CRUEL REALTY is an original screenplay presented in the experimental PICTUREplay format.
Marilyn, is a woman of many disguises. She’s a serial killer somehow inspired by the Occult. The mystery continues, as a writer examines the killer’s motives.
CRUEL REALTY is a steamy sexy R-Rated dark thriller, intended for MATURE AUDIENCES.
This Chapter builds the character of Marilyn (PICTUREplayed by AMBER HEARD), Myles (TAYLOR KITSCH), his ex-girlfriend Penelope (MIA KIRSHNER), and former special agent Jane Finch (JACQUELINE BISSET).
Their paths are on a collision course as Marilyn prepares to claim her next victim.
* This is my original screenplay presented with music and images in my experimental PICTUREplay format. I hope this makes for a more entertaining read. *
click, listen, scroll… MASSIVE ATTACK: “Angel” (live)
pages 21 – 33
The computer desk is empty. The monitor displays the OCCULT website of Marilyn’s.
A blog is ready for POSTING. The command box says “SEND BLOG?”. The mouse cursor hovers on “SEND”.
Marilyn places a steaming mug of tea on the desk. She plops into the chair. Her hair is a bright cherry red now. Slightly wet.
She leans into the monitor. Re-reading her blog. Her lips move as she scans through the article.
She leans back. Sets her long legs on the desk. And dunks her tea bag in the mug.
She’s still in her underwear, but now she wears a thin ripped up “THE SAVAGES” band t-shirt. No bra.
MARILYN (strange) Hello. I’m Ivory Rose Whelan. Pleased to meet you.
Marilyn stares at her own reflection in the monitor, over the text of her Occult blog.
Her expression shifts. It’s like she’s practicing for a play on Broadway or something.
MARILYN (relaxed) Heh, Rose… How’s it goin? Right on. Hungry? Let’s get some noodles, man. I’ll pay.
The cat meows, wrapping around her ankles. Purring.
MARILYN Eh, Zombie? How’s it sound? Good enough? I need to be ready. In case. Otherwise, who’s gonna feed you all that processed beef and liver.
Meow. Marilyn reaches down and pets the black cat.
INT. OFFICE – NIGHT
A mouse cursor glides across the newspaper page, over an article on the previous murder.
The cursor closes that window.
Several other windows are open. All with browser window descriptions about previous victims of the “Realty Killer”.
Myles rubs his messy hair. Tired. He slouches further into his chair. Sighs.
He grabs a left over French Fry. His meal is all but finished now.
CHIME. A Twitter feed update for the city newspaper. Another murder. A new article.
MYLES Again? Guess I won’t sleep tonight either.
He cracks his knuckles. And opens up his word processor.
EXT. OFFICE – CONTINUOUS
The sounds of typing echoes from office, from behind the name tag on the door: “MYLES HARKAWAY – THE AWESOMEST AUTHOR YOU KNOW.”
click, listen, scroll – UNDER THE SKIN score
INT. APARTMENT COMPLEX – NIGHT
Marilyn sits on her couch next to her cat, Zombie. She eats a bowl of steaming soup and watches the NEWS on TV.
Jane Finch has dozens of microphones thrust into her face as she exits Police Headquarters.
She tries to barge through the mass of reporters. Ignoring the questions on the Reality Killer.
REPORTER Why haven’t you stopped him yet?
Finch stops. On a dime. She steps towards the nervous young reporter.
Finch reaches for the mic. The reporter flinches.
FINCH Who says it’s a “He”? Keep your eyes and minds open, people. There is a killer on the loose. Undefined by gender. Undermined as a hot topic worthy of your reality television. In fact, in reality, the killer is unknown and the fear is very real. Fear is known. By us all. I implore you all: open our minds in regards to suspicion. Our city may not be the first. Look to history.
Marilyn sips her soup from the bowl. She watches intently.
FINCH (CONT.) Look to your maps. We need the public’s help. It’s not safe anymore. The public needs our’s. What if the Realty Killer shifts the modus operandi? What if they leave the suburbs for the city? Surely then, your reports will shift from glamour to terror.
Marilyn stops eating. Transfixed with the TV. The cat crawls across her lap. Rubbing its head against her elbow.
FINCH (OS, CONT.) When the rich corporate business type is affected then things get done. I urge you. At home. Appeal to your mayor.
Finch addresses the multiple cameras and microphones.
FINCH (CONT.) This is a serious issue not some desensitized brand of entertainment. Put down the bon bons and extra large wine glasses… You’re next.
Marilyn clicks the TV off.
She walks to her window. She stares out at the city. She stares at her reflection.
Zombie rubs against her ankles, purring.
Marilyn looks down, distracted.
MARILYN (thinking) She’s right.
click, listen, scroll – MORCHEEBA: “Big Calm”
INT. OFFICE – LATE NIGHT
Myles finishes the video of Finch on YouTube.
He leans in, talking to his phone resting on the desk. Speakerphone.
PENELOPE (OS) So. What the fuck?
MYLES The shit she says. What is she up to?
Penny in her bathroom.
She gets undressed.
She is more curvaceous than Marilyn. But just as tall.
She leans to her phone on the counter.
PENELOPE You’re the reporter, Myles. You tell me.
MYLES Used to be. No newspapers any more, Pen.
She looks to herself in the mirror, as she puts on some comfy pyjamas. They have cartoony clouds all over.
PENELOPE Fuck off with that, Myles. Do you get it or not? What is Finch up to?
Myles paces his office, looking at strange occult drawings.
MYLES Must be tryin to draw the killer out. Make him confess or—
Penelope takes off her make-up.
PENELOPE Her. Didn’t you hear Finch?
MYLES Touché. These twisted fucks crave attention. If it’s some demented chick, she might wanna clear it up. And Finch just gave her a chance.
Penelope wraps her RED curls up in a bun. She squeezes toothpaste and goes about brushing.
PENELOPE That, or Finch wants some fuckin credit.
MYLES Pen. You’re twisted yourself. I was jokin before. Finch is no killer.
Myles looks at photos of Occult artifacts.
PENELOPE You sure? Well, had to give you the heads up. But now. Beddie bye. I’ll see ya later, Myles.
MYLES Ya, thanks for the video. Let’s do coffee at Java the Hutt tomorrow afternoon. You down?
PENELOPE I got the early shift. I’ll text you.
Myles returns to his desk.
MYLES Cool. Later, Pen.
PENELOPE Good luck with the book, bro. Toots.
Myles swipes his phone off. He leans into the computer again. He checks the Twitter feed.
And specifically, the timeline of recent posts.
The first post he looked at tonight is followed 10 minutes later by the post from Ivory Rose Whelan, a.k.a. Marilyn.
He clicks on the LINK. The OCCULT site opens up.
He scrolls down the post. It’s several screens long. He scans the text quickly. Mumbling to himself.
MYLES “The city needs to bleed?” Who is this? Ivory Rose Whelan, hmm?
He clicks on the contact E-MAIL.
click, listen, scroll – MORCHEEBA: “Trigger Hippie”
EXT. SUBURBS – AFTERNOON
The suburban subdivision of plug-n-play houses, all looking nearly identical, is surveyed by numerous police cars.
Nervous neighbours chat on their well-manicured front lawns.
Myles walks the street with a coffee cup from Java the Hutt.
He writes in a small notebook, observing the neighbours.
MYLES Look at all the hens. Cluck cluck.
Marilyn drives by in her beat-up car. She has short PURPLE punky hair now. She checks out the police and neighbours.
She notices Myles walking on the sidewalk. By himself.
Myles looks up from his notepad. He notices Marilyn too. He does a double-take. She seems out of place.
He looks to the end of the street. An Open House. No cars. No people. Empty. Except for two squad cars in the driveway.
He looks back to Marilyn. She drives slowly. Staring ahead at the open house.
She looks over to Myles. She lowers her sunglasses. Their eyes meet. He is momentarily stunned.
She winks at him. He gulps. Nervous.
She drives down the street, turning around at the dead-end.
Marilyn looks back in the rear-view mirror. She notices JANE FINCH exit the house.
Finch walks to the police, holding a photo in her hand. It’s Marilyn from the other day – the cop’s photo of her.
The page has 2 photos: full-frame Marilyn as AMBER, her long legs, her gentle curves, and a close-up of her face profile.
MARILYN Shit. Finch? Maybe she was right.
Myles walks towards the dead-end and the open house.
She passes him again. He watches her. She waves. Flirting.
MYLES (points to self) Me?
He closes his mouth.
She passes him by.
He watches. Then scribbles down her license plate number in his pad.
MYLES Who the fuck was that?
EXT. APARTMENT – NIGHT
Myles is at work in his office. He investigates the OCCULT website. He opens an HTML editor program. He hacks away.
MYLES Let’s see who owns this domain?
Myles types away. Moves the mouse. Makes some clicks.
MYLES Hmm. IP host is. Downtown.
He opens up another window. Checks local IP addresses.
MYLES West side. Hrrrm. Who is this chick?
He searches Facebook for Ivory Rose Whelan.
He hacks the page.
The personal page has no photos of friends. The profile picture is hand-drawn. A Goth girl with short dark spiky hair.
MYLES Looks like her. Come on, Ivory Rose Whelan.
He opens his email. No new messages.
MYLES (CONT.) Write me back. Soon. I need some help with this.
Myles opens up the BLOG window again. He looks at the HISTORY section, describing ancient Wiccan traditions. Lots of photos.
MYLES I could use your expertise.
He slinks back in his chair. Sighs. Tired. He looks to the wall at an ominous drawing of “THE OLD ONE”, a HORNED devil.
click, listen, scroll – MASSIVE ATTACK: “Teardrop”
EXT. NIGHTCLUB – NIGHT
Blaring neon highlights the long line of punks.
INT. NIGHTCLUB – CONTINUOUS
The dance floor is full. Young bodies girate to the rhythm.
In amongst all the sweaty nearly nude dancers is Marilyn. She wears the short spiky wig and a short spiky skirt.
She dances with another woman. Close.
They sway together. Their hands wonder.
They caress one another. Their touching escalates with the booming beat of electronic music.
EXT. TOWNHOUSE – LATER
The music continues, over the sounds of ecstasy inside.
INT. TOWNHOUSE – CONTINUOUS
A dark bedroom, lit by numerous small candles. Worn punk flyers and paintings by Dali and Escher line the walls.
Marilyn undresses, pulling her shirt over her head. Firm breasts tumble out.
MARILYN I like your place. Looks good.
GIRL You too.
MARILYN You’re right. Whatever.
Marilyn lowers to the bed.
She straddles the girl and takes off her top. She reaches down and undoes the girl’s pants.
They laugh together. Now both nude. They kiss passionately.
Then Marilyn goes down on the girl. The girl grabs at Marilyn’s hair. The wig.
Marilyn reaches up and grabs the girls hands. She guides them to the bedrails. She makes the girl grab them. Then she lowers her hands.
Marilyn firmly cups the girls breast. She slinks back down. The girl rolls back her eyes, and moans in passion.
Marilyn gets to her knees, arching her back. The girl pleasures Marilyn with her fingers.
Marilyn bites her lower lip. Then moans in ecstasy.
KITCHEN – BIT LATER
click, listen, scroll – MORCHEEBA: “The Sea”
Marilyn stands at the fridge. Door open. Basked in its glow, completely nude. She bends to take a look.
She slides across condiments, yogurt, fruit, and finds sausages and sliced meats. Her brow furrows.
She grabs an apple.
Marilyn strolls the hallway. Her nude hips sway. Her ass passes through shadows from the blinds.
She bites into the apple, staring out at the city below.
Fluorescent light from street signs outside blink across her toned body.
GIRL (OS) Rose? You still here?
Marilyn doesn’t answer. She keeps her gaze trained on the city lights. And takes another bite from the apple.
GIRL (OS) Rose?
MARILYN I’m in here.
The girl comes to her side.
GIRL What are you doing?
Marilyn doesn’t answer.
She looks to the girl, licks her lips, and silences her with a kiss.
GIRL Whatchu lookin at?
MARILYN The city.
GIRL What’s so special about it?
MARILYN My thoughts exactly.
GIRL There’s a better view in my bedroom.
She reaches under Marilyn’s arm and cups her breast. She kisses Marilyn’s neck.
MARILYN You ready for more?
Marilyn smiles. She crooks her neck. And they kiss open-mouthed. Passionate.
They separate after a moment. Marilyn looks dazed. She’s somewhere else. The girl doesn’t even notice. The girl reaches for Marilyn’s hand. She nods towards the bedroom.
Marilyn takes another bite from the apple, disinterested.
The girl leads Marilyn down the hallway.
They pass through the shafts of light, holding hands, strolling nude and casual.
The girl looks into Marilyn’s eyes. She smiles innocently.
Marilyn’s eyes widen. She stares at the smile.
She eerily imitates the girl, an uneasy smile reaching across her face.
click, listen, scroll – THE STOOGES: “We Will Fall”
EXT. PARK – DAY
An attractive red-head jogs along the forested path. She passes other jogger couples. She passes an old man feeding squirrels. She passes some punks smoking a joint near a statue.
She swipes her iPod. It’s Marilyn, in athletic attire, unrecognizable. Her red hair is drawn in a ponytail.
The song plays louder: Iggy Pop’s band, “THE STOOGES”. The drum beat is witchy, like a dreamy séance invocation. She runs to the rhythm.
Her sneakers land on the beat as she jogs through the park.
EXT. CITY SUBDIVISION – BIT LATER
Marilyn jogs at a pedestrian light, waiting for the WALK symbol to appear. It does, and she continues along.
Her sneakers run on sidewalk, to asphalt, to grass.
EXT. BACKYARD – BIT LATER
Marilyn lands over a fence. She checks her surroundings.
She’s alone in a typical middle-class family backyard with a playset, deck, and BBQ.
EXT. STREET – CONTINUOUS
Marilyn peaks around the house.
She spots the dead-end street with the open house. Police are still parked out front.
She cuts through several backyards.
EXT. OPEN HOUSE – CONTINUOUS
Marilyn jogs from the dead-end. She passes gossiping neighbours, finally arriving at the Open House laneway.
She catches her breath at the end of the laneway, her hands on her knees.
The male cops notice her, then resume their conversation.
The “soccer-mom-jogger-look” isn’t as appealing as the super-hot business women.
Marilyn walks up the laneway.
MARILYN Is it safe? I’ll be quick. I got kids waiting for me at home.
COP We’re just here as a precaution, ma’am.
MARILYN Right, the news. So it’s okay?
COP Sure thing, ma’am. Go on in.
EXT. APARTMENT BUILDING – DAY
The Downtown East apartment highrise where Myles lives. Busy people walk below.
INT. APARTMENT – CONTINUOUS
Myles hunches over at his computer.
He reaches for and scribbles in his notepad. He looks up at the monitor again, to the e-mail:
MYLES “I’m free tomorrow... Coffee sound good? Call me…”
Myles reaches back and grabs his coffee mug. He takes a sip.
Then he reaches for his phone and dials a number. He waits.
MYLES Still no answer.
He dials another number.
EXT. PARK – CONTINUOUS
That same park. That same path. Those punk stoners are now sitting and laughing. Much more relaxed.
RING RING. A jogger slows down. She jogs on the spot while she reaches for her phone.
It’s Penelope. Her RED hair tied up in a ponytail. She wears tight Yoga pants and a hoody.
PENELOPE Myles. What’s up?
MYLES (OS) This a good time?
PENELOPE Just out for a run.
Myle’s paces his office, talking on the phone.
MYLES Cool. I’ll make it quick. Remember that Occult blogger I told you about?
PENELOPE Ya. Witchy goth girl 2000. What? She put a hex on you? All those e-mails and phone calls.
MYLES (sarcastic) Funny, Pen. No. She wants to meet. Tomorrow.
MYLES I don’t wanna freak her out. But…
PENELOPE But what? Don’t worry, Myles. It’s a good question. You noticed the shift in prose. Call her on it.
MYLES What, like, “Hi, I think you’re a suspect in the Realtor Killings”.
PENELOPE I dunno how you put it.
MYLES I’m not nuts, right? I’m not reading too much into this?
PENELOPE Just enough. Like you said if all her other posts are so short. And kinda random. Then how does she post this epic novel full of flowery prose 10 minutes after the murder was reported. Kinda makes sense to me.
MYLES Good. I needed to hear that, Pen.
PENELOPE You worry too much, Myles. Way too much. What is she, like, super-hot or sumthin?
MYLES Dunno. Profile pic is a cartoon.
PENELOPE Ouch. Never a good sign.
MYLES I hope I don’t scare her away.
PENELOPE Okay. What-evs. I get it. I gotta run.
MYLES (smirks) Literally.
PENELOPE (obnoxious) Lame… Now, go meet her. Have fun. Maybe that’s what you need. A fellow intellectual whose not scared of the dark.
MYLES You make it sound like a date. This is for my book.
PENELOPE Uh huh. Benefits, dude. Maybe you should go easy on the Matlock shit.
MYLES (obnoxious) Lame, yourself… “Matlock”? You need more pop culture in your life.
PENELOPE (obnoxious) “Cut. It. Out.”
MYLES Full House, now? Whatever. You’re right though. I don’t wanna show my hand too early. Maybe it’s worth looking into her past and stuff.
PENELOPE Don’t tell HER that. Stalker boy.
MYLES ‘Sides. There’s still the chance she’s just inspired. Like, sometimes I can write tons in no time. If I’m super into it. And well, she has a blog on this sorta shit. So. Into it. Ugh. I’m confused.
PENELOPE Clearly. Chill on the coffee. Go play some ball. Burn off that anxiety.
MYLES Thanks, Pen.
PENELOPE No prob. Call me tomorrow night. I want details.
MYLES Perv. Later, Pen.
With that she hangs up, and continues her jog.
EXT. OPEN HOUSE – AFTERNOON
The cops in the driveway. The neighbours gossip and watch.
INT. OPEN HOUSE – CONTINUOUS
Marilyn examines an ornament on the mantle. Her brow lowered. Interested. She picks up another.
to be continued…
What do you think?
Leave a comment below.
stay tuned for CHAPTER IV… coming soon