by Crazy Horse
Sun Aug 8th, 2010 at 08:54:14 AM EST
One wonders if what follows isn't the beginning of a good, even powerful, film. Hiawatha is a tale about the real people who brought an end to the cycle of revenge which permeates human culture. Who created a lasting Great Peace.
*How strange to learn that much of it became Avatar.*
(This edition of the script is the dumbed down version, at 6th grade level, so beloved by Ivy League-educated Hollyweird execs. Where the most important value is the amount of blank space on a page.)
Despite healthy deals, it was never made, as the CH would not accept Johnny Depp or Val Kilmer as Hiawatha, and held out for an all native cast.
TITLE: MANY YEARS BEFORE COLUMBUS REACHES NATIVE AMERICA, IN THE VIRGIN FORESTS OF THE NORTHEAST
MONTAGE: FOREST LIFE (TITLE SEQUENCE)
Awesome antlers on that moose. Doe and fawn grazing low sumac. North-side moss; hidden ginseng; spider spins her web. How beautifully diverse the net of life in deep woods before the Europeans arrived.
Rattlesnake sunning on exposed rock, abrupt menacing HISS AND RATTLE as rabbit comes too close.
SLAPPING and SPLASHING; beavers, diving with mouths full of branches for their dam. Arc of open-mouthed trout, leaping after his snack.
Strange to our knowledge, buffalo graze the salt licks of Lake Onondaga, majestic even in Iroquoian woodlands. Panther keeps his distance.
Bear and playful cub. PULL BACK to hawks circling. THWOOP of eagle wing right over our heads, Eagle soaring along the eddy currents.
TRACKING the Eagle, great vistas appear as the forest stretches to the horizon, valleys of hardwoods, birches and vast groves of pine and hemlock. In the distance, PLUMED SMOKE, RISING.
CLOSING ON THE SMOKE
What remains of a Haudenosaunee village SMOLDERS. FOOTSTEPS OS. Branches crack as the steps pound the forest floor. Agitated wildlife in CHORUS. POUNDING louder as we search the forest.
FRENZIED WARRIOR BURSTS RUNNING INTO VIEW
Tall, lean and hard; his fluid muscles are long, not thick. Left arm dangles limply. Coming at us now; he's fast. HEAVY BREATHING, more like lungs bursting. Torn deerskin breeches. His body's painted, dark reds and black, accented in dark yellow lightning. Paint's smudged; he's dripping sweat. Looks like blood all over him. Now we see it: open jagged wound in left deltoid. He's mangled, a battered warrior in the prime of his life. This is HIAWATHA, proud Mohawk Turtle Clan.
BUT HIS EYES!
Wild frenzy frozen on his face. Scalp shaven except the swath of spiked black hair from the center of his forelock. Fierce anger, rage burns in his eyes. OR IS IT FEAR? In his hand--a BLACK OBSIDIAN KNIFE, flailing away at the branches crossing his path. GASPING BREATH, HEAVING CHEST as Hiawatha darts through the forest.
Looking over his shoulder this way and that, absolute TERROR digs into his face. What follows him?
We sweep the forest, but see nothing chasing him, just Hiawatha's POUNDING FOOTSTEPS AND EXPLODING BREATH.
Sky seems bigger as the forest thins out ahead. The far side of a great gorge... closer, closer. Sheer cliff walls broken by pine and scrub oak clutching the rock. Now, the edge!
Off into air, hanging, then dropping; tumbling view of cliff walls, streambed, sky. A strange SILENCE suspended over the gorge, broken by a PIERCING WAIL exploding inside our skulls...
TUMBLING BODY AND ROCKSLIDE
SLIDING down the cliff. JARRING THUD of body hitting rock. CRACK AND SWISH of body snared in branches and brush; as if the trees are saving him. The fall seems endless.
At the base of the cliff, what was once the warrior Hiawatha rolls to a stop...
HEAD INCHES FROM THE RUSHING STREAM
One eye, half-open on the senseless, beaten face, takes no notice of the onrushing waters. Is he breathing?