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“Boscutti’s Orson Welles” Test Scene 1 Funeral

Orson Welles

Boscutti - Boscutti Orson Welles Test Scene 1 Funeral

I find it helps to sketch out scenes when writing a screenplay.

It helps me find the tone, the color. The scenes may not necessarily make it to the final draft (or even the first draft). But somehow they help me uncover the theme.

You can read the first test scene below for the screenplay I’m writing on Orson Welles. You’ll notice it’s not the industry standard format. It’s a little more independent than that.

Pay your respects and share with your friends.

 

“BOSCUTTI’S ORSON WELLES” TEST SCENE 1 FUNERAL


EXT. CUNNINGHAM AND O’CONNOR MORTUARY PARKING LOT – 1985 – DAY

Car pulls up in an almost empty sun-baked parking lot. Nearby storefronts are boarded up, streets littered with junk food wrappers and empty beer cans. Neon signs for tacos, burritos, and burgers spin slowly in the bleach blue sky.

GARY GRAVER steps out of the car, late thirties. Slim, blond, almost handsome. California tan and dark glasses. He opens the passenger door, and nods.

CHRIS WELLES get out. She is Orson Welles’ first daughter, late forties. Prim, clutching her purse. She has flown in from New York City to attend the funeral. She cannot believe she is in such a dismal part of Los Angeles. Gary leads her to a building that looks more like a broken down motel than a funeral home. He pushes the front door open for her. They step in.


INT. MORTUARY RECEPTION – CONTINUOUS

Plastic-covered sofas. Plastic flowers in plastic vases. Plastic muzak in the background. Hushed tones.

Three small cardboard boxes sit on the reception counter. On top of each box are two numbered plastic tags. RECEPTIONIST hands Gary one of the tags and waves him towards a long corridor. Chris follows.


INT. MORTUARY CORRIDOR – CONTINUOUS

Chris sees a MEXICAN FAMILY dressed in black in one room, weeping. Sounds of crying from behind the closed doors to another room.

Sounds of wailing from the small room at the end of the corridor.

Gary checks the tag number.


INT. MORTUARY ROOM – CONTINUOUS

Chris and Gary step in. Chris’ two half-sisters and stepmother are huddled in the corner. BEATRICE, 30, statuesque, bottle blonde, arm around her mother PAOLA MORI are in one corner. Both are wailing.

REBECCA, early forties, stands to one side, tears streaming down her face.

This is the first time Orson Welles’ three daughters have been together in the same room, in the same place.

PAOLA
I ask no one else to come. I do not want for any Hollywood types. He would not want for such people.

Chris holds back her tears.

ROGER HILL, 90, rolls in. Shock of white hair, sad blue eyes, weathered face. He looks like he’s just sailed in from the ocean.

He embraces Chris, clutches her hand.

ROGER
God, how awful.

Roger had loved Welles’ like his own son.

ROGER
He never wanted this. He hated the whole idea of cremation.

DONALD MESSERLE, 41, enters. Suit and tie, slight medical air. This is the man who signed the death certificate.

PAOLA
Thank you for coming, doctor. Thank you.

Donald moves by her side.

PRINCE ALESSANDRO saunters in, late eighties, courtly, elegant. A prince among men. No, really, an Italian Prince. His full name is Prince Alessandro Lucio Augusto Mastrogiovanni Tasca Filangeri di Cutò. One of Welles’ oldest friends. There is a tear in his eye.

GREG GARRISON wends his way in. He is in his early sixties, out of place in his designer suit. Greg is a television producer who often worked with Welles. Makes eye contact with Gary.

Paola starts sobbing.

Gary moves to close the doors.


INT. MORTUARY CORRIDOR – CONTINUOUS

BARNEY McNULTY, 63, is standing there with a handful of flowers. A delightful man, Barney had long been Welles’ cue card guy. Welles had always appreciated Barney’s loyalty and his uncanny sense of timing.

BARNEY
I know I’m not invited, but I had to be here.

He holds up the flowers.

BARNEY
Please take them and give my condolences to the family.

Gary takes the flowers and closes the doors.


INT. MORTUARY ROOM – CONTINUOUS

Roger looks around and decides to take charge.

ROGER
The moment he came to Todd School for Boys, I knew I had a young genius on my hands. He liked to call me his mentor.

Roger seems proud of the memory.

ROGER
But it was all baloney. There wasn’t anything I could teach the boy, since he knew everything he needed to know.

Roger looks at the flowers in Gary’s hand.

ROGER
There was an innocence he never lost, that’s what I loved about Orson and what I’ll remember, how sweet he was out of the public eye, when he was alone with the few people he trusted.

Roger wipes away a tear.

ROGER
And that’s what I’ve lost, what we’ve all lost.

He steadies his voice.

ROGER
The Orson Welles the world knew, the talented actor, the great movie director, that Orson Welles will be more famous and more acclaimed as time goes on. He’ll be larger in death than he ever was in life.

Paola is the first to leave with Beatrice. Rebecca follows them. Then the others until only Roger and Chris are left.

ROGER
You were always his darling girl, Chris.

Chris swallows.


INT. RECEPTION – CONTINUOUS

Gary is waiting for Chris. He’s still holding onto the flowers.

Chris heads for the front door and Gary stops her, pointing to the cardboard box on the reception desk. He hands her the numbered tag which she hands to Receptionist.

Receptionist takes the second tag off the cardboard box and slides the box towards Chris.

She looks at the box containing her father’s ashes. Her tears are rising. She clenches, pushing back the tears as she picks up the box.


EXT. PARKING LOT – CONTINUOUS

Gary is waiting by the car as Chris approaches clutching the ashes. He opens the door and steps into the driver’s seat.

Prince Allesandro opens the passenger door for Chris. She steps in.

PRINCE ALLESANDRO
I was the last person to see your father alive. We sat up half of the night, talking, and he spoke at great length about you and how proud he was. He said even though he had not been a good father to you, you had been a very fine daughter to him.

He closes the door and they drive off.

PRINCE ALLESANDRO
You had been the best daughter a father could have.


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