The following is an excerpt from the screenplay for the movie Limitless, directed by Neil Burger and starring Bradley Cooper. It is a conversation between the main character Eddie and his publisher, and it never made it into the movie. In it, they are discussing the terms of Eddie’s advance and his new views on writing.
He brings up some interesting points on writing and solitude. This raises the question; why do you write? For love, or for money?
I think it is entertaining and wanted to share.
INT. MARK SUTTON’S OFFICE – DAY
Eddie stands opposite Mark’s desk.
But it takes cash to make cash…
Another ELEGANT MAN is there too, Mark’s boss, DUNHAM.
I’d like to re-negotiate my advance.
Well… sit down, we’ll be discussing that.
First, ah… I want to apologize, Eddie, if I in any way communicated a lack of faith in your abilities.
Eddie smiles coolly. In control. It’s Mark who’s a little nervous.
MARK SUTTON (CONT’D)
Mr. Dunham has read your pages, and we’re prepared to make you what I
hope will be a very exciting offer.
What would you say to ten thousand more and another forty down the
Eddie holds there gaze, expressionless, but says nothing.
After an uncomfortable moment, Dunham continues.
We think this could be an important title, maybe one in a series. I
have to say, you came out of nowhere, but the good ones always do – – –
This isn’t going to work.
What’s not going to work? The money?
Eddie, we take you very seriously as a writer.
Eddie sounds almost regretful.
Yes, but I now see that writing, as a profession, is for marginalized
whiners not fit for anything else.
Sutton thinks Eddie’s kidding. He laughs nervously.
No, I mean it, look at the life. Incarceration, loneliness,
burrowing down into your own psyche, increasingly insulated from
any truth, because you’re not in the currents of the world any more,
you’re rattling around inside the cage of your brain, self-
Dunham realizes he’s losing Eddie, and jumps in.
You don’t think a best-selling author would disagree?
Oh, if you’re good, there’s some remuneration, eventually, after
paperbacks, but at best your career’ll be oozing along like a
snail, a few thousand more copies, whoop-dee-doo, you’re “developing a
readership,” — for what? So you can end up in Phoenix on a Saturday
night reading from your own work at some holdout indie book store to a
bored audience of ten? –Half of them there for the wine and cheese?
Yes, but if your goal is to have a voice – – –
I don’t think any goal will be really achievable, Mark, until I’m
sitting on a large pile of cash.
The mens mouths open, then shut