Rushmore - By Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson









                           RUSHMORE
 
                              by 

                   Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson














INT. CLASSROOM - EVENING

A modern day classroom. Twenty-tenth grade boys are sitting in
desks in geometry class. They are dressed in school uniform, light
blue shirts and khakis. The boy looks dazed and sleepy.

The teacher, Mr Adams, is at the front of the room, finishing a
complicating equation on the chalkboard.

        	     MR ADAMS
	Except when the value of the x co-ordinate 
        is less then or equal to the value of the -
	Yes, Isaac?

A boy named Isaac has raised his hand.

                     ISAAC
        That's one fine frame.  A fine
        frame it is.

Isaac points to a startling and intricate arrangement of huge
numbers and strange symbols filling up the forgotten corner of
the chalkboard. The heading above it says 'Extra Credit'.

                    MR ADAMS
        Oh, I really just put that up there
	as a joke. That's probably the hardest
	geometry equation in the world.

                    ISAAC
	How much extra credit is it worth?

                    MR ADAMS
        Well. I've never seen anyone get it
        before, including my mentor Dr Leaky
        at MIT. So I guess if anyone here
        can do it.
	       (pause)
        I'll make sure none of you ever have
        to open another math book again for
        the rest of your lives.

There is some quiet murmuring. The name Fisher is repeated over
and over. The boys begin to look to a student in the back row.

Unlike his classmates, he wears the Rushmore school blazer with
insignia in the breast and a Rushmore rep tie knotted tightly.
His hair is smartly parted and swept back. He is extremely skinny
and pale. He is Max Fisher.

Max has a cup of coffee on his desk and he is reading the Wall 
Street Journal.

                    MR ADAMS
        Max? You want to try it?

Max looks up.

                    MAX
        I'm sorry. Did someone say my name?

Everyone laughs. Max smiles slightly. He buttons his blazer and
straightens his tie. His picks up his cup of coffee and takes a 
sip. He goes to the chalkboard and sets to work.

The boys watch with nervous anticipation. Mr Adams compares Max's
progress with the notes in his book. Max's equation quickly fills
up most of the board. He finishes it with a flourish, throws his
piece of chalk in the trash, and turns to face the class.

The classroom erupts into wild, ecstatic applause. Everyone
surrounded Max, cheering as he walks calmly back to his desk. They
hoist him into the air.

                                                        CUT TO:

Max with his eyes closed, smiling serenely, listening to the
applause. He mutters.

                    MAX
        Gentlemen, gentlemen, please.

A little hand grabs Max's arm and shakes him. Max opens his eyes.
The person shaking him is his chapel partner, Dirk Calloway, a
fourth grader with nearly white hair. Max looks around.

They are in a chapel, surrounded by rows of boys in school uniform.
Dirk puts his finger to his lips.

                    DIRK
        Ssh.

Max rubs his eyes and sits up in the pew. The applause dies down and
Max looks up to the pulpit as the guest chapel speaker, Herman Blume,
steps up to the microphone.

Mr Blume is a tough-looking guy about fifty years old in a black suit.
He begins his chapel speech.

                   MR BLUME
        You guys have it real easy. I never
 	had it like this where I grew up.
	But I send my kids here. Because the
	fact is, whether you deserve it or
	not; you go to one of the best 
        schools in this country.

Max's eyes light up.

                   MR BLUME
        Rushmore. You lucked out.

Max leans forward to the railing and begins to listen intently.

                   MR BLUME
        Now for some of you it doesn't matter
	You were born rich and you're going to
	stay rich. But here's my advice to the
	rest of you: take dead aim on the rich
	boys. Get them in the cross-hairs. And
	take them down.

Some of the students and faculty begin to look at each other with
puzzled expressions. Max is nodding and taking notes on the flypage
of a hymnal.

	INSERT HYMNAL:

		Rushmore - best school in country.
		rich kids - bad?

Mr Blume leaves the podium. Max leaps to his feet and leads the
big applause. The organ starts and everyone stands up.

EXT. QUADRANGLE - DAY

Mr Blume and the headmaster, Dr Guggenheim, come out of the chapel
among the throng of students.
                            
Dr Guggenheim wears a wool coat and smokes a pipe. He is very
dashing with silver hear and a warmly patronizing manner. He walks
with his hands clasped behind his back.

                   DR GUGGENHEIM
        Are you free for graduation, Herman?
	Maybe you could give us an encore.
	      (whistles to the dog)
	Nicholas! Copernicus!

                   MR BLUME
              (lighting a cigarette)
	I don't give a shit. I paid for the
	whole damn natatorium. The least these
	little pricks can do is hear me out.

                   MAX
        Mr Blume. 
                
Max has appeared beside him. Dirk tags along behind him.

                   MAX
        My name is Max Fisher. I just wanted
	to tell you, I strongly agree with
	your views concerning Rushmore.

                   MR BLUME
        You don't say. Tell me something. How
	long have you gone here?

		   MAX
	Ten years.

		   MR BLUME
	Then you've been in a dreamworld for
	ten years.
		   MAX
	I know it, sir.

Max smiles broadly. They each notice that their haircuts are 
identical, neatly parted on the side.

		   MAX
	Your speech was excellent. Except, 
        I disagree with your ideas about 
        rich kids. Because, after all, we 
        don't choose who our fathers are. 
        But that's really my only criticism.
		
		   MR BLUME
              (hesitates)
        Thank you.

Mr Blume looks at Dirk staring up at him. Dirk says softly.

                   DIRK
        Hello.

                   MAX
        This is my chapel partner, Dirk
	Calloway.

                   MR BLUME
              (shakes Dirk's hand)
        Nice to meet you, Dirk.

		   MAX
	Thank you for coming today, sir.

Max shakes Mr Blume's hand. Mr Blume smiles. But Max doesn't go.
He just stands there. Searching for the words.

		   MAX
	I really. I think it's. You're 
        right about Rushmore. Look around. 
	It truly is a great school.

Mr Blume nods. A little uneasy.

		   MAX
	Anyway, nice to have met you.

Max goes. Mr Blume and Dr Guggenheim watch him walk away with Dirk.

		   MR BLUME
	What's his name again?

		   DR GUGGENHEIM
	Max Fischer.

                   MR BLUME
	He's a sharp little guy.

Dr Guggenheim looks across the lawn at Max and his chapel partner.
He says wistfully.

		   DR GUGGENHEIM
	He's one of the worst students 
        we've got.

	INSERT COVER OF THE RUSHMORE YEARBOOK:

It is called the Rushmore Yankee. The masthead says Max is editor-
in-chief. There is a photograph of him laughing, surrounded by his
staff.

We cut to a series of pictures of:

The French Club, Debate Team, cross-country, lacrosse, golf, drama,
Astronomy Society, Glee Club, student council, Model United Nations,
Stamp and Coin Club, Gun Club, Bombardment Society, calligraphy,
fencing, kung fu, bee-keeping, and J.V. water polo.

Max is president or captain of virtually every one of these.

Other photographs show Max pole-vaulting, dancing at the Christmas
Ball, and giving thumbs-up from the cockpit of a Piper Club.

	    TITLE:

		    September.

INT. DR GUGGENHEIM'S OFFICE - DAY

A paneled room with wooden floors, an old electric fan on the
windowsill, and the paintings of ducks and geese on the walls.
Dr Guggenheim is seated at his little oak desk. Max sits across
from him.

		   DR GUGGENHEIM
	We're putting you on what we call
	sudden death academic probation.

		   MAX
              (nodding)
	And what does that mean?

		   DR GUGGENHEIM
	It entails that if you fail another 
	class you're going to be asked to
	leave Rushmore.

		   MAX
	I see.
              (raises an eyebrow)
	In order words I'll be expelled.

		   DR GUGGENHEIM
	Right.

Silence.

		   MAX
	Dr Guggenheim. I don't want to tell
	you how to do your job. But the fact
	is no matter how hard I try I still
	might flunk another class. And if
	that means I have to stay on for a
	postgraduate year, then so be it.
	But if -

		   DR GUGGENHEIM
	We don't offer a postgraduate year.

		   MAX
	Well. We don't offer it yet.
              (pause)
	And what about the fact that I'm
	probably dyslexic?

		   DR GUGGENHEIM
	You're not dyslexic.

		   MAX
	Well, I'm a terrible speller.
		
		   DR GUGGENHEIM
	Just bring up the grades.

Max sighs. He looks out the window and says quietly.

		   MAX
	You remember you I got into this
	school?

		   DR GUGGENHEIM
	Yes, I do. You wrote a play.
		   MAX
	That's right. A little one act. About
	Watergate. And my mother read it and 
	felt I should go to Rushmore. And you
	read it and you gave me a scholarship,
	didn't you?
 
Dr Guggenheim nods.
 
		   MAX
	Do you regret it?
 
		   DR GUGGENHEIM
	No, I don't regret it. But I still
	might have to you expel you.
 
Max nods. He smiles sadly and whispers:
 
		   MAX
	Couldn't we just let me float by?
	For old times' sake?
 
		   DR GUGGENHEIM
	      (grimly)
	Can't do it, Max.
 
EXT. QUADRANGLE - DAY
 
Max and Dirk comes out the door into the cold. They head across
the grass.
 
		   MAX
	They want to kick me out, Dirk.
 
		   DIRK
	      (concerned)
	Oh, no. Not again. What are you
	going to do?
 
		   MAX
	The only thing I can do. Try to
	pull some strings with the
	administration, I guess.
 
		   DIRK
	Maybe you ought to get a tutor.
 
		   MAX
	I don't have time for a goddamn
	tutor. You know my schedule.
 
	INSERT SIGN WRITTEN IN CALLIGRAPHY:
 
		BACKGAMMON CLUB
	      Founder: Max Fischer
 
INT. LIBRARY - DAY
 
A long table in the Rushmore library. Max is reading a library
copy of a book about Jacques Cousteau. He is also playing
backgammon with a freshman named Alex.
 
		   ALEX
	Did you hear they're teaching
	Japanese next year?
 
		   MAX
	That's the rumor.
 
		   ALEX
	And they're canceling Latin.
 
		   MAX
	What? I tried to get Latin canceled
	for five years. It's a dead
	language, I'd always say.
 
		   ALEX
	Well, I guess they finally heard
	you.
 
Max shakes his head as this sinks in.
 
		   MAX
	At least I saved Dirk from the
	horror.
 
Max turns the page of his book. There is a photograph of
Jacques Cousteau laughing uproariously. A little note is
written in pencil in the margin next to it with an arrow
pointing to the picture. Max frowns. He turns the book
sideways to read it.
 
	INSERT FRAGMENT OF NOTE IN BOOK:
	   When one person, for whatever reason,
	   has a chance to lead an exceptional
	   life, he has no right to keep it to
	   himself.
			-Jacques Cousteau
 
Max's frown disappears. A change comes over his face. His
eyes glaze over dreamily. He whispers to Alex:
 
		   MAX
	Read this.
 
Alex reads the quote. He looks puzzled.
 
		   ALEX
	What's that supposed to mean?
 
		   MAX
	      (mysteriously)
	I don't know. Maybe nothing.
	Excuse me, please.
 
Max gets up and goes to the checkout counter. He shows the
book to the Librarian.
 
		   MAX
	I'd like to see a list of all
	the people who've checked-out
	this book in the past year.
 
		   LIBRARIAN
	Why?
 
Max points to the quote. The librarian reads it. She nods.
She goes through the cards in a little wooden box.
 
	INSERT SCRAP OF PAPER
 
	    Miss Cross, 1st grade, room 121
 
INT. HALLWAY - DAY
 
Max walks down a hallway in the lower school. He is carrying
the little scrap of paper, checking room numbers as he walks.
 
He looks in some of the rooms. He sees kids sitting at tables
with scissors and paste. Kids watching a movie on science.
Kids curled-up on mats during naptime.
 
And then he sees room 121. He goes to the door and looks
through the window.
 
A class of first graders are sitting Indian-style in a little
circle on the floor. The teacher is in a tiny kid's chair,
reading aloud from Kidnapped. She is twenty-eight. She wears a
cardigan sweater and her hair is pulled back like a ballet
dancer. She is Miss Cross.
 
Max's eyes are glued to the glass. He cracks open the door an
inch to listen to hear voice.
 
		   MISS CROSS
	I have seen wicked men and fools,
	a great many of both; and I believe
	they both get paid in the end.
	      (darkly)
	But the fools first.
 
She looks up mysteriously. The turns the page and continues:
 
		   MISS CROSS
	Chapter Fifteen. 'The Lad with the
	Silver Button'.
 
INT. BLUME INTERNATIONAL CONCRETE - DAY
 
Mr Blume has a gigantic office with paintings of battle scenes
and Viking ships, a coat of armor, and a statue of a discus
thrower. The concrete plant is outside the window.
 
A portrait of the Blume family hangs on the wall behind Mr
Blume's desk. His wife and twin sons are all fair-skinned
redheads. Mr Blume is a dark and sullen. He is smoking a
cigarette on the painting.
 
Mr Blume sits at his desk with a silver military issue .45
automatic disassembled in front of him. He is cleaning it
and drinking a Bloody Mary. His Secretary buzzes him on the
speakerphone. Mr Blume pushes a button on it.
 
		   MR BLUME
	Yeah?
 
		   SECRETARY
	Mrs Blume wants you to pick up
	the twins from school at -
 
		   MR BLUME
	Tell them to take the fucking bus.
 
INT. CAR - DAY
 
Max is sitting in a parked Jaguar with Dirk's mother, Mrs
Calloway. She is beautiful. She is dressed in tennis clothes
and wears a terrycloth visor.
 
Max is wearing a fluorescent orange crossing guard's belt
with a badge at the shoulder that says Patrol Chief. He hands
Mrs Calloway his phone number.
 
		   MRS CALLOWAY
	Thank you, Max. I was just telling
	Mr Calloway the other day how
	fortunate we are to have someone
	like you looking out for Dirk.
 
		   MAX
	My pleasure. I'm just trying to
	impart some of the experiences I've
	accrued to help Dirk. There he is
	now. Nice talking with you, Mrs
	Calloway.
 
They shake hands. Max gets out of the car and puts his hand
on Dirk's shoulder.
 
		   MAX
	How'd the math test go?
 
		   DIRK
	What math test?
 
		   MAX
	I thought you had a math test.
 
		   DIRK
	No. Did you turn in your paper
	on the Berlin Airlift?
 
		   MAX
	Yeah. I got an extension.
 
Dirk gets in the car and drives off. A seventh grader named
Bobby goes over to Max.
 
		   BOBBY
	How'd it go?
 
		   MAX
	I shook hands with her.
 
		   BOBBY
	Big deal.
 
		   MAX
	And I gave her my phone number.
 
		   BOBBY
	Buchan said he's already have 
	banged her by now.
 
		   MAX
	He said that?
 
Max looks across the yard at Magnus Buchan, the burly foreign-
exchange student from Scotland. He is seventeen. He has a straw
in his mouth, and he shoots a small blowdart at a little kid's
neck.
 
Half of Buchan's ear was blown off in a hunting accident.
 
		   MAX
	That's a really crude thing to
	say. That's Dirk's mother.
 
		   BOBBY
	But I thought that's why you
	picked Dirk as your chapel
	partner.
 
		   MAX
	      (looks at Bobby, pause)
	What are you, a lawyer? All I'm
	saying is that gorilla is a guest
	at our school for the year, so
	respect our women the same way we
	would in his jerkwater country.
 
Mr Blume pulls up in a brand new black Bentley.
 
		   MAX
	Mr Blume.
 
Max goes over to Mr Blume's car.
 
		   MAX
	It's Max Fischer.
 
		   MR BLUME
	      (weary)
	Hi, Max.
 
They shake hands through the open car window.
 
		   MAX
	How's the concrete business?
 
		   MR BLUME
	Oh, I don't know. By the time you
	hit forty-five you've been fucked
	over so many times you don't really
	care anymore.
 
		   MAX
	      (frowns)
	I'm sorry to hear that.
 
Mr Blume sighs deeply. He stares out the windshield.
 
		   MR BLUME
	What's the secret, Max?
 
		   MAX
	The secret?
 
		   MR BLUME
	Yeah. You look like you've got
	it all figured out.
 
		   MAX
	I don't know. I think you just got
	to find something you love to do,
	then do it for the rest of your
	life.
	      (shrugs)
	For me, it's going to Rushmore.
 
Max looks very serious. Mr Blume smiles and nods.
 
		   MAX
	Hey, Ronny. Hey, Donny.
 
Mr Blume's red-headed twins Ronny and Donny come over to the
car. They're Max's age but much more thick and solid.
 
		   RONNY
	Shotgun.
 
Donny gets in the front seat anyway. Ronny hollers:
 
		   RONNY
	I said shotgun, Donny!
 
		   MR BLUME
	Get in the back, Ronny.
 
Donny punches three different buttons on the dash that crank up
the AC full blast. Mr Blume's hair dances in the cold burst of
air. He shuts it off the AC.
 
		   MAX
	See you tomorrow, Mr Blume.
	      (looks off)
	Mrs Reynolds!
 
Max goes to shake hands with somebody else's parents. Mr Blume
looks after Max fondly.
 
		   MR BLUME
	Did you invite that kid to the
	party?
 
		   DONNY
	      (shocked)
	Max Fischer?
 
		   RONNY
	Come on, dad. There's going to 
	be girls there.
 
		   DONNY
	Pull your head out of your ass.
 
Mr Blume turns on Donny quickly like he is going to attack
him. Donny cowers grinning in the backseat with his fist up.
Ronny pipes in:
 
		   RONNY
	Remember what mom said. Hugs not
	hits.
 
INT. AUDITORIUM - DAY
 
The school auditorium. The stage is bare except for two folding
chairs. A tall senior plays Frank. He is wearing a stocking cap
and sunglasses. A fat kid plays Willie.
 
		   FRANK
	Wait a second. What time did the
	old lady place the 911 call?
 
		   WILLIE
	Ten-fifteen.
 
		   FRANK
	      (snaps his fingers)
	That's it.
 
Frank jumps out of his seat.
 
		   FRANK
	Meet me on the corner in ten
	minutes.
 
		   WILLIE
	Where're you going?
 
		   FRANK
	I'll tell you in the squad car.
 
He heads toward the wings, then stops.
 
		   FRANK
	Oh, and, Willie. You were wrong
	about Enrique Sanchez. He died
	in his sleep.
 
He exits.
 
		   MAX
	Excellent!
 
Willie looks into the darkness beyond the stage. Max emerges
and quickly climbs the steps onto the stage. He is followed
by Dirk who is holding a script.
 
		   MAX
	Excellent. Irving?
 
The stage manager is a wavy-haired sophomore named Irving. He
comes out from backstage. Max pulls some money out his pocket
and hands it to him.
 
		   MAX
	Get some root beers for anybody
	who wants one. I don't want one.
	OK. Next scene.
	      (looks at Dirk's script)
	Frank. You enter stage right with
	the bag of cocaine.
 
INT. BARBER'S SHOP - DAY 
 
A small, clean barber's shop. Mr Fischer is a white-haired man of sixty-five
in a white barber's shirt. He has just finished giving a buzzcut to a twelve
year-old boy named Gordon.

                   GORDON
        May I see the back, please?
        
Mr Fischer holds up a hand mirror so Gordon can see the back. Gordon nods.
Max comes in rolling a Japanese ten-speed at his side.

		   MR FISCHER
	Hey, Max. How was your day?
		
		   MAX
	Mh. I'd say
	      (thinks for a second)
	Ninety-eight percent good, two percent 
	not so good. I need a signature on this 
	geometry test, by the way.

Max leaves his test on the counter and rolls his bike into the back room. 
Gordon gives Mr Fischer ten dollars.

		   GORDON
	Thank you very much.

Gordon goes out of the door. Mr Fischer looks at the geometry test. Max
comes out of the back room drinking a glass of chocolate milk with a straw.
 
		   MR FISCHER
	Hm.
 
		   MAX
	I know.
 
		   MR FISCHER
	A 37.
 
		   MAX
	Pathetic. Just pathetic.
 
		   MR FISCHER
	Well. It could've been worse. You were 
	right more than a third of the time.
 
		   MAX
	      (exploding)
	Come on, Dad! That stinks! I can do
	better than that!
 
		   MR FISCHER
	Of course, you can.
 
		   MAX
	For once, will you please try no to
	look on the bright side?
 
		   MR FISCHER
	Sit down and let me give you a trim.
 
Max sights deeply. He sits down. Mr Fischer signs the geometry test. He
puts a pale-blue smock over Max and gives him a haircut.
 
		   MAX
	Do you think I'm stupid?
 
		   MR FISCHER
	No! You're just not very good at
	math.
 
		   MAX
	But I'm failing English and History,
	too.
 
		   MR FISCHER
	      (pause)
	Well. Maybe you'd be better of at a
	school where there's not so much
	emphasis on academics.
 
		   MAX
	What, like barber college?
 
Mr Fischer is stricken. Max says quietly.
 
		   MAX
	No. I love Rushmore. I don't want
	to go someplace second rate. Besides,
	it would ruin my chances of getting
	into Oxford.
 
EXT. SOCCER FIELD - DAY

Miss Cross is sitting on the bleachers watching her class
play Capture-the-Flag. She opens the book. It is 20,000
Leagues under the Sea. She puts a cigarette in her mouth
and searches for a lighter.

A lit match appears in front of her. Max is holding it.
He is wearing a maroon beret. Miss Cross looks at him
curiously.

		   MAX
	Hello.

		   MISS CROSS
	Hi.

Miss Cross lights her cigarette from Max's match.

		   MISS CROSS
	I like your hat.

		   MAX
	Thank you. You're a teacher here,
	aren't you?

		   MISS CROSS
	Uh-huh.

		   MAX
	What subject do you teach?

		   MISS CROSS
	Well, I teach first grade, so I
	do all the subjects. Except music.

		   MAX
	And this is your first year at
	Rushmore, I take it.

Miss Cross nods.

		   MAX
	I see. How long have you been a
	smoker, if you don't mind me
	asking?

		   MISS CROSS
	Hm. Let's see. How old are you?

		   MAX
	Fifteen.

		   MISS CROSS
	Since I was your age.

		   MAX
	You're kidding.

Miss Cross shakes her head. Max can't believe this.

		   MAX
	You should quit.

		   MISS CROSS
	You're right.

		   MAX
	      (going back to his 
	       book)
	And I should mind my own business.

Miss Cross laughs. Max looks back up.

		   MAX
	Where'd you go to school, by the
	way?

		   MISS CROSS
	Harvard.

		   MAX
	Really? That's a coincidence. My top
	schools where I want to apply are
	Oxford and the Sorbonne. But my
	safety is Harvard.

		   MISS CROSS
	      (smiles)
	That's very ambitious.

		   MAX
	Thank you.

		   MISS CROSS
	What are you going to major in?

		   MAX
	Well. I haven't decided for sure.
	But probably a double-major in
	Mathematics and Pre-Med. What was
	your major?

		   MISS CROSS
	Latin-American studies.

		   MAX
	Ah. That's interesting. Did you hear
	they're not going to teach Latin
	here anymore?

		   MISS CROSS
	This is more like Central America.

		   MAS
	      (pause)
	Sure. Central America and what-not.
	But moving on: they're going to
	cancel Latin. They have to make
	room for Japanese.

		   MISS CROSS
	Really? That's too bad. All the
	Romance Languages come from Latin.

		   MAX
	They do, don't they?
	      (pause)
	Like French, probably.

She nods. She smiles.

		   MISS CROSS
	Nihilo sanctum estne?

		   MAX
	That's Latin, isn't it?

		   MISS CROSS
	Yeah.

		   MAX
	What does it mean?

		   MISS CROSS
	Is nothing sacred?

Long pause. Looking right at her.

		   MAX
	Sic transit gloria. Glory fades,
	I'm Max Fischer.

Max slides down the bench and puts out his hand.

		   MISS CROSS
	Hi.

They shake hands.

INT. LUNCHROOM - DAY

A crowd of Middle Schoolers has gathered around Max. He
is holding a clipboard. One of the kids finishes signing
a piece of paper on it.

		   MAX
	Good. Now you.
	      (points to the next
	       kid)
	Sign here.

The kid signs.

	INSERT PIECE OF PAPER:

A long list of signatures. Many of them are written in
little kids' handwriting. Some are neater. Across the
top it says PETITION. This is written in calligraphy.

						CUT TO:

The administration conference room. Ten teachers sit in
chairs around a long table. Max stands before them
finishing a speech. The petition is tacked up on the 
wall behind him.

		   MAX
	In summation I have only one question: 
	Is Latin dead? Nisilum sacnus?
	      (pause, looks at his
	       notecards)
	estne? Only you can say. Thank you
	for your time.

Applause.

	INSERT ANNOUNCEMENT:

	    Thanks in part to the efforts of
	    tenth-class member Max Fischer,
	    Latin will now be a required
	    course for grades 7 through

INT. HALLWAY - DAY

Max and a bunch of other kids are reading this 
announcement on the bulletin board. Max is smiling
serenely. The others are cursing and looking at Max
with angry faces. Magnus Buchan is one of them. He
has a strong Scottish accent.
 
		   MAGNUS
	Bugger off, Fischer. Ya bleedin'
	little bollocks.
 
		   MAX
	Is that Latin? Not bad, Buchan.
	Maybe you'll place out of your
	first year.
 
INT. GYM - DAY

Mr Blume's son Ronny is in a wrestling mach. He has
his opponent in a choke hold and is slowly strangling
him. Mr Blume looks on distastefully from the stands.
Max is at his side.

		   MR BLUME
	What does your dad do, Max?

		   MAX
	      (frankly)
	He's a neurosurgeon. Over at St.
	Joseph's. Personally, I could
	never see myself cutting open
	somebody's brain. But he seems
	to enjoy it.

Max shrugs. Mr Blume nods.

 
		   MAX
	You were in Vietnam, if I'm not
	mistaken, weren't you?

Mr Blume nods. Max thinks for a minute.

		   MAX
	Were you in the shit?

		   MR BLUME
	Yeah. I was in the shit.

They look back out at the wrestling match. Ronny is
crushing his opponent's face into the mat with his fist.
Mr Blume shakes his head.

		   MR BLUME
	Tell me something, Max. What do you
	think of Ronny and Donny?

		   MAX
	     (automatically)
	I like them.

		   MR BLUME
	     (surprised)
	Really?

		   MAX
	Sure.

Ronny flips his opponent on the mat and flattens him with
his body. Donny screams encouragement.

		   MR BLUME
	No. You're right. They're good kids.

Max nods solemnly.

		   WRESTLER
	See you Sunday, Mr Blume.

A stocky Wrestler with an ice pack on his arm walks by on
his way to the showers. Mr Blume nods to him without
looking up.

		   MAX
	What's Sunday?
	
Mr Blume looks to Max. Silence.

		   MR BLUME
	The twins are having a birthday 
	party. And I'd love it if - 

		   MAX
	Oh, that's right. Yeah. I'm not 
	going to be able to make it to that
	one.

Max smiles very sincerely. Silence.

		   MR BLUME
	Come work for me.

		   MAX
	     (stiffens)
	What do you mean?

		   MR BLUME
	I mean, I could use somebody like
	you. I could -

	         MAX
	I may not be rich, Mr Blume. And
	my father may only be a doctor. But
	we manage.

		   MR BLUME
	     (hesitates)
	I didn't mean it like that. I just -

		   MAX
	No, trhank you. I mean, I appreciate
	the offer. But I've got everything I
	need right here at Rushmore. Besides,
	it wouldn't be fair.

		   REFEREE
	110s!

		   MAX
	Excuse me, Mr Blume. Nice talking
	with you.

Max pulls off his blazer. He is wearing wrestling tights
underneath. Mr Blume looks suprised.

		   MR BLUME
	You're on the team?

		   MAX
	     (shrugs)
	I'm an alternate.

Max heads out to the mat, pulling on his headgear. Mr 
Blume calls after him:

		   MR BLUME
	What wouldn't be fair, Max?

		   MAX
	     (smiles crookedly)
	We'd make way too much money working
	on the same team.

Mr Blume smiles faintly. He watches as Max begins his 
math. Max is outclassed and quickly gets pinned.

INT. HALLWAY - DAY

Miss Cross is shepherding her class into her classroom.
They are singing a song as they walk down the corridor.
Across the hall a fourth-grade teacher, Mrs Guggenheim,
comes out of her classroom. She is a handsome woman in
her late sixties with black and silver hair.

		   MISS CROSS
	Mello, Mrs Guggenheim.

	         MRS GUGGENHEIM
	Hi, Rosemary. Did you find a place?

		   MISS CROSS
	Well, I'm just staying over at
	Edward's parents' house for now.
	They're out of town.

		   MRS GUGGENEHIM
	Oh. That's good.
	     (pause)
	Edward was one of my students, you
	know.

Miss Cross smiles and nods. Silence. Miss Cross points
to a photograph in a collage on a wall.

		   MISS CROSS
	I think I met that boy yesterday.

Mrs Guggenheim looks at the picture.

	INSERT PHOTOGRAPH:

It is black and white of Max in fifth grade singing a
show tune. His arms are opened wide and he has a top
hat in one hand and cane in the other.

		   MRS GUGGENHEIM
	     (frowns)
	That's Max Fischer. How'd you get
	mixed up with him?

		   MISS CROSS
	He introduced himself to me. I
	liked him, actually.

		   MRS GUGGENHEIM
	     (resigned)
	Yeah, I know. So do I.

EXT. COUNTRY CLUB - DAY

Ronny and Donny set upon a pile of birthday presents
at a table by the pool. They are surrounded by kids
in swimsuits.

Mr Blume sits alone at the next table drinking a
whiskey in front if the demolished birthdat cake. He 
has a tatoo on his shoulder that says Semper Fi. 
There is a bucket of golf balls in front of him and
he absently tosses them into the pool one at a time.

He looks over at Mrs Blume. She has red hair just
like the twins. She is flirting with a pretty boy
Tennis Pro. She looks back to Mr Blume coldly.

Mr Blume gets up and walks around the pool. He
pauses to shake hands with a Big Man drinking a glass
of Scotch. The big man gives Mr Blume a sudden shove
toward the pool, but hangs on to him so he doesn't
fall in. The big man laughs.

Mr Blume climbs up the ladder to the high dive. He
sets down his cocktail. He slips and falls and bangs
his knee hard on the edge of the bpard. He gets up 
quickly. Ther is a bad cut on his knee and he is
bleeding. He looks out at the birthday party down
below.

People begin to notice him up there.

He sprints down the board, bounces once as high as he
can, and sails out long through the air. He tucks into
a cannon-ball. He nails the water with a huge splash.

Mrs Blume gets up with a bitter look on her face and
heads for the ladies' room.

Kids gather at the edge of the pool to look down at
Mr Blume playing dead at the bottom with golf balls all
around him. A little boy in a Speedo underwear swims to 
examine Mr Blume. Their eyes meet. The boy turns and 
swims away.

INT. CLASSROOM - DAY

Miss Cross' classroom. The walls are lined with
fishtanks that glow blue and make bubbling sounds.
There are maps and pictures everywhere. A model of a
747 hangs from the ceiling. A record player plays the
Vienna Boys' Choir at a low volume.

There is only one Kid in the room. He is taking a test. 
Miss Cross sits at her desk grading papers.

Max cracks open the door.

		   MAX
	Miss Cross?

Miss Cross and the kid look back at Max. Miss Cross
holds her finger to her lips and gets up. As she walks
past the kid she puts her hand on the top of his head.
She goes to Max at the door. She whispers:

		   MISS CROSS
	He's taking a make-up test.

		   MAX
	These guys have tests?

		   MISS CROSS
	Of course.

		   MAX
	I thought they just did coloring and
	stuff.

		   MISS CROSS
	Oh, no. They're good readers.

		   MAX
	I'm Max Fischer. We met the other
	day.

		   MISS CROSS
	I know who you are. How are you?

		   MAX
	Fine, thank you.

Max just stands there.

		   MISS CROSS
	You want to help me feed the fish?

		   MAX
	Yes, please.

Max follows her from tank to tank as she shakes out
fish food. They continue to whisper to each other:

		   MAX
	I thought I would just let you
	know, as per our conversation
	the other day -

		   MISS CROSS
	Latin?

		   MAX
	Right. The Romance Languages. I gave
	a little speech -

		   MISS CROSS
	I heard about this.

		   MAX
	You did?

		   MISS CROSS
	Uh-huh. I understand you made a very
	convincing argument.

		   MAX
	I thought you'd be pleased to hear
	they're going to continue the
	Latin program.

She looks at Max. She sets down the fish food and
shakes his hand.

		   MISS CROSS
	I'm very impressed.

		   MAX
	Thank you very much.

Max picks up the can of fish food and shakes some
into one of the acquariums.

		   MAX
	You need an assistant?

		   MISS CROSS
	     (smiles)
	Do we get to have assistants around
	here?

		   MAX
	I doubt it. I'm on scholarship,
	though. Academic scholarship. So
	sometimes I get to do odd jobs.
	     (pause)
	How did you decide to teach at
	Rushmore?

		   MISS CROSS
	My husband went here.

Max drops the can of fish food into the tank. He
quickly fishes it out.

He picks some little bits of fish food out of the
water and throws them away. Pause.

		   MAX
	I didn't know you were married.

		   MISS CROSS
	Well, he's dead now. So I'm not
	actually married.

	         MAX
	When did he die?

		   MISS CROSS
	Last year.

Max nods. Silence.

		   MAX
	My mother's dead.

		   MISS CROSS
	Oh. I'm sorry to hear that.

		   MAX
	She died when I was seven.
	     (raising an eyebrow)
	So we both have dead people in
	our families.

They look at each other for a minute.

		   MAX
	Now what's going on in here?

Max kneels down and looks into one of the fishtanks.
There are a hundred little seahorses swimming around
in it.

		   MISS CROSS
	Those were just born.

A look of wonder comes across Max's face. He stares
into the blue water.

		   MAX
	You really love fish, don't you?

Miss Cross nods. Max puts his fingers to the glass.

		   MAX
	How much do these cost?

INT. BLUME INTERNATIONAL CONCRETE - DAY

Mr Blume's office. HE is talking on the telephone. Max
sits in a chair across from him.

		   MR BLUME
	I don't want any alloys. I want
	steel.
	     (pause)
	I don't give a rat's ass if he did.
	     (pause)
	Steel, Harry.

He hangs up.

		   MR BLUME
	You change your mind? You want the
	job?

		   MAX
	No. But I've got an idea. And need
	some money.

Mr Blume's secretary buzzes him on the speakerphone.

		   SECRETARY
	Mr Blume, they're ready for you in
	Hyrdraulics.

		   MR BLUME
	Come with me. Let's hear your idea.

INT. FACTORY - DAY

Max, Mr Blume, and a big foreman named Ernie race
across the factory in a souped-up golf cart. They're
squeezed together with Max in the middle.

		   MAX
	Rushmore deserves an acquarium. A first
	class acquarium where scientists can
	lecture, and students can study marine
	life in their natural -

		   MR BLUME
	I don't know. What do you think, Ernie?

		   ERNIE
	     (skeptical)
	An acquarium?

		   MAX
	A hyge acquarium. An entire building.

		   MR BLUME
	What kind of fish?

INT. FACTORY - DAY

Mr Blume and Max, wearing hard hats, stand on a
scaffolding overlooking a huge cat of bubbling
conrete.

		   MAX
	     (shouting)
	Electric eels. Barracudas. Stingrays.
	Hammerheads. Piranhas.

		   MR BLUME
	Piranhas?

		   MAX
	That's right. Piranhas. I talked
	to a man in South America.

		   MR BLUME
	Really. So you might have piranhas.

		   MAX
	We will have piranhas.

INT. MR BLUME'S OFFICE - DAY

Back in Mr Blume's office. They're seated as before.
Max is still wearing his hard hat.

		   MR BLUME
	What does Guggenheim say?

		   MAX
	Nothing. I felt I should go to
	you first.

		   MR BLUME
	Why?

		   MAX
	Because at this moment I feel our
	best strategy is to keep a low
	profile. The more preparation I can
	do, the stronger our case will be
	when we go to the administration.

Long pause.

		   MR BLUME
	How much do you want?

		   MAX
	$35.000 for the initial plans.

Max holds Mr Blume's gaze. Mr Blume picks up a pen.

		   MR BLUME
	I'll give you $2500.

Max nods. Mr Blume writes out a check, tears it off,
and hands it to Max. Max sticks it in his pocket
like it is a five dollar bill.

              RESEARCH MONTAGE:
 
              All of the following events occur during school hours.
 
              Max strides across the quadrangle with a determined
              expression. He's got an armload of books on marine life.
 
              Max watches a Jacques Cousteau film on 16mm in an empty
              classroom. Dirk runs the projector.
 
              Max visits a marine research facility and talks with a
              Scientist. Max holds up a fish at the edge of a pool. A
              killer whale jumps out of the water and takes it in its teeth.
 
              Max flies over Rushmore in a chopper with Mr Blume. He shouts
              out detials of the landscape and Mr Blume nods
              enthusiastically. They are both eating sandwiches.
 
              They set down on the soccer field. Kids come running out to
              meet them. Max waves to them as he jumps out of the chopper.
              He looks back to Mr Blume and gives him a thumbs-up. Mr Blume
              smiles and waves as the chopper takes off.
 
              Max walks with a young Architect among the trees between the
              gym and the baseball diamond. They look at some blueprints.
              Max pulls up third base and slides it over a few feet.
 
              Max points to some beautiful fish in an acquarium in a pet
              shop. The pet shop Owner reaches in with a little net.
 
              Max pokes his head into Miss Cross's classroom. He holds up
              two plastic baggies full of water with tropical fish swimming
              around inside them.
 
              Kids gather all around them as they put the new fish into the
              acquariums. Max smiles mysteriously.
 
                                  MAX
                        You need any help grading papers
                        or anything?
 
              INSERT BOOK REPORT:
 
              The title is 'Young Ben Franklin'. Miss Cross writes
              Magnificent! Keep up the good work! And draws two stars
              across the top of the page with a red pen.
 
              INT. MISS CROSS'S CLASSROOM - DAY
 
              Max is staring at Miss Cross in a trange from a desk opposite
              hers in the empty classroom. She looks up at him. He
              continues to stare at her as if she were a statue.
 
              Miss Cross rubs her eyes and sighs. She sets down her red
              pen. She looks back at Max. He is still staring at her.

                                  MISS CROSS
                        Max?
 
              Max looks quickly down to his papers.
 
                                  MAX
                        Uh-huh?
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        Can I ask you something?
 
                                  MAX
                        Sure.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        Has it ever crossed your mind that
                        you're way too young for me?
 
              Max looks up. Miss Cross smiles faintly. Silence.
 
                                  MAX
                        It's crossed by mind that you
                        might consider that a possibility,
                        yes.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        Not to mention that you're a
                        student -
 
                                  MAX
                        And you're a teacher. And never
                        the twain shall meet. I know, I'm
                        not trying to pressure you into
                        anything, Miss Cross. I'm
                        surprised you brought it up so
                        bluntly.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        I just want to make sure -
 
                                  MAX
                        We've become friends, haven't we?
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        Yes.
 
                                  MAX
                        Good. That's all that matters to
                        me.
 
              Max thinks for a second, then presses on:

                                  MAX
                        And the truth is neither one of us
                        has the slightest idea where this
                        relationships is going. We can't
                        predict the future.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        We don't have a relationship, Max.
 
                                  MAX
                        But we're friends.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        Yes. And that's all we're going to
                        be.
 
                                  MAX
                        That's what I meant by
                        relationship. You want me to grab
                        a dictionary?
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        I just want to make sure we
                        understand each other.
 
                                  MAX
                        I understand. You're not attracted
                        to me. C'est la vie. I'm a big boy.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        Max. You're fifteen. Attraction
                        doesn't enter into it.
 
                                  MAX
                        If you say so. All I'm getting at
                        is I've never met anyone like you.
                        Take that for whatever it's worth.
 
              She thinks about this for a minute.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        I think I can safely say I've
                        never met anyone like you, either.
 
                                  MAX
                        You haven't, have you?
 
              Miss Cross shakes her head. Max says quietly:
 
                                  MAX
                        You want to shake hands?

              She puts out her hand and they shake hands across the desk.
              But they don't let go. They just look at each other.
 
                                  MAX
                        I'm glad we had this conversation.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        Me too.
 
              They finally let go of each other's hands. Miss Cross looks
              away. She's not exactly sure what they just decided.
 
                                  MAX
                        By the way. Are you free? Thursday
                        night?
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        Free for what?
 
                                  MAX
                        Dinner.
 
              She looks at Max strangely.
 
                                  MAX
                        We're getting a group together
                        after the play.
 
              INSERT PLAYBILL:
 
                                  SERPICO
                         A new play by Max Fischer.
 
              INT. AUDITORIUM - NIGHT
 
              A very realistic set for a New York tenement apartment.
 
              Four men sit at a table. Three wear dark suits: O'Reilly,
              Burnum and Fields. One has long hair, a beard, leather pants
              and a big silver crucifix around his neck. This is Frank
              Serpico. They are all played by high schoolers.
 
                                  FRANK
                        I can't wear a wire! They're
                        feeling me up every day!
 
                                  O'REILLY
                        Come on, Frank. You'll have
                        complete protection.

                                  FRANK
                               (walking off)
                        I've heard that one before. I got
                        to go put a dime in the meter.
 
                                  BURNUM
                        Look, Officer Serpico. If you
                        agree to testify in open court -
 
              Frank wheels around and knocks the clipboard out of
              O'Reilly's hands. He grabs O'Reilly by both arms. Fields
              instinctively draws his firearm.
 
                                  FRANK
                        Promise me one thing, O'Reilly.
                        You're going to follow this all
                        teh way. To the end
                               (snaps)
                        Of the line,
                               (snaps)
                        Where I got to be.
 
                                  O'REILLY
                               (looking Frank right
                                in the eye)
                        So help me, God.
 
              The audience is deeply engrossed. A row of small kids are
              sitting on the floor very front.
 
              Max watches from the wings. He looks out at the audience.
 
              He sees Mr Blume smiling proudly in the third row.
 
              He sees Miss Cross sitting next to a big, curly-haired
              Medical Student in surgical scrubs. She leans close to him
              and whispers something in his ear. He smiles and nods and
              whispers something back.
 
              Max stares at them blankly as a shootout erupts onstage.
 
              INT. BACKSTAGE - NIGHT
 
              Frank comes offstage with a bandage of his cheek and a cane
              in his hand. Max is waiting for him backstage. Max has on a
              headset and carries a clipboard. He is extremely keyed-up.
 
                                  MAX
                        What happened to the cannoli line?
 
              Max follows Frank as Frank walks quietly toward the dressing
              room.

                                  MAX
                        You're supposed to say, Forget
                        about it, Sanchez -
 
                                  FRANK
                               (very angry)
                        I made a mistake, all right? It
                        didn't make any difference, anyway.
 
                                  MAX
                        Hey, I'm letting it go. But don't
                        tell me it doesn't matter. Every
                        line matters.
 
                                  FRANK
                               (yelling)
                        Get off my back!
 
                                  MAX
                        Don't fuck with my play!
 
              Frank turns around and punches Max in the nose. Max takes a
              swing and misses and they wrestle as people try to break it
              up.
 
              INT. AUDITORIUM - NIGHT
 
              The whole cast is onstage bowing as the audience applauds.
              Some of the actors motion to the wings.
 
              Max walks out on the stage. He has a bloody Kleenex in each
              nostril. He waves to the audience. The applause roars.
 
              INT. BACKSTAGE - NIGHT
 
              The crowded dressing rooms. Actors are taking off their make-
              up. Max is drinking a champagne cocktail and talking with his
              father and an elderly Woman.
 
                                  WOMAN
                        I thought the acting tonight was
                        excellent.
 
                                  MAX
                        It was better in rehearsals
                               (to his father)
                        I'll catch up with you later, Dad.
                        I've got a dinner to go to.
 
                                  MR FISCHER
                               (interested)
                        Oh, yeah?

                                  MAX
                               (pause)
                        Yeah. Cast and crew only.
 
              Mr Fischer feels left out but tries not to show it.
 
                                  MR FISCHER
                        OK. Well, have a good time.
 
              Miss Cross walks over to Max through the crowd. Her friend
              the medical student follows behind her. Max's expression is
              polite but inscrutable.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        That was great, Max.
 
                                  MAX
                        I'm so glad you could come.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        I want you to meet a friend of
                        mine. John Coats. Max Fischer.
 
                                  MAX
                               (not looking at him)
                        Who's this guy?
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                               (pause)
                        John.
 
              Max looks at John. John smiles. Pause.
 
                                  JOHN
                        I really liked your play, man. It
                        was really cool.
 
              Max nods. He drinks a long sip of his champagne cocktail.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        What happened to your nose?
 
                                  MAX
                        I got punched in the face
                               (to John)
                        What's your excuse?
 
              Mr Blume comes over to them.
 
                                  MR BLUME
                        Am I going to get to meet your dad
                        tonight, Max?

                                  MAX
                        Nah. The old man's on call
                        tonight. Mr Blume, I'd like you to
                        meet Miss Cross, and I didn't
                        catch this young gentleman's name.
 
              INT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT
 
              A fancy restaurant. Max is having dinner with Mr Blume, Miss
              Cross and John. Max is drunk.
 
                                  MAX
                        I like your nurse's uniform, guy.
 
                                  JOHN
                        These are OR scrubs.
 
                                  MAX
                               (pause)
                        OR they?
 
              Mr Blume laughs suddenly and whine goes up his nose. Max
              glances to him slyly, then looks back at John.
 
                                  MAX
                        Well, they're totally
                        inappropriate for the occasion.
 
                                  JOHN
                        Well, I didn't know we were going
                        to dinner.
 
                                  MAX
                        That's because you weren't invited.
 
                                  MR BLUME
                        Take it easy, Max.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                               (angry)
                        You're the one who ordered him a
                        Scotch and soda.
 
                                  MAX
                        What's wrong with that? I can
                        write a hit play. Why can't I have
                        a drink when I want to unwind a
                        little? So tell me, Curly. How do
                        you know Miss Cross?
 
                                  JOHN
                        We went to Harvard together.

                                  MAX
                               (shrugs)
                        And I wrote a hit play. And
                        directed it. So I'm not sweating
                        it, either.
 
                                  MR BLUME
                               (signaling the waiter)
                        I'm going to get the check.
 
                                  MAX
                        What do you think you're doing?
 
                                  MR BLUME
                        I'm getting the -
 
                                  MAX
                        No, you're not.
 
              The Waiter comes over. Max intercepts him:
 
                                  MAX
                        I just wanted to thank you again
                        for accommodating us. We only
                        expected to be a part of three,
                        but somebody invited himself
                        along. I apologize.
 
                                  WAITER
                        That's perfectly all right.
 
              The waiter walks away. Miss Cross frowns.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        You're being rude, Max.
 
                                  MAX
                        No I'm not. I'm just trying to
                        figure out why you brought this
                        gentleman to my play. And my
                        dinner, which was invitation only.
 
              John reaches in front of Max for the butter. Max grabs his
              spoon and swats John on the back of the hand.
 
                                  MAX
                        Would you like me to pass you the
                        butter?
 
              Max hands John the butter.

                                  MISS CROSS
                        What's wrong with you?
 
                                  MAX
                               (raising his voice)
                        What's wrong with you?
 
              Max is making a scene. People all over the restaurant are
              watching. Max stares at Miss Cross.
 
                                  MAX
                        You hurt my feelings. This night
                        was important to me.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        How did I hurt your feelings?
 
                                  MAX
                        I wrote a hit play!
                               (pause)
                        And I'm in love with you.
 
              John looks to Miss Cross. She doesn't know what to say. Max
              looks drunk and dejected.
 
                                  MAX
                        How do you like that, Curly?
 
              EXT. PLAYGROUND - DAY
 
              Miss Cross and her pupils are out on the playground painting
              pictures. Each kid has an easel.
 
              Miss Cross sees Mr Blume standing under a tree at the edge of
              the playground. He is wearing sunglasses and smoking a
              cigarette. He moves slightly behind the tree. She stares at
              him.
 
              He waves. She waves back. He comes over.
 
                                  MR BLUME
                        Hi.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        Were you hiding over there?
 
              Mr Blume shrugs. He points at one of the paintings.
 
                                  MR BLUME
                        What's that?

              That Artist looks up at Mr Blume. He is a small boy with jet-
              black curly hair and piercing eyes.
 
                                  ARTIST
                               (makes a swimming
                                gesture)
                        It's a little swimming snake.
 
              Mr Blume nods.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        What can I do for you, Mr Blume?
 
              Mr Blume turns to Miss Cross and takes off his sunglasses.
              Silence.
 
                                  MR BLUME
                        Max wants to see you.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        What for?
 
                                  MR BLUME
                        To apologize, I guess.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        He send you here?
 
                                  MR BLUME
                        Yeah.
 
              She frowns and studies Mr Blume for a minute.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        Are you his messenger?
 
                                  MR BLUME
                        No. He's my friend.
                               (pause)
                        You were right. I shouldn't have
                        let him drink.
 
              Miss Cross nods. Silence.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        I don't think I should see Max any
                        more.
 
                                  MR BLUME
                        He's not going to like the sound
                        of that.

                                  MISS CROSS
                        I know. But I think I let him get
                        too attached.
 
              Mr Blume nods. Miss Cross looks uncertain.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        Don't you think?
 
                                  MR BLUME
                               (shrugs)
                        I don't know. You did your best.
 
              Miss Cross smiles sadly to Mr Blume. He puts his hands in his
              pockets.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        Tell him I'm sorry.
 
                                  MR BLUME
                        OK.
 
              They look at each other for a long minute. Miss Cross tucks
              a strand of hair behind her ear. Mr Blume says quietly:
 
                                  MR BLUME
                        What's your first name?
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        Rosemary. What's yours?
 
                                  MR BLUME
                        Herman.
 
              Silence.
 
                                  MR BLUME
                        Oh, yeah. He wrote you a letter.
 
              He hands her a letter in a sealed envelope. She takes it.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        Thanks.
 
              They stand there in silence for another minute.
 
                                  MR BLUME
                        OK. So long, Rosemary.

                                  MISS CROSS
                               (smiles)
                        Bye, Herman.
 
              Mr Blume starts to go. He stops He looks back to Miss Cross.
 
                                  MR BLUME
                        Should we meet somewhere?
 
              She hesitates.
 
                                  MR BLUME
                        To talk about Max.
 
                                  MISS CROSS
                        Yeah. I don't know.
                               (pause)
                        Maybe.
 
              Mr Blume nods. He turns away and walks off. She watches him
              go. She looks at the envelope.
 
              INSERT LETTER WRITTEN IN CALLIGRAPHY ON CRISP STATIONERY:
 
              Max reads in voice-over.
 
              Dear Miss Cross,
 
                  I would like to take this opportunity to formally
              apologize for the events of the night of the twenty-third. I
              am not accustomed to drinking alcohol. Please do me the
              service of coming to the unveiling of a new venture I have
              undertaken. I hope you will attend, if possible. I remain,
              your friend,
 
              Max Fischer.
 
              EXT. VACANT LOT - DAY
 
              A crowd of fifty Kids in uniforn has gathered around the
              vacant lot beside the baseball field. Max stands with his
              architect, smiling for the yearbook photographer. They are
              holding a banner that says 'Cousteau-Blume Marine Observatory
              Fundraiser'. Max has on a hard hat. There are two pick-up
              trucks and a porta-can at the back of the vacant lot.
 
              Max digs into the ground with a gold shovel. The shovel has
              a ribbon around it. Flashbulbs go off. Everyone claps. Max
              waves Dirk over.
 
                                  MAX
                        Did you see her?

                                  DIRK
                        She's not here.
 
                                  MAX
                        Well, see if she's in her
                        classroom.
 
              The Contractor walks over to Max.
 
                                  CONTRACTOR
                        Should we go ahead and take care
                        of this tree?
 
                                  MAX
                        Let's wait a few minutes.
 
              Coach Beck goes over to Max. He is six four and wears a John
              Newcombe moustache and an Adidas warm-up. He is frowning.
 
                                  COACH BECK
                        What's going on here, Maxie?
 
                                  MAX
                        Coach Beck. Good to see you. This
                        is where they're building the new
                        acquarium. I'm in charge of the
                        committee, if you can believe it.
 
                                  COACH BECK
                        This is the baseball diamond.
 
                                  MAX
                        I believe it's being relocated a
                        few feet over.
 
                                  COACH BECK
                               (frowns)
                        I should've been informed about
                        that.
 
              Coach Beck walks off. Max answers some questions for the
              School Reporters.
 
                                  REPORTER
                        Is it true the acquarium will have
                        piranhas?
 
                                  MAX
                               (smiles)
                        Where'd you hear that?
 
                                  REPORTER
                        My source indicated that it was a
                        possibility.

                                  MAX
                        Yes, it's true. Excuse me, George.
 
              Dirk has returned.
 
                                  MAX
                        What's the story?
 
                                  DIRK
                               (a little wary)
                        She has a substitute teacher today.
 
                                  MAX
                        Why?
 
                                  DIRK
                        She probably got sick.
 
                                  MAX
                               (looks away)
                        You know she's not sick. Give me
                        the phone.
 
              Max dials on a cellular phone.
 
                                  MAX
                        Hi, Janet. It's Max Fischer. Is Mr
                        Blume there?
                               (pause)
                        Well, where is he?
                               (pause)
                        Goddammit, he's supposed to be
                        here. Let me know if you find him,
                        please.
 
              Max hangs up. He looks off and says in a steely voice:
 
                                  MAX
                        I'm going anyway.
 
              Max goes over to the contractor.
 
                                  MAX
                        Chop it down, Mr Chandler! We've
                        got an acquarium to build.
 
              Max talks to another reporter.

                                  MAX
                        I don't give a shit about
                        barracudas. But fuck it. I'm
                        building it anyway.
 
              The sound of power saws fills the air as Dr Guggenheim
              appears at the edge of the lot with Coach Beck and a Security
              Guard with a walkie-talkie. Dr Guggenheim screams:
 
                                  DR GUGGENHEIM
                        Max!
 
              Dr Guggenheim sees the chopped-down trees and mangles
              baseball field as he strides on to the lot.
 
                                  MAX
                        Nice to see you, Dr Gugg-
 
                                  DR GUGGENHEIM
                        Max!
                               (seizing Max by the
                                arm)
                        What do you think you're doing?
 
                                  MAX
                               (pause)
                        We're having a fundraiser for-
 
                                  DR GUGGENHEIM
                        Shut those damn things off!
 
              They turn off the power saws.
 
                                  DR GUGGENHEIM
                        Tell me this isn't happening.
 
                                  MAX
                        Dr Guggenheim, I'd rather not have
                        this conversation in front of the
                        crew.
 
              EXT. QUADRANGLE - DAY
 
              Dirk waits nervously on the steps in front of Dr Guggenheim's
              office. He holds a hamster in his hands.
 
              He gets up and goes to the windows. He looks inside.
 
              Max is sitting in a little chair in the middle of the room
              with his hard hat on. Dr Guggenheim and several other faculty
              members sit around him. Dr Guggenheim is screaming at him
              across his desk. Max is crying.

              Dirk looks scared.
 
              INT. HALLWAY - DAY
 
              Max kneels on the floor in the hallway, emptying out his
              locker. Papers and trash are scattered all around him. There
              is a trashcan beside him. He is throwing away his books, one
              at a time.
 
              Mr Blume opens the door at the end of the hallway. Max looks
              up at him. Silence. Max looks up back to his locker and
              starts throwing his books in the trash again.
 
              Mr Blume walks over to Max. He looks very sad. He kneels down
              beside Max. He starts helping him pick up the trash off the
              floor and put it in the trashcan.
 
              TITLE:
 
                                  OCTOBER
 
 
              INT. GROVER CLEVELAND HIGH SCHOOL - DAY
 
              Grover Cleveland is a public high school with two thousand
              five hundred students.
 
              Max sits in a front row of a math classroom. He is dressed in
              his Rushmore uniform, with coat and tie, but his clothes are
              wrinkled and his head has been shaved like a marine's. His
              eyes have dark circles around them. He has a little stack of
              index cards in his hand.
 
              The teacher, Mrs Whitney, stands at the front of the room.
              She is about fifty with a horn-rimmed glasses and a slight
              English accent. She has a bemused expression on her face.
 
                                  MRS WHITNEY
                        We have a new student with us
                        today. His name's Max Fischer and
                        he's actually asked to say a few
                        words to the class. Max? You want
                        to take it away?
 
                                  MAX
                               (standing up)
                        Sure. Thanks very much. I just
                        wanted to introduce myself.
 
              Max looks quickly at his notecards.

                                  MAX
                        I'm Max Fischer. I'm a former
                        student of Rushmore Academy, which
                        I recently got expelled from.
 
              Max flips to the next notecard.
 
                                  MAX
                        This is my first time in a public
                        school. And I know you probably
                        think I was born with a silver
                        spoon in my mouth. But I'm no
                        elitist. I think you've got some
                        great facilities, and I'm really
                        looking forward to making the best
                        of it over here at Grover
                        Cleveland.
 
              Max sighs deeply. He rubs his eyes. His Classmates have no
              idea what to make of him. However, one Asian girl in the back
              rown is smiling faintly. She has short-cropped hair. The
              spine of one of her bookcovers says Margaret Yang.
 
                                  MAX
                        One footnote: I noticed you don't
                        have a fencing team. I'm going to
                        start one up. Let me know if you'd
                        like to join. Thanks.
 
              INT. GROVER CLEVELAND HIGH SCHOOL - DAY
 
              The wide halls of Grover Cleveland High School are lined with
              orange lockers. A banner stretched down the wall says 'Murder
              the Mustangs'. A bustling throng of high schoolers rush to
              class.
 
              Max walks slowly, alone, down the middle of the hall. A
              blonde cheerleader-type Girl asks him:
 
                                  GIRL
                        Why are you so dressed up?
 
              Max looks down at his clothes. Max looks back to the girl.
 
                                  MAX
                        Are you insane?
 
              The girl walks off. Margaret Yang catches up to Max.
 
                                  MARGARET
                        Max?

                                  MAX
                        Yes?
 
                                  MARGARET
                        Hi. I'm Margaret Yang. I'm in Mrs
                        Whitney's class. I just wanted to
                        tell you I liked your speech. I
                        don't think I've ever heard of
                        anyone asking to give a speech in
                        class before.
 
                                  MAX
                        How unfortunate.
 
                                  MARGARET
                        The silver spoon remark might rub
                        some people the wrong way. But I
                        think I know how you meant it.
 
                                  MAX
                        Glad to hear it. Goodbye, Miss
                        Chang.
 
              Max ducks into the men's room. Margaret walks quietly away.
 
              INT. GYMNASIUM - DAY
 
              A tiny figure dressed all in white stands alone at the far
              end of the huge gymnasium with a fencing oil. He lunges,
              parries, thrusts.
 
              The basketball team suddenly floods dribbling into the
              gymnasium, throwing passes and taking free throws. Max stops
              fencing as they take over the room. He watches them in
              silence. He shakes his head. He walks off the court.
 
              INT. HALLWAY - DAY
 
              Max puts a quarter in a pay phone. He is still wearing his
              fencing costume.
 
                                  MAX
                        Janet. Max Fischer. Is he in?
 
              EXT. RUSHMORE - DAY
 
              Mr Blume answers on his cellular phone as he gets out of his
              car and walks across the lawn at Rushmore.
 
              We intercut the two of them.
 
                                  MR BLUME
                        Hey, Max. How's it going over
                        there?

                                  MAX
                        Terrible. Tell me something. When
                        you talke to Miss Cross the other
                        day, did you get the feeling-
 
              The hall monitor Mr Holstead comes down the hall toward Max.
              He is a big, sturdy man about fifty years old. He wears a
              striped tie and his sleeves rolled up.
 
                                  MR HOLSTEAD
                               (loudly)
                        Do you have a telephone pass?
 
              Max holds up his hand for Mr Holstead to wait a minute. He
              covers his ear so he can hear Mr Blume.
 
              Mr Blume is looking in the windows of different classrooms.
              Kids look out at him curiously.
 
                                  MR BLUME
                        I got to tell you, Max. I don't
                        know what you see in her. I don't
                        think she's right for you.
 
                                  MAX
                        What's that supposed to mean?
 
              Mr Blume sees Miss Cross inside teaching her class. He stares
              at her in a glance. He whispers:
 
                                  MR BLUME
                        Well, she's not that beautiful.
                        She's not that interesting. I
                        mean, sure, there's something
                        about her. But I see you with
                        someone-
 
                                  MAX
                        Look, Mr Blume. Your comments are
                        valuable, but let's get to the
                        point. Will she see me again? Yes
                        or no?
 
                                  MR BLUME
                               (pause)
                        No.
 
                                  MAX
                        I'm going to go see her. Hang on.
 
              Max looks to Mr Holstead.

                                  MAX
                        I'm talking on the telephone.
 
              Mr Holstead reaches over and hangs up the phone.
 
                                  MAX
                        Come on, man. That's rude.
 
              INT. GROVER CLEVELAND HIGH SCHOOL - DAY
 
              Mrs Whitney watches from her classroom window at:
 
              Max opens a red metal door on to the empty concrete
              courtyard. He looks left and right. He sneaks across the
              courtyard to the bike racks, quickly unlocks his bike, and
              rides away.
 
              EXT. RUSHMORE - DAY
 
              Max rides full speed through the gates on to the Rushmore
              campus. He flips one leg off his bike and glides in toward
              the bike racks standing on one pedal.
 
              Max locks up his bike and walks across the lawn.
 
                                  MAGNUS
                        You better beat it, laddie.
 
              Max looks up at Magnus Buchan sitting in a tree smoking a
              cigarette, hacking at a branch with a pocketknife.
 
                                  MAX
                        I hope you fall out of that tree
                        and get stick in the ass, Buchan.
 
                                  MAGNUS
                        You know, I've watched you,
                        Fischer. Snowboat, always talking,
                        picking a kid like Dirk cause his
                        mother's a great piece and then
                        getting nowhere. Like everything
                        you do. Big show. No results.
 
                                  MAX
                        And what do you call getting a
                        hand job from Mrs Calloway in her
                        Jaguar?
 
                                  MAGNUS
                        A bloody lie.

                                  MAX
                        You think I got kicked out for
                        just the acquarium? Nah. That
                        ain't it. It was the hand job. And
                        I'll tell you another thing. It
                        was worth it. So eat your heard
                        out, mick. I got business to
                        attend to.
 
              EXT. PARKING LOT - DAY
 
              Miss Cross comes out the door of the lower school with a
              basket of books and papers. She stops in front of her wagon
              and digs in her bag for the keys.
 
                                  MAX
                        I'm sorry I embarrassed you at
                        dinner.
 
              Miss Cross turns around. Max is standing across the driveway
              with a sad smile on his face. Silence.


TO BE CONTINUED...