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A Cautionary Tail: A feature length screenplay: The research, methodology, and writing

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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
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UMI 1484944
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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.
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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.
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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.
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