“All Roads Lead to Rome?” [UNFINISHED] (UPDATED 1.18.18)
WIDE ANGLE AERIAL SHOT OF ROME. ZOOM IN TO SEE A MAN AND WOMAN HOLDING HANDS AS THEY CROSS THE STREET ARRIVING AT THE COLOSSEUM IN ROME. THE VIBRANT 50 SOMETHING COUPLE ARE SOAKING WET FROM THE RAIN THAT’S BEEN DELUGING THE CITY FOR HOURS. THEY SEEM TO NOT NOTICE OR CARE.
BEA: You can’t imagine how many times I’ve dreamed of spending a day with a man like you in a place like this.”
DANTE: “Then I’m making your dreams come true and we’ve just begun.”
DANTE TURNS AND WAVES FOR A TAXI AND ONE PULLS OVER AND THEY JUMP INTO THE BACK SEAT. DANTE TELLS THE DRIVER AN ADDRESS IN ITALIAN. BEA’S EYES ARE CLOSED AS SHE SLUMPS DOWN IN THE SEAT, EXHAUSTED FROM THE DAYS ACTIVITIES. DANTE SLUMPS DOWN TO ARRIVE AT HER CHEEK WITH HIS LIPS AND BRUSHES HER CHEEK WITH HIS LIPS WITHOUT MAKING ANY SOUND. BEA FAINTLY SIGHS WHICH EXCITES DANTE AND HE MOVES TOWARDS HER MOUTH. SOON THEY EMBRACE WITH THE MOISTURE OF THEIR SALIVA MINGLING WITH THE RAIN DRAINING FROM THEIR WET HAIR DOWN THEIR FACES.
MOMENTS LATER THE TAXI ARRIVES AT THE ADDRESS WHICH IS ON THE SAME STREET AS THE COLOSSEUM JUST BLOCKS AWAY FROM WHERE THEY GOT INTO THE CAB. DANTE THROWS TOO MUCH MONEY ON THE FRONT SEAT AND GRABS BEA’S HAND TO HELP HER OUT OF THE CAB. HE USHERS HER INTO A DOOR-WAY WHERE NO DOOR SHOULD BE AS THE BUILDING SEEMS A PART OF THE HISTORICAL LANDSCAPE, BUT HE KNOWS WHERE THE HIDDEN KEYPAD IS AND THE CODE THAT MAKES THE ALMOST INVISIBLE DOOR OPEN. HE PULLS HER INSIDE AND ESCORTS HER TO A GRAND BATHROOM AND SAYS:
DANTE: Take a nice hot bath and shower. (Pointing) There’s clothes in the closet off the bathroom.
DANTE LEAVES AND BEA STARTS THE WATER AND WANDERS AROUND THE PALATIAL ROOMS OFF THE BATHROOM. SHE CHOOSES A VIBRANT COPPER COLORED SILK SHIRT AND BLACK AND WHITE WOOL SKIRT, WHILE SHE WAITS FOR THE TUB TO FILL.
DANTE STANDS IN HIS ELEGANT STUDY HOLDING A PHONE AND SAYS:
DANTE: No, I can’t go to the gala… I’ve met an amazing woman… we’re staying in… and what if I don’t… I thought you were going… why didn’t you tell me he’s selling the EGG!… I’ll be there!
DANTE HANGS UP THE PHONE AND SMILES AND GOES INTO THE KITCHEN TO GET A GLASS OF WINE THEN WALKS TO THE BATHROOM AND KNOCKS ON THE BATHROOM DOOR.
DANTE: Bea, darling there’s been a change in plans. Please pick out a ball-gown from the closet when you’re done, we’re going to a gala in an hour. I’m going to shower and dress and I’ll be back for you in 40 minutes.
DANTE AND BEA WALK INTO AN ELEGANT AND ENORMOUS BALLROOM FILLED WITH THE JET-SETTING GLITTERATI OF ROME. THERE’S AN AUCTION OF A PRIVATE COLLECTION OF TREASURES — SCULPTURES, PAINTINGS, TRINKETS AND JEWELRY – OWNED THE RICHEST MAN IN SPAIN, PEDRO ARUPE. THE GUESTS BID FOR THE PRICELESS OBJECTS IN THE DISTANCE.
BEA: I’m going to find the ladies room. Do you want another drink?”
DANTE: “No darling. Tell me, do you like that Faberge egg made of rubies and pink diamonds just to the right of the stage?”
BEA: (jokingly) “Yes, it’s lovely but I don’t have room in my flat for such trinkets. (She smiles). I’ll be back soon.”
AS BEA MAKES HER WAY UP A GRAND STAIRCASE TO THE SECOND STORY, SHE’S LOOKING BACK AT DANTE WHILE KEEPING HER HAND IN FRONT OF HER ON THE RAILING AS SHE MOVES UP THE STAIRCASE TO ENSURE SHE DOESN’T FALL WHILE NOT LOOKING WHERE SHE’S GOING. SUDDENLY HER HAND LANDS ON A MAN’S HAND. SHE SLOWLY TURNS TO SEE THE FACE OF THE MAN IN FRONT OF HER AND IT’S PEDRO ARUPE. SHE DOESN’T KNOW WHO HE IS, NEVER HAVING SEEN OR HEARD OF HIM, BUT HE’S IMMEDIATELY INFATUATED WITH HER AND HER BEAUTY.
PEDRO: “Good evening my dear, are you here to bid on my treasures?”
BEA: “Me…no. I’m here with a man I just met today (she turns and points to Dante).”
PEDRO: “Yes, I know Dante very well. He’s been my protege for many years. How did you two meet?”
BEA: “We both got into a cab at the same time at the Vatican this afternoon.”
PEDRO: “I see. Will you both join me after the auction at my villa?”
BEA: “Well, I don’t know…”
PEDRO: “I insist.”
BEA: “Well, if Dante agrees. Perhaps you could speak to him?”
BEA GENTLY PULLS HER HAND AWAY FROM PEDRO, SMILING SWEETLY AS SHE HEADS UP THE STAIRS AND THEN TO ONE WING OF THE SECOND FLOOR. PEDRO MAKES A GRAND ENTRANCE BELOW AND THE CROWD CLAPS AS HE ENTERS. BEA DOES NOT SEE NOR HEAR THE SCENE.
AS BEA LEAVES THE LADIES ROOM WE HEAR THE CROWD MAKING STRANGE NOISES AS IF SOMETHING EXCITING HAS HAPPENED. WE SEE PEDRO HOLDING THE PINK AND RED FABERGE EGG AS HE DISCUSSES IT’S HISTORY. THEN HE SAYS WHILE HOLDING THE EGG UP FOR EVERYONE TO SEE:
PEDRO: “I’m aware that several of you came here to bid on my prize possession but I must now tell you that the egg has already been sold… (the crowd moans) It was to the highest bidder imaginable and I’m pleased to introduce you all to my new friend Bea (he points to her standing at the railing on the second floor watching the scene). Bea has paid with the coin of the realm which none of you possess: she has the key to my heart.”
ALL EYES TURN TO BEA AND RUMORS BEGIN TO FLY. DANTE THROWS A LOOK OF CURIOSITY AND ANGER AT PEDRO; BEA LOOKS LIKE A DEER IN HEADLIGHTS. PEDRO’S LOVING THE DISAPPOINTMENT THAT HE’S CAUSED. THIS IS AN EVENT THAT ROME WILL BE BUZZING ABOUT FOR WEEKS.
CUT TO: A WIDE ANGLE SHOT OF PEDRO’S MAGNIFICENT APARTMENT WHICH OVERLOOKS THE VATICAN. THE TONES ARE DEEP AND MASCULINE WITH A SPECTACULAR VIEW OF THE ENTIRE CITY. PEDRO, BEA AND DANTE ARE IN THE LIBRARY LOOKING AT AN ANCIENT MANUSCRIPT WEARING GLOVES. THEY TAKE OFF THEIR GLOVES AND WALK TOGETHER INTO AN ADJOINING HALLWAY.
PEDRO: (to Dante while walking) “How high were you planning to bid to get the egg?”
DANTE: “Higher than the competition, you know I’ve wanted it since that Operation in Belize.”
BEA: “Interrupting… I’ve been meaning to ask you Pedro… um…”
PEDRO: (kindly but insistently putting her off) “Later darling.”
DANTE: (gently slapping Pedro’s back) “That was quite a stunt, my friend.”
PEDRO: “No stunt, it was just as I said.”
PEDRO WALKS PAST DANTE. DANTE STOPS AND STARES AT PEDRO TO SEE IF HE’S JOKING, BUT PEDRO DOES NOT LET DANTE SEE HIS FACE. BEA STOPS AND IS IN DEEP THOUGHT TRYING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT’S GOING ON.
LATER THAT NIGHT AT BEA’S FLAT, DANTE AND BEA KISS AND THEN BEA SHUTS THE DOOR AS HE WALKS AWAY. SHE BLOWS HIM A KISS THEN WALKS UP THE STAIRS AND INTO THE LIVING ROOM WHERE SHE’S SHOCKED TO SEE PEDRO’S FABERGE EGG IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM RESTING ON A GRAND PEDESTAL WITH LIGHTS SHINING ON IT FROM ALL SIDES. SHE SITS DOWN TO GAZE AT IT IN AMAZEMENT FOR SOME TIME. BEA’S PHONE RINGS AND SHE ANSWERS:
BEA: (Quietly) “Hello?”
PEDRO: “How do you like it?”
BEA: “It’s magnificent but…”
PEDRO: “Which color’s your favorite?”
BEA: “The pink, but Pedro, this flat’s not secure…It’s dangerous to leave it here…”
PEDRO: “The safety of my prized possessions is something you need not worry about, darling.”
THROUGH THE WINDOW WE ZOOM TO SEE A SNIPER ON THE ROOF OF THE BUILDING ACROSS FROM BEA’S FLAT. FROM AN AREAL ANGLE NOW WE SEE SEVERAL BLACK CLAD, ARMED GUARDS ON THE ROOF OF BEA’S FLAT.
BEA: “You said possessions – plural. Did you leave some other valuable object in this flat?”
PEDRO: “I did. I must beg your pardon, Bea, the hour is late and I must say goodnight now. It was delightful meeting you today and I’m sure one day we’ll look back on our meeting as a turning point in our lives. Goodnight.”
PEDRO HANGS UP THE PHONE AND BEA STARES INTO HER PHONE IN DISBELIEF. SHE GETS UP AND STARTS LIFTING OBJECTS TO SEE IF THERE IS SOME OTHER IRREPLACEBLE TREASURE IN HER FLAT.
THE NEXT DAY PEDRO AND DANTE SIT TOGETHER IN WHAT LOOKS LIKE A WAR ROOM FULL OF SCREENS AND COMPUTERS. THERE ARE A NUMBER OF OTHER MEN – ALL OF THEM WEARING BLACK — AND WITH THE DEMEANOR OF SOLDIERS. PEDRO AND DANTE ARE DISCUSSING A PROBLEM AND THERE’S TENSION BETWEEN THEM. DANTE SEEMS CERTAIN AS HE SAYS:
DANTE: “We’ve dealt with them before and we know what to expect, Pedro.”
PEDRO: “True, but now the old man’s gone and we don’t know how his son will behave.”
DANTE: “He would not deviate from our long set patterns and trade deals… Why would he?”
PEDRO: “To find out if he can get better terms, of course.”
DANTE: “Your saying that he’s going to break our deal.”
PEDRO: “I’m saying he might.”
DANTE: “Then we need intel.”
DANTE: What do you suggest?”
PEDRO: “I suggest you follow him to Malta and find out what he intends to do.”
DANTE: “I’ll leave tomorrow night. I want to see Bea for lunch and then I’ll have the boys take me to the island.”
PEDRO: “Call Juan as soon at you have an answer.”
THE NEXT AFTERNOON DANTE AND BEA DINE ALONE IN AN EXQUISITE ROOM OVERLOOKING THE COLISEUM.
BEA: Mmmm… This fish is amazing! How’s yours?”
DANTE: “Good. Listen, I have to go on a short trip tonight but I should be back in a few days.”
BEA: “Where are you going?”
DANTE: “A colleague’s behaving suspiciously and I have to find out what he’s up to.”
BEA: “Come back soon.”
THEY SMILE AND HE TAKES HER HAND IN HIS AND KISSES IT.
THAT EVENING AT BEA’S FLAT, PEDRO KNOCKS AT THE DOOR. SHE GOES TO OPEN IT.
BEA: “Pedro! I’m pleased to see you. Come in and look at your your lovely egg!”
PEDRO: “Along with my heart, it’s your egg now darling.”
BEA SMILES BUT CLEARLY DOES NOT TAKE HIS STATEMENT SERIOUSLY. SHE TAKES HIS HAND AND LEADS HIM INTO THE DARK ROOM WHERE THE EGG IS SPOT-LIT. WHEN THEY GET NEAR THE EGG HE TAKES HER HAND AND RAISES IT TO HIS MOUTH AND KISSES IT.
BEA: (gently pulling her hand away) “I’ve been meaning to ask you…”
PEDRO: “Of course but please… a glass of wine as I sit and enjoy the egg for a few minutes first.”
BEA GESTURES AGREEMENT AND GOES TO GET TWO GLASSES AND WINE AND RETURNS AND GIVES A GLASS TO PEDRO AND THEN POURS. SHE GESTURES FOR HIM TO SIT DOWN AND SHE SITS ACROSS FROM HIM AND THEY BOTH SIP WINE IN THE DARK ROOM WHILE LOOKING AT THE EGG.
CLOSE UP OF THE EGG AND IN V.O. WE HEAR PEDRO SAY:
PEDRO: (Quietly, slowly) “All my life I’ve collected the most beautiful objects I could find… and all my life I’ve been seeking a woman who has the integrity and inner beauty of an object like this egg.”
BEA: “I know how you feel. I’ve been looking for a man… a certain kind of man… for a long time.”
PEDRO: “What kind of man have you been seeking?”
BEA: “A kind man… A brilliant man… A happy man… What kind of woman have you been seeking Pedro?”
PEDRO: “A woman just like you Bea.”
BEA’S SURPRISED AND DOWNS HER ENTIRE GLASS OF WINE. SHE STANDS UP AND WALKS TO THE WINDOW AND LOOKS OUT AT THE CITY AND QUIETLY SAYS:
BEA: “You said you’re Dante’s mentor.”
BEA: “Tell me about Dante.”
PEDRO: (Quietly) “Dante has many virtues… he’s brilliant… he’s determined to get what he’s after… he’s clever… and he’s ruthless…
BEA: “What’s he after?”
PEDRO: (standing) “That’s an excellent question. I want you to remember that question as in a short time it will become the most important issue in your life.”
BEA: “Do you care for Dante?”
PEDRO: “Like a son.”
BEA: “Of course, you realize he’s very interested in me?”
PEDRO: “Yes, of course I do.”
BEA: “Does Dante care for you?”
PEDRO: “More than anyone else on Earth.”
BEA: “And yet… I believe you are… you are…
PEDRO: “Yes darling I am.”
PEDRO PUTS HIS GLASS DOWN AND WALKS OVER TO BEA. STANDING NEXT TO HER HE LOOKS OUT AT THE CITY AND TAKES HER HAND AND SAYS:
PEDRO: “I’ll call for you at noon tomorrow. Goodnight darling.”
HE KISSES HER HAND AND LEAVES.
DANTE, AND SEVERAL MEN WEARING BLACK, ARRIVE BY HELICOPTER ON THE ISLAND OF MALTA.
CUT TO THE INSIDE OF AN ANCIENT STONE FORTRESS WHERE DANTE AND JORGE BASADA ARE SEATED OPPOSITE EACH OTHER DISCUSSING A TIMETABLE AND DEADLINES.
CUT TO ROME, PEDRO AND BEA ARE WALKING AROUND THE CASTEL SANT ANGELO. PEDRO IS SHOWING HER THE PRIVATE UPPER QUARTERS.
PEDRO: (walking slowly holding her hand) “What have you spent most of your life doing Bea?
BEA: “Trying to only spend my time doing things that I’m passionate about. I’d say I’ve done well in that quest. When I was a kid friends and family urged me to learn skills that would allow me to earn a living doing things that bored me. I know they meant well but they did not know me… they did not know that such a career would destroy me, or never allow me to paint a master-piece on the canvas of my soul.
PEDRO: “I’m not at all surprised that you knew this about yourself as a young girl. Most people waste their lives on petty, pointless, meaningless activities. And were there any other threats to painting a master-piece on the canvas of your soul?
BEA: “Yes one other big obstacle and it’s funny you should ask… I met a man when I was a young woman who was my ideal. He owned a construction company and built sky-scrapers. He was elegant, intelligent, honest, and when he was not working he loved theater. We spent many wonderful nights together drinking the best champagne and seeing the best shows while wearing the most elegant attire. We were a gorgeous couple, he was handsome and I was a model back then.
PEDRO: “Yes, you are one of the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”
BEA: I’m glad you like my appearance.
PEDRO: “So who was this man… what was his name?
BEA: “Marvin Lazar.”
PEDRO: How was he an obstacle?
BEA: “He was everything I thought I wanted and that was the problem. One day we were in a spectacular hotel room at the top of a Las Vegas Casino and something happened.
PEDRO: “What happened darling?”
BEA: “It was morning and I got out of bed to go look out the giant window. While standing there half naked he leaned back in the giant bed with his arms behind his head. As I stood there he proceeded to ask me a number of questions. It felt like an interrogation but he was completely friendly and totally earnest. Eventually I could tell that my answers weren’t up to his standards and I soon realized that if I stayed with Marvin he would write himself all over the canvas of my soul. He had a elegant and heroic soul but it was not MY soul.
PEDRO: “How did you escape?”
BEA: “When we returned home, I did things to him that were totally out of character for me, I lied, I put him off, I stood him up, when we were together I pretended to be distracted and absent-minded, all to get him to loose his ardent interest in me. I didn’t fully understand what I was doing at the time, I was in my early 20s, but I knew that this man was the most threatening thing that had ever crossed my path BECAUSE he was everything I thought I wanted and the closer I got to him the more threatened I felt. For some reason I don’t understand, I get the same feeling from Dante and that’s why I’m here with you right now.
PEDRO PUTS HIS HAND ON HER CHEEK AND GENTLY CARESSES IT AS THEY GAZE DEEPLY INTO EACH OTHER’S EYES.
MORE COMING SOON…