National Treasure April 9, 2003 Script Draft: Page #3


INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, CORRIDOR - DAY

Abigail stands at the security entrance to the VAULT ROOM with DR. STANLEY HERBERT (40s, suave intellectual).

DR. HERBERT
So, you need a ride tomorrow night?
I could swing by. Pick you up.

He pushes through the heavy security door leading into...

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, VAULT ROOM - CONTINUOUS

A high-tech room of concrete and steel.

In the middle of the room, a 50-ton Mosler vault stands open. A scissor-jack extends out of it and up to a steel SLOT in the ceiling. Abigail and Dr. Herbert enter.

ABIGAIL
Dr. Herbert, if you came by to pick
me up, and we went to the gala
together, that would be like you
and me going on a date.

DR. HERBERT
It's more like car-pooling.

ABIGAIL
It's more like a date. And I don't date co-workers.

DR. HERBERT
I'm not a co-worker. I'm your boss.

GRAINY SURVEILLANCE VIDEO OF THE SAME. We WIDEN to reveal we're in...

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SECURITY STATION - DAY

GUARDS study a bay of monitors which flip through a rotation of surveillance images covering every inch of the archives.

The head guard JOE WOODRUFF (50s, career government employee) ZOOMS IN on the VAULT ROOM, then leans into a microphone.

WOODRUFF
Good evening, Dr. Chase. Dr.
Herbert.

INTERCUT Abigail and Dr. Herbert in the vault room.

ABIGAIL
Hi, Joe.

She opens a drawer, grabs a hand-held GAS CHROMATOGRAPHER.

ABIGAIL (CONT'D)
Ready whenever you are.

INTERCUT Woodruff. He grabs a key on the console...

WOODRUFF
This is why they pay me the big bucks.

He turns the key, and...

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, VAULT ROOM - CONTINUOUS

The scissor-jack springs to life and starts to retract...

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, ROTUNDA - DAY

Two GUARD patrolling the empty Rotunda watch as...

The DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE is lowered in its case from its exhibit. We PUSH IN on it and FOLLOW it as...
THE SCISSOR-JACK retracts, pulling the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE through a steel slot in the FLOOR and into...

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, VAULT ROOM - CONTINUOUS

As the scissor-jack retracts, the Declaration of Independence descends in its case from the slot in the ceiling.

Abigail steps up to the document and waves the gas chromatographer along the thermopane case's edges. The instrument whizzes and hums, all apparently normal noises.

ABIGAIL
You ever wonder if there was
something on the Declaration of
Independence that might have been
overlooked?

DR. HERBERT
That document's been examined more
than a corn farmer on an alien space
ship.

ABIGAIL
Everything we know of early
Archimedes came from palimpsest
overlooked for centuries.

The Declaration reaches the vault, then tips backwards.

DR. HERBERT
If you're angling for a grant, you're
going to have to come up with some-
thing better than that. You don't
want people to think you're crazy.


The Declaration lies back in the vault, then the 5-TON STEEL VAULT DOORS slide closed with a LOUD THUNK as we CUT TO...

EXT. GREEN LINE SUBWAY STATION - DAY

Directly across the street from the National Archives.

INT. GREEN LINE SUBWAY STATION - DAY

Carrying a briefcase, Ben and Riley descend on an ESCALATOR into this modern, spacious station.

The platforms are crowded with COMMUTERS.

Ben and Riley step off the escalator and move through the throng to the far end of the platform. Ben waits for the train to pull away, then...

JUMPS DOWN ONTO THE TRACKS. Riley reluctantly follows.

INT. GREEN LINE SUBWAY TUNNEL - CONTINUOUS

Ben and Riley hurry along the tracks. The dim glow of a flashlight lights only a few yards ahead of them.

They finally come to a door bolted closed with a heavy lock and stop. Ben pulls some bolt cutters out of the briefcase.

INT. GREEN LINE SUBWAY, UTILITY ROOM - LATER

Ben and Riley work in this cramped public works substation.

Using a HAND-HELD ELECTRICAL SAW with a 2" circular blade, Ben finishes cutting a hole in one of the many PVC pipes that run along the ceiling of the substation.

Riley opens the briefcase and pulls out...

A TOY TRACTOR TRUCK, actually a sophisticated remote-operated- vehicle (ROV) with a camera taped to the hood. We CUT TO...

GOD'S EYE VIEW OF PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE. EVENING.

People, Cars. Buses. The National Archives on one side of the street. The Green Line Subway Station on the other.

We PUSH down toward the pavement. Closer, closer, until we butt up to it, then SEAMLESSLY MOVE through the pavement...

UNDERGROUND. We TRAVEL vertically through the layers of concrete, rocks, dirt, concrete again. It opens up into...

A LABYRINTH OF PIPES, FIBER-OPTICS, GAS, ELECTRIC. We PUSH INTO one pipe and MOVE seamlessly inside...

THE PIPE. We're moving in the direction of the National Archives, finally catching up to the ROV. Its motor whirs. Its headlights play on a turn in the pipe ahead.

INT. GREEN LINE SUBWAY, UTILITY ROOM - LATER

Riley navigates the ROV with a JOYSTICK and a LAPTOP which plays back what the ROV is seeing.

RILEY
What time is it?

BEN
Around five. Why?

RILEY
I'd be getting off work about now. At Intel.

ON THE SCREEN, the ROV arrives at an intimidating MATRIX OF CONDUIT wrapped in a bunch.

RILEY (CONT'D)
There it is.

He punches a key on the laptop. Maneuvers the joystick. IN THE PIPE. The ROV stops, extends a MECHANICAL ARM,
finds a red wire, and CLIPS ON TIGHT. With a WHOOSH...

We RUSH into the wire and TRAVEL, light-speed to...

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SECURITY STATION - NIGHT

GUARDS monitor the surveillance bay. ON ONE MONITOR, we see video of the VAULT ROOM.

INTERCUT THE LAPTOP SCREEN on which the same surveillance video plays. We're back in...

INT. GREEN LINE SUBWAY, UTILITY ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Ben and Riley study the surveillance feed of the vault room on the laptop screen. The vault stares back at them.

EXT. GREEN LINE SUBWAY STATION - NIGHT Ben and Riley exit the station.

RILEY
So, when are we doing this?

BEN
If we're going to beat Ian, we've
got to do it tomorrow night during
the gala.

Ben gestures across the street to the National Archives. Red-white-and-blue Banners hang between the fluted columns, announcing its 75th Anniversary Gala tomorrow night.

RILEY
There'll be hundreds of people there.

BEN
Hundreds of very important people.
Any glitch in the system, and the
guards will have their hands full
protecting the dignitaries.

Riley considers that, then...

RILEY
I suppose while I'm hacking into
the Archives Security System, you'll
be needing me to get you on their
guest list as well.

BEN
You're talents would've been wasted at Intel.

EXT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES - NIGHT

Pennsylvania Avenue is lined with limos and luxury sedans as tuxedo'd MEN and WOMEN in designer gowns arrive.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, NORTH FOYER - NIGHT

GUESTS pass through metal detectors at the check-in.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, ROTUNDA - CONTINUOUS

A small STRING ORCHESTRA plays while hundreds of GUESTS mingle in the Rotunda. Looking stunning in her sparkly formal gown, Abigail stands with Dr. Herbert.
ABIGAIL
What do you think Thomas Jefferson
would say if he were here?

DR. HERBERT
He'd say, "Abigail, you need to
find a man of whom you are as
passionate about as you are of me...
who's not dead."

We TRAVEL through the throng and come to a HEAVY-SET SENATOR sipping wine. We CUT TO...

VIDEO SURVEILLANCE OF THE SAME. We WIDEN to reveal...

INT. VAN - NIGHT

Riley sits in the back of this van, sipping coffee and watching surveillance feeds on his laptop.

ON THE SCREEN, he ZOOMS IN ON the FAT SENATOR.

RILEY
(sings to the tune of Santa
Claus is coming to Town
)
"He sees you when you're drinking..."

He pans to a smarmy MAN flirting with a pretty LADY.

RILEY (CONT'D)
"He knows when you are cheating..."

He ZOOMS in until the pretty lady's butt fills the screen.

RILEY (CONT'D)
"...He knows when you left your panties at home..."

As Riley zooms in on the butt, we transition to...

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, ROTUNDA - NIGHT

The same LADY live in the Rotunda with the smarmy man. We PAN across the crowd and finally find...

BEN, wearing a tuxedo and staring at the Declaration of Independence.

MAN (O.S.)
Sir?

Ben turns to find a WAITER with a tray of champagne.

WAITER
Champagne?

Ben smiles and takes a glass of champagne. He then looks to a SURVEILLANCE CAMERA mounted on the wall...

INT. VAN - NIGHT

ON THE LAPTOP SCREEN, Ben is looking right at Riley. He tips his glass to him as he talks under his breath...

BEN (ON SCREEN)
Here's to freedom.

Riley holds up his coffee cup and leans into a microphone.
RILEY
Our last night of it.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, ROTUNDA - NIGHT

They toast. Ben looks to the Declaration of Independence.

BEN
Maybe this is a bad idea.

RILEY (VIA MIC)
No, it's a good idea.

INTERCUT Riley. He studies the laptop screen.

BEN (VIA MIC)
We don't know about Ian. Not for
sure.

Riley spots something on the screen. Not good news.

RILEY
Yes, we do. He's here.

ON THE LAPTOP SCREEN, we now see Ian and his men unloading a catering truck near the back entrance to the Archives.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, ROTUNDA - NIGHT

Ben moves purposefully across the Rotunda.

ABIGAIL (O.S.)
What are you doing here?

Ben turns and sees Abigail. Tonight, she's simply captivating. She takes Ben's breath away.

BEN
Dr. Chase...

ABIGAIL
Mr. Brown, I don't remember seeing
your name on the guest list.

BEN
I made a last minute donation.

INTERCUT Riley in the van, watching Ben and Abigail.

ABIGAIL (VIA MIC)
Shouldn't you be out robbing graves
or desecrating something?

RILEY
No time for mingling.

ON Ben and Abigail.
BEN
The night's still young.

Abigail can't help but smile at that. She eyes him.

ABIGAIL
So, I've been wondering...what did
the riddle say?

BEN
The riddle?

ABIGAIL
On the pipe that Bigfoot took.
Your friend said there was a riddle.
What did it say?

Just then, Dr. Herbert arrives with two glasses of champagne.

DR. HERBERT
Abigail, your drink.

Dr. Herbert hands Abigail a glass, not happy she's already hooked up with somebody at the party.

DR. HERBERT (CONT'D)
Who's your friend?

Ben reaches to shake his hand.
BEN
Paul Brown. And you must be Dr.
Herbert.

DR. HERBERT
You know me?
BEN
I referenced your paper on
Feudalistic Influence in the Southern
Colonies in my thesis.

DR. HERBERT
Oh, you're an academic?

BEN
Was.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SECURITY STATION - NIGHT

Woodruff and the GUARDS watch the surveillance bay.

We PUSH IN ON A MONITOR with a feed of the back service entrance where the catering workers unload foodstuffs from a truck. The POV pans back and forth as we CUT TO...

AN ARMOR DOME CAMERA doing its sweep. We WIDEN to see...

EXT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SERVICE ENTRANCE - NIGHT

Shaw waits for the camera to pan away, then aims a tricked- out HV TASER GUN and FIRES...

BOOOSH! Two electrodes attached to insulated wires shoot out of the gun at 100mph, latch onto the camera dome, then pump 100,000 volts into the camera.

The camera sputters and sparks, shorted out.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SECURITY STATION - NIGHT

The monitor CUTS TO SNOW. Woodruff gets on his radio.

WOODRUFF
Ferguson?

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SERVICE CORRIDOR - NIGHT

A GUARD patrolling the service corridor gets on his radio.

GUARD FERGUSON
Yeah?

WOODRUFF (VIA MIC)
We lost perimeter camera seven. Go check it out.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, ROTUNDA - NIGHT

Ben stands with Abigail and Dr. Herbert. Ben looks around, anxious.

DR. HERBERT
So, Mr. Brown, what brings you here
tonight?

BEN
High treason.

They regard Ben, curious.

BEN (CONT'D)
That's what the 56 men, by signing
the Declaration of Independence,
were committing. Had we lost the
war, they'd have been hanged,
beheaded, drawn and quartered, or
my personal favorite, had their
entrails cut out and burned while
they were still alive.

Ben grabs a drink off a passing tray and holds it up.

BEN (CONT'D)
In fact, let's toast them. To the
brave men who did what was considered
wrong in order to do what they knew
was right.

Dr. Herbert toasts enthusiastically. So does Abigail, although more guardedly.

BEN (CONT'D)
Now, if you'll excuse me.

Ben leaves. Abigail watches him go, suspicious.

DR. HERBERT
Charming man. I liked him.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SERVICE CORRIDOR - NIGHT

Guard Ferguson arrives at the back service entrance, stops, and keys in his passcode.

EXT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SERVICE ENTRANCE - NIGHT

Guard Ferguson pushes open the door and is greeted by...

BOOOSH! The probes hit him square in his chest, and then a surge of high voltage knocks him on his ass.

IAN and HIS MEN enter, stepping over the unconscious guard.

Ian shuts the service entrance. Shaw opens a BLACK DUFFEL BAG. Grabs some duct tape and nylon rope.

INT. VAN - NIGHT

The same snowy surveillance feed plays on Riley's laptop.

RILEY
Ian took out the service entrance
camera. Ten-to-one he's inside
already. We should've done this last
night.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, RECORD OF AMERICA - NIGHT

Ben heads down the museum walkway, which is crowded with gala guests. He talks sotto into his hidden mic.

BEN
Last night, the building was locked
down, like it is every night. That's
why we're doing it tonight.

RILEY (VIA MIC)
That's why Ian's doing it tonight too.

BEN
It's OK. I can beat him there.

Ben stops. Around the corner is a set of elevators. A surveillance camera monitors the elevator foyer.

INTERCUT RILEY watching the feed of the elevator foyer.

BEN (VIA MIC)
Go.

On cue, Riley presses a key, and ON THE SCREEN, a new window opens, so that there are two windows on the screen. Both show an EMPTY elevator foyer.
RILEY
Zap! You're the Invisible Man.

He types a command and presses ENTER.

We RUSH in on the ENTER key. Move light-speed, through the computer, out the USB cable, up the antenna and into...

The tiny ANTENNA on the ROV which is still parked inside the PIPE and patched into the security system...

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SECURITY STATION - NIGHT

GUARDS monitor the surveillance bay. There is a tiny hiccup, barely noticeable, as the video of switches over.

WOODRUFF
Has Ferguson checked back in yet?

We PUSH IN on the empty foyer video and TRANSITION to...

INT. VAN - NIGHT

RILEY'S LAPTOP SCREEN, the same video plays in one of the windows. It's a previously recorded loop of the EMPTY foyer. In the window, the loop is labeled "PLAYBACK."

In the other window, the real surveillance feed of Ben in the foyer plays. This feed is labeled "LIVE."

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, ELEVATOR - NIGHT

Ben steps onto the elevator, punches the "B" for basement call button, and the elevator starts to descend.

BEN
You see Ian anywhere?

INTERCUT Riley checking surveillance feeds on his laptop.

RILEY
No.

BEN (VIA MIC)
Let's do this.

Riley keys in a command on his keyboard.
RILEY
OK. On my go, you have exactly--

INTERCUT Ben, setting the timer on his wristwatch.

BEN
--Two minutes. I know.
INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, STAIRWELL ACCESS - SIMULTANEOUSLY

Ian, Shaw, Powell, and Shippen move down a corridor to a stairwell access door. On it, a sign reads, "ALARMED ENTRY.
AUTHORIZED ACCESS ONLY." Ian looks to his men.

IAN
Time to take history.

He pulls out a REMOTE. Presses a button. A red light FLASHES as we CUT TO...

INT. PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE - NIGHT

A STEEL TRANSFORMER BOX across the street from the National Archives EXPLODES, showering the street in SPARKS and FIRE.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, ROTUNDA - NIGHT

In the Rotunda, the lights flicker and go out. The PARTY GUESTS all react to the power outage.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, ELEVATOR - NIGHT

The elevator lights also flicker and go out, and the elevator suddenly...JERKS TO A STOP!

INTERCUT RILEY in the van. ON HIS LAPTOP, the video feeds all cut to snow.

RILEY
Shit-shit-shit! That wasn't me.

INTERCUT BEN in the elevator. He punches all of the call buttons, but the elevator is stuck.

BEN
Ian blew a transformer.

INTERCUT Riley, realizing...

RILEY
A power outage will trigger the emergency protocol.

INTERCUT Ben. He starts his stopwatch.

BEN
That means the Declaration is on
its way down already.

He tries to pull open the elevator doors to no avail. He looks around, mind ticking.

BEN (CONT'D)
Trigger the alarms. We gotta stop
Ian.

INTERCUT Riley. He stares at his laptop screen filled with flashing security messages.

RILEY
The power outage already tripped
all the alarms. Everything's going
off. Guards won't know what's Ian
and what's not.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SECURITY STATION - NIGHT

ON THE SURVEILLANCE BAY, every light is indeed blinking.

GUARD #1
Sir, we've lost surveillance and
main power.

GUARD #2
Emergency protocol's been initiated.

WOODRUFF
Switch to auxiliary, then reboot
and run a systems check.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, ROTUNDA - NIGHT

Murmurs sweep across the crowd of politicians as the Declaration of Independence exhibit is automatically lowered into the Rotunda flooring.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SECURITY STATION - NIGHT

The guards frantically try to get their systems back up.

WOODRUFF
I want every available body on the
floor. Let's make sure our party
guests are safe.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, ROTUNDA - NIGHT

Auxiliary power kicks in, and the lights come back on. A GUARD steps in to calm the crowd.

GUARD
We just had a little power outage,
but everything's under control.
You'll notice the documents are
being lowered into their vaults,
but this is just standard procedure.
They will be back shortly...

Abigail and Dr. Herbert exchange concerned looks.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, ELEVATOR - NIGHT

Ben slides a ceiling tile aside, but just then, the elevator powers back up and starts descending again.

INTERCUT Riley in the van. He checks the stopwatch.

RILEY
96 seconds.

CUT TO CLOSE ON a THERMIC LANCE burning at 7000°F, cutting through solid steel. We WIDEN to reveal...

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, STAIRWELL ACCESS - NIGHT

Shaw cuts through the SECURITY DOOR with the thermic lance. Ian checks his watch. A beat, Shaw finishes cutting through the steel dead bolts, and the DOOR RELEASES...

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, ROTUNDA - NIGHT

The orchestra starts playing again, and the waiters start serving drinks, quelling the crowd.

Abigail watches the Declaration of Independence disappear from its exhibit. Her spider-senses are tingling.

INTERCUT THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, moving by scissor jack into the sub-flooring.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, STAIRWELL - NIGHT

Ian and his men charge down the stairs.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, INNER CORRIDOR - NIGHT

The elevator DINGS open, and Ben slips into this long corridor. Ben moves quickly to...

The huge steel VAULT ROOM DOOR at the end of the hall. There is a keyboard pad here, the same one Abigail punched her passcode in earlier.

INTERCUT Riley in the van, watching the time tick down.

RILEY
57 seconds...


INTERCUT BEN. He pulls what looks like a THIN SLIDE VIEWER out of his jacket pocket. He holds it over the keypad and switches on its blue light...

THROUGH THE VIEWER GLASS, certain letters on the keypad GLOW with ULTRAVIOLET FINGERPRINTS. Ben reads them...

BEN
A-E-F-G-L-O-R-V-Y.

INT. VAN - NIGHT

Riley keys the letters into an ANAGRAM GENERATOR on his computer. The results scroll across the screen: A GLOVE FRY, A VERY GOLF, A GROVE FRY, FARGO LEVY, GRAVY FLOWE.

RILEY
(reads from the screen)
"A glove fry, a very golf, Fargo
levy, gravy flowe, valey frog."
Any of these make any sense?

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, INNER CORRIDOR - NIGHT Ben stares at the letters, realizes...

BEN
It's Valley Forge. She pressed "L"
and "E" twice.

He dons a WHITE GLOVE, then punches in the code, "Valley Forge." A beat, then the VAULT ROOM DOOR unlocks with a series of CLUNKS.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, STAIRWELL - NIGHT

Sweating, Shaw is now cutting through a second security door with the thermic lance.

SHAW
How much time?

Ian checks his watch.
IAN
We're right on schedule.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, VAULT ROOM - NIGHT

Ben jumps up on the vault. The scissor jack has completely retracted, and the vault doors are starting to close. No time to hesitate...

Ben lifts the Declaration of Independence (in its thermopane case) out of the vault just as the steel doors close with a loud THUNK.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SECURITY STATION - NIGHT

The surveillance bay is aglow with flashing lights as the system runs through its automatic checks. All the surveillance screens are still snow.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, STAIRWELL - NIGHT

Shaw finishes cutting through.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, INNER CORRIDOR - NIGHT

Carrying the Declaration in its case, Ben races back to the elevator. He pushes the call button just as...

The stairwell access door OPENS, and through it emerge IAN, SHAW, POWELL, and SHIPPEN. They surprised to see Ben's not only alive, but he's got their quarry.







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