Happiness

Yesterday was our first session and it was a great success.  We worked on a scene from Todd Solondz’ screenplay “Happiness”. I’ve used this scene before in on-camera workshops and am always impressed by how wonderful the writing is. We rehearsed on-camera doing multiple takes, using a Master Shot, Over the Shoulder shots and Singles. On Wednesday we’ll film the “Happiness” scene and then move on to a new scene (likely from Jean Luc Goddard’s “Vivre Sa Vie”. Below is the scene from “Happiness”:

JOY and STUART from “Happiness” by Todd Solondz

(In a café, diner, or restaurant)

JOY

Stuart?… Are you okay?

STUART

Yeah. Sure. I’m fine.

JOY

Good. Well. I had a really nice time.

STUART

Yeah. Me too.

JOY

Of course, you know I’ve always had a nice time with you.

STUART

Same here.

JOY

But…

STUART

Yeah.

JOY

You understand.

STUART

Unh.

JOY

And you don’t hate me?

STUART

No.

JOY

‘Cause you know I could never hate you. At the same time, I just

don’t think I could ever…you know…you.  In the way you should be…

STUART

Yeah.

JOY

And deserve to be.

STUART

Unh hunh.

JOY

Well. The food here was excellent–

I’m gonna recommend it to my sisters! How many stars did it get?

STUART

Three and a half.

(Stuart cries.  A pause.)

JOY

Do you feel better now?

(STUART nods)

Me too.

STUART

I’m sorry.

JOY

It’s really good we had this talk.

STUART

Yeah.

JOY

Before things went too far… You know, got too serious.

STUART

Yeah. I’m sorry. I’m too serious.

JOY

No, you’re not.  It’s me.

STUART

No, it’s me.

JOY

Okay. It’s you. I’m sorry.

STUART

Okay.

(Pause)

JOY

‘Cause I mean…

STUART

I know.

JOY

The thing is, I want to do what’s right – for both of us.  I spent

a lot of time…examining…my heart. And I felt that you deserved

my honesty.

STUART

Thanks.

(Pause)

JOY

Now I just want to make you whole again.

STUART

I’m whole.

JOY

Really?

STUART

Really.

JOY

…’Cause I was afraid we wouldn’t be able to be friends anymore.

STUART

(laughing, sort of)

Oh, Joy!

JOY

Oh, but you know how it is. And well, most guys…

STUART

I’m not most guys.

JOY

I know. If only most guys were

like you.

STUART

But then I’d be like most guys.

JOY

(laughs)

Oh, Stuart. If only I felt the way I’d like to feel with you… Life is

so unfair.  It’s all my fault.

STUART

I know.

(a beat)

Are you sure…?

JOY

Yes.

Pause.

STUART

Is it someone else?

JOY

No, it’s just you.

Pause.

STUART

I want to show you something. I got for you.

JOY

For me?

STUART

(hands her a gift)

Open it up.

JOY

(discovers a pewter ashtray)

Oh, but Stuart. This is…oh, this is beautiful.

STUART

Thanks. It’s a Gaansevoort reproduction. Boston, late 1800’s.

I sent away for it just after we had our…first date.

JOY

Oh, I just love it.  It’s a…it’s a collector’s item.

STUART

Yeah, it is pretty special.

JOY

(laughs)

It almost makes me want to start smoking again!

STUART

Look at the bottom.

JOY

(examines more closely)

Ooh.

STUART

Forty karat gold-plate inlaid base.

JOY

Oh, Stuart. Thank you. This really means something to me. I’ll always

treasure it…as a token…

STUART

No, you won’t.

(retrieves his gift)

‘Cause this is for the girl who loves me. The girl who cares for me,

for who I am, not what I look like.

I wanted you to know what you’d be missing. You think I don’t appreciate

art. You think I don’t understand fashion. You think I’m not hip.

You think I’m pathetic, a nerd, a lard-ass fatso. You think I’m shit.

Well, you’re wrong. ‘Cause I’m champagne. And you’re shit.

And till the day you die, you, not me, will always be shit.