INT. DAY. TOM HANKS is in a building or wherever, I don’t care. He’s on the phone with HELEN HUNT, is the point. You remember Cast Away, I’m not going to explain it to you.
TOM HANKS’ CHARACTER: So your daughter, Katie, is like…one year old, right?
HELEN HUNTS’ CHARACTER: Eleven months.
TOM HANKS: I figured, because there was that one scene where we see Chris fucking Noth feeding her baby food and she’s sitting up unsupported in a high chair and if she’s already on solid foods and grasping and holding herself up unassisted, she was probably at least eight or nine months old.
HELEN HUNT: Right.
TOM HANKS: Okay, so that’s a year, give or take. Nine months before that, obviously. You guys aren’t exactly young parents, so it probably took you a little while to get pregnant. I’ll be generous and say it took just three months.
HELEN HUNT: That’s kind of personal.
TOM HANKS: Yeah, well.
HELEN HUNT: Why the sudden interest in math?
TOM HANKS: I was gone for four and a half years. On that deserted island.
HELEN HUNT: Right. I remember. It was terrible.
TOM HANKS: Sure. Whatever. And I already said I understand that you had to move on, but you were pretty serious on selling me that you kept all these charts of where my plane went down and how obsessed you were about it, and how long your friends had to tell you to move on before you married my dentist.
HELEN HUNT: Our dentist.
TOM HANKS: Right. Also, in case you ever find yourself in a similar position in the future, it was a little bit chilly to choose your new husband to tell me that you’d gotten married.
HELEN HUNT: Oh.
TOM HANKS: You could have had literally anyone else tell me that news, and it would have been better. Because I understand if it was too painful for you to tell me yourself, but you could have found a neutral third party to break it to me.
HELEN HUNT: Right, right.
TOM HANKS: Like, you could have pulled a random member of the crowd aside and asked them to give me the message. I would have preferred that.
HELEN HUNT: That’s totally fair.
TOM HANKS: So. I disappear the day after we get engaged. Counting backwards of four and a half years, that’s one year for the baby, nine months plus three – give or take – of trying to conceive and being pregnant. You guys dated for what, six months, a year, before you got married?
HELEN HUNT: About a year and a half.
TOM HANKS: Right, because it takes a little while to plan a wedding, even if you’re not planning something super elaborate. Which I imagine you wouldn’t have, for obvious reasons.
HELEN HUNT: Because we were all still so sad –
TOM HANKS: Because you were all still so sad about how dead I was.
HELEN HUNT: So sad.
TOM HANKS: So that’s four-and-a-half years, minus one year, minus nine months, minus three months, minus eighteen months.
HELEN HUNT: I guess so.
TOM HANKS: So that leaves one year.
HELEN HUNT: One year of what?
TOM HANKS: One year almost to the day between losing your fiancé and starting to seriously date his dentist.
HELEN HUNT: It wasn’t that serious at first. If that helps.
TOM HANKS: But it’s not like it was even someone knew who didn’t know me. You started dating a man who had been inside my mouth about a year after you thought I drowned.
HELEN HUNT: It sounds really weird, when you put it like that.
TOM HANKS: It’s not like I wanted you to become a nun. That’s just, like…the absolute bare minimum mourning period.
HELEN HUNT: According to whose rules?
TOM HANKS: Everyone knows that. It’s just something everybody knows.
HELEN HUNT: Oh, everybody just knows that if your fiancé disappears after an unsurvivable plane crash you’re supposed to wait two years instead of one before you try to love again just in case he might have survived and used a picture of you to keep himself from madness and suicide for four and a half years on a deserted island?
TOM HANKS: I don’t make the rules.
HELEN HUNT: Charming. Real charming.
TOM HANKS: I’m just saying it would have been nice. I wouldn’t have said anything if I came back and you had just some guy on the side. You’re a woman with needs. I get that.
HELEN HUNT: I kept that car you loved running for you. For four years, I kept restoring that car. That’s not a metaphor for my sexual fidelity, either; I literally kept your car in pristine driving condition without even using it.
TOM HANKS: Yeah, about that. You can’t get credit for the maps and the car and keeping a never-ending remembrance torch burning for me AND having roughly seven teenaged children with your sleazy husband at the same time. You can’t have it both ways.
HELEN HUNT: I have literally one child.
TOM HANKS: You know what I mean. And then to tell me you’ll run away with me so I have to be the bigger person and drive you back up your stupid driveway to your stupid husband because you know I’m not going to be the jerk who leaves your kid without a mother? That’s fucking rich, Helen Hunt.
HELEN HUNT: I think my character’s name is Kellie. And I feel like I absolutely can find happiness and start a family while still maintaining a deep and abiding love for my lost fiancé.
TOM HANKS: Whatever. It’s been a long time since I saw this movie. I was thirteen and I had really strong opinions about how long you’re supposed to wait if someone disappears at sea but you never find their body, and apparently I still do.
HELEN HUNT: I feel like you’re trying to make me feel like a bad person because I didn’t know you were alive. Which I had literally no way of knowing, no matter how much you stared at that picture of me.
TOM HANKS: Ugh, no, you’re right. It just kind of sucks.
HELEN HUNT: I agree that it sucks. I just don’t know what you want out of this.
TOM HANKS: I don’t know. For it to…not suck.
HELEN HUNT: Okay, well, you realize I’m not capable of making that happen.
TOM HANKS: No, I know.
HELEN HUNT: Sometimes life just plays horrible, cruel jokes on decent people. And maybe it’s easier for Mallory to get mad at my character instead of accepting that you can’t control everything in life.
TOM HANKS: Helen Hunt, I’ll be honest with you; I was not expecting you to talk me around to your perspective, but it’s hard to keep arguing with you. I think I’m really just looking for someone to blame in what’s a fundamentally blameless situation. Life is just capricious sometimes and I want a villain to pin it on.
HELEN HUNT: Look, I get it. That’s a fundamentally human desire.
TOM HANKS: Chris Noth was a real fucking dickbag about telling me you got married, though.
HELEN HUNT: Oh, absolutely. Even though I wasn’t in that scene, I can bet he was a real fucking tool about it.
TOM HANKS: And why are his lips always shiny and wet, like he just licked them?
HELEN HUNT: RIGHT? That was all I could notice in the last season of Sex and the City. Like, are his lips professionally chapped?
TOM HANKS: Anyhow, good talk.
HELEN HUNT: Yeah.
FADE TO BLACK.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.