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Амелия/ Amelia

EXT. BAR, LAE, NEW GUINEA - DAY

CLOSE on a mud-streaked AIRFIELD in mist and driving RAIN. A Lockheed ELECTRA sits. Sleek, twin-engine, state-of-the- art, its metallic surface battered by the monsoon. Waiting. PULL BACK to see...

...our VIEW down onto the landing strip is from an open- sided, thatched roof BAR high above the airfield. And peering down through the mist and rain...

...a WOMAN in grimy flight clothes gazes at the plane. Slender. Feminine. At first glance, fragile. Then the gray eyes change like the sea, as a stray thought transforms her. Something fierce lives there.

SUPERIMPOSE: LAE, NEW GUINEA - 1937.

FRED (O.S.) Sure I can't talk you inta somethin' more adventurous? She turns. FRED NOONAN is tall and lean, ruggedly handsome in a reckless way. His flight clothes as rumpled and dirt- streaked as her own. He carries his bottle of tequila, and a Coke which he sets down for her.

AMELIA Adventurous? You've got the wrong girl, Mister. You should know that by now. Her eyes study him. Assessing something as he pours himself four fingers.

FRED Actually. I knew that the moment I met ol' George. He sips his drink. She says nothing.

FRED (CONT'D) I like how you don't talk about him.

AMELIA That why I get so many chances to not do it?

FRED Well. Natural curiosity. His charming smile. She's thinking more about the tequila. She reaches to take his bottle and glass. Moves them to her side of the table.

2.

FRED I mean, why would a guy who needs to run the show. Pick the one girl he knew could kick his tail?

No response. Just her clear direct gaze.

FRED (CONT'D) I'll bet he knew that. First time he met you.

She looks out to sea.

AMELIA He thought I hated him. He never knew I was fascinated.

INT. GEORGE'S OFFICE, NEW YORK - DAY

2 2 Alone by the window, he gazes at the city. A powerfully built man in a perfectly-tailored suit. The face at once strong and elegant, capable of every emotion. Yet just now, there are none to be seen. Even as... ...a door OPENS. A pretty SECRETARY enters soundlessly, sits respectfully. Waits, her pen suspended above her steno pad. Does he know she's there?

SUPERIMPOSE: NEW YORK, LATER 1937.

GEORGE (without turning) The first time I met her she sat in that chair. The secretary doesn't know whether to write that down. And still with his back to her...

GEORGE (CONT'D) You may as well write it down, Mary. Write it all down. Even the parts that are confused or graceless or boring. He turns with a soft smile to put her at ease.

GEORGE (CONT'D) We'll see if I remember how to edit. She smiles back. She likes him, as much as her level of being awed by him permits. She begins to write, as...

3.

GEORGE (CONT'D) I'd kept her waiting two hours.

T She hated me on sight, but she hought I couldn't tell. His gaze drifts to a bookcase crammed with volumes. And one object, oddly out of place. A stuffed CAT, with boots and a green frock coat. It wears a confident ironic smile.

GEORGE (CONT'D) She was a person who cherished her privacy and was devoting her life to social work. And there I was... His smile is kind. And honestly self-mocking.

GEORGE (CONT'D) Self-obsessed. Wallowing in the glory of my authors and celebrity acquaintances. A vain, fast- talking, manipulator. But then I guess you know all that, don't you? She looks up reproachfully. Nothing of the kind, and you know it.

GEORGE (CONT'D) Oh, yes. And the kind of man who fishes for compliments. He's made her laugh.

DISSOLVE TO...

3 3

INT. RECEPTION AREA - DAY

She is younger, dressed conservatively. The calm at the center of a storm. Agents, authors, couriers, peddlers come and go. But she has her legs drawn up beneath her, pouring through a small stack of volumes. As if preparing for an exam.

SUPERIMPOSE: G.P. PUTNAM'S SONS PUBLISHING CO. 1928.

GEORGE (V.O.) The waiting made her furious. She undoubtedly felt I was

E stablishing my dominance and importance. She doesn't look furious at all. Thumbing through WE by COL. CHARLES LINDBERGH. Photos of Lindy beside the Spirit of St. Louis in Paris.

4.

GEORGE (V.O.) (CONT'D) Actually, I hadn't given her a thought. Oblivious as usual. Which, perhaps, was even worse. Now, SKYWARD by ADM. RICHARD BYRD. Photos of the explorer preparing for his flight over the North Pole. One of Byrd with George himself, displaying considerable gravitas.

AMELIA (V.O.) I figured he'd be pompous. Her eye travels over the stack of books. Adventurers, explorers, celebrities. On an end table, a framed photo of George with the great Lindbergh. A pretty SECRETARY comes to summon her. Amelia rises, smooths the wrinkles from her brown suit. They head down the corridor.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) I knew, of course, that he wasn't going to choose me. I had no discernible qualifications whatsoever. They reach the door, already ajar. It says GEORGE PALMER PUTNAM on a small bronze plate. The secretary gingerly pushes it open... ...revealing George on the phone in crisp shirtsleeves and suspenders. He paces, prowls, trailing the cord behind him, negotiating non-stop even as he flips through a pile of messages. Off again, stalking the room. Dashing, electric, masterful.

AMELIA (V.O) But to be rejected by this... parasite. A man who had given up any life of his own to flutter near the famous. He glances up, realizing for the first time that she is there. Sit, please. But she doesn't.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) I didn't know whether to laugh or throw something at the jerk. He gestures again, more commandingly. Sit. She doesn't move, she doesn't smile. She doesn't take her steady gaze from him. He hangs up the phone. They stare at each other for a frozen beat. He breaks the moment with a charming smile...

5.

GEORGE Miss Earhart?

AMELIA Mr. Putnam? GEORGE (softly) I asked you to sit.

AMELIA Was that the thing you did with your hand? Sadly, I don't speak dog. His smile now only a trace. But more genuine.

GEORGE A Ah. Well, stand if you like. melia sits.

GEORGE (CONT'D) I'm told you want to fly the Atlantic Ocean.

AMELIA I do.

GEORGE In the 12 months since Lindbergh, 55 people in 18 planes have tried. Three planes made it. Fourteen people have died.

AMELIA I'll make it.

GEORGE Three women died trying. Two others escaped with their lives. If you do make it, you'd be the first. Which...is the real attraction for both of us, I suspect. She nods. No smile.

AMELIA Always nice to know what the real attraction is. His smile. Beginning to enjoy this conversation.

6.

GEORGE The plane was bought from Adm. Byrd by Amy Guest, a socialite who wanted the record for herself. Her family wouldn't tolerate the danger. She has asked for a replacement... He gestures. Perhaps you.

GEORGE (CONT'D) ...who is American, educated, well- spoken, a flyer, preferably physically attractive...

AMELIA Why would that matter?

GEORGE Because she wants the world to pay attention. And pretty girls command more attention.

AMELIA Was that your advice?

GEORGE Sure. My role is selling this event to the public. There will be a contract for the girl's story with the New York Times. Also a book to be published over her name. Understood...? G

EORGE (CONT'D) But all the money from these will go to Mrs. Guest.

AMELIA Except for the part that goes to you.

GEORGE Which will be as great as I can manage, I assure you.

AMELIA You said she wants a flyer.

GEORGE Don't get your hopes up. The celebrated Wilmer Stultz will be the pilot. There'll be a male co- pilot and navigator. The woman will be purely a passenger.

7.

He waits for reaction. She keeps her mouth shut.

GEORGE (CONT'D) That's good for your chances. Because your level of flying experience wouldn't place you anywhere near the group that would be considered for this. If the woman were to do any flying at all. No punches pulled. Not his style.

AMELIA Why would anyone want a book from a passenger?

GEORGE Because the hook is that we're making the woman the commander. The pilot will sign a contract saying he is under her direction and control. It's her ship, her flight.

AMELIA Good for my chances, you said. What are my chan...

GEORGE The job's yours. She blinks. Stunned speechless.

GEORGE (CONT'D) I chose you the moment you walked through the door. He smiles his charming smile. Several phones are RINGING.

GEORGE (CONT'D) Now assuming my awful manners haven't soured you on the enterprise. May I give you a lift to the station? Amelia rises. Is she pissed at being toyed with?

AMELIA You're a busy man, Mr. Putnam. I can find my way. The look holds. He shrugs. You probably can.

8.

4 4

INT. GRAND CENTRAL STATION - LATER

Two figures on the platform. Her train is ready to leave.

GEORGE I honestly feel an apology is in order.

AMELIA Fine. What have I done? She watches his smile.

AMELIA (CONT'D) I didn't mind waiting. Caught up on my reading. Knitted a sweater.

GEORGE I mean an apology. For what's coming. His voice softens.

GEORGE (CONT'D) I'm going to be pretty controlling these next few months. How you dress, move, cut your hair. Speak in public. It's all part of the package we're selling.

AMELIA We.

GEORGE That's right. If you're not in there selling with me, it won't work. The smile turns friendly.

GEORGE (CONT'D) You're the star. I'm no one at all.

AMELIA Spoken like a gentleman. She steps up onto the train. Extends her hand like a man. He shakes it firmly. The train begins to move. She watches his cheery wave as she rolls away.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) Of course a gentleman. Would have paid for my ticket.

9.

5 5

INT. TRAIN - LATER

Gazing out the window as she rattles toward Boston. She looks down now to a notebook in her lap. As she flips pages, we see it is a collection of hand-written POEMS and thoughts. She writes...

AMELIA (V.O.) Courage is the price that life exacts For granting peace We SUPERIMPOSE over her image the wall of a little girl's bedroom, filled with treasured NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS about women doctors, officials, bank presidents, women who had established themselves in positions previously thought to be available only to men.

AMELIA (V.O.) The soul that knows it not Knows no release From little things

DISSOLVE TO HER

MEMORY OF...

6 6

EXT. FIELD, DES MOINES - DAY

Two LITTLE GIRLS, maybe 10 years old, walking in a field. Amelia and a girlfriend. They stop, hearing... The DRONING of an engine, a small red plane APPEARING above the treetops. The pilot seeing two girls alone in the field, SWOOPS down to BUZZ them. Amelia's friend runs for her life. But Amelia stands still, throws her arms WIDE, and the plane... ...DROPS lower, and LOWER, as it CLOSES straight in on the slender girl with her outstretched arms. LOUDER and FASTER, as if intent on winning some impulsive duel of wills. The aircraft SCREAMS past, just above her head.

AMELIA (V.O.) As the little red airplane passed by, it said something to me. Amelia beams. She fills her lungs, transported.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) I don't think I've ever stopped listening. HOLD on her, hair and uniform whipping in the breeze.

SMASH CUT TO...

10.

7 7

INT. AMELIA'S PLANE - DAY

Amelia flying her little yellow Kinner. Feeling the freedom she thrilled to as a A child.

MELIA (V.O.) Ten years, 28 jobs and an unspeak- able number of crashes later, I hadn't changed my mind. She LIFTS the nose of the tiny craft. Begins to CLIMB.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) I even had my own plane. Bought with my last dime. At the apex of her climb, she FLIPS into a breathtaking LOOP THE LOOP, as...

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) Course in the early days of flying... ...her engine SPUTTERS. Then STALLS. The plane DIPS into a TAIL-SPIN, PLUNGING downward...

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) ...crashing was so common, you almost forgot it could kill you... Amelia STRUGGLING to start the engine, the little plane HURTLING toward earth, SPINNING as it goes.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) ...until it did. The engine COUGHS to life and at the last second she SWOOPS harrowingly above the ground to SOAR FREE.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) Almost.

EXT. AIRFIELD - DAY

8 8 A small HANGAR in a lonely field. See a group of... ...MECHANICS in their grease-stained jumpsuits. Three big guys and one little one working on an engine that's been pulled from Amelia's Kinner. When the little guy comes up for air... ...he isn't a guy at all.

11.

AMELIA Got it. I think.

9 9

INT. DENISON HOUSE, BOSTON - DAY

SAM CHAPMAN, a handsome young man is being led down an institutional hallway and out onto the grounds of this venerable settlement house. He finds... ...Amelia sitting cross-legged on the grass. Reading to a group of CHINESE GIRLS, who hang on her every animated word. On the periphery, ADULTS sit, taking in the story. They are of various ethnicities, homeless or handicapped or immigrant.

A Two are blind. Amelia sees Sam...

MELIA Girls, this is Mr. Samuel Chapman. Sam, say hullo to the Octopus Club. The Octopus Club waves to Sam. The adults wave, too.

AMELIA (CONT'D) You're just in time. Alice has come through the Looking Glass, and things are getting, well...

OCTOPUS CLUB (on cue)

REALLY STRANGE!

AMELIA They are, actually. She pats the grass beside her. Sam has no choice but to sit.

EXT. GROUNDS - LATER

10 10 Amelia and Sam walk a wooded path beside the grounds. Through the chain link fence, they watch other social workers playing with groups of children.

SAM And it's a secret.

AMELIA Has to be. Competition, you know. Millionaire heiresses, hot shot girl pilots. If George knew I told you, he'd have me publicly flogged.

She looks over.

12.

AMELIA (CONT'D) So long as he could sell tickets. He's not smiling.

SAM And no one else knows.

AMELIA Marion. She's giving me a leave of absence.

SAM I would think so. Your name will be in all the papers, and not just Boston. Denison House stands to come in for funding, national attention.

AMELIA Specially if I don't make it.

SAM Don't joke about that. She wasn't joking at all.

SAM (CONT'D) You'll make it. And then you'll have opportunities to work in aviation. Anywhere you want. She laughs.

AMELIA Well, I'll have impressive credentials as a long-distance passenger. That's not exactly a career in aviation. She looks up at his eyes.

I AMELIA (CONT'D) 'm not going anywhere, social work is my life. After all the years of false starts, I found the thing I'm meant to do. Keep walking. She gives him time to say...

SAM And where does that leave us?

13.

AMELIA You do love to look on the dark side. Whatever did you see in a sunny character like me? She gives him a sweet playful smile. It doesn't reassure him.

SAM It's not as if I'd been putting pressure on you.

AMELIA What love means to you. What it requires. Is the pressure. He stops walking.

SAM I love you. Is that such a terrible problem? She gazes at him. Can he even hear this?

AMELIA The problem is what it's always been. The problem is me.

INT. WALDORF ASTORIA HOTEL - DAY

11 11 MOVIETONE NEWSREEL footage, accompanied by their signature fanfare theme. Hotel conference room jammed with press. A sexy brunette in a sweater that seems to be made of strips of GOLD FOIL steps to a bank of microphones. Flashes start

POPPING.

ANNOUNCER (O.S.) The Queen of Diamonds Mabel Boll, about to become the first female to fly the Atlantic in the wake of Lindbergh's historic journey, regales an eager world press... The sound switches to Mabel at the mikes...

MABEL Okay, boys. I'll take any questions you wanna throw my way. Except about what's behind this sweater. The boys ROAR. Mabel keeps her smile tight.

MABEL (CONT'D) The story. Behind it. Of course.

14.

As the laughter CONTINUES...

12 T 12

INT. HANGAR, EAST BOSTON AIRPORT - NIGHT

he heavy door rolls OPEN. George and Amelia enter the brightly-lit hangar to see two men working on the FRIENDSHIP, a sea-plane with golden wings. Its red-orange fuselage stands beside gigantic PONTOONS, each 29 feet long. The pontoons have been opened, and the men are attaching them to the plane. They turn toward us now. BILL STULTZ is short and wiry with quick eyes. Only 28, he seems weathered by his adventures and the streaks of gray through his hair. He is not necessarily happy to see us.

AMELIA (V.O.) George had told me Stultz was Adm. Byrd's favorite pilot, fearless, gifted. He drank. But George said it never affected his work. George waves as we approach. Bill and Amelia seem locked on each other.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) When he said it, I must have had a funny look. So I just said, `Yeh, I grew up around a guy like that.'

GEORGE Boys, I'd like to introduce your commander, Miss Amelia Earhart.

AMELIA We felt `commander' was less grandiose than, say, `empress.' Bill doesn't smile. The other man does...

GEORGE Say hello to Slim Gordon your navigator. She is shaking hands in that strong, direct way.

GEORGE (CONT'D) And Bill Stultz here, simply the most talented pilot working. She takes Bill's powerful hand. The look between them calm, yet somehow intense. As if each is establishing a tone for their relationship.

15.

GEORGE (CONT'D) We've got Byrd's pilot, we've got his plane...

AMELIA

Y ou mean the Admiral flies on those? The pontoons. She does not seem admiring.

GEORGE Nope, those are new, personally suggested by the old man himself. Bill nods on that. Sure were.

GEORGE (CONT'D) This way, if you're forced down at sea, you can wait for a rescue.

AMELIA Hmmn. What does that do to our fuel?

BILL Costs us at least 400 gallons. Don't bother bringing clothes for Paris, we'll be lucky to hit the nearest beach in Ireland. Real lucky.

GEORGE The Admiral estimates the pontoons only cut our range by 200 miles. But Amelia looks to Bill. That's not really possible is it?

BILL The Admiral is the Admiral. He gets to estimate any damn thing he wants. All we have to do is figure out how to fly without petrol. She turns to George with challenging eyes.

BILL (CONT'D) Don't go blaming the bookseller. He's been all through this with Mrs. Guest, but she worships the Admiral. And it's money that puts planes in the air.

AMELIA I wonder if it can keep them up there. Not that I've ever had enough to try.

16.

Bill's small smile. Maybe the girl's all right.

13 13

EXT. DOCK - LATER

George and Amelia approach a waiting motorboat, as the lights of Boston glimmer across the harbor. His head is down. She's watching his profile.

AMELIA Sorry. I'll try keeping my mouth shut.

GEORGE What I ought to try. Is listening to you once in awhile.

H e meant that. And she seems oddly touched.

AMELIA Careful. I could get to like it. No reaction from him. He hops into the boat. Turns, holds out his hand. She hesitates. Clearly doesn't need his help to jump into a boat. Their eyes lock. We are watching her decide. And then... She reaches to clasp his hand. Hops down beside him.

AMELIA (CONT'D) Thank you, Simpkin. Thank you for everything.

GEORGE (a smile) Simpkin.

AMELIA It's in a book. Oh, that's right. You read the ones you publish. Her smile is friendly, not flirtatious. She goes to sit in the bow. He doesn't follow. But he is watching.

14 14

EXT. ROOF, COPLEY PLAZA HOTEL - DAY

Amelia in a flying outfit. Hands on her hips as if posing.

AMELIA (V.O.) There's a Beatrix Potter story about a cat named Simpkin. PULL BACK to see the PHOTOGRAPHER, George beside him. They are on a hotel rooftop, precariously high above Boston.

T

A

17.

AMELIA (V.O.) He wasn't happy unless he had several mice, each under a different teacup. So he could never become bored. We see that Amelia's POSE looks exactly the SAME as a photo of CHARLES LINDBERGH in the photographer's hand. It is labeled `LUCKY LINDY.'

AMELIA (V.O.) THe illusion of activity was essential for him to feel at peace. The photographer now shows George ANOTHER PHOTO of Lindbergh in a different pose.

AMELIA What are you boys doing over there?

GEORGE Trying to make you look like a girl. George studies the photo, then goes to Amelia and begins moving her body into the new pose. Tilting her head to Lindbergh's angle.

MELIA (V.O.) I wondered. Was I Mr. Putnam's 43rd mouse? Or his 307th. Now touching her, adjusting her coat, fluffing a bit of her hair, pulling the collar around to frame her face...

G

EORGE he more we can make you look like a girl, the better.

AMELIA Oh god, is it worth the effort? He cocks his head, studies her. Nah, guess not.

GEORGE Wondering who should play you in the film of all this. I'm thinking Chaplin.

AMELIA Valentino's not available? He shakes his head sadly. Adjusts her collar once more. This time, his hands linger.

18.

AMELIA (CONT'D) Two things. One, Chaplin can't play me because he's perfect for you. And two, you have company. She glances to where a WOMAN, beautiful and aristocratic, is being helped onto the roof. George's face lights to see her. He rushes over, sweeps her into his arms, kisses her tenderly. Amelia smiles to see this, makes her like them both.

GEORGE Amelia Earhart, this is Dorothy Binney Putnam. The women trade smiles. They shake hands, holding eye contact.

DOROTHY Great to meet you. George talks so much about you. (a wink) In fact, lately, you're all he does talk about.

George steps in close, and the photographer SNAPS a three- shot. And another.

PHOTOGRAPHER Hold those smiles for one more, please.

EXT. JEFFREY YACHT CLUB HARBOR, EAST BOSTON - EARLY LIGHT 15

15 The FRIENDSHIP bobbing on its pontoons. Bill and Slim are off-loading equipment and other gear from the plane to a TUGBOAT filled with support crew and family. The plane's engines REV in the predawn stillness. PULL BACK to see...

1

EXT. YACHT CLUB DOCK - EARLY LIGHT

6 16 ...the yacht club dock. George and Amelia alone at the railing. She's wearing her leather flight jacket and boots. They stare out at the plane, so frail and awkward. From her bag now, she pulls three ENVELOPES... Puts them in George's hand. Straight, unblinking...

AMELIA Popping off letters. For my dad, my mom, my sis. You know. In case.

19.

He stares down. Rocked by the weight of this against the simplicity of her words. The top envelope says: DEAREST

DAD.

GEORGE I'm honored. That you'd leave these with me.

AMELIA Who else? If I do pop off, it's your fault. Said in her sunny way. But she's not kidding. It takes a beat before he can offer...

GEORGE I'll call them once you're safely on your way.

AMELIA Sam will handle that. They trust him. That registers.

GEORGE I've figured out the Simpkin thing, you know.

AMELIA Have you.

GEORGE Sure. There are so few books I haven't published, it was easy to find. Well...?

GEORGE (CONT'D) Beatrix Potter, the Tailor of Gloucester. He's a cat in a green frock coat.

AMELIA But why is he you? Oh.

GEORGE He's brilliant, charismatic...

AMELIA So you haven't actually read it. Do you actually read?

H

20.

GEORGE ...neurotic, compulsive, manipulative. Am I getting warmer? She sighs.

AMELIA

P ray I make it. Or the secret pops off with me. A held look. A friendly...

AMELIA (CONT'D) Well. See ya. She walks off down the dock toward the Friendship. e stands watching her go.

DISSOLVE TO...

17 17

INT. SMALL HOTEL, NEWFOUNDLAND - MORNING

Amelia alone, leaving her hotel room in her flight jacket. Locking the door.

SUPERIMPOSE: FIRST STOP: CANADA

AMELIA (V.O.) Our first hop was to Canada, to start from as close as we could get to Ireland. Just in case we couldn't get the thing in the air and had to row. She walks briskly down the corridor.

AMELIA (V.O.) The fuel was going to be so close, every single mile counted. Turns a corner. Approaches the dining room door.

AMELIA (V.O.) George told me to keep to my room, just in case there was a reporter or two somewhere. She enters the hotel dining room. Stops cold. Across the room a disgruntled Bill and a sheepish Slim stare at her from their breakfast, surrounded by 15 REPORTERS and PHOTOGRAPHERS. Holy shit. Half a dozen CAMERAS RISE as one. It is a defining moment. And Amelia... Cocks her head. Throws an effortless golden smile.

R

21.

AMELIA Hi there, boys. How are the ham and eggs? The FLASHES EXPLODE as one. They keep POPPING as Amelia makes her way to them.

BILL Don't blame us, lady. I think somebody's starting to sell books. The reporters are handing her their morning editions. The New York Times front page headline: BOSTON GIRL STARTS FOR

ATLANTIC HOP. There beneath the headline, the glamorous PHOTO we watched being taken on the Copley Hotel roof, Lady Lindy. Next to it, an earlier photo of her as a demure social worker.

A melia is sifting through the other papers, grinning and shaking her head.

EPORTER Say, Amelia. What have you got for Mabel Boll to chew on?

AMELIA Now why would a famous gal like Mabel give a thought to someone like me? I don't have a single sweater made out of gold. The boys ROAR, Slim louder than anyone. Even Bill cracks a smile. They're shouting, teasing, YOU CAN'T KID US!

AMELIA (CONT'D) Hey, not even silver. The boys make room. Bill rises to hold Amelia's chair. A friendly murmur...

BILL The ham's a little tough, Commander. But the bacon's swell.

18 18

INT. WALDORF-ASTORIA HOTEL - DAY

MOVIETONE NEWSREEL footage, accompanied by their signature fanfare theme. Once more, the hotel conference room jammed with press. Today Mabel wears a luxurious silver fox coat, shimmies up to a bank of microphones at the podium. Flashes start POPPING.

22.

ANNOUNCER (O.S.) The Queen of Diamonds Mabel Boll, upstaged by upstart social worker, seems madder than a rich wet hen. Hey Mabel, tell us about your rival! The sound switches to Mabel leaning her sultry voice to the mikes...

MABEL Well, how would any woman feel about some tart who steals her man? Reporters furiously writing, more flashes EXPLODE.

MABEL (CONT'D) Bill Stultz and I were going to make history together, until this poor little social worker and her sugar daddy, oh excuse me, `publisher,' started throwing money and I don't know what else at him.

R

EPORTER Mabel, are you implying Miss Earhart used her feminine charms on your pilot?

MABEL I don't know, Charlie, I never seen her. Has she got any? LAUGHTER, they're all calling out. She shows them a smoky smile, but stays on message.

MABEL (CONT'D) Well, she had to use something on somebody to get from nowhere to here. You figure it out, or wait til George Putnam feeds it to you. Two dozen questions at once. She's not even listening.

MABEL (CONT'D) We're going to Canada, waiting for some good weather on the Atlantic, and then we'll kick Little Miss Whoozis in the keester.

REPORTER What makes you so cocky that she won't leave first?

23.

MABEL Rusty, we can carry enough fuel to go to China. That thing they're flying can't load enough gas to make Yonkers. Tell that to Putnam's girlie. And while you're at it... She snuggles the gleaming fox fur around her.

MABEL (CONT'D) Tell her I do wear silver. So I'm two up on her.

EXT. HARBOR, TREPASSEY, NEWFOUNDLAND - EARLY MORNING

19 19 MOVIETONE NEWSREEL CONTINUES. We are looking at foggy, bleak Trepassey Harbor as the Friendship makes an unsuccessful attempt to take off.

ANNOUNCER (O.S.) Eleven days of failure for plucky Amelia Earhart and her crew. If it isn't storms over the Atlantic, it's the inability of the seaplane's pontoons to lift from the sea.

S ERIES OF ANGLES. One failed take-off after another.

ANNOUNCER (O.S.) (CONT'D) Perhaps it's for the best. Remember, no woman has beat the jinx of the Atlantic and three have died trying. Including a princess and the niece of former President Woodrow Wilson. The plane's engine SPUTTERS and STALLS. It floats on the sea.

ANNOUNCER (O.S.) (CONT'D) Maybe this one's not to be. Hey, Mabel! How's your weather report?

INT. HOTEL CORRIDOR, NEWFOUNDLAND - LATE NIGHT

20 20 Amelia coming down the hotel corridor. She passes a room, and hearing DRUNKEN LAUGHTER from a group of MEN within the room... She stops. Stares at the door with more concern than anger.

A

24.

21 21

INT. ROOM - SAME MOMENT

Bill, Slim and three of the REPORTERS are drinking up a storm.

BILL

EXPLORER, MY ASS. BYRD COULDN'T

FIND A PUBIC HAIR IN A WHOREHOUSE

T RUSH HOUR!

INT. HOTEL ROOM, NEWFOUNDLAND - LATER

22 22 Amelia curled up on her bed with CHARTS of the Atlantic spread everywhere. From next door, the sound of drunken men

CONTINUE. Amelia looks down from her charts. Her mind going to...

FLASHBACK: EXT. HOUSE, ATCHISON, KANSAS - DAY

23 23 Seven-year-old KIDS dressed as cowboys and Indians are gathered on the front lawn of a white clapboard home. We CLOSE on a clear-eyed tomboy with war paint and tousled hair, AMELIA at seven, looking up excitedly as a car pulls to the curb.

H er FATHER climbs slowly from the car, WOBBLES his way across the lawn. The kids part to let him through, the confusion and disappointment on every face. He ignores them all, even Amelia. The front door opens... ...Amelia's MOTHER gazes at him with shame and disdain. As she helps him stagger inside...

INT. HOTEL ROOM - EARLY MORNING

24 24 Amelia in her flight gear, sitting on the edge of her bed, an open TELEGRAM lies beside her. Her elbows rest on her knees. Her hands are locked together. Her profile is stony, determined. TILT DOWN to the telegram... It reads: WEATHER PERMITTING, MABEL FLIES THIS AFTERNOON. She grabs her flight bag, leaves the room. She only has to travel as far as the next door. POUNDS on it. Waits. Pounds LOUDER with both fists. Slim opens the door. Looking bad. Bill sits up in bed, groggy, disoriented.

BILL Christ, what time is...

25.

AMELIA Time to fly. Get up, get dressed, we're going now. She is calm and angry at once. A powerful combination. Slim pulls his pants off a chair.

BILL Where's the weather report? She goes to his bed. Hands him a slip of paper. He blinks, still waking up. Reads.

BILL (CONT'D) It's not good enough.

AMELIA Great. Maybe Mabel will think so, too. Because if she doesn't, she's going to Paris and you're going home. Today.

B

ILL It's not good enough.

AMELIA It's fine, there's a tail wind all the way, we'll off-load to 700 gallons, which gets us off the water and the wind gets us to Ireland.

BILL We've had better than this and we haven't gone.

AMELIA But this is the day Mabel's ready, so we're going now. The weather is going to get better and we'll be there to enjoy it.

BILL You're serious.

AMELIA Just as serious as you're hung over. (to Slim) You go now, get the late weather, we'll meet you at the plane. Go. Now! Slim pulls on his shoes, grabs his jacket, his bag. Looks to Bill, but the pilot is glaring at his commander.

26.

AMELIA (CONT'D)

(QUIET) Slim, get out. I've got this. A beat. Slim goes, the door shuts quietly. Amelia sits on the edge of Bill's bed.

AMELIA (CONT'D) I've loved one person unconditionally, Bill. He is the most caring and generous and charming and flat-out funny guy I'll ever know. He's my father. Her eyes are burning with this. And Bill keeps quiet. Anyone would.

AMELIA (CONT'D) He's a drunk. And he's let me down all my life. She leans closer.

AMELIA (CONT'D) Now you get out of that bed. And you fly that god-damned thing to Ireland. Or I swear to you, Bill... Just above a whisper...

AMELIA (CONT'D) I swear to you I will. Or die trying.

Y ou got that? Do you?

AMELIA (CONT'D) And either way. You're going to be living with it.

25 25

EXT. TREPASSEY HARBOR - LATER

It's dark and cold. Bill and Amelia stand at the dock beside their plane. He's drinking coffee as they watch Slim come down the quay with a slip of paper in his hand. Amelia steps forward to take it. Reads with neutral eyes.

AMELIA Good. Slim, start the engines. She still hasn't given the paper to Bill. Slim steps onto a pontoon. Starts CRANKING up the propellers. As the engine KICKS to life...

S

27.

She hands the weather report to Bill. He reads. Looks to her eyes.

AMELIA (CONT'D) You signed a contract. You've got a direct instruction from me to go. That report indicates some degree of risk and it's a risk I'm taking.

BILL Have a nice flight.

AMELIA Thanks. She motions to Slim, get on board. The navigator grins, starts to climb up, looking back at Bill...

SLIM Hey, I'm scared shitless of this dame. She climbs up after him. One look back...

AMELIA Read tomorrow's papers, Bill. We'll both be in them. And disappears. Alone on the dock, Bill hears the engines REV. Jesus, God, she's going to do it. He takes a step toward the plane, but her head appears in the hatch...

AMELIA (CONT'D) So, to take off, you pull back on the thing, right? Her perfectly straight, innocent face. He BUSTS out laughing. This fucking girl.

T osses his coffee. Climbs aboard.

INT. FRIENDSHIP - MOMENTS LATER

26 26 WITH Amelia as she locks the hatch. For the first time, we can see the inside of the plane. The cabin is too small for anyone to stand. The plane has been emptied of everything but two huge elliptical FUEL TANKS. he wedges herself between the gigantic tanks. Bill pulls the throttle and the Fokker Tri-motor LURCHES forward, STRAINING against the surface of the sea in a rattling, throbbing desperately VIBRATING all-out attempt.

28.

Amelia crawls to the tiny window, her face to the glass as chop and spray FLY PAST like shrapnel, and the engines WHINE and PULSE louder... ...twenty seconds, thirty. Still on the surface. Forty seconds, fifty, her eyes shut, her forehead bangs against the glass, come on, sixty seconds, and at 67...

27 27

EXT. HARBOR - SAME MOMENT

...the seaplane LIFTS, struggles, then SOARS FREE.

INT. FRIENDSHIP - DAY/NIGHT

28 28 Amelia kneels at the tiny window. A kid on a rainy day. Only outside this window is impenetrable FOG and a STORM that ROCKS the plane like the shock waves of endless explosions. As she braces herself against the hull... ...water DRIPS onto her from a loose seam. Could this be dangerous? She looks around. Through the opening between the elliptical fuel tanks... ...Bill and Slim at the controls. Bill is banging on something beside the instrument panel. Beneath his seat, she sees the TOOLBOX. The water drips on her faster. She crawls forward toward the boys, arriving to see... ...Bill POUNDING what we can now see is his RADIO. His face is red, angry. She watches for a beat.

AMELIA

YOU OKAY?

BILL

BE BETTER IF OUR DAMN RADIO WOULD

JOIN THE PARTY! He never turns to her, but she studies him. Is he impaired or simply frustrated? She slips the toolbox from beneath his seat and crawls back to the leak. But as she opens the box... ...there, among the wrench and pliers, a BOTTLE of whiskey. She stares at it as we SNAP TO...

29 29

FLASHBACK: EXT. AMELIA'S HOUSE, ATCHISON, KANSAS - DAY

RAPID SERIES OF ANGLES. War-painted Amelia looking up from the cowboy she's tied to a tree. The car pulling to the curb. Out climbs...

29.

...her FATHER glassy-eyed. Stumbling through the children. Her MOTHER at the door. ANGLE. Amelia still in war paint enters her parents' room She knows just where to go. Opens a drawer, digs beneath crisply starched shirts. Finds the BOTTLE. ANGLE. Amelia in the bathroom, POURING the bottle out into the sink. She looks up in the mirror to see... ...her father in the doorway. She turns straight to him. MEETS his eyes, direct and unafraid.

30 30

INT. FRIENDSHIP

BACK to Amelia with Bill's bottle, as the battered plane lurches every which way in the storm. She lifts it from the toolbox. Hides it in the camera bag, as suddenly the plane DROPS fifty feet, and Amelia is SLAMMED against the ceiling, then crashes back to the floor. Dazed, she sees Bill turned around...

BILL

HOLD ONTO SOMETHING FOR CHRISSAKE! She GRABS the leg of the navigation table which has been bolted down. Stares out the window, wondering if she'll make it.

AMELIA (V.O.) Dearest Dad. Hooray for the last grand adventure. I wish I had won, but it was worthwhile anyway. You know that. I have no faith we'll meet anywhere again, but I wish we might. HOLD on the gray eyes. DISSOLVE TO... LATER. Amelia at the window, still opaque with fog. Suddenly, the plane SWOOPS down toward a clearing in the clouds. There to the south, a FREIGHTER running across our path. No land in sight.

A melia SCRAWLS a note, ties it to an ORANGE from her flight bag, and crawls back to the boys.

AMELIA (CONT'D)

HOW FAR TO LAND? The boys are studying the freighter.

30.

BILL

RADIO'S STILL OUT. NO WAY TO

COMPUTE WINDSPEED AND DRIFT IN THE

FOG, SO GOD ONLY KNOWS WHERE

IRELAND IS. Checks his watch.

BILL (CONT'D)

NINETEEN HOURS PLUS. WE'VE GOT

MAYBE AN HOUR OF PETROL LEFT.

PROBABLY LESS. She shows him the note and the orange.

AMELIA

WESTERN UNION, SPECIAL DELIVERY. Bill has to smile. Are you serious? As a heart attack. Okay, he tries to get closer to the ship, but we're jerked and buffeted as we swing past and Amelia... ...DROPS the orange toward the freighter, watching the heavy winds CARRY it two hundred yards WIDE of the mark. Our three stare grimly.

AMELIA (CONT'D)

IF WE LAND NEAR THEM, WE'VE GOT A

RESCUE. Their eyes are locked.

BILL

THINK THOSE RIDICULOUS SKIS COULD

HOLD US UP IN THIS KIND OF SEA? She's been wondering the same.

BILL (CONT'D)

YOU SAID WE WERE GOING TO MAKE IT.

ARE YOU A LIAR?

AMELIA

NOT ON THIS OCCASION. A rare smile...

BILL

WELL, THEN. And SWOOPS back on course. Amelia's hand squeezes his shoulder. DISSOLVE TO... LATER. Amelia crouched behind Bill's seat. Fog starting to break up.

A

31.

Her face drawn, she almost seems to be holding her breath. Something down below. As we drop, we hear the engines

A

SPUTTER.

MELIA

WHEN'S THAT HOUR OF FUEL RUN OUT?

BILL

EIGHTEEN MINUTES AGO. WHY? She glances over to Slim, who is busy unwrapping a sandwich. She can't believe this. He takes a healthy bite.

AMELIA

THE LONGER I OBSERVE MEN THE MORE

I AM AWESTRUCK. BY THEIR CAPACITY

FOR DENIAL. She crawls back to the navigation table. As she looks out her window, a SANDWICH SAILS past! She WHIPS around...Slim's arms raised in jubilation. Down below... Land.

EXT. SHORE, BURRY PORT, WALES - DAY

31 31 The little plane sputtering, shuddering, as Bill drops in for a splashdown. We PAN to the shore... ...a rural railroad dock. Deserted except for THREE WORKERS who glance up as the Friendship taxis to a buoy a few hundred yards offshore. Amelia at the hatch, tiny in distance, WAVES a towel... ...one friendly worker takes off his coat and WAVES back. Then all three guys go back to work. SNAP TO... REVERSE ANGLE. From the Friendship, we watch the workers ignoring us. Bill and Slim HOLLER and jump up and down on the pontoons. Nobody cares. Amelia sits in the doorway, her legs swinging free.

AMELIA Out of gas. May have to swim for

I t. LATER. Amelia alone. Six pages written by her side. Still working, as a rowboat pulls up. Bill stands in the bow. Calls to her...

BILL Mr. Putnam phoned. He says there's fella coming from London. Hilton Railey.

32.

AMELIA Oh, yeh. Very important man. More important than any of us. Really? Yep.

BILL He says ya mustn't come ashore til he gets here. No matter what. Great. She doesn't like it, but there it is. She waves, so long.

BILL (CONT'D) Some kind of royalty, is he? She nods.

AMELIA Public relations. Goes back to work. DISSOLVE TO... LATER. Amelia sits with her papers in her lap, dangling her feet from the hatch. Alone. Hear the BUZZ of... ...a PLANE dropping slowly from the sky, gliding onto the water on its pontoons. She stares at it. Gathers up her things. LATER. Amelia sitting in a tiny dinghy, behind her the Friendship in distance. She is being rowed to shore. Our VIEW is over the back of the man rowing. Amelia is staring past him, vaguely apprehensive. REVERSE ANGLE. She's looking at TWO THOUSAND WELSHMEN swarming the docks. You can't even see the sand. The crowd is silent and staring. No cheers. As if they were staring at an alien or an animal in the zoo. Bill and Slim help pull the dinghy to the rocky shore. But when Amelia jumps out, the crowd...

. ..begins to soberly APPLAUD, and slowly CLOSES IN around her. At first she seems pleased, trying to shake every hand thrust toward her. She doesn't see that Bill and Slim have been shunted to the back. Suddenly... ...people get BOLDER. CLAPPING her on the back, reaching to TOUCH her, someone SNATCHES her scarf, she looks around frantically for Bill and Slim as... ...a SHERIFF and three DEPUTIES muscle their way to her using billy clubs to push people back. They surround Amelia, begin to escort her to the station...

33.

SHERIFF Sorry Ma'am. Shoulda brought more men.

AMELIA No, really, this is very sweet, it's an honor. I'm actually enjoying it.

SHERIFF That's a good thing. She looks at him as they are jostled along.

SHERIFF (CONT'D) Because you're stuck with it. From here on. She is brought to a smiling avuncular HILTON RAILEY, standing beside the closest thing Burry Port has to a limo. She throws an affectionate arm around him, kisses his cheek.

AMELIA Hullo, Hilton. Railey stands back as FLASHBULBS catch the moment. He's brought photographers with him. And more.

R

AILEY Amelia, say hullo to Allen Raymond of the New York Times. A hearty handshake. She holds out her sheets of paper.

AMELIA I believe you've come for these. Both men regard the pages as if they were gold bullion. Come for these indeed.

EXT. SOUTHAMPTON - DAY

32 32 MOVIETONE FOOTAGE of Amelia being welcomed by a SEA OF PEOPLE on the dock at Southampton. A mob . Folks spilling into the water. Ships circling, fireboats spray, every craft BLARES its horn. Police hold back the screaming throng as FLASHES EXPLODE and NEWSREEL CAMERAS CHURN. Amelia at the center of the storm. Welcomed by AMY GUEST and the lady LORD MAYOR of Southampton. Throughout, we see SUPERIMPOSED IMAGES of the article she gave Railey, displaying her byline, on the front pages of the London Times, New York Times, the Times of India, Sydney Morning Herald, the Toronto Star, Le Monde, as her story echoes around the world. These IMAGES CONTINUE OVER...

34.

QUICK SERIES OF ANGLES. Amelia cheering animatedly at the races...watching tennis at Wimbledon...front row gallery at the House of Commons, as...

ANNOUNCER (O.S.) A whirlwind week for Boston's Amelia Earhart, our own Lady Lindy. Races at Ascot on Gold Cup day...watching Helen Wills Moody play at Wimbledon...Lady Astor's 3 guest at the House of Commons...

INT. HYDE PARK HOTEL, LONDON - DAY

3 33 MOVIETONE NEWSREEL CONTINUES. The British press are gathered in a huge Victorian parlor. Dark woods, rich leather, a bank of microphones, an electric expectancy... Bill and Slim stand next to a seated Amy. Amelia steps to the microphones...

AMELIA I was a passenger on this journey. Just a passenger. Everything that was done to bring us across was done by Wilmer Stultz and Slim Gordon. All the praise...

REPORTER (calls out) But you can fly, can't you? Amelia stares at the man. Conflicting agendas.

AMELIA This flight was solely to the credit of Bill and Slim. Women should know, however, that I have had 500 hours solo flying and once held the women's altitude record.

REPORTER So you could have done it yourself!

AMELIA This particular flight, under these conditions, I wonder if anyone but Bill Stultz could have pulled it off. But certainly, one day a woman will do this. As easily, as skillfully, as professionally as any man. Such calm self-possession. Such confidence in that.

Y

3

S

35.

AMELIA (CONT'D) Aviation is clear today for the pioneer. And if the pioneer has good ideas nobody will ask whether P the pioneer is a man or woman. olite applause. Mostly from women. She looks around the room.

AMELIA (CONT'D) I hear your doubt. That doubt is our challenge. This is where our Atlantic flight, or any other good flight by a woman can help... She nods. To them, to herself.

AMELIA (CONT'D) It starts women thinking.

EXT. BROADWAY, NEW YORK CITY - DAY

34 34 Ticker tape PARADE down Broadway, crowds lining the streets, leaning from windows to welcome Amelia home.

UPERIMPOSE: NEW YORK CITY Amelia sits in an open car between Bill and Slim, WAVING to everyone. In the front seat, George and Dorothy share the moment.

EXT. RECEPTION HALL - DAY

5 35 Amelia flanked by George and Dorothy, coming out of a reception hall. Amelia glances to George...

AMELIA Guess you can burn those letters. Dorothy wonders. Letters?

GEORGE I saved them for your book. One simple shake of Amelia's head. A soft...

AMELIA The book's yours. The letters are mine. He smiles. Bows in submission.

GEORGE ou're the boss.

36.

DOROTHY Hey, that's my job. (to Amelia) Do you think there's enough of him to boss for the two of us? Amelia still looking at George. Laughs.

AMELIA Barely enough for one. A battery of reporters and flashbulbs wait by our motorcade.

REPORTER Miss Earhart, can you tell us some- thing about your future plans?

S he likes this question. Fixes the man with that clear, honest gaze.

AMELIA Well, being a social worker by trade and passion, I'll be going back to work at Denison House when all this fun is over. She sends the guy a smile, and a dozen FLASHES catch it.

AMELIA (CONT'D) ...if I haven't been fired. George holds the door of their limo. She looks up to him with a mischievous smile. And with no warning... ...Amelia bypasses the limo, climbs into the SIDECAR of a cop's motorcycle, and SMACKS its side. The cop looks up to George, who... ...nods, go for it. And the cop DOES, wheeling out into traffic, opening up the SIREN, as everyone laughs or cheers or darts into the street desperate for a fleeting photo. George watching her go. Dorothy watching George.

REPORTER Mr. Putnam, sir. How did a social worker like Miss Earhart become comfortable as a celebrity so quickly? George smiles. His eyes still following Amelia.

GEORGE The truth is, she was a celebrity on smaller stages all her life.

(MORE)

37. GEORGE(cont'd) This is just when the rest of us discovered her. And Dorothy. Watches this, too.

36 36

EXT. PUTNAM HOME, RYE, NEW YORK - DAY

Amelia in a sunlit garden ringed by trees. She sits at a folding table, writing longhand. A large dog lies at her feet.

AMELIA (V.O.) So they took me home with them to Rye. And I lived there, while I wrote my book. PULL BACK to see our view has been George's. He sits at an antique writing desk, watching her through a picture window. He rises slowly. We see that he has been reviewing a CONTRACT, which he takes with him.

A NGLE. Amelia writing, looking up to see George coming down the back porch steps to the garden.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) I thought he'd be a tyrant and that I would have to manage him. He smiles as he approaches. She goes back to work.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) Instead he was kind and generous. And only picked the fights he needed to win. He drops the contract on her table. She looks at it.

GEORGE Lucky Strike endorsement. I wrote the copy myself.

AMELIA What does it say? `I don't smoke but you should?'

GEORGE It says Lucky Strikes were the only cigarettes aboard the Friendship. That's true.

AMELIA True and misleading. Why would I sign that?

GEORGE So Bill and Slim get paid.

38.

Oh. His smile simple, comfortable.

GEORGE (CONT'D) If you're too proud to take tobacco money, donate it to Byrd's expedition, and we get great publicity. She stares at him with hard eyes. His smile just becomes more relaxed. An easy win, no big deal. She begins to sign the contract. He places a stack of letters in front of her.

GEORGE (CONT'D) This week's marriage proposals. The top one's the most creative. It's from Sing Sing. She starts to read. Her eyes widen. Goodness. AMELIA (reads) `...in the prison yard, so everyone can watch and share in our...'

( looks up) Did you write the copy on this one, too? DOROTHY (O.S., approaching) Have you no shame, George? No sense of the scandal you create? They look up. She has a tray of lemonade and cookies.

DOROTHY (CONT'D) You make her work for nothing. At least you can feed her. (to Amelia) Are you done yet? If not, make him write the rest, he will anyway.

INT. AUDITORIUM, BARNARD COLLEGE, NEW YORK - NIGHT

37 37 A women's college. The hall is packed.

GEORGE (V.O.) The lecture and publicity schedule was fierce. I was with her pretty much all the time. Amelia and George alone in the wings.

39.

GEORGE (V.O.) (CONT'D) This was the moment of opportunity. Could we launch her into Lindbergh status as a permanent icon, before her name fell out of the news- papers. He re-ties her scarf. Checking out the effect.

GEORGE (V.O.) (CONT'D) We had separate agendas. For her, it was the advancement of aviation and of women. He very slightly rearranges her hair, as if every lock matters.

GEORGE (V.O.) (CONT'D) As for me, I liked to tell myself it was about the money. Though there was never much of that left over. She stands for inspection, with her trace of a teasing smile. He holds out his hand and she gives him her note cards.

GEORGE (V.O.) (CONT'D) Really, it was about the chance to be around her. He flips through the A cards, frowning as he goes. MELIA (George imitation) This will never do, A.E., simply unacceptable. He looks up. She starts pacing around, gesturing as he would... AMELIA (George imitation) You need more ammunition in these cards, and where's the goddamned humor, for Chrissake? By which I mean something actually funny! He's trying to look annoyed. It isn't easy. AMELIA (George imitation) And please remember not to turn your pretty little backside to the crowd when you use your pointer, it's your face they're paying to see. Well, most of them. She WHIPS around. He's deadpan.

40.

AMELIA (George imitation) And another thing. Your hats. Are a menace. Staring at each other. GEORGE (softly) Everything about you. Is a menace. The stare holds. Because this is the moment.

AMELIA (V.O.) I remember the first kiss. It is only one step. Her hand goes to his chest. Her eyes close, as... She brings her mouth to his. Tender and strong. And deep. It is an act of decision. A held look. No one smiles. We hear her name ANNOUNCED from the podium. But she keeps looking at him. And as the APPLAUSE CONTINUES, she finally... ...turns. STRIDES onto the stage, with one graceful wave, she brings the applause to a crescendo.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) Of course, I knew all the stories

T hat Dorothy had been having a torrid affair with Fred Upton. Everyone did. She steps to the microphone. The crowd quiets.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) But I didn't kiss him because I felt sorry for him. Or because it would mean the world to him. INTERCUT. George in the wings. His heart in his eyes.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) I did it. Because I wanted to. He looks down. He's still holding her cards.

INT. HOTEL, CHICAGO - DAY

38 38 Hotel corridor. An elevator OPENS and ELINOR SMITH a striking young woman emerges. Looks at a slip of paper. Nervous. Heads down the hallway to a door. As she gathers herself to knock, she looks scared enough to pass out.

41.

George answers the door, looking gracious and suave. They shake hands. Then, Amelia appears, warmly clasping the girl's hand, and Elinor looks as starstruck as a teenager at the Oscars.

AMELIA It's so good to meet you. I've been following your career with a great deal of admiration.

ELINOR Um. Thanks, and. You, too.

AMELIA Feel like a drink?

GEORGE Amelia! What would her mother say?

AMELIA Relax, George. I meant a Coke. As she leads Elinor into the sitting room of their suite, the girl's eye falls on the door to the bedroom. It is slightly ajar, revealing an unmade double bed. Unseen by the others, the kid reacts. Oh, my.

L ATER. Tea in the sitting room. Elinor leaning forward, guileless, eager...

ELINOR They're saying you get $500 a week on the lecture circuit.

GEORGE AMELIA On a bad week. On a good week.

The girl looks from one to the other.

AMELIA All depends. On whether you want the sell or the real.

ELINOR Oh, I don't underestimate the value of selling. It's why I'm here.

GEORGE A 16-year-old girl sets an altitude record, then makes headlines illegally flying under the four bridges of the East River. You don't seem to need much help selling yourself.

42.

ELINOR Well, actually Mr. Putnam, I was hoping you could do to me what you've done to her. Inadvertently, her eyes flick to the bedroom door. Catching this, our couple shares a dry smile. The kid sees that. Uh- oh.

ELINOR (CONT'D) What I mean is. It's a good thing. That's why I want it. Now our couple is trying not to laugh.

GEORGE Just so we're clear, young lady. What is your primary ambition? ELINOR (straight back) To take Amelia's place as the number one female pilot. The honesty, the suddenness, leave George atypically dumbstruck.

AMELIA Well, good for you! I would have expected nothing less. You want a tip?

ELINOR I do.

AMELIA Keep doing what you're doing. The girl nods, seriously. Okay.

A

MELIA (CONT'D) And don't let anyone turn you around.

INT. PUTNAM HOUSE - CHRISTMAS DAY

39 39 Holiday party in progress. Christmas decorations everywhere. A small crowd around the living room bar where George is telling a story. Now we see Dorothy standing, drinking, watching George with hard eyes. She turns on her heels and walks OUT into the garden. George sees this, excuses himself, follows her, as we PAN to...

43.

...Amelia standing with a group of guests. She's seen it all.

40 40

EXT. GARDEN - MOMENTS LATER

Here she comes along the roses, still drinking, still fuming. A figure comes up behind her. Falls in step.

GEORGE Lovely party, huh?

DOROTHY Depends on your point of view. I've been listening to some idiot brag about his girlfriend. Still walking. She never looks at him.

GEORGE Well, in that case, for your information, it is a lovely party indeed. Anything on your mind?

DOROTHY It's not so much that my husband is having an affair with his meal ticket. It's just a pity we can't have one honest conversation about it.

GEORGE What's wrong with this one? A promising start, I'd say, in the honesty department. She finishes her drink. Throws the glass away. From our ANGLE we can now see D Amelia in the window, watching them.

OROTHY If this is what you call an honest talk, I'd say you need some practice.

GEORGE Great. Let's try one about you and Fred Upton. She stops walking. Turns in shock, to see his easy smile.

GEORGE (CONT'D) Well, I'm waiting for our practice conversation. Hoping I'll learn something. About honesty.

44.

She GLARES at him, and storms off. He lets her go. Hear a car engine TURN OVER. Dorothy PEELING OUT. George reflects. As he walks back toward the party, he now sees Amelia in the window. He stops. Their look holds.

INT. KITCHEN - LATE NIGHT

41 41 George at the kitchen table in dim light. It's very late. A HAND places a steaming mug of coffee before him. Followed by a slice of pie. A fork. He smiles. And softly...

GEORGE Dorothy and I are through. She sits beside him. Very close.

AMELIA For a long, long time.

GEORGE It's different now. She looks at him. Squints. How?

GEORGE (CONT'D) Marry me. Oh. A breath.

AMELIA I can't do that.

GEORGE If you give it a chance, you'll learn to love me. He seems so sunny and strong. What can he be feeling?

AMELIA I already love you. That's why I can't marry you. GEORGE (a murmur) Well, that explains it. For a minute there, I thought you were stuck for an excuse.

S he comes close enough to kiss.

AMELIA I know me. And you don't. Not really.

GEORGE What if I promise not to learn?

45.

AMELIA The day will come. When I will run away. And when it does... He stops her with a kiss.

GEORGE If you love me. I'll take my chances. He stares in her troubled eyes. There is no answer.

GEORGE (CONT'D) Race you to bed.

EXT. AIRFIELD - DAY - NEWSREEL

42 42 Amelia and nearly 20 WOMEN lined up in front of planes. Waving, smiling, talking to each other.

ANNOUNCER (O.S.) Amelia Earhart and a bevy of lovely competitors say hello to the press announcing the First Women's Air Derby, racing from Santa Monica to Cleveland. Dubbed by Will Rogers `the Powder Puff Derby,' these gals certainly know how to capture our attention. The next ANGLE shows Amelia watching some of her colleagues bouncing playfully on a see-saw. She smiles tolerantly, but maybe there's a little too much cheesecake for her taste.

INT. RECEPTION AREA, PUTNAM'S - DAY

43 43 The crowded waiting room. We CLOSE on a young woman we scarcely recognize. It is Elinor. Though less than a year has passed, she seems much older. Sophisticated, poised. ANGLE. A secretary leads Elinor down the corridor to George's office. As they enter, George is pacing on the phone. G EORGE (into phone) Because Amelia invented the Powder Puff Derby for female pilots. Then the men running the damn race suddenly decide every woman has to carry a male navigator, and start from east of the Rockies so they won't crash into the mountains! Listens, impatient.

46.

GEORGE (into phone) I'll tell you why it's a front page story. Because Amelia pulled every woman out of the race. So the organizers had to roll over and give in, or they'd have lost their shirts. You want me to write your headline? He glances over. Elinor in the doorway. GEORGE (into phone) Call you back. I've got a very important guest. He hangs up, gesturing graciously for her to sit. As she does...

ELINOR Wish I was important enough for you to manage.

GEORGE Well, I've just got one client. And most days she's more than I can manage. Even Elinor's smile seems older, more capable of subtlety.

ELINOR Get in line behind the boys she smacked around on the Derby. He grins back. You bet.

ELINOR (CONT'D) Some of the gal flyers had their doubts about her...well, her skill level. But she's everyone's champion now.

GEORGE And both of those things. Are the S reasons I called you. trange words. He has her attention.

GEORGE (CONT'D) I think it would be huge for women flyers if Amelia won the Derby. The publicity would put the race, and all of you, up there with the boys.

47.

ELINOR I'm not sure she has much of a chance, Mr. Putnam.

GEORGE Well, the one shot would be putting her in a far more powerful plane than anything she's flown. We're thinking the Lockheed Vega. The girl's shock. He really means this.

ELINOR Sir, I've test piloted the Vega. It's way more than she could ever handle. It wouldn't be safe, let alone successful. He smiles.

GEORGE That's why I'm thinking of you flying with her. You could handle the cross-country flying, the more difficult bits, and I'd pay you $75 a week. Elinor WHISTLES low.

ELINOR Well, I think that's the most generous opportunity I've ever been offered. He stares at her.

GEORGE There's just one thing. Obviously, it has to appear that Amelia did all the flying. So when pictures are taken, you'll stand off to one side. Her eyes narrow. He's completely serious.

ELINOR In that case, I'll get my own plane and win the race myself.

GEORGE You haven't changed.

N o smile at all.

48.

GEORGE (CONT'D) Unfortunately for you, neither have I. The look in his eye is not to be ignored.

GEORGE (CONT'D) You can't win if you can't get a plane to enter. Let me predict that you won't. The voice calm and low and riveting.

GEORGE (CONT'D) In fact. If you reject my generosity, you may come to regret it. For a long, long time.

ELINOR That's a threat.

GEORGE I'm an intensely loyal person, Elinor. And this is what my loyalty requires. She's glaring. Reeling. Trapped.

ELINOR She's the one who said I shouldn't let anybody turn me around.

GEORGE She probably meant me. So honest, the words confuse her.

ELINOR Obviously, she doesn't see me as a threat.

GEORGE Oh, sure she does. A straight smile...

GEORGE (CONT'D) She just doesn't care. ...which silently fades.

GEORGE (CONT'D) My job. Is to care for her.

DISSOLVE TO...

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49.

44 44

INT. OAK ROOM, PLAZA HOTEL, NEW YORK - NIGHT

LONG ANGLE. Sophisticated watering hole. Crowded tonight. PAN to find George alone, waiting. A waiter leads Amelia to the table. George stands, smiling. But the smile is not returned. We CLOSE as they sit...

GEORGE

A hat's wrong? MELIA (clearly furious) What could be wrong? I had such a lovely afternoon with Elinor Smith. Oh.

GEORGE he told you that I shut her out of the Derby. And that's true.

AMELIA And when were you going to tell me? GEORGE (calm, straight) Never. I knew you'd go crazy. And I felt it needed to be done. She can scarcely believe this.

AMELIA What? You think I wanted it done, but just let you do the dirty work?

GEORGE I didn't say that.

AMELIA Because I'm no angel. Business is competition and competition is rough, and I thank my stars that you're there making this life happen for me, but...

GEORGE ou're making your life hap...

AMELIA But this is different. It is.

AMELIA (CONT'D) If women are going to stab women in the back, then women are going nowhere.

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50.

Are you listening?

GEORGE rom here on, I'll just stab men in he back. A

MELIA You didn't do this for business, anyway. G

EORGE I did it for fun?

AMELIA You did it because you love me. That stops him.

AMELIA (CONT'D) And when we're married, you mustn't ever... Now she stops. Because his eyes are wide.

AMELIA (CONT'D) What's the big shock? I thought you wanted to get married. Full beat.

GEORGE did. I do.

AMELIA Well, then. His eyes moving over her face.

GEORGE What about what you said? The day S will come when you run away. he nods. It will.

AMELIA You'll be destroyed. And part of me will, too. And I think we both know it. And yet.

AMELIA (CONT'D) Sometimes things happen that way. You're not better safe than sorry. Tears stand in his eyes. He is so happy.

51.

AMELIA (a whisper) (CONT'D) Yes? GEORGE (a whisper) Hell yes.

45 45

INT. GEORGE'S MOTHER'S HOME, NOANK, CONNECTICUT - DAY

Through a window, a dry, wintered garden. Snow falling, at once soft and heavy. Beyond, Morgan Point Lighthouse, Fisher's Island Sound, Long Island Sound. One lonely fishing boat braves the cold water. PULL BACK to see... ...Amelia at the breakfast table in a windowed room. She is writing, and as she does...

S

UPERIMPOSE: WEDDING DAY. CONNECTICUT, 1931. ...her eyes are swimming with tears. She brushes at them. Stares down at her work. Continues. ANGLE. The parlor. George, his MOTHER, the MINISTER, a small number of close FRIENDS. From the doorway, Amelia beckons George. The letter is in her hand.

EXT. HOME - MOMENTS LATER

46 46 Amelia holds tight to George's hand, leading him out into the falling snow. She turns, fixes him with a look. Hands him the letter. And steps back. As if giving him space. At first, he smiles. What is this? She gestures for him to read. As he begins, there is nothing for a few seconds. Then...

AMELIA (V.O.) ...I want you to understand I shall not hold you to any medieval code of faithfulness to me. Nor shall I consider myself bound to you similarly. Snow falling. Absolute silence.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) If we can be honest I think the difficulties which may arise may best be avoided should you or I become interested deeply, or in passing, with anyone else. She gazes intently, her heart in her eyes. He never looks up.

M

52.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) Please let us not interfere with the other's work or play, nor let the world see our private joys or disagreements. And then...

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D)

I must exact a cruel promise. And that is you will let me go in a year if we find no happiness together. He stops on this. His thoughts unreadable.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) I will try to do my best in every way. And give you that part of me you know and seem to want. He folds the letter carefully. Places it in his pocket. And smiles.

GEORGE y Amelia. Brutal in her frank- ness. Beautiful in her honesty. He steps to her. Looks in her eyes. They kiss.

47 47

INT. PARLOR - LATER

LONG ANGLE. The minister reading the vows. The witnesses standing silent. Two black cats rubbing against George's ankles.

DISSOLVE TO...

INT. KITCHEN, RYE - MORNING

48 48 George at the breakfast table. His eggs and toast ignored for the moment, he's reading a magazine article. PAN to Amelia, sipping her coffee. Watching him. GEORGE (reads aloud) `Why I Believe Women Pilots Can't Fly The Atlantic. An outspoken warning by Lady Heath.'

(READING) `...pure suicide for any woman today...it is madness for them to attempt it and...' He looks up to her.

53.

GEORGE (CONT'D) `...at least the first dozen will be drowned.' And we're reading

A this, because...?

MELIA I might fly to Paris. Silence.

GEORGE Which is actually across the Atlantic.

AMELIA Hence, the article. Ah. He nods.

AMELIA (CONT'D) I'm thinking of doing it solo.

AMELIA (CONT'D) Would you mind? He butters his toast.

GEORGE Not at all. When would you like to go?

EXT. GARDEN, RYE - DAY

49 49 CLOSE on Amelia as she kneels, carefully putting new plants into the ground. We see patience, concentration. Contentment. After a moment...

AMELIA I'm surprised you're all right with this... WIDEN ANGLE. George kneeling beside her. Happily planting his own.

GEORGE Really.

AMELIA Mmm-hmmn. I was braced for the lecture. Five years since Lindbergh, no one's made it solo, so many of them died. He looks at her work. Reaches over. Starts packing the earth HARDER around her plant. She just watches, then...

D

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54.

GEORGE ell, they were only men. This is different. She reaches to his plant and starts LOOSENING the soil...

AMELIA I was waiting to hear that I'm only doing this because I was just a passenger last time, and I'd rather die than go on living as a fraud.. No one cracks a smile. It's like Laurel and Hardy in a food fight where each lets the other take his best shot. George

A reaches now, starts REPACKING her soil...

MELIA (CONT'D) But you don't think that, do you, ear?

GEORGE Of course not. But if I did... She SMACKS his hand. He just keeps working. She finally grins, smacks him HARDER. He doesn't seem to notice.

GEORGE (CONT'D) ...all the more reason to say yes.

EXT. TEETERBORO AIRPORT - DUSK

50 50 AERIAL ANGLE. In the sun's last light, two figures walk slowly, far below us. The Vega waits. CLOSE ANGLE. They stand beneath the wing. Her ground crew in far distance, giving them their moment. Her look is not breezy and cavalier this time, but tender and intimate. She knows the fear beneath his easy smile. He produces a RING, a band of black fibers.

GEORGE Elephant hair, I think you wear it on your toe. It's good luck. He puts it in her hand.

GEORGE (CONT'D) Anyway. That's what the elephant told me. Amelia looks at the ring. Turns it in her fingers.

55.

AMELIA I think luck has rules. And I try to respect them. My favorite is... She glances up.

AMELIA (CONT'D) We make our own luck, you and I. Remember that. He will remember that. And more.

GEORGE Do you have money?

AMELIA No. He pulls out a twenty dollar bill. Hands it to her.

AMELIA (CONT'D) All this? G

EORGE Sure.

AMELIA Thank god, I thought you were going to tear it in half.

GEORGE I spent our money on ocean liner passage to go bring you back. It's non-refundable. So try to do your part. She nods. She'll try. He doesn't want to leave her yet.

GEORGE (CONT'D) So the Simpkin thing. What was all that?

AMELIA I put it in a letter. Which you'll get if I don't make it. So...mixed emotions, huh? He shakes his head. GEORGE (very soft) Either way, something to look forward to. She puts her hands on his face. She doesn't want to leave him either.

56.

AMELIA (murmurs) Stake up the peonies, huh? They're messy when they bloom on the ground, and... And. AMELIA (a whisper) I want to see their heads high. When I come home. She leans up to kiss him. And again. Feeling in her eyes that he will never forget.

AMELIA (CONT'D) See ya.

INT. VEGA - NIGHT

51 51 Amelia alone. Starry night. 12,000 feet below are ICEBERGS. A single fishing boat.

AMELIA (V.O.) The weather report wasn't perfect. But we knew our real chance was to take weather that others wouldn't. Ahead, towering CLOUDS in moonlight. Too high to fly over.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) I closed the deal by choosing May 20, five years to the day from Lindbergh's flight. It was too good a sell for George to resist. 5 What we didn't know...

EXT. VEGA - LATER

2 52 A terrifying STORM BATTERS the plane, which bobs and darts and dips like a leaf in a gale.

AMELIA (V.O.) ...was that my altimeter would conk out. Never to return.

INT. VEGA - SAME MOMENT

53 53 Amelia fights for control as the plane is TOSSED and SHAKEN.

AMELIA (V.O.) The only way to have any sense of altitude, was to keep dropping toward the sea.

(MORE)

57. AMELIA(cont'd) When the engines sputtered, that was my low-level limit. A sudden JOLT knocks her OUT of her seat. She scrambles back, as we see WHITECAPS A FEW FEET BELOW. She JERKS the nose UP, the engine COUGHS... ...and CLIMBS.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) I was too busy to grasp how impossible the situation had become. The joke was... LATER. Flying in and out of cloud cover.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) All those months flying only with instruments, I should have been practicing without them. PAN to the windshield. A small GLOW at the surface of a vibrating engine. Amelia hasn't noticed.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) I started to wonder if luck was paying me back. For thinking I knew the rules. A small BLUE FLAME LICKS out into the night.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) Then I smelled burning oil. She sees it now. The flame coming through a broken weld in the manifold ring. A

MELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) A bad weld, already a small flame. It would be hours back to Canada, trying to find an unlit field, landing with a heavy fuel load. She stares at the little flame. Is it growing bigger?

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) I told myself, push on. After all, if it was a stupid choice... LATER. Flying in blackness. Rising, as the engines seem sluggish.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) ...no one would ever know. Suddenly, a FILM of SLUSH on the windscreen.

58.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) With seemingly no warning, there was ice. The controls froze. And the Vega DIVES into a DIZZYING SPIN.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) Through the spin I had one thought, it would be warmer lower, the ice would melt, I just had to regain control...

54 54

EXT. VEGA - SAME MOMENT

The SPINNING plane PLUNGING...

AMELIA (V.O.) ...before I hit the water. And ARCING at last to SWOOP above the whitecaps. Way close for comfort. SMASH CUT TO...

INT. VEGA - SAME MOMENT

55 55 Amelia REELING in her seat, her fingers FUMBLING in her flight bag, for...

AMELIA (V.O.) ...or passed out. ...SMELLING SALTS, she inhales, again, blinks, starts to climb...

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) The ice happened twice more, and I began to lose heart. Then I remembered Lindbergh's book saying the same thing happened to him.

T he sea DISAPPEARS below. Only cloud.

AMELIA (V.O.) (CONT'D) So I figured, if he's twice as good, I just have to be twice as lucky...

DISSOLVE TO... HOURS LATER. Amelia seriously fatigued. She breaks through cloud into DAZZLING SUNLIGHT, and blinks, blinded.

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