You mean you haven’t asked him yet? For Christ sake, Thelma, is he your husband or your father?
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The film script is no different from a novel. The first 10 pages must set up the story and prepare for conflict, a significant twist. The first 10 pages must also ask a really good question or two.

“THELMA & LOUISE” by Callie Khouri delivers the significant question pretty much straight off. Louise asks: “You mean you haven’t asked him yet? For Christ sake, Thelma, is he your husband or your father?”

The question sets up the getaway, the need to run away on a fun road trip, an adventure. Thelma’s suffocating, boring home life would make anyone want to run, we’re willing her on. We’re involved before the girls even get in the car.

FADE IN:

INT. RESTAURANT – MORNING (PRESENT DAY)

LOUISE is a waitress in a coffee shop. She is in her early-
thirties, but too old to be doing this. She is very pretty
and meticulously groomed, even at the end of her shift. She
is slamming dirty coffee cups from the counter into a bus
tray underneath the counter. It is making a lot of RACKET,
which she is oblivious to. There is COUNTRY MUZAK in the
b.g., which she hums along with.

INT. THELMA’S KITCHEN – MORNING

THELMA is a housewife. It’s morning and she is slamming
coffee cups from the breakfast table into the kitchen sink,
which is full of dirty breakfast dishes and some stuff left
from last night’s dinner which had to “soak”. She is still
in her nightgown. The TV is ON in the b.g.

From the kitchen, we can see an incomplete wallpapering
project going on in the dining room, an obvious “do-it-
yourself” attempt by Thelma.

INT. RESTAURANT – MORNING

Louise goes to the pay phone and dials a number.

INT. THELMA’S KITCHEN – MORNING

Phone RINGS. Thelma goes over to answer it.

THELMA
(hollering)
I got it! Hello.

INT. RESTAURANT – MORNING

LOUISE
(at pay phone)
I hope you’re packed, little
housewife, ’cause we are outta her
tonight.

INT. THELMA’S KITCHEN – MORNING

THELMA
Well, wait now. I still have to ask
Darryl if I can go.

LOUISE (V.O.)

You mean you haven’t asked him yet?
For Christ sake, Thelma, is he your
husband or your father? It’s just
two days. For God’s sake, Thelma.
Don’t be a child. Just tell him
you’re goin’ with me, for cryin’ out
loud. Tell him I’m havin’ a nervous
breakdown.

Thelma has the phone tucked under her chin, as she cuts out
coupons from the newspaper and pins them on a bulletin board
already covered with them. We see various recipes torn out
from women’s magazines along the lines of “101 Ways to Cook
Pork.”

THELMA
He already thinks you’re out of your
mind, Louise, that don’t carry much
weight with Darryl. Are you at work?

LOUISE (V.O.)

No, I’m callin’ from the Playboy
Mansion.

THELMA
I’ll call you right back.

Thelma goes through the living room to the bottom of the
stairs and leans on the banister.

THELMA
Darryl! Honey, you’d better hurry
up.

DARRYL comes trotting down the stairs. Polyester was made
for this man, and he’s dripping in “men’s” jewelry. He
manages a Carpeteria.

DARRYL
Damnit, Thelma, don’t holler like
that! Haven’t I told you I can’t
stand it when you holler in the
morning.

THELMA
I’m sorry, Doll, I just didn’t want
you to be late.

Darryl is checking himself out in the hall mirror, and

it’s obvious he likes what he sees. He exudes over-confidence
for reasons that never become apparent. He likes to think
of himself as a real lady killer.

He is making imperceptible adjustments to his over-moussed
hair. Thelma watches approvingly.

THELMA
Hon.

DARRYL
What.

THELMA
(she decides not to
tell him)
Have a good day at work today.

DARRYL
Uh-huh.

THELMA
Hon?

DARRYL
What?!

THELMA
You want anything special for dinner?

DARRYL
No, Thelma, I don’t give a shit what
we have for dinner. I may not even
make it home for dinner. You know
how Fridays are.

THELMA
Funny how so many people wanna buy
carpet on a Friday night. You’d
almost think they’s want to forget
about it for the weekend.

DARRYL
Well then, it’s a good thing you’re
not regional manager and I am.

He’s finally ready. He walks to the door and gives Thelma
the most perfunctory kiss on the cheek.

THELMA
‘Bye, honey. I won’t wait up.

DARRYL
See ya.

Darryl leaves. We see his Corvette parked out front. As he
closes the front door, Thelma leans against it.

THELMA
He’s gonna shit.

Thelma laughs to herself. She goes back into the kitchen
and picks up the phone and dials it.

INT. RESTAURANT – MORNING

The pay phone on the wall RINGS. ALBERT, a busboy in his
50’s, answers.

ALBERT
Good morning. Why, yes, she is. Is
this Thelma? Oh, Thelma, when you
gonna run away with me?

Louise comes over and takes the phone out of his hand.

LOUISE
(to Albert)
Not this weekend, sweetie, she’s
runnin’ away with me.
(into phone)
Hi. What’d he say?

THELMA (V.O.)
What time are you gonna pick me up?

LOUISE
You’re kiddin’! Alright! I’ll be
there around two or three.

THELMA (V.O.)
What kind of stuff do I bring?

LOUISE

I don’t know. Warm stuff, I guess.
It’s the mountains. I guess it gets
cold at night. I’m just gonna bring
everything.

THELMA (V.O.)
Okay. I will, too.

LOUISE
And steal Darryl’s fishin’ stuff.

THELMA (V.O.)
I don’t know how to fish, Louise.

LOUISE
Neither do I, Thelma, but Darryl
does it, how hard can it be? I’ll
see you later. Be ready.

They both hang up.

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