FADE IN: TOP HATS. Clustered in a small glade. As we SUPER TITLES, a BLACK CAT slinks its way through them. As TITLES ENDBORDEN (V.O.) Are you watching closely? A SECOND BLACK CAT races into frame, HISSING, SPITTING, CHASING the first cat into the woods beyond and weCUT TO: INT. CLUTTERED WORKSHOP -- DAY Moving along a row of CANARIES inCAGES. CUTTER (V.O.) Every magic trick consists of three part, or acts... Stop at a cage. Weathered HANDS envelope the canary. and voice belongs to a man in his 60's- CUTTER. CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D) The first part is called the Pledge... A LITTLE GIRL pershes on a chest in the workshop, watching. CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D) ...the magician shows you something ordinaryCutter moves to a small ORNATE CAGEresting on a prop table. CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D) A deck of cards, ar a bird... INT. SCALA THEATRE, LONDON -- NIGHT A packed house. Many hands raised. Move in on a BEARDED MAN, his gloved hand tentatively rising into the air. CUTTER (V.O.) ...or a man. A GLAMOROUS ASSISTANT beckons Bearded Man from the aisle. He shuffles along his row towards her. Embarrassed. CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D) He show you thisobject, and pledges to you its utter normality... Bearbed Man and four other VOLUNTEERS follow the Assistant down towards the stage... Hands
2. On which stands the magician, leaning on his cane, smiling. This is ROBERT ANGIER, 35, an American. Looming over him is a large and complex ELETRICAL MACHINE. CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D) Perhaps he asks you to inspect it... Bearbed Man, FASCINATED, and otherVolunteers look over the vast machine. As angier GESTURES theatrically at the various features of the metal and glass apparatus. CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D) ...to see that it is indeed real... As the Assistant leads the Volunteers off the stage, Bearded Man slips through the gap at the side of the curtainsCUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D) ...unaltered... INT. STAGE THEATRE, BACKSTAGE -- CONTINUOUS -looks around,DISORIENTED, then darts for some stairs leagind below stage where he runs into a burly STAGEHAND. CUTTER (V.O.) ...normal. STAGEHAND Where'd you think you're going?! CUTTER (V.O.) But, of course, it probably isn't... Bearded Man pulls off his beard, revealing the face of ALFRED BORDEN, mid 30's. BEARDED MAN I'm part of the act, you fool! The Stagehand raises his eyebrows and steps aside. BordenRACES down below the stage. Cutter approaches the Stagehand. CUTTER Who was that? INT. SCALA THEATRE, ONSTAGE -- CONTINUOUS As the machine GROANS to life. SPARKING and CRACKLING, Angier gazes at it, forgettig his audience. Entranced. Possessed. INT. BENEATH THE STAGE -- CONTINUOUS Borden fumbles through the darkned area, sparks through gaps in the boards of the GASPS as a flash illuminates aSTAGEHAND EYES sitting nearby. Borden waves a hand lit by flashes and stage above. He with SOLID WHITE in front of the
3. INT. WORKSHOP -- DAY Cutter gently places the canary into the ornate cage. CUTTER (V.O.) The second act is called the Turn... INT. SCALA THEATRE, ONSTAGE -- NIGHT Angier, facing the audience, steps into the machine. CUTTER (V.O.) The magician takes the ordinary something... INT.BENEATH THE STAGE -- CONTINUOUS Borden lights a MATCH. In front of him is a LARGE GLASS TANK FILLED WITH WATER, ITs LID PROPPED OPEN. Borden frowns. CUTTER (V.O.) ...and makes it do something extraordianry. INT. WORKSHOP -- DAY Cutter places a SILK SHAWL over the cage. Then SLAMS his hands down on the shawl, which FLATTENS- The Little Girl FLINCHES. Then STARES, FASCINATED. CUTTER (V.O.) Now you'relooking for the secret. INT. SCALA THEATRE, ONSTAGE -- NIGHT Bolts of electicity draw inwards, wrapping Angier in a ball of light which CRACKSCUTTER (V.O.) But you won't find it... INT. BENEATH THE STAGE -- CONTINUOUS The ROOM fills with light as a TRAPDOOR snaps open and a BODY DROPS INTO THE TANK. CUTTER Because of course, you're not really looking... The lid of the tank and trapdoor above...
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