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Pay It Forward: The Director's Cut

posted by Paul on 4/05/02

Fade In:

KEVIN SPACEY is standing in front of a class full of children. All eyes are fixed upon him

KEVIN SPACEY: Hi Kids. I'm your new social studies teacher. Oscar-winner, acting superstar, sexually ambiguous... Kevin Spacey. You may remember me from such classics as The Usual Suspects, where I played a sarcastic criminal mastermind, or American Beauty, where I played a sarcastic suburban loser. You will grow to love my sardonic wit and skilled acting method. In this movie, I play a sarcastic, facially scarred teacher. But with a twist! Does anyone know the meaning of "cliche"?

The children look blank. Kevin Spacey writes "cliche" on the blackboard.

KEVIN SPACEY: As your first assignment, I want you all to look up the meaning of that word. I want you to know it, to explain it and to be able to use it. Cliche is the most important device in Hollywood today. It will serve you well. Now, does anyone know the meaning of "manipulative"?

No takers.

KEVIN SPACEY: You must know the meaning of that word too. Since this is a Hollywood movie, and I'm playing a teacher, you must know that I'm not just an everyday schmuck. No, I'm not just in this profession for the money and mild power trips, I actually want to change your lives. You will grow to be influenced by me and I have a sneaky feeling in my groin that the Academy will honor my desperate ploy for Oscar recognition. Any questions?

KID:Can I leave? You're freaking me out.

KEVIN SPACEY: Great question! Well, I was just getting onto that. Your project this year requires you to think of ways to make the world a better place. And trust me, as tempting as it is, I'm not asking you to assassinate Aaron Carter (laughs).

AARON CARTER: Hey! I find that upsetting. You can't judge a guy until you've speant a day in his short-shorts!

KEVIN SPACEY:Ahem, ok. For once my sarcastic humor has backfired. Back to my point....There are some things I want you to ponder: What if the world is just a big disappointment? Why am I involved in this project? Can I go home? These are all pertinent questions and will surely be answered in the last ten minutes. I want you to think long and hard about... these questions and whether Tom Cruise has nice teeth. I don't think I'm asking too much, but if you don't try to change the world, you'll fail this year. Fail, Fail, Fail! Now, go away and brainstorm.

Haley Joel Osment leaves the classroom. He's wearing nothing but a sleeveless T-Shirt, which suggests he's either deep white trash or deeply homosexual. Hmm, raunchy! Actually, he's also wearing other clothes. Shit, I hate writing descriptive paragraphs. Haley Joel Osment is gay and considerate, ok?

HALEY JOEL OSMENT: I'm a deep young man who thinks deeply about the world. Now, how can I change it? Well, I could popularize tank tops and make them a fashion statement not synomynous with homosexuality.... Hey, there's a tramp.

The tramp is quite friendly, and beyond his make-up dirt, quite handsome.

HALEY JOEL OSMENT: Would you like somewhere to stay tonight? You look decent and generous and I figure that if I do you a favor, you'll help someone in return. Wait a sec! I can change the world. If I help you, you need to help three other people, then it will quickly spread and the world will be a much better place. Just like Tyler Durden said! Want some soap?

NICK NOLTE: Go away, kid. I don't need your help or your acidic soap. I'm veteran actor and all-around grinch, Nick Nolte. I'm just out here looking for my shoes and analyzing skip content. Leave me alone!

HALEY JOEL OSMENT: Well, what about that tramp beside you?

JAMES CAVIEZEL: I'll go with you. My life's kind of been on the skids lately. Russell Crowe raped my dog, beat me up and stole my wife. Sure, once the press found out, he called me and talked about the making of A Beautiful Mind, but the damage was done. Seeing the poor thing crawling on the floor, crying at night and bleeding from the ass for about a week is an image that tortures me nightly. And the dog is in no fit state either! I'm a broken man. I don't want to be another Downey Junior, sucking ass and playing Ally's love interest. I'll re-build my life, I'll get back on the high road, I'll pay it forward, baby!

Haley and James walk off, hand-in hand.

Helen Hunt is in the strip club. A strip club which evidently employs blue-haired forty year olds with big foreheads.

HELEN HUNT: My life sucks! I hate my life! I also cover myself in gaudy make-up to shield my face! I have a heart, dammit!

HORNY CUSTOMER: I'm not shoving dollar bills down your panties for you to talk or act like you have a role! I get that for free at home. Just dance and smile that my chubby fingers are paying your bills.

HELEN HUNT: I better go call my son.

Helen goes to call Haley:

HELEN HUNT: Hi Haley, how was your day?

HALEY JOEL OSMENT: Great! I met my socially inept teacher, who inspired me to change the world. So, I picked up a vagrant off the street and we're eating coco krispies. How was your day?

HELEN HUNT: Ah, the usual. Dancing on poles, having assholes paw and ridicule me and being demeaned frequently. Pretty good, really. I haven't touched a drop of vodka either. Remember your promise?

HALEY JOEL OSMENT: No more mentions of Twister or picking up strange guys? Shit, sorry.

HELEN HUNT: No. You promised you'd stop trying on Mommy's underwear if I cut down on the boozing. See ya later, honey. I love you so much I'm gonna change!

Helen Hunt comes home and is alarmed to find James Caviezel in her garage.

JAMES CAVIEZEL: I'm sorry, I can go. I'm sure you hate the smell of stale cheese stinking up your garage.

HELEN HUNT: I was just stunned. It's not every day I find a Hollywood star sprawled out in my garage. Apart from that time Kelsey Grammar crashed his car into the wall. Please stay. Let me wash the horrible thought of Kelsey Grammar down with some tried and trusted Vodka. You want some?

JAMES CAVIEZEL: I prefer Breezers. Vodka makes me poop.

HELEN HUNT: I wasn't talking about the drink!

JAMES CAVIEZEL: Good god no. I may be homeless and mildly desperate, but I think I'd rather "pay it back" now. Here, give this KY Jelly and leather mask back to your son. It was a lovely gesture, but I just won't be using them...anymore. I think I'd rather pay it forward by saving suicide candidates. Hey, you wouldn't happen to have Freddie Prinze's number?

HELEN HUNT: Freddie Prinze Junior's number is freely available in any rest-stop.

JAMES CAVIEZEL: I don't want Junior!

HELEN HUNT: Oh! You better sit down. I have some bad news...

HALEY JOEL OSMENT: My plan basically goes like this: Help a person and tell them that they have to help three others to continue the chain. You have to do something nice for someone and they'll continue the goodness factor. In reality, people are only out for themselves, are untrustworthy and deeply cynical, but those inconveniences aside, I see no reason why this can't work.

KEVIN SPACEY: Well done, Haley, you've shown that you stuck to the task at hand. Your idea is novel and cool and you have nice hair. I'm giving you a strong pass and inappropriate student-teacher attention. Have you ever been to a bar with only guys?


KEVIN SPACEY: No, me neither. But it'd be cool, wouldn't it? All that rippling flesh, tight buttocks and sailor s....Sorry, trailed off a bit there. Too much net access for me, I think! Your mother must be proud of you, son. I can't wait until parent-teacher meeting where I can sleazily flirt with grown-ups under the guise of "concern". I mean, well done. Kids, I'm going to the bathroom for ten minutes. Where can a guy with self-hatred and a burned face get laid?

A kid raises her hand.


KEVIN SPACEY: And where would one find this mysterious "AOL"? Screw it, might as well come clean. This project has nothing to do with changing the world and everything to do with me getting some action. Say, do any of you have any single parents?

HALEY JOEL OSMENT: Will you be my daddy?

Helen Hunts enters the classroom and stands next to Kevin Spacey, who is talking to Haley.

HELEN HUNT: What did you say to my son to make him bring a kooky Hollywood actor into my home? And hi, we've never met.

KEVIN SPACEY: Hi! I simply told your son that he should strive to change the world. You must be very proud of your son. He's oddly mature and grounded for his years.

HALEY JOEL OSMENT: Thanks, you two should get together! I'm paying it forward!

HELEN HUNT: How dare you try to make a difference in my son's life! You make me so mad, I need two bottles of vodka to forget about this mess.

KEVIN SPACEY: Why, that's got to be a wonderful influence for the boy. It explains a lot. The gay tendancies, the need for a strong father figure, the fact that he tries to shove pencils in his eyes every time I play "Livin' on A Prayer".

HELEN HUNT: Ok, so you're a deeply insecure, nasty-looking man with no social skills and you're insulting someone you don't even know? Where do you think you are? The Internet?

KEVIN SPACEY: No, if I was on the internet, I'd be asking you on a date.

HELEN HUNT: And I'd accept. Let's go on that date. Maybe if we get to know each other a bit better, we'll find that we can give each other a lot.

Kevin Spacey smiles sleazily.

HALEY JOEL OSMENT: Yippee! I see gullible people!

KEVIN SPACEY:... so that explains why I refuse to divulge my sexuality. Let's hope it doesn't leak out to the press. Your turn.

HALEY JOEL OSMENT: I'm ready to tell you my secret now..

KEVIN SPACEY: (licks lips) I've been waiting for this moment all my life...

HALEY JOEL OSMENT: I set up the pay it forward scheme just to get you and my Mom hooked up. Also, I'm wearing crotchless panties.

KEVIN SPACEY: That's not such a bad secret, quite exciting actually, but the revelation about pay it forward disappoints me. What color? I mean, would you like me to be your father figure?

HALEY JOEL OSMENT: You already are. I guess the hidden message of "pay it forward" is that if you help someone out, you'll get laid. That, or we all need good role models. My Mom is typecast white trash and my real dad was in an 80's hair band. It doesn't exactly inspire virility. Perhaps you can set me straight, so to speak.

KEVIN SPACEY: I love your Mom and I love pay it forward! To the "pay it forward" mobile!

HELEN HUNT: You make me very happy, Kevin. Your intense insecurity and guardeness is cute.

KEVIN SPACEY: Don't tell me how sorry you are!

HELEN HUNT: What? I didn't say I was sorry. I said I'm happy with you.

KEVIN SPACEY: You're only saying that because I'm burnt and unattractive. Stay away from me! Stay away from me!

HELEN HUNT: Just let me touch you! What are you afraid of? If you keep pushing me away, your heart will get run over by a bus, land on the sidewalk and hobble up Lonely Avenue. You may be burned on the outside, but you'll sizzle on the inside if you keep resisting me. Shit, you know what, I'm out of cliches!

KEVIN SPACEY: Honey, I'm sorry, you know I get edgy when Haley watches WWF television. It's just so poisonous to my brain and the commentators keep talking about that burned wrestler. How would you feel if you were made to feel like a freak every day of your life?

HELEN HUNT: I was in "Mad About You". I know all about humiliation. Why do you think I hit the bottle? Now, let's go into the other room and you can show me that big seared body of yours. We've waited too long!

They go into the other room, lie on the bed. Helen removes Kevin's shirt and is horrified by the image of sizzled flesh.

HELEN HUNT: Hmm, on second thoughts, let's make dinner. Is that the time already? Goodness, I must dash. See ya!

Helen dashes out the door..

KEVIN SPACEY: My tongue wasn't damaged in the fire! Tongue? Tongue? Helen? Where's my underwear? Helen? Shit!

HELEN HUNT: What are you doing here? I thought you were making moves on your little "lawyer"... Ally.

JON BON JOVI Look, cut down on the referential humor. I'm back and I want you. Let's say that little show...of, erm, love didn't really work out for me. Besides, David E. Kelley wanted me to lose half my body weight and I'm not losing THESE pretty locks.

HELEN HUNT: I've kind of met someone. We hooked up in a very unrealistic way. We don't have much in common or a tremendous amount of chemistry, but he's a sensitive guy and he's good to Haley. They're outside down naked bareback riding. Have a look.

Bon Jovi glances into the garden and sees the two guys frolicking.

JON BON JOVI Interesting. I know you've always wanted to date a burns victim, but after the midget experiment I thought you might want to go back to normal. Get rid of Max Cady over there and I promise I'll make this work. And if all else fails, I'll start touring again. Deal?

HELEN HUNT: I feel you won't change, but I'm easy. So, sure. Besides, you have pretty hair.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the pay it forward scheme is working fantastically. Puck just paid Pedro back by leaving some peanut butter by his tomb. Now, Pedro has to help three other people. Doh!

HELEN HUNT: I just want to do the right thing.

KEVIN SPACEY: Don't tell me how sorry you are!

HELEN HUNT: I'm not going to. I'm not sorry. You're scary and slightly abnormal. Sorry you got burned. Again.

KEVIN SPACEY: You're making a big mistake, you know. Little backstory here. It'll look good in the Oscar package. Back when I was a teenager my father used to beat my Mom and force me to watch Knots Landing. Well, a guy can only take so much William Devane, so one day when I was a lot bigger and braver, I told my dad that enough was enough. Do you know what he did?

HELEN HUNT: Set you on fire?

KEVIN SPACEY: He took me outside and he....ask me.

HELEN HUNT: He set you on fire?

KEVIN SPACEY: He sat me pushed me up against the wall. Then, he took some lighter fuel. Ask me?

HELEN HUNT: He set you on fire?

KEVIN SPACEY: He gave me a choice. I could burn my collection of Barbies or I could leave the house. Well, there was no way he was going to continue to abuse us. So I punched him and he kicked me in the scrotum. It made me deeply sarcastic and adopt a disinterested, slightly lofty vocal style. Do you know how much that's scarred me? I'm typecast because of that guy.

HELEN HUNT: What happened to your face? How did you get burned?

KEVIN SPACEY: Oh, that. I just made good on a promise that I'd set myself on fire if Gwyneth Paltrow was ever respected as an actress. What can I say? It was Oscar night and I was pissed. Guess I was a little premature... Point is, Jon Bon Jovi is going to destroy Haley's life. Me, I have no problem with Haley playing with dolls. Plus, what sort of role model is a rock star? Haven't you seen that Osbornes documentary? Do you want that to be your life?

HALEY JOEL OSMENT: We really miss you. Much less skin tissue around the house.

KEVIN SPACEY: I really miss you guys, too, but being dumped for Jon Bon Jovi doesn't sit easily with me. She made her choice. Looks like sarcasm is my only friend again. How...fitting.

HALEY JOEL OSMENT: He's gone! Mom told him to stop inviting Richie Sambora round, so he got mad and left. Plus, he tried to set me on fire. Ah, well. What are you gonna do? That's rock stars for you.

KEVIN SPACEY: As long as the Barbies are safe.

HALEY JOEL OSMENT: It seems my social science experiment is working a treat. Hollywood has managed to pay the cinemagoing public back by abandoning plans for Rollerball 2, which has reduced the suicide rates by 50%. Plus, Jay Mohr got a car just for making fun of The Rock. He's followed the pay it forward movement a long time, traced it to me and is going to interview me. I think this a big turning point. I'm going to have such a long, wonderful life and I want you and my Mom to hook up.

Haley's classroom. Day. Crickets chirp. Jay Mohr sets up the television cameras and fixes a microphone in front of Haley.

JAY MOHR: Tell us a little bit about Pay It Forward. Why did you start it? What inspired you? How can a movie so oscar-packaged earn nothing but sneers? The people need to know, and my character needs some fleshing.

HALEY JOEL OSMENT: If you do a good deed for someone, they have to pay three people in return. The deeds have to be big. I figured that it involved people being good. It was a wonderful premise for a movie.

JAY MOHR: What a remarkable young man you are. I bet your Mom is really proud.

HALEY JOEL OSMENT: Actually, she's really drunk. She used to be a Bon Jovi groupie... I couldn't have done this without my teacher, Kevin Spacey. I just want the world to be a better, nicer place. Everyone should be nice and give. It can start by giving me an Oscar.

Jay Mohr turns to the camera.

JAY MOHR: There you have it. One young man's quest for improvement has created a movement. What are YOU gonna do, cynical public? My advice? Run. That's and give someone you love a big hug!


Haley Joel Osment is very satisfied with himself and is walking around the school playground. His friend is walking close by. Three "bullies" start harrassing his friend for money. They give him wedgies and a wet willy (so to speak). Haley comes to the rescue (so to speak). We care (so to speak)

HALEY JOEL OSMENT: Hey! Discrimination is so wrong! Can't you guys all just get along? Go pay it forward, or something.

BULLY: I'd be happy to pay it forward.

The bully reaches for his knife and stabs Haley.

BULLY: That's for stealing my sister's barbies!

HALEY JOEL OSMENT: (clutching his sides and braething deeply) I see...lights! I see...dead people! I see... an overplayed finale where people mourn my death and Mom and Kevin finally get together! I see terrible reviews! I see... ouch.

Haley dies. Kevin and Helen get together. Everyone gathers around in a mile-long circle and holds a candlelit vigil for poor Haley. Suicide rates increase by 50%. Rollerball 2 is back on schedule.

The End

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