National Treasure April 9, 2003 Script Draft: Page #7


INT. CORVETTE - DAY

Ian closes his door and turns back to drive but is greeted by Abigail's elbow, which she SLAMS INTO HIS FACE.

Ian's nose crunches, spurts blood. Pissed off as all hell, Ian reels around with his gun...

IAN
You little bitc--

He goes to shoot, but just then, the passenger side door pops open, and BEN PULLS ABIGAIL OUT THE OTHER SIDE.

EXT. INDEPENDENCE NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK - DAY

Ben and Abigail roll away from the Corvette in the grass.

INT. CORVETTE - DAY

Ian goes to shoot them but is stopped by...

SHAW
Forget 'em. Look!

Ian looks through the windshield to see dozens of FEDS sprinting onto the field of battle. Ian GUNS IT.

EXT. INDEPENDENCE NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK - DAY

The Corvette peels out. Abigail watches it go.

ABIGAIL
He's got the Declaration!

BEN
I know.

The British Officer staggers to his feet. Goes to his horse, but the horse is...

...COMMANDEERED by Ben who leaps into his horse's saddle, whips it around to find his path is blocked by...

SADUSKY AND A LINE OF FEDERAL AGENTS. Guns drawn.

SADUSKY
Freeze, Gates!

Ben looks the Corvette which disappears into traffic.

BEN
You're letting him get away!

SADUSKY
Get off the horse, and get on your
knees!

The FBI AGENTS move in as we PULL UP above the mayhem to...

A GOD'S EYE VIEW of the FEDS swarming in on Abigail and Ben who drops to his knees, defeated as we DISSOLVE TO...

CLOSE ON the bifocals which sit on top of an otherwise bare metal table. We WIDEN to reveal we're in...

INT. FBI, INTERROGATION ROOM - DAY

Ben sits across from Sadusky, Agents Johnson and Dawes, who finishes the last dregs of her coffee from a styrofoam cup.

AGENT DAWES
They don't look like magic glasses.

BEN
There's nothing magic about it.
It's an ancient optical effect.
The Egyptians encoded all their
major art works with it. It's
believed humans used to be able to
see the 3D images with the naked
eye, but the human eye evolved.

SADUSKY
Evolved?

BEN
In the Bible, the oceans are
described as being the "color of
wine." That's because the human
eye couldn't see the color blue
back then. Now, it can. Benjamin
Franklin was a genius and inventor.
He designed these special lenses
and used this optical effect to
hide the map on the back of the
Declaration of Independence.

SADUSKY
You sure you don't want a lawyer?

BEN
Haven't you ever wondered why all
those symbols are on the back of
our one-dollar bill? The All-Seeing
Eye? The pyramid? Our Founding
Fathers were Freemasons, descendants
of the Templar Knights who go all
the way back to Ancient Egypt.

Sadusky and his team all exchange dubious looks, then...

SADUSKY
Anyone want more coffee?

No takers. Sadusky moves to go, but Ben stops him with...

BEN
You didn't shoot me. Why?

SADUSKY
What?

BEN
On the car. You had a clear bead
on me. Why didn't you take it?

SADUSKY
Because you don't fire into a crowd.

BEN
Because you knew there was something
else going on here.

Sadusky studies Ben. Says nothing.

BEN (CONT'D)
Let me get the Declaration back.
Ian Howe can't find the treasure
without the glasses. I'll cut a
deal with him. Tell him I'll give
him the treasure if he gives us the
Declaration of Independence.

SADUSKY
Why don't you just tell us what the
map said, and we'll go make the
trade with Mr. Howe?

BEN
Ian's too smart for that.

Sadusky considers that, nodding his head, then...

AGENT JOHNSON
You wanna know what I believe?

Everyone looks to Agent Johnson.

AGENT JOHNSON (CONT'D)
That you'd do anything to get your
hands on that treasure. That you
and Ian Howe made a deal. But once
you got close to it, you both got
greedy and you each decided you'd
get more of the treasure without
the other. Am I right?

Before Ben can answer, a KNOCK at the door interrupts.

Sadusky opens it to find Agents Colfax and Hendricks.

SADUSKY
You find Howe?

Colfax and Hendricks exchange a solemn look, then...

AGENT COLFAX
He just called.

SADUSKY
Great. Where--

AGENT HENDRICKS
--With his ransom demands. He wants
Ben Gates. He's requested that we
release him...

AGENT COLFAX
...And that no police or federal
agents follow him.

SADUSKY
Absolutely not. Out of the question.

AGENT COLFAX
He said that if we don't comply
with his demands by midnight tonight,
he'll...

Agent Colfax's voice trails off.

SADUSKY
He'll what?

AGENT HENDRICKS
He'll...
(chokes out the words)
...cut off a piece of the Declaration
of Independence every hour and send
it to us in a box.

The agents are all horrified by the prospect.

BEN
He's not bluffing.

Agent Johnson loses it and charges Ben, grabbing him by the collar and throwing him up against the wall.

AGENT JOHNSON
You little prick. How do we know
that you and Howe didn't plan this
whole thing?!

BEN
You don't.

Agent Johnson stares daggers at Ben who looks to Sadusky.

BEN (CONT'D)
But I'm all you got.

INT. FBI, BULL PEN - DAY

Sadusky escorts a handcuffed Ben toward a glass walled conference room. Inside, agents huddle around Agent Hendricks who talks on the phone.

Hendricks sees Sadusky and pokes his head out of the room.

AGENT HENDRICKS
It's Howe! He wants to talk to
Gates.

INT. FBI, CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY

Wearing handcuffs, Ben takes the phone from Agent Hendricks.

BEN
(into the phone)
Hello, Ian.

A long beat as Ben listens. A digital recorder records the conversation in the background while Agent Colfax monitors it on headphones. Finally....

BEN (CONT'D)
Yes, I understand.

With that, he hangs up and looks to Sadusky.

BEN (CONT'D)
USS Intrepid. Port side. East
River. He's coming in by chopper.

SADUSKY
New York?

BEN
In three hours.

AGENT DAWES
We'd better hurry.

AGENT JOHNSON
He say anything else?

BEN
No feds. No wires. Or no deal.

EXT. UPPER NEW YORK HARBOR - DAY

Islands crammed with high rises.

EXT. USS INTREPID - DAY

Retired combat aircraft sit idle on the deck. Flags and pennants flap in the breeze.

EXT. HARBOR PARKING LOT - DAY

A high-tech van sits in the parking lot. Several antennas protrude from the van's roof.

INT. FBI VAN - DAY

This surveillance vehicle is packed with equipment. Shirt off, Ben is wired by Sadusky's team while Sadusky watches. Sitting at a computer bay, Agent Colfax wears headphones.

AGENT COLFAX
Say something.

BEN
Can I put my shirt back on?

AGENT COLFAX
All right. He's good.

EXT. HARBOR PARKING LOT - DAY

Ben climbs out of the van. Turns back.

BEN
I need the bifocals.

Agent Dawes gives them to him, and Ben pockets them.

SADUSKY
As soon as he shows you the
Declaration, we'll move in. Don't
try anything.

EXT. USS INTREPID, BRIDGE - DAY

Hidden here is an FBI SNIPER. Through his scope, we FOLLOW Ben as he climbs the gangway and steps onto the deck.

EXT. BUILDING ROOFTOP - DAY

Across the street, more FEDS watch and wait. Agent Hendricks searches the skies with binoculars for the chopper.

EXT. USS INTREPID, DECK - DAY

Ben crosses the deck to the port side.

EXT. BUILDING ROOFTOP - DAY

Finally, Agent Hendricks sees something in the distance.

AGENT HENDRICKS
I got a visual.

We see it now. A TINY SPECK in the sky. A chopper?

INT. FBI VAN - DAY

Sadusky sits with Agents Dawes and Colfax.

AGENT DAWES
Think it's Howe?

Sadusky leans into a microphone.

SADUSKY
Get ready, Gates.

EXT. USS INTREPID, DECK - DAY

Ben moves to the edge of the deck. Nothing but river below. He checks his watch, then...

BEN
(into his mic)
Sadusky?

INTERCUT Sadusky in the van.

SADUSKY
(into his mic)
Yeah?

BEN (VIA MIC)
I want you to know that Abigail had
nothing to do with this. I know
you believe me.

INTERCUT Sadusky and Dawes, exchanging worried looks.

AGENT DAWES
What the hell is he talking about?!

SADUSKY
Shit! He set us up!

INTERCUT BEN on the deck. He JUMPS! A 60-foot drop...

SPLASH! Ben knifes into the East River.

INT. FBI VAN - DAY

There's a loud POP! As the wires on Ben's body short out. Agent Colfax whips off his headset.

AGENT COLFAX
Sonofabitch!

EXT. HARBOR PARKING LOT - DAY

Calling orders into a radio, Sadusky and Dawes jump out of the van and sprint across the parking lot.

SADUSKY
Gates jumped! He's in the river!
Move in! Move in!

EXT. USS INTREPID, BRIDGE - DAY

The FBI SNIPER scrambles, searches the water below, can't see shit. The flight deck blocks his view.

EXT. EAST RIVER - DAY

Ben surfaces a few feet from the hull. A beat, then BUBBLESappear next to him and...

A DIVER'S HEAD pops out of the water. The diver slips back his mask...it's RILEY.

BEN
Ransom demand?

Riley grins, affects a British accent.

RILEY
I rather liked that part too.

He hands Ben a TANK, REGULATOR, and set of FINS. Grins.

BEN
Just like diving for that wreck off
the coast of France.

Ben jams the regulator into his mouth, and they disappear from the surface.

EXT. USS INTREPID, DECK - DAY

FEDS lean over the flight deck, searching the murky water.

EXT. HARBOR - DAY

More FEDS scour the shore. No sign of Ben.

INT. FBI, HOLDING CELLS - DAY

Sadusky moves purposefully down a line of holding cells, stops at one. Inside, sits Abigail.

SADUSKY
We know you're not involved. You're
free to go.

Abigail looks at him, surprised.

EXT. TRINITY CHURCH - EVENING

On the corner of Wall Street and Broadway, this medieval gothic church is dwarfed by modern skyscrapers all around.

INT. TRINITY CHURCH - EVENING

We FOLLOW a man's legs, walking up the aisle. He stops a pew. Sits. We WIDEN to reveal that it's IAN.


BEN (O.S.)
You're late.

We WIDEN MORE to reveal BEN in the pew in front of Ian.

IAN
I took a look around. Waited.
Made sure you weren't working with
the FBI.

BEN
Satisfied?

IAN
Not until I get that treasure.

BEN
Do you have the Declaration of
Independence?

IAN
If I give it to you now, how do I
know you won't just walk off with
it and forget about the treasure?

BEN
How do I know you'll give me the
Declaration of Independence after I
show you where the treasure is?

IAN
I guess we're just going to have to
trust each other.

BEN
That's easy for you to say. I never
tried to kill you.

IAN
Come on, Ben. This is a treasure
hunt. It's just the way it is. I
actually quite like you. If we
weren't such enemies, I do believe
we'd be great friends.

BEN
Forget it, Ian. Deal's off.

Ben stands and starts down the aisle. Ian calls after him...

IAN
All right!

Ian pulls out his cell phone. Punches in a number.

IAN (CONT'D)
(into the phone)
Bring it.

BEN
I want the pipe too.

IAN
What pipe?

BEN
The Meerschaum pipe. From the
Charlotte. I found it. You took
it.

Ian rolls his eyes, then talks into the phone...

IAN
And bring the bloody pipe.

With that, Ian hangs up. A beat, then the church doors open, and SHAW enters with Declaration of Independence in a mailing tube.

Shaw approaches and hands Ben the tube. He opens it, verifies that the Declaration of Independence is inside, then hands it back.

Ben then reaches into his pocket and pulls out THE BIFOCALS. Ian regards them, realizing...

IAN (CONT'D)
The All Seeing Eye.

BEN
(excitedly)
We found them in the Independence
Hall belfry. There really is a map
on the back of the Declaration of
Independence. It's the most
fantastic thing you'll ever see!

Ian is caught up in the moment. He reaches for the bifocals, but Ben "accidentally" drops them.

We watch as THE BIFOCALS FALL TO THE FLOOR IN SLO-MO and then land on the tiled floor...CRACK!

And if that isn't bad enough, Ben finishes them off by STOMPING ON THEM WITH HIS SHOE...CRUNCH!

The bifocals lie on the floor in a million crystal pieces.

BEN (CONT'D)
Whoops! I guess you'll just have
to take my word for it.

Enraged, Ian lunges at Ben and tackles him to the church floor. PARISHIONERS crane their necks to see the commotion.

Ian pins Ben and shoves a gun into Ben's stomach.

IAN
I'll kill you for that!

BEN
You do, and the secret to the
treasure dies with me.

Ian stares at Ben. Knows he's not bluffing.

BEN (CONT'D)
I give you the treasure; you give
me the Declaration of Independence.

IAN
That's it?

BEN
That's it.

Ian stands, then holds out his hand for Ben.

IAN
I guess that makes us partners again.

Ben ignores him. Gets to his feet.

BEN
Oh yeah. And no guns.

INT. TRINITY CHURCH, FOYER - NIGHT

The REVEREND enters the foyer just as Ben, Ian, and Shaw exit. The Reverend moves to the collection dish and finds...

...Two GUNS. He looks around, where did these come from?

EXT. TRINITY CHURCH - NIGHT

Ben, Ian, and Shaw exit the church, passing AN OLD LADY IN A BLACK SHAWL who reaches out and GRABS BEN'S WRIST!

Startled, Ben looks to the woman, realizes it's...ABIGAIL. She pushes back her shroud.

BEN
What're you doing here?!

ABIGAIL
I saw the map, remember?

Ben and Ian exchange a knowing look.

IAN
Bloody hell!

ABIGAIL
Don't worry. Nobody followed me.

INT. PLAZA HOTEL LOUNGE - NIGHT

Sadusky, Agent Dawes, and Agent Johnson enter. Agents Hendricks and Colfax stand outside the ladies restroom, tails between their legs.

AGENT COLFAX
She asked to go to the bathroom.

AGENT HENDRICKS
She was only in there for 30 seconds.
I swear.

Sadusky looks around, moving forward.

SADUSKY
All right. Both Gates and Dr. Chase
came here, to Manhattan. What for?

AGENT JOHNSON
The treasure.

AGENT HENDRICKS
There's no way any treasure's still
buried here. Everything's changed,
ground's been dug up for subways
and underground parking lots, high
rises.

SADUSKY
So what in Manhattan hasn't changed
in over 200 years?

EXT. TRINITY CHURCH GRAVEYARD - NIGHT

Worn tombstones and crypts going all the way back to the 17th century are enclosed in this ancient churchyard by an old wrought iron fence.

Ben, Abigail, Ian, and Shaw come around the corner.

IAN
Normally I find graveyards rather
depressing, but in this case, I
find it uplifting and full of
promise. Where do we start?

Riley approaches, carrying a shovel.

RILEY
Uh, bad news. There's no "X."

BEN
Yes, there is.

RILEY
I've looked all over.

BEN
You're not looking right.

IAN
Problem, partner?

BEN
No.

Ben and Abigail look around. Then, Ben looks to the sky.

BEN (CONT'D)
In the map, there was a crescent
moon in the sky.

ABIGAIL
Maybe the "X" can only be seen at
night.

Realizing, Ben starts walking back toward the church. Riley calls after him.

RILEY
Well, it's night now, and I don't
see it!

With that, Ben pulls open the heavy church doors, and...

LIGHT SPILLS OUT OF THE CHAPEL, cutting a swath through the graveyard, casting EERIE TOMBSTONE SHADOWS everywhere.

None of which look like an "X." Except maybe...

Ben moves to where the shadow of a plant is cast onto the wall of A LONG STONE CRYPT.

Ben backtracks, following the source of the shadow to...

A GRAVESTONE. Covered in ivy. As Ben starts pulling away the ivy, Ian and the others approach.

Ben clears the ivy, revealing the gravestone. We see now that a TEMPLAR CROSS has been hewn out of the ancient stone.

They all exchange knowing looks.

RILEY (CONT'D)
"X" marks the spot.

IAN
Here? Under this grave?

Ian grabs Riley's shovel, goes to start digging, but Ben stops him with...

BEN
No.

Ben points across the cemetery.

BEN (CONT'D)
There.

They all follow his finger and finally see it. The "X" in the gravestone casts a giant shadow of an "X" on the side of the stone crypt. Ben smiles.

BEN (CONT'D)
"X" marks the spot.

He moves to the crypt. The shadow falls in the direct center. Riley laughs excitedly.

RILEY
Can you believe that?

IAN
I will when I see the treasure.

Ben kneels beside the worn crypt. Feels carefully along the surface as if reading Braille. He stops. Digs out some soft dirt, revealing what looks to be...

A SMALL KEYHOLE.

BEN
Ian, give me the pipe.

Shaw digs the pipe out of his pocket and hands it to Ben. Abigail eyes the pipe. *

ABIGAIL
My God, that's an amazing piece!
What craftsmanship!

BEN
I know. That's why I hate this part.

ABIGAIL
What part?

Ben SLAMS the pipe against the stone. It SHATTERS, revealing a THIN SKELETON KEY that was hidden inside.

Ben scoops up the key and slips it into the key hole. A perfect fit. He looks to the others who all stand by anxiously, then TURNS THE KEY.

Suddenly, there is a loud SCRAPING SOUND as a two-foot thick section of the crypt's lid SLIDES OPEN on a ancient pulley system. As it opens we can see...

A NARROW PASSAGE. Barely wide enough for one person to squeeze through. A very dark.

They all exchange a look. And can't help but smile at their sudden success. Ian looks to Riley.

IAN
You first.

RILEY
No way. The guy who goes first
always gets killed.

ABIGAIL
That's silly.

RILEY
Hey, I don't make the rules. There's
always a map with an "X," and there's
always a trap. Maps and traps.
That's just what guys who hide
treasures do.

BEN
I'll go first.

Ben flicks on a flashlight and ducks down inside.

INT. UNDERGROUND STAIRWAY - NIGHT

Old moss covered steps descend at a steep angle into darkness. Ben waves his flashlight around. The passageway below takes a sharp turn. He calls up to the others.

BEN
Looks OK!

EXT. TRINITY CHURCH GRAVEYARD - NIGHT

Riley steps down next, but just then, the lid begins to RUMBLE CLOSED! Ian pushes Abigail harshly aside.

INT. UNDERGROUND STAIRWAY - NIGHT

Ben hears the rumbling, looks back, sees Ian and Shaw coming down the stairs, pushing by Riley.

BEN
Where's Abigail?!

Ben pushes by them and charges back to the stairs to see that the crypt entrance is CLOSING...CLOSING...

EXT. TRINITY CHURCH GRAVEYARD - NIGHT

Abigail looks to the crypt. It's almost closed. She scrambles to her feet, lunges for the crypt, and...

TUMBLES through the door...

INT. UNDERGROUND STAIRWAY - NIGHT

...and ROLLS RIGHT INTO Ben's arms just as the crypt door seals behind her, inches from crushing her. Ben holds her, their faces almost touching. The chemistry...electric.

ABIGAIL
How'd I know if I hung out with you
long enough, I'd eventually be
robbing graves?

Ben grins, cocky. Just then, Riley pokes his head into the stairwell, carrying a lantern.

RILEY
You guys coming down the creepy
stairway or what?

INT. UNDERGROUND CATACOMBS, PASSAGEWAY - NIGHT

Ben, Abigail, and Riley join Ian and Shaw, and they move down this long, stone-walled tunnel.

IAN
I know you all think I'm the "bad
guy," but were it not for me making
the hard choices, we wouldn't be
here now, would we?

BEN
If you don't want to be the "bad
guy," Ian, all you have to do is
give me the Declaration of
Independence.

IAN
Even if I gave it to you, you
wouldn't leave. You're too close.

BEN
Try me.

Ian studies Ben for a beat, then...

IAN
Sorry. I need you to find the
treasure.

Abigail holds her lantern up to the walls which are intermittently coffered with lions' heads, solar-crosses, and snakes. She looks to Ben who explains...

BEN
Masonic symbols.

ABIGAIL
What do they mean?

BEN
That we're getting close.

RILEY
But watch out for the trap. Because
it's coming up.

INT. UNDERGROUND CATACOMBS, OSSUARY - NIGHT

Ben, Abigail, Riley, Ian, and Shaw enter this dark, dank, dirt-walled room. They shine the lights about, but there's nothing here.

IAN:
Dead end.

Suddenly, a SKELETON'S TORSO falls out of the ceiling, right in front of Riley's face. He SCREAMS!

Ben shines his flashlight upwards to see...

HUNDREDS OF GRINNING SKULLS, half buried in the dirt ceiling, peering down at them. The remnants of uniforms, boots, and brass buttons can be seen.

ABIGAIL
Hessians.
(off Riley's look)
German soldiers who fought for the
British during the Revolution.
They were buried in a common grave.

Shaw looks up. Just above him, there is a gun and flintlock powder horn in a dead soldier's belt.

IAN
There must be another outlet.
Something we missed. Come on.

They all turn to go, but Shaw hangs back. He reaches up to the gun and tries to take it, but it's stuck.

As Shaw yanks harder, bits of dirt and dust rain down on him. Suddenly...







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