“Aieee, Robot!”

Recently, Mike’s Circular File received an anonymous e-mail message containing what purports to be an early draft screenplay for this summer’s most recent blockbuster film. Unfortunately, we have no way of verifying this claim, but since this is the Internet, there’s no reason that a little niggling issue like authenticity should stop us from posting it. Here, then, provided as a public service, is the draft screenplay in its entirety.


SCENE 1: Chicago, 2035. A crowded downtown street. The city looks very much like present day Chicago, except that the street repair crews are all humanoid robots instead of humans, and they are actually repairing the street, rather than standing idly and keeping an eye out for investigative reporters with TV cameras.

Detective Del Shannon is walking down the street. He is wearing forty-year-old clothing from the Salvation Army store. He glares menacingly at the robots. It is clear from his expression that he hates robots.

SHANNON: Boy do I hate robots. Also the future.

A robot walks up to Shannon.

ROBOT: Good mornin’! And isn’t it a lovely morn…

Shannon shoots the robot in the face.


SCENE 2: Inside the police station. Shannon is being chewed out by his lieutenant.

LT. BARGIN: Why’d you have to go shoot that poor robot in the face? What do you have against robots?

SHANNON: Can’t tell you yet. Need more dramatic buildup.

LT. BARGIN: Dammit, you’re a good cop, Axel, but…

SHANNON: Del. My name’s Del.

Shannon’s phone rings.

SHANNON: I’d better get that. It’s important.

LT. BARGIN: How can you be so sure?

SHANNON: Look, you know perfectly well that whenever a cop’s phone rings in the middle of a scene, it’s gotta be important to the plot.

LENNIE BRISCOE: He’s right, you know.


SCENE 3: Establishing shot of the tallest skyscraper in the city, a towering glass structure with a large sign out in front:


Cut to Shannon walking toward the center atrium of the building. There is a dead body on the floor, cordoned off with crime scene tape.

SHANNON: Who’s the splat mark?

COP: It’s the chief scientist of US Robots, Dr. Ruff Landing. The body shows signs of strangulation. He was also stabbed fifteen times, shot twice through the head, and then fell from his office on the 70th floor. Obviously a suicide.

SHANNON. Sure looks like it. Say, this is where they manufacture all the robots, isn’t it?

COP: Yup.

Shannon sees a group of robots standing off to one side. They are rocking back and forth on the balls of their feet, rolling their eyes in the air and whistling to themselves. Shannon turns to see a very attractive young woman approaching.

SHANNON: Finally! Booty call! We’re nearly ten minutes in to this picture already!

COP: Del, this is Dr. Susan Kelvin. She worked with Dr. Landing. Dr. Kelvin, this is Del Shannon.

KELVIN: It’s an honor to meet you. My father had a couple of your albums.

SHANNON: So, what do you do here at US Robots? Are you in Human Resources or something?

KELVIN: Detective, I happen to be a scientist, as you can clearly tell by my eyeglasses and lab coat. My job here is to give the robots a human personality.

SHANNON: Oh? Then you should appreciate this. A robot walks into a bar. The bartender says, “We don’t serve robots.” And the robot says, “Someday you will.” Ha ha!

KELVIN: Is that supposed to be funny?

SHANNON: When you were giving out personalities to those robots, maybe you should have saved one for yourself.

KELVIN: You know, if you were a real detective, you’d be looking around here for clues or something.

SHANNON: Hey, great idea. Where’s the security system for this building?

KELVIN (pointing to an enormous glowing structure suspended from the peak of the atrium, 200 stories up): The central processor core is up there.


KELVIN: What’s the matter?

SHANNON: I just know I’m gonna end up hanging from that thing before this picture is over.


SCENE 4: Shannon and Dr. Kelvin are in Dr. Landing’s office.

KELVIN: Well, there’s certainly nothing suspicious here. Dr. Landing’s death was clearly a suicide. We might as well go home now.

SHANNON: I’m not so sure. Something’s not quite right here.

Del looks over at Dr. Kelvin, who is frantically trying to stuff a struggling robot behind a filing cabinet.

SHANNON: Are you hiding something from me? I know when I’m getting the runaround, Sue!

KELVIN: That was Dion, you idiot.

The robot leaps out from behind the cabinet and lands in front of Shannon.

SHANNON: Aha! A robot! Did you murder Dr. Landing?

BENDER: Bite my shiny metal ass!

A tall man in a business suit enters the office, accompanied by two security guards.

KELVIN: Del, this is our CEO. He’s a man of absolute integrity.

KENNETH LAY: Detective, you don’t honestly think that this robot killed Dr. Landing, do you? Because that’s impossible.

SHANNON: Why is that impossible?

KENNETH LAY: The three laws, Detective Shannon. Haven’t you heard of Isaac Asimov?

SHANNON: Isaac Whosimov?

KENNETH LAY: That’s what I figured.

BENDER: Wasn’t he the bartender on the Love Boat?

KELVIN: As far as this movie is concerned, yes, he was.

KENNETH LAY: There’s no reason to continue your investigation, my simple friend. We have more pressing concerns. Our new line of robots is just about ready to roll out. We just received the final software build this morning from our contracting partner.

Lay holds up a CD-ROM labeled “Microsoft Robot OS Version 1.0c.”

SHANNON: Well, it looks like you’ve got everything under control here. I’ll just be on my way.

KENNETH LAY: Thanks for stopping by.

Shannon and Bender exchange significant glances. Ominous music plays.

SHANNON: Hmm. Ominous music. That’s not a good sign.


SCENE 5: In a spectacular special effects extravaganza, Shannon’s car is assaulted by a legion of robots. His car is totaled and Shannon is severely beaten. The scene must last at least ten minutes to show how durable the car is, or Audi will refuse to pay for the product placement.


SCENE 6: Shannon arrives at Dr. Kelvin’s house, battered and bloody.

KELVIN: What happened to you?

SHANNON: I got attacked by a hundred robots.

KELVIN: Well, you probably deserved it. Didn’t you shoot a robot in the face in Scene 1?

SHANNON: That was just for effect.

KELVIN: So why do you hate robots so much?

SHANNON: All right. I’ll tell you. We never had any pets when I was a kid, because my mother was allergic. So about ten years ago, I bought one of those Aibo robot dogs for my mother. It was really cute, you know? And she loved it. The little thing used to wag its tail and make this little electronic “Arf, arf” noise. Well, Mama had the dog for a few weeks, and I came over to the house one day… (Shannon chokes with emotion)

KELVIN: Go on.

SHANNON: I opened the door and called out to Mama. No answer. But I heard this strange noise coming from the back bedroom. It was the dog barking, but it didn’t sound right. It was deep and…angry. I walked into the room, and there was Mama, on the floor… (Shannon’s eyes fill with tears) She had put the batteries in backwards and the damn dog had gone crazy. It was rocking on top of her, Mama’s lifeless body under this damned robot dog. I still wake up mornings in a cold sweat, hearing that sound…“Fra, fra, fra, fra…”

KELVIN: Dear God. That’s a really traumatic experience. You need therapy.

SHANNON: Ya think?

KELVIN: Well, you can relax. I know for a fact that there is absolutely no way that our robots will all go berserk and try to take over the world.

Shannon’s cell phone rings.

SHANNON: Oh, crap.

LT. BARGIN (on phone): Del! You were right! The robots have all gone berserk and are trying to take over the world!

SHANNON: What should we do?

LT. BARGIN: We’re done for! It’s too late! Save yourself! Just run away!

SHANNON: But, Lieutenant…

LT. BARGIN: Run run run run run away!

SHANNON: Cut that out!

The phone goes dead.

SHANNON: We’ve got trouble. Can you get us back into US Robots?

KELVIN (pulling out her keys and jangling them in front of Shannon): Shall we dance?


SCENE 7: At the very top of the US Robots atrium, above the central processor core for the building’s security system. Kelvin, Shannon, and Bender are being attacked from all sides by robots.

KELVIN: Now that we know the robots are all being controlled by the security program, how do we stop it?

BENDER (handing a Frisbee to Shannon): Here. I swiped this from some goofball in a neon suit. Just get this disc into the processor core and you’ll take that sucker out.

SHANNON: Terrific! I need you and Dr. Kelvin to distract the audience for a few minutes with aerial stunts so I can get down to the core!

MASTER CONTROL PROGRAM: Sark! All my powers are now yours!

SHANNON: Blow it out your ass!

Shannon throws the disc into the processor core. There is a huge explosion.


SCENE 8: Shannon, Kelvin, and Bender are standing outside the US Robots building. The sun is shining.

KELVIN: Wow! That was pretty cool, how we managed to completely blow up the MCP without us all falling to our deaths!

SHANNON: Sure was! Perhaps now you and I can go back to my place and have sex!

KELVIN: What’s this movie rated?


KELVIN: Sorry, dude. No nookie for you.


They all laugh heartily.

BENDER: Say, you suppose we robots and you humans can be buddies now?

SHANNON: I don’t know…

BENDER: Hey, Del! Who am I imitating? “Fra, fra, fra, fra!”

SHANNON: You robot bastard.

More laughter. Fade out.

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