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Runaway Bride

Screenplay

by
Sarah Parriott

&

Josann McGibbon


FADE IN
EXT. AN IMPOSSIBLE EXPANSE OF MARYLAND FARMLAND - DAY
The wind rustles the endless field of corn, blows over the

freshly mown meadow of soybeans, and magically sways a copse of

trees.

It's a Fall after-noon. A SUDDEN POUNDING OF GALLOPING HOOVES

breaks the peace and... A HORSE and RIDER burst between the rows

of corn into the meadow. They are running for their lives.


CLOSE ON:
The rider is a bride -- a beautiful woman dressed in a

disheveled wedding gown, it's train tattered and flying like a

knight's banner out behind her. This is MAGGIE CARPENTER.
The horse is frothing and wild-eyed, like the bride, who turns

to look behind her in terror. The horse's labored breathing

mingles with Maggie's panicked gasps.
We see a WEDDING BOUQUET fly into a ditch as the horse thunders

on. Maggie clings to the reins. She looks as though she is

running from the devil himself.
FADE TO BLACK
EXT. IKE'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY
Establishing.
CUT TO:
EXT. IKE'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY - ESTABLISHING SHOT
EXT. NEW YORK STREET - DAY
IKE (V.O.)

Hey, Fisher, pick up. I have some

column ideas I want to bounce off you.

Not there? Okay. Listen I'm thinking

of writing about those mind-numbing

informercials that are always on.


Ike walks out of his apartment building talking on cell phone.
IKE (cont'd)

What do you think? Good idea, right?

Boring, down to death, pointless -- It

sucks.
Ike yells at a CONSTRUCTION WORKER.


IKE (cont'd)

If you guys are here any longer,

they're gonna make you sign a lease.
CONSTRUCTION WORKER

Your column should be so funny.


Ike turns and walks down the street, talking into cell phone.
IKE

Okay, I was also thinking I might write

about...
He spots a RICH LADY with tons of diamonds getting out of a

Limousine, talking to a CHAUFFEUR. He goes up to her.


IKE (cont'd)

Excuse me. I was thinking of doing an

article on limousines. What would you

say to people who never had a chance to

drive in a limo?
They walk up to her DOORMAN.
LADY

I'm sorry, I don't know any people like

that.
Ike walks off. They stare at him as he goes.
EXT. ANOTHER NEW YORK STREET - DAY
Ike's talking on the phone to his friend's machine again.
IKE

(into phone)

Fisher? Come on -- I know you're

sitting there laughing at me. Pick up.

I want to run an idea past you.
Ike continues walking now in the full panic of writer's block.

He pleads into his friend's answering machine as he walks.


IKE (cont'd)

(into phone)

I just could use someone to toss it

back and forth with for a few minutes,

get the juice flowing, help me. I have

an hour and twenty-seven minutes and

fifty-two seconds. Hello?
He walks away from the t-shirt table towards the bar. The

Vendor calls out to him.


T-SHIRT VENDOR

Hey, Ike, when are you going to put me

in an article?
IKE

When your t-shirts stop shrinking.


Ike enters the bar. The Woman drops the shirt she was holding

and walks off with her children. The T-shirt Vendor goes back

to selling his shirts.
INT. NEW YORK BAR - LATE DAY
Ike sits at the bar speaking to an attractive Woman nearby, a

MAN puts is USA Today on the bar and addresses the BARTENDER.


MAN

I see photos of a lot of dead writers

on these walls. Got any living ones?

I have a story to tell that could win

one of them a Pulitzer.

(then, with enthusiasm)

Picture this, if you will. A small

town in Maryland, a sleepy little

village, within that a hardware store...
The Man continues speaking as Ike and the woman continue their

conversation.


WOMAN

So what's in store for us in tomorrow's

column?
IKE

I don't know yet. I'm kind of a last-

minute man. Ideas don't flow until an

hour or two before deadline.


The Woman gets up and begins throwing darts.
WOMAN

(interrupting)

This is very interesting. You get your

ideas for your column from life. You

start up a conversation with a woman in

a bar, attack her choice of reading

material, try and get a rise out of her

while you contemplate whether or not

she's worth hitting on.
IKE

No, I can't hit on you until I get an

idea.
She starts throwing darts.
WOMAN

That's flattering.


IKE

No, you don't understand.


The Woman goes to her bar stool, gathering her bag and leaves a

tip for the Bartender.


WOMAN

I think I do understand. So my not

responding to your baiting me will

inspire one of those potential bitter

diatribes you love to write about women

and all the things we do to drive men

crazy?
IKE

(taken aback)

I don't write bitter diatribes about

women... very often.


She whacks him with a newspaper, then shakes his hand.
WOMAN

Only when the ideas aren't flowing,

huh? Well, it was very nice to meet

you, one-minute man.


The Woman leaves the bar.
IKE

(as she exits)

That's last minute man.

(then, louder)

And it's the quality that counts.
BARTENDER

You know, for a good looking man, you

strike out a lot.
MAN

I've seen much worse.


The phone rings. Te Bartender answers it as Ike sits back on

his bar stool. Ike grabs the woman's magazine that she left on

the bar and starts glancing at it. The Man at the bar has heard

the whole thing.


MAN (cont'd)

I said, I've seen much worse.


Ike looks at the Man with reservation. The Man is George

Swilling.


IKE

Excuse me?


MAN

The brush-off.


Ike gets up and moves to the dart board. He removes the darts.
MAN (cont'd)

I've witnessed far more treacherous and

nefarious exits than that. At least

she castigated you in private.


IKE

Not as private as I thought.


Ike turns slightly, giving the man his back.
IKE (cont'd)

Kevin, you've got some napkins?


BARTENDER

Writing or wiping?


IKE

Give me a pen.


The Bartender gives him cocktail napkins and a pen. Ike starts

making notes. Ike looks up from his writing. The Man gets up

and starts throwing darts.
MAN

(throwing darts hard)

Ah, come on. They deserve it. They

love you, they hate you, they're hot,

they're cold, they're high, they're

low...
IKE

... They're up, they're down. It's

really fun making this list with you,

but I've got a column to go write.
BARTENDER

Ike.
MAN

(undeterred)

But you don't have a really superb idea!

Well, there's a girl from my hometown

you could write about.


Ike moves to the Bartender and pays him.
BARTENDER

(to Man)

Excuse me, we don't need any new ideas.
MAN

She likes to dump grooms right at the

altar. They call her "The Runaway

Bride".
Both Ike and Bartender turn and stare.


MAN

She performed the travesty seven or

eight times. Right at the altar she

turns around and runs like hell.

Bolts.
Ike turns and heads for the door. The Man calls after him,

getting up from his stool without stopping his enthusiastic

story.
MAN (cont'd)

Adios. Plows down the aisle, knocking

old ladies out of her way like the

running of the bulls at Pamplona. And

guess what?
IKE

I give up.


MAN

She has the next victim all lined up.

She's twirling another body on the

spit.
Ike stops in his tracks. He turns back around in spite of

himself.
MAN

(beginning his story)

Imagine if you will, a small town in

Maryland...


CUT TO:
INT. IKE'S APARTMENT - DUSK
Ike sits at his computer, cassette player with Miles Davis PLAYS

next to him as he types away reading his handiwork to himself.


IKE

(reading)

"Today is a day of profound

introspection, I have been accused

of using this column to direct bitter

diatribes at the opposite sex! This

uncomfortable accusation has plunged me

into at least fifteen minutes of

serious reflection, from which I have

emerged with the conclusion that, yes

-- I traffic in female stereotypes."
EXT. USA TODAY OFFICE - DAY
FISHER walks through the main office reading the paper.
FISHER

"But how can one blame me when every

time I step out my front door I meet

fresh proof that the female archetypes

are alive and well? Te mother, the

virgin, the whore, the crone; they're

elbowing you in the subway, stealing

your cabs, and overwhelming you with

perfume in elevators."
INT. USA TODAY OFFICE - CONTINUOUS
Elaine at her desk reads aloud to herself.
ELAINE

"But perhaps, in fairness to the fairer

sex, I do need to broaden my horizon

and add some new goddesses to the

pantheon: I would like to nominate for

deity..."


Fisher hands a file to Elaine.
FISHER

"... The cheerleader, the coed, and the

man-eater, the last of which concerns me

most today."


Fisher leaves and we hold a USA Today sign.
CUT TO:
INT. NEW YORK BAR - DAY
The Man comes out of the men's room reading the USA Today,

Kevin, the Bartender, stands on the bar reading the same

article.
MAN

(reads)


"To be fair, the man-eater isn't

exactly new. In Ancient Greece, this

fearsome female was known as Erinys,

the devouring death goddess. In India,

she is Kali, who likes to devour her

boyfriend Shiva's entrails while her

yoni devour his -- dot dot dot, never

mind. In Indonesia, the bloody-jawed

man-eater is called Ragma..."
Te Man sits at the bar near to the Bartender.
BARTENDER

You noticed these are all countries

without cable.

(then, continues

reading)

"... And in Hale, Maryland where she

helps run the family hardware store.

She is known as Miss Maggie Carpenter

..."

(mispronounces)



".... AKA, the Runaway Bride."
CUT TO:
EXT. USA TODAY LOADING DOCK - DAY
WORKERS read the above article.
INT./EXT. BEAUTY PARLOR / HALE, MARYLAND - DAY
PEGGY and MRS. PRESSMAN exit the parlor and stroll down the

street. (lowers her paper and reads.)


PEGGY (cont'd)

"... And in Hale, Maryland where she

helps run the family hardware store."

(to the Women)

We have to go to Maggie. Cindy, mind

the shop.

(exits salon;

continues reading)

"... She is known as Miss Maggie

Carpenter, AKA, the Runaway Bride."


MRS. PRESSMAN

Holy moly.


The older one, Mrs. Pressman, listens with a pained expression

as the younger one, Peggy, continues to read the column aloud.

Neither one can believe what they're reading.
PEGGY

(reads)


"What is unusual about Miss Carpenter

is that she likes to dress her men up

as grooms before she devours them. She

has already disemboweled six in a row

by leaving them at the altar."... I

can't ready anymore.


MRS. PRESSMAN

(takes paper from

her, reads)

"And her ritual feast continues as she

prepares to make a sacrifice out of the

seventh fiance. So all bets are on and

we hope that this boomerang bride isn't

honeymooning with Las Vegas odds makers

because many predict that this girl is

out of there before the race... before

the rice hits the ground"

(then)


Holy moly.
Peggy and Mrs. Pressman step into a hardware store.
INT. HARDWARE STORE - CONTINUOUS
Peggy and Mrs. Pressman enter, worried.
MRS. PRESSMAN

You tell Maggie.


PEGGY

No, you tell her.


MRS. PRESSMAN

No, no. You're her best friend.


PEGGY

No.
MRS. PRESSMAN

(holding her

newspaper)

You know, it's just possible that she

hasn't read this yet.


PEGGY

Yeah.
MRS. PRESSMAN

Maybe she hasn't read the paper...
On the counter, they see a copy of USA Today opened to the

article about Maggie.


MRS. PRESSMAN (cont'd)

... Or not!


We follow MAGGIE down the back stairs inside The Hale Hardware

Store, the prettiest, most welcoming shop of its kind anywhere

in small town USA. Somehow the place ha taken on the spirit of

the owner's daughter; both stop and shop-girl radiate brightness,

charm, and possibility. Maggie comes down steps with a faucet

handle and goes to an elderly customer, MR. PAXTON.


MAGGIE

(bright)

Here we go! One antique hot water

handle with the "HOT" still on it,

guaranteed to fit any American Standard

cast iron tub with a four-inch center

made between 1924 and 1938. In other

words, I think you're out of the

doghouse with Mrs. Paxton.
MR. PAXTON

(amazed)

Hallelujah.
MAGGIE

Alright, Mr. Paxton, I'll put it on

your account.
Maggie rounds the bend, another customer, EARL, stands by the

paint machine.


EARL

Maggie.
MAGGIE

(walking past customer)

You don't need an air conditioner, Earl,

you just need an attic fan -- There's

more in the back.


Maggie steps behind the front counter of the store and takes the

account book out. Her voice trails off as she sees the dour

expression on the faces of her friends.
MAGGIE (cont'd)

What?
Peggy nervously mentions the newspaper.


PEGGY

(delicate)

So -- Mag -- you've seen this, huh?
MAGGIE

(serious)

Yes, I've seen it. And I have to say

it's the rudest and most offensive...

joke anybody's ever played on me!
To their amazement, Maggie starts smiling.
MAGGIE (cont'd)

You guys! How long did this take you?


Maggie stays amused.
MAGGIE (cont'd)

Where'd you get this done?

(laughing)

You creeps! I should disinvite you!

And why did you say seven times? This

is four.


PEGGY

Uh, Maggie, you told us to bachelorette

jokes, so we didn't...
Maggie looks at the stricken face of her friends.
MRS. PRESSMAN

Holy moly.


Peggy looks like she is going to cry with sympathy for Maggie.

Maggie is starting to feel uncomfortable. She looks down,

dubiously, at the paper.
MAGGIE

Um, you know, now would be a good

moment to tell me this is fake.

(no response)

It won't be funny if you drag it out.

Okay?


(no response)

Okay, well... I mean, I can find out...

Real newspapers smear. Phoney papers

don't.
She picks up the paper and brushes it against her apron, leaving

an INK SMEAR!!
She nearly kneels over.
MAGGIE (cont'd)

(sitting)

Bag.
Peggy and Mrs. Pressman immediately spring to her side. They

give her a bag to breathe in.


MRS. PRESSMAN

Bag.
CUT TO:


INT. MAGGIE'S WORKOUT ROOM/GYM - NIGHT
We see Maggie kickboxing in anger. The radio is on. She

suddenly stops, yanks Ike's article off the wall, leaves her

workout area and goes to her desk.
ANGLE ON DESK AREA:
She turns off the radio and begins to type her letter.
MAGGIE (V.O.)

"Dear Editor..."


EXT. MANHATTAN - DAY - ESTABLISHING SHOT
As Maggie's VOICE-OVER continues to read her letter, we take in

a Manhattan busy day. It is big, loud, and anonymous.


MAGGIE (V.O.; cont'd)

"Greeting from the sticks! Perhaps you

believe that a rural education is

focused mainly on hog calling and

tractor maintenance rather than reading.

Why else would you print a piece of

fiction about me and call it fact?"
Te CAMERA FINDS Ike, striding across a busy street, dodging

taxies. A WOMAN smacks him with a newspaper. He passes a WOMAN

TRAFFIC OFFICER, then a hot dog stand. He greets and passes a

FALAFEL VENDOR. THE CAMERA PANS to a USA Today Truck.


MAGGIE (V.O.; cont'd)

"I suppose Mr. Graham was too busy

thinking us slanderous statements about

how I dump men for kicks to bother with

something silly like accuracy in

reporting. Which is understandable,

because with a "man-eater" like me on

the loose, who has time to check facts?"


EXT. USA TODAY LOADING DOCKS - CONTINUOUS
He passes regular GUYS who cheer him.
MAGGIE (V.O.; cont'd)

"Still, we cannibalistic queens can get

pretty cranky when we see things in

print that hurt our feelings, like that

we deliberately abandon fiances with

malice aforethought."


INT. USA TODAY LOADING DOCKS - CONTINUOUS
He enters the newspaper building, going to Ellie's office.
INT. USA TODAY OFFICE - CONTINUOUS
He walks through the crowded city room. His arrival attracts a

lot of attention from his CO-WORKERS. Ike seems a little

surprised, but he's pleased.
MAGGIE (V.O.; cont'd)

"That's why I was surprised to find Mr.

Graham's editor was a woman. Call me a

sentimental fool, but I sort of hoped

we man-eater could stick together."
Ike works his way down the hall to the editor's office. CHUFFA

Ike greets various workers. He steps up to the editor's

secretary, ELAINE. She doesn't smile.
IKE

(to Elaine)

I'll put in a good word for you.
ELAINE

No, no, don't mention my name in there.


IKE

Why?
A buzz.


ELAINE

You can go in now.


Ike goes into Ellie's office. Elaine picks up her phone.
CUT TO:
INT. ELLIE'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS
ELLIE is that editor. Stylish and successful looking, she's

about Ike's age. Ellie sits behind a big desk with a scowl on

her pretty face. Her casual-looking husband, Fisher, sits

nonchalantly on the arm of the couch. Ike enters as Ellie reads

Maggie's letter.
ELLIE

(reading letter)

"Anyway, I'm just dropping you big city

folk this little note to say that I have

thought of a ritual sacrifice that would

satisfy my current appetite: Ike

Graham's column on a platter. Yours

truly, Maggie Carpenter. P.S. -- I

have inclosed a list of the gross

factual misrepresentations in your

article. There are fifteen."
Ike sits as Ellie puts the letter down and takes off her glasses.
IKE

(chuckles as he sits)

Fully. I like her. She has wit.
ELLIE

I left four messages. You don't return

my calls.
IKE

So? I never returned your calls, even

when we were married. And what's

Fisher doing here anyway?


Fisher gets and places a photo of the cat on a bookshelf on his

way to the other side of the room.


FISHER

Ellie asked me to come down to offer

moral support.
IKE

Since when does Ellie need moral supp--


ELLIE

-- It's for you, Ike.


IKE

What?
ELLIE

Journalism lesson number one. If you

fabricate your facts, you get fired.


Ellie pushes USA Today lawyer's letter across the desk for him

to read. Ike picks it up and skims the letter. His face is as

impassive as stone.
IKE

Lesson number two. Never work for your

former spouse.
ELLIE

That's not nothing to do with it. You

cooked this story up and you know it.
IKE

I didn't cook up a story. I had a

source.
ELLIE

Someone reliable, I'm sure. A booze-

hound in a bar?
FISHER

In vino veritas.


IKE

Don't knock drunk guys in bars. Drunk

guys in bars are good. It means

they're not driving.


Ike gets up and stands near Ellie, making his point.
IKE (cont'd)

Besides, I'm a columnist. This is what

columnists are supposed to do. This is

what you like. We push, we stretch, we

go out on a limo. That's what makes me

good!
ELLIE

No, that's what makes you unemployed.
IKE

I merely write the stuff. You're the

one that serves it up.
Ike puts down the letter and puts his glasses back into his

pocket.
ELLIE

Not anymore. I have to draw the line.

(pushing a piece

of paper)

She sent us this list. Our lawyers say

it's actionable.
Ellie hands Ike Maggie's list.
IKE

(scoffs)

Lawyers.

(glances at list)

I don't know, Ellie -- Firing me is

going to be very tough on you. It's

going to be hard to get over. There

will be therapy bills for you.


ELLIE

(shrugs)

I already made an appointment for later

today.
IKE

(putting the list

down, standing)

See? You want custody of my job? ...

Why not just consider my wrist slapped

and call me when you feel I've served

my time?


ELLIE

I'm sorry, Ike. This is permanent.


Fisher winces and looks away. Ike and Ellie look at each other

for a sober moment.


ELLIE (V.O.; cont'd)

If you go quietly, I'll get you

severance pay.
Ellie fidgets with her toy rake, then Ike heads for the door.

He laughs a little at the painful truth of her words and walks

out. Ellie collapses back in her chair. Fisher goes to her and

rubs her shoulders.


EXT. USA TODAY LOADING DOCK - DAY
Ike rides sadly on the back of a forklift, gets off and walks

out.
EXT. HALE RESIDENTIAL STREET - ANOTHER MORNING


ANGLE ON MAGGIE'S HOUSE:
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