“All Roads Lead To Rome?” (Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved)
[UNFINISHED] (UPDATED 1.19.18)
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 HER SEAT, EXHAUSTED FROM THE DAYS ACTIVITIES. DANTE SLUMPS DOWN TO ARRIVE AT HER CHEEK WITH HIS LIPS AND BRUSHES HER CHEEK WITHOUT MAKING A 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 DOORWAY WHERE NO DOOR SHOULD BE AS THE BUILDING SEEMS A PART OF THE HISTORICAL LANDSCAPE. BUT DANTE 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 A BLACK AND WHITE WOOL SKIRT. SHE WAITS FOR THE TUB TO FILL.
DANTE STANDS IN HIS ELEGANT STUDY HOLDING HIS 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. (SMILING). I’ll be back soon.”
AS BEA MAKES HER WAY UP A GRAND STAIRCASE TO THE SECOND STORY, SHE’S LOOKS 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 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 (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 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 to the new owner 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 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 LOOKS LIKE THE KING OF THE WORLD AND HE’S LOVING THE DISAPPOINTMENT THAT HE’S CAUSED THE GLITERATI. ROME WILL BE BUZZING ABOUT THIS 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) “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: (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 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. 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 needn’t worry about, darling.”
THROUGH THE WINDOW WE ZOOM OUT 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 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 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.
CUT TO: 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.”
CUT TO: 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 day.”
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 HIM 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 PULLS 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: (SLOWLY, QUIETLY) “All my life I’ve collected the most beautiful objects 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 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: “Dante has many virtues… he’s brilliant… he’s determined to get whatever 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’ll 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, 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.
CUT TO: DANTE AND SEVERAL MEN (ALL WEARING BLACK) ARRIVING 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 WHERE PEDRO AND BEA ARE WALKING AROUND THE CASTEL SANT’ANGELO. PEDRO IS SHOWING HER THE PRIVATE QUARTERS.
PEDRO: (Walking slowly holding her hand) “What have you spent most of your life doing Bea?
BEA: “Trying to spend my time doing things 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 didn’t know me… they didn’t know that such a career would never allow me to paint a master-piece on the canvas of my soul.
PEDRO: “I’m not at all surprised you knew this about yourself as a young girl. Most people waste their lives on petty, pointless, activities. And were there any other threats to painting a master-piece on the canvas of your soul?
BEA WALKS TO A RACK THAT WAS USED AS A TORTURE DEVICE BY THE INQUISITION AND SAYS WHILE TOUCHING IT:
BEA: “This seems like a good place for a confession.” (PAUSING AND TURNING TO LOOK AT PEDRO) I met a man when I was a young who was my ideal… my unicorn, as the kids say. He owned one of the world’s largest construction companies and built sky-scrapers. He was elegant, intelligent, industrious, honest, and when he was not working he reveled in celebrating life. He especially loved all forms of theater. Together we spent many wonderful nights drinking the best champagne and seeing the world’s greatest theatrical productions. He introduced me to both. We were a gorgeous couple: he was Italian and handsome and I was a beautiful model.
PEDRO: “You’re one of the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen… Who was this man… What was his name?”
BEA: “Marvin Lazare.”
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 suite atop 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 at the sunrise. While standing there half naked, Marvin leaned back in bed with his arms behind his head. As I stood there he proceeded to ask me serious questions. It felt like an interrogation but he was friendly and earnest. Eventually I could tell that my answers were not up to his standards. I soon realized that if I stayed with Marvin he would write himself all over the canvas of my soul. He had a elegant, heroic soul but it was not *MY* soul.
PEDRO: “How did you escape?”
BEA: “When we returned from the trip I did things that were totally out of character for me: I lied; I put him off; I stood him up; and when we were together I pretended to be indifferent and absent-minded. I did all of this to get him to loose his ardent interest in me. I didn’t really understand what I was doing at the time 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, but the price was my soul.
PEDRO: “And did he leave you alone.”
BEA: “Yes, eventually. (PAUSE) I think I should tell you that now I get the same feeling from you and Dante.
PEDRO: “How so?”
BEA: “It’s just a feeling but I sense that there’s some kind of game, a competition or dispute between you two and that I’m the prize who’ll become the property of whomever wins.”
PEDRO: “Who do you want to win?”
BEA: “I don’t have a horse in this race yet… I find you both very compelling… Can you tell me what this competition’s about?”
PEDRO: “No, but it will be made clear to you very soon.”
PEDRO PUTS HIS HAND ON HER CHEEK AND GENTLY CARESSES IT AS HE GAZES INTO HER EYES.
CUT TO: ISLAND OF MALTA DANTE AND JORGE SHAKE HANDS AS DANTE HEADS TO HIS HELICOPTER WITH HIS MEN.
CUT TO: ROME LATER THAT NIGHT DANTE AND BEA HAVING DINNER IN A FORMAL DINNING ROOM NEXT TO A WINDOW LOOKING OUT AT ROME.
BEA: Was your trip productive?
DANTE: “Yes, very. What did you do yesterday?”
BEA: “Pedro gave me a tour of Castel Sant’Angelo and we had a nice talk.”
DANTE: “About what?”
BEA: “About me and my past, mostly.”
DANTE: “Do you have any deep dark secrets tucked away, skeletons you don’t want coming out of your closet?”
BEA: “No. I’m happy to discuss any aspect of my past — how about you?”
DANTE: “I’ll answer any questions you have, darling.”
BEA: “How do you feel about Pedro?”
DANTE: “I love him like he was my own father.”
BEA: “Do you trust him?”
DANTE: “With my life. Why?”
BEA: “How do you think he feels about you?”
DANTE: “The same… What’s this all about Bea?”
BEA: “Well, I… I’m confused… It seems that there’s some kind of competition between you two.
DANTE: “Oh that’s just friendly competitiveness. Don’t worry about that.”
BEA: “Are you certain?”
CUT TO: DANTE AND PEDRO BACK IN THEIR WAR ROOM DISCUSSING DANTE’S MEETING WITH JORGE. AS THEY LEAVE THE HIGH-TECH WAR ROOM DANTE ASKS:
“What have you been telling Bea? She thinks we’re competitors of some sort.”
PEDRO: “But we are, of a sort.”
DANTE: “How so?”
PEDRO: “You know our long-standing debate as well as I do.”
DANTE: “Oh that… It’s a philosophical debate — nothing more.”
PEDRO: “That’s right it’s philosophical and that means it’s foundational to human thought — and foundational to the character of every man. You have taken this aspect of my training very lightly but I think you need to reconsider.”
DANTE: “You know that we don’t yet have enough control to consider that possibility. One day we’ll get there and then we’ll think about it. But until that day comes, we fight as all of our ancestors did. They had to dominate their opponents or else being made slaves or killed by them. Just ask yourself “What would Cesare Borgia do?”
PEDRO: “I prefer to ask what his father Rodrigo would do.”
DANTE LOOKS AT PEDRO WITH A LOOK OF CONFUSION.
MORE COMING SOON…