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RED

July 21, 2015

 

 

BLACK SCREEN. We hear a SNIFF.  Silence.  Then another SNIFF.  We see EXTREME CLOSE UP on a WHITE FLOWER.

EXT. WOODS – DAY

 

LAILA, Little Red Riding Hood, bends over the flower.  She has green eyes and a friendly smile.   She has short brown hair and a red cape.  In SLOW MOTION, she picks the flower.  It glistens with dew.  She SNIFFS the flower.  Pleased. Puts it in her basket …

She begins to HUM.  She bounces and swings her arms as she walks.  Overhead, the wind stirs.  The grass ripples and in the distance she spies something.   A RED FLOWER.  Peeking through the blades of grass.  Her eyes go wide.

She bounds through the grass.  Leaving the safe path that leads to her Grandmother’s house.  The grass gets taller and taller.  Laila seems to disappear with each step.  She turns, searching for the flower.  Lost.  Suddenly, the forest grows silent.  No wind. No birds.

Out of the corner of her eye, she spots a flash of red.  She bends down, pushing aside the tall stocks of grass with both hands. In front of her, the prized red blossom. She smiles triumphantly.  As  her fingers slowly reach for the red petals …

… a shadow darkens her hand.  The CAMERA PANS UP to reveal enormous white teeth.  Gleaming like pearls.    Meet the WOLF.  A dark, dangerous beast.

She GASPS. Frightened.  Dropping the basket.  The flowers scatter on the forest floor.  She turns to run …

… when the Wolf lowers his head sheepishly.  Like a sweet mutt.

                                                                WOLF

                                                Did I frighten you?

Laila hesitates. What should she answer?  Slowly, she shakes her head.  Not completely convincing …

…. the Wolf grins.  Endearing.

                                                                WOLF

                                                Sometimes I frighten myself …

… Laila pauses. The Wolf’s smile gets wider.  And wider.  Almost goofy. She  GIGGLES.

                                                               WOLF

                                               You’ve dropped your beautiful flowers.  Let me help you.

His paws reach down and begin to collect the blossoms.  Gently.  Not bruising a single bloom.  

                                                               WOLF

                                               For you.

As she reaches for the flowers, she sees out of the corner of her eye –

– a razor sharp claw.  Inches from her soft cheek.  She shivers. Frightened –

                                                               WOLF

                                               Don’t be afraid.  I’m harmless.

– he bats his eyes.  Long lashes brush his cheek.  Almost adorable.  He WHIMPERS. Lowering his snout.  To be scratched.

                                                               LAILA

                                               Thank you.

Her fingers accept the flowers.  And then spontaneously scratch the Wolf’s snout.  His back leg trembles.  Thumping like a dog. Pleased.

                                                               LAILA

                                               You’re not scary at all.

                                                               WOLF

                                               Not at all.

                                                               (beat)

                                               Where are you headed, my sweet?

                                                               LAILA

                                               To my Grandmother’s house.  I have biscuits and muffins that my                                                            mother just baked.  But Granny loves –

                                                               WOLF

                                               Flowers.  Who doesn’t? What’s her favorite?

                                                               LAILA

                                               Ummm, they’re pink.

The Wolf suddenly turns away.  When he turns back, like a magician, he reveals –

– his paw transformed.  Poof! Into a flower.

WOLF

                                               Pink roses?

                                                               LAILA

Nope.

Another bloom.

                                                               WOLF

Pink peonies?

                                                               LAILA

Yuck!

Finally–

WOLF

A daisy.

She SCREAMS.

LAILA

                                               Yes!

But his paw transforms.  POOF! Back into a paw.  The beautiful bloom disappears –

LAILA

                                               Where did it go?

                                                               WOLF

                                               I saw the most stunning daisies over there.

LAILA

                                               Over where?

                                                               WOLF

                                               Over there.

– his claw points into the woods.  Into the darkest heart of the woods.  Laila hesitates –

LAILA

                                               That’s too far.  My mother told me to go straight to Granny’s.   Not to                                                     dawdle.  Not to be late.

                                                               WOLF

                                               But it’s only over there.  Not far.

Laila cranes her neck.  Something in the darkness.

WOLF

                                               Do you see it?

She cranes more. Her eyes squint –

LAILA

I think so.

                                                               WOLF

                                               So close.

He gently nudges her to take a step.  Her foot moves.  ONE FOOTSTEP. He smiles at her.  Encouraging.  Then another STEP.  And another –

– now almost skipping into the woods.  Not noticing that overhead, it’s growing darker and darker.  Behind her back, the Wolf’s FANGS grow longer.  And longer.  Saliva drips down –

                                                               LAILA

Are we almost there yet?

– the Wolf’s eyes blood shot red.  Pure evil.

WOLF

Almost.

– his jaws open wider and wider.  Ready to devour her.  Ready to snap shut –

– when, a loud WHISTLE pierces the air.  Laila freezes.

                                                               LAILA

                                               Did you hear that?

– the Wolf covers his mouth with his paw.  Trying to hide his fangs.

                                                               WOLF

                                               Not a thing.

– He pulls back his head, ready to lunge.  Then the WHISTLE again.  Louder. Closer.

LAILA

                                               You had to hear that!

– when she turns around, she sees the Wolf bounding away.  Into the scrub.  Just a last glimpse of his tail –

                                                               LAILA

                                               (almost on the verge of tears)

                                               Don’t leave me.

– the tree branches sway.  Suddenly, they seem like the claws of skeletons.  Reaching for her.  Ready to scratch her eyes out–

– she shivers.

                                                               LAILA

I’m afraid.

– then a beam of light.  Illuminates the gleaming blade of an AXE.  Laila almost shrieks –

– but the branches part and we see a SMILING FACE.  A brown mustache.  Then a green Bavarian hat.  A red plaid shirt.  Brown shorts. Muscular legs.  We meet the WOODSMAN.

WOODSMAN

                                               A little girl.

                                                               LAILA

Huh?  Who says I’m little?

He grins. Amused.

                                                               WOODSMAN

                                               Big.  A big girl.

LAILA

                                               Better.

                                                               WOODSMAN

                                               But what are you doing here?  The woods are no place for a little … big                                                  girl like you.  Not alone.

                                                               LAILA

                                               But I’m not alone.

                                                               WOODSMAN

                                               There’s somebody else?

                                                               LAILA

                                               There was.  But he’s gone.

                                                               WOODSMAN

                                               Your brother?

                                                               LAILA

                                               Nope.

                                                               WOODSMAN

                                               Your father?

                                                               LAILA

                                               Nope.

                                                               WOODSMAN

                                               Who was it?

                                                               LAILA

                                               A stranger.

                                                               WOODSMAN

                                               You shouldn’t talk to strangers.

LAILA

                                               That’s what Granny always says!  But he was nice.

                                                               WOODSMAN

Then why did he leave you?

                                                               LAILA

You frightened him.

                                                               WOODSMAN

                                               Hmmm.  Where were you headed?

                                                               LAILA

                                               To Granny’s house.  He was helping me pick flowers for Granny.  He said                                              there were daisies somewhere in the woods –

The Woodsman scowls.

                                                               WOODSMAN

                                               There are no daisies in the woods.

LAILA

                                               But there are!  He told me!

WOODSMAN

I’ve never seen a single daisy.  Not here.

LAILA

                                               But why would he lie to me-?

                                                               WOODSMAN

Hmmm. Why indeed?

In the corner of the frame, movement.  Beating wings.  SWOOPING DOWN.  Towards us–

– Laila and the Woodsman duck.  Just in time. As an enormous CROW flies past the CAMERA.

                                                               CROW

                                               Beware!

– the Woodsman grabs Laila’s hand.  Hurrying through the woods.  The Crow SWOOPS again.

CROW

Beware!  Beware!

– running now. Charging through the tangle of branches as Laila winces:  "Ouch!“

– ahead, a meadow.  At the edge of the woods.  They burst through the scrub and see –

– BUTTERFLIES on DAISIES.  A sea of pink daisies as far as the eye can see.  Laila beams.  Delighted.

                                                               LAILA

Told you!

The Woodsman smiles.

WOODSMAN

                                               You were right.

                                                               LAILA

Yupe!  They’re for Granny.

                                                               WOODSMAN

                                               Pick your flowers.  But don’t leave the path.  And then off to Granny’s                                                   you go.

Laila begins to pick flowers.

LAILA

Where are you going?

                                                               WOODSMAN

                                               To work.  I have trees to cut down.  And wood to hew.  Goodbye, little                                                                 girl.

LAILA

‘bye.

EXTREME CLOSE UP on Laila’s HAPPY SMILE.  Picking blooms for her beloved Grandmother.  And we CUT TO:

EXT. GRANDMOTHER’S COTTAGE - DAY

Establishing shot of a small, quaint COTTAGE at the edge of the woods.  The walls are stone and the roof is thatched straw.  A perfectly normal day ….

A LOUD KNOCK. Off screen, we hear GRANNY’S VOICE.

                                                               GRANNY’S VOICE (O.S.)

Hello? Is somebody there?

Then another KNOCK.  Strong. Almost threatening.  Again.  Louder. This time the wooden door shakes at the force –

INT. GRANDMOTHER’S COTTAGE - DAY

– inside the cottage, we see GRANNY.  Gray hair. Tucked into a sleeping bonnet. A wrinkled face.  Twinkling eyes.  Hidden behind strong bifocal GLASSES.  She’s almost blind –

– we see that she is in bed.  Infirmed. Too old to walk.  She stirs  –

– her voice barely audible.

                                                               GRANNY

Who’s there?

EXT. GRANDMOTHER’S COTTAGE - DAY

– outside, we now see a PAW.  It’s the Wolf.  Knocking on Granny’s front door.

                                                               GRANNY’S VOICE (O.S.)

                                               Who is it?

– the Wolf hesitates.  We see him thinking.  Then he lowers his head.  And in a POOF!   When he looks back up, his face has transformed.  Into sweet Laila.

His voice soft. And sweet.

                                                               WOLF

It’s me, Granny.  Laila, Little Red Riding Hood.

GRANNY’S VOICE (O.S.)

                                                               (trusting)

                                               Lift the latch.  And open the door, sweetie.  I can’t get out of bed.  I’m  

                                               too weak.  My arthritis is bad.

EXTREME CLOSE UP on the LATCH.  It slowly stirs.  Rises up. The door SWINGS OPEN–

– and unfortunately, we see the Wolf slip across the threshold into the cottage.

INT. GRANNY’S COTTAGE - SAME

– Silence. Then his paws creep forward.  Step by step.  His face has transformed back.  His fangs dripping –

– he SNIFFS the air.  Looking for Granny.  Suddenly, his snout finds her.  In the bed.

                                                               GRANNY

                                               Come closer.  I can’t see you.

– the Wolf’s visage slowly rises over the edge of the bed.  Like an evil moon.

                                                               GRANNY

                                               Closer, sweetie.

EXTREME CLOSE UP on the Wolf’s FANGS.  Chomping down.  Ravenously hungry.  Leaning forward.  Ready to eat her –

– finally, Granny sees him.  Realizes it’s not her granddaughter, Laila.  But an evil Wolf –

– she CRIES OUT.

                                                               GRANNY

                                               Oh no!  Help!  Somebody help me!

– she tries to rise from the bed.  But she’s too weak.  Trapped. She waves her hands. Frantically.  Terrified she will die –

                                                               GRANNY

                                               You’re not my granddaughter!  Help!

The Wolf lunges forward.  His claws slice the air.  Razor sharp –

                                                                                                                                            SMASH CUT TO:

EXT. MEADOW - DAY

EXTREME CLOSE UP on a huge BOUQUET of DAISIES.  Filling the screen.  Peaking through the blooms, we see Laila’s eyes.  She proudly marches forward.  Towards –

EXT. GRANNY’S COTTAGE - SAME

– Laila’s little fist KNOCKS on the cottage door.

                                                               GRANNY’S VOICE (O.S.)

                                               Who is it?

                                                               LAILA

                                               It’s me.  Laila.

                                                               GRANNY’S VOICE (O.S.)

                                               Come on in, sweetie.

Laila nods obediently. She reaches for the latch but the door SWINGS OPEN by itself–

                                                               LAILA

                                               Why’d you leave the door open?

No answer.

INT. GRANNY’S COTTAGE - SAME

– inside the cottage, it is surprisingly dark.  Laila squints as she steps inside.

                                                               LAILA

                                               Granny, where are you?  I can’t see …

From the corner of the room, we hear.

                                                               GRANNY’S VOICE (O.S.)

                                               I’m in bed.  I can’t get up. I’m too weak.

Laila approaches. In the bed, we see the blankets are pulled up.  Only the sleeping bonnet and the bifocals are visible.

                                                               LAILA

                                               Look what I brought.  You favorite flowers.

Laila plucks one beautiful stem and holds it out for her Grandmother.

LAILA

                                               Do you like it?

Silence.

LAILA

                                               Granny-?

Drawing back the cover, we see the sleeping bonnet pulled down over the face and the bifocals.  The lenses are fogged up.  But we catch a glimpse of the eyes.  Dark. Menacing.

LAILA

Are you sick?

We see the eyes narrow.  An eerie silence.

                                                               LAILA

                                               You look funny.  So different.

Laila peers down. Closer towards the figure in the bed.

                                                               LAILA

                                               What big ears you have.

From inside the tangle of blankets and sheets, we hear Grany’s creaky voice.

                                                               GRANNY’S VOICE

                                               All the better to hear you with.

Laila leans even closer.

                                                               LAILA

                                               Oh.  What big eyes you have!

                                                               GRANNY’S VOICE

                                               All the better to see you with, my child.

Closer.

LAILA

                                               What big hands you have.

                                                               GRANNY’S VOICE

                                               All the better to hug you with.

LAILA

                                               What a deep voice you have.

                                                               GRANNY’S VOICE

                                               All the better to greet you with.

Even closer. Laila’s eyes are just inches from the figure.

                                                               LAILA

                                               Oh.  But what a terribly big mouth you have!

The eyes are terrifying.

                                                               GRANNY’S VOICE

                                               All the better to eat you with, sweetie!

The Wolf CACKLES. Devilishly.  Laila freezes.  Realizing that she has been tricked.

                                                               WOLF

                                               I’ll devour you!

The Wolf tears off the blankets and lunges forward.  His claws rake the air.  Scratching Laila’s soft cheek.  EXTREME CLOSE UP on a drop of BLOOD.  Falling in SLOW MOTION.  Staining the sheets –

– but Laila leaps to the side.  Escaping from the Wolf’s paws.  SHIREKING.

                                                               LAILA

                                               Help me!  Somebody help me!

The Wolf lowers his snout.  Ominously.

                                                               WOLF

                                               No one’s here to help you.  Your Grandmother shouted for help, too.                                                    Before I devoured her!

His fangs chomp down.  Laila throws back her head and lets loose a DEAFENING SCREAM –

– the air, the room. and the cottage seem to shudder.

EXT. MEADOW - SAME

– EXTREME CLOSE UP on the Woodsman’s EAR.  As he hears the horrible cry for help.  He tears through the meadow.  Racing towards the cottage –

– the open front door.  Swinging in the breeze.  The Woodsman cocks his head.  Troubled by the sight.  His fingers tense around the blade of his trusty axe –

INT. GRANNY’S COTTAGE - SAME

– charging into the darkened cottage.  His eyes struggle to orient to the murk inside.  From the corner, we HEAR Laila’s WHIMPERS as she tries to hide under the bed. The Wolf scratches wildly under the mattress.  Trying to catch her –

– but Laila has inched herself into a little nook by the wall.

                                                               WOLF

                                               Stop hiding!

                                                               LAILA

                                               Help!  Please!

                                                               WOLF

                                               I’m hungry!  I will have my meal, sweetie!

His claws slash at the air and catch on the edge of Laila’s little red hood.  He yanks viciously.  Pulling her from under the bed.  Laila SQUEALS in terror –

– but just as the Wolf opens his terrible jaws to devour her –

– we see the Woodsman’s shiny axe blade swing overhead.  The blade tears into the Wolf’s hide.  The Wolf’s eyes go wide –

                                                               WOlf

No!

– as the axe slices into his stomach.  He HOWLS in agony.  Falling to the floor.  The blade slices deeper and deeper through the Wolf’s hide.  The flesh tears asunder –

                                                               WOODSMAN

                                               You will not escape from me, sly woif.

– the Wolf’s face grimaces.  Excruciating pain.  The light in his eyes fades. Dying.  He whispers. Faintly.

                                                               WOLF

                                               Forgive me.

– the blade tears his stomach apart.  And slowly, we see a small wrinkled finger.  Rising through the blood and gore.  The finger points at us –

                                                               LAILA

                                               Granny!

– the Woodsman bends down.  Grabs onto the finger.  Tugs it free. We see Granny covered in blood.  Rising from the Wolf’s belly.  She wipes her bifocals clean.  Peers out at us.

                                                               GRANNY

                                               Laila, is that you?

– Laila jumps forward and huge her Granny.  Squeezing her tightly.

                                                               LAILA

                                               Are you all right?

Granny nods.

                                                               WOODSMAN

                                               Are you okay, my child?

They turn towards the Woodsman.  With appreciation.

LAILA

                                               Yes.  Thank you, kind Woodsman.  Thank you for saving me and my                                                         Grandmother.

                                                               GRANNY

                                               You arrived in the nick of time.  Thank you so much for your help.                                                             You’re our hero.

The Woodsman shakes his head.  Humbly.

                                                               WOODSMAN

                                               Don’t mention it.  I’ve been looking for this wolf for a long time.  He’s                                                     killed many of my chickens and hens.  But now he’s had his last meal …

Laila and Granny nod.

                                                               WOODSMAN

                                               The woods are now safe.  The big bad wolf is dead and gone.

The Woodsman grabs the Wolf’s tail and drags the body out of the cottage.  Tossing it aside.  Into the woods.  As he turns back, he sees –

– Laila setting down her basket on the kitchen table.  She lifts out the daisies and puts them in a vase.  Then under a small cloth, we see some muffins.  Delicious.

                                                               LAILA

                                               Wait!

EXTREME CLOSE UP on a MUFFIN flying through the air.  As Laila lobs it to the Woodsman.

                                                               WOODSMAN

Thank you!

The CAMERA PANS out of the cottage as Laila begins to lay down a feast of baked goods for her beloved Grandmother.  The sun shines and the grass gently sways in the noonday heat.  As the CAMERA passes the Wolf’s body, we MOVE IN on the eyes. Dark.  Lifeless.  And then … a faint flicker of life …

… the fur starts to rustle.  The Wolf rises from the matted grass.  He turns his snout back towards the cottage …

… as we HEAR the Woodsman marching off through the woods.

                                                               WOODSMAN

                                               Mr. Wolf, don’t even think about it …

The Wolf turns towards the CAMERA.  And winks.

                                                                WOLF

Later, my sweetie.

Then darts off. Disappearing into the woods.  The sun bursts through the clouds.  Birds CHIRP overhead.  We catch a last glimpse of Laila happily eating the delicious muffins with her Granny as we FADE TO BLACK.

                                                               WOLF

                                               Later …

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