WARRIOR

A movie screenplay

Mark Crooks - jumping from cliffs 3.jpg

WARRIOR

Written by Brent Green

FADE IN:

EXT. SANDBAR ALONG MISSOURI RIVER -- MORNING

MARK jogs toward a distant bridge spanning the Missouri River.  He is 35, tall, athletic, and ruggedly handsome.  He is wearing a black hyperstretch wetsuit with the upper half tied around his waist to expose a tanned torso, cut and defined.  He is alone and intense but relaxed.  "Take It Easy" by the Eagles plays.

SUPERIMPOSE: "Kansas City.  1980."

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. PASEO BRIDGE ABOVE MISSOURI RIVER -- MORNING

Mark runs up to and through a crowd of media and spectators, some cheering him on.  Waving and nodding in acknowledgment, he trots to the apex of the bridge spanning the roiling Missouri River.  Suddenly it's morning drive time, chaotic and noisy, with cars rushing by him.  He hesitates near a guardrail at the apex of the bridge.  A passing DRIVER challenges him.

DRIVER

Jump, you idiot.  JUMP!

(honks, speeds away)

JANIE, Mark's assistant, runs over, worried.

JANIE

You've got to go for it! 

Police sirens scream in the distance.  Mark looks at the river ten stories below.  Muddy waters whirl and cascade below the bridge with litter and junk swirling in eddies.  A crew waits in a pontoon boat, anchored 300 yards down river. 

MARK

Let me focus.

JANIE

They warned us not to disrupt
morning traffic.  Cops are on the way.

CUT TO:

EXT. FOOT OF PASEO BRIDGE -- MORNING

A NEWS REPORTER, holding a microphone, faces a camera.

NEWS REPORTER

After weeks of speculation, Dr. Mark, as he's
popularly known, will jump from the Paseo Bridge behind me. 
He will not be tethered or use safety equipment. 
He will plunge ten stories, enough distance to break
his back if he hits the river surface at the wrong angle. 

(beat)

The Kansas River has just nine feet of water depth this
morning compared to the twenty feet his team was
expecting.  He may be a fitness expert, but to some
he's a foolhardy daredevil with a death wish...

SMASH CUT:

EXT. PASEO BRIDGE ABOVE MISSOURI RIVER -- MORNING

Mark is teetering on a guardrail.  He stares at the rushing river ten stories below.

JANIE

Mark, hold off! A truck is coming fast!

Mark, eyes shut, appears meditative, nonplussed.  He gradually assumes a jumping posture.

Janie frantically waves a sign at the trucker, reading: "Jumper ahead.  Slow down."  The truck speeds up.

JANIE (CONT'D)

Wait!  The trucker's not slowing. Hold off, damn it!

Mark ignores her pleas, and in slow motion he leaps off the lip of the bridge as the eighteen-wheeler blasts by him.  He reaches apogee of the jump as wind draft from the truck pushes him out of vertical alignment.  He falls awkwardly toward the river, out of control. 

SMASH CUT:

BEGIN FLASHBACK:

INT. A MEDICAL EXAMINATION ROOM -- DAY

An INFANT lies on a 1940's era operating room table.  MARK'S MOTHER stands nearby as an attending PHYSICIAN inserts a radium tipped probe into the child's nostril.   

SUPERIMPOSE: "Kansas City Hospital.  1946"

MARK'S MOTHER

He's had a sinus infection for weeks. Nothing's worked. 
It's been horrible.

PHYSICIAN

We've been getting amazing results with radiation. 

MARK'S MOTHER

It won't hurt him? 

PHYSICIAN

Nasal radium is a modern medical miracle.

MARK'S MOTHER

But he's so tiny.

PHYSICIAN

We're careful with dosage, especially with little guys like Mark.

MARK'S MOTHER

Anything to stop his pain.  He's been so brave.

PHYSICIAN

Yes, I'm amazed at his strength in spite of being such a sick kid.

(beat)

He'll be just fine.

END FLASHBACK.

CUT TO:

 

EXT. A DENVER RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD -- AFTERNOON

We're flying above a suburban neighborhood and descending toward a peaceful, tree-lined street. 

SUPERIMPOSE: "Denver.  1984."

Mark is jogging in the late evening of a summer day.  He is the picture of robust health, running in skimpy red running shorts and a thread-bare, olive-green Marines T-shirt.  His leg muscles are sinewy and strong.

MARK (V.O.)

I learned to love running during boot camp at Parris Island. 

The most grueling Marine's training in the world. 

They made us run everywhere, 8,095 acres of pure pain.

DISSOLVE TO:

BEGIN FLASHBACK:

EXT. PARRIS ISLAND MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT -- DAY

Marine recruits run in formation around monuments.

MARK (V.O.CONT'D)

We ran from the Iwo Jima Monument to the

Molly Marine and then to Iron Mike.

Recruits run by the Brig 'n' Brew and other Parris Island landmarks, haggard and sweat-drenched.

MARK (V.O.CONT'D)

That hellhole was where I became a man, combat ready. 

(beat)

They never found out I had childhood cancer. 

They would have kicked me out in a heartbeat. 

(beat)

Semper Fi.

END FLASHBACK.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. A DENVER RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD -- MOMENTS LATER

Mark continues his graceful run through the neighborhood. Flashing blue and red lights suddenly reflect off the exterior walls of a stately brownstone ahead of Mark.  He looks over his shoulder to discover a police car following behind.  He ignores the POLICEMAN and continues running, picking up his pace.  A siren erupts from the squad car and Mark stops.  An obese policeman steps out of car, disgust on his face.

POLICEMAN

What are you doing?

MARK

Jogging.

POLICEMAN

What do you mean by "jogging"?

MARK

Recreational running.

POLICEMAN

There was a robbery one block from here last week,

and the suspect was a runner.

MARK

It's a hobby not my livelihood.

POLICEMAN

(more sternly)

What are you running from?

Mark does not answer, leveling a stern gaze.  The cop reaches into a leather pouch on his belt and pulls out a set of handcuffs.

MARK

Heart disease! 

POLICEMAN

Don't you be a smart ass, or I'll haul you in.  Your ID?

MARK

Not on me when I'm running.

The policeman studies Mark, searching for evidence. 

POLICEMAN

City law requires that you have ID with you at all times. 

Look at you...barely dressed.

(beat)

What is that Marines shirt you're wearing?

MARK

I was honorably discharged as a lance corporal.

POLICEMAN

You dishonor the service with those fag shorts.

Mark looks disgusted.  He begins trotting backwards.

MARK

You should be out here running also. 

You're a heart attack waiting to happen, sir.

(beat)

And that's my professional opinion.

POLICEMAN

Stay out of this neighborhood or I'll haul you in!

(beat)

And that's my professional opinion.

Mark turns and continues running, faster than before.  The policeman grumbles as he watches the athlete run ahead in graceful strides.

MARK (V.O.)

(lyrics from Bee Gees hit, Stayin' Alive)

Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother,

you're stayin' alive, stayin' alive. 

Feel the city breakin' and everybody shakin',

and we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive...

SMASH CUT:

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