Michael Clayton, Arthur Edens

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Tom Wilkinson
Film Michael Clayton
Author Tony Gilroy
Role Arthur Edens
Actor Tom Wilkinson

Michael. Dear Michael. Of course it’s you. Who else could they send? Who else could be trusted? And I know it’s a long way and you’re ready to go to work, all I’m saying is wait, just wait. Just just just please, hear me out, because this is not an episode, relapse, fuck up. It’s, I’m begging you Michael, I’m begging you. Try to make believe this is not just madness because this is not just madness. Two weeks ago, I came out of the building okay, I’m running across sixth avenue, there’s a car waiting, I got exactly 38 minutes to get to the airport and I’m dictating. There’s this panicked associate sprinting along beside me, scribbling in a notepad and suddenly she starts screaming and I realize we’re standing in the middle of the street, the lights change and there’s this wall of traffic, serious traffic spinning towards us and I freeze. I can’t move. And I’m suddenly consumed with the overwhelming sensation that I’m covered with some sort of film. And it’s in my hair, my face. It’s like a glaze, like a coating. At first I thought, my God, I know what this is, this is some sort of amniotic, embryonic fluid. I’m drenched in afterbirth. I’ve bridged the chrysalis. I’ve been reborn. But then the traffic, this stampede, the cars , the trucks, the horns, the screaming and I’m thinking, no no no, reset, this is not rebirth. This is some kind of giddy illusion of renewal that happens in the final moment before death. And then I realize no no no, this is completely wrong because I look back at the building and I had the most stunning moment of clarity. I, I, I realized, Michael, that I had emerged not through the doors of Kenner, Bach & Ledeen, not through the portals of our vast and powerful law firm, but from the asshole of an organism whose sole function is to excrete the poison, the amyl, the defoliant necessary for other larger more powerful organisms to destroy the miracle of humanity and that I had been coated in this patina of shit for the best part of my life. The scent of it and the stain of it, will in all likelihood take the rest of my life to undo. And you know what I did? I took a deep cleansing breath and I set that notion aside. I tabled it. I said to myself as clear as this may be, as potent a feeling as this, as true a thing as I believe that I have witnessed today, it must wait, it must stand the test of time, and Michael, the time is now.

Posted in Actor, Author, Dramatic Male Monologues, Film, Role

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