penelope Stamp. Thirty three.
Lived at home her whole life.
Bloom’s eyes never leave Penelope.
An eccentric shut-in rich bitch.
You’re not helping your case.
The Chink silently hands Bloom a retractable spyglass, he
watches Penelope drift atop a hill and sit on a stump.
She’s bored, a seed in the snow.
We’re going to put her through a
grand adventure, bring her to life.
So this is the big plan. Lure me
back into things with some
beautiful intriguing elusive girl,
stir up old memories with the
prospect of redemption and rebirth.
Seriously Stephen. Amateur night.
Bloom watches her play Clash songs on the harp.
56 CONTINUED: (2) 56
I’m not saying yes. But what’s the
Stephen spreads a folded piece of paper on a tree stump, with
a flowchart on it. Numbered boxes.
Bloom doesn’t take his spyglass off Penelope.
It’s actually pretty simple. We’re
brothers, antique dealers, perusing
the Americas for antiquities en
route to someplace exciting via
luxury steamer, say Greece. You
tie into her and work your magic…
Penelope plays on.
57 INT. HOTEL BAR – NIGHT 57
Very late. Bloom and Stephen in armchairs, collars loosened,
drinks drunk. The Chink’s Chuck Taylors stick up over the
back of a chair.
Bloom holds the con flowchart.
…and so that’s how it ends, in
Mexico, a burst of violence then a
moment of truth on the beach. What
do you think?
Bloom idly looks over the chart.
You’ve got something up your
sleeve. This is about me, right?
This might not be something you
know, but they’ve all been about
you. Maybe that’s why they’ve none
of them been perfect, I’ve never
been able to give you what you
57 CONTINUED: 57
I want to be outta all this. So by
definition, this is not going to
give me what I want.
Stephen answers by letting an ace fall from his sleeve.
This will be the last one. You’ll
let me go.
The Chink’s inert sneakers come to life and she’s on her
feet, silently going to Stephen’s side.
I will never approach you to do
another con again.
(to the Chink)
Let’s make it a red Schwinn.
Bloom stares at #1 on the flowchart – “BLOOM MEETS PENELOPE.”
58 EXT. HILLTOP – MORNING 58
A grumpy Bloom perched on the red Schwinn, an ill fitting
Styrofoam helmet on his head.
Stephen sits in a lawn chair watching the highway below.
The Chink sets up a lawn umbrella, a chair for herself, and a
cooler with Coronas.
There are less painful ways to cut
into a mark.
Wahk wahk wahk wahk wahk wahk wahk.
Score to beat is 7.9. Keep your
head in the game, the Chinese judge
This is a banana seat, man!
He directs this to the Chink, who blinks with innocent
incomprehension and opens two Coronas.
Don’t give me that blank look, you
know what a fuckin banana seat is.
58 CONTINUED: 58
Stephen spots something and blows a whistle. With a grunt,
Bloom launches the Schwinn forward.
Gaining speed, bumping over weeds and gopher holes, down the
steep steep hill.
At the bottom of the hill, a two lane highway. Cruising down
the highway, a cherry red Lamborghini.
Whose front right fender Bloom expertly smashes into.
59 EXT. HIGHWAY / SKY – DAY 59
Silent and blue. Time slows to a crawl as Bloom sails
through the air, arcing over the Italian luxury car’s hood
and past a horrified Penelope, face frozen mid scream behind
There’s actually a knack to this.
You want to avoid dying or breaking
anything that won’t grow back, but
you don’t want to roll out of it
and come up roses. If you’re
trying to fast track into a mark’s
sympathies, there’s nothing quite
as efficient as having your first
conversation be from a hospital bed
they put you in. I usually like to
try for a dislocated shoulder.
Several things happen at once.
Bloom hits the pavement shoulder-first, hard. The bent bike
Up on the hill, Stephen and the Chink raise score cards. 8.9
The Lamborghini screeches to a stop.
Everything is still.
Then the car jolts forward. Then stops. Then again, jolts
and stops. Rolls forward a few feet, lazily drifting, then
jolts and stops.
Bloom painfully stands, as confused by the car’s behavior as
59 CONTINUED: 59
Stephen and the Chink lower their cards, equally confused.
One last long beat of silence, then the car jolts forward,
veers drunkenly to the left, tips into a ditch and chunks to
a stop. The horn blares.
Bloom looks up to the hilltop for guidance.
Stephen stares blankly. The Chink raises a new score card –
60 INT. HOSPITAL ROOM – NIGHT 60
Penelope sleeps, bruised and battered. Bloom sits bedside
uncomfortably, arm in a wimpy sling. She stirs. Bloom leans
Slurred with sleep and drugs, she painfully barely breathes
Are you alright?
61 INT. HOSPITAL HALLWAY – NIGHT 61
Bloom consults with Stephen and the Chink, both in scrubs.
The Chink had it – I’m telling him,
I know, thank you – in her report,
I missed it. This is actually kind
of great, I’ll tell you why.
The Chink lights a cigarette.
You missed it?
Dostoevsky was an epileptic.
His seizures were preceded by an
enlightened euphoria, a sort of
opening of his spiritual eye.
61 CONTINUED: 61
I think the fact that she saw your
face the instant before a seizure
is a pretty goddamn good foot to
start things out on, right?
Bloom stares blankly. The Chink burps into her stethoscope.
62 INT. HOSPITAL ROOM – NIGHT 62
Bloom slumps in a chair, watching Penelope sleep.
The next step is to figure out a
way to insinuate yourself into
their personal life.
Bloom drifts off, then wakes with a start.
It is MORNING. Penelope is shaking him.
I think they took my car. Could
you drive me home?
She walks away, the back of her gown wide open, then turns.
I’m Penelope Stamp.
63 INT. CADILLAC – MORNING 63
Bloom drives, Penelope gazes stiffly out the window.
Engagement. Find a connection with
your mark through conversation.
I’m sorry about your Lamborghini.
Silence. He notices her playing with the side mirror knob,
angling it to stare at him while looking out the window.
63 CONTINUED: 63
This car is like riding in a huge
And still more silence.
Having now deftly set your hook in
the mark’s psyche, this would be
the perfect time to tug the line,
64 EXT. LUDICROUS MANSION – MORNING 64
They pull up in the car. A tow truck is dropping off a new
Get invited in for coffee, and tell
them the full tale.
Bloom looks about to launch into something, when Penelope
drops a stack of cash bound in a green rubber band on his
For the bike, and the whole, thing.
This was a big shit sandwich. Ok.
The car door slams and she’s gone. Bloom sits a moment.
However, there are advantages to
playing it cool. Letting it lie
for a day or two, then casually re-
Bloom starts driving off, and adjusts the passenger side
mirror so it points back to the road. As he does he sees
Penelope in it, sprinting after his car.
He stops. A moment later she appears at his window, heaving.
64 CONTINUED: 64
I realized… I should have…
invited you in… for coffee…
65 INT. PENELOPE’S KITCHEN – DAY 65
Bloom and Penelope sit in a luxurious stone-based kitchen,
neither touching their coffee. Bloom talks.
This is how Penelope listens: she starts with her eyes on
Bloom, then very quickly drifts away into her own thoughts,
then recognizes she’s doing it and makes eye contact again
and gives an overbaked “oh yes go on” smile/nod, then does it
all again. Three or four times.
…didn’t really have anyone except
each other growing up, and our
father was in the antique business,
he had a shop in Charleston. So we
stuck together, my brother Stephen
and me, we and just took over the
shop when dad died. Then we
realized one day, we saw the
dealers who were finding and
selling us the antiques coming from
exotic countries all over the
world, and there was a, almost a
scent they had, when they’d come in
the dusty shop we worked nine to
five in since we were nineteen, the
air would, like before a rain, the
ions would line up, and you could
just smell midnight trains to Paris
and steamer ships and Calcutta
bazaars, and we made the decision,
we just did it, that we want to
have that sort of life. So we did,
and we’ve been travelling and
treasure hunting the world ever
since, and could you, I’m sorry,
stop doing – that, you’re, I’m, ok.
I’m really bad at talking to
65 CONTINUED: 65
I told you, that’s alright.
You want me to go?
No! I want to talk to you. Fuck.
She storms out.
66 INT. PARLOR 66
Victorian, expensive. Penelope leans against the window,
looking out. Sulking. Bloom enters.
So what kind of stuff do you do?
Nothing. Maybe you should go.
Alright. I’m just gonna finish my
Very slowly, he sips it. Each sip becomes a noisier and
I collect hobbies. I see someone
doing something I like, and I get
books and learn how to do it.
Hm. Anything interesting?
In which Penelope demonstrates the following with exacting
seriousness and skill for Bloom:
Playing the piano. The classical guitar. The fiddle. The
Putting the finishing touches on a ship in a bottle.
Executing a perfect ollie on a skateboard.
66 CONTINUED: 66
Juggling various items. Riding a unicycle. Juggling while
riding a unicycle.
Playing ping-pong against a wall with ungodly speed.
Karate chopping through too much wood.
Playing the accordion.
Rapping to a drum machine.
Creating a perfect origami dragon.
END HOBBY MONTAGE
On Bloom’s shell-shock face.
Is that it?
No. I know a lot of stuff.
You just learned this stuff, here
No. So you just thought, `so I
want to learn this and this,’ and
you just did it? How do you plan
to use all these skills?
I dunno. I’m not a planner. I
just do stuff. Here, look at this
watermelon. It’s a camera. You
can make a pinhole camera out of
anything hollowish and dark.
It’s gotta warp the image though,
66 CONTINUED: (2) 66
No, yeah it does. That’s what –
the Taj Majal taken by a fat
tourist with diarrhea and a point-
and-shoot camera can be the
flattest, dullest, “here’s us at
the Taj Majal,” “Oh lovely lets go
stick our thumbs up our asses”
picture. But you can look at the
most menial everyday thing, and
depending on how your pinhole
camera eats the light, it’s warped
and peculiar and imperfect. It’s
not reproduction, it’s
It’s a lie that tells the truth.
I dunno about truth. A photograph
is a secret about a secret. The
more it tells you, the less you
What’s changed between now and
twenty minutes ago? Cause this is
kinda like a conversation.
Huh. Well shit.
67 EXT. BACKYARD – DAY 67
Bloom and Penelope walk and talk, finally rounding the house
and ending up at the driveway.
Well, I should, uh, it’s late. So.
I meet a lot of people in my job I
have to professionally act
interested in. It’s a good feeling
to be genuinely interested in
Are you leaving?
67 CONTINUED: 67
Are you coming back?
Well next time I’m in town. We’re
taking a steamer at noon tomorrow
off the docks, to the continent for
a few months.
During this, Bloom very naturally moves his hand to the small
of Penelope’s back. The edge of his thumb comes to rest on a
small slit of exposed skin.
Penelope’s expression does not change, but a noticeable blush
crosses her still face.
When Bloom removes his hand, the blush falls.
Paris and Greece, I think. I’ve
gotta get a hat. Thanks for the
pinhole camera demonstration. And
for the good conversation. Goodbye
He drives off. She stands in the doorway, watching him go.
68 EXT. THE DOCKS – DAY 68
A jaunty steamer ship docked and ready. Bloom watches the
access road, Stephen makes notes, the Chink whittles.
I need another day with her.
You’ll have two weeks on the boat.
I need another day to get her on
the boat, she isn’t hooked. That
bit I skipped where we were talking
in the backyard, it was ten minutes
on the optics of lensless
photography, we didn’t really talk.
68 CONTINUED: 68
It isn’t the talking that hooked
Bloom turns from the road.
I think you’re wrong.
A screech of distant tires and a crash. Bloom doesn’t look.
BLOOM (CONT’D) (cont’d)
Though every time I say that, you
end up being comically right.
That’s her, isn’t it? Yeah.
Penelope pulls a clumsy steamer trunk that never could have
fit in her Lamborghini, which is bent around a pylon.
Bloom meets her.
Hi. What are you doing here?
She holds out the stack of bills in the green rubber band.
You left this money in my kitchen.
He doesn’t take it.
Yeah, I didn’t want it, but thanks.
Hey, where’s this boat going?
69 EXT. THE ATLANTIC OCEAN – DAY 69
The good ship Fidele breaks the waves Greece-ward.
70 EXT. DECK – DAY 70
Bloom and Penelope stroll the deck.
70 CONTINUED: 70
Why did you decide to come?
Well I’d never been to Greece. Or
Europe. Or outside New Jersey.
It just seems like a big leap.
From where you were at yesterday to
being a world traveler.
It looked like fun. I wanted to do
A new hobby.
Up ahead, Bloom spots a large man in a fur collared cape
gazing out to sea. He quickly turns Penelope away.
Here, this way.
71 EXT. SHUFFLEBOARD DECK – DAY 71
The Chink and Stephen play shuffleboard. Bloom leads
Penelope to them.
Penelope, this is my brother
Pleased to make your acquaintance.
Bloom’s told me about you, you’re
the epileptic photographer?
This is my personal secretary and
masseuse, Mrs. Yuengling.
A nearly imperceptible glare from the Chink.
Yuengling like the beer?
71 CONTINUED: 71
Heh. No. So what are your plans
I don’t plan.
Good for you.
The Chink hits a damn near impossible shuffleboard shot, then
gives Stephen a pointed deferential giggle-bow.
72 INT. STATE ROOM – NIGHT 72
The brothers dress for dinner.
You named the Chink `Yuengling?’
I was writing in a bar. And she
doesn’t drink, how does she know a
She knows a lot of stuff.
Was that who I thought it was on
the East deck this morning?
Yes it was. Did he spot you?
An ominous glance.
73 EXT. DECK – NIGHT 73
Several small tables scattered about the moonlit deck, Bloom
and Penelope sit with flutes of champagne. Penelope, in an
elegant but understated dress, shuffles a pack of cards.
You look very nice.
She laughs as if at a joke she doesn’t think is funny.
73 CONTINUED: 73
What was your childhood like?
I make cameras out of watermelons.
Penelope’s hands move faster. She knows how to shuffle
How was it lonely?
Fishing for an entertaining
childhood anecdote that
encapsulates my adult issues?
Well it’s funny how everyone’s
usually got one.
As Penelope tells her story she gets fancier with her
When I turned six I started getting
allergies, hayfever, rashes, really
bad. So my mom took me into the
doctor, and he did that test where
they use needles to prick a grid on
your back with all the different
toxins, to see which ones you’re
allergic to. The next day I came
in, the doctor lifted up my shirt,
and my back looked like a patch of
oily, moldy, blackish green double-
puff marshmallows. I was allergic
to everything. So they sealed the
house with plastic and a special
ventilation system, and I spent my
entire childhood and adolescence
indoors. Mostly alone. Lonely.
She pulls the Queens out of the deck and lays them face up on
73 CONTINUED: (2) 73
It wasn’t `til I was nineteen they
discovered what I was actually
allergic to was the aluminum alloy
the hypodermic needle was made out
of. Then I was going to leave, but
my mom got sick. So I stayed. And
she stayed sick, a long time.
Do you feel cheated?
Penelope does an amazing card trick using the four queens.
The trick to not feeling cheated is
to learn how to cheat. So I
decided this wasn’t a story about a
miserable girl trapped in a house
that smelled like medical supplies
wasting her life on a dying person
she sometimes hated. It was about
a girl who could find infinite
beauty in anything, any little
thing. And do anything she decided
to do. And love the person she was
trapped with. So I told myself
that story until it became true.
Now did doing that let me escape a
wasted life, or did it just blind
me so I wouldn’t want to escape it?
I don’t know. But either way, I
was the one telling my own story.
So I don’t feel cheated.
She finishes the trick.
A single pair of hands clapping turns their heads. At the
far end of the deck, alone at a table, the large man in the
fur collared cape, who for reasons unlikely to become clear
at the moment will be called THE CURATOR.
And a magician is just an actor
playing the part of a magician. My
Bloom takes Penelope gently by the elbow and guides her up
74 EXT. BOW – NIGHT 74
They stroll out onto the moonlit bow of the ship.
Who is that man? You avoided him
earlier on the deck.
I don’t know, but he’s carrying a
knife up his sleeve and wearing a
cape. Do me a favor and steer
clear of him.
A waltz drifts through the air from a band unseen.
BLOOM (CONT’D) (cont’d)
I don’t suppose in all your hobby
acquiring you ever learned how to
I went through a phase when I was
mildly obsessed with the Bolero.
Give me a minute.
He leaves her alone. Clouds obscure the moon, shadows
deepen. She shivers.
A match strikes. She jumps.
The moon re-emerges, and she is no longer alone on the deck.
The Curator lights a dapper briar pipe, shakes out the match.
(in French, subtitled)
I didn’t mean to startle you.
(in French, subtitled)
Yes you did.
74 CONTINUED: 74
(in French, subtitled)
Apologies, but the deck was dark,
and I had to approach.
It’s been such a time since I’ve
encountered the Brothers Bloom.
You’re in antiques?
Antiques. I wonder, my dear, if
you know the true nature of the men
you travel with?
The band strikes up a Bolero. The Curator flicks his wrist,
and a long thin blade falls into his hand.
THE CURATOR (cont’d)
A little fear might suit you, I
He raises the blade… it is in fact a fine mustache brush,
which he delicately employs.
THE CURATOR (cont’d)
Bon soir, ma cherie.
With that the Curator backs into the shadows, and is gone.
Moments later Bloom trots up to her, oblivious.
It isn’t a Spanish band, but
they’ll do their best.
He hands her a single blood red rose. She puts it in her
teeth, and they dance. If there is a tinge of tension in the
air, the Bolero suits it.
The moon ducks behind a cloud once more, and they dance on in
75 INT. STATE ROOM – MORNING 75
Bloom wakes with a start. Morning light pours in through his
porthole. He opens it, looks out to sea.
75 CONTINUED: 75
His dinner jacket draped over a chair. The rose in its
lapel. He fishes it out. Runs his fingers over the teeth
marks on the stem.
Then raises an eyebrow at a lump in the breast pocket, and
pulls out the stack of bills in the green rubber band.
76 EXT. DECK – MORNING 76
The Chink and Penelope lie on their stomachs on the deck, a
beer can pinhole camera between them.
Penelope gives a lesson on how it works.
The Chink appreciates her.
77 EXT. BREAKFAST DECK – LATER 77
Bloom escorts Penelope to breakfast.
How’d you find her?
The Chi-nese, uh, Yeungling? She
78 INT. KITCHEN – EARLY MORNING (FLASHBACK) 78
Bloom cooks breakfast in his bathrobe.
A few years back, when we hit the
top of our art dealing game, she
A door opens and slams. Bloom turns. The Chink sits at his
place at the table, suitcase beside her, smoking a cigarette.
BLOOM (O.S.) (cont’d)
She’s stuck with us. We figure
when she gets bored she’ll vanish
with the same lack of noise.
Like feeding a strange animal, Bloom pours her coffee. She
drinks it without looking at him.
79 EXT. BREAKFAST DECK 79
I like her.
They smile when they see Stephen and the Chink at a table.
Their smiles drop when they see the Curator sitting with
them. Bloom glares at the Curator, but speaks to Stephen.
What’s he doing here?
I invited him, sit down. This
ship’s too small to dance around
each other for a week, we might as
well have it out now. Bloom. Sit.
Penelope, do you know our friend?
Only as the creepy Frenchman.
Book-learned. You know languages
but not accents, my dear. I am
Belgian. Maxmillion Melville, at
Also known in certain professional
circles as the Curator.
Pleased to make your acquaintance.
What do you do?
I’m a curator, presently for the
National Museum in Prague. And
I’m an epileptic photographer.
Good for you. Boys? What do you
79 CONTINUED: 79
We have a legitimate antique
Baissez le rideau, la farce est
We’ve gone straight, Max.
Pardon, but you do not ascend to
the grand heights of the Brothers
Bloom only to toss it all and sell
terra cotta to blue haired weekend
We did. Eat your waffles.
But Mademoiselle appears…
confused. Perhaps she is unawares?
Eat your waffles, fat man.
Unaware that the Brothers Bloom are
in fact the two most highly
respected art smugglers in the
Were. We’ve been on the straight
for three years. So that’s that.
Well, if that is that, then that is
indeed that. As you say.
Penelope snaps her fingers. Everyone looks up.
Your name’s Melville?
Maxmillion Melville, Esquire.
79 CONTINUED: (2) 79
Sorry, no, cause I noticed but I
couldn’t place it, this ship is the
Fidele, which was the ship in
Melville’s novel “The Confidence
Man.” So that’s weird.
Everyone glances at Stephen, a little uncomfortable.
80 INT. DECK – NIGHT 80
Bloom paces, Stephen shuffles cards.
I know you like to throw those
clever little details in, but
you’ve gotta watch that shit with
her Stephen. She had a lot of time
alone in that house, and she used
it. She did the best Double Dutch
Queens I’ve ever seen up on the
deck last night.
Double Dutch Queens uses gaffed
She had them in her purse and cut
them in while I was folding my
That’s what I’m saying. She’s
different, she knows, sometimes it
feels like she knows everything.
Doesn’t that worry you?
No. But something about her is
worrying you plenty.
She feels like one of your
80 CONTINUED: 80
The day I con you is the day I die,
I know that.
How did you get the Belgian, on our
He’s beautiful, right?
I didn’t expect him to actually be
I’m not sure he is. I’m to bed.
Stephen stands to go, then pauses.
STEPHEN (CONT’D) (cont’d)
I’ve always protected you, right?
The only real danger in this whole
play is that you’ll actually fall
in love with her. Look at me.
Don’t fall in love with her.
81 EXT. UPPER DECK – CONTINUOUS 81
The Chink sits smoking her whittled pipe, watching Bloom
alone on the deck. Stephen passes her, and she stops him
with a look.
Shut up. I know what I’m doing.
She hands him a thin piece of paper. He looks it over.
This came through just now?
The paper is a telegram with the Fidele’s imprint, received
from St. Petersburg. Stephen reads it.
81 CONTINUED: 81
“My dear Stephen STOP Word on the
wire is the Bros B are bound for
Prague STOP Am heading there myself
would love to see my boys STOP
Affectionately DD.” The Diamond
He crumples the paper, looks down at Bloom.
Wire him back for me. “Dear Dog
STOP Unless you’ve lately felt an
excess of eyes left in your head
kindly stay the fuck away from me
and my brother STOP Regards,”
82 EXT. THE MEDITERRANIAN SEA – MORNING 82
The good ship Fidele rounds the Rock of Gibraltar.
83 EXT. DECK – MORNING 83
Bloom and Penelope lie on the deck, watching dolphins.
She says this word like she’s eating chocolate:
Smugglers. It’s like an adventure
story. Whose idea was it to go
Mine. Stephen always loved the
life. Then he was almost killed on
a run to Jakarta, two thugs with
heads like canned hams worked him
beyond all reason.
84 EXT. JAKARTA PIER – NIGHT (FLASHBACK) 84
Stephen is set upon by two thugs. He rushes them.
Have at thee, you ham headed
85 EXT. DECK – MORNING 85
And I called it, that was it.
For me. Stephen enjoyed it. He
loved the idea that we were
internationally infamous art
smugglers, but I think deep down,
same as me, he felt like we were
putting on a persona, faking it.
Telling a story.
He’d love to die on a job.
Cornered at midnight on a run to
Jakarta. That’s his dream, to tell
his story so well it fulfills
itself. It somehow would make it
finally real for him.
That’s kinda the thing we all want,
He looks at her in the sun.
Trying to get something real by
telling yourself stories is a trap.
Trust me on that one.
86 EXT. GRECIAN PORT – DAY 86
Kalamata, if it matters.
The Fidele docked in bright blue water. Our intrepid heroes
stand aside a dusty road, surrounded by their luggage.
The Curator approaches, tips his hat to them.
Best of luck with the antiquing,
boys. Au revoir, Chinois.
86 CONTINUED: 86
THE CURATOR (cont’d)
Mademoiselle. Mes restes d’offre.
With a wink, he is gone. A beat. Penelope stands apart.
My French is a little rusty, but I
believe he just told you `my offer
He came out of nowhere last night.
87 EXT. DECK – NIGHT (FLASHBACK) 87
Penelope taking air on the moonlit deck. The Curator
dissolves out of the darkness.
Whatever’s in his pipe, it made me
He brings her face close to hers, smoke twisting, and speaks
unheard words low and fast.
88 EXT. GRECIAN PORT – MORNING 88
Oh lord. What has he got?
An 8th century prayer book.
89 EXT. PRAGUE STREETS – DAY 89
We fly through the city streets…
From his museum in Prague, stashed
in the castle.
Up to the base of the castle, through a grated hole in an
ancient wall, into…
90 INT. MUSEUM VAULT 90
A stunning illuminated manuscript lies open on a stone table.
The Curator’s hands close it gently and take it away.
90 CONTINUED: 90
A book of hours.
Yeah. Medieval art bores the crap
out of me so I don’t know it that
well. So that’s what he does, he
makes pieces in his collections
disappear, then sells them off via
a trusted middleman.
91 EXT. GRECIAN PORT 91
That’s what he does.
Wonder who’s his fence?
Probably his Spanish guy, right?
Did he say who’s buying?
An Argentinian. Argentine?
92 EXT. DECK – NIGHT (FLASHBACK) 92
A gentleman from Argentina. He’s
quite sick, cancer in his bones,
and desperate for sentimental
reasons to own this piece while he
93 EXT. GRECIAN PORT 93
He’ll sell it to a middleman for
one million, US. The Argentin…a
guy will pay two point five.
Is he legit?
93 CONTINUED: 93
The Curator? That’s a relative
term. He’s telling the truth.
I’m sorry you had to deal with that
Behind Penelope, two porters load her steamer trunk into the
back of a taxi.
Where’s that cab going?
The train station.
Where’s the train going?
Let’s do it. Let’s, just, I want
to try this. Let’s be smugglers.
I think it’d be fun. We should do
Well first off, we don’t have a
I do, I’ve got, that’s whatever. I
mean a real reason.
This is real, it’s dangerous, it
could go very bad.
I think a little real danger might
suit me. I’m gonna do it.
93 CONTINUED: (2) 93
So if you want to join my smugglers
gang, you know, I’ll consider it.
She walks off towards the taxi.
This is not an adventure story.
What are you talking about? It
94 EXT. HUNGARIAN COUNTRYSIDE – NIGHT 94
A train roars through the night towards Prague.
95 INT. STEPHEN’S SLEEPING CAR – NIGHT 95
Stephen reclines, hat on his face. Bloom paces.
Take it easy. She’s having fun,
that’s the point of this.
She’s making a flag for our
“smugglers gang,” man. She made me
learn a secret smugglers handshake.
Unhealthy. This afternoon, when
she was writing, in the observation
car? A letter? A journal? No.
She is getting way too into this.
Bloom fishes a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket and
thrusts it in front of Stephen’s face.
On it are written dozens of variations in stylized fonts of
“Penelope the smuggler.”
She’s been singing the Smuggler
Song since Athens.
What Smugglers Song?
95 CONTINUED: 95
You know, the one from whatsit, the
Disney thing, that Smuggler Song,
the `We’re a band of smugglers hey,
la la la la la, we smuggle by night
and drink by day, smugglers ho, ho
ho, smugglers…’ there, this
isn’t… there isn’t a Smuggler
Song, is there? Ok. She made up a
Smuggler Song. With hand motions.
The whole point of this was to
sweep her off her feet. Let her
While it lasts.
Exit Bloom. Stephen sighs and drops his hat back on his
96 INT. BLOOM’S SLEEPING CAR 96
Bloom reads. Footsteps pound by outside. Penelope and the
Chink run past his door. A moment later a uniformed
ATTENDANT runs past.
A beat, then the footsteps come back, and the girls duck into
Bloom’s cabin, slamming the door. Sacks in their teeth.
Off Bloom’s quizzical look:
Smuggling. From the snack car.
They pull bags of chips and tiny liquor bottles from their
Bloom glares at the Chink, who tries to avoid his gaze.
97 INT. SNACK CAR 97
Bloom pays the SNACK CAR ATTENDANT from a stack of Euros,
while the Chink gives him counts on her fingers.
97 CONTINUED: 97
Fourteen gins? Are you kidding me?
I’m not paying for that.
She holds up two fingers, the Attendant pours two.
She says no with a look, they drink.
She made up the Smuggler Song.
The Chink nods. Bloom pays for the Jameson.
I thought it was a Disney thing.
98 INT. PENELOPE’S SLEEPING CAR – LATER THAT NIGHT 98
The lights are off. Penelope reclines on the bed, surrounded
by empty tiny gin bottles. Drunk.
Bloom sits on the floor, both framed in a big window looking
out on a breathtaking moonlit landscape rolling hypnotically
Gin is fuckin fruity. Have you
taken this train before?
So this is all like fuckin
`whatever’ to you.
I usually drink with the Chink in
the snack car, play cards.
With the who?
98 CONTINUED: 98
Mrs. Yeungling. That’s her
I think if it were offensive to
her, she’d let us know.
Do I get a smuggler nickname?
Bloom quietly slips the stack of cash in the green rubber
band into Penelope’s luggage.
I think you’re constipated. In
your fuckin soul.
Bloom makes several attempts to form a response to this
before giving up.
You’ve got a big load of grumpy
petrified poop up your ass, I’m
just calling you out on it. Yeah
I’m pretending I’m a smuggler, so
you know what? I’m a fuckin
smuggler. If that’s your thing,
fuckin tell it like you own it.
When you’ve got a spotlight in
front of your feet, man, fuckin
jump into it and dance the shit out
of it. Stop fuckin thinking so
much. Enjoy the fuckin ride.
A roll of thunder and spectacular flash of lightning ignites
the landscape, and rain starts to patter. Penelope stiffens.
98 CONTINUED: (2) 98
Look, I’m not-
Shh. I love thunderstorms.
Another crash. Lying on her stomach, Penelope slowly starts
feeling something which makes her undulate. Bloom stares,
Whoa ha. Oh ho ho. Ohhhhhh whoooo
ha ha ha ha.
Beneath her, the train wheels rhythmically clack and vibrate
against the tracks. Another flash of lightening, the rain
Penelope writhes. Bloom silently shrinks back in terror.
Oh hooooooooooo ha ha ha ha ha ha
ha oh my GOD, ha whoooo.. whee…
ha… hoo. I… am… so horny.
The door to her car latches, and Bloom is gone.
99 INT. SNACK CAR – NIGHT 99
Bloom sits drinking and playing cards with the Chink. He
spaces out, she snaps her fingers to wake him up.
(playing a card)
That’s the big 2.
100 EXT. HUNGARIAN COUNTRYSIDE – NIGHT 100
The train steams onward into the growing storm.
101 EXT. CHARLES BRIDGE, PRAGUE – MORNING 101
Our intrepid four stroll the bridge, the city’s castle
looming before them.
Penelope slumps pale faced in dark glasses.
101 CONTINUED: 101
The last time I was in Prague, I
was in love.
What was she like?
Pale skin. Long feet. So.
102 INT. PRAGUE HOTEL ROOM – DAY 102
Bloom and I will secure us lodging,
The brothers set their suitcases on the beds. Bloom finds
the stack of bills in the green rubber band in his.
103 INT. NATIONAL MUSEUM – DAY 103
Mrs. Yeungling will scout the
The Chink, in ridiculous tourist garb and a “PROPERTY OF KGB”
t-shirt, takes pictures with one of several cameras around
104 EXT. CHARLES BRIDGE, PRAGUE 104
You will go to the bank, that wire
should have cleared if you put it
in at Athens.
105 INT. PRAGUE BANK – DAY 105
Only movie thugs and Russians deal
in suitcases of cash. Draw a
105 CONTINUED: 105
A cashier hands over an elaborate check, which Penelope signs
and puts in an envelope.
106 INT. APARTMENT STAIRCASE – DAY 106
A baroque spiral staircase, the spine of a high apartment
building. Our intrepid four ring the bell beside an
THE CURATOR (FROM INSIDE)
Who the hell is that?! Who is it?!
Candy-Gram. It’s us, Max.
Stephen pushes open the door, and an instant later a SHOTGUN
BLAST takes out a chunk of the landing beside his head.
They all dive onto the floor, piling on top of each other.
THE CURATOR (FROM INSIDE)
Who the hell are you, what do you
want, who the hell!!!!??
Max! Max! It’s us, Bloom, Max! Max! It’s Stephen and
Stephen, Jesus, Max, easy, Bloom, easy, whoa, Christ,
whoa! whoa now!
The Curator stands in the smoky apartment hallway, sloppily
draped in a ratty bathrobe, bottle in one hand and shotgun in
the other. He squints at them.
THE CURATOR (cont’d)
Ah. Good morning. Come in. I
have been drinking.
107 INT. THE CURATOR’S APARTMENT – LATER 107
A schematic of the castle laid on the kitchen table. The
Curator looks even worse in the light, red rimmed eyes, heavy
skin on his face.
Here, off the Basilica, are offices
of administration, and beneath
those, an otherwise inaccessible
section of catacombs. And the
107 CONTINUED: 107
Administrative offices. So how do
you steal the book?
The book is already stolen. The
stealing is in the bureaucracy, in
the filing, red tape. As far as
the museum is concerned, the book
does not exist. I am the curator,
I walk in, pinch the copy girl’s
baboosh, put the book in a
briefcase and walk out. Tomorrow,
say, at two.
Today is not a good day.
Tomorrow. Now what about this
(blank, then realizes)
Ah, the Argentine? Senor Luise
Belguta Rioso. I get his file.
108 INT. CURATORS APARTMENT BEDROOM – LATER 108
Penelope and Bloom wander into the bedroom, looking at an
array of beautiful paintings on the wall.
Gin is slow death, man.
Stephen and the Chink poke their heads in, leaving. The
Curator strolls in.
We’ll see you back at the hotel.
(glances at the Curator)
They go, leaving Bloom and Penelope, who squints at an
unframed oil on canvas, of a lonely stone well in a primeval
forest clearing. It sits at the foot of an unmade bed.
108 CONTINUED: 108
From a private collection on the
island of Ikaria. That one.
Who painted it?
I don’t know.
Why is it the last thing you see
every night, and the first thing
you see every morning?
That’s a story. You have a minute?
He closes the blinds and sits on a stool in front of the
painting. Setting the stage.
THE CURATOR (cont’d)
My daughter travelled with me when
she was very young, and I’d show
her the places and the art, all the
most joyous and terrifying things
in the world.
Memories of his daughter’s hand in his, flashing against the
THE CURATOR (CONT’D) (cont’d)
I wanted that the world was alive
in the most fantastic way for her.
To built her a pair of wings. Make
these things real. But maybe more
than any other objet d’art, she
loved to hear she’d ask to hear the
story of the stone golem. From a
painting in a small private
collection on the island of Ikaria.
He motions to the painting, and we move into it. As he tells
the story the scenes are shown in the painting, just as still
images, which we move across like a picture book.
THE CURATOR (CONT’D) (cont’d)
Well Rachel, like most monsters the
Golem was once a human. A boy,
about your age.
108 CONTINUED: (2) 108
THE CURATOR (CONT’D) (cont’d)
And one day the boy was walking
home, and he quarrelled, he fought,
with a good friend of his. They
got very angry and his friend
pushed him a certain way and the
boy fell and struck his head and
died. The boy’s friend was very
sad but also very frightened. So
instead of telling the boy’s
parents, he did something awful.
He pulled the body into a quarry, a
pit of broken rocks, and hid the
boy beneath a pile of large stones.
Well. Years went by, and the boy’s
friend became a young man, and one
day while drinking in town (which
in his guilt he did quite a lot of)
he heard that a well was being
built near the forest… with the
stones from the quarry. He ran to
the quarry to find it nearly
empty… no stones, no body. He
ran to the well where the masons
were finishing their work. `Did
they find anything strange in the
quarry?’ he asked, expecting, maybe
hoping they’d arrest him for the
awful crime on the spot. But no,
they said, motioning to the well.
Nothing strange. Just stones.
They left him alone there at the
well, and he stood looking into it
as the sun fell behind the
mountains and twilight set the
world in a deep, still silence.
The last image we land on is the well, alone in the clearing.
Its dark innards loom ominously in the long pregnant silence
Then, with a piercing ROAR, a living monster of stone lunges
out of the well, animated and terrifying, grabs the friend by
the throat and with a crunching of bones and one last roar
pulls him back down into the depths of the well.
Silence again. We pull out of the painting, back to the
Curator, sitting very still.
THE CURATOR (cont’d)
My daughter died nineteen years ago
today. She was six. She went out
to play one afternoon and vanished.
108 CONTINUED: (3) 108
THE CURATOR (cont’d)
The next morning we found her, in a
stone well on a neighboring
property. I climbed down to her,
but slipped and broke my leg, and
while we waited for the rescue team
to pull us out she died in my arms.
If you’ve had a child… my whole
everything just focused down to one
thing, to hold her and make her
feel safe. But no matter what I
said to her, I couldn’t stop her
shaking, crying. Her last moments
on this earth were filled with
terror. Of a stone golem.
He stands, opens the blinds, pours another drink.
THE CURATOR (cont’d)
It was the first painting I
`acquired.’ I keep it maybe hoping
some night the golem will come for
109 INT. APARTMENT STAIRCASE – MOMENTS LATER 109
Bloom trots out, ahead of Penelope.
Bloom keeps going, anxious to leave, but Penelope lingers on
the staircase. The Curator comes out.
THE CURATOR (cont’d)
It is you I do business with, yes?
Right. Oh, right.
She gives him the envelope with the certified check. He
shakes her hand, then deftly adjusts his grip so that just
for a moment he holds her hand as you would hold a child’s.
He lets go, and smiles apologetically.
110 EXT. PRAGUE STREETS – DAY 110
Penelope and Bloom stroll home in silence through crowded,
vibrant cobblestone streets.
You aren’t constipated. You’re
scared. What are you scared of?
They walk on, suddenly somehow holding hands.
As they approach the hotel, Bloom deftly breaks their hand
holding off. Penelope notices why.
111 INT. PRAGUE HOTEL ROOM – CONTINUOUS 111
Stephen, up in the window watching them approach. He recedes
into the room.
112 EXT. PRAGUE STREETS – NIGHT 112
The sun sets against the castle, taking us into night.
113 INT. PRAGUE HOTEL BAR – NIGHT 113
Bloom drinks alone, sketching Penelope’s face with a pencil.
A smell breaks his concentration.
Diamond Dog, carrying a cup and a
Standing behind him, a soft old man in an ashy suit and
eyepatch. The DIAMOND DOG.
Bloom. How long has it been?
Can you believe that? Tea? Been a
If I call Stephen down he’ll kill
113 CONTINUED: 113
Well then please don’t call Stephen
down. Look at you, you’re
terrified. C’mon now, look. Take
a look. I’m an old man with no
depth perception. You don’t have
to be scared of me.
The Dog plays with a heavy gold lighter, making sparks.
DIAMOND DOG (cont’d)
It’s been a funny thing, watching
you boys take what I taught you and
eclipse me. I’m so proud to be a
footnote in the lives of the
Brothers Bloom. And you hate me.
The curse of all bad fathers – that
my presence on this earth after I
die will not live on the lips of
admiring men, but will sink into
the murky backwaters of my
Is this profundity? Cause you can
Ha! Ha ha. Piss and vinegar.
The Dog scoots next to Bloom.
DIAMOND DOG (cont’d)
When I first took you boys in,
showed you the ropes, haunting St.
Pete’s, piss and vinegar. I still
crave that youthful joy. Even
The Dog’s hand touches Bloom’s leg. There is something
horrible about this.
Beneath the bar, Bloom grips the sharp pencil like a knife.
Don’t touch me.
You probably won’t believe I loved
you boys very much.
113 CONTINUED: (2) 113
You’re going to take your hand away
or I’m going to break your arm,
there’s nothing between.
He does, but Bloom’s fingers don’t loosen on the pencil.
But love, you know. We know, folks
like us, you can always blink and
realize that it’s a fiction, and
like Peter walking on water or
Wiley Coyote running off a cliff,
if you look down in doubt you’ll
fall. That’s the price of our
lives, the wax in our wings. One
day Stephen’s going to fall. It
may be glorious, but he’s going to
fall hard and he won’t be there to
tell you what to do and protect
you. When he’s gone, remember me.
The Dog has moved in very close to Bloom, his breath hot on
his face, and his hand comes to rest fully on Bloom’s leg.
Bloom’s hand with the pencil quivers, about to strike-
When Bloom is pulled from the bar stool by a heavy hand.
Stephen, his eyes burning through the Dog.
DIAMOND DOG (cont’d)
Stephen smashes a bottle from the bar and slashes it across
the Dog’s hand.
Waiters and porters tackle him, the Dog howls, holding his
bleeding hand. Bloom stands numb, and puts the pencil in his
114 EXT. PRAGUE HOTEL – NIGHT 114
Bloom watches the Dog get into a waiting black Mercedes. For
an instant the car’s interior light shows an 11 year old boy
behind the tinted glass, as the Dog slides in and puts his
arm around him.
The Mercedes drives off.
115 EXT. PRAGUE STREETS – NIGHT 115
Right in front of the hotel, on the water. Bloom sips coffee
from a china cup, spinning a paper in his hands. Stephen
joins him, with a matching cup.
I’m sorry I wasn’t there.
You can’t always be there.
No, I guess can’t.
That was a real tonal shift. The
On one side of the paper is the sketch of Penelope, on the
other is the con flowchart. “#12 – The Curator’s Tale.”
“#14 – Castle Break-In.”
I’m a big fan of tonal shifts. I
didn’t write it for him, though.
He made it up on the spot?
I don’t know.
116 INT. BLOOM’S HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT 116
Bloom flops into bed. He turns and looks at the wall.
Right on the other side of it…
117 INT. PENELOPE’S HOTEL ROOM – CONTINUOUS 117
Penelope lies in bed, looking at the wall also. She closes
118 INT. BLOOM’S HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT 118
Bloom’s breathing slows. He closes his eyes.
A beat. Then light snoring breaks the silence, coming
through the wall. Penelope snoring.
Bloom smiles slightly. What a cute snore.
The snoring deepens slightly.
The clock on the wall advances from 1:30am to 5:50am, and
through the window the horizon glows with the approach of
Bloom lies wide awake on his back, red rimmed eyes wide open,
the guttural snoring ringing in his ears.
119 INT. APARTMENT STAIRCASE – MORNING 119
Our four at the Curator’s door. Bloom knocks, and they all
step judiciously back. No response.
We’re a little early…
120 INT. THE CURATOR’S APARMENT – MORNING 120
Still and silent in the breaking light of morning.
And totally empty. Picked clean down to the bare walls.
The only thing left in the apartment is the painting of the
well… broken on the floor.
Our intrepid four stand in various states of thoughtfulness.
Penelope stares at the painting, Bloom at the window.
The Golem came for him. In my
dream. Crawled out of the painting
and killed him in a horrible way.
120 CONTINUED: 120
Well at least he had the decency to
just skip out on us, not do
something tacky like fake his own
Poking around the room, Bloom opens a closet. The Curator
stands pressed against the back wall in his pajamas.
You’re a little early.
Bloom quickly closes it.
I don’t get it. If he was
hightailing it he could have waited
eight hours till we traded the
million for the book, and had some
traveling money. Well. Back to
antiquing. Nothing gained, nothing
And you got to see Prague, which is
Penelope’s eyes widen with realization.
You should stay in the city for
awhile, they have these amazing
puppet show opera things-
But Stephen raises a hand to shut him up.
121 EXT. SIDEWALK BAR – DAY 121
Several empty glasses of wine, one full one in Penelope’s
hand. All heads are slumped.
121 CONTINUED: 121
It’s my fault. I can’t believe I
left you alone with him.
The Chink hands Stephen a piece of paper. He glances at it.
The check was cashed yesterday
afternoon, he’d have deposited it
in a Swiss account. I’m sorry Pen.
What a waste.
Bloom puts his hand on her arm, sympathetic.
That poor man. What a waste.
Bloom’s expression turns quizzical.
That poor Argentina man. He’ll
never see the book now, it’ll just
rot in the catacombs. What a
When Penelope lifts her suddenly brightened eyes in a moment
of divine inspiration, Bloom meets her gaze with fear.
122 EXT. CHARLES BRIDGE, PRAGUE – DAY 122
Bloom paces, Penelope looks up at the castle with binoculars.
The Chink and Stephen stand by.
No. No no. Can’t you see what
happened here, there is no book,
we’ve been swindled –
But maybe there is, maybe it’s
real, we don’t know!
It’s not real, it’s a con.
It’s my money, I’m going to find
out for sure. He gave us every
piece of information we need.
122 CONTINUED: 122
She spreads the castle floor plan out on a bench.
Bloom turns to Stephen and the Chink with a “this is crazy
right?” expression and gesture. They give him nothing back.
We’d need to clear the
administrative offices. Some sort
The Chink strokes her chin in mock-thoughtfulness.
C’mon. Help me break into this
castle. It’ll be fun.
123 EXT. FIELD – DAY 123
A Barbie Doll set up in the middle of the field explodes in a
theatrical plume of fire.
Several others follow suit.
The Chink pops up from behind a mound of dirt in her aviator
goggles, cigarette dangling from her lip. She leans on a
Bloom, Stephen and Penelope crouch nearby, watching her work.
She’s an artist with nitroglycerin.
It’s kind of her thing.
I feel like I want to know more
Check the tat.
On the back of the Chink’s neck, a few finely scripted lines
123 CONTINUED: 123
An inky wisp of personal
information. We transcribed it,
brought it into a Chinese
What’s it say?
The literal translation is
something about water cranes, but
essentially it means “When you’re
done with something, blow it up.”
124 INT. PENELOPE’S PRAGUE HOTEL ROOM – EVENING 124
The Chink lies on the floor with Penelope, showing her how to
build a tiny remotely detonated bomb. She slices a tiny bit
off a brick of dynamite, sets it in a petri dish with a
detonator, and puts the whole thing in a handbag.
Penelope appreciates her.
Bloom and Stephen hunker over the castle floorplan.
There’s a smoke detector in these
empty rooms in the east tower. So
we plant and set off a tiny –
(to the Chink)
TINY tiny, tiny charge.
The Chink clicks a seemingly innocent ballpoint pen. With a
BEEP, a tiny poof of fire plumes from the handbag setting it
on fire, and the smoke rises to the ceiling.
Fire drill ensues, offices empty,
and you’ll have exactly four and a
half minutes to get through the
access hatch, into the catacombs,
get the book and get out before the
fire department arrives.
Penelope and the Chink do their elaborate handshake, and she
gives Stephen and Bloom a finger snap thumbs up.
125 INT. PENELOPE’S HOTEL ROOM – LATER 125
Bloom and Penelope, up late at the table. Going over the
floorplan one more time.
So straight down the corridor,
again, tell me where.
Second left, third right, access
hatch behind the copier, I need to
The abort code if we need to abort
is “corned beef.” For some reason.
Bloom, I need to sleep.
He folds up the plans, she wraps up the brick of dynamite and
bomb components and spots a black leather backpack beside an
open handbag on the table.
Is this Yeungling’s backpack?
She gently puts the brick of stabilized nitroglycerin inside
the front zipper compartment, and sets the tiny petri-dish
bomb beside the handbag.
You know what I feel?
Scared. All my big talk. But this
isn’t a story, it’s real. Fuckin
She kisses him. He kisses her back.
125 CONTINUED: 125
The pure whole hearted sensuality with which they attack each
other and the deluge of almost child-like need let loose in
this one simple act quickly reaches a point where as a viewer
we no longer feel comfortable intruding with our gaze.
Fifteen seconds after this point, we FADE OUT.
126 EXT. PRAGUE – DAWN 126
The sun arcs into the sky above the castle.
127 INT. PENELOPE’S PRAGUE HOTEL ROOM – DAWN 127
Bloom half wakes.
Across the landscape of the bed, Penelope sleeps. Sunlight
on her body and her sleeping face.
Distant KNOCKING. From the next room over.
Bloom’s eyes snap open. He scampers.
128 EXT. PRAGUE HOTEL WINDOW LEDGE – DAWN CONTINUOUS 128
In his boxers, holding trousers and shirt in his teeth, Bloom
swings over the ledge from Penelope’s window into his.
129 INT. BLOOM’S PRAGUE HOTEL ROOM – DAWN CONTINUOUS 129
He opens the door for Stephen, who regards him narrowly.
130 INT. PENELOPE’S PRAGUE HOTEL ROOM – MORNING 130
The Chink picks up the backpack, handbag and petri dish bomb.
131 INT. PENELOPE’S PRAGUE HOTEL ROOM – MORNING 131
Penelope folds a plastic bag and puts it under her jacket.
132 EXT. CASTLE ADJACENT STREETS – DAY 132
A little alcove with a good view of the castle.
132 CONTINUED: 132
Stephen trains his gaze on one set of windows high in the
Eastern tower. Bloom paces.
133 INT. EASTERN TOWER ROOM – CONTINUOUS 133
An empty storage room, half under construction. The Chink
walks in, wearing the backpack and carrying the handbag. She
goes straight for a spot just under a smoke detector.
134 EXT. CASTLE ADJACENT STREETS – CONTINUOUS 134
Stephen, Bloom and Penelope are joined by the Chink.
He looks through his binoculars again.
They share a brief moment with their eyes, and Penelope trots
off. The Chink caught it. She looks at Bloom slyly.
For the record, I’m still against
this. Why send her in alone?
The Chink finds a way to casually smell Bloom’s fingers.
Because going in alone is a very
important thing to do. She’s
walking into a zero security
tourism office during a fire drill
and taking a five hundred dollar
manuscript replica from a utility
crawlspace. Worst case scenario, a
file clerk asks if she’s lost.
Which isn’t even going to happen.
(to the Chink)
She’s in position.
He spots Penelope casually waiting beside an unmarked door.
Bloom notices the Chink looking at him with a knowing grin.
She mimes sealing her lips and tossing the key.
134 CONTINUED: 134
She then takes the ballpoint pen detonator… out of the
handbag dangling at her hip.
Cause nobody’s going to know we
were ever here.
Bloom spots the handbag. Something’s not right.
The Chink clicks the pen.
135 INT. EASTERN TOWER ROOM – CONTINUOUS 135
The black backpack, sitting under the smoke alarm, beeps.
136 EXT. CASTLE ADJACENT STREETS – CONTINUOUS 136
A THUNDEROUS EXPLOSION blows a massive ten foot wide chunk
out of the side of the Eastern tower, spewing a painfully
dramatic ball of fire and debris.
Screams. Shouts. Panic.
Our three look up at the tower, agape.
Bloom grabs the binoculars from Stephen, looks for Penelope.
137 EXT. CASTLE COURTYARD – DAY 137
Panicked tourists stumble away from the descending dust.
Penelope sees what’s happened, but holds her ground.
The unmarked door opens, and a dozen business people pour
138 EXT. CASTLE ADJACENT STREETS – DAY 138
Don’t do it don’t do it Penelope
138 CONTINUED: 138
They’re locking down the castle,
she won’t get in.
139 EXT. CASTLE COURTYARD – DAY 139
She takes a step towards the door.
140 EXT. CASTLE ADJACENT STREETS – DAY 140
Bloom drops the binoculars and sprints.
141 EXT. CASTLE COURTYARD – DAY 141
A burly SECURITY GUARD trots across the courtyard, herding
tourists and smoking a cigar.
To ze back, no panic, to ze back…
He blocks the office door, and sets his cigar down for a
moment. Penelope spots it.
142 EXT. CASTLE ADJACENT STREETS – DAY 142
Bloom nears the courtyard, sees Penelope up ahead.
Pen! Don’t – abort! Corned beef!
143 EXT. CASTLE COURTYARD – DAY 143
Penelope deftly spins the cigar 180 degrees.
The Guard absently picks it up and puts it back in his mouth,
fire-side first. He howls, doubles over.
She dashes into the door.
Bloom bursts out of the crowd and lunges for the door, but a
SECOND SECURITY GUARD stops him.
Dozens more security guards swarm in. Overhead, an army
helicopter buzzes by. Bloom stares into the doorway,
helpless and scared.
144 INT. TOURISM OFFICE HALLWAYS – DAY 144
Water rains down from the ceiling sprinklers. Penelope
weaves through the halls.
145 INT. COPY ROOM – DAY 145
Cramped, ill lit, and with its own sprinkler.
Penelope dashes in, shoulders the massive cold war era copy
machine and with a Herculean effort pulls it away from the
I’m in Prague. I burned a man’s
lips off to break into a castle in
Revealing an access hatch.
146 INT. CRAWLSPACE 146
Tiny, earthy. Penelope shuts the hatch behind her.
Light from a barred window illuminates a rectangular shape
lying on a stone slab. Penelope approaches the small BOOK OF
147 EXT. CHARLES BRIDGE – DAY 147
A full view of the castle reveals just about the worst case
scenario. The entire area swarms with army helicopters and
tanks, soldiers with rifles, yellow tape, news crews.
Stephen, Bloom and the Chink sit behind the police line on
the bridge with the rest of the crowds. Heads in their
148 INT. CRAWLSPACE 148
Penelope is broken out of her stupor by heavy footsteps all
around her, soldiers searching the castle.
Voices right outside the hatch. She slides the wimpy little
bolt shut. It rattles.
She looks up – a moldy vent in the muddy ceiling.
149 EXT. CHARLES BRIDGE – DAY 149
Bloom suddenly stands.
Wait. Wait, we’re fine. She’s
fine. If the soldiers find her
wandering the halls they’ll assume
she’s a clerk, they’ll just shoo
her out. So as long as she doesn’t
do anything suspicious, she’s fine.
150 INT. VENTILATION DUCT 150
Penelope wriggles on her belly through a tin ventilation duct
barely big enough for her. The book, encased in the plastic
bag, hangs from her teeth.
Sounds of soldiers searching the offices come from below her.
Up ahead she sees a point of light. With a gleeful grunt she
shimmies faster – she’s nearly made it!
151 INT. TOURISM OFFICE – CONTINUOUS 151
A dozen SOLDIERS and the CHIEF OF POLICE have their eyes (and
guns) trained on the tin ventilation duct above their heads.
It is very very obvious not only that a person is crawling
through it, but exactly where that person is.
The Chief of Police pointedly coughs to get her attention.
152 INT. VENTILATION DUCT 152
Penelope freezes. A beat of silence.
The tin gives way, and she plummets…
153 INT. TOURISM OFFICE – DAY 153
…hitting the ground hard, then springing to her feet and
through some knee-jerk primal instinct kicking a nearby
soldier in the head.
Eleven rifles cock and aim at her.
153 CONTINUED: 153
And that’s how she’s caught, frozen in a kung fu stance,
plastic bag in her teeth.
She locks eyes with the Chief of Police. Lets the bag drop
from her teeth.
And opens her mouth to speak.
154 EXT. CHARLES BRIDGE – AFTERNOON 154
The hubbub has died down considerably, soldiers march away
from the castle in formation. Bloom Stephen and the Chink
sit watching for some sign.
Three police cars, sirens blazing, drive down the length of
The Chief of Police.
As the last one passes, Bloom sees the Chief of Police riding
shotgun, and Penelope sitting with a soldier behind caged
mesh in the back seat.
His face falls.
Then Penelope spots him, points and says something.
Very suddenly, the police car stops.
The Chief of Police gets out. Nods at our intrepid three.
And opens the door for Penelope. As she climbs out he
motions for the passing soldiers to stand at attention and
He kisses her hand.
CHIEF OF POLICE
It has been a privilege, madame, to
behold even briefly such a strong,
Thank you sir, I will not soon
forget your kindness.
She blushes and smiles, then does an unhurried victory strut
back to Bloom, Stephen and the Chink.
154 CONTINUED: 154
The police cars drive off.
Penelope pulls the book out from under her jacket and sets it
on a bench. A moment of victorious silence.
Clapping her hands, she does a little shuffle dance of joy.
We’re a band of smugglers hey,
la la la la la,
we smuggle by night, drink by day,
smugglers ho, ho ho…
155 EXT. SIDEWALK BAR – LATE AFTERNOON 155
Bloom and Stephen sit among empty wine glasses.
The Chink approaches, gives Stephen a hand gesture.
Let her sleep. Train doesn’t leave
That was real.
Yeah, I know.
156 EXT. PARK – LATE AFTERNOON 156
Bloom walks pensively through a green park. Cat Stevens’
“Miles from Nowhere” plays from a nearby radio.
His eye catches something. A shiny red apple on a fruit
He approaches it slowly, face flushed, breath shallow, eyeing
the elderly vendor with a thin semblance of nonchalance.
Holy shit. He is going to steal that apple.
Deftly he passes, lifting and pocketing it just as the Vendor
turns away. Bloom has done it. His pale face tightens.
156 CONTINUED: 156
And sees a five year old boy. Giving him a stare of infinite
Bloom turns on his heel and RUNS HELL FOR LEATHER.
The vendor shouts. The little boy chases him, pointing and
screaming. Dogs bark. People stare. And Bloom sprints,
apple in hand, a joyful smile forming on his lips.
157 INT. PRAGUE POLICE STATION – EVENING 157
Stephen bails Bloom out.
Yeah, but it was part of an
158 EXT. HUNGARIAN COUNTRYSIDE – NIGHT 158
The train thunders South, towards Greece.
159 INT. TRAIN SLEEPER CAR – NIGHT 159
Stephen pokes his head into Penelope’s car, says goodnight.
As soon as he’s gone, a foot dangles down outside the window
and taps it. Penelope pulls it open, Bloom shimmies in with
two mini bottles of gin.
He kisses her.
160 INT. SHIP STATE ROOM – MORNING 160
Bloom holds a sleeping Penelope, watching the sun stream
through the window and slipping the green rubber band cash
into her suitcase.
A low horn blows, and Bloom’s face darkens.
161 EXT. THE ATLANTIC OCEAN – DAY 161
The good ship Fidele breaks the waves, blowing its horn.
161 CONTINUED: 161
Stephen stands on the deck. Bloom joins him.
He strolls off, leaving Bloom watching the horizon gloomily.
162 EXT. DECK – DAY 162
Our intrepid four sit around a small table (except for the
Chink, who lies on a deck chair in a bikini and Chuck
Taylors, sunning herself.)
Oh-kay. We’re rendezvousing with
Senor Rioso’s guys here, on an
isolated beach just south of the
Mexican port town Tampico. A
simple handoff. Penelope and
Yeungling will stay with the car,
Bloom and I will do the handing.
You guys seem a little tense.
Well I’m not thrilled they set this
in Mexico. There could be
legitimate reasons, but Mexico’s –
and I don’t want to simplistically
vilify an entire country, but
Mexico’s a horrible place. So
we’ll be careful.
163 EXT. MEXICO BEACH – LATE AFTERNOON 163
The Chink fires an automatic pistol eight times into the dead
center of a target pinned to a palm tree. She re-loads.
164 EXT. TAMPICO HOTEL GROUNDS – CONTINUOUS 164
The beach sprawling below them, Penelope and Bloom meander.
The hotel itself feels very old, red ruinous stone.
Is this going to be more dangerous
than I think, tomorrow?
164 CONTINUED: 164
Yeah. You should sleep at the
hotel tonight, I’ll stay with
Stephen at the beach house. You’ll
On the distant beach, following the faint rapport of gunfire,
a palm tree falls over.
I’m really happy right now. Are
Right now I am.
She kisses him and runs off along the cliff side, singing the
But she’s too far away now, and the ocean is too loud. She
can’t hear him, and he can’t hear her, and in another moment
she has vanishes into the green brush and white flowers.
Behind Bloom’s pained face, the sun dips towards the beach.
165 INT. BEACH HOUSE – NIGHT 165
Stephen packs for tomorrow, Bloom stares out the black
window, drinking. Flower in his lapel.
Stephen picks up the con flowchart.
The last box in our last con. Let
them begin the beguine. How’s it
She’s something special, Stephen.
He stares at his drink.
165 CONTINUED: 165
Can I just have a little more time?
Just a few days. I want to keep
her, like this, I don’t want this
to just end. Don’t make me do
Be angry at me, you son of a bitch.
Don’t be pathetic. Make you?
Jesus. I told you not to fall for
I’m not gonna do this.
Stephen comes very close to Bloom’s face, looks him straight
in the eye. Finds his answer.
I don’t believe you.
He goes back to packing.
166 EXT. TAMPICO HOTEL GROUNDS – NIGHT 166
Bloom stands, the beach behind him, the glowing lights of the
hotel before him. Growing determination.
167 EXT. HOTEL HALLWAY – NIGHT 167
Bloom knocks on a door. Penelope answers, in her bathrobe.
I know what I’ve gotta do. I’ve
gotta talk to you. Are you wearing
He pulls her out of the room.
168 INT. TAMPICO HOTEL GROUNDS – NIGHT 168
Bloom pulls Penelope by the hand, but she stops.
168 CONTINUED: 168
My brother and I are con men. All
things considered, we might be the
most respected con man team working
today. And everything since you
hit me with your Lamborghini, all
of this, it’s all fake. It’s all a
169 EXT. BEACH – NIGHT 169
The waves break angrily on the beach. In the distance,
Stephen finishes his drink on the beach house porch, goes
inside and turns out the light.
170 EXT. TAMPICO HOTEL GROUNDS – NIGHT 170
No, we were going to blow you off
tomorrow using the cackle bladder,
it’s a, term, we have actors
playing the Argentina guy’s men,
when we showed up the deal would go
bad, they would open fire on us,
Stephen and I would pretend to be
shot using blood packets, squibs.
That’s – cackle bladder, in the old
days they put fake blood in chicken
bladders, so… So you’d escape
with the Chink, she’d send you off
with a little travelling money and
that would be that.
But that’s not how this one’s going
to end. I love you now, and I want
to get you out of this. I’m going
to do what I have to do to get you
out of this, away from all this for
good. Are you ready?
171 EXT. BEACH – NIGHT 171
Bloom leads Penelope down the beach by the hand.
Stephen’s gone into town to prep
the Argentina actors. Your money’s
at his place.
Money? I don’t want the money,
let’s just leave.
For a moment he’s tempted. The dark beach house looms ahead.
172 INT. BEACH HOUSE – NIGHT 172
Dark. Bloom leads Penelope in, stumbles in the dark,
switches on a lamp. Click, click – it doesn’t come on.
You have to switch it on at the
A beat. Bloom does.
Stephen sits in an easy chair, not looking happy. But not
angry. Much more sad than angry.
So I’ve told her our whole play.
And I’m here. To take her money
back. How’s that make you feel?
This isn’t the ending you wanted?
It doesn’t matter now. This is the
way it ends. So let’s get it over
Where’s the money?
172 CONTINUED: 172
I ate it.
Give me the money, Stephen.
I don’t want the money.
He’s not going to keep a single
piece of you.
I’m sorry you fell in love with
her. But she’s a mark. And all of
this, all of it is a con. Every
moment you shared with her, you
were just playing the part of a man
falling in love. That’s what
you’re afraid of, right? That you
don’t know the difference? Or
maybe that there is no difference.
That that’s what love is.
No. You’re too scared to leave.
You’re scared to ride off into a
sunset that isn’t painted
tarpaulin, cause real sunsets are
beautiful but they turn into dark
uncertain nights. If you were
ready for that, you wouldn’t be
here. The money is in my bedroom.
Right behind me. But in my story
you don’t get the money or the
sunset or the girl.
A long beat. The dark bedroom doorway looms behind Stephen.
Bloom. Let’s just go. Please.
172 CONTINUED: (2) 172
Bloom LUNGES, cracking Stephen in the jaw.
Stephen goes down, Bloom leaps past him – but Stephen grabs
Bloom’s leg and brings him down.
Then they are fighting. Penelope watches, horrified.
A frightening, brutal brawl that tears the small beach house
apart, thirty years worth of a fight.
Until Stephen throws Bloom to the ground at Penelope’s feet.
Upsetting a small table. The Chink’s pistol, lying on the
holey paper target, falls and strikes the ground.
And goes off with a deafening rapport.
Blood spreads just beneath Stephen’s collarbone.
Stephen stays standing for a moment, shocked. A dribble of
blood out of the corner of his mouth. He half grins.
Tastes like tin foil.
And sinks to the ground.
Bloom’s eyes glaze. He crawls to his brother. Takes him in
Penelope watches the brothers holding each other. Tears in
her eyes, but she backs away a step, very conscious of not
being a part of this moment.
Bloom looks up at her, almost taking a moment to recognize
He doesn’t move from his brother.
172 CONTINUED: (3) 172
For a long moment the Brothers Bloom lie in each other’s arms
in the middle of the broken room.
Then Bloom stands, goes to the window and watches Penelope
walking off into the distance down the beach.
From the darkened bedroom doorway steps the Chink, her face a
Stephen stands. Lifts his shirt and removes the squib and
Bloom steps outside.
173 EXT. BEACH HOUSE – NIGHT 173
A wood patio with steps leading down to the sand. Bloom
watches Penelope, now very distant, almost gone.
Stephen comes out, pulls out a flask.
I think that was the most honest
conversation we’ve ever had.
You actually connected on a few of
Did you expect me to do it? To
come here tonight, end it the way
you wrote it? Or were you really
disappointed I didn’t run off with
I was disappointed. But I wasn’t
Bloom turns and SLUGS him in the jaw. Stephen falls to the
I let you do your monologue, but
you wanna know why I did it? I did
it so she’d never want to see me
again. To get her away from all
this for good.
173 CONTINUED: 173
Without looking back Bloom walks off down the beach, in the
opposite direction of Penelope, leaving Stephen bleeding in
the sand, alone in the dark uncertain night.
TITLE CARD – 3 months later.
174 EXT. LUDICROUS MANSION – DAY 174
Penelope’s home, bucolic on a lazy Spring day.
At a picnic table at the far edge of the front lawn, Penelope
sits writing with intense concentration on a piece of paper.
After awhile she raises her head, regarding what she’s
written thoughtfully. Folds it up, puts it in her pocket.
Clicks the seemingly innocent ballpoint pen.
The mansion EXPLODES, completely.
She walks away without looking back.
After a beat, the plaster deer explodes in a ridiculous
175 EXT. ITALIAN COUNTRYSIDE – DAY 175
Green hills surround the walled medieval city of Ferentino.
A tiny white car inches its way across the countryside, and
up into the city.
176 EXT. FERENTINO APARTMENT – DAY 176
Bloom walks up the stone alley to his apartment, a bag of
groceries in hand. He spots the white car parked out front.
Loud shouting in Italian grows louder, until Penelope and the
Grandmother burst out the front door. Berating each other
with Italian curses and hand gestures.
Penelope sees Bloom, and freezes.
176 CONTINUED: 176
The Grandmother keeps up her barrage as she takes the
groceries from Bloom, but as soon as she’s behind Penelope’s
back she gives Bloom a wink, points to her and gives a thumbs-
up of approval.
177 EXT. FERENTINO STREETS – DAY 177
Bloom and Penelope wander the twisty alleyways of the city.
How did you find me?
How did you find the Chink?
She gave me her cell when we got to
I didn’t even know she had one.
I think she’s kind of selective in
who she gives the number to.
178 EXT. FERENTINO CAFE – LATER 178
They sit with wine and bread.
Why are you here, Penelope?
Why did you decide to stay with
your brother instead of coming with
me in Mexico?
Everything Stephen said that night
178 CONTINUED: 178
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking
the past three months. I want you
to consider something.
She takes a piece of paper from her pocket, unfolds it and
slides it across the table to him.
On it, written over and over in a dozen different stylized
fonts, is “PENELOPE THE CON ARTIST.”
Bloom sets the paper down with a snap.
Go away. Everything Stephen said
was true. I was just playing you
as a mark. Everything between us,
none of it was real.
She leans in close to him, her hand on his leg.
I don’t believe you.
It’s obvious even before she kisses him that she’s right.
179 EXT. FERENTINO STREETS – DAY 179
Bloom dials a pay phone. He’s been crying. It rings.
Pick up… c’mon…
180 INT. MONTE CARLO CASINO – CONTINUOUS 180
Lush, Edwardian. In a private room, a card table is
overturned. Stephen lies on the ground in a defensive
posture, a RAVISHING WOMAN in red lunging at him with a
curved dagger. A BEARDED MAN with an eyepatch holds her back
by the wrists, while a MONOCLED MAN in an antique wheelchair
holds his tear stained face in his hands.
This whole scene is frozen like a tableau, as Stephen’s cell
phone chirps away.
Annoyed, the Bearded Man gives him a `go ahead’ nod.
Stephen hastily answers it.
180 CONTINUED: 180
181 EXT. FERENTINO STREETS – CONTINUOUS 181
How quickly can you get to
STEPHEN (ON PHONE)
Bloom fishes out his pocket watch.
Click. As he’s putting his pocket watch back, he finds the
stack of green rubber band money in his breast pocket.
182 INT. FERENTINO APARTMENT – NIGHT 182
Penelope plays cards with the Grandmother.
183 EXT. FERENTINO APARTMENT – NIGHT 183
Stephen and Bloom sit on the little landing outside the
So she comes back wanting to work
with us. Honestly? I think we’d
be lucky to have her. If you
called me to hear my opinion on the
matter. Which I’m getting the
feeling you didn’t.
I did what I did in Mexico to get
her out of all this. I would rather
die than bring her into the con.
So maybe you want to tell me what
I’m doing in Ferentino.
183 CONTINUED: 183
You knew she’d come back. What did
you figure she was good for,
One point seven five.
We will play her again, one last
con, but not for money. I’m gonna
tell you how this one’s gonna end.
You built us into this, you’re
gonna fly us out, end it so she’s
done with all of us. End it all so
it can’t start up again.
You want me to plan a con whose
sole purpose is to blow her off for
I love her. You owe me this. I
don’t want to turn her into me.
184 INT. FERENTINO APARTMENT – NIGHT 184
Penelope sleeps on a cot against the window.
Bloom enters wearily. Sits in a chair. Watches her.
In the next room over, Stephen sits in the dark. Shuffling
A lovely tune sung in Mandarin Chinese plays over this,
segueing us into…
185 INT. KARAOKE BAR – NIGHT 185
On a television screen, images of the Shanghai skyline.
TITLE CARD – Shanghai
A wall of monitors, which the Chink steps in front of,
singing the climax of the song. Beautiful and sad.
As the song ends, she sees through the spotlight Penelope,
Bloom and Stephen at a table. Penelope waves.
185 CONTINUED: 185
The Chink’s face betrays just the slightest hint of
186 INT. KARAOKE BAR PRIVATE BOOTH – LATER 186
The four sit with drinks.
So what’s the next job?
Before we do the next job, we need
to liquidate our assets from the
But you’ve got-
Your money from the last job, well
that’s profit, not capital, the
three of us have already split it
up. So step one: sell the book of
I thought it was fake.
With all your random expertise we
couldn’t risk a flat out fake. It
isn’t worth two point five million,
we could maybe catch four hundred
grand for it, but it’s real. Who’d
we buy it from?
Perfect, we’ll sell it right back
The Chink hands him a piece of paper.
If he wasn’t dead.
Well there’s Demarco or Boyer. Or
Roche, if we want to go state-side.
186 CONTINUED: 186
All traceable. With Minskie out
we’d have to go deep black market
if we wanted to be a hundred
percent clear. There’s only one
place that’s deep enough for that.
Bloom and the Chink know exactly what he’s talking about, and
they don’t look happy.
187 INT. KARAOKE BAR BACK ROOM – LATER 187
Russia. It’s like `cancer’, I
don’t even like saying the word.
Bloom, Stephen and the Chink drink in a cramped little
concrete room adjacent to the bar’s kitchen.
We’re obviously not going to deal
with real Russians. They’ll be our
guys in a phony set up, they’ll
take our phony book and give her
phony cash, a closed loop. Safe
Bloom looks to the Chink for an opinion. Gets a blank face.
So. We go to St. Petersburg.
At the mention of St. Petersburg Bloom looks sharply at
Stephen, but Stephen presses on.
She does the hand-off with our fake
“Russians.” But while we’re
driving out of town, everything
He lays a simple flowchart, drawn on a napkin – three boxes.
He points to the first, “Penelope sells book to `Russians'”
187 CONTINUED: 187
We discover we were sold a
counterfeit book in the first
place, which we’ve now sold to
Russian smugglers. We discover
this when the Russian mob starts
taking us out one by one. Oh shit.
He points to the second box, “Red Dawn.”
First they ambush our car,
destroying the money. Then they
take me out, then the Chink, and
finally you Bloom, in a heroic
death that allows Penelope to
barely escape with her life.
Devastated but reborn with the
knowledge that you loved her so
much you died so she could live,
she drives off into a romantic life
of adventure and peril, on the run
from imaginary Russians.
He points to the third box, “The End.”
What do you think?
188 EXT. ST. PETERSBURG – SUNSET 188
The blood red sun sets over the city.
189 INT. ST. PETERSBURG HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT 189
Penelope snores on the bed, while our intrepid three unpack.
The phone rings. Stephen answers it, listens, hangs up.
Our “Russians” have arrived.
190 INT. ELEVATOR – NIGHT 190
Stephen, Bloom and the Chink ride down to the lobby with a
190 CONTINUED: 190
Who’d you get, anyway?
To play the “Russians?”
The elevator doors open, revealing the Diamond Dog.
191 INT. HOTEL BAR – LATER 191
Empty. The Dog leans against the bar with several LACKEYS,
waiting patiently, making sparks with his gold lighter.
Sounds of shouting come from the adjoining dining area.
192 INT. HOTEL DINING ROOM 192
I don’t understand. Tell me so I
understand. Three months ago you
were ready to blind the old bastard-
We need someone who can pass for
the Russian mob to buy our fake
book. The Dog’s got his big store
right here in St. Petersburg.
Alright, fuckin stop. You want
this to finish in St. Petersburg,
you want this to end with the Dog
for some what thematic something?
Fine but don’t tell it like a
story, let’s say it. Twenty three
years ago and I can still smell,
that blood red apartment of his,
the smell of that place. I hate
him Stephen but this isn’t that,
this is I don’t trust him.
192 CONTINUED: 192
What’s he gonna do? Steal our fake
I’ve thought this one out, believe
me. And we can’t end it without
him. Trust me. It’s gonna be ok.
193 INT. HOTEL BAR – LATER 193
The red leather suitcase on the bar.
Stephen, still the grand architect
with your symbols. Red for
temptation, white for salvation.
The Dog opens it, revealing US hundreds. Examines it with a
DIAMOND DOG (cont’d)
It’s trash. There’s visible cross
hatching in Franklin’s eye.
Sure enough – obvious jagged misprints cut into Ben
Franklin’s eye on the bills.
Hm. I’ll be damned.
Ruskies wouldn’t be caught dead
handing over a rag bag like this,
it should be a steel attache.
This’ll do. We’ll do the drop off
at your store. Make it scary,
think a movie version of the
Russian mafia, but don’t hassle
The Dog closes the case, and for a moment Bloom’s eyes rest
on his bandaged hand.
He then takes the case and quickly moves off with his crew.
193 CONTINUED: 193
DIAMOND DOG (cont’d)
I look forward to meeting the lady.
Take care, boys.
Leaving his gold lighter on the bar.
194 INT. HOTEL CAR PORT – NIGHT 194
The Chink leads Stephen and Bloom around the brown Peugeot.
So. Our fake Russian attack. One
small charge will simulate a bullet
hit, and blow out the back window.
The Chink points with an extendable pointer to a small nub on
the rear windshield.
So that one bang, then we roll off
the road. Once we get clear of the
car the Chink sets off the final
charge, incinerating the car and
the money in the trunk. This’ll
all happen exactly twenty seconds
after we cross the main bridge out
of town. After the bridge.
Stephen makes a note in a manila envelope, tucks it in his
195 INT. HOTEL HALLWAY – LATER 195
Bloom and the Chink walk back to their rooms. The Chink is
You’ve been awful quiet.
She doesn’t react.
I’m doing this for her.
But a door clicks shut, and Bloom is alone in the hall.
196 INT. PENELOPE’S HOTEL ROOM 196
Penelope in bed. Her door cracks open, and she sleepily
looks up. Bloom stands silhouetted in the doorway.
Tomorrow it all starts.
She lifts the sheets. He gets into bed, and as she drifts
into peaceful slumber Bloom is very conscious of holding her
for the last time.
When her snores begin, he has ear plugs ready.
197 EXT. ST. PETERSBURG – SUNRISE 197
The Peugeot drives into the heart of the city.
198 EXT. ST. PETERSBURG ALLEY – DAY 198
Bloom, Stephen and the Chink parked in an alley, watching a
doorway across the street with a pair of binoculars.
Bloom breathes uneasily, checks his watch.
She gives the Dog the book, he
gives her the fake money. This is
taking too long.
Just then Penelope trots out. Metal attache case in hand.
199 EXT. RUSSIA HIGHWAY – MORNING 199
On the outskirts of town, parked beside a murky little lake.
Our heroes gather around the metal attache case on the hood.
He hassled me. Took forever
looking the book over, haggled the
price. Wanted to pay me in Rubles.
Stephen smirks, then opens it. The money’s there.
Alright. Let’s get the hell out of
199 CONTINUED: 199
Bloom pulls the Dog’s gold lighter from his pocket, takes one
last glance at St. Petersburg and tosses it down into the
200 EXT. ST. PETERSBURG HIGHWAY – MORNING 200
The brown Peugeot drives towards the climbing sun.
201 INT. PEUGEOT 201
The Chink drives, Stephen rides shotgun.
Bloom and Penelope in the back seat. He looks weary.
He sees the bridge approaching, maybe a half mile ahead.
She pulls his head down into her lap, fingers in his hair.
He breathes, closes his eyes.
An explosion shatters the front passenger window.
Bloom’s eyes snap open, he bolts upright.
The bridge is still a quarter mile away.
In the next moment the car becomes a din of breaking glass,
screams, tires screeching.
202 EXT. ST. PETERSBURG HIGHWAY 202
A BLACK MERCEDES roars out on to the road, machine gun fire
blazing from its windows, literally shredding the Peugeot.
The car spins, tires flapping, and hits a highway embankment
full speed, launching into the air.
203 INT. PEUGEOT 203
A moment of strange silence as the car flips mid-air. The
brothers lock eyes for a split second.
204 EXT. FOREST BESIDE ST. PETERSBURG HIGHWAY 204
The car slams into the steep grassy embankment, manages to
flip upright, and rolls into a thick forest, coming to an
abrupt stop against a stout tree.
204 CONTINUED: 204
They all four dive out of the car, Bloom shoving Penelope,
tumbling into the thick forest an instant before the car
becomes a roiling ball of flame.
Bloom lies shell-shocked, his vision blurry. He vaguely sees
Penelope passed out beside him, Stephen on the other side of
A DARK FIGURE comes trotting into the woods, shining a
flashlight on the charred car. Goes to Stephen. Reaches
down to him…
Bloom’s mind flutters away into darkness.
205 INT. FOREST – DAY 205
Bloom wakes. Rain splattering. Slumped against a tree.
Penelope hunches over him.
Are you alright?
Yeungling went to get another car.
We don’t know. He was gone.
Bloom stands shakily, goes to the charred car. Runs his
fingers over the dozens of bullet holes.
Goes to where Stephen fell. Lying in the grass, a manila
We’re going to find him. If he
escaped, he’ll contact us. If
they’ve got him, it’s for ransom.
205 CONTINUED: 205
Who’s got him?
The Chink pulls up in the green bug, headlights catching
Bloom’s face against the dark forest depths.
206 EXT. PARKING LOT – DAY 206
A desolate gas station parking lot. Bloom sits in the Bug,
loading his revolver with shaky fingers. Penelope stands
Stephen, god please what’s
happening. I don’t know what to
do. I don’t know Stephen please.
Please. What’s happening. Please.
A long black sedan screeches to a halt in the parking lot
outside the window, Bloom bolts out of the car, pistol ready.
But the Chink climbs out of the black sedan.
Where does she get all these cars?
Bloom motions for Penelope to stay back, then goes to meet
the Chink in the middle of the parking lot.
If you know what’s happening, now
would be a really good time to
She sets a suitcase down beside her. Bloom takes this in.
No, please. Not now. I need your
help here now, I don’t know what to
The slightest smile communicates all the compassion in the
world. But she’s leaving.
She hands him a small slip of paper, their fingers touching
for an instant.
206 CONTINUED: 206
She gives Penelope a quick little “call me” gesture, picks up
her case and walks off.
A truck blocking our view of her car pulls away, and she gets
Bloom looks down at the slip of paper. A short phrase, in
The engine turns over, and the Chink’s car EXPLODES in a
The paper flutters out of Blooms’s fingers a moment before he
and Penelope are thrown to the pavement by the shock wave.
Bloom and Penelope lift their heads, absorbing what just
207 EXT. CHICAGO – DAY 207
A busy street, which a title card identifies as “Chicago,
On the corner, an unassuming Chinese restaurant.
208 INT. CHINESE RESTAURANT – DAY 208
A dive. The chef on the phone.
Ah, ah yes, Mr. Bloom. Yes, ok.
ALL THE COOKS
He puts the phone down and goes to the fax machine, which is
spitting out a facsimile of the Chink’s slip of paper.
209 INT. ST. PETERSBURG COPY SHOP – EARLY MORNING 209
Bloom on a pay phone, scribbling on a piece of paper.
209 CONTINUED: 209
Uh huh. Assholes. Ok. Um, ok.
So I’ve got “We are all assholes in
our own theatrical enterprises.”
This phrase, written on Bloom’s paper.
And then it end with “Goodbye shit
But it is different meaning in
Mandarin, uh, endearing. “Shit
head” if you have affection for
210 EXT. SIDEWALK – MOMENTS LATER 210
The Bug parked nearby. Penelope sits on the curb, crying.
Bloom sits next to her.
What did it mean?
I don’t know.
What did it say?
“We’re all of us marks in our own
cons.” And she said goodbye.
I still can’t believe it.
That the Chink fell for a car bomb?
Neither can I.
What? Oh, oh god do you think she
faked it? So the Russians would
think she was dead?
210 CONTINUED: 210
Bloom stands, paces away. He leafs limply through the manila
folder – addresses, pictures, information…
A paper with the Dog’s photo clipped to it. An address in
The napkin Stephen wrote the con flowchart on. The third box
– “The End.”
What do we do now?
Scrawled on the inside of the manila envelope – “An unwritten
life.” Bloom’s face clears. He wipes his eyes.
Bloom goes to the Bug.
Where are you going?
This wasn’t Russians. This was
done by an old mentor of ours who
wants us off the map. He has an
apartment in St. Petersburg. So
this is, yeah. I’ve gotta go back
to that apartment to face the Dog
and get my brother back. That’s
how I’m gonna end this.
Penelope’s eyes gleam. She jumps up to the passenger door,
and Bloom stops her with a weary look.
We can skip the whole you-sending-
211 EXT. ST. PETERSBURG STREET – LATE MORNING 211
A narrow alley between tall apartments. Bloom parks, pulls
his gun and checks it.
211 CONTINUED: 211
If there are shots you run to the
car and drive, with or without me.
212 INT. APARTMENT ENTRYWAY – DAY 212
A badly lit apartment hallway. Bloom approaches a door,
Penelope behind him.
His breathing becomes hard. His face contorts. He crumples
next to the door.
What’s in there? Tell me who this
Bloom’s breathing steadies.
He’s just an old man.
He tries the knob. It opens.
213 INT. DIAMOND DOG’S APARTMENT – D 213
Blood red walls.
Dark, neglected and to all appearances empty. Bloom creeps
down the darkened corridor, gun outstretched. Breathes
through his nose, chokes.
Dog! I came back.
He kicks open a door, revealing a large living space. Empty.
He lowers his gun, switches on the light.
Penelope enters. Sniffs the air.
Bloom almost laughs.
Is that what that smell is?
BAM! A closet door smacks open, revealing the business end
of a double barrel shotgun.
213 CONTINUED: 213
Bloom spins, gun drawn. Penelope screams.
Then a moment of stillness. The shotgun barrel quivers.
It’s held by the 11 year old boy Bloom saw in the Dog’s
Mercedes in Prague. Malnourished and scared.
Penelope approaches him slowly.
It’s okay. Honey, it’s alright.
The shotgun sinks to the ground. Penelope strokes his hair
back from his face.
Bloom lowers the gun, trembling.
Ask him if anyone else is here.
Ask him where the Diamond Dog is.
Where is the Diamond Dog?
The Dog of Diamonds is gone.
Bloom does a quick search of the rest of the room. As he
does Penelope asks the boy one more question in Russian, and
gets a quick answer.
Get the car started.
What about him?
213 CONTINUED: (2) 213
She believes him, and goes. Bloom kneels in front of the
You don’t need to be afraid of him
anymore. Or angry at him. Or ever
come back here again. He doesn’t
concern you anymore. Understand?
It’s gonna be ok.
The boy nods. Bloom hands him the stack of bills wrapped in
the green rubber band. The boy snatches it and runs off.
214 EXT. ST. PETERSBURG STREET – DAY 214
Bloom trots out of the apartment building, and sees two
things: Penelope working the VW’s starter, and a black
Mercedes speeding down the narrow street towards her.
He sprints towards her, screaming
Get out! Get out of the car!!
She sees the approaching Merc, too late, and ducks down.
A hand hurls something from the darkened window. It smashes
through the Bug’s passenger side window, showering Penelope
The Mercedes roars off down the street.
Bloom reaches the Bug and throws the door open.
Penelope lies covered in safety glass, holding a Russian
215 INT. BUG – LATER 215
The seven progressively smaller dolls lie open on the back
seat, Bloom holds the two halves of the final tiny doll, and
Penelope holds a note.
It’s a ransom note. It says they
have Stephen, it says they want the
money wired to a specific account,
they give a bank to do it at and a
manager to ask for.
215 CONTINUED: 215
Then an address to come to, at two
p.m. In two hours.
I’ll wire the money from my
account, and we’ll go get Stephen.
It’s a lot.
I’ll do it, I want to, I’ve got
How much are they asking for?
One point seven five million.
A cold pit opens in Bloom’s stomach.
Oh. Oh oh. No no NO.
He punches the dashboard.
No I’ll kill him. I’ll kill him if
that’s what this is, if that’s all
that this is, no NO NO.
What are you talking about?
There’s another possibility that I
should of, I’m a fucking idiot.
This might all be a con. By my
brother. To get me – oh god – he
wanted me to face the Dog, to end
it, and he gets your money. Oh
god. I’m going to be sick.
Would he do that? To you?
I don’t know. Yes. Yes of course
215 CONTINUED: (2) 215
To tell a story so well it becomes
real. The perfect con. That’s his
whole, goddammit, that’s what.
But you don’t know. Let’s transfer
the money. You don’t know.
Son of a bitch.
You don’t know. This is your
brother’s life. I’m gonna wire the
216 EXT. ST. PETERSBURG BANK – DAY 216
Bloom sits in the car, alone. He punches the dashboard
again, helpless enraged and scared.
Penelope gets in, looks at the address on the note.
217 EXT. BURNED OUT THEATER – DAY 217
Penelope and Bloom sit in the car, parked in front of the
impressive facade of a closed, burned out old theater.
The clock on the dashboard reads 1:50.
I’m so scared. Anything I can
imagine finding in there, I’m
I’m going to be here when you come
She kisses him.
He puts his hand on the door. Hesitates. Then goes.
Walks up the stairs to the inky maw of the theater door.
Goes in alone.
218 INT. THEATER LOBBY 218
No lights. Moldy dust. A genuinely creepy place. Bloom
steps lightly, deeper into the theater.
219 INT. THEATER AUDITORIUM 219
A few lights flicker on the walls, fitfully illuminating the
broken dusty seats and bare ruined stage.
Bloom walks down the aisle, trying to keep his voice steady.
A spotlight snaps on from the mezzanine, right in Bloom’s
face. He spins, trapped in its glare.
A guttural command is shouted in what might be Russian.
When Bloom doesn’t respond, the spot silently advances a few
feet ahead of him towards the stage.
Bloom gingerly follows it, up onto the splintered stage and
finally resting on a split in the tarpaulin backdrop.
With a wary glance back, Bloom steps through it.
220 INT. THEATER BACKSTAGE 220
Giant fossils of antique stage scenery. Utility lights high
above, cut by scaffolding, patch everything in dim jagged
forms of light and black.
Stephen. Game’s up. Come on out.
Let’s blow this one hat town.
Silence. Then a harsh utility lamp snaps on, cruelly
lighting Stephen’s face.
Shockingly bruised and battered, old and new blood.
Bloom cries and rushes towards him…
220 CONTINUED: 220
No! No Bloom, freeze.
He obeys. Stephen is tied to a chair. A dark figure behind
him holds the lamp with a black gloved hand.
Stephen, who is it? Is it the Dog?
Did Penelope wire the money?
They’re calling to check right now.
Don’t move. I’m alright.
The dark figure’s cell phone rings, he holds it to his ear
for a moment then flips it closed.
Something happens in the blackness, and Stephen shakily
stands, cut loose.
Stay where you are, Bloom. I’m
coming to you.
He takes a couple wobbly steps.
Behind him, Bloom sees the dark figure raising his gun
towards Stephen’s back, pulling the hammer…
And the utility lamp switches off.
Bloom’s revolver pops out of his sleeve and he’s firing into
Stephen drops flat to the ground.
The fiery rapport of a big pistol flashes from the blackness,
strobing the scene like stage lightning.
Bloom reloads behind the cover of a heavy flat, but Stephen
lies on his stomach out in the open.
220 CONTINUED: (2) 220
But Bloom makes a dash for his brother, out into the open,
unloading three more rounds into the dark.
The dark figure returns fire on Bloom, who is sprinting full
on his feet in a large pool of light. A sitting duck.
Stephen launches himself up, tackling Bloom backwards.
Just before they fall behind the safety of the flat, a red
burst of blood flowers from Stephen’s left lower back.
Bloom sets him down gently, and hears heavy footsteps behind
He turns, firing, but only sees a blur of dark coat go by,
through the torn backdrop.
Bloom runs out on stage, tearing the tarpaulin, and fires
after the dark figure limping up the aisle and away into the
Bloom walks back to Stephen, who lies behind the flat,
breathing heavy. Blood soaking through his shirt.
Please tell me this is all gonna be
ok. Tell me that’s a squib, and
that’s makeup, and that you just
gave me what I always wanted and
pulled off the perfect con.
A long, long moment.
Stephen coughs, spits. Then a wry grin spreads across his
You said it, not me.
He stands, the shakiness gone.
Can I get a `wow’ for this one?
You son of a bitch.
220 CONTINUED: (3) 220
Bloom looks like he might hit him, but his face breaks and he
embraces him, crying. The Brothers Bloom stay like that for
a long while, holding each other in the spotlight’s glow.
Finally Stephen pulls away, tears in his eyes. He wipes
them, wipes blood from his lip.
Tastes like tin foil. Alright
here’s what I want you to do. The
Yeah. Clean exit.
A hint of relief in Stephen’s face.
Good. Here’s what. Take Penelope
back to Helsinki, take that flight
to Rio. Lay low like we said.
Play out the on-the-run-from-
vengeful-Russians thing, that’ll be
fun for her. Play it like I’m
dead, actually – that’ll add some
gravity to everything, that’ll be
nice. And I’ll see you when I see
I hope not. Last thing you need is
me hanging around. Anyway, how
could I top this?
Bloom hugs him again.
I love you. Bye.
He turns to go.
Hey. Think of any card.
220 CONTINUED: (4) 220
Stephen pulls out a pack of cards.
Stephen cuts, to the Queen of hearts.
Stephen. That’s it.
That’s the best card trick I’ve
ever seen. I just wish you had a
You’re the only audience I’ve ever
Wink. Bloom leaves.
Stephen watches him go.
221 EXT. RUSSIA HIGHWAY – LATE AFTERNOON 221
Rumbling towards Finland.
In the Bug, Bloom sleeps in Penelope’s arm while she drives.
She looks at his hand on hers, his shirt cuff bright red with
Stephen’s “blood.” She strokes his shoulder sadly.
Off Bloom’s sleeping face…
222 INT. THEATER STAGE 222
Stephen pulls a chair out onto the stage, sets it right in
the spotlight’s glare.
Trembling as if it takes all his last strength in the world.
Sits. Looks at the Queen of Hearts, moves his fingers over
Then slides is up his sleeve.
Blood trickles down his hand.
223 INT. BUG – SUNSET 223
Bloom wakes with a start.
Hey. Hey, it’s ok. The bridge is
coming up, we’re almost at the
border. Were you dreaming about
She strokes his hair back from his face.
He nods, and looks down at his sleeve.
Stephen’s “blood” on his white cuff.
Now a dark shade of brown.
Bloom looks at this shirt. All the blood, it’s all brown.
He looks up at the road, nearly panicked.
Maybe a quarter mile ahead is the bridge.
Pull over. Pull over!!
224 EXT. ROADSIDE – SUNSET 224
He bursts out of the car, and run/tumbles down the grassy
hillside till he finds the car tracks.
He follows them to the charred remains of the Peugeot.
Penelope stumbles down after him.
What is it? You’re scaring me-
What did you ask the Russian kid,
in the Dog’s apartment? He said
the Dog isn’t here, then what did
Bloom kicks open the trunk. Pries open the blistered attache
224 CONTINUED: 224
Sifts through the charred pile of cinders that was the money
from the “Russians” till he finds what he was looking for and
brings it out into the dying light.
How long had he been alone.
And what did he say?
A scrap of unburned money. A fragment of Ben Franklin’s
Since yesterday morning.
A single eye gazing up at him, the green grass behind it.
The eye is perfect. No cross hatching.
Bloom sinks to his knees.
This is real. They hassled you.
The Dog was gone before we got
there. They hadn’t cleared out of
their apartment, they had been
225 INT. DIAMOND DOG’S APARTMENT – DAY FLASHBACK 225
RUSSIANS in black overcoats burst in, shooting the Dog’s men
with silenced pistols.
The BOY shuts himself in the closet, terrified.
226 EXT. ROADSIDE – SUNSET 226
Real Russians. Took his store.
They didn’t know about his deal
with us, but you haggled with them.
You really sold the book to real
Russians. The Diamond Dog was
227 EXT. RUSSIA HIGHWAY – FLASHBACK 227
The scene beside the lake, our four heroes checking the money
in the attache case.
Let’s get the hell out of Russia.
Bloom tosses the gold lighter, it splashes into the lake. We
follow it, plunging beneath the surface.
Deep deep down, among weak tendrils of light, the Diamond Dog
sinks into watery blackness, a long blade in his neck.
228 EXT. ROADSIDE – SUNSET 228
And they came after us. And
Penelope holds him tight.
Stephen saved my life.
Bloom folds into Penelope’s arms, but she doesn’t let him.
She holds his crying face up.
And he did it so you could live.
Your brother loved you. He loved
you so much. Look at me. Stephen
said something once, I got the
feeling he’d rather be telling it
to you. He said there’s no such
thing as an unwritten life. Just
badly written ones. I love you.
228 CONTINUED: 228
We’re gonna outrun these bastard
Russian mafia, and we’re gonna hide
out in Rio, then we’re gonna live
like we’re telling the best fucking
story in the world. Are you ready?
She holds his face close to hers for a long beat. Then
smiles and pushes away, launching up the grassy hill.
Bloom watches her.
Time slows as she turns back towards him, still running, and
holds out her hand for him to follow.
I was thinking of something Stephen
said too. “The perfect con is one
where everyone involved gets just
the thing they wanted.” Well.
He takes the girl’s hand, and runs with her towards the point
of light breaking over the hill.
229 EXT. HIGHWAY – SUNSET 229
Sunset with her wine-red fingers falls over the road ahead.
The rumbly old VW chugs away from us, towards the horizon.
THE END[amazonjs asin=”B003CPX23C” locale=”JP” title=”ブラザーズ・ブルーム DVD”]