Dracula nov 12 2008 draft


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Forgot Vlad the Impaler, the real inspiration for Dracula was Stoker's boss and sole client, the actor Sir Henry Irving.

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Dracula nov 12 2008 draft

  1. 1. In The Shadow of Dracula by Damian Stevenson 11/12/08 DRAFT
  2. 2. BLACK SCREENThe grating SOUND of a knife flint dragged across awhetstone comes over, like nails scraping chalk, as weFADE IN:On a close-up of a blade being sharpened. An ornateVictorian hunting knife. Manicured HANDS clasping it.The SOUND of CLATTERING HOOVES comes over.EXT. LONDON STREETS - NIGHTA herky-jerky POV atop a horse-drawn hansom thunderingdown a crowded London thoroughfare, scatteringPICKPOCKETS, PROSTITUTES, PORTERS and THIEVES.A cloaked FIGURE stands in the middle of the muddy road,remaining stationary, oblivious to his imminent demise.The CABMAN sees him and cries out. CABMAN Hey-oh! Out of the way! Ho!At the last possible moment, the figure deftly side-steps, swinging his arm in an elegant, arcing motion.A FLASH of steel. The sharpened flint finds flesh.The horse stumbles, its neck slashed, bringing everythingto a violent, CRASHING HALT. The Cabman is thrown. Hiscab topples over and skids spectacularly across the road.A wheel goes flying, spins through the air whip-saw fast,blurring past a frozen GREENGROCER. His neatly severedhead bounces down the filthy gutter. Someone SCREAMS.The screeching, sparking heap comes to a rest in a flowerstand where the entangled horse bucks wildly, bloodspurting from its neck onto people’s faces and clothes.An oncoming cab veers to avoid the debris and plows intoa restaurant. A terrific EXPLOSION of glass shards.DINERS and elegantly-dressed WAITERS mowed down. Carnage.ANGLE ONThe wreck still shuddering and splintering, surrounded byflowers, like an impromptu funeral arrangement.
  3. 3. 2.The Cabman cuts loose his horse and SHOOTS it. He triesto pry open the doors while CHILDREN attack his vehicle. CABMAN Clear off! Thieves!Their small grubby hands snap loose metal edgings andknobs, seats and precious swatches of leather and cloth.A MAN squeezes out of the shattered carriage, staggersabout, stupefied, trying to get his bearings, whileonlookers gawp at him like they just witnessed a miracle.He is tall, good-looking, about thirty. He has bloodmatted down the side of his face. He is holding a pistol.His dazed eyes sweep the area, trying to locate theshrouded figure. His eyes strain. Everything is spinning. FADE OUT.FADE IN:EXT. HOLLYWOOD HILLS - DAYA black Dodge taxicab trundles up a steep scrubby slope.An OLD WOMAN sits in the back of the taxi, clad in ablack Victorian dress, her face obscured by a silk veil.Slanting shafts of dusty sunlight stream into the cab.SUPER: HOLLYWOOD, 1930EXT. UNIVERSAL PICTURES - DAYThe taxi backfires as it departs, having dispensed theOld Woman who shuffles to the Universal SECURITY GUARD. OLD WOMAN Florence Stoker to see Mr. Carl Laemmle.The Guard looks her up and down.INT. EXECUTIVE BUILDING, FIRST FLOOR - DAYA platinum-blonde RECEPTIONIST graces the art deco foyer. FLORENCE Florence Stoker to see Mr. Carl Laemmle.
  4. 4. 3.INT. EXECUTIVE BUILDING, UPPER FLOOR - DAYFlorence is led along by a bespectacled male SECRETARY. SECRETARY This way, please, Mrs. Stoker.He ushers her down a hallway decked with framed stillsand posters from Universal’s horror hits of the 1920slike ”Phantom of the Opera” and “The Cat and the Canary.”INT. CARL LAEMMLE JR.’S OFFICE - DAYDoors push open to reveal CARL LAEMMLE JR., 23, ensconcedbehind his desk reading Variety, the cover of which says“LITTLE CAESAR GUNS DOWN BOX OFFICE! MGM NO. 1 AGAIN!”Disgruntled, obsessed, he doesn’t notice that his meetinghas arrived. His Secretary coughs, snapping him out ofit. Laemmle forces a smile, stands up to greet Florence. CARL LAEMMLE JR. This is truly an honor. To think when I was a small boy growing up in Hoboken that I would one day meet the wife of... FLORENCE (cuts him off, exasperated) Just how many lapdogs does this jerk Laemmle have? Anyone would think I was meeting the President! Where is he?Laemmle is speechless, his Secretary appalled. SECRETARY Mrs. Stoker, this is Mr. Laemmle!Florence squints her eyes at the baby-faced Laemmle. FLORENCE You! How old are you?!There suddenly comes a loud ruckus from outside, CLANGINGMETAL with what sounds like a full ORCHESTRA tuning up.EXT. UNIVERSAL BACKLOT - DAYA big, bloated MGM-style musical is rehearsing on thebacklot with a swirl of frenetic activity surrounding it.DANCING GIRLS kick, MAKE-UP CREWS flutter about and, sureenough, a full orchestra provides musical accompaniment.
  5. 5. 4.PULLING BACK we realize we are watching from Laemmle andFlorence’s POV as they look down from Laemmle’s balcony. CARL LAEMMLE JR. Pretty amazing, huh? FLORENCE Opening night at The Lyceum, that was amazing. But you wouldn’t know anything about that, seeing as how you’re twelve. CARL LAEMMLE JR. The Lyceum Theatre in London, where your husband was codirector with Henry Irving during its heyday in the 1880s and 90s.Florence is non plussed. FLORENCE My compliments to your research department.Laemmle pauses, studying the shrewd old bird. He smiles. CARL LAEMMLE JR. Tea, Mrs. Stoker?He gestures to a tea-wagon laden with yummy refreshments. FLORENCE I’d prefer something stronger.Laemmle flips a switch, causing a bulky radio consul toswivel around revealing a hidden wet bar. The device jamswith just half the bar exposed, forcing Laemmle to kneeldown and squeeze his hand in to reach a bottle of booze. FLORENCE (CONT’D) (peers outside) Might I ask what you’re photographing down there? CARL LAEMMLE JR. (straining to reach inside) Nothing. That’s actually a rehearsal for “King of Jazz.” No cameras rolling yet. FLORENCE “King of Jazz?” Wasn’t your last picture “Broadway” also a musical? Perhaps I should be talking to Mr. Mayer over at MGM?This hits a nerve.
  6. 6. 5. CARL LAEMMLE JR. Things are going to be different around here now that my father has officially retired. I intend to restore Universal to her former position as the pre-eminent purveyor of terror and suspense.He floods two highballs with gin, shovels in some ice. FLORENCE Your father passed on my husband’s book in 1916. CARL LAEMMLE JR. That was before sound! Before moving cameras. FLORENCE He considered the story, and I quote, “too scary” for a movie audience.Laemmle smiles slyly to himself, brings the drinks over. CARL LAEMMLE JR. And, in what can only be described as an ironic twist of fate, it is for this very same reason that I would like to offer you forty thousand dollars to purchase the underlying rights to “Dracula.” (hands her cocktail) Plus two and a half percent of the gross.Florence looks at him. CARL LAEMMLE JR. (CONT’D) Well, Mrs. Stoker? What do you say? Do we have a deal?INT. MOVIE THEATRE - NIGHTPAN FROM a SIGN that says “TEST SCREENING IN PROGRESS” toCARL LAEMMLE JR.’S FACE pressed up against the auditoriumdoor glass. He is with SUITS and KEY PERSONNEL from the1931 movie of “Dracula” including director TODD BROWNING.Piercing SHRIEKS rip forth from inside the auditorium.CAPTION: PASADENA, ONE YEAR LATERDoors EXPLODE open and two outraged MEN stampede out. MOVIEGOER Disgusting!
  7. 7. 6.Laemmle and his Colleagues hug and high-five each other.MONTAGEA flurry of Variety headlines attests to the phenomenalsuccess of “Dracula.” News footage of MOVIEGOERS lined uparound the block. Shots of the “Dracula” CAST at events.“Dracula” the play, the Broadway sensation. “Fang” Clubs.END MONTAGEINT. PROJECTION ROOM, UNIVERSAL - DAYLaemmle is screening dailies from “King of Jazz,” lookingmiserable, as ROBINSON, a young executive, enters andgropes around in the dim light, sits down beside him. ROBINSON You sent for me, Mr. Laemmle? CARL LAEMMLE JR. Tell me, Robinson, what do you know about Bram Stoker? ROBINSON The author of Dracula? Uh... CARL LAEMMLE JR. Nothing. Just what I thought. Abraham “Bram” Stoker, 1847-1912, Irish theatre critic and author of “Dracula.” For twenty years, the manager of Sir Henry Irving. Have you heard of Henry Irving? ROBINSON I confess I have not.Laemmle looks at him sourly. CARL LAEMMLE JR. Remind me to review your resume. Irving was once the most famous actor in the world. Cagney, Muni and Jolson all rolled into one. You can’t imagine how big this guy was, on both sides of the Atlantic. ROBINSON And Bram Stoker was his agent?
  8. 8. 7. CARL LAEMMLE JR. Whatever the Victorian equivalent was. So get this, Stoker dies 1912. April 1912. Days after the Titanic sinks. ROBINSON That’s rough. CARL LAEMMLE JR. Suffice to say not much attention was paid to Stoker’s passing. I found one obit, squeezed in at the back of ‘The Times.’ Doesn’t even mention “Dracula.”He hands Robinson a laminated, yellowing newspaper obit.Above the boxed death notice there is a grainy image ofBRAM STOKER, HENRY IRVING and a third man, H.J. LOVEDAY.The caption says “Bram Stoker with actor Sir Henry Irvingand H.J. Loveday, Co-Manager of the Lyceum under Stoker.” CARL LAEMMLE JR. (CONT’D) I want you to listen to something. (stands, goes to phonograph) This is an old wax cylinder recording of an unaired radio interview Stoker gave in 1910. Research dug it up in CBS archives.He puts the needle on the indented, rotating cylinder.RECORDINGScratchy static. HISSING. Then a VOICE. A British accent. INTERVIEWER’S VOICE Our listeners are curious to know about the novel’s origins. Where did you get the idea for such a remarkable story?The next VOICE we hear is rich and sonorous, a blend ofIrish and English. The VOICE of ABRAHAM “BRAM” STOKER. STOKER’S VOICE It began when I saw the name ‘Dracul’ on an old Hungarian coin. ‘Dracul’ is derived from the word ‘draco’ in the Megleno-Romanian language, meaning ‘devil.’
  9. 9. 8. INTERVIEWER’S VOICE I’d like to ask you about your relationship with Henry Irving next if I may. There’s been much speculation about the circumstances surrounding his death. STOKER’S VOICE It is a well known fact that Mr. Irving was suffering from... INTERVIEWER’S VOICE A lung condition, yes, but what about the police inquest, the talk of foul play? STOKER’S VOICE That was a long time ago, I consider the matter closed. INTERVIEWER’S VOICE Do you miss him? STOKER’S VOICE We were discussing ‘Dracula.’ INTERVIEWER’S VOICE Well, here’s a quote from it. Van Helsing speaking: “My life is a barren and lonely one, and so full of work that I have not had much time for friendships... and it has grown with my advancing years, the loneliness of my life.” Fair assessment of your life after Mr. Irving’s death?Scratchy SILENCE. STOKER’S VOICE This interview is over.Laemmle lifts the needle, switches the machine off. CARL LAEMMLE JR. Pretty interesting, huh? ROBINSON How did Irving die? Was he murdered? CARL LAEMMLE JR. That’s what I want you to find out. In addition to answering the question of who Bram Stoker was. Speak to anyone that’s still alive that knew him. I don’t care where they are. I’ll fly you to London, Dublin. Hell, Transylvania if I have to.
  10. 10. 9. ROBINSON Are we planning a press release? CARL LAEMMLE JR. Press release? The guy came up with the greatest spine-tingler in history, Robinson, don’t you think he deserves something more than a press release? If this pans out, I’m thinking maybe we do a a short feature on Stoker’s life and put it before our Halloween re-release of “Dracula.” A little added incentive to lure the public back for a second time. ROBINSON Good idea. CARL LAEMMLE JR. I know. (hustling him out) Go home and pack, you’re booked on the next flight to Philadelphia. ROBINSON What’s in Philadelphia?INT. THE ROSENBACH MUSEUM - DAYA fetching female ARCHIVIST leads Robinson through a mazeof shelves in the museum’s subterranean book depository. ROBINSON How’d an Irishman like Bram Stoker get his family papers in a Philly museum? ARCHIVIST Mr. Stoker made a substantial donation to the museum during The Lyceum’s American tour of 1888.She stops before a locked gate and opens it to reveal atemperature-controlled antechamber for storing documents. ARCHIVIST (CONT’D) This is where we keep the Stoker family papers. His mother was a writer, you know, essays and Irish ghost stories. ROBINSON I’m interested in a book Bram Stoker wrote in 1905, “Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving.” It’s out of print.
  11. 11. 10. ARCHIVIST It was never really in print. Just a few copies circulated. Stoker’s plan was to sell the book privately, to people he knew, for a premium.Robinson checks out her stockinged legs as she mounts astep ladder to reach something on an upper shelf. ARCHIVIST (O.S.) (CONT’D) You know, a sort of collector’s edition for Henry Irving fans. Didn’t pan out. ROBINSON I thought Irving had a lot of fans. He was like Cagney, Muni, Jolson all in one. ARCHIVIST (O.S.) They say by the time of the Lyceum’s third tour, Henry Irving’s signature was more recognizable than the President’s.She steps down off the ladder with a metal box. ROBINSON So why didn’t the book sell? ARCHIVIST (shrugs) Sic transit gloria mundi.He looks at her blankly. ARCHIVIST (CONT’D) It means... fame is fleeting.She blows the dust off the container and opens it, findsthe tome Robinson needs and puts it on a desk before him. ROBINSON Thank you. My name’s Robinson by the way.He tries to get eye contact but she’s already gone.He shrugs, looks at the book. The red-leather bind of thecover is centered by a raised gold-leaf bust of HenryIrving, shown in profile, with his prominent Roman nose.Robinson pries open the book, turning to the front.On the first page, we see the title in gilt lettering: “PERSONAL REMINISCENCES OF HENRY IRVING” by BRAM STOKER
  12. 12. 11.Robinson flips to the first chapter. We go close on thepage as he reads and we HEAR STOKER’S VOICE come over. STOKER (V.O.) Irving and I were alone together one hot afternoon in August 1887, crossing in the steamer from Southsea to the Isle of Wight, and were talking of that phase of stage art which deals with the conception and development of character.EXT. ISLE OF WIGHT STEAMER - NIGHTRain clouds scuttle across the moon, casting a fleetingdiorama of light and shade over the tumultuous sea.BRAM STOKER, 42, and HENRY IRVING, 51, are strolling ondeck. We recognize Stoker as the dazed, pistol-totinggentleman who stumbled from the stagecoach wreckage.Irving is tall, dark and brooding, with intense, coal-black eyes and a mane of sweeping, Byronic black hair. STOKER (V.O.) In the course of our conversation, whilst he was explaining to me the absolute necessity of an actor’s understanding the prime qualities of character in order that he may make it throughout consistent, he said these words: HENRY IRVING If you do not pass a character through your own mind it can never be sincere! STOKER (V.O.) I was struck with the phrase, coming as it did as the crown of an argument -- the explanation of a great artist’s method of working out a conceived idea. Lest I should forget the exact words I wrote them then and there in my pocket-book, whence I entered them later in my diary.Stoker transcribes Irving’s maxim and mulls its meaning. STOKER (V.O.) (CONT’D) But I must start at the beginning. Nine years earlier. December 13th, 1878. The day the world’s greatest thespian invited an unsalaried theatre critic to have a drink with him at the Shelbourne Hotel.
  13. 13. 12.INT. DUBLIN THEATRE ROYAL - DAYA spellbound Stoker watches Irving electrify Dublin withhis radical “Hamlet,” portraying the prince as a mandemonically possessed with the spirit of his dead father. HENRY IRVING ‘Tis now the very witching time of night, When churchyards yawn, and all hell itself breathes out contagion to this world. Now I could drink hot blood, And do such bitter business as the day would quake to look on.Assorted SHRIEKS. A WOMAN in the front row faints.INT. SHELBOURNE HOTEL - DAYStoker is at the bar, anxiously eyeing his pocket-watch. BARMAN Do you know what day it is? STOKER I beg your pardon? BARMAN It is the eve of St. Georges. Tonight, when the sun sets, all evil things in the world have full sway.A bell TINKLES. Stoker turns to see that a grand blackcaleche with six black horses has pulled up outside.EXT. SHELBOURNE HOTEL - DAYThe DRIVER hands Stoker an envelope sealed with waxbearing the initials ‘H.I.’ Stoker snaps it open andlooks at it. We HEAR Henry Irving’s VOICE as he reads. HENRY IRVING (V.O.) Friend: please excuse the hugger muggery but I’m unable to make it into town tonight and ask you to come join us here at ‘Camp Irving,’ our home on the road, instead. My Driver will bring you here.Stoker feels a slight chill run down his spine. A fleece-lined cloak is suddenly thrown over his shoulders by theDriver who speaks with a thick Eastern European accent.
  14. 14. 13. DRIVER Good evening, mein Herr. There’s a flask of plum brandy under the seat, if you should require it. Mr. Irving recently brought a case back from Hungary.Before Stoker can protest he has been ushered aboard.He jerks his head out and is about to holler to theDriver when there is a loud THWACK of leather againsthorse flesh and the coach lurches off into the night.INT. CALECHE - MOVING - DAYThe Driver looks back at Stoker with a ghoulish grin,cracking his whip as they thunder out of the city. DRIVER We must reach our destination before sundown! It is the eve of St. George!A large gray bat flaps its wings above the horses andappears to be guiding the carriage as it hurtles along.Stoker looks out uneasily at the city’s outskirtsflashing past.The sun is setting under a dramatic blood-red skystreaked with lurid swirls of purple and vermilion.EXT. CASTLE - EVENINGThe caleche pulls up in the courtyard of a vast ruinedcastle with broken battlements showing a jagged lineagainst the sky. Stoker alights. The coach clatters off. STOKER I say! Hello!He sees a faint glow of light emanating from the castle.EXT. CASTLE ENTRANCE - NIGHTThe doors mysteriously creak open, revealing a sprawlingcampsite of STAGEHANDS, ACTORS and MUSICIANS feasting on“robber-steaks” -- twists of bloody scraps of meat.A striking dark-skinned WOMAN dressed as a belly dancersmiles beguilingly at Stoker from under a broken archway.
  15. 15. 14. MIDDLE EASTERN WOMAN Good evening.Stoker flits his eyes over her amazing form. STOKER Good evening. MIDDLE EASTERN WOMAN Enter at your own will.Stoker continues on, stumbling over a loose stone in thefloor. Sensing a presence, he looks up to see a gaunt,dark figure at the top of a crumbling stone staircase.HENRY IRVINGdescends toward him, dressed impeccably in a tuxedo withhis hair slicked back, holding a lamp that throws longquivering shadows flickering in the dilapidated hall. HENRY IRVING Welcome to my home away from home!He presses his hands into Stoker’s. He is incrediblycharismatic, electric even. Stoker is flustered. STOKER This is the greatest moment of my life. HENRY IRVING Dear friend! I owe you a debt of eternal gratitude. Because of your kind words over the years, Dublin has warmed to me and she now lies prostate at my feet. STOKER I merely record what I see: genius. HENRY IRVING Egadz! If I had a Stoker in America!An insistent COUGH suddenly intrudes. Stoker notices ashort, weasly MAN behind Irving. He is H.J. LOVEDAY, 36. HENRY IRVING (CONT’D) Mr. Stoker, may I present Mr. H.J. Loveday, Co-Manager of The Lyceum. Mr. Loveday, meet Mr. Bram Stoker, Dublin theatre critic extraordinnaire.
  16. 16. 15. STOKER A pleasure, sir. I was in London last summer and saw “The Bells,” a first-rate production if I may say so. LOVEDAY You’re paid to write reviews? STOKER Well, it is not a salaried position as yet but I hope to convince my editor... HENRY IRVING Now, now, H.J., Mr. Stoker has been a tremendous help to us here in Dublin and we must show him our gratitude! Ahem!Loveday begrudgingly shakes Stoker’s hand.INT. LUXURY TENT - NIGHTA minor platoon of elegantly dressed SERVANTS cater tothe every whim of Irving, Stoker and Loveday, fillingcrystal wine goblets and serving heaps of dressed crab. HENRY IRVING You will I trust excuse that I do not join you but I have already dined and I never drink... wine. Tell me what you thought of tonight’s effort. How was I? STOKER You brought a psychological dimension to the character. An inner voice that made the audience think as well as feel. HENRY IRVING How very astute of you to grasp that. LOVEDAY Psycho-what? What is he babbling about? HENRY IRVING I infer from this, Stoker, that you’re not an adherent of the Diderot school? STOKER Well, I’d hardly call the rantings of an obscure French actor a ‘school.’Irving explodes with laughter.
  17. 17. 16. HENRY IRVING Oh, I don’t mean to seem so starved for attention but you know we actors are treated like dogs. Less than dogs. No respect. It is my life goal to bring honor and dignity to the profession. I want acting to be as respected as medicine, the law, or the church! STOKER I am told that there is not in the United States the same violent opposition to the choice of the stage as a profession that holds more or less in all Europe.Irving POUNDS the table with his fist. HENRY IRVING You see, Mr. Loveday, this is the man I have been searching for!Loveday dabs his mouth with a napkin. LOVEDAY I think I’ll leave you two to it.An attendant pulls his chair back and Loveday skedaddles. HENRY IRVING Tell me about yourself, Stoker. Not your life story. Just tell me what you want. STOKER What I want? HENRY IRVING You’re thirty years old. You work as a civil servant during the day and write theatre reviews for The Express at night. Is this where you saw yourself ending up? Surely there must be some secret dream. STOKER (after a beat) I write. Short stories. Novels. I hope to one day pen something lasting, something permanent. HENRY IRVING So we both want the same thing you and I: Immortality! STOKER Immortality through art.
  18. 18. 17. HENRY IRVING The only kind possible!A quiet moment, the two of them staring at each other.Irving smiles as he gestures to an ornate glass fountainresiding on the table. HENRY IRVING (CONT’D) Let us visit the Green Fairy.He looks at Stoker. Testing him. Does he know what to do?Stoker carefully positions sugar cubes over two gobletsand then slowly filters absinthe through them, twistingspigots on the fountain to add just the right amount(about a jigger) of chilled water to the concentrate.The absinthe clouds up, its color slowly transformingfrom deep emerald into an opalescent light green. HENRY IRVING (CONT’D) Well poured! (raises glass) To new friends! STOKER (toasting) Thank you!They drink. It’s getting late. Servants ignite a fire pitfor warmth, chasing the shadows away. HENRY IRVING Tell me about your family, Stoker. What does your father do? STOKER Retired civil servant. Worked at Dublin Castle for fifty years. Wants me to follow in his path to mediocrity. HENRY IRVING I’d say you’re already on your way! Allow me to be blunt. I want you to come work for me. I need a man like you: cultivated, organized and ambitious. STOKER In what capacity? HENRY IRVING Run the front house and manage the next phase of my career: conquering America.
  19. 19. 18.Stoker, stunned, tries to act cool. STOKER What does Mr. Loveday do? HENRY IRVING Mostly administrative duties. He is a bright young man but does not possess your acumen. Have you visited the States? STOKER I have not. HENRY IRVING A most arduous journey. What’s wrong? You have a sudden look of consternation. STOKER I don’t think I’m qualified for the immense responsibility of managing Mr. Henry Irving’s career. I love the theatre but have no practical knowledge of how to run a business. HENRY IRVING Of course you do. You’ve worked as a civil servant for seven years. Running a theatre has to be easier than managing a county in Ireland. STOKER But the differences... HENRY IRVING Are slight. You will have a staff of forty-eight and my expertise to guide you. You’re not married I hope? STOKER No. HENRY IRVING Good. I didn’t think so. Men marry when they are tired and you seem anything but. I was married once... Ages ago, it seems. She died. STOKER I’m sorry. HENRY IRVING She was fortunate. Life is such a mystery. So what do you say? Game?
  20. 20. 19. STOKER This would mean leaving Ireland. HENRY IRVING For the world! To go through the crowded streets of the metropolis, to be in the midst of the whirl and rush of humanity, to share its life, its changes, its death!He fills their goblets to the rim. HENRY IRVING (CONT’D) I’ll even make you Co-Director, with your name alongside mine, above the playbill. (a whisper) Mr. Irving and Mr. Stoker Present...Stoker loosens his collar, feeling the effects of thedrink. Thirsty, he downs a carafe of water. He looks atthe fire. Bursts of red and green light strobe at him. HENRY IRVING (CONT’D) Think it over. In the meantime, I would like to present you with a special gift. A private recitation of ‘Eugene Aram.’LATERStoker is slumped back in his chair, hypnotized byIrving’s hallucinatory poetry-reading/performance art.Everything is nightmarishly distorted by the absinthe. HENRY IRVING Two sudden blows with a ragged stick, And one with a heavy stone, One hurried gash with a hasty knife, -- And then the deed was done: There was nothing lying at my foot But lifeless flesh and bone!Frenzied, he acts out the battering of the old man. HENRY IRVING (CONT’D) Nothing but lifeless flesh and bone, That could not do me ill; And yet I feared him all the more, For lying there so still: There was a manhood in his look, That murder could not kill.
  21. 21. 20.Stoker feels a hand on him, turns to see the sultryMiddle Eastern women kneeling by him with a smolderingopium pipe. She leans in, purses her ruby lips and gentlyblows a thin plume of whitish smoke into his mouth.EXT. CAMPSITE, CASTLE GROUNDS - NIGHTStoker comes to by the fire pit.The dark beauty is with a FAIR-HAIRED DAMSEL and a RED-HEAD. She shakes her head coquettishly. The others urgeher on. They all three laugh, a silvery, musical laugh.The dark woman moves to Stoker, reaching behind her backto unclasp her silk bra. The bra tumbles to the ground.She kneels before Stoker and kisses his mouth, movingdown to his neck. She locks her lips onto his throat.Stoker gasps. A beat, then......she slides down him, biting his flesh, as the blondegets behind her and cups her breasts and the red-headmoves to Stoker on all fours, like a cat to its prey.A bat flitters by overhead, twisting and whirling.The fire pit flares up and for a brief moment we catch aglimpse of Henry Irving watching from the shadows.We HEAR the SOUND of FLORENCE’S VOICE come over. FLORENCE (V.O.) It’s too dark. I can’t see!INT. LONDON FLAT - NIGHTCLOSE ON A GAS-LAMPA small female hand turns the wick up, only for a muchlarger hand to clasp onto it and turn the light down. FLORENCE (O.S.) What are you... I can’t...They’re giddy, laughing. We HEAR bags drop to the ground. STOKER (O.S.) Close your eyes. Okay. Stop.
  22. 22. 21.EXT. LONDON FLAT - BALCONY - NIGHTStoker is behind a young and beautiful, just-marriedFlorence. She’s 19, tall at five feet eight, with apatrician profile, gray-blue eyes, and long blonde hair. STOKER All right. Open your eyes.She opens them and reacts in amazement to what she sees. FLORENCE My god. The light!NEW ANGLEWe now see the view, a stunning vista of the Thamesembankment illuminated by rows of blazing street lamps. FLORENCE (CONT’D) I’ve never seen such brilliance. It’s heavenly! STOKER The gaslight era is over. Behold the modern age of electricity.A long, leisurely panning and gliding shot from right toleft across the inspiring skyline of the metropolis. FLORENCE St. Paul’s Cathedral, Chelsea Bridge... I can even see Buckingham Palace! STOKER I think that’s the Tower of London. FLORENCE Look at the river! All the barges. Oh...She is prevented from leaning any further by her bulkywedding dress. STOKER Take it off. You’d see better. FLORENCE Oh, would I now? STOKER Well, the view would certainly improve for me, Mrs. Stoker.She smiles slyly, moves toward him, unbuttoning...
  23. 23. 22. FLORENCE I suppose I did just take an oath to love, honor and obey you.We leave them to it, pulling up and away, to a somewhateerie SUBJECTIVE BIRD’S EYE VIEW on them.The unsettling POV starts moving, twisting and whirling.INT. HANSOM - MOVING - NIGHTStoker and Florence are in a hansom rumbling throughLondon’s arteries, both of them dressed to the nines.Stoker looks resplendent in a tuxedo and patternedHellfire vest, under a frock coat, with top hat and cane.Florence is in a restrictive gown which is heavilyornamented with frills, pleats, ruffles and fringing. FLORENCE I should have worn the red dress. STOKER You look beautiful, every woman will be mad with jealousy. FLORENCE I feel like a piece of upholstery.The hansom veers sharply around a tight corner. STOKER I say! Steady on my man!The DRIVER ignores him, raises his whip and CRACKS it. FLORENCE There’s not going to be a single Irishwoman there, I know it. And me with my thick brogue. They’ll think I’m a washerwoman... or worse.The coach enters the bustling theatre district which ispulsating with life and thrilling to behold. Bars,emporiums, coffee houses -- the heart of the city, withevery possible kind of entertainment and restaurant. FLORENCE (CONT’D) At least it’s not raining.As if on cue, THUNDER claps overhead.
  24. 24. 23.EXT. LYCEUM THEATRE - NIGHTLIGHTNING shatters, dramatically revealing the LyceumTheatre with its monumental Grecian facade and toweringCorinthian columns topped with flaming marble torches.A small notice tacked to the shuttered portico says“CLOSED FOR PRIVATE FUNCTION.”Stoker and Florence rush to the stage door which suddenlyopens revealing the wickedly vivacious ELLEN TERRY, 31. ELLEN TERRY There you are! Mr. Stoker, I presume? Ellen Terry. Your new employee. Sorry about the weather, you’ll have to get used to it. City needs a glass dome.Stoker is star-struck. Terry is the most famous actressin the country, stunningly beautiful, whip-smart and thesecond highest paid woman in England after the Queen. STOKER A great honor. Your Ophelia last year was sublime. As moving as your Rosalynd the year before that and your Imogen in ‘74. ELLEN TERRY Forget those girls, who’s this beauty?She is staring agog at Florence. STOKER May I present my wife, Florence. ELLEN TERRY Have you acted in London before? FLORENCE I’m not an actress. ELLEN TERRY Well that’s a relief! Come on! (grabs her arm) Let’s get you in from this rain.INT. BACKSTAGE, LYCEUM - NIGHTEllen leads the Stokers past CATERERS and STAFF frettingover last minute party details, rapidly shining silvercutlery, preparing platters with decorative garnish.
  25. 25. 24.They pass a small wood-panelled dining area, THEBEEFSTEAK ROOM, where WORKERS are polishing a chandelier. FLORENCE What goes on in here?She peers inside. Someone snaps the door curtain shut. ELLEN TERRY Men only, I’m afraid.She flags down a dapper zooming page-boy named SHRIMP. ELLEN TERRY (CONT’D) Shrimp, run ahead and alert Miss Carr that Mr. Stoker has arrived. SHRIMP (tips cap) Pleasure, madame.He speeds off, his eyes lingering a moment on Florence. ELLEN TERRY I’ll give you the quick tour.Shrimp and CRONIES wolf-whistle at Florence as she glidesby. Florence cringes. Stoker chuckles, proud as punch. ELLEN TERRY (CONT’D) You’re going to have to hide your wife behind a veil, Mr. Stoker, if we’re to get any work done around here.Stoker looks around. Sure enough, ever male backstage iscaptivated by Florence; STAGEHANDS, CARPENTERS, LIMELIGHTMEN et al, all of them tipping caps and smiling her way.INT. REHEARSAL ROOM - NIGHTIrving is testing new f/x gear with Loveday andTECHNICIANS, trying out new lightboards from Germany.Classical music BOOMS forth from a phonograph cylinder,the 5th Movement of Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique.”Shrimp enters and approaches a young woman standing tothe side of the stage taking notes. Her name is MISSCARR, 20, Irving’s private secretary and sketch artist.Miss Carr wears a constrained grey ‘governess’ gown andher little round face is plastered with white foundation.
  26. 26. 25. MISS CARR (without looking up) What do you want, Shrimp? SHRIMP Excuse me, Miss Carr. Mr. and Mrs. Bram Stoker to see Mr. Irving.Hearing this, Irving jerks his head around angrily to seeStoker come bounding over. He scowls, kills the MUSIC. HENRY IRVING Did you get my telegram? I wanted you hear on the twelfth. This is the thirteenth. And who pray tell is this? STOKER My wife, Florence. HENRY IRVING Wife! A word in private, Mr. Stoker.He marches off. Stoker looks at Florence who realizes hehas no choice but to leave her there and follow Irving. ELLEN TERRY Come on, let’s go show you off to everyone. I love your hair, so soft and thick. How do you get it like that? FLORENCE Uh... egg whites and dandelion leaves. ELLEN TERRY How wonderful!INT. IRVING’S OFFICE - NIGHTIrving is lambasting Stoker, pacing about, apoplectic. HENRY IRVING In less than nine months you’ll be a father! STOKER Florence is not pregnant. HENRY IRVING Oh. Now I understand. This was a romantic gesture! You did this for love! Egadz, is every Irishman as thick-headed as you?
  27. 27. 26. STOKER I don’t understand. HENRY IRVING Marriage robs a man of ambition! STOKER Not with me. Speaking as an employer, I always found married subordinates to be more productive than bachelors. HENRY IRVING That might be how it works on the potato farm but the theatre business is a young man’s game. A young, single man’s game.Stoker spies a bible on a nearby shelf, scoops it up. STOKER I swear, on the Book, that I will devote my life to you, morning, noon and night.Irving looks him up and down, deciding. HENRY IRVING She’s very beautiful, Stoker. Beautiful women require constant attention.EXT. IRVING’S DRESSING ROOM - CONTINUOUSLoveday hears muffled voices, cocks an ear to the door.INT. IRVING’S DRESSING ROOM - CONTINUOUS HENRY IRVING I suppose her charms might bring in some business. Go! Go to her! Enjoy the festivities. Work a full week and if, by the end of Friday, you still mean it, then I will accept your oath of loyalty.EXT. IRVING’S DRESSING ROOM - CONTINUOUSLoveday sees the door handle turn and quickly skulks off.INT. IRVING’S DRESSING ROOM - CONTINUOUSStoker leaves. Irving opens the bible and removes a smallglass vial of liquid from a secret cavity within. Hepulls out the stopper and imbibes the vial’s contents.
  28. 28. 27.A thin rivulet of red liquid seeps from his mouth andtrickles down his chin. He finds a napkin, dabs it.INT. LYCEUM - NIGHTMUSIC fills the air as we move across the crowded foyer,finding Florence talking with Ellen and the veryattractive ROSE LOVEDAY, 22, and other TROPHY WIVES. ELLEN TERRY Mrs. Bram Stoker may I present Mrs. Harold Loveday. ROSE Call me Rose. So it’s true, you are beautiful. FLORENCE Thank you. So are you. I love your dress. So light and unadorned. May I?She brushes her hand over the delicate brocade. ROSE It’s tight-fitting like the cuirasse but without a waist seam and the bodice and skirt are cut into one. So it’s much easier to move around in. FLORENCE How did you make it?Rose and Ellen lock eyes and share a little laugh. ROSE Made it! How adorable. Don’t worry, we’ll take you to the emporiums tomorrow. ELLEN TERRY A little tour of pleasures. Your life of leisure awaits!Irving appears, kisses Rose and Ellen, turns to Florence. HENRY IRVING Mrs. Stoker, I must apologize for my brutish behavior earlier. You see, you caught me working and I often forget myself when absorbed in stagecraft.Without breaking eye contact, he puts her little hand inhis and kisses it.
  29. 29. 28. HENRY IRVING (CONT’D) As an imperfect mortal to a goddess, I humbly beg your forgiveness.Florence finds herself overpowered by Irving’s magnetism.INT. LYCEUM - LATERStoker is talking to Loveday, looking over at theravishing vision that is the COMTESSE DE GUERBEL, a raven-haired aristocrat in her 20s, exquisitely begowned andbejeweled. She is surrounded by three tongue-tied MEN. STOKER Who is that? LOVEDAY The Comtesse De Guerbel. Do you know her? She’s staring right at you.Stoker is captivated. The Comtesse is truly stunning. LOVEDAY (CONT’D) Good luck. I hear she’s a tigress who collects married men like souvenirs.He scoots off in a huff just as the Comtesse appears. COMTESSE Mr. Stoker? The Comtesse de Guerbell. STOKER An honor.He takes her gloved hand and kisses it. STOKER (CONT’D) Is there a Count de Guerbell? COMTESSE There was. I’m recently widowed. STOKER My condolences. COMTESSE Well... not that recently.She looks right at him. A pregnant silence. Broken by:
  30. 30. 29. COMTESSE (CONT’D) Everyone’s talking about your stunning wife. I thought I’d come meet the man who won her heart.Stoker doesn’t realize it but directly overhead sits...INT. PRIVATE BOX - CONTINUOUSIrving and Florence. Irving appears quite taken by her. HENRY IRVING Thank you for allowing me to bring you up here. I wanted a chance for us to talk.She pulls her hair back, revealing a dangling crucifix. FLORENCE I’ve never seen a theatre as big as this. HENRY IRVING It is my sanctuary and cathedral. FLORENCE There must be a thousand seats!He reaches for a ringlet of her hair and strokes it,causing her to instantly flinch and tense up. HENRY IRVING Relax. I’m not going to bite you.INT. LYCEUM BALCONY - LATERThe Comtesse laughs at something Stoker just said. COMTESSE Perhaps we can finish this conversation another time? At my townhouse, perhaps.She looks at him, a shadow of enticement in her sparklingblue eyes. Before Stoker can answer...Loveday suddenly appears, practically butts in. LOVEDAY Grab your coat and hat, Irving wants to see us all at his place. Immediately.Stoker turns to the Comtesse but Loveday is insistent.
  31. 31. 30. LOVEDAY (CONT’D) Sorry. No time for good-byes.He practically drags Stoker off. We HOLD on the Comtesse.INT. LYCEUM - NIGHTFlorence is looking for Stoker. FLORENCE Have you seen Bram? ELLEN TERRY Irving called a meeting. FLORENCE At this hour? ELLEN TERRY You’ll get used to it.INT. HANSOM - MOVING - NIGHTStoker, Loveday and Miss Carr in a rumbling hansom.EXT. IRVING’S HOUSE - NIGHTAn old church converted into a plush private compound,complete with iron bars on the stained-glass windows.Stoker rings the bell while Loveday and Miss Carr lookon. A voice cries out from beyond the gate. VOICE (O.S.) I’m coming! I’m coming! No need to make a noise to wake the dead!A faint lantern light grows larger, revealing Irving’shousekeeper MRS. POOLE, a stout Hungarian woman in herfifties. She is with FANG, a hulking jet-black mastiff.The leashed animal growls at Stoker, baring its fangs. MRS. POOLE Down boy! (opens gate) Well don’t just stand there!
  32. 32. 31.INT. IRVING’S HOUSE - NIGHTA sparsely furnished room with a big fireplace blazing.Irving is quaffing brandy and conversing with a skinny,bookish Scotsman in a suit: ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE, 27.Stoker, Loveday and Carr are shown in. Fang trots acrossthe marble-tiled floor and settles down at Irving’s feet. HENRY IRVING Thank you, Mrs. Poole.She leaves. HENRY IRVING (CONT’D) Gentlemen, Miss Carr, may I present my favorite new dramatist, Mr. Arthur Doyle.Stoker excitedly proffers his hand. STOKER I’ve read your work in ‘Black Mask’ magazine. I particularly enjoyed the one about the detective. HENRY IRVING Forget detectives! Tell them what your play is about Mr. Doyle. CONAN DOYLE ‘Waterloo.’ The story of Napoleon’s defeat. HENRY IRVING Wait till you read this! The battle scenes alone will thrill them. But first allow me to bid Mr. Doyle adieu.Irving slots an envelope into Doyle’s suit pocket. HENRY IRVING (CONT’D) Don’t go spending that all at once. CONAN DOYLE Couldn’t if I tried. A thousand thanks. HENRY IRVING Don’t you mean twenty thousand thanks?They snicker. Irving shows Doyle out. Loveday immediatelyseizes the manuscript and feverishly flips through it.
  33. 33. 32. LOVEDAY What did you pay for this? HENRY IRVING Twenty thousand pounds.Miss Carr emits a tiny gasp. LOVEDAY Twenty thousand! That’s half our profit of last season!Fang growls at Loveday. HENRY IRVING “Waterloo” will prove to be anything but for us. It’s perfect for the planned expansion. We’re going to have to fill those five hundred extra seats somehow and I don’t think Ibsen is the answer. We need to give them spectacle. Agreed?Loveday doesn’t get it but Stoker does. Nodding as we cutto...INT. BEDROOM - NIGHTFlorence is in a side bathroom brushing her long blondelocks, clad in her undergarments. She doesn’t look happy.Stoker is sitting up in bed reading “Waterloo” and mail. STOKER Complain all you like. I think hes fascinating.He slices open a letter and reads it to himself.STOKER’S POV -- THE LETTER“Dear. Mr. Stoker, Thank you for submitting ‘Cat’s Eyes.’You are a very talented writer. Unfortunately, this storydoes not suit our publishing needs at this time. Thankyou and please keep us in mind for future submissions.Sincerely, Peter Faber, Esq.”BACK TO SCENEStoker hides his chagrin, picks up “Waterloo.”
  34. 34. 33. FLORENCE Oh, I suppose hes all right. I can handle him touching my hair, but, well, give me someone a little more normal. STOKER Like...? FLORENCE Like you. STOKER I have my dark side. FLORENCE Yes, you do! You left me there tonight! Not so much as a note or a by-your-leave. STOKER There wasn’t opportunity. I rushed straight home.He sets the play down. FLORENCE Well? What do you think? Will it make your fortune? STOKER It is well crafted but needs more in the way of visual flair.She comes over to him, hops onto the bed. FLORENCE Any ideas?He looks at her. So sexy. STOKER One or two.He pulls the bow on her slip and they start to make love.INT. STOKER’S OFFICE - NIGHTStoker looks up from a pile of paperwork to see a massivesun sizzling into the Thames. He stretches, checks hispocketwatch and smiles, happy to be going home when...CRACK!! Irving suddenly pounds the door with the handleof his cane and comes bounding in, full of vigor and vim.
  35. 35. 34. HENRY IRVING I take a walk every day after sundown. To whip up the circulation. My head starts spinning with ideas and I’d like you to accompany me. STOKER Of course. I am at your disposal.INT. BOXING RING - DOCKLANDS - NIGHTCRACK! A swung fist shatters a jaw. Blood goes flying.PULL BACK TO REVEAL... Stoker and Irving at a bare-knuckles boxing match. CRACK! More body fluids spray. HENRY IRVING Bravo! I love the sight of blood! I bet you boxed at Trinity, man your size? Or was wrestling your bag? I’m a boxer. STOKER I captained the rugby team, which in Ireland involves boxing and wrestling. HENRY IRVING Stout chap! I knew it.He hollers at the fighter flat on the mat. HENRY IRVING (CONT’D) Get up, you swine! Encore! Encore!The REF feels the flattened fighter’s pulse. Nothing. Hewaves his arms. Fight over. The place erupts. HENRY IRVING (CONT’D) All right, we’re leaving.Stoker stands up, his Savile Row suit spattered in gore.INT. OPIUM DEN - NIGHTWeird, translucent figures take shape on the screen.PULLING BACK we realize that we are in an opium den,watching the languid scene from Stoker’s POV.He is sprawled on a divan of Persian saddlebags, smokinga charred bamboo pipe, trying to keep his eyes open whileIrving downs absinthe with two naked CHINESE GIRLS.
  36. 36. 35.Other NUDES loll about. COOLIES come and go, emptyingashes and keeping the smoldering opium burners lit.Stoker focuses his gaze on a striking mural festooningthe brick wall at the back of the smoky room. It is avibrant painting of a Chinese demon with enormous fangs.EXT. OPIUM DEN - NIGHTStoker and Irving stagger out to a deserted street. Therows of blazing street lamps look like a hallucinatoryblur to Stoker. He tries to snap out of his reverie. HENRY IRVING (looks at pocketwatch) Good. Two hours before sun up. Just enough time for one last stop.He hails a cab which comes clattering toward them downthe street. Stoker follows, trying to keep pace.INT. BROTHEL - NIGHTIrving plays piano while a gaggle of scantily-clad FrenchSTRUMPETS frolic and cavort, undressing to the music.Stoker sits on a sofa, trying to resist temptation whilstsipping champagne with three comely COURTESANS.INT. STOKER FLAT - NIGHTThe door creaks open. Stoker slips into bed withoutwaking Florence. His eyes focus on a clock that shows5:30 A.M. He shuts his eyes. He opens them. The clockshows 6:30 A.M. He gets up. Staggers to the washroom.EXT. STRAND - MORNINGStoker bicycles to work along the Strand, weaving in andout of elm trees, past a NEWSPAPER BOY flogging tabloids. NEWSPAPER BOY Extra! Extra! Two more murder victims found! Throats slit from ear to ear!INT. REHEARSAL ROOM, LYCEUM - NIGHTCLANG! CLANG! Metal clashes. Blue bolts of electricitycrackle. CLANG! CLANG! CLANG! A huge SHOWER OF SPARKS.
  37. 37. 36.PULL BACK TO REVEAL...Stoker is on stage in a sword fight with MR. HARKER, 50s,the Lyceum’s Electrician. Black cord snakes up from theirboot soles to the prop swords. Stoker removes his vizor. STOKER What do you think? HENRY IRVING I think you’re a bloody fool! A spark could catch the curtain baize and we’d have ourselves a bonfire within minutes. Far too dangerous. Right, Mr. Loveday? LOVEDAY Quite right, Mr. Irving. Most dangerous. STOKER The baize will be protected and Harker here is going to rig a series of fans for the smoke. We’ll have personnel stationed in the wings with buckets of water. I believe this effect will provide the spectacle lacking in our finale. HENRY IRVING I commend your creativity, Stoker, but there’s one striking flaw: The audience comes to see me! They don’t need electricity. I provide the fireworks!He storms off with a smug Miss Carr and Loveday. A beat,then... Harker starts dismantling the boots and swords. STOKER What are you doing? Leave that. HARKER But I thought Mr. Irving said... STOKER Never mind what Mr. Irving said.EXT. LYCEUM - NIGHTOpening night of “Waterloo.” A mob of scrubby WORKING-CLASS types jostle for the best pit seats while nattily-dressed ARISTOCRATS and other TOFFS stroll right in.
  38. 38. 37.INT. LYCEUM - NIGHTA tuxedoed Stoker seats Florence in the most prominentfront row seat.Florence is in a slim fitting trained dress and her hairis braided, exposing her ears, with the ends cascadingdown the back in curled ringlets and looped braids. STOKER I’ll be back in a few minutes.He kisses her on the cheek, taking note of all the menand women captivated by his stunning, luminous wife.INT. BACKSTAGE - NIGHTMayhem. STAGEHANDS and other PERSONNEL running aroundlike headless chickens. Stoker barks at a LIMELIGHT MAN. STOKER The limelight’s for Mr. Irving and Mr. Irving only.INT. LYCEUM - NIGHTCurtain falls for the end of Act I. Polite applause.Some patrons are exiting. Stoker looks up at Harker whois perched high above the stage on the flywalk. He nods.INT. LYCEUM - NIGHTIrving and the man playing Napoleon are sword-fightingwhen the lights suddenly die. Cries of confusion. Andthen a blue CRACKLE of electric current silences all.CLANGS reverberate as BLUE SPARKS fly from the darkness.The audience coos at the coruscating pyrotechnics.Stoker dashes up a rope-ladder to the flywalk and Harker. STOKER Increase the voltage! HARKER It’s risky. Circuit might blow. STOKER Do it!
  39. 39. 38.Harker cranks it, making the electricity on stage zapinto a frenzied lightning storm of sparking filaments.The Limelight Men improvise and add to the effect withchiaroscuro, backlighting and high-contrast lighting,building to a glorious show-stopping incandescent climax. STOKER (CONT’D) Give it everything! All the way!The power dies. Needles on gauges bounce to zero. STOKER (CONT’D) Lights!The auditorium gas-lamps gradually revive.Total and complete silence. Hear a pin drop.Stoker doesn’t breathe.Someone claps. It spreads. Crescendoes into DEAFENINGAPPLAUSE with stomping FEET and HOLLERING from the pit.The curtain lifts and Irving appears, bowing to the RoyalBox, the pit and the gods. He is bombarded with flowers.INT. BEEFSTEAK ROOM - NIGHTInvitation-only supper club. Politicians, artists andaristocrats. The Victorian white male power elite.Attending tonight: WILLIAM GLADSTONE, Arthur Conan Doyle,HALL CAINE, ARTHUR SULLIVAN of Gilbert & Sullivan, et al.Stoker sits to Irving’s right. Irving is holding court. HENRY IRVING I was walking along the Thames in Chelsea when it hit me like a thunderbolt. If electricity can light up the city, why not harness that energy for spectacle?Cries of “Bravo, Irving!,” “Genius!,” “Irving the Great!” GUEST #1 Three cheers for Irving! Hip hip... EVERYONE Hooray! GUEST #1 Hip hip...
  40. 40. 39.We PULL BACK AND UP from the table to an aerial POV,easing back through peepholes to a secret VIEWING GALLERYhidden over the ceiling where Florence, Terry, Rose and afew select, invited women sit silently eavesdropping.Florence does her best to seem unperturbed while Irvingbrazenly takes all the credit.INT. STOKER’S OFFICE - NIGHTStoker and Irving are counting receipts for the season. HENRY IRVING I have the profits at ten thousand, two hundred and seventeen pounds. STOKER The exact same figure I have. HENRY IRVING Your quarter comes to two thousand five hundred dollars. Less nineteen hundred. Surcharge in our electricity bill. STOKER I don’t understand. HENRY IRVING The swords, you stupid Irishman! STOKER But why should I foot the bill? HENRY IRVING Costs are costs, Mr. Stoker. You could hardly expect me to indulge your fascination with electricity after I made it perfectly clear I considered the matter a fire hazard. This is our first production, be content. The real money’s in America. One more ‘Waterloo’ and we’ll be able to afford a tour. Hmm? We good?Stoker hesitates, then nods. HENRY IRVING (CONT’D) Capital. What are your summer plans? I shall be on my yacht off the Brighton coast, if you and the wife care to join.Stoker forces a smile.
  41. 41. 40. STOKER We’d be delighted.EXT. WALRUS - BRIGHTON COAST - DAYStoker is on deck with Florence, looking snazzy in a newstraw boater and richly striped blazer. Florence iswearing a two-piece bathing dress and carries a parasol.A newly-successful looking Conan Doyle is also presentwith a very pretty and flirtatious raven-haired ACTRESS. CONAN DOYLE My dear, you’re going to have to slow down on the Pims or you’ll be flat on your back in no time. ACTRESS You’d like that wouldn’t you?She is incredibly attractive, like an early silent moviestar, with spectacular legs and big, expressive eyes.Her name is VIOLET HUNT. STOKER Violet Hunt. I don’t think I’ve ever met an actress quite as... vivacious as you. VIOLET HUNT Bram Stoker. What kind of name is that anyway? Bram? Short for what... Bramble?She giggles. Bram is captivated. Florence elbows him.POP! Irving steps into view with a frothing magnum ofchampagne which he hands to a SERVANT who fills flutes.Ellen Terry is with him, clad in a chic swimsuit. HENRY IRVING To “Waterloo.” The biggest success on the London stage. The first of many!Everyone drinks, except Rose who is occupied with amysterious contraption, a camera as big as a bread-box. ROSE LOVEDAY All right. Let’s give this a try. Come on, gather around. Everyone say cheese!
  42. 42. 41.They oblige. Frozen smiles. The terrific FLASH blinds us. DISSOLVE TO:INT. ROSENBACH MUSEUM - DAYThe photograph from Irving’s yacht appears as a black andwhite print in “Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving.”We are back in the reading room of the Rosenbach Museum.Robinson flips through the remaining chapters which haverather dry titles like “Theories of Acting Styles.”He shuts the book just as the pretty Archivist appears. ARCHIVIST Find what you were looking for? ROBINSON Not really. I’m finished, thanks.She packs the materials, returns them to the top shelf. ARCHIVIST What’s the subject of your thesis? ROBINSON Actually, I’m a producer. You know, motion pictures.She looks at him. ROBINSON (CONT’D) I’m trying to find out if Stoker had any real life inspiration for his story. We’re going to run a feature on his life before re-releasing ‘Dracula’ this fall. ARCHIVIST Perhaps you could talk to one of Mr. Stoker’s contemporaries. He wasn’t that old when he passed away. There may be someone still around who knew him. ROBINSON Like who? ARCHIVIST Arthur Conan Doyle’s alive. You know, Sherlock Holmes? He lives somewhere in London. He’s old but not that old.
  43. 43. 42. ROBINSON London, huh?INT. PAN AM CLIPPER - IN THE AIR - DAY/NIGHTRobinson is nestled in a cushy first class cabin, smokinga cigarette and reading a dog-eared copy of “Dracula.”The book’s lurid cover art shows a tuxedoed Count withhis hair slicked back, standing in a crumbling castle.EXT. UNDERSHAW/CONAN DOYLE’S HOUSE - DAYA statue of Sherlock Holmes guards the entrance to thispicturesque red-brick house in London. Creeping ivy andblack latticed windows gives the place an air of mystery.INT. STUDY, UNDERSHAW - DAYA huge stone fireplace is lit and blazing. A poker stabsat the coals, rearranging them. PULL BACK TO REVEAL......Arthur Conan Doyle, an old man now, gettingcomfortable in a deep leather armchair opposite Robinson.Rose’s photograph from Irving’s yacht is visible in aframe on a shelf behind him.A big, ugly tiger moth is flittering about the room. CONAN DOYLE There’s one thing you have to understand about Bram Stoker. Henry Irving was his idol. He wrote about the man for seven years before they even met. Seven years of worship from afar. ROBINSON Did Stoker base “Dracula” on their relationship? CONAN DOYLE Irving certainly was strange but I’m not sure I’d go so far as... although did you know he suffered from porphyria? ROBINSON Por-what?
  44. 44. 43. CONAN DOYLE Porphyria. A rare genetic skin disorder, an allergy to the sun that causes severe reactions to heat and light. Begins to account for his nocturnal lifestyle. ROBINSON Nothing I’ve read on Irving mentions it. CONAN DOYLE He never told a soul. I happened to examine Irving myself.He nods at the medical diplomas on the wall by Robinson. CONAN DOYLE (CONT’D) Two years as a ship’s doctor on a voyage to West Africa and then five years as an opthalmologist. Still be practising now if weren’t for Stoker. ROBINSON They produced your play “Waterloo.” CONAN DOYLE That’s right. My first stab at drama proved to be most lucrative. ROBINSON So you saw the dynamic between Stoker and Irving close up. CONAN DOYLE Americans have a phrase for it: star struck. That was Stoker all right.The moth flutters curiously around a lit candle. ROBINSON From what I can gather, their relationship soured and there was some controversy surrounding Irving’s death. DOYLE I don’t know anything about that. Stoker confided in me. We were quite close at one point. But our friendship ended rather abruptly around ‘88. ROBINSON What happened?The moth hits its wing on the candle flame and combusts.
  45. 45. 44. DOYLE Victoria Hunt happened.Doyle scoops up the dead insect, cremates it in the fire. ROBINSON I read about her in “The Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving.” DOYLE Tish! That book was pabulum for the public. They didn’t know the real Henry Irving. No one did. ROBINSON Is it fair to say Count Dracula is a thinly veiled portrayal of Irving? CONAN DOYLE (after a beat) Irving had certain vampyric tendencies. ROBINSON Tell me about them.Doyle seems perturbed as he gazes at the crackling fire.Wisps of smoke become...EXT. LONDON LANE - NIGHT...thick, green-gray curling wreathes of London fog.The SOUND of FOOTSTEPS from within the murky haze.A cloud of steam drifts up through a grating.There is sudden movement in the gutter. A huge slimy ratslithers along with something in its mouth. A HUMANFINGER. Ring attached. The rat scurries off down a drain.The FOOTFALLS get louder until --HENRY IRVINGemerges from the swirling mist, prodding the ground withhis cane, striding briskly toward an OLD MAN who sees himand takes an exaggerated step back in fright.Irving hoists his cane and clubs the man to the earth,hailing down a storm of savage blows, kicking andtrampling him with ape-like fury. His bloodied canesplits in two and one half goes flying through the air.
  46. 46. 45.Atmospheric MUSIC swells as we PULL BACK TO REVEAL......we are on stage in the Lyceum, amidst a vividlyrealized production of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”The curtain drops. Gaslight reveals a riveted audience.Everyone is too shaken to immediately applaud but whenthey do it is loud, enthusiastic and sustained.Doyle sits up front, beside a ravishing-looking Violet.BACKSTAGEStoker greets Irving with pride and adoration. STOKER A most convincing performance!Irving ignores him and makes a beeline for the actor whoplayed the battered old man. HENRY IRVING You! You were late again! And kindly remain at the back of the stage or next time it won’t be a prop cane that splinters on your spine!He storms off. LOVEDAY A word, please, Mr. Stoker. STOKER (eyeing Violet) Can it wait? LOVEDAY A most delicate situation has arisen. This comes directly from the top.Stoker sighs, follows him, exiting past Doyle and Violet. CONAN DOYLE I say, where are you headed? STOKER I wish I knew. CONAN DOYLE Tell us all about it when you return.
  47. 47. 46. VIOLET Yes, Bramble, tell us everything.EXT. WHITECHAPEL - NIGHTStoker and Loveday stand before a stationary hansom,holding the door open for four slatternly PROSTITUTES. LOVEDAY Occasionally, Irving asks me to invite some female admirers from the penny seats to visit him in his quarters. STOKER These women hardly fit the description. LOVEDAY Our master has certain expectations when it comes to female entertainment. I expect we all do. Regardless, as you’ll come to see, this system works best.One of the girls strokes Stoker’s cheek flirtatiously. PROSTITUTE #1 ‘ello, ‘andsome. LOVEDAY Yes, come along, come along!He hustles the last of the girls into the carriage.INT. HANSOM - MOVING - NIGHTStoker and Irving and the prostitutes crammed inside.Stoker watches with slight disgust as Loveday examinesthe girls, poking and prodding them with his fingers. PROSTITUTE #1 ‘er throat was cut and body moot-ilated. PROSTITUTE #2 I ‘eard there was no blood at the scene. PROSTITUTE #3 That’s coz ‘e strangles ‘em. PROSTITUTE #4 The Ripper ‘e calls himself. On account of rippin’ the organs out of his victims.
  48. 48. 47. STOKER Ahem, are you ladies discussing the recent spate of murders in Whitechapel? PROSTITUTE #1 Core, ‘e’s a bright one ain’t ‘e? Course that’s wot we’re talkin’ about! PROSTITUTE #2 That’s all we talk about. PROSTITUTE #3 ‘e’s killed five of us already. PROSTITUTE #4 None of us wants to be next. LOVEDAY There’ll be no talk of Jack the Ripper in Mr. Irving’s presence. And you’re to do everything he says or you won’t get paid.INT. BEEFSTEAK ROOM - NIGHTThe streetwalkers have been washed and scrubbed andtransformed into beautiful, buxom French courtesans cladin expensive costumes from the “Waterloo” production.Champagne and caviar flows. CLASSICAL MUSIC provided by aquartet of MUSICIANS dressed as servants from the courtof Louis XIV, complete with powdered wigs and fake moles.In the middle of the bacchanal sits Irving, on a throne,looking like the Sun King, being serviced by a kneelingsupplicant made up to resemble a young Marie Antoinette.PULLING BACK we realize we are watching from STOKER,LOVEDAY and DOYLE’S POV in the upstairs viewing gallery.Stoker looks at his watch, notices Loveday leeringlecherously at the goings-on below, quietly slips out.INT. STOKER FLAT - NIGHTStoker is trying to mollify a very agitated Florence. FLORENCE You’re never here! I see delivery men more than I see you! You don’t even sleep here some nights. Writing on the weekends. What about me? I’m lonesome!
  49. 49. 48. STOKER This is only temporary. Once “Faust” is launched my burden will ease. FLORENCE You said that last year. And now you’re talking about going to America for six months! Six months! STOKER You and Noel will accompany me on all future trips after this initial excursion. I must assess the hardships and risks involved. FLORENCE I don’t like it here anymore. I miss Ireland. STOKER The doctor said you have an excess of cholic following the birth. It has nothing to do with where we live. FLORENCE Don’t you miss home? STOKER This is home. FLORENCE Why not take the experience from here and manage a theatre of your own in Dublin? Irving doesn’t give you the respect you deserve. Partner! He lied to you! STOKER That would be going backwards. Dublin - London - America. That’s the plan. FLORENCE What about me? What about my plans? STOKER My plans are your plans.Florence reaches for a vial of medicine but he stops her. STOKER (CONT’D) I’m going to ask my brother Thornley to take a look at you. FLORENCE I don’t need a doctor. I need a husband!
  50. 50. 49.Two-year old NOEL STOKER creeps in rubbing his eyes. NOEL I’m hungry. STOKER (to Florence) Go back to bed. I’ll make some time for us this weekend. FLORENCE You’re going to Paris with Irving this weekend. STOKER Soon then. I promise.INT. KITCHEN - NIGHTStoker is up late, working on the draft of a novel.INT. LUNATIC ASYLUM - DAYTILTING DOWN from the high metal gate of the sanitariumand dissolving to the gardens and grounds below, where wemove past an odd assortment of ATTENDANTS and PATIENTS.Suddenly, a terrifying CRY is heard from the mainbuilding. Two PATIENTS on a bench hear the cry and react. PATIENT He probably wants his flies again!They laugh, screeching hysterically. Tracking up to thesecond-story sanitarium where two MEN struggle together.INT. LUNATIC ASYLUM - DAYA tortured PATIENT is begging an ORDERLY to let him keepa spider for a meal. ORDERLY Here, give it to me now...He procures the spider from the deranged man and carriesit with two fingers toward the window. PATIENT No! Dont throw my spider away from me!The Orderly disposes of the insect.
  51. 51. 50. ORDERLY Ashamed now, are you?He pulls the patient by the ear and twists it, as Stokerappears from around a corner with THORNLEY STOKER, 32,his younger brother, a successful doctor, one whoexhibits more compassion than a typical Victorian medic. THORNLEY Hey! Enough of that!The Orderly and Patient clear out. Stoker tags alongwhile Thornley does his rounds. It is Bedlam: CATATONICPATIENTS fussing with bedsheets, SCHIZOS ranting, etc. THORNLEY (CONT’D) Where was I? STOKER You were trying to convince me that Florence is acting perfectly normal.Thornley checks the bloody eyes of a bed-bound PATIENT. THORNLEY Onset of melancholia following childbirth was first reported in ancient times. Herodotus writes about it. STOKER Does he mention when it ends? Noel is two years old! THORNLEY Be patient, brother, they are not built like us. It is a wonder she survived such a difficult birth.He peers in at a cell where a young waif-like GIRL iswrithing around in the throes of drug-fuelled torment.Stoker watches the abandoned woman, feels strangelyguilty. THORNLEY (CONT’D) How’s your sex life?He leads them off down the dank corridor. THORNLEY (CONT’D) Well?
  52. 52. 51. STOKER It’s not what it was. Ever since the birth. She has lost interest.Thornley peers in at a straitjacketed syphilis victim,reaches into the cell and jabs a needle into his neck. THORNLEY Things will improve. In the meantime, I advise you to seek relief elsewhere. Abstinence is unhealthy for a man.INT. THORNLEY’S OFFICE - DAYThornley hands his brother two bottles of medicine. THORNLEY Two teaspoons of the red liquid in the morning, one teaspoon of the clear at night. That should calm her down a bit.Stoker gazes glumly at the opium derivatives, knowingthey are just a salve. ZOOM TO the red liquid from hisPOV.INT. BOODLES GENTLEMAN’S CLUB - DAYCLOSE ON a red snooker ball. PULL BACK TO REVEAL:Stoker and Conan Doyle at play. CRACK! Doyle slams thered into a pocket. It stays down. He chalks his cue andstudies the table. There is a thick atmosphere of smoke,tension and weariness in the small, otherwise cozy room. CONAN DOYLE From all you’ve told me, it sounds to me like your brother has the situation under control.CRACK! He sends the black ball zooming into a pocket. STOKER Laudanum. That’s all they prescribe, for everything. I fear my wife’s malaise is more... spiritual. CONAN DOYLE Perhaps you should be spending more time at home. STOKER You know how Irving is.
  53. 53. 52. CONAN DOYLE Demanding? STOKER That’s putting it mildly. We leave for Paris tomorrow. Two days studying cadavers at the Paris Morgue. CONAN DOYLE Whatever for?He takes a puff of his cigar. The plume becomes...EXT. PARIS - DAY...a thick fog from the Seine. It blots out the earlymorning daylight, shrouding Paris in a chocolate pall.Occasional shafts of sunlight stab down through theswirling vapors, giving the city a nightmarish look.INT. PARIS MORGUE - NIGHTStoker and Irving wander amid MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC pastwindow displays of corpses, mostly unclaimed bodiesfished from the Seine, suicides and executed criminals.Miss Carr follows behind Irving, pressing a cambric-scented handkerchief to her nose while she sketches bodyparts, faces and anything else of interest to Irving.Irving stops before a tableau of a drowning victim. HENRY IRVING Make sure to get the shadows, Miss Carr. The eye sockets. I want Mr. Pritchard to make me look exactly like that for Faust. STOKER Did you read the publicity materials?Miss Carr drops her scented handkerchief and gags whenshe inhales the putrid air. HENRY IRVING No. Bring me up to date. STOKER Rest assured, ‘Faust’ is going to be the biggest, most spectacular production ever mounted on a London stage.
  54. 54. 53. HENRY IRVING I hope so. No success means no America. Don’t disappoint me, Mr. Stoker. Suffice to say your future hangs in the balance.INT. STOKER’S FLAT - NIGHTStoker dresses Noel while two HANDMAIDS wash, dress andply Florence with enough laudanum to face the world.INT. LYCEUM - NIGHTIrving is on stage as Mephistopheles in the lavishproduction of ‘Faust,’ in scarlet face make-up and cladin a brilliant scarlet cape. The f/x are eye-popping:apparitions, tinsel storms, descents into a sulfurousinferno, trapdoor vanishings and mysterious mists.The Stokers, Doyle, Violet and the Lovedays watch fromStoker’s box. Rose is fiddling with a new camera. Violetgives Stoker a flirtatious look. He looks away, his eyessettling on a woman below in the front row: the Comtesse.She sees him and smiles. Stoker pulls his head back.MONTAGEMoney pours into the Lyceum with the success of “Faust.”END MONTAGEINT. BEEFSTEAK ROOM - DAYStoker spies Loveday talking with a STRANGER, steps backand watches from around a corner, eavesdropping on them.The man is lean, detached and efficient, all business. STRANGER What goes on in here? LOVEDAY This is a private dining club. The Prime Minister and Prince of Wales dine here. STRANGER Why are there slats in the ceiling?
  55. 55. 54. LOVEDAY I’d love to stay and discuss architecture with you but, alas, I have a job to do. If you’ll excuse me. STRANGER I still need to speak with Mr. Irving. LOVEDAY He never rises before late afternoon. STRANGER I’ll return this evening then.He turns and goes. Loveday shouts out after him. LOVEDAY He is not expected in tonight.He curses to himself. Stoker retreats, waits, then... STOKER Who was that? LOVEDAY Scotland Yard. Inspector Godfrey. STOKER What does he want? LOVEDAY You’ll find out soon enough!He takes off leaving Stoker standing there, perplexed.NEW ANGLERevealing Conan Doyle watching from the vestibule.EXT. STREETS - NIGHTStoker and Irving strolling through the West End. STOKER Who’s Godfrey? HENRY IRVING How should I know? Here we are. This is meant to feature some nifty lighting.They have arrived at the very popular Alhambra Theatre.
  56. 56. 55.Irving hands the tickets to an USHERETTE who rips thestubs, lifts the velvet rope.INT. THE ALHAMBRA - NIGHTIrving and Stoker, incognito, watch a performance of anow forgotten play, observed by a MAN IN THE SHADOWS.EXT. LONDON STREETS - NIGHTStoker and Irving turn a corner. Stoker is suddenlywinded. The MAN from the theatre has just socked him.He wields a dagger, holds it in front of him as he cries: MAN Give me your money! HENRY IRVING Calm, calm, my man, no need to do anything rash. MAN Shut up or I’ll cut you!Irving reaches down to his pocket but flicks his caneinstead and -- SWISH! -- a blade protrudes from the end.In one fast, circular motion, he whirls his weapon at theguttersnipe. The blade retreats back into the cane.At first, there seems to be no difference with the man.And then we see that the blade has neatly sliced histhroat, right across his bulging Adams apple.He looks at Irving in confusion as a fine mist of bloodsprays from his throat, staining Stoker’s clothes.Irving corrals a dumbfounded Stoker, hurries them away.EXT. STREET - NIGHTStoker is visibly shaken, Irving exhilarated. STOKER We must inform the police. It was an honest action, he was trying to rob us. HENRY IRVING There’ll be no talking to the police.
  57. 57. 56. STOKER But... HENRY IRVING I’ll remind you of an oath you took.He looks directly at Stoker with his penetrating eyes.INT. GARRICK - NIGHTDoyle and Stoker are nestled in a corner nook, away fromthe other PATRONS. Dole has a stunned look on his face. STOKER I am sorry to burden you with all this. DOYLE Not at all. We are friends. It sounds to me like Irving acted in self defense. STOKER (pauses, looks at watch) We should go to dinner. Irving doesn’t like to be kept waiting.INT. LA BOHEME RESTAURANT - NIGHTDANCERS from Europe parade about the stage to a musichall-type tune emanating from a piano. A large diningtable is placed before the stage where DIGNITARIES sitfeasting. Irving is seated at the head of the table.Loveday is also there, with his wife Rose who is tryingto unlock the mysteries of a new Eastman camera.Victoria is to Irving’s right, looking vampish. Doyle isslumped in a chair, barely conscious, inebriated. VICTORIA Brambell! My darling. How are you?Stoker goes to kiss her hand but gets swatted by Irving. HENRY IRVING Victoria belongs to me, tonight, don’t you my dear?He caresses her cheek. She giggles drunkenly. Stokerturns to see... COMTESSE Isn’t this a pleasant coincidence?
  58. 58. 57. STOKER Can I get you something to drink? COMTESSE Yes, but not here. I know a charming little place at 34 Grosvenor Square.Stoker flicks his eyes to Irving who smiles as Victoriadips below the table and reaches up to unbutton his fly. STOKER I can’t leave him. COMTESSE No?She turns and waltzes off. Stoker moves toward the Irvingtable, sits down tentatively, just realizing that...INSPECTOR GODFREY...is watching them from a corner table, supping a beer.INT. THE COMTESSE’S BOUDOIR - NIGHTStoker dresses while the Comtesse reclines back in a seaof satin sheets behind him, her face bathed in sweat.INT. STOKER FLAT - NIGHTLate. Dark. Florence awakes. It’s chilly. She shivers. FLORENCE Bram?Silence. And then the distant SOUND of breaking glass.Florence rushes to the window then takes a step back intothe shadows and looks out at the brilliantly lit Thames.HENRY IRVINGcan be seen staring right up at Florence. She movescloser to the window. She blinks her eyes. No one there.Did she imagine it? She opens the French doors andhurries out onto the balcony, but he has vanished.Suddenly, the DOOR OPENS behind her and MAKES HER JUMP.Stoker enters and she goes running into his arms.
  59. 59. 58. STOKER What’s wrong? You look as if you have seen a ghost.A shrill WHISTLE BLAST suddenly pierces the night.Stoker looks out the window to the embankment.EXT. THAMES - NIGHTA POLICEMAN is blowing his whistle vigorously. Stokersteps out on the balcony, tries to make out what iscausing the commotion. PEOPLE are running to the river.EXT. THAMES - NIGHTBehind the Constable we see a corpse floating downstream.Two MEN are wading towards it with gaffes and pikes. Oneof them hooks into the naked female body and hauls it in.It is the corpse of Victoria Hunt.INT. ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL - DAYThe cream of London society listens as Henry Irvingeulogizes, talking from the pulpit, backed up by the well-appointed magnificence of the Anglican altar.PULLING BACK we learn we are watching from STOKER’S POV.His eyes bore into Irving, as if trying to see into hisvery soul. To Stoker’s right sits a numbed Conan Doyle.INT. RECEPTION - NIGHTDoyle stands at the back of the room, nursing a drink,slyly observing Irving who is across the room, regaling agroup of sycophantic MOURNERS hanging on his every word.Stoker approaches, sees the look on Doyle’s face. STOKER How are you doing? CONAN DOYLE He was the last to see her alive. Did you know that? STOKER Who?