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Text copyright Š 2010 byJustin Messina. Published by Ashley Prints First Edition


Blank Page A Screenplay By Justin Messina


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Justin Messina


The sun is nearly set over the medieval kingdom of Tareyton.The sky is a swirl of pink and crimson. A CASTLE gleams in its light. MR. MCCABE (30), emerges upon a hill overlooking the village, carrying a large WALKING STICK and dressed in a haggard TRAVELING CLOAK. MR. MCCABE (V.O.)

There once was a great traveler. He had wandered far from his home, exploring distant lands. And one day, he stumbled upon a magical world called Tareyton. EXT. TAREYTON - VILLAGE

Mr. McCabe walks around the town, villagers coming out of their houses to marvel at him. MR. MCCABE

The people of Tareyton called him the Great Wanderer because they had never seen someone like him before. INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

Mr. McCabe sits withYOUNG LUKE (5) in bed, finishing the story. MR. MCCABE

And you know what they say? YOUNG LUKE



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Those who go to sleep may find Tareyton in a dream. Luke’s face is full of hope and excitement. INT. NEWSPAPER OFFICE - DAY

LUKE, now a sheepish man of 35, sits at a computer in a cubicle - his face now the definition of boredom. His editor, MARK (35) walks over, a cheerful bounce in his step. MARK

How’s it hanging, Luke? LUKE

Um, pretty good. MARK

You have that obit done yet? LUKE

Yeah, just finishing it up. MARK

Great. I need it on my desk by 5, ’kay? LUKE

Sure thing. Mark starts to walk away. LUKE (CONT’D)

Uh, Mark?


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What’s up? LUKE

Did you, uh- did you get the piece I submitted? MARK (awkwardly)

Oh, yeah. LUKE

Well, what’d you think? MARK

I, uh, thought- It was good. Really, it was. LUKE



You should just really stick to writing obituaries; it’s what you’re good at. If it ain’t broke then why fix it, right? He flashes a plastic smile and walks away. LUKE


Luke heaves a sigh of frustration and turns back to his computer. INT. MCCABE HOUSEHOLD - KITCHEN - DAY

The McCabe family: Luke, his perfectly manicured wife MEREDITH, and his 3

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scrawny and nerdy son, PETE (7) sit at the kitchen table, eating dinner. MEREDITH

So, how was your day? LUKE

Oh, you know, car crashes, heart attacks; same old same. He places a piece of chicken onto his plate. LUKE (CONT’D)

Chicken again? MEREDITH

Yes, chicken again. Did you ask Mark about your article? LUKE



What’d he say? LUKE

Not what they’re looking for. Her face drops. MEREDITH

Why not?


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I don’t know, they didn’t like it I guess. Just like the last one. MEREDITH

Well, why don’t you ask them what was wrong so you can improve for next time? You don’t want to be stuck writing obituaries forever, do you? LUKE



Can I go watch TV? MEREDITH

You didn’t eat your food. PETE

I’m not hungry. LUKE

Alright, go ahead, Pete. Pete gets up from the table and walks out of the kitchen. Meredith shoots Luke a look. LUKE



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Why did you just let him get up from the table after I told him he couldn’t? LUKE

He’s not hungry. Can’t say I blame him. He stabs at the dry chicken with his fork. She rolls her eyes. INT. MCCABE HOUSEHOLD - LIVING ROOM - DAY

Pete and Luke sit watching cartoons on TV. Meredith begins to walk upstairs but notices Luke’s shoes on the staircase. MEREDITH


Luke turns to look at her. She motions angrily towards the shoes. He turns back to the TV. LUKE

I’ll move them when I go upstairs. MEREDITH

No, you won’t, you’ll say that, and then you’ll end up walking right past them like you do everyday. And then I’ll end up bringing them upstairs instead. LUKE

What can I say, I’m a creature of habit. With a groan, Meredith picks up the shoes. 6

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We’ve got something in common. MEREDITH

And did you put the Christmas stuff away like I asked you to? Luke looks over at a stack of boxes overflowing with Christmas decorations. MEREDITH

You do realize that it’s February, right? Meredith climbs the stairs, shoes in hand. INT. MCCABE HOUSEHOLD - ATTIC

Luke climbs up a ladder leading to the attic, carrying a stack of Christmas boxes. He sets them on the floor among the other stacks. As he rearranges the other boxes, he finds an old typewriter tucked away inside one. He picks it up and examines it. INT. MCCABE HOUSEHOLD - BEDROOM

Luke enters with the typewriter and places it on the bed. He examines it. Meredith enters in her pajamas, rubbing lotion on her hands. LUKE

Hey, look what I found. MEREDITH

Oh, isn’t that your father’s old typewriter? 7

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Yeah, I totally forgot we had it. MEREDITH

Me too. Does it still work? LUKE

I don’t know. MEREDITH

You should set it up in the office. LUKE



Luke and Pete enter.


Come on, bedtime. Pete hops into bed and Luke tucks him in. PETE





Tell me a story. 8

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Hmm, let’s see. Luke sits down in a chair next to the bed. LUKE (CONT’D)

Well.You know, when I was your age, Grandpa used to tell me about this land far, far away from here. PETE

What’s it called? LUKE (thinking)

It was called... Tareyton. But it’s very different than any other place you’ve ever been to because there’s magic there. PETE (skeptical)

Magic? LUKE

Yup. Like wizards and unicorns.That kinda stuff. And there’s a castle with knights in shining armor. And wishing stones that grant any wish you could possibly have. But only certain people can go there. PETE



Because it’s hard to find. The only way to get there is through magic.


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Is it real? LUKE

Of course, it’s real? PETE

How do people know? LUKE

Because all around us are doorways to that world. And every now and then, someone finds a doorway. PETE

Like Narnia? LUKE

I guess, yeah, like Narnia. PETE

And it really exists? LUKE

It really exists. PETE

I don’t believe you. LUKE

You don’t have to believe me. I mean, I’ve never been there before. But maybe one day you’ll find a doorway to that world. And they 10

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say, sometimes when you go to sleep, you can go to that world. And everything you want comes true. He kisses Pete on the forehead and turns out the light. LUKE (CONT’D)

Good night, pal.


Luke sits at his desk with various pages. Mark approaches.


Luke, are you planning to run this story about the serial rapist? LUKE

Um... well, I wrote the piece. MARK

Why would you choose to write about him? LUKE

Well, he was a well-known local. And he died. So I picked him. MARK

Luke. Obituaries should be uplifting. They should make our readers feel inspired to do great things with their lives. LUKE

But they’re about people dying. 11

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No, they’re a documentation of accomplishment, a medal of achievement. They should make people want to do great things in their lives. That’s why we run these highlights. LUKE

Oh, sorry. MARK

Well, we need to run something else. LUKE

I’ll find something. Mark walks away. Luke sighs and turns back to his computer. He sits in thought and begins typing. LUKE (V.O.)

Luke McCabe lived his life in black and white. When not working as an under-appreciated obituary writer for a local newspaper, he lived a comfortable, if rather predictable, life of lemon chicken dinners and un-hung Christmas lights. Everyday of his life was exactly the same: predictable, uneventful, and completely banal until the end of his days. INT. MCCABE HOUSEHOLD - OFFICE - DAY

Luke places the typewriter on the desk next to a framed PICTURE of his father, Mr. McCabe. He begins looking through the desk drawers. LUKE

Meredith, where’s the printer paper? 12

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In the drawer! LUKE

Where? Meredith enters, opens a drawer, and slams the paper on the desk. LUKE


He begins to load the paper in the typewriter. MEREDITH

Does it work? LUKE

That’s what I’m about to check. He continues. He clicks a few keys. The letters print out on the page. LUKE

Look at that! Still has ink and everything. MEREDITH

Wow. Did your father use it a lot? LUKE

Yeah, he wrote his novel on it. 13

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Oh, the big one? LUKE

Yeah. Maybe it’ll bring me some luck. MEREDITH

What do you mean? LUKE

I just can’t seem to think of anything absolutely brilliant to write for my next piece. MEREDITH

Well, I’m sure you’ll think of something. INT. MCCABE HOUSEHOLD - BEDROOM - NIGHT

Luke is laying in bed, reading. Meredith enters holding a box of Christmas decorations. MEREDITH

What is this? LUKE

Um... Christmas stuff? MEREDITH

How many times do I have to ask you to put them away, Luke? LUKE

Well, I started. 14

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And what happened? LUKE

Well, I found the typewriter and got kind of- Why don’t you put them away if it bothers you so much? MEREDITH

Because it was a test. LUKE


I wanted to know how long it would take before the boxes of Christmas decorations lying around bothered you enough that you would put them away. LUKE

That went well. MEREDITH

I just can’t understand you sometimes. Do you not care how the house looks? Do you not care that I asked you to help me? LUKE

Meredith, they’re freaking Christmas decorations. MEREDITH

Why is everything like pulling teeth with you? I try so hard to keep everything together around the house, and you act like you don’t 15

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even care. LUKE

Fine, you want me to do it, I’ll do it. Luke gets out of bed and grabs the box from Meredith. MEREDITH

You don’t have to do it right now. LUKE

No, I’ll do it. Luke exits. INT. MCCABE HOUSEHOLD - ATTIC

Luke climbs up the ladder and places the box with the other decorations. He remains kneeling on the ground in angry thought. INT. NEWSPAPER OFFICE

Luke sits in a daze at his computer. Mark walks over. MARK

Luke, do you have that new obit yet? LUKE

I’m, uh- no. MARK

Alright, Luke, what’s going on? You’re work has been noticeably sub-par as of late. 16

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I just had a rough night. Week, really. MARK

I’m just... warning you. LUKE

Warning me? MARK

Well, we’ve been looking to cut back on some of our staff lately and- you might just want to kick it up a notch, you know? But hey, we’re still cool right? He laughs. LUKE (sarcastically)


Mark walks away. DAVID (O.S.)

That sounded pretty rough. Luke looks up to see DAVID standing, looking down at him from the next cubicle. LUKE

Yeah, he can be a bit of a tight-ass sometimes. Are you new? DAVID

Yeah, I’m David. 17

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He holds out his hand and Luke shakes it. LUKE



So, what do you do? LUKE

Obituary writer. DAVID

Really? People still do that? I thought that was only for big newspapers, not this local bull shit. LUKE

Yeah, well, we run a piece each week about a local citizen who died. Usually if they’ve done something important. It’s incredibly boring. DAVID


Luke and David sit eating lunch.


The worst part though, is that Mark and I both started working here at the same time. And now he’s my fucking editor. DAVID

Ooh, that sucks, man. 18

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I was really excited about that piece too. I keep hoping if I write something they like, they’ll give me some actual assignments once in a while. DAVID

They’re not feeling it, huh? LUKE

I guess not. I always thought writing would come easier to me because my dad was a writer. Guess I didn’t inherit the writing gene. DAVID

Or maybe you just haven’t had your big break yet. LUKE

Well, I may not have had my big break yet, but I’m certainly broke. INT. MCCABE HOUSEHOLD - OFFICE - DAY

Luke sits at the typewriter, pulling his hair out. Meredith scooters in.

MEREDITH (excited)

Honey! LUKE

Hey.You’re in a good mood. MEREDITH

I have a surprise for you! I know that Christmas just passed and all, 19

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but I figured it’s something for the whole family, so who cares? LUKE

What is it? MEREDITH


Luke and Meredith descend the stairs.


Cover your eyes! He does so and she ushers him into the living room. MEREDITH (CONT’D)

OK, open them!

He uncovers his eyes to see: a freestanding, ANTIQUE COAT RACK. LUKE (disappointed)

Oh. What is it? MEREDITH

It’s a coat rack. An antique! LUKE

How much was it?


Blank Page--Interior  

The interior design of the screenplay entitled "Blank Page." The entire script comes out to 154 pages, but 20 pages including the front matt...