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Changeling Movie Script

Writer(s) : Christopher Judge

Genres : Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

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                                CHANGELING
                               A True Story

          
          
          
                                Written by
          
                          J. Michael Straczynski




          FADE IN:
          
          BLACK SCREEN
          
          On which appears:
          
                     EVERYTHING YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE, HAPPENED
          
          The words slowly FADE OUT, taking us hard into
          
          EXT. COLLINS HOME - PRE-DAWN
          
          A small, pleasant house on a tree-lined street in Los Angeles
          circa 1928. 210 North Avenue 23. Not far from Dodger Stadium.
          
          SUPERIMPOSE: LOS ANGELES, MARCH 9, 1928.
          
          INT. COLLINS HOME - CHRISTINE'S BEDROOM - PRE-DAWN
          
          A Bakelite alarm clock hits 6:30 A.M. and RINGS. CHRISTINE
          COLLINS, thirties, attractive, rumpled, reaches INTO FRAME to
          shut it off. She sits up, rubs tiredly at her face, and moves
          OS, switching on a radio as she goes. Music fills the air.
          
          INT. BATHROOM - MOMENTS LATER
          
          She throws water on her face as the music continues. She
          looks at herself in the mirror as the light flickers overhead.
          She hits the wall offhandedly, something she does every day.
          The flickering stops. With a last look at the mirror, she
          smoothes back her hair and exits, switching off the light.
          
          INT. WALTER'S BEDROOM - LATER
          Dressed now, she flicks on the overhead light. WALTER COLLINS
          is nine years old, with light brown hair, though we don't see
          much of it or him, he's entangled in the sheets. It's
          important that we don't see him too clearly in most of the
          following scenes, but without drawing attention to that aspect.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                      Walter...time for school, honey.
          
          She sits on the edge of the bed, runs a hand through his hair.
          
                                WALTER
                      Just ten more minutes --
          
                                CHRISTINE
                      Sorry, champ.
                                (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                       2.
          
          
                               CHRISTINE (Cont'd)
                     You can sleep in all you want
                     tomorrow, that's what Saturdays are
                     for. Now hurry up or your breakfast
                     will get cold.
          
                               WALTER
                     It's cereal, it's supposed to be
                     cold.
          
          She smiles, kisses him on the forehead, and exits. He sits
          on the edge of the bed, wavers, then falls back into bed again.
          
          EXT. PASADENA AVENUE - MORNING
          
          A street-car (known then as the Big Red) rumbles down the
          street in the gray light of morning, passing Ford Model A's
          and Hudsons and Nash four-door sedans.
          
          INT. STREET-CAR - CONTINUOUS
          
          Christine sits on one of the benches, Walter's face buried in
          her lap, still half-asleep. She nudges him as they come to
          an intersection by a grade school. It's early enough that
          only a few other kids have arrived.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     We're here, sweetie.   Come on.
          
          She hands him a sack lunch and follows as he slouches toward
          the door. She watches from the curb as he heads toward the
          school. Some of the teachers lounging outside nod to her as
          Walter approaches, so she knows they're aware that he's there.
          
          She waves, then hurriedly gets back on the street-car as it
          rumbles away.

          
          INT. PACIFIC TELEPHONE COMPANY - SWITCHBOARD ROOM - DAY
          Located on Grand Avenue downtown, the huge switchboard room
          is a maze of switching stations, tangles of wires and heavy
          wooden headsets...a roar of buzzers, bells, circuits opening
          and closing, and a hundred female operators speaking at once.
          
          Supervisors on skates roll up and down the narrow lanes created
          by the banks of switching stations, going from one operator
          to another as needed. Christine is one of them. She turns
          at the SOUND of a bell struck twice, then rolls down the lane
          toward an OPERATOR frantically waving a pink sheet of paper.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Okay Sandy, what's the prob--
          
          The mortified operator hands her the headset and stalks off.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                       3.
          
          
                               OPERATOR
                     You deal with this one, I'm not
                     going near it.
          
          Christine struggles on the headset.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     Hello? Yes, this is the supervisor,
                     ma'am, what can I --
                         (checks board)
                     Yes, I can see that you're on a
                     party line, ma'am, what can I --
                         (beat)
                     I know, it's unfortunate, but people
                     sometimes do listen in on party
                     lines. We hope to have private
                     lines installed by --
                         (beat)
                     Well, what's he doing when you're
                     on the phone?
                         (beat)
                     Are you sure? Maybe there's a
                     problem with the phone line. He
                     could be asthmatic, or --
                         (beat)
                     Oh. No, I...I've never heard of
                     anything like that before either.
                     Guess there's a first time for
                     everything, right? No, I'm afraid
                     there's nothing we can do about
                     people abusing the equipment or...
                     themselves. I'm sorry. I --
          
          She reacts to the phone being hung up hard at the other end
          as the floor manager, BEN HARRIS, 30s, approaches.
          
                               MR. HARRIS
                     Everything all right?
                               CHRISTINE
                     Fine, Mr. Harris...fine...just
                     someone having a problem with a...
                     with the connection.
          
                               MR. HARRIS
                     Tell them to take the plug and shove
                     it in and out a few times, that'll
                     usually do it.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Unfortunately that was part of the
                     problem. If you'll excuse me....
          
          She roller-skates off toward another operator waving another
          pink sheet of paper.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                       4.
          
          
          EXT. PACIFIC TELEPHONE COMPANY - LUNCH AREA - DAY
          
          Christine sits alone, eating a bag lunch and reading a thick
          telephone company manual. Working hard to advance herself.
          
          Then a bell rings: time to return to work. Other employees
          gather up their belongings and start inside. As Christine
          closes the book, her bookmark falls out. As she picks it up,
          we see that it's a child's drawing: her and Walter (with arrows
          indicating who is who) on a green hill, under an orange sun.
          
          She touches the drawing and smiles as the bell rings again.
          She grabs her belongs and heads back inside.
          
          EXT. SCHOOL - AFTERNOON
          
          Christine waits outside the school as another bell rings,
          announcing the end of classes. Kids run outside, Walter among
          them. He folds in alongside as they start down the sidewalk.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Hey, sport.
          
                                  WALTER
                     Hey, mom.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     So how was school?
          
                                WALTER
                     Okay. We learned about dinosaurs,
                     and I got in a fight with Billy
                     Mankowski.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     What happened?
          
                                  WALTER
                     He hit me.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Did you hit him back?
                         (he nods)
                     Good. Rule number one: Never start
                     a fight, but always finish it. So
                     why did he hit you?
          
                               WALTER
                     Because I hit him.
          
          She stops, looks at him.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     Wait...you hit him first?
                          (he nods)
                     Why?
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    5.
          
          
                               WALTER
                     He said my dad ran off because he
                     didn't like me.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Your dad never even had a chance to
                     meet you...so how could he not like
                     you?
          
                               WALTER
                     Then why did he leave?
          
          Christine takes his hand, and they continue down the sidewalk.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Well, the same day you were born,
                     something else arrived. It came in
                     the mail, in a box just slightly
                     bigger than you. You know what was
                     in that box?
                         (he shakes head)
                     Something called responsibility.
                     Now, to some people, responsibility
                     is fun, it's what you live your
                     whole life for. Other people think
                     it's the scariest thing in the world.
          
                               WALTER
                     So he ran away because he was scared
                     of what was in the box?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Yup.
          
                               WALTER
                     That's dumb.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     That's what I thought.
          
          She turns and crouches down in front of him.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     Walter, I decided a long time ago
                     that I would always tell you the
                     truth, that I would treat you like
                     a grown-up. I can't expect you to
                     respect me unless I respect you.
                         (beat)
                     I've never lied to you. Your father
                     leaving had nothing to do with you,
                     and everything to do with what was
                     in the responsibility box.
          
                               WALTER
                     Pinky-swear?
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                       6.
          
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Pinky-swear.
          
          She takes his pinky in hers, gives a tug.    He smiles.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     First one to the corner store gets
                     ice cream!
          
          He laughs and tears off. She runs after him, letting him
          stay ahead of her the whole way.
          
          EXT. COLLINS HOME - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
          
          Walter is asleep on the floor, in front of the radio, which
          is playing the closing moments of Amos and Andy. Christine
          enters and turns off the radio. He stirs, looks up at her.
          
                               WALTER
                     Did I miss Amos and Andy?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I'm afraid so, sport.   Come on now,
                     time for bed.
          
          She picks him up and carries him up the stairs.
          
                               WALTER
                     Are we still going to the movies
                     tomorrow?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Uh-huh. I hear there's a new Charlie
                     Chaplin playing down at Grauman's,
                     and a new serial called The
                     Mysterious Airman.
          
                               WALTER
                     Who's that?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I don't know. Nobody does. That's
                     what makes him so mysterious.
          
                                WALTER
                     Oh.   Am I too heavy for you to carry?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Not for years yet, Walter.     Not for
                     years.
          
          And she disappears upstairs.
          
          EXT. COLLINS HOME - MORNING
          
          Just enough to bring us into
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     7.
          
          
          INT. COLLINS HOME - CHRISTINE'S BEDROOM - MORNING
          
          She's getting ready for the day and is almost out of the room
          when the phone rings. She hesitates, then picks it up.
          
          SUPERIMPOSE: MARCH 10, 1928
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     Hello?
                         (beat)
                     Oh, hello, Margaret. I'm fine,
                     thanks. No, I was just --
                         (beat)
                     You're kidding. When did she call
                     in sick?
                         (checks watch)
                     What about Myrna? I know she could
                     use the extra hours. Oh. No, it's
                     just...I promised Walter I'd take
                     him to the movies today. There has
                     to be somebody else....
                         (beat)
                     All right, I...guess we can do it
                     tomorrow. I'll get there as soon
                     as I can. But just until four,
                     okay? See you in a bit.
          
          She hangs up. She doesn't like this, but there's no way out
          of it. She straightens and heads out of the room.
          
          INT. COLLINS HOME - LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
          
          A disappointed Walter sits on the couch as Christine puts
          things together quickly.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     There's a sandwich and milk in the
                     icebox, and I've asked Mrs. Riley
                     if her daughter can stop by in a
                     couple of hours, just to --
          
                               WALTER
                     I can take care of myself.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Of course you can. She's coming by
                     to check on the house, not you.
          
          She stops in front of him, kneels down to eye height.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Tomorrow, we'll go to the movies.
                     Then we'll ride the Big Red down to
                     Santa Monica and walk on the pier.
                     How's that? That okay?
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      8.
          
          
                               CHRISTINE (Cont'd)
                         (he nods)
                     Good. I'll be back before it gets
                     dark.
          
                               WALTER
                     I'm not afraid of the dark.     I'm
                     not afraid of anything.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I know you're not, honey. That's
                     how I raised you.
                         (kisses his head)
                     Be good. See you in a bit.
          
          She heads out, the screen door clattering shut behind her.
          
          EXT. COLLINS HOME - CONTINUOUS
          
          She crosses the lawn and turns at the sidewalk, glancing back
          as Walter looks out at her from the window. She waves. He
          waves back. With one last look, she continues off.
          
          INT. PACIFIC TELEPHONE COMPANY - SWITCHBOARD ROOM - DAY
          
          If the place was hectic before, now it's even worse: lines
          buzzing, voices chattering, operators following Christine
          around with papers and question.
          
                               OPERATORS
                     We've got lines jammed from here to
                     Ohio...he insists on talking to
                     someone in charge...I've tried
                     everything and the console's just
                     dead...I need your signature here
                     for a supply requisition....
          
          Christine glances up at the clock, 4:39.    She's already late.
          But she does what's necessary.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     All right, get me the Omaha routing
                     station, see if we can put the calls
                     through their switchers...and let's
                     get that console running....
          
          She hurries off to take care of it all, the others following.
          
          INT. PACIFIC TELEPHONE COMPANY - HALLWAY - LATER
          
          START on a clock which reads 5:20, then TILT DOWN as Christine
          comes out of the switchboard room, pulling on a sweater, ready
          to leave...as the floor manager steps out of his office.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      9.
          
          
                               MR. HARRIS
                     Christine...good, I was hoping to
                     catch you. I've been following
                     your work reports, and I just want
                     you to know that I'm very impressed.
          
          She glances down the block. The street car is approaching,
          but she doesn't want to piss off her boss by running off.
          
                               MR. HARRIS
                     When I first suggested hiring female
                     supervisors, my superiors weren't
                     big on the idea. But you've held
                     your own as well as any of our male
                     supervisors, and --
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Thank you, Mr. Harris, but I --
          
                               MR. HARRIS
                     Ben, please. Point is, we're looking
                     for someone to take on a managerial
                     position in our new Beverly Hills
                     office. If you're interested I can --
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     That's great, Mr. Harris, I really
                     appreciate the vote of confidence.
          
                               MR. HARRIS
                     Good, good...so maybe we could --
          
          She looks up to see the streetcar right at the stop.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I'm sorry, but I really have to go.
                     We'll talk on Monday. Good night!
          She races out to
          
          EXT. PACIFIC TELEPHONE COMPANY - CONTINUOUS
          
          running after the streetcar as it closes its doors.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Wait...wait...hold on, just a --
          
          But the streetcar rumbles away before she can catch it.
          Frustrated, she glances at her watch and sighs resignedly.
          
          INT. STREET-CAR - EARLY EVENING
          
          Christine sits on the front bench, watching as the shadows
          lengthen, then pulls the bell. The car rumbles to a stop as
          she steps out onto the sidewalk.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                           10.
          
          
          EXT. STREET - EARLY EVENING
          
          She passes a grocery store, where a clock reads 6:15, and
          continues past other houses on the pleasant, green street.
          We HEAR parents telling their kids to come in for dinner,
          radios playing music or radio dramas. Peaceful, charming.
          Christine smiles, turns the corner, looks to her house --
          
          -- and it's dark, closed up. No lights on inside, no music
          or dramas on the radio. Dead silent.
          
          Christine pauses, then picks up her pace. No need to panic,
          he could be upstairs asleep, could be in the back of the house,
          where the lights wouldn't show.
          
          She goes to the front door.     It's unlocked.    She enters --
          
          INT. COLLINS HOME - LIVING ROOM - EVENING
          
          It's dark, silent.    She puts her purse down.     Looks around.
          
                                   CHRISTINE
                      Walter?
          
          Nothing.   She goes into
          
          INT. KITCHEN
          
          switching on lights as she goes. Nothing. She checks the
          refrigerator. The sandwich she made Walter is untouched.
          She moves to the staircase.
          
                                   CHRISTINE
                      Walter...?
          
          INT. WALTER'S ROOM
          
          She opens the door to his room.      No Walter.
          EXT. COLLINS HOUSE
          
          She crosses to the sidewalk.     Looks up and down the street.
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                      Walter?   Honey? Time to come in.
          
          A little GIRL on a tricycle rolls past.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                      Susie honey, have you seen Walter?
          
                                   GIRL
                      Nuh-uh.
          
          The girl continues away. Christine's concerned, but she hasn't
          hit the panic button, not yet. She crosses the street to --
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                           11.
          
          
          EXT. RILEY HOUSE
          
          -- and rings the doorbell.       The door opens and MRS. RILEY,
          forties, emerges.
          
                                  CHRISTINE
                        Mrs. Riley, I'm sorry to bother you
                        at dinnertime, but I was wondering
                        if Walter was here.
          
                                  MRS. RILEY
                        No, I'm afraid not.
          
                                  CHRISTINE
                        Do you know if Jamie was able to
                        look in on him?
          
                                  MRS. RILEY
                        Well, I mentioned it to her, but
                        she was going to a dance with some
                        of her friends...you know how
                        teenagers are. Is everything all
                        right?
          
                                   CHRISTINE
                        I'm sure it's fine, I just...
                            (beat)
                        Thank you, Mrs. Riley.
          
          Christine heads away.
          
          EXT. STREET
          
          Christine stops at the sidewalk in front of her house, looks
          up and down the street, arms folded against the growing chill.
          
                                     CHRISTINE
                        Walter...?     Walter....
          She starts walking again. Faster now. Looking around trees
          and porches, anywhere a nine-year-old boy might hide. She
          hears children playing. Laughing. She picks up her pace,
          homing in on the sound.
          
          She turns the corner to find three children playing, none of
          them Walter. She looks down the ominously empty streets.
          
          Her worry growing, she heads to the house.       Faster now.   Heels
          clicking on the hard sidewalk.
          
          INT. COLLINS HOUSE - LIVING ROOM
          
          She bursts in, leaving the door open, looking around in case
          he came in while she was out. Nothing. She crosses to the
          phone, hesitates for just a BEAT, then picks up the receiver.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   12.
          
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Yes, Operator, give me the police.
          
          There's a long pause as she waits, looks out the window, then:
          
                               POLICE DISPATCHER (on phone)
                     Lincoln Heights Division.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Yes, hello, my name is Christine
                     Collins, I live at 210 North Avenue
                     23...I'm calling to report a missing
                     child...it's my son, he....
          
                               POLICE DISPATCHER (on phone)
                     How long has he been gone?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I'm not sure...I just got home from
                     work and...it could be since late
                     this morning, it could be just an
                     hour --
          
                               POLICE DISPATCHER (on phone)
                     Have you checked around the
                     neighborhood?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Yes, of course, I --
          
                               POLICE DISPATCHER (on phone)
                     Maybe he lost track of the time.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     No, he always stays around the house
                     when it starts to get dark. Can
                     you please send someone down here?
                               POLICE DISPATCHER (on phone)
                     I'm sorry, but our policy is that
                     we don't dispatch units on missing
                     child cases for twenty-four hours.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     What?   But that's --
          
                               POLICE DISPATCHER (on phone)
                     Ninety-nine times out of a hundred
                     the kid shows up by morning. We
                     don't have the resources to go
                     chasing every kid who runs off with
                     his pals and --
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     That's not Walter, he doesn't do
                     that.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     13.
          
          
                               POLICE DISPATCHER (on phone)
                     With all due respect, ma'am, every
                     parent who calls us says the same
                     thing.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Please, I --
          
                               POLICE DISPATCHER (on phone)
                     I'm sorry, but there's nothing I
                     can do. I'll take your name and
                     information, but that's all until
                     tomorrow morning at the earliest.
          
          EXT. STREET - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Christine walks down the street, arms wrapped around herself.
          
                               POLICE DISPATCHER (V.O.)
                     I'm sure he'll show up by then.
                     They always do.
          
          She continues on, calling Walter's name as she disappears
          into the shadows.
          
          INT. COLLINS HOME - LIVING ROOM - MORNING
          
          Christine watches out the curtained living room windows, eyes
          red rimmed from worry but not from tears, not yet, as a police
          car finally pulls up. Neighbors look on as the officers get
          out and approach the house. HOLD on Christine's face, pale
          and worried, UNDER:
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB (V.O.)
                     Our thoughts go out again to Mrs.
                     Christine Collins, of Lincoln Heights --
          
          EXT. ST. PAUL'S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - DAY
          Located at 5100 Coliseum Street
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB (V.O.)
                     -- whose young son, Walter Collins,
                     disappeared almost two weeks ago.
          
          INT. ST. PAUL'S CHURCH - DAY
          
          A large radio microphone with the call letters KGF is atop a
          podium, where PASTOR GUSTAV BRIEGLEB stands: fifties, barrel
          chested, no-nonsense, a fire-and-brimstone preacher. His
          congregation sits in hard wooden pews, listening and nodding.
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB
                     Though she is not a member of our
                     congregation, we pray for her today
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    14.
          
          
                                REV. BRIEGLEB (Cont'd)
                     as we have every day since we first
                     learned of her situation on the
                     radio, and in the newspapers.
                         (beat)
                     We are told that the Los Angeles
                     Police Department is doing the best
                     it can to reunite mother and child,
                     and I am sure that is true.
                         (beat)
                     But given its position as the most
                     violent, corrupt and incompetent
                     police department this side of the
                     Rocky Mountains, that's not saying
                     a great deal.
          
          There's APPLAUSE and cheering from the pews.   He lets it pass.
          
                                REV. BRIEGLEB
                     Every day, new bodies show up along
                     Mulholland, or in ditches, the work
                     of Police Chief James Davis and his
                     so-called "gun squad." Every day
                     the needs of honest citizens are
                     put second to greed and personal
                     gain. Every day, the city sinks
                     deeper into a cesspool of fear,
                     intimidation and corruption. Once
                     the City of Angels, Los Angeles is
                     now a place where our protectors
                     have become our brutalizers...where
                     to be the law...is to be above the
                     law...where none dare speak truth
                     to power.
                         (beat)
                     But we will not be silent. We will
                     continue to put their offenses and
                     their failures in full view of the
                     public. We will not be intimidated.
          
          The place erupts into applause and cheering.
          
          INT. POLICE CHIEF JAMES DAVIS' OFFICE - DAY
          
          POLICE CHIEF JAMES E. DAVIS, 40s, hard-edged and tall, stands
          looking out the window as the radio drones on behind him.
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB (on radio)
                     Because while the "gun squad" speaks
                     in the only language Chief Davis
                     understands, we speak in the language
                     of compassion, truth and strength.
                     We speak for our fellow citizens,
                     beaten and killed by a renegade
                     police department.
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     15.
          
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB (on radio) (Cont'd)
                     We speak for an innocent child,
                     ripped from his mother's arms, now
                     all but forgotten by the police.
                     And that voice, my friends, will
                     never be silenced.
          
          More cheers and applause as Davis switches off the radio.
          
                                                   DISSOLVE TO:
          
          INT. COLLINS HOME - CHRISTINE'S BEDROOM - MORNING
          
          The alarm goes off, but Christine is already awake. Staring
          up at the ceiling. She slowly pulls herself up and moves OS.
          
          SUPERIMPOSE: APRIL 3, 1928
          
          INT. WALTER'S BEDROOM - MORNING
          
          Christine walks past the door to his bedroom. Looks inside.
          Goes over to the bed. Her hand lingers, touching it, UNDER:
          
                                MR. HARRIS (V.O.)
                     Are you sure you're ready for this,
                     Christine?
          
          INT. PACIFIC TELEPHONE COMPANY - HALLWAY - DAY
          
          Christine and Mr. Harris, the floor manager, approach the
          doors to the switchboard room.
          
                               MR. HARRIS
                     I mean, if you need more time --
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     The police are doing all they can,
                     and frankly I could use the money.
                     It's been almost a month, and...it
                     wouldn't do any good to find Walter
                     and bring him home if he doesn't
                     have a home to come back to, right?
          
                                  MR. HARRIS
                     Of course.
          
          He smiles as he says it, but there's the sense that he doesn't
          think Walter's coming back. It's been too long. She senses
          it, but moves past it, pushing open the door and entering
          
          INT. SWITCHBOARD ROOM - CONTINUOUS
          
          As loud as before...until the operators see Christine, and
          the noise stops. She tries to smile, as if to say, I'm okay,
          but can't quite manage it.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      16.
          
          
          Several women approach and hug her as the noise level begins
          to climb, but nowhere near what it was a moment earlier.
          
                               MR. HARRIS
                     Well...I'll leave you to it, then.
          
          She nods as he exits, then heads off herself.
          
          INT. SWITCHBOARD ROOM - LATER
          
          Christine moves from station to station, the noise level still
          noticeably low. Every time she approaches an operator, they
          lower their voices, as if not to bother her.
          
          One operator holds up a pink request sheet. Christine starts
          toward her, but then the operator glances to another supervisor
          and hands it off. Knowing she has to do something about this,
          she turns to the room and, in a firm, clear voice, says:
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Excuse me, can I have your attention?
          
          The room grows quiet.   Everyone is looking at her.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     Listen, everyone, I appreciate your
                     consideration, but I'm not made of
                     porcelain. I won't break down and
                     cry if the station to station call
                     to Kankakee doesn't go through.
                         (a thin smile)
                     Actually, I...promised myself that
                     I wouldn't cry...wouldn't let myself
                     cry...until I knew, one way or
                     another, what....
                         (beat)
                     Point is...I like the noise here.
                     So don't be afraid to talk and...push
                     buttons, and drop things. If it
                     wasn't noisy, how would I know I
                     was in the right place?
          
          She manages a thin smile as the place returns to normal.
          
          EXT. PHONE COMPANY LUNCH AREA - AFTERNOON
          
          Mr. Harris steps out into the lunch area where a number of
          the operators and supervisors are hanging out.
          
                               MR. HARRIS
                     Excuse me, has anyone seen Christine?
          
                               OPERATOR
                     I think I saw her in the back office.
          
          He nods his thanks, and continues off.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      17.
          
          
          INT. PHONE COMPANY - BACK OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER
          
          He approaches the door, slowing as he HEARS Christine inside.
          
                               CHRISTINE (O.S.)
                     -- well, if you do hear anything,
                     would you let me know? Thanks, I
                     appreciate it. Goodbye.
          
          A hang-up, then dialing.   He glances in the open doorway.
          
          Christine sits at a table, phone in hand, a list of phone
          numbers in front of her. The list reads LAS VEGAS MISSING
          PERSONS DEPARTMENT, SACRAMENTO MISSING PERSONS DEPARTMENT,
          SAN FRANCISCO MISSING PERSONS DEPARTMENT...on and on...with
          each having multiple checks beside it, indicating all the
          times she's called. Her lunch sits untouched beside her.
          
          She puts a check next to LAS VEGAS MISSING PERSONS DEPARTMENT
          then looks up as someone answers at the other end of the phone.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     Missing Persons department, please.
                         (beat)
                     Yes, hello, this is Christine
                     Collins, I...yes, fine, thank you.
                     I was just checking back to see if
                     you had found any missing or lost
                     children that might match the --
                         (beat)
                     I see. No, I appreciate that, it's
                     just...it never hurts to make sure
                     all the lines of communication are
                     working. I mean, that's what I do
                     for a living, right?
                         (beat)
                     Well, I'll try back next week. If
                     you do hear anything in the meantime,
                     would you be sure to let me know?
                     Thanks. Goodbye.
          
          She hangs up and ticks another department off the list and
          dials again. Mr. Harris heads away, deciding that whatever
          it was he planned to talk to her about...it can wait.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Missing persons department, please.
          
                                                    DISSOLVE TO:
          
          EXT. DINER - AFTERNOON
          
          A single car is parked in the dirt lot outside the small,
          roadside diner.
          
          SUPERIMPOSE: DE KALB, ILLINOIS.   JULY 10, 1928
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     18.
          
          
          INT. DINER - CONTINUOUS
          
          THe COOK who owns this dive is cleaning the griddle and keeping
          an eye on the only two customers in the place: a MAN and a
          young BOY, both wearing hats, as was the custom. They're
          unkempt, dirty, like they've been on the road a long time.
          They finish the last of the food as the cook approaches, tears
          off the bill and puts it on the table.
          
                               COOK
                     Two dollars.
          
          The Man reaches for his wallet.   Pats an empty pocket.   Tries
          the other pocket. Nothing.
          
                               MAN
                     Hell...looks like I left my wallet
                     at home. Can I owe it to you?
          
                               COOK
                     No credit. Pay up or I call the
                     cops. I'm tired of bums like you
                     coming around here.
          
                               MAN
                     I'm not trying to stiff you, chief.
                     I just left my wallet at home, that's
                     all. I'll go back and get it.
                     Five, ten minutes tops.
          
          The Cook hesitates; he doesn't want the trouble of bringing
          in the cops, but he doesn't want to get stuck, either.
          
                               COOK
                     You got any collateral?
          
          The Man glances at the Boy seated beside him.   The boy's face
          is dirty, partially obscured by the hat.
                               MAN
                     Can't ask for better collateral
                     than a man's own flesh and blood,
                     right?
                         (to the boy)
                     You stay here, son, I'll be right
                     back.
          
                               BOY
                     But --
          
                               MAN
                     Now don't give me any trouble.
                     He's a good man to trust us like
                     this. You just sit here while I go
                     get my wallet. Okay?
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      19.
          
          
          The boy nods reluctantly, looks away as the man rises.
          
                                COOK
                      Ten minutes, then I'm calling the
                      cops.
          
          The Man nods, exits and drives off.     The Cook squints warily
          at the Boy, then at the wall clock.     It's 2:00.
          
          EXT. DINER - LATER
          
          No car.   Just the empty parking lot.
          
          INT. DINER - ON CLOCK
          
          It's 3:15. The Cook is annoyed.      He glances to the Boy, who
          won't meet his gaze. Finally:
          
                                COOK
                      Ah, hell....
          
          He goes to the phone.    Clicks the receiver a few times.
          
                                COOK
                      Hello, Myrtle? It's Harve, down by
                      the diner. Would you get me Sheriff
                      Larsen? Yeah, I'll wait.
          
          He casts a sour look in the boy's direction.
          
                                COOK
                      What's your name, son?    Son...?
          
          The boy takes a BEAT, looking out at the road.    Then:
          
                                BOY
                      I don't remember.
                                  COOK
                      Swell.
          
          INT. PACIFIC TELEPHONE COMPANY - SWITCHBOARD ROOM - DAY
          
          As before, Christine hurries from one station to another,
          lost in the barely-managed chaos. She stops at one station,
          glancing over papers, then looks over at --
          
          -- the window to Mr. Harris' office, where he is talking with
          a police officer, CAPTAIN J. J. JONES, 30s, serious, arch.
          
          She slows, unable to look away, a growing dread settling in
          her heart. Harris points out the window. Points...to her.
          The police captain nods and enters the switchboard room.
          
          As Jones heads for her, the strength goes out of Christine's
          legs. She holds onto the a desk as he stops before her.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   20.
          
          
                               JONES
                     Mrs. Collins?
          
          She manages a nod. Behind her eyes is the terror: he's going
          to tell me my son is dead. The room gets very quiet.
          
                               JONES
                     My name is Captain J. J. Jones,
                     Lincoln Park Juvenile Division. My
                     office supervises all runaway and
                     missing child cases, including your
                     son's, and....
                         (beat, a smile)
                     He's alive, Mrs. Collins. He was
                     picked up two days ago by local
                     police in De Kalb, Illinois. He's
                     safe and unhurt. He was in the
                     company of some drifter, we've got
                     an APB out for him now, and --
          
          But she hasn't heard anything past he's safe and unhurt. She
          almost goes to the floor as other women rush toward her, crying
          and embracing her.
          
          For the first time, Christine cries, great wracking sobs, all
          the emotion she's been fighting back all this time coming out
          at last...he's okay...he's okay.
          
                                                   DISSOLVE TO:
          
          EXT. UNION STATION - DAY
          
          Jones and Christine are in a police car pulling up to the
          train station. It moves through a police line holding back a
          crowd of reporters who SHOUT questions at the passing car.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     All these reporters...you didn't
                     tell me --
          
                               JONES
                     Yours is a story with a happy ending,
                     Mrs. Collins. People love happy
                     endings.
                         (checks watch)
                     Train should be pulling in shortly.
                     We'd better get a move on.
          
          As Christine and Jones step out, they're mobbed by the press.
          Jones smiles splendidly for the cameras, waves, one arm wrapped
          around Christine, who looks stunned by it all.
          
                               JONES
                     Thank you...we'll have a statement
                     for you in a little while.
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      21.
          
          
                               JONES (Cont'd)
                     Right now the important thing is to
                     re-unite this little lady with her
                     son. So if you'll excuse us....
          
          Beaming, Jones escorts Christine into Union Station.
          
          INT. TRAIN - DAY
          
          Seated on a bench is a POLICE MATRON, and beside her, the BOY
          from the De Kalb diner...who we will identify henceforth as
          "Walter." He is looking out the window at the passing scenery.
          
                               "WALTER"
                     Did you know that Los Angeles is
                     where they make the Tom Mix movies?
          
                               MATRON
                     No, I didn't.
          
                                "WALTER"
                     His horse is named Blue.
                         (beat)
                     You think they'll let me watch them
                     make a movie?
          
                               MATRON
                     I don't know, you'll have to ask.
                     But with all this attention, who
                     knows, maybe they will.
          
          The boy turns his attention back out the window as we HEAR
          the WHISTLE of the train pulling into Union Station.
          
          INT. UNION STATION - TRAIN PLATFORM - DAY
          
          We HEAR the same train whistle from this side as Christine
          and Jones come to the ramp, POLICE CHIEF DAVIS is waiting.
          The reporters are held back at the entrance to the platform.
          
                               JONES
                     Mrs. Collins, I'd like to introduce
                     you to Chief of Police James E.
                     Davis.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Oh, my, I didn't expect --
          
                                DAVIS
                     We don't get a lot of positive
                     attention from the boys in the press
                     these days, so it's good to be here
                     when there's a positive story, don't
                     you think?
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   22.
          
          
          But she's distracted, looking off to the end of the platform,
          where the train is starting to pull in.
          
                               DAVIS
                     I take it you've been treated well
                     by my boys in the department?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Oh...yes, of course, they've been
                     great. Well, there was that part
                     about having to wait twenty-four
                     hours before filing a report, but --
          
                               DAVIS
                     Technicalities aside --
          
          The train stops.    Doors begin to open.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Yes...other than that, no complaints.
                     They've all been wonderful.
          
                               DAVIS
                     Good, then you won't have any problem
                     telling that to the press, and how
                     the LAPD is concerned first and
                     foremost with the safety of --
          
          But she's already running down the platform as people start
          to step off the train. Jones exchanges a look with Davis.
          
                                 JONES
                     Women.    Just a sec....
          
          He trots off to catch up with Christine, who walks alongside
          the train, looking from window to window, anxious, eager.
          
          Then: the Matron gets off the train, her frame momentarily
          blocking the view of the boy beside her...but Christine spots
          them. With Jones not far behind, she breaks into a run.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Walter...Walter!
          
          She runs toward them. The matron turns, sees her, smiles and
          gets out of the way, revealing the boy.
          
          Christine stops. Staggers so hard she almost falls. She
          steps forward slowly, a hand going to her mouth. For a moment,
          we're not sure what's going through her mind. She looks to
          the matron, who smiles. Looks to the boy, who smiles.
          
          Then she steps back a pace, horror sinking in as Jones comes
          jauntily alongside her.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      23.
          
          
                                JONES
                     Well?   Aren't you going to --
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     He's not my son.
          
          Jones freezes at the words.
          
                               JONES
                     I...what are you --
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     He's not my son.
                         (beat)
                     He's not my son.
          
                               JONES
                     I'm...I'm sure you're mistaken.
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                     Mistaken?
          
                               JONES
                     He's been through four long, terrible
                     months...he's gone through changes,
                     lost weight --
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I know my own son.
          
          He glances over his shoulder to where the Chief of Police is
          waiting, not aware of any of this, and beyond him...the press.
          
                               JONES
                     I'm just saying...I mean, you're in
                     shock, and he's changed, and --
          
          He turns from her, stoops down to look at the boy.
                               JONES
                     What's your name, son?   Can you
                     tell me your name?
          
                               "WALTER"
                     Walter Collins.
          
          Christine steps back as though slapped.     This can't be.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     It's a common name, it --
          
                               JONES
                     Do you know where you live, Walter?
                     Do you know your home address?
          
          The boy considers for a moment...then:
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   24.
          
          
                                "WALTER"
                     My house is at 210 North Avenue 23,
                     Los Angeles, California.
                         (beat)
                     And that's my Mommy!
          
          And he RUNS to her, grabbing her around the waist, which only
          magnifies her horror. Jones has no idea what to make of her,
          or this, or the boy. The only thing he knows is that the
          chief of police is standing right over there, smiling now
          that he thinks he's seen a mother and child reunion. The
          press is nearly insane trying to get through to them.
          
                               JONES
                     Mrs. Collins...listen to me. I
                     know you're feeling uncertain right
                     now, but that's to be expected...a
                     boy this age changes so fast...but
                     we've compensated for that in our
                     investigation. We're experts in
                     child identification. There's no
                     question that this is your son.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     It's not Walter.
          
                               JONES
                     It's not Walter as you remember him.
                     That's why it's important for you
                     to take him home, on a...trial basis.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     A trial basis?
          
                               JONES
                     Once you've put him back in familiar
                     surroundings, and given yourself
                     time to recover from the shock of
                     his changed condition...you'll see
                     that it is him. I swear to you,
                     Mrs. Collins. I give you my word.
                     Trust me...this is your son.
          
          She looks from him to the boy...who is not terribly dissimilar
          from Walter...so that even the audience may not be entirely
          sure if it's him or not...and part of her wants desperately
          to believe...the pressure is immense.
          
                                JONES
                     If there's any problem, any problem
                     at all, come and talk to me and
                     I'll take care of it.
                         (beat)
                     Mrs. Collins...he has nowhere else
                     to go.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   25.
          
          
          It's an agonizing moment, then finally:
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I...look, I'll take him home, but
                     only because I...might not be
                     thinking clearly right now, and --
          
                                  JONES
                     Thank you.
          
          Without giving her a moment to reconsider, he waves and the
          Chief of Police approaches as the press rushes toward them.
          
          In an instant, they're overwhelmed by people shouting
          questions, flashbulbs popping, a fever of excitement.
          
                               REPORTERS
                     How does it feel to have your son
                     home, Mrs. Collins? What did you
                     think when you saw him for the first
                     time?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     It was...it's...hard to explain.
          
                               JONES
                         (jumping in)
                     It was certainly quite a shock. At
                     first she hardly recognized him.
                     Perfectly natural, the boy's been
                     through quite an ordeal.
          
                               REPORTER
                     How're you feeling, son?   Bet it
                     feels great to be home.
          
                               "WALTER"
                     Yeah, it's great!
                               DAVIS
                     The Los Angeles Police Department
                     is thankful for all the hard work
                     done by the De Kalb County Sheriff's
                     Department in helping to make this
                     joyful reunion possible. The LAPD
                     is dedicated to serving the public
                     at all times, and --
          
                               ANOTHER REPORTER
                     Can we get a photo of mother and
                     son, Captain?
          
                                  CHRISTINE
                     I --
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   26.
          
          
                               JONES
                     Absolutely.
          
          He poses Christine and "Walter" so she is holding the boy in
          her arms. Dazed, stunned, confused, she manages to smile for
          the cameras. Bulbs FLASH and --
          
          -- time SLOWS DOWN, the SOUND MUTED, as Christine looks around
          at it all as though in a dream...reporters shouting questions
          she doesn't hear...bulbs flashing...the boy beside her, smiling
          at it all. He looks at her, mouths the word Mommy, as --
          
          INT. POLICE CAR - MOMENTS LATER
          
          -- the car door SLAMS and she and the boy sit side by side.
          The silence is in profound contrast to the madness of a moment
          earlier. An officer gets in they drive off, passing Jones
          and the Chief of Police, talking quietly off to one side.
          
          Christine looks to the boy.   He smiles at her.
          
          INT. COLLINS HOUSE - KITCHEN - NIGHT
          
          The only noise is the clock on the wall, ticking. Christine
          sits at one end of the table, "Walter" at the other. Studying
          him. He is finishing a sandwich, not meeting her gaze.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Was the sandwich all right?
                         (he nods)
                     Would you like some more milk?
          
                               "WALTER"
                     No.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     No, thank you.
                               "WALTER"
                     No, thank you.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Now you need a bath. You're covered
                     with soot from the train ride.
          
          He turns, and heads up the stairs.   She follows.
          
          INT. HALLWAY FRONTING BATHROOM - LATER
          
          Carrying a pair of pajamas, Christine comes into the hall and
          stops in front of the bathroom door. Knocks.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I found you a pair of pajamas. I
                     bought them for Walter but he didn't
                     like the fabric, so --
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                       27.
          
          
                                "WALTER" (O.S.)
                     Ow!
          
          She hears him fall and pushes the door open.
          
          INT. BATHROOM
          
          She helps "Walter" stand, discreetly turned away from us.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Are you all right?
          
                                "WALTER"
                     I fell.   Stupid tub.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Did you hurt yourself?     Let me see --
          
          She stops suddenly, reacting to something we don't see.
          Looks slowly looks up to his face.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     ...circumcised....
          
          She takes his hand and marches him out of the bathroom.
          
          INT. HALLWAY
          
          She places him against the wall where she measured Walter's
          growth over the years. The marks put him four inches shorter
          than the one labeled March. She looks at him, very serious.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     The last time I measured Walter --
                     the last time I measured my son --
                     he was four inches taller than you
                     are right now.
                         (beat)
                     Who are you?
                         (beat)
                     What are you doing here?
                         (beat)
                     Who are you?
          
          He says nothing.   HOLD on her look of growing desperation.
          
          INT. POLICE STATION - HALLWAY - DAY
          
          Jones walks quickly down the hall, trying to look interested
          in a clutch of papers in his hands, Christine following after.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     He's not my son.
          
                               JONES
                     Mrs. Collins --
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   28.
          
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I don't know who he is, or why he's
                     saying he's Walter, but there's
                     clearly been some kind of mistake.
          
                               JONES
                     We agreed you would give him time
                     to adjust --
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     He's four inches shorter than Walter.
                     Boys his age don't shrink. If
                     anything, he should be taller.
          
                               JONES
                     Maybe your measurements are off.
                     Look, I'm sure there's a reasonable
                     explanation for --
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     He's circumcised. Walter wasn't.
          
          Jones glances back, uncomfortable about discussing circumcision
          with a woman in public view. He lowers his voice.
          
                               JONES
                     Mrs. Collins...your son was missing
                     for four months. For at least part
                     of that in the company of an as-yet
                     unidentified drifter. Who knows
                     what such a disturbed individual
                     might have done? He could have had
                     him...circumcised... might have --
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Made him smaller? Captain, please --
          
          He's on the move again, stepping into --
          INT. JONES' OFFICE - CONTINUOUS
          
          -- and getting behind his desk as Christine follows him in.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     -- why won't you listen to me?
          
                               JONES
                     I am listening, damn it, I --
                         (beat, calmer)
                     I am listening. And I understand
                     your feelings. He's changed, no
                     mistake. You've both been through
                     a terrible experience. That's why
                     he needs your support and love to
                     bounce back.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                       29.
          
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                       Captain, that boy wouldn't bounce
                       back as my son if you coated him in
                       rubber and dropped him off the roof.
          
          He sits, shaking his head.
          
                                 JONES
                       Why are you doing this, Mrs. Collins?
                       You seem perfectly capable of taking
                       care of the boy, your work pays you
                       enough to attend to his personal
                       needs...so I don't understand why
                       you're trying to run away from your
                       responsibilities --
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                       I'm not running away from anything,
                       least of all my responsibilities.
                       I'm even taking care of that boy
                       because right now I'm all he has.
                       What worries me is that you've
                       stopped looking for Walter.
          
                                 JONES
                       Why should we look someone we've
                       already found?
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                       But you haven't found him. He's
                       still out there somewhere, lost,
                       maybe hurt....
          
                                 JONES
                       His identity has been confirmed by
                       the best minds in the field of child
                       identification, people who know
                       what they're doing.
                                 CHRISTINE
                       And I don't? Captain, look, I don't
                       want to cause trouble for you or
                       the department. Honestly I don't.
                       I know you've done everything you
                       can...but there's been a terrible
                       mistake, and I need your help if
                       we're going to correct it...before
                       it's too late. Please.
          
          She exits.   Annoyed, Jones paces, then picks up the phone.
          
                                 JONES
                       Sara, get Dr. Tarr on the phone.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     30.
          
          
          INT. COLLINS HOME - DAY
          
          Christine is cooking dinner when the doorbell rings. She
          opens the door to find a police officer and DR. EARL W. TARR,
          sixties, mildly eccentric in appearance.
          
                               DR. TARR
                     Mrs. Collins? Dr. Earl W. Tarr.
                     Captain Jones sent me. I consult
                     with him from time to time on
                     juvenile cases. May I come in?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Oh...yes, of course.
          
          She steps aside, and Dr. Tarr enters, looking around.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Thank you for coming. I'm surprised
                     Captain Jones moved so quickly. I
                     was starting to think he didn't
                     believe me.
          
                               DR. TARR
                     Well, I'm here now, and we'll put
                     all that to rights. Where is the
                     boy?
          
          He looks up as "Walter" comes downstairs. Noting that he
          said "the boy," not "your son," Christine looks relieved.
          
                               DR. TARR
                     Ah! There he is. A handsome young
                     man. He has your eyes, doesn't he?
                     And a little bit of the nose. Very
                     fit, in spite of all his travails.
                     A very resilient boy you've got
                     here, Mrs. Collins.
          As he bends down to look more closely at "Walter," Christine
          stiffens...she can't have heard that right.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Doctor Tarr, I thought you were
                     here to help me.
          
                               DR. TARR
                     I am. Captain Jones said the boy
                     had gone through some extreme
                     physical changes, and asked me to
                     look in on him...to reassure you in
                     this your time of motherly concern.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     My "motherly concern" isn't for him
                     because he's not my son.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                           31.
          
          
                                DR. TARR
                     Statements like that will hardly
                     help the boy's self-esteem, now
                     will they?
                         (beat)
                     Captain Jones said something about
                     a change in height...?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     He's four inches shorter than --
          
                               DR. TARR
                     Ah, well...hardly a mystery, Mrs.
                     Collins. We've known for some time
                     that trauma can affect the growth
                     of children. Given the stress of
                     the last four months his spine may
                     have actually shrunk. It's uncommon,
                     but within the realm of possibility.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     What about the circumcision?
          
                               DR. TARR
                     Very likely his abductor thought it
                     appropriate. After all, circumcision
                     is hygienically sound. Must have
                     been quite traumatic at the time.
                     No wonder he's submerged the memory.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Look, doctor --
          
                               DR. TARR
                     As you can see, there's a perfectly
                     sound medical explanation for all
                     of this. But it's good for you to
                     raise these questions. You should
                     be apprised of all changes the lad
                     went through during his absence.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Wouldn't I know whether or not he
                     was my son? I'm his mother.
          
                               DR. TARR
                     Which means you're in no position
                     to be objective. You are looking
                     through the prism of extreme emotion
                     at a boy who has changed from what
                     you remember. He isn't the same
                     boy that left here, just as a boy
                     who goes off to war and returns
                     isn't the same anymore.
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    32.
          
          
                                DR. TARR (Cont'd)
                     A mother's heart, driven by intuition
                     and emotion rather than logic, sees
                     these changes and rebels, insists
                     that this cannot be your son. But
                     that doesn't change the facts.
                         (beat)
                     I'm willing to put my theory to the
                     test of objectivity, Mrs. Collins...
                     are you?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     What're you --
          
          Before she can react, he takes Walter by the hand and leads
          him outside. Christine follows them out to --
          
          EXT. COLLINS HOUSE - CONTINUOUS
          
          -- as Dr. Tarr strides onward, the police officer and "Walter"
          walking alongside as Christine brings up the rear. A few
          houses down they come to a group of CHILDREN playing.
          
                               DR. TARR
                     Hello, children, my name is Dr.
                     Earl W. Tarr. I'd like to ask you
                     some questions.
          
                               1ST KID
                     My mom says we're not supposed to
                     talk to strangers.
          
                               DR. TARR
                     Good boy. Quite right. But as you
                     see I'm with the police, so it's
                     all right. Now, I'm sure you know
                     Mrs. Collins here, and her son,
                     Walter. How many of you recognize
                     this young boy as Walter Collins?
          
          He looks from one child to the other. They don't reply.
          Either they don't recognize him, or they're intimidated.
          
                               DR. TARR
                     Now, now, no need to be afraid.
                     Surely you knew Walter, and played
                     with him? So which of you can
                     identify Walter for me, for his
                     mother, and for the police? This
                     officer would want you to do the
                     right thing as good young citizens.
          
          The kids exchange a glance. It's clear they don't recognize
          the boy, but they're intimidated by the presence of Tarr and
          the police officer. A few reluctantly raise their hands.
          Another of them goes to "Walter," who is shorter than he is.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   33.
          
          
                               2ND KID
                     Walter was as tall as me....
          
                               DR. TARR
                     Yes, precisely. He was as tall as
                     you. Now he's not. He's lost a
                     little height, you see. It's a
                     thing called trauma. With luck,
                     none of you will ever have to find
                     out about it yourselves. So other
                     than that, do you recognize this as
                     your friend, Walter Collins?
          
                                  2ND KID
                     I guess...
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Dr. Tarr --
          
                               DR. TARR
                     Already ahead of you, Mrs. Collins;
                     children can be intimidated. But
                     not adults. Shall we try a neighbor?
          
          He heads off again, like some very tall, strange bird marching
          down the street. Christine exchanges a look with the kids,
          then heads off to follow.
          
          EXT. RILEY'S HOUSE - FOYER - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Tarr, Christine, Mrs. Riley, the officer and "Walter" stand
          on the porch.
          
                               DR. TARR
                     -- and we'd appreciate it if you
                     could make a positive identification
                     for us.
                               MRS. RILEY
                     I'd be happy to. I saw the boy
                     often. Come closer, son.
          
          She stoops down, studies "Walter's" face, turns it from side
          to side. Squints at him. He squints back at her. Note:
          she's not wearing glasses. Finally:
          
                               DR. TARR
                     Take your time...be sure.
          
                               MRS. RILEY
                     Oh, yes...yes...that's Walter all
                     right. Used to come here all the
                     time to play with my nephew, Roger.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   34.
          
          
                               DR. TARR
                     Thank you, Mrs. Riley.   You've been
                     a big help, I --
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Before we go...Mrs. Riley, do you
                     have the time?
          
                               MRS. RILEY
                     Certainly....
          
          She looks at her watch. Holds it farther away. Can't quite
          focus on it. Pulls her glasses out from inside her blouse.
          
                               MRS. RILEY
                     My last concession to vanity; men
                     don't make passes at women who wear
                     glasses, you know.
                         (checks the watch)
                     Five o'clock.
          
                                  CHRISTINE
                     Thank you.
          
          Mrs. Riley nods and heads inside as Christine looks to Tarr,
          who shrugs off what was just demonstrated.
          
                               DR. TARR
                     A boy is much larger than a watch,
                     Mrs. Collins.
                         (to "Walter")
                     Come along, son.
          
          Tarr takes "Walter's" hand and heads away, Christine following,
          anger growing in her eyes as we HEAR:
          
                               CHRISTINE (V.O.)
                     This is absolutely outrageous!
          INT. COLLINS HOME - KITCHEN - DAY
          
          She is on the phone, "Walter" finishing up his dinner in BG.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     Captain, I...no, listen to me, this
                     so-called doctor paraded me around
                     my own neighborhood like some kind
                     of derelict mother who couldn't
                     even recognize her own --
                         (beat)
                     He found what he expected to find,
                     what you obviously told him he would
                     find, but it's not --
                         (beat)
                     No, I am not reassured.
                                (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    35.
          
          
                                 CHRISTINE (Cont'd)
                     I thought we had an understanding,
                     I --
                          (beat)
                     That I was embarrassed isn't the
                     issue, the point is you're wasting
                     time when you should be looking for
                     my son, I --
                          (beat)
                     Then I want to see this report, so
                     I can refute it, before it goes to
                     anyone else, all right? Fine.
          
          She hangs up. Hard. The events of the day have her teetering
          on the edge, but she's holding on. She pulls herself together
          and goes to the sink, furiously doing dishes for a silent
          BEAT before "Walter" looks up from his now-empty plate.
          
                               "WALTER"
                     I'm finished. Can I go to my room
                     now?
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     Yes.   Go on up.
          
          "Walter" rises, as Christine continues to clean dishes, not
          looking back at him. Exhausted mentally, physically and
          emotionally. He goes to the door, stops, turns.
          
                               "WALTER"
                     G'night, Mommy.
          
          Christine fumbles the plate and it SMASHES to the floor.   She
          turns furiously to "Walter."
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Stop saying that! I'm not your
                     mother! And you're not my son!
          She moves toward him, her anger coming out at last.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     WHO ARE YOU? WHY ARE YOU DOING
                     THIS TO ME? DAMN YOU! I WANT MY
                     SON BACK!
          
          He tears off as she slumps to the floor, covering her eyes.
          
                               CHRISTINE

                     I want my son back...god, please...
                     make it stop...just make it stop.
          
          INT. WALTER'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
          
          "Walter" is in bed, his back to the door, as Christine appears
          in the hallway. She steps into the room, sits on the bed.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    36.
          
          
          He doesn't move.   Her voice is soft, but firm.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     I was wrong to yell at you. You're
                     still a child, and I think you don't
                     really understand what you're doing,
                     the hurt you're causing. Maybe
                     this is all just some big game of
                     pretend to you, but I need you to
                     understand. Walter is...he's all I
                     have, he's everything to me, and
                     every day we lose because of this
                     puts him further away from where I
                     can help him.
                         (beat)
                     Whatever the police think, whatever
                     the world thinks, we know the truth,
                     don't we? We both know you're not
                     Walter. Getting you to admit that
                     may be the only chance I have to
                     straighten this out before it's too
                     late. Maybe you're afraid of getting
                     in trouble, that you're in too deep.
                     But you're not. You don't have to
                     tell me who you are, you just have
                     to tell them who you're not. Just...
                     tell them the truth.
          
          He doesn't respond. She gives it a moment in case he might
          open up, then rises and heads back into the hallway. She
          switches off the light and heads off down the hallway.
          
                                                    DISSOLVE TO:
          
          INT. ST. PAUL'S CHURCH - RECTORY - PRE-DAWN
          
          Pastor Briegleb is typing out his sermon for the day. He's
          exhausted. Looks at the clock. 6:30 a.m. He rubs tiredly
          at his face when he HEARS the THUMP of the newspaper being
          delivered. He stands, stretches and steps out to --
          
          EXT. ST. PAUL'S CHURCH - CONTINUOUS
          
          -- where the newspaper is visible on the front lawn. He picks
          it up and starts into the rectory as he unfolds the paper.
          
          Then: he slows, stunned by something he's reading.   He looks
          up again, and hurries back into the rectory.
          
          INT. COLLINS HOME - CHRISTINE'S BEDROOM - PRE-DAWN
          
          She's in bed, asleep, as the telephone RINGS downstairs. She
          glances at the clock: 6:45. She clearly doesn't want to go
          down to answer it...then reluctantly climbs out of bed.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   37.
          
          
          INT. COLLINS HOME - LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
          
          The telephone is still ringing as she picks it up.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     Hello?
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB (on phone)
                     Is this Mrs. Christine Collins?
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     Yes?   Who is this?
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB (on phone)
                     My name is Gustav Briegleb, I'm the
                     pastor over at St. Paul's --
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Oh, yes, I heard some of your radio
                     broadcasts after my son...you were
                     very supportive, and I appreciate --
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB (on phone)
                     Mrs. Collins...have you seen the
                     Times today?
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     No, I --
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB (on phone)
                     You'd better take a look. Then
                     come by the parish in an hour for
                     breakfast. I think we should meet.
          
          She starts to reply, but the line goes dead. She hangs up
          the phone, pulls her robe closer around her, and steps out to
          
          EXT. COLLINS HOME - PRE-DAWN
          where a copy of the Los Angeles Times sits on a neighbor's
          front lawn. She looks around, then dashes to pick it up.
          She unfolds it as she heads back, then abruptly stops. She
          can't believe what she's seeing.
          
          CLOSE ON THE NEWSPAPER. The headline reads Mysterious
          Transformation in Collins Boy.
          
          EXT. ST. PAUL'S CHURCH - GARDEN - MORNING
          
          Briegleb is eating a big breakfast. Christine, newspaper in
          hand, is pacing, furious. She reads aloud from the paper.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     "Acting on the request of the Los
                     Angeles Police Department, Dr. Earl
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      38.
          
          
                                CHRISTINE (Cont'd)
                     W. Tarr, child specialist, examined
                     Walter Collins to determine the
                     cause of his loss of weight,
                     paleness, confusion and run-down
                     condition noticed since the return
                     of the boy to his mother last
                     Saturday."
          
                                REV. BRIEGLEB
                     Lovely bit of phrasing, isn't it?
                     Noticed since the return of the boy
                     to his mother. Not only does it
                     state clearly that you are the boy's
                     mother, one could infer from this
                     that you are somehow responsible
                     for these changes...and that the
                     police are concerned for the boy's
                     welfare in your hands.
                         (beat)
                     You should try the eggs, they're
                     very good.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                         (still reading)
                     "I examined the boy quite thoroughly,
                     Dr. Tarr said --
          
          INT. POLICE STATION - NIGHT
          
          Dr. Tarr is sitting at a desk and speaking to a handful of
          reporters, enjoying the attention.
          
                               DR. TARR
                     -- and it's clear that he has
                     something to tell. I'm sure that
                     in time he will give his boyish
                     story of the entire affair, but not
                     until he has faith in his listener.
                     And that is what is lacking: faith
                     in the poor lad's story. In the
                     course of my examination, I found
                     nothing to dispute the findings by
                     the LAPD.
          
                               REPORTER
                     How come he hasn't been able to
                     tell anyone what happened while he
                     was gone?
          
                               DR. TARR
                     I would say that the boy has either
                     been coached or questioned to a
                     point where he is largely confused
                     about what happened to him during
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                       39.
          
          
                                 DR. TARR (Cont'd)
                       those many months. It's possible
                       that his mental lapse may be the
                       result of a blow to the head or a
                       sudden shock which brought about a
                       possible cranial injury. I believe
                       that this condition will pass soon.
                       Until then, I recommend that the
                       police department continue working
                       with him, exposing him to whatever
                       elements of his previous life as
                       may help restore his memory.
          
          BACK TO SCENE
          
          As she lowers the paper, incredulous. (And yes, what you
          just read was exactly what the doctor really said.)
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                       Captain Jones promised he'd let me
                       see the report before it went
                       anywhere else.
          
                                 REV. BRIEGLEB
                       Someone in authority at the LAPD
                       lied? Good heavens, I may have to
                       go lie down.
          
          He laughs.   She turns, looking stricken.     He sobers at once.
          
                                 REV. BRIEGLEB
                       I was not laughing at your situation,
                       Mrs. Collins. It's just...after
                       one has this sort of conversation
                       enough times, a certain degree of
                       hysteria begins to set in. Please,
                       sit.
          Reluctantly, she does.      Shakes her head in disbelief.
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                       Why are they doing this?
          
                                 REV. BRIEGLEB
                       To avoid admitting a mistake...that
                       they brought back the wrong boy.
                           (off her look)
                       Anyone reading that with half a
                       brain would see through it instantly.
                       Sadly, that leaves out about half
                       the Times' readership, but still....
          
                                    CHRISTINE
                       Thank you.
                                    (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      40.
          
          
                                CHRISTINE (Cont'd)
                     I've been trying to get someone to
                     say those words since...god, I was
                     starting to think I was losing my
                     mind.
                         (beat)
                     Thank you. At least someone believes
                     me.
          
                                REV. BRIEGLEB
                     You have no idea how many people
                     have sat in that very chair and
                     said those exact same words to me
                     in relation to our friends at the
                     Los Angeles Police Department.
                         (beat)
                     Mrs. Collins, I have made it my
                     mission to bring to light all the
                     things the LAPD would prefer no one
                     knew anything about...a department
                     ruled by violence, abuse, murder,
                     corruption and intimidation.
          
          MONTAGE STARTS
          
          INT. POLICE STATION - OFFICE - DAY
          
          FAUX NEWSREEL FOOTAGE of Police Chief Davis speaking before a
          bunch of microphones.
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB (O.S.)
                     When Chief Davis took over the LAPD
                     two years ago, he said --
          
                               DAVIS
                         (overlapping)
                     We will hold court on gunmen in the
                     Los Angeles streets. I want them
                     brought in dead, not alive, and I
                     will reprimand any officer who shows
                     the least mercy to a criminal.
          
          EXT. STREET - NIGHT
          
          A crowd of police officers, armed with machine-guns, BLAST
          the hell out of a group of guys lined up against a wall.
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB (V.O.)
                     He picked fifty of the most dangerous
                     cops on the force, gave them machine
                     guns and permission to shoot anyone
                     who got in their way. He called
                     them the Gun Squad. No lawyers.
                     No trials. No questions, suspensions
                     or investigations. Just piles of
                     bodies.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   41.
          
          
          EXT. BACK ALLEY - NIGHT
          
          Another guy, beaten to a bloody pulp, is SHOVED out of a moving
          car and left in the rain.
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB (V.O.)
                     Bodies in morgues, bodies in
                     hospitals, bodies by the side of
                     the road, barely alive. Not because
                     the police wanted to wipe out crime,
                     they just wanted to get rid of the
                     competition.
          
          EXT. ROADSIDE - NIGHT
          
          A pair of cops and a couple of thugs inspect a truck carrying
          booze over the border from Canada, pay the freight and watch
          as the trucks drive off in the truck.
          
                                REV. BRIEGLEB (V.O.)
                     Mayor Cryer and half the police
                     force are on the take. Prostitution,
                     gambling, bootlegging, you name it.
                         (beat)
                     When the gloves came off, pretty
                     soon the rest of the department got
                     into the brutality act. Didn't
                     want the Gun Squad to have all the
                     fun, after all.
          
          INT. TENEMENT BUILDING - NIGHT
          
          Two officers are sexually assaulting a woman on the stairs.
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB (V.O.)
                     The more they got away with it, the
                     worse things got, because when you
                     give folks the freedom to do whatever
                     they want, as God saw in the Garden
                     of Eden, they'll do just that.
          
          BACK TO SCENE
          
          With Christine and Briegleb, in the rectory garden.
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB
                     This police department does not
                     tolerate dissent, contradiction...
                     or embarrassment, Mrs. Collins.
                     You have the power to embarrass
                     them...and they don't like it. Not
                     when they became the Heroes of the
                     Hour the day they stood there posing
                     with you, having rescued a lost boy
                     from the wilderness.
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   42.
          
          
                                REV. BRIEGLEB (Cont'd)
                         (beat)
                     They will do everything they can to
                     discredit you. I've seen it happen
                     too many times to start going blind
                     now. That's why I wanted to see
                     you, so you'd know what you were
                     getting into...and how to fight
                     them.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Reverend Briegleb...I appreciate
                     what you're saying, and what you're
                     doing...but I'm not on a mission.
                     The only thing I want is to find my
                     son, that's all, and I just --
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB
                     A lot of mothers' sons ended up
                     being sacrificed to expediency around
                     here, Mrs. Collins. Yours wouldn't
                     be the first. Do this right, and
                     maybe yours will be the last.
          
          She gets up from the table, paces the garden.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     If they honestly thought I was wrong,
                     that'd be one thing...but if they
                     don't care, if they're just trying
                     to cover it up....
          
          He picks up the article, waves it.
          
                                REV. BRIEGLEB
                     This is their attempt to win by
                     framing the discussion their way.
                     "Why, of course it's her son...yes,
                     there have been changes...we're
                     looking into it, and isn't it strange
                     that they happened after the boy
                     got home?"
                         (beat)
                     They're putting you in the position
                     of having to disprove what they're
                     saying...and that's hard. Most
                     people believe what they hear from
                     the police or the government. If
                     you play it their way, you...and
                     your son...are going to lose.
          
          She closes her eyes for a BEAT, then looks to him, her voice
          firmer, her decision made.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     What do I have to do?
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     43.
          
          
                                REV. BRIEGLEB
                     Change the rules of engagement. Re-
                     define the argument. They brought
                     in their expert, so you bring in
                     yours. You have an advantage they
                     don't. You know your son better
                     than they ever will, and in that
                     knowledge is the proof you need.
                         (beat)
                     Get that information, put it out
                     there. Make them respond to you,
                     not the other way around.
          
          He gets up, walks toward her, puts his hands on her shoulders.
          Giving her strength...but also his concern.
          
                                REV. BRIEGLEB
                     Once people side with the police,
                     it's a hard climb...but even in a
                     town as loud as this one, the voice
                     of truth can be heard...if you're
                     willing to take it all the way in
                     spite of the dangers...and they are
                     very real, Mrs. Collins, make no
                     mistake. Once you open the book on
                     these people, you're going to be
                     looking over your shoulder every
                     day, maybe for the rest of your
                     life.
                         (beat)
                     You up to it, Mrs. Collins?
          
          He looks in her eyes...and she meets his gaze levelly.   The
          answer is evident.
          
          INT. WAITING ROOM - ANGLE ON DOOR - DAY
          
          We're in a dentist's office. Christine is waiting for a BEAT
          before the door opens, and DR. JOHN MONTGOMERY emerges.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Well?
          
                               DR. MONTGOMERY
                     He had two cavities that needed
                     filling. He put up a fight, but I
                     took care of it.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     And...?
          
          He casts a look back at the closed door, shakes his head.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                  44.
          
          
                                 DR. MONTGOMERY
                       Your son's upper front teeth were
                       separated by a small muscle. Made
                       them sit about an eighth of an inch
                       apart. The boy in that room has no
                       such gap.
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                       Does a gap like that get smaller
                       with age? Because that's what
                       they'll say.
          
                                 DR. MONTGOMERY
                       In some cases, yes, it's possible.
                       But the muscle between Walter's
                       teeth prevents that from happening.
                       They can never come together without
                       an operation to sever the muscle,
                       and I can tell you right now that
                       he has never had such an operation.
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                       Will you be willing to sign a letter
                       saying that officially?
          
                                 DR. MONTGOMERY
                       Pardon my language, but...hell,
                       yes.
          
          He hears an OS moan from the inner office.
          
                                  DR. MONTGOMERY
                       Sounds like the anesthetic is wearing
                       off.
                            (starts in, pauses)
                       On the other hand, maybe I'll write
                       that letter first. Give the little
                       fella something to think about.
          He smiles.
          
          INT. CLASSROOM - MORNING
          
          Small, with wooden desks, chalkboard, all the basics. "Walter"
          stands in front of MRS. FOX, fifties, wearing severe glasses
          and an equally severe expression. Christine stands nearby.
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                       Well? What do you think? Is that
                       the Walter Collins that you remember?
          
                                 MRS. FOX
                       If it is, he's changed enormously.
                           (to "Walter")
                       Do you know who I am?
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     45.
          
          
                                "WALTER"
                      You're a teacher.
          
                                MRS. FOX
                      Yes, but even teachers have names.
                      What's mine?
          
                                "WALTER"
                      I don't remember. I know you, but
                      I don't remember your name.
          
                                 MRS. FOX
                      My name is Mrs. Fox.   Now, take
                      your seat.
          
          "Walter" hesitates, then takes a seat.    The other kids laugh.
          
                                MRS. FOX
                      I didn't say take a seat. I said
                      take your seat. Your assigned seat.
                      You must know which one it is, you
                      sat there for over a year.
          
          "Walter" tries another vacant seat. There are only three
          vacant seats in the room. More laughter from the kids.
          
                                MRS. FOX
                      Try again. Here's a hint: There's
                      only one more empty seat left.
          
          He sits.   Mrs. Fox looks to Christine.
          
                                MRS. FOX
                      Mrs. Collins, if that's your son,
                      I'll eat my yardstick. Not only
                      will I put that in writing, I'll
                      swear to it in a court of law and
                      in front of President Calvin Coolidge
                      himself if I have to.
          
          For the first time, Christine allows a hopeful smile.
          
          INT. COLLINS HOUSE - CONTINUOUS
          
          The lights are low. Christine sits on the floor, sorting
          through a box containing artifacts of affection: class projects
          made by Walter, trees and houses and clay dogs; a heart-shaped
          card Mother's Day card, hand-made, with I Love You, Mommy
          carefully printed on the front. She runs her finger over it,
          tracing the impression left by his pencil.
          
          She starts to cry, and a tear falls onto the pencil drawing.
          She frantically dabs at it, trying to preserve it from
          distortion...then sets it down and covers her face, weeping.
          
                                                     DISSOLVE TO:
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   46.
          
          
          EXT. CITY HALL - MORNING (RAIN)
          
          A cold, wet knot of reporters and photographers are waiting
          in the rain on the steps to City Hall. Christine sits in a
          car with Briegleb, looking at it all.
          
          SUPERIMPOSE: SEPTEMBER 6, 1928
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB
                     I'll see you tonight at eight for
                     my broadcast. I'll leave the back
                     door open and a light on. Good
                     luck.
          
          She nods, exits the car and walks up the steps to the front
          of City Hall as he drives off. She stands before the press,
          looks at them for a moment, then begins.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     Good morning. My name is Christine
                     Collins. On March 10th, my nine
                     year old son, Walter Collins,
                     disappeared. A four month
                     investigation resulted in a boy
                     being brought to Los Angeles from
                     De Kalb, Illinois. They told me,
                     and all of you, that this boy was
                     my son. They were wrong.
                         (beat)
                     The Los Angeles Police Department
                     made a mistake...a terrible mistake.
                     The boy they found is not my son.
                     That is the reason for the supposed
                     "transformation." I have letters
                     from his dentist, his teachers and
                     others confirming that this boy is
                     not my son. The letters are being
                     reprinted now, and I should have
                     them for you tomorrow.
          
          Flashbulbs pop, dazzling her.    She composes herself.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     I have given the police department
                     every opportunity to admit their
                     mistake and renew the search for my
                     son. Since they have refused to do
                     so, I have no choice but to present
                     my case before the public. I hope
                     this will persuade the police to
                     finish the job they started, and
                     bring my son home to me.
                         (beat)
                     Thank you.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    47.
          
          
          As the reporters start to shout out questions, we PAN ACROSS
          to a BEAT COP who has been watching. He goes quickly to a
          police call-box, unlocks it and picks up the telephone.
          
          INT. LINCOLN HEIGHTS STATION - DAY
          
          The glass door to Captain Jones' office is closed, but we can
          SEE him on the phone. Finally, he hangs up and comes out of
          the office. His tone is cold but neutral...we think this
          could go either way. He stops an officer.
          
                               JONES
                     Morelli, I want you to find the
                     Collins woman and get her here.
                     Bring her in the back way, and have
                     a couple of matrons standing by.
          
                                 1ST COP
                     Yes, sir.
          
          He heads off as Jones goes into his office, closing the door.
          
          EXT. LINCOLN HEIGHT STATION - REAR ENTRANCE - DAY (RAIN)
          
          A police car pulls up to the curb, and Christine and "Walter"
          emerge from the back seat. They dash through the rain to the
          back door, followed by the 1st Cop.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Why are we using the back door?
          
                               1ST COP
                     Captain's orders.     Front's jammed
                     with reporters.
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                     Is it?
          She allows a moment of quiet satisfaction as she's led into
          
          INT. STATION - BULLPEN
          
          where she's directed to a wooden bench. A nearby clock reads
          3:45. She sits, "Walter" silent beside her. In the BG, the
          Desk Sergeant puts a call on hold.
          
                               DESK SERGEANT
                     Hey...anybody want to take a call
                     from the Royal Canadian Mounties?
                     Ybarra?
          
          DETECTIVE LESTER YBARRA, thirties, good looking, glances up.
          
                               YBARRA
                     What'd they do, lose a moose?
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   48.
          
          
                               DESK SERGEANT
                     They need a juvenile living here
                     illegally deported back to Canada.
                     He's living with his cousin on some
                     ranch near Riverside, in Wineville.
          
                               YBARRA
                     All right, I'll take it, got nothing
                     better to do....
          
          Ybarra takes the call as Jones' calls from his office.
          
                               JONES
                     Mrs. Collins.
          
          Christine starts to take "Walter's" hand when a matron appears.
          
                                JONES
                     Leave the boy for now.   We'll look
                     after him.
          
          She hands "Walter" over to the matron, then enters
          
          INT. JONES' OFFICE
          
          He leaves the door open and indicates for Christine to sit.
          She does. He paces, working up to what he's going to do.
          
                               JONES
                     You've put us through quite a bit
                     of trouble, Mrs. Collins. This
                     situation has become an embarrassment
                     for the entire department.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     It wasn't my intention to embarrass
                     anyone.
                               JONES
                     No, of course not. You just told
                     the papers we can't tell one boy
                     from another as a compliment for
                     the months we spent working on your
                     case. Are you trying to make fools
                     out of us? Is that it? Do you
                     enjoy this?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     No, of course not. I had to get
                     your attention, I had to make you
                     understand...he's not my son.
          
          He circles, closing in on her. She becomes aware that the
          door is open, and he's doing this for the benefit of anyone
          who might be listening in.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                            49.
          
          
                               JONES
                     You know what your problem is? You
                     want to shirk your responsibilities
                     as a mother. You enjoyed being a
                     free woman, didn't you? Enjoyed
                     not having to worry about a young
                     son. You could do what you wanted,
                     go where you wanted, see anyone you
                     wanted. But then we found your
                     son. Brought him back. And now
                     he's an inconvenience. That's why
                     you cooked up this whole scheme, to
                     try and throw him to the state, let
                     the state raise him for you.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     That's not true!
          
                               JONES
                     No? Even the boy says he's your
                     son. Why would he do that? How
                     would he know to do that?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I don't know! All I know is that
                     he's lying!
          
                               JONES
                     Maybe so. Maybe he is a liar. But
                     that's how he's been trained, isn't
                     it? Lying was born in both of you.
                     You're a liar and a troublemaker
                     and if you ask me you've got no
                     business walking the streets of Los
                     Angeles.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Just a minute --
                               JONES
                     Because either you know you're lying,
                     or you're not capable of knowing if
                     you're lying or telling the truth.
                     So which is it, Mrs. Collins? Are
                     you a derelict mother? Or just
                     nuts? Because from where I sit,
                     those are the only options.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I'm not going to sit here and take
                     this --
          
          Jones stands between her and the door.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      50.
          
          
                               JONES
                     You want to bring in experts?
                     Doctors? Well, I can do that too.
                         (calling OS)
                     Matron?
          
          The door opens, and a POLICE MATRON enters. He looks back to
          Christine, his voice low, his anger replaced by cool
          determination. This scene is about to take an abrupt change.
          
                               JONES
                     Mrs. Collins...do you still insist
                     that the boy out there is not your
                     son?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Yes.
          
          He nods to the matron, who moves to restrain her.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Wait...what are you doing?
          
          The Matron cuffs Christine's hands behind her back.
          
                               MATRON
                     Please don't struggle, ma'am.   You'll
                     only hurt yourself.
          
          A CLICK, and the handcuffs are in place.
          
                               JONES
                         (to the matron)
                     You are to convey the prisoner to
                     the Los Angeles County General
                     Hospital Psychopathic Ward.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     No...wait, you can't --
          
                                JONES
                         (still to matron)
                     Make the following entry in the
                     booking department: Defendant states
                     she has been deceived by police and
                     others, and that they have given
                     her a boy and tried to make her
                     think it is her son when she says
                     it is not.
          
          EXT. REAR OF POLICE STATION (MONTAGE)
          
          Christine is led, in handcuffs, into a waiting police van.
          (VO has been taken verbatim from the police report.)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      51.
          
          
                               JONES (V.O.)
                     Mrs. Collins has been known to us
                     since about March 10, 1928, when
                     she reported her nine-year-old son
                     Walter missing.
          
          INT. VAN
          
          A stunned and dazed Christine rides in the back of the van
          
                               JONES (V.O.)
                     The boy was gone until July, 1928.
                     Since his return, she has complained
                     that he is still missing, and has
                     made repeated requests that he be
                     found, saying, "This is not my
                     Walter," even though positive
                     identification has been established.
          
          EXT. LA COUNTY GENERAL HOSPITAL - DAY
          
          The police van enters the hospital at 1200 North State Street.
          
          INT. LA COUNTY GENERAL HOSPITAL - RECEIVING AREA - DAY
          
          A sterile, dreary, white-on-white place where in the
          background, we can HEAR the sounds of the insane crying out.
          The matron leads a stunned Christine to the front desk.
          
                               JONES (V.O.)
                     She suffers from paranoia, delusions
                     of persecution, and dislocation
                     from reality. She may be a threat
                     to herself or others. We recommend
                     that she be conveyed to the
                     psychopathic ward for treatment and
                     observation until her senses can be
                     restored.
          The matron stops before the desk.   The NURSE barely looks up.
          
                               MATRON
                     Got another code twelve.
          
                                NURSE
                     Name?
          
                                MATRON
                     Collins.   Christine.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Wait...please, this is a mistake.
          
                               NURSE
                         (to matron)
                     Certifying officer?
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   52.
          
          
                               MATRON
                     Captain J. J. Jones, Lincoln Heights
                     division.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                         (forced calm)
                     Please...you have to listen to me.
                     The police are doing this to punish
                     me. They tried to force this boy
                     on me and tell me he was my son,
                     but it wasn't my son, and now they
                     say I'm crazy --
          
          She stops, noting the looks exchanged between the nurse and
          the matron. Her story sounds insane, even to her. She begins
          to realize the depth of her predicament.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Oh, god...oh god, please, no....
          
                               NURSE
                     If you continue to struggle I'll
                     have to put you in a straitjacket.
                     Do you want that?
                         (she shakes head)
                     Good. Then behave yourself.
                         (to orderlies)
                     Code twelve.
          
          The matron turns Christine over to two large male ORDERLIES,
          who take her by the arms and lead her into the psycho ward.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     No, please, you have to listen to
                     me...wait...please!
          
          They force-march her down the hall, the screams of the insane
          growing louder, falling deeper into the nightmare.
          INT. HOSPITAL - EXAMINING ROOM
          
          Christine is ushered into the room by a NURSE.
          
                               NURSE
                     Take off your clothes.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Why?
          
                               NURSE
                     Physical examination, body cavity
                     search and de-lousing. Required
                     for all new patients.
          
          The nurse begins putting on a pair of rubber gloves.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   53.
          
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     That's not necessary --
          
                               NURSE
                     You can remove your clothes yourself,
                     or I can have the orderlies do it
                     for you. Which do you prefer?
          
          Reluctantly, Christine begins to remove her clothes.
          
          INT. SHOWER ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
          
          ON CHRISTINE'S FACE as she stands in a spray of water and
          disinfectant, some coming from the showerhead above, some
          from a hose sprayed on her by the Nurse in BG. Christine's
          eyes are closed, trying to shut out the sense of violation.
          
                               NURSE
                     Spread your legs.
                         (a beat)
                     Wider.
          
          Biting her lip, Christine complies.
          
          INT. HALL - LATER
          
          Wet hair plastered to her face, dressed in a hospital gown,
          Christine is led down a long hall by the Nurse. As she passes
          the closed doors, we HEAR women weeping, talking to themselves,
          crying out, screaming, beating on the walls. Fingers poke
          through narrow viewing slits in the doors.
          
          The Nurse pulls out a key-ring and unlocks one of the doors.
          
                                NURSE
                     Inside.
          
          Christine enters --
          INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - CONTINUOUS
          
          Bare, forbidding, four white walls and a narrow slit of a
          window. It's a two-person room. Sitting on the other bed is
          another PATIENT.
          
                               NURSE
                     This is your room. The doctor's
                     left for the day. He'll see you in
                     the morning.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     The morning? But...wait, I've got
                     to talk to someone in authority --
          
                                NURSE
                     Sorry.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      54.
          
          
                               PATIENT
                     My room...no, no...this is...this
                     is MY room....
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Then if I could just use the phone.
          
                               NURSE
                     Phone privileges are earned by good
                     behavior. You're not allowed
                     newspapers, magazines, radio, books
                     or sharp objects. This is for your
                     own good.
          
          The Nurse exits, closing and locking the door.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Wait...please! There's been a
                     terrible mistake!
          
          Nothing. She's alone with the other Patient, who doesn't
          much like the noise and disturbance.
          
                               PATIENT
                     My room. My room.       They SAID it
                     was MY ROOM!
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I'm sorry, I --
          
                                  PATIENT
                     MY ROOM!     MY ROOM!   MY ROOM!   MY
                     ROOM!
          
          She starts SCREAMING.    Christine covers her ears.
          
          EXT. HOSPITAL - CONTINUOUS
          We slowly PULL AWAY from the narrow window, and the sound of
          screaming, into the late afternoon rain and growing darkness.
          
                                                        CUT TO:
          
          EXT. OLD ROAD - EARLY EVENING
          
          A lone truck sits beside the road, hood open, steam coming
          from the radiator.
          
          GORDON NORTHCOTT, thirties, thin and angular, finishes working
          on the car as a police car approaches. The detective we saw
          earlier, Ybarra, is inside. He rolls down the window.
          
                                  YBARRA
                     Problem?
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      55.
          
          
                               GORDON
                     Overheated, that's all.   She'll be
                     fine in a bit.
          
                               YBARRA
                     Listen, could you give me a hand?
                     I'm trying to find a place called
                     the Northcott Ranch, up by Wineville.
          
          As he answers, Gordon moves casually to the back of the open
          truck to get a rag to wipe his hands. There is a GUN on the
          floor of the trunk. Gordon picks it up inside the rag.
          
                               GORDON
                     Northcott Ranch...oh yeah. You're
                     almost there. Follow this west for
                     about two, three miles. Then the
                     next right. That'll bring you right
                     to it. Something going on?
          
                               YBARRA
                     Just looking into a juvenile matter.
                     Thanks for the help.
          
          Ybarra drives away. As soon as he's out of sight, Gordon
          slams the hood, runs to the driver's side and starts the truck,
          still steaming. He drives off as fast as he can.
          
          EXT. NORTHCOTT RANCH - EVENING
          
          A long, low house, stonework and brick and wood, behind a
          large open area cluttered with junked cars. At the far end
          of the open area is a chicken coop, about fifteen feet long.
          Ybarra drives up in front of the house, gets out, looks around.
          
                               YBARRA
                     Hello?
          ANOTHER ANGLE - POV SHOT
          
          Someone is watching as Ybarra moves toward the main house.
          
                               YBARRA
                     Anybody home?
          
          BACK TO SCENE
          
          Ybarra glances off to a rustling SOUND, and follows it to
          
          EXT. CHICKEN COOP
          
          A few chickens inside, held back by wire. An ax is nearby,
          its stained edge buried in an old wooden stump. A corner of
          the coop seems to have come down and been crudely repaired.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      56.
          
          
          BACK TO SCENE
          
          As suddenly someone runs across the dirt yard into the house,
          SLAMMING the door. Ybarra runs to the porch, tries the door.
          Locked from the inside. He pounds on the door.
          
                                YBARRA
                      This is the police. I have a warrant
                      for a minor named Sanford Clark.
                      Open the door and stand aside.
          
          No reply.   He braces himself and KICKS open the door.
          
          INT. HOUSE - KITCHEN
          
          The door BANGS against the wall. Flies buzz around the place.
          The kitchen is in shadows, but there's no question it's a
          mess. Ybarra moves cautiously through the kitchen. No sound
          except the wood creaking beneath his feet as he enters
          
          INT. HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS
          
          Old, musty, shadowed. The ticking of an old grandfather clock.
          There's no one in sight. Ybarra moves down the hall, glances
          into two adjoining rooms. Nothing. He continues into
          
          INT. LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS
          
          Curtains drawn, dark, cocooned against the outside world.
          Ybarra makes a circuit of the room, then STOPS at a creak of
          wood from a CLOSET. He moves toward it. Pauses. Reaches
          for the doorknob...as suddenly a clock CHIMES loudly and the
          closet explodes outward and --
          
          -- SANFORD CLARK, 15, runs out. He slams into Ybarra, knocking
          him down. They go down in a tumble of limbs, wrestling on
          the floor as Sanford tries to escape.
                                YBARRA
                      Stop it! Stop it or I'll push your
                      face through the floor!
          
          Breathing hard, Sanford finally stops struggling.   Ybarra
          cuffs Sanford's hands behind his back.
          
                                YBARRA
                      On your feet.
          
          Sanford stands, and as Ybarra leads him out, we PAN TO a mantle
          and a photo that shows Sanford Clark and a man we recognize
          as the one we saw by the road earlier: Gordon Northcott.
          
          INT. YBARRA'S CAR - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Ybarra locks Sanford in the car, then climbs in the driver's
          side. He checks a cut on his face in the rear-view mirror.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   57.
          
          
                               YBARRA
                     Jesus...what the hell's wrong with
                     you? Don't you know assaulting a
                     cop is against the law?
          
                               SANFORD
                     What difference does it make now?
          
                                YBARRA
                     We're just sending you back to
                     Canada, son, it isn't the end of
                     the world.
          
                               SANFORD
                     What?
          
                               YBARRA
                     You can't just stay in the U.S. as
                     long as you want, pal. We've got a
                     orders to send you back home, and --
          
          Suddenly Sanford starts laughing. It's a nearly hysterical
          laugh, half fear and half relief...Ybarra isn't there for the
          reasons he thought. Ybarra is puzzled by his reaction.
          
                               YBARRA
                     Didn't know Canada was that funny.
          
          Ybarra puts the car into gear and drives off.
          
          EXT. ST. PAUL'S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - NIGHT
          
          Enough to ESTABLISH, then:
          
          INT. ST. PAUL'S - CONTINUOUS
          
          Gustav Briegleb sits behind the microphone, waiting to go on
          the air. He looks at the clock. 7:59. Glances to an AIDE.
                               BRIEGLEB
                     No word from Mrs. Collins?
                         (aide shakes head)
                     Get on down to her house, make sure
                     she's all right. If she's not there,
                     call the LAPD, see what they know.
          
          The aide hurries off as Briegleb turns back to the microphone
          and touches a switch. The ON THE AIR lamp glows to life.
          
                               BRIEGLEB
                     This is Pastor Gustav A. Briegleb
                     of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church,
                     bringing you the Lord's word on
                     radio KGF. Good evening.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    58.
          
          
          INT. HOSPITAL - MENTAL WARD - SAME TIME
          
          Christine is in bed, wide awake, the sounds of the asylum
          somewhat lessened now. Her face is dimly lit by moonlight.
          
                               BRIEGLEB (V.O.)
                     I had hoped to have a guest with us
                     tonight, but apparently she has
                     been delayed. Since she can't be
                     here to tell you what she told the
                     press this afternoon, I'll fill in
                     the best I can. I'm going to tell
                     you what happened, and I'm going to
                     keep telling you right here, every
                     night...until someone does something
                     about it.
          
          On her face, we go to
          
          INT. UNION STATION - TICKET BOOTH - NIGHT
          
          Gordon Northcott makes his way to the ticket booth.
          
                               GORDON
                     I'd like a ticket to Canada. Alberta
                     or Vancouver, whatever's leaving
                     tonight.
          
                               TICKET VENDER
                     Don't have anything going that far
                     tonight. Best I can do is put you
                     on a train for Seattle. From there
                     you can transfer to one of the locals
                     or drive across the border.
          
                               GORDON
                     That'll be fine.
                               TICKET VENDER
                     Round-trip?
          
                                  GORDON
                     One way.
          
          The vender moves away to pull the ticket. Gordon glances at
          a cop heading his way. Stiffens. The cop continues past
          him. Gordon relaxes as the vender slides the ticket across.
          
                               TICKET VENDER
                     That'll be fifteen dollars.
          
          Gordon pays for the ticket and heads toward the boarding gates.
          
                                                      DISSOLVE TO:
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   59.
          
          
          EXT. HOSPITAL - MORNING
          
          Just enough to establish the transition.
          
          INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - MORNING
          
          Christine is on top of the bed, eyes open, not having slept
          all night. She's staring at the woman on the next cot. THe
          woman is staring back at her. The second-hand on a clock
          behind protective chicken-wire passes 8:00 and a loud BELL
          goes off, announcing the start of the day.
          
          We hear doors being unlocked up and down the hall. Christine
          stands, pulls her hair back, and catches her reflection in
          the window: pale, drawn, smudged, and in a hospital gown...
          looking like someone who actually belongs in this place.
          
          The door opens and she steps into the hall as a NURSE passes.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Can I see the doctor?   Or someone
                     in charge --
          
                               NURSE
                     Breakfast is half an hour.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     But I --
          
                                NURSE
                     Down the hall. The doctor will
                     call for you when he's ready.
                         (beat)
                     Go or stay, either way I lock the
                     door.
          
          Christine doesn't want to stay, so she moves off.
          INT. HOSPITAL - MENTAL WARD - DINING AREA - MORNING
          
          Christine and the other patients sit at long tables. A few
          talk in quiet whispers, but most eat silently, staring vacantly
          ahead. Some have scars showing lobotomies or electro-
          convulsive (shock) therapy. It's a scary bunch. Christine
          isn't eating.
          
          Another female patient, CAROL DEXTER, thirties, watches
          Christine then slides closer. A BEAT, then:
          
                               CAROL DEXTER
                     You should eat. Eating is normal.
                     You got to do everything you can to
                     look normal. That's the only chance
                     you've got. Besides, you'll need
                     the strength.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      60.
          
          
          Christine is startled by the level-headedness of the advice
          from someone she assumed was probably nuts. Reluctantly, she
          begins eating the cold-looking oatmeal.
          
                               CAROL DEXTER
                     My name's Carol Dexter.    What's
                     yours?
          
                                  CHRISTINE
                     Christine.     Christine Collins.
          
          Christine reacts to the taste of the food, which is awful.
          
                               CAROL   DEXTER
                     Finish it all.    I know it's hard,
                     but you have to   try. Lunch isn't
                     as bad. Close,    but not as --
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I won't be here that long. As soon
                     as I can talk to a doctor, they'll
                     realize there's been a terrible
                     mistake and --
          
                               CAROL DEXTER
                     Yeah, that always works.
                         (beat, quieter)
                     I heard them talking. You're here
                     on a code twelve, police action.
                     The doctors, the staff, they figure
                     that if the police sent you here,
                     there must be a good reason for it.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Then I'll just have to prove that
                     I'm not insane.
          
                               CAROL DEXTER
                     Yeah? How? The more you try to
                     act sane, the crazier you start to
                     look. If you smile too much, you're
                     delusional or stifling hysteria.
                     If you don't smile, you're depressed.
                     If you're neutral you're emotionally
                     withdrawn and potentially catatonic.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     You seem to have given this a great
                     deal of thought.
          
                                CAROL DEXTER
                     I have. Don't you get it? You're
                     code twelve. So am I. We're here
                     for the same reason.
                         (beat)
                     We pissed off the cops.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   61.
          
          
          Christine sits back heavily, starting to understand the world
          more than she ever wanted to.
          
                                CAROL DEXTER
                     What, you thought you were the only
                     one?
                          (points os)
                     The lady over there was married to
                     a cop who kept beating her up.
                     When she tried to tell somebody,
                     they sent her here. And that one?
                     The police beat the crap out of her
                     brother, broke both his arms. When
                     she complained to the papers, they
                     picked her up and...
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     What about you?
          
                               CAROL DEXTER
                     I...work nights.
                         (Chris doesn't get it)
                     I mean, I work nights. Downtown.
                     In some of the clubs. You know.
          
          It gets through.   Hooker.   Christine nods.
          
                               CAROL DEXTER
                     This one client started hitting me,
                     and he wouldn't stop. So I filed a
                     complaint. Turns out he was a cop.
                     Next thing I know, I'm here.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     But how can they --
          
                                CAROL DEXTER
                     You're kidding right? Hey, everybody
                     knows women are fragile, right?
                     They're all emotions, no logic,
                     nothin' goin' on upstairs. And
                     sometimes, like when they say
                     something that's a little, y'know,
                     inconvenient...they just go fucking
                     nuts, pardon my French. If we're
                     insane, nobody has to listen to us.
                     I mean, who are you going to believe,
                     some crazy woman trying to destroy
                     the integrity of the force, or a
                     police officer? Then once they get
                     us in here, we either learn to
                     behave, and shut up, or --
                         (beat)
                     Or you don't go home...or you go
                     home like that.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                       62.
          
          
          She nods to an older woman whose upper temples are marred by
          surgical scars. Lobotomized. Christine turns away.
          
                                CAROL DEXTER
                      Better finish up your oatmeal.
                      Want to look sane for the doctors.
                      Then I want to hear what they nailed
                      you for.
          
          Numb with horror, Christine forces down the oatmeal.
          
          INT. JUVENILE DETENTION HALL - DAY
          
          Sanford Clark sits near several other juveniles being held.
          Pensive, nervous, he watches a kid absently tapping a ruler
          against his knees.
          
          FEATURE the ruler.   Rising.   Falling.   Tapping.   Then back --
          
          -- on Sanford as we hear it continuing to tap OS.     PUSH IN ON
          his face. Then, suddenly --
          
          FLASHBACK
          
          -- on a HATCHET, rising and falling in tune with the ruler
          tapping. There's blood on the hatchet.
          
          Gordon Northcott's eyes glitter insanely as he brings the
          hatchet down again and just as it comes right AT US we flash --
          
          BACK TO SCENE
          
          As Sanford CRIES OUT with the memory. We PULL BACK to see
          the others in the room staring at him. He turns away, won't
          meet their gaze. Something's terribly wrong.
          
          Just then, an ADMINISTRATOR comes in.
                                ADMINISTRATOR
                      Clark...Sanford Clark.
          
          Sanford rises, goes to the Administrator.
          
                                ADMINISTRATOR
                      Paperwork's come through. You'll
                      be deported back to Canada day after
                      tomorrow. The police there will to
                      decide what to do with you next. I
                      hope your stay here has convinced
                      you not to try crossing the border
                      illegally in future.
          
          He starts to turn and walk away when:
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     63.
          
          
                               SANFORD
                     Wait, I...I want to talk to the
                     officer who brought me in.
          
                               ADMINISTRATOR
                     I'm sure he has far more important
                     things to do than --
          
                                SANFORD
                     Please.   It's important.
          
          The Administrator senses that he's sincere, and troubled.
          
                               ADMINISTRATOR
                     He's off-duty until tomorrow, but...
                     I'll see what I can do. No promises.
          
          And with that, the administrator heads away.
          
          EXT. COUNTRY ROAD - AFTERNOON
          
          Gordon Northcott is hitch-hiking by the side of the road. A
          truck approaches, passes him...then slows and stops. Gordon
          runs up to the truck as the DRIVER leans out.
          
                               DRIVER
                     How far you going?
          
                                  GORDON
                     Vancouver.
          
                                  DRIVER
                     Hop in.
          
          Gordon climbs into the truck and goes to shove his bag under
          the seat...when something metallic bangs underneath. He lifts
          out a short length of metal pipe.
                               DRIVER
                     Don't worry about that, pal. Just
                     a little insurance. A couple of
                     guys tried to hijack my truck a few
                     years ago so they could run booze
                     over the border. You can't be too
                     safe, you know?
          
                               GORDON
                     Yeah, I surely do.
          
          Gordon smiles, moves as if to hand the pipe back...and suddenly
          SLAMS it DOWN on the Driver's head...over and over and over.
          Blood splatters his face. Breathing hard, Gordon shoves the
          Driver out of the truck into the undergrowth then drives off.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                       64.
          
          
          INT. HOSPITAL - MENTAL WARD - HALLWAY - DAY
          
          Wearing a bandage on one arm, Christine is escorted down the
          hall by one of the nurses. She's led into --
          
          INT. HOSPITAL - STEELE'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS
          
          -- where DOCTOR JONATHAN STEELE stands as Christine enters.
          He's in his fifties, heavy-set, serious.
          
                               STEELE
                     Mrs. Collins...Dr. Jonathan Steele.
                     Please, have a seat.
          
          The nurse leaves. Christine notes that there are three chairs
          in a row. Could be a test. She sits in the middle chair.
          Sits as straight as she can. Trying to look sane.
          
                               STEELE
                     I hope your stay has been comfortable
                     so far.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     Fine.   Thank you.
          
                               STEELE
                     Really? I'd think it would be quite
                     difficult at first.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                         (catching herself)
                     Well, it was. Difficult, I mean.
                     But comfortable.
          
          He makes a note of this. She grimaces. This isn't going
          well. He motions to the bandage on her arm.
          
                               STEELE
                     I see they took a blood test.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Wasserman Test. To check for
                     syphilis. Apparently it can affect
                     the mind.
          
                               STEELE
                     The idea that someone thinks you
                     should be checked for syphilis...did
                     that upset you?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     No. Not at all. I'm sure it's...
                     standard procedure.
          
          She smiles a forced smile.   Trying to appear level-headed.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                  65.
          
          
                               STEELE
                     Yes. Exactly. Standard procedure.
                     We have to cover all bases, and --
          
                                CHRISTINE
                         (covering her bases)
                     But...at the same time...I imagine
                     that it would be...would probably
                     be upsetting to...some people that
                     someone else might...suspect that
                     of them.
                         (beat)
                     However inappropriate that might
                     be.
          
          She flashes another wan smile. He makes another note, picks
          up the report on his desk, glances it over.
          
                               STEELE
                     According to your file, you believe
                     the police have substituted a fake
                     boy for your son. Is that true?
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     I didn't say they substituted a fake
                     boy, just...not the right boy.
                         (beat)
                     They brought back the wrong boy.
                     Not my son. He's still missing.
          
          He starts pulling out papers from his file.
          
                               STEELE
                     That's strange...you see, I have
                     here a newspaper article with a
                     photo of you at the train station,
                     welcoming your son home. That is
                     you in the photo, isn't it?
                               CHRISTINE
                     Yes.
          
                                STEELE
                     So at first he was your son, but
                     now he's not your son.
                         (beat)
                     Has this been going on for a long
                     time? People...changing, becoming
                     something other than what they are?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     People don't change, doctor.
          
                               STEELE
                     You don't think people change?
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     66.
          
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     That's not what I --
          
                               STEELE
                     And the police...they're not out to
                     persecute you?
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                     No.    Of course not.
          
                               STEELE
                     The police are here to protect us.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     That's right.
          
          He nods. She's trying to say what she thinks he wants to
          hear. It's a chess match that ends with:
          
                                STEELE
                     That's odd, because according to
                     the head nurse, when you were
                     admitted you accused the police of
                     conspiring to do this deliberately,
                     to punish you. So either she and
                     the interns are also conspiring
                     against you...or you're changing
                     your story.
                         (beat)
                     Do you often have trouble telling
                     reality from fantasy, Mrs. Collins?
          
          He sits back.    Christine's face tells the story.
          
          INT. JUVENILE DETENTION HALL - DAY
          
          It's raining.    The Administrator enters with Detective Ybarra.
                               ADMINISTRATOR
                     I'm sorry to bring you out in this
                     weather, detective, but the boy has
                     been quite insistent.
          
                               YBARRA
                     It's all right, I'll just see what
                     he has to say so I can go home and
                     get dry. Where is he?
          
                               ADMINISTRATOR
                     Room seven.
          
          INT. INTERROGATION ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
          
          A single table, two chairs. Sanford sits quietly, nervously,
          as Ybarra hangs his wet coat up on a hook.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   67.
          
          
                               YBARRA
                     It's raining cats, dogs and democrats
                     out there, so this better be worth
                     it.
          
          He sits across the table from Sanford, lights up a cigarette.
          Sanford's mouth works for a moment, but nothing comes out.
          
                                YBARRA
                     Well?
          
                               SANFORD
                     Look, I -- this isn't easy, okay?
          
                               YBARRA
                     Nothing is.
          
          A long BEAT.   Sanford composes himself, begins:
          
                               SANFORD
                     My cousin's Gordon Northcott. He
                     owns the ranch where you found me.
                     He let me live there in exchange
                     for watching the place when he was
                     gone, doing chores, stuff like that.
                     Said I could stay on as long as I
                     wanted to. I figured that also
                     meant I could leave whenever I wanted
                     to, but he wouldn't let me.
          
                               YBARRA
                     Are you saying he held you prisoner?
                         (sanford nods)
                     Bull. When I got to the ranch you
                     were running around free as a
                     jaybird. Could've left any time
                     you wanted. So what's this, some
                     kind of story to cover why you were
                     in the country illegally?
          
                               SANFORD
                     No...no, it's nothing like that.
          
                               YBARRA
                     Because I don't have time for --
          
                               SANFORD
                     Listen to me, please.    He said --
          
                                YBARRA
                     What?   What did he --
          
                               SANFORD
                     He said that if I tried to leave,
                     he'd kill me!
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                        68.
          
          
                               SANFORD (Cont'd)
                     You don't understand, you don't
                     know what he's like, what he...what
                     we did...what he made me do.
          
          Sanford is in tears by now. Ybarra realizes that there's
          something real going on here, and backs off.
          
                               YBARRA
                     Okay, lets start at the beginning.
                     What did he make you do?
          
          Sanford closes his eyes.    Takes a long beat.   Finally....
          
                               SANFORD
                     Him and me...me and Gordon, we...
                         (beat, softly)
                     ...we killed some kids.
          
          Ybarra freezes, the cigarette not moving in his hand.
          
                               SANFORD
                     I didn't mean to, I swear...he made
                     me help him, said if I didn't he'd
                     kill me, too. Please, you gotta
                     help me...I'm scared...I don't want
                     to go to Hell for killing kids.
          
                                  YBARRA
                     What kids?
          
                               SANFORD
                     I don't know...I never knew their
                     names.
          
                               YBARRA
                     How many kids?
                               SANFORD
                     All together?
          
          He thinks about it for a moment. The fact that he has to add
          them all up is almost as chilling as what follows next.
          
                               SANFORD
                     About...twenty, I guess.
          
                               YBARRA
                     You're lying.
          
                               SANFORD
                     No, it's true, I swear!
          
                               YBARRA
                     Twenty kids.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    69.
          
          
                               SANFORD
                     Yeah...thereabouts...I kinda stopped
                     counting after a while, and Gordon
                     said one or two might've gotten
                     away, but --
          
                               YBARRA
                     Nobody can just up and kill twenty
                     kids --
          
                               SANFORD
                     We did...yeah, we did that....
          
                               YBARRA
                     How?
          
          Sanford looks off, pauses, then, softly and slowly....
          
                               SANFORD
                     Most times we'd bring back just one
                     or two...sometimes as many as three.
          
          EXT. NORTHCOTT RANCH - FLASHBACK - DAY
          
          Gordon is at his truck, the same one we saw earlier, checking
          the engine as Sanford looks on nervously.
          
                               SANFORD (V.O.)
                     I always knew when he was getting
                     ready 'cause he'd go through the
                     car and clean it up, make sure the
                     tires were good, the engine...he
                     was always afraid something'd break
                     down and we'd be caught.
          
          Gordon slams the hood shut, looks to Sanford.    Smiles.
          
                               GORDON
                     Time to go.
          
          EXT. STREET - DAY
          
          A kid is walking down the street, playing idly, by himself,
          as the truck starts to approach from behind.
          
                               SANFORD (V.O.)
                     We'd go a different direction every
                     time, never hit the same part of
                     town twice. Sometimes we'd go for
                     hours, just driving around, until
                     we found somebody.
          
          The truck comes beside the kid and Gordon leans out the window.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   70.
          
          
                               SANFORD (V.O.)
                     He'd use all kinds of different
                     stories. Sometimes he'd say he had
                     free tickets for the circus, or he
                     was looking for a lost dog...that
                     one worked real good. Other days --
          
                               GORDON
                     There you are, we've been looking
                     for you like mad.
          
          FLASH-IMAGE: to a different kid, a different street.
          
                                  KID
                     You have?
          
                               GORDON
                     Sure thing. Your folks, they got
                     in an accident. They sent us to
                     find you. They're hurt real bad.
                     The police took 'em to the hospital,
                     but they didn't have time to come
                     find you, so we said we'd do it.
                     Now come on, hurry...we gotta get
                     to the hospital, see your folks.
          
          FLASH-IMAGE: Yet another kid, who hesitates, looks to Sanford.
          
                                SANFORD (V.O.)
                     A lot of kids won't get in a car
                     alone with a stranger, but when
                     he's got a kid there with him, that
                     made it easier.
                         (beat)
                     They'd look to me, and figure if I
                     was safe, they would be too. That's
                     why he needed me, see?
                                  SANFORD
                     It's okay.     Come on in.
          
          FLASH-IMAGE: Back to the first kid, who takes one last BEAT,
          then gets into the car.
          
                               SANFORD (V.O.)
                     Every time they got in the truck,
                     it was like I wanted to die.
          
                               GORDON
                     Good boy! Now hold on, it's a long
                     drive and we gotta fly.
          
          And the truck heads off.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    71.
          
          
                               SANFORD (V.O.)
                     Then, as soon as we got back to the
                     ranch...they went in the coop.
          
          EXT. NORTHCOTT RANCH - CHICKEN COOP - NIGHT
          
          The boy, crying, is tossed into the chicken coop.   There are
          two other boys there, also crying and screaming.
          
                                SANFORD (V.O.)
                     Some days he'd do 'em right off.
                     Other days, he'd wait, pick up a
                     few more, keep 'em in the coop until
                     he had like four or five, 'cause --
                         (beat)
                     -- 'cause he liked to hear 'em scream
                     all at once. Like they were some
                     kinda chorus. And then....
          
          QUICK IMAGES
          
          Gordon, eyes insane with blood lust, stumbles toward the coop.
          
                               SANFORD (V.O.)
                     ...and then....
          
          The kids, screaming.
          
          Sanford looking on, afraid to move, the single overhead light
          in the coop swinging wildly.
          
          Gordon grabbing an ax.    Raising it.
          
          On Sanford's eyes, terrified.
          
          The ax begins to fall in SLOW MOTION and --
          
          BACK TO SCENE
          -- as the long ash at the end of Ybarra's cigarette, TUMBLES
          to the floor in SLOW MOTION, end over end, SHATTERING when it
          hits the floor and bringing us back to full speed.
          
                                SANFORD
                     Sometimes...sometimes he'd leave
                     one or two of 'em alive...barely
                     anyway...and tell me...finish 'em.
                     Finish 'em...or I'll finish you.
                         (beat)
                     And I did...I did...oh god...oh,
                     sweet Jesus...I killed 'em...I killed
                     'em...I killed 'em....
          
          Then: silence, except for Sanford's sobbing. Ybarra realizes
          he hasn't been breathing. He tries to find his voice.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     72.
          
          
                               YBARRA
                     These...uhm...these kids...do you
                     think...if you saw them again, do
                     you think you'd recognize them?
                         (sanford nods)
                     Just a second.
          
          He goes to his coat and pulls out a batch of photos of missing
          kids bound with a rubber band. Hands it to Sanford.
          
                                YBARRA
                     I haven't updated these in a while,
                     but still, it should be....
                         (beat)
                     Just go through...and if you see
                     any faces you recognize, put it on
                     the table.
          
          Sanford takes the photos.   Starts going through them.
          
          A photo, a face, goes down on the table. Then another. A
          third. With each photo slapped down the SLAP gets louder,
          BOOMING at us. Another photo. Another. Row after row.
          He's crying, sobbing, but still putting down photos.
          
          Then he SLAMS down the last one and   half-falls, half-stumbles
          out of his chair, sobbing...goes to   the corner of the room
          and slides down the wall until he's   sitting in a fetal
          position, hands covering his face.    Sobbing uncontrollably.
          
          Numb, Ybarra goes to the table, picks up a photo. Looks at
          it. Turns it over to the name, then picks up another. Then
          a third. When he picks up the fourth photo and turns it over,
          he stops, staring at it.
          
                               YBARRA
                     ...shit....
          The name on the back of the photo is WALTER COLLINS.
          
                               JONES (V.O.)
                     He's lying.
          
          INT. JONES' OFFICE - DAY
          
          Jones is on the phone, pissed and getting more pissed by the
          moment. INTERCUT between Jones and Ybarra in juvenile hall
          during the conversation.
          
                               JONES
                     Have you gone soft in the head,
                     Les?
          
                                 YBARRA
                     Sir, I --
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      73.
          
          
                               JONES
                     He's playing you! He knows he's in
                     trouble, so he's come up with some
                     cock and bull story about how he
                     was forced to stay in the country --
          
                               YBARRA
                     With all due respect, sir, I don't
                     think so. You didn't see him, the
                     kid's scared half out of his mind --
          
                                JONES
                     He picked the Collins kid! We found
                     him, remember? Haven't you been
                     reading the papers?
                         (beat)
                     Or maybe you have, is that it?
          
          He backhands a newspaper on his desk, headlined DISTRAUGHT
          MOTHER CLAIMS POLICE RETURNED WRONG CHILD.
          
                               YBARRA
                     Sir, if you'd just listen --
          
          Just then a secretary sticks her head in the doorway.
          
                               SECRETARY
                     I'm sorry, captain, but he's here
                     again...that reverend, Briegleb.
                     He's asking about Christine Collins.
          
                                JONES
                     Tell the sonofabitch to get the
                     hell off police property before I
                     have him arrested for disturbing
                     the peace.
          
                               SECRETARY
                     I tried. He said he's not leaving...
                     him, or his friends.
          
          There's a disturbance off-screen and she goes to deal with it
          as Jones gets further wound up to ninety.
          
                               JONES
                     What the hell...?
          
          He's drawn to the window by the sound of voices. He peeks
          through the slats. Several dozen placard-carrying parishioners
          and members of the Women's Temperance League are standing in
          the street, beating drums and calling Christine's name.
          
                               JONES
                     Jesus jumped down....
          
          He realizes he's still on the phone.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     74.
          
          
                               JONES
                     Ybarra? Listen. You're not to do
                     anything except come back here.
          
                               YBARRA
                     Sir, department policy requires
                     that all allegations of homicide
                     have to be investigated. And these
                     are kids, for chrissakes --
          
                               JONES
                     Departmental policy is what I say
                     it is, you got that? Now I'm
                     ordering you to get your ass back
                     here with that kid, you got that?
                     You bring him here and you talk to
                     no one, got it? Nobody!
          
          He slams the phone down.   CUT BACK TO --
          
          -- Ybarra in juvenile hall, agonizing over this. Finally,
          his voice resigned, he looks into the interrogation room.
          
                               YBARRA
                     All right, let's go.
          
          INT. POLICE STATION - HALLWAY - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Jones has come out into the hall, where Briegleb, several
          supporters and a handful of reporters are standing at the
          receiving officer's desk. They approach quickly.
          
                               BRIEGLEB
                     Are you Captain Jones?
          
                                JONES
                     I am.
                               BRIEGLEB
                     What the hell have you done with
                     Christine Collins? Don't try and
                     lie your way out of it. I talked
                     to several neighbors who saw her
                     being driven off in a police car.
          
                                JONES
                     Mrs. Collins has been placed in
                     protective custody following a mental
                     breakdown.
          
                                BRIEGLEB
                     A what?!
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      75.
          
          
                               JONES
                     Her statements and behavior have
                     been found to be consistent with a
                     delusional state of mind that could
                     make her a danger to herself or
                     others. In the public interest, we
                     are looking after her son while she
                     gets the help she clearly needs.
          
                                 BRIEGLEB
                     Where?
          
                               JONES
                     Sorry, we're withholding that
                     information to respect the privacy
                     of the family. But I can assure
                     you that she's getting the best
                     treatment available. That's all.
          
          He heads back the way he came as the others shout questions
          after him, held back by other police officers.
          
          INT. HOSPITAL - MENTAL WARD - DAY ROOM - AFTERNOON
          
          Patients are being corralled into a line that extends to a
          barred window where a nurse is dispensing pills.
          
                               VOICE ON PA
                     Line-up for medication.    Line up
                     for medication....
          
          Christine is nudged forward by an orderly, Carol beside her.
          
                                ORDERLY
                     Go on.   Move up.
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                     What for?
                               ORDERLY
                     Medication.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     What kind of medication?
          
                                ORDERLY
                     The kind that's good for you.    Help
                     you relax.
          
          She's nudged to the window, where a nurse hands out a pill
          and water.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I don't want to relax...I'm fine,
                     and I won't take something unless I
                     know what it is!
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      76.
          
          
                                  NURSE
                     Orderly --
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Just listen --
          
                               NURSE
                     -- we can force-feed it to you if
                     that's what you want.
          
          Christine sees Dr. Steele, breaks away and rushes to him.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Doctor...Doctor Steele --
          
                                  STEELE
                     I heard.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I don't know what's going on, but
                     I'm not taking anything until --
          
                               STEELE
                     I understand. Come with me.
          
          He moves off into an adjoining room. Carol Dexter, next in
          line, takes her pill...but keeps an eye on Christine.
          
          INT. HOSPITAL - STEELE'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS
          
          He goes to his desk as she stands in the doorway.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I don't have anything wrong with me
                     that I should have to take
                     medication.
          
                               STEELE
                     There's nothing wrong with you.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     That's right.
          
                               STEELE
                     You're fine.
          
                                  CHRISTINE
                     Yes.
          
          He pulls a typed letter out of his desk, slides it across.
          
                               STEELE
                     Then you shouldn't have any trouble
                     signing this.
          
          She picks it up, reads as he continues:
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                            77.
          
          
                               STEELE
                     By signing, you certify that you
                     were wrong when you stated the boy
                     returned by the police was not your
                     son. It further stipulates that
                     the police acted properly in sending
                     you here for observation and absolves
                     them of all responsibility for --
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I won't sign it.
          
                                STEELE
                     Then your condition is not improved.
                         (beat)
                     Sign it, and you can be out of here
                     first thing tomorrow.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I won't sign it!
          
          She tears up the sheet of paper.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I was not wrong! That boy is not
                     my son! And I am not going to stop
                     telling the truth about this! And
                     you're not going to stop me, and
                     the police aren't going to stop me --
          
                               STEELE
                     Mrs. Collins, you're becoming
                     agitated.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     -- I will tear down the walls of
                     this place with my bare hands if I
                     have to, but one way or another --
                                STEELE
                     Orderly!
          
          An orderly appears in the doorway.
          
                               STEELE
                     The patient is disturbed, hyperactive
                     and is threatening the staff. See
                     to it she is properly sedated.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     No!
          
          She BURSTS past the orderly, running into
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     78.
          
          
          INT. HOSPITAL - MENTAL WARD - HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS
          
          running, pursued by orderlies, two more blocking her way.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     No, I won't let you!     Someone,
                     please, help me!
          
          They TACKLE her and bring her down. She struggles as the
          others look on, and you can see in their eyes that they don't
          like what they're seeing, there's rage --
          
          -- and a furious Carol Dexter comes to her aid. She JUMPS
          into the struggle. Biting. Kicking. Scratching.
          
          Steele comes on the run just as the orderlies peel Carol off
          the fight, spinning her around to face Steele, who SLAPS her.
          
                               STEELE
                     Stay out of this! This is none of
                     your business!
                         (to the rest)
                     This is police business! You'll
                     stay out of it if you know what's
                     good for you!
          
          He looks to Carol, Christine restrained behind them.
          
                               STEELE
                     You'd think you had enough trouble
                     with the law just being a whore,
                     wouldn't you?
          
          He smiles. She gets a hand free and SLUGS him, hard, a nail
          slicing his cheek. He touches his face. It comes back with
          blood. Then he looks to the orderly.
          
                               STEELE
                     Attacking a staff member. Room
                     eighteen. Electro-convulsive
                     therapy.
          
          The orderly hauls Carol off, kicking and screaming, as
          Christine is moved toward the nurse's station.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     Carol!   No, leave her alone!    What're
                     you --
          
          They force a pill in her mouth, following with water as they
          hold her nose, forcing her to swallow. She chokes, swallows.
          They march her down the hall as Steele returns to his office.
          
                                  CHRISTINE
                     Carol....!
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   79.
          
          
          INT. ROOM EIGHTEEN - CONTINUOUS
          
          The electro-shock room. Carol struggles against the orderlies
          who force her down onto the gurney. A nurse behind her applies
          conductor jelly to her temples as another orderly shoves a
          rubber bite-guard into her mouth.
          
          Then a pair of metal pincers, points covered in cloth, are
          pressed against her temples. A button is pushed...and her
          body goes RIGID as a jolt of electricity blasts through her
          body. (This was, remember, fairly common practice for violent
          behavior in the 1920s.)
          
          Then she passes out, her eyes rolling up in her head.
          
          INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Christine is peering out the narrow slot in her door as she
          sees Carol being wheeled down the hall and put into her bed.
          Christine, sobbing, collapses slowly to the floor, caught in
          a nightmare and unable to wake up.
          
                                                    DISSOLVE TO:
          
          INT. POLICE STATION - DAY
          
          Detective Ybarra is sitting at his desk, not happy about a
          lot of his life at this moment. He's turning over the photos
          of the missing kids identified by Sanford Clark and arranging
          them on his desk the way you might arrange cards, playing
          solitaire. He looks up --
          
          -- to see Sanford being led out of one of the holding areas,
          hands cuffed, clothes in his hands. Being transferred to a
          waiting bus. The two exchange a look. Ybarra looks away.
          Sanford continues toward the bus.
          
          Finally, in agony, Ybarra can't take it any more. He rises,
          goes to the officer standing by the door to the bus.
          
                               YBARRA
                     It's all right, I'll take it from
                     here.
          
                               OFFICER
                     But --
          
                               YBARRA
                     We need him for questioning.   Come
                     on....
          
          He leads Sanford away, then stops two passing officers.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      80.
          
          
                               YBARRA
                     You two...you've just been
                     requisitioned for backup. I'll
                     explain on the way.
          
          He hurries off.   The officers follow, not sure what's up.
          
          INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - EVENING
          
          Christine sits beside Carol's bed. She's awake but dazed.
          Christine dabs a wet cloth against her forehead.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     You shouldn't have done that.
          
                               CAROL DEXTER
                         (with difficulty)
                     Wanted...to. Felt...good.
          
          Carol takes her hand, holds it.
          
                                CAROL DEXTER
                     I lost...two babies...to back alley
                     doctors...no choice....
                         (beat)
                     Never had...the chance...to fight
                     for them. You do. Don't stop.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I won't...I won't.
          
                               CAROL DEXTER
                     Fuck them...and the horse...they
                     rode in on.
          
          Christine manages a thin smile, despite her tears.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     That's hardly appropriate language
                     for a lady, now is it?
          
                               CAROL DEXTER
                     Hell, yeah...there are times...that's
                     exactly the right thing to say.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     And when's that?
          
                               CAROL DEXTER
                     When you've got...nothing left to
                     lose.
          
          Christine touches her face, and we know she's heard this.
          
                                                     DISSOLVE TO:
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     81.
          
          
          EXT. NORTHCOTT RANCH - EVENING
          
          Two squad cars pull up to the ranch. Ybarra and the other
          officers get out, guns up, not knowing if Gordon is still
          there or not.
          
          SUPERIMPOSE: SEPTEMBER 12, 1928
          
          They move quickly through the area, checking the house.
          Everything's dark, silent. One officer runs into the house,
          there's a long pause...then he pokes his head out again.
          
                                  OFFICER
                     All clear.
          
          Ybarra goes back to the car, opens the door.   Sanford emerges.
          
                                  YBARRA
                     All right.     Show me.
          
          Sanford hesitates, then starts toward a nearby barn.
          
          INT. BARN - CONTINUOUS
          
          He slides the door open and walks to the far end. The dirt
          here is a strange white-yellow color. Ybarra follows, still
          keeping a wary eye out for trouble. He looks down at where
          Sanford has stopped. Several bags marked LYE are nearby.
          
                                YBARRA
                     This it?   You're sure?
          
          Sanford nods.   Ybarra edges toward a shovel, hands it to him.
          
                                  YBARRA
                     Dig.
                         (off sanford's look)
                     You put 'em in the ground, you can
                     take 'em out of the ground. Go on.
          
          Sanford takes the shovel and starts cutting out sections of
          dirt and lye, dust rising around them. Ybarra watches,
          pensively, as the other officers edge their way in. He's
          looking the other way when one of the officers reacts:
          
                               OFFICER
                     Holy god....
          
          Ybarra glances back...to see a child's shoe being unearthed.
          And beside it...bones. And then...a skull.
          
                               YBARRA
                     Call it in...get the coroner and
                     every officer in a twenty mile radius
                     here inside the hour.
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      82.
          
          
                               YBARRA (Cont'd)
                     Then put out an APB on Gordon Stewart
                     Northcott, the info is in my car.
                     Go on....
          
          The officer races out of the barn as Ybarra looks to Sanford,
          who is still digging, crying as he goes.
          
                               YBARRA
                     You can stop now, son.
                         (he doesn't)
                     You can stop now. It's over. We
                     can take it from here. It's over.
          
          Sobbing, Sanford drops the shovel and collapses on the ground,
          hands covering his face, crying in great, heaving sobs.
          
                                                   DISSOLVE TO:
          
          INT. HOSPITAL - MENTAL WARD - HALLWAY - MORNING
          
          The patients are lined up outside their rooms for inspection.
          Steele passes down them in review. Stops in front of
          Christine, who looks exhausted, worn, pale, her eyes
          bloodshot...but still defiant. He glances to the orderlies.
          
                               STEELE
                     Privacy, please.
          
          The orderlies move all of the other patients away, except for
          Christine, who shares a glance with Carol. Several other
          orderlies remain. He glances at her chart in his hands.
          
                               STEELE
                     I see you've still been refusing
                     medication, requiring force-feeding.
                     I see they switched to a rubber
                     tube. I hear that can quite
                     uncomfortable.
          
          She doesn't answer. Her eyes never leave his.     He pulls
          another copy of the letter out of the folder.
          
                                STEELE
                     Six days, Mrs. Collins, and no
                     progress. We may have to go to
                     more...strenuous therapies.
                         (beat)
                     Unless you're willing to prove you're
                     doing better...by signing this.
          
          He holds it up in front of her. She focuses first on it,
          then on him...and finally, her spine where it needs to be
          even if the rest of her is in shambles, looks at him and says:
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    83.
          
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Fuck you....and the horse...you
                     rode in on.
          
          He nods, shrugs, puts the letter back in the folder.   Turns
          to the orderlies.
          
                               STEELE
                     Room eighteen.
          
          They GRAB her and start muscling her down the hall, Christine
          kicking and screaming as they go. Steele continues out to
          
          INT. HOSPITAL - RECEIVING AREA - MOMENTS LATER
          
          where he comes through the double-barred door just as Gustav
          Briegleb charges in the front door, carrying a newspaper.
          
                                BRIEGLEB
                     I WANT TO TALK TO SOMEBODY IN CHARGE!
                     RIGHT NOW!
          
                               NURSE
                     Sir, please --
          
                               BRIEGLEB
                     WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE!
          
          Steele approaches.
          
                               STEELE
                     I'm head doctor on duty.   What's
                     the problem?
          
                               BRIEGLEB
                     You the doctor who's got Christine
                     Collins locked up in here?
          Intercut with:
          
          INT. ROOM EIGHTEEN - CONTINUOUS
          
          They wheel Christine into the room, struggling, fighting
          against the straps that pin her to the gurney.
          
          INT. HOSPITAL - RECEIVING AREA - CONTINUOUS
          
          Steele turns away from Briegleb, unconcerned.
          
                               STEELE
                     Sorry, we don't discuss our cases
                     with anyone other than family --
          
                               BRIEGLEB
                     You'll damned well discuss this one
                     with me!
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                       84.
          
          
                                STEELE
                     Sir --
          
          Briegleb THRUSTS the newspaper into Steele's hands.
          
                                BRIEGLEB
                     Read it!   Read it, damn you!
          
          Steele unfolds the paper, looks at the headline, which we
          don't see. His reaction, though, is ominous and serious.
          
          INT. ROOM EIGHTEEN - CONTINUOUS
          
          The nurse behind Christine applies the conductor jell to her
          temples. She's fighting the best she can, but it's hopeless.
          The nurse picks up the electro-shock pincers. Places them on
          Christine's temples. Reaches for the button --
          
          -- as suddenly the door opens, and a nurse steps in, stopping
          the process. The nurse goes to the one at the controls,
          whispers in her ear. The nurse then says something quietly
          to the orderly, who starts to undo the straps that hold
          Christine to the gurney.
          
                               NURSE
                     The doctor wants to see you.
          
          They pull her up off the gurney.
          
          INT. HOSPITAL - STEELE'S OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Christine is ushered inside, where Steele is waiting.    He
          looks upset about something.
          
                               STEELE
                     Mrs. Collins.
          
          She forces herself to stand straight, not easy given what
          she's just been through. He approaches.
          
                               STEELE
                     One last time. Are you, or are you
                     not, prepared to sign that letter?
          
          She looks up into his face, her resolve unshaken, her voice
          dry but firm for:
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     No.
          
          He studies her for one last BEAT, then turns his back.
          
                               STEELE
                     You're free to go.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      85.
          
          
          Christine takes a moment to process this...not sure if she
          heard this right, or if it's a trick.
          
                                  CHRISTINE
                     ...what?
          
                               STEELE
                     Your clothes are in the next room.
                     You can change there.
          
          She hesitates a second, looks to the orderly, being careful
          in case this is a set-up.
          
                                  CHRISTINE
                     Next door.
          
                                STEELE
                     That's right.
                         (to the orderly)
                     See to it.
          
          The orderly nods. She takes one last look around, then gets
          the hell out of the room. Alone, Steele picks up the newspaper
          that had been laying face-down on his desk, looks at it, and
          shakes his head.
          
                                  STEELE
                     Christ....
          
          INT. HOSPITAL - MENTAL WARD - DAY ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Carol is there as Christine, now in her regular clothes, comes
          dashing in. Carol sees her, goes to her.
          
                               CAROL DEXTER
                     You're getting out?
          
                                  CHRISTINE
                     I am out.
          
                                  CAROL DEXTER
                     How --
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I don't know...but I couldn't go
                     without saying goodbye --
          
                               CAROL DEXTER
                     Christine, don't be stupid, get out
                     of here fast in case they change
                     their mind.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I will...but I want you to know:
                     once I have my boy back, I'm coming
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     86.
          
          
                               CHRISTINE (Cont'd)
                     back here...for you, and the others.
                     This is wrong, and we can stop it --
          
                               CAROL DEXTER
                     You are crazy.
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                     Watch me.
          
          They hug. Christine breaks the hug, and hurries away as Carol
          looks on, crying.
          
          INT. HOSPITAL - RECEIVING AREA - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Christine comes to the area where she was checked in. No one
          is looking at her. She passes the nurse's station and heads
          toward the door. Opens it. Fresh air comes in. Freedom.
          She steps out the front door as --
          
          -- a moment later, Briegleb passes through the hallway with
          an admissions official, having not seen her.
          
                               BRIEGLEB
                     You give me every piece of paper
                     you've got on this case, you hear
                     me? Every piece!
          
          The official moves on, nervous, as Briegleb looks to the
          receiving nurse.
          
                               BRIEGLEB
                     When does she come down?
          
          Before she can answer, we jump out to
          
          EXT. STREET - CONTINUOUS
          Where Christine walks among the sidewalk traffic. Free.
          Vindicated. She starts to pass a news-stand, where a NEWS
          VENDOR is calling out headlines, peddling papers.
          
                               NEWS VENDOR
                     Hurricane hits West Palm Beach!
                     Babe Ruth hits 53rd home run!
                     Kids found murdered in Riverside!
          
          The last line stops Christine...just a bad sense that grows
          as she turns to the news vendor, who keeps on going.
          
                                NEWS VENDOR
                     Biggest Crime in Los Angeles History!
                         (beat)
                     Collins Boy Assumed Dead on Ranch!
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   87.
          
          
          Christine's knees buckle as she hears this. She starts to go
          down as Briegleb runs toward her from the hospital.
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB
                     Mrs. Collins...Christine...!
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     No...god...no....
          
          And she collapses into his arms, sobbing uncontrollably, as
          passers-by glance over at her...and continue walking.
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB
                     I'm sorry...I didn't want you to
                     find out like this...I'm sorry...I'm
                     sorry....
          
          But they're just words.   She doesn't hear them.
          
          INT. POLICE STATION - HALLWAY - DAY
          
          Captain Jones is pacing nervously in the hallway for a long
          BEAT when another officer steps out of an office with a brass
          nameplate that reads CHIEF OF POLICE JAMES E DAVIS.
          
                               OFFICER
                     The chief will see you now.
          
          Jones straightens his tie and steps into
          
          INT. CHIEF DAVIS' OFFICE - CONTINUOUS
          
          lots of dark wood and filtered light. Davis is sitting at
          his desk, looking at a series of newspapers in front of him
          as Jones steps up and stands before the desk.
          
                               DAVIS
                     I don't know if you're aware of it,
                     Captain, but I have an exceptionally
                     good vocabulary. I'm a terror at
                     Scrabble, crossword puzzles, but
                     even I'm in awe of the vocabulary
                     that the press and the city council
                     have been exercising in reference
                     to this department courtesy of the
                     Christine Collins...incident.
                         (scans papers)
                     Incompetent. Cowardly. Bullying.
                     Reprehensible. Mendacious and
                     invidious...those two courtesy of
                     that prick Gustav Briegleb. Bonus
                     words in Scrabble, both of them.
                     Especially invidious. Hard to work
                     that one into a conversation. But
                     he managed it, all right.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   88.
          
          
                                 JONES
                     Sir, I --
          
                               DAVIS
                     The key, of course, is the context
                     in which words like this get used.
                     You have to do that in scrabble,
                     you know, when somebody challenges
                     a word...show how it's used in a
                     sentence. So "incompetent," as in --
                         (reads)
                     "A department so incompetent that
                     they never realized that up to twenty
                     children were being kidnapped and
                     murdered under their very noses."
                         (looks over)
                     And here: "So incompetent that they
                     insisted they knew better than a
                     mother the identity of her own child,
                     forced him upon her, and then
                     incarcerated her when she confronted
                     them with evidence of their own
                     reprehensible behavior." That was
                     a two-fer. Incompetent and
                     reprehensible in the same sentence.
                     Guy must be a real terror at
                     crossword puzzles.
          
          Davis gets up and crosses the room, looking out through the
          slatted windows at the busy Los Angeles street outside.
          
                                DAVIS
                     Captain, your handling of the Collins
                     case has exposed this department to
                     public ridicule. There is even the
                     potential for civil and criminal
                     liability.
                                JONES
                     Sir, nobody could have known what
                     was going on up at that ranch. Not
                     us, not the Sheriff's Department,
                     the Marshall's Office...as for the
                     Collins woman....
                         (beat)
                     I'm still not convinced that her
                     kid is among the victims up in
                     Wineville.
          
                                 DAVIS
                     No?
          
                                 JONES
                     No, sir.
                                 (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     89.
          
          
                               JONES (Cont'd)
                     There were four other photos of
                     missing boys that looked a lot like
                     him...this Clark kid could have
                     been mistaken.
          
                               DAVIS
                     Maybe he was...which raises the
                     obvious question: so what?
          
                                 JONES
                     Sir?
          
          Davis turns back to him from the window.
          
                                DAVIS
                     The Mayor wants this to go away. I
                     want this to go away. The way you
                     do that is to stop insisting that
                     Walter Collins was not among those
                     kids killed up at that goddamned
                     ranch. Because if the boy you
                     brought back isn't Walter Collins,
                     and he's not dead up at that ranch,
                     then where the hell is he? People
                     will want to know why we haven't
                     found him. Why we aren't we doing
                     our job.
                         (beat)
                     But if, on the other hand, he is,
                     or could be among those poor boys
                     killed up in Wineville...then the
                     inquiries stop. It's a momentary
                     embarrassment that you'll have to
                     live with...but better a short
                     inconvenience than a lingering
                     problem, wouldn't you say, Captain?
          Jones doesn't like it, but he swallows his pride.   Nods.
          
                                 JONES
                     Yes, sir.
          
                                DAVIS
                     The boy's been gone for nearly a
                     year. If he was going to be found,
                     it would've happened by now. Whether
                     he was up at that ranch or not, the
                     truth is he probably is dead
                     somewhere. Better his mother accepts
                     that now rather than later, don't
                     you think?
          
                                 JONES
                     Yes, sir.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   90.
          
          
                                 DAVIS
                     Good.    That'll be all, Captain.
          
          Jones starts to leave, then looks back as Davis settles back
          behind his desk.
          
                               JONES
                     Sir, there's talk of an investigation
                     by the police commission.
          
                               DAVIS
                     Let me worry about the commission.
                     But it wouldn't hurt to find out
                     just who the fuck that kid is you
                     brought back from De Kalb and why
                     he did this, because the press bought
                     into his bullshit same as we did.
                     That we were all taken in by the
                     scheming little bastard may help
                     take some of the sting off this.
          
                               JONES
                     My boys are working on it now, sir.
          
          And he exits as we go to
          
          INT. INTERROGATION ROOM - DAY
          
          Detective Ybarra is sitting on one side of a table, a notepad
          in front of him, staring across at "Walter," who isn't very
          happy right now, and is staring back with substantial venom.
          His true, nasty personality is free to come out at last.
          There's a long BEAT, then:
          
                               "WALTER"
                     I want a glass of water.
          
                                 YBARRA
                     Tough.
          
                               "WALTER"
                         (mocking)
                     "Tough!"
          
                               YBARRA
                     What's your name?
          
                               "WALTER"
                     Walter Collins.
          
                               YBARRA
                     Walter Collins is dead.
          
                               "WALTER"
                         (shrugs)
                     I didn't do it.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   91.
          
          
                               YBARRA
                     Look, let me explain something to
                     you. Because of your lies, you've
                     ruined a woman's life embarrassed
                     the police department, and got the
                     whole city up in arms over this.
          
          "Walter" considers this for a BEAT, then smiles.
          
                               "WALTER"
                     Got a lot done, didn't I?
          
          Ybarra exchanges a look with the matron, then closes up his
          notepad.
          
                               YBARRA
                     All right, if that's how you want
                     it, then I guess we're done here.
                         (to matron)
                     Tell County Jail we're remanding
                     him for trial.
          
                               "WALTER"
                     Wait...what's remanding?    What trial?
          
                               YBARRA
                     I told you, the real Walter Collins
                     was murdered.
          
                               "WALTER"
                     So? I didn't do anything! I wasn't
                     even here when it happened!
          
                                YBARRA
                     By pretending to be Walter Collins,
                     you're interfering in a police
                     investigation of a kidnapping and
                     murder. We can try you as an
                     accomplice to murder after the fact.
                         (beat)
                     Too bad. County Jail is a lot worse
                     than juvenile hall or a foster home.
                     A lot worse.
          
                               "WALTER"
                     You can't do that...I'm just a kid!
          
                               YBARRA
                     Sanford Clark is a kid, too.
                     Fifteen. But he's going to jail.
                     All murderers and their accomplices
                     go to jail. Everyone knows that.
                         (to the matron)
                     Get him out of here. It's out of
                     my hands now.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   92.
          
          
          He heads for the door when "Walter" cries out, scared.
          
                                "WALTER"
                     Wait!   I don't want to go to jail.
          
                                 YBARRA
                     Prove it.
          
          And on the boy's face, we HEAR:
          
                               YBARRA (V.O.)
                     Arthur Hutchins.
          
          INT. JONES' OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Ybarra is standing in the doorway to Jones' office, speaking
          to the Captain and looking at his notepad.
          
                               YBARRA
                     The boy's real name is Arthur
                     Hutchins Junior, age twelve, a
                     runaway from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
          
                               JONES
                     Did you check the wire services?
          
          Ybarra holds up a missing persons sheet.
          
                               YBARRA
                     Checks out. The report was filed
                     by his divorced mother, who lives
                     in Clinton, Iowa with the boy's
                     grandmother. Apparently he didn't
                     like living with the old lady, she
                     didn't let him get away with the
                     stuff he usually got away with, and
                     one day...he up and left.
                               JONES
                     What about the man he showed up
                     with at the diner?
          
                               YBARRA
                     Just some drifter. The boy was
                     hungry, ran into this guy who said
                     he knew how to get some food and
                     not have to pay for it. Only when
                     they finished, he left the kid behind
                     while he cut out. When the police
                     picked him up, they started going
                     through the wire reports about
                     missing kids --
          
                               JONES
                     And he overheard them say the name
                     Walter Collins.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    93.
          
          
                                 YBARRA
                     Bingo.
          
                               JONES
                     But why that one? I mean, of all
                     the police departments he could've
                     screwed up, why Los Angeles?
          
                               YBARRA
                     I asked him the same question.
          
          INT. INTERROGATION ROOM - FLASHBACK
          
          Moments earlier.    PUSHING IN on "Walter" for:
          
                                "WALTER"
                     I...I knew that Los Angeles was
                     where they made the Tom Mix movies.
                     I figured maybe I could meet Tom
                     Mix. Maybe he'd even let me ride
                     his horse.
                         (beat)
                     His horse is named Blue. Did you

                     know that?
          
                                                      DISSOLVE TO:
          
          INT. ST. PAUL'S CHURCH - RECTORY - DAY
          
          Christine is in a bed in a small room in the rectory, a tray
          beside her, still recovering from her experience. Briegleb
          enters and approaches a nearby chair.
          
                               BRIEGLEB
                     How are you feeling?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     A little better, thanks. The sleep
                     helped. Anything new outside?
          
                               BRIEGLEB
                     Nothing that can't wait until you're
                     stronger. The police still have a
                     car parked outside. They want to
                     know what your next move is.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I want to go home.
          
                                 BRIEGLEB
                     And then?
          
          She takes a BEAT, then slowly, gingerly gets out of bed.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   94.
          
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     I've been giving that a great deal
                     of thought ever since I got out of
                     that...place. All those women, and
                     what they did about Walter....
                         (beat)
                     They're going to just keep on doing
                     it, aren't they? Nothing's going
                     to change...unless we make it change.
          
          She glances out the window, to the police car parked across
          the street.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I used to tell Walter, "Never start
                     a fight...but always finish it." I
                     didn't start this fight...but by
                     god I'm going to finish it.
          
                                BRIEGLEB
                     It's dangerous, and you've already
                     been through a great deal, Mrs.
                     Collins. Right now you're
                     sufficiently high-profile that the
                     police will hesitate to come after
                     you out in the open...but if they
                     see their position threatened, that
                     could change quickly.
                         (beat)
                     Your life could be in danger.
          
          She takes a beat, then turns to him from the window.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     "Always finish it. Always."
          
          EXT. ROW HOUSE - VANCOUVER - EVENING
          A series of red-brick rowhouses line a quiet street. We see
          couples walking, hand in hand, kids playing...then we notice
          Gordon Northcott coming around the corner. He looks around,
          then cuts across a yard, jumping over a fence to get to
          
          INT. ROW HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - EVENING
          
          where RACHEL CLARK, 30s, is doing dishes as the doorbell rings.
          
                               RACHEL CLARK
                     Just a minute....
          
          She opens the door and finds Gordon Northcott standing outside.
          
                                GORDON
                     Hi, sis.
          
          There's a flicker of a pause...was she expecting him?
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    95.
          
          
                               RACHEL CLARK
                     Gordon...I didn't know you were
                     back in town.
          
                               GORDON
                     Got in a couple of days ago, figured
                     I'd surprise you. That okay?
          
                               RACHEL CLARK
                     Yes...yes, of course. Come on in.
          
          She steps aside as he enters, looks around.
          
                               GORDON
                     Where's that little niece of mine?
          
                               RACHEL CLARK
                     She...went into town. Should be
                     back this evening. Bob's here --
          
                               GORDON
                     Good. Need to talk to him about
                     staying on for a few days.
          
                                  RACHEL CLARK
                     Staying --
          
                               GORDON
                     Listen, can I use your bathroom?
                     It's been a long ride and I could
                     use a shower.
          
                                  RACHEL CLARK
                     Of course.
          
          He passes her and heads upstairs. She steps to the back of
          the house, where her husband, BOB, is coming in through the
          back, wiping engine grease off his hands with a towel.
                                BOB
                     Is that --
                         (she nods, scared)
                     Go next door. I'll call the police.
                     Hurry.
          
          She rushes past him into the other room to do just that.
          
          INT. ROWHOUSE - BATHROOM - LATER
          
          Gordon is toweling off his hair when he hears a car door slam
          shut. Then another. He peers out the window. Several Royal
          Canadian Mounted Police cars have pulled up along the street.
          Mounties are getting out, moving quietly toward the house.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     96.
          
          
          INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
          
          Bob quietly lets the Mounties in. They signal for Bob to get
          the hell out of there. Guns in hand, they climb the stairs.
          
          Suddenly there's the SOUND of breaking glass from above.
          They race up the stairs to find the window broken, and Gordon
          fleeing across an adjoining rooftop.
          
                               MOUNTIE
                     Go around the other side!    Cut him
                     off!
          
          The others take off as he and another Mountie climb through
          the broken window in pursuit of Northcott.
          
          EXT. ROWHOUSES - NIGHT
          
          Gordon races up one rooftop, over the top, then leaps to the
          next one as, below, Mounties race to keep up with him, WHISTLES
          blowing furiously. He looks behind him to see the other two
          Mounties running rooftop to rooftop, coming fast.
          
          Gordon runs faster, going at angles to put more distance
          between himself and the police on the ground...and making
          increasingly more difficult and dangerous leaps from rooftop
          to rooftop.
          
          He leaps across one chasm, barely makes it, keeps running.
          The rooftop Mounties follow. One of them makes the jump
          successfully, but the other falls short, plummeting to the
          ground three stories below. A leg snaps on impact. The first
          Mountie hesitates, looks down. The second one waves him on.
          
                                SECOND MOUNTIE
                     Go on!   Get the bastard!
          
          He nods and continues the chase.
          Gordon runs for all he's worth.    The Mountie keeps after him.
          
          Gordon makes another leap. The Mountie jumps...but he's short.
          He grabs onto a rain gutter. Gordon sees his situation, runs
          back, and STOMPS on the Mountie's hands, trying to get him to
          shake loose. The gutter starts to tear free --
          
          -- when a Mountie down below FIRES at Gordon, making him back
          off. The Mountie clinging to the gutter starts to fall, then
          grabs a nearby pipe and crawls up to the roof. Keeps coming.
          
          Gordon keeps running...but comes to a chasm too wide to be
          jumped. He hesitates, starts to cut back in another direction --
          
          -- when the Mountie TACKLES him hard. The two go down in a
          tangle of limbs, fighting, punching, kicking.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   97.
          
          
          They SLIDE down the steeply angled roof and barely avoid going
          over the edge.
          
          With nowhere else to run, Gordon fights for all he's got, the
          punches from both coming fast and furious. Finally, the
          Mountie backs off just a bit --
          
                               MOUNTIE
                     Screw this...I'm too old for this
                     fightin' shit....
          
          -- and DIVES at Gordon, taking them both off the edge of the
          two-story roof and DOWN into --
          
          -- a garden below, CRASHING through carefully manicured flowers
          and trees to land with a THUD, the Mountie's impact cushioned
          by Gordon.
          
          As the other Mounties come on the run, the first one staggers
          to his feet and yanks up a bruised, bleeding but otherwise
          intact Gordon. Looks at him nose-to-nose.
          
                               MOUNTIE
                     YOU...ARE UNDER...ARREST!
          
          And he YANKS Gordon toward the other waiting officers.
          
          INT. CHRISTINE'S HOUSE - DAY
          
          Christine opens the door to find Reverend Briegleb and another
          man on her porch, S. S. HAHN, late fifties.
          
                               BRIEGLEB
                     Mrs. Collins, I want you to meet a
                     friend of mine, Mr. Hahn.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Hello.
                               HAHN
                     Mrs. Collins. My deepest condolences
                     on your loss.
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB
                     Can we come in?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Yes...of course.
          
          She steps aside to let them in, closing the door under:
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Mr. Hahn, was it?
          
                               HAHN
                     Yes.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                          98.
          
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I appreciate the sentiment, but so
                     far they still haven't positively
                     identified any of the...remains...
                     as Walter's.
          
                               HAHN
                     But he was identified, was he not?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Yes, but...I guess I still can't
                     accept it. It doesn't feel real to
                     me.
          
                               HAHN
                     It never does. I lost a daughter
                     to polio five years ago. There's
                     not a day goes by I don't think, I
                     should mention this to Claudine...
                     then I remember she's not here.
          
                                  CHRISTINE
                     I'm sorry.     Please, sit.
          
          They do as Christine looks to Briegleb.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     I've been on the phone all day with
                     the appointment secretary for the
                     police commission. They won't let
                     me testify at the hearing, or call
                     witnesses. They say it's not
                     necessary.
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB
                     I know. My sources tell me the
                     police commission is going to come
                     out with a report that whitewashes
                     the whole thing. They're going to
                     say that Jones and the rest of the
                     LAPD did absolutely nothing wrong,
                     that the real blame is with the
                     kid...and with you, for being
                     difficult and forcing them to put
                     you away for your own safety.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Then we'll just have to hire a
                     lawyer...bring a civil suit and try
                     to get the City Council to call for
                     a hearing by the Welfare Board.
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB
                     Jut one problem.
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    99.
          
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB (Cont'd)
                     Not one lawyer outside this room
                     was willing to take on the Police
                     Department. Too risky, they said.
                     So finally I went to the very best
                     attorney in town, a man who's sued
                     the city four times and won.
                     Unfortunately, we could never afford
                     to hire him.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                         (crestfallen)
                     I see....
          
                               HAHN
                     Which is why I'm doing this pro
                     bono.
                         (a smile)
                     It would be my honor to defend your
                     honor, Mrs. Collins. In my fifteen
                     years as a lawyer, I have never
                     seen anyone fight as long or as
                     hard as you have, in what is so
                     clearly in the cause of justice.
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB
                     Now I want you to tell Mr. Hahn
                     here the whole story, from end to
                     end, leave nothing out, he'll need
                     it all if he's going to get the
                     City Council involved.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Of course. One thing, though. A
                     personal favor. When we've finished
                     here today, could you spare a few
                     minutes to come with me downtown.
                                  HAHN
                     Of course.     Where downtown?
          
          INT. LA COUNTY GENERAL HOSPITAL - MENTAL WARD - DAY
          
          Hahn marches into the receiving area with Christine Collins
          and Briegleb. He goes to the receiving nurse.
          
                                NURSE
                     Yes?   May I --
          
          She sees Christine Collins and the sentence dies midway.
          Hahn pulls out a handful of papers.
          
                               HAHN
                     My name is S. S.
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                  100.
          
          
                               HAHN (Cont'd)
                     Hahn, and I have a court order for
                     the immediate release of all women
                     being detained in this institution
                     under the designation Code Twelve
                     pending a formal inquiry into the
                     reasons for their detainment.
          
                               NURSE
                     I'm sorry, but the doctor in charge
                     won't be in until tomorrow morning
                     and --
          
                               HAHN
                     Let me be clearer. Either you open
                     those doors and produce the people
                     named in that court order, or you
                     will find yourself on the other
                     side of those bars...without a key.
          
          The nurse exchanges a sour look with Christine and heads off.
          
          EXT. HOSPITAL - DAY
          
          One by one, the Code Twelve patients are brought out of the
          hospital and into the light. One of the last to emerge is
          Carol Dexter, who blinks against the light, and sees Christine.
          She runs to her, embraces her, sobbing.
          
                               CAROL DEXTER
                     I knew you'd come...I knew you'd
                     come back...I knew you'd come....
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     It's all right...everything's going
                     to be all right now....
          
          And in Christine's face, we see a flicker of pride and one
          simple truth: if she could not save her son, she could at
          least save these women. As they move toward her, Hahn and
          Briegleb, we HEAR a TRAIN WHISTLE that segues us into
          
          EXT. UNION STATION - TRAIN PLATFORM - DAY
          
          Gordon Northcott, handcuffed, is led out of a train by several
          officers. The waiting PRESS rush toward him. He seems to
          enjoy the attention. Among the shouted questions we hear:
          
                               REPORTER
                     Mr. Northcott, any comment on your
                     arrest?
          
                               GORDON
                     I'm feeling fine.
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   101.
          
          
                                GORDON (Cont'd)
                     I've been on a little vacation, as
                     some of you know. It was a pleasant
                     vacation, and the police have
                     certainly provided me with a lot of
                     amusement.
          
                               REPORTER
                     How did you avoid capture?
          
                               GORDON
                     Well, I didn't, did I? Didn't know
                     anyone wanted me until just recently.
                     Didn't even try. My luggage still
                     has my initials on it.
          
                                ANOTHER REPORTER
                     Did you know why the police were
                     after you?
          
                               GORDON
                     No, but I figured it would be best
                     if I stayed out of it.
          
                               REPORTER
                     Anything to say to the parents of
                     the children you murdered?
          
                               GORDON
                     No comment.
          
          And on that the police hustle Gordon away.
          
          INT. CHIEF DAVIS' OFFICE - DAY
          
          Davis is filling out paperwork as the door opens. He looks
          up as LOS ANGELES MAYOR GEORGE CRYER enters, closing the door
          after him again.
                               DAVIS
                     Mayor Cryer...this is unexpected.
          
                               CRYER
                     So was this.
          
          He drops a series of court documents on Davis' desk.   He picks
          them up, examines them.
          
                               CRYER
                     Subpoenas, requests for depositions,
                     interrogatories...all courtesy of
                     Mr. Hahn and his new client,
                     Christine Collins.
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                            102.
          
          
                                CRYER (Cont'd)
                     You don't have to look them over
                     too closely, Chief, your own copies
                     should be arriving any time now.
                         (beat)
                     The City Council has also agreed to
                     look into this, starting immediately.
          
                               DAVIS
                     Goddamnit....
          
                               CRYER
                     I thought this was supposed to go
                     away. This is an election year, I
                     can't afford this kind of press.
          
                               DAVIS
                     It is going away, sir.   I instructed
                     Captain Jones --
          
                                CRYER
                     I'm afraid falling on his sword and
                     saying he made a mistake isn't going
                     to be good enough, Chief. If we
                     take him out of the picture for a
                     while, it might help calm things
                     down until the hearing's finished.
                         (beat)
                     There are several people on the
                     council who are planning to run
                     against me, and they'd love to accuse
                     me of allowing a renegade police
                     force to operate with impunity.
          
          Cryer shakes his head, walks off a pace.
          
                                CRYER
                     Our friends in the press are having
                     a field day with this mess. I'm
                     getting five hundred phone calls,
                     letters and telegrams a day demanding
                     to know what the hell is going on
                     at City Hall that we allow our police
                     force to brutalize women and misplace
                     children. Christ, all this picture
                     needs now is for somebody to kick a
                     puppy for the cameras.
                         (beat)
                     This is a train, Chief, and we need
                     to either get in front of it, or be
                     run over by it.
          
                               DAVIS
                     Mayor Cryer...I stand by my men.
                     You know that.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                  103.
          
          
                               CRYER
                     I do. And you know where I stand.
                     So the question is..are we going to
                     stand together...or hang together?
          
          He lets the question sit as we go to
          
          EXT. CITY HALL - DAY
          
          Mayor Cryer stands beside Chief Davis and addresses a rather
          noisy and worked-up press corps from behind a podium.
          
                               MAYOR CRYER
                     Gentlemen...gentlemen, please. As
                     Mayor of Los Angeles, it is my duty
                     to preserve the peace in our city,
                     which has been disrupted by recent
                     events in the case of Christine
                     Collins. As a result, we have
                     decided that Captain J. J. Jones of
                     the Lincoln Heights Division is to
                     be suspended from active duty,
                     effective immediately.
          
                               REPORTER
                     What's the charge, Chief?
          
                               CHIEF DAVIS
                     The charge is conduct unbecoming an
                     officer, and using improper and
                     abusive language toward Mrs. Collins.
                     It further charges that he exceeded
                     his authority as a police officer
                     by incarcerating Mrs. Collins on
                     the alleged charge of insanity
                     without sufficient cause.
          
                               REPORTER
                     Mayor Cryer, are you aware that the
                     City Council has said it plans to
                     open its own investigation into the
                     Collins case?
          
                               MAYOR CRYER
                     I've heard this, yes. But since
                     one of the main purposes of such a
                     hearing by the City Council would
                     be to suspend Captain Jones, and
                     since that action has now been taken,
                     the question is moot.
          
                               REPORTER
                     Which makes it look like the only
                     reason Jones is being suspended is
                     to head off the City Council
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    104.
          
          
                               REPORTER (Cont'd)
                     investigation. Are you concerned
                     that an outside investigation might
                     go uncomfortably high up the food
                     chain?
          
                               CHIEF DAVIS
                     I won't even dignify that question
                     with a response. Good day.
          
          The two head back into
          
          INT. CITY HALL - HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS
          
          Glancing back over their shoulders at the press outside.
          
                               CRYER
                     Cheer up, Chief. That little show
                     should take the wind out of their
                     sails. By Monday, this issue will
                     be as cold as yesterday's fish.
                     Never underestimate the public's
                     lack of attention and potential for
                     apathy. Old news is dead news,
                     you'll see.
          
                                                   DISSOLVE TO:
          
          INT. CHRISTINE'S HOUSE - NIGHT
          
          She opens the door as Briegleb enters with three really large,
          dangerous looking men, one of whom is carrying a heavy trench
          coat.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Reverend, what --
          
                               BRIEGLEB
                     Sorry to barge in so late, Mrs.
                     Collins, but it took me a while to
                     find the right people for the right
                     job. These three gentlemen are
                     members of my congregation who,
                     before coming to the Lord, had lived
                     lives of brutality, vice and crime.
                     Now they are pledged to doing god's
                     work...and if this isn't it, I don't
                     know what is.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I don't understand.
          
                               BRIEGLEB
                     People who bring charges against
                     the police have a habit of
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     105.
          
          
                               BRIEGLEB (Cont'd)
                     disappearing right before the trial.
                     I'm a big believer in the power of
                     prayer, Mrs. Collins...but a little
                     backup from time to time never hurts.
          
          The others nod as they make themselves comfortable in the
          living room.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I see...well, I...thank you.   Can I
                     get you anything?
          
                               BRIEGLEB
                     Since we don't plan on sleeping,
                     coffee would be lovely.
          
          She heads off to get some coffee. As one of the men puts his
          coat behind the sofa, we see that it contains a sawed-off
          shotgun. Briegleb looks out the window, to where a police
          car sits, watching the house.
          
                                                    DISSOLVE TO:
          
          INT. CHRISTINE'S HOUSE - MORNING
          
          She's dressed in her best dress, putting on a hat and a pair
          of gloves. Her hands are shaking. She squeezes them together,
          closes her eyes. Focuses. With one final, deep breath, she
          heads out.
          
          EXT. COLLINS HOME - MORNING
          
          The same police car is there as Christine gets into a car
          with Briegleb and the two drive off. The other three men get
          into another car and follow. The police car in turn pulls
          away from the curb, following both cars.
          EXT. DOWNTOWN STREET - BRIEGLEB'S CAR - MOMENTS LATER
          
          He's aware that they're being followed, glancing in the rear
          view mirror to keep an eye on things. Looks over to Christine,
          smiles encouragingly. Looks ahead.
          
                                BRIEGLEB
                     Traffic's getting heavy.   We'll go
                     up Spring.
          
          He turns. The other cars do the same. But the traffic here
          is even worse. Just then, Briegleb looks back in his rear
          view mirror to see --
          
          -- another police car pulling out of a driveway and cutting
          off the car with Christine's bodyguards.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                  106.
          
          
          Briegleb turns quickly, trying to get ahead, but the street's
          too busy. He looks in the mirror to see that another police
          car glide into position two cars behind them.
          
          Traffic stops. Jammed. Briegleb is nervous, sensing the
          very real possibility of a hit being set up. The traffic is
          lined right up against parked cars on either side. Then
          there's a momentary break in traffic.
          
                                BRIEGLEB
                     Hold on.
          
          He turns hard into the driveway of a closed shop and shuts
          off the engine. Jumps out and opens the door for Christine,
          who gets out.
          
                               BRIEGLEB
                     Start walking. Quickly.
          
          They do. He glances back at the police car. The two inside
          start to open the doors, but they can't get them open, being
          right up against parked cars on one side and traffic on the
          other. They run the siren to clear traffic, but it's too
          late as --
          
          -- Christine and Briegleb hurry down the street on foot,
          Briegleb glancing behind them. The foot- and car-traffic is
          very heavy...we HEAR horns honking and, in the distance,
          something that could be the sound of lots of people.
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB
                     Almost there. Just a few more
                     blocks.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Where is all this traffic's coming
                     from...?
          Briegleb glances back. The police car has popped its doors,
          and two trench-coated officers are getting out. Christine
          stops a man passing in the opposite direction.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Excuse me, can you tell me what the
                     problem is up ahead?
          
                               MAN
                     Didn't you hear? It's the biggest
                     protest I've ever seen.
          
                                REV. BRIEGLEB
                     Protest?
          
                               OFFICER
                     Yeah...over that Collins broad, if
                     you can believe that.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    107.
          
          
          He moves on. Briegleb and Collins slowly exchange a look
          somewhere between disbelief and "oh shit."
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     He didn't mean...he couldn't mean --
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB
                     I don't know...all I know is that I
                     think I just stopped breathing....
          
          They walk quickly up one clogged street and down another, the
          police following on foot...moving toward the SOUND of voices,
          drums, and cars honking... until they turn onto Spring Street --
          
          -- and find themselves in the middle of the biggest protest
          march ever recorded in the history of Los Angeles to this
          date. Thousands of people crowd into the street, overwhelming
          the police presence...not rioting, but making their voices
          heard.
          
          The Salvation Army, the Women's Temperance Society, the Society
          for Justice, Catholic groups, Union groups and ordinary
          citizens carrying placards and signs that read WE SUPPORT
          CHRISTINE COLLINS and JUSTICE FOR MRS. COLLINS and THE LAPD:
          A CITY'S SHAME...it just goes on and on and on. Christine
          looks out to see her boss from the telephone company, Mr.
          Harris, marching arm in arm with the rest. He sees her,
          smiles, tips his hat and continues marching.
          
          Christine is stunned...Briegleb even moreso.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Oh...my....
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB
                     The Lord works in mysterious ways,
                     Mrs. Collins.
          He looks behind them, to where the police have stopped.
          There's no way in hell they can make a move in the face of
          something as big as t his. Briegleb smiles.
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB
                     Boy howdy, does He ever.   Come on.
          
          They continue up the street toward City Hall.
          
                               THORPE (V.O.)
                     Ladies and Gentlemen...can I have
                     your attention, please....
          
          INT. CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS - DAY
          
          This is a big room, and one thousand observers fill every
          available chair with more standing along the wall in back.
          It's a circus. Christine sits with Hahn.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     108.
          
          
          Briegleb is in a seat behind the main section.    FLASHBULBS
          pop as THORPE, a city councilman, speaks.
          
          SUPERIMPOSE: OCTOBER 24, 1928
          
                               THORPE
                     There are nearly one thousand people
                     gathered in this chamber, more than
                     have ever been in this room before.
          
          EXT. CITY HALL - PARKING LOT - CONTINUOUS
          
          Speakers are lowered from the window into the parking lot
          where hundreds of others are gathered to listen.
          
                               THORPE
                         (on pa)
                     I therefore ask you to refrain from
                     demonstrations of any kind. We're
                     all here because we want to find
                     out the real facts in this case,
                     and everybody is going to be heard
                     if we have to sit here for a week.
          
          BACK TO SCENE
          
          As Thorpe looks to the other members of the Council, and the
          area where witnesses are supposed to wait to be called upon.
          A number of seats are empty.
          
                               SECOND COUNCILMAN
                     Mr. Thorpe, I don't see any other
                     members of the Police Commission.
          
                               THORPE
                     That's odd...we specifically
                     stipulated that we would begin our
                     hearings with testimony from the
                     police department. Are there any
                     representatives of the Police
                     Commission in the room?
                         (no answer)
                     Is Chief Davis here?
                         (no reply)
                     Is Captain Jones here? Is there
                     anyone here representing the police?
          
          A REPORTER raises his hand, then stands.
          
                               REPORTER
                     Mr. Chairman...Richard Thomas, The
                     Evening Herald. Both the Police
                     Chief and Captain Jones are in San
                     Pedro for a police inspection at a
                     station there.
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    109.
          
          
                               REPORTER (Cont'd)
                     Only reason I know is we have a
                     couple of our boys out covering the
                     thing.
          
                                THORPE
                     Are you telling me they directly
                     violated the wishes of the City
                     Council? That they refused to attend
                     a vital hearing so they could conduct
                     a routine inspection in San Pedro?
                     And what the hell is Jones doing at
                     an inspection after being suspended?
                         (beat)
                     I hate to call a recess before we've
                     even started, but I think a few
                     phone calls are in order. So we'll
                     take a half hour break, then continue
                     with the witnesses who have appeared
                     here today. But let it be known
                     that Captain Jones and Police Chief
                     Davis will be subpoenaed and required
                     to appear here tomorrow morning.
          
          There's APPLAUSE from the crowd which breaks up into pockets
          of discussion as a BAILIFF approaches Hahn and whispers into
          his ear. Hahn nods, looks to Christine.
          
                               HAHN
                     Mrs. Collins, could you come across
                     the street with me for just a moment?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     But...shouldn't we --
          
                               HAHN
                     I think there's something you should
                     see.
          Puzzled, curious, Christine gets up and exits with Hahn.
          
          INT. LA COUNTY COURTHOUSE -   HALLWAY - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Hahn is moving quickly down the hall toward a courtroom door,
          Christine following.
          
                               HAHN
                     -- the police decided it was best
                     to keep this off the main docket in
                     order to avoid exactly the sort of
                     chaos we have across the street.
          
          He gets to the door, pauses. Looks back to her.    She nods.
          He opens the door and they enter
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                  110.
          
          
          INT. COURTROOM - CONTINUOUS
          
          Dead silence, in marked contrast to the city council room.
          As she enters, she sees people sitting silently in the
          gallery...row after row of couples, mothers and fathers, some
          weeping softly. Some of them notice Christine's entrance and
          nod to her with sadness and a strange sense of common
          bond...they are all carrying the same grief.
          
          One of the couples, MR. AND MRS. CLAY, see Christine and go
          to her, speaking softly. They should be distinct enough in
          appearance that we will recognize them instantly when we see
          them again later.
          
                                MRS. CLAY
                     Mrs. Collins? I'm Leanne Clay,
                     this is my husband, John...I just
                     wanted to pass on my sympathies.
                     What we went through, waiting to
                     hear anything about our son David,
                     was bad enough, and now this....
                         (beat)
                     But there was no call for what the
                     police did to you...no call at all.
          
          She nods her thanks as a door at the other end of the courtroom
          opens. They take their seats as a judge and two attorneys
          take their places, preceded by a bailiff.
          
                                 BAILIFF
                     All rise.
          
          They do. The judge takes his seat. The rest of the room
          also sits. He nods to the bailiff, who in turn opens another
          door, leading to the holding area.
          
          As Christine looks on, Gordon Stewart Northcott is ushered
          into the courtroom for his initial plea. Some women break
          into tears at the sight of him. He first seems startled by
          the presence of so many, then he smiles. An audience.
          
          As he takes his place beside his attorney, he looks down the
          room and meets the gaze of Christine Collins. Her face pales,
          as though slapped...but she doesn't look away.
          
                               GORDON
                     Hey...I saw you in the papers. You
                     got a lot of moxie, standing up to
                     the police like that.
          
          The bailiff forcibly turns him around to face the judge.
          Christine's hands grip the seat she's in until her knuckles
          turn white...but she doesn't allow him the satisfaction of
          seeing her react to his comments. The judge looks up.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                  111.
          
          
                               JUDGE
                     Gordon Stewart Northcott, you have
                     been charged with three counts of
                     murder in the first degree, with an
                     additional seventeen counts under
                     review by the district attorney's
                     office. How do you plea?
          
                               GORDON
                     Not guilty, your honor.
          
          He glances back at his audience.   The bailiff rights him again.
          
                                JUDGE
                     In light of the defendant's penchant
                     for international travel, no bail
                     will be set. This court will receive
                     preliminary motions by tomorrow
                     morning, with a trial date to be
                     set for the earliest opening on the
                     court's calendar.
                         (beat)
                     The defendant is remanded into
                     custody. Bailiff....
          
          The bailiff removes Gordon, who shares one last look with his
          audience, and Christine in particular. He winks at her. She
          doesn't give him a flicker of satisfaction with a reaction.
          But once he's gone, she sits heavily and covers her eyes,
          fighting tears. Hahn puts a hand on her shoulder, but says
          nothing. There's nothing to say.
          
                               JONES (V.O.)
                     The boy, Walter Collins, was reported
                     as missing on March 10, 1928.
          
          INT. CITY COUNCIL ROOM - DAY
          Jones is at last on the stand. Hahn stands before him, the
          rest of the City Council, Christine and the huge audience
          looking on.
          
                               JONES
                     We then instituted a nationwide
                     search. On July 10, we received a
                     cable indicating that a boy matching
                     his description had been found in
                     De Kalb, Illinois. Upon questioning,
                     he admitted to being Walter Collins,
                     and we made arrangements to transport
                     him back to California.
          
                               HAHN
                     Where Mrs. Collins told you the boy
                     was not her son.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      112.
          
          
                               JONES
                     Yes. She denied his identity in
                     spite of all evidence pointing to
                     the contrary.
          
                               HAHN
                     But as subsequent events have
                     demonstrated, she was correct. So
                     what prompted you to send her for
                     psychological evaluation?
          
                               JONES
                     Whether or not this was in fact the
                     correct boy was not relevant to my
                     decision. Throughout this period,
                     she acted strangely. She was often
                     cool, aloof and unemotional,
                     especially when presented with the
                     boy we located in De Kalb, and in
                     our subsequent conversations. It
                     was because of her disturbing
                     behavior that I submitted her for
                     observation to the psychopathic
                     ward of Los Angeles County General
                     Hospital.
          
                               HAHN
                     Just like that. You snap your
                     fingers and an innocent woman is
                     thrown into the psycho ward.
          
                               JONES
                     She wasn't --
          
          Hahn turns away, playing to the council and the audience.
          
                               HAHN
                     Every home in this state is in grave
                     danger when a Police Captain can
                     take a woman into his office and,
                     five minutes later, have her thrown
                     into the psychopathic ward on his
                     own authority!
          
          The crowd applauds and cheers.    Joes fights to be heard.
          
                               JONES
                         (over the crowd)
                     She wasn't --
          
                               HAHN
                     What was that, Captain?
          
                               JONES
                     She wasn't thrown.     She was...
                     escorted.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    113.
          
          
          There's laughter from the gallery.   He doesn't like it.
          
                               HAHN
                     Escorted, thrown, the verb doesn't
                     matter, Captain. What does matter
                     is that her incarceration was ordered
                     without a warrant.
          
          Hahn goes to the exhibit table, picks up several papers.
          
                               HAHN
                     I am holding a carbon copy of the
                     affidavit of insanity that was issued
                     in the case of the State of
                     California vs. Christine Collins.
                     Who signed the affidavit?
          
                               JONES
                     I did.
          
                               HAHN
                     And what is the date on this
                     document?
          
                               JONES
                     September 12th.
          
                               HAHN
                     But Mrs. Collins was incarcerated
                     on September 6th.
          
                               JONES
                     The form is backdated.
          
                               HAHN
                     Yes, so it would appear. The bottom
                     of the page is reserved for recording
                     where and when the warrant was
                     served. But it has not been filled
                     in. May I assume from this that
                     the warrant was never served?
          
                               JONES
                     That's correct. There was no need
                     to serve the warrant since she was
                     at that time already in custody.
          
                               HAHN
                     Let me see if I have this straight.
                     A woman was thrown into the
                     psychopathic ward without a warrant,
                     because no warrant existed, and
                     when it was finally written six
                     days later, there was no need to
                     sign it or go to a judge because
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                      114.
          
          
                               HAHN (Cont'd)
                     she was already in the asylum!      Is
                     this correct, Captain?
          
                               JONES
                     Technically...yes.
          
          More murmuring from the crowd.
          
                               JONES
                     Extraordinary steps were necessary
                     because we were dealing with an
                     extraordinary situation! Is it our
                     fault that we were being deceived
                     by the boy who claimed to be Walter
                     Collins? No. In light of his claims
                     and her behavior, who wouldn't begin
                     to wonder if there was something
                     wrong with her?
          
                               HAHN
                     Because she questioned you.
          
                                JONES
                     Because she wouldn't listen, because
                     she insisted on being obstinate and
                     taking matters into her own hands
                     best left to qualified officers,
                     because --
          
                               HAHN
                     Because she was fighting for the
                     life of her son! A boy who may
                     have still been alive while you
                     were wasting valuable time denying
                     you had done anything wrong!
          
          This silences both Jones and the crowd. You could hear a pin
          drop. Hahn approaches Jones, and now speaks softly.
          
                               HAHN
                     And in the end, that's what happened,
                     isn't it? At some point, while all
                     this was going on, Walter Collins
                     died along with as many as nineteen
                     other youths on the Northcott Ranch
                     in Wineville. Is that correct,
                     Captain?
          
          Jones looks to Chief Davis.   It's a moment.    Then:
          
                                JONES
                     Yes.   It is.
          
          Christine's face falls into her hands.   The place erupts.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                  115.
          
          
                               HAHN
                     No further questions.
          
          Hahn walks away from a devastated looking Jones.
          
          EXT. UNION STATION - DAY
          
          A small crowd is assembled at the front of the station, where
          Chief Davis stands with the Boy who had been "Walter" as a
          train pulls up before them.
          
                                CHIEF DAVIS
                     -- so after much effort, we were
                     able to identify this boy, who was
                     has been responsible for so much
                     recent trouble, as Arthur Hutchins
                     of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Between
                     this, and the arrest of the man
                     suspected of murdering the real
                     Walter Collins, we have cleared up
                     two of the biggest mysteries in the
                     history of Los Angeles.
                         (beat)
                     I hope that you gentlemen of the
                     press will give as much space to
                     the good things we do as the mistakes
                     that are made on rare occasions.
          
          Just then, he turns as a Matron comes off the train with JANET
          HUTCHINS, middle thirties, the boy's mother.
          
                               CHIEF DAVIS
                     Ladies and gentlemen, let me
                     introduce you to the boy's real
                     mother, Mrs. Janet Hutchins.
          
          She goes to him and hugs him. "Walter" looks like he wishes
          he were somewhere on Mars. Davis moves closer to them to be
          in frame while the FLASHBULBS pop. She's in the same pose as
          they got Christine to take when she "accepted" her lost son.
          
                               MOTHER
                     I hope he hasn't been too much
                     trouble for you.
          
                               CHIEF DAVIS
                     Oh, no, not at all....
          
          He towsels the boy's head like he'd like to cut it off. Then
          he nods to an aide, who approaches with a bundle of clothes.
          
                               WRIGHT
                     Mrs. Hutchins...Mrs. Collins, the
                     woman he was staying with, wanted
                     him to have these. They're the
                     clothes she let him wear.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    116.
          
          
                               MOTHER
                     Well, thank you. Isn't that nice,
                     Arthur? Tell the nice officer thank
                     you.
          
                               "WALTER"
                     I don't want 'em! Give 'em to
                     somebody else!
          
                               DAVIS
                     Precocious little fellow, isn't he?
          
                               "WALTER"
                     It's not my fault! It was the
                     police! They said I was Walter
                     Collins, not me! It wasn't my idea!
          
          She yanks him away.   Davis smiles gamely at the reporters.
          
                               CHIEF DAVIS
                     There...blame the police for your
                     own mistakes. We've seen a lot of
                     that lately, haven't we?
          
                                                      DISSOLVE TO:
          
          MONTAGE
          
          Shot MOS, under MUSIC, somber and moving, INTERCUTTING between
          the two trials.
          
          Christine on the stand, speaking quietly.
          
          Officer Ybarra on the stand.
          
          Chief Davis on the stand.
          
          The murder jury being shown photographs of the Northcott ranch.
          Walter's dentist showing a drawing of Walter's teeth.
          
          His teacher, Mrs. Fox, also testifying.
          
          Bits of clothing entered into evidence.
          
          Dr. Steele testifying.
          
          Ending on Christine seated, reserved, holding it all in...
          watching. We HOLD on her face to bring us into --
          
          INT. WALTER'S BEDROOM - MORNING
          
          Christine is sitting on Walter's bed. She runs a hand along
          the sheets, straightening and smoothing them out, her eyes
          moist but not crying. We HEAR a knock on the front door
          downstairs, and the door opening.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                  117.
          
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I'm up here, Reverend.
          
          She continues as Briegleb comes up the stairs and enters the
          room. Sees her. Takes off his hat. A show of sympathy.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     When Walter was...when he was here,
                     I'd walk past his bedroom when he
                     was asleep, and even if I couldn't
                     see him, or hear him, I could...feel
                     him in here.
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB
                     Mothers and their children are
                     connected in amazing ways. My uncle
                     joined the army during the big war,
                     and the day he died, before we ever
                     heard a word about it, my grandmother
                     woke up in the middle of the night
                     and said, "Bobby's gone." She
                     just...knew.
          
          Christine nods, taking it in, then:
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     That's why I don't think Walter is
                     dead. I can still feel him, in
                     this room.
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB
                     Mrs. Collins --
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I know what the police said. But
                     the remains...what they found on
                     that ranch is so...most of it can't
                     even be properly identified. What
                     if that boy made a mistake when he
                     picked Walter's picture?
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB
                     I understand that you don't want to
                     accept this. What mother does?
                     But you have to let go...and start
                     over. For yourself. He'd want you
                     to move on.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Maybe. And maybe he'd want me to
                     keep looking. Maybe he's waiting
                     for me, somewhere.
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB
                     He is, Christine.
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     118.
          
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB (Cont'd)
                     In that place where we will all be
                     reunited with our loved ones someday.
                     And on that day, he will know, front
                     to back, end to end, heart and
                     soul... that you did everything you
                     could, Christine. Everything.
          
          She nods absently, finishes adjusting the sheets.   He checks
          his watch.
          
                               REV. BRIEGLEB
                     We should go.
          
          She nods again, and stands. He heads out of the room, and
          she lingers for a moment, taking one last look around before
          turning off the night-light, and sees the drawing he made of
          the two of them walking together beneath an orange sun. HOLD
          on that image as we HEAR a gavel hammering and:
          
                               THORPE (V.O.)
                     This meeting will now come to order.
          
          INT. CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS - DAY
          
          PUSHING IN on Thorpe, at the center of the council's long
          table, addressing the crowd and Christine.
          
                                THORPE
                     This Committee has now heard all of
                     the testimony, and in light of the
                     facts presented, issues the following
                     statement.
          
          INTERCUT WITH
          
          INT. COURTROOM - DAY
          Where Northcott stands before the judge, jury, and the grieving
          family members.
          
                               JUDGE
                     Mr. Foreman, has the jury reached a
                     verdict?
          
                               FOREMAN
                     We have, your honor.
          
          INT. CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS - CONTINUOUS
          
          Still pushing in.
          
                               THORPE
                     While the City Council has no power
                     to directly remove commissioners or
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     119.
          
          
                                  THORPE (Cont'd)
                       the employees who serve under them,
                       it nevertheless can perform the
                       function of making recommendations.
                       This committee therefore reports
                       and recommends:
                           (beat)
                       First, that the majority members of
                       the Police Commission deserve the
                       severest condemnation for their
                       decision to whitewash the Collins
                       case.
          
          APPLAUSE erupts from the gallery at this.
          
          INT. COURTROOM - CONTINUOUS
          
          Quietly PUSHING IN on Northcott, the Judge, Jury, others.
          
                                 JUDGE
                       Bailiff, will you bring me the
                       verdict of the jury?
          
          The bailiff complies. The judge reads it, hands it back to
          the Bailiff, who brings it back to the Foreman.
          
          INT. CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS - CONTINUOUS
          
          As before.
          
                                  THORPE
                       Second, we recommend that the
                       suspension of Captain Jones be made
                       permanent.
          
          Even louder applause, some cheering. The pattern continues
          through the balance of the statement.
          INT. COURTROOM - CONTINUOUS
          
          Favoring Northcott.
          
                                 JUDGE
                       Will the defendant please rise?
          
          Northcott rises, still smiling, defiant.
          
          INT. CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS - CONTINUOUS
          
          As before.
          
                                 THORPE
                       Third, that steps be taken to
                       investigate a change in the
                       prevailing laws and procedures by
                                 (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                 120.
          
          
                                THORPE (Cont'd)
                     which a citizen of this city can be
                     subjected to incarceration in the
                     county's mental facilities.
                         (beat)
                     Finally, restoration of public
                     confidence in the police department
                     can only be achieved by the removal
                     of its chief of police, and this
                     committee so recommends.
                         (beat)
                     This hearing is concluded.
          
          The place explodes with cheers.
          
          INT. COURTROOM - CONTINUOUS
          
          As the foreman stands again.
          
                               JUDGE
                     You may read the verdict.
          
                               FOREMAN
                     We the jury find the defendant,
                     Gordon Stewart Northcott...guilty
                     on all counts of murder in the first
                     degree.
          
          There are gasps and cries and tears...but Northcott is defiant.
          
                               JUDGE
                     Does the defendant wish to make a
                     statement before judgment is passed?
          
                               GORDON
                     Yeah, I want to make a statement.
                     I want to make it real clear that I
                     never once got a fair shake from
                     you, your "honor," or this court.
                     The only one of you here worth a
                     goddamn is her --
                         (points to christine)
                     -- 'cause she's the only one never
                     badmouthed me to the press. She
                     understands what it is when the
                     police frame you for something you
                     didn't do and throw you in the hole.
                     Isn't that right?
          
          He looks to her.   She doesn't flinch.
          
                               GORDON
                     I want you to know, Mrs. Collins, I
                     never killed your boy. I --
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     121.
          
          
                               JUDGE
                     That's enough! Counsel, you will
                     get control of your client or I
                     will have him bound and gagged.
          
          The defense attorney yanks Gordon around to face the judge.
          
                               JUDGE
                     Gordon Stewart Northcott, it is the
                     judgment of this court that you
                     will be conveyed to San Quentin
                     Prison, where you will be held in
                     solitary confinement for a period
                     of two years, until October 2nd,
                     1930. On that date, you are to be
                     hanged by the neck until dead. May
                     god have mercy on your soul.
          
          And he brings down the gavel.
          
          EXT. COUNTY COURTHOUSE - AFTERNOON
          
          Christine is standing outside, putting the horrors of the day
          out of her thoughts, as a door opens and Chief Davis comes
          out, followed by several reporters.
          
                               CHIEF DAVIS
                     -- no, as I said after the hearing,
                     I have every intention of finishing
                     my term as Chief of the Los Angeles
                     Police Department. I will not
                     resign. I will fight to the finish.
                     The Collins case was merely an excuse
                     for certain politicians who have
                     been trying to have me removed for
                     some time, and I --
          
          He pauses as he sees Christine.    Looks away and continues in
          a lowered voice.
          
                               CHIEF DAVIS
                     -- anyway, I remain confident that
                     the Mayor's office will stand firmly
                     behind me. That's all.
          
          The press continue after him, not really noticing Christine,
          who takes one last look around at it all...and walks slowly
          away. Alone.
          
          BLACK SCREEN
          
          SUPERIMPOSE: TWO YEARS LATER.     TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 1930
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     122.
          
          
          INT. STREET CAR - MORNING
          
          Christine, alone, rides the street car to work. The car stops
          in front of a school. Walter's school. She looks out the
          window, to where children are playing. Then looks away again
          as the street-car starts moving again.
          
          INT. PACIFIC TELEPHONE COMPANY - SWITCHBOARD ROOM - DAY
          
          Christine is back at work again, as she had been, though some
          of the light has gone out of her eyes. She moves from station
          to station, nodding her approval or checking off forms. She
          glances to the clock, it's a little after two, then goes to
          Mr. Harris, who has just come out onto the floor.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Ten minute break?
          
                                  MR. HARRIS
                     Of course.
          
          She starts away, turning at:
          
                               MR. HARRIS
                     You know...one of these days you
                     might consider actually taking one
                     of these ten minute breaks. Might
                     be good for you.
          
                                  CHRISTINE
                     We'll see.     Thanks, Ben.
          
          She heads off toward a back room. He watches her go with a
          combination of awe, respect and deep sadness.
          
          INT. PHONE COMPANY - BACK OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Christine is on the telephone, crossing off contact numbers
          on a pad of paper.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     Yes, hello, this is Christine
                     Collins, we spoke yesterday about
                     my son...fine, thank you. I was
                     wondering if you'd had a chance to
                     go through the file on runaways in
                     your area in case anyone resembling
                     Walter had --
                         (beat)
                     I see. No, thank you, I appreciate
                     the information. Would it be all
                     right if I called you again, in a
                     month or so? Thank you. Goodbye.
          
          She checks his number off her list as Hahn appears in the
          partially open door behind her.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                        123.
          
          
          He's heard part of the conversation, and there's a sadness in
          his eyes.
          
          She starts to dial again when he knocks on the door.     She
          turns to see him, mid-dial.
          
                               HAHN
                     Mrs. Collins.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Oh, hello, I was just --
          
                              HAHN
                     I know. That's...why I wanted to
                     see you.
          
          His tone is grave, and she knows that something's happened.
          She hangs up the phone, missing the cradle the first time.
          
                               HAHN
                     It's about Walter. We had...well,
                     we received a very strange telegram.
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                     From who?
          
                               HAHN
                     Gordon Northcott.   He's...he's asked
                     to see you.
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                     Why?
          
                                HAHN
                     He said he knows you're still looking
                     for your son, and before he dies --
                         (beat)
                     He says that he lied when he
                     testified that he didn't kill Walter.
                     He's willing to finally admit that
                     he did it. He says that if you
                     come up to see him, in person...he'll
                     tell you the truth, to your face...so
                     that you can get on with your life
                     and have some peace.
          
                                                    DISSOLVE TO:
          
          INT. TRAIN - DAY
          
          Christine is on the train headed north.   The telegram is in
          her hand.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    124.
          
          
                                HAHN (V.O.)
                     As you know, he's set to be executed
                     the day after tomorrow at San
                     Quentin, so....
                         (beat)
                     You don't have a lot of time.
          
          EXT. SAN FRANCISCO - SAN QUENTIN PRISON - AFTERNOON
          
          She gets out of a taxi in front of the prison.    It's a gray,
          grim sight, and moves toward it.
          
                                HAHN (V.O.)
                     Took me most of the morning to make
                     all the arrangements. Turns out
                     you're the first woman in thirty
                     years the state has allowed to visit
                     a serial killer on the night of his
                     execution.
          
          INT. SAN QUENTIN - INTERVIEW ROOM - AFTERNOON
          
          Four bare walls and a long table. Two chairs. One window,
          behind bars and chicken wire. Christine waits, alone. Then:
          we HEAR footsteps approaching down the hall. A moment later,
          a PRISON GUARD escorts Northcott into the room. Northcott
          nods to Christine, then glances to the guard, who looks to
          Christine.
          
                               PRISON GUARD
                     I can stay in the room if you want,
                     ma'am.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     No, I'm...sure I'll be fine.
          
                               PRISON GUARD
                     All right...I'll be right outside
                     the door if you need anything.
                         (to northcott)
                     Twenty minutes.
          
          The guard exits, leaving the two alone.
          
                               GORDON
                     Don't suppose you've got a cigarette?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     No, I don't smoke.
          
          He nods, walks to the window to a nearby structure.
          
                               GORDON
                     That's where they do it, you know.
                     That building right over there.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                  125.
          
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     That's where they do what?
          
                               GORDON
                     The hangings. Ten o'clock tonight,
                     I get to see what's inside. I hear
                     there's thirteen steps going up to
                     the gallows...'cause thirteen is
                     unlucky. Helps make sure you're
                     gonna go to hell when you die. But
                     I got 'em beat. I outsmarted 'em.
          
          He looks to Christine, smiles nervously, glances back out the
          window.
          
                               GORDON
                     They're gonna let me have whatever
                     I want for dinner. Got a steak
                     coming, with spinach, mashed potatoes
                     and green beans. I always wondered
                     why they did that whole last meal
                     thing. One of the other guys on
                     Death Row said when you take the
                     drop, you foul yourself, and
                     everything you ate...comes out the
                     other end. So maybe that's why
                     they make sure you got something in
                     you when it happens. They like
                     knowing you fouled yourself on the
                     way to --
          
          He stops himself.   Turns from the window.
          
                               GORDON
                     Sure you don't got a cigarette?
          
          She shakes her head.   He nods absently for a moment.
                               GORDON
                     The warden, Clinton Duffy, he's a
                     good guy. He's writing a book about
                     all the death sentences he's carried
                     out in this place. Says it's called
                     "Eighty-Eight Men and Two Women."
                     Beats my record all to hell.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Mr. Northcott...you asked me to
                     come to see you. You said if I
                     did, you would tell me the truth
                     about my son. Well, I'm here.
          
                               GORDON
                     Yeah...yeah, you are. But see, the
                     thing is, I didn't think you'd really
                     come, and now --
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                  126.
          
          
          He's pacing, growing more agitated and scared.
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                     Now what?
          
                                GORDON
                     I didn't expect....
                         (beat)
                     I don't want to see you.
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                     What?
          
                                GORDON
                     I can't do this...I can't talk to
                     you...not today, not tonight, not
                     with what they're going to do to
                     me. It's one thing to send a
                     telegram, that's easy, but right
                     now, right here, in person, I --
                         (beat)
                     I can't tell you what you want to
                     hear, Mrs. Collins. I can't, I
                     can't --
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                     Why not?
          
                               GORDON
                     Because I don't want to die with a
                     lie on my lips!
          
          He turns from her, in anguish...but is he just playing her?

          
                               GORDON
                     I did my penance, I asked God to
                     forgive me for my sins...and I've
                     been good, ever since...if I commit
                     a sin now, if I lie now...I'm out
                     of time, I can't be forgiven again...
                     I don't want to go to hell --
          
          She goes around to him, faces him.
          
                                CHRISTINE
                     Mr. Northcott...look at me.
                         (beat)
                     Look at me.
          
          He turns almost against his will...meets her eyes.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Did you...kill...my son?
          
          His eyes go wide and he CRIES OUT, stumbling back and away
          from her.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    127.
          
          
                               GORDON
                     Get away from me...I don't know
                     anything about it!
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Mr. Northcott --
          
                               GORDON
                     I'm innocent!
                         (pounds door)
                     Guard! Guard!
          
          The guard enters, going to Northcott.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     No, wait, please --
          
                               PRISON GUARD
                     It's okay, ma'am, they always get a
                     little nuts the day of.
          
          She pushes past him to Northcott, grabs the front of his shirt.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Did you kill him? Did you kill my
                     son?
          
          He screams in anguish, and the guard hauls him out, closing
          the door after him. Christine tries to open the door, but it
          won't open.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Mr. Northcott...Mr. Northcott!
          
          She slowly slides to the floor, crying as we HEAR the SOUND
          of CHAINS clanking, and we....
          
                                                      DISSOLVE TO:
          INT. EXECUTION AREA - NIGHT
          
          The door to the prison yard opens and closes as Northcott is
          led into the area with the scaffolding. The Warden is there,
          waiting at the foot of the gallows, along with a chaplain.
          
          Several other parents, including Mr. and Mrs. Clay, are in
          the witness gallery at the back, separated from the gallows
          area by a large plate glass window. Christine is among the
          parents. The Clays see her, and put a hand on her arm for
          strength. Christine nods, accepting it, and moves to one
          side.
          
          Northcott, legs and arms bound in chains, makes his way to
          the warden at the base of the gallows. A clock reads 9:50.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                  128.
          
          
                               WARDEN
                     Gordon Stewart Northcott, you have
                     been found guilty of murder, the
                     penalty for which is death by
                     hanging. There have been no stays
                     or reprieves, therefore the execution
                     will go forward as stipulated under
                     the laws of the State of California.
                     Do you have any last words?
          
                               GORDON
                     No...nothing.
                         (to chaplain)
                     I kept clean after I confessed,
                     reverend...just like I said I would.
          
          The chaplain nods silently as the warden looks to the guards,
          who begin to escort Northcott up the steps to the gallows.
          
                               GORDON
                     Will it...will it hurt?
                         (no reply)
                     Please...not so fast...don't make
                     me walk so fast!
          
          They struggle with him now, pushing and carrying him up the
          last of the thirteen steps to the top. They tie his legs
          together, and cinch his arms tightly in place.
          
                               GORDON
                     Thirteen steps...thirteen steps...
                     but I didn't touch all of 'em, you
                     bastards...I didn't touch all of
                     'em!
          
          They start to slip a black felt mask over his head and secure
          the rope. He looks desperately to the witnesses.
                               GORDON
                     A prayer! Please, somebody, say a
                     prayer for me!
          
          The mask goes on and is tightened into place. The executioner
          approaches the handle that will open the trap door. The warden
          looks to the clock...9:59. From beneath the hood we HEAR, in
          a terrified, shaking voice:
          
                               GORDON
                     Silent night...holy night...all is
                     calm...all is bright...round yon
                     virgin mother and child...holy infant
                     so tender and mild --
          
          Just then the warden nods to the executioner who pulls the
          lever and the trap door JERKS OPEN.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   129.
          
          
          Northcott FALLS through the door six feet then there's a
          SNAP...and the body bounces in SLOW MOTION at the end of the
          rope...as we HEAR the sound of his heart
          slowing...slowing...until it finally stops.
          
          Christine covers her eyes. There is no cheering in the witness
          room. Only the sound of weeping.
          
          EXT. SAN QUENTIN - NIGHT
          
          Slowly, the witnesses exit the prison. We find Christine
          among them. She nods good-night to some of them, including
          the Clays, then starts off on her own, heading into the night.
          
                                                    DISSOLVE TO:
          
          BLACK SCREEN
          
          SUPERIMPOSE: FIVE YEARS LATER.   FEBRUARY 27, 1935
          
          And: SEVEN YEARS AFTER THE DISAPPEARANCE OF WALTER COLLINS
          
          EXT. PACIFIC TELEPHONE COMPANY - AFTERNOON
          
          Just to ESTABLISH, then:
          
          INT. TELEPHONE COMPANY - CHRISTINE'S OFFICE - AFTERNOON
          
          The brass plate on the partially open door announces C.
          COLLINS, ASSISTANT MANAGER. She's filling out paperwork as
          there's a KNOCK and a group of other employees and operators
          appears in the doorway.
          
                               OPERATOR
                     Hey, Chris...we're having an Oscar
                     party tonight at my apartment, you
                     want to come?
                               CHRISTINE
                     I can't...I've got a million forms
                     to fill out --
          
                               OPERATOR
                     C'mon, please, they can wait --
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Sandy, you guys blew out the phone
                     lines between here and Baltimore,
                     someone has to clean up the mess,
                     and that's me. Besides, I've got a
                     radio right here, I can follow the
                     whole thing.
          
                               OPERATOR
                     You're sure?
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    130.
          
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                     Positive.    Go on, have fun.
          
          They head off. Christine focuses on her work.     There's another
          knock on the door.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I said I can't go --
          
                               MR. HARRIS
                     Are you sure?
          
          She looks up to see Ben Harris in the doorway.    He smiles.
          
                               MR. HARRIS
                     I'm meeting some friends for dinner
                     at Musso and Frank's on Hollywood.
                     They're going to pipe the Oscar
                     ceremony through to the restaurant.
                     Should be quite a night. I'd love
                     it if you'd come.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Ben, that's very sweet, and I wish
                     I could...but I really need to stay
                     and finish this.
          
          He nods, taking the rejection well.   Starts off when:
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Ben...? I put down two dollars on
                     "It Happened One Night" for best
                     picture. Seems I'm the only one
                     here who thinks it has a chance
                     against "Cleopatra." If I win, how
                     about we have dinner tomorrow night
                     to celebrate?
                               MR. HARRIS
                     You've got a deal, Christine.   Good
                     night.
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                     'Night.
          
                               MR. HARRIS
                     How about I call you if you win?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I'll be here.
          
          And with a smile, he's gone.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     131.
          
          
          INT. TELEPHONE COMPANY - SWITCHBOARD ROOM - NIGHT
          
          The night shift operators are working, a smaller group but
          still busy. We PAN through them until we start to HEAR the
          sound of radio-miked applause, then:
          
                               IRWIN S. COBB
                         (on radio)
                     Thank you. And now, it gives me
                     distinct honor to present the
                     category of Best Picture for 1934.
          
          INT. CHRISTINE'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS
          
          Where Christine is still working as the Academy Awards of
          1935 play themselves out on the radio.
          
                               IRWIN S. COBB
                         (on radio)
                     The nominees are "The Gay Divorcee,"
                     "Here Comes the Navy," "The Barrets
                     of Wimpole Street," "One Night of
                     Love," "The Thin Man," "Cleopatra" --
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Over-rated....
          
                               IRWIN S. COBB
                         (on radio)
                     "Viva Villa," "The White Parade,"
                     and "It Happened One Night."
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert.   I
                     rest my case.
          
                                IRWIN S. COBB
                         (on radio)
                     And the Oscar for Best Picture goes
                     to....
                         (beat)
                     "It Happened One Night."
          
          APPLAUSE comes through the radio...and Christine is as pleased
          as if she'd just won herself.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                         (calling out door)
                     I knew it...I knew it!   I told you
                     so!
          
          She's just about to go back to her work when the phone rings.
          She picks it up, smiling.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                  132.
          
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                       Ben, it looks like dinner is on me,
                       I --
          
          She stops.   It's not Ben on the phone.
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                       Yes, this is she. Mrs. Clay? No,
                       of course I remember you, how are
                       you? Is everything --
          
          She freezes at something she hears.
          
                                  CHRISTINE
                       When? Where did they --
                           (beat)
                       No, of course...I'll be right there.
          
          She hangs up, grabs her coat, and races out the door.
          
          EXT. POLICE STATION - NIGHT
          
          Christine climbs out of a taxi and rushes into the station.
          
          INT. INTERVIEW ROOM - VIEWING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Christine is ushered into a room with a long two-way mirror
          that looks out into an interview room. Mr. and Mrs. Clay are
          already there. In the other room is Detective Ybarra, and a
          young boy, DAVID, age 13. Mrs. Clay sees her, and they
          embrace.
          
                                 MRS. CLAY
                       I wanted to go to him right off,
                       but they said it was important to
                       talk to him alone first.
          
                                 CHRISTINE
                       Are they sure it's --
          
                                  MRS. CLAY
                       They're sure, but more important,
                       I'm sure.
                           (beat)
                       It's my boy, all right...it's David.
                       He's alive, Christine. They found
                       him up in Hysperia.
          
                                    CHRISTINE
                       But how --
          
          Mr. Clay motions for them to shush. They turn their attention
          to the other room, where Ybarra looks up from making notes.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                     133.
          
          
                               YBARRA
                     All right, so after you got into
                     the car, what happened next?
          
                               DAVID
                     They drove me around for a long
                     time, then we ended up at this ranch --
          
          EXT. NORTHCOTT RANCH - FLASHBACK - NIGHT
          
          David is shoved into the chicken coop. Several other BOYS
          are already there, scared, crying. They lunge at the door,
          trying to get out, but it slams shut in their faces.
          
          They scream, trying to get out.   Gordon SLAMS an arm against
          the door, scaring them.
          
                               GORDON
                     SHUT UP!
                         (grinning)
                     I'll see you boys later....
          
          He laughs and moves off, Sanford accompanying him, looking
          very guilty.
          
                               YBARRA (V.O.)
                     Were there other boys present?
          
                               DAVID (V.O.)
                     Yeah...six, I think. It was a long
                     time ago.
          
                               YBARRA (V.O.)
                     Did you speak to them? Do you
                     remember any of their names?
          
          INT. CHICKEN COOP - LATER
          PANNING the boys huddled against one wall, scared.
          
                                DAVID (V.O.)
                     Yeah...two of them were brothers, I
                     think their last name was Winslow,
                     something like that. The oldest
                     was Jeffrey, I think he was around
                     eleven....
                         (beat)
                     ...and Walter.
          
          We STOP PAN on the last kid...on Walter Collins, at last.
          
          INT. INTERVIEW ROOM - VIEWING ROOM
          
          As Christine REACTS to this, her hand flying to her mouth.
          Not daring to breathe.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    134.
          
          
                                YBARRA
                     Walter.
          
                                DAVID
                     Yeah.
          
                               YBARRA
                     Do you remember his last name?
          
                                DAVID
                     Collins.
          
          Christine covers her face.     Can barely stand up.
          
                               YBARRA
                     So if you only remember some of the
                     names of the rest, how come you
                     remember his full name?
          
                               DAVID
                     Because of what happened.
          
          INT. CHICKEN COOP - NIGHT
          
          Two of the kids, Walter and Jeffrey, are sitting in a corner,
          talking quietly, urgently.
          
                               DAVID (V.O.)
                     Walter and Jeffrey were talking
                     when everybody else was screaming.
                     They were scared, same as the rest
                     of us, but they weren't scared
                     stupid. They kept checking around
                     until they found a part of the coop
                     where the chicken wire was all messed
                     up.
          
          They pull at the wiring.    Part of the roof weakens and dust
          sifts down.
          
                               DAVID (V.O.)
                     They figured we might be able to
                     yank the chicken wire and bring
                     down the corner, maybe make enough
                     room to get out of there and run...
                     but it would make an awful lot of
                     noise and if it wasn't wide enough,
                     we'd be stuck. It might even bring
                     the whole place down.
          
                               WALTER
                     We gotta try it!
          
                                FIRST WINSLOW BOY
                     No!   What he hears --
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                   135.
          
          
                               JEFFREY
                     We have to get out of here!
          
                               FIRST WINSLOW BOY
                     I'm afraid!
          
          And in an echo of what he told his mother the last time he
          saw her:
          
                                WALTER
                     I'm not. I'm not afraid of
                     anything.
                         (beat)
                     Don't you want to go home? Don't
                     you want to see your mom again?
          
          The Winslow kids nod, and start crying.   Jeffrey and Walter
          look to the rest.
          
                               JEFFREY
                     Anybody else?
          
          David holds up his hand.
          
                               JEFFREY
                     Okay. Anybody who doesn't want to
                     come, get over at that end in case
                     this comes down.
          
          The Winslow boys and two others scramble to the other end,
          too terrified to try and escape. Jeffrey, David and Walter
          go to the weakened corner of the coop.
          
                               JEFFREY
                     When we get out, we split up, go in
                     different directions, they can't
                     catch all of us. Ready?
          They nod, and get into position, each taking a part of the
          wire framework.
          
                               JEFFREY
                     Pull!
          
          They do so, pulling for all they're worth...struggling...the
          ceiling SHIFTS above them, dirt falling all over the place...
          they pull harder, the wire cutting into fingers, but still
          pulling...then suddenly --
          
          -- the corner FALLS AWAY, part of the roof starting to come
          down with it. The NOISE is substantial.
          
                               JEFFREY
                     Go!
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                    136.
          
          
          They race out the opening, Jeffrey first, then Walter, then
          David...but just as the first two get clear --
          
                               DAVID
                     Help!
          
          Walter turns to see David stuck in the wiring. LIGHTS go on
          around the ranch. He hesitates...then RUNS back to David,
          helps to untangle him. They HEAR a SHOTGUN blast, and FEET
          running their way.
          
                               DAVID
                     Hurry!
          
          Walter gets him untangled, and the two RACE away from the
          coop, running for all they're worth as a FLASHLIGHT hits first
          one, then the other. They RUN --
          
          -- and David catches one last glimpse of Walter running,
          heading for the line of trees....
          
                               YBARRA (V.O.)
                     And that's the last you saw of him?
          
          INT. INTERVIEW ROOM - VIEWING ROOM - NIGHT
          
          As the interview continues.   David nods.
          
                               DAVID
                     That's the last I saw of any of
                     'em.
          
                               YBARRA
                     So you don't know if either of the
                     other two were captured?
          
                               DAVID
                     No. All I know is, if he hadn't
                     come back for me...I don't think I
                     ever would've gotten out of there.
          
                               YBARRA
                     What happened after that?
          
                               DAVID
                     I hid in the woods for two days,
                     too scared to move, because I was
                     sure they'd find me. I finally
                     started walking, but every time a
                     car came up I was afraid it was
                     them. So I kept off the main roads
                     until I saw a train stopped at a
                     crossing, and I jumped in.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                  137.
          
          
                               YBARRA
                     Why didn't you tell anyone what had
                     happened?
          
                                 DAVID
                     I was afraid! I thought they'd
                     come after me, or my folks...so I
                     didn't tell anybody. I was on my
                     own until I got a free meal from
                     this lady, Mrs. Lansing. I told
                     her I was an orphan, on my own.
                     She said I could stay on, and...I
                     did.
                          (beat)
                     Every night, I'd wake up, thinking
                     they were right outside my window.
                     Then I heard the police talking on
                     the radio about what happened at
                     the ranch, and I thought, for sure
                     I can't go back now.
          
                                YBARRA
                     Why not?
          
                               DAVID
                     Since I didn't tell anybody what
                     happened, I was afraid they'd blame
                     me for those kids being dead. So I
                     just...stayed away.
          
                               YBARRA
                     So what made you come forward now,
                     after all this time?
          
          David looks away, his eyes tearing up.   Finally:
          
                               DAVID
                     I miss my mom...I miss my dad...I
                     just...I just want to go home.
          
          And it's all Mrs. Clay can take. Sobbing, she runs out of
          the viewing room and into the interview room, where she goes
          to her son and embraces him, holds him, the two crying into
          one another's arms.
          
          EXT. POLICE STATION - NIGHT
          
          Christine and Ybarra watch as Mr. and Mrs. Clay lead their
          son into their car. As they drive off, Christine finally
          breaks the silence.
          
                               YBARRA
                     Still can't believe it. Five years,
                     case closed, everyone thinks he's
                     dead...and there he is.
                               (more)
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                  138.
          
          
                                YBARRA (Cont'd)
                     And he wouldn't be, if it wasn't
                     for Walter.
                         (beat)
                     Your son did a brave thing, Mrs.
                     Collins. You should be very proud
                     of him.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     I am.
          
                               YBARRA
                     You don't think he's still out there,
                     do you?
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Why not? Three boys made a run for
                     it that night, Detective. If one
                     got out, maybe either or both of
                     the others did too. Maybe Walter
                     went through the same fears he did.
                     Afraid to come home or identify
                     himself, afraid he'd get into
                     trouble, that people might think it
                     was his fault. Either way, it gives
                     me something I didn't have before
                     tonight.
          
                               YBARRA
                     What's that?
          
          She looks at him...and smiles.
          
                               CHRISTINE
                     Hope.
          
          She turns and walks off into the night, as we SUPERIMPOSE:
          
          
          Gordon Stewart Northcott was hanged on October 2, 1935
          
          In exchange for his cooperation and a guilty plea, Sanford
          Wesley Clark was sentenced to the Whittier State School for
          Boys for five years. Upon being released in 1934, he returned
          home to Canada, and was never heard from again.
          
          Upon returning to duty after his suspension, Captain J. J.
          Jones was demoted to Lieutenant and subsequently sued by
          Christine Collins in civil court. He was found guilty and
          fined $10,800 (equal to $125,000 in 2006 dollars). He never
          paid.
          
          One year after the City Council recommended the removal of
          the Los Angeles Chief of Police, James E Davis resigned from
          office and was replaced by Roy E. Steckel.
          
          CHANGELING A True Story                                  139.
          
          
          Davis reclaimed that office in 1933, where he created the Red
          Squad, notorious for attacking Communists and their offices,
          but was forced to resign a second time under a cloud of police
          corruption.
          

          In the aftermath of the City Council hearings, the criminal
          justice system in California was revised to prevent women
          from being incarcerated or institutionalized for the crime of
          disagreeing with a male police officer. Strict medical
          procedures were set in place to prevent future abuse.
          
          In November 1929, Los Angeles Mayor George E. Cryer was voted
          out of office after three terms. He was later found to have
          been the front man for the Crawford Organized Crime Syndicate,
          which ran prostitution and gambling rackets throughout Southern
          California.
          
          For the rest of his life, Reverend Gustav A. Briegleb used
          his radio show to expose police misconduct and political
          corruption. He also published "The Layman's Handbook of
          Daniel."
          
          The California community of Wineville, near Riverside, became
          synonymous with the infamous Northcott Murder Ranch. In order
          to shake free of the scandal, the residents changed its name
          to Mira Loma.
          
          
          
          Christine Collins never stopped searching for her son.
          
          
          
          The fate of Walter Collins remains a mystery. If he was able
          to escape the Northcott Ranch, he would be 86 years old today.
          
                                                   FADE OUT:
                                    THE END