THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
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.
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.
Get the mule.
Is she okay?
Natty stands frozen in her tracks. Al repeats himself, more insistent this time, as he carries Rosie up the back stairs.
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 eyes Rosie’s bulging stomach and seems unconvinced.
Uh huh. Come here. It’s
moving. Feel it.
Natty makes a face and shakes her head no.
Don’t be scared.
Rosie takes Natty’s hand and places it on her belly. Natty’s eyes widen.
Is that it? Is that the baby?
That’s his foot.
It must hurt. Getting kicked
No. The losing hurts but not
the bearing. …We had another
one that died.
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.
There. That’s her. She was
I look like my Dad. He’s in
Washington. Where I’m going.
Does he know you’re coming?
More or less.
Which is it?
I don’t know. Why? You think
he ran out on me or something?
I didn’t say that…
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.
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.