Feb 23, 2023
In classic 1940s Hollywood, aspiring screenwriter Fiona Cross discovers the pitfalls of writing remakes - including, perhaps, romance with an undying legend of the silver screen.
Written and Produced by Julie Hoverson
Fiona Cross - E. Vickery
Victor Malacard - Cole Hornaday
George - Jerry Bennett
Margie - Kristina Yuen
Andy - Michael Faigenblum
Additional Voices - Rhea Lutton, Julie Hoverson, Reynaud LeBoeuf
Music: Gabriel Garcea (gagamusic.eu) (also available on
19 Nocturne Theme: Kevin MacLeod (Incompetech.com)
Editing and Sound: Julie Hoverson
Sound effects found on Soundsnap.com
Recorded with the assistance of Ryan Hirst of Neohoodoo Studio
Cover Photos: (courtesy of Stock Xchange.com)
"What kind of a place is it?
Why, it's a movie studio office - can't you tell? Where else would you find... a screenwriter?"
Fiona Cross, screenwriter
George Webber, producer
Victor Malacard, actor/director
Margie, best friend
Andy, a Messenger
voice, on P.A.
OLIVIA Did you have any trouble finding it? What do you mean, what kind of a place is it? Why, it's a film producer's office, can't you tell?
SOUND EFFICIENT TYPING, PHONES IN THE BACKGROUND
GEORGE The bad news is -it's really very good.
FIONA [excited] Wonderful! [waitaminute] That's the bad news?
GEORGE Yup. Because we can't use it.
SOUND SHEAF OF PAPERS TOSSED ONTO TABLE.
FIONA What? But ...but Mr. Webber, you said it was
GEORGE Practically brilliant. I'll even read your next one, and I don't say that often. [pauses, thinks] Ever. But, Miss Cross... you should know by now that writing remakes is a complete waste of time. There's all sorts of issues. We don't want to get sued.
FIONA But The House on the Peak was made-
GEORGE Twenty-odd years ago. It's still dicey. Whoever owns it could sue us, and after that fiasco at Champion pictures last year... We're taking no chances. We're not Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, you know.
FIONA If ... what if I could make an arrangement with the owner? Would you still be interested?
GEORGE [cagey] Well, I said it was good, but I never actually said I was interested. [beat] Come back when you've got a signature.
SOUND TINNY PHONOGRAPH MUSIC
INSTRUCTOR [off mike throughout] And lift. One. Two.
FIONA [puffing slightly throughout] All that work!
MARGIE [puffing slightly throughout] Goodness, Fiona, didn't anyone ever tell you never adapt?
INSTRUCTOR ...five and six. Arms up!
FIONA I guess I figured the studio would handle all that.
MARGIE [teasing] Did you just drop off the turnip truck -Oh, sorry, the porkchop truck.
INSTRUCTOR ...seven and eight -keep them up!
FIONA [teasing back] You just watch it, we Piggottsville girls are tough! [puffs a bit] Now I just have to get up the nerve.
MARGIE [sarcastic] Nerve? YOU? I can't imagine!
INSTRUCTOR [off] I hear someone talking!
FIONA [whispered] Enough nerve to go and talk to Victor Malacard.
SOUND CAR DRIVES AWAY. WOODSY NOISES FOOTSTEPS ON GRAVEL.
FIONA OK, Fee. Let's see what you've got. Scene: Heroine walks up to big spooky house. She is nervous. Almost trembling -wait, no scratch that. She is resolved, plucky. Much better.
SOUND CREAK OF WOOD, BIRD CALL
FIONA [slightly spooked] Or not. Come on, Fee. You can DO this. Plucky heroine, for goodness sake. Pluck up.
SOUND FOOTSTEPS ON GRAVEL.
FIONA What a scene. Artfully disheveled garden. Overgrown and dried out fountain. Huge mansion in exactly the proper state of dilapidation. [tries to laugh] I should be taking notes.
SOUND FOOTSTEPS ON WOOD STAIRS
FIONA [practicing] Mr. Malacard, I am such a big fan of--No, I'm sure he hears THAT all the-
SOUND FOOTSTEPS SLOW DOWN, THEN STOP.
FIONA [firm] Mr. Malacard. I have a proposition for--Oh pooh! [ingratiating] Mr. Malacard. How wonderful to finally meet-
SOUND DOOR CREAKS OPEN.
MASON [spooky and unwelcoming] May I help you?
FIONA [muttered] I bet you get a lot of these roles.
FIONA Sorry. Nothing. I would like to speak to Mr. Malacard.
SOUND DOOR SLAMS SHUT.
FIONA What? Aren't you supposed to say something like [aping his voice] "I'm afraid Mr. Malacard... isn't himself today." [normal voice] and give me a chance to argue with you? [pause] Huh?
SOUND TWO FOOTSTEPS ON WOOD, THEN SHE SITS ON THE STAIR WITH A CREAK.
FIONA [calling over her shoulder] Very well, then. I'm not leaving. I'll just sit here until the spiderwebs grow up over me and I become part of the set!
FIONA [muttered] Or at least until I get up the nerve to walk back to town. [sigh] Well, it's kind of nice here, anyway. Peaceful. [takes a couple of deep breaths]
SOUND FOOTSTEPS ON GRAVEL APPROACH
VICTOR [coming on mike] Can I help you?
FIONA What? Oh! [noises, as she stands] Mr. Mal--Wait. You can't be--I'm confused.
VICTOR [chuckles] I look just like him, don't I? I'm Victor Malacard the lesser. Call me Vic.
FIONA Fiona Cross. I'm so pleased! I'm a writer, you see, and-15 VICTOR [cold] So sorry. Father doesn't give interviews.
FIONA Oh, no -I'm a screenwriter. I wrote a wonderful script-
VICTOR [perturbed] He doesn't act any more, either.
FIONA Does he let people finish their sentences?
VICTOR [chuckling in spite of himself] All right. Just point to me when it's my cue.
FIONA [deep breath] I wrote a new version of The House on the Peak, your father's masterpiece, and I would very much like to get it produced-
FIONA --because I spent a lot of time on it, and I know he would be flattered if he could only read it, because, well, the original was brilliant, but most people DO like sound nowadays, and this would bring his work back for more people to see, and if I could just get his permission, I have a studio which is VERY interested.
VICTOR [pause] My turn? Then... all right.
FIONA All right then, what?
VICTOR Let me read it. I'll see if it's all you say it is.
FIONA But your father-
VICTOR Is old and very ill -one reason I cannot let anyone into the house. I have all the authority necessary. I assume you brought your script?
FIONA Oh, yes!
SOUND SNAPS OPEN SHOULDERBAG, PULLS OUT SHEAF OF PAPERS.
FIONA Really, I'm a much better writer than I must sound like, from the way I talk. I just get really-
SOUND A COUPLE OF PAGES FLIP
VICTOR Come back in a couple of days. Saturday.
FIONA Oh, no! I've heard that one before. It's not so late, I'll wait while you read it. [BEAT] Besides, I need to borrow your phone to call a cab.
VICTOR [cold] I'm afraid you're doomed to disappointment on many levels, Miss Cross. I refuse to read on demand, and you cannot come in.
FIONA But it's miles to the nearest-
VICTOR You'd better start walking. I will see you on Saturday.
MUSIC TIME PASSES
SOUND DOOR OPENS. CRACKLE OF WAXED PAPER.
VICTOR [warning] I am not going to--[surprised] What is that?
FIONA Lunch. You're not going to what?
VICTOR You brought -
FIONA If there's one thing that Hollywood taught me, it's come prepared for a siege. You're lucky I didn't have time to make pastrami and onion sandwiches, though they work a whole lot better in an office.
VICTOR Work... better?
FIONA Nothing like the chance you might stink up someone's office to motivate them to give you five minutes.
FIONA Want some?
VICTOR What? Oh, no -I've eaten.
FIONA [snort] Hospital food, I bet -all bland and toothless. It's always like that when someone in the house is sick.
VICTOR No, [sighs, then, resigned] no -if there's one thing Mason makes certain of, it's that the food is good.
FIONA That your butler? Or is he some kind of nurse?
VICTOR Some kind... um, something.
FIONA [bright, teasing] So, did you read it yet?
VICTOR There's hardly been time-
FIONA [Sweetly] Then why waste it talking to me?
VICTOR [sad] It's not something I get to do very often. Talking. To someone.
FIONA Read the script, and I promise I'll come back and talk up a storm.
SOUND DISTANT THUNDER
VICTOR [sigh, pause] Speaking of storms, it looks like rain. If you need to walk back to town, you'd best get started.
FIONA I'm a farm girl. We're built tough. And reasonably waterproof.
VICTOR [chuckle ruefully]
SOUND DOOR SHUTS.
MUSIC TIME PASSES
SOUND CRICKETS, NIGHT SOUNDS, RAIN [a beat] DOOR OPENS
VICTOR Tsk. Do you know what time it is?
FIONA Judging from the position of the stars, what little I can see of them -my watch says about 9.
VICTOR [a beat, then] I read it.
FIONA [gasps, then tight] And?
VICTOR It's brilliant.
VICTOR Here's your release. My lawyer can validate it in the morning.
FIONA Oh! I could kiss you [SHE DOES]
VICTOR [shaken] I... Miss Cross...!
FIONA Fiona. You know, you really do look like your father. You're lucky. He was really something, back in the day. It's those eyes.
VICTOR Yes, I... [with emphasis] He...
SOUND CAR APPROACHES, STOPS.
VICTOR What? Who the devil--?
FIONA My cab. I arranged for it to pick me up at 9. Siege or not, I'm not sleeping on anyone's doorstep but my own. Thanks again!
SOUND RUNNING FOOTSTEPS ON GRAVEL.
FIONA [off] ...and if you're ever in town...!
VICTOR [yelling slightly] Of course...!
SOUND CAR DOOR SLAMS
SOUND HOUSE DOOR SQUEAKS OPEN.
VICTOR [sadly to self] ...not.
SOUND SLOW FOOTSTEPS ACROSS THE PORCH.
SOUND TENNIS, CROWD, IN BACKGROUND THROUGHOUT.
MARGIE So, they loved it. Did you write yourself a part?
MARGIE Oh, come on-don't tell me you only aspire to be the pen and not the face?
FIONA I just enjoy writing. I'm in complete control of the world. Everyone in my story has to listen to me and do what I say.
MARGIE But acting is where the fame is.
FIONA Who wants fame?
VOICE ON P.A. [filter] Number 33, Court 1 is open.
MARGIE Are we getting close?
SOUND RUSTLE OF PAPER
FIONA Should be next.
MARGIE So you're in it for the money?
FIONA No... I guess... I'm in it to ... to see it happen.
MARGIE [pause] Are you explaining or should I order another drink?
FIONA I want to see things from my imagination up there on the screen. I want to create something that people will remember.
MARGIE And you don't want to be famous or rich? You're nuts.
FIONA Rich would be OK, but famous just means you never get away. That must be why Mr. Malacard lives out in the country -to get away from the craziness.
MARGIE Craziness? In Hollywood? Perish the thought! [pause] So, can I have your part?
FIONA [laughs] There aren't really any good female roles in the House on the Peak.
MARGIE Will I sound hopelessly undereducated if I admit I've never actually seen this fabulous item?
FIONA You never--? Where did you grow up, a cave? I mean even in Piggottsville, it showed for three whole nights -and then each year near Halloween. I think the theater proprietress musta had a thing for Malacard.
MARGIE Spare me the down home gossip and tell me about this masterpiece.
FIONA Well, it's sort of modeled on this story by Edgar Allen Poe-
MARGIE Didja have to get permission from him, too?
FIONA Shush. He's been dead for -I dunno, a century? Besides, it's not really the same idea, just the tone. See, there's this guy who goes home after his father's death, to see his twin brother who he hasn't seen in years-
MARGIE Which one was your mysterious actor?
FIONA Oh, Victor Malacard played both brothers. It was groundbreaking at the time -using cutaways and doubles-
MARGIE Is this important?
FIONA [chuckles] I guess not. But the brother who'd been away was a man of the world, very caught up in business, and the one who stayed was a strange lonely man who talked to himself-
MARGIE [sarcastic] In a silent film, no less.
FIONA [agreeing] Malacard was a genius. They've got their eye on this new fellow -he was in that film, "Laura"-
MARGIE Stick to the point!
FIONA Tsk. So it turns out the house is alive, and must have a family member in residence or it will die. But the one who stayed would live forever, barring falling out of a window, which is what'd happened to their father.
MARGIE Foul play?
FIONA You got it -turns out one of the sons had killed dear old dad to take his place as head of the family, and live forever.
MARGIE Was it the creepy one?
VOICE ON P.A. [filter] Number 34, court 3 is open.
SOUND GLASS PUT DOWN, BAGS SNATCHED UP
FIONA I'll tell you whodunnit... but only if you beat me.
SOUND CAR DOOR SLAMS. FEET ON GRAVEL. FEET SLOW DOWN.
FIONA Oh. Hullo!
SOUND CAB DRIVES AWAY
VICTOR I heard you coming.
FIONA Oh, and here I thought old Igor your butler was a warlock or something.
VICTOR Mason is a lot of things, but--[pause] What's that? More scripts?
FIONA No, silly. It's a picnic.
VICTOR A what--?
FIONA Pic. Nic. Food to eat outside so as not to bother those inside whom shall not be named.
VICTOR But, you-
FIONA I promised I would talk up a storm, didn't I? If Hollywood taught me one thing, it's to keep my promises.
VICTOR Well. [bemused, but pleased] Very well, then.
SOUND FOOTSTEPS ON GRAVEL. DOOR OPENS [OFF].
MASON [off] Sir?
VICTOR [calling] Don't worry, I'll stay where you can see me.
MASON [off] Very good, sir.
FIONA Wow, he sure keeps you on a short leash.
VICTOR [deep with meaning] So true.
FIONA Well, this looks good -and see, there's a window right there where your keeper can peep out and make sure nothing improper happens.
SOUND BLANKET SPREAD, THINGS BEING TAKEN OUT OF PICNIC BASKET
VICTOR [deep sigh]
FIONA [sincere] I do understand. My gramma raised me -she was from the old country, very wild Irish, and hospitals would never, never do. So when she took ill at the end, I had to look after her. And the farm. Just the two of us, right up til she passed.
VICTOR So being tired of the sticks, you came right out to Hollywood, no training wheels or anything?
FIONA Oh, I figure I'll go back someday -not to the farm, but to the country. Being down here -well, down there -is tough -there are so many people everywhere.
VICTOR Better than being lonely-
FIONA You can be lonely in a crowd just as easy as on a farm, and it's much noisier. The crowd, I mean.
VICTOR More material for your writing.
FIONA I don't agree. I figure growing up pretty much alone is why I have such a good imagination. Keeping myself occupied, making up folks to talk to.
VICTOR [moving in romantically] And you enjoyed my --my father's film so much that you decided to put words to it?
FIONA [slightly breathless] I... I didn't so much write them as sort of translate what he already said.
VICTOR [deep and husky] And very well too.
FIONA [gasp, deeply important] Before this goes any further, I have to say something.
VICTOR [snapping out of it] I--we--of course, we shouldn't-
FIONA Since the studio is picking up the cost of lunch, we have to talk business. I hope you don't mind.
VICTOR [vastly relieved, deep breath] Of course. Mm, that smells good. No pastrami and onions?
FIONA [laughing] No. [serious] See, the studio wants to know if we can add a girl -a romance -to the story. Seems everything just has to have a love interest these days.
VICTOR [sharp] A what?
FIONA And a happy ending. They don't want-
VICTOR No! Under no circumstances! They're not going to ruin my--[through gritted teeth] my... father's vision -with sentimental claptrap.
FIONA [teasing] Really? Sentimental claptrap is all the rage nowadays. [change of tone, satisfied] Good. That's what I thought, but they won't listen to me. Business over.
VICTOR But you-
FIONA Oh, don't get me wrong, I like romance as much as the next girl, but it would weaken the drama. Try a taste of this.
VICTOR Um, yes. [takes a bite] That's -mmm, that's delicious. The drama, you say? Have you been writing for very long?
FIONA This is my first script. That I've completed, anyway. I've got lots of ideas, but this one just sort of made me finish it. It's a bit of an obsession, I guess.
VICTOR You should write more. It was very good. [pause, then throaty] Maybe... romance... next time.
FIONA [oblivious] Maybe. I guess it's easier to write what you know, though.
VICTOR [still making his move] Really? No romance on the horizon, no beau back home on the farm?
FIONA [reacting, almost breathless] No -no one. I've ... never... not really, anyway... Oh. [long indrawn breath, then a teasing whisper] Your butler's watching us.
VICTOR [breaks away] Blast! I can't even--! [muttered growl] Look at him. [heavy sigh, then businesslike] This has been very pleasant, Miss Cross, but I must go-
SOUND GETS UP, FOOTSTEPS ON GRAVEL, MOVING QUICKLY
SOUND BITING A CARROT
SOUND BUSY LUNCH COUNTER
MARGIE So do you make a habit of scaring off men?
FIONA Well -there was this boy back at Jefferson junior high ... No, I'm teasing. I've never had much of a chance to try -guess I'm just a natural.
MARGIE And he was circling in for the kill, ready to land a knockout, when-
FIONA The ref appeared and he threw in the towel. You don't usually think of grown men as needing a chaperone.
MARGIE Maybe he's old fashioned and is trying to look out for your reputation or something.
FIONA Old fashioned I would buy. He's got this courtly way about him...just like his father, at least the way he was on the screen. This sort of graceful way of moving that expresses so much.
MARGIE And what was he expressing just before the bell rang to call the match?
FIONA Well... [blushing] He wasn't afraid -I can say that for sure.
SOUND CAR DRIVES AWAY, FEET ON GRAVEL
VICTOR You found your way back?
FIONA The picnic was to thank you. Now I'm buttering you up in case I want to remake another one of your father's films.
VICTOR So what's in the bag this time? Dare I guess?
FIONA No, silly. It's a surprise. I figure, not leaving the house much, you don't get to have a lot of fun.
VICTOR My... father-
FIONA Exactly. So, I figured I'd bring the some to you.
FIONA I remembered you had a swimming pool.
VICTOR Pool? But--But there's no water-
FIONA And swimsuits don't clank.
SOUND CLANK OF SOMETHING METAL IN BAG
VICTOR Then, what--?
FIONA We-e-ell, can we go look at the pool?
SOUND FEET ON GRASS
FIONA I hope you don't mind my coming up here like this. I'm just so exuberant. Or is that the right word?
VICTOR Well, you sound exuberant to me.
FIONA Aha, the pool. Oh, good, it's nice and clean.
VICTOR Mason sees to the grounds as well as the house.
FIONA So, here.
SOUND CLANK AS BAG IS SET DOWN, UNTYING OF KNOT
VICTOR I--I'm intrigued. What do you have there?
FIONA Keep in mind, I'm kind of unsophisticated, here. Another girl might have brought champagne or something. I hope this isn't too disappointing.
SOUND METAL CLANK
VICTOR I can't even tell what those are -I see metals and wheels, and-
FIONA Silly, it's roller skates!
MARGIE Roller skates? You had a chance to romance a bigwig, and you took him roller skates?
FIONA The pool was perfect -I couldn't resist.
MARGIE And the two of you rolled around the bottom of the pool like children?
FIONA More or less. Well, mostly me. He was a bit too dignified to give it a fair shake.
MARGIE But you didn't roll around like grownups?
SOUND CAR DRIVES AWAY, FEET ON GRAVEL
FIONA Hello? [beat, then chuckles] Maybe he didn't see me coming, for once?
SOUND FOOTSTEPS IN LEAVES
FIONA Hello? How tragic. A perfectly good cab ride wasted. [worried] Maybe his father's not doing well.
SOUND DOOR OPENS
FIONA Oh, gosh -sorry! I guess I kind of expected Vic to be around somewhere. He usually is.
MASON He's busy. Inside. [ominous] Would you like to come in?
FIONA Oh, Vic said it's-
MASON It's no problem. Really.
FIONA Sure. Thanks a lot.
SOUND FOOTSTEPS ON GRAVEL
FIONA I can always, go, you know. I don't want to be a bother.
MASON No bother. You're quite welcome here.
SOUND FOOTSTEPS SLOW A BIT ON THE WOODEN STAIRS
FIONA It'll be interesting to see inside.
VICTOR [distant] Fiona? Is that you?
SOUND RUNNING FEET APPROACH
VICTOR [angry, worried] What's going on? Mason? [beat] Fiona?
FIONA Just looking for you. Mason said you might be inside.
VICTOR [angry hiss] Inside? Get out of here, Fiona. Just go. We'll be talking about this, Mason.
SOUND FOOTSTEPS DOWN STAIRS INTO GRAVEL
FIONA [puzzled] Victor?
VICTOR [whispered] I don't want you going in and... catching anything. Understand?
FIONA All right. Um, sorry?
VICTOR [cold] Goodbye. [up] Mason!
GEORGE [very serious] Thank you for coming in, Miss Cross. We have a bit of a problem.
FIONA You couldn't get that actor, Price?
GEORGE More serious than that. [heavy pause] Mr. Malacard.
FIONA What happened? Is Vic's dad OK?
GEORGE Sorry, I meant the son. He rang up yesterday and said, well... said you've been pestering him.
FIONA [shocked] ...pestering?
GEORGE Yes. He said he'll pull the permission for the film if you bother him again.
FIONA [nearly in tears] B-but... I--He never said-
GEORGE [fatherly] Just lay off, at least until the film is finished. Once it's in distribution, you can pester him all you want.
FIONA Oh! [sobbing]
SOUND CHAIR SCRAPE, RUNNING FOOTSTEPS, DOOR BANGS OPEN.
SOUND COCKTAIL LOUNGE, MANY ROWDY PEOPLE IN BACKGROUND
FIONA [very down] Pestering. That's what he said. Apparently. Vic couldn't even tell me to my face, [breaking down into tears] he had to send it through-
MARGIE There, there. [calls] Waiter! Bring another one. [half whispered] A double.
FIONA No. I really shouldn't. [moping again] I guess I deserve it -he didn't say I could come back, but... The picnic was NICE. Everything was nice. He was nice. Real nice. I thought.
MARGIE They all seem nice -say, you didn't let him ... have his wicked way with you, didja?
FIONA What? No! [melting] I mean, he almost kissed me at the picnic, but the butler was watching.
MARGIE That's it, then. The butler did it. Probably threatened to quit or something. Good help is a lot harder to find in this town than pretty girls. [lecturing] Most servants are just actors waiting to be discovered -they're just not very good, or they'd be able to act like servants.
FIONA [almost a laugh] Hmph.
MARGIE That's better. What you need is a night at a dance hall -meet some nice guys, wear yourself out, then you can sleep. I promise, all you'll be worrying about in the morning is your bunions.
SOUND PERSISTENT CITY NIGHT NOISES.
SOUND PHONE RINGS, OFF [PAUSE] THEN POUNDING ON A DOOR
FIONA [waking] Yes? Mm-what?
LANDLADY [very annoyed] Phone for you.
SOUND CAB PULLS UP, DOOR SLAMS, RUNNING FEET ON GRAVEL
SOUND FEET RUN UP WOOD STAIRS, POUNDING ON DOOR
FIONA Hello? Hello?
SOUND DOOR SWINGS OPEN
MASON [very calm] Oh, good. Come in.
FIONA Mason? What happened? You said it was an emergency?
SOUND FOOTSTEPS, DOOR CLOSES, FOOTSTEPS CONTINUE UNDER
MASON This way, miss.
FIONA [getting more panicky] But, is Vic hurt? Did his father...? What could he --what could he want me here for?
MASON Through here.
SOUND DOOR OPENS
MASON The master will be right in, Miss.
SOUND DOOR SLAMS SHUT.
FIONA [gasp, then yelling] You could at least turn on a light! [to herself] Which master? Maybe I'll finally-
SOUND DOOR OPENS
MASON [off] Just through here, sir.
SOUND RELUCTANT FOOTSTEPS
MASON [off, condescending] I think this will help with your --mood, sir.
VICTOR [coming on] I can't think of anything worth getting me up in the middle of the--Fiona? [truly upset]
MASON [off, condescending] Now everything will be better.
FIONA Oh, Vic, I shouldn't have come. I'm so sorry! Please don't-
VICTOR Oh, no! No!
FIONA But Mason called me. He said-
VICTOR Mason! That filthy--!!
SOUND DOOR SLAM CUTS HIM OFF
FIONA What is it?
VICTOR We must get you out of here!
SOUND RUNNING FEET, POUNDING ON WINDOWS, TRYING TO GET THEM TO OPEN
FIONA I don't understand, Vic?
VICTOR Blast it Fiona, help me.
FIONA No. I want to know what's going on.
VICTOR Is this one of those things Hollywood taught you? Take a bad situation and make it worse?
FIONA No. Oh, here [grunt as she helps try and push] I wasn't going to ... to not help. I'm just confused.
VICTOR [grunt, then angry noise] No use, they're sealed.
FIONA They are glass. There must be a chair or something-
VICTOR It's never that easy -trust me. This way. Come on.
SOUND RUNNING FEET, SLAM AGAINST CLOSED DOOR
BOTH are getting BREATHLESS
VICTOR Maybe down here!
SOUND MORE RUNNING FOOTSTEPS
FIONA Don't you know your own house?
VICTOR [harsh laugh] Don't slow down.
SOUND RUNNING, SCRAMBLE, RATTLE OF LOCKED DOOR
FIONA Victor, wait!
VICTOR No! I will NOT let him get you!
SOUND POUNDING ON DOOR, BUT SLOWER
VICTOR [sobs] I won't let IT!
FIONA Victor. Breathe, Victor!
VICTOR I'm so sorry, Fiona. I don't understand why it brought you here.
FIONA It? Oh! [dawning] Um, I guess everyone agreed the story needed a bit of romance.
FIONA Your house. It's just like the film -or close to it -isn't it?
VICTOR How could you think--How could you know?
FIONA I told you I have a good imagination.
VICTOR But you-
FIONA And you're the one and only Victor Malacard.
VICTOR You're mad! I would have to be-
FIONA Almost 60. I looked it up. And you don't look a day over 35. Coincidentally, the age you were when you went into seclusion. You look like him, move like him -even the way your lips move when you talk -not even father and son can be THAT much alike.
VICTOR It's... the house.
FIONA And Mason?
VICTOR Mason's not a... person. Just part of it. The house. He... speaks for it.
FIONA And watches over you.
VICTOR Keeps me prisoner, you mean. [sadly] And now, you too. Fiona, I am so dreadfully-
FIONA Shh. [calling] Mason? I want to talk to you -whatever you are.
MASON [deep, on filter] Yes miss?
VICTOR [yelling] You let her go, you wretch!
FIONA Shh. Victor. It'll be fine.
FIONA Yes. [SOUND -brief kiss] If there's one thing I learned in Hollywood, it's there's always room for negotiation. [calling, sweetly] Mason?
MUSIC, fades into-
MUSIC 1960S BUBBLEGUM POP ON A TINNY RADIO, DISTANT, WITH BIRDS AND OUTDOOR NOISES.
SOUND MOTORCYCLE APPROACHES, STOPS
FIONA [coming on] Ah! Over here, Bobby! Oh! I was expecting-
ANDY Sorry! I'm Andy -Bobby retired.
FIONA [chuckles] It's so hard to keep track. Well, then, Andy. Do you have my packages?
SOUND LOADING UP WITH PACKAGES AS HE SPEAKS
ANDY Yup, packages from Woolworth's and Mays, a big bundle of magazines, and here's one from the studio -a film canister -gee do you have your own theater? That's way out there, man, I mean ma'am.
FIONA [chuckles] Just leave everything on the porch. The butler will see that it all gets inside in one piece. And here's my latest screenplay -hardly a fair trade, but an easier trip, eh? Get it to George -no, wait... I mean Harold, don't I? Harold Mills is in production these days, right?
SOUND SCRIPT CHANGES HANDS
ANDY Umm... [working up to say something] So you're Fiona Cross Malacard? The one who wrote Trapped by Love? That was a groovy flick, even if it is kind of ancient.
FIONA Well, thank you, Andy. [chuckles] I guess.
ANDY But you don't look--I mean, you're really much--oh, criminee. I mean to say-
FIONA You're trying not to say I must be older than I look?
FIONA I'll take the compliment. I put it down to clean country air, good healthy food...
VICTOR [way off] Fiona? Was that the deliveries?
FIONA ...and a wonderful husband.
ANDY Having servants don't hurt neither, eh?
FIONA [ironic] No -no, it don't.
MUSIC TO END