It was a 2016 Nicholl Fellowship Finalist, the 2016 Page International Screenwriting Contest Winner for Comedy, a 2016 Austin Film Festival Semifinalist, and a 2016 Sundance Institute Official Selection for the Charlotte Screenwriter's Intensive.
Click THIS LINK to view a MARLENE THE DIVINE promotional package, which includes character breakdowns and a brief synopsis of the story.
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TITLE, OVER BLACK:
"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain -- Exodus 20:7"
INT. NEW YORK CITY DINER - DAY
The SOUNDS of a busy DINER: blabbing patrons, surly waitresses, short-order cooks SCRAPING their greasy spatulas.
Scuffed shoes jitter-tap on a scarred, red-checked floor.
We track up, past scrubby jeans and a faded backpack that sits on a vinyl booth-seat. Up to a puffy, black WINTER JACKET worn by one TED MORTON (40s, white).
Ted's the only one in a jacket, because it's not a cold day.
He watches out the window. On edge. Nursing a glass of APPLE JUICE and ignoring the HUSBAND and WIFE (60s) GLOWERING at each other across the table in the next booth.
This is a real New York couple: brash, loud, and totally unapologetic.
One vacation a year. One god-damned vacation...
He notes Ted's winter clothing and momentarily loses focus.
...and if you think I'm gonna go to freakin'
Wisconsin, you're outta your god-damned--
Watch your mouth. You watch your--
A day and a half on that god-damn train just
to hear a bunch a' cheeseheads brag about
their lame-ass team? You're outta your--
Hey! That's my fa-mi-ly you're talkin' about.
At the word "fa-mi-ly," Ted turns their way -- a look the Wife most definitely catches.
They're your second cousins, for Christ's sake.
And you were rushin' faster'n I was to get
outta' there after that funeral last--
I swear to God you take the Lord's name in vain
one more time, I will stab you in the eye with
this fork and twist, so help me God. You think
this nice man, here...
She points to Ted.
...You think he came all the way from, what,
looks like Florida to hear you blaspheming the
I am so sorry, mister. As you can see, my
husband has no respect. For all he knows,
you're some priest from, uhhh...
But Ted's not paying attention. Ted has finally spotted the man he's been watching for, out the window. Ted is FROZEN.
The Wife leans over the back of her booth-seat and SNAPS her fingers near Ted's face.
Hey. I'm tryin' to apologize.
Ted unzips the backpack on the seat next to him and we catch a glimpse of a shiny, snub-nosed REVOLVER inside.
Ted turns. His face blank.
The Wife SPLUTTERS.
Ted stands, reaches into his bag, and pulls out... a few crumpled bills, which he SLAPS down onto his booth-table.
And I thought you were rude.
Enjoy your vacation.
Ted bee-lines to the door.
EXT. NEW YORK STREET - CONTINUOUS
Ted steps out into mid-day, pedestrian chaos: people everywhere, many of them in t-shirts and shorts. Ted's winter clothing is wildly conspicuous.
He reaches into his backpack (this time for the revolver) as he parallels a MAN IN A SUIT (50s).
The Man walks along the other side of the one-way street.
Ted grips the revolver (inside the backpack) and steps out into the street, never noticing the
Horn-blowing, bright-red LEXUS that VEERS past him and
smacks full-force into a PARKING METER on the far side of the street. The top of the meter goes flying. The front of the Lexus CRUNCHES. Steam HISSES out from under the hood.
Brakes SCREECH! Horns BLARE! Pedestrians looky-loo as Ted full-stops in the middle of traffic.
The Lexus' door opens and out steps none other than...
[GOLDEN TRUMPET FANFARE]
...MARLENE THE DIVINE
And it's not just the trumpets -- the whole WORLD seems to pulse, momentarily, with Marlene's glory.
Marlene (40s) is a compact, vivacious black woman (think Octavia Spencer) in Blues-Brothers' sunglasses and a Here-I-Am red dress.
She brandishes a hefty black PURSE and she's a whole lotta focused energy coming right at Ted. No words, just straight-up locomotion.
Ted strains to see past her to the receding Suited Man.
I have to go. I--
He jigs to the right and almost makes it past, when...
MARLENE THE DIVINE
Oh, no you don't.
...Marlene SNAGS the collar of his over-puffed jacket and JERKS him straight backward.
Ted stumbles and nearly falls.
MARLENE THE DIVINE
You aren't goin' anywhere, Mr. Man.
Ted YANKS out the revolver and points it at Marlene.
I am sorry about your car. But I-- I have to
He edges wide, scanning for the fast-receding Suited Man.
Ted just squeaks past, but as he looks away from Marlene she SWINGS her purse by the strap, full-inertia-force
into the back of his head.
Everything slows WAAAAY down as Ted falls toward the pavement and we...
FREEZE FRAME, mid-fall.
Spittle flying. Face contorted. Eyes rolling. But we're looking past him, closer and closer to the for-some-reason-smiling face of Marlene.
"Prepare to Meet Thy God -- Amos 4:12"
SMASH CUT TO BLACK
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Thanks for your interest!