Script

This is the original shooting script that I gave to the voice actors. I ended up simplifying several scenes and adding the scene with the alchemist’s family.

——-

INNOCENT

by Geoffrey James
EXT. LATERAN PALACE, ROME
SUPER:                 ROME: 1492

INT: DUNGEON

Two guards are torturing ALCHEMIST, a gaunt young man in
rags. A wizened old man in rich robes (POPE) stands nearby.
                    POPE
          The elixir of life! Tell me the

secret!

                    ALCHEMIST
          I know it not!
                    POPE
               (nods to guards)
          I don't believe you, Alchemist!
POPE nods to guards, who continue torture. ALCHEMIST
screams. POPE coughs, spits blood. He is clearly very ill.
                    POPE
          Reveal the secret or, as certain as
          I am Innocent, the eighth Pope of
          that name, I will burn you alive,
          yes, you and your family!
                    ALCHEMIST
               (suddenly hopeful)
          They yet live?
                    POPE
               (hesitates)
          Yes, of course. Why else would I
          offer to spare them?
ALCHEMIST realizes POPE is lying.
                    ALCHEMIST
               (to himself)
          It is as I feared.
                    POPE
          What did you say?
                    ALCHEMIST
               (his face hardens)
          Nothing.
POPE motions to the guards to resume the torture.
                    ALCHEMIST
          Enough! I will speak!
POPE leans close, eagerly.
                    POPE
          Speak, then! What is the secret
          medicine that cheats death?
                    ALCHEMIST
          The secret is...
                    POPE
          Yes? Yes?
                    ALCHEMIST
          ...blood!
INT: PAPAL BEDCHAMBER
POPE is in bed. He looks older, weaker. By the side of the
bed, ALCHEMIST is working on a series of metal and blown-
glass tubes and beakers. A small brazier warms one of the
beakers.
                    POPE
               (coughs)
          Swiftly! My life ebbs!
ALCHEMIST makes a final adjustment.
                    ALCHEMIST
          It is ready!
ALCHEMIST opens door.
                    ALCHEMIST
          Bring in the benefactor!
GUARD escorts a BRAVO into the room. He is a youngish man in
tattered but once fashionable clothes. He sees POPE, falls
on his knees in fear. ALCHEMIST places hand on BRAVO's
shoulder.
                    ALCHEMIST
          Be not afraid.
                    BRAVO
               (encouraged)
          Where is the gold? You promised me
          gold!
                    ALCHEMIST
               (to POPE)
          A ducat, please?
                    POPE
               (outraged)
          What A ducat! For this... scum?
                    ALCHEMIST
          Money well spent, Your Holiness.
POPE, grumbling, pulls a purse from beneath his robes,
extracts a gold coin, hands it to ALCHEMIST, who hands it to
BRAVO, who clutches it tightly to his chest.
ALCHEMIST leads BRAVO to a chair beside the bed, takes up
needle-pointed tube that swirls into the equipment and
inserts it into BRAVO's arm.
BRAVO winces. ALCHEMIST takes up the other end of the tube,
brings it to the POPE's arm.
                    ALCHEMIST
          You may feel a slight pinch.
POPE cries out as ALCHEMIST jabs the tube into his arm.
                    POPE
          If this doesn't work, I'll roast
          you alive!
ALCHEMIST taps at the equipment, opens a valve.

LATER

          ALCHEMIST
Thus will we purge your aging blood
as the life flows from the
benefactor into your own body.
POPE looks noticeably more robust. His skin is filled out;
his color restored.
                    ALCHEMIST
          How do you feel?
                    POPE
               (amazed)
          Why, I feel... I feel young again.
                    ALCHEMIST
          Exactly so.
POPE glances at BRAVO. He is slumped in the chair, obviously
dead, with the coin in his open palm.
                    POPE
          What of him?
                    ALCHEMIST
               (shrugs)
          He gave his life in a good cause.
ALCHEMIST takes the coin, put it in his own pocket. POPE
notices but says nothing.
POPE rises from the bed. ALCHEMIST moves to help him, but
POPE shakes him off. POPE goes to window, throws it open.
The sun shines on his face.
                    POPE
          A feast! A feast to celebrate my
          recovery.
INT: PAPAL BEDCHAMBER
POPE wakes in bed. He finds a huge leech crawling up his
body. He tries to force it off him but it explodes in a
splatter of blood.
POPE wakes again, but this time for real. He gropes himself
                                                  (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: 5

in terror, finds nothing, is relieved.

LATER

          POPE
Summon the alchemist!
          ALCHEMIST
The sudden influx has created an
imbalance of humors. The solution
is simple: blood of a more choleric
temperament.
ALCHEMIST attaches the transfusion tube to a PEASANT, almost
purple, with whiskers like mold growing on a rotting apple.
He is holding a gold coin.
ALCHEMIST brings other end of tube to POPE's arm.
                    POPE
               (resigned)
Make it so.
POPE winces as ALCHEMIST inserts needle. A grin breaks
slowly over his face.

LATER

          POPE
     (smiling)
This blood is richer. Sweet, like a
port wine. You have done well.
POPE appears even more restored. ALCHEMIST takes the coin
from the PEASANT, put it in his own pocket. Once again the
POPE pretends not to notice.

LATER

POPE composes himself to sleep. He is uneasy.  He drifts
off, wakes to a sound of piping laughter. He rises,
discovers that the bedcovers are a mass of oozing wounds and
worms. He wakes screaming.
LATER
ALCHEMIST escorts SCHOLAR into bedchamber. SCHOLAR is slight

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: 6

of build, skin fish belly pale, eyes as round as a
marmoset's.
                    POPE
          Are you certain you've selected
          correctly? This one looks as if
          he's been living in a tomb.
                    ALCHEMIST
          He is a scholar.
                    POPE
          Where did you find him?
                    ALCHEMIST
          There is no shortage of pennIless

scholars.

POPE hands a third gold coin to the ALCHEMIST who hands it
to SCHOLAR, who stares at it wistfully. POPE suffers the
needle gladly, he is greedy for the new blood.
While awaiting its effect he notices that SCHOLAR is already
dead. POPE tries to speak but can't even raise his arm.
                    ALCHEMIST
          I gave him hemlock before I brought
          him here. Your numbness is the
          poison in his blood.
POPE tries even more desperately to call out.
                    ALCHEMIST
          You are wondering, perhaps, if I
          here avenge the death of my family.
POPE's eyes widen.
                    ALCHEMIST
          Ah! You thought me fooled! Whatever
          the case, be assured: your death is
          not my vengeance.
ALCHEMIST plucks the coin from SCHOLAR's hand, pulls out the
previous two.
                    ALCHEMIST
          These coins were my payment but
          since these treatments have not,
          from your perspective at least,
          been entirely successful, I will
          return them to you... in due time.
ALCHEMIST makes an adjustment to the equipment.
                    ALCHEMIST
          It will not be long now. If I might
          be so bold, this might be the
          perfect time for you to reflect
          upon your status in the afterlife.
POPE glares, then manages a bitter smile.
                    ALCHEMIST
          I know what you are thinking. Since
          you die a martyr, you will spend
          eternity at God's right hand. Do
          not deceive yourself.
          The youths whose blood we drained
          were my companions in your dungeon.
          The first was a rapist who preyed
          on street urchins; few in the
          peddler's quarter escaped his lust,
          they say.
          The second was a highwayman, who
          slew his victims lest they recall
          his face.
          The last was a heretic who bowed
          down before Satan, naming him
          "Lord."
          All three died unconfessed, pouring
          their sins into your body.
          You are thus condemned to a
          threefold eternity of anguish, pain
          and woe.
                    ALCHEMIST
          This is my vengeance.
POPE, now completely paralyzed, watches helpless as
ALCHEMIST places a golden coin upon each eye and thrusts the
final coin onto his flaccid tongue.

AWARDS