A Cautionary Tail: A feature length screenplay: The research, methodology, and writingкод для вставкиСкачать
A CAUTIONARY TAIL: A FEATURE LENGTH SCREENPLAY: THE RESEARCH, METHODOLOGY, AND WRITING by Jon Hart A Thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in the Department of Communication University of Central Missouri April, 2010 UMI Number: 1484944 All rights reserved INFORMATION TO ALL USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion. UMT Dissertation Publishing UMI 1484944 Copyright 2010 by ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. This edition of the work is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code. ProQuest LLC 789 East Eisenhower Parkway P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, Ml 48106-1346 A CAUTIONARY TAIL: A FEATURE LENGTH SCREENPLAY: THE RESEARCH, METHODOLOGY, AND WRITING by Jon Hart April, 2010 APPROVED- Thesis Chair Q^r tM CA^^LA— ^Thesis Committee Member Thesis Committee Member ACCEPTED: Dean. Graduate School UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL MISSOURI WARRENSBURG, MISSOURI A CAUTIONARY TAIL: A FEATURE LENGTH SCREENPLAY: THE RESEARCH, METHODOLOGY, AND WRITING by Jon Hart An Abstract of a thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in the Department of Communication University of Central Missouri April, 2010 Abstract By Jon Hart This thesis contains an introduction, a review of literature, a description of methodology, a step outline, and lastly the original screenplay, A Cautionary Tail. The review of literature encompasses material on screenwriting, the essential elements of storytelling, and research material on animals both real and mythic. The methodology chronicles the experience of writing the screenplay, contrasted with recommended best practice from the literature. A Cautionary Tail is a romantic comedy whose theme explores the differences between man and other animals. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Dr. John Smead has been my teacher, mentor and ally for over 30 years. He has inspired many. I am proud to be one of them. His importance to this work cannot be overstated. I am deeply indebted. I would also like to thank my other thesis committee members, Dr. Terry Cunconan, and Dr. Gail Crump. Their guidance greatly improved this project. Mike Sanders, and Sarah Bradshaw also served as readers during the writing process and provided valuable feedback. My wife Leslie Swank, and my sister Mary Ann Hart provided me with love and support throughout. They give the work meaning. TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS v CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1 CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF LITERATURE 3 CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY 10 Story Concept 11 Structure 12 Character 14 Conflict 16 Writing Techniques 17 Humor 19 The Ending 20 CHAPTER 4: STEP OUTLINE 21 REFERENCES 32 A CAUTIONARY TAIL: A SCREENPLAY 35 vi A Cautionary Tail 1 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION The ability to tell a tale makes us distinctly human. Storytelling is a part of who we are. One imagines it predates our mastery of fire. The first story is lost to time, but we can trace early academic study of the form to Aristotle and his work Poetics. It is the beginning of dramatic theory. There is no end in sight. Lajos Egri (1960), in his The Art of Dramatic Writing, prescribes a rigorous method for effective storytelling. In his seminal work The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell (1968) traces archetypes through mythologies from across the world. Many bookstores now have entire sections filled with volumes intended to help the aspiring screenwriter. As these works illustrate, the study of stories is as varied as the narratives themselves. The sheer volume of the material makes true understanding of the material difficult. How are we to incorporate in our understanding the varying methods, approaches, rules, hints, tricks and tips that can be contradictory and/or confusing? The balance is found in the creative application of that knowledge. This academic study, which includes a review of literature, a description of methodology, a step outline and full script of the original screenplay A Cautionary Tail, chronicles a search for understanding of the form. A Cautionary Tail The screenplay A Cautionary Tail recounts a hero's journey set against an exploration of the differences between man and animal. Ironically, this thesis investigates one of the most powerful differences, the very human ability to tell a story. 2 A Cautionary Tail 3 CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF LITERATURE This review of literature focuses on the research materials found most useful in the preparation of this creative project. As a novice at the beginning of the process, I found general texts on screenwriting to be invaluable. The bulk of these focus on drama, and while there is a fine line between comedy and tragedy, there are significant enough differences in approach to warrant additional reading regarding the humorous screenplay, and more specifically the romantic comedy. In researching this screenplay, a simple internet search provides the necessary background on renaissance period re-enactments, aphrodisiacs, and catapults. However, further research of a more substantial nature is required in establishing the theme of animal sexuality, both real and mythical. Many of the screenwriting texts cover similar ground, but Lajos Egri's The Art of Dramatic Writing, Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives (1960), offers the most demanding view of structure. Egri posits that any successful screenplay must begin with a premise that "consists of three elements... Character, conflict and outcome" (p. 6). Differentiating between the premise and the theme of A Cautionary Tail was critical in the development of the screenplay. The process of defining those differences will be discussed in the Methodology. Characters are created with the sole intent of aiding the screenwriter in proving the premise. Egri continues, "When the author has a clear-cut premise, it is child's play A Cautionary Tail 4 to find the character who will carry the burden of that premise" (p. 99). In creating characters, the writer imbues them with contrasting qualities to create conflict, and what Egri terms a "unity of opposites" (p. 119). Characters, built to carry out the premise, are so strongly constructed that they are unable to compromise. The resulting clash results in a rising series of conflicts that lead to the dramatic climax. Conflict, one of the three essential elements in Egri's premise, promises that the primary character will undergo a basic change. As Egri states, "No man ever lived who could remain the same through a series of conflicts which affected his way of living. Of necessity he must change, and alter his attitude toward life. So we can safely say that any character, in any type of literature which does not undergo a basic change is a badly drawn character" (p. 61). The Art of Dramatic Writing lays out a simple but strict method for constructing a screenplay. Determining the spine of the story and remaining true to it throughout the writing is a deceptively simple task. This is the book that caused me to wrestle with the writing more than any other. It is considered a classic for good reason. While Egri's book is equally applicable to writing for stage or screen, Lew Hunter's Screenwriting 434 (1994), focuses strictly on film. Hunter devotes a considerable part of his book to structure. As he succinctly puts it, "The beginning, Act One, is the situation. The middle, Act Two, the complications. The end, Act Three, the conclusion" (p. 45). Each act is unique in what the story requires of it. As an example, in the first act the hero must gain the affection of the audience. Hunter says, "Pet the Dog is shorthand for showing vulnerability. It's a personality trait that should be A Cautionary Tail 5 occasionally evident and always latent in your heroes and heavies. Most especially in the first act" (p. 133). Writing techniques, like compression of time, economy of language and the withholding of information are suggested by Hunter as tools to help propel one's story and hold the audience's interest. He also stresses giving characters good reasons for their actions, even the villains. Characters need appropriate motivation to tell a convincing story. Conflict is a recurring theme across all texts. As a method of combating writer's block, Hunter recommends using oppositional thinking to, "Take the obvious and turn it 180 degrees" (p. 98). In doing so the writer creates entertainment through conflict and surprise. Hunter acknowledges that the technique doesn't always work, as the behavior must remain within the motivations of the character. Constructed as an academic text, Paul Lucey's Story Sense, Writing Story and Script for Feature Films and Television (1996), features excellent exercises to illustrate in practice the concepts of each chapter. Lucey stresses the essential elements of the three act structure. Most texts illustrate the structure from the viewpoint of the hero's journey, but Lucey also expresses it from the viewer's perspective by stating, "Make the audience want something, make it seem unattainable, then give it to them" (p. 86). In the first act the hero takes on the problem, and the author suggests confronting a relatively weak hero with a more powerful adversary to heighten the drama. As the conflict intensifies the hero suffers multiple losses, until by the end of the second act it appears that the hero has been defeated. In the third act the hero seems to exceed his normal A Cautionary Tail 6 abilities to earn the final victory. The epilogue is a brief scene that tidies up loose ends and comments on the dramatic action. Conflict is also well served in Story Sense, Lucey emphasizing that "Drama is the reaction of character to crisis" (p. 310). The author also covers writing techniques and storytelling devices. The Power Tool is a device, situation or power that energizes a story. A primary example of the Power Tool is the Force in Star Wars. The McGuffin, a concept most closely associated with Alfred Hitchcock, is a mysterious object, desperately sought by both the protagonist and antagonist, which pushes them to extreme actions. William Goldman has written two excellent memoirs that seed his anecdotes with advice for the aspiring writer. Adventures in the Screen Trade (1983) and Which Lie Did I Tell, More Adventures in the Screen Trade (2000) illustrate the lessons learned over a storied career. The noted screenwriter stresses repeatedly the need for compression, entering both the scene and the story as late as possible. The resulting speed of the narrative is an important tool in keeping ahead of audience expectation. Goldman recommends giving the audience several memorable moments during the screenplay, something he does as well with these entertaining volumes. Similarly, William Froug's The Screenwriter Looks at the Screenwriter (1991) goes inside the Hollywood screenwriting experience in interviews with twelve legendary writers. To illustrate withholding information as a writing technique, Nunnally Johnson, Oscar nominated writer of over 100 screenplays, makes an interesting comparison. A Cautionary Tail 7 Johnson says, "I was on a newspaper. You know what they say there: who, where, what, why, and when. Tell it at once. Theoretically, when you write a newspaper story, you write it so it can be cut off after any paragraph, but you've still got a story. Well, I found when I got here that drama called for exactly the reverse. You don't let them know anything till the last minute" (p. 261). Pulling from the seminal work of Joseph Campbell, Christopher Vogler's The Writer's Journey (1998) integrates standard screenwriting advice with mythic structure. Vogler compares Campbell's terminology work with myth to other work in screenwriting. Vogler says, "Various theories of screenwriting acknowledge the Call to Adventure by other names such as the inciting or initiating incident, the catalyst, or the trigger. All agree that some event is necessary to get a story rolling, once the work of introducing the main character is done" (p. 99). He also calls the end of the second act the metaphorical death of the hero. Act three is the resurrection. The hero of myth is flawed, motivated, and relatable. The villain is similarly motivated, and views himself as the hero. Although I read several volumes dealing with comedy, I found three books by Eric Lax to be the most inspiring. The books Conversations With Woody Allen: His Films, The Movies, And Moviemaking (2007), Woody Allen: A Biography (1991), and On Being Funny, Woody Allen And Comedy (1975) feature interviews with Woody Allen, conducted over more than thirty years. Given the value I found in these books, I do not see it as merely a coincidence that Allen studied with Lajos Egri early in his career. A Cautionary Tail 8 Consistency and speed are recurring themes for Allen (Lax, 1975); "You've got to keep the rhythm going or the ground rules you laid down in the first five minutes, the deal you made with the audience to be fast and funny, are violated" (p. 74). Allen talks about audience fatigue as a comedy reaches the third act. It dictates that comedy be shorter than drama, and that the closing act must accelerate in pace. This concept was integral to formulating the structure of the third act of A Cautionary Tail. Allen (Lax, 1975) also views plot as integral to holding the audience in the final act; "Plot is dynamite in comedy. When you're doing the kind of comedy like Bananas that doesn't have a plot, you've got a lot of problems and you're dependent on really tour-de-force things. You've got to be hilarious from the starting position and hilarious again, and an hour goes by with no real plot and you're not getting any payoff from stuff you planted an hour ago; you're always in the starting position and you've got to be six times as funny at the end. Whereas, you get a premise going, a story - at the end you're cashing in on the relationships you've set up" (p. 174). Humor that arises from character is a goal for Allen, who repeatedly cites Bob Hope as an example. The jokes, often about Hope's vain and cowardly image, serve as a vehicle to define the character. Compression takes on added meaning within a comedic context. Allen compares joke writing to poetry, with the addition or subtraction of a single word making it less effective. In researching animal sexuality, I found Melissa A Tulin's Aardvarks to Zebras; A Menagerie of Facts, Fiction, and Fantasy about the Wonderful World ofAnimals (1995) and Robert A. Wallace's How They Do It (1980) to be particularly useful. A Cautionary Tail 9 Karl Shuker's The Search For The Last Undiscovered Animals (2007) discusses mythical animals that some believe actually exist. Although the book covers a multitude of animals from the unicorn to the Mongolian death worm, I found it most useful as an examination of the cultures that believe these creatures to exist. A Cautionary Tail 10 CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY No two screenwriters approach the writing process in exactly the same fashion. However, over time a set of fairly standard recommendations emerged in aid of the beginning screenwriter. This method leads the novice through a step by step process to a completed screenplay. The process works for many and is in practice among many professionals. In most cases the process begins with the original story idea. Characters are created to tell the story. A step outline is built, often using loose note cards that can be reordered in the development of the story structure. Finally, the outline is used to create a short narrative of the story referred to as a treatment. These steps are intended to help build the story and discover potential problems before the writing begins. It is an orderly process. Personally, I've never found the creative process to be very orderly. The method seemed cold and clinical to me, and I felt a distinct need to get to know the characters better by writing them. I understood at the time that my approach, which I considered to be more organic, might result in a more circuitous path to a final script. While still useful, the step outline would serve, for me, in final review as an evaluative tool of structure. This description of my journey through the writing of A Cautionary Tail is not intended as a recommended path for others, but rather as an examination of what I experienced as I learned both the art and craft of screenwriting. A Cautionary Tail 11 Story Concept The original idea for a screenplay can come from anywhere. A Cautionary Tail grew from a writing exercise in a screenwriting class at the University of Central Missouri, taught by Dr. John Smead. The assignment was to write a simple scene between two characters. In order to make the scene more interesting, I decided to enhance one of the characters through internal conflict. I chose to make him an animal activist who worked as a taxidermist. I enjoyed writing the character and began to consider using him in my screenplay. I came to the project which finally became A Cautionary Tail wanting to write a romantic comedy. With the animal activist character as inspiration I decided to use animal sexuality as an underlying theme. I had written several short humor pieces comparing human and animal sexuality for a morning radio show several years earlier. I felt there was fertile comedic ground in the topic. The hero of the piece would be Jack. As Jack struggled with his love life, Noah, his friend the animal activist/taxidermist, would give him advice. His counsel would be based on lessons learned from the observation of animal behavior in the wild. After all, humans are animals too. Much of this advice would be extremely poor and lead to disaster for our hero. The screenplay was intended to be fast and funny with action pieces set throughout. To accomplish this, I needed an engine, something to drive the story's momentum. I needed a McGuffin. A Cautionary Tail 12 The McGuffin is most closely associated with the films of Alfred Hitchcock. It is a mysterious object that sets the story in motion. As Lucey (1996) states, "The object becomes the prize that the characters in the story are desperately seeking, which drives them to extremes of emotion and daring" (p. 203). An example of a McGuffin, is the microfilm in Hitchcock's North by Northwest. In the film, multiple parties are in deadly pursuit of the McGuffin. The audience is left with the impression that the microfilm is so important that the fate of the world hangs in the balance, yet we never discover exactly what it contains. Playing to my theme of animal sexuality within the framework of a romantic comedy, I developed my McGuffin, an aphrodisiac spraying skunk. Mangling the Latin translation for sexual animal gave the character his name, Caliga. As an animal activist, Noah would want Caliga to live. A hunter would want Caliga's head on the wall. This stark contrast is vital to creating conflict within the story. As Egri (1960) puts it, "The real unity of opposites is one in which compromise is impossible" (p. 119). A hunter would become the villain. The creation of Annie, the love interest, gave me the core of the cast, and I began writing. Structure Once I had a rough draft of the first act, I circulated it among friends and instructors for comment. One of my readers asked me which character I considered to be the hero. While I had envisioned Jack as the hero, Noah's connection to the animal A Cautionary Tail 13 theme kept pulling him into the conflict and therefore the spotlight. He was competing with Jack for the audience's attention. This represented a huge structural problem. It was the problem I had anticipated and feared, caused by my choice of the circuitous path. I decided to do a complete rewrite of the first act, with Noah as the hero. As I rewrote the first act, problems I had experienced in the first draft fell away under the cleaner structure. The resulting draft was shorter, and clearer in intent. Despite my lack of comfort with a textbook approach to screenwriting, I am deeply committed to getting the structure right. I was still struggling with one problem. Lajos Egri's (1960) blunt demand for a clear premise; "No idea, and no situation, was ever strong enough to carry you through to its logical conclusion without a clear-cut premise" (p. 6). The stated need made sense to me, but I was unsure of the specific premise for A Cautionary Tail. I felt strongly that I had a story worth telling. I even had the sense that I had already subconsciously included the premise. Clearly identifying that premise would enable me to maximize the screenplay's impact. I needed to know what the screenplay was trying to prove. I credit my confusion with the strength of the theme in what I had written. I kept trying to force the relationship between human and animal sexuality into the premise. Eventually, I realized that Caliga is just the engine driving the action. Animal husbandry is merely the theme, against which the premise is played out. The screenplay is about what the hero wants, and Noah wants Annie. A Cautionary Tail 14 The premise then derives from the obstacles Noah overcomes in pursuit of love. So what is the obstacle that makes Annie unattainable? What is the change in Noah that allows for his improbable victory in the final act? As often happens in real life, Noah provides his own obstacles. It is important that Hunter, the villain, is defeated. The true antagonist, however, is within. With a record of failure in relationships, Noah looks to animals for clues that explain how the mating ritual works. He is completely wrapped up in the effort to understand love, but never acts on it. He will talk until he is blue in the face, but what does he actually do? Does he express his feelings in any way through action? No, he walks up to the line, but he always steps back. In the final act, confronted by a more powerful adversary and an uncertain outcome, Noah finally, against all odds, takes action in the name of love. Yes, the villain still needs to be defeated, but Noah completes the hero's journey when he chooses to engage Hunter. It is his action in defense of Annie that ultimately wins her heart. The premise is love requires action. The premise came as no surprise to me. I consider myself a romantic. One of my closely held beliefs is that love is not something that happens to you, it is something you do. In short, love requires action. The premise I struggled so hard to identify, seems inevitable in retrospect. Character Characters are what make us care. A Cautionary Tail 15 Nunnally Johnson (Froug, 1991), pointed out how simple the act of creating characters can be; "Grover Jones, had a pretty elemental idea of picture storytelling; he'd say, 'When a man came out and patted the dog, he was a hero. If he came out and kicked the dog, he was the heavy.' Now that's a pretty simple idea, but goddamn it, you have to have that sort of thing" (p. 253). Since the theme of A Cautionary Tail involves animals, it felt very natural to have Noah participate in a literal pat the dog moment. Creating characters that serve the premise is more difficult, but essential to effective storytelling. Woody Allen (Lax, 1991) cites examples; "I think it's impossible to score in a film unless the audience is involved in one's role. Julie Christie could score in Darling or [Alan] Arkin in [The] Russians [Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming] or [Steve] McQueen in The Great Escape because not only did they do fine jobs but because the audience cared about the fictional characters they were portraying and their predicaments within the tale" (p. 222). The most compelling screenplays involve heroes exhibiting personal growth that enables them to overcome obstacles. If queried, many of us would describe the attributes of a screenplay hero by the qualities he or she exhibits in the final act. In the beginning however, the hero must be flawed. As Vogler (1998) puts it, "Flaws are a starting point of imperfection or incompleteness from which a character can grow" (p. 40). Noah, the hero figure in A Cautionary Tail, over-thinks his disappointing love life. He waits for love to happen to him, rather than create love through his own actions. His flaws culminate in the loss of his object of desire, Annie. At the close of the second act, he sorrowfully builds a shrine to a failed love. Confronted with a second chance in A Cautionary Tail 16 the third act, Noah chooses to act. He defends Annie. There is little reason to believe that his action will result in personal gain, yet he acts anyway, out of love. Noah has grown, and against all odds is rewarded with the relationship he desires. Vogler (1998) compares the hero's improbable turn in fortune to a death and rebirth; "In some way in every story, heroes face death or something like it; their greatest fears, the failure of an enterprise, the end of a relationship, the death of an old personality. Most of the time, they magically survive this death and are literally or symbolically reborn to reap the consequences of having cheated death. They have passed the main test of being a hero" (p. 159). The villain is created to stand in direct opposition to the hero. Hunter is Noah's worst nightmare. The conflict over Caliga is obvious. The threat that he poses to Annie, which confronts Noah's aversion to action, is even more important. Most villains do not view themselves as the audience does. Hunter, with some justification, views Noah as the villain. Hunter views Caliga as his property and Noah as a thief. The trackers that died, the servant who suffers, are merely collateral damage in the pursuit of his goals. Conflict Conflict is at the heart of engaging writing, as Egri (1960) notes; "A novel, play, or any type of writing, really is a crisis from beginning to end growing to its necessary conclusion" (p. 113). It is not merely the hero and villain who stand opposed to each other. Every character is unique. These differences create contrasts, even between allies. Lew Hunter (1994) posits that creating friction with these divergent viewpoints is critical when he A Cautionary Tail 17 states, "In short, never put two people in the same scene who agree with each other" (p. 19). Finding the differences among characters who share goals requires creativity. Linda Seger (1990) puts it simply; "Conflict depends on oppositional thinking' (p. 164). Thinking in oppositional terms was my goal throughout the writing. Writing Techniques The premise, built on character, conflict and outcome, provides solid structure for the story. The use of simple writing techniques enables the writer to hold audience interest and build entertainment value. Confounding expectations keeps an audience engaged in the story. Surprise is a basic screenwriting tool. Hunter (1994) suggests experimenting with surprise during the writing process; "Take the most obvious line a character can say, flip it upside down. If the person would say black, let him say white. See where that takes the moment" (p. 125). When Fred the Skeleton fulfills the role of Noah - his flesh removed by space aliens, the goal is surprise. Another method of intriguing the audience is to withhold information. Oscar nominated Screenwriter Walter Brown Newman (Froug, 1991) said, "I feel that a great deal of tension can be given to any scene, any character, by keeping the information to a minimum. As Hitchcock said some time ago, 'The one who tells you everything right away is a bore' " (p. 69). A Cautionary Tail 18 In A Cautionary Tail, the nature of Noah's artwork is a mystery until we share Florence Wegstrom's shock at his art opening. We are also left with questions about Caliga. The amount of information I could withhold about Caliga, without affecting the motivation of Noah and Annie, became a delicate balancing act in the writing. An audience's time is valuable. To honor that, we must follow William Goldman's (2000) dictum; "We must enter all scenes as late as possible. We must enter our story as late as possible" (p. 198). This compression increases urgency and excitement. A Cautionary Tail opens at the end of the hunt. We begin at the height of action. Foreshadowing adds resonance to a script. Lew Hunter (1994) draws an interesting analogy; "As jokes need to be set up in comedian monologues, so you need setups for comedy and drama" (p. 97). The Security Guard's obsession with alien invasion presages Caliga's ultimate reveal. The irony of his greatest fear being at hand is evident only in retrospect. A lesser example is Grandmaster's assertion that the catapult is "now capable of hurling a pigskin the length of a football field, while the pig is still wearing it." The metaphorical pig is Hunter. As a side note, I anticipate the audience to expect the catapult's use in the final act. It is a gun waiting to go off. The surprise comes not in its deployment, but rather that it is triggered by Hunter's beleaguered servant Drapeta. A Cautionary Tail 19 Economy of language was an important concern during the writing. As Lajos Egri (1960) states, "Save words. Art is selective, not photographic, and your point will carry further if unhampered by unnecessary verbiage" (p. 240). The concept, as explained by Woody Allen (Lax, 2007) applies to humor as well; "Also in jokes, in actual one-liners, there's something succinct, you do something that you do in poetry. In a very compressed way you express a thought or feeling and it's dependent on the balancing of words. Now, you don't do this consciously. For example, 'I'm not afraid of dying. I just don't want to be there when it happens.' In a compressed way it expresses something, and if you use one word more or less it's not as good" (p. 84). Humor Discussing humor in a thesis reminds me of the axiom, "If you have to explain a joke..." So, let's keep this short. Humor comes from many places. We laugh because we recognize a shared truth. We laugh when we are surprised. We laugh at the misfortune of others. The list goes on, but first among the reasons in screenwriting is character. Woody Allen (Lax, 1975) cites his inspiration; "Jokes become a vehicle for the person to display a personality or an attitude, just like Bob Hope. You're not laughing at the jokes, but at a guy who's vain and cowardly... You're laughing at character all the time" (p. 77). Much of the humor in A Cautionary Tail derives from Noah's inability to successfully navigate his love life, Annie's frustration, Hunter's quest for power, and Grandmaster's occupation of his own strange world. A Cautionary Tail 20 The Ending The three act structure implies an ending in which victory is achieved through the hero's personal growth. Additionally, as William Goldman (1983) notes, "A proper ending for a film is one in which an expectation is fulfilled for the audience" (p. 118). The goal for A Cautionary Tail was to fulfill that expectation for each of the major characters. Noah and Annie marry. Grandmaster's catapult finally works. Drapeta is free. In Hunter's case, he faces ultimate justice. Woody Allen (Lax, 1975) asserts that a comedy must accelerate in the final act. The final act of A Cautionary Tail races to give each character what the audience wants them to have. Caliga's fate serves as epilog. It is a final comment on the similarities and differences between man and animal. It is a coda that realizes Lew Hunter's (1994) stated objective, "The end is the beginning. Alpha and Omega. Rosebud at the beginning and end of Kane. E.T. coming in, then going out. A plane at the beginning and end of Casablanca" (p. 129). The film's circle is complete. A Cautionary Tail 21 CHAPTER 4: STEP OUTLINE 1. The Hunter, his man-servant Drapeta and two trackers chase a small animal through the jungle. Hunter shows disregard for Drapeta. The trackers pursue the skunk-like animal across a fallen tree, over a deadly gorge. Halfway across, they are engulfed by the animal in a cloud of musk. They embrace. Hunter pushes past the trackers, sending them careening to their apparent deaths. Hunter corners and traps the animal. 2. Noah shares breakfast with his dog Old Smeller. They watch a nature show about the mating habits of bees. Noah compares their behavior to that of humans. 3. Annie and her assistant Jenny are at work. They brainstorm ideas to increase revenue for the Medieval Festival. They decide they need a dragon. 4. Noah and his friend Jack dine at a fancy restaurant. Noah compares the sex lives of lobsters and humans. Jack tells Noah he needs to ask someone out. On their way out Noah takes a lobster shell from the plate of a stranger. 5. Jack checks in at work. Max, his boss, demands that Jack take a sensational picture that will sell magazines. 6. Hunter picks up a live animal crate at a warehouse. He threatens a thug. Hunter puts out a cigarette on Drapeta's hand. 7. Noah finishes getting dressed for his art opening. Talks with Jack. A Cautionary Tail 22 8. Annie and Jenny celebrate at a bar. They drink shots called Flaming Dragons. The bartender suggests Noah as potential dragon builder. Annie and Jenny drunkenly pretend they are dragons. 9. Noah opens his art show. He shocks art critic Florence Wegstrom with his bizarre art made of animal parts. She becomes faint. 10. Annie and Jenny walk towards gallery. Pretending to be dragons, they startle passers-by. 11. Hunter arrives in front of the art gallery. He smacks Drapeta with the car door. 12. Noah and Jack discuss Wegstrom's physical reaction to the art. 13. Annie and Jenny arrive at the gallery drunk. 14. Noah notices Annie. He flashes on a fantasy of himself and Annie as mating lobsters. Hunter searches for Noah. Jack is intrigued by Jenny. Hunter finds Noah. Hunter demands that Noah stuff the skunk. Noah tries to beg off. Hunter announces his intention to kill the skunk after analysis of its musk. Jack flirts with Jenny. Jenny throws up on Jack. Hunter refuses to take no for an answer and sets up a meeting. Gives the skunk a name, Caliga. Annie approaches Noah. She asks him out for lunch. Florence Wegstrom is startled by more art, swooning again. Drapeta is startled by Wegstrom, and he swoons as well. Hunter yanks Drapeta towards the door slamming him against the wall. Noah and Jack compare notes. 15. This is an establishing shot of Noah's neighborhood the next morning. A Cautionary Tail 23 16. At his loft, Noah and Jack discuss the legend of a skunk with opposable thumbs and aphrodisiac spray. They decide Caliga is real. To save him, they first must prove he exists. They plan to photograph Caliga at the meeting with Hunter. 17. Annie and Jenny arrive at the Institute of Dangerous Contraptions. Grandmaster welcomes them in. They sign the guest book. Annie takes Grandmaster's card. They walk past a hanging skeleton named Fred. Grandmaster offers them a homemade cookie. Grandmaster demonstrates a catapult with rotten vegetables. Annie and Jenny are covered in slop. Annie agrees to buy the catapult. 18. Annie arrives at the sidewalk cafe late for lunch. Noah explains his passion for animals. He discusses his hard luck in love. Noah details the romantic acts of the bowerbird. He tells Annie about Caliga. Annie invites herself to the meeting with Hunter. 19. Noah waits in a city park for Hunter. Jack, Annie and Old Smeller hide in the bushes. Hunter arrives. Hunter hits Drapeta. Scolded, Drapeta retrieves the animal crate from the back of the vehicle. Hunter lifts lid on crate so Noah can see Caliga. Jack tries, but fails to get a picture. Old Smeller reacts to the sight of Caliga's tail. The dog causes Annie to lose her hold on the camera flash. The flash goes off. Drapeta slams the crate lid. A cloud of musk drifts out of the box. Hunter threatens Noah. Hunter and Drapeta take the crate and leave. Noah criticizes Annie, and they argue. Old Smeller, affected by the aphrodisiac, humps Jack's leg. A Cautionary Tail 24 20. Inside Hunter's Hummer, Drapeta tries to calm an agitated Caliga. Hunter strikes Drapeta. Caliga tries to comfort Drapeta. 21. Noah, Jack, Annie and Old Smeller give chase in Noah's truck. Old Smeller gets the scent. Noah pulls the truck over. They give chase through the woods. Annie criticizes Noah's lack of stealth. They come to a fenced animal testing lab. Hunter's Hummer is parked outside. 22. Over breakfast Noah tells Jack his plan. He plans to enlist Annie in freeing Caliga. 23. Annie lectures two knights at the Medieval Festival on their behavior. Jenny threatens the knights with home surgery in case of workplace injury. Grandmaster delivers the catapult, towing it with his wrecker. Noah arrives, and parks his truck. Annie has difficulty communicating with the crew building the dragon. Noah apologizes to Annie. Noah suggests she join him in an effort to free Caliga. Grandmaster tests the catapult with a flaming payload. Noah's truck is destroyed. 24. Firemen finish extinguishing Noah's truck. Annie agrees to participate in the raid to free Caliga. Grandmaster offers to give them a ride in his wrecker. Grandmaster says he'll have to move Fred the Skeleton out of the passenger seat. 25. Grandmaster, Noah and Annie ride in the wrecker, Fred is bungeed to the back. 26. In the cab of the wrecker, Grandmaster admits to knowing Fred when he was alive. Grandmaster states that he was exonerated in Fred's death because Fred had signed a waiver. A Cautionary Tail 25 27. Noah, Annie and Grandmaster arrive at the animal testing lab. They decide to enter, despite the lack of a plan. 28. Grandmaster talks their way past a cleaning lady in the lobby. Noah steals lab coats for himself and Annie, and a security jacket for Grandmaster. 29. A Security Guard is posted in front of the animal holding area. He is reading UFO magazine. He is surrounded by toy space aliens. 30. Noah tries to convince Annie to use her feminine wiles to get past the guard. To help her entice the guard, Noah demonstrates a display of plumage. 31. The Security Guard plays with his space alien toys. Annie approaches. The Guard sweeps the toys into a drawer. Annie awkwardly tries to seduce the Guard. They talk about the danger of alien invasion. Annie tries to seduce him with a display of plumage. 32. Noah and Grandmaster wait anxiously for Annie. She returns, having failed. A frustrated Annie describes the Guard's obsession with aliens. Noah has an idea, and starts giving instructions. 33. A hotel valet exits Hunter's Hummer. He holds out his hand for a tip. Hunter pushes him away. The valet stumbles, stepping on Drapeta's foot. Hunter says it's time to pick up Caliga from the lab. They leave. 34. Grandmaster is on the roof of the lab. Noah, on a ladder, hands the rug from the lobby up to Grandmaster. Noah returns to ground level. He talks sweetly with Annie. They move closer anticipating a kiss. Grandmaster drops the tow hook attached to a bungee from the roof striking Noah on the head. Annie attaches the A Cautionary Tail 26 bungee to Noah. Grandmaster uses the winch from the wrecker to take up the slack in the bungee. Noah walks in front of the Security Guards window. 35. The Security Guard sees Noah outside the window. Noah feigns horror from above. 36. Below window level, Annie holds Noah to the ground despite the pull from the bungee. On the roof, Grandmaster flips on the yellow flasher taken from the top of the wrecker. Grandmaster turns on a vacuum cleaner stolen from the lobby. 37. The lights and noise from above bring the Security Guard to his feet. 38. Grandmaster pounds his chest and yells like Tarzan. Noah, screams for help against the space aliens. Grandmaster gives the bungee a final pull. Annie lets go of Noah. Noah flies out of view and onto the roof. On the roof, Noah continues screaming. Grandmaster gets carpet fringe caught in the vacuum creating a horrible noise. Grandmaster and Noah make more noise by running in place. 39. The security guard goes to the window to see what is happening. The lights and noise stop. Fred the Skeleton, wearing Noah's coat falls from above. Screaming, the Security Guard flees. Annie steps out of the hallway and heads for the lab. 40. The Security Guard's car leaves the parking lot. Noah congratulates Grandmaster. Hunter's Hummer pulls into the lot. Noah and Grandmaster run into the building. 41. Annie has difficulty finding Caliga. 42. Noah leaves Grandmaster at the security desk with instructions to stop Hunter. 43. Hunter and Drapeta charge past the cleaning lady. A Cautionary Tail 27 44. Noah joins Annie among the cages. 45. Hunter confronts Grandmaster at the security desk. Grandmaster has Hunter sign for Caliga's release. Grandmaster delays, accusing Hunter of animal abuse. 46. Noah and Annie find Caliga. 47. Grandmaster continues his stalling tactics. Drapeta responds to Grandmaster's ploy. Hunter strikes Drapeta. Hunter sees through Grandmaster's ruse. Grandmaster offers Hunter a cookie and flees. 48. Annie hides Caliga inside the shirt Noah is wearing. Grandmaster runs in one door and out the other as Noah and Annie watch. They follow. 49. Grandmaster exits past the cleaning lady. 50. Hunter enters the lab. He discovers that Caliga is missing. 51. Noah exits the building. Annie tells cleaning lady that Hunter has been abusing the animals. Annie exits the building. 52. Noah and Annie arrive at the wrecker. Grandmaster runs towards them, Fred clutched tightly to his chest. Grandmaster leaves a trail of paper as he runs. 53. Hunter and Drapeta reach the lobby. The cleaning lady confronts them brandishing a fire extinguisher. Hunter picks up Drapeta and throws him into the cleaning lady. 54. Hunter and Drapeta exit. Hunter finds Grandmaster's business card on the ground. A Cautionary Tail 28 55. Grandmaster drops Noah and Annie of at her car. Annie starts to drive home. Caliga claws Noah. Noah swats Caliga. Caliga releases aphrodisiac musk, filling the car. 56. Noah and Annie return to his loft. Annie helps Noah put Caliga in a cat carrier. They choose not to act on sexual tension despite Caliga's influence. She leaves, he stays, both disappointed. Noah says goodnight to Caliga. 57. Caliga lets himself out of the cage. He opens the fridge and drinks a beer. 58. In the Medieval Festival office, Annie complains to Jenny about Noah's lack of romantic action. Jenny tells Annie to force his hand. 59. Noah stumbles out of bed to answer the door buzzer. He kicks an empty beer bottle. Noah uses the intercom to tell Annie he'll be right down. 60. Noah brings Caliga to Annie's car. Noah tells Annie he wants her trust. Annie tells him she has no reason to trust him. Noah points out that trust or no, she continues to show up. 61. Noah and Annie take Caliga to Otis at the zoological lab. Otis decides that Caliga is a dog. Noah insists that Otis is wrong. Annie mentions that Caliga sprays an aphrodisiac. Otis decides Noah is manipulating Annie. Annie eggs Otis on. Noah argues his innocence. Otis gets depressed and sends Noah and Annie away with a dead wild boar. 62. Noah and Annie struggle to get the dead boar in her car. They bicker. Annie complains of the smell. Grandmaster calls, asking Noah to come to the institute to sign insurance papers regarding his truck. A Cautionary Tail 29 63. Grandmaster hangs up the phone. Hunter stands behind him with a knife to his cheek. 64. Noah and Annie pull up to the Institute. They jump out of the car to escape the smell. Noah retrieves the carrier. They find the door to the Institute ajar. 65. Noah and Annie enter the Institute. Grandmaster is stretched out on a rack. He asks Noah to sign the insurance papers. Hunter steps out of the shadows. Hunter charges Noah. Noah tries to slow Hunter with some of the contraptions. Noah pulls a massive electrical switch. The electricity arcs down striking Noah, instead of Hunter. Hunter tells Noah that he is not the hero he imagines himself to be. Hunter finds Caliga's cage empty. Noah helps free Grandmaster from the rack. Grandmaster lures Caliga back into the cage with a cookie. Hunter holds a knife to Annie's throat, demanding Caliga for her life. Noah refuses. Sirens indicate the arrival of the police. Hunter flees. Grandmaster hides Caliga. Police enter. Annie suggests that Noah may be a terrorist. The police arrest Noah. 66. Noah receives relationship advice from hardened criminals. A guard comes to release Noah. 67. Noah and Jack leave the jail. Jack tells Noah that Caliga is hidden at the Medieval Festival. 68. Noah sits at home with Old Smeller. He talks to the dog about losing Annie. While talking Noah absent-mindedly builds a shrine to love inspired by bowerbirds. A Cautionary Tail 30 69. Hunter sits in his Hummer outside Noah's loft. Noah exits and hails a taxi. Hunter follows. 70. The Medieval Festival is underway. Grandmaster assures Annie that the catapult is working. Noah arrives at the gate. Jack and Jenny inform Annie they've used Caliga's musk to heighten their relationship. Hunter and Drapeta arrive at the gate. Seeing Noah, Grandmaster asks him to sign insurance papers. Noah signs. Noah expresses regret about his treatment of Annie. Grandmaster encourages him to avoid love. Hunter attacks the Knights and takes their weapons. Noah apologizes to Annie. Annie rejects the apology. They part. Hunter captures Annie at knifepoint. He demands that Noah surrender Caliga. Noah refuses. Hunter throws Noah a sword. They fight. The battle takes them past Jack and Jenny. Jenny has Caliga on a leash. Caliga sprays Hunter. Hunter is unfazed. Noah trips on a rock. Jack hits Hunter with a turkey leg. Noah's fall lands him in Annie's arms. Annie kisses Noah. Annie pushes Noah back into battle. Hunter chokes Jack. Noah hits Hunter with the broadside of the sword. Hunter turns his attack on Noah. Hunter disarms Noah. He flings Noah's sword behind him. It lodges in Drapeta's foot. Noah uses whatever is at hand to block Hunter's blows, including Fred the Skeleton. Fred shatters under Hunter's sword. Noah falls amidst the bones. Hunter jumps on Noah. Noah uses a boney finger to poke Hunter's dimple. Hunter recoils. Noah gains leverage and kicks Hunter backward. Hunter lands on the catapult. Drapeta cuts the catapult rope. Hunter flies through the air to his death. Noah voices concern about being held A Cautionary Tail 31 responsible. Grandmaster produces a waiver signed by Hunter. Noah and Annie kiss. 71. A kiss seals Noah and Annie's wedding at the art gallery. Jenny is pregnant. 72. Grandmaster chauffeurs the newlyweds. 73. Drapeta returns Caliga to the jungle. Caliga uncovers a camouflaged spaceship. He enters and takes flight. 74. Caliga's ship enters a much larger ship. 75. Caliga calls off an invasion. A Cautionary Tail 32 REFERENCES Bjorkman, S., & Bokforlag, A. (1995). Woody Allen On Woody Allen: In Conversation With Stig Bjorkman. New York, NY: Grove Press. Campbell, J. (1968). The Hero With A Thousand Faces. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Egri, L. (1960). The Art Of Dramatic Writing, It's Basis In The Creative Interpretation Of Human Motives. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Field, S. (1984). Screenplay, The Foundations Of Screenwriting. New York, NY: Dell. Froug, W. (1991). The Screenwriter Looks At The Screenwriter. Los Angeles, CA: Silman-James Press. Goldman, W. (1983). Adventures in the Screen Trade, A Personal View Of Hollywood And Screenwriting. New York, NY: Warner Books. Goldman, W. (2000). Which Lie Did I Tell? More Adventures In The Screen Trade. New York, NY: Vintage Books. Hunter, L. (1994). Lew Hunter's Screenwriting 434. New York, NY: Perigee. Judson, O. (2002). Dr. Tatiana 's Sex Advice To All Creation. New York, NY: Metropolitan Books. Lax, E. (2007). Conversations With Woody Allen: His Films, The Movies, And Moviemaking. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf. Lax, E. (1975). On Being Funny, Woody Allen And Comedy. New York, NY: Charterhouse. A Cautionary Tail 33 Lax, E. (1991). Woody Allen: A Biography. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf. Lucey, P. (1996). Story Sense, Writing Story And Script For Feature Films And Television. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Margolis, J. (1997). Michael Palin, A Biography. London: Orion Media. Mernit, B. (2001). Writing The Romantic Comedy, From "Cute Meet" to "Joyous Defeat": How To Write Screenplays That Sell. New York, NY: Harper Resource. Morgan, D. (1999). Monty Python Speaks! New York, NY: Avon. Peary, G. (Ed.). (1998). Quentin Tarantino Interviews. Jackson, MS: University Press Of Mississippi. Perry, G. (1983). Life Of Python. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company. Rosenblum, R. & Karen, R. (1986). When The Shooting Stops, The Cutting Begins. New York, NY: Da Capo Press. Schickel, R. (2003). Woody Allen, A Life In Film. Chicago, IL: Ivan R. Dee. Schutz, D. & Brownstein, C. (Eds.). (2005). Eisner/Miller A One-On-One Interview Conducted By Charles Brownstein. Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Books. Seger, L. (1999). Making A Good Writer Great, A Creativity Workbook For Screenwriters. Los Angeles, CA: Silman-James Press. Shales, T. & Miller, J. (2002). Live From New York: An Uncensored History Of Saturday Night Live. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company. Shuker, K. (2007). The Search For The Last Undiscovered Animals. New York, NY: Fall River Press. A Cautionary Tail 34 Tulin, M. (1994). Aardvarks To Zebras, A Menagerie Of Facts, Fiction, And Fantasy About The Wonderful World Of Animals. New York, NY: Citadel Press. Vogler, C. (1998). The Writer's Journey, Mythic Structure For Writers 2nd Edition. Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese. Wallace, R. (1980). How They Do It. New York, NY: William Morrow and Company. FADE IN: EXT. DENSE JUNGLE - DAY Frantic birds explode out of the underbrush as two machete wielding trackers hack a path in front of them, intent on their hunt. Following the path they clear is THE HUNTER. Hunter wears the trappings of previous kills, and an ornate earring made of bone, hide and feather. He purposefully strides ahead. A conqueror. HUNTER Nowhere to go Stench Monkey. Struggling to keep up with his master, is DRAPETA. Of slight build, the turbaned man-servant is more pack animal than man, his load reminiscent of Atlas with the world on his shoulders. Drapeta reels under the weight. Just beyond the trackers a bit of tail disappears under the foliage, the RUSTLING plants tracing the movements of a small animal. The trackers are now in full machete-flailing pursuit. The prey flees. There is no advantage to stealth. They CURSE in an unrecognized tongue as their speed increases. A huge snake drops into view suspended from above, its fangs bared and dripping venom. Without hesitation Hunter grabs the snake and flings it behind him. His pace never slows. The snake slaps Drapeta in the face. His turban is dislodged with the impact. The shock completely unbalances his internal gyroscope and eyes wide, he careens wildly back and forth under the weight he bears before collapsing out of frame. At a dead run the lead tracker pulls away from his partner. His feet nearly come out from underneath him as he screeches to a stop, panic etched on his face. He teeters on the edge of a nearly bottomless gorge, one step from death. Nauseous from the close call, the tracker gulps to get his heart back down his throat. The second tracker bursts through the brush and puts on the brakes as well, but not before solidly bumping his leader. The lead tracker's arms windmill in an effort to regain balance. The second tracker reaches out and grabs his loin cloth managing to save him, while also inflicting the world's most devastating wedgie. 36. The lead tracker turns, rearranges his vital equipment, and begins to CURSE his "savior" using language in a way that makes us glad we can't understand a word he's saying. Drapeta is still careening through the jungle, but now the snake has unhinged its jaw and is trying to swallow his head, the snake tail flopping and flailing from side to side. Meanwhile, back at the gorge, the second tracker points excitedly past his still angry partner... More rustle. prey. The We see a flick of tail crossing a fallen tree that spans the abyss. The trackers pause at the edge peering over the chasm. They look back in the direction of the Hunter. The gorge clearly represents the lesser threat. The pair edge forward, BICKERING like an old married couple. Hearing a SOUND like a cat HISSING, they freeze. tracker takes a single tentative step... The tip of a reddish-brown tail lifts. the trackers. The lead A misty cloud envelops The trackers stand dazed. Their machetes fall from their grasps CLATTERING on the rocks below. They slowly turn, the small animal forgotten. Confused and awash with emotion they reach out to each other. Hunter emerges from the underbrush and, evaluating the situation on the fly, continues his pursuit across the fallen tree without slowing. He pushes past the now embracing trackers, not registering their plummet to a grisly death. Only the prey matters. Back in the jungle, with a sickening SLURPING sound, Drapeta pulls himself free from the snake. SPUTTERING and dripping in slime, Drapeta's head is grotesquely swollen and streaked red from snake venom. Hunter bounds from the far end of the fallen tree and approaches a small ledge surrounded by a rock face. It's a dead end. The animal cowers, mostly concealed, behind a scraggly bush and HISSES again as Hunter approaches weighted tarp in hand. Hunter hesitates, then grins. HUNTER (CONT'D) No more squirt in you? 37 . The tarp finds its target. Scooping up the tarp Hunter rises holding the writhing prize over his head and makes a sound somewhere between LAUGHTER and a ROAR. CUT TO: INT. NOAH'S LOFT - DAY NOAH, in his early 3 0s wearing jeans and a paint splattered shirt, stands in the kitchen of his loft making a smoothie with soy milk, protein powder, orange juice and banana. Even in the kitchen, art supplies are evident. The TV BLARES with the sound of an exotic theme song. His dog, OLD SMELLER, gallops in and jumps up on a kitchen chair. NOAH Hey Old Smeller! How's my boy? C'mon, our favorite show is about to start! Turning back to the smoothie he picks up the final ingredient. NOAH (CONT'D) Ahh... Tofu. Kissing the chunk of tofu, Noah drops it in the blender. Old Smeller cocks his head to the side and looks to the heavens. NOAH (CONT'D) That's why you're my best friend. You'd never tell anyone I kiss my tofu! Noah pours two smoothies. One in a glass, the other in Old Smeller's dish. He sits down for their morning breakfast ritual - a conversation with his dog. TV ANNOUNCER Today on Untamed Kingdom... The busy bee. There is only one queen in the beehive. The female worker bees are incapable of bearing offspring. The queen is the only female that mates. NOAH Those are really bad odds, aren't they Boy? And I thought I had it rough. 38 . TV ANNOUNCER When the Queen is finally ready to mate, she leaves the hive with all of the male drones in hot pursuit. NOAH I'd probably be a back-of-the-swarm guy. A little insecure... sneaking a look around, comparing the size of my stinger. TV ANNOUNCER She mates with only one, the first to catch her. The act is completed in flight, with the drone being disemboweled in the process. Now, knew left much done NOAH that is just wrong. The queen what she was doing when she the hive. She wanted it as as he did, but as soon as she's with him he's toast. TV ANNOUNCER When the remaining males return to the hive they are attacked and killed by the queen's sisters. Noah stands, pats Old Smeller and begins to clear the dishes. NOAH That's cold. If I ever have a son, remind me to stick to humans and never tell him about the birds and the bees. CUT TO: INT. MEDIEVAL FESTIVALS OFFICES - DAY The office is renovated loft space, with rows of dividers. The individual cubicles are decorated with the normal bric-abrac and assorted medieval touches. Regal wall hangings, toy knights on horses. ANNIE, in her late 20s, makes few concessions to fashion. She doesn't need to. She's naturally beautiful. Frustrated, she peers at the spreadsheet displayed on her computer. No matter how long she stares the numbers don't change. 39 . JENNY, who is in her early 20s, is dressed art-school casual with an endearing jester's hat at a jaunty angle to complete the outfit. She staggers up to Annie's cubicle with an armload and a half of various spears and swords. ANNIE Jenny, we are in deep trouble. The Medieval Festival is a flop. This comment card pretty much sums it up... Ye olde festival sucketh. Annie takes out her frustration on the defenseless keyboard. JENNY It'll work out, Annie... Some of the swords and spears escape Jenny's grasp and CRASH to the ground JENNY (CONT'D) ...it always does. We'll just make it better. ANNIE I don't know what else we can do. It's not like we can reinvent medieval times. JENNY (optimistically) We've got knights in shining armor. ANNIE Damsels in distress. JENNY Tarts and Trollops. ANNIE Over-priced turkey legs. JENNY Authentic medieval arts and crafts made in China. ANNIE The only thing missing is the Black Plague. 40 . JENNY ...that and our knights of the round table doing final battle with a flamebreathing Dragon. Annie stops dead in recognition of the idea she's looking for. CUT TO: INT. FANCY RESTAURANT - NIGHT Noah picks at his salad. He surveys the room. Across the table is his dinner companion JACK. Mid 3 0s and confident, Jack looks capable of playing the rogue. NOAH Thanks for coming out. Jack. JACK No problem, Noah. I don't mind talking about your love life. Please, just promise me we're not here looking for body parts. Noah is distracted by a nearby table where an older couple dines. NOAH That's a great looking lobster... JACK You're a vegetarian, but you lust after the leftovers of strangers. NOAH Amazing specimen. I've always been a tail man. JACK I prefer my women without antennae. Noah leans back. Throws his napkin on his plate. NOAH I don't know. Overall I think I prefer lobsters. If I acted like a lobster in my relationships I'd do better. I'm too nice. Lobsters? They don't court the females. They conquer them. 41. JACK Lobster envy isn't very becoming. NOAH If you want to talk unbecoming, the male lobster does suffer karma for his bad behavior. DISSOLVE TO: A montage of two lobsters engaged in struggle. As Noah continues, the pace of both editing and narrative increase to parallel the building lobster passion. NOAH (V.O.) (CONT'D) When the male gets the urge, he forcibly rolls the female over and stands on her. He's already excited and he knows what's likely to happen, so he puts his legs near her egg sacs. She wants to mate too, but only with the manliest of lobsters so she isn't making it easy. She's going to make him earn it. She keeps trying to get away - legs are flailing, claws are clacking... which is all pretty exciting in lobster world... and before you know it, BOOM! CUT TO: Noah leans forward, completely wrapped up in the climax of his story. NOAH (CONT'D) We're not even talking foreplay yet, but little lobster sperm are trickling down the inside of mister lobster's leg on their way to the promised land. The little guys get where they need to go, but there's really no sex involved. JACK I have never had that problem. Jack throws his napkin on his plate. 42 . JACK (CONT'D) C'mon Noah, you're not a crustacean, you're a man! Try asking a girl out. NOAH You're more confident than I am with women. I guess I'm just looking for a secret... the key. JACK I suggest human behavior. NOAH When you did that photo shoot for National Explorer, the one with the topless indigenous women?... If that was me, I'm not sure I could even look through the viewfinder. JACK National Explorer is not exactly Girls Gone Wild. There is nothing sexual about my work. Jack gets up from the table. NOAH C'mon, most seventh-grade boys have your better shots marked with postit notes in case of emergency. Noah rises, tosses cash on the table and follows Jack towards the exit. JACK I suppose my spread on the great pyramids was a turn on for you. NOAH There were some highly suggestive hieroglyphics. JACK Yeah, your dream date, Cleopatra's body with the head of Anubis, the dog god... It's never simple with you. As Jack exits, Noah approaches the table of the well-dressed couple, and snatches the lobster shell off the man's plate. 43 . NOAH Are you done with that? Noah follows Jack out the exit. Thanks. The diners look on in shock. CUT TO: INT. NATIONAL EXPLORER OFFICE - DAY Jack's editor MAX, in his mid-60s, has his shirt sleeves rolled up, collar open and tie loosened. He chain smokes in blatant disregard of the no-smoking sign on the wall. A coffee pot in the corner tries to keep up with his intake. Max is a prime candidate for a nervous breakdown, if only he had the time. Jack, with his ever-present Nikon SLR slung over his shoulder, stops at Max's door, ducking to avoid a hurled ashtray. JACK (To Noah) C'mon in, acting as my human shield will only take a minute. Noah picks up a piece of the ashtray. NOAH Okay, but watch the face, I've got my art show tonight. MAX Crap, crap, crap! JACK Glad to see you're in a better mood today Max. Got any work for me? MAX Your next assignment is to get your head out of your ass and bring me something new. Something fresh. Something that will help sell this rag. Max takes a deep drag on his cigarette taking it all the way down to the filter. JACK That rules out the nude pictures of your wife. 44 . MAX Crap. Max flicks the butt into his coffee cup. JACK (to Noah) Really he's a teddy bear... just loves me. Max looks at and rejects every photo on his desk. MAX Crap! Crap! Crap! Mind-numbing, stomach turning, no talent... Max pauses, and absentmindedly swills the coffee and cigarette mix. He spits and stares into his cup with disgust. MAX (CONT'D) Crap. Get me something that sells magazines. You want to keep your job? Get me a picture of a miracle. CUT TO: INT. WAREHOUSE - DAY The warehouse is dark and dirty. The only sign of life is an unshaven WAREHOUSE THUG, dressed in work clothes, who leans against a stack of boxes. He pulls out a cigarette and lights up. Hunter appears in the doorway, followed by Drapeta, who once again serves as a pack animal. Hunter approaches the Warehouse Thug coming nose to nose, and holds out an envelope. His personal space violated, the thug holds his ground. HUNTER This should cover the shipment and your discretion. Leering, the Warehouse Thug takes the envelope. He takes the freshly lit cigarette from his lips and holds it out to Hunter. WAREHOUSE THUG Little help? Hunter takes the cigarette as the Warehouse Thug turns to get the crate. 45 . Hunter examines the cigarette and holds it aloft. HUNTER Drapeta. Drapeta scurries to his master's side and holds out his open palm. Hunter grinds the cigarette out on Drapeta's hand before flicking it towards the door. Drapeta's eyes widen comically as he bites his other hand to stifle a scream. The Warehouse Thug returns, thrusting a crate with large air holes at Hunter. The rough exchange triggers a WHIMPER from inside the crate. WAREHOUSE THUG Been a pleasure. Hunter roughly passes the crate to Drapeta, who staggers with the package's sudden arrival. Hunter turns on the thug. HUNTER Speak to anyone about our meeting today, and I promise the pleasure will be mine. It will come at your expense. The smile leaves the Thug's face. He swallows hard. CUT TO: INT. NOAH'S LOFT - NIGHT The loft serves as both living quarters and art studio. Various sculptural supplies are scattered about. Noah is dressed for the evening to come. Obviously nervous, he's in constant motion fidgeting with his clothes and hair. Jack, similarly dressed, arrives via the freight elevator. JACK Good evening, Noah. Tonight I give you a lesson in love, human style. NOAH I don't know what you're talking about. I'm going to be completely consumed with a bunch of selfimportant art critics, who are paid to destroy in fifteen minutes what (MORE) 46 . NOAH (CONT'D) I've been working on for the last three years. JACK Watch and learn my friend. I'm going to find a rich female patron of the arts who wants to keep me as her sex slave. We'll make videos you can watch with your dog over breakfast. NOAH I didn't think I could be more nauseous tonight. Noah and Jack head for the exit. JACK Don't worry, with your artwork there'll be a lot of nauseous people around tonight. CUT TO: INT. UGLY FRANK'S PUB - NIGHT Ugly Frank's is a friendly neighborhood joint. It's jumping tonight with a boisterous crowd eating greasy bar food and imbibing all manner of spirits. Annie and Jenny are at the bar, surrounded by bottles and shot glasses. Jenny is still wearing her jester's hat. Lopsided grins suggest we're joining a big night already well in progress. JENNY I never knew brainstorming could be so much fun. Jenny shakes one of the points of her Jester's hat, RINGING the bell at Annie. ANNIE And productive! We've figured out how to save the formerly financiallytroubled medieval festival. Annie and Jenny clink glasses. 47 . ANNIE (CONT'D) And all we need now is a 3 0-foot tall fire-breathing dragon! JENNY How about that guy over there? Annie turns and squints in concentration to see an enormous fashion-challenged man sitting at the bar. ANNIE Not tall enough. Jenny turns her attention to the bartender. JENNY Frank! He is the FRANK in Ugly Frank's Pub, but he's not really all that bad looking. He's more of the favorite uncle type. FRANK What'11 it be? JENNY Do you serve flaming dragons? Frank sets up two shot glasses and begins to fill a shaker with equal parts green chartreuse and Bacardi 151 rum. FRANK As long as they pay their tab I've got nothing against them. Frank pours the shots and sets them on fire. JENNY C'mon Annie... Jenny hoists her shot. JENNY (CONT'D) ...down with the dragon! In unison, Annie and Jenny chug the flaming shots, SLAM the shot glasses on the bar, claw the air with both hands and ROAR like dragons before collapsing in a fit of GIGGLES. JENNY (CONT'D) That was great. So empowering! Tonight, I am a dragon! 48 . ANNIE (too seriously) Frank, we've got a medieval festival to save. Do you know where we can get a 30-foot tall fire-breathing dragon? FRANK My friend Noah has his opening tonight. He's an artist. He might have some ideas. Gallery's just down the street. The fresh air will do you good, and there's free food. ANNIE Food sounds like a good idea, I don't know how many flaming dragons I have left in me. JENNY I've got one in me, and he wants out! RAAAARGH! Jenny rears back clawing at the air and falls backwards off her barstool, and out of frame. CUT TO: INT. ART GALLERY - NIGHT Upscale and trendy, the gallery has white walls with track lighting and hardwood floors. Well-dressed attendees mill about. Most carry wine flutes, CHATTING idly. The crowd obscures the art on display. We see Jack in his shoulder. gallery owner, stylish, leads arm. the background, the Nikon casually slung over Noah mingles near the entrance as ALEXIS, the approaches. Alexis, in her early 40s and an impeccably dressed woman gently by the ALEXIS Noah, I'd like you to meet Florence Wegstrom. She's here to cover your show for the Times. FLORENCE WEGSTROM, mid-60s, is matronly, pompous and snooty. She enjoys the power she wields as an art critic a little too much. Self absorption keeps her from noticing how at odds her breeding puts her with Noah. The pair walk towards the gallery proper, where Noah's work is displayed. 49. FLORENCE I'm afraid I'm unfamiliar with your work. I'm quite aware of all the promising young artists. Noah's face registers the not so veiled insult. NOAH I'm not surprised you don't know my work. To be honest, I don't show much. I have a hard time coming up with the right art supplies. FLORENCE One must have the proper materials. What medium do you use? Bronze? Stone? Resin? We, and Florence, see Noah's work. Taxidermy with a twist. It is comically bizarre. It starts with the head of a donkey. Its lips, pulled back in a cartoon grin, are punctuated with fangs that belong on a sabertooth. An enormous tongue hangs to one side of the donkey's snout. Where the ears belong, we see the enormous claws of the lobster Noah stole at the restaurant. From the Donkey's shoulder grows the arm of a gorilla, caught in the action of picking his nose. Florence, stunned, WHIMPERS and reaches out for support. NOAH Mainly road kill. CUT TO: EXT. ART DISTRICT - NIGHT Annie and Jenny weave their way towards the gallery. JENNY Now remember... Jenny puts her index finger to her lips signaling a secret. JENNY (CONT'D) We look human, but we are dragons. 50 . Jenny claws the air in Annie's direction. ANNIE As dragons, it is our sacred duty to terrorize the villagers. Annie and Jenny notice an approaching couple that are oblivious to the oncoming dragons. At the last moment, Jenny leaps forward clawing the air in the direction of the innocent. JENNY RAAAARGH! The man blurts out a startled cry, instinctively retreating behind his female companion. She smacks him with her purse. CUT TO: EXT. ART GALLERY - NIGHT A black Hummer, with ram horns for a hood ornament, pulls to the curb. Drapeta exits from the driver's side and scurries to the passenger door. As he reaches to open it, the door swings open, violently smashing Drapeta in the head with a sickening THUD, flinging him backwards to the ground. Hunter emerges and arrogantly strides towards the gallery. CUT TO: INT. ART GALLERY - NIGHT We see Noah's other pieces on the wall. A tap dancing giraffe with gills and big floppy ears. A dog with wings and an elephant's trunk. A Chimpanzee with a beak. Eyes bug. Mouths stretch impossibly. Everything completely out of proportion. The creatures lack all symmetry. Noah and Jack stand face to face. In the background we see Florence Wegstrom slumped in a chair, being fanned by Alexis with a show catalog, while a concerned crowd looks on. NOAH Do you think I've got a better chance of a good review if she dies? 51. JACK I think you've got a better chance of a good review if you die. CUT TO: EXT. ART GALLERY - NIGHT Annie and Jenny weave towards the entrance. ANNIE Now remember, no incinerating the locals. It's against the fire code. JENNY (hushed assent) Raaaargh. CUT TO: INT. ART GALLERY - NIGHT Noah stands alone in the crowd, looking towards the entrance. He takes notice of Annie, who weaves through the crowd sweetly inebriated. We flash back briefly to the lobster conquest montage. Noah tries to physically shake off the image that's just flashed through his mind. Annie looks innocently in Noah's direction. We flash back to the lobsters again, but this time it's Noah peering out of a ridiculous bright red lobster costume. Noah turns away and rubs his temples trying to purge himself of his own Annie-inspired thoughts. Across the room Hunter scans the crowd, actively searching. Jack begins taking pictures of the opening. His viewfinder finds heavily jeweled women, clearly wealthy, but he continues to scan the crowd. His eyes fix on Jenny. Fascinated, he lifts his camera and catches her unaware. Jack DEPRESSES the shutter. And again. The NOISE attracts her attention. He's been caught. Flirtatiously, Jenny slithers up to Jack. 52 . JACK Sorry about the picture thing... (beat) I don't know. There's something about you... JENNY You're the first one to notice. a mythical creature. I'm On the far side of the room, Hunter finds what he's been looking for and bears down on Noah. HUNTER I need to speak with you about a commission. NOAH I'm sorry, your name? HUNTER Is not your concern. You can call me what I am, a hunter. NOAH Okay... Hunter, but I'm not really a taxidermist. I'm an artist. If you have a deer head you need mounted I can refer you... HUNTER I am a hunter, but not a common one, and I have no need for a common taxidermist. I have captured the rarest animal on earth, the Caliga of legend. I am having samples taken, and once I have verified that I can replicate his musk, he can take his rightful place on my wall... from the neck up. Jenny and Jack are oblivious to the drama playing out nearby. Jenny's increasing equilibrium issues do nothing to discourage Jack's interest. He offers her his hand. JACK My name is Jack. Jenny smiles at him, slightly wobbles and throws up on his shoes. Jack stands speechless. 53 . JENNY (apologetically) That was supposed to be fire. We return to the confrontation, where Hunter continues to press Noah. HUNTER We will meet tomorrow. You will see your subject before I take him to the lab. A man who feels about animals as you do should embrace this opportunity. To hold a legend and know its truth... To know Caliga. Hunter turns and strides away. Annie stumbles into the space he vacates. She realizes Noah is most likely the artist she is looking for, but isn't prepared to find him desirable. Her sudden and unexpected attraction to Noah flusters her. She begins to babble. ANNIE Are you Noah? Sorry to barge in, it looked like you were having fun with the great white hunter over there, but I crashed your party because I need a fire-breathing beast to save my job, and Ugly Frank says you can build it for me. Drunkenly, Annie reaches out and grabs hold of Noah's lapels in an overly familiar way. ANNIE (CONT'D) And now I've lost my friend Jenny, who has been attacking people because she thinks she's a dragon, but she's not. Can you help me? In shock from his confrontation with Hunter, a distracted Jack responds to Annie's mention of a dragon. NOAH You know, the Dragons of Chinese lore mated in both sea and sky, accidentally creating tsunamis, torrential thunderstorms, and hurricanes. There is a brief uncomfortable pause. 54 . ANNIE Cute, but weird. I've dated worse. NOAH (chagrined) It's always nice to know that the guys before me have set the bar low. ANNIE So, lunch tomorrow? Hunter cuts through the crowd to the exit. to keep up. Drapeta scurries They near Florence Wegstrom, who is standing, surrounded by paramedics. She turns towards Hunter to see what the fuss is about and comes face to face with a possum that has the mouth of a lion and Ostrich feet. She SQUEALS, eyes rolling back in her head and swoons backwards. Frightened by the noise, Drapeta looks up, sees Florence and he SCREAMS and begins to swoon. Hunter reaches back, grabs Drapeta and yanks him towards the door, slamming him against the wall along the way. Jack straightens up after his encounter with Jenny. The party swirls around him. A stunned Noah backs into the frame bumping into Jack. They turn and face each other. Both in shock. JACK I have a date with a mythical animal. NOAH So do I. CUT TO: EXT. NOAH'S NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY The sun is low in the morning sky. with early commuters. The streets are busy CUT TO: 55 . INT. NOAH'S LOFT - DAY Jack steps out of the elevator with two small white sacks. He finds Noah sitting bleary eyed at his computer. Noah is surrounded by a jumble of books and papers, the wreckage of a night's research. JACK Brought you a bagel. Jack hands over one of the sacks. He gets a good look at Noah for the first time since arriving. JACK (CONT'D) Man, Noah... You're starting to look like your road kill. NOAH Couldn't sleep last night. doing some research. I was JACK This about Ernest Hemingway and his mythical animal? NOAH Yeah, according to legend Caliga is about the size of a dog, hands with fingers, and opposable thumbs. It turns out Caliga comes from a Latin root word. It means sexual animal. Jack snaps his fingers JACK And just like that I've got a new nickname. NOAH It has a musk gland that produces a horrible smelling fluid that it sprays when it feels threatened, Just like a skunk... JACK A skunk with opposable thumbs. It's a wonder they haven't taken over the world. 56 . NOAH ...but THIS skunk's spray is an amazingly powerful aphrodisiac. JACK (incredulous) Aphrodisiac? (thinking) Can you milk it? NOAH Its effects on the libido are overpowering. It works on everyone, and everything. Men, women, animals... JACK So, if I held this thing over Carol in accounting and gave it a big squeeze... NOAH Jack, if you were here alone and got sprayed, you'd be in love with your bagel. Jack picks up his bagel and closing one eye peers through the hole. JACK A little cream cheese you might be right. NOAH (intense concern) He's going to kill it. JACK No way. Why kill the golden goose? NOAH He said the lab work would be done soon. If he finds a way to synthesize the musk, he won't need the animal alive. JACK ...but I thought this was just another bigfoot. 57 . NOAH I know, but if it doesn't exist whywould he need me? JACK And if he wasn't going to kill it why would he need you? Jack and Noah's eyes meet. The improbable truth sinks in. JACK (CONT'D) Call the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Noah uses his hand to mimic a phone receiver. NOAH Hello ASPCA? I'd like to report a guy who's going to kill a unicorn... Jack, this is so unbelievable. If it's true, we'll need evidence. JACK So meet the guy while I hide in the shadows. I'll take a picture that saves my ass at work and gives you the proof you need. NOAH ...and then he kills us. it's a perfect plan. I love it, CUT TO: EXT. INSTITUTE OF DANGEROUS CONTRAPTIONS - DAY Annie and Jenny, sunglasses in place, walk gingerly towards a doorway with a prominent sign to the side that reads The Institute of Dangerous Contraptions. Each step is painful, and is often accompanied by the soft MOAN of the dead and the dying. These are the two most pathetic creatures alive. JENNY Doesn't matter how bad we need 'em, our health plan doesn't cover brain transplants. ANNIE I don't care about getting a new one. I just want this one removed. 58 . JENNY I'm not sure that keeping this appointment is the answer. ANNIE Don't have any choice. We're on deadline. The festival opens day after tomorrow, and we need to stage a battle with a dragon. They make their way to an enormous wooden double door with huge metal knockers. ANNIE (CONT'D) I figure if you want stuff flying through the air, who better than the Institute of Dangerous Contraptions? Annie grasps one of the oversized knockers Ooh... JENNY This is going to hurt. She KNOCKS as Jenny clutches her temples. The doors swing open to reveal the awkwardly flamboyant GRANDMASTER. His fashion sense is lost in time. His only concession to modern times is his ever-present clipboard. It is obvious that Grandmaster has a highly developed, yet misplaced, intellect. He is completely at ease in trying too hard. GRANDMASTER Good morning Fair damsels! It is a rare honor to have such beautiful women visit our humble establishment! Actually it's rare for women to be here at all. Annie and Jenny step inside. The Grandmaster bows and on rising gestures with a flourish towards a guest book on a stand. GRANDMAS TER (CONT'D) Please come in. Sign our guest book. The guestbook is actually a clipboard. Annie signs first. Grandmaster turns the page, and Jenny signs as well. Grandmaster carries the clipboard with him. 59 . GRANDMAS TER (CONT1D) I am the Grandmaster and Overlord of the Institute of Dangerous Contraptions! It's on my business cards. Annie examines the offered card. ANNIE It must take a lot of time to write each one of these out by hand. Standing at the doorway to the main hall, is a human skeleton. As the Grandmaster leads them past, he reaches over and pats the skull. GRANDMASTER Standing guard over our inner sanctum, my friend Fred. They walk through a laboratory environment filled with dangerous contraptions in varying stages of readiness. Some devices are recognizable - battering rams, antique artillery and various implements of torture. Others are mechanical nightmares, a patched together mish-mash of blades, hammers and flame throwers. The workers who putter on the various gadgets all suffer from some form of infirmity. Smiles with gaps where teeth belong, a seemingly crooked man with a halo neck brace, arm and leg casts, crutches, scars, missing limbs... these truly are dangerous contraptions. GRANDMASTER (CONT'D) We were going to call it the Institute of Dangerous Contraptions and Bakery, but that just invites a visit from the Health Department. Cookie? Grandmaster pulls a cookie from his pocket. GRANDMASTER (CONT'D) They're made with a secret ingredient. ANNIE Would that secret ingredient make them perfect items to sell in the parking lot at a Dead concert? Grandmaster lifts one eyebrow, smiles, and takes a bite. 60 . JENNY (whispering) I think the secret ingredient is lint. GRANDMASTER So, you're in the market for a catapult? ANNIE One that is historically accurate. Behind Grandmaster we see a computer simulation of a catapult in action. GRANDMASTER That's the beauty of it. We know that catapults were used in medieval combat, but no plans or artifacts survive. So we can make them totally badass and who's to say we didn't get it right! They stop in front of a massive catapult. Built on wheels, it is intended to be mobile. Two workers wearing coveralls and nose clips are busy with shovels, filling the basket at the end of the catapult's arm. The arm strains against its rope tether, ready to fire. ANNIE Are those rotten vegetables? GRANDMASTER The farmers' market is very generous with us. We used to use rocks until Marvin had his accident. MARVIN is propped up in a chair. He is cross-eyed, missing teeth, completely disheveled, unable to control his own saliva and as happy as he is clueless. He gives a little wave. JENNY Even if this works we still don't have our dragon. ANNIE Don't you remember? You are the dragon. Fire-breathing barf and all. 61. JENNY At least I was trying to incinerate people like a dragon is supposed to. You on the other hand... Jenny wiggles her fingers in the air like a sorcerer conjuring a spell. JENNY (CONT'D) ...were trying your hypnotic-dragonseduction routine. ANNIE Dammit, I forgot! I'm supposed to meet Noah for lunch! GRANDMASTER Here we go! Grandmaster takes a machete and CUTS the rope. The catapult violently swings around... too far around, SLAMMING the vegetables violently to the ground directly in front of the contraption. The rancid stew flies everywhere. Annie and Jenny are drenched in pulverized rotten vegetable mush. Annie removes her sunglasses, her eyes the only part of her face spared the vegetable slop. GRANDMASTER (CONT'D) Of course we're still tinkering with it. ANNIE We'll take it. CUT TO: EXT. SIDEWALK CAFE - DAY Noah sits alone at one of several tables behind a wrought iron fence. A taxi comes to a screeching halt and Annie jumps out, completely harried, still primping. Noah smiles. He casually checks his watch. The waiter shows Annie to his table. ANNIE I am so sorry I'm late. Don't worry.NOAH (MORE) 62 . NOAH (CONT'D) It was fun watching you come screaming up. You were in such a hurry, I swear your nostrils were flaring... You were on fire! I guess I should expect that from a dragon. ANNIE You slay me. NOAH I should be honest up front. I can't really help you out with the dragon you want me build. To do a dragon right, I'd need about forty-five hundred lizards that have all died of natural causes. Annie's disappointment is tempered by her attraction for Noah. She'll make the best of the situation. ANNIE Papier-mache? NOAH Papier-mache. ANNIE You know the reason Frank pointed me in your direction in the first place was the way you use animals in your art. You have to admit it's a little weird. So what is it that makes a man want to piece together a squirrel and a baboon? NOAH My dad was a taxidermist, I picked a lot of it up from him. People would bring in these majestic animals, and pay dad to reduce them to trophies. I started wondering if there was a way to give them some of their power back... elevate them from trophies to art. Each part reminds me how amazing every animal is. If they weren't mixed and matched we'd just take them for granted. Noah pauses, Annie's smile encourages him to continue. 63 . NOAH (CONT'D) My girlfriend took off awhile back, and I was so immersed in animals, I guess I just started looking for answers there. I mean, we're animals too. Insects, animals, birds. Do they love? What is love? How do you make love last? Annie leans forward hoping for a happy ending. ANNIE What did you find? NOAH Well, everybody knows the praying mantis eats her mate, and you don't have to look too hard to find other horror stories... but I also found such amazing romance. A male alligator will swim under his mate and blow bubbles to caress her. Dragonflies mate in a beautiful midair ballet... But my favorite are the bowerbirds. ANNIE Bowerbirds? NOAH A bower is a shelter made from twigs and vines. The male bowerbird constructs it basically as a temple or shrine to attract his mate. As Noah explains, we see a montage of the bowerbird at work, which makes it clear, the bowerbird is the most romantic of all creatures. NOAH (V.O.) (CONT'D) The bower isn't like a nest. It can be over three feet wide. Once it's built the male begins decorating it, with flowers, berries, feathers... Anything shiny. The Bower has no purpose other than to win its maker his love. Noah fixes his gaze on Annie. 64 . NOAH (CONT'D) Bowerbirds particularly love anything blue, and since blue occurs so infrequently in nature, they've moved closer to mankind. We see the bowerbirds using blue paper to create their shrine NOAH (V.O.) (CONT'D) They search our litter for blue paper and trinkets to make their bowers irresistibly lovely. It's daylight, it's sweetly personal, it's early in the relationship. Annie changes the subject. ANNIE That's really romantic, but it didn't seem to rub off on that that foulsmelling testosterone factory you were talking to last night. NOAH No romance there, just a guy that wants me to stuff an aphrodisiacsquirting skunk. Annie gives a little SNORT of disbelief, but runs with it anyway. ANNIE Aphrodisiac? Great! That lets me off the hook for asking you out last night. NOAH Caliga wasn't there last night. So, I'm sorry, but you're responsible for your own pheromones. Annie looks down smiling, embarrassed. NOAH (CONT'D) I'm not totally convinced Caliga exists, but Hunter was awfully convincing. If it is real I don't want Hunter to kill it. So, in the grand spirit of adventure, we're going to meet him. 65 . ANNIE We? NOAH My friend Jack wants to hide in the bushes and take a picture. If the public finds out about Caliga, we figure Hunter will be under too much public pressure to kill him. Noah sheepishly shakes his head. NOAH (CONT'D) I'm sure we sound crazy, hiding in the bushes in the middle of the night in search of a mythical love skunk. Annie smiles. Whether the skunk is real or not, she sees an opportunity for a second date. ANNIE I've never been one to run from a high stakes snipe hunt. CUT TO: EXT. CITY PARK - NIGHT The park is deserted except for Noah, who paces anxiously near a lone light pole. Jack, Annie and Old Smeller lay on their stomachs behind some bushes 3 0 yards away. Jack removes the flash from his camera. JACK Can you hold this? ANNIE I'd rather hold a tranq gun. (beat) Not for the skunk. For the hunter. Headlights swing into view, its Hunter's Hummer. There he is!ANNIE JACK I'm ready. (CONT'D) 66 . Drapeta is the first out of the vehicle... ANNIE He's not so tough looking. ...and again moves to open the passenger side door. emerges. Hunter ANNIE (CONT'D) I take that back. Hunter whacks Drapeta hard in the back of the head, pointing behind him. ANNIE (CONT'D) Is that a turban or a bandage? Scolded, Drapeta hurries to the rear of the vehicle returning with the crate. Jack looks through his camera. JACK There it is. One good picture. Give me one good shot. Hunter smiles. He's enjoying the game. HUNTER Care to see the prize? NOAH It's not a prize. being. It's a living HUNTER As long as it pleases me, yes. Through the lens of Jack's camera, Hunter lifts the crate lid. JACK C'mon, poke your head out. Jack adjusts the focus. good look. Noah leans over the crate to get a JACK (CONT'D) Don't look in Noah! Make Caliga come out! 67 . The tip of Caliga's tail flits out the side of the box. BACK TO Old Smeller springs to life howling and straining at the leash. Startled, Caliga yanks his tail back into the box. Hunter look up in surprise. Noah and Old Smeller yanks hard against the leash, and Annie loses her grip on both dog and flash. The flash goes off when it hits the ground. JACK (CONT'D) It's official. We're screwed. HUNTER Drapeta! Drapeta SLAMS the lid shut. Wisps of Caliga's emission drift up from the box. Grabbing the cage, Drapeta heads for the Hummer. Old Smeller in hot pursuit. Hunter goes nose to nose with Noah. HUNTER (CONT'D) Be very careful my friend. I have plenty of room on my wall for an additional head or two. Hunter jumps in the vehicle and peels away into the night. A breathless Annie runs to Noah's side. NOAH Great! You fired the flash! ANNIE Hey, your dog is the one who did it! NOAH Yeah, and he ate my homework, How hard is it to hold a damn Jack stands alone under a street light, He's caught the dog, and Old Smeller is JACK I think he's got the scent. too! leash? holding the leash. humping his leg. CUT TO: 68 . INT. HUNTER'S HUMMER - NIGHT Hunter, still furious, is behind the wheel. He's in no mood to let the road dictate where he should be driving. Drapeta is in the back keeping the cage, with Caliga inside, from going airborne in the bucking vehicle. Caliga is agitated and CHATTERING loudly. His hand extends pleadingly through the small grating in the front of the cage. HUNTER Shut that monkey up! Drapeta, COOING gently, reaches over and caresses Caliga's arm. Caliga quiets. HUNTER (CONT'D) Now you're the one making noise. Hunter reaches back, STRIKING Drapeta upside the head. Drapeta begins to SCREECH sounding just like Caliga. Caliga reaches out patting Drapeta's arm. COOING sound and Drapeta quiets. He makes a gentle CUT TO: INT. NOAH'S TRUCK - NIGHT Noah's truck follows the rough trail carved out by Hunter. NOAH We're probably wasting our time. They've got a huge head start. ANNIE (defensively) I know I screwed up with the flash, but it's not like the fate of the world hangs in the balance. NOAH Actually in Darwinian terms it does. Annie scowls. Jack rolls his eyes. JACK Here we go. 69 . NOAH A powerful aphrodisiac in the wrong hands takes free will out of the mating ritual. You could spread your genetic material virtually at will. Control Caliga and you control the gene pool. JACK Next thing you know there are little bad guy juniors staging a coup at day care. NOAH Survival of the strongest doesn't necessarily guarantee a better world. JACK Evil infant warlords rationing juice boxes, and cutting out nap time for the weak. NOAH I don't want to live in a world that's genetically predisposed to the strong and mean, instead of the fair and kind. ANNIE We don't even know if we're going the right direction, do we? Old Smeller begins HOWLING and JUMPING around in the backseat. NOAH He's got the scent! Noah whips out of the is HOWLING end of the his truck over to the shoulder. Everyone piles vehicle, and heads into the woods. Old Smeller for all he's worth. Noah strains on the other leash. They are all but running in pitch black woods. Every branch to the face, or sharp stick underfoot causes Noah and Jack to WHELP in surprise and pain. ANNIE Yessiree, sneakin' up on 'em, the element of surprise. Good thinking boys ! 70. Old Smeller lunges forward, causing Noah to stumble and lose his grasp on the leash. Old Smeller runs ahead as Noah staggers to regain his footing. Annie passes by and slaps Noah on the ass. ANNIE (CONT'D) Hey, How hard is it to hold a damn leash, Cowboy? Cresting a hill Noah, Annie, Jack and Old Smeller face a chain link fence looking down on a brightly lit complex. Hunter's vehicle is parked outside a building marked BioResearch Industries. They are too late. Noah SHAKES the fence and hangs his head. CUT TO: INT. DINER - DAY Sunshine floods the old-fashioned diner. Eggs, toast and coffee are being slung by waitresses and devoured by the customers who fill every seat. Noah and Jack sit in a booth Jack over half-eaten eggs, Noah working on a stack of pancakes. JACK So, refresh my memory, you want to go to the Medieval Festival today, because a girl who spanked you in frustration last night is suddenly going to see that she made a terrible mistake and that you might very well be the love of her life. NOAH Well, yes... you know, I'm not sure that getting spanked is entirely a bad thing. JACK Because the fact that she touched you in any way automatically puts you one step above leper? NOAH She was a little sarcastic and a little playful. JACK That's wishful thinking. 71. NOAH I was thinking about last night. She saw Caliga. She knows he's real and that he's in danger. If I get her to go back to the lab, maybe it would go better this time. JACK What are you going to do when you get there? The lab doesn't have any reason to give you anything. NOAH I'm thinking subterfuge. JACK So, you yelled at a girl, she swatted your ass, and you're going to fix it with blatant criminal action. Noah gestures towards his plate. NOAH That's why I'm carbo-loading. CUT TO: EXT. MEDIEVAL FESTIVAL - DAY Annie and Jenny stand in a makeshift open air arena, a bare spot of dirt with some hay bales at the periphery. Annie is busy berating TWO KNIGHTS. Covered in chain mail and spiked armor, the two each carry massive swords and shields. They also sport assorted bandages and bruises. Despite their savage accouterments, they are meek and submissive in the face of Annie's rage. ANNIE I understand that drawing blood increases the realism, but it's not exactly family friendly. Not to mention the insurance implications, which I've asked Jenny to explain to you, because if it were up to me I'd rather take that sword away from you, cut off your heads and put them on stakes by the employees' entrance as a warning to all of the other idiots that make my life a living hell. Am I understood? 72 . KNIGHTS (in unison) Yes Ma'am. Annie storms away. JENNY Now you boys know that if we make another insurance claim our premiums will skyrocket. So in the event of another severed digit, I've been asked to bring my grandmother's sewing kit. I'm really good with a needle, but I recommend not cutting into the bone. Annie approaches scaffolding that surrounds the wire mesh skeleton of a monster in the making. The papier-mache is being applied by a team of workers from the top down, and the dragon head is clearly defined. In the background we see the Grandmaster still carrying his clipboard, dressed in fire-suppression gear, night vision goggles, and Viking boots. He and his minions are towing the catapult onto the grounds. The tow truck, an antique with an arm and hook in back, comes complete with a yellow caution flasher on top. There is an antique manual winch mounted on the front. It is a bucket of bolts. Noah arrives, parking his truck nearby. Noah walks towards Annie. Exiting the truck, Annie peers up at the workers ANNIE Any chance you could make it look angrier? CREW CHIEF You heard her boys. Put away the friendly paper-mache and get out the angry paper-mache. The Crew Chief calls down to Annie CREW CHIEF (CONT'D) Don't worry, Ma'am, we'll throw in the pissed-off glue, no extra charge. Noah approaches from behind. NOAH Catch you at a bad time? ANNIE Not at all, I .was just bonding with the crew over our shared sense of mission. NOAH Don't worry, everyone's going to be looking at the catapult anyway. ANNIE It's hard to make paper-mache a credible threat. I did try to model it after our friend last night. Annie puts on her best villainous scowl. ANNIE (CONT'D) (imitating Hunter) I have plenty of room on my wall for an additional head or two. Noah and Annie walk. NOAH Sorry to put you through all of that Actually I'm sorry about a lot of last night. It's no excuse, but I was wound pretty tight about Caliga. ANNIE I know, even with everything we have to do to get the festival ready to open again, it was the thought of Caliga in the lab that kept me awake last night. God knows what they're doing to him. Noah stops and faces Annie. NOAH I think we should go back and get him. ANNIE How? In the distance, SHOUTING through cupped hands 74 . GRANDMAS TER Ready for the test! ANNIE What? The minions set the catapult's load on fire. Leaving no time for protest, Grandmaster swings his machete CUTTING the rope, unleashing the fireball which flies straight and true... STRIKING Noah's truck which bursts into flames. A subsequent EXPLOSION lifts it several feet in the air before landing, now a charred, smoldering heap. NOAH (stunned) That would have been really cool if it wasn't my truck. Grandmaster's minions CHEER and congratulate each other on a successful launch. GRANDMASTER Fantastic! Great job everybody! A little more tinkering and we'll be good to go! The Crew Chief makes his way down from the ladder where Annie stands speechless. CREW CHIEF You do that every day, you don't need a dragon to attract a crowd. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. MEDIEVAL FESTIVAL - LATER Firemen pack up their hoses. The truck is a burned out shell. The surrounding buildings show signs of damage. A disheveled Noah, Annie and Grandmaster stand among the ruins. GRANDMASTER (to Noah) With all the fun we've been having, I'm surprised we still have insurance. I'11 have the papers for you to sign tomorrow. 75 . ANNIE (fuming) What am I supposed to do now? Nothing is working right. This is a disaster. I can't stay here one more minute. I'm ready for your commando raid. NOAH I don't have a plan. ANNIE I don't care. NOAH I don't have a truck. ANNIE I don't care. GRANDMASTER Got your ride right here. It'll be a little cozy, but a smidge of togetherness will just make us all that much better friends. Grandmaster pats the hood. We get our first close look at the cab of the wrecker. is a skeleton in the passenger seat. There GRANDMASTER (CONT'D) Just have to bungee Fred to the back and we're set. CUT TO: EXT. STATE HIGHWAY - DAY The wrecker cruises along, belching out a cloud guaranteed to single-handedly melt the polar ice cap. Fred the skeleton swings freely from the wrecker's arm. INT. GRANDMASTER'S WRECKER - DAY The three adventurers are jammed in the cab of a wrecker clearly intended for two. NOAH You sure Fred's going to be all right back there? 76 . GRANDMASTER Yeah, Fred and I have been through a lot together. NOAH Seriously, he's flapping around back there, and skeletons can't be cheap. GRANDMASTER Fred was. You could never get him to pick up the tab. ANNIE (incredulous) You knew him when he was alive? GRANDMASTER Fred helped me found the institute. When he died, he left his squishy parts to medical science, but he made sure I'd get the bones. ANNIE How did he die? GRANDMASTER I was completely exonerated in the inquiry. Fred signed a waiver. We're here! Grandmaster slams on the brakes. in research lab compound. They've come to the fencedCUT TO: EXT. BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY A typical one story industrial office. Our threesome stand at the periphery. NOAH Any suggestions? Still covered in soot and dressed in an outfit that screams alternate universe, Grandmaster is quick to respond. GRANDMASTER We should just walk in normally. No reason to call attention to ourselves. CUT TO: 77 . INT. BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY Noah and the gang enter a lobby warmly decorated with plush chairs and a fringed throw rug. A CLEANING WOMAN VACUUMS. Grandmaster pushes to the front of the group and shouts over the noisy machine. GRANDMASTER Excuse me, when are visiting hours? Clearly annoyed, the Cleaning Lady shuts off the vacuum. CLEANING LADY Nothin' to visit here 'cept monkeys, rabbits, and a bunch of little rat faced gerbils. GRANDMASTER So visiting hours are...? CLEANING LADY You can visit all day for all I care, just don't get any crazy ideas. It's bad enough cleanin' the cages now without you throwin' some unholy party back there. God never intended for Gerbils to be used that way. Noah forcibly pulls the Grandmaster away. Resisting, Grandmaster reaches back and gives the Cleaning Lady a reassuring wave. GRANDMASTER Don't you worry about us, we're very tidy. Tip-toeing slowly down the hall, Noah peeks inside a closet. Taking lab coats for himself and Annie, he hands a security jacket to Grandmaster. NOAH We may need these. Putting on their newly acquired disguises, they continue down the hall. Noah peeks around a corner. At the end of the corridor is an entryway marked Animal Holding. Windows run the length of the ground floor room. CUT TO: 78 . INT. SECURITY BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY Reclining, with his feet perched on the desk, is the SECURITY GUARD. Middle aged and pasty, his main qualification for the job is his willingness to show up for minimum wage. On the desk are various spaceship models and aliens. He is reading UFO Magazine. There are pinups on the wall of menacing little green men. You would think he is guarding Area 51. CUT TO: INT. BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY NOAH There's one security guard between us and Caliga. There's no easy way to do this. The rules of the jungle apply here. GRANDMASTER Go conk him on the head. NOAH I'm not going to conk him on the head. GRANDMASTER I gotta tell you, if I'm an animal in the jungle, and you've got something I want... I would conk you on the head. ANNIE Maybe you don't conk him on the head... NOAH Thank you Annie. ANNIE ...Maybe you sink your fangs into him. GRANDMASTER .or lock horns with him. 79 . NOAH Okay, fine. If you want to do it the animal way there is a simple answer. Annie will lure him from his post using her feminine wiles. ANNIE What feminine wiles? I don't just give my feminine wiles away! I'm not sure I know what feminine wiles are, but I'm not just throwing them around willy-nilly. NOAH All you have to do is display your plumage. Noah grandly extends his arms in demonstration. ANNIE Define plumage. Noah continues acting out the bird behavior. flattering to him. It is not NOAH When a male bird is trying to attract a mate, he'll often put on a show, strutting back and forth, displaying how beautiful his feathers are. Noah's arms are gathering steam. He's strutting, he's preening, he's really flapping now. NOAH (CONT'D) The more beautiful the plumage, the more desirable he is as a mate. ANNIE So, it's the male bird who displays his plumage! GRANDMASTER Yeah Jack, why don't you go and display your plumage! (beat) Or conk him on the head. 80 . NOAH (exasperated) I don't think my plumage would go very far with the security guard. Annie peeks around the corner to scope out the oblivious security guard. ANNIE I am not letting that guy get anywhere near my plumage! Noah takes both of Annie's arms in his hands. NOAH Annie, I'm not asking you to do this for me. It's Caliga. We have to get him out of there alive. CUT TO: INT. SECURITY BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY At the security desk, the UFO toys are fully mobilized. There is a battalion of green plastic army men in battleready positions on the counter, primed to staunchly defend the lab from the flying saucer hovering above them in the Security Guard's outstretched arm. He makes flying saucer SOUNDS with his mouth, but as the UFO swoops in attack, his mouth changes sides and we hear the rat-a-tat-tat of rapid machine gun fire. He glances up to see Annie, in her newly acquired lab coat, warily approaching. The conflict between aliens and the military is resolved with a forearm sweep into the desk drawer. SECURITY GUARD May I help you? Annie gives him her best forced-smile of seduction. ANNIE Why yes, I believe you can... An awkward silence descends on the moment as Annie realizes that she hasn't got a clue about what she's trying to do. Instinctively she picks up one of the plastic space aliens, twirling it gently between her fingers. 81. ANNIE (CONT'D) (seductively) ...so you're into space aliens? SECURITY GUARD We'd be fools not to believe that there is intelligent life on other planets. Annie leans in to deliver the worst pick up line ever. ANNIE Intelligent life on other planets... that is so hot. The Security Guard is more confused than aroused. SECURITY GUARD Of course, there is no reason whatsoever to believe they would come in peace. This is the richest planet in the solar system. When they get here, we need to be ready to defend ourselves with all of our combined military force. There's no telling what terrors they have planned for us. More silence. Annie needs to turn the conversation from alien invasion to seduction. Annie makes awkward seduction faces, her eyebrows dancing up and down. She follows that with a head flip towards the door. It's her pantomime version of let 1 s-find-someplace-quiet. The Security Guard stares at her blankly. Annie throws her head towards the door again. More suggestive eyebrows. There goes the head to the door one more time. Desperate, Annie begins to strut just like Noah's earlier demonstration. She's waving her arms. She's shaking it. She completes the performance with a shoulder shimmy that puts all of her assets in motion. The display now complete she brings her face inches from the unflinching guard. ANNIE So, what do you think of my plumage? 82 . SECURITY GUARD Define plumage. CUT TO: INT. BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY Noah waits anxiously with Grandmaster. Annie thunders around the corner. Her frustration comes out in a strangled primal NOISE. ANNIE If I ever hit the lottery I am so getting a plumage job. NOAH I'm sorry I asked you to do that. I was so sure it would work. It would have worked on me. Annie, mortified, fails to register Noah's compliment. ANNIE No, he's too worried about being abducted and probed. I could dance naked in front of him and he wouldn't even notice. NOAH What? ANNIE He's totally obsessed with UFOs and little green men. I was in full plumage display mode, and I swear he was looking out the window to see if the invasion had begun! Noah's wheels begin to turn. NOAH We've got to get him away from that desk. Annie, I'm going to need your help getting some stuff from the lobby. Noah turns to the Grandmaster. 83 . NOAH (CONT'D) ...and we're going to need some stuff from the wrecker. We'll meet you on the roof. CUT TO: EXT. HOTEL - DAY A valet exits the Hunter's Hummer handing the keys over to its owner. Holding his hand out to Hunter he gets a stiff push out of the way for his tip. Stumbling backwards the attendant steps on Drapeta's sandaled feet. HUNTER Drapeta! The lab should be done by now. I wait for no one. Time to get my stench monkey back. Hoping in circles holding his foot, Drapeta finds the open car door just in time as the Hunter screeches away from the curb. CUT TO: EXT. BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY Grandmaster is on the roof. Noah, nearly at the top of the access ladder on the outside of the building, struggles to give Grandmaster the rolled up area rug from the front entryway. NOAH Okay Grandmaster, let me know when you're ready. Noah descends the ladder, to a waiting Annie. ANNIE Noah, I hope this works. NOAH Well, the thing about plan B is that it's your second-best plan, and plan A has already failed. ANNIE It was sweet what you said about plan A... that it would have worked on you. 84 . Annie draws closer. Noah talks. Instead of taking the opening, a nervous NOAH Well, it was hard for me to ask you to do that, because I know a woman is more than just an object for display... Noah talks more slowly with every word. A kiss seems inevitable. They move closer. NOAH (CONT'D) Not that there's anything wrong with a display... fine plumage... great plumage really... The hook from the wrecker, bungee attached, smacks Noah in the head breaking the moment. GRANDMASTER Here it comes! Noah rubs his head. NOAH Thanks for the warning. Annie grabs the hook and wraps the cord around Noah's waist, securing it in the back. She tests it with a tug. NOAH (CONT'D) As soon as I'm gone you've got to get in there and grab Caliga. Annie helps Noah into a lab coat, the bungee extending from the collar to the roof above. ANNIE Got it. Annie drops to her knees and crawls along the ground just beneath the window level. Noah looks up to Grandmaster on the roof. NOAH Ready? GRANDMASTER Ready. 85 . NOAH When it's time, you're going to have to pull really hard. You're going to have to let out the inner beast. Affirmative. GRANDMASTER Beast. Grandmaster runs to an antique winch, commandeered from the wrecker, and now secured to the roof. Grandmaster frantically begins to turn the manual crank. The winch tightens the bungee cord, removing all slack. Noah takes a deep breath and begins to walk in front of the window. CUT TO: INT. SECURITY BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY The blinds are drawn just far enough so that from the inside we can see Noah's face, but not the bungee cord that extends upwards. The Security Guard sees Noah out of the corner of his eye, and sets down his magazine. Noah slows to a stop. growing horror. Looks up in mock confusion, then NOAH (mock horror) What is that? CUT TO: EXT. BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY Below the window line and out of view, Annie grabs Noah's legs holding on with all of her might. The bungee cord threatens to lift him off the ground. On the roof Grandmaster flips on the yellow flashing lights liberated from the wrecker, and TURNS ON THE VACUUM CLEANER they stole from the lobby. CUT TO: 86 . INT. SECURITY BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY The mechanical HUM and yellow lights drive the Security Guard to his feet. CUT TO: EXT. BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY Grandmaster strikes a heroic pose. This is as close as he will ever come to being William Shatner. Must... Beast. GRANDMASTER Let out... The inner... Magically transformed to Johnny Weissmuller, Grandmaster pounds on his chest with clenched fists and gives Tarzan's ululating yell. Grabbing the bungee he sprints for the opposite end of the building, straining against the cord. NOAH Oh God help me! Space aliens! Grandmaster gives one last herculean tug. Annie releases her grasp, and Noah flies out of the window view. Noah grabs the edge, and with Grandmaster's help regains his footing on the roof. Still shouting, Noah works frantically to get out of the lab coat. NOAH (CONT'D) No! Please No!!! Anything but that! Not the flesh!!! Grandmaster runs the vacuum over the rug, catching the fringe in the rollers. It makes an unholy GRINDING NOISE. Grandmaster and Noah run rapidly in place creating even more noise, in what must now sound like the end of the world. CUT TO: INT. SECURITY BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY The Security Guard moves to the window trying in vain to see what is happening above him. The thunderous grating NOISE, coupled with pulsating lights and the strangled cries from above are his worst fears realized. 87 . Then, suddenly, it all stops. No lights. No machines. No screams. The security guard presses against the glass straining for any clue as to what is going on above. Fred the Skeleton, now in Noah's lab coat, falls from the roof to land against the window face to face with the Security Guard. Clearly, the aliens have reduced poor Noah to his skeleton. SCREAMING, the Security Guard runs from his post. The coast clear, Annie steps out of the hallway and heads for the lab. CUT TO: EXT. BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY The Security Guard is out the door and heading for the parking lot. Noah and Grandmaster, just returned to ground level, look on in satisfaction. NOAH (CONT'D) That was perfect! We can relax now, take our time, find Caliga and go. Behind Noah, Hunter's Hummer swings into the parking lot. GRANDMASTER So, how many black Hummers with Ram's horn hood ornaments do you think there are running around out there? Noah's head whips around, registers the incoming disaster, turns and runs into the building, with Grandmaster hot on his tail. CUT TO: INT. ANIMAL LAB BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY Annie has made her way into the animal holding area. The room is lined with row after row of stacked cages holding a variety of animals. She is frantically going cage by cage in search of Caliga. ANNIE You're a rabbit. You're a rabbit. You're a gerbil. 88 . In the next row Annie finds more likely candidates. ANNIE (CONT'D) Here we go... You're a monkey, (pause) I think you're a monkey... You're not a chimp or an orangutan. You could be Caliga, but I think you're a monkey. Annie is looking for something she may not recognize. ANNIE (CONT'D) (extreme frustration) I don't know my monkeys! CUT TO: INT. SECURITY BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY Noah and Grandmaster careen into the Animal Holding area, stopping at the Security Guard desk. Noah turns to Grandmaster. NOAH Stay here. When Attila the Hun shows up, stall him. Do whatever you have to do but do not, under any circumstances, let him get past this door! GRANDMASTER Don't worry, he's not going anywhere. I'll make him respect the uniform. Noah sags behind a doubting glance. CUT TO: INT. BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY Hunter storms into the building with Drapeta bringing up the rear. The cleaning lady is in the main foyer, standing beside an open closet door. CLEANING LADY You here for the gerbil party? HUNTER I'm here for my skunk. 89. CLEANING LADY Takes all kinds, but that's a new one... The Cleaning Lady calls out after the departing Hunter and Drapeta. CLEANING LADY (CONT'D) If those guys have my vacuum cleaner, you tell them to bring it back here right now! I don't know what you do with gerbils and a vacuum cleaner, but it's bound to make a mess that I don't want to clean up. CUT TO INT. ANIMAL LAB BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY Noah bursts into the Animal Holding area. Annie SQUEALS. NOAH Did you find him? here! An already frazz The Hunter is ANNIE What? NOAH He must be here to get Caliga. I left Grandmaster at the desk to slow him down. ANNIE You have got to be kidding me. NOAH Don't worry, he's got a uniform. CUT TO INT. SECURITY BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY Grandmaster, feet up on the security guard's desk, plays with the displayed action figures. The Hunter storms in. HUNTER I'm here to pick up my monkey. 90 . Grandmaster slowly lowers his feet from the desk, picks up a clipboard and begins flips through the pages. GRANDMASTER Monkey's name? HUNTER (irritated) The monkey has no name. is Caliga. Ahh, yes. The species GRANDMASTER Here we are. Grandmaster turns the clipboard to Hunter, offering him a pen. GRANDMAS TER (CONT'D) If you'll just sign here, we'll bring your monkey right out. As Hunter signs, Grandmaster picks up the desk phone. GRANDMAS TER (CONT'D) Lab? Yes, we've got a Caliga pickup out here. (pause) Yes, I understand. I'm sure there won't be a problem. Grandmaster HANGS UP the phone. HUNTER Is there some delay? GRANDMASTER No, No. He'll be right out as soon as we finish bathing him and giving him a little trim. HUNTER (Angrily) I did not bring Caliga here for a spa treatment. GRANDMASTER (indignant) I assure you Sir, this is not about fashion. It is hygiene. (MORE) 91. GRANDMASTER (CONT'D) We would hate to have to involve the authorities with questions about neglect, much better to simply take care of it ourselves... but when you brought Caliga in, he had a bright red ass. CUT TO: INT. ANIMAL LAB BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY The scene inside the lab grows ever more chaotic. NOAH This should be easy. able to smell him. We should be Noah joins Annie in peering into the cages. inventory taking on an odd poetic rhythm. NOAH Their animal (CONT'D) Monkey. ANNIE Gerbil. NOAH Rat. Rat. Annie comes to Caliga's cage. pleadingly. His small paw extends ANNIE I think I found him! NOAH Get him out of there! ANNIE What if he bites me? NOAH You'll love everyone forever. ANNIE I don't want to love everyone forever. I treasure being flighty. I'm deeply attached to my female prerogative. Noah nudges Annie aside and slowly opens the cage. 92 . NOAH Come here boy, I won't hurt you. CUT TO: INT. SECURITY BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY Hunter's patience, such as it is, is failing him. HUNTER A bright red ass, as you so delicately put it, is normal among many primates. GRANDMASTER I wouldn't want a bright red ass like that. Turning to Drapeta. GRANDMASTER (CONT'D) Would you want a bright red ass? Drapeta shakes his head violently side to side. Annoyed Hunter SMACKS him and Drapeta falls out of frame. HUNTER When you picked up the phone, you didn't dial. He's busted, but Grandmaster pushes on. GRANDMASTER You clearly don't understand how things work here. This is the nerve center of our operation. Grandmaster picks up the handset. GRANDMAS TER (CONT'D) This is my hotline. When I pick up, I'm in direct contact with the Lab to better expedite time-sensitive matters. I'll have you know that my reaction time can be the difference between life and death. HUNTER Does the person you're automatically connected to always sound like a dial tone? 93 . Grandmaster lowers the phone. uncomfortable silence. There is a very long, very GRANDMASTER Have a cookie. Grandmaster takes a cookie from his pocket slamming it down on the desk. He grabs his clipboard and runs towards the lab in a blind panic. CUT TO: INT. ANIMAL LAB BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY Annie helps push the last little bit of tail into Noah's shirt. Both Noah and his under-the-shirt-friend squirm. Yeow! NOAH Little bugger's got claws! Grandmaster bursts into the lab at a full run, SCREECHING unintelligibly. He doesn't stop until he's run out of the lab through the opposite door. ANNIE I admire a man who's cool under fire. NOAH That's our ride! Noah and Annie bolt for the door, flinging cage doors open as they pass. One of the freed monkeys begins opening cages as well. Monkeys, rabbits and hamsters run wild. CUT TO: INT. BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY Grandmaster streaks through the lobby past the Cleaning Woman. CLEANING LADY If you made a mess, you can get back there right now and start cleaning up. CUT TO: INT. ANIMAL LAB BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY Hunter bursts through the doors into the lab, which is chaotic with lab animals running rampant. 94 . Drapeta, following closely, SHRIEKS as some of the smaller animals climb all over him. Hunter picks up and discards a few of the larger specimens. HUNTER They have him, but not for long. CUT TO: INT. BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY Noah and Annie fly through the lobby, almost running into the cleaning woman. Annie, doubles back and takes the Cleaning Lady by the shoulders. ANNIE (feigning shock) We were in the lab minding our own business, reading the animals some bedtime stories, when this big bruiser came storming in. What he did to those poor little creatures... Annie hams it up, and the cleaning woman is transfixed. Annie pauses to collect herself. ANNIE (CONT'D) I'm too refined to say it out loud but... It wasn't consensual! CLEANING LADY Oh, you poor thing. Don't you worry, you just go on with your friends. I'll take care of mister hamster pants. I've put three husbands in the ground. Ain't nothin' I can't handle. Annie sprints out the door. The cleaning lady turns towards the lab and pushes her sleeves up. CUT TO: EXT. BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY Noah is already at the wrecker. Let's go! ANNIE Let's go! Annie sprints to their side. Let's go! 95 . NOAH Where's Grandmaster? ANNIE Who cares? He's crazy, he blew up your truck, and he thinks he can stop a crazed giant with the power of his uniform. Let's go! I don't want to die. NOAH He has the keys. Grandmaster runs around the corner of the building and past the entrance holding the skeleton tightly to his chest. Looking up, his clipboard slips from his grasp and papers go flying. Grandmaster grabs most of the paper without breaking stride. GRANDMASTER Don't worry Fred's safe! leave now. We can CUT TO: INT. BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY Hunter and Drapeta reach the lobby, just in time to confront the cleaning lady brandishing a fire extinguisher. CLEANING LADY Put the gerbils down and step back! HUNTER I have no time for this. Hunter picks up Drapeta and throws him at the cleaning lady. They tumble to the ground, the extinguisher firing wildly. CUT TO: EXT. BIO RESEARCH INDUSTRIES - DAY Hunter exits the building, his adversaries already gone. Drapeta comes to his side, straightening his turban. Hunter reaches down and picks up a small piece of paper, a business card. 96 . HUNTER (CONT'D) Handwritten, how quaint. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. MEDIEVAL FESTIVAL PARKING LOT - EVENING Grandmaster has dropped Noah and Annie off at her car. Noah's shirt still bulging with it's squirming mythic cargo. The squirming is visibly making Noah uncomfortable. Fred is back in the passenger seat of the wrecker, strapped in with his seat belt. Grandmaster picks up Fred's arm and waves it in Noah and Annie's direction. GRANDMASTER Bye! NOAH Thanks Grandmaster! Noah and Annie get in her car. See ya, Fred! Annie drives. ANNIE You're talking to skeleton's now? Caliga is unsettled in Noah's shirt. NOAH Ow! Quit squirming! Noah gives Caliga a scolding pat. ANNIE Grandmaster really did have our backs when Hunter showed up. NOAH He's surprisingly helpful when he's not obliterating my truck with flaming aerial payloads. ANNIE Just be thankful you're covered. Who writes insurance on a flame throwing catapult? Noah jumps. NOAH Watch the claws dude! 97 . Noah jumps again. NOAH (CONT'D) Yeow! Noah swats harder at the agitated lump. On contact, Noah's shirt puffs out, and Caliga's musk fills the car. Visibilityzero . Annie slams on the brakes and the car comes to a complete stop. A voice comes out of the cloud. ANNIE Should I call poison control or a cheap motel? INT. NOAH'S LOFT - NIGHT Noah holds opens the freight elevator door for Annie. The loft is dimly lit. He still has a shirt full of Caliga. They are vibrating with sexual tension. NOAH There should be a cat carrier in the closet. Annie heads for the closet. Noah follows her closely. ANNIE You're going to cage him? Annie bends over to pick up the carrier, and of Noah is almost overcome at the sight of her vulnerable position. NOAH I don't want him getting out at 3 in the morning. They take Caliga from Noah's shirt, leaving it half undone. Noah puts Caliga in the carrier. ANNIE (breathlessly) Wow, that's like a train going into a tunnel. Carrier secured they come face to face, feverish with passion. NOAH I'm picturing us in the sleeper car. 98 . ANNIE Not sleeping. Noah shakes his head in frustration. NOAH We can't do it like that. ANNIE Tell me what you're seeing. I'm flexible. Noah takes Annie by the shoulders and pushes her away. NOAH No... I mean we can't do this because we got sprayed with love juice. I want to do this for the right reasons. Annie pushes closer. ANNIE Would me tearing off your clothes and throwing you down on the ground constitute a good reason? Even closer. NOAH I want this too, but how do we know it's right? They are trembling. ANNIE ...by the guilt afterwards? Noah pushes her away more forcefully. NOAH I don't want to make love with you just because of some lump in my clothing. Annie looks at Noah's crotch. NOAH Hello? Noah pounds his chest. (CONT'D) 99 . Caliga. NOAH (CONT'D) I was talking about Caliga. Annie's gaze is still locked in down below. ANNIE That's okay, you can quit talking. Hey! NOAH My eyes are up here! Annie finally makes eye contact. holds her at bay. Noah takes her arms, but NOAH (CONT'D) I really want you. But I need this to be right. What did you think of me before we got sprayed? ANNIE I really liked you. Except for times like these when you bug the crap out of me. Noah turns her and walks her to the door. NOAH ...and that is why we have to wait. If we do this, let's do it right. Their faces are close. their heartbeats. Noah leans in. You can almost hear Noah bites his lip and pulls away. ANNIE Okay. Well, good night then. NOAH Come back tomorrow morning. I have a friend at the zoo. Maybe he can help us figure out what to do with Caliga. Annie nods and steps into the freight elevator. close. Noah's shoulders sag in disappointment. The doors From behind the closed elevator doors Annie lets loose a primal yell of sexual frustration. The elevator descends. 100 . Noah slums back against the wall. Gathering himself, he walks through the loft towards his bedroom. As he passes the carrier, his finger drags along its edge. NOAH (CONT'D) Good night to you, too. Old Smeller lifts himself from the sofa, and falls in step with Noah. The bedroom door swings shut behind them. The light, visible through the door cracks, switches off leaving the loft blanketed in darkness. DISSOLVE TO: INT. NOAH'S LOFT - LATE NIGHT The clock reads 3 a.m. The loft is dark and silent. A small hand reaches through the metal grating, and lifts the latch on the carrier. The door swings open. Dimly, we see Caliga from the back as he heads for the kitchen. Grabbing the refrigerator handle with both hands, Caliga swings his body up and braces his feet against the cabinet next to the fridge. Using his newfound leverage he pulls opens the refrigerator, the bright light from inside silhouetting him in the dark. Caliga stares into the fridge. He reaches back with one hand and scratches his ass, never taking his eyes off the contents of the refrigerator. Caliga reaches in and pulls out a long neck bottle of beer. Still with his back to us, Caliga lifts the bottle to his mouth and pries the cap off with his teeth. He drinks. There is a quiet, satisfied SIGH, and the door swings shut plunging the loft once again into darkness. There is a long pause. Caliga BURPS. CUT TO: INT. MEDIEVAL FESTIVALS OFFICES - DAY Jenny is seated in front of her computer, engrossed. surrounded by medieval costumes and sewing supplies. hurries through the office, papers in hand. She is Annie 101. ANNIE Morning, Jenny. I'm heading out for a bit. I'm meeting up with Noah, although I'm not sure why. Jenny continues to stare at the screen. JENNY I was up all night finishing the costumes for opening weekend. Now I'm too tired to sleep, so I've been working on your first aid suggestion. ANNIE He's all about animal sexuality, but he can't even find a way to kiss me good night. JENNY I've been doing some research, and I think you're right. As long as it's just muscle and cartilage, I think I can sew them right up. ANNIE Last night I practically threw myself at him, and he acted like a total gentleman. I don't know what he was thinking. (beat) What did you just say? Jenny turns to Annie JENNY You're making it too easy. Make him work for it. The best thing is when you can get two guys to fight over you. ANNIE No, the part about sewing them right up. JENNY When two rams butt heads, they're not doing it because they're fond of concussions. They're fighting over a woman. Make 'em earn it, that's what I say. 102 . ANNIE I was just trying to scare the Knights, I wasn't serious. JENNY I know, but I can totally do this. Jenny motions towards the computer screen. JENNY (CONT'D) Skyrocketing medical costs are fueling a home surgery trend, with practice I can successfully remove your cataracts. ANNIE With practice? Jenny turns to Annie. JENNY You need to challenge him. Just make sure when you put up a road block, that it leaves him wanting you more. (beat) I'm still trying to figure out how to retroactively make throwing up on Jack's shoes, cool. INT. NOAH'S LOFT - DAY The sun streams through the windows. Caliga is back in the carrier with the grate securely latched. A BUZZER sounds. Noah stumbles out of the bathroom, fresh from a shower, wrapped in a towel. He kicks the beer bottle on the floor. Picking it up, Noah continues on to the elevator. He punches the intercom. NOAH Sorry, overslept, be right down. Noah turns his attention to the bottle. Looking around the apartment for an explanation, he shrugs it off and tosses the bottle in the trash. CUT TO: 103 . EXT. NOAH'S LOFT - DAY Annie is waiting by her car. from last night's rejection, cat carrier in tow. Her body language shows anger Noah comes out of the building, NOAH (sheepishly) Thanks for waiting... I wanted to get the Caliga off me. No manipulation, everything on the up and up. I want you to trust me. Annie SNORTS. ANNIE Let's see... I came to you for help making a dragon, you were no help at all. You've had me breaking into a research lab, and stealing animals. Got to be a felony, right? We're being chased by a nut job whose hobbies include maiming and torture. Not to mention that you stitch animals together like Dr. Frankenstein. NOAH At least I keep things interesting. ANNIE ...and even if you got it all scrubbed off. . . Annie motions towards the carrier Noah is putting in the back. ANNIE (CONT'D) ...you brought an unending supply of eau de skunk with you. You could squirt me up at any moment. I don't need to be embarrassed again by you reducing me to a mindless love zombie. So, it's going to take more than a shower to build trust. They move to get in the car. NOAH So many really good reasons for you to avoid me, but somehow or other, here you are. 104 . ANNIE I am only here for the skunk. CUT TO: INT. ZOOLOGICAL LAB - DAY Noah enters the lab with the cat carrier, followed closely by Annie. The lab is antiseptic. White walls. Metal tables. One of the tables holds something large draped with a sheet. In stark contrast to the imposed order of the room, is a cluttered desk against the wall, and the disheveled man sitting behind it. OTIS, wearing a lab coat, shows signs of having been alone in this room for far too long. NOAH Hey Otis! OTIS Hello, Noah, you're bringing me something for a change? I've got a wild boar under that sheet I can trade if you've got something interesting. Noah sets the carrier down on one of the tables, while Annie hangs back by the sheet-covered wild boar. NOAH Sorry, can't give you this one. You wouldn't know what to do with it anyway... It's alive. Just looking for some advice. Otis gets up from his desk and walks to the front of the carrier. In the background Annie pokes at the sheet with her index finger. OTIS Let's see what you have here. Otis leans over and stares into the cage. Nice dog. OTIS (CONT'D) Otis stands up, his inspection concluded. In the background Annie pulls back the sheet to reveal the boar's head. Two large tusks jut upwards from its lower jaw. 105 . Trying to wave it away, Annie screws up her face at the smell drifting up from under the sheet. NOAH It's not a dog! It's a Caliga! Annie pushes the boar by the tooth with her finger. OTIS Looks more like a cross between a Shih-Tzu and a Fruit Bat. NOAH How do you cross a Shih-Tzu and a Fruit Bat? OTIS I don't know, you're the one that's always mixing and matching. That reminds me, I went to your show and nipples on a snake is just wrong. Annie takes hold of the boar by the tusks with two hands and lifts its head, so she can look it in the eyes. ANNIE How do you know it's dead? Otis turns and gives Annie a thoughtful look. OTIS You're right. I should probably check him again. Annie drops the boar's head and steps back. NOAH Otis, can you please take another look? It's not a dog. Caliga is more like a skunk. OTIS I'm so glad you ask for my expert opinion, and then insist on giving it to me. NOAH A dog doesn't have opposable thumbs! 106 . OTIS Yeah, how did you do that? glue? NOAH They came on him. market thumbs! Super They're not after OTIS If skunks had opposable thumbs they'd be in congress. ANNIE Tell him about the skunk juice aphrodisiac. Otis snaps to attention, and the room falls silent. He looks at Annie. He turns and looks at Noah. He turns back to Annie. OTIS He told you that this "skunk" sprays an aphrodisiac? ANNIE Yes . Otis turns to Noah. OTIS Noah, I know you're lonely, but... Hey, wait a NOAH minute! Otis walks over to Annie Placing his thumb over her eyebrow he pulls the skin back and stares intently into her eye. OTIS Has he ever tried to hypnotize you? ANNIE Well, the first time we met I was dizzy and a little disoriented. NOAH You were drunk! OTIS ...and therefore more susceptible to the power of suggestion. 107 . Noah pushes the carrier towards Otis. NOAH Please! Look at his thumbs! Otis holds up a pencil in front of Annie. OTIS Annie, I want you to look right here. I'm going to count backwards slowly from three. Then I'm going to snap my fingers, and you will no longer be Noah's love slave. Annie focuses on the pencil eraser. NOAH Love slave? OTIS Three... NOAH I can't even get her to be my like slave! OTIS Two... Noah bends over, puts both hands on the carrier, and looks into the front grate with resignation. NOAH Caliga, you are the only one who understands me. We hear a faint COOING from inside the carrier. OTIS And... One. Otis SNAPS his fingers and puts a fatherly hand on Annie's shoulder. OTIS (CONT'D) There, There, dear. You should be just fine now. ANNIE Thank you Dr. Otis. 108 . Having grown increasingly agitated, Noah is now beside himself. NOAH Dr. Otis? He's not a medical doctor! He's the guy that shovels up the dead animals at the zoo! ANNIE (to Otis) I know that Noah isn't a bad man, but loneliness can drive a man to do such terrible things. You've saved us both from making a terrible mistake. I feel as though I owe you my very life. NOAH Excuse me, I'm getting under the sheet with the pig. Feel free to incinerate me immediately. OTIS Noah, I'm so disappointed in you. I hope you've learned your lesson. Love isn't some cheap parlor trick... The wind goes out of Otis in mid-sentence and his eyes fall to the ground dejectedly. OTIS (CONT'D) It's a really expensive parlor trick that you end up paying for, if you're not careful, for the rest of your life. Now, take your dog, and the hog, and get out of here. Otis leans heavily on his desk facing the wall. ANNIE (whispering) Divorced? Noah holds up seven fingers and mouths the words "seven times." CUT TO: 109 . EXT. ZOOLOGICAL LAB - DAY Noah and Annie are struggling to carry the sheet-covered boar. Their heads are thrown back, as if they can physically get away from the smell of the dead carcass. The carrier is already by the side of Annie's car. NOAH I know I should be happy, I got a free feral pig out of the deal, but he was no help at all... and you! Going along with that love slave crap! ANNIE I just played along to get us out of there. You were never going to convince him that Caliga is real. You're going to have a hard time convincing anyone. NOAH You believed me. ANNIE Not so much. I thought you just wanted me in your car. Just my luck to go on the first snipe hunt in history with a real snipe. Now here I am pushing a rotting prehistoric pig's ass into my clean car. Noah's concerned response is interrupted, his cell phone RINGS. NOAH (irritated) Hey Grandmaster, what's up? Noah turns his attention to Annie, who is trying in vain to wave the smell away from her face. NOAH (CONT'D) Can we swing by the institute? He's got the insurance papers on my truck. ANNIE (testy) Sure, as long as we can keep the windows down, the air conditioner at (MORE) 110 . ANNIE (CONT'D) full blast, and our heads out the window. CUT TO: INT. INSTITUTE OF DANGEROUS CONTRAPTIONS - DAY Grandmaster is hanging up the phone as we pull back to reveal Hunter by his side with a knife to his throat. As he speaks, Hunter caresses Grandmaster's cheek with the point of his blade. HUNTER Congratulations, Cretin. live a little longer. You get to CUT TO: EXT. INSTITUTE OF DANGEROUS CONTRAPTIONS - DAY Annie head sticks out of the driver's side window as she pulls her car to the curb. Similarly, Noah is all but out of the car on the passenger side. As soon as the car comes to a complete stop, both doors fly open and the two spill out of the car gasping for air. Noah falls to his back on the sidewalk, clawing at his face. NOAH How long has that thing been dead? How do I get that smell out of my nose? ANNIE How do I get the smell out of my car? NOAH I'm beginning to think a smell can kill. ANNIE Which makes you a real stand-up guy for leaving Caliga in the car. On cue we hear Caliga's pathetic moans from inside the car. NOAH You're right! I forgot! sorry! I'm so Ill. ANNIE A smell so bad it makes a skunk cry. Noah, holding his breath, opens the car door. We see two outstretched hands reaching out pleadingly from the cage. NOAH He's alive! ANNIE Let's get this over with. Every minute we waste is one more minute for the smell to sink into my seat cushions. Noah, carrying the cage, and Annie find the door to the Institute of Dangerous Contraptions slightly ajar. CUT TO: INT. INSTITUTE OF DANGEROUS CONTRAPTIONS - DAY Pushing the door further open, Noah timidly uses the door knocker to SIGNAL their arrival. The entryway is much darker than our previous visit. There is no sign of life, except for the CLANKING, WHIRRING, and THROBBING of some of the more dangerous contraptions. NOAH Anybody home? There is no response as the door CLANGS shut behind them. They move slowly through the institute, which looks to have been deserted suddenly. Machines operate independent of human control, while chemical beakers boil unattended. Turning a corner they see Grandmaster stretched to the limits of human anatomy on a medieval rack. GRANDMASTER Hi Noah! The insurance papers are there on the table. Grandmaster! the rack? NOAH What are you doing on Hunter's voice rumbles from behind them. HUNTER He's baiting the trap, of course. (MORE) 112 . HUNTER (CONT'D) How nice of you to bring Caliga to me. It saves me having to torture you for his location. NOAH I'm not giving you Caliga. HUNTER Good. I'll so enjoy taking him from you. Hunter charges Noah, who retreats over the top of a dangerous contraption. Annie, stepping backwards, stumbles next to Grandmaster on the rack. Oblivious to Grandmaster, her worried gaze follows Noah under attack. GRANDMASTER Don't you worry about me, this is cheaper than a chiropractor. Noah pushes a battering ram into Hunter's path to delay his pursuit. Hunter steps over. Passing one of the homemade contraptions, Noah flicks on the machine firing up a deadly combination of rotating blades. Hunter walks around the danger, barely slowed. Noah comes to a huge electrical device that would be completely at home in Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory. Setting the cage down, Noah reaches up and grasps a massive electrical switch. NOAH Stay where you are, or I'll fry you where you stand! HUNTER I'll take that risk. Hunter begins to move forward. NOAH Don't say I didn't warn you! Noah throws the switch. SPARKS FLY, and a bolt of electricity shoots straight down HITTING him square on the head. The lights dim, there is a loud POP as more sparks fly and the arcing electricity SPUTTERS to an end. Noah's hair stands on end, his clothes charred, smoke rising from him as he falls to his knees. 113 . Hunter strides to Noah, grabs the front of his shirt, and lifts him to eye level. HUNTER I hunted Caliga, trapped him in the wild. He is mine. You stole him from me, yet you persist in thinking of yourself as the hero. I am from the jungle, and in the wild there are no heroes. There are only winners and losers. Today I win, and you lose. Hunter pushes Noah away, and he collapses to the ground. Hunter turns to retrieve the carrier. He picks it up, but the door is already open. HUNTER (CONT'D) (enraged) The cage is empty! What have you done with him? Hunter throws the cage to the ground. looks inside in disbelief. Empty? Noah picks it up and NOAH He was there a minute ago! Noah, Hunter and Annie head off in different directions, looking frantically through the Institute for Caliga. Noah, still carrying the cage, brings his search near Grandmaster, who is still bound on the rack. GRANDMASTER Don't forget to sign those papers now! Noah moves to free Grandmaster. NOAH First things first. Caliga! Help me find Grandmaster steps down from the rack, stretching this way and that. As his body adjusts his joints make the sound of a hundred knuckles CRACKING. GRANDMASTER A simple proposition, no one can resist my cookies. 114 . Grandmaster reaches puts it in the cage of fur streaks into Caliga. Noah looks into his pocket, produces a cookie and that Noah is holding. Instantly a blur the cage, the door swinging shut behind up in shock. NOAH I need your recipe. HUNTER (O.S.) I propose a trade. Hunter has a knife at Annie's throat. ANNIE (pleading) Noah? HUNTER Since you seem so intent on taking what is mine, I thought I'd return the favor. So what will it be? The animal or the woman? NOAH You wouldn't hurt her... Hunter pulls back on Annie's hair, exposing her neck. blade pushes against her skin. The HUNTER I do what I must to get what I want. GRANDMASTER I've got another cookie I'd trade for her. ANNIE Give him the damn skunk! HUNTER Does she mean so little to you that you'd sacrifice her for a glorified rodent? Noah sags under the weight of the ultimate no win scenario. NOAH I'm sorry. There's only one Caliga. I can't let you have him. 115 . We hear the sound of approaching SIRENS outside the institute. Several car doors SLAM, THUNDERING FOOTSTEPS ECHO, as a SWAT team mobilizes. HUNTER This is not over. Hunter shoves Annie to the ground and heads for the rear exit. Annie gives Noah a lethal stare. ashamed. Noah drops his gaze, Grandmaster grabs the cage from Noah. GRANDMASTER Quick! Hide the skunk and the cookies! They always want to impound the good stuff. Three policemen burst through the front door, guns drawn. COP #1 Police! Freeze! Hands where we can see them! ANNIE Thank God you're here. I really need someone willing to protect me. COP #1 Yes, Ma'am. We had a report of terrorist activity involving a foul smell. Possibly an attack utilizing chemical warfare. COP #2 Of course our cursory inspection of the perimeter did uncover a stinky dead pig. COP #1 We do try to take reports of terrorist activity seriously. We try to be vigilant, particularly with suspicious types. Cop #1 gives the electricity-damaged Noah a hard look. 116 . ANNIE We have no idea who he is, but he sure looks like a terrorist to me. You can't be too careful these days. NOAH Hold on a minute! anything wrong! I haven't done COP #1 Can you explain what you're doing here? Noah falls silent. COP #1 (CONT'D) Well, okay then. I don't know what we can charge you with, but we're definitely arresting you. Cop #1 puts handcuffs on a dejected Noah and leads him past towards the exit. He slows as he passes Grandmaster. COP #1 (CONT'D) (under his breath) Get rid of the pig or we're coming back with a search warrant for the cookies. ANNIE (to Cop #2) Thank you. You may have saved my life. COP #2 Well, I've never heard of a stinky dead pig attack, but that doesn't mean that I'11 ever let it happen on my watch. The cops hustle Noah out the door. GRANDMASTER (cheerfully) That went well. INT. COUNTY JAIL HOLDING CELL - DAY Noah, still disheveled from his near electrocution, sits behind bars in a large austere cell. 117 . He is surrounded by several huge inmates, representing every imaginable fear-inducing prison stereotype. Any one of these men would be at home in your worst nightmare. NOAH It was totally a no-win scenario. I didn't know what to do, but I knew I couldn't give him Caliga so I said I wouldn't make the trade. All of the prisoners GROAN in unison. PRISONER #1 That kind of choice damages any chance for you to develop a long-term relationship. NOAH I know, but I figured if I gave him what he wanted, he had no reason not to hurt her. He might have killed us all. PRISONER #2 You can think that, but you can't say it out loud. The prisoners all nod in agreement. PRISONER #3 Relationships are built on trust. If you say that she's not as valuable as an animal, your intentions don't really matter. Prisoner #2 puts his hand on the shoulder of Prisoner #3 PRISONER #1 Today's modern woman deserves a total commitment to the bond we create when we enter into a sacred trust. Prisoner #3 reaches out and takes the hand of Prisoner #1 PRISONER #2 You may want to take some time to rethink what it means to be a man to consistently exhibit the behavior that builds confidence and faith between two people in love. 118 . A GUARD enters, unlocking the cell. GUARD Okay, Girls, time to let the little fish go. Somebody seems to think you're worth the bail money. Noah exits with the Guard. PRISONER #3 Don't forget Noah, you can't be of any good to others, if you aren't good to yourself. CUT TO: EXT. COUNTY JAIL - DAY Noah and Jack exit the jail. They walk to Jack's car. NOAH Thanks for springing me. you know I was here? How did JACK I was hanging out with Jenny, and she got the blow-by-blow from Annie. NOAH How is Annie? JACK Well, you did leave a dead wild boar in her back seat. NOAH Yeah, and it smelled awful... what did she end up doing with it? JACK Well, her freezer was only big enough for the head, (beat) I don't think she'll ever speak to you again. NOAH I don't blame her. with Caliga? What did you do 119 . JACK We decided that he needed to go somewhere Hunter wouldn't look, so Annie and Jenny stashed him away at the Medieval Festival. NOAH I guess that's as good a place as any. JACK Yeah, but we need to get him out of there for his own good. Jenny likes him way too much. One more day together, and she'll be dressing him in doll clothes. DISSOLVE TO: INT. NOAH'S LOFT - NIGHT Noah sits dejectedly on the couch. He Absent-mindedly wads up bits of paper. Old Smeller lends a sympathetic ear. NOAH Well, Boy, it's just you and me again. You know, life sure would be easier if the hospital would do it like the pound and insist that babies get spayed and neutered before they send us home with our parents. Old Smeller lays his head on Noah's lap. NOAH (CONT'D) I don't really know if Annie is the one, but I do know that I want to be there for her. Protect her. I want to make her happy... and I'll never have the chance. Noah pats Old Smeller on the head and rises. NOAH (CONT'D) C'mon, Boy, time to turn in. As the two exit the room, we pull back to see the blue paper Noah has been wading up, carefully placed on the coffee table 120 . to complete his own intricate version of the bowerbird's shrine to love. CUT TO: EXT. NOAH'S LOFT - DAY Noah, with Old Smeller on a leash, hails a taxi. Parked at a discreet distance down the street is Hunter's Hummer. HUNTER The bird always returns to its nest. Go little birdie. Lead me to my true prey. Noah shuts the taxi door behind him. NOAH Take us to the Med Fest. CUT TO: EXT. MEDIEVAL FESTIVAL - DAY The grounds buzz with festival attendees enjoying the spectacle that surrounds them. Annie approaches the catapult, where Grandmaster works feverishly. ANNIE (CONT'D) You're not tinkering are you? GRANDMASTER Ah, fair Maiden! Thou may rest easy. Our tinkering is now complete. I hope. ANNIE ...and no more tests! GRANDMASTER If my calculations are accurate the catapult is now capable of hurling a pigskin the length of a football field, while the pig is still wearing it. ANNIE Please tell me you don't have a pig. 121. Noah gets out of the taxi and makes his way to the admission gate. Annie, making her way through the crowd, sees Jack and Jenny engaged in a public display of affection. ANNIE (CONT'D) You two look way too happy. JACK We are! We enhanced our relationship! JENNY I threw up on Jack as soon as I met him, and first impressions are so important. So, we decided to give ourselves a fresh start with Caliga's help. JACK One little squeeze, and - Poof! Love at first sight. JENNY Second sight really, but first sight doesn't count anymore. ANNIE What about choice? Don't you want to be in control of your own destiny? JACK We did choose. We chose to walk through a cloud of Caliga's funky love musk. We're happy. ANNIE Yeah, but that doesn't stop you from stinking to high heaven. Hunter and Drapeta, arrive and make their way to the same gate Noah previously entered. Noah walks through the festival passing in front of the Catapult. Noah! for! GRANDMASTER Just the man I was looking Grandmaster pulls out his clipboard. 122 . GRANDMAS TER (CONT'D) You still haven't signed the insurance papers for me! Noah takes the clipboard and scribbles his name, handing it back to Grandmaster. NOAH Thanks, Grandmaster. I appreciate your help... Not that I deserve it. I got all of you involved in my crazy plans and put you through some seriously crazy trouble, (beat) I have all of these feelings for Annie, but all I've done for her so far is put her life at risk. Grandmaster puts his arm around Noah, who is visibly uncomfortable with the invasion of his personal space. GRANDMASTER As a man of the world, let me give you a little advice. Love is like a bird. You must set it free, and if it is real, it will fly back and poop all over you. Love hurts. Protect yourself! You must invest yourself in things that can't hurt you. Two words to live by my friend... Grandmaster pats the catapult. GRANDMASTER (CONT'D) ...love inanimate. Hunter and Drapeta advance to the Arena, where the two Knights wait for their next performance, broadswords in hand. Ah! HUNTER The Shining Knights! KNIGHT #1 That's us! HUNTER Those are really big swords you have there. 123 . KNIGHT #2 We are fierce warriors! stay for our show! You should Hunter puts a hand on the outside shoulder of each Knight. HUNTER I fancy myself as a bit of a combatant myself. Hunter grabs each man by the neck and smashes their heads together. Grabbing Knight #1, he brings his knee up as he slams the actor's head down in a violent collision. #1 crumples to the ground. Turning to the doubled over Knight #2, he delivers a swift kick to the groin. #2 joins his partner, writhing on the ground. HUNTER (CONT'D) No one gets to have a bigger sword than me. Hunter collects the two broadswords. fallen warriors. He towers over the HUNTER (CONT'D) Too bad they didn't have Band Aids or ice packs in Medieval times. I guess you'll just have to lie there and bleed. Come Drapeta. Hunter storms away. Noah walks through the festival grounds passing a booth. Annie turns a corner nearly bumping into him. NOAH Hi . . . ANNIE (cold) Hello. I suppose you're here to pick up Caliga. Jenny can take care of that for you. 124 . NOAH Actually, I hadn't given that much thought. I know it probably doesn't make much difference at this point, but it's important that you know how sorry I am for the way I've treated you. ANNIE I understand. You have your priorities. NOAH I do have priorities, but I haven't acted on them the way I should. I got carried away trying to protect an animal, a special one, but he's just an animal. As unique as Caliga is, he doesn't compare to you. So as much as I regret hurting you, that's how angry I am with myself for not being there for you. ANNIE I appreciate your apology... (beat) ...but they're just words. I know you feel bad about what happened, but we're best defined by our actions. You can't undo what you've done. I'm sorry. (beat) For both of us. NOAH I understand. Thanks for hearing me out. I hope you find someone who deserves you. Noah and Annie pull away slowly, regretfully. We follow Noah as he turns and walks away slowly, leaving Annie out of the frame. HUNTER (O.S.) Let's try this again, this time with a bigger knife. Give me my monkey. Hunter has Annie again. crossed at her neck. This time with the two broadswords 125 . NOAH No. Not again. Not this time. her go. Now. Let HUNTER You're not in a position to negotiate. You will do as I say. NOAH Like hell I will. HUNTER (bemused) Ah, I see. This is about love and honor. Well then, if I give you a chance at redemption and you fail, and you WILL fail, then you must agree to give me Caliga once and for all. Done. NOAH Just let her go. Hunter throws one of the broadswords to Noah. NOAH (CONT'D) I suppose you won't do battle with an unarmed opponent. HUNTER No, I just think it will be funny to watch you try. Hunter easily hefts the massive long sword and with a blood curdling CRY charges. It takes every bit of energy Noah has to lift his sword in defense, raising it just in time to weakly block Hunter's blow. Hunter presses on savagely. Any strike could kill, and it's all Noah can do to parry the attack. Noah retreats while putting up a flailing defense. He backs up past Jack and Jenny who, despite the threat playing out in front of them, are totally absorbed in each other. Jenny holds a leash. She has dressed Caliga as Little Bo Peep, complete with petticoat and shepherd's staff. He looks mortified. 126 . HUNTER (CONT'D) My prey. Don't go away. Monkey, this won't take long NOAH A little help here? Caliga turns, lifts his petticoat, and sprays Hunter. LAUGHS. Hunter HUNTER You try to awaken my heart, but I don't have one. Jack and Jenny are still oblivious to the danger. NOAH Hey, Romeo, snap out of it! Oh, right. JACK In retreat Noah trips on a rock, stumbling backwards. JACK (CONT'D) (to Hunter) Hey, Squirrel Bait! Hunter turns distracted from his prey. Jack grabs a turkey leg from a festival-goer and slings it, hitting Hunter in the face. Noah's backward stumble concludes as he falls into Annie's arms. Annie turns him and kisses Noah hard. NOAH I thought you hated me. ANNIE Shut up. It's an animal thing. go defend me. Now Annie turns Noah away from her and pushes him back into the fray. Hunter is holding Jack by the throat, above his head, with one hand. Jack is not enjoying what looks to be his final breath. 127 . Noah, approaching from behind swings his sword with both hands and SMACKS Hunter in the ass with the broad side of the blade. NOAH Hey, Goliath, why don't you pick on someone half your size? Hunter ROARS, dropping Jack and turning his attack back to Noah. The speed of the fight intensifies. Hunter is rage personified. Blow after blow rains down. A primal SCREAM erupts from Hunter as his swing catches Noah's blade at precisely the right angle. Noah loses his grip on the sword, and Hunter plucks it from mid-air. Hunter smiles, his victory assured. He flings Noah's sword behind him. It falls point down sticking in Drapeta's foot. Drapeta YELPS, pulls the sword from his foot, and wobbles in a near faint. The now weaponless Noah ducks as Hunter's sword slices through the air above his head. Not good! Anybody? NOAH (CONT'D) Does anybody have an idea? There are several sitting cushions on the ground nearby. Frantically looking for some way to help, Annie throws Noah a pillow. NOAH (CONT'D) A Pillow? Noah holds the pillow in front of him, and Hunter slices it in two sending feathers flying. JACK Here you go! Jack throws Noah a ceramic vase from a nearby booth. A vase? NOAH Hunter smashes the pot with a mighty swing, sending shards flying. NOAH (CONT'D) (exasperated) C'mon people! Throw me a bone! 128 . Grandmaster throws Noah Fred's skeleton. Noah holds Fred up in front of him with both hands and Hunter cuts the skeleton in half right above the pelvis. With half a skeleton in each hand Noah swings the lower half in an upward arc, Fred's leg catching Hunter squarely in the crotch. Hunter doesn't flinch. Noah holds up Fred's upper half and addresses his skull. NOAH (CONT'D) Next time let's try and put some muscle behind it. Hunter brandishes his sword with a flourish, and swings. Noah swings the lower half of the skeleton, and when blade meets bone, the blade wins. Bones fly in every direction, leaving Noah with only the upper half. Old Smeller retrieves a leg bone and curls up on a sitting cushion for a good old-fashioned chew. Noah has used the distraction to gain distance. pursuit leads him past Grandmaster. Hunter's GRANDMASTER For a big time hunter, you're not doing very well against a guy with a bone. Hunter brings the hilt of the sword down on Grandmaster's head. Grandmaster reels. GRANDMAS TER (CONT'D) Just an observation, no offense intended. The one-sided battle is rejoined. Noah, leaps, swerves and dances to stay outside the path of Hunter's blade. It is a violent ballet. Hunter shatters what's left of Fred's skeleton with a massive blow, leaving Noah holding only the skull. Pointing the head in Hunter's direction, Noah moves Fred's jaw to pantomime speech. NOAH Kiss me! 129 . Noah hurls the skull at Hunter, who deflects it in mid-air with a sword strike. Hunter is on Noah savagely. Noah falls to the ground, surrounded by Fred's remains. Hunter leaps, pinning Noah to the ground. The cold steel of Hunter's blade presses against Noah's throat. JACK C'mon Noah, you can do it! Hell, an ant can lift 2 0 times its own body weight! Noah grabs Fred's skeletal hand and uses the index finger on Hunter's dimples. NOAH Cootchie Cootchie Coo! Hunter instinctively pulls back creating room for Noah to raise his legs and get leverage. Using all of his might, Noah kicks his legs out. Hunter flies backwards, landing on the catapult arm. Drapeta, standing next to the catapult, looks skyward, whistles, and uses Noah's sword to cut the catapult's rope. The catapult arm SWOOSHES violently through the air sending Hunter flying. Hunter gets smaller, and smaller as he sails in a nearly impossible arc to his certain doom. Yes! GRANDMASTER No more tinkering! It works! Annie has gone to Noah's side. NOAH There is no way he could survive that. We are so screwed. GRANDMASTER All taken care of... Grandmaster holds up his clipboard. GRANDMASTER (CONT'D) He signed a waiver. NOAH Wow, that's thinking ahead. 130 . Grandmaster begins flipping through his papers. GRANDMASTER Yeah, and just in case... I have one from you... Annie has written me into her will... and I have Jenny's durable power of attorney. Annie and Noah take each others hands tenderly. NOAH You surprised me, I thought I'd lost you. What changed your mind? Annie picks a feather off Noah's shoulder, tickling his nose. ANNIE Nice plumage. In an extreme closeup, they kiss. As the camera pulls back we realize that with the kiss we have changed location. CUT TO: INT. ART GALLERY - DAY The kiss has sealed Noah and Annie's wedding. Old Smeller, wearing a bow tie, is his best man. Jack completes the groom's wedding party. A very pregnant Jenny is the maid of honor. The recessional accompanies the wedding party's exit through the gallery. The artwork is Noah's. We linger on one of the new pieces, a wild boar's head, with a human ear sporting an ornate earring made of bone, hide and feather. CUT TO: EXT. ART GALLERY - DAY The sign over the entrance identifies it as the Florence Wegstrom Memorial Gallery. Waiting at the curb is Hunter's Hummer, with just married written on the windows. Cans on string are attached to the bumper. The chauffeur is a cookie eating Grandmaster. Noah and Annie run the gauntlet of rice throwing celebrants. CUT TO: 131. EXT. DENSE JUNGLE - DAY Drapeta, walking with Caliga on his shoulder, comes to a clearing. He gently puts Caliga on the ground. Patting him on the head and giving him a gentle push from behind, Drapeta sets him free. Caliga flits through the underbrush, eventually coming to a pile of brush. He takes away one branch after another until we see a small one person spaceship. Caliga opens the hatch and climbs in. It rises slowly with lights flashing, and suddenly shoots into the sky. EXT. DEEP SPACE - NIGHT The small craft comes out of warp speed near a massive mother ship, and enters through a docking bay. INT. MOTHER SHIP - NIGHT Inside the bay, Caliga's ship is surrounded by more of his kind. They are tremendously excited, there is much CHATTERING. Caliga pops the hatch, and climbs on top of the ship. Raising his hands for silence, he addresses the crowd. CALIGA (subtitled) Call off the invasion. It's too dangerous. Those people are animals! Cut to black.