Clayton Frohman and Ron Shelton
SOMEWHERE IN AFRICA
EXT. GRASSY PLAINS - DUSK
BIRDS ARE FLUSHED FROM HIDING. A soldier carrying an automatic
weapon rises up out of the grass and looks around. A mortar
shell explodes nearby. There are no sound effects. He seems
Several more explosions in the field. The soldier motions
with his arm and:
FIFTY MORE SOLDIERS RISE UP OUT OF THE GRASS More small
With a click-click of a camera -- still no fx.
THE SOLDIERS RUN THROUGH THE GRASS FOLLOWING THEIR LEADER As
they do, the platoon leader waves his arms again.
FIVE ELEPHANTS CHARGE OUT OF THE SHRUBBERY Through a field
of small mortar explosions.
With the click-click of a camera.
THE ELEPHANTS CHARGE OUT ACROSS THE PLAINS Each carries an
enormous load of supplies, and each is ridden by a soldier
with a rifle.
A HELICOPTER GUNSHIP DIVES OUT OF THE SKY firing rockets at
the soldiers and elephants. A tribal mask is painted on the
nose of the chopper.
THE ELEPHANTS REAR UP IN TERROR
The soldiers on the elephants stand up and aim rifles at the
chopper and begin firing.
THE CHOPPER ATTACKS THE ELEPHANTS against an African sunset.
INT./EXT. LOBBY OF THE 'NEW PEOPLE'S HOTEL' - DAWN
A door slams o.s. and the figure of RUSSELL PRICE, 30, appears
at the top of some stairs. Sleepy-eyed, he pulls on a multi-
pocketed fishing vest over a baggy shirt. He carries a beat
up canvas bag over his shoulder.
A BLACK WOMAN, 40, sleeps at the lobby switchboard desk.
Another OLD BLACK MAN sweeps the floor. Price mumbles a 'good
morning' and goes to two vintage WW II vending machines --
one for candy, one for Coca-Cola. He buys two candy bars and
a coke, and begins eating his "breakfast" as he crosses the
EXT. THE HOTEL - DAWN
JIMMY, a cab driver, has been sleeping in a chair against
the wall. Several street vendors have their wares laid out
on the sidewalk against the hotel. Some are shaded by
makeshift awnings, some are not. Jimmy rises as Price arrives;
there is familiar ritual in their greeting.
They cross the street together toward Jimmy's waiting taxi,
a hand-painted purple old American car with the words on the
door, "New People's Taxi Company" and Jimmy's name in script
above it. Price hands a candy bar to Jimmy.
'Morning, Jimmy, think you could
squeeze me in?
Where is you would care to go at
once, Mr. Price?
Price hands him a wad of bills.
You're a thief, Jimmy.
Jimmy smiles broadly, nodding, then points to the sky.
Booteeful picture, huh, snap-snap?
I don't do skies.
The two men get into the strange cab parked in front of an
open marketplace just starting to come alive; the cab drives
EXT. A REMOTE AFRICAN VILLAGE - DAY
The taxi arrives, and Price gets out.
Price ambles over to stand in the early morning shade against
an old building. A hand-painted image of Che Guevarra --
with an X painted over it -- is on one wall. Price pulls a
joint from his pocket and lights up, taking a hit.
The sounds of war machinery soon interrupt the stillness.
Price hurries to the corner.
P.O.V. A JEEP LEADING AN ARMY CONVOY
Price pulls a handful of colored rags from his pocket and
picks out a yellow kerchief, tying it to his arm. Price then
steps boldly into the street in front of the approaching
convoy. He exchanges shouts with an officer in a jeep, and
with a motion is given permission to join.
PRICE CLIMBS INTO THE LAST OF THREE TROOP TRUCKS
Each truck is filled with perhaps 25 African soldiers in
khaki, each holding an automatic rifle. Another jeep follows,
towing a World War II cannon.
INSIDE THE TROOP TRUCK - DAY
The soldiers look over disinterestedly. Two dozen cases of
Coca-Cola are tied to a stretcher among stacks of guns.
As Price settles in for the ride, he begins pulling cameras
from his bag. Quickly and automatically, rarely looking, he
switches lenses, loads film, and prepares his cameras. He
has done this a thousand times.
A SINGLE WHITE SOLDIER -- OATES, rises from among the blacks,
and shakily makes his way toward Price. A mercenary dressed
in a ragged uniform of his own design, carries two machine
guns and a .45. He smiles broadly, recognizing Price. HODGE
slaps Price's hands as if they were teammates.
G'damn, Price, you tuna sucking piece
of raw meat -- whatchyou goin' to
Thought I'd get some great shots of
your head gettin' blown to
Smithereens?! Be a great fuckin'
Be a prize winner.
Ya think so?
(beat; changing tone)
Trade ya some greenies for a joint.
I gotta have a joint.
I'm on the wagon, man, sorry.
Ahh. Dope-wise, this place sucks.
(looks around, leans
Lotta fuckin' coons around here, eh?
They nod. He laughs obscenely and deeply.
I thought you were fighting for the
I am. This is the Government.
These are the Rebels.
Fuck they are. This is a Government
convoy to Calunda.
This is the Abou-Deian Revolutionary
You're shitting me.
Pause. Finally Oates starts laughing uncontrollably.
These guys be pissed if they knew,
(Price nods in
suddenly gets serious)
This is the dumbest motherfucker I
ever signed up for. Don't pay shit
(Price nods in
Nicaragua. That's the spot. Cheap
shrimp, lotta rays -- real thin in
the spook department too, dig?
EXT. THE REBEL'S AIRFIELD - DAY
The convoy rumbles past a check-point into a small airfield
containing a motley collection of DC-3's and old planes. TWO
RUSSIAN ADVISORS and THREE CUBAN ADVISORS watch.
Well hell... I wonder where the
fuckin' Guvmint is?
As he speaks, the cab of the truck is rocked with a mortar
shell and explodes. Soldiers scramble to safety. Some grab
the guns being transported.
TWO SOLDIERS GRAB THE STRETCHER OF COKE and start running
for safety. Smoke and explosions are everywhere -- they
abandon their cargo and run for cover.
OATES SCRAMBLES TO SAFE GROUND quickly and instinctively,
looking around wildly to "read" the situation. Price dives
next to him.
A SOLDIER IS HIT AND GOES DOWN NEARBY, staggering towards
Price and Oates.
A DC-3 GOES UP IN FLAMES IN THE BACKGROUND
THE WOUNDED SOLDIER REACHES FOR OATES who darts out quickly
and drags the injured Rebel to safety.
PRICE HAS HIS CAMERAS OUT AT ONCE and is firing away.
TWO REBEL SOLDIERS POINT TO THE STRETCHER OF COCA-COLA and
start moving toward it through the smoke. They want to rescue
the soft drinks.
PRICE LEAPS FROM HIS BUNKER AND RACES TOWARD THEM dangerously,
waving and shouting as he does.
Hold it! Hold it!
They don't speak English but stop at his craziness.
PRICE STOPS AND AIMS HIS CAMERA, and as he does he motions
for the soldiers to continue.
P.O.V. THE FRAMED IMAGE -- SOLDIERS, SMOKE AND COKE IN B.G.
As the soldiers move toward the Coke, Price snaps picture
A MORTAR EXPLOSION BLOWS THE COCA-COLA TO A MILLION BITS The
two soldiers stop short -- several more steps and they would
have been killed. Price's intrusion has accidentally saved
them. The two soldiers run toward safety, bewildered and
ON THE AIRFIELD - THE SMOKE CLEARS AND ALL IS CALM
Gradually the airfield comes back to life. Several teams of
medics run with stretchers from the hut and begin gathering
bodies. Rebel soldiers appear from every conceivable shelter
and move across the field.
Oates emerges and meets Price on the torn up runway amidst
the rubble. They look around at the devastation.
Well, I guess we know where the
You can walk to work from here.
Convenient, ain't it?
Oates starts to walk away, then stops and speaks earnestly,
as if trying to connect to a real world that doesn't exist.
My brother just got married.
I don't know your brother.
Suddenly, the distant roar of a jet. All the soldiers on the
field scan the horizon; Price looks up. The air raid siren
A JET DIVES OUT OF THE SKY TOWARD THE AIRFIELD OATES AND THE
SOLDIERS DIVE TO COVER
JET STREAKS OVERHEAD and, instead of rockets and bombs, it
drops something else:
THE SKY IS FILLED WITH A MILLION PIECES OF PAPER The jet
pulls out and disappears. All is quiet again as the million
papers flutter in the sky above the airfield.
Out of frustration a single soldier fires a couple of shots
at the paper.
Price grabs a piece of paper out of the air. It is:
A PICTURE OF A SWIMMING POOL IN FRONT OF A CALIFORNIA HOUSE
HE STARES AT THE IMAGE and turns it over. There is writing
on the backside in Spanish and Russian. He looks around.
OATES WANDERS OVER with a handful of the leaflets.
Great shit, eh?
Price tries to read the writing on the back as Oates looks
at a leaflet familiarly.
U.S. Gummint offers this house to
any Cuban pilot flying Migs for the
Rebels who chooses to defect to
America with a Russian jet. We know
they ain't gonna run off with no
planes -- but the Rebs don't --
They're scared. They start thinking
about that swimming pool. Damn near
smell that chlorine. Starts workin'
on 'em, and pretty soon they don't
let the Cubies near a Mig. Use their
own spook pilots and destroy their
own air force in a week. Guaran-fuckin-
Smartest guys in the world.
Hey, you gotta scoop here, eh? You'll
OATES shakes hands with Price who looks at the picture.
I gotta run... have a good one.
Oates heads off across the runway as papers continue blowing
down out of the sky; Price looks up and speaks to himself.
I love Africa.
INT. HOTEL ROOMS AT THE NEW PEOPLE'S HOTEL - NIGHT
CLAIRE STRYDER, 40, reads a report over the telephone as she
times the call with a stopwatch. A photograph of Claire's
high-school-aged daughter sits on her dresser.
ALEX GRAZIER, 50, struggles with his tie and a drink at a
dresser in the adjoining room. Their connected rooms are
littered with hand washed laundry and the paraphernalia of
their trade -- typewriters, tape decks, books, notes,
Their love affairs of three years is ending.
(on the phone)
"...and so this strange war that
features two provincial governments,
three rival liberation fronts, and
at least twenty-five tribal
associations, grinds into its seventh
Alex picks up a Melodica, a novelty wind instrument, and
tries to court her with "Caravan" as she files her story.
Though mildly put off, she maintains her cool throughout the
call. He thinks he's Paul Desmond.
"...The Battle for the Airfield at
Abou Deia is just another chapter in
this endless story. From Ndjamena,
Chad, this is Claire Stryder."
No -- you didn't hear any music --
must be the connection. Okay? So
She hangs up and rises more irritated than angered.
Alex, don't play that God damn thing
when I'm filing.
Quickly expressed, her anger passes.
It's my party -- we'll be late. You
called it a "strange war" and an
"endless story." If you filed that
story for me, I'd say you were
I like to editorialize. You drunk?
Alex loves to be melo-dramatic and is quite conscious of his
ability to charm. He's also aware that it's worn off with
Drunk? Only with the memories of
making love with you on the plains
of Fianga as the first Army of
Liberation marched in and opened
And freed the Proletariat.
Alex raises a drink.
I'm going to the party without you.
She leaves -- he quickly puts on his coat and follows her.
INT. THE ELEVATOR GOING DOWN - NIGHT
Christ, I don't want to go to this
stupid party. I'm bad at false
You're great at it.
She straightens his half-tied tie in an act of familiar
affection rather than motherliness. Nervousness. She speaks
calmly -- this is ground they have already covered.
Alex, you're going to make a great
anchorman in New York and undoubtedly
I could be a Pulitzer Prize winning
hostess -- but I'm not going with
You can work out of the East Coast.
We'll get a place on Long Island and
burn our suitcases.
I still like suitcases.
Every Saturday night we'll have a
party... invite all our friends, sit
out on the veranda and interview
I've done all that.
(beat; changes tack)
Well, God dammit, I'm getting tired
of memorizing who's the president of
the... Republic of Maldives.
Mamoon Abdul Gayoom.
Yeah, he succeeded Mamoon Abdul
They both smile slightly as the elevator comes to a stop.
The door doesn't open, and the light flickers.
And I'm tired of Third World
He bangs the door with his fist. It opens, and they enter a
dismal hallway. The sounds of a party come from beyond.
Don't leave me.
I already have.
As they approach the door to the party, he speaks with new
Fuck Abou Deia and New York. I'm
going to Nicaragua with you.
I've heard it's a neat little war
with a nice hotel.
INT. THE ROOM WITH THE PARTY - NIGHT
A cheer goes up for Alex as he and Claire enter. Party hats,
booze, hand-made signs reading "Bon Voyage," etc. Fifteen
journalists of varying nationalities cover this backwater
Though both upset, they act as if everything is normal.
PRICE STANDS ON A CHAIR AT THE CENTER summoning Alex who
moves through the group with ease, instantly at home. Price
holds up a bottle of champagne in toast.
Alex, get up here!
Alex climbs on a chair next to Price who puts his arm around
To the man who gave me my first job,
and fired me from my first job...
and gave me my second job...
VOICE FROM CROWD
And fired you from your second job...
Just a few words, Alex.
VOICES FROM CROWD
Impossible! Can't be done! etc.
However miserable, Alex shines in these situations. He raises
his hand -- silence.
You may be asking yourself what
exactly are you doing here in this
"strange war, just another chapter
in an endless story... that grinds
into its seventh year..."
Claire slips to the side bar and pours herself a drink,
watching Alex and shaking her head with some affection.
JIMMY, THE CAB DRIVER, ENTERS WITH A CAKE covered with
candles. The crowd parts for the cake shaped like the country
of Chad. The crowd begins singing "Caravan" in a half-drunken
tribute to a man they like and respect.
PRICE MOVES AROUND THE ROOM TAKING PICTURES of the party; it
is all casual, silly, fun.
THROUGH CAMERA P.O.V.'S OF ALEX IN A PARTY HAT, whip pan to
CABBY WITH THE CAKE, whip pan to DRUNKEN JOURNALISTS.
THROUGH CAMERA P.O.V. OF CLAIRE -- FREEZE FRAME, pan follows
her as she moves through the room -- FREEZE FRAME, she picks
up another drink and leaves through a side door -- FREEZE
ALEX GIVES IN AND JOINS THE SINGING, enjoying his own tribute
once he has managed to give in to it.
INT. THE DARKROOM - RED LIGHTS
Claire's face is also covered with tears as she smokes,
wandering idly among clothespinned photos. A part of her
life is ending -- life with Alex -- but it's not ending
A ROW OF HANGING PHOTOGRAPHS catches her eye. She stops and
looks closely -- then laughs in spite of herself at a series
of pictures: PHOTO OF A TALL AFRICAN NATIVE WITH A COCK SO
LONG IT IS TIED IN A KNOT; PHOTO OF A BEAUTIFULLY BREASTED
AFRICAN WOMAN; PHOTO OF SEVERAL POSING SOLDIERS; PHOTO OF A
PHOTO -- THE RANCH HOUSE WITH POOL; PHOTO SELF-PORTRAIT OF
PRICE BLOWING SMOKE RINGS; PHOTO OF CLAIRE AND ALEX IN HAPPIER
CLAIRE PULLS THE PHOTO OF ALEX AND HER from the clip and
looks at it.
THE DOOR OPENS, AND PRICE ENTERS
Oh. I didn't know you were here.
Sure you did. You were taking pictures
of me all over the room.
Well... yeah... you looked great.
Why aren't you partying?
In a minute.
He notices the picture she's looking at.
I printed that up for Alex.
It wouldn't be the greatest thing
you could give him right now...
We just split up.
Jesus, I'm sorry. Who left who this
I'm the villain... I thought it could
be a little cleaner this time -- me
in Central America, him in New York.
That's pretty clean.
But he's decided to go to Nicaragua
To cover you or the war?
To cover everything.
Silence. Price moves behind her and gently kisses her on the
ear. She smiles quickly and nervously.
He kisses her on the neck.
For godsakes, Russell, listen.
The sounds of the party can be heard. He ignores them and
moves around her, trying to kiss her on the lips. She puts
her hand over his mouth.
Price reacts strongly, flaring slightly and withdrawing.
I don't want to wait for you again.
We've been circling each other since
the Montreal Olympics.
You're a genius of bad timing.
I'm going back to the party.
She heads to the door; Price stays. She stops before getting
there, hesitates, then pulls the PHOTO OF THE ELEPHANT from
the string and returns to Price, handing him the photo.
This is a great shot.
I've heard the light in Nicaragua's
He doesn't respond. They stand for several moments -- the
sounds of the party get louder. She turns and heads to Alex's
celebration, leaving Price alone in the darkroom.
PRICE LOOKS AT CLAIRE AS SHE LEAVES, stares aimlessly for
several moments, then focuses back on his PHOTO OF THE
EXT. THE STREETS OF MANAGUA - THE CAPITOL - AFTERNOON
CLOSE ON: TIME MAGAZINE WITH COVER PHOTO OF THE ELEPHANTS,
gradually PULL BACK to reveal other magazines, candy, cigars,
Nicaraguan toys, all in a corner shop, and finally:
A FIRE TRUCK LEADS A PROCESSION through the streets -- a
group of middle class Nicaraguan women carry a banner that
reads "Our Revolution is in Christ" (in Spanish), followed
by three Catholic PRIESTS in bright robes, followed by a
sound truck with P.A. system, followed by hundreds of
townspeople carrying banana leaves and religious signs. All
are singing a Catholic hymn in a swaying, hypnotic rhythm.
Small red and black flags are scattered throughout.
A CAB DRIVING THROUGH THE STREETS runs into the parade and
stops. Price sits in the front seat -- his luggage is tied
precariously to the roof. The trunk of the cab has been
smashed in beyond repair. Price hops out of the cab with his
camera bag -- he doesn't know what the parade is about but
it looks great. He hands the cabbie some money to stay nearby.
He runs to join the procession.
PRICE HOPS ONTO THE RUNNING BOARD OF THE FIRE TRUCK and almost
simultaneously his light meter is out. HE is surrounded by
images: SMALL GIRLS DRESSED AS ANGELS LINE THE STREET,
TOWNSPEOPLE HANG FROM DOORWAYS AND WINDOWS, ICE CREAM CARTS
AMONG RELIGIOUS ICONS, SOLDIERS WITH GUNS STAND IN SMALL
GROUPS ALONG THE PARADE ROUTE.
PRICE IS QUICKLY TAKING PICTURES OF EVERYTHING, changing
cameras, occasionally taking a quick light reading; his
actions are instinctive and automatic. Suddenly:
TEN YOUNG TEENAGERS BURST INTO THE PARADE They wear red and
black handkerchiefs, baseball caps, and strange masks. They
Rafael, Rafael, Rafael... libre o
A LARGE PAINTING OF THE FACE OF RAFAEL is carried aloft on a
stick, draped with red and black scarves.
PRICE PHOTOGRAPHS the boys and the painting.
NATIONAL GUARD SOLDIERS SHOVE INTO THE PARADE Up and down
the street they spring into action, running for position
with their guns.
An ice cream vendor is knocked down, a mother clutches her
"angel" daughter, another child is whisked inside a door as
the Soldiers break into the procession.
THE "MUCHACHOS" WITH RAFAEL TURN TO RUN but realize that the
soldiers have cut off their escape.
THREE SOLDIERS BREAK into the parade and are separated from
the boys only by a group of Priests. Trapped, the boys panic,
but as the SOLDIERS push towards them:
THE PRIESTS BLOCK THE SOLDIERS and intentionally scuffle
with them, allowing the boys just enough time to dart into a
house. One of the boys drops the picture of Rafael as he
heads in the door.
THE CROWD PUSHES FORWARD, the route to the door is blocked
off, and the boys escape.
SOLDIERS FIND THE PORTRAIT OF RAFAEL and shoot it full of
holes with their automatic weapons.
PRICE PHOTOGRAPHS "RAFAEL" as his image is ripped to shreds
The singing and the parade march on.
EXT. THE INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL IN MANAGUA - LATER - DAY
Overlooking Managua is a sub-tropical paradise that seems
far removed from a brutal civil war, this one time tourist
watering hole serves as home base to the international press.
The cab pulls up, and Price gets out. The driver unties his
luggage from the roof as TWO PRESS CORPS MEMBERS recognize
Price and greet him as an old friend.
EXT. THE HOTEL POOL AND OUTDOOR BAR - DAY (DUSK)
ALEX SITS WITH A BEAUTIFUL NICARAGUAN WOMAN, 35, at a table
as PRESS CORPS MEMBERS mingle. A man we will come to know as
HUB KITTLE, 40, dressed New York casual, table hops in the
PRICE SEES ALEX and sneaks over to drop the Time magazine
over his shoulder onto the table in front of him. Without
looking up, Alex knows Price has arrived. He smiles.
Welcome to Managua.
They shake hands warmly, and Price sits down. Price points
to the cover as a beer is served.
You have something to do with this?
Well... I thought of calling your
photographs "Pictures from a Lost
War"... I'm great at captions -- the
New York editors loved it since none
of them knew where the hell Chad was
anyway -- it legitimized their
ignorance, got you a cover, me a
feature, and packaged a class struggle
in two words. Nifty, eh?
Russell acknowledges ISELA CRUZ sitting with Alex.
I'm Russell Price.
I'm sorry... this is Isela Cruz. She
works for the hotel and helps out as
IN THE BACKGROUND CLAIRE WALKS INTO THE POOL-BAR AREA She
carries her handbag and some papers -- she stops short seeing
Price sitting with Alex. She hesitates, starts toward them,
stops, and sits down at the bar at the opposite end of the
Price sees her, and she sees Price. They pretend they don't.
Price turns to Isela and launches into a stream of broken,
chauvinistic Spanish with his usual elegance.
Looks like you guys have a lot of
bang-bang down here, eh? Little
misunderstanding between the poets
and the government?
"Misunderstanding?!" "Down here"
it's called a war. It started in
nineteen thirty. Before you were
My Spanish is a little out of shape --
what'd he say?
He said he considers it an honor to
be able to photograph our war.
Price looks at each of them and decides not to push.
Russell's got a way with words.
I can tell.
You're a helluva translator.
I know. I'm much in demand around
here. Will you excuse me? If you
have any questions, just ask.
Alex stands to help Isela from her chair. Price presses on,
instinctively and effortlessly.
Who is Rafael?
It depends who you ask.
Alex turns to Isela, who stops as she rises.
Rafael? Comandante Rafael. He is
either a Marxist dupe of Russia and
...or the most popular leader of a
most popular democratic revolution.
(to Price cynically)
Take your pick.
I don't really give a damn... but
the guy's got a great face.
A beat, then Price asks his question almost sexually, as if
he thinks he could seduce Isela, Rafael, the whole war.
How would he like to be photographed?
You'd never find him.
Wanta lay odds?
You would lose.
You must excuse me.
She starts to leave again, and again he stops her.
Just one more thing -- is Rafael
owned by the C.I.A. or the K.G.B.?
I'll figure out the rest.
Isela seems to welcome the question. Her tone is less flip,
and she focuses hard on Price.
Mr. Price... the world is not divided
into East and West anymore. It is
divided into North and South. By the
time you people figure that out --
it will be too late.
Congratulations on your cover.
She touches his Time magazine, kisses Alex on the cheek, and
floats magically through the pool area.
Price frames her with his fingers as if composing a shot.
P.O.V. OF ISELA THROUGH PRICE'S FINGERS Isela kisses another
journalist, grabs someone's hand, and lands gracefully at
So far this war's got it all over
You're gonna have a ball.
ALEX PLACES HIS HAND OVER PRICE'S "FRAME" blocking out his
view of the sexy Isela. Though Alex's tone is gentle, the
threat is obvious.
Hands off. I need an interpreter
more than you do right now.
Price takes the hint.
You still hanging in there with
Alex chooses his words carefully and speaks slowly.
I'm hanging in there like an interim
post-war government waiting for the
palace to be overrun... by younger
Silence and an uneasiness that Alex intended. Price manages
Alex smiles disarmingly.
CLAIRE RISES AT THE OPPOSITE BAR, picks up her papers, and
heads straight for the two men with a bounce in her step.
BOTH MEN ARE A BIT SURPRISED AT HER ENTRANCE and she hands a
stack of mail to Alex.
Hi, Alex... Russell! When did you
She shakes Price's hand in a friendly manner that comes out
awkwardly, then races past the moment to address and entertain
You're not going to believe this --
I just beat you guys and everybody
else here to a story...
(she teases them)
...exclusive... eat your heart out.
What'd ya get?
I've just been promised a private
interview with Tacho.
Congratulations. The bastard won't
talk to me.
They turn to Price as if everyone knows who Tacho is.
That's President Somoza's nickname.
I don't know who the players are
Want me to order you a hot dog and a
A bit of tension and awkwardness -- Claire quickly takes
control and changes the tone.
Fellas! No fighting after six at
night, all right? Curfew.
C'mon, we've all got something to
INT. THE VIKING CLUB OF MANAGUA - NIGHT
Corrugated metal roofs, thatched hut booths, a strange
combination of decorative and architectural devices. DAISY
WILLIAMS, a large black woman from Nicaragua, sings "I Left
My Heart in San Francisco" with a mediocre jazz group.
HUB KITTLE is present, and other journalists drop by the
table to say hello.
A BOY PHOTOGRAPHER, 13, aims an ancient bellows type polaroid
at a booth in which Claire sits between Alex and Price. They
are holding a pose indefinitely while the boy struggles with
the camera. They hold up the TIME COVER and a couple of beers
in celebration, and when he finally snaps the picture -- no
The boy puts the camera down disappointedly.
(in broken English)
Sometimes it doesn't work.
The three journalists relax their pose.
Let me look.
ON THE BANDSTAND Daisy has just finished "San Francisco" and
spots Alex, motioning to him.
Ladeez and Gen'mun, hep me get Aaleex
Daisy applauds lightly for Alex to join them. Alex is equally
pleased and embarrassed.
There's not many piano bars left
where I'm still welcome.
If she can't sing in the key of C
I'm in trouble.
Alex excuses himself and joins Daisy on the bandstand. Price
and Claire are left alone in the booth as Price hands the
repaired camera back to the boy.
ALEX AT THE PIANO begins a slow, easy cocktail version of
"Stardust," the song of his generation perhaps, and he seems
happy, seduced by his own chords.
PRICE AND CLAIRE RESUME THEIR POSE, and this time the camera
FLASHES. Price pays for the picture from the boy.
At first there is a moment of awkwardness between them.
"Well"... you finished your assignment
Got Africa all wrapped up and pouched
to my editor.
She smiles and relaxes a bit at the typical Price remark.
You're going to love this war,
Russell... there's good guys, bad
guys, cheap shrimp...
And Alex is still singing in the
I missed you.
We gotta get alone somewhere to talk.
ALEX BEGINS SINGING as he plays. He sings like a trumpet
player -- no voice but great phrasing. He half smiles as he
sings, enjoying the song and enjoying making them
ALEX AT THE PIANO
Sometimes I wonder why I spend these
lonely nights, Dreaming of a song...
BACK AT THE BOOTH
Jesus... he's doing it on purpose.
Alex is one of the world's leading
experts on military strategy.
They don't really want to talk about Alex though his presence
is unavoidable. Price changes gears, gets slightly goofy,
and steers the conversation to more comfortable turf.
Well, hell, I just got off the boat...
gimme the scoop on Nicaragua...
Well... about sixty years ago the
U.S. Marines invaded to protect
American business interests and put
down a peasant revolt led by a little
man who wore a giant cowboy hat --
his name was Augusto Sandino... In
nineteen thirty-four he was murdered
at a peace conference, and the Somoza
family has ruled ever since...
No, no, no... I don't mean the stuff
about the peasants -- I mean the
She knows what he means, but she wants to tease him a bit
The "real" stuff?... you mean a
history of class struggle in agrarian
Oh. Okay... well...
Just a couple things.
One -- there's only two kinds of
beer available -- Tona and Victoria.
And two -- if you see Miss Panama
hanging around the hotel bar -- hot,
hot, hot -- but don't touch. She
belongs to Tacho, and if anybody
gets caught with her then El
Presidente has promised to personally
cut off the guy's...
(unsure which word to
Yeah... and throw it into Lake
And the lake's already polluted.
Price is impressed, and yet another new face drops by the
booth -- they both recognize and see him coming, a
contemporary of Price, REGIS FLYNN, a scraggly British
journalist who heads over to their table holding three beers.
(mutters to Claire)
Is there anybody here we don't know?
Regis slides into their booth, happy to see them.
G'damn, Price... kudos on the African
(shakes hands, a
perfunctory kiss on
Jeez, Claire, I haven't seen you
Three Mile Island.
Holiday Inn, right?
He nods; they all sip beers and watch Alex sing.
INT. THE NIGHT CLUB KITCHEN
A teenage DISHWASHER looks around nervously, then pulls a
paper sack from off the shelf, removing a strange mask from
it. He pulls the mask over his head. Then from the bag he
removes a hand-made zip gun, puts a bullet in it, and darts
into the shadows of a nook, waiting.
BACK TO THE BOOTH where Regis softly croons a few bars of
"Stardust" into Claire's mike. The three of them are having
a good time, mildly drunk at best, and uninhibited.
EXT. THE CLUB
As we hear Alex's gentle rendition of the standard, a NECKING
COUPLE moves back into the shadows of the club. Each pulls
on a mask, as in the b.g.:
ISELA AND AN ELEGANT MAN ARRIVE AT THE CLUB
The man, somehow out of place, dresses with casual continental
style, not overdone but expensive and tasteful -- clearly
from another world. He wears a neat hat and moves gracefully.
Isela looks stunning, dressed for the evening. The DOORMAN
greets them familiarly.
Isela casually checks her watch as they enter the club.
The masked couple in the shadows check their watches.
INT. THE VIKING CLUB
As Isela and the man enter, commanding attention without
trying. Isela stops at the piano long enough to kiss Alex
gently before sitting in the booth with the man.
IN PRICE'S BOOTH the new arrivals have caught their attention --
Price and Alex still clown slightly, and Claire teases them.
Jesus... Louis Jordan walks in, and
I'm sitting with the Everly Brothers.
Before you fall in love -- that's
Marcel Jazy... friend of wine, women,
and Somoza. They say he's a
He's a businessman in search of a
business... he doesn't try very hard
to cover up his connections to the
P.O.V. OF JAZY LIGHTING ISELA'S CIGARETTE
But look at his moves -- can the
C.I.A. light cigarettes like that?
What's wrong with the Everly Brothers?
THE WAITER ARRIVES AT PRICE'S BOOTH and sets down three shrimp
cocktails and more champagne, as:
INT. THE BACK DOOR OF THE CLUB
It opens quickly, and three more MEN IN MASKS enter quickly.
BACK TO THE BOOTH as the waiter speaks with a firm coolness.
Please stay at your table, and you
won't be hurt.
A FACE IN A MASK MOVES QUICKLY PAST PRICE'S TABLE
ANOTHER MASKED FACE COMES OUT OF THE KITCHEN The dishwasher
waves a gun.
TWO MASKED FACES -- THE COUPLE -- ENTER THROUGH THE FRONT
DOOR The woman carries an automatic rifle and guards the
THREE MASKED FACES APPEAR Almost materialize from thin air,
moving silently and without commotion. The music winds down
slowly. (Six Guerrillas total)
A GUERRILLA QUICKLY SPRAYS AN IMAGE ON THE WALL With a few
deftly drawn strokes, the FACE OF RAFAEL magically appears.
The name "RAFAEL" is written under the face, then other names
and revolutionary slogans. As this takes place:
A WOMAN GUERRILLA HAS A GUN AT THE HEAD OF A NICARAGUAN
BUSINESSMAN The middle-aged, well-dressed local sits with
his wife and two other men. They freeze in fear, the nightclub
freezes, as the GUERRILLAS take control of the room swiftly
ONE GUERRILLA FACES THE NICARAGUAN BUSINESSMAN at the table
and speaks loudly but without panic. The masked Guerrillas
around the room are serious but nervous.
We do not want to waste any ammunition
on a head as empty as yours -- but
What is this?!
Shut up! Get up!
The BUSINESSMAN refuses. The GUERRILLA LEADER takes a hand
grenade from his pocket and pulls the pin without hesitation,
then holds the grenade in front of him fearlessly, inches
away from the Businessman's face.
The Businessman rises slowly. The LEADER motions toward the
back door of the club.
You are coming with us -- you will
not be hurt -- we will trade you for
the release of some Nicaraguans who
care about Nicaragua.
The woman with the gun shoves it into the man's head forcing
him to move toward the kitchen door.
PRICE TAKES PICTURES QUICKLY WITH A TINY CAMERA that fits
into the palm of his hand. Neatly, surreptitiously, and calmly --
Price is coolest in any crisis.
CLAIRE PUNCHES ON HER TINY TAPE RECORDER instinctively, and
a tiny red light comes on.
THE BUSINESSMAN IS SHOVED TO THE DOOR He hesitates, afraid
to leave the room. The Guerrilla shoves the grenade in his
face; the woman sticks the gun into his neck even deeper.
MASKED GUERRILLA AT THE FRONT DOOR SHOUTS FOR THEM TO HURRY
THE BANDMEMBERS -- INCLUDING ALEX -- BACK AWAY FROM THE
BANDSTAND Alex trips over the drum set slightly -- a clanging
clash of cymbals startles everyone, and as the drama freezes:
THE KITCHEN DOOR SWINGS OPEN, AND THE BOY PHOTOGRAPHER EMERGES
Innocently, the young boy struts out of the kitchen to see
what's going on, and as he does the DOOR STRIKES THE ARM OF
THE GUERRILLA WITH THE GRENADE, and:
THE GRENADE IS KNOCKED FREE For an instant, everything
THE GRENADE ROLLS ACROSS THE FLOOR Daisy Williams, the singer,
runs away screaming as the grenade comes to rest near a
crowded section of the club.
A Guerrilla guarding the side door rushes for it, picks it
up, and as he does:
THE GRENADE EXPLODES IN THE GUERRILLA'S HAND A brutal
explosion -- the ceiling caves in partially, the musical
instruments explode, and:
THE SANDINISTA GUERRILLAS DART FROM THE ROOM through various
doors. The boy photographer lies bloodied. The Guerrilla who
picked up the grenade is a barely recognizable corpse. The
Businessman is soiled but unhurt.
ONE HALF OF THE CLUB BREAKS OUT IN FLAME As a broken gas
pipe feeds a sudden outburst of fire, the club's patrons
panic -- screaming and shoving towards the door as the ROOM
LIGHTS UP, and:
PRICE'S LIGHT METER IS OUT AT ONCE followed quickly by a
35mm camera, quickly clicking off picture after picture of
the club amid the flames and panic. The new light makes his
PRICE TAKES A LIGHT READING near the body of the boy
photographer. He sees the boy's camera lying nearby. Price
puts away his light meter and feels the boy's pulse, then
puts his ear to the boy's heart -- making sure he is not
LA GUARDIA SOLDIERS AND FIREMEN FILL THE ROOM
INT. THE PRESS ROOM AT THE INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL - LATER
The chaos of a busy, cramped Telex room. A switchboard --
several journalists trying to place phone calls. Press come
and go -- coffee, cigarettes, and half-eaten sandwiches.
CLAIRE TEARS A STORY OFF THE TELEX while Price stands to the
side of the action eating a sandwich and watching.
ALEX STANDS AT THE CENTER OF IT ALL Established as the senior
figure (or one of them) to whom other, younger journalists
come for information.
A YOUNG JOURNALIST, a Time stringer, is slightly distraught
on the phone, and interrupts Alex's dealing with others,
cupping the phone, to announce:
...it's Charlie, from New York --
says that a terrorist bombing of a
Central American restaurant isn't
big enough to hold for the world
Tell him we have pictures.
Tell him there were pieces of body
in the piano, and somebody was
singing, "I Left My Heart in San
What's he got better than that?
He's got the Pope visiting Egypt.
Alex grabs the phone in disgust and launches in.
Forget the Pope, Charlie. Every week
you got the Pope somewhere. This is
a very big story down here because
it's the first sign of fighting in
Yeah, well get a map and look up
Nicaragua -- ya drive to New Orleans
and turn left.
While Charlie argues on the other end of the phone, Alex
initials papers and performs several jobs at once.
Like hell I'm editorializing, the
whole thing happened in a roomful of
C.I.A. and press. What do you want?!
How do I know they were C.I.A.? They
wore name tags, what do you think?
We're backing a Fascist again -- I
know that ain't news, but see if you
can find an angle!
HUB KITTLE has been floating through the room and, upon
hearing the word "fascist," takes offense and approaches
Hey! There's fascists and then there's
fascists, right? Be careful how you
throw words like that around.
Alex ignores Hub though he is slightly pestered by him, and
continues on the phone as he initials papers brought to him.
We don't have any pictures of Rafael
because nobody knows where the son
of a bitch is, and anybody crazy
enough to go after him...
Alex spots Price who is standing nearby, still eating a
sandwich, still enjoying the high energy buzz of the room.
Alex directs his next line so that Price cannot fail to get
the message. Alex plays the moment coolly.
...is liable to get his nuts shot
Hub nods seriously, in agreement. Price turns. Alex smiles.
Price smiles. Alex hangs up, grumbling, then turns his
attention to the persistent Hub Kittle.
Yeah, well g'bye...
Who the fuck are you?
(extending a hand)
Hub Kittle. I'm with Lewitsky and
Knupp -- New York. We have a client
Alex is irritated but fascinated.
Alex is incredulous that Somoza employs a New York P.R. firm.
Hub is professionally used to this reaction -- no panic.
I know, I know...
But there's an untold story here. I
mean, the man has a point of view
Alex turns to leave; Hub corners him.
We got a national anthem contest
going on right now, and you guys are
ignoring it. Lotta human interest.
Alex turns to other business though Hub persists.
ELSEWHERE IN THE ROOM a young NICARAGUAN WOMAN, 18, is talking
to Claire. She seems to be part of the local press.
I want you to get me copies of the
Government inventory lists of all
captured Guerrilla weapons. I want
to know if the guns are Israeli,
Belgian, Russian, Cuban...
The Guerrillas are not supplied by
anybody from the outside.
Fine -- give me proof.
A TELEPHONE OPERATOR CALLS TO CLAIRE through the chaos.
Su hija, su hija! Your daughter from
Claire sighs at the bad timing but seems delighted to be
interrupted by her daughter, and brushes aside a Stringer
forcing paperwork upon her. Claire takes the phone into a
bare, adjacent hallway for some privacy.
IN A BARE HALLWAY Claire talks to her daughter.
Hi, baby! How are you?
Has Grandmother spoiled you silly by
now? She has? Good.
Yes, I got your letter with the
picture of your new boyfriend. He's
very good looking... but he's a bit
old, isn't he? No? Just how old is
P.O.V. FROM THE TELEX ROOM TO CLAIRE Price knows this is not
his world, and he wanders outside.
EXT. MANAGUAN STREET NEAR THE HOTEL - LATER THAT NIGHT
Price bounces along, whistling, "San Francisco." An occasional
Guardia jeep or taxi rumbles past. He strolls up the walkway
of a house from which comes a strange, blue glow.
INT. THE MONEYCHANGERS HOUSE - NIGHT
Blue walls, bare bulbs, several pictures on the wall, and an
old woman lying in a hammock. Music in the b.g. Price
approaches her and hands her a $100 bill -- there is a brief
negotiation of the black market value.
(in broken Spanish)
She shrugs, declaring the negotiation ended, and leaves the
room to change the dollar into cordobas. Price idly studies
the pictures on the wall:
PICTURE OF ANASTAZIO SOMOZA IN WHITE, PICTURE OF THE VIRGIN
OF GUADALUPE, PICTURE OF SANTA CLAUS, FADED NEWSPHOTO OF
HANK AARON HITTING HIS 715TH HOME RUN.
PRICE SMILES AND TURNS RIGHT INTO A SHARP BAYONET mounted to
a rifle held threateningly by a Guardia soldier.
THE SMALL ROOM IS FILLED WITH NATIONAL GUARDS We haven't
heard them enter over the sounds of music and our
preoccupation with the pictures.
What is this? I'm a journalist!
No answer. Price pulls a thick passport and press credentials
from a pocket, handing them to the Officer in charge.
The officer looks at Price's passport photo, studies it
briefly and takes the passport. He nods.
A rifle butt is jammed violently into Price's belly -- he
doubles over. The Officer nods, and Price is led away.
As the Guard hauls him outside, the OLD WOMAN appears in the
doorway with a stack of local currency.
INT. MILITARY HOLDING CELL - NIGHT
Price is led into a dark cell where another PRISONER, 50,
lies in street clothes on the floor. The Prisoner is spat
upon by the Guards and kicked awake. Price cringes.
Padre Puta, Padre Puta, Padre Puta...
(in Spanish to Price)
Here is a Priest for you to confess
The Guards laugh and leave. The Prisoner rises to his feet.
Price keeps his distance. The Prisoner looks in bad shape.
Price hands him a cigarette and lights it. A long, deep drag.
(the man nods)
(in broken Spanish)
What are you doing here?
The government accused me of using
the church to hide Rebels and guns.
Governments are always wrong, eh?
This time they're right. Who are
Whose side are you on?
I don't take sides. I take pictures.
The Prisoner Priest looks at Price with disdain.
Periodista Puta, todos periodistas
(All journalists are
The Prisoner sits down in the corner ignoring Price who is
surprised to be treated so despicably.
INT. A BRIGHTLY LIT ROOM
Price is led into a lineup of 10 people, all Nicaraguans.
The room is narrow and so brightly lit that at first he covers
FIGURES MOVE IN THE SHADOWS A Guardia soldier moves up and
down the lineup, stopping to point at a prisoner. In the
line we recognize the WAITER from the Viking Club. Price
speaks to the soldier in a calm, reasoned tone.
Mi amigo -- mala interpretacion, eh?
Periodista, comprende? Famoso. Time
The soldier whirls at Price in a rage out of all proportion
to Price's tone, shouting:
Price holds up his hands -- he may be fearless, but he's not
stupid. The soldier pulls a knife, then pulls his own tongue
from his mouth, and makes motions with the knife as if cutting
out his tongue. The message is clear -- Price doesn't speak.
The soldier walks up to the Waiter and points. The Waiter is
Through the shadows we see an officer talking with a civilian
in a hat. The civilian points to a door.
THE WAITER IS LED AWAY THROUGH A DOOR protesting desperately
as he goes. The soldier moves to the next prisoner -- he too
is led away. This repeats itself until the soldier arrives
THE SOLDIER POINTS TO PRICE
PRICE'S P.O.V. THROUGH THE SHADOWS The civilian is in a
discussion with the officer -- it is clear that his opinion
affects the decisions. For a moment Price doesn't know where
he's going to be led. The civilian points to a different
door -- it opens -- and Price steps down off the display
rack into a room.
THROUGH THE DOOR as Price steps through, the action continues
with the other Nicaraguan prisoners. Price looks around
quickly, but the Civilian and Officer are gone. He is quickly
shown into a bare office.
INT. THE BARE ROOM
Pictures on the wall of Somoza and the FLAG RAISING AT IWO
JIMA. Price's cameras and bag sit on a desk.
P.O.V. THE CIVILIAN THROUGH A DOOR -- IT IS MARCEL JAZY His
rumpled elegance is at odds with the brutal surroundings.
The door closes.
A SENIOR OFFICER ENTERS THE BARE ROOM, and Price addresses
him at once.
Soy un periodista.
SENIOR GUARD OFFICER
(in excellent English)
Mr. Price... you must accept our
deepest apologies for the
misunderstanding. Somebody saw you
taking photographs of terrorists
hooligans in the parade and at the
nightclub -- our young officers get
carried away... they're always looking
That film is half way to New York by
SENIOR GUARD OFFICER
I know, I know... It was all a
misunderstanding... una mala
interpretacion. Your cameras.
The Officer reaches for one of Price's cameras and hands it
to him, but as he does:
THE CAMERA DROPS TO THE GROUND AND BREAKS -- SILENCE The
Officer would love for Price to get angry.
SENIOR GUARD OFFICER
Price smiles barely, and refuses to pop off.
Price puts his cameras in his bag, and as he is shown from
the room he notices a copy of the TIME MAGAZINE WITH ELEPHANT
sitting on the desk.
SENIOR GUARD OFFICER
Price is shown to a door, handed over to a soldier, and led
outside into the night.
EXT. MILITARY PRISON - DAWN
Claire stands at the main doorway surrounded by GUARDS, an
OFFICER, and an unidentified CIVILIAN -- she is arguing with
them in rapid Spanish, not allowing them to get in a word.
You throw a journalist in jail -- it
gets in the papers. You walk all
over the same press credentials you
pass out. I demand to speak to someone
in authority or I'll go to Tacho
myself... I don't understand you --
you're big and strong and handsome
but you're not so smart!
You should be trying to seduce us!
PRICE IS SHOWN OUT A DOOR IN THE BACKGROUND and sees her.
They hurry toward each other and embrace briefly. The Guards
watch it all curiously.
I'm fine -- what're you doing here?
These guys are goons.
They love being beaten up by a woman
I've been looking for you all night --
why'd they lock you up?
They walk away together.
I don't know. Taking pictures. The
usual. Jazy got me released.
Jazy?! You think there's a story
Ahh... C.I.A. stories are all alike.
I wanta find Rafael.
You need help?
When should we start.
I figure you probably want to do a
little research on the history of
Marcel Jazy's business connections
in the third world countries with
Oh. I assumed you'd just look him in
the eye and say "Gimme a break, for
crissakes, Marcel, are you a spy or
EXT. GARDEN COURTYARD OF MARCEL JAZY - DAY LATER
Marcel Jazy stands, drink in hand, looking slightly rumpled
in the daylight, slightly older, but more charming and self-
effacing than his first impression indicated. His two story
Mediterranean style house is in slight disrepair; the gardens
are scraggly and overgrown. The pool is empty. Jazy addresses
Price and Claire.
...are you a spy or aren't you, eh?
Spy is such an odd word, Mr. Price...
nobody is a... 'spy'... anymore.
Russell prefers pictures to words...
You don't have to apologize... you're
And you're a businessman?
A businessman? That sounds good.
Okay, I'm a businessman.
Why was I arrested, and why did you
get me released, and who are you?
As he speaks, the questioning comes to a sudden halt as a
SPECTACULAR LOOKING WOMAN emerges from the shadows of the
house into the light of the courtyard. She is tall, Latin,
and besides high heels wears only a shiny, high fashion
swimsuit, cut high on the legs.
Price, Claire, and Jazy stop to watch as the woman stops to
look into the empty pool.
WOMAN IN SWIMSUIT
WOMAN IN SWIMSUIT
Oh, Marcel! You told me there would
be water in the pool this week!
Jazy leans in very coolly to Price and Claire as he pours an
extra glass of wine and speaks softly in English again.
If she dove in, I assure you she
He carries the glass of wine to the woman, smiling warmly.
(to Miss Panama in
Sweetheart, the Guerrillas knocked
out the pumping station on the road
to Masaya, and we must ration water
for the time being. Next week maybe
things will be better.
WOMAN IN SWIMSUIT
Maybe I should go back to Panama.
Maybe you should.
Jazy pushes a lounge chair over to her and hands her a glass
of wine. The woman unfolds gracefully into a lounge chair in
the sun. Very sexy. She reaches for and kisses Jazy's hand
affectionately -- he kisses her forehead. She feels better
Jazy motions for Claire and Price to follow him inside.
INT. JAZY'S HOUSE - DAY
The pool is visible in b.g. His house, like the pool, is
rumpled and slightly sloppy though it betrays the taste of
its occupant -- books everywhere, pictures on the wall,
nothing cheap or tacky but everything is well worn.
You were arrested because the Guardia
are clowns who specialize in excess.
You were released because I told
them to release you.
These are not the normal duties of a
He looks at them directly.
But they are the normal duties of
a... spy, eh? You win, I'm a spy.
There, are you happy? I feel better.
He refills their glasses.
Now we can relax. You can turn off
your little thing.
The red light of her recorder is on. She smiles slightly,
undisturbed, and turns it off.
Oh, I trust you won't say anything
to hurt me. In some ways I'm a
terrible spy. I used to be much better
at it, but now it seems everyone
knows who I am. I have too many
girlfriends. I like to be
I talk too much.
Price and Claire are almost afraid to speak, afraid to
interrupt this strange performance.
I always talk too much... but my
girlfriends like that... No matter.
(pointing to the
You know who she is?
CLAIRE AND PRICE
That's Miss Panama. Do you know who
CLAIRE AND PRICE
Oh, yeah, yes, etc.
She's in love with me. I've got to
get some water in the pool.
And once a week I have lunch with
President Somoza to discuss security
measures against the Sandinista
insurgents, but all he wants to talk
about is Miss Panama... he's worried
Claire interrupts with a smile.
Because he thinks she's seeing another
Jazy smiles slightly before confirming.
...and he assigned me to find out
who the man is.
They all smile at this complication. Price is impressed.
Jazy changes the subject with fluent and disturbing ease.
We all know the Revolutionaries are
going to win, don't we?
Silence. They don't know how to respond.
THEIR P.O.V. AS MISS PANAMA STRETCHES LIKE AN ENORMOUS CAT
They all are slightly entertained and glad for the relief.
Unsure what to say next, Price notices a picture on the wall:
CLOSEUP - A BLOWN-UP FRAMED PHOTO OF THE RANCH HOUSE WITH
The same picture we saw on the leaflets in Africa.
There's a rumor about this picture.
Some people say you're a genius --
that you invented this scheme.
It was lots of people's idea... Have
you been to Leon?
We're going to Masaya... they say
the Rebels have hit the cuartel.
It's supposed to be nasty there... a
lotta people think Rafael's in the
South. I want to find out.
No, no, it's not "nasty" yet. Another
You would love Leon. A nice cathedral
and beautiful light... et un peu de
We're not doing a travelogue, you
Of course, of course... only I have
heard that Comandante Rafael has
recently had his unit in the area.
Rafael is near Leon?
Well... it's a rumor, what do I know?
The voice of Miss Panama.
Don't let us stand in the way.
It's my job.
You think I talk too much?
He doesn't wait for an answer, but excuses himself and goes
out to tend to Miss Panama.
P.O.V. OF JAZY AND MISS PANAMA BY THE EMPTY POOL as Jazy
touches her, whispers, and she waves to Claire and Price.
INT. PRICE'S HOTEL BATHROOM - DAY
Early morning. Price lathers up with shaving cream for the
first time, cleaning up. As he applies the lather he stops,
and slowly draws a face on the mirror with shaving cream
until he is staring at:
THE IMAGE OF RAFAEL IN SHAVING CREAM ON THE MIRROR
EXT. NICARAGUAN COUNTRYSIDE - DAY
A RENTED CAR WITH WHITE FLAGS turns onto the road to Leon.
Price drives, eats, and reads a map. Claire takes the map
from him and reads it herself. They seem to enjoy their first
moment alone without Alex looking over their shoulder. A
small band-aid is on Price's clean shaven cheek.
Did you dream about Miss Panama last
I dreamed about you.
Have a good time?
Yeah... so'd you.
She reaches out and touches his band-aid.
And old war injury flaring up?
Is the tape on?
I was on the deck of the U.S.S. Pueblo
catching some rays when the North
Koreans attacked... took a bullet
right in the chest, but by luck I
had an extra roll of high speed
ektachrome in this pocket right
here... over the heart...
And the bullet ricocheted off the
film, grazed your cheek, and saved
You heard about it?! I was lucky.
PASSING SHOT OF A CLUSTER OF ROADSIDE CROSSES marking a series
of graves. Immediately the tone in Claire's voice changes,
sobered by the reminder of war.
Did anyone ever die next to you in
What did you do?
F.8 at a sixtieth.
That's an old joke. My question was
So was I.
You ever dream about me?
How was I?
Again their glibness is interrupted by what they came to
see. Even as they joke, they watch the landscape with concern.
REFUGEES ARE STREAMING OUT OF LEON, mostly women and children,
some old men, carrying their possessions. Soldiers stand
I'm basically a coward, Russell, I
hope you understand that. I hope we
don't get shot.
A GUARDIA ROADBLOCK ON A HILL OVERLOOKING THE CITY
The press car pulls up to a stop. Price and Claire get out
quickly, hand their credentials to a soldier, and open the
trunk and the hood. As the car is searched they look down at
P.O.V. LEON AS A PLANE CIRCLES FIRING ROCKETS AND SMOKE RISES
from several places in the town. The sound of gunfire.
(to soldier in Spanish)
I thought it was quiet here.
Quiet? Are you sure you want to go
down there? Not me.
The soldier laughs at the journalists and hands back the
You must leave the car here.
Price speaks in English knowing he can't be understood.
You thinking of scoring a Toyota?
No problem -- we leave the car.
Price and Claire remove their things from the car, and Price
takes the distributor cap as well as the keys. They walk
over and look down the road leading into the city under seige.
MORE REFUGEES EVACUATE THE TOWN -- it is a most uninviting
sight. The plane passes over the town in the distance firing
Price responds by flashing his light meter in the air, taking
a quick, nervous reading.
C'mon. Be careful.
Be careful?! Where the fuck we going?
EXT. STREET INTO LEON - DAY
PRICE AND CLAIRE WALK SLOWLY INTO LEON
Looking around warily as they go, they are the only people
entering the town. Claire speaks softly into her tape recorder
as they walk in, recording the event without editorializing.
...June tenth... the evacuation of
Leon... a woman carries a pig...
signs for the F.S.L.N. are
everywhere... a body...
THE BODY OF A YOUNG MAN lies ignored on the sidewalk. They
continue walking and soon come to:
AN INTERSECTION HELD BY LA GUARDIA TROOPS WITH A TANQUETTA
Price and Claire duck into a doorway, protected in effect by
the Government soldiers who wait silently, guns ready, around
the corner of a building. We see what they're waiting for.
A YOUNG SANDINISTA COMES OUT OF A BUILDING a block away,
holding a handgun. Momentarily confused, he begins running
toward us, toward the soldiers waiting in ambush. The
Guerrilla races quickly to his waiting death, and as he turns
the corner right into a dozen Guardia troops:
THE GUARDIA GUNS OPEN UP ON THE YOUNG GUERRILLA, killing him
CLAIRE TURNS HER HEAD AWAY unable to watch.
PRICE RECORDS THE EVENT WITH HIS CAMERA
THE GUARDIA FOLLOW THE TANQUETTA SLOWLY down the street toward
the Rebel youth's house. Suddenly the intersection is empty.
PRICE AND CLAIRE MOVE DOWN A SIDESTREET SLOWLY as:
SEVERAL GUERRILLA MUCHACHOS DART OUT OF AN ALLEY with
sharpened sticks, a spear gun, and one home-made gun. The
Muchachos hesitate briefly, lost, and see Price.
THE MUCHACHOS QUICKLY POSE FOR A PICTURE motioning for Price
to record them. They pose instantly in "tough-guy" posture.
PRICE TAKES THEIR PICTURE and just as quickly they dart away
through a bombed out building.
THREE SANDINISTAS LEAP OFF A ROOFTOP and race toward Claire
and Price who freeze:
For a moment they aren't sure what this means -- are they in
trouble? The Sandinistas shove past the two journalists,
pushing open a doorway and disappearing inside. For a moment
Price and Claire are alone on the street.
THE DOOR OPENS AGAIN SLOWLY and a middle-aged WOMAN appears,
motioning for them to come inside.
INT. PEDRO'S HOUSE - DAY
The Three Sandinistas, dressed half in khaki, half recycled
disco, are pleading with a young man, PEDRO, 15.
You must come and help us... one
One of the Sandinistas brings Pedro his rumpled baseball
jersey from another room.
For Leon... for Nicaragua!
Pedro sees Price and Claire and is more interested in them.
He speaks in broken but understandable English.
CLAIRE AND PRICE
Pedro lights up, and runs to a shelf where he returns with a
baseball he is signing.
Ah! I put my autograph on this ball.
Pedro! There is no time to waste.
Pedro is more interested in the two Americans.
When you get back to the United
States, I want you to give this ball
to Tippy Martinez for me. He is from
Pedro hands Claire the baseball as the Sandinistas plead
with Pedro for his help. He is more interested in getting
the baseball delivered to Tippy Martinez. Claire accepts the
ball graciously, exchanges awkward glances with Price, and
puts it in her shoulder bag.
Enrique is dead! Roberto has
disappeared! The Guardia has the
church, and we need you!
(to Claire and Price)
You come, eh?
(to the Sandinistas)
Can they come with us?
Come! Everybody come!
They go to the door and open it a crack to look out.
P.O.V. THE TANQUETTA PASSES as Soldiers kick open doors across
The Sandinistas go to a corner of the room and push a book
shelf out of the way. A large hole has been broken in the
wall. They climb through the hole into the living room of
the next house; the woman pushes the shelf back over the
hole with great effort.
INT. THE NEXT HOUSE - DAY
A family huddles in the corner as the MAN OF THE HOUSE pulls
back a couch and a hanging blanket, revealing another hole
knocked in the wall. The Sandinistas, Pedro, Claire and Price
P.O.V. THROUGH A SERIES OF DOOR-SIZED HOLES IN THE WALLS of
all the houses on the block, connecting the homes with a
secret passageway. The six of them race through the houses,
each hole opening and then closing magically.
INT. THE KITCHEN OF A TINY SIDEWALK RESTAURANT - DAY
The Three Sandinistas, Pedro, Claire, and Price emerge. A
WOMAN, 50, runs the cafe and welcomes them. The SIX crawl so
as not to be seen from the street; they stop long enough to
survey the plaza.
P.O.V. THE CENTRAL PLAZA OF LEON DOMINATED BY A HUGE CATHEDRAL
Half a dozen bodies are scattered across the plaza. Otherwise,
it is empty.
P.O.V. SIX GUARDIA SNIPERS IN THE CHURCH TOWER control the
plaza. As we watch, they fire off occasional shots in
different directions--there is no way to cross the plaza.
THE WOMAN PULLS A TRAY OF "CONTACT BOMBS" from the oven,
home-made grenades that look like muffins on a tray. Pedro
grabs one and pretends to bite into it. The Sandinistas start
to laugh and catch themselves as Pedro clowns. Claire and
Price aren't sure what the "muffins" are and don't respond;
mostly they are on edge. The contact bombs are put in a sack.
The woman opens a trap door in the floor, and the six of
them climb down a ladder into a tunnel.
INT. TUNNEL UNDERNEATH THE FLOOR - DAY
Pedro leads them with a candle through a dark passage under
the street. Overhead we hear gunfire. Rats scurry, and water
runs through an open sewer.
INT. THE CATHEDRAL - DAY
A tapestry rug is pulled away, and Pedro's head appears. He
climbs out and soon all the party is in the church. A PRIEST
leads them quickly through an immense, nearly. European
interior of ornate altars and burning candles. The small
party is led to a small corner of the sanctuary where a long,
rickety ladder leads up to the roof.
THE SANDINISTAS SCRAMBLE UP THE LADDER as it sways. Pedro
follows with his sack of contact bombs. Then Price goes up
as the Priest holds the ladder. The American is much larger
than the Nicaraguans -- the ladder squeaks and sways, and
when he is nearly at the top:
THE LADDER CRACKS as Price reaches the top and is helped to
safety. The Priest steadies the ladder now made unsafe and
clearly Claire wants to go onto the roof.
No, please... it's not safe. You
must come with me.
Claire looks at Price -- she wants to go on the roof but the
sound of close gunfire settles the dilemma. Claire hurries
off to safety with the Priest.
EXT. THE ROOFTOP OF THE CATHEDRAL OF LEON - LATE IN DAY
THREE SANDINISTAS, PEDRO, AND PRICE EMERGE FROM A TUNNEL
onto a lower level of the cathedral rooftop where a body
lies. They are exposed immediately and automatic weapons
fire opens up on them -- the Sandinistas flatten against a
wall, quickly becoming separated from Price and Pedro.
TWO SANDINISTAS RACE FOR COVER BEHIND A CUPOLA in a move
that is equally daring and foolish. The diversion draws fire
from the two soldiers.
PRICE'S LIGHT METER IS INSTANTLY OUT TAKING READINGS as Pedro
huddles with him, curious at this strange act.
TWO GUARDIA MOVE INTO POSITION TO FLUSH OUT THE SANDINISTAS
as they hide behind the cupolas. The hidden Third Guerrilla
opens fire killing a Guardia soldier, and the other soldier
races for the belltower. As he does:
THE SANDINISTAS SEIZE THE MOMENT TO RUSH CLOSER, waving to
Pedro who slips along a wall with his bag of bombs.
PRICE STARTS TO FOLLOW BUT IS PINNED DOWN BY FIRE and chooses
to take refuge halfway in an alcove. As fire from both sides
ricochets all over the rooftop, Price switches camera lenses
seemingly oblivious to the action.
PEDRO MEETS ONE OF THE SANDINISTAS in a protected niche and
quickly they are unfolding his bag, setting the "muffin bombs"
out on the rooftop.
THE OTHER TWO SANDINISTAS OPEN HEAVY FIRE and briefly draw
heavier fire from the belltower, as:
PEDRO PICKS UP A MUFFIN weighing it briefly in his hand,
like a pitcher. He studies the surroundings -- runners on
first and third, no outs -- he spits in his left (his pitching
hand) and rubs it in casually.
Pedro crosses himself, goes into an abbreviated pitching
motion, then rears and fires the 'muffin' toward the belltower
window, exposing himself as he does.
AN EXPLOSION IN THE TOWER
PEDRO THROWS ANOTHER INTO THE TOWER -- another explosion.
A GUARDIA SOLDIER STAGGERS INTO THE WINDOW and a Sandinista
drops him with a shot.
All is quiet.
THE THREE SANDINISTAS CAREFULLY RUSH THE TOWER, looking in
and motion to Pedro and Price that all is okay, and as they
ANOTHER SHOT RINGS OUT -- they whirl around -- Pedro and
Price drop again. A lone Guardia soldier fires at them from
the other tower.
A THIRD SANDINISTA DROPS HIM WITH A VOLLEY OF FIRE Again all
PRICE FOLLOWS THE SANDINISTAS TO THE FIRST BELLTOWER and
FIVE BODIES LIE SCATTERED AND BLOODIED One of the Guerrillas
kicks a couple of them to make sure they are dead. In the
corner, one body lies on top of another. Satisfied, the
Sandinistas head for the other tower.
PRICE STAYS BEHIND TO TAKE A FEW PICTURES and the ever-present
light meter appears, followed by several quick shots of the
bodies. Then Price goes to one of the arched, stone windows.
He looks out over the city.
P.O.V. OF LEON -- DUSK Late in the afternoon now, the fighting
is over for the day. An occasional gunshot. Smoke rises from
scattered places throughout the city. There is new rubble.
The town is littered with bodies.
P.O.V. THE RED CROSS WAGON MOVING THROUGH THE STREET
A man walks in front of it, chanting slowly, rhythmically:
RED CROSS MAN
Hay heridas o muertes aqui? Hay
heridas o muertes aqui?
(Are there wounded or
We see a woman drag a body out into the street. The Red Cross
man makes small stacks of bodies. He douses the bodies with
gasoline and sets the pile aflame. Then continues.
RED CROSS MAN
Hay heridas o muertes aqui?
Price watches. He thinks he hears something, then dismisses
it. Something else. A voice, almost a whisper.
Price. You motherfucker, Price, I'm
talking to you.
He turns. One of the bodies speaks.
Where are those bastards... are they
Price looks out -- the Sandinistas are on the other side of
the roof. This war gets stranger.
A body rolls out from under another body. Blood-splattered,
smiling, wiping the blood from his face. It is Oates, the
mercenary from Africa. He peeks out the window -- the
Sandinistas are on the other side of the roof. He whispers.
What the fuck are you doing here?
What the fuck are you doing here?
For a moment they understand that they are there for the
same reason -- they make their livings off war. Oates peeks
out the window nervously and repeatedly.
Awright, awright -- you're lookin'
good... how ya like Nicaragua?
OATES readies his automatic weapon in case it's needed --
routine. Price doesn't know how to answer.
Oates laughs quickly and softly -- he is tuned into the
strangeness of Price's answer.
Shitload o' greasers though, eh?
P.O.V. THE SANDINISTAS HEADING BACK TOWARD US
OATES AND PRICE SEE THEM, and Oates crawls back under the
pile of bodies.
THE SANDINISTAS LOOK INTO THE BELLTOWER, all looks quiet,
and they motion to Price.
It's getting late -- come on.
EXT. THE FRONT OF THE CATHEDRAL - DUSK
The Three Sandinistas, Pedro, and Price are hiding in the
shadows of the main church entrance. The Sandinistas are
carefully peeking around the corner, checking out the plaza.
It seems safe. The door opens; the Priest lets Claire out.
For a moment she looks around to see who's still alive -- in
the shadows Price looks like one of the Guerrillas. They see
each other and embrace briefly.
The Sandinistas seem to relax. The Sandinistas take pride in
Pedro and pat his left arm for Price and Claire.
San-dee Koufax, no?
Es mejor que Koufax, eh?!
They seem to want approval from the Americans.
Much better than Koufax.
The Sandinistas slap hands, familiar with the American
gesture. The Six start walking across the plaza away from
the church. In the b.g. we see piles of bodies burning; the
Red Cross tends to the wounded locals. Spirits are high as
they walk. The tiny red light glows on Claire's recorder.
Koufax is okay... but Tippy Martinez,
he is the best... he pitches for the
Baltimore Orioles, and some day I
will be the second man from Nicaragua
to play in the major leagues...
(to Price and Claire)
Tippy Martinez had a good fastball,
but Pedro has a curveball and a
screwball that are better.
All five of them agree that Pedro is the best; they slap his
valued arm and relax for the first time all day.
You will give my autographed baseball
to Tippy and tell him in five years
I will be pitching with him, okay?
He better watch out for me, eh?
EXT. ROOFTOP OF THE CATHEDRAL - DUSK
OATES CHECKS THE CLIP ON HIS RIFLE and looks down into the
OATES P.O.V. TO THE SIX WALKING AWAY He doesn't smile or
joke -- it's all business.
He aims the rifle.
EXT. THE PLAZA - DUSK
It's too dangerous to return to
Managua at night. You should stay at
the house of hammocks.
Gracias. Can they get into trouble
for keeping us?
No, no... you are not combatants.
(would rather talk
The Baltimore team is my team...
A SHOT RINGS OUT, AND PEDRO'S CHEST EXPLODES in front of us.
Sudden panic, rage, confusion -- the Sandinistas whirl and
scan the building.
P.O.V. OATES RACING ACROSS THE CATHEDRAL ROOFTOP into the
PRICE GRABS PEDRO'S GUN AND WHIRLS to face the church; his
action is instinctive, angry, and electric with energy.
CLAIRE GRABS PEDRO'S ARM AND DRAGS THE BODY to safety, though
there is no safety and the body is lifeless. Her actions are
protective and automatic.
THE SANDINISTAS TAKE CONTROL OF THE SITUATION and move
quickly. Two of them fan out to cover the escape. Price
screams in the direction of Oates,
Claire drags the body near a bench under a tree.
What about him?!
The Sandinistas survey the cathedral and streets carefully,
warily, upset at their nonchalance. They know the sniper is
disappearing into the night, but they continue to look.
I will talk to Pedro's mother. You
must go to the house of the hammocks
if you want to be safe.
The Three Sandinistas fan out toward the church as it gets
PRICE AND CLAIRE STAND NEXT TO PEDRO, feeling helpless and
ineffective. They both look at the body. Price realizes he's
holding Pedro's gun and places it down next to the body.
Price notices the tiny red light is still glowing on her
tape recorder. He points it out to Claire. She turns it off.
INT. THE HOUSE OF HAMMOCKS - NIGHT
IN A NEARLY DARK ROOM full of hanging hammocks, Claire sits
on the floor lit by a low wattage bulb hanging from a cord.
In another room through a door Price can be seen with a family
in the hammock workshop. Claire talks softly into her
Hello sweetheart, this is your mother.
I'm in Leon and I miss you. Don't
worry about me -- it's not dangerous
at all. I guess you can't believe
what you hear on the news. I'll put
this this tape in the mail when I
get back to Managua, but knowing
what the mail service is like, I may
be home before it arrives. I think
about you all the time and hope I
can make it back before you graduate
from Jr. High.
As she speaks Price bids the family farewell and comes into
the room with Claire where he lies down in a hammock.
I love you and I'll finish this letter
when I get back to the hotel.
Claire lies down on a mat, exhausted, after turning out the
light. Several moments pass before Price speaks.
I know who shot Pedro. I knew somebody
was in the tower.
Why didn't you tell the guerrillas?
I don't know... then they would've
killed him I guess. I didn't want to
It wasn't an easy choice.
I think I made the wrong one.
You didn't take any pictures when it
I picked up a gun. Jesus.
Is something happening to us?
Silence. They lie for a long time in the dark. A light in
the house is turned off. Finally:
Are you asleep?
Price gets out of the hammock and lies down next to her.
They don't speak. They kiss. She unbuttons his shirt. He
unbuttons her blouse. They undress just enough to begin making
love softly, quietly.
INT. PRICE AND CLAIRE'S ROOM - DAWN
The first light of dawn strikes Claire's bare torso.
PRICE'S LIGHT METER APPEARS AT HER BACK Price takes a reading,
then moves the meter to her neck, another reading. He moves
it down her nude body lit beautifully in the vague light,
partially covered with a blanket.
He scurries across the room, stark naked, with a camera.
Price begins photographing her.
He moves back to her and gently removes the blanket from the
rest of her body. His actions are quiet and easy. He stops
frequently to admire her.
Claire lies sleeping nude, except for her socks. Price moves
around the room -- picture, picture, picture.
CLAIRE WAKES UP SLOWLY and pulls the blanket back over her.
She opens her eyes and sees Price sitting in a chair several
feet away with his camera.
What are you doing?
You look beautiful.
She realizes what he's been doing.
How long have you been doing this?
'Bout ten frames. Wait'll you see
the pictures -- you look great.
Her sense of violation is balanced by this notion. For a
moment we sense her attitude can go either way -- outrage or
some sense of being flattered, however ill conceived. She
chooses the latter.
I'll bet I look great -- give me the
After they're printed.
I'll develop them myself -- give it
to me or I'll start taping what you
say in your sleep.
Price hands her the film and climbs back under the blanket
I talk in my sleep?
Girl's names and F-stops. Terrible.
They curl up together, holding onto each other. A small child
crosses the courtyard, peeking at them. A rooster crows.
Call the office. I don't want to go
to work today.
The peacefulness is shaken by the roar of an engine close
A HELICOPTER GUNSHIP PASSES OVER THE COURTYARD They look up,
jolted out of the moment. The war is back.
EXT. THE OUTSKIRTS OF LEON - MORNING
Price's rental car is a smoking wreck. He and Claire arrive
and she removes a single, feeble white flag that remains.
They study the car briefly and then turn as:
A GUARDIA TROOP CARRIER LUMBERS past with a truckload of
refugees behind. They wave the flag and catch a ride with
INT. FIFTH FLOOR OF INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL - DAY
Alex comes out a door chatting with somebody, and passes a
mini-cam crew, old friends.
How was Matagalpa?
MINI-CAM CREW #1
No bang-bang, Alex... none at all.
You find anything?
MINI-CAM CREW #2
Half the press corps.
A small laugh. They continue on. Alex enters Claire's room.
INT. CLAIRE'S ROOM
Alex enters. Nobody there. As he turns to leave he sees some
pictures in a stack of papers on her desk. He picks one up.
CLOSE UP: A PICTURE OF CLAIRE SLEEPING IN LEON It's all over
and he knows it. He stares at, even admires, the image. He
puts it down and turns to leave as:
How was Leon?
Yeah... I'll bet... Claire...
Alex finally acknowledges that it is over with Claire, but
refuses to say it directly.
I'm tired of Nicaragua.
You haven't been here very long.
Long enough, lets face it, you were
right... everybody was right.
My cheekbones. What do you think of
I like your cheekbones. Alex, are
you all right?
This is a face made for television.
You decided to go with the network.
Alex nods, then seems to hit the end of his own resilience
and gets vitriolic.
Is he a good fuck?
In a simple monologue Alex goes from outrage to acknowledgment
of what he already knew.
That's a reasonable question for a
reporter to ask, isn't it?!
I shoulda never come down here, eh?
This is the way it's going to be.
I'll make a shitload of money in
television for just sitting there.
I'm gonna show up to work at
Rockefeller Center every morning and
they're gonna hand me the news with
my coffee and toast.
I shoulda never come down here, eh?
This war down here belongs to you
guys, okay? I'm on tommorrow's plane.
You want to take me to the airport?
(beat -- resigned)
I shoulda never come down here.
EXT. THE MANAGUA AIRPORT - NEXT DAY
A cab pulls up. Soldiers stand around everywhere. Price,
Claire, Alex, and the Cabbie get out. The cabbie takes his
Take this to check in. I'll be right
Price pulls a bottle of wine from his camera bag and sets
three styrofoam cups on the cab roof. He hands the cork to
Alex and shows him the label.
Sniff this sucker, eh?
Alex does, and looks at the label.
Jesus, where'd you get this?
They toast and drink.
Hey -- I'll leave you guys alone,
No, no, don't be ridiculous.
We're grownups, Russell...
Most of us.
Awkward smile from Price.
You two wanta happy snap?
Price makes the motion of taking a picture. They look at him
with affection, yet astounded again by his inappropriateness.
No happy snaps.
I'll just... be over here.
He wanders away from the car to give them a moment alone,
and as he does he pulls the light meter from his pocket,
flipping it on and off nervously without looking at it. He
wanders idly toward a Guardia soldier. The soldier gets
You're sure about him?
For the moment.
Alex considers this -- he understands (whether he wants to
THE SOLDIER COMES FACE-TO-FACE with PRICE, WHO BACKS OFF
I'm a personal friend of Tacho's.
The soldier stops at Tacho's name. Price turns.
P.O.V. ALEX AND CLAIRE KISSING GOODBYE
PRICE TURNS AGAIN, embarrassed, faces the soldier.
Don't look, huh?
The soldier, confused, turns away, and as he does:
ALEX SLAPS PRICE ON THE SHOULDER, AND THEY TOO EMBRACE
Don't get hurt.
Ahh, I'm a chicken, don't worry.
Alex, listen to me...
Within a year you're gonna be one of
the "Ten Most Admired Men in America."
Alex is amused, Price is serious. The cabbie comes out and
Alex heads into the airport.
EXT. SOMOZA'S COMPOUND - A PRESS LUNCHEON - DAY
Daisy and her combo from the Viking Club perform "The Girl
From Ipanema" as ONE HUNDRED PRESS MEMBERS and V.I.P.'s sit
at long tables in the garden. The pleasantness of the
surroundings is countered by the presence of dozens of
SOLDIERS in the background, guarding the house, etc. Visible
at the head table are: TWO GENERALS AND THEIR WIVES, MRS.
SOMOZA, TWO WEALTHY BUSINESSMEN, MISS PANAMA IN A FLOPPY
HAT. Elsewhere mingling are: JAZY, ISELA, PRICE, REGIS. An
elaborate array of food sits on the table.
INT. SOMOZA'S HOUSE - DAY
Overlooking the gathering from his private living room, Somoza
grants Claire her interview. He close the window to muffle
You're late to your own luncheon,
Mr. President -- we can schedule
this for another time.
Nonsense -- let them wait. We are a
stunning couple, eh? My stomach is
very flat -- I've been working out.
We are a stunning couple. Mr.
President, you own one fifth of all
the land in Nicaragua, you own the
shipping port, the national airlines,
the Mercedes dealership...
I am on a salt free diet...
He takes her hand and leads her to two large portraits hanging
on a wall -- his parents.
Do you always hold hands with
This is my mother and father. They
were very special to me. Every Sunday
morning I drive out to the cemetery
and put flowers on their grave. I
think people should know that.
Would you care to comment on the
fall of Leon to the rebels?
Somoza just smiles unaffected by her questions; she knows
the game is undaunted.
EXT. THE LUNCHEON TABLES - DAY
Hub Kittle is bending Price's ear in the crowd. Price seems
ammused and watches the anthem contest as he munches food.
Listen, Russell, let's grow up. It's
very easy to fall in love with the
underdog, eh? But there's an upside
and downside to this thing -- just
wanta remind you... this stuff about
a "Revolution of Poets" is crap.
But it's great P.R. So what's the
Simple. And it could happen. Somoza
destroys the terrorist insurgents,
rebuilds the country, shitcans the
purveyors of excess, stabilizes the
cordoba, and is finally beloved as
the savior of Nicaragua.
Our pal. Got a smoke?
Price gives him a cigaret.
What's the downside?
The Commies take over the world.
It's simple, and Hub is pleased with his presentation. A
SOLDIER moves through the crowd looking quite out of place,
finds Hub and hands him a note. Hub reads it, seems delighted,
and excuses himself from the table.
Excuse me, gentlemen, but the war
may be over.
Price and Regis look at each other strangely -- what's he
talking about? They shrug, Regis bites into a papaya, and
Hub hurries inside. Price and Regis watch the singer.
INT. SECOND FLOOR OF SOMOZA'S HOUSE - DAY
My people love me. My stomach is
flat. Did I say that already? No
matter. It is flat.
There are reports that the Guardia
operates a torture chamber at
Somoza ignores the question and reopens the window, flooding
the room with the Tony Bennett classic.
I like this song.
Since the earthquake in 1972 destroyed
half of Managua, over three hundred
million dollars in foreign relief
aid have poured into the country,
yet nothing has been re-built. It is
said that the money has gone into
I love the press, I really do. Some
of my best friends are journalists.
Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, and
Panama are reportedly on the verge
of breaking off diplomatic relations
with your regime. Would you comment?
HUB KITTLE AND AN OFFICER BURST INTO THE ROOM interrupting
the interview. Something has happened. Somoza initially lashes
out at them -- the first time we've seen him lose his cool --
I am busy! Get out of here at once
or I'll put my foot up your ass!
The OFFICER seems familiar with these tirades and grabs Somoza
by the arm, whispering into his ear. Somoza seems delighted
with the news and turns to Hub for confirmation. Hub nods.
I'm sorry to have to conclude this
most pleasant encounter, but something
As Somoza leaves the room with the Officer and Hub, Hub turns
to Claire to squeeze in one final P.R. stroke.
Did he tell you about his parents in
the graveyard, the flowers and all
Claire is left alone momentarily in Somoza's room. A soldier
enters and accompanies her outside to the luncheon.
EXT. THE LUNCHEON - DAY
As Claire comes outside, there is a flurry of activity at
the head table. TWO OFFICERS hastily set up an easel with a
large military-topographical map of Nicaragua. A SOLDIER
takes the microphone from the Singers -- the music grinds to
an inglorious halt -- and carries it to the head table.
Price spots Claire and makes a "What's all this about?"
motion. Claire holds out her palms and shrugs -- she doesn't
know. All attention is quickly focused on the head table,
PRESIDENT SOMOZA MAKES A GRAND ENTRANCE FLANKED by Hub Kittle
and an Officer. He seems suddenly in unusually good spirits.
Hub taps the mike -- it works -- he motions for Somoza to
My friends... this gathering was not
intended to be a press conference as
much as a... "get-together"... but I
have just been handed a piece of
Somoza plays the moment with theatrical elan.
Rafael is dead.
He has been killed in an ambush in
the Cordillera mountains of the
Somoza points to a spot on the map as do his Officer.
THE PRESS TABLE IS SHAKEN FROM ITS NONCHALANCE and several
journalists immediately leap to their feet to question him.
Mr. President! Mr. President!
Please my friends -- no questions. A
press release is being prepared.
Somoza hands the mike to an aide who returns it to the music
stand. Almost immediately the music begins again.
AT THE PRESS TABLE there is some confusion over the
announcement. Some journalists hurry off to file the story,
others just sit. Price seems alarmed by the announcement,
confused. Slightly wired, he listens to Regis and OTHER
JOURNALIST discuss it.
They got Rafael? You believe that?
Every six months Tacho gives this
speech -- maybe they finally lucked
CLAIRE TRIES TO CORNER HUB KITTLE who is heading back inside.
Hub disappears inside, Claire pressing after him.
JAZY APPROACHES PRICE and leans in as if sharing a confidence.
IN the b.g. the luncheon is breaking up.
Russell, excuse me... but I've just
been put in a rather embarrassing
Mrs. Somoza would like her picture
taken with Miss Panama. In color?
Price throws his camera bag over his shoulder, pulls out a
camera, and follows Jazy. They walk toward the head table.
How the hell could Tacho find Rafael.
Russell, please... I have my hands
Mrs. Somoza and Miss Panama are waiting as Price and Jazy
arrive. Price is automatically switching camera lenses, but
he continues to grill Jazy.
Tacho, Tacho... venga, por favor!
Price and Jazy exchange glances as Somoza reluctantly joins
SOMOZA POSES WITH HIS WIFE AND HIS MISTRESS ON EACH ARM as
Price flashes a light meter under their noses, then backs
off to take the picture.
Is Tacho lying again? They did kill
him, didn't they?
Price takes a picture, Somoza wants to leave and Jazy would
just as soon have this awkward moment over with, but:
One more, please! Una mas, por favor?
Reluctantly they pose again, and Price grills Jazy who is
We help each other, right? Could you
move your girlfriend into the sun...
Jazy moves Miss Panama slightly, returning to Price.
What do you need?
Is Rafael alive or dead?
I don't know.
(to the posers)
Just one more -- thank you.
I thought you knew everything?
As Somoza holds an interminable pose, Jazy launches into a
speech, keeping his voice low enough so Tacho cannot hear.
What do I know, eh? Tacho needs a
victory very badly... he needs to
prove to Jimmy Carter that he is
still winning. He thinks Rafael's
death is the proof he needs.
Carter don't need proof. He just
sent twenty-five million in new arms
I'm sorry... almost got it here.
No, no... the arms shipment has been
delayed in New Orleans because Jimmy
is getting nervous.
The State Department's gonna pull
the plug on Tacho?! Pardon my French --
but whose fucking side are you on?
Jazy and Price motion for the posers to move a step over.
...I work for everybody. If there is
a transition of power, I facilitate
a relationship with the new people.
If there is not, I facilitate the
Either way, I facilitate.
I send messages to Jimmy and I tell
him that the Revolution is a flood
that cannot be stopped but it can be
controlled... nobody listens... I
can't even get a little water in my
Rough ain't it. Thank you everybody,
Price smiles to Somoza, Mrs. Somoza, and Miss Panama. Somoza
hurries off from his uncomfortable position at last.
I don't think Rafael is dead. I'm
gonna find him.
They say he's very handsome.
It would make a wonderful picture,
The two men share a smile.
EXT. THE ROAD TO MATAGLAPA - EARLY MORNING
A rental station wagon covered with press flags races along.
Inside the car are the British crew -- Regis drives -- and
Price and Claire.
EXT. MATAGALPA - DAY
A city of about 50,000 located on the side of a hill. The
car pulls slowly into the base of the town into a clearing
with assorted vehicles -- Red Cross, La Guardia, Press. The
car moves slowly as its occupants survey the town, until it
pulls alongside a Red Cross truck that has broken down. Price
sticks his head out the window to ask instructions of a R.C.
Con permiso -- who controls what
RED CROSS WORKER
The Sandinistas hold the hills, the
Guardia has everything else.
How do we find the guerillas?
RED CROSS WORKER
Va alli, dos o tres cuartos, doble
la esquina al francotirador.
What'd he say?
Go two or three blocks and turn right
at the sniper.
Regis and his crew don't like this at all. Price points.
P.O.V. A TOWER FULL OF GUARDIA SNIPERS
You can drop us off.
MAIN ROAD INTO MATAGALPA
A gradual uphill grade -- the press car moves slowly. Guardia
are on both sides of the street, as the car stops at the
corner, directly beneath the sniper tower. They all look up.
P.O.V. THE SNIPERS LOOKING BACK DOWN AT THEM
THE CAR SLOWLY TURNS LEFT
We're not looking for the guerillas.
Then let us out.
The car stops, the door opens, and:
A WALL NEARBY IS RIDDLED WITH BULLET HOLES AS THEY CLIMB
OUT, so they climb back in quickly.
P.O.V. A SOLDIER HOLDS OUT HIS ARMS AS IF TO SAY, "accident."
The soldier seems sincere, but they don't want to take a
Go one more block.
THE CAR MOVES DEEPER INTO MATAGALPA, gradually moving among
tanquettas patrolling the streets, coming to a barricade
which they manuever past as Guardia soldiers look at them
strangely. The car turns around -- it has come too far.
A GUARDIA OFFICER SIGNALS FOR THEM TO GET OUT but the idea
doesn't appeal to Regis and he whirls around, panicking
slightly, and heads off in the other direction.
He just wanted to see credentials,
for crissakes, what're doing?
You want to drive?
We want out!
THE BARRICADE OFFICER SPEAKS IN A WALKIE TALKIE to a squadron
leader a couple of blocks away as the car approaches.
THE SECOND OFFICER WHISTLES FOR THE CAR TO STOP but it speeds
THE OFFICER FIRES A PISTOL SHOT AT THE CAR SHATTERING THE
INSIDE THE CAR -- VISION IS BADLY IMPAIRED BY THE SHATTERED
GLASS and Regis panics, hitting the floorboard and the car
suddenly screeches around a corner, racing through Matagalpa.
The car squeals around corner after corner blindly, into:
A GUARDIA BARRICADE AS A FUSILADE OF SMALL ARMS FIRE RINGS
OUT The windshield is totally destroyed now, and:
THE OCCUPANTS OF THE CAR CROUCH LOW as the car races. Price
and Claire scream at Regis to stop, but it's too late.
THE CAR SCREECHES INTO REVERSE as Regis tries to see out the
back window and Price, out of necessity operates the foot
pedal with his hand. The car smokes into an intersection and
AN OPEN BLOCK AHEAD -- no Guardia are visible, so the car
races down the open block and as it comes to an intersection:
A SHERMAN TANK COMES AROUND THE CORNER FACING US
Several times larger than a tanquetta -- it dwarfs us and
everything around it. Its giant gun faces us head on.
THE PRESS CAR SCREECHES TO A HALT, and everyone scrambles
Periodista, periodista, periodista!
The mini-cam equipment is dropped as the British crew
scrambles to safety against a building. Price and Claire end
up on opposite sides of the street.
Silence -- the huge and silent tank is deciding what to do.
THE TURRET SWINGS SEVERAL DEGREES TO ONE SIDE and lowers as
the scattered journalists freeze.
A THUNDEROUS ROAR -- THE TANK DESTROYS THE CAMERA EQUIPMENT
leaving a huge crater and not a trace of the expensive qear.
CLAIRE STARTS LAUGHING, FRIGHTENED, nervous and amused.
PRICE TAKES PICTURES
A WOMAN THROWS A CONTACT BOMB FROM A WINDOW AT THE TANK The
tiny bomb makes a pitiful explosion, hopelessly ineffective.
THE TANK SWINGS ITS TURRET TOWARD THE HOUSE AND OPENS FIRE
and the wall of the house crumbles quickly as a family
scrambles to the rooftop of a neighboring house. Their house
is destroyed in a second.
LA GUARDIA TROOPS APPEAR AND BEGIN FIRING TOWARDS Claire and
Price, who turn to see:
SANDINISTA ARMY REGULARS RUNNING DOWN THE HILL alongside the
homemade local guerillas. This is the first time we've seen
the F.S.L.N. regular army in their camouflaged khaki dress.
THE GUARD TAKES A POSITION TO FIGHT IT OUT and Claire and
Price are caught in a cross-fire, pinned to walls on each
PRICE PUSHES THROUGH A DOOR TO SAFETY and looks back:
CLAIRE IS TRAPPED OUTSIDE pounding on a door that doesn't
open. She tries another -- no luck. She curls up in a doorway
making herself as small as possible as bullets rip the wall
AT THE TOP OF THE HILL, AN OLD BUS MOVES SLOWLY INTO THE
Several youthful guerillas are pushing it.
THE BUS COMES FLYING DOWN THE HILL TOWARD THE TANK Several
hundred feet away, it gathers speed toward us.
INT. THE SPEEDING BUS
A YOUTH at the wheel props a board under the steering wheel
and races to the back as ANOTHER YOUTH opens the door as the
bus races past Claire toward the tank.
THE TWO YOUTHS LEAP OUT THE BACK DOOR where they tumble into
the dirt just before:
THE BUS SMASHES INTO THE TANK AND EXPLODES
GUARDIA SOLDIERS SHOOT THE TWO YOUTHS before they get away,
GUERILLAS APPEAR ON EVERY ROOFTOP opening heavy fire on La
GUARDIA TROOPS RETREAT QUICKLY ON FOOT AND IN TANQUETTAS
THE SHERMAN TANK TRIES TO DISLODGE ITSELF FROM THE BUS but
cannot, and drags the bus with it as it backs down the hill.
PRICE RUNS OUT TO CLAIRE and huddles with her. She is shaken
SANDINISTAS ARE EVERYWHERE, moving into Matagalpa as Price
and Claire move past several bodies to higher ground.
SANDINISTA BARRICADES ARE ON EVERY CORNER where women serve
food to their men. Claire and Price wander through,
momentarily disoriented. A small boy runs through the street
kicking a soccer ball, occasionally avoiding a body. He runs
right up to them and speaks.
They follow him up a hill.
EXT. MIDDLE-CLASS HOUSE OVERLOOKING THE CITY - DAY
THE NEIGHBORHOOD IS TOTALLY SANDINISTA and several guerillas
are at the door. The boy speaks to one of the guards, and
they are admitted.
INT. THE HOUSE - DAY
THEY ARE SEARCHED IMMEDIATELY, asked to put down their gear,
asked for credentials, and led down the hallway of a house
that is very American middle class.
ANOTHER SOLDIER WITH RIFLE detains them momentarily before
showing them into a room used as a Revolutionary Command
ISELA STANDS IN MILITARY FATIGUES talking to her Sandinista
colleagues. Clearly she commands respect and makes decisions.
She finishes and turns to Claire and Price in a very
businesslike way, never acknowledging directly that they
have met before.
You are looking for Rafael?
They are somewhat taken aback at her directness and
Yeah. If it's possible.
Do you know why we're here... exactly?
Mr. Price doesn't do anything before
announcing it first in the bar.
It's a good story. You'll be more
EXT. A MOUNTAIN ROAD - LATER - DAY
An old truck chugs up a series of cutbacks through rough
terrain. The truck has no hood, and a BOY sits on the fender
pouring oil from a series of Folgers cans into a funnel stuck
permanently into the engine. Underneath, dangling cans catch
the oil as it flows through. Price, Claire and FOUR ARMED
SANDINISTAS sit in the back. ISELA rides in front.
THE TRUCK PASSES THROUGH A FRIENDLY GUERILLA ROADBLOCK
EXT. TOBACCO FIELDS IN REMOTE TERRAIN - DAY
ISELA, CLAIRE, PRICE AND THE FOUR HIKE into increasingly
EXT. RAFAEL'S CAMP - DUSK
Heavily guarded but very mobile, the camp consists of perhaps
100 Soldiers, women preparing food, several tents. Price and
Claire attract attention as they enter.
PRICE STOPS AND LOOKS AROUND THE CAMP CLOSELY seeming to
take it all in. He's been in many similar camps, countries,
P.O.V. TWO SOLDIERS GUARDING THE ENTRANCE TO ONE TENT
Price doesn't answer but continues taking it all in, and
ISELA shouts to them to continue.
THEY CONTINUE INTO THE CAMP, BUT PRICE STOPS AGAIN Something
has caught him, his sixth sense, a feeling -- he refuses to
walk further for the moment. No glibness, just coolness.
What is it?
Price looks around, speaks quietly.
Rafael is dead.
Claire looks around quickly. There is no evidence to her.
I can smell it.
I don't know.
Venga por favor! Alli!
They continue into the camp -- now Claire looks around
nervously. Price mutters a half laugh, softly and strangely,
as they are led to a makeshift table and offered food. In
the b.g. Isela enters one of the tents.
PRICE AND CLAIRE SIT DOWN TO EAT and Price continues scanning
the camp as they talk.
What're you talking about?
He's dead. I know it.
Then why did they bring us all the
way here to see him?
He doesn't know.
P.O.V. FOUR FIGURES/CONFERRING IN FRONT OF A TENT Isela
emerges and joins them. The others are: THE PRIEST FROM LEON,
A BUSINESSMAN WHOM WE SHOULD RECOGNIZE FROM EARLIER SCENES,
AND COMMANDANTE CINCO, dressed in camouflaged khaki.
ISELA WALKS OVER TO CLAIRE AND PRICE after talking with the
others. She brings COMMANDANTE CINCO with her. They sit down.
This is Commandante Cinco.
They all shake hands.
Isela begins at once.
Today we took Matagalpa. Leon is
about to fall, and Masaya. And next
week we could be in Managua but it
is still possible to lose.
In the last days of our final
offensive the people of Nicaragua
must know that Rafael is alive and
Queremos un fotografia.
We need a photograph.
Come with us.
THEY ALL RISE AND HEAD TOWARDS RAFAEL'S TENT
INT. RAFAEL'S TENT
The tent is filled with Sandinista officers and soldiers
standing and sitting around.
RAFAEL'S BODY LIES ON A TABLE The shirtless upper torso
propped slightly upright, still wearing glasses, the figure
of Rafael is distinctly non-heroic. He is slightly overweight,
slightly balding, but as he lies there surrounded by his
men, the the glow of lanterns, he looks almost alive.
Price and Claire look at each other.
Usted es un fotografo magnifico.
Queremos que vive.
(You are a great
Price laughs -- the request is ridiculous.
Why is he laughing?
Cinco steps forward -- his presence commands attention. His
delivery is forceful but not emotional. As he begins to speak,
Price stops laughing.
We have momentum, but many more lives
will be lost. Even Washington is
starting to admit that the butcher
Somoza is not loved by his people.
They have detained twenty-five million
dollars in new arms shipments for
Somoza at an airfield in Florida
until they find out if Rafael is
alive or dead. We know about these
He pauses briefly.
If Washington thinks Rafael is dead,
they will ship the arms to Somoza.
Do you understand.
Commandante... Soy un periodista.
CINCO attacks that defense with new vigor.
This has nothing to do with journalism --
there is more to the world than
journalism. We are going to end this
war with you or without you.
People don't really believe in Rafael --
they believe in the idea of Rafael,
no? Because for now the idea of Rafael
is enough for the people of Nicaragua.
When the war is over -- none of this
PRICE hesitates, his manner devoid of its usual cockiness.
I don't do things... like this.
Enough lives have been lost already.
(beat of empathy)
It's difficult, I know -- but you
must do it.
COMMANDANTE CINCO PLACES AN ARM ON PRICE'S SHOULDER and speaks
in broken English.
In the morning, eh? When there's
INT. PRICE AND CLAIRE'S TENT - LATER THAT NIGHT
Price lies on his back on a table. Claire sits in a chair, a
lantern is on the table. His reclining body is not unlike
Rafael's. He plays with a camera without looking at it,
turning it slowly, removing and replacing a lens. He's never
been this calm, this unmoving.
Claire, however, moves around the tent like a caged animal --
like Price normally is. She smokes. She's nervous and wired.
I spend my whole life separating how
I feel from how I think and what I
see from what I say -- that's called
journalism, isn't it?
He nods slightly.
It's disciplined. It civilized. It
involves distinctions. I'm great at
distinctions. I wish I wasn't so
good at them. Sometimes I envy you --
you don't make any -- it's very
The only time I don't worry about
all those things is when I'm with my
Or when you're in bed.
(beat -- changes
My job is to find a story, then tell
a story -- whatever it is -- because
I believe that if enough people hear
enough stories then somehow, through
information alone, we all have a
better chance to survive.
I believe in information.
That's a very romantic streak I have
running through me -- maybe it's a
weakness. Information is good --
lack of information is bad. Simple,
Not so simple.
You're God damn right it's not.
You take that picture you'll take it
for all the right reasons -- I
I'm not gonna take it.
He fiddles with the cameras.
That's fine for you. But do I go
back and say I interviewed Rafael?
Do I go back and say I missed the
biggest story of the war? Or do I
say Rafael was stone cold dead --
that's the information, isn't it? Or
do I say he entertained us all in
his inimitably charismatic manner
around the ol' revolutionary campfire?
Can we throw up our arms and say we
fell in love with the querillas
because their cause was...
Journalists don't fall in love.
Which story do you want me to tell?
Do what you want to do.
Christ, what the fuck are we doing
I want to be here.
What do you want.
I want this war to end.
I'm not going to tell the world that
Rafael is dead.
Silence. Claire lies down on the cot. Exhausted but high.
Price gets off the table and goes to her.
I love you.
I think I love you.
Don't think so much.
He gets on the cot with her. They kiss deeply, passionately,
and begin making love.
EXT. THE CAMP - FIRST LIGHT OF DAWN
THE CAMP IS COMING TO LIFE as the flap opens on Price's tent
and he looks out. He raises his camera and starts taking
A WOMAN COOKING OVER A FIRE AS A BUSINESSMAN LOOKS ON, a
face we recognize from earlier in Managua -- FREEZE FRAME
THREE YOUNG GUERRILLAS PLAYING WITH A DOG -- FREEZE FRAME
THE PRIEST FROM LEON DRINKING FROM A GOURD -- FREEZE FRAME
TWO CHILDREN PLAYING WITH HANDMADE TOYS -- FREEZE FRAME
ISELA COMING OUT OF ANOTHER TENT -- FREEZE FRAME
PRICE RISES AND LOOKS AROUND THE CAMP, wandering over to a
large can where he drinks some water.
CLAIRE EMERGES FROM THE TENT and watches Price head over to
a shaded area with his cameras.
CLAIRE'S P.O.V. OF PRICE AS HE MOVES THROUGH A GROUP OF
SANDINISTAS GATHERED AROUND A TABLE
Their backs are toward us as he adjusts seating positions
and rearranges items that have been provided for the table.
He takes a light reading and moves quickly into position.
Price raises his camera.
PRICE'S P.O.V. OF A TABLEAU OF RAFAEL, CINCO, AND SOLDIERS
They sit at a table studying a map, a copy of La Prensa is
displayed -- the headlines declare that RAFAEL IS DEAD and
featuring a photo of Somoza at the luncheon as he points to
a map of the country. For an instant Rafael looks alive --
EXT. THE ROAD BLOCK TO MANAGUA - LATER
Price and Claire are sitting on top of a Red Cross truck as
it heads through Sebaco. Soldiers from La Guardia are
everywhere. As the truck moves through the village, something
catches Price's eyes:
OATES STANDS AGAINST A WALL IN COMMAND OF A SQUADRON Two
whores and several troops sit against a wall. As the truck
passes, Oates waves casually, with emotion.
INT. PRICE'S HOTEL BATHROOM IN MANAGUA - DAY
Red light in the bathroom as Price pulls several photo prints
from the bath and plasters them wet against the mirror.
PHOTO OF RAFAEL IN THE CAMP, and he looks very much alive.
He pulls more shots from the bath: THE PRIEST FROM LEON, THE
BUSINESSMAN, COMMANDANTE CINCO AND ISELA. He dries them off
and hides them with their negatives under a pile of equipment.
He picks up the shot of Rafael and leaves.
EXT. SOMEWHERE IN MANAGUA
A group of muchachos in masks, baseball caps, and bandanas
race through the streets carrying a photo blow-up of Rafael.
INT. JAZY'S HOUSE
The newspaper headline sits on Jazy's desk as Jazy studies
it unemotionally. We hear Miss Panama's voice:
He spins on his chair as she glides in modeling a new dress.
She spins magically for him -- he blows her a kiss.
EXT. LUSH RIVER VALLEY OF NICARAGUA - DAY
A small private plane flies through a canyon, dwarfed by the
spectacular landscape. Hub Kittle works the room.
INT. THE PLANE - DAY
Two MASKED GUERILLAS hold a gun to the head of a pilot. A
large sack is crammed into the tiny compartment with them.
EXT. A SMALL MOUNTAIN TOWN IN NICARAGUA - DAY
The plane flies in low over the town and suddenly:
THE SKY IS FILLED WITH LEAFLETS that flutter to the ground.
Townspeople, bewildered at first, pick up the papers to see:
CLOSE UP -- PRICE'S PHOTOGRAPH OF RAFAEL ALIVE
LOCAL RESIDENTS RAISE THEIR FISTS IN SALUTE to the plane as
it disappears into the mountains.
EXT. THE ROOFTOP GARDEN OF THE INTERCONTINENTAL - DAY
Journalists are gathered to watch the fighting which is now
on the outskirts of Managua. Price stands to the side casually
taking pictures of Journalists taking pictures of the war.
Hub Kittle floats around providing drinks and P.R.
P.O.V. A PUSH-PULL AIRPLANE MAKES BOMBING PASSES on the
capitol. Columns of smoke rise throughout the city.
REGIS MOVES HIS MINI-CAM CREW INTO POSITION AT THE RAIL
We got the smoke in frame?
(moves the camera
We got the smoke.
CLAIRE STANDS TO THE OTHER SIDE with binoculars watching.
She accepts a drink from Hub and speaks into her tape deck.
Under a steel gray July sky... start
again... under a gray steel Managuan
sky... scratch it... In an
extraordinary development in Managua,
President Anastazio Somoza has ordered
the Air Force to begin bombing his
own capitol, under a sky... fuck
She fires down the drink and puts down the mike. She picks
up the binoculars again and, glancing below, is shocked:
P.O.V. BELOW -- ALEX GETS OUT OF A CAB WITH HIS SUITCASES
He starts into the hotel, glances up, and they see each other.
Oh my God...
Price sees Alex at the same time. Alex waves to both of as
he heads into the hotel. Price and Claire look at each other.
Claire sits down at a table, stunned to see Alex. Price
commandeers a waiter and joins her with a fresh tray of
A Scotch, please...
Price joins her as other journalists jockey for position at
the railing. He is equally upset and confused.
What's he doing here?
I have no idea.
ALEX COMES THROUGH THE DOOR with a couple journalists, sees
Price and Claire and comes over to join them. A polite kiss
on Claire's cheek, a handshake for Price. A moment of
On what?! The Washington Post, the
Times, networks, wire services --
everybody's picked up the picture.
Well, yes... it's fabulous.
Why are you back?
I came back because of Russell.
Because of me?
Yeah... the whole fucking East Coast
is falling in love with Rafael --
they were sure he was dead this time.
Somebody wants to do a musical about
him and his mug's on every T-shirt
in Central Park.
Alex enjoys the lunatic mixture of politics and popular
I think he's bigger than Farrah
Claire and Price struggle to enjoy this supremely
uncomfortable moment. It's not easy to enter the game. Claire
attempts to change the subject.
You look good. Things're okay?
I'm happier in New York, sure, things
are great. You guys?
Terrific... now... I'm a little slow
here, Alex... what exactly did you
come back for?
No more games. Alex addresses Price with conviction.
It's a great story.
I want to talk to Rafael... and you're
the only man in the world that can
take me to him.
Price's and Claire's hearts sink. They look at each other.
Alex, despite his reluctance to return to Nicaragua, seems
genuinely enthused about the possible story. Before Price or
Claire respond, Hub Kittle notices Alex and comes over with
a tray of drinks, extending genuine greetings to the Senior
Alex! Couldn't stay away, eh?
The fresh round of drinks are put on the table. The sound of
bombs ripping the capitol are the only thing we hear.
INT. CLAIRE'S ROOM - NIGHT
Claire and Price now have adjoining rooms. She is staring
out the window as he comes in. The mood is strained.
We've got to tell Alex what happened.
I'll tell him. He deserves to know.
We don't owe him anything!
We owe him that!
He got you started in this business...
he covered for your missed deadlines
and made excuses for your
unprofessional attitude before the
world fell in love with your
Before kids fresh out of journalism
school were rushing off to any war
they could to interview bullets and
take pictures of bodies -- like Price!
He took care of you before you were
Silence. She's hitting home but he doesn't want to acknowledge
He wouldn't understand.
Before Nicaragua you wouldn't
understand. I'm not sure I exactly
What are we going to do?
There is something calculating in Price's tone, this is not
the fearless, boyish innocent anymore.
I'll take Alex to find Rafael --
we'll go to Sebaco on the road to
Matagalpa -- the Guardia heavily
control the area and they're scared
right now -- they'll never let us
through. We won't be able to get
near Rafael. Alex will understand --
and we'll turn around and drive back
without a story.
Claire is disturbed at this compounding of the lie.
That's a lie!
Tell me about lies!
Silence. They are co-conspirators and they know it.
I don't want to tell him either.
EXT. ROAD TO MATAGALPA - NEXT DAY
Price's white flagged newly rented press car streaks along,
overtaking an ox cart. A guardia convoy is going the opposite
direction, back toward Managua. Alex looks out of the car
with interest--he hasn't been to the front line for several
We may not be able to find him,
I've got supreme confidence in you.
A car is on fire by the side of the road. Price flies past;
Alex watches curiously. Several people stand around the car.
Claire looks good, eh?
Everybody looks good in the tropics.
Alex isn't sure how to respond to this curious reply.
Since I haven't been able to find
Isela since coming back, you're going
to have to translate for me -- what
the hell does that mean?
Price is nervous, wired, on edge.
Alex... I love her.
Alex takes this calmly -- it's not exactly new information.
And she 'thinks' she loves you.
It's past the thinking stage.
Alex looks at the passing scenery -- he's in no hurry.
I'd like to know something -- it
probably doesn't matter in the great
final scheme of things... but I'm
Did you ever lay a hand on her before
she left me?
That's the truth?
Alex -- we're friends!
There is something desperate in his voice.
EXT. A ROADBLOCK ON THE EDGE OF SEBACO - DAY
Price and Alex are ordered out of their car by a very
unfriendly Guardia soldier. He is ordered to put down his
camera bag. The hood and trunk are opened.
They are led to a shed by the roadside, A TIRE REPAIR SHOP,
where they sit down in an oily, dusty shack. They watch the
P.O.V. THE SOLDIERS TEARING UP THE RENTAL CAR, pulling off
door panels, looking for weapons.
I bet you go through a few rental
Don't worry. I put this in your name.
PRICE AND ALEX JERK TO LIFE at the sound of screaming in the
distance. A volley of gunfire follows. Price moves quickly
into an adjoining shed and looks through a crack in the wall:
P.O.V. AN EXECUTION SQUAD IN A FIELD as several bodies are
being hauled away. Two soldiers reload their guns. PAN to a
figure moving behind a wall -- OATES.
PRICE HURRIES THROUGH THE SHACKS TOWARD THE EXECUTION WALL
as Alex calls to him and hurries after -- Price is single-
minded. As he moves through the shacks we hear another volley
of fire, and Price bursts into a clearing to see:
TWO TRUCKS BEING LOADED WITH BODIES AS OATES SUPERVISES.
PRICE STEPS INTO THE CLEARING -- FACE-TO-FACE WITH OATES.
They look at each other for several beats before anyone
speaks. Oates is slightly embarrassed.
No pictures, eh? Might look bad.
Oates smiles half-way; Price looks around at the bodies.
You get paid by the body or by the
I get paid the same way you do. What
the fuck you doin' in Sebaco -- this
place's about to blow... ain't it?
You didn't have to nail Pedro.
Alex arrives and tries to pull Price back -- at the same
time he sees the bodies and is sickened at the sight.
Oh my God...
A body is carried through and loaded on a truck. Oates's
tone is one of explanation rather than defense, very matter-
There's a motherfucking war goin'
on, pal... lotta sad stories.
Price mumbles and wanders to the next truck a few feet away,
and as he sees it he stops short, speechless. He points:
THE BODIES OF THE PRIEST FROM LEON AND THE BUSINESSMAN,
figures we saw at Rafael's camp, sit in the back of the truck.
They are splattered with blood and lifeless. Price is shaken.
Why them? Why them?!
Oates has to look to see who he's talking about, and Price
loses his cool.
You're a cocksucker!
I don't suck no dick, man...
PRICE GRABS OATES AND PUSHES HIM BACKWARDS but Oates responds
like an animal. The two men go down in a heap and lash out
at each other in the dust. Their fighting is largely
ineffective, though very physical, until Oates asserts himself
and knocks Price against a wall, breaking free to pick up
his automatic rifle that he handles with one hand and shoves
it into Price's face.
I'd prefer not splattering your brains
in a dump like this -- I got
Guy wants to be a hero, pops, get
him outta here before he's a number.
Be a shitty little town to buy it
Who are you?
Russell, let's get outta here.
Guy's got a sense of humor, old man.
Got any dope? Tough place to find
Them? C'mere. You too.
He leads them under an awning nearby where a couple soldiers
sit. A small table, some weapons, two shallow boxes, food,
beer. Oates rummages around to find what he wants, and pulls
A HANDFUL OF PHOTOGRAPHS, mostly snapshots, odd sizes, with
names written on them. He sifts through them quickly and we
see an assortment of photographs of Nicaraguans. He finds
what he's looking for and holds up:
PRICE'S PHOTOGRAPH OF THE PRIEST AND THE BUSINESSMAN, the
picture taken in Rafael's camp, blown up, cropped, and
identified. The faces are circled.
If your mug shows up in this box...
and ya try to make it through
Sebaco... I owe yer ass.
This information hits Price in the gut, and he is seized
Who gives you the pictures?
What's this, an interview? I ain't
Price turns, he doesn't want to face it.
Off the record.
Off the record... some pachuco gives
'em to me. Ain't none of my business,
but I heard he gets 'em from a Frog.
Oates pulls another picture from a different box and holds
PHOTOGRAPH OF ISELA
Alex grabs Price and heads back toward the roadblock.
Whatya' expect? We're the ones gettin'
our butts kicked.
INT. THE CAR - DAY
Price hangs a U-turn at the roadblock and heads back to
Managua. He drives crazily.
Didn't you ship the film to New York?
I developed it in my room.
Jesus Christ, Alex?!
Silence. The car races.
It wasn't your fault if somebody
stole your stuff...
Alex doesn't force the issue, nor does he understand it
What about Rafael?
No answer -- the car races back to Managua. Alex stares at
Price trying to figure out what is wrong.
INT. PRICE'S ROOM AT THE INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL - LATER
A MAID IS CLEANING HIS ROOM which is the usual disaster.
Price enters, just returned, and quickly looks for his
negatives under the equipment where he had hidden them.
Algo no esta aqui. Fotografias.
(Something is not
Everything's always a mess here. You
should be neater.
The maid shrugs -- Price is crazy anyway, and:
CLAIRE WALKS INTO THE ROOM She too looks shaken. He looks
Commandante Cinco's body was just
found on the road to Matagalpa.
The maid starts crying. They look at her helplessly as she
sobs, 'Cinco, Cinco...'
EXT. STREETS OF MANAGUA - DAY
A cab takes them through the increasingly nervous city. La
Guardia troop trucks are everywhere -- things seem more
hurried. A hunting rifle sits in the cabbie's lap. They get
out and knock on Jazy's door.
GUARDIA SOLDIERS WATCH THEM FROM A DISTANCE, a development
that Price and Claire are aware of.
I don't think it's Jazy.
Still no answer.
Oates said it was a Frog. How many
Frenchmen you know around here? Jazy
ain't 'facilitating' shit.
Price is impatient. He looks around nervously -- the Guards
are out of view -- and he slides a knife into the latch,
jimmying the lock. The door opens slowly -- an alarm goes
Price and Claire duck inside quickly.
Price, momentarily comfortable with the danger, responds
quickly and finds the alarm wire running along the door jamb.
LA GUARDIA TROOPS NEARBY HEAR THE ALARM and head toward
INSIDE THE HOUSE PRICE FINDS THE ALARM BOX which he pries
open and expertly pulls two wires. The alarm stops.
Immediately they begin going through drawers and cupboards.
She pulls out some harmless snapshots of Miss Panama, replaces
Are we looking for negs or prints?
They find nothing downstairs. The look up at the sound of
Suddenly: Loud banging at the front door -- La Guardia.
EXT. TWO GUARDIA SOLDIERS AND A THIRD ARRIVING - DAY
They look around warily, hungrily -- they know something is
BACK INSIDE THE HOUSE we hear the shouting soldiers, banging.
Price and Claire look at each other, and the camera bag.
Claire points upstairs to Price, to the door for herself.
Russell grabs the bag and bounds quickly upstairs. Claire
goes to the front door, shaking nervously.
CLAIRE OPENS THE DOOR AND FACES THE SOLDIERS
(What do you want?)
Donde esta senor Jazy?
No esta aqui.
(Who are you?)
Una novia suya.
(A girlfriend of his.)
The soldiers look at each other curiously and push open the
door to look in the house without entering -- respectful of
El hombre tiene muchas novias, eh?
(The man has many
The soldiers laugh and peer into the room. Claire forces the
door closed on them, teasing slightly.
No, no, no...
Afraid to make a mistake with one of Jazy's sweethearts,
they don't press the issue. The door closes shut.
INT. THE HOUSE
CLAIRE sighs with frightened relief and hurries upstairs to
JAZY'S BEDROOM as she enters. A rumpled bed, a spilled wine
glass -- a pleasant mess.
A door off the bedroom is open -- light spills out. Claire
stops cold at what she sees:
PRICE STANDS IN A ROOM FULL OF PHOTOGRAPHS Hundreds of
pictures of all sizes, photographic equipment, an enlarger,
cameras and lenses, etc. Pictures of Sandino, newspaper
P.O.V. OF RUSSELL'S PHOTOGRAPHS FROM RAFAEL'S CAMP cropped
and blown up -- Commandante Cinco, the Priest of Leon, the
Businessman, Isela. Photographs of other slain rebel leaders.
The pictures include faces that have been circled with names
written in -- exactly as in the pictures Oates possessed.
They are both stunned.
Let's get out of here.
THEY HURRY DOWNSTAIRS and as they get to the front door --
the sound of somebody opening it. They freeze.
THE DOOR OPENS AND MISS PANAMA ENTERS She smiles and greets
them in a friendly, aloof manner, and continues toward the
Price and Claire return the greeting and continue out the
EXT. JAZY'S HOUSE - THE SOUND OF MORTAR IN THE DISTANCE
As they emerge, Claire tears a white cloth in half and ties
it to a stick, handing half to Price who does likewise.
An earth mover goes past, a Guardia soldier at the wheel.
More soldiers cling to the machine, their guns at the ready.
We've got to talk to Alex.
They start walking.
You think our flags are big enough?
Flags held high, they move nervously down the street into
the ominous silence of the city.
EXT. STREETS OF MANAGUA - NIGHT
Alex, Price, and Claire get out of a cab and approach a large
statue of Somoza on horseback, surreally lit by floodlights
in the center of a traffic circle. Four Guardia Soldiers are
visible on the sidewalk in the b.g. drinking with two women.
This is what I want to show you.
We drove through three roadblocks a
half hour before curfew so you could
show me a statue of Tacho.
It's not Tacho. It's Mussolini. Tacho
went to Italy to commission a statue
of himself, he found a warehouse
full of Il Duces on horseback, got a
great deal on one of 'em -- brought
it back and switched heads.
Ya can't tell, can ya?
Silence. Alex knows Price too well -- it's a great story but
that's not why they're here.
What the hell are you talking about?
I think what he's trying to say --
what we're trying to say -- is that
things aren't exactly what they seem
Well, they don't "seem" to be that
great so I can't wait for this one...
Hey, here we are! Two guys in the
tropics in love with the same dame...
Alex! That's not why we're here.
Oh yeah? I left the country because
(points to Price)
...and I came back because of him...
And now the cutest couple in town
has me looking up a horse's ass on a
midnight tour of Managua.
(points up the statue's
What are we doing here?
Silence. Claire addresses Alex calmly.
Rafael is dead.
Silence. Alex isn't quite sure he understood.
In the picture he's dead?
How the hell...
Who cares how?!
Silence. A bit of gallows laughter from Alex as he circles
the statue. Price calms and tries to explain.
Alex... I think I finally saw one
too many bodies.
Somoza is a killer.
I thought the war would end sooner.
How many reasons do you want?
You saw too many bodies? That's a
lot of bodies.
(beat; to Price)
You stupid son of a bitch.
Did he talk you into it?
No! I wanted Rafael to be alive.
In some way I understand him doing
it, I don't like it but I
understand... but you?
I'd do it again.
Alex lets it all sink in. These two people about whom he has
such passionate feelings have totally exposed themselves to
You two have, of course, just served
me up your balls -- if that's what
they're called -- on a platter.
I can bury you both. You're handing
me your careers.
They don't respond -- he's right.
Well, Jesus Christ... this is a
motherfucking story, Russell...
What am I supposed to do with it?
Anything you want.
Small, tired gallows laughter from Alex. There is a long
silence before Alex speaks, aware of the irony.
They're holding the lead in the World
section for Rafael.
It's great stuff, isn't it? We'd go
down in a blaze of glory.
I don't know what to do.
I've gotta take some kind of a story
back with me. Maybe Jazy, eh?
It's a little dangerous looking for
Jazy at the moment.
Ah, danger -- I love it. You could
ask the pointy-shoed little bastard
about your pictures... and I could
ask him whatever happened to Isela.
She's an officer in the Rafael army --
we saw her in Matagalpa.
Alex is surprised slightly, but takes pleasure in revealing
You mean I slept with a Sandinista?
Price and Claire exchange glances. Alex is dead serious.
I guess Rafael is alive, eh?
INT. CLAIRE'S ROOM - NIGHT
PRICE AND CLAIRE LIE IN BED sweating. A siren and distant
mortar can be heard outside. Price goes to the window and
shuts it -- the room is quieter and hotter. He pounds a broken
air conditioning duct.
Damn air conditioning.
He looks out the window -- it never used to be this
I wish I was home.
She goes to him, lies down, and they embrace.
Do you think it's almost over?
A loud, long burst of automatic weapons fire is heard
somewhere outside. Their eyes are open as they hold onto
EXT. THE STREETS OF MANAGUA - NEXT MORNING
A sense of foreboding. Heavy road equipment prowls the street
looking for Rebel barricades to destroy. Tanquettas and
The flag draped press car of Price and Alex drives slowly.
P.O.V. OUT OF THE CAR AS THEY LOOK CAREFULLY Things feel
wrong. Guardia barricades are everywhere, forcing them to
follow a route they might not choose. The Guardia soldiers
at the barricades seem on edge. When Jazy's house is visible
in the distance, barricades force them another direction.
GUARDIA SOLDIERS RACE DOWN A STREET TOWARD GUNFIRE and the
car stops. When the road is clear it creeps into an
intersection. They check their position.
THE CAR CREEPS TO A STOP and they look around further.
A PIG CROSSES THE STREET 100 YARDS AWAY AND IS SHOT BY A
Everything is wrong. Price looks around restlessly.
Alex... let's go back.
Jazy's probably sitting in the bar
laughing at us. Which way's the hotel?
I don't know.
A WOMAN PEEKS OUT OF A DOORWAY WATCHING
I'll ask her... be right back.
Just a sec'... take a flag.
But Alex is out of the car at once, approaching the woman.
Alex motions that "it's not necessary" and talks to the woman.
We can't hear, but she points down the block.
INSIDE THE CAR Price cranks film into place, his actions are
automatic and nervous. When he looks up:
P.O.V. ALEX FIFTY YARDS AWAY
Walking in the direction she pointed, he motions to Price as
if to say, "Just checking this out."
PRICE LOOKS AROUND NERVOUSLY FOR A SENSE OF DIRECTION And as
he does, looks through the camera.
THROUGH CAMERA P.O.V. OF THE DEAD PIG followed by quick
blurred pans to other images -- TANK, HOUSE, WOMAN, SOLDIER --
until it settles on ALEX IN THE INTERSECTION. Two Guardia
soldiers come up to him and he holds out his hands as if to
say, "I'm lost."
ALEX TALKS TO THE SOLDIERS -- FREEZE FRAME click, click --
and the whirring sound of a motor drive, another FREEZE FRAME
click, click, more whirring -- Price is on automatic pilot.
Another soldier orders Alex up against a wall.
Nobody sees Price taking pictures -- it happens too quickly.
THROUGH CAMERA P.O.V. ALEX IS SHOT IN THE CHEST FROM POINT
BLANK RANGE -- FREEZE FRAMES click, click, whirring as the
images blur and the camera is dropped.
PRICE STARES WITHOUT THE CAMERA
P.O.V. ALEX LIES DEAD AS THE SOLDIERS LOOK AROUND The act
was random, almost nonchalant.
PRICE STARTS TO RUN TOWARD ALEX shouting madly.
You fucks! You fucks!
He stops quickly as they see him, realizing how exposed he
THE GUARDIA START FIRING AT HIM, realizing the murder was
PRICE LEAPS IN HIS CAR and starts it up, racing around the
corner as bullets rip into the car.
THE WINDOW SHATTERS, AND PRICE IS HIT IN THE SHOULDER He
clutches his bleeding arm as he races on.
EXT. SHANTYTOWN BARRIO - DAY
THE CAR GRINDS TO A HALT and Price leaps from it, racing
into a maze of ramshackle huts.
INT. SOMOZA'S BUNKER
A hastily called press conference. Tacho takes a quick drag
on a cigarette and makes the announcement.
It is with grave concern that we
announce that Alexander Grazier,
senior American correspondent, has
been murdered at the hands of
A shock wave goes through the room -- hands raised, questions.
Mr. Kittle has prepared statements
Somoza turns and leaves as Kittle passes out press statements.
INT. CLAIRE'S HOTEL ROOM
TV is on. She's at the typewriter working on a story.
A PHOTOGRAPH OF ALEX COMES ON THE TELEVISION NEWS, with
Spanish language commentary over the image.
CLAIRE KEEPS WORKING AND GRADUALLY TYPES LESS AS SHE HEARS
the story, finally rising and moving in front of the
television as a local newsman reads of Alex's death and we
see the Somoza press announcement.
The phone rings: Claire picks up the phone and listens
silently before hanging up. She sits down shakily on the bed
and starts crying.
EXT. THE SHANTYTOWN BARRIO - DAY
PRICE HURRIES THROUGH the passageways between tin shacks,
through tiny yards of goats and chickens, through houses as
poor that the war has nearly passed them by. Price is hurting,
and looks around with fear to see:
THE GUARDIA SOLDIERS MOVE DOWN INTO THE SHANTYTOWN, fanning
out to quickly engulf the barrio. They move quickly.
A HELICOPTER GUNSHIP MOVES IN LOW over the barrio and opens
up sporadic outbursts of fire to insure nobody will try to
PRICE RUNS DOWN AN ALLEY and nearly runs right into the
Guardia. He hides behind a paper thin wall of flattened beer
cans -- the Guardia move past him only inches away. Price
starts off in another direction, but Guardia appear -- he is
trapped in the barrio.
INT. HOTEL LOBBY
Journalists are everywhere -- suitcases packed -- trying to
get out of the country. The registration desk is chaos. Regis
tries to get the attention of the clerk -- so does everyone
Get my bill and get me a cab, hey,
The clerk is under attack.
CLAIRE GETS OFF THE ELEVATOR AND MOVES THROUGH THIS CHAOS
Regis sees her and tries to give her comfort -- she's beyond
that. She wears a jacket and carries her bag -- she's going
I'm sorry, Claire...
She pushes him away politely; she is single-minded now.
Heard from Russell?
Wanta help me find him?
Regis looks at her like she's crazy.
Claire... it's on the weird side out
Hub Kittle enters the lobby, sees Claire and volunteers:
Jesus Christ, Claire, a human tragedy,
what can I say?
Claire is nearly in tears, but resists.
Fuck off, Hub, get outta my way.
CLAIRE EXITS THE HOTEL AND GETS INTO HER PRESS CAR
EXT. STREETS OF MANAGUA - LONG SHOT OF JAZY'S HOUSE - DAY
Claire stays in her car and watches the house -- no way to
get close -- and she continues driving, her route dictated
by the same barricades that directed Alex and Price.
She passes the dead pig in the street, and TWO RED CROSS
WORKERS make their way slowly around a corner, frightened.
Claire gets out of her car and approaches them.
Do you know where the American
journalist was killed?
They all point down a street. She shows them the polaroid of
Price and her.
Have you seen him?
They haven't and continue on their way. Claire walks in the
direction they pointed -- no street fighting but many Guardia.
P.O.V. PRICE'S CAR FAR DOWN THE STREET SURROUNDED BY GUARDIA
EXT. SHANTYTOWN - DAY
PRICE HUNCHES DOWN AND CRAWLS BEHIND THE STALLS as soldiers
move through the yards looking for him.
A WOMAN IN A DOORWAY WATCHES PRICE HIDE
THE WOMAN APPEARS IN A DOORWAY AND MOTIONS WITH HER HEAD for
Price to dart inside.
INT. THE HOUSE - DAY
Nothing is said. Price is led into a room, one of many --
but this room is boarded over. There is no escape. Price is
in pain, his arm bleeds, he's tiring.
This is the best I can offer.
PRICE STANDS IN THE TINY ROOM WAITING
He leans against the wall behind the door. He shuts his eyes --
a noise at the door. When he opens them:
THE WOMAN IS STANDING THERE WITH A GUN
She hands it to him and leaves, bolting the door.
PRICE LEANS AGAINST THE WALL HOLDING A REVOLVER and he waits --
cameras around his neck, gun in hand, bloody, slightly
ridiculous, and scared.
EXT. THE STREETS OF MANAGUA - DAY
Price's shot up car is not far away, but she's afraid to
approach it. She shows the picture of Price to a small boy
who doesn't recognize it.
GUARDIA SOLDIER SPOTS CLAIRE and walks toward her. She cannot
tell if the act is routine or threatening. He calls out to
She hesitates -- Alex is dead, everything is crazy. She starts
toward him, then changes her mind, turns, and walks quickly
away from him.
THE SOLDIER RUNS TOWARD HER
CLAIRE RUNS FASTER and darts into a narrow passageway behind
a house, where she looks back. He calls for support -- several
join him and hurry after her. Panicky, she runs between
OVERHEAD PLANES BUZZ THE NEIGHBORHOOD as Claire emerges from
the 'maze' to see:
P.O.V. PRICE'S CAR ABANDONED and full of holes near the shanty
town. Guardia are everywhere. The helicopter gunship is
INT. THE HOUSE WHERE PRICE HIDES - DAY
He hears the Guard breaking in, and he cocks his gun.
INT. SAME HOUSE
as the Squadron Leader and three soldiers burst in -- the
woman stands in the middle of the room and lies.
Nobody is here. Get out.
The Sqaudron Leader points to different rooms for each
soldier, and they proceed to kick in each door, automatic
PRICE'S ROOM AS HE HEARS A SOLDIER AT THIS DOOR.
THE DOOR IS KICKED OPEN, AND A SOLDIER STEPS INTO THE ROOM
For a moment he doesn't see Price -- then he whirls and faces
the photographer who's so scared he's forgotten to raise his
PRICE AND THE SOLDIER ARE FACE-TO-FACE The soldier is a
fourteen-year-old boy fighting back tears. He, too, is scared
to death. Neither is quite sure why he is there -- they just
want it to end.
PRICE AND THE BOY AIM THEIR GUNS AT EACH OTHER as they hear
the voice of the Squadron Leader in the other room.
(Is he there?)
SQUADRON LEADER HEADS TOWARD THE ROOM but as he does, the
boy soldier appears in the doorway.
No esta aqui.
The Leader grunts an order, and the squadron quickly heads
to the next house.
PRICE'S BODY SLUMPS AGAINST THE WALL EXHAUSTED, and the woman
enters as soon as the last soldier has gone.
Price's brief moment of peace is shattered by the screaming
of Guardia troops and the explosions of rocket fire from the
gunship. He looks outside.
THE GUNSHIP FIRES INTO THE SHANTYTOWN killing several of its
own Guardia troops. A GUARDIA OFFICER screams at the gunship
and fires a hand gun at the giant chopper.
We are you! We are you! What are you
GUARDIA TROOPS EVACUATE THE SHANTYTOWN in a panicky scramble
to escape their own gunship.
PRICE RACES THROUGH THE BACK OF THE SHANTYTOWN, taking
advantage of the chaos, and without slowing down, breaks
free of the maze of the barrio.
CLAIRE'S P.O.V. OF PRICE RACING ACROSS THE STREET, past a
body and an overturned, smoking car, back into the rubble
strewn blocks of the edge of the city. A tanquetta comes
around a corner and sees Price a block away.
PRICE SEES HER, and races along a wall until they meet,
grabbing her on the run -- each is panicky and frightened --
and they duck into very shallow cover, barely safe.
What're you doing here?!
They embrace quickly and tightly, but look around nervously
as they do. Price isn't sure if anybody knows about Alex.
The Guardia did it -- I got pictures.
P.O.V. A TANQUETTA PASSES ON THE NEXT STREET, visible through
shattered holes in the buildings. A Guardia squadron passes.
PRICE AND CLAIRE RUN DOWN THE STREET in the opposite
direction, their path guided somewhat by an overturned bus
in an intersection, abandoned barricades and roadblocks, and
the rubble of street fighting.
EXT. THE STREET OF JAZY'S HOUSE - DAY
PRICE AND CLAIRE hesitate at the corner and move slowly along,
seeing two Sandinistas, dressed half in camouflaged gear,
half disco. The TWO GUERRILLAS seem to control the street.
Price and Claire approach warily.
(the Guerrillas nod;
Do you control this area?
The Sandinista looks at his comrade, then looks around
nervously, frightened, then shrugs.
I don't know.
Price and Claire continue on down the street and
simultaneously noticed something strange:
THE DOOR TO JAZY'S HOUSE IS WIDE OPEN They approach carefully
and look in a view to the court-yard. Claire sticks her head
in the door slowly, and as she does:
A GIANT HAND GUN IS STUCK IN HER TEMPLE as TWO MUCHACHOS
quickly seize her and Price, dragging them inside.
INT. JAZY'S COURTYARD - LATE IN DAY
JAZY STANDS WITH A THIRD GUN AT HIS HEAD, being held by the
most forceful and crazed of three young Muchachos. With guns
on Jazy, Price, and Claire, there is much confusion as to
who's in charge and what exactly they're doing.
Who are you?
They are my friends.
Shut up. We kill them all.
No. Only him.
The guns are aimed back and forth in confusion -- Price and
Claire don't have a chance to respond, and they're not sure
what to say.
Him or him or her?
The Muchachos begin arguing rapidly among themselves; and as
they do, Jazy addresses Price and Claire coolly.
Well, here we are, eh?
Assassin! Shut up!
The boys are confused -- they think
I had their family killed.
You murder people.
"Murder" is a word for criminals. I
have a job to protect the stability
of a continent.
Pig! Hijo de puta!
He is not begging for his life as much as for them to calm
You got caught by some boys?
Yes. Poets too, I imagine.
Is your recorder on?
Good. I have a speech to make.
The Muchachos don't understand what he's saying, but they
stop to listen to his style. The guns remained trained on
I like you people, but you are
sentimental shits. You fall in love
with the poets, the poets fall in
love with the Marxists, the Marxists
fall in love with themselves. The
country is destroyed with rhetoric,
and in the end we are stuck with
Jazy turns to the boy who jams the gun into his head and
speaks with tired authority.
Un minuto, por favor.
(to Price and Claire,
Who are you?
They are journalists.
The Muchachos are immediately surprised and delighted, and
one of them speaks in excited, broken English.
Periodistas! Take this picture! I'm
going to blow his head off.
The Muchachos quickly withdraw their guns from Price and
Claire and aim them all at Jazy's head.
Somoza? He is a tyrant too, of course.
But finally that is not the point,
you see. If we wish to survive -- we
have a choice of tyrants, and for
all the right reasons, your poets
choose the wrong side.
Your picture of Rafael was
brilliant... but I am alive, and
better looking. A good looking
Frenchman with a sympathetic face is
murdered in cold blood while fighting
for the survival of Europe and
You will have another magazine cover!
Muy complicado, no?
You picked the wrong side.
In fifty years we will know who's
Are you going to take the picture as
the bullet enters the skull or as it
comes out? This wall's a nice color,
eh? I can move into the sunlight.
CLAIRE TURNS AND WALKS AWAY, her back to the scene.
It's just a story!
PRICE REMAINS AND STARES AT JAZY as the Muchachos grow
increasingly impatient. Some part of him wants to take the
They say that if somebody's holding
a gun on you, you should never stop
talking... that's the theory -- who
PRICE TURNS AND WALKS AWAY toward Claire. Still -- Jazy talks.
Maybe it's a good thing that I talk
A GUNSHOT RINGS OUT.
Price grimaces. Claire shuts her eyes. They turn to look at
the fallen Jazy as the Three Muchachos, frightened by their
own act, race back into the street. For several moments Price
and Claire stand, frozen, until the rumbling sound of a
helicopter gunship nearby forces them to hurry outside.
PRICE AND CLAIRE GO TO THE DOORWAY and look out as a jeep
full of Guardia screams past
P.O.V. SEVERAL GUERRILLAS RETREATING FROM AN ADVANCING
TANQUETTA a block away. The neighborhood seems to be changing
Price and Claire slump in the darkness near the doorway; she
touches near his wounded arm.
Russell... what did Alex do?
Nothing. He asked for directions.
She shakes her head and leans it against Price's shoulder
but the distant popping of guns does not even allow her a
moment of mourning. Their heads pop up nervously.
We gotta get outta sight -- half the
fucking army's looking for me...
They're not looking for me.
Let me have the film...
...if I can't get to the hotel I'll
come back here...
Price doesn't want her to go alone, but he's not that excited
about hiding out in the middle of the city either.
I've wrecked everything else, at
least let me take care of you here.
Russell... it's more dangerous being
with you than being alone.
He knows she's right. He loves her, and he's made enough
disastrous decisions lately. He hesitates, then pops open
his camera and removes the film. Price ties the film into
the white flag that hangs from a stick stuck into her belt.
PRICE AND CLAIRE EMBRACE AND KISS BRIEFLY
Don't get hurt.
That's great advice.
They kiss, and Claire runs out after a Red Cross truck. Price
watches nervously until they turn a corner, out of sight,
then goes back inside Jazy's courtyard. PRICE NEARLY STUMBLES
OVER JAZY'S BODY, stops, stares -- he'd forgotten already.
The body makes him uneasy, and after several moments he finds
a sheet and covers Jazy. Price then sits down and waits
nervously, sharing the courtyard with Jazy.
EXT. STREETS OF MANAGUA - DUSK
CLAIRE WALKS ALONGSIDE THE RED CROSS TRUCK as it comes around
a corner. The truck turns one direction, she wants to go the
other way toward the hotel.
P.O.V. -- THE INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL ON THE HILL IN DISTANCE -
Guardia troops heavily patrol the ground between Claire and
the hotel -- a jeep, a troop carrier, a tanquetta, and fifty
CLAIRE TAKES TEMPORARY COVER offered by a MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN
who sees that she is afraid of La Guardia. Claire steps behind
a walled yard. Moments later:
A BOY ON A BIKE RIDES SLOWLY OUT OF THE YARD and turns up
the hill toward the Guardia and the hotel. Claire's white
flag is tied to his handlebars.
CLAIRE WATCHES FEARFULLY as the boy pedals into the military
zone. The woman offers Claire some food; she declines.
EXT. THE ROAD TO THE INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL - DUSK
THE BOY PEDALS slowly, in no hurry, past La Guardia troops.
Some of them watch him curiously, some ignore him. The white
flag flutters as he rides.
EXT. STREETS OF MANAGUA - DUSK
CLAIRE RETRACES HER STEPS to the block where Price is hiding
in Jazy's house.
THE TWO DISCO SANDINISTAS LIE DEAD IN THE STREET, a dog sniffs
at the bodies. Claire looks around -- there is little sign
of life. She enters Jazy's house.
INT. JAZY'S HOUSE - DUSK
CLAIRE ENTERS and stops. She calls out his name, no answer.
Price is gone. She hurries back outside.
EXT. JAZY'S HOUSE - DUSK
TWO GUARDIA TROOP CARRIERS RACE PAST, sirens screaming, loaded
with Guardia soldiers. Claire steps into the street unsurely,
looking every direction.
PEOPLE BEGIN COMING OUT OF THEIR HOMES and what remains of
their small homes. They come one at a time at first, then in
small groups, carrying belongings, pets, chickens, etc.
CLAIRE SHOWS A PICTURE OF PRICE AND HER to a woman who comes
out of the house next to Jazy's, but the woman shakes her
head, not recognizing Price.
A PUSH-PULL PLANE DIVES IN LOW FIRING ROCKETS at the homes.
THE CROWD GROWS and chaotically flees the destruction,
gradually finding a direction out of the city. Claire is
swept along in the crowds, at first without choice, then
finally fleeing for her life with the rest of Managua. As
she moves with the crowd, she looks for Price everywhere,
EXT. A TEMPORARY REFUGEE CAMP - NIGHT
SEVERAL CAMPFIRES burn near the edge of the city where dozens
have taken temporary refuge. Claire arrives to see: A BODY
ON A STRETCHER BEING CARRIED up outside stairs to a rooftop
from which glow several bare bulbs. She goes up the stairs
to the rooftop.
EXT. A ROOFTOP HOSPITAL - NIGHT
A MAKESHIFT MOBILE HOSPITAL under awnings and palm fronds,
capable of moving location in minutes. A WOMAN DOCTOR and
two temporary orderlies tend to wounded. A small black and
white television sits on a table and those who are able watch
the seige of Managua on television while it goes on around
them. Claire looks for Price among the dead or wounded.
P.O.V. -- THE CITY UNDER ATTACK
Claire watches for several moments -- smoke, flame, the
buzzing sound of planes swooping low, fleeing crowds. She
then notices the television.
PRICE'S FOOTAGE OF ALEX'S DEATH comes on the TV screen, and
she pushes closer to see the grim sequence. The NEWS
COMMENTATOR explains in Spanish what we see CLAIRE IS SO
DISTURBED AT THE IMAGES that she turns away, sickened, hurt,
guilty, outraged, but unable to break down. She closes her
eyes -- her face is covered with tears. The Doctor notices
this and speaks softly to her.
You knew the man who was killed?
(she nods again)
Fifty thousand Nicaraguans have
died... and now one Yankee.
Perhaps now Americans will be outraged
at what is happening here, eh?
It takes a while for Claire to respond.
Yes... perhaps they will.
Noise in the distance from mortars. The Doctor speaks calmly,
without bitterness in the voice, but with total conviction.
Maybe we should have killed an
American journalist fifty years ago.
Claire acknowledges the grim truth of the observation with a
slight nod, and walks to the railing as:
ALEX'S DEATH IS REPEATED IN FREEZE FRAME SEQUENCE over and
over again as the Orderlies, Doctor, and patients gather to
watch with fascination.
CLAIRE STARES OUT AT THE CITY ON FIRE, when her eye catches
something -- a light in the sky. She watches:
P.O.V. -- A HELICOPTER WITH SEARCHLIGHT PASSES OVERHEAD,
momentarily illuminating the hospital, but it continues on,
curiously uninterested in the Guerrilla activity. The chopper
sweeps above a nearby hill and hovers, then slowly lowers to
CLAIRE WATCHES with interest then descends the stairs.
EXT. THE CEMETERY - NIGHT
SOMOZA WATCHES AS A BACK HOE DIGS UP THE COFFINS of his
parents. An Army helicopter lands, lighting the scene, and
Miss Panama rushes from the chopper into his arms as the
turbulence from the blades raises her dress and musses his
hair. Soldiers place the dirt-covered caskets on the roofs
of Somoza's two Mercedes, hastily tie them down, and the
strange motorcade, flanked by two heavily armed jeeps, drives
off into the dark.
CLAIRE WATCHES IT ALL from a safe distance, not far from the
refugee camp. She turns and walks slowly back to the camp.
EXT. THE REFUGEE CAMP - LATE AT NIGHT
Claire sits down against the remains of a wall. The war has
overtaken her -- she doesn't know if Price is alive -- and
though totally involved, she is at last an observer once
again. Claire notices the tiny red light of her recorder is
still on. She turns it off, and as the sounds of battle
gradually die down, Claire falls asleep -- exhausted.
EXT. THE REFUGEE CAMP - DAWN
CLAIRE SLEEPS AGAINST THE WALL as a dog sniffs and licks her
face. She awakens with a start -- the dog scurries away.
Claire rises and looks around.
A LOCAL WOMAN PUSHES A CART carrying the wrapped body of her
husband through the otherwise quiet streets of Managua.
CLAIRE MOVES THROUGH THE CAMP just coming to life, and looks
around trying to interpret the eerie silence. A WOMAN tends
to her TWO SMALL CHILDREN.
Have you seen La Guardia?
WOMAN WITH CHILDREN
No. Is the war over?
I don't know.
A DISTANT, DRONING NOISE GETS STEADILY LOUDER. Claire looks
A CHILD RUNS DOWN THE STREET SHOUTING
P.O.V. -- SEVERAL TANQUETTAS AND EARTH MOVERS coming over
the hill in the distance. The Refugees look up fearfully and
some hide. As the war machinery gets closer, we see that:
SANDINISTAS ARE DRIVING THE MACHINES draped with red and
black (F.S.L.N.), blue and white (Nicaraguan), and yellow
and white (the Vatican) flags. Graffiti of victory covers
PEOPLE COME INTO THE STREET CHEERING, embracing, only
gradually realizing what has happened.
WOMAN WITH CHILDREN
Is the war over?
WOMAN WITH CHILDREN
(It is good.)
The woman continues with her children, her comment
unemotional, and Claire smiles slightly and walks away,
through a city awakening slowly to its victory.
CLAIRE STOPS A RED CROSS TRUCK and shows the driver her
picture of Price. The picture means nothing to the driver.
Claire continues through the city, looking for Price.
EXT. THE INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL - MORNING
CLAIRE WALKS INTO THE POOL AREA where chairs and tables float
in the pool, the bar is overturned, and the once sumptuous
press oasis is a disaster.
INT. THE INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL - MORNING
CLAIRE ENTERS A DESERTED LOBBY, also a mess, and hesitates
before climbing the circular stairs.
CLAIRE LOOKS INTO PRICE'S ROOM, and finds it empty, and
CLAIRE WALKS INTO HER OWN ROOM -- PRICE STANDS AT THE BALCONY
looking out at the jubilant city from which smoke still rises.
CLAIRE AND PRICE EMBRACE DEEPLY, holding onto each other
without the slightest intention of letting go.
INT. THE INTERCONTINENTAL LOBBY - LATER - DAY
PRICE AND CLAIRE COME DOWNSTAIRS to the lobby. They are
cleaned up in fresh clothes; they have survived and the war
THE LOBBY IS COMING TO LIFE AGAIN with Regis' camera crew,
who look like they've had a long night, a BUS BOY, A MAID,
AN OLD COUPLE, and A WHITE WOMAN, 38, with TWO SMALL DAUGHTERS --
all either sit or mill in the b.g.
PRICE AND CLAIRE STOP SHORT at what they see.
P.O.V. -- A HANDMADE CASKET SITTING IN THE LOBBY with the
name, "A. Grazier" scrawled in felt pen.
Price and Claire stand next to the box silently -- there is
nothing to say -- but the silence is interrupted by a familiar
voice that is polite, unforced, and sincere.
VOICE OF HUB KITTLE
It was the best I would do under the
circumstances. The casket, I mean.
Awkward silence until they realize that he's sincere.
Can you help us ship it home?
I've already taken care of it.
I always liked the guy. I can't even
get tickets for my own family, but I
could get you two on the plane if
We see the woman and little girls as Hub's family.
Tacho's in Miami.
A shared silence at the lunacy of the moment, interrupted by
the tired voice of one of Hub's daughters.
(to Price and Claire)
I am sorry. I had a job to do --
that's all -- it put me in some
Hub goes over to take care of his family.
EXT. PLAZA OF MANAGUA'S LARGEST CATHEDRAL - LATER - DAY
Thousands of people have gathered to celebrate in loud and
joyous singing, led by a group on the highest cathedral steps,
surrounded by Revolutionary leaders waving to the crowds. A
SINGING GROUP sings a song to Nicaragua, and a song to Rafael.
RAFAEL'S BODY IN A FANCY CASKET is carried in through the
crowd to wild cheering and singing. High over the pallbearers'
heads it moves through the crowds.
PRICE AND CLAIRE STAND TO THE SIDE watching it all. The
celebration is joyously infectious, and for the moment we
can forget the bloodshed, forget the problems that lay ahead,
forget even the death of Alex.
PRICE PULLS OUT A CAMERA and begins taking pictures of the
ISELA IS AT THE MICROPHONE with other Guerrilla leaders.
CLAIRE WORKS THROUGH THE CROWD with her mike held high,
recording the singing of the crowd.
PRICE BACKS UNDER THE AWNING of a stand selling refreshments,
and especially Rum and Coke mixtures known suddenly and
triumphantly as "Nicalibres." As Price snaps off pictures --
a voice from an American in casual street clothes drinking
at the temporary bar.
Price looks over to see the smiling Oates.
It's all over, eh? We made it. I
like the singing.
What're you doing here?
Free country. Now it's free, anyway.
(raises his drink)
Oates holds up his Kodak Instamatic camera.
How 'bout a quickie?
No? Things are heating up in
Thailand... thought I'd check it
You ain't gonna turn me in, are ya?
PRICE TURNS AND WALKS AWAY
Am I gonna see ya in Thailand? We
could be friends!
Price keeps walking, into the crowd, where he finds Claire.
Oates orders another Nicalibre, and beats his foot to the
PRICE AND CLAIRE IN THE CROWD
We've got a plane to catch.
Did you get enough pictures?
No answer -- a final complicated question from Claire --
they smile. Price waves for a cab which pulls over. They get
in the cab and drive away.
HOLD ON THE VICTORY CELEBRATION