National Treasure April 9, 2003 Script Draft: Page #5


AGENT HENDRICKS
Looks like they used a dibasic acid to dissolve the bolts.

Dr. Herbert looks so broken up, he just might cry.

SADUSKY
Get a copy of the Declaration in
place before opening tomorrow.

DR. HERBERT
Yes, absolutely.

SADUSKY
No word goes to the public.
Everything is to appear normal.

Dr. Herbert does his best to compose himself.

DR. HERBERT
Who would do such a thing?

AGENT HENDRICKS
Anti-government terrorists.

Just then, Agent Johnson steps up.

AGENT JOHNSON
Computerized security records
indicate that a Dr. Abigail Chase
accessed the vault at 9:32pm tonight.

DR. HERBERT
Dr. Chase? Impossible. I was with
her at that time.

Agent Johnson shows Sadusky a copy of Abigail's ID photo.

SADUSKY
Who is she?

DR. HERBERT
The Charters of Freedom Custodian.

AGENT JOHNSON
The one in charge of the Declaration
of Independence.

SADUSKY
Where is she? Let's talk to her.

AGENT JOHNSON
Unaccounted for, sir.

Dr. Herbert is upset by the news. Now, Agent Dawes approaches, carrying a computer printout.

AGENT DAWES
A man named Benjamin Gates used his
credit card in the gift shop at
9:39pm. He wasn't on the guest list.
We got an address from the credit
card company.

SADUSKY
Gift shop? What the hell did this
guy buy?

INT. VAN, MOVING - NIGHT

Ben roots around under the seat. Comes up with a Big-Gulp cup. Tosses it aside. Finally comes up with a cardboard mailing tube. He peels off an old cheeseburger wrapper stuck to it, then hands it to Abigail.
BEN
Here.

Abigail opens the tube and partially pulls out the document. The aged parchment is clearly visible through the plastic. She's awe-struck.

ABIGAIL
You are not to touch this ever again!

She slips the document back inside the tube.

BEN
Fine by me. I never wanted to touch
it in the first place.

ABIGAIL
You don't deserve to touch it.

RILEY
Let's just look at the map. That
way nobody will ever have to touch
it again.

ABIGAIL
Not here.

RILEY
What do you mean "not here"?

ABIGAIL
Not in the back of a van. We'll
need chemicals. A controlled
environment. A clean room with
particulate air filtration. ESD
attire. I hope you have all that.

CUT TO - A DOOR BURSTS OPEN, and a SWAT TEAM swarms in, all in black, bullet-proof gear, helmets, lights, guns. We WIDEN to reveal that we're in...

INT. APARTMENT - NIGHT

Shrouds of plastic hang over the windows. Beams of light cut through the darkness as the team moves swiftly through the room. A beat, then a SWAT team member calls out...

SWAT COP
Interior secure!

INT. APARTMENT BUILDING CORRIDOR - NIGHT

Sadusky and his team move down the hallway. Agent Dawes reads from a printout.

AGENT DAWES
Ben Franklin Gates used his Visa on
a one-way plane ticket from Toronto
to D.C. two days ago after spending
seven months unaccounted for. Before
that, his paper trail's got him all
over the place. Boston, France,
Boston, Greenland.

AGENT COLFAX
The landlady didn't want to say
much about him. Only that he's
rarely here, that he's very nice,
and that he always pays his rent,
sometimes months in advance.

They come to a room cordoned off and guarded by police.

AGENT COLFAX (CONT'D)
Wait 'til you see this.

INT. BEN'S LOFT APARTMENT - NIGHT

Sadusky and his team enter the room and stop suddenly at what they see. We REVERSE and find...

We're in Ben's apartment, and everything is now all lined in plastic. Every square inch of the room. The windows, walls, carpet, television, and all of the furniture.

A CHEMISTRY SET sits on the dresser. A box of BLUE ESD BOOTIES sit near the door. The only other thing not covered is a Xerox copied collection of old handwritten letters.

Agent Dawes dons a pair of gloves, picks them up, and studies the letters.

AGENT DAWES
Letters to the editor of The New-
England Courant
. Written in 1722.

She flips through the other letters.

AGENT DAWES (CONT'D)
They're all from the same person.
(reads a letter)
"Your humble servant, Silence
Dogood."

Agent Hendricks studies the blue booties by the door.

AGENT HENDRICKS
What's this guy up to?

AGENT JOHNSON
Profilers say we're looking at an
adult male, a loner, has a high IQ
but has never been able to hold
down a job, is socially inept, has
probably written numerous letters
to the White House expressing anti-
government sentiments. We're
expecting him to contact us shortly
with ransom demands.

Sadusky eyes the "Don't Tread on Me" Flag which is covered in clear plastic.

SADUSKY
I don't think he's going to be
calling with any ransom demands.

CUT TO - A BOTTLE OF SAMUEL ADAMS beer is slammed down onto a table. We WIDEN to reveal...

INT. HAWK AND DOVE RESTAURANT - NIGHT

Powell and Shaw sit with Ian who studies the pipe.

SHAW
Where do you think they went?

No response. Ian turns the pipe over, then looks to a cocktail napkin on which he's written the riddle.

ON THE NAPKIN, the words "legend" and "key" are underlined along with "undetected" and "Silence."

IAN
That bastard. He did know something
he wasn't telling me. Look at this.
(points to a line)
"Legend" and "key" are not the same
thing. "Legend" means map. "Key
means key.

POWELL
The key to the treasure?

IAN
During the war, generals used secret
codes and ciphers to disguise their
communications. To decode the
cipher, the recipient needed the
"key," like a book or an old letter.
"The key in Silence undetected."
You know why Silence is capitalized?

Powell and Shaw exchange a look, then hazard a guess...

SHAW
Because...it's important?

IAN
Because it's a name.

INT. VAN, MOVING - NIGHT

Ben and Abigail look ahead to see a SEA OF POLICE AND FBI in the parking lot of Ben's apartment building.

RILEY
What do we do now?

ABIGAIL
Turn yourselves in.

BEN
Go to Hillcrest.

RILEY
(scoffs, incredulous)
We can't go there!

ABIGAIL
Where?

BEN
We need the key to the cipher. I
had copies. He has the originals.

ABIGAIL
Who?

RILEY
He hates you. He'll turn you in.

ABIGAIL
Whoever it is, he sounds like a
good man.

EXT. HILLCREST NEIGHBORHOOD - NIGHT

Oak trees line the street colonial and Queen Anne homes.

EXT. COLONIAL HOME - NIGHT

Ben knocks on the door and waits with Riley and Abigail. A beat, then a 60-year-old, graying MAN opens the door. He takes one look at Ben, then slams the door. Riley shrugs.

BEN
I don't think he recognized me.

RILEY
I think he's still mad at you for
not going to Medical School.

BEN
(pounds on the door)
Dad! Open the door! I need your
help.

The man opens the door again. We realize now he's PATRICK GATES, Ben's father. He looks to his son, then to Abigail...

PATRICK
Don't tell me. You got her pregnant.

BEN
No!

Abigail looks down at her stomach, suddenly self conscious.

ABIGAIL (disappointed)
I look pregnant?

BEN
(to his dad)
I need the Silence Dogood letters.

ABIGAIL (incredulous)
You have Silence Dogood letters?

BEN
Our great-great-great-great-
grandfather George Washington Gates
found a few hidden in an old desk
he bought at an auction. No one
ever understood their meaning until
we found the pipe.

PATRICK
This better not involve Charlotte.

BEN
My days of looking for Charlotte
are over. I swear.

RILEY
He's telling the truth, Mr. Gates.

Patrick smiles smug as he opens the door to let them in.

PATRICK
I knew it. I knew there was no
Charlotte. I told you so.

BEN
Dad, let's not do the "I told you
so" thing.

PATRICK
I think after all these years I'm
entitled to a little "I told you
so." I told you, I told your
grandpa, I told your mother. You
people wasting your lives chasing
something that doesn't exist--

BEN
--All right, dad, you asked for it.
Do you really want to know? I.
found. Charlotte. That's right.
I really found her.

That stops Patrick. He looks to Abigail.

ABIGAIL
I'm not Charlotte. My name is
Abigail. Dr. Abigail Chase.

BEN
Charlotte was a ship.

PATRICK
I know. She left port from Maine
1779. I wasted seven years searching
the coast of France.

BEN
She never made it to Fran
Erebus, a ship that left port two
days before the Charlotte. The
captain wrote that his ship barely
survived a bad southeaster which I
figured must have blown the Charlotte
off course.

That stops Patrick. His eyes flash with excitement.

PATRICK
How far off course?

INT. HOTEL SUITE - NIGHT

Ian works on his laptop while Powell and Shaw eat room service food. His computer BEEPS.

IAN
(triumphantly)
Silence Dogood. Here she is.

ON THE COMPUTER SCREEN are the search results for "Silence" and "Declaration of Independence." We notice the name "SILENCE DOGOOD" many times.

SHAW
(O.S.) Who is it?

We PUSH IN on the screen, then PULL OUT and as we hear Agent Johnson's voice take over the explanation...

AGENT JOHNSON (O.S.)
Silence Dogood, a.k.a., Benjamin Franklin.

We PULL BACK and realize that we have transitioned to...

EXT. APARTMENT BUILDING, PARKING LOT - NIGHT

Sadusky stands with his team at a make-shift command post. The FBI has just run the same Google Search.

Agent Johnson reads from his laptop screen.

AGENT JOHNSON
Ben Franklin was 15 years old,
apprenticing for his brother James'
newspaper when he secretly wrote 14
letters to the Editor of The Courant
using the pen name, Silence Dogood,
a middle-aged widowed wife of a
minister. She wrote about colonial
life, gained quite a following, and
even obtained proposals of marriage.

Sadusky regards the copied letters from Ben's apartment.

SADUSKY
These letters were written by
Benjamin Franklin?

Now, Agent Colfax steps up with a sheet of paper.

AGENT COLFAX
The gift shop clerk ID'd Gates on
the surveillance tapes from earlier
in the evening.

Sadusky studies Ben's photo.

CLOSE ON THE PICTURE, a grainy surveillance image of Ben in his tuxedo as he passes through the security checkpoint
upon entering the National Archives gala.

Sadusky hands the photo back to Agent Colfax.

SADUSKY
Release his picture to the press.
Dr. Chase's too. Someone's bound
to spot them.

INT. COLONIAL HOME, DINING ROOM - NIGHT

Ben clears the dining room table. Abigail helps, but her eyes search the room and stop on...A PHONE. But it's too close to Ben to get to.

ABIGAIL
Where's the bathroom?

BEN
Down the hall. First door on the
right.

Abigail disappears into the hall.

INT. COLONIAL HOME, HALL - NIGHT

Abigail moves down the hall and finds to the bathroom. Directly across the hall is a study. Abigail glances back toward the living room, then ducks into the study.

INT. COLONIAL HOME, STUDY - NIGHT

Packed with books on shelves and in piles. Abigail moves to a desk and finds a phone cradle...but no phone. She notices a collection of FRAMED BUTTONS hanging on the wall.

CLOSE ON one of the framed buttons. It's a silver-plated George Washington Inaugural button. There is a note, "Dad, Found this in a backyard in Maryland. Love, Ben."

BEN (O.S.)
Looking for this?

Abigail turns, startled. She sees the phone in Ben's hand.

BEN (CONT'D)
I thought we had a deal.

ABIGAIL
(covers)
Dr. Herbert will be worried about
me.

BEN
You guys dating?

ABIGAIL
Yes, and he's going to kill you.

BEN
I figured. He looked like your
type.

ABIGAIL
You have no idea what my type is.

BEN
I know you don't like treasure
hunters.

ABIGAIL
I like men I can trust.

Ben considers that, then hands her the phone and leaves. Abigail looks at the phone in her hand, surprised.

INT. COLONIAL HOME, DINING ROOM - NIGHT

Abigail emerges from the hallway with the phone to find Ben standing there.

ABIGAIL
Why did you come after me? You had
the Declaration of Independence.
You could've just gotten away.

BEN
Why didn't you call your boyfriend?

ABIGAIL
He's not my boyfriend.

They look at each other for a moment, then Riley enters.

RILEY
I parked the van around back.

Ben hands Abigail the gloves. She dons them, then opens the tube. They all look at each other for a beat, then...

Abigail carefully slips the Declaration of Independence out of the tube. The document practically glows with history. She catches her breath, mesmerized by its power, then gingerly unrolls the document. They are all awe-struck.

Now, Patrick enters with a TRAY OF TEA. He goes to set it on the table, right on the Declaration of Independence...

...but Ben quickly intercepts the tray.

BEN
Whoa! Not there.

Ben grabs the tray from his dad and sets it on the buffet. Now, Patrick notices the ancient parchment on the table.

PATRICK
Where'd you get that? It looks
old.

BEN
A little over 200 years.

PATRICK
Wow. You sure?

Ben and Riley exchange knowing looks. Riley nods...

RILEY
Pretty sure.

PATRICK
What is it?

RILEY
Just a map.

PATRICK
I don't see anything.

He reaches to turn the parchment over, but Ben stops him.

BEN
This side. It's invisible ink.

PATRICK
So, put it in the oven.

ABIGAIL
No!

PATRICK
Why not? Ferrous sulfate inks can
only be brought out with heat.

ABIGAIL
But it will damage the--

BEN
--parchment.
(to his dad)
She's right. It's very old. We
can't risk compromising the map.

PATRICK
You need a reagent.

BEN
I know.

Ben grabs a slice of LEMON off the tea tray.

PATRICK
Just the upper right-hand corner.

BEN
(peeved)
I know.

ABIGAIL
If there is indeed a secret message,
it will be marked with a symbol
there first.

BEN
I know.

He brushes the lemon over the corner of the parchment. They all eagerly...wait...for it to reveal...anything.

ABIGAIL
Nothing.

Riley looks hard at the parchment, ready to jump off the highest building.

RILEY
Nothing?

PATRiCK
You sure it's this side?

BEN
It needs heat.

With that, Ben leans in and BREATHES on the parchment. As if by magic, the puff of warm breath reveals...

A SERIES OF NUMBERS. They appear briefly, flicker, then disappear. But everyone in the room sees them. A wash of silence overcomes them, then...

ABIGAIL
We need more heat.

CUT TO CLOSE ON a hairdryer blowing on a low setting on the parchment. As it does, a LONG SERIES OF FADED NUMBERS slowly emerge: 6.14.7, 4.54.4, 10.1.9...

ABIGAIL
Oh. My. God.

PATRICK
A series of numbers. 3 per set.

BEN
It's an Ottendorf cipher.

PATRICK
George Washington and the Marquis
de Lafayette used them to pass secret
messages from the front lines.

RILEY
(covering)
Duh.

BEN
The first number indicates the page
in the key, in this case, the set
of Silence Dogood letters. The
second number in the cipher is the
line on that page. And the third
is the word on that line.

RILEY
Where is the map with the "X"? *

BEN
There's never a map with an "X."

RILEY
Then, who started that legend?

Abigail studies the numbers, tears welling in her eyes.

ABIGAIL
This is amazing.

BEN
Dad, where're the letters? We need
the letters.

PATRICK
(suddenly guilty)
When you left, I got rid of
everything.

As they talk, Abigail picks up the document and holds it up to the chandelier light for closer inspection.

BEN
Dad, where are they?!

PATRICK
I donated them.

Riley hangs his head.

RILEY
I hope you got a big tax write-off.

BEN
Who'd you give them to?

PATRICK
There's only one place for them.

BEN
You gave them to the Ben Franklin
Museum?

PATRICK
It completed their collection.

Abigail excitedly scrutinizes the writing on the Declaration of Independence.

ABIGAIL
This is a tremendous discovery!
All this time. No one knew there
was something on the back.

PATRICK
On the back of what?

Patrick peeks at the front of the document, and his face falls as he now SEES WHAT'S ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PARCHMENT. It starts with, "In CONGRESS, July 4th 1776."

PATRICK (CONT'D)
Holy shit!

BEN
I know.

PATRICK
That's the--

BEN
--I know.

Patrick digests that, about to blow a gasket, then...

PATRICK (excited)
It's brilliant! Putting the map on
the back of an important document
guaranteed the map's survival.

BEN
I know.

RILEY
Um, guys...

Riley's attention is drawn to the television in the den. On the screen is the grainy surveillance picture of Ben captioned with his name.

Ben goes to the television and turns it up.

REPORTER (ON SCREEN)
...for questioning in connection
with an attempted robbery at the
National Archives tonight.
Authorities are also looking for
this woman...

ON THE SCREEN, a picture of Abigail also appears. Abigail gasps.

REPORTER (ON SCREEN) (CONT'D)
...Dr. Abigail Chase, a museum
employee who has been reported as
missing. Police did not say whether
Dr. Chase is a suspect or a witness,
only that she is the only National
Archives employee not currently
accounted for...

The thought of her being wanted almost makes Abigail faint.

ABIGAIL
We should turn ourselves in. We
have evidence now.

BEN
The FBI will just think I put those
numbers on the back. They'll put
me in jail, the Declaration back on
display, and Ian will just come
after it again.

PATRICK
He's right. The Declaration of
Independence will never be safe.

RILEY
So, now what?

PATRICK
Find that treasure.

Ben looks to his dad, surprised. It's first time he's seen a glimmer of approval in his dad's face in a long time.

ABIGAIL
We need to change our clothes.

EXT. HILLCREST NEIGHBORHOOD - NIGHT

A swarm of POLICE CARS and government sedans sit parked on the driveway and street outside Patrick's home.

INT. COLONIAL HOME, DINING ROOM - NIGHT

Sadusky's team sweeps the house. Patrick sits calmly at the table as Sadusky scrutinizes the tea service.

PATRICK
My son told me to call you. Said
otherwise I'd be aiding and abetting.

Sadusky looks to Agent Dawes who reads from a dossier.

AGENT DAWES
Benjamin Franklin Gates. Graduated
with honors from Dartmouth with a
PhD in American History. Spent his
summers working on a deep sea salvage
expeditions.

PATRICK
He was looking for Charlotte.

AGENT HENDRICKS
A girl?

PATRICK
(dramatically)
A quest.

The agents exchange eye-rolling looks, like "another whacko."

SADUSKY
Sir, did your son say where he was
going?

PATRICK
(thinks)
No, he never actually said.

SADUSKY
Your son's in a lot of trouble, Mr.
Gates. He's stolen a National
Treasure.

PATRICK
Sometimes a man has to do something
wrong in order to do something right.

SADUSKY
And what would that right thing be?

Patrick reaches for something in his pocket and, IN AN INSTANT, every FED (except Sadusky) has their gun out and
trained on Patrick who freezes. Sadusky sighs.

SADUSKY (CONT'D)
Guys. He's going for his wallet.

The agents holster their sidearms, and Patrick pulls out his wallet, takes out a $1-bill, and lays it on the table.

PATRICK
Have you ever heard of the Lost
Treasure of the Templar Knights?

EXT. COLONIAL HOME - NIGHT

Sadusky and his team of agents exit the house. As they walk, Sadusky studies the one-dollar bill.

AGENT JOHNSON
A map on the back of the Declaration
of Independence? Insanity obviously
runs in the family.

AGENT COLFAX
Let's hope we recover the Declaration
before he goes into endgame.

SADUSKY
Whether or not there's a treasure map,
Gates isn't the only one after it.

Agent Dawes looks to her boss, realizing...

AGENT DAWES
The gunfire outside the vault room...

SADUSKY
...Someone was shooting at Gates.
Someone else who knew about the map.

Sadusky finally pockets the dollar bill.

SADUSKY (CONT'D)
Ben Gates had copies of the Silence
Dogood letters at his apartment.
He needed them for something. Let's
find out where the originals are.

EXT. INDEPENDENCE NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK - DAY

REVOLUTIONARY WAR SOLDIERS armed with muskets fire a volley of shots at a line of RED COATS. BOOM-BOOM-BOOM! Several British fall. We WIDEN to reveal...

We're watching a re-enactment of a revolutionary battle. Horses, cannons, drums, gunfire. We MOVE through a CROWD OF TOURISTS which stands on the sidelines and come to...

WASHINGTON SQUARE, where a mock-up of a Continental Army encampment has been set up for the show. Standing between the tents, Ben and Abigail survey the scene.

ABIGAIL
He's taking too long. He's been
caught.

BEN
They're not looking for Riley, just us.
He's fine.







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