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                                THE PRESTIGE





                                 Written by

                     Jonathan Nolan & Christopher Nolan


                         

                         FADE IN:

          TOP HATS. Clustered in a small glade. As we SUPER TITLES,
          a BLACK CAT slinks its way through them. As TITLES END-

           BORDEN (V.O.)
           Are you watching closely?
          A SECOND BLACK CAT races into frame, HISSING, SPITTING,
          CHASING the first cat into the woods beyond and we-

                          CUT TO:

          INT. CLUTTERED WORKSHOP -- DAY

          Moving along a row of CANARIES in CAGES.

           CUTTER (V.O.)
           Every magic trick consists of three
           part, or acts...
          Stop at a cage. Weathered HANDS envelope the canary. Hands
          and voice belongs to a man in his 60's- CUTTER.

           CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           The first part is called the Pledge...
          A LITTLE GIRL pershes on a chest in the workshop, watching.

           CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           ...the magician shows you something

                          ORDINARY-
          Cutter moves to a small ORNATE CAGE resting on a prop table.

           CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           A deck of cards, ar a bird...

          INT. SCALA THEATRE, LONDON -- NIGHT

          A packed house. Many hands raised. Move in on a BEARDED MAN,
          his gloved hand tentatively rising into the air.

           CUTTER (V.O.)
           ...or a man.
          A GLAMOROUS ASSISTANT beckons Bearded Man from the aisle. He
          shuffles along his row towards her. Embarrassed.

           CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           He show you this object, and pledges
           to you its utter normality...
          Bearbed Man and four other VOLUNTEERS follow the Assistant
          down towards the stage...

           2.

                         
          On which stands the magician, leaning on his cane, smiling.
          This is ROBERT ANGIER, 35, an American. Looming over him is
          a large and complex ELETRICAL MACHINE.

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           Perhaps he asks you to inspect it...

                         
          Bearbed Man, FASCINATED, and other Volunteers look over
          the vast machine. As angier GESTURES theatrically at the
          various features of the metal and glass apparatus.

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           ...to see that it is indeed real...

                         
          As the Assistant leads the Volunteers off the stage, Bearded
          Man slips through the gap at the side of the curtains-

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           ...unaltered...

          INT. STAGE THEATRE, BACKSTAGE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          -looks around, DISORIENTED, then darts for some stairs leagind
          below stage where he runs into a burly STAGEHAND.

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.)
           ...normal.

                         

                          STAGEHAND
           Where'd you think you're going?!

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.)
           But, of course, it probably isn't...

                         
          Bearded Man pulls off his beard, revealing the face of ALFRED
          BORDEN, mid 30's.

                         

                          BEARDED MAN
           I'm part of the act, you fool!

                         
          The Stagehand raises his eyebrows and steps aside. Borden
          RACES down below the stage. Cutter approaches the Stagehand.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Who was that?

                         

          INT. SCALA THEATRE, ONSTAGE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          As the machine GROANS to life. SPARKING and CRACKLING, Angier
          gazes at it, forgettig his audience. Entranced. Possessed.

                         

          INT. BENEATH THE STAGE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          Borden fumbles through the darkned area, lit by flashes and
          sparks through gaps in the boards of the stage above. He
          GASPS as a flash illuminates a STAGEHAND with SOLID WHITE
          EYES sitting nearby. Borden waves a hand in front of the

           3.

                         

          INT. WORKSHOP -- DAY


                         
          Cutter gently places the canary into the ornate cage.

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.)
           The second act is called the Turn...

                         

          INT. SCALA THEATRE, ONSTAGE -- NIGHT


                         
          Angier, facing the audience, steps into the machine.

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.)
           The magician takes the ordinary
           something...

                         

          INT. BENEATH THE STAGE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          Borden lights a MATCH. In front of him is a LARGE GLASS
          TANK FILLED WITH WATER, ITs LID PROPPED OPEN. Borden frowns.

           CUTTER (V.O.)
           ...and makes it do something
           extraordianry.

                         

          INT. WORKSHOP -- DAY


                         
          Cutter places a SILK SHAWL over the cage. Then SLAMS his
          hands down on the shawl, which FLATTENS- The Little Girl
          FLINCHES. Then STARES, FASCINATED.

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.)
           Now you're looking for the secret.

                         

          INT. SCALA THEATRE, ONSTAGE -- NIGHT


                         
          Bolts of electicity draw inwards, wrapping Angier in a ball
          of light which CRACKS-

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.)
           But you won't find it...

                         

          INT. BENEATH THE STAGE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          The ROOM fills with light as a TRAPDOOR snaps open and a

          BODY DROPS INTO THE TANK.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Because of course, you're not really
           looking...

                         
          The lid of the tank and trapdoor above SNAP SHUT, leaving
          the tank, and Borden, in complete DARKNESS.

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           ...you don't really want to know.

           4.

                         

          INT. WORKSHOP -- DAY


                         
          Cutter WHIPS the shawl from the table. Cage and bird have

          DISAPPEARED.

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.)
           ...you want to be fooled.

                         
          The Little Girl stares, EXPECTANT.

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           But you couldn't clap yet. Because
           making something disappear isn't
           enough... you have to bring it back.

                         

          INT. SCALA THEATRE, ONSTAGE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          The MACHINE sputters to a stop. Angier is GONE. The audience
          sits, WAITING.

           CUTTER (V.O.)
           That's why every magic trick has a
           third act. The hardest part..,

                         

          INT. WORKSHOP -- DAY


                         
          Cutter forms a fist. Drapes the shawl over it.

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.)
           ...the part we call...

                         
          Cutter WHIPS the shawl away to reveal- the CANARY. The
          Little Girl CLAPS.

                         

          INT. BENEATH THE STAGE -- NIGHT


                         
          Borden LIGHTS another match. Stares in HORROR-

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.)
           ...The Prestige.

                         
          Inside the tank, ANGIER IS DROWNING. His rolling EYES fixes
          on BORDEN, he POUNDS desperately on the thick glass, SCREAMING
          BUBBLES... The screen fades to BLACK.

                         

           PROSECUTOR (V.O.)
           The Prestige...?

                         

          INT. COURTROOM -- DAY


                         
          The PROSECUTOR turns to face the witness in the box: Cutter.

                         

                          PROSECUTOR
           And did Robert Angier, the Great
           Danton, your employer, get to that
           final part of his trick that night?

           5.

                         

                          CUTTER
           No, sir. Something went wrong.

                         

                          PROSECUTOR
           What went wrong?

                         

                          CUTTER
           I saw a someone head below the
           stage... I followed... and I found

                          BORDEN-

                         
          Cutter points at the dock: Borden is there, CHAINED TO THE
          FLOOR. FLANKED BY GUARDS. Cutter POINTS.

                         

                          CUTTER (CONT'D)
           -watching Mr. Angier drown in a tank.

                         

                          PROSECUTOR
           Would you describe your occupation
           to the jury please, Mr.Cutter?

                          CUTTER
           I'm an ingeneur. I design illusions
           and construct the apparatus necessary
           for perfoming them.

                         

                          PROSECUTOR
           And for how long had you been
           Mr.Angier's "ingeneur"?

                         

                          CUTTER
           Eight years. I was privvy to the
           secrets of his entire act.

                         

                          PROSECUTOR
           So, Mr.Cutter, was this water-filled
           tank beneath the stage part of
           Mr.Angier's illusion- the illusion
           billed as "THE REAL TRANSPORTED MAN"?

                         

                          CUTTER
           No, sir. The tank had been used for
           the first trick, then taken offstage.
           Borden must have put it under the
           trap door after the interval.

                         
          Cutter looks across at Borden, who is absently tapping his
          hand against the rail- it is MUTILATED, MISSING 2 1/2 FINGERS.
          The DEFENDER STANDS.

                         

                          DEFENDER
           How large was this tank?

                         

                          CUTTER
           The sort of tank used for underwater
           escapes- four or five hundred gallons.

           6.

                         

                         

                         

                          DEFENDER
           How do you think Mr.Borden was able
           to move the tank under the trap door
           without anyone noticing?

                         

                          CUTTER
           Ask him- he's the magician.

                         
          Titters from the gallery. The Defenser turns to the JUDGE.

                         

                          DEFENDER

                          (IMPATIENT)
           I ask again that this man explain
           the mechanics of Mr.Angier's illusion.

                         

                          CUTTER

                          (ANGRY)
           If I reveal my magician's secrets
           here in open court, I'll be
           unemployable and the secrets will be
           worthless. The Real Transported Man
           is the most sought-after illusion in
           the business and I have te right to
           sell it on.

                         
          The Judge considers this. He looks at Cutter. Sympathetic.

                         

                          JUDGE
           Mr.Cutter, I see your predicament
           but we are talking about a capital
           offence- Alfred Borden's life hangs
           in the balance.

                         
          Cutter looks down. Quiet.

                         

                          JUDGE (CONT'D)
           If you were prepared to disclose the
           details to me in private, I might be
           able to judge their relevance to the
           case.

                          (ADDRESSES LAWYERS)
           Might this be an acceptable
           compromisse?

                         
          Amid murmurs of assent, the Judge ADJOURNS the proceedings.

                         
          As the Guards begin the complex ritual of unlocking Borden's
          chainsa from the floor, Borden's looks across the courtroom:

                         
          The LITTLE GIRL from the opening stands in the gallery,
          looking back at him. Borden gives her a little WAVE. She
          waves back, then is GUIDED OUT by a man wearing GLOVES and
          BOWLER HAT- this is FALLON. He nods at Borden.

           7.

                         

          EXT. PRISON YARD, NEWGATE PRISON -- DAY


                         
          OWENS, 50's a lawyer, stands at the entry gate. The CAPTAIN
          of the guard walks out to greet him.

                         

                          CAPTAIN
           I'm going to have to ask you to turn
           out your pockets.

                         
          Owens raises his eyebrows.

                         

                          CAPTAIN (CONT'D)
           Not my idea, sir. The Warden saw
           his show in Manchester last year
           where he vanished into thin air-
           he's convinced he'll try an escape.

                         
          Owens smiles as he hands over his pocket watch ans wallet.
          They walk along a hall wrought iron fence. The PRISON looms
          over them.
          A door in the prison opens and Borden emerges, trussed
          absurdly in chains held by two WARDERS. The other INMATES
          begin cattle-calling and whistling as BOrden is paraded up
          to a WOODEN SECTION of the fence.

                         

                          CAPTAIN (CONT'D)
           I told him the only way Borden's
           going to disappear is if I leave him
           out with the others immates.

                         
          At the fence, the Warders lock the ends of their chains to a
          thick eye hook set into the ground.

                         

                          CAPTAIN (CONT'D)

                          (TO WARDERS)
           Check the locks. Twice.

                         
          They check the locks. Then retreat to allow privacy. The
          Captain marches away. Borden looks at Owens. Bored.

                         

                          OWENS
           My name is Owens- I'm a solicitor.

                         
          Borden says nothing.

                         

                          OWENS (CONT'D)
           I represent Lord Caldlow, and
           accomplished amateur magician and
           historian of magic-

                         

                          BORDEN
           How much?

                         

                          OWENS
           Lord Caldlow is interested in-

           8.

                         

                          BORDEN

                          (COLD)
           How much for my tricks?

                          OWENS
           Five thousand pounds.

                          BORDEN
           Talk to Fallon, my ingenuer- the
           money's for him.

                          OWENS
           I did. He offered to sell all of
           your tricks... except the most
           valuable one - The Transported Man.

                          BORDEN
           I'd never forgive myself for selling
           my greatest trick.
          Borden signals the Wardens to come and unlock him.

                          OWENS
           Even for your daughter?
          Borden looks up. Owens moves closer, quietly assertive.

                          OWENS (CONT'D)
           If the newspapers are right, and
           you're for the drop, your daughter's
           going to need looking after

                          BORDEN
           Fallon can take care of-

                          OWENS
           Bernard Fallon? A man with a past
           even more obscure than your own?
           The court have already motioned to
           have the girl removed from his "care".
           No, the girl is to be an orphan.
           I've been to the work house...
          Owens looks around the prison yard. Shrugs.

                          OWENS (CONT'D)
           It's better than this.
          Borden looks at Owens, hard. The Warders unlock Borden.

                          OWENS (CONT'D)
           I'm offering you a way to warp up
           your affairs with dignity, and I'm
           offering your daughter a future. As
           Lord Caldlow's ward she will want
           for nothing. Ever.
           (hands him a card)
           Think it over.

           9.

                         
          Borden absently VANISHES the card as a REFLEX.

                         

                          OWENS (CONT'D)
           Lord Caldlow wanted you to have this-
           (produces a leather

                          BOUND JOURNAL)
           As a show of good faith. He thought
           it might be of interest.

                         
          A SULLEN WALDER TALKS the journal, flicks through it.

                         

                          OWENS (CONT'D)
           Robert Angier's diary... It includes
           the time he spent in Colorado learning
           your trick...

                         
          Sullen hands the journal to Borden. Borden takes it.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Angier never learned my trick.

                          OWENS
           Really? When he returned from
           Colorado he mounted a version of the
           Transported Man that the papers said
           was better, even...

                          (WITH RELISH)
           Than your original.

                         

                          BORDEN

                          (ACID)
           If you want Angier's secret you can
           dig him up and ask him for yourself.

                         
          Borden TURNS, dragging the Warders with him.

                         

                          OWENS
           I want your secret, Mr.Borden...

                          (LOUDER)
           Consider your daughter!

                         

          INT. CELL, NEWGATE PRISON -- DAY


                         
          Borden, on the bed, opens Angier's JOURNAL. Starts to read...

                         

           ANGIER (V.O.)
           A cypher. An enigma...

                         

                          CUT TO:

                         

          LETTERS ON A PAGE. IN MEANINGLESS COMBINATIONS. GIBBERISH.

                         

          INT. TRAIN, MOUNTAINS -- DUSK


                         
          Aniger, with a SIGH, closes a CARDBOARD-COVERED NOTEBOOK.
          OPENS his LEATHER-BOUND JOURNAL. Starts to write.

           10.

                         

           ANGIER (V.O.)
           ...Borden's cypher is simple-
           unraveled by a single word. Now it
           takes only patience. And a passion
           to know his mind.

                         
          Angier lloks up at his own reflection in the train window.

                         

          EXT. TRAIN STATION -- DUSK


                         
          No platform, no office, no sign. Just an electric streetlight
          which, as Angier watches, FLICKERS ON. Angier, leaning
          heavily on his cane limps over to the light and stares up at
          it as he's never seen one before.

                         

           VOICE (O.S.)
           Mr.Angier? Welcome to Colorado
           Springs.

                         
          Angier looks back and smiles. A driver is looking down
          expectantly from atop a STAGECOACH. Angier hands his cane
          up to the driver nd , with some difficulty, hitches his way
          up to the roof of the rig. As he does, the town of Colorado
          Springs rises into view, a few hundred yards down the road,
          lit brightly with ELECTRIC STREETLIGHTS.

                         

                          ANGIER

                          (DISBELIEF)
           The whole town has electricity?

                         
          The driver nods and WHIPS the horses into action.

                         

          EXT. ROAD, PIKE'S PEAK -- EVENING


                         
          The Stagecoach flies along, inches from a precipitious drop.

                         
          It rounds a corner and pulls to a halt in front of the CLIFF
          HOUSE INN, equal parts log cabin and crystal palace.

                         

          INT. CLIFF HOUSE INN -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          The lobby is cavernous and immaculate. The entire STAFF of
          the hotel - BELLBOYS, MAIDS, COOKS, and GARDENERS - are lined
          up along the sides like a regiment of soldiers.

                         
          Angier reaches the reception desk and the smiling MANAGER.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Quit a reception.

                         

                          MANAGER
           You're our first guest of the season,
           Mr.Angier.
           (opens guest book)
           Your telegram didn't indicate how
           long you would be staying with us.

           11.

                         

                          ANGIER
           As long as it takes.

                          (SIGNS BOOK)
           I'll need a coach tomorrow to take
           me up the mountain.

                         

                          MANAGER
           The peak is closed, sit. For
           scientific experimentation.

                         

                          ANGIER

                          (SMILES)
           That's why I'm here.

                         

          EXT. ROAD, PIKE'S PEAK -- MORNING


                         
          A stagecoach rumbles along a dirt track, The driver pulls
          on his reigns and the coach pulls to a stop.

                         

                          DRIVER
           You have to walk the reat, I'm afraid,
           sir.

                         
          Angier nods. Lowers himself down to the roadway.

                         

          EXT. CLEARING, PIKE'S PEAK -- MORNING


                         
          Angier comes through the trees to find a wire fence with a
          sign: EXTREME DANGER- NO TRESPASSING

                         
          Beyond the fence is a COMPOUND of three BARNS. Rising from
          the center barn is a 200ft steel TOWER capped with a GIANT
          STEEL BALL. GIANT ARCING BOLTS of electricity run down the
          tower from the ball. The windows of the building RADIATH
          with BLUE EXPLOSIONS.

                         
          Angier stops forwards, entranced, and threads his fingers
          through the fence.

                         
          He is sent FLYING backwards -- the fence has been electrified.

                         
          The tower is SHUT OFF- a door opens and a stout little MAN,
          shotgun under one arm, MARCHES up to the fence. He uses a
          RUBBER PAD to pry open the fence and stands over Angier, who
          is CURLED on the ground, GROWNLING in pain, trying to stand.

                         

                          SHOTGUN
           I'm amazed at how many of you
           newspaper writers can't read mu sign.

                         
          Shotgun picks up Angier's cane and hands it to him.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Not the welcome I was expecting.

                         
          Shotgun RECOGNIZES Angier, AMAZED.

           12.

                         

                          SHOTGUN
           I know you. You're that magician-the
           Great Danton.
           (helps Angier up)
           I'm Alley. I saw your show. IN
           London. Seven times- you guessed
           every object the audience had in
           their pockets.
          Angier leans on his cane and gently brushes off the dirt.

                          ALLEY
           I'm sorry about the fence. People
           keep interfering with our work.

                          ANGIER
           I've come to see Tesla.

                          ALLEY
           Why?

                          ANGIER
           He built a machine for a- for a
           colleague of mine. A long time ago.
           Can you get me a meeting with him?
           (off his look)
           I've come a very long way.

                          ALLEY
           Impossible, I'm afraid.

                          ANGIER
           I've brought a lot of money.
          Beat.

                          ALLEY
           I'm sorry, Mr.Angier. I simply can't
           help you.
          Alley pulls the fence closed.

                          ANGIER
           I'll be staying at the hotel.
           Indefinitely.
          Alley watches Angier walk away. He pulls something from his
          pocket.

                          ALLEY
           What am I holding?
          Angier doesn't look back.

                          ANGIER
           Your watch.

                         
          Alley GRINS, opening his hand. He is holding a gold watch.

           13.

                         

          INT. HOTEL ROOM, COLORADO -- DAY


                         
          Angier sits, the cardboard-bound notebook on the table in
          front of him. He makes a notations in his own journal as he
          deciphers Borden's words.

                         

           ANGIER (V.O.)
           April 3rd, 1893... a few days after
           he first met me...

                         
          Angier runs his finger along the first line, translating...

                         

           BORDEN (V.O.)
           We were too young men at the start
           of a great career...

                         

          INT. THEATRE -- NIGHT


                         
          Borden sits in the audience. Younger- both hands intact.

           BORDEN (V.O.)
           Two young man devoted to an
           illusion...

                         
          Two rows in front sits Angier. Similarly youthful.

                         

           BORDEN (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           Two young men who never intended to
           hurt anyone.

                         
          Onstage is a TANK. Standing beside the tank is a beautiful
          young magician's assistant. JULIA.

                         
          The magician, MILTOn, adress the audience.

                         

                          MILTON
           Which of you brave souls is willing
           to bind this lovely young woman...

                         
          Milton GESTURES to Julia- the MEN in the crowd go wild- hands
          in the air, catcalls. Smiling radiantly, Julia selects two
          young men, who SCRAMBLE up to the stage- ANGIER and BORDEN:
          younger, full of energy- Angier has no limp.

                         
          They spring onto stage, beside Julia and take the ROPE she
          offers them. Milton GRABS a HOOK that descends from the
          flies on a chain.

                         
          Cutter is watching fron the wings.

                         

                          MILTON (CONT'D)
           Are either of you two gentlemen
           gailors?

                         
          Both shakes their hands as they start to bind Julia with the
          ropes, Borden wrapping the rope around her wrists, Angier
          the one around her ankles.

           14.

                         

                          MILTON (CONT'D)
           Well, I'm sure you can both tie a
           strong knot...

                         
          As Borden finishes his knot tests it, it SLIPS APART.
          Borden frowns, hastly RETYING it, covering.

                         
          Cutter NOTICES.

                         
          Borden finishes, glancing at julia who gives a small sign of
          assent with her eyes. As Angier finishes tying her ankles
          he sneaks a light KISS on her ankle. She frowns at him and
          raises her arms. Milton hooks the rope onto the chain.

                         
          Milton gesticulates in the wings, Cutter signals to a
          stagehand who starts HOISTING Julia into the air.

                         
          Milton wheels the tank under Julia's bare feet. Cutter feels
          for the handle of an AXE placed by his feet and pulls out a

          STOPWATCH.
          JULIA looks down at Angier. They smile at each other. Julia
          DROPS into the tank with a massive splash- Milton SLAMS the
          lid shut, PADLOCKS it and raises a curtain around the tank...

                         
          Cutter checks his stopwatch, grips the handle of the axe...

                         
          A grand GESTURE from Milton- the curtain around the tank
          DROPS- Julia is GONE. Milton raises the curtain again, then
          with another flourish, DROPS it to reveal JULIA, beside the
          tank, one arm in the air, dripping wet, smiling.

                         
          The audience erupts in APPLAUSE. Angier smiles produly.

                         

          INT. DRESSING ROOM -- NIGHT


                         
          Angier, Borden and Julia sit around the cluttered room.
          Borden is in the middle of a passionate rant-

                         

                          BORDEN
           Milton's squadering their goodwill
           or a bunch of tired second-hand tricks-

                         

                          ANGIER

                          (AMUSED)
           Old favourites, please.

                         

                          BORDEN
           What about something fresh? He won't
           even try a bullet catch-

                         

           CUTTER (O.S.)
           Bullet catch is suicide.

                         
          They turn. Cutter stands in the doorway, counting out money.

           15.

                         

           CUTTER (O.S.) (CONT'D)
           All it takes is a smart-arse volunteer
           dropping a button down the barrel...

                         

                          BORDEN

                          (INDICATES HIMSELF

                          AND ANGIER)

                          USE PLANTS-

                         

                          ANGIER
           He can't use plants for every trick.

                         

                          JULIA
           There'd be no seats left for the
           punters.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Fine- no bullet catch. But a real
           magician tries to invent something
           new, something other magicians scratch
           their heads over-

                         

                          CUTTER
           They sells it to them for a small
           fortune.

                         
          Cutter hands Angier some money.

                         

                          CUTTER (CONT'D)
           I suposse you have such a trick,
           Mr.Borden?

                         

                          ANGIER
           Actually, I do.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Care to sell it?

                         

                          BORDEN
           No one else could do my trick.

                         

                          ANGIER
           I could.

                         

                          BORDEN
           You don't even know what it is.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Show it to me twice, I'll do it.

                         
          Cutter looks at Borden, thoughtful.

                         

                          CUTTER
           I admire your spirit, Mr.Angier.
           But if Borden here really has invented
           his masterpiece it might well be
           something only he can do.

           16.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Why?

                         

                          CUTTER
           It might be something only he is
           prepared to do.
           (gestures to the props)
           my illusions employer, Mr.Milton,
           is a skilled showman. But Borden's
           right- he won't get his hands dirty.
           You want to see what it takes to
           make real magic- go to the Tenley.
           There's a Chinaman there who's got
           what it takes.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Chung Ling Soo.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Tickets are pricey.

                          CUTTER
           I know a lad on the door. You two
           watch his show- whoever tells me how
           he does his goldfish bowl trick gets
           the prize.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Which is?

                         
          Cutter gives a sly smile.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Ten minutes onstage in front of my
           old friend, Mr.Ackerman.

                         
          Angier and Borden prick up at the name.

                         

                          JULIA
           Who's Ackerman?

                         

                          BORDEN
           The most powerful theatrical agent
           in London.

                         
          Cutter holds out money to Borden, who reaches for it- Cutter
          grabs his wrist. Serious.

                         

                          CUTTER
           I saw you drop the knot again, Borden.

                         

                          JULIA
           I think I had my wrist turned-

           17.

                         

                          CUTTER

                          (IGNORING JULIA)
           Some nights you just can't get it,
           can you? If that knot slips when
           Julia's on the hoist she'll break a
           leg.

                         

                          BORDEN

                          (DEFENSIVE)
           It's the wrong knot. A Langford
           double would hold tighter.

                         

                          CUTTER
           The Langford double's not a wet knot
           it's too dangerous. The ropes could
           swell and she'd never slip it-

                         

                          JULIA
           I can slip a Lanford underwater.

                          BORDEN
           We've been practiced it-

                         

                          ANGIER

                          (CUTTING IN)
           He said no.

                         
          Julia glances at Angier.

                         

                          CUTTER

                          (TO BORDEN)
           No more mistakes.

                         
          Borden stares at Cutter. Leaves. Angier watches him go.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Where's he from?

                         

                          CUTTER
           Where are you from?

                         
          Angier nods. Fair enough.

                         

                          CUTTER (CONT'D)
           He shuffles props for Virgil at the
           Hall.

                         

                          ANGIER
           He works for another magician? Aren't
           you worried he'll steal your tricks?

                         

                          CUTTER

                          (SHAKES HEAD)
           He doesn't deal in methods.

                         

                          ANGIER
           How do you know?

           18.

                         

                          CUTTER

                          (SLY SMILE)
           Because I hired him to try and find
           out Virgil's orange trick.

                          ANGIER
           I don't know if I trust him.

                          CUTTER
           He's a natural magician. Of course
           you can't trust him.

                          JULIA
           I think he's alright.
          Angier turns to Julia. Smiles.

                          ANGIER
           You think everyone's alright.

                          JULIA
           Even you.
          Julia kisses Angier. Cutter rises.

                          CUTTER
           And Mr.Angier...?
           (Angier looks up)
           Learn your aight lines- if I can see
           you sneaking a peck on your wife's
           ankle from the wings, the blokes on
           each end of rows 3 and 4 can, too.

                         

          INT. THEATRE, CONVENT GARDEN -- EVENING

          Borden watches from the wings. Onstage, a magician, Virgil,
          locks a CANARY into a cage then covers the cage with a SHAWL.
          Borden notices a beautiful YOUNG WOMAN in the front row with
          a little BOY who is watching Virgil's act, spellbound.
          Virgil SLAMS the SHAWL down onto the table, as if nothing
          were beneath it, then WHIPS it away- BIRD and CAGE are gone.
          The little BOY begins to WAIL and CRY.
          Borden watches as the young woman tries to make him stop.
          Virgil takes the flower from his lapel, covers it with the
          shawl, and SNAPS it away- the flower has become the CANARY.
          The audience bursts into enthusiastic APPLAUSE, but the little
          boy is still CRYING INCONSOLABLY. Virgil takes bows and
          walks off, handing Borden the canary as he passes backstage.
          As the audience leaves, Borden climbs off the stage and hols
          the bird in front of the boy.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Look- he's all right. He's fine.

           19.

                         

                         

                          BOY

                          (SNIFFS)
           But where's his brother?
          Borden is at a loss. He turns to the young woman.

                          BORDEN
           Sharp lad, your son.

                          YOUNG WOMAN

                          (LAUGHS)
           My brother.
          Borden smiles back.

          INT. WORKSHOP -- LATER

          Borden gently strokes the bird's feathered head.

                          BORDEN
           You're the lucky one tonight.
          Borden walks to a wall of DOZENS of bird cages -- each one
          with an identical canary. He puts the bird into its cage
          and returns to the cart props. He taps on the top of the
          TABLE- a panel POPS open, revealing the FLATTENDED BIRD CAGE.
          Borden insefts a ROD into the bird cage and PRIES it apart.
          A TRICKLE of BLOOD emerges, dripping into a bucket below.
          Borden SLAPS the cage.
          And the FLATTENED CARCASS of the ORIGINAL BIRD slides out
          and SPLASHES into the bucket.

          EXT. STAGE DOOR -- EVENING

          Borden exits. The young woman, SARAH, is there with her
          brother.

                          BORDEN
           (to the brother)
           Are you watching closely?
          Borden reaches to the Boy's ear. Casually produces a coin.
          The Boy marvels as he takes the coin then looks at Borden.

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           Look closer.

                          BOY
           It's got two heads.
          Sarah smiles. Borden crouches to address the Boy, grave.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Never. Show. Anyone.

           20.

                         
          The Boy looks at him, a little afraid.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           They'll beg you and flatter you for
           the secret- but as soon as you give
           it up you'll be nothing to them.
           Understand? Nothing. The secret
           impresses no one- the trick you use
           it for is everything.

                         
          Borden looks into the boy's staring eyes. Then SMILES and
          pets him on the head. he stands. Sarah smiles at him.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           Where do you two live?

                         

                          SARAH
           He lives with Mum.

                         

                          BORDEN
           And you?

                         

          INT. STAIRWELL -- EVENING


                         
          Sarah lingers at the top of the stairs to her flat. Borden
          tries to KISS her, but she pushes him back. He tests the
          LOCK of the open door.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Enough to keep me out?

                         

                          SARAH
           I think so. Wil I see you again?

                         
          Borden SHRUGS and turns to go back down the stairs. Sarah
          looks after him, about to change her min. Hesitates.

                         

          INT. SARAH'S FLAT -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          She closes the door and LOCKS it, smiling. After a moment
          she pads through living/kitchen area, draws back the curtain
          to her bedroom and SHRIEKS:

                         
          Borden is there, smiling. Sarah moves towards him, giggling.

                         

          INT. TENLEY THEATRE -- NIGHT


                         
          Onstage, CHUNG LING SOO, 60's, wearing a long silk robe,
          HOBBLES painfully to the center of the stage. Clearly
          CRIPPLED. In the audience, Borden and Angier watch intently.

                         
          Soo lays a silk SHAWL and a BARE TABLE. He WHIPS it up,
          revealing a BOUQUET OF ROSES. So repeats the trick again
          and again, producing a different object each time.

                         
          Finally, with a drum roll, Soo whips the shawl aside to reveal
          a MASSIVE GOLDFISH BOWL, complete with GOLDFISH.

           21.

                         
          To THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE, Soo bows and HOBBLES off the stage.
          Angier, clapping, shakes his head, utterly baffled. He turns
          to Borden. Who has a small, knowing, smile.

                         

          EXT. RESTAURANT -- NIGHT


                         
          Borden and Angier watch Soo being helped down from his
          carriege by HANDLERS who treat him with great gentleness.

                         

                          ANGIER
           You're wrong. It can't be.

                         

                          BORDEN
           It is. He carries the bowl between
           his knees for the entire performance.

                         

                          ANGIER
           but look at the man!

                         

                          BORDEN

                          (POINTS)
           This is the trick. This is why no
           one detectes his method.

                         
          Soo hobbles into the restaurant, frail, and fragile.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           Total devotion to his art...
           (looks at Angier)
           Utter self-sacrifice. It's the only
           way to escape this.

                         
          Borden SLAPS the bricks of the wall behind them.

                         

          INT. BEDSIT -- NIGHT


                         
          Julia, in bed, watches Angier, SHEET wrapped around him like
          a robe, HOBBLING. He pulls up the sheeyt- between his knees
          is a goldfish bowl.

                         

                          ANGIER
           I can barely lift this thing and
           it's not even filled with water. Or
           fish. He must be strong as an ox.

                         

                          JULIA

                          (INCREDULOUS)
           He's been preteding to be an cripple
           for years?

                         

                          ANGIER
           Any time he's in public. Any time
           he goes out. It's unthinkable.

                         
          Angier puts the bowl down with a flourish. Climbs into bed.

           22.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           Borden saw it at once. I couldn't
           fathom it- living your whole life
           pretending to be someone else.

                         

                          JULIA
           You're pretending to be someone else.

                         

                          ANGIER
           I don't think changing your name
           compares.

                         

                          JULIA
           Not just your name- who you are,
           where you're from...

                         

                          ANGIER
           I promised my family I wouldn't
           embarrass them with my theatrical
           endeavors.
          Angier cuddles up to Julia.

                         

                          JULIA
           I came up with a name for you...
           "The Great Danton"

                          (ANGIER FROWNS)
           You don't like it? It's
           sophisticated.

                         

                          ANGIER
           It's French.

                         

          INT. BEDSIT -- DAY


                         
          Sarah unlocks the door, but has to PUSH against MAGICAL PROPS
          stacked against it- the bedsit is FILLED with DEVICES.

                         

                          SARAH
           Alfred?!

                         
          Sarah surveys the confusion- spots Borden across the flat
          deep in conversation with another man. Borden spots her-

                         

                          BORDEN
           We have our routine for Ackerman!

                         
          The other man turns- it is Fallon.

                         

                          SARAH

                          (COLD)
           We haven't had the pleasure.

                         
          Fallon nods. Borden comes over, holding a DUELING PISTOL.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Mr.Fallon is my ingeneur-

           23.

                         

                          SARAH
           Where did yo get all of-

                         

                          BORDEN
           Begged, borrowed and don't ask.
           Mr.Fallon's an enterprising soul.

                         

                          SARAH
           I need talk to you.

                         
          Fallon slips past Sarah with a nod to Borden. Exits. Sarah
          looks at Borden. TENSE.

                         

                          SARAH (CONT'D)
           We can't afford to pay him-

                         

                          BORDEN
           We'll start making money once we
           have our audience-

                          SARAH
           And until then? What I earn is barely
           enough for us.

                         

                          BORDEN

                          (SHRUGS)
           I'll give him half of my food.

                         
          Sarah looks meaningfully at Borden.

                         

                          SARAH
           You're already going to be sharing
           it with someone else.

                         
          Borden looks at her, confused. Then realizes.

                         

                          BORDEN
           You're...?

                         

                          SARAH
           Having a baby.

                         
          Borden freezes. Then SMILES, taking her in his arms. She
          FLINCHES against the gun he is holding.

                         

                          SARAH (CONT'D)
           What's this?

                         

                          BORDEN
           The trick to wake up Ackerman at the
           end of my audition.

                         

                          SARAH
           Your great trick? The "masterpiece
           that will make our fortunes"?

           24.

                         

                          BORDEN
           No. The world isn't ready for that
           one, yet.
          Borden moves to the bureau and starts LOADING the gun.
          Pouring in SHOT, then WADDING...

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           This is merely a run-of-the-mill
           daring and spectacular bullet catch-
          Borden drops the BULLET into the barrel...

                          SARAH
           I'm not letting you get shot.
          Borden RAMS the bullet and charge down then removes the RAMROD
          and hands the pistol to Sarah.

                          BORDEN
           It's perfectly safe. Shoot me.
          Sarah looks at Borden then down at the pistol. She aims at
          Borden. Then sims off, at a mirror beside him.
          BANG. Borden's hand SNAPS out to "catch" the bullet. The
          mirror is intact.
          Borden looks at Sarah, grave, as he reveals the bullet in
          his hand.

                          SARAH
           Show me.
           (Borden shakes head)
           Then you're not doing it. I can't
           raise a child on my own, Alfred.
          Borden looks at her. Takes the bullet from her and places
          it on the bureau.

                          BORDEN
           The bullet goes in the gun. Then
           comes the ramrod.
          He takes the RAMROD and PUSHES it down onto the bullet, which
          disappears.

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)

                          AND VOILS-
          He points the ramrod at Sarah- she pulls the bullet out of
          the HOLLOW TIP.

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           The buller's not even in the gun
           when the charge is fired.

                         
          Sarah looks at ramrod with disdain.

           25.

                         

                          SARAH
           Once you know it's so obvious.

                         
          Borden BRISTLES slightly. Takes the bullet back.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Yes, well, people still get killed
           perfoming it.

                         

                          SARAH
           How?

                         

                          BORDEN
           Sme smart-arse drops something down
           the barrel.

                         

                          SARAH
           Such as?

                         

                          BORDEN
           A penny, or a button. Or, of course,
           a bullet.
           (off worried look)
           But don't fret-

                         
          Borden embraces her, putting his hand on her belly.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           I'm not letting anything happen- I
           love you too much.

                         
          Sarah grabs his face, looking at his eyes, smiling.

                         

                          SARAH
           Say it again.

                         

                          BORDEN
           I love you.

                         

                          SARAH

                          (MATTER-OF-FACT)
           Nope. Not today.

                         

                          BORDEN
           What?

                         

                          SARAH

                          (SMILES)
           Some days, it's not true. Todayt
           you don't mean it. Maybe today you're
           more in love with magic than me.

                          (OFF LOOK)
           It's alright. I like being able to
           tell the difference- it makes the
           days it is true mean something.

                         
          Borden shakes his head, grinning.

           26.

                         

          INT. HOTEL ROOM, COLORADO -- NIGHT


                         
          Angier closes Borden's notebook. He looks across at a
          photograph of julia on the table. Reaches for his own diary.

                         

           ANGIER (V.O.)
           Borden writes as if no one but he
           understood the true nature of magic...

                         

          INT. CELL, NEWGATE PRISON -- DAY


                         
          Borden sits on his cot reading Angier's journal.

                         

           ANGIER (V.O.)
           ...but what does he know of self-
           sacrifice more than the rest of us?

                         
          Borden looks up from Angier's journal.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Bloody fool.

                         
          Borden TOSSES the book across the cell.

                         

          INT. EVIDENCE ROOM, WARHOUSE -- DAY


                         
          A POLICEMAN opens the door for the Judge and Cutter.

                         

                          POLICEMAN

                          (POINTING)
           It's all laid out down the end, you
           honour.

                         
          The Judge NODS. The Policeman exits, LOCKING them inside.

                         
          The Judge follows Cutter, approaching a collection of magical
          apparatus, including a MASSIVE CRATE. Cutter looks up at it
          with AWE, touching the side where it says "COLORADO SPRINGS".

                         

                          JUDGE
           What's in there?

                         
          Cutter OPENS it, revealing metal and glass MACHINERY within.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Angier's machine.

                         

                          JUDGE
           You built this, Mr.Cutter?

                         

                          CUTTER

                          (SHAKES HEAD)
           Oh no. This wasn't built by a
           magician... it was built by a wizard.

                          (OFF LOOK)
           A man who can actually do the things
           a magician pretends to...

           27.

                         
          Cutter closes the crats. The JUDGE turns to other props.

                         

                          CUTTER (CONT'D)
           your honour, what will happen to
           these things when the trial is over?

                         
          The Judge is staring at a large glass tank.

                         

                          JUDGE
           They've benn sold to a Lord Caldlo.
           An avid collector, apparently very
           interested in the case.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Don't let him take this.

                         
          The Judge looks over. Cutter is touching the crate.

                         

                          JUDGE
           Why ever not?

                          CUTTER
           It's dangerous.

                         

                          JUDGE
           I'm sure beneath its bells and
           whistles it's get some simple and
           disappointing trick.

                         

                          CUTTER
           The most disappointing of all- it
           has no trick. It's real.

                         
          The Judge looks at Cutter. Smiles indulgently. Turns.

                         

                          JUDGE
           This is the tank Angier drowned in?

                         
          Cutter turns to look at the empty, smashed glass of the tank.
          Nods. Cutter indicates the top of the tank, where there is
          a PADLOCK. Cutter pushes down on a panel of the lid-

                         

                          CUTTER
           This lets the performer's hands reach
           the trick padlock...

                         
           -a small section POPS open.

                         

                          JUDGE
           A standard magical apparatus for
           escapes?

                         

                          CUTTER
           With one important difference...

                         
          Cutter grabs the PADLOCK. Rattles it.

           28.

                         

                          CUTTER (CONT'D)
           This isn't a trick lock... it's been
           switched out for a real one.

                         
          The Judge stares at the tank, appaled.

                         

                          JUDGE
           What a way to kill someone. Why in
           God's name go to such lengths?

                         

                          CUTTER
           These are magicians, you honour.
           Showmen. Men who live by dressing
           up plain and sometimes brutal truths
           to amaze. To shock.

                         

                          JUDGE
           Even without and audience?

                         
          Cutter stares at the tank-

          INSERT CUT: ANGIER SCREAMING BUBBLES.

                         

                          CUTTER
           There was and audience.
           (looks at Judge)
           See, the water tank had a particular
           signinficance for the two men...

                         

          INT. THEATRE -- EVENING


                         
          Onstage, A SIMILAR TANK FILLED WITH WATER.

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.)
           A particular awful significance...

                         
          Julia stands next to the tank. Milton adresses the audience.

                         

                          MILTON
           Which of you brave souls is willing
           bind this lovely young woman?

                         
          Milton gestures to Julia- the crowd goes wild. Julia makes
          a show of deciding. She picks up Angier and Borden, who are
          made up to look different from the last performance. As
          they leap up onto stage, Borden makes eye contact with Cutter
          in the wings- Cutter's is a WARNING GLANCE.

                         
          As Angier ties Julia's ankles he can't resist tickling just
          under her toes- she KICKS him in the chin.

                         
          Borden starts to wrap the rope around Julia's wrists in a
          particular fashion. Stops. Reconsiders. Julia NODS at
          him, encouring. Borden starts RETRYING the knot.

                         
          Cutter watches. His hand checking for the axe handle.

           29.

                         
          Borden tests the rope- it is tight. Julia gives him the
          sign with her eyes- he steps back. Angier rises to his feet,
          grinning at Julia. As she raises her arms to the hook, she
          can't quite hide her smile back at him.

                         
          Milton gives the sign and Julia is HOISTED into the air.
          Cutter slips his STOPWATCH out of his pocket as Milton moes
          the tank under Julia's bare feet.

                         
          Angier looks up at Julia. Proud. She stares out over the
          audience, preparing herself. Looks down at Angier, smiling...

                         
          Julia PLUNGES into the tank- Milton SLAMS the lid shut- Cutter
          checks his stopwatch, hand caressing the axe handle...

                         
          Milton raises the curtain around the tank, then circles it,
          working his "magic". Angier shifts a little. Time passing...
          Milton looks at Cutter- TOO MUCH TIME...

                         
          Cutter GRASPS his axe and SPRINT at the tank- Milton RIPS
          the curtain down- Julia, one arm free, is CONVULSING...

                         
          Angier and Borden look on in HORROR as Cutter SWINGS his axe
          into the glass- which CRACKS... cutter SWINGS again and again-
          the web of crackes GROWING, Julia's convulsions SLOWING, her
          eyes PLEADING with Angier's, until-

                         
          CRASH- the glass gives way, FLOODING the stage- Cutter and
          Angier GRASP at Julia- FULL her onto the stage- Cutter ELBOWS
          Angier out of the way to POUND on Julia's chest- Borden
          wacthes, stunned, as Julia FLOPS, LIFELESS, onto the boards.
          Cutter looks up at Angier, stricken.

                         
          Angier takes Julia in his arms, looking down at her staring
          eyes. He desperately BRUSHES water from Julias cheeks and
          forehead. Borden looks on, shen.

                         

           BORDEN (V.O.)
           How often I've fought with my self
           over that night .. one half of me
           swearing bling that i tied a simple
           slip knot... the other half convinced
           that I tied the Langford double. I
           suppose I'll never know for sure-

                         

          INT. HOTEL ROOM, COLORADO -- DAY


                         
          Angier looks up from Borden's journal, despairing.

                         

                          ANGIER
           How can be not know?!

                         
          Angier FLINGS Borden's journal across the room.

                         

           ANGIER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           He must know what he did. He must.

           30.

                         

          INT. PRISON CELL -- DAY


                         
          Borden smiles as he reads Angier's dairy.

                         

                          BORDEN
           "How can be not know?!"

                          (STARTS LAUHING)
           Because, Angier, life is complicated,
           people are complicated, knots are

                          COMPLICATED-

                         

           PRISONER (O.S.)
           Shit it, Professor, or I'll shut it
           for you.

                         
          Borden quiets. Looking at the journal.

                         

           BORDEN (V.O.)
           How could I not know? How can you
           read my story and not understand?

          INT. COURTROOM -- DAY


                         
          Cutter sits in the CROWDED GALLERY. Borden, in the dock,
          SCANS the crowd. Finally SPOTS Fallon pushing to the front-
          he is alone. Borden stares at him. Fallon shakes his dead.

                         
          Borden is prompted to stand by two GUARDS as the Judge enters.
          The JUDGE has a piece of black cloth draped over his wig.

                         

                          JUDGE
           Alfred Borden, you have been found
           guilty of the murder of Robert Angier.
           You will, in one month's time, be
           hanged by the neck until dead. May
           the Lord have mercy on your soul.

                         
          Borden barely reacts.

                         

          EXT. PRISON YARD, NEWGATE PRISON -- DAY


                         
          Borden stands at the fence with Fallon

                         

                          BORDEN
           They took her away?

                          (FALLON NODS)
           To the workhouse?

                         
          Another slow nod. Borden closes his eyes with despair. Then
          opens them and hands Fallon OWENS' CARD.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           Tell him I've reconsidered.

                          (OFF LOOK)
           It's for the best.

           31.

                         

          INT. DINING ROOM, CLIFF HOUSE INN, COLORADO SPRING -- DUSK


                         
          Angier stares down at the NOTEBOOK, making notes on a napkin.
          Through large windows a THUNDERSTORM batters Pike's Peak.
          Angier is the only guest in the hotel's massive dining room.

                         

           VOICE (O.S.)
           Mind if I join you?

                         
          Angier looks around. Alley is standing by the table.

                         

                          ALLEY
           Tesla sends me down here during the
           storms. Perfect excuse to come shere
           a drink with the Great Danton.

                         
          Alley sits, gesturing to a waiter.

                         

                          ALLEY (CONT'D)
           Have you tried our Bourbon yet, Mr.
           Angier? It matches the scenery
           nicely.

                          (TO WAITER)
           Two of 'em.

                          (TO ANGIER)
           Beautiful, isn't it? I do miss New
           York, though.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Why are you here?

                         

                          ALLEY
           The lightning lives here. And noit
           much else- our work is secret.

                         
          Alley glances down at the notebook and Agier's scribbles.

                         

                          ALLEY (CONT'D)
           A cypher?

                         
          Angier nods as Alley lifts the cardboard notebook.

                         

                          ANGIER
           My profession also deals in secrets.

                         
          Alley looks at the gibberish on the pages of the notebook.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           It's a rotating transposition that
           shifts every day of the dairy. Simple
           but time-consuming to translate once
           you have the five-letter keyword.

                         

                          ALLEY
           Which is?

                         
          Angier smiles as he reaches for the notebook.

           32.

                         

                          ANGIER
           We magicians have a circle of trust.

                         

                          ALLEY
           You have a circle of trust with
           someone whose dairy you stole?

                         

                          ANGIER
           Maybe I bought it.

                         

                          ALLEY
           Magicians sell their secrets?

                         

                          ANGIER
           It's how we pay for our retirements
           and how greats tricks outlive us.

                         
          Alley considers this. Taps the cover of the notebook.

                         

                          ALLEY
           You're hoping to find a great secretin
           there?

                         

                          ANGIER
           I've already found it. That's why
           I'm here.

                         
          Angier reaches in his pocket and removes his own, leather-
          bound journal. He tears a PAGE from it and hands it to Alley.
          Who unfolds it ans stares at it.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           Tesla built one for another magician.

                         

                          ALLEY
           Why would you want the same thing?

                         

                          ANGIER
           Call it a professional rivalry.

                         

                          ALLEY
           Tesla has built unusual machines for
           unusual people, but he would never
           talk about it.

                         

                          ANGIER
           I understand discretion. I just
           want the machine.

                         
          Alley looks at Angier. Thinking.

                         

                          ALLEY
           Finish your drink. You'll have a
           special appreciation for our work.

                         

                          ANGIER
           I thought it was a secret.

           33.

                         

                          ALLEY

                          (SMILES)
           You're a magician. Who's going to
           believe you?

                         

          EXT. FIELDS, COLORADO SPRINGS -- NIGHT


                         
          The storm has abated. Angier's cane into the muddy ground
          as he follows Alley through the moonlit field.

                         
          There are large glass GLOBES pushing out of the soil as if
          planted all around them. They stop in the middle of the
          field, looking down at the electric LIGHTS of the town.

                         

                          ALLEY
           We do our tests when the townspeople
           are asleep- Mr.Tesla doesn't want to
           scare anyone.

                         
          Alley checks his wacth by the moonlight.

                          ALLEY (CONT'D)
           Not long now.

                         
          As they watch, the lights of Colorado Springs DISAPPEAR.

                         

                          ALLEY (CONT'D)
           Our equipment requires a great deal
           of current. Tesla eletrified the
           whole town in exchange for using the
           generators when we need to.

                         
          The field around them EXPLODES with DAZZLING LIGHT. Angier
          laughs out in surprise- the field is full of a thousand large
          LIGHTBULBS, all glowing together. Alley bends down and picks
          up the nearest lightbulb -- as he does, the light in it
          extinguises. He tosses the bulb to Angier. Except for the
          size, it's a normal lightbulb.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Where are the wires?

                         

                          ALLEY
           Exactly.

                         
          Angier bends and gently PUSHES the lightbulb into a random
          spot in the wet soil. The lightbulb FLICKERS on again.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Where's the generator?

                         

                          ALLEY
           You saw it last week.

                         

                          ANGIER
           But that must be ten miles from here.

           34.

                         

                          ALLEY
           Fifteen. And I have to ride all of
           them before I get to bed.
           (turns to leave)
           I'll send word for you in a few days,
           Mr.Angier.

                         
          Angier bends to pick up his lightbulb. As he does, the light
          FADES in all of them, and the lights in town come back on.
          Angier is alone.

                         

          INT. BATHROOM, LONDON -- DAY


                         
          Angier has his head SUBMERGED in a sink full of water. He
          BURSTS FREE, GASPING- COLLA`PSES to the floor, SOBBING.

                         

          INT. BATHROOM -- LATER


                         
          Angier lays out MAKE-UP SUPPLIES. He takes out a BULLE.
          Places it on the sink next to a FALSE MOUNSTAGE.

                         

          EXT. PRINCE'S ARMS BAR AND THEATRE


                         
          Rough. Unwelcoming. Crowded. A small "stage" at one end:
          Borden works his way through the Chinese rings. The crowd
          is JEERING.

                         

                          VOICE
           Get out your gun, Professor!

                         
          Someone BURLS a bottle at the stage- it narrowly misses.
          Borden GLARES out into the audience. Pulls out his GUN.

                         

                          BORDEN
           A volunteer.

                         
          The crowd SURGES forward with EAGER VOLUNTEERS. Fallon scans
          the crowd, passing over too-eager and too-drunk before
          settling on a MOUNSTACHED MAN and bringing him up onstage.

                         
          Borden LOADS the pistol, hands it to Moustache and steps
          backwards, pulling his coat apart, CHALLENGING.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           Are you man enought, sir?

                         

                          MOUSTACHE

                          (QUIET)
           Yes.

                         
          Something in Moustache's tone makes Borden looks closely-
          behind the moustache... Angier. QUIVERING WITH TENSION.

           35.

                         
          Borden looks at the trembling gun. Then at Angier. Spreads
          his hands, inviting.

                          BORDEN

                          (SMILES)
           I think not.

                         
          Angier purses his lips, straining to pull the trigger.

                         

          INSERT CUT: JULIA'S FACE, SCREAMING BUBBLES...

                         
          Angier's eyes are almost closed as he SQUEEZES the TRIGGER-

                         
          Fallon HITS Angier JUMPS to Borden's side, GRABBING his
          BLEEDING HAND. The DROWS is SCREAMING, PUSHING for the door,
          os STRAINING for a closer look at Borden.

                         
          Aniger, SHOCKED, melts into the crowd.

                         

          INT. PUB -- DAY

          Angier sits at the bar. Staring. He raises his pint glass.
          Downs it, then STOPS, looking at the bottom- there is a
          PLAYING CARD. He loos around. Cutter is sitting at a table
          with two fresh pints in front of him. Angier heads over.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Never thought I'd find an answer at
           the bottom of a pint glass.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Hasn't stopped you looking.

                          (ANGIER SITS)
           I heard about a booking. Nice little
           theatre. Good up-and-coming magician.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Who?

                         

                          CUTTER
           You.

                         

                          ANGIER
           You got me a booking? Why?

                         
          Cutter looks down into his beer.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Because I want to keep working...
           (looks up at Angier)
           And who's going to hire the ingeneur
           who killed Julia McCullough in front
           of a sellout crowd at the Orpheum?

                         
          Angier looks back at Cutter.

           36.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Someone who know that it wasn't your
           fault. Someone who knows Alfred
           Borden and his repertoire of exotic
           knots.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Heard he had a spot of bad luck doing
           a bullet catch South of the river.

                         
          Angier looks down at the liquid in his glass.

                         

                          ANGIER
           To die like that. Locked in water...
           lungs screaming...

                          (SHAKES HEAD)
           What did she go through, Cutter?

                         
          Cutter watches Angier's distress.

                          CUTTER
           I knew an old sailor. Told me about
           a time he got pulled over the side
           tangled in the sheets... they dragged
           him out, but it was five minutes
           before he coughed...

                         
          Angier stares at Cutter. Hanging.

                         

                          CUTTER (CONT'D)
           He said it was like... going home.

                         
          Angier considers this. Collects himself.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Which knot did Borden tie that night?

                         

                          CUTTER
           He wouldn't say.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Wouldn't say?!

                         

                          CUTTER
           It was as if... as if he didn't know.

                         

          INT. WORKSHOP -- DAY


                         
          Angier and Cutter isspect a large empty room.

                         

                          CUTTER
           We'll have to whitewash the windows
           to cofound the more curious members
           of your audience...

                          (LOOKS AROUND)
           But this should do.

           37.

                         

                          ANGIER
           We should see about an assistant.

                          CUTTER
           I've made arrangements. Have you
           settled on a name?

                          ANGIER
           Yes, I have. The Great Danton.

                          CUTTER
           Hmm. Bit old-fashioned?
          Angier smiles gently at Cutter.

                          ANGIER
           No. It's sophisticated.

          INT. ANGIER'S WORKSHOP -- DAY

          Angier is sitting at a worktable, pensive. He is moving one
          hand across the other, making a ROSE appear and disappear.
          The windows have been WHITEWASHED and the room has filled
          with an array of magical apparati: cabinets, costumes, props.
          On the other side of the room Cutter watches as OLIVIA
          WENSCOMBE, 20s, equal parts grace and mischief, squeezes
          herself into a tall cabinet, looking past Cutter to Angier.

                          OLIVIA
           What's so hard about this?
          Cutter leans into the cabinet and pops up a TRICK PANEl in
          the floor, revealing a tiny chamber.

                          CUTTER
           In here, Miss Wenscombe. No point
           meeting Mr.Angier unless you fit.
          Olivia shrugs and hands Cutter her hat, then her thick skirts,
          and folds herself into the bottom of the box.

                          CUTTER (CONT'D)
           Breathe as little as possible.
          Cutter closes the lid over her and walks over to Angier.

                          CUTTER (CONT'D)
           Not much experience , but she knows
           the basics. She knows how to present
           herself and a pretty assistant's the
           most effective from of misdirection.
          Angier nods. There is a small SNEEZE from inside the cabinet.

                         

                          CUTTER (CONT'D)

                          (SMILES)
           I suppose I should let her out.

           38.

                         

          INT. SARAH'S FLAT -- DAY


                         
          Sarah is frantcally REDRESSIN Borden's injured hand. BLOOD
          has SEEPED trough the bandages.

                         

                          SARAH
           I don't understand, Alfred. How can
           it be bleeding again?

                         
          She examines the wounds: 2 1/2 FINGERS ARE MISSING. The
          injuries are black, but wet and fresh.

                         

                          SARAH (CONT'D)
           What have you been doing to it? It
           looks as had as the day it happened.
           We need to get the doctot back-

                         

                          BORDEN

                          (SNAPS)
           We can' afford the doctor back!
          A BABY STARTS CRYING in the bedroom. Sarah glares at Borden.

                         

                          SARAH
           You've woken her.

                         

                          BORDEN
           I'm sorry. I just need this to heal
           so I can het back to work.

                         
          Sarah looks at Borden. Reluctantly.

                         

                          SARAH
           Alfred, you have to face things.
           What tricks could you peform with
           this kind of injury?

                         

                          BORDEN
           Some of the card pulls, prop tricks...
           (leans forward, excited)
           And the trick I've been telling you
           about. The trick they'll remember
           me for.

                         

          INT. ANGIER'S WORKSHOP -- DAY


                         
          Angier and Cutter at the workbench, examine a BIRD CAGE.
          Cutter is wearing a strange LEATHER HARNESS over his shirt
          it has LARGE SPRINGS and small PULLEYS on the back.

                         

                          ANGIER
           The bird cage can't be our climax-
           everybody knows it.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Not like this, they don't.

           39.

                         

                          ANGIER
           And I don't want to kill doves.

                         

                          CUTTER

                          (SNAPS)
           Then stay off the stage.
           (glares at Angier)
           You're a magician, not a wizard- you
           have to get your hands dirty to
           achieve the impossible.

                         

                          ANGIER
           You sound like him.

                         

                          CUTTER
           (holds up cage)
           Put your hands on the sides...

                         

          INT. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -- DAY

          A heavy, disinterested man slouches in the third row of the
          empty theatre with a newspaper- MERRIT, the stage manager.
          Onstage, Angier energetically YANKS coloured handkerchiefs
          from a hat and TOSSING them into the air. Olivia, in the
          glamorous, revealing costume of Magician's Assistant, darts
          back and forth PLUCKING the handkerchiefs from the air.

                         
          Angier finishes with a flourish. Merrit shrugs. Angier
          places an ORNATE CAGE onto the table.

                         

                          ANGIER
           I need a volunteer.

                         
          Merrit rolls his eyes. Climbs to his feet. Angier produces
          a DOVE. Places it in the cage.

                         

          INT. ANGIER'S WORKSHOP -- DAY


                         
          Now Angier is wearing the harness. He places a dove in the
          cage and picks it up.

                         
          Close on: HOOKS concealed on Angier's palm slip into CATCHES
          on the bars of the cage.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Hang on, hang on...

                         
          Cutter reaches in and slips a NOOSE around the bird's ankle...

                         

                          CUTTER (CONT'D)
           There we go. Now you tell the
           volunteer to put his hands here...

                         
          Cutter pleases his hands on the TOP and BOTTOM of the cage...

           40.

                         

          INT. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -- NIGHT


                         
          Merrit places his hands on the TOP and BOTTOM of the bird
          cage. Angier's hands are on the sides. Olivia reaches around
          Merrit to place her hands on the remaining two sides. Merrit
          looks up at Angier over his glasses.

                         

                          MERRIT
           You'd beat not be intending to hut
           this animal, Mr.Angier.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Of course not.

                         
          Angier raises and lowers their hands in a rythm...

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           And one, two... THREE!

                         
          The bird cage, and the dove, VANISH.

          INT. ANGIER'S WORKSHOP -- DAY


                         
          Angier and Cutter have their hands on the bird cage.

                         

                          ANGIER

           ...THREE!

                         
          The bird cage BREAKS APART, WHIPPING UP ANGIER'S FOREARMS.
          WHERE SLEEVES WOULD BE, YANKED BY THE HARNESS. Angier smiles.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           Bloody marvelous, Cutter.

                         

                          CUTTER
           And the best part...

                         
          Cutter reaches to Angier's armpit... pulls up the DOVE,

          HANGING BY ITS ANKLE, ALIVE.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Thought you said I had to get my
           hands dirty.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Someday, perhaps you will. I needed
           to know that you can.

                         

          INT. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -- DAY


                         
          Merrit nods, impressed, stepping backwards. Angier REACHES
          into Merrit's pocket. Removes a dove.

                         

                          MERRIT
           Very nice. Very nice indeed.

                         
          Olivia packs up the props. Cutter approaches from the wings.

           41.

                         

                          ANGIER

                          (SMILING)
           I haven't had a chance to compliment
           you on your beautiful theatre yet,
           Mr.Merrit.

                         

                          MERRIT
           A lot more beautiful when it's full,
           Mr.Angier.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Don't worry.

                         

                          MERRIT
           You all say that. Why sould I worry?
           If your tricks don't get 'em in,
           someone else's will. Maybe someone
           willing to do a bullet catch or a
           water scape.

                          CUTTER
           cheap thrills, Mr.Merrit. People
           hoping for an accident- and quite
           likely to see one, too. What would
           that do for your business?

                         

                          MERRIT

                          (SHRUGS)
           You've got a week.

                         

          EXT. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -- EVENING


                         
          A line a PATRONS runs from the box office to the street.
          The marquee above the theatre reads: "THE GREAT DANTON PERFOMS

          FEATS OF MISTERY AND IMAGINATION"

                         

          INT. THEATRE -- EVENING


                         
          Angier is perfoming to a good crowd. He steps forward.

                         

                          ANGIER
           You sir, in the hat. Could you show
           us your handkerchief?

                         
          A MAN in the audience STANDS and pulls a HANDKERCHIEF from
          his pocket. He stares at it, CONFUSED. The audience LAUGHS.

                         

                          MAN
           This isn't mine.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Perhaps you'd be so good as to return
           it to the other man. He has yours.

                         
          Another man stands and pulls out a handkerchief. APPLAUSE.
          Angier dows and walks quickly off the stage, past the squad
          of DANCING GIRLS who run on to entertain in the break.

           42.

                         

          INT. BACKSTAGE -- EVENING

          Cutter and Olivia are waiting for Angier as he comes off.

                          OLIVIA
           I'm so nervous- I'm sorry, I'm making
           mistakes.
          Cutter quickly REMOVES Angier's coat...

                          ANGIER
           The audience doesn't seem to be
           responding much, Cutter.
          Cutter puts he LEATHER HARNESS over Angier's arms...

                          CUTTER
           This is a grand theatre with a
           sophisticated audience- They've
           seen most of these tricks before.
           But not this next one. You'll see.
          Cutter checks the SPRINGS of the harness and replaces Angier's
          coat. He spots a STAGEHAND poking his head around the flies.

                          CUTTER (CONT'D)
           You! Piss off out it!
          The dancers are wrapping up.

                          ANGIER
           Wish us luc, Cutter.

                          CUTTER

                          (SMILING)
           I'll have the champagne ready.
          Angier, followed by Olivia, steps out onto the stage.

          INT. STAGE -- CONTINUOUS

          Angier steps to the table center stage. Pulls out the bird
          cage. There are one or two groans from the audience. Angier
          SMILES as he produces a DOVE with a FLOURISH.

                          ANGIER
           You've seen this one before?

           HECKLER (O.S.)
           Seen 'em all before, mate!
          Laughter.

                          ANGIER
           Well, I'll make it a little harder,
           shall I?

                         
          In the wings, Cutter smiles and nods at Angier's showmanship.

           43.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           Two volunteers, please. A lady and
           a gentleman to hold this cage with
           me...

                         
          Hands go up. Olivia pulls an ELEGANT LADY from the audience.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           I'll perform this feat in a manner
           never before seen by yourselves or
           by any other audience anywhere in
           the worth...

                         
          Olivi brings Elegant Lady onto the stage along with a RED-
          BEARDED MAN. The audience is getting interested. Angier is
          on role...

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           Any magician can make this cage
           disappear... that's why I'll ask
           this good lady and fine gentleman to
           place their hands firmly on the
           cage...

                         
          Olivia guides Elegant Lady's hands onto the sides of the
          cage. Red-beard places a hand underneath the cage.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           ...to ensure that no trickery
           whatsover is employed.

                         
          Angier RAISES the bird cage. The audience is RAPT.

                         
          Red beard's other hand appears on the top of the cage- it is
          MUTILATED, missing fingers.

                         
          Angier FREEZES- looks up at Red Beard... IT IS BORDEN

                         
          Borden SMILES as he WORMS his little finger into the cage
          mechanism...

                         

          SNAP! HALP THE CAGE WHIPS UP ANGIER'S SLEEVE- THE OTHER

          HALF COLLAPSES ON THE DOVE AND THE ELEGANT LADY'S FINGERS-

          SHE SCREAMS- BIRD BLOOD SPLATTERS ONTO THE THREE OF THEN-

          THE AUDIENCE GOES CRAZY-

                         
          Borden smiles at Angier through his blood-spattered fake
          beard and retreats into the chaos surrounding the Elefant
          Lady who is still SCREAMING as Angier tries to free her
          fingers from the mechanism.

                         

          INT. BACKSTAGE -- LATER


                         
          Angier and Cutter watch the STAGEHANDS clear the stage.

                         

                          ANGIER
           I should've spotted him.

           44.

                         

                          CUTTER
           You had a lot of plates spinning.

                         
          Angier looks down at the harness in his hands.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Don't suppose they'll let us do this
           one again.

                         

                          CUTTER
           No.

                         

                          ANGIER
           So what's the climax of our show?

                         

           MERRIT (O.S.)
           Show? You don't have a show.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Mr.Merrit, we have a week's engagment-

                          MERRIT
           To perform magic- not butcher birds
           and break my costomer's fingers!
           Clear out, anything here in the
           morning gets burned.

                         
          Cutter puts his hand on Merrit's arms.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Mr.Merrit-

                         

                          MERRIT
           It's done, John. I've hired a
           comedian. You know I hate comedians,
           which should indicate the may I felel
           about your friend's future as a stage
           magician.

                         
          Cutter nods. Merrit leaves. Cutter turns to Angier.

                         

                          CUTTER
           There are plenty of good theatres...
           if we can come up with another trick
           and change the name of the act-

                         

                          ANGIER
           The name stays.

                         
          Cutter sees Angier's resolve.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Right. Well, the new trick will
           have to be irresistible, then. I've
           a couple of methods to try out, but
           we'll need a fresh angle on the
           presentation.

           45.

                         
          Angier nods.

                         

                          CUTTER (CONT'D)
           If you need inspiration, there's a
           technical exposition at the Albert
           Hall this week. Scientists and
           engineers. That sort of thing
           captures the popular imagination.

                         

          EXT. ROYAL ALBERT HALL -- AFTERNOON


                         
          The large concert hall is surrounded by crowds and covered
          in banners advertising a Technical Exposition. Angier makes
          his way past a giant STEAM ENGINE and into the building.

                         

          INT. ALBERT HALL -- AFTERNOON


                         
          THe lobby if filled with displays and models. Angiers pokes
          around, looking thouroughly disinterested until he comes to
          an information booth plastered with illustrations of
          electrical bolts.

                         

                          TICKET HAWKER
           Would you like to know the future,
           sir? The man who kill change the
           world is speaking right now.
           Continents divided no more. Free,
           clean power. The mysteries of the
           world solved.

                         
          The posters show a tall, handsome man bathed in lightning
          and standing astride the world like colossus. In bold print

                         IT SAYS:

                         

          THE WONDERS OF "ALTERNATING CURRENT"...NIKOLA TESLA

                         

          INT. AUDITORIUM, ALBERT HALL -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          The hall is completely darkened, but bright blue FLASHES
          illuminate ANGIER as he pushes his way to a seat.

                         
          On the stage, a tall rod capped with a steel ball is
          transmitting a steady, sparking stream of electricity onto a
          matched ball across the stage.

                         
          A FIGURE walks around from behind the machine and the audience
          GASPS as a shower of sparks bounce off of his immaculate
          evening wear. This is TESLA- but Angier is too far from the
          stage to get a good look at him.

                         

                          TESLA
           With a system like this I could have
           the entire city electrified whitin
           two years.

                         
          The audience breaks into LAUGHTER. The spell is broken.
          Tesla must be a lunatic.

           46.

                         

                          TESLA (CONT'D)
           Mr. Edison's direct current system
           is flawed and dangerous. With my
           alternating current devices-

                         
          Someone from the audience chimes in:

                         

                          AUDIENCE MEMBER

                          (YELLS)
           Fraud.

                         
          Angier turns to look. The man who called out is leaving
          he's not alone. Angier FREEZES, staring down at aisle-

                         
          Borden is sitting there, RAPT, lit by FLASHES from the
          machinery on stage. As tesla continues his demonstration,
          Angier STARES at Borden.

                         

          EXT. STREET -- DAY

          Borden walks down the street. Angier is following him.
          Borden meets Sarah, pushing a PRAM. Borden looks down at
          the baby then up at Sarah.

                         

                          BORDEN
           I love you.

                         
          Sarah smiles.

                         

                          SARAH
           See? Today, it's true.

                         
          Angier watches Borden kiss wife then his baby.

                         

           ANGIER (V.O.)
           I saw hapiness...

                         

          INT. HOTEL ROOM, COLORADO -- NIGHT


                         
          Angier writing in his leather-bound journal.

                         

           ANGIER (V.O.)
           ...hapiness that should have been
           mine. But I was wrong.

                         
          Angier glances at Borden's notebook sitting on the desk.

                         

           ANGIER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           Reading his account I realize that
           he never had the life I envied.

                         
          Angier flips open the notebook. Staring at the coded writing.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           The family life he craves one minute
           he rails against the next, demanding
           freedom. His mind is a divided one...

           47.

                         

          INT. PRISON CELL -- DAY


                         
          Borden sits on his cot. Reading Angier's journal.

                         

           ANGIER (V.O.)
           His soul restless. His wife and
           child tormented by his fickle and
           contradictory nature...

                         
          Borden is crying. He puts the journal down and jumps to his
          feet BANGING on the cell door.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Guard! Guard!!

                         
          The viewing slot slides open.

                         

                          GUARD
           What do want, Professor?

                          BORDEN
           Paper and pencil. Please.

                         

          INT. PRISON LIBRARY, NEWGATE PRISON -- DAY


                         
          Te library is long and titled, with two long tables. It
          looks as if it used to be a latrine.

                         
          Borden sits at a table. Writing on a stack of notepaper.
          His arms have been unbound, but long chains runs from his
          ellbows to where Sullen Gaurd sits smoking, craning his nek
          to read Borden's writing.

                         

                          SULLEN
           Let me see?

                         
          Sullen SNATCHES up the papers. Borden makes no move to stop
          him. The top sheet is a sketch of a cabinet.

                         

                          SULLEN (CONT'D)
           I'm going to know all of the
           Professor's secrets.

                         

                          BORDEN

                          (SMILING)
           Only if I teach you how to read.

                         
          Sullen mashes the papers into a ball and drops them.

                         

                          SULLEN
           Just stupid tricks, right? Haven't
           helped you get out of here-

                          (TUGS CHAINS))
           Have they? Or can't you open real
           locks, Professor?

           48.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Perhaps I'm just biding my time.
           Perhaps one day I'll just hold up my

                          HAND-
          Borden produces a RUBBER BALL in front of Sullen's face.
          Sullen stares.

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           -get you attention. Then quietly

                          SAY-

                          (WHISPERS)
           "are you wacthing closely"... perhaps
           say a magic word or two... then I'll
           be gone.
          Borden VANISHES the ball, but FUMBLES it, it drops to Borden's
          feet. Sullebn LAUGHS as Borden SCRABBLEs around his ankles
          to retrieve the ball.

                          SULLEN
           How'd you get so famous, then?
          Borden STANDS.

                          BORDEN
           Magic.
          Borden TURNS, NO LONGER CHAINED. Sullen JUMPS to his feet
          to follow, but HIS ANKLE IS CHAINED TO THE TABLE. The other
          PRISONERS are LAUGHING and CHEERING.

                          SULLEN
           Oi, Borden, get back here!
          Sullen FUMBLES with his keys as Borden takes a BOW. Another
          warder CRACKS Borden over the head with a TRUNCHEON. Sullen,
          now free, KICKS Borden in the ribs.

                          CUT TO:
          CLOSE ON AN ADVERTISSIMENT: "the professor has DEFIED DEATH
          to return with a new SPECTACULAR!" Pull wider-

          INT. ANGIER'S WORKSHOP -- NIGHT

          A NEWSPAPER on the makeup table. Angier sits at the mirror.
          He hubs BROWN PASTE into his hair and then combs it out.
          Then he chooses a beard, seats it on his chin and begins to
          adjust it. He drops the BOTTLE of spirit gum as he looks in
          the mirror and sees OLIVIA standing behind him.

                          ANGIER

                          (EMBARRASSED)
           I thought you'd gone.

                         
          Olivia shifts. Embarrassed.

           49.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           I don't really.... have anywhere to
           go.
          Angier slips the newspaper from the table.

                          ANGIER
           You've been sleeping here?

                          OLIVIA
           Cutter said it would be okay till we
           get another booking.

                          (BEAT)
           What are you doing?

                          ANGIER
           Researching. Part of a magician's
           job is to watch his competition, to
           see what illusions they're-

                          OLIVIA
           You're going to do something to that
           man, aren't you?
          Olivia moves closer. Angier is quiet.

                          OLIVIA (CONT'D)
           Cutter's hopig you'll let things
           life. He says if Borden thinks things
           are even between you then we can-

                          ANGIER
           Even? My wife for a couple of his
           fingers? He has a child now. And
           he's perfoming again.

                          (BITTER)
           Borden is out there, living his life
           just as he always intended. As if
           nothing had happened. And look at
           me. I'm alone. And no theatre will
           touch me.

                          OLIVIA
           Us.
          Olivia moves towards him.

                          OLIVIA (CONT'D)
           You're going to need a better
           disguise.
          Olivia reaches for Angier's beard.

                         

          INT. TINY, GRUBBY THEATRE -- NIGHT


                         
          Angier, almost unrecognizanle as a blonde, slips into the
          back of the theatre, which is as rough and unwelcoming as
          Borden's last venue.

           50.

                         
          On the small raised stage, Borden works through his way
          through the Chinese rings with GLOVED HANDS to hide his
          damaged fingers. The tough crowd is JEERING AT HIM.
          Borden puts the rings down on a table and PICKS UP a bag.

                          BORDEN
           I need a volunteer.
          Angier takes a few steps towards the stage.
          Borden produces a RUBBER BALL.
          he TOSSES the ball to Angier.

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           As you can see , it's just a rubber
           ball. But it's not normal at all.
          Angier examines the ball. Hands it back to Borden who shows
          no sign of recognizing Angier.

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           Thank you.
          Angier notices that two TALL BLACK CABINETS are standing
          twenty feet apart on the stage.

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)

                          (TO AUDIENCE)
           You're not impressed?
          Borden BOUNCES the BALL on the ground and catches it.

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           It's a magic ball.
          Borden continues to BOUNCE the ball on the floor. The
          audience looks bored, waiting for something to happen.

           OLIVIA (V.O.)
           What happened?

          INT. ANGIER'S WORKSHOP -- NIGHT

          Angier still in disguise, is slumped in an armchair, drink
          in hand. He is SMILING, remembering.
          Olivia, sitting on the workbench, waits for him to continue.

                          OLIVIA
           What happened, Robert?

                          ANGIER
           He had a new trick.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           Was it good?

           51.

                         

                         
          Angier looks at her...

          INT. TINY, GRUBBY THEATRE -- EVENING

          Now it's CUTTER standing in the audience, watching. Onstage,
          Borden BOUNCES the ball over and over again.

           ANGIER (V.O.)
           It was the greatest magic trick I
           have ever seen.
          Borden walks to one side of the stage and OPENS the door to
          one of the cabinets. It's empty. He CLOSES it again and
          crosses the stage, BOUNCING the ball the whole way.
          At the far cabinet, Borden repeats the process, OPENING the
          door to the empty cabinet. This time, however, he leaves
          the door open.
          He steps forwards and GENTLY BOUNCES the ball SIDEWAYS, across
          the stage...
          Borden STEPS into the CABINET behind him, CLOSING the door.
          With no one on stage, the audience watches as the ball
          continues to BOUNCE across the stage. BOUNCE. BOUNCE.
          BOUNCE. The ball loses seep and height...
          Just as reaches the second cabinet, something IMPOSSIBLE
          happens.

          THE DOOR TO THE SECOND CABINET OPENS AND BORDEN STEPS OUT,

          CATCHING THE BALL.
          Cutter FLINCHES, then studies Borden. The audience is
          BEMUSED. Finally, a trickle of applause.

          INT. ANGIER'S WORKSHOP -- DAY

          Angier is talking to Cutter. Olivia is watching.

                          ANGIER
           Did they applaud when you saw it?

                          CUTTER
           Not very enthusiastically.

          INT. TINY, GRUBBY THEATRE -- NIGHT

          Angier is disguise, starts CLAPPING loudly, FIRMLY, as if he
          can't help it, LEADING the applause.
          Borden BOUNCES the ball once again, then BOWS deeply. The
          APPLAUSE peters out. Borden walks off the stage.

                         

          INT. ANGIER'S WORKSHOP -- DAY


                         
          Angier turns to Cutter.

           52.

                         

                          CUTTER
           The trick is too good -- too simple-
           the audience harly knows what they've
           seen.

                          ANGIER
           He's a dreadful magician.

                          CUTTER
           He's a wonderfull magician- he's a
           dreadful showman. He doesn't know
           how to dress it up, how to sell the
           trick.

                          ANGIER
           How does he do it?

                          CUTTER
           He uses a double.

                          ANGIER

                          (SHAKES HEAD)
           It's not that simple. This is a
           complex illusion.

                          CUTTER
           You think that because you don't
           know the method. It's a double who
           comes out at the end. It's the only
           way.

                          ANGIER
           I've seen his perfom ir three times
           now, Mr. Cutter- the Prestige is the

                          SAME MAN-

                          CUTTER

                          IT'S NOT-

                          ANGIER
           The same man comes out of the second
           cabinet. I promise you.

                          OLIVIA
           It is the same man.
          They both turn to look at Olivia.

                          OLIVIA (CONT'D)
           He wears padded gloves to hide his
           damaged fingers, but if you look
           closely you can tell.
          Angier looks at Cutter.

                         

                          ANGIER
           He doesn't know how to sell his trick
           to an audience. But I do.

           53.

                         

                          CUTTER

                          (NODS)
           It would give us our climax.

                         

                          ANGIER
           The man stole my life. I'm going to
           steal his trick.

                         

                          CUTTER
           We'll have to find someone who can
           look like you on a stage.

                         

                          ANGIER
           He doesn't use a double-

                         

                          CUTTER

                          (IMPACIENT)
           I don't know how Borden does it,
           Robert. So either you wait for Borden
           to retire and buy his secret, or you
           can listen to how I would do this
           trick.

                          (ANGIER NODS)
           Ang the only way I know is to find
           you a bloody good double.

                         
          Angier smiles. Turns to Olivia, pointing to his face.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Take a good look- let's get out
           there and find me.

                         

          EXT. ROAD, PIKE'S PEAK -- MORNING


                         
          Angier, swinging his cane, walks slowly up the mountain road.

                         

          EXT. TESLA'S LABORATORY -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          The lab is illuminated by thirty fot STREAMERS of electrical
          DISCHARGE that pour from the base of the tower.

                         
          Angier stops, fearful.

                         

                          ALLEY
           It's perfectly safe.

                         
          As Angier stares, a MAN begins to emerge from the very center
          of the CONFLAGRATION.

                         
          Bolts SNAP and TRAIL after the man as he walks, in SILHOUETTE,
          towards Angier.

           54.

                         

                          TESLA
           So this is the Great Danton.

                         
          Tesla emerges from the ball of electricity, dressed as if he
          were on his way to the opera. He brushes SPARKS from the
          sleeve of his jacket as he extends a band to Angier.

                         

                          TESLA (CONT'D)
           Mr. Alley has effused about your act
           to me on any number of occasions.
           Something you did with pockets?

                         
          Angier returns the handshake.

                         

                          ANGIER
           I saw a lecture you gave in London,
           several years ago. I'm flattered
           you agreed to see me.
          Tesla keeps hold as Angier's hand.

                         
          Angier, confused, does so. Alley hands him a lightbulb,
          which starts to glow as he grasps its metal base.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           What's conducting the electricity?

                         

                          TESLA
           Our bodies, Mr. Angier, are quite
           capable of conducting, and indeed,
           producing energy.

                         
          Tesla release Angier's hand. The bulb goes out. Alley takes
          it from the Angier who looks at the palms of his hands.

                         

                          TESLA (CONT'D)
           Have you eaten, Mr. Angier?

          EXT. DECK, LABORATORY -- MORNING


                         
          Angier, Alley and Tesla are seated around a table on a decl
          overlooking a spectacular view. They are eating sandwiches.

                         

                          TESLA
           Alley has explained that you require
           a very interesting device.

                         

                          ANGIER
           I need something impossible.

                         

                          TESLA
           You're familiar with a phrase 'Man's
           reach exceeds his grasp'?

                          (MORE)

           55.

                         

                          TESLA (CONT'D)
           (off his look)
           It's a lie. Man's grasp exceeds his
           nerve. The only limits on scientific
           progress are these imposed by society.
          Tesla looks out at the mountains.

                          TESLA (CONT'D)
           The first time I changed the world I
           was hailed as a visionary. The second
           time I was asked politely to retire.
           The world only tolerates one change
           at a time. And so here I am.
           (gestures at laboratory)
           Enjoying "retirement".
           (looking at Angier)
           Nothing is impossible, Mr. Angier.
           What you want is simply expensive.
          Tesla rises, washing his hands in a basin on a side table.

                          TESLA (CONT'D)
           Alley says you are a stage magician.
           If a built you this device, you would
           be presenting it only as an illusion?

                          ANGIER
           If people thought the things I did
           on stage were real, they wouldn't
           clap- they'd scream. Think of saving
           a woman in half.
          Tesla nods. Considering.

                          TESLA
           Mr.Angier, the cost of such a machine-

                          ANGIER
           Price is not an object.

                          TESLA
           Perhaps not. But have you considered
           the cost?

                          ANGIER
           I'm noit sure I follow.

                          TESLA
           I can make your machine, Mr. Angier.
           But I can also give you some advice...

                          (POINTED)
           Go home. Forget this thing. I can
           recognize an obsession. As Mr. Alley
           could tell you, I myself an given to
           one now and then. It will not do
           you any good.

           56.

                         

                         

                          ANGIER
           Have your obsessions done you no
           good?

                          TESLA
           At first. But I've followed them
           too long- I am their slave. Their
           whipping boy. And one day they may
           choose to destroy me.
          Angier looks into Tesla's eyes.

                          ANGIER
           if you understand an obsession then
           you know you won't change my mind.

                          TESLA

                          (SMILES)
           So be it.

                          ANGIER
           Will you build it?

                          TESLA
           I have already begun to build it,
           Mr. Angier. I hope you enjoy the
           mountain air. This will take time.
          Tesla disappears into the lab.

          INT. GREEN ROOM DRINKING CLUB -- EVENING

          The club is warm and dark. Olivia, Cutter and Angier make
          their way to the bar. Olivia points to the far end of the
          bar, to a TRAMP in tattered clothing, curled over a pint.

                          OLIVIA

                          (TO TRAMP)
           Gerry?
          The tramp sees Olivia, hoists himself up and spills his way
          down the bar to them. As he draws closer, we understand why
          Olivia has brought them here.
          Underneath the filth and matted hair, this man is SPITTING
          IMAGE of Robert Angier- HE IS PLAYED BY THE SAME ACTOR

                          OLIVIA (CONT'D)
           Mr. Angier, Mr. Cutter, I would like
           you to meet Mr. Gerald Root.

                          ROOT
           A pleasure to meet you fine gentlemen.

                         
          Angier is staring a little too much. Root throws an ARM
          over Angier's shoulder and draws him in.

           57.

                         

                          ROOT (CONT'D)

                          (WHISPER)
           Would you like for me to tell you a
           little joke?

                         
          Angier smiles unconfortably. Sunddely Root WRAPS this hands
          around Angier's neck and begins to THROTTLE him.

                         
          Cutter breaks it up and pushes Root back.

                         

                          ROOT (CONT'D)

                          (YELLING)
           Are you laughing?

                         
          Angier is shaken. Root picks up his hat off the bar and
          disappears onto the street.

                         

                          ANGIER
           He's out of his mind.

                          OLIVIA
           He's an out-of-work actor- of course
           he's out of his mind.

                         

                          CUTTER
           He's perfect. A little work, mind
           you, but when I'm done with him he
           could be your brother.

                         

                          ANGIER
           I don't need him to be my brother.
           I need him to be me.

                         

          EXT. NORTH HILL -- DAY


                         
          Borden escorts Sarah and their TODDLER, a girl, up the three
          lined street.

                         
          Borden stops abruptly. Crouches to his daugther.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Would you like to see a magic trick?

                         
          Borden reaches up and pushes a wayward LOCK a her hair over
          her ear. When his hands returns, it's holding a KEY.

                         
          He stands, places the key in Sarah's hand.

                         

                          SARAH
           What is this for?

                         
          Borden takes her gently by the shoulders and turns her around
          until she's facing a modest two-story HOUSE. She looks down
          at the key in her hand.

           58.

                         

                          SARAH (CONT'D)
           When I asked last week you said we
           couldn't afford.

                         

                          BORDEN
           You caught me in the wrong mood.

                         

                          SARAH
           But you want through all the-

                         

                          BORDEN
           Sarah, I'm allowed to change my
           mind, aren't I? The act is taking
           off, maybe soon I'll get us into a
           bigger theatre. Things will work.

                         
          Sarah turns and embraces her husband.

                         

          INT. EMPIRE THEATRE


                         
          The auditoruim is empty. Two doors is simple frames have
          been erected in the middle of the stage. Angier fiddles
          with one, opening it, walking through it. Olivia is watching.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           You walk through this one- then...?

                         
          Angier stands Olivia in front of the door.

                         
          he pushes the door all way open. Suddenly, a TRAP-DOOR set
          into the floor POPS open. Angier JUMPS through it-

                         

          INT. EMPIRE THEATRE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          Olivia gathers up her skirts and DROPS through the hole-

                         

          INT. BENEATH THE EMPIRE STAGE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          -LANDING beside Angier on the straw matterss.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           Oof. Couldn't you find a softer
           one?

                         

                          ANGIER

                          (SMILES)
           It's not for sleeping on.

                         
          Olivia looks around the below stage area.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           And Root goes up through there?

           59.

                         
          She gestures at a LIFT twenty feet away with a TRAP DOOR
          MECHANISM above it. Angier nods. Olivia looks at Angier.

                         

                          OLIVIA (CONT'D)
           It's going to be amazing, Robert.

                         

                          ANGIER
           It has to be. Borden's trick is
           getting noticed. The place was packed
           today.

                         
          Olivia looks at him strangely.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           You went and saw his show again?

                         
          Angier looks away, embarrassed.

                         

                          OLIVIA (CONT'D)
           You becoming obsessed, Robert.

           CUTTER (O.S.)
           Ready to meet yourself, Mr. Robert.

                         
          Angier and Olivia look up to see Cutter at the trap door.

                         

          INT. EMPIRE THEATRE -- MOMENTS LATER


                         
          Angier and Olivia sit in the front row. Cutter beckons Root
          onstage. He's been clened up and dressed in Angier's stage
          costume. he TRIPS on his way across the stage.

                         

                          ANGIER
           All I have to do is keep myself
           stinking drunk all the time and no
           one will be able to tell the
           difference.

                         

                          CUTTER
           A little faith, sir. Could you favor
           us with a perfomance. Mr. Root?

                         
          Root picks himself up and dusts himself off.

                         
          Suddenly, ROOT HAS BECOME ANGIER. he is channeling everything
          from his facial expressions to his walk. Angier nods,
          starting to believe this might work. The illusion is PERFECT --
          till he opens his mouth.

                         

                          ROOT
           You would drink, too, if you know
           the world half so well as I do.

                         
          Angier hops up onto stage, examining Root from different
          angles. Root starts APING his every movement. Olivia starts
          laughing. Angier is getting uncomfortable.

           60.

                         

                          ROOT (CONT'D)
           Did you think you were unique, Mr.
           Angier? I have been Cassar. I have
           been Faust. How difficult could it
           possibly be to play 'The Great
           Danton?'

                          CUTTER
           You can go back to being yourself.
           Root. For free..
          Root looks challengingly at both men.

                          ROOT
           I'd rather be him, for now. I find
           it amusing.
          Root WAVES his hands across his chest, in the same manner
          that Angier does onstage. He produces a bottle of Gin from
          thin air, and takes a long swallow and jumps down to Olivia.

                          CUTTER
           Root has to keep a low profile--
           anyone sees him the game's up.

                          ANGIER

                          (WATCHING ROOT)
           I don't know how you do these things,
           Cutter. I'm not sure I want to know.

                          CUTTER
           Have you thought about what we should
           call the trick?

                          ANGIER
           No point being coy. Borden calls
           his trick 'The Transported Man'?
          Cutter nods.

          EXT. LEICESTER SQUARE -- EVENING

          The enormous MARQUEE of the Empire Theatre:
          'The Great Danton perfoms THE NEW TRANSPORTED MAN'
          Beneath it, a CROWD. Fallon amongest them. STARING up at
          the sign.

          INT. EMPIRE THEATRE -- EVENING

          Angier is onstage, nearing the end of his show, SMILING
          BROADLY as he pulls dozens of FLOWERS from thin air and tosses
          them to the crowd. APPLAUSE fills the theatre.

                         
          The DOORFRAMES are wheeld out on either side of the stage.
          Angier approaches the edge of the stage to address the
          audience with a suddenly SOLEMN demeanor.

           61.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Ladies and gentlemen, much of what
           you've seen tonight can be termed
           illusions. Entertaining trifles of
           the sort you may have seen other
           magicians perform.

                         
          Angier puts on a TOP HAT.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           Alas, I cannot claim this next feat
           as illusion. Watch carefully- you
           will see no trickery, for no trickery
           is being employed. Merely a techique
           familiar to certain citizens of the
           orient and various holy men of the
           Himalyas. Indeed, some of you may
           be familiar with this technique, but
           for those of you who aren't, do not
           be alarmed, what you are about to
           see is considered safe...

                         
          Angier gracefully TURNS and heads upstage to the right-hand
          door, opens it, SLAPS it to show that is sold.

                         
          Then strolls through crossing the stage-

                         
          -to the other door, which he opens, SLAPPING to show its
          solidity, then walking trough the frame.

                         
          Angier removes his TOP HAT and THROWS it high into the air.
          It sails back down to him and he catches it.

                         
          Angier THROWS the HAT again, even harder this time, and it
          disappears uo into the rafters. After a beat, it is clear
          it's not coming back down.

                         
          LAUGHTER. Angier snaps his fingers and the hat is dropped
          back down to him. He catches it.

                         
          Angier movies to the first door and THROWS HIS HAT in a HIGH
          ARC across the stage. He OPENS the door- steps behind it...

                         
          The second DOOR, FAR ACROSS THE STAGE, IMMEDIATELY opens and

          ANGIER/ROOT EMERGES, REACHING UP TO CATCH THE HAT.

                         
          BOTH DOORS SLAMS SHUT behind him. He puts on the hat.

                         
          The AUDIENCE ERUPTS- A STANDING OVATION, Fallon the only one
          in his seat as Angier/Root takes his BOWS.

                         

          INT. UNDER THE STAGE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          Angier, hearing the MASSIVE APPLAUSE, climbs off the straw
          mattress, PEERING up through the cracks in the floorboards.

                         
          Smiling, Angier turns to the unseen audience and BOWS.

           62.

                         

          INT. DRESSING ROOM -- EVENING

          Angier, Olivia, and Cutter are CELEBRATING their sucess.
          Empty bottles of champagne line the makeup table.

                          OLIVIA

                          (TOAST)
           To our achivement.
          They drink.

                          CUTTER
           The manager said he's never seen a
           reaction like it.
          Angier smiles, rueful.

                          ANGIER
           At least he got to see it. I spent
           the ovation hidden under the stage.
           No one cares about the man who
           disappears, the man who goes into
           the box. They care about the man
           who comes out the other side.

                          OLIVIA
           I care about the man in the box.
          Angier turns to Olivia, raises his glass.

                          ANGIER
           Thank you.

                          (TO CUTTER)
           Maybe we could switch before the
           trick. That way I could be the
           Prestige and Root ends up below stage.

                          CUTTER

                          (SHAKES HEAD)
           The antecipation of the trick is
           everything- it needs your showmanship
           to built suspense. If Root opens
           his mouth, it's all over- he can't
           introduce the trick.

           ROOT (O.S.)
           of course I can. I'm the Great
           Danton.
          They turn. Root is lying behind a trunk, still in costume.

                          CUTTER
           Root, you bloody fool, get that
           costume and makeup off right now,
           anyone could walk in here!

                         
          Cutter is SLAPPING Root to his feet. He grabs his collar
          and turns to Angier and Olivia.

           63.

                         

                          CUTTER (CONT'D)
           Congratulation, all.

                         
          Cutter DRAGS Root out. Olivia slides onto the makeup table.

                         

                          ANGIER
           I suppose I should get more rest.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           Life is not full of these moments,
           Robbie.

                         
          Olivia pours him some more champagne.

                         

                          OLIVIA (CONT'D)
           We've worked hard for this, and we
           need to celebrate properly.

                         
          Angier looks up at her with a gentle smile. She pulls him
          in closer and they KISS. She wraps her legs around him.
          They kiss again.

                         
          Angier pulls back.

                         

                          OLIVIA (CONT'D)
           What's wrong?

                          (SOFTLY)
           It is your wife?

                         
          Angier shakes his head, distracted.

                         

                          ANGIER
           The trick isn't good enough.

                         
          Olivia stares at him.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           Didn't you see the audience?

                         

                          ANGIER
           No.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           Well, they loved it.

                         

                          ANGIER
           It's not as good as his trick.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           Borden's trick is nothing compared
           to ours. He doesn't have any style-

                         

                          ANGIER
           He doesn't have to spend the finale
           hiding under the stage.

                         
          Angier rises, turning out of her embrace.

           64.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           I need to know how he does it.

                          OLIVIA
           Why?

                          ANGIER
           So that I can do it better.
          Angier turns to her. Looks her in the eye.

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           I need you to go and work for him.

                          OLIVIA
           Work for him? Are you joking

                          ANGIER
           You'll be my spy.

                          OLIVIA

                          (TAKEN ABACK)
           We just got our start and you want
           me to leave?

                          ANGIER
           It's how we advance.
          Angier moves to Olivia, placing his hands on her shoulders.

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           Think of it, Olivia... we've got
           people excited about Cutter's version
           of the trick- imagine what we could
           do with the real illusion. We'll
           have the greatest magic act anyone's
           ever seen.

                          OLIVIA

                          (FRUSTATED)
           He knows I work for you.

                          ANGIER
           Exactly why he'll want to hire you.
           He'll want my secrets.

                          OLIVIA
           Why would he trust me?
          Angier thinks for a second. Then smiles.

                          ANGIER
           Because you're going to tell him the
           truth.

                         

          INT. TESLA'S LABORATORY -- DAY


                         
          Alley shows Angier in. Tesla is sitting, reading.

           65.

                         

                          TESLA
           You must be curious to see what so
           much money had bought you, Mr. Angier.

                         
          Tesla RISES. Leads Angier to a back corner at the room and
          pulls a SHEET from a ten-foot tall apparatus- the ELECTRICAL
          MACHINE Angier used on stage in the opening of the film.

                         

                          TESLA (CONT'D)
           Fitting that you should be here for
           the maiden voyage.

                         
          Alley FIRES a GENERATOR connected by thick cables to the
          machine. It RUMBLES into life, smoke pouring from the slats.

                         

                          TESLA (CONT'D)
           Your hat.

                         
          Angier takes off his hat and tries to hand it to Tesla.
          Alley intercepts the hat and lays it on a chalk hasmark
          directly underneath the machine. He returns to the controls.

                         

                          ALLEY
           You might want to stand back.

                         

                          TESLA
           No, no. It will be fine. Mr. Alley,
           please proceed.

                         
          Without further ceremony, Alley FIRES the machine.

                         
          Nothing happens. Then, as they watch, the GLOBE on top of
          the tripped FLASHES whits hot. BOLTS shooting out of it,
          wrapping themselves around the legs of the tripod. The CHARGE
          reaches a FREEZY and then emits a loud BANG, as if it has
          broken the sound barrier.

                         
          Suddenly the room is still.

                         
          Tesla walks forward. Looks down into the pit.

                         
          Alley joins him at the edge of the pit. Angier, limping,
          is the last to arrive, locking into the pit-

                         
          -at the TOP HAT, which hasn't moved an inch.

                         

                          ANGIER
           I don't understand-

                         
          Tesla STARES at the hat as if trying to melt it with
          CONCENTRARION. Alley pulls Angier away from the pit.

                         

                          ALLEY
           Perhaps it would be best if you left
           us to it. We'll see you next week?

                         
          Angier begins to protest but Alley gestures towards the door.

           66.

                         

          INT. BORDEN'S WORKSHOP -- DAY

          A small, disused shop off an arcade, crowed with tools,
          cabinetry and props, windows plastered with playbills. Borden
          is sitting at a workbench, sleeves rolled up, working a lathe.
          Fallon enters, Olivia behind him. Borden looks back at her,
          turns back to the table, instinctively putting on his gloves.

                          OLIVIA

                          (LOOKING AROUND)
           Interesting workshop.

                          BORDEN
           We make do.

                          OLIVIA
           My name is Olivia Wenscombe.

                          BORDEN
           I know who you are. Are you here to
           steal the rest of my show?
          Olivia sees one of the theatrical notices that litter the
          shop: "THE GREAT DANTON BREAKS RECORD WITH HIS ASTONISHING

                         NEW TRICK"

                          OLIVIA
           No. I'm here to give your show what
           is missing.

                          BORDEN
           And what might that be?

                          OLIVIA
           Me.

                          BORDEN

                          (TO FALLON)
           Wasn't I just saying that, Bernard?
           A woman's touch.
          Fallon leaves, closing the door.

                          OLIVIA
           I've left Angier. I want a job.
          Borden sits there.

                          OLIVIA (CONT'D)
           I know you have no reason to trust

                          ME-

                          BORDEN
           Why on earth shouldn't I trust you?
           The mistress of my enemy.

                         
          Olivia is taken aback. Chanes tack.

           67.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           Mr.Borden-

                         

                          BORDEN
           Alfred.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           Alfred. I'm going to tell you the
           truth.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Ah. The truth. A slippery notion
           in our life of work, Miss Wenscombe.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           I'm here because he sent me here.
           He wants me to come and work for you
           and steal your secret.

                         

                          BORDEN
           What does he need my secret for?
           His trick is top notch. The Great
           Danton vanishes and isntantly
           reappears on the other side of the
           stage -- mute, overweight, and,
           unless I'm mistaken, rather drunk.

                         
          Borden rises, moves closer to Olivia.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           Tell me, Olivia. Does he like taking
           his bows under the stage?

                         
          Olivia meets his gaze.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           No. It's killing him. he's obsessed
           with discovering your method. He
           thinks of nothing else, and takes no
           pleasure in our sucess. I've had
           enough. There's no future with him.
           He sent me here to steal your secrets,
           but I've actually come to offer you
           his.

                         

                          BORDEN
           He has no secrets from me.

                         
          Borden stares at her, unsure.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           And this is the truth?

                         
          She gives Borden a challenging smile/shrug.

           68.

                         

          INT. BACKSTAGE -- DAY

          Cutter is fixing a prop mechanism. Angier approaches, in
          his undershirt, looks over his shoulder. Cutter glances up.

                          CUTTER
           Best be getting changed for the
           martinee, sir.
          - Angier nods. Cutter REALIZES.

                          CUTTER (CONT'D)
           ROOT! You're late.

                          (SNIFFS)
           And even more drunk than usual. Get
           yourself below stairs, right away!

                          ROOT
           No.

                          CUTTER
           No?!
          Root looks at Cutter with genuine malice.

                          ROOT
           We need to have a chat, Mr.Cutter.

          INT. DRESSING ROOM -- DAY

          Angier is applying his makeup. Cutter enters. Angier looks
          at him through the mirror.

                          ANGIER
           We have a problem, Cutter.
          He holds up the paper, folded to an advertisement:

          PANTAGES THEATRE- FROM NEXT WEEK- THE PROFESSOR WILL

          DEMONSTRATE THE ORIGINAL TRANSPORTED MAN- ACCEPT NO CHEAP

          IMITATIONS!!!

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           He'll be perfoming right across the
           street.

                          CUTTER
           We have a bigger problem. Root.

                          ANGIER
           Don't tell me he fell over again.

                          CUTTER
           Worse. He realized he can make
           demands.

                         

                          ANGIER
           He's blackmailing us?

           69.

                         

                          CUTTER
           In a word, yes. I'm surprised, to
           be honest- it usually takes them a
           lot longer to figure it out.

                          ANGIER
           How much does he want?

                          CUTTER
           It makes no difference- we have to
           stop doing the trick.

                          ANGIER

                          (WIELDS PAPER)
           Stop doing the trick? Look at this.

                          CUTTER
           Look at yesterday's. And last week's,
           where they called you "London's
           premiere stage performer", not
           "magician" mind. Performer. Of any
           kind.

                          ANGIER
           What's the point?

                          CUTTER
           My point, Robert, is that you've
           climbed too high to get away with
           any kind of professional
           embarrassament. We're not doing any
           tricks we can't control.
          Angier considers this. Nods. Thinking.

                          ANGIER
           Pay him whatever he wants, for now.
           We keep doing the trick till Borden
           opens, then we'll phase it out.

          INT. BENEATH THE EMPIRE STAGE -- NIGHT

          Root smokes a cigarette. PULL BACK to reveal he is standing
          on the LIFT beneath the stage...
          The trapdoor OPENS and Angier DROPS onto the straw mattress.
          He looks over to see Root finishing his cigarette.

                          ANGIER

                          (HISSES)
           Get up there!!
          Root smirks at Angier- TOSSES the cigarette and CATAPULTS up-

                         

          INT. STAGE, EMPIRE THEATRE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          -onto the stage and STEPS/STUMBLES out from behind the door
          to LOUD APPLAUSE.

           70.

                         
          Root has a SLOPPY GRIN as he STRUTS acroos the stage, milking
          the applause from every angle, blowing kisses, winking...
          loving it. He turns to Cutter in the wings. Blows him a
          kiss.

                         
          Cutter GLARES. Then TURNS to a stagehand.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Get it down!

                         

           ANGIER (V.O.)
           Cutter was always surprised how fast
           Root turned bad.

                         
          The stagehand starts LOWERING THE CURTAIN.

                         

          INT. RESTAURANT, CLIFF HOUSE INN -- DAY


                         
          Angier sits with Borden's dairy.

           ANGIER (V.O.)
           We paid him enough to keep him in
           beer- you wouldn't expect him to
           rock the boat. Today I learned
           Borden's view on the episode...

                         

          INT. TAVERN -- EVENING


                         
          The bar is dark and seedy, packed with an unpromising lot.

                         

           ANGIER (V.O.)
           ...and his account suggests a reason.

                         
          Root is hanging precariously from his barstool, head lolling
          towards his empty glass. He is in his own clothes, but
          cleaned up to look like Angier.

                         
          A full PINT arrives in front of him. Root turns to face his
          benefactor- BORDEN. Root takes several large GULPS, staring
          at Borden. Suppresses a belch.

                         

                          ROOT
           To what do I owe the pleasure of
           this rather welcome pint of ale?

                         

                          BORDEN
           You are the Great Danton, aren't
           you?

                         
          Root gestures silence, glancing around them.

                         

                          ROOT
           Of course I am. But don't advertise
           it- I'll be mobbed with fans.
           (grins at Borden)
           And who might you be?

           71.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Just a humble admirer. And fellow
           practitioner.

                          ROOT
           Ah, very good.
          Root DOWNS the rest of his new pint, placing the empty glass
          in front of Borden with an emphatic THUNK.

                          BORDEN
           Another?

                          ROOT
           If you insist. I'm not perfoming
           tonight. Well, only one show, and,
           to be frank, my people pretty much
           run things these days.

                          BORDEN
           You could probably do it blindfolded.

                          ROOT
           Bloody good idea.

                          BORDEN
           Have it.

                          ROOT
           Thanks.
          A new pint arrives. Root sips.

                          BORDEN
           Actually, there's something I might
           warn you about.

                          ROOT
           Oh?

                          BORDEN
           Well, it's your Transported Man
           illusion. Now, I'm noit claiming to
           know your method... but I had a
           similar trick in my act- and I used...
           (looks around,

                          WHISPERING)
           ...a double.

                          ROOT
           Oh, I see, very good.

                          BORDEN
           At first. Then it went bad. You
           se, I hadn't counted on the fact
           that once I incorporated this bloke
           into my act, he had complete power
           over me.

           72.

                         

                          ROOT
           Complete power, you say?

                         

                          BORDEN

                          (NODDING GRAVELY)
           Weel, he was the secret, you see.
           And the more successful I became,
           the more outrageous his demands
           became. He practically backrupted
           me. In the end I had to stop
           performing the illusion completely.
           (looks at Root)
           You must be very careful about giving
           someone that power over you.

                         
          Root looks at Borden. Drunken whells spinning.

                         

                          ROOT
           Thanks for the warning.

          INT. STAGE, EMPIRE THEATRE -- EVENING


                         
          Angier is almost all the way through his act.

                         

                          ANGIER
           ...some of you may be familiar with
           this technique, but for those of you
           who aren't, do not be alarmed, what
           you are about to see is considered
           safe...

                         
          Angier takes his time, confident, MILKING IT. He throws his
          HAT into the air, catches it.

                         

          INT. UNDER THE STAGE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          Angier DROPS ten feet to the concrete floor. But there is
          NOTHING to break his fall-

                         
          He SMASHES painfully to the ground. CLUTCHING his leg in
          AGONY, he looks up and sees SOMEONE standing on the lift
          twenty feet away... BORDEN.

                         

          INT. STAGE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          The first door slams shut. The audience turns their attention
          to second door.

                         
          The door remains closed. The HAT falls gently to the floor.
          SILENCE, broken by a COUGH in the audience.

                         

          INT. UNDER THE STAGE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          BORDEN bows to Angier- the LIFT ROCKETS BORDEN UP THROUGH

          THE STAGE FLOOR.

           73.

                         

          INT. STAGE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          The second door OPENS, and BORDEN steps through, looking all
          around, CONFUSED, as if he doesn't know where he is. He
          looks back at the door, then picks up the HAT...

                         

          INT. UNDER THE STAGE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          Angier looks at his leg- a nasty COMPOUND FRACTURE. As he
          chokes on pain he can hear LAUGHTER from the AUDIENCE.

                         

          INT. STAGE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          As Borden mugs with the hat, trying it on and finding it too
          small, something is LOWERED from the flies above:

                         
          ANGIER/ROOT, BOUND AND GAGGED, HANGS from a chain. A sign
          around his neck reads: "OPENING AT PANTAGE- THE PROFESSOR"

                         
          Borden looks up behind him.

                          BORDEN
           Great Danton, I must apologize! I
           simply had too much magic for my
           stage at the Pantages!

                         
          The Great Danton comes to rest three feet above the stage.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           Pardon my intrusion!

                         
          Borden places the top hat and ANGIER/ROOT at a JAUNTY ANGLE.

                         
          THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE and LAUGHTER. Borden BOWS, hops down
          off the stage, and walks up the aisle, bowing, enjoying it
          all the way.

                         

          INT. STAGE -- LATER


                         
          Cutter crouches over Angier, fixing a LONG SPLINT to his
          broken leg. Behind them, Root still hangs above the stage,
          groaning in protest.

                         

                          CUTTER
           I don't see how Borden found him- I
           had him under wraps, I was careful.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Well, he did.

                         
          Cutter helps Angier to his feet.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Sit, do you think it might be her?
           Olivia?

                         
          Angier stops to look at Cutter.

           74.

                         

                          ANGIER
           No. I don't.

                         
          Cutter gestures at Root.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Shall we cut him down?

                         

                          ANGIER
           He's the Great Danton. Let him cut
           himself down.

                         

          EXT. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -- NIGHT


                         
          Angier, thinly disguised, leg in long metal brace, pushes
          through the crowd outside the box office. The marquee: The
          Professor Performs His Masterpiece- THE ORIGINAL TRANSPORTED

          MAN!!

                         
          On the box office: SOLD OUT THRU SUNDAY. Angier STARES.

           SCALPER (O.S.)
           Need tickets, sir?

                         
          Angier turns to the SCALPER. Nods.

                         

          INT. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -- EVENING


                         
          Angier slumps into a seat at the back of the PACKED theatre.

                         
          ONSTAGE: Borden works through his show with a SUPERIOR DEGREE
          OF SHOWMANSHIP, even cracking a smile when called for.
          Working WITHOUT GLOVES, he makes much of performing tricks
          ONE-HANDED. He is assisted by Olivia, who looks STUNNING.

                         
          Borden performs ths Transported Man. Borden HAS DRESSED IT
          UP WITH ELECTRICAL APPARATUS. Two large glass balls transmit
          SPARKS between one cabinet and the other along BARE WIRES.

                         
          Another watches, anger rising as he watches Olivia's close
          RAPPORT with Borden.

                         

          INT. APARTAMENT -- EVENING


                         
          Olivia enters in to the darkness bedroom. She strikes a
          match and lights one of the gaslights...

                         
          ...and SCREAMS as the gaslight illuminates Angier, sitting
          in an armchair, cane leaning against the arm of the chair.

                         

                          ANGIER
           You weren't expecting me?

                         

                          OLIVIA
           I was expecting you sooner, Robbie.
           Your message said "afternoon".

           75.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Well, it takes a bit for me to get
           around these days...

                         
          Angier RAPS his leg brace with his cane. HOISTS himself up.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           He's taken everything from me. My
           wife, my career... now you.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           What do you mean? You sent me to-

                         
          Angier takes her by the shoulders, ROUGHLY.

                         

                          ANGIER
           I sent you to steal his secret- not
           to improve his act-

                         

                          OLIVIA
           That's my job-!

                         

                          ANGIER
           Or to fall in love with him!

                         

                          OLIVIA
           You abandoned me to him!

                         
          Angier SLAPS her. She shakes her head at him.

                         

                          OLIVIA (CONT'D)
           I did everything you asked.

                         

                          ANGIER

                          (CHALLENGING)
           Yes? Then how does he do it?!

                         

                          OLIVIA
           Cutter was right- it's a double.

                         
          Angier shakes his head, furious.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Of course Borden said that-

                         

                          OLIVIA
           He didn't say anything- he'd never
           say. I've seen things- make-up,
           glasses, wigs. We don't use any of
           it for the show, but I've found it
           hidden backstage.

                         

                          ANGIER

                          (SCORN)
           It's misdirection- he leaves those
           things lying around to make you think
           he's using a double.

           76.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           All the time? He doesn't know when

                          I'M LOOKING-

                         

                          ANGIER
           All the time, Olivia- that's who he
           is, that's what it takes- he lives
           his act, don't you see?!

                          (BEAT)
           And just because you're sleeping
           with him doesn't mean he trusts you.

                         
          Olivia glares athim, tears forming in her eyes.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           You thing you can see everything,
           don't you?

                         
          She moves to her bed, REACHING below the mattress.

                          OLIVIA (CONT'D)
           But the Great Danton, is a blind
           fool.

                         
          Olivia tosses something at Angier: a CARDBOARD-BOUND NOTEBOOK.

                         

                          OLIVIA (CONT'D)
           His notebook.

                         
          Angier starts leafing desperately through pages.

                         

                          ANGIER
           You stole it?

                         

                          OLIVIA
           I borrowed it for tonight. I thought
           you'd be able to translate some of
           it, but now I realize-

                         

                          ANGIER
           I can't.

                         

                          OLIVIA

                          (SCORN)
           You can't.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Olivia, no one could-

                          (STUDIES PAGES)
           It's a cypher- with a transposition
           that probably shifts every day of
           the diary. Even with the keyword it
           would take months to decode...

                         

                          OLIVIA
           And without the keyword?

           77.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Perhaps never. We'll see.

                         
          Angier puts the cardboard-bound notebook into his pocket.
          Olivia, worried, holds out her hand for the notebook.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           No, we won't- if I don't get that
           back tomorrow morning, he'll know I
           took it.

                         
          Angier looks at her, incredulous.

                         

                          ANGIER
           You can'r possibly think I'd let
           this go? This is his diary, Olivia.
           All of his secrets are right here,
           in my hands.

                         

                          OLIVIA

                          (PLEADING)
           Don't do this do me, Robert!

                         

                          ANGIER

                          (SHRUGS)
           Leave him.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           He knows where I live!

                         

                          ANGIER
           I need to know his method.

                         

                          OLIVIA

                          (DESPERATE)
           It won't get your wife back, Robert.

                         

                          ANGIER
           I don't care about my wife- I care
           about his secret!

                         
          Angier stops, realizing what he said. Calms himself.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           Look, I'll go to his workshop and
           stage a break-in-

                         

                          OLIVIA
           He'll know it was you-

                         
          Angier puts his hands GENTLY on her shoulders.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Yes, me, not you. Understand?

                         
          Olivia nods, crying. Still scared. Angier drags his leg to
          the door. She watches him go, torn.

           78.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           Robert? I have fallen in love with
           him.
          Angier looks at her, sympathetic.

                          ANGIER
           Then I know how hard this had been
           hard for you.

          INT. BORDEN'S WORKSHOP -- DAY


          CLOSE ON: SHATTERED GLASS, BROKEN PROPS AND CABINETRY.
          Borden and Fallon survey the WRECKAGE of their shop. Borden
          looks at Fallon.

                          BORDEN
           Notebook.
          Fallon nods. Borden sighs. Weary.

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           Then he's just getting started.

          EXT. STAGEDOOR, PANTAGE'S THEATRE -- EVENING

          A small CROWD of autograph SEEKERS crowd the stagedoor. A
          BODYGUARD steps through the door and begins unshering them
          away as Fallon and Borden follow him through the door.
          The bodyguard hold the door to a carriage open and Fallon
          steps up. Borden stops at the door.

                          BORDEN
           I'm walking tonight, gentlemen.
          Fallon looks concerned.

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           Let him come. I don't care.
          Borden doffs his hat and walks onto the crowd street.
          Fallon steps down, reaches into the bodyguard's jacket and
          pulls out a PISTOL. He checks that it's loaded and slips it
          into his own jacket. Then he sets off after Borden.

          EXT. STREETS, WEST END -- EVENING

          Fallon continues to follow Borden at a distance. Borden
          steps into a tobacconist's. Fallon stops and idles at the
          street corner.
          As Fallon watches, acrooss the street, another man STOPS.
          Fallon slips back around the corner and looks:

                         
          It's Angier, leaning on his cane.

           79.

                         
          Borden emerges from the tobacconist and continues down the
          street, a cloud of pipe smoke drifting after him.

                         
          Fallon waits for Angier to set off after Borden, then follows
          both men from a distance.

                         
          Borden crosses to the same side of the street as Angier.
          Fallon picks up his pace and tries to cross the street but
          is HELD UP for a second by passing traffi.

                         
          As he reaches the other side, Borden is gone, but he sees
          Angier dissappear down and alleyway.

                         

          EXT. ALLEY -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          Fallon rounds the cornder and stops. The alleyway is EMPTY. --
          he has lost them. Finally, he sees an open, darkned doorway
          towards the end of the alleyway.

                         

          INT. HALLWAY -- CONTINUOUS

          Fallon stops at the doorway, his gloved hand gripping te
          doorframe.

                         
          Angier stands at the other end of the hallway, watching him.

                         
          Fallon takes a step towards him and CRASHES through the rotten
          floor to the basement below.

                         

          INT. BASEMENT -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          Fallon drops heavily into an almost-vertical OPEN COFFIN.

                         
          DISORIENTED, Fallon just glimpses CUTTER DROP THE LID INTO
          PLACE, shutting him in. Cutter starts NAILING it down.

                         
          A GUNSHOT TEARS through the lid of the box. Cutter falls
          back, but is caught by Angier.

                         
          Angier rolls Cutter off to one side. He is clutching at a
          BLOODY WOUND on his arm.

                         

                          CUTTER
           I'll live.

                          (TO COFFIN)
           You save me the trouble to making
           you an air hole!

                         
          Angie picks up the hammer and continues NAILING.

                         

          EXT. HIGHGATE CEMETARY -- MORNING


                         
          Borden picks up his way through the overgrown cemetary. He
          hears a KNOCKING and turns:

                         
          Angier is behind him, RAPPING on a broken headstone with the
          head of his cane.

           80.

                         

                          BORDEN
           I'm impressed.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Why's that?

                         

                          BORDEN
           You're finally getting your hands
           dirty. This is what a good trick
           costs, Angier. Risk. Sacrifice.

                         

                          ANGIER
           The sacrifice, I'm afraid, is all
           going to be yours. Unless you give
           me what I want.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Which is?

                         

                          ANGIER
           Your secret.

                         
          Borden tries to gauge Angier's expression.

                         

                          BORDEN
           My secret?

                         

                          ANGIER
           Your method for the Transported Man.
           Fallon wouldn't tell me. In fact,
           he doesn't talk at all.

                         

                          BORDEN

                          (SHRUGS)
           You have my notebook.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Useless without the keyword.

                         
          Angier pulls a sheaf of writing paper and a pencil stub from
          his pocket. He offers them to Borden.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           Write down your method Mr. Borden.
           Describe it in full.

                         
          Borden takes the paper and pencil and stares Angier in the
          eye, gauging him.

                         
          Beat.

                         
          Borden writes a SINGLE WORD on the top page and folds it up.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           I want the method not the keyword- I
           don't even know if the secret is in
           you notebook.

           81.

                         
          Borden looks at Angier with a glint in his eye.

                         

                          BORDEN
           The keyword is the method.

                         
          Angier reaches for the folded paper, which Borden lifts out
          of reach.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           Where is my ingeneur?

                         
          Angier pulls a SHOVEL free from a pile of dirt beside him.
          He STAKES it into a fresh pile of dirt in front of Borden.
          Borden looks at Angier, CONCERNED.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)

                          IS HE

                         
          Angier plucks the folded paper from Borden's hand.

                          ANGIER
           How fast can you gid?

                         
          Angier movies away through the headstone, leaning heavily on
          his cane. Borden begins to DIG.

                         

          INT. HOSPITAL -- EVENING


                         
          Cutter is slumped in a chair by the wall, his arm bandaged.
          He smiles up at Angier, who sits down next to him.

                         

                          ANGIER
           How's the arm?

                         

                          CUTTER
           Still attached. Did you get your
           answer?

                         
          Angier holds up the folded paper.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Our answer, Cutter. I haven't looked
           yet, I wanted you to share this.

                         
          Cutter looks curiously at Angier.

                         

                          CUTTER
           I already know how he does it, Robert.
           The same way he always has, the same
           way we do. You just want it to be
           something more.

                         
          Angier looks at Cutter, uneasy.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Well, let's find out, shall we?

           82.

                         
          Angier opens the piece of paper. A large GRIN spreads across
          his face. he turns it to Cutter- it reads-

                         

                          -TESLA-

                         
          Cutter frowns, confused.

                         

                          CUTTER
           What does it mean?

                         

                          ANGIER

                          (EXCITED)
           It means, Cutter, that we have a
           journey ahead of us. To America.

                         
          Cutter watches Angier's excitement. Awkward.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Robert, listen to me.
           (gentle, but definite)
           Obssession is a young man's game, I
           can't follow you any farther in this.

                         
          Angier looks at Cutter, uncomprehending. He considers saying
          something. Stops. Restraining himself.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Then the rest is up to me.

                         

          INT. ELEGANT RESTAURANT -- EVENING


                         
          Sarah sits by herself at a table for two. Borden ENTERS
          with a swagger, Olivia beside him, Fallon behind. The MAITRE
          D' hurries over, signaling WAITERS. Sarah looks up.

          UNCOMFORTABLE.

                         

                          SARAH
           I didn't know we'd be joined for
           dinner.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Absolutely. We're celebrating.

                         
          The Waiters spirit another table and chairs to join Sarah's.
          Borden pulls out a chair for Olivia.

                         

                          SARAH
           Miss Wenscombe. Mr.Fallon.

                         
          Olivia smiles cheerfully. Fallon nods, embarrassed.

                         

                          BORDEN
           (to wine waiter)
           Champagne. Your finest

                         

                          SARAH
           What are we celebrating, dear?

           83.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Well, we've hit upon a new trick,
           haven't we, Fallon?

                         

                          OLIVIA
           What trick, Freddy?

                         

                          SARAH

                          (BRITTLE)
           Yes, "Freddy". What trick?

                         
          The WAITER presents a bottle of champagne. Borden nods
          without looking at it.

                         

                          BORDEN

                          (LOUD)
           I'm going to bury myself alive.
           Every night. Then someone's going
           to come along and dig me up!
          OTHER DINERS are glancing over. The waiter uncorks the bottle
          with a muffled POP and pours champagne into Borden's glass.

                         

                          SARAH

                          (TO WAITER)
           I'm not sure my husband needs-

                         

                          BORDEN
           Who are you to tell me what?!

                         
          Awkward silence. Olivia shifts in her seat.

                         

                          OLIVIA

                          PERHAPS-

                         

                          SARAH
           Perhaps, Mr.Fallon, you might escort
           Miss Wenscombe home. My husband's
           being a bore. I see no reason for
           the two of you to suffer as well.

                         
          Fallon is on his feet, pulling back Olivia's chair.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           Good-night, Mrs.Borden. Good-night,
           Freddy.

                         
          They leave. Borden glares at his wife.

                         

                          SARAH
           "Freddy"?

                         

                          BORDEN
           It's my name.

                         

                          SARAH
           Not at home.

           84.

                         

                          BORDEN
           I'm not always at home.

                         
          Sarah is clearly on the verge of tears.

                         

                          SARAH
           Alfred, why are you being like this?

                         
          Borden, seeing her fistress, softnes.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Sarah, I had a terrible ordeal today.
           I thought I'd lost something very
           precious to me.

                         

                          SARAH
           What?

                         
          Borden looks at her speechless. Shrugs helplessly.

                          SARAH (CONT'D)
           I see. More secrets.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Secrets are my life, Sarah. Our
           life.

                         
          Sarah brushes away a tear.

                         

                          SARAH
           When you're like this, Alfred, I'm
           not seeing the real you. You're
           treating me like your audience.
           Performing. I can't live with that.

                         
          Borden just sits there. Offering nothing.

                         

          EXT. CLIFF HOUSE INN -- DAY


                         
          Angier walks up to the hotel. A MOTORCAR is parked in front
          and TWO MEN are unloading it. One of the men STARES at Angier
          as he enters the hotel.

                         

          INT. CLIFF HOUSE INN


                         
          Angier walks to the reception desk.

                         

                          ANGIER
           I thought I had the place to myself.

                         

                          MANAGER
           Unexpected guests.
           (looks out the window
           at the men)
           Not very polite. A lot of questions.
           At first I thought they might work
           for the government.

           85.

                         

                          ANGIER
           No?

                         

                          MANAGER

                          (LOWERS VOICE)
           Worse. They work for Thomas Edison.

                         
          Angier starts out the windo at the men unloading equipment.

                         

          INT. HOTEL ROOM, COLORADO -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          Angier sits at the desk, deciphering Borden's diary.

                         

           BORDEN (V.O.)
           Today, a most curious development...

                         

          INT. BORDEN'S WORKSHOP -- DAY


                         
          Borden turns to see Fallon show in Olivia.

           BORDEN (V.O.)
           His assistent come to us with a
           proposition...

                         
          They start to speak as Borden's V.O. continues.

                         

           BORDEN (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           Obviously Angier has sent her, and
           told her to admit as much...

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           Tell me Olivia. Does he like taking
           his bows under the stage?

                         
          Olivia meets his gaze.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           No. It's killing him. He's obssessed
           with discovering your method. he
           thinks of nothing else, and takes no
           pleasure in our success. I've had
           enough. There is no future with
           him. He sent me here to steal your
           secrets, but I've actually come to
           offer you his.

                         

                          BORDEN
           He has no secrets from me.

                         
          Borden stares at her, unsure.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           This is the "truth" you spoke of?

                         
          She gives him a sly smile.

           86.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           No. This is what he told me to tell
           you.
          Beat.

                          OLIVIA (CONT'D)
           The truth is that I loved him. And
           stood by him. And he sent me to you
           like he'd send a stagehand to pick
           up his shirts.
           (looks him in the eye)
           I hate him for that.
          They sit there in silence, appraising each other.

                          BORDEN
           I can spot Angier's methods from the
           back of the theatre. What could you
           possibly have to offer me?
          Olivia smiles, moves to Borden, reaching for his gloved hand.
          Borden flinches, surprised.

                          OLIVIA
           You may know he does his tricks...
           but you can't understand why no one
           can see that yours are better.
          She tenderly PEELS OFF his padded glove revealing his
          mutiladed hand.

                          OLIVIA (CONT'D)
           You hide this. I had to look closely
           to spot it when you performed the
           Transported Man.
           (looks into his eyes)
           But this makes you unique... it shows
           the audience that you aren't using a
           double; You musn't hide it, you
           must display it proudly...
           (looks at hand)
           I'm sure it takes great skill to
           perform illusions with one good hand.

                          BORDEN

                          (QUIETLY)
           It does.

                          OLIVIA
           Then let people know. You can be so
           much more then he is. I can show
           you how.
          Borden looks into her eyes.

                         

           BORDEN (V.O.)
           I think she is telling the truth.

           87.

                         

          INT. BEDROOM, BORDEN'S WORKSHOP -- NIGHT

          Borden and Olivia are in bed together. It is raining outside.
          He watching her get out of bed and moves to the window to
          smoke a cigarette.

           BORDEN (V.O.)
           I think we cannot trust her. But I
           love her. I need her. We need her.

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           How could he send you away? He must
           be blind, deaf and dumb.
          She smiles quietly at this.

                          OLIVIA
           Robbie's blinded by his jealosy.
           He'd do anything for you secret.
           Sending me away was the least of it.
          Borden considers this.

           BORDEN (V.O.)
           Trust is not the point- love is the
           point... who have we ever trusted?
           To open myself to such a relationship,

          EXT. NARROW ALLEYWAY -- DAY

          Olivia makes her way past crowed MARKET STALLS.

           BORDEN (V.O.)
           ...to the dangers of such an affair...
           I need assurances of fidelity. Of
           love.
          Fallon is SHADOWING her from a distance.

           BORDEN (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           But how to be sure when truth is
           layered like the skin of an onion?
           I know a way... she must help me rid
           ourselves of Angier. It is the only
           way to kow her mind.

          INT. HOTEL ROOM, COLORADO -- DAY

          Angier looks up from Borden's diary. Pale. He flips pages
          and pages forward TO THE LAST ENTRY...

           BORDEN (V.O.)
           Today my mistress proves her
           truthfulness. Not to me, you
           understand.

           88.

                         

           BORDEN (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           I have been convinced since she led
           me to Root... today, Olivia proves
           her love for me to you, Angier.

                         
          Angier looks up from the notebook. Mind reeling.

                         

           BORDEN (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           Yes, Angier. She gave you this
           noteboook at my request. Yes, she
           led me to Root, and yes, Tesla is
           merely the key to my dairy, not to
           my trick. Did you really think I
           would part with my secret so easily
           after so much? Good-bye, Angier,
           may you find solace for your thwarted
           ambition back in yout American home.

                         
          Angier STARES at the pages, unblinking. JUMPS to his feet...

          INT. TESLA'S LABORATORY -- DAY


                         
          Angier STRIDES up to the fence.

                         

                          ANGIER

           TESLA!

                          (NOTHING)

           TESLA!!

                         
          Angier takes his cane and starts running its METAL TIP across
          the eletrified fence- causing SPARKING and CRACKLING.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)

           ALLEY, GET OUT HERE AND LET ME IN!!

                         
          Alley emerges from the building, consufed.

                         

          INT. TESLA'S LABORATORY -- DAY


                         
          Alley opens the door- Angier BURSTS IN past him, ENRAGED.

                         

                          ANGIER
           I've veen played for a fool!

                         

                          ALLEY
           Who by?

                         

                          ANGIER
           Tesla never made a machine like the
           one I asked for.

                         

                          ALLEY
           We never said he had.

                         

                          ANGIER
           You let me believe that he had, Alley!

                          (MORE)

           89.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           You stole my money because your
           funding was cut off- you've been
           shooting sparks at my top hat,
           laughing at me all along while you
           use my money to stave off ruin.
           I've seen Edison's men-

                         

                          ALLEY
           Where?

                         

                          ANGIER
           In the hotel. I've every mind to
           bring them up here myself-

                         

                          TESLA
           That would be unwise, Mr.Angier.

                         
          Tesla is holding a cage containing a large tabby CAT.

                          TESLA (CONT'D)
           It is true, sir, that you are your
           one remaining financier. But we
           have not stolen your money...

                         

                          ALLEY
           Sir, my cat?

                         
          Tesla silences Alley with a tiny GLANCE.

                         

                          ALLEY (CONT'D)
           When I told you I could make your
           machine I spoke the simple truth.
           Science is just a name for the art
           of rendering the exotic mundane. It
           has no boundaries- its very purpose
           is to destroy boundaries.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Then why isn't the machine working?

                         
          Tesla gives Angier the slightest of smiles.

                         

                          TESLA
           Because exact science, Mr.Angier, is
           not an exact science. The machine
           simply does not operate as expected.
           It needs continued examination.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Where did my top hat go?

                         

                          ALLEY
           Nowhere.

                         
          Alley points to the top hat, which is sitting on a workbench.

           90.

                         

                          ALLEY (CONT'D)
           We've tried the damn thing a dozen
           times. And the hat went nowhere.

                          TESLA
           Which is why we need to rey a
           different material. It may provoke
           a different result.
          Tesla opens the cage and points the open end at Alley.

                          TESLA (CONT'D)
           You don't expect me to handle the
           thing myself?
          Alley reluctantly reaches into the cage and pulls out the
          TERRIFIED CAT. He jumps down into the pit and secures the
          animal bu its collar to a eye-hook sunk into the ground.

                          ALLEY
           You are responsible for whatever
           happens to this animal, Doctor.
          Alley pulls himself out of the pit, and Tesla CHARGES the
          generator.
          The cat stares up at the machine around it and HISSES.
          Without ceremony, Tesla FIRES the machine. As before, large
          BOLTS spew from the head of the machine, down towards the
          unseen cat. The machine build to a DEAFENING ROAR, then
          sputters out.
          Silence. The three men begin edging towards the pit.
          Suddenly, a terrifying SCREECH. The cat is still there,
          still tied to the hook.
          Alley breathes a sigh of relief and starts to free the car.
          Tesla looks frustated. Suddenly, the cat bursts free of
          Alley and ROCJETS through the open side door of the lab.

                          ANGIER
           I'll go.
          Angier limps after the cat.

          EXT. TESLA'S LABORATORY -- CONTINUOUS

          Angier sees the cat disappearing along the edge of the
          building and into the forest beyond.
          Angier follows.

                         

          EXT. FOREST -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          Angier pushes his way through the dense undergrowth, trying
          to keep up, but the cat has disappeared.

           91.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Here, kitty, kitty.

                         
          Suddenly, a HORRIBLE SCREECHING reaches Angier. He begins
          to follow the noise.

                         
          He stops at the opening of a tiny GLADE, no more than ten
          feet across.

                         
          Two IDENTICAL CATS are fighting viciously in front of Angier.
          He tries to separate the two animals, and succeeds in grabbing
          one. The other cat RACES off.

                         
          Angier takes a few steps after it, then FREEZES, staring at-

                         
          TOP HATS. Clustered in a small glads. The first cat slinks
          its way through them.

                         
          The SECOND BLACK cat jumps from Angier's hands- RACES into
          the glade, HISSING, SPITTING, CHASING the first cat into the

                         WOODS BEYOND-

                         
          Angier is left alone in the clearing, staring at the pile of
          dozens of IDENTICAL TOP HATS.

                         

          EXT. PORCH, TESLA'S LABORATORY -- DAY


                         
          The top hats are in a pile on the dark. Tesla is at the
          table, measuring two HATS with a pair of Calipers. Angier
          and Alley are watching.

                         

                          ANGIER
           So the machine was working?

                         

                          ALLEY
           I never bothered to check the
           calibration. The hat never moved.

                         

                          TESLA
           These things never quite work as you
           expect them to, Mr. Angier. That's
           one of the principal beauties of
           science.

                         
          Tesla looks carefully at the hat in his hands. It has a
          tiny TEAR on the inside of the brim. He picks up another
          hat. It has the same TEAR.

                         

                          TESLA (CONT'D)
           We'll need a couple of weeks to iron

                          OUT THE-
           (looks at hats)
           -problems with the machine. I'll
           send word when it's ready.

                         
          Angier, still dazed, takes his cane and heads for the door.

           92.

                         

                          TESLA (CONT'D)
           Don't forget your hat.
          Angier stops and looks at the pile of hats.

                          ANGIER
           Which one is mine?

                          TESLA
           They are all your hat, Mr. Angier.
          Tesla smiles at him.

          INT. BORDEN'S WORKSHOP -- DAY

          Borden's daughter, JESS, now four, runs into the room and
          tries to hop up into his lap. Laughing, he helps her up.

                          JESS
           Are we going to the zoo this
           afternoon, daddy?

                          BORDEN
           Daddy's got some business this
           afternoon.

                          JESS
           But you promised.

                          BORDEN
           Did I?
          Jess nods at him, solemly.

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           Then go to the zoo we shall.
          Borden holds the newspaper open for her to look at.

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           (gestures to newspaper)
           Who's that?
          A large advertisement features a picture of Borden: The
          Professor- England's premiere magician!

                          JESS
           That's you, daddy?
          Borden picks up the girl off of his lap and stands.

                          BORDEN
           Daddy has some errands to run. I'll
           be back before you know it, so get
           ready.

                         
          Borden walks to the door. As he does, Sarah enters, avoiding
          his eyes, then ducking him as he tries to kiss her.

           93.

                         
          She reaches for the sherry decanter. He watches her pour.
          Sarah looks at him, eyes red from crying.

                          SARAH
           We each have our vices.
          Borden moves to her, gentle concern in his eyes.

                          BORDEN
           Sarah. Whatever you may think, your
           only competitions for my affections
           is my little girl. I love you. I
           will always love you, and you alone.
          She looks into his eyes. Fascinated.

                          SARAH
           You mean it today.

                          BORDEN
           Absolutely.

                          SARAH
           That makes it so much harder when
           you don't.
          She turns from him. Borden watches her sadly. Leaves.

          EXT. CANAL -- AFTERNOON

          Borden walks along a disused strecth of industrial canal
          that snakes through the poorer neighborhoods of the city.
          Borden wanders into a tunel. Another man is waiting for
          him -- Fallon.
          Fallon hands Borden a folded piece of paper. He studies it.

                          BORDEN
           More shopping. She doesn't like the
           smell of money, doesn't she?
          Fallon looks away. Borden tears up the paper.

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           The little lady wants to visit the
           Zoo, I thought you could take her.
           I'll do it tomorrow, if not.
           (looks at his feet)
           Sarah... she knows. At least, she
           knows things aren't right.
           (looks at Fallon,

                          PLEADING)
           Help me with her. Try and convince
           her that I love her. Please.

                         
          Borden, embarrassed, pats Fallon on the shoulder and makes
          off down the path. Fallon sets off in the opposite direction.

           94.

                         

          INT. OLIVIA'S APARTMENT


                         
          Olivia, barely wearing a dressing gown, answers the door to
          Borden. She pulls him in, trying to draw him into a kiss,
          but he backs away.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           What is it. Freddy?

                         

                          BORDEN
           Please don't call me that. It's
           nothing, just... sometimes things
           seem... wrong.

                         
          Olivia looks at him. Cold.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           Freddy, I've told you before. When
           you're with me, you're with me.
           Leave your family at home where they
           belong.

                         

                          BORDEN
           I'm trying, Olivia. Please.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           I'll get dressed.

                         
          Borden watches her move down the hall.

                         

           OLIVIA (O.S.) (CONT'D)
           I saw Fallon hanging around my house
           again, after you left.

                         
          Olivia comes back in, half-dressed.

                         

                          OLIVIA (CONT'D)
           There's something about him I don't
           trust.

                         

                          BORDEN
           You trust me?
           (off her look)
           Then trust Fallon- he protects the
           things I care about.

                         

          EXT. CLIFF HOUSE INN -- MORNING


                         
          Angier walks out from the lobby. The two MEN he saw before
          are loading up their automobile. Smiling, laughing.

                         

          EXT. ROAD, PIKE'S PEAK -- MORNING


                         
          The coach pulls to a stop. Angier and the driver look up.

                         
          A plume of SMOKE is rising from further up the hill.

           95.

                         

          EXT. CLEARING, PIKE'S PEAK -- MOMENTS LATER


                         
          Angier rounds the bend in the road and comes into view of
          the laboratory. He FREEZES.

                         
          The fence has been TORN DOWN. Beyond it, the LAB has been
          BURNED TO THE GROUND. The metal tower is in SMOLDERING
          PIECES. Everything else is gone.

                         
          Angier notices a piece of metal lying in the road near him,
          and, using his cane, flips it over. It's Alley's sign warning
          trespassers to keep out.

                         

          INT. ANGIER'S ROOM, CLIFF HOUSE INN -- EVENING


                         
          Angier takes down the picture of Julia from the mantel. He
          studies it a second then puts it in the top of his packed
          suitcase.

                         

          INT. LOBBY, CLIFF HOUSE INN -- MORNING

          The BELLBOYS wrestle with Angier's cases as Angier walks to
          the reception desk. The manager smiles up at him.

                         

                          MANAGER
           We're sorry to see you go, Mr. Angier.

                         
          Angier takes out his wallet and begins laying down bills.

                         

                          MANAGER (CONT'D)
           We are sorry to see Mr. Tesla leave
           as well. He was very good to Colorado
           Springs. A very generous man.

                         
          Angier smiles up at him, absently and begins to leave.

                         

                          MANAGER (CONT'D)
           Mr. Angier?

                          (ANGIER TURNS)
           I didn't feel it was necessary to
           tell the other men about the box.

                         
          Angier stops.

                         

                          ANGIER
           What box?

                         
          The manager smiles.

                         

          INT. HALLWAY, CLIFF HOUSE INN -- MORNING


                         
          Angier follows the manager down a darkened hallway.

                         

                          MANAGER
           We never use these rooms in the off -
           season. It's a shame.

           96.

                         
          The manager stops at a set of DOUBLE DOORS and unlocks them.
          He pushes them open and ushers Angier through.

                         

          INT. BALLROOM, CLIFF HOUSE INN -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          Angier steps into the massive, elegant room.

                         
          Standing on the dance floor is an ENORMOUS SHIPPING CRATE.
          Stencilled on one side "COLORADO SPRINGS"

                         
          Angier walks up to the huge crate, awestruck.

                         
          An envelope addressed to him has been stuck to the front.
          Angier stops it and begins to read.

                         

           TESLA (V.O.)
           My dear Angier, you will find what
           you were looking for in the box. I
           apologize for leaving without saying
           goodbye...

          EXT. TESLA'S LABORATORY -- NIGHT -- FLASHBACK


                         
          Under cover of night, a group of FIGURES ransack the
          laboratory.

                         

           TESLA (V.O.)
           But I seem to have outstayed my
           welcome in Colorado.

                         
          The figure begin setting FIRE to the sides of the laboratory.

                         

           TESLA (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           The extraordinary is not permitted
           in science and industry. Perhaps
           you'll have more luck in your field,
           mystified. As to the use of the
           machine...

                         

          INT. ABANDONED THEATRE -- NIGHT


                         
          The open crate sits empty at the side of a derelict stage.
          Angier, in shirt sleeves is running cables to the MACHINE,
          which is standing center stage.

                         

           TESLA (V.O.)
           Alley has written you a thorough set
           of instructions. I add only one
           suggestion on using the machine-

                         

          EXT. COLORADO SPRINGS -- NIGHT -- FLASHBACK


                         
          Alley holds open the door to a coach. Tesla steps up into
          it and looks back from the coach's open door, up the mountain.

           97.

                         

           TESLA (V.O.)
           -Destroy it. Drop it to the bottom
           of the deepest ocean.

                         
          High on the mountain, the laboratory is ABLAZE.

                         

                          TESLA (CONT'D)
           Such thing will only bring you
           misery.

                         
          Tesla folds himself into the coach, shutting the door as it
          moes off down the mountain.

                         

          INT. ABANDONED THEATRE -- NIGHT


                         
          Angier moves to one side of the stage where he makes a hash
          mark with a piece of chalk.

                         

           ANGIER (V.O.)
           Tesla's warning is as unheard as he
           knew it would be. Today I tested
           the machine...

                         
          He loads A GUN and places it next to the machine.

                         

           ANGIER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           Taking precautions in case Tesla
           hadn't ironed out the kinks in its
           operation...

                         
          Angier THROWS THE SWITCH. The machine GROANS into LIFE-
          SPARKING and GLOWING as it gets up to full power.

                         

           ANGIER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           ...if it went wrong I would not want
           to live like that for long...

                         
          Angier closes his eyes for an instant, listening to its power,
          then THROWS HIMSELF INTO THE MACHINE. HE IS CONSUMED BY

          LIGHT...

                         

                         WHITE SCEEN-

                         

           ANGIER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           But here, at the Turn, I must leave
           you, Borden...

                         
          The WHITS becomes handwriting an a page and we are-

                         

          INT. PRISON CELL -- DAY


                         
          Borden STARES at Angier's journal in disbelief.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Yes, you, Borden. Sitting there, in
           your cell, reading my diary. Awaiting
           your death. For my murder.

           98.

                         
          Borden SLAMS the journal shut. Staring at it.

                         

          EXT. PRISON CELL, NEWGATE PRISON -- DAY


                         
          BORDEN stands at the fence again.

                         

                          OWENS
           Lord Caldlow was happy to hear that
           you'd reconsidered his offer.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Angier's journal, the "gesture of
           good faith"? It's a fake.

                         

                          OWENS

                          (SURPRISED)
           I assure you it's not.

                         

                          BORDEN
           It has to be- it refers to events
           that happened after his death.

                         

                          OWENS
           Clever predictions, I'm sure. The
           provenance of the journal is clear
           and under no doubt. It's written in
           Angier own hand, of which we have
           numerous examples.
           (looks at Borden)
           What makes you think it's a fake?

                         
          Borden looks away, uncomfortable.

                         

                          BORDEN
           It doesn't matter.

                         
          Borden leans forward and stuffs ROLLED PAPERS through the
          fence. Owens takes them carefully.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           My tricks. All of them.

                         

                          OWENS
           Including the Transported Man? Lord
           Caldlow will be very pleased.

                         

                          BORDEN
           No he won't. They're not complete-
           you only have the Pledge and Turn
           for each.

                         
          Owens leafs through the papers, annoyed.

                         

                          OWENS
           Without the Prestige for each trick
           these are wothless.

           99.

                         

                          BORDEN
           You'll get the rest after you bring
           my daughter here.

                         
          Owens looks at Borden.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           I want to say goodbye.

                         

          INT. BORDEN'S HOUSE -- NIGHT


                         
          Jess sits at the foot of the stairs, listening to her parents
          SHOUT at each other in the living room. She is CRYING.

                         

           BORDEN (O.S.)
           Stop it! Just stop it!

                         

                          SARAH
           Deny it all you want- I know!

          INT. LIVING ROOM, BORDEN'S HOUSE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          Sarah is WILD, eyes red, hair a mess. Utterly DISTRAUGHT
          Borden is trying to calm her.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Sarah, it's not true! I've told you
           Olivia means nothing to me!

                         

                          SARAH
           I'll go yo her! I know what you
           really are, Alfred!

                         

                          BORDEN

                          (QUIETLY FIRM)
           Sarah. You can't do that.

                         

          INT. HALLWAY, BORDEN'S HOUSE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          Jess looks up. Fallon is standing above her. Listening.

                         

           SARAH (O.S.)
           I'll do what I have to!

                         
          Jess reaches up a hand. Fallon takes it in his.

                         

           BORDEN (O.S.)
           Sarah, you can't talk like this!

                         

          INT. LIVING ROOM, BORDEN'S HOUSE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          Sarah turn to face Borden. Deperate.

                         

                          SARAH
           I can't live like this!

           100.

                         

                          BORDEN

                          (ANGRY)
           What do you want from me!
          Sarah pauses. Catches her breath.

                          SARAH

                          (QUIET)
           I want you to be honest with me. No
           tricks, no lies, no secrets.
          Borden calms. Looks into her eyes. Nods.

                          SARAH (CONT'D)
           Do you love me?
          Borden looks into her eyes. Sincere.

                          BORDEN
           Not today.
          Sarah takes this in. Borden watches, helpless.

                          SARAH

                          (WHISPERS)
           Thank you.
          Borden watches her turn away from him.

          INT. HALLWAY, BORDEN'S HOUSE -- CONTINUOUS

          Jess reaches up to Fallon with her other hand. He takes her
          gently in his arms. We stay on Jess's tear-stained face
          over Fallon's shoulder as he carries her up the stairs.

          INT. BORDEN'S WORKSHOP -- MORNING

          CLOSE ON A POSTER: Borden, in costume, looking intense: THE
          PROFESSOR- MASTER OF DARK FORCES. As we PULL BACK we hear a

          GENTLE CREAKING...
          PULL BACK past a hanging PAIR OF FEET, one shoe missing...
          wider shows up that it is SARAH, HANGING BY HER NECK FROM A
          BEAM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SHOP. Gently swinging.

          INT. PUBLIC HOUSE -- NIGHT

          Cutter is finishing his meal at the bar. He goes to take a
          swig from his pint and FREEZES- at the bottom of the glass:
          A PLAYING CARD. He looks around the bar. No one he
          recognizes. He reaches into the glass.
          Cutter pulls out the card- an ADDRESS is written up one side.

                         

          EXT. ABANDONED THEATRE -- NIGHT


                         
          Cutter walks along labyrinthine streets. Stops at an
          ABANDONED THEATRE. He looks up at the building, then enters.

           101.

                         

          INT. ALBERT HALL -- EVENING

          Cutter makes his way past the tattered box office and into
          the derelivt auditorium.
          In the middle of the room is the CRATE. Cutter stands and
          stares at it.

           MALE VOICE (O.S.)

                          WHO'S THERE
          Cutter turns. A STAGEHAND. His eyes are solid white. The
          man is clearly BLIND.

                          CUTTER
           I- I'm looking for an old friend-

           ANGIER (O.S.)
           I heard about a booking...
          Cutter turns. Angier is behind him, leaning on his cane.
          Beside Angier is a SECOND BLIND STAGEHAND.

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           Nice little theatre. Good up-and-
           coming magician.

                          CUTTER
           You came back.

                          ANGIER
           It's a good to see you, John.
          Cutter sizes Angier up. Looks around the theatre.

                          CUTTER
           Good rehearsal space. Blind
           stagehands. I like it-

                          (KNOWING SMILE)
           You always had an eye for publicity.
          Angier sits in one of the stalls. Cutter follows suit.

                          ANGIER
           I need your help, John. My last
           show. A limited engagement.

                          CUTTER
           Your last show?

                          ANGIER
           A wise man once told me that obsession
           was a young man's game. I'm almost
           done. One thing left...
           (points at crate)
           The real Transported Man.

                         
          Cutter stares at the crate.

           102.

                         

                          CUTTER
           You want to design a show around it?

                         

                          ANGIER
           i don't want you backstage, I need
           you front of house, managing.

                         
          Cutter considers this. Uncertain.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           i need you calling in any favours
           and connections you have left to get
           us the right booking for the run.

                         

                          CUTTER
           What sort of booking are you after?

                         

                          ANGIER
           The sort that Borden can't ignore.
          Cutter looks at Angier. Nods.

                         

          EXT. ABANDONED THEATRE -- DAY


                         
          A long, expensive CARRIEGE creeps out to a halt outside the
          abandoned theatre, and the confused driver pulls over.

                         

                          DRIVER
           This is the address, sir.

                         
          The carriage opens, an imposing man in his 50's steps out,
          looks the place up and down, then heads inside.

                         

          INT. ABANDONED THEATRE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          The man enters the auditoruim and stares downat the BRIGHTLY

          LIT STAGE.

                         
          Cutter moves quickly up the aisle, hand outstretched.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Mr.Ackerman. It's an honor to see
           you again, sir.

                         
          Ackerman shakes Cutter's hand.

                         

                          ACKERMAN
           When you said you only wanted to
           show me one trick it piqued my
           interest.

                         

                          CUTTER
           It's a very special trick.
           Mr.Ackerman.

                         
          Angier has appeared.

           103.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Pleased to meet you, Mr. Ackerman.

                         

                          ACKERMAN
           Likewise, I'm sure. Let's get on,
           shall we?

                         
          Angier smiles.

                         

                          CUTTER
           (down to stage)
           Turn it on, please.

                         
          After a moment, the machine SPARKS INTO LIFE. ELECTRIC BOLTS
          CASCADE from the GLOBE and SPLASH on the stage.

                         

                          ACKERMAN
           Very pretty.

                         
          Angier smiles at Cutter and head back down the stage. he
          STEPS himself into the machine and DISAPPEARS.

                         
          The machine SPUTTERS out and is silent.

                         

                          ACKERMAN (CONT'D)
           That's it, Cutter? He simply
           disappears? That's not a trick. He
           has to come back. There has to be a-

                         

           VOICE (O.S.)
           -a Prestige?

                         

                          ACKERMAN

                          EXACTLY-

                         
          Ackerman begins to turn around- then STOPS-

                         

          ANGIER IS STANDING DIRECTLY BEHIND HIM.

                         
          Ackerman is dumfounded. He looks back down at the stage.

                         

                          ACKERMAN (CONT'D)
           (quiet, haunted)
           Pardon me. It's very rare to see...
           real magic. it's been many years
           since I've seen...

                         
          Anckerman steadies himself;

                         

                          ANGIER
           Are you interested in helping us?

                         

                          ACKERMAN

                          (NODS)
           Yes. But you'll have to dress it up
           a little. Disguise it. Give them
           enough reason to doubt it.

           104.

                         

          INT. STAGE MANAGER'S OFFICE, PANTAGE'S THEATRE -- DAY

          Merrit sits eating a sandwich. The door to his office opens
          and ACKERMAN strides in. Merrit STRUGGLES to his feet.

                          MERRIT

                          (SURPRISED)
           Mr. Ackerman. When they said...I
           didn't think you'd be here in person.
          Ackerman sits without being asked to.

                          ACKERMAN
           I have an act for your venue.

                          MERRIT

                          (FLUSTERED)
           Well, of course, sir...But I'm afraid
           I'm booked. The Moscow Ballet.
           They're playing through next year.

                          ACKERMAN
           Get rid of them. This is a magical
           act. An excellent one. I believe
           you booked his first engagement
           several years ago. The Great Danton.

                          MERRIT
           You really want me to-
          Ackerman stands.

                          MERRIT (CONT'D)
           I'll do it. Of course.
          Ackerman picks up a pen and paper from Merrit's desk.

                          ACKERMAN

                          (SMILES)
           There will be one hundred
           performances. No more, no less.
           Five perfomances a week. No
           matinees, no weekends.
          Ackerman scribbles onto the paper and hands it to Merrit.

                          ACKERMAN (CONT'D)

                          (SMILES)
           And that's what you'll be charging
           for each ticket. Good day.
          Ackerman sweeps out of the room, leaving Merrit dumbfounded,
          staring at the scrap of paper in his hands.

                         

          INT. RESTAURANT -- EVENING


                         
          Olivia and Borden are seated across from each other, finishing
          their meal. Olivia watches Borden eat.

           105.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           You haven't spopken about her, Freddy.
           Not once.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Who?

                         

                          OLIVIA
           Don't be cruel.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Why would I talk about her to you?

                         

                          OLIVIA
           Because she was part of your life
           and now she's gone.

                         
          Borden says nothing.

                         

                          OLIVIA (CONT'D)
           She wanted to meet me the day before
           she killed herself. Said she had
           something to tell me about you.

                          (LOOKS AWAY)
           I was such a coward, I couldn't bring
           myself to face her.
           (looks at Borden)
           What would she have said, I wonder?

                         

                          BORDEN

                          (SNAPS)
           You want the truth about me, Olivia?
           (she nods, wary)
           I never loved Sarah.

                         

                          OLIVIA

                          (APPALLED)
           You married her, had a child with

                          HER-

                         

                          BORDEN
           Part of me loved her. But part of
           me didn't. The part that found you.
           The part that's sitting here now. I
           love you. That is the truth that
           matters.

                         
          Olivia tosses her napkin on her plate.

                         

                          OLIVIA
           You could be sitting in some other
           restaurant talking to some other
           woman about me that way. It's unhuman
           to be so cold.

                         
          Borden watches her rise from the table. She looks at him.

           106.

                         

                          OLIVIA (CONT'D)
           By the way, have you seen who's opened
           at the Pantages?
           (Borden shakes head)
           The Great Danton.

                         

                          BORDEN
           He's back?

                         

                          OLIVIA
           After two years. And he has a new
           trick. They're saying it's the best
           that London's ever seen.

                         
          Borden cannot hide his reaction.

                         

                          OLIVIA (CONT'D)
           If you could see the look on your
           face, Professor. You should go to
           him- you deserve each other.
          Olivia smiles at him and leaves.

                         

          INT. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -- EVENING


                         
          Borden, in disguise, takes his seat halfway along the aisle.

                         
          The lights dim. Curtains RISE on a simple stage. Bare except
          for a WATER-FILLED GLASS TANK.

                         
          Borden STIFFENS in his seat, perplexed.

                         
          Angier limps onto the stage. Addresses the audience.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Ladies and gentlemen, my first trick
           of the evening is one that involves
           considerable risk.
           (removes his coat)
           Anyone in the audience who would be
           irrevocable damaged by seeing a man
           drown should leave now, for when I
           tell you that the young lady who
           taught performing it, you will
           understand the seriousness of the
           danger involved.

                         
          Borden watches the hook descend from the flies. Remembering.

                         
          INSERT CUT: Borden STARES as Angier desperately BRUSHES the
          water from Julia's face.

                         

          INT. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -- LATER


                         
          Angier steps forward as another curtain is drawn up behind
          him, revealing TESLA'S MACHINE.

           107.

                         

                          ANGIER
           In my travels I have seen the future,
           and it is a strange future indeed.
           The world is on the brink of new and
           terrifying possibilities.
          The audience RECOILS in terror as the MACHINE is STARTED and
          BOLTS fly from it. SMOKE drift over the audience.
          Borden inches forward in his seat. Angier stands in front
          of the machine, silhouetted by the FRENZY of electricity
          behind him. He TOSSES his cane to his assistant and steps
          into the machine.
          The audience SCREAMS as large bolts BLAST from the machine
          and wrap themselves around ANGIER'S ARMS and legs.
          Borden is watching very carefully. Angier is almost
          impossible to see as the machine builds to a climax, but,
          just before it does; Borden catches a glimpse of ANGIER'S

          BODY FALLING THROUGH A TRAP DOOR.
          The machine sputters out. Angier has DISAPPEARED. The lights
          are dim. A FOLLOW SPOT FIRES into the BOXES, audience looks
          up with a gathering commotion-
          ANGIER IS STANDING ON THE RAIL OF THE ROYAL BOX, thirtyfeet
          above stalls. He smiles down at the audience.

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           Man's reach exceeds his IMAGINATION!
          The audience breaks into a MASSIVE STANDING OVATION.

          INT. BORDEN'S WORKSHOP -- DAY

          Fallon is at the workbench, staring at a sketch of Tesla's
          machine. Borden paces, AGITATED.

                          BORDEN
           Why only 100 performances? Do his
           methods dictate it, or is it simply
           a publicity move?
          Borden walks back and stares at the sketch.

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           Fifty yards in a second. And all I
           know is that he uses a trapdoor.
           What's going on under that stage?

          EXT. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -- NIGHT

          The theatre is closed, and tree BLIND STAGEHANDS are
          wreastling a TARP-WRAPPED BOX onto a cart in the alleyway
          behind the theatre.

                         
          Fallon is watching from the shadows.

           108.

                         

          EXT. LABYRINTHINE STREETS -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          Fallon shadows the cart as it slowly makes its way.

                         

          EXT. ABANDONED THEATRE -- LATER


                         
          Fallon watches from further down in the alley as the Blind
          Stagehands unload the box onto a dolly and wheel it through
          the stage door.

                         
          He moves closer, then STOPS. Seeing something. CUTTER has
          emerged from a nearby doorway and slipped through the stage
          door.

                         

          INT. ABANDONED THEATRE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          The blind stagehand wheel the tarp-covered box to two LARGE
          METAL DOORS in the floor of the auditorium and start hooking
          it up to a winch. The metal doors open with a metal HOWL...
          Cutter slips down the aisle. WATCHING.

                         

                          BLIND STAGEHAND

           WHO'S THERE!

                         
          The man turns precisely to Cutter, flasing his white eyes.

                         

                          CUTTER
           It's Cutter.

                         

                          BLIND STAGEHAND
           What do you want?

                         

                          CUTTER
           I'm looking for Angier.

                         

                          ANGIER
           You found him.

                         
          Cutter turns. Angier approaches.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           I told you, John- I don't want you
           backstage on this one.

                         

                          CUTTER
           What are they doing?

                         

                          ANGIER
           Disposing of the Prestige materials.

                         
          Cutter looks down at the BLACK HOLE in the floor.

                         

                          CUTTER
           What's down there?

                         
          Angier looks at him, serious.

           109.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Do you really want to know?
          Cutter considers Angier's grave tone.

                          CUTTER
           Perhaps not.
          Cutter leaves by the stage door.

          INT. BORDEN'S WORKSHOP -- DAY

          Borden sits at his work bench. Fallon fiddles with his howler
          hat.

                          BORDEN
           They do this every night. After
           each performance?
          Fallon nods. Borden gets to his feet with a sigh. Turns to
          a POSTER on the wall- "The Great Danton Perform THE REAL

          TRANSPORTED MAN- 100 SHOWS ONLY"
          He studies the image of Angier. There is a small DEVIL
          looking over his shoulder.

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           We're done.
           (turns to Fallon)
           Let him have this trick. You're not
           to go back there. I don't need to
           know his secret. Leave him alone.
          Fallon puts on his hat with a shrug.

          INT. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -- EVENING

          A packed house. Many hands raised. Move in on a BEARDED
          MAN, his gloved hand tentatively rising into the air. IT IS

          BORDEN.
          A GLAMOROUS ASSISTANT beckons Borden from the aisle. He
          shuffles along his row towards her. Embarrassed.
          Borden and four other VOLUNTEERS follow the Assistant down
          towards the stage...
          On which stands Angier, leaning on his cane, smiling. Looming
          over him is the large and complex ELECTRICAL MACHINE. Borden
          STARES at the machine as he mounts the stage.
          Borden, FASCINATED, and the other volunteers look over the
          vast machine. As Angier GESTURES theatrically at the various
          features of the metal and glass apparatus.

                         
          As the Assistant leads the Volunteers to the side of the
          stage, Borden slips through the gas at the side of the

                         CURTAINS-

           110.

                         

          INT. PANTAGE'S THEATRE, BACKSTAGE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          -looks around, disoriented, then darts for some stairs leading
          below stage where he runs into a burly STAGEHAND.

                         

                          STAGEHAND
           Where'd you think you're going?

                         
          Borden pulls off his beard.

                         

                          BORDEN
           I'm part of the act, you fool!

                         
          The Stagehand raises his eyebrows and steps aside. Borden
          RACES down below the stage. Cutter approaches the Stagehand.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Who was that?

                         

          INT. PANTAGE'S THEATRE, ONSTAGE -- CONTINUOUS

          Angier throws switches on his machine. As it GROANS into
          life, SPARKING and CRACKLING, Angier gares at it, forgetting
          his audience. Entraced. Possessed.

                         

          INT. BENEATH THE STAGE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          Borden fumbles through the darkned area, lit by flashes and
          sparks through gaps in the boards of the stage above. He
          GASPS as a flash illuminates a STAGEHAND with SOLID WHITE
          EYES sitting nearby. Borden waves a hand in front of the
          Stagehand's face. He is BLIND. Borden moves on.

                         

          INT. PANTAGE'S THEATRE, ONSTAGE -- NIGHT


                         
          Angier, facing the audience, steps backwards into the machine.
          He looks up at the electricity sparking just above him.

                         

          INT. BENEATH THE STAGE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          Borden lights a MATCH. In front of him is a LARGE GLASS
          TANK FILLED WITH WATER, ITS LID PROPPED OPEN. Borden frowns.

                         

          INT. PANTAGE'S THEATRE, ONSTAGE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          BOLTS of electricity draw inwards, wrapping Angier in a ball
          of LIGHTING which CRACKS-

                         

          INT. BENEATH THE STAGE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          The ROOM fills with lIGHT as a TRAPDOOR snaps open and a
          BODY DROPS INTO THE TANK. The lid of the tank and trapdoor
          above SNAP SHUT, leaving the tank, and Borden, in complete

          DARKNESS.

           111.

                         

          INT. PANTAGE'S THEATRE, ONSTAGE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          The Machine sputters to a stop. Angier is GONE. The audience
          sits, WAITING.

                         

          INT. BENEATH THE STAGE -- NIGHT


                         
          Borden the tank, ANGIER IS DROWING. His rolling EYES fixed
          on Borden, he POUNDS desperetely on the thick glass, SCREAMING

          BUBBLES...

                         
          Borden, HORROFIED, tries forcing the lif ot the tank open.
          It's sealed shut. He leaves the tank and begins searching
          around under the stage. He finds a SPANNER.

                         
          Borden SMASHES again and again at the glass of the tank,
          which spiders, then CRACKS, and finally GIVES WAY.

                         
          WATER bursts from the tank, sweeping Angier's body into
          Borden, and both of them onto gournd.
          Above them we can hear YELLING. Borden rolls Angier onto
          his side and POUNDS on his back. Water and blood OOZE from
          the man's lungs. His eyes are dilated and lifeless:

                         

          ANGIER IS DEAD.

                         
          Borden is frozen, unable to move.

                         
          Cutter appears behind him, SHOCKED by what he sees. Borden
          turns to look at him, his eyes wild with confusion.

                         

                          CUTTER
           What did you do?

                         

          INT. MORQUE -- EVENING


                         
          A MORTICIAN pulls back a sheet draped over a CORPSE.

                         
          Angier's lifeless eyes stare up at us. Cutter looks at
          Angier, the up at the Mortician. Nods.

                         

           JUDGE (V.O.)
           Alfred Borden, you have been found
           guilty of the murder of Robert
           Angier...

                         

          INT. COURTROOM -- DAY


                         
          borden stands chained to the dock. The JUDGE has a piece of
          black cloth draped over his wig.

                         

                          JUDGE
           You will, in one month's time, be
           hanged by the neck until dead. May
           the Lord have mercy on your soul.

           112.

                         

          INT. EVIDENCE ROOM, WAREHOUSE -- DAY


                         
          A POLICEMAN shows Owens into the room, walking him past all
          of the equipment to the far end where Cutter stands staring
          at the MACHINE'S CRATE.

                         

                          OWENS
           Mr.Cutter?

                          (CUTTER TURNS)
           Owens.

                         
          They shake hands.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Thank you for coming, Mr.Owens.
           It's fallen to me to dispose of
           Mr.Angier's equipment. Looking at
           the manifest, it's cleat that Lord
           Caldlow has purchased the bulk of
           the items.

                          OWENS
           Mr.Cutter, if you needed to know
           where to deliver the items you surely
           could have just-

                         

                          CUTTER
           It's not just that, Mr.Owens. There
           is a particular item
           (turns to crate)
           This time, in fact, that I wish to...
           well, that is to say, I want to-

                         

                          OWENS
           You wnat to buy it instead.

                         

                          CUTTER
           I suppose so, yes.

                         
          Owens moves closer to the crate. Sees the COLORADO SPRINGS
          stencil.

                         

                          OWENS
           This is the machine?

                          (OFF LOOK)
           I'm afraid Lord Caldlow was adamant
           about procuring this particular item.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Perhaps if I dould talk to Lord
           Caldlow in person.

                         

                          OWENS
           Out of the question, I'm afraid.

                         
          Cutter nods. Owens starts to walk away. Turns.

           113.

                         

                          OWENS (CONT'D)
           of course, I suppose... if, in the
           course of your delivery arrangements
           your paths were to cross... I can't
           stop you from speaking your mind.

                         
          Cutter nods.

                         

          INT. CONDEMNED MAN'S CELL, NEWGATE PRISON -- MORNING


                         
          Borden is sitting quietlt in a large cell.

                         
          Sullen opens the door.

                         

                          SULLEN

                          (SARDONIC)
           Still here, Borden?

                         
          Borden looks up.

                          BORDEN
           For now.

                         

                          SULLEN
           Got a visitor. Lord Caldlow. With
           a little girl.

                         
          Borden HURRIES to his feet.

                         

          EXT. PRISON YARD, NEWGATE PRISON -- DAY


                         
          Borden, clutching an envelope, is escorted across the yard,
          PEERING at the fence. He catches a glimpse of this daughter
          waling beside a man on the wooden section.

                         
          As Borden reaches the fence he CROUCHES to greet his little
          girl, forcing the Sullen and the other Warder to crouch to
          undo his chains.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Jess, how are you?

                         
          Jess SMILES at him and reaches through the fence.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           Are you alright?

                         
          She nods.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           I've missed you. Fallon's missed
           you. We both have.

                         
          Borden drinks in her gace, her hair. She grasps the fence.

                         

                          JESS
           Can I come in there, Daddy?

           114.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Everything's going to be okay.
          It is only then that he notices the HAND ON HER SHOULDER.
          He rises to come face-to-face with Lord Caldlow-

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           You must be Lord-
          -who is ROBERT ANGIER. Risen from the dead.

                          ANGIER

                          (ENGLISH ACCENT)
           Caldlow. Yes, I am. I always have
           been.
          Borden STARES at Angier.

                          BORDEN
           I saw you die.
          Angier just SMILES.

                          ANGIER
           They flatter you with all those
           chains, Alfred. Don't they know you
           can't escape without your little
           rubber ball?
          Borden says nothing.

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           All I wanted to do was prove that I
           was the better magician. But you
           couldn't leave me alone.

                          BORDEN
           You were always afraid to get your
           hands dirty...
           (looks down at his

                          JESS)
           Not anymore.

                          ANGIER
           No. Not anymore. And I win. Because
           no one cares about the man in the
           box, the man who disappears.

                          BORDEN
           You win. But don't take my little
           girl...
          Angier looks at Borden. Bitter

                         

                          ANGIER
           I know how hard it is to have someone
           so precious taken away, don't I

                          (MORE)

           115.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           Borden? But you can't take her with
           you know, can you? She'll be looked
           after. Good-bye, Professor.

                         
          Angier gently pulls Jess back from the fence. She PROTESTS
          Desperate, Borden holds out the envelope.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Wait. Don't you want this? You
           paid for it.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Your secret.

                         
          Borden nods. Angier steps up, takes the envelope.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           You always were the better magician,
           Borden. We both know that.
          HE TEARS the envelope in half. Then again. And again...

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           But whatever your secret was, you'll
           have to agree-

                         
          He tosses the peices on the ground.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)

                          (VICTORIOUS)
           -mine is better.

                         
          Angier TURNS.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Angier! Let me say good-bye. Please.

                         
          Angier stops. Lets Jess come to fence. She is crying.

                         

                          JESS
           When are you taking me home, Daddy?

                         

                          BORDEN
           Soon. I promise. Soon.

                         

                          ANGIER
           For God's sake, Borden.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Daddy's coming, I promise. I promise.

                          HERE-

                         
          Borden PRODUCES his RUBBER BALL. Jess looks at it.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           I promise.

           116.

                         
          Borden VANISHES the rubber ball. ANgier pulls Jess back
          from the fence and starts walking away. Borden rises.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           You think this place can hold me,
           Angier?

                         
          Angier continues walking Jess away. Shaking this head.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           Angier!

                         
          Borden is alone. He watches as the wind scatters the pieces
          of his prestige over the muddy yard.

                         

          EXT. LARGE COUNTRY ESTATE -- EVENING


                         
          Angier steps out of an ornate carriage with Jess.

                         

          INT. LARGE COUNTRY ESTATE -- EVENING

          Angier steps inside with Jess. The HOUSEKEEPER comes to
          take her.

                         

                          HOUSEKEEPER
           Come here, love.

                          (TO ANGIER)
           Sir, there's gentleman waiting.

                         
          Angier looks at her, surprised.

                         

          INT. DRAWING ROOM, COUNTRY ESTATE -- CONTINUOUS


                         
          Cutter is in the drawing room, looking at the carriage clock
          on the mantle. Angier enters. Cutter spots his reflection.

                         

                          CAPTAIN
           Dead God.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Hello, Cutter.

                         

                          CUTTER
           You're alive.

                          (ANGIER NODS)
           You're Lord Caldlow.
           (Angier nods again)
           How?

                         

                          ANGIER

                          (SHRUGS) 
           I learned an American accent from-

                         

                          CUTTER

                          (ANGRY)
           How are you alive, Robert?! I saw
           you on the slab, for God's sake.

           117.

                         
          Angier fixes Cutter with a steady gaze.

                         

                          ANGIER
           I magician never reveals his secrets.

                         
          The Housekeeper appears with Jess at her side.

                         

                          HOUSEKEEPER
           Go on, child.

                         
          Angier smiles kindly at her.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Good night, Jess.

                         
          They leave.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Who's the girl?

                         
          Angier says nothing.

                         

                          CUTTER (CONT'D)
           I've seen her. I've seen her in
           court with Fallon...

                         
          Cutter, realizing, looks at Angier, SHOCKED.

                         

                          CUTTER (CONT'D)

                          (QUIET)
           What have you done?

                         

                          ANGIER
           She needs looking after-

                         

                          CUTTER
           She needs her father, but you're
           letting him hang. And I helped you.

                         
          Cutter moves to the door. In a daze. Pauses.

                         

                          CUTTER (CONT'D)
           I came here tonight to beg Lord
           Caldlow to let me destroy that
           machine. But I won't beg you for
           anything.

                         

                          ANGIER
           You don't have to. I'm going to
           make sure the machine. is never used
           again.

                          (SHRUGS)
           A good magician never repeats his
           tricks.

           118.

                         
          Cutter considers this. Makes a decision.

                         

                          CUTTER
           Then, Lord Caldlow, where would like
           me to deliver it?

                         

                          ANGIER
           My theatre. It belongs with the
           Prestige materials.

                         
          Cutter lookd at Angier. Sad.

                         

                          CUTTER
           I once told you about the sailor who
           described drowing to me...

                         

                          ANGIER

                          (NODS)
           He said it was like going home.

                          CUTTER
           I was lying. He said it was agony.

                         
          Cutter opens the door. Angier watches him go.

                         

          EXT. PRISON YARD, NEWGATE PRISON -- MORNING


                         
          Borden is at the fence. Fallon is on the other side.

                         

                          BORDEN
           We go alone now- both of us. Only I
           don't have as far to go as you.

                         
          Borden looks down at his feet.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           You were right. I should've left
           him to his damned trick... I'm sorry.
           I'm sorry for so many things. For
           Sarah. I didn't want to hurt her.

                         
          Fallon wipes tears from his face. Borden looks at him.

                         

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           Don't cry. Not for me. Go live
           your life in full. For both of us.

                         
          Borden pulls the RUBBER BALL from his pocket and BOUNCES it
          up and down. He TURNS to be led back into the prison,
          DROPPING the ball.

                         
          The ball bounces gently past the fence. Fallon catches it.

                         

          INT. PRISON CORRIDOR, NEWGATE PRISON -- MORNING


                         
          Borden is led along the empty corridor, braced by six guards.

           119.

                         
          The procession stops at a large windowless metal door, sunk
          deep into the wall. Sullen opens the door and Borden is led
          inside. As Borden passes Sullen he leans in to his ear-

                          BORDEN

                          (QUIET)
           Are you watching closely?
          Sullen stares back at him, terrified.

          INT. DEATH CHAMBER, NEWGATE PRISON -- CONTINUOUS

          The room is low and small. Two parallel beams, eight feet
          high, run from one wall to the other. Hanging from the center
          of the beams is a chain. Below the chian is a trap door.
          Sullen locks the door to the chamber.

          EXT. LARGE COUNTRY ESTATE -- DAY

          Jess is playing in the grounds. A NURSEMAID some distance
          off chats to a GARDENER.
          Jess looks up from playing. Someone is there. Cutter.

          EXT. ABANDONED THEATRE -- EVENING

          A CART pulls up to the side of the theatre.
          Cutter and two WORKMEN step down from the cart and move to
          the back of it. Cutter pulls the tarp off the back of the
          cart. Underneath it is the MACHINE's CRATE.

          INT. ABANDONED THEATRE -- EVENING

          The crate is sitting on the dolly in the auditorium.

                          CUTTER
           Thank-you gents.

                          WORKMAN
           Where do you want it?

                          CUTTER
           Don't worry. Someone's coming to
           help.
          The workmen levae. Cutter looks at the crate.
          Angier emerges from the darkness.

          INT. DEATH CHAMBER

          The warders remove Borden's chains and shackles and replace
          them with strong leather belts that bind his feet together
          and his hands to his sides.

                         
          They shuffle him forward onto the trapdoor.

           120.

                         

          INT. ABANDONED THEATRE -- NIGHT

          Angier and Cutter load the crate onto a platform suspended
          by a rope. Angier pulls open the two metal doors sunk into
          the floor.
          Cutter begins turning a WHICH, lowering the crate into the
          HOLE. Angier indicates a pile of bricks and a bag of sand.

                          CUTTER
           I'm bringing this over after we're
           done.

                          ANGIER
           Cautions as ever, Cutter. No one's
           going to use the place. I own it.

          INT. CELLAR, ABANDONED THEATRE -- EVENING

          Angier slowly climbs down a ladder from the hole to join
          Cutter in the darkness below.
          Cutter is standing next to the platform and the crate. The
          only night comes from a LANTERN Angier is carrying. We can
          see only a small flicker of the high moldy walls of the
          cellar, but it is a large open space.

                          CUTTER
           No room left- you couldn't have
           acommodated 100 performances.

                          ANGIER
           It's a good thing I retired early
           then.
          Angier puts the lattern and his cane on the lif of the crate
          and the two men heft ir off the platform.

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           We'll put it down the end.
          Angier and Cutter move into the darkness with the crate.
          From the small pool of light afforded by the lattern, we can
          see that they are navigating their way through a large space
          filled with LARGE GLASS BOXES.
          They arrive at the end and set the crate down.

                          CUTTER
           I'll go mix the cement.
          Cutter looks at Angier, cold.

                          CUTTER (CONT'D)
           Take a minute to consider your
           achiviement.

                         
          Cutter turns.

           121.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Cutter, I tried not to involve you.
          Cutter looks at Angier. Nods. Then disappears into darkness.

          INT. ABANDONED THEATRE -- MOMENTS LATER

          Cutter comes across the stage and up through the auditorium.
          Fallon is coming in the other direction.
          As they pass they nod gravely at each other.

          INT. DEATH CHAMBER, NEWGATE PRISON -- DAY

          Borden is held in place by the trapdoor by two warders. The
          HANGMAN walks up behind him and attaches a NOOSE to the chain
          hanging above Borden. He slips the other end of the noose
          over Borden's neck. Positions it under Borden's jaw.

          INT. CELLAR, ABANDONED THEATRE -- CONTINUOUS

          Angier is alone bather in the lgiht of the lantern. He turns
          to the nearest glass box and smoothes a hand along its face.

                          ANGIER

                          (WHISPER)
           No one cares about the man in the
           box.
          Behind him, a NOISE.

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)

                          (CALLING)
           Cutter?
          No responses.

          INT. DEATH CHAMBER, NEWGATE PRISON -- DAY

          They WRDEN looks at Borden.

                          WARDEN
           Alfred borden, on this day, in the
           name of the King and the high court
           of England, you will meet your end.
           Do you have anything to say for
           yourself.
          Borden saus nothing. The Warden gestures to the HANGMAn who
          begins to PULL the lever.

                          BORDEN

                          (WHISPER)
           Abacadabra.

                         
          The trap DROPS from under Borden and he FALLS into the room
          below. His rope SNAPS to a halt-

           122.

                         

          INT. CELLAR, ABANDONED THEATRE -- NIGHT

          Angier PEERS down the row of glass boxes with the lantern.

                          ANGIER

                          (TENSE)

           CUTTER?
          Angier FREEZES. He can hear a small THUD, THUD, THUD getting
          closer, approaching from the darkness...
          Angier FLINCHES as a RUBBER BALL bounces into the light-
          Angier DROPS his cane to CATCH the ball. He turns it around
          in his hands, confused.
          Light EXPLODES around him as a GUNSHOT rings out.
          Angier stands for a moment, confused, staring at the ball,
          then COLLAPSES to the ground, clutching at his stomach.
          Fallon's BOWLER HAT breaks into the circle of light. he is
          holding a smoking pistol...
          Angier drops the ball and it rolls across the floor, coming
          to rest at Fallon's feet. But it is not Fallon's gloved
          hand that picks up the ball-
          -it is a MUTILATED HAND, WITH 2 1/2 FINGERS MISSING. Angier

                         LOOKS UP:

          ALFRED BORDEN REMOVES THE BOWLER HAT AND TAKES A BOW.

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)

                          (WEAK)
           You- you died.
          Borden shakes his head.
          Realization sweeps over Angier like a nightmare.

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           A brother. A Twin.

          INT. BASEMENT -- CONTINUOUS -- FLASHBACK

          Fallon DROPS into the coffin. As fallon stares up at us, WE

          SEE, FOR THE FIRST TIME, SOMETHING FAMILIAR IN HIS FACE --

          FALLON IS REALLY BORDEN IN DISGUISE.

                          ANGIER
           You were Fallon. The whole time...
          Fallon/Borden's face disappears as Cutter seals his coffin.

                         

          INT. CELLAR, ABANDONED THEATRE


                         
          Borden smiles.

           123.

                         

                          BORDEN
           We were both Fallon. And we were
           both Borden.

                         
          Angier considers this. Minds spinning.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Were you the one who went into the

                          BOX-

                         

          INT. STAGE -- EVENING -- FLASHBACK


                         
          As the ball bounces acroos the stage, Borden steps into the
          cabinet, shutting the door behind him.

                         

           ANGIER (V.O.)
           -or the one who come back out?

                         
          Borden steps out of the second cabinet and catches the ball.

          INT. DRESSING ROOM -- EVENING -- FLASHBACK


                         
          A stagehand wheels the two stage cabinets into the dressing
          room and leaves. Borden holts the door after him.

                         

           BORDEN (V.O.)
           We took turns. The trick is where
           we would swap...

                         
          Borden opens the first cabinet and pulls up the false bottom.

                         
          His TWIN BROTHER, in indentical stage clothes, uncurls himself
          from the hidden compartment and hauls himself out.

                         

          INT. DRESSING ROOM -- LATER -- FLASHBACK


                         
          Fallon and Borden are seated at the makeup table. Fallon
          begins removing pieces of his costume and makeup and handing
          them to the other brother. As we watch, THEY SWITHC

          INDENTITIES.

                         

          INT. CELLAR, ABANDONED THEATRE -- EVENING


                         
          Angier stares up at Borden. Appalled.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Cutter knew. But I told him it was
           too simple. Too easy.

                         

                          BORDEN
           Simple, maybe. But not easy.

                         

          INT. WORKSHOP -- EVENING -- FLASHBACK


                         
          Both Bordens are standing at the workbench. One brother is
          gripping the other by his wrist and placing a CHISEL on his
          finger.

           124.

                         
          He checks the placemen of the chisel against his own mutilated
          fingers, adjust the chisel's position, them picks up the
          hammer.

           BORDEN (V.O.)
           Nothing easy about two men sharing
           one life.
          The second brother SWIGS from a gin bottle, then BITES down
          a padded stick as the first brother BRINGS DOWN THE HAMMER-

          INT. CELLAR, ABANDONED THEATRE -- EVENING

          Borden stares at his mutilated hand clasping the rubber ball.

                          ANGIER
           What about Olivia? And your wife?

                          BORDEN
           We each loved one of them. We each
           had half a full life. Enough for
           us, but not for them.
          Borden puts the ball in his pocket. Tears in his eyes.

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           Sacrifice, Robert- that's the price
           of a good trick.
          Borden looks down at Angier with contempt.

                          BORDEN (CONT'D)
           But you wouldn't know anything about
           that, would you?
          Angier is dying. He opens his mouth to talk, but his voice
          is so wak that Borden has to stoop to hear him.

                          ANGIER

                          (VERY QUIET)
           I've made sacrificies.

                          BORDEN
           It takes nothing to steal someone
           else's work.

                          ANGIER
           It takes everything.

          INT. ABANDONED THEATRE -- DAY -- FLASHBACK

          Angier stands in front of Tesla's machine. Loading the
          pistol. He places the pistol by the machine...
          Angier takes off his jacket and steps towards the HISSING
          machine. BOTLS curl themselves around him.

                         

          ANGIER HURLS HIMSELF INTO THE LIGHT.

           125.

                         
          This time we do not cut away.

                         
          The machine sputters out.

                         

          ANGIER IS STILL STANDING BENEATH IT.

                         

                          ANGIER

                          (CONFUSED)
           It didn't work.

                         

           VOICE (V.O.)
           Yes it did.

                         
          Angier turns...

                         
          ANOTHER ANGIER is standing on the chalk hashmark, STEAM rising
          off his shoulders.

                         
          The first Angier lunges for the pistol and levels it at the
          second Angier.

                          SECOND ANGIER

                          (HORRIFIED)
           No, wait! I'm the-

                         
          BANG! BANG! The firt Angier FIRES TWO SHOTS and, grim-
          faced, drops the pistol. SHOCKED. He stumbles back, in a
          daze, clothes still steaming.

                         

          INT. CELLAR, ABANDONED THEATRE -- NIGHT


                         
          Angier looks down, a slight smile on his face. He gestures
          to the lantern.

                         

                          ANGIER

                          (WEAKER)
           Do you want to see what it cost me?
           You didn't see where you are, did
           you? Let me show you.

                         
          Angier slumps to the floor as he tries to reach for the
          lantern. He can't his hand to obey him.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           It took courage to climb into that
           machine every night...

                         

          INT. UNDER THE STAGE -- EVENING -- FLASHBACK


                         
          A drowing tank, identical to the one we have already seen.
          A blind stagehand sits behind it, smoking.

                         

           ANGIER (V.O.)
           Not knowing if I'd be the Prestige....

                         
          Suddenly, a trap door flashes open as Angier falls from the
          stage door and SPLASHES into the tank. The lid snaps shut.

           126.

                         

           ANGIER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           Or the man in the box...

                         
          Angier pounds on the glass, frantic. The blind stagehand
          continues smoking. Oblivious.

                         

          INT. WORKSHOP -- DAY -- FLASHBACK


                         
          Two hands SLAM shut on the lid of a birdcage.

                         
          The blind stagehand are wrestling a LARGE CRATE onto a cart
          in the alleyway behind the theatre.

                         

          INT. CELLAR, ABANDONED THEATRE -- NIGHT


                         
          Angier stops trying tomove and leans back, resigned.

                         

                          BORDEN

                          (SCORN)
           You went halfway around the world.
           You spent a fortune. You did terrible
           things... and all of it for nothing.

                         
          Angier looks up at him with his last spark of competitiveness.

                         

                          ANGIER
           Nothing? You never understood, id
           you? Why we did this?

                          (COUGHS)
           The audience knows the truth- that
           the world is simple. Miserable.
           Solid all the way through. But if
           you could fool them, even for a
           second, you could make them wonder.
           Then you got to see something very
           special...
           (coughs, looks up)
           You really don't know?

                         
          Borden just stares at Angier. Who smiles.

                         

                          ANGIER (CONT'D)
           It was the look on their faced.

                         
          Angier's body TOPPLES over, KNOCKING over the lantern. Borden
          steps back as the oil spreads, flamming, fro the lantern.

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.)
           Every magic trick consists of three
           parts, or acts...

                         
          Borden watches Angier for a moment, then turns to leave.

           127.

                         

          INT. WORKSHOP -- DAY


                         
          The workshop from the opening of the film. We now recognize
          it as Borden's. Cutter performs the bird cage trick for the
          Little Girl we now know as Jess.

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.)
           The first part is called the Pledge.

                         
          Cutter is showing far the canary.

                         

          INT. ABANDONED THEATRE -- NIGHT


                         
          The burning lamp oil SPREADS LIGHT through the cellar...

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.)
           The second part is called the Turn.
           I take the ordinary something...

                         
          Angier lies in his pooling blood.

                         
          Angier's eyes move around, looking at the shapes around him
          increasing illuminated by the hellish light...

                         

          INT. WORKSHOP -- DAY


                         
          Cutter WHIPS the shawl away- cage and bird have disappeared.

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.)
           But you wouldn't clap yet.

                         
          Jess stares, EXPECTANT. Cutter hols up his handkerchief-
          covered hand...

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           Because making something disappear
           isn't enough...

                         
          Cutter whips the handkerchief from his hand, revealing a
          canary. Just then, Jess SEES something and JUMPS off the
          chest, running past him...

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           You have to bring it back.

                         
          BORDEN IS IN THE DOORWAY- JESS LEAPS INTO HIS ARMS. Borden
          holds her tight. Looks at Cutter, who is putting on his
          coat. Nods. Cutter leaves.

                         
          Borden reaches into his pocket and hand Jess his rubber ball.
          She smiles, then buries her head in his neck.

           128.

                         

          INT. ABANDONED THEATRE -- NIGHT


                         
          Borden STOPS at the ladder. He notices the shadows from the
          burning oil playing on the walls...

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.)
           Now you're looking for the secret...

                         
          Borden turns slowly to look back into the cellar, PEERING
          into the flickering light of the burning lamp oil.

                         

                          CUTTER (CONT'D)
           But you won't find it...

                         
          Borden stares back into the cellar. What he sees puts a
          look on his face that is beyond words:

                         

          LARGE GLASS TANKS. DOZENS OF THEM. ROW AFTER ROW STRECHING

          INTO THE CAVERNOUS CELLAR.

                          CUTTER (CONT'D)
           ...because you don't really want to
           know...

                         

          FLOATING IN BACH AND EVERY TANK, DRESSED IN ROTTING STAGE

          CLOTHES, IS YET ANOTHER ROBERT ANGIER.

                         

          INT. ABANDONED THEATRE -- DAY


                         
          Cutter spreads MORTAT on the last BRICK of the wall he has
          built in the opening to the cellar.

                         
          He places the brick in the wall, sealing it up.

                         

          EXT. FOREST -- DAY -- FLASHBACK


                         
          A cat slinks its way through a pile of top harts, knocking
          one over as it disappears into the forest beyond.

                         

           CUTTER (V.O.)
           ...you want to be fooled.

                         
          We are left alone in the glade, staring at the top hats-

                         

          FADE OUT.

                         

          CREDITS.

                         

          END. 

Prestige, The



Writers :   Jonathan Nolan  Christopher Nolan
Genres :   Drama  Mystery  Sci-Fi


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