The year is 2028. America has lost the war on terror. But the CIA has a secret plan to change the course of history.
- Quarterfinalist – PAGE International Screenwriting Competition
- Quarterfinalist – American Screenwriters Association Screenplay Competition
- Semifinalist – Screenwriting Expo Screenplay Competition
- Semifinalist – Writers on the Storm Screenplay Competition
- Second Round – Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition
Read the first five pages.
“O Prophet! Urge the believers to war…”
– The Koran
EXT. STATUE OF LIBERTY – DAWN
A thousand feet up, we approach the Statue of Liberty. It’s silhouetted against the dawn and is gorgeous, pristine.
But… as we get closer, we notice that the paint on the statue is peeling off in great green sheets. Rust discolors Lady Liberty’s face.
EXT. NEW YORK CITY – DAWN
We pan over New York City, a thousand feet over its buildings. Everything appears normal, at first.
But then we notice that there are just a few scattered lights in the city – none of the big buildings are lit up.
The streets are empty. There are no people or cars.
As we pan up across Manhattan, not a single soul can be seen.
EXT. NEW JERSEY – DAWN
The camera continues to track westward, across the Hudson River. Barges lie half-sunk in the river.
Industrial New Jersey is dark. Factories have been abandoned. The Turnpike has no traffic on it. Kudzu and weeds have overtaken toll booths and exit ramps.
Only after leaving the urban core, do we start to see a FEW CARS treading down lonely roads in the hills.
A couple of PEOPLE appear, just stick figures below, as the ground fills with forests and a few scattered buildings.
The pan ends over a HOUSE, hidden among the trees.
INT. BEDROOM – DAWN
Faintly, we hear a clock TICKING. It’s an old-fashioned analog clock, on a mantelpiece. The hour hand advances – it’s 7 AM.
The bedroom has floor to ceiling windows, which slowly turn from opaque to transparent, letting in the day. Outside, it is sunny and green, an undisturbed pastoral view.
Simultaneously, BACH begins to play on unseen speakers, gently rousing the house’s owners. They are:
ROLAND, 42, who lies in bed, sleeping through all this.
His girlfriend, ANNA, 36, who sits up in bed.
She puts her feet on the floor. The music FADES AWAY. She slides back into bed.
There, I fooled it.
Roland starts to stir in the bed.
We should get up.
Shhh… Sleep. The world can wait.
Roland opens his eyes and sits at the edge of the bed.
The table is next to him is crowded with a dozen pictures in frames. All but one of them are of Anna and Roland, taken on various vacations. Some of the photos are 3D composites; some even flicker, playing little movies as Roland looks at them.
But Roland reaches for one small faded photo in the back, of a woman and a little girl. They’re posing in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
Roland silently picks the picture up and kisses it, a morning ritual he has repeated thousands of times over the years.
On the opposite side of the bed, Anna opens her eyes. She knows and dislikes this ritual.
Roland puts the picture back down and turns to Anna.
I’ll make you some coffee.
INT. HALLWAY – DAY
We see more of the house, which is a 21st century adaptation of a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece, Taliesen West. As Roland walks down the hallway, lights turn on over his head.
House. Jazz classics.
The sound of JAZZ follows Roland down the hall.
INT. KITCHEN – DAY
The kitchen is enormous and looks unused – there are just a few strange-looking appliances on the clean marble counters.
Roland pours a cup of coffee from one of them and puts it on the counter.
On the right front burner of the stove is a battered tea kettle. Roland fills it with water and places it back on the same burner. He smiles absentmindedly, relishing this little routine.
Why don’t you have the machine do it?
Anna picks up the coffee from the counter. She points at the coffee machine.
It’ll make tea too.
It’s not the same, dear.
Anna looks at Roland watching the tea kettle before walking off.
You’re living in the past.
INT. LIVING ROOM – DAY
The living room is enormous and modern, filled with low, uncomfortable-looking furniture.
We hear a TEA KETTLE WHISTLING and then Roland appears, cup of tea in hand. He slouches down on the couch.
A holographic video screen opens in mid-air, a few feet from Roland’s face. The screen opens with a peace symbol and the words: LIVE PEACE. The symbol then morphs into a globe, complete with hurricanes spinning in the Atlantic and a volcano erupting in Indonesia.
An overlay of borders appears across the globe. Where there used to be borders for France, Germany, Italy and the rest of Europe, there is just a single word written across the continent: EURABIA. The capitol, indicated by an Islamic crescent, is in Paris.
The globe then morphs into video and text news highlights, customized for Roland.
A simulated ANCHORWOMAN in the corner of the screen begins reading the news.
Good morning, Roland. Today is June 12, 2028.
The anchorwoman disappears from the screen. Roland lifts up his hand and uses it to scroll through headlines. Some of them read:
DOLLAR AT 50 YEAR LOW
BLAST KILLS 12 IN LONDON
PARIS IMAM CONDEMNS HARMONICAS
TEEN STARLET KITTEN RELEASES NEW INSTA-PORN
CITIES POISED FOR REBIRTH?
He selects the last story with a wave of his hand.
INSERT VIDEO CLIP
Shots of abandoned American cities – New York, Philadelphia, Boston, LA – play while a REPORTER narrates.
America’s cities are poised for a rebirth, according to a report from the New Urban League. After more than a decade, population is beginning to trickle back into cities like New York.
An URBAN PIONEER appears, in front of an abandoned Greenwich Village apartment building. The windows of the building are open and drapes flap in the breeze.
Sure, I’m afraid. But this is a beautiful city, even without people.
The camera pans toward the Arch in Washington Square. Cars line the street, covered in leaves and trash, but there’s not a soul to be seen.
END VIDEO CLIP
Anna walks into the living room, now dressed. The video clip is frozen on the last shot. She puts a lanyard around her neck with her ID in it.
They’re brave people.
Stupid. Easy targets. I have to go.
A client wants to meet in person. Face to face. Very old-fashioned. Like you.
Roland gets up and gives her a kiss goodbye.
You’re much better in person.