Outline NORA’S ISLAND
ACT I. The set up
CHANDLER SMITH is a journalist on the Daily Mail is being sent to Athens to interview a former Greek gold medallist who has lost a leg in a car accident who is going to row in a kayak from Athens to Cyprus.
DOUGLAS DEWITT an out of work director is heading out to the Greek island of Helios to teach a two week course in film-making at the Helios holistic centre and to escape from his mounting debts. He is replacing another director who actually got a TV gig.
They meet in the bar at Heathrow. CHANDLER is wearing a crumpled linen suit, a clean white shirt with stained knitted tie; he is talking on a mobile phone. A gin and tonic before him. One gin and tonic behind him. DOUGLAS shambles in, dressed in Gap. His duty free bottles clinking in their yellow bag. He will make a big performance out of ordering a gin and tonic, "In a thin glass"[Get Carter]. Then cadges a cigarette "Ah Marlborough light" [Zorba] and introduces himself. They are deep into conversation and miss their call. Suddenly their names are called over the tannoy.
They make their way to the departure gate. MAGIC BUS by The Who will start to play. Loud. The titles will roll over a series of flash backs of each of our heroes packing for the trip. We will see into each of their dark/untidy basement flats, each will be piled with books, newspapers and videos. CHANDLER will have an old Underwood typewriter centre stage from beside it he will pick up a bundle of tattered papers and look at them [The unfinished manuscript]. From his bookshelf he will take down Zorba the Greek. DOUGLAS's bookcases have clapperboards and framed photographs of him with various old thespians. CHANDLER will hail a cab (he's working). DOUGLAS will get off a bus and then head down to the tube. It's London and of course it's pelting with rain.
On the plane CHANDLER turns left into business class, DOUGLAS turns right into cattle class. But DOUGLAS sneaks through the curtain once the plane has taken off and the stewardess has moved. He sits down next to CHANDLER. MARGO CHANNING the relationships teacher, who is very disapproving, sees him. DOUGLAS will charm the airhostess. She still thinks he's a w*nker.
It's night when they arrive in Athens; upon the hotel's rooftop bar they meet NORA the holiday rep. They sit and admire the view; there are other people there who are going to the island. The boys proceed to drink late into the night. Next morning they wake up with massive hangovers. On the back seat of a bus. The bus is on the ferry. And the ferry is on it's way to Helios. CHANDLER is furious how's he going to get his interview now? Not only that but he hates sailing. They find NORA but she says the only thing to do is wait until they get to Helios. She takes them to the bar and they start drink coffee saying nothing. CHANDLER eventually has to lay down he is visibly turning green.
On arrival at the island, the weather is beautiful. The island is everything we would want in a Greek island. DOUGLAS is taken off to the holistic centre with the rest of the people. CHANDLER discovers the ferry has broken down and can't be fixed for two days. NORA finds him a room to rent [there is no hotel] He sets up his office in a taverna with a television with CNN. He then settles in to make a few phone calls then rings the office on his mobile and fabricates an interview with the NIKOS KAZANTZAKIS the Greek rower.
At the centre outside on terrace in bright sun shine each of the course teachers will give a little spiel about their class. MARGO CHANNING the relationships person will be caring and articulate. OLIVER BARRETT the writer will be funny. DOUGLAS will be drunk and bit frightening.
The first night is a big drunken party in YANNI's taverna [YANNI is married to NORA] . The first two minutes will be filmed like an amateur video as if by one of DOUGLAS's students with a voice over by DOUGLAS. When it cuts back to real film we will pan round the table and listen to different conversations. MIKE, the awful American, will be trying to chat someone up, very badly. When she ignores him he will turn to the woman on his other side and start again.
DOUGLAS and MARGO do not hit it off for the word go. DOUGLAS is trying to be nice but failing. MARGO is physically uncomfortable in DOUGLAS's company. It's a good party and people really get to know each other.
The next morning, a beautiful scene of a Greek village coming to life, a painful blue sky, fishing boats going out to sea, old ladies shopping and so on. CHANDLER and DOUGLAS wake up slowly their heads in their arms on a table inside the taverna. YANNI brings a tray of coffees and two glasses of ouzo. DOUGLAS downs everything. Then dashes back up to the centre to take his first class.
DOUGLAS's first class consists of MARJORY, a woman who is at the centre to learn yoga, but that course doesn't start until the following week. She's a woman who thinks The Sound of Music is the best film ever made. JOAN is there because she bought her husband a video camera for Christmas and wants to show him how to improve his home videos. She can't remember what her favourite film is. SPENCER is a film buff who was hoping to meet the original director who was down to do the course because he's read his book. His favourite films are Battleship Potemkin and Bladerunner. And a Japanese woman called KAMI who wanted to do the writing course but it was over subscribed. Her favourite film is Some Like it Hot.
Later in the afternoon DOUGLAS is walking down into the town with OLIVER the writing teacher. CHANDLER spies them and calls them over and they proceed to drink. Later some of the other people who have been out with YANNI on his boat for the afternoon join them. It turns into a bit of a confessional. We learn that CHANDLER hasn't been laid for over a year, that DOUGLAS's girlfriend is an actress and is in Hollywood playing a waitress in 'Frazier' and is a real waitress the rest of the time, he hasn't seen her for five months.
[PINCH 1]They also decide that they must have a quest/odyssey to find a decent Greek wine on the island. Shirley Turpentine!
DOUGLAS also decides with the help of OLIVER that he is going to get CHANDLER laid.
As the day turns into night another party atmosphere ensues. CHANDLER is chatting to one of the women HELEN who is there to do the writing course. YANNIS and his sons are playing Greek music again. HELEN wants CHANDLER to dance, but CHANDLER can't dance. She gets up and starts dancing with DOUGLAS and a few others.
Later that night DOUGLAS comes out of HELEN's apartment and Greek dances through the street. He comes to CHANDLER's window and starts peeing against the wall he wakes CHANDLER and makes up a story about his conquest. CHANDLER leans out of his window and pees on DOUGLAS's head.
The next day everyone has a hangover including the weather. It's raining. Serious rain. The little cobbled streets flow with streams of water. DOUGLAS arrives at the centre late, coincidently just ahead of HELEN. Which gets some people gossiping.
CHANDLER is sitting inside a little cafe drinking coffee and watching the rain when he notices the Greek newspaper being read by the old man sitting next to him. He borrows it. The front page has a picture of the Greek rower. He looks nothing like CHANDLERS description, from the day before. CHANDLER leaves the cafe and heads for the internet cafe. His mobile rings it's the office they need him to write a story every day about NIKOS KAZANTZAKIS the Greek rower. It turns out he went to university with the proprietor's son. While running with his jacket over his head to protect him against the torrential rain he bumps into OLYMPIA a very beautiful Greek woman who owns a jewellery shop, she too is rushing into the internet cafe, to send an email to her son in Athens. Inside the internet cafe, which is really a bar run by a Dutch lesbian couple called HELLI and BELLA there are three terminals. NORA is sitting at the middle one. NORA translates the newspaper story for CHANDLER then helps him with the computer. She formally introduces him to OLYMPIA. Who has been listening to their conversation and informs CHANDLER that her son in Athens knows someone who knows someone who might be able to help him NIKOS KAZANTZAKIS mobile phone number on board his kayak.
That afternoon the weather has improved. CHANDLER is down on the beach laying in the scrub reading Zorba the Greek. He spies DOUGLAS ambling along the beach and tries to ignore him. But to no avail. They retreat to a taverna to partake in "the finest wines know to humanity", and of course, "cakes". The taverna is empty and has a view down onto the beach. After they have eaten, NORA turns up. DOUGLAS is talking about how skint he is.
NORA takes the boys for a drive up into a little village. Inside a dingy kafeneon they are given glasses of really good wine. They are encouraged to join in a poker school with the local Mafia bosses. DOUGLAS who has spent long hours sitting around on film sets is a very good player and wins a decent amount of cash. CHANDLER looses everything of course, mostly to DOUGLAS. This will be a parody of the beginning scene of Reservoir Dogs, the camera moving around the table. Douglas will be ranting on about how he thinks Bryan Ferry has lost his cool now he wears leather trouser.” No one looks good in leather trousers"
DOUGLAS is telling CHANDLER how on a film if they run out of ideas they lift/pastiche an idea from another film, as he is saying this the old man of the village is taking them round the back of the village. In a field there is a ram shackled old shed, the old man tries to open the door it falls off. DOUGLAS "You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off" [The Italian Job]. A golden light emits from the shed, it shines on our hero’s gob smacked faces. [Pulp Fiction] They start laughing.
[PINCH 2] Cut to the boys emptying NORAS car boot of a dozen flagons of home made red wine out side YANNI's taverna.
That night everyone meets again at YANNIS's taverna. They are all sitting around eating and drinking. DOUGLAS is being very entertaining/boorish depending on which camp you have fallen into. JOAN one of the women from DOUGLAS's group has a heart attack and dies at the table. Pandemonium ensues. Later we see the table devoid of people but covered in huge black crows stealing the leftover food.
The next morning a helicopter lands to fly the body off the island. People are out to watch. CHANDLER tries desperately to get a ride. It's not allowed. He then learns form OLYMPIA that NIKOS KAZANTZAKIS is going to be calling in at the island either today or tomorrow. CHANDLER is very excited.
However everyone else are feeling pretty low following the death. DOUGLAS decides they should have a wake, as that's what JOAN would have wanted. But only a hard core agrees most people go back to their rooms. CHANDLER arrives latter having wined and dined OLYMPIA. The weather starts to turn bad. Rain thunder and lightening
DOUGLAS has gone back to HELEN's apartment he is pouring the good wine, his face a glow sitting on the bed when the room starts rattling and things start moving around and falling off the shelves. An earthquake. DOUGLAS asks if the earth has moved for HELEN? They rush out into the street like everyone else. There is a power cut. Down in the square they meet up with the rest of the group and all the locals. One of the women is worried about her friend who has taken a sleeping pill and still hasn't shown up in the square. She tells DOUGLAS were her apartment is and Douglas goes off to investigate. There are more earth tremours. DOUGLAS rushes into the apartment scoops up MARJORY who is very groggy. Just as he is leaving the apartment, CHANDLER comes running up to help as a huge boulder comes crashing down the mountain and smashes into the house they were just in. As DOUGLAS and CHANDLER walk back into the square with MARJORY they are greeted as heroes.
CHANDLER suddenly remembers NIKOS KAZANTZAKIS the Greek rower. He rings him. The sea is rough and NIKOS is hanging on for grim death it's pitch black. YANNIS has his boat, which we have seen him using earlier. He volunteers to take CHANDLER out to sea to help guide NIKOS into the harbour. CHANDLER is a lousy sailor but agrees to do it. DOUGLAS organises everyone with a car, motorbike, bus, lorry and torch to shine their lights out to sea.
It's getting light when they return, but all the people have stayed up to greet them.
Next day CHANDLER wakes in his own room, which is covered in dust. He opens the window and looks down on a huge boulder that has crushed a car. He now has a good story of his own. At the internet cafe and we see him happily bashing away at a keyboard. OLYMPIA is behind him reading the screen. Her hand on his shoulder...
DOUGLAS and his remaining three students are out making a film. NIKOS KAZANTZAKIS is setting off on the next leg of his journey. The writing class is writing. The relationship class is relating. NORA and YANNI are arguing.
The last night is cabaret night. MIKE the awful American is the compere; each character will do a little turn. KAMI will do a brilliant Sally Bowles. MARJORY plays a mean jazz trumpet. OLIVER reads one of his poems. DOUGLAS will do his Michael Caine impersonation.
Before DOUGLAS goes on he looks around and discovers that MARGO isn't there. He asks her roommate where she is. She says she is having an early night. DOUGLAS heads off up the street. He knocks on her door and persuades her to come to the party. She does and enjoys herself and even gets a little drunk.
The final scene: a beautiful Greek evening. Everyone is on the beach. YANNIS and his son are playing their guitars and bazooka. DOUGLAS suddenly leaps to his feet and starts dancing he encourages CHANDLER up and they link arms and start dancing a very Zorba the Greek moment. NORA smiles and winks at YANNI.
Titles roll over 'happy snap' type photographs from the past two weeks. Over a very grooved up version of Cliff Richard's 'Summer Holiday' mixed with Madonna's 'Holiday'.