MIGHTY JOE YOUNG
Mark Rosenthal & Lawrence Konner
Based on a screenplay by
Merian C. Cooper
Final Production Draft
1 EXT. MOUNTAIN RANGE - DAY 1
The lush Pangani Mountains of Africa, mysterious and
2 EXT. PANGANI FOREST - DAY 2
A warm golden light bathes the jungle. Shafts of
sunlight filter through the forest floor. The sounds of
WILD BIRDS break the hushed quiet of the setting. As we
MOVE IN we FIND a large female mountain gorilla lounging,
eating leaves in the dense undergrowth, her precocious
baby gorilla plays nearby.
THROUGH CAMERA LENS
A view of the mother gorilla, a few PICTURES SNAPPED.
BACK TO SCENE
The photographer is RUTH YOUNG, naturalist, researcher,
sitting in the undergrowth with her camera, notebooks,
and sketch pad. Her precocious young daughter, JILL,
Jill smiles, watching the baby gorilla clown. As the baby
sees her, he suddenly scampers to a nearby tree and hides
his face behind it. Jill does the same. She peeks out to
catch a glimpse, just as the baby peeks out to catch her
eye. They both scamper to different trees. Each time
they move to a different tree, they go through this
peek-a-boo interaction, both moving further away from
their mothers. The mother GORILLA notices, lets out a
CRY. Ruth looks around for Jill and signals by a
distinctive whistle for her to come back this instant.
Both children take a last look at each other and then
scurry to their waiting mothers.
Jill. What did I tell you?
But Joe started it!
It's not good for them to interact
(gathering her things)
Besides, that wasn't Joe. It was
2 CONTINUED: 2
Jill helps her mother heft the equipment as they start to
head back to camp.
No it wasn't. It was Joe.
Joe is just a baby, Jill. He was
too big to be Joe.
As they walk, they can see the sunset over the mountain
Check. Check the pictures.
Ruth looks down at her daughter, surprised by the
confidence in her voice.
3 EXT. EQUATORIAL SKY - NIGHT 3
The Southern Cross above the horizon. The Milky Way a
dusty streak of white. A shooting star streaks in an arc
down to the --
The dark peaks silhouetted against the stellar glow.
Charging THROUGH dense, primeval forest. We hear an
eerie metallic JANGLE of what sounds like wind chimes
riding right with us. Something is moving quickly up
4 EXT. PANGANI JUNGLE - NIGHT 4
Bursting THROUGH FRAME -- a pack of mongrel hunting dogs
driven hard by a half dozen African men with rifles.
Poachers wielding pangas (machetes). A glint of silver
as a panga sweeps ACROSS FRAME, hacking at the wall of
thistles and nettles.
Eyes yellow. Teeth flared. The RINGING sound made by
TIN SQUARES cut from cans, tied by rawhide around their
necks. CLANG-CLANG-CLANG. One poacher whips his panga
4 CONTINUED: 4
PUNCH IN to reveal -- impaled in the earth, a three-foot
stick figure with a macabre animal skull for a head. The
poacher shouts in local dialect until -- A foul-looking
man, GARTH, pushes INTO FRAME. Carrying a heavy Weatherby
Mark V rifle across his back. Garth yanks the primitive
doll from the ground. Looks back as -- A figure
approaches in the darkness.
A glowing cigar clenched in his stained teeth, STRASSER
checks the doll over -- primitive, grotesque; then snaps
it in two. Tossing it away contemptuously, he shouts
orders in the local dialect.
The men continue up the path. Dogs sweeping behind like
a wildfire. CLANG-CLANG-CLANG. PAN UP OVER TO --
5 EXT. FOREST - NIGHT 5
The RING of the DOG COLLARS floats on a night breeze
across a deep valley to the other side of the mountain,
down to a...
A small circle of huts forming a campsite around a night
fire. We go inside...
one of them --
6 INT. HUT - NIGHT 6
Ruth Young's hut. On one side is a makeshift field
laboratory, highlighted by a wall collage of photos --
family shots mixed right in with gorilla shots.
sits on the edge of a cot, tucking Jill into bed. She
leans down, kisses Jill gently on her forehead.
Jill, what made you think the
gorilla we saw today was Joe?
I was right, wasn't I?
6 CONTINUED: 6
My notes say that Joe is only six
months old. Either I got
confused, or he's a very unusual
I told you so.
Yes, you did. And Mommy's going
to write it down in her book.
She holds up a dog-eared composition book, Ruth's detailed
log of her observations.
Right here. '... and my trusted
colleague, Dr. Jill Young, showed
me the error of my ways.'
Now go to sleep.
Ruth begins singing a lullaby.
'Sleep till the night ends, the
night wind will sing for you.
Your song and my song. It goes on
As she sings, a man appears in the doorway. This is
KWELI, the camp manager. He seems nervous and impatient,
but doesn't want to disturb Ruth. Jill sees him.
Kweli? What is it?
You should come. Quickly.
As soon as she hears the words, Ruth is up. As she leaves
the hut, she grabs her walking stick.
6 CONTINUED: (2) 6
Mommy, can I...
Stay here, Jill.
Ruth exits, Kweli behind her. Jill follows, despite her
mother's orders... but Kweli feels her behind him. He
turns around and crouches down, looking Jill seriously in
Stay here, child.
7 EXT. HUT 7
A group of Bahatu trackers have gathered in the center of
the camp. They stand, silently, listening...
The distant CHIMING of the poaching dogs is unmistakable --
ECHOING in the night.
Ruth walks into the circle, also listening. She turns to
Kweli nods. All the men look at Ruth for a sign.
Ruth leads them onto the forest path that goes up the
Jill has not stayed in bed. She has come out of the hut
to watch the commotion.
Her mother, silhouetted by moonlight, in her mind larger-
than-life, pushes up the trail. Then she's gone.
8 EXT. PANGANI FOREST - NIGHT 8
Strasser leads a breakneck pace through the woods. Garth
looks around as the AFRICANS begin to murmur something over
and over. These men seem scared...
... n'gai zamu!... n'gai zamu!...
Garth steps closer to keep up with Strasser.
They're at it again.
Mystical nonsense. There's only
one thing they should be afraid of
on this mountain.
And it's staring them right in the
The men stare back at Strasser with equal hostility.
Suddenly, Garth kneels and picks something from the
ground. Rubs it between his fingers. Deposits it in
Gorilla. We're close.
9 EXT. BASE CAMP - NIGHT 9
Jill is pacing by the hut, trying to stay put like her
mother said. Finally she can stand it no more. She
grabs a long, stainless steel flashlight from a peg
hanging on the outside of the hut and runs off...
10 EXT. FOREST - WIDEN ANGLE - NIGHT 10
The African men fan out. It gets quiet fast. Strasser
and Garth swing rifles down from their shoulders as they
stalk. Proficient hunting machines.
EXTREME CLOSEUP - STRASSER
His predator's eyes scanning the moonlit green tapestry.
One more step -- then a dry POK-POK-POK sound erupts from
the bushes. The DOGS BARK madly -- CLAPPERS RINGING.
10 CONTINUED: 10
Trees shake furiously.
Strasser spins to see several gorillas, darting from the
trees, a blur of black shapes trying to escape up the
CLOSE ON ONE FEMALE
The same one Ruth watched earlier. Joe clings tightly
to her back, his eyes wide with fear.
A nightmarish collage of images accompanied by the
CLANGING of the dogs' COLLARS, the charge of the African
poachers, the SCREAMS of the MOTHER and the other
GORILLAS. Then he sees Strasser run forward, raise his
rifle with icy precision.
Strasser has Joe's mother dead on. Her head in the
cross-hairs as she tries to get away. The MOTHER'S raspy
animal SCREAM is unmistakably maternal, heart-breaking.
It ECHOES across the mountain as she tries to reach a
deep stretch of woods.
On her back, Joe turns once more to look back and sees --
EXTREME CLOSEUP - STRASSER'S TRIGGER FINGER
squeezing gently, the EXPLOSION of the SHOT RATTLES the
The MOTHER'S SCREAM is CUT OFF sharply.
We see Joe thrown THROUGH FRAME, tumbling into the high
STRASSER AND GARTH
crash through the dense foliage to retrieve the body.
The DOGS SNAPPING behind. CLANG-CLANG-CLANG.
10 CONTINUED: (2) 10
Get the baby!
Don't shoot it! They want the
babies alive!! Bring the sack!
CLOSE ON JOE
He SCREAMS wildly, darts back and forth, desperately
looking for his mother.
THROUGH the tall grass in the b.g., he can see the
Africans disappear up the hill hunting down the others.
BACK TO SCENE
And then we see Joe's anguish turn to fury. He GROWLS --
and as the two big hunters come nearer -- Joe springs out
Joe is moving so fast, Strasser barely has time to react
before the furry black shape is on top of him -- WIDEN
as Joe attacks Strasser, knocking him back. Strasser
shouts and drops his rifle. Tries to pull Joe off as
they tumble down through the trees. Strasser punches
and pulls at this ball of sinew and muscle. He reaches
for his Match Master side arm with his right hand. PUNCH
IN CLOSE as Joe bites down viciously through the hand.
ANGLE ON GARTH
He has retrieved his rifle and is charging hard for his
downed companion. He looks for a clear shot at Joe. PAN
RIGHT and RACK FOCUS as Ruth Young explodes from the
trees and flashes past Strasser, snatching Joe away. Joe
is not quite sure what has happened, but he hangs on to
Ruth for dear life.
Strasser staggers forward, holding his mangled hand.
He rips Garth's gun away from him and with his bloodied
hand, finds a way to pull the trigger. SHOTS RIP through
BARK but Ruth disappears into the trees like a spirit.
11 EXT. FOREST - ON JILL - NIGHT 11
Running but nearing exhaustion. Hearing a fusillade of
GUNSHOTS -- Jill runs faster, panic contorting her face.
She runs desperately, swiping at branches, stinging
Something is running TOWARDS her.
12 EXT. FOREST - NIGHT 12
Jill shines her flashlight into the forest. Further up,
someone waves a light back and forth. Like a signal.
Jill's face lights up. She continues running. Suddenly,
Jill is bowled over by Joe who leaps into her arms. They
roll on the ground, Jill with the wind knocked out of her.
They look into each other's face and both know that the
worst is happening. They are both silent with fear.
Strasser appears through the darkness. His right hand
wrapped in a bloody swath. Denying the pain. Garth
follows, gun up.
Jill and Joe lie hiding in the undergrowth. Jill's eyes
tell Joe not to make a sound. They barely breathe.
of Strasser's and Garth's boots. Jill can hear the sound
of their voices, but their words are indistinct.
BACK TO SCENE
She's got to be here somewhere.
She's got that damn devil with her.
I think you might've hit the woman.
These people want to live like
heroes, let them die like heroes.
12 CONTINUED: 12
They are nearly on top of Jill and Joe, and their words
are now crystal clear. Strasser looks at his bloody,
wrapped hand and stares vindictively into the dark forest
That little demon took off my damn
Your little 'monster' couldn't
have gone far. Want to keep
No. Let's get out of here.
Jill and Joe lie still as stone as Strasser and Garth
continue past. Once they're gone, Joe and Jill begin to
breathe again. Then, Jill sees a light pop on in the
darkness. She flashes back.
Ruth suddenly emerges from the darkness. She collapses
next to Jill in the undergrowth.
Mom, there were men, they...
I know, I know. Shhh.
EXTREME CLOSEUP - RUTH'S HAND
We see blood trickle down her fingers. Ruth covers it
quickly so Jill can't see.
BACK TO SCENE
JOE, clinging to Jill, begins to WHIMPER.
Oh, look who it is. Hello, Joe.
12 CONTINUED: (2) 12
Poor baby. He lost his mommy
Ruth turns her attention from Joe to her daughter.
He needs someone to protect him.
Will you do that for me, Jill?
Jill is taken aback by her mother's behavior. She knows
something is wrong, but she doesn't know what it is.
Promise me you'll protect him,
I... I promise.
Ruth takes Jill into her arms. She rocks her back and
forth, humming the lullaby we heard before.
HOLD ON --
-- the three of them, huddled together in the dense jungle,
the lilting sound of Ruth's lullaby drifting through the
CAMERA FLOATS UP THROUGH the trees until it REVEALS and
HOLDS ON the star-lit Pangani sky. RUTH'S VOICE EXPANDS
INTO a CHORUS of POWERFUL AFRICAN VOICES SINGING the
SAME LULLABY, now transformed into an inspirational hymn.
13 EXT. GRAVE SITE - DAY 13
MUSIC CUE: RUTH'S VOICE BECOMES a CHORUS of powerful
AFRICAN VOICES SINGING the SAME LULLABY in the local
dialect. But now it's become a powerful hymn -- sacred
From the sky, flower petals of every color begin to fall.
As they fall, they land on...
A wooden plank that simply reads: "RUTH YOUNG."
13 CONTINUED: 13
PAN ACROSS TO an adjacent marker that reads: "DR. EDWARD
YOUNG" -- Jill's parents now reunited on that great
WIDEN TO camp cemetery.
Kweli lays Ruth's walking stick across her grave. Steps
back -- not even trying to wipe away his tears. Jill
stands bravely, singing through her broken heart.
Kweli takes her hand in his.
POV - FROM WOODS
Someone is watching all of this. Staring directly at
BACK TO SCENE
Kweli looks down at Jill.
Don't worry, little one. I will
take care of you.
Jill nods, trying to stifle her tears. But she is now
staring into the woods, sensing that she is being
You will love living in the
village. There are other
Jill pulls her hand away from Kweli's and starts walking
toward the woods.
But she ignores him, breaking into a run, drawn
inexorably toward the jungle.
Starting after her at first, but then stopping. He lets
A14 EXT. PANGANI FOREST - DAY A14
Jill pushes her way through the brush, finding Joe,
waiting for her.
Joe in her arms now, running through the woods as fast
as she can, and we PULL BACK and...
14 EXT. AFRICAN LANDSCAPE - AERIAL SHOT - DAY 14
Rolling foothills. Farms. Giving way to steeper slopes.
The mountains rising just beyond.
15 OMITTED 15
16 EXT. AFRICAN LANDSCAPE - DAY 16
SUPERIMPOSE: 12 YEARS LATER.
A quickly-moving dust cloud turns out to be --
racing at breakneck speed over the dirt highway. Driven
by GREGG O'HARA -- anyone would consider him young,
strong and handsome -- except that right now, it's all
hidden under the grime from a long flight and a week's
growth of beard. Hair long, unkempt; clothes wrinkled.
Gregg passes four local men burning a clearing in the
woods for yet more farmland.
Pushing its way up the mountain side. The humvee is
packed with EQUIPMENT that RATTLES as Gregg hits every
bump in the road.
17 EXT. VILLAGE - DAY 17
A tiny African village, just a main square with a bar, a
school, an infirmary and a gas station.
Standing smack in the middle of the road is an East Indian
with a goatee, wrap-around Black Flys, and a Nike workout
Gregg's HUMVEE SKIDS to a sharp stop in front of him.
You must be Pindi.
Pindi flashes him a broad smile.
The one and only, bro.
17A EXT. VILLAGE - DAY 17A
Pindi is leading Gregg down a row of vehicles: two Land
Rovers, one with a strange-looking seat attached to the
front hood, and an old, flatbed lorry. A surly-looking
group of men lounge around on them.
17A CONTINUED: 17A
Six men, three cars... everything
you ask for, Mr. Ohara.
All paid for in advance, out of
Gregg holds an envelope filled with cash in Pindi's face.
He nods towards the nasty-looking men.
Sweet-looking bunch of guys.
Pindi snatches the envelope -- but Gregg holds onto his
I asked for experienced trackers.
These men are the best -- I assure
you. Very best.
Gregg allows Pindi to pull the envelope away. He
immediately rifles through the cash, checking to make sure
it's all there.
Gregg eyes Pindi's men suspiciously, then walks around to
the back of his humvee and flips open the storage boot,
revealing an array of animal-tracking gadgetry. Pindi
looks over his shoulder as Gregg loads a menacing-looking
Nice piece you got there. What
are we hunting, elephants?
We're not hunting anything.
Pindi sees that Gregg is loading the rifle with tran-
quilizer darts. This confuses him, but he pretends to
Ah! Tranquilizer darts. I agree
-- much nicer to animals than
Your men know how to use this, right?
17A CONTINUED: (2) 17A
Oh sure, boss. Only professionals
Gregg carefully puts the rifle back, then grabs a pair of
Minolta 10x20 binoculars.
So tell me, boss -- where are we
ON Gregg, panning across his field of vision with the
binoculars. He stops.
POV THROUGH BINOCULARS
The highest peak in the range, playing hide and seek with
BACK TO SCENE
Pindi's men see where Gregg is pointing. They murmur,
trading grim glances at each other. Pindi jumps with
There? Uh, boss, that is not such
a good mountain. The men don't
like it very much at all. You
see there is a legend they believe
in, that a creature lives there...
Gregg's back to checking his equipment.
'N'Gai Zamu.' The sacred guardian
of Mount Pangani.
Pindi looks at Gregg, surprised he knows this.
You know it? How funny!
That's not, by any chance, what
you are looking for, is it, boss?
Gregg looks from Pindi's nervous face to the serious
faces of the trackers. They are all watching him.
17A CONTINUED: (2A) 17A
Looking for a legend? No. Why
would I do that?
Gregg takes the car keys from Pindi's hand.
17A CONTINUED: (3) 17A
OFF Pindi -- not particularly thrilled...
18 EXT. MOUNTAIN ROAD - DAY 18
The caravan trundles up a winding dirt road, into the
19 OMITTED 19
20 EXT. MOUNTAIN - HIGH MEADOW - DAY 20
The vehicles are circled in a clearing. Three small
audio dishes have been positioned to triangulate the
location of the slightest sound. An infrared video cam
is mounted on a tripod. A geometric, field-assembled
cage made of an impact-resistant, high-tensile steel
alloy sits off to the side.
21 OMITTED 21
22 EXT. MEADOW - DAY (LATER) 22
Gregg has earphones on, plugged into a backpack with a
Sony digital recorder, listening. The sound is ambient
Pindi stands behind Gregg, watching him carefully.
What are you listening to?
Pindi listens to the jungle. It is full of sounds.
Something small makes a RUSTLING SOUND a few yards away.
Like that right there?
22 CONTINUED: 22
I understand completely: jungle
sounds! Very important. I know a
guy, he can get you a C.D. of
jungle sounds, cheap. Even
cheaper if you buy ten.
Gregg puts his hand up to signal for quiet.
He hears something.
He listens intently for a moment, then the WHOOSH of a
SPRING TRAP BLASTS his ears, followed by shouts and the
sound of an ANIMAL SCREECHING. Gregg throws off the
headphones, grabs a strange-looking pole called a DNA
plug gun, and crashes with Pindi through the woods.
Gregg runs INTO FRAME to see several of Pindi's men
closing the cage on a lithe, young leopard.
How do you like that, boss? I
told you these men were the best.
Gregg kneels to inspect the leopard. He finds it
beautiful -- his face softens at the sight of it.
(soothing, to leopard)
You're a beauty.
Carefully, he extends the DNA plug gun and pricks the cat,
startling it and causing all the men to jump.
Okay, set him free.
Gregg and Pindi stand over the leopard. Pindi offers his
(testing the water)
Why ask for a cage if you are not
keeping the animal?
Gregg releases the vial of blood from the DNA gun.
Because I'm only keeping this.
22 CONTINUED: (2) 22
Yes, but I know a guy, in Botswana,
he'd pay you ten thousand American
dollars for that leopard. I'd be
willing to split with you --
Greg ignores Pindi. He's busy transferring the vial to a
container. Pindi presses on.
Perhaps you're right. Sixty to
you, forty to me. That's a very
Still no response from Gregg -- he's logging notes into a
My goodness -- you're an
excellent negotiator. Okay,
boss! Seventy/thirty it is.
(to his men)
Take him to the truck.
The men bend over and hoist the cage up -- but now Gregg
blocks their way.
Put the cat down... now.
Gregg is one scary-looking bastard. The men drop the
cage. Pindi back-pedals.
("angry," to his
You heard him... put it down!
They never understand me. I
don't know what to do...
Pindi stops abruptly as his yammering is interrupted by
the LEOPARD, GROWLING.
SOUND CUE: A LOW RUMBLE.
Floating on the wind like DISTANT THUNDER. It seems to
come as an answer to the young leopard's cry. Birds fly
out of the trees above the cage. The men are spooked.
22 CONTINUED: (3) 22
quickly puts on his headphones and listens to the
amplified sound again. HIGH-PITCHED SCREAMS -- then
the rhythmic rondo of sharp POK-POK-POK-POK CHESTBEATS.
Pindi is on the verge of panic. He forces his trademark
Uh, excuse me. Time to flee,
POV - TREES
The top branches suddenly shake violently -- sending a
sharp WOODEN RATTLE across the meadow. Is that a shadow
from a passing cloud that seems to ripple through the
foliage? Gregg steps closer. The trees bend like the
wake of a boat -- they bend in a straight line.
Something powerful and unseen is moving through the
Pindi and his men retreat back in the meadow. Gregg
scans the forest. BRANCHES spring with a LOUD WHOOSH!
Gregg can't help it -- his fear takes over and he
backsteps into the meadow.
WIDEN SHOT UP TO the trees. Catapulting DOWN THROUGH
FRAME -- landing right in front of them is a gorilla --
nearly 15 feet high. The GROUND TREMBLES from the force.
A nearby Land Rover bounces two feet into the air from the
His canines are fully exposed. Thick, black hair on his
crest stand erect. Deep brown eyes aglow as he gives
another DEAFENING CALL. This is JOE. Backlit by the sun
he seems to encompass the forest.
PUSH IN CLOSE ON Gregg's reaction. In complete awe.
Don't anybody move.
of his wits)
How about... I move... just over
22 CONTINUED: (4) 22
Pindi scurries for cover behind the frozen, awe-
ANGLE - JOE
moves to the cage and peers inside. The LEOPARD paces and
HISSES. Joe straightens up bi-pedally and pounds his
massive chest with his fist. The hollow POK-POK-POK ECHOES
off the mountain.
Joe raises his hand again and smashes the top off the
cage, as if it were made of matchsticks. The leopard
leaps out of the cage and dashes safely into the forest.
JOE bares his teeth and ROARS at Gregg, as if to say
"stay off my mountain." His mission accomplished, Joe
quickly turns and starts back for tree cover.
Silence. Everyone is open-mouthed, unable to believe
what they have just seen...
Then Greg snaps out of it. Bursting into action, he runs
to the humvee, motions to Pindi.
Come on!! We're going after him!
What is this 'we'? There is no
way my men will ever agree to...
Gregg yells to the paralyzed trackers:
Three times your price.
Triple your fee.
That's what it's all about. The men get a move on,
running for the vehicles as fast as they can.
ENGINES REV, DOORS SLAM, as the trackers ready for the
chase. All four cars pull out.
22A OMITTED 22A
23 EXT. MEADOW 23
All is silent for a moment, then Joe EXPLODES INTO FRAME.
Joe hears the DRONE of ENGINES -- turns to see --
23 CONTINUED: 23
The caravan, looking like the cavalry in a Western, comes
charging over the hill.
Gregg's humvee comes crashing over a ridge in pursuit of
Joe. Gregg yells out to the cars around him:
Herd him towards me! I gotta get
Gregg grabs his DNA stick and grins at Pindi.
Pindi realizes with a sickening feeling that Gregg is
having a major rush.
The lead car, a Land Rover, comes right up behind Joe.
BACK TO SCENE
Joe -- sensing the car next to him, turns and ROARS...
The guy with the tranquilizer RIFLE panics and FIRES!
BACK ON JOE
The dart hits his arm. Uh oh. That was a mistake.
INT. LAND ROVER
The tracker has just enough time to get a good look at
Joe's furious expression before... WHAM!
Joe throws his shoulder into the side of the Land Rover,
sending it tumbling end over end into a ravine.
Disgusted with the guys' stupidity.
23 CONTINUED: (2) 23
Experienced trackers, my ass!
Pindi shrugs. The two of them watch as Joe continues
running, then changes directions and starts heading
straight for them. The humvee has to swerve out of the
way to avoid colliding with Joe.
FOLLOW JOE as he books across the meadow in the opposite
direction, now. The modified Land Rover with the hot
seat attached to the hood swerves around and chases Joe.
They catch up, and the tracker climbs into the hot seat,
readying a metal clamp attached to a chain...
tries to yell across at him.
No, we don't want to...
Too late, the guy's slapped the clamp onto Joe's arm.
Joe ROARS, tries to shake off the chain, then speeds up.
unspools rapidly, whipping out from the front of the
modified Land Rover. Quickly, it grows taut and now the
Rover is being pulled by Joe. The driver slams on the
brakes with both feet, but all that does is tilt the front
end upwards, digging up clods of dirt as they're dragged
feels the increased pull, and is starting to get annoyed.
He heads right for...
STAND OF TREES
The guy in the hot seat is battered by branches and leaves
as they're dragged through the trees.
BACK ON HUMVEE
Now circling around the stand of trees, trying to catch up
with Joe when he emerges from the opposite side.
Hold the wheel!
23 CONTINUED: (3) 23
Gregg hands the wheel over to Pindi as he reaches for
his DNA gun...
Joe has just emerged from the tree stand, dragging the
thoroughly-battered, modified Land Rover and its dazed
occupants. Joe sees the humvee heading towards him.
CLOSE ON JOE
His brow furrows. Is he coming up with a plan? He makes
a ninety degree turn...
BACK ON GREGG
Who is intently screwing a telescoping extension on the
DNA plug gun. Pindi gapes at what Gregg is doing.
I hope you are planning on
throwing that at him, because...
Pindi! Look out!
Pindi looks forward again just in time to see...
Pulled taut between Joe and the modified Land Rover, has
become a moving clothesline, and the humvee is heading
right into its path. Pindi tries to swerve, but they
can't avoid it. He ducks and...
Gregg leaps out of the car, hurdling the chain, just as...
It shears the top right off the vehicle!
Gregg tumbles to the ground, as the humvee rolls to a stop
nearby. Meanwhile, the --
is SPINNING OUT, still connected to Joe. Joe is almost
curious about the chain. He begins to pull back as the
modified Land Rover circles him. The modified Land Rover
bucks -- and for a second there is a standstill. Then Joe
23 CONTINUED: (4) 23
And the chain, the winch, the tracker in the hot seat...
in fact, the entire axle of the modified Land Rover, are
pulled from their moorings.
The tracker racks up against a tree, followed closely by
his chair and winch...
The axle tumbles to a stop...
The LAND ROVER COLLAPSES like a stack of cards.
stands at the edge of the field, observing his victory.
Then he beats his chest and ROARS.
Pindi and his men run to the one remaining car, the
flatbed lorry. They all pile in and speed away across
the field. Pindi sees something up ahead, yells at the
The LORRY SCREECHES to a halt, right next to Gregg, who is
stumbling towards them.
Hurry up, bro! Get in!
Pindi watches as Gregg stumbles around to the back of the
truck. But instead of getting in, he grabs a silver case
and pulls it off.
Excuse me, boss, but please, I
would like to avoid being killed.
Gregg flips opens the case, revealing a video camera. He
hoists it up, and barely able to walk, takes one last
look at Pindi and the bruised and busted-up trackers.
Get those men down the mountain.
They need help.
Gregg takes off after Joe. Pindi can't believe it.
23 CONTINUED: (5) 23
He slaps the driver on the shoulder.
Get us out of here.
They PEEL OUT of there...
Staring down the path of crushed growth that Joe has left
in his wake. He takes a deep breath, then exhales. Then
he heads off into the jungle.
24 EXT. PANGANI FOREST - MOVING - DAY 24
FOLLOW Gregg DOWN a wide trail of broken limbs leading
into the densest part of the mountain. Thorns and
stingers scratch Gregg as he fights his way through.
THROUGH VIDEO CAMERA
The green paradise of the mountain rushes right AT us.
Bright blossoms and strange insects. The sun diffuses
in daggers of light.
EXT. PANGANI FOREST - BACK WITH GREGG - DAY
Gregg climbs over a fallen tree. Ducks under some low
branches. Stops to catch his breath. He listens
intently. Takes another step forward. Hears a TWIG
THROUGH VIDEO CAMERA
PAN RIGHT. Joe springs out from hiding -- as gorillas
love to do to enemies. He charges Gregg and cuffs him
onto his back. Joe is in full attack mode -- eyes wide,
teeth exposed. He snatches Gregg by the foot.
screams as he's jerked helplessly into the air. Joe
shakes Gregg viciously -- then whips him back and forth,
knocking him against a sapling. Gregg fights to free
himself but he's no match for Joe's strength. He knows
Joe is going to hurt him badly -- maybe kill him.
Joe cocks his arm -- to crush Gregg against a wide tree
24 CONTINUED: 24
Joe looks surprised, caught with his hand in the cookie
GREGG'S UPSIDE-DOWN POV
A beautiful young woman is standing ten feet from him.
BACK TO SCENE
ON Jill -- she looks at Gregg like he's the lowest form
of life on earth.
... drop him.
And Joe does, dropping Gregg hard to the ground. On his
CUT TO BLACK.
25 OMITTED 25
26 INT. VILLAGE INFIRMARY - DAY 26
OVER BLACK, we hear the MURMUR of VOICES, speaking in
Swahili. PICTURE FADES UP...
LOOKING UP AT KWELI, 12 years older than we last saw
him. Kweli looks right INTO CAMERA, then says something
over his shoulder in Swahili.
Bruised and bandaged, Gregg blinks, trying to bring his
eyes into focus.
26 CONTINUED: 26
Where am I?
The infirmary. You've been
unconscious for an entire
night. You're lucky to be
Gregg winces as he slowly raises himself to his elbows.
Strange, I don't feel lucky.
He takes in his surroundings; a simple infirmary. THROUGH
the open door, he can see the village he started his trip
You crashed your vehicle. It
is waiting for you outside.
You're an injury behind. The
kicker was getting dropped on my
head by N'gai Zamu.
Think that's funny? You should
N'Gai Zamu is just a legend, my
No, he's a giant gorilla with a
mean backhand. There was also
Gregg tries to get up. It's an ordeal.
26 CONTINUED: (2) 26
Out in the jungle. She saved my
life. A beautiful woman.
Kweli gives him a patronizing smile.
You were dreaming, Mr. Ohara.
No. I never remember my dreams.
Gregg sits up in bed and swings his feet to the floor.
Kweli turns and heads for the door.
It would be wise for you to see a
doctor in Kimjayo. I took the
liberty of calling one for you.
Don't need one.
But he is expecting you. If you
can drive, you should leave today.
Kweli walks out of the room. Gregg squints after him,
sensing that something is up.
27 EXT. INFIRMARY - LATER 27
Gregg walks gingerly out of the infirmary, looking like
crap. He squints in the bright midday sun, then spots...
The humvee, a mere shadow of its former self, parked
right near the infirmary, covered with a tarp. Gregg
pulls the tarp back to find all his expensive equipment,
a good deal of it broken, pitchforked into the back. He
He starts rummaging through the stuff, looking for some-
thing in particular. Then he finds it -- his video
camera, covered with mud, but seemingly in good condi-
tion. He pushes the record button. Light goes on.
He pops open the tape slot, and his face falls. The
video cassette has been removed.
27 CONTINUED: 27
Just then, a group of village schoolchildren dash by
Gregg. They are giggling, as if they had dared each
other to run up to the stranger. They sing out the one
English word they know as they pass:
Hello! Hello! Hello!
Gregg shakes his head, smiling, and follows them with his
eyes as they fly by like a flock of birds. He watches as
they dart into the open air market, playfully knocking
aside a familiar individual:
Kweli. We watch from...
as Kweli steps into a fruit stall, letting the kids fly
Then Gregg's eyes widen as a tall and lovely young
woman steps INTO VIEW next to Kweli.
BACK TO SCENE
He watches as they shop together, realizing that this is,
in fact, the beautiful young woman who saved him.
28 OMITTED 28
29 EXT. OUTDOOR MARKET - THAT MOMENT 29
Kweli and Jill have a familial ease with each other as
they pick out their groceries.
Our visitor must be feeling
better. He should be leaving
the infirmary today.
Jill looks up toward the infirmary and sees Gregg leaning
against his truck, watching them.
Looks like he just has.
29 CONTINUED: 29
Jill nods across the street. Kweli looks and sees that
Gregg is leaning against his Jeep, arms folded across
his chest, staring at them with a mixture of amusement
He's walking so soon. Joe should
have dropped him harder.
He's not a poacher, Jill. He's
working for an animal conservancy
He can't be trusted. He's an
A grateful outsider. He told me
he was saved yesterday by a woman.
A beautiful woman.
Jill looks at Kweli sharply, then back across the street
at Gregg, whose eyes continue to assess her. She looks
straight back at him, locking into his gaze.
And what did you tell him?
What could I tell him? He knows
what he saw. He's not a fool.
Jill and Gregg are still holding each other's eyes.
I'll be the judge of that.
Across the street, Gregg is breaking into a big, slow
smile. It unnerves Jill. Kweli, always Jill's
protector, catches the action between the two of them and
bristles a bit -- but Jill has already turned her back
and taken off through the back of the market.
30 EXT. PANGANI FOREST - DAY 30
If Ruth Young was suited to these woods, her daughter was
born to them.
30 CONTINUED: (A1) 30
She hikes through the forest effortlessly, as though it
were her own back yard.
As she walks near the banks of a river, however, she
stops. She listens carefully, sensing something out
there, in the jungle.
BEHIND TREE (NEARBY)
Gregg, his video camera in one hand, stands stock still
behind a tree, trying to avoid being discovered. He is
absolutely drenched in sweat, the long hike clearly much
harder than Jill has made it look.
30 CONTINUED: 30
BACK TO JILL
Still listening. All she can hear are the familiar
SOUNDS of the JUNGLE. A moment passes, then she shakes
it off and keeps moving.
31 EXT. WATERFALL - CONTINUOUS ACTION 31
Jill comes out into a clearing, bordered by a large pool
at the base of a magnificent waterfall. She pulls a
flashlight out of her back pack and, in the same motion
her mother used to summon her, begins waving it back and
forth into the surrounding forest.
watches this bizarre ritual, wondering what Jill could
possibly be doing.
JOE'S POV - DEEP IN WOODS
The beam of light cuts through the deep green darkness of
BACK TO SCENE
Jill continues waving the flashlight, waiting for a
response. Then, we hear the sound of SOMETHING LARGE
The thunderous sound making him nervous...
Not so Jill. She waits calmly, at first, as the FOOT-
STEPS APPROACH. Then, as the branches begin to bend and
break, and we get our first glimpse of fur, she smiles.
Mighty Joe Young emerges from the brush, not growling,
not threatening, but rather looking like a puppy coming
to greet his master.
31 CONTINUED: 31
(cooing to Joe)
Hey, handsome. How are you?
Absolutely thunderstruck, watching in awe as the giant
GORILLA bows his head so Jill can scratch behind his ear.
He makes LOW, GUTTURAL SOUNDS that are the gorilla
equivalent of a purr.
Jill inspects Joe, checking him to see if he's okay. Her
voice is full of gentle concern and worry.
What were you thinking yesterday,
letting those men see you? Don't
do that again, okay? Please.
(praying to herself)
We see the fear in Jill's face, knowing that Joe can't
understand what she's saying. She shakes it off and
brightens. She gives Joe a playful tussle, then covers
her eyes with her hands.
One. Two. Three. Four...
It takes only a moment for Joe to respond. His eyes open
wide, he looks in every direction then, suddenly, crashes
into the woods!
... seven, eight, nine, ten.
Ready or not, here I come!!
And Jill runs into the woods after Joe.
32 EXT. PANGANI FOREST - DAY 32
Jill walks through the forest, searching for Joe. It
should be clear by now that they are playing hide and
32 CONTINUED: (A1) 32
Oh, my God! I can't find Joe.
She stomps around, pretending not to see him. Of course,
she knows exactly where he is. He's so big, the tree
he's standing behind barely hides one leg.
CLOSE ON JOE
He can't help peeking. He loves this.
32 CONTINUED: 32
Jill pokes her head around every tree.
Come out, come out... wherever
Then, pretending that she just spotted him, she charges
right at him.
I found you!
JOE ROARS, delighted by their game. Jill tussles with
him, then gets a mischievous look in her eye.
Suddenly, she dashes into the woods -- where she's
actually small enough to hide well. Joe passes by her,
moving through the foliage.
In a moment we see how much he fears actually losing her
-- he begins to WHIMPER -- and spins around. He stands
up to his full height, beats his chest and shakes his
head in frustration. He can't bear the idea that she is
A beat, then Joe starts tearing bushes out by their roots,
hunting for Jill. He sees one BUSH RUSTLING, goes over
and rips it out of the ground, revealing...
Standing there, completely exposed, filming all this
with his dented video camera. He looks up at Joe
towering over him.
Gregg stumbles backwards, trapping himself against a tree
as Joe advances. Remembering what one should do when
faced with an enraged gorilla. Gregg averts his eyes and
rolls into a ball, assuming the submissive position. He's
like a pill bug, playing dead, protecting the back of his
neck with his arms.
Joe raises his mighty fist -- it looks like he might
smash Gregg anyway... but then he hears Jill's voice.
32 CONTINUED: (2) 32
Joe! It's okay.
Joe stops and turns his head to Jill.
Now get out of here, Joe. Run.
Joe looks at her, not sure why her tone's gotten so stern.
Run, Joe. Run!
Joe looks back at Gregg, still curled into a tight ball.
He gives him a playful, parting swat for good measure
before obeying Jill and running into the forest.
The "little swat" is powerful enough to send Gregg rolling
like a croquet ball into a thicket of bushes. Painfully,
he uncurls, plucking nettles out of his legs as Jill
Nobody better try and tell me I
Jill reaches down to Gregg. He thinks she's offering him
a hand up.
No... no. I think I'm... oh.
Gregg's voice trails off as Jill reaches for the video
camera, not him. She examines the camera.
Hmm -- it looks okay. I think
it's still working.
Oh -- good.
Well -- I can fix that.
32 CONTINUED: (3) 32
Jill smashes the camera into a tree, breaking it for
good. She drops the pieces onto the ground and takes off.
(calling after her)
Hey -- wait a minute!
32A EXT. RIVER BANK 32A
Jill is making good time down the rough terrain of the
river bank. Gregg catches up to her.
Hang on a second -- what's the
You. You're the problem. That's
the second time I've stopped you
from being ripped in two -- and
next time I'm just going to watch.
You saved me. I'm grateful. Now
I just want to talk to you -- Miss
Jill stops in her tracks and shoots Gregg a surprised
look. He explains gently.
I know who you are. I read all
your mother's work. Books...
notes... everything I could get a
So it's why I'm here.
Jill gives a short nod, accepting this tribute. She
turns back around and resumes walking. Gregg follows,
bursting with questions.
32A CONTINUED: 32A
She knew about Joe? Did she have
a theory on him? How old is he?
I can't believe you kept him a
secret all these years. How'd you
By keeping people like you off the
You got this all wrong. I want to
You're not helping anybody here.
You're just making matters worse.
This mountain will be crawling with
people, thanks to you. You go back
to wherever you're from, put the
The word is out. It's done. I'm
not the only one who saw him, remember?
Rare animals mean big money and Joe's
as rare as they come. It's going to
be tough to protect him here. Maybe
Jill spins on him.
'Here' is Joe's home. And 'here'
is where he must live. He doesn't
have a choice.
That's not true. Place that sent
me could take care of Joe. They
got the facilities...
Just what Joe needs. A cage.
32A CONTINUED: (2) 32A
Not a cage, a preserve. A place
where he'll be free from poachers,
free from land development...
But he won't be free.
How long do you think Joe will
stay free here? I'm telling you
there's gonna be a hunt starting
on this mountain tomorrow. And I
don't expect they'll give it up
until one of them bags the prize.
You should think about it.
Jill hates the ring of truth in Gregg's words. She turns
and takes off down the mountain alone.
33 OMITTED 33
34 EXT. RAHA PRESERVE AND CONSERVANCY (BOTSWANA) - SUNSET 34
Giraffe roam the grounds of a lush, private preserve,
surrounding a large, opulent, main house.
Quite an impressive facility you
have here, Mr. Strasser.
35 INT. LODGE - SUNSET 35
STRASSER sits in a leather chair, in an expensively-
appointed room. His rough exterior has been polished
by money, but his cold eyes have not changed. Sitting
across from him is ANDERSON, the button-down director of
the Cascade Park Zoo.
Tell me, why is it that you keep
such a low profile about this
Our only interest is the well-
being of our animals.
35 CONTINUED: 35
Well, I think I've come to the
right place for Morris.
Anderson puts some photos on the coffee table.
CLOSE ON PHOTOS
of a full-grown Bengal tiger, looking miserable in a
fairly small enclosure. We see insignias for the Cascade
Park Zoo on the fences around him.
You can see how depressed he is.
He's grown out of his habitat, and
our zoo doesn't have the budget to
do anything about it. That's why
he needs a new home.
Strasser reaches out to pick up the photos, and as he
CLOSE ON STRASSER'S HAND
A black leather glove-like apparatus with a thumb and
forefinger in place that gives the appearance of a whole,
if menacing, hand.
Poor thing. Yes, he will be much
happier here on our preserve.
Back to the wild. Free again.
A door opens behind Anderson. Garth sticks his head in
Phone for you. Urgent.
Will you excuse me, Mr. Anderson?
Strasser turns and follows Garth through the door,
35A INT. BACK ROOM (RAHA) - CONTINUOUS ACTION 35A
... a room that would give dear Mr. Anderson nightmares.
A man in a white smock is packaging poached rhino horns
into boxes. The boxes, labelled medical supplies, are
being sent to addresses in China.
On another wall, in front of a bank of telephones, is a
dry-erase board covered with animal names, and their
See what our friends in China will
give us for a Bengal tiger, Garth.
Strasser hands Garth the photo of the tiger.
Looks like a big fellah.
I'll set a new record with you.
Strasser picks up one of the phones. He idly plays with
a rhino horn as he talks to Pindi.
It's about time already! You know
how long I am waiting? A man can
only carry so much change...
What do you want, Pindi?
35B EXT. VILLAGE - SUNSET 35B
A small street of stores -- all covered in brightly-
painted advertisements. Outside one store is a lone pay
phone -- manned by Pindi. Pindi speaks furtively, so as
not to be overheard. INTERCUT conversation.
35B CONTINUED: 35B
Not what I want, boss, what you
want. How about a giant gorilla?
Big as three men, two thousand
pounds, at least.
You've been drinking, haven't you?
Swear to God, boss. Saw him with
my own two eyes.
Don't waste my time again.
There is a CLICK on the LINE.
35B CONTINUED: 35B
Now a DIAL TONE. Pindi looks at the phone.
I'll catch him and charge you
double, madar chode.
Pindi smashes the phone down on its cradle.
36 EXT. VILLAGE - MORNING 36
In the center of the village, two trucks of rough-looking
men are gassing up their vehicles. A third truck arrives
from the other direction.
It's a POACHER we recognize, one of Pindi's men,
accompanied by a half dozen others, all armed with rifles.
ANGLE ON JILL
She steps out in front of the Poacher's truck. The
driver SLAMS on the BRAKES, stopping within an inch of
striking her. Alarmed, the Poacher stands in his seat
and screams at Jill.
Stupid girl! What do you think
Jill calmly walks up to the Poacher's side of the vehicle.
I found this in the forest this
morning. Thought maybe you
dropped it and might want it back.
With that, Jill brazenly steps forward and throws a net
over his head. It's a poacher's net.
Enraged, the Poacher slowly pulls the net off his head.
The other poachers find the scene hilarious. It
Poaching is illegal! Get off this
36 CONTINUED: 36
The Poacher and his driver exchange a significant look.
Nodding to each other, they start to climb out of their
truck, eyes glaring at Jill...
Jill! Jill Young!
Everyone turns to see Kweli walking quickly towards them.
Come here immediately! You are
needed at the school this moment!
Kweli is trying to give her a way to save face. Jill
knows it, but she doesn't want to back down before the
Kweli snatches Jill by the elbow and drags her away. The
poachers hiss and cat call. Jill walks away slowly. She
wants to make sure they know she's not running.
Kweli hisses furiously into her ear:
We have to talk. Now.
36A INT. RUTH'S HUT - DAY 36A
This is Jill's mother's hut. It is full of significant
mementos -- her mother's old bulletin board, photographs,
research, etc. It feels homey.
Kweli, distraught with worries over Jill, rips a photo of
her mother from the wall and shoves it in front of her face.
Your mother slept in this bed.
She worked at this desk. She died
in this jungle. Do you plan to do
everything just like her?
My mother would have been proud of
what I did today.
Proud? Of that foolishness out
there? Of you risking your life?
36A CONTINUED: 36A
She risked hers -- why shouldn't I
risk mine? I'm just doing what I
promised, and I promised to protect
Joe. And I'm going to do
everything I can to stop the
You can't stop them.
Even she couldn't stop them.
Jill holds the photo of her mother tightly in her hands.
Jill, the other gorillas have
moved south, to safer lands...
but Joe has stayed behind.
They don't want him. They won't
let him come.
Maybe... or maybe you won't let
He needs me.
It's only half the truth, and they both know the other
half -- that Jill needs Joe, too. Kweli sighs. He puts
his hand protectively on Jill's shoulder.
The danger here is building for
both of you. I feel it -- and so
Jill looks away. She knows he's right.
I know what the American is
Jill looks into Kweli's eyes. He must be very worried,
to be checking around like this.
Think about what he has to say.
That's all I ask.
Kweli leaves Jill to mull it over.
37 OMITTED 37
38 EXT. GAS PUMP - DAY 38
A poacher's truck, carrying six rowdy poachers, speeds
down the main street, kicking up a cloud of dust. The
dust cloud envelops Gregg, making him cough as he repacks
some of the damaged equipment in his truck.
38 CONTINUED: 38
He hears more coughing behind him and turns to find Jill
at his shoulder. She has a troubled air about her --
clearly she is wrestling with something.
Gregg nods, continuing packing.
I'm gonna head up the mountain.
See if I can throw some of the
poachers off the trail.
You think it will work?
Not for long. Just trying to buy
you a little time, that's all.
With more of these bastards
arriving every hour, I suggest you
get Joe as deep into the jungle as
you can -- as fast as you can.
Across the street at the bar, a chorus of CACKLES rises
from a group of drunken poachers. The mere sound of them
makes Jill dig her fingers into her arms with anxiety.
She looks across at the poachers -- and then back to
Gregg, packing up. If she doesn't say this right now,
this second, she never will. She snaps.
Okay we'll go.
Gregg turns and looks at her.
Me and Joe. To that place of
yours in California.
(off Gregg's look)
What?! You didn't think you could
take him without me, did you?
38 CONTINUED: (2) 38
Gregg stops packing to look squarely at Jill.
You're sure about this?
No. I am completely unsure about
this. But I'll do it. On one
I'm in charge of Joe.
Done? Just like that? That was
way too easy.
You're not a very trusting soul
are you, Miss Young?
No, I'm not.
Tough, isn't it? Trying to measure
me up -- decide if I'm a fraud...
... or a fool.
Gregg smiles, half sour, half amused.
Well, I'd like to know if you're
a bona fide lunatic or just a
mixed up monkey girl but -- but I
guess we'll have to take our
chances and figure it out as we go
Jill snorts. Gregg looks her straight in the eye.
38 CONTINUED: (3) 38
Come on, Jill. Trust it. You'll
be in charge of Joe.
Let's shake on it.
I don't shake. That's not how we
make pacts around here.
Alright, how do you make pacts
You have to endure a bite from a
You'll have a high fever and
hallucinations. You'll say
things -- lots of things. We'll
hear what's in your heart. Then,
if your intentions prove true, the
pact is made.
Gregg nods to himself, considering.
A spider bite and hallucinations?
Then you'll trust me and let me
That's right. Well?
Gregg cocks his head.
Well... I think... that's the
biggest load of crap I've ever
Jill smiles. She's satisfied. This is the answer she
was looking for.
38 CONTINUED: (4) 38
Good. Maybe you're not a fool
Gregg scoffs, realizing she was only testing him. Jill
turns and starts walking away. Gregg calls after her.
Get your things together. Fast.
We're getting out of here as soon
as we can.
Gregg watches her go, head held high like a queen. He
chuckles to himself. It's hard not to appreciate this
39 EXT. MOUNTAIN TRAIL - MOVING - DAY 39
Jill bursts INTO FRAME -- racing at full stride, long
hair flowing -- so reminiscent of that little girl we saw
before -- a wild mixture of fluid grace and strength.
The trees seem to fly apart behind her revealing Joe --
running with her. As if speed alone could make their
40 EXT. MEADOW - DAY 40
Jill watches the clouds rush by the mountaintop. Joe
stands next to her, looking out at the mountain valley
where they've grown up together.
Wind sweeps down from the peak. The trees bow and bend
gracefully. To Jill, the mountain has never seemed more
beautiful. She looks at Joe -- magnificent against the
natural tableau of his world. She looks at him, worry on
her face about what is about to happen to him.
He looks at her trying to understand.
I don't know what else to do.
CRANE UP so we can see Joe and Jill against the Edenic
40A EXT. WILDLIFE CONSERVANCY - MOUNTAIN TOP - MORNING 40A
Backlit against a blue sky. PAN DOWN as the wind RUSTLES
the TREES and a flock of small birds appear and disappear
like a storm cloud. CONTINUE DOWN PAST a waterfall, as
we COME TO a grassy field, then a moat, then, finally, a
railing at the edge of an observation area.
40A CONTINUED: 40A
That what we are looking at is not, in fact, the African
landscape, but rather a fabricated habitat, encircled
by a sprawling campus of stucco buildings.
Workers in matching uniforms with the "CALIFORNIA ANIMAL
CONSERVANCY" logo on them, run back and forth, a hive of
activity in anticipation of the new arrival.
PULL IN ON two of them, walking and talking: DR. HARRY
RUBEN, the Conservancy's Director and Chief Zoologist,
and DR. CECILY BANKS, an African-American veterinarian
with long braids stuffed under a baseball cap.
This is crazy. All I said was,
'Bring back some blood samples.'
So what does he bring back? A
Don't even pretend to be upset,
You know how much it cost to
convert the tiger habitat? Try
half our operating budget.
You'll be on the cover of National
Hey, I just said it was crazy. I
didn't say it wasn't worth it.
They continue walking, and we...
41 OMITTED 41
45 EXT. SAN DIEGO FREEWAY RAMP - MORNING 45
A busy freeway, near Los Angeles. FIND a car with a
California Animal Conservancy logo on the side...
46 INT. CAR - MOVING 46
Gregg drives. Jill, almost bouncing with anxiety and
excitement, rides shotgun.
There are more cars on this
road than I've seen in my
entire life, total.
Welcome to L.A.
Jill whips around in her car seat and peers anxiously
through the back window.
We see the cab of a large trailer following their car.
BACK TO SCENE
Think he's okay back there? I
think he's okay back there.
Three seconds pass.
You think he's okay back there?
Don't worry. He's doing fine.
Sorry. I'm a little tense.
Yeah. I think he's okay back
Good. Thanks for the update.
Jill pulls herself away from the back window and faces
front again. She stares out at the nondescript sprawl of
greater L.A. It looks like non-place. There is no
46 CONTINUED: 46
So this is L.A.
It all looks the same. How do you
know where you are?
Beach is that way, mountains are
that way, Mexico's that way,
Canada's that way. Don't worry
about the rest -- you'll never see
it through the smog.
Gregg glances over at Jill. She is drumming her fingers
in her lap with nerves, not listening to a word he's
Gregg smiles with empathetic amusement.
Maybe you better check and see if
Joe's okay back there.
Jill obediently whips around in her seat to check for
Joe -- then realizes Gregg was teasing. She settles back
down, facing front again.
47 EXT. SAN DIEGO FREEWAY RAMP - CONTINUOUS ACTION 47
A livestock truck, same conservancy labels, travels right
behind Gregg and Jill's vehicle. Heavy, open air slats
obscure the truck's occupant, but we know who it is.
JOE'S POV - LOOKING OUT
Traffic rushes by, a buffeting rush of air -- the
strangeness of it all frightens Joe -- and makes him
curious. PUSH IN CLOSE ON the air slats as Joe peers out
POV SHOT - MINIVAN
comes INTO FRAME passing by the trailer.
47A INT. MINIVAN 47A
A mom drives her son home from little league. She
listens to an OLDIES station. He looks out the window,
bored. Then his eyes go wide.
PUSH IN CLOSE ON the trailer and Joe's two big eyes
staring out. They lock eyes momentarily.
The boy isn't sure if he's seeing things. Then two
enormous fingers extend out from between the slats and
wave at him.
For the boy it is a beat of pure astonishment. As if a
daydream came real for the moment. The trailer pulls
past leaving the boy wide-eyed, wondering.
48 EXT. CALIFORNIA ANIMAL CONSERVANCY - DAY 48
Gregg and Jill's car pulls onto the grounds of the
California Animal Conservancy. A sprawling campus of
stucco buildings and lifelike habitats, the conservancy
is a state-of-the-art preserve.
The car passes the main gate, where a worker in a
conservancy uniform waves Gregg through. As the live-
stock truck pulls in behind them, the worker picks up
Main gate to Dr. Banks. They're
pulling up now.
49 EXT. JOE'S HABITAT - DAY 49
Cecily clicks off her walkie-talkie, turns and yells to
anyone in earshot.
Elvis is in the building! I
repeat, Elvis is in the building...
On her order, workers in matching conservancy uniforms
start moving into position around Joe's Habitat.
NEAR OBSERVATION AREA
A crane is lowering a platform into place that will
straddle the moat. Harry scowls, seemingly unable to
enjoy the moment.
You hear that, Harry?
From around the conservancy, we can hear the sounds of
the other ANIMALS, SCREECHING, SNARLING, BELLOWING...
They smell him.
Gregg, or the gorilla?
They both turn as...
49 CONTINUED: 49
pulls up right in front of them. Gregg gets out first.
I'm confused, O'Hara. You phone
us to say you're bringing back a
two thousand pound wild animal...
Hello, Harry. Cecily.
Welcome back, baby.
... but security tells me you've
requested no firehoses, no
restraints of any kind...
Let me introduce you to...
How are we supposed to control
the animal? With a giant,
Harry trails off as Jill gets out of the car.
Harry wasn't prepared for somebody this young and
beautiful. Neither was Cecily. They raise their eyebrows
Jill Young, Dr. Harry Ruben -- he
run the place -- and Dr. Cecily
Banks, who makes sure he doesn't
screw it up.
Chief veterinarian. Hi.
Jill steps forward, shy and polite. She extends her hand.
Hello. It's a privilege to meet
49 CONTINUED: (2) 49
Harry is too flustered by Jill to say a word. He just
manages a weird little smile and a sound that's not
Just then, a BANG and a loud GROWL come out of the
trailer. Harry and Cecily almost jump out of their skins.
Coming, Joe! Hold on!
I think he'd like to come out
now -- if you don't mind.
Mind? No, of course I don't mind.
Jill and Gregg look at each other, excited. This is the
moment they've been waiting for. They grin at each other.
Harry? I think it's time you met
They start moving to the trailer...
Harry whirls around and waves over a pair of nerdy, grad-
school-geek conservancy workers, JACK and VERN. They run
eagerly forward to take orders. They gawk at Jill, each
one instantly deciding she is the woman of their dreams.
Harry barks at them, bringing them back to attention.
Jack? Vern? Get the sedatives
We won't need any of that.
Miss Young, we know what we're
doing here, and the best way to...
Gregg steps forward.
Harry -- you and I made an
agreement. The lady's in charge
50 EXT. BACK OF TRAILER 50
Jack and Vern nervously raise the gate to the back of the
trailer. The gate lays flat against a retractable plank
that creates a bridge to the habitat.
JOE GROWLS SOFTLY from inside.
Easy, big boy.
Don't forget who's gonna feed you.
They raise the gate completely. Jill comes up behind
I'll take it from here.
Jack and Vern are only too happy to let Jill take over.
JOE'S POV - FROM TRAILER DOOR
He can hear Jill but sees only her silhouette at first...
and the lush greenery behind her. He GROWLS...
The entire staff, other than Gregg, takes one step back-
ward. Harry whispers in his ear.
You sure she knows what she's
Gregg's watching Jill with quiet admiration.
BACK BY TRAILER
Jill keeps coaxing Joe.
Come on, Joe. Come on, big guy.
passes over the staff of the conservancy. A look of
absolute wonderment on every face as Joe emerges from the
trailer. Cecily nudges Harry, whose jaw is slack. Gregg
sees this reaction, and beams.
50 CONTINUED: 50
Joe takes a step forward. He looks out across the plat-
form into the sanctuary -- taking in the familiar trees
and flowers the staff has planted for him.
ON HARRY AND CECILY
Completely overwhelmed by the sight of this massive
creature. Cecily manages a few words.
That is one, big gorilla.
BACK TO JOE
His head turning sideways at the sound of her voice. A
tense moment, as Joe glares at the assembled crowd. He
is magnificent. Awesome. Staggering.
Harry knows a photo-op when he sees one. He whispers
loudly to Vern:
Hey! What do I pay you for? Get
some shots -- of me, too.
Vern picks up a camera and scrambles to get into
position -- but he's so nervous that he trips, sprawling
on the ground and startling Joe. Joe turns and scampers
back into the trailer.
Vern gets back on his feet, red-faced. Jill glares at
Harry. Gregg just chuckles at the stupidity. Harry
What -- he did it.
Jill walks to the edge of the trailer. She coos into the
Come on, ya big baby. Come on
back. Do I have to come in there
and get you myself?
She heads into the trailer after him. Harry and Cecily
exchange incredulous looks.
50 CONTINUED: (2) 50
We can hear JOE making PANTING and HOOTING sounds, almost
as if he is trying to reason with Jill. Jill coos and
makes her own soothing sighs and sounds. Their noises
bounce off the metal trailer walls.
Everyone exchanges curious glances. Miss Young is one
strange girl. Gregg just smiles.
A moment passes -- and then the trailer begins to rock
as Jill backs out of it, followed by Joe. She leads him,
walking backwards, down the platform, then steps off so
he can pass.
That's it. That-a-boy.
Joe hesitantly takes a few steps forward on his own.
(under his breath)
Go on, Joe. Go on.
Everyone holds their breath as Joe completes the crossing.
Gregg looks over at Jill. Her eyes are glistening.
Joe heads up through the back of the habitat, already
investigating his new home. Everyone exhales.
Alright. Take the platform away.
Jill is instantly alarmed. She turns to Harry.
Hold on -- I'm going in with him.
Harry shakes his head and motions for the workers to
proceed with removing the platform.
No. We can't allow that. We
don't have insurance to cover
anyone in there who's not an
50 CONTINUED: (3) 50
But you said -- I'm in charge of
Yes. And I'm in charge of this
Jill looks over at Gregg, distraught. Gregg shakes his
head, disgusted -- he sees exactly where this is going.
50A INT. HALLWAY OF CONSERVANCY CONDO - DAY 50A
Jill and Gregg are at a door that Gregg is unlocking.
Jill paces angrily and storms through the door as Gregg
opens it. CAMERA FOLLOWS Gregg in. He's carrying her
'I'm in charge of this facility.'
Who is that guy? I bet that man
hasn't spent one night outside in
his entire life.
You said I was going to be in
charge of Joe. I should be
sleeping down there, with him, not
in this... this...
(taking in the
Gregg is grim and quiet. He thinks what she's saying is
true. He sets her bags down, detesting the antiseptic
space as much as she does.
Feeling claustrophobic, Jill dashes to the window and
tries to open it. It's a double-paned window. The top
doesn't open at all -- the bottom cranks open three
inches, barely letting in air. Jill pushes on the
What's wrong with this window?
(pushing on it)
That's all it opens? That's all?
50A CONTINUED: 50A
This is wrong. This is all
Please, fix it, or do something...
It only takes a second. Gregg grabs a pillow from the
couch and lays it against the top portion of the window.
He gives it one swift karate chop, breaking out the glass.
He methodically breaks out the remaining shards, dusts off
the pillow, and carefully replaces it on the couch.
Jill just stares at him, open-mouthed. Gregg looks her
straight in the eye.
I'll do everything I can for you.
They hold each other's eyes.
Gregg walks out.
50B EXT. CONSERVANCY - NIGHT 50B
The conservancy is quiet at night, except for the
occasional ANIMAL sound rising into the air.
50C INT. JILL'S CONDO - NIGHT 50C
Jill leans on her elbows, staring out her recently-broken
window, a lost look on her face.
51 OMITTED 51
51A EXT. JOE'S HABITAT - THAT MOMENT 51A
The CAMERA LEAVES Jill's window and FINDS Joe, sitting in
his man-made grassy field, looking equally lost and
lonely. He is unsure of what to do with himself, confused
by his surroundings.
51B EXT. JOE'S HABITAT - ANOTHER ANGLE - THAT MOMENT 51B
The CAMERA FINDS Gregg, leaning against the bar at the
edge of the moat. His face is soft as he watches Joe.
Joe lists his mammoth head and looks up towards the right
corner of his habitat. Gregg follows Joe's eyeline and
sees that Joe is looking at a TRANSFORMER. The ELECTRIC
BUZZ reaches Gregg's ear... and he becomes aware of it in
a new way. He hears its HUM the way Joe hears it --
Gregg shakes his head to himself -- why didn't the
designers pay attention to this? He looks back at Joe,
almost apologetically, and is startled to find that:
Joe is looking back at him.
It is the first time these two have had real eye contact,
and for Gregg it is almost overwhelming. Man and beast
read each other's faces, and it is in this moment that
the giant ape becomes more than a phenomenon to Gregg.
Gregg finally feels some of what Jill has been feeling.
He connects to Joe.
And Joe connects to Gregg. It's just a blink of the eye,
a turn of the head -- but it's there. And they both feel
51C OMITTED 51C
55 EXT. CONSERVANCY - NEXT MORNING 55
Cecily runs up to the front of the main building, where
Harry is waiting for her.
Beats me. He collected his
pay check. He's probably in some
jungle by now, not using deodorant.
I think he should be here. This
is his discovery, after all.
Excuse me, Gregg's expertise is
pitching tents, not explaining
primate behavior to the Chairman
of the Conservancy Board.
Know what I think, Harry?
I have a feeling I'm gonna find
I think you're jealous.
Of Gregg? Don't be ridiculous.
I'm crippled with envy.
In the distance, we see a Cadillac approaching on the
Just once I wanted to go into
the field and find a new species...
mollusk, anything. Instead, he
makes the zoological discovery of
And he still has a full head of
55 CONTINUED: 55
That's not funny.
Cecily nods to the road.
The Cadillac comes to a stop in front of them. A
distinguished man in a business suit steps out. This is
ELLIOT BAKER, the Chairman of the Board.
Elliot. Good to see you again.
Harry. Dr. Banks.
He claps his hands together.
So? Let's go see him.
Right this way.
56 INT. CONSERVANCY NEAR JOE'S HABITAT - DAY 56
Harry and Cecily walk with a conservative-looking man in
his fifties, Elliot Baker, the Chairman of the Board of
the conservancy. Harry is working for brownie points,
excitedly pointing out his "important role" in discovering
I always had a suspicion that the
legend coming out of the Pangani
forest might have some truth to
it. It was just a hunch -- sort
of a gut feeling -- but I sent my
field zoologist to check it out.
Cecily shoots a look at Harry. She's not going to let
him grab the glory away from Gregg.
That field zoologist, Dr. O'Hara,
had a theory -- and Joe's blood
work confirms it. The gorillas in
the Pangani carry a recessive gene
that pops up every four or five
generations with this rare form of
56 CONTINUED: 56
And that's where the legend comes
from! That zoologist of yours --
what's his name, Harry?
Pretty damn sharp.
This kills Harry. Cecily snickers. They arrive at the
fence surrounding Joe's habitat.
Here we are.
They walk up to the observation railing. Baker cranes his
neck. Joe's nowhere to be seen.
Where is he?
Joe! Here, Joe!
I told him the Chairman of the
Board was coming and he promised
to come say 'hi.'
Cecily gaps and mouths "kiss ass" behind Baker's back.
Well I don't see him.
Mmmm. We'll feed him. That'll
get him to come out.
I know what I'm doing. Let's open
Cecily hesitantly pulls out her keys to the security gate.
57 OMITTED 57
58A OMITTED 58A
58B INT. JILL'S APARTMENT - DAY 58B
Mementos, photos, and fabrics from home are strewn
around, already adding Jill's warmth and personality to
Jill is standing at the window hanging an African piece
of fabric as a makeshift curtain when a piercing ALARM
RINGS OUT over the compound. Worried by the urgent sound
of the alarm, Jill steps down and hurries out the door.
58C EXT. CONSERVANCY GROUNDS - DAY 58C
Jill runs out of the building and almost collides with
Gregg, who is rushing in..
I was coming to get you.
What is that noise?
The two of them rush off across the compound. As they
do, they pass...
59 JILL'S POV - BUNKER 59
A concrete building that's used to lock down wild
animals. Jill watches, nervously, as conservancy workers
with tranquilizer rifles stream out of the building and
jump into vehicles, heading toward Joe's habitat.
60 EXT. JOE'S HABITAT - DAY 60
Jill and Gregg drive up to the habitat. As they come
close, Gregg finds Cecily.
What the hell is going on?
It's Joe, he's gone crazy!
Jill and Gregg follow Cecily towards...
60 CONTINUED: 60
Conservancy workers have entered Joe's habitat and have
their guns trained on --
who is standing in a clearing, SNARLING and beating his
chest. Which is scaring the crap out of...
who, white as a sheet, hides behind a tree, his hands
shaking. He doesn't dare move an inch, for fear Joe will
The conservancy workers are raising their tranq rifles,
about to fire, when...
Jill and Gregg come running up behind them. Jill yells
60 CONTINUED: 60
Harry! Jump out from behind the
He shakes his head. No way he's gonna jump in front of
Jump out and say 'You found me!'
Do it, Harry!
Joe grabs a bush and tears it from the ground...
The guards aim their rifles, fingers on triggers...
And Harry, having nothing to lose but his life, jumps
out from behind the tree...
You found me!
There is a tense moment, then...
Joe stops growling. In the next instant, he starts
spinning in a circle, gleefully. Then he dashes off and
hides behind a very tiny tree.
completely confused. Jill walks up to him.
He's playing hide and seek.
Jill starts rooting around in the trees, pretending not
to see Joe.
Okay, where are you? Come out,
big guy! Where'd he go?
There you are!
He screams with delight, and spins in a circle again.
As it dawns on everyone that she's actually right, and
that he's really playing, the guards start to lower their
guns. Then they start laughing. An embarrassed Harry
slinks by Gregg, who can't help but chuckle as he leaves.
61 EXT. JOE'S HABITAT - CONTINUOUS ACTION 61
An exhausted Harry catches his breath at the gate around
the habitat. Baker has a thoughtful look on his face.
Put that girl in charge of the
What? Elliot, she's got no
That ape is the best fund-raising
tool this conservancy has ever
seen. He's happy -- I'm happy.
Put her on the payroll.
Baker turns and walks away.
62 EXT. JOE'S HABITAT - CONTINUOUS ACTION 62
Gregg and Cecily watch as Jill plays hide and seek with
Jill dashes away and runs over to Gregg. She is
absolutely glowing, bouncing around with happiness. She
grabs both his arms, jumping up and down.
He's playing! Did you see?
He likes it here! Isn't it great?
Jill surprises Gregg by giving him a hug. Gregg looks over
her shoulder and sees that Joe is giving him the evil eye.
He's jealous. Gregg stares back, equally challenging.
Jill, unaware of the competition, lets go of Gregg and
happily runs back to Joe. Gregg and Joe continue to hold
each other's eyes. Cecily sighs and shakes her head.
Sorry, babe, but in a pissing
match the monkey kicks your ass.
62 CONTINUED: 62
What are you talking about?
Oh please. I was wondering why
you hadn't taken off yet.
Normally, you're out the door soon
as the animal's in his habitat.
You've got an active imagination,
I don't think so. I think Mr.
World Traveller has goo-goo eyes
for the gorilla girl.
Gregg scoffs. But from the look on his face, it's clear
she's hit a nerve.
63 INT. JILL'S APARTMENT - DAY 63
A KNOCK at Jill's apartment door. She opens it and lights
up to see Gregg standing there. Gregg looks past her into
the room. She's made some changes; the bed's on the floor
and a few large potted ferns crowd the room.
Like what you've done with the
Too bad it's always so cold --
somebody broke my window.
She smiles at him and motions for him to come in. Gregg
steps just inside the door and stops.
I just came by to tell you that I
think Joe looks real good out
I know! This is working out --
better than I expected.
... and that I'm hitting the road.
Jill looks at Gregg keenly. He's acting like he's got
something to tell her.
63 CONTINUED: 63
Where you going?
Back to Africa.
For a couple of months.
Jill stays light.
No kidding? When do you leave?
Jill just nods.
Gregg is struggling -- this is more difficult than it's
ever been for him. He tries to be nonchalant...
It's the job, y'know. Always on
the road. It's what I like,
anyway -- can't stand to be caged
They meet eyes. They both know what that means.
You and Joe will be okay...
Jill shrugs, acting like she doesn't care either.
Oh -- of course.
See you when you get back. I'll call you.
63A INT. CONSERVANCY CONDO - HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS ACTION 63A
Gregg turns and heads back down the hall. Jill sticks her
head out and calls after him.
Say hello to Africa for me.
She slams the door to her apartment. Gregg freezes for a
moment, then continues down the hallway alone.
64 EXT. OUTSIDE JOE'S HABITAT - DAY 64
A CNN reporter delivers a remote.
... behind me you see the habitat
of what experts are calling one
of the most important zoological
finds of this century. This is
the home of what's believed to be
the world's largest primate -- a
two thousand pound gorilla named Joe.
We see a shot of Joe, in his habitat, with a conservancy
worker in the f.g., for scale.
Joe has been at the California
Animal Conservancy for a little
more than a month now. He was
brought here from Africa by Dr.
Gregory O'Hara. According to
PULL BACK FROM the screen to reveal...
INT. RAHA PRESERVE AND CONSERVANCY (BOTSWANA) - EVENING
Strasser, in the main room of his preserve, watches the
news report, absolutely riveted. He is polishing a
leather object that we can't clearly make out. Garth
stands behind him.
Strasser is on the edge of his seat, watching the screen.
64 CONTINUED: 64
My God. Pindi was right.
... Joe's remarkable size made him
a natural target for poachers.
Fortunately the California Animal
Conservancy's program in...
The program continues with more shots of Joe. Strasser is
overcome with desire.
He's beautiful. The most
beautiful animal I have ever seen.
And the most valuable, that's for
I want him. He belongs here with
(thinking it over)
It'll be a bit tricky, won't it?
They're not gonna want to part
Wait! Be quiet!
Strasser points to the television...
Intercut with shots of Joe are shots of the conservancy
staff. Jill is among them, and her look of displeasure
with the photographing of Joe makes her stand out from the
staff. This shot is replaced with side by side photographs
of Jill and her mother, Ruth.
... was raised from infancy by
Jill Young, the daughter of famed
primatologist Ruth Young. Their
closeness stems from a tragic
64 CONTINUED: (2) 64
Both Joe and Jill's mothers were
killed by poachers, twelve years
ago, in the Pangani Forest,
orphaning them on the same night.
Emotion surging through him. He realizes now, all at
once, exactly who Joe and Jill are.
Bloody hell. That's the little
Garth stops abruptly, glancing at Strasser's hand. He
knows better than to mention it directly. Strasser looks
CLOSEUP - STRASSER'S HAND
tanned, manicured, and missing the thumb and forefinger.
The leather he's been polishing this whole time is his
prosthetic hand. He straps it back on.
(softly, to himself)
I am always amazed how, if you
wait long enough, the opportunity
for justice finally comes.
Garth watches his boss, who seems lost in his private
dream of revenge. It's a moment before Strasser looks
back at him.
Book us two tickets to America.
We're going to pay a visit to
this incredible animal.
He looks back at the TV, where Jill is on screen.
I think I know how to convince his
current owners to part with him.
And on that foreboding note...
65 OMITTED 65
68 EXT. CONSERVANCY GROUNDS - LATE AFTERNOON 68
CLOSE ON the sleepy face of a shaggy yak. PULL BACK TO
a small group of V.I.P.s being led on a tour by Harry.
This fellow is one of only three
hundred wild yaks remaining on
the planet. There are those who
would ask, why should we care if
this sub-species of yak survives?
We SPOT a man blending in with the group. We recognize
Garth. He looks quite respectable in a suit. The antsy
V.I.P. next to Garth interrupts Harry.
Excuse me. Can we see Joe?
The other V.I.P.s echo this wish. Harry refocuses
You certainly can -- for the mere
price of a 'Diamond Circle
Benefactor Ticket' to tomorrow
The V.I.P.s laugh and groan. Garth takes this moment
to slip away, unnoticed. Harry twinkles at the V.I.P.s.
It's all for a good cause.
68A EXT. CONSERVANCY GROUNDS - ANOTHER AREA - LATER 68A
Harry is waving good-bye to the V.I.P.s, who have
completed their tour.
(under his breath)
Throw money... throw money...
Jill and Cecily drive up in an electric cart. Jill
jumps out, wearing a conservancy T-shirt, and from the
looks of things she's been working hard in the habitat
all day. She's a lovely mess, head to toe.
68A CONTINUED: (A1) 68A
She runs up to Harry, all energy and smiles.
Harry -- see what's in that cart?
That's all we have left of the
lobelia leaves for Joe. Did you
by any chance place that new
order I asked for?
Of course I... actually, perhaps
I wouldn't be surprised if you
forgot, considering you have so
much on your mind.
68A CONTINUED: 68A
I'll go rush order it for you now.
Thank you so much.
Cecily rolls her eyes. Jill winks at her
She's nice. I'm not. If you
forget to order something I need,
I'll knock you upside the head.
Cecily and Harry walk off grumbling at each other like
an old married couple.
I keep telling you -- stop
talking to me like that.
Please. You love it.
Jill smiles to herself. She turns to get back to her
other business, and almost walks right into:
Gregg. He's been leaning against a wall, and he's
caught the whole thing.
Lobelia leaves. Should have
called me in Africa. I would have
brought 'em back for ya.
Jill just stares for a moment, trying to decide how to
handle Gregg's sudden reappearnce. His clothes look
travelled in, and another month in Africa has put a
deeper shade of brown on his face. He's got the ragged
look of someone who's just gotten off a 16-hour flight.
Nice to see you running the
Jill nods and starts walking like someone with urgent
business to attend to. Gregg falls in beside her.
You're back early. What happened?
Run out of humvees to crash?
68A CONTINUED: (2) 68A
No -- just wanted to get back.
Really? And why is that?
Guess I missed Harry.
Gregg smiles teasingly at Jill but she's in no mood to
melt that easily. He continues.
They want me to show my face at
the fundraiser tomorrow night...
and I guess I got my mind fixed on
a good meal in a fine restaurant.
Thought you might like to join me.
No thanks. I still don't want to
'Still'? Haven't you been out of
What's to see? Beach is that way,
mountains are that way, Mexico's
that way, Canada's that way...
Gregg reaches out and slows her down. He wants to see
Come on. Have dinner with me,
You won't find a better excuse
to brush your hair.
Gregg reaches out and pulls a piece of straw from Jill's
tossled locks. She can't help herself anymore -- and
breaks into a slow smile.
I'll brush my hair if you take a
68B EXT. OUTSIDE JOE'S HABITAT - DAY 68B
Garth walks quickly -- but not fast enough to draw
attention. He moves along the handrail at the edge of
the moat. Takes off his sunglasses and looks for Joe.
GARTH'S POV - JOE
is moving slowly among saplings.
CLOSE ON GARTH'S HAND
as he reaches in his pocket and pulls out one of the
poaching dog collars. Garth looks around -- then gives
the metal clappers one loud shake -- quickly drops them
back into his pocket.
Joe reacts immediately to the JANGLING sound. Imprinted
deep in his memory. He rises up quickly and GROWLS
furiously -- pounding his chest -- looking around for the
danger. It's instinctive and frightening. Joe sees Garth
and charges him. Joe's anger takes him into the
electrified wire around the habitat. JOE ROARS at the
shock and recoils.
You remember, don't you?
69 OMITTED 69
69A EXT. VENICE BEACH - NIGHT 69A
It's a beautiful and lively night on Venice Beach.
A few people have made bonfires along the water's
edge, and the MUSIC of a DISTANT bar band wafts
through the air. It's a magic night.
Gregg and Jill walk away from a funky food shack,
festooned with tiny lights. They share a carton of
fish and chips.
So this is what you call a good
meal in a fine restaurant?
(thinks about it)
Gregg grins at Jill, all boyish charm. She stiffles a
smile, struggling to hold on to her pervious indignation.
69A CONTINUED: 69A
Don't point that smile at me.
I'm still mad at you for taking
off and leaving me here all alone.
I'm sorry -- I had things I had
(doesn't buy it)
Besides, you weren't all alone.
You had Joe.
Jill nods at the truth of this. She continues, almost
That's right. Me and Joe. Just
There is a lonliness about Jill as she says this. Gregg
Growing up with him around --
what's it been like for you?
I mean -- most guys are afraid
of girls' fathers. I can just
see a guy telling Joe he'll get
you home by midnight...
Never had anyone to bring home
anyway. All that stuff -- I
don't even know what it's like.
All what 'stuff'?
Whatever you want to call it.
Being in love.
Well -- it's kinda like getting
bit by a makiki spider.
69A CONTINUED: (2) 69A
Jill looks sharply at Gregg. Not so fast.
Oh yeah? How's that?
You'll get a kind of a fever...
Fever? Really. How high?
Oh yeah... and you'll, uh -- find
yourself saying things. Lots of
Gregg is very close to Jill. He wants to kiss her right
now. Jill smiles. She knows what he's doing. Maybe
she'll let Gregg kiss her.
She pulls a beeper off her belt and checks the message.
INSERT - BEEPER READOUT
A message scrolls across that says, "GET BACK HERE!
Jill and Gregg bolt for the car.
70 OMITTED 70
70A OMITTED 70A
71 EXT. JOE'S HABITAT - NIGHT 71
JOE is on a major destructive rampage, pulling up trees,
ROARING, beating his chest.
72 EXT. HABITAT - BY GATE - NIGHT 72
Gregg, Jill, Cecily and Harry watching Joe's rampage from
outside the gate. Jack and Vern run over, covered in mud
and overly exited.
He's ripping out saplings like
And taking out irrigation pipes.
One good yank -- on comes the
He just pulled out another acacia
tree. You know what I paid for
Do you know what's wrong with him?
Cecily shakes her head "no."
Jill's brow is furrowed with concern.
Well could you get in there and
calm him down before he pulls out
the rest of my landscaping?
72A EXT. JOE'S HABITAT - NIGHT 72A
Jill has done her job. Joe is calm but spent, leaning
against a tree.
Jill sits in his lap, softly singing the same lullaby
we heard her mother sing to her 12 years ago.
She caresses the palm of Joe's giant leathery paw, her
tiny white hand almost disappearing in its black folds.
Gregg watches, leaning against a tree not ten feet away.
It is the most intimate moment between Jill and Joe that
he has seen yet. The tableau invokes myth: the beauty
in the service of the beast; the man who has come to
72A CONTINUED: 72A
Gregg comes forward... slowly... but Joe suddenly lifts
his head and GRUNTS at him, a kind of warning bark for
Gregg to stay where he is.
Jill doesn't even notice. She lays her soft cheek
against Joe's giant palm. He cradles her face.
She closes her eyes.
73 INT. CONSERVANCY CONTROL ROOM - CLOSE ON BAKER - NEXT 73
Looking fairly annoyed.
PULL OUT to find: Baker, facing off with Jill. She looks
flushed with emotion as she follows Baker around the room,
Please, Mr. Baker -- I wouldn't be
asking you to postpone the benefit
unless I thought there was
something really wrong with Joe.
And I do.
From what I heard, you sang him to
sleep last night like a baby.
What's really wrong about that?
I swear to you, Joe's still not
himself -- he's nervous and
agitated. He shouldn't be exposed
to a crowd of strangers right now.
If you would only delay the party
a few more...
It's too late, Jill.
No. It's too soon.
73 CONTINUED: 73
Baker gives Jill a hard look.
Miss Young, let me give you some
advice. Stop worrying about Joe,
and start worrying about what
you'll wear tomorrow night.
With that, Baker gives Jill his back and starts a phone
call. Frustrated, Jill turns and walks out of the room.
74 EXT. CONSERVANCY GROUNDS - CONTINUOUS ACTION 74
Jill storms out of Baker's office stewing, head down.
She's walking so fast that she collides into a man coming
the other way.
Oh! Excuse me.
The man rights himself and smiles politely.
No, excuse me. My fault.
It's Strasser. He's tamed his looks and dressed himself
in modest attire. With his damaged hand concealed in his
pocket and a pleasant smile arranged on his face, he has
re-invented himself. He comes across like a friendly
He stares openly at Jill. It flusters her.
I'm so sorry -- it's just -- you
must be Jill Young...
And -- you look just like her.
The words electrify Jill. She almost gasps.
I'm Andre Strasser. An old friend
of your mother's.
I knew her when she was only a
little older than you, and you
were just a tiny thing. What an
incredible woman she was.
74 CONTINUED: 74
Jill is overwhelmed. She immediately melts. She reaches
her hand out to him.
How wonderful to meet you. What
are you doing here?
Strasser pretends to look uncomfortable.
I've come to talk with your Mr.
You see, I am here for Joe. And,
in a way, for your mother, too.
I believe she would agree with
me -- a magnificent wild animal
like Joe needs more space -- like
the Raha Preserve I run in Botswana.
Bingo. Jill's face falls. The guilt is working already.
Raha? A preserve?
I have twenty thousand acres there
where the animals are free to run.
I would like to offer them to Joe.
Here, it's such a shame... to see
Joe living in a man-made habitat
and being used as an attraction
to raise money...
Strasser shakes his head at the inhumanity of it all.
His clever words work on Jill like a charm -- she looks
absolutely crestfallen. He pretends to comfort her.
Oh -- I've upset you! Please... I
only mean to offer an alternative.
I will be attending the event
tomorrow night. Maybe we can talk
more about this matter then.
I'll look forward to it.
Strasser walks off, leaving Jill deep in thought. He
smiles to himself, certain he's landed a direct hit.
75 EXT. JOE'S HABITAT - NIGHT 75
A tent has been set up outside Joe's habitat, the long
end flush up against the railing that surrounds the moat.
76 INT. TENT - NIGHT 76
A small, elegant and tasteful party. A collection of
fifty VIPs, all dressed to the nines, mingle with the
conservancy staff. Tables have been arranged in a
wide semi-circle around a podium, which is on the moat
edge of the tent.
Gregg, wearing a tuxedo, walks up to Cecily and Harry,
also in black tie. Harry is stuffing his face.
Cecily looks admiringly at Gregg.
Don't you clean up nice.
Cecily -- you're ravishing.
Harry -- you got shrimp on your
Harry looks down at his shirt smeared with cocktail sauce.
Of course. I look ridiculous.
No. You look fine.
Jack and Vern)
They look ridiculous.
Jack and Vern are off the dweeb-scale in their ill-fitting
tuxes. They crowd the food table, gobbling down
Hel-lo. Look what we have here.
Gregg and Cecily turn to see what Harry's looking at.
76 CONTINUED: 76
Jill has just stepped into the tent, looking absolutely
stunning. All heads turn too look at her. Intimidated,
she falters at the door, too afraid to enter.
BACK ON STAFF
Like everyone else in the room, Cecily and Harry admire
Jill. Gregg is rendered speechless by her beauty.
I picked out the dress. Aren't I
Gregg picks up a glass of champagne for Jill and starts
crossing the room to her.
Shut your mouth, Harry -- you're
Feeling terribly insecure, Jill gratefully watches Gregg
cross the room towards her. They can't take their eyes
off each other. When he reaches her side, she grabs on
Tell me the truth -- do I look
stupid in this? Everyone is
staring at me.
They're not staring at you.
They're staring at that... uh...
Jill turns and sees a ridiculous-looking decorative
mountain of bananas sitting on a table top just behind
her. It's the creation of an over-zealous caterer.
Jill blushes, realizing Gregg's joking.
76 CONTINUED: (2) 76
Strasser and Garth observe the crowd.
Quite a turnout they have here.
All the better.
Ladies and gentlemen, can I
have your attention, please?
Strasser puts his drink down, taps Garth.
The two of them head for the exit.
AT PODIUM - WITH BAKER
When was the last time you laid
eyes on something so unique, so
spectacular, that it literally
took your breath away? Well,
prepare yourselves, for tonight
you will have such an experience.
WITH STRASSER AND GARTH
Heading for the exit, they hear Baker's words and exchange
a knowing glance -- if they have their way, tonight will
be more of an "experience" than Baker is bargaining for.
Garth slips his hand into his jacket, checking for the
Just as Jack and Vern start coming the other way. Jack's
already had one glass too many, and he's reckless on his
There's nothing in this punch,
man. I could drink twelve of
these and not feel a thing.
76 CONTINUED: (3) 76
Smack! Jack collides with Garth, causing Garth to drop
the dog collar. Vern stoops to retrieve it, (picking it
up by a rusty key that is one of the clanking objects on
Sorry! Here's your... uh... key
Garth grabs it back. Strasser nods coolly to Vern and
Vern and Jack stumble on, none the wiser.
Strasser and Garth slip out.
77 EXT. JOE'S HABITAT - CONTINUOUS ACTION 77
Joe is feeding on bamboo in the center of his habitat
when something abruptly catches his ear. A slight
JANGLING sound, the TIMPANI of WIND CHIMES, floating
through the air. It GROWS LOUDER.
Joe stands up. The hair on his neck bristles. He moves
towards the source of the sound, at the edge of the moat.
Garth stands at the railing surrounding the moat,
rattling the dog collars. It's a sound that haunts him,
from the darkest depths of his memory. He starts to GROWL
and then he sees something that really drives him nuts.
Strasser steps into the light, joining Garth by the
water's edge. He rattles the dog collar, and now...
ZOOM IN ON JOE
His eyes, locking with Strasser's. His pupils narrow,
his nostrils flare, and Joe FREAKS OUT!
He starts tearing up the ground, beating his chest, then
he ROARS and charges straight for them, stopping at the
77 CONTINUED: 77
locking eyes with Joe. This is the first time he has seen
Joe since the animal bit his hand off twelve years ago. A
smile creeps across his face.
So you haven't forgotten me. Good.
(holding up his
Have you forgotten this?
Garth is still rattling the dog collar, enjoying Joe's
display of rage.
What do you think the big guy is
worth? A couple million?
I will get that for the paws alone.
After we sell him off piece by
piece, who knows how much we'll
Garth shakes the dog collar more furiously, making Joe
rush at them again.
Got you going now! That should
rattle the jewelry off the ladies.
Hang it there -- where he can see
And come back for it -- after.
Garth hangs the dog collar on the fence. Joe can hear it
clank in the breeze -- he is in a truly frightening state.
Come, we've done our job here.
As Strasser and Garth leave, Joe looks after them, beside
himself with fury. Outraged, he turns this way and that
way, finally focusing on a tall tree in his habitat.
78 INT. TENT - NIGHT 78
At the podium, Baker is making his presentation to the
... and now to introduce our
remarkable new acquisition, I would
like to bring up to the podium the
director of the conservancy...
A sudden ROAR coming from behind the curtain drowns out
Baker's voice. The audience members jump in their seats,
frightened. Baker is rattled, too, then regains his
Well! I suppose there's no need
to add to that introduction.
The audience laughs and relaxes.
Here's Dr. Harry Ruben.
Baker motions to Harry, who freezes with a sudden bout of
stage fright. Cecily gives him a discreet push on the
back and he stumbles forward.
JOE can still be heard GROWLING and beating his chest in
the background. Jill and Gregg look at each other with
Harry reaches the mic.
In the time it took you to
drive here tonight, three species
have disappeared from the Earth.
Extinct. Never to return. We
here at the conservancy say this
is a tragedy...
Another O.S. ROAR from JOE. It is spine-tingling. Harry
almost jumps out of his loafers.
Obviously Joe agrees.
Everybody laughs. The audience doesn't know enough to
be really afraid -- they're just excited and twittering.
78 CONTINUED: 78
Jill is feeling increasingly nervous. She glances around
the room and meets eyes with Strasser. He nods at her,
his eyes indicating that he is "worried" for Joe as well.
Jill nods back.
We continue to hear uncanny SOUNDS from behind the curtain.
It's all Harry can do to stick to his speech. He keeps
glancing nervously over his shoulder.
But tonight, rather than focusing
on what we've lost, I'm going to
introduce you to something we've
There is a tremendous CRACKING sound from behind the
curtain. The audience murmurs. Harry sweats. Jill
grabs Gregg's hand tightly.
Ladies and gentlemen, the
California Animal Conservancy
proudly introduces our newest
member, Mighty Joe...
CRASH! Before Harry can say "Young," a TREE comes
CRASHING through the curtain.
Gregg leaps forward, knocking Harry out of the way just
as the tree crushes the podium into kindling.
Joe comes blasting through the hole in the curtain. He
has joined the party.
Joe stands on the stage, his chest heaving. There is
total silence. The party guests are frozen with fear,
literally speechless. A few of them laugh nervously,
wondering if this is really just part of the show.
But Jill knows better. She and Gregg exchange glances
-- what the hell is going on?
Jill rises, trying to stay calm herself, and slowly
approaches Joe, speaking in a soothing voice. She
wants to get his attention.
Hey, Joe. I'm right here. You hear
me? Good boy. Take it easy, Joe. We
don't want to scare anybody, do we?
78 CONTINUED: (2) 78
Jill is within arm's reach of Joe -- it looks like he
might turn his head to her, calm down, become docile...
But that's when he spots Strasser. Joe's face registers
towering rage as Strasser stares back, provoking Joe
Joe takes off, knocking over a table that bangs into Jill
and sends her flying backwards into a wall. She hits the
wall and sinks down, stunned.
heads through the people towards Strasser. The party
erupts with screams.
Joe makes his way towards Strasser, swatting people out
of the way.
Frozen, in horror, as Joe plows through the party, heading
straight for him. Tables are broken like match sticks,
Joe catches up to Strasser, grabs his tuxedo jacket and
hoists him into the air.
CLOSE ON MAN
It's not Strasser. Frustrated, Joe flings him aside. The
man flies through the air, slamming into the tent wall,
and then falling on the catering table.
ON GREGG AND JILL
As they watch Joe's rampage in horror.
My God. What's wrong with him?
We've got to bring him down. I'm
going for the tranq guns.
No -- let me stop him.
78 CONTINUED: (3) 78
But Gregg's already taken off.
Mighty Joe is still looking for Strasser, as he heads
back across the room.
A glamorous couple, (TERRY and RAY), crawls frantically
on all fours, trying to stay ahead of Joe.
is pushing against the tide of people to get to Joe.
Somebody shoves against her hard: it's Baker, in a
panic to get away.
continues to make his way towards Strasser. As he rushes
A security guard runs into the tent, raising his TRANQ gun
The dart misses, hitting a fleeing guest, who, we see as
he crumples to the ground, is actually Baker.
is fleeing for the exit.
chases him through the tent. A guest falls in Joe's path
and Joe heedlessly steps on his leg, crushing it. The man
screams in agony.
78 CONTINUED: (4) 78
is scrambling over broken tables and chairs to get to Joe,
when he turns sharply away from her.
BACK TO SCENE
Strasser is trapped behind a table. JOE throws the
table out of his way, ROARS and is about to crush a
cowering Strasser into poacher mulch, when...
SFX: the EXPLOSION of a RIFLE. Joe looks surprised at
Joe drops to all fours, revealing Gregg holding a tranq
gun. Other Animal Control Officers are with him, also
holding tranq rifles.
Gregg lowers his gun, a pained expression on his face.
But one tranq dart is not enough to stop Mighty Joe. He
rises again, ready to smash Strasser...
And a HAIL of TRANQ DARTS sail through the air as the
conservancy workers pepper Joe with SHOTS.
Joe swipes several darts from his flank -- but the
accumulation is too much even for him. He stumbles
backward and falls.
Jill screams. Gregg looks sick at the sight of Joe
Joe hits the ground hard. His eyes close.
FADE TO BLACK.
79 OMITTED 79
A81 EXT. CONSERVANCY - DAY A81
A grim-faced FEMALE REPORTER faces the camera. The tent
is sprawled on the ground in the b.g. As she starts to
speak we PAN PAST a line of other TV news reporters
delivering essentially the same report TO CAMERA.
A81 CONTINUED: (A1) A81
NEWS ANCHOR #1
Officials here are saying they don't
know what caused the animal's rampage,
which injured over a dozen people, eight
of which are currently hospitalized.
Three of those have already filed law
suits, and word has it that the City
Attorney is calling for the animal to
be put to sleep. Standing with me is
the chairman of the Conservancy board,
A81 CONTINUED: A81
She turns to her left and INTO FRAME we see Mr. Baker,
steeling himself for the consequences of last night.
NEWS ANCHOR #1
Mr. Baker, what is the Conservancy
doing to assure the public Joe
won't attack again?
Joe has been transferred to a
special steel reinforced concrete
NEWS ANCHOR #1
And what about after you let him
That won't be happening anytime
soon. In the meantime, we will do
anything necessary to ensure the
safety of the public.
81 EXT. BUNKER - DAY 81
A animal control officer has been posted outside the
bunker, the conservancy's lockdown building for animals
that get out of control. He stands next to his squad car,
a rifle at his side.
82 INT. BUNKER - DAY 82
A holding room. A cage criss-crossed by six-inch steel
Joe stares out through one narrow window. He sees a
bar-striped slice of blue sky. He reaches up one hand
towards the window -- he can't even fit it through the
bars. He still looks drugged and despondent. Hunched
over. His head almost scrapes the ceiling. His breathing
On the other side of the bars, Jill and Gregg hover like
distraught parents. Jill pets Joe's fur through the
Joe... look at me. Over here, big
Joe barely reacts. Jill is near tears.
82 CONTINUED: 82
I knew something was wrong with
What do you think happened out
(shaking her head)
Joe never would have hurt all
those people unprovoked...
something must have got to him.
Something. Or someone.
Jill looks at Gregg, considering this for the first time.
They turn to see Harry, poking his head in the room. He
still looks freaked out from the events of the night.
Can I talk to you for a second?
Jill nods. She takes one last look at Joe, then walks
out of the room, leaving...
Gregg, alone with Joe for the first time since Joe held
him upside down in the jungle.
Gregg leans against the cage next to Joe. They have never
been in such close proximity before. The expressive-ness
in Joe's eyes is uncanny -- Gregg feels almost as if he
could understand what he's saying.
Well this wasn't in the brochure,
Gregg looks around at the claustrophobic space.
I promised you wouldn't be put in
a cage. I'm sorry, Joe. I helped
put you here. And now I'm going
to do everything I can to get you
Gregg reaches out for Joe's paw and lays his hand in it.
Joe gently curls his fingers around Gregg's hand.
83 EXT. OBSERVATION AREA - BUNKER - CONTINUOUS ACTION 83
Jill and Harry are in the observation area, a glassed-off
room that looks into the holding cell. Harry is still
extremely rattled from the fiasco of the night before.
He's trying to act tough but he's torn up inside, not sure
who he's worried about more -- Joe or himself.
The City Attorney talked to Baker.
It wasn't my decision, and
there's nothing I can do about it.
Joe stays in there until they
decide what to do with him.
In there? Harry, look at him.
He's depressed, he won't eat. If
he stays in there, he'll die within
So sue me. Everybody else is.
Listen, Harry, either you tell them
you're getting Joe out of there or
Don't you get it? This is way
beyond you, and me. Joe freaked
out on some very influential
people. He's a public relations
nightmare. No zoo will take a
two-thousand-pound killer gorilla...
He's not a killer!
... and unless you can write a
check for millions of dollars to
buy him a big back yard somewhere,
Joe's got nowhere to go.
That's it? You're not going to do
83 CONTINUED: 83
Harry looks at Jill's angry face -- he knows he's just
lost her respect and it bugs him more than he'd like to
admit. But there's nothing more he can say.
He leaves the room, brushing shoulders with Gregg,
entering. Judging from the expression on Gregg's face,
he's overheard the whole thing.
Jill and Gregg look at each other with determination in
their eyes. There's no question in either of their minds
about what needs to be done next.
I need your help.
You got it.
84 EXT. BUNKER - NIGHT 84
An ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER stands guard outside the bunker.
Gregg, Cecily, and Jill walk casually towards the Officer.
The Officer straightens up and looks tough. He comes
forward halfway to meet them.
Our three just breeze on by the Officer into the bunker.
Hey, wait a minute!
Gregg hangs back with the A.C. Officer as Cecily and Jill
disappear inside. To buy time for Cecily and Jill, Gregg
pretends to take the big lug into his confidences.
We're conservancy doctors. Do me
a favor -- stay here and guard
The guard nods and looks confused. Gregg disappears
85 INT. BUNKER - AT CAGE 85
Cecily takes a key from her pocket and opens the door to
Come on, Joe. We're leaving.
Let's get you out of here.
The open door has a stronger effect on Joe than the
sedatives in his system. He clambers to his feet and
follows Jill out of the cage.
85 CONTINUED: 85
A.C. OFFICER (O.S.)
What the hell are you doing?
They turn to see the Officer has a rifle aimed at Joe.
He's terrified. JOE GROWLS ominously.
I'm Dr. Banks, the head vet. And
I'm taking Joe for a CAT Scan.
I take my orders from Mr. Baker.
Put him back in the cage. Now.
The Officer trains his gun on Joe. Joe looks at the
Officer menacingly and bares his huge fangs.
Officer, you don't want to point
that gun at him, believe me.
The Officer suddenly grabs his neck, which now has a
tranquilizer dart sticking out of it.
Jill lowers a tranq gun.
He didn't believe you.
The Officer slumps to the ground.
86 EXT. BUNKER - CONTINUOUS ACTION 86
Cecily steps out of the bunker and blinks a flashlight
into the dark.
The red taillights of a trailer suddenly appear as a huge
tractor trailer backs up towards the bunker.
Cecily calls out towards the bunker:
Bring him out.
Now Jill and Gregg lead Joe outside as Cecily opens the
doors to the trailer. Joe climbs inside.
87 EXT. TRAILER 87
Now someone steps out of the passenger side of the cab.
87 CONTINUED: 87
It's Strasser. Avoiding the back of the trailer (where
he would encounter Joe), Strasser stays where he is and
calls out to Jill in hushed tones.
Jill, I got the plane. It's
waiting at the airport. We must
Strasser holds his hand up in salute to Gregg and Cecily --
that's about as close as he wants to get to them. Using
urgency as an excuse, he jumps back into the trailer
before anyone can engage him in further conversation.
It's time to say good-bye. Cecily looks into the back of
I'm going to miss your ugly face.
Be good, Joe.
Yeah. Don't start a fight with
anyone bigger than you.
Harry steps out of the shadows. Everyone turns and looks
at him. He feels their eyes on him and shuffles a
You'd better leave out of the
west gate. The guard there got
called away. Urgent business.
Jill puts her arms around Harry. He's antsy and
You're not such a big coward after
(as she keeps
Okay, okay, let go.
Harry disengages from Jill and disappears back where he
Now Cecily turns to Jill. She hugs her with great emotion.
Write me when Joe gets settled.
87 CONTINUED: (2) 87
Cecily moves off, leaving Gregg and Jill alone to say
good-bye. They look into each other's eyes, hating to
part, everything they have to say to each other still
You coming to the airport, or...?
I think I better stay here and keep
people away from that bunker. Give
you a head start before they
realize he's gone.
Jill is crumbling. For her, it's awful to leave him, but
he's not acting heart-broken at all. Confused, she tries
desperately to stay light. She chatters like a nervous
Well -- if you're ever in Botswana,
come by and take me out to a good
meal in a fine restaurant. That
is, if you're not afraid to tell
Joe that you'll get me home by...
She doesn't get the rest of her sentence out because Gregg
is kissing her mouth. It's the kiss he's been wanting to
give her since the day he first laid eyes on her.
He lets go of her again, leaving her breathlessly looking
after him. He walks to the back of the trailer.
Gregg and Joe make serious eyes contact.
(pointedly, to Joe)
Take care of her for me, will ya?
Gregg shuts the trailer door and walks off, not daring to
look back. Jill is about to call after him when Strasser
steps back out of the passenger's side of the trailer.
He whispers urgently:
Jill! We must go!
Jill runs to the passenger side of the trailer.
87A INT. TRAILER CAB - THAT MOMENT 87A
Hopping into the trailer, Jill comes face to face with
Garth, who is sitting behind the steering wheel. He
nods to her, all business.
Strasser gets in on the other side of Jill, closing the
door behind him. She's sandwiched.
88 EXT. TRAILER - THAT MOMENT 88
Gregg stops and turns around for one last look at the
trailer as it drives off.
Cecily exhales -- this love stuff is too hot to handle
-- and follows Gregg.
88A EXT./INT. TRUCK/STREET - NIGHT 88A
Jill sits nervously between Strasser and Garth as the
trailer leaves the gate of the conservancy.
Don't worry, Jill. Soon Joe will
be back home again.
Jill looks straight ahead.
88B EXT. CONSERVANCY GROUNDS - NIGHT 88B
Gregg and Cecily walk back through the conservancy.
How many minutes do you give it
before the whole world knows he's
Five. How many minutes do you give
it before we're both lookin' through
the want ads?
They smile warmly at each other, respecting the sacrifice
they've both just made.
88B CONTINUED: 88B
Just then, Vern and Jack drive up in a Blazer. They stop
next to Gregg and Cecily.
What're you guys doing here
Jack and Vern hop out of the car. Vern is carrying a
Baker wants the tent cleaned
Vern holds out the box.
Check out the loot we plundered
in the wake of mass party panic!
This is some weird lost and
Vern pulls a single high-heeled shoe out of the box and
hands it to Cecily.
Yeah, and we've got the fun job
of getting this stuff back to
(pulls out a
Somebody's head is cold!
Digging in the box again, Vern innocently pulls out the
poacher's dog collar. It means nothing to him, but
Gregg instantly grabs for it.
Where did you find this?
Oh -- that was by the habitat.
Guess we've got to find those
two guys again.
What two guys?
88B CONTINUED: (2) 88B
What do you think that one guy
is? Russian? Lithuanian?
It takes less than a second. Gregg springs into action,
grabbing the keys to the Blazer out of Jack's hand. He
sprints to the car. Jack and Vern watch him go.
(calling after him)
They watch him go.
89 INT. CAB OF CONSERVANCY TRUCK - NIGHT 89
Jill glances nervously back as they drive down surface
streets. She looks over at Strasser. In the passing
light of the street lamps, he is regaining his sinister
Garth is driving the trailer very fast. They hit a
bump, making them lurch in their seat. Jill hears JOE
go THUD in the trailer.
Please! Be careful...
Always worrying, eh? Your mother
was a worrier, too. Always
worrying about the gorillas. It
made her a lot of enemies. It led
His tone has something vaguely malevolent in it. It
My mother was brave.
So are you, my dear.
Jill looks at Strasser sharply. For the first time, she
really notices his strange, leather hand. For reasons
she's not yet conscious of, it scares her.
Strasser notices that Jill is staring at his hand.
89 CONTINUED: 89
It's not so pretty, I know.
Strasser and Garth exchange amused glances.
Well... you could say I had an
encounter with a monster.
Strasser and Garth chuckle -- they think they're just
sharing a private joke.
But Jill has a troubled look in her eyes -- the foreign
epithet has struck a chord from long ago... she struggles
Then she gets it. She sees herself crouching in the
forest with Joe over 12 years ago, overhearing Strasser's
curses, and her blood runs cold. She glances at
Strasser, everything dawning on her at once. The hand...
the face... it all comes together for Jill.
Strasser catches the look on Jill's face and knows some-
thing is wrong. Adrenaline is pumping through her.
Unsure of how to make her next move, Jill tries to hide
the realization that is crashing down on her...
She glances in the side view mirror of the truck and
Gregg, driving up behind them in the Conservancy vehicle.
Jill's face reacts ever so slightly, but Strasser catches
it. He follows her eye line, looking where she looked,
and as he also spots Gregg, Jill knows the game is up.
She loses it and screams:
Jill slams her elbow into Strasser's nose. Strasser's
face reflexively goes down in his hands. Stunned, Garth
swerves at the wheel. Fast as lightning, Jill grabs his
hair and slams his face into the dash.
Before the men can recover, Jill kicks and claws her way
over Strasser's back, fighting toward the open window...
89 CONTINUED: (2) 89
She reaches through the window and grabs onto the side
view mirror. The truck door swings open and Jill sails
out the door, dangling from her hold on the side view.
The speeding truck swerves wildly, banging Jill again and
again against the door.
Gregg sees her and is horrified at the danger. He speeds
up, trying to reach her...
Strasser grabs for Jill, trying to pull her back into the
truck... she kicks at him and loses her grasp on the side
90 EXT. CITY STREET - NIGHT 90
Jill falls, hitting the running board and bouncing hard
onto the concrete roadway.
Two CARS swerve and CRASH around her.
91 INT. TRAILER HOLD 91
THROUGH the slats in the trailer, Joe sees Jill almost
being hit by the cars. He goes crazy, trying to get
out, rocking the trailer back and forth...
91A EXT. STREET - THAT MOMENT 91A
Jill lifts her head off the concrete and screams futilely
Joe! Get out!
91B INT. CAB OF CONSERVANCY TRUCK - THAT MOMENT 91B
Strasser looks back at Jill lying on the road and slams
the truck door closed.
Garth FLOORS it. The truck speeds away.
91C EXT. CITY STREET - NIGHT 91C
Gregg sees Jill up ahead and SLAMS on the BRAKES. He
jumps out of his car and races to her side. He reaches
her and scoops her away, narrowly saving her from being
hit by another passing car.
91D EXT. STREET/INT. CAB - CONTINUOUS ACTION 91D
The wheel flies through Garth's hand as he tries to
control it. Strasser's face is covered in blood.
The trailer rights itself. Continues on.
92 OMITTED 92
96 EXT. CITY STREET - CONTINUOUS ACTION 96
Gregg checks Jill over. She is bruised and bloody, but
she doesn't seem to notice. She just stares after the
trailer and moans...
What have I done? Mother, oh,
God, what have I done...
Do you know who they are?
Gregg half-carries her to the truck.
Come on. Let's go get him back.
They see the trailer disappear around the corner...
97 INT. CONSERVANCY TRUCK - CAB - CONTINUOUS ACTION 97
Garth tries desperately to steer the truck as the
steering wheel burns through his hands.
98 EXT. HOLLYWOOD BLVD. - WIDER SHOT - NIGHT 98
The picture postcard version. Lots of neon. Tourists.
Movie theaters flashing elaborate marquees.
98 CONTINUED: 98
Gleaming Harleys parked in a row.
INTO FRAME -- trailer --
-- weaves wildly. It clips a car coming the other way
and begins to skid sideways through traffic. It enters
the intersection kicking off sparks, sending cars
WIDEN as the truck jackknifes -- and -- skids to a
stop -- the back at an acute angle to the cab. A second
of eerie silence as --
Out of the stores and theaters, people run towards the
accident. They encircle the truck. People press closer
trying to get a look.
A loud GROWL stops them cold.
TILT UP -- top of trailer.
-- Joe's fist punches through. WIDEN as Joe tears away
the top and pulls himself free -- climbing up atop the
truck. Its effect on the crowd is like Pandora opening
her box. They all surge backwards.
98 CONTINUED: 98
Looking down at the horrified faces simply shouting at
him. Confused by the blinding headlights and BLARING
HORNS. People stampeded trying to get away -- some
stumble on top of each other.
99 LOW ANGLE - CAB 99
Garth helps Strasser from the wreckage. Neither of them
are that badly hurt.
Strasser reaches back into the truck cab. Garth looks
Police'll be here any minute.
Strasser pulls a leather case from the truck. Then he
reaches back in for his hunter's hat -- and sets it firmly
on his head. We haven't seen Strasser like this since
twelve years earlier: the hunter is back.
The sound of SIRENS reaches their ears. Garth is nervous
We better go.
Strasser has the thousand yard stare. Garth has to drag
Come on! We need to get out
The two of them leave the site of the accident, just as...
100 EXT. STREET - THAT MOMENT 100
Joe drops down from the truck. People on the street run
up, take his picture, and run away.
Hey! It's that gorilla that was
100 CONTINUED: 100
BACK TO JOE
FOLLOW Joe DOWN the boulevard, as he moves in a four-
point walk through the intersection and along the
Two women coming out of a shop see Joe and scream -- that
frightens Joe and makes him bare his fangs. Which only
makes matters worse. He feints a charge -- and one woman
It is indeed an urban jungle -- made up of neon and
Joe walks down the street and bumps into:
Whose ALARM GOES OFF immediately. Joe wheels and smashes
the car until the sound STOPS.
CLOSE ON JOE
The lights and loud VOICES blend into one single tumult --
dangerous and threatening.
The sounds of SIRENS tell us the police are coming fast --
a block away we see two BLACK & WHITES SCREECH INTO VIEW.
THROUGH the crowd we see a street kid, RAY, 13, come face-
to-face with Joe. His eyes go wide with the wonder of Joe.
Whoa... Hey, Joe!
It's as if he's seeing a completely different animal than
everyone else around him. It's a look we've seen in young
Ray looks down the street at the approaching cop cars and
back at Joe. He understands the danger.
Ray points the right way for Joe to go, away from the
police cars. Joe watches Ray closely, as if he were
studying the boy's face. Then he moves off in the
direction Ray was pointing, towards:
101 EXT. MANN'S CHINESE THEATER - NIGHT 101
Where patrons hang fearfully by the doors. Theatergoers
rush back inside.
CLOSE ON IMPRINTS
for John Travolta and Donald Duck -- As an enormous
gorilla foot descends on them. They split down the
middle, then crumble into dust.
INSIDE TICKET KIOSK
A Mexican-American female ticket-taker hyperventilates,
boxed in her tiny glass booth. From HER POV, Joe ducks
down and stares at her, bringing his giant face close to
the glass. She is speechless with fright. Joe moves on.
Now the sounds of POLICE SIRENS can be heard APPROACHING.
FIND Joe -- boxed in by the movie theater. Angry. He
starts searching for a way out...
ANGLE - STREET
Just then -- two LAPD cars pull up. COPS jump out. They
The Cop points up to...
102 EXT. TOP OF MANN'S CHINESE 102
Joe uses his powerful muscles to scale the theater. He
makes it to the top -- high over Hollywood.
Behind him are hills and trees. Something familiar.
BACK ON COPS
They've got their guns aimed, but Joe disappears over the
top of the theater.
103 EXT. BOULEVARD - GREGG'S CAR 103
Gregg and Jill pull up to the overturned trailer, see the
wreckage... but no sign of Joe. Stunned, they whirl
around, hoping he'll still be somewhere in sight...
103 CONTINUED: 103
He couldn't have gotten far.
Jill is overwhelmed with frustration. In seconds, she
climbs on top of the overturned can and screams at the
top of her lungs:
Gregg sees a group of EXCITED NEIGHBORS run down the street
towards Mann's Chinese screaming to each other:
Jill hops down and she and Gregg tear off down the street
towards the gathered crowd at the Chinese Theater.
104 EXT. HOLLYWOOD SIGN 104
The world famous icon -- starkly white against the hill.
105 EXT. HOLLYWOOD SIGN 105
PUSH IN CLOSE ON the "O." A shadow moves across the
beat -- then Joe steps through. He's at the apex of the
urban mountain range.
JOE'S POV - WEST
A beam of light is sweeping back and forth across the
PUSH IN CLOSE ON JOE -- he GROWLS as if he recognizes it.
From this distance it looks like a flashlight beam. In
Joe's mind it means only one thing -- Jill. He ROARS --
and moves off across the hill.
106 EXT. CHINESE THEATER - NIGHT 106
As Jill and Gregg run up, Cops are interviewing witnesses
to Joe's flight. One CREW-CUT COP speaks into his walkie-
Orders are shoot to kill. He's
Jill hears this and flips out. She almost attacks the
(screaming at Cop)
No! He's not dangerous! You're
dangerous! You're dangerous!
The Cop gives Jill a look that says she's two seconds away
She didn't mean that.
Gregg drags Jill away before she gets arrested.
Yes I did.
Better cool it, baby.
They're going to shoot him.
Gregg looks up over the facade of the theater to the hills
Not if we find him first.
POLICE HELICOPTERS BUZZ by overhead.
Let's follow them.
They run back towards their car.
107 EXT. ALLEY NEAR HOLLYWOOD BLVD. 107
Garth and Strasser watch as Jill and Gregg head off
107 CONTINUED: 107
Strasser opens the case he retrieved from the truck,
starts assembling a hunting rifle. Garth looks at it
What are you doing? You don't
think we can get the gorilla
now, do you?
Strasser doesn't even bother to answer the question. He
finishes loading his rifle.
We need a car. Now.
108 EXT. HOLLYWOOD BLVD - NIGHT 108
A RUBBERNECKER sits in his car, a Range Rover, gawking at
the police all over Hollywood Blvd. Then a hunting rifle
ENTERS FRAME, pressing right against his cheek.
The Rubbernecker doesn't even seem scared. He just
shakes his head, annoyed.
Fifth goddamn time this year.
He grabs his soda from the cupholder, his garage door
opener (Guy's been through this before) but before he can
reach for his Thomas Guide...
Garth hauls him out of the car and throws him on the
Hey! I was going! No need to be
so pushy about it.
Strasser and Garth jump in the car and drive away.
109 EXT. SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS - NIGHT 109
Homes built into the dark green hills. FOLLOW a wooden
fence -- a long wooden barrier that's been blown out of
its mooring. A MAN in BOXER SHORTS runs out of his
kitchen door. His wife behind him. Their DOG is WHINING
at something from underneath their deck.
109 CONTINUED: 109
POV SHOT - LOOKING THROUGH BACK YARD
The couple can see all the way down back. Every fence
has been knocked over.
We TRACK THROUGH the back yards, PAST overturned lawn
furniture and downed clotheslines. People stepping out
of the doors -- confused.
BACK TO MAN
on cordless phone, surveying the damage.
BOXER SHORTS MAN
Is this L.A. County Animal
Control...? You're not gonna
110 EXT. SEPULVEDA PASS - NIGHT 110
FIND Joe -- emerging from the thick growth. He can hear
the NOISE like a rushing river O.S. He moves to the top
of the crest.
JOE'S POV - SAN DIEGO FREEWAY - NIGHT
Where the hills are split by the river of light. Joe
looks out over the freeway.
111 EXT. NIGHT-SCAPE 111
Joe can see the searchlights in the distance.
The rushing river of light is an image Joe can't quite
assimilate. But somehow Joe knows he must cross this
"thing" to get to the hills on the other side.
112 EXT. FREEWAY - NIGHT 112
Joe steps into the first eight lanes of freeway traffic.
We hear some SCREECHING and SKIDDING as the first four
drivers of the first four CARS in each northbound lane
spot Joe and slam on the BRAKES.
Miraculously, nobody crashes. Bumpers remain uncrushed.
Almost ceremoniously, the oncoming traffic comes to a
respectful halt as Joe hesitantly lumbers past.
112 CONTINUED: 112
It's almost like church. The freeway becomes quiet.
Nobody honks. Nobody screams.
Overcome with awe, a woman steps out of her car and just
stands there in the middle of the freeway, watching Joe
pass. Others follow suit.
Joe climbs the center divider. The same thing happens in
the southbound lane.
As Joe disappears up the hill on the other side, the
stunned drivers simply stare in disbelief. L.A. is in awe.
113 OMITTED 113
114 INT. CONSERVANCY VEHICLE (FREEWAY OVERPASS) 114
Gregg and Jill arrive on the scene.
They look down from the overpass and see cops swarming
around the area where Joe was, shining their flashlights
into the brush and talking to motorists.
Any idea where he might've headed?
ON JILL -- drifting off, as something O.S. catches her
She points out THROUGH the windshield.
LONG SHOT - JILL'S POV - THROUGH WINDSHIELD
Shining over the horizon, coming from somewhere near the
ocean, is a searchlight, piercing the night sky. The
image is as familiar to Jill as it was to Joe.
BACK TO SCENE
That's where he'll go. He'll
think that's me calling him.
Gregg steps on the accelerator. As their car pulls away,
PAN TO Strasser and Garth following a few car lengths
115 OMITTED 115
116 HELICOPTER SHOT - MOVING ACROSS BAY - NIGHT 116
The moon-striped water surges and ebbs as we SKIM the
waves, RUSHING TOWARDS --
117 EXT. PALISADES OCEAN PARK - NIGHT 117
A festival of lights. Rides, arcades, lots of people.
CLOSE ON SEARCHLIGHT
A kettle light rotating on its base. CAMERA CRANES UP
THROUGH the klieg beams REVEALING the park -- CONTINUE
TO CRANE UP 'til we see, towering over everything, the
new Ferris wheel -- a neon blur spinning grandly against
the moon-bright sky.
118 EXT. PALISADES OCEAN PARK - VARIOUS SHOTS - NIGHT 118
Quintessentially American images of beach-side amusement
park. A carnival-like atmosphere.
ANGLE - ARCHWAY ENTRANCE
Some couples stop to take their photos, kissing under
the iconic neon arch that welcomes people to the park.
stops to share the view -- and a kiss. Until a LOUD
GROWL makes them jump back.
Joe has appeared under the arch. The young girl
screams -- her boyfriend pulls her back.
It's like a slow-motion panic. The noise and tumult of
the crowded park keeps people from hearing the screams
One toddler smiles and waves at Joe until his mother
snatches him and runs for dear life.
118 CONTINUED: 118
AT FERRIS WHEEL
A crowd of kids waits in line. One of them, a particularly
appealing little boy named JASON, is having a conversation
with his MOTHER. She has the aura of a single mom about her,
and she clearly adores her sweet-faced kid.
Mom, I don't think I can let
you go on the ferris wheel.
Because the last time after you
ate two hot dogs, you threw up,
What if I promised to throw up
over the side?
They both giggle at her joke.
Mom, I think I should do this
ride by myself.
Okay... I'll watch you.
TILT UP TO the wheel turning majestically -- filled with
kids. Some wave from the chairs as they crest -- it
feels like they're flying over the ocean below.
We NOTICE two girls (JENNY, seven, and EMMA, nine) as
they come over the top. On the way down, they can see
the crowd parting below as Joe ENTERS FRAME.
At the base of the great wheel -- parents are finally
hearing the commotion.
Joe arrives at his destination -- the bright light that
drew him here. He's confused by the fact that Jill's
nowhere to be found. Desperately, he scans the park...
People scream and panic around Joe. The noise drives
him deeper into the park, searching for Jill.
118 CONTINUED: (2) 118
AT ARCADE - BIG SAFARI BOOTH
Three college guys shoot replica AIR GUNS at cardboard
lions and elephants, setting off fake explosions in a
"Big Safari" booth.
feels threatened and recoils. Then he continues past
them. The rush of people away from him gets more
119 EXT. PARK ENTRANCE - SAME TIME 119
Jill and Gregg run under the archway. People rush past
them. They fight their way through the crowd.
He's gotta be here. Do you see
Gregg and Jill scan the amusement park, looking for the
source of all the commotion.
120 EXT. PARKING LOT - NIGHT 120
Garth and Strasser have parked at the edge of the
amusement park. Strasser has the rifle out and propped
up on one knee. He uses the scope as a viewfinder.
STRASSER'S POV THROUGH SCOPE - JILL AND GREGG
running towards the carnival games.
BACK TO SCENE
Garth puts his hand on the barrel of the gun and pulls it
away from Strasser's eye. He's so nervous he's almost
Hold on, now -- just who are
you aiming at?
Strasser looks at Garth with deadly focus. His eyes tell
the story. Garth realizes his boss's intentions with
120 CONTINUED: 120
No. You can't do that.
If that girl starts telling
people who we really are, our
whole cover operation will be
Strasser aims his rifle again.
She's not an animal. That's a
human being you're about to
Strasser fixes Garth with an icy stare.
Go wait in the car.
He raises the gun again, gets the sight lined up just as
Gregg and Jill pass near the klieg light. Garth grabs
the gun, just as Strasser is about to pull the trigger.
121 EXT. PARK - NIGHT 121
Strasser's SHOT, altered by Garth, hits the klieg light
behind Jill and Gregg.
The LIGHT EXPLODES -- GLASS SHATTERS.
Gregg pulls Jill to the ground, as...
Sparks shoot out of the klieg light, a few of them
hitting the ubiquitous sawdust and straw that buffers
the floors of many rides.
It takes only one second before there is a flame that
begins to spread in a SIZZLING POOL of OIL right at the
base of the Ferris wheel.
ANGLE - IN BACK OF FERRIS WHEEL
The FLAME dances over an oil slick and engulfs several
sacks of sawdust. It smolders -- then ERUPTS in a much
121 CONTINUED: 121
FIND one parent (Jenny and Emma's MOTHER) who is nervously
waiting for her children near the bottom of the Ferris
wheel. She hears the HISS of the FIRE and sees the
shadows cast by the flames. She moves away from the
other parents -- into --
-- as she now sees the fire attacking the Ferris wheel.
The Ferris wheel operator sprays an industrial
extinguisher on the flames. He crawls underneath the
machine where the fire is worst.
122 EXT. PARKING LOT 122
Strasser, extremely pissed off, turns to look at Garth.
That was very stupid, Garth.
You're not a hunter, you're a
murderer, and I won't be a
part of this...
Strasser flips the gun and cracks Garth squarely in the
head with the rifle butt.
Garth hits the ground like a bag of sand.
Anything else on your mind?
Strasser turns to look back at the park. He no longer
has a clear shot at Jill. He realizes he's going to have
to move in close.
From his jacket he takes a .45 caliber semi-automatic
Match Master and a barrel extension which he screws on
with great concentration using his gloved hand.
Strasser begins to work his way into the park.
123 EXT. PARK - NIGHT 123
Jill and Gregg pick themselves up off the ground.
What was that?
Then they spot the fire, spreading to the Ferris wheel.
Gregg turns to Jill.
Go find Joe, get him out of here.
I'm gonna see if I can help.
Gregg moves off towards the Ferris wheel.
heads over to the carnival games.
124 EXT. PARK - CONTINUOUS ACTION 124
Strasser, calm and totally committed to his course of
action moves through the pandemonium of the crowd, gun
by his side.
AT FERRIS WHEEL
Parents are shouting, crowding the Ferris wheel. Two
operators are unloading children as quickly as they can.
They look like they are about to be overwhelmed but
Gregg ENTERS FRAME. He vaults the guard rail, starts
unloading children right from their moving cars.
There is utter chaos, children screaming, fire and smoke.
CRANE UP PAST the terrified faces of the children who
have to wait, 'til we GET TO Jenny and Emma. Jenny turns
to see the fire beneath them.
124 CONTINUED: 124
is really starting to burn out of control now. It has
spread to the engine of the FERRIS WHEEL, which, heated
to the bursting point, suddenly EXPLODES.
The ride operator with the fire extinguisher is blown
through the air, and the Ferris wheel lurches to a halt.
JENNY AND EMMA
grip their safety bar as their bucket swings back and
forth. Emma nearly falls out -- until Jenny grabs her
and holds her tight.
Oh my God! Somebody help!
Gregg -- sees the girls, their bucket having come to a
stop about fifteen feet off the ground. Thinking
quickly, he jumps up on the guard railing, then leaps
across to their bucket.
He just grabs onto the bottom. The bucket shakes back
and forth violently, causing the two girls to scream.
Gregg looks up at them.
Don't be scared. Climb down my
The girls look at Gregg, too nervous to move.
Tentatively, Jenny and Emma climb out of their bucket and
onto Gregg's back, using him like a human ladder. They
shimmy down to his feet, then drop off, one by one, into
the waiting arms of their mother.
Gregg lets go of the bucket, drops a good fifteen feet,
landing roughly. The girls' mother looks down at Gregg,
Thank you! Oh God, thank you!
Gregg, winded, just nods.
125 EXT. AMUSEMENT PARK - PARKING LOT - NIGHT 125
A phalanx of cop cars races up to the park.
126 EXT. AMUSEMENT PARK - NEAR CARNIVAL GAMES 126
Jill moves through the maze of carnival games. She spots
Joe, moving through the small buildings, clearly
disoriented. She yells out...
But above the tumult, he can't hear her. Jill pushes her
way towards him, when she comes face to face with...
Strasser. Just yards away. He flashes his sickening
smile, raises his gun...
ON JILL -- a look of terror crossing her face as she
realizes she's about to die. Then, as a shadow passes
over her, her expression of terror melts away.
ON STRASSER -- seeing Jill's expression, his smile fades.
Why's she so calm all of a sudden? He doesn't even need
to turn around to know that:
Joe is behind him. As Strasser turns slowly around, Joe
reaches down swiftly and hoists Strasser off the ground.
The GUN GOES OFF, barely missing Joe. JOE ROARS and
crushes Strasser's left hand in his paw, a bone-crunching,
slow squeeze that makes Strasser scream in agony.
Then Joe swings Strasser around and grabs him around the
chest with his right paw. He pulls him close to his face
and blasts a DEAFENING ROAR into his face. Joe cocks his
arm and heaves Strasser with mighty force into the air.
Screaming, Strasser hurtles through space with incredible
speed, CRASHING right through the flaming signage of the
"Big Safari" booth, sending out a SHOWER OF SPARKS...
... and continues flying through the air until WHACK! He
hangs up on a power line.
Strasser slips down, catching his fall with his fake hand.
This section of the LINE is safe, but directly below it is
a cluster of electrical junction boxes. Cracked and
blistered by the heat of the nearby fire, they are sparking
dangerously -- to fall on to them would mean certain
126 CONTINUED: 126
Strasser's bad hand begins to slip from the wire.
Desperate, he reaches up with his left hand to grab on --
only to remember that this hand has just been crushed
by Joe, and is useless to him now.
Strasser helplessly watches as his prosthetic comes
unclasped from his hand and he slips the last, fatal
fraction of an inch.
Strasser falls onto the junction boxes, which explode in
a shower of sparks. Strasser sizzles and dies, while above
him, the prosthesis still swings on the wire.
127 EXT. PARK - CONTINUOUS ACTION 127
Jill stands where she is, frozen at the horrible sight
of what has just happened. A dozen people scream and
A swarm of policemen, led by Commander Gorman, watch
Joe's violent action in stunned silence. Gorman motions
to his men.
Get the marksmen up here! Now!
Jill knows what's coming. Convincing Gorman is hopeless.
She runs to Joe. Fearing for his life, she calls for
him to follow her deeper into the park.
Come on, Joe. Come on.
Gregg is catching his breath on the ground near the Ferris
Jill runs up to him, Joe close behind.
Joe got Strasser. He was trying
to kill me.
I know. I just hope they do.
He motions to the cops, who have set up at the park's
127 CONTINUED: 127
CLOSE ON JOE
He's not looking at the cops. He's focused on the Ferris
wheel. The fire is burning near the metal supports that
hold it upright. With each passing minute, the wheel's
moorings are getting looser.
PAN UP TO a bucket at the very top of the wheel. Two
small hands hold on for dear life. He starts moving
In the next instant, Joe has started running for the
are getting into firing squad position. A SHARPSHOOTER
follows Joe through his scope.
(to fellow cop)
Talk about an easy target.
He's got Joe right in his crosshairs, when...
Gregg and Jill run into the crosshairs, waving their
Don't shoot him.
Commander Gorman comes forward, yelling at Gregg.
Get out of the way. Get back.
127 CONTINUED: (2) 127
Stop! He's not dangerous,
The Commander is furious at these two civilians keeping
him from his job. He barks orders to two cops:
(to two cops)
Get them out of here! Now!
The cops are about to move on Gregg and Jill when Jason's
Mother, panic-stricken, runs up to Gorman.
Officer, help! I can't find my
son! I think he's still on the
Everyone turns to look at the Ferris wheel...
follows Joe's ascent through his viewfinder.
HIS POV - TOP OF FERRIS WHEEL
A frightened six-year-old boy pops his head up from a
bucket. Everyone is stunned as they see this lone
child -- trapped at the top.
Oh my God! Jason!
PAN DOWN to reveal -- Joe is heading straight for Jason.
Massive muscles pulling him up higher, towards the
ready to shoot Joe.
Jill turns to Jason's Mother, quietly pleading.
He'll save your boy.
127 CONTINUED: (3) 127
Jason's Mother looks at Jill, panicking. She swallows
hard and turns to Gorman.
Let him try.
Gorman looks at Jason's Mother, then at Joe. Then at the
boy at the top of the Ferris wheel. He motions to his men.
Hold your fire.
128 EXT. FERRIS WHEEL - NEAR TOP 128
Joe climbing with all his strength, comes to the top of
the Ferris wheel.
ON JASON -- staring, wide-eyed, at this miraculous
animal. He watches, in awe, as Joe extends a massive
hand and lifts him out of his seat.
All eyes watch, in awe, as Joe presses Jason to his
ON JILL -- smiling through tears. Gregg puts an arm
Camera crews from local TV news stations have poured into
the park. They film all of this.
AT BASE OF WHEEL
The wood attached to the metal supports has completely
burned through. With a terrible CRACKING sound, the
SUPPORTS begin to tear away.
Another EXPLOSION rocks the WHEEL. It SHUDDERS.
Oh, please, no...
WIDEN SHOT -- The Ferris wheel begins to tip over.
ON JILL -- a look of horror passes over her face as well.
It's going to tip! Everyone back
Everyone starts backing away from the wheel.
The wheel seems to fall slowly -- like in a dream --
sending debris and flames spilling across the park.
As he cradles Jason tight in his arms.
The wheel begins to fall towards the ground.
128 CONTINUED: 128
Joe jumps away from the burning wheel --
As the ground comes rushing up at him.
hits hard, just clearing the falling wheel by inches. He
PAN the crowd -- an eerie silence falls over everyone.
The only sound the CRACKLING of the FIRE.
breaks free from Gregg and runs toward Joe. Jason's
Mother races with her.
Motionless on his back. Still cupping the boy, nestled
and protected against his massive chest. A beat -- then
Jason looks up from Joe --
Jason's Mother bursts into joyous sobs as her son climbs
into her arms. A general sense of relief passes through
the crowd, except for...
She kneels by Joe stroking his great chest. Joe doesn't
respond. Jill bows her head and cries deeply.
People back away to give her room. How strange to see
this huge, powerful animal stilled.
Gregg comes and kneels by Joe's side. He checks for a
heart beat. For wounds. Joe doesn't stir. Gregg is
Firemen, paramedics and television reporters run through
the park. The paramedics lead off the wounded.
128 CONTINUED: (2) 128
Still holding her boy, Jason's Mother comes forward. She
recognizes what Jill is going through her own version
of mother's grief. She approaches respectfully...
I'm so sorry...
Jill is beyond comfort. She's in another world. Humming
their lullaby, she rests her soft cheek in Joe's giant paw
for the last time. Her blonde hair spills on his
And then, SLOWLY ENTERING FRAME, a giant finger reaches for
Jill's cheek and strokes it gently...
It takes Jill a moment to realize she hasn't imagined
this... she opens her eyes, sees the moving fingers, turns
to look into Joe's face, just as his eyes open...
Elated, Jill moves up to Joe's head and kisses his face a
thousand times. Gregg takes a deep breath, privately
thanking God. Jason's Mother is tearful -- Jason is all
Jill tearfully blathers soothing words...
That's right, Joe -- that's
right, big guy. That was a big
fall but you're okay, aren't
you? You're tough. You're so
tough. Yes you are. Yes you are.
(checking Joe over)
We've got to get him checked
And get him somewhere safe.
Jill looks at Gregg with a heavy heart.
Somewhere safe? Where is that?
Jason's Mother breaks in timidly.
128 CONTINUED: (3) 128
Perhaps... I mean, maybe...
isn't there anything we can do?
Jason pushes in front of his mother. He reaches out his
little hand and pets Joe. He looks up at Jill and Gregg
with a shining face and smiles hopefully.
(ALTERNATE END OF SCENE)
Jill shakes her head at the mother and continues to pet
No. I don't think so. Not unless
you have a few million dollars on
you to buy him a home somewhere.
Jason's mother nods hopelessly, comprehending the
difficulty of the situation. But Jason has also heard
Jill's words. He pushes in front of his mother, reaches
into his pocket and pulls out a crumpled dollar bill. He
hands it to Jill and Gregg with a shining face and smiles
Here. For Joe.
Gregg and Jill are moved by the gesture. Gregg respect-
fully takes the dollar from the little boy while everyone
Gorman and his men exchange glances, also touched by the
little boy's deed. Now Gorman reaches into his pocket and
pulls out a ten. He comes forward and hands it to Gregg.
Now the other cops are reaching into their pockets. They
come forward with dollars in their hands.
Here. For Joe.
Gregg's hands and pockets are being stuffed with money as
dozens of people begin to come forward with whatever they
can afford. Gregg looks at Jill, overwhelmed by what's
happening, and her face echoes his emotions...
129 EXT. SCHOOL - DAY 129
Jason walks up and down the aisle collecting pennies.
He holds a collection can that reads, simply, "Joe."
130 EXT. NEW YORK SUBWAY - DAY 130
Busy commuters rush through turnstiles -- but stop long
enough to throw money into a big Joe bucket manned by a
guy wearing a gorilla suit.
131 OMITTED 131
132 EXT. HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD - DAY 132
We see Ray and his street-tough buddies collecting money
132A EXT. KWELI'S VILLAGE - DAY 132A
Kweli walks through the outdoor bar, collecting money for
Joe from a half dozen villagers.
A hand, holding a few crumpled bills, taps him on the
Kweli turns around and comes face to face with Pindi.
Pindi stuffs the money in Kweli's can and grins.
For Mighty Joe, bro.
133 INT. POST OFFICE - PILE OF MAIL - DAY 133
Dumped on the ground of the post office. PULL BACK as
four more bags are dumped.
PUSH IN CLOSE ON one envelope -- with an obviously
foreign stamp simply addressed:
"Joe Young, America."
134 INT. M.J.Y. WILDLIFE PRESERVE - DAY 134
The blue sky above Africa. CRANE DOWN to see:
An entry gate with the words "Joe Young Wildlife Park"
printed across the top.
Beneath the gate: Kweli, standing with Jill and Gregg,
is blowing a ceremonial horn, sending an ancient blessing
into the air. As he finishes, we hear applause.
PULL BACK to reveal 35 people -- locals, villagers,
friends -- applauding the opening of the park.
Dear Cecily: I promised to write
you when Joe was settled and now I
finally can. We finally dedicated
the Joe Young Wildlife Park last
week and it was one of the
happiest days of my life. At last
I have kept my promise to my
Under the gate, Jill jumps joyously on Gregg, and he
whirls her around in a tight embrace.
Joe seems so happy here. I know
he feels that he's safe.
Gregg looks O.S. and waves.
Hey, Joe -- come on, big guy...
Joe comes walking INTO FRAME. Gregg smiles at Jill, very
pleased with himself that Joe responds to him now, too.
He and Gregg have become good
friends. They even play together.
And that jealous rivalry they
had? It's all gone.
Joe swats Gregg to the ground and takes his place next
Well... almost all gone.
134 CONTINUED: 134
Not completely amused, Gregg picks himself up and raises
a warning finger at Joe. Joe looks over at him, and
purses his lips at Gregg, as if laughing at his own
Joe turns and walks away up the hillside. Jill helps
Gregg up. He puts his arm around her and kisses her
hair. They watch Joe go.
It's been a long journey getting
to this place, but Joe is finally
home. I think we all are.
CAMERA PULLS BACK over the crowd of villagers who have
begun singing a powerful African hymn.
As the sound of their singing rises into the mountain
sky, we --
TRACKING WITH Joe, who begins to run now, limbs out-
stretched with energy and joy, claiming his freedom.
The CAMERA RISES OFF of Joe to the verdant African
landscape beyond. Joe's home -- protected and free.