Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I'm Looking For Verity | Code Name Verity Screenplay (4)


The entire week on Loving the Language of Literacy will be comprised of me sharing a scene and its backstory that I wrote for an Independent Study Project having to do with Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I formatted it as if it were a professional Screenplay (which is a lot harder than I thought it would be) and attempted to translate it for film the best I could. Sadly, the proper margins and spacing didn't transfer over well into Blogger. Warning - There are spoilers for the novel if you haven't read it. 
This is what an average screenplay sheet would look like.
Today's scene is a lot more like four scenes melded into one because they need to be read together to make sense. This was probably the hardest one for me to translate for film because we hear vital information from Georgia Penn and Maddie as well as Verity's perspective. I had to meld the two together while not making it too confusing or awkward. The entire movie would heavily rely on succinct transitions and backlashes, but they would be extremely important for this one.

Cut In.


Ext. Residential area of Ormaie; Banks of park pond - Early Afternoon


Cool, collected Georgia Penn rises from park bench to embrace MADDIE & Mirtraillette, then sits back down and resumes her sock unravelling.


GEORGIA PENN
You feeling brave, Kittyhawk?


Sets aside sock unraveling and takes MADDIE’s hands in her own as MADDIE half smiles/grimaces in acceptance.


GEORGIA PENN
There’s no nice way to tell you this, but Verity’s been tortured

MADDIE
(croaks after pausing to absorb information)
Are you sure?

GEORGIA PENN
She was very clever about showing me. Cool as you please, no drama about it.


Cut Out.
Cut In.

Int. Chateau de Bordeaux; Verity’s Prison Cell - Day


Wide writing shot progressing to closeup fading into the voiceover.

VERITY (O.S.)
I’m supposed to use this time to make my notes on the radio interview as a kind of backstop in case the actual broadcast doesn’t match up with what v.L. remembers of it. I would have written about it anyway but BUCKETS OF BLOOD. WHEN DO I GET TO FINISH MY GREAT DISSERTATION OF TREASON? They really made an effort to make me presentable.


Series of Shots - Verity Preparing for her Radio Interview.

A) Fraulein Engel sweeps into Verity’s prison cell with her neatly pressed blouse & scarf over one arm.
B) Fraulein Engel decides Verity’ pullover makes her look too thin/pale.
C) Fraulein Engel & Verity disagree over the pencil stubs used to tie Verity’s hair up.
D) Verity soaks her hands in kerosene to get rid of the ink, then scrubs them with soap.
E) Fraulein Engel roughly does Verity’s nails.


Cut Out.
Cut In.

Int. Chateau de Bordeaux; Verity’s Prison Cell - Day


Georgia Penn, disguised as an American interviewer, exchanges falsely cheerful formalities -hand shaking & cigarette giving- with Verity.


VERITY
I’m afraid I can’t tell you my name.

GEORGIA PENN (demands towards Von Linden)
Pourquoi?


Verity grimaces because of Georgia Penn’s harsh American accent. Fraulein Engel/Von Linden unhappily whisper amongst themselves.


GEORGIA PENN
Why can’t I know her name?


Verity stares at Penn pointedly whilst adjusting her scarf to reveal the row of burns across her collarbone/throat delivered by a soldering iron.


VERITY (subtly lying)
It’s for my own protection. I don't want my name publicized.

GEORGIA PENN
I don't want to waste my time listening to propaganda. I’ll be frank with you - I’m looking for truth. Je cherche la verite.

VERITY
Your accent is frightful. Would you repeat that in English.

GEORGIA PENN
I’m looking for verity.


Verity puffs away her entire cigarette to conceal her nervousness, purposefully letting her sleeve roll up to reveal her bruises, twitching her skirt slightly as she crosses her legs. All in attempt to regain her composure from hearing her code name spoken aloud.


VERITY
Truth.

GEORGIA PENN
Truth.


Fraulein Engel rushes to Verity’s side with a saucer to catch the ashes of her now-diminished cigarette. A slight exchange between Fraulein Engel & Verity takes place, more out of care/concern than question.


VERITY
Verity.
(exhales deeply)
Truth is the daughter of time, not authority.
(gasps with pauses & hurried breaths in between)
This above all, to thine own self be true.
(gibbers words nearly unrecognizable)
Verity! I am the soul of verity.
(laughs wildly)


Von Linden & Fraulein Engel exchange slightly worried looks. Von Linden clears his throat professionally in attempts to reign in his prisoner. Georgia Penn looks upon the entire situation with great intent.


VERITY
(solemnly, attempting to convey her message to Georgia Penn)
Je suis l’esprit de verite.

GEORGIA PENN
Well thank goodness for that. I can trust you to give me honest answers. What was your role in the British military?

VERITY
I was but a simple wireless operator and parachuted into France to relay some code. The day I was supposed to meet with some of our French operatives, I made a cultural blunder.

GEORGIA PENN
Of what nature?


The exchange between Verity & Georgia Penn is casual now, Verity’s past behavior all but forgotten


VERITY
It’s silly really, I was crossing the street and I looked the wrong in direction, you know, coming from Britain and all.

GEORGIA PENN
Indeed, it is hard to assimilate oneself into French daily life, even though to the rest of the world, Britain is in the wrong and we are in the right.


Georgia Penn & Verity laugh softly at their joke, followed by Von Linden & Fraulein Engel’s uncomfortable laughs.

VERITY
Indeed

GEORGIA PENN
On another topic, are you worried about your upcoming trial?

VERITY
It’s a formality. I will be shot as a military emissary caught in enemy territory masquerading as a civilian. I count as a spy. The Geneva Convention doesn’t protect me.


The room falls silent for a moment after Fraulein Engel translates to Von Linden because of the truth and blatancy with which Verity speaks of her own death.


VERITY
After all, there is a war on.

Georgia Penn
Yes. Well, you are very brave.

VERITY
Will you get a tour?

Georgia Penn nods.
GEORGIA PENN
It looks very nice. Clean linen in all rooms. A bit spartan.

VERITY
Well-heated, too. It used to be a hotel. No proper dungeon rooms, no damp, no one suffering arthritis at all.


Simultaneously, Verity’s writing and a short exchange of dialogue occurs between Verity & Georgia Penn takes place.


VERITY (O.S.)
It was a rather extraordinary conversation if you think about it - both of us speaking in code. But not military code, not Intelligence or Resistance code- just feminine code.

GEORGIA PENN
Ah. Can I send you anything? Towels?

VERITY
I’ve stopped for now.

GEORGIA PENN
You’re not——
You haven’t been—-

VERITY (O.S.)
Can I send you sanitary towels? No thanks, I’ve stopped bleeding. You’re not pregnant? You haven’t been raped?


Georgia Penn shrugs, nods, skeptically twists her mouth, and raises her eyebrows.


GEORGIA PENN
Well you don’t look so healthy.

VERITY (O.S.)
I look like I’ve just emerged from a sanatorium and am about to lose a long battle with consumption. Starvation and sleep deprivation do lose visible marks, YOU IDIOTS.

VERITY
I haven’t seen the sun for six weeks, but sometimes the weather’s like that back home, too.

GEORGIA PENN
(directed towards Verity)
Well it’s sure nice to see they’re treating their prisoners so well here.
(directed towards Von Linden)
I thank you for this opportunity, it is rare that us Americans are ever given such a personal glimpse into your lives. On behalf of the United States, I thank you Von Linden.


Cut Out.
Cut In.


Ext. Residential area of Ormaie; Banks of park pond - Early Afternoon


GEORGIA PENN
There were ghastly bruises on her arms and legs. But the marks are facing now, must have all been done two or three weeks ago. They’ve eased off on her, probably because she’s made some kind of deal with them. You’d have thought by now Ormaie would have either got what they wanted or given up ——

MADDIE
Made a deal with them!

GEORGIA PENN
Well, some of us manage to pull it off. Hard to tell what your friend thinks she’s doing, though. She was so, so focused. I think she’s still dead set on completing her assignment, and has reason to believe she can do it from inside.


Cut Out.

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