My shrine for Toni Collette exists solely in my mind. As the day passes, the thought of working with her arrives at least fifteen different times. She makes the subtlest movements that after a quick examination scream, “I am this character. I’ve always been this character and will die this character.” Regardless of the role, regardless of the absurdity, she breathes honesty.
Using Toni as a muse, I sketched out a story for a film that is so personal. It delineates my discomfort in romance and with family. I’d be delighted if she played the female lead. Who knows?
The below excerpt is not (I underlined the word not so that if this happens to be read on opposite day, it’s clear that this is not) from the story; it’s a continuation of the script titled Descent.
INT. STORE - DAY BELLA, a shaking octogenarian, dusts the register. She looks over at Charlie who is sifting through the ladies' dresses. BELLA It's a nice selection here, isn't it? CHARLIE Sure is. My wife... BELLA Try something on. We got dressing rooms, ya know? Bella canes her way over to Charlie. After examining a dress, she violently pushes it away. CHARLIE Thank you but I'm... BELLA I think you'd look excellent in red. Ah, I saw a nice red dress here yesterday. Where's the damn thing. Oops, pardon my language. I used to never curse until my husband died. You married? CHARLIE Not yet. BELLA Well, be patient. Someday you'll find a man of your own. CHARLIE Oh, I get it! You think I'm a woman because I'm... BELLA You're a beautiful woman. There's no reason why you shouldn't be married. CHARLIE Well, okay. BELLA Well, I speak the truth. Ah, okay here's the dress. Bella holds the dress up against Charlie's body. INT. LOG CABIN - EVENING Will downs his glass of wine. WILL More, please. Charlie wearing a red dress refills Will's glass. CHARLIE That's a ton of wine for a boy your age. WILL Did I ask for a commentary? CHARLIE No? WILL Then step away, woman. Shivers run down Charlie's back as he steps away. In the corner, Damian whittles a stick and hums. CHARLIE How long do I have to wear this? WILL Until either you leave or truly morph into a woman. DAMIAN Knowing Charlie, he'll fall in love with the dress but never leave nor morph into a woman. Damian and Will chuckle. WILL Woman, refill his glass. Charlie refills Damian's glass. Damian joins Will at the table. He hands Will the whittled stick. DAMIAN What do you think? WILL That should do. I'll test it. DAMIAN On what? Will tosses the whittled wood at Charlie's back. CHARLIE Fucking prick! WILL Exactly! Damian and Will roar in wild laughter. BEGIN DREAM SEQUENCE EXT. CITY STREET - DAY It's clearly winter. Everyone's bundled up in warm clothing including Kate and Charlie. Kate fishes in her pocket. Pulls out a quarter. Hands it to Charlie. KATE That's all I got. CHARLIE I'm jonesing for a smoke, Kate. What the hell will I do with a quarter? KATE Buy gum. Kill the boy. CHARLIE Will? KATE No. Not Will. CHARLIE Then who? Kate points across the street to Damian. He's dressed like a schoolboy. Sucks his thumb. A thick rope unravels in the air. It falls to the ground. THUD Damian's eyes widen. END DREAM SEQUENCE