Rushmore - By Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson
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.
Except when the value of the x co-ordinate
is less then or equal to the value of the -
A boy named Isaac has raised his hand.
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'.
Oh, I really just put that up there
as a joke. That's probably the hardest
geometry equation in the world.
How much extra credit is it worth?
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.
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
Max? You want to try it?
Max looks up.
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.
Max with his eyes closed, smiling serenely, listening to the
applause. He mutters.
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.
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.
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.
Rushmore. You lucked out.
Max leans forward to the railing and begins to listen intently.
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.
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.
Are you free for graduation, Herman?
Maybe you could give us an encore.
(whistles to the dog)
(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 has appeared beside him. Dirk tags along behind him.
My name is Max Fisher. I just wanted
to tell you, I strongly agree with
your views concerning Rushmore.
You don't say. Tell me something. How
long have you gone here?
Then you've been in a dreamworld for
I know it, sir.
Max smiles broadly. They each notice that their haircuts are
identical, neatly parted on the side.
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 looks at Dirk staring up at him. Dirk says softly.
This is my chapel partner, Dirk
(shakes Dirk's hand)
Nice to meet you, Dirk.
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.
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.
Anyway, nice to have met you.
Max goes. Mr Blume and Dr Guggenheim watch him walk away with Dirk.
What's his name again?
He's a sharp little guy.
Dr Guggenheim looks across the lawn at Max and his chapel partner.
He says wistfully.
He's one of the worst students
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
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.
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
We're putting you on what we call
sudden death academic probation.
And what does that mean?
It entails that if you fail another
class you're going to be asked to
(raises an eyebrow)
In order words I'll be expelled.
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 -
We don't offer a postgraduate year.
Well. We don't offer it yet.
And what about the fact that I'm
You're not dyslexic.
Well, I'm a terrible speller.
Just bring up the grades.
Max sighs. He looks out the window and says quietly.
You remember you I got into this
Yes, I do. You wrote a play.
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,
Dr Guggenheim nods.
Do you regret it?
No, I don't regret it. But I still
might have to you expel you.
Max nods. He smiles sadly and whispers:
Couldn't we just let me float by?
For old times' sake?
Can't do it, Max.
EXT. QUADRANGLE - DAY
Max and Dirk comes out the door into the cold. They head across
They want to kick me out, Dirk.
Oh, no. Not again. What are you
going to do?
The only thing I can do. Try to
pull some strings with the
administration, I guess.
Maybe you ought to get a tutor.
I don't have time for a goddamn
tutor. You know my schedule.
INSERT SIGN WRITTEN IN CALLIGRAPHY:
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.
Did you hear they're teaching
Japanese next year?
That's the rumor.
And they're canceling Latin.
What? I tried to get Latin canceled
for five years. It's a dead
language, I'd always say.
Well, I guess they finally heard
Max shakes his head as this sinks in.
At least I saved Dirk from the
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
Max's frown disappears. A change comes over his face. His
eyes glaze over dreamily. He whispers to Alex:
Alex reads the quote. He looks puzzled.
What's that supposed to mean?
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.
I'd like to see a list of all
the people who've checked-out
this book in the past year.
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.
I have seen wicked men and fools,
a great many of both; and I believe
they both get paid in the end.
But the fools first.
She looks up mysteriously. The turns the page and continues:
Chapter Fifteen. 'The Lad with the
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.
Mrs Blume wants you to pick up
the twins from school at -
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.
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.
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
They shake hands. Max gets out of the car and puts his hand
on Dirk's shoulder.
How'd the math test go?
What math test?
I thought you had a math test.
No. Did you turn in your paper
on the Berlin Airlift?
Yeah. I got an extension.
Dirk gets in the car and drives off. A seventh grader named
Bobby goes over to Max.
How'd it go?
I shook hands with her.
And I gave her my phone number.
Buchan said he's already have
banged her by now.
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
Half of Buchan's ear was blown off in a hunting accident.
That's a really crude thing to
say. That's Dirk's mother.
But I thought that's why you
picked Dirk as your chapel
(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 goes over to Mr Blume's car.
It's Max Fischer.
They shake hands through the open car window.
How's the concrete business?
Oh, I don't know. By the time you
hit forty-five you've been fucked
over so many times you don't really
I'm sorry to hear that.
Mr Blume sighs deeply. He stares out the windshield.
What's the secret, Max?
Yeah. You look like you've got
it all figured out.
I don't know. I think you just got
to find something you love to do,
then do it for the rest of your
For me, it's going to Rushmore.
Max looks very serious. Mr Blume smiles and nods.
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.
Donny gets in the front seat anyway. Ronny hollers:
I said shotgun, Donny!
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.
See you tomorrow, Mr Blume.
Max goes to shake hands with somebody else's parents. Mr Blume
looks after Max fondly.
Did you invite that kid to the
Come on, dad. There's going to
be girls there.
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:
Remember what mom said. Hugs not
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.
Wait a second. What time did the
old lady place the 911 call?
(snaps his fingers)
Frank jumps out of his seat.
Meet me on the corner in ten
Where're you going?
I'll tell you in the squad car.
He heads toward the wings, then stops.
Oh, and, Willie. You were wrong
about Enrique Sanchez. He died
in his sleep.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hey, Max. How was your day?
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.
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.
Pathetic. Just pathetic.
Well. It could've been worse. You were
right more than a third of the time.
Come on, Dad! That stinks! I can do
better than that!
Of course, you can.
For once, will you please try no to
look on the bright side?
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.
Do you think I'm stupid?
No! You're just not very good at
But I'm failing English and History,
Well. Maybe you'd be better of at a
school where there's not so much
emphasis on academics.
What, like barber college?
Mr Fischer is stricken. Max says quietly.
No. I love Rushmore. I don't want
to go someplace second rate. Besides,
it would ruin my chances of getting
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
Miss Cross lights her cigarette from Max's match.
I like your hat.
Thank you. You're a teacher here,
What subject do you teach?
Well, I teach first grade, so I
do all the subjects. Except music.
And this is your first year at
Rushmore, I take it.
Miss Cross nods.
I see. How long have you been a
smoker, if you don't mind me
Hm. Let's see. How old are you?
Since I was your age.
Miss Cross shakes her head. Max can't believe this.
You should quit.
(going back to his
And I should mind my own business.
Miss Cross laughs. Max looks back up.
Where'd you go to school, by the
Really? That's a coincidence. My top
schools where I want to apply are
Oxford and the Sorbonne. But my
safety is Harvard.
That's very ambitious.
What are you going to major in?
Well. I haven't decided for sure.
But probably a double-major in
Mathematics and Pre-Med. What was
Ah. That's interesting. Did you hear
they're not going to teach Latin
This is more like Central America.
Sure. Central America and what-not.
But moving on: they're going to
cancel Latin. They have to make
room for Japanese.
Really? That's too bad. All the
Romance Languages come from Latin.
They do, don't they?
Like French, probably.
She nods. She smiles.
Nihilo sanctum estne?
That's Latin, isn't it?
What does it mean?
Is nothing sacred?
Long pause. Looking right at her.
Sic transit gloria. Glory fades,
I'm Max Fischer.
Max slides down the bench and puts out his hand.
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.
Good. Now you.
(points to the next
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.
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.
In summation I have only one question:
Is Latin dead? Nisilum sacnus?
(pause, looks at his
estne? Only you can say. Thank you
for your time.
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.
Bugger off, Fischer. Ya bleedin'
Is that Latin? Not bad, Buchan.
Maybe you'll place out of your
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.
What does your dad do, Max?
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.
You were in Vietnam, if I'm not
mistaken, weren't you?
Mr Blume nods. Max thinks for a minute.
Were you in the shit?
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.
Tell me something, Max. What do you
think of Ronny and Donny?
I like them.
Ronny flips his opponent on the mat and flattens him with
his body. Donny screams encouragement.
No. You're right. They're good kids.
Max nods solemnly.
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
Mr Blume looks to Max. Silence.
The twins are having a birthday
party. And I'd love it if -
Oh, that's right. Yeah. I'm not
going to be able to make it to that
Max smiles very sincerely. Silence.
Come work for me.
What do you mean?
I mean, I could use somebody like
you. I could -
I may not be rich, Mr Blume. And
my father may only be a doctor. But
I didn't mean it like that. I just -
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.
Excuse me, Mr Blume. Nice talking
Max pulls off his blazer. He is wearing wrestling tights
underneath. Mr Blume looks suprised.
You're on the team?
I'm an alternate.
Max heads out to the mat, pulling on his headgear. Mr
Blume calls after him:
What wouldn't be fair, Max?
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.
Mello, Mrs Guggenheim.
Hi, Rosemary. Did you find a place?
Well, I'm just staying over at
Edward's parents' house for now.
They're out of town.
Oh. That's good.
Edward was one of my students, you
Miss Cross smiles and nods. Silence. Miss Cross points
to a photograph in a collage on a wall.
I think I met that boy yesterday.
Mrs Guggenheim looks at the picture.
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.
That's Max Fischer. How'd you get
mixed up with him?
He introduced himself to me. I
liked him, actually.
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
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
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
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.
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:
He's taking a make-up test.
These guys have tests?
I thought they just did coloring and
Oh, no. They're good readers.
I'm Max Fischer. We met the other
I know who you are. How are you?
Fine, thank you.
Max just stands there.
You want to help me feed the fish?
Max follows her from tank to tank as she shakes out
fish food. They continue to whisper to each other:
I thought I would just let you
know, as per our conversation
the other day -
Right. The Romance Languages. I gave
a little speech -
I heard about this.
Uh-huh. I understand you made a very
I thought you'd be pleased to hear
they're going to continue the
She looks at Max. She sets down the fish food and
shakes his hand.
I'm very impressed.
Thank you very much.
Max picks up the can of fish food and shakes some
into one of the acquariums.
You need an assistant?
Do we get to have assistants around
I doubt it. I'm on scholarship,
though. Academic scholarship. So
sometimes I get to do odd jobs.
How did you decide to teach at
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.
I didn't know you were married.
Well, he's dead now. So I'm not
When did he die?
Max nods. Silence.
My mother's dead.
Oh. I'm sorry to hear that.
She died when I was seven.
(raising an eyebrow)
So we both have dead people in
They look at each other for a minute.
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
Those were just born.
A look of wonder comes across Max's face. He stares
into the blue water.
You really love fish, don't you?
Miss Cross nods. Max puts his fingers to the glass.
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.
I don't want any alloys. I want
I don't give a rat's ass if he did.
He hangs up.
You change your mind? You want the
No. But I've got an idea. And need
Mr Blume's secretary buzzes him on the speakerphone.
Mr Blume, they're ready for you in
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.
Rushmore deserves an acquarium. A first
class acquarium where scientists can
lecture, and students can study marine
life in their natural -
I don't know. What do you think, Ernie?
A hyge acquarium. An entire building.
What kind of fish?
INT. FACTORY - DAY
Mr Blume and Max, wearing hard hats, stand on a
scaffolding overlooking a huge cat of bubbling
Electric eels. Barracudas. Stingrays.
That's right. Piranhas. I talked
to a man in South America.
Really. So you might have piranhas.
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.
What does Guggenheim say?
Nothing. I felt I should go to
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.
How much do you want?
$35.000 for the initial plans.
Max holds Mr Blume's gaze. Mr Blume picks up a pen.
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.
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.
You need any help grading papers
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.
Max looks quickly down to his papers.
Can I ask you something?
Has it ever crossed your mind that
you're way too young for me?
Max looks up. Miss Cross smiles faintly. Silence.
It's crossed by mind that you
might consider that a possibility,
Not to mention that you're a
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
I just want to make sure -
We've become friends, haven't we?
Good. That's all that matters to
Max thinks for a second, then presses on:
And the truth is neither one of us
has the slightest idea where this
relationships is going. We can't
predict the future.
We don't have a relationship, Max.
But we're friends.
Yes. And that's all we're going to
That's what I meant by
relationship. You want me to grab
I just want to make sure we
understand each other.
I understand. You're not attracted
to me. C'est la vie. I'm a big boy.
Max. You're fifteen. Attraction
doesn't enter into it.
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.
I think I can safely say I've
never met anyone like you, either.
You haven't, have you?
Miss Cross shakes her head. Max says quietly:
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.
I'm glad we had this conversation.
They finally let go of each other's hands. Miss Cross looks
away. She's not exactly sure what they just decided.
By the way. Are you free? Thursday
Free for what?
She looks at Max strangely.
We're getting a group together
after the play.
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.
I can't wear a wire! They're
feeling me up every day!
Come on, Frank. You'll have
I've heard that one before. I got
to go put a dime in the meter.
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.
Promise me one thing, O'Reilly.
You're going to follow this all
teh way. To the end
Of the line,
Where I got to be.
(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.
What happened to the cannoli line?
Max follows Frank as Frank walks quietly toward the dressing
You're supposed to say, Forget
about it, Sanchez -
I made a mistake, all right? It
didn't make any difference, anyway.
Hey, I'm letting it go. But don't
tell me it doesn't matter. Every
Get off my back!
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
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.
I thought the acting tonight was
It was better in rehearsals
(to his father)
I'll catch up with you later, Dad.
I've got a dinner to go to.
Yeah. Cast and crew only.
Mr Fischer feels left out but tries not to show it.
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.
That was great, Max.
I'm so glad you could come.
I want you to meet a friend of
mine. John Coats. Max Fischer.
(not looking at him)
Who's this guy?
Max looks at John. John smiles. Pause.
I really liked your play, man. It
was really cool.
Max nods. He drinks a long sip of his champagne cocktail.
What happened to your nose?
I got punched in the face
What's your excuse?
Mr Blume comes over to them.
Am I going to get to meet your dad
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.
I like your nurse's uniform, guy.
These are OR scrubs.
Mr Blume laughs suddenly and whine goes up his nose. Max
glances to him slyly, then looks back at John.
Well, they're totally
inappropriate for the occasion.
Well, I didn't know we were going
That's because you weren't invited.
Take it easy, Max.
You're the one who ordered him a
Scotch and soda.
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?
We went to Harvard together.
And I wrote a hit play. And
directed it. So I'm not sweating
(signaling the waiter)
I'm going to get the check.
What do you think you're doing?
I'm getting the -
No, you're not.
The Waiter comes over. Max intercepts him:
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.
That's perfectly all right.
The waiter walks away. Miss Cross frowns.
You're being rude, 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.
Would you like me to pass you the
Max hands John the butter.
What's wrong with you?
(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.
You hurt my feelings. This night
was important to me.
How did I hurt your feelings?
I wrote a hit play!
And I'm in love with you.
John looks to Miss Cross. She doesn't know what to say. Max
looks drunk and dejected.
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
He waves. She waves back. He comes over.
Were you hiding over there?
Mr Blume shrugs. He points at one of the paintings.
That Artist looks up at Mr Blume. He is a small boy with jet-
black curly hair and piercing eyes.
(makes a swimming
It's a little swimming snake.
Mr Blume nods.
What can I do for you, Mr Blume?
Mr Blume turns to Miss Cross and takes off his sunglasses.
Max wants to see you.
To apologize, I guess.
He send you here?
She frowns and studies Mr Blume for a minute.
Are you his messenger?
No. He's my friend.
You were right. I shouldn't have
let him drink.
Miss Cross nods. Silence.
I don't think I should see Max any
He's not going to like the sound
I know. But I think I let him get
Mr Blume nods. Miss Cross looks uncertain.
Don't you think?
I don't know. You did your best.
Miss Cross smiles sadly to Mr Blume. He puts his hands in his
Tell him I'm sorry.
They look at each other for a long minute. Miss Cross tucks
a strand of hair behind her ear. Mr Blume says quietly:
What's your first name?
Rosemary. What's yours?
Oh, yeah. He wrote you a letter.
He hands her a letter in a sealed envelope. She takes it.
They stand there in silence for another minute.
OK. So long, Rosemary.
Mr Blume starts to go. He stops He looks back to Miss Cross.
Should we meet somewhere?
To talk about Max.
Yeah. I don't know.
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,
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.
Did you see her?
She's not here.
Well, see if she's in her
The Contractor walks over to Max.
Should we go ahead and take care
of this tree?
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.
What's going on here, Maxie?
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.
This is the baseball diamond.
I believe it's being relocated a
few feet over.
I should've been informed about
Coach Beck walks off. Max answers some questions for the
Is it true the acquarium will have
Where'd you hear that?
My source indicated that it was a
Yes, it's true. Excuse me, George.
Dirk has returned.
What's the story?
(a little wary)
She has a substitute teacher today.
She probably got sick.
You know she's not sick. Give me
Max dials on a cellular phone.
Hi, Janet. It's Max Fischer. Is Mr
Well, where is he?
Goddammit, he's supposed to be
here. Let me know if you find him,
Max hangs up. He looks off and says in a steely voice:
I'm going anyway.
Max goes over to the contractor.
Chop it down, Mr Chandler! We've
got an acquarium to build.
Max talks to another reporter.
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 sees the chopped-down trees and mangles
baseball field as he strides on to the lot.
Nice to see you, Dr Gugg-
(seizing Max by the
What do you think you're doing?
We're having a fundraiser for-
Shut those damn things off!
They turn off the power saws.
Tell me this isn't happening.
Dr Guggenheim, I'd rather not have
this conversation in front of the
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.
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.
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?
Sure. Thanks very much. I just
wanted to introduce myself.
Max looks quickly at his notecards.
I'm Max Fischer. I'm a former
student of Rushmore Academy, which
I recently got expelled from.
Max flips to the next notecard.
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
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.
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
Max walks slowly, alone, down the middle of the hall. A
blonde cheerleader-type Girl asks him:
Why are you so dressed up?
Max looks down at his clothes. Max looks back to the girl.
Are you insane?
The girl walks off. Margaret Yang catches up to Max.
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
The silver spoon remark might rub
some people the wrong way. But I
think I know how you meant it.
Glad to hear it. Goodbye, Miss
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,
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
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.
Hey, Max. How's it going over
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.
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.
I got to tell you, Max. I don't
know what you see in her. I don't
think she's right for you.
What's that supposed to mean?
Mr Blume sees Miss Cross inside teaching her class. He stares
at her in a glance. He whispers:
Well, she's not that beautiful.
She's not that interesting. I
mean, sure, there's something
about her. But I see you with
Look, Mr Blume. Your comments are
valuable, but let's get to the
point. Will she see me again? Yes
I'm going to go see her. Hang on.
Max looks to Mr Holstead.
I'm talking on the telephone.
Mr Holstead reaches over and hangs up the phone.
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
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.
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.
I hope you fall out of that tree
and get stick in the ass, Buchan.
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.
And what do you call getting a
hand job from Mrs Calloway in her
A bloody lie.
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
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.
I'm sorry I embarrassed you at
Miss Cross turns around. Max is standing across the driveway
with a sad smile on his face. Silence.
TO BE CONTINUED...