Stargazer (2023) Movie Script

-So, you must be Grace.
-Yeah! Hi.
It's so great to meet you.
-Hi. Yeah. Thank you.
-Can we get you anything?
Actually, I'd love a--
love a water.
-Like-- I need a water.
First of all, how's your mom?
Oh, she's, uh-- She's great.
She still doing her taekwondo
tournaments and all that stuff?
Yeah. Well, I think
it's more like yoga these days.
She always was
quite the athlete.
-About your manuscript.
Ooh, I just--
I wanted to say before I forget.
Um, thank you so much
for this opportunity.
Um, it's so amazing
to be here in your offices
and, um, I can't wait for people
to hear about Cecilia's story--
I'm sorry, I'm going to
stop you right there.
What you've given us
is an academic thesis.
Is that right?
I mean, I'm about to graduate.
What exactly
were you hoping to...
I-- Well, I guess, um--
I was thinking--
You might consider
publishing it?
-Have you ever
read our magazine?
I'm sorry, I think
we need to be blunt right now.
Grace, you're kidding yourself.
I mean,
it's possible that someone
at some science journal
somewhere would--
- It's not that simple.
- Well--
There has to be some place.
There's no story.
The greatest forgotten woman
in the history of science
is not a story?
Not the way
you've told it.
Please give my love to your mom.
This is one of
the most important stories
of the 20th century.
This is, like,
the original forgotten woman.
I'm not with anyone yet, yeah.
But I'm planning--
These men were supposed
to be mentors
and they stole her results.
They stole it
from under her nose.
These men were supposed to be
her mentors and then they--
Not to presume, Sarah,
but, you know,
you might've faced
this kind of thing too.
We all do, right?
I'm not-- I'm not affiliated--
I'm independent right now.
No, it's not--
it's not a #MeToo thing.
Can I help you?
I am here to see Lily Frishman.
I'm sorry, I'm going to
have to ask you to leave.
I got your number
from Alma Rodriguez.
Do you know her?
Okay, Alma gave me
your phone number
because she said you're the best
writer that she knows.
You know, I hope to partner
with someone like you,
someone who's
such a gifted writer--
Okay, pitch. Yes.
it's a 25-year-old woman
who discovered
what stars are made of
and her thesis advisors
and mentors
stole it and published
her results as their own.
Um, a 25-year-old woman
gets screwed by, uh, men?
-Hey, Grace, it's Spike Randall
with BuzzLine.
Uh, hi.
Yeah, so, I saw what you wrote,
and I think
that we can work with it.
We just need a pitch, you know?
Uh, what kind of pitch?
We need to dumb it down,
just make it more clear.
Yeah, okay.
Um, I-- I can do that, yeah.
Good. When do you think
you can have it?
-Um, like--
-You want to meet?
Yeah, that'd be great.
A star burns in a dark...
A star burns
in a distant-- distant galaxy.
Okay, a star burns in a dark...
corner of the universe.
Hey, what's up?
I got us a booking.
It's a good one.
It's like a dream, Grace.
-Well, what is it?
-I want to tell you in person.
Just pick a place
and bring everything you've got.
-Well, we can't. I'm at work.
I'll find you at the library.
See you in ten.
But I--
I can't exactly, like, leave--
Dr. Bendel, Dr. Bendel.
Could you come
to Chem Lab 151-A please?
-Why, Grace? Why?
-Because I have to meet
with this guy-- this friend.
He's not even really a friend,
he's a colleague--
He's not even a colleague.
-Okay, his name's Spike Randall,
like the Spike Randall.
-I don't know who that is.
He's a journalist,
he's, like, a big deal,
and he got us a booking.
-What does that mean?
Like, you're-
-I don't really know.
But it's important,
so, can you just cover
for me, please?
-I guess.
-Please, oh, thank you,
thank you so, so much.
What do I have to do?
You're just titrating
an acid-based solution
at an arterial
oxygenated rate of 90%.
-Okay, super easy.
-Exactly! Thank you.
Okay, I'm going to
send you a pizza,
that's how much I love you.
-And it is black olives
and sausage, right?
-You're going to get fired.
No, I'm actually not going to
get fired because of you.
-I hate you so much.
-I love you the most!
-You changed your hair.
-A booking for what?
-You look good.
-Spike, what're we booked on?
- Annette Gordon-Reed.
- Shh!
- Like, the Annette Gordon-Reed?
- -I think there's only one.
That's me!
- You actually spoke to her?
- Well, her people.
- Shh!
- What did they say?
They like it, Grace.
- They like your thesis.
- Shh!
I told them about you
and your work on Cecilia Payne
and they want you
on her new TV show.
-Let's Try This Again.
-Let's try what again?
That's the name of the show.
Taking the mystery
out of history.
About forgotten people
in history.
This talk show thing
with a studio audience.
- You want me to go on live TV?
- Shh!
Well, it's--
it's not live,
but she has an audience
and she asks questions, and--
-Okay, what kind of questions?
-I don't know, Grace.
That's why we have to prepare
a good, strong pitch,
story and science
all bundled together,
and we work it out tonight.
Okay, you see this?
It's a long format
and blah, blah, blah--
We get ten minutes to tell her
about Miss Payne,
why she matters,
and then she opens it up
to a panel of experts
and then we're famous.
So, Cecilia would work
for three consecutive
days and night without sleep!
-So that's how inspired she was.
So this is a story
of scientific genius
and strength and persistence.
Exactly, you get it.
I love you, Grace Campbell.
I love you, Annette Gordon-Reed!
-And when
would this be happening?
-6:00 a.m. tomorrow.
Library voices, please.
Oh, God. Okay.
Uh, what if you just, um...
go on it by yourself?
Grace, no.
This is the story
of your lifelong affection
for this great woman.
Does it have to be tomorrow?
They had a cancellation, yeah.
-Oh, shit.
-Stars lined up.
I'm just-- I'm not--
Like, the whole--
the whole public speaking
thing is hard--
You're going to have to learn
how to do some public speaking,
- Spike, I--
Can you guys shut up?
-Yeah, anything for you, bud.
-Fuck you.
People care about feelings
more than thoughts, Grace.
We have to make people
feel for Cecilia.
Or feel with her.
Her. You're right.
Her frustration.
-Her pain, her rage.
-But it has to be
about her grace.
And her struggles
and how she suffers.
-Spike! I-
-What-- That's catnip
for people, Grace.
They love that, they need that.
Don't take that away from them.
- It's not what I want to say.
-But it's the truth.
The truth is that she discovered
what stars are made of.
Nobody cares, Grace.
I'm sorry, but if you two
can't be quiet,
I'm going to have to
ask you to leave.
Sorry. Um...
Okay, let's just-- Spike.
I need this--
I need this
to be about science, okay?
Then go on. Do it.
All right,
pretend that I'm Annette.
Just try.
Welcome, Grace Campbell.
It's great to have you here.
Let's hear the story of Cecilia.
Okay, Annette.
-I can't do it. You do it.
-Grace, come on. But--
-It'll be bad.
-I love bad.
Welcome, Spike Randall.
Please tell us
the story of Cecilia.
-Well, Annette...
...when Cecilia showed up
for her fellowship in astronomy
at Harvard
in 1922--
The man in charge
was this guy, Shapeley.
-Can't it be Shapeley?
-Shapeley's so much better.
-I'm sorry.
- Dr. Shapeley...
- Shapley.
...he takes advantage
of all the women
in his department.
It's not like he's macking
on them or anything,
he's just using them.
He makes them map out
the entire sky for him.
It's called
photometric photometry.
But he won't let them
do anything important.
He makes them just crunch
numbers like computers,
which is what he calls them.
Like in Hidden Figures, Annette.
And Cecilia says...
"I'm sorry, sir,
but I don't think
I'm suited for this."
- She wants to work with a telescope.
- -Spectroscope.
And she starts to get
these amazing results,
- and at first, Shapeley's--
- Shapley.
Shapley is like,
"This is fantastic!"
But his friend,
the big authority on astronomy,
Henry Norris Russell,
- is like,
"I'm not so sure, my friend."
But neither of these men
has managed to see
what Cecilia has seen.
- Which is what?
- Lines.
You don't know what they mean?
-Not a clue.
-They're absorption lines.
-Doesn't help.
-Okay, can I take over now?
-Please, for the love of God.
-Okay, I will make it good,
I promise.
Um, so, a star burns in--
in a dark corner
of the universe.
Excited with an energy
that takes the form of light.
Light is energy.
Energy is electric.
It's electromagnetic,
it's radiant.
Now, let's say that
this is the center of a star.
-Grace, I'm bored.
-Yeah, I know.
I told you I'm bad at this.
I know you don't care
about a stupid star,
but you-- you care about, um...
and survival.
And we survive to have sex
because of the sun,
which is a star.
So, let's say, again.
This is a star.
Um, this the star's atmosphere.
So, light travels in waves
through space,
to the spectroscope at Harvard,
where it-- um, it hits a prism.
A piece of cut glass that, um,
breaks the light apart
into its component colors.
So, um--
Yeah. So, here is a star.
Here is the star's
atmosphere, right?
It's like a boiling soup
full of elements,
and in it,
there's a photon shooting by.
And a photon is,
like, a unit of light energy.
It's like, um--
it's like a light bullet,
And so, um...
when it does that,
it hits a hydrogen atom
and then that arouses it.
Like, it gets turned on?
Yeah, um--
Yeah, you could say that.
And so, uh, its, um,
its little electron
jumps to a new level of energy.
The atom is, like...
And it-- it says that so loudly,
that you can-- you can hear it.
And see it
in these lines, Spike.
These-- these lines
on the spectrum at Harvard.
When it's excited it's like,
"Excuse me, I'm hydrogen.
Um, can you guys see me
down there?
'Cause I'm naked
and I'm screaming and, um...
and you're missing it."
That's hot.
Oh, God. Oh, no.
You've got to do that
for Annette!
I'm not going to do that
for Annette.
Please don't do that
for Annette.
So many people
come to me with ideas
and I never say yes,
but you-- you're special,
and that was...
that was...
And what you said
about being a little girl...
in a small town
and reading about this woman
who's as great as Isaac Newton
and nobody knows her name...
that's good too.
An apple falls
on Isaac's head...
and a ray of light falls
on Cecilia's.
Hey. You all right?
No, I'm fine.
I get you.
We're going to get this.
It's ten minutes.
I, um...
I just want to say
thank you, Spike.
You know, I couldn't do this
without you and I-- I know that.
- Shh. Shh.
- No, I mean it.
Everything's going to
be okay, okay?
Hey, Jer.
Hold on.
I can't hear you.
Wait. Wait, wait.
Don't hang up.
Hold on.
Hold on, I can't hear you.
Wait, wait, wait.
Don't hang up.
I got us on Annette Gordon-Reed.
The TV show, remember?
You forget something?
God. You scared me.
You knew I was there.
That's not why--
-It's a pretty good story
you got there.
-Who are you?
This girl makes
this great discovery and...
she's so sweet and young.
And then this man
takes it away from her.
Why are you talking to me?
I'm Diana, I'm a dancer.
-In the library?
-Who's he?
Spike Randall.
He's, like,
the best journalist in Chicago.
He won a Peabody.
Is that, like, a prize?
And you want him
to take your thesis
and do what with it?
Make it reach people.
And you can't do that yourself?
I'm not a journalist.
So you went and you found
that walking phallus
of a human being.
You don't know him.
He's not a dick, okay?
God, why am I even
talking to you?
Sorry, I have to check this.
Um, my friend is covering
for me at work and--
he knows where everything is,
he's just second-guessing
himself, you know?
Like, my boss is kind of a jerk.
Okay, behind the cabinet.
Good. He's got it. Okay.
- Where do you work?
- This chem lab.
-Why not astronomy?
-It's work-study,
I don't get to choose.
I'm a History of Science Major.
are you paying this guy?
-He's the only one who said yes.
-Do you have your picture
on your Gmail?
- Yeah, of course.
- That's why he said yes.
Okay, can you stop?
Ooh, look, these are notes.
Okay, that's enough.
That's not okay.
I don't get
why you don't trust him.
-He's, like, an amazing writer.
He's brilliant, he really is.
You know he took the time
to meet with me on a work night.
-And he drove me--
-He drove you?
Where did he drive you?
- Home.
He hit on you, didn't he?
He is a good person.
He signed onto this
for no money--
- Sounds like a salesman.
- I need that.
I've never had that.
It's like I'm allergic to that.
Oh, my God, that's so cute.
- Screw you.
You know, this always happens,
women do the work
and men get the credit
and if I get this story right,
it's gonna unhappen.
At least to Cecilia.
- Can I have one of these?
- Sure.
How about this?
I'll sit here
and you can tell me
all about your story
and I'll listen,
but please, keep the science
super simple, okay?
Like, describe it to me
like I'm five.
I don't even know you.
We have chemistry.
Did you not see
how hard I failed?
I saw something.
Okay, um...
her name is Cecilia Payne, and--
And her dad-- her dad died
when she was young,
and she's so good at everything.
I mean, she studies music
with Gustav Holst
who wrote "The Planets"
and physics with Niels Bohr
who discovered the atom.
What is he doing?
Uh, who is that?
God, she's such a flirt.
Why is he talking to her?
And then Cecilia's mentor
steals her discovery
and publishes it
two years later like it's his.
-Uh, no way!
-Yeah way!
So, would you watch that?
Um, would you like
to buy me a drink?
I could do coffee,
but I've gotta work right now.
Oh, okay.
You're sure nothing happened
between you two?
Yeah. No.
Oh, my God. Oh, my God.
- Oh, my God.
- Is it okay?
Yeah. Oh, my God.
Oh, my God. Oh, my God.
- Oh, my God.
- Okay.
- Okay.
- Okay.
Okay. Um...
I have, um--
-You gotta go?
-Mm-hmm. I gotta go.
-I'll see soon.
Oh, my God.
Okay, we made out once
but that was it.
-But you didn't--
-No! God, no.
-No, Diana.
-Okay, okay.
-Fine, whatever.
-I told you, nothing happened.
So, you were saying?
Cecilia was inspired,
so she tests the theory
of this Indian physicist
named Saha
and she discovers
a paradigm-shattering fact
about the composition of stars
and no one
in the world knows this but her
and the Sun
is a freaking star so--
Grace. Why does this matter?
She found out what they are.
You know, there's a TV studio
across the quad.
It's open all night.
Let's go over there
and sit under the lights
and, I don't know, we could
hang out and simmer in it.
Yeah, I'm not gonna do that. I--
I think you should,
it'll be fun.
Take it in, simmer in it.
Good evening, everybody.
Just a reminder
that food is permitted
on the basement level
of the library only
and drinks must be kept
in closed containers.
Also, starfish have
neither brains, nor blood.
Thank you.
She is such a weirdo.
Are you kidding?
Helen's the best, I love her.
No, so do I, it's just--
she's, um, pretty weird.
You know
you're weird, too, right?
- I-- I know.
- Why?
You want to know why I'm weird?
No, no,
I want to know about you.
You really don't know
how to talk to people.
What was it like
when you started dating?
-Can you stop?
-Oh, come on.
We're just getting
to the good part.
It took some time
but I was fine.
Hm. You're deflecting.
You're overstepping.
And you're afraid
of public speaking.
You should be in a dance studio.
I'd love to, but, you know,
I'm working on my thesis, too
and you can't just dance,
you have to print stuff
and research and footnote
and that's just-- that's
just not really where I live.
Well, you could ask
Spike for help.
Um, I should probably get back
to this.
Oh, yeah. Yeah, me too.
So, good luck.
Yeah. Yeah, you too.
Stare into
the eyes of the goddess.
Good, good.
Freeze time.
Don't rush.
Keep that connection.
Support her.
- Grace.
- Christ, Diana!
- How'd you get there?
- I need your help.
I know nothing about dance.
I've been dancing
since I could walk,
and I came to this school
to work with this
one genius dance director
and she does not like
what I'm doing.
She hates it, actually.
She says
I'm just tricking people
and not piercing their hearts.
"If you can't touch them, Diana,
then you're not an artist,
you're a showgirl
and that's all you'll ever be."
So, yeah.
You think
I know how to touch people?
- I think you might.
- I don't.
I really don't,
and I can't help you right now.
- I listened to your story.
- No one asked you to.
That was a dick thing.
Just do it fast, please.
We begin with Atalanta.
She's tall
and strong and beautiful
and she's the fastest woman
in the world,
and men are willing
to die for her.
-And you don't care.
-No, I wanna care, it's just--
-Please, tell me.
It's kinda hard
to empathize with someone
who, like, has it all.
-She doesn't have it all.
-You just said--
She was left
for dead by her dad,
she was raised
by a bear in the woods.
Maybe you should lead with that.
I'll start over.
There's this staircase.
This tall, towering staircase.
And at the top we see the king.
And he's tall, too,
impossibly tall,
like, ten feet tall,
in this purple velvet robe
with a crown
studded with rubies.
And the king is angry,
storming down these stairs,
scary, thrashing.
Why's that? Why's he thrashing?
He told his kingdom
he'd give them a prince
but the queen
has given birth to a princess,
and the queen
is curled on the floor,
bleeding, full of shame,
cradling her infant daughter,
her wails echoing
throughout the castle corridors.
Then the king rips the baby
from his wife's arms,
and suddenly these trees sprout
and the staircase
becomes a mountain
and he is carrying
his little girl to a cliff
to leave her there to die.
This is dark.
Then thunder rumbles,
clouds gather,
and a radiant goddess appears,
and somehow she reaches out
over the horizon,
lifts the crying child,
summoning a she-bear
who breastfeeds the child
and places her in the care
of the forest creatures
who help her grow up to be
the fastest
human being on Earth.
But the goddess
makes Atalanta promise
never to have sex with anyone.
Ever. In her life.
She's a bitch.
- That's so mean.
- Drink some water.
And the queen
can't have any more children,
so when the king finds out
that his daughter
is alive out there in the woods,
he finds her and commands her
to come home and get married.
What does the goddess say?
She must obey.
This goddess sucks.
That's what Atalanta thinks,
so she says,
"Dad, I refuse to marry any man
unless he can defeat me
in a footrace,
and the punishment
for all the men who lose...
they must die a painful
and unnatural death."
I still
haven't found it yet.
What? What're you talking about?
That was so great.
-No, I'm like, I'm forcing it.
-No, no, no.
-I can feel it!
-No, that was fantastic.
I mean, I've been dying
trying to tell a woman's story
and you're so great.
I think it's just hard.
I'm, like,
I can't see anything, I'm just
in the middle of it all.
-No, no, no, no.
-I'm just very confused.
It's all good, Grace.
I talked to Annette's producer.
She loves the stuff
about Cecilia
and the equipment budget.
- I got you a red eye, two sugars.
- -Thanks.
We're nearly there,
it's just a matter
of framing it like a film,
setting up the key players,
what they want,
what's in their way.
Is that
what you were doing outside?
I beg your pardon?
With Kendra.
I was pitching,
that's what we call it.
She's our key demo.
She's our audience, Grace.
I was just giving
the girl what I had.
Oh, I bet.
can we get back to work now?
Oh, my God, that was you?
With the white
and the sex and the blood.
And the feathers.
You're not her, are you?
Are you-- are you her?
-Grace, calm down.
-You don't understand, Spike.
This woman, I saw her show,
it was the most amazing thing
I've ever seen.
I mean, I still dream about it
and I still see her in front--
Oh, my God, you don't see things
in front of your mind, Grace.
Are you all right?
you're not listening to me.
This woman does things
nobody else in the world can do.
-Okay, it's just theater.
Who are you?
Diana de la Palma.
She's a genius.
Grace, could you just
give me a sec, please?
What's going on?
Why is she here?
-She's working.
-Okay, but why is she talking?
She's not an astronomer,
she's distracting you,
she's getting in the way.
No, no. Relax, okay?
I was listening to her,
it was really good.
-Okay, then can we focus now?
Can we focus now?
She's a master and I'm learning
and it's making
everything better.
It's been a pleasure, Diana,
and I'm sure you're great,
but that's enough.
-Please don't be rude.
-I'm not.
Show me your eyes.
Yeah, it's happening.
What? What's happening?
What are you doing?
Have you ever read The Lion,
the Witch and the Wardrobe?
-Kill me now.
-It's, like, Christian allegory.
But this isn't a wardrobe.
Shut the lid.
Do you know what this is about?
You'll see.
What am I gonna see?
In a second.
Are your guys' mouths dry?
It's the gummies.
You're high.
- What?
- You are high.
- Oh, fuck me.
- They didn't taste like weed.
they're not just weed, honey.
- Oh, my God.
- What are they?
- They're, like, a blend.
- A blend of what?
- You'll be in and out.
- Why did you let me eat them?
- Not my fault.
- Oh, my God.
How am I supposed to work
if I'm high?
- I do it all the time.
-What the hell is wrong with you?
I'm not gonna be able to see
or move my pencil the right way.
So lose the pencil, Grace.
You are an evil tiger
witch dragon.
It's not like
your story was working
when you were not high.
How am I gonna go on TV?
- How the fuck did this happen?
- Oh, my God.
- I'm gonna be so sad.
- Nah, drink some water.
- Oh, my God.
- Oh, coffee.
-Look, you have coffee.
-You know what?
I'm just gonna do this myself.
It's like-- Jesus!
Wait, no,
but they wanna see me.
-What are you gonna say?
-Well, I'm-- I'm ready.
Let's hear it, Spike, show us.
What, like now?
No, like, in a week, in a month.
Yes, now!
Okay, whoever the hell
you are, here goes.
Fade in on Cecilia Payne,
Harvard University 1925,
100 years ago,
defending her thesis.
This is the single
most important moment
in our young astronomer's life.
I don't know that that's true.
It doesn't matter, Grace,
just let me do this, okay?
Let me do my job.
Cecilia is stressed,
her palms sweaty.
The frock she sewed
for herself in England
is uncomfortable
and unfashionable as she--
How do you know about frocks?
Because I read the book, okay?
She takes a seat
on a hard oaken bench
to face the eminent Henry Norris
Russell of Princeton University
and Dr. Harlow Shape-- Shapley
of the Harvard Observatory.
Cecilia is stressed
as she stares at these masters,
one of whom she adores
and has nicknamed "DD,"
Dear Director,
a man for whom she says
she would gladly give her life,
a man who stayed up till dawn
on a sticky summer night
typing her first
published paper,
who encouraged her to sign
her name "Cecilia Payne"
instead of "C.S. Payne."
Cecilia respects these men,
but she can't stand up to them.
And so, as she sits there
facing the gods of her field
as they hand down
their judgment--
I really need to pee.
Can you pause for one second?
I'll wait.
Keep going.
What, just for you?
Yeah, just for me.
Where was I?
Okay, listen to me.
You cannot be high, okay?
You're not high
because you can't be, okay?
So you're not.
So Shapley says...
Miss Payne, I'm afraid
you must renounce your discovery
of the composition of stars.
And Russell's like...
There's something
seriously mistaken
about your theory, young lady.
What you're claiming
is impossible
and your results
are almost surely wrong.
Oh, my God.
There's something
seriously mistaken...
about your theory, young lady. impossible...
And Shapeley's like...
- Wrong.
- ..."I'm sorry sweetheart."
He's so not sorry.
And Cecilia's not wrong
and she knows it.
She definitely does.
She also knows
that if she doesn't disavow
her discovery,
they won't give her
the doctorate that she's earned.
Hmm. That is so messed up.
Hmm. Yeah.
So they blackmailed her.
That's blackmail.
Yes, and Cecilia has the chance
to become the first person,
not the first woman,
but the first person,
to earn a PhD in astronomy
from Harvard.
-That's huge.
-It's gigantic.
It's massive.
Okay, I'm gonna be okay, okay?
What if she sticks to her guns?
She'll be fired.
No, they can't do that.
And she'll lose access to
the thousands of spectrographs
upon which her work depends.
Those monsters.
Yeah, the choice is hers,
but she has no choice.
Desperate, on the edge,
she pictures
herself disappearing
into the dark waters
of a New Hampshire lake.
-That never happened!
-Sure it did.
Her friend Adelaide drowned,
not Cecilia.
It's not a leap to say
that she contemplated suicide.
It's a total leap,
it's the definition of a leap.
Relax, it was just an idea.
A good idea.
But we just--
we can't fudge our data.
Then what do you want from me?
-I know what I don't want.
-What's that?
All these stories about men.
Men are villains, Grace,
you need villains.
-Did you even mention hydrogen?
-I was about to get to that.
You just can't shunt
her discovery aside,
it has to be
the heart of the story.
Grace, your thesis
is never gonna see
the light of day if it's boring.
I'm just trying
to make it interesting.
I'm doing this for you
because you got nothing.
I've got something.
I mean, Cecilia is weary.
She's filled with an energy
that's almost godlike,
it's beyond anything
she's ever felt in her life,
she's analyzing
and comparing stellar spectra.
- And you've lost us.
- No!
- Let her finish.
- Okay.
Back then everyone assumed
that men are made of iron
and the earth is made of iron
and that's
what the stars should be,
all celestial bodies
are the same, right?
Wrong. That's not
what Cecilia's seeing.
The spectral lines
are showing all this hydrogen
but that can't be.
It must be a mistake,
the stars are iron.
So she checks again and again,
star after star,
spectrum after spectrum,
hoping to prove herself wrong,
to find her error.
Days are blending into nights
and she keeps getting
the same result every time.
Stars are fiery balls
of hydrogen,
light, ethereal,
feminine, simple hydrogen,
basically the opposite of iron.
-That's not bad.
-It's not good.
-It's just a lot.
-I think it could work.
Can I just say
what I think the most
amazing part of all this is?
She's seeing what is not there.
She's seeing
all these hydrogen atoms
but they've ionized,
they've lost their electron,
which means
she can't even see them.
Wait, why not?
Because they're invisible.
Well, if they're invisible,
how come Cecilia can see them?
She understands
quantum mechanics
and the physics
of thermal equilibrium.
- What the fuck is that?
- Okay.
Let's not dwell on it.
What matters is that
she sees what is not there!
I mean, that is a huge thing.
There are a million times
more hydrogen atoms
than any other element
in the freaking universe!
Oh, God, she says--
Can I just read this
to you guys?
She says--
And this really breaks my heart.
"I was to blame
for not having pressed my point.
I have given in to authority
when I believed I was right.
If you are sure of your facts,
you must defend your position."
"If you're sure of your facts,
you must defend your position."
-I love that.
-But you wouldn't click on it,
would you?
-I mean, come on, be honest.
-Just because you wouldn't,
doesn't mean nobody would.
You came to me-- She came to me
talking about magazines.
And now we're going
on a legit talk show.
But what about
a six-part series on the BBC
and then there's PBS.
And what about the world?
What if the whole world knew
about Cecilia?
-But, Spike,
what do you want me to do?
-You're not gonna do it.
Well, not,
if you don't tell me what it is.
-Get out of the way.
-I'm not in the way!
You want Cecilia to be famous
the way she deserves to be.
-And you're not helping.
-Yeah, I am.
She'd want her story to be told,
she wouldn't care
about your fears, Grace.
Wh-- I'm going on
a talk show tomorrow
even though
I'm probably gonna throw up.
Yeah, you're on task,
you're diligent, you're perfect,
and that's not
what she needs from you.
You don't know what she needs.
She made
the worst possible mistake,
not standing up to those men
and she took that shame
to her grave.
Okay, well...
Hey, are you okay?
Hey, hey, hey, hey.
Come here, Grace.
Grace, I need you to do
something for me right now.
-Close your eyes.
I want you to think
about a story that affects you.
Not Cecilia's.
Someone's, anyone's.
Okay, I got it.
Do crazy things
happen in the story?
And they're exciting,
aren't they?
So we have
to tell a story like that.
A big story,
a strong story,
a story for all time.
Now open your eyes.
- Tell him.
- Tell me what?
She's working
on a dance piece
about sex and power
in ancient Greece.
- Fuck me.
- No, no, no! It's gonna help us.
It's about this woman who has
this ability like a superhero
but she's in trouble
'cause a man is telling her
what to do, right, Diana?
- Pretty much, yeah.
- I give up.
- You told me to close my eyes.
- Forget it, Grace.
-That's all I could see.
-'Cause you're high.
Well, you said
to get outta the way!
-That's not what I meant.
-What'd you mean?
I was trying to get you
to understand how stories work.
-She's got a great story.
-Uh, it's getting there.
You know, Spike, I hear
you're pretty good at your job.
-Show me.
-How long will this take?
-Um, ten minutes.
-You get five, that's it.
I am Atalanta,
the fastest person
in the world.
And I'm circling this man.
- I'm not part of this.
- Too late, you're in it.
She's magic, Spike.
And you're not
like other guys, no.
You're a son of Neptune,
strong, handsome,
and you watch me run races
against men
who want to marry me
and I crush them.
-She kills them.
-You die!
And you watch,
and you fall in love with me.
I told you she is good.
-This doesn't make any sense.
Four minutes.
I like you, you're smart,
but you know you've got
no chance, I'm too quick.
You've seen what happens
to all the boys who lose,
they all die.
So you have to get help
from the goddess of love.
Can I be
the goddess of love?
- I don't know, Grace.
- Can I dance?
- No, don't dance.
- I really wanna dance.
Okay, well,
just don't move too much.
Just know that this spawn
of Neptune will kneel...
He won't kneel.
He will kneel
before you, his benefactor,
and beg for help,
or you will lose the race
and die.
Um, do I touch him, or...
Do what you want,
just do it deliberately.
Ooh. Good, Grace, that's good.
That's good.
Now give him the gift
of three golden apples.
You'll see.
Give him the apples, Grace.
Where do I get apples from?
They're props, Grace,
they just appear on stage.
Great, and now you will
bestow them upon him.
I am bestowing.
Now, you will
watch over this man
as he takes his place
at the starting line.
Poised, flexed,
ready to run,
the scent
of a woman at his side,
her breath on his neck.
Look at me.
No, use your peripheral vision.
You'll know what to do.
- No I won't.
- Please don't talk.
All in slow motion,
everything underwater.
Slower. Slower.
Slower than slow.
You're sprinting at the start,
tense, straining as I, Atalanta,
stay calm, flowing,
fully at ease,
watching you,
studying the shape of you,
your muscles,
that neck--
I'm sorry, it's not working.
I need you to be naked.
Greek and Roman athletes
were always naked.
It was impressive,
the athletes
dousing themselves in oil
and glistening in the sun.
- The Olympics were naked?
- Yes.
- No.
- Of course they were!
Have you ever read a book
or been to a museum?
"Ode on a Grecian Urn."
Ring any bells?
There are a lot of glazed pots
with pictures of this, okay?
You see the runners
and then you see their penises.
You're not gonna see my penis.
Well, could you at least
take off your shirt?
Just give me something
to work with.
And we run, side by side,
as I drink you in
and take pleasure
in the beauty of your body
and your brawn--
It's not working,
I need you naked.
Are you fucking kidding me?
She was naked
in the thing that I saw
for, like, the whole time,
like, an hour.
-Yeah, I was.
-You were naked?
It was full frontal,
full everything.
But this time,
it's all about you, Spike.
You're the challenger,
you're the focus.
You are risking
your life for a woman.
We need to see you,
every inch of you.
There's a fucking
security camera.
Ugh, come on! These guys, they--
What's that?
What's going on there?
What're they doing?
They're sitting
at their monitors
popping popcorn
in the break room,
and then this thing happens,
best thing
they've seen all week,
maybe in their entire lives.
Wow. What's she up to?
Can't we just
use our imaginations?
That is for amateurs.
-Spike. You're a feminist.
You have to hate
these double standards--
I don't have
to do anything.
Oh, so you think it's fine
for a bunch of men
to go out
and look at naked women?
When do women get to do that?
At Chippendales?
Yeah. "Oh, let's go
to Chippendales."
-Yeah, let's go.
-Oh, wait, we can't.
-They don't exist anymore.
-Psych, we can't!
And bachelorette parties--
I mean,
you know her, right, Paulette?
I've seen her before, yeah.
And now, when we're simply
requesting that one man...
-Just one.
-...make himself vulnerable.
For an artistically
valid purpose.
Yeah, the most valid.
He says no.
Because-- Oh, I don't know,
what is it Spike?
-Yeah, what is it?
-Are you shy?
-You can't do what's
asked of women all the time?
Yeah, I do this all the time.
Is it too much for you?
A chance to sort of...
-even the score?
But I guess no.
He's gonna do it, I think!
Look at him, they got him,
they got him, they got him.
-Where is he going?
-You think he's going?
-You think he's going?
-He's gonna do it.
Fine. Here goes.
He did it! He did it!
Okay this is the part
I can't figure out.
You are literally
running for your life
and you're thinking,
"How am I gonna handle
these apples?"
They're made of gold,
they're so heavy
and the goddess gave them
to me for a reason, but why?
What am I going to do?
And you are struggling,
they are so heavy.
These apples are so heavy
and they're gonna pull you down.
What are you gonna do?
How are you gonna win?
That's good, Spike,
that's good, yes.
But remember,
Atalanta's a runner
and runners run,
so I'm gonna lengthen my stride
and pull away from you,
which causes you to take
one of your heavy golden apples
and what?
What can you do
with a golden apple?
Ho, that's not gonna work.
It's bouncing
right in front of me.
I can field it like a shortstop.
Thank you.
I'm sorry,
pardon the interruption,
but Campus Security
has asked me to remind you
that proper attire
is required at all times
on the library premises.
And butterflies have
their taste buds on their feet.
Thank you.
They taste with their feet?
-I'm getting dressed.
-No, you can't, Spike.
Drop it, Spike.
Drop the underwear.
I told you, no one's coming.
Yeah, and if we don't finish,
you're standing there
naked for, um, no reason.
-Good point.
-This is just so stupid.
It's not, I'm learning a lot.
Come on, Spike, stay with me.
You're desperate, frantic--
You know you might die
and you only have
two heavy
golden apples left and--
Oh, my God,
you're gonna fumble one!
- No, I'm not.
- You're nervous.
- I'm not nervous.
- You know you might die.
No, I won't.
-I don't fumble.
-Fumble it, Spike.
-It's the story.
-I don't care.
Now it's on the ground
and if you reach down
to pick it up,
you might lose the race and die!
But Atalanta's not worried,
she turns around,
runs right past you,
grabs the apple, and she's off!
- Oh, you're in trouble.
- Come on, Spike.
Try anything,
there's no wrong answer.
- All right, I got this.
- Yeah, show me what you got.
- I got it.
- Yeah?
-I got this.
I'm gonna take
this last fucking apple.
-And I'm gonna hurl it.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
-As high and as far
as I possibly can.
-And then I'm gonna make you...
-I'm gonna make you want it.
-You're gonna want it.
Yeah, I'm gonna want it.
You're gonna decide
to go and get it,
-and then--
-Do it, Spike!
I win and I won't die,
and I will finally fuck you!
Oh, nice throw.
Now I have to make
the most important
decision of my life.
Do I win the race...
or do I get laid?
What are you gonna do?
You tell me.
-You're gonna win the race.
Atalanta could
have sex for the first time.
- Well, you can't do that.
- Oh, but I can.
'Cause I know what I want.
Well, I hate that.
Nobody said you have to like it.
Yeah, but you have to like it,
don't you, Diana?
Do you like
how your story goes, Grace?
-It's not the same.
-Does it have a happy ending?
Is this what
your teacher had in mind
when she said to "touch" people?
I don't know,
I'm still working on it, Grace.
Yeah? Why are you doing it?
Some of us wanna fuck the man,
and some of us
wanna say fuck you to the man.
What do you wanna do?
-Good for you. Where's my shirt?
-Just the--
-Why don't you guys
just go be together then, huh?
-Whoa, Grace, come on.
-Come on, Grace.
Is that what this was?
Some kind of mating dance?
No, I'm rehearsing
my thesis, Grace.
I just wasted all this time,
and now I'm not even
prepared for Annette.
Grace, relax.
Do you want me to get you
your water or something?
-You need to calm down.
-We do have to tape at 8:00 a.m.
-Okay, that's just not helpful.
-But it's true.
Why don't you just
talk about me behind my back--
Grace, no one
is talking behind your back!
-We're trying to help!
-And fix his hair
and be nice to him--
-I'm not being nice to him.
-And I'll go back to the lab
while you tell women
that they should give up
their power...
-What am I telling women?
-...for men.
-Calm down. Grace.
-Oh, okay, that'll be great.
- You know what, Spike?
- Calm down.
Why don't you just
take Diana on the TV show
and not me?
- Grace. Come on.
- Grace! Grace, come on.
What the hell
was in those gummies?
You should go after her,
don't you think?
Yeah, but I'm not just
feeling it right this second.
Spike, Grace is your partner.
Yeah, but first,
what was all that,
right there, over there?
-Did you like it?
-Was it good for you?
-Good for me.
-Or was it, like, too weird?
-Look, um...
-I gotta go.
Yeah. Grace is...
She needs you, so what
would make the most sense
is if you go to the--
the TV studio,
and you can put her
in front of a...
-I will. I will.
Yeah. And just try a little
exposure therapy or something.
-Yeah, just give her
a little nudge.
-I'm gonna go.
-Yeah, just go.
Or, like, a big nudge.
She will be so thankful...
-...for you.
-All right.
-I'm gonna stay, yep.
I'm just gonna...
stretch here.
Okay, attention everybody,
just a reminder
that the reference desk
will be closing in five minutes,
but the library
will be open until 3:00 a.m.
Also, beavers can hold
their breath underwater
for up to 45 minutes.
Thank you.
I was to blame for
not having pressed my point.
I have given in to authority
when I believe I was right.
If you're sure of your facts,
you must defend your position.
If you're sure of your facts,
you must defend your position.
She's seeing what is not there.
Did you even mention hydrogen?
Please don't run, Diana.
You're absolutely right, Helen.
I'll be more careful.
You're the best.
Oh, my goodness.
Welcome, Grace Campbell,
let's hear the story of
If you're sure of your facts,
you must defend your position.
- Grace.
- Grace?
Oh, shit! Ow!
Why don't you
find someone you like?
I gotta go.
A story you actually care about.
You don't care about her.
I need this more that she does.
It's my life, it's her hobby.
Oh, you really
don't know her, dude.
Wait, your forehead.
- What?
- You're bleeding.
It-- It's fine, okay?
It doesn't hurt.
I do know her.
I do know that she's been
in love with this woman forever,
and I'm the one helping her.
Yeah, but why are you
helping her?
Look, I see the way
the world's turning,
and I think it's great
that there's all kinds of
new people getting a chance now.
-She's what they want.
-Yeah, she's...
But she's so timid.
I'm sorry but y--
you're still bleeding
and I've got a Band-aid, just...
- It's fine, Spike,
seriously, it's not necess--
- Just let me.
-All right, don't move.
-Don't move.
-Ow. Okay, okay. Ow.
That's very nice of you.
I can be nice.
You see where I'm coming from.
She can't get this out there
without me, be honest.
You're supposed to be
doing this for her.
I've got the craft,
I've got the connections,
and I've earned this.
I'm the lion.
I make the kill,
I bring the meat...
-I share with the pride
and I'm not sorry.
-Oh, my God, Spike--
She'll get something,
I'm not gonna cut her out.
She'll be fine, she'll be full.
-That is fucked up.
-Why, Diana?
It's what I saw you do just now.
You're not dancing
some wimpy little
to-each-other ballet.
You're telling the story
of a woman who wants something,
wants to fuck a guy's
brains out, to be specific,
and so she does what it takes
to get what she wants.
Your work is carnal.
And it's true.
And everyone knows it
and that's why
they fuckin' like it.
- They love it.
- It's you.
Yeah, it is.
-They want you.
-Yeah, they do.
Grace? Grace?
- I'm not Grace.
- You know Grace?
Duh, she got me here.
Do you know where she is?
She doesn't even know
who she is.
- You've gotta stop doing that.
- Good night, ladies.
It's all good.
I finished
all your titrations, Gracie.
You're not fired.
Oh, and I got you
all white-balanced.
You're welcome.
Grace, I'm so sorry.
-Shouldn't you be with Spike?
-He's on the phone.
-Of course.
-No, he's talking
to some Hollywood guy,
they're gonna turn
your story into a series.
That's actually a good thing.
-So great. Fantastic.
-No, they're gonna cut you out.
So, what did he say?
Oh, God, that's amazing.
How many episodes?
Yes, absolutely. Say yes.
They can't, it's my thesis.
- It's his deal.
- It isn't.
Look, I've got the number
of Annette's producer.
-What's that gonna do?
-Take it and kick Spike
off this thing.
-I'm not that kind of girl.
You are a woman.
And what kind of woman are you?
Because it seems
like you're a coward,
and a liar,
and the worst kind of liar
because you're lying
to yourself.
You are Cecilia,
and you're making
the same mistake as she did
and you know it.
Don't do this.
If you think
you're being selfless and noble
like you've got no ego,
you're not.
If he takes this,
it's gonna feel like
you've died or something, okay?
And I cannot believe
you can't see that.
Grace, what are you
doing in here?
- I just wanted to be alone.
- Yeah, well she's not.
I heard you on the phone,
you have no idea
how loud your voice is,
you're like
a frickin' auctioneer.
That was a private call.
Discussing terms for a deal.
- Am I included?
- Yes.
- No.
- I was negotiating.
- For yourself.
- For her too.
-Ah, right.
-Can you just let him talk?
I was on the phone
with my agent.
I told him about this project,
and he shopped it around...
-and he's got some good news.
-What news?
From Apple and Amazon and--
It's real money.
They like us on Annette,
they like the story,
they love Cecilia.
-That's incredible, Spike.
-Now tell her the rest.
Well, they've--
Yeah, they've got this one issue
that they've had
to deal with in the past,
with the union, the WGA.
I don't understand.
Um, when they have
a non-writer in the room.
What room?
You know these people,
they're professionals, Grace.
- But they need me, right?
- Someone like you.
But, uh, with credentials
and a real job.
I have a job.
Someone who is older
- and won't bug them.
- I won't bug them.
Don't take it personally,
it's just that
they've had trouble in the past
with people saying
that it's their baby.
It is my baby.
Grace, look,
you're going to be on Annette
and her producer loves you.
That's beside the point.
These guys wanna buy you out.
They wanna give you money
and make you go away.
- Well, how much money?
-It's a lot, maybe five grand up front.
- That is a lot.
- -They could make millions off of this.
Grace, take it.
It might not even fly.
-How soon would they pay?
-The minute it sells.
Oh, my God, Grace,
if you agree to this,
you give up everything,
that is what a buyout is.
Grace, Grace,
I fought for you.
Okay, if a buyout's
what it takes then...
- I'll make it happen.
- Did you win?
No, he got his ass kicked.
They're going
to credit you and compensate you
for bringing them
the whole idea.
They're going to throw
you away, Grace, like garbage.
- Would you stop?
- Oh, you're a fucking traitor.
Okay, let's back up.
All right?
It's not your fault,
you don't know the business,
but this has been
a huge pain in the ass
to get as far
as I've gotten with this
and I'm so close
to getting it done.
And I will. But I just--
I need you to just let me, okay?
- But we're partners.
- Yeah, we're partners.
And we're going
on the show together tomorrow.
But you have to trust me
to work on your behalf.
Oh, she does not
have to do anything.
who should trust then?
You, a girl that she just met,
or herself?
When she read my stuff...
and she wrote me
and she called me...
and she told me
that she loved my work.
I know, I did. I do.
So go with your instincts.
I swear to God I heard him say--
What? What did you hear him say?
Dead weight, Jer.
Those were not my words.
Then whose were they then?
She doesn't know
what she's talking about.
- I heard you!
- Are you--
Are you 100% positive?
"If you're sure of your facts
you must defend your position."
This woman is not your ally.
Oh, don't you tell her
what I am.
You want me
to tell her what you did?
You're not gonna say
anything to Grace, okay?
Course not. Jesus.
Swear to God, you're not
gonna say a word, Spike.
-I don't swear.
-Spike, shut up.
-She came onto me so hard.
It was sick, Grace.
Yeah, you see this?
You see this,
the claw marks, what she did?
Diana, tell me he's lying.
Oh, I know.
-It's good.
-Mmm, yeah?
-It's so good.
-Why's it good?
You see?
Grace, I just want you to know
that I'm fully committed
to this project.
-I was right.
- Honestly, Grace.
- You are so fake.
I don't know what's wrong
with me, I'm just--
-Screw you.
It's-- I know, I'm disgusting,
I'm a whore, okay?
-So I should feel bad for you?
-No, that's not what I'm saying,
I'm saying that's
it's just what I do,
I can't help it, I--
I just control people, you know?
I just take their power,
like, you've seen it.
- I'm--
- I don't care.
I'm just-- I just get off on it,
okay, I'm a showgirl.
Grace, she's been
wasting your time,
just fucking with you all night.
Forget about her.
Come on,
let's get back to the library.
Okay, we've got
a 6:00 a.m. call,
and we've gotta
get this pitch down.
You said
if I care about this enough
I can talk
about it on TV, right?
Grace, this man is
taking your confidence
and he's abusing it.
That is what conmen do.
He's confusing you.
He's gaslighting you.
Why would I do that?
To get the lion's share.
Okay, now she's just
making shit up.
That's verbatim, Grace.
- Does sound like you, Spike.
- Thank you.
This TV thing, it--
it's pretty major, right?
- For you too.
- We're not stars, Spike.
There are such things
as stars in this world,
but we're not one of them.
-I mean, stars are hot,
with energy--
-You gotta stop.
And Annette Gordon-Reed
is energized
because the rest of us
are pulled toward her,
her substance,
her mass, her gravity--
-So she shoots out the truth
in beams of pure light
that do not lie...
and she shines on you...
and reveals you for who you are.
Which is nothing...
but a liar, a--
and a cheat and a sham.
- Mm-hm.
- You're worthless, Spike.
The world can take you
or leave you,
an asteroid could blow you
into a billion little pieces
and it wouldn't make
a pin's worth of difference.
-That's nice.
-You're a planet.
You're not even a planet,
you're Pluto.
You're just
a pockmarked little rock,
swirling around
a greater person...
in her orbit.
Are you finished?
This story's mine.
And I'm taking it.
we made an agreement.
Yeah, a verbal agreement.
Which we both heard
and was clear.
Yeah, thanks to me.
I brought you this
and now I'm taking it back.
Grace, you're high,
and you're gonna regret this
in the morning.
You wanna talk about regret?
There's naked footage of you
from the library camera.
- All on record.
- That's not permitted.
Oh, a visible camera
on school property?
I think it's state law.
Can you put it up on three,
How did you do that?
Doesn't look good.
You gotta go on Annette with me.
- Not with you, I don't.
- They're expecting you.
I-- I'm sorry.
You'll always be known
as the woman
who discovered Cecilia.
Look at me...
and tell me
you'll make
Cecilia Payne a winner
and not a victim
and you'll vindicate her genius.
If you can promise me that...
I'll let you work with me.
I promise.
I don't believe you.
I'm sure of myself now.
I'm defending my position.
Give me the producer's number.
-Um, are you sure?
Oh, my God, I-- I thought
this would go to voicemail.
I'm so sorry, um-- Yeah.
The woman
Spike Randall told you about.
Grace. Grace. Um...
Well, actually, there...
There is something wrong.
It's-- It's him, it's Spike.
And it's, um--
It's a little
uncomfortable, but...
Oh, okay, sure. 5:30 a.m.
I will be there.
Thanks. Thank you.
I can't believe she answered.
She's a producer, so, you know,
she has a show in the morning.
Yeah, she wants me to come in,
she wants to know, like,
what's happening.
Look at you.
I know, right?
I'm telling you.
You're gonna do great.
You got this.
How could you let him touch you?
Can we not?
Let's Try This Again,
Grace Campbell.
Thank you, Annette.
A star burns
in a dark corner
of the universe,
excited with an energy,
just like Cecilia Payne,
a 23-year-old woman,
far from home,
who is about
to discover the essence...
of everything.