When ambition meets delusion, the price of fame may be too high to pay.
Watch the original version of Sunset Boulevard
Hollywood, 1950. The era of silent film stars had long since passed, but for one woman, Norma Desmond, her glory days never seemed to end. She lived in a mansion on Sunset Boulevard, alone except for her butler, Max von Mayerling, who had once been a film director himself. Norma had been out of the public eye for years, but still clung to the belief that she would one day make a comeback. And so, when she discovered a down-on-his-luck screenwriter named Jack, she saw an opportunity to make her dreams a reality.
Chapter 1: “The Offer”
Jack was desperate for work. He had moved to Los Angeles with dreams of becoming a successful screenwriter, but so far, his time in Hollywood had been nothing but disappointment. He was down to his last few dollars, and his agent had stopped returning his calls.
That’s when he met Norma Desmond. She had been a silent film star, and while she was now long past her prime, she still had a presence that commanded attention. She approached Jack one day at a local café, and he couldn’t believe his luck.
“Mr. Gillis, I’ve been told you’re a writer,” Norma said, her voice carrying a hint of an accent.
Jack was taken aback. “Yes, I am. How did you know that?”
“I have my ways,” Norma said with a small smile. “I was wondering if you might be interested in writing a screenplay for me.”
Jack felt a surge of excitement. This could be his big break. “Sure, I’d be interested,” he said. “What kind of movie are you thinking of?”
“A comeback,” Norma said with a fierce determination in her voice. “I want the world to know that I’m still a star.”
Jack hesitated. He had heard stories about Norma’s eccentricities and her grandiose ideas. But he also knew that he needed work, and this could be his chance to prove himself.
“Okay,” he said finally. “I’ll do it.”
Norma’s eyes lit up. “Wonderful,” she said. “Come to my house tomorrow, and we can discuss the details.”
As Jack walked away, he couldn’t help but feel a little uneasy. But he pushed the feeling aside. This could be the start of something great.
The next day, Jack arrived at Norma’s mansion. He was greeted by Max, who let him into a grand living room filled with ornate furniture and opulent artwork.
“Miss Desmond will be down shortly,” Max said with a small bow. “Would you care for a drink in the meantime?”
Jack accepted a glass of scotch, feeling out of place in such a grand setting. But he knew that he had to impress Norma if he wanted to keep the job.
Finally, Norma appeared, dressed in a flowing gown that seemed out of place for the middle of the day. She beckoned for Jack to follow her to a private screening room, where she began to discuss her vision for the film.
“It’s a love story,” Norma said, her eyes sparkling with excitement. “A grand romance, with me as the lead.”
Jack listened as Norma described her character in detail, and he began to see the potential in the story. But as the meeting carried on, he started to realize just how intense and demanding Norma could be.
“I want this to be perfect,” Norma said, her voice growing more insistent. “I want it to be better than anything I’ve ever done.”
Jack nodded, trying to keep up with her rapid-fire ideas. But he was starting to feel like he had bitten off more than he could chew.
As he left Norma’s house that day, Jack couldn’t help but feel like he had stepped into a different world. A world of faded glamour, where delusion and ambition collided in a burst of energy. He knew that he had to tread carefully if he wanted to survive in this world. But he couldn’t deny that a small part of him was excited about the prospect of making it big.
Little did he know, he was about to be plunged headfirst into the depths of Norma’s obsession, and the lines between reality and delusion would blur until he couldn’t tell them apart.
Chapter 2: “Enter Norma Desmond”
As Jack delves deeper into his relationship with Norma Desmond, he realizes that he has stepped into a world that is both extravagant and delusional. Norma is a former silent film star who believes that the world is still in love with her, and that she is destined to make a comeback. Her elaborate mansion, filled with old film memorabilia, reminds Jack of a forgotten era of Hollywood.
Despite the initial allure of Norma’s world, Jack quickly realizes that she has become disconnected from reality. She becomes controlling and demanding, and expects Jack to work on the screenplay around the clock. As the days go by, Jack realizes that he has become trapped in Norma’s world of delusion and self-aggrandizement.
One evening, Jack is working late in Norma’s mansion when he overhears her talking to herself in the bathroom. He listens in, and to his surprise, he hears her rehearsing lines from one of her old films. It’s a surreal moment – Norma is reciting lines as if she’s in the middle of a performance, but there’s no one else there to hear her. Her voice is shaky and uncertain, and Jack can sense the desperation in her words.
This is just the beginning of Norma’s erratic behavior. She becomes increasingly possessive of Jack, and expects him to be at her beck and call at all times. She insists that he eat dinner with her every night, and that he is available to work on the screenplay at all hours of the night. Jack feels like he’s living in a dream world, where nothing is quite what it seems.
Despite the challenges of working with Norma, Jack becomes increasingly drawn to her. There’s something about her that fascinates him – perhaps it’s her desperate yearning for fame, or her belief that she is destined for greatness. Whatever it is, Jack becomes enamored with her, and finds himself spending more and more time in her company.
One day, at Norma’s request, Jack accompanies her to a dress fitting. The gown is opulent and extravagant, fit for a Hollywood star. Norma is thrilled with how it looks on her, and she insists on a photo shoot to commemorate the occasion. Jack agrees to take the photos, and as Norma poses for the camera, he realizes that she is lost in a world of her own making.
As the weeks go by, Jack becomes increasingly conflicted about his role in Norma’s life. On the one hand, he is entranced by her world of Hollywood grandeur and extravagance. On the other hand, he feels like he’s in over his head, and that he’s caught in a dangerous web of obsession and delusion.
One evening, as Jack is working on the screenplay, Norma appears at his side, clutching a photo album. Inside, she shows him pictures of herself from her heyday in Hollywood – glamorous, confident, and in the prime of her life. But as Jack looks closer, he realizes that the photos are old and faded, and that they represent a world that no longer exists.
This is the moment when Jack begins to realize that Norma is trapped in a world of her own making – a world of faded glory and forgotten dreams. He understands that he has a responsibility to tell her the truth, but he also knows that it may shatter her fragile sense of self. As he contemplates what to do next, he realizes that he’s in too deep, and that he may never escape Norma’s grasp.
Chapter 3: “The Past and Present”
As Jack delves deeper into Norma’s world, he starts to uncover the truth about her past and the extent of her delusion. The more he learns, the more he begins to question whether he’s made the right decision by accepting her offer.
It all starts when Norma begins to reminisce about her former lover, Max. Jack is intrigued by her stories and starts to ask more questions. Norma takes him on a tour of her mansion, showing him her collection of old movie posters and memorabilia. Jack starts to get a sense of the glamour and excess that defined Hollywood in the days of the silent era.
But as Norma’s stories become more and more vivid, Jack starts to realize that something isn’t quite right. He can sense a sadness and desperation in her voice, as if she’s trying to cling to a long-lost dream.
One day, as they’re going through old scripts in Norma’s study, Jack stumbles upon a stack of old letters. They’re addressed to Norma from Max, and they’re filled with declarations of love and promises of a future together. Jack is stunned by the intensity of the letters and the depth of the relationship between Norma and Max.
But as he continues to read, Jack starts to piece together a darker side of their relationship. He learns that Max was a controlling and manipulative figure in Norma’s life, constantly feeding her delusions of grandeur and using her for his own gain. Norma, for her part, was completely devoted to Max, even as he brought her further and further into his twisted world.
Jack realizes that Norma’s obsession with Max is what’s been driving her desperate attempts to make a comeback. She’s been clinging to the hope that Max will come back to her, that he’ll see her on the big screen and realize the truth of their love. But in reality, Max is long gone, and Norma is left with nothing but her own delusions.
As Jack confronts Norma with the truth, she becomes increasingly defensive and paranoid. She accuses Jack of trying to steal her memories and of being in cahoots with Max. Jack realizes that he’s in over his head and that he needs to get out before it’s too late.
But as he tries to make his escape, Max reappears in Norma’s life, and everything comes crashing down. In a fit of rage, Norma confronts Jack and Max, leading to a shocking and unexpected climax that will leave Jack questioning everything he thought he knew about Hollywood and the price of fame.
Chapter 4: “The Script”
Jack sat at his desk, staring at the completed screenplay for Norma Desmond’s comeback film. He had poured every ounce of his talent and creativity into the script, but now he was starting to feel uneasy about the whole situation. Norma’s demands had grown increasingly erratic and controlling since they had begun working together, and he couldn’t shake the feeling that he was in over his head.
He picked up the script and began reading through it again, trying to find any flaws or inconsistencies that Norma might use against him. He’d done his best to create a compelling story that would showcase Norma’s talent and charisma, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that she was using him for her own purposes.
As he read through the script, he began to notice little details that he hadn’t seen before. The dialogue seemed stilted and unnatural, and some of the plot points didn’t quite add up. It was as if he had been so focused on pleasing Norma that he had lost sight of the story itself.
He put the script down and rubbed his eyes, feeling the weight of exhaustion settling in. He’d been working day and night to meet Norma’s demands, and he was starting to feel like he was losing himself in the process.
But he couldn’t back down now. He had made a deal with Norma, and he had to see it through. He took a deep breath and picked up the script again, determined to make it the best he could.
As he worked on revisions, he couldn’t help but feel like he was walking a tightrope. Norma had become increasingly demanding, insisting on changes and rewrites at all hours of the day and night. He was beginning to feel like he was on her beck and call, never able to relax or take a break.
And yet, he couldn’t deny the thrill of working with such a legendary figure. Norma had been one of the biggest stars of the silent era, and she still radiated a kind of glamour and charisma that few people possessed.
But as the days turned into weeks, Jack started to realize that Norma’s obsession with her past was taking over her present. She would often reminisce about her former lover and director, Max, and talk about him as if he were still alive and a relevant part of her life.
It was all starting to become too much for Jack. He began to feel like he was living in a fever dream, trapped in Norma’s world of delusions and grandeur. He was beginning to lose touch with reality and started to question whether he should have ever accepted Norma’s offer in the first place.
But despite his doubts and fears, Jack continued to work on the script. He poured every ounce of his talent and creativity into it, determined to make it a masterpiece that would launch Norma’s comeback.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he finished the final revisions and presented the script to Norma. She read through it carefully, occasionally nodding or murmuring her approval.
When she finished, she looked up at Jack and smiled. “It’s perfect,” she said. “Just perfect.”
Jack felt a sense of relief wash over him, but he couldn’t help but wonder what would happen next. He had given everything he had to this project, and he couldn’t help but feel like he was just a pawn in Norma’s game.
As he left the mansion that day, he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was about to change. He had no idea what the future held, but he knew that he was no longer in control of his own destiny.
Chapter 5: “The Premiere”
The day of the premiere had arrived, and Jack found himself feeling more anxious than ever. He had worked tirelessly to complete the screenplay for Norma’s comeback film, only to realize that it was unlikely to be picked up by any major studios. Despite this, Norma insisted on having a grand premiere at her mansion, complete with red carpets and paparazzi.
As Jack arrived, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of unease. Norma had gone all out to impress the guests, with lavish decorations and an endless array of food and drinks. Jack tried to blend in with the crowd, but he felt like a fish out of water. He had never been to such an extravagant event before, and he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off.
As the guests arrived, Jack found himself rubbing shoulders with Hollywood’s elite. He noticed a few familiar faces, but most of the people there were strangers to him. He felt out of place and uncomfortable, but he tried to put on a brave face and act like he belonged.
Norma was in her element, basking in the attention and adoration of her guests. She wore a stunning dress and was adorned with expensive jewelry, but Jack noticed that there was something different about her. She seemed more nervous and agitated than usual, as if she was hiding something.
As the night wore on, Jack started to feel like he was suffocating. The crowd was getting rowdier, and the noise was getting louder. He retreated to a corner of the room, hoping to find some peace and quiet. That’s when he saw her.
Betty, the woman he had been seeing before he started working with Norma, had arrived at the party. She looked stunning in a black gown, and Jack couldn’t help but feel a surge of excitement. He decided to make his way over to her, hoping to catch up and maybe even sneak away for a little while.
“Jack!” Betty exclaimed when she saw him. “I didn’t know you were going to be here.”
“Yeah, I’m here with Norma,” Jack replied, a bit sheepishly. He didn’t want to ruin the night by bringing up his work with Norma, but he knew he couldn’t keep it a secret forever.
Betty looked around the room, taking in the opulence and grandeur. “Wow, this is quite the party,” she said. “Norma really knows how to make an entrance, doesn’t she?”
Jack smiled weakly, not wanting to admit that the whole thing was making him uncomfortable. They chatted for a while, catching up on old times and reminiscing about their past. Jack felt a momentary sense of relief, glad to be talking to someone who understood him.
That’s when Norma appeared, her eyes blazing with anger. “Jack, we need you!” she shouted, pulling him away from Betty. “The guests are getting restless, and we need to start the film.”
Jack felt a sense of panic wash over him. He hadn’t even had a chance to sit down and enjoy the party, and now he was being pulled away to start the film. He tried to protest, but Norma was insistent.
As they made their way to the screening room, Jack could feel the tension rising. He knew that the film wasn’t going to be well-received, and he feared for the worst. But he also knew that he couldn’t let Norma down. She had put all of her faith in him, and he couldn’t disappoint her.
The lights dimmed, and the film began to play. Jack watched as his words came to life on the screen, feeling a mix of excitement and dread. He knew that this was his chance to make it big, but he also knew that the film was flawed.
As the film came to an end, Jack held his breath. The room was silent, and he couldn’t tell if the crowd was impressed or disappointed. That’s when the clapping started.
At first, it was just a few people in the front row, but soon the whole room was applauding. Jack felt a sense of relief wash over him, grateful that the film had been well-received. But he also knew that this was just the beginning.
As the guests made their way out of the screening room, Jack found himself feeling more confused than ever. He didn’t know if he was happy or sad, relieved or disappointed. All he knew was that his life was about to change, and he wasn’t quite sure if he was ready for it.
As he made his way back to Norma’s side, he couldn’t help but wonder what the future held for him. He had taken a chance on working with Norma, and it had paid off in ways he never could have imagined. But he also knew that the road ahead was going to be difficult, full of challenges he couldn’t predict.
As the night came to a close, Jack felt like he had been through a whirlwind. He had experienced so many emotions in such a short amount of time, and he didn’t quite know how to process them. All he knew was that he was grateful for the chance he had been given, and he was determined to make the most of it.
As he made his way home, he couldn’t stop thinking about Betty. He knew that he needed to make a decision, to choose between his career and his personal life. But he also knew that the choice wouldn’t be easy, and he wasn’t quite sure if he was ready to make it yet.
The night had been a success, but Jack couldn’t help but feel like it was just the beginning of something much bigger. He was about to enter a world he had only dreamed of, a world filled with glitz and glamour, but also with danger and deception. The future was uncertain, but he was ready to face it head on.
Chapter 6: “The Man in the Shadows”
As Jack worked on the screenplay with Norma, he began to notice strange changes in her behavior. She became increasingly erratic and controlling, obsessing over every detail of the film. And then, one day, he saw him – the man in the shadows.
Max, the legendary director and Norma’s former lover, had returned to her life. Jack had heard stories about Max’s influence over Norma, but he had never seen it firsthand. And as soon as he arrived, Jack felt the tension in the air.
Max was a tall, imposing figure, with piercing eyes and a commanding presence. He spoke very little, but when he did, his words held great weight. Norma seemed to hang on his every word, and Jack couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something sinister lurking beneath the surface.
Over the next few days, Jack worked closely with Norma and Max on the screenplay. He tried to ignore the strange dynamic between them, but it was impossible. Max seemed to be in control of everything, while Norma became increasingly dependent on him.
As they worked on the film, Norma began to reminisce about her past with Max. She told Jack stories of their glory days, of the films they made together and the love they shared. But as she spoke, Jack could sense that something wasn’t right.
He started to uncover secrets that revealed the extent of Norma’s obsession with Max. She had kept his old script pages, costumes, and even his glasses as if he would come back for them. Jack realized that Norma was living in a delusional world, unable to let go of the past and move on.
Max, on the other hand, was not delusional, but he was manipulative. Jack began to suspect that Max had ulterior motives for returning to Norma’s life. He seemed to be using her for his own gain, whatever that may be.
One night, Jack stumbled upon Norma and Max in a heated argument. He couldn’t make out what they were saying, but the tension between them was palpable. When he asked Norma about it later, she brushed it off as a simple disagreement, but Jack knew there was more to it.
As the days went on, Jack became increasingly uncomfortable in Norma’s home. He felt like he was caught in a web of obsession and madness, and he didn’t know how to escape. And then, one day, Norma made a demand that pushed him over the edge.
She wanted him to change the script, to make it more focused on her character and less on the other actors. She even suggested that they cut out some of the scenes that she didn’t like. Jack knew that this was a terrible idea, but he also knew that he couldn’t argue with Norma.
Max, however, had a different idea. He suggested that they rewrite the entire third act, making it more dramatic and tragic. Norma loved the idea, and Jack found himself going along with it, despite his misgivings.
As they worked on the new ending, Jack became increasingly uneasy. He couldn’t shake the feeling that something terrible was about to happen. And then, it did.
Norma found out that the film was unlikely to be picked up by any major studios. She was devastated, and her anger turned towards Jack. She blamed him for the film’s failure and accused him of sabotage. But what really caught Jack off guard was Max’s reaction.
Instead of defending him, Max sided with Norma. He told Jack that he had been a disappointment, that he couldn’t handle the pressure of Hollywood. Jack was shocked and hurt. He had never been so betrayed in his life.
As he packed his bags and prepared to leave, Jack realized that he had been caught in a twisted game of obsession and manipulation. He had been drawn into Norma’s world, only to be discarded when he was no longer useful. And as he walked out of the mansion for the last time, he knew that he would never be the same again.
Chapter 7: “The Truth”
Jack sat in his car outside of Norma’s mansion, running his hands through his hair as he tried to process everything he had just learned. Max had revealed the truth about his past with Norma, and it was even more disturbing than he had imagined.
He had always known that Norma was delusional, but he had never realized the extent of her obsession with Max. Max had been her first husband and the director of her most successful films. But after their divorce, Max had disappeared from Hollywood, and Norma had never recovered from the loss.
According to Max, Norma had convinced herself that he was still in love with her and that they were going to work together again. Max had played along with her delusion, but only because he was being paid handsomely for his services.
Jack couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He had always assumed that Max was a loyal friend to Norma, but now he realized that Max was just as manipulative as she was. And he had been using her all along.
As he sat there in his car, Jack wondered what he should do. He knew that he couldn’t continue to work on the screenplay, not after everything he had learned. But he also knew that Norma wouldn’t take the news well. She had already shown signs of instability, and he didn’t want to be the one to push her over the edge.
He decided to take a few days to think things over. He needed time to figure out his next move without making any rash decisions. He put the car in gear and drove away from the mansion, trying to clear his head.
Over the next few days, Jack avoided Norma’s calls and messages. He knew that he couldn’t keep up the charade much longer. Eventually, he would have to face her and tell her the truth about why he couldn’t finish the script.
As the premiere of the film approached, Jack started to feel like he was running out of time. He knew that Norma was expecting him to be there, and he couldn’t just disappear without an explanation.
He finally decided to meet with Norma and break the news to her. He drove to her mansion, feeling a sense of dread in the pit of his stomach.
When he arrived, he was greeted by Max, who seemed surprised to see him. “What are you doing here?” Max asked, his tone accusatory.
“I need to talk to Norma,” Jack said, trying to keep his voice steady.
“About what?” Max asked, his eyes narrowing.
“About the screenplay,” Jack said, hoping that would be enough of an explanation.
Max hesitated for a moment before nodding. “Fine. But be careful. Norma’s not in a good place right now.”
Jack nodded and followed Max into the mansion. As they walked through the ornate halls, Jack couldn’t help but feel like he was walking into a trap.
When they reached Norma’s bedroom, Max knocked on the door. “Norma, Jack is here to see you,” he called out.
There was a moment of silence before Norma’s voice came from inside. “Send him in.”
Max opened the door, and Jack stepped inside the room. Norma was sitting at her vanity, surrounded by makeup and jewelry. She looked up when Jack entered, a smile on her face that quickly faded when she saw the look on his face.
“What’s wrong, Jack?” she asked, her voice trembling.
Jack took a deep breath before speaking. “I can’t finish the screenplay, Norma. I’m sorry.”
Norma’s face fell, and tears started to stream down her cheeks. “What do you mean? Why not?”
“I just can’t do it,” Jack said, his voice gentle. “It’s not the right project for me.”
Norma’s sobs grew louder, and Jack felt a pang of guilt. He knew that he was hurting her, but he also knew that he couldn’t continue to work on the project.
As he turned to leave, Max stepped forward, blocking his path. “You can’t just walk away, Jack,” he said, his tone menacing.
Jack felt a surge of fear as he looked into Max’s eyes. He realized that Max was just as unstable as Norma, if not more so.
“I have to go,” Jack said, trying to keep his voice calm. “I’m sorry.”
Max stepped aside, and Jack rushed out of the room, the sound of Norma’s sobs following him down the hallway.
As he drove away from the mansion, Jack knew that he had made the right decision. But he also knew that he wasn’t out of the woods yet. He had a feeling that Norma and Max weren’t going to let him go without a fight.
Chapter 8: “The Escape”
Jack knew he had to get out. He had to escape this web of obsession and madness that Norma and Max had spun around him. He had completed the screenplay, but at what cost? Was it worth it to be trapped in Norma’s delusions and demands?
He started to formulate a plan. He knew that he couldn’t just walk out the door. Norma wouldn’t let him. He had to find a way to slip away unnoticed. He started to pack a bag, carefully choosing what to take and what to leave behind. He didn’t want to tip off Norma that he was planning to leave. He had to be careful.
As he was packing, he heard a knock at the door. His heart raced as he wondered who it could be. Was it Norma, or worse, Max? He cautiously made his way to the door and peered through the peephole.
It was Betty, the girl he had met at the writer’s party. He quickly opened the door and ushered her inside, hoping that Norma wouldn’t see her.
“What are you doing here?” he asked, trying to keep his voice low.
“I saw your light on and thought I’d stop by,” she said, smiling at him.
He knew he couldn’t let her stay. It was too dangerous. He had to get her out of there before Norma saw her.
“I’m sorry, Betty. You can’t stay here. It’s not safe.”
“What do you mean, not safe?”
“I can’t explain right now. You just have to trust me. Please, go.”
She looked confused and hurt, but she left without protest. He watched her go, feeling guilty for involving her in this mess. He had to get out before he hurt anyone else.
As he finished packing, he heard Norma’s voice from the other room. “Jack! Where are you?” she called out.
He took a deep breath and steadied himself. He had to be calm. He couldn’t let her see that he was planning to leave.
“I’m in here, Norma,” he said, trying to sound casual.
She entered the room, looking at him suspiciously. “What are you doing?”
“I’m just packing up some things. I thought I might stay at a hotel for a few nights.”
“Why?” she asked, her voice rising in panic.
“I just need some space. Some time to think. It’s nothing to worry about.”
She looked at him for a long moment, and he held his breath, waiting for her to explode. But instead, she simply nodded and left the room.
He took that as a good sign and continued packing. He had to move quickly before she changed her mind.
As he was finishing up, Max appeared in the doorway. “What’s going on?” he asked, his eyes narrowed.
“I’m leaving, Max. I can’t stay here any longer.”
“You can’t leave. Not yet. We have to finish the premiere plans.”
“I can’t do it, Max. I’m sorry.”
Max’s face darkened, and Jack could see the anger and frustration building in him. He knew he was in trouble.
“You can’t just leave us hanging like this, Jack. We need you.”
“I’m sorry, Max, but I have to go.”
Max stepped closer, his voice low and menacing. “You can’t leave. Not until the premiere is finished.”
Jack felt a surge of fear rise up in him. He knew Max wasn’t someone to be taken lightly.
“I have to, Max. I’m sorry.”
Max stepped even closer, and Jack could feel his breath on his face. “You’re making a big mistake, Jack. You don’t know who you’re dealing with.”
With that, Max turned and left the room, leaving Jack feeling even more anxious and scared. He had to get out of there, and fast.
He grabbed his bag and made his way to the door, trying to be as quiet as possible. He opened it slowly and peered out into the hallway. It was clear.
He tip-toed down the hallway, his heart pounding in his chest. He could feel the eyes of Norma and Max on him, watching him as he made his way towards the door.
Just as he reached the door, he heard Norma’s voice behind him. “Jack, where are you going?”
He froze, his hand on the doorknob. He didn’t know what to say.
“I’m just going out for a walk,” he said, turning to face her.
“At this time of night? That’s not safe. Let me come with you.”
Jack could feel his plan slipping away from him. He couldn’t take Norma with him. He had to get out alone.
“I’m sorry, Norma. I just need to be alone right now. I’ll be back soon, I promise.”
She looked at him for a long moment, and he could see the hurt and confusion in her eyes. But he didn’t have time to dwell on it. He had to go.
As he stepped out into the night, he felt a sense of relief and fear wash over him. He had escaped, but at what cost? Would Norma and Max come after him? Would he ever be able to escape their hold on him?
He didn’t know. All he knew was that he had to keep moving forward. He had to find a way out of this mess, before it consumed him completely.
Chapter 9: “The Confrontation”
Jack’s heart pounded in his chest as he raced down the hallway of Norma’s mansion. He knew he had to get out before it was too late. But he also knew that Norma wasn’t going to let him go without a fight.
He burst into the living room, where Norma was waiting for him. She looked more frenzied than he had ever seen her before. Her eyes were wild, her hair disheveled, and her hands were shaking.
“Where do you think you’re going?” she demanded, her voice rising to a screech. “You can’t leave me, Jack. You’re mine. All mine.”
Jack tried to keep his voice calm as he replied. “Norma, you’re not thinking clearly. You need help. You can’t keep living in this fantasy world.”
Norma’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t need help, Jack. I have Max. He understands me. He loves me.”
Jack’s stomach turned as he realized that Max was standing in the corner of the room, watching them silently. He looked just as menacing as ever, with his cold, calculating eyes and his haughty sneer.
“Max is not going to help you, Norma,” Jack said firmly. “He’s been using you this whole time. He doesn’t care about you. He only cares about himself.”
Norma’s face contorted with rage. “How dare you say that! You don’t know anything about me or Max.”
Jack took a step back as Norma began to approach him, her eyes blazing with fury. He knew he had to tread carefully, or things could turn violent.
“Norma, please,” he said, holding up his hands in a gesture of surrender. “Let’s just calm down and talk this through. There’s no need for us to fight.”
Norma shook her head vehemently. “I won’t calm down, Jack. I won’t let you leave me. You’re my ticket back to fame and fortune. And I’m not going to let that go.”
Jack felt a surge of fear as he realized that Norma wasn’t going to let him go without a struggle. He knew he had to act fast if he wanted to get out of there alive.
“Norma, listen to me,” he said urgently. “You’re not going to find what you’re looking for in this screenplay. You need to face the truth, and move on with your life.”
Norma glared at him, her eyes flashing with anger. “I don’t need your advice, Jack. I know what I want, and I’m going to get it. With or without you.”
Suddenly, she lunged at him, her fingers clawing at his face. Jack stumbled backwards, trying to defend himself. He felt a sharp pain as her nails scratched his cheek, drawing blood.
“Stop it, Norma!” he shouted, his voice hoarse with fear. “Stop it right now!”
But Norma was beyond reason. She was lost in her own world of delusional fantasy, and nothing was going to stop her from getting what she wanted.
As she continued to attack him, Jack realized that he had only one option left. He had to take matters into his own hands.
With a burst of adrenaline, he grabbed Norma’s wrists and forced her arms behind her back. She struggled and writhed, screaming curses at him.
“Let me go, you monster!” she shrieked. “Let me go or I’ll kill you!”
But Jack held on tight, his grip unwavering. He knew that he had to do whatever it took to get out of there alive.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Norma collapsed to the ground, exhausted and defeated. Jack stood over her, panting and shaking with adrenaline.
“Norma, listen to me,” he said quietly. “This has to stop. You can’t keep living in this fantasy world. You need to face the truth, and move on with your life.”
Norma looked up at him, her eyes filled with tears. “I can’t, Jack,” she whispered. “I can’t face the truth. It’s too painful.”
Jack felt a pang of sympathy for her, but he also knew that he couldn’t let her hold him captive any longer.
“I’m sorry, Norma,” he said, his voice heavy with regret. “But I have to go. I can’t stay here anymore. It’s not healthy for me, or for you.”
And with that, Jack turned and walked out of the mansion, leaving Norma and Max behind. He knew that he had made the right decision, but he also knew that he would never forget the strange, twisted world he had entered into when he met Norma Desmond.
Chapter 10: “The Aftermath”
Jack sat in his car, parked on a side street, staring at the Sunset Boulevard sign. The palm trees swayed in the wind, casting shadows on the pavement. He could hear the sound of the ocean in the distance. The past few months had been a nightmare, and he was glad it was finally over.
He rubbed his eyes and tried to shake off the memories of Norma Desmond and Max. He had been naive to think that writing a screenplay for a faded star would be his big break. He had been sucked into her world, and it had almost destroyed him.
He pulled out his phone and scrolled through his emails. He had missed several messages from his agent, but he couldn’t bring himself to care. He had been so focused on Norma that everything else had fallen by the wayside.
He thought about the premiere, the chaos and madness that had erupted in the theater. He had never seen anything like it. Norma had lost touch with reality, and he had been caught in the middle.
He remembered the confrontation, the shouting and screaming, the gunshots. He had thought that he was going to die. But somehow, he had managed to escape. He had left Norma and Max to their own devices, and he had never looked back.
He started the car and drove down Sunset Boulevard, past the studios and the billboards. He didn’t know where he was going, but he knew that he needed to get away from the memories.
As he drove, he thought about the script he had written for Norma. It had been a masterpiece, a tale of love and betrayal set against the backdrop of Hollywood’s golden age. He wondered what had happened to it, whether it had ever been produced. He doubted it.
He pulled into a parking lot and turned off the engine. He leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes. He felt a sense of relief washing over him, and he knew that he had made the right decision in leaving Norma behind.
He opened his eyes and looked around. He was parked outside a bookstore, its windows filled with books and magazines. He got out of the car and walked inside. The smell of paper and ink filled his nostrils, and he felt a sense of calm.
He browsed the shelves, picking up a few books and leafing through them. He felt a sense of nostalgia, remembering the days when he had been a student, studying literature and dreaming of becoming a writer.
He walked over to the counter and placed his books on the counter. The woman behind the counter smiled at him. “Good choices,” she said.
He smiled back. “Thanks,” he said.
She rang up his purchases and handed him a bag. “Have a good day,” she said.
He walked out of the store and into the sunlight. He felt a sense of renewal, a sense that he could start fresh. He didn’t know what the future held, but he knew that he had to keep writing.
He got back into his car and started the engine. He didn’t know where he was going, but he knew that he was headed in the right direction. The sun was setting behind him, casting a golden glow over the city. He felt like he was driving into a new world, a world full of possibilities.
As he drove, he thought about all the stories he had yet to tell, all the characters he had yet to create. He thought about the power of storytelling, the way it could transport people to different worlds and make them feel alive.
He turned onto the freeway and headed towards the horizon. He didn’t know what lay ahead, but he knew that he was ready for whatever came his way. He was a writer, and nothing could stop him.
Some scenes from the movie Sunset Boulevard written by A.I.
– Jack, a struggling screenwriter
– Norma Desmond, a former silent film star
Setting: Hollywood, present day
Jack is sitting at a coffee shop, typing away on his laptop as bustling noise of Hollywood fills the air. Norma walks in with an air of elegance and confidence.
INT. COFFEE SHOP – DAY
Jack looks up as Norma approaches, starstruck.
JACK: (excitedly) Ms. Desmond! I can’t believe it’s really you!
NORMA: (smiling) Yes, it’s me. I’ve been following your work for some time now, and I think you’re exactly what I need.
JACK: (confused) What do you mean?
NORMA: I want you to write my comeback screenplay. I want to show the world that I still have what it takes.
Jack is taken aback, but also excited at the prospect of working with a Hollywood legend.
JACK: (nodding in agreement) Okay, I’m in.
NORMA: (smiling) Fantastic. Meet me at my home tomorrow morning at 10 am sharp.
Jack watches as Norma walks out of the coffee shop, wondering what he’s gotten himself into.
Jack picks up his laptop, his mind racing with ideas for the screenplay, as he walks out of the coffee shop into the hustle and bustle of Hollywood.
EXT. NORMA DESMOND’S MANSION – DAY
Jack arrives at Norma’s mansion and rings the doorbell. The door opens to reveal a butler.
Good afternoon, sir. May I take your coat?
Yes, thank you.
The butler takes Jack’s coat and leads him through the grand foyer.
Miss Desmond will be with you shortly. Would you like something to drink?
Water is fine.
The butler pours Jack a glass of water and walks away. Jack takes a sip and looks around the foyer, bewildered.
Suddenly, he hears footsteps approaching. He turns to see Norma Desmond, dressed in a flowing gown, descending the grand staircase.
Mr. Gillis, welcome to my home!
Thank you, Miss Desmond. It’s an honor to meet you.
Norma takes Jack’s hand and leads him into the living room.
So, Mr. Gillis, tell me about yourself.
Well, I’m a screenwriter. I’ve had some success in the past, but lately things have been…tough.
Well, that’s why I’m here! I need a screenwriter for my comeback film.
Your comeback film?
Yes, yes! It’s going to be fabulous. You’ll see.
Jack looks around the opulent living room, taking it all in. He can’t believe that he’s standing here, talking to one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
I trust that you’ll work diligently on my script, Mr. Gillis.
Of course, Miss Desmond. I’ll give it my all.
Norma smiles, satisfied.
Very well. Let’s get started, shall we?
INT. NORMA DESMOND’S MANSION – LIVING ROOM – DAY
Norma sits in the center of the room, surrounded by photos of herself from her silent film days. Jack sits across from her on a velvet sofa, typing on his laptop.
Remember when I starred in that D.W. Griffith picture? “The Love Flower”. I was so young and innocent then.
Yes, I remember. It was a great film.
Those were the days. Max would take me out to all the best restaurants and we’d be the talk of the town.
(trying to steer the conversation back to the script)
So, in the script, your character is a wealthy heiress who falls in love with a struggling artist.
Norma looks at Jack, her eyes intense.
I know what you’re doing, Jack. You’re trying to make me look foolish in this picture. You want to make a mockery of my life.
No, Norma, that’s not true. I just want to tell a great story.
You don’t know anything about telling stories! All you know is how to write hack scripts for B-movies!
Jack tries to calm Norma down, but she’s in a fit of rage now.
Get out! Get out of my house and never come back!
Jack quickly gathers his things and heads for the door. As he leaves, he looks back at Norma, tears streaming down her face.
I’m sorry, Norma.
Norma doesn’t respond, lost in her own world of memories and delusions. Jack walks out the door, unsure of what to do next.
Characters: Jack (screenwriter), Norma (former silent film star)
Setting: Hollywood, 1950s
Scene 4 – “The Script”
INT. NORMA’S LIVING ROOM – DAY
Jack sits nervously on the couch as Norma paces back and forth.
NORMA: (frustrated) This isn’t what I asked for, Jack. I need glamour, I need drama, I need romance!
JACK: (defeated) I’m sorry, Norma. I’m doing my best.
NORMA: (sarcastic) Your best isn’t good enough, Jack. I gave you a chance to make a name for yourself and this is what you give me?
Jack stands up, feeling the weight of her expectations.
JACK: (firm) Look, Norma, I’m doing everything I can. But you have to trust me. I know what I’m doing.
Norma stops pacing and looks at him with a mix of frustration and curiosity.
NORMA: (inquisitive) Why should I trust you, Jack? You’re just a nobody.
JACK: (passionate) Because I’m the only one who can make your comeback happen. I believe in you, Norma. I believe in this script.
Norma hesitates for a moment, then nods.
NORMA: (determined) Alright, Jack. Show me what you’ve got.
Jack hands her the script and anxiously waits as she reads it. She smiles, then laughs, then cries.
NORMA: (ecstatic) This is it, Jack! This is the one!
Jack sighs with relief, feeling a glimmer of hope.
JACK: (hopeful) You really like it?
NORMA: (confident) I love it! You’re a genius, Jack!
Jack smiles, feeling a sense of accomplishment.
JACK: (humble) Thank you, Norma. I just want to make you proud.
NORMA: (reassured) You already have, Jack. You already have.
– Jack, struggling screenwriter
– Norma Desmond, former silent film star
– Max, legendary director
– Betty, aspiring actress and love interest of Jack
Setting: Hollywood, in the 1950s
Norma: “It’s going to be a night to remember, Jack. The premiere of our film will be the talk of the town.”
Jack: “I don’t think it’s a good idea, Norma. The studio executives won’t even pick it up.”
Norma: “What do they know? They don’t appreciate true art. We’ll have our own premiere, and people will flock to see it.”
Scene based on Chapter 5:
INT. NORMA’S MANSION – LIVING ROOM – NIGHT
Jack nervously paces around the living room while Norma and Max make final preparations for the premiere of their film. Betty arrives, dressed in a glamorous gown, and greets Jack.
Betty: “You look like you’ve seen a ghost, Jack. What’s wrong?”
Jack: “I don’t know if I can go through with this. Norma’s so caught up in her delusions, and the film is a disaster.”
Betty: “Don’t worry. I’ll be there to support you.”
Norma interrupts them, appearing in an extravagant dress, and a fur wrap.
Norma: “Are we ready to go, everyone? The guests are waiting.”
Max: “Yes, Norma. Everything is set.”
Jack: “I just hope this doesn’t turn out to be a disaster.”
Norma: “Don’t be so negative, Jack. This will be the beginning of my comeback.”
The group proceeds to leave the mansion, entering a grand limousine. As they approach the theater, Jack’s nerves intensify, and Betty tries to reassure him.
Betty: “Just remember, Jack. You’re a talented writer, and you’ll bounce back from this.”
Jack: “Thanks, Betty. I appreciate your support.”
As they arrive at the theater, a crowd of fans and paparazzi swarm the limousine. Norma takes the opportunity to bask in the attention, waving to the crowd, and making grand entrances into the theater.
Inside the theater, the screening begins, and Jack watches nervously as the film plays out on the screen. As the film progresses, it becomes clear that the film is a disaster. The audience members start to leave, and Jack feels like he’s hit rock bottom.
Norma, however, is in denial and refuses to accept the reality of the situation. As Jack tries to reason with her, Max intervenes, stepping in to take control.
Max: “Norma, it’s time to face the truth. The film is a failure. It’s time to move on.”
Norma: “You’re all against me. You don’t appreciate true art.”
Jack: “I’m sorry, Norma, but it’s over. We need to accept the reality of the situation.”
Norma lashes out, causing a scene in the theater, and Jack realizes that he needs to distance himself from her. As they leave the theater, Jack and Betty look on as Norma is driven away, disappearing into the Hollywood obscurity from which she came.
As Jack and Betty walk away from the theater, Jack feels a sense of relief and newfound purpose. He turns to Betty, feeling a sense of gratitude for her support.
Jack: “Thanks for being there for me, Betty. I don’t know what I would have done without you.”
Betty: “That’s what friends are for, Jack. Now let’s go celebrate your next big project.”
The two walk down Sunset Boulevard, looking towards the future, and the endless possibilities that Hollywood holds.
Logline: A hack screenwriter falls under the spell of a former silent film star who is desperate to make a comeback, only to discover the dark secrets that lurk behind Hollywood’s shimmering facade.
Jack – A struggling screenwriter who is hungry for success but has never had a break. He’s a bit of a pushover and tends to get caught up in other people’s dramas.
Norma – A faded silent film star who is prone to delusions and lives in a fantasy world. She’s charming and charismatic, but her obsession with her former lover, Max, has driven her to the brink of madness.
Max – A legendary director who was once Norma’s lover and mentor. He’s suave and sophisticated, but there’s a dark side to him that Jack can’t quite put his finger on.
Hollywood in the mid-fifties, a glittering world of glamour and excess that hides a host of dark secrets and twisted obsessions.
INT. NORMA’S MANSION – DAY
Jack enters the mansion and is greeted by Norma, who is surrounded by opulence and luxury.
NORMA: (smiling) Ah, Jack, I’ve been waiting for you.
JACK: (nervous) Sorry I’m late, Norma.
NORMA: (dismissively) No matter. Come, let me show you something.
She leads him into a darkened screening room.
JACK: What is this?
NORMA: (excitedly) It’s a screening of our film, Jack. The one we’ve been working on for so long.
JACK: (skeptical) I thought it wasn’t finished yet.
NORMA: (eagerly) Max finished it for us.
Jack is taken aback as Norma starts the film.
On screen, a familiar face appears: Max.
JACK: (surprised) Max? What’s he doing in our film?
NORMA: (smiling) He’s directing it, Jack. Don’t you remember?
Jack watches in horror as the film unfolds, revealing Max manipulating Norma’s every move.
JACK: (angry) This is madness, Norma. You can’t let him do this to you.
NORMA: (defensively) You don’t understand, Jack. Max is the only one who truly understands me.
JACK: (shouting) He’s using you, Norma! Can’t you see that?
Norma looks at Jack, conflicted.
NORMA: (whispering) Maybe you’re right, Jack. Maybe it’s time to take back control.
Jack nods, relieved.
JACK: (smiling) Yes, Norma. It’s time to take back control.
As they embrace, Max appears in the doorway, watching them.
MAX: (smiling) I see you two have had a change of heart.
Norma looks at Max, resolute.
NORMA: (steely) Yes, Max. We have.
Jack looks on, unsure of what’s going to happen next.
Logline: A struggling screenwriter gets caught in a web of obsession and delusion when he is hired to write a comeback screenplay for a former silent film star.
Jack – a struggling screenwriter with a dream of making it big in Hollywood
Norma – a former silent film star, who is delusional and obsessed with her former lover and director, Max
Max – a legendary director who has disappeared from Hollywood
Setting: Hollywood, 1950s
INT. NORMA’S LIVING ROOM – DAY
Jack is sitting on the couch, looking through old photographs of Norma and Max. Norma enters the room, carrying a tray of drinks.
What are you doing, darling?
Just going through these old photos. You and Max seemed like you were quite close.
Oh, Max and I had a special bond. He understood me in a way that no one else ever has.
What exactly was your relationship with him?
Max was my everything. He directed all my greatest films. We were going to be together forever.
And what happened?
He disappeared. One day, he just vanished without a trace. I never knew what happened to him.
And you never tried to find him?
I did everything I could, but I never found him. He was my love, my life, and then he was just gone.
Jack senses that Norma is holding something back, and decides to dig deeper.
Norma, is there something you’re not telling me?
I don’t know what you’re talking about.
You’re not being honest with me. I can tell.
How dare you accuse me of lying! I loved Max more than anything in this world.
I’m not accusing you of anything. But there’s something you’re not telling me. Something about Max.
I don’t have to tell you anything. Get out of my house!
Jack stands up, knowing he’s hit a nerve. As he turns to leave, Max enters the room.
Norma, darling. I heard shouting. Is everything okay?
Norma looks at Max with a mixture of love and hatred.
Everything’s fine, dear. Just a little disagreement with Jack.
What were you two arguing about?
Jack hesitates, unsure if he should reveal what he’s learned.
(looks at Max)
Just some questions I had about your relationship with Norma.
Max’s face darkens.
That’s none of your business. Leave now, before I have to make you.
Jack knows he’s no match for Max, so he decides to leave. But as he walks out the door, he can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t right. He’s determined to uncover the truth about Max and his mysterious disappearance.
FADE TO BLACK.
– Jack: Struggling screenwriter
– Norma: Former silent film star
– Max: Legendary director
– James: Norma’s loyal butler
Norma’s lavish mansion, where Jack has been staying while writing her screenplay.
INT. NORMA’S MANSION – NIGHT
Jack packs his bags as quietly as he can, trying not to attract any attention. He checks the time on his phone and sees that he only has a few minutes until his ride arrives.
Suddenly, the door to his room bursts open, and James enters.
What are you doing, Mr. Gillis?
I-I was just packing my things. I need to leave.
Why? Is it because of Miss Desmond?
Yes, I can’t stay here any longer. You have to let me go.
James steps closer to Jack, blocking his path.
I’m sorry, Mr. Gillis, but I can’t do that. Miss Desmond needs you to finish the screenplay. You can’t just abandon her.
Look, I’m not abandoning her. I just can’t be a part of this anymore. Please, you have to let me leave.
Suddenly, Norma’s voice echoes through the hallway.
James! What’s going on?
James looks back at Jack, then turns towards Norma’s voice.
It’s Mr. Gillis, Miss Desmond. He’s trying to leave.
Norma appears at the end of the hallway, illuminated by the soft glow of the chandelier.
No one leaves me, James. Not when I’m so close to my comeback.
Jack steps forward, trying to reason with Norma.
Please, Miss Desmond. I can’t stay here any longer. You have to let me go.
Norma’s expression softens as she looks at Jack.
I understand, Mr. Gillis. I’m sorry I kept you here against your will. You can leave, but please, finish the screenplay first. It means everything to me.
Jack nods, relieved. He picks up his bags and heads towards the door. But just as he reaches for the handle, Max appears in front of him, blocking his path.
Going somewhere, Jack?
Jack takes a step back, feeling trapped.
I-I was just leaving, Max. Please, let me go.
I’m afraid I can’t do that, Jack. You know too much.
James steps forward, trying to grab Jack’s bags. But Jack holds onto them tightly, refusing to let go.
Give me those bags, Mr. Gillis. You’re not leaving until you finish the screenplay.
Jack looks at Norma, hoping for her to intervene. But she remains silent, lost in her own world.
Suddenly, Jack hears the sound of a car horn outside. His ride has arrived.
Please, you have to let me go. That’s my ride.
Max steps closer to Jack, a sinister smile on his face.
I’m afraid it’s too late for that, Jack. You’re not leaving here alive.
Jack’s heart races as he realizes the full extent of the danger he’s in. He takes a deep breath and prepares for a fight.