"In writing fiction, the more fantastic the tale, the plainer the prose should be. Don't ask your readers to admire your words when you want them to believe your story." - Ben Bova [ more quotes ]

"THE ITALIAN JOB"

Screenplay by

Donna Powers and Wayne Powers

Based on the 1969 screenplay by

Troy Kennedy-Martin

December 21, 2001



FADE IN:

EXT. THE PORT OF GENOA, ITALY - NIGHT

Forklifts RUMBLE. Workers WIPE FRAME. All the bustle and
cacophony of a major seaport.

We FIND ourselves focusing on ONE LARGE CRATE. With the
GRINDING of gears, a crane lifts it off the dock and carries
it onto a ship.

INT. HOTEL ROOM - SAME TIME

Through night-vision binoculars, CHARLIE CROKER, 28, watches
the mysterious crate. Charlie is young to run his own crew
but he's a born leader.

CHARLIE
Lyle?

SWISH PAN TO: LYLE, 21, brilliant and punctilious, fingering
the keyboard of his strap-on supercharged laptop.

LYLE
I've got the orbital data and SV
clock corrections for each satellite
that gets the signal. That'll make
my reading as solid as the Precise
Positioning Service that only the
D.O.D. can use. We're talkin' 100
meter horizontal accuracy, 156 meter
vertical accuracy, .340 nanoseconds
time accuracy.

SWISH PAN TO: STEVE, 30, bearded. Steve has an arrogant
confidence mixed with the hint of a smile.

STEVE
Why can't he talk like a person?

CHARLIE
...Because he's not.

LYLE
I do need one more thing, Charlie.

CHARLIE
What's that?

LYLE
Someone to turn the goddamn homing
device on. No signal, no score.

CHARLIE
(to Steve)
Where're the Italians?

STEVE
Patience.

INT. HUMVEE (MOVING) - SAME TIME

The driver is HANDSOME ROB, 30. Riding shotgun is HALF-EAR,
35, immersed in a book: Albert Einstein Creator & Rebel.

Half-Ear is a large black man with a Southern accent and a
hearing aid.

HANDSOME ROB
What's that shit?

HALF-EAR
A book. It's called reading. You
should try it some time.

Handsome Rob holds up three fingers.

HANDSOME ROB
You wanna read something. Read between
the lines.

HALF-EAR
Well here's something even you can
relate to. Albert got a lotta trim.
That genius thing is a babe magnet.

HANDSOME ROB
Lemme see that book.

INT. HOTEL JEWELRY SHOP - SAME TIME

The final member of the crew, JOHN BRIDGER, 50s, is a tasteful
man buying a very tasteful, and very expensive, diamond
necklace. The saleswoman wraps it up as he dials a number on
his cell phone.

STELLA (V.O.)
Hello?

JOHN BRIDGER
Hi, sweetie.

INT. STELLA'S CONDO - PHILADELPHIA - INTERCUT

STELLA BRIDGER, 27, crushingly attractive, has just stepped
out of the shower, hair still wet, body wrapped in a towel.

STELLA
Daddy. How are you?

JOHN BRIDGER
I'm sending you something.

STELLA
Really? Does it smell nice?

JOHN BRIDGER
No. But it's sparkly.

STELLA
Does it come with a receipt?

JOHN BRIDGER
I'm having it sent to you from the
store.

STELLA
(toweling her hair)
Why not bring it by yourself? We
could have dinner.

He leaves the store and heads for the HOTEL ELEVATOR.

JOHN BRIDGER
Be a long trip. I'm in Genoa.

She doesn't like the sound of that.

STELLA
Let me guess. Checking out the
birthplace of Christopher Columbus.

JOHN BRIDGER
Something like that.

STELLA
With your parole officer's approval.

He steps into the elevator. Rides up.

JOHN BRIDGER
I think I've paid my P.O. my last
visit. I liked the guy, but we never
really connected.

STELLA
What are you into, Dad? Don't break
my heart. You told me you were
through.

JOHN BRIDGER
After this, I swear to you, I am.

STELLA
You promised me. Daddy, don't do
this.

The elevator door opens, Bridger steps out and starts down
the hall.

JOHN BRIDGER
Everything's going to be fine. I've
got to go now. I love you. Bye.

He clicks off then uses his card key to step into the --

INT. HOTEL ROOM - CONTINUOUS

He eyes Charlie, who looks pretty tense.

JOHN BRIDGER
Italians?

CHARLIE
Not yet.

STEVE
Don't worry, they'll come through.
You can trust these guys.

JOHN BRIDGER
I trust everyone. It's the devil
inside them that I don't trust.
(then, to Charlie)
Got a sec?

CHARLIE
My office.

INT. HOTEL BATHROOM - NIGHT

They step inside, Charlie closing the door.

JOHN BRIDGER
How you feeling, boss?

CHARLIE
Fine. I'm fine, fine.

Bridger seems amused by that answer.

JOHN BRIDGER
You know what fine, stands for, don't
you? Fucked-up, Insecure, Neurotic,
and Emotional.

CHARLIE
You've become quite the philosopher
since you quit drinking.

JOHN BRIDGER
You don't like me sober?

CHARLIE
No, I'm glad. Makes you a better
thief.

Bridger pulls out a fine cigar, still in its wrapper, hands
it to Charlie.

JOHN BRIDGER
For after the haul.

CHARLIE
Hope I get to fire it up. If Steve's
Italians are a no-show, it's three
months prep down the shitter and
I've dragged you out of retirement
for nothing.

JOHN BRIDGER
This is kinda nice. You being the
boss with all the worries, me just
along for the ride.

CHARLIE
Ain't you sweet...

From the other side of the door, they HEAR --

STEVE (O.S.)
Charlie!

INT. HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT

Charlie takes the binoculars from Steve. He SEES TWO ITALIAN
CUSTOMS INSPECTORS climbing onboard the ship.

CHARLIE
Your Italians.

STEVE
Yup. Dixie cups.

CHARLIE
Dixie cups?

STEVE
I toss 'em away if there's a problem
down the road.

EXT. SHIP - NIGHT

In ITALIAN, the Inspectors quiz the NERVOUS CAPTAIN about
the mysterious crate.

One Inspector takes a crowbar and yanks out several strips
of plywood, REVEALING unmarked cardboard boxes inside. The
other Inspector pulls out one of the boxes and tears it open.

It is filled with tomatoes. He takes a bite out of one.

Nods. Everything seems to be order. The Captain looks
relieved. The inspector closes the cardboard box but...

Watch carefully now, because as he does this, he hits a power
button on a small HOMING DEVICE and stuffs it in with the
tomatoes...

INT. HOTEL ROOM - SAME TIME

On Lyle's computer screen, a pulsating dot appears, BEEPING,
sending out precise longitude and latitude.

LYLE
For those about to rock, we salute
you.

Charlie dials his cell phone.

INT. HUMVEE (MOVING) - INTERCUT

Handsome Rob answers.

HANDSOME ROB
Yeah.

CHARLIE
Let's get rich.

Handsome Rob pulls over. They're at the port. They can see
the mysterious crate being lowered into the ship's hold.

Half-Ear climbs out, taking a large duffel bag with him.

CUT TO:

EXT. SHIP (DOCKED) - LATER, NIGHT

The Captain is doing his final checks before launch. OUR
CAMERA DROPS to --

BENEATH THE WATER

where we FIND Half-Ear, in scuba gear, applying Nitramon
explosive primer to the hull of the ship.

INT. HUMVEE (MOVING) - NIGHT

Plowing through thick brush that breaks out onto a secluded
beach. Handsome Rob is still behind the wheel but now Steve
is in the passenger seat. Lyle, in the back, is still on the
laptop, legs fidgeting like a drummer on meth. POP goes his
bubble gum.

HANDSOME ROB
Can you chill out back there? You'd
make a hummingbird nervous.

EXT. UNDERNEATH THE SHIP - NIGHT

Half-Ear finishes up. Speaks into the headset inside his
gear.

HALF-EAR
I'm done. Over.

LYLE (V.O.)
Copy that. Enjoy the ride, cowboy.

Half-Ear grabs onto the bottom rung of a ladder that is bolted
to the side of the ship as it launches off the dock and into
deeper water.

CUT TO:

TWO BRIGHT CIRCLES IN A SEA OF DARKNESS

Coming closer... becoming clearer... It's Charlie and John
Bridger, in scuba gear, riding torpedo-shaped Dive Propulsion
Vehicles (DPVs) that pull them through the deep blue sea at
a good 5 m.p.h. Both DPVs drag equipment bags.

A Global Satellite Positioning Device is mounted on the
handlebar of Charlie's DPV, being fed information via Lyle's
laptop. A circle pulsates on the monitor, a beacon to the
crate in the ship.

EXT. UNDER THE BOAT - NIGHT

Half-Ear still clings to the ladder. It's a wild ride.

Through the headset inside his gear, he HEARS:

LYLE (V.O.)
Get ready. 3. 2. 1. Drop.

Half-Ear lets go of the ladder. The ship's propellers speed
by just above his head. WHOOSH.

He removes a radio-controlled detonator. Hits the button.

EXT. SHIP - ON THE CUT

The hull of the boat EXPLODES.

INT. SHIP'S HOLD

A very neat hole on the bottom of the boat beneath the crate
is opened. Water RUSHES IN and the crate falls right through
the cavity, vanishing.

UNDERWATER

The huge, heavy crate drops down... down... hits the bottom.

ON THE SHIP

Chaos rules. She's taking on water fast. No way to save her.
The captain orders the dinghy lowered into the water.

INT. HUMVEE - NIGHT

Parked in the sand at the top of the bay. Steve looks out to
the bay through infrared binoculars.

The ship is going down. The crew on the dingy head back to
the port, which is in the opposite direction of this beach.

EXT. THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA - NIGHT

The DPVs are now attached by a tether to an underwater lifting
bag that is used to move heavy loads through water.

The crate is surrounded by our three diver-bandits.

Using crowbars they pull apart the plywood. The cardboard
boxes of tomatoes dump out, tomatoes spilling everywhere.

And now we see what was hidden between the boxes...

A large safe.

They move like clock-work. Half-Ear aims an underwater light
at the dial. Charlie drills a small hole near the dial.

John peers inside a horoscope and lines up the three wheels
of the combination lock... until the door pops open.

As they stare at what's inside, they speak into their
headsets, heard by all.

CHARLIE
Sweet Jesus.

JOHN BRIDGER
"That for which all virtue is sold.
And almost every vice -- gold."

And now we see the contents of the safe: 160 glistening GOLD
BRICKS. Made in Singapore, they weigh 25 pounds and each one
is decorated with the face of an exotic Balinese girl. We're
talking thirty million dollars worth of gold.

INT. HUMVEE (PARKED) - NIGHT

They holler and high-five and it's just a great moment to be
alive. Steve takes another peek through his infrared
binoculars and sees --

The last vestiges of the ship hang above the waterline, then
disappear.

EXT. UNDERWATER - A LITTLE LATER

The gold is now stacked and secured on the lifting bag.

They attach an underwater parachute to the bag and hook a
hose from an air tank into press of a pressure release valves
which cause the parachute to INFLATE.

Looking like a hot-air balloon underwater, the whole thing
floats up about fifteen feet. Half-Ear holds onto its side,
going along for the ride.

Then Charlie and John Bridger speed off on the DPVs which
are tethered to the inflatable bag. As they glide through
the water towards the secluded beach, we...

CUT TO:

EXT. MOUNTAINOUS ROAD - FIRST LIGHT OF DAWN

The Humvee climbs into the mountain ranges of the Alps.

INT. HUMVEE (MOVING)

The gold is in three crates in the cargo bay.

Handsome Rob and Steve are still up front. The others are in
the back seats, the divers out of their scuba gear. They are
pouring champagne into paper cups; except for Bridger who
abstains. He holds up his empty cup.

JOHN BRIDGER
My name is John and I'm a very rich
alcoholic. And I'm going to live my
life one very rich day at a time.

THE CREW
Alright, John!

They laugh and pound their fists against the roof of the
Humvee. Charlie pulls out the cigar Bridger gave him. As
Bridger lights it for him --

JOHN BRIDGER
You planned this one down to a t,
kid. It's a gift. You saw the big
picture, made contingencies, covered
the angles...

Hearing this, Steve looks a little jealous.

JOHN BRIDGER
Shit, you made thirty million dollars
in gold drop out of sight without
holding a gun. Who else could've
pulled that off?

CHARLIE
You could've. I had big shoes to
fill.

JOHN BRIDGER
Fill the shoes but don't follow the
footprints.

CHARLIE
What're you talking about? You've
lived the life.

JOHN BRIDGER
My life's been nothing but fake IDs,
fake business cards and divorce
papers. This is the only thing that's
real.

Bridger shows him a photograph of Stella that he keeps in
his wallet.

CHARLIE
Stella's a beautiful girl.

JOHN BRIDGER
She's amazing. And I spent half her
childhood in prison. This is a once
in a lifetime haul, Charlie. Bring
down the curtain after this one.
Make a new life. Find someone amazing
and be there for her.

As the advice escapes Bridger's mouth --

EXT. MOUNTAINOUS ROAD

A Jeep thunders out of a hiding place in the trees and blocks
the road. The Humvee brakes to avoid running into it.

HANDSOME ROB
Shit.

Click. That's the sound of a gun cocking as it's pressed
against Handsome Rob's temple.

STEVE
Anyone acts stupid and his brains go
on the windshield.

They see the two Italian Inspectors jump out of the Jeep, AK-
47s leveled at the crew. Steve has double-crossed them.

ON THE CREW: shocked would be a good place to start.

CHARLIE
What the hell do you think you're
doing?

STEVE
Sorry Charlie. But I want the box of
Cracker Jack all to myself.

The Italians pull the crates of gold out of the back of the
Humvee.

CHARLIE
You're not thinking this through.
It's a stupid move.

STEVE
Think so? Well you're the brilliant
one. The Master Planner. Isn't that
so, John?

Steve climbs out of the Humvee, gun still on Handsome Rob,
the AK-47s aimed at the others.

STEVE
You bet on the wrong horse.

JOHN BRIDGER
We'll hunt you down. You're gonna
regret this.

EXT. HUMVEE

Safely outside, Steve turns his gun on Bridger.

STEVE
No regrets, Dixie cup.

BOOM. He shoots Bridger in the head. Just like that.

The Italians follow suit, AK-47s SCREAMING out bursts of
full automatic fire at the crew.

INT. HUMVEE

They duck for cover as the vehicle is riddled with gunfire.

Glass shatters. Bullets ricochet. They're in the epicenter
of hell.

Handsome Rob jerks the steering wheel and stomps the gas.

Driving blind.

EXT. MOUNTAINOUS ROAD

The Humvee hits the side of the Jeep, grinds alongside it,
metal tearing against metal.

The Humvee's right side tires precariously hover by the cliff
and the raging water below.

The gunners keep FIRING. Bullets rip into the Humvee's tires.

EXT. HUMVEE

It almost escapes, but it can't make it on shredded rubber.

It careens off the road and --

SERIES OF SHOTS

The Humvee plummets through the air and plunges into the
raging river.

INT. HUMVEE

Water cascades in through the open windows. They're thrown
around as the Humvee rides the rapids. WHAM. The passenger
door caves in as the Humvee rams into a large rock then is
swept further downstream. Through the foam and spray, Charlie
looks over to Bridger. He's dead. The torrent ROARS.

Only their chests and heads are above water. And that's not
all. There's a WATERFALL AHEAD.

EXT. WATERFALL

The Humvee is palmed in its deadly embrace and hurled over.

It cartwheels into the pool below, sending up a huge geyser
of water.

It sinks out of sight.

EXT. MOUNTAINOUS ROAD - SAME TIME

The crates of gold are now inside the Italians' Jeep. Steve
climbs in, leaving the crew for dead.

UNDERWATER - SAME TIME

The Humvee strikes the surface bottom with an ominous thud.

EXT. MOUNTAINOUS ROAD - DAWN

The Jeep jerks to a stop. A door opens and the bodies of the
two Italians, shot dead, are dumped out into the mud.

Steve is alone now. Just him and the millions in gold.

INT. HUMVEE - SAME TIME

The water entombs them. Blood from Bridger's fatal gunshot
mists the water red.

They manage to get the door open. They start to swim out but
Charlie won't go without Bridger. He grabs his friend's body
and pulls it up with him.

EXT. RIVER - SUNRISE

They drag themselves ashore, Handsome Rob helping Charlie
pull Bridger's corpse. Charlie is shocked, tormented, grieved,
and angry beyond description. Against the rocky embankment,
he holds Bridger. Not wanting to ever let go.

CHARLIE (V.O.)
If you would have told me that I
would spend the next three years
searching for Steve Bandell, I would
have said that was nothing. Cause I
would have spent a lifetime looking
for that bastard if I had to.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. OFFICE - DAY

SOMEONE'S POV. A top of the line safe. The only light in the
office is the beam of a penlight on the dial.

GLOVED HANDS spin the dial, feeling for "contact points",
areas on the dial where a slight resistance can be felt --
if you have the touch.

NEW ANGLE. A woman holds the penlight in her teeth while
trying to crack the safe. It's Stella Bridger, now 30.

SUPERIMPOSE:

Three Years Later Philadelphia

She manipulates the dial. Click. She grabs the safe's lever
and swings the heavy steel door open, her face a mixture of
pride and relief. But before we see what's inside -- LIGHTS
TURN ON.

TWO COPS lurk at the doorway.

FIRST COP
You always work in the dark?

STELLA
Buzz of the fluorescents throws me
off. She's all yours.

The cops come closer and only now do we realize that they're
on the same team.

SECOND COP
Damn. Chris Perley couldn't crack
it. Neither could Michael Hoyt.

STELLA
Now you know who to call first.

FIRST COP
You're expensive, Stella. Those guys
cut us a break on subpoena jobs.
Goodwill, community service...

STELLA
Well I do it for the money. I'll
send you the bill.

SECOND COP
Don't you want to see what's inside?

STELLA
I never look. Bye, guys.

And as she walks off, they do look -- at her.

EXT. STREET - DAY

A car RISES INTO FRAME on a bustling street: a 1960 Mini
Cooper S., a worldwide motoring icon. Its shape crouches low
to the ground and its tiny 10-inch wheel-at-each-corner gives
it the legendary Mini look.

If when you see its headlights and classic grille it doesn't
bring a smile to your face, then you've got no automobile
soul.

INT. MINI (CRUISING) - DAY

Stella takes on the road like someone who loves to be behind
the wheel of a car that claimed victory in the Monte Carlo
Rally three times. She passes a minivan, a breeze with the
Mini's quick, go-kart-like handling.

She searches for a parking space on a street lined with SUVs.

Sees a spot, it's not really a space, just a gap between two
gas guzzlers, there's no way any car could squeeze in.

Brake. Shift. Hard turn. She parallel parks the Mini with
ease. She's right in front of --

HER SHOP

Antique keys and locks dominate the storefront window with
the name of the shop stenciled across the glass: BRIDGER
LOCK AND SAFE COMPANY. Stella hops out of the Mini. With a
poised walk she heads inside.

INT. SHOP - DAY

It is filled with old cast-iron safes she has rebuilt along
with some new models. Stella's RECEPTIONIST greets her.

RECEPTIONIST
How long?

STELLA
Four minutes, forty-three seconds.

High-five.

RECEPTIONIST
You're the man.

STELLA
So what's on the line-up?

RECEPTIONIST
2:00. Home safe in Fairmount Park.
Owner died and the wife never knew
the combination. And Todd Milliken
called. He has a prototype combination
lock he wants you to test out tomorrow
morning. Says he added two false
contact points on the tumbler.

STELLA
Tell him if I don't have it opened
in six minutes flat, breakfast is on
me.

RECEPTIONIST
And there's a Charlie Croker in your
office. He said you two know each
other.
(an aside)
And he looks pretty fine for a white
boy.

Without a response, Stella heads over to --

HER OPEN OFFICE DOOR

and sees him fiddling with her collection of safe doors that
line the shelves.

STELLA
Charlie Croker.

He turns around. Smiles. Charming.

CHARLIE
Hi, Stella.

She steps inside.

STELLA
Refresh my memory. After you came to
see me and told me what happened to
my father, I told you I never wanted
to see you again, didn't I?

CHARLIE
Yeah. You did.

STELLA
So I'm a little confused.

CHARLIE
I found him.

At first it seems that Charlie's words have no effect on
her, but then he notices that her hands are trembling.

CHARLIE
I can tell you where he is.

STELLA
I don't want to know.

CHARLIE
Are you sure?

She doesn't answer.

CHARLIE
He's in Los Angeles.

She doesn't respond. Doesn't ask him to go on, doesn't ask
him not to. So he goes on...

CHARLIE
The gold bricks he stole from us
were minted in Singapore and decorated
with the face of a Balinese girl.
I've had my tentacles out and got a
call from a friend of mine and your
father's, Philly Steak.

Stella remembers him.

STELLA
When I was little he would play poker
at the house and drop quarters under
the table for me to find.

CHARLIE
He got word from an L.A. connection
named Skinny Pete that a gold dealer
has been buying bricks with the
Balinese girl on them, three or four
at a time.

STELLA
You ever heard the expression, cut
to the chase?

CHARLIE
I tracked Steve down to an address
in the Hollywood Hills. He's changed
his last name to Frezelli. And get
this: he had a Worthington 1000
installed in the house before he
even moved in. We both know that you
don't install a Worthington 1000
unless you have something precious
to guard.

STELLA
Precious or not, I don't deal with
ill-gotten goods.

CHARLIE
We boosted that gold from a terrorist
group that was about to trade it for
bio-weapons. Now that doesn't exactly
make us Robin Hood, but maybe in our
own little way we were doing a good
deed. Problem is, no one in my crew
can handle that safe. And I need
someone I can trust.

STELLA
And you think that's me? Haven't you
heard that I work for the other side?

CHARLIE
What I heard is that you have your
father's touch. And he was the only
safecracker I knew who could open a
Worthington 1000.

STELLA
I'm not a safecracker. I'm a
professional safe and vault
technician.

CHARLIE
You're John Bridger's daughter. And
this is our chance to set things
right.

That sets her off.

STELLA
Our chance? Who do you think you are
coming in here? Stealing the gold
isn't going to bring my father back
to life.

CHARLIE
No, it won't.

STELLA
Then get out.

EXT. STREET DAY

Charlie comes out of her shop and starts down the sidewalk.

Suddenly, Handsome Rob appears out of the crowd and is walking
next to him.

HANDSOME ROB
How'd it go with the chick?

CHARLIE
I'm working on it.

HANDSOME ROB
I don't want her on the crew, Charlie.

CHARLIE
Gotta have her. Important piece of
the puzzle.

HANDSOME ROB
There has to be someone else. What
about Bill Huchins?

CHARLIE
Doing ten long at Levinworth.

HANDSOME ROB
Red O'Reilly?

CHARLIE
Chemo.

HANDSOME ROB
Martin Hernandez?

CHARLIE
Found Jesus.

Handsome Rob stops Charlie.

HANDSOME ROB
I don't want a civilian to screw
this up.

CHARLIE
She has the skill. And the motivation.

HANDSOME ROB
Exactly. She's emotional. You know
what happens when emotion gets into
it.

CHARLIE
It's emotional for all of us at this
point. Don't kid yourself.

INT. EXPENSIVE RESTAURANT/BAR - NIGHT

RICHARD WORTH has his back to the bar. He's a blue blood
trial lawyer with an ego that has more horsepower than a
Ferrari.

RICHARD
It's all in my patented sideways
glance. Like this...

He gives a sideways glance to Stella; it's their first date.

RICHARD
I hit each woman on the jury with
one of these. We make contact. And I
know exactly what they're doing.
Undressing me with their eyes.

STELLA
I see...

What a nightmare. Someone bumps into Stella, a mumbled,
"Excuse me." Nightmare continues...

RICHARD
The case is all but won. That's why
in jury selection I choose as many
women as possible. Except lesbians,
of course. I can tell in sixty seconds
if they're a lesbian. Want to know
how I know?

STELLA
If they don't undress you with their
eyes?

RICHARD
Precisely. Like that waitress right
there. See? She's looking at me right
below my belt. Definitely not a
lesbian.

A waitress is indeed looking below Richard's belt. But Stella
notices that she was only looking because Richard's zipper
is all the way down. She smiles.

STELLA
Your fly.

RICHARD
I am fly. And I'm da bomb. Just wait
until later tonight.

Suddenly a BUSBOY stumbles and a tray of drinks fall, soaking
Richard's suit in red wine.

BUSBOY
Oh, man. I'm sorry.

RICHARD
You should be. Moron. What the hell's
wrong with you?

BUSBOY
It was an accident. I'm very sorry.

RICHARD
Where's the manager? Richard Worth
is not paying to have his suit
cleaned. Damn.
(to Stella)
I'm going to... I don't believe this.

He starts off to the bathroom and as soon as the space he
was occupying empties, Charlie fills it.

CHARLIE
I think your date's going pretty
well, what do you think?

She shoots him a look that could reverse global warming.

STELLA
What are you doing here?

CHARLIE
What do you mean? I come here all
the time.

STELLA
I don't think so.

CHARLIE
Sure. Lawyers, Judges, my kind of
crowd. See that gentleman there, he
sentenced me to 90 days in county
once. We need to talk.

STELLA
No, you need to listen. I want you
to leave. Got it?

CHARLIE
Hey, I paid valet parking prices to
get in here, not to mention a twenty
spot to the busboy to spill that
drink on Mister Zipper.

STELLA
You -- I don't believe this. You
paid someone to spill that drink?

CHARLIE
Actually, you paid for it.

Charlie returns her wallet.

CHARLIE
Didn't notice it was me who bumped
into you earlier, did you? Anyway, I
was hoping we could get to know each
other a little better before we leave
for Los Angeles. I already booked
your flight.

STELLA
You truly are a fatuous, odious man.

CHARLIE
I have no idea what you just said,
but I like the sound of it.

STELLA
Well maybe you'll understand this.
Hit the road, Jack --

CHARLIE
Charlie --

STELLA
Or you'll be sorry, Charlie, cause
I'll kick you in the nuts so hard
that your voice will be as high as
my heels.

She means it, too.

CHARLIE
I'm beginning to worry about this
whole relationship.

STELLA
I'll let you in on a secret. You
can't have a relationship with a
pickpocket, gold robber, or any kind
of thief.

Charlie looks away, lets her have her point. This whole thing
is getting pretty heated so when he turns back to her, he
uses a whole new approach. His emotions are genuine.

CHARLIE
John wasn't just a man I crewed up
with, he was my friend, he was the
closest thing to a father I ever
had. I wish to God I could bring him
back. But all I can do is go after
this guy, the guy that killed him,
and hit him where he lives.

She feels the honesty in his words but before she can reply,
they're interrupted by --

RICHARD
Everything alright, Stella?

He's back, red wine splotched on his suit.

STELLA
Fine. Richard. Charlie. Charlie was
just saying goodbye.

But for now, Charlie is just staring at Richard, boring into
to him...

RICHARD
Can I help you with something?

CHARLIE
Oh, sorry. I was just undressing you
with my eyes.

And with that, Charlie goes. Stella can't help but smile.

EXT. STELLA'S CONDO - NIGHT

She comes home, having shed her date.

INT. STELLA'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

She goes through a drawer and pulls out a package she hasn't
looked at for years. She opens it.

Inside is the beautiful necklace that her father bought her
in Italy. It brings tears to her eyes.

INT. CHARLIE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

He lies in bed, can't sleep. His phone rings. He picks up.

CHARLIE
Hello.

INT. STELLA'S BEDROOM - INTERCUT

She's on the other end of the line.

STELLA
I'm in this for one thing, Charlie,
and one thing only. I want to see
the look on his face when his gold
is gone. He took my father from me,
I'm taking this; it's the best I can
do.

CUT TO:

EXT. STREETS - DAY

Stella's Mini passes, weaves, tucks in between cars. She
drives like a madman.

INT. MINI (SPEEDING)

Charlie feels like he's inside a video game.

CHARLIE
I see Drive Defensively is your motto.

STELLA
Don't worry. Jack Daniels never let
me down.

She slaps the dashboard of her car.

CHARLIE
By the way you drive, I'm not
surprised you named your car after a
bottle of whiskey. Left.

STELLA
Jack Daniels was chief engineer of
the Mini. And I drive it exactly the
way it was meant to be driven.

She whips down the avenue.

CHARLIE
Another left.

She hangs a left.

STELLA
We're going in circles. Who's tailing
you this week?

CHARLIE
The possibilities are endless.

EXT. STADIUM PARKING LOT - DAY

The Mini parks in the middle of the huge, empty lot that
surrounds Veterans Field, home of the Philadelphia Phillies.

INT. MINI

She looks around...

STELLA
Where are they?

CHARLIE
We're a little early. I didn't expect
us to get here quite that fast.
There...

A Vespa pulls into the lot, headed their way. It's Lyle.

Charlie starts the introductions.

CHARLIE
That's Lyle. Gearhead. He's who really
invented Napster...

QUICK CUT TO:

INT. DORM ROOM - NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY - 1999 - NIGHT

Below a Metallica poster, Lyle has fallen asleep on his desk.

His roommate, Napster creator SHAWN FANNING, recognizable in
his trademark baseball cap, sneaks a peek at Lyle's computer.

CHARLIE (V.O.)
At least that's how Lyle tells it.

CUT BACK TO:

INT. MINI - DAY

And now they see a monster pick-up truck bouncing into the
lot, MUSIC THUMPING from its Alpine at ear-bleeding levels.

CHARLIE
Half-Ear. Explosives. He lost fifty
percent of his hearing in the fifth
grade.

QUICK CUT TO:

INT. GRAMMAR SCHOOL BATHROOM - 1990 - DAY

A 10 year old boy stands in front of a toilet in the stall.

BOOM! Water geysers out of the bowl and soaks him.

CHARLIE (V.O.)
One M-80 in the toilet bowl too many.

Some kids in the bathroom saw the whole thing.

KID
That was rad!

HALF-EAR
Wha'?

CUT BACK TO:

INT. MINI - DAY

And now a RUMBLING in the distance. Stella looks. Sees a car
streaking their way, almost like a mirage in the heat waves
coming off the pavement. Closer. Faster. A classic Mustang.
Its engine rumbles like a jackhammer. It's had some serious
custom work done to it.

CHARLIE
Handsome Rob. Premier wheel man. He
once drove all the way to L.A. just
so he could set the record for longest
freeway chase.

QUICK CUT TO:

EXT. L.A. FREEWAY - 1999 - DAY

Handsome Rob's behind the wheel, flicks a cigarette butt out
his open window --

We watch it hit the pavement, ashes spark, and then behind
the fallen butt we see that every lane of the 405 is filled
with cop cars in pursuit.

CHARLIE (V.O.)
Smashed the mark by twelve minutes.

We now see Handsome Rob through the lens of a TV news
helicopter camera.

CHARLIE (V.O.)
He got a hundred and ten love letters
sent to his jail cell from women who
saw him on TV.

CUT BACK TO:

INT. MINI - DAY

As the cars converge in the parking lot...

STELLA
And what about you?

CHARLIE
I've been a thief since I had baby
teeth.

QUICK CUT TO:

INT. GRAMMAR SCHOOL PLAYGROUND - DAY

SEVEN YEAR OLD CHARLIE is shoved against a chain link fence
by a SIXTH GRADE BULLY.

BULLY
Cough it up, Charlie!

Charlie hands the bully a dollar bill. The bully puts it in
a wallet that is over-stuffed with cash and saunters off,
laughing it up with his bully pals. Charlie turns to his 2nd
grade classmate who sports a fresh black eye.

CLASSMATE
So much for lunch.

SEVEN YEAR OLD CHARLIE
You need a dollar?

CLASSMATE
I thought he took your last one.

SEVEN YEAR OLD CHARLIE
He did.

Charlie holds up the over-stuffed wallet that he pickpocketed
from the bully.

SEVEN YEAR OLD CHARLIE
But I got lots more now.

CUT BACK TO:

EXT. PARKING LOT - DAY

Doors open simultaneously. Everyone out. The crew eyes Stella.
Charlie gets right down to business.

CHARLIE
This is Stella. She's working with
us on this one. IDs?

Handsome Rob hands out fake driver's licenses.

LYLE
(reading his)
Melvin Lisp? Could I -- just once --
have a cool name?

HALF-EAR
(also complaining)
220 pounds? Try 180.

HANDSOME ROB
Try 'Deal A Meal'.

LYLE
I don't even have a cool nickname.

CHARLIE
Enough of this sewing-circle shit.
Phones.

Half-Ear hands out new cell phone to everyone and takes their
old phones.

HALF-EAR
Philly Steak says these are clean as
a whistle. He also got us four dozen
internal chips with different numbers.
Change out the chips twice a day.

As Charlie hands out airline tickets --

CHARLIE
We travel to L.A. separately.

LYLE
You still haven't told us the most
important thing. What exactly is the
job, Charlie? And who exactly is
she?

Lyle and Half-Ear have been kept in the dark until now.

CHARLIE
This is Stella Bridger. And we're
finishing the job that we started in
Italy.

They're a little stunned at first.

HALF-EAR
Holy shit. It's about time.

CUT TO:

MONTAGE - LAX - NIGHT

The crew deplane from five different airplanes, different
air carriers.

They disperse in separate vehicles. See Charlie at Avis,
renting a car.

See Handsome Rob renting a U-Haul panel truck.

See Stella on a hotel shuttle bus.

See Half-Ear on the underground Metro Rail, taking the Red
Line.

See Lyle in a taxi, headed south on Figueroa Street. He
notices a YOUNG WOMAN HITCHHIKING. For a moment, their eyes
connect. She is a beautiful waif and the feeling sweeps
through Lyle: if only... But the taxi passes by.

Charlie checks into Shutters, with its Victorian beach house
feel and oceanfront view.

Stella's at the Peninsula in Beverly Hills with its opulent
lobby.

Handsome Rob's at the Standard, with its kitschy decor and
ironic style. He stares at a huge empty aquarium behind the
front desk where a performance artist writhes and a DJ spins
out rhythmic throbs. Very L.A.

Half-Ear's at the new Renaissance Hollywood Hotel adjacent
to the dramatic Babylon Gate and the Kodak Theatre.

And Lyle's at the Downtown Bonaventure, riding up the glass
elevator. Perfect gearhead hotel.

EXT. SHUTTERS HOTEL - BALCONY - SUNSET

The five of them sit in chairs on the balcony of his hotel
room. There's a sweeping view of the Pacific.

CHARLIE
We need an in to get a video blueprint
of the interior. We're not going
into this place blind. Half-Ear, you
take the first surveillance shift.
Who goes in, who goes out, levels of
security, you know the drill.

HALF-EAR
You got it.

CHARLIE
I also want audio surveillance on
his phone.

LYLE
I'll hack into the phone company's
central office remote observance
monitoring system and fool it into
thinking there's a legal tap on the
line. Reroute the digital copies of
his calls to our own listening post.

CHARLIE
How long?

LYLE
I'll burn through the night, have it
up and running before morning.

CHARLIE
(to Handsome Rob)
We need to know how long to get from
the house to Union Station downtown.

HANDSOME ROB
No problemo.

CHARLIE
Stella. How much time will you need
with the safe?

STELLA
I'll have it open in five minutes
flat.

HANDSOME ROB
It's not the same as opening a safe
for the cops. Your heart will be
pounding in your ears. Perspiration
on your fingertips. It's a whole
different ball game.

STELLA
You get me to the safe, I'll open
it.

Out over the ocean, the sun is in its death throes, bruising
the sky a coiling purple and orange.

EXT. STEVE'S HOUSE - MORNING

Nestled at the end of a cul-de-sac on Oporto Drive in the
Hollywood Hills. Chrome. Glass. Carved wood.

EXT. MARAVILLA DRIVE - MORNING

The U-Haul panel truck is parked on the side of the road
that overlooks Oporto Drive and Steve's house.

INT. U-HAUL - MORNING

It's been converted into their surveillance vehicle, the
back outfitted with monitors and surveillance equipment.

Half-Ear peers through binoculars and says his notes into a
micro-cassette recorder. His binoculars focus in on the fence
that surrounds the perimeter of the property.

HALF-EAR
(into recorder)
We've got an anti-scaling fence.
Hardened, electroplated steel. Hacksaw
won't work. We'll need Nitramon.

The binoculars SWISH PAN TO a guard booth where a guard keeps
an eye on the gate.

HALF-EAR
Armed guard. 9MM semi-automatic in
the holster. Security booth is
accessible and ideal for a triple
charger chemical grenade.

The binoculars SWISH PAN TO four Rottweilers prowling the
grounds.

HALF-EAR
Shit. Dogs. Why do black men hate
dogs? I'll tell you why, Charlie.
Because dogs are racist. That's a
natural fact. Someone else deal with
'em.

EXT. 101 FREEWAY - DAY

A sea of cars, gridlock in L.A. Crammed in the middle of the
traffic meltdown is Handsome Rob's rental car.

INT. RENTAL CAR (CRAWLING)

Timing out the getaway route. He's got a Thomas Guide on the
passenger seat and a stopwatch ticking away but he's going
nowhere fast. He futilely leans on the car horn.

INT. U-HAUL - DAY

Lyle's surveillance shift. He takes digital photos with a
telephoto camera. ZOOMS IN on a security pad on the front
door.

LYLE
(into micro cassette
player)
Advent Home Navigator Hybrid System.
Monitors 132 points for intrusion,
fire, and environmental hazards.
Best way around it is to get a back
door password, trip the alarm during
the heist, then call it in as a false
alarm.

CUT TO:

INT. STEVE'S HOUSE - OFFICE - DAY

A HAND turns the dial to a Worthington 1000 vault. The vault
opens and voila: stacks and stacks of gold bricks.

EXT. STEVE'S HOUSE -DAY

The same hand clutches a very heavy duffle bag. OUR VIEW
BOOMS UP to see Steve, three years older than when we last
saw him, his beard shaved away.

INT. U-HAUL - SAME TIME

Through his digital camera lens, Lyle watches Steve walk
towards his car: a Ferrari 550 Barchetta Pininfarina. It's
the first time he's seen Steve in three years.

LYLE
(into micro cassette
recorder)
15:25. There he is. He's gained 15
to 20 pounds living off our money.
And Handsome Rob, you're going to be
pissed when you see his wheels.

Lyle watches the security guard hit a switch in the guard
booth. The gate rises like the blade of a guillotine in
reverse. The Ferrari zooms away.

EXT. FIGUEROA STREET - DAY

Another route. Handsome Rob's rental car is in the left turn
lane waiting for the light to change.

INT. RENTAL CAR

The light finally is a green arrow but the lady in front of
Handsome Rob is so preoccupied with applying her make-up
that she doesn't go until he honks but by then it's too late
as she makes it through the light but he doesn't.

He checks his stopwatch. Simmers.

EXT. PENINSULA HOTEL - POOLS SIDE - DAY

In a bikini, Stella lies on a lounge chair under a cabana,
reading a copy of Vogue magazine.

But as we take a closer look, we see that she's really reading
the owner's manual for the Worthington 1000 safe which she's
inserted in the fold of Vogue.

INT. U-HAUL - DAY

Charlie's shift. He sees a Latina housekeeper get into her
car.

CHARLIE
(into micro cassette
recorder)
Housekeeper leaves at 17:30.

EXT. COIN & BULLION STORE - EVENING

Steve bangs a fist against the steel security door that covers
the closed store. The steel door rises up and a Ukrainian
named YEVHEN unlocks another door. He is the gold dealer
that Philly Steak told Charlie about.

YEVHEN
You're right on time.

INT. COIN & BULLION STORE - EVENING

Yevhen is 50 and like many in the gold trade, there isn't a
conspiracy theory that he doesn't embrace. As they make their
way to a back room, he keeps his mouth in overdrive --

YEVHEN
All those poor bastards out there
putting their life savings in banks
and S&Ls and mutual funds. What do
they think -- that when the collapse
comes they can depend on the
government? I don't think so.

Steve motions to a security camera that looms down on them.

STEVE
Is the camera off?

YEVHEN
Of course. Just like you said. I
never tape you, you can see for
yourself.

Steve sees the red light is off. He lays the duffel bag on a
table, unzips it, pulls out three 25 pound gold bricks with
the face of a Balinese Girl stamped on each one. As Yevhen
inspects them --

YEVHEN
Governments are nothing more than
puppets on the strings of the
Trilateral Commission with their
twisted gods.

Yevhen retrieves a briefcase, opens it, presenting Steve
with stacks of Ben Franklins: $100,000 worth. As Steve
inspects the cash --

YEVHEN
I mean, it's so obvious that in a
world where NAFTA can overturn the
Supreme Court, not to mention
Microsoft's nefarious financial
machinations, this, is our only
refuge; gold.

Steve closes the briefcase.

YEVHEN
Plus a little walking around money.

EXT. 7TH STREET - NIGHT

A fender bender in the middle of an intersection has traffic
backed up for miles.

INT. RENTAL CAR

Handsome Rob checks the latest time on the stopwatch.

INT. U-HAUL - NIGHT

Through night-vision binoculars Charlie sees a (different)
security guard open the gate as Steve returns.

He watches Steve go inside his house. Through the windows,
he sees him use a remote to turn on a TV.

EXT. 101 FREEWAY - THE NEXT DAY

A freeway sign says: UNION STATION 1/2 MILE

INT. RENTAL CAR

HANDSOME ROB can see the exit up ahead, but traffic is so
backed up and going nowhere that it feels like it's a hundred
miles away. And it's not even rush hour. Just life in L.A.

Idling on the freeway, he looks at the drivers in the cars
beside him. He sees a businesswoman reading the Wall Street
Journal. Sees a man with his finger deep, deep up his nose.

HANDSOME ROB
Where's a grenade launcher when you
need one?

EXT. YAMASHIRO RESTAURANT - DAY

Our crew walks along the pathways of Japanese gardens that
wind along outside the restaurant. It's a breathtaking view
from high in the Hollywood Hills. Some tourists take in the
vista.

HANDSOME ROB
Doesn't matter what time it is. It's
either bad traffic, peak traffic, or
slit-your-wrists traffic.

HALF-EAR
You gotta ride the Metro-Rail, man.

HANDSOME ROB
I'm sure it's ideal for carrying a
ton of gold, genius.

CHARLIE
What's your guesstimate?

HANDSOME ROB
If we had all green lights, fourteen
minutes. But in the twenty times
I've done it, the average is thirty-
two minutes, with a top time of fifty
minutes.

CHARLIE
Then we'll travel like Rockefeller.

They don't know where Charlie is going with this, but they've
been around him long enough to know it's going somewhere.

CHARLIE
When cars first started catching on,
workers on tall ladders would use
these swiveling colored boards for
traffic signals. Now whenever
Rockefeller would take the drive
from his mansion to his office on
Wall Street, the workers would make
sure that he got green boards all
the way.

HANDSOME ROB
How do we get all green lights?

CHARLIE
Lyle?

LYLE
Let me see what I can do.

HALF-EAR
Did you know that the first traffic
signal to be patented was invented
by a black man named Garrett Morgan?
(to Charlie)
You're not the only one who watches
the History Channel.

HANDSOME ROB
We still need an in to get the video
blueprint.

LYLE
Carpet cleaners? Gutter cleaners?
Flower delivery?

CHARLIE
We'll never get by the guard unless
they're certain it's legit. I'm
thinking cable TV. We cut his cable,
he calls the cable company. We show
up. Send a cable technician into the
house with a pinhole video camera
while we get a feed through an RF
antenna.

HANDSOME ROB
Who plays cable technician? Steve
thinks we're all dead.

But Stella knows that's not exactly true. He doesn't think
Stella is dead; he doesn't know her at all.

STELLA
If you're all dead, I guess I'm the
man for the job.

CHARLIE
Are you up for it?

STELLA
In for a penny, in for a pound.

EXT. ADELPHIA CABLE - PARKING LOT - EVENING

Service trucks pull into the lot. Technicians are getting
out, finishing their shifts.

INT. RENTAL CAR (PARKED NEARBY)

Handsome Rob behind the wheel. Lyle shotgun, aiming his
digital camera at the exiting workers.

LYLE
I'm telling you. He claims he named
it Napster because his hair is so
nappy underneath that cap of his.
But I know the real reason. It's
because I was NAPPING when he stole
the idea from me. I should've been
on the cover of Wired magazine.

HANDSOME ROB
Would you clam up. You'd give a
woodpecker a headache.

LYLE
I'm the Napster.

HANDSOME ROB
Okay. You're the Napster. Heads up:
cable chick.

They see a female service tech getting out of her work truck.

Lyle zooms his camera lens in on her Adelphia Cable work
shirt. It has BECKY sewn in above her right breast.

LYLE
Becky. Nice name. I wonder what she
calls the other one.

HANDSOME ROB
And it's such a mystery why you don't
have a girlfriend.

LYLE
I had a girlfriend. Unfortunately
even though the relationship ceased
in an objective reality, it's still
going on in my mind.
(tapping his head)
That woman's lived in here rent-free
for four years.

Lyle takes a few more pictures of Becky.

LYLE
Okay. All we need now is a work shirt
like this one and a service truck
like that one. You think Stella will
be able to pull it off?

HANDSOME ROB
I have my doubts, but there's no
talking to Charlie.

LYLE
Maybe he's been inserting his hard
drive into her software. Clouds the
judgment.

HANDSOME ROB
He knows better than to mix business
with pleasure.
(getting out of the
car)
Only I'm allowed to do that.

LYLE
Where you going?

HANDSOME ROB
To get a work shirt and a service
truck.

Lyle watches him stroll over to Becky and strike up a
conversation in the parking lot. Lyle can't hear what's being
said, but Becky smiles, and lest we forget, his name is
Handsome Rob for a reason.

INT. BECKY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

OUR CAMERA FOLLOWS a trail of clothes, hastily littered,
that lead to the cable chick's bed. Lit candles are on the
bedside table. The couple is asleep under a tangle of sheets.
Handsome Rob has clearly mixed business with pleasure. His
eyes flash open.

He slips out of bed. Pulls on his pants. Reaches into her
pants and removes her key chain.

He selects the key to her service truck and does an old trick:
he blows out one of the candles and presses the key against
the warm wax, making a clear impression of the key's ridges.

He returns the key chain. Takes a couple more steps, past
her panties, past her bra and.

He snags her work shirt. Then he's gone.

INT. HANDSOME ROB'S HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT

Using locksmith equipment, he cuts a key that matches the
impression on the candle wax.

EXT. ADELPHIA CABLE PARKING LOT - DAWN

Stella, wearing Becky's work shirt, arrives before any other
workers. Using the key Handsome Rob made, she unlocks the
door to the cable truck and gets in.

EXT. NEARBY STREET - MORNING

The cable truck pulls over. Charlie and Lyle climb into the
back where they can't be seen.

EXT. OPORTO DRIVE -MORNING

The cable repair truck pulls over, parking down the street
from Steve's house.

Charlie gets out. He quickly uses a crowbar to lift up a
sidewalk cement grate that says CABLE on it. Inside are cable
wires that feed the street. He crouches over and uses pliers
to disconnect one of the cables.

INT. STEVE'S HOUSE - MORNING

He drifts into the kitchen for a cup of coffee. He hits the
remote control for a TV. It turns on but there's nothing but
snow.

He goes into the living room and checks out the plasma TV.

The cable's not working in here, either. He hits an intercom
button on his telephone.

INT. GUARD HOUSE - INTERCUT

A SECURITY GUARD answers the intercom.

SECURITY GUARD
What can I do for you, Mister
Frezelli?

STEVE
The cable's out. See if you can get
someone over here to fix it'.

SECURITY GUARD
Yes, sir.

He finds the number and dials.

INT. CABLE TRUCK (PARKED) - MORNING

Lyle monitors a digital copy of the security guard's call
that's being routed to his laptop. Then he takes off his
headphones and tells Charlie and Stella:

LYLE
Whoa. I've never heard the Muzak
version of Purple Haze before.

CHARLIE
When's the appointment?

LYLE
Thursday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Charlie dials a number on his cell phone.

INT. GUARD HOUSE - INTERCUT

The security guard answers the phone.

SECURITY GUARD
Hello.

CHARLIE
Yes, I'm calling from Adelphia Cable.
I understand your service is out and
an appointment was set up for
Thursday.

SECURITY GUARD
Yes.

CHARLIE
Well we have a technician working in
your area who finished with an
appointment earlier than expected.
Will someone be there for the next
hour?

SECURITY GUARD
Sure. That'd be great.

CHARLIE
Our technician will see you then.
Have a nice day.

SECURITY GUARD
You too.

Charlie hangs up.

CHARLIE
Let's check the camera.

LYLE
Stella, you're going patriotic today.

Lyle puts an American flag pin on her work shirt. Then he
hits keys on his laptop and an image pops up on his monitor
via an RF antenna: the POV of the pin.

CHARLIE
He's got cable lines in the kitchen,
living room, bedroom and a cable
modem on the computer in the office.
Try to get a 360 look at each room.
And walk slowly or the image will
streak.

Lyle hands her some papers.

LYLE
I printed these up to look like
paperwork from Adelphia. When you're
done, ask him to sign and date the
bottom.

Stella looks very tense.

CHARLIE
How you doing?

STELLA
Fine. I'm fine.

Charlie seems amused by that answer.

CHARLIE
You know what fine, stands for? Fucked-
up, Insecure --

Stella joins in with him...

STELLA & CHARLIE
Neurotic and Emotional.

They look at each other a moment... and smile.

INT. RENTAL CAR (MOVING) - DAY

While the others deal with the cable, Handsome Rob and Half-
Ear drive down Sunset.

HALF-EAR
Here's our spot.

They pull up in front of a strip joint.

HANDSOME ROB
Girls girls girls.

Half-Ear pulls a switchblade out of his boot and puts it in
the glove compartment. Handsome Rob gives him a questioning
look.

HALF-EAR
Philly Steak said we'd be frisked.

INT. STRIP CLUB - DAY

Outside the doorway of a back room they're frisked by a BURLY
MAN. He's very thorough, digging hard into their crotches.

HANDSOME ROB
(scowls)
Y'got a great job.

BURLY MAN
Pays the rent, asshole. You got a
problem, talk to Skinny Pete.

He opens the door to the --

INT. BACK ROOM

Where we meet SKINNY PETE, who is the FATTEST MAN YOU'VE
EVER SEEN. He takes up an entire couch in the rear of the
room.

His catcher's-mitt-sized hands motion them to come closer.

SKINNY PETE
Philly Steak sent you?

His voice is raspy, it's like a climbing-ten-floors-effort
just for this guy to get out the words.

HALF-EAR
That's right.

SKINNY PETE
So was I right-on about the gold
bricks or what?

HALF-EAR
That's really not what I'm here to
talk about. Philly Steak said you
could get us some supplies.

The fattest man you've ever seen attempts a nod, triple-chins
colliding like a train wreck.

SKINNY PETE
What do you need?

HALF-EAR
A four inch can of Nitramon. Nitramon
primer. Detonating cord. Two triple
charger chemical grenades. Launcher.

SKINNY PETE
Nine p.m.

HANDSOME ROB
Should we hang here? Check out the
dancers?

SKINNY PETE
Nothing's going down here. I don't
shit in my own yard, do you?

HANDSOME ROB
No, but I take a whizz off the deck
sometimes.

With his distended belly and bursting shirt, his eyes glazing
with repletion, Skinny Pete writes down an address.

SKINNY PETE
Five thousand dollars. And don't be
late.

CUT TO:

INT. SECURITY GUARD BOOTH -DAY

Looking at a monitor, one of Steve's security guards sees
the Adelphia repair truck pull up to the gate. He hits a
button and the gate rises, beckoning it inside.

INT. CABLE TRUCK (MOVING)

Stella heads up the driveway, apprehension painted on her
features. Lyle is hidden in the back.

She parks next to the Ferrari and finds herself surrounded
by the four Rottweilers. They snarl and flash their teeth
outside her door until a shrill WHISTLE yanks their attention
to --

EXT. STEVE'S HOUSE

where Steve has just stepped out the front door. The dogs
immediately back off.

Stella gets out of the truck as Steve walks over, smiling at
her.

She comes face to face with the man who killed her father.

STEVE
It's all right. They won't bother
you now.

She's not sure she's going to be able to speak or pull this
off.

STELLA
It's okay. I'm used to running into
all sorts of dogs on my job.

He holds out a hand.

STEVE
I'm Steve.

STELLA
Becky.

She shakes his hand. She hates this, feeling his skin touch
hers, but she can't betray her feelings. He stands there a
moment.

STELLA
You want to show me the problem?

STEVE
Yeah. Course. This way.

INT. STEVE'S HOUSE - SAME TIME

She enters, moving her body to give the pinhole camera a
full sweep of the entryway.

STELLA
I'd like to check the cable modem
first.

INT. BACK OF THE CABLE REPAIR TRUCK - SAME TIME

Lyle watches Stella and Steve on his laptop via the pinhole
camera and hears them talking through his headphones.

INT. HALLWAY - INTERCUT

Steve leads Stella down the marbled hall...

STEVE
I'll show you.

They step into the --

OFFICE
She turns her body so the mini-lens
can stare at the gleaming black
Worthington 1000 safe. Then she goes
up to his desk and pretends to work
on the cable line that feeds into
his computer.

He stares at her as she bends down...

STEVE
The cable guy who hooked this up
weighed about 300 pounds, didn't
wear any underwear, and his pants
slung a little too low if you know
what I mean.

She tries her best to ignore his flirtatious stare and his
words.

STELLA
There we go. Now onto the TVs.

INT. BACK OF THE CABLE TRUCK - DAY

Lyle sees a perfect view of the main hallway as Stella walks
down it.

INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY

He escorts her inside. She works on the cable connection to
the plasma TV. Finishes.

STEVE
Is it fixed?

STELLA
Turn it on and see.

EXT. OPORTO DRIVE - SAME TIME

Back at the spot where Charlie disconnected the cable.

Wearing a headset with a mic, he gets the word from Lyle --

LYLE (V.O.)
Now.

Charlie reconnects the cable just as --

INT. LIVING ROOM

Steve turns on the TV and the picture is --

STEVE
Perfect.

STELLA
Then it looks like you're all set.

Steve stares at her a moment.

STEVE
Have we met before?

She's hoping to get out as quickly as she can.

STELLA
I don't think so. Sign here, please.

She hands him the paperwork and a pen. He signs it.

STELLA
Date.

STEVE
You read my mind.

STELLA
Oh, no. I meant that I need you to
put the date by your signature. It's
the 26th.

STEVE
I know what you meant.
(he smiles)
This might seem a little sudden,
but... would you like to have dinner
with me?

STELLA
I don't think that'd be a very good
idea.

STEVE
Why? Is there some kind of cable-
rule against dating customers?

STELLA
No, it's my rule. I don't accept
dates from men I've just met. I've
only known you five minutes.

STEVE
Then I guess I'll have to sabotage
my cable over and over again until
you get to know me better.

He's being charming, and she has to act like he is being
charming, but she really wants to throw-up.

STEVE
Look, I'm just talking about dinner.
Friday night. It's no big deal. If
you don't like me, you never have to
see me again. You know I'm not going
to stop until you say yes.

CUT TO:

INT. CABLE TRUCK (MOVING) - DAY

Stella drives in heavy traffic down Sunset. Charlie and Lyle
are in the back.

CHARLIE
I know it was tough in there.

STELLA
He touched my hand. And he came-on
to me. That slimy, disgusting man
came onto me and I had to pretend
that I liked it.

Stella keeps her eyes forward, on the road, so Charlie and
Lyle can't see her face. But Charlie catches her reflection
in the rearview mirror and watches a tear glide down her
cheek. She wipes it away.

STELLA
You do know what this means... I've
created our window of opportunity.

CHARLIE
I know. When Steve leaves Friday
night, we go in. By the time he
realizes you've stood him up, we'll
be long gone with the gold.

CUT TO:

EXT. HOUSING PROJECTS - NIGHT

A different world. A different vibe. That feeling in the
gut: you don't belong here.

INT. RENTAL CAR (MOVING)

Handsome Rob drives, Half-Ear in the passenger seat.

HALF-EAR
Skinny Pete.

HANDSOME ROB
The guy makes Jabba the Hut look
like a spokesman for the Subway
Sandwiches' diet.

They pull over in front of the apartment building that Pete
sent them to.

HALF-EAR
What do you think?

HANDSOME ROB
I'm trying not to.

EXT. APARTMENT BUILDING - NIGHT

Half-Ear hits the buzzer for the apartment number on the
paper from the fat man. The door to the building buzzes in
response and they go inside.

INT. APARTMENT BUILDING - NIGHT

Climbing stairs. From behind closed doors: TVs, crying babies,
violent yelling. They start down a hallway. Ahead of them a
door opens and a suitcase is put in front of the doorway.
The door closes. They don't even get a glance at whomever is
inside.

They go to the suitcase. Half-Ear clicks open the lock for
just a peek. He sees the goods.

Handsome Rob starts to slide an envelope of cash under the
door frame. Its sucked out of his hand by someone on the
other side of the door and disappears.

EXT. APARTMENT BUILDING - NIGHT

Half-Ear carefully deposits the suitcase into the trunk of
the rental car. Handsome Rob closes the trunk.

HALF-EAR
Drive slow. We crash and we're a
crater.

They get into the car.

INT. RENTAL CAR

Handsome Rob keys the ignition.

The beam of his headlights illuminate TWO HOMEBOYS. TWO MORE
step out of the shadows, one right up to the passenger's
door window. That one taps a 9 MM against the glass.

Half-Ear lowers the window. The homeboy pats one hand against
the faux-leather inside of the door, his other hand clutches
the weapon.

HOMEBOY
What'd you put in the trunk?

HALF-EAR
Suitcase.

The homeboy, bugging on crank, is not one to be fucked with.

HOMEBOY
Just gimme the keys before I pop a
cap in your head.

Handsome Rob takes the trunk key off the chain and passes it
over to Half-Ear... who nervously drops it onto the carpeted
floor.

HOMEBOY
Hurry up!

Half-Ear reaches down for the key... but in the flash of an
eye... moving so fast it almost doesn't register... we see
him yank his switchblade from his boot, unleash its blade,
and stab it down into the homeboy's hand. The knife goes
through his hand and lodges into the faux-leather interior
of the door.

The homeboy suffers as Half-Ear whacks the gun out of his
other hand -- while Handsome Rob keys the ignition and guns
it.

The other homeboys are already POPPING OFF SHOTS at the car
with semi-automatic handguns. Half-Ear hits the deck. Glass
shatters.

INT. TRUNK OF THE CAR

Bullets slam into the trunk, illuminating the darkness with
streaks of light from the bullet holes. They barely miss the
suitcase filled with explosives.

EXT. RENTAL CAR (MOVING)

The homeboy is still attached to the car door by the knife.

His legs scurry to keep up with the moving vehicle but it's
going too fast so pretty soon he's being dragged. Bullets
whiz by him. He cries out in agony until Half-Ear has the
time to yank out the knife and the homeboy rolls away on the
pavement.

The car makes a sharp right at the next block and pulls over.

The U-Haul is waiting for them.

They get out of the rental car and open its trunk. Half-Ear
sees the bullet holes that surround the suitcase. An inch
closer and they would've been a crater.

HALF-EAR
Christ.

INT. U-HAUL - NIGHT

They get in with the suitcase. Charlie is behind the wheel,
he's been waiting for them. He hits the gas. They take off,
leaving the shot-up rental car behind.

CHARLIE
Looks like that went without a hitch.

CUT TO:

INT. CHARLIE'S HOTEL ROOM - DAY

An edited loop of the exterior and interior of Steve's house
plays on Lyle's laptop. The crew is huddled around.

CHARLIE
Lyle, what's the distance from the
front door to the vault?

Lyle doesn't answer.

CHARLIE
Lyle?

Handsome Rob leans over to Charlie.

HANDSOME ROB
He only answers to The Napster now.

CHARLIE
I'm not calling you The Napster.

LYLE
You call him Half-Ear.

HALF-EAR
That wasn't my idea.

LYLE
And him, Handsome Rob.

CHARLIE
That's only cause he is Handsome
Rob.

LYLE
And I'm The Napster.

CHARLIE
How far?
(sighs, gives in)
The Napster.

LYLE
Five hundred yards.

CHARLIE
So here's the riddle. How do we get
over a ton of gold from the vault to
the getaway car?

STELLA
How wide is the hallway?

The video that Stella got of the hallway plays on the laptop.

Lyle calculates:

LYLE
Only six feet.

OUR VIEW PUSHES IN FAST on Stella.

QUICK CUT TO:

MINI COOPER (MOVING) - DAY

She's driving. Pure concentration. Then:

Tires spinning over a marble floor. Then:

The sideview mirrors scraping wallpaper. Then:

The thin car is like a missile firing RIGHT DOWN STEVE'S
HALLWAY, a hair-raising fit.

CUT BACK TO:

INT. CHARLIE'S HOTEL ROOM - DAY

Her idea brings a smile to her face.

STELLA
Jack Daniels, straight up.

CHARLIE
Minis?

STELLA
We could rumble right up the front
steps, bring the getaway car right
to the vault, and then straight to
Union Station.

Handsome Rob likes it.

HANDSOME ROB
We'll need three to hold the gold.

EXT. CAR RENTAL COMPANY - DAY

Parked in the lot are shimmering Supercharged Mini Coopers,
a new model that still captures the legendary Mini look and
feel.

Half-Ear climbs in one Mini. Lyle into another.

INT. CAR RENTAL COMPANY - SAME TIME

In the background, a large window overlooks the lot.

Handsome Rob fills out the paperwork on the Mini he's renting
while flirting with a petite COUNTER BABE.

HANDSOME ROB
I'd say you're a Maserati 250 S.
Just 4 cylinders but can go 0 to 60
in 4.2.

COUNTER BABE
As long as it's a convertible -- I
always like to have my top down.

At the same time, in the background, we see Lyle and Half-
Ear's Mini pull out of their parking spaces and BACK RIGHT
INTO EACH OTHER. Just a little bumper hit.

COUNTER BABE
Do you know them?

They get out of their cars and start yelling at each other.

HANDSOME ROB
Never seen 'em before in my life.

CUT TO:

EXT. YEVHEN'S COIN & BULLION STORE - NIGHT

Steve bangs a fist against the steel security door that covers
the closed store. The steel door rises up and once again
Yevhen unlocks another door.

YEVHEN
You're early.

STEVE
And I'm in a hurry, okay?

INT. YEVHEN'S COINS & BULLION STORE - NIGHT

It doesn't seem to matter if Steve's in a hurry or not, Yevhen
still runs at the mouth while heading into the back room.

YEVHEN
Of course the Florida vote rigging
was a CIA and Mob operation.

STEVE
(with total disinterest)
That a fact?

YEVHEN
You want facts? Fact: CIA officials
were allowed free -- and illegal --
access to official election material.

Steve puts his duffel bag down on the table. It THUDS. Once
again, he pulls out three gold bricks that each weigh 25
pounds.

YEVHEN
Now given the sordid history in Miami
of joint ventures between Central
Intelligence and the Mob, which led
to the unsuccessful attempts to kill
Fidel Castro and the successful
assassination of your President John
F. Kennedy, this conjunction raises
numerous red flags.

STEVE
And I'd love to hear more about it,
but like I said...

YEVHEN
Don't worry, we'll have you out in
no time. The cash is on its way.

Steve cocks his head, as if he could not have heard right.

STEVE
On its way?

YEVHEN
My cousin is bringing it over.

STEVE
Your cousin?

YEVHEN
Yes. Cousin Mashkov.

STEVE
He's on his way?

YEVHEN
Don't worry, he will be here any
minute.

Steve looks up to the security camera.

STEVE
The tape's off?

YEVHEN
Of course. Believe me, he doesn't
want to be on video, either.

STEVE
Yevhen. Didn't I tell you, many times,
that I never wanted to meet with
anyone but you?

Yevhen sweats a bit.

YEVHEN
I know. But it's his cash. He uses
me to launder money. I'm just a
middleman.

STEVE
And a middleman is supposed to stay
in the middle.

YEVHEN
But you were early. Please. Don't
worry. It will be fine. My cousin's
a cool guy. Like I am.

STEVE
What you are, is a Dixie cup.

Yevhen smiles quizzically, not sure if he's being complimented
or insulted.

YEVHEN
Dixie cup?

Before the words are out of Yevhen's mouth, Steve grabs one
of the 25 pound gold bricks and slaps it across Yevhen's
face, shattering his jaw.

Yevhen's falls to the floor and Steve lifts the brick again
and rams it down onto his head with an ugly THUD.

And again.

And again.

He then takes the gold brick -- slathered in blood -- and
places it back in his duffle bag.

CUT TO:

INT. YEVHEN'S COINS & BULLION STORE - TEN MINUTES LATER

Yevhen's Ukrainian cousin, MASHKOV, stares down at the corpse.
Steve is long gone.

Mashkov kneels down by the body and starts sobbing.

INT. HOUSE - NIGHT

Mashkov walks through a living room, past some lighting
equipment and a video camera and we get just enough of a
look to realize that a porno is being shot here but he
couldn't care less as he makes his way into the kitchen where --

His boss, DANYA, 60, the owner of this house, is eating a
bowl of Frosted Flakes at the kitchen table. They speak in a
colloquial Ukrainian tongue that we SUBTITLE.

MASHKOV
My cousin Yevhen was beaten to death.

DANYA
By who?

MASHKOV
That's what I'm going to find out.

They stop talking for a moment as one of the "ACTRESSES"
comes in, plops herself down next to Danya and pours herself
a bowl of cereal. She puts her hand on Danya's leg. She's
young and it's a disturbing image and we RECOGNIZE HER: she's
the HITCHHIKER who Lyle passed in the taxi ride down Figueroa
Street when he first arrived in L.A.

Danya goes back to speaking SUBTITLED UKRAINIAN.

DANYA
And what will you do when you find
this piece of shit who killed your
cousin?

MASHKOV
I'll hack off his limbs and bury him
while he's still alive.

DANYA
Okay. But now we should stop talking
Ukrainian, it's rude to my girl.
(switching to accented
ENGLISH)
How are you tonight, Karen?

KAREN
Hungry.

DANYA
Then eat your Frosted Flakes.

KAREN
(like Tony the Tiger)
They're grrrreat!

Danya laughs pleasantly.

DANYA
Such a perfect girl.

But as she eats her cereal, we see a troubled, sad look on
her face.

INT. RENTED WAREHOUSE - DAY

The three Minis are parked inside: one red, one white, one
blue. Handsome Rob and Stella are doing custom work under
the hoods. Lyle is wearing the strap-on laptop and typing
away. Half-Ear squeezes silver Haliburton suitcases into the
Minis' trunks as Charlie enters --

CHARLIE
How are our matchbox cars?

HANDSOME ROB
Souped.

STELLA
Don't let their size fool you. These
were rally cars back in the day. 135
mph, 155 horsepower --

LYLE
Do I get to drive one?

HANDSOME ROB
No.

LYLE
Why not?

HANDSOME ROB
Because you can't navigate your way
out of a parking lot. Here's your
ride.

He pulls a blanket off a Vespa. Lyle points at Half-Ear.

LYLE
But he ran into me.

HANDSOME ROB
He's not driving either.
(to Stella)
You ever got a speeding ticket?

STELLA
Let's put it this way: I can only
get insurance through companies that
advertise on TV at 3:00 in the
morning.

HANDSOME ROB
You drive. I drive. Charlie drives.

CHARLIE
I got us spots for three cars on a
car carrier and five first class
seats. Train 59 from Union Station
to New Orleans.

HALF-EAR
That's N'Or'lins, Yankee.

CHARLIE
What's the word on Rockefeller?

LYLE
The Traffic Control Center is on the
top floor of a building on Olympic
and Grand. They get their data from
pavement loop detectors and video
image vehicle detectors. That info
is fused together by specially
designed algorithms to predict traffic
conditions and control the traffic
lights. So all I have to do now is
change the data by creating my own
algorithm.

CHARLIE
What can I do to help?

LYLE
I need to hard-wire into the
mainframes.

EXT. TRAFFIC CONTROL CENTER - NIGHT

Housed in a towering building on the corner of Olympic and
Grand in the heart of downtown L.A. OUR VIEW RISES UP to the
rooftop, where WE FIND Charlie and Lyle.

OUR VIEW MOVES IN CLOSER on Charlie, who adroitly picks the
lock to an access door and they climb down a short set of
steps into the

INT. MAINTENANCE ROOM - CONTINUOUS SHOT

From an equipment bag, Charlie pulls out a silent power drill
and uses it to remove an access panel from the AC vent.

INT. AIR-CONDITIONING VENT - NIGHT

Charlie leads, crawling through this tight space, his path
illuminated by the thin beam of a penlight.

INT. TRAFFIC CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

A high-tech setting with a half-dozen workers overseeing the
large traffic information monitors that display multiple
images.

OUR CAMERA PUSHES IN on the wall of monitors and then
BLACKNESS as OUR VIEW CROSSES to the --

OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL

Where the 70" tall mainframe computers are housed and running.
We see that the AC vent to this room is now open since Charlie
and Lyle have already snuck inside.

They move fast. Charlie removes the rear panels of the
mainframes while Lyle adeptly hard-wires his laptop into the
computers. The laptop's screen lights up.

Charlie fits two false panels where the rear panels of the
mainframes used to be. Lyle pulls an innocent looking filing
box out of his equipment bag. He places the box on a nearby
shelf where it enjoys line-of-sight to the false panels.

He punches a key on his laptop and the false panels and the
filing box quietly clicks into action, communicating with
his laptop via infrared. His laptop now shows a guiltwork of
thumbnail views from the traffic information monitors.

Typing commands, Lyle is clearly operating on a higher
bandwidth than the rest us.

LYLE
B4 X TTratio, where Bi are Fisher's
linear discriminant function
coefficients, SpdRat is the speed
ratio, and TTratio is the travel
time ratio.

CHARLIE
I have no idea what you're doing.
Just do it fast.

There.

He hits the ENTER button.

LYLE
We own this place.

CUT TO:

INT. THE PANTRY RESTAURANT - DOWNTOWN L.A. - DAY

Their motto: "Never closed. Never without a customer!" The
place has the same decor as it did 75 years ago. It's also a
spot where everyone minds their own business. One of the OLD
TIME WAITERS leads OUR CAMERA to a table in the back where
Mashkov sits across from a LAPD HOMICIDE DETECTIVE. He slides
over an envelope of cash and a photograph of Karen.

MASHKOV
$2000. And this is the new girl.
Fresh off the bus. One of Danya's
guys picked her up hitchhiking
downtown.

The detective checks out the photo.

DETECTIVE
Those tits'd make Dracula rise from
his coffin at high-noon.

MASHKOV
They're all yours Saturday. You can
do whatever you want to her. Her
name is Karen...

DETECTIVE
You're too generous.

MASHKOV
I needed a fast answer.

DETECTIVE
And I'm the Shell Answer Man. A guy
who works the counter at your cousin's
shop told me that someone named Skinny
Pete had been asking around about
gold bricks with the face of a
Balinese girl on them. Same gold
bricks your cousin was buying.

MASHKOV
You talked to this Skinny Pete?

DETECTIVE
I thought you'd want a shot at him
first.

CUT TO:

INT. RENTED WAREHOUSE - DAY

Handsome Rob does some final tune-ups on the Minis.

Half-Ear loads a triple charger chemical grenade into a
launcher.

Charlie steps into the U-Haul which is parked in here...

INT. U-HAUL

Lyle is fixing glitches on his computer program. Stella is
doing her nails. Charlie looks at her.

STELLA
You want the safe cracked, don't
you?

CHARLIE
Yeah.

STELLA
Then I have to have perfect nails.

Square tips have a more even surface area. Better grip, no
slipping.

CHARLIE
Are you making this shit up?

STELLA
I just let you in on a valuable trade
secret.

LYLE
Charlie.

CHARLIE
Yeah?

LYLE
Steve called to confirm a 7:30
reservation at Ago's. And as for
your getaway, not even Rockefeller
had it so good.

CUT TO:

INT. STEVE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

He's getting dressed for his date. We can tell by the way he
preens in front of the three sided full length mirror,
adorning himself in the most expensive fashion, that he is a
vain and arrogant man.

EXT. RENTED WAREHOUSE - NIGHT

The three Minis pull out of the warehouse and head off down
the road. The U-Haul follows.

INT. CHARLIE'S MINI (MOVING) - NIGHT

Leading the pack. He wears a headset and mic.

CHARLIE
Radio check.

INT. HANDSOME ROB'S MINI (MOVING) - NIGHT

He drives, Half-Ear in the passenger seat.

HANDSOME ROB
Got cha, boss.

INT. STELLA'S MINI (MOVING) - NIGHT

She follows behind Handsome Rob's Mini.

STELLA
Loud and clear.

INT. U-HAUL (MOVING) - NIGHT

Lyle drives. His Vespa is parked in the cargo bay with his
equipment.

LYLE
Check.

CUT TO:

EXT. STEVE'S DRIVEWAY - NIGHT

Looking sharp, Steve gets into his Ferrari.

EXT. OPORTO DRIVE - NIGHT

The U-Haul is idling on the side of the street about a mile
down from Steve's house. The Vespa is parked behind it.

From up ahead, we see the Ferrari cruising down the winding
road. As it passes by.

INT. U-HAUL

Lyle speaks into his headset:

LYLE
For those about to rock, we salute
you.

EXT. OPORTO DRIVE - NIGHT

From side streets, the Minis converge on the road and head
up towards Steve's house.

INT. CHARLIE'S MINI (MOVING) - NIGHT

He can feel the adrenaline already starting to course through
is body.

CHARLIE
This is it, guys. Moment of truth.

He takes a sharp curve... and the moment that Steve's house
should come into view... he hits the brakes, his expression
turning to complete surprise.

HIS POV

The neighbor across the street from Steve is having the
biggest party in town. The road is filled with parked cars
and arriving guests. Ain't no way they're blowing the gate,
launching chemical grenades or in any way robbing Steve's
house in the midst of this.

CHARLIE'S FACE

As he takes this in, there's a KNOCK on the window. He turns.
Sees a uniformed VALET. Rolls down the window.

VALET
Are you hear for the Baxter party,
sir?

EXT. OPORTO DRIVE - NIGHT

We see the three Minis pull tight U-turns and head back the
way they came.

INT. CHARLIE'S MINI (MOVING) - NIGHT

He slaps his hand against the steering wheel, fuming.

CHARLIE
Shit. Stella?

INT. STELLA'S MINI (MOVING) - INTERCUT

She already knows what he's going to say.

STELLA
I know. I've got a date tonight.

CHARLIE
You'll have to fake it. Laugh at his
jokes. You need him to ask you out
again.

CUT TO:

INT. AGO RESTAURANT - NIGHT

A posh restaurant. As OUR CAMERA FINDS Stella and Steve, she
is laughing at something he said, faking her way through the
date. They're sitting at an intimate table.

STELLA
You really make laugh.

He takes the lie like the compliment she wants him to think
it is.

STEVE
So here's what I have lined up for
after dinner. We'll go to Club Deep.
The Ferrari always gets me to the
front of the line. We'll do a little
dancing...

STELLA
Not tonight. I don't want to be out
late.

STEVE
Why the curfew?

STELLA
Let's just say I've made some wrong
calls in the past. I like to take
things slow, cautious. Next time...

STEVE
I understand. You have nothing to
worry about. You can trust me.

STELLA
I trust everyone. It's the devil
inside them that I don't trust.

That saying strikes Steve.

STEVE
That's an interesting saying.

STELLA
What?

He looks at her closely, really closely.

STEVE
There's only person I've ever heard
say that. Used to say it all the
time.

This worries her. Because of course, she used to hear it
from her father.

STELLA
Who was that?

Under the table, he grabs her by the wrist, squeezes it like
a vise.

STEVE
A man named John Bridger. Where did
you pick up that phrase?

STELLA
Ow. I don't remember. You're hurting
me.

STEVE
John Bridger was a thief. And he had
a daughter. About your age. He told
me that she took over a safe and
lock company that he used as a front.

STELLA
Let go of my wrist. What is wrong
with you? It's just a saying.

Steve's voice is calm, so at ease that watching them you'd
think this was pleasant dinner conversation.

STEVE
No wonder I liked you right away.
Just like I liked your old man, right
up until the moment I shot him in
the head. Now tell me who you're
working with and tell me the plan.
Do it now or we'll go for a ride and
I'll break every bone in your body.

Stella intentionally knocks over a glass of wine. It shatters
on the floor. An emergency signal...

Charlie, Half-Ear, Handsome Rob and Lyle appear around the
table.

Steve is shocked to see the men he left for dead three years
ago standing before him, very much alive.

They pull up chairs from another table, encircling him for a
tense and pointed talk.

CHARLIE
Something wrong, Steve? You look
like you want to call Ghostbusters.

Half-Ear furtively slides the switchblade out of his boot.

HALF-EAR
She's coming with us. You got a
problem with that?

STEVE
Fine by me. But it's you that has
the problem.

LYLE
How do you figure?

STEVE
You've just blown the one thing you
had going in your favor, the element
of surprise. And I was surprised.
(he laughs unpleasantly)
Jesus Christ when I saw all you guys
come out of the woodwork. For a minute
I thought maybe you were ghosts. But
you're screwed now.
(an arrogant sneer a
Half-Ear)
Did you figure out how to take care
of my security guard? I'll hire five
more.
(at Lyle)
You know how to bypass my alarm
system? I'll have a new one installed
tomorrow.
(at Handsome Rob)
Does it tear you up inside seeing
what car I drive? I'll buy a matching
one in red.
(at Stella)
You think you can crack my safe?
You'll end up the same way as your
dad.
(then to Charlie, all
smiles)
Looks like Good Time Charlie's got
the blues.

CHARLIE
You can wear that shit-eating grin
on your face, but I know under that
Versace shirt you're in a cold sweat.
And you're not going to sleep a minute
tonight. Cause you thought you'd
gotten away with it free and clear.
You thought you'd gotten rid of us.
You're the one who's screwed. Right
to the wall.

STEVE
Give it your best shot. I'll outsmart
you every step of the way. And this
time, I'll bury you myself.

CHARLIE
(taking the challenge)
Get more guards. Change the alarm.
Buy a dozen Ferraris. We'll still be
here. Sleep tight.

Charlie grabs a bread stick off the table and goes. The others
follow.

CUT TO:

INT. STRIP CLUB - BACK ROOM - NIGHT

The door bursts open as the burly man we met earlier is
dragged inside at gunpoint. Five Ukrainians armed with MAC-
11 machine pistols storm the room where Skinny Pete works.

Mashkov walks behind the posse. He carries a duffel bag. He
takes in the sight of the fattest man he's ever seen.

MASHKOV
(in accented English)
Do you know who I am?

SKINNY PETE
You work for Danya.

MASHKOV
Yes. And you are gonna be straight
with me and everything's gonna be
okay. You fuck with me, I will be
ruthless.

SKINNY PETE
I understand.

MASHKOV
I don't want you to understand. I
want you to overstand.

SKINNY PETE
Overstand... Okay.

MASHKOV
Because if you don't overstand, I
will use this.

Mashkov nonchalantly opens the duffel bag and pulls out a
short-handled ax. Skinny Pete sees dried blood on the blade.

MASHKOV
Someone was asking about gold bars
with a Balinese girl's face on them.
I want the name of this man.

CUT TO:

EXT. SHUTTER'S ON THE BEACH - MORNING

The sun shines over the ocean and the hotel.

INT. CHARLIE'S HOTEL ROOM

The crew is gathered. Lyle, monitoring digital surveillance
on his laptop, takes off his headphones.

LYLE
Well we scared him alright. He's
flying the coop. His security guard
called Brink's Armored Car Service
to confirm a 5 p.m. pick up at his
house, then JetClub to confirm a
MD11 cargo plane departing from the
Imperial Terminal at LAX at 8 p.m.

CHARLIE
Confirmed? How'd we miss the first
calls?

LYLE
They must have been cellular. The
cargo plane is being chartered to
Mexico City.

HANDSOME ROB
Only place with worse smog and traffic
than L.A.

STELLA
Once the charter's in the air, he
could change the flight path to
anywhere. And good-bye gold.

CHARLIE
Not so fast. This is good news for
us.

HANDSOME ROB
Good news?

CHARLIE
Sometimes when you're up to your ass
in alligators you forget that you
started off trying to drain the swamp.

HANDSOME ROB
Meaning what the fuck?

CHARLIE
We've been trying to get to the gold
in the safe. Now the safe is coming
to us. We'll boost it in transit.

He might as well have said they'll steal the Holy Grail before
sunrise.

HANDSOME ROB
Charlie. He could take a dozen
different routes to the airport and
we have no idea which one. We can't
take out an armored truck during
rush hour.

CHARLIE
We're already set to do it. Napster:
how would you like to create the
biggest traffic jam in the history
of Los Angeles?

LYLE
Keep talking.

CHARLIE
You gridlock every route except the
one we choose. Force the truck to go
exactly where we want it to go.

HANDSOME ROB
But where do we want it? We can't
shoot it out with armed guards in a
Brink's. We'd lose. And even if we
pulled it off, the cops would be all
over us, chasing us all the way to
Union Station. We're outmanned and
outgunned.

CHARLIE
But not outsmarted.

Charlie hums with focused energy. There's a term for it in
horse racing. When a thoroughbred is at peak condition, and
twitching with eagerness to run, he is "on the muscle." That
describes Charlie right now.

CHARLIE
We'll do it like the Italian job.
We'll make thirty million in gold
drop out of sight.

They're interrupted by Charlie's cell phone RINGING. This
throws them all off.

CHARLIE
Who else has this number?

HALF-EAR
No one but us.

It's still RINGING. Charlie decides to answer it.

CHARLIE
Hello?

INT. OFFICE - PHILADELPHIA - INTERCUT

Meet PHILLY STEAK. Or at least meet the back of his neck.

Because that's where he has a tatoo that says PHILLY STEAK.

PHILLY STEAK
Why'd you do it?

CHARLIE
(informing the crew)
Philly Steak.
(then into phone)
Do what?

OUR CAMERA TRACKS AROUND to Philly Steak's face which is
weathered and as leathery as a football. An old school crook.

PHILLY STEAK
Yevhen. The Ukrainian gold, dealer.
You didn't, have to clip him, for
Christ's sakes.

CHARLIE
Clip him?

PHILLY STEAK
Listen to me. You've gotta get out
of L.A. Now.

CHARLIE
What're you talking about? We didn't
clip anybody.

PHILLY STEAK
Well Skinny Pete just called me.
Yevhen's cousin is under the distinct
impression that you did.

CHARLIE
Why does he think that?

PHILLY STEAK
Because you wanted, to know about
the gold with the Balinese Girl.
Plus I guess Pete was under duress.
This Ukrainian thinks he's Paul
Fucking Bunyan.

CHARLIE
Do you know how to get in touch with
him?

PHILLY STEAK
Yeah but...

CHARLIE
Maybe there's a way we can play this
to our advantage.

PHILLY STEAK
Are you out of your mind? Listen to
me, Charlie. Get out of L.A. Now.
Cause if there's one thing I know,
it's that you never mess with Mother
Nature, mother-in-laws, or mother-
fucking Ukrainians.

INT. SAFE HOUSE - MORNING

Speaking of -- Five Ukrainians lock 'n load their MAC-11
machine pistols plus an M4 carbine with a 40mm grenade
launcher mounted beneath the barrel. Mashkov enters the room
and tells the others in SUBTITLED UKRAINIAN.

MASHKOV
He's going to be on Train 59 for New
Orleans.

UKRAINIAN
You sure your source is good?

MASHKOV
I'm sure.

CUT TO:

INT. DANYA'S HOUSE - MORNING

The home where the porno was made. Karen, wearing a backpack
stuffed with her only belongings, creeps into the kitchen
with two 3/4" videotapes in hand.

She sets them down on the counter. They say MASTER TAPE on
the labels. She opens the microwave oven. Puts the tapes
inside. Sets the timer for 60 minutes at the highest level
and presses the start button.

As the videotapes start to cook, we watch Karen flee out the
door.

CUT TO:

EXT. HOLLYWOOD AT HIGHLAND - DAY

The U-Haul is parked on the side of the noisy, congested
boulevard. A large metal sheet is now mounted on the side of
the panel truck.

HIGH ANGLE. Parked behind the U-Haul are two of the Minis
and Lyle's Vespa. We see traffic flowing through the busy
intersection next to the vehicles. Then WE BOOM DOWN, really
fast, right into the black pavement and --

THROUGH THE DARKNESS and out the other side, so we are now
underground in the middle of the --

METRO RAIL TUNNEL

where Half-Ear is at work, mounting Nitramon primer to the
tunnel walls, Charlie assisting. They both wear orange
jumpsuits, plus headsets and mics.

HALF-EAR
Did you know Einstein's 7th grade
teacher told him he was a moron who'd
never amount to anything? Same as
mine.

CHARLIE
Still hope for that Nobel Prize.

HALF-EAR
Not me, man. But I did get my college
diploma.

CHARLIE
No shit. I thought you dropped out
of high school.

HALF-EAR
Got my GED after Italy then just
kept going.

CHARLIE
How'd you manage that, all the jobs
we've been pulling?

HALF-EAR
Quit going to strip clubs. Went to
night school instead. City college
is all.

CHARLIE
Good for you. That's a real feather
in your cap.

HALF-EAR
I didn't want to say anything to the
guys.

There's a RUMBLING SOUND in the distance.

CHARLIE
Secret's safe with me.

The RUMBLING grows unbearable as a Metro roars closer,
headlights gobbling up the dark tunnel. They press themselves
into a crevice in the wall.

With a ROAR and a gust of wind, the Metro howls by. It makes
their jaws clatter.

INT. U-HAUL (PARKED) - DAY

Stella's in the cargo area with Lyle who's working his laptop.
It's monitor displays a string of computer code. He HEARS
over his headset:

CHARLIE (V.O.)
Napster. How goes it up there? Over.

LYLE
Working on the Metro Rail system.
Almost ready.

EXT. MARAVILLA DRIVE - SAME TIME

Handsome Rob's Mini is parked on the side of the winding
road. Using binoculars, he looks down onto Oporto Drive at
Steve's house. Into his headset:

HANDSOME ROB
Everything's quiet here. Over.

INT. METRO RAIL TUNNEL - DAY

The Nitramon is applied. Half-Ear closes his eyes. Charlie
observes him a moment.

CHARLIE
You okay?

HALF-EAR
Ah huh. Just need a moment's
meditation.

CHARLIE
Now?

HALF-EAR
I'm about to insert a wire into a
detonator tube and if the wire touches
the sides of tube, we'll be blown to
Kingdom Come. Best to be at one with
yourself.

CHARLIE
Take all the time you need.

Another moment, then Half-Ear sets to work. Charlie holds a
mini-flashlight, illuminating the intricate detonator. Very
carefully, he inserts a wire into a tube. Remember, the wire
must not touch the sides.

The wire is half-way in when a LARGE SPIDER drops onto his
hand. Frozen, he ponders this.

Charlie sees the spider, doesn't know what to do.

Half-Ear studies the spider... then he closes his eyes just
a moment... relaxes... breathes in, breathes out... and then --

He leans forward, opens his mouth and clamps his lips over
the spider, comes back up. Finishes inserting the wire.

Job done, he calmly opens his mouth. The spider puts a hairy
leg out and delicately explores his cheek. Half-Ear plucks
it off just as delicately, depositing the spider on the wall.

Charlie just shakes his head in disbelief.

HALF-EAR
My work here is done.

EXT. OPORTO DRIVE -DAY

A Brink's truck climbs the road towards Steve's house, flanked
by two BMW K1200LTA motorcycles.

EXT. MARAVILLA DRIVE - SAME TIME

Through binoculars, Handsome Rob is still keeping an eye on
Steve's house from the higher vantage point.

HIS POV

The front gate rises. The Brink's truck and motorcycles are
let inside and head up the driveway.

But then he sees a SECOND ARMORED truck drive up, also guarded
by two motorcycles. And a third Brink's followed by
motorcycles turns into the driveway.

EXT. STEVE'S HOUSE

It's a convoy of matching armored trucks...

EXT. MARAVILLA DRIVE - DAY

Witnessing the twist of events through his binoculars. He
speaks into his headset mic --

HANDSOME ROB
Problemo.

INT. U-HAUL - INTERCUT

The rest of the crew is now all in the U-Haul. Lyle's manning
the laptop.

CHARLIE
What is it?

HANDSOME ROB
He's brought in three identical
armored trucks.

CHARLIE
Shit. Decoys. It's like a shell game
on wheels.

LYLE
How can I reroute the truck if I
don't know which truck to reroute?

EXT. STEVE'S HOUSE - (TIME CUT) - DAY

The caravan of armored trucks and motorcycles now head down
the driveway. The Ferrari follows behind.

EXT. MARAVILLA DRIVE - DAY

Handsome Rob sees the vehicles head east on Oporto. He reports
into his mike:

HANDSOME ROB
Three Brink's trucks are leaving
with motorcycle escorts, plus Steve
in his Ferrari.

INT. U-HAUL

Maddening frustration.

LYLE
How're we going to figure out which
truck has the gold?

Charlie is just as frustrated... but in a tight spot he always
comes up with an idea.

CHARLIE
You can monitor the traffic video
cameras from your laptop, right?

LYLE
Yeah.

CHARLIE
Where's the first camera the trucks
will go past?

Lyle hits a command key and we now see the intersection of
Woodrow Wilson Drive and Cahuenga where vehicles are driving
under the traffic signal that a traffic video camera is
mounted to.

LYLE
Cahuenga Boulevard. They all have to
cross that.

CHARLIE
The weight of the gold will lower
the suspension on the truck.

EXT. CAHUENGA BOULEVARD - DAY

The first armored truck makes its way through the green light.

INT. U-HAUL

Lyle hits the keyboard and lines of measurements appear across
the image of the Brink's truck. He strikes another key,
momentarily FREEZING the image. He makes a visual check of
the top of the armored truck against the Cahuenga Boulevard
street sign.

LYLE
Lines up with the top of the sign.
Next...

He unfreezes the first image just in time to check out the
next armored truck in line. FREEZE. The top of this truck
also lines up perfectly with the top of the street sign.

LYLE
First two are the same.

EXT. CAHUENGA BOULEVARD - SAME TIME

The third Brink's truck makes its way through the
intersection, the Ferrari behind it.

INT. U-HAUL - SAME TIME

The third Brink's comes into the monitor's view. FREEZE.

The top of the truck is below the top of the street sign.

LYLE
That's our truck! License plate
AWP82092.

EXT. CAHUENGA - SAME TIME

We see the truck with the California plate AWP82092. OUR
VIEW RISES UP until we're looking at an AERIAL VIEW as the
three armored trucks and their motorcycles fan out in three
different directions, with the Ferrari going in a fourth
direction.

EXT. HOLLYWOOD AT HIGHLAND - DAY

Handsome Rob pulls up in his Mini and parks behind the other
Minis.

INT. U-HAUL - SAME TIME

Charlie gives the command.

CHARLIE
Gridlock time.

Lyle executes, hitting a series of keys and --

INT. MAINFRAME COMPUTER ROOM - SAME TIME

inconspicuous on a shelf, the dummy file box CLICKS into
action. In response, the false panels on the mainframes HUM
to life and in the adjacent --

TRAFFIC CONTROL CENTER

The mosaic of traffic screens SPIRAL INTO DARKNESS.

The workers can't believe it. They start hitting their
keyboards trying to get the system up and running again. But
it's useless since --

INT. U-HAUL

Lyle controls the system now. A single mouse click loads his
new algorithm into the computer and --

SERIES OF RAPID-FIRE SHOTS

All the traffic signals in Hollywood turn green
simultaneously.

EXT. INTERSECTIONS

See cars collide into each other. See a domino line of rear-
end crashes. A motorcycle tumbling over.

INT. TRAFFIC CONTROL CENTER

The stymied workers watch helplessly.

INT. U-HAUL

Lyle quickly types out some words and

INT. TRAFFIC CONTROL CENTER

The workers see the words form on the giant screens:

YOU'LL NEVER SHUT DOWN THE REAL NAPSTER!

EXT. MORE INTERSECTIONS

The traffic lights turn RED simultaneously. Then all turn
GREEN. Then RED again.

It's demolition derby time. Daisy-chains of wrecks. Cars
spinning like hockey pucks. Total traffic meltdown.

INT. KNX-AM 1070 TRAFFIC HELICOPTER - DAY

Sweeping over a panoramic view of the greatest traffic jam
in L.A.'s history is traffic anchor CHRISTINA GRIEGO. She
reports what she sees:

CHRISTINA GRIEGO
This is Christina Griego with your
drive-home traffic report on KNX.
I'm looking down on Hollywood
Boulevard and this is definitely a
CIG alert.

INT. FERRARI

They're blocked in solid ahead and behind.

STEVE
What the hell?

He turns on the radio as --

INT. U-HAUL

Lyle's fingers dance across the keyboard.

LYLE
Opening up a space on North Highland.

INT. GOLD TRUCK

Stuck in the middle of it. The driver and guard, both armed,
are as confused as everyone else.

GUARD
Get us out of here.

DRIVER
I'm trying.

He sees a way out, a sudden opening on North. Highland.

INT. U-HAUL

Via a traffic video camera, Lyle sees on his laptop the gold
truck, followed by two motorcycles, making the turn onto
North Highland.

LYLE
He's taking it...

Lyle hits more keys.

LYLE
I now command you to turn left.

EXT. GOLD TRUCK

It comes to the next intersection. Every light is stuck on
red -- except the left turn only signal which is green. No
choice. The truck takes it.

INT. U-HAUL

He's striking keys, an orchestral conductor, the crew his
audience.

LYLE
I've got it on Hollywood Boulevard.
Time to slow down.

EXT. HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD

Signals turn green, but only for three seconds, long enough
for one car to gun through it at a time.

At the same time, we see Charlie get out of the U-Haul and
climb into the first Mini. Stella gets into the second Mini.

Half-Ear joins Handsome Rob in the third.

INT. FERRARI - DAY

Steve gets the scoop over the radio. He can't believe it.

CHRISTINA GRIEGO (V.O.)
According to the police, the computers
at the Traffic Control Center are
down.

Steve knows who did that.

STEVE
Sonovabitch.

INT. CHARLIE'S MINI -DAY

Through his rearview mirror, Charlie eyes the gold truck
creeping closer.

CHARLIE
Gentlemen, start your engines.

THREE SHOTS

Starting their engines-with souped-up, throaty roars: Charlie;
Handsome Rob; Stella.

CHARLIE
Give us the flag when you're ready.

INT. U-HAUL

Lyle has hacked into the Metro Rail's Control System. Starts
his magic.

LYLE
Shutting down the rail as we speak.

INT. METRO RAIL TUNNELS - SEVERAL SHOTS

A Metro is speeding through the Blue Line tunnel. Suddenly
it loses power and comes to an inglorious stop.

Another Metro stops on the Red Line.

Inside a Metro on the Westside Corridor as it stops; confused
passengers stare out the glass.

INT. U-HAUL

His laptop shows a group of still circles that represent the
stalled Metros.

LYLE
Tunnel's clear. Go!

EXT. WALK OF FAME

The three Minis jump the curb and drive right over the star-
lined sidewalk... Pedestrians throw themselves out of their
path... The cars run over Marilyn Monroe's star and the
flowers and candles left by fans... They make a sharp turn
down the cement stairs that lead to the Metro Rail platform.

At the same time --

EXT. HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD

The creeping gold truck is just about alongside the parked U-
Haul.

INT. U-HAUL

Through his sideview mirror, Lyle eyes the progress of the
gold truck. He gives the word:

LYLE
Coming into position...

INT. METRO RAIL STATION

The Minis roughly bounce down the second flight of stairs.

The sides of the cars scrape against the metal handrails.

Tourists, workers, all scamper away.

INT. U-HAUL

The gold truck getting closer.

LYLE
Five... Four...

INT. METRO RAIL STATION

The Minis land on the platform where everyone is waiting for
the next Metro.

Heads turn at the sight of these half-cars streaking by.

INT. U-HAUL

The gold truck is almost alongside the U-Haul.

LYLE
Three...

INT. METRO RAIL STATION

Charlie's Mini flies off the platform and lands on the rail
line. The car's shocks take the hit.

The other Minis follow suit, off the platform, onto the rails.

LYLE (V.O.)
Two... One...

THE MINIS

Drive past the spot where they put the Nitramon explosives.

LYLE (V.O.)
Do it.

INT. STELLA'S MINI

She brakes to a stop and braces herself as --

INT. HANDSOME ROB'S MINI

Half-Ear pulls out his hearing aid, hits the remote to a
detonator and --

EXT. HOLLYWOOD & HIGHLAND

The section of pavement that the gold truck sits on splits
apart. The road surface drops away. Smoke billowing up as
The BRINK'S TRUCK FALLS...

INT. METRO RAIL TUNNEL

Suddenly the street, the armored truck and daylight come
crashing down at us in a cloud of smoke and debris.

The truck's windshield implodes.

The Minis come to a stop. Half-Ear jumps out. Aims the grenade
launcher. FIRES.

INT. GOLD TRUCK

The triple charger chemical grenade sails in through the
windshield and explodes, knocking out the guards. The driver
slumps against the steering wheel, the horn BLARING under
his weight. At the same time:

INT. U-HAUL - ON THE CUT

Lyle hits a button on a remote control and --

EXT. U-HAUL

Clamps unlock, releasing the heavy steel sheet from the side
of the U-Haul. It SLAMS DOWN, neatly covering the gaping
hole in the road like a huge manhole cover.

EXT. HOLLYWOOD & HIGHLAND

The motorcycles following the Brink's come to a sudden stop.

The motorcycle guards watch the smoke clear. The armored
truck has vanished! Vaporized in the gridlock! Gone!

Pandemonium. People scatter. A man jumps out of his BMW and
sprints away from the explosion.

Lyle gets out of the U-Haul and runs to his getaway vehicle:
the Vespa. He's about to hop on, but something stops him...

The sight of the vacant, shimmering, 2002 BMW 750iL parked
just ahead, keys dangling from the ignition.

At the same time, the motorcycle guards climb off their bikes.
Draw semi-automatic handguns. Result: more madness Bystanders
flee.

The BMW tears out of there, Lyle behind the wheel.

INT. METRO RAIL TUNNEL - DAY

The rear door to the Brink's is open. Our crew sees the
Worthington 1000 inside.

CHARLIE
Nice work.

HALF-EAR
Well like Einstein almost said: genius
is ten percent inspiration, ninety
percent detonation.

CHARLIE
Let's get our gold.

Stella goes up to the imposing safe. Gives it a look of
momentary respect, then sets to work...

INT. KNX-AM 1070 TRAFFIC HELICOPTER - DAY

Christina Griego telling her radio audience:

CHRISTINA GRIEGO
I've seen earthquakes, mudslides,
fires, riots, but this... Let me try
to paint a picture for our listeners.

INT. FERRARI

Hearing the news over the radio.

CHRISTINA GRIEGO (V.O.)
There's been some kind of an explosion
and a Brink's truck has just dropped
down into the Metro Rail Blue Line.

Steve slams the car into gear and jumps the sidewalk, passing
the gridlock. He hollers into a walkie-talkie --

STEVE
The truck's in the Metro Rail. Where
does the Blue Line go back above
ground?

EXT. STREETS - SERIES OF SHOTS

The motorcycle guards who were escorting the decoy trucks
hear Steve over their walkie-talkies. With squeals of rubber,
they turn around as one of the guards answers --

MOTORCYCLE GUARD
It comes out at Flower & Pico.

At the same time --

INT. METRO RAIL TUNNEL - DAY

Stella works the dial, feeling for contact points. And --

EXT. HOLLYWOOD & HIGHLAND - DAY

The two motorcycle guards fervently try to lift off the steel
sheet that dropped down from the U-Haul.

INT. METRO RAIL TUNNEL - DAY

They see daylight start to stream in from above as the steel
sheet slides a little.

CHARLIE
Stella?

STELLA
Shhh...

We HEAR Stella's heart pounding in her ears. See the
perspiration on her fingertips.

STELLA
You know when you said this wouldn't
be the same as opening a safe for
the cops?

HANDSOME ROB
Yeah.

STELLA
Did you have to be right?

EXT. HOLLYWOOD & HIGHLAND - DAY

The motorcycle guards strain, managing to shift the steel
sheet enough so they can see the armored truck below.

INT. METRO RAIL TUNNEL - DAY

CLOSE SHOTS on Stella's eyes, pure concentration. CLOSE SHOTS
on each number on the dial. Finally: CLICK.

She grabs the safe's lever and swings the sturdy steel door
open. She instinctively looks away.

CHARLIE
Don't you want to see what's inside?

STELLA
I never look.

CHARLIE
Trust me. You wanna look.

So she does. Inside is a mountain of gold bricks...

EXT. HOLLYWOOD & HIGHLAND - MOMENTS LATER

The motorcycle guards heave, strain, finally getting the
steel plate off. But it's too late as --

INT. MINIS - SERIES OF SHOTS

Engines REV. Exhaust jets. Hands slam stick-shifts.

INT. METRO RAIL TUNNEL

The cars streak off deeper into the Metro Rail tunnel,
headlights bouncing off the walls.

INT. CHARLIE'S MINI (MOVING) - DAY

It's a rush cruising down the tunnel. Taking the Blue Line.

Leading the pack. But they're not home free yet.

EXT. 101 FREEWAY - DAY

Rush hour gridlock -- no problem. The Ferrari's 12 cylinder
massive 210 hp engine bellows as it hits 120 m.p.h. in the
breakdown lane.

A Highway Patrol car starts chasing after it, siren wailing.

INT. FERRARI (HAULING ASS) - DAY

Merging onto the 110 South, Steve sees the patrol car in hot
pursuit.

He shifts into sixth and suddenly this car is a rocket
blasting off, doing a 1/4 mile in 1.3 seconds, leaving the
patrol car far behind. At the same time --

INT. SAFE HOUSE - GARAGE

Mashkov and the other heavily armed Ukrainians climb into a
SUV. The garage door opens and the vehicle charges out of
there. And at the same time --

INT. METRO RAIL TUNNEL

The three Minis speed by UNDERNEATH OUR CAMERA in streaks of
red, white, and blue.

INT. CHARLIE'S MINI (MOVING)

He spots the proverbial daylight at the end of the tunnel.

EXT. FLOWER & PICO - DAY

Where the Blue Line rises up to ground level. The Minis
thunder into the daylight, past the above ground platform,
just as two motorcycles come flying around the corner after
them.

Picture this: two guards on each motorcycle with each man
seated behind the driver holding AK-47s in each hand, giving
them the appearance of having submachine guns growing out of
their shoulders.

Fingers go flat against the AK-47s triggers. Blowing SHOT
after SHOT at the Minis. BAM-BAM-BAM.

INT. CHARLIE'S MINI

In the teeth of gunfire. Bullets explode through the back
window in a cacophony of CRASHING GLASS. A shot wings his
door. POP! Into headset:

CHARLIE
Split up!

EXT. FLOWER & PICO

They head off in different directions through congested
downtown rush hour traffic.

One motorcycle takes off after Charlie's Mini. The other
goes after Handsome Rob's Mini. So Stella's free and clear
except that Steve's Ferrari is barreling down Pico and coming
after her.

INT. LAPD HELICOPTER (FLYING)

An LAPD PILOT swoops in, barking out instructions to police
cars converging on the scene.

EXT. CHARLIE'S MINI

Turning onto Exposition, the motorcycle in pursuit, the
chopper overhead.

His red Mini jumps a curve, now on a wide sidewalk,
accelerating full throttle for the horizon while pedestrians
flatten themselves against a high-rise in fear.

INT. CHARLIE'S MINI

He sees someone give him the finger. Mutters:

CHARLIE
If you don't like how I'm driving,
get off the damn sidewalk.

Meanwhile:

INT. HANDSOME ROB'S MINI

He's got the other motorcycle on his tail, RELENTLESS GUNFIRE
dogging his every move.

He shifts smooth as silk, squeezing between a car he's passing
and an oncoming car in the other lane. Half-Ear is trying
his best to remain calm but Jesus, that was close.

Suddenly, Handsome Rob veers off the road and WHAM. He takes
down a chain link fence and is now in the parking lot of
the:

EXT. CONVENTION CENTER

His white Mini catapults across the asphalt, the motorcycle
still right behind.

INT. HANDSOME ROB'S MINI

Up ahead, he eyes the open door entrance to the Convention
Center. Stomps the gas.

HALF-EAR
What are you doing?

The turbine howls.

HALF-EAR
What -- are -- you -- doing?

EXT. CONVENTION CENTER

The Mini squeezes through the doorway and into the --

INT. CONVENTION CENTER

It's the STAR TREK GRAND SLAM 2002 convention in full swing.

Display tables are lined up in the cavernous hall and the
Mini snakes through the maze and the Trekkies as --

The motorcycle follows right behind and the chase is really
on now.

THUDA THUD THUDA, the Mini's wheels climb a flight of steps.

Waves of people flee the path of the little car and --

THUD, THUDA, THUD, the motorcycle follows right behind.

The Mini zips down the wide Concourse Hall -- travels
underneath banners of Star Trek characters that hang from
the ceiling -- the motorcycle keeps up, tires tearing into
the carpeting.

INT. HANDSOME ROB'S MINI

He shifts, swerves, avoiding people, obstacles.

HALF-EAR
Go that way!

Handsome Rob turns, taking them down the --

WEST HALL

that stretches out toward the Staples Center.

WHIZ. The Mini goes by. WHIZ. The motorcycle goes by.

Then --

The Mini steamrolls through the exit doors and --

EXT. CONVENTION CENTER/STAPLES CENTER

It bounds down outdoor steps and ramps onto the outside
entrance to the Staples Center, fitting snugly between cement
pillars that are designed to keep regular-sized cars out.

INT. STAPLES CENTER - DAY

The Mini bulldozes through glass doors. Across the lobby.

Down an aisle that leads right to --

CENTER COURT

where OUR L.A. LAKERS are in the midst of practice. The Minis
do look like matchbox cars next to these towering players.

The car's tires leave a streak of rubber on the parquet floor.
The team clears a path. The car is off the court before they
know it.

But now the players see the motorcycle coming down the aisle.

See the guns. See security guards running after it.

KOBE BRYANT picks up a basketball.

The motorcycle charges across center court.

Kobe aims... hurls the ball. It RAMS into the motorcycle's
handlebars. The bike spins out of control and into a nasty
fall, spitting off the riders while --

EXT. STAPLES CENTER

The Mini crashes out the opposite side of the arena and glides
right through the L.A. Sports Arch of Fame before escaping
onto Figueroa. Meanwhile:

EXT. SOUTH ALAMEDA - DAY

The Ferrari is eating up the pavement as it hounds after
Stella. Two police cars are roaring after them both.

INT. STELLA'S MINI

She slaps the gears into action, maneuvers tight turns around
the cars in her path, just like she does at home with Jack
Daniels.

EXT. SOUTH ALAMEDA

A cop car tries to pass the same car as the Ferrari but
smashes into an oncoming vehicle. As it spins like a corkscrew --

EXT. FERRARI

The rear tires spin smoke and it launches like a missile
after the Mini.

INT. STELLA'S MINI

She keeps flooring it... the gauge rising... the customized
engine screaming...

But the Ferrari, like an unstoppable force, hangs menacingly
in her rearview mirror.

I/E FERRARI

Steve RAMS into the rear bumper of the blue Mini. The bumper
tears off, rolls across the pavement. The Ferrari is about
to make another charge.

INT. STELLA'S MINI

She yanks the wheel left to avoid the hit. Suddenly finds
herself in the path of an ARROWHEAD WATER TRUCK. She yanks
the wheel right to avoid a collision.

INT. ARROWHEAD WATER TRUCK

The truck driver hits the brakes, over compensating as he
turns away from the Mini and --

EXT. SOUTH ALAMEDA

The truck falls over onto its side, sending those big jugs
all over the road, water exploding into the air and --

The Ferrari crashes through the jugs, one rolling up the
hood and over the windshield, dousing it like a car wash.

The lane is blocked by the wreck. Steve makes a right turn.

The police cruiser hits the brakes but not fast enough. It
slams into the water truck.

EXT. 5TH STREET

Steve turned onto a one-way street and he's going the wrong
way. A Jeep Wrangler almost runs into him head-on but both
cars stop just in time.

The DRIVER of Wrangler, a muscular fire plug of a guy, jumps
out, furious.

FURIOUS DRIVER
What's wrong with you, you stupid-
ass, son of a bitch, dickhead...

As more invectives are hurled, Steve gets out of the Ferrari
and walks towards the furious driver.

FURIOUS DRIVER
What? You want a piece of me? C'mon,
dumbshit. Bring it on. I'll be pulling
peanuts out of your asshole --

BANG. Steve shoots the guy's foot.

FURIOUS DRIVER
Shit! Shit! You shot me in the foot!

While the furious driver hops on one leg, Steve gets into
the Wrangler and takes off, abandoning the Ferrari. At the
same time --

INT. BMW 750IL (MOVING) - SUNSET

Lyle's coasting down Exposition Boulevard towards Union
Station. Clear sailing for him.

He sees a young woman thumbing for a ride. It's Karen. And
he recognizes her: she was hitchhiking when he first arrived
in L.A. He pulls over. To Lyle, she might be an angel in the
empyrean if she wasn't, so completely, a woman.

LYLE
Where are you going?

KAREN
Away.

LYLE
How about far, far away?

KAREN
The farther the better.

EXT. FIGUEROA & OLYMPIC - DAY

Charlie's still having a helluva time getting rid of the
motorcycle. It screams like a Banshee as it streaks up
alongside the Mini. Charlie suddenly sees an AK-47 pointed
right at him.

INT. CHARLIE'S MINI

He jerks the steering wheel and swerves off the street,
driving through the parking lot of the historic Hotel
Figueroa.

With the motorcycle dogging his heels, he looks up at the
building. It has three towers that rise up 12 stories, with
a giant mural of Albert Einstein covering one of the towers

(it's an ad for Apple Computers: Think different.)

Suddenly the LAPD helicopter swoops down towards the parking
lot, shattering the air, blowing up dirt and discarded
newspapers in a rush of turbo-wash, trying to box in the
Mini.

INT. CHARLIE'S MINI

He's got no place else to go...

INT. HOTEL FIGUEROA

The Mini squeezes through the entrance and into the lobby
with its exotic Moroccan decor. Horrified guests catapult
out of the way. The Mini drives past wooden statues, potted
palm trees.

The motorcycle follows the car as it streaks towards the
elevator. Charlie looks back, sees the motorcycle. The
elevator door opens. Some tourists step off.

CHARLIE
Going up?

INT. ELEVATOR

The Mini darts right in, not an inch to spare. Charlie reaches
out the window, presses the button for ROOF.

He sees the motorcycle charging after him, burning rubber
across the beautiful tiled floor. Closer, closer.

The door closes just in time.

A second elevator opens, the motorcycle zooms inside, people
screaming at the sight of the guns.

EXT. ROOFTOP - DAY

The doors open, PING, and the Mini reverses out, spins.

LOOKING DOWN onto the building's rooftop, we see that it is
shaped like a capitol E, three towers connected by a narrow
strip. Each tower has its own elevator.

INT. CHARLIE'S MINI

He wants to drive across the rooftop strip but there's a big
problem: the giant sign that exclaims HOTEL FIGUEROA in red
and white neon lights blocks so much of the strip that even
the Mini couldn't squeeze through.

In his rearview, he sees the second elevator door open and
out comes the motorcycle. He's trapped up here. But he's not
about to abandon ship.

EXT. ROOFTOP

So he floors it, slaps the gears, hurtles to the edge of the
first tower and in --

EYE-POPPING CGI SLOW MOTION SHOTS

His car hurls into the wide blue empty space... The ground
deliriously distant... Spiraling through the air like a
football...

NEXT TOWER - ROOFTOP

The Mini lands right-side-up with a THUD. Charlie, rattled,
looks over his shoulder and sees the LAPD helicopter rising
over the rooftop, turbines SCREAMING.

And here comes the motorcycle. Flying from one section of
the rooftop to the next. It lands and the driver REVS it
forward --

I/E CHARLIE'S MINI

He speeds toward the edge of the roof and launches off towards
the third tower some twenty feet away. Lands. Keeps going to
the last elevator, skids to a stop.

He reaches out, punches the call button. Then looks over his
shoulder to witness --

THE MOTORCYCLE

going full throttle to make the final rooftop to rooftop
jump.

But its front wheel hits the edge slightly off-kilter...

It soars but with a slight downward trajectory...

Towards a large window on the top floor...

Then lower...

And the look on the driver's face says it all as...

The front wheel of the motorcycle SMACKS into the side of
the building, just below the window.

The guards are flung off the bike and their bodies CRASH
through the window as --

A hunk of exploding metal imbeds itself in the side of the
LAPD chopper and --

INT. HOTEL FIGUEROA

The guards land in the Tangier Suite in a hailstorm of glass
shards.

I/E. LAPD HELICOPTER

Smoke billows out where the hunk of metal hit. The pilot
keeps it under control but it's time to go. With a WHINING
THROB, the injured chopper banks away.

INT. HOTEL FIGUEROA LOBBY - DAY

PING. The elevator door opens. Charlie's Mini shoots out
then skids out the lobby's exit. He made it.

CUT TO:

INT. STELLA'S MINI (SPEEDING) - DAY

She checks the rearview mirror. No sign of the Ferrari.

Just a Jeep Wrangler back there.

Stella looks relieved. Feels like she's home free.

CUT TO:

EXT. UNION STATION - SUNSET

Stella's Mini pulls up to the ramp of the enclosed car carrier
at the end of Amtrak Train 59, bound for New Orleans.

She can see the other two Minis are already inside. She gets
out and hands the cargo loader a ticket.

EXT. UNION STATION - NIGHT

The "All Aboard" announcement goes out over the PA system.

Then the Superliner train pulls out of the station, quickly
picking up speed.

INT. FIRST CLASS CAR - NIGHT

The outside streaks by through the window. It's a happy crew.
Champagne is poured. Charlie holds up his glass and gets
their attention.

CHARLIE
I want to make a toast. Cause there's
somebody missing here today, and we
all know who it is.

They all raise their glasses.

CHARLIE
To John Bridger. The most brilliant
master planner of them all. We wish
he was with us.

We PAN ACROSS their faces. It's been a three year odyssey
for them. They got the gold, but they lost someone they loved.

ALL OF THEM
To John.

Clink.

INT. CAR CARRIER - NIGHT

OUR CAMERA MOVES past the three Minis parked inside...

And STOPS at the last car in the carrier -- the Jeep Wrangler.
Its rear hatch rises and Steve creeps out. Looks around.
It's safe.

He walks over to Stella's Mini. Pops open the trunk REVEALING
a silver Haliburton suitcase. He unzips the case.

It's filled with stacks and stacks of gold bricks, the exotic
face of a Balinese girl on each one.

Steve pulls out a brick, embraces it. He knows his gold.

These bricks are real.

But as he has a moment with his gold, BEHIND HIM, the trunks
of the other two Minis RISE in unison.

Then Mashkov RISES out of the trunk of the white Mini.

Another Ukrainian RISES out of the trunk of the blue Mini.

Four more Ukrainians slide out from underneath the Minis.

They cock their M-lls.

CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK.

Steve hears the sound from behind him. He turns around to
see the weapons pointed at him.

MASHKOV
Take out your gun and drop it on the
floor.

Steve has no choice.

STEVE
Who are you?

MASHKOV
You knew my cousin. Yevhen.

STEVE
I never knew anyone named Yevhen.

MASHKOV
Get in the trunk. Not that trunk,
this one. That gold is for us. A
gift from some old friends of yours.
They said to tell you that they didn't
mind sharing the box of Cracker Jack,
as long as you didn't get any. Not
even the toy surprise.

The Ukrainians force Steve into the trunk of the white Mini.

And for the first time, he's scared. Looking up at Mashkov,
he begs.

STEVE
Please. Don't shoot me. Please...

MASHKOV
Don't worry. That wasn't the deal.
I'm not going to shoot you.

STEVE
Thank you. Thank God.

MASHKOV
(to the others)
He really thought I was going to
shoot him.

The Ukrainians laugh. Steve tries to laugh.

MASHKOV
No. No. I'm not going to shoot you.
I'm going to hack off your limbs and
bury you while you're still alive.

And with that, he closes the trunk. THUD. Like the lid of a
coffin. And for Steve, the world falls into BLACKNESS.

INT. FIRST CLASS CAR - SAME TIME

Underneath the crew's seats, we see the other two silver
Haliburton suitcases filled with the rest of the gold. We
BOOM UP to our five thieves...

CHARLIE
New IDs.

Handsome Rob passes out new fake driver's licenses for when
they arrive in New Orleans.

LYLE
(re: his fake license)
Simon Quackenbush? Could I -- just
once -- have a cool name?

HALF-EAR
(also complaining)
250_pounds?

They're interrupted by the RING of Charlie's phone. He
answers.

CHARLIE
Did you get what you wanted?

INT. CAR CARRIER - INTERCUT

Mashkov is on the other end of the line.

MASHKOV
I'm happy.

During this, Lyle types commands into his laptop that is
connected to a phone jack in the car.

CHARLIE
It was good doing business with you.

Lyle hits a final command and --

INT. ENGINEER ROOM - SAME TIME

signal box receives the command and --

EXT. CAR CARRIER - SAME TIME

The coupler between the car carrier and the rest of the train
is electronically disengaged.

This causes the train to separate from the car carrier. The
train speeds on without it at 100 miles per hour.

The car carrier slowly comes to a stop in the middle of
nowhere.

CUT TO:

INT. DINING CAR - NIGHT

The Dining Car features crisp white linens and extended
windows for scenic dining. Lyle walks over to a table where
Karen is waiting for him. She looks resplendent.

LYLE
Is this seat taken?

KAREN
It is now.

He sits. And as OUR CAMERA HOLDS ON Lyle, ready to embark on
a new life, we --

CUT TO:

THE COVER OF WIRED MAGAZINE

It fills THE SCREEN. And beneath a photograph of Lyle himself,
we read the headline:

WILL THE REAL NAPSTER PLEASE STAND UP

How The Laptop Fugitive Pulled It Off

CUT TO:

INT. PARLOUR CAR - NIGHT

And as OUR CAMERA FINDS Half-Ear, checking out the books in
the library, feeling like the wealthy man he is, we --

CUT TO:

THE COVER OF PHILADELPHIA CITY COLLEGE'S ALUMNI NEWS

And beneath a graduation photo of Half-Ear in his cap and
gown, we read the headline:

"HE WAS ONE OF M'S BEST STUDENTS"

Professor Relives Memories of Erudite Fugitive

CUT TO:

INT. LOUNGE CAR - NIGHT

And as OUR CAMERA FINDS Handsome Rob, who's already caught
the eye of a woman at the bar, we --

CUT TO:

THE COVER OF THE ADELPHIA CABLE INSIDER NEWSLETTER

And beneath a photo of Becky the cable chick, we read the
headline:

"HE TOOK THE SHIRT OFF MY BACK AND I'D GIVE IT TO HIM AGAIN!"

Feds Say Technician Admits to Encounter With 'Handsome' Thief

CUT TO:

INT. FIRST CLASS CAR - NIGHT

Charlie and Stella drink from glasses of champagne.

CHARLIE
We did it.

STELLA
We sure did.

CHARLIE
There's something I've been meaning
to ask you, Stella. But I've just
been so busy lately, what with the
explosion, car chase, Ukrainians and
all.

STELLA
It has been a hectic day.

CHARLIE
It's about that thing you said to me
back in Philadelphia.

STELLA
That thing?

CHARLIE
You said that you can't have a
relationship with a pickpocket, gold
robber, or any kind of thief.

STELLA
Oh... That thing.

CHARLIE
Do you still believe that?

STELLA
Yeah. I do.

CHARLIE
Well I was wondering... What about a
retired pickpocket, gold robber,
thief?

STELLA
Now that's an entirely different
question.

And as an enigmatic smile settles across her face, we --

CUT TO:

THE COVER OF CONDE MAST TRAVEL MAGAZINE

And beneath a photo of sunbathers on a glorious beach, we
read the headline:

LIVING THE GOOD LIFE ON THE PINK SANDS OF BERMUDA

And OUR VIEW SLOWLY PUSHES IN CLOSER ON the magazine cover...

CLOSER on the line of sunbathers... PANNING ACROSS their
faces -- and you'd never notice unless you were really,
really, looking for them... is it them?... CLOSER on the
pixels... and yes, it sure is... Charlie & Stella in lounge
chairs, living the good life.

FADE OUT:

THE END

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