As promised, here’s your first look at The Nines, as scripted. The following represents roughly the first three pages of each section.
Part One: The Prisoner
A MAN’S HAND unwinds a short length of green string. We’re extremely close, with a shallow, blurry focus. It’s like the first moments after a dream -- just fragments.
Scissors cut the string. The man wraps it around his left wrist. A loop. A bracelet.
We see the man’s teeth, the edge of his chin as he pulls the knot tight.
His fingers pull against the string. Solid. It won’t break easily.
There’s no music. No sound at all, really, except for some distant birds CHIRPING.
Then a SQUEAK. A SQUEAL as rusty springs engage.
A GARAGE DOOR LIFTS, revealing GARY BANKS in silhouette. He’s 30, effortlessly fit, with movie-star good looks (although for now, he’s merely a TV star).
Like most Laurel Canyon garages, this one has never held a car. Instead, it’s the resting place for all the detritus of bachelordom: shitty Ikea furniture, a drum set, a styrofoam snowman, and the Harley he always meant to get running.
Gary spots what he was looking for.
Gary drags a beaten Weber kettle. One of its wheels is broken, SCRAPING against the deck.
WIDER, we see Gary’s house has an incredible view of the city. He couldn’t fucking care less.
He yanks the circular grill out of the Weber and throws it down the canyon.
He empties a garbage bag into the barbecue: mostly women’s clothes, but also some stuffed animals and photos still in their frames. There’s too much to fit, so he tries stomping it down with a flip-flopped foot.
He cracks open a container of lighter fluid and begins drenching everything inside. He sprays until the container is WHEEZING air. He shakes it, making sure it’s really empty.
Then he cracks open a new container and keeps spraying. And spraying.
We follow the dripping fluid as it runs across a photo of Gary and a BLONDE WOMAN.
Her eyes are scratched out, making her unrecognizable.
Under the grill, lighter fluid is dripping in a stream, soaking into the wooden deck.
Finally satisfied, Gary throws the lighter fluid aside. He takes five steps back and pulls a box of matches from his pocket.
EXTREMELY CLOSE as the match SCRAPES, erupting in flames.
On Gary’s left wrist, we see a green string bracelet.
MUSIC STARTS: a pounding, hypnotic track that will carry us through these MAIN TITLES.
In EPIC SLOW-MOTION, we follow the burning match as it sails through the air, tumbling end-over-end.
Just as it’s about to reach its target, we...
A DIGITAL METER shoots to 100 miles per gallon. It’s the display of Gary’s Prius. We are...
Gary’s at the wheel, driving, as he finishes a fifth of bourbon. JUMP CUTS take us out of Hollywood, heading downtown. Our TRAVELLING MUSIC is serving us well.
Gary stops at a light. He looks left and sees himself on the side of a bus. It’s an ad for CRIME LAB (“This fall, Mondays are killer.”) Gary watches himself drive away.
Further along, Gary spots two THUGGY TEENAGERS sitting on a low wall. He calls out to them:
Hey! Do you sell crack?
The boys look wary.
It’s cool. I’m only a cop on TV.
Money changes hands.
Gary holds a small ziplock bag -- and has no idea what to do with its lumpy beige contents.
Gary pulls up to a curb. He’s now on Sunset Blvd. A matronly black streetwalker (OCTAVIA, 35) approaches the passenger window.
Gary holds up the little bag.
Is this crack?
She takes a closer look.
Do you know how to do it?
Gary and Octavia jump up and down on the bed, each trying to bounce higher than the other, LAUGHING all the while.
Part Two: Reality Television
We RUSH IN on a television set, which spins around revealing a blinding constellation of pixels.
Previously, on “Behind the Screen.”
GAVIN TAYLOR (30) walks to a meeting, with his laptop bag over his shoulder. He has a tidy, Banana Republic sensibility and an easy smile that belies his manic schedule.
Gavin Taylor’s one of the best TV writers out there.
Cluttered and corporate, with stacks of scripts and a few touches of arbitrary quirk.
SUSAN HOWARD (35) and Gavin kiss hello.
Every network would kill to work with him.
“Knowing” is a one-hour drama about a woman whose husband disappears. She starts to believe that her daughter is the key to a dark conspiracy.
Gavin pitches his show to the NETWORK BOSSES.
Basically, it’s like “Rosemary’s Toddler.”
Impromptu INTERVIEW. Gavin is beaming.
We sold it in the room.
Gavin leans into the speakerphone.
Just tell me Roger liked the script.
Susan is on her speakerphone.
You’re shooting a pilot.
Gavin has coffee with actress MELISSA McCARTHY (34), his best friend. He’s pitching her the idea.
Melissa McCarthy is my first and only choice for the lead.
I love it. I’ll do it.
An EPK-style INTERVIEW, on the set of the pilot.
Gavin and I have been friends for forever.
Melissa hangs out with her “Gilmore Girls” CAST and CREW.
It’s really hard to leave a show like “Gilmore Girls,” but I really believe in Gavin.
Gavin, Susan and a LINE PRODUCER go over the figures.
The only way we can afford to shoot the pilot is in Canada.
Gavin stacks up clothes on his bed, preparing to pack.
It’s really hard to think about leaving for six weeks.
A STEADICAM follows Melissa as she gets out the passenger door of a Toyota Prius, an alarmed look on her face.
Susan is on a cell phone call. She smiles at Melissa, who walks by with two cups of coffee.
Right now, this is probably our top pilot. But things change.
EPISODE 6: POST
Part Three: Knowing
In a WIDE SHOT, we see a vast field, bordered by green mountains. Unseen BIRDS call out from the trees, while insects CLICK and WHIRR.
In the distance, we spot swatches of bright colors moving our way. It’s a family: father GABRIEL (34), wife MARY (33) and daughter NOELLE (8). They’re returning from a short day hike. Mary carries a small videocamera.
Seeing that Noelle is already a ways down the path...
Noelle! Don’t get too far ahead.
Noelle turns around. Instead of speaking, she moves her hands in sign language (She’s mute, not deaf).
No. You had ice cream at lunch.
Noelle begs to differ. More signing.
Apparently frozen yogurt doesn’t count.
I’ll make note.
The family walks up to their car, a blue Toyota Prius. Gabriel sheds his daypack, trying to open the hatchback. It won’t lift.
Mary goes to open the passenger door. Locked.
Did you hit it?
Shouldn’t have to.
He fishes the keys out of his pocket. Presses the remote entry button repeatedly.
Gabriel tries to open the driver’s side door. Locked. Even Noelle knows something’s wrong.
Gabriel pulls the small mechanical key out of the fob. Unlocks the door and climbs in. Opens the door for Mary and Noelle.
I think we left the overhead light on.
He taps it. Moves the switch.
Noelle signs her made-up representation of “shit.”
Gabriel slides the key into the slot. Hits “START.” Nothing.
Battery is dead. Least the starter is.
Noelle leans forward, aware that this is something serious.
How do we...?
We call the service. That’s all we can do.
It’s just the little battery that’s dead, right? The big one is probably fine.
We can’t jump it from one battery to the other? Cross-over somehow?
Who did you marry? MacGyver?
He gets out of the car, retrieving his cell phone. Mary follows him out. Noticing that he’s not dialing...
Are you getting a signal?
No. Do you?
She checks her phone. A long beat.
Yes! One bar.
They’re both relieved. Finding the AAA card in his wallet, Gabriel takes the phone and dials.
It’s at this moment we notice the familiar green string bracelet around Gabriel’s wrist.
In the back seat, Noelle KNOCKS on the window. She signs, asking if everything is okay.
We’re okay. Daddy’s calling people to help us.
Gabriel pulls the phone from his ear. Looks at the screen. Hits redial. Fuck.
The minute you try to place a call, the bar goes away.
Okay, I’ll keep trying, Mary. But it will keep happening.
Well, what do you want to do?
I don’t know.
He tries redial.
Maybe if you hold it up higher.
Humoring her, he holds it at arm’s length. No good.
The problem is we’re boxed in. It’s a canyon.
Where we turned off the main road, it was more open. And higher, too.
That’s at least a mile.
I can run that.
So...we stay here?
You okay with that?
I don’t think we have a choice, so, yeah. Go.
Half a beat, while each waits for the other to think of a better plan. Neither does.
Gabriel leans down next to Noelle’s window.
Daddy’s going to get a truck to help us out. You take care of your mom, okay?
I’ll be right back.
Gabriel gives Mary a quick peck and starts running down the road.
We MOVE IN on Noelle, who smiles a little.
Gravel CRUNCHES under Gabriel’s shoes as he runs. He keeps an easy pace.