THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
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.
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.
What’s the matter Gann?
They found my kid’s wallet.
Buried under a train. Colorado.
What the hell was she doing in
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.
It’s gonna be great. You’ll see.
She puts the finishing touches on her creation.
She crawls excitedly inside but the wolf is reluctant to follow.
Natty smiles proudly through the open front flap.
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.
Hey Mister…I wonder if you
could let me…
The Clerk turns to her with tough, unsympathetic eyes.
No! I’m sick of you kids panhandling. Sick. You hear me?
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.
Wrong. All wrong.
Your line. The way you hit on him.
You know a better way?
You’d be surprised.
Natty looks at his ragtag clothes and sneers.
NATTY ( sarcastically )
Not by you, Ringworm.
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.
He’s a wolf.
0h yeah? There’s a bounty on
wolves around here. Too bad.
What’re you talking about?
They shoot wolves, stupid.
Natty’s eyes widen anxiously. Her grip tightens around The Wolf’s fur.
Don’t call me stupid.
Take it easy, girl. We’re not
the enemy. Maybe we can help.
The stem’s tough. Especially on
The stem? What’s that mean?
Cripes the girl’s green.
street…It’s hard. But we
got other ways. There’s a group
of us tramping together.
Natty stares back, unconvinced.
Natty’s eyes widen and her mouth starts to water. But she tries to act nonchalant. She shrugs.
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.