February 5, 2010

THE WRITE STUFF: THAT'S THE PROBLEM

When it comes to down to the wire, it always shows you what kind of a person you really are. And if some of the relevant people had actually read the screenplay I wrote in 2008, SAFE (which – as writers are prone to do – I send off to everybody), they would have known a few things, but then again, those types of people never listen.

And so here, the very first page of that small-budget thriller screenplay.

BLACK SCREEN
HEAVY BREATHING, then --
VOICE (O.S.)
How long?

VOICE (O.S.)
An hour. Two, maybe. Not too long.
-
-- FOLLOWED by the SOUND of a FIST HITTING FLESH.
FADE UP TO:

INT. THE VAULT. FLASH FORWARD. NO TIME
A MAN DROPS into the FRAME. RYAN MARSHALL. His FACE is COVERED in BLOOD. It’s mostly HIS OWN. His left EYE is SWOLLEN SHUT. Before all of this, RYAN had to have been handsome, the SUBURBAN kind. He GASPS for AIR, tries to GET UP from the floor. A BOOTED FOOT BEARS DOWN HARD RYAN’S BACK, pushing him down. More LABOURED BREATHS. PAIN.

WITWER (O.C.)
You don’t need to die here.
(beat)
Just do it. Show me.

PULL OUT TO REVEAL: a MONSTROSITY of a VAULT. PROPPED UP against one of the walls we have a BANK GUARD. He’s DEAD. The TAG on his uniform reads WILSON. There’s a BULLET HOLE in his HEAD. The other man STILL ALIVE is SAM WITWER. He’s SUITED for a BUSINESS DAY, not for this. SPLASHES of BLOOD on his DARK SUIT. He POINTS a GUN at RYAN.

WITWER
Show me how to get out.

RYAN tries to CRAWL AWAY. ANOTHER KICK.

PULL OUT TO REVEAL: a PILE OF NEATLY STACKED MONEY. SMALL BILLS, so large, it must be worth about 100 MILLION. READY to be SHIPPED somewhere else.

WITWER
Fucking show me!

MORE KICKS as RYAN CRAWLS to the WALL. Whatever the pain, something inside him REFUSES to BREAK. Just a little bit further, you can SEE it, he’s trying to get somewhere, not just away from WITWER’S GUN and KICKS, but to SOME PLACE.

WITWER
You think someone out there will care? You believe this will make you a hero? It’s just money, you stupid fuck. That’s all. Other people’s money!

RYAN
You -- you got this all wrong.

And RYAN REACHES the DEAD GUARD WILSON.  There should have been a GUN there, but there isn't. RYAN ROLLS AROUND. LOOKS UP. WAITS FOR ThE NEXT ROUND OF PUNISHMENT. DEFIANTLY.

RYAN
For you, yeah, it’s about money. All you care about. All you want. Money. Yeah, I get it.

This is the SHOT OF THE MOVIE. TWO MEN. ONE is POINTING A GUN AT THE OTHER. And still -- still the bloodied VICTIM seems to have all the power. INSIDE A VAULT. WAITING TO DIE.

RYAN
All it was about was the money, this would be over. Walk you out of here myself, if you wanted to. I don’t care about money. That’s the problem. Right here, right now --
(beat)
-- you no longer got an idea, no fucking idea what I care about. And that -- means there’s nothing to promise. You think about that. I’m no longer locked in here with you.
(beat)
You’re locked in here with me.

WITWER realizes: RYAN is RIGHT.