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Basquiat Movie Script

Writer(s) : Julian Schnabel

Genres : Drama

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BLACK

We HEAR "Waltzing Matilde," by Tom Waits.


INT. MUSEUM OF MODERN ART - DAY (DREAM SEQUENCE IN GRAINY BLACK
AND WHITE)

Fade out music.

Silence.

A well-dressed black BOY and his MOTHER walk through several
galleries.

They stand before Picasso's "Guernica," holding hands.

The mother is disturbed. Crying.

The boy looks up, confused and frightened, concerned to see his
mother crying in public. She looks at him tenderly.

Her brow furrows. She stops crying. She stares just above his
eyes.

Something's happening: she looks with wonder at the top of his
head... his eyes roll upward, trying to see - it's a crown!

He raises his hands. He touches it.

A beam of light illuminates the crown, casting its glow on his
mother's face.

The beam gets whiter, the rest of the screen gets black.


INT. CARDBOARD BOX

Silence. In darkness, we hear a VOICE - imbued with a sense of
its own history:

                      VOICE (O.S.)
           Everybody wants to get on the Van Gogh
           boat. There's no trip so horrible that
           someone won't take it. The idea of the
           unrecognized genius slaving away in a
           garret is a deliciously foolish one. We
           must credit the life of Vincent Van Gogh
           for really sending this myth into orbit.
           How many pictures did he sell? One? He
           couldn't give them away. We are so ashamed
           of his life that the rest of art history
           will be retribution for Van Gogh's neglect.
           No one wants to be part of a generation
           that ignores another Van Gogh.

The beam of light shines through a small hole. It falls upon a
sleeping, dreaming, delighted face. It belongs to JEAN MICHEL
BASQUIAT.

OUTDOOR, DAYTIME SOUNDS filter in.

Hearing the voice, Jean frowns at being woken up.


EXT. TOMPKINS SQUARE PARK - DAY

A long, rectangular cardboard box.

SUPER: "NEW YORK CITY"


ANGLE ON:

RENE RICARD (early 30's), seated at a park bench, hunched over a
notebook. He's a raggedy dandy: A poet in a hooded sweatshirt and
white hightops.

As he writes, he reads aloud, as if addressing Posterity.

                        RENE (CONT'D)
                   (sighing theatrically)
            In this town one is at the mercy of the
            recognition factor. One's public
            appearance is absolute.

Beyond him, a HAND gropes its way out of the box. It tosses a can
of YOOHOO chocolate drink.

                       RENE (CONT'D)
            I consider myself a metaphor of the public.
            I am a public eye. I am a witness.

A HEAD appears from the box. It's Jean's.

Jean sees the start of a crisp, colorful autumn day. The urban
park around him is alive with a typically full range of the good
and bad in life. He eases himself out of the oversize box in
which he has spent the night. There's something about the way
that he stands while waking up that suggests he's almost
surprised at his own body, the adultness of his limbs - just a
subtle hint of him coming out of a dream.

He squints in the sunlight. He has a soft, gentle, Haitian face.
His hair is pulled tight to his head. He wears two pairs of blue
jeans (one cut like chaps over the other) a paint-covered
Wesleyan University T-shirt, and the inside lining of an
overcoat. His appearance is unruly, but it's deliberate. He's
stylish.

He shakes himself off and collects his stuff, which includes: a
small book of Pontormo drawings, a can of black spray paint. and
a cigar box made into a loudspeaker with pencil holes and masking
tape.

Jean walks out of the park and looks up past the buildings at the
sky:


SUPERIMPOSED IN THE SKY - STOCK FOOTAGE OF A HAWAIIAN SURFER

Jean sees the surfer, 'riding the nose' in glistening, shimmering

sunlight.

                                                  DISSOLVE TO:


EXT. TOMPKINS SQUARE PARK - DAY

Rene grabs the box for use as a desk and continues to speak out
loud as he writes.

                       RENE (CONT'D, O.S.)
            Part of the artist's job is to get the work
            where I will see it.


EXT. LOWER EAST SIDE ST. - DAY

As he speaks, we see Jean pass the wall of a funeral parlor. He
spraypaints: "SAMO AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO GOD"

                        RENE (CONT'D, O.S.)
            When you first see a new picture, you don't
            want to miss the boat. You have to be very
            careful because you may be staring at Van
            Gogh's ear.

Jean signs his words with his 'logo', a triple pointed crown.

As he presses the spray can, we HEAR the roar of a breaker.

                                                  CUT TO:


INSERT: CLOSEUP OF SIDEWALK

Pressed into the concrete is a pair of EYEGLASSES. A light-
colored piece of rock completes the picture to make a face.


EXT. LESHKO'S RESTAURANT - DAY

JEAN'S POV: His shoes pause next to the face in the concrete.

                                                  CUT TO:


IN FRONT OF THE RESTAURANT

Is a METAL BILLBOARD with red plastic magnetized LETTERS that
reads: "TODAY'S SPECIAL: CLAM CHOWDER $1.50. TRY IT!!!"

                                                  CUT TO:


INT. LESHKO'S - DAY

Jean enters.

                                                  CUT TO:

EXT. LESHKO'S RESTAURANT - DAY

The sign. It now reads: "SAMO'S DAY OLD TEETH $5.00"

                                                     CUT TO:


INT. LESHKO'S RESTAURANT - DAY

Bending over a countertop, we see GINA CARDINALE, 22. He fixates
on her.

She looks up and notices his stare. She continues to work.

Still staring at her, he sits down at a table. He pours maple
syrup onto the table. He draws in the syrup with his fingers.


CLOSE ON SYRUP ON TABLE

ANOTHER WAITRESS arrives at his table. She's put off by the
syrup.

                      WAITRESS
           What'll it be?

Jean thinks about it, eyes still following Gina.

                       BASQUIAT
           Ummm. It'll be great. We'll live together
           in peace. What's her name?
                  (indicates Gina)

He looks up at the waitress.

                      WAITRESS
           Gina. What'll it be?

                       BASQUIAT
           Pancakes.

She leaves and whispers something to Gina. Gina turns and glances
over at Jean.

Jean pours more syrup and starts writing his name.

At the grill, LESHKO, the burly Owner/Cook, has his watchful eye
on Jean. He doesn't like what he sees.

Jean smears the syrup thinly, so it doesn't erase itself. He
draws a picture of Gina, using his fingers and the silverware,
rendering her last expression strikingly with a few quick lines.

A GAUNT YOUNG MAN saunters up to Jean's table. He's sort of a
tall Puerto Rican Alain Delon with sleepy eyes. He is BENNY.

                      BENNY
           Hey - Willie Mays.

                      BASQUIAT
           Willie Mays.

Suddenly, Rene Ricard enters - a one-man parade. He beckons to
Gina, snapping his fingers.

                      RENE
           Nurse!!! Oh!!! Nurse!!! Carrot juice. Tofu
           burger. Rapido!

                      GINA
           We don't serve that - amigo.

                      RENE
           Fine... A greasy cheeseburger. Fries - and
           a vodka.

                       BASQUIAT
                  (under his breath)
           Who's that?

                      BENNY
           The Devil, man. Rene Ricard. Art critic -
           writes for Artforum. People read him. Tell
           him who you are..

                         BASQUIAT
           Who am I?

                         BENNY
           SAMO.

                         BASQUIAT
           Oh yeah..

Rene lands at the counter.

Jean's gaze is still on Gina.

She waits on a MAN at a nearby table.

                      CUSTOMER
           How's the special today?

                      GINA
           It's your stomach.

She hurries past Jean.

                         BASQUIAT
           Hey.

She slows down, not wanting to.

                      BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
           What do you think?

She looks at her portrait in the syrup... She can't resist
smiling.

                      GINA
           It's me. I've never been done in maple
           syrup. Here's a rag.

Gina smiles. She offers him one. As she holds it out, their eyes
lock. She tries to resist his smile.

                        BASQUIAT
                   (gently)
           Gina?

She puts her finger in the syrup and licks it off.

Benny takes it all in.

Leshko is upon them.

                      LESHKO
           Alright. Look at you, staring at this girl,
           making a mess.

He waves Jean toward the door.

Jean takes Gina's rag and begins cleaning his mess, seemingly
compliant.

                      BASQUIAT
           How about those pancakes?

He brings out a roll of dimes to the tabletop and splits it open.
Dimes roll all over the table and stick in the syrupy parts. The
manager explodes.

                      LESHKO
           OK! Goodbye!

                      GINA
           Pipe down, Lech. Let him order.

                      LESHKO
           You nuts? Let him order? You on his side?
           You're not such a good waitress. You get
           out, too.

                      GINA
           I just don't think you're being fair.

                      LESHKO
           I need this?

                      GINA
           I need this?

Gina quietly removes her apron in disbelief.

Benny gets up to leave very casually.

                       BENNY
                  (waving g'bye to Jean)
           Willie Mays.

                       LESHKO
                  (to Gina)
           That's right. You go with them. Make babies

           the government has to pay for.

                                                     CUT TO:


GINA AND JEAN

Leave the restaurant.

Behind them, we see Rene, absorbed in his writing.


EXT. AVE. A - DAY

They stand outside, not knowing quite what comes next.

Jean gives Benny a look (i.e. 'scram').

                      BENNY
           Catch you later.

Benny leaves.

A CHILLY WIND picks up.

Jean's mood is suddenly downcast.

They button up their overcoats, about to leave.

                       GINA
           What's a job, anyway?
                  (pause)
           What's wrong with you?

The truth is, he feels awful for causing Gina's trouble, but
shows it by moping like a child.

                      GINA (CONT'D)
           No, don't tell me - you just got fired by
           your crazy boss.

                      BASQUIAT
           I guess you did.

                      GINA
           Guess I just got sick of him.

                      BASQUIAT
           Can I walk you home?

                      GINA
           I think I could do that alone.

Gina walks away.

He runs after her.

                      BASQUIAT
           Wait, I'm in a band....We're at the Mudd
           Club on Halloween. I'll put you on the
           list.

Gina turns and looks back at Jean.

                      GINA
           I hate the Mudd Club.

He catches up to her.

Gina notices a dead leaf in his hair and picks it out.

                      GINA (CONT'D)
           Have you been camping? You could use a
           scrub.

                      BASQUIAT
           I'm clean. Smell me. I always smell good. I
           don't know why, I just do!

He leans forward, offering his neck.

                       GINA
                  (smelling)
           You do! You definitely do.

                      BASQUIAT
           Just come to the Mudd Club on Friday.

                      GINA
           I don't go there. Too many party girls.

                      BASQUIAT
           Party girls? Can I call you?

                       GINA
                  (teasing him)
           Yeah, if you have any dimes left. 477-0496.

He writes her number on his pant cuff with a big fat magic
marker.

                      BASQUIAT
           Here, this is for you. I made this.

He hands her the small speaker.

She takes it.

                        GINA
           Thanks.

She admires the speaker watches him walk off.


EXT. MENTAL HOSPITAL (OUTSIDE THE CITY)

We see Jean crossing a lawn outside a mental hospital.


INT. MENTAL HOSPITAL - RECREATION / VISITING ROOM - DAY

PSYCH. PATIENTS fill a cavernous day-room engaged in arts and

crafts. Some of the sadder patients stare off into space as Jean
crosses the room. He carries a plate of cookies and a full glass
of milk.

He approaches a sad, nice-looking, middle-aged black woman - the
same one from the dream, earlier. She sits alone fondling a
pillow in her lap. It's his mother, MATILDE. She doesn't see him
coming.

As he sets the plate in front of her, she notices him. She
recognizes him and seems pleased, even in her isolation. He
kisses her on the cheek.

                       BASQUIAT
           Hey, mom.

She smiles slightly.

Jean takes a cookie. She does likewise.

They eat in silence, looking at each other, communicating what
they can.

Time passes. In between cookies her fingers find and break the
stems of the pillow feathers.

                      BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
           I met the girl I'm gonna marry.

His mother brightens. She drinks the milk. They finish the
cookies.

                      MATILDE
           Do you like it here?

                      BASQUIAT
           I'd like it better in Hawaii.


INT. CARDBOARD BOX - NIGHT

Jean tries to sleep in the box. RAIN falls heavily onto it.

Drops of water hit his face.

He wills it to stop. It doesn't.

Finally, he can't stand it. Rain forces his blinking eyes open.


INT. BENNY'S APARTMENT -     NIGHT

A door opens to reveal Jean's wet face.

Benny lets him in.

Jean enters a rundown railroad flat crammed with musical
instruments, beer cans, and homemade art. There's a couch with a
sheet over it.

Junk is piled in a corner - mostly art books and drawings.

Benny sits down at an electric piano, which he's evidently
playing. He sings along, softly, working out the words,
concentrating, absorbed.

Jean sets his belongings on the couch, walks to a mic stand and
starts making up his own words.

                      BASQUIAT
           "She loves me.
           Oh yeah she loves me!
           She loooooooves me,
           Oh yeah she loves me!"
           Bring me some chicken, baby!

                      BENNY
           Would you shut the fuck up? You hear what
           I'm doing?

                       BASQUIAT
           Yeah man. I'm jealous. You're always great,
           Benny.
                  (goes back into 'act')
           "Her name is G-I-N-A Gina
           And she lo-oooves me."
           I did say chicken!

Benny turns off the piano and lights a roach, angry at Jean's
self-centeredness.

Jean digs through a pile of garbage. Finally, he finds what he's
looking for - a pile of "SAMO baseball cards" - color Xeroxes of
his favorite images and words. He pockets them.

                       BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
           I knew I left these somewhere. One of
           these'll send your kids to college someday.
                  (hands it to Benny solemnly)
           Here - I made this for you.

                       BENNY
           Thanks.
                  (beat)
           Your dad called again - something about a
           job.

He hands Jean a slip of paper. He notices the number on Jean's
pants.

                      BENNY (CONT'D)
           You got a date already?

                       BASQUIAT
                  (exhaling)
           We're getting married. She said she could
           tell I was a great artist - she could see
           it in my eyes. She said she wanted to be by
           my side and have inter-racial babies with
           me.

Benny grins. He grabs a basketball and spins it expertly on his

index finger.

                      BENNY
           G'night... See you in court tomorrow.

Jean turns on the TV. He notices the roach. He picks up the paper
Benny gave him with the message from his father and sets it on
fire.

He lights the roach with it.

He looks up; on television, we see a BUM being interviewed. Jean
turns up the volume.

The bum's on the ground, looking beat up. Jean picks up a pocket
recorder and turns it on:

                      BUM
           The guy just hit me and I was on the
           ground!!!! Boom, for real.

Jean mutes the sound on the TV. He rewinds and proudly plays back
the words "Boom, for real."

He picks up the phone and dials. He turns on the speakerphone.

Jean holds the recorder to the speaker as someone answers the
phone. (Jean walks in and out of frame throughout the following.)

                      VOICE
           Hello?

                       BASQUIAT
                  (deadpan)
           I-Is this the s-s-suicide h-h-hotline?

                      VOICE
           Yes. My name is Chris. What's yours?

                      BASQUIAT
           Jean Michel.

                      CHRIS
           That's a beautiful name. French?

                      BASQUIAT
           Haitian. I'm going to kill myself. I'm
           taking pills. Reds, blues, greens.

Jean opens his notepad and looks down a long list of seemingly
random words. He comes to the words (in order) "liquid, hijack,"
and "Marlboros."

                      CHRIS
           What? Wait a minute... talk to me.

                       BASQUIAT
                  (about to sob)
           Life doesn't... make... sense. This city's
           k-killing me. I want my liquid hijack
           Marlboros!

                       CHRIS
           What? Life's beautiful. Depression isn't
           permanent. Don't you believe that?
                  (pause)
           What is it - did your girlfriend leave you?

                      BASQUIAT
           No! I have a boyfriend. He loves me.

Jean spies an electric pencil sharpener and plugs it in.

                      CHRIS
           You see? You have someone to live for.

                      BASQUIAT
           No, I don't. I'm alone. We all are.
           Especially here. The world's unjust. The
           respect fools get. The disrespect I get.

                      CHRIS
           What is it you want?    Respect? I have
           respect for you, just    for making this call.
           One philosopher said    "Sadness is a sin
           against the richness    of the world." Think
           about it. Feel it.

                      BASQUIAT
           You don't even know me. I want real
           respect.

He jams a pencil into the electric sharpener and holds the
receiver right next to it, giving the guy an earful:
RRRRKKKKKKK!!!


ANGLE ON

CLOSE UP - A speaker. It fills the screen.

We continue to hear:

                       CHRIS (O.S.)
                  (beat)
           What? What do you want?

                       BASQUIAT
                  (breaking loose)
           Fame. My liquid hijack Marlboros and the
           moon and the cow that jumped over it.

CAMERA PULLS BACK FROM SPEAKER TO REVEAL:


INT. MUDD CLUB - HALLOWEEN NIGHT

Jean and Benny are on stage with two other GUYS, members of the
band Gray. Everyone but Jean is dressed in some sort of Halloween
costume.

We HEAR the words "Boom, for real" blasting from the P.A. system.

What follows is a continuation, a collage of words from Jean's
"suicide hotline" call -

                      P.A.
           One philosopher said "Give me my liquid
           hijack Marlboros. Life's beautiful. You
           have someone to live for. What do you want?
           RKKKK! That's a beautiful name... French?

Jean sits in a chair onstage with his band members. Benny plays
the organ. The other band members play percussion and guitar.

It works. The crowd loves it.

The song ends abruptly.

We begin to hear James Brown's "Sex Machine."

Jean looks out into the crowd and notices Gina. She's looking
right back at him from the bar. Pleased to see her face, he says
to himself -

                      BASQUIAT
           Boom, for real.

We see him walk offstage into the crowd. They meet.

                      BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
           I thought you hated this place?

                         GINA
           I do.
                  (beat)
           I just said that. I was never here before.
           I actually like it.

MUSIC segues into PIL's "Public Image".

                      BASQUIAT
           Let's get out of here.

He leads her towards the exit. They step out of the club.


EXT. MUDD CLUB - NIGHT

HIGH, WIDE ANGLE

It's raining heavily. Jean motions for Gina to wait under the
entrance. He tries to hail a cab... And another. And another.

A parade of them passes, but each time they slow down, they get a
glimpse of Jean and drive off.

Finally, Gina steps out of the entrance. She raises her hand, and
a car pulls over instantly.


INT. CAB - NIGHT

They scurry into the backseat.

The cab pulls off.


EXT. CHINESE RESTAURANT - NIGHT

Through a steamy, rain-wet window, we see Jean and Gina seated at
a table, dining.

They seem to be having a nice time.


INT. GINA'S APARTMENT - NEXT MORNING

Gina lays in bed. Daylight streams into the apartment.
Jackhammers RATTLE outside. (Music: REGGAE SONG - Errol
Scorcher's "Cockroach in de Corner.")


EXTREME CLOSEUP

A cockroach crawls from Gina's bedroom across the floor and into
the kitchen where Jean sits naked on the floor, working on a
drawing. It crawls over his drawing towards a cardboard box.

Jean rummages through a cabinet. He finds a can of bugspray. Jean
tears off a side of the box. With cardboard in one hand and
bugspray in the other, he forgets the cockroach.

He's mesmerized by the list of ingredients on the aerosol can.

Someone POUNDS furiously at the door.

Ignoring the pounding, he starts listing the ingredients on the
piece of cardboard, finishing his new drawing by including a
symbol of a cockroach to the left of the list.

                      LANDLADY
           Miss Cardinale... Open up for me, please!

He gets up and peeks through the security hole. He sees a middle-
aged Hispanic woman reaching to unlock the door. He opens it.

                      LANDLADY (CONT'D)
           Ohhh, Dios mio!

She stares at him levelly.

                      LANDLADY (CONT'D)
           I just want the rent.

                      BASQUIAT
           Why didn't you say so? Damn! She's asleep!

Jean draws on a piece of paper on the counter next to him. He
hands it to the landlady. It's a a little shack with a big head
next to it that says "'Here' For Rent."

The landlady looks at him like he's crazy. She balls up the
drawing and puts it in her pocket.

Gina arrives in the doorway, wearing a robe. The landlady's
trapped between them.

                       GINA
                  (to Jean)
           What're you doing?

The landlady wags her finger at Gina.

                      LANDLADY
           Next Monday.

Gina and Jean look amused as they watch her leave.

                      BASQUIAT
           Wanna go get some breakfast?

                      GINA
           A friend of mine offered me a job doing a
           little work installing a show in a gallery.
           He's an electrician. I was supposed to be
           there an hour ago.

She looks at the bugspray drawing on the floor.

                      GINA (CONT'D)
           Ohh, that's nice.

Jean kisses her neck as she looks at the drawing.

We HOLD on the drawing.


INT. MARY BOONE GALLERY - DAY

White dust sprinkles down onto Jean's face from the ceiling.
Unable to use his hands, he tries to blow the dust out of his
eyes...

His boss, GREG, a mild-mannered hippie electrician, works above
him on the ladder. Jean steadies the ladder. Greg's head is out
of frame.

The gallery is an impressive space under preparations for an
opening.

                      GREG
           Jean, could you get me a Phillips
           screwdriver?

                      BASQUIAT
           A what?

                      GREG
           A Phillips head. From the toolbox.

                      BASQUIAT
           Yeah.

Jean searches through the toolbox. He picks up a screwdriver and
reads the handle: "CRAFTSMAN"

                         BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
              'Phillips head,' right?

                         GREG
              Yeah.

Jean shakes his head and puts it back. He tries a couple more -
they each say "CRAFTSMAN." He puts them back.

Finally, he finds one with a different handle. It says "G.S.C.
2000."

                         BASQUIAT
              You don't have any!!!

                         GREG
              That's impossible. I've got, like, five of
              'em!

He comes down off the ladder.

                          GREG (CONT'D)
              You're holding one in your hand!!!
                     (beat)
              You've never done this kind of work before,
              have you?
                     (demonstrating)
              See, this is a regular screwdriver, and
              this is a Phillips head. The cross thing...
              I'll tell you later what all the tools are
              so you'll know.

A GROUP of people arrives.

Albert Milo    comes into view, tailed closely by Rene Ricard and
MARY BOONE    - well dressed, petite, intense, 30. Milo, (also about
30), wears    casual clothes splattered with paint. Mary Boone is
engaged in    conversation with Milo. Rene chatters away.

Greg climbs back up the ladder. He holds a piece of wire down to
Jean. Jean stares at the group while trying to be invisible.

                         RENE
              I need to make a call, Mary. You don't
              mind, do you?

                         MARY BOONE
              Certainly not. You can use my line.

Rene picks up the phone.

                          RENE
              To Paris. Bernard Picasso -
                     (to Mary)
              You know Bernard -

                          MARY BOONE
                     (wincing)
              Be my guest.

Jean watches the group talking.

                       GREG
           Jean? Hold this, please.
                  (beat - he sees why Jean's so
                  distracted)
           You'll get there. But it's good to have
           something to fall back on. That's why I
           became an electrician. It pays the rent.
           Y'know, I'm an artist, too.

                      BASQUIAT
           I didn't know.

                      GREG
           I sculpt. I'm really just starting to find
           myself. How old are you? Twenty? You're
           just like I used to be. I'm forty-one. And
           I'm glad I haven't gotten any recognition.
           It gave me time to develop.

Jean watches Mary and Milo talking.

                       MARY BOONE
                  (to Milo)
           I can't tell you how happy I am with this
           show.

Mary yells across the room to Jean.

                       MARY BOONE (CONT'D)
                  (her tone impersonal)
           Excuse me - you - what's your name? Would
           you move those tools there and put them
           somewhere else?

He looks at her.

Milo watches to see what he's going to do.

                       BASQUIAT
                  (to Milo)
           My name is Jean Michel Basquiat. Have you
           heard of me?

                       ALBERT MILO
                  (amused)
           No. Should I have?

                      BASQUIAT
           I'm a painter, too.

                      ALBERT MILO
           Really. Huh. Too bad.

                      MARY BOONE
           Excuse me, would you please move those
           tools?

Jean looks at Milo. Milo looks back at him.

Jean walks past the tools and continues toward the door. He walks
out without turning around.

Milo smiles to himself.


EXT. BOONE GALLERY - ALBERT MILO OPENING - DUSK

The ART WORLD CROWD fills the gallery. Jean lurks across the
street, watching through the window.

Cabs and limousines line the block. A crowd outside blocks the
street.

Jean's obviously impressed, jealous and estranged -     he feels
entitled to all this.

He crosses the street to get a closer look.


THROUGH THE WINDOW

He sees Albert Milo    talking with ANDY WARHOL and BRUNO
BISCHOFBERGER. Andy,    of course, is thin, silver-haired, and
nearly albino. Bruno    is a Swiss art dealer in his 40's. He exudes
money - a pillar of    security.

On the other side of the room, Rene Ricard is surrounded by a
coterie of young, mostly BLACK AND HISPANIC MALES. Rene looks
drunk, enjoying the moment, holding court.

Rene crosses to Albert and Andy.

People pass by.

Jean starts to walk.

About half a block away, he sprays on a wall:

"THE WHOLE LIVERY LINE BOW LIKE THIS WITH THE BIG MONEY ALL
CRUSHED INTO THESE FEET"

He looks pleased. He turns and looks up West Broadway beyond the
buildings at the sky:


SUPERIMPOSED IN THE SKY

We see a surfer emerging from a HUGE WAVE. He looks powerful and
exalted.

                                                     CUT TO:


EXT. BASKETBALL COURT - DAY

ANGLE ON: A wall. We see the following graffity:

"JIMMY BEST ON HIS BACK TO THE SUCKERPUNCH OF HIS CHILDHOOD
YEARS"

A basketball bounces against a wall.

Jean and Benny amble onto a basketball court. Jean's changed his
hairstyle. Now the dreadlocks stand straight up from his head.

Benny dribbles with skill while Jean puffs furiously on a
cigarette. He doesn't look like he's slept, but he's happy.

Benny throws the ball to Jean. It bounces off a puddle and
splashes Jean.

                      BENNY
           Come on, Jean. Get rid of your cigarette.
           Concentrate.

                       BASQUIAT
           I am... On Gina.
                  (beat)
           Fuck - I didn't think we were actually
           gonna do this.

                      BENNY
           Concentrate on the ball. Shoot.

Jean shoots. It flies up, up, up -     and over the backboard.

He runs after the ball, gets it, and dribbles clumsily.

                      BENNY
           You're shattering all my myths.

                         BASQUIAT
           About what?

                      BENNY
           Your people.

                      BASQUIAT
           Oh - you mean black people!

He shoots and misses again. He throws it to Benny, who does a
picture-perfect lay-up.

                       BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
                  (changing the subject)
           How long do you think it takes to get
           really famous?

During the following, Benny performs a series of amazing shots
while Jean looks on admiringly.

                      BENNY
           For a musician or a painter?

Jean shrugs.

                      BASQUIAT
           Whatever. Famous. To where you can do your
           stuff all day without thinking about
           anything else.

                      BENNY
           Ummm... Four years. Six to get rich.

He shoots. Swish.

                      BENNY (CONT'D)
           First, you have to dress right.

He shoots again. Swish.

                      BENNY (CONT'D)
           Then, you have to hang out all the time -
           with famous people - the right people, the
           right chicks, the right parties.

He shoots again. Swish.

                      BENNY (CONT'D)
           And you gotta do your work all the time
           when you're not doing that. The same kinda
           work, the same style - over and over
           again, so people recognize it and don't get
           confused. Then, once you're famous, you
           have to keep doing it the same way, even
           after it's boring - unless you want people
           to really get mad at you - which they will
           anyway.

Benny tosses Jean the ball. Jean walks off the court.

                      BASQUIAT
           Come on. I hate this. I'm no good at it.

Jean shoots the ball and keeps walking. The ball goes in. He
doesn't notice. Benny runs after it.


EXT. HOUSTON ST. - DUSK

Benny and Jean walk along. Benny dribbles.

                      BENNY
           Famous people are usually pretty stupid.
           You're too smart. You'd get bored to death.
           You don't wanna be like John Henry -
           fighting the machine. Just do what you do.
           It's about integrity. Follow your heart.

                      BASQUIAT
           Who's John Henry?

                      BENNY
           Oh man! Folklore guy - worked on the
           railroad. Y'know, pounding in spikes and
           laying down track. Then one day they
           invented a machine to do it. And he says
           "Fuck that, I'm a MAN" and he challenges
           the machine to a race to lay down a mile of
           track. It takes two days. Neck and neck the
           whole time. They get right to the end, and
           he beats it by one spike.

                  (pause)
           Got a cigarette?

                      BASQUIAT
           So then what?

                      BENNY
           He drops dead! See? Just do your shit like
           you do it! Your friends like you, you get
           laid, everyone walks by, sees your stuff
           everywhere. It's good. What else do you
           want?

They watch a long stretch limo cruises up across the street.

                       BASQUIAT
           Like I said - my liquid hijack Marlboros.
                  (indicates limo)
           Check it out.

The LIMO DRIVER opens the back door. Andy Warhol and Bruno
Bischofberger step out.

                      BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
           Andy Warhol. He's famous and he's not
           boring.


INSERT: AN IMAGE OF ANDY'S PAINTINGS AT THE WHITNEY MUSEUM
(FOOTAGE FROM JONAS MEKAS FILM)

Jean scrounges in his pockets, pulls out his Xerox cards, and
readies himself as Bruno and Andy enter BALLATO'S RESTAURANT.

                      BENNY
           What're you doing? You're doing something.

                      BASQUIAT
           He's the best painter in the world. I'm
           gonna give him one of these.

                      BENNY
           Don't give him anything, man. Your art's
           worth a lot. Trade. That's what real
           artists do with each other. Besides, he'll
           just use you. He's famous for that.

Benny watches Jean crosses the street. Jean passes the limousine.
Inside, the driver (a 24-year old Rasta) takes a hit from a joint
and watches Jean.


CLOSE ON

The driver's eyes.

                                                   CUT TO:


DRIVER'S POV:

He watches Jean cross the street.

Jean enters the restaurant.


INT. BALLATO'S - DAY

Jean enters. Andy and Bruno spot him. The Maitre'd becomes
alarmed. but it's too late - he's at their table.

He spreads his cards on the table. The topmost card reads
"REDEEMABLE BECAUSE OF HIS YOUTH."

Andy stares dead ahead, Sphinxlike.

Bruno watches the non-interaction between the two.

                       MAITRE'D
                  (to Jean, flustered)
           Can I help you?.

He taps Jean's shoulder.

                       MAITRE'D (CONT'D)
                  (to Jean)
           Sir...?

                       BRUNO
                  (sympathetically)
            I think it's ok.

                      MAITRE'D
           Of course, Mr. Bischofberger.

Bruno picks up one of the cards.

                      BASQUIAT
           You wanna buy some ignorant art? Ten bucks.

                      ANDY WARHOL
           Ignorant art?

                      BASQUIAT
           Yeah... Like - stupid, ridiculous, crummy
           art.

                      ANDY WARHOL
           Ohhh. That's new. That sounds good.

                      BASQUIAT
           Ten bucks apiece.

                      ANDY WARHOL
           I can give you five. You didn't do very
           much to these.

                      BASQUIAT
           You don't even work on your stuff!

                      BRUNO
           It doesn't matter how much you worked on

           them. It matters how much you can get for
           them.

                      BASQUIAT
           I can get ten.

                       ANDY WARHOL
           I'll take two. This one and... that one.
                  (to Bruno)
           Can I borrow some money, Bruno?

Bruno pulls out a hundred dollar bill.

                      BRUNO
           Here. Do you have change?

As WAITER arrives with the tray, Jean pockets the bill.

                       BASQUIAT
           You made a good deal. Here, you can have
           these, too.

He leaves all the cards and walks toward the door.


BRUNO'S POV:

Jean leaving past stupified Maitre'd.


EXT. GINA'S APARTMENT - DAY

Jean and Benny are outside the entrance to Gina's building. Jean
carries two huge bags overflowing with groceries and flowers. He
buzzes. There's no answer.

                      BASQUIAT
           I'll be right back.

He produces a key and lets himself in.

He enters the building.


INT. GINA'S APARTMENT - DAY

Jean sets the groceries on the counter and leaves.

We notice the Bugspray painting on the wall, along with more of
Jean's work and supplies.


EXT. GINA'S APARTMENT - DUSK

Jean rejoins Benny in front of Gina's building.

As they're leaving, Gina comes up the street.

                       BASQUIAT
                  (to Benny)
           Check you later, man.

                      BENNY
           Hi Gina.

                      GINA
           Hi.


INT - GINA'S APARTMENT - DAY

Flowers and groceries are strewn on the counter.

                                                     FADE TO BLACK

                                                     FADE IN:


Over the following MONTAGE we HEAR:

                      RENE (O.S.)
           ... 'APT 20'... The church bells would ring
           at noon and six a.m.. 24 strokes:
           How many times we counted them.
           We called our bed the cloud.
           And there we'd float.
           The bathtub was in the kitchen
           and took forever to fill up.
           We'd bathe together afterwards.
           Oh the countless cigarettes and
           take out Chinese food...
           The bed was so narrow
           Three years we made it fit.
           The sheets were green the
           sheets were pink the sheets
           white linen from the past.
           Little home, farewell,
           The broken windows
           and the bodega on the corner.
           Now from my balcony
           I look out over all New York...


INT. GINA'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Jean and Gina are sleeping.

SERIES OF DISSOLVES: As they're turning together in their sleep.

                                                     FADE TO BLACK

                                                     FADE UP:


INT. KITCHEN / LIVINGROOM (GINA'S APARTMENT) - DAY

Filled with Jean's paintings.

SERIES OF DISSOLVES: Paintings and objects fill the room.

                                                     FADE TO BLACK

SUPER: "A YEAR AND A HALF LATER EAST 9TH ST."

                                                     FADE UP:


INT. GINA'S APARTMENT - DAY

Jean watches "The Little Rascals" on TV in the living room. The
sound is turned off and a record player PLAYS Gypsy music loudly.

Rolled up in a large drop cloth, Gina is asleep on the floor.
Next to her, Jean works on all fours, drawing figures, crowns,
and houses.

Working feverishly, he writes "HEY, HEY, HEY" in big clusters,
then writes other words: SHARK, IMMORTALITY, JOHN THE REVELATOR,
FAME, INK, TEETH, HAWAII SUPERMARKET, POLE STAR, BABOON and TAR.

He has an acoustics manual and Bible open    on the floor. He copies
the technical blueprints from the manual.    He reads the Bible,
following the text with a dirty finger. It    seems that he watches
TV, draws, listens to the music and reads    at the same time.

He mixes Liquitex paints and puts some colors on the drawings. He
draws a long blue line and carries it over onto the floor. Up the
wall. Through the fridge. Across the window.

He takes off his paint-covered clothes and changes into Gina's
black slip. He rummages around the room, gathering pieces of his
and Gina's clothes.

He spreads the clothes on the floor, and selecting wide brushes
with long bristles, picks up the cans of Liquitex paint.

When paint spills on the clothes, he spreads it into shapes.

Gina wakes up. She reaches for one of the painted shirts.

                       GINA
                  (in disbelief)
           Basquiat, those are my best clothes!!! What
           are you doing?

                      BASQUIAT
           C'mon, baby, I painted them for you.
           They're beautiful now.

                       GINA
           I'm going to my parents this weekend. What
           am I going to wear?
                  (she begins to cry)
           How could you do that to me?

Jean wipes his hands off on his thighs and puts his arms around
Gina, holding her.

                      BASQUIAT
           ... I'll buy you some new ones.

                      GINA

           You don't have any fucking money..

Jean lets her cry for a moment, then notices the music playing on
the stereo - a Gypsy song sung in Spanish.

                      BASQUIAT
           Do you know what he's saying?

                      GINA
           What who's saying?

                       BASQUIAT
           Manzanita....
                  (translating song)
           ... if one day I die, and    you read this
           piece of paper, I want you    to know how much
           I love you. Although I'll    never see you
           again, Gypsy, Gypsy, your    hair, your hair,
           your face, your face'

Gina looks up at him.

                       BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
           'Even though you were never mine
           And you never will be
           You have a piece of my heart
           You have, you have, you have...'
                  (he reaches down, wiping off
                  Gina's face)
           'Gypsy, Gypsy, your hair, your hair, your
           face, your face.'

No longer crying, Gina leans her head against Jean.

We HEAR a CALL from the window:

                      BENNY (O.S.)
           Willie Mays!!! Willie Mays!!!

                       BASQUIAT
                  (at the window)
           Come on in!

                                                    CUT TO:


Benny and two GUYS come barreling into the apartment. Immediate
chaos. Benny holds up a packet of drugs and jiggles it
temptingly. They make themselves at home. Jean sits with them and
starts to chop up the drugs.

Gina gives Jean a look. She stands, still wrapped in the drop
cloth. She lets it fall to the floor. She's wearing only her
underwear. She walks to the bedroom. Benny watches her.

                      BASQUIAT
           Gina, don't you want any of this? You could
           use some.

Gina doesn't respond. She comes out of the bedroom with a small
suitcase.

                         GINA
              See you later.

She leaves.

Silence.

                         GUY #1
              Nice underwear...

They start to laugh.


INT. GINA'S APARTMENT - LATER

Kneeling on the floor,    Jean    covers the surface    of the
refrigerator door with    fast,    rushing strokes.    He mixes paint in a
large soupbowl and dips    his    hair in the bowl.    Pressing his head
to the door, he paints    with    his hair. He stops    to examine the
marks.

He HITS his head against the door harder and harder.

                                                           FADE TO WHITE


INT. GINA'S APARTMENT - MORNING

CAMERA PULLS BACK: Revealing Jean's eyes. They're open and
motionless. His head is tilted toward his chest.

OFF SCREEN WE HEAR the sounds of Gina coming home:

The LOCK turns. The door OPENS.

Gina comes in and drops a bag on the floor.

                          GINA
              Basquiat?

Silence. She picks up the mail from under the door and walks into
the room. There's a lump on the floor. It's Jean.

                         GINA (CONT'D)
              Wake up! I'm back!

She shakes his arm. No result. She lifts his head, revealing his
painted hair.

She shakes him harder. His body is totally limp.

The whites of his eyes are red; his pupils slowly float up,
vanishing.

                         GINA
              Jean, what did you do to yourself?

She listens to his breath, then to his heart.

                          GINA

                  (panicking)
           Jesus Christ!

She finds heroin sprinkled into some pot on the floor near him.

                       GINA
                  (slapping his face)
           Don't do this to me.

She shakes him until his eyes unglue. His pupils float into their
proper place.

                      BASQUIAT
           ... What's the matter?

                       GINA
                  (furious)
           Oh, God, Basquiat, you scared the shit out
           of me. How the fuck could you do that to
           yourself?

                      BASQUIAT
           You're back.

                      GINA
           It's Monday morning.

                      BASQUIAT
           It's not Sunday? I missed you. You
           shouldn't leave me alone.

                      GINA
           You're blaming me? I had to go see my
           family.

                      BASQUIAT
           I'm your family.

                      GINA
           Basquiat, what did you take?

Jean tries to pick himself up from the floor. He gets up stiffly,
like Pinnocchio. The long sleep made his limbs wooden.

                      BASQUIAT
           Nothing special - just some weed.

He finds an old joint and lights it up.

                       GINA
           Basquiat, don't lie.
                  (holds up powder)
           This is smack.

                      BASQUIAT
           You want some?

He offers her the joint.


EXT. ST. MARK'S PLACE - NIGHT

Jean and Benny walk along, sharing a beer in a brown paper bag.

They approach a DRUG DEALER and exchange money for dope.

Jean finds a discarded window frame in a pile of trash and
carries it with him.

They sit down on a stoop. Jean rolls up a dollar bill, empties
the dope onto the window, and splits it into two lines. He hands
the rolled up bill to Benny, who snorts the line.

Benny shakes his head involuntarily, making a violent face, as
though the dope burned a hole in his sinus.

                        BENNY
             We got beat.

                         BASQUIAT
             For real?

Jean takes a taste with his finger... He tastes his tongue and
makes a face..

He snorts part of his line, anyway, to make sure.

He frowns.

They continue onwards. Jean still carries the window.

                        BENNY
             You gonna carry that around all night?

                        BASQUIAT
             Yeah... I'll paint on it.


INT. PARTY - NIGHT

The party's winding down - hip-hop kids, Lower East Side types.
Jean and Benny pass through the room, ignoring the two or three
clusters of people - maybe fifteen in all...

Jean encounters a familiar face: an enormous red-haired dealer -
ROCKETS (35). They greet each other as friends.

Rockets leads Jean aside. They stand near a wall where a painting
hangs ("Flats Fixed"). It bears Jean's three-point crown.

                        ROCKETS
             You did that, didn't you?

Jean shrugs.

                         BASQUIAT
             I gave it to Maripol. She let me stay here
             for awhile.

Jean hands him twenty dollars. Rockets hands him two dime bags.
As if thinking better, he hands the bill back to Jean.

                       ROCKETS
            Do one for me and it's free. How's that?

Jean re-pockets his money. He gestures to Rockets as if to say
"fine - it's a deal."

He and Benny sit down across the room and split a bag onto the
window, as before. This time, it's good. They lean back into it,
slumping down into the couch.

Nearby, Rene sits on a couch with THREE STREET KIDS - artists
(who we've seen at Milo's opening). They sit on their knees
looking out a window passing binoculars back and forth.

ARTIST #1 looks through the window with a pair of BINOCULARS. He
points down towards the street, trying to get Rene's attention.

                       ARTIST #1
            Check this out, Rene.

Rene lunges towards the window. The stereo BLARES (Curtis Blow's
"Survival")

                        RENE
                   (singing along)
            "The name of the game is survival, You
            learn it in jail upon your arrival!"

Another ARTIST (#2) a young black man, runs up and tries to turn
down the volume.

Rene grabs his crotch.

                       ARTIST #2
            Chill, man! Be cool! This isn't even my
            apartment!

                       RENE
            Oh man, you a FINE nigga! You know that?

                       ARTIST #2
            Cut it out, man! And don't be callin' me
            that shit!


ANGLE ON:

Benny is now alone on the couch. He nods out.

                        RENE
                   (noticing him)
            Oh my, there goes the neighborhood. Who's
            house is this, anyway?

Artist #2 is still mad at Rene.

                        RENE (CONT'D)
                   (to Artist #2)
            That's what I like about you straight boys.
            You're so sensitive!!!
                   (resumes singing)

           "The name of the game is survival,
           Survival! Survival! only the strong
           survive"

                      ARTIST #1
           Rene! Come here, man!

                      RENE
           I gotta go pee.

Rene weaves across the room. Suddenly, he stops cold. He's
staring at Jean's painting. He doesn't move.

                       RENE (CONT'D)
                  (to himself)
           Who did this?
                  (beat - louder)
           Who did this?

                      ARTIST #2
           I don't know. I told you, this isn't my
           apartment.

                      ARTIST #3
           I know who did that. That's Jean Michel's.
           He's right here, man...

He turns to look for Jean.

                      ARTIST #3
           Fuck, man, where'd he go? Where's Jean?

Benny looks around ineffectually and shrugs.

                       RENE
                  (to himself)
           It's fucking amazing. Motherfucker's got to
           put a crown on it.

                       ARTIST #1
                  (yelling from the window)
           Rene, man, check this out. Whoa... He's
           kinda cute.

Rene looks to him and back at the painting. He takes one last
look.

He stumbles towards the window and grabs the binoculars from
Artist #1..

We look through the binoculars' POV at a GUY coming down the
street. He's wearing all black, cowboy boots, and sunglasses.

                      RENE
           Naaaa. Poor thing has a little dick.

                      ARTIST #2
           How do you know?

                      RENE
           Just look at him.

                  (Rene hands the binoculars to
                  him)
           Little silver thingies on his cowboy boots?
           Honey, I don't think so.

He looks around the room again as if looking for Jean.

                      ARTIST #3
           Whoa - check it out. It's him!

Rene grabs binoculars.


BINOCULARS POV:

Jean pauses before one of his own graffiti pieces:

"PLUSH SAFE, HE THINK"

Rene watches in awe. Jean, moving a bit slowly, `signs' his tag
with the copyright sign. He walks off.

                      RENE
           MOTHAFUCKAH!

                      ARTIST #2
           That's the same guy who did this painting.

                      RENE
           I know that. Don't let him get away.

He hands the binoculars to Artist #3 and runs towards the door.


EXT. STREET - NIGHT

BINOCULARS POV

We watch as Rene looks frantically for Jean, but can't spot him.
Finally he sees Jean's hair-do bobbing up and down a block away.
He runs towards it.

                      RENE
           Hey, wait up!!!

Huffing and puffing, he catches up.

                      RENE
           You heard of Albert Milo. I made    that
           niggah. I'm Rene Ricard. Didn't    you read
           "Not About Albert Milo?" I know    who to
           hype. Baby, I'm gonna make you a    star.

                      BASQUIAT
           Can you put me in the ring with him?

                       RENE
           I can put you in the ring with him. Even
           book the dates.
                  (beat)
           But those big boys know how to fight. They

            could make you look real sissy.
                   (they laugh)
            I was looking at that painting upstairs.
            It's the first time a picture made me
            embarrassed to own anything.
                   (beat)
            So what's your real name? 'Samo?'

                       BASQUIAT
            Jean Michel Basquiat.

They shake hands.

                       RENE
            Sounds famous already.


INT. PS 1 SHOW - DAY

INSERT:   A huge poster reads:

"NEW YORK / NEW WAVE
100 ARTISTS"


CLOSE ON: A HAMMER, POUNDING

Jean pounds a nail into one of his pieces, nailing it directly
onto the wall. Everyone stares.

                       RENE
            Oh child... You got no respect. Didn't
            anyone teach you how to mount paintings?

Rene smiles. Jean finishes pounding the last piece into the wall.

CAMERA pulls back to reveal several of Jean's paintings - found
objects with paint on them.

                        RENE (CONT'D)
            This is a very important season in New
            York. One's public appearance is absolute.
                   (beat - a man approaches)
            Oh!!! Louise!!! I'd like you to meet Jean
            Michel Basquiat -
                   (beat)
            SAMO. This is Henry Geldzahler.

A crowd begins to gather around the work.

                       HENRY
            Ohh... SAMO. I've heard a lot about you. I
            love your graffiti.

                       BASQUIAT
            I was a kid then.

                        HENRY
                   (to Rene)
            How much are these?

                      RENE
           You or the museum?

                      HENRY
           It's for me.

                      RENE
           Five.

                      HENRY
           I'll take it.

Henry leaves.

                       RENE
           That's five thousand dollars.
                  (hissing to Jean)
           He's from the Metropolitan Museum of Art so
           suck my pussy, you star.


LATER

There seems to be a buzz about Jean already. People gather around
his paintings.

Gina arrives. She looks great.

                      BASQUIAT
           You look fucking beautiful, beautiful.

                      GINA
           Well thanks!

ANNINA NOSEI, a sophisticated, well-groomed woman appears at
Jean's side. She takes in his paintings.

As Jean, Rene, and Annina talk, Gina is left out.

                      RENE
           This is Jean Michel, whose work I told you
           about.

                       ANNINA NOSEI
                  (to Jean)
           Rene hasn't stopped talking about your
           paintings. Haven't I seen you in my
           gallery?

                      BASQUIAT
           No.

                       ANNINA NOSEI
                  (to Rene)
           You haven't been by lately.

                      RENE
           I didn't have the subway fare. My Medicare
           ran out.

                      ANNINA NOSEI

                  (to Jean)
           How do you come up with all those words you
           put over everything?

                      BASQUIAT
           I don't know.

Jean sees Bruno and turns his back to her.

Bruno looks at the paintings with a smile... He gives a cheerful
nod to Annina.

                      BRUNO
           You're doing well.

He leaves. Annina's impressed that Jean knows Bruno.

                      ANNINA NOSEI
           I'd love to see some more of your work...
           Where's your studio?

                      BASQUIAT
           You name it, I paint there.

                      ANNINA NOSEI
           Well, I don't want to get mugged on a
           Bowery street corner. Maybe I could find a
           place for you to work. Take my card.

                      BASQUIAT
           You want a drink?

He produces a pint bottle in a paper sack.

                       ANNINA NOSEI
           No thanks.
                  (to Rene)
           But I'd like one of these paintings.

She walks off.

                         GINA
           Who's that?

                       RENE
           You kidding? That's Annina Nosei. Jean's
           been in her gallery a thousand times.
                  (to Jean)
           You slut. How do you know Bruno
           Bischofberger?
                  (to Gina)
           He's only the biggest art dealer in Europe.

                      BASQUIAT
           I had lunch with him once.


INT. GINA'S APARTMENT (BEDROOM) - NIGHT

Jean and Gina lay in bed.

                       BASQUIAT
            Which island of Hawaii do you want our
            house to be on? Maui? Kaui? Molokai?

                        GINA
                   (a little upset)
            I hadn't thought about it.

                        BASQUIAT
                   (in perfect Hawaiian)
            Oahu, Lanai, Niihau, Kahoolawee -

                       GINA
            Staten Island would be ok.

Beat. Silence.

Jean can't sleep. He stares at the ceiling.

                       BASQUIAT
            Do you wanna marry me?

Beat.

No reply.

Gina's asleep.


INT. GINA'S APARTMENT (KITCHEN) - LATER (NIGHT)

Quietly, Jean kneels on the floor of the kitchen. He paints on an
old window.

He draws figures of three people sitting at a table - obviously a
family. He crosses out one person and paints a dog under the
table.

He crosses everything out.

He mixes the paint in a large bowl and starts again.

Again, he crosses everything out.


INT - GINA'S APARTMENT - MORNING

Jean continues to work. He's wearing pajamas and a bathrobe.

Gina enters, waking up.

She looks at the painting.

                       GINA
            Kind of a family portrait.

Jean moves to add something. She stops him.

                       GINA (CONT'D)
            It looks done.

                           BASQUIAT
             Think so?

He pauses.

                           BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
             ... babies.

                        GINA
             You mean babies with you?

                        BASQUIAT
             What's wrong with me?

                        GINA
             You're your own baby.

Jean paints out the image.

There's a KNOCK at the door.

                           GINA
             Who is it?

                        ANNINA NOSEI (O.S)
             Annina Nosei.

                           GINA
             Who?

Jean jumps up and locks himself in the bathroom. Gina goes to the
door, unlocks the chain, and looks out.

                         GINA (CONT'D)
                    (through the crack)
             Hello? Oh. Come in.

She opens the door.

                        ANNINA NOSEI
             Is Jean Michel here?

                           GINA
             No.

Closed in the bathroom, Jean smiles while eavesdropping.

                        ANNINA NOSEI
             I'm here to see some work.

Annina starts noticing all the work around her. Gina hands her a
stack of drawings.

                        ANNINA NOSEI (CONT'D)
             These are great.

                        GINA
             Aren't they?

                        ANNINA NOSEI
             How much for these five?

                      GINA
           You should talk to him about this.

Annina contains her excitement.

                       ANNINA NOSEI
                  (continuing to stare at the
                  work)
           Um... Do Rene and Jean have a contract
           together?

We see Jean in the bathroom looking at himself in the mirror with
a bird's nest on his head.

                      ANNINA NOSEI (CONT'D)
           I'm interested in showing Jean's work.

                      GINA
           I really think you should talk to him about
           this.

Jean pops out of the bathroom.

                      BASQUIAT
           When?

                      ANNINA NOSEI
           How about right now?

She opens the door.

Unnoticed, Gina starts for the bedroom.

                       GINA
                  (calling back)
           Be ready in a minute!

                                                    CUT TO:


THE DOOR SLAMS

As Jean exits with Annina.


INT. TAXI - DAY

Jean waits in a taxi in front of Benny's apartment.

                      BASQUIAT
           Honk the horn again, will you please?

The DRIVER obliges. The back of the cab is loaded with all his
belongings. Boxes piled with junk. Bags of new painting supplies.

Benny emerges from his building and jumps into the cab.

                       BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
                  (annoyed)
           You're late.

                  (to cabby)
           One-fourteen Prince.

The cab pulls out. Jean lights a joint. and smokes it furiously.
He doesn't pass it to Benny.

                      BENNY
           What's the rush, John Henry?

                      BASQUIAT
           I ain't John Henry.

                      BENNY
           Good.

                      BASQUIAT
           What's your fuckin' problem, anyway?

Benny holds out his hand for the joint.

                       BENNY
                  (inhaling)
           I don't really have any problems.

                      BASQUIAT
           Good. What do you have?

                      BENNY
           What's your fuckin' problem? You get a
           girlfriend and a little attention and then
           start acting all uppity with me.

                       BASQUIAT
                  (mortified)
           'Uppity?' Like as in 'uppity nigger?'

He snaps his finger for the joint back.

                       BENNY
           That's not how I meant it.
                  (beat)
           For all you know, you might just be a flash
           in the pan! You can never tell.

                      BASQUIAT
           Hey fuck you! I deserve this shit. You're
           just jealous 'cause it ain't happening to
           you!

The cab stops for a red light. Benny gets out. He doesn't say a
word. Jean doesn't look at him. The cab sails off.


EXT. ANNINA NOSEI GALLERY - DAY

It stops in front of the gallery. From outside, we see Annina
conversing on the phone. She looks up and opens the door for him.


INT. STAIRWELL - BLACK.

Off screen we HEAR Jean walking down the stairs.

                      ANNINA NOSEI
           I've got to find the switch.


INT - BASEMENT, ANNINA'S - DAY

Annina flips on a light.

                         ANNINA NOSEI
           Here it is.

Jean looks around him. He's in a large, empty cement-floored room
lit by fluorescent lights.


INT. BASEMENT, ANNINA'S - (LATER) - DAY

Jean bends over, beginning several canvases. He pours paint on
them - kind of like photographs we've seen of Jackson Pollock. We
HEAR Miles Davis' "Flamenco Sketches."


INT - BASEMENT, ANNINA'S - DAY (LATER)

GRANDMASTER FLASH'S "WHITE LINES" fills the room.

The walls are covered with half-finished, unstretched CANVASES.
Two or three more lie on the floor.

He works like a maniac, buzzing back and forth from one painting
to another, adding figures, crossing out words, all the while
smoking and eating cookies. The crumbs fall onto the paintings.
He walks on them.

Every so often, he refers to a book of DaVinci drawings. Torn
pages litter the floor beneath the book.

We hear someone THUMPING down the stairs.

It's Rene. A PUPPY follows him.

He dumps a huge load of paint supplies, art books, and carryout
ribs. The puppy sniffs around happily, licking at Jean and
walking over the paintings, wagging his tail.

He stops the tape player and inserts some Persian music.

Jean empties some foil-wrapped bags of coke. He cuts a line of
coke on a foil plate.

Rene starts reading from a poem he's evidently written:

                      RENE
           3rd night I called    him 'boy'
           He sed "don't call    me 'boy'" "Well
           Then don't call me    'Boss'" That
           Was the end for us    and I've
           Been seeing him for    2 1/2 years.
           In kangaroo court I    want to be

           Able to say I never kept a
           Slave. But he tricked me in
           To Tying him up and busting his
           Face. He'll jump up at my Trial
           Yelling 'He wupped me gud.'

Jean warms the plate 'til the coke crackles, and then "chases the
dragon," sucking the smoke through a straw.

He offers it to Rene, who refuses. He lights and hands Rene the
joint. Rene takes a hit. Jean takes it back.

Jean starts to work again.

The PUPPY runs around, chasing after him, getting in his way,
running across the paintings. Jean laughs, playing tag. The puppy
gets a hold of Jean's sleeve. It unravels about ten feet.

While Jean's playing, Rene spots a painting with the words
"Famous Negro Athletes."

                      RENE
           Oh man! That's one looks famous already.

Without hearing him, Jean walks towards the painting and with a
swipe, paints out what Rene is pointing to.

                       RENE (CONT'D)
           You are a willful boy. How'm I s'posed to
           write about you if you keep changing
           everything?

The phone RINGS... Jean ignores it. Rene gets it -

                       RENE (CONT'D)
           Uh huhh... Band practice?
                  (to Jean)
           It's Benny. He wants to know why you're not
           at band practice...?

                       BASQUIAT
                  (quietly)
           Fuck...
                  (to Rene)
           I forgot about that.

He sets his brush down.

Rene hold the phone against his leg.

                      RENE
           Fuck band practice... If you're gonna be a
           painter you're gonna have to break a few
           hearts - you don't wanna be like Tony
           Bennett..

                      BASQUIAT
           Tony Bennett... What do you mean?

                      RENE
           Singing on stage and painting in your spare

           time.

                      BASQUIAT
           I didn't know Tony Bennett painted.

                      RENE
           My point exactly.

Jean picks up the phone... All he hears is a DIAL TONE.

                      RENE (CONT'D)
           So keep painting.

                       BASQUIAT
           Yes, Boss.
                  (beat)
           If you're so smart, why are you here with
           me in this basement?

                       RENE
           You're news. I want the scoop. I write it
           down. When I speak, no one believes me. But
           when I write it down, people know it's
           true.
                  (beat)
           There's never been a black painter in art
           history that's been considered really
           important, you know?

                      BASQUIAT
           So what?

                      RENE
           So shut up and keep painting..

                       BASQUIAT
                  (touched)
           What time is it?

                      RENE
           5:11.

Jean regards a near-finished painting. He writes "5:11" on it. He
crosses it out and re-writes it, "Rene 5:11." Rene looks pleased.

                      BASQUIAT
           That one's for you.

                      RENE
           Thanks... I'll take it tonight.

                      BASQUIAT
           I can't. After the show.

Jean continues painting. Rene slumps down onto the floor, happy -
a parasite content to have a host, impressed with Jean's
limitless energy. Rene closes his eyes.

BLACK

INT. ANNINA'S BASEMENT - LATER

Jean is bent over his work. He looks to see a pair of legs. They
belong to Albert Milo.

                      BASQUIAT
           Hey - it's the big A.M..

                      ALBERT MILO
           Rene's been telling me about your work.

Milo takes his time looking at the paintings.

Jean continues to work, never wanting to appear impressed by
anyone. He walks on top of the paintings.

                      ALBERT MILO (CONT'D)
           Is this finished yet?

                      BASQUIAT
           I don't know.

                      ALBERT MILO
           When's your show?

                      BASQUIAT
           Not sure. How was yours?

                       ALBERT MILO
           I haven't decided yet.
                  (beat)
           Rene, you wanna come over to the studio
           tomorrow. I wanna make a painting of you.

                      RENE
           How about now?

Rene shrugs to Jean. He prepares to leave.

                      ALBERT MILO
           See you at your opening. Thanks.

Albert and Rene begin to ascend the stairs. Jean continues
painting. The dog leaves with Rene and Albert.

                      WOMAN'S VOICE (O.S.)
           Ohhh, Albert Milo, what a pleasure to meet
           you.

Jean's brush stops.

                      ALBERT MILO (O.S.)
           This is Rene Ricard.

Jean paints over the words "Rene 5:11."

We hear FOOTSTEPS COMING DOWN THE STAIRS. The woman continues -

                      WOMAN'S VOICE (O.S.)
           We're Tom and Cynthia Kruger - nice to have
           met you.

JEAN'S POV

We see Annina's legs coming down the stairs.


REVEAL

A man wearing a pin-striped suit and gold-rimmed glasses. The
woman is wrapped in a cashmere shawl.

                        ANNINA NOSEI (O.S)
             Tom and Cynthia Kruger.

                        BASQUIAT (O.S)
             I know.

We SEE that Jean continues to paint, looking down.

                         ANNINA NOSEI
             This is Jean Michel Basquiat.
                    (beat)
             You've seen the SAMO graffiti everywhere.
             That's his. This is the true voice of the
             gutter.

As she speaks, Jean squirms. He grabs a banana from a fruit bowl.
Without peeling it, he takes a big bite. And another. And
another. Everyone looks uncomfortable. Annina starts showing them
the paintings.

                        CYNTHIA KRUGER
             We've seen the graffiti. I work on Wall
             Street. And I've heard wonderful things
             about the paintings. Everybody's talking
             about you.

                        BASQUIAT
             Yeah.

He looks up at them, eating the banana.

                         ANNINA NOSEI
             Here's a very good example of his recent
             work that's not spoken for yet.
                    (beat)
             He's got to work in a basement. He's got so
             much energy that if he worked in a place
             with a window, he'd jump right through it.
             Most of these are reserved already. After
             this week, this work will not be available.

                         TOM KRUGER
                    (to his wife)
             ... I don't know.... This one's nice, but I
             don't know if I could live with it. That
             green is so... institutional.

He (Kruger) looks up to see two KIDS enter - young black artists,
one of whom we saw with Rene at the loft party.

They walk right into the middle of the room, completely oblivious
to the presence of Annina and the Krugers..

                       KID #1
                  (enthusiastically)
           Yo, man, you're a damn lucky nigger selling
           this shit!

                      BASQUIAT
           You like it?

                      KID #1
           Not bad. Yeah, I do.

The Krugers hem and haw in front of the painting next to Jean.

                      CYNTHIA KRUGER
           I'm fascinated by his choice of crossing
           out words that way.

                      ANNINA NOSEI
           Yes, well, they are more meaningful in
           their absence, no?

                       KID #1
                  (to Jean, joking)
           What does it mean?

Jean paints the words "Rene 5:11" back into a painting. They
ignore the kid..

                      CYNTHIA KRUGER
           I like this one, but that green...

Suddenly, we see LEGS coming down the stairs. It's Gina. Everyone
looks at her.

                      BASQUIAT
           Y'want me to make it a nice shit brown?

                         TOM KRUGER
           Beg pardon?

Gina hadn't expected to find herself in the middle of this scene.

                      BASQUIAT
           Hi. This is Gina.

Annina nods to her.

Gina nods to the group.

                      CYNTHIA KRUGER
           They're something like Dubuffet's...
           That... childlike quality.

Gina tries to connect with Jean. He's cold.

                       CYNTHIA KRUGER (CONT'D)
                  (to her husband and Annina)

           I can't make up my mind.

                      TOM KRUGER
           I like this one. If it were just another
           color..

                       BASQUIAT
           Get a fucking decorator. If you buy one,
           you'll have to change your whole lives -
           maybe even sell your kids!
                  (to Annina)
           These paintings aren't even done yet!!!

He sets his brush down. As he leaves -

                      TOM KRUGER (O.S.)
           I think we'll take the green one.


HOLD ON:

Gina, left standing in the middle of this.


INT. MCDONALDS - DAY

CLOSE ON McDonald's COUNTERMAN. He smiles.

                      BASQUIAT
           I'll take three big Macs, two chocolate
           shakes, two orders of fries, and an apple
           pie.

                      COUNTERMAN
           You want three Big Macs, two chocolate
           shakes, two orders of fries, and an apple
           pie.

A line begins forming behind Jean.

                      BASQUIAT
           Forget it .I'll take six, no, seven
           chocolate shakes, an order of fries, a Big
           Mac, and two apple pies.

                      COUNTERMAN
           You only want one Big Mac?

The people in line are beginning to get impatient.

                      BASQUIAT
           Yeah... And make it three apple pies.


EXT. SOHO STREET - DAY

Jean leans on a fire hydrant, eating a Big Mac.

A pink scarf blows on the wind right in front of his face. He
catches it.

A BOMBSHELL BLONDE arrives with her hand outstretched to retrieve
it.

                      BIG PINK
           How can I ever thank you?

                       BASQUIAT
                  (with a smile)
           I'd like to squeeze your titties.

He offers her a Big Mac.

                         BIG PINK
           Come on.

                         BASQUIAT
           Wanna Mac?

                      BIG PINK
           No, I'd like the scarf.

                         BASQUIAT
           Have a Mac.

                      BIG PINK
           I don't eat junk food.

                       BASQUIAT
           Oh. I didn't know. I'll take you to the
           best restaurant in town.
                  (beat)
           You'll miss a great meal and I'll keep the
           scarf, anyway. What's your name?

                      BIG PINK
           You're a fast mover.

                      BASQUIAT
           No name? That's ok. I'll just call you Big
           Pink.

A man sleeping on the ground with a beehive of paper bags on his
head and three overcoats sticks out into the sidewalk.

Jean leaves the McDonald's bag near his head as he walks down the
street with the girl.


INT. GINA'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Jean enters the apartment.

                         GINA
           Hi.

                         BASQUIAT
           Hi.

                      GINA
           What's that?

                        BASQUIAT
             A present I picked up for you.

Gina holds the scarf up and looks at it.

                        GINA
             It's beautiful. Thanks.

As she holds it up he puts it around her neck and kisses her.

                         BASQUIAT
                    (tenderly)
             You look like an angel.


INT. ANNINA NOSEI GALLERY - NIGHT

Silence.


CLOSE UP PAINTING

We read the words:

"BOOM #2
A CAT POURING TACKS ON ITS TONGUE"

SOMEONE (the big red-haired dealer we met earlier) walks in front
of us.

CAMERA PULLS BACK to reveal a crowd in a gallery. It is literally
filled with people. Again - all this takes place in silence.

We begin to HEAR Peggy Lee's "Is That All There Is?" It colors
the motion of the crowd.

                                                  CUT TO:


EXT. PRINCE ST (BET. MERCER AND WOOSTER) - DUSK

Jean walks down the street. He's got on a new set of clothes and
he listens to a Walkman. We HEAR Miles Davis' "Flamenco
Sketches."


JEAN'S POV

We MOVE down Prince St. and take a left on West Broadway. We
approach a huge crowd. We get closer and closer until we are
immersed in it.

The crowd realizes Jean's amongst them. People start approaching
him. Someone removes the headphones.

The DIN of the crowd replaces the music. Amongst the normal crowd
chatter, we hear friends' calling out:

                        VOICES IN CROWD
             Jean!!! Jean Michel!!!

INT. ANNINA NOSEI GALLERY

Annina    beckons to him. Beyond her, he sees Albert, Andy, and
Bruno.    He's being escorted or maybe just pushed - it's hard to
tell.    Each step of the way, he's pounced upon by INDIVIDUALS
we've    never met. The room is wall-to-wall with people. People are
swept    along in currents.

                          MAN
                     (wildly enthusiastic)
              Jean, man!!! Let's make a record!

                          WOMAN
                     (slyly, intimately)
              You finally did it.

                          MAN #2
                     (pointing to Jean, sneering)
              He's so fulla shit.

                         MAN #3 (O.S.)
              How much is he getting for these?

Jean walks up to Andy Warhol.

                         BASQUIAT
              Andy, man, thanks for coming. I'd like to
              paint your jacket.

                          ANDY WARHOL
              My jacket? Gee, great...
                     (he Polaroids Jean)
              Your show looks great. Quite a turnout. You
              look great. You kids. You drink red wine
              with fish. You can do anything! Make
              paintings in the basement of your gallery?
              First time I've heard of that!

They are approached by Mary Boone, a short woman in high heels
and an Armani suit).

                         ANDY WARHOL (CONT'D)
              Jean Michel, this is Mary Boone. She's got
              the great new gallery.

                         BASQUIAT
              Yeah, I met her already.

                          MARY BOONE
                     (shaking Jean's hand)
              You should be pleased. It's a great
              show...I'm having a dinner later at Mr.
              Chow's for Albert. You should come.

In the background, we see Annina watching.

                         ANDY WARHOL
              You'll like it. Everyone'll be there.

Annina walks over to Jean with a COUPLE.

                      ANNINA NOSEI
           Jean, your parents are here.

                      BASQUIAT
           Hi Dad. Hi Nora.

                      NORA
           Congratulations.

                      BASQUIAT
           Thanks for coming.

Rene appears out of the crowd.

                       ANNINA NOSEI
                  (continuing to Jean's father)
           You must be very proud.

                      FATHER
           I am!

                      RENE
           How does it feel to have a genius in the
           family?

                      FATHER
           It feels... good!

Jean notices Benny across the room. He slows down and waves.

Jean sees Gina across the room wearing the scarf.

Just beyond her, he sees Big Pink approaching.

There must be ten people between them.

                       BASQUIAT
                  (to Rene)
           I'll be right back.

He moves towards her. Suddenly, directly in front of him are the
Krugers.

                      TOM KRUGER
           We love our painting.

                      BASQUIAT
           Which painting?

                      TOM KRUGER
           The green one.

                      BASQUIAT
           Oh yeah.

                      CYNTHIA KRUGER
           We got a couch to match.

                      TOM KRUGER
           She's only kidding!

Looking past the Krugers, Jean looks for Gina. He sees her. His
path is blocked.

He presses forward, looking for Gina, getting caught in the
crowd.

Jean strains to keep an eye on Gina and Big Pink..

Benny arrives at Jean's side holding a bottle of Jack Daniels and
a shot glass.

                      BENNY
           Willie Mays. A Toast.

Jean brushes past him.

                      BASQUIAT
           Not now, ok?

Benny is left standing next to Andy holding the bottle.

Jean manages to advance a few more feet through the crowd, then
runs smack into Rockets, his drug dealer.

                      ROCKETS
           Jean Michel, my man. Nice party. Should we
           step into my office?

Nearby, Benny sees this meeting and walks off, disgusted,
thinking this is why Jean gave him the brush off.

                      BASQUIAT
           That's alright. I'm cool now.

Jean looks off and sees Big Pink fingering the scarf, saying
something to Gina.

Gina slaps her in the face.

Jean tries to get around the dealer.

Gina turns to leave. She catches Jean's eye.

She walks out.

                      ROCKETS
           A gift! I was just trying to give you a
           gift!

The dealer palms something to Jean.

                         BASQUIAT
           I gotta go.

Jean steps away from Rockets, but is trapped in the crowd.
Rockets looks after him with disappointment.

Rene arrives with, Andy, Bruno, and a PHOTOGRAPHER.

                         RENE

                  (edging his way in)
           This guy wants a picture.

They shrug and crowd in - Jean, Andy, and Rene. The photographer
gets them to squeeze closer and closer.

                      PHOTOGRAPHER
           Of the painters, please.

There's not enough room. Rene accidentally gets pushed out of
frame.

Rene fumes. Albert Milo arrives with his parents (JACK AND ESTHER
MILO). They are a nice Jewish couple in their 70's.

                      BASQUIAT
           He said 'of the painters!' Hey - Albert!
           Get in the picture!

Albert crowds in. The photographer SNAPS a picture and the FLASH
blinds everyone momentarily.

                      ALBERT MILO
           Hey, Jean, I'd like you to meet my
           wife....and my parents. Mom, Dad, this is
           Jean Michel Basquiat.

Jean pulls out a joint and lights it as if it were a cigarette.
He offers it to Albert, who takes a hit.

                       ESTHER MILO
                  (frowning at her son)
           Don't do that.
                  (beat)
           Hello, Jean.

                      JACK MILO
           Hi, John... Are your parents here?

                      BASQUIAT
           Well.
                  (inhaling)
           My dad's here with his wife. My mom
           couldn't make it.

He offers the joint to Albert's mother.

                       ESTHER MILO
                  (waving it away)
           No thanks.

Everyone laughs.

                       BRUNO
                  (to Jean)
           I'd like to do a show with you.
                  (pointing to "Rene 5:11"
                  painting)
           I'm especially interested in that one. I'd
           like to buy it for myself.

Jean spots the very word on the painting ("Rene 5:11") and
freezes for a second.

                      BASQUIAT
           I wasn't gonna sell this one.

He looks around the room for Rene, but doesn't see him. Bruno
remains smiling, waiting for an answer.

                      BRUNO
           You shouldn't have put it in the show. This
           is the one I absolutely have to have. I
           really love it.

                        BASQUIAT
           Sure, ok..

Jean wants out. He feels compromised.

                      BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
           Do you think I could borrow your limousine?
           I'll get it back to you in an hour.

                      BRUNO
           It's OK. Just have him bring you to dinner
           at Mr. Chow's later. We'll be there.

                        ANDY WARHOL
           Bye, Jean.

Jean makes his way through the crowd, as we see images of the
crowd and fragments of paintings. As he nears the door, he feels
his arm pulled.

                       RENE
                  (hissing)
           You fucking little whore! You sold my
           painting! I'm gonna tell you something,
           brother - when you're climbing up the
           ladder of success, don't kick out the
           rungs! Believe that shit.

                      BASQUIAT
           I'll make you another one.

                        RENE
           Forget it.

He pulls out a scrap of paper and starts writing.

                        BASQUIAT
           Rene -

Rene shushes him... He hisses loudly, like a cat.

                       RENE
           SHHHHHH. Later.
                  (speaking to himself)
           "What is it about art, anyway......"

Jean pauses. He turns around and surveys the room once more.

A blink.

Silence.

We see the crowd in SLOW MOTION.

Everyone's eyes are shut.

                       RENE (O.S.; CONT'D)
           ... that we give it so much importance?
           Artists are respected by the poor because
           what they do is an honest way to get out of
           the slum using one's sheer self as the
           medium. The money earned is proof pure and
           simple of the value of that individual...
           The Artist.


INT. / EXT. GALLERY - NIGHT

The CAMERA rises higher and higher over the crowd and follows
Jean as he makes his way toward the street.

We begin to DISSOLVE into a MONTAGE of stills of ARTISTS:

                      RENE (O.S.CONT'D)
           The picture a mother's son does in jail
           hangs on her wall as proof that beauty is
           possible even in the most wretched. And
           this is a much different idea than the
           fancier notion that art is a scam and a
           rip-off. But you could never explain to
           someone who uses God's gift to enslave that
           you have used God's gift to be free."


EXT. STREET - NIGHT

Jean enters a waiting limo. It pulls away from the curb.

Rene finishes as the limo threads its way through the night-lit,
twinkling city.


INT. LIMO - NIGHT

The DRIVER is the young Rasta we saw earlier outside Ballato's
driving Bruno and Andy.

Jean slumps in the back seat.

The driver can't help staring in the rearview mirror.

                      DRIVER
           I really... admire you.

                      BASQUIAT
           Me? Why?

                      DRIVER

           You did it! You made it. I'm a painter,
           too.

                      BASQUIAT
           That's great.

                      DRIVER
           Would you check out my studio some time?

                      BASQUIAT
           Sure. I'd be glad to.

The limo pulls over.

                       DRIVER
           Here?

Quickly, Jean gets out of the limo. He leaves the door open.

The DRIVER watches as Jean talks to two DRUG DEALERS.

Jean jumps back into the limo.

The driver pulls away. In the rearview mirror, he sees Jean
separate a bag from a bundle of ten. He rips it open and snorts
directly from it.

He lays his head back and takes a deep breath.

                       BASQUIAT
                  (calm, relieved)
           What's your name, man?

                      DRIVER
           They call me Steve, but I prefer Shenge.

                      BASQUIAT
           Nice to meet you, Shenge. Want a job?


INT. MR. CHOW'S RESTAURANT - NIGHT

An elegant Chinese restaurant on the Upper East Side. The dining
room is split level with a mezzanine reserved for celebrities and
special friends of the owner.

At the podium, the MAITRE'D approaches.

                      MAITRE'D
           Good evening.

From behind the Maitre'd on the mezzanine we see Bruno waving to
Jean.

In the dining room on the lower level sit Annina and Rene.
Nearby, at another, smaller table, are seated DAVID MCDERMOTT and
PETER MCGOUGH, two artists dressed in Victorian attire.

Annina beckons him.

Rene looks away from him and talks to a WAITER. Jean waves to

Annina and continues towards Bruno's table.

Seated at a large table are Andy, Bruno, Albert Milo, his wife
and parents, Henry Geldzahler, MELINA PORTOS (a young heiress)
and FRANCESCO and ALBA CLEMENTE and Mary Boone. Dinner's already
served.

At the large table, everyone watches as Milo makes a portrait of
Francesco in a beautiful leatherbound book. It belongs to Mr.
Chow, who is nearby at the bar.

                       ANDY WARHOL
           Hi, Jean.

He motions to Mr. Chow to set a chair for Jean between Mary Boone
and himself.

                      BRUNO
           Jean, everyone loved your show.

As Jean is seated, Andy and Jack Milo resume conversation -

                      JACK MILO
           Nixon lives in Saddle River, New York.

                      ANDY WARHOL
           Saddle River's in New Jersey.

                      JACK MILO
           Saddle River, New York!

                      ANDY WARHOL
           It's in New Jersey.

                       JACK MILO
           New York.

                      ANDY WARHOL
           I think it's in New Jersey.

                      JACK MILO
           It's in New York.

                      ANDY WARHOL
           Oh, I didn't know that.

CLOSE UP: Jean smiles at Andy's diplomacy.

Albert finishes drawing his portrait: it's Francesco with his arm
around a headless torso.

                       ALBERT MILO
                  (to Francesco)
           You finish it.

He pushes the book across the table.

Francesco begins to draw.

                       MARY BOONE
                  (to Jean)

           I hear your show was sold out already.
           There's a very important collector who's
           interested in some of your works.

                      BASQUIAT
           Bring him over sometime. I have some other
           stuff to show him.

Annina watches from the other table as Jean talks to Mary.

Francesco finishes his drawing.

Albert takes the book and passes it to Jean.

                      ALBERT MILO (CONT'D)
           Go on, take it..

Jean takes it. Mr. Chow watches his book change hands.

Jean takes a bowl of moo-shoo pork in front of him and dumps it
onto the book. Then he uses a piece of pork to draw a head.

Suddenly, there's a shrill, familiar voice.

                       RENE
           I'd like a glass of your best champagne,
           please?
                  (reading)
           This is an enormously important season in
           New York, and to make a false step could
           have severe repercussions for years. We are
           no longer collecting art, we're buying
           individuals.

                      ANDY WARHOL
           Oh shut up, Rene.

                       RENE
           Everything's over your head, Andy. Even Mr.
           Chow's menu.
                  (beat - to Jean)
           Thanks for not inviting me

He leans over everyone and helps himself to some spears of
asparagus.


ANGLE ON

Esther Milo, watching.

                      RENE (CONT'D)
           I'm starving. You can't buy    advertising
           like this. This is the most    glamorous
           dinner you'll have here this    fall. How
           about some of that imitation    crab?

                      MR. CHOW
           I'm not paying for the drawing with crab.
           It's a present to my friends. It's my
           birthday.

Jean finishes his drawing - a big beautiful head that fills the
screen.

Rene grabs it from him. He holds it up for everyone to see.

                      RENE
           Isn't he great? Thanks, Jean.

He rips the page from the book.

                      RENE (CONT'D)
           He owes me one.

Everyone's face drops. Mr. Chow grabs his book. He motions to a
couple WAITERS -

                      MR. CHOW
           You're too much, Rene. Get this guy out of
           here.

                      RENE
           I haven't eaten yet!!!

The waiters grab Rene's arms.

                      RENE (CONT'D)
           Hands off me, you faggots! I'm going. I'm
           going...I've kept Diana Vreeland waiting
           too long, anyway.

                      ANDY WARHOL
           Wow... That was a nice drawing, too, Jean.
           Maybe you should do another one.

                       MR. CHOW
                  (exhausted)
           Some other time.

Spontaneously, David McDermott climbs onto the tabletop
downstairs and sings "Paris Je T'aime."

As he belts it out in a theatrical falsetto, he glides over
glasses and plates, executing a leap to another table in mid-
song.

The restaurant staff and OTHER DINNER GUESTS watch, agape.


CLOSE UP - DAVID'S SHOES.

As David dances, Annina walks over to the table, greeting people
and saying goodnight.

                       ANNINA NOSEI
                  (to Jean)
           It's great that people are interested, but
           if anyone's going to buy anything, I'll
           handle it for you. Everything goes through
           the gallery, even if they come to your
           studio.

                      BASQUIAT
           Sure.

Annina leaves.

Jean leans back in his chair, taking in this splendid new world.
He pulls out a joint, lights up, inhales with pleasure, closes
his eyes and smiles.

SUPER OVER HIS FACE: "FOUR YEARS LATER"

SCREEN GOES BLACK

                      INTERVIEWER (O.S.)
           ... had twenty-three one man shows, been in
           forty three group shows from Zurich to
           Tokyo..

                                                    FADE UP


INT. GREAT JONES STREET LOFT - DAY

Note: The following scene is shot in documentary style.

                      INTERVIEWER (O.S, CONT'D)
           ... had over fifty articles written about
           you, switched galleries - how many times? -
           DJ'd in the hottest clubs -

Jean looks out the window, yawns and rubs his eyes. He now sports
dreadlocks bundled into groups of spikes sticking out of his
head. He wears a wrinkled Wesleyan College T-shirt, paint-
splattered jeans, and no shoes; just out of bed, it would seem.

An INTERVIEWER - a balding Brit with all the humor of a bank
clerk - tries to buddy up with Jean on camera.

                       INTERVIEWER   (CONT'D)
           ... one of the youngest    artists ever to be
           included in the Whitney    Biennial, also
           produced a rap record.    It's said you're
           quite the ladies man -    even dated Madonna
           for a couple months!!!
                  (takes a breath)
           All at the ripe old age    of 24. One might
           ask: is there anything    left for Jean Michel
           Basquiat to do?

Jean and the interviewer face each other in front of one of
Jean's paintings. Jean stares at the interviewer, incredulous.

                       INTERVIEWER (CONT'D)
           What is it that gets you out of bed in the
           morning?
                  (nervous laugh)

                      BASQUIAT
           I hate this. Turn that off.

Jean walks off camera and disappears into his bedroom.

Shenge (the former limo driver, now working as Jean's assistant)
assembles stretchers.

SUPER: "GREAT JONES STREET, 1985"

A CAMERA CREW waits in the room. Jean returns.

                      INTERVIEWER
           We're running a little late.

He signals to the crew that he's beginning.

                         INTERVIEWER (CONT'D)
                    (to crew)
           Ready?

He points to some scribbled words on the canvas.

                      INTERVIEWER (CONT'D)
           ... Can you... decipher this for us?

                        BASQUIAT
           Decipher?

                      INTERVIEWER
           Yes. What do they... stand for?

                      BASQUIAT
           They're just words.

                      INTERVIEWER
           Yes, I understand - but where do you take
           them from?

                       BASQUIAT
           Where? Do you ask Miles where he got that
           note from? Where do you take your words
           from?
                  (beat)
           Everywhere.

                       INTERVIEWER
                  (pointing to a detail)
           What are they?

                       BASQUIAT
                  (smiling mischievously)
           Leeches. A long list of leeches.
                  (looking at some frames
                  Shenge's working on)
           It looks good like that.

                       INTERVIEWER
           Hmmm. And 'Parasites.'
                  (beat)
           You seem to be a Primal Expressionist.

                      BASQUIAT
           You mean like an ape?

He grabs a huge double mouthful of French Fries and washes them
down with champagne..

                       BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
                  (chewing, spilling)
           A primate?

                       INTERVIEWER
           Well, you said that.
                  (beat - looks at notes)
           You've got a lot of references from
           Leonardo da Vinci, don't you?

                      BASQUIAT
           Oh, that's a "Leonardo's Greatest Hits"
           painting. You like it?

                      INTERVIEWER
           Yes, but as a black painter -

                      BASQUIAT
           I use a lot of colors - not only black.

                         INTERVIEWER
           What?

                      BASQUIAT
           I'm not black.

                         INTERVIEWER
           You're not?

                         BASQUIAT
           Not what?

                         INTERVIEWER
           Not black.

                      BASQUIAT
           No, I'm Haitian-Puerto Rican.

The BUZZER sounds. He signals for Steve not to answer the door.

                      INTERVIEWER
           Yes, yes... Let's talk about that.... your
           roots... Your father is from Haiti, isn't
           he?

                        BASQUIAT
                   (growing weary)
           Yup.

                      INTERVIEWER
           Hmmmm. Interesting. And when you grew up
           were there any primitives hanging in your
           home?

                      BASQUIAT
           We don't hang them at home, y'know - just
           in the streets..

                       INTERVIEWER
           I see..
                  (beat)
           And... How do you respond to being called -
           hmmm...
                  (peruses some notes)
           - yes, "the pickaninny of the art world."

                       BASQUIAT
                  (smiles - hurt, stunned)
           Who said that?

                      INTERVIEWER
           Why, that's from Time Magazine.

                      BASQUIAT
           No, he said I was the Eddie Murphy of the
           art world. He said the Eddie Murphy.

                      INTERVIEWER
           Is it true that your mother resides in a
           mental institution?

Jean walks off camera like he just received a punch in the
stomach.

The filming of the interview becomes increasingly erratic.

                      INTERVIEWER (CONT'D)
           Let me... just... open something up here.
           You come from a nice, middle class,
           respectable home. Your father is an
           accountant. Why did you at one time live in
           a cardboard box in Tompkins Square?

Jean walks back into frame.

                       INTERVIEWER (CONT'D)
           Or rather, do you think you're being
           exploited or are you yourself exploiting
           the white image of the black artist from
           the ghetto?

                       BASQUIAT
           Are those the only two possibilities?
                  (cramming a French Fry into
                  his mouth)
           You wanna French fry?

                      INTERVIEWER
           OK. One last thing. Is there any anger in
           you? Any anger in your work?

                      BASQUIAT
           Should there be?

                      INTERVIEWER
           Tell me about it. What are you angry about?

Jean drifts off.

                      BASQUIAT
           Mmmm. I don't know. I don't remember.


INT. FANCY GOURMET DELI - DAY

Jean and Andy browse through the aisles. Jean piles things into
his cart.

Jean approaches the specialty counter. Andy continues with the
cart.

                       BASQUIAT
                  (to COUNTERMAN)
           Can I have some caviar, please?

The Counterman selects a miniscule plastic spoon of caviar and
begins to put it into a tiny glass jar.

                      BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
           I'd like to taste it, first.

Reluctantly the Counterman gives him a taste with a look like
"what's a person who looks like you doing buying caviar?"

Jean tastes the caviar and hands him back the spoon.

                      BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
           Is that the best quality you have?

                      COUNTERMAN
           Yeah, it's the best one.

                      BASQUIAT
           I'll take the whole tin.

                      COUNTERMAN
           It's three thousand dollars!

                       BASQUIAT
           I'll take it.
                  (wipes nose with sleeve.)
           Andy, gimme three thousand dollars.
                  (beat)
           Just the caviar - I'll get the rest.

He hands two one hundred dollar bills for the other items to the
counterman, who checks them carefully.

                      BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
           You check everyone's bills or just mine?

                                                   CUT TO:


EXT. WINDOW - DAY

A cheap pharmacy gift shop window. Jean and Andy look in on two
yellow furry stuffed ducks which are part of a larger display.

                      ANDY WARHOL
           When I was little, my brother and I used to
           have two ducks as pets. We called them the
           Rodriguez Brothers.

They walk into a beauty salon.


INT. BEAUTY SALON - DAY

Jean and Andy recline on the beautician's armchairs. THREE
BEAUTICIANS busy themselves with the two of them, simultaneously
giving them pedicures and manicures. Jean sets down a magazine.

                      BASQUIAT
           I wish they'd quit writing this shit about
           me.

                      ANDY WARHOL
           That's good. At least they're interested.

                       BASQUIAT
           Everybody's paying top dollar for scraps of
           paper, refrigerator doors - anything with a
           SAMO tag on it.
                  (beat)
           The other day, I just wanted a pack of
           cigarettes, so I did a drawing and sold it
           for two bucks. A week later this gallery
           calls me up: "Somebody's offering us the
           drawing. Should we buy it for five
           thousand?"

                       ANDY WARHOL
           Wow... Stop giving them away.
                  (beat)
           I got an invitation to model for Comme de
           Garcons... You wanna do it with me?

                      BASQUIAT
           Yeah - I'd do that... You could teach me.

                      ANDY WARHOL
           Gee. I don't need to. You're a natural. You
           should sign up with my modeling agent.

Jean points to Andy's ankles - they have plastic flea collars on
them.

                      BASQUIAT
           Cool.

                      ANDY WARHOL
           My dog, Archie... I woke up with flea
           bites... Creepy. I ran out and bought flea
           collars. They work really well.

Beat.

                      BASQUIAT
           Let's leave this town and go someplace.

           Some island.

                         ANDY WARHOL
           Let's go to    the Carnegie Museum. They have
           the world's    most famous sculptures all in
           these giant    plaster replicas. It's really
           great. It's    in Pittsburg.


EXT. STREET - - DAY

They walk out of the beauty salon..

Jean sees the back of a girl. She looks a lot like Gina.

                         BASQUIAT
           Ouch..

                      ANDY WARHOL
           What's wrong?

                      BASQUIAT
           That girl looks just like my old girlfriend
           Gina.

                      ANDY WARHOL
           Do you still love her?

                      BASQUIAT
           Yeah. I really blew it. I still think about
           her.

                      ANDY WARHOL
           Well, have you asked her to come back?

Jean shakes his head `no,' sorry that he didn't.


INT. BARBETTA'S (RESTAURANT) - DAY

A medium-sized dining room with dark wood paneling and tastefully
appointed furnishings.

Jean and Gina enter. Gina looks considerably more conservative
than previously - more like a student. Jean's dressed well, but
looks even more careworn than usual. His hair is tied back with a
necktie. He has a couple sores on his face. His skin looks a
little puffy.

The MAITRE'D smiles at Jean and bows -

                      MAITRE'D
           Mr. Basquiat - what a pleasure to see you
           again.

                      BASQUIAT
           Hey George, what's up?

A huge table with NINE WHITE EXECUTIVES. WAITERS clear their
lunch settings. As they spot Jean and Gina entering, they gawk
and snicker.

George leads them to their table. As they take their seats, Jean
notices the suppressed giggles coming from the executives' table.
They try to ignore it. George disappears.

Jean seems self-conscious about the sores on his face.

                      GINA
           So are you really friends with Andy? He
           seems like such a weirdo.

                      BASQUIAT
           He's not. He's out of town and he calls me
           every day. What's weird about him?

                      GINA
           Don't you think he's using you?

                      BASQUIAT
           Why does everybody say that? He's the only
           person I know who doesn't need to use me.

George reappears.

                      GEORGE
           Would you like to see the wine list?

                      BASQUIAT
           Chateau Latour '64, please.

George disappears again.

                       GINA
           So. Are you ready? I start Columbia next
           fall. Of course, there's like, a year of
           pre-med stuff, but - whatever. I'm really
           excited.
                  (beat)
           And: Rene gave me a job as his secretary.
           His poems are getting published.

                         BASQUIAT
           How is he?

                      GINA
           Pretty much the same.

Jean's eyebrows go up.

                       BASQUIAT
           Wow. Congratulations. I hate that asshole.
                  (beat)
           Thanks for coming. I guess I just wanted to
           find out how you're -

                       GINA
                  (referring to an extra loud
                  snicker from execs)
           What's that about?

                         BASQUIAT

           Forget it.

George arrives and pours a sip for Jean to taste. He nods. George
moves off. Two or three of the executives break out laughing.

Jean puts the glass down and looks at them. The other table is
clearly making fun of him.

                      GINA
           That is amazing. What year is it?

                        BASQUIAT
           George?

George hurries over.

                      GEORGE
           I'm sorry, Mr. Basquiat.

                       BASQUIAT
           See that table over there? I'd like to pay
           their bill.

Long silence.

                        GEORGE
           I'm sorry?

Gina looks at Jean, confused.

                      BASQUIAT
           Yeah, just put their bill on my tab.

                        GEORGE
           Really?

                        BASQUIAT
           Yeah.

                        GEORGE
           Very well.

He moves off towards the executives. George whispers to the HEAD
EXECUTIVE, and nods towards Jean. The executives spread the words
amongst themselves. They're horrified.

                       BASQUIAT
                  (continuing)
           Baby, I think about you a lot. I'm really
           sorry about everything. You have to believe
           me. I'm serious. I wish, y'know, that we
           were -

                      GINA
           I don't believe it, Jean - they're picking
           straws.

A YOUNG EXECUTIVE, obviously the loser, takes a deep breath and
heads towards them.

                        YOUNG EXECUTIVE

           Excuse me... On behalf of my friends I'd
           like to apologize. We're really sorry.

                      BASQUIAT
           I wish you niggahs could get it togeth-
           ahhhhhh.

The Executive reaches to shake Jean's hand. Jean puts a hundred
dollar bill in his hand.

                      YOUNG EXECUTIVE
           What's this for?

                       BASQUIAT
           The tip.

Jean turns back to Gina. The Executive leaves them. George
smiles.

                      GINA
           You don't have to be sorry. There's no one
           to blame. Jean, you're a real artist. I
           thought I was one. You made me realize I
           wasn't.

                      BASQUIAT
           What's his name?

Gina balks. Rather than face a disappointment -

                      BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
           I have to go to the bathroom.


INT. BARBETTA'S (BATHROOM) - DAY

CLOSE ON JEAN - looking in the mirror.

He looks at himself.

He starts to pick at his face.


INT. PALLADIUM - HUGE ROOM - NIGHT

Jean and Albert Milo sit on a banquette

A huge white painting of Jean's with a dragon's head hangs on one
wall to their left. On the opposite wall in back of the bar hangs
another huge painting with a lot of heads, mostly black.

Lots of PEOPLE mill about a huge room.

A GIRL - another Gina look-alike walks through the crowd. Jean's
eyes follow her momentarily..

                       BASQUIAT
                  (re: the paintings)
           What do you think?

                       ALBERT MILO

           I like the one with the dragon's heads a
           lot. But the black one's filled up with too
           many heads...
                  (beat)
           I'd take some of them out.
                  (beat)
           I think you're painting too fast. I
           wouldn't put in so many heads. Let it
           breathe a bit.

                      BASQUIAT
           It's always how you would do it. This is my
           version.

                      ALBERT MILO
           You're right. It's your version. You should
           come over to the studio sometime.

                      BASQUIAT
           Why, so you could humiliate me?

                      ALBERT MILO
           No, I wanted to make a painting of you.


EXT. UNION SQUARE PARK - DAY

Jean rides his bicycle through the park. He's looking up at the
birds flying in the trees.


ANGLE ON

The birds. We see the statue in the middle of the park, but we
have no idea where we are until we see the Mays Dept. Store sign.
The birds circle in flocks, never lighting on the trees.


EXT. THE FACTORY (ENTRANCE) - DAY

Jean presses a buzzer. He's admitted. He carries his bike on his
shoulder.


INT. THE FACTORY - DAY

Jean enters a broad, high-ceilinged studio. It's neat. Paintings
lie on the floor.

Andy's back is turned to him. As Jean gets closer, he sees that
Andy's assistant FRANK is peeing on canvas covered with copper
pigment. We hear the SOUND of the piss.

Frank holds a bottle of beer in his hand.

                      ANDY WARHOL
           A little more to the right, Frank. OK...
           Good. Now up... You got a little more?

Jean notices a bunch of Andy's wigs on a desk.

                      BASQUIAT
           What's with the wigs?

                      ANDY WARHOL
           I'm going to send them to my friends for
           Christmas presents.

                      BASQUIAT
           You think those are good presents? Who
           wants an old wig?

Jean makes a grimace. He walks up to the painting Frank's peeing
on.

                      BASQUIAT
           Piss painting?

                      ANDY WARHOL
           I wanted to make a few more of these.
           Frank's been drinking this Mexican beer. It
           makes a good green.

                      BASQUIAT
           How come you're not peeing on them
           yourself?

                      ANDY WARHOL
           I don't like beer.

Looking down at the painting -

                      BASQUIAT
           If you ever want me to shit on 'em, just
           ask. You could finger paint.


INT. THE FACTORY - LATER

Jean and Andy collaborate on a large canvas. Andy outlines a
Mobil Oil winged horse.

Jean paints it out. To the side he paints a penguin with a hat.

                      ANDY WARHOL
           That was my favorite part!

                      BASQUIAT
           We can do better. It needed more white.

Andy watches as Jean lights a joint and continues working on his
penguin.

                      ANDY WARHOL
           Jean, you make me feel worthless. You're so
           famous.

Andy paints an Amoco logo next to the penguin.

                      BASQUIAT
           I don't even have any friends anymore
           besides you. And everyone says "Warhol?

           That death-warmed over person on drugs?
           He's just using you."

                      ANDY WARHOL
           Gee. You shouldn't take it so seriously,
           Jean. That's why you can't stop taking
           drugs. You always think people don't like
           you. Everyone likes you.

                      BASQUIAT
           People are only interested in you because
           you're famous, not because they know a
           fuckin' thing about your work.

Jean paints out part of Andy's logo.

                      ANDY    WARHOL
           Bruno called. In    Europe, people are saying
           you're gonna die    from drugs. They think
           they can cash in    on your death.

                      BASQUIAT
           When I was poor, everybody doubted I could
           make it. When I got rich, everyone said,
           `yeah, but he'll never keep it up.' Now
           everyone says `he's killing himself.' So I
           clean up, and then they say `Look. His
           art's dead.' I don't take drugs, anyway.
           I'm healthy now.

Jean obliterates Andy's logo.

                      ANDY WARHOL
           If you say so. You sleep until 5:00 p.m.
           You call at four in the morning. You never
           show up anywhere on time - if you show up.
           You're painting out everything I do!

Andy paints back in part of the horse.

                      BASQUIAT
           That's better.

Jean adds some letters on top of Andy's logo.

                      ANDY WARHOL
           I can't even see what's good anymore.

Jean Michel obliterates the rest of the logo with some white.

Andy steps back and squints as he examines Jean's work.

                      ANDY WARHOL (CONT'D)
           Yeah, I see what you mean about the white.
           It's better.

Jean quits painting.

                      BASQUIAT
           After the show we should take a nice long
           vacation. Maybe go to Hawaii. That's what

           I'm gonna do. I'm going to give up painting
           and start playing music again. I wanna
           sing.

                      ANDY WARHOL
           That would be a pity because you're a real
           painter.

Frank arrives.

                      FRANK
           Here's the poster for the show.

He presents them with a yellow poster of Jean and Andy facing
each other with boxing gloves.


INT. FACTORY - NEXT DAY

Shenge hands Andy a box.

Andy opens the box. Inside is a football helmet with Jean's
dreadlocks glued to the outside.

CLOSE UP: Andy in mirror wearing helmet.

                                                  CUT TO:


INSERT

The screen is filled with the cover of the New York Times
Magazine. Jean is featured on the cover, without his dreadlocks.


INT. GREAT JONES ST. LOFT - NIGHT

As Shenge opens the door, a CROWD of people spill out. They pour
into the loft. The studio is crowded with PEOPLE. (Many of them
we recognize from earlier scenes in Mudd Club, Jean's opening,
etc). On the wall there is a portrait of Jean by Andy. The
background is a piss painting.

Inside, Jean kneels on the floor in the corner of the loft with a
bunch of people around him - girls, mostly. Twenty-five copies of
the Times Magazine lay stacked on the floor.

Crouching on one knee, Jean signs a copy for a BRUNETTE.

Looking up -

                      BASQUIAT
           Name?

                      BRUNETTE
           Elke.

                      BASQUIAT
           Number?

                      BRUNETTE

           505-0236.

A BRUNETTE walks up -

                        BASQUIAT
           Name?

                        BLONDE
           Monica.

                        BASQUIAT
           Number?

                        BLONDE
           477-0258.

Andy's assistant, Frank, arrives with CHRISTINE, 25, a model.

                        BASQUIAT
           Yo, Frank.

                      FRANK
           This is really great. What a nice place.

Jean is taken with Christine.

                      FRANK (CONT'D)
           Have you met Christine?

                      BASQUIAT
           I don't think so.

He's thrown off his rhythm.

                      CHRISTINE
           Would you sign one of those for me?

TOXIC (seen with Rene at loft party earlier) spots Jean and steps
in.

                      TOXIC
           YO! Jean, this is Ramellzee.

                      RAMMELLZEE
           Yo... You know why Rammellzee's here, don't
           you?

                        TOXIC
           Uh-oh!

                      RAMMELLZEE
           I'm here for an interrogation. You've been
           called a graffiti artist and I wanna know
           why. All I see are scribble scrabble
           abstractions!

                        BASQUIAT
           Boom.

                      RAMMELLZEE
           Boom? As in ordnance? Are your letters

           armed? What is the prime directive of
           graffiti culture? Do you know, black man?

Jean likes Rammellzee enough to be patient... Toxic grins and
rolls his eyes to Jean. Jean watches Christine as they go on.

                       TOXIC
                  (to Ram, re: Jean)
           Man, I was up on him years ago on the IRT.

                      RAMMELLZEE
           You're selling and ending the culture. Not
           one bit of information. Only to get the
           money and growl with the power, man.

                      TOXIC
           That's ignorant.

                       BASQUIAT
           That ain't ignorant - that's just stupid.
                  (beat - to Christine)
           Can I get you a bowl of gumbo?

Rammellzee yells after him -

                      RAMMELLZEE
           This interrogation is not over!

Jean escorts Christine to the kitchen.

Bruno and Andy stand in the crowd.

Nearby are two WOMEN.

                      WOMAN
           Albert Milo? Ugh! He's just a pressmonger.
           That's all these people do.

                      WOMAN #2
           You know, I love Jean's early work. It's
           really got something. But this
           collaboration with Andy - maybe they
           thought it was a joke... I mean - whose
           work is it? Jean's or Andy's?

Walking by, Rene responds to this -

                      RENE
           His early work? He's only twenty-six!

Rene walks over to Jean.

                        BASQUIAT
           Hey, Rene.

                      RENE
           Thanks again for not inviting me. I'm only
           here on business.

Rene heads back out into the party.

Jean eats gumbo while Christine thumbs through the Times
Magazine.


ANGLE ON

Rene responds to something Andy's been telling him in a low
voice.

                        RENE (CONT'D)
                   (loudly)
            You're asking me? Nigga, please. After the
            way you treated me? This is the first time
            I've heard from either of you in months! I
            had to crash this party! You treated me
            like a suede biscuit. Rene don't play that!
            I can't get him off drugs! I don't even
            talk to him any more!!!

                        ANDY WARHOL
                   (to Bruno)
            What's a suede biscuit?

                                                  CUT TO:


CHRISTINELooks up from her magazine..

                        CHRISTINE
                   (amused)
            Hey, what's this? It says right here you're
            Andy's... "lapdog"...

Jean walks away.

He passes through the crowd, making his way to the door.

He exits.


EXT. GREAT JONES ST LOFT - NIGHT

Drugged, upset, Jean leaves the party.

He opens a limo door and looks back at his house. The party
continues.

The limo drives off.

We HOLD on Jean's building.


INT. LIMO - NIGHT

The limo floats through the streets.

Jean stares out the window.

                       BASQUIAT
            Here... Pull over.

The limo pulls over.

Jean exits.


EXT. STREET - NIGHT

Jean disappears around the corner.


ANGLE ON

THREE KIDS in the process of prying a door panel with crowbars.

We see that they're removing one of Jean's SAMO pieces from a
wall. We read:

"PAY FOR SOUP
BUILD A FORT
SET IT ON FIRE"

Jean arrives behind them.

                           BASQUIAT
              What's up?

                         KID #1
              Mind your own fuckin' business.

                          BASQUIAT
                     (recognizing his work)
              That's mine.

                         KID
              That ain't yours, man. Some asshole named
              SAMO did this.

                         KID#3
              He's dead. That's what I heard.

                         KID #2
              He ain't dead yet. He's gonna kill himself.
              That's why all those art fags in Soho are
              paying more every time we bring one of
              these in.

                         KID #1
              Stupid SAMO... Hardly any of this shit
              left.

The panel is almost pried free without a scratch.

                         KID #3
              This one's damn nice. I say we hang onto it
              if he's almost dead.

Jean shoves his way in front with a magic marker and adds a
couple words; now it reads:

"SAMO IS DEAD"

                      BASQUIAT
           There you go. Now it's worth more.

The kids are outraged, thinking Jean's ruined their find.

They jump on him.

They beat the shit out of him.

They're done.

Jean lies curled up on the ground, trying to talk.

                      KID #2
           What's he saying?

                      BASQUIAT
           I'm SAMO... I'm SAMO...

                       KID #3
                  (bending close)
           He says he's SAMO.

Kid #1 whacks him in the back once more for good measure.

                       KID #1
           He wish.

                                                     DISSOLVE TO:


THE SEA

It is flat, dead, gray.

Ominous and waiting.


INT. GREAT JONES ST. LOFT - DAY

Washed in sunlight, a large painting leans against the wall, the
words "HAITIAN BASEBALL FACTORIES" scrawled through its center.

Jean lays down, watching TV.

He looks older now, more worn. His face is slightly swollen. His
complexion is discolored.

Shenge covers a triptych with wide brush strokes of yellow paint.
He circles a large, primitive figure of a black man drawn with
magic marker in the center. He is careful to leave the figure
intact.

                      BASQUIAT
           Paint it out.

                       SHENGE
           Out?

                      BASQUIAT
           Yeah... Maybe just his arms.

                  (Shenge paints out the arms)
           Put some Cerulean Blue there.

Jean points to the lower corner.

Shenge picks up the phone, which has been RINGING for some time.

                      SHENGE
           It's Andy again.

                      BASQUIAT
           Still not here.

                      SHENGE
           - In this corner?

                         BASQUIAT
                    (not looking)
           Yeah..

Shenge changes the brush and dips it in the can.

                      SHENGE
           You want me to put it here?

                      BASQUIAT
           Use your fucking instinct.

Shenge shrugs and starts to spread the blue. Jean looks at his
work.

                      BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
           Don't try to make art. Just paint like a
           housepainter.

A woman's shout can be heard through the open window. Shenge
looks out.

                      SHENGE
           It's Maria Portos. What should we do?

                      BASQUIAT
           Why don't you try letting her in, Steve - I
           mean Shenge.

                      SHENGE
           Get up. She won't buy anything if she sees
           me working on it!

                      BASQUIAT
           Wanna bet? If you show too much respect for
           people with money, they don't have respect
           for you.

MARIA, a raven-haired, sharp-featured beauty in a Chanel suit
jacket, blue jeans, and pearls walks into the room. She's with
ELLEN - younger - a millionaire fake hippie from Texas.

Maria carries a bag with clogs in it - a present for Jean. She
takes them out.

                       MARIA
                  (showing him the clogs)
           These reminded me of you, the clogs. I
           found them in Amsterdam.

Jean doesn't get up from the floor.

                      MARIA (CONT'D)
           How are you?

                      BASQUIAT
           Fine.

                       MARIA
           You remember Ellen?
                  (looking around)
           What are you working on?

Basquiat points at the painting.

                      ELLEN
           How much is something like that?

Jean raises his hand and pumps five fingers three times in the
air.

                      MARIA
           Fifteen. Reasonable.

Ellen makes a snotty face.

                       BASQUIAT
           It's unfinished.
                  (to Shenge)
           How 'bout some blue in the corner?

Shenge gives Jean a stupefied look.

                      SHENGE
           Blue? Where?

                      BASQUIAT
           What's wrong with you today?

Shenge is embarrassed by Jean's remark in the company of the two
women.

                      BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
           Don't look at me like that. It hurts my
           feelings.

He points. Unsure, Shenge picks up the brush and paints one of
the corners.

Maria browses through a stack of paintings leaning against the
wall.

                      MARIA
           I love these.

                      ELLEN

           God... I just can't even care anymore.
           Compare this to a mountain or a tree.
           Who're y'all trying to kid? That's what I
           think. I was just in the Himalayas, and
           like - OK - is this important? No. I mean,
           compared to the rain forest or something?
           These are just narcissistic jokes.

                       MARIA
                  (to Jean)
           Who are you selling these through now?

Jean gets to his feet. He dips a long, thin brush into black
paint and nonchalantly crosses out the half figure that Shenge is
carefully surrounding with blue.

                       BASQUIAT
           Well, that's better.
                  (to Maria)
           You can buy direct from me.

                      ELLEN
           Look at these - silkscreens? What're you?
           Andy Warhol Junior? It's like - not even
           handmade anymore.

She's not even worth a response. Jean looks around, numb.


INT. MARY BOONE GALLERY - DAY

Jean enters the gallery. Cleaned up. Healthier. Bruises healing.

He looks like he's been painting.

Mary looks up from her desk, surprised to see Jean.

                      MARY BOONE
           Jean Michel... Crawling from the wreckage?

                      BASQUIAT
           I need a dealer.

                      MARY BOONE
           You have a bunch of them, don't you? Albert
           Milo walks in from another room.

                       ALBERT MILO
           Hey Jean!
                  (to Mary)
           It'll never fit.

                      MARY BOONE
           It'll be ok.

                      ALBERT MILO
           You better take a look. Why's your door so
           small? The ceilings are sixteen feet and
           your door's the size of a mouse hole!

                      MARY BOONE

           Why are your paintings so big? Just go
           home. I'll get it in.

                       ALBERT MILO
                  (to Jean)
           You doing anything right now?

                       BASQUIAT
           Naa..

                      ALBERT MILO
           Let's get out of here.

                       BASQUIAT
           See ya in an hour.
                  (to Mary)
           So what do you think?

                      MARY BOONE
           Bruno spoke to me already. We could talk
           about it.

                       BASQUIAT
           I'm here.

                      MARY BOONE
           OK. I'll be at your studio Thursday three
           o'clock.


INT. ALBERT MILO'S LOFT - DAY

Albert shows Jean through a series of large rooms filled with
enormous paintings.

It looks like the Cairo Museum.

They pause before a painting.

                      ALBERT MILO
           This is painted on a backdrop from the
           Kabuki theater in Japan. I painted it after
           Joseph Beuys died. A rebirth painting. I
           felt like he could've painted it, or maybe
           someone else was painting it instead of me.
           The Chinese calligraphers used to change
           their name mid-career so they could start
           over as someone else..

                      BASQUIAT
           Do you ever get sick of it?

                       ALBERT MILO
           Of what?

                      BASQUIAT
           The whole thing - painting.

                      ALBERT MILO
           No. It's one of the few times I feel good.
           I used to have to go to work and cook every

           day. That I got sick of.

                      BASQUIAT
           What about the shit they write?

                      ALBERT MILO
           You're asking me this because of the
           'lapdog' remark. I read that. The person
           that wrote that has the compassion of a
           housefly. That's your enemy, not your
           audience. Your audience hasn't even been
           born yet. It's a lie that art is popular.
           The only thing popular about it is that
           it's written about in newspapers. I'm
           surprised when anybody comes to my
           openings. There're about ten people on the
           planet who know anything about painting,
           and Andy's one of them.

                      BASQUIAT
           I haven't felt like talking to him since
           that thing came out.

                      ALBERT MILO
           As long as I've known Andy, he's never
           asked me for anything except to speak to
           you about getting off drugs. He's painted
           my picture, we've eaten dinner in God knows
           how many places together. But he doesn't
           care about me. He cares about you. You're
           the only person he cares about. He's your
           friend. Fuck that article. You want a
           toasted bagel with cream cheese?

Milo's daughter STELLA (12) calls out from over the balcony.

                      STELLA (O.S.)
           Papa, the TV's broken... Will you fix it
           please?

                      ALBERT MILO
           Alright. I'll be right up.

Albert leaves.

Jean looks at some paintings.

Stella comes downstairs.

                       STELLA
                  (to Jean)
           Hi.

                      BASQUIAT
           Hi.

                      STELLA
           I've seen you before. I like your paintings
           a lot. Your hair was different.

                      BASQUIAT

           You like your dad's paintings?

                      STELLA
           Some of them.

                      BASQUIAT
           Stand still.

He draws her.

                      BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
           See you later.

                      STELLA
           Thanks

He walks to the door, leaving the drawing on the floor.

Albert returns.

                      ALBERT MILO
           Where's Jean?

                      STELLA
           He just left.

Albert opens the door to the stairwell looking for Jean.

He hears the sound of URINATING.

He leans over the stairwell.

He sees Jean Michel, taking a piss on the landing.

He shuts the door quietly.


EXT. GIFT SHOP WINDOW - DAY

Jean walks out of the gift shop (seen earlier, next to
beautician's)


EXT. BROADWAY AND HOUSTON STREET - DAY

Jean walks through the middle of the intersection. He carries two
yellow, furry toy ducks under his arm.

SUPER: "FEBRUARY 22, 1987"

Seeing Bruno at the wheel of a black Mercedes stopped at a light,
Jean clowns around like a street vendor who wants to wash his
window.

Bruno doesn't notice him.

                      BASQUIAT
           B.B. It's me - Jean! What's the matter? No
           snow in Switzerland this year?

                      BRUNO

           I didn't see you.

                      BASQUIAT
           What do you mean?

                      BRUNO
           You haven't heard? Andy's dead.

The light changes.

Bruno pulls across the street because of the traffic.

Jean drops one of the ducks in the street and walks off.


ANGLE ON

The duck lying in the street.


EXT. GREAT JONES ST. LOFT - NIGHT

The "OUT FOR RIBS" sign hangs outside Jean's door.


EXT. GREAT JONES ST - DAY

Mary sits in her limo trying to call Jean.


INT. GREAT JONES ST. LOFT - DAY

Near darkness. The curtains are drawn. Music plays: `Birds' by
Neil Young: "it's over.....it's over".

Jean watches a video tape with the sound MUTED. The screen fills
with Andy's face. We SEE a series of quick scenes from his life.

Jean and the remaining duck are lit by the TV.


INT. GREAT JONES ST. LOFT - DAY

EXTREME CLOSEUP: A COLORED PENCIL TIP

Held in Jean's hand. It's stalled in mid-stroke. He writes with a
magic marker on the heel of two wooden clogs the word: "TITANIC"

There's a loud BANGING at the door.

When it stops, the pencil tip resumes its long voyage across the
page.

MUSIC UP: Tom Waits' "Tom Traubert's Blues"


EXT. GINA'S APARTMENT - DAY

Jean buzzes the doorbell. He's wearing the clogs. He's hurting.
The intercom comes on.

                      BASQUIAT
           Hello? Gina?

                         MALE VOICE
           Who is it?

Jean recognizes Benny's voice.


ANGLE UP

Gina and Benny look out the window into the street.

Jean's a block away.


EXT. MENTAL HOSPITAL - NIGHT

Jean gets out of a cab. He walks up to the entrance.

The doors are locked. He rattles them.

Inside, an OLD JANITOR keeps mopping.

Jean pounds harder, RATTLES the doors more.

                      BASQUIAT
           Hey, come here! Please. Just for a second.
           Open the door.

The janitor gets nervous. He leaves.

He returns a moment later with a large SECURITY GUARD.

                      BASQUIAT
           Open up! Open up!

The guard unlocks the door, hoping to settle Jean down.

                      BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
           My mother's inside.

                       GUARD
           Come back tomorrow. Visiting hours are
           over.
                  (beat)
           Don't cause any trouble.

                      BASQUIAT
           I'm not here to visit... I wanna take her
           home.

The guard gently ushers Jean out through the door.

                      GUARD
           Don't cause any trouble.

He locks the door and walks off with the janitor.


EXT. STREET - DAYBREAK

Jean, walks around, drifting, stoned. He looks up at the skyline.

                                                    DISSOLVE TO:


Waves crash silently over a surfer.

                                                    FADE TO BLACK

                                                    FADE IN:


STREET SOUNDS

                      BENNY (O.S.)
           Willie Mays.

                                                    FADE IN:


EXT. STREET -   MORNING

Jean has been passed out on a sidewalk.

CLOSE ON: Benny's face.

He leans over Jean and helps him up.

                      BASQUIAT
           Willie Mays... Nice to see you.

Benny looks at Jean's eyes.

Jean stretches, kicking life back into his limbs.

                      BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
           How's Gina? You guys getting along?

Benny looks at him guiltily.

                          BENNY
           She's good.

                      BASQUIAT
           I guess it was a long time ago.

                      BENNY
           Come on, let's get out of here.


EXT. JEEP - STREETS - DAY

Jean and Benny zoom along in a battered old Army Jeep. Now
revived, Jean stands up, waving at people miming General Patton.
We HEAR the music of "Summer of Siam."

                      BENNY
           Sit down! You're gonna fall out!

                          BASQUIAT

           Me fall? Let's get some drugs!

                      BENNY
           Drugs??!

                      BASQUIAT
           Medicine, man! Like health food. I'm taking
           care of my health!


INT. HEALTH FOOD STORE - DAY

A mountain of homeopathic medicine and health food on the
counter. Benny helps the clerk load it into a box.

                      CLERK
           You starting a hospital?

Jean approaches and dumps some more stuff onto the counter.

He's chewing something.

                       BASQUIAT
           Just ring it up. I don't need a bag.
                  (to Benny)
           Try this tabouli - it's great...

Tabouli spills onto Jean's shirt.


EXT - WEST BROADWAY - DAY

Jean and Benny walk along. Benny's arms are full with boxes.

Jean walks in front, eating yogurt. He's wearing his Titanic
clogs. Benny tries to keep up.


                      BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
           My mom told me this... Or was it a dream?

                                                  DISSOLVE TO:


INT. CELL - DAY

A crude stone jail - almost medieval - fairy-tale like. A thick
wooden plank suspended by chains for a bench. A candle on the
wall.

A small, crowned prince (the boy seen in the dream in intro.)
looks longingly out the window at rolling green hills. Terraced
hillsides, cedar trees, cottages, smoke wafting up from chimneys.
Dirt streets.

The prince smashes the window. He hits his head on the bars,
gripping them tightly.


EXT. MEDIEVAL VILLAGE' - DAY

The villagers cease their activities as they listen to the SOUND.
Looking up, they smile, as if warmed to their souls by some
unearthly and intangible substance. They look heavenwards.

CAMERA follows their collective gaze skywards.

We shoot up, up, into the sky.

                      BASQUIAT (O.S.)
           There was this little prince with a magic
           crown. An evil warlock kidnapped him,
           locked him in a cell in a huge tower and
           took away his voice. There was a window
           made of bars. The prince would smash his
           head against the bars hoping that someone
           would hear the sound and find him. The
           crown made the most beautiful sound that
           anyone ever heard. You could hear the
           ringing for miles. It was so beautiful,
           that people wanted to grab the air. They
           never found the prince. He never got out of
           the room. But the sound he made filled
           everything up with beauty.

                      BASQUIAT (O.S)
           It's definitely time to get out of here.


EXT. WEST BROADWAY - DAY

We rush down, down through the sky.

Buildings come up at us.

We're over Soho.

We're back on the ground.

Benny and Jean continue walking.

We see Jean from behind. He's looking up.

Benny stops to readjust his parcels.

Jean continues down the street, talking louder.

                      BASQUIAT (CONT'D)
           Hawaii? Fuck Hawaii. Let's go to Ireland.
           We'll stop in every bar and have a drink.


FREEZE FRAME ON HIS FACE

SUPER:

"JEAN MICHEL BASQUIAT
BORN: DECEMBER 14, 1961
DIED: AUGUST 12, 1988"


EXT. IRELAND - DAY

Rolling hills. Green. Lush. Peaceful..

                                         FADE OUT



THE END