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Eldest Son Essay

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"Eldest Son" By Emmanuil Morari and Cody LaPlant

"ELDEST SON" 1 EXT. THICK WOODS - NIGHT FADE IN: A MOUND OF DIRT steadily builds as more piles on. The DOWNPOUR of rain turns it into mud. PULL BACK TO REVEAL: A lone figure diggin a hole in the wet ground. His BLACK LEATHER JACKET drenched from the pelting rain. Each thrust of the SHOVEL becomes more labored than the last. CUT TO BLACK: ANDREW (O.S) It’s my move, I win this time! FADE IN: 2 INT. TOWNHOME - AFTERNOON Through a screen door, enters ANDREW (27) a young man with bright blue eyes. Inside, a modestly furnished townhome. He is greeted with a hug and kiss from his mother, ANN (49). ANN Hey honey. Andrew sets down the large grocery bag on the kitchen counter, throws his BLACK LEATHER JACKET on the chair and rushes over to the sofa. He sits down at a half played CHESS game set out on the coffee table. ANDREW (studying the chess board) I brought some stuff from the shop, Julian told me those steaks are freshA BEAT as Andrew studies the board. ANDREW (CONT’D) -and the boys say hi.




ANN You know you don’t have to keep bringing all this food here. ANDREW What are you talking about ma? you and me will devour those, have a nice big party. Invite Mrs. Davis from next door. ANN (putting the food in the fridge) Andrew, Mrs. Davis barely comes out of her place and I’m pretty sure she hasn’t forgotten when you almost set her place on fire. Andrew pantomimes a shocked expression. Ann laughs. ANDREW (fake disbelief) I thought she would have forgotten the fireworks. Ann finishes packing all the food and leans against the counter, looking at her son contemplating at chess. ANN Andrew... A BEAT. Andrew doesn’t take his eyes of the board. ANDREW I think this will be my move. His hand cautiously moves the BLACK QUEEN piece. ANDREW (CONT’D) Check. Ann moves over to the seat opposite of him as he looks up in a victorious smirk. She looks over the board for a few seconds and confidently takes out Andrew’s queen. ANDREW Ah shit! He shakes his head at the board as Ann gives him a solemn look. He feels the drop in atmosphere. Ann has a hard time getting the news out, as if searching the chess board for answers.




Andrew sits, a RINGING filling the air. His blank expression mimics the bland backdrop. A MUFFLED voice comes through, nothing intelligible. INSERT: ON WOODEN DESK A manilla envelope with a maroon insignia slides across the desk -- and HARD CUT TO: Andrew sits at an oversized desk. Across him, a small man with an oversized suit. The maroon insignia off the envelope graces the doors of the glass office. The RINGING brings us to 4 EXT. HARRELTON & SWABB - OFFICE BUILDING - NIGHT ANDREW’S FEET crunch into fresh fallen snow, they lead to a black motorcycle. He flips his leg over it and places on a dark helmet. HARD CUT TO: THE ATTORNEY OFFICE backdrops Andrew. He looks up at the building and starts the bike. 5 INT. ANDREW’S APARTMENT - NIGHT ANDREW holds up the envelope closely and examines it, the insignia reads: HARRELTON & SWABB. Andrew takes a BEAT and quick breath. He rips the side. Andrew sits in a chair reading the letter from the manilla envelope. INSERT: LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT. Andrew’s jaw clenches as his eyes gloss over. He finishes reading. A BEAT. Andrew crumples the letter in his hands. He stands up abruptly and throws it across the room, with quick burst yell. He collapses back into the chair, his hand holding his head. A few moments pass and Andrew lowers his hand, looking across his desk. On the wall, multiple clippings and papers hang. (CONTINUED)



He stands up and in one movement flips the head of the desk lamp to light the wall. We come in on a MAP, lit up by the lamp. A map of an island. 6 EXT. LAKE - MORNING SERIES OF IMAGES: -Water turns in the wake of a MOTOR -Water glides across the bow of a BOAT -Andrew’s white-knuckled hand gripping the THROTTLE -The ISLAND MAP held in Andrew’s hand, it flaps in the wind. -Andrew’s eyes, unwavering. END SERIES OF IMAGES Andrew rides in a FLAT BOTTOM BOAT. One hand holds the 15 horse power motor and the other, the map. He stares on ahead, glancing at the map. WILL LETTER (V.O.) Dear Mr. Harrelton, we regret to inform you that your father, James Andrew Harrelton has passed away. Andrew looks up from the map and through the fog on the lake, a dark shadow of land can be seen. A shadow of an island. CUT TO: 7 EXT. ISLAND SHORE - CONTINUOUS Andrew takes hold of the the boat and drags it ashore. He looks upon the island, foliage blocks a deeper view. He folds the map and places it in his back pocket. WILL LETTER (V.O.) (CONT’D) Mr. Harrelton has left you, with a shared ownership with your half brother, of the island property. CUT TO:



EXT. ISLAND WOODS - CONTINUOUS Andrew moves through the trees in a familiar way. The map stays in his back pocket. He has been here before. WILL LETTER (V.O.) (CONT’D) Enclosed is a private letter that has been delivered upon Mr. Harrelton’s request.


EXT. ISLAND EAST FIELD - CONTINUOUS Through a clearing Andrew emerges, his jacket moist from the morning. Just beyond the clearing, sits a worn down wooden cabin. Andrew pauses and takes the view in. With a deep breath he moves forward.


INT. ISLAND CABIN - CONTINUOUS The CABIN DOOR opens. Andrew silhouettes the doorway, golden sunlight fills the cabin. The layout is simple. A layer of dust has gathered on most of the surfaces. Unused for several years. On the wall, a large map hangs slanted. The map is of the ISLAND. Andrew walks up to it, his fingers reaching out to the dusty glass. As they trace over the image, Andrew can see fresh FINGER PRINTS. Someone has been here. He touches his back pocket -- its the SAME map. Andrew stares intently -- A BEAT -- and Andrew is off looking around the place -- the couches, untouched -- the kitchen -- floor -- he spots two GROCERY BAGS - he bounds to look inside. Andrew raises with a loaf of bread in hand and -- A CRACKING sound outside the cabin alerts him and he quickly reacts -the bread drops -- Andrew is trying not to panic and -- he is rapidly searching through the cabinets -- a drawer and -A HATCHET -- in one of the drawers and -Andrew rapidly against the door -- hatchet at the ready -someone is outside -- he peers through the cracked doorway -- a lone figure coming out of the forest. Andrew grips the HATCHET tightly -- a second look -- wait -Andrew recognizes him -- he steps into the doorway. The figure halts.




FIGURE Andrew? A BEAT. ANDREW (raising his hand) Richard. Meet RICHARD HARRELTON (23) this is Andrew’s half brother. Andrew, with a greeting hand while the other hides the hatchet behind the doorway. He lets it drop to the floor. 11 INT. CABIN - NIGHT. The LIGHT turns on. Richard lets go of the string. CABIN LOFT filled with boxes and several items stored away for a while. Richard moves throughout the space, Andrew is close behind. RICHARD (O.S.) Beer? Richard holds up a bottle from the SIX PACK he brought up. Andrew takes it. They both crack them open. They take opposite seats in old chairs. Taking swigs for a silent moment. RICHARD (O.S.) (cont’d) Even after Dad retired he never truly left the firm. I don’t think he really knew how stop. They kept calling him back you know? Andrew makes no reply, rather another another swig. RICHARD Looks like we will be staying the night. I wanted to go check out some of the spots out tomorrow. Andrew stands up, uncomfortable with sitting. Against the post he looks at rain battering the ATTIC WINDOW. Andrew’s as his father’s private letter V.O. comes through his head. JAMES HARRELTON LETTER I know no payment will suffice as reparations for the past son. My (MORE) (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: JAMES HARRELTON LETTER (cont’d) hope is this property will be shared between you and your brother. RICHARD (O.S.) So many memories in this place. ANDREW mulls over his father’s letter. It comes into view. INSERT: CU OF WILL


--IN THE PIT -- SOMETHING YOU BOYS DESERVE -- I’M SORRY -RICHARD (grinning) -- a bonfire. The line catches Andrew’s attention. His gaze finding the window. RICHARD (cont’d) Those were always a lot of fun. THE RAIN drumming against the window. RICHARD (cont’d) You didn’t come to the funeral. Andrew lets out a small laugh. ANDREW (shaking his head) No. Richard slowly nods. RICHARD I get it. Andrew puts the bottle to his lips. RICHARD (cont’d) Did you get Dad’s will? ANDREW Yeah, I got his will Andrew’s eyes drop to the box next to him. It is a bit torn and slightly open. Andrew slowly reaches in -(CONTINUED)



INSERT - IN FADED SHARPIE: ANDREW HARRELTON His fingers trace over his old school BACKPACK. 12 INT. PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL - EVENING PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE A slim young face sits behind dark tousled hair. Andrew, much younger, has his leather collar up against his neck. His eyes, stare off into a distance. BACK TO: 13 INT. CABIN - NIGHT LOFT RICHARD (setting his beer down) Look Andrew, I want to keep the property just like it is. It was my favorite place as a kid. We didn’t come back after we got the summer home. But this place was always A BEAT. RICHARD (CONT’D) -Special. Andrew turns, his eyes on Richard. Hanging off his word. RICHARD I’m glad you got part of this. You deserve it. 14 INT. PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL - EVENING (10 YEARS EARLIER) PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE The door erupts open -- blinds flying. Behind it -- Andrew storms out -- black jacket and helmet in hand. Furious. PRINCIPAL DERRY (after Andrew) Andrew! Come back here! We need to wait for your parents! Andrew walks in steady long strides. His knuckles white gripping the helmet. We follow him out to the PARKING LOT. The snow -- racing past his face. Andrew slides the helmet on roughly.

9. 15 EXT. HIGHWAY ROAD - NIGHT - CONTINUOUS Andrew speeds through the TUNGSTEN lit roads on his black motorcycle, cutting through flurries as they sift about him. His breath, heavy and erratic. Andrew drowns it out with the ROAR of the engine. 16 EXT. JAMES HARRELTON HOUSEHOLD - CONTINUOUS In a well financed neighborhood, Andrew rides up next to a large house and stops his bike. He takes off his helmet and places on the tank. Unwillingly, he looks up at the big house. In the night, all the windows emanate golden rays. Most of the light comes from a large BAY WINDOW in the front of the house. Inside, a family is gathered. They laugh and interact in an enchanting way. A grey haired man kisses one of his sons and tickles him lightly. This is a young version of Richard. Andrew watches them desolately. The glow from the house reaches his face. Andrew’s eyes blink as the floating flurries surround him. His chin quivers and he hides his face as his helmet comes down. The bike roars to life and speeds off. The Harrleton family carry on merrily unaware. 17 INT. CABIN - NIGHT BACK TO PRESENT Andrew’s shifts his eyes to the floor, snorting at it. RICHARD You don’t agree? Hands in pockets, his gaze returns to the WINDOW. ANDREW I don’t care. You can do whatever you want to it. Richard shifts in his seat. RICHARD Dad left you half of the property... Andrew locks his eyeline onto Richard. Detached.




ANDREW What you don’t understand is, he was never my father. This means nothing to me. The atmosphere drops. RICHARD Andrew, he tried to Andrew cuts in with a hard laugh. ANDREW Richard, stop. I came for the day and I’m leaving in the morning. There is nothing I want from him. He walks across the LOFT to the WINDOW. He looks outside. 18 EXT. LOFT WINDOW - NIGHT Andrew stares through the rain, his eyes hard with intent. 19 INT. CABIN LOFT - NIGHT ANDREW I think I saw someone out there. RICHARD What? Who? Andrew turns and bounds down the stairs. Richard jumps up and follows after. 20 INT. CABIN KITCHEN - NIGHT Andrew is at the cupboards and drawers, looking inside each one. Richard comes in, eyes wide. RICHARD What did you see? ANDREW (CONT’D) I don’t know, I’m gonna go check it out. RICHARD Andrew, it’s a downpour out there. Andrew pulls out a FLASHLIGHT out of a drawer, he tries flicking it on. It works. Andrew moves past Richard to the door.


CONTINUED: RICHARD (cont’d) I’m coming with you.


Andrew turns on his heels suddenly, grabbing Richard by the shoulder. Firm. ANDREW No. Richard, taken aback by Andrew’s response. Andrew sees this and replies in a calm voice. ANDREW (CONT’D) We can’t get lost out there. I’ll check it out and be back shortly. Stay here and hold down the fort. Richard looks over Andrew and with a deep breath nods his head. Andrew gives him a pat and is out the door. 21 EXT. CABIN - CONTINUOUS A SHOVEL leans against the back of the cabin as a hand grabs it. Andrew throws it over his shoulder. He clicks on the flashlight and holds it in his mouth. He takes out the map from his back pocket and brings it up to the light. The map is splattered by the rain as Andrew looks around him and back to the map. As he gains his bearings, he throws the map back into this pocket and treks into the dark woods. 22 EXT. THICK WOODS - CONTINUOUS The flashlight illuminates parts of the trees, its beam swinging back and forth, until - it goes to the ground on a loose ring of ROCKS with a blackened middle. This is the FIREPIT. CUT TO INTRO: 23 EXT. THICK WOODS/FIREPIT - CONTINUOUS More than waist deep, Andrew is in a steady dig. The rain pelts down on him. His shoes in ankle deep mud. Until - the shovel hits a THUD. Andrew stops. He throws the shovel on the ledge and grabs the flashlight, pointing it into the muddy hole. CLOSE UP ON: (CONTINUED)



a corner of a WOODEN CHEST sticks out of the mud. Andrew quickly bends down to dig out the chest with his hands. He is able to pry it out and lift it with ease. Out of the hole, Andrew holds up the chest. A simple latch holds the lid on. Andrew cautiously lifts it and shines the flashlight onto the contents of the chest. A complex array of emotions play across his face. He quietly closes the chest and fastens the latch. A BEAT. Andrew throws the box into the hole and shovels dirt into it. He stops when the SOUND of crashing branches come through the woods. Andrew picks up the flashlight and points it to the oncoming sound. Out of the wet treeline, Richard barges through. He is out of breath and exhausted from reaching the fire pit. RICHARD What the hell are you doing!? The light shines in his face. Trying to block the light out with his hands, Richard is only able to see an outline of Andrew. RICHARD (CONT’D) Do you even know what is down there? Andrew’s grasp on the flashlight tightens. FLASHBACK TO: 24 INT. KITCHEN - DAY (18 YEARS EARLIER) Broken plates scatter the kitchen floor. Andrew’s mother, Ann holds herself at the sink with her head sunk down. She shakes lightly as she cries to herself. Andrew (9) stands in the kitchen doorway, a glass of CHOCOLATE MILK in his hand. He watches his mother. BACK TO PRESENT:



EXT. THICK WOODS/FIREPIT - NIGHT Richard waits for a response, unable to see with the light in his face. RICHARD Andrew? Richard spots the half covered chest in the hole. He turns defiantly towards the light. RICHARD (cont’d) I deserve to know what’s in there Andrew! ANDREW No, this belongs where it was found. The light drops. Richard can now see Andrew with the shovel in hand. Andrew takes a scoop of thick mud and dumps it on the chest and --- Richard, rushes him -- his hands now on the shovel -- a STRUGGLE -- back and forth and -- Richard loses his grip -a swift movement and -- the shovel swipes across Richard’s face. He drops out cold. A BEAT. Andrew breathes heavily. He makes a step toward Richard. His footing gives way in the mud and Andrew tumbles into the hole. His head hits the side of dirt wall. Unconscious. CUT TO BLACK:


EXT. THICK WOODS/FIREPIT - DAWN FADE IN: IN THE HOLE The morning light reaches the edge of the deep hole Andrew has dug. Passed out, he sleeps in a crouched position against the dirt wall. He is caked in mud from head to toe until WATER pours all over his face in a large splash. He wakes up violently, with a hoarse yell. His breath visible in the cold morning air.




RICHARD (O.S.) Good morning sunshine. Andrew uncontrollably shakes as he looks up from the bottom. On the edge of the gaping hole stands Richard, holding a now empty bucket in his hands. He crouches down and Andrew can see the heavy bruising on Richard’s face. RICHARD (looking around the hole) Able to find anything? Teeth chattering, Andrew makes no reply to Richard’s sarcasm. RICHARD (CONT’D) Look what I found. Richard holds up the chest. Andrew quickly pats the earth around him, the chest was taken overnight. RICHARD I think it’s about time that I figure out what you would knock me out over. ANDREW Richard. Please, don’t open it. Andrew’s pleading tone isn’t enough to dissuade Richard as he stands up with the chest. Andrew rushes up the hole and slips back down. He’s is trapped. RICHARD I have the right just as much as you do. Dad sent me a letter, just I assumed he sent you one too. Richard opens the latch. Andrew’s pitch in voice raises as he begins to yell. ANDREW Richard! No! Don’t do it! ON RICHARD a wave of confusion furrows his brow. He drops to his knees. Andrew lets his head lean against the wall. He knows what’s inside.




We come in on the chest -- inside several photos and papers are scattered. INSERT - PHOTOS AND DOCUMENTS several photos of the same children. They cover different ages and moments. Copies of birth certificates and other legal documents are mixed in. In the corner a key. ANDREW (cont’d) It wasn’t just us, Richard. There were other. Other kids. no one knew. That’s his last gift. Richard simply stares at the chest in the mud. Unable to truly process the information. Their father had other children. ANDREW (cont’d) I didn’t want that. You don’t want that. 27 EXT. CABIN STEPS - MORNING Andrew and Richard sit on the entry steps of the cabin. Both with a beer in hand. Andrew is still caked in mud and Richard sports a wicked black eye. On the side step, several of the chest contents lie open. RICHARD You hit me with a shovel. ANDREW yeah... RICHARD You hit me with a shovel. ANDREW yeah, I am really sorry about that. RICHARD You know in some places they would call that attempted fratricide. They both smile and chuckle as they sip their beers. Richard winces and holding the beer up to his bruised eye. He looks over to the stack and picks up one of the photos. INSERT - PHOTO




a peakish teenage boy walks with a backpack on. He flips it over, in blue pen an ADDRESS is written. Richard looks at Andrew, he too has noticed it. Richard stands and is in the cabin now. He rushes to the CHEST that sits on the kitchen counter -- open and --- a KEY with a flotation bauble attached rests inside. CUT TO: 28 EXT. ISLAND WEST SHORE - MORNING Andrew and Richard come over the hill next to the shore. They have been walking for quite a while. Across at the shore -- A BOAT HOUSE. The morning sunlight glints off a WOODEN BOAT inside. The boys regain their breath from their trek. Richard holds up the KEY -- the boat key. Andrew spots it and looks back at the boat house. ANDREW What an asshole. Richard gives him a sympathetic smirk. 29 EXT. LAKE - MORNING Richard and Andrew drive the antique boat cutting through the calm lake. Andrew, in the passenger seat with his jacket all the way zipped up. He watches the water splash up over the bow. Richard at the helm, hair blowing wildly. Both men stare onwards with an air of defiance. INSERT: Richard holds THE PHOTOGRAPH in hand as he steers the boat. The address flaps back and forth in the wind.







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