Back in June, Hana McCarthy sent us her outline of how she would structure a screenplay for the film adaptation of Catching Fire. With the actual filming set to begin soon (and probably not in my stomping grounds this time, alas), and the actual script guarded by dragons, trolls, and scary guys with earpieces, Hana’s speculative script is a great way to see how the story could be effectively adapted to the screen, preserving most of its tone, themes, and critical elements (particularly those of interest to us nerdy folks here). Please note, this is NOT the actual script being used for the film, but Hana’s delightful, orginal work. Of course, spoilers abound, but the biggest one might be how the actual film will be spoiled for us by Hana’s fascinating treatment, with which Hollywood will probably not be able to compete. So get some popcorn, read on, and get fired up! Thank you so much for sharing with us, Hana!
Back in June you were kind enough to post my thoughts on the broad structure and key elements for a Catching Fire screenplay. http://www.hogwartsprofessor.com/guest-poscript flowBst-catching-fire-screen-play-weve-got-it/ As I went to work on the next installment (a detailed look at Act 1), I found myself realizing that it was easier to actually go ahead and write a sample Act 1 than to write about a theoretical and non-existent Act. So here it is, with lots of disclaimers that THIS IS NOT REAL, also with lots of spoiler warnings – because even though this is NOT REAL, you might start to think it is.
In my model adaptation I tried to make realistic concessions to film-making reality and to the needs of this particular book to film adaptation.
1. The film’s run time should not be more than two hours.
2. As discussed in the comments on our June post, there is so much great movie-making potential in the Arena and in the new characters such as Finnick, Mags, Beetee, Wiress that a disproportionate amount of film time needs to be spent there.
3. That means that the first and much of the second act needs to be very heavily compressed. I allowed about 20 minutes run time for Act 1. In my mock-up of Act 1 I used scenes and dialog that are scattered throughout the first 170 pages of Catching Fire; I even included one line in the very first scene of Act 2 that occurs in the book’s very last pages.
My priorities were to show the inner journey that shapes Katniss’ real values, and also to tell the outer story of how Katniss becomes the spark and symbol – and ultimately the conscience — of a Revolution. Katniss begins her journey as a hunter: her primary goal is simply feeding her family and keeping them safe (symbolized by a new Buttercup sequence); she ends Act 1 making a conscious choice to face danger and to reach out beyond her own small circle.
Wherever possible I used Collins’ words for the dialog, though I moved them around a lot and sometimes changed the speaker; I drew ideas from the first movie for example scenes featuring President Snow’s in his rose garden and Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman and fellow fans Tash and Erin at Mockingjay.com came up with some great concepts. I tried to keep key characters, themes and structural elements true to the book. Still I found myself being quite ruthless, cutting once-favorite lines, and scenes near and dear to my heart, all in the interest of maintaining dramatic pacing and clarity. As Haymitch says “You’ll find out – the choices you have to make!”
I discovered that my work improved when I pictured the actual actors cast in the movies, playing their parts in my imaginary film. I wrote Snow’s scenes with a photo of Snow/Donald Southerland sitting in his rose garden propped near my computer and my vision of Plutarch took shape as I remembered Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Capote. A hijacking? I don’t think so. After all, these are the actors who have been cast, what’s done is done – at this point in the process, a screenwriter (even a not real one) is simply part of a team trying to make the whole enterprise work.
So here are the key elements that I envisioned back in June for Catching Fire, Act 1, with some notes on additions and subtractions (see also attached diagrams).
Act1, Sequence A: District 12
This sequence sets the stage: Katniss is back at home but all is not well. She’s being watched by Snow, she has nightmares, she hates Victor’s Village and her relationships with Gale and Peeta are conflicted. The sequence ends with Gale’s kiss. In the actual writing, I added footage of the District 8 riot being crushed (from pages145-146) to underscore the Capitol’s brutality and to make the stakes clear from the start. Also new and completely made-up: a talk show segment with Plutarch and Caesar Flickerman that introduces a wedding-themed Victory Tour and echoes the first movie’s opening scene. Why this Tour theme? I think it’s an economical way to show how brutally Katniss and Peeta are being manipulated by the Capitol; it sets the stage for some of Mockingjay’s most shocking revelations, also it will make for some great fan-favorite movie images.
Act1, Sequence B: Victory Tour
This sequence poses the dramatic question that will shape the rest of the picture. Katniss is called to her mission as the Mockingjay. For the tour, I reversed the order of the district visits. The tour starts in the Capitol (not in the Everdeen home) as Snow challenges Katniss to prove her loyalty to the Capitol or face losing her loved ones. On the tour, Katniss sees the growing signs of revolution and in District 11 she makes her famous speech (in abbreviated fashion), with a surprise conclusion. I added scenes to show the real and growing bond between Katniss and Peeta, drawing dialog from pages 50-52, 160-162, 78-79 and 82. I also used the Tour to provide brief glimpses of the Victors whom we will meet again in Act 3. Sadly, I found the flow of the final scene in District 11 worked much better without Peeta’s gift – I tried to make up for the loss with more Peeta elsewhere. See if you agree!
In the actual writing process, working from a well-defined structure proved helpful, rather than limiting. Online brainstorming sessions at Mockingjay.com’s Catching Fire: By the Book series http://mockingjay.net/2012/04/20/by-the-book-catching-fire-chapter-1/ provided much inspiration as did MyHungerGames.com’s poll of favorite scenes http://www.myhungergames.com/poll-what-do-you-need-to-see-in-the-hunger-games-catching-fire
So here’s the challenge fellow fans: try your hand at writing your own screenplay version, even just part of one act. Feel free to use my completely unofficial script outline or develop your own. Here’s a link to an MS Word template from a site with lots of practical information: http://www.scriptfrenzy.org/howtoformatascreenplay
And here is Hana’s wonderful draft of the first Act, which integrates crucial aspects of the book with the necessities of film making. What do you think of her treatment? I am particularly enchanted with her use of Buttercup, who was sorely shortchanged in the first film, and with her use of settings. Does anyone want to take up her challenge of continuing?
“CATCHING FIRE: THIS IS NOT A SCREENPLAY”
This is not a script. It is a sample first act written solely as an educational exercise in film-to-book adaptation, by and for students of literature and film.
All rights to the “Hunger Games”, “Catching Fire” books and films remain the property of Suzanne Collins, Scholastic Press, Color Force Productions, Lions Gate Films and their licensees.
EXT. DISTRICT 12/VICTORS VILLAGE – MOONLIT NIGHT:
A featureless cull de sac with 7-8 McMansions, most boarded up with dried out lawns. Three are occupied, two with sparse, newly seeded lawns. A large cat crouches in shrubs. Suddenly automatic lawn sprinklers come on; a questing mouse darts; the cat flashes claws, teeth; saunters off with dangling mouse; delicately leaps to the sill of open window and into one of the houses.
INT. PRESIDENT SNOW’S PRIVATE VIEWING ROOM – EARLY MORNING:
An elegant table is being set for breakfast by two silent servants. On the wall is a large, three-paneled HDTV; the right panel is showing a morning talk show, on mute. PRESIDENT SNOW enters, waving out the servants and aides, delicately helps himself to tea, tiny savories. He waves his palm over a sensor and two new panels light up, the left-most with constantly changing small live feeds from district monitors; the central panel flashes the superimposed message: RESUME ARCHIVE REVIEW? Snow presses a button. Superimposed: ARCHIVE 74TH HUNGER GAMES: FLAGGED IMAGES. One picture of KATNISS EVERDEEN after another slowly scrolls.
WEATHER ANNOUNCER (VO)
…A high pressure system over most of the continent promises splendid weather, just in time for the Victory Tour. MARCUS has more.
You bet! We’re going live now to CAESAR FLICKERMAN with a very special guest – our new head GAMEMASTER, PLUTARCH HEAVENSBEE.
Off camera, morning show studio audience reacts, applauds. On the right hand screen with superimposed CAPITOL ONE TV logo Caesar Flickerman and Plutarch Heavensbee appear, ensconced at a studio desk.
A warm Capitol welcome, Plutarch! Nice to have you here.
On the Capitol One set Plutarch, buffed to Beauty Base One, gives Caesars’ hand a little squeeze, blows kisses to audience.
Pleasure, pleasure, so glad to be here.
You must feel honored to be called to serve at such an historic moment.
A privilege indeed. This QUARTER QUELL is only the third in our young Nation’s history and, as you can imagine, the Gamemakers have been working like slaves to make next year’s Arena one we’ll long remember.
How about a little preview?
Oooh! No spoilers allowed!
But we don’t have to wait a year for excitement – our star–crossed lovers are about to cross the country for a Victory Tour that’s also…
(OC musical cue elicits audience gasp)
An engagement celebration, starting right here in our beloved Capitol.
With their stylist’s simply ravishing line of wedding gowns – and for dear PEETA, frock coats, retro wing collars, embroidered waistcoats to die for.
Superimposed flashing message: CODE SIX ALERT: DISTRICT 8 overrides footage from center and right screens. Left panel multi-feeds now highlight District 8 images. Snow still watching screens, calmly selecting savories, sipping tea now and then. A link device allows instant audio and visual access to CENTCOM and field commanders.
CENTCOM OC VOICE 1
Hovercraft, Peacekeepers in position. We are GO to launch. D8 target coordinates 244.621.400. Security do we have confirm?
Snow casually presses a button.
CENTCOM OC VOICE 2
We have coded confirm. Do you copy? We have confirm.
CENTER SCREEN EXT. DISTRICT 8/CENTRAL TRANSPORTATION HUB –MORNING RUSH HOUR:
Hovercraft overhead. Peacekeepers fan out and open fire on random commuters; some fall, covered in blood, others run in panic.
CENTER SCREEN EXT. DISTRICT 8/FACTORY – MORNING RUSH HOUR:
A light flash; a building erupts in flame. Desperate screams as those nearby try to flee and those inside catch fire, try to break windows, doors to escape.
OS DISTRICT 8 VOICES
EXT. DISTRICT 12/VICTORS VILLAGE – EARLIER, NIGHT:
KATNISS OS VOICE
INT. VICTORS VILLAGE/EVERDEENS’ HOUSE/PRIM’S ROOM – NIGHT:
PRIM EVERDEEN hears screams, wakes, quickly flicks on a light, swings her feet out of bed, grabs the large sleeping cat and heads to the hall leading to Katniss’ room.
KATNISS OS VOICE
MRS. EVERDEEN catches Prim’s eye, nods. Prim heads to Katniss’ room; Mrs. Everdeen downstairs.
INT. VICTORS VILLAGE/HAYMITCH’S KITCHEN – NIGHT:
HAYMITCH ABERNATHY, passed out on his kitchen table, clutching a knife in one hand and a crystal glass in the other, hears screams, wakes for a moment, knife raised, goes back to sleep.
INT. VICTORS VILLAGE/PEETA MELLARK’S BEDROOM – NIGHT:
PEETA MELLARK hears screams, wakes, quickly swings out of bed and goes to his window overlooking the Everdeen house. He sees the light go on in Katniss’ bedroom and goes back to his bed, but still listening, awake, worrying.
INT. VICTORS VILLAGE/KATNISS’ BEDROOM – NIGHT:
(POV Prim)Prim enters holding cat. Katniss is sitting bolt upright, blank eyes filled with terror; Katniss seems to look straight at Prim.(POV Katniss) TRIBUTE RUE pulling a spear out of her gut.
Rue! No, No, Rue!
Katniss, it’s me, Prim. It’s okay.
Prim drops the cat, goes to her sister and holds her, making comforting sounds while the cat prowls on Katniss’ bed, occasionally sitting to stare. Katniss is drenched in sweat, gasping, shaking, still trying to grab hold of reality.
Sorry. I’m so sorry!
No, don’t worry.
I’m so cold.
Prim wraps a shawl around Katniss. The cat jumps on the window sill and meows, pacing, tail flailing.
I don’t think he likes it here much.
Me neither. I feel like I’m back in the Capitol, like they’re still watching me.
Mrs. Everdeen enters, carrying a mug of warm tea in one hand and Katniss’ hunting clothes in the other. Prim takes the cup, wraps Katniss’ hands around it. Mrs. Everdeen drops the clothes on the bed.
(to Mrs. Everdeen)
I’ll braid your hair when you get back.
Katniss reaches for her hunting pants, addresses cat.
Okay cat, let’s go hunting.
EXT. DISTRICT 12 /WOODS BEYOND THE FENCE – DAWN:
Katniss – in her element – moves through the woods with silent grace. The full moon is setting, dawn just beginning to streak the sky. Katniss moves slowly, carefully to a blind on her favorite mountain-ridge meadow. She waits, totally still, bow charged. A large flock of wild turkeys led by a big tom moves cautiously into the meadow; closer, closer, making reassuring purring and clucking noises. Katniss takes aim; the first hen is down; the flock scatters; second hen down; alarm calls and with an enormous explosion of sound the flock takes wing. Third hen down. Katniss takes aim for a fourth, knows she can’t make the shot, shrugs, smiles and gathers her birds.
EXT. DISTRICT 12/PERIMETER FENCE – MORNING:
Katniss tosses her game bag and the turkeys through the fence and then ducks through herself. Sees GALE HAWTHORNE walking along the perimeter fence. Gale is wearing miners’ overalls and is carrying a helmet.
Hey, Catnip. Seriously good haul.
What are you doing here? You’re late for work.
Nah. They moved me to second shift.
Get any squirrels?
Yeah, four fat ones on your snare line.
The turkeys finally came for the corn?
Twenty! The big tom came so close I could have bagged him with my hands.
Taking them to my Mom?
‘Course. She’s had the smoker stoked for weeks…What shaft?
Why? What are they doing?
It’s okay. No big deal.
Don’t give me that.
Some room and pillar retreat extractions on an old longseam.
No. Where? Tell me.
The twelve hundred foot seam.
Her eyes are wide with fear. Gale takes her face in his hands, kisses her urgently, pulls back, runs his fingers across her cheek.
I had to do that, just once.
Off screen, MINE WHISTLE BLOWS.
INT. PRESIDENT SNOW’S PRIVATE VIEWING ROOM – DAY:
On screen Gale kisses Katniss; superimposed: DISTRICT 12 PERIMETER CAM 26 LIVE FEED. President Snow watches.
INT. VICTORS VILLAGE/HAYMITCH’S KITCHEN – NOON:
Peeta enters Haymitch’s kitchen, carrying bread, looks at Haymitch who is still passed out on the table holding the knife and glass. Peeta quietly makes coffee, slices bread, toasts it. Gently takes the knife, replaces it with a mug of coffee and toast.
Still working on breakfast.
EFFIE will be here in two hours.
Did you see it? Plutarch was on the morning show. Did you know?
That’s why I’m celebrating.
You could have warned us.
Katniss breezes in, cheered by her morning hunt. Tosses a packet at Peeta, who catches it one-handed.
Smoked duck from HAZELLE.
Katniss senses the tension, looks from Peeta to Haymitch.
What? What is it?
She doesn’t know.
The Victory Tour will have a wedding theme. CINNA’S got a boxcar full of wedding dresses for you, one for each District. You’ll be stunning, Sweetheart, a knockout.
They’re planning our wedding? We’re supposed to get married for a television show?
Haymitch goes to the sink and runs the water at full blast, masking the conversation.
They wanted to watch us die on live TV…
A sharp look from Haymitch silences Peeta in mid sentence.
What are you sorry for? It’s what you want, isn’t it?
No, Katniss. It’s not. I wanted us to be real, not some phony show for the Capitol.
Peeta, stung to anger, leaves, slamming the screen door.
You could live a thousand lifetimes and not deserve that boy.
INT. THE VICTORY TOUR TRAIN/TRAVELING – AFTERNOON
EFFIE TRINKET is glowing, triumphant, officious, passing out schedules to Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch.
4PM sharp: President’s Rose Garden for the first photo shoot.
I hate roses.
9PM: Soiree at the Capitol Galleria for the opening exhibit of Peeta’s extraordinary paintings. And I will be doing the color commentary for Capitol One TV. You may not know it but I am considered something of an expert on Contemporary Art.
HAYMITCH, KATNISS, PEETA
That’s great, Effie!
OCTAVIA, VENIA and FLAVIUS (the PREP TEAM), swirl in, with hugs, air kisses. They lay claim to Katniss.
Doesn’t Peeta have to get prepped?
He doesn’t need as much work as you.
PREP TEAM bundles Katniss off in a flurry, fussing over the state of her nails, leg and arm hair, eyebrows.
INT. THE VICTORY TRAIN OBSERVATION DECK – SUNSET:
Peeta is sketching a bouquet of flowers. Katniss comes in, sits. Shows off her arms.
Must hurt like hell.
KATNISS AND PEETA
Seems like we’re always saying that. Look, let’s start from scratch. Isn’t it strange that I know you’d risk your life for me, but I don’t know what your favorite color is?
Green. What’s yours?
Like Venia’s hair?
A bit more muted, like sunset.
I’ve never seen your paintings.
You will. Rooms full of them. You’ll hate them.
I paint the Arena.
When I paint, I don’t dream so much
Every night…It’s like every night I’m back there.
I know. Sometimes I hear you.
No, forget it…What’s your cat’s name?
Not mine, Prim’s. BUTTERCUP.
EXT. THE CAPITOL/PRESIDENTIAL ROSE GARDEN – LATE AFTERNOON:
Katniss is wearing a wedding gown of hundreds of delicately shaded cream silk petals, her head crowned with roses. With Cinna and the prep team, she walks down a long marble-columned portico and out into a vast and magnificent rose garden.
Let’s try it with a smile!
Suddenly, President Snow appears with a military escort. Katniss and Cinna look shocked – this is definitely not on the schedule. Several of the guards urge Cinna and the prep team down the path away from Katniss. Snow takes Katniss’ arm and escorts her into the heart of the garden. At every turn, silent armed guards stand at attention.
Shall we take a stroll?
President Snow stops near one rose bed and begins carefully cutting roses.
Miss Everdeen, you have a problem; one that began the moment you pulled out those poisonous berries in the Arena. Our late Gamemaster SENECA CRANE should have blown you to dust right then, but he had a foolish, sentimental streak.
Unfortunately, some people viewed your trick with the berries as an act of rebellion. And if a girl from District 12 of all places can challenge the Capitol and walk away unharmed, what is to stop others from doing the same? What is to prevent, say, an uprising?
I didn’t, I don’t. I mean, I don’t mean to start any uprisings.
I believe you. And now it is up to you and dear Peeta to convince the Districts that you acted purely from undying devotion, not defiance; that you are both completely loyal and ever grateful servants of the Capitol.
By the way, how is your handsome cousin? Gale…is it not? Speak, Miss Everdeen! Him I can easily kill off if we don’t come to a happy resolution.
Please don’t hurt Gale. He’s just my friend. He’s been my friend for years.
It would save time if we agreed not to lie to one another. You see, Miss Everdeen, I know about the kiss.
Snow flicks a finger to summon the guards. He hands Katniss the roses.
Be careful. They have thorns.
Four guards take Katniss away, leading her towards a rose covered arbor to meet a worried Peeta, Prep Team and photographers. Katniss grabs Peeta’s hand, gives him a quick terror-filled look; they start posing.
INT. THE CAPITOL GALLERIA/EXHIBIT HALLS – EVENING:
A party is in full swing. Peeta’s paintings line the walls; the paintings are quite small, exquisitely detailed, beautifully framed; they are mostly being ignored by the crowd in favor of food and drinks temptingly arrayed on dozens of tables. In one corner Effie is being filmed, floodlit, gesturing at one of Peeta’s more abstract compositions. In another corner Haymitch is laughing and drinking with a man (CHAFF)and two women, one surgically altered (ENOBARIA), the other nearly naked (JOHANNA MASON).The crowd swirls and parts for a moment as everyone turns to greet a handsome, scantily clad man (FINNICK ODAIR). Katniss enters with Cinna. She’s dressed beautifully but simply in a modestly cut gown.
Who are they?
Victors from earlier Games, Capitol favorites. You’ll meet them eventually.
Katniss escapes to find Peeta; finds food instead. She’s sampling some little dumplings as Peeta finds her.
This is awesome!
The dumplings. They taste like springtime.
Peeta grabs a dumpling and follows Katniss into the next gallery. She’s stopped at a painting that at first glance is simply a delicate carpet of perfectly rendered white flowers – Queen Anne’s Lace. A closer look shows other things buried in the flowers: clasped hands, part of a face.
It’s Rue. All in little pieces.
Come on. I didn’t want you to see that one.
(pulling her to the next painting)
Come on. You’ll like this one.
They stop before a painting of shimmering silver, resolving into tiny perfect droplets falling on glimmering stone.
The waterfall. Where I found you.
Days. I watched it for days.
Effie and crew are moving to a new picture. Effie lectures with knowing, authoritative gestures.
What can she be saying?
We don’t want to know. Let’s get some more food.
Peeta and Katniss are grazing their way systematically through the buffet tables. Peeta stops at a little side table with tiny blue crystal glasses. He reaches to sample one. Venia, coming up from behind, grabs Peeta’s hand.
Oooo. Don’t drink it here, drink it in there.
Venia points to what seem to be restrooms. Katniss and Peeta exchange puzzled glances.
It’s to make you throw up so you can eat more. Go on! I’ve already been twice. Everyone does it!
Peeta puts the glass down with a distinct click.
Just when you start thinking they might not be so bad…
Plutarch oils his way through the crowd, aiming towards Katniss.
Oh no. Oh no. Not him.
He’s sort of okay. Haymitch introduced me. We could use some friends.
(detaching Katniss from Peeta)
Now, now. Can’t let your lucky fiancée have all the fun. Lovely, simply lovely to meet you, Katniss, my dear. You’re all the rage in the Capitol this year, you know.
Um, ah…are you planning next year’s Games yet?
Well, they’ve been in the works for years, of course – Arenas aren’t built in a day, you know. But, shall we say, the flavor of the games is being determined right now. In fact, I have a strategy meeting tonight. It starts at midnight. But don’t tell – it’s a secret.
Plutarch takes out an elaborate pocket watch. He runs his thumb across the face of the watch and for just a moment an image appears, glowing as if lit by candlelight. It’s a MOCKINGJAY.
It’s a Mockingjay. It looks just like my pin.
Glad you like it – it’s one of a kind. Must fly now.
INT. VICTORY TRAIN/DINING CAR – MID MORNING
Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch and the Prep Team are all at table, most looking the worse for wear. Haymitch and the Prep Team are passing around little pills. Effie, that model of stamina and efficiency, looks perfect but sounds a bit snappish as she passes out papers.
Itineraries. Arriving District 1 at 2PM. Speeches. See that you memorize them. Photo shoot prep list. Where’s Cinna?
Probably getting one of my million outfits ready.
You should be grateful.
I am. I am. Totally grateful, really, Effie.
EXT. DISTRICT 1/ROMAN STYLE STADIUM – AFTERNOON
Katniss and Peeta are giving speeches to a large crowd. TV cameras everywhere. CASHMERE, GLOSS and other Victors wearing laurel wreaths have prominent seats. Large banners with pictures of TRIBUTES MARVEL and GLIMMER hang everywhere. Marvel and Glimmer’s families stand proudly, wearing special garb.
EXT. DISTRICT 1/SCENIC LOCATION – DAY
Katniss and Peeta are posing in new wedding outfits. Peeta is kneeling as if proposing. Cameras everywhere.
EXT. DISTRICT 2/CENTRAL SQUARE – DAY
Katniss and Peeta onstage, seated along with Enobaria, BRUTUS and other crowned Victors. Banners with images of TRIBUTES CATO and CLOVE hang everywhere. A massive outdoor screen is playing a recap of Cato’s fight to the death, his final speech censored.
EXT. DISTRICT 2/SCENIC LOCATION – DAY
Katniss and Peeta kissing for the cameras in yet another wedding ensemble.
EXT. DISTRICT 3/CENTRAL SQUARE – DAY
Heavily armed PEACEKEEPERS and sharpshooters line the square and rooftops. Large banners are everywhere bearing the images of the two small, vulnerable-looking Tributes killed in the 74th Hunger Games. On the dais, seated near Katniss and Peeta and wearing crowns are Victors BETEE, WIRESS, and a handful of others. The dead Tributes’ parents are clinging to each other, fighting tears. The crowd looks restive, some weep. As the ceremony ends, Katniss, Peeta and their team are rushed off, Effie looking indignant.
EXT. DISTRICT 4/SPECTACULAR WATERFRONT LOCATION – MORNING
Katniss and Peeta pose in their most beautiful wedding outfits yet.
EXT. DISTRICT 4/BEAUTIFUL OPEN AIR THEATER – DAY
On stage, Finnick, ANNIE CRESTA and MAGS wear Victor’s crowns. Annie is shaking, looking sick, being held by Mags. A big crowd is gathering.
A battalion of Peacekeepers moves in for crowd control.
EXT. SEEN FROM MOVING TRAIN – DAY
views of cattle herds, watch towers, barbed wire fencing.
INT. TRAIN/DISTRICT 8/BORDER – EVENING
Peacekeepers board train, search everywhere, examine papers. Effie is indignant but silent. The Peacekeepers disembark and the train gets underway again. Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch, Effie and the rest of the team gather in the lounge.
We’ve been ordered to bypass District 8. Tornado warnings.
This is terrible. What are we supposed to do about the silver brocade wedding ensemble?
We’ll do a studio shoot.
INT. TRAIN/DISTRICT 11/FLOODLIT BORDER CHECKPOINT – NIGHT
Another security check by armed Peacekeepers; Effie now looking panicky, Haymitch worried.
EXT. DISTRICT 11/CENTRAL SQUARE – DAY
Another stage, another central square, this one hung with banners bearing the images of dead Tributes Rue and THRESH. Crowned Victors Chaff and SEEDER are on stage, as are the tributes’families. The huge crowd and those on stage barely conceal their resentment, their fury. Peacekeepers, heavy artillery and sharpshooters are everywhere. Katniss and Peeta stand at a microphone with prepared speeches in hand.
“We, the Victors of the 74th Hunger Games, salute your courage and your sacrifice…”
Katniss looks up, meets the hard angry eyes of Thresh and Rue’s families.
No…No…I just, I just…I…want to thank you for your children. I only ever spoke to Thresh one time. Just long enough for him to spare my life. I didn’t know him but I always respected him. For his power. For his refusal to play the Games on anyone’s terms but his own.
But I feel as if I did know Rue and she’ll always be with me. I see her in everything that’s beautiful: in meadow flowers, in the Mockingjays that sing in the trees…
OLD MAN IN THE CROWD
(whistles Rue’s Mockingjay tune)
As if by plan, every person in the crowd presses the three middle fingers of their left hand against their lips and extends them to Katniss and Peeta. Suddenly, chaos erupts. Shots ring out, the old man falls dead, Peeta grabs Katniss and pulls her down; Haymitch covers both with his body; pushes them towards shelter. Peacekeepers move in weapons trained on the crowd, the families. Armed Peacekeepers arrest Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch, Effie. Machine guns fire.
END ACT 1
ACT 2 EXAMPLE First scene
INT. TRAIN/LOUNGE – NIGHT
Haymitch, Effie, Katniss and Peeta are gathered, disheveled, wearing the same clothes they had on for the District 11 ceremony. Katniss and Peeta are holding hands. Cinna pours Effie a stiff drink. Haymitch is already well supplied.
See Sweetheart, this is why nobody lets you make the plans.
Where are they taking us?
Home. On probation, so to speak.
TO BE CONTINUED BY YOU…