based on the novel by Daniel Wallace
FINAL PRODUCTION DRAFT
includes post-production dialogue
and omitted scenes
Copyright © 2003 Columbia Pictures
This is a Southern story, full of lies and fabrications,
but truer for their inclusion.
We’re underwater, watching a fat catfish swim along.
This is The Beast.
There are some fish that cannot be
caught. It’s not that they’re faster
or stronger than other fish. They’re
just touched by something extra. Call
it luck. Call it grace. One such fish
was The Beast.
The Beast’s journey takes it past a dangling fish hook,
baited with worms. Past a tempting lure, sparkling in the
sun. Past a swiping bear claw. The Beast isn’t worried.
By the time I was born, he was already
a legend. He’d taken more hundred-
dollar lures than any fish in Alabama.
Some said that fish was the ghost of
Henry Walls, a thief who’d drowned in
that river 60 years before. Others
claimed he was a lesser dinosaur, left
over from the Cretaceous period.
INT. WILL’S BEDROOM - NIGHT (1973)
WILL BLOOM, AGE 3, listens wide-eyed as his father EDWARD
BLOOM, 40’s and handsome, tells the story. In every gesture,
Edward is bigger than life, describing each detail with
I didn't put any stock into such
speculation or superstition. All I
knew was I’d been trying to catch that
fish since I was a boy no bigger than
And on the day you were born, that was
the day I finally caught him.
EXT. CAMPFIRE - NIGHT (1977)
A few years later, and Will sits with the other INDIAN GUIDES
as Edward continues telling the story to the tribe.
Now, I’d tried everything on it:
worms, lures, peanut butter, peanut
butter-and-cheese. But on that day I
had a revelation: if that fish was the
ghost of a thief, the usual bait wasn’t
going to work. I would have to use
something he truly desired.
Edward points to his wedding band, glinting in the fire