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MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/The Journey of Natty Gann/Part 24

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg


EXT WOODS NEAR HOBO JUNGLE DAY

Natty scrambles up a hill and finds Harry hunkered at the top, peering down on the camp. They watch through the moonlight as the Legionnaires SLAM their clubs into the fleeing hobos.

Natty turns to Harry who stares straight ahead, his jaw muscles tense, his mood dark. He answers the question in her eyes.

        HARRY
Main Streeters. Good law
abiding citizens.

He spits on the ground in contempt.

        NATTY
But why?

        HARRY
They’re scared. Scared to
death.

        NATTY
Of what?

        HARRY
Of what we got. Poverty. They
think it’s catching.

Harry stands and starts to walk away. He stops and turns back.

        HARRY
You coming?

        NATTY
But. I thought…

        HARRY
Make up your mind Kid.

Harry starts away. Natty watches him for a moment then scrambles to her feet and follows him through the woods.

EXT TRAIN TRACKS DAWN

Harry and Natty and The wolf wait near a bend in the railroad tracks.

Harry has his ear to the ground, listening.

He looks down the empty tracks.

        HARRY
She’s coming.

        NATTY
The train?

        HARRY
I don’t mean Eleanor Roosevelt.

Natty shrugs and a train WHISTLE BLOWS in the distance.

There’s an answering HOWL from the woods. The Wolf pricks his ears anxiously.

The engine pulls into view down the tracks. Harry nods at it.

        HARRY
She’ll slow for the turn and
that’s when we move.

Natty nods at Harry. She’s ready.

But The Wolf seems anxious. He stares at the woods and WHINES.

He hears another HOWL, and suddenly he takes off, racing across the clearing.

Natty WHISTLES for him but he doesn’t stop or look back. He disappears into the trees. She yells after him, desperately.

        NATTY
JOHN HENRY!

The train slows and Harry sprints for the boxcars.

        HARRY
Come on.

Reluctantly Natty follows.

EXT BOXCAR DAWN

Harry leaps into a boxcar. He turns back to give Natty a hand. She stares up at him without reaching out, then turns back to the woods, searching for The Wolf.

        HARRY
Forget it! That was a she-wolf
calling him. He’s gone.

        NATTY
No…He wouldn’t do that.

The WHISTLE BLOWS and the train starts to move. Harry starts to slide away from Natty, his hand outstretched to her.

        HARRY
Come on!

Natty searches the woods anxiously, still looking for The Wolf. She WHISTLES frantically.

Suddenly her face breaks into a smile.

        NATTY
I see him. He’s coming.

She runs to catch up to Harry in the boxcar.

        NATTY
He’s coming.

        HARRY
Give your hand, damn it.

Natty reaches for Harry’s hand. He grabs it and swings her into the boxcar.

They watch as The Wolf races across the clearings toward the now fast moving train.

        NATTY
Come on John Henry.

Harry shakes his head.

        HARRY
He won’t make it. Never make it.

The Wolf runs alongside the train. In a powerful leap he flies through the air and lands inside the car.

        HARRY
He made it.

END Part 24

Part 25 Monday. (Hopefully, maybe Tuesday!)

A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/The Journey of Natty Gann/Part 23

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg

EXT TRAIN TRESTLE DAWN

Natty and The Wolf make their way down the train tracks toward a deep gorge with a swift running river below.

They move cautiously, one step at a time, over the towering railroad bridge and trestle, crossing to the other side just as the dawn fades into day.

EXT RAILROAD TRACKS DAY

Natty and The Wolf follow the railroad tracks. The Wolf sniffs the air and grows cautious. He crouches low as he moves forward.

Natty imitates him, creeping low to the ground and smelling the air. She notices the wisps of smoke rising in the distance.

EXT HOBO JUNGLE DAY

Natty lies on her bel1y, watching from her hiding place in the grass.

There are groups of HOBOS gathered around makeshift shelters of old cardboard and scrap wood. This is a large camp. There must be 60 or 70 guys here.

While Natty watches, one man starts a fight with another man. They pull knives from their ragged pockets and circle each other, jabbing menacingly. Finally a third man breaks them up.

These are tattered, desperate men with little hope and fewer resources. Natty will have to be careful here. A nervous shiver runs down her spine.

Her eyes track the rest of the camp. She sees one fellow camped apart from the others. His back is turned to her. There’s a can of beans cooking over his fire. She can almost taste those beans already.

She inches her way through the grass, keeping out of sight. She gets close to the lone hobo and watches for her chance.

When he moves away from the fire to gather more wood, she makes her move.

She rushes forward and grabs the beans. Before she makes it back to the safety of the tall grass, a hand tightens on the collar of her jacket.

She struggles to get away. She kicks and swings her free arm.

        NATTY
Let go of me!

But the hobo doesn’t let go.

        HARRY
They’re mine.

Natty looks at the hobo’s face for the first time. It’s Harry from her first boxcar ride. Her mouth almost drops open in surprise.

        NATTY
I know you.

Harry holds out his empty hand, waiting for the beans.

        HARRY
Hand them over.

Reluctantly Natty hands the beans to Harry. He lets go of her jacket and returns to his fire, sitting with his back to her, ignoring her.

She watches him closely.

        NATTY
You helped me. In Chicago.
Remember ?

        HARRY
Nice way of paying back.

        NATTY
I didn’t know it was you.

        HARRY
Doesn’t make it right.

Natty shrugs. She looks around the camp, at the other hobos, looking for another chance

        HARRY
I wouldn’t try it.

Natty shrugs again. She stares at Harry then at the can of beans beginning to bubble over his fire. Her mouth starts to water.

        HARRY
Got a spoon?

Natty shakes her head no.

Harry shoots her a look of disgust, pitches his spoon to her and nods at the beans.

        HARRY
Go on.

Natty hesitates, a hard, suspicious look crossing her face.

        NATTY
What do I have to do for it?

        HARRY
Just eat the damn beans Kid.

Natty gulps down the beans with Harry’s spoon. The wolf pushes his way through the grass and lies on his belly.

        NATTY
Where the hell were you? I
could’ve been killed.

The Wolf WHINES and curls back his lips. Natty shrugs and turns to Harry as she scratches The Wolf’s ears.

        NATTY
We’re going to Washington.

Harry eyes The Wolf disapprovingly and shakes his head.

        HARRY
It’s hard enough without packing
a dog.

        NATTY
He’s a wolf.

        HARRY
Oh that’s even better.

        NATTY
We can take care of ourselves.

        HARRY
Yeah, I see that…But hey,
you’re not my worry. I go
alone. No partners.
‘Specially not a girl.

        NATTY
Well nobody asked you.

        HARRY
Good. Don’t.

        NATTY
I won’t!

The wolf jumps quickly to his feet, stares at the far side of the woods and GROWLS. The fur around his neck stands on end.

Natty drops the spoon in the can and searches through the woods anxiously.

        NATTY
Did you hear that?

        HARRY
What ?

        NATTY
Something’s out there. He
always knows. He can hear the
clouds rolling by. That’s what
Charlie says.

Harry listens hard. He tenses, like The Wolf. Then he rolls onto the balls of his feet and quickly gathers his few things.

        HARRY
Beat it Kid.

        NATTY
Why?. . .

But there’s no time for an answer as Harry streaks into the shadows of the woods.

Natty watches curiously as The Wolf GROWLS and paces. She backs slowly toward the edge of the woods, backs slowly toward the edge of the woods, pulling The Wolf with her.

Suddenly there’s a chorus of SCREAMS and YELLS. A possee of LEGIONNAIRES in caps, carrying baseball bats, sweeps into the far side of the camp.

The hobos scatter frantically.

Natty takes off, running into the woods with The Wolf at her side.

END Part 23

Part 24 Monday. (Hopefully, maybe Tuesday!)

A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/The Journey of Natty Gann/Part 22

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg

INT TRUCK DAY

Natty sits in the passenger seat next to Buzz. She looks through the rear window at The Wolf, who paces anxiously in the bed of the truck and SNARLS at Buzz.

        NATTY
He doesn’t like it back there.

        BUZZ
He’ll get used to it.

Buzz offers Natty some fruit in a paper sack.

        BUZZ
Help yourself.

Natty takes a piece and eats it hungrily. She smiles her thanks as the fruit juice rolls down her chin.

        BUZZ
You live around here?

        NATTY
Passing through.

        BUZZ
By yourself?

        NATTY
Me and him.

        BUZZ
Just the two of you, huh?

Buzz smiles to himself, a sick smile that looks more like a leer.

He fingers the steering wheel nervously, anxiously. His eyes dart across the road, searching for something. He sneaks a glance at Natty.

At a crossroad, he turns off the main highway and drives down a smaller road. Natty watches curiously.

        NATTY
Is this the right way?

        BUZZ
Shortcut. Save hours on this
road.

Natty nods her head. But she’s beginning to feel uneasy.

Buzz shoves the bag of fruit onto the floor.

        BUZZ
Here. Slide over. Get relaxed.

Natty hugs the door, watching from the corner of her eye.

        NATTY
I’m alright.

Buzz stretches his arm along the back of the seat and rests his hand behind Natty’s head.

The Wolf’s eyes bore into Buzz. His SNARL grows more
threatening.

        BUZZ
Go on. Don’t be shy.

        NATTY
You sure this is the right way?

Buzz turns to Natty with his sick, leering smile. His hand leaves the back of the seat and moves to the top of her head. He strokes her hair with his gnarly, calloused fingers. She tenses.

        NATTY
Hey…Cut it out.

The Wolf presses his nose against the window and SNARLS viciously. His lips curl back to bare his sharp fangs.

        BUZZ
Come here.

Buzz grips Natty’s shoulder.

        NATTY
Let go creep!

Suddenly Buzz grabs the back of Natty’s neck and pulls her roughly to him.

The Wolf rages in the back, GROWLING and SNARLING and pawing furiously at the rear window.

Natty pulls away and wrenches free.

        BUZZ
You’re going to like me. You’ll
see.

He reaches for her again but she lashes out like a hellcat, scratching and biting and kicking. She tears at his face with her fingernails. She spits in his eyes.

The truck SCREECHES and swerves, lurching violently from one side of the road to the other.

The Wolf crashes his massive shoulder into the rear window. It SHATTERS into a million pieces. He leaps into the cab, his jaws SNAPPING at the hated Buzz.

Natty pulls the latch on the passenger door. It flies open and BANGS against the truck.

She gathers her courage and jumps through the opening.

EXT ROAD DAY

Natty lands with a hard THUD on the roadway and scrapes across the rocky ground.

The wolf leaps from the speeding truck and races back to her. He nudges her motionless body.

Slowly she starts to move again. With one hand on The Wolf, she pulls herself to her feet. She stares down the road at the disappearing Buzz, a hard look in her eye and her jaw clenched tight.

INT SEATTLE BAR DUSK

Sol sits alone with a bottle of whiskey and a glass. Rain beats down on the window outside. Natty’s wallet rests on the table in front of him.

There’s an empty, raw feeling in his gut and it shows in his eyes.

He swallows one drink and pours another, mumbling to himself.

        SOL
It’s my own damn fault. I never
should have left her there.

A WOMAN watches him from across the room. She slides off her bar stool and approaches him, her walk slow and suggestive.

She stares down from across the table.

        WOMAN
Need a friend?

He looks up at her and shrugs enigmatically, a thin, ironic smile curling the corner of his mouth.


END Part 22
Part 23 Monday. (Hopefully, maybe Tuesday!)

A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/The Journey of Natty Gann/Part 21

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg


EXT COLORADO TRAIN DEPOT DAY

A dispirited Sol boards a train. The Rock Island, his face a mask of indifference and swallowed emotions.

As the last PASSENGERS climb on, the CONDUCTOR signals the ENGINEER and The Rock Island jerks forward, chugging out of the station heading west, her name stenciled clearly on all her cars.

EXT COLORADO COUNTRY DAY

The Rock Island RUMBLES through picture postcard, Rocky Mountain countryside, white, thick smoke plumming from her engine.

INT CHARLIE’S TRUCK DAY

Charlie pulls up to the train depot at River Bend and parks across the street.

He takes a leather satchel from under the seat and hands it to Natty.

        CHARLIE
There’s food in here. And money
for a ticket.

        NATTY
No Charlie…

        CHARLIE
Don’t tell me no. Just take it.

He hands her the satchel and she smiles back at him in thanks.

She leans in close and places a kiss on his badly disfigured cheek.

He blusters to hide his emotions.

        CHARLIE
Go on. Get out of here.

Natty and The Wolf climb out of the truck.

        CHARLIE
You watch out for her John Henry.

Charlie stares at Natty and the Wolf as they head across the street toward the depot. Then he throws the truck roughly in gear and pulls away, before his emotions get the best of him.

INT RIVER BEND DEPOT DAY

Natty walks into the small one-room train station, The Wolf walking anxiously by her side.


She approaches HECTOR, the man behind the ticket counter.

        NATTY
How much to Seattle?

Hector peers over the counter at her. His glasses slide down his nose.

        HECTOR
On the Rock Island? 10 dollars
and 50 cents.

Natty sets the leather satchel on the counter and paws through it. She finds 11 one dollar bills, just enough.

She pushes the money at Hector. He stares hard at her.

        HECTOR
Wait here.

He disappears behind a walled partition.

Natty moves to the map on the side wall and studies it while she waits.

She catches a glimpse of Hector peering around the partition, staring at her.

There’s something not right about this.

INT TRAIN DEPOT OFFICE DAY

Hector leans into the wall phone and talks softly,
conspiratorially.

        HECTOR
It’s Hector at the depot. That
girl you’re looking for? I got
her.

Hector nods his head excitedly as he listens to the other end of the phone conversation.

INT RIVER BEND DEPOT DAY

Hector returns to the ticket window with a cat-that-swallowed-the-canary grin on his face.

        HECTOR
You’ll have to wait until…

The grin falls from Hector’s face. He searches the room anxiously. He leans far over the counter and looks to the right and left.

       HECTOR
Hello girl? Girl?. . .

But it’s no use. The only thing left in the room besides Hector, is the leather satchel. Natty and The Wolf are gone.

EXT RIVER BEND DEPOT DAY

As Natty and The Wolf scurry away from the station, and disappear into the safety of the woods. The Rock Island pulls into the River Bend Depot and glides to a stop.

There’s a man sitting in one of the windows, a cap pulled low over his eyes. He turns and watches vacantly as the CONDUCT0R lowers the stairs for the few departing and arriving PASSENGERS.

It’s Sol.

He stares out the window through empty eyes as the ENGINEER TOOTS the WHISTLE and the train picks up speed again, pulling away from River Bend.

EXT HIGHWAY DAY

Natty walks along the edge of a deserted highway, the road stretching far off in either direction like an asphalt ribbon. The Wolf is at her side. Her cap is tucked into her back pocket and her hair hangs down.

Suddenly The Wolf turns and peers down the road. The hair on his neck stiffens.

It takes another moment before Natty sees the approaching truck. The Wolf SNARLS. Natty wraps her hand around the loose fur on his neck, then turns to face the truck and stick out her thumb.

The Ford truck rumbles toward them and slows to a stop. The driver, BUZZ SHORE, a round faced, bland looking traveling salesman leans out the window.

        BUZZ
Need a lift?

The Wolf curls his lips and GROWLS. Natty manages to throw a smile at Buzz and to nod her head as she struggles to keep The Wolf under control. Buzz eyes The Wolf hard.

        BUZZ
What about him?

        NATTY
He won’t be any trouble.

Buzz sends her a reluctant look then shrugs his shoulders.

END Part 21
Part 22 Monday. (Hopefully, maybe Tuesday!)

A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/The Journey of Natty Gann/Part 20

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg

INT CHARLIE’S CABIN NIGHT

Charlie stokes the wood fire and stirs the contents of a cast iron soup pot dangling over the flames.

His cabin is a simple, homespun place with hand-made furniture and gunnysacks for curtains.

Natty sits at an oak table, a bowl of soup in front of her.

She watches with amazement as The Wolf lets Charlie scratch his ears.

        NATTY
He doesn’t like most people.
Not usually. I mean…Well…
He likes you.

        CHARLIE
I generally get on with the 4
legged creatures. It’s the 2
legged ones give me trouble.
Soup?

Charlie spoons more soup into Natty’s bowl and nods at The Wolf

        CHARLIE
What do you call him?

Natty looks at The Wolf then at Charlie and shrugs.

        CHARLIE
No name? Lobo’s a good name for
a wolf. Kind of common though.
John Henry’s not bad. Yeah. I
kind of like that . John Henry.

Natty smiles.

Her eyes wander the cabin and dwell on the delicate, hand-carved animal sculptures on the mantle. She looks back at Charlie whose exterior seems such a contradiction to his inner self.

He can see the question in her eye.

        CHARLIE
You going to ask?

Natty shrugs, turns away, then looks back.

        NATTY
Were you born like that?

        CHARLIE
No. Barn fire. I went back for
the horses. Got most of them out.

        NATTY
Is it hard talking about it?

        CHARLIE
Naw. Most people don’t ask.
They just whisper behind your back.

        NATTY
That’s mean.

        CHARLIE
They can’t help it. But that’s
why I like the wild ones.
They’re not so particular. Like
our friend down there. John
Henry.

The Wolf pricks his ears and wags his tail and Natty and Charlie laugh.

EXT CHARLIE’S DAWN

Natty, Charlie and The Wolf sit on the porch, listening to the quiet of the dawn.

A deer comes to feed in the clearing and Natty wraps her hand anxiously in the fur around The Wolf’s neck. Charlie shakes his head.

        CHARLIE
He’s okay. He won’t hurt her.

        NATTY
You sure?

Charlie nods and Natty loosens her grip.

        CHARLIE
People think wild is evil, but
that’s not true. Look at you
two. You’ve got something
special. Trust. That’s more
than most civilized folk give
each other. Even kin.

Charlie’s words set Natty thinking. About Sol. She drifts far away, fighting with herself, struggling with her doubts.

Charlie watches her curiously. He hesitates a beat then talks again.

        CHARLIE
They’ll be looking for you.

        NATTY
I know.

        CHARLIE
You could turn yourself in.
They won’t be so hard on you.
And I can look after John Henry.
Until you get out.

Natty looks at Charlie and shakes her head. There’s resolve in her eyes.

        NATTY
I’m going to Seattle. I’ve got
to.

She looks at him anxiously, doubtfully.

        NATTY
You won’t turn me in, will you?

He laughs.

        CHARLIE
I’ll give you a ride to River
Bend. At least it’s a start.

Natty smiles her appreciation to Charlie.

END Part 20
Part 21 Monday. (Hopefully, maybe Tuesday!)

A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/The Journey of Natty Gann/Part 19

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg

INT BATHROOM NIGHT

Natty moves to a small metal door halfway up the wall near the sinks.

She opens the door and pry at the casing inside which secures a locked wire mesh over an opening.

Natty jabs hard at the casing and the spoon breaks in two pieces.

        NATTY
Shit.

Natty jabs again and the wooden casing pulls loose. With a smile of satisfaction, she takes it off and lifts out the wire mesh.

She hoists herself into the opening and turns back. Twinkie stands in the doorway, staring at her.

        TWINKIE
Hey. . .

Twinkie wants to protest, to talk Natty out of it, but instead she shrugs and manages to find a smile.

        TWINKIE
Good luck.

Twinkie hurries out of the bathroom as she hears the Matron approaching.

INT LAUNDRY ROOM NIGHT

Natty smiles at Twinkie then squeezes through the opening and slides down the laundry shoot.

Natty lands with a BANG at the bottom of the laundry chute.

She pulls herself up from the pile of o1d sheets and dirty towels, and searches the room. She sees a small window high up in the wall.

She turns a hamper on its end on top of a table and crawls up it to the window. She checks carefully outside then pushes open the window and squeezes through.

EXT YARD NIGHT

Natty moves stealthily across the yard, hugging the shadows, hiding from the guards at the front gate.

She races to the parking lot, crawls under a fence and streaks to the Ford coup she picked out from above.

Quickly she pulls open the rumble seat, slips inside and closes it again.

The clock tower CHIMES the hour and the door to the Staff Room pops open.

GUARDS and ATTENDANTS spill out of the room and cross the yard toward the parking 1ot.

Rita waves to a friend, then moves to her Ford coup.

Natty listens from her hiding place in the rumble seat as the car door opens and closes and the engine ROARS to life.

Rita slips the car into gear, drives to the gate and stops.

Natty tenses as she hears the Gate Guard, GE0RGE, approach the car, and walk around it, peering into the shadows.

        GEORGE
Take me with you Rita.

        RITA
Sure George. Hop in the back.

They laugh and George reaches for the latch of the rumble seat. Natty sucks in her breath and shuts her eyes tight.

But George changes his mind and lets go of the latch.

        GEORGE
Wish I could.

He winks flirtatiously at Rita and waves her through the gate.

        GEORGE
See you Rita. Tip one for me.

        RITA
I’ll do that George.

Natty sneaks a peek from her hiding place in the rumble seat as the coup travels down the road, away from the Greely County Industrial School. She can see George, the Guard, checking the next car on its way out of the reformatory.

EXT CAFE NIGHT

Rita’s Ford pulls up to the OK CAFE, a well lit, country night spot on the end of town. Natty listens from her perch in the rumble seat as Rita parks, puts on lipstick and enters the cafe with its noisy HONKY TONK MUSIC.

Natty waits until the closing of the cafe door muffles the sound of the music, then carefully opens the rumble seat and hops out.

She pulls her cap low over her eyes, approaches a COUPLE leaving the cafe and asks them a question. The man points down the road.

Natty nods her thanks and hurries off.

EXT CHARLIE’S NIGHT

Natty crawls on her belly through the bushes and trees which surround an old log cabin with a sloping, sod roof. The place seems dark, except for a kerosene lamp flickering inside, and frightening, almost like a haunted house.

Natty gathers her courage and moves stealthily forward, toward the large, old barn in back with the sign painted on its side. . .CHARLIE LINFIELD – BLACKSMITH.

INT BARN NIGHT

Natty slips inside the barn and hides in the shadows. She looks around with wide eyes. There are tools hanging from the beams and rafters…hammers, tongs, anvils… exotic, evil looking implements.

And there’s Charlie Linfield standing at the far end, working at a huge forge, a towering furnace that casts hard, dark shadows on the ground.

Again and again he raises a thick metal hammer and SMASHES it down on a red hot piece of metal. Sparks fly and metal CLANGS against metal with each blow.

Natty swallows hard. She crouches low and sneaks across the barn to Charlie’s truck.

She peers anxiously into the wooden cage that held The Wolf, but nothing’s there, only a dark, empty space.

Her hand closes around a metal shovel. She cocks it back over her shoulder. There’s fire in her eyes and a hardness in her voice as she turns to face the hulking, shadowy figure of Charlie Linfield.

She SCREAMS through the barn.

        NATTY
Where is he?!

Charlie turns. He points a menacing, red-hot poker straight at Natty and moves toward her, the earth trembling under his step.

He walks into a shaft of moonlight and Natty GASPS. She sucks in a deep, sharp breath and stares in disbelief and fear.

Charlie Linfield’s face is a wretched mass of scar tissue. The right side is pulled back in a horrible, frozen grimace.

His voice booms out like a cannon.

        CHARLIE
Who are you?

Charlie stares down at her, his look filled with raw power. Natty’s knees shake, but she won’t yield. She sets her jaw.

        NATTY
Where’s the Wolf?

Charlie stares hard at Natty, delving deep inside her, then he turns and lumbers across the barn.

        NATTY
Hey!…

Natty races across the barn after Charlie, the shovel clutched tightly in her hand like a weapon.

EXT CHARLIE’S NIGHT

Natty trails after Charlie who moves toward the cabin.

She whispers a hoarse, angry threat as he steps onto the porch.

        NATTY
If you’ve done anything to
him. . .

Charlie stares at Natty, then pulls open the cabin door.

The Wolf bounds out. He leaps across the porch and heads straight for Natty.

She drops the shovel and sinks to her knees, burying her head and her wide, surprised, thankful smile in the fur around The Wolf’s neck.

END Part 19
Part 20 Monday. (Hopefully, maybe Tuesday!)


A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/The Journey of Natty Gann/Part 18

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg

INT SOLITARY DAY

Rita walks Natty down the cold, dank corridor of the isolation cells, the Meditation Rooms, their FOOTSTEPS echoing through the gloomy darkness. Each of these cells has a thick, metal door with a narrow slit for an observation window.

They stop outside one of the cells and Rita swings the door open. Natty stares inside, fighting back her fears. The room is barely big enough for a cot. It seems more like a chip in the cement wall than a cell.

Rita pushes Natty inside and SLAMS the door with a thundering CLANG.

Natty’s eyes dart back and forth in the observation window as Rita’s ECHOING FOOTSTEPS recede into the distance.

INT COLORADO CAFE DAY

Sol drinks a cup of coffee in the local cafe. He looks absently out the window toward the Railroad Office across the street.

Suddenly he leans forward, pulls back the curtains and stares intently.

There’s a group of KIDS down the street. One of them is a little girl in a leather jacket with a cap pulled low over her eyes.

Sol bursts out of his chair and rushes through the cafe door.

EXT COLORADO TOWN DAY

Sol dodges through the traffic and races down the wooden sidewalk toward the group of kids moving away from him.

He grabs the little girl in the leather jacket and spins her around, dropping to his knees.

        GIRL
Hey!

Sol’s heart sinks and his hopes fade as he stares at this little girl’s face. From the front, she doesn’t look anything like Natty.

The other kids rally to her defense. The spokesman is Leon.

        LEON
Leave her alone, Mister. She
didn’t do nothing to you.

Sol lets go of the little girl and tries to smile to reassure her, to say he’s sorry, but it’s a thin, sad attempt.

She races away from him, disappearing down the street with the others, and Sol gets slowly to his feet.

INT DORMITORY DUSK

The Jail Matron watches from the doorway as Natty walks through the room to her bed, finally returning from the Meditation cell.

Twinkie waits until the Matron exits, then hurries to Natty.

        TWINKIE
You okay?

Natty turns to Twinkie with resolve in her eyes.

        NATTY
I’m getting out of here Twinkie.

        TWINKIE
Me too. 3 years, I months and
17 days.

        NATTY
I’m not waiting.

Twinkie rolls her eyes in exasperation.

        TWINKIE
Forget it, would ya?

INT SHOWER ROOM DAY

Natty peers through the barred window to the parking lot below.

Her voice is hard and sure.

        NATTY
That one.

Twinkie reluctantly follows Natty’s gaze to the cars below.

She can’t believe Natty’s choice. Her voice reflects her disapproval.

        TWINKIE
Oh Christ. . .It’s the Rhino’s.

A moment’s hesitation passes through Natty as she stares down at the car, but then she shrugs it away.

The Jail Matron glares at them from the doorway and they move on.

INT DORM NIGHT

The girls climb into their beds as the Jail Matron stares from the doorway. She makes her headcount then flips off the light.

Her voice BOOMS out as she walks away.

        MATRON
No talking!

Natty waits until she hears the far door slam closed and the deadbolt slide into place, then she throws back the covers and crawls out of bed.

She pulls the nightshirt over her head. She has her clothes on underneath. She stuffs the nightshirt under her blanket and fluffs it to make it look as much like a sleeping body as possible, then moves quietly down the dorm toward the bathroom.

Twinkie watches her go.

END PART 18

Part 19 Monday. (Hopefully, maybe Tuesday!)

A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/The Journey of Natty Gann/Part 17

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg


INT COLORADO RAIROAD OFFICE MORNING

Sol’s eyes bore through the thin lipped RAILROAD OFFICIAL who seems nervous and apologetic as he rummages through the drawers of a desk in this small town office.

        OFFICIAL
We were gonna send it on but the
lady said keep it so we just
hung on to it.

He finally finds what he’s looking for and pulls it from the far reaches of the bottom drawer.

It’s Natty’s battered wallet. He pushes it across the desk to Sol who stares hard at it before he picks it up and turns it over in his hand.

EXT WRECK SITE DAY

Sol walks carefully over the area, his eyes glued to the ground, searching, hoping, for an overlooked clue among the few scattered remains of the train wreck.

The Railroad Official waits impatiently, uncomfortably, on the small, 2 person train cart which has brought them out here. He rolls it slowly over the tracks keeping abreast of Sol, shouting over the noise of its gasoline engine.

        OFFICIAL
They went over this with a fine
tooth comb.

Sol keeps walking, doggedly.

        OFFICIAL
Didn’t find nothing.

Suddenly Sol turns on the Official, anger and frustration spilling out of him.

        SOL
Maybe she wasn’t even on your
God damn train. Maybe somebody
stole that wallet.

        OFFICIAL
Don’t get mad at me Buddy. It’s
not my fault.

Sol glares at the man then continues walking, searching.

EXT EXERCISE YARD DAY

Natty stands in the second row of INMATES in a block of rows. They bend and straighten, bend and straighten in cadence with the BARKS of RITA, a well-muscled, exercise leader in the front.

Twinkie stands next to Natty and WHISPERS loudly during the entire series of exercises. She nods toward the far end of the yard, beyond the fence which cuts down the middle.

        TWINKIE
That’s where they keep the boys.
Billy Lang’s a real dream.

Rita points a long, hard finger at Twinkie.

        RITA
Okay Twinkie. 15 laps. In
silence.

Rita’s finger moves to Natty.

        RITA
And take your friend. The rest
of you fall out.

Twinkie GROANS and shrugs apologetically to Natty. They begin to run laps around the perimeter of the yard while the other girl’s break ranks and move inside.

Rita watches as Twinkie and Natty complete their first lap. She barks out the count.

        RITA
ONE!

Then she pulls a book from her pocket. . . How To Win Friends And Influence People…and begins to read.

Twinkie gabs with Natty as they jog.

        TWINKIE
If the boys don’t keep their
hands above the covers they go
to solitaire.

        NATTY
Their hands? What for?

        TWINKIE
You don’t know?

Natty shakes her head. Twinkie giggles and whispers in Natty’s ear.

        TWINKlE
They play with their dingdongs.

        NATTY
Really?

        TWINKIE
Oh yeah. But it messes them up
if they do it too much.

        NATTY
Messes them up how?

        TWINKIE
They don’t grow. And their eyes
go bad. See him?

Natty and Twinkie jog past a very SHORT BOY with very thick glasses who stands near the fence in the boys’ yard, staring back at them.

        NATTY
He probably holds the record.

The girl’s giggle together.

Then Natty hears a HOWL. Her pace falters.

She turn frantically, searching for The wolf, tracking the area with her eyes.

She sees him in the boy’s section as 2 Guards drag him toward a truck with a sign painted on its side…CHARLIE LINFIELD BLACKSMITH.

She stops jogging and grabs the wire fence, clinging to it with white knuckles.

She stares horrified at the thick, wire muzzle strapped across his face. And the ropes looped around his neck.

The Guards pull the ropes in opposite directions, choking the air from him. He twists and turns and leaps in the air, trying to break away. Natty can see the hatred streaming from his fierce, yellow eyes.

She watches anxiously as the Guards force him inside a thick, wooden cage and lock the door behind him.

Twinkle sneaks a worried look at Natty as she jogs past. She WHISPERS a warning.

        TWINKIE
You’re asking for it.

Rita looks up from her book and sees Natty stopped at the fence.

        RITA
Keep movin’ sister!

        TWINKIE
I told you.

But Natty doesn’t respond. Her attention is glued to The Wolf as the guards lift his cage into the back of Charlie’s truck.

She doesn’t even hear Rita approaching. All she hears is the guard calling to CHARLIE LINFIELD, an ominous, hulking, figure of a man.

        GUARD
He’s all yours Charlie. And
good riddance.

Then she sees the rifle in the gunrack in Charlie’s truck and her horrified eyes grow even wider. She sucks in her breath and SCREAMS.

        NATTY
NO!!!

Immediately Rita grabs Natty’s shoulder and pulls her from the fence.

        RITA
We’ll see about that.

Rita drags Natty across the yard toward the isolation cells but Natty’s only concern is for The Wolf. Her eyes are glued to the cage in the back of the truck as Charlie Linfield drives through the Greely gates.

END PART 17

Part 18 Monday. (Hopefully, maybe Tuesday!)

A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/The Journey of Natty Gann/Part 16

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg

INT CAGED BUS/GREELY INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL NIGHT

Natty and The Wolf ride in the back of a converted school bus. There’s a wire mesh cage separating them from 2 UNIFORMED GUARDS in the front.

The Wolf GROWLS like a furious, caged lion, and Natty watches with wide-eyed trepidation as the bus drives into the Greely Industrial School. She jumps with a start as huge metal gates CLANG ominously closed behind them.

Natty stares at the hulking, gloomy 2-story brick building which dominates the courtyard, and at the ¼’ block wall which encircles all of Greely and separates it from the outside.

INT GREELY INDUCTION OFFICE NIGHT

Natty stands anxiously in front of an enormous desk in a cold, dreary office. JAKE, one of the Guards from the bus, stands beside her.

SAM PARKS enters the room in a flurry. He wears a civilian suit but grabs an officer’s hat from the rack on the wall and puts it on his head as he sits behind the desk and shuffles through the paperwork in front of him. He’s obviously annoyed.

        SAM
Okay, okay. Let’s make this
fast. What’ve we got? The usual?

Jake nods his head and Sam flnds the right form.

        SAM
Alright. Here we go. Name?

        NATTY (softly)
Natty Gann.

        SAM
Full name. Speak up.

        NATTY
Natalie Sue Gann.

        SAM
Where do you live?

        NATTY
Uh…

        SAM
Vagrant. Where’s your folks?

        NATTY
I uh…

        SAM
0rphan.

        NATTY
I’m not. . .

        SAM
Put her in 1, Jake.

Sam stamps Natty’s papers with an official seal while Jake leads her away. She yells over her shoulder as she goes.

        NATTY
I’m no orphan!

        SAM
Yeah, sure kid. Sure.

Jake and Natty disappear through the barred door at the end of the room.

INT DORMITORY NIGHT

A hard looking JAIL MATRON walks with Natty down an aisle made by 2 rows of metal beds in a drab, cement walled dormitory.

Natty can feel the piercing stares of the other GIRLS in here. There are 10 of them and they watch her closely, sizing her up.

The Jail Matron stops at an empty bed near the end. She waits impatiently, towering over Natty.

        MATRON
This is yours. No talking after
8. Up at 5.

Natty climbs on the thin, hard, horsehair mattress.

The Jail Matron walks back down the aisle, her FOOTSTEPS reverberating through the room. She turns at the doorway, makes a headcount, then flicks the light switch.

Her VOICE BOOMS back at them through the darkness as she walks away.

        MATRON
No talking!

Natty lies in her bed, her eyes darting back and forth as they become accustomed to the dark. She stares at the metal bars on the windows and sets her jaw as she hears the far door SLAM and the deadbolt slide into place, locking them in.

She tracks the other beds. Several of the girls are propped on their elbows, staring back at her with hard, cruel looks.

One of the girls, TWINKIE, a 13 year o1d, climbs out of her own bed and moves to Natty’s. She talks in a loud whisper.

        TWINKIE
Welcome to the funny farm. What
are you in for?

        NATTY
Cattle rustling.

        TWINKIE
No joke?

Natty nods and Twinkie laughs.

        SHEILA
Shhhhhh

        TWINKIE
Dry up Sheila!

Twinkie smiles at Natty and continues talking.

        TWINKIE
You’re lucky you got this bed.
It was June’s. She’s stuck in a
Meditation Room. We may never
see her again. She tried to
break out. Dumb.

The Jail Matron’s VOICE booms at them from the darkness.

        MATRON
QUIET!


Twinkie shrugs and streaks back to her own bed, leaving Natty alone to stare at the barred windows.

END PART 16

Part 17 Monday. (Hopefully, maybe Tuesday!)

A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/ The Journey of Natty Gann/Part 15

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg

EXT BULL PEN NIGHT

Parker, Davey, Rusty, Natty and the Wolf move to the other side of the Bull’s corral.

They stand outside, staring in at the Bull, awed by his incredible size and obvious power.

Parker tries to mask his apprehension. He shrugs and manages a crooked smile as the Bull spins in a circle, paws the ground and SNORTS menacingly.

        PARKER
We get him in the trailer and
we’re off. It’s easy.

Davey and Rusty try to match his bravado.

       DAVEY
Yeah. Easy.

       RUSTY
A snatch.

But they sneak anxious, sideways glances at one another.

Parker turns first to Natty then to the boys.

        PARKER
Okay. You and the bulldog push
him from behind. You guys get
the gate.

        NATTY
Where are you going to be?

        PARKER
I’m the driver. Okay? I mean
you don’t mind, do you?

Natty shrugs. Parker turns to Davey and Rusty and nods.

They move to the gate which leads into the narrow chute with the waiting stock trailer at its end. They slide back the heavy metal bolt and swing it open. Natty and The Wolf cautiously enter the Bull’s corral. 

Natty stares at the Bull and swallows hard.

        NATTY
Okay Bull. Go on. Shoo.
Pssst. Go on.

The Bull stares back at her. He lowers his head and paws the ground.

Parker calls encouragement from the fence.

        PARKER
Remember, he’s more scared of
you than you are of him.

        NATTY
Want to bet?

The sweat beads on Natty’s face as the Bull paws the ground and SNORTS.

She takes a step forward and waves her arms to turn him toward the open gate, but he paws with the other leg and tenses, as if ready to charge.

The Wolf GROWLS menacingly and steps in front of Natty. His body hunkers low to the ground, coiled, ready to spring. He inches forward, almost in slow motion and gains ground on the Bull.

The Bull SNORTS at The Wolf. The Wolf SNARLS back at the Bull Their eyes lock. A conversation passes between them, through their eyes.

Then, as if he never had another thought, the Bull turns like a well mannered milk cow, and trots calmly through the open gate and into the narrow chute.

Natty breathes a sigh of relief.

Rusty and Davey close the gate behind the Bull and wave their arms to keep him moving toward the stock trailer. He walks easily up the ramp.

Leon and Franco and Annie quickly close the trailer’s tailgate.

EXT ROAD AT CORRALS NIGHT

The kids converge on the trailer and turn to each other with smiles of congratulations.

Parker pats Natty on the back and slides his arm around her shoulder in a hug. She tenses and pulls away with an angry glare. The Wolf SNARLS guardedly.

Parker lifts his hands in the air with a shrug and moves away.

He climbs into the cab with Annie. The engine ROARS to life. The gears GRIND pathetically as Parker searches for first. Finally he finds it and steps on the gas peddle. The back wheels spin wildly. They chew into the ground and white smoke billows up. The acrid smell of burning rubber fills the air.

The engine COUGHS and SPUTTERS to a stop.

        NATTY
You know how to drive this
thing?

        PARKER
Push. All of you.

Parker restarts the engine and the others gather around the truck. They push as Parker steps on and off the gas. The truck rocks back and forth. But still the wheels spin.

Suddenly the Bull begins to move in the trailer. His powerful legs STOMP on the wooden floorboards. The SOUND reverberates through the quiet night. The kids shoot worried looks to each other.

The Bull BELLOWS and throws his massive body against the sides of the trailer, rocking it threateningly. He CRASHES from side to side. The NOISE is enough to wake the whole town.

        FRANCO
Get us out of here will you?

        PARKER
What do you think I’m trying to
do?

        LEON
Uh oh…

The others follow Leon’s worried gaze to the light which has just come on in the caretaker’s cottage across the stockyard.

The CARETAKER moves onto the front porch to investigate, his rifle in his hand.

        NATTY
I thought you said he
was off for the week-end.

        LEON
I was wrong.

Parker guns the engine one more time and the truck lurches forward, bouncing away from the corral. Parker WHOOPS like a victorious cowboy.

As the truck picks up speed, Leon, Franco and Annie leap into the cab with Parker. Davey and Rusty jump on the running boards.

Natty hops onto the wooden bumper in back. She holds on tight as the truck moves faster and faster down the rutted dirt road. The Wolf running easily beside her.

But the bumper CRACKS under her weight and CRASHES to the ground.

Natty BUMPS across the dirt road, tumbling end over end. She scrambles to her feet but stops quickly, freezing in place.

Standing in front of her, looming large and menacing, his rifle pointed straight at her head, is the Caretaker.

END PART 15

Part 16 Monday, (Hopefully, maybe Tuesday!)

A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/Journey of Natty Gann/Part 14

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg

 INT ABANDONED BUILDING DAY

Parker’s camp is in an abandoned building with a missing roof. There are a handful of broken chairs and boxes and crates for furniture.

Natty sits with her hand on The Wolf’s head, and a plate of stew on her lap, eating hungrily.

Parker sits across from Natty with the others spread around him. There are two more teenage boys in the group now, RUSTY and DAVEY. And a teenage girl, ANNIE, who leans suggestively against Parker and glares a sour, jealous glare at Natty.

Natty watches curiously as Parker slips his arm around Annie’s waist and nuzzles the back of her neck. Natty swallows hard and returns to her stew.

Parker smiles his charming, calculating smile.

        PARKER
So you’re looking for your old
man huh?

She nods.

        NATTY
He’s waiting for me.

        LEON
Yeah, sure….And my name’s
Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The others laugh. Natty drops her eyes and allows just the slightest hint of a doubtful shrug.

        FRANCO
I haven’t seen my old man in 3
years. He took off. It killed
him, watching my old lady make 1
potato go 7 ways.

Natty finishes her stew and licks the remains with her finger.

        PARKER
Get her some more, Annie.

        ANNIE
But we don’t…

        PARKER
Get some Annie.

Annie grimaces at Parker then moves to the pot of stew cooking over a fire in what used to be a fireplace.

        DAVEY
Towards the end my old man
couldn’t even look at us.
That’s why he left. I don’t
blame him.

        LEON
Hell, all mine did was beat on
me and my old lady, anyway. I
was glad when he left.

        RUSTY
They all think they’re coming
back. But once they’re gone,
they figure out they’re better
off.

        PARKER
And so’s everybody else.

Natty looks anxiously from one to the other. Their words sink into her like heavy stones.

        PARKER
We don’t need them anymore.

Natty stares at Parker. The doubt is taking over, and with the doubt comes a hard, angry, empty feeling.

Parker recognizes his opportunity and moves in.

        PARKER
We’ve got each other. We’re
like family. The difference is
with us you get to pick your
relatives. And everybody
carries their share.

The Wolf GROWLS as Annie approaches but Natty quiets him and gratefully accepts her second plate of food, gobbling it hungrily as she thinks over Parker’s proposition.

INT/EXT GREYHOUND BUS LATE DAY

Sol’s anxious,unshaven face stares through the window of a Greyhound bus as it winds its way slowly south-east from Washington to Colorado.

He watches raindrops land with a splash at the top of the window and run in small torrents down to the bottom.

And he watches an old Ford pickup as it passes in the opposite direction carrying an “Oakie” FAMILY of 10, all their sad, miserable belongings stuffed into the back and tied onto the top and sides.

EXT RAILROAD SIDING/LOADING DOCK NIGHT

There are 50 head of cattle penned together in a corral along the side of the train tracks. And off to the left, penned by himself, in a stout, reinforced corral, is an enormous BLACK ANGUS BULL.

Natty and The Wolf and the other hobo kids race through a nearby pasture and sneak their way to the loading dock.

They cluster in the shadows of the wooden loading chute and talk in HEAVY WHISPERS, their eyes glued to the big Bull.

        PARKER
That’s him. Ready?

The others nod their heads. Only Natty hesitates.

        NATTY
I don’t know.

        PARKER
What!?

        NATTY
It’s stealing.

       PARKER
Not the way I look at it…
Besides, if you’re with us, you
chip in like everybody else. If
not, get lost.

        LEON
She’s just ye11ow.

        NATTY
Hell if I am.

        PARKER
Then shut up and let’s go.

Natty swallows her apprehensions and follows the others as Parker leads them in an army styled crouch-and-run across the yard.

They fan out. Leon and Franco and Annie move to a truck and stock trailer parked nearby. They release the handbrake and roll it back toward the chute at the end of the Bull’s pen.

END PART 14

Part 15 Monday, (Hopefully, maybe Tuesday!)

A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/The Journey of Natty Gann/Part 13

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg

EXT THE MILL DAY

The Mill is a huge lumber mill in the mountains of Washington state.

Barges and large blocks of logs float on the water, and thick, white smoke pours from tall stacks which stand next to long, wide milling rooms.

INT MILL OFFICE DAY


Sol hovers anxiously over a telephone inside one of the offices at The Mill.

His voice is tough and hard, echoing his anger and concern.

There’s NOISE and commotion in the background as WORKERS pass in and out, getting instructions from the B0SS who sports a heavy gut and a stubby cigar.

        SOL
Listen hard Sally. I’m coming
back there to find her myself…
What do you mean sit down? I
don’t have to sit down. Just
tell me what’s going on!

The color drains from Sol’s face as he listens to the other end of the phone conversation. He can feel his knees start to buckle and he sinks slowly into a chair. His voice is barely a whisper as he responds.

He listens again but his eyes are glazed. It seems as if the tone has left his muscles. Without saying good-bye, he slowly hangs the receiver back in its cradle and continues to stare blankly ahead.

        BOSS
What’s the matter Gann?

        SOL
They found my kid’s wallet.
Buried under a train. Colorado.

        BOSS
Aw Jesus…

        SOL
What the hell was she doing in
Colorado ?

Sol seems distant and drained, like a shell of himself.

EXT WOODS DUSK/RAIN

Natty pulls her thin jacket, tighter around her, to fight off the chill and the rain.

She gathers branches full of leaves and a few moldy pieces of cardboard and starts piecing them together, building a shelter near the base of a large tree.

She looks at The Wolf who seems unimpressed.

        NATTY
It’s gonna be great. You’ll see.

She puts the finishing touches on her creation.

        NATTY
Tah dah…

She crawls excitedly inside but the wolf is reluctant to follow.

Natty smiles proudly through the open front flap.

        NATTY
The Ritz.

Suddenly the roof begins to sag and the walls start to sway.

Natty’s eyes widen. The Wolf WHINES. Within moments then entire structure comes CRASHING down.

Natty sits in the middle of the rubble with a crooked grin on her face. She turns to The Wolf and shrugs.

EXT CHUGWATER COLORADO DAY

Natty walks along a road and The Wolf walks close beside her, all his senses on alert. He hesitates as they approach the outskirts of town. He looks longingly at the woods, but Natty presses on and he follows.

They make their way up Main Street and stop in front of a grocery store. Natty stares hungrily at the food displayed inside. Her stomach GRUMBLES.


Three lanky teenagers PARKER, LEON and FRANCO approach from the opposite direction. Parker pokes the other two in the ribs.

They eye The Wolf carefully and watch with detached amusement as Natty approaches a store CLERK.

        NATTY
Hey Mister…I wonder if you
could let me…

The Clerk turns to her with tough, unsympathetic eyes.

        CLERK
No! I’m sick of you kids panhandling. Sick. You hear me?

        NATTY
But I…

        CLERK
No ! Now beat it before I call a cop. Git!

Natty backs away from the store and continues down the street. She hesitates as she reaches the boys ahead.

They’re spread across the narrow, wooden sidewalk…Parker leaning against a building, Leon stretched on a bench, Franco straddling a rail…effectively blocking her path.

Natty wraps her hand in the fur around The Wolf neck and sucks in her breath.

Parker, the obvious leader, smiles. He nods towards the clerk and shakes his head.

        PARKER
Wrong. All wrong.

        NATTY
Huh?…

        PARKER
Your line. The way you hit on him.

        NATTY
You know a better way?

        LEON
You’d be surprised.

Natty looks at his ragtag clothes and sneers.

        NATTY ( sarcastically )
Not by you, Ringworm.

        LEON
Hey you’re asking for it.

Leon gets off the bench and moves forward threateningly. The Wolf is much more threatening as he steps protectively in front of Natty and curls back his lip in an ugly SNARL.

Leon retreats quickly. Parker smiles, trying to change the mood.

        PARKER
Nice dog.

        NATTY
He’s a wolf.

        PARKER
0h yeah? There’s a bounty on
wolves around here. Too bad.

        NATTY
What’re you talking about?

        LEON
They shoot wolves, stupid.

Natty’s eyes widen anxiously. Her grip tightens around The Wolf’s fur.

        NATTY
Don’t call me stupid.

        PARKER
Take it easy, girl. We’re not
the enemy. Maybe we can help.

        NATTY
How?…

        PARKER
The stem’s tough. Especially on
your own.

        NATTY
The stem? What’s that mean?

        LEON
Cripes the girl’s green.

        PARKER
Begging…Working the
street…It’s hard. But we
got other ways. There’s a group
of us tramping together.

Natty stares back, unconvinced.

       PARKER
You hungry?

Natty’s eyes widen and her mouth starts to water. But she tries to act nonchalant. She shrugs.

       NATTY
Maybe.

Parker smiles, amused. He signals her to follow them as they disappear down an alley.
END PART 13

Part 14 Monday, (Hopefully, maybe Tuesday!)

A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/The Journey of Natty Gann/Part 12

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg

EXT FARM DAY

It’s hot and the sun beats down as Natty hoes the back field, and Rosie drives the mule, the reins draped around her waist. Al walks behind the plow, straining to push it over rough terrain.

A HOWL from the woods cuts into the quiet. Natty turns immediately. A broad smile fi11s her face. She WHISTLES a mimicing call and searches the woods.

But there’s no smile from Al. His hands tighten on the plow and he sets his jaw. He peers hard into the woods for a glimpse of this hated creature.

Rosie calls to the mule to break the spell and pull them back to work.

        ROSIE
Haw Bucky. Pull.

The mule strains harder and Rosie pushes herself to keep up.

Natty continues hoeing, one eye still watching the woods.

Rosie’s pace begins to falter. There’s a thin line of sweat on her upper lip. Her grip slackens on the reins.

Suddenly her knees buckle. She sinks to the ground in a heap.

Al drops the plow and rushes to her.

He lifts her in his arms and carries her to the house, brushing past a disturbed, confused Natty.

        NATTY
What’s wrong?

        AL
Get the mule.

        NATTY
Is she okay?

Natty stands frozen in her tracks. Al repeats himself, more insistent this time, as he carries Rosie up the back stairs.

         AL
Get the damn mule!

Natty moves now. She rushes to the mule who takes off at a fast trot, dragging the bouncing plow behind him, making Natty follow in his dust.

INT BEDROOM DAY

Natty peers through the partially opened door at Rosie lying in bed.

Rosie seems weak and pale but she offers a smile and waves Natty inside.

        NATTY
You alright?

        ROSIE
I’m fine.

Natty eyes Rosie’s bulging stomach and seems unconvinced.

        NATTY
Yeah?

        ROSIE
Uh huh. Come here. It’s
moving. Feel it.

Natty makes a face and shakes her head no.

        ROSIE
Don’t be scared.

Rosie takes Natty’s hand and places it on her belly. Natty’s eyes widen.

        NATTY
Is that it? Is that the baby?

        ROSIE
That’s his foot.

        NATTY
It must hurt. Getting kicked
like that.

        ROSIE
No. The losing hurts but not
the bearing. …We had another
one that died.

        NATTY
Mv Momma died when I was a kid.
I can’t hardly remember her.

Natty pulls the picture frame from her pocket and opens it for Rosie.

        NATTY
There. That’s her. She was
pretty huh?

        ROSIE
Real pretty.

        NATTY
I look like my Dad. He’s in
Washington. Where I’m going.

        ROSIE
Does he know you’re coming?

        NATTY
More or less.

        ROSIE
Which is it?

        NATTY
I don’t know. Why? You think
he ran out on me or something?

        ROSIE
I didn’t say that…

        NATTY
He was going to send for me. I
couldn’t wait, that’s all. I
just couldn’t wait.

Natty pulls away from Rosie’s bedside and moves to the window, staring out at nothing.

EXT FARM EARLY DAWN

It’s very still,just before the dawn.

Three coyotes slink through the woods and into the field toward the farm.

They streak forward, toward the chicken coop and begin to dig their way quickly under the fence.

Suddenly The wolf leaps at them with a furious SNARLTNG GROWL. A battle begins with YIPS and GROWLS and SNAPPING JAWS.

The chickens CACKLE fearfully.

Lights snap on in the farmhouse.

A1 rushes outside with his rifle in hand. He sprints to the chicken coop, pulling up his suspenders as he goes.

He FIRES his rifle.

The coyotes react to the gun and race for the safety of the woods. But The Wolf stops in his tracks and stares at Natty as she emerges from the shed which is her room.

Al aims his gun straight at The Wolf’s head.

Natty looks from Al to The Wolf, horrified. She screams.

        NATTY
RUN!!!

Then Natty leaps at Al. Just as he squeezes the trigger, she hits the barrel of his rifle. His shot FIRES, wildly, harmlessly into the air.

The Wolf streaks into the woods.

Al stares at Natty with fury in his eyes. He swings at her with the back of his hand. She jumps out of the way then turns and takes off at a dead run.

Rosie steps onto the porch and pulls her robe tight around her against the morning chill. A frightened, worried look jumps into her eyes as she sees Natty disappear into the woods after The Wolf.

END PART 12

Part 13 Monday, 3/11/13 (Hopefully, maybe Tuesday 3/12/13!)

A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/The Journey of Natty Gann/Part 11

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg

INT/EXT CAVE DAWN

It’s a spectacular dawn. The mountain colors are crisp and clear. The birds SING loudly. The sunlight glints off droplets of water left behind by the storm.

Natty rolls over in her sleep, a smile on her face. Her hands feel a warm, fluffy pillow under her head. Her eyes blink open. It’s The Wolf curled beside her.

She stares at him then reaches out timidly and strokes his head. He MOANS softly like a contented dog. She takes her still damp bandana and dabs gently at his already healing shoulder wound.

EXT WOODS DAY

Natty follows The Wolf through the woods. She scrambles to keep up with his fast, steady trot.

His powerful, rippling muscles lift him in one easy, graceful leap across a boulder. He waits at the top for Natty who struggles to inch her way step by step across the rock.

Before she gets to the top, he disappears into the trees.

        NATTY
Hey. . .Wait for me.

She grumbles a complaint as she scurries after him.

He leads them to a stream of clear, running water and they both drink.

Suddenly he stops dead still, the hair on the back of his neck standing on end. He sniffs the air. His muscles tense and coil with raw energy. His ever alert eyes track the distance.

Natty looks anxiously at The Wolf. He stares back at her then turns again to the distance. Natty crouches and moves forward, next to him. She peers through the underbrush.

She turns to The Wolf as she runs.

But there’s no wolf at her side. She stops and turns back, tracking the woods with her eyes. She can’t find him. He’s gone, without a trace, almost as if he never existed.

EXT FARM DAY

The farm is a rough hewn place with an old, log house, a few broken down outbuildings and irregular, pole fences. There’s a chicken coop and a sagging milk cow in a pasture out front. And a mule around back near the garden. An old Ford pickup truck is parked off to the side.

Natty slicks back her hair as she approaches the front door.

She licks her hand and wipes at the dirt on her face before she KNOCKS.

The door opens and a large farmer, AL, with huge hands and a hard, chiseled face peers out at her. Natty swallows the lump in her throat.

        NATTY
Morning. . .

She tries to smile but his stern expression makes it hard.

The farmer stares at her and then into the woods behind her.

        FARMER
What you want? You alone?

Natty looks behind her. But there’s still no sign of The Wolf. Disappointed, she turns back to the farmer whose stare seems to bore through her,

        NATTY
Yeah. I guess so…I’m lost.

The farmer’s wife, ROSIE, joins him in the doorway. She’s much softer and more open looking than her husband Al. As she moves from the doorway, Natty can see that she’s pregnant.

        ROSIE
Come on in.

Rosie ushers Natty inside. Al looks around suspiciously one last time before closing the door behind them.

INT FARMHOUSE DAY

Natty sits at the rough, wooden table in the sparse but somehow cheery kitchen. She gulps the food in front of her. Rosie watches compassionately.

        ROSIE
You must have been scared. All
alone out there.

        NATTY
I had a friend.

Al turns suspiciously and demands a response.

        AL
Who?

        NATTY
A wolf.

Rosie and Al exchange raised eyebrow looks of disbelief. Al shakes his head and crosses through the kitchen with a thick, bitter 1augh. He pushes through the screen door and lets it SLAM behind him.

END PART 11

Part 12 Monday, 2/17/13 (Hopefully, maybe Tuesday 2/18/13!)

A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/The Journey of Natty Gann/Part 10

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg

EXT ROCKY MOUNTAINS LATE DAY

A freight train, hauling several flatcars loaded with cement pipes emerges from a mountain tunnel, high up on the side of a hill, and RUMBLES its way down the tracks which tower over a fantastic white-water stream fed by a cascading waterfall.

EXT FLATCAR/ROCKY MOUNTAINS LATE DAY

Natty rides inside one of the enormous cement pipes strapped with others onto the backs of the flatcars RUMBLING down the tracks. Her legs dangle lazily over the edge, rocking back and forth with the gentle sway of the train.

She watches the spectacular Rocky Mountain scenery and takes a deep breath, filling her lungs with clean, fresh air. She lifts her face to the sun and smiles as it warms her cheeks. She’s never seen the sky so blue or the landscape so fantastic.

She’s awed by the peaceful wonder of it all.

She pulls her wallet from her pocket and takes out the picture of Sol and Amy. She stares at it dreamily.

Suddenly a horrible SCREECHING, GRINDING sound rips through the air.

There’s a violent lurching.

Natty is thrown back into the cement pipe like a ragdoll. The wallet FLIES from her hand.

The train BUCKS and SWAYS and TOPPLES from the tracks.

The flatcar SMASHES to its side and SLIDES across the ground. The cement pipes break from their straps and spill off the flatcar.

EXT WRECK SITE LATE DAY

Natty pul1s herself from the end of the cement pipe. She can hardly believe what she sees. Train cars are strewn across the ground, mostly lying on their sides.

TRAIN WORKERS pull themselves from the twisted steel. Steam and smoke rise to the sky.

There’s an EXPLOSION down the way. A liquid fuel car erupts in flame.

The workers run in a panic, SHOUTING to one another, warning each other to flee.

        RR WORKERS
She’s gonna blow. Look out.
Run for it.

There’s another EXPLOSI0N, closer this time. Too close. It’s too dangerous to stay. Natty jumps to the ground.

She starts to join the workers in a clearing near the front cars, but stops and sucks in her breath. She sees uniformed RAILROAD GUARDS down there.

They’re rounding up HOBO’S, pushing them roughly down the tracks.

She searches for another way to go. From the corner of her eye she sees The Wolf leap from a twisted boxcar and run for the woods. He disappears into the trees like an escaping fugitive.

She turns back to the clearing. One of the Guards moves down the tracks, heading straight toward her.

She looks again at the spot where The Wolf disappeared, and without any further hesitation, she takes off after him, running blindly, desperately into the woods.

EXT WOODS DUSK

Natty crashes through the underbrush running wildly. It seems like she’s been running for miles.

Finally she slows and stops, panting for breath.

The only sound is her own heart pounding in her chest, her lungs gasping for air.

She looks around her, turning slowly in a circle, trying to get her bearings.

She looks for the way back but she can’t find it. It all looks so much the same…so foreign…and frightening. Even the trees seem menacing, evil.

        NATTY
Where the hell am I?

A twig SNAPS and she jumps in fear.

She tries to calm herself but it’s hard when you know you’re lost and completely alone. She hunkers at the base of a large tree and wraps her arms tight around her knees, curling them to her chest. She rocks herself back and forth, back and forth.

Two yellow eyes peer through the shadows at her. She can feel their presence, but when she turns quickly to look for them, they’re gone.

The dusk turns to dark as night quickly falls.

EXT WOODS DAWN

Natty draws a grid on the ground, the points of the compass, and aligns East with the direction of the rising sun. Satisfied, she sets off at a determined walk to the West.

EXT WOODS DAY

Natty’s walk is much less determined now. Her feet drag. Her pace is slow.

She sees a berry bush and rushes to it excitedly. She falls to her knees and stuffs the berries into her mouth. Red juice slops over her chin.

Suddenly her contented smile disappears. She coughs and spits The half-eaten berries onto the ground, wiping her tongue on the back of her hand.

She pulls herself to her feet and keeps walking, even slower now.

EXT WATER HOLE DAY

Natty continues her slow trek west. She climbs a rock and searches the terrain. With a burst of enthusiasm she leaps from the rock and races forward. There’s water ahead.

She flops on her belly at the water’s edge. It’s mossy and brackish and slightly green but she drinks anyway in large gulps.

The water rolls off her chin and slides down her neck.

She notices tracks in the mud…huge paw prints, too large for a dog. She looks up, anxiously, fearfully, every muscle tensed.

The wolf towers over her, staring down from a rock on the far side of the water hole.

Part of a rabbit dangles from his mouth. He glares at her, his eyes locked with hers. He GROWLS.

A shiver runs down Natty’s spine.

The Wolf drops the rabbit on the rock, looks at Natty one more time and quickly disappears into the underbrush.

Cautiously Natty crosses the water hole and approaches the rock.

She looks into the underbrush where The wolf disappeared, but there’s no sign of him.

The bloody, half eaten carcass of a freshly killed rabbit lies on the rocks as if waiting for her.

She clenches her teeth, suppressing her nausea as she looks at it.

EXT WOODS DAY

Natty sits in front of a small fire, cooking the mauled rabbit carcass like a pig on a spit, her pocket knife beside her on a rock.

She holds a crumpled, empty box of matches in her hand, the same ones she used to light the cigarette with Frankie and Louie. She stares at the matches and remembers. It seems so long ago.

She pulls herself back to the present and pokes at the rabbit. She pulls it from the fire, takes a deep gulp and greedily starts to eat.

EXT WOODS DUSK

Natty walks toward the sinking sun.

Lightning CRACKLES and thunder BOOMS as storm clouds gather overhead.

The temperature drops and Natty pulls her jacket tighter. She walks faster.

There are cliffs ahead with overhanging rocks for protection.

The wind blows and HOWLS. There’s another bolt of lightning followed by another booming CLAP of thunder.

Natty starts to run.

The rain falls in torrential sheets and quickly drenches her. She can barely see through the thick, pounding rain.

She makes it to the cliff’s cave above. She slips on the wet rocks but catches herself and keeps going. Rain soaked blood runs down her hand from her scratched and torn fingertips.

INT CAVE DUSK

Natty pulls herself inside the cave and collapses on the rock floor, exhausted. She rolls on her back and lets her breath come evenly, cheered by the dryness in here, glad that she made it to shelter.

Then she hears it…that oddly familiar, LOW, GRUMBLING, GROWL. Her whole body tenses. Slowly she turns and searches the dimness of the cave.

She sees him near the far wall…The Wolf. He’s wet and bedraggled but stil1 threatening with his lips curled back in a menacing snarl.

She starts to inch toward the mouth of the cave but she’s too drained to face the raging storm again. She’s too exhausted to care what happens now, even if The Wolf is about to leap on her and tear her to shreds.

She pushes herself against the shadow of the wall and wraps her arms tight around her, tucking her head low her knees.

She tries to remain still, to blend in with the rocks, but her body flinches with waves of shivers and she shakes violently from head to toe.

END PART 10

Part 11 Monday, 1/28/12 (Hopefully, maybe Tuesday 1/29/12!)

A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.