John Q script
John Q (2002)
Synopsis: Story centers on a man whose nine-year-old son is in desperate need of a life-saving transplant. When he discovers that his medical insurance won't cover the costs of the surgery and alternative government aid is unavailable, John Q. Archibald (Denzel Washington) takes a hospital emergency room hostage in a last-ditch attempt to save his child.

FADE IN:

EXT. TWO-LANE HIGHWAY - DAY

Mancini's "Ave Maria" fills the screen as a white BMW speeds along the road.

CREDITS ROLL:

A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN is behind the wheel. We never see her face. Hanging from the mirror is a rosary with a crucifix. Her porcelain hand turns up the volume and the music swells. A silver bracelet dangles from her wrist.

EXT. TWO-LANE HIGHWAY - CONTINUOUS

A slow-moving semi obstructs her path. The woman leans out the window to see if the road is clear before moving into the oncoming lane. She steps on the gas. She's in the wrong lane and can't get over. There are headlights in the distance and the moan of an airhorn is heard.

EXT. TWO-LANE HIGHWAY - CONTINUOUS

Suddenly, the headlights are upon her. And airhorn blasts and she's trapped between two monstrous big rigs. She cuts the wheel hard, but too late. The oncoming truck clips her, sending her car end over end.

SLO-MO

The accident is violent and horrible. The BMW cartwheels along the highway in a grotesque ballet of destruction. The music crescendos and sparks fly as the car skids along the pavement on its roof. And as the BMW violently smashes headfirst into the embankment, the beautiful woman is slammed into the windshield like a crash-test dummy.

EXT. MIDDLE AMERICAN TOWN - PRE-DAWN

The indigo horizon shimmers with the first light of morning. Vapor spewing smokestacks dwarf brick and mortar homes. Dairy Queens, Hardee's, and Walmarts line the main drag. Stars and Stripes flutter from lampposts.

INT. ARCHIBALD HOUSE - BEDROOM - MORNING

A man sits propped up against pillows, his sleeping wife snuggled next to him. His name is JOHN QUINCY ARCHIBALD. His strong, handsome face is beginning to show wear and tear. From across the room, last night's news broadcast drones on the TV. The President is telling everybody how wonderful the country is doing.

JOHN Q. watches impassively, the irony not lost on him. Suddenly, he hears a noise. Something's not right. He jumps out of bed, wearing only a pair of BVDs.

WIFE:

Honey, what is it?

EXT. ARCHIBALD HOUSE - MORNING

The screen door bangs open. John Q. bursts onto the porch to find a tow truck parked in front of his house. TWO TRUCKERS are winching a hook and cable to a ten year old Chevy.

J.Q.

Hey, what the hell are you doing?

TOW TRUCK DRIVER #1

What does it look like?

J.Q.

Aw, come on. That's my car.

TOW TRUCK DRIVER #1

Yeah? That's not what the bank says.

The truckers quickly circle to the front and hop in. John Q. just watches as the truck speeds away, dragging the car along the cement.

The neighbors now stand on their porches, staring. J.Q. turns to see his wife, DENISE, standing in the doorway. She's not a happy camper.

Their nine year old son, MIKE, appears at his mother's side, wiping the sleep from his eyes.

MIKE:

What's going on?

INT. ARCHIBALD HOUSE - KITCHEN - MORNING

CLOSE ON a hand circling want-ads in red ink. J.Q. sits at the kitchen table drinking a half-filled cup of coffee, his eyes scouring the classifides.

Denise enters, dressed in her brown and red supermarket cashier's uniform. Without speaking, she passes J.Q. and starts making breakfast.

J.Q.

Sorry.

Denise doesn't respond. A chill fills the air.

J.Q. (CONT'D)

I talked to the bank. They promised they'd work with me.

DENISE:

Okay.

J.Q.

I did.

DENISE:

John, that was two months ago.

J.Q.

We've got enough money for next month's rent. That's it. It was either the car or the house, so I thought...

DENISE:

You thought.

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James Kearns

James William Kearns is the writer of the film John Q which starred Denzel Washington. He has also written several TV movies and episodes of television programs such as Mr. Belvedere, Jake and the Fatman, Highway to Heaven and Dynasty. more…

All James Kearns scripts | James Kearns Books

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