EXT. CITYSCAPE - NIGHT
The place is Gotham City. The time, 1987 -- once removed.
The city of Tomorrow: stark angles, creeping shadows,
dense, crowded, airless, a random tangle of steel and
concrete, self-generating, almost subterranean in its
aspect... as if hell had erupted through the sidewalks and
kept on growing. A dangling fat moon shines overhead, ready
EXT. CATHEDRAL - NIGHT
Amid the chrome and glass sits a dark and ornate Gothic
old City Cathedral, once grand, now abandoned --
long since boarded up and scheduled for demolition.
On the rooftop far above us, STONE GARGOYLES gaze down from
their shadowy, windswept perches, keeping monstrous watch
over the distant streets below, sightless guardians of the
One of them is moving.
EXT. GOTHAM SQUARE - NIGHT
The pulsing heart of downtown Gotham, a neon nightmare of
big-city corruption, almost surreal in its oppressiveness.
Hookers wave to drug dealers. Street hustlers slap high-
fives with three-card monte dealers. They all seem to know
each other... with one conspicuous exception:
A TOURIST FAMILY, Mom, Dad, and little Jimmy, staring
straight ahead as they march in perfect lockstep down the
main drag. They've just come out of a bit show two blocks
over; the respectable theatre crowd has thinned out, and
now -- Playbills in hand -- they find themselves adrift in
the predatory traffic of Gotham's meanest street.
For God's sake, Harold, can we
please just get a taxi??
I'm trying to get a --
Three cabs streak pass and disappear. MOM grimaces in
frustration as LITTLE JIMMY consults a subway map.
We're going the wrong way.
Nearby, STREET TYPES are beginning to snicker. DAD surveys
them nervously, gestures toward the subway map.
Put that away. We'll look like
TWO COPS lean on their patrol car outside an all-night
souvlaki stand, sipping coffee and chatting with a HOOKER.
The HOOKER smiles at JIMMY. JIMMY smiles back. MOM yanks
him off down the street and glowers at DAD.
We'll never get a cab here. Let's
cut over to Seventh.
Seventh is that way.
I know where we are!
EXT. SIDE STREET - THAT MOMENT - NIGHT
A deserted access street, sidewalks lined with the husks of
stripped-down cars. MOM, DAD, and JIMMY take a deep breath
and march down the darkened street. A VOICE startles them.
Hey, mister. Gimme a dollar?
The VOICE belongs to a DERELICT -- nineteen or twenty,
acne-scarred -- who sits between two garbage cans, his palm
uplifted. His ratty t-shirt reads: 'I LOVE GOTHAM CITY.'
MOM, DAD, and JIMMY pause for the merest of seconds, then
move on -- pretending not to hear.
Mister. How about it. One dollar?
One dollar, man. Are you deaf?
Are you deaf? -- Do you speak