The Painted Fan

by  PJ Braley

Treatment                                  Cast                               Scenes 16-18

 

Treatment

The Painted Fan is a film about identity and how the past – whether real or imagined – can influence the direction of the future.

 
ACT I – Current time – Downtown law office

The film begins with Ruby Stevens, a young woman in her twenties, ecstatic over her very recent status as a newly-engaged woman. 
 
That night, Ruby works late into the evening finishing the contracts for her boss, Ron Wilkinson (attorney, late-20s). Missing the edge of one of the stairs, she tumbles to the bottom, hitting her head on the large wooden baluster.
 
ACT II – Late 1947 – Same building

Ruby wakes up in the early morning darkness. She is no longer in a law office, but a post-war saloon. When she tries to leave the building, she is found. Before she can explain, Police officer Jerry Hughes claims her as his sister. Needing help, the saloon owner hires her to work in the kitchen. Afraid to leave the building, she takes the job.
 
ACT III – Same time - Same place

Ruby finds three women tied together in one of the rooms on the second floor. Unable to get the women out of the building without implicating Remington, Jerry contacts the Louisiana Highway Patrol for their cooperation. When Lorenz walks into Remington’s saloon to confront Remington, he learns that Jerry was the one who alerted the Federal Marshals. 
Gunshots ensue as both Jerry and Remington are ready for them. Remington has a wound to the shoulder, Jerry is unharmed, but Shannon falls, hitting her head against the edge of the bar. 

DENOUEMENT – Return to current time – Law 0ffice – The Next Morning

Ruby awakens to find her friends hovering over her.  As she is being helped up, her fiancé Alex rushes in. Angry at being stood up, he does not (at first) believe that she is injured. Confused and unsure of her surroundings, Ruby breaks her engagement with Alex and rushes into Ron's office.
Ron Wilkinson follows her. Discovering she is no longer engaged, he takes a chance and his admiration and affection for her.

THE END

 

Cast

Ruby/Shannon Stevens, Heroine
Young, ambitious, well-bred but not well-moneyed, her dedication to social justice and resourcefulness keeps her balanced throughout the film.

Jerry Hughes, Hero
Policeman and WWII veteran, he is basically good, struggles against the easy money to be had by being a mob informant.  Unknown to him, befriending Ruby is the single most important event of his life.
 
James Remington, Saloon Owner
Loves his saloon more than anything else, works hard to keep it and himself alive as he is caught between needing the mob and hating their control over him.
 
Alex Chastain/Rafe Durant, Fiancé/Decadent southern aristocrat
Alex is arrogant and successful, he sees the world as his oyster and delights in every bite. Alex, and his grandfather Rafe, are alike in their world view, but Rafe has an uncontrollable temper and a mean streak where women are concerned.
 
Ron Wilkinson, Attorney
Newly on his own, his father’s hard earned success has given him an advantage, but he has not forgotten that his family, while genteel, was not born to privilege.
 
Arturo Lorenz, Remington’s connection to the Mafia
Believing he is on his way up Trafficante’s chain of command, Arturo is arrogant, savvy, and has no problem muscling Remington into doing whatever benefits the mob.
 
Edwin (Eddie) Aikens, Bartender
Growing up as a Florida cracker, Eddie has an uneducated southerner’s stubbornness and feelings of self-importance. Wanting the good life, but unwilling to wait – or work - for it, Eddie has a gambling problem.
 
Gloria Aikens, Office Manager
Eddie’s daughter, she has worked in the building all her adult life. A fixture in Ron’s law office, she rules with efficiency of a southern etiquette master.
 
Hazel Aikens, Eddie’s wife/Gloria’s mother
Tricked into marriage, she makes the best of things as Eddie’s wife.  Smart, pretty, and independent, she catches Remington’s eye.
 
Ezra Smith, Hotel Desk Clerk
Educated black northerner. Simultaneously respectful and suspicious, Ezra tries to look the other way until one evening, he just can’t anymore..
 
Elizabeth (Betty) Padgett, Rafe’s amour
A singer at The Painted Fan, Betty is sweet, but uneducated. Loving Rafe is the last thing she ever does.

Ruby Brackett, Remington’s Cook
40-50 years old, feisty, very protective of Remington...when she's sober.
 
 

Scenes 16-18

16. INT. – REMINGTON’S SALOON 1947 – FRONT ROOM

The saloon’s furnishings are unchanged from the night before, sunlight slants into the room, casting shadows in the corners. 
 
Ruby looks toward the back of the saloon as she slowly edges her way towards the double doors.  She stands in front of them when Remington, Arturo and Eddie enter the saloon.  They stop as soon as they see her.
 

EDDIE
Who the hell are you?
 

RUBY
Excuse me?

 REMINGTON
Eddie, you’ve got work to do.
(to Ruby)
Beg your pardon, Miss, how did you get in here?
 
 

RUBY
The door…the door was open.

 REMINGTON
No it isn’t.
(walks over to the door, it is unlocked)
Forgive me.  Apparently it is open…
(looks at Arturo)
Did you open this?
 
ARTURO
No, Eddie must have done it or Ruby unlocked it when she left.
 
 REMINGTON
Okay…okay.
(to Ruby)
Can I help you with something?
 

RUBY
Um, yes…Ruby said I should come over here and work while she’s in Valdosta.

REMINGTON
How do you know Ruby?

RUBY
I don’t know her exactly, she was um, talking to my brother and mentioned she would be going and he volunteered me.

REMINGTON
‘Volunteered’ you?  You’re not from around here, are you?
 

RUBY
Oh, no sir.  I’ve been living with my grandparents in Charleston.

ARTURO
Sir?  Hey Remi, you’re coming up in the world.
 

REMINGTON
What’s your name?
 

Unable to tell them her real name, Ruby glances around, looking for a suggestion.

RUBY’S POV: Glances quickly around the bar, stops on the picture of the lady holding the painted fan.

 
BACK TO SCENE
 
RUBY
Shannon.  My name is Shannon.
 
REMINGTON
Shannon…
 
17. THE SOUND OF A CHAIR BEING PUSHED BACKWARDS startles the people in the room. 
A man, of whom they were not aware, has been watching the entire scene from the shadows by the small stage. Police officer JERRY HUGHES (mid-30s, mildly handsome, confident) sets his coffee cup on the table and stands up.
 
JERRY
Hughes.  Shannon Hughes…she’s my kid sister, Remi.
(to Arturo)
Mornin’ Artie.
 
Jerry takes a package of Lucky Strikes out of his uniform shirt pocket and lights one.
 
JERRY (CONT’D)
Can’t you see the family resemblance?
 
Remington glances from Jerry to Shannon and back again.  He doesn’t believe it for a moment, but looks at Arturo and decides to go along with it.
 
REMINGTON
Sure, now that you mention it, Jerry. 
(to Shannon)
Well, Shannon, er., Miss Hughes, you could not have gotten here at a better time, almost a life saver,
(British intonation)
I’d say.

RUBY/SHANNON
You’d ‘say?'  You’re not from around here, are you?
 
Remington looks askance for a moment and Arturo starts laughing, then Remington joins in. 
 
Jerry watches the scene without smiling.
 
Remington looks at Jerry.
 
REMINGTON
You didn’t tell me you had a comedian for a sister.
 
JERRY
Yeah, she’s so funny we had to send her to Charleston to cool her heels for two years.  Grace still hasn’t forgiven her, which is why Ruby being out of town right now comes in handy for us, too.

REMINGTON
What’d you do, Shannon, rob a bank?
 
SHANNON
(glances at Jerry)
Um, I’m not supposed to talk about it.
 
JERRY
Damn right you’re not.  Now get in the kitchen and see if you can make yourself useful.  I’ll come back tonight and pick you up.  You will not leave without me.
(looks at Remington)
Remi, downstairs help only.  She’s not going upstairs, not even to dust.
 
REMINGTON
Of course. 
(to Shannon)
Never go upstairs.  If anyone tries to get you to go up there, yell for Jerry.  If he’s not here, yell for me. 
(looks at her hard)
I am serious about this.
 
SHANNON
Yes, sir.  I understand.
(to Jerry)
See you later…Jerry.
 
Shannon walks towards the back, but stops in the shadows by the edge of the bar.
 
ARTURO
Thanks for meetin’ me here this mornin’, Jerry.  You bring anything besides your sister?
 
JERRY
Yeah, I got a bag, don’t I always?
 
Jerry pulls a drawstring bag out of his pocket and Arturo stuffs most the cash he has on him in the bag, puts the rest back in his pocket. 
 
ARTURO
Shouldn’t you be captain by now?
 
JERRY
Hell, no!  Desk jobs‘ll kill ya. 
 
All the men laugh.  Arturo walks to the front door, turns towards Remington.
 
ARTURO
Four tomorrow morning, Remi.
 
Remington nods.
 
REMINGTON
I’ll be here.
 
Arturo exits through the front door.
 
18. MED. SHOT – JERRY AND REMINGTON
 
JERRY
Now what?
 
REMINGTON
(resigned)
You don’t want to know and I can’t tell you.
 
Jerry sits back down.
 
JERRY
Why don’t you just get out?  You don’t need the money anymore.
 
REMINGTON
(makes a sweeping gesture with his hand towards the painting)
I can’t Jerry.  She’s all I have.  This is the longest I’ve been in one place since I was eleven, and I am not leaving.  I can’t.  It’s, she’s home to me.
(beat)
I can’t let her go.
 
JERRY
Sure, Remi, I understand.  It’s a beautiful place.
(stands)
Keep an eye on my...sister, will ya?  I’ll pick her up tonight after work.  I know you’re busy, but try not to let her run off, okay?

REMINGTON
Sure, but she doesn’t look like she’d be any trouble.
JERRY
Yeah, ain’t they always the ones?