Excerpt

Maggie’s Plan

Rebecca Miller

July 18, 2016 
The following is from the screenplay for Rebecca Miller’s new movie Maggie’s Plan, now in theaters. Miller is the author of the short story collection Personal Velocity, her feature film adaptation of which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance; The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, which she also adapted for the screen, and Jacob’s Folly. Her other films include Angela and The Ballad of Jack and Rose.

INT. GEORGETTE’S APARTMENT – KITCHEN – DAY

Georgette opens her door.

GEORGETTE

Hi! Hi – oh, hello, Maggie.

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MAGGIE

John had a meeting so he asked me to–

GEORGETTE

Come in.

The kids remove their shoes and greet their mother with great affection. Maggie watches this as she removes her penny loafers. Justine is very tender with her mother. Another person.

(to the kids)

I made you a nice snack and you are allowed to watch one single episode of something ghastly while eating it. But no fighting about what it is, Paul. Justine gets to choose.

The snacks are already in the den.

They run up the stairs. Georgette turns to Maggie, who is standing in her socks. Her demeanor is chillier than it was at the book store.

I was about to make some coffee? Or tea?

MAGGIE

Coffee would be great. Thank you.

Maggie follows Georgette toward the kitchen. The living room is a symphony in taupe. Large photographs of Geishas from the 1920’s now dominate the walls.

Your place is really nice.

GEORGETTE

Columbia housing!

 

INT. GEORGETTE’S KITCHEN – DAY

Georgette puts brewed coffee in a blender and holds a stick of butter.

GEORGETTE

I put butter in mine. It nullifies afternoon sugar cravings.

MAGGIE

Great.

Plop goes the butter. Georgette throws the blender into high gear as Maggie backs out.

 

INT. GEORGETTE’S LIVING ROOM – DAY

While Georgette blends the butter next door, Maggie walks through the room, drawn to a beautiful black-and-white image of a younger John holding Justine. Maggie doesn’t notice Georgette coming up behind her.

GEORGETTE

That’s a lovely photo, don’t you think?

MAGGIE

(startled by her)

Yes. Thanks.

She sips the buttered coffee – ack! Georgette sips hers while maintaining eye contact with Maggie. A sort of ‘O.K. Corral’ moment.

It’s good to finally meet you.

GEORGETTE

I won’t pretend it doesn’t cost me something.

MAGGIE

Of course.

GEORGETTE

I’m not into fakery.

MAGGIE

Me neither.

GEORGETTE

I detest the role of the spurned wife, I won’t play it –

MAGGIE

You’re not.

GEORGETTE

Am I not?

MAGGIE

You still – have such a deep connection to John.

Georgette invites Maggie to sit down.

GEORGETTE

We have managed to remain friends, it’s true . . .

Georgette is looking at Maggie with surprise and a little suspicion.

MAGGIE

I mean, your phone calls . . .

GEORGETTE

Do you disapprove of them?

MAGGIE

No –

GEORGETTE

The marriage has dissolved, but we are still parenting together.

MAGGIE

Well, I mean, it’s more than just parenting, you guys are on the phone several times a day. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great. So . . . I . . .

Georgette is looking at her carefully. Maggie’s cheeks are going hot, her heart is speeding up.

GEORGETTE

Yes?

MAGGIE

Well, it’s obvious you’re still in love with him.

A moment of silence, of disbelief.

GEORGETTE

What the hell are you playing at?

Maggie decides to jump off the cliff.

MAGGIE

John and I are in trouble. And I don’t think he realizes how badly in trouble we are. Or he doesn’t want to know. And then, when I saw you at the reading . . . I realized – that there might be an opportunity, an opening . . . somehow . . . to get the two of you . . . back together.

GEORGETTE

I see. I see . . .

Maggie nods hopefully.

So you’re tired of your little affair. You are all done with it. And now you want to make sure you don’t feel guilty, so you’re going to manipulate us all into some absurd happy ending!

Georgette stands, looking down at Maggie, who is shrinking by the second.

I have met a lot of control freaks in my life, in fact I even thought I was one – but you make me look like an amateur.

MAGGIE

I didn’t mean to insult you.

GEORGETTE

Have the decency to leave him and face the fact that you poisoned my life, and my children’s lives, and probably John’s life with your own selfishness. That’s your burden. You earned it.

MAGGIE

Excuse me. Wait a minute. If you had such a perfect marriage why was John miserable? You neglected him. You used him. You didn’t respect his talent!

GEORGETTE

If I am so awful, what the hell are you doing here trying to get him back together with me?

MAGGIE

I just think that actually, even though I do think you were pretty self-absorbed and extremely needy, he needs it – it actually kept John in balance. Taking care of you made him think about someone other than himself.

GEORGETTE

Leave. Leave. Leave.

MAGGIE

What?

GEORGETTE

Leave my apartment.

MAGGIE

Oh! You want me to leave. Okay. I’m leaving.

Maggie gets out as fast as she possibly can.

 

EXT. GEORGETTE’S BROWNSTONE – DAY

The door shuts behind Maggie. She’s shaken, her shoes in her hand. Looks over at her van. There’s a parking ticket wedged under the wiper.

 

INT. TONY AND FELICIA’S APARTMENT – LATE AFTERNOON

It’s already dark out. Maggie is lying on the couch as Tony shuttles in and out of the room cleaning up.

MAGGIE

I have never been so humiliated in my life. I’m in such deep oatmeal. What was I thinking?

TONY

Maybe you had a psychotic episode.

MAGGIE

But it’s a really good idea!

Tony emerges from the hallway looking rumpled and disgruntled.

TONY

Life doesn’t work that way, you dufus. You can’t stuff what’s already happened back in the box. God I really think you need help.

MAGGIE

Why are you being so hostile?

TONY

Because this pisses me off! The whole thing pisses me off.

MAGGIE

Why?

TONY

Why can’t you just leave your husband, like any normal human being?

 

Excerpted from MAGGIE’S PLAN by Rebecca Miller and published by Bloomsbury Methuen Drama. Copyright © 2016 by Rebecca Miller. Excerpted with permission of the author.




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