UNDER THE OCEAN - NIGHT
Ribbons of moonlight pierce the dark ocean from above as we
glide forward underwater with embodied, animal purpose.
OBJECTS begin to fall into view ahead: various shapes sinking
from the surface as we move between them... AN AMMO BOX, A
CHAIR, PIECES OF TWISTED METAL raining down everywhere...
We shift direction between the debris, moving forward...
A more familiar silhouette sinks in front of us: A HUMAN
CORPSE. But we ignore it, turning to slowly pass it.
Now, in the gloomy distance ahead, see LIGHTS FLICKERING from
portholes, briefly illuminating the surreal sight of a U.S.
NAVY HEAVY CRUISER as it sinks, going down into the deep,
bubbles and debris spewing from TWO GASHES in its side.
As we watch, pressure snuffs its lights and it becomes just a
shadow in the dark, barely visible, falling into the abyss as
we continue onward with cold indifference to its fate...
EXT. DRIVING OUT TO SEA - DAY
A fine day off the coast of NEW ENGLAND. AUGUST 1946. A
thirty-five foot NOVA SCOTIA LOBSTER BOAT drives out to sea.
Vapor trails from its tall exhaust beside the flying bridge.
She’s a little worn in but still in her prime with decades of
life left in her.
Printed on the stern in large letters is her name: “ORCA”.
EXT. FLYING BRIDGE - ORCA - DAY
The man at the helm is twenty but seems older. He’s
weathered, from sun and from drinking, with unkempt hair and
a beard and icy eyes, piercing and haunted. Barely a year has
passed since the war ended, but it did its work on this man.
They call him QUINT.
He glances behind him. A little harbor and the island of
Martha’s Vineyard are shrinking into the distance.
He tightens his grip on the wheel, glancing down at the boat
beneath him and its hull cutting the water. He seems nervous.
He reaches for a mug on the console and lifts it to his
mouth, only to find it already emptied. He throttles down.
INT. CABIN - ORCA - MOMENTS LATER
Beneath the flying bridge is a compact cockpit/cabin with a
tiny kitchenette, table and booth, all surrounded by windows.
Quint climbs down from above and stumbles inside. He grabs a
nearly-empty bottle of schnapps and empties it into the mug.
He downs it in an easy gulp.
But then the endless ocean outside the window gives him
pause. He stares at it with anxious uncertainty.
He turns away and digs in a grocery bag, past bread and
bologna and cheese, to reach a fresh bottle of whiskey.
EXT. REAR DECK - ORCA - DAY
Jazz warbles from a HAND-CRANK GRAMOPHONE inside the cabin.
Quint stands up from a wooden rocking chair, as his fishing
rod bends with a catch on the line. He works to reel it in.
He pulls up a nice-sized striper. Stuffing one hand into a
glove, he grabs the fish to remove the hook.
Beauty, aren’t you.
The fish squirms and he loses his grip, dropping it to the
deck. He clumsily tries to grab it as it flaps around, but he
knocks his mug from the top of a tackle box. It SMASHES on
the floor -- whiskey spills across the deck.
He kicks the fish into a corner. He’s drunk, frustrated.
THE FISH, flapping in spilt whiskey, when... BAM! A
knife slams through its head, pinning it to the deck.
Quint stares at it, grimly. Blood seeps into booze...
He pulls the knife out, opens a cooler box and drops the fish
inside to join a few others he already caught, on ice.
He pauses, staring down into the box.
What are you looking at? Huh?
Long beat. He glares at the dead fish. But then a smile
cracks across his face, becoming a rasping chuckle.