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Latter-day Saint (Mormon) References
in the movie

The Limey (1999)

"The Limey" (1999)
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Screenplay by Lem Dobbs

Starring: Terence Stamp, Lesley Ann Warren, Luis Guzman, Barry Newman, Peter Fonda

MPAA Rating: R
U.S. Box Office: $3,193,102
Production budget: $9,000,000

The award-winning drama "The Limey" was directed by Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh. The production draft of the screenplay for the film, which was written by Lem Dobbs, includes an overt reference to Latter-day Saints.

In the production draft dated 08/03/98, the lead female character (Elaine) tells the lead male character (Wilson) that she starred in a TV series for three seasons, playing the part of a Latter-day Saint pioneer woman.

Elaine's exact words in the production script are: "Three seasons. They found that's the limit of human tolerance when it comes to following the adventures of a family of Mormons on the Chisum Trail. I was wife number three -- the ingenue."

The script was changed substantially by the time the film was finished, not just in this scene but throughout. One of the changes is that Elaine was on a simple soap opear rather than a series about Mormon pioneers. In the film, Wilson asks Elaine, "Weren't you in a soap on the box?"

Elaine answers, "Three seasons. Who told you that?"

Although it was in the screenplay, the Latter-day Saint reference has been completely excised from the film.

The DVD release of "The Limey" also features a Mormon reference. I don't know how the Mormon reference in the production script and in the actual DVD release are connected, but if there is no connection, this would be an unusual coincidence. In the Extra Features section, if one chooses the "Cast and Crew" section, among the crew members listed is producer Scott Kramer. Choosing this name yields a humorous fictional biography for Kramer. The second page of the Kramer biography states: "...Mr. Kramer struck out on his own, investing his life savings in a Mormon turtle farm."

In the production draft the section we have excerpted below has 743 words of spoken dialogue, compared to just 166 words of spoken dialogue in the actual film. This means the production draft for this section has four and a half times more dialogue than what ended up in the film.

Below is the section from the production draft of the screenplay, with the Latter-day Saint reference in red.


Wilson gives up, starts to walk away.  The gate BUZZES.


Elaine opens the door.  Wilson in the hall.

   I was just going to toss some vegetable
   rolls in the microwave, open a can of
   diet soda.
   Want to take me out?



Wilson and Elaine at a table.

   ... No, I went in for more improving
   pastimes.  Philosophy classes, language
   courses, European history, all that lark.
   Did you know that in Paris in the
   Eighteenth Century there were more rats
   in people's houses than there were people
   in people's houses.

   Sounds like Beverly Hills.

   Here, are you always this sarky?

   Sarcastic, moi?  Maybe I'll mellow when
   my ship comes in.  It's expected any day
   now.  I'm all packed and ready to go.

   Weren't you on a television series?

         (has he seen it?)
   If it played in England somebody owes me
   money.  Who told you that -- Eddie?

   Said it went on for donkey's years.

   Three seasons.  They found that's the
   limit of human tolerance when it comes to
   following the adventures of a family of
   Mormons on the Chisum Trail.
         (blinks coquettishly)
   I was wife number three -- the ingenue.

   Oh, it just ended, then.

   Now who's being sarcastic?

   When you've lost as many years as I have,
   love, puts things in perspective, know
   what I mean.

   I'm sorry.  I guess the rest of us have
   no excuse for wondering where the time
         (raises her drink)
   It must've been the bars.

Their food arrives.

   It's a kind of prison, doing a series.
   Early to bed, early to rise, no time off
   for good behavior, you grab the boodle
   for as long as it lasts.
         (the kicker)
   Only difference is you can't get arrested

Wilson appears fascinated by the cold glasses of water on the
table.  Ice cubes CLINKING as he holds his.  A BUSBOY
bringing them to other people, too, just like that, without
anyone even asking.

   I can't believe Jenny told you all that.
   About me.  She was always so embarrassed.

   Not embarrassed.


   Not ashamed.

Wilson looks at her.  Okay.  What then.


   She never told Eddie, though.

   She never told anyone else.
         (making light now)
   About the convict strain -- or is it
   stain?  No, I was privileged.  I was
   someone who helped Jenny efface her past.

   How'd you manage that, then.

   When I'm not honing my craft in episodic
   television I do double-duty as a voice
   coach.  Not that her accent would have
   hobbled her progress.  Not with that

   Yeah, well, she started all that in


   Learnin' 'ow to speak proper.
         (putting it on a bit there.
          Then, upper crust:)
   Central School of Speech and Drama.
   It's no doddle gettin' in there, y'know.
   At seventeen.  They offered her a place
   at RADA n' all, only she'd've had to wait
   till the next session and she was always
   in hurry to get on, was Jenny.  She could
   talk posh without any training, when she
   was knee-high to a grasshopper.
         (indicating himself)
   Show up the old man, you know.

Elaine smiles slightly.  None of this information new to her.
But warming to this man.

   You weren't disappointed in her, then.

   In Jenny?  'Course not.  How could I be.
   'Course I wasn't.

   She was twenty-one when she came to me.
         (looks at him)
   ... Straight from leaving you.

   Footloose and fancy free.

   She was happy here.  However the two of
   you might have parted.  Don't think she

It's because Wilson thinks the opposite that he's here.
Looks at Elaine.

   That's the trouble, n' it.
         (hard as nails again)
   She enjoyed life.



They walk along the seafront.  We HEAR the ocean but can't
see it.

   When did you get in?

   Yesterday.  Afternoon.

         (occurs to her)
   You haven't been lurking outside my
   building all day.

   No, I had -- some other matters to attend
   to, you know.  Getting a car sorted ...

   I might've been away for the weekend.

   Well, I reckoned, Saturday night, if you
   were goin' out, you'd probably have to
   come home first.

   And you've seen Eddie Rama.

   Yeah, saw Eddie, yeah.  Me and him are
   muckers. Mates. Friends.

           Makes a kind of bonding gesture.

   I should really give him a call.  He's a
   character, isn't he.  Well, not to you.
   I meant to us squares in the outside

   He give me your address.

   I gave him yours.  Said, here, you want
   to write, I think this is a relative.  I
   guess I thought I was being true to
   Jenny.  Who told me she didn't have a
   father -- before proceeding of course to
   tell me why.

   Well, don't suppose she did, really, most
   of her life.  On her own after her mum
   died.  Aunts and uncles for a time -- and
   then the bright lights beckoned.

   Were you still married at the time -- to
   Jenny's mother, I mean?

   Nah, we split up when Jenny was six.  Her
   second husband done a runner after she
   got sick.  They give me compassionate
   leave from Parkhurst to go visit her in
   hospital.  We were always mates, me and
   Jenny's mum.  I like to think they're
   together again now.  Y'know.  Heavenly

Below is actual dialogue for this section, as it can be heard in the movie. Note how different it is from the screenplay. The dialogue that has replaced the reference to a TV series about Latter-day pioneers is shown in red:

[Wilson is standing outside a gate. A buzzer buzzes, letting him in.]

[New scene: Wilson is walking with Elaine along a waterfront. He has just picked her up from her home. They are walking casually. He asks her if she was an actress in a soap opera series on television ("the box").]

Wilson (Terence Stamp): Weren't you in a soap on the box?

Elaine (Lesley Ann Warren): Three seasons. Who told you that? Eddie?

Wilson (Terence Stamp): Yeah, Eddie, Yeah. He's my new China.

Elaine (Lesley Ann Warren): [chuckles] What?

Wilson (Terence Stamp): China plate. Mate. Me and him.

Elaine (Lesley Ann Warren): Oh.

[New scene: Exterior shot of a restaurant: "Dinah's Family Restaurant Bakery." A Los Angeles Times truck or stand can be seen next to the restaurant.]

Elaine (Lesley Ann Warren): Quite a character, isn't he? I mean, not to you, of course. To us squares in the outside world.

Wilson (Terence Stamp): He gave me your address.

Elaine (Lesley Ann Warren): I gave him yours. I guess I thought I was being loyal to Jenny, who told me she didn't have a father. Before, of course, proceeding to tell me why.

Wilson (Terence Stamp): Yeah, well... she was right in a way. Her mum died when she wsa six. After that, she was on her own. Aunts and uncles and then, well... How are you gonna keep her down on the farm after she's seen L.A.? They give me compassionate leave from Parkhurst to visit her in hospital. 'Cause we was always mates, Jenny's mum and me. I like to think they're together now, you know. Heavenly choir.

Below is the text from the fictional humorous biography of producer Scott Kramer, as found in the Cast and Crew section on "The Limey" DVD:
Scott Kramer
production biography

The Limey is producer Scott Kramer's thirty-sixth film, but the first in which he uses his current name now that the legal problems have been resolved.

Born in New York to poor emigres, he is the only child in a family of eight, none of whom are in the film business other than his uncle Lester.

In 1978, when he was eighteen, Kramer's family traded him to a religious group of tool-salesmen for a wrench and a can of hairspray. After toiling in tooling for just under a month, Mr. Kramer struck out on his own, investing his life savings in a Mormon turtle farm.

His timing was unfortunate as an outbreak of turtle semnopithecus wiped him out financially.

Kramer found no luck breaking into the film business until The Limey, when coincidentally, he married Steven Soderbergh's second sister from the left. This marriage was annulled due to psychiatric reasons and a parking violation.

He is currently married to an adult-film actress with whom he shares joint custody of their 9 year old daughter and a ferret in a house at 927 Hollywood Boulevard (on the south-west corner at Selma) provided by The Witness Protection Program.

[In case you were wondering, "turtle semnopithecus" is not a real disease. "Semnopithecus" is actually a genus name for a type of langur (a type of monkey).]

Below are still images from the scene in "The Limey" where Elaine and Wilson discussion what TV series she was on. In the production draft of the screenplay, they talk about a TV series about Latter-day Saint pioneers, but that has been changed to the dialogue shown below:

BELOW: The DVD release of "The Limey" features the following humorous fictional biography for producer Scott Kramer. Note that the second screen of the 3-screen fictional biography mentions that the producer invested "his life savings in a Mormon turtle farm."

Webpage created 7 October 2004. Last modified 1 February 2005.