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12 Monkeys (1996)
Synopsis: Traveling back in time isn't simple, as James Cole (Bruce Willis) learns the hard way. Imprisoned in the 2030s, James is recruited for a mission that will send him back to the 1990s. Once there, he's supposed to gather information about a nascent plague that's about to exterminate the vast majority of the world's population. But, aside from the manic Jeffrey (Brad Pitt), he gets little in the way of cooperation, not least from medical gatekeepers like Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe).

FADE IN:

INT. CONCOURSE/AIRPORT TERMINAL - BAY

CLOSE ON A FACE. A nine year old boy, YOUNG COLE, his eyes wide

with wonder. watching something intently. We HEAR the sounds of

the P.A. SYSTEM droning Flight Information mingled with the

sounds of urgent SHOUTS, running FEET, EXCLAMATIONS.

YOUNG COLE'S POV: twenty yards away, a BLONDE MAN is sprawled on

the floor, blood oozing from his gaudy Hawaiian shirt.

A BRUNETTE in a tight dress, her face obscured from YOUNG COLE'S

view, rushes to the injured man, kneels beside him, ministering

to his wound.

ANGLE ON YOUNG COLE, flanked by his PARENTS, their faces out of

view, as they steer him away.

FATHER'S VOICE (o.s.)

Come on, Son --this is no place for us.

YOUNG COLE resists momentarily, mesmerized by the drama.

YOUNG COLE'S POV: intermittently visible through a confusion of

FIGURES rushing through the foreground, the BLONDE MAN reaching

up and touching the cheek of the kneeling BRUNETTE in a gesture

of enormous tenderness, a gesture of farewell, while the P.A.

SYSTEM continues its monotonous monotone...

P.A. SYSTEM

Flight 784 for San Francisco is now

ready for boarding at inmate number

66578, Greely.

INT. PRISON DORMITORY/FUTURE - ETERNAL NIGHT

PRISON P.A. SYSTEM

--number 5429, Garcia -- number 87645, Cole...

COLE, late thirties, dark hair, comes awake in a bunk cage, one

of many stacked four high along both sides of a long dim

corridor. He blinks in the near dark, shaken, disoriented.

Then, as he "recovers" from his very vivid dream, WE GET OUR

FIRST LOOK AT HIS ENVIRONMENT...A WINDOWLESS UNDERGROUND WORLD OF

ETERNAL NIGHT SOMETIME IN THE FUTURE...AN ALMOST COLORLESS

"REALITY" OF BLURRED EDGES AND ECHOEY SOUNDS, MUCH MORE

"DREAMLIKE" THAN HIS DREAM.

Flashlights glare. In the half-light, COLE sees spooky figures,

GUARDS, moving among the locked bunk/cages.

COLE turns and whispers to the occupant of the next cage, JOSE...

COLE:

Ssssst! Jose, what's going on?

JOSE's face is almost lost in shadow. What there is of it is

youthful. He's just a scared Puerto Rican kid!

JOSE:

"Volunteers" again.

JOSE immediately rolls over and feigns sleep as SCARFACE, a

menacing guard with a jagged scar running down his cheek, looms

close to COLE's cage and unlocks it.

SCARFACE:

"Volunteer duty".

The PRISONERS in the other cages watch silently with narrowed eyes.

COLE:

I didn't volunteer.

SCARFACE:

You causing trouble again?

COLE:

(controls his temper)

No trouble.

INT. EQUIPMENT ROOM - ETERNAL NIGHT

COLE's alone, struggling to get into what looks like a space suit

in a room where suits hang like ghosts with blank eyes.

TITLES BEGIN SUPERED OVER THE SCENE

COLE has the torso of the suit on now and is trying to close it.

OFFSCREEN VOICE (o.s.)

All openings must be closed.

COLE looks for the source of the voice, a tiny grate in the wall.

OFFSCREEN VOICE (o.s.)

If the integrity of the suit is compromised

in any way, if the fabric is torn or a zipper

not closed, readmittance will be denied.

INT. SEALED CHAMBER - MINUTES LATER (ETERNAL NIGHT)

COLE, wearing the "space suit" and a helmet with a plastic visor,

steps into a tiny chamber, a kind of air lock. The heavy door

clangs shut behind him. He's alone. COLE'S breath comes quicker

now as he sucks oxygen from the air tanks on his back.

On the opposite wall is another door with a huge wheel lock.

COLE turns the heavy wheel, opens the door, steps through It

INT. ELEVATOR - SECONDS LATER (ETERNAL NIGHT)

COLE'S in an ascending elevator that groans and creaks. He looks

down at a crudely drawn map he holds in his gloved hand.

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David Peoples

David Webb Peoples (born c. 1940) is an American screenwriter, best known for the films Blade Runner, Unforgiven and Twelve Monkeys. more…

All David Peoples scripts | David Peoples Books

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