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Movie Pitch #3 – Sharon Tate Must Live!

October 3, 2012


In honour of Looper and time travel…

Genre: Science fiction/fantasy [Time-travel]
Setting: Oregon/ California
Characters: Young man [Joseph Gordon-Levitt], Old man [Warren Beatty], Sharon Tate [Camilla Belle]


We fade in and there’s a youngish man walking up to a house, a kind of ranch with a field around it and one or two horses and cows…and the man is holding a shotgun, keeping it hidden behind his back. He approaches the front door, looks at the porch and his surroundings, takes a breath then knocks. A man in his early thirties opens the door and asks him what he wants. The visitor says ‘nothing.’ They stare at each other for a moment, and then the visitor pulls the shotgun out from behind his back. The other man doesn’t flinch. ‘What do you want here?’ he asks. The visitor gestures towards his own face with the shotgun and asks the man if he recognises him. ‘No,’ says the man. ‘Doesn’t matter,’ says the visitor and shoots him in the gut, the old man falling back into the house. The visitor walks forward and pulls at the skin on his face. He leans down and strokes the man’s cheek.

Next…the same man, no longer carrying his shotgun, and a little younger than he was before, sits in a white room, alone. He’s not doing anything much, just staring at the wall. Is he insane? Or just insanely bored? He sees a crack on the wall and follows it along with his finger until it splits in two. His finger hovers at the fork in the path before choosing the crack on the right and continues to follow it. The door opens and a big man who looks like Laurence Fishburne enters with a tray of food and pills. The young man looks at him and asks him if he’s still insane. The orderly laughs and says, ‘well, you’re still here, so I guess you are.’ The young man takes the pills and swallows them. ‘Have I ever done anything wrong here?’ he asks. ‘Not here, man,’ the orderly replies then leaves.

Is he in an asylum then? The young man walks into some kind of common room with a few other people there, some in pyjamas, others in jeans and t-shirt. The young man looks around at all the people then chooses a table with an old man doing some kind of mathematical equation with crayons on the table. ‘You figured it out yet, brother?’ The old man ignores him. ‘You’d have a fine time building your little machine here, that’s for sure.’ The old man drops his crayon, and shakes his finger at the boy. ‘You keep making jokes, eh, and I’ll keep searching for the truth.’ The young man laughs and tells the old man he’s just playing with him. ‘And since there’s nothing else to do around here, playing with people’s all I got.’

Then…the young man walks into a room with three people sitting on a couch with notepads. They look way too relaxed to be a parole board, but that’s pretty much what they are. They ask the man to sit down and then ask him how he’s been doing recently. The man says he’s been doing nothing. ‘Nothing at all?’ ‘Pretty much…except thinking about the sun.’ The three parole guys smile and say the sun will always be waiting. They ask him if he remembers why he’s there. The young man says, ‘yes, I shot myself two times.’ They ask him if he knows why he did it. ‘Hard to say,’ says the young man. Try, they urge. ‘Well, I wanted to know what it felt like to be shot. And now I know.’

Next…the young man, older now, perhaps the same age he was when he shot his granddad at the start, walks into an apartment and checks the watch on his wrist. He goes to the fridge and sees a note tucked under a magnet. ‘Have gone back to 1969. Sandwiches inside the fridge. Back soon.’ The young man opens the fridge and takes out the sandwiches and goes to the table. While eating he reads some of the newspaper on the table. The first page he sees, there’s a black and white picture of a beautiful woman next to the picture of a corpse with knife wounds. The headline reads:  TATE MURDER SUSPECTS CAUGHT, MANSON BEHIND IT. He reads the rest of the article in silence until the old man returns…the same old man who was doing math in the asylum. The old man asks him where’s he been, and the young man says nowhere. ‘Come on…’ the old man says, and walks over and grabs him by the wrist. ‘Let’s see what the watch says.’ He fiddles with some buttons on the watch and shakes his head. He tells the young man he should never, ever go back into his old life. The young man stands up and throws the remaining sandwiches across the room. ‘Why not? I spent seven years in that fucking place!’ The old man tells him it’s over, it’s over, but it can’t ever be erased. Anything too close to their own lives or even directly in their own lives might change everything. Then he walks over to where the sandwiches are and starts picking them up. ‘There’s only one true tragedy in history, and that’s what we must change.’

Next…the young man sits on his bed, in the white room. The old man is sitting on the floor holding a newspaper. The young man asks him what he’s reading and the old man shows him. It’s the picture of the beautiful woman and the picture of the corpse again. The young man shrugs and asks who she is, and the old man tells him the story.

Flashback…Sharon Tate welcomes her friends into her mansion and they joke about her never making another movie after her baby’s born. She strokes her stomach, which is huge as she’s eight months pregnant, and says Roman will give her something. One of the friends says, ‘sure, Roman will help you out.’ They walk into the living room and have a drink and talk about life, love and the future and what’s going on in LA and Hollywood and if they really think the baby will stop Sharon making films…then suddenly there’s noise outside, a gunshot, and two of the friends run outside and don’t come back. A few seconds later people with knives come into the living room, and then we’re watching from the window as the knifemen taunt Sharon and her friends, and we zoom out further and we’re in the garden next to the old man…’and now we must act,’ he says.

Then…the young man is standing in a park talking to a video camera. He looks younger than he was in the asylum, and he’s holding a revolver in his hand. Not sure what make it is but it looks kinda like a magnum. He talks for a while, about how great his parents are, and how this isn’t their fault, and how he thinks there’s a monster in his life that is always after him, and what the monster wants is chaos and if he doesn’t give it to the monster then it’ll steal his mind. The young man laughs and holds up the gun and says that sometimes he wants the chaos too, just to see…just to see how different things could be…and then he takes a few breaths and shoots himself in the leg…then the shoulder. Dropping the gun, he crawls across the grass until he can go no further…and we move backwards from the scene until we’re amongst the trees and standing there is the young man, watching himself bleed out…

Then…the young man sits in an office playing with a pen, while another man, a doctor, talks at him, asking him if he feels he is a moral person. The young man says, ‘sure.’ The doctor asks him some questions…would he run into a burning building to save someone? The young man answers all the questions positively, and when the questions are done he asks how he did. The doctor shakes his head and says, ‘I’m not sure.’

Back in time…and we’re outside the mansion again. The old man is lying on the grass in the garden, watching as a car approaches the front of the mansion. The young man crawls up next to him and startles him. The old man smiles and taps his watch. ‘I don’t know why I’m still surprised.’ They watch as two of Sharon Tate’s friends come out of the house and talk to the five people coming towards the house. The young man pulls out his gun, but the old man holds him back and tells him it’s too wide open there and they should wait until they’re inside. The two friends are shot and killed and the five nuts walk inside the house. The two time travellers get up, the old man pulling out his own gun, and follow them in. We stay outside by the windows and watch the scene unfold, moving closer and closer. We see the five nuts stab one of the friends and then hold their knife over Sharon’s stomach. He seems to be taunting her, enjoying the scene, until the old man walks in and tells them they’re done. Before any of the nuts can react, the old man raises his gun and shoots two of them. He’s about to shoot the taunter when another nut, who was hidden behind a statue, jumps out and stabs him in the gut. The young man walks in and shoots the rest of them, unloading all his remaining bullets into the taunter. He checks on the old man, but he’s already dead, and the funny thing is…he looks kinda like an older version of the guy lying next to him, also dead. The same guy? Looks like it, but the reveal isn’t dwelt on. The young man walks over to Sharon and tells her it’s okay, it’s okay now. She gets up, shaking, and holds him tight, and we see his face as he looks down at her body…he pushes her back a little and sees how beautiful she is and tells her she’s beautiful…then he leans forward and tries to kiss her…she screams and runs and falls onto the floor. The man steps forward then stops, looking at the gun in his hand…he says sorry then pushes a button on his watch and disappears.

Next…The young man walks into the apartment and sees the same note on the fridge as before. He picks it up and throws it in the bin. ‘We did it, old man.’ He picks up the newspaper and sees the Sharon Tate story has gone.

The end? The young man pulls up outside a building and gets out of his car. He’s wearing a white uniform and looks kinda like an orderly. Inside the building the guards let him in and he walks through the corridors until he finds the old man’s room. He goes inside and asks the old man if he recognises him. The old man stares at him and says ‘so it works.’ The young man smiles and hands him a piece of paper. ‘Yeah, but you never would’ve figured it out without this.’ Then he leaves. The old man opens the paper and sees a whole load of mathematics, and looks awestruck.

Then…the young man goes back to the apartment and sits in front of the computer. On the screen is a picture of Sharon Tate crying. The headline: ‘POLANSKI AND TATE SPLIT – NO WAY BACK, SAYS AGENT’. The young man rubs his wrist and looks at the watch.

The young man walks into a book store and walks over to a woman reading in the classics section. She’s wearing a beret and shades and looks like she’s in disguise. The man stands next to her and says ‘hey’. She looks at him and freezes. He pulls off her shades and asks her if she remembers him.

Then…he stands by some trees, looking into Sharon’s living room. She’s walking around with a bottle of wine in her hand and talking to a man sitting on the couch. After a few moments she sits down next to him and rests her head on his shoulder. Outside, at the back of the garden, the young man picks up a rock and throws it through the living room window. He runs back to his car and drives away.

And…he lies in bed, alone and unable to sleep. If I do this, if I do that, he thinks over and over, trying to come up with fresh ways of getting the girl. He turns away and looks at the wall. There’s a crack. He gets out of bed and moves closer and follows the crack along the wall with his finger, until he reaches a fork in the path. He stares at it for a moment then chooses the path on the left.

Finally…the young man stands over the old man with the shotgun, talking to himself. ‘Chaos, my friend. Kay-oss.’ He shoots the old man one more time, killing him. ‘Sorry, Granddad,’ he says then turns and walks out of the house, leaving the door open behind him.

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