Friday, April 10, 2015

The Lights Have Gone Out | Code Name Verity Screenplay (7)


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 the most lengthy of them all, taking up an entire fifth of the 25 page screenplay in word count. It's a mixture of flashbacks and present day between Fraulein Engel and Maddie as the wholes in Maddie's story are filled in. It's also a perspective-giving scene for Fraulein Engel to the audience because we see the humanity and compassion in her that Verity never described.

Cut In.

Ext. Ormaie Cafe/Streets/Place des Hirondelles - Mid-Afternoon

Maddie attempts to avoid passing by Fraulein Engel’s table.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
Salut, Kathe.

Fraulein Engel pats the chair next to her, stubs out her own cigarette, lights two and gives one to Maddie.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
Et ton amie, ca va? [How’s your friend?]

Maddie looks away, swallowing, the fake smile leaving her face. She takes a drag of the cigarette, and chokes. Fraulein Engel swears softly in French, then pauses.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
Elle est morte? [Is she dead?]

Maddie nods.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
Allons marcher avec moi, j’ai des choses a te dire. [Come on, walk with me, I have things to say to you]

Fraulein Engel & Maddie walk through the streets of France, arriving at the place Verity was caught by the Gestapo.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
She was crossing the street, right here, and she looked the wrong way. What a stupid place to make a mistake like that, right in the middle of La Place des Hirondelles! There is always someone watching here, the town hall on one side and the Gestapo on the other.

Fraulein Engel pauses to let the information soak in.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
(speaks as if reminiscing with great admiration)
She put up a hell of a fight, your friend. She bit a policeman. They got me to come and chloroform her, to knock her out, you know? There were four officers holding her down by the time I came running across the square, and she was still struggling. She tried to bite me, too. When the fumes finally overwhelmed her it was like watching a light out out—-

MADDIE
(as if she’s about to get choked up again)
I know. I know.

Fraulein Engel & Maddie make their way out of the square and look at each other at the same moment as Fraulein Engel confesses.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
We’ve turned this place into a real shit hole. There were roses in that square when I was first sent here. Now it’s noting but mud and trucks. I think of her every single time I cross those cobbles, three times a day. I hate it. We can walk along the riverfront for about half a kilometer. Have you been?

MADDIE
No.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
It’s one of the few things that’s still pretty.

Fraulein Engel lights another cigarette.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
I’ve chloroformed people before, but I’ve never despised myself so much as I did that day -she was so small and-

Fraulein Engel stumbles over her words and Maddie has to bite her cheeks to prevent the tears.

FRAULEIN ENGEL (O.S.)
So fierce, so beautiful. It was like breaking a hawk’s wings, stopping up a clear spring with bricks, digging up roses to make a space to park your tank. Pointless and ugly. She was just - blazing with life and defiance one moment, the next, she was nothing but a senseless shell lying on her face in the gutter.

MADDIE
(whispers)
I know.

Fraulein Engel looks at Maddie curiously, frowns, then sweeps her face with her pale eyes.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
Do you so?

MADDIE
(through gritted teeth)
She was my best friend.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
Here’s the river

Fraulein Engel and Maddie cross the street and stand at the river bank, looking out over at the elm stumps that have been cut for firewood. Fraulein Engel inhales deeply.

Cut Out.
Cut In.

Ext. Place des Hirondelles Square - Mid-Afternoon

Fraulein Engel chloroforms Verity, turns her over, checks for arms, finds the silk scarf balled up in her fist.

FRAULEIN ENGEL (O.S.)
I wasn’t supposed to search her, that was someone else’s job, but I wondered what she had been protecting so doggedly.

Fraulein Engel discovers the smear of ink on Verity’s palm and the reversed imprint of it, spits on the scarf, wads it into a ball, then rubs it against her palm to blot out the numbers and closes Verity’s fingers around it.

FRAULEIN ENGEL (O.S.)
On her palm was a smear of ink. On the scarf was the perfectly reversed imprint of an Ormaie Town Hall archive reference number that she’d written on her palm and tried to rub out with the scarf.

Fraulein Engel pauses, she and Maddie observe a flock of pigeons circle hopefully, a few of them landing on the cobblestones.

Cut Out.
Cut In.

Ext. Ormaie Riverbank - Mid-Afternoon

MADDIE
How did you know what she wanted the number for?

FRAULEIN ENGEL
She told me. At the end, after she’d finished writing. It was nonsense by then.

Cut Out.
Cut In.

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

Fraulein Engel takes hold of Verity’s pen and she let go without a fight as Verity’s head sinks down onto the desk in front of her.

FRAULEIN ENGEL (O.S.)
So I took hold of the pen to stop her. She let for without a fight. She was so tired. She looked up at me without hope. It was supposed to be secret, but we all knew where Von Linden would send her. In the palm of my own hand, I wrote - 72 B4 CdB.

Fraulein Engel shows Verity the number, smears them illegibly, then shuffles them together.

VERITY
That’s mine.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
What use is it to you?

VERITY
None. Not anymore, but if I could…

FRAULEIN ENGEL
What would you do with it? What should I do with it?

Verity narrows her eyes.

VERITY
Set fire to it and blow this place to blazes. That would be the best thing to do with it.

Fraulein Engel holds the stack of Verity’s papers against her chest. Verity looks at her challengingly/accusingly.

VERITY
(Verity laughs hysterically)
Anna the Avenging Angel. Well it’s your problem now.

Cut Out.
Cut In.

Ext. Ormaie Riverbank - Mid-Afternoon

FRAULEIN ENGEL
You should go home, Kathe.

Fraulein Engel presses her hand over Maddie, giving her a key.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
I think you have everything you need now.

Maddie squeezes Fraulein Engel’s hand

MADDIE
Danke, Anna.

FRAULEIN ENGEL
Take care, Kathe.

VON LINDEN
Guten Tag, Fräulein Engel.

Fraulein Engel drops her cigarette, crushes it with her foot, straightens her posture/coat collar. Maddie drops her cigarette too. Von Linden holds out a hand to Verity and she shakes it in return.

Cut Out.

This brings us to the end of the Code Name Verity Screenplay Scenes. I had so much fun sharing all my hard work with you and if you want to see more like this, don't hesitate to leave a comment :)

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