Hollywood Screenwriting Directory

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Movie Genre: Comedy / Drama

Screenplay Time: 110 Minutes

Inciting Incident

Henry (Danny Glover) asks Royal’s (Gene Hackman) estranged wife Etheline (Anjelica Huston) to marry him. After Royal is told of the pending engagement, he hatches a plan to win back Etheline and his family. (00:16:10)

LOCK IN (End of Act One)

Royal approaches Etheline in the street and claims he wants to spend some time with their estranged children Chas (Ben Stiller), Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), and Richie (Luke Wilson). He claims he’ll be dead from stomach cancer in 6 weeks. (00:21:03)

FIRST CULMINATION (Midpoint)

After Royal moves back home, Henry reveals in front of the whole family that Royal is faking about having stomach cancer. Royal is kicked out. (00:59:30)

MAIN CULMINATION (End of Act Two)

After Richie attempts suicide and won’t even see him, Royal comes to the full realization that he needs to change. Royal cheerily approaches Etheline and Henry with divorce papers. He congratulates them both, truly happy for them. (01:30:08)

THIRD ACT TWIST

At Etheline and Henry’s wedding, Richie’s childhood friend and rival for Margot’s affections Eli Cash (Owen Wilson) crashes his a car into the house. Royal saves his grandsons. (01:32:12)