Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"Dead Wrong" - the 1st 5 pages

"DEAD WRONG"

FADE IN:

EXT. HOTEL - DAY

A mid-town hotel looms ahead.

CHARLIE MATHEWS walks into frame. He looks about thirty.

No one would ever think that someone with his aloof,
bookish demeanour would ever do anything rash. But today,
they would be wrong.

With a tremendous sense of purpose, he crosses the street
and goes into the hotel.

INT. HOTEL ROOM - DAY

Charlie tips the BELLBOY and shuts the door. Locks and
chains it. He goes to the window and pulls open the sliding
glass door to the balcony.

EXT. HOTEL BALCONY - DAY

Charlie steps onto the balcony. The sounds of traffic waft
up from the street below.

Charlie climbs over the railing. He puts his feet on the
balcony and grips the railing. He looks over his shoulder
at the street. Then he looks up at the sky. Keeping his
eyes skyward, he lets go of the railing.

He tilts back, back, back into space--

At the last instant, he grabs the railing.

CHARLIE
(to himself)
My luck, I'll live--and be a
quadriplegic.

He remains there, arms extended, hands gripping the railing.

CHARLIE (CONT'D)
Damn.

He pulls himself to the railing and climbs back onto the
balcony.

EXT. BUILDING SITE - NIGHT

Staring into space, his face contorted as waves of
depression pass through him, Charlie shuffles past a house
being renovated.

------------------------------------------------
2.


He notices a stack of concrete blocks. He pauses.

Takes a couple of steps. Stops.

Then, making sure no one's looking, he takes two of the
blocks. He judges their weight and moves off with grim
determination, a concrete block in each hand.

EXT. UNDER THE BRIDGE - NIGHT

The bridge shelters a HOMELESS MAN huddling before a fire
burning in a metal barrel. A cardboard refrigerator box has
been converted into his shelter.

A car approaches, the headlights playing on the surface of
the water and the foundation of the bridge as it gets
closer. The car stops nearby and Charlie gets out.

CHARLIE
(dully)
Hi.

The Homeless Man nods suspiciously. He watches Charlie
open the trunk and take out the two concrete blocks and a
length of rope.

Charlie shuts the trunk and picks up the concrete blocks
and rope. Then he glances at the Homeless Man.

CHARLIE (CONT'D)
You want a car?

HOMELESS MAN
What?

CHARLIE
I don't need it anymore. It's in
pretty good shape, low mileage.

HOMELESS MAN
Don't fuck with me, bud.

CHARLIE
I'm dead serious.

Charlie holds out the keys.

CHARLIE (CONT'D)
Here. It's yours. Take it or
leave it.

Still unsure, the Homeless Man holds out his hand and
Charlie drops the keys into his palm and heads off.

The Homeless Man watches him go, utterly flabbergasted.

--------------------------------------------------
3.


EXT. THE BRIDGE - NIGHT

A bridge spanning a river running through the city. No
traffic this time of night. The twinkling lights of the
downtown beyond. Charlie approaches like a condemned
prisoner. He carries a concrete block in each hand.

A rope is tied through the concrete blocks and around his
waist. He stops, takes a breath and climbs onto the
railing, preparing to jump.

He gazes down at the inky water below.

Charlie stands on the railing, readying himself to jump.
He takes one last look to see that no one's coming. He
checks to see that the concrete blocks are tied securely.
He looks around.

Otherwise deserted, at the far end of the bridge someone
approaches.

A YOUNG WOMAN. Very attractive, very alluring, almost
ethereal at this distance. She doesn't notice Charlie.

About a third of the way across, she climbs on the railing.
Apparently getting ready to jump.

Then she sees him.

Charlie stares at the woman. Both stand on the railing of
the bridge. Both know why the other is there. A wave of
self-consciousness and embarrassment washes over Charlie.

That's when she disappears into the darkness below.

CHARLIE
NO!

The sound of the splash below.

Charlie loses his footing and slips off the railing into
freefall.

EXT. WATER - NIGHT

Charlie falls off the bridge into the water.

EXT. UNDERWATER - NIGHT

As the weight from the concrete blocks pulls him down,
Charlie struggles to untie the rope. Finally, he succeeds
and the blocks fall away.

His lungs bursting, Charlie pulls himself to the surface.

-------------------------------------------------
4.


EXT. SURFACE OF THE WATER - NIGHT

Charlie bursts out of the depths of the water, gasping,
filling his lungs with air. He goes under momentarily, then
bobs up again, this time finding the strength to tread water
long enough to catch his breath.

Then he looks around for any sign of the woman.

But no sign of anyone breaking the surface of the water.

Charlie swims towards the spot where the woman entered the
water.

His arms plow through the water. Churning, pulling himself
through, impervious to the cold temperature. It's a
superhuman effort, fueled by pure adrenalin.

When he nears the spot where he saw her enter, he treads
water while taking in several quick gasps, then a huge gulp
of air. Holding his breath, he goes under.

Moments pass.

Charlie breaks through the surface. He catches his breath
in great, lung-filling gasps. Then he takes a final deep
breath and disappears under the waves.

Moments pass.

Suddenly, Charlie bursts from the depths and pulls the
unconscious woman's head out of the water. Wrapping his arm
under her neck and arm, he swims to shore.

EXT. RIVER BANK - NIGHT

A couple of police cars are parked at angles, their lights
flashing. A couple of POLICE OFFICERS are talking to
Charlie, who is wrapped in a blanket.

CHARLIE
(shivering)
I was just out w-w-walking's all.
W-w-where they g-g-going to take
her?

Charlie watches the PARAMEDICS working on the woman as the
AMBULANCE ATTENDANT slams the door of the ambulance shut.

The ambulance pulls away, lights and siren on.

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY

Charlie enters and moves past the other patients to find
the woman he rescued, sleeping.

He watches her for a moment.

------------------------------------------------------
5.


She looks in her twenties. Even in this antiseptic
atmosphere, she has a serenity that her matted hair and
hospital gown can't hide. Charlie takes the chart at the
end of the bed.

The patient name on the chart: "Ariane Bolden."

She stirs and opens her eyes.

CHARLIE
Hi. Ariane?

As she awakes, the confidence of someone born beautiful
protects her natural fragility.

ARIANE
Do I know you?

CHARLIE
Kind of. We met last night. On
the bridge. My name's Charlie.
Mathews. They'd only tell me your
first name. Makes it a bitch to
find someone.

Ariane takes another look at him, now remembering. Her
face hardens.

ARIANE
What were you doing there?
Hang-gliding? Bungie-jumping?

CHARLIE
Well...

ARIANE
You were there for the same reason
I was.

Charlie says nothing.

ARIANE (CONT'D)
But... you had to be a hero instead?

CHARLIE
No, I wasn't being a hero--I dunno,
I was just on autopilot.

ARIANE
You expect me to be grateful?

CHARLIE
I don't--I just thought...

ARIANE
You had no right.

1 comment:

Terence said...

That's excellent, Sugith! It made me care about the characters and want to find out what happens to them! I may have ditched the fire-in-the-metal-barrel reference (my cliche alarm beeped slightly - :)), but it reminded me of my own dark script, "The Mission Field" about the leader of a suicide club who has a change of heart and embarks to save his members. I was also reminded of Luc Besson's "Angel A" (2005) which I'd recommend checking out. Keep up the good work!