Last March I was impressively sick, by my standards. There was round one of general cold symptoms from Tuesday through Thursday, followed by round two of sore throat and congestion(Sidebar: I went to see Batman vs. Superman with that sore throat causing everyone to believe that I was attempting a really crappy imitation of Christian Bale’s gravel-gargling Batman. Which is bullshit. If I was going to imitate Batman I’d be doing Kevin Conroy’s voice. Obviously.)
I thought I would honour my immune system with the following dramatic reenactment. I am shopping it to Hollywood, so you can’t see all of it. And so, without further ado, I present excerpts from…
WAR IS CELL
A story of deception, war, regret and triumph
We open inside an ordinary human nose. All is quiet. A single nasal cell, a squamous epithelial cell named Jim is pondering his mortality…
JIM(Note: We’re getting that guy from The Office who also played Jim. Audiences are stupid, it’ll work): It’s hard to believe I’ll only be here for a few more weeks. It…feels like I’ve just started learning about the world.
From stage left…a SPHERICAL SHAPE enters. She is draped in a trenchcoat and wearing a low-brimmed hat. JIM doesn’t know she is REALLY the dastardly VIRUS, Ms. Fluenza
FLUENZA(We need someone whose like…hot…but also seems like she’d fuck your shit up. Is Marion Cotillard working? If not get Jennifer Lawrence or maybe Charlize Theron): I can tell you…everything. I’ve seen things you can’t image.
JIM: Really? Come closer, I’d love to know.
FLUENZA: Sure honey. I’ve been all kinds of places…seen all kinds of things. But I can never…do the one thing I really want to do.
JIM(membrane quivering with anticipation, barely breathes): What’s that?
We see the inside of a sticky command centre. A hunched, tired figure sits at a meaty control panel. In his stance we see the years that have brought down a once proud and powerful man. This is MAJOR HISTOCOMPATIBILITY COMPLEX, the body’s gatekeeper.
MAJOR(Note: We need someone seriously craggy looking here. Dude needs a face like a goddamn collapsed mountainside. Get me Tommy Lee Jones.)(taking a chart from another cell): How many have we lost?
CELL(Note: Christ, we gotta cast every fucking part? Umm…I duno, who’s cheap? I bet Shia LaBeouf’s getting desperate.): We’ve had to send the T-cells into the throat, major. It isn’t clear how many are working for the enemy, but…
MAJOR(sinking visibly): I know. It has to be done. We’ve been there before. But I thought maybe, after the Shingles invaded, that we could have peace for a time.
CELL: Major…its…her again, isn’t it?
MAJOR: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
MAJOR: Don’t tell the others. I…don’t want panic in the body.
There is PANIC in the body. Wide shot of the carnage as cells in the throat try to make sense of the crumbling world around them. We pull in close on two neighbouring cells lining the throat. The background fades as their conversation comes into focus.
AARON(Note: This has to be Andy Samberg. Don’t you fucking argue with me on this one Jonathan)(Visibly suffering): Justine? I…I think it’s happening to me.
JUSTINE(Note: Fine Brad, but if you get Samberg than this I want Deschenel for this one.) : NO! No, it can’t be. You’re going to be okay, I promise.
AARON(coughs…or something. I guess cells don’t cough):No. This is the end. I…heh…I guess now at least I’ll get to be popular.
JUSTINE: No. Don’t say it. Please, Aaron, no!
AARON: ‘Cause I’ve gone…viral.
AARON undergoes apoptosis and dies
JUSTINE(Tears falling down her face)(Note: We really need to get a handle on the degree of anthropomorphism in this): Aaron…what a gift you’ve given me. I would have been devastated that you’d died…if that pun hadn’t made me hate you so, so much.
We are in a dark bar. MAJOR HISTOCOMPATIBILITY COMPLEX walks in, clearly out of place. At the back is a shape in a tattered military uniform. It is a former friend of the MAJOR, OTTO IMMUNE.
MAJOR: Hi Otto.
OTTO: Cut the crap. What’s this for? You already took away my medals. My wife left after that, took the kids.
MAJOR: Otto, I understand.
OTTO(Note: Actor should be in full Oscar-bait mode. Someone talk to Nic Cage’s people): NO, you fucking DON’T. My job was to FIGHT THE ENEMY. Then it turns out, turns out that the ENEMY was our own people! OUR OWN PEOPLE! What was I supposed to do?
MAJOR: Otto, you…you nearly shut down the lungs. You attacked HEALTHY CELLS.
Closeup on Otto’s face. Tears of rage stream down.
OTTO: DON’T YOU FUCKING JUDGE ME! HOW MANY CELLS KILLED THEMSELVES FOR YOU!? HUH? AND HEALTHY? HEALTHY CELLS ARE JUST WAITING TO GET SICK!
MAJOR: I see I’ve made a mistake coming here Otto. One more thing: Stay out of this one. Or I’ll be back.
MAJOR HISTOCOMPATIBILITY COMPLEX gets up and puts his hat on like a BADASS before walking out.
(Note: We’re gonna end it here and be all like, artsy or whatever.)
Update: Since writing the script, I’ve submitted it to Hollywood and gotten a response, which I present below:
456 Hollywood Street
California, Probably, USA
Dear Mr. Hodd,
It is not an exaggeration to say that this script is literal garbage. Four of our interns became ill after reading it. I personally threw up when I read the “viral” pun. This may be the thinnest piece of work to come across my desk in the last decade, and I’m the one who greenlit Paul Blart 2.
If you ever contact us, or attempt to send work to us in any form, we will literally have you murdered. I’m talking full-on hitman-follows-you-home-and-strangles-you-in-the-kitchen-with-some-kind-of-black-cable shit. In case you think that won’t happen because it’s breathtakingly illegal, I have taken the liberty of having several legal experts read your script. Once they had finished alternately crying and vomiting blood, they assured me that I would have full immunity should I take this course of action.
John J. Hollywoodman