Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Misty Mountain Hop
Hey there, crime kids. Happy Tuesday It's time once again to take a trip to the dark side, where your most violent fantasies become sins of the flesh, right here, where the hardboiled action is non-stop, at the coolest crime joint in cyberspace ... at That Killing Feeling.
Have a special treat for you today. Since the last few screenplays I've been posting on here are of a certain vintage -- because my last few scripts were 'work-for-hires,' and didn't fall into the crime groove on this blog -- I've decided to give you a special preview of my current project this week only. RIDGEWAY is a crime drama cable TV pilot (I'm not sure 'cable TV' applies anymore, because this series could end up on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.) about a screenwriter who loses everything and turns to a life of crime. I'm gonna pitch it as a female BREAKING BAD, as it will be the first series that features a female anti-hero that's not tethered to a man (like Claire is in HOUSE OF CARDS). I was originally going to also use elements of TWIN PEAKS, but now that I'm writing it, the tone is more like BANSHEE (if you haven't seen this amazing series on Cinemax, you need to). Vince Gilligan pitched BREAKING BAD as 'Mr. Chips becomes Scarface.' In RIDGEWAY, Dorothy Parker becomes Lizzie Borden. Sound like fun?
So, without further adieu, I'm pleased to present Chapter 1 of RIDGEWAY, in which a sleazy redneck in the Ozark mountains has a rendezvous with a mysterious woman that ends with bullets, blood, broken teeth ... and a fistful of cash.
EXT. OZARK MOUNTAINS - DUSK
Fat white clouds poke the deep blue sky.
Rolling green hills stuffed
with pine trees out of a John Denver song.
A giant white statue of Jesus
stands at attention on the mountain peak,
arms outstretched like he’s gonna take a dive.
A narrow gravel road meanders up the mountain
to a shitty, old ramshackle cabin at the top.
Cue the banjo music.
A brand-new red double-dually PICKUP TRUCK
comes BARRELING up the road in a CRUNCH of gravel.
An ARMADILLO lazily skitters across the gravel.
The truck ROARS by and SQUISHES it,
CRACKING its shell with a CRUNCH.
EXT. SHITTY OLD CABIN - DUSK
A shack that looks like it’d fall over
if you sneezed on it.
The gravel road runs by it,
then disappears into a tunnel of trees
across the mountain ridge.
Dim light spills out
from behind dingy curtains.
The truck’s doors OPEN.
Out steps the DRIVER and a TALL WOMAN.
He’s got a big belly.
She’s quite the looker,
with a great rack.
INT. SHITTY OLD CABIN - NIGHT
Dimly lit by a kerosene lantern.
Empty except for a MAN
tied to a chair.
Covered in blood.
Mouth a ruined mess.
Teeth litter the floor.
Driver and Tall Woman walk in.
A BIG, BALD BRUTE in overalls
and a Ducky Dynasty beard
looks at Driver and grins toothily.
BIG, BALD BRUTE
Finally told us where it is, boss.
Another MAN, intense-looking
with elaborate mutton chops and giant,
gnarled eyebrows eyes Tall Woman.
Smacks his lips.
Who’s the cunt.
New business associate.
Driver pulls a thick,
banded wad of bills from his pocket.
Holds it in front of her face.
Like I promised.
Her eyes light up.
She reaches for it --
but he SNATCHES it away.
Pulls out a GUN.
Sticks it in her face.
First you gotta shoot
this piece of shit in the head.
But what about hiring me to --
This man stole from me.
Now he needs to pay the piper.
Do you want the fucking money or not?
(off her look)
You want to write my story,
you gotta be IN my story.
(holds up the cash)
Go a long way round here --
She looks at Bleeding Guy.
Then at Driver’s henchmen.
Then again at the money.
Takes the gun in trembling hands.
Walks over to Bleeding Guy.
Slowly raises it. Pauses.
Looks at Driver. He nods.
She takes a deep breath --
Takes aim -- and BANG,
SHOOTS him in the head.
Brains, skull and blood SPRAY the wall.
Driver TOSSES her the wad of bills.
She shoots, she scores.
(off her look)
Telling me about your girlfriend’s
brother-in-law on the force was the tip-off.
So now I got me an insurance policy.
You just did a hit for the Dixie mob.
A SIREN starts WAILING in the distance.
Whoops. Gotta go.
I trust you can find your way back home.
Don’t spend it all in once place now,
EXT. MOUNTAIN ROAD - NIGHT
Tall walks down the hill,
boots CRUNCHING on the gravel road.
Hears a siren WHOOP-WHOOP.
Then sees red lights FLASHING.
Starts trying to RUN back up,
but quickly gets winded from
years of too many cigarettes.
She turns, RUNS into the woods --
just as a COP CAR comes RACING up the road.
EXT. MOUNTAIN SLOPE - NIGHT
Tall DASHES across the steep hillside
through the underbrush and trees.
Stops. Catches her breath. Looks around.
Listens to the crickets CHIRPING.
She hears a twig SNAP. WHIRLS AROUND.
Sees a FAMILY OF DEER.
Momma, Poppa and two young ones.
Staring at her.
They DASH OFF into the darkness.
EXT. MOUNTAIN GORGE - NIGHT
Tall stands at the top of a giant gorge.
Looks down at the valley below.
Holds her watch up.
Squints in the moonlight.
A woodpecker suddenly
TAP-TAP-TAP-TAPS like a machine gun.
She JUMPS, then TUMBLES down the steep hill --
and CRACKS into a tree at the bottom.
Gets up. Brushes herself off.
Jesus christ --
Hears a low GROWL.
A GIANT BLACK BEAR
emerges from the foliage.
Flashes HUGE WHITE TEETH.
Shaking with fear.
This ain’t Gentle Ben.
They stare at each other a long beat.
The beast suddenly REARS UP
on its hind legs, ROARS --
and starts CHASING her.
Tall SCREAMS. Starts climbing
the tree like she’s on fire.
She GRABS at a branch above her,
but it SNAPS off.
The beast SWIPES at her
with a meaty paw.
She tries to WHACK it with the branch,
but it GRABS it away from her. GROWLS.
She GRABS another branch.
Pulls herself up -- just as
the bear SINKS IT TEETH into her boot.
Thunder BOOMS. Lightning CRACKS.
It starts RAINING. HARD.