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"THE SELECTION"

EPISODE 1.01: "PILOT"


SCREENPLAY BY
ASHLEIGH HAYNES

BASED ON THE BOOKS BY KIERA CASS


"THE SELECTION" PAGE 1

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A WORK OF FAN FICTION. I, ASHLEIGH HAYNES,
DO NOT OWN THE SELECTION. FURTHERMORE, THIS WORK DOES NOT
REFLECT THE VIEWS OF KIERA CASS, HARPERTEEN, OR ANY OTHER
PARTIES INVOLVED IN ANY OFFICIAL OR UNOFFICIAL CAPACITY WITH THE
SELECTION. THIS FAN SCRIPT BELONGS TO ASHLEIGH HAYNES AND MAY
NOT BE PRODUCED IN ANY WAY/SHAPE/FORM. THIS SCRIPT IS FOR
READING ONLY. NO PRODUCTION OF THIS SCRIPT IS INTENDED.

SCREENWRITER'S NOTE: I HAVE NO PROFESSIONAL TRAINING OR
EDUCATION IN SCREENWRITING. I AM BASING THE FORMAT OF THIS
SCRIPT ON MY PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE READING SCREENPLAYS.

TO CONTACT ME WITH ANY INQUIRIES, PLEASE EMAIL:
ahselection2014@gmail.com

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 2

PART ONE
ESTABLISHING: SHOTS OF SEVERAL MODERN CITIES (NEW YORK, LA,
CHICAGO, TORONTO, ETC.). THE CITIES ARE BUSTLING WITH PEOPLE,
MOVING HURRIEDLY BACK AND FORTH, NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THE
WORLD AROUND THEM. A VOICE OVER BEGINS AS THE SHOTS ALTERNATE.

AMERICA (V.O.)
Years ago, our country was divided into several other
successful but politically corrupt nations. The United
States, Canada, a slew of others. Millions upon
millions of people lived here. It used to be known as
North America. At least, that's what the history books
tell us.But then, about 300 years ago. . .

SCREEN BLACKS OUT. AMERICA'S VOICE OVER CONTINUES.

AMERICA (V.O.) (CONT.)
. . . Everything changed.

BRIEF SHOTS OF BOMBS EXPLODING, REGULAR AND NUCLEAR; RAGING
FIRES ON BATTLEFIELDS; SCREAMING IN THE BACKGROUND.

AMERICA (V.O.) (CONT.)
The nations here in the west were attacked and invaded
by the nations of the east, and the entire continent
of countries nearly fell to ruin. Finally, having
watched millions of people suffer and die at the hands
of the countries of the east, the remnants of the
western countries allied to form a new country. Illa.

AERIAL SHOT OF A NEW CITY, IN "PRESENT DAY ILLA," OVER 300
YEARS IN THE FUTURE. IF YOU DIDN'T KNOW ANY BETTER, YOU'D THINK
IT WAS A TOWN FROM HUNDREDS OF YEARS IN OUR OWN PAST; THE
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STREETS THAT WERE ONCE MADE OF ASPHALT ARE NOW IN DISREPAIR,
COVERED IN DIRT AND GROWING WITH WEEDS; THE BUILDINGS THAT SKIRT
THE ROAD ARE DIRTY, STACKED UP AGAINST EACH OTHER, EACH MORE
DILAPIDATED THAN THE LAST. IT'S LATE AFTERNOON/EARLY EVENING.

AMERICA (V.O.) (CONT.)
With the new country still in shambles from the war,
the founders of Illa instituted a caste system to
give every citizen their place in the new society.

THE VOICE OVER CONTINUES AS WE MOVE THROUGH THE TOWN, CATCHING
GLIMPSES OF SEVERAL DIFFERENT PEOPLE; CHILDREN IN DIRTY CLOTHES
PLAYING WITH AN OLD BALL THAT'S JUST ABOUT HAD IT; PARENTS
SHOPPING AT THE MARKET AND BUYING THE LITTLE THEY CAN AFFORD;
ETC.

AMERICA (V.O.) (CONT.)
There are eight castes, each with their own skill sets
and status, and knowing where you belong in the system
is a necessity for survival.

AS AMERICA LISTS THE CASTES, WE SEE GLIMPSES OF MEMBERS OF EACH
AND HOW THEY LIVE IN THE ILLAN SOCIETY.

AMERICA (V.O.) (CONT.)
I suppose I'll start from the bottom and work my way
up. After all, didn't that used to be the American
dream? Well, it's crazy. And it's certainly not this
America's dream. (SHE LAUGHS AT HER JOKE.) You'll get
that later.

SHOT SHOWS THE HOMELESS, CROUCHED IN ALLEYS OR BEGGING FOR MONEY
ON THE STREET CORNER. MOST PEOPLE JUST IGNORE THEM ENTIRELY AND
WALK PAST.
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AMERICA (V.O.) (CONT.)
The lowest caste are the Eights. Unless you are one,
you learn to stay away from them at a young age. The
Eights are street rats. They're orphans and runaways,
the mentally ill or the physically disabled. And the
traitors of the crown, of course. That is, if you're
lucky enough to still have a head after betraying the
monarchy.

A BEAUTIFUL, NEW, CHROMED-OUT, SCI-FI-LOOKING CAR DRIVES THROUGH
THE STREET PAST THE CAMERA, THE ONE REDEEMINGIF CONFUSING
QUALITY ABOUT THIS SMALL CITY THAT PLACES IT IN A TIME FAR
BEYOND THIS ONE. THE CAR SEEMS SINCERELY OUT OF PLACE AS IT
PASSES HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGES AND CHILDREN RUNNING AND PLAYING IN
THE STREET, AS WELL AS BUSY WORKERS, MOVING FROM ONE JOB TO THE
NEXT OR LEAVING THE MARKET TO HEAD HOME. THE CAMERA FOLLOWS THE
CAR THROUGH THE CITY FOR A MOMENT BEFORE THE ROAD BECOMES ACTUAL
BLACKTOP, FRESHLY-PAVED AND WELL-MAINTAINED. AMERICA'S VOICE
OVER CONTINUES AS A HUGE MANSION COMES INTO VIEW. THE CAMERA
PULLS AWAY FROM THE CAR TO MOVE THROUGH THE ESTATE; FIRST OFF,
WE SEE THE SEVENS AMERICA IS DESCRIBINGA COUPLE IN THE GARDEN
TENDING TO PERFECT FLOWERS AND FERNS, ONE MOWING A PERFECTLY
MANICURED LAWN.

AMERICA (V.O.) (CONT.)
Just a step up from the street are the Sevens. They're
a thousand times better off than the Eights, and still
fifty steps down from being remotely financially
stable. They're the labor class. They're the ones
you'll see building new houses or cleaning the
swimming pool of some rich Two or Three. They don't
have much, and it isn't unusual for them to have to go
a couple of days without eating, even during a good
week. They go to public school for a few years, but
mostly, the kids have to start working pretty young to
help out the family.

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THE SHOT MOVES INSIDE THE HOUSE AS AMERICA CONTINUES TO NARRATE.
WE PASS BY HOUSEKEEPERS BUSTLING ABOUT ON THE UPPER FLOORS;
MAIDS AND OTHER HOUSE WORKERS PREPARING A LARGE BALLROOM FOR A
PARTY TO COME, SETTING TABLECLOTHS AND CANDLES EVERYWHERE; COOKS
IN THE KITCHEN PREPARING A FEAST FOR THE HOUSEOWNER'S
EXTRAVAGANT PARTY.
AMERICA (V.O.) (CONT.)
Then there's the Sixes. Even though they thankfully
work inside most of the time, which especially helps
during the burning Carolina summers, they're not that
much better off than the Sevens. Sixes are the people
who work for the upper castes. They're secretaries,
waiters and waitresses, housekeepers, drivers.

THE SHOT SWIVELS BACK AROUND TO THE CAR; A YOUNG MAN, HANDSOME,
BUT RUGGEDLY SO, HURRIES FROM HIS SPOT AT THE SIDE OF THE LONG
ROUND-ABOUT DRIVEWAY TO THE CAR AND PULLS THE BACK DOOR OPEN FOR
THE PASSENGERS. WE DON'T KNOW IT YET, BUT THIS IS ASPEN LEGER,
19. HE'S AMERICA'S SECRET BOYFRIEND. WE'LL BE SEEING A LOT MORE
OF HIM. THE FIRST PERSON EXITS THE CAR; IT'S A MIDDLE-AGED MAN.
HE STRAGHTENS HIMSELF AND TAKES IN THE SIGHT OF THE MANSION WITH
A SMILETHIS IS AN ANCHIEVEMENT INDEED. HE REACHES OUT HIS HAND
AND DROPS A FEW COINS INTO ASPEN'S HAND AS A TIP. ASPEN SMILES
FAKELY AT THE "TIP." THE MAN REACHES BEHIND HIM AND EXTENDS HIS
ARM, WHICH IS TAKEN BY A WOMAN, WHO PULLS HERSELF GRACEFULLY OUT
OF THE CAR. BOTH THE MAN AND WOMAN ARE DRESSED EXTRAVAGANTLY,
THOUGH NOT QUITE EXPENSIVELY. THESE ARE THE FOURS IN THE CASTE
SYSTEM. THEY ARE THE HOMEOWNER'S FRIENDS, A REAL ESTATE AGENT
AND AN INSURANCE BROKER, PERHAPS?

AMERICA (V.O.) (CONT.)
The Fours have probably the biggest variety of skills
and jobs in all the castes. They're mostly business
peopleyou know, store owners, real estate agents,
insurance brokers. Though, some of them, like my
sister, Kenna, and her husband are factory workers.
They aren't richat least not usuallybut they aren't
exactly destitute either. Fours actually have
something to their name. For those in the lower
castes, a Four's wealth is enough to make you go green
with envy.
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AS THE TWO FOURS WALK TOWARD THE HOUSE, ASPEN CLOSES THE CAR
DOOR AND IT PULLS AWAY, REPLACED ALMOST IMMEDIATELY BY ANOTHER.
AGAIN, ASPEN OPENS THE DOOR, HOLDING OUT A HAND TO THE
PASSENGER. A YOUNG WOMAN, SLIGHTLY MORE EXTRAVAGANTLY DRESSED IN
AN EVENING GOWN, EMERGES FROM THE CAR, SMILING GRACIOUSLY AT
ASPEN. SHE WEARS STYLISH GLASSES. HER HAIR IS PULLED BACK
BEAUTIFULLY, WRAPPED IN A BUN THAT IS HELD IN PLACE WITH A
SIMPLE BLACK WOODEN PENCIL. SHE'S A THREE, A WRITER.

AMERICA (V.O.) (CONT.)
The lowest of the three main upper castes, Threes are
the intellectuals. They're anything from writers and
inventors to psychologists and teachers. Of course,
there's film directors, music producers, and lawyers
too. Being a Three means living comfortably and having
the money to feed your family, or even the money to
protect yourself from having a family if you don't
want one. As strange as that might sound, you'd be
surprised exactly what is a luxury that people like
Fives and below don't have access to, much less have
the money for. Planned parenting is a coveted luxury
for Threes and above.

THE WRITER MAKES HER WAY UP TO THE HOUSESHE DOESN'T HAVE A
HUSBAND OR A DATE, AND SHE SEEMS FINE NOT HAVING ONE. ASPEN
CLOSES THE CAR DOOR, AND THIS CAR, TOO, PULLS AWAY. THE SHOT
DOESN'T STICK AROUND TO SEE ANY MORE CARS PULLING UP. INSTEAD,
WE GO UP TO THE HOUSE, FOLLOWING THE WRITER AND THE FOUR COUPLE,
JUST AHEAD OF HER, AS THEY REACH THE GIANT MANSION. ON THE HUGE
VERANDA IN FRONT OF THE HOUSE, A REASONABLY HANDSOME, SHARPLY-
DRESSED MAN OF ABOUT 40 WELCOMES HIS GUESTS TO HIS HOME; A YOUNG
GOERGEOUS WOMAN OF ABOUT 25 WITH PLATINUM BLONDE HAIR AND A
SHINY EVENING GOWN THAT FITS HER PLENTIFUL CURVES TIGHTLY IS ON
THE MAN'S ARM, SMILING AND NODDING OCCASIONALLY, BUT NOT
SPEAKING. SHE IS CLEARLY A TROPHY WIFE. THE MAN IS THE MAYOR OF
CAROLINA; THE WOMAN IS HIS WIFE.

AMERICA (V.O.) (CONT.)
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And then, above pretty much everyone else, are the
Twos. They have more money than sense and they want
for nothing. Theyre the who's who of any province and
just about everyone in the country knows them by name.
They're celebrities for the most part, like actors and
pop stars and athletes. Then there's the politicians
like the province mayors. Last but not least, there's
the protectors, like firefighters, police. Even the
soldiers that are drafted from the lower castes become
Twos. The Twos are literally a step down from royalty.
AMERICA FALLS SILENT AND WE CONTINUE TO WATCH THE MAYOR AND HIS
WIFE GREET GUESTS. THE FOUR COUPLE FINALLY REACHES THEM. THE MAN
SHAKES HANDS WITH THE MAYOR WHILE HIS WIFE EXCHANGES AIR KISSES
WITH THE MAYORS WIFE.

JONATHAN (FOUR MAN)
Mayor Wagner, thank you for inviting us.

MAYOR WAGNER
Of course, Jonathan. Mila, ever lovely as always.

MILA (FOUR WOMAN)
Why thank you, Mayor.

MAYOR WAGNER
We are so glad the two of you could make it. Please,
come in.

THE TWO FOURS NOD AND THEN JONATHAN ESCORTS MILA BY THE ARM INTO
THE HOUSE. THE WRITER IS NEXT TO GREET HER HOSTS. MAYOR WAGNER
KNOWS HER AND SMILES BRIGHTLY AT HER ARRIVAL, BRINGING HER HAND
TO HIS LIPS AND KISSING LIGHTLY.

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WAGNER
Anne Marie, how wonderful that you could make it.


ANNE MARIE
I wouldn't miss one of your parties for the world,
Nathan. Though you have been noticeably lacking on the
details as to why exactly you're having it.

WAGNER (CONFIDINGLY)
It's a secret. Come inside, and find out the exciting
news for yourself.

AMERICA'S VOICE OVER RETURNS AS ANNE MARIE NODS CONSPIRATORILY
TO THE MAYOR BEFORE DISMISSING HERSELF AND WALKING INTO THE
HOUSE. THE MAYOR AND HIS WIFE CONTINUE WITH THE PLEASANTRIES OF
GREETING MORE GUESTS.

AMERICA (V.O.)
That was the night before everything changed for me.
Of course the Mayor knew before anyone else in the
province and welcomed the Selection with open arms,
throwing a party to celebrate the miniscule
possibility that the future Queen of Illa would be
one of his citizens. I'm sure there were dozens of
other parties across the country that night. People
that were lucky enough to score invitations would know
before the letters even arrived what a whirlwind the
country was about to be thrown into. They'd find out
in a grand announcement followed by applause and
cheering. They'd be excited, as most of the country
would be when they found out that the time once again
had come to auction off one of Illa's own to become a
princess. I, on the other hand, wasn't the least bit
thrilled at the idea.
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SHOTS FADES FROM THE MAYOR'S SMILING FACE AND HIS GLORIOUS
MANSION TO A DILAPIDATED TINY HOUSE THE NEXT MORNING. IT'S THE
SINGER RESIDENCE. WE SEE MAGDA, AMERICA'S MOTHER, WALKING THROUGH
THE FRONT DOOR, CARRYING A BAG OF GROCERIES UNDER ONE ARM, THE
MAIL IN HER HAND AS SHE CAREFULLY OPENS THE DOOR. SHE IS A MIDDLE
AGED WOMAN THAT, THOUGH PERHAPS ONCE BEAUTIFUL, TIME HAS NOT BEEN
TOO KIND TO. CAMERA FOLLOWS HER AS SHE MAKES HER WAY THROUGH THE
FRONT DOOR, PAST THE SMALL ENTRY WAY, AND INTO THE SMALL KITCHEN,
WHERE SHE HAPHZARDLY DROPS THE MAIL ONTO THE TABLE BEFORE MOVING
TO PUT THE GROCERIES UP. THE SHOT ZOOMS IN ON THE PILE OF MAIL,
WHICH FEATURES SEVERAL SMALL, DULL ENVELOPES SITTING ON TOP OF A
MUCH BRIGHTER AND MORE COLORFUL LARGER ENVELOPE, MADE OF A THICK
PAPER. THE ENVELOPE CLEARLY STANDS OUT IN THE PILE OF MAIL.
AMERICA'S VOICE OVER CONTINUES AS HER MOTHER PLACES THE
GROCERIES.

AMERICA (V.O.) (CONT.)
I've heard that, when this place was still called the
United States of America, there were elected leaders
who could choose who they wanted to be with for love.
Marrying wasn't as much of a business transaction as it
was an exchange of vows meant to say 'I love you.'

CAMERA FINALLY PULLS AWAY FROM THE ENVELOPE AND MOVES THROUGH
THE SMALL HOUSE, MAKING ITS WAY DOWN A HALL UNTIL IT REACHES A
DOOR THAT STANDS SLIGHTLY OPEN. THE CAMERA MOVES THROUGH THE
DOOR INTO A SMALL BEDROOM. (AMERICA'S VOICE OVER NOW RESUMES).
IN THE ROOM IS A SMALL BED, SITTING ON WHICH IS A VIBRANT
REDHEAD, HER BACK TO THE CAMERA. SHE FACES A MUSIC STAND IN
FRONT OF HER AS SHE PLAYS A VIOLIN THAT RESTS ON HER CHIN. WE
HEAR THE SWEET MELODY SHE PLAYS; SHE IS QUITE TALENTED. THIS IS
AMERICA SINGER, 16, FIERY TEMPER TO MATCH HER BRIGHT RED LOCKS.

AMERICA (V.O.) (CONT.)
I don't know whether that's true or not, but I know
that rarely happens now. That country is gone, and the
only America left is me. Terrible pun, I know, but
it's true. My name is America Singer. I'm a Five. I
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kind of skipped them earlier. We're artistsmusicians,
painters, sculptors. I am a Five. At least, I was. And
I was happy with that, I really was.
Most people hear about the Selection and think that
it's the story of a prince finding his princess. But
this isn't a prince's story. It's all mine. I never
really had that girly interest in being a princess. I
certainly never asked for anything like that. Then
again, Cinderella never asked for a prince. She asked
for a night off and a dress. I didn't even want that
much. I just wanted to live my life as a Five, maybe
even as a Six if things went the way they were
supposed to; marry the love of my life, have children,
grow old, and die. Was that really so much to ask?

THERE IS A SCREAM OF SURPRISE OFF SCREEN, FOLLOWED BY MAGDA'S
VOICE CALLING HER DAUGHTER'S NAME.

MAGDA (O.S)
America!

THE GIRL SITTING ON THE BED PULLS THE VIOLIN AWAY FROM HER FACE
AND TURNS AROUND TO FACE THE DOOR, A MIXTURE OF FEAR AND
CONFUSION ON HER FACE. THIS IS THE FIRST LOOK WE GET OF AMERICA
SINGER, AND SHE IS POSITIVELY RADIANT. IT'S NOT MAKEUP OR BEING
OBNOXIOUSLY OVERTLY BEAUTIFUL; SHE'S JUST NATURALLY ATTRACTIVE.
SHE JUMPS UP OFF THE BED AFTER ONLY A MOMENT'S HESITATION,
LAYING THE VIOLIN DOWN ON THE THIN COMFORTER AS SHE RUNS THROUGH
THE DOOR.

SHOT RETURNS TO MAGDA; SHE'S STANDING IN THE KITCHEN, THE MAIL
DROPPED AT HER FEET, ALL EXCEPT ONE LETTERTHE BEAUTIFULLY
COLORFUL ONE WE NOTICED EARLIER. SHE STARES AT IT, AWESTRUCK, A
HAND OVER HER MOUTH, WHEN AMERICA RUNS INTO THE ROOM. WE HEAR
HER BEFORE WE SEE HER.

AMERICA (O.S)
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Mom? What's wrong?

SHE STOPS IN THE KITCHEN DOORWAY, STARING AT HER MOTHER WITH A
PUZZLED EXPRESSION.

AMERICA (CONT.)
Mom, what's going on? You scared me to death!

MAGDA DROPS HER HAND REVEALING A HUGE GRIN, HOLDING OUT THE
LETTER AS HER ONLY EXPLINATION. AMERICA, HALTINGLY, STEPS
FORWARD TO TAKE THE LETTER. SHE FIXES HER MOTHER WITH ONE LAST
QUESTIONING GLANCE AS SHE LOOKS DOWN AT THE ENVELOPE IN HER
HAND. THE CONFUSED LOOK ON HER FACE DOESN'T DISAPPEAR, BUT HER
URGENCY AND WORRY FADE AWAY.

AMERICA (CONT.)
A letter from the royal palace in Angeles?

SHE TURNS THE LETTER OVER IN HER HANDS TO OPEN IT.

AMERICA (CONT.)
What's all this ab?

SHE FALTERS, FREEZING AS SHE FINALLY SEES THE EMBLEM ON THE BACK
OF THE ENVELOPE A GOLD-EMBOSSED TIARA, WITH THE LETTER 'S'
PRINTED BELOW IT. HER EYES RAISE TO HER MOTHER'S, AN UNEASY LOOK
ON HER FACE. SHE DOESN'T BOTHER TO OPEN THE LETTER NOWSHE KNOWS
EXACTLY WHAT IT WILL SAY.

AMERICA (CONT.)
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Let me guessPrince Maxon has a birthday coming up.

MAGDA'S EXHILARATED EXPRESSION FALLS.


MAGDA
Why aren't you excited? This could be just what we
needed. This could be an opportunity for us.

AMERICA
You're right, it could be an opportunity. If I was
Selected. Which I won't be. Being Selected generally
means that you have to put in your application, and
that's something I'm not going to do.

MAGDA
And why is that, exactly? Give me one good reason for
you to stay here for the rest of your life, a Five
with next to nothing, when you could be living in a
palace.

AMERICA
Mom, I am not entering for even the slightest chance
to become a part of the most outdated, pathetic show
that is the Selection. I am not going to try to be one
of thirty five girls that fall all over themselves
trying to become a royal while our pompous snob of a
prince just chooses the prettiest and most obedient of
them to marry.

MAGDA
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We could use the money. You know that. The Selection
contestants and their families get paid just to be at
the palace, even if they don't win! And imagine what
this could do for the family in general, how far it
can move us up



AMERICA
I'm happy where I am, Mom. Sure, we don't have tons of
extra cash lying around, but we get by just fine.
Besides, do you know how many girls in this province
alone are going to be entering? They're all vying for
that one spot in the Selection. It wouldn't be fair
for us to get May and Dad's hopes up when there's no
way I'm going to be chosen.

MAGDA
If you're so sure you aren't going to be chosen, then
what's the problem?

THEIR VOICES HAVE RISEN TO SHOUTS AT THIS POINT, DRAWING THE
ATTENTION OF THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE HOUSEHOLD. MAY AND SHALOM
COME IN FROM ADJOINING ROOM, MAY'S HANDS COVERED IN PAINT WITH A
FEW STREAKS ON HER FACE. MAY IS LIKE AMERICA'S 13-YEAR-OLD
DOPPELGANGER, WITH THE SAME HAIR AND A SIMILAR FACE, ONLY THREE
YEARS YOUNGER. SHALOM, AMERICA'S FATHER, IS AN OLDER MAN, MID-
FORTIES, WITH A FACE WEATHERED BY TIME AND STRESS. THERE IS
CONCERN ON HIS FACE AS THEY ENTER THE ROOM.

SHALOM
What is going on in here?

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 14

MAGDA STARTS TO ANSWER, BUT AMERICA INTERUPTS HER BEFORE SHE CAN
GET A WORD OUT.

AMERICA
Nothing, Dad. It's fine. Just go back to whatever you
were working on.


SHALOM
It certainly didn't sound like nothing, America.
Magda?

MAGDA SNATCHES THE LETTER OUT OF AMERICA'S HAND AND HOLDS IT UP.

MAGDA
This came in the mail today. A letter from the court
of the Royal Palace in Angeles.

SHALOM STEPS FORWARD TO LOOK AT THE LETTER, PUZZLED. THEN HE
STOPS IN HIS TRACKS, A REALIZATION COMING TO HIM.

SHALOM
The Selection?

MAY GASPS, CLEARLY OBLIVIOUS TO THE TENSION BETWEEN AMERICA AND
HER MOTHER. SHALOM EXCHANGES INTENSE LOOKS WITH HIS WIFE. MAY
GUSHES, EXCITED.

MAY
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The Selection? As in the Selection? As in, Prince
Maxon choosing his future wife and the future Queen of
Illa from thirty five normal girls from across the
country?

AMERICA TEARS HER GAZE AWAY FROM HER PARENTS TO LOOK AT HER
SISTER.

AMERICA
Is there any other Royal Selection out there that I've
forgotten about? Maybe that's the one Mom's talking
about and I've just mistaken her meaning entirely.
Because surely she's not trying to talk me into
basically selling me off to jump up a few castes.

MAGDA BREAKS HER GAZE FROM SHALOM'S AND GLARES AT AMERICA.

MAGDA
That's hardly fair, America. I only want what's best
for you.

AMERICA
No, that's not what you want. You want to sell me off
to the highest bidder because you're a caste-jumping
psychopath. What you're trying to do is one step off
from prostitution, actually.

MAGDA
Whatever you think of me, America, you cannot talk to
me like that. I am still your mother and you will
respect me as such.

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 16

MAGDA LOOKS DOWN AT THE ENVELOPE IN HER HANDS FOR A MOMENT
BEFORE RIPPING IT OPEN AND PULLING OUT THE LETTER INSIDE.

AMERICA (RESIGNED)
Mom, what are you doing?

MAGDA
Hush. I think your family deserves to know exactly
what it is you're denying them so selfishly.

AMERICA BEGINS TO PROTEST, BUT MAGDA CARRIES ON OVER HER,
READING FROM THE LETTER OUT LOUD.

MAGDA (CONT.)
"To the House of Singer. The recent census has
confirmed that a single woman between the ages of
sixteen and twenty currently resides in your home. We
would like to make you aware of an upcoming
opportunity to honor the great country of Illa."

AMERICA
Mom.

MAGDA CONTINUES UNINTERUPTED.

MAGDA
"Our beloved Prince Maxon Schreave is coming of age
this month. As he ventures into this new part of his
life, he hopes to move forward with a partner, to
marry a true daughter of Illa. If your eligible
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 17

daughter, sister, or charge is interested in possibly
becoming the bride of Prince Maxon and the adored
princess of Illa, please fill out the form" Blah
blah blah "One woman from each province will be drawn
at random to meet the prince." And here's the best
part. "Participants will be housed at the lovely Illa
Palace in Angeles for the duration of their stay. The
families of each participant will be generously
compensated for their services to the Royal family."

MAGDA REFOLDS THE LETTER AND LOOKS AT MAY AND SHALOM FOR
SUPPORT, WILLING THEM TO SHAME AMERICA FOR HER SELFISHNESS.
SHALOM SPEAKS, BUT OFFERS NO SUPPORT TO HIS WIFE.
SHALOM
Who knew Maxon was already nineteen? How time flies.

MAGDA
Thats hardly the point. America could be bringing in
serious money for this family. She doesn't even have
to win.

AMERICA
Well, that's a relief, because there's no chance of
that happening, is there?

MAGDA
But you don't know that, America. You could be the
princess of Illa.

MAY
Not to mention a One. We'd all be Ones. Royals, Ames.
We could have everything we ever wanted.
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 18


AMERICA
But it's not what I want. I've never wanted that.

MAGDA
Your sister married a Four, America. Don't you think
you could do so much better?


AMERICA
James! Kenna's husband's name is James. He's more than
just a number, though I can see where you might not
realize that. And James is a good guy. Kenna's happy
with him. Maxon Schreave is a spoiled little brat who
doesn't know anything about the world outside the
palace walls or what it's like to be in one of the
lower castes. He has no idea what it's like to work
for a living. But I do. And I'm happy to do it. I love
the music, the singing and playing. It's what I'm good
at. I'm good at being a Five.And it's what I'm going
to do for the rest of my life.

THE FOUR OF THEM STAND IN A STRAINED SILENCE FOR A MOMENT. THEN
WE HEAR A SMALL VOICE AS WE SEE A LITTLE BOY (GERAD, AGE 7) PEER
AROUND THE EDGE OF THE DOORWAY, LOOKING IN UNCERTAINLY.HE LOOKS
NEAR TEARS.

GERAD
'Merica?

AMERICA TURNS AROUND, CATCHING SIGHT OF HER LITTLE BROTHER. SHE
KNEELS DOWN AND OPENS HER ARMS TO HIM; HE RUSHES INTO THEM,
HOLDING ONTO HER NECK TIGHTLY AND PUSHING HIS FACE AGAINST HER
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 19

SHOULDERAS SHE PICKS HIM UP. AMERICA'S DARK DEMENOR DISAPEARS
AND SHE PUTS ON A HAPPY FACE FOR HER BROTHER.

AMERICA
Hey, buddy. What's wrong?

GERAD
I heard you guys shouting.

AMERICA SHOOTS AN ACCUSING GLANCE AT HER MOTHER, CAREFUL NOT TO
LET GERAD SEE.

AMERICA
It's alright, Gerad. Just grown up stuff. It's over
now.

MAGDA
America, this conversation is not over.

AMERICA
Yes, it is. It's my decision, and I've made it.

THERE'S A MOMENT WHERE SHE SHARES A LOOK WITH HER MOTHER AND
THEN PULLS HER GAZE BACK TO HER LITTLE BROTHER IN HER ARMS,
SPEAKING EASILY TO HIM.

AMERICA (CONT.)
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 20

Hey, you want to come hear me play violin? I can play
your favorite.

GERAD IS SILENT, BUT NODS AGAINST AMERICA'S SHOULDER. SHE SMILES
AND RUFFLES HIS HAIR AS SHE SHOOTS ONE LAST GLANCE AT EACH OF
HER FAMILY MEMBERS, UNIQUE EXPRESSIONS ON EACH OF THEIR FACES
(ANGER ON MAGDA'S, SYMPATHY ON SHALOM'S, AND CONFUSION ON MAY'S)
BEFORE SHE TURNS AND CARRIES GERARD THROUGH THE KITCHEN DOORWAY
AND BACK DOWN THE HALLWAY TO HER BEDROOM.END SCENE

AMERICA'S BEDROOM: AMERICA SITS IN A RAGGEDY OLD RECLINER CHAIR
BESIDE HER BED, PLAYING HER VIOLIN. THE MELODY IS MORE
MELANCHOLY THAN BEFORE. GERAD LAYS ON THE BED, ASLEEP; HE HAS
DOZED OFF WHILE SHE PLAYS. THERE'S A SOFT KNOCK ON THE DOOR AND
AMERICA DROPS THE VIOLIN FROM HER CHIN, LOOKING UP AS MAY
ENTERS. AMERICA RAISES A FINGER TO HER LIPS, THEN POINTS AT
GERAD. MAY NODS, THEN LOOKS DOWN NERVOUSLY AT HER HANDS; SHE
HOLDS THE SELECTION LETTER IN HER HAND. AMERICA LAYS THE VIOLIN
DOWN NEXT TO HER BROTHER ON THE BED, CAREFUL NOT TO WAKE HIM.
SHE HOLDS OUT HER ARMS TO HER LITTLE SISTER AND SPEAKS SOFTLY TO
HER.

AMERICA
Come here, you.

MAY LISTENS, COMING OVER AND SQUEEZING ONTO THE CHAIR BESIDE HER
SISTER. AMERICA PUTS AN ARM AROUND HER SISTER'S SHOULDERS,
REACHING OUT WITH HER FREE HAND TO TAKE THE ENVELOPE FROM HER.
THE SCENE BETWEEN THE TWO OF THEM SHOULD LOOK AWKWARD
CONSIDERING MAY IS ONLY THREE YEARS YOUNGER THAN AMERICABUT
INSTEAD IT'S ENDEARING. THE TWO OF THEM ARE AS CLOSE AS SISTERS
GET. THEY'RE BEST FRIENDS. MAY'S EXPRESSION IS TROUBLED; SHE'S
NERVOUS TO ASK WHAT SHE CAME TO ASK, BUT SHE FINALLY GATHERS UP
THE COURAGE.

MAY
Ames, why won't you just try?
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 21


AMERICA
May I know it's hard to understand. But I just don't
want to be a princess. I don't want to meet the
nation's richest and most obnoxiousif also
handsomestbachelor. I certainly can't see myself
marrying him.

MAY
But why?

AMERICA HAS TO BE CAREFUL HERE; HER FAMILY DOESN'T KNOW THAT
SHE'S BEEN DATING ASPEN FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS IN SECRET. THEY
DON'T KNOW THAT THEY'RE PLANNING ON GETTING MARRIED, EVEN THOUGH
HE'S A SIX AND SHE'D ACTUALLY DROP A CASTE JUST FOR MARRYING
HIM. HER FAMILY CAN NEVER KNOW THAT'S THE REAL REASON SHE
DOESN'T WANT TO ENTER THE SELECTION. SHE PRESSES FORWARD, HOPING
MAY DIDN'T NOTICE HER HESITATION.

AMERICA
I know you haven't met a lot of the upper castes like
I have. Probably not many Twos, if any Threes. But Mom
and I perform for them at their parties all the time.
They hire us and then stick us in a corner when we get
there; we're lucky if we get two words said to us the
whole night. You can see it in those people's eyes
that they just know they're better than you. And then
there's the money. They have too much and not a single
ounce of gratitude for any of it. For their huge
parties, they buy way too much food, and then they
just throw what's left over out. Meanwhile you and I
have seen the bad days when we've gotten used to one
meal a day. They keep their ACs on all summer and
their heaters on all winter. And we either completely
roast in the heat or freeze in the cold, unless we're
lucky enough to find some old firewood. Even if I got
into the Selection, I'd still be carrying that with
me. The Prince would be able to spot it in me in a
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 22

second, and I'd probably be the first one home. I
might not even make it through the Palace doors. I
wonder if there's some kind of record I could beat for
quickest a girl got sent home.

MAY LAUGHS SOFTLY, HER SAD FACE LIGHTING UP A LITTLE.

AMERICA (CONT.)
Now do you understand a little better?

MAY
You can take the girl out of her caste, but you can't
that the caste out of the girl?
NOW, AMERICA LAUGHS.

AMERICA
Not exactly how I'd put it, but that's the gist of it,
I guess.

MAY NODS AND STANDS UP OUT OF THE CHAIR, A SMILE PLASTERING HER
FACE. SHE SPINS AROUND TO FACE AMERICA.

MAY
I don't understand how you can't at least dream about
it. Living in a palace, married to a Prince Charming,
who can give you everything in the world. What's not
to love?

AMERICA (MORE TO HERSELF THAN TO MAY)
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 23

I just have a feeling that the thing I want most in
the world is the one thing Maxon Schreave, with all
his money and power, can't give me.

MAY
What do you mean?

AMERICA SHAKES HER HEAD AND SMILES, EAGER TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT.

AMERICA
Never mind. Don't you have a painting you're working
on?


MAY
Yes, but how am I supposed to work when there's this
much excitement in the house?
AMERICA (SARCASTICALLY)
I'm sure you'll find a way through this terribly
trying time, May.

OFF: THE SISTERS LAUGHING AND SMILING TOGETHER.END SCENE.

THE TREEHOUSE. MIDNIGHT. INTERIOR SHOT.IN THE SINGER'S SMALL
BACKYARD, THERE IS A DILAPIDATED OLD TREEHOUSE. AMERICA CLIMBS
UP THE LADDER, LOOKING AT HER FEET TO MAKE SURE SHE DOESN'T
FALL. IT IS PITCH BLACK INSIDE, AND SHE DOESN'T REALIZE THAT SHE
ISN'T ALONE UNTIL SOMEONE SPEAKS RIGHT AS SHE GETS TO THE TOP OF
THE LADDER, PULLING HERSELF UP INTO THE TREEHOUSE. YOU CAN HEAR
HIS SMIRK IN HIS VOICE.
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 24


ASPEN (O.S)
Boo.

SHE GASPS IN SURPISE, JUMPING OUT OF HER SKIN AND LOSING HER
GRIP, NEARLY FALLING BACKWARD. A HAND REACHES OUT AND GRABS HERS
TO HELP HER STEADY HERSELF AND TO PULL HER ALL THE WAY INTO THE
ROOM. ASPEN, STILL OFF SCREEN, LAUGHS LIGHTLY AS HE PULLS HER
UP. AS SOON AS SHE IS STEADIED, AMERICA PUSHES THE ARM AWAY,
FURIOUS.

AMERICA (WHISPER SHOUTING)
Aspen! You are such an idiot. I almost died! What
would you have done if I'd have screamed or something?
We'd have been caught out after curfew and we'd be
screwed.

A LIGHT FLARES UPAMERICA HAS LIT A MATCH AND SUBSEQUENTLY LIT A
VERY SAD, USED CANDLE THAT PROVIDES THE ONLY LIGHT IN THE ROOM.
THE DIM LIGHT GIVES US THE FIRST LOOK AT THE PERSON AMERICA HAS
CALLED "ASPEN." WE'VE SEEN HIM BEFORE, THOUGH, WHEN HE WAS BUSY
OPENING CAR DOORS FOR THE UPPER CASTES. HE HAS SINCE CHANGED,
AND NOW WEARS DIRTY JEANS AND A LOOSE, THREADBARE SHIRT.

ASPEN
Oh, come on, Mer. It was funny. Admit it.

AMERICA GLARES AT HIM, LETTING HIM KNOW THAT SHE FOUND IT THE
OPPOSITE OF FUNNY.

ASPEN (CONT.)
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 25

Come on, America. What's wrong with Oh. You got the
letter today, didn't you?

AMERICA
The twins got matching ones, too, I'm assuming.

ASPEN NODS.

ASPEN
Sixteen for two weeks. They just barely made the
deadline.

AMERICA SETTLES IN NEXT TO HIM, HANDING HIM THE SMALL BAG SHE'S
CARRIED UP TO THE TREEHOUSE. HE OPENS ITIT IS FULL OF FOOD,
LEFTOVERS FROM AMERICA'S DINNER. THEY PICK AT THE FOOD
THROUGHOUT THIS SCENE, ASPEN MORESO THAN AMERICA AS HE EATS MUCH
MORE INFREQUENTLY.
AMERICA (UNENTHUSIASTICALLY)
I bet Kamber and Celia are just thrilled.

ASPEN
Delighted. Though you clearly aren't.

AMERICA
Don't even get me started on the Selection, Aspen.
It's all I've heard about from anyone today and it's
driving me insane. And I was finally in a good mood to
come meet you.

ASPEN
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 26

Oh, but you're cute when you get angry and start
ranting about the things that you despise. The good
news is that Im not your familyI'll sit here and
listen to all of it. I never tire of hearing your
voice.

AMERICA HITS HIM PLAYFULLY ON THE ARM AND SIGHS, GIVING IN TO
HER ANGER AN LAUNCHING INTO EVERYTHING SHE'S BEEN HOLDING BACK
ALL DAY.

AMERICA
It's just so barbaric. They get every sixteen to
twenty year old in the country excited, thinking that
maybe they'll be chosen and go from rags to riches in
just two weeks like a fairy tale. And then they don't
even get Selected in the lottery, except for those
thirty five girls. And then, as if it wasn't bad
enough, they have to watch the prince fall in love
with one particular girl, maybe even the candidate
from their province. And they torture themselves and
go crazy, thinking it should have been them. Then they
marry lovelessly and lead what they only see as a
pointless existence. But if they're lucky enough to
have daughters, then there's hope! Another chance for
that girl to do what you never could.

ASPEN
Are we still talking about women in general? Or just
your mother?

AMERICA GLARES BUT DOESN'T ANSWER THE COMMENTASPEN KNOWS HE IS
RIGHT.

AMERICA
What am I supposed to do? I mean, I am happy staying
here and living in Carolina with you. But how do I
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 27

explain that to my mother? And it's not like she's
wrong when she says we could use the money, as much as
I hate to admit that anything that woman says is ever
right.

ASPEN
I know, Mer. Especially about the money. If Kamber or
Celia just got in It would be a game changer. Its
all that I've been able to think about all day. For
now, though, I'm going to see if I can pick up some
extra work. Just on Sundays, make a little more money
so the others don't have to worry about supporting us.

AMERICA
Aspen Leger, don't you dare. You work too much
already. So much that we have to break the law to
sneak up here every night just to see each other
because you work all day. You can't do everything.

HE KISSES HER.
ASPEN
Says who?

AMERICA
Aspen, I'm serious. Don't overwork yourself before you
even turn twenty.

ASPEN SMILES AT HER REASSURINGLY, BUT HE'S UNEASY. HE'S GOT
SOMETHING ON HIS MIND, A DECISION WARRING IN HIS MIND. HE
DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO SAY WHAT HE HAS TO SAY. HE FINALLY TAKES A
DEEP BREATH, STEELING HIMSELF AS HE SPEAKS.

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 28

ASPEN
Mer?

AMERICA
Oh no. That's your 'we need to talk' voice. I hate
that voice.

ASPEN
Look, don't take this the wrong way. Please. But I
think you should enter the Selection.

AMERICA STARES AT HIM. SHE ISN'T REALLY MAD SO MUCH AS SHE'S
TRYING TO FIGURE OUT IF SHE JUST HEARD HER BOYFRIEND OF TWO
YEARS RIGHT. SHE LAUGHS NERVOUSLY SEEING HIS SERIOUS FACE.



AMERICA
What? Aspen, you can't be serious. I mean, you want me
to enter for a chance to get married to another guy? I
can't be that bad a girlfriend, can I?

ASPEN
We both know that a future with him would be three
times the life I could give you.

AMERICA
Except for the fact that he isn't you. You're all I
care about. I couldn't care less about the money or
the status
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 29


ASPEN
You won't be saying that when your kids are having to
work at eight years old just because you can't afford
to feed them otherwise.

AMERICA IS TAKE ABACK, A HORRIFIED LOOK ON HER FACE.

AMERICA
Where is this coming from? Do you I mean, you still
love me, don't you?

ASPEN ROLLS HIS EYES IRRITABLY AT HER.

ASPEN
Of course. Of course I still love you. There's no
falling out of love with you, America Singer. It's
just that

HE LOOKS AWAY, FROM AMERICA AS HE CONTINUES.

ASPEN (CONT.)
If you married me, you'd become a Six. You know that.
But, marrying him, you'd become a One. Any sane person
would see that there shouldn't even be a decision
there. And I know the only reason you're making it a
decision is because of me. If I knew that you had a
chance, however small, to have a better life, a more
stable life, with someone else

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 30

AMERICA
Aspen, please. Don't

ASPEN
I would never forgive myself, America. That guilt
would be on my shoulders for the rest of my life. I
can't do it.

AMERICA LOOKS LOST, SHAKING HER HEAD AND LAUGHING HUMOURLESSLY.

AMERICA
Everyone has something to say about it. You say you
just want what's best for me. My mother actually tried
to bribe me at dinner, saying that, if I enter, she'll
let me start keeping my own commissions, and
performing solo. May can't even fathom why anyone in
their sane mind wouldn't want to be a princess. But
none of you seem to really understand how desperately
I do not want this. I mean, what happens if I get
chosen? If I have to go stay at the palace? Even if I
go home in a minute, everything will change. Everyone
will look at me differently. You know, the letter said
that the Selection girls become automatic Threes from
the moment their names are chosen. What then? My whole
life, I've been a Five. I'm a musician. What the Hell
would I do as a Three? Teach? Write? And God forbid I
actually win.

ASPEN
Getting a bit ahead of yourself there, aren't you,
Mer? Remember how long it took me before I could stand
being in the same room as you for more than five
minutes?

AMERICA
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 31

How can you be joking right now? I'm serious.

ASPEN
So am I. America, the guy has lived in a guarded
palace his whole life. He's probably only seen about
two Fives. Ever. He's looking for a prim, proper,
cookie-cutter princess. Not you.

AMERICA
I'm not sure whether I'm supposed to be insulted or
flattered, though I'm heavily leaning toward insulted.

ASPEN
You know what I meant.

AMERICA
Yeah, I do. But it doesn't make any difference. Any
chance that I might not spend the rest of my life with
you is too much of a chance for me. I'm sorry.
ASPEN
You're sorry? America, you're nobler than any title
could ever make you; but it would be selfish of me to
let you keep yourself from an opportunity like this.

AMERICA
No. What's selfish is you trying to get me sent away
to fall in love with someone else just for the money.
As if that were ever possible. You're just like my
mother.

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 32

ASPEN DOESN'T MEET HER EYE, BUT HE'S ANGRY. REALLY ANGRY.

ASPEN
Just tell me one thing: is it just me? Am I the only
thing that's making this so complicated?

AMERICA
It isn't complicated

ASPEN
Just answer, America. Am I the only thing holding you
back?

AMERICA SHAKES HER HEAD AS SHE LOOKS AT HIM. WHY CAN'T HE
UNDERSTAND HOW HAPPY SHE IS RIGHT HERE IN CAROLINA? SHE CLOSES
HER EYES AND SIGHS.



AMERICA
Yes. You are the only real reason I am staying here
and not even thinking about the Selection. Are you
happy now?

ASPEN
Hardly.

HE STARES AT AMERICA, A SAD BUT RESOLVED LOOK ON HIS FACE.
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 33


ASPEN (CONT.)
Its obviously a hard choice for you, America. An
impossible one. So let me make it easier on you. Take
me out of the equation.

AMERICA
What are you saying?

ASPEN
I wont live with that kind of guilt, Mer. I cant
live the rest of my life with you knowing that you
could have done so much better, but you wouldnt
because of me. You cant ask me to do that. But if you
are

AMERICA
Aspen, dont do this

ASPEN CONTINUES, IGNORING HER PROTESTS.

ASPEN
I guess that means that you arent the America Ive
known my whole life. You certainly arent the one I
fell in love with.

ASPEN SHUFFLES TO THE HATCH IN THE FLOOR BOARDS AND THE LADDER
BENEATH. AMERICA IS TAKEN ABACK, NOT QUITE SURE WHAT TO SAY. SHE
IS IN PURE SHOCK. SHE FINALLY FINDS HER WORDS AS ASPEN STARTS TO
CLIMB DOWN THE LADDER.
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 34


AMERICA
Aspen, stop. Please. You cant be serious right now!

ASPEN STOPS A FEW STEPS DOWN ON THE LADDER, BUT DOESNT LOOK UP
AT AMERICA.

AMERICA (CONT.)
Dont do this. Dont make me choose.

ASPEN
Thats the problem, Mer. There shouldnt be a choice.
Theres only whats good for you and what isnt. And
you, for whatever reason, are choosing wrong. If you
cant do whats best for yourself, well How can you
expect me to?

AMERICA IS STUNNED INTO SILENCE AS ASPEN CRAWLS THE REST OF THE
WAY DOWN THE LADDER AND OUT OF SIGHT. CAMERICA STAYS ON
AMERICAS FACE; SHE IS TRYING NOT TO CRY. OFF: AMERICA CLOSING
HER EYES AS TEARS FINALLY SPILL DOWN HER FACE.
END OF PART ONE

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 35

PART TWO
AMERICAS BEDROOM. THE NEXT MORNING. INTERIOR SHOT: AMERICA LAYS
IN BED. SHE STARES AT THE CEILING, DEPRESSED. LETTING OUT A BIG
SIGH, SHE FLIPS OVER, HER HAND FALLING OFF THE SIDE OF THE BED
AND COMING INTO CONTACT WITH THE SMALL MASON JAR HALF-FULL OF
PENNIES SITTING UNDER THE EDGE OF THE BED, NORMALLY HIDDEN BY
THE BLANKETS. AMERICA PICKS IT UP AT STARES AT IT SADLY. SHE
CLOSES HER EYES, LETTING HER MIND TAKE HER BACK TO HAPPIER TIME.
WE HEAR ASPENS VOICE BEFORE THE SCENE COMES UP, BUT HE ISNT
ANGRY OR SAD LIKE HE WAS BEFORE; NOW HES JUST CAREFREE AND
YOUNGER.

ASPEN (O.S)
I brought you something.

WE HEAR AMERICAS LIGHT LAUGHTER AS THE FLASHBACK COMES UP.
INSTEAD OF AMERICAS BEDROOM, WE ARE NOW BACK IN THE TREEHOUSE,
A NIGHT FROM A WHILE BACK. AMERICA IS CURLED UP IN ASPENS ARMS,
A BLANKET WRAPPED AROUND THE TWO OF THEM. ASPEN REACHES DOWN
NEXT TO HIM AND PICKS UP A SMALL MASON JAR WITH THREE PENNIES IN
IT.

AMERICA
Whats this?

ASPEN
Well, I know we talked about the whole wedding thing

AMERICA
And I am not changing my mind, Aspen. Im not backing
down on it. I love you.

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 36

HE SMILES AND KISSES HER LIGHTLY.
ASPEN
Let me finish, will you, smart ass? You arent backing
down and I see that now. So I am.

AMERICA
You arewhat?

ASPEN
Backing down, I guess. I realized that a wedding might
be expensive and starting a family as a Six is going
to be hard, but if youre willing to try, then Im
willing to try. And the first step is going to be to
save up money in advance. I really think that will
help uswhy are you looking at me like that?

AMERICA IS SMILING WIDELY UP AT HIM, WIDE-EYED IN WONDER AND
EXCITEMENT.

AMERICA
Youre serious. I never thought I thought you said
this wasnt you? Being in love? Doing something this
permanent?

ASPEN
How would I know back then? I didnt really know
myself before I knew you, Mer. This is all new to me.
Now, these pennies dont seem like much, but I am
going to bring you every single extra one I get from
now on. Its going to take a while, but its going to
work. Were going to work, Mer. I love you.

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 37

SHOT SWITCHES BACK TO AMERICA IN HER BEDROOM NOW, SITTING UP ON
HER BED AND HOLDING THE SAME JAR FROM THE FLASHBACK, SMILING
SADLY AT THE MEMORY. WE HEAR HER LAST LINE AFTER THE FLASHBACK
IMAGES HAVE DISOLVED.

AMERICA (VOICE ONLY)
I love you too.

THE SHOT REMAINS ON AMERICA AS SHE REMINESCES. AFTER A MOMENT,
THERE IS A KNOCK ON AMERICAS DOOR THAT STARTLES HER AND MAKES
HER LOOK UP, EFFECTIVELY BREAKING HER REVERIE. HER MOTHER CALLS
TO HER FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR.

MAGDA (O.S.)
America?

AMERICA JUMPS INTO ACTION, STOWING THE JAR OF PENNIES UNDER THE
BED AND MANAGING TO SIT BACK UP, MASKING HER FEATURES TO BE
IMPASSIVE AS HER MOTHER ENTERS THE ROOM.

MAGDA
What are still doing in bed? Its noon.

AMERICA
Sorry. Im up now.

MAGDA
Awake, maybe, but still in bed, so technically not up.

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 38

AMERICA
Did you need something?

MAGDA
Well, if its not too much of an inconvenience to you,
you had promised to go with me to the market today.
But I can understand if thats asking too much of you.

AMERICA
Mom, please dont start.

MAGDA
I dont know what youre so sore about. What are you
still doing in bed, anyway? Have an exhausting night
of being a teenager with no sense of responsibility to
her family, or to anyone for that matter

AMERICA
Mom. Enough. Please. Ill take you to the market,
alright? Just let me get ready.

MAGDA DOESNT RESPOND. SHE JUST TURNS TO LEAVE, SCOWLING.
AMERICA SPEAKS UP, STOPPING HER. HER EXPRESSION IS TROUBLED; SHE
HAS A HUGE DECISION WEIGHING IN HER MIND.

AMERICA (CONT.)
Mom, wait.

SHE SIGHS HEAVILY. THE DECISION IS MADE.
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 39

AMERICA (CONT.)
Were you serious? About the money? Youd really let me
keep half of what I make, let me do solo gigs?

MAGDA
I always mean what I say. Yes, I was serious. Of
course, youll still be responsible for helping around
the house and cooking and cleaning, everything youre
doing now. But thats only if

AMERICA
I enter the Selection. I know. But Mom, you know that
there are thousands of other applicants in Carolina
alone. The odds that Ill be chosen

MAGDA
The deal is for you submit your application, America.
Not to win the competition, or even to be Selected.
All you have to do is fill out the form and take it to
the Province Service Office and youve held up your
end of the bargain.

AMERICA NODS, BUT STARES SILENT. MAGDA LOOKS AT HER EXPECTANTLY
AND ANXIOUSLY. FINALLY, AMERICA CRACKS A SMILE AND LOOKS UP AT
HER MOTHER.

AMERICA
Youre still carrying the application and your good
pen around in your pocket, arent you?

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 40

MAGDA EXCITEDLY REACHES INTO THE POCKET OF HER DRESS, PULLING
OUT THE APPLICATION AND AN INK PEN, RUSHING FORWARD TO HOLD THEM
OUT TO AMERICA.

MAGDA
You have to ask?

AMERICA TAKES THE PAPERS FROM HER MOTHER WITH A MELANCHOLY SMILE
AS SHE LOOKS THEM OVER.

MAGDA (CONT.)
I have to ask you, though, America. This is a complete
about-face from last night. You were adamant that
nothing would change your mind. So What did?

AMERICA
I

SHE STOPS, WONDERING WHAT SHE CAN SAY. SHE CANT EXPLAIN ASPEN
TO HER MOTHER; SHE CANT TELL HIM HOW SHES SPENT THE PAST TWO
YEARS IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE, ONLY TO HAVE THE SELECTION COME
ALONG AND RUIN THE ONLY CHANCE AT TRUE LOVE SHE EVER REALLY HAD.
SHE SHRUGS HER SHOULDERS NONCHALANTLY.

AMERICA (CONT.)
I guess I realized that I have everything to gain by
doing it and everything to lose if I hold back.

MAGDA SHAKES HER HEADSHE THINKS AMERICA IS TALKING ABOUT HER
AND HER ANGER THE DAY BEFOREAND PUTS A HAND ON AMERICAS
SHOULDER.
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 41

MAGDA
America, I know I was harsh yesterday, but I dont
want you to think Id ever stop loving you if you
didnt do this. I mean, Id be disappointed, but Id
have gotten over it eventually.

AMERICA
Of course. I know that mom. But what I was doing by
not entering It just felt selfish.

THEY FALL SILENT. MAGDA IS ABOUT TO SAY SOMETHING, MAYBE
REASSURING, MAYBE CHASTISING FOR BEING OVERDRAMATIC, BUT WE
DONT HEAR. AMERICA CUTS HER OFF.

AMERICA (CONT.)
Its too dark in here. Im going to go fill this out
in the kitchen. Do you want to help?

MAGDAS EXCITED EXPRESSION RETURNS AND SHE BEAMS AT HER
DAUGHTER.

MAGDA
I thought youd never ask.
END SCENE

THE PRINCES BATHROOM. LATER THAT EVENING. INTERIOR SHOT. SIDE
SHOT OF A TALL, MUSCULAR YOUNG MAN LEANING HEAVILY ON THE
BATHROOM SINK, LOOKING IN THE MIRROR. THE LIGHTING IS DIM AND
THERE IS A SHADOW DARKENING HIS FEATURES SO WE CANT PROPERLY
MAKE OUT HIS PROFILE. HE TURNS THE SINK ON. THE SHOT SHIFTS SO
THAT OUR VIEW OF THE ROOM IS FROM BEHIND THE MIRROR. MAXONS
HEAD IS BENT AS HE SPLASHES WATER ON HIS FACEWHICH WE STILL
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 42

HAVENT SEEN FULLY. HE TURNS THE WATER OFF AND STARTS TO RAISE
HIS HEAD, GRABBING A TOWEL TO DRYAND STILL INFURIATINGLY COVER
HIS FACE AS HE STRAIGHTENS UP. AFTER PATTING HIS FACE DRY, HE
FINALLY PULLS THE TOWEL AWAY, REVEALING A GORGEOURS, YET
SOBERINGLY NERVOUS, BOYNINETEEN YEARS OLDSTARING STRAIGHT AT
THE CAMERA. THIS IS PRINCE MAXON SHREAVE, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.
AND HIS MIND IS REELING THINKING ABOUT THE FACT THAT, IN JUST A
MATTER OF DAYS, 35 GIRLS WILL ARRIVE AT THE PALACEONE OF THEM
THE ONE HE MUST CHOSE TO MAKE HIS WIFE AND HIS PRINCESS. NOT
THAT THE AUDIENCE REALIZES THISTHE ONLY THING THEY KNOW IS THAT
THIS GORGEOUSLY HANDSOME YOUNG MAN IS NERVOUS, EXCEEDINGLY SO.
MAXON EXITS THE BATHROOM, WHICH WE NOW SEE IS ATTATCHED TO HIS
BEDROOM, PULLING A JACKET OFF THE COUNTER AND SHRUGGING IT ON.
HE IS LOOKING DOWN AS HE REUTRNS TO HIS ROOM, AND SO IS UNAWARE
OF HIS FATHERS PRESENCE UNTIL THE KING SPEAKS.

KING CLARKSON (O.S.)
Nervous, are we?

MAXONS HEAD JERKS UP AND HE SEES HIS FATHER LEANING UNEXPECTEDL
AGAINST HIS BEDROOM WALL. KING CLARKSON IS IN HIS MID-TO-LATE
40S, HANDSOME, BUT WEATHERED BY TIME, AS WELL AS THE STRESS OF
RUNNING BOTH A COUNTRY AND A FAMILY. MAXONS RELATIONSHIP WITH
HIS FATHER ISNT EXACTLY ICY, BUT IT IS FAR FROM BEING WARM AND
CUDDLY, TOO. MAXON BOWS STIFFLY TO HIS FATHER BEFORE RESPONDING.

MAXON
Father. Forgive me. I wasnt expecting to see you for
another

MAXON LOOKS DOWN AT THE WATCH ON HIS WRIST AND SIGHS.

MAXON (CONT.)
Half an hour ago.
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 43


CLARKSON TSKS HIM.

CLARKSON
A king must always be aware of everything around him,
especially the time. What if it were a state dinner
with the ambassadors of a potential ally that you were
late to and not a simple birthday celebration being
held in your honor? Punctuality is something you
absolutely must learn, Maxon.

MAXON, HAVING HEARD THIS SAME LESSON A THOUSAND TIMES BEFORE,
TRIESAND FAILSTO HIDE THE SARCASM DRIPPING FROM HIS WORDS.

MAXON
Of course, Father. I do apologize. Im out of sorts
tonight, as you might imagine.

CLARKSON
A leader must always keep his wits about him. Its
like Ive taught you nothing, son. If you cant even
keep calm for a birthday dinner, I have serious doubts
about your ability to rule the entire country. God
forbid I should die tonight. The country would fall to
ruin.

MAXON
It is not the dinner that has me distracted, Father.
It is the day itself, all this birthday means for me.
Becoming eligible for the Selection, having thousands
of women eager for the chance to become the next
queen, and myself having to choose the one Ill spend
the rest of my life withand who will rule by my side
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 44

from 35 girls selected at random. Its all a little
intimidating, if Im to be honest.

CLARKSON
Intimidating? Dont be foolish, Maxon. Its meant to
be exciting.
MAXON
And it is. But I feel like everythings moving so fast
I can barely see straight in front of me.

CLARKSON
Whats fast for you has been years in the making on my
end, son.

MAXON EYES HIM, CONFUSED.

MAXON
I dont understand. What does that mean?

CLARKSON ONLY GRINS MISCHEVIOUSLY. MAXON OPENS HIS MOUTH TO ASK
SOMETHING ELSE, BUT THE DOOR TO HIS BEDROOM OPENS AND QUEEN
AMBERLY RUSHES IN.

AMBERLY
Are you two nearly ready? The crowd downstairs is
getting impatient.

CLARKSON GRASPS AMBERLYS SHOULDERS GENTLY AND KISSES HER CHEEK.
MAXON SMILES AT HIS PARENTSTHEY MET THROUGH THE SELECTION.
SURELY THAT MEANS THERES HOPE FOR HIM AFTER ALL?
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 45



CLARKSON
Stunning as ever, my Queen. And yes, I do believe we
are ready. Maxon?

MAXON NODS POLITELY. AMBERLY KISSES HIM ON THE CHEEK FONDLY AND
PUTS A REASSURING HAND ON HIS SHOULDER, SEEING THE ANXIETY IN
HIS EYES.

AMBERLY
Happy birthday, sweetheart.

MAXON SMILES WARMLY AT HER.

MAXON
Thank you.

BEHIND AMBERLY, CLARKSON CLAPS HIS HANDS TOGETHER TO DRAW THEIR
ATTENTION. HE HOLDS OUT AN ARM TO AMBERLY.

CLARKSON
Right then. If we are all quite ready, shall we?

AMBERLY TAKES CLARKSON'S ARM, MAXON FOLLOWING BEHIND THE TWO OF
THEM AS THEY LEAVE HIS ROOM AND START DOWN THE ORNATE STAIRCASE,
INTO A FLURRY OF REPORTERS SHOUTING FOR THE ROYAL FAMILY'S
ATTENTION, MOST OF THEM SHOUTING FOR MAXON. OFF: MAXON'S WORRIED
EXPRESSION BEING REPLACED BY A FAKE SMILE HE PLASTERS ON FOR THE
CAMERAS.END SCENE.
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 46


SINGER HOUSE'S KITCHEN. SIMULATENOUS W/ PREVIOUS SCENE. INTERIOR
SHOT. AMERICA SITS AT THE KITCHEN TABLE; HER FATHER SITS NEXT TO
HER; TOGETHER, THEY LOOK OVER THE APPLICATION.MAGDA IS BUSY
PREPARING DINNER, LISTENING TO AMERICA READ OUT EVERYTHING OFF
THE ENTRY FORM. MAY SITS AT THE TV IN THE LIVING ROOM ATTATCHED
TO THE KITCHEN, ENGROSSED, WHILE GERAD KICKS A BALL AROUND THE
ROOM.

AMERICA
I could have walked all the way to Angeles and told
the king personally that I wanted to marry his son in
the time it has taken me to fill out half of this
application. I mean, why do they have to know this
stuff? I get them asking about my age, my height, my
hair color, even my weight. But my favorite color?
Really?

MAGDA
Its for after the names have been Selected, darling.
It's for the prince to try to get to know the girls
before they arrive at the palace.

AMERICA
Well that isn't fair, is it? We won't know any more
about him than he would know about us. I mean, them.
They won't know. As in the Selection candidates. As in
not me.

MAGDA
It could be. You have as good a chance as any of those
girls. Even moreyou're smarter, prettier, more
talented

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 47

AMERICA
And still just one entry among thousands in Carolina
entering the Selection, only one of which will be
drawn at randomwhen they choose the candidates. It has
nothing to do with how pretty I am or how smart. It
all comes down to luck. (SHE SPEAKS UNDER HER BREATH)
Which I seem to be sincerely lacking in lately.

MAGDA BEGINS TO RESPOND, A QUESTIONING LOOK ON HER FACE, BUT
SUDDENLY MAY SHRIEKS IN EXCITEMENT AN SHE JUMPS UP TO MOVE
CLOSER TO THE TV SCREEN, TURNING IT UP PAINFULLY LOUD.

MAY
Quiet! Everybody keep it down! It's coming on!

AMERICA ROLLS HER EYES, BUT FINDS HERSELF WATCHING THE TV
ANYWAY. ON THE SCREEN, WE SEE A NEWS CASTER (GAVRIL)
INTRODUCING A VIDEO OF MAXON'S PARTY.

GAVRIL
And tonight, straight from the Royal Palace in
Angeles, we're celebrating a very special day. Our
beloved Prince Maxon turns nineteen years old. A very
important milestone certainly. But what's more
exciting is what this special birthday means for all
of Illa. That's right, ladies and gentlemen! As I'm
sure you all have heard by now, the Selection is upon
us! Now, I know you're all anxious to get a glimpse at
those thirty-five lucky candidates from all over the
country, one of them the future princess of Illa, and
aren't we all? For now, let's see what the Prince has
to say about all the excitement in this brand new
footage from the Prince's royal birthday celebration.

THE TELEVISION FEED SWITCHES TO SHOT OF MAXON, STANDING AT THE
FOOT OF A LARGE STAIRCASE (THE ONE HE HAD BEGUN TO DESCEND AT
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 48

THE CONCLUSION OF THE PREVIOUS SCENE). HE SMILES HIS SAME,
POLITE SMILES AS EARLIER, LOOKING DECEPTIVELY AT EASE IN FRONT
OF THE CROWD. HIS PARENTS STAND BEHIND HIM, OFF TO SIDE. HIS
FATHER SMILES, BUT IS WATCHING HIM CRITICALLY, SEEING HOW HIS
SON HANDLES HIMSELF IN FRONT OF THE PRESS. SEVERAL REPORTERS
THROW OUT QUESTIONS FOR MAXON TO ANSWER.

REPORTER #1 (O.S.)
The wait for the Selection is positively killing us,
your Majesty. Exactly when will the candidates be
Selected?

MAXON
The applications have been pouring in by the thousands
since yesterday, and I think I speak not only for
myself, but for my whole family, when I say that we
can hardly wait as well. The names will be Selected
and announced this Friday on the Capitol Report and
the candidates will arrive here at the Palace the
following Friday.

REPORTER #2 (O.S.)
Are you nervous at all, your Majesty?

MAXON
About meeting, falling in love with, and marrying my
future Queen on live television? Oh, it's all in a
day's work.

MAXON SMILES AND WINKS AT THE CROWD, WHO LAUGH COLLECTIVELY. WE
FLIP BACK BRIEFLY AND SEE AMERICA SCOFF AND ROLL HER EYES BEFORE
WE GO BACK TO THE PRESS CONFERENCE.

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 49

REPORTER #3 (O.S)
Prince Maxon! Do you have anything to say to the girls
entering the Selection?
MAXON PAUSES. CAMERAS FLASH IN THE SILENCE. AGAIN, WE SEE A
GLIMPSE OF AMERICA, LEANING IN EVER SO SLIGHTLY, WAITING TO HEAR
THE PRINCE'S RESPONSE. MAXON HESITATES ONE MORE MOMENT BEFORE A
WIDE GRINS SPEADS ACROSS HIS FACE AND HE LOOKS DIRECTLY AT THE
CAMERA FOR THE FIRST TIME.

MAXON
Only this: the girl I choose to marry will rule by my
side as Queen of Illa and so I do not in any way take
the Selection lightly. That being said, let me also
point out that any girl who settles for me as a
companion cannot possibly be of sane mind, but I still
look forward to knowing what that woman might be
like.Now, ladies and gentlemen, I'm afraid you'll have
to excuse me. I have family visiting and Im already
terribly late.

MORE VOICES DRAWL ON IN THE BACKGROUND AS WE RETURN THE SHOT TO
AMERICA AND HER FAMILY. AMERICA IS ROLLING HER EYES AT THE
PRINCE, TURNING BACK TO THE APPLICATION.

AMERICA
What a positively obnoxious, self-deprecating prick.

SHALOM LAUGHS AND CHOKES ON THE COFFEE HIS IS DRINKING, TRYING
NOT TO SHOW HIS SMILE; THE BOWL IN MAGDA'S HANDS CLATTERS TO THE
TABLE; MAY GASPS AND SPINS AROUND TO GLARE AT AMERICA; GERAD,
SENSING SOMETHING IS HAPPENING, STOPS RUNNING AROUND AND LOOKS
BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN EACH OF HIS FAMILY MEMBERS.

MAGDA
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 50

America Singer, you watch your mouth! How dare you
talk about the Prince like that?


MAY
I'm starting to think that we really shouldn't let you
send your application. I can't imagine what would
happen if you got Selected and actually had to hold up
a conversation with Maxon. Knowing you, you'd probably
insult him before he even learned your name. I'd be
surprised if you didn't end up getting arrested within
a day for, like, treasonous speech or something.

MAGDA
May, enough. That's not funny.

AMERICA
I don't think she was joking, Mom. Look, I told you
guys. I just don't care for the Royal family that
much. I mean, what have they ever done for anyone
around here?

MAY
I do care, though. I want all of it. The tiaras, the
ball gowns, the Prince.

AMERICA
The staying locked up in a palace twenty-four seven?

MAY
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 51

Yes! What's so bad about all that? Two years. Two more
years and I could have entered.



AMERICA
Hey, you could just take my application. We can just
put all your information down and then send you. No
one ever has to know.

MAY SCOWLS AT AMERICA, BUT FAILS TO SUPRESS THE SMILE THAT
SPREADS ACROSS HER FACE.

MAY
Now there's a good idea. I knew you were good for
something, Ames.

AMERICA
Hey!

THE TWO OF THEM START LAUGHING, JOINED ALMOST IMMEDIATELY BY
GERAD.

AMERICA (CONT.)
No, really. I could totally see you as the princess.
Though I'd love to see you try to walk in heels.

MAY
You're right. That might be a deal breaker.
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 52


MAGDA SLAMS A PLATE DOWN ONTO THE KITCHEN TABLE, CUTTING OFF
THEIR GIGGLES.


MAGDA
Enough. Dinner's ready. May, Gerad, go wash up.

THE TWO YOUNGEST CHILDREN EXIT AND AMERICA LOOKS UP AT HER
MOTHER.

AMERICA
Mom, relax. It was just a bit of fun. Look, we even
got Dad to laugh.

SHALOM IS TRYING TO HIDE HIS GRIN. HE LOOKS TO AMERICA.

SHALOM
Oh, no. Don't drag me into this. I'm not getting in
trouble with you, Kitten.

MAGDA
You'll have to forgive me if I don't see eye to eye
with your humor, America.

MAGDA EXITS THE ROOM, LEAVING AMERICA ALONE WITH HER FATHER. SHE
LOOKS UP AT SHALOM, AN EXASPERATED LOOK IN HER EYES.

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 53

SHALOM
Don't be too hard on her, America. She's just stressed
right now. And I'd imagine all this is bringing back
memories of her own.


AMERICA
I know she missed out on her own Selection, Dad. I
know why she's doing it. I don't blame her for
anything. I'm filling out the application aren't I?

SHALOM
Are you sure your mom's who you're doing that for?

AMERICA'S DEFENSES GO UP. SHE VISIBLY TENSES. HER FATHER KNOWS
ABOUT ASPEN. BUT HOW? SHE VENTURES AS CASUALLY AS POSSIBLE,
TRYING TO ASSES WHAT HE REALLY KNOWS.

AMERICA
Who else would it be for?

SHALOM
Oh, come on, America. I think you know that we all
know your little secret. Did you think you could hide
it forever?

MAGDA REENTERS THE ROOM, NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THEIR
CONVERSATION. AMERICA'S FACE IS FROZEN IN TERROR.

SHALOM (CONT.)
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 54

We both know you've been wanting to be a princess
since you were four and you first saw Maxon on
television.

AMERICA LAUGHS, LETTING HERSELF BREATHE FINALLY. THEY DIDN'T
KNOW ABOUT ASPENYET. MAY AND GERAD RETURN TO THE KITCHEN AS
WELL, TAKING THEIR SEATS AT THE SMALL TABLE.
AMERICA
That is not true, and you know it.

SHALOM
Oh, yes it is. You might not remember, but I know I
do

MAY
Remember what?

AMERICA HAS ALLOWED HERSELF TO RELAX AND FALL INTO HER
COMFORTABLE NATURAL RHYTHM WITH HER FAMILY. SHE TURNS TO HER
FATHER, EMBARASSED, POINTING A FINGER AT HIM.HER EARLIER FEARS
ARE FORGOTTEN.

AMERICA
Nothing! Don't you dare tell her that story! She'll
believe anything she hears.

SHALOM
When you were still really little and your sister had
just turned four, she

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 55

AMERICA
I didn't do anything! Stop!

MAGDA
Don't shout at the table!

MAY
Okay, but Dad has to tell the story now!

AMERICA'S HEAD FALLS INTO HER HANDS AS SHE LAUGHS EMBARASSEDLY.
THE VOICES SLOWLY FADE AWAY AS THE CAMERA PULLS BACK, WATCHING A
GENUINELY HAPPY FAMILY MEAL WITH AMERICA'S FATHER TELLING
STORIES AND EVEN MAGDA ALLOWING HERSELF A SMILE. OFF: AMERICA'S
FACE AS SHE CRACKS UP WITH LAUGHTER LISTENING TO HER FATHER. END
SCENE.
END OF PART TWO

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 56

THE GREAT HALL OF THE ROYAL PALACE. PRINCE MAXONS BIRTHDAY
EXTRAVAGANZA. INTERIOR SHOT.THE ROOM IS FULL OF PEOPLEIN ONE
CORNER, FOREIGN DIGNITARIES, IN ANOTHER ARE REPORTERS. TABLES
ARE COVERED WITH DARK BLUE CLOTHS, CANDLES ARE THE ONLY LIGHT,
AND THEY SHINE BRIGHT FROM ALL AROUND THE ROOMON THE TABLES,
HANGING IN ELABORATE CANDELABRAS ON THE WALLS, ETC. THE CROWD
CHEERS AS MAXON ENTERS AND HE SMILES, WAVING. HES LOOKING
THROUGH THE CROWD, OVER HEADS, BUT WHO FOR? BEFORE HE CAN FIND
WHOEVER IT IS, CLARKSON COMES UP BEHIND HIM.

CLARKSON
Still distracted, I see.

MAXON TURNS TO SEE HIS FATHER, PUTTING HIS DEFENSES UP AND
SPEAKING FORMALLY.

MAXON
No, sir. Just checking out the crowd is all.

CLARKSON
Looking for anyone in particular?

MAXON LOOKS PAST HIS FATHERS SHOULDER AND HIS FACE LIGHTS UP AS
HE FINALLY SEES HER.
MAXON
As it so happens, Father, I believe Ive found her.
Excuse me, if you will.

HE BEGINS TO WALK OFF, BUT CLARKSON CATCHES HIS ARM, FOLLOWING
HIS GAZE TO A BEAUTIFUL YOUNG WOMAN, WHO DROPS HER GAZE (AND
SMILE) FROM MAXON WHEN SHE SEES THE KING WATCHING.
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 57

CLARKSON
The French princess? Thats who you were looking for?
What is her name? Diana? Dahlia?

MAXON
Daphne. Her name is Daphne. She did stay here in court
for a time when she was younger. Im surprised youve
forgotten her.

CLARKSON EYES MAXON SUSPICIOUSLY, LETTING HIS EYES FLICK BACK TO
THE GIRL FOR A MOMENT BEFORE COMING TO REST ON MAXON ONCE MORE.
HE SIGHS, BUT KEEPS A TIGHT SMILE FOR THE CAMERAS THAT FLASH
EVERY FEW MILLISECONDS.

CLARKSON
Maxon, please tell me you havent been foolish enough
to let yourself fall in love with

MAXON
Love? What are you talking about? Its not like that.
Shes only my oldest friend, Father. I have no love
for her aside from the love one might have for a
sister.

CLARKSON
Does she know that? Because all it would take would be
her getting her feelings hurt to talk. That is how
rumors get started, Maxon. If the people of Illa
thought that you were cheating their daughters out of
the opportunities the Selection could bring their
families, there would be uprisings, civil war. All
because youve been carrying out an affair with a
foreign princess
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 58


MAXON
Unless you count us sitting in the palace library,
talking about life the few times a year we are even in
the same country an affair, I dont believe there is
anything to worry about, Father.

CLARKSON
Why cant you take this more seriously?

MAXON
Of course I take it seriously!

CLARKSON
Running a country is no joke, Maxon. You cant be as
flippant as you were with those reporters earlier. It
is no laughing matter, nor is the Selection. The only
way to prevent rebellion from the lower castes is the
idea that any girl from any caste could become
Princess, could eventually be the queen, ruling at
your side.

MAXON
I know that! Ive known that my whole life. Youve
taken every opportunity to remind me of it. It is all
Ive been thinking about all day.

CLARKSON
Your sarcasm with those reporters

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 59

MAXON
Was meant to lighten the mood.
CLARKSON
You called your future wife a madwoman!

MAXON
Because its a party! Forgive me, but I thought it
would be appropriate to put on the air that I was not
troubled by the Selection, that it isnt ruling my
every thought. That it hasnt done so for the past few
months.

CLARKSON IS CLEARLY ANGERED BY MAXONS INTTERUPTIONS.

CLARKSON
Be careful how you speak, son. Do not think that it
being your birthday gives you the right to speak to
me, your father, in such a callous manner.

MAXON CAREFULLY CONSIDERS THE THREAT, FINALLY CONCEDING HIS
PREVIOUS DEFENSIVE ATTITUDE.

MAXON
Please forgive me, Father. I only meant to reassure
you. I do take the Selection seriously. This woman
will one day rule by my side as my queen. She will be
my wife. Choosing her wisely is a decision I can never
take lightly. I am ready for this.

CLARKSON
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 60

We shall see, wont we?

A MOMENT OF TENSION BETWEEN THEM. THEN, AMBERLY APPEARS AT HER
SONS ARM.

AMBERLY
I hope Im not interrupting anything too important.

CLARKSON IMMEDIATELY HIDES HIS DISDAINFUL EXPRESSION FROM
MOMENTS BEFORE IN LIEU OF AN ADORING ONE WITH WHICH HE LOOKS ON
HIS WIFE. HE TRULY ADORES HER.

CLARKSON
Of course not, my dear. I was just giving Maxon some
advice from my own Selection experiences.

AMBERLY
Dear God, Clarkson. Dont scare the boy with the tales
of his parents courtship. Its supposedly like poison
to teenage boys.

AMBERLY TAKES MAXONS ARM, TUGGING ON IT LIGHTLY.

AMBERLY (CONT.)
Take a walk with your mother for a moment, wont you
darling?

MAXON GLANCES AT HIS FATHER, THEN SMILES BACK AT HIS MOTHER.

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 61

MAXON
Of course.
OFFTHE PRINCE AND THE QUEEN WALKING AWAY FROM THE CROWD TOWARD
A DOORWAY. SEGUE TO:

AN EMPTY HALLWAY IN THE PALACE, JUST OUTSIDE THE GREAT HALL.
INTERIOR SHOT. AMBERLY PULLS MAXON AWAY FROM THE CROWDS IN THE
GREAT HALL INTO A NARROW HALLWAY DEVOID OF PEOPLE. THE MUSIC AND
SOUNDS OF THE PARTY CAN STILL BE HEARD.

AMBERLY
Are you having fun?

MAXON
Does it look like I am?

AMBERLY
Yes, it does.

MAXON
Then, thats all that matters.

AMBERLY
To the others, perhaps. To your father. But I am a
mother first and Queen second. You are my priority,
Maxon. Id like to know what you are thinking. Do you
not like the celebration?

MAXON
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 62

Of course I love it, Mother. I just wish I dont
know, that it had been something slightly smaller?
Perhaps next year we can just have a small event with
family and a few close friends?

AMBERLY
Oh, I wouldnt count on that, Maxon. Youll be married
this time next year. Well, you should be if all goes
well. And that means it will be your wifes first
birthday to help you celebrate. I think youll be
lucky if she doesnt invite half of Illa to the grand
gala shell no doubt be planning.

MAXON
Or maybe she likes things small and quiet, as I do.

AMBERLY
Maxon, if a girl wanted small and quiet, she wouldnt
be in the Selection at all.

MAXON
And that goes for all the girls, then? Even you?
Because it seems to me that you make appearances only
when necessary, you stick strictly to Fathers side,
and then you leave as soon as is socially acceptable.

AMBERLY
Every girl dreams of being a Princess, Maxon. Most of
them, anyway. They dream of the gowns and balls and
wearing the gorgeous tiaras and jewels. But I was in
it for Clarkson, not the wealth. I watched your father
religiously on television long before I entered the
Selection, as Im sure many girls do for you right
now.
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 63


MAXON LOOKS HORRIFIED AT THE THOUGHT. AMBERLY CONTINUES, MORE
SOMBER, ALMOST SAD.

AMBERLY (CONT.)
But those girls dont know what it really means to be
a princess. The roles you have to play, the pressure
on your shoulders constantly, the lack of privacy. The
girl you choose will be going through a lot of changes
when you marry her. I think you can endure at least
one more big party for her sake, cant you?

MAXON SMILES.

MAXON
Well I suppose I can find it in myself to at least
try.

A PAUSE, THEN MAXON CONTINUES.

MAXON (CONT.)
Mom? Do you ever regret it? Being Selected? Becoming a
princess, a queen?

AMBERLY
How can you even ask that? Maxon, no matter what has
happened or what will happen because of the Selection,
I will never regret the choices I made. They didnt
just give me your father, whom I love so dearly. Those
choices, the Selection Theyre what gave me you as
well. And because of that, I am nothing but grateful.
To say that the Selection changed my life is a tragic
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 64

understatement. And it is going to be the same for
whatever girl you choose.
MAXON
I know.

AMBERLY
And it is your choice, Maxon. Yours alone. Not mine,
not your fathers, not any advisors, not all of
Illas. Yours.

MAXON
Of course. Why?

THE QUESTION HANGS IN THE AIR AS MAXON COMES TO THE REALIZATION.
HIS MOTHER LOOKS AT HIM SADLY.

MAXON (CONT.)
Id heard rumors that you werent in the Kings favor
during your Selection, that he and his advisors didnt
want you to be Queen.

AMBERLY
No, they didnt. And they tried everything in their
power to sway your father away from choosing me to
marry.

MAXON
But why? You are intelligent and beautiful and the
best queen Illa has seen in generations.

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 65



AMBERLY
Thank you. But it had nothing to do with any of those
things. The reason they did not want me on the throne
was because I offered nothing new to the country, to
the relationship. Only love.

MAXON
Well, what else did they expect? What did they want
from you?

AMBERLY HESITATES.

AMBERLY
Maxon, do you know what I was? Before I came to the
palace, before the Selection?

MAXON
You mean your caste? Id never really thought about
it. I guess I assumed you were a Two or a Three, at
most.

AMBERLY
A Four, actually. Until the Selection, I worked in a
factory. My hands were always cracked and my nails
were caked with dirt. You should have seen the maids
reactions when they first saw me, all the preparations
they had to go through to make me presentable to
Clarkson. I had absolutely no political connections or
wealthy family members. We had no title. I was the
last person anyone in the palace thought of as being
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 66

the next princess, including the King and his
advisors. I wasnt exactly treated the same as the
others.

MAXON
But thats madness. You were cast aside because of
where you came from, not because of who you are. If
theyd have been successful, who knows what could have
happened to the country?

AMBERLY SMILES GRACIOUSLY AT HIM.

AMBERLY
Maxon, Im telling you this not to anger you, but to
let you know what might lie ahead for you. Your father
will be looking at each candidate from the perspective
of a ruler. He will be looking as his father did, to
make sure your wife is good for Illa. But I am here
to tell you that I will be looking at each candidate
openly. I promise you now that I will try to see these
girls, not as a mother or a queen, but as you see
them. I will not judge any choice you make as I do
trust your judgment. I only ask that you realize this
from what Ive told you: any woman can rise to the
occasion of being a Queen. They dont have to come
from money or nobility; they dont have to know right
away how to speak to foreign dignitaries; they dont
even have to have the best manners at first, thought
that might be of some use later. What a Queen truly
needs is patience. She needs to be able to listen.
Above all, she must be strong and resilient. Palace
life is not exactly paradise, as you know. And this
girl will need to know how to weather the hard times
without letting her head fall in defeat.

MAXON
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 67

So, youre saying I shouldnt choose from the higher
castes?

AMBERLY
I would never tell you that, Maxon. I am merely saying
that you must truly know the woman you are choosing
before you choose her. If you can promise me that, I
shall promise my support of whatever choice you end up
making. Whether you choose a Two or an Eight, I will
stand behind you. This is my gift to you, Maxon. Im
only sorry I cant be of more help.

MAXON TAKES THIS ALL IN, THEN SMILES WARMLY AT AMBERLY.

MAXON
Thank you, Mom. And know that, even though I will soon
be bringing a new woman into my life, I will still
always make room for you. Shell never be able to
replace you.

AMBERLY
You are welcome, my son. And thank you. Come now. We
should return. Before people start missing you.

MAXON OFFERS HER HIS ARM AND THE TWO OF THEM EXIT BACK INTO THE
PARTY. END SCENE.

SINGER HOME. KITCHEN. INTERIOR SHOT.AMERICA SITS AT THE KITCHEN
TABLE, THE SELECTION APPLICATION IS IN FRONT OF HER ONCE AGAIN.
SHE LEANS HER HEAD ON HER HANDS; SHE IS EXHAUSTED. HER FATHER
ENTERS AND SITS NEXT TO HER. AMERICA LOOKS UP AS HE ENTERS.

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 68

AMERICA
Wheres Mom?

SHALOM
Still trying to get Gerad to fall asleep. You know how
he is when he gets excited about something.
AMERICA
Hell be up until midnight, then wake back up at two
A.M.

SHALOM
Exactly.

THE TWO LAUGH LIGHTLY; SHALOM NODS AT THE SELECTION APPLICATION.

SHALOM (CONT.)
Arent you almost done with that thing yet?

AMERICA
Actually Dont kill me, but I finished most of it
within an hour of starting it.

SHALOM REGARDS HIS DAUGHTER CURIOUSLY.

SHALOM
Then what?

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 69

AMERICA (READING FROM THE PAGE)
Please list any talents/unique features that make you
stand out from other potential candidates.

SHALOM
Is that what the application actually says?
AMERICA
Yeah. I wrote down the instruments I can play, the
languages Mom taught us. But they gave me nearly five
pages of blank space for this question alone and most
of it is going to stay that wayblank. The other girls
coming in to this can say things like Ive learned
how to drive a car or I met the New Asian ambassador
one time at a party my parents threw for my birthday.
They can list so much that makes them special. What
about me? What makes me special? Besides the ability
to sleep in, maybe.

SHALOM
Oh, yes. You have to write that down. Also, eating
full meals in under a minute.

AMERICA
Of course! How can I have forgotten? While Im at it,
I might as well mention that Im a complete heathen
that intends to completely destroy the country should
I come to power.

AMERICA LAUGHS SHORTLY, BUT THEN SIGHS TIREDLY.

SHALOM
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 70

America, you are my wonderful, beautiful, talented
daughter.

AMERICA
See? You even have two of those.


SHALOM
You are special, America. More special than youll
ever know. I wish you could see that about yourself.

AMERICA SMILES, UNCONVINCED. SHE CLOSES THE APPLICATION AND
STANDS.

AMERICA
Thanks, Dad. But I think Ill just leave everything as
it is. Besides, its not like Im trying to seem more
desirable, right? Maybe being boring me has its
advantages.

SHALOM TRIES TO PROTEST, BUT AMERICA REACHES DOWN TO HUG HIM,
SPEAKING OVER HIM AS SHE DOES.

AMERICA (CONT.)
Its fine, Dad. Really. Im going to go to sleep. Good
night.

SHE EXITS. SHALOM LOOKS AFTER HER SADLY, THEN GALNCES BACK TO
THE SELECTION APPLICATION. CLEARLY, SOMETHING IS TROUBLING HIM,
BUT WHAT IS HE PLANNING IN THAT SNEAKY MIND OF HIS? OFF: HIS
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 71

FACE AS HE TURNS TO LOOK AFTER AMERICA AGAIN, THE TROUBLED
EXPRESSION BLANKETING HIS FEATURES.END SCENE.

PALACE LIBRARY. INTERIOR SHOT. DAPHNE STANDS IN FRONT OF A
GLOWING FIRE BURNING IN A MONSTER FIREPLACE; SHE STARES
CONTEMPLATINGLY INTO THE FLAMES. UNBEKNOWNST TO HER, THE DOOR TO
THE LIBRARY OPENS AND MAXON ENTERS OFFSCREEN.


MAXON (O.S.)
I thought Id find you in here. You know, the party is
a lot more fun when youre actually in the room.

DAPHNE SMILES AND TURNS TO HIM.

DAPHNE
Funny. You didnt seem to be enjoying yourself all
that much.

MAXON
Really? Am I that obvious?

DAPHNE
Only because I know you so well. Im sure your father
and his guests were pleasantly fooled.

MAXON
Well, thats all that really matters. Thats what you
always say, isnt it?
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 72


DAPHNE LAUGHS SOFTLY AND NODS IN AGREEMENT.

DAPHNE
So, you found me. Why were you looking?

MAXON REGARDS HER IN CONFUSION AT HER NEAR-HOSTILE TONE. HE
STAMMERS BEFORE FINALLY ANSWERING.
MAXON
I Well, I wanted to talk to you. We havent had a
chance all night. I looked around the Great Hall and
saw that youd disappeared. I was worried that youd
decided to leave early, without even saying hello.

DAPHNE
Why would it matter? It seemed to me that youve been
actively avoiding me all night.

MAXON
Avoiding you? No. I would never. My father invited
quite a few more people than I was expecting. You know
how it is, Daph. Hand shaking and small talk with
every head of state, ambassador, and family member in
attendance. This is the first break Ive had where I
could slip away without my father noticing.

DAPHNE
Right. Because we mustnt do anything your father
wouldnt approve of.

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 73

MAXON
Are you alright?

DAPHNE
You do know that its going to be you running the
country one day, not your father. Youre eventually
going to have to make your own decisions.


MAXON
Where is this coming from? Are you Are you angry with
me?

DAPHNE
No. No matter how hard I try, Maxon, I dont know that
I could ever be angry at you. Its just that this
party and everything it means Its making my head and
my heart do crazy things.

MAXON
The party? It doesnt mean anything. Just that Im a
year older

DAPHNE
It means everything is going to change, Maxon! Youre
of age now. The Selection is about to happen and
youre going to go fall in love with some girl you
dont even know yet. And then shes going to be your
queen, your wife. But she will never know you, not
like I do.

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 74

MAXON
The Selection? Thats what this is about? I dont
understand

DAPHNE
No. You dont. You never have, have you?

MAXON SHAKES HIS HEAD, CONFUSED, AND DAPHNE SUDDENLY REACHES
FORWARD, THROWING HER ARMS AROUND MAXONS NECK AND HOLDING HIM
TO HER AS SHE KISSES HIM FERVENTLY. HES IN SHOCK FOR A MOMENT
BEFORE HE ANXIOUSLY SEPARATES FROM HER, BACKING AWAY WIDE-EYED.

MAXON
What are you doing?

DAPHNE
You cant tell me you dont feel anything for me. You
love me just as much as I love you. I know you do.

MAXON
No! Daphne, youre my best friend

DAPHNE
Its more than that! You and I both know it!

MAXON IS STILL REELING, TRYING TO FORM A RESPONSE AS HE LOOKS AT
HER PLEADINGLY. SHE CONTINUES DESPERATELY.

"THE SELECTION" PAGE 75

DAPHNE (CONT.)
My fathers arranged a marriage with some ambassadors
son, but I dont want to marry him. You cant want the
Selection, either. If we talk to our fathers, explain
to them that we are in love, that we want to be
married

MAXON
Daphne, no. Im not I dont feel that way about you.
Im so sorry.

DAPHNE
Youre lying to yourself!

MAXON
No, Im not! Daphne, please. Youre like my sister.
Youve been the closest friend Ive ever had but I
dont love you like that. I never could.

DAPHNE IS IN TEARS NOW, QUIETLY SOBBING AS SHE GAZES DESPERATELY
AT MAXON. MAXON HAS NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH A CRYING GIRL IN
FRONT OF HIM. HE TRIESAND FAILS MISERABLYTO STEER THE TOPIC
AWAY FROM HIS LOVE FOR DAPHNE.

MAXON (CONT.)
Dont. Please dont Um Please dont cry. Look, our
parents are probably wondering where we are. Should we
maybe go back to the party, try to still have a good
time tonight?

DAPHNE GLARES AT HIM, SHAKING HER HEAD IN DISBELIEF.
"THE SELECTION" PAGE 76


DAPHNE
I was wrong. I can be angry with you. I hate you. God
forbid you actually fall in love with a girl in the
Selection, Maxon. You wont even realize thats what
youre feeling. Whatever your father has done in
grooming you to be King, he has made you entirely numb
to real emotions, yours and others. I really do pity
any other girl that falls in love with you. Youre
going to break her heart, Maxon Schreave. Just as you
have broken mine.

SHE BOWS HER HEAD AND BRUSHES ROUGHLY PAST MAXON, LEAVING HIM
ALONG IN THE ROOM IN SHOCK. OFF: MAXONS STUNNED EXPRESSION. END
SCENE.

END OF PART THREE