Short story by John J. Smiley, screenplay by Nathan Weaver
What you are about to read is an adaptation of John J. Smiley's "The Cell." First, please read his short story before reading the adaptation. John agreed to let me adapt the piece and this was the first draft result that I wrote in two days. Let me know what you think, and let John know what you think about his piece as well. It is his story and characters after all. I was just glad to help, adapting is something I enjoy. It's time well spent. Thanks much, enjoy.
EXT. ALEX’S APARTMENT, MORNING. Light, soft MUSIC plays. CROSS-DISSOLVE.
INT. ALEX’S APARTMENT—BEDROOM. CAMERA pans across the floor, there are various articles of clothing randomly dropped about (both male and female). Eventually the camera finds the bed and ALEX rolling over and looking at the clock, he sits up and looks like he might have a little bit of a hangover. ALEX turns around and sees there is a body in the bed with him, but turned away from him. He makes a face in confusion, as he doesn’t remember the night before obviously. He sneaks around to the other side of the bed and pulls the blanket back to reveal YOUNG LADY’S face. She is drop dead gorgeous, and ALEX is elated. He sneaks back to his side of the bed and looks around the nightstand for something, but doesn’t find what he’s looking for. He goes to his jeans on the floor and pulls a cell phone out of the pocket. He sneaks back to the other side of the bed and takes a photo of YOUNG LADY’S face and sends it to a friend. He grabs some clothes from a pile of dirty ones on the floor and starts to go into the bathroom behind him, but then turns and comes back to YOUNG LADY. He looks about suspiciously, then lifts the blanket up and looks under the “hood.” His eyes open wide with amazement and he silently mouths the word, “Wow.” He reluctantly puts the blanket back down and sneaks off into the bathroom. CUT.
INT. ALEX’S APARTMENT—BATHROOM. ALEX is dressed and brushing his teeth now, he gets a text message on his phone. He picks it up and reads the following, “That’s what she looked like the morning after?!” ALEX smiles and puts the phone down. CUT.
INT. ALEX’S APARTMENT—BEDROOM. ALEX quietly, but quickly, shoves some books and papers into a backpack and shuffles out the bedroom door. He stops though, quickly realizing he forgot something. He goes to his nightstand and opens the drawer, inside is a plethora of sheets of paper with notes scribbled on it. He picks one up that reads, “I’m not ready for a commitment. Sorry,” he looks at another, “I hate to run, but I have class. Lock the door on your way out. Call me sometime, 555-7814.” He looks over at YOUNG LADY again, checking to see if it’s worth it. He halfheartedly with a shrug decides “yes,” then places the note on the bed next to her and closes the drawer to the nightstand and leaves the room.
INT. POST OFFICE, DAYTIME. We are seeing into the back of a post office box with a couple of envelopes and a small box. The door opens and a hand reaches in to grab the items. CUT.
INT. POST OFFICE, LOBBY. JOSE looks at the box with a look of excitement, but he’s flustered too. He quickly pockets the box and looks around to see if anyone noticed. No one did. He moves along. CUT.
EXT. JOSE’S HOME, DAYTIME. JOSE pulls up in car, exits and casually enters his house.
INT. JOSE’S HOME. With the door shut, JOSE checks each room to make sure he is alone. He discards the letters as if they were junk mail. Slowly examining the small box, we can see it has not been postmarked. It was placed purposefully into his box; it had never gone through the regular postal system. He slowly removes the brown paper wrapper from around the small square. Setting the clean white box down on the table before him, he holds it steady with one hand while the other carefully removes the lid. Inside a small vial is held steady by a cloud of white cotton. It is certainly the package for which he had been waiting. CUT to BLACK.
EXT. COLLEGE, DAYTIME. ALEX enters the school.
INT. COLLEGE, DAYTIME. MONTAGE of clips with ALEX in classes and walking to classes, etc.
EXT. COLLEGE, DAYTIME. ALEX sits outside going through some homework, a little frustrated/bored he looks up and around and notices LOVELY LADY doing the same. Their eyes lock and they smile; ALEX thinks for a moment, then grabs his stuff and wonders over to her. A short montage of clips show ALEX and LOVELY LADY enjoying each other’s company outside in the sun. Last clip is of them walking opposite directions and they can’t stop turning around to look at each other, eventually ALEX turns away and looks at a piece of paper in his hand that reads, “Tracy: 555-3641.” He smiles at it and pockets it. CUT.
EXT. ALEX’S WORKPLACE, DAYTIME. CAMERA follows ALEX as he walks from car to the front door and enters. CROSS-DISSOLVE.
INT. ALEX’S WORKPLACE, DAYTIME. MONTAGE of clips with ALEX working.
EXT. ALEX’S WORKPLACE, NIGHT. ALEX is outside sweeping the sidewalk and emptying the ashcan. He notices DARK FIGURED MAN across the street hanging out. He looks a little concerned/creeped by the DARK FIGURED MAN, but goes about his business. FADE to BLACK.
INT. JOSE’S HOME, NIGHT. CLOSE-UP of HAND turning radio on and up, way up. We hear loud, obnoxious music. The audience then witnesses a series of jump-cut scenes o f dialogue between JOSE and FRIENDS. The MUSIC overpowers the dialogue, and they are completely in PANTOMIME. NONE OF THIS DIALOGUE WILL BE AUDIBLE.
(clipboard and pencil in hand) So now that we know what we’re doing, it’s time to delegate responsibilities.
But do we really know what we’re doing?
What is that supposed to mean?
Come on, guys, it’s not like we’re pros at this. I just think maybe we should walk through everything—step by step. Make sure we don’t miss any details.
It’s not a bad idea. I’m with him.
Okay, we’ll let’s do the run-down then. First, there’s the van. It pulls up while Alex is cleaning outside. Second, there’s the bag.
(raises hand) Dibs on driving the van!
Alright, I want you (points to FRIEND 2) on bag duty.
What? Why am I on bag duty? You do the bag, you’re already outside.
But I’m across the street.
So cross the street when we pull up.
I think it’s a lot simpler to step out of the van to bag, then to cross the street to bag.
No it’s not.
(sighs) Who here thinks I should bag?
ALL THREE FRIENDS raise hands.
Alright, (he notes on a clipboard) I’ll bag.
JUMP-CUT. NEW SONG.
Why do I get the needle?
Because I can tie knots better than you, and you’re the smallest out of the four of us.
He does have a point.
No, I’m not touching the stuff!
Nothing’s gonna happen.
You can’t say that, you don’t know that! He could kick it out of my hand and it could get everywhere—and then what?! We’re all infected!
Alright, I’ll do the needle.
JUMP-CUT. NEW SONG.
(throwing his hands up) No, I’m not dragging!
It’s no big deal, (demonstrates visually with pantomime) you just slip your arms under his arms and lock the inside of your elbows into his armpits. Then, you just pull your fists up like you’re lifting weights and pull. It’s a piece of cake.
I refuse to drag the body! I’m not touching him!
Dude, you are such a wuss.
Oh, I’m a wuss now?!
Yeah, you are a wuss, Wuss!
Guys, come on…
(trying to compose himself) Don’t call me a wuss again.
Whatever you say… wuss.
That tears it!
ALL FOUR are sitting down now, the music is off. They all look at each other, tossing glances as if to ask “Are you ready?” FRIEND 2 has bloody tissues shoved up his nostrils perhaps. Eventually, we come back to JOSE who takes one last glance around at the faces. This next line is audible.
(nods) Alright… let’s do it.
EXT. ALEX’S WORKPLACE, NIGHT. ALEX is cleaning outside the store, again. He looks across the street and the DARK FIGURED MAN comes up to his usual spot, ALEX smiles and waves to him—as if he’s done this before—the DARK FIGURED MAN waves back casually and perhaps sits on a bench to chill in the night air. ALEX keeps sweeping, but then stops and pulls out that paper that reads, “MARCY: 555-3416.” He leans the broom against his shoulder and dials a number into his cell phone.
Hey, this is Alex from the courtyard. I’m off in five. What are you doing? (beat, as he listens—his eyes widen) Ooh… wow.
FADE TO BLACK.
Last edited by OnyxDragon on Thu May 07, 2009 3:46 pm; edited 1 time in total