EXT. MANSION -- DAY -- HOME MOVIES
A stately mansion. A perfect lawn. A BUTLER carries a
birthday cake with sparking sparklers...
Past wealthy MEN in crewcuts and thin ties, WOMEN in cat-eye
sunglasses. Everyone sings (silent) "Happy Birthday"...
CHILDREN follow the cake, in dresses and suits, gathering
round NICHOLAS VAN ORTON, 7, guest of honor, who wears a
blindfold. MOTHER comes to remove the blindfold and
Nicholas ogles the cake, laughs. He reaches for a sparkler.
Mother intercepts, fussing, fixing his hair...
Nicholas' FATHER sits near, smoking, nodding. He's intense,
thin, wearing a party hat. He notcies the camera without
mugging for it, bends to snuff his cigarette in an ashtray.
SPLICE-JUMP TO/STEP PRINT: a Harlequin CLOWN ties balloon
animals. Nicholas assists, distracted by the inattentive
children who look into the camera and pull hair and stand on
Men are drinking, storytelling, laughing. A fraternity...
The women are elsewhere, doing movie-vamp poses for the
camera, blowing cigarette smoke, brightly dressed, eyelids
blue and green, lipstick perfect...
Servants clear the table. Father holds a piece of untouched
cake. A man talks to him, but Father stares off, lost in
thought. He's forgotten the party hat on his head...
Mother puts her arms around Father and makes him
face the camera. He leans in, posing dutifully.
a nanny in uniform, ILSA, holds an INFANT
(CONRAD) to the camera, places the baby in Nicholas' arms.
Nicholas is gentle, overwhelmed by cradling his
children play tag. Across the lawn, Father
heads to the house. He looks back, walks backwards.
he gives a small wave, continuing away...
Kids chase past. Nicholas and two other kids huddle, arms
locked, spinning round and round, till they stumble
different directions, falling, laughing, dizzy...
Nicholas gets up, wearing a PUPPET on each hand.
He walks CLOSE and peers in the camera, steps
back, happily talking. We can't hear because it's SILENT...
INT. VAN ORTON MANSION, BATHROOM -- MORNING
The emotionless face of NICHOLAS VAN ORTON, just today 40,
looks upon itself in a mirror. He brings an electric shaver
across his chin, shuts it off, wipes his face with a towel.
INT. VAN ORTON MANSION, MASTER BEDROOM -- MORNING
Nicholas crosses. The bedroom is spacious, devoid of
clutter. A weight-machine in a far corner. A big T.V.
shows CNN with no sound.
At a bedside table, Nicholas picks up a heavy, gold ROLEX,
sliding it on, checking the time. 6:32.
INT. VAN ORTON MANSION, KITCHEN -- NIGHT
Nicholas stands at the kitchen islandm his tie thrown over
his shoulder, eating breakfast. ILSA, now elderly, is
across the way doing dishes.
The only sounds are the tiny clicks of Nicholas' knife and
fork against his plate. He's reading a German newspaper.
Nicholas jabs the last piece of egg, skewers the last bit of
ham and last square of toast. Plate's clean.
He sips his last swallow of juice, dabs his mouth with a
napkin, picks up his briefcase and heads to a back door.
Have a nice day.
EXT. VAN ORTON MANSION, BACKYARD -- MORNING
Nicholas walks down a garden pathway to a three-car garage.
He looks at his Rolex.
INT. NICHOLAS' BENTLEY -- MORNING
Bentley Continental Coupe. Quiet. Nicholas drives, begins
humming, barely audible. A Prince song, "Erotic City."
(sings, to self)
...until the dawn... making love till
... Erotic City, you and me...