INT. LIVING ROOM - ELIO'S FLAT - LONDON - NIGHT
ELIO comes stumbling into the apartment. TROYE and PAULINE rush to him, hugging and kissing him. TROYE puts a record on the turntable and the three dance together to
MADONNA'S Express Yourself.
INT. BEDROOM - ELIO'S FLAT - NIGHT
ELIO is reading pages in his journal. He sits at a small desk by the window.
Candles are lit and it continues to rain outside. Both TROYE and PAULINE come in, bringing some tea to ELIO.
Has there been any word?
The LPO won't even say which hospital he's in.
They are bringing in an "interim conductor"
until they can find his replacement.
It all seems rather cold.
They look at ELIO.
I need to find him.
He's got to want to be found...
you won't catch him just sitting alone in a pub somewhere.
ELIO smiles sadly at the reference.
Are you scared?
Yes. (beat) Are you?
You boys are going to be just fine...
ELIO shrugs. No one knows the future.
What happened with the movie-star?
ELIO shakes his head. He can't talk about OLIVER.
I'm going to go see Mercer tomorrow...
if anyone knows where Julien is, he does.
EXT. WESTMINSTER OFFICE - LONDON - DAY
ELIO wears a suit and tie as he enters a posh business Centre building.
The sky is dark gray and threatening.
INT. RECEPTION AREA - WESTMINSTER OFFICE - DAY
Three attractive receptionists are busy answering phones and taking messages.
Hello...I'm here to speak with James Mercer.
Do you have an appointment?
No, but it's urgent I speak with him.
I've just returned to the UK.
Elio Perlman...from the London Philharmonic.
Please have a seat.
ELIO sits patiently for two hours. He watches a grandfather clock, he stares out the window. He writes in his journal. He listens to music.
Finally, a well-dressed man in his sixties comes and sits next to him.
Mr. Perlman...this is an unexpected surprise.
I was sorry to hear about your father.
We thought you were still in Italy.
I'm not. Do you know why I'm here?
I can guess. But I'm really not allowed to
say anything to anyone.
Then you do know where he is...
Well yes, of course I know.(beat)
How long would you have waited for me?
All day, if necessary.
Then I would have followed you home.
The Board can't know that I've told you anything...
they would prefer for the whole matter
to be swept under the rug...
I have no intention of embarrassing the orchestra.
I just need to see him.
I'm only doing this for his sake,
I know you two were close.
I'm sure it will do him good to see a familiar face.
He's in Paris...at the George V.
But that's a hotel, not a hospital.
This is Julien we're talking about.
He's undergoing some experimental treatments...
along with blood transfusions...
ELIO stands and shakes hands with MERCER.
Give him my best. Tell him I miss him.
EXT. CHAMPS-ELYSEES - PARIS - DAY
ELIO runs along the famous Paris street. He is bundled with scarf, hat and long woolen coat. The streets are wet. He approaches the luxurious landmark hotel.
INT. FRONT DESK - GEORGE V HOTEL - PARIS - DAY
Excusez-moi...Pouvez-vous me donner
le numéro de chambre pour monsieur Julien Bristow?
(can you give me the room number of Julien Bristow?)
The refined hotel clerk nods and consults his registry.
Je suis désolé, il n'y a personne de ce nom.
(I'm sorry there is no one by that name)
ELIO looks perplexed.
S'il vous plait...pouvez-vous essayer le nom "Haydn?"
(please can you try the name Haydn?)
Ah, oui, suite 402.
ELIO smiles and thanks the man, heading toward the elevator.
INT. HOTEL HALLWAY - DAY
ELIO smooths down his hair, takes a deep breath and knocks on the door.
JULIEN answers himself, wearing black silk pajamas and a lavishly colored robe.
He looks good.
Elio, how nice of you to drop by.
Please come in.
INT. LIVING ROOM - HOTEL SUITE - DAY
The hotel suite is luxurious, spacious and elegant.
The views of Paris from the balconies and windows are stunning.
A piano sits in the corner near a mahogany bar.
You thought I wouldn't find you?
On the contrary, my boy...
I've been expecting you.
Why are you in this hotel instead of a hospital?
The food here is far superior.
My treatments are done at a clinic close by.
Are they helping?
Of course not...but my doctors are so earnest...
perhaps one day they will help someone, but not me.
There are other doctors, newer
treatments, maybe in America...
Dear Elio. I do love your spirit.
I've already been to Atlanta and San Francisco
and consulted with a score of experts.
No one knows much.
I'm not optimistic at this stage.
ELIO looks noticeably upset.
What will you do?
I suppose I'll have to die...but
enough about me, how are you doing?
I'm fine, Jules.
Well, thank God for that.
I pray you will stay fine. And your music?
ELIO shakes his head.
No, I've been distracted lately.
By your young history professor?
No. All of that is finished.
JULIEN nods and pours some coffee for them both.
I'm sorry to hear that.
I know you fell deeply in love. (beat)
Ah, life and its trapdoors of desire.
ELIO absently wanders to the piano, as if magnetically drawn to it.
Shall I play for you?
Sonata number 14, in C-Sharp Minor,
if you please.
ELIO plays beautifully, allowing the sound to fill the room.
JULIEN smiles, closing his eyes, letting the music wash over him.
EXT. ROOFTOP RESTAURANT - GEORGE V HOTEL - SUNSET
JULIEN has changed into a black cashmere turtleneck and grey cashmere long coat.
ELIO and he sit at a table overlooking the Eiffel Tower and the rest of Paris as the sun sets behind the clouds.
They are eating fresh crab and drinking champagne.
This hotel is amazing.
I'm glad you approve.
You don't look sick.
However the unsightly marks on my back
tell a more sinister story.
I wake up every night in a pool of my own sweat.
Is there anything I can do?
Actually, yes. First, stop feeling sorry for me.
I've lived a marvelous life, better than most
and I have no intention of wasting away,
gasping for my last breath.
I'm far too arrogant for that.
You know, only a small part of life is tragedy,
mostly it's a comedy.
JULIEN reaches into his wallet and pulls out a card. He hands it to ELIO.
The favor you can do for me. I have a foundation which gives scholarships each year to young musicians...
Don't look so surprised. That card is my attorney in Manhattan.
If I die I'd like you to oversee the program. You'll have to go meet them and sign some paperwork. Will you do that for me?
Jules, I'd be honored.
Then it's settled. Now, what about your career? What are your plans?
I haven't any, beyond trying to find another job.
I want to ask you something and I want an honest answer... do you think you could compose an entire symphony?
Absolutely not. That's far beyond my reach.
Well, you're wrong. You can and you shall.
I wouldn't know where to start.
You begin with original pieces you've created...
not your variations. Unique work.
And you build a narrative, literally piece by piece.
They both laugh.
I know people who can help you accomplish this.
My father wanted me to pursue my music in a deeper way...
JULIEN raises his glass to toast.
To the unwritten symphony of Elio Perlman...
EXT. MALTBY STREET - LONDON - DAY
ELIO, TROYE and PAULINE are slowly browsing through the shops of the market street, looking for vintage clothes, records and grabbing some street food. The talk is about JULIEN. The mood is festive and light. The street crowded.
...So, he seemed in good spirits?
He did. It was classic Julien.
He's taking total control of the situation.
I admire that.
But why did he leave the tour,
and the LPO without so much as a word?
He spoke to several members of the Board... Beyond that, he couldn't be bothered.
His treatment came first.
Good for him. If anyone can overcome it, it's Julien.
INT. KINGS ARMS PUB - LONDON - DAY
The trio wander into the corner pub and order ciders. They sit at a table where a television showing the BBC News is on in the background.
So, are you going to audition again for the LPO?
No... it's time I went back to Italy to help my mother and aunt. And I think I'm going to try to compose some music of my own. I'll have to start packing up my flat soon.
I can't afford it anymore.
London won't be the same without you. We've gotten used to your face.
Suddenly a photograph of JULIEN is plastered on the news.
Hey, look! They all turn to watch the television.
INSERT TV SCREEN:
BBC NEWS ANCHOR
...the Maestro's apparent suicide comes after a losing
battle with an undisclosed terminal illness...
He was 47...Mr. Bristow had recently stepped down
as the conductor of the London Philharmonic
after four years as...
They are all stunned into silence. ELIO looks pale.
I can't believe it... I should have stayed with him in Paris...
PAULINE hugs ELIO.
He sent you back to London for a reason.
Do you think he planned to do this all along?
ELIO wipes tears from his eyes.
I know he did. He didn't want to waste away. He didn't want to die a mere shadow of himself...
He loved you, you know. He waited to see you one last time.
Let's go home.
INT. LIVING ROOM - ELIO'S FLAT - NIGHT
They light the fire and also candles. ELIO, PAULINE and even TROYE are unusually quiet.
They are gathering their memories of their mentor, their conductor.
Well, he left life the way he lived it... in control and on his own terms.
I suppose they will hold a huge memorial...
I don't think I can stomach another funeral.
If this disease has its way, we'll be wearing black a lot...
ELIO gets a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne and three glasses out of the kitchen. He pops the bottle open and pours three glasses, heading toward the piano.
Get out your instruments!
PAULINE and TROYE look confused.
We're going to have our own private memorial for him.
They gather their instruments and chairs near the piano.
PAULINE and TROYE situate themselves, playing a few warm up scales.
The Beethoven trio?
Exactly, the Adagio in G Major.
ELIO leads them into BEETHOVEN'S Piano Trio in G Major, Op. 1 No. 2: I.Adagio.
They smile as they concentrate and play the piece.
Allegro vivace!! Play it like you mean it!!
When they finish they are both laughing and crying. They raise their glasses to toast with the Champagne. They laugh.
To the Maestro...a true genius.
And what a bastard.
He once asked me if I was blind, deaf or merely incompetent.
He told me I should be playing pop songs in the subway for tuppence.
He loved every member of the orchestra, you know...
Hmm...some more than others.
Springtime. The Winter has passed.
INT. STUDY - PERLMAN VILLA - DAY
ELIO is listening to music with headphones and a CD player. The books have all been removed. The study is nearly empty. ANNELLA comes in, sorting mail. ELIO removes his headphones.
(handing him mail)
Another letter from those lawyers, you need to fulfill your promise and go meet with them.
What if we all go? Tilda is at her big house in the Hamptons and she is making noise about your birthday...
Mama, not a party.
Vimini really wants one, she'll be eleven. And we should go... to celebrate life.
I'm tired of this big, empty house.
ELIO hugs his mother.
Of course you are right.
EXT. CADWALADER, WICKERSHAM & TAFT OFFICE - MANHATTAN - DAY
ELIO is dressed in a sweater and jeans as he exits a yellow cab.
INT. LAW OFFICE - NEW YORK - DAY
JOHN WELLS, an impeccably dressed attorney meets ELIO in the foyer
and welcomes him into a wood paneled office. He sits behind an imposing desk.
Can we get you anything, Mr. Perlman?
No, thank you. And please call me Elio.
WELLS takes out a large folder and begins to look through the documents.
All right then, down to business. As you know, Mr. Bristow trusted you with
the management of his music scholarship foundation. We need your signature on several documents.
WELLS begins laying out the papers.
We hope that you will continue to use our services here to manage the investments and day to day business.
ELIO nods and signs the papers.
The sale of his London property in Collingham Gardens will greatly boost the solvency of the scholarships for many years to come.
And what exactly will be my responsibilities?
A small committee of musicians like yourself will be making the candidate selections based
on scholarship submissions. You have the final vote.
And now we come to the matter of Mr. Bristow's will and his personal bequeath to you.
Mr. Perlman, uh Elio...Julien Bristow has left a sizable amount of his estate to you, under very specific conditions.
I don't understand. What about his family?
As I understand it, he had no interactions with any family members. He left you this letter which outlines his conditions.
WELLS opens the letter and begins to read aloud, which then becomes the voice of JULIEN:
My dearest Elio, if you are reading this letter then my journey has ended...sooner or later
we all pass away, but music is eternal. You have a rare gift. A passion and a talent that
is singular and so very inspiring. You have made me hear music in new ways.
My wish for you is that you finish your symphony by the time you are 30.
To aid in this endeavor I have contacted my colleagues at Julliard where you can pursue a
Doctor of Musical Arts degree. I've been told that you have already been accepted.
I hope you don't find that too presumptuous. Let them help you, Elio. I have also given you my Upper West Side Brownstone and all its contents as your new home. I hope you will be happy there...I was. The title will transfer to you when your symphony is published.
I wish you well, my boy. Keep being fierce...be fierce for both of us.
ELIO'S eyes are brimming with tears.
I...I don't know what to say.
You must have been very dear to him...but as you can see, his will is a bit unorthodox
because there are very obvious strings attached.
I would expect nothing less from Jules.
According to our records, you will be turning 24 this week, is that correct?
For the sake of your inheritance, I hope you can write a symphony in
the next six years. I take it you will be moving to New York?
I guess that's the plan, Mr.Wells.
EXT. PORTICO - MECOX BAY HOME - NEW YORK - DAY
The huge 19th century estate is TILDA and VIMINI'S getaway residence. It is opulent and beautiful. ANNELLA, MAFALDA and ELIO arrive and are met outside by VIMINI.
Finally! What took you so long to get here?
ELIO picks VIMINI up into the air and spins her around.
Some business in the city. You didn't think I'd miss our birthday, did you?
INT. GRAND HALL - MECOX HOME - DAY
Caters, gardeners, waiters, florists, handymen, and an army of maids and other hired help scurry around the house. A huge white tent is being erected on the great lawn behind the mansion, with the bay sitting picturesquely behind it. ELIO and ANNELLA stare at the construction through the giant windows.
The mansion isn't big enough, you need a tent to throw a party?
Don't rain on my parade...tents are fun.
TILDA kisses ELIO on each cheek.
It seems like only yesterday that you were eleven.
Thank you for all this...extravagance...it really isn't necessary.
Of course it is! By the way,
I spoke to a charming young woman
in your old London flat, she said you were close...
ANNELLA is laughing and shaking her head.
It seemed rude not to invite your friends.
VIMINI is taking photos.
I love the tent, it's like a circus.
You can say that again.
Tomorrow will be fabulous.
INT. PARTY TENT - NEW YORK - DUSK
All the preparations have been made and the estate and tent are immaculate.
Dozens of round tables have been set up with white tablecloths, flowers, hurricane lamps and gold place- settings. A small band plays music from one corner.
Lights have been strung throughout the interior of the tent giving it a glow.
More than a hundred guests are arriving, as waiters circulate with canapés and drinks.
Sister, you have outdone yourself...this is lovely.
Tables at the side of the entrance are stacked with presents for ELIO and VIMINI.
ELIO, in a sweater and jeans, is astounded.
Who are all these people?
I have no idea.
European royalty, Hampton elites. My society crowd.
You and your music are very popular with this set, Elio.
You could find a good wife in here.
(under his breath)
Strangers come up and shake Vimini and Elio's hands, wishing them "Happy Birthday!"
and then fading back into the crowd. MAFALDA doesn't know if she is a guest or part of the staff... finally she just sits down at one of the tables. PAULINE and TROYE arrive, they look amazing. ELIO sees them and hugs them tightly.
Happy birthday, my love!
I can't believe you guys crossed the Atlantic just for my birthday.
We'd have been here sooner if we'd have known you came from this kind of money.
This is my aunt's estate...
We thought we might audition for a few
of the east coast orchestras while we are over here.
The Boston Pops pay twice what we were
making from the LPO.
ELIO brings VIMINI over.
I want you to meet my cousin... it's really her birthday we're celebrating.
VIMINI greets them. TILDA and ANNELLA also say hello.
We want to thank you for having us over, Mrs....
Just call me Tilda.
And you are more than welcome.
Everyone is dancing, eating and having a grand time.
TILDA is famous for throwing interesting parties.
A huge cake is wheeled out onto the dance floor by three waiters.
Dozens of candles brightly burn.
ELIO and VIMINI are persuaded to the floor next to the cake as everyone sings,
Together they manage to blow out all the candles.
People yell, "Speech, speech!!"
So ELIO takes a microphone and hands it to VIMINI.
Thank you! This is the best party I've ever had. No one ever knows how many birthdays they're going to get, so each one should be special. And I'll remember this one for the rest of my life. Elio, you speak now.
She hands the microphone to ELIO.
Wow, well, I don't have much to add. I don't know most of you, but I'm glad we're all here together. It's been a difficult winter for me, I've lost people that I loved.
But spring is finally here, and my cousin is right...we should celebrate life...
TILDA begins encouraging the crowd.
Play something for us!
Everyone begins to clap. Sheepishly, ELIO walks to the band and sits at the piano,
shaking the other musicians hands.
I do have an announcement actually...
I'll be staying in New York and studying at Julliard...
so I hope I get to know many of you in the coming months.
I've been so lucky to have had people in my life who
believed in me...
so, I'm going to try to make my own music...
so often it seems there is a twisted staircase
between who we are and what we want...
Anyway, I think I'll play some Gershwin since my aunt loves it!
ELIO plays GERSHWIN, Rhapsody in Blue.
As the crowd watches him, he gets that old premonition.
He looks up while he is playing and sees OLIVER coming in from the back of the tent.
He is holding his son and his wife, DAKOTA holds his hand.
As ELIO finishes the song to great applause, VIMINI goes running to OLIVER.
You came! I'm so glad. I've missed you so much.
OLIVER bends down and gives VIMINI a hug and a kiss. He whispers to her.
I think the doctors have got it wrong about you...
you're going to live to be a beautiful old lady...
just like your mother.
He introduces his wife and son to those nearby. He hugs and kisses ANNELLA.
How are you holding up?
Caro, I'm stronger than I look.
Of that I am sure.
ELIO begins wandering toward them.
(whispering to Pauline)
Here's where it gets awkward.
Elio, look who came to our party!
Elio! Happy birthday!
This is my wife Dakota and our son, Luke.
ELIO kisses DAKOTA on both cheeks... he then bends down and shakes LUKE'S small hand.
It's nice to finally meet you. Your family is the stuff of myth and legend in our house.
ELIO smiles weakly.
Thank you for coming. You have a beautiful family. Would you excuse me please?
ELIO begins to move through the crowd toward the exit. OLIVER motions to the group to stay back and he follows ELIO out.
EXT. PARTY TENT - NEW YORK - NIGHT
They are alone, outside the tent, looking at the bay. Small lamps light the lawn.
Was it wrong to come? It seemed to mean a lot to Vimini.
I wondered if I'd ever see you again.
My stalking days aren't over yet. So, 24?
I'm the same age you were when we first met.
If you have become me, then who have I become?
They HUG tightly, not wanting to ever let go.
She's more beautiful then I thought she'd be...
She's smart, and funny and she amazes me every day...
I'm happy for you, really, I am.
I think about you all the time.
INT. PARTY TENT - NEW YORK - NIGHT
They go back inside. ELIO drinks some Champagne. OLIVER has gone to VIMINI.
They begin to dance a waltz, VIMINI'S feet on top of OLIVER'S. DAKOTA corners ELIO.
Come on, let's dance.
She grabs his hand and pulls him close.
I may smash your toes.
I'm used to it. (beat) You know, I really wanted to hate you.
Then why did you come tonight?
I was curious.
I wondered about you too. I see why he fell in love.
So do I. (beat) Can I tell you something, just between us?
He's a better man because of you. A better husband, and a better father.
He was so broken, and he came back home restored. So, maybe I owe you and your family a debt.
They stop dancing.
There is a law somewhere that says when one person is truly smitten, the other must
unavoidably be smitten as well... that love answers a call, and exempts no one who is loved from loving, so I am to blame for Oliver...
Hmmm, fascinating. You need to stick to the music because that little philosophy is ridiculous.
ELIO laughs. He is amazed by this woman.
Most people are rather impressed when I bring up some tidbit of ancient philosophy.
You and Oliver are so much alike.
That may be the kindest thing anyone has ever said to me.
It wasn't a compliment, Sweetie.
OLIVER comes over...he carries a package.
My greatest fear is that the two of you would become thick as thieves.
He hands the package to ELIO.
Here. I didn't want this to get lost in that mountain of presents. Happy Birthday!
Is this what I think it is?
An advance copy. All three of us are authors. The Art History of King David.
ELIO hugs OLIVER again.
He would have been so proud.
He was Elio, he was.
VIMINI rushes to them.
Come on you guys! It's about to start.
The crowd makes their way out to the great lawn as fireworks light up the sky
above the bay. It's a huge birthday celebration.
God, can I throw a party!
ELIO lights a cigarette for himself. OLIVER takes a puff from it.
I thought you didn't smoke.
I don't. (beat) Dakota is pregnant again, so no more smoking in our house.
Thank you. By the way, "A twisted staircase between what we want..."
Shut up. I read that somewhere.
Your wife is already calling me out on my bullshit philosophies...
Yeah. She does that.
I like her. I wish my father had met her.
OLIVER grabs his son and puts him on his shoulders. Everyone is enjoying the fireworks.
I told you he'd want to see you again.
You really are a genius.
So they say.
You know, Julliard is pretty close to Columbia.
Really? I hadn't noticed.