Open inside an abandoned warehouse. We see a human-sized FLOUNDER fish, Christopher Nolan’s grandmother dressed like the JOKER, and BABY JESUS.
FLOUNDER: I’ve gathered all of you here for one reason. We have to plant the idea for Christopher’s next movie.
GRANDMA JOKER: That’s impossible.
BABY JESUS: It can’t be done.
FLOUNDER: No, I’ve done it before. Three years ago, Christopher was having dinner at Morton’s with the head of Warner Brothers. He was waffling between the garlic herb-crusted flounder and the 24 oz. porterhouse. Fortunately, I was able to insert the idea that the steak would literally melt in his mouth. I spent nearly 30 years in a purgatory dream world and it damn near killed me — but it worked.
BABY JESUS: You’re lying!
FLOUNDER: Am I? Why do you think I’m sitting here, still alive in his mind right now? I haunt his memory of what could’ve been.
Suddenly, FRANK GEHRY walks in.
FRANK GEHRY: The fish is right. It’s incredibly hard, but not impossible. I designed everything you see here. This whole world.
GRANDMA JOKER: Which means you have the blueprints for —
FRANK GEHRY: Yes, the vault.
BABY JESUS: Isn’t the concept of storing your deepest secrets and ideas inside a vault a bit cliché? I’m just saying.
FLOUNDER: Look — to do this, to do inception, we’re going to have to go deeper.
FRANK GEHRY: A dream within a dream.
FLOUNDER: Everyone but the architect is going to be put under with this device here. We’re going to infiltrate Christopher’s sub-subconscious, break into his vault, and put this manila envelope inside it. Then we return here, and he wakes up to reality, writes the movie we put in the envelope, and gets a ton of Oscars.
GRANDMA JOKER: It’s just convoluted enough to work.
FLOUNDER: But, hang on. There’s a catch. For the idea to really stick, we’re actually going to have to go another level deeper, down to his sub-sub-subconscious.
GRANDMA JOKER: Ok, wait. So, how many dreams are we now in?
BABY JESUS: You lost me, dude.
FLOUNDER: Guys, guys. It’s simple. Just think of this whole operation like a giant video game. Frank designed an awesome sub-sub-subconscious level. Tell them, Frank.
FRANK GEHRY: It’ll look exactly like a James Bond film set in the snowy Swiss Alps. Christopher loves James Bond movies. It’s gonna be great. There’s going to be a cool-looking fortress, and all these bad guys riding around on snowmobiles and skis protecting it with machine guns.
GRANDMA JOKER: Wait, there’s going to be armed guards protecting it? I just had hip-replacement surgery last year.
FLOUNDER: It’s a dream, remember? We can do anything. Your hip will be just fine.
BABY JESUS: So, how do we wake up?
FLOUNDER: Duh, the kick. Frank here will tip your chair back, so you fall into a tub of water, waking you up. But it’s not actually the water that wakes you up; it’s the feeling of falling. Trust me. It’s all been thought out.
BABY JESUS: Hold on a second. I may be an infant, but I wasn’t born yesterday. This makes absolutely no sense. If we’re in a dream, and inside dreams there’s no gravity, then how do we experience the sense of falling?
GRANDMA JOKER: The kid’s got a point.
FLOUNDER: You guys just don’t get it! It’s science, okay? It works, trust me! Look, we’ll have a great time shooting all of Christopher’s projections. It’ll be like this really cool reverse heist. The main idea is getting this screenplay inside his vault. It’ll be fun.
GRANDMA JOKER: Did you say projections? What the hell are those?
FLOUNDER: Oh dear God!
FLOUNDER starts breathing deeply, sweat pouring off of his scales. He spins a metal TOP with his fin on a nearby table. The top spins for a few seconds, then finally topples over.
BABY JESUS: And what is that thing you’re spinning?
FLOUNDER: It’s my totem! You people are getting on my nerves! It’s all very simple, don’t you get it?!
BABY JESUS: Are you making this up as you’re going along? It certainly seems like it.
FLOUNDER takes a handgun out of his briefcase, puts it to his temple, and pulls the trigger. On the sound of the gunshot, we are suddenly inside the Ivy restaurant in Beverly Hills. Christopher Nolan jolts awake. Across from him sits his agent.
AGENT: What — you nod off? I was just telling you about my vacation in the Swiss Alps.
NOLAN: Sorry about that. But you’re not going to believe this: I think I know what I want to do for my next film.
Nolan sits back in his seat, giddily laughing.
AGENT: Great, let’s hear it.
Suddenly it starts pouring rain outside. Nolan surveys the room. Something doesn’t seem right. He looks down at his plate of food. On it, the dead eye of a FLOUNDER stares back at him.
Just as Nolan is about to speak, the flounder WINKS at him.