Monday, October 01, 2007

Deleted Scene: Magnolia, The Worm Subplot

The most talked about deleted sequences revolve around the "Worm" subplot. This involves five characters from the film: Marcie Her Husband (The Dead Guy in the Closet) The Worm (Marcie's Son) Dixon (Worm's Son/Marcie's Grandson) Stanley Spector
Dixon was featured prominently in the teaser trailer ("I'm Dixon") & this subplot was included in the preview screening done in Australia in late August 1999 & Fall 1999 in New York (critics screenings).

Here are some of PTA's comments on why it was cut out: "there was more of that, and I took it out, but here's the thing. I stand by the fact that it does function really well the way it is now. It is the most truncated and elliptical bit of the movie, but I thank God that there is something truncated and elliptical in the movie, which does pretty much hit its points. The movie needs something that has mystery, and this one is sort of a representation of spending a couple of days in the Valley: that's how much color would come into your life." Courtesy of Nitrate Online - Cynthia Fuchs - 1/7/00 

"Yeah, the worm stuff. There’s sort of, a little bit more of a follow through on the mystery character, who’s in it now. It’s better to remain sort of a mystery character. The brown jacket and the little kid (Dixon). And that stuff is sort of better served as something to truly think about as opposed to something to answer and in an effort to make it more mysterious and make it shorter…I just took it out." © 2000 cigarettes & coffee - Greg Mariotti - 12/11/99 

Here's the complete script excerpt. As you know, Magnolia is constantly switching back & forth between the various plots & characters. To make things easier, I've combined all the various segments below (with a quick description of where they fit in the movie).

(After Kurring loses gun, during Partridge's monologue)

INT. HOLDING ROOM - THAT MOMENT
 

     CAMERA pushes in on Marcie.  She's crying and looking down.
     She lifts her head, speaks to an UNSEEN OFFICER nearby, guarding
     her cell;

                                 MARCIE
                      I wanna confess what I've done.

(Frank meets Phil right before his "reunion" with Earl)


INT. LAMPLIGHTER - THAT MOMENT

      CAMERA with Stanley, sitting alone in a booth with a Coke and a cookie.
     He's reading a book.  BEAT, HOLD, THEN:

      CAMERA pans/dollies away and booms up -- moving across the
     restaurant -- across the way, sitting in a booth by the opposite
     window, out of view from Stanley;

      Dixon, the little kid from earlier, sitting in a booth with a
     young black male, WORM (20s) This is clearly the back figure
     we've been seeing glimpses of --

      ANGLE, AT THE BOOTH.

     Dixon eats same pudding.  Worm mumbles to him, various jabs.
     "...sit up straight..." "...world is hard..." "..little brat..."

      HOLD.  Worm glances across the coffee shop -- he sees Stanley.

      Worm HOLDS his look, thinks a moment.  He looks up at the
     WOMAN behind the counter...she's doing a crossword puzzle.

      Worm looks back to Dixon, subtle mumbles and gestures and
     few moments later, Dixon stands from the booth and exits the
     coffee shop.

      HOLD w/WORM.  He sticks a finger down his throat, makes himself
     well with tears.  He stands up OUT OF FRAME.

      ANGLE, COUNTER NEAR STANLEY.
     Worm sits into FRAME, near to Stanley.  Stanley glances up, they
     make a quick moment of eye contact, then look away.  BEAT. HOLD.

                                                                 CUT TO:

      EXT. PARKING LOT/BEHIND LAMPLIGHTER - MOMENTS LATER

      CAMERA follows Dixon as he walks towards an old beat up PARKED CAR.
     He stops, hesitates, looks across the way --
     LINDA'S MERCEDES is parked.

      He hesitates a moment, looks left and right and all around
     and then he starts to walk over to the car...

      AT LINDA'S CAR.  Dixon sees that she's passed out, knocks on
     the window...

                                 DIXON
                      Lady...hey Lady...Lady....you ok?
                      you alive...huh...hey?

      He looks around again, then gets in the passenger's side of the
     car, shakes her same more.

                                 DIXON
                      Lady.  Lady. Hey wake up.  Lady?

      Dixon reaches down and takes her PURSE, takes the MONEY out of the
     WALLET and then reaches for her CEL PHONE and dials 911.

                                 DIXON
                      Hello?  Hello?  I have an emergency
                      situation -- this lady -- this lady
                      seems like she's dead -- hello?
                      She's in the parking lot -- (etc. gives
                      information regarding location. etc.)

      Then he gets out, walks back across parking lot...and into the
     concealed parked car he came from –
(Jimmy confesses to Rose)
 INT. LAMPLIGHTER - THAT MOMENT

      Through the window, the AMBULANCE passes in the b.g., heading
     nearby...and OC we hear the siren throughout scene;

      Stanley looks up at Worm, who's crying harder now, they make
     another moment of eye contact.  BEAT, THEN:

                                 WORM
                      Hi.

                                 STANLEY
                      Hi.

                                 WORM
                      ..sorry...

                                 STANLEY
                      It's ok.

      BEAT.

                                 STANLEY
                      Are you alright?

      Worm looks up.
(Frank with Earl on his deathbed)
 

INT. LAMPLIGHTER - THAT MOMENT

      Worm is in tears, talking to Stanley. SLOW ZOOM IN.

                                 WORM
                      ....you have it...easy....you know?
                      You have a father who loves you, huh?

                                 STANLEY
                      Yes.

                                 WORM
                      You know what it's like to come home
                      scared, scared that maybe if you don't
                      have the money you're supposed to
                      go out each day and get that you're gonna
                      get beaten....by a belt...he hits me
                      with a belt, Stanley....

                                (beat)

                      I'm supposed to sell those candy bars,
                      and if I don't, I come home without
                      the money....

                                 STANLEY
                      ....Why does he do it...?

                                 WORM
                      Cause he hates me....he hates me so much.

                                 STANLEY
                      It's not right.

                                 WORM
                      I hate it.

      CU - Worm.  He hesitates...looks at Stanley and says:

                                 WORM
                      I'm sorry to put all this on you, Stanley --

                                 STANLEY
                      I have money.

                                 WORM
                      ...what...?

                                 STANLEY
                      I have money to give you.

                                 WORM
                      No.  No.  I have to do this on my own.

                                 STANLEY
                      I can take you to get money.  I don't
                      need it...I don't need it -- listen to me:
                      I can let you have money so your father
                      won't hit you ever again -- you'll have the
                      money because I don't need it.

      CAMERA pushes in a little on Worm, he looks up. 30fps.

                                 WORM
                      Where do you have it?

      CAMERA holds 2-shot, looking out the window onto the street.
     We PUSH PAST THEM AND THROUGH THE WINDOW, picking up with
     a YELLOW CAB as it drives by, PAN with it....


 (The rain of frogs has begun.)

 INT. LAMPLIGHTER - THAT MOMENT

      Stanley and Worm.  CAMERA holds as all around...through the glass
     windows...it RAINS FROGS....smashing to the ground.....hitting a couple
     odd parked cars...they sit, watching, stunned...in a sort of daze.
     Stanley seems almost happy.  Worm shocked, scarred;

                                 WORM
                      What is that?

                                 STANLEY
                      It's frogs.  It's raining frogs.

                                 WORM
                      ...fuck you mean, it's raining frogs?

                                 STANLEY
                      It's raining frogs from the sky.

                                 WORM
                      ....what the fuck, what the fuck....

                                 STANLEY
                      This happens....this is something that happens.

                                 WORM
                      What the fuck is goin' on, WHAT THE
                      FUCK IS GOING ON?

      CU - STANLEY.  HOLD ON HIS FACE extremely tight.

      In the reflection of his eye, we see the Frogs falling....
     past the neon sign that reads "Fresh Coffee."

      ANGLE, DIXON.  He comes running into the Lamplighter and over to Worm
     and Stanley....he's scarred shitless and frantic --

                                 DIXON
                      DADDY! DAD! DAD WHAT THE HELL IS GOIN' ON?

                                 WORM
                      Stay quiet...stay quiet, son --

                                 DIXON
                      LET'S GO, LET'S GO, LET'S GET HIS MONEY
                      AND GO -- DID YOU GET HIS MONEY? DID
                      YOU GET IT?  DID YOU GET HIS MONEY, DAD?

                                 WORM
                      No, Son...be quiet...be quiet now...

                                 DIXON
                      C'mon, Dad.  We gotta just GET HIS
                      MONEY AND GO, LET'S GO. Let's get the money --

                                 WORM
                      We're not gonna do that now.  We're
                      not gonna do that now and that's over.

                                 DIXON
                      BULLSHIT. BULLSHIT, DAD WE NEED
                      TO GET HIS MONEY AND GO.

      Dixon takes out a large POLICE ISSUED REVOLVER, AIMS at STANLEY'S FACE.

                                 DIXON
                      GIVE US YOUR MONEY MAN.

                                 WORM
                      Son, don't --

                                 DIXON
                      BULLSHIT, BULLSHIT DAD WE GOTTA GET
                      HIS MONEY --

                                 WORM
                      -- no.

                                 DIXON
                             (to Stanley)
                      GIVE US YOUR MONEY.

                                 WORM
                      Put the gun down, please, boy.

                                 DIXON
                      GIVE US YOUR MONEY, KID.

                                 WORM
                      Son, please, now....

                                 DIXON
                      DAD --

                                 WORM
                      Please, boy, put it down and it's ok.

      Dixon starts to get nervous and well with tears...he shakes a
     little....

                                 WORM
                      It's ok --

                                 DIXON


                      We gotta get his money so we can get
                      outta here -- we gotta --

                                 WORM
                      That idea is over now.
                      We're not gonna do that now.

      Dixon starts crying and shaking and backing away --

                                 DIXON
                      DADDY, FUCK, DADDY, DON'T GET MAD AT ME.
                      DON'T GET MAD AT ME --
                                (to Stanley)
                      JUST GIMME YOUR MONEY.

                                 WORM
                      I'm not mad, son, I will not be mad
                      at you and it's ok and please put it
                      down and I won't be mad and I won't --

                                 DIXON
                      DAD.

      Dixon starts to lower the gun a bit, crying and shaking....He lowers
     the gun and hands it over to his Father....Dixon is sort of
     flinching....the possibility that his Father may strike him...

      ...Stanley is frozen...Dixon is hyperventilating....

                                 DIXON
                      I - just - thought - that - I - didn't
                      want - I - didn't - I - didn't -

                                 WORM
                      It's ok, boy.

      HOLD.  Que. "Bein Green," by Kermit the Frog/Aimee

                                                                 CUT TO:

 

     EXT. LAMPLIGHTER/VENTURA BLVD. - THAT MOMENT          

     CAMERA holds a wide angle on the Lamplighter Coffee Shop.
     Frogs falling from sky onto and around the streets....

                                                                 CUT TO:

      EXT. THE SKY - THAT MOMENT

      CAMERA up with the Falling Frogs....CAMERA is moving down with them...
     it becomes almost musical....like Busby-Berkely-style choreography of
     Frogs That Fall In The Sky...

                                 MUSIC/KERMIT THE FROG
                      "It's not that easy bein' green...
                      Having to spend each day the color
                      of the leaves..."

 EXT. EMPTY PARKING LOT AREA - DAWN

      CU - Dixon as he gets into the old beat up car with Worm.
     Their call pulls away and drives off.  Dixon looks at Linda's Mercedes
     which is still parked way across the lot -- they exit FRAME.

                                                                 CUT TO:

      EXT. MAGNOLIA - DAWN

      Worm's car drives down the street. LONG LENS.  ANGLE, at the car,
     Dixon leans up and out the window a bit....he's got the gun wrapped
     in newspaper, taking the fingerprints from the gun....he throws
     the POLICE ISSUED WEAPON from the speeding car...

                                                                 CUT TO:

      INT. LAMPLIGHTER - DAWN

      Stanley sits in the back of a squad car....an OFFICER watching
     him...probably supposed to be comforting him, but instead drinking
     coffee, chatting with other OFFICERS questioning the coffee shop
     employees --


  (Right after Earl's body is taken away)


INT. POLICE STATION - MARCIE

      Marcie looking down at the table in front of her, tape recorder
     and microphone in front of her, (and all that goes along w/full
     confession/etc.)

                                 MARCIE
                      I killed him.  I killed my husband.
                      He hit my son and he hit my grandson
                      and I hit him.  I hit him with the ashtray
                      and he was knocked out and I killed him,
                      I strangled him.  I strangled my husband
                      to protect my boys.  I protected my boys.

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