Tuesday, August 28, 2007
LEARNING TO SING : THE CLAY AIKEN STORY
A Lifetime Original Movie
Based on the memoir “Learning to Sing” by Clay Aiken and Alison Glock
Starring Dakota Fanning as Young Clay Grissom
kd lang as Clay Aiken, beginning at age 20
Dee Wallace Stone as Faye Parker
Christopher Walken as Ray Parker
and Miss Michael Learned as Elizabeth Campbell
Directed by Alan Smithee
[Wide angle evening shot of the Hollywood Bowl. Searchlights scan the skies and thousands of people move, like tiny ants, toward the arena. The camera swoops in on a lighted sign that says “CLAY AIKEN -- AMERICAN IDOL RUNNER-UP -- ONE NIGHT ONLY.” A fabric banner is looped across this sign saying, “SOLD OUT!” Note: the banner should cover the words “runner-up,” as per Mr. Aiken’s contract with the Lifetime Network.]
MALE VOICEOVER: Five minutes, Mr. Aiken.
CLAY: Thanks, Dave.
[We are in the dressing room of superstar Clay Aiken. He is sitting in an easy chair looking through an old scrapbook. He smiles down at a picture of himself and Ruben Studdard at the American Idol finale. Note: the picture in question should in no way indicate that Clay actually lost this contest, as per Mr. Aiken’s contract with the Lifetime Network. Clay turns the page and smiles with embarrassment at a picture of himself with a curly permanent, on stage with a country group. He turns the page again and sees an old, sepia picture of himself as a seven-year-old child. He has a black eye and a bloody nose. The photograph begins to waver and dissolve, fading into a flashback scene:}
BULLY #1: No, you can’t play with us. You’re skinny like a scarecrow!
BULLIES #2 and #3: Scarecrow, scarecrow!
BULLY #1: And you got big ears.
CLAY: But Mama says the bigger your ears are, the better you can hear the angels sing.
BULLY #1: And your mama ain’t got no husband!
BULLIES #2 and #3: No husband, no husband.
BULLY #1: And you don’t got no daddy either!
CLAY: Do too! I got a sperm donor daddy in Nashville, plus Daddy Jesus and Grandpa God in Heaven above!
[Clay begins to flail against the bullies, who immediately blacken his eye, bloody his nose, throw him on the ground, jump up and down on his chest, smash his legs with a baseball bat, and then mess up his red hair by giving him a dutch rub. An older woman, wearing an apron comes running out of a nearby house.]
ELIZABETH CAMPBELL: Boys, boys!
[The bullies all run away. Elizabeth helps Clay get up and dusts off his clothing.]
ELIZABETH: Clayton Grissom! What is going on here?
CLAY (crying): They said...I had...big ears...and looked like a scarecrow...and don’t have a daddy..... Mrs. Campbell, why are boys such mean bullies?
ELIZABETH: Well, in all my years as a music teacher over at the high school, I learned that, with a lot understanding and kindness, a bully can sometimes turn into a friend.
(Interior shot, as Elizabeth cleans Clay’s wounds with iodine.)
ELIZABETH: There -- good as new! Why, aren’t you a handsome little charmer. Someday all the girls will be chasing you.
CLAY: Girls are icky.
ELIZABETH: You may change your mind about that someday! (She appraises him.) Or maybe not. Now come into the kitchen and let’s make some cookies.
CLAY: Can I wear your apron? And use your electric mixer? And roll out the dough?
[Elizabeth freezes, then turns around slowly.]
ELIZABETH: Say that again.
CLAY: Can I wear your apron?
ELIZABETH: No, the last word.
[Elizabeth goes to the piano and plays the scales and Clay sings along: “Do re mi fa so la ti do.”]
ELIZABETH (blotting her eyes with the hem of her apron): Son, you have an extraordinary gift!
VOICEOVER FROM CLAY: That was how it all began. In the living room of an elderly music teacher in Raleigh, North Carolina. I’ll never forget the hours we spent together that autumn, as Mrs. Campbell helped me perfect my talent.
[There follows a montage of scenes, in which young Clay performs a variety of songs while Elizabeth accompanies him on the piano. First he is shown singing the scales, then tentatively trilling, “We were sailing along on Moonlight Bay. You could hear the voices ringing, they seemed to say....”
In the next shot he seems more confident, strutting around the piano with his thumbs tucked in his pants' pockets as he sings, “When that midnight choo-choo leaves for Alabam!” (ELIZABETH: Alabam, Alabam!) CLAY: I’ll be right there! (ELIZABETH: Where’ll you be, where’ll you be?) CLAY: I’ve got my fare!
The mood changes and now we see a much more serious Clay standing on a stool singing, “...the truth is, I never left you! All through my wild days, my mad existence. I kept my promise; don’t keep your distance....” The montage ends and we see CLAY and ELIZABETH sitting beside each other on the piano bench.]
ELIZABETH: Clayton, I think you are ready to ‘wow’ even your biggest bullies at the school talent show.
CLAY: You think so?
ELIZABETH: I know you can do it! And I am going to buy a ticket to see it!
CLAY (eagerly): Can you buy eight tickets?
[An exterior shot shows CLAY, dressed as Uncle Sam, running down the street on his way to the talent show. He stops in front of Elizabeth’s house, where an ambulance is taking out a body on a stretcher. He stops to listen to two neighbor women.]
NEIGHBOR #1: It was her heart, poor thing.
NEIGHBOR #2: The only thing keeping her alive these last few months were the music lessons she was giving that Grissom boy. She said he was the most talented youngster she’d ever encounter.
[Close-up of Clay’s tear-stained face. Then we hear the voice of ELIZABETH: “Son, you have an extraordinary gift” ... “I know you can do it!” Clay smiles and runs toward the school with renewed confidence. The focus now shifts to the stage of the school auditorium where Clay is in the middle of his “Uncle Sam” number.]
CLAY: --got a Yankee Doodle sweetheart, she’s my Yankee Doodle joy! Yankee Doodle went to London just to ride the ponies! I am that Yankee Doodle, I am that Yankee Doodle, I am that Yankee Doodle Boy!”
[He dances off stage and the crowd erupts with applause -- especially the three young bullies who are now sitting in the front row, cheering and occasionally wiping away tears.]
[Medium shot of Clay outside his dressing room holding the large trophy he won in the contest and a bouquet of roses. The three bullies approach him.]
BULLY #1: We’re sorry we picked on you before. Can we be friends with you now?
[Clay looks at them and begins to shake his head no, then hears the words of ELIZABETH in a voiceover: “With a lot understanding and kindness, a bully can sometimes turn into a friend.” He then nods.]
BULLY #2: Can you teach us to sing like you?
CLAY: It’s not that hard. You just have to use your voice for good things instead of using your fists for bad things!
BULLY #3: And will you teach us to dance?
CLAY: It’s easy...just shuffle like this...good, good. Now quarter turn, quarter turn. Now you’ve got it!
[The camera pulls back on Clay and the three bullies dancing, as CLAY speaks in voice-over: I had learned my first lessons. Using my voice had opened new doors for me. Old women would do anything for me. And sometimes bullies do become friends....)
To be continued.
Posted by Calliyuck at 6:43 AM