The Abyss script
The Abyss (1989)
Synopsis: Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio are formerly married petroleum engineers who still have some issues to work out. They are drafted to assist a gung-ho Navy SEAL (Michael Biehn) with a top-secret recovery operation: a nuclear sub has been ambushed and sunk, under mysterious circumstances, in some of the deepest waters on Earth.

EXT. OCEAN/UNDERWATER 14

In the cobalt twilight we see the Montana slide down the sea cliff, its hull

SCREECHING like the death agonies of some marine dinosaur. Descending in an

avalanche of silt, it finally disappears into the blackness below... a

blackness which continues almost straight down, 20,000 feet to the bottom of

the Cayman Trough. The abyss.

EXT. OCEAN SURFACE -- DAY 15

Above, in the world, the Caribbean rolling gray under a stormy sky. The

Montana's emergency buoy pops to the surface, transmitting.

CUT TO:

EXT. OCEAN/20 MILES AWAY -- DAY 16

LONG LENS SHOT:
three massive Navy Sea King helicopters thundering straight

at us, FILLING FRAME.

REVERSE, as they barrel OVER CAMERA toward a lone civilian ship... an ugly

but very sophisticated deep-sea drilling support ship, the BENTHIC EXPLORER.

It is a twin-hulled monstrosity with a central opening in its deck, around

which crouch enormous cranes, winches and other arcane equipment.

The first Sea King settles onto the helipad, disgorging a contingent of Naval

officers, technicians, and a squad of armed seamen. A pantomime in the

rotorwash, we see the Benthic Petroleum "company man" KIRKHILL greeting

COMMODORE DEMARCO, the on-scene commander.

INT. BENTHIC EXPLORER/BRIDGE -- DAY 17

The bridge is state-of-the-art, with computers and sophisticated navigation

and communications gear, looking like mission control with its bank of video

monitors. The Drilling Operations Supervisor, LELAND MCBRIDE, and BENDIX,

the crew chief, watch the invaders swarming the deck below.

MCBRIDE:

Does not look good at all.

TIGHT ON VIDEO SCREEN (MINUTES LATER) showing divers working in total

blackness around some sort of installation on the bottom of the ocean. They

move through the harsh floodlights in dreamlike slow motion, looking like

space-suited figures with their helmets and umbilical hoses.

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James Cameron

James Francis Cameron is a Canadian filmmaker, director, producer, screenwriter, inventor, engineer, philanthropist, and deep-sea explorer. He first found major success with the science fiction action film The Terminator. more…

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