An old hotel elevator operator in Washington, D.C., discovers an alignment of past and present.
Tom Hanks races to the top of the Empire State Building for a fated rendezvous with Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle —
Keanu Reeves descends to rescue hostages from the evil Dennis Hopper in Speed —
Gene Wilder propels his pure imagination to even greater heights in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory —
Will Ferrell acts out the ultimate push-button fantasy in Elf —
Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, and Josh Hutcherson react differently to Jena Malone’s striptease in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
And in 2010’s Devil… well, never mind.
What do all these movie scenes have in common? An elevator! Ever contemplated inserting an elevator scene into your screenplay? If you haven’t… perhaps you should. It’s a detail so vital to the Die Hard franchise that elevator scenes were included in all five movies. Yippee-ki-yay! As Bruce Willis might say…
And in the short script Fabrini, an elevator proves the perfect stage. The protagonist: 74-year-old Joe Fabrini; longtime elevator operator at the Doyle Hotel in D.C. A man at peace with his place in life, Joe’s almost a part of the hotel himself. Attired in a “burgundy whipcord suit and gendarme cap,” Fabrini is a fixture of a bygone era – eagerly regaling riders with stories of famous people who have stayed at the hotel. Though he clearly relishes the spotlight, he’s also quick to point out, “I see a lot of things. But I see nothing.”
When the story opens, Fabrini has the rapt attention of a couple as he describes a brief encounter with Jackie Kennedy. As the couple exits, Joe’s in midstory of yet another tale… regarding old-time screen actress Ida Lupino. Fabrini takes the interruption in stride, welcoming aboard two new riders: the elegant 66-year-old Miss Carlson and her son, Paul. Miss Carlson visited the Doyle once before. A long, long time ago.
Fabrini immediately engages the two in repartee – it turns out Miss Carlson likes Lupino too! Fabrini and Carlson share fond memories of the Doyle Hotel’s ballroom, that “wonderfully romantic place in the old days.” Which is when young Paul reveals, “It’s the reason we’re here.” The question is – what exactly does that mean?
A vivid story-within-a-story, Fabrini is a touching tale filled with sweetness and nostalgia. For a smart and sensitive director, this ride is well worth taking…
Budget: Minimal. A handful of characters. Dress Joe Fabrini appropriately to add flair. Getting permission to commandeer an elevator should be easy. Plus, do yourself a favor — Google “Ida Lupino.” 🙂
About the Writer: Henry Christner, a former teacher and newspaperman, is a relative newcomer to screenwriting. He is the author of one feature, “Let Me Die in My Footsteps,” and three shorts — “Conversion,” “Hagridden,” and “Fabrini.” He can be reached at Hdchristner (a) yahoo!
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This screenplay may not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.