SAVE THE LAST DANCE
Duane G. Adler
Current Revisions by
Cheryl Edwards (6/11/99)
REWRITE -- FIRST SET OF REVISIONS
5555 Melrose Avenue
Chevalier Building, Ste. 203
Los Angeles, California
JUNE 11, 1999
1 EXT. PENNSYLVANIA COUNTRYSIDE - LONG SHOT - DAY 1
of an empty stretch of land parted down the middle by
railroad tracks. An Amtrak Commuter crests the horizon,
heads TOWARD us. As it gets CLOSER, we GO IN TIGHTER to
2 FACE OF SARA JOHNSON 2
17, pressed at one of its windows.
3 REVERSE ANGLE - REFLECTION IN TRAIN'S WINDOW - 3
distant and lovely and sad. SUPERIMPOSED against an
endless stream of sky and trees. The train speeds up and
SARA's face flies by, disappearing FROM FRAME.
4 INT. AMTRAK TRAIN - MOVING - DUSK 4
A zaftig BLACK WOMAN clumsily negotiates the aisle.
Stops at the first of a few empty seats left in the car.
This seat taken?
ANGLE ON SARA
looking up, around. She shakes her head, clears her
backpack and magazines from the seat beside her. The
Woman drops down, settles in. A long silence. The Woman
glances at the American Ballet magazine on Sara's lap.
Tries to make conversation.
I love ballet. Never had the body
for it. Do you dance?
Sara folds her arms, turns away mumbling under breath.
Sara gazes out the window. The world outside begins to
dissolve melting into images from another time, another
place. Her eyes stare blankly OUT AT us, blinded by her
5 FLASHBACK - INT. AUDITORIUM - KINDERGARTEN RECITAL - DAY 5
A stage full of five-year-olds in tights and tutus. A
little girl performs center stage. She's remarkably
poised, remarkably good. CAMERA PANS TO the audience. A
woman in an Irish clover necklace springs to her feet
clapping loudly. The little girl's eyes catch the glint
of the necklace's gold. Mommy. She flashes a megawatt
smile, ends the dance with an unscripted bow, as we...
6 INT. BALLET CLASS - EVENING (FIVE YEARS LATER) 6
Young Sara, lithe and earnest, dances. A budding beauty
blessed with long limbs and natural grace, she makes it
look easy. Gliding past the envious stares of
classmates, she scans the hall for a glint of gold.
Finds it in the back of the room where her mother, Glynn,
stands watching her. Their eyes connect with mutual
smiles and those smiles CARRY us TO:
7 INT. SARA'S EXETER HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY 7
A pair of flexing feet in ballet slippers on a hardwood
floor. PAN UP and PULL BACK to reveal Sara at 17,
dancing in the space opened up by cornered furniture and
rolled up rugs. As Glynn looks on, Sara completes the
routine with a pirouette. She spins out of it with a
preoccupied frown on her face.
What's the matter? It was good.
stance in mirror)
Everybody there's going to be
good, Mom. I have to be better.
My knees still knock when I do my
free form. Did you notice that?
I noticed that it was fine.
It's not supposed to be fine.
It's supposed to be special.
7 CONTINUED: 7
And it just lays there, it doesn't
do anything. I bet they notice
that. That it doesn't do
anything. That I don't do
anything special enough to get in.
Sara. You'll get in.
Don't lie because you love me. My
free form sucks.
(giving up that
I've got something for you. Come
on. Sit. Mouth closed, eyes
shut. No pouting. No peeking.
Sara flops down on the sofa beside her. Closes her eyes.
Glynn removes the clover chain from her neck, fastens it
For luck tomorrow. Not that
you'll need it. You dance like an
The necklace is Glynn's talisman. Sara knows what it
means to her. She throws her arms around Glynn, holds
onto her tightly.
I love the necklace but you're
still the best luck I'll ever
Glynn, not one to choke up, chokes up. They cling to
8 INT. AMTRAK TRAIN (MOVING) - ON SARA - DUSK (PRESENT) 8
In the blink of her eyes, the memory fades. She pulls
the window shade, shifts in her seat. Her fingers travel
to the clover necklace at her throat. Linger. The Woman
Nice... the necklace.
8 CONTINUED: 8
Oh. It's a good luck charm.
Doesn't always work.
The Woman's wearing a crucifix. She indicates it.
9 FLASHBACK - INT./EXT. BUS/RURAL ROAD - MORNING 9
A sea of young white faces. A jock entertains the troops
with two straws up his nose. Sara sits next to her best
friend, LINDSAY, 17. Lindsay, chomping on a wad of gum,
turns from the jock to Sara with a bubble in bloom,
bursts it with her teeth.
Wanna pray? You're leaving for
Philly after first period. I
won't see you. We should pray.
Lindsay... no. Not here.
Lindsay grabs Sara's hand and bows her head. Sara,
embarrassed, aligns her head with Lindsay's. She's
praying nobody sees them.
'Awesome, Father, S.J. auditions
today. She's ready for them.
Please make them ready for her.
Even if she screws up. Thanks.
(sure shrug; another
God's gotten me outta all kinds of
shit. He oughta be able to get
you into Juilliard.
10 EXT. EXETER SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL - LATER THAT MORNING 10
Sara exits with a bouquet of roses, takes the steps two
and three at a time. Glynn's waiting in a flower van at
11 INT./EXT. FLOWER VAN (DRIVING)/RESIDENTIAL STREETS 11
Sara and Glynn. The back of the van is filled with
flower arrangements. Glynn takes note of the roses in
Where'd you get those, traitor?
Ellison -- Mr. Ellison. He
actually told me to break a leg.
Roses from the principal, even
droopy, out-of-season yellow ones,
is beyond cool, kiddo. You're
definitely movin' up in the world.
Sara looks through the windshield. It's starting to
Know what would be great? If you
didn't drop me off at the bus
station. If we just kept going
until we get to Philly.
Ruin everyone's Valentine's Day
and not have a shop when I get
back. That's your definition of
great? I can see the headline
now: 'Starving Artist Kills Unfit
Sweetheart, we talked about this.
I'll get there as soon as I can.
Sara looks at her and Glynn instantly feels guilty.
Right. This is the hardest, most
important day of my life and all
you can do is get there as soon as
you can. Thanks, Mom.
12 EXT. GREYHOUND BUS STATION (READING, PA) - 12
Glynn pulls the van into the parking lot. Smiles at
Sara. Sara doesn't smile back. She's too angry. Too
12 CONTINUED: 12
So I guess I'll see you later.
I won't miss your audition, Sara.
I'll be there, okay? If I have to
swim the Susquehanna, I'll be
Swim? You can't swim, Mom.
I'll float then.
A moment. They look at each other. Sara finally smiles.
They embrace and she hops out the van. Glynn calls after
Hey... Happy Valentine's Day.
13 INT. AMTRAK TRAIN (MOVING) - ON SARA - NIGHT (PRESENT) 13
Feigning sleep. From the corner of her eye, she watches
the Woman beside her flip through the American Ballet
Magazine. We move back in time through their pages.
14 FLASHBACK - INT. UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - WAITING 14
ROOM - DAY
Sara, in costume, flips through a magazine. She taps her
toes, checks her watch. A phalanx of parents and dancers
are clustered around a sign posted on the door:
JUILLIARD SCHOOL OF DANCE AUDITIONS. Sara stares at it.
Re-checks her watch. An official with a clipboard walks
toward her. Where's her mother?
15 INT. UNIV. OF PENNSYLVANIA - STAGE/AUDITORIUM - 15
Sara on stage. She looks past a row of Juilliard JUDGES
into the audience. No glint of gold. MOZART'S "Elvira
Madigan" (Andante) CUES UP. Sara begins her technical.
She transforms her nervousness into a notable, powerful
performance. The Judges are mutely but clearly
impressed. One of them looks directly at her.
15 CONTINUED: 15
Is there anything you'd like to
share about your free form before
you begin? A motif... a theme?
Sara's stomach drops to her feet. Her mother's not there
and her free form sucks and she doesn't have a theme.
Well, it's um, pretty self-
explanatory. The theme.
The Judges exchange a look. New MUSIC CUES UP. Some
driving, CLASSICAL NUMBER. Sara tries to elevate her
body above the music, but she's nervous, unsure on her
feet. She keeps glancing in the back of the auditorium
for Glynn. Searching for her port in the storm.
Wondering where her mother is and knowing how badly she's
dancing. Knowing but somehow continuing, stumbling,
recovering, and finally finishing with those damned
knocking knees. The Judges, eyes like stones,
perfunctorily nod. Their equivalent of maybe next year.
Sara chokes two words out...
16 INT. AUDITORIUM - BACKSTAGE
... Rushes backstage. Fighting tears, she hurries past
waiting dancers angrily unhooking the clover leaf chain
from her neck.
17 INT. DRESSING ROOM - DAY 17
Sara in street clothes. Cramming her ballet gear into a
duffle bag when the official (of the clipboard)
approaches her. She touches Sara's shoulder gently.
Says something we do not hear.
18 INT. OFFICE (UNIV. OF PA) - CONTINUOUS ACTION 18
SHOOTING THROUGH office window. A state trooper in a
rain slicker offers Sara a chair. She sits. The trooper
talks. As he does, dread and disbelief spread over
Sara's face. She shakes her head, attempts to stand.
Her legs buckle beneath her. The trooper and the
official catch her as she falls.
19 EXT. AMTRAK TRAIN - NIGHT (PRESENT) 19
A glowing moon in a clear, star-specked sky.
20 TRAIN 20
CHUGS toward Baltimore's Penn Station, which is visible
in the f.g.
21 EXT. PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKE - INTERCUT - MORNING 21
A torrential rain. A flower van -- Glynn's van -- caught
in it. SHOOTING THROUGH the driver's side window, we can
see Glynn's face, intense and determined, squinting
through the downpour.
22 TRAIN'S WHEELS 22
23 VAN'S WHEELS 23
24 TRAIN 24
It's SQUEAL OF BRAKES as it maneuvers into the station.
25 VAN 25
The SQUEAL of its BRAKES as Glynn loses control and
smashes into the back of the eighteen wheeler in front of
26 TRAIN 26
across space and time, the SOUND OF SQUEALING BRAKES
commingle as the Amtrak Commuter pulls into Penn Station.
27 INT. AMTRAK TRAIN - NIGHT 27
Sara. Holding her breath, clenching her fists. Waiting
for the sound to stop, oblivious to the stare of the
Woman beside her.
28 EXT. PENN STATION (BALTIMORE) - PLATFORM - NIGHT 28
ROY JOHNSON, 37, a handsome, laconic man of uncertain
style, takes a last drag from his cigarette, drops and
stomps it. Passengers disembark from the train. Roy
searches their faces. They all look like strangers.
29 EXT. AMTRAK TRAIN - SAME TIME 29
A conductor helps Sara to the platform. Steam from the
train's engine is sucked into the fog. She walks through
it. Sees him. They see each other. Roy weakly waves.
Walks toward her. Sara watches his bow legs stiffly
advance. She wants to run. Can't.
Have a good ride?
Sara self-consciously tucks her hair behind an ear.
Slept through most of it.
A beat. Roy looks at her.
Guess you got stuff. Baggage.
Two suitcases. One big one.
Looks like they're unloading.
-- You hungry? We can stop
somewhere if you want.
I'm kinda tired.
Roy takes her backpack. They walk.
30 INT./EXT. ROY'S PICKUP/STREET - SARA AND ROY - NIGHT 30
A heavy silence. Roy starts to turn on the radio, stops
himself. He lights a cigarette, cracks the window.
30 CONTINUED: 30
I didn't like leavin' you so soon
after the funeral. I wouldn't
have if you hadn't asked me to go.
I mean, I could've hung around.
Helped you say good-bye. That's
what you were doin', wasn't it?
Roy takes another drag, nods thoughtfully to himself.
That's what I figured you were
Sara peers out the windshield. Baltimore City. The
neighborhoods are changing. The streets are getting
progressively gritty and dirty. It surprises her. It
worries her. Roy worries her.
Look. Sara. I feel bad too. I
mean, we both got hit by the same
bolt of lightning. You don't have
to pretend this is easy.
Everything's upside down right now
but don't worry. We'll work this
bachelor-father thing out. Hell,
it ain't like we're movin' in with
strangers. We got a pretty good
idea about each other, right?
Sara looks askance at him, her expression indicating
otherwise. A moment. Roy's too new at this to hold up
both ends of the conversation. The silence deepens. Roy
switches on the radio.
31 EXT. BOND STREET (SOUTH BALTIMORE) - NIGHT 31
Roy's truck pulls up to a string of disrepaired rowhouses
with pristine white marble steps. He and Sara each lug a
suitcase from the truck. Her eyes wander up and down the
street. They're on the fringes of a ghetto. A few
people roost on their stoops, hang on the corners. All
of them have black faces.
Thought you were moving to Fells
32 INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT 32
The second floor of a two-story house has been turned
into a one-bedroom studio. A partition separates the
living area from the bedroom. Sara walks past a
collection of saxophones and several framed pictures of
herself. Aside from the saxophones and the pictures,
there's hardly any furniture. Roy lights a cigarette.
Not much of what you're used to.
But the water's hot and the fridge
is full. And I made room in the
closets for you. Girl's gotta
have closets, right? You even get
your own bed. I'll crash on the
You bought a bed?
Pardon me. Your own futon. Check
it out. On the other side.
Suitcase in hand, Sara walks around the partition. Her
"room" is an old futon, an ancient set of drawers. She
stands in the middle of nothing, wanting something to do.
She removes framed photos of Glynn from her backpack,
places them around the room.
33 INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - LIVING AREA - MINUTES LATER 33
Sara walks in. Doesn't see Roy. Calls out.
Do you have a phone?
Roy emerges from the bathroom drying his hands, walks
Of course I have a phone.
You didn't at the last place. The
last place I saw anyway.
Things change. You've changed.
You grew up on me. Overnight.
33 CONTINUED: 33
Over the summer. You blew me off
for some gig on the road,
(before he can
Can I call Lindsay? Let her know
I got here alright.
Are you alright, Sara?
(off the scowl
in her eyes)
I just wanna know how you feel.
I feel fine. I feel like calling
She's a wall. A brick wall. Roy's head aches from
knocking into it. He goes to the couch. Drops down.
Mutters at her.
Phone's in the kitchen. Knock
34 INT. SARA'S ROOM/BATHROOM - LATE THAT NIGHT 34
Sara lying in bed... wide awake... her stiff upper lip
quivering. She slips out of bed, creeps on tiptoes into
the bathroom. Closes the door oh-so-quietly behind her.
She flips on the light, crosses to the sink, turns on
both faucets. As the water flows and the PIPES RATTLE,
the brick wall shatters. Sara crumbles to the floor.
Buries her head in her arms. Cries like a baby.
35 INT./EXT. ROY'S PICKUP (SOUTH BALTIMORE) - 35
Roy and Sara. Barreling through the south end, tongues
stuck in gear. A Pop-Tart grows cold on Sara's lap.
I can take the school bus.
School bus? That's the other Oz,
Dorothy. Patterson kids ride the
city Metro. Or walk.
35 CONTINUED: 35
Well, I know how to do both.
Not around here you don't. Not
until you get the hang of things.
Sara looks out the window at a full-fledged ghetto. It's
all to obvious, the hang of things. Roy glances over at
I called about your transcripts.
You're all set. Patterson's got a
pretty good Humanities program.
No ballet, but we can find a
studio someplace close for after
-- I don't think I'll have time.
I have to study, I'll be busy.
Roy can hear the lie behind her words. The pain too. He
lights a cigarette, cracks the window. He wants to say
the right thing.
Good idea. Take a break. Not too
long a break though. You're a
dancer. You should dance. Stay
on top of your art.
Like you stay on top of yours?
Maybe I ain't playin' no grand
ballrooms or fancy jazz festivals,
but I'm playing.
I didn't mean it like that.
S'alright. Hell, I wish I had
half the time I wasted gettin'
wasted. But those days are over.
You'll see. I got my life on
36 EXT. PATTERSON HIGH SCHOOL (SOUTH BALTIMORE) - MORNING 36
Formidably large and surprisingly well-kept, Patterson
serves the nearby, predominantly black O'Donnell Heights
Projects. Kids malinger outside on the front steps and
37 FROM ANOTHER ANGLE - PARKING LOT 37
Roy's pickup pulls in. Roy CUTS the ENGINE. Sara looks
at him. Or through him. She won't let his eyes connect.
You don't have to go in with me.
Since I'm all set. I mean, I have
done this before. Gone to school.
I'll be fine. I am fine. Really.
Roy regards her with weary resignation. Sara climbs out.
He calls after her.
-- Pick you up. Three-thirty.
(over a shoulder)
Yeah. Sure. Whatever.
38 EXT./INT. PATTERSON HIGH - MORNING 38
Sara moving TOWARD us PAST a floating mosaic of black
faces. This is a near out-of-body experience for her.
She walks like a well-rehearsed soldier in a stiff
straight line to the school's entrance. It's clogged
with students. Inside the doorway, two security guards
flank a metal detector. When it's Sara's turn to pass
through, one of the guards grabs her backpack and
wordlessly begins searching it. He hands it back to her
on the other side of the detector where Sara stands
obtusely and mutely amazed.
39 INT. ADMINISTRATION BUILDING - MORNING 39
THROUGH a window, Sara seated across from an
ADMINISTRATOR. We PUSH IN.
... It's no fun being uprooted in
the middle of your senior year.
We realize that and we'll do what
we can to help with the
39 CONTINUED: 39
There's a KNOCK at door. MRS. GWYNN, the Guidance
Counselor, steps in. The Administrator introduces her to
Sara. Sara regards Mrs. Gwynn with polite petulance.
Any questions? Concerns?
About school? No. Not really.
Not even about Baltimore?
I'm not gonna be here that long.
Besides, it's just a city, right?
Mrs. Gwynn looks at her squarely. But the brick wall
doesn't move an inch. Sara feels too safe behind it.
40 INT. HALLWAY - MORNING 40
Clutching new textbooks, Sara starts down the hallway.
She's hoping nothing in her face reveals the rising panic
in her heart. She's surrounded. Alone. Every inch of
her feels afraid.
as she MOVES FORWARD. A crush of KIDS -- mostly black
with a sprinkling of white and Latino faces thrown in.
Kids like her. Only they don't dress like her. They
dress like commercials for Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin
Klein. And they definitely don't sound like her...
Yo, man, check it, the
muthafuckers wasn't playin', they
was jackin'. Ten rides in five
days. For real.
Fools got caught for real too.
Ten years in five days. Stall
Sara walks on, taking this netherworld in, eavesdropping
on other conversations. It's not just the words. It's
how they say them: Loud. Matter-of-fact. Cool. A
cooler cool. Like they breathe static electricity.
40 CONTINUED: 40
That's it! The entire student body is energized. Sara's
thoughts are jolted by two black girls squeezing by. One
clips Sara's elbow as she passes, knocking it against a
locker. They keep going as if they don't see her. No
one seems to see her. Welcome to mass avoidance at
41 AT SARA'S LOCKER - LATER 41
Sara's back is to a black girl striding purposefully
toward her. CHENILLE -- tall, pretty, with about a
million braids in her hair -- swoops Sara's backpack from
the floor. Thrusts it at her.
That's how easy it is to give to
charity around here. Don't put
your shit on the floor.
(cautions a smile)
She closes her locker, starts to say something else.
She's eager to make a friend. One friend. But
42 ANOTHER CORRIDOR 42
Sara memorizes the schedule of classes in her hand. She
passes a clutch of students who surround a kid in the
middle like a horseshoe. Sara gets a fleeting glimpse of
SARA'S POV - PATRICK REYNOLDS
Eye candy: Tall. Dark. Heartbreakingly handsome. If
Patterson were a monarchy, Patrick would be king. He
sure holds court like one, turning on his dazzling smile
and abundant charm for the crowd. One gets the sense
that the All-American Home Boy is almost as enraptured
with himself as the sycophants around him.
43 INT. JURASINSKI'S CLASSROOM - MORNING 43
The room's seen better days. Probably better teachers
too. MR. JURASINSKI looks out at his American Literature
class and sees nothing but tenure.
43 CONTINUED: 43
In Cold Blood represents a turning
point in our country's literature.
Take the cap off and tell me why
that is, Mr. Ricard.
WIDER to include the class. FAVOR "SNOOKIE" RICARD. We
recognize him from the hallway kids wrapped up in
Patrick. Snookie, a flagrant Patrick wannabe, sits next
to him now. He removes his baseball cap. Thoughtfully
twirls it on a finger. He truly believes he's being
Gay rights. That Compote dude who
wrote it? Sweet tooth. Straight-
up fag, Mr. J.
Thank you, Mr. Ricard. Your
genius grant is in the mail.
No volunteers. Jurasinski looks for someone to put on
the spot. Sees the new girl in a back corner. Johnson.
He gets into her line of sight. The class shifts in
their seats, peeping her.
Ms... Johnson. You can catch up
later. If this is over your head.
Everyone looks at her. The way kids look at new kids.
It's a non-fiction novel. The
first of its kind. Capote mixed
true events with things he
couldn't know, so he made them up.
A small murmur goes up. Over this, the voice of a
White folks back then felt safe.
Capote scared 'em. He took hard
core crime out the ghetto and
dropped it in America's back yard.
That's what makes the book
43 CONTINUED: 43
Sara cranes to see him. God. It's pretty-boy. He's
sitting on the other side of the classroom. Looking...
pretty. Looking at her. He has nice eyes. Not that she
Yeah. That is part of it.
That's all of it. Capote wasn't
first. Richard Wright and James
Baldwin did the same thing.
Wasn't nobody tryin' to read them
Lots of people read them.
A defensive save. Patrick sees right through it.
Lots of people like who? You?
Hello. Didn't think so.
Mr. J.! Girl needs to bone up.
Give her a pass to the lib'ary.
The room erupts in laughter.
flushed in the face. Embarrassed. Pissed.
ANGLE WIDENS as Jurasinski quiets the class. Then.
She can have your pass, Mr.
Ricard. Since you obviously never
44 INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE OF CAFETERIA - NOON 44
Lunchtime. PICK UP Sara among a cattle drive of
45 CAFETERIA - FOOD LINE - LATER 45
Hundreds of voices unleashed in pure, unadulterated
teenage cacophony. Sara's in a queue of kids, working
her way down the line.
45 CONTINUED: 45
She's as invisible and anonymous as ever. CAMERA TRACKS
her FROM the line, TO the cashier, INTO the heart of the
dining hall. She stands with a food tray, looking for a
place to sit.
Table cliques of the cafeteria.
SERIES OF SWEEPING SHOTS
46 JOCK TABLE 46
Two tables pushed together. Full.
47 NERD TABLE 47
Barely, pathetically populated but surprisingly diverse.
48 HIP-HOP TABLE 48
Loud, overflowing, fun. King Patrick and his loyal
subjects horse around.
49 POPULAR TABLE 49
Over which a glacial beauty we will come to know as NIKKI
DAVIS presides. Girls only.
50 WHITE TABLE
Notable for its glaring absence of color. A girl we will
come to know as TONI sits there.
And then PUSHING IN ON --
51 CHENILLE'S TABLE 51
She's there with a group of girls who eschew pretense.
They, like Chenille, are rugged and regular. They know
who they are.
END OF SERIES OF SWEEPING SHOTS.
52 ANGLE ON SARA 52
eyeing Chenille's table. Screwing up courage as she
approaches it. She gets there but two black girls are
faster. They sit down in the only empty seats. Sara
backs off, invisible again.
glimpsing Sara from the corner of her eye as Sara walks
53 AT NERDS' TABLE - LATER 53
Time has passed. The cafeteria is half as full, half as
noisy. Sara sits among the NERDS, a friendly if verbose
group. She's trying to eat but a snooze button is
talking her to death...
... I know you're new to the
table, but think about it. We're
the Y2K generation and nobody
takes us seriously. We don't take
ourselves seriously. Just look
around. Half the student body is
D.O.A. -- and that's from the neck
Sara. It's Sara.
Yeah. It's Sara. And you're
boring her from the ears down.
Sara looks up, surprised to see Chenille standing there.
She flashes a knowing smile at her, indicates Sara's
Sara leaps up with a quick, grateful nod. Beats a hasty
retreat from the table. As she and Chenille walk through
the cafeteria, Sara shudders with relief. She feels
God! Thank you!
53 CONTINUED: 53
Gotta watch where you sit, girl.
And it's Chenille. But you're
still welcome. Let's catch some
air before the bell rings.
54 EXT. QUAD - MOMENTS LATER 54
Sara follows Chenille into the "QUAD," four squared off
sections outside the cafeteria. There are a few dry-
rotted picnic tables scattered around. Other kids -- and
they run the gamut -- are seen in clots, sneaking
smokes... horsing around... making out.
SARA'S POV - KIDS OF QUAD
And OVER the sound of HIP-HOP MUSIC, a pair of feet.
Moving. Dancing. CAMERA PANS UP to reveal Nikki. She's
demonstrating some moves to the girls from the popular
table. Nikki's dancing her ass off, showing off.
BACK TO SCENE
What's it called? What she's
(a look; knows that)
No, I mean... the step, the...
She trails off as she catches someone in the corner of
her eye. She turns away from Chenille, gradually
focusing on --
playing cards with Snookie at one of the picnic tables.
He glances up to see Sara. Glowering at him. He grins.
Sara rolls her eyes, turns away. Mutters loudly to
54 CONTINUED: 54
Asshole beaucoup. In this crowd,
you gotta be more specific.
He's in one of my classes. Thinks
he's so... smart. So cute.
I don't know about cute but he is
smart. Real smart. Real trip,
So you know him?
Patrick Reynolds? Hell yeah, I
know him. He's my brother.
Chenille waits for Sara to swallow her tongue. Enjoys a
ANGLE SHIFTS TO PATRICK
as Nikki approaches him. Sexy, standoffish and
conceited, she's the stuff of wet dreams and futile
longing. She sits down next to Patrick. Close to him.
Snookie watches her, much amused.
You comin' tonight?
Patrick keeps playing his hand. Responds very coolly.
You already skipped three
(as he's ignoring
Is it because of me? Everybody on
the committee thinks it's because
of me. Us.
(infuriated by his
Look, Patrick. Regardless.
54 CONTINUED: 54
You're in charge of the music.
I'm in charge of the prom. So
show up. Don't make me fire your
Fighting words. Snookie holds his breath. Patrick
throws out a card, turns slowly to Nikki with a withering
stare in his eyes.
You already fired my ass, Nikki.
Once and done. Over. Out. 'Bye.
She stalks off. Snookie oogles her departure, peers at
Patrick, about to say something. Patrick cuts him off,
Hit me and shut the hell up.
I'ma shut up... after I say it
been real frigid 'round here since
y'all broke up. 'Specially since
she broke up with you. That was
harsh, way she canceled your ass
like a stamp for that Howard U
dude. But their shit's over. Now
might be the time to forget
mistakes that was made. Shoot.
You been with the girl since ninth
Why you sweatin' me, Snookie?
(pounding his heart)
'Cause I'm about you, man. I want
a happy ending. Aww, shit. Tuck
an' duck. Here he comes. The
hood of the 'hood, up to no good.
MALAKAI RHINEHART, 17, heading toward them. Powerfully
built and edgy with insolence, Malakai is like a tightly-
wound coil -- you never know when he's going to snap.
ANGLE WIDENS and we see Patrick is happy to see him. He
and Malakai grin at each other. Knock handshakes.
54 CONTINUED: 54
Did I tell you, Malakai, man, how
chill it is to have you back?
We ain't been bad without cha.
Shut the fuck up and step your
lame ass off, Snookie. You heard
Snookie haughtily, comedically obliges. A moment.
What happened to you at lunch,
Short-hand. Patrick understands it, nods. Malakai slips
the cigarette from behind his ear, openly lights and
starts smoking it. CAMERA TRACKS them walking back
So you're hangin' in, man?
Feelin' strong about being back?
Not at this motherfucker. Out a
week and where am I? Fucking home
sweet high school. Jail away from
jail. You can have it.
You gonna stay though. Right?
Judge says it's school or JuVee
and I sure as hell ain't goin'
back there. Shit. I never knew a
year could be such a long time.
A flash of commiseration, of guilt, crosses Patrick's
face. They're at the doors now. Most of the kids have
gone. Malakai puts his cigarette out on the floor as
they step in.
54 CONTINUED: 54
You up for some hoops after
school? Break your free-throw
back in. Chump the chumps like we
Up for it? Hell-the-fuck yeah,
man. Let's do it.
55 EXT. PATTERSON HIGH - THAT DAY (AFTER SCHOOL) 55
Sara exits with Chenille. A CAR HORN starts to blare.
Both of them ignore it. But it goes on like a musical
number. Sara gets a sinking feeling that drops like a
stone when she looks across the street. Roy's parked at
the curb, waiting for her. She rolls her eyes and he
HONKS AGAIN. Then he waves at her. Waves! Chenille
looks at Sara. Then at Roy.
That's your old man? Now he's
Yeah. He is. For you.
56 INT./EXT. ROY'S TRUCK - CONTINUOUS ACTION 56
Sara climbs in, slams the door. Roy looks over at her,
unaware of how annoyed she is with him. She's a clenched
How'd it go?
(as he pulls off)
Tomorrow I catch the bus.
57 INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - SARA'S "ROOM" - NIGHT 57
Sara's moving the partition around, trying to make her
room more like a room. Trying to build another wall
between her and Roy.
57 CONTINUED: 57
Hey, Sara. C'mere a minute.
Sara lets out a heavy sigh. What does he want?
Just come here.
She walks into the kitchen. Roy's in front of the open
freezer door. Grinning from ear to ear. He motions her
over. Sara crosses to the freezer. Looks inside.
INSERT - INSIDE FREEZER
It's full of frozen dinners. They're in unruly, lopsided
BACK TO SCENE
Roy regards her expectantly.
Hungry and Healthys. I asked at
the market. They're the best.
So. What do you feel like?
Lamb Chop Suey? Tropical Tuna?
I had a big lunch.
Roy, deflated, closes the freezer door, trails her into
the living area. Sara's clenching again. There's no
What do you wanna do? You wanna
hang out with me? Go to my gig.
You can if you want.
It's a school night, Roy.
Right. School night. Got it.
58 INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - SARA - LATER 58
Roy's gone. Sara takes her first good look around. A
mess. It drives home where she is. What she's lost.
59 INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - KITCHEN - CLOSE ON EMPTY T.V. 59
DINNER TRAY - NIGHT
An empty beer bottle, one askew kitchen chair. Vestiges
of Roy's meal. ANGLE WIDENS as Sara enters. She opens
the freezer to unearth a dinner and starts an avalanche
of falling food. A box of Sugar Puffs cereal lands at
her feet. Something else out of place. She picks it up,
jams everything back into the freezer. Slams the door
SHOCK CUT TO:
60 SARA 60
in a whirlwind, cleaning the apartment. Wall to wall.
Scrubbing away what's churned up inside. The dervish
ends in her "room," where she finishes unpacking.
Several layers into a suitcase, she comes to her ballet
shoes. The sight hits her like a slap in the face. Sara
stares at the shoes until her eyes blur. Then she
snatches them up and entombs them deep inside her closet.
61 EXT. O'DONNELL HEIGHTS PUBLIC HOUSING PROJECTS - 61
Patrick, Chenille, Snookie straggle through the dreary
jungle of concrete lawns and blighted high rises on the
way to school. It's quiet now but the scars of past
battles, like the bombed out police substation on one of
its corners, are evident everywhere.
I need a date --
Why? Your hand busy?
-- For the prom. And if it wasn't
for that kinda undue attitude, you
could be the lucky girl, Chenille.
My personal prom queen. I can see
61 CONTINUED: 61
You must be lookin' in your
Snookie glances at Patrick. He's somewhere else.
Help me, man. Defend me.
I got my own problems, Snook.
What problems? You goin' to
college. Doctor college after
that. You large, man.
I ain't gonna be doctor nothin' if
I don't get in and I'm not in 'til
I get my letter.
It's in the mail, Patrick. Okay?
I probably coulda been a doctor
too. If I hadn't got left back
That time? What? Fifth and sixth
grade don't count?
Patrick finally laughs. Then his face changes. Becomes
serious. He hops a low wall, keeps in stride above them.
They continue on like this, the ruins of their world in
the b.g. behind them.
62 INT./EXT CITY BUS/BALTIMORE STREETS - MORNING 62
The bus is crammed with kids. Sara, seated by a window,
doesn't bother looking out. Inside's more interesting.
The kids cut up. Singing, rapping, and jousting with
each other. Some even manage to read. Sara watches with
immunity. She's invisible to them.
63 EXT. BUS STOP (NEAR PATTERSON HIGH) - MORNING 63
Sara alights just as Patrick, Chenille, and Snookie walk
past. Patrick's the only one to see her and their eyes
64 INT. HALLWAY NEAR ENTRANCE (PATTERSON HIGH) - 64
Patrick and Chenille pass through metal detectors, watch
Snookie clown his way through. The security guard shakes
his head. All three begin to walk. Snookie, bobbing and
jiving, doesn't see Mrs. Gwynn coming up from behind.
Her voice stops him cold.
(as Patrick and
Chenille look on)
Light on your feet? Good. Be
sure they dance into my office
She moseys on. Snookie regards Patrick's smile, shakes
65 INT. CHEMISTRY LAB - LATER THAT MORNING 65
The class has donned lab coats and is ready to begin when
Sarah rushes in. She tries to slink into a seat. The
teacher, MR. HILL, gives her a disapproving look, points
at one of several formulas (C2,H6,O2) on the blackboard.
Sara just looks at him
We're cooking today, Ms. Johnson.
This is your first lab. You'll
need a partner. Mr. Reynolds --
Patrick -- will show you the
Patrick bounces a smile off unsettled Sara. This should
66 INT. CHEMISTRY LAB - MINUTES LATER 66
The class, in safety goggles and gloves, has partnered
ANGLE ON SARA AND PATRICK
He's holding two vials. Sara picks up a beaker. Stares
at the blackboard. She has no idea -- and no intention
of admitting it.
That's too big.
She glints at him, grits through her teeth.
66 CONTINUED: 66
I know it's too big.
She puts the beaker down. Picks up a vial. Flips
through her textbook. Her eyes shift from it to the
blackboard, trying to make a connection. She settles on
one. Picks up a vial of powder. Patrick grabs her hand,
leans over and whispers.
I wouldn't do that if I were you.
(yanks her hand back)
Who died and made you teacher?
Patrick pulls back, looks at her. He can't believe she
dissed him. A small smile forms on his face. Sara turns
away from it, goes back to her vials. Patrick slides to
the farthest end of the table. Watches her consternation
Know the difference between ethyl
glycol and methyl acetate? Both
got three elements, two parts the
same. It's that first part, C2
versus C3. C3 could blow a vial
right out a person's hand.
Sara thinks he's messing with her. But then the contents
of the beaker begin to ominously bubble. Panicked, she
drops the vial into their sink. It instantly goes up in
smoke. Some of the liquid splashes on Sara's lab coat.
Patrick grabs a wet towel, quickly wipes it off. The
class stops cold. Hill rushes up to them. Once he's
sure Sara's fine, he looks sternly at Patrick.
What happened? Everybody back in
Patrick stares at Sara. Her face is red. She's biting
I misread the component.
(even more angry now)
You? You misread a component.
Don't give me that, Patrick. You
were screwin' around!
66 CONTINUED: 66
Hill's tone is searing. He turns to Sara. She's trying
to say something but the words won't come out. Hill
regards her wearily, then walks off pushing the curious
class back to their stations. Sara looks at Patrick,
weakly mouths "thanks."
67 INT. GYMNASIUM - NIGHT 67
Over the sound of GRUNTING... OPEN CLOSE ON a girl's
plump ass. Squirming in too-tight gym shorts that hug
the cheeks. ANGLE WIDENS to reveal a stout white girl on
a balance beam. Trying to get her legs to stand up on
it. Hanging on for dear life. From somewhere around
her, a WHISTLE BLOWS.
Alright, Ms. Diggs. Time!
WIDEN to see the teacher and her class (FAVOR Sara,
Chenille, and Nikki). Amid snickers, the stout girl
("DIGGY") slides off the beam, walks past the teacher
with her head demurely cast down. Clearing the teacher,
Diggy pivots around, both middle fingers in the air.
Gives up the double bird with much attitude. The class
loves it. Cheers it. Until the teacher swerves around.
67 SERIES OF CLOSE CUTS 67
Chenille on balance beam. competent but average.
Nikki on balance beam. Agile. Self-assured. Good.
... And then TIGHTER STILL on Sara. Tentatively
approaching the balance beam. Mindful of all the eyes on
her, all the bated breaths. All waiting to see the new
girl fall on her ass. Sara swings herself onto the beam
with aplomb. Her legs and body are strong, supple,
pliable rubber bands. She flounces across it on her
tiptoes. Does a flawless split. Hops off. Looks out.
SARA'S POV - TEACHER AND CLASS
Reacting with shock and surprise. Awed. Except for
Nikki. She stands there with her arms folded.
68 PATTERSON HIGH - END OF SCHOOL THAT DAY 68
Sara. Heading down the steps with other students.
Chenille and Diggy break through the logjam, catch up to
68 CONTINUED: 68
Girl, how you get your legs to
twist like that?
Yeah. What was all that double-
jointed cheerleader shit?
This is Diggy. Thinks she's down.
Egg-cuse me? I am down.
So, Sara. What's up with that?
Nothing's up with it. I used to
kind of dance. Ballet. Mostly.
Chenille makes an impressed face. Regards Sara
You should hit Feetz with us
tomorrow night. It's a club.
Sorta members only.
I don't know...
Come on and hang out. Snook dee's
sometime. He can get you in.
Sara sees Snookie... then Patrick... loping her way. She
steels herself. He's going to say something, crack some
joke about her nearly blowing him up. But Patrick just
stares at her with a twinkle in his eyes. A nice
twinkle. Sara's not entirely immune to it. Chenille
breaks their eye play, pushes Patrick aside. She grabs
Snookie's arm, indicates Sara.
68 CONTINUED: 68
She needs to get hooked up for
Feetz. All the way up. Sara,
give Snook twenty dollars.
I.D. Eye-dee. How you think you
gettin' in? On your looks?
(rolling his eyes)
Chenille, your girl is weak.
Shit. I got my rep to watch. I
can't just be gettin' any green
Sara glares. Regards Snookie with a sweeping scowl.
Look closer. And if I still look
green, I think maybe you should
wipe the crust from your eyes.
Snookie's jaw drops. Patrick cracks up. Diggy too.
Chenille's stays on point. She's about solving the
You gonna pay the man or what?
She ain't got it. Look at her.
Loud-talkin' me and broke as a
Sara, put on the spot, pulls out the money. Snookie
I don't even know where it is.
So we'll hook up at my house. Go
together. I will have your I.D.
Snookie shrugs affirmatively. Patrick looks directly at
Sara. The twinkle in his eye is gone, replaced by fair
Feetz ain't no square dance.
That's okay. I dance in circles.
Probably around you.
69 INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - SARA'S ROOM - NIGHT 69
Roy walks in to see Sara on the futon in her pajamas
reading a book. She's got a head full of rollers.
(as she barely looks up)
You're takin' chemistry?
Right now it's taking me.
Give yourself some time. Well.
See ya in the mornin'. Maybe I'll
call between sets.
Sara really looks up. Gives him an angelic, sluggish
I'll be asleep.
He leaves. As soon as Sara hears the front DOOR CLOSE,
she jumps up, strips down to bra and panties, races to
the closet. One hand rips the rollers from her hair, the
other rips through outfits. She's frantic and unsure
about choosing the right one.
70 EXT. "BLACK" STREET (SOUTH BALTIMORE) - NIGHT 70
Sara. In a skin-tight miniskirt and a bolero jacket.
Looking more eighties than nineties, more cute than cool.
She walks with tentative, jittery purpose down this
poverty stricken street. Doesn't meet anyone's eye. But
can feel the eyes on her. She keeps going. She's walked
too far to turn back.
71 EXT. O'DONNELL HEIGHTS PROJECTS - SARA - NIGHT 71
Approaching the malignant edifices as the Heights begin
to come to life... or death, depending how luck's
running. Sara walks into this world of shadows and
despite a trepidation, finds something fascinating about
the possibility of real danger.
72 EXT./INT. REYNOLDS APARTMENT/HALLWAY - NIGHT 72
Chenille triple unlocks the door, lets Sara in. Sara's
surprised -- the apartment is surprisingly quaint and
extremely neat. It looks a helluva lot better than Roy's
place. Chenille is dressed in hugely baggy military-
style pants and a tube top with a form-fitting, short-cut
leather coat over it. Sara takes it in.
Slammin'. Slammin' outfit.
... I look okay?
Chenille gives her the once over. Decides to lie.
Yeah. You look okay.
Moma Dean. I'm leavin'.
FROM ANOTHER ANGLE
GRANDMOMMA DEAN enters with a toddler ("CHRISTOPHER") in
her arms. She sports snow white, waist-length dreads and
she's wearing a dashiki lounger. Despite her white
locks, she doesn't look old enough to be a grandmother.
She hands Christopher to Chenille. Inspects Sara. Her
eyes are open, kind.
Grandmom, Sara. Sara, Grandmom.
Also known as Momma Dean. And
handsome here is Christopher.
Hello. Now don't get him all
riled up, Chenille. I want to get
some sleep tonight.
Chenille kisses Christopher, hands him off to Momma Dean.
They exit. Sara looks tentatively at Chenille.
Is that... is he... yours?
He sure ain't Momma Dean's.
73 INT./EXT. CAB/STREET (MOVING) - SARA AND CHENILLE 73
They've been talking. Well, Chenille has. Sara's been
listening. Intently. Liking this confidence they're
... He'll be one in July. Best
mistake I ever made. Kenny --
Christopher's father -- he's the
worst. Triflin'. Okay?
74 EXT. 6TH AND BROADWAY (EAST BALTIMORE) - NIGHT 74
A curbed cab. Sara and Chenille get out. Chenille digs
into her pocketbook, hands Sara her I.D. PUSH IN ON
photo of obese white girl with an untamed trailer trash
perm. Sara's eyes go wide.
Chenille. She's ugly. She's fat!
She's twenty-one too. I ain't got
all night. Let's hop.
Wait. I have to ask you
(hard for her)
Do I really look alright?
An unspoken thing passes between them. Chenille suddenly
whips off her coat. Gestures at Sara with her head.
Gimme that '89 Madonna shit. Your
jacket. Give it here.
Sara takes off the bolero. Chenille ties it around her
own neck, then yanks Sara's miniskirt down around her
hips. Sara's torso is clad in a long-sleeved cotton tee.
Chenille frowns at it.
It's from the GAP.
It's country. You look country in
it. Take it off.
I'm not walking in there in my
74 CONTINUED: 74
Chenille thrusts her leather coat at her. Sara can't
believe what she's doing, getting (un)dressed on a public
street! She pulls off the tee, slips on Chenille's coat.
Buttons it as far as the buttons go. Looks down. Half
her chest is exposed.
75 EXT. ALLEY (EAST BALTIMORE) - SARA AND CHENILLE - NIGHT 75
Gaining on what looks like an abandoned warehouse.
Chenille snorts at the roped off queue of kids waiting to
Rope dopes. C'mon.
She leads Sara to the door of FEETZ. The Sumo-sized MAN
guarding it knows Chenille, digs her. His grin exposes
Chenille. Lookin' fine. As
Too fine to stand in line?
The Man grins, opens the rope, lets them in -- "in" being
just inside the front door. A BOUNCER there collects the
$10.00 cover charge. Checks their I.D. He hands Sara's
back with a smirk.
Changed your hair.
He waves a metal detector over their bodies, nods to yet
another bouncer who escorts Sara and Chenille through yet
76 ANOTHER ANGLE 76
They march a short distance to an old elevator where a
group of kids wait. Bouncer #2 engages the elevator.
Everyone piles in.
77 INT. ELEVATOR - CONTINUOUS ACTION 77
Sara holds onto her stomach as the CREAKY ELEVATOR
descends and the MUSIC below rises. The elevator's
vibrating with music.
77 CONTINUED: 77
(an inside to Chenille)
Can't get much more underground
78 INT. FEETZ CLUB - CONTINUOUS ACTION 78
A smoky hole in the wall, filled to the brim with kids.
Mostly black kids with a few whites and Latinos melting
in. They share a common goal: To clog the dance floor,
flaunt their outfits and get nasty with the music of the
masters: Tupac Shakur, NAS, Lauryn Hill, Puff Daddy,
etc. Here, the boundaries of dirty dancing are pushed,
from erotic to vulgar; loving to lascivious.
Sara and Chenille. Sara's excited. She loves that she
has to shout to be head over the music.
Let's get our table 'fore it gets
crashed and I hafta hurt somebody.
Sara's bewildered. She doesn't see any tables. She
follows Chenille to the back of FEETZ. Sees six or seven
tables. All of them have reserved signs. Most of them
What are you, some kind of V.I.P.?
Chenille indicates the deejay booth. Snookie's in it.
Snook hooks me up whenever he
They walk past a SLACKER in lycra pants and a big Army
shirt. He licks his tongue at Chenille, grabs at her
protruding butt. She swirls around, grabs his crotch
hard enough to get his attention. The Slacker is
squirming in her clutch.
Aw'right, aw'right. You got it.
78 CONTINUED: 78
(as he can't think of
anything but the
squeeze on his balls)
The right to walk past your
greasy, tickle dick self without
your paws on my ass? 'S'that how
I got it?
Chenille bobs her head right in his face. Sara can't
believe it. A few people have stopped and are looking.
The Slacker nods hastily. Chenille releases him, gently
smoothes out his shirt.
That's how I thought I had it.
(a fly wave)
She and Sara continue on to back-of-the-club tables.
Stop at a reserved one. An adjacent table sports Nikki,
her three girl crew... and Diggy. All nurse drinks.
Nikki snake-eyes Sara.
What is up with this place? Seems
like they're lettin' anybody in.
Yeah. And they started with you.
The three girls and Diggy snicker. Nikki gives Chenille
a look. Turns back to Sara with a snide smirk. Points
out her crew.
I'm Nikki. Alyssa. Jasmin.
Tiff'nee. You know Diggy, right,
Sara. It's Sara. And I know you.
We have a class together.
That don't mean you know me.
Quit it, Nikki.
Quit what? I ain't walkin' on
eggshells just 'cause you brought
the Brady Bunch to the Negro Club.
78 CONTINUED: 78
Maybe you came to the wrong spot,
Nikki. I'm pretty sure this one
doesn't have any Negroes.
Chenille cracks up mainly to back Sara up. Nikki glowers
I'm pretty sure you came with one.
Oh, no. Uh-uh, wench. You did
not just call me a Negro.
As Chenille bucks, Diggy springs up from her seat, runs
her arm in the space between Chenille and Nikki like a
Alright, y'all. Chill.
Tell her to chill. She always got
somethin' to say.
I can say a lot more. Keep
runnin' your mouth, Nikki. I'll
lay all your shit bare.
Whatever shit it is, Nikki's not taking any chances. She
ejects herself from the table, walks off. The three
girls scoot loyally after her. Diggy gets up. Sits down
at Sara's and Chenille's table. Diggy goes with the
flow. That's why she always fits in.
Why you burn her like that?
'Cause I can't stand her ass and
the way she played my brother. I
need a drink, Sara. Let's walk.
79 INT. FEETZ - ENTRANCE - SAME TIME 79
Patrick and Malakai enter with two high school dropouts
we will learn are ARVEL and LIP. Females flock to flirt
with Patrick and Malakai, who both swell like sponges,
soaking up the attention.
80 INT. FEETZ - BAR - SAME TIME 80
Chenille pushes her way to the bar, tugging Sara along.
A tall, angular twenty-something MAN on the far side of
the bar sees her. She sees him. Sucks her teeth, nudges
That's him. Comin' over. Kenny?
So of course Sara does. She makes a silly face at
Chenille as Kenny sidles up to her. Chenille rolls her
Where's my money, Kenny?
I'm a little short this week.
Don't jump off. It's comin'.
It's comin'? No. You lyin'.
Lemme rap to you about the
situation on the dance floor.
She shakes her head firmly but her eyes do tell. She's
in love with him. Enough to let him whisper in her ear,
sweet-talk her away from the bar. Before she's swallowed
up by the crowd, Chenille turns back to Sara, shouts:
Rum and Coke. No ice. Hook me
splitting off from Malakai and a girl clinging to him.
He's walking through when Nikki appears from nowhere,
grabs his arm.
80 CONTINUED: 80
Oh? It's gonna be like that.
How'd you think it was gonna be?
That you was gonna drop me and
pick me up whenever you felt like
It ain't all that serious,
It ain't anymore, Nikki. Not to
He walks off. CAMERA TRACKS him going deep inside the
club. He wants a drink. He's almost at the bar when he
sees Chenille on the dance floor with Kenny. She shrugs
a smile, then cocks her head over at the bar. Toward
Sara. The look is like, help me out. Don't let me leave
her hangin'. Patrick rolls his eyes as he glances at
Sara, before he really sees her. She looks fly. Hugely
fly. He ambles up as she shouts into the bartender's
Rum and Coke, straight up. And a
beer. I don't care. Anything.
Bad choice. 'Anything.'
The closeness of his voice startles her. She turns into
his smile. That cocksure, leave'em-weak-in-the-knees
It's just a beer.
Then it should be the best beer.
You'd know that if you really
Sara's knees straighten, her spine stiffens. The
What's that mean? Whatever.
80 CONTINUED: 80
Whatever you want it to mean.
You're the whiz kid, right? You
(chuckles at this, at
Not everything. Like I don't know
why we're standin' still.
(closer with a teasing
I'm supposed to be dizzy by now.
Remember? From all those circles
you danced around me.
Sara leans against the bar. The knees are going again.
I don't feel like dancing.
But you do know how...?
Would I be here if I didn't?
... Let's do it then. C'mon.
He coaxes her onto the dance floor. PARLIAMENT'S funk
classic "Flashlight" is playing. The dance crowd is
robustly singing the refrain to the song. There's a
party on the floor. FAVOR Sara and Patrick, facing each
other. He's moving already. She starts to dance,
stiffly, tentatively. Patrick smiles at her. Shakes his
head. He grabs her hands, swings them in time to the
Now move your hips. Not so fast.
(as Sara looks lost)
Sara! Just like our hands.
(singing, in sync with
'Flashlight! Neon light! Stop
light! Everybody got a little
light under the sun.'
The music's beginning to feel good to Sara. Patrick lets
go of her hands. Starts to dance. Sara watches him
intensely, her body follows his stiffly. Patrick's a
good teacher. He leads without leaving her. Whenever
she misses a complicated move, he smoothly segues into
another less-complicated one.
80 CONTINUED: 80
Sara begins to pick-up on Patrick's rhythm. Her eyes
never wander from his. And then she starts to feel
something else. They both do. A rising beat. A
quickening heart. And not from the dancing. She smiles
bashfully at him. Patrick suddenly grabs her around the
waist, pulls her to him in a sexy spoon dance. All Sara
can do is try to keep up and hang on.
FROM ANOTHER ANGLE
Nikki avidly watching Sara and Patrick with Jasmin and
She's all up in your nut, Nikki...
Oh, that's right. It ain't your
It is if I want it to be. He is
if I want him to be. That bitch
ain't got shit on me.
The girls regard her in conspicuous, dubious silence.
Nikki maintains her cool but inside her pride is
81 INT. FEETZ - SAME TIME 81
Malakai and the clinging girl nuzzle in a back corner.
She licks his ear, whispers into it. Malakai laughs.
Then his expression abruptly darkens. A storm cloud
comes over it. He gets up.
MALAKAI'S POV - WALKING TOWARD
... two dealers a few feet away. They're talking to an
Asian guy with a multi-colored Mohawk. One slips Mohawk
a packet of coke, the other takes his money. WIDER as
Malakai reaches the dealers. He doesn't explain, doesn't
complain. He just starts swinging.
SARA AND PATRICK
The MUSIC changes and their dance ends. They stand there
for a moment, a little caught up in each other. A little
unsure of the moment. And then there's a scream!
Several of them actually. Patrick reacts to it
instinctively. Looking around. In a small pocket of the
club he sees Malakai.
81 CONTINUED: 81
PATRICK'S POV - MALAKAI
in full fisticuffs with the two dealers. Holding his
leaving Sara, slicing through a clot of looky-loos until
he reaches Malakai. He jumps into the fray.
INT. FEETZ - FIGHT - PATRICK AND MALAKAI
A thick crowd around them, proceed to beat the living
shit out of the two dealers.
ANGLE ON SARA AND CHENILLE
wrangling their way to the front line of the crowd, Diggy
not far behind them. Sara looks on, dumbfounded and
dazzled by what she sees, which is --
pummeling his dealer into cowering submission. Only then
does he look over at Malakai who, eyes engorged with
rage, is standing over his opponent, kicking and stomping
him with no signs of letting up. Patrick can see
Malakai's too far gone for talk. He rushes him from
behind, nearly lifts Malakai off his feet to swing him
away from the dealer's writhing body on the floor.
82 EXT. FEETZ - OUTSIDE VESTIBULE - CONTINUOUS ACTION 82
The exit door bursts open and Patrick and Malakai tumble
out. Patrick bends over, cups his knees as he catches
Man, what the hell are you doin'?
Tryin' to get sent back up?
They the ones tryin' shit. Comin'
here. Squarin' off in my shit.
You couldn't let it slide?
82 CONTINUED: 82
Let it slide tonight, they come
back strong tomorrow. You know
Malakai, you fuck up parole, you
ain't gonna back to JuVee.
Eighteen and up, that's Jessup.
Hardcore lockdown. You want that?
(regards him coldly)
I want what was mine. Feetz is my
spot. I'ma do business here just
like I did before. Like we did
before. And if I gotta stomp some
niggers in my way, so be it.
An uncertain but tense moment. Patrick tries to salvage
Well, you definitely got the
stompin' part down.
They look at each other. Share a small laugh.
We fucked those fools up for sure.
(crossing to exit door)
For damn sure, man.
Patrick finds the door locked. He and Malakai hoist
themselves over a high, wrought iron fence. Disappear
83 EXT. FEETZ - FRONT ENTRANCE - NIGHT 83
Distant WAIL of SIRENS as Feetz begins to empty out.
Kids converge on the sidewalks. PICK UP Sara, Chenille
and Diggy. Waiting and watching for Patrick. Diggy
looks at them.
It's about to get real out here.
Cops and shit. I'm gone.
She leaves. Chenille spots Patrick. Not too worse for
the wear. She smiles with relief. Then Sara sees him.
She smiles too.
84 EXT. STREET (O'DONNELL HEIGHTS) - NIGHT 84
Sara, Patrick and Chenille. Walking home. Chenille's
preaching to Patrick. He's not in the mood.
... Yeah, I'ma tell you. Tell you
like I keep tellin' you, Patrick.
You need to let Malakai alone.
Let him handle his own shit before
he drags you down in it.
Chenille. I heard you the first
five hundred times.
They round a corner bordering the Heights. Stop in front
of it. Chenille, disconcerted with Patrick, looks dourly
I'll see you Monday.
(to Patrick, like an
He'll walk you.
As much as this makes sense, it still takes Patrick by
surprise. Sara sees it in his face, regards Chenille
with a false bravado.
It's just a few blocks. It's
No, it's not okay. Would you tell
the girl it ain't okay?
It's not okay, okay?
(before she can
Come on, Braveheart.
85 EXT. STREET - SARA AND PATRICK - NIGHT 85
walking. Sara keeps stealing glances of him. Or so she
85 CONTINUED: 85
Why you keep lookin' at me?
I have to look somewhere. The
streets are deserted. Might as
well look at you.
That's not why. You wanna know
somethin'. Ask somethin'.
It's not a question. It's the way
you were beating that kid up. You
looked so mad.
I was mad and he wasn't no kid.
But you're from the suburb Mars,
right? Folks don't fight there.
Not like that.
(some kind of
You were really kicking his ass.
It's not funny, the look on her face. But Patrick
Are you laughing at me?
Dropping the smile, Patrick shakes his head. Looks at
My friend was in trouble.
Maybe he's my question. Your
friend. Chenille doesn't like
She likes him. It don't stop her
from trippin' off him now and
then. But Malakai's good people.
We go back. Way back. You know,
like they say, through thick and
So, how'd you like Feetz?
85 CONTINUED: 85
It was great.
Once you got used to the music.
It wasn't the music I wasn't used
to. I mean, it's not the first
time I heard hip-hop, Patrick.
Uh-huh. Bet you listen to it all
Patrick regards her with a sly, knowing smile. His stare
is significant, unsettling. Sara's face flushes. She
turns from him, hoping he didn't see it.
Not all the time. But a lot.
We gettin' any closer to your crib
or should we stop for food and
Sara snaps out of it. Looks around. Shit. First the
flush and now this. She looks at him. She could kick
We passed it.
You passed it.
A look. They double back to her front door. Pause on
Thanks for walking me.
So. I'll see ya.
Is that 'see ya' like gee-whiz,
had a great time, can't wait to
see you again?
85 CONTINUED: 85
Or is it like 'see ya,' I'll bust
a cap in your ass if you ever
darken my doorstep again?
He makes it impossible not to smile. So damned charming.
I haven't said gee-whiz since I
was six. But I really had a great
She enters the rowhouse. Patrick waits until the lights
go on inside before he turns around and starts home.
86 INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - KITCHEN - NEXT MORNING 86
Roy's making breakfast when Sara straggles in. She peers
at the stove. Scrambled eggs and bacon. Toast too! A
first for him.
Figured I'd put a little marrow in
your bones. Siddown, siddown.
(she slumps in chair)
You gettin' along at school?
(as she nods robotically)
... See any of 'em last night?
He slides a plate in front of her. Stands there holding
I came home on my break.
The succinct sneer in her voice gets to Roy. He snaps at
... Oh? Jesus! You're hard!
Look. You're seventeen. If you
wanna go out, go out. But don't
lie to me. On top of everything
else, don't make me worry like
that about you.
86 CONTINUED: 86
(after long moment)
I didn't mean to yell.
(sits down; trying
So how are the eggs? They good?
Sara takes a small, tasteless sample, nods. They eat in
silence. Then Sara looks over at him with genuine if
You're right. I should've said
something. I'm sorry.
Roy exhales. Finally, a chink in the brick wall.
What're you gonna do today?
Nope. Nothing special.
87 INT. RECORD STORE (EAST POINT MALL) - DAY 87
A track from TOP DOGG BLARES from invisible SPEAKERS.
All of the store's many customers are teenage kids.
Snookie, in sunglasses and a reversed baseball cap,
clerks behind the counter. He's ringing up (and trying
to rap to) a fly girl when Patrick walks in, overhears
... How you know I can't do
nothin' for you? I'm the hardest
workin' man in showbizness, girl.
C'mon. Let me be the bomb in your
The fly girl rolls her eyes. Takes her bag. Leaves.
Patrick looks at Snookie, wryly shakes his head.
You do the shit to yourself, man.
The bomb in your shell?
That was black magic, Patrick.
It's gonna work one of these days.
He reaches behind the counter, hands Patrick a Jay-Z C.D.
87 CONTINUED: 87
Last one on the rack. I snatched
it up for you. Rang it up on my
Thank you, Snookie.
(as Patrick pays him)
You workin' or what, man?
On my way. Soon as I get outta
As he says this, his eyes wander around the store. And
he sees her in the stacks. Sara.
88 INT. RECORD STORE - HIP-HOP SECTION - MOMENTS LATER 88
Sara with a bunch of C.D.'s. She juggles them in one
hand, flips through Hip-Hop C.D.'s with another. She
looks up to see Patrick standing beside her. He takes in
the C.D.'s. Grins at her.
Throwin' a party?
There's no wiggle room but Sara wiggles anyway.
Just adding to my collection. I
heard some stuff I didn't have
(that twinkle in his
Well, you were fly anyway. Last
night. Dancin', I mean.
Not as fly as you.
Nobody's as fly as me.
88 CONTINUED: 88
Not yet anyway.
Patrick laughs. Looks at her. Sara looks back at him.
They're staring at each other.
Maybe we could hook up later.
After school or somethin'. Work
on some of your moves. If you
Patrick nods affirmatively. Starts to leave. Turns
back, indicates her stack of C.D.'s.
By the way, Hammer's pretty much
Not to me.
89 INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - KITCHEN - NIGHT 89
Sara's on the phone, unwrapping one of those T.V.
It was so... slamming, Lindsay.
The dancing! I'm going again.
What? No, I haven't seen anybody
get shot yet. God, I didn't move
90 INT. PATTERSON HIGH - HALLWAY - MORNING 90
A fight. Two black girls having at it. It's a ferocious
match. Hair pulling, spit flying, punches landed,
clothes torn apart.
ANGLE ON SARA
as she crowns the corner, comes to a bottleneck of
students. It's like the nose bleed section of Caesar's
Palace. The far hallway is the ring. Sara cranes her
neck to see the action.
90 CONTINUED: 90
ANGLE WIDENS as a security guard earns his hazard pay.
He separates the two girls who are still swinging at each
other. He throws one into a corner, hurls the other in
an opposite corner.
as a WHITE GIRL standing next to her shakes her head
The White Girl studies Sara's suburban clothes and fresh-
scrubbed face. Thinks she found a kindred spirit.
TONY (WHITE GIRL)
We freed the slaves and didn't
teach them no manners.
(before Sara can react)
You're Sara, right?
(as Sara warily nods)
Toni. I was gonna introduce
myself before but you're always
with that crowd. You know.
Chenille, her girls, that identity
Sara looks at Toni. Getting it. Getting her. The
expression on her face closes off. Toni, too dense to
read it, keeps talking.
We should hang out sometime, Sara.
The two of us. Whenever you
decide to lose the tan?
Her inference clear, Toni flashes a brilliant smile,
happily walks off. Sara shakes her head to herself.
What an idiot.
As Sara continues down the hall, a P.A. address comes on.
P.A. ADDRESS (V.O.)
Seniors, a reminder before you
rise up and change the world.
Mrs. Gwynn is holding all diplomas
hostage in her office. Her only
demand is the pleasure of your
company for career D-Day. Be
Sara enters her classroom, a bunch of kids in front of
and behind her.
91 EXT./INT. STREET/ROY'S ROWHOUSE (SO. BALTIMORE) - DAY 91
Sara walks up the street (passing many black people),
sees Roys' pickup. Shit. He's home.
92 CAMERA TRACKS 92
Sara as she enters their rowhouse, walks up a flight of
stairs to their apartment. There's a JAZZ INSTRUMENTAL
FAINTLY coming from it. And another NOISE. Foreign and
yet familiar. Like grunting... but not. Sara unlocks
the door. Opens it.
93 SARA'S POV - LIVING ROOM 93
Her father's fucking somebody! On the couch. Half on it
anyway. In broad daylight! The whore underneath him is
ANGLE WIDENS as Sara turns away from the spectacle.
Reaches for Roy's sax. She blows the longest, shrillest
note known to mankind.
94 ON ROY 94
The hair on his head stands up. His body deflates
95 INT. KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER 95
Sara sits at the table. Roy enters in a wrinkled T-shirt
and battered jeans. His embarrassment is naked.
I don't know what to say. I
How 'bout fuck it? Or should I
say fuck her? It's a fuck-fest,
Don't talk to me like that, Sara.
I thought you were goin' to your
friend's house after school.
Obviously, you changed your mind.
So I'm sorry. Alright?
Sorry you got caught.
95 CONTINUED: 95
Sorry I got... observed
The "whore" with the Hich C is RHONDA. She stands
between the living area and the kitchen entrance now.
Sara tries not to look at her. Can't help it. She has
to see the whore. Not bad looking, in a washed out,
bottle blonde barfly kind of way.
Don't be mad at him. It's my
fault. I'm real sorry, honey.
It's nobody's 'fault.' It's over.
Let it be over. We're all adults.
Sara glares at him. The disingenuous Rhonda jumps in.
I think he means you know about
sex. That we have it and he likes
it. Isn't that what you mean,
Sara looks at her. Bats her eyes. Hard.
Really? How often do you have it?
Things been kind of slow since you
got here. Once upon a time we
were real rabbits, weren't we,
Verbal quicksand. Roy can feel himself sinking.
Rhonda. Shut up. Please.
96 INT. SARA'S ROOM - NOT MUCH LATER 96
OPEN CLOSE ON a framed photo of Glynn and Sara (in full
ballet costume). Embracing. Happy. PULL BACK to see
Sara. Sitting on the edge of her futon, holding Glynn's
clover leaf necklace and staring at her mother's face.
Lost. Lonely. Missing her. She kisses the lucky charm,
smiles at Glynn, slips the necklace on.
97 INT./EXT. CAR WASH - DAY 97
Patrick, in coveralls, slouches over a mechanic's station
studying. A few workers mill about, waiting for the next
car on a slow day. A BMW with tinted windows peels into
the lot on two wheels. Patrick looks up as Malakai and a
tall, wiry, nattily dressed man get out.
I got it.
He exits into the lot. Approaches Malakai and the man
Medicine Man. You know Tute.
Tute takes in Patrick. Looks around. Snickers
You call this a job, man?
Actually, I call it a car wash.
The work I do, yeah, that's a job.
Malakai lets out a nervous laugh. Tute doesn't crack a
I need some sticks. Watch my
Tute enters the cashier's office. Patrick looks at
You hangin' with him now? Think
that's a good idea, 'Kai?
You got a better one?
You could try layin' all this shit
off for awhile. Give yourself a
chance on the other side.
What other side?
You know what I mean. It ain't
like you don't have good sense.
97 CONTINUED: 97
I got sense enough to know who I
am, what I can do and where I can
do it. I ain't like you. People
don't just up and hand me shit.
Tute emerges from cashier's office lighting a cigarette
from a fresh pack. He blows a plume of smoke into the
air, regards Patrick.
We ain't here for our health. You
workin', then work.
And don't forget the rims.
98 INT. REYNOLDS' APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM/KITCHEN - 98
LATE THAT NIGHT
Patrick, still in work coveralls, enters. First thing he
does is pick up a stack of mail. Tracking him into
kitchen as he crosses to refrigerator, takes out a plate
Momma Dean's left for him. He sits down at the table,
takes a breath, begins shifting through the mail. His
face registers disappointment. Nothing. Again.
99 INT. GUIDANCE COUNSELOR'S OFFICE - DAY 99
Patrick sits across from Mrs. Gwynn, the reality check of
Maybe you think it's enough to
have the grades, get a full
scholarship. But it isn't,
Patrick. Georgetown makes mulch
of students like you every
semester. You have to be ready to
change. Change friends.
Lifestyle. Your entire point of
view. What I'm saying is, options
won't matter if you don't keep a
clean nose to the grindstone.
(looks her right in
I know that, Mrs. Gwynn.
The unflappable Patrick. He doesn't fool Mrs. Gwynn.
99 CONTINUED: 99
Knowing's easy. Doing is hard.
in which a series of STUDENTS parade in front of
100 SNOOKIE 100
Me? I wanna operate on cars.
Some place fly like the Kentucky
Derby. -- Ah-ha! Joke on you...
101 SPACED-OUT STUDENT 101
Career? That the same as a
102 DIGGY 102
A Rock-n-Rap club in L.A. I'm
gonna put a tattoo parlor on the
roof. Soon as I find some
103 SERIOUS STUDENT 103
I want to be a lawyer, but I
believe in God so I'm not sure
104 TONI 104
I'm moving to Idaho. I hate it
105 CHENILLE 105
105 CONTINUED: 105
I'm a year behind 'cause of my
baby, but I'm gonna work during
the day, go to school at night.
That's my plan anyway...
106 MALAKAI 106
Plans? Yeah. I plan not to be
poor. Next question...
107 NIKKI 107
I get into U.M.B.C., financial
Do I detect a 'but'?
Nikki folds her arms, regards her obdurately.
I know you're -- how do you put
it? -- Large here, Nikki. You
enjoy that and it's fine for now.
I guess. But you can't live your
life like a popularity contest.
108 MONTAGE ENDS WITH SARA 108
walking in. Sitting down.
I don't think it's realistic, what
you're asking. Things happen.
Things change. And the changes
change you. What's the point of
To have a sense of direction.
You can't direct destiny.
108 CONTINUED: 108
I see here that you trained for
Juilliard, that you auditioned.
That was a long time ago.
It was three months ago, Sara.
(the brick wall)
Well, if you're not going to
pursue dance, what are you going
(hadn't thought about
I don't know. Take a year off.
Work. Go to college later on.
Be careful with later on, Sara.
It's a slippery slope. Sometimes
you can run right on top of it and
it never catches up with you.
109 EXT. O'DONNELL HEIGHTS - ROOFTOP - LATE DAY 109
A low sun over the cityscape of Baltimore. PUSH IN ON
Patrick and Sara, two dots that grow larger. He CLICKS
ON a BOOM-BOX resting on the roof's ledge. A hip-hop
Feel the groove. Don't let the
music mess with you.
He starts to move with the music. Sara tries to emulate
him. They dance throughout the conversation.
Did you always want to be a
Who said I wanna be a doctor?
He cinches her waist, pushes in her ass.
109 CONTINUED: 109
Keep it tight. Watch your butt.
What kind of doctor do you want to
Pediatrics. I like kids. Come
on, stay with me. You're
Do you have any? Kids.
No. Do you?
I wasn't being smart, Patrick.
Wouldn't be the first time.
She stops. Regards him. He stops. Regards her.
Screw you. I'm brilliant.
He goes into a spin, a half-split, comes out of it
swaggering and half-stepping around her. Sara gives him
an impish look. Rises up on full pointe, turns out her
legs and lifts one of them in a spiral just below his
head. It happens in two blinks. So fast Patrick thinks
it was a mirage. He stares at her, dumbfounded. Sara
smiles. The look on his face is worth the pain in her
joints. She blows some stray hair out of her face, puts
her hands on her hips. Looks appropriately hapless.
I didn't get it. That thing you
just did. Show me again?
What was that shit you just did?
He mimes the move -- badly. Sara can't help it. She
A releve. Over ice. With a
109 CONTINUED: 109
(succumbs to his
Ballet. I used to dance, Patrick.
You used to dance?
Uh-huh. Used to as in don't any
more. And don't ask me why.
She sounds suddenly defensive. Patrick's suddenly
Because I don't want to talk about
That's why you brought it up. Did
that whole relieve thing. 'Cause
you don't wanna talk about it?
Because it's not a big deal. Can
we just concentrate on this?
Yeah, we can concentrate.
(a beat; goading her
But I think it is a big deal.
Whatever it is you don't wanna
Sara shakes her head adamantly. He nods his head
emphatically. Another stalemate. They dance coyly,
seductively around it.
110 INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - KITCHEN - NIGHT 110
Sara. Doing stretching exercises as she talks on the
I'm still gonna pray for you.
110 CONTINUED: 110
LINDSAY (V.O.) (CONT'D)
Jesus, Sara, you're in the
freaking ghetto. Forget the
riots. How are you supposed to
Sara slides down the wall, hugs her knees.
I have met somebody. Sort of. I
think. I mean, there's this
111 INT. REYNOLDS' APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM/CHENILLE'S 111
BEDROOM - NIGHT
Patrick enters to hear CHRISTOPHER SCREAMING his lungs
out. He passes down the hall to Chenille's room to find
Christopher squirming in Kenny's arms. Kenny doesn't
know what to do.
What y'all doin' to my nephew?
Patrick takes Christopher, holds him and consoles him
until he settles down. Patrick pointedly hands the baby
to Chenille, glares accusingly at her and Kenny as he
quits the room. Kenny regards his son haplessly. Looks
Why's he do that?
He's a baby. They cry.
He was screaming, Chenille.
He don't know you, Kenny.
I'm his father. He knows me.
... What should I do?
Come around more often.
111 CONTINUED: 111
See? I can't talk to you.
And I can't depend on you! Am I
askin' you to do anything for him
you ain't supposed to do?
You don't ask, Chenille. You make
demands. You want money, you --
-- I want you to pick up some of
the slack. You always have an
It's not like that. I get tied
You wanna talk about tied up? Try
gettin' up in the middle of the
night to change diapers and give
him bottles or stayin' up with him
when he's sick and havin' to drag
your ass to school the next day.
Look. I'm doin' the best I can.
It ain't good enough, Kenny!
112 INT. PATTERSON HIGH - GIRLS' LAVATORY - MORNING 112
Dripping, out-of-order faucets, graffiti-laced stalls,
litter-strewn floors are underscored by the spooky
flicker of fluorescent lights. Sara walks in. The
bathroom appears to be empty. She's about to enter a
stall when she hears the murmur of a voice. A guy's
voice. Then a girl's whimper. She eases forward a bit.
I don't get paid 'til next week.
Boo the fuck hoo. You can't put
my bizness up your nose on no
layaway plan. C'mon now. You
know what you gotta do.
112 CONTINUED: 112
Sara ventures carefully forward to the edge of the
stall's open door. She cranes her neck trying to see
without being sen.
HER POV - STALL
A GIRL is seated on the toilet. A man straddles her, his
crotch in her face. The Girl sees Sara. Something in
her face gives this away. The "man" glances out past his
shoulder. He looks right down our throat straight into
Sara's eyes. Malakai.
What are you doing?
Malakai backs up. The Girl jumps up, runs out the
lavatory. Malakai zips up his pants. Sara's frozen,
staring at him.
You didn't see nothin', you don't
say nothin'. Not unless you want
a taste for yourself. And that
can be arranged.
He leaves. Sara waits a moment. Exits.
113 HALLWAY 113
She sees Mr. Hill, starts to move for him. Someone grabs
her arm from behind. She turns, startled, a little
afraid. It's the Girl from the stall. She looks Sara in
the eye. Shakes her head. Don't. Mr. Hill walks by
114 EXT. INNER HARBOR (DOWNTOWN BALTIMORE) - PARK - DAY 114
A perfect day. CAMERA PANS FROM the waterfront TO the
bustling crowds of the inner harbor, then to a park
across from this where Sara and Patrick are practicing.
HIP-HOP MUSIC softly PLAYS from Patrick's BOOM-BOX. Sara
watches his face as they dance.
Didn't you like it when you 'used'
114 CONTINUED: 114
Yeah I liked it. I was gonna go
to Juilliard. That school fucked
up my entire life. It's a long
Let me guess. You don't wanna
talk about it.
Sara looks at him. A soft smile is all she offers up.
115 EXT. PARK - SARA AND PATRICK - LATER 115
They lay on their bellies in the grass. Close to each
I stole a bike here once.
Why'd you do that?
'Cause I didn't have one.
That's a good reason.
I used to do wild shit like that.
You and Malakai?
Yep. Most of the time.
I don't get you guys. You seem
Maybe you weren't then but you are
now. You said you changed.
Doesn't make me different from
him. Not the way you think it
115 CONTINUED: 115
I think Malakai's scary. And I
know you're not.
(taking mild umbrage)
What you mean by scary? 'Kai's
tough. He has to be. He still
got a good heart. I know.
Sara stares at the ground, struggling to tell him what
Let me finish. Me and him got
into some shit awhile back. Real
bad shit. We held up a gas
station off 95. I bailed the ride
-- jumped out the car. 'Kai kept
goin', got caught.
I knew what he was gonna do that
night. Knew the car was hot. I
woulda been guilty as him if they
had caught me, if Malakai had
served my name up. But he didn't.
That means you owe him something?
He did his time plus most of mine.
I owe him that.
No matter how much he messes up?
We all mess up. Maybe Malakai
gave up. But he's still m'boy and
he still got a chance. I ain't
just gonna cross him completely
off and be like everybody else.
He looks at her and she doesn't have the heart -- or the
nerve -- to tell him. A long moment. She plucks a
dandelion from the grass, twirls it thoughtfully in her
115 CONTINUED: 115
I stole a hat once. When I was
twelve. My mom found it under my
mattress, made me take it back.
Gangsta' Sara. Stole a hat. Call
She looks at him. Smiles. Twirls the dandelion under
You gonna turn me in?
I think I'll wait for you to
Were you tight with your mom,
Sara? I mean, y'all get along and
Yeah...tight... got along and shit
So she meant something to you.
How come you never talk about her?
There's nothing to say.
(studying her face)
Know why there's nothing to say?
Because you don't talk about her.
You won't talk about her.
I'm sorry she's dead. God! What
do you want me to do? Run through
the streets screaming?
Why not? If it helps.
Well, it won't. So drop it.
And you call Malakai scary.
115 CONTINUED: 115
She looks at him. Patrick grins. Sara knocks her legs
against his. He knocks his legs back. A silly moment.
But it transcends the tension and creates a sweet truce
116 INT. PATRICK'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - NIGHT 116
Momma Dean's fixing dinner. Patrick enters with the mail
in his teeth, a load of books in his arms. He dumps the
books on the counter, busses Momma Dean's check on the
way to the 'fridge.
I know you're not puttin' those
dirty hands inside my
Patrick backs up to the sink. Washes his hands.
Impishly dries them on her apron. He sits, begins
sifting through the mail. Momma Dean pulls an envelope
from her pocket. Waves it at him.
This what you're lookin' for?
Chenille appears in the doorway. Patrick takes the
letter. He's almost afraid to open it. But he does.
And as he reads the letter, a slyly relieved smile
spreads across his face. He tosses the letter in the
air. Grabs Chenille and Momma Dean. And the three of
them jump up and down together with joy.
117 INT./EXT. CITY BUS (MOVING) - SARA AND PATRICK - NIGHT 117
Dressed to the nines. They look happy and relaxed, more
so than we've ever seen. They sit close to each other.
Are you gonna tell me where we're
(as he grins, shakes
Why is the surprise for me?
You're the one with something to
We can celebrate together.
117 CONTINUED: 117
She looks at him. Can't find any words. So she just
goes into her evening bag and pulls out a small box. She
hands it to him, a little nervous about how it will be
I wanted to get you something and
I couldn't figure out what. It's
not much but I hope you like it.
Patrick opens the box. Removes a key chain. It's
engraved with the medical emblem (snake & staff, etc.).
He regards her, touched.
I like it. I love it. Thank you.
Wait. There's more.
She leans in, turns the key chain over in his hand. The
back side of it is engraved with the words, "PATRICK
REYNOLDS, M.D." Patrick locks eyes with Sara, lifts her
hand to his lips. Kisses it softly. The gesture is
succinct but alluring and, for a brief moment, they're
the only two people in the world.
118 INT./EXT. CITY BUS - SARA AND PATRICK - LATER 118
The bus makes a stop and an older white woman gets on.
Sits across from Sara and Patrick who have moved even
closer to each other. Patrick's arm is around Sara's
shoulder. He whispers something in Sara's ear. She
laughs and looks up to see the white woman staring at
them with a muted but obvious repugnance. Watching the
woman from the corner of her eye, Sara drapes her arms
around Patrick's neck, nuzzles at his ear. Patrick's
eyes widen. Sara, playing this for all it's worth, folds
one of her legs between his and whispers:
We have an audience. Work with
Work with you?
through her teeth)
118 CONTINUED: 118
He grabs her ass -- what else is there? -- runs his hand
along her side. The white woman, thoroughly disgusted,
gets up and moves to the back of the bus. Patrick and
Sara look at each other, burst out laughing.
119 EXT. BALTIMORE HALL - NIGHT 119
The equivalent of D.C.'s Kennedy Center, the hall is
awash in lights and activity. Men and women are donned
in formal attire. Parking valets hover on the sidewalks
waiting for cars. Into this, Sara and Patrick walk. She
looks at the crowd, then sees the overhead banner --
"Boston Ballet, A Command Performance." Sara's heart
stops. Her feet freeze. Patrick looks at her. She
looks positively catatonic.
I can't. I can't go in.
You have to go in. This is where
I'm bringing you. The ballet.
I know, but --
Sara looks at him, feeling bad. Feeling stupid for
ruining the evening. She bites her lip, shakes her head
("but nothing"). Patrick takes her and they go in.
120 INT. BALTIMORE HALL - AUDITORIUM - NIGHT 120
Sara and Patrick watch the Boston Company perform Igor
Stravinsky's "Scenes De Ballet" as choreographed by
Christopher Wheeldon. They're both enraptured. But
while Patrick keeps sneaking excited glimpses of Sara,
her eyes remain fixed on the dancers, the dance. She is
utterly, totally engaged and amazed. The yearning that
never really left her returns to tug at her heart and
project her soul onto the stage.
121 EXT. STREET (SOMEWHERE IN BALTIMORE) - NIGHT 121
Post-ballet, Sara and Patrick walk. She's quiet,
introspective. Patrick's at a loss. He can't decipher
her mood and, which is more, he's disappointed by it.
I thought you would like it.
You ain't actin' like you did.
She looks over at him, tries to smile.
They come to a small, secluded bridge. Sara sits down on
the edge of it. Patrick follows suit. A long moment.
I don't want you to think I didn't
have a good time tonight, Patrick.
I did. But ballet isn't a part of
my life anymore.
Why not? What happened? You just
woke up one day and decided to
waste your talent.
How do you know I have talent?
Because I did some stupid leg
I saw the look on your face when
you did it, Sara. The same look I
saw tonight. Goofy happy. So if
you're gonna tell me somethin'
about not dancing, at least tell
me somethin' real.
A long, difficult moment wherein Sara attempts to find
the words, face the pain that comes with them. Finally,
she looks at him.
Maybe I don't want it to be real.
121 CONTINUED: 121
She stares out at the water, the moon reflected off of
it. It's hard to reconcile that beauty and the turmoil
she's feeling. But she goes on.
What I want is to wake up and see
my mom. For things to go back to
the way they were. When they made
sense. When my life made sense.
And it's all my fault. She got
scraped off the highway for me,
for my fucking audition. She was
rushing. It was raining. It was
... But she promised to be there.
I made her promise. And then I
didn't wait for her. I should
have but they called my name and I
didn't say anything. I just went
out and danced. I was mad. I
needed her and she wasn't there.
She buries her face in her hands, breaking down, racked
with tears and guilt. Patrick puts his arms around her.
She was dying while I was dancing
and I was mad at her and I'm
sorry. I'm sorry...
It's not your fault it rained or
she died. Or that you danced.
That's what you were there for.
Your mom would've expected you to
do what you did.
Sara, choking on tears, regards him forlornly.
That's what makes it so bad. She
always did what was right for me.
I wanted to be a prima ballerina
-- had to be. Even if it took
most of our money, all of her
spare time. I didn't care. It
was my stupid dream and it killed
her. All she wanted was for it to
121 CONTINUED: 121
You still got whatever you had
when your mom was alive, Sara.
She wouldn't want you to give up.
Sara swipes at her face, looks up at him, still crying.
I know... but she... I just don't
think I can do it without her.
Do you want to do it, Sara? I
mean you. Do you want Juilliard?
Yeah. I do.
Then it's on you to make the dream
Yeah. For my mom.
For her. For you.
122 EXT. ROY'S APARTMENT/STREET - THAT NIGHT 122
Patrick walks Sara to the front door. They pause on the
stoop. Neither of them wants the night to end.
See you tomorrow?
A rhetorical question under the circumstances. Patrick
regards her tenderly, moves her hair from her eyes.
Stares deeply into them. Sara smiles wanly, certain she
looks like shit. But it doesn't matter. The moment has
named itself. And so, with more certainty than passion,
123 INT. SARA'S ROOM - NIGHT 123
CAMERA PANS the room, PICKING UP small touches from
Sara's past life, her previous bedroom -- more on display
than we've seen before. HOLD ON closet door. A beat
before Sara emerges from behind it, ballet slippers in
hand. She takes a deep breath. Slides them on. Peers
down at her feet. Wiggles them. Nothing magical or
mystical but simply wonderful. Gleefully wonderful.
Like the end of a long day's journey to home.
124 EXT. INNER HARBOR COMPLEX (DOWNTOWN BALTIMORE) - DAY 124
Sara and Patrick negotiate the heavy pedestrian traffic,
exit the complex. He leads her to a mall of trees and
Lemme see that move you did. That
cute leg relieve thing.
(as she shakes
Come on, Sara.
(hates to admit this)
It hurts! I'm out of shape and it
hurts. Okay? Satisfied?
That's what you call outta shape,
what's it take to get you in
This is the perfect spot for that.
You can run around and I can sit
under the trees and watch you.
I don't get in shape like that.
But it's still a good spot.
I got my application for
Juilliard. Just in time too.
They're holding auditions in
Baltimore next month.
She looks at him, shakes her head. Not that great.
I'll never be ready in a month.
Sara, you puttin' the mojo on
124 CONTINUED: 124
(a smile in spite of
Negative shit. White folks call
it karma. The bad kind.
You don't understand. Ballet
takes a lot of time, a lot of
preparation. I used to practice
two, three hours every day. I'm
so far behind...
... And unsure and afraid. Which Patrick can sense. But
he won't let her go there or stay there. He's firm,
Quit whinin' and catch up then.
It's not as easy as that. My free
form still sucks. It's still the
weakest part of my routine. That
So I'll help you with it.
(surprised that she's
Yeah. I'll help you. Tell me
what you need to do and let's get
BEGINS OVER THEME MUSIC.
125 INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - SARA'S ROOM - NIGHT 125
Sara in the mirror dressed in leotards and tights. She
bends forward from the hip, extends a leg, a
125 CONTINUED: 125
As she tries to complete the arabesque, the backward-most
leg buckles. She steadies herself. Starts over.
SARA - IN VARIOUS STAGES OF GETTING BUSY
126 PATTERSON FOOTBALL FIELD 126
Hip-hop hybrid with Patrick.
127 DANCE STUDIO 127
In class. Struggling to keep up.
128 STREET 128
On way to and from bus stop. Practicing as she walks.
129 DANCE STUDIO 129
Alone with her instructor. Looking good.
130 DANCE STUDIO - LATER 130
Alone with her instructor. Looking better.
131 ROY'S BATHROOM 131
Soaking and tending her bleeding feet.
132 INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - LIVING AREA 132
OPEN CLOSE ON a black hand shaking a white one. PULL
BACK to reveal Patrick and Roy. Sara enters looking
striking, pretty, very down. Chenille's influence is
written all over her makeup and her clothes. Overlooking
Roy, she blithely tags Patrick.
(cursory, to Roy)
They leave. Roy stands in the middle of the room,
132 CONTINUED: 132
Three months and she's skipping?
133 INT. FEETZ - BAR - NIGHT 133
Usual suspects, usual music. Patrick hands Sara a call-
brand beer. Leans in with his drink, openly and
contently with her.
Nikki and her crew (Jasmin, Tiff'nee, Alyssa). Nikki
hasn't seen Patrick and Sara. She's showing her crew a
Chenille, Diggy and another black girl. Fraternizing.
ANOTHER ANGLE - DEEJAY BOOTH
A chrome-domed deejay with a Barry White baritone bellows
into his mike as he changes the music.
Master P with the 'Ghetto D'.
give up that cruel. Eyes on you!
WIDER as the dance floor swells with kids. PICK UP Sara
and Patrick among them. She looks at him nervously. He
Nobody's watchin' you but me.
A gallant lie. Sara tries to believe it. They dance.
Practice has made her near perfect. Their movements are
ambitious, nimble, better than anyone else on the floor.
They move so well together that Snookie, dancing nearby,
Go, Patrick! Go, Patrick!
133 CONTINUED: 133
FROM ANOTHER ANGLE OF DANCE FLOOR
Diggy. Jiggling and wildly gyrating. Chiming in --
Go, Sara! Go, Sara!
PATRICK AND SARA
building up a sweat; confidently dancing at fever pitch.
Everybody have funk, funk, funk!
134 INT. FEETZ - DANCE FLOOR 134
Sara and Patrick, still going at it. Snookie, Diggy and
others prance around them like backup dancers.
ANOTHER ANGLE - NIKKI
standing with her crew dourly observing Patrick and Sara.
Watch me squash their shit. Hard.
Shoving, pushing, and barging her way up to Patrick.
Without preamble or regard for Sara, she starts dancing
with him. Patrick looks at Sara but he's somehow dancing
with Nikki. Sara retreats with daggers in her eyes.
PATRICK (AND NIKKI)
unresponsive as she grinds her body into his, raw and
standing where she can see but can't be seen from the
dance floor. From a curtain of kids, Malakai suddenly
appears at her side. Sara can't move. She's boxed in.
Malakai indicates Nikki and Patrick with slick
satisfaction, whispers derisively:
134 CONTINUED: 134
You ain't never gonna look as good
as she does with him. That's oil.
You're milk. Ain't no point in
tryin' to mix.
He evaporates into the crowd. Sara stands there.
PATRICK AND NIKKI
as a SLOW DANCE BEGINS. Nikki starts to press herself
against Patrick. Patrick holds her off with both arms.
WIDER ANGLE - DANCE FLOOR - FAVOR PATRICK
moving toward Sara.
A stark, apologetic expression on his face. He takes her
hand. Sara fiercely jerks away. Patrick grabs her hand
again, more emphatically this time. But Sara won't budge
from the spot where she's standing. So Patrick slides
his arms around her, holds her without moving. They
remain like this for a moment or two until they slowly
begin to dance. We PUSH IN ON them in this little space.
Patrick's lips brush Sara's ear.
ANGLE PAST THEM ON MALAKAI
slow dancing with his flavor of the night. Eyes on Sara
and Patrick. Both underwhelmed and resentful of what he
135 INT. ROY'S ROWHOUSE - HALLWAY/FRONT DOOR - THAT NIGHT 135
Sara unlocks the door. She and Patrick enter. She turns
on the lights. Looks at him. Answers the unspoken
135 CONTINUED: 135
He's in D.C. Blues Alley. He'll
be gone all night.
Patrick sits down on the sofa. Sara crosses to the
STEREO, turns it ON. A SAX SOLO begins playing.
Roy's demo. The only one he ever
cut. Kinda grows on you.
A beat. Somewhere between five seconds and forever.
Wanna see my room?
Patrick looks at her, nods. He gets up, follows Sara
behind the partition into her "room." They stand there
for a moment. He cups her face with his hands. Kisses
her. They begin to take off each other's clothes,
alternately sure and fumbling; a bit awkward, a bit
urgent. Sara unzips Patrick's pants, catches something
other than his clothes. Patrick winces in pain. She
looks at him with an embarrassed grimace. Says this very
They kiss again, stumble backward to her futon. Fall
down upon it and begin to make love.
136 INT. PATTERSON HIGH - HALLWAY - PATRICK AND SARA - 136
CAMERA TRACKS them as they walk down the hall hand-in-
hand, sometimes exchanging greetings with other students.
They are officially a couple and they appear to be in
love. At the door to Sara's next class, Patrick busses
her lips before she enters.
137 INT. SARA'S CLASSROOM - CONTINUOUS ACTION 137
No teacher is present. The class files in. Toni drops
down in a chair beside Sara. She leans over in a
Whatever you do, don't fuck him.
137 CONTINUED: 137
'Hit it and quit it,' that's their
Black guys. Everybody knows that.
The teacher walks in. Sara quickly whispers back to
Don't forget, they all have big
dicks and beat their wives.
Everybody knows that too.
138 INT. RIB JOINT (SOMEWHERE IN BALTIMORE) - NIGHT 138
Malakai, along with Snookie and two brain donors, ARVEL
and LIP, eat at a booth. Patrick strolls in gritty from
work. Tired from work. He slides in next to Malakai.
The mood is light, jovial.
You smell, boy.
How can a piece of shit tell?
The table cracks up.
You been scarce lately, man.
Where you been?
Somewhere dreamin' of a White
... And Christmas ain't even for
'nother six months.
Lip. It's a so-to-speak thang,
you ignorant fuck.
138 CONTINUED: 138
(looks at Patrick)
So. So to speak? Whassup.
(snatching up one of
Back out my business, boy.
You tappin' that white girl, man?
That's why you ain't got time for
your boyz no more, you too busy
frontin'. Too busy snowflakin'.
Patrick lifts one of Malakai's ribs, responds coolly.
How am I frontin', 'Kai? I made
time for this bullshit, didn't I?
Aww, man. You busted. That's why
your jaws are gettin' so tight.
You the one need his jaws
tightened with your pork-ass
(re: Patrick's roving
Order somethin', Patrick. This
ain't no goddamn soup line.
Patrick grabs some of Arvel's fries, chews them in his
Y'all hangin' tonight or what?
We thinkin' about slidin' through
that new rec center opened up on
the Eastside. You ridin'?
Eastside? That's the wrong side.
138 CONTINUED: 138
I ain't messin' with those fools
over there. You know how they
I ain't pressed. I got my own
Shorthand. The table stops. Malakai glances around,
lifts his shirt to expose a gun. Patrick stares at
Malakai with disbelief.
What you think? I'ma keep walkin'
around waitin' for some chump to
cap me? I'ma protect myself.
That ain't protection. It's an
excuse for some unnecessary
Ain't nothin' unnecessary 'bout
it. Shit. Mayhem and madness.
That's a black man's life.
How you know? You ain't tried
nothing else. Now you sittin' up
here strapped for no good reason.
You askin' for trouble, Malakai.
(as Malakai laughs)
You think this shit's funny?
Snookie shifts uncomfortably. Arvel and Lip look at
Malakai. Malakai looks at Patrick, coldly drops his
I think it's funny you think it
ain't necessary. You act like you
don't know where you are no more,
Patrick, and whassup out there for
anybody who ain't you. Maybe
that's what happens when a white
girl goes to your head.
-- Or gives you some.
138 CONTINUED: 138
Fuck you, Lip.
(looks at Malakai)
I know what's out there. I also
know you can get past it. But
that ain't gonna happen, 'Kai,
long as you keep gettin' in your
Aw'ight. Y'all said what you had
to say. We back to bein' boyz.
Patrick. Chill. Have some ribs.
139 INT. ROY'S ROWHOUSE - KITCHEN - NIGHT 139
Sara and Patrick, post-coital. She's in her robe. He's
dressed but they're fooling around as they fix
sandwiches. Patrick drops down in a chair. Sara drops
down on his lap.
What's your favorite flower?
I don't have a favorite.
Yeah, but if you did...
I dunno. Maybe cymbidiums --
orchids. They're sort of show-
boaty but they're pretty.
What's your favorite color?
What's your second favorite color?
You're makin' this real hard,
Sara. Those ain't exactly tuxedo
139 CONTINUED: 139
Sara swings her legs around, facing him, straddling him.
Nut. What are you talking about?
I was tryin' to get around to
askin' you somethin' but since I'm
some sorta nut, you probably
wouldn't wanna go to prom with
She throws her arms around his neck, kissing him.
Patrick slides his hands under her robe, cups her
breasts. Sara responds to him. They are too engrossed
in this intimacy to hear the FRONT DOOR OPENING, to see
Roy until he walks in and sees them. Sara leaps up,
closes her robe. Patrick doesn't know what to do. He's
caught. Straight up. Red-handed. Roy's eyes dart
between them, settle on and slice into Patrick.
Patrick -- it is Patrick, isn't
(a small awkward nod)
Well, I think you were just
Patrick stands up. Sara grabs his arm defiantly, holds
Why does he have to leave? We're
all adults. Right?
He either leaves or I throw his
ass out. Your call, Sara.
Patrick jerks his arm free from Sara, grabs his jacket
off the back of his chair. He back-talks Roy as he
Chill, man. I'm goin'. You don't
have to come off with all 'at.
Who the hell are you to tell
me how to come off? You're in my
house alone with my daughter.
139 CONTINUED: 139
It takes everything Patrick has to keep walking until
he's out the door. It slams behind him. Sara marches up
to Roy, furious.
I hate being your daughter. You
She tries to stomp off. Roy kicks a chair in her path.
(not a request; an
order; as she sits)
It's a free country, you can hate
me. Ain't like that's exactly
news. But disrespectin' me,
that's where the road ends, Sara.
I don't want him up here again. I
You mean it because he's black.
Don't start that bullshit!
Why's it bullshit? Because you
hang with black guys and play jazz
and have the hots for Angela
Because he was in my house with
his hands all over my daughter!
Keep telling yourself that. Just
don't expect me to believe it. I
saw how you looked at him. But
you didn't see him. Well, for
your information, he's a straight-
A student with more heart and guts
than you'll ever have!
Yeah? Well, when are you gonna
have the guts to say what you
really want to say to me, Sara?
139 CONTINUED: 139
(screaming at him)
Want me to say it? You were a
piece of shit husband and you're a
piece of shit father! You were
never there for Mom or for me.
You took off and never looked
back. So don't talk to me about
Not quite the truth, but near enough to sting. It quiets
Roy down. He regards her with regret and guilt.
Sounds like you have it all
I have you figured out. You think
you can make up all the time you
missed, all the things you didn't
do? You can't! I'm here because
I have to be and it's a goddamned
Well, you might as well wake up
and get used to it, Sara, because
that's the way things are
sometimes, the way life is.
How the hell would you know?
You've been asleep for the past
Now she does storm off. This time Roy lets her. He
can't find the words to deny what she's said.
140 EXT. PATTERSON HIGH - QUAD OUTSIDE CAFETERIA - DAY 140
A break between classes draws the requisite claques and
cliques. Sara and Patrick huddle over a chemistry book,
attentive to each other. Nikki stands off watching both
of them. Malakai saunters up to her smoking a joint.
Hazily indicates Patrick and Sara.
The 'Love Boat.'
Love shit. That bitch is tap-
dancin' on my last nerve.
140 CONTINUED: 140
Looks like she's tap-dancing on
your last boyfriend. She got it
like that? Naw. Never mind.
Stall it. I ain't heard shit.
Stall what? What you hear?
Some trash she's talkin'. About
Yeah. How you ain't all 'at since
Patrick's takin' her to the prom.
(in for the kill)
I am a little bit... chagrined
though, Nikki. You lettin' some
white ho' show you up like that.
He regards her with bemused pity. Nikki, with all her
inner outrage, manages to salvage her pride. She sneers
in his face.
Fuck you, Malakai. Fuck her too.
(gaily, a she sails off)
Ain't no need in fuckin' me...
stuck up, bitch... I'm on your
141 INT. PATTERSON HIGH - HALLWAY - DAY 141
Patrick drinks at a water fountain. Looks up. Malakai's
standing there. There's still some tension between them.
Yo. Me and the boyz fixin' to
shoot some hoops. Us against
Druid Hill. If you interested.
Druid Hill? Hell yeah.
Gotta skip last period.
141 CONTINUED: 141
I got study hall. Don't matter
anyway. Not with those suckers.
I'll be back before the bell
They walk off together and, after a few steps, begin
dribbling imaginary balls down the hall.
142 INT. GYM (PATTERSON) - DAY 142
A girls' basketball game in progress. Sara's playing
defense. She's on Nikki's team. She blocks a shot but
Chenille, on the opposing team, gets it on the rebound.
Basket. Nikki shoots Sara a murderous look. Stupid,
143 EXT. DRUID HILL PLAYGROUND - BASKETBALL COURT 143
A four-on-four game in progress. Patrick, Malakai,
Snookie and Arvel versus the Druid Hill Two Deuces. An
unseen BOOM BOX BLASTS the music of JAY-Z throughout.
Patrick has the ball. He passes it to Malakai. They AD-
LIB insults to the Two Deuces. This is heaven for them.
Talking shit and playing ball. The best time.
144 INT. PATTERSON HIGH - GYM 144
Sara takes her defensive position against an opposing
player, successfully blocks the shot, tries to slam the
ball to Nikki. It clips Nikki's head, bounces out of
bounds. Nikki, her dignity stunned, her patience out,
walks up to Sara, shoves her to the floor. Sara looks up
at her as some disembodied voice calls out:
Don't start nothin', won't be
nothin'! Stay down, girl!
145 EXT. DRUID HILL - BASKETBALL COURT 145
Malakai dribbles the ball around one of the Two Deuces,
skies it. Misses the hoop. Patrick rebounds. Passes it
back to 'Kai. He takes the shot. Makes it. Patrick and
Arvel strut victoriously.
146 INT. PATTERSON HIGH - GYM 146
Sara jumps up, shoves Nikki back. And the fight is on.
147 EXT. DRUID HILL - BASKETBALL COURT 147
As the dejected Deuces look on, Malakai high-fives
Patrick and Snookie. Arvel's moving into their circle
when SHOTS RING OUT. Everybody on the court instantly
dives to the ground for cover.
148 INT. PATTERSON HIGH - GYM 148
Sara and Nikki tumble to the gym floor. The surprise is
Sara. She matches Nikki blow for blow. It's a punishing
fight for both of them and it only ends when the gym
teacher separates them.
149 EXT. DRUID HILL - BASKETBALL COURT 149
A car speeds off. Patrick raises up, looks around.
Malakai nods. He's okay. Snookie's crawling to the
exit, snot-nosed and crying. He's okay. Then they see
Arvel. Sprawled on the ground. Covered in blood. He
150 INT. MRS. GWYNN'S OFFICE - SARA AND NIKKI - DAY 150
In adjacent chairs across from Mrs. Gwynn's empty one.
(a hiss, under her
It ain't over, bitch.
Over? I don't even know why it
started... bitch. And don't say
it's about Patrick because it's
not. It's not about him.
No. It's about you. White girls
like you. Creepin' up, takin' our
men. The whole world ain't
enough. You gotta conquer ours
I like him, he likes me. And if
you don't like that, screw you.
Mrs. Gwynn walks in. Sits down. Looks reproachfully at
Girls. I think you need to talk.
151 INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - LIVING AREA/SARA'S ROOM - DAY 151
Roy's tuning his sax when Sara enters. Her face is a
mess. Yet she drifts by, bruised and bent over, as if
this were the norm. Roy does a double-take.
What the hell happened to you?
I got suspended. Two days.
She straggles into her room. Roy follows her to the
For what? Fighting?
(as she nods
like "no shit
Why were you fighting, Sara?
I'm not sure. I think it's some
kind of black female thing.
He sis down beside her, instinctively reaches out to
touch her face, assess the damage. Sara sharply flinches
away. But Roy persists and after a moment, she lets him
minister to her.
152 INT. REYNOLDS' APARTMENT - KITCHEN - EVENING 152
Patrick walks in, Arvel's dried blood stained into his
clothes. Chenille's cooking with a sound-asleep
Christopher slung over her shoulder. She and Patrick
regard each other morosely.
Patrick slumps down at the kitchen table. He's barely
(almost to himself)
Can't even play a got-damned game
of ball no more.
Chenille comes up behind him. Squeezes, pats his
152 CONTINUED: 152
You see Sara? She alright?
(as he looks up
with a question
You didn't hear? Nikki jumped off
at her in gym. It was fierce...
Given the day, this is the straw on Patrick's back. He
bolts from the table and on his way out nearly bumps
heads with Kenny.
153 INT. ROY'S ROWHOUSE - HALLWAY - NIGHT 153
Patrick RINGS the DOORBELL. Sara opens the door
slightly, just enough for Patrick to see her face. It
pisses him off.
It's alright. I'm okay.
Roy appears in the space behind her, looking out. Sara
can feel his presence. Her eyes implore Patrick.
Look. It's not a good time.
I'll see you later... I'm okay.
154 INT. LAUNDROMAT (SOUTHEAST BALTIMORE) - EARLY EVENING 154
The laundromat is empty but for a few customers and
Nikki. She's loading clothes from two large baskets into
washers when her brother DIONDRE, 10, races in. He's
grinning from ear-to-ear.
Diondre, what your butt doin'
(a taunting twist)
I can go where I want. You the
one on punishment.
Nikki swings a wet shirt with no intention of hitting
him. She looks up. Patrick's standing in the doorway.
Diondre runs up to him, holds out the palm of his hand.
154 CONTINUED: 154
There she go. Gimme my two
Patrick pays him. Diondre darts out. Patrick walks up
to Nikki. Nikki clenches, tries to dismiss him with a
Whatever it is, I don't wanna hear
Patrick leans up against a washing machine and for a long
moment just looks at her. The walk there has composed
I thought you had somethin' to say
You thought wrong.
An old black woman is avidly, openly watchin' them.
Patrick indicates a bench on the other side of the
laundromat. Nikki petulantly follows him there. They
sit. Patrick looks at her.
Somethin' must be on your mind for
you to get up in Sara's face,
start all this drama. What you
tryin' to prove, Nikki?
You're the one tryin' to prove
something. Stuck up in her shit
like she's somethin' special.
What if she is? What's it to you?
You didn't see me trippin' off
that Howard dude and I could have.
I coulda tripped hard, Nikki.
That was different.
How you gonna call it different?
She stands up. Looks down at him. Raises her voice.
154 CONTINUED: 154
Because she's white and he ain't.
And don't sit there like you don't
know what I'm talkin' about,
(glaring at her)
You don't even know what you're
talkin' about, Nikki.
I don't? Y'all black men, soon as
you even think about goin'
someplace good, first thing you do
is find a white girl to take with
OLD WOMAN (O.S.)
Patrick glares in the Old Woman's direction, then back at
I thought I was goin' someplace
good with you. You the one called
me off. But you ain't tryin' to
remember that. Now you mad. Why?
Because she's white and I like
her? I'm with her.
Please. You're with her because
she's white. That's what sets me
It ain't got no business settin'
you off! Me and her ain't got
nothin' to do with you and what
you think. So keep your hands off
her and that shit to yourself.
Nikki folds her arms across her chest, looks at him
I don't think it, I know it. But
you go ahead, deny it. That's
what y'all always do.
She turns on her heels, goes back to her machine.
Patrick rises, sees the old woman glinting at him. He
holds her hateful stare for a moment, then walks out.
155 INT. REYNOLDS' APARTMENT - CHENILLE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT 155
Chenille and Kenny. In the middle of a contentious
moment. He tries to give her some money. She snatches
it out of his hand. Kenny looks at her. He's hurt.
Chenille's too mad to see it.
What? I'm supposed to get excited
because you decided to skate by
and drop a dollar on the dresser?
It's more than a dollar. And it's
all I got.
I got laid off rom B.W.I.,
Chenille. I been workin' part-
time. Money's tight. You know
how you are about money. That's
way I haven't been coming around.
Chenille stares at him for a long moment. Her voice is
Money ain't got nothin' to do with
it, Kenny. You don't come around
because you don't feel like comin'
around. You don't want the
responsibility of comin' around.
As long as you out there and I'm
in here, you know your son's being
taken care of. You ain't got no
worries when it comes to him.
And you don't have no feelings
when it comes to me. All you do
is bitch and complain about what I
don't do. I get sick of that.
Be sick of it. You ain't got to
see me to see your son.
I'll be sure to keep that in mind.
He leaves. Chenille stands there, mad at him. Mad at
156 INT. FREE CLINIC (SOUTH BALTIMORE) - DAY 156
The lowest common denominator for misery.
156 CONTINUED: 156
The room is filled with young women, most them black, and
children of all ages. They are piled up like cars on a
freeway, waiting to be seen. The noise level is at a
peak when Chenille and Sara walk in. Chenille's carrying
a fussy Christopher, his diaper bag and her backpack.
Sara, wanting to be helpful, reaches for Christopher.
Want me to take him?
Chenille shakes her head. Walks to reception to sign
herself in. Sara takes in the faces of girls younger
than herself, the grime and gloom of the room. It's
incomprehensible that this is a place where sick children
are brought to get well. Chenille finishes at the desk.
Returns to Sara. They cross to a corner of the clinic
where they sit -- on the floor. Chenille indicates the
That wench. You gotta stand over
her to make sure she puts your
name on the damn list. Triflin'
Chenille starts to change Christopher's diaper. He
starts to wail and flail. Chenille can't placate him.
One of his kicks connects with Chenille's open backpack,
sends books and papers flying. Sara can see the veins
stand up on Chenille's neck.
I'll get 'em.
She does. Chenille's finally got control of Christopher
but he's still crying. Chenille slips off his dirty
diaper. When Sara hands her a clean one, Chenille
regards her strangely, as if just remembering that she's
So your old man flipped about the
(with some animus)
Probably thinks it's all Patrick's
No. I explained about Nikki.
Right. You put it all on her.
None of it's on you.
156 CONTINUED: 156
She started it, Chenille. She
wanted to start it. I told you
what she said.
Chenille flashes a look, finishes up with Christopher.
She picks him up, puts a bottle in his mouth. Cradles
Maybe she didn't have no business
gettin' in your face. But she had
a reason to say what she said.
A reason? Sara studies her, trying to fathom the remark.
So you agree with her? You think
I don't belong with Patrick.
What I think don't matter. But
you and him act like it don't
bother people that you're
together. Like it don't hurt
people to see.
(her Irish up)
We like each other. What is the
big fucking deal? It's him and
me. Not us and other 'people.'
The white girl with the rose-colored reasoning. Chenille
glares at Sara, her voice designed to snatch the blinders
Black people, Sara. Black women.
Patrick's about somethin'. He's
smart. He's motivated. He's for
real. He ain't gonna make no
babies and not take care of 'em or
run the streets, fuck up his life.
He's gonna do somethin' with
himself. Here you come, white and
right, and you take one of the few
decent men left after jail, drugs
and drive-bys. That's what Nikki
meant about you up in our world.
Sara sits there, stupefied. Understanding. Not
156 CONTINUED: 156
There's only one world, Chenille.
I thought we were friends. Guess
I was wrong.
She gets up, walks out. Something in Chenille wants to
call after her, but she's too miserable, too torn up
inside to do it.
157 INT. FEETZ - BAR - NIGHT 157
Patrick and Malakai nurse drinks. The MUSIC fails to
move them. They have too much on their minds. Malakai
fires up a cigarette.
So what you gonna do?
How many times you gonna ask me
It's payback time. Either you
down or you ain't. Either you
m'boy or you not. Simple as that.
Patrick takes a long moment. The choice is simple. It's
the decision that's complicated. He downs his drink.
Even if I did ride, you ain't got
nobody but Lip and Lip will get a
nigger's ass killed. Quick.
Eastside ain't got no firepower.
I got some shit, man. AK-47. We
go in, get out with one spray
Just then Snookie and Sara walk toward them from the
dance floor. Something in their faces unsettles Sara but
Snookie, oblivious, dances up to the bar, snapping his
fingers and bobbing his head.
You see us, Patrick?
157 CONTINUED: 157
(a storm warning)
You see us, man? We're rappin'.
Snookie rebuffs him, keeps talking to Patrick...
Me and Sara lit it up! Y-e-o-w!
... bumps his butt against Sarah's hip, does a very
ungainly half split. Sara and Patrick exchange smiles.
Malakai isn't amused. He flattens Snookie's ass with the
business end of his foot. Snookie sprawls flat on his
face to the floor. Now Malakai's amused. Sara looks at
Patrick. Patrick scowls at Malakai.
That shit ain't funny.
Damn right it ain't funny.
I thought you liked it down there.
That's your specialty, ain't it?
That was a reflex action, man.
And you just plain rude and wrong
to bring the shit up in mixed
Sara's not quite sure what they're alluding to but she
doesn't want the displeasure of Malakai's company. She
I gotta get home. Ready?
Malakai's eyes slice into her. First Snookie, now this
bitch. Steppin' all over his conversation with Patrick.
No, he ain't ready. He's talkin'.
To me. A-B conversation. Gotta
go? C yourself the fuck home.
(a real reflex action)
Malakai lunges for her. The move is so swift and sudden
Patrick overturns his stool to dive between them. He
sweeps Sara behind him, into the path of a startled
Snookie. Stands there nose-to-nose with Malakai, staring
him down, furious with him.
Have you lost your motherfuckin'
MIND, man? Huh? Have you!
Sara, frightened and frozen, doesn't know what to do.
Snookie's voice weakly creaks out. He's trying to rise
to the occasion.
Patrick, man, c'mon.
But Malakai and Patrick stay where they stand. Too close
for comfort. Both in the danger zone. Malakai regards
Patrick with a combination of cruel anger and deep,
You take that bitch's back and
won't even cover mine?
'Cause you wrong, Malakai!
No! You wrong. You BEEN wrong.
You ain't worth shit no more.
Get out my face, and take that ho
Patrick bucks up. Sara walks over to him, gently
clutches his sleeve. It's no easier to turn away from
Malakai than it is to walk away from a lifetime of
friendship. But Patrick does. With Sara holding onto
his arm, at his side, he turns and walks away.
158 EXT. STREET - SARA AND PATRICK - NIGHT 158
walking. A heavy silence. Sara looks over at him.
Patrick doesn't say anything. But after a moment, he
reaches down and takes her hand and they walk on like
OVER MUSIC (e.g. BUSTA RHYMES' "Dangerous.")
159 INT. DANCE STUDIO - SARA AND PATRICK - MORNING 159
Practice her free form, a hip-hop ballet hybrid. They're
both tired, irritable, beaten down. They've been there
awhile. Sara makes a misstep. Patrick stops. Cold.
Sara grits on him.
159 CONTINUED: 159
We should keep going.
You messed up.
I know I messed up. I'll get it
right the next time.
No. You gonna get it right now so
you can do it perfect next time.
She glares at him, exasperated. So many things bottled
I can't work like this. I can't
dance like this.
Like this. You dictating to me.
He crosses the room, CUTS OFF the MUSIC. Looks at her.
Sara walks over to a window seat near him. Flops down.
What's wrong, Sara?
I can't figure things out.
What things? The audition? You
ain't got nothin' to worry about.
I told you. I'll be there.
Things, Patrick. Things between
us. Things between us and them.
I didn't know there was a 'them.'
Well, open your pretty brown eyes,
look the hell around.
159 CONTINUED: 159
(he's so nonplussed)
Everything's screwed up. Nobody
wants to see us together, not even
Chenille. I don't know why they
feel that way. How can I know?
Maybe they have a point, Patrick.
They only got a point if you
believe they got a point, Sara.
She looks at him... and loves him... and doesn't know
what to do.
I'm just saying that we should
think about this, that's all.
That's a fuckin' 'nough.
Why are you getting mad?
Because I like to think for
myself, run my own life, and I
thought you did too.
Sara looks at him. Now she's getting mad.
You're never gonna run your own
life as long as you keep running
back to Malakai every time he
fucks up or fucks you over.
She's crossed the line. But Patrick responds so
deliberately, so calmly prosaic, that she doesn't
immediately realize it...
First of all, Malakai ain't never
fucked me over. Second of all,
you don't know him, Sara, what he
been through. Matter of fact, you
don't know shit about none of it.
So don't come off to me like you
159 CONTINUED: 159
I know he's lost, Patrick!
Everybody but you can see that.
And if you keep reaching back for
him, you're gonna wind up lost
... until he erupts.
Who the fuck are you to say he's
lost? Malakai had my back when
you were busy gee-whizzin' in the
woods with your backward-ass,
They weren't rednecks!
Patrick yanks his boombox off the floor, glares at her.
You know what? The hell with you.
Sara yells after him. Her VOICE ECHOES in the empty
The hell with you too!
160 EXT. PATTERSON HIGH - HALLWAY OUTSIDE SARA'S CLASSROOM - 160
Sara exits, looking pretty much like she feels. Like
shit. She walks a few paces. Sees Patrick. Their eyes
connect for a brief, awful moment before they continue on
their respective ways.
161 INT. PATTERSON HIGH - SARA'S LOCKER/HALLWAY - 161
LATER THAT DAY
Sara's at her locker. Patrick walks up to her. She
looks at him, tries to smile past the dour expression on
Patrick doesn't say anything at first. But then:
161 CONTINUED: 161
Thought you might need this on
Saturday. I ain't gonna be able
to make it.
He hands her an audio cassette of her free form music.
Sara gazes at it, then up at him, understanding what this
means. She won't let him see how it shatters her. He
hesitates, as if he wants to say something else. But
Sara turns her back on him and Patrick walks away.
ANOTHER ANGLE - TONI
approaching Sara's locker. Having seen the encounter
between Patrick and Sara, she's as smug and overbearing
Lovers' quarrel? You're better
off. That menace to society
would've broken your heart and
spent all your money in a news
flash. Trust me on that, Sara.
Sara stares at her, uncomprehending at first. She
resists the urge to slap the smile off Toni's face. She
gets in it instead.
Toni, listen carefully. You're a
simple bitch and you don't have
any friends, black or white,
because nobody likes a fucking
She storms off leaving Toni, for once, speechless.
162 INT. PATTERSON HIGH - HALLWAY/CAFETERIA - DAY 162
Sara. Caught up in a throng of kids and somehow very
separate from them. The walls have been transformed into
veritable billboards for the senior prom -- decorations
are everywhere. Sara continues down the hallway almost
aimlessly into the...
163 INT. CAFETERIA - CONTINUOUS ACTION 163
Sara. Carrying a food tray, eyes searching for a place
to sit. She picks up Chenille and her girls at one
table... Nikki and her crew at another... Patrick and
Snookie... and, finally, Toni. Sara dumps her food into
a trash can, walks out.
164 INT. DANCE STUDIO - DAY 164
Sara. Alone. She pushes the tape from Patrick into an
ancient recorder. The MUSIC COMES ON. She takes to the
floor. Her face is like a pinched nerve. She wants to
cry. She tries to dance.
165 INT. SARA'S ROOM - NIGHT 165
Sara's on the futon, flipping through a photo album.
Pictures of her and Glynn. Roy knocks on the partition.
Waits a beat before he comes in. He looks at Sara. She
I was wondering... how long you
plan on hating me? Maybe I'm an
optimist but I hope there's some
kind of timetable.
(this raises a
Well, I don't wanna bug you. I
just came in to say good luck.
Sara regards him quizzically. Roy goes to her dresser,
picks up an envelope from Juilliard.
I saw the return address. Got
curious. It was open. I read it.
I know I shouldn't have but at
least now I have an excuse to tell
you how proud I am of you, Sara.
I was gonna tell you about the
audition, Roy. I meant to.
She's clutching the photo album. Roy sits down next to
Tomorrow's the big day?
Uh-huh. The big day.
You bummed out about it?
(as she shakes
You're a worse liar than I am
165 CONTINUED: 165
You're not so bad.
(close to a
I didn't give you much to work
with. It's not like I've been the
Well, it ain't like I deserve a
perfect daughter. I screwed up.
Did everything in a hurry and
still thought I had all the time
in the world. To be in love with
your mother. Be a father to you.
But time flies. You look up one
day and all you got to show for
yourself is a pretty little girl
who hates your guts and won't talk
to you because too much time went
Sara's eyes well up. Before she can stop herself, she's
I don't hate you. I miss her. I
(as Roy takes her
in his arms, tries
to console her)
... Patrick's pissed at me. I'm
pissed at him. He's not coming
tomorrow and I want him there and
I don't know what to do.
Sara draws back from Roy, wipes her tears. Collects
You want him there. I understand
that. But whatever he brings to
the table, Patrick can't dance for
you, Sara. You're the bottom line
out there. This is your chance to
be the dancer Juilliard came to
I wanted somebody there who loves
Roy regards her softly, significantly, the irony
165 CONTINUED: 165
I love you.
Sara looks up. For the first time in her life, she
166 INT. HOSPITAL - I.C.U. WAITING ROOM/CORRIDOR - EVENING 166
Patrick's bouncing on his knees, speaking to Arvel's
parents, who are clearly stricken. Arvel's father,
stoic, holds his wife's hand. Arvel's mother kneads a
Kleenex, her face etched with tears. Patrick hugs her.
Stands up to see Malakai frozen in the doorway, put off
by the palpable grief. Patrick crosses over to him.
They retreat quietly into the corridor, their concern for
Arvel a shaky ground for conciliation.
Why his mom's cryin' like that?
Arvel's gonna make it, right?
That what's his nurse said. She
told me herself, 'Your friend's
gonna make it.' Did that bitch
lie to me! Talk to me, Patrick!
Is he gone?
Patrick steers Malakai away from the waiting room, backs
him against a wall and, in a gentle but firm way, holds
They just got bad news, man. They
don't need to hear it again.
(trying to be
Arvel's fightin'. He's gonna pull
through. Thing is, when he does,
they don't think... he ain't...
shit. Arvel ain't gonna walk
In that moment, whatever's left of Malakai's soul
crumbles. He looks at Patrick with aggrieved disbelief
and then a building anger. A stronger man would probably
Patrick eases his grip. Malakai straightens his body,
cocks his head slightly. Studies Patrick in this
crooked, derisive way.
I got a good reason now, man?
166 CONTINUED: 166
(off Patrick's silence)
Aw'ight, college boy. You do what
you think is the right thing.
I'ma do what I know is the only
He starts to walk off, doesn't get far before Patrick
(a fleeting hesitation)
... When it's on, I'll be there.
167 EXT. PLAYGROUND (O'DONNELL HEIGHTS PARK) - DAY 167
Groups of children scatter around worn-out playground
equipment. The gleeful squeal of them is everywhere.
Patrick guides Christopher down a slide; Chenille catches
him at the bottom. Christopher can't get enough of this
ride and Patrick and Chenille repeat the routine
throughout their conversation.
Why you so quiet?
Patrick Reynolds ain't got nothin'
to say? That's a first.
(catches her son
with a whee!; then)
You know how I go off on folks
sometimes. I mean it and then I
don't mean it. Like what I said
to Sara. Guess she told you.
I don't care what you said,
Patrick. Your ass is on your back
and your lips are on the ground.
You care, baby brother. And not
just about what I said.
(as he looks at her)
You seriously like Sara. She got
a serious jones for you. Am I
167 CONTINUED: 167
It's besides the point. Whatever
point it is you tryin' to make.
I'm sayin' you can't help who you
love, Patrick. At least you found
somebody who loves you back.
Patrick regards Chenille impassively. Hands Christopher
I gotta go.
To where? To who? Malakai?
(sucks her teeth)
You ain't through with that fool
He's not a fool, Chenille.
No. You know what? You're the
fool, Patrick. You think you let
Malakai down and all you did was
try to pull yourself up. Ain't no
blame or shame in that.
(very low; a broken smile)
I still gotta go. Check you
Holding Christopher, Chenille watches Patrick walk out of
the playground. Disappear. She and Christopher move on
to a seesaw. Chenille bobs him up and down on one end of
it. She's snuggling in Christopher's face when the other
end suddenly drops to the ground. Chenille looks up.
168 EXT. PLAYGROUND - SWINGS - CHENILLE AND KENNY - LATER 168
They're side by side on swings. Christopher's nestled
against Kenny's chest, soundly snoozing. They slowly
It cut me, what you said.
168 CONTINUED: 168
I shouldn't have... I was
You always trip. I'm used to
that. Besides, you were right.
You were wrong, too. So was I. I
need to do better. Ain't no doubt
I know I come down on you hard
about money, but I would rather
you spend the time. Seriously.
So you don't want any money?
I didn't say all that.
He smiles. Gently rubs Christopher's brow. Looks at
her. Chenille smiles at him.
I love my son, Chenille. You know
that, don't you?
Yeah. I always knew that.
169 EXT. BALTIMORE SCHOOL OF PERFORMING ARTS - ESTABLISHING 169
SHOT - SATURDAY EVENING
of the building, the downtown skyline, etc.
170 INT. BALTIMORE SCHOOL OF PERFORMING ARTS - AUDITORIUM - 170
The house lights are on. Several seats in the front row
are taken up by judges for Juilliard. Further back are
the families and friends of other dancers. PUSH IN and
FAVOR Roy among them.
171 INT. BACKSTAGE AREA - SARA 171
Warming up, other dancers, all in costume, around her.
Her eyes wander from the clock to the stage door.
171 CONTINUED: 171
A sign on it reads: "JUILLIARD SCHOOL OF DANCE -
BALTIMORE AUDITIONS." She stares at it, fingers the
clover leaf necklace with an unsettling sense of deja vu.
ANGLE - WOMAN
with a PINCE-NEZ with a clipboard, navigating among the
dancers with a clipboard. She calls out:
Johnson. Sara Johnson...
172 EXT. STREET (O'DONNELL HEIGHTS) - NIGHT 172
Patrick's waiting on the sidewalk. Malakai pulls up in
Tute's BMW. Lip's in the backseat. Patrick gets into
the car. It takes off down the street.
173 EXT./INT. STREET - BMW - DRIVING - NIGHT 173
RAP MUSIC blasts ON the RADIO. No one in the car is
saying anything. Malakai has a "40" between his legs.
He sips from it, passes it to Patrick. Patrick takes a
short swig, passes it back to Lip. As he does this, a
set of keys fall out of his jacket into his lap. Patrick
picks them up. Looks at the key chain, his present from
Sara. He looks at Malakai.
(as Malakai glances at
him, not understanding)
This ain't helpin' nobody, 'Kai.
I'm out. I mean it. Stop the
Awww, shit. Here we go.
What you mean you out? You think
I'ma let your punk ass bail on me
Patrick starts to open the door. Malakai speeds up. The
CAR CAREENS down the street, SQUEALS around corners.
Finally comes to a red light. Stops. Patrick starts to
open the door. Malakai grabs him by the jacket. Pulls
his gun. Patrick looks at Malakai and now he sees him.
Sees that he's lost and desperate... and dangerous.
173 CONTINUED: 173
What you gonna do, 'Kai? You
gonna shoot me? Go ahead! You'll
Let him out! We don't need him.
Shut the fuck up.
Patrick jerks himself loose. Opens the door. Malakai
cocks the gun. Patrick's face flinches at the sound of
it. He can feel it trained on his back as he gets out
the car. But Malakai can't do it. Wouldn't do it. He
takes off like a bat out of hell.
174 EXT. STREET 174
Patrick heads down the street. As he walks, he can hear
the sound of GUNFIRE behind him, and then the sound like
an EXPLOSION. A CAR HORN goes off in a persistent drone.
Patrick stops. Stands there for a moment. Then he's
walking again. Without looking back. And then he's
running away from the mayhem behind him.
175 EXT. STREET - SAME TIME 175
The BMW's tangled around a street lamp. Inside Malakai
slumps over the steering wheel, a bullet through his
176 INT. BALTIMORE SCHOOL OF PERFORMING ARTS - AUDITORIUM - 176
Pince-Nez leads Sara to the stage. Announces her.
Sara walks onstage.
She nods down at the judges, looks out into the audience.
Her eyes anxiously search for Patrick... hoping. Her
Grieg's Peer Gynt (Morning). Sara starts to sway, moving
like an angel through the soft cloud of this music. Her
line, proportion and balance are impeccable.
176 CONTINUED: 176
Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake (Tanz der Schwane) begins and
Sara slowly blossoms, opening herself up to the music
like a flower. She completes every turn and twist and
leap with confidence, energy and persuasion. She is
doing what a dancer should do -- engaging the audience,
igniting their imagination, drawing them in.
ANGLE - JUDGES
perking up, taking notes, attentive to her.
finishes with a flawless arabesque. Looks out.
REVERSE ANGLE - JUDGES
One of the more imperious-appearing JUDGES removes his
glasses, speaks to her. Sara's still trying to catch her
You prepared a free-form?
Yes... sir... they have... my
Does it have a theme?
(clears her throat)
The Judge turns around, shouts to someone we can't see:
Cue Johnson's music.
MUSIC UP: A remix of hip-hop (e.g., LAURYN'S HILL'S doo
wop; NAS'S "We Will Survive" and JAY Z's latest) and
snatches of CLASSICAL.
stands there. Doesn't move. Can't. She finally walks
up to the edge of the stage. Looks down at the judges,
her eyes filled with trepidation. Her voice is a shaky
176 CONTINUED: 176
I'm sorry. I wasn't ready. Can
you start it over again?
The Judge waving off the MUSIC. It STOPS. He regards
Are you ready now?
Before she can respond, Patrick's voice booms from the
back of the auditorium.
Yes, sir. She's ready.
ANGLE WIDENS to reveal him coming forward. Rushing for
the stage. He pauses at the apron of it. Looks up at
Sara. She peers down at him, astounded. Shaken. He
smiles at her. She smiles back. Patrick's eyes softly
take her in.
You can do it.
Ain't nobody watchin' you but me.
Sara's eyes focus on him. She nods. Turns to the
As her MUSIC cues up, Patrick slowly backs away from the
Sara begins to dance.
She starts out strong and gets stronger. Every emotion
she feels, every experience she's had, comes to life in a
way that we've never seen before, not even when she was
practicing with Patrick. Her body has finally found a
way to get inside this kind of music, to elevate its
meaning and transform her dance.
The MUSIC ENDS. The lights go up.
Sara stands in the middle of the stage breathless,
sweating. She lifts her head slowly and the ANGLE WIDENS
to reveal --
176 CONTINUED: 176
Patrick letting out a giant whoop...
The judges react and the audience gasps...
... as he bounds onto the stage and...
Roy jumps to his feet. Proudly and loudly clapping.
Just like Glynn.
ANGLE - SARA
overwhelmed beyond belief. Patrick's coming toward her.
She flies into his arms, free and happy, overjoyed. But
the triumph of her performance and the sheer bliss of the
moment are transcended by something deeper and clearer,
which is her love for Patrick.
struggling to maintain their and the proceeding's
decorum, since the audience, caught up in the throes of
this excitement, has begun to loudly, enthusiastically
Ladies and gentlemen, please!
Young man! Get off the stage.
WIDER to reveal the room.
Patrick hugging Sara, looks down at the judges.
All due respect, if ya'll don't
let this girl in, you're crazy!
Sara pulls Patrick back. Walks alone to the edge of the
stage, composed and professional again. She regards the
judges with a beaming resolve and a ballerina's curtsy,
then simply says:
Thank you. Very much.
Sara stops. Turns back to him. The Judge smiles.
I can't say this on the record --
yet. But welcome to Juilliard.
176 CONTINUED: 176
lovely and radiant as it breaks into a cheek-to-cheek
smile. WIDER as she walks slowly, deliberately back to
Patrick. Stops. Looks at him. Just looks. And then
she throws her arms around his neck, kissing and hugging
him. Emotional. Patrick swings her into the air, twirls
her around and around, as we:
177 INT. HOTEL BALLROOM - SENIOR PROM - NIGHT 177
OVER SLOW MUSIC (possible theme song):
Sara (in a gown) and Patrick (in a tux). Dancing (as if
they had danced from the last FRAME INTO this one). They
WIDER to reveal the entire dance floor...
And we see that it's the senior prom.
The room's dressed up like a dreamy, futuristic romantic
illusion. The ceiling's ablaze with tiny, star-like
lights; under them large poufs of cotton clouds hang.
Glittering, mirrored balls dangle over the main floor.
Seniors dance in traditional and cutting edge tuxes and
mouth-watering, eye-popping versions of dresses and
gowns. CAMERA PANS the floor, PICKING UP:
A surprisingly dashing Snookie and the fly girl. As they
dance, he bravely but rather too abruptly dips her...
Diggy (in a glitter tuxedo and spiked hair) and her
Nikki with whom we shall perceive to be the Howard
University guy. In any event, he looks slightly bored.
Chenille with Kenny, smiles at Sara as she and Patrick
CAMERA FAVORS and PUSHES IN ON...
Sara and Patrick. Gazing at each other. The SONG ENDS
with them in each other's arms.