FADE IN ON:
A SINGLE CIGARETTE. A MATCH. A HOTEL ICE BUCKET that holds a
bottle of champagne. The cigarette is unlit. The match is of the
kitchen variety. The champagne, unopened, is Dom Perignon. There
is only one sound at first: a strong WIND --
-- now another sound, sharper -- a sudden burst of TYPING as we
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
PAUL SHELDON typing at a table in his hotel suite. It's really a
cabin that's part of a lodge. Not an ornate place. Western themed.
He is framed by a window looking out at some gorgeous mountains.
It's afternoon. The sky is grey. Snow is scattered along the
ground. We're out west somewhere. The WIND grows stronger -- there
could be a storm.
PAUL pays no attention to what's going on outside as he continues
He's the hero of what follows. Forty-two, he's got a good face,
one with a certain mileage to it. We are not, in other words,
looking at a virgin. He's been a novelist for eighteen years and
for half that time, the most recent half, a remarkably successful
He pauses for a moment, intently, as if trying to stare a hole in
the paper. Now his fingers fly, and there's another burst of
TYPING. He studies what he's written, then --
THE PAPER, as he rolls it out of the machine, puts it on the
table, prints, in almost childlike letters, these words:
A PILE OF MANUSCRIPT at the rear of the table. He puts this last
page on, gets it straight and in order, hoists it up, folds it to
his chest, the entire manuscript -- hundreds of pages.
PAUL, as he holds his book to him. He is, just for a brief moment,
A SUITCASE across the room. PAUL goes to it, opens it and pulls
something out from inside: a battered leather briefcase. Now he
takes his manuscript, carefully opens the briefcase, gently puts
the manuscript inside. He closes it, and the way he handles it, he
might almost be handling a child. Now he crosses over, opens the
champagne, pours himself a single glass, lights the one cigarette
with the lone match -- there is a distinct feeling of ritual about
this. He inhales deeply, makes a toasting gesture, then drinks,
HOLD BRIEFLY, then --
LODGE - DAY
PAUL -- exiting his cabin. He stops, makes a snowball, throws it,
hitting a sign.
Still got it.
He throws a suitcase into the trunk of his '65 MUSTANG and,
holding his leather case, he hops into the car and drives away.
A SIGN that reads "Silver Creek Lodge." Behind the sign is the
hotel itself -- old, desolate. Now the '65 Mustang comes out of
the garage, guns ahead toward the sign. As "Shotgun" by Jr. Walker
and the Allstars starts, he heads off into the mountains.
THE SKY. Gun-metal grey. The clouds seem pregnant with snow.
PAUL, driving the Mustang, the battered briefcase on the seat
THE ROAD AHEAD. Little dainty flakes of snow are suddenly visible.
THE CAR, going into a curve and
PAUL, driving, and as he comes out of the curve, a stunned look
hits his face as we
THE ROAD AHEAD -- and here it comes -- a mountain storm; it's as
if the top has been pulled off the sky and with no warning
whatsoever, we're into a blizzard and
THE MUSTANG, slowing, driving deeper into the mountains.
PAUL, squinting ahead, windshield wipers on now.
THE MUSTANG, rounding another curve, losing traction --
PAUL, a skilled driver, bringing the car easily under control.