Listen Now : Speaker Series – Jody Lambert
Listen Now : Speaker Series – Jody Lambert
Listen Now : Speaker Series – Jody Lambert
Listen Now : Speaker Series – Larry Wilson
Here’s another awesome podcast from our First Tuesdays @ Roy Street series of workshops and Panels.
Leah Warshawski brings clips of her film, FINDING HILLYWOOD, and she tells her story, from funding to production. Don’t miss this firsthand account of feature doc making at its finest. FINDING HILLYWOOD is a film about the very beginning of Rwanda’s film industry and the pioneers who bring local films to rural communities.
Listen Now : Finding Hillywood
(right click and save link to listen)
Sponsored by 4Culture
Here’s another awesome podcast from our First Tuesdays @ Roy Street series of workshops and Panels. Explore story structure as the Executive Director of TheFilmSchool John Jacobsen uses this brilliant screenplay to demonstrate what we all need to learn to do in our story telling.
Listen Now : Shakespeare in Love
(right click and save link to listen)
Sponsored by 4Culture
INT. PRISON VISITING BUILDING- GUARD STATION – DAY
JERRY faces us with a smile as he bobs in and out of view like he’s enjoying aerobics. The scene is BATHED in upbeat MUSIC: the Swingle Singers scat singing Canon by Bach. Jerry turns away, drops out of view. MUSIC ENDS abruptly.
…Spread your cheeks… Okay, pick up your clothes and get dressed.
Jerry appears upright again looks over his shoulder at us, smiles.
Let’s go, your buddies are waitin’ on you.
Jerry stoops out of view. We HEAR clothes picked up as our eyes adjust to the scene we see a line of men dressed in blue jeans and blue work shirts standing outside in line facing us.
Those men aren’t my ‘buddies.’
Well, smart guy, whose fault is that?
EXT. GUARD STATION
We look over the shoulder of the same line of men as they begin to wilt in the heat of the Nevada desert. They are reflected in a mirror and steel door. It clacks and the first inmate in line steps forward, pulls it open, steps into the cool dark interior and the door SLAMS shut.
INT. VISITING ROOM
Could be a small airport lounge with its built-to-last anonymous modern simplicity. Room faces a wall of glass but the take-offs and landings we see are confined to visitor’s cars in the Admin parking lot. On the opposite side of the room a floor-to-ceiling mirrored cube lords over the interior visiting space. Guard’s silhouettes churn in the mirror’s blackness. Side of the cube clacks and a door pushes open. JERRY walks in to the visiting room, the door LOCKS behind him. He finger brushes his short hair reflection in the one-way glass of the guard station. He studies the visiting room behind him.
INMATES embrace SWEETIES, MOTHERS and CHILDREN (newborns and awkward shy teenagers); the room is awash in LOVE ACTUALLY meets SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION.
KNUCKLES RAP on the other side of the one-way glass followed by a wagging flashlight in his eyes. A MUFFLED VOICE grumbles
EXT. PRISON ADMIN
A glass and metal door clacks and EVE pushes it open, steps into a 300′ long corridor of chain link and barbed-wire topped with rolls of razor wire. The door SLAMS closed. Tunnel passes through the double prison fence connecting Admin to Visiting. Eve, dressed in a floor-length leopard neck coat and her hair fashionably wrapped in a turban, takes a breath, gathers herself and starts walking to the next gate at the first fence.
INT. VISITING ROOM
Jerry sees Eve enter the tunnel and walks slow toward the door where the tunnel connects with visiting. He smiles and says hello to people he knows. A mid-thirties couple ALBERT and SHERREE stand to greet him.
Hey Jerry, this is my wife, Sherree.
Jerry steps forward and shakes her hand.
Jerry is the one who wrote the letter…
Oh my gosh, I can’t tell you how many people have responded. Two even came to the house.
Jerry glances toward the windows, Eve is at the second gate. Albert sees this.
Let’s let him go hon. Just wanted to say thanks.
Jerry reaches out and shakes Albert’s hand…
Well the responses are miracle when you consider what we had to work with…
Albert and Sherree laugh and turn away. Jerry doesn’t get three steps away when rough looking inmate, RONSON steps in his way.
That shit you wrote in the paper may cost me my parole.
Jerry gives Ronson’s pulsing neck vein his full attention.
Yeah your last column about that girl murdered in the 7-11…
Jerry looks into Ronson’s right eye, the cloudy one.
It was about the victims of violent crimes support group her mother attends…
Ronson puffs himself up as he steps in closer.
What fuckin’ ever, I see the board tomorrow and if they dump me you and I are gonna talk…
Ronson looks over Jerry’s shoulder and deflates.
…without your friends.
Ronson steps back as convict Captain America BIG BILL throws an arm over Jerry’s shoulder and with a wide smile for the audience steers him away from Ronson.
Hey little buddy, don’t you have something better to do than pick fights with villains in the visiting room?
Seemed like a good idea at the time.
Jerry looks back at Ronson who gripes something we can’t hear to his BIKER GIRLFRIEND
Big Bill tugs Jerry to look away from that train wreck and to Eve trapped between the fences.
Tower must be giving her the twice over.
Big Bill lifts his arm off Jerry’s shoulder.
And don’t worry about Ronson’s bark. That dog won’t hunt.
EXT. PRISON FENCE
Eve looks beyond the next gate to the windows of the visiting room and sees Jerry and Big Bill part company. Jerry looks to her and waves. The gate CLACK startles Eve. She pushes it open, walks through chin held high and lets it SLAM behind her.
INT. VISITING ROOM
Jerry stands several feet from the door as Eve approaches. He stands on the line, a red tape semi-circle that radiates from the entrance. Spray painted words on the floor warn: NO INMATE BEYOND THIS LINE
The door CLACKS before Eve reaches it, she opens the door, steps inside and slows the door to close SOFT LOCK behind her. She doesn’t look at Jerry but instead looks down and holds out her hand for him to take.
Jerry smiles at her show and points at the warning at his feet
There are some lines a man can’t cross.
Eve doesn’t look up and instead she wiggles her fingers for enticement. He strikes a dramatic pose and leans forward toward her. Both hear a LOUD KNUCKLE RAP on the guard station one-way glass. Jerry straightens up, Eve drops her hand and walks toward him.
Would it have killed them to have some fun?
Jerry takes a step back and Eve crosses the line.
I tell them that every day.
He gives her a long heart-felt hug. Eve’s hands begin to climb up his back to reciprocate but lose steam 3/4 of the way, hover, then fall back to her sides. Jerry holds on a little longer, lets go.
You look good, mom.
He holds her at arm’s length and we see her clearly for the first time. Her makeup is a little mis-aligned, the leopard fur is worn around the collar and matted down in some places. Eve reaches up to his face and moves a few hairs back in place.
You would never cut your hair this way if you knew how gay it makes you look.
Jerry takes a breath and exhales. Eve looks away from him around the room.
Well, there’s that, of course.
Jerry guides her to a couch and they sit. She looks around the room with concentration.
It’s good to see you. It’s been a while.
Well don’t blame me.
Jerry reaches across the gap between them and takes her hand. She doesn’t respond.
No. Just commenting that it has been a while, for me, between visitors.
He lets go of her hand.
I remember looking through a photo album you had years ago.
Eve looks at him with a small smile
There was a photo of you sitting on a beautiful Appaloosa. Your hair was braided and reached down to your waist.
Eve smiles as she searches her memory for the image.
Below it in silver marker on the black page you wrote, “14 years old. Life can’t get much worse.”
Eve looks at his hands
Hmm… I don’t remember that.
Eve looks up, settles in her seat and puts her arm up over the backrest.
This reminds me of when your Aunt Bonnie considered leaving me in the county jail over Christmas one year when I’d run away.
Jerry turns to Eve who has a far away look in her eyes.
I worked like a slave in their dreary cafe. Dressed me up like a paper doll and had me slinging hash and pouring coffee so weak you could see to the bottom of a full cup.
Jerry takes her hand in his and turns to face forward. This is familiar territory. He sees their reflection in the guard station glass.
TIGHT ON EVE’S LIPS
They sliced the beef so thin you could read a newspaper through it. Why wouldn’t I take off?
She continues to talk but no matter how close we get to her mouth we don’t hear a word.
The Swingle Singers SING Prelude Pour Choral D’Orgue No 1.
PAN TO JERRY’S LIPS
A small smile grows.
PAN TO ROOM WITHOUT FOCUS
Upbeat MUSIC lends meaning to the colorful blobs and light that move in our field of vision. MUSIC ENDS naturally.
© 2013 Leigh Hazelbaker Straub
Ext. Gloomy, cloudy late fall Afternoon in an ohio cemetery.
A black limo pulls up to the curb and stops. The door opens, ANNE, a woman in her early twenties, steps out and stands, so we see her young, solemn face. She turns and slowly walks up the hill toward the crowd of people gathered beneath a few trees. The MINISTER is speaking in the background as he eulogizes the deceased, FREDERICK EUGENE ASTONWALL III.
Today we mourn the loss of a wonderful man, generous philanthropist and community leader. Taken too soon, he will be sorely missed…we entrust him now to you God…(he continues talking as camera closes in on ANNE)
(muttering just loudly enough for us to hear)
Look at these fools. Good people duped by the public him. If only they knew…
Several people quietly greet her, nod to her, or touch her hand as she walks through the group and sits down in an empty chair by the gravesite. Before her stands an ornate casket, ready to be lowered into its grave. It is draped in a blanket of expensive flowers, which is a stark contrast to the gloom of almost-naked trees, branches bending in the chilly breeze.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…
The casket is lowered into the ground. The funeral goers process through the ritual of tossing a handful of dirt as they walk by. They calmly walk away, then hurry to their cars, anxious to flee the depression of death and the gloom of this chilly, cloudy day.
ANNE stays seated until everyone is gone. She is staring at the casket, seemingly emotionless. A young man, about 15, approaches her. As he gets closer, she raises her head and looks at him.
You know who I am?
You look just like him. (he hesitates, then smiles).
I do, don’t I? It’s weird. (they pause, looking at each other.)
(she motions for him to sit down next to her) How are you?
I’m (he stammers), I’m okay. I’m 15 now you know. I play football, and soccer and I sing in the choir…I left practice early to come here today. I read about it in the paper. I wanted to meet you–hoped I would meet you.
(she smiles at his effort to sell his worth)
(looks at the casket) You know he never came to see me? Never called. Never saw me practice, or play, or sing. How could he do that? How could he just pretend that I don’t exist? Especially when I look just like him.
(wants to say something, but doesn’t know what to say. Instead, she looks at him while she reflects)
Dissolve to: int courtroom several years ago
Frederick Eugene Astonwall III sits on the stand in the private courtroom, his ex-wife, Lauren, and their pre-teenaged daughter sit at the table for the defense. Their attorney stands up to speak.
Your Honor. We are here today to argue against additional visitation Mr. Astonwall has requested with his daughter. I just have a few questions.
Isn’t it correct that for the last twelve years, you have consistently fought for more visitation time, compelling your ex-wife to comply, yet you haven’t used the time you’ve got? Instead, you cancel at the last minute or don’t show up and don’t call to cancel. Then, you file complaints against her, asking the courts to jail her for noncompliance for time that you have NOT spent with your daughter.
Or, on the rare occasions when you do visit with your daughter, she has testified that you either send her to your secretary’s home so that you’re free, or you leave her home alone while you play golf or socialize? Isn’t this true? (silence)
Mr. Astonwall? Isn’t this true?
I’m a very busy man, counselor. When circumstances dictate that I must work or attend a function, I do so. Now could you please move this along to the pertinent issues. Your Honor, could we please get to the matter at hand?
Sir, this IS the matter at hand. Now that we’ve established that you do not even utilize the visitation that this very court has already granted you, let’s move on.
Mr. Astonwall, isn’t it true that you have another child besides your daughter? Isn’t it true that you actually have another child, sir, a son?
And this child of yours would be a son–approximately 10 years old–isn’t that correct?
I don’t know how old he is. But yes, you are correct. The child is a boy.
Yet, you have no interaction with your son from a different mother. Why is that?
(hesitation in the courtroom)
Sir? Why is it that you do not acknowledge your other child, a son?
Mr. Astonwall, please answer the question. Why is it that you have no interaction with your son?
He’s a bastard child, that’s why.
(various gasps are heard throughout the courtroom)
Mr. Astonwall’s attorney jumps up out of his seat.
Attorney for the plaintiff
Move to strike Your Honor. Move to strike.
I’ll allow it. Counselor, please continue.
Excuse me sir? Did you say…because he’s a bastard child?
Yes, I did. He’s a bastard child and his mother’s a tramp–neither one worth my time and money. I’ve paid my dues. Now, can we please move on?
Your Honor. I think we’ve established an accurate assessment from Mr. Astonwall. Defense moves to dismiss the request for more visitation time with my client.
The bench rests. Case dismissed.
DISSOLVE TO: present moment, graveside
Oh Cameron, how do I tell you? Where do I start?…
(interrupting) I used to imagine him in the stands watching me. Sometimes I’d even look to see if he was there. Wanted him to be there. But he never came. And now he never will.
(he turns to look at the casket. She puts her hand on his and he turns to look at her, tears fill his eyes. He swipes at his tears, embarrassed to be showing any emotion)
Tell me what it was like to have a Dad. A dad who cared about you. Did he spend time with you? Teach you things?
Cameron, it wasn’t like that. He wasn’t like that. He wasn’t what you think, what they all think.(she waves her hand towards the crowd that has now disappeared) In fact, he was NOTHING like what ANYONE thinks.
She reflects on her last conversation with her father, before his untimely death.
Dissolve to: int evening her Father’s estate
Dad, I’m just saying I’d rather go to law school than business school. That’s all.
(yelling, out of control) You testified against me! Now you’ll pay. No tuition or help in any way.
It’s not like you’ve helped me in the past anyway.
(red faced, and angry) That’s enough! (he kicks over a cocktail table) This conversation is over. Now see yourself out.
Dissolve to: present moment, graveside
You don’t realize how lucky you are. At least he left you alone.
Left me alone? (he’s crying now, choking back tears) He ignored me! I even went to see him once. I looked him up, knocked on his door. He answered and stood there, staring at me. “May I help you?” He asked, as if he didn’t even know me. “Hi Dad, it’s me, Cameron.” As soon as I said that, he stepped outside, closing the door behind him. He took me by the shoulder and walked me to the driveway. He said, “you shouldn’t have come here. Don’t ever come here again. I sent your mother money, took care of my obligation. Don’t come back here again. Do you understand me? I have a business, a reputation, a life. And there’s no place in it for you.” NO PLACE IN IT FOR YOU. How does a father say that to his son, his ONLY son?
(shakes her head) I don’t know. I don’t understand it anymore than you do. How he could turn away from you and treat me so badly too. We’ve both suffered, for different reasons. He neglected you and emotionally abused me. And now he’s gone. For good. We’ll never know why. You’ll never get the past back, or the dad you always wanted, but there’s one thing. From now on, you’ll always have me.
(she stands up, then he stands, looks her square in the eye with tears running down his face. We see in his eyes the pain, the excruciating pain. She holds out her hand)
Come on now, I’ll take you home.
He takes her hand, and they walk away from the casket, down the hill, towards her waiting car. As they go, she turns, softly smiles at him, and he smiles back at her. In the background, we see one glimmering shaft of setting sunlight peek through the clouds.
© 2013 The Lost Coyote Mine
An underground space lit by oil lamps. A light brightens a horizontal mineshaft. Shuffling noise, a lumbering old man enters oil lamp in hand, a man slung over his shoulder. Dumps the man to the ground
(Miner moves to an old wood box, sets the lamp down, grabs a length of chain, and heavy leather collar, moves back to 13)
Why ya make me do this? Why can’t ya stay rottin’ in the ground. Keep comin’ back. Stay outta my gold. Let me be!
(Miner locks the collar around his neck.)
I got a place to put ya. Old shaft way deep. Ain’t no stories about it I heard. No gold there either, I know I looked. The feel to it makes ya walk real quiet, with the creeps climbin’ ya neck. Monsters up here, toys next to what’s down there. Nothin’ goes down there ‘cept me.
(Miner pulls 13’s head up…nose to nose…calm)
Look here, I done said I was sorry. A long time ago.
Don’t know I got anythin’ left knows for sure what’s real and what ain’t. Maybe ya just me hauntin’ me. Won’t have ya in my gold. Can’t have ya messin’ with my head.
(measured pause while muddled thoughts churn)
I squared the ledger on a dozen of ‘em. Gave ‘em the same they done them girls. Wasn’t nobody even lookin’ real hard for me. Some called it justice. Some did, anyways.
OK! I get it. Ya didn’t do it. Ya think it murder. I think maybe I got ya in the nick of time. Ya was gonna do it, someday. That’s what ya like isn’t? Little girls? I saw what ya was.
(Miner kisses 13’s forehead, holding him close)
How could I know they was gonna let ya go. Just like that. I thought, maybe I don’t do nothin’ this time. The law’ll get it right. I packed the van down to Arkansas for the next one. Then one night, damn if I don’t see ya on the news, walkin’ outta the courthouse. They let ya go.
How the hell they let ya go? They all blind? Your clear as glass, they don’t see that? I drove all night to get back. I couldn’t let it go like the law did. Ya see that, don’t ya? I gotta make it right!
(Small kitchen, clean, simple, 10 year old boy at the table, drinking orange juice. Slender woman with left arm in a sling, and battered a bit about the face and neck, places breakfast in front of her son)
Eat up sweetie. Bus’ll be here before you know it.
(boy takes a few bites, looks at Mom)
I wish he was dead.
Oh, Andy, don’t be talking like that. I’m fine.
It ain’t right. It ain’t right
Mom (her right arm around her son, cheek to cheek)
What’s right don’t mean much to most folks. Life a bit easier with blinders. Take that to heart and keep your eyes open. You have to be strong, son. Strong inside that don’t get fooled or sweet-talked. Grow up strong, and right, you can do what has to be done. The hard things.
(kisses his cheek, straightens)
You got so much to learn yet. It’ll take time to be ready. Can you do that? Sure you can, baby. There are too many can’t help themselves, specially little ones. They going to need someone, someday. You keep them in mind.
(back to eating)
(Mom stands and moves to the stove)
It’s OK if you’re not strong, baby.
I am! I will be. I promise.
(smiling, moving the pans to the little sink)
No, no it’s OK if you’re not, Andrew. You can forget all about it and make a lot of money and pretend you ain’t never seen anything, just like everyone else. You can be just like everyone else. It’ll be OK.
I won’t, I promise for real. I ain’t gonna forget anything.
I’ll shoot him someday.
Andrew Jackson Carter, I said don’t talk like that! You don’t talk like that about your dad.
NOT my dad!
(washing dishes…a glint in her eyes)
You know he likes to think you’re his. Seems real important to him. Real important. Don’t make him mad, Andrew. You don’t want to make him mad at you.
I don’t care. I hope he gets mad at me. Maybe leave ya alone.
Oh, sweetie, don’t pay him any mind. I’ll be just fine. You just remember what I told you. You got to grow up strong. To know what’s right and keep it in your heart always. You was meant for something special. Make your Mama proud.
Now, you jump up quick and get your books, bus’ll be here real soon.
(tight focus to the Miner’s face, 13 still in his arms)
I remember. Lot of stuff blurry, but I know whats right. What a…what uhhhh oh damn…your name. I don’t recall…Miller? Keller…somethin’ like that. Ya gotta go. man. Ya stay with me; sooner to later they find ya. Cristos find ya, he eat ya like candy, him and the others. Ya think I come here on accident?
I’m losin’ it. Ya ain’t real. Maybe I ain’t either. Been long enough I suspect.
What ya lookin’ at spook?
(13 opens his mouth. Pixelating silent scream as his form breaks to a black mist. A suggestion of a face and eye patch. The Miner tries to corral in the mist…to get a grip on it someway. The mine is the voice of Cristos. The air through the shafts his breath, and his voice barely intelligible heard everywhere at once)
Damn it. Hold still ya sunuvabitch.
La espada de Cristo. Mio! El Oro is Mio!
(The mist moves into the rock, a faint sound of breathing carries through the shafts)
Show yourself. Coward!
(The Miner spreads his weight carefully…his hands holding the chains that held 13.)
Ya afraid of an old man, spook?
(low laughter through the shafts)
I know about ya. Been 400 years, give or take. Ya got no business with anythin’ up above. Ya got no business with nothin’. I been here near thirty years. Ya ain’t got me yet! I’m still here. I ain’t leavin’ – it’s mine now. The gold is Mine!
(The Miner watching the shadows shift lightly on the rock walls)
Ya hear me spook! MY GOLD!
(with a low roar a black cloud races to the Miner, his chain swings touches nothing. The miner is lifted off his feet and carried hard into the rock wall)
Mio! Santificado. La sangre de los inocentes! MIO!
(rusted hulk of a sword lifts from the mist, clanks off the wall next to the Miner’s head)
Do it, coward! Do it! The cold dead hands of Justice around ya throat for all time!
(The Miner is choking, kicking, clawing at invisible hands. His eyes flutter…his movements eventually slow and stop, and he drops to the rock floor)
(a small tidy bedroom. The boy, now 12, is bleeding from a split lip, one eye swollen shut, the other soon to be purple black. Mom is tending to his hurts. )
Oh, Andrew, why did you do that? I told you to pay him no mind.
I wasn’t gonna let him hurt ya no more. I wish I had a gun…OWW..a gun, not a knife.
You tried to sneak up on him, Andy. What did you expect?
(the boy sniffs…cries a little as Mom hugs him)
Now now, Andrew. Don’t cry. Big boys don’t cry do they?
You listen to your Mama. You stop this nonsense right now! You got a lot to do. You don’t do no sneaking around like that no more. Makes you no better than him, than any of ‘em. You understand? You’re special, baby. You don’t sneak.
Oh, baby, you got so much to learn yet. We need to put a little ice on that eye, or it’ll swell up like the other. My poor baby.
(Mom stands up slowly, limping to the fridge, putting a few ice cubes in a bag)
Why don’t ya call the cops on him?
(Mom sighs, shakes her head, walking back to Andrew with the cold pack)
The law has to see both sides. And he knows most of the Deputies. Only make things worse. He’s growing tired of it, I think. Spending more time out than in, thank you, Lord.
Ya gotta run away. Get well clear of em.
(Mom holds the pack on Andrews eye..moving his hand up to hold it)
And who takes care of you, smarty-pants?
I don’t need no one to take care of me. I take care of myself.
NO. No, Andy, you got too much to do. You need me. I need you. We’ll stay here and work it out together. OK, baby?
(Andrew hugs his mom tight)
OK…just us two.
(The Miners eyes flutter open, the shaft a blur as his eyes adjust. He groans)
Ohhh lord. Still here….
(The Miner sits up slow…looking around cautiously. 13 laying against the far wall, the collar and chain attached as though nothing had happened)
Told ya didn’t I? You don’t belong here, 13. And I’m still talkin’ to ya….I must be nuts.
(The Miner stands slowly, moves his limbs…making sure everything works)
I can’t figure it out. How’s it I’m still breathin’ after all these years? Maybe he can’t do it his-self. I’ve more blood on my hands, but he got no sense of that…does he? He couldn’t be afraid of me, could he?
Not much left inside. Only got a handful of words. Just pure hate and greed all hot black. Maybe I’m not real to him. Just the same shadow he is to me. Stop it! Stop it. No matter, gotta make it right.
(Miner pauses…a slow burn)
He thinks he can touch my gold!
(Miner squats on the floor head in hands, long pause)
The gold’s not gonna just jump out and run to me. Can’t let it get too far away. What was I doing? Ohhhhhh lord..so tired. Still some shiny bits down below Redman. Best get on ‘em. Need to tear that out some before Winter shows up, and too cold up there.
(Miner stands…takes 13’s chain)
Ya commin’ wit me, 13. Gonna show ya the shaft lead ya right straight down to Hell.
(A little chapel. The boy, now 13, is sitting by himself. He’s in a suit too big for him. The jacket a bit frayed, and the boy plainly tied the tie himself. His eyes are red, his face flush. His lips set hard and thin. In front of him is a plain pine coffin, a handful of dandelions in a bouquet, stems mashed together, the only color on the box)
Big boys don’t cry. Not never no more.
Narrator – Has an over performed French accent
Irene – A middle-aged woman, dressed like an American traveller: capris pants, tee shirt, fanny pack, and baseball cap
INT. PARIS APARTMENT – MORNING
An alarm RINGS, the clock READS 7 AM. A HAND reaches to turn it off. Irene, lying in bed, opens her eyes and STARES at the ceiling. Methodically she sits up, moves her legs off the bed, and PACES to the counter. Her face is PASSIONLESS as she fills her kettle with water and sets it to boil. She paces to the window and stares with the same passionless face onto the bustling street. We SEE shop owners setting up and people walking their dogs.
It was a new day and a new world. This was the place she had always dreamed of. Paris. Where time has no watch, cuisine is the aphrodisiac of life, and love, oh to describe what Paris does for love.
But as she looked out onto the world she had only known from books and photographs, it seemed impossible to find the city she had so fervently imagined. What should have been the happiest of mornings instead lay before her like a gloomy Sunday.
The kettle WHISTLES. Irene is STARTLED, her head turning quickly in the direction of the noise.
We SEE an urn next to the kettle. It grows bigger as the camera pans in. Irene looks back at it, her brow FURROWING.
The pit she had tried so hard to suppress in the days leading up to this now began to form in her stomach. As with so many times during her loveless years, he was there to haunt her again. The EX.
Typical, she thought. Even in death he could ruin Paris!
EXT. PARIS STREET – DAY
Irene walks out of the building and we HEAR the door slam. We SEE her zipping up the fanny pack around her waist and adjusting the urn in her other hand. She walks down a typical Paris street, her face still passionless.
She finds herself on the Champ des Mars. Surrounding her are hundreds of couples sprawled on the park grass. We SEE Irene grow more uncomfortable.
She STRAIGHTENS up and MARCHES forward, avoiding eye contact.
Fifteen years and three children. She was the loving, devoted housewife she was meant to be. Shirts were always pressed and ironed, children were always bathed and tidy, and dinner always found its’ way onto the table for six o’clock. It was a well-run household, but to no avail.
He repaid her hard work with tardiness, unapologetic adultery, and a pricy divorce. Some thanks for her attention to detail.
INT. PARIS METRO, INSIDE TRAIN – LATER
Irene sits on a train seat, the urn placed next to her. She is staring at the camera with a SOLEMN face. We SEE the speed of the train in the window behind her.
EXT. PARIS, PÈRE LACHAISE CEMETERY, ENTRANCE – LATER
Irene LOOKS into the camera.
We SEE the grand wall that encloses the cemetery.
She glances down at the urn, then directly at the camera.
Now, by some cruel joke, the universe had made her responsible for spreading his ashes, and nowhere less dramatic than Père Lachaise, the famous French cemetery.
Pedestrians are WATCHING her. A security guard comes near, EYING her down.
Irene approaches a sign on the entrance wall. We SEE the sign written in both French and English.
Caption appears on the bottom of the screen:
“No illegal burials. Violators will be prosecuted.”
Irene LOOKS back in frustration. She turns around and finds a bench to sit down.
Only he would request such a dramatic burial. The lover of Paris himself, demanding to be laid to rest amongst the rich, the famous, and most importantly, the French! She could only laugh now. He was a selfish man with a selfish wish in death. What could be more natural.
EXT. PARIS, PÈRE LACHAISE CEMETERY, BENCH – CONT’D
Irene STUDIES the urn.
But as she stared at the urn, ready to leave what remained of his body behind, her Christian soul could not rise to the occasion. As a woman of God she knew the importance of spreading his ashes and at last, putting his soul to rest.
Suddenly, the world seemed calm. The wasted years in agony over what she had done wrong, over why he fell out of love, and whether he had ever loved at all, suddenly seemed pointless. Soon he would be gone and she would finally be rid of her weight. God would be his judge now. Not her, his children… or his countless lovers.
Irene stands with vigor and DETERMINEDLY opens the urn, reaches inside, and begins to stash his ashes around her body. A handful goes in her fanny pack. She searches to find another location and chooses her pockets and cleavage.
She checks PERIODICALLY that no one is watching. Some pedestrians stop and give her an INQUISITIVE glance.
EXT. PARIS, PÈRE LACHAISE CEMETERY, ENTRANCE – CONT’D
Irene stands RIGID outside the cemetery entrance. She appears to have a smile. The guard is STARING at her.
She had found a way to bury her anger, to settle the score for good. She would spread his ashes around the cemetery and be content in the completion of her task. She smiled with the knowledge that he would have to answer for his own faults. After all, he was an atheist.
Irene ADJUSTS her hat and pants.
She walks to the entrance and passes the guard. As she walks, some of the ashes fall from her person.
The guard looks with CURIOSITY.
She walks on.
EXT. PARIS, PÈRE LACHAISE CEMETERY, UNKOWN GRAVE – CONT’D
Irene stands in front of a grave. She CHECKS for spectators. Nobody is watching.
She reaches into her pocket and quickly SCATTERS some of the ashes.
Irene SIGHS and SMILES.
She turns to leave.
As she walked away, it seemed the weight of her past life was slowly lifting from her shoulders. For the first time, she was truly living. Never had she cheated on a test, stole a snack from the produce isle, or stayed out a minute past curfew. She had lived a careful existence, unwilling to test the life she had made so many excuses for. It was time to let go and have a little fun. And with that, she continued with a spring in her step.
A fellow visitor WATCHES her pass. Irene NODS acknowledging their glance.
EXT. PARIS, PÈRE LACHAISE CEMETERY, JIM MORRISON’S GRAVE – CONT’D
Irene walks towards a grave unusually adorned with the remnants of past visitors. The items appear to be letters, dead flowers, cigarettes, gum, and photographs.
She pulls a piece of paper from her fanny pack, and with it, a pinch of the ashes. She SIGNS his name with a kiss and places it on the grave.
EXT. PARIS, PÈRE LACHAISE CEMETERY, CHOPIN’S GRAVE – CONT’D
Irene stands in front of the grave with other visitors. We SEE she has gained more confidence. Her expression is MISCHIEVOUS.
Some of the visitors move on. Irene looks around to see who is left. There is a gardener close by watering Chopin’s greenery.
She SLYLY reaches into her back pocket and removes some of the ashes.
She bends down to smell the many flowers. As she reaches to touch one of the flowers, some of the ashes FALL from her hand. Looking up, she GRINS at the gardener.
Returning to her upright position, she moves on.
EXT. PARIS, PÈRE LACHAISE CEMETERY, FÉLIX FAURE’S GRAVE – CONT’D
Irene stares at the ELABORATE grave of a French President. She grabs her RICK STEVES guide to Père Lachaise, turns to the correct page, and beings to read.
Caption appears at the bottom of the screen:
“Died while in bed with his mistress.”
At Last! She had found a fitting grave for his final resting place.
Irene leans forward. She PULLS at her bra as though she is trying to relieve her chest from the pressure it causes. In doing so, ashes FALL from her cleavage.
She DRAMATICALLY shakes her WHOLE body over the grave.
MON DIEU. And from my breast! I’m sure they will BOTH enjoy that.
As she stepped back from the grave, it dawned on her that this was the most fun she had experienced in years.
Ironic, she thought, that he be the source of such enjoyment. Perhaps she had been too cynical these past years. Perhaps she had been expecting too much and forgiving too little. Maybe this experience could make up for the heartache she harbored. After all, thanks to him she could now be the fun loving, adventurous girl she had always desired to be.
Irene turns around to find TWO guards having watched her.
Or maybe not.
INT. UPSCALE OFFICE
A very rich, corrupt lawyer named ELLISON sits at his desk working on a laptop. He’s a high-powered, high-octane attorney who represents multi-national banks. He rubs his eyes, shuts the laptop, and pours himself a drink.
EXT. UPSCALE OFFICE – BALCONY
Ellison stands on the balcony high above the city. He’s on his cell, sipping his drink. His wedding ring is visible.
He’s talking to his MISTRESS, his girlfriend on the side.
I know, I’m a terrible person. I’ve been completely buried, so kill me!
INTERCUT between the two talking on the phone.
INT. MISTRESS’S APARTMENT
She’s doing her make-up, her phone’s on the bathroom counter.
Don’t tempt me…
When your name’s on the building, you’re balls are kind of on the line, you know what I mean?
I can only imagine.
How quick can you be here? I can send a car.
No, just be ready for me.
Count on it.
He downs his drink, she finishes putting her lipstick on.
EXT. UPSCALE OFFICE BUILDING – LOBBY
The Mistress uses her prox key to access the elevator.
INT. UPSCALE OFFICE
Ellison is on speakerphone, yelling at someone on the other end. His Mistress ENTERS the room. He ends the call. As she approaches, he pours another drink, as he caps the bottle, she picks up his drink and helps herself. He smiles and refills his glass as she takes off her coat.
You are something else.
She sits him down in a chair, pressing close to him.
I appreciate how well you know me.
Shut up and relax.
She lowers herself between his legs, he closes his eyes, exhales. Behind her the door opens silently and a MASKED MAN ENTERS. She stops and backs away. He grows restless quickly.
I’m really not in the mood to be teased baby. I’m deprived enough at home with the wife.
(walking up) Well, let me give it to you then.
Ellison opens his eyes just as he gets punched in the face. He grabs his face, nose pouring blood. The Masked Man wears all black, standing over him with a Guy Fawkes Mask on.
A strike to the nose is terrific for disorienting your target. Tears blur the vision…the bloody nose obstructs breathing.
Ellison reaches for the phone on his desk. Masked Man breaks his arm at the elbow. Ellison recoils in pain on the floor. Masked Man searches his pants for his wallet and phone.
Baby, call 911…hurry up damnit!
She stands there doing nothing, perfectly calm.
What the hell are you waiting for?
Masked Man finds what he was looking for and pulls them out.
This. (tosses wallet to her) Do you know his PIN? (shakes her head no)
Tell her the PIN…the Black Card.
You’re insane, I’m not gonna give a booty call my PIN number!
Masked Man grabs his hand and breaks his pinky.
Don’t be rude. Nine more to go, I love this game. (grabs next finger)
Okay, okay…please! Stop! 7749.
Mistress blows Ellison a kiss and leaves. The Masked Man is looking at the cell he took. Ellison gets up and makes a run for it. Masked Man spins around and breaks his leg at the knee. Ellison collapses on the ground, writhing in pain.
Please, man…please don’t kill me.
(leans down over him)
I never want you to forget this day, this is the day I let you live. You don’t deserve it, but maybe you can start being worthy of this gift. These wounds will serve as a reminder to no longer steal and rob from innocent people while lining your own coffers and those of your masters. (stands up)
We do not forgive. We do not forget. (heads for the door)
Ellison groans softly and watches him leave as he passes out.
SOUNDS of a HOSPITAL slowly Fade In over black.
INT. HOSPITAL ROOM
Ellison slowly comes to in a lot of pain, he’s on the bed.
He sees a DOCTOR across the room with his back to him.
Oh, thank god…oh man…ahh crap. A little busted up but not too bad, right doc?
You’re not quite out of the woods yet.
Tell me about it, can you up the morphine drip or whatever you got going for the pain, it’s bad.
CU of the Guy Fawkes Mask being pulled out of the Doctors pocket. Ellison is getting uneasy and is in pain.
Hello, doc? Hurry up already!
The Doctor is the Masked Man from earlier, he puts the mask on as he turns to face Ellison, who is speechless.
No…no, no…oh hell!
He fumbles for the call button and presses it rapidly.
Did you really think I wouldn’t have disabled that? You’re arrogance is astounding.
Masked Man slides an obstruction under the door handle. Ellison starts to yell and the Masked Man chokes him.
You will speak when I give permission and you will do so quietly. No need for hysterics Ellison. Not here.
He releases his grip, Ellison breathes in and recovers.
I know you know what this mask represents, the cause for which we-
Your cause, give me a break-
Masked Man grabs his bandaged nose and twists it hard, the blood pours anew. He muffles the screams from Ellison. During his monologue, there’s INTERCUT STOCK FOOTAGE of news stories and from the Financial Bailout.
As I was saying, our cause is a direct response to the elaborate fleecing of the American people that was perpetrated by you and many others during the Wall Street Bailouts. You were not reprimanded, not punished, not held accountable in any way. On the contrary, you were rewarded for your efforts and others were given positions of power within this administration. Possibly the most insulting of all is your direct involvement in orchestrating deals with the government to provide immunity to these criminals, these thieves, these insatiable parasites. Is anything I’ve said here a misrepresentation of the facts?
You see things how you wanna’ see them, I can’t change that. What do you want from me…an apology?
Masked Man takes out a video camera, sets it on the bed.
That’s an excellent beginning, but it will not be the end of your atonement.
You people…you make no friggin’ sense. How’s this gonna’ solve anything?
The Masked Man prepares and hooks up a line into his IV Tube.
I am granting you the opportunity to confess your sins for the world to see. How you did it, who’s protected and most importantly, where the money is that belongs to the citizens of this country?
What is that? What are you doing?
Masked man takes out an IV bag filled with a black liquid.
This is oil. You will address the camera and speak candidly or I will add this to your IV and you will die in a few minutes. Make sense?
Masked Man turns on the camera and readies himself.
My…my name is Ellison Hargrove, of Kline and Hargrove Associates and I was directly involved with the 2008 Wall Street Bailout. I helped procure immunity for many of my clients, including–
His confession fades into the background as MUSIC swells. The Masked Man puts his feet up on the bed, enjoying this. SLO-MO of Ellison teary eyed, confessing his sins.
That’s where a bunch of the money is, that’s all I know about that, I never asked, you know? I can make a few calls I guess. What else do you want me to say.
(shuts camera off)
That was sufficient. Well done.
He stands up and opens up the IV full of oil, it begins to flow towards Ellison’s veins. Ellison goes to rip out the IV, the Masked Man pins down his arm and slowly removes his mask.
This fuel grade oil is now entering you’re blood stream…it’s effects will be felt immediately.
Ellison stares at the oil intermingling with his IV drip.
Here’s your bailout…you have two options. One, you get that IV out of your arm as soon as possible, get down off this bed and make your way to the door. On the other side of that door is a hallway where any number of hospital employees will gladly assist you. The other option is…you give up, stay right there and die. A most painful death to be sure.
Masked Man sets the mask on Ellison’s face and EXITS. Ellison sees a glimpse of the Hallway. The oil is affecting him, he’s sweating and feeling terrible. As soon as the DOOR SHUTS, he throws the mask at the door and frantically tries to figure out a way to remove the IV. He has to bite it and rip it out, very painful.
He swings his legs over the side of the bed and falls on the bedding on the ground and lands on his broken arm.
He crawls towards the door and gathers his strength before reaching up to open it. He plops out into the hallway.
EXT. HOSPITAL ROOM
He looks around frantically and calls out for help. His screams echo loudly and after a moment, he stops. He realizes he’s in an empty warehouse. The hospital room and hallway is a set that’s been built. There is nobody around, the oil continues to poison him. He was never going to get help, he was never going to live through this. He lays his head down and whimpers as death envelops him.
EXT: OVERPASS – NIGHT
Traffic speeding with flickering headlights soar over the pass.
EXT: UNDERPASS – CONTINUOUS
Several filthy, HOMELESS PEOPLE and STREET KIDS dance around an open fire passing bottles of booze, joints and drugs, lost and dazed. Others are passed out on the ground, some with belongings in shopping carts. The roar of the freeway above goes unnoticed.
A dazed-looking, dirty couple with matted hair, MEAGAN, 25, and BOBBY, 28, passes a bottle of booze and a bottle cough syrup between them. They stumble towards each other, embrace and fall to the ground drunk. Laughing and kissing they ignore everyone.
EXT: FORMAL MANSION – NIGHT
A brick, formal Tudor lit up in the dark with a perfectly manicured lawn.
INT: LIBRARY – CONTINUOUS
CHASE WHITLINGER, handsome, patrician in his 60’s sits on a leather sofa in a richly appointed library filled with paintings and antique furniture. Family photos in sliver frames are on the fireplace mantel.
Chase looks shocked and sad as he watches a film on his iPad. A double scotch in a Baccarat glass on the end table next to him sits next to a picture of a smiling young girl in a party dress.
INT: HALLWAY – CONTINUOUS
An expensively dressed and perfectly coiffed BARBARA WHITLINGER in her late 50’s reaches out her jewel bedecked and manicured hand, turns a carved brass doorknob.
INT: LIBRARY – CONTINUOUS
Barbara enters and looks at her husband with a steely glaze. She waits for him to acknowledge her presence. He doesn’t look up.
Chase turns away from his iPad, takes a gulp of his drink. He looks up at her, as she is about to say something…
We found her.
My God please tell me-is she…
She’s alive. Thank God, but where she is now will break your heart, Barbara. Get ready to cry.
Chase stands up and drops the iPad on the sofa.
Barbara sits down on sofa and watches the film. She begins to weep.
My baby girl-what happened to you Meagan? God, I don’t even recognize you. What did we do?
EXT: UNDERPASS – NIGHT
Rain pouring from the sky. A Bentley slowly pulls up to the decrepit homeless camp.
INT: BENTLEY – CONTINOUS
The Whitlinger’s sit in the back seat tense and nervous. The driver, SELVIN, sits silently facing forward. Low classical music plays in the background.
Where are we? How can Meagan be anywhere near here-? Dear God…
He told us to meet him right here. Now we wait.
From out of the shadows of the overpass a MAN emerges. Unshaven and wearing dirty clothes. He knocks on the window as he tries to open the door.
Oh my God-what’s going on? Lock the doors, Selvin!
Barbara and Selvin frantically lock and unlock the doors. Man yanks opens the door while unlocks.
Barbara SCREAMS. Selvin starts the car as man jumps into the front seat.
Barbara stop! He’s the guy we’re waiting for. Selvin, turn off the car now!
DERICK COLES, late 40’s but looks closer to 60. Thinning blond/grey hair. Husky build that’s going to pot fast. He smells of cigarettes and booze. He turns around and extends his arm. Barbara meekly shakes his hand.
And you must be Barbara.
Barbara meekly shakes his hand. She quickly pulls away and reaches for a squirt of Purell.
Barbara, this is Derick Coles. Derick, my wife Barbara and our driver Selvin. Please excuse the hysterics but you caught us by surprise.
No prob Chase. It’s happened before. Now that we all know each other let me tell you how this is going to go down tonight but you need to know something. Your daughter, Meagan, is lost in a fog of drugs, alcohol and mental instability. This world is all she knows and as wretched as it is to us, it’s her home. She’s also very attached to a guy named Bobby and it doesn’t make matters easier.
What are you talking about? When she sees us again, she will come with us. I know she will. She will remember us.
Bobby’s her protector. He’s not going to let her go just because you want her. Meagan will have to choose.
Surely once she sees us…
Mrs. Whitlinger, it’s not that easy. Meagan’s reality has been formed by years of living off the grid. Moving from one homeless camp to another. Scratching out an existence that you couldn’t deal with for a minute. Remember, she doesn’t even know you thought she was dead. For all we know, she may think you are.
What’s the hold-up? You know where she is.
You need to do this as I call it. I’m the expert here. She will bolt if she feels we are trying to trap her. If she comes, it’s only her free will that will do it. You have to let me do what I do best.
What do you need us to do?
They sit in silence.
It’s time. They’re going to be here any minute. I have no idea how she’s going to react. Breaking into hysterics isn’t going to help anyone.
Chase shots a look at Barbara. We understand.
(takes a deep breath)
EXT: UNDERPASS – CONTINUOUS
Meagan and Bobby emerge swaying from the other side of the camp. They pass a bottle from one to the other.
Oh Jesus, there she is! God what happened to her? Oh God, oh God, oh God no!
Barbara you have to calm down!
Suddenly Barbara opens car door, jumps out and run towards Meagan.
Barbara! Get back in the goddamn car! What are you doing?
Holy fuck-what is she doing???
Derick bolts after her. Chase follows.
Barbara runs through the camp in the rain horrified by the filth and decay. Derick and Chase catches up from behind, grab her and hold her down. Her face hits the streetlight.
A drenched Meagan turns when she hears her name.
Yes baby-it’s us! We’re here to take you home! Meagan starts to move forward, Bobby grabs her.
(turns to Bobby)
Why did you tell me they were dead?
Don’t Meagan-they’re not your parents.
I…uhm…your wrong Bobby. It’s them-they’re here to take me home. I’m going home Bobby, I’m going home.
You’re not going anywhere!
Bobby pulls out a needle.
Who’s your daddy now, baby girl? Come and get some loving, babe.
Bobby leans into Meagan with the needle. Chase jumps in between them.
No! I’m her daddy and you’re over scum!
Chase pushes Bobby away from Meagan.
Derick follows and wrestles Bobby to the ground and kicks needle away. He holds him down with his boot.
Listen punk, get out of here now and don’t even think of coming back. I never want to see your face again-never. You’re dead to her.
Meagan runs to Barbara with Chase behind. They embrace.
EXT: BENTLEY – MOMENTS LATER
Car drives away. Megan turns away and sees Bobby standing in the streetlight. She reaches her hand out to the back window.
FADE TO BLACK.