National Treasure April 9, 2003 Script Draft: Page #4


SHAW OPENS FIRE on Ben with an automatic gun and silencer...

Ben whips the Declaration of Independence around, and USES IT AS A SHIELD to protect himself.

The Declaration of Independence is ABSOLUTELY RIDDLED WITH BULLETS! BLAM-BLAM-BLAM-BLAM-BLAM!

But the bullets BOUNCE OFF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE'S THERMOPANE CASE which is made of bullet-proof glass.

The force of the bullets knocks Ben into the ELEVATOR as it DINGS OPEN...

Ian suddenly grabs Shaw's arm. His shots go astray, raking the metal elevator doors which finally close.

IAN
What's the matter with you?! You'll
damage the map!

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, ELEVATOR - CONTINUOUS

Ben falls inside, then bangs on the call-button panel. INTERCUT Riley in the van. He's heard the commotion.

RILEY
Ben? Ben?!

BEN (VIA MIC)
I got it.

We can now hear SIRENS approaching.

RILEY
You'd better hurry.

INTERCUT BEN IN THE ELEVATOR. He sets the case down and pulls two DROPPERS OF VISINE out of his pants pocket.

BEN
You'd better not leave.

Ben takes one of the droppers and carefully drops a single DROP on each of the four bolts in the corners of the Declaration of Independence's case.

Ben then grabs the second DROPPER OF VISINE and drops a second set of drops on the bolts. When the two drops of liquid combine, the BOLTS BEGIN TO SMOKE AND SMOLDER.

Ben checks the elevator panel. The elevator ascends...

BEN (CONT'D)
(to the chemicals)
Come on...come on...

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, STAIRWELL - NIGHT

Ian and his men charge back up the stairs...

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, CORRIDOR - CONTINUOUS

...and burst into the empty corridor.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, ELEVATOR - NIGHT

The SMOLDERING dissipates, and Ben pulls the case apart.

The argon gas vents from the interior with a HISS-WHOOSH!

Ben gingerly lifts the precious document out, quickly rolls it up, then pulls a HEAVY-DUTY, CLEAR PLASTIC CYLINDRICAL
BAGGIE out of his jacket pocket...

...and carefully SLIPS THE DOCUMENT INTO THE BAGGIE.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SECURITY STATION - NIGHT

Woodruff watches as one-by-one, the monitors on the surveillance bay start coming back up online.

WOODRUFF
Dammit. What happened to Ferguson?

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, ELEVATOR FOYER - NIGHT

The ELEVATOR DINGS open, and Ben steps out.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, NORTH FOYER - CONTINUOUS

Ben rounds the corner and casually melts into the crowd. He heads for the exit, but just a few yards ahead is...

ABIGAIL. Ben ducks into...

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, GIFT SHOP - CONTINUOUS

GALA GUESTS peruse the souvenirs. Head down, Ben watches as Abigail passes by outside the gift shop window. He waits a beat, then moves to exit. But he's stopped by...

WOMAN (O.S.)
Hey, sir!

Ben looks up. The CLERK working the register regards him.

CLERK
You trying to steal that?

Ben looks down and realizes the Declaration of Independence is poking out of his jacket. He's busted. Then...

He notices he's standing next to a bin filled with "ACTUAL SIZE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE Reproductions." Each one wrapped in heavy plastic just like the real one.

CLERK (CONT'D)
It's $35.00.

BEN
$35?! It's just a piece of paper.

He digs into his pockets and comes up with several rumpled bills and coins. He quickly counts them out, but...

BEN (CONT'D)
I only have $32.57.

CLERK
We take ATM and credit cards.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SERVICE CORRIDOR - NIGHT

GUARDS search the corridor but find no sign of Ferguson.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SECURITY STATION - NIGHT

GUARD (VIA RADIO)
I can't find Ferguson.

Woodruff is distressed by the news.

WOODRUFF
This isn't good.

CUT TO QUICK SHOTS, RAPID FIRE:

We FOLLOW GUARDS' FEET sprinting down the inner corridor.

A GUARD PUNCHES HIS PASSCODE INTO THE VAULT KEYPAD.

THE GUARDS PUSH OPEN THE VAULT DOOR..
.
IN THE FOYER, Ben pushes by guests, almost to the exit...

IN THE SECURITY STATION, Woodruff turns the key on the console and prays...

WOODRUFF
Please be there...please God, let it be there...

EXT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES - NIGHT

Carrying the "souvenir," Ben hurries down the sidewalk in front of the National Archives.

ABIGAIL (O.S.)
Hey!

Abigail catches up to him, but Ben keeps moving.

ABIGAIL (CONT'D)
What's that?

BEN
What's what?

EXT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SERVICE ENTRANCE - NIGHT

Ian and his men burst out the back service exit.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, VAULT ROOM - NIGHT

The vault's steel doors slide open, revealing the bad news... THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE IS GONE!

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SECURITY STATION - NIGHT

Woodruff sees the empty vault on the surveillance screen. He hits the ALARM and gets on his radio.

WOODRUFF
Code Red. Code Red. We have a
break in! Lock it down. Nobody
leaves the building.

Woodruff looks around. He can't believe this is happening.

WOODRUFF (CONT'D)
Somebody get the FBI on the phone!
Now!

EXT. CONSTITUTION AVENUE - NIGHT

Abigail follows Ben as he hurries across the street.

ABIGAIL
What's that? That in your hand.

BEN
A souvenir. Got it at the gift shop.

They reach the van, where Riley waits, engine running.

RILEY
Let's go!

Just then, the National Archives ALARMS SOUND! Abigail's face falls. She knows what Ben has done.

ABIGAIL
You didn't.

BEN
You wouldn't understand.

Ben reaches for the van door, but Abigail SCREAMS...

ABIGAIL
POLICE!

Ben panics, grabs her, covers her mouth, but she BITES him and... COMES UP WITH THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.

EXT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SERVICE ENTRANCE - NIGHT

As Ian and his men climb into their catering truck, Ian sees...

Ben standing across the street with Abigail who is holding the Declaration of Independence.

EXT. CONSTITUTION AVENUE - NIGHT

Abigail looks at the rolled up parchment, incredulous.

BEN
Careful with that!

ABIGAIL
Oh. My. God.

Riley sees she has IT now and puts his head in his hands.

RILEY
(sotto)
Oh my God.

BEN
(to Abigail)
You're making a big mistake--

ABIGAIL
--You weren't protecting it. You're
stealing it.

BEN
Listen. There are some very bad
people, people who don't care about
the Declaration of Independence,
people who only see it as a map.

ABIGAIL
You're pathetic.

With that, she turns and starts crossing the street, the Declaration of Independence in her hand.

Ben hurries to get into the van.

BEN
Come on. Let's go.

Riley watches Abigail leaving with the Declaration.

RILEY
But. You can't just let her go.

BEN
Yes, we can.

Suddenly, the CATERING TRUCK barrels down on Abigail in the middle of the street. She side-steps out of its way, but
it SCREECHES TO A STOP in front of her, blocking her path.

Ben sees the truck's driver...it's Shippen.

BEN (CONT'D)
Oh no.

The truck's back doors burst open, and Ian, Shaw, and Powell jump out and swarm Abigail. She struggles like a wild cat.

Ben moves to help her, but Powell opens fire on him, sending Ben diving for cover behind the van.

INT. VAN - NIGHT

Riley ducks as the van is raked with bullets. The van's windows shatter. Glass shards pepper the interior.

EXT. CONSTITUTION AVENUE - NIGHT

Ian and Shaw throw Abigail into the back of the truck. Powell jumps into the cab, and the truck peels out.

INT. VAN - NIGHT

Ben jumps in, and Riley slams it into gear.

EXT. CONSTITUTION AVENUE - NIGHT

The catering truck wheels through traffic. A beat behind, the van blows through a red light and flies after it.

INT. CATERING TRUCK, MOVING - NIGHT

Abigail holds the Declaration of Independence. Ian holds out his hand.

IAN
Give it to me.

ABIGAIL
Over my dead body.

EXT. CONSTITUTION AVENUE - NIGHT

The catering truck turns hard and slews onto 3rd Street. A dozen POLICE CARS speed by them, going the other way,
toward the National Archives.

INT. CATERING TRUCK, MOVING - NIGHT

The truck veers suddenly, sending Abigail on her ass. Ian snatches the Declaration of Independence out of her hand as she stumbles.

EXT. 3RD STREET - NIGHT

A scenic street if anyone had time to look. The U.S. Capitol on one side, the Washington Monument on the other.

The van gains on the catering truck, but Powell leans out the passenger side window and OPENS FIRE.

INT. VAN, MOVING - NIGHT

Ben and Riley duck as the front windshield EXPLODES.

EXT. 3RD STREET - NIGHT

The van falls back.

INT. CATERING TRUCK, MOVING - NIGHT

Abigail watches helplessly as Ian holds the Declaration of Independence.

ABIGAIL
Please. Be careful with it.

Ian ignores her. Slips the document from its cover.

SHAW
What do we do with her?

Ian starts unrolling the document. Doesn't look up.

IAN
No witnesses.

Shaw turns his gun on Abigail. Abigail's eyes search the truck. Looking for a way out...

INT. VAN, MOVING - NIGHT

Riley pulls alongside the driver's side of the catering truck, then he YANKS the wheel hard...

EXT. FREEWAY ON-RAMP - NIGHT

The van SLAMS into the catering truck just as...

INT. CATERING TRUCK, MOVING - NIGHT

Shaw cocks his gun, squeezes the trigger, but the truck shakes violently ON IMPACT, sending Shaw on his ass.

Abigail scrabbles to the truck's back doors, but they're latched shut.

Irked, Shaw moves to finish her off. But just then, Ian notices something about the document that makes him go...

IAN
Wait.

Ian looks up, then turns the document to Abigail.

IAN (CONT'D)
What the hell is this?

Abigail looks at the document, and is just as surprised as Ian. Stamped on the document is a PRICE TAG. She grins.

ABIGAIL
A souvenir.

EXT. INTERSTATE 395 - NIGHT

The van slaloms traffic and pulls alongside the truck.

INT. CATERING TRUCK, MOVING - NIGHT

Ian looks to Abigail, who stands by the truck's back doors.

IAN
Who are you?

Abigail talks, she reaches behind her back and surreptitiously unlatches the door latch...

ABIGAIL
(stalling)
I'm Dr. Abigail Chase, Executive
Custodian of the Charters of Freedom
for the National Archives.

INT. VAN, MOVING - NIGHT

Ben moves to the back of the van and slides open the van's side door.

INT. CATERING TRUCK CAB, MOVING - NIGHT

Shippen sees Ben in the van and whips the steering wheel...

EXT. INTERSTATE 395 - NIGHT

The catering truck YAWS into the van.

INT. CATERING TRUCK, MOVING - NIGHT

Abigail finally manages to unlatch the latch.

ABIGAIL
Who are you--

Just then, the truck is rocked as it SLAMS into the van. Ian and Shaw are buried by a cascade of chafing dishes.

The truck's back doors to SWING OPEN WILDLY. Abigail just manages to grab the latch, and she ARCS OUT INTO traffic.

EXT. INTERSTATE 395 - NIGHT

A TOUR BUS motors along in the heavy D.C. traffic, passing the Jefferson Memorial, beautifully lit at night.

INT. TOUR BUS, MOVING - NIGHT

A GROUP OF TOURISTS crane their necks out their windows as a TOUR GUIDE zealously describes the sights.

TOUR GUIDE
...And over to your right, you can
see the Jefferson Memorial. Who
can tell me what important document
Thomas Jefferson authored?

Nobody answers. Instead, they're all glued to the action...

EXT. INTERSTATE 395 - NIGHT

Abigail dangles off the door, both hands gripping the latch.

EXT. VAN, MOVING - NIGHT

Riley maneuvers the van up to the back of the catering truck. Ben holds onto the door frame and reaches out to Abigail.

BEN
Grab my hand!

Holding on for dear life, she looks to Ben like he's crazy.

ABIGAIL
With what?!

INT. VAN, MOVING - NIGHT

Riley fights the wheel, holding steady. Looks ahead to see A TRAFFIC JAM. Total gridlock. A sea of red brake lights.


RILEY
Uh...hurry!

EXT. VAN, MOVING - NIGHT Ben reaches for Abigail.

BEN
Come on!

Abigail summons up her courage, lets go of one hand, and SWINGS toward Ben. Their fingers almost touch...

INT. VAN, MOVING - NIGHT

But there's no more room to go. Riley brakes...

EXT. INTERSTATE 395 - NIGHT

The van and Ben suddenly decelerate away from Abigail who almost falls.

INT. CATERING TRUCK CAB, MOVING - NIGHT

The van falls back, and Shippen looks ahead and sees why...

PARKED CARS locked in traffic. Shippen SLAMS on the brakes.

EXT. INTERSTATE 395 - NIGHT

The catering truck tires BURN RUBBER.

INT. CATERING TRUCK, MOVING - NIGHT

The sudden stop sends Ian and Shaw asses over elbows.

The truck's doors SWING ABIGAIL BACK INSIDE, then close behind her. Abigail's now back in the truck in front of an angry firing squad. Shaw turns his gun on her...

EXT. INTERSTATE 395 - NIGHT

Ben hurries to the back of the catering truck and yanks the handle just as...

INT. CATERING TRUCK - NIGHT

Shaw SHOOTS! But Abigail disappears as the truck door swings open again.

The errant bullets blow out the windshield of AN ONCOMING TANKER TRUCK.

The tanker truck driver yanks the wheel hard and slams on his brakes.

EXT. INTERSTATE 395 - NIGHT

The tanker truck JACK-KNIFES...

INT. CATERING TRUCK - NIGHT

Ian and Shaw watch in horror as the jack-knifed tanker truck slews uncontrollably toward them.

They dive out of the truck.

INT. CATERING TRUCK CAB - NIGHT

Shippen lays on his HORN, not seeing what Powell sees in his rearview mirror....the runaway juggernaut.

EXT. INTERSTATE 395 - NIGHT

POWELL and other MOTORISTS SCRAMBLE out of their cars, DUCKING and DIVING out of the way of the TANKER TRUCK...

...which SHIPPEN finally sees. Too late.

THE TANKER TRUCK CRASHES INTO THE BACK OF THE CATERING TRUCK...WHAM-SMASH-CRUNCH!

EACH CAR IN FRONT OF THE CATERING TRUCK PLOWS INTO THE CAR in front of it. Metal crumples, glass shatters, tires POP.

IAN, SHAW, and POWELL come up from the smoking mayhem. Ian looks down the shoulder where he sees...

BEN and RILEY'S VAN blow past the pile-up. The van pulls off an off-ramp and disappears.

IAN
Piss!

INT. VAN, MOVING - NIGHT

Riley drives, pedal to the metal. Ben sits in the back with a flustered Abigail.

BEN
You all right?

ABIGAIL
No, I'm not all right! Where's the
Declaration of Independence?

She immediately starts searching the van. Riley glances in the rearview mirror and sees her searching the van.

RILEY
What do you mean "where is it"?
You had it!

ABIGAIL
I didn't have it. He gave me a fake.

Riley looks to Ben, surprised.

RILEY
You did?
(between his teeth)
Then, why'd we go after her, Ben?

ABIGAIL
Ben? I thought your name was Paul.

BEN
I had to lie. My real name is Ben
Gates. Benjamin Franklin Gates.

ABIGAIL
I'm supposed to believe that?

BEN
Being named after one of America's
founding fathers is sort of like a
tradition in my family.

RILEY
An obsession, actually.

ABIGAIL
Where is the real the Declaration
of Independence?

BEN
Don't worry. It's safe.

Abigail stops searching. Eyes him.

ABIGAIL
So you did steal it.

BEN
If I hadn't, those men would have.

ABIGAIL
Give it to me. I have to return it.

BEN
I can't let you do that. That guy
who tried to kill you will just
come after it again.

ABIGAIL
We'll warn the authorities. They'll
protect it.

BEN
Like they did tonight?

EXT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES - NIGHT

The building is now cordoned off and swarming with POLICE.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, NORTH FOYER - NIGHT

MEN and WOMEN in FBI blazers enter with Woodruff. Leading the group is SADUSKY (40s), solidly built, a complete pro.

SADUSKY
What're we dealing with?

WOODRUFF
A break-in.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, ROTUNDA - NIGHT

The detained guests wait impatiently in the Rotunda. Sadusky and his team enters and take charge of the room.

SADUSKY
All right, my name is Sadusky. I
am Agent In Charge. I want this
building cleared and sealed off.
Security clearance only.

Sadusky turns to a female agent, AGENT DAWES.

SADUSKY (CONT'D)
A complete list of names of everyone
on tonight's guest list and their
dates. Find out who's NOT here.

Agent Dawes peels off, and Sadusky turns to AGENT JOHNSON.

SADUSKY (CONT'D)
The vault and lobby security logs
and all the surveillance tapes for
the last 30 days.

Agent Johnson nods and peels off, and Sadusky turns to two more agents, AGENT COLFAX and AGENT HENDRICKS.

SADUSKY (CONT'D)
The cars in the underground parking
garage. Find any not accounted for.

Colfax and Hendricks leave, and Sadusky turns to Woodruff.

SADUSKY (CONT'D)
I want the names and shift schedules
of everybody with access to the
building. From the janitors to the curator.

WOODRUFF
Yes, sir.

SADUSKY
Now, Mr. Woodruff, if you can please
tell me what exactly was taken?

Woodruff gulps, can barely choke out the words...

INT. VAN, MOVING - NIGHT

Riley pulls onto a highway.

ABIGAIL
There's no map on the back of the
Declaration of Independence.

BEN
Ever heard of the Templar Knights?

ABIGAIL
They were a military order of the
Catholic Church dissolved by the
Pope in the 14th century.

BEN
After King Philip of France had
them all burned at the stake.

ABIGAIL
That's only a legend.

BEN
The Templar Knights are what legends
are made of. Noble men with no allegiance to any state or ruler.
Their cause was to protect innocent
people from tyrannical rulers and
oppression. In 1307, they broke
into a Visigothic stronghold in
Languedoc, France and found a
treasure so massive it took six
days to exhume. They had taken a
vow of poverty and swore to protect
the treasure, using it only for the
noblest purpose. King Philip wanted
the treasure...if he could only
find it. He had the Knights arrested
and tortured, but none ever confessed
to the treasure's whereabouts. The
few Knights who'd evaded capture
hid the treasure for almost 200
years, then finally brought it to
the one place where there were no
kings and no religious persecution,
the New World. Christopher Columbus,
not so coincidentally, was a
descendant of the Knights.

ABIGAIL
What do the Templar Knights have to
do with the Declaration?

Ben pulls a one-dollar bill out of his pocket and points to the symbols on the back.

BEN
The all-seeing eye. The unfinished
pyramid. These are the marks of
the Templar. Our founding fathers
were descendants of the Knights.
They put the map on the back.

Abigail just looks at Ben. An incredulous beat, then...

ABIGAIL
This is crazy. I'm calling the
police. Stop the car.

Riley doesn't slow down.

ABIGAIL (CONT'D)
You wish to add kidnapping to your
list of federal offenses?

RILEY
You can get out whenever you want.

Abigail glances out the window. They're going about 70mph.

ABIGAIL
Fine. I will!

She reaches for the door handle.

BEN
Do you still want to hear the riddle
from the pipe?

That stops Abigail. She turns him, listening.

BEN (CONT'D)
"The legend writ, the stain effected
The key in Silence undetected
Fifty-five in iron pen
Mr. Matlack can't offend."

ABIGAIL
Timothy Matlack? The calligrapher
of the Declaration of Independence?

BEN
The pipe came from Mt. Vernon.

Abigail digests this, incredulous.

ABIGAIL
If that's true, the pipe is a major
American historical find.

BEN
Yeah well, Ian already has it, and
he'll take the Declaration too if
we don't protect it.

ABIGAIL
How do I know you're not lying?

BEN
We look at the back.

Abigail considers that, then looks Ben square in the eye.

ABIGAIL
All right. But if there's nothing
on the back, you're turning
yourselves in.

BEN
Deal. Because if there's nothing
on the back, the Declaration's safe.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SERVICE CORRIDOR - NIGHT

Two EMTs work on Guard Ferguson who is conscious now. He sits propped up against a wall, talking to Agent Dawes.

GUARD FERGUSON
The only thing I remember is the
smell of my hair burning.

ON SADUSKY who approaches. Agent Dawes nods to Guard Ferguson, then joins Sadusky down the hall.

AGENT DAWES
They got him with a taser gun at the service entrance.

SADUSKY
Did he see the shooter? Anything?

Agent Dawes shakes her head, no.

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, INNER CORRIDOR - NIGHT

FBI forensics TECHNICIANS work the crime scene, studying bullet casings and dusting for fingerprints. Sadusky moves down the corridor with Dr. Herbert and Woodruff.

SADUSKY
Rounds were fired, and nobody heard
anything?

WOODRUFF
The vault corridor is lined with
three feet of steel and concrete.

Sadusky studies the walls pocked with bullet holes.

SADUSKY
We get a description from the guards?

WOODRUFF
Which guards?

SADUSKY
The guards that were fired upon.

WOODRUFF
There were no guards on patrol down
here.

Sadusky moves to the elevator which is also bullet-riddled.

SADUSKY
Then, who were the thieves shooting
at?

Just then, Agent Colfax calls from the stalled elevator.

AGENT COLFAX (O.S.)
Found it!

Sadusky, Woodruff and Dr. Herbert move to...

THE ELEVATOR. Agent Hendricks stands above the elevator car in the shaft. He hands THE EMPTY THERMOPANE DISPLAY CASE down to Agent Colfax from its hiding place.







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