The Ghost and the Darkness script
Synopsis: Sir Robert Beaumont (Tom Wilkinson) is behind schedule on a railroad in Africa. Enlisting noted engineer John Henry Patterson (Val Kilmer) to right the ship, Beaumont expects results. Everything seems great until the crew discovers the mutilated corpse of the project's foreman (Henry Cele), seemingly killed by a lion. After several more attacks, Patterson calls in famed hunter Charles Remington (Michael Douglas), who has finally met his match in the bloodthirsty lions.

FADE IN ON:

A TINY FIGURE OF A MAN hurrying toward camera. The figure gets

larger as he approaches. But as yet we cannot tell who he is or

where we are.

MALE VOICE (over)

This is the most famous true story

of Africa. It happened a hundred

years ago, but even now, when

children ask about it, you do not

tell them at night.

(The FIGURE continues

to grow)

It began with the race to build a

railroad across Africa.

(beat)

But this is not about building a

railroad- it is about Patterson.

And now we can tell that the FIGURE is a YOUNG MAN, A LIEUTENANT

COLONEL. This is PATTERSON. He is gifted and bright and serious,

serious about his life, serious about his career. He has been

successful in everything he's attempted, in part because of his

talents, in part because he is willing to outwork anybody.

AND THIS IS WHERE WE ARE: ENGLAND.

More specifically, in a high-ceilinged corridor of an elegant

building - lovely woodwork all around. Everything is neat,

everything is clean and in order.

MALE VOICE (over)

Patterson was thirty. A brilliant

engineer. A fine man, but do not

become attached to him- there are

many fine men in this story but do

not become attached to any of them.

(beat)

So many of them die.

Patterson stops at a large ornate door, knocks. Waits.

MALE VOICE (over)

And remember this: only the

impossible parts of what follows

really happened...

(Now the door opens

and we-)

CUT TO:

Just a wonderfully handsome man standing in the doorway. This is

ROBERT BEAUMONT - 40, with an irresistable smile. We're in his

office and the place reflects the man - clean, cold. There are

maps and charts on the walls. He ushers Patterson inside.

BEAUMONT:

(The great smile flashes)

John Henry Patterson, come in. I'm

Robert Beaumont.

(They shake hands)

Firm- I like that, tells me a lot

about you-

(beat)

-now why don't you tell me about me?

To get you started, many people find

me handsome, with a wonderful smile.

I'm sure you agree.

(Surprised, uncomfortable,

Patterson nods)

Winning personality, heaps of charm?

PATTERSON:

My wife is the game player in the

family, sir.

BEAUMONT:

Games?

(staring dead at Patterson)

Look at me closely, Patterson: I am

a monster. My only pleasure is

tormenting people who work for me,

such as yourself.

(again the smile - only

now it's chilling)

One mistake and I promise you this:

I'll make you hate me.

CUT TO:

PATTERSON, as he realizes Beaumont is serious. Beaumont turns

sharply and moves to a large map.

CUT TO:

THE MAP. It covers a great deal of East Africa with a very clear

line that ends at Lake Victoria, a distance of some 600 miles.

BEAUMONT:

(pointing along the line)

We are building this railroad

across Africa for the glorious

purpose of saving Africa from the

Africans. And, of course, to end

slavery. The Germans and French

are our competition. We are ahead,

and we will stay ahead providing

you do what I hired you to do-

CUT TO:

A MORE DETAILED MAP. This one ends at "Tsavo," 130 miles in.

BEAUMONT:

-build the bridge over the Tsavo

river. And be finished in four

months time. Can you do that?

PATTERSON:

I'm sure you've examined my record.

So you know I've never yet been

late on a bridge.

BEAUMONT:

You've never built in Africa.

PATTERSON:

But I have in India- every country

presents problems.

BEAUMONT:

You'll need your confidence, I

promise you.

PATTERSON:

I've got a reason far beyond

confidence:
my wife is having our

firstborn in five months and I

promised I'd be with her when the

baby comes.

BEAUMONT:

Very moving, Patterson; I'm touched

you confided in me.

(beat)

But I don't really give a shit about

your upcoming litter. I've made you

with this assignment-

(the smile)

-don't make me break you.

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William Goldman

William Goldman (born August 12, 1931) is an American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. He came to prominence in the 1950s as a novelist, before turning to writing for film. He has won two Academy Awards for his screenplays, first for the western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and again for All the President's Men (1976), about journalists who broke the Watergate scandal of President Richard Nixon. Both films starred Robert Redford. more…

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"The Ghost and the Darkness" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 24 Nov. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/the_ghost_and_the_darkness_472>.

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