Honor Student (2014) - full transcript

At a book signing for his best seller, Nicholas Howarth is confronted by sexy Teresa Smith, who says he stole the story when he was her teacher in a woman's prison. Teresa has killed before and won't be stopped as she sets out to destroy Nicholas's reputation, his marriage and his life in her goal to write the final chapter of Honor Student.

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The wind had stopped.

It was quiet.

The sky hung over us
like a dead man.

We felt each other's hearts

and knew love would be
found anyway.

[applause]

That was really something,
Caroline.

It was so full of hope.

And the expression you used
about the sky.

The sky hung over us
like a dead man.

Yes. Like a dead man.



Teresa.

What do we call that?

I'd call that alright.

That's a simile.

Right, Mr. Howarth?

That's right, Wanda.

You've personified
the word 'sky' here

and given it a human quality.

Teresa.

Can you give me an example
of a personification?

Earth to Theresa.

Please respond.

[laughter]

Ladies.



Under the opening eyelids
of the morn,

We drove afield;
and both together heard

What time the gray-fly
winds her sultry horn.

Yes, that's a very good example.

The writer in this case, Milton,

says the morning has eyelids
like a man.

[knocking]

Time's up Mr. Howarth.

On that note I have
to say goodbye.

As you all know, this class
completes our course.

You might be back,
Mr. Howarth.

She's right Mr. H.

Most of us have been in here
more than once.

[laughter]

Well if I do see
any of you again,

I hope it's on the outside.

But I would like to thank you
for your great work.

I hope I've given you
some useful tools to help you

with your writing.

And remember, each of you
has a story to tell.

So sit down and write it.

And who knows?

Maybe I'll be reading
yours someday.

[Applause]

[Alarm rings]

Hey Teresa.

You got a sec?

Did the class help you at all?

I haven't been able to write
since I got here.

I know.

But every writer's felt like
you do now.

In prison?

Hm.

Metaphorically speaking.

Yes. Blocked.

Unsure of yourself.

It's obvious you're really
smart and well-read

but you haven't written
a word for me.

Twelve sessions together and
I didn't get a single sentence

on paper from you.

Well, I got a couple years here
to kick it around.

So you are thinking
about something.

Just start writing.

You might surprise yourself.

It's about a young woman.

A girl, really.

16.

Went to university early.

Ah.

An honor student.

Yeah.

Top of her class
all of her life.

Then she goes to college and um,

she gets mixed up
with a professor.

Oh, an affair.

And it goes bad for her.

Him, too.

She kills him.

And?

That's all I got.

Well it's a start.

It's a bit broad
but that's okay.

I mean there's definitely
conflict there.

So write something down,
damn it!

I will.

And thanks.

Hey! It's my job.

Good luck.

Good news, Lana.

You are definitely pregnant

and the tests show
this baby's viable.

Oh my god.

That's great.

I really want this baby.

I know you do.

So, your husband.

It's probably a good time
to tell him.

I want to wait a
little bit more.

When we lost the last one,
he got very depressed.

And we both did.

Believe me I get it.

I know it's been tough
on both of you.

But you have to stay calm
and relaxed throughout

the whole pregnancy.

I don't want you to overtire
or worry yourself.

I know the drill.

No stress.

Good.

I'm going to start you
on some new medication

for your blood pressure today.

And you keep close tabs
on your insulin.

I always do.

It's gonna happen Lana!

[Gunshots]

Hard at work?

Oh it was either this or shoot
the computer.

Your sister really came through.

It's the best wedding
present ever.

Well instead of scaring
my chickens call Erica.

She'll extend the deadline.

My extremely patient
publisher's already extended it.

Twice.

[gunshot]

Return the advance.

After your last book you can
afford to sit back and wait

until the muse strikes.

Sure, yeah, sign away the money
and my self-respect.

I need to get a new book out

before everyone forgets
who I am.

Hey I was thinking maybe we
could go out for dinner tonight,

in town, after your talk.

What talk?

At the bookstore?

Is that tonight?

Your public awaits.

Oh god.

So? Dinner?

In town, time to talk?

Yeah.

Yeah.

[gunshot]

From the sound and the fury
to Huck Finn.

All good stories
are well-structured.

And by structure
I mean more than

beginning, middle and end.

I'm talking about layering
in subplots,

which if they're done right
carry the theme

while the main story
moves along.

Excuse me?

Yeah.

So you're saying plot

is more important
than character.

You need both.

Any plot is much more satisfying

if it focuses on
real characters.

So you write one book
nobody buys

and then Killer Student sells,
like hotcakes.

What do you think made
the people eat it up?

You know?

I don't know.

I poured my heart and soul
into it.

But I do that
with all my writing.

I guess there's just something
about a good murder, right?

[Laughs]

Okay, I think maybe time
for one more question

and then we'll let Nick
sign some books.

Where did you get the idea
for Killer Student Mr. Howarth?

Uh, where does any idea
come from?

People.

Situations, right.

The unconscious soup
that all writers spoon up.

But it isn't just
about the idea,

it's about the execution.

Okay!

[Applause]

This made me a big fan.

When's your next one coming out?

Soon.

Don't worry.

Very soon.

Hi Mr. Howarth.

I'm a big fan too.

You know I had to read it twice.

The first time I just couldn't
believe it.

Let me tell you what to write.

After all, we work best
that way.

To a very real character...

who found herself
in a very real plot.

I, uh, I appreciate
your support.

No doubt.

Tell me!

You still teaching?

No, I haven't since,
well not for some time.

Well. That's my loss.

Hey, it's late.

Okay, a few more.

Thanks.

We should have had dinner
in town tonight.

I'm sorry.

No, you couldn't leave

before you'd signed
everybody's book.

Who was that girl at the end?

Which one?

[coughs]

The pretty one.

Oh that's just a former student
of mine, that's all.

I taught her years ago.

Listen, honey.

I've been thinking.

Why don't we get away
for a week or two?

We've been promising ourselves
Maui.

I mean we can pack up tonight.

I promised Shannon
we'd visit next week.

It's her birthday. Remember?

Yeah, well we'll get her
a present in Hawaii.

I'm serious.

And wanted to see her remodel,
you know.

Get some ideas for this place.

I'm offering you Kanaapali

and you're talking
about your sister in Seattle?

Come on, let's just pack up
and leave like we used to.

Babe, what do you say?

Uh.

Well she was really flirty,
wasn't she?

Who?

No.

Yes.

Yeah. A little.

Was she like that in class?

No, not one little bit.

Look, you're the only
ex-student of mine I care about.

And the one, and only one,

that I want to take
to the islands.

Nick, I'm not going to Hawaii

with this book hanging
over our heads.

Why?

You'll be a total pain.

If you can't write here,

you won't be able to write
on a beach in Maui.

Alright you wait.

By the end of the week
I'll have a couple chapters.

Then we'll get on a plane.

Deal?

Deal.

PacWest.

Hi, yeah I'm calling about
a former prisoner there

named Teresa Smith.

I see from your website
she was released last April.

Okay.

I was wondering if I could get
the name of her parole officer.

I'm sorry sir, but we cannot
release that information.

Oh but you see I used
to work there.

She was a student of mine.

We're not permitted to
release that information.

You can send an inquiry to
the Board of Corrections.

Okay thanks.

You're welcome.

[birds squawking]

[Whistling]

Not much here, Nick.

How did you get in here?

Oh these big old houses
are no problem to get into.

What's the matter?

Lost your muse?

Sit down.

Now.

I want my life back.

What are you talking about?

You took my life.

I want it back.

What life?

My story.

My past.

That's all I have.

That's all any writer has.

What do you know about writing?

Have you written a single word
since my class?

I gave you a story.

A very commercial one,
as it turns out.

You had an idea.

Everybody in the world
has ideas.

So get over it.

Every week I saw Killer
Student on the bestseller list.

Every review.

Every interview.

And it felt like you took
something from me

that I can never have back.

Wait a minute.

But what could I do,
locked up in prison?

The parole board wants to hear
me quoting the bible.

Not claiming that some novelist
ripped me off.

Nobody ripped you off Teresa.

I wrote 100,000 words
from a one-sentence idea.

Yeah, trouble is I can't do
anything with that idea now,

can I?

You used it.

This is crazy.

I have to get back to work.

Not to this drivel, I hope.

Oops, gone.

Damnit Teresa!

I thought a lot about
you touching me in prison.

I fantasized about you.

Or the idea of you.

Does that count?

The idea of a man?

Ideas are nothing,
unless they're acted on.

Otherwise they're
just daydreams.

Now what do you want?

Half.

And no, I'm not daydreaming.

Half your royalties
from Killer Student,

the same for any
TV and Film rights.

And I want a press conference
to announce why you're doing it.

No! Definitely no.

And are you out of your
fricking mind?

No!

You're so funny!

But then again
all good writers are.

Why don't critics ever talk
about how funny Faulkner was?

It's time for you to leave.

But the thing is we'll never
know how much of that book

was yours and how much of it
was mine.

That's why 50/50s
the only fair solution.

And you coming clean
to the public, of course.

No way.

No way.

It would ruin my reputation.

I would never be published
again.

You might as well just kill me.

Hello.

It's Lana, right?

I'm Teresa Smith.

Just a big fan of your husband.

Not to worry, Nick.

I'm sure that we can work
out something.

Together.

Work what out?

Oh I'm just looking
for a new writing teacher.

Someone that I can trust
just as much

as I used to trust your husband.

Talk soon, Nick.

She's blocked.

Like so many wannabe writers,

she wants to talk about writing,
instead of doing it.

And she wants to talk about it
with you, Nick?

Here in my house?

Yes, Lana.

Because I was her teacher.

And that's all I was.

[Phone rings]

Hello?

[Dial tone]

Hello?

[Dial tone]

[Dialing]

Hello?

Hey, it's your little sister.

Hey! What's up?

What's up?

Well.

I want to have a glass of wine

but I'm not allowed
in my condition.

I have no clue what to do
for dinner.

And I want to kill my husband.

Here's what you do.

Drink the wine, order takeout...

wh-wait.

You're pregnant?

Almost eight weeks.

I haven't told Nick yet.

He's too busy writing or not
writing his new book.

Well you have to tell him.

Let him take care of you
for a change.

It'll send him over the edge.

He'll learn to fly!

Why don't you come see me?

You need someone who's going
to take care of you.

[Beep]

Ugh Shannon.

There's someone
on the other line.

Let me get rid of them.

Hello?

[Dial tone]

Hello?

Shannon, they hung up.

It was probably the pretty
psycho girl.

Psycho girl?

Some ex-student of Nick's
that has just come out...

What's for dinner?

Whatever you decide to cook.

So Shannon.

What do you want
for your birthday?

[chickens bawking]

[chickens bawking]

Hi little chickies.

You're a creature of habit
aren't you?

Easy to find.

Look I've been thinking
about things.

You've been thinking about me?

I can give you a loan.

Something to help you
get on your feet.

How about, um, 10?

10?

Thousand.

Thanks for the thought.

Now think bigger.

Exponentially bigger.

You're an ex-con.

Who's going to believe you?

Oh Nicky.

You'd be surprised.

You know what?
Take it or leave it.

I'm sorry Nick

but I'm going to have to decline
your proposition.

Marcia.

Hi.

Hi!

This is an old student of mine,
Teresa Smith.

Oh not that old, Nick!

Oh I saw you at
the book signing!

Yes! I love your store.

All the little books,
these fresh baked pastries.

But $4.50 a piece,
my goodness.

A girl's gotta have money
even in a small town, huh?

Right Nick?

Well.

See you, Marcia.

I'll call you later tonight
Nicky.

Looks like she has a pretty
serious crush on the teacher.

Nope.

She's got another fantasy going.

Oh hi Lana.

What a surprise.

How are you?

Hello.

It's Teresa.

Mhm.

Doing some shopping?

Me too.

Out of condoms.

Just ran into an old boyfriend
and you know.

That's fascinating.

Yeah, well.

There's no sex as
good as sex with your ex,

so I'm stocking up.

You know what they say.

Better safe.

Teresa if you really want to be
safe stay away from my husband.

It's like she was stalking me

to tell me there was something
between you two.

Believe me, there wasn't.

Or there still is.

Come on, that's ridiculous.

Well then why is she acting
like this?

The old crush on
the teacher thing.

It's stupid.

Was it stupid when we met?

We need to stop by Sammy's,
see if the truck's ready.

Did you call him?

He said pick it up Thursday.

I called him.

It's not done.

[chickens bawking]

How did the chickens get out?

Did you forget to shut the coop?

No.

Look I'll get them...

[chickens bawking]

I don't know why I like
these stupid things!

Hopefully because
I gave them to you.

Babe I swear.

There's nothing going on.

When she was my student I gave
her a lot of attention

but only to get her writing.

How about I give you
some attention?

Not in front of the chickens.

Poor things.

There's no rooster around
to give them some loving.

[laughs]

I'll meet you inside.

Okay.

Those damn birds are dumber
than...

what?

No no.

Teresa said she was buying these
at the pharmacy

for her old boyfriend.

Lana, calm down.

Would I be stupid enough to do
something in our house?

She's playing a game to
make you think that...

[Door slams]

...there's something going on.

Could you leave please?

I need to keep my blood
pressure down.

I...

Alright.

Okay.

I haven't been honest with you.

I met her in prison.

She was a student from
that session I did at PacWest.

I never slept with her.

What does she want?

She wants the world to know
that Killer Student is her book.

It isn't.

It's mine.

But...

she had this idea about a
girl... killing her teacher.

It was my last day.

I got her to open up
a little bit

and she talked to me about it.

But she never showed me
anything on paper.

I couldn't get it out of
my head.

There was sex, passion, murder.

What's not to like?

And for three years it just went
around and around.

After a while it felt like mine.

It turned into mine.

And I made it mine
when I wrote it.

She didn't write one word.

I mean that girl,

she couldn't write
a grocery list.

That's why I'll be damned
if she gets any recognition,

much less half the royalties.

Have you talked to Phil?

If I get a lawyer involved,

she gets a lawyer and the whole
thing goes public.

Well you should have thought
about that beforehand.

I didn't do anything wrong.

I took what was just
a conversation

and I turned it into a novel.

It happens every single day.

Legal or moral,

I just don't want her trashing
my reputation.

You know what?

I'll pay her off.

Under the table.

Will you at least talk to Erica?

What good is talking
to the publisher?

So then she can think that
the book isn't really mine?

Nick! This woman is a criminal.

Who knows what she might do?

I'm not going to let some
crazy felon

jeopardize my career.

I'm finally experiencing success

and I won't risk losing that.

I won't.

And no one can make me.

[car sounds]

What the hell?

Where you going?

Shannon's.

It's her birthday, remember?

Yeah but that's not
until next week.

Let me go.

Why are you leaving?

You know there's nothing going
on with that girl.

It's not always about you, Nick.

Whether you flirted with her
or screwed her on the roof,

I really need to stay
calm right now.

I know.

I know.

Your blood pressure.

But why don't you just stay
and let me take care of you?

Right.

You. Take care of me.

I will.

I love you.

I can do this.

How?

That book had you crazy
even before this girl showed up

and you won't ask
anyone for help.

I'll call you when I get
to Shannon's.

You don't have to do this.

Yes. I do, Nick.

You have work to do.

And you have to fix whatever
it is that you have done.

I know.

Feed the chickens.

Take care of the problem, Nick.

So that I can come home.

[Noises coming from other room]

Lana?

What the hell are
you doing here?

Sure beats those prison treats.

I want you out of my house.

You're still playing with me
Nick and I don't appreciate it.

This is serious business.

Don't think your little stunt
drove Lana away.

Oh no that was you.

Yeah and now it's your turn.

Get out.

After I've responded
to your offer.

What offer?

Of 10.

I want 10,000 this week
and another 10 next.

Cash.

Just get out of my life!

That's not the support
I'm looking for.

Then contact my lawyer.

And you can talk to mine.

He'll be right by my side
at the press conference.

What you said in Killer Student?

It's true.

Killing is never spontaneous.

The action might appear sudden
to the victim,

but the killer's fantasized
about it for a long, long time.

But when you look at me Nick,

I don't think it's violence
you fantasize about.

Sheriff.

Nick Howarth.

We bought the Hartley farm
a while ago.

Oh yeah!

The writer guy.

What can I do for you?

I have a problem.

A former student of mine
has been coming around

and stalking us.

Look she's a felon.

An ex-con.

And now she's trying
to shake me down.

Shake you down?

For what exactly?

Well for starters she wants
my wife to believe that we,

uh, that we had an affair.

Did you?

No.

No no no.

Absolutely not.

But she broke into my house.

She's harassing us.

And now she's demanding money
to stop.

What's her name again?

Teresa Smith.

Middle initial A.

She was a student of mine
at Pacwest Correctional.

Got a match, Sheriff.

Teresa Arlington Smith.

Just one arrest and one
conviction but it's a good one.

Voluntary manslaughter.

College cops at OSU
arrested her.

She was 17.

I remember hearing
about that one.

Killed her professor
or something.

Sentenced 6-15 years.

Paroled first time up.

Killed her teacher?

Mhm. She works at the 50s diner
here in town and uh,

she sticking to her parole.

So I'm not sure what
I could do right now.

I could go and talk to her

but why exactly is
she doing this to you?

She knew me from prison.

She thinks I'm an easy mark.

Why did she kill
her college professor?

Well who knows.

But you know, murderers
especially female ones

have the lowest recidivism rate
of all criminals.

They kill the guy
that was abusing them,

do their time and
become model citizens.

Sheriff.

I'm asking you to help me
with someone

who's terrorizing my family.

I pay my taxes.

Easy now.

I have an idea.

If we could somehow catch her
in the act...

Yes.

Yes that's it.

Then I can close the book
on her for good.

He swears nothing's going on
but I just had to get out.

I.. I..

could literally feel
the blood start to boil

behind my eyeballs.

You know I wonder how long
she's been on his mind.

Bastard.

You know I wanted to tell him
about the baby!

But there was the book
and the deadline

and now she keeps popping up.

Don't obsess over it Lana.

Let Nick take care of it.

What if he can't?

It is scary what
she's asking for.

The money and telling everybody
it's her story.

I see why he's scared.

I'm scared.

I cannot go through
another miscarriage.

You're not going to.

You can stay here the whole time
if you have to.

Ugh.

Yep.

We'll see you tomorrow, bitch.

Then it's all over.

No.

[Cell phone rings]

Screw you Teresa.

I'm writing.

You should try it some time.

[Home phone rings]

Hi Nick.

Lana. Hi.

Here's a good word.

I'm writing.

Stayed up all night
and piled up the pages.

I finally found a way
to that story.

That is good.

Yeah so come home honey.

Now that I'm writing,

I'm a normal human being again.

I miss you.

And the chickens and I,

we're all crying your name
around here.

Hmm.

How about our other problem?

Oh.

I'm on that too.

That'll all be solved
later today.

Why? What happens then?

Oh don't worry.

The Sheriff and I have a plan.

She's going back to jail.

Will it be dangerous?

No. No it'll be quick and clean.

But we can't have her messing
with our marriage.

No.

We can't.

Especially now.

Okay.

I'll check in later.

I love you.

Hey Nicky.

I'm here.

Hope you're hungry
because I'm starving.

Spaghetti carbonara okay?

Cut it down Teresa.

Oh someone's having a hard day.

We both know why you're here.

Okay.

I want you to give it to me.

Huh?

Look. I like talking
dirty in bed too,

but right now I am trying
to prepare lunch.

There it is.

It's all there.

Your money.

Nick. I know you like giving
me presents

but I don't want your money.

That just.. ugh.

That makes me feel cheap.

Besides, after last night,
I'm the one who owes you.

Ahem. I've heard enough kids.

No, Sheriff.

This isn't...

She's acting.

Son, I never know when
they're acting or not.

Okay what's going on now.

Look, here's the money.

Mr. Howarth. I don't have
enough proof here.

I never heard her ask you
for money

and she wouldn't take it
when you offered it to her.

She must have known
you were here.

Look Nick if
you're feeling guilty

because you're cheating
on your wife,

you don't have to go and do...

Shut up!

Steady there.

She has a violent record.

Doesn't that give me
the benefit of the doubt?

Yes, and that's
why I came by today

but you have wasted
enough of my time.

No I... I'm not done.

I'm filing a report.

Fine.

When will your wife be available
for questioning?

Okay.

How'd you know?

I went to the chicken coop
to get eggs for the carbonara.

Imagine my surprise when
I saw the police cruiser

beside the barn.

We're not going to get anywhere

with you playing games
like that Nicky.

Two guys go into a bar.

One's a rabbi, one's a priest.

No, this isn't a joke.

They have a beer.

One guy tells the other guy
a story.

Ugh you're so transparent.

Afterwards the other guy
goes home

and spends a year
writing a novel.

Just from the outline
of that exchange.

You're right. This isn't a joke.

So. Does the novelist owe
the other guy

half of what he made
on the novel?

Just because of
the conversation?

It depends.

Are they friends BSing
over a beer?

In that case, no money's owed
but if they're both writers,

that's something else.

And if one guy's the young
girl's writing teacher.

I didn't think you would do
anything with it.

Ever. Did you?

Did you even try?

And if the young girl's down
on her luck,

with nothing in the world
except that story?

Well then that's an undeniably
lethal situation.

I'm not scared of you.

I don't want you scared.

I want you writing.

We're not two guys at a bar,
Nick.

We're real.

Our stories. They're real.

It hurts to have them stolen.

When that happens?

Things get ugly.

Where is my book?

All my files are gone.

The flash drive.

Where is it?

Hi Nicky.

I want it back.

More coffee, Sheriff?

Tell me though.

Why the title The First Wife?

Give me back my book.

One condition.

And one little change.

No. No.

It's my...

Hell of a good read.

Oh it's better than good.

It's brilliant.

Would you sign it for me?

Yeah, thanks Sheriff.

You know, I can't help noticing
how Ms. Smith's own life

is an inspiration for you.

He says it all the time Sheriff.

I do not.

Oh.

No any similarities
are strictly coincidental.

It's a little surprising seeing
you here with her Mr. Howarth.

Oh no no no no no.

This is not a social call.

We're talking
about another book.

Really?

Mhm.

No.

No.

Not at all, actually.

Well good luck.

Or not.

One condition.

And one change.

What?

We're partners.

All the way. 50/50.

And I forget about what you did
to me with Killer Student.

I won't change a word.

One little change.

On the title page.

Not happening.
Crazy bitch.

That one always depressed me.

I like this book.

It's the author
who has me worried.

He said it would all be
over today

but I haven't heard from him.

You really think there's
something between him

and little miss demented?

I don't know.

You okay?

I just wish I knew what was
really going on.

Don't think that he wants her.

You know he doesn't.

He wants you.

And a kid.

I'm afraid what he really
wants is success.

Sometimes I think
that's all he loves.

I can't find my phone.

Did you take it?

What do you want
in your omelette?

You do realize I can shoot
you right now for trespassing?

Careful.

Writing in prison isn't easy.

My phone.

Are we really going to do
this, Nicky?

Come on. Lighten up.

Have something to eat.

Tomatoes, scallions and feta.

Or you can have that pizza
you got in the freezer.

Dinner's at 8.

And spruce up a bit, will ya?

Get writing, and I'll be back
after work.

[Phone rings]

Hello?

Nick?

Yes, this is Nick's cell.

I'm his assistant, Teresa Smith.

He's busy writing right now.

Well hallelujah!

Uh, is he available
this weekend?

Not sure.

He's really rolling.

Well tell him Erica Edwards
will be in Seattle on Friday.

I'd like to come see him
on Saturday,

read a few chapters
of the new book.

Yes. I'll give him the message.

Dinner is served.

Voila.

This looks incredible.

Did they have cooking classes
in prison too?

I'm more than just a felon,
you know.

Actually I don't.

Why don't you tell me?

Why, so you can steal it
for the prequel?

When I wrote Killer Student,
I didn't know that was...

Didn't know or didn't want
to know?

Both.

The prison didn't give me
your case history.

It wasn't allowed.

And when I sat down
to write the book

I didn't do any research on you.

You didn't have to.

I already told you.

An idea.

In three lines.

The girl in my book wasn't you.

Of course she was me.

She killed her teacher
out of passion.

What happened?

With him?

[clears throat]

Here's the cliff notes version.

She fell in love with her
English professor.

And not because he was smart
and literate

but because he read poetry
to her.

He was her mentor.

Her friend.

Her lover.

But it was just a pathetic
Daddy complex.

Doesn't matter if
it's a father complex.

You loved him.

And he dumped me.

I was crushed.

So how'd you do it?

What a crime groupie you are.

All writers are.

My professor's last book was
A Literary History of Threnody.

Those are speeches
that are given at..

Yeah.

Funerals and lamentations.

Elegies.

Right.

Here I am feeling like
I'm about to die

and this guy's writing on what
to say about dead people.

I took my gun to his office.

I found the bastard wooing
the next girl he had in line.

I made her go home, sat down

and I made him read me
his whole book.

It took hours.

And when it was over,

I took the gun and I aimed it.

At my head.

And I asked him, which one
of these famous speeches

are you going to read
over my dead body?

And I swear if he'd said
Romeo and Juliet,

he'd still be alive today.

Well.

Which did he pick?

Well he wasn't a romantic.

He picked Marc Antony's eulogy
for Julius Caesar.

So I shot the bastard.

I'll never be treated
like that again.

I formalized our agreement.

You did what?

Our deal.

About sharing credit and money
on The First Wife.

Yeah I've been thinking
about that.

You know, it'd be better for you

if your first book
had your name alone.

I already have a reputation.

Everybody would I think
I did all the work.

Oh my god.

You're giving me the whole book?

Oh my god!

Nick!

Thank you!

No, hold on.

Just wait a second.

Wait.

I know I know I know,
you're married,

it's just this is
the greatest thing

anyone's ever done for me.

You don't understand.

I'm not talking about giving
you The First Wife.

I'm talking about sponsoring
your novel.

The one you're working on.

I'll work with you on it

and I'll guarantee
it gets published.

Your writing, your work,
your name.

You're really going to try
and screw me again?

No.

I want to help you become
a real writer.

The First Wife is a book.

It's not just some movie
where no one cares who wrote it.

It's a novel.

Having two names on it wouldn't
do either one of us any good.

It would do me good.

Okay.

I promise I'll read this, okay?

I don't care if you read it.

Sign it.

Do you want to kill me Teresa?

What I want is this book.

It's mine.

I'm writing it.

I'm making it...
it's like a child.

I can't just...
give it up.

Even if you killed me.

Augh!!

I killed a writer who used me
but I let him finish his book.

[Screams]

So I'll extend you
the same courtesy.

Go ahead and make your baby,
Nick.

But remember,
people die in childbirth.

[groans]

A novel of your own.

Nick likes it?

Well, send me a chapter.

Great, I'll get it
to you tonight.

Oh my god.

Ouch!

It's not that bad.

What happened?

Barn door.

Do you have time for a coffee?

Oh better not.

I'm short-staffed.

I need to ask you a favour.

Could you hang on
to this for me?

What is it?

It's my new book actually.

I don't get it.

It's a little hard to explain.

I would just feel better
having a copy out of the house.

Don't you have a copy
on the cloud?

Yeah but that's only as safe
as your computer.

If someone hacks in...

Okay yeah sure.

But I am going to read it.

That's fine.

Oh the special order
your assistant placed for you

has come in.

Who?

Teresa.

Did you know this was
dedicated to her?

No.

I did not.

I swear to god I'm going
to kill her.

Dedicated to Teresa.

So young and fair,
she'll dance on my grave.

Irony.

[sighs]

Ugh!!!!!!

[Phone ringing]

Erica?

You're a real life genius, Nick!

I wish I woke up this way
every morning.

Or afternoon.

You deserve to.

Not only did you give me
a huge bestseller

but you got a protégé
who's about to do the same.

What are you talking about?

The First Wife.

It's going to be the biggest slam dunk

since Killer Student!

How did you get it?

Well she emailed it
to me last night.

She?

Teresa?

Yeah.

Wherever did you find her?

It's not her book. It's mine.

That little bitch stole my book.

Uh Nick look, I'm flying
to Seattle tonight.

It's mine Erica.

I wrote every word.

Okay all the more reason
we should meet.

Teresa.

Not gonna dance on my grave.

Okay.

No no no no no.

Nothing.

Hi, you've reached
Langley Books & Coffee.

Leave a message or
just come on down.

Hey, Marcia it's Nick.

Listen can you call me
as soon as you open?

You know what never mind

I'm on my way
down to the store myself.

I'm gonna kill that little
bitch!

Feed the chickens.

Oh great.

We need to talk.

Yeah, uh, I agree.

I got a lot to tell you.

It's been pretty crazy
around here.

How are my birds?

What is it?

They, uh...

Sorry honey.

They're dead!

And you can bury them.

Teresa broke into
the house again.

Took every file of my book.

Luckily I gave one to Marcia.

Marcia.

Do you think that after
Teresa and Marcia and Erica

and god knows who else,

you could give one minute
for your pregnant wife?

How long?

About 9 weeks.

Look I had no idea oh my god.

How are you?

Pissed. And scared.

No no don't be.

Not of Teresa.

Of you.

I am going to need you full-time
if we go through with this.

I swear if they gave a Pulitzer
for selfishness,

you would be their
first candidate.

You know I'll be there for you.

I don't know that.

At all.

You are so used to me
making everything okay for you.

I can take care of you.

My hypertension is a problem.

Okay?

And my diabetes.

I'm sorry.

This isn't going to be easy.

I might not even make it
to full-term

but I really want this baby.

So do I honey.

So do I.

Just give her half
of what you've made.

An agreement beforehand

wouldn't have given her
five percent.

Well that's why you
should have had

an agreement beforehand.

And a press conference too, huh?

Well maybe a press
conference saying

it was her idea
that got you started.

All I know is I sure as hell
don't want her near

my next book.

No, you don't.

[Phone ringing]

Hey Marcia.

What?

When?

Did you see who?

That's alright, it's okay,
don't worry about it.

As long as you're not
hurt badly.

Okay, thanks.

Teresa?

She mugged Marcia last night.

And got the back-up copy
of my book.

Oh no.

Well now the Sheriff
can arrest her.

No, Marcia didn't see her.

What the hell am I gonna do?

You said that Erica read it
so she has a copy?

No, Teresa emailed her a copy.

Said it was hers.

Erica knows you.

Don't panic.

I swear to god I could kill her.

Don't go near her or you might.

You're right.

I'm going to end this right now
with a big cheque.

Half the royalties
from Killer Student.

Hey let a lawyer do it.

I can't wait.

I haven't copyrighted
the next book.

She could be out there
sending it

to other publishers right now.

I'm sorry babe but I'll be
giving her a lot of money.

We'll have enough left.

Today's special
is Salisbury steak.

Wow.

Oh Nick, you write
the sweetest things.

But that's nothing
compared to what I can get

for The First Wife.

You're not getting anything
from that book.

But I will give you
half of Killer Student.

And we can have a
press conference.

Nick, don't you see?

This isn't really about money.

This is about writing.

You were right.

A book with two names on it
does nothing for me.

But my own?

This one?

Will really establish me.

You're insane!

And attacking Marcia like that?

And betraying me like that?

I thought we had a deal.

I've done all I can
to help you write.

I can do even more.

And I'll give you money.

But I will not allow you
to plagiarize me.

You plagiarized my life.

I wrote my story.

You could have written yours.

If you could have written.

You try writing in jail.

I could write anywhere.

It's what I do.

You just talk about it.

Anywhere, huh?

You should know
I'm not all talk.

I don't have time for this.

Ahhh!

Jesus, are you okay?

You okay?

[sobbing]
Get away from me!

Oh my god!

No don't hurt me please!

Did you finally figure out
I didn't do it?

Nope.

You made bail.

Sign here to confirm receipt
of your personal items.

Sheriff come on, you don't
really think I assaulted her.

I mean you've read her record.

You know she's dangerous.

Why's she going after you?

Did you take her story
or something?

The story's irrelevant.

What I'm afraid of is
that the next time

she won't hurt herself.

But someone else.

Nick!

I'm so sorry.

I can't believe this.

Are you okay?

Yeah.

Look Erica just so you know
I didn't assault that girl.

Jail time only adds
to a writer's toolbox.

And it doesn't hurt
book sales either.

Let's go home.

I know Killer Student
is your story.

And your characters.

But if Teresa goes to trial
anything is possible.

Could she say The First Wife
is hers too?

Sure.

You never know
what a jury could do.

They maybe would award her
royalties from both books.

She can't be a part of Nick's
career forever.

I've got to get rid of her.

Get a quick claim on her,
from Killer Student.

That way she can't
come after you or me

as the deep pockets publisher.

[Knocking at door]

I'm glad you did that
to yourself.

Payback for Marcia.

You're the one that got
her involved.

What do you want?

I'm here to see my publisher.

Teresa Arlington Smith.

Very nice to meet you.

Alright then.

Welcome home, Lana.

We missed you.

Teresa.

I know you say The First Wife
is your book,

but I have my doubts.

After his awful first book
of course you have doubts

as to how Nick got something
as good as Killer Student.

He got it because
he's a good writer.

I'm sure you think he's good
at a lot of things.

Now I want what's mine.

So Teresa you're saying
this is your work.

I'm saying that it has
to be mine,

given the history
Nick and I have.

Not to mention my medical
bills right now.

You know it doesn't have
to be yours honey

unless you wrote it.

No, don't you didn't.

Nick did.

I'm the only reason he had
anything good to write at all.

What did you give him?

Late Spring Dead Harvest?

I like that book.

You and nobody else.

Certainly not to the taste
of a prison book club.

Yes, Lana. I did my time.

But you're still doing yours
as a housewife.

Better housewife than murderer.

Not in my book, so to speak.

Ladies. Please.

The First Wife is all yours.

Nick!

Nick at least let me call
the lawyers first.

Bravo.

Maybe you have
learned something.

Nick do not make this deal.

It's the best I can get
right now.

Giving up even a part of
Killer Student,

it would take me forever.

If I owe her something,
and maybe I really do,

this is the easiest thing to do.

Drop the assault charges
and the book is yours.

Deal.

I know you didn't mean
to attack me like that.

Well, Teresa I guess
I'll send you contracts

from New York next week.

Thank you.

This ends whatever relationship
you think we ever had.

Oh Nick there's no need
to be so nasty.

Get out of my house.

Thanks for the bagel!

Thank god that's over.

And guess what?

Before the baby's born,

you're going to have a draft of
something new.

I got a great idea.

Excellent.

Keep cranking 'em out.

Books. Not babies.

[laughing]

Okay well let me know
when you're ready

and I'll take you
to the airport.

I'll take her.

Erica wanted to do some
shopping before she left.

Oh sure.

Now that all the excitement's
over.

Okay.

I'll just go write some thoughts
down then.

Okay let's go shopping.

What's the matter?

You miss your flight?

We have bigger problems.

She forced us off the road.

I jumped to the final chapter
of my book

and found your sorry excuse
for an ending.

I liked the ending.

There is no ending.

The two lovers just walk away
from each other?

This isn't a stupid
foreign movie.

This has to be a New York
Times best seller.

Okay okay.

Just put the gun down
and we'll talk.

Talk?

What I want you to do is write.

And you know what they say Nick:

The hardest part about writing?

It's re-writing.

Cozy huh?

No wireless, phone, fax.

How do you want your eggs?

He likes them soft
in the middle.

Just a trace of cumin.

So this is how it's going
to work.

There's no happy ending
unless I get what I want.

I will write you an ending.

But only if you put down
the gun.

Make it good, Nicky.

Unpredictable.

You'll have to do better
than that.

No stupid talk of murder, you're
going to write her an ending,

write her a good one.

Make the book better.

Whose side are you on?

The book's.

You just want
another bestseller.

Admit it. So do you.

Erica we're missing you.

I'm not feeling
particularly creative.

Okay let's try an exercise.

My cell is in my bag in the car.

How would your hero get it?

Sorry Lana but I need
your phone.

I will take that.

Mama's little helpers, huh?

Literally. I'm pregnant.

Oh wow.

Oh.

Well, um, well I'm happy
for you.

Wonder what my professor
would have done

if I had been pregnant.

If a man's going to leave you,

it probably doesn't make
any difference.

Yeah.

You're right actually.

My professor saw me
the same way Nick did.

A young girl only good
for one thing.

A book.

You know I was serious when
I said

I wanted to read
something of yours.

Prison diary?

Really?

Sure.

Hang on.

There's no lesbian shower
scenes here.

More like how I felt
when I saw Nick on TV

plugging Killer Student.

Envy. Anger.

A lot of feeling there I bet.

You have no idea.

Life is just one man after
another, taking your body,

messing with your mind.

"A history of abuse,"
the shrinks say.

But at least it was my history.

Can I make you something?

Sure Mom.

How about an omelette?

[Keyboard clicking noises
playing on computer]

[Keyboard clicking noises
playing on computer]

Hi Daddy.

I told you not to play games
with me.

The gun against her temple felt
cold like doctor's instruments.

Stop. It's unbearable.

The bad girl is not going
to kill herself.

Well I think you're
on the right path Nick.

The girl is self-destructive,

but I don't think
she's suicidal.

It has to be better.

After all, it is my name
on the book.

Have you always hated men?

Probably.

Why did you really kill
your professor?

I told you.

Cumin works wonders.

And I told you
because you betrayed me.

The real reason Teresa.

It'll help me with the ending.

Do I have to do all the work?

Did you kill him because
he knew you couldn't write?

Easy, Nick.

That's why he dumped you,
isn't it?

Like so many writing students,
you were just a dilettante.

Afraid of the real work.

He got bored of the sex
and you panicked

because what else
could you offer?

Get back to your typing.

Sleeping with the teacher didn't
make you a writer

any more than killing him did.

My story gave you a best seller

and a house for your new family

but you won't be able
to enjoy any of them,

unless you give me what
you owe me.

Okay.

[Phone ringing]

You've reached Nick.

Leave a message.

What city?

Langley please.

Cook County Sheriff's Office.

Please hold while
we connect you.

Sheriff we got a request
for a look-see.

Caller says house and cell
phones have been out for hours.

You know our new policy on that.

Caller's the sister of
Lana Howarth.

Says she doesn't
trust the husband.

Didn't we hold him last
night for assault?

We did.

I'll go check it out.

Teresa I think he's got
a good take here.

Do you want to hear it?

You little bitch.

What did you give me?

What? Nothing.

What did you give me?!

I didn't do anything.

[Gunshot]

Oh my God.

Nick!

Oh my God.

If I kill you, they die too.

That's the only way
this story works.

Shots fired at
the Howarth place.

Send me back-up.

Pronto.

On it.

I'm not going to ask you again.

Blood pressure pills.

Move your conniving ass
and make me some coffee.

Any day now Nicky.

I'm finished.

It's all done.

I'll see about that.

It's just a first draft.

Alright let's go.

Everybody in the living room.

Come on. Let's go.

We're moving.

Now.

Why the change in scenery?

It's just a little cozier here.

Ladies on the couch.

It's just the wind.

Where's the laptop?

In the kitchen.

Go get it.

[whispering]
Thank God you're here.

She's got us all held hostage.

Teresa?

Is anyone hurt?

Not yet but she's got a gun
on my wife and on my publisher.

Nicky!

[whispering] Don't let her
hurt Lana.

I'll go in and distract Teresa.

You go around that way.

Here it is.

The final chapter.

I'll be the judge of that.

Set it down.

[gunshot]

Oh my god! Sheriff!

Sheriff!

These pills!

I think you're really going
to have an easy pregnancy.

No! Give me my gun back!

[gunshots]

Teresa! Stop!

[gunshot]

Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

Nick!

You guys okay?

Yeah!

Help the Sheriff! Get outside!

You too, Nick!

Now!

She is crazy, let's go!

Your book is not worth
dying over!

This isn't about our book.

I know you feel responsible
for this mess.

It's because I am.

But you are also responsible
for me.

Okay?

And this child.

Let her go, son.

We'll get her.

You gave her the book.

You don't owe her anything more.

Yes I do.

Go!

I just want to talk to you.

Well I want to kill you.

You don't want to kill me.

I'm not your professor.

I haven't given up on you.

You're exactly like him.

[Gunshots]

Ah!

Nick!

Oh no no no!

Wait for back-up.

Teresa you're wrong.

I went to that prison to teach.

Not to find a story.

All I wanted from you
was for you to write.

Yeah well you're
a lousy teacher.

You're right. I'm sorry.

I let you down.

You just realized this?

Could have saved us
a lot of time, Nick.

But you would have lost
a good story.

You're right Teresa.

I was your teacher.

My job was to get you to
write your story and I didn't.

You're a smart,
amusing guy Nick.

But I don't love you.

I never did, never could.

And because I don't love you,

I could never kill you.

I can't go back to prison.

I finished reading
what you wrote.

It's good.

At least I'll die with a good
book to my name.

How could you do that?

Put your fingers
on the keyboard.

I can't.

Fingers on those keys.

Please don't do this. I can't.

Okay then.

[gunshot]

Mrs. Howarth.

Don't go in there!

One page. That's all.

I can't.

I know what it's like.

You have to write
but you just can't.

It feels like death
because it is death.

You told me a story about a girl
who killed a man

who betrayed her.

It's a good story,
but it's not you.

You are not your story.

You can tell me another one now.

A different one.

I don't know another one.

Why don't you tell me
a story about the girl

who could have just killed me
but didn't.

God, I wanted to.

But you didn't.

You're not the same girl
who killed her teacher.

This time, you want the book
more than the guy.

Come on, you can do this.

Okay. But how do I write that?

Just start with a character
you know.

Start with yourself.

When success came, he was
determined to hang onto it.

He was ruthless,
even feral about it.

As for just a crumb of his pie
and he'd crush you.

But that didn't scare her.

At first she thought it was

because she was a victim
of his success.

After all, he deserved
whatever she dished out.

Then she realized she wasn't
afraid of him

because she understood him.

In many ways, he was
just like her.

They were both self-involved.

Selfish.

Obsessed with success

and capable of hurting
all those around him.

Especially those
who were closest

and best equipped to help.

But these two writers
eventually came together

and through conflict
and competition,

taught and learned
from each other.

The killer student had met
a killer teacher and this time,

each one walked away
a better person.

[applause]

Yeah.

How'd you feel when you saw
the dedication?

To Nicholas Howarth, an honor
student's honorable teacher.

I felt I'd earned it.

[laughing]

You keep in touch
with the author?

No. Not really.

You know, as a writer, after
you've learned all you can,

after you've studied with
all the so-called teachers,

at that point it's time
to isolate yourself.

Lock the doors and just
put pen to paper.