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FADE IN: TOP HATS. Clustered in a small glade. As we SUPER TITLES, a BLACK CAT slinks its way through them. As TITLES ENDBORDEN (V.O.) Are you watching closely? A SECOND BLACK CAT races into frame, HISSING, SPITTING, CHASING the first cat into the woods beyond and weCUT TO: INT. CLUTTERED WORKSHOP -- DAY Moving along a row of CANARIES in CAGES. CUTTER (V.O.) Every magic trick consists of three part, or acts... Stop at a cage. Weathered HANDS envelope the canary. and voice belongs to a man in his 60's- CUTTER. CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D) The first part is called the Pledge... A LITTLE GIRL pershes on a chest in the workshop, watching. CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D) ...the magician shows you something ordinaryCutter moves to a small ORNATE CAGE resting on a prop table. CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D) A deck of cards, ar a bird... INT. SCALA THEATRE, LONDON -- NIGHT A packed house. Many hands raised. Move in on a BEARDED MAN, his gloved hand tentatively rising into the air. CUTTER (V.O.) ...or a man. A GLAMOROUS ASSISTANT beckons Bearded Man from the aisle. He shuffles along his row towards her. Embarrassed. CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D) He show you this object, and pledges to you its utter normality... Bearbed Man and four other VOLUNTEERS follow the Assistant down towards the stage... Hands
2. On which stands the magician, leaning on his cane, smiling. This is ROBERT ANGIER, 35, an American. Looming over him is a large and complex ELETRICAL MACHINE. CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D) Perhaps he asks you to inspect it... Bearbed Man, FASCINATED, and other Volunteers look over the vast machine. As angier GESTURES theatrically at the various features of the metal and glass apparatus. CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D) ...to see that it is indeed real... As the Assistant leads the Volunteers off the stage, Bearded Man slips through the gap at the side of the curtainsCUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D) ...unaltered... INT. STAGE THEATRE, BACKSTAGE -- CONTINUOUS -looks around, DISORIENTED, then darts for some stairs leagind below stage where he runs into a burly STAGEHAND. CUTTER (V.O.) ...normal. STAGEHAND Where'd you think you're going?! CUTTER (V.O.) But, of course, it probably isn't... Bearded Man pulls off his beard, revealing the face of ALFRED BORDEN, mid 30's. BEARDED MAN I'm part of the act, you fool! The Stagehand raises his eyebrows and steps aside. Borden RACES down below the stage. Cutter approaches the Stagehand. CUTTER Who was that? INT. SCALA THEATRE, ONSTAGE -- CONTINUOUS As the machine GROANS to life. SPARKING and CRACKLING, Angier gazes at it, forgettig his audience. Entranced. Possessed. INT. BENEATH THE STAGE -- CONTINUOUS Borden fumbles through the darkned area, sparks through gaps in the boards of the GASPS as a flash illuminates a STAGEHAND EYES sitting nearby. Borden waves a hand lit by flashes and stage above. He with SOLID WHITE in front of the
3. INT. WORKSHOP -- DAY Cutter gently places the canary into the ornate cage. CUTTER (V.O.) The second act is called the Turn... INT. SCALA THEATRE, ONSTAGE -- NIGHT Angier, facing the audience, steps into the machine. CUTTER (V.O.) The magician takes the ordinary something... INT. BENEATH THE STAGE -- CONTINUOUS Borden lights a MATCH. In front of him is a LARGE GLASS TANK FILLED WITH WATER, ITs LID PROPPED OPEN. Borden frowns. CUTTER (V.O.) ...and makes it do something extraordianry. INT. WORKSHOP -- DAY Cutter places a SILK SHAWL over the cage. Then SLAMS his hands down on the shawl, which FLATTENS- The Little Girl FLINCHES. Then STARES, FASCINATED. CUTTER (V.O.) Now you're looking for the secret. INT. SCALA THEATRE, ONSTAGE -- NIGHT Bolts of electicity draw inwards, wrapping Angier in a ball of light which CRACKSCUTTER (V.O.) But you won't find it... INT. BENEATH THE STAGE -- CONTINUOUS The ROOM fills with light as a TRAPDOOR snaps open and a BODY DROPS INTO THE TANK. CUTTER Because of course, you're not really looking... The lid of the tank and trapdoor above SNAP SHUT, leaving the tank, and Borden, in complete DARKNESS. CUTTER (V.O.) (CONT'D) ...you don't really want to know.
.you want to be fooled.NIGHT Borden LIGHTS another match. SCALA THEATRE. The hardest part.O. EXPECTANT. he POUNDS desperately on the thick glass. Inside the tank.. the Great Danton.The Prestige.. INT.O. The audience Cage and bird have CUTTER (V... COURTROOM -. get to that final part of his trick that night? . CUTTER (V.DAY Cutter WHIPS the shawl from the table. INT. Angier is GONE..O. Cutter WHIPS the shawl away to reveal.. WORKSHOP -. you have to bring it back. Because making something disappear isn't enough. your employer. WORKSHOP -.the CANARY.. INT. Drapes the shawl over it.. The Little Girl stares.DAY Cutter forms a fist.the part we call. ONSTAGE -.. The screen fades to BLACK. Stares in HORRORThe CUTTER (V. WAITING. PROSECUTOR (V.. SCREAMING BUBBLES.) The Prestige..O.) That's why every magic trick has a third act..) (CONT'D) But you couldn't clap yet. BENEATH THE STAGE -.O.) . DISAPPEARED. sits.CONTINUOUS The MACHINE sputters to a stop..4.DAY The PROSECUTOR turns to face the witness in the box: Cutter. PROSECUTOR And did Robert Angier.) . CUTTER (V. ANGIER IS DROWNING.O.. His rolling EYES fixes on BORDEN. INT.) . CUTTER (V..? INT. Little Girl CLAPS.
The DEFENDER STANDS. then taken offstage. I followed.Angier's illusion. was this water-filled tank beneath the stage part of Mr..Cutter. DEFENDER How large was this tank? CUTTER The sort of tank used for underwater escapes. PROSECUTOR What went wrong? CUTTER I saw a someone head below the stage. Mr. Mr. Cutter POINTS.four or five hundred gallons. who is absently tapping his hand against the rail..5. I design illusions and construct the apparatus necessary for perfoming them.. Borden must have put it under the trap door after the interval.. CUTTER (CONT'D) -watching Mr. Angier drown in a tank. CHAINED TO THE FLOOR.Angier's "ingeneur"? CUTTER Eight years. and I found BordenCutter points at the dock: Borden is there. FLANKED BY GUARDS. PROSECUTOR So.Cutter? CUTTER I'm an ingeneur. I was privvy to the secrets of his entire act. .it is MUTILATED. PROSECUTOR And for how long had you been Mr. PROSECUTOR Would you describe your occupation to the jury please.the illusion billed as "THE REAL TRANSPORTED MAN"? CUTTER No. Something went wrong. CUTTER No. MISSING 2 1/2 FINGERS. sir. sir. The tank had been used for the first trick. Cutter looks across at Borden.
CUTTER (angry) If I reveal my magician's secrets here in open court. DEFENDER How do you think Mr. The Judge considers this. The Real Transported Man is the most sought-after illusion in the business and I have te right to sell it on.Alfred Borden's life hangs in the balance. looking back at him.Cutter. I might be able to judge their relevance to the case. She waves back. Sympathetic. Titters from the gallery. Quiet. The Defenser turns to the JUDGE. Cutter looks down. (addresses lawyers) Might this be an acceptable compromisse? Amid murmurs of assent. I'll be unemployable and the secrets will be worthless.he's the magician. DEFENDER (impatient) I ask again that this man explain the mechanics of Mr. I see your predicament but we are talking about a capital offence. the Judge ADJOURNS the proceedings.this is FALLON. JUDGE Mr.Borden was able to move the tank under the trap door without anyone noticing? CUTTER Ask him. He looks at Cutter.Angier's illusion. He nods at Borden. then is GUIDED OUT by a man wearing GLOVES and BOWLER HAT. Borden's looks across the courtroom: The LITTLE GIRL from the opening stands in the gallery. . JUDGE (CONT'D) If you were prepared to disclose the details to me in private.6. Borden gives her a little WAVE. As the Guards begin the complex ritual of unlocking Borden's chainsa from the floor.
Borden looks at Owens. Bored. CAPTAIN (CONT'D) I told him the only way Borden's going to disappear is if I leave him out with the others immates. trussed absurdly in chains held by two WARDERS. EXT. The other INMATES begin cattle-calling and whistling as BOrden is paraded up to a WOODEN SECTION of the fence. sir. CAPTAIN (CONT'D) Not my idea. They check the locks. and accomplished amateur magician and historian of magicBORDEN How much? OWENS Lord Caldlow is interested in- . The Warden saw his show in Manchester last year where he vanished into thin airhe's convinced he'll try an escape. Captain marches away. A door in the prison opens and Borden emerges. The CAPTAIN of the guard walks out to greet him. At the fence.DAY OWENS. The PRISON looms over them. Then retreat to allow privacy. 50's a lawyer. They walk along a hall wrought iron fence. Borden says nothing. stands at the entry gate. the Warders lock the ends of their chains to a thick eye hook set into the ground. The OWENS My name is Owens.7. Owens smiles as he hands over his pocket watch ans wallet. NEWGATE PRISON -. PRISON YARD. CAPTAIN (CONT'D) (to warders) Check the locks. Twice. Owens raises his eyebrows. OWENS (CONT'D) I represent Lord Caldlow.I'm a solicitor. CAPTAIN I'm going to have to ask you to turn out your pockets.
The Warders unlock Borden. As Lord Caldlow's ward she will want for nothing. the girl is to be an orphan. . and I'm offering your daughter a future. OWENS (CONT'D) It's better than this.The Transported Man. Ever. OWENS I did. BORDEN (cold) How much for my tricks? OWENS Five thousand pounds..8. OWENS (CONT'D) If the newspapers are right. except the most valuable one . your daughter's going to need looking after BORDEN Fallon can take care ofOWENS Bernard Fallon? A man with a past even more obscure than your own? The court have already motioned to have the girl removed from his "care". (hands him a card) Think it over. OWENS Even for your daughter? Borden looks up. Borden signals the Wardens to come and unlock him. hard. I've been to the work house. quietly assertive. OWENS (CONT'D) I'm offering you a way to warp up your affairs with dignity. Borden looks at Owens. Shrugs.. BORDEN I'd never forgive myself for selling my greatest trick. No. Owens moves closer. and you're for the drop. Owens looks around the prison yard. my ingenuer. He offered to sell all of your tricks. BORDEN Talk to Fallon...the money's for him.
TRAIN. A cypher. with a SIGH. Starts to write. MOUNTAINS -. OWENS I want your secret... It includes the time he spent in Colorado learning your trick..9. Borden takes it. Borden absently VANISHES the card as a REFLEX. Borden TURNS.. (louder) Consider your daughter! INT. CELL. even.. OWENS (CONT'D) Robert Angier's diary. He thought it might be of interest.. . BORDEN (acid) If you want Angier's secret you can dig him up and ask him for yourself.. on the bed. closes a CARDBOARD-COVERED NOTEBOOK. CUT TO: LETTERS ON A PAGE.Borden. flicks through it.O. ANGIER (V. INT. BORDEN Angier never learned my trick. OWENS (CONT'D) Lord Caldlow wanted you to have this(produces a leather bound JOURNAL) As a show of good faith.... dragging the Warders with him. opens Angier's JOURNAL.) An enigma... OWENS Really? When he returned from Colorado he mounted a version of the Transported Man that the papers said was better. NEWGATE PRISON -.DUSK Aniger. IN MEANINGLESS COMBINATIONS. Starts to read. OPENS his LEATHER-BOUND JOURNAL. A SULLEN WALDER TALKS the journal. (with relish) Than your original. Mr. GIBBERISH.DAY Borden. Sullen hands the journal to Borden.
Angier. Angier hands his cane up to the driver nd . CLIFF HOUSE INN -. INT. the town of Colorado Springs rises into view. no sign. And a passion to know his mind.10. equal parts log cabin and crystal palace. It rounds a corner and pulls to a halt in front of the CLIFF HOUSE INN.) Mr.) . as Angier watches. Angier lloks up at his own reflection in the train window. Mr.Angier. EXT.Angier? Welcome to Colorado Springs. ANGIER (disbelief) The whole town has electricity? The driver nods and WHIPS the horses into action. PIKE'S PEAK -. with some difficulty. ANGIER (V.DUSK No platform. Just an electric streetlight which. Angier looks back and smiles.O. The entire STAFF of the hotel .S. a few hundred yards down the road. (opens guest book) Your telegram didn't indicate how long you would be staying with us.. FLICKERS ON. MAIDS.CONTINUOUS The lobby is cavernous and immaculate. EXT.are lined up along the sides like a regiment of soldiers. Now it takes only patience. lit brightly with ELECTRIC STREETLIGHTS. . leaning heavily on his cane limps over to the light and stares up at it as he's never seen one before. COOKS.Borden's cypher is simpleunraveled by a single word. As he does. A driver is looking down expectantly from atop a STAGECOACH. inches from a precipitious drop. ANGIER Quit a reception.. hitches his way up to the roof of the rig.EVENING The Stagecoach flies along. MANAGER You're our first guest of the season. ROAD. and GARDENERS . VOICE (O. no office. Angier reaches the reception desk and the smiling MANAGER. TRAIN STATION -.BELLBOYS.
ANGIER (smiles) That's why I'm here. (signs book) I'll need a coach tomorrow to take me up the mountain. sir. The windows of the building RADIATH with BLUE EXPLOSIONS.11. sit. who is CURLED on the ground. EXT. GIANT ARCING BOLTS of electricity run down the tower from the ball.MORNING Angier comes through the trees to find a wire fence with a sign: EXTREME DANGER. ANGIER Not the welcome I was expecting. He uses a RUBBER PAD to pry open the fence and stands over Angier. shotgun under one arm.MORNING A stagecoach rumbles along a dirt track. PIKE'S PEAK -. MANAGER The peak is closed. entranced. Angier nods. EXT. CLEARING. trying to stand. . Rising from the center barn is a 200ft steel TOWER capped with a GIANT STEEL BALL. and threads his fingers through the fence. GROWNLING in pain.NO TRESPASSING Beyond the fence is a COMPOUND of three BARNS. Lowers himself down to the roadway. Shotgun picks up Angier's cane and hands it to him. SHOTGUN I'm amazed at how many of you newspaper writers can't read mu sign.the fence has been electrified. The tower is SHUT OFF. MARCHES up to the fence. ROAD. The driver pulls on his reigns and the coach pulls to a stop. For scientific experimentation. I'm afraid. Angier stops forwards. PIKE'S PEAK -.a door opens and a stout little MAN. He is sent FLYING backwards -. AMAZED. Shotgun RECOGNIZES Angier. ANGIER As long as it takes. DRIVER You have to walk the reat.
help you.you guessed every object the audience had in their pockets. ALLEY I'm sorry. ANGIER Your watch.12. opening his hand. ANGIER I've brought a lot of money. ALLEY Why? ANGIER He built a machine for a. ALLEY Impossible. ALLEY What am I holding? Angier doesn't look back.Angier. Alley GRINS. ANGIER I've come to see Tesla. I saw your show. pocket. People keep interfering with our work. I'm afraid. Indefinitely. You're that magician-the Great Danton. ALLEY I'm sorry about the fence. Alley pulls the fence closed. Beat. Alley watches Angier walk away. A long time ago. He is holding a gold watch.for a colleague of mine. Angier leans on his cane and gently brushes off the dirt. Can you get me a meeting with him? (off his look) I've come a very long way. IN London. (helps Angier up) I'm Alley. He pulls something from his I simply can't . SHOTGUN I know you. ANGIER I'll be staying at the hotel. Mr. Seven times.
Similarly youthful.) Two young man devoted to an illusion. Julia selects two young men. MILTON (CONT'D) Are either of you two gentlemen gailors? Both shakes their hands as they start to bind Julia with the ropes. catcalls.both hands intact. He makes a notations in his own journal as he deciphers Borden's words. ANGIER (V. who SCRAMBLE up to the stage. THEATRE -. Onstage is a TANK.. beside Julia and take the ROPE she offers them. the cardboard-bound notebook on the table in front of him. BORDEN (V. The magician. Cutter is watching fron the wings... Standing beside the tank is a beautiful young magician's assistant. BORDEN (V. Angier the one around her ankles.) (CONT'D) Two young men who never intended to hurt anyone.13.) We were too young men at the start of a great career. Smiling radiantly. JULIA. Younger.hands in the air.O.. translating. HOTEL ROOM.the MEN in the crowd go wild..O..ANGIER and BORDEN: younger.) April 3rd. 1893.O.DAY Angier sits.. a few days after he first met me. INT.Angier has no limp. Angier runs his finger along the first line.. INT. Milton GRABS a HOOK that descends from the flies on a chain. Borden wrapping the rope around her wrists. BORDEN (V..NIGHT Borden sits in the audience.O... adress the audience. Two rows in front sits Angier.. MILTON Which of you brave souls is willing to bind this lovely young woman. They spring onto stage. MILTOn. full of energy. COLORADO -. Milton GESTURES to Julia. .
Julia DROPS into the tank with a massive splash. beside the tank.. Cutter NOTICES. please. Cutter stands in the doorway.. then with another flourish. Milton wheels the tank under Julia's bare feet. PADLOCKS it and raises a curtain around the tank.NIGHT Angier. They smile at each other. Borden and Julia sit around the cluttered room. . dripping wet. DRESSING ROOM -. one arm in the air. it SLIPS APART. Milton hooks the rope onto the chain. DROPS it to reveal JULIA. glancing at julia who gives a small sign of assent with her eyes. Cutter checks his stopwatch. She frowns at him and raises her arms. They turn.) Bullet catch is suicide. Milton raises the curtain again. hastly RETYING it.. A grand GESTURE from Milton.14.S.the curtain around the tank DROPS. grips the handle of the axe. JULIA looks down at Angier.. counting out money. covering. Milton gesticulates in the wings. The audience erupts in APPLAUSE. INT. Cutter feels for the handle of an AXE placed by his feet and pulls out a STOPWATCH. Borden is in the middle of a passionate rantBORDEN Milton's squadering their goodwill or a bunch of tired second-hand tricksANGIER (amused) Old favourites. As Angier finishes tying her ankles he sneaks a light KISS on her ankle.. As Borden finishes his knot tests it. He won't Angier smiles produly. Borden frowns. Cutter signals to a stagehand who starts HOISTING Julia into the air.Julia is GONE. BORDEN What about something fresh? even try a bullet catchCUTTER (O.. smiling.Milton SLAMS the lid shut. MILTON (CONT'D) Well. I'm sure you can both tie a strong knot. Borden finishes.
Borden? ANGIER Actually. CUTTER (O. CUTTER I admire your spirit. BORDEN Fine.S.) (CONT'D) All it takes is a smart-arse volunteer dropping a button down the barrel. BORDEN (indicates himself and Angier) Use plantsANGIER He can't use plants for every trick. But a real magician tries to invent something new.no bullet catch. ANGIER I could. Cutter hands Angier some money.Angier. ANGIER Show it to me twice. JULIA There'd be no seats left for the punters. Mr.15.. thoughtful. . Mr. BORDEN You don't even know what it is. CUTTER (CONT'D) I suposse you have such a trick. I do.. something other magicians scratch their heads overCUTTER They sells it to them for a small fortune. I'll do it. Cutter looks at Borden. CUTTER Care to sell it? BORDEN No one else could do my trick. But if Borden here really has invented his masterpiece it might well be something only he can do.
is a skilled showman. ANGIER Why? CUTTER It might be something only he is prepared to do. Serious. BORDEN Tickets are pricey.Cutter grabs his wrist. There's a Chinaman there who's got what it takes. JULIA Who's Ackerman? BORDEN The most powerful theatrical agent in London. Mr. Cutter holds out money to Borden. You two watch his show. Borden. (gestures to the props) my illusions employer.16. CUTTER I saw you drop the knot again. You want to see what it takes to make real magic. JULIA I think I had my wrist turned- .whoever tells me how he does his goldfish bowl trick gets the prize.he won't get his hands dirty.Milton.Ackerman. ANGIER Chung Ling Soo. Mr. ANGIER Which is? Cutter gives a sly smile. Angier and Borden prick up at the name. But Borden's right. CUTTER I know a lad on the door. CUTTER Ten minutes onstage in front of my old friend. who reaches for it.go to the Tenley.
can you? If that knot slips when Julia's on the hoist she'll break a leg. BORDEN (defensive) It's the wrong knot. BORDEN We've been practiced itANGIER (cutting in) He said no. Angier watches him go. CUTTER (to Borden) No more mistakes. The ropes could swell and she'd never slip itJULIA I can slip a Lanford underwater. Julia glances at Angier. CUTTER (ignoring Julia) Some nights you just can't get it. Borden stares at Cutter. CUTTER The Langford double's not a wet knot it's too dangerous. CUTTER (CONT'D) He shuffles props for Virgil at the Hall. Fair enough. ANGIER Where's he from? CUTTER Where are you from? Angier nods. ANGIER He works for another magician? Aren't you worried he'll steal your tricks? CUTTER (shakes head) He doesn't deal in methods.17. ANGIER How do you know? . Leaves. A Langford double would hold tighter.
BIRD and CAGE are gone. as if nothing were beneath it. Julia kisses Angier. Virgil takes the flower from his lapel.the flower has become the CANARY. Cutter rises. Smiles. . a magician. JULIA I think he's alright. locks a CANARY into a cage then covers the cage with a SHAWL. Borden watches as the young woman tries to make him stop. CUTTER And Mr. Virgil takes bows and walks off.he's all right. The little BOY begins to WAIL and CRY. BORDEN Look.if I can see you sneaking a peck on your wife's ankle from the wings.Angier. and SNAPS it away. He's fine. handing Borden the canary as he passes backstage. CUTTER He's a natural magician. CONVENT GARDEN -. covers it with the shawl.EVENING Borden watches from the wings. the blokes on each end of rows 3 and 4 can. INT. then WHIPS it away. but the little boy is still CRYING INCONSOLABLY. THEATRE. As the audience leaves. Virgil. too. The audience bursts into enthusiastic APPLAUSE.18. spellbound. Virgil SLAMS the SHAWL down onto the table. Onstage. you can't trust him.. ANGIER I don't know if I trust him. Borden climbs off the stage and hols the bird in front of the boy.? (Angier looks up) Learn your aight lines.. JULIA Even you. Of course ANGIER You think everyone's alright. CUTTER (sly smile) Because I hired him to try and find out Virgil's orange trick. Angier turns to Julia. Borden notices a beautiful YOUNG WOMAN in the front row with a little BOY who is watching Virgil's act.
He turns to the young woman. BORDEN Sharp lad. He taps on the top of the TABLE. BOY It's got two heads. dripping into a bucket below. YOUNG WOMAN (laughs) My brother. WORKSHOP -. Borden crouches to address the Boy. Sarah smiles. Borden walks to a wall of DOZENS of bird cages -. The young woman. Borden insefts a ROD into the bird cage and PRIES it apart. BORDEN (CONT'D) Look closer. Borden SLAPS the cage. He puts the bird into its cage and returns to the cart props. BORDEN Show.a panel POPS open. . grave. Casually produces a coin. your son. is there with her BORDEN (to the brother) Are you watching closely? Borden reaches to the Boy's ear. EXT.19.LATER Borden gently strokes the bird's feathered head. revealing the FLATTENDED BIRD CAGE. STAGE DOOR -. Never. And the FLATTENED CARCASS of the ORIGINAL BIRD slides out and SPLASHES into the bucket. BORDEN You're the lucky one tonight. A TRICKLE of BLOOD emerges. SARAH. BOY (sniffs) But where's his brother? Borden is at a loss.EVENING Borden exits. brother.each one with an identical canary. INT. The Boy marvels as he takes the coin then looks at Borden. Borden smiles back. Anyone.
STAIRWELL -. draws back the curtain to her bedroom and SHRIEKS: Borden is there. smiling. The secret impresses no one. INT. Sarah moves towards him. Soo lays a silk SHAWL and a BARE TABLE. In the audience. Then SMILES and pets him on the head.but as soon as you give it up you'll be nothing to them. BORDEN (CONT'D) Where do you two live? SARAH He lives with Mum. revealing a BOUQUET OF ROSES. So repeats the trick again and again. Sarah smiles at him. giggling. Sarah looks after him. Understand? Nothing.NIGHT Onstage. Soo whips the shawl aside to reveal a MASSIVE GOLDFISH BOWL. HOBBLES painfully to the center of the stage. complete with GOLDFISH. with a drum roll. INT. Finally.EVENING Sarah lingers at the top of the stairs to her flat. SARAH'S FLAT -.the trick you use it for is everything. He WHIPS it up. he stands. The Boy looks at him. BORDEN And you? INT. smiling.20.CONTINUOUS She closes the door and LOCKS it. Borden looks into the boy's staring eyes. producing a different object each time. a little afraid. . CHUNG LING SOO. BORDEN Enough to keep me out? I think so. SARAH Wil I see you again? Borden SHRUGS and turns to go back down the stairs. Hesitates. about to change her min. 60's. Clearly CRIPPLED. After a moment she pads through living/kitchen area. BORDEN (CONT'D) They'll beg you and flatter you for the secret. Borden tries to KISS her. wearing a long silk robe. Borden and Angier watch intently. He tests the LOCK of the open door. but she pushes him back. TENLEY THEATRE -.
knowing. Soo bows and HOBBLES off the stage. . Climbs into bed. EXT. and fragile. BORDEN (CONT'D) Total devotion to his art. It can't be.21. Or fish. To THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE. smile. utterly baffled. Angier. HOBBLING. in bed. Soo hobbles into the restaurant. BEDSIT -. Any time he goes out. RESTAURANT -. ANGIER but look at the man! BORDEN (points) This is the trick. clapping.NIGHT Julia. ANGIER I can barely lift this thing and it's not even filled with water. Who has a small. JULIA (incredulous) He's been preteding to be an cripple for years? ANGIER Any time he's in public. watches Angier. BORDEN It is. ANGIER You're wrong. shakes his head. Angier puts the bowl down with a flourish. He pulls up the sheeyt. He must be strong as an ox. Borden SLAPS the bricks of the wall behind them. He turns to Borden. INT. He carries the bowl between his knees for the entire performance. This is why no one detectes his method. It's the only way to escape this. frail. It's unthinkable.NIGHT Borden and Angier watch Soo being helped down from his carriege by HANDLERS who treat him with great gentleness.between his knees is a goldfish bowl. (looks at Angier) Utter self-sacrifice. SHEET wrapped around him like a robe...
Borden spots herBORDEN We have our routine for Ackerman! The other man turns. Angier cuddles up to Julia. JULIA Not just your name.it is Fallon. BORDEN Mr. ANGIER I don't think changing your name compares. JULIA You're pretending to be someone else. ANGIER I promised my family I wouldn't embarrass them with my theatrical endeavors. SARAH Alfred?! Sarah surveys the confusion.Fallon is my ingeneur- .the bedsit is FILLED with DEVICES.who you are. I couldn't fathom it.. JULIA I came up with a name for you. ANGIER (CONT'D) Borden saw it at once.spots Borden across the flat deep in conversation with another man.. ANGIER It's French. Borden comes over.DAY Sarah unlocks the door.. SARAH (cold) We haven't had the pleasure. BEDSIT -. Fallon nods. where you're from. holding a DUELING PISTOL.living your whole life pretending to be someone else. "The Great Danton" (Angier frowns) You don't like it? It's sophisticated. but has to PUSH against MAGICAL PROPS stacked against it. INT.22..
SARAH You're already going to be sharing it with someone else. BORDEN (shrugs) I'll give him half of my food. SARAH I need talk to you. FLINCHES against the gun he is holding. SARAH (CONT'D) What's this? BORDEN The trick to wake up Ackerman at the end of my audition. SARAH (CONT'D) We can't afford to pay himBORDEN We'll start making money once we have our audienceSARAH And until then? What I earn is barely enough for us.23.Fallon's an enterprising soul. Then SMILES... Fallon slips past Sarah with a nod to Borden. Sarah . SARAH Your great trick? The "masterpiece that will make our fortunes"? She Then realizes. borrowed and don't ask. TENSE. taking her in his arms.? SARAH Having a baby. looks at Borden. Borden freezes. Exits. SARAH Where did yo get all ofBORDEN Begged. BORDEN You're. Borden looks at her. Sarah looks meaningfully at Borden. Mr. confused.
SARAH I'm not letting you get shot. The world isn't ready for that one. BORDEN (CONT'D) And voilsHe points the ramrod at Sarah.. Borden moves to the bureau and starts LOADING the gun. Alfred. yet. (Borden shakes head) Then you're not doing it. SARAH Show me. BANG. The Borden looks at Sarah.. Then He takes the RAMROD and PUSHES it down onto the bullet. which disappears.. Borden's hand SNAPS out to "catch" the bullet. Shoot me. Pouring in SHOT. Sarah looks at ramrod with disdain.24. Then sims off. at a mirror beside him. BORDEN No. BORDEN It's perfectly safe. Takes the bullet from her and places BORDEN The bullet goes in the gun. then WADDING. BORDEN (CONT'D) This is merely a run-of-the-mill daring and spectacular bullet catchBorden drops the BULLET into the barrel.. grave. mirror is intact. it on the bureau. I can't raise a child on my own. .she pulls the bullet out of the HOLLOW TIP. Borden looks at her. She aims at Borden. BORDEN (CONT'D) The buller's not even in the gun when the charge is fired. Borden RAMS the bullet and charge down then removes the RAMROD and hands the pistol to Sarah. as he reveals the bullet in his hand. comes the ramrod. Sarah looks at Borden then down at the pistol.
Sarah grabs his face. it's not true. people still get killed perfoming it. SARAH Once you know it's so obvious.25. of course. looking at his eyes. BORDEN (CONT'D) I'm not letting anything happen.I love you too much. or a button. Todayt you don't mean it. Maybe today you're more in love with magic than me. SARAH (matter-of-fact) Nope. SARAH How? BORDEN Sme smart-arse drops something down the barrel. Borden BRISTLES slightly. Borden shakes his head. (off look) It's alright.it makes the days it is true mean something. (off worried look) But don't fretBorden embraces her. a bullet. smiling. . SARAH Say it again. Or. well. SARAH Such as? BORDEN A penny. BORDEN What? SARAH (smiles) Some days. putting his hand on her belly. BORDEN I love you. Takes the bullet back. I like being able to tell the difference. grinning. BORDEN Yes. Not today.
. ANGIER (V... INT.NIGHT Angier closes Borden's notebook. NEWGATE PRISON -. BORDEN Bloody fool. Mr. EVIDENCE ROOM. you honour. LOCKING them inside. ANGIER (V.26. (off look) A man who can actually do the things a magician pretends to. INT. Cutter looks up at it with AWE.Cutter? CUTTER (shakes head) Oh no. The Judge follows Cutter. revealing metal and glass MACHINERY within. . He looks across at a photograph of julia on the table. including a MASSIVE CRATE. WARHOUSE -. touching the side where it says "COLORADO SPRINGS".. HOTEL ROOM.. This wasn't built by a magician. Borden TOSSES the book across the cell.O.O.. INT. Reaches for his own diary..but what does he know of selfsacrifice more than the rest of us? Borden looks up from Angier's journal. approaching a collection of magical apparatus. JUDGE What's in there? Cutter OPENS it. it was built by a wizard. JUDGE You built this. The Policeman exits..) Borden writes as if no one but he understood the true nature of magic.DAY A POLICEMAN opens the door for the Judge and Cutter. COLORADO -. CUTTER Angier's machine.DAY Borden sits on his cot reading Angier's journal. POLICEMAN (pointing) It's all laid out down the end. The Judge NODS. CELL.) .
. Cutter grabs the PADLOCK.. CUTTER (CONT'D) your honour. An avid collector. CUTTER Don't let him take this. apparently very interested in the case. Smiles indulgently.. JUDGE A standard magical apparatus for escapes? CUTTER With one important difference. where there is a PADLOCK. The Judge looks over. what will happen to these things when the trial is over? The Judge is staring at a large glass tank. Cutter pushes down on a panel of the lidCUTTER This lets the performer's hands reach the trick padlock.it has no trick. The JUDGE turns to other props. Nods.. Rattles it. JUDGE They've benn sold to a Lord Caldlo.27. Cutter closes the crats. Turns. It's real. JUDGE Why ever not? CUTTER It's dangerous. JUDGE This is the tank Angier drowned in? Cutter turns to look at the empty. -a small section POPS open. . The Judge looks at Cutter. CUTTER The most disappointing of all. smashed glass of the tank. Cutter indicates the top of the tank. JUDGE I'm sure beneath its bells and whistles it's get some simple and disappointing trick. Cutter is touching the crate.
who are made up to look different from the last performance. CUTTER There was and audience. Cutter watches... . Julia NODS at him. appaled. CUTTER (CONT'D) This isn't a trick lock. As Angier ties Julia's ankles he can't resist tickling just under her toes. Borden makes eye contact with Cutter in the wings..28..) A particular awful significance. JUDGE Even without and audience? Cutter stares at the tankINSERT CUT: ANGIER SCREAMING BUBBLES..Cutter's is a WARNING GLANCE. (looks at Judge) See. The Judge stares at the tank. Reconsiders. Borden starts RETRYING the knot. His hand checking for the axe handle. As they leap up onto stage. Men who live by dressing up plain and sometimes brutal truths to amaze. CUTTER (V. THEATRE -.EVENING Onstage. A SIMILAR TANK FILLED WITH WATER. JUDGE What a way to kill someone.the crowd goes wild. it's been switched out for a real one. Why in God's name go to such lengths? CUTTER These are magicians. INT. Julia makes a show of deciding.O.she KICKS him in the chin. Borden starts to wrap the rope around Julia's wrists in a particular fashion. She picks up Angier and Borden. encouring. To shock.. the water tank had a particular signinficance for the two men. Milton adresses the audience. you honour. Showmen. MILTON Which of you brave souls is willing bind this lovely young woman? Milton gestures to Julia. Stops. Julia stands next to the tank.
. Julia PLUNGES into the tank. she can't quite hide her smile back at him.) (CONT'D) He must know what he did. shen. Borden looks on. Time passing. grinning at Julia. He desperately BRUSHES water from Julias cheeks and forehead. smiling.O. cutter SWINGS again and againthe web of crackes GROWING. . preparing herself. untilCRASH. ANGIER How can be not know?! Angier FLINGS Borden's journal across the room. one half of me swearing bling that i tied a simple slip knot.Milton SLAMS the lid shut. as Julia FLOPS. HOTEL ROOM..he steps back.Cutter checks his stopwatch. Julia gives him the sign with her eyes. Angier shifts a little. is CONVULSING.it is tight. Looks down at Angier.29. BORDEN (V..Milton RIPS the curtain down.TOO MUCH TIME. her eyes PLEADING with Angier's.Cutter and Angier GRASP at Julia. Cutter looks up at Angier... She stares out over the audience.. COLORADO -. then circles it. hand caressing the axe handle.Cutter ELBOWS Angier out of the way to POUND on Julia's chest..O. I suppose I'll never know for sureINT. one arm free.Julia.. Cutter GRASPS his axe and SPRINT at the tank.FULL her onto the stage. Proud. looking down at her staring eyes...) How often I've fought with my self over that night . Milton raises the curtain around the tank.the glass gives way..which CRACKS. He must. the other half convinced that I tied the Langford double. Julia's convulsions SLOWING. Angier and Borden look on in HORROR as Cutter SWINGS his axe into the glass. ANGIER (V. stricken. Angier looks up at Julia. As she raises her arms to the hook. despairing. Angier rises to his feet. Borden tests the rope. FLOODING the stage. Cutter slips his STOPWATCH out of his pocket as Milton moes the tank under Julia's bare feet. Angier takes Julia in his arms.... Milton gives the sign and Julia is HOISTED into the air.DAY Angier looks up from Borden's journal. Milton looks at Cutter. LIFELESS. stunned.. working his "magic". onto the boards.Borden wacthes.
Then opens them and hands Fallon OWENS' CARD.) Shit it.DAY Borden stands at the fence with Fallon BORDEN They took her away? (Fallon nods) To the workhouse? Another slow nod. EXT.) How could I not know? How can you read my story and not understand? INT.30. or I'll shut it for you. be hanged by the neck until dead. life is complicated. in one month's time. . Finally SPOTS Fallon pushing to the fronthe is alone. Angier. Borden is prompted to stand by two GUARDS as the Judge enters. Borden closes his eyes with despair. knots are complicatedPRISONER (O. Professor. Borden stares at him. BORDEN (CONT'D) Tell him I've reconsidered. You will. (off look) It's for the best. in the dock. Fallon shakes his dead.O. NEWGATE PRISON -. May the Lord have mercy on your soul. Borden barely reacts.S. BORDEN (V. people are complicated. INT. The JUDGE has a piece of black cloth draped over his wig. PRISON CELL -. Borden. Borden quiets. JUDGE Alfred Borden. SCANS the crowd. Looking at the journal.DAY Cutter sits in the CROWDED GALLERY. COURTROOM -. PRISON YARD.DAY Borden smiles as he reads Angier's dairy. BORDEN "How can be not know?!" (starts lauhing) Because. you have been found guilty of the murder of Robert Angier.
Through large windows a THUNDERSTORM batters Pike's Peak.) Mind if I join you? Angier looks around. Alley sits. DINING ROOM. ALLEY (CONT'D) Have you tried our Bourbon yet. ANGIER (CONT'D) It's a rotating transposition that shifts every day of the dairy. Perfect excuse to come shere a drink with the Great Danton. CLIFF HOUSE INN. INT. . (to waiter) Two of 'em.DUSK Angier stares down at the NOTEBOOK. ALLEY Tesla sends me down here during the storms. Alley looks at the gibberish on the pages of the notebook. ALLEY (CONT'D) A cypher? Angier nods as Alley lifts the cardboard notebook. (to Angier) Beautiful. ALLEY Which is? Angier smiles as he reaches for the notebook.S. Alley glances down at the notebook and Agier's scribbles. And noit much else. though. ANGIER My profession also deals in secrets. Angier is the only guest in the hotel's massive dining room.our work is secret. ANGIER Why are you here? ALLEY The lightning lives here. Angier? It matches the scenery nicely. Simple but time-consuming to translate once you have the five-letter keyword. VOICE (O. making notes on a napkin. Alley is standing by the table. Mr.31. COLORADO SPRING -. gesturing to a waiter. isn't it? I do miss New York.
Thinking. Who unfolds it ans stares at it.32. but he would never talk about it. I'm here. That's why Angier reaches in his pocket and removes his own. . Alley considers this. Taps the cover of the notebook. ALLEY Why would you want the same thing? ANGIER Call it a professional rivalry. ANGIER We magicians have a circle of trust. ANGIER I thought it was a secret. I just ALLEY Finish your drink. He tears a PAGE from it and hands it to Alley. ANGIER I understand discretion. ALLEY Tesla has built unusual machines for unusual people. ALLEY Magicians sell their secrets? ANGIER It's how we pay for our retirements and how greats tricks outlive us. Alley looks at Angier. leatherbound journal. want the machine. You'll have a special appreciation for our work. ANGIER (CONT'D) Tesla built one for another magician. ALLEY You're hoping to find a great secretin there? ANGIER I've already found it. ALLEY You have a circle of trust with someone whose dairy you stole? ANGIER Maybe I bought it.
Except for the size. Angier laughs out in surprise. all glowing together. As they watch.33.NIGHT The storm has abated. ALLEY (smiles) You're a magician. Angier's cane into the muddy ground as he follows Alley through the moonlit field. ALLEY (CONT'D) Not long now. FIELDS.Tesla doesn't want to scare anyone. There are large glass GLOBES pushing out of the soil as if planted all around them. ALLEY We do our tests when the townspeople are asleep. ANGIER Where's the generator? ALLEY You saw it last week. Alley checks his wacth by the moonlight. He tosses the bulb to Angier. ANGIER But that must be ten miles from here. The lightbulb FLICKERS on again. it's a normal lightbulb. Angier bends and gently PUSHES the lightbulb into a random spot in the wet soil. the lights of Colorado Springs DISAPPEAR.as he does. The field around them EXPLODES with DAZZLING LIGHT. looking down at the electric LIGHTS of the town. Alley bends down and picks up the nearest lightbulb -. COLORADO SPRINGS -. ANGIER Where are the wires? ALLEY Exactly. .the field is full of a thousand large LIGHTBULBS. the light in it extinguises. believe you? Who's going to EXT. They stop in the middle of the field. ALLEY (CONT'D) Our equipment requires a great deal of current.Mr. Tesla eletrified the whole town in exchange for using the generators when we need to.
. the light FADES in all of them. SOBBING. EXT. and the lights in town come back on. PRINCE'S ARMS BAR AND THEATRE Rough. A small "stage" at one end: Borden works his way through the Chinese rings. Mr. pulling his coat apart. GASPING. sir? MOUSTACHE (quiet) Yes. And I have to ride all of them before I get to bed. Angier. BATHROOM -. Something in Moustache's tone makes Borden looks closelybehind the moustache. Fallon scans the crowd. He BURSTS FREE. Angier is alone. VOICE Get out your gun. Professor! Someone BURLS a bottle at the stage. Angier bends to pick up his lightbulb. BORDEN A volunteer. Borden GLARES out into the audience.LATER Angier lays out MAKE-UP SUPPLIES.Angier. QUIVERING WITH TENSION. CHALLENGING. BORDEN (CONT'D) Are you man enought. He takes out a BULLE. Places it on the sink next to a FALSE MOUNSTAGE. .. hands it to Moustache and steps backwards. INT. Unwelcoming. Crowded. The crowd SURGES forward with EAGER VOLUNTEERS. As he does. BATHROOM. LONDON -. INT. The crowd is JEERING.it narrowly misses. Borden LOADS the pistol.DAY Angier has his head SUBMERGED in a sink full of water. Pulls out his GUN. (turns to leave) I'll send word for you in a few days. passing over too-eager and too-drunk before settling on a MOUNSTACHED MAN and bringing him up onstage.34.COLLA`PSES to the floor. ALLEY Fifteen.
GRABBING his BLEEDING HAND. (looks up at Angier) And who's going to hire the ingeneur who killed Julia McCullough in front of a sellout crowd at the Orpheum? Angier looks back at Cutter. Staring. CUTTER Hasn't stopped you looking.there is a He loos around. He raises his pint glass.35. Angier heads over. CUTTER Because I want to keep working. SHOCKED. straining to pull the trigger. Nice little theatre. then PLAYING CARD. with two fresh the bar.. Then at Angier. Cutter is sitting at a table pints in front of him.. PUB -. INT. melts into the crowd.. os STRAINING for a closer look at Borden. BORDEN (smiles) I think not. Angier purses his lips.DAY Angier sits at Downs it. PUSHING for the door. looking at the bottom. Aniger. Spreads ANGIER Never thought I'd find an answer at the bottom of a pint glass. inviting. ANGIER You got me a booking? Why? Cutter looks down into his beer. The DROWS is SCREAMING. (Angier sits) I heard about a booking. his hands. Borden looks at the trembling gun. SCREAMING BUBBLES. Good up-and-coming magician. STOPS. Angier's eyes are almost closed as he SQUEEZES the TRIGGERFallon HITS Angier JUMPS to Borden's side. .. ANGIER Who? CUTTER You. INSERT CUT: JULIA'S FACE.
. Angier looks down at the liquid in his glass.. CUTTER I knew an old sailor. ANGIER Which knot did Borden tie that night? CUTTER He wouldn't say.. (shakes head) What did she go through. (looks around) But this should do.. CUTTER (CONT'D) He said it was like. but it was five minutes before he coughed. CUTTER We'll have to whitewash the windows to cofound the more curious members of your audience. Angier stares at Cutter. lungs screaming.. ANGIER To die like that. going home. Someone who knows Alfred Borden and his repertoire of exotic knots...DAY Angier and Cutter isspect a large empty room..... as if he didn't know.36.. ANGIER Someone who know that it wasn't your fault. Cutter? Cutter watches Angier's distress. they dragged him out. Collects himself. Hanging.. Angier considers this. WORKSHOP -. INT. Told me about a time he got pulled over the side tangled in the sheets. CUTTER Heard he had a spot of bad luck doing a bullet catch South of the river.. ANGIER Wouldn't say?! CUTTER It was as if.. Locked in water.
Angier unless you fit. CUTTER In here. Angier nods. CUTTER I've made arrangements. Miss Wenscombe. He is moving one hand across the other. costumes. Hmm. I have. Cutter closes the lid over her and walks over to Angier. 20s. She knows how to present herself and a pretty assistant's the most effective from of misdirection. CUTTER (CONT'D) Not much experience . CUTTER (CONT'D) (smiles) I suppose I should let her out. Olivia shrugs and hands Cutter her hat. On the other side of the room Cutter watches as OLIVIA WENSCOMBE. making a ROSE appear and disappear. and folds herself into the bottom of the box.DAY Angier is sitting at a worktable. pensive. then her thick skirts. There is a small SNEEZE from inside the cabinet. ANGIER No. but she knows the basics. equal parts grace and mischief. looking past Cutter to Angier. OLIVIA What's so hard about this? Cutter leans into the cabinet and pops up a TRICK PANEl in the floor. ANGIER We should see about an assistant.37. It's sophisticated. props. CUTTER (CONT'D) Breathe as little as possible. CUTTER Bit old-fashioned? Angier smiles gently at Cutter. squeezes herself into a tall cabinet. ANGIER'S WORKSHOP -. Have you ANGIER The Great Danton. The windows have been WHITEWASHED and the room has filled with an array of magical apparati: cabinets. No point meeting Mr. INT. settled on a name? Yes. revealing a tiny chamber. .
Sarah glares at Borden. We need to get the doctot backBORDEN (snaps) We can' afford the doctor back! A BABY STARTS CRYING in the bedroom. examine a BIRD CAGE. Cutter is wearing a strange LEATHER HARNESS over his shirt it has LARGE SPRINGS and small PULLEYS on the back. injuries are black. CUTTER Not like this. Alfred. SARAH I don't understand. SARAH You've woken her. prop tricks. The trick they'll remember me for. ANGIER'S WORKSHOP -. SARAH (CONT'D) What have you been doing to it? It looks as had as the day it happened. What tricks could you peform with this kind of injury? BORDEN Some of the card pulls. it be bleeding again? How can The BLOOD She examines the wounds: 2 1/2 FINGERS ARE MISSING.. (leans forward.38.DAY Sarah is frantcally REDRESSIN Borden's injured hand. has SEEPED trough the bandages. I just need this to heal so I can het back to work. BORDEN I'm sorry. SARAH'S FLAT -. they don't. excited) And the trick I've been telling you about. Sarah looks at Borden. . you have to face things. but wet and fresh. Reluctantly..DAY Angier and Cutter at the workbench. ANGIER The bird cage can't be our climaxeverybody knows it. SARAH Alfred. INT. INT.
Climbs to his feet.. ANGIER And I don't want to kill doves. Angier finishes with a flourish. ANGIER You sound like him.. He places a dove in the Angier produces Angier Close on: HOOKS concealed on Angier's palm slip into CATCHES on the bars of the cage. Onstage. Merrit shrugs. CUTTER (holds up cage) Put your hands on the sides.39. disinterested man slouches in the third row of the empty theatre with a newspaper. . Cutter reaches in and slips a NOOSE around the bird's ankle. CUTTER (snaps) Then stay off the stage.. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -. CUTTER (CONT'D) There we go. Merrit rolls his eyes.MERRIT. Olivia. the stage manager. Now you tell the volunteer to put his hands here. darts back and forth PLUCKING the handkerchiefs from the air. a DOVE. Angier energetically YANKS coloured handkerchiefs from a hat and TOSSING them into the air. ANGIER'S WORKSHOP -. Places it in the cage. in the glamorous. CUTTER Hang on... INT. not a wizard.. ANGIER I need a volunteer.. hang on. (glares at Angier) You're a magician.DAY Now Angier is wearing the harness.. places an ORNATE CAGE onto the table..you have to get your hands dirty to achieve the impossible. Cutter pleases his hands on the TOP and BOTTOM of the cage.. revealing costume of Magician's Assistant. cage and picks it up.DAY A heavy. INT.
ANGIER (CONT'D) And one.. Cutter reaches to Angier's armpit. Mr. .40...Angier. ANGIER'S WORKSHOP -.NIGHT Merrit places his hands on the TOP and BOTTOM of the bird cage.DAY Merrit nods. Merrit looks up at Angier over his glasses.. into Merrit's pocket. ANGIER Of course not... MERRIT Very nice indeed. Olivia reaches around Merrit to place her hands on the remaining two sides. MERRIT You'd beat not be intending to hut this animal. Angier's hands are on the sides. and the dove. Cutter. Removes a dove. THREE! The bird cage. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -. INT. Angier REACHES I needed Olivia packs up the props. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -. WHERE SLEEVES WOULD BE. ANGIER Thought you said I had to get my hands dirty. ANGIER .THREE! The bird cage BREAKS APART.. WHIPPING UP ANGIER'S FOREARMS. stepping backwards. ALIVE. ANGIER (CONT'D) Bloody marvelous. CUTTER Someday. pulls up the DOVE. Cutter approaches from the wings.. VANISH. Angier raises and lowers their hands in a rythm. INT. impressed. Very nice. INT. CUTTER And the best part. Angier smiles.DAY Angier and Cutter have their hands on the bird cage. YANKED BY THE HARNESS. to know that you can. HANGING BY ITS ANKLE.. perhaps you will. two..
ANGIER Perhaps you'd be so good as to return it to the other man. The marquee above the theatre reads: "THE GREAT DANTON PERFOMS FEATS OF MISTERY AND IMAGINATION" INT. in the hat. MERRIT A lot more beautiful when it's full.and quite likely to see one. Maybe someone willing to do a bullet catch or a water scape. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -. Why sould I worry? If your tricks don't get 'em in. MAN This isn't mine. He has yours. Another man stands and pulls out a handkerchief.EVENING Angier is perfoming to a good crowd. ANGIER Don't worry. Angier dows and walks quickly off the stage.EVENING A line a PATRONS runs from the box office to the street. People hoping for an accident. Mr. Mr.Angier. The audience LAUGHS. THEATRE -. CONFUSED.41.Merrit. . ANGIER You sir. CUTTER cheap thrills. ANGIER (smiling) I haven't had a chance to compliment you on your beautiful theatre yet. too. Could you show us your handkerchief? A MAN in the audience STANDS and pulls a HANDKERCHIEF from his pocket. EXT. MERRIT You all say that. past the squad of DANCING GIRLS who run on to entertain in the break. someone else's will. Mr.Merrit. He stares at it. He steps forward. What would that do for your business? MERRIT (shrugs) You've got a week. APPLAUSE.
They've seen most of these tricks before. Angier SMILES as he produces a DOVE with a FLOURISH.. Cutter quickly REMOVES Angier's coat. ANGIER Wish us luc. Cutter puts he LEATHER HARNESS over Angier's arms. There are one or two groans from the audience. ANGIER Well. Cutter smiles and nods at Angier's showmanship.) Seen 'em all before. Cutter. Pulls out the bird cage. But not this next one. mate! Laughter.I'm sorry.S.42. shall I? In the wings. You'll see. I'm making mistakes. I'll make it a little harder. . CUTTER (smiling) I'll have the champagne ready. Cutter checks the SPRINGS of the harness and replaces Angier's coat. OLIVIA I'm so nervous. You! CUTTER (CONT'D) Piss off out it! The dancers are wrapping up.CONTINUOUS Angier steps to the table center stage. followed by Olivia.. ANGIER The audience doesn't seem to be responding much... BACKSTAGE -. He spots a STAGEHAND poking his head around the flies. INT.EVENING Cutter and Olivia are waiting for Angier as he comes off. ANGIER You've seen this one before? HECKLER (O. Angier. INT. STAGE -. steps out onto the stage. CUTTER This is a grand theatre with a sophisticated audience. Cutter.
ANGIER I should've spotted him. that's why I'll ask this good lady and fine gentleman to place their hands firmly on the cage. ANGIER (CONT'D) Any magician can make this cage disappear...THE OTHER HALF COLLAPSES ON THE DOVE AND THE ELEGANT LADY'S FINGERSSHE SCREAMS. Red-beard places a hand underneath the cage..looks up at Red Beard... please. Angier FREEZES. . ANGIER (CONT'D) . Angier RAISES the bird cage..BIRD BLOOD SPLATTERS ONTO THE THREE OF THENTHE AUDIENCE GOES CRAZYBorden smiles at Angier through his blood-spattered fake beard and retreats into the chaos surrounding the Elefant Lady who is still SCREAMING as Angier tries to free her fingers from the mechanism. missing fingers. The audience is RAPT.LATER Angier and Cutter watch the STAGEHANDS clear the stage.. INT.. BACKSTAGE -. Olivi brings Elegant Lady onto the stage along with a REDBEARDED MAN. Red beard's other hand appears on the top of the cage.. A lady and a gentleman to hold this cage with me. IT IS BORDEN Borden SMILES as he WORMS his little finger into the cage mechanism. The audience is getting interested.... Olivia guides Elegant Lady's hands onto the sides of the cage. ANGIER (CONT'D) I'll perform this feat in a manner never before seen by yourselves or by any other audience anywhere in the worth. Hands go up.. ANGIER (CONT'D) Two volunteers. Olivia pulls an ELEGANT LADY from the audience.to ensure that no trickery whatsover is employed.it is MUTILATED.... SNAP! HALP THE CAGE WHIPS UP ANGIER'S SLEEVE. Angier is on role.43.
You know I hate comedians. CUTTER Mr.) You don't have a show.. . Cutter puts his hand on Merrit's arms.S.MerritMERRIT It's done. which should indicate the may I felel about your friend's future as a stage magician. CUTTER No. Cutter turns to Angier. Cutter sees Angier's resolve. anything here in the morning gets burned.Merrit. then.. Angier looks down at the harness in his hands. CUTTER You had a lot of plates spinning. but we'll need a fresh angle on the presentation. John. ANGIER Mr. Cutter nods. ANGIER Don't suppose they'll let us do this one again. ANGIER So what's the climax of our show? Show? MERRIT (O. Well.not butcher birds and break my costomer's fingers! Clear out. we have a week's engagmentMERRIT To perform magic. CUTTER Right. if we can come up with another trick and change the name of the actANGIER The name stays. the new trick will have to be irresistible. CUTTER There are plenty of good theatres.44. I've hired a comedian. I've a couple of methods to try out. Merrit leaves.
INT..but Angier is too far from the stage to get a good look at him.CONTINUOUS The hall is completely darkened. clean power. but bright blue FLASHES illuminate ANGIER as he pushes his way to a seat. sparking stream of electricity onto a matched ball across the stage. TESLA With a system like this I could have the entire city electrified whitin two years. The posters show a tall. Tesla must be a lunatic. That sort of thing captures the popular imagination. Continents divided no more..AFTERNOON The large concert hall is surrounded by crowds and covered in banners advertising a Technical Exposition. Angier nods. AUDITORIUM. A FIGURE walks around from behind the machine and the audience GASPS as a shower of sparks bounce off of his immaculate evening wear. EXT. In bold print it says: THE WONDERS OF "ALTERNATING CURRENT". This is TESLA. On the stage. The mysteries of the world solved. looking thouroughly disinterested until he comes to an information booth plastered with illustrations of electrical bolts. there's a technical exposition at the Albert Hall this week. sir? The man who kill change the world is speaking right now. ROYAL ALBERT HALL -. . CUTTER (CONT'D) If you need inspiration. ALBERT HALL -.AFTERNOON THe lobby if filled with displays and models. Scientists and engineers. Free. a tall rod capped with a steel ball is transmitting a steady. ALBERT HALL -. TICKET HAWKER Would you like to know the future.45. The spell is broken.NIKOLA TESLA INT. Angiers pokes around. The audience breaks into LAUGHTER. handsome man bathed in lightning and standing astride the world like colossus. Angier makes his way past a giant STEAM ENGINE and into the building.
hapiness that should have been mine. ANGIER (V.46. The man who called out is leaving he's not alone. Angier watches Borden kiss wife then his baby..NIGHT Angier writing in his leather-bound journal. Angier is following him.) (CONT'D) Reading his account I realize that he never had the life I envied. EXT. Staring at the coded writing. demanding freedom. BORDEN I love you.) I saw hapiness. ANGIER (CONT'D) The family life he craves one minute he rails against the next.O. Edison's direct current system is flawed and dangerous. . ANGIER (V. His mind is a divided one. TESLA (CONT'D) Mr.. Angier turns to look.. STREET -. it's true.. staring down at aisleBorden is sitting there. Borden meets Sarah.DAY Borden walks down the street. HOTEL ROOM. Angier FREEZES.O. Sarah smiles. ANGIER (V. RAPT. INT.. As tesla continues his demonstration. pushing a PRAM. But I was wrong.) .. COLORADO -. Angier STARES at Borden. With my alternating current devicesSomeone from the audience chimes in: AUDIENCE MEMBER (yells) Fraud. See? SARAH Today. Borden looks down at the baby then up at Sarah.O. Angier flips open the notebook. lit by FLASHES from the machinery on stage. Angier glances at Borden's notebook sitting on the desk.
SULLEN (CONT'D) I'm going to know all of the Professor's secrets. looks as if it used to be a latrine. Guard! BORDEN Guard!! The viewing slot slides open. Professor? BORDEN Paper and pencil.47. It Borden sits at a table. Please. He puts the journal down and jumps to his feet BANGING on the cell door. GUARD What do want. His wife and child tormented by his fickle and contradictory nature. with two long tables.. INT.O. Professor? . Sullen mashes the papers into a ball and drops them. Reading Angier's journal. PRISON LIBRARY. ANGIER (V. Borden is crying. PRISON CELL -. SULLEN Let me see? Sullen SNATCHES up the papers. but long chains runs from his ellbows to where Sullen Gaurd sits smoking. BORDEN (smiling) Only if I teach you how to read.. INT. Borden makes no move to stop him. Writing on a stack of notepaper. NEWGATE PRISON -.DAY Borden sits on his cot. craning his nek to read Borden's writing. SULLEN Just stupid tricks.DAY Te library is long and titled. The top sheet is a sketch of a cabinet. right? Haven't helped you get out of here(tugs chains)) Have they? Or can't you open real locks.) His soul restless. His arms have been unbound.
ANGIER'S WORKSHOP -. BORDEN (CONT'D) -get you attention.48. SULLEN Oi. ANGIER (embarrassed) I thought you'd gone. Angier sits at the mirror. Borden. then? Borden STANDS. CUT TO: CLOSE ON AN ADVERTISSIMENT: "the professor has DEFIED DEATH to return with a new SPECTACULAR!" Pull widerINT. . Another warder CRACKS Borden over the head with a TRUNCHEON. Sullebn LAUGHS as Borden SCRABBLEs around his ankles to retrieve the ball.. SULLEN How'd you get so famous.NIGHT A NEWSPAPER on the makeup table. He hubs BROWN PASTE into his hair and then combs it out. Sullen. get back here! Sullen FUMBLES with his keys as Borden takes a BOW. BORDEN Perhaps I'm just biding my time. Embarrassed.. Borden VANISHES the ball. NO LONGER CHAINED. He drops the BOTTLE of spirit gum as he looks in the mirror and sees OLIVIA standing behind him. BORDEN Magic. perhaps say a magic word or two. Borden TURNS. Olivia shifts. now free. but HIS ANKLE IS CHAINED TO THE TABLE. but FUMBLES it.. KICKS Borden in the ribs. Then quietly say(whispers) "are you wacthing closely". Sullen stares. then I'll be gone. it drops to Borden's feet. Sullen JUMPS to his feet to follow.. Perhaps one day I'll just hold up my handBorden produces a RUBBER BALL in front of Sullen's face. The other PRISONERS are LAUGHING and CHEERING. Then he chooses a beard. seats it on his chin and begins to adjust it.
NIGHT Angier. As if nothing had happened.. I'm alone. have anywhere to go. OLIVIA Us. (beat) What are you doing? ANGIER Researching. OLIVIA (CONT'D) You're going to need a better disguise. He says if Borden thinks things are even between you then we canANGIER Even? My wife for a couple of his fingers? He has a child now. Part of a magician's job is to watch his competition. INT. OLIVIA (CONT'D) Cutter's hopig you'll let things life. almost unrecognizanle as a blonde. to see what illusions they'reOLIVIA You're going to do something to that man. living his life just as he always intended. Angier is quiet. And no theatre will touch me. . OLIVIA I don't really. GRUBBY THEATRE -. And he's perfoming again. Olivia reaches for Angier's beard. Angier slips the newspaper from the table.. And look at me. ANGIER You've been sleeping here? OLIVIA Cutter said it would be okay till we get another booking. TINY. slips into the back of the theatre. (bitter) Borden is out there. Olivia moves towards him.49. aren't you? Olivia moves closer.. which is as rough and unwelcoming as Borden's last venue.
Robert? ANGIER He had a new trick. The audience looks bored. BORDEN (CONT'D) It's a magic ball. sitting on the workbench. Olivia. drink in hand. it's just a rubber ball. But it's not normal at all.50. he TOSSES the ball to Angier. Borden continues to BOUNCE the ball on the floor. OLIVIA (V.NIGHT Angier still in disguise. Borden puts the rings down on a table and PICKS UP a bag. is slumped in an armchair.) What happened? INT. BORDEN (CONT'D) (to audience) You're not impressed? Borden BOUNCES the BALL on the ground and catches it. BORDEN (CONT'D) As you can see .O. Hands it back to Borden who shows no sign of recognizing Angier. Angier takes a few steps towards the stage. Angier notices that two TALL BLACK CABINETS are standing twenty feet apart on the stage. Borden works through his way through the Chinese rings with GLOVED HANDS to hide his damaged fingers. BORDEN (CONT'D) Thank you. remembering. He is SMILING. OLIVIA What happened. OLIVIA Was it good? . The tough crowd is JEERING AT HIM. On the small raised stage. Angier examines the ball. waiting for something to happen. ANGIER'S WORKSHOP -. Borden produces a RUBBER BALL. BORDEN I need a volunteer. waits for him to continue.
across the stage. a trickle of applause. FIRMLY. Onstage.. OPENING the door to the empty cabinet. LEADING the applause.NIGHT Angier is disguise. Finally. then BOWS deeply. Borden BOUNCES the ball once again..51. INT. he leaves the door open. APPLAUSE peters out. It's empty. the audience watches as the ball continues to BOUNCE across the stage. Angier looks at her. The . THE DOOR TO THE SECOND CABINET OPENS AND BORDEN STEPS OUT. Borden STEPS into the CABINET behind him. ANGIER Did they applaud when you saw it? CUTTER Not very enthusiastically. then studies Borden. ANGIER (V. INT. Olivia is watching. something IMPOSSIBLE happens. Cutter FLINCHES. CLOSING the door. INT. BOUNCE. ANGIER'S WORKSHOP -. GRUBBY THEATRE -.) It was the greatest magic trick I have ever seen. He CLOSES it again and crosses the stage.DAY Angier is talking to Cutter. Just as reaches the second cabinet. Borden repeats the process. however. GRUBBY THEATRE -. BOUNCE. as if he can't help it. The audience is BEMUSED.. He steps forwards and GENTLY BOUNCES the ball SIDEWAYS. TINY..DAY Angier turns to Cutter.EVENING Now it's CUTTER standing in the audience. CATCHING THE BALL.O. Borden walks off the stage.. The ball loses seep and height. Borden BOUNCES the ball over and over again. starts CLAPPING loudly. At the far cabinet. BOUNCE. INT. TINY.. This time. ANGIER'S WORKSHOP -. BOUNCING the ball the whole way. Borden walks to one side of the stage and OPENS the door to one of the cabinets. watching. With no one on stage.
ANGIER How does he do it? CUTTER He uses a double. But I do. I promise you. This is a CUTTER You think that because you don't know the method. It's the only way. ANGIER (shakes head) It's not that simple. OLIVIA It is the same man. They both turn to look at Olivia. . He doesn't know how to dress it up. OLIVIA (CONT'D) He wears padded gloves to hide his damaged fingers. CUTTER He's a wonderfull magician. Mr. complex illusion. CUTTER The trick is too good -. It's a double who comes out at the end. Cutter. ANGIER I've seen his perfom ir three times now. but if you look closely you can tell.he's a dreadful showman. Angier looks at Cutter. ANGIER He doesn't know how to sell his trick to an audience. ANGIER He's a dreadful magician.52.too simplethe audience harly knows what they've seen.the Prestige is the same manCUTTER It's notANGIER The same man comes out of the second cabinet. how to sell the trick.
fearful. steal his trick. PIKE'S PEAK -. ROAD. towards Angier. Turns to Olivia. in SILHOUETTE.MORNING Angier. ANGIER He doesn't use a doubleCUTTER (impacient) I don't know how Borden does it. Robert. (Angier nods) Ang the only way I know is to find you a bloody good double. ANGIER The man stole my life. TESLA'S LABORATORY -. walks slowly up the mountain road. swinging his cane. Angier stops. or you can listen to how I would do this trick. I'm going to CUTTER We'll have to find someone who can look like you on a stage. pointing to his face.53. a MAN begins to emerge from the very center of the CONFLAGRATION. So either you wait for Borden to retire and buy his secret. EXT. . CUTTER (nods) It would give us our climax.let's get out there and find me. Angier smiles. ANGIER Take a good look. ALLEY It's perfectly safe. EXT. Bolts SNAP and TRAIL after the man as he walks. As Angier stares.CONTINUOUS The lab is illuminated by thirty fot STREAMERS of electrical DISCHARGE that pour from the base of the tower.
ANGIER I saw a lecture you gave in London. Mr. LABORATORY -. ANGIER (CONT'D) What's conducting the electricity? TESLA Our bodies. TESLA (CONT'D) Mr. and indeed. The bulb goes out. He brushes SPARKS from the sleeve of his jacket as he extends a band to Angier. Angier. TESLA Alley has explained that you require a very interesting device. Angier? EXT. Tesla keeps hold as Angier's hand. Alley and Tesla are seated around a table on a decl overlooking a spectacular view. DECK. which starts to glow as he grasps its metal base. TESLA So this is the Great Danton. Tesla emerges from the ball of electricity. Angier. I'm flattered you agreed to see me. ANGIER I need something impossible. does so.MORNING Angier. TESLA You're familiar with a phrase 'Man's reach exceeds his grasp'? (MORE) . dressed as if he were on his way to the opera. are quite capable of conducting. Alley takes it from the Angier who looks at the palms of his hands. several years ago. They are eating sandwiches. TESLA (CONT'D) Have you eaten. Mr. Alley has effused about your act to me on any number of occasions.54. Something you did with pockets? Angier returns the handshake. Tesla release Angier's hand. producing energy. Alley hands him a lightbulb. confused.
Alley could tell you. the cost? TESLA But have you considered ANGIER I'm noit sure I follow. Angier. Perhaps not. (gestures at laboratory) Enjoying "retirement".. It will not do you any good. washing his hands in a basin on a side table. (pointed) Go home. The only limits on scientific progress are these imposed by society. Think of saving a woman in half. (looking at Angier) Nothing is impossible. The second time I was asked politely to retire. I can recognize an obsession. . The world only tolerates one change at a time. As Mr.they'd scream. Tesla rises.55. you would be presenting it only as an illusion? ANGIER If people thought the things I did on stage were real. TESLA (CONT'D) (off his look) It's a lie. they wouldn't clap. Tesla looks out at the mountains. Mr. I myself an given to one now and then. TESLA (CONT'D) The first time I changed the world I was hailed as a visionary. But I can also give you some advice. TESLA (CONT'D) Alley says you are a stage magician. And so here I am. TESLA I can make your machine. TESLA Mr. Mr. Angier. What you want is simply expensive..Angier. Forget this thing. Tesla nods. If a built you this device. Man's grasp exceeds his nerve. Considering. the cost of such a machineANGIER Price is not an object.
Root throws an ARM over Angier's shoulder and draws him in. But I've followed them too long. Angier. Mr. TESLA (smiles) So be it. This will take time. we understand why Olivia has brought them here. to a TRAMP in tattered clothing. GREEN ROOM DRINKING CLUB -. Underneath the filth and matted hair. ROOT A pleasure to meet you fine gentlemen. Their whipping boy. Angier is staring a little too much. ANGIER Have your obsessions done you no good? TESLA At first.HE IS PLAYED BY THE SAME ACTOR OLIVIA (CONT'D) Mr. ANGIER if you understand an obsession then you know you won't change my mind. curled over a pint. . INT. Cutter.EVENING The club is warm and dark. Olivia points to the far end of the bar. Tesla disappears into the lab. hoists himself up and spills his way down the bar to them.56. I would like you to meet Mr. ANGIER Will you build it? TESLA I have already begun to build it. Angier looks into Tesla's eyes. Olivia. I hope you enjoy the mountain air. Cutter and Angier make their way to the bar. Angier.I am their slave. Mr. As he draws closer. And one day they may choose to destroy me. Gerald Root. this man is SPITTING IMAGE of Robert Angier. OLIVIA (to tramp) Gerry? The tramp sees Olivia.
Sunddely Root WRAPS this hands around Angier's neck and begins to THROTTLE him. OLIVIA He's an out-of-work actor. I need him to be me. EXT. mind you.of course he's out of his mind. BORDEN Would you like to see a magic trick? Borden reaches up and pushes a wayward LOCK a her hair over her ear. .DAY Borden escorts Sarah and their TODDLER. When his hands returns. CUTTER He's perfect. Borden stops abruptly. A little work. Cutter breaks it up and pushes Root back. Crouches to his daugther. He stands. NORTH HILL -. ANGIER I don't need him to be my brother. ROOT (CONT'D) (whisper) Would you like for me to tell you a little joke? Angier smiles unconfortably. it's holding a KEY. She looks down at the key in her hand. Root picks up his hat off the bar and disappears onto the street. up the three lined street. SARAH What is this for? Borden takes her gently by the shoulders and turns her around until she's facing a modest two-story HOUSE. places the key in Sarah's hand. ANGIER He's out of his mind.57. but when I'm done with him he could be your brother. ROOT (CONT'D) (yelling) Are you laughing? Angier is shaken. a girl.
maybe soon I'll get us into a bigger theatre.CONTINUOUS -LANDING beside Angier on the straw matterss. opening it. Suddenly. aren't I? The act is taking off. Angier fiddles with one. EMPIRE THEATRE The auditoruim is empty. Sarah turns and embraces her husband. INT. Olivia looks around the below stage area.. a TRAP-DOOR set into the floor POPS open.CONTINUOUS Olivia gathers up her skirts and DROPS through the holeINT. walking through it.then.. Angier JUMPS through itINT. OLIVIA You walk through this one. EMPIRE THEATRE -. Things will work. Two doors is simple frames have been erected in the middle of the stage. BENEATH THE EMPIRE STAGE -. OLIVIA And Root goes up through there? . he pushes the door all way open.? Angier stands Olivia in front of the door. SARAH But you want through all theBORDEN Sarah. BORDEN You caught me in the wrong mood. SARAH (CONT'D) When I asked last week you said we couldn't afford. Olivia is watching. I'm allowed to change my mind. one? OLIVIA Couldn't you find a softer ANGIER (smiles) It's not for sleeping on.58. Oof.
He's been clened up and dressed in Angier's stage costume. Olivia looks at Angier. OLIVIA (CONT'D) It's going to be amazing. starting to believe this might work. ANGIER All I have to do is keep myself stinking drunk all the time and no one will be able to tell the difference. INT. EMPIRE THEATRE -. Angier hops up onto stage. Root starts APING his every movement. OLIVIA (CONT'D) You becoming obsessed. sir. Angier and Olivia look up to see Cutter at the trap door. Olivia looks at him strangely. . Cutter beckons Root onstage. Mr. Root? Root picks himself up and dusts himself off. ROOT You would drink. She gestures at a LIFT twenty feet away with a TRAP DOOR MECHANISM above it. ROOT HAS BECOME ANGIER.) Ready to meet yourself. Angier nods.59. examining Root from different angles. OLIVIA You went and saw his show again? Angier looks away. The illusion is PERFECT -till he opens his mouth.MOMENTS LATER Angier and Olivia sit in the front row. Angier is getting uncomfortable. ANGIER It has to be. Angier nods. he is channeling everything from his facial expressions to his walk.S. too. The place was packed today. CUTTER A little faith. Robert. embarrassed. Borden's trick is getting noticed. CUTTER (O. Olivia starts laughing. if you know the world half so well as I do. Robert. Mr. Could you favor us with a perfomance. Robert. Suddenly. he TRIPS on his way across the stage.
How difficult could it possibly be to play 'The Great Danton?' CUTTER You can go back to being yourself. ROOT (CONT'D) Did you think you were unique. and takes a long swallow and jumps down to Olivia. ANGIER (watching Root) I don't know how you do these things. it amusing. EXT. nearing the end of his show. Fallon amongest them. Root looks challengingly at both men.EVENING Angier is onstage. the sign. The DOORFRAMES are wheeld out on either side of the stage. Cutter. For free. in the same manner that Angier does onstage. I have been Faust. LEICESTER SQUARE -. Root. He produces a bottle of Gin from thin air. CUTTER Have you thought about what we should call the trick? ANGIER No point being coy. ROOT I'd rather be him.. STARING up at INT. I'm not sure I want to know. . for now.EVENING The enormous MARQUEE of the Empire Theatre: 'The Great Danton perfoms THE NEW TRANSPORTED MAN' Beneath it. Borden calls his trick 'The Transported Man'? Cutter nods. Angier approaches the edge of the stage to address the audience with a suddenly SOLEMN demeanor. a CROWD. CUTTER Root has to keep a low profile-anyone sees him the game's up.60. SMILING BROADLY as he pulls dozens of FLOWERS from thin air and tosses them to the crowd. EMPIRE THEATRE -. APPLAUSE fills the theatre. I find Root WAVES his hands across his chest. Angier? I have been Cassar. Mr.
Angier THROWS the HAT again. climbs off the straw mattress. which he opens. then walking trough the frame. some of you may be familiar with this technique.. do not be alarmed. it is clear it's not coming back down. Angier movies to the first door and THROWS HIS HAT in a HIGH ARC across the stage. Angier gracefully TURNS and heads upstage to the right-hand door. and it disappears uo into the rafters. BOTH DOORS SLAMS SHUT behind him. INT.CONTINUOUS Angier. but for those of you who aren't.steps behind it. It sails back down to him and he catches it. He OPENS the door. IMMEDIATELY opens and ANGIER/ROOT EMERGES. The AUDIENCE ERUPTS. Indeed. After a beat. hearing the MASSIVE APPLAUSE.. opens it. much of what you've seen tonight can be termed illusions. . UNDER THE STAGE -. for no trickery is being employed. Then strolls through crossing the stage-to the other door.you will see no trickery.61. He catches it. what you are about to see is considered safe. ANGIER (CONT'D) Alas. PEERING up through the cracks in the floorboards. Angier puts on a TOP HAT. I cannot claim this next feat as illusion. ANGIER Ladies and gentlemen. even harder this time. He puts on the hat.A STANDING OVATION.. Merely a techique familiar to certain citizens of the orient and various holy men of the Himalyas. The second DOOR. Watch carefully. Angier removes his TOP HAT and THROWS it high into the air. Smiling. FAR ACROSS THE STAGE.. LAUGHTER. Entertaining trifles of the sort you may have seen other magicians perform. Angier turns to the unseen audience and BOWS. SLAPS it to show that is sold. Angier snaps his fingers and the hat is dropped back down to him. SLAPPING to show its solidity. REACHING UP TO CATCH THE HAT. Fallon the only one in his seat as Angier/Root takes his BOWS.
He grabs his collar . No one cares about the man who disappears. OLIVIA I care about the man in the box. DRESSING ROOM -. ANGIER Thank you. you bloody fool. raises his glass. INT. They drink.it needs your showmanship to built suspense.EVENING Angier. Angier smiles.he can't introduce the trick. it's all over. still in costume. Angier turns to Olivia. and turns to Angier and Olivia. and Cutter are CELEBRATING their sucess. ROOT (O. OLIVIA (toast) To our achivement.S. rueful. If Root opens his mouth. They turn. Empty bottles of champagne line the makeup table. the man who goes into the box. I spent the ovation hidden under the stage.) of course I can. Olivia. get that costume and makeup off right now. I'm the Great Danton. CUTTER (shakes head) The antecipation of the trick is everything. CUTTER The manager said he's never seen a reaction like it. They care about the man who comes out the other side. Root is lying behind a trunk. ANGIER At least he got to see it. CUTTER Root. That way I could be the Prestige and Root ends up below stage. anyone could walk in here! Cutter is SLAPPING Root to his feet. (to Cutter) Maybe we could switch before the trick.62.
they loved it. distracted. Olivia stares at him. She wraps her legs around him. OLIVIA (CONT'D) What's wrong? (softly) It is your wife? Angier shakes his head. OLIVIA (CONT'D) We've worked hard for this. ANGIER It's not as good as his trick. . OLIVIA Life is not full of these moments. Angier rises. turning out of her embrace. OLIVIA Didn't you see the audience? ANGIER No. CUTTER (CONT'D) Congratulation. OLIVIA Borden's trick is nothing compared to ours. She pulls him in closer and they KISS. Angier looks up at her with a gentle smile. and we need to celebrate properly. Olivia pours him some more champagne. OLIVIA Well. They kiss again. all. He doesn't have any styleANGIER He doesn't have to spend the finale hiding under the stage. Angier pulls back.63. Robbie. Cutter DRAGS Root out. Olivia slides onto the makeup table. ANGIER I suppose I should get more rest. ANGIER The trick isn't good enough.
DAY Alley shows Angier in. reading. placing his hands on her shoulders. We'll have the greatest magic act anyone's ever seen. OLIVIA (taken aback) We just got our start and you want me to leave? ANGIER It's how we advance. ANGIER (CONT'D) Think of it. ANGIER (CONT'D) I need you to go and work for him. Tesla is sitting. Angier moves to Olivia. OLIVIA (frustated) He knows I work for you. Olivia. OLIVIA Why? ANGIER So that I can do it better. OLIVIA Why would he trust me? Angier thinks for a second. He'll want my secrets.64.. ANGIER Exactly why he'll want to hire you. OLIVIA Work for him? Are you joking ANGIER You'll be my spy.. TESLA'S LABORATORY -. ANGIER (CONT'D) I need to know how he does it. INT. Then smiles. Looks her in the eye. ANGIER Because you're going to tell him the truth.imagine what we could do with the real illusion. Angier turns to her. . we've got people excited about Cutter's version of the trick.
wrapping themselves around the legs of the tripod. Nothing happens. TESLA No. It will be fine. Alley intercepts the hat and lays it on a chalk hasmark directly underneath the machine. BOLTS shooting out of it. which hasn't moved an inch. Then. TESLA (CONT'D) Fitting that you should be here for the maiden voyage. as they watch. Leads Angier to a back corner at the room and pulls a SHEET from a ten-foot tall apparatus. We'll see you next week? Angier begins to protest but Alley gestures towards the door. Without further ceremony. ALLEY Perhaps it would be best if you left us to it. smoke pouring from the slats. Alley. Alley FIRES the machine. Suddenly the room is still. no. TESLA (CONT'D) Your hat. Mr. as if it has broken the sound barrier. Angier.65. Tesla walks forward. locking into the pit-at the TOP HAT. limping.the ELECTRICAL MACHINE Angier used on stage in the opening of the film. He returns to the controls. Alley FIRES a GENERATOR connected by thick cables to the machine. the GLOBE on top of the tripped FLASHES whits hot. Tesla RISES. Alley joins him at the edge of the pit. Mr. TESLA You must be curious to see what so much money had bought you. Looks down into the pit. please proceed. Alley pulls Angier away from the pit. Angier takes off his hat and tries to hand it to Tesla. is the last to arrive. The CHARGE reaches a FREEZY and then emits a loud BANG. It RUMBLES into life. . ANGIER I don't understand- Tesla STARES at the hat as if trying to melt it with CONCENTRARION. Angier. ALLEY You might want to stand back.
Are you here to steal the rest of my show? Olivia sees one of the theatrical notices that litter the shop: "THE GREAT DANTON BREAKS RECORD WITH HIS ASTONISHING NEW TRICK" OLIVIA No. Olivia behind him. windows plastered with playbills. INT. BORDEN (to Fallon) Wasn't I just saying that. OLIVIA My name is Olivia Wenscombe. Borden sits there. I want a job. Fallon leaves. turns back to the table. Borden looks back at her. cabinetry and props. I'm here to give your show what is missing. working a lathe. . crowed with tools. Olivia is taken aback.DAY A small. BORDEN'S WORKSHOP -. disused shop off an arcade. Chanes tack. BORDEN I know who you are. Bernard? A woman's touch. closing the door.66. OLIVIA I've left Angier. Borden is sitting at a workbench. sleeves rolled up. OLIVIA (looking around) Interesting workshop. Fallon enters. BORDEN We make do. BORDEN And what might that be? OLIVIA Me. instinctively putting on his gloves. OLIVIA (CONT'D) I know you have no reason to trust meBORDEN Why on earth shouldn't I trust you? The mistress of my enemy.
BordenBORDEN Alfred. The truth. unless I'm mistaken. There's no future with him. It's killing him. truth. rather drunk. unsure. Olivia. A slippery notion in our life of work. OLIVIA I'm going to tell you the BORDEN Ah. He sent me here to steal your secrets. I've had enough. OLIVIA Mr. Does he like taking his bows under the stage? Olivia meets his gaze. moves closer to Olivia. Borden stares at her. He wants me to come and work for you and steal your secret. BORDEN What does he need my secret for? His trick is top notch. but I've actually come to offer you his. overweight. BORDEN He has no secrets from me.67. he's obsessed with discovering your method. and. BORDEN (CONT'D) Tell me. Alfred. and takes no pleasure in our sucess.mute. Borden rises. The Great Danton vanishes and isntantly reappears on the other side of the stage -. He thinks of nothing else. . OLIVIA No. Miss Wenscombe. OLIVIA I'm here because he sent me here. BORDEN (CONT'D) And this is the truth? She gives Borden a challenging smile/shrug.
CUTTER No?! Root looks at Cutter with genuine malice. Cutter glances up. INT. sir. Get yourself below stairs. at him through the mirror. . BACKSTAGE -. Angier looks ANGIER We have a problem. Mr.DAY Angier is applying his makeup.Cutter.DAY Cutter is fixing a prop mechanism. DRESSING ROOM -.FROM NEXT WEEK. CUTTER (CONT'D) ROOT! You're late. ANGIER He's blackmailing us? . CUTTER Best be getting changed for the martinee. INT. Root. right away! ROOT No.THE PROFESSOR WILL DEMONSTRATE THE ORIGINAL TRANSPORTED MAN. looks over his shoulder.Angier nods. He realized he can make demands. in his undershirt. folded to an advertisement: PANTAGES THEATRE. ANGIER Don't tell me he fell over again. ROOT We need to have a chat. CUTTER Worse. Cutter REALIZES. CUTTER We have a bigger problem. Angier approaches. He holds up the paper. (sniffs) And even more drunk than usual.68.ACCEPT NO CHEAP IMITATIONS!!! ANGIER (CONT'D) He'll be perfoming right across the street. Cutter. Cutter enters.
. I'm surprised. CUTTER In a word. Nods. ANGIER (hisses) Get up there!! Root smirks at Angier. BENEATH THE EMPIRE STAGE -. Robert. And last week's.. then we'll phase it out. STAGE. INT. The trapdoor OPENS and Angier DROPS onto the straw mattress.we have to stop doing the trick. Performer. for now.NIGHT Root smokes a cigarette. We're not doing any tricks we can't control. to be honest. ANGIER Pay him whatever he wants. not "magician" mind. EMPIRE THEATRE -. Thinking. ANGIER What's the point? CUTTER My point. Of any kind.. We keep doing the trick till Borden opens. ANGIER (wields paper) Stop doing the trick? Look at this. is that you've climbed too high to get away with any kind of professional embarrassament. yes. ANGIER How much does he want? CUTTER It makes no difference. where they called you "London's premiere stage performer".CONTINUOUS -onto the stage and STEPS/STUMBLES out from behind the door to LOUD APPLAUSE. Angier considers this. He looks over to see Root finishing his cigarette.TOSSES the cigarette and CATAPULTS upINT. PULL BACK to reveal he is standing on the LIFT beneath the stage.69. CUTTER Look at yesterday's.it usually takes them a lot longer to figure it out.
O. Root has a SLOPPY GRIN as he STRUTS acroos the stage.BORDEN. head lolling towards his empty glass. But don't advertise it. but cleaned up to look like Angier.DAY Angier sits with Borden's dairy.and his account suggests a reason. ANGIER (V.. Root turns to face his benefactor. Blows him a kiss.) Cutter was always surprised how fast Root turned bad.70.you wouldn't expect him to rock the boat. glancing around them. CUTTER Get it down! ANGIER (V. (grins at Borden) And who might you be? . INT. Root takes several large GULPS. Then TURNS to a stagehand. packed with an unpromising lot.. The stagehand starts LOWERING THE CURTAIN. winking..O.) . A full PINT arrives in front of him. He turns to Cutter in the wings. Root is hanging precariously from his barstool. aren't you? Root gestures silence. TAVERN -.. staring at Borden. ROOT Of course I am. Suppresses a belch.. Cutter GLARES. blowing kisses.EVENING The bar is dark and seedy.. CLIFF HOUSE INN -. RESTAURANT. He is in his own clothes. loving it. ANGIER (V.) We paid him enough to keep him in beer. INT. Today I learned Borden's view on the episode.O. ROOT To what do I owe the pleasure of this rather welcome pint of ale? BORDEN You are the Great Danton.I'll be mobbed with fans. milking the applause from every angle.
BORDEN Have it. Well. very good. BORDEN At first. BORDEN You could probably do it blindfolded. ROOT Ah.. BORDEN Another? ROOT If you insist. and. You se. very good. only one show. to be frank. placing the empty glass in front of Borden with an emphatic THUNK.. . practitioner. but I had a similar trick in my act. I'm noit claiming to know your method.and I used. I hadn't counted on the fact that once I incorporated this bloke into my act. I'm not perfoming tonight. Root DOWNS the rest of his new pint. ROOT Bloody good idea.. (looks around. BORDEN Just a humble admirer. it's your Transported Man illusion.71. And fellow BORDEN Actually. my people pretty much run things these days. Now.. Root sips. ROOT Oh? BORDEN Well. he had complete power over me. Then it went bad...a double. whispering) . there's something I might warn you about. I see. A new pint arrives. ROOT Thanks. ROOT Oh.
ROOT Complete power. INT. EMPIRE THEATRE -. but for those of you who aren't.. he looks up and sees SOMEONE standing on the lift twenty feet away. you say? BORDEN (nodding gravely) Weel. HAT into the air. UNDER THE STAGE -. STAGE -. Root looks at Borden. . what you are about to see is considered safe.. UNDER THE STAGE -.the LIFT ROCKETS BORDEN UP THROUGH THE STAGE FLOOR. CLUTCHING his leg in AGONY. BORDEN. In the end I had to stop performing the illusion completely. you see. Drunken whells spinning. to second door. he was the secret... INT.CONTINUOUS The first door slams shut. ANGIER . SILENCE. NOTHING to break his fallBut there is He throws his He SMASHES painfully to the ground. ROOT Thanks for the warning.72. Angier takes his time. confident.EVENING Angier is almost all the way through his act. the more outrageous his demands became. catches it. MILKING IT.CONTINUOUS BORDEN bows to Angier. The HAT falls gently to the floor. (looks at Root) You must be very careful about giving someone that power over you. The audience turns their attention The door remains closed..CONTINUOUS Angier DROPS ten feet to the concrete floor. broken by a COUGH in the audience. And the more successful I became. do not be alarmed.. INT.some of you may be familiar with this technique. INT. STAGE. He practically backrupted me.
CUTTER I don't see how Borden found him. Cutter helps Angier to his feet. then picks up the HAT.CONTINUOUS Angier looks at his leg.. STAGE -. enjoying it all the way. BORDEN (CONT'D) Pardon my intrusion! Borden places the top hat and ANGIER/ROOT at a JAUNTY ANGLE. BORDEN Great Danton. trying it on and finding it too small. hops down off the stage. . ANGIER Well. CUTTER Sit. he did.CONTINUOUS The second door OPENS. Root still hangs above the stage.LATER Cutter crouches over Angier. and BORDEN steps through.. and walks up the aisle. UNDER THE STAGE -.CONTINUOUS As Borden mugs with the hat. something is LOWERED from the flies above: ANGIER/ROOT. I was careful. STAGE -. groaning in protest. BOUND AND GAGGED. do you think it might be her? Olivia? Angier stops to look at Cutter. HANGS from a chain.a nasty COMPOUND FRACTURE. INT. Behind them. INT. He looks back at the door. fixing a LONG SPLINT to his broken leg. I must apologize! I simply had too much magic for my stage at the Pantages! The Great Danton comes to rest three feet above the stage. STAGE -. CONFUSED.I had him under wraps. bowing. INT. THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE and LAUGHTER.73. As he chokes on pain he can hear LAUGHTER from the AUDIENCE. Borden BOWS. INT. looking all around. A sign around his neck reads: "OPENING AT PANTAGE.THE PROFESSOR" Borden looks up behind him. as if he doesn't know where he is.
sir? Angier turns to the SCALPER. GLOVES. . Angier STARES. Nods. ONSTAGE: Borden OF SHOWMANSHIP. Cutter gestures at Root. thinly disguised. pushes through the crowd outside the box office. He works through his show with a SUPERIOR DEGREE even cracking a smile when called for. himself down. The marquee: The Professor Performs His Masterpiece. cane leaning against the arm of the chair.74. Two large glass balls transmit SPARKS between one cabinet and the other along BARE WIRES.EVENING Angier slumps into a seat at the back of the PACKED theatre. Robbie. leg in long metal brace.) Need tickets. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -.. sitting in an armchair. anger rising as he watches Olivia's close RAPPORT with Borden. Borden HAS DRESSED IT UP WITH ELECTRICAL APPARATUS.NIGHT Angier.. INT.EVENING Olivia enters in to the darkness bedroom.. EXT. match and lights one of the gaslights. APARTAMENT -. Borden performs ths Transported Man. CUTTER Shall we cut him down? ANGIER He's the Great Danton.S. ANGIER You weren't expecting me? OLIVIA I was expecting you sooner. Let him cut INT. he makes much of performing tricks is assisted by Olivia. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -. She strikes a . No. Working WITHOUT ONE-HANDED. Your message said "afternoon". who looks STUNNING. ANGIER I don't. SCALPER (O.and SCREAMS as the gaslight illuminates Angier.. Another watches.THE ORIGINAL TRANSPORTED MAN!! On the box office: SOLD OUT THRU SUNDAY.
75. I've seen things..he leaves those things lying around to make you think he's using a double. Angier shakes his head. ANGIER (challenging) Yes? Then how does he do it?! OLIVIA Cutter was right. . wigs.. We don't use any of it for the show. ANGIER (CONT'D) He's taken everything from me. but I've found it hidden backstage. ANGIER Of course Borden said thatOLIVIA He didn't say anything. OLIVIA (CONT'D) I did everything you asked. ANGIER Well.. now you. it takes a bit for me to get around these days.make-up. furious. my career. Angier RAPS his leg brace with his cane.not to improve his actOLIVIA That's my job-! ANGIER Or to fall in love with him! OLIVIA You abandoned me to him! Angier SLAPS her. ANGIER (scorn) It's misdirection.it's a double. ANGIER I sent you to steal his secret. glasses..he'd never say. My OLIVIA What do you mean? You sent me toAngier takes her by the shoulders. She shakes her head at him. wife. ROUGHLY. HOISTS himself up.
I thought you'd be able to translate some of it.. that's what it takes.with a transposition that probably shifts every day of the diary. OLIVIA All the time? He doesn't know when I'm lookingANGIER All the time. is a blind fool. Angier starts leafing desperately through pages. don't you? She moves to her bed. OLIVIA (CONT'D) His notebook. no one could(studies pages) It's a cypher. OLIVIA (CONT'D) But the Great Danton. Even with the keyword it would take months to decode. tears forming in her eyes. but now I realizeANGIER I can't. don't you see?! (beat) And just because you're sleeping with him doesn't mean he trusts you. OLIVIA (scorn) You can't.he lives his act.76. OLIVIA And without the keyword? . Olivia glares athim. REACHING below the mattress.. Olivia tosses something at Angier: a CARDBOARD-BOUND NOTEBOOK.that's who he is. OLIVIA You thing you can see everything. ANGIER You stole it? OLIVIA I borrowed it for tonight. Olivia. ANGIER Olivia.
Angier puts the cardboard-bound notebook into his pocket.if I don't get that back tomorrow morning. ANGIER You can'r possibly think I'd let this go? This is his diary. ANGIER Yes. All of his secrets are right here. we won't. OLIVIA No. he'll know I took it. Olivia. Angier drags his leg to the door.I care about his secret! Angier stops. ANGIER Perhaps never. OLIVIA He knows where I live! ANGIER I need to know his method. She watches him go. Olivia. I'll go to his workshop and stage a break-inOLIVIA He'll know it was youAngier puts his hands GENTLY on her shoulders. holds out her hand for the notebook. ANGIER I don't care about my wife. torn. crying. OLIVIA (desperate) It won't get your wife back. We'll see. Robert! ANGIER (shrugs) Leave him. OLIVIA (pleading) Don't do this do me. not you. Angier looks at her. realizing what he said. Still scared. Understand? Olivia nods.77. ANGIER (CONT'D) Look. Calms himself. . me. Robert. in my hands. worried. incredulous.
BORDEN'S WORKSHOP -. As Fallon watches. The bodyguard hold the door to a carriage open and Fallon steps up. Fallon steps down. . reaches into the bodyguard's jacket and pulls out a PISTOL.DAY CLOSE ON: SHATTERED GLASS. BORDEN Notebook. STREETS. EXT. EXT. Borden BORDEN (CONT'D) Then he's just getting started.EVENING Fallon continues to follow Borden at a distance. acrooss the street. A BODYGUARD steps through the door and begins unshering them away as Fallon and Borden follow him through the door. Fallon nods. OLIVIA I have fallen in love with Angier looks at her. Fallon stops and idles at the street corner. BORDEN (CONT'D) Let him come. I don't care. Borden steps into a tobacconist's. another man STOPS. ANGIER Then I know how hard this had been hard for you. Fallon slips back around the corner and looks: It's Angier. Borden doffs his hat and walks onto the crowd street. Weary. INT. Borden and Fallon survey the WRECKAGE of their shop. Fallon looks concerned. BROKEN PROPS AND CABINETRY. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -. Borden sighs. gentlemen. STAGEDOOR.78. Robert? him. He checks that it's loaded and slips it into his own jacket. Borden stops at the door. looks at Fallon. leaning on his cane. WEST END -. BORDEN I'm walking tonight. sympathetic. Then he sets off after Borden.EVENING A small CROWD of autograph SEEKERS crowd the stagedoor.
BASEMENT -. (to coffin) You save me the trouble to making you an air hole! Angie picks up the hammer and continues NAILING. Finally. then follows both men from a distance. ALLEY -.CONTINUOUS Fallon drops heavily into an almost-vertical OPEN COFFIN. Angier stands at the other end of the hallway. EXT. shutting him in. Borden is gone. EXT. hears a KNOCKING and turns: He Angier is behind him. darkned doorway towards the end of the alleyway.CONTINUOUS Fallon stops at the doorway.CONTINUOUS Fallon rounds the cornder and stops. but he sees Angier dissappear down and alleyway. Cutter starts NAILING it down. Fallon picks up his pace and tries to cross the street but is HELD UP for a second by passing traffi. DISORIENTED.79. RAPPING on a broken headstone with the head of his cane. The alleyway is EMPTY. A GUNSHOT TEARS through the lid of the box. As he reaches the other side. INT. Fallon just glimpses CUTTER DROP THE LID INTO PLACE. his gloved hand gripping te doorframe. watching him. Fallon takes a step towards him and CRASHES through the rotten floor to the basement below. BLOODY WOUND on his arm.MORNING Borden picks up his way through the overgrown cemetary. he has lost them. INT. Borden crosses to the same side of the street as Angier. HIGHGATE CEMETARY -. . a cloud of pipe smoke drifting after him. Angier rolls Cutter off to one side. HALLWAY -. he sees an open. but is caught by Angier. Borden emerges from the tobacconist and continues down the street. Fallon waits for Angier to set off after Borden. Cutter falls -- He is clutching at a CUTTER I'll live. back.
Angier pulls a sheaf of writing paper and a pencil stub from his pocket. Angier. Describe it in full. . Unless you give me what I want. he doesn't talk at all. ANGIER The sacrifice. BORDEN I'm impressed. He offers them to Borden.80. Borden. BORDEN (shrugs) You have my notebook. Borden tries to gauge Angier's expression. Borden writes a SINGLE WORD on the top page and folds it up. In fact. ANGIER (CONT'D) I want the method not the keyword. I'm afraid. BORDEN My secret? ANGIER Your method for the Transported Man. gauging him. This is what a good trick costs.I don't even know if the secret is in you notebook. Fallon wouldn't tell me. is all going to be yours. Risk. Sacrifice. Beat. ANGIER Why's that? BORDEN You're finally getting your hands dirty. ANGIER (CONT'D) Write down your method Mr. Borden takes the paper and pencil and stares Angier in the eye. ANGIER Useless without the keyword. BORDEN Which is? ANGIER Your secret.
I wanted you to share this. his arm bandaged. BORDEN The keyword is the method. ANGIER Our answer. He STAKES it into a fresh pile of dirt in front of Borden. Cutter looks curiously at Angier. BORDEN (CONT'D) Is he Angier plucks the folded paper from Borden's hand. ANGIER How fast can you gid? Angier movies away through the headstone. Borden looks at Angier. ANGIER How's the arm? CUTTER Still attached. INT. shall we? .81. Angier reaches for the folded paper. HOSPITAL -. CUTTER I already know how he does it. CONCERNED. He smiles up at Angier. Did you get your answer? Angier holds up the folded paper. the same way we do. Robert. You just want it to be something more. which Borden lifts out of reach. let's find out. leaning heavily on his cane. ANGIER Well. uneasy. Borden begins to DIG. who sits down next to him. Angier looks at Cutter. BORDEN (CONT'D) Where is my ingeneur? Angier pulls a SHOVEL free from a pile of dirt beside him. The same way he always has. Borden looks at Angier with a glint in his eye. Cutter.EVENING Cutter is slumped in a chair by the wall. I haven't looked yet.
UNCOMFORTABLE. ELEGANT RESTAURANT -. CUTTER Robert. Restraining himself. (gentle. uncomprehending. BORDEN (to wine waiter) Champagne. To America. Olivia smiles cheerfully. he turns it to Cutter. SARAH Miss Wenscombe. Fallon behind. that we have a journey ahead of us. Your finest SARAH What are we celebrating. confused.it reads. ANGIER Then the rest is up to me. Borden ENTERS with a swagger.Fallon. Cutter watches Angier's excitement. dear? . Stops. embarrassed. Angier opens the piece of paper. Olivia beside him. Borden pulls out a chair for Olivia. He considers saying The Waiters spirit another table and chairs to join Sarah's. but definite) Obssession is a young man's game. Mr. The MAITRE D' hurries over. something. Cutter.T E S L A Cutter frowns. Fallon nods. signaling WAITERS. Awkward. A large GRIN spreads across his face. listen to me. Sarah looks up. I can't follow you any farther in this. SARAH I didn't know we'd be joined for dinner. BORDEN We're celebrating. INT. Angier looks at Cutter.82. Absolutely.EVENING Sarah sits by herself at a table for two. CUTTER What does it mean? ANGIER (excited) It means.
SARAH (to waiter) I'm not sure my husband needsBORDEN Who are you to tell me what?! Awkward silence. Every night. Olivia shifts in her seat. "Freddy". Freddy.Borden.83.Fallon. SARAH "Freddy"? BORDEN It's my name. Freddy? SARAH (brittle) Yes. OLIVIA Good-night. Mrs. Borden glares at his wife. What trick? The WAITER presents a bottle of champagne. BORDEN Well. The waiter uncorks the bottle with a muffled POP and pours champagne into Borden's glass. without looking at it. They leave. Borden nods BORDEN (loud) I'm going to bury myself alive. SARAH Not at home. pulling back Olivia's chair. Fallon is on his feet. . we've hit upon a new trick. OLIVIA PerhapsSARAH Perhaps. I see no reason for the two of you to suffer as well. Fallon? OLIVIA What trick. Good-night. you might escort Miss Wenscombe home. haven't we. My husband's being a bore. Then someone's going to come along and dig me up! OTHER DINERS are glancing over. Mr.
Sarah. Alfred. as he enters the hotel. A MOTORCAR is parked in front One of the men STARES at Angier . seeing her fistress. A lot of questions.84. MANAGER Unexpected guests. SARAH (CONT'D) More secrets. Borden just sits there. I thought I'd lost something very precious to me. At first I thought they might work for the government. BORDEN Sarah. Offering nothing. EXT. life. Shrugs helplessly. Sarah is clearly on the verge of tears. I had a terrible ordeal today. You're treating me like your audience. why are you being like this? Borden. SARAH Alfred. I can't live with that. INT. CLIFF HOUSE INN -. Our BORDEN Secrets are my life. I'm not seeing the real you. CLIFF HOUSE INN Angier walks to the reception desk. SARAH When you're like this. Sarah brushes away a tear. ANGIER I thought I had the place to myself. (looks out the window at the men) Not very polite. BORDEN I'm not always at home.DAY Angier walks up to the hotel. SARAH What? Borden looks at her speechless. Performing. and TWO MEN are unloading it. I see. softnes.
There is no future with him. ANGIER No? MANAGER (lowers voice) Worse. a most curious development. BORDEN'S WORKSHOP -.. Does he like taking his bows under the stage? Olivia meets his gaze. Angier starts out the windo at the men unloading equipment.) Today..O.. Borden stares at her. He sent me here to steal your secrets.) (CONT'D) Obviously Angier has sent her. but I've actually come to offer you his.O. It's killing him. BORDEN (V.85. BORDEN (V. BORDEN (CONT'D) Tell me Olivia. he thinks of nothing else.DAY Borden turns to see Fallon show in Olivia. INT. They work for Thomas Edison.. continues. deciphering Borden's diary. BORDEN (V. I've had enough. They start to speak as Borden's V. and told her to admit as much. INT. unsure.) His assistent come to us with a proposition. BORDEN He has no secrets from me.O..CONTINUOUS Angier sits at the desk.. COLORADO -. HOTEL ROOM. and takes no pleasure in our success. He's obssessed with discovering your method.O. . OLIVIA No. BORDEN (CONT'D) This is the "truth" you spoke of? She gives him a sly smile.
86. OLIVIA No. This is what he told me to tell you. Beat. OLIVIA (CONT'D) The truth is that I loved him. And stood by him. And he sent me to you like he'd send a stagehand to pick up his shirts. (looks him in the eye) I hate him for that. They sit there in silence, appraising each other. BORDEN I can spot Angier's methods from the back of the theatre. What could you possibly have to offer me? Olivia smiles, moves to Borden, reaching for his gloved hand. Borden flinches, surprised. OLIVIA You may know he does his tricks... but you can't understand why no one can see that yours are better. She tenderly PEELS OFF his padded glove revealing his mutiladed hand. OLIVIA (CONT'D) You hide this. I had to look closely to spot it when you performed the Transported Man. (looks into his eyes) But this makes you unique... it shows the audience that you aren't using a double; You musn't hide it, you must display it proudly... (looks at hand) I'm sure it takes great skill to perform illusions with one good hand. BORDEN (quietly) It does. OLIVIA Then let people know. much more then he is. you how. Borden looks into her eyes. BORDEN (V.O.) I think she is telling the truth. You can be so I can show
87. INT. BEDROOM, BORDEN'S WORKSHOP -- NIGHT Borden and Olivia are in bed together. It is raining outside.
He watching her get out of bed and moves to the window to smoke a cigarette. BORDEN (V.O.) I think we cannot trust her. But I love her. I need her. We need her. BORDEN (CONT'D) How could he send you away? be blind, deaf and dumb. She smiles quietly at this. OLIVIA Robbie's blinded by his jealosy. He'd do anything for you secret. Sending me away was the least of it. Borden considers this. BORDEN (V.O.) Trust is not the point- love is the point... who have we ever trusted? To open myself to such a relationship, EXT. NARROW ALLEYWAY -- DAY Olivia makes her way past crowed MARKET STALLS. BORDEN (V.O.) ...to the dangers of such an affair... I need assurances of fidelity. Of love. Fallon is SHADOWING her from a distance. BORDEN (V.O.) (CONT'D) But how to be sure when truth is layered like the skin of an onion? I know a way... she must help me rid ourselves of Angier. It is the only way to kow her mind. INT. HOTEL ROOM, COLORADO -- DAY Angier looks up from Borden's diary. Pale. He flips pages and pages forward TO THE LAST ENTRY... BORDEN (V.O.) Today my mistress proves her truthfulness. Not to me, you understand. He must
88. BORDEN (V.O.) (CONT'D) I have been convinced since she led me to Root... today, Olivia proves her love for me to you, Angier. Angier looks up from the notebook. Mind reeling.
BORDEN (V.O.) (CONT'D) Yes, Angier. She gave you this noteboook at my request. Yes, she led me to Root, and yes, Tesla is merely the key to my dairy, not to my trick. Did you really think I would part with my secret so easily after so much? Good-bye, Angier, may you find solace for your thwarted ambition back in yout American home. Angier STARES at the pages, unblinking. INT. TESLA'S LABORATORY -- DAY Angier STRIDES up to the fence. ANGIER TESLA! (nothing) TESLA!! Angier takes his cane and starts running its METAL TIP across the eletrified fence- causing SPARKING and CRACKLING. ANGIER (CONT'D) ALLEY, GET OUT HERE AND LET ME IN!! Alley emerges from the building, consufed. INT. TESLA'S LABORATORY -- DAY Alley opens the doorAngier BURSTS IN past him, ENRAGED. JUMPS to his feet...
ANGIER I've veen played for a fool! ALLEY Who by? ANGIER Tesla never made a machine like the one I asked for. ALLEY We never said he had. ANGIER You let me believe that he had, Alley! (MORE)
89. ANGIER (CONT'D) You stole my money because your funding was cut off- you've been shooting sparks at my top hat, laughing at me all along while you use my money to stave off ruin. I've seen Edison's menALLEY Where? ANGIER In the hotel. I've every mind to bring them up here myselfTESLA That would be unwise, Mr.Angier. Tesla is holding a cage containing a large tabby CAT. TESLA (CONT'D) It is true, sir, that you are your one remaining financier. But we have not stolen your money... ALLEY Sir, my cat? Tesla silences Alley with a tiny GLANCE. ALLEY (CONT'D) When I told you I could make your machine I spoke the simple truth. Science is just a name for the art of rendering the exotic mundane. It has no boundaries- its very purpose is to destroy boundaries. ANGIER Then why isn't the machine working? Tesla gives Angier the slightest of smiles. TESLA Because exact science, Mr.Angier, is not an exact science. The machine simply does not operate as expected. It needs continued examination. ANGIER Where did my top hat go? ALLEY Nowhere. Alley points to the top hat, which is sitting on a workbench.
TESLA'S LABORATORY -. then sputters out. Suddenly. Angier limps after the cat. EXT. down towards the unseen cat. Angier follows. ALLEY You are responsible for whatever happens to this animal. . He jumps down into the pit and secures the animal bu its collar to a eye-hook sunk into the ground. Alley pulls himself out of the pit. TESLA Which is why we need to rey a different material. still tied to the hook.CONTINUOUS Angier pushes his way through the dense undergrowth. It may provoke a different result. The three men begin edging towards the pit. ANGIER I'll go. FOREST -. Tesla FIRES the machine. Tesla looks frustated. The cat stares up at the machine around it and HISSES. As before. TESLA (CONT'D) You don't expect me to handle the thing myself? Alley reluctantly reaches into the cage and pulls out the TERRIFIED CAT. a terrifying SCREECH. Tesla opens the cage and points the open end at Alley.CONTINUOUS Angier sees the cat disappearing along the edge of the building and into the forest beyond. EXT. but the cat has disappeared. The machine build to a DEAFENING ROAR. Suddenly. And the hat went nowhere. large BOLTS spew from the head of the machine. Alley breathes a sigh of relief and starts to free the car. The cat is still there. the cat bursts free of Alley and ROCJETS through the open side door of the lab. Doctor. trying to keep up. and Tesla CHARGES the generator. Without ceremony.90. Silence. ALLEY (CONT'D) We've tried the damn thing a dozen times.
The other cat RACES off. He begins He stops at the opening of a tiny GLADE. Suddenly. ANGIER Here. TESLA These things never quite work as you expect them to. a HORRIBLE SCREECHING reaches Angier. Tesla looks carefully at the hat in his hands. no more than ten feet across. takes his cane and heads for the door. Clustered in a small glads. EXT. It has a tiny TEAR on the inside of the brim. CHASING the first cat into the woods beyondAngier is left alone in the clearing. The hat never moved. to follow the noise. kitty.91. I'll send word when it's ready. and succeeds in grabbing one. The first cat slinks The SECOND BLACK cat jumps from Angier's hands. TESLA'S LABORATORY -. ANGIER So the machine was working? ALLEY I never bothered to check the calibration. It has the same TEAR. Two IDENTICAL CATS are fighting viciously in front of Angier. He picks up another hat. staring atTOP HATS. SPITTING.DAY The top hats are in a pile on the dark. PORCH. kitty. measuring two HATS with a pair of Calipers. HISSING. Angier.RACES into the glade. That's one of the principal beauties of science. Tesla is at the table. still dazed. Angier. then FREEZES. staring at the pile of dozens of IDENTICAL TOP HATS. He tries to separate the two animals. . its way through them. Mr. Angier and Alley are watching. TESLA (CONT'D) We'll need a couple of weeks to iron out the(looks at hats) -problems with the machine. Angier takes a few steps after it.
he helps her up. runs into the room and tries to hop up into his lap. TESLA (CONT'D) Don't forget your hat. BORDEN (CONT'D) (gestures to newspaper) Who's that? A large advertisement features a picture of Borden: The Professor. Borden walks to the door. JESS. Angier stops and looks at the pile of hats. now four. I'll be back before you know it. daddy? BORDEN Daddy's got some business this afternoon. Borden holds the newspaper open for her to look at. BORDEN Daddy has some errands to run. ANGIER Which one is mine? TESLA They are all your hat. Mr. BORDEN (CONT'D) Then go to the zoo we shall. JESS Are we going to the zoo this afternoon. JESS But you promised. INT. BORDEN'S WORKSHOP -.England's premiere magician! JESS That's you. daddy? Borden picks up the girl off of his lap and stands. . Angier.DAY Borden's daughter. Tesla smiles at him. solemly. then ducking him as he tries to kiss her. Laughing. Sarah enters. so get ready. avoiding his eyes. As he does. BORDEN Did I? Jess nods at him.92.
embarrassed. SARAH We each have our vices. SARAH That makes it so much harder when you don't.. she knows things aren't right. gentle concern in his eyes. and you alone. (looks at Fallon. He watches her pour. she knows. She reaches for the sherry decanter. BORDEN (CONT'D) The little lady wants to visit the Zoo. doesn't she? Fallon looks away. (looks at his feet) Sarah. She turns from him. Borden moves to her.AFTERNOON Borden walks along a disused strecth of industrial canal that snakes through the poorer neighborhoods of the city. I will always love you. Fallon sets off in the opposite direction. if not. Fascinated. EXT.Fallon. . eyes red from crying.. At least. BORDEN Absolutely. BORDEN More shopping. SARAH You mean it today. Another man is waiting for He studies it. She looks into his eyes.93. your only competitions for my affections is my little girl. Whatever you may think. Please. Borden tears up the paper. Fallon hands Borden a folded piece of paper. BORDEN Sarah. Borden watches her sadly. Leaves. pats Fallon on the shoulder and makes off down the path. CANAL -. I thought you could take her. Borden wanders into a tunel. Sarah looks at him. Borden. I'll do it tomorrow. She doesn't like the smell of money. him -. Try and convince her that I love her. I love you. pleading) Help me with her.
just. It's nothing. PIKE'S PEAK -.he protects the things I care about. CLIFF HOUSE INN -. Please. OLIVIA (O.MORNING The coach pulls to a stop. When you're with me. OLIVIA (CONT'D) There's something about him I don't trust. The two MEN he saw before Smiling. you're with me. are loading up their automobile. Olivia comes back in. wrong.. OLIVIA Freddy. Cold. ROAD. She pulls him in. EXT. BORDEN You trust me? (off her look) Then trust Fallon. sometimes things seem. Leave your family at home where they belong.. half-dressed. A plume of SMOKE is rising from further up the hill. Borden watches her move down the hall..MORNING Angier walks out from the lobby. . INT. laughing. after you left. I've told you before. OLIVIA I'll get dressed. trying to draw him into a kiss. EXT. answers the door to Borden.94. Olivia looks at him. barely wearing a dressing gown. OLIVIA What is it.S. but he backs away. BORDEN I'm trying. Angier and the driver look up. Freddy? BORDEN Please don't call me that. OLIVIA'S APARTMENT Olivia.. Olivia.) (CONT'D) I saw Fallon hanging around my house again.
EVENING Angier takes down the picture of Julia from the mantel. ANGIER'S ROOM. Angier? (Angier turns) I didn't feel it was necessary to tell the other men about the box.MOMENTS LATER Angier rounds the bend in the road and comes into view of the laboratory. INT. He was very good to Colorado Springs.95. Everything else is gone. EXT. The fence has been TORN DOWN. PIKE'S PEAK -. MANAGER (CONT'D) Mr. Mr. MANAGER We never use these rooms in the off season. Angier stops.MORNING Angier follows the manager down a darkened hallway. INT. MANAGER (CONT'D) We are sorry to see Mr. flips it over. Tesla leave as well. INT. A very generous man. He FREEZES. He studies it a second then puts it in the top of his packed suitcase. MANAGER We're sorry to see you go. Angier smiles up at him. Angier takes out his wallet and begins laying down bills. It's a shame. using his cane. . ANGIER What box? The manager smiles. CLEARING. CLIFF HOUSE INN -. CLIFF HOUSE INN -. CLIFF HOUSE INN -.MORNING The BELLBOYS wrestle with Angier's cases as Angier walks to the reception desk. It's Alley's sign warning trespassers to keep out. LOBBY. The metal tower is in SMOLDERING PIECES. and. Beyond it. HALLWAY. The manager smiles up at him. Angier. Angier notices a piece of metal lying in the road near him. absently and begins to leave. the LAB has been BURNED TO THE GROUND.
) My dear Angier. As to the use of the machine. you will find what you were looking for in the box.FLASHBACK Under cover of night. TESLA (V.96. which is standing center stage. Stencilled on one side "COLORADO SPRINGS" Angier walks up to the huge crate. I apologize for leaving without saying goodbye. BALLROOM. elegant room. Angier.CONTINUOUS Angier steps into the massive. TESLA (V.) (CONT'D) The extraordinary is not permitted in science and industry. INT. a group of FIGURES ransack the laboratory. An envelope addressed to him has been stuck to the front.O.FLASHBACK Alley holds open the door to a coach. CLIFF HOUSE INN -. . in shirt sleeves is running cables to the MACHINE.) Alley has written you a thorough set of instructions.NIGHT -. EXT.NIGHT -. mystified.O. I add only one suggestion on using the machineEXT. TESLA'S LABORATORY -. Tesla steps up into it and looks back from the coach's open door. Angier stops it and begins to read.NIGHT The open crate sits empty at the side of a derelict stage. awestruck. Standing on the dance floor is an ENORMOUS SHIPPING CRATE.O. ABANDONED THEATRE -. He pushes them open and ushers Angier through. up the mountain. The figure begin setting FIRE to the sides of the laboratory. TESLA (V.. TESLA (V.O.. INT.) But I seem to have outstayed my welcome in Colorado. COLORADO SPRINGS -. The manager stops at a set of DOUBLE DOORS and unlocks them.. Perhaps you'll have more luck in your field..
..O. at the Turn. Today I tested the machine. reading my diary..) (CONT'D) But here.. you.NIGHT Angier moves to one side of the stage where he makes a hash mark with a piece of chalk. ANGIER (V.DAY Borden STARES at Angier's journal in disbelief. Awaiting your death. ANGIER (V..O.if it went wrong I would not want to live like that for long..) Tesla's warning is as unheard as he knew it would be. Drop it to the bottom of the deepest ocean.) (CONT'D) Taking precautions in case Tesla hadn't ironed out the kinks in its operation. TESLA (V. listening to its power. Borden. . Sitting there.) (CONT'D) . PRISON CELL -. shutting the door as it moes off down the mountain.97. Borden. High on the mountain. ABANDONED THEATRE -. For my murder. WHITE SCEENANGIER (V. Tesla folds himself into the coach. ANGIER Yes. Angier THROWS THE SWITCH. I must leave you. ANGIER (V. in your cell.) -Destroy it. The WHITS becomes handwriting an a page and we areINT.. then THROWS HIMSELF INTO THE MACHINE..... Angier closes his eyes for an instant.O.O. The machine GROANS into LIFESPARKING and GLOWING as it gets up to full power. INT.. the laboratory is ABLAZE. He loads A GUN and places it next to the machine. TESLA (CONT'D) Such thing will only bring you misery.O. HE IS CONSUMED BY LIGHT.
Lord OWENS Including the Transported Man? Caldlow will be very pleased. OWENS Without the Prestige for each trick these are wothless. (looks at Borden) What makes you think it's a fake? Borden looks away. BORDEN It doesn't matter. Owens leafs through the papers. BORDEN Angier's journal.it refers to events that happened after his death. Borden leans forward and stuffs ROLLED PAPERS through the fence. annoyed. It's written in Angier own hand. Borden SLAMS the journal shut. OWENS Clever predictions. BORDEN It has to be.DAY BORDEN stands at the fence again. the "gesture of good faith"? It's a fake. BORDEN (CONT'D) All of them. I'm sure. EXT. OWENS Lord Caldlow was happy to hear that you'd reconsidered his offer. My tricks. uncomfortable. Owens takes them carefully. NEWGATE PRISON -. .98. They're not completeyou only have the Pledge and Turn for each. BORDEN No he won't. Staring at it. of which we have numerous examples. PRISON CELL. OWENS (surprised) I assure you it's not. The provenance of the journal is clear and under no doubt.
it's not true! I've told you Olivia means nothing to me! SARAH I'll go yo her! I know what you really are. BORDEN'S HOUSE -. Fallon takes it in his. Listening. BORDEN'S HOUSE -. Utterly DISTRAUGHT BORDEN Sarah.CONTINUOUS Sarah is WILD. Alfred! BORDEN (quietly firm) Sarah. BORDEN'S HOUSE -.CONTINUOUS Sarah turn to face Borden. You can't do that.CONTINUOUS Jess looks up. Borden is trying to calm her. BORDEN You'll get the rest after you bring my daughter here. Deperate.) Sarah. SARAH I can't live like this! . LIVING ROOM.S.) I'll do what I have to! Jess reaches up a hand.I know! INT.99.S. Fallon is standing above her. INT. listening to her parents SHOUT at each other in the living room. Owens looks at Borden. SARAH (O. BORDEN (O. BORDEN (CONT'D) I want to say goodbye. HALLWAY. eyes red. you can't talk like this! INT. BORDEN'S HOUSE -.) Just stop it! SARAH Deny it all you want. hair a mess. Stop it! BORDEN (O.NIGHT Jess sits at the foot of the stairs. LIVING ROOM. INT.S. She is CRYING.
BORDEN'S HOUSE -. Borden watches. BORDEN Not today. BORDEN (angry) What do you want from me! Sarah pauses. tricks. wider shows up that it is SARAH. He goes to take a swig from his pint and FREEZES. PUBLIC HOUSE -.NIGHT Cutter walks along labyrinthine streets. INT. He looks up at the building.an ADDRESS is written up one side. As we PULL BACK we hear a GENTLE CREAKING.NIGHT Cutter is finishing his meal at the bar. He takes her gently in his arms. INT. No one he recognizes. SARAH (whispers) Thank you. PULL BACK past a hanging PAIR OF FEET. Nods. He reaches into the glass. SARAH (quiet) I want you to be honest with me. Looks into her eyes..MASTER OF DARK FORCES. one shoe missing. Borden calms. BORDEN'S WORKSHOP -. no lies. Sincere.. no secrets. Stops at an ABANDONED THEATRE.. looking intense: THE PROFESSOR. He looks around the bar. Cutter pulls out the card. Catches her breath. Sarah takes this in. then enters. helpless. ABANDONED THEATRE -. HANGING BY HER NECK FROM A BEAM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SHOP. .MORNING CLOSE ON A POSTER: Borden. INT.. No SARAH (CONT'D) Do you love me? Borden looks into her eyes.at the bottom of the glass: A PLAYING CARD. EXT.CONTINUOUS Jess reaches up to Fallon with her other hand. Borden watches her turn away from him. HALLWAY. Gently swinging.100. We stay on Jess's tear-stained face over Fallon's shoulder as he carries her up the stairs. in costume.
One thing left. John.I'm looking for an old friendANGIER (O. Cutter follows suit.) Who's there Cutter turns. Angier sits in one of the stalls. CUTTER You came back.S.. CUTTER Your last show? ANGIER A wise man once told me that obsession was a young man's game. The Cutter stands and CUTTER I.) I heard about a booking.. leaning on his cane.S. Blind stagehands. His eyes are solid white.EVENING Cutter makes his way past the tattered box office and into the derelivt auditorium. INT. Good up-andcoming magician. Beside Angier is a SECOND BLIND STAGEHAND. Cutter stares at the crate. A limited engagement. Angier is behind him. I'm almost done. ANGIER (CONT'D) Nice little theatre. A STAGEHAND.. man is clearly BLIND.. My last show.101. ANGIER It's a good to see you. In the middle of the room is the CRATE. . CUTTER Good rehearsal space. Cutter turns. ALBERT HALL -. Looks around the theatre. stares at it. ANGIER I need your help. (points at crate) The real Transported Man. I like it(knowing smile) You always had an eye for publicity. Cutter sizes Angier up. John. MALE VOICE (O.
102. Uncertain. ANGIER (CONT'D) i need you calling in any favours and connections you have left to get us the right booking for the run. hand outstretched. INT. sir. ABANDONED THEATRE -. CUTTER You want to design a show around it? ANGIER i don't want you backstage. looks the place up and down. expensive CARRIEGE creeps out to a halt outside the abandoned theatre. . It's an honor to see you again. Angier has appeared.Ackerman.CONTINUOUS The man enters the auditoruim and stares downat the BRIGHTLY LIT STAGE. then heads inside. I need you front of house. managing. The carriage opens.Ackerman. and the confused driver pulls over. Nods. CUTTER It's a very special trick. Cutter considers this. Mr. sir.DAY A long. Ackerman shakes Cutter's hand. ACKERMAN When you said you only wanted to show me one trick it piqued my interest. CUTTER Mr. CUTTER What sort of booking are you after? ANGIER The sort that Borden can't ignore. Cutter looks at Angier. Cutter moves quickly up the aisle. ABANDONED THEATRE -. an imposing man in his 50's steps out. EXT. DRIVER This is the address.
please. There has to be aVOICE (O. he ACKERMAN (CONT'D) (quiet. ACKERMAN Very pretty. CUTTER (down to stage) Turn it on.) -a Prestige? ACKERMAN ExactlyAckerman begins to turn around. After a moment. . ELECTRIC BOLTS CASCADE from the GLOBE and SPLASH on the stage. haunted) Pardon me.S. Anckerman steadies himself. real magic.. Cutter? He simply disappears? That's not a trick. ACKERMAN Likewise. It's very rare to see. shall we? Angier smiles.then STOPSANGIER IS STANDING DIRECTLY BEHIND HIM. The machine SPUTTERS out and is silent. Give them enough reason to doubt it.. Angier smiles at Cutter and head back down the stage.103. Let's get on.. I'm sure. Ackerman is dumfounded. ANGIER Are you interested in helping us? ACKERMAN (nods) Yes. it's been many years since I've seen. Ackerman. Disguise it.. the machine SPARKS INTO LIFE. He looks back down at the stage. He has to come back. ACKERMAN (CONT'D) That's it. STEPS himself into the machine and DISAPPEARS. Mr. ANGIER Pleased to meet you. But you'll have to dress it up a little.
no weekends. No matinees. RESTAURANT -. ACKERMAN (CONT'D) (smiles) And that's what you'll be charging for each ticket. STAGE MANAGER'S OFFICE. When they said. ACKERMAN I have an act for your venue. staring at the scrap of paper in his hands. Ackerman sits without being asked to. sir. INT.104. The door to his office opens and ACKERMAN strides in. I believe you booked his first engagement several years ago. No more. MERRIT (surprised) Mr. leaving Merrit dumbfounded.But I'm afraid I'm booked. MERRIT You really want me toAckerman stands.DAY Merrit sits eating a sandwich. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -. INT. They're playing through next year.I didn't think you'd be here in person. Ackerman sweeps out of the room. This is a magical act.EVENING Olivia and Borden are seated across from each other. MERRIT (flustered) Well.. Merrit STRUGGLES to his feet... finishing their meal. Good day. Olivia watches Borden eat. MERRIT (CONT'D) Of course. . Ackerman. An excellent one. The Great Danton. Ackerman scribbles onto the paper and hands it to Merrit. of course. Ackerman picks up a pen and paper from Merrit's desk. Five perfomances a week. ACKERMAN (smiles) There will be one hundred performances. ACKERMAN Get rid of them. no less.. I'll do it. The Moscow Ballet.
105. OLIVIA You haven't spopken about her, Freddy. Not once. BORDEN Who? OLIVIA Don't be cruel. BORDEN Why would I talk about her to you? OLIVIA Because she was part of your life and now she's gone. Borden says nothing. OLIVIA (CONT'D) She wanted to meet me the day before she killed herself. Said she had something to tell me about you. (looks away) I was such a coward, I couldn't bring myself to face her. (looks at Borden) What would she have said, I wonder? BORDEN (snaps) You want the truth about me, Olivia? (she nods, wary) I never loved Sarah. OLIVIA (appalled) You married her, had a child with herBORDEN Part of me loved her. But part of me didn't. The part that found you. The part that's sitting here now. I love you. That is the truth that matters. Olivia tosses her napkin on her plate. OLIVIA You could be sitting in some other restaurant talking to some other woman about me that way. It's unhuman to be so cold. Borden watches her rise from the table. She looks at him.
106. OLIVIA (CONT'D) By the way, have you seen who's opened at the Pantages? (Borden shakes head) The Great Danton. BORDEN He's back? OLIVIA After two years. And he has a new trick. They're saying it's the best that London's ever seen. Borden cannot hide his reaction. OLIVIA (CONT'D) If you could see the look on your face, Professor. You should go to him- you deserve each other. Olivia smiles at him and leaves. INT. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -- EVENING Borden, in disguise, takes his seat halfway along the aisle. The lights dim. Curtains RISE on a simple stage. for a WATER-FILLED GLASS TANK. Borden STIFFENS in his seat, perplexed. Angier limps onto the stage. Addresses the audience. Bare except
ANGIER Ladies and gentlemen, my first trick of the evening is one that involves considerable risk. (removes his coat) Anyone in the audience who would be irrevocable damaged by seeing a man drown should leave now, for when I tell you that the young lady who taught performing it, you will understand the seriousness of the danger involved. Borden watches the hook descend from the flies. Remembering.
INSERT CUT: Borden STARES as Angier desperately BRUSHES the water from Julia's face. INT. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -- LATER Angier steps forward as another curtain is drawn up behind him, revealing TESLA'S MACHINE.
107. ANGIER In my travels I have seen the future, and it is a strange future indeed. The world is on the brink of new and terrifying possibilities. The audience RECOILS in terror as the MACHINE is STARTED and BOLTS fly from it. SMOKE drift over the audience. Borden inches forward in his seat. Angier stands in front of the machine, silhouetted by the FRENZY of electricity behind him. He TOSSES his cane to his assistant and steps into the machine. The audience SCREAMS as large bolts BLAST from the machine and wrap themselves around ANGIER'S ARMS and legs. Borden is watching very carefully. Angier is almost impossible to see as the machine builds to a climax, but, just before it does; Borden catches a glimpse of ANGIER'S BODY FALLING THROUGH A TRAP DOOR. The machine sputters out. Angier has DISAPPEARED. The lights are dim. A FOLLOW SPOT FIRES into the BOXES, audience looks up with a gathering commotionANGIER IS STANDING ON THE RAIL OF THE ROYAL BOX, thirtyfeet above stalls. He smiles down at the audience. ANGIER (CONT'D) Man's reach exceeds his IMAGINATION! The audience breaks into a MASSIVE STANDING OVATION. INT. BORDEN'S WORKSHOP -- DAY Fallon is at the workbench, staring at a sketch of Tesla's machine. Borden paces, AGITATED. BORDEN Why only 100 performances? Do his methods dictate it, or is it simply a publicity move? Borden walks back and stares at the sketch. BORDEN (CONT'D) Fifty yards in a second. And all I know is that he uses a trapdoor. What's going on under that stage? EXT. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -- NIGHT The theatre is closed, and tree BLIND STAGEHANDS are wreastling a TARP-WRAPPED BOX onto a cart in the alleyway behind the theatre. Fallon is watching from the shadows.
CONTINUOUS Fallon shadows the cart as it slowly makes its way. . John. CUTTER has emerged from a nearby doorway and slipped through the stage door. WHO'S THERE! The man turns precisely to Cutter. EXT. serious. Seeing something. The metal doors open with a metal HOWL. BLIND STAGEHAND ANGIER (CONT'D) I told you. BLIND STAGEHAND What do you want? CUTTER I'm looking for Angier. flasing his white eyes.CONTINUOUS The blind stagehand wheel the tarp-covered box to two LARGE METAL DOORS in the floor of the auditorium and start hooking it up to a winch. Angier approaches. He moves closer. ABANDONED THEATRE -. ABANDONED THEATRE -. INT. WATCHING. Cutter slips down the aisle. EXT. Cutter looks down at the BLACK HOLE in the floor. CUTTER What are they doing? ANGIER Disposing of the Prestige materials. CUTTER It's Cutter. then STOPS.I don't want you backstage on this one.108.. ANGIER You found him. Cutter turns. CUTTER What's down there? Angier looks at him.LATER Fallon watches from further down in the alley as the Blind Stagehands unload the box onto a dolly and wheel it through the stage door.. LABYRINTHINE STREETS -.
100 SHOWS ONLY" He studies the image of Angier.. looking over his shoulder. As Angier GESTURES theatrically at the various features of the metal and glass apparatus. shuffles along his row towards her. Turns to a POSTER on the wall. BORDEN'S WORKSHOP -. smiling.. Leave him alone. You're not to go back there. On which stands Angier. Looming Borden Borden. There is a small DEVIL BORDEN (CONT'D) We're done. his gloved hand tentatively rising into the air. CUTTER Perhaps not. Embarrassed. I don't need to know his secret. INT. Move in on a BEARDED MAN. A GLAMOROUS ASSISTANT beckons Borden from the aisle. INT. each performance? After Fallon nods. STARES at the machine as he mounts the stage. FASCINATED. He Borden and four other VOLUNTEERS follow the Assistant down towards the stage. leaning on his cane. Fallon fiddles with his howler BORDEN They do this every night. over him is the large and complex ELECTRICAL MACHINE. Many hands raised. IT IS BORDEN. Fallon puts on his hat with a shrug. ANGIER Do you really want to know? Cutter considers Angier's grave tone. Borden gets to his feet with a sigh. hat. As the Assistant leads the Volunteers to the side of the stage. (turns to Fallon) Let him have this trick. Borden slips through the gas at the side of the curtains- .DAY Borden sits at his work bench. PANTAGE'S THEATRE -.EVENING A packed house. and the other volunteers look over the vast machine."The Great Danton Perform THE REAL TRANSPORTED MAN. Cutter leaves by the stage door.109.
The lid of the tank and trapdoor above SNAP SHUT. leaving the tank. and Borden. Cutter approaches the Stagehand. INT.CONTINUOUS Borden fumbles through the darkned area. He GASPS as a flash illuminates a STAGEHAND with SOLID WHITE EYES sitting nearby.NIGHT Angier. INT. BENEATH THE STAGE -. PANTAGE'S THEATRE. Possessed. INT. lit by flashes and sparks through gaps in the boards of the stage above. CUTTER Who was that? INT.CONTINUOUS The ROOM fills with lIGHT as a TRAPDOOR snaps open and a BODY DROPS INTO THE TANK. SPARKING and CRACKLING.CONTINUOUS BOLTS of electricity draw inwards. Borden RACES down below the stage. wrapping Angier in a ball of LIGHTING which CRACKSINT. In front of him is a LARGE GLASS TANK FILLED WITH WATER. He is BLIND. Entraced. disoriented. STAGEHAND Where'd you think you're going? Borden pulls off his beard. BACKSTAGE -. BORDEN I'm part of the act. .CONTINUOUS Angier throws switches on his machine. Angier gares at it. As it GROANS into life. forgetting his audience. Borden frowns. BENEATH THE STAGE -. INT. ONSTAGE -. PANTAGE'S THEATRE. you fool! The Stagehand raises his eyebrows and steps aside. facing the audience. then darts for some stairs leading below stage where he runs into a burly STAGEHAND. ITS LID PROPPED OPEN. BENEATH THE STAGE -. in complete DARKNESS.CONTINUOUS -looks around. Borden moves on.CONTINUOUS Borden lights a MATCH. ONSTAGE -. PANTAGE'S THEATRE. INT. Borden waves a hand in front of the Stagehand's face. He looks up at the electricity sparking just above him. ONSTAGE -. steps backwards into the machine. PANTAGE'S THEATRE.110.
INT. Borden. SHOCKED by what he sees. His eyes are dilated and lifeless: ANGIER IS DEAD. PANTAGE'S THEATRE. The audience JUDGE You will. BENEATH THE STAGE -. MORQUE -. Angier's lifeless eyes stare up at us. Borden rolls Angier onto his side and POUNDS on his back. black cloth draped over his wig.DAY borden stands chained to the dock. His rolling EYES fixed on Borden. he POUNDS desperetely on the thick glass. He leaves the tank and begins searching around under the stage. tries forcing the lif ot the tank open.. WAITING.EVENING A MORTICIAN pulls back a sheet draped over a CORPSE.) Alfred Borden. Nods.O. JUDGE (V. COURTROOM -.111. He finds a SPANNER.. WATER bursts from the tank.NIGHT Borden the tank. you have been found guilty of the murder of Robert Angier. Above them we can hear YELLING. Water and blood OOZE from the man's lungs. Borden SMASHES again and again at the glass of the tank. then CRACKS. which spiders. INT. turns to look at him. his eyes wild with confusion. CUTTER What did you do? INT. and both of them onto gournd. Cutter appears behind him. The JUDGE has a piece of Borden Angier is GONE. the up at the Mortician. unable to move. It's sealed shut. INT. be hanged by the neck until dead. sits. Cutter looks at Angier.CONTINUOUS The Machine sputters to a stop. sweeping Angier's body into Borden. SCREAMING BUBBLES. Borden is frozen. HORROFIED. ONSTAGE -. in one month's time.. and finally GIVES WAY. . ANGIER IS DROWING. May the Lord have mercy on your soul..
CUTTER Thank you for coming. EVIDENCE ROOM. Mr. INT. I want toOWENS You wnat to buy it instead. I'm afraid. Owens moves closer to the crate. stencil. It's fallen to me to dispose of Mr. CUTTER I suppose so. Sees the COLORADO SPRINGS OWENS This is the machine? (off look) I'm afraid Lord Caldlow was adamant about procuring this particular item. that I wish to.. Looking at the manifest. well.Owens. Cutter nods.Angier's equipment. it's cleat that Lord Caldlow has purchased the bulk of the items.112. .. They shake hands.Cutter. in fact. There is a particular item (turns to crate) This time. OWENS Mr. walking him past all of the equipment to the far end where Cutter stands staring at the MACHINE'S CRATE. yes. OWENS Mr. CUTTER Perhaps if I dould talk to Lord Caldlow in person.DAY A POLICEMAN shows Owens into the room. that is to say. Mr. Turns.Cutter? (Cutter turns) Owens. WAREHOUSE -. OWENS Out of the question. if you needed to know where to deliver the items you surely could have justCUTTER It's not just that.Owens. Owens starts to walk away.
As Borden reaches the fence he CROUCHES to greet his little girl. CONDEMNED MAN'S CELL. Lord Caldlow. OWENS (CONT'D) of course. INT. I can't stop you from speaking your mind. SULLEN Got a visitor. He catches a glimpse of this daughter waling beside a man on the wooden section. a little girl.MORNING Borden is sitting quietlt in a large cell. I suppose. Borden drinks in her gace. BORDEN For now. With . EXT. in the course of your delivery arrangements your paths were to cross. how are you? Jess SMILES at him and reaches through the fence. Fallon's missed you. We both have. Sullen opens the door. forcing the Sullen and the other Warder to crouch to undo his chains. JESS Can I come in there. SULLEN (sardonic) Still here. BORDEN (CONT'D) I've missed you. Daddy? She grasps the fence.113. BORDEN (CONT'D) Are you alright? She nods.. BORDEN Jess. her hair. PEERING at the fence. is escorted across the yard. clutching an envelope.. NEWGATE PRISON -. Borden HURRIES to his feet.DAY Borden. if. Cutter nods. Borden? Borden looks up. NEWGATE PRISON -.. PRISON YARD..
don't I (MORE) . Angier just SMILES. BORDEN Everything's going to be okay. He rises to come face-to-face with Lord CaldlowBORDEN (CONT'D) You must be Lord-who is ROBERT ANGIER. ANGIER No. I am.. BORDEN You were always afraid to get your hands dirty. the man who disappears. ANGIER (CONT'D) All I wanted to do was prove that I was the better magician. girl. ANGIER I know how hard it is to have someone so precious taken away. BORDEN But don't take my little Bitter Angier looks at Borden. been.. I always have ANGIER They flatter you with all those chains. It is only then that he notices the HAND ON HER SHOULDER. You win.. Yes.. (looks down at his Jess) Not anymore.114. ANGIER (English accent) Caldlow. Not anymore. Because no one cares about the man in the box. But you couldn't leave me alone. Risen from the dead. And I win. BORDEN I saw you die. Don't they know you can't escape without your little rubber ball? Borden says nothing. Alfred. Borden STARES at Angier.
Angier! Angier stops. takes the envelope. ANGIER For God's sake. Desperate. Angier steps up. HE TEARS the envelope in half. ANGIER (CONT'D) But whatever your secret was. Angier TURNS. Soon. Jess looks at it. Borden holds out the envelope. And again.. you'll have to agreeHe tosses the peices on the ground.. You She PROTESTS ANGIER (CONT'D) You always were the better magician. I promise. Don't you want this? paid for it. ANGIER Your secret. Lets Jess come to fence. BORDEN (CONT'D) . Borden nods. BORDEN Let me say good-bye. Angier gently pulls Jess back from the fence. can you? She'll be looked after. Then again. I promise. Professor. Borden.115. I promise. JESS When are you taking me home. HereBorden PRODUCES his RUBBER BALL. Good-bye. BORDEN Daddy's coming. ANGIER (CONT'D) (victorious) -mine is better. Borden. Please. ANGIER (CONT'D) Borden? But you can't take her with you know. We both know that. BORDEN I promise. BORDEN Wait. Daddy? Soon. She is crying.
take her. Borden rises. * . (to Angier) Sir.EVENING Angier steps out of an ornate carriage with Jess. looking at the carriage clock on the mantle. Angier? Angier continues walking Jess away. BORDEN (CONT'D) You think this place can hold me.CONTINUOUS Cutter is in the drawing room. ANgier pulls Jess back from the fence and starts walking away. Cutter. CAPTAIN Dead God. Cutter spots his reflection. The HOUSEKEEPER comes to Shaking this head. Robert?! I saw you on the slab. there's gentleman waiting. love. surprised. COUNTRY ESTATE -. Borden VANISHES the rubber ball. BORDEN (CONT'D) HOUSEKEEPER Come here. INT. EXT. CUTTER You're alive. INT. (Angier nods) You're Lord Caldlow. (Angier nods again) How? ANGIER (shrugs) I learned an American accent fromCUTTER (Angry) How are you alive.116. Angier enters. He watches as the wind scatters the pieces of his prestige over the muddy yard. Angier! Borden is alone. DRAWING ROOM. LARGE COUNTRY ESTATE -. ANGIER Hello.EVENING Angier steps inside with Jess. for God's sake. LARGE COUNTRY ESTATE -. Angier looks at her.
The Housekeeper appears with Jess at her side. CUTTER (CONT'D) I've seen her. CUTTER Who's the girl? Angier says nothing. CUTTER (CONT'D) (quiet) What have you done? ANGIER She needs looking afterCUTTER She needs her father. ANGIER You don't have to. looks at Angier. Pauses. . I'm going to make sure the machine. They leave. child.. Angier smiles kindly at her. (shrugs) A good magician never repeats his tricks. And I helped you. In a daze. Jess. is never used again. Angier fixes Cutter with a steady gaze.. ANGIER Good night. SHOCKED. I've seen her in court with Fallon. but you're letting him hang.117. realizing. Cutter moves to the door. ANGIER I magician never reveals his secrets. Cutter. But I won't beg you for anything. HOUSEKEEPER Go on. CUTTER (CONT'D) I came here tonight to beg Lord Caldlow to let me destroy that machine.
BORDEN We go alone now.. CUTTER I once told you about the sailor who described drowing to me. PRISON YARD. Lord Caldlow. Cutter lookd at Angier. where would like me to deliver it? ANGIER My theatre. Borden pulls the RUBBER BALL from his pocket and BOUNCES it up and down. I'm sorry.MORNING Borden is led along the empty corridor. INT. I'm sorry for so many things. Cutter opens the door. DROPPING the ball. Cutter considers this. NEWGATE PRISON -. Fallon wipes tears from his face. For Sarah.both of us. BORDEN (CONT'D) You were right. PRISON CORRIDOR. I should've left him to his damned trick. CUTTER He said it was agony. Fallon is on the other side. .. For both of us. I was lying. I didn't want to hurt her. ANGIER (nods) He said it was like going home. Fallon catches it. NEWGATE PRISON -. braced by six guards. He TURNS to be led back into the prison. Not for me. Angier watches him go. EXT. It belongs with the Prestige materials. Go live your life in full. Only I don't have as far to go as you. CUTTER Then. Borden looks down at his feet.. Borden looks at him.118..MORNING Borden is at the fence. The ball bounces gently past the fence. Makes a decision. Sad. BORDEN (CONT'D) Don't cry.
. Cutter pulls the tarp off the back of the cart.DAY Jess is playing in the grounds. terrified. INT. DEATH CHAMBER The warders remove Borden's chains and shackles and replace them with strong leather belts that bind his feet together and his hands to his sides. run from one wall to the other. off chats to a GARDENER. ABANDONED THEATRE -. INT. Sullen opens the door and Borden is led inside. A NURSEMAID some distance Cutter. CUTTER Thank-you gents. DEATH CHAMBER. They shuffle him forward onto the trapdoor. ABANDONED THEATRE -. sunk deep into the wall. Underneath it is the MACHINE's CRATE.EVENING The crate is sitting on the dolly in the auditorium.119. As Borden passes Sullen he leans in to his earBORDEN (quiet) Are you watching closely? Sullen stares back at him. The procession stops at a large windowless metal door. Jess looks up from playing. Someone is there. The workmen levae. Cutter and two WORKMEN step down from the cart and move to the back of it.CONTINUOUS The room is low and small. CUTTER Someone's coming to Cutter looks at the crate. LARGE COUNTRY ESTATE -.EVENING A CART pulls up to the side of the theatre. NEWGATE PRISON -. INT. Sullen locks the door to the chamber. EXT. EXT. Below the chian is a trap door. help. Two parallel beams. Hanging from the center of the beams is a chain. WORKMAN Where do you want it? Don't worry. Angier emerges from the darkness. eight feet high.
ANGIER (CONT'D) We'll put it down the end. CUTTER I'm bringing this over after we're done. ANGIER Cautions as ever. ANGIER It's a good thing I retired early then. I own it. CELLAR.EVENING Angier slowly climbs down a ladder from the hole to join Cutter in the darkness below. No one's going to use the place. Angier indicates a pile of bricks and a bag of sand. Cutter. ABANDONED THEATRE -. cold. Angier pulls open the two metal doors sunk into the floor. but it is a large open space. Cutter turns.120. Cutter begins turning a WHICH. . From the small pool of light afforded by the lattern. They arrive at the end and set the crate down. Cutter is standing next to the platform and the crate. Angier puts the lattern and his cane on the lif of the crate and the two men heft ir off the platform. We can see only a small flicker of the high moldy walls of the cellar. CUTTER (CONT'D) Take a minute to consider your achiviement. The only night comes from a LANTERN Angier is carrying. INT. Cutter looks at Angier. CUTTER No room left. we can see that they are navigating their way through a large space filled with LARGE GLASS BOXES.NIGHT Angier and Cutter load the crate onto a platform suspended by a rope. INT. lowering the crate into the HOLE. ABANDONED THEATRE -.you couldn't have acommodated 100 performances. Angier and Cutter move into the darkness with the crate. CUTTER I'll go mix the cement.
Borden saus nothing. DEATH CHAMBER. DEATH CHAMBER.121. a NOISE. I tried not to involve you.DAY Borden is held in place by the trapdoor by two warders. Fallon is coming in the other direction. INT.CONTINUOUS Angier is alone bather in the lgiht of the lantern.MOMENTS LATER Cutter comes across the stage and up through the auditorium. ANGIER (whisper) No one cares about the man in the box. Positions it under Borden's jaw. ABANDONED THEATRE -. INT. Then disappears into darkness. you will meet your end. He slips the other end of the noose over Borden's neck. Nods. BORDEN (whisper) Abacadabra. on this day. NEWGATE PRISON -. The HANGMAN walks up behind him and attaches a NOOSE to the chain hanging above Borden. NEWGATE PRISON -. INT. The trap DROPS from under Borden and he FALLS into the room below. CELLAR. ANGIER Cutter. Do you have anything to say for yourself. The Warden gestures to the HANGMAn who begins to PULL the lever. in the name of the King and the high court of England. His rope SNAPS to a halt- . Behind him.DAY They WRDEN looks at Borden. WARDEN Alfred borden. INT. ANGIER (CONT'D) (calling) Cutter? No responses. As they pass they nod gravely at each other. He turns to the nearest glass box and smoothes a hand along its face. Cutter looks at Angier. ABANDONED THEATRE -.
INT. he is Angier drops the ball and it rolls across the floor.CONTINUOUS -. He can hear a small THUD. then COLLAPSES to the ground. SOMETHING FAMILIAR IN HIS FACE -FALLON IS REALLY BORDEN IN DISGUISE. Angier stands for a moment. ANGIER (tense) CUTTER? Angier FREEZES.. WE SEE. WITH 2 1/2 FINGERS MISSING. But it is not Fallon's gloved hand that picks up the ball-it is a MUTILATED HAND. . THUD getting closer. ANGIER (CONT'D) A Twin.. Angier INT.122. Borden shakes his head. staring at the ball. FOR THE FIRST TIME. The whole time. ABANDONED THEATRE -. Angier FLINCHES as a RUBBER BALL bounces into the lightAngier DROPS his cane to CATCH the ball. coming to rest at Fallon's feet. BASEMENT -. Fallon's BOWLER HAT breaks into the circle of light. holding a smoking pistol. approaching from the darkness.. CELLAR. A brother. He turns it around Light EXPLODES around him as a GUNSHOT rings out. Fallon/Borden's face disappears as Cutter seals his coffin. As fallon stares up at us. THUD.. INT. CELLAR.NIGHT Angier PEERS down the row of glass boxes with the lantern.. confused. looks up: ALFRED BORDEN REMOVES THE BOWLER HAT AND TAKES A BOW. Realization sweeps over Angier like a nightmare. clutching at his stomach.FLASHBACK Fallon DROPS into the coffin. ANGIER (CONT'D) (weak) You. ABANDONED THEATRE Borden smiles.you died.. confused. in his hands. ANGIER You were Fallon.
EVENING -. But not easy.EVENING Angier stares up at Borden. BORDEN (V. ANGIER Were you the one who went into the boxINT.LATER -. And we were Minds spinning.123. STAGE -. Fallon begins removing pieces of his costume and makeup and handing them to the other brother.) -or the one who come back out? Borden steps out of the second cabinet and catches the ball. maybe. shutting the door behind him.EVENING -. THEY SWITHC INDENTITIES. BORDEN We were both Fallon.) We took turns. One brother is gripping the other by his wrist and placing a CHISEL on his finger. Borden holts the door after him. INT. Angier considers this.FLASHBACK Fallon and Borden are seated at the makeup table. INT. DRESSING ROOM -. uncurls himself from the hidden compartment and hauls himself out. in indentical stage clothes.FLASHBACK Both Bordens are standing at the workbench.O. His TWIN BROTHER. CELLAR. Borden opens the first cabinet and pulls up the false bottom. both Borden. Too easy.. . Appalled. The trick is where we would swap. INT. DRESSING ROOM -. ANGIER (V. INT. But I told him it was too simple. ANGIER Cutter knew. WORKSHOP -.EVENING -.FLASHBACK A stagehand wheels the two stage cabinets into the dressing room and leaves. BORDEN Simple. ABANDONED THEATRE -. Borden steps into the cabinet.O..FLASHBACK As the ball bounces acroos the stage. As we watch.
ANGIER What about Olivia? And your wife? BORDEN We each loved one of them.O. BORDEN (CONT'D) Sacrifice. He checks the placemen of the chisel against his own mutilated fingers. ANGIER It takes everything. ABANDONED THEATRE -. Loading the pistol.. The second brother SWIGS from a gin bottle.FLASHBACK Angier stands in front of Tesla's machine. would you? Angier is dying. ANGIER (very quiet) I've made sacrificies. Tears in his eyes. but not for them. ANGIER HURLS HIMSELF INTO THE LIGHT. BORDEN It takes nothing to steal someone else's work..that's the price of a good trick. CELLAR. Robert. Angier takes off his jacket and steps towards the HISSING machine.DAY -. BOTLS curl themselves around him. but his voice is so wak that Borden has to stoop to hear him. Borden looks down at Angier with contempt.124. then BITES down a padded stick as the first brother BRINGS DOWN THE HAMMERINT. Borden puts the ball in his pocket.) Nothing easy about two men sharing one life. them picks up the hammer. BORDEN (V.EVENING Borden stares at his mutilated hand clasping the rubber ball. BORDEN (CONT'D) But you wouldn't know anything about that. We each had half a full life. He opens his mouth to talk. adjust the chisel's position. Enough for us. He places the pistol by the machine. . INT. ABANDONED THEATRE -.
ANOTHER ANGIER is standing on the chalk hashmark. VOICE (V. ANGIER (confused) It didn't work.) Yes it did. a trap door flashes open as Angier falls from the stage door and SPLASHES into the tank. identical to the one we have already seen. ANGIER IS STILL STANDING BENEATH IT. wait! I'm theBANG! BANG! The firt Angier FIRES TWO SHOTS and.. This time we do not cut away.. grimfaced. Suddenly. UNDER THE STAGE -.) Not knowing if I'd be the Prestige. smoking.. STEAM rising off his shoulders. ABANDONED THEATRE -.. SECOND ANGIER (horrified) No. ANGIER (V. in a daze. SHOCKED. A blind stagehand sits behind it..EVENING -. INT. drops the pistol. INT. The lid snaps shut. did you? Let me show you..O. CELLAR.125.NIGHT Angier looks down. He can't his hand to obey him. ANGIER (CONT'D) It took courage to climb into that machine every night.. The machine sputters out. a slight smile on his face. Angier slumps to the floor as he tries to reach for the lantern. Angier turns.O. He stumbles back. to the lantern. He gestures . clothes still steaming. ANGIER (weaker) Do you want to see what it cost me? You didn't see where you are. The first Angier lunges for the pistol and levels it at the second Angier.FLASHBACK A drowing tank.
You spent a fortune. But if you could fool them. Borden watches Angier for a moment. KNOCKING over the lantern. Angier's body TOPPLES over. INT. continues smoking. Miserable... then turns to leave.) Every magic trick consists of three parts. The blind stagehand ANGIER (CONT'D) It was the look on their faced. (coughs... Borden steps back as the oil spreads. resigned. looks up) You really don't know? Borden just stares at Angier. Oblivious. you could make them wonder. Then you got to see something very special. Who smiles. CELLAR. frantic.DAY -..that the world is simple.O. ANGIER Nothing? You never understood. CUTTER (V. Angier pounds on the glass.126.. . Solid all the way through.) (CONT'D) Or the man in the box. You did terrible things. Angier looks up at him with his last spark of competitiveness. ANGIER (V.FLASHBACK Two hands SLAM shut on the lid of a birdcage. WORKSHOP -.. flamming. BORDEN (scorn) You went halfway around the world.NIGHT Angier stops trying tomove and leans back.. fro the lantern. or acts. even for a second. id you? Why we did this? (coughs) The audience knows the truth. and all of it for nothing. The blind stagehand are wrestling a LARGE CRATE onto a cart in the alleyway behind the theatre.O. ABANDONED THEATRE -. INT.
who is putting on his coat. INT. ABANDONED THEATRE -.) (CONT'D) Because making something disappear isn't enough. Angier lies in his pooling blood. Jess stares.. Cutter performs the bird cage trick for the Little Girl we now know as Jess. WORKSHOP -..) The first part is called the Pledge. WORKSHOP -.NIGHT The burning lamp oil SPREADS LIGHT through the cellar. CUTTER (V. Looks at Cutter. revealing a canary. Borden reaches into his pocket and hand Jess his rubber ball..O. Borden holds her tight. EXPECTANT.O..127. Jess SEES something and JUMPS off the chest.. Just then.) (CONT'D) You have to bring it back. running past him. . We now recognize it as Borden's.. Nods. Angier's eyes move around. CUTTER (V. covered hand.) The second part is called the Turn.DAY Cutter WHIPS the shawl awaycage and bird have disappeared.O.. She smiles.O.) But you wouldn't clap yet. BORDEN IS IN THE DOORWAY. looking at the shapes around him increasing illuminated by the hellish light.O. CUTTER (V. INT... INT. CUTTER (V. Cutter hols up his handkerchief- CUTTER (V.. I take the ordinary something. Cutter is showing far the canary..JESS LEAPS INTO HIS ARMS. Cutter leaves. then buries her head in his neck. Cutter whips the handkerchief from his hand..DAY The workshop from the opening of the film.
CUTTER (CONT'D) But you won't find it.) . ROW AFTER ROW STRECHING CUTTER (CONT'D) . sealing it up. He places the brick in the wall. Borden stares back into the cellar. staring at the top hatsFADE OUT...FLASHBACK A cat slinks its way through a pile of top harts.128. CUTTER (V.O.. .) Now you're looking for the secret.DAY -. CUTTER (V..because you don't really want to know. ABANDONED THEATRE -... Borden turns slowly to look back into the cellar.O. IS YET ANOTHER ROBERT ANGIER. He notices the shadows from the burning oil playing on the walls. PEERING into the flickering light of the burning lamp oil.. What he sees puts a look on his face that is beyond words: LARGE GLASS TANKS.DAY Cutter spreads MORTAT on the last BRICK of the wall he has built in the opening to the cellar. EXT. ABANDONED THEATRE -. FLOATING IN BACH AND EVERY TANK. INT. CREDITS. FOREST -..NIGHT Borden STOPS at the ladder. DOZENS OF THEM. DRESSED IN ROTTING STAGE CLOTHES. END. INT. knocking one over as it disappears into the forest beyond. INTO THE CAVERNOUS CELLAR.you want to be fooled..... We are left alone in the glade.