DOUBLE YOU: Screenplay by Walt Jaschek | Romantic Comedy

In 1990, before Michael Keaton starred in “Multiplicty” (1996); way, way before Paul Rudd starred in “Living With Yourself” (Netflix, 2019,) I wrote a romantic comedy screenplay about a married man who creates an exact duplicate of himself. It centers around a magic lava lamp (of all things,) and thanks to it, his wife ends up with an exact duplicate of herself, too. It’s a silly, little thing, my first feature film script, with a plot as thin as the rather juvenile ideas that propelled it, but, by golly, I powered through 118, semi-joke-filled pages until I finally got to type “The End.”

Here’s how it starts.

DOUBLE YOU: A Screenplay by Walt Jaschek: Act 1, Scene 1

FADE IN:

INT.  A SURREAL, WET DARKNESS – NIGHT

Deep in blue liquid, as if underwater.   GLOBULES of strange white PROTOPLASM rise, stretch and fall in a sensual pattern that seems to resemble naked bodies, writhing in passion.

The soft curve of a breast.  A buttock, tensing.  An arm, brushing a thigh.

The source of these images: the inner depths of a LAVA LAMP. It’s a relic from the 60s, a two-foot glass cylinder on a black metal base. Within it, the “lava” percolates, throwing blue light into an otherwise dark and unidentifiable room.

From the distance, the rumble of THUNDER.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT.  THE CITY – A DOWNTOWN STREET – NIGHT

Lightning flashes over phallic skyscrapers.   On a sidewalk, raindrops hit a puddle. In the puddle appears the shimmering reflection of a MAN and a WOMAN.

This is ZACK AND DEE CASEY, married, mid-30s.  They’re Oinks: Double Income, No Kids.     Dee is tall and thin, with an unpretentious  beauty that yanks heads.    Zack is good-looking, with a persistent  good humor that yanks chains.       He’s holding a feeble umbrella over them, but they’re getting soaked.

ZACK
(deadpan) It’s raining.

DEE
{looking at him slowly) Are you sure?

The umbrella collapses, drenching them with water.

ZACK
Pretty sure.  Yeah.

Dee marches on.  Zack, immobile, holds the limp umbrella as the rain pummels him.

ZACK
Almost positive.

Another crash of thunder.

CUT TO:

INT.  LOBBY OF SWANK DOWNTOWN HOTEL – NIGHT

ADVERTISING AGENCY TYPES arrive from all directions–removing raincoats, greeting each other.  A huge painted SIGN says:

GAYLORD & COMPANY:

“IN CELEBRATION OF PROFIT1 “

ZACK AND DEE enter the lobby by way of a REVOLVING DOOR. They’re very wet.

ZACK
Guess we should have driven from the restaurant like you suggested instead of walking like I suggested.

DEE
Nah.

ZACK
Guess I should have brought the good umbrella, like you asked.

DEE
Nah.

ZACK
Guess that way we could have arrived in some degree of comfort instead of damp misery.

ZACK AND DEE
(simultaneously, to each other) Nah.

An impeccably dressed and perfectly dry BEAUTIFUL COUPLE walks past them, going the other direction.  When they pass, DEE puts her head in her hand.

ZACK
So. Having a good time so far?

DEE
Actually, Zack, there’s only one thing I hate worse than going to your agency’s stupid annual party.

ZACK
Yeah?  What’s that?

DEE
Going to your agency’s stupid annual party fill.t.! ! !

Dee’s last word–“Wet!”–is a shout, which jolts bewildered PASSER-BYS.   ZACK smiles and waves to them, courteously.

ZACK

Thank you.  Primal scream.  She’s okay.    Bye now!

DEE

I’m sticking to myself”’ She demonstrates.

ZACK

So you are.  But don’t panic.

DEE
Why not?

ZACK
Maybe if we go into our, um, respective rest rooms and stand by the hand driers…

DEE
The hand driers?

ZACK
We can blow-dry ourselves.

DEE
Blow-dry ourselves?  Blow-dry our…wait.   That’s actually not a totally senseless idea.

ZACK
Thank you.

DEE
Let’s do it.  I’ll meet you back here in the lobby in five.

ZACK
Five.

DEE
(looks at herself, sighs)
Make it ten.

ZACK
Ten.

They split in totally opposite directions.   Into the bowels of a party without pity.

INT. HOTEL – A CORRIDOR – NIGHT

DEE swims up A SEA OF PEOPLE, keeping her head down to avoid being noticed.     But when she looks up, she catches the eye of RUPERT GAYLORD, president of the Gaylord agency.    RUPERT is fortysomething, successful, confident and drop-dead handsome. He wags his finger at DEE, as if to say, “I. know you.”

RUPERT
Dee! It’s  ‘ isn’t it?

DEE
(a wan smile)
Mr. Gaylord!   I was hoping–afraid you wouldn’t recognize me.

RUPERT
Please.  Call me Rupert.  I detest being call “Mr. Gaylord” just because I own the company and started it from scratch.

(shakes her hand)
How could I forget the ever­ beautiful and charming wife of my best, uh…

DEE
Associate Media Buyer.

RUPERT
Associate Media Buyer!

DEE
Zack.

RUPERT
Of course.  Zack…?

DEE
Casey. I have a picture of him in my purse.

RUPERT
Ha!  That won’t be necessary.

DEE
Ha. Good.

RUPERT
(studying her hard) Where is Jack tonight?

DEE
John is in the Jack. Zack is in the john.

RUPERT
You know…excuse me for saying so, but you’re wetter than the last time we met.

DEE
Oh, right, ha.  See, our umbrella…we got caught in the thunderstorm, and I…

RUPERT
Darling! I’m teasing you!  Look, you can’t go to the hottest advertising industry party of the millennium looking like that.  Why don’t you come up to my suite and get dry?

DEE
Up where?

RUPERT
I have a suite here for the night! The hotel gave it to me as a bonus for putting together this little shindig. So I said, “what the hey.”

DEE
“What the…”

RUPERT
” ..hey.”  As I go through life, I realize you gotta say that sometimes.

DEE
Well, thank you, and perhaps someday I will, but right now I’m on my way to the women’s room, so if you’ll just excuse me…

RUPERT
You could drink champagne while using–in complete privacy–the built-in heat lamp, and an array of complimentary toiletries.

DEE
You ad guys kill me.

RUPERT
And a hair drier.

DEE
I couldn’t.

RUPERT
You’re leaving a puddle.

True.  There’s a POOL OF WATER collecting around her shoes. Dee has a change of heart.

DEE
What the hey.

RUPERT
Excellent!

DEE
Which room is it?

RUPERT
(producing a key) I’ll show you.

He’s about to put his arm around her, but reconsiders when he sees his sleeve would get wet.  He gestures, leads her off.

“Double You” continues on Simply Scripts

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