CastELLIOTT: A jaded screenwriter. Roguish, obstinate and occasionally profane.
DIANA: A headstrong, successful romance novelist.
Both characters can be anywhere from late 30s to 60s. There shouldn't be a large age difference between them. If there is, Diana should be the older of the two.
A room in an extended-stay hotel in West Hollywood.
Diana (a headstrong, successful romance novelist) gets the opportunity of her life when a studio asks her to write a screenplay. Her first draft needs some work, so the studio suggests a collaborator.
Elliott is roguish, opinionated and more than a little profane -- but he wrote some of the highest grossing action movie sequels ever, and says he can fix anything.
Their attempts to meet the studio's deadline are complicated by constant phone calls from Diana's famously insecure novelist husband and Elliott's unorthodox approach to writing, which he describes as 'baring your soul and then giving someone a sharp stick and inviting them to come and poke around". As they grow to trust each other, a story of love, obsession, betrayal and loss emerges – and not just on paper.
Richard, paralyzed by anxiety and addiction, hasn't written a word in years. Diana has been writing for both of them, which only fuels Richard's insecurity. Richard does everything he can to convince Diana to abandon the screenplay and come home to him because he's afraid of losing her. And he should be. Elliott is everything Richard is not: clever, funny, encouraging... and one hell of a writer. He respects Diana'a talent in a way Richard never did. He just about has Diana convinced to leave Richard and be with him...
... until she finds out why Elliott is working as a ghostwriter. Between the racist, expletive-laden rant at a police officer after a DUI stop and his affair with his former writing partner's wife (and his partner's subsequent suicide) no one will hire Elliott. Diana is his chance for redemption. But Diana's done saving people. Elliott says she's using him as an excuse. She's stayed in Richard's shadow because she liked it there.
As precious days tick past and the deadline nears, Elliott risks his last chance at redemption to save Diana's project. She finally listens to his explanation of his meltdown: a story of two people who achieved fame too fast and Elliott's heartbreaking choice to abandon a friend he was powerless to save. She understands that he never wanted her to save him. He was trying to save her.