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TAKEN AWAY

Two 16 year-olds, one a foul-mouthed cutter, the other a church boy, become unlikely allies when they are snatched from separate states and brought to a remote hideaway by an inexperienced kidnapper and his mother who's fresh out of prison but dying.

We PUSH IN on a screen door on a rickety porch. A shotgun BLAST and a man flies out at us, back first. Young Cole appears in the doorway.

Cole Dolan, now 35, sits on the bed in a small, all-but-empty room and stares out at the forest of hardwoods. Later, we follow him as he drives through the gates of a women's prison and waits outside. Cole is the soft-spoken, dutiful son of Meg, late 50s, who's being released today after some fifteen years. She is wheelchair bound and dying. Cole takes her to their new 'home', a simple house hidden in a mountain forest.

Arin Hester, 16, is an angry young lady, who proudly admits to her shrink that she feels nothing. Maybe that's why she continually cuts herself, this last time carving the word “morte” in her forearm with a nail clipper. Arin and mom Joy are at loggerheads, and a frustrated Joy even suggests that, “some kids just run away.” In stark contrast to Arin, one state away, is Luke Atwood, 16, a handsome, golf-playing, god-fearing young man.

Once settled in to their new digs, Cole sets off to pick up his paycheck at Belhaven Assisted Living Facility, but while there, he also steals some drugs. He drives to another city where he uses a ruse and a syringe to kidnap Luke outside Mulligan's driving range. Cole packs Luke in the trunk of his car, drops him off back at the hideout, and drives off to find Arin in a park where he nabs her after she's completed a minor drug deal with another teen, the pretty Kate.

When Arin wakes up in the same strange room with Luke, she's ready to fly into him, but soon finds out that he's also a prisoner, though he handles it in a much different manner. After 3 days he seems to have made his peace with it. He's been relying on his God to get him through. This infuriates Arin, and she convinces him that they can and will escape. They hatch a plan. Uncle Ned, who's been following Cole since Meg's release, shows up after many years to check in on Meg. Seems he wants to make sure she dies. Cole kicks him off the property, but is worried.

Arin and Luke execute their plan and make their getaway, but Luke's fall and apparent leg injury forces them to retreat into the woods 'til dawn. During that night together, Luke reveals secrets to Arin which bring them closer. They seem to touch each other in very unexpected, yet much-needed ways.

When they waken the next morning, Cole is waiting to take them back to the hideout at gunpoint. He warns them not to mention anything to Meg. Arin makes an escape, and Cole is forced to stay back with Luke. Arin makes her way, hands bound, through the dense forest, until she happens upon a churning river and a tent. Uncle Ned offers her assistance but tries to take advantage of her. Cole tracks her down and saves her, violently. Detective Swope meets with Luke's family who now know their son is missing.

Luke's been influenced by Arin. He's not the same kid anymore. The captives finally meet Meg, and she drops the surprising bombshell that Arin and Luke are her twin children taken away from her when she was sent off to prison. She waited over 15 years to see them. Their capture was Cole's gift to her. He tried to do it the right way, but got nowhere. Arin flips out. She's finally found a reason to live, to care, and now this?!

Meg, momentarily rejuvenated by her private time with each of her estranged children, wants them all to go out as a family. And against Cole’s better judgment, they find themselves at a Waffle House. While Arin’s in the restroom, a Highway Patrolman talks to the family about Cole's old car. Arin chooses not to tell him anything.

Swope closes in. Arin and Luke waken to the sounds of a struggle. Cole drags someone in. Kate, bound and gagged! Arin was in the wrong place at the wrong time that night in the park, as Cole watched Kate ride off. Rather than chasing her down, he snatched Arin and destroyed the files he was working off, so Meg wouldn't find out. Now he was going to make it right. But while Arin celebrates with Cole and Luke, Kate, removes Cole's weapon and, in an awkward, acrobatic move, shoots him. Arin and Luke carry Cole out onto the porch where Swope arrives with local PD. While his partner attends to Cole, Swope clears the house, finds Kate, identifies her, and informs her of her real relationship to Cole...and her mother.

Script Excerpt
Written by:
Format:
Screenplay
Budget:
Low
Starring Roles For:
16-Year teen Girl
16-year old boy
DASH MIHOK
In the Vein Of:
A Place Beyond the Pines
FROZEN RIVER
TAKEN
Posted:
04/01/2020
Updated:
01/02/2021
Author Bio:
Art D’Alessandro co-founded and ran one of the Southeast’s most highly regarded talent schools for over 22 years. His love of movies has led to nearly 50 screenplays bearing his name as writer, including the produced feature films “The Final Season” (1100 screens, Sean Astin, Powers Boothe, et al), "She Drives Me Crazy" (Lifetime, Winner of CTV's Gemini Award for Best TV Movie, Melinda Clarke), "Mayor Cupcake" (Showtime, Lea Thompson, Zoey Deutch, & Judd Nelson), "Letters to God" (900 screens, Ralph Waite), “All Shook Up” (Sarah Chalke & Frank Gorshin) and the award-winning indie thriller “ZZYZX”, starring Kenny Johnson of The Shield and SWAT fame.

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