13 Days script
13 Days (2000)
Synopsis: For thirteen extraordinary days in October of 1962, the world stood on the brink of an unthinkable catastrophe. Across the globe, people anxiously awaited the outcome of a harrowing political, diplomatic and military confrontation that threatened to end in an apocalyptic nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union. Thirteen days captures the urgency, suspense and paralyzing chaos of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

DARKNESS. As the MAIN TITLES BEGIN, the theater thrums with

a subsonic HISS which mounts in all the rattling power of

THX, and we...

BURN IN, BRIGHT LIVING COLOR:

EXT. STRATOSPHERE - DAY

The glory of stratospheric dawn. The engines of a silver

Lockheed U-2F rasp upon the trace oxygen here at 72,500 feet.

Scattered cloud formations hang over the blue brilliance of

sea far, far below. In the haze, the looming edge of land.

SUPER:
FLIGHT G-3101. OCTOBER 14TH, 1962. OVER CUBA.

The spy plane's CAMERA DOORS whine open. The glassy eye of

the 36-inch camera focuses. And then with a

BANGBANGBANGBANG, its high-speed motor kicks in, shutter

flying.

MATCH CUT TO:

INT. O'DONNELL BEDROOM - DAY

A simple CAMERA, snapping away furiously in the hands of a

giggling MARK O'DONNELL, 4. He's straddling and in the face

of his dad, KENNY O'DONNELL, 30's, tough, Boston-Irish, with

a prodigious case of morning hair. Kenny awakens, red-eyed.

HELEN (O.S.)

Mark, get off your father!

Kenny sits up to the morning bedlam of the O'Donnell house.

KIDS screech, doors bang all over. Kenny pushes Mark over,

rolls out of bed, snatches up the corners of the blanket and

hoists Mark over his shoulder in a screaming, kicking bundle.

INT. O'DONNELL HALLWAY - DAY

Kenny, with Mark in the bundle on his shoulder, meets his

wife HELEN going the other way in the hall with LITTLE HELEN,

1, in her arms.

KENNY:

Hi, hon.

They kiss in passing. Daughter KATHY, 12, races by in angry

pursuit of her twin, KEVIN, 12.

HELEN:

Don't forget, Mrs. Higgins wants to talk

to you this afternoon about Kevin. You

need to do something about this.

KENNY:

Kids are supposed to get detention.

Kenny dumps the bundle with Mark in a big pile of dirty

laundry.

SMASH CUT TO:

EXT. MCCOY AIR FORCE BASE - FLORIDA - DAY

A pair of massive FILM CANISTERS unlock and drop from the

belly of the U-2. TECHNICIANS secure them in orange carrying

cases, lock them under key, fast and proficient. They whisk

them out from under the spy plane.

The Technicians run for an idling Jeep. They sling the cases

into the rear of the vehicle which in turn accelerates away

hard, curving across the runway for another waiting plane.

SMASH CUT TO:

INT. O'DONNELL KITCHEN - DAY

A kitchen out of the late 1950's. Kenny drinks coffee, ties

a tie, rifles through a briefcase at the kitchen table. The

horde of kids, ages 2-14, breakfast on an array of period

food. Kenny grills the kids while he goes over papers.

KENNY:

Secretary of Defense...

KEVIN:

Dean Rusk!

KENNY:

Wrong, and you get to wax my car.

KENNY JR. smirk at Kevin.

KENNY JR.

Rusk is State, moron. Robert McNamara.

HELEN:

Got time for pancakes?

KENNY:

Nope. Attorney General?

A PHONE RINGS as the kids cry out en masse.

KIDS:

(chorus)

Too easy! Bobby, Bobby Kennedy!

Kenny glances up at the wall. There are two phones, side by

side. One RED, one BLACK. It's the black one ringing.

Helen answers. Kenny goes back to his papers.

KENNY:

All right, wise guys, Assistant

Secretary of State for Latin America...

SMASH CUT TO:

EXT. STEUART BUILDING - DAY

A U.S. Navy truck lurches to a stop in front of the run-down,

brick-faced seven-story Steuart Building on 5th and K. Rear

doors BANG open, and out hop two MARINE GUARDS, side arms

drawn, film canisters in a carrying case between them.

SUPER:
NATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHIC INTERPRETATION CENTER

(NPIC), WASHINGTON D.C.

As the Marines approach the building, front doors SLAM open.

INT. OPERATIONS OFFICE, NPIC - DAY

A bespectacled OPERATIONS MANAGER hands a clipboard to one of

the big Marine Guards who in turn hands him a set of keys.

The Manager unlocks the film cases. PHOTO INTERPRETERS swoop

in, whisk away the contents: SPOOLS OF FILM.

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David Self

David Christopher Self (born January 8, 1970) is an American screenwriter best known as the author of the screenplays for the films The Haunting, Road to Perdition, and The Wolfman. more…

All David Self scripts | David Self Books

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