When an extreme distance runner encounters a human trafficking ring during a desert ultramarathon, he must battle both exhaustion and criminals to save innocent lives – and himself.
Some of the best feature scripts are first conceived as shorts. Which shouldn’t be a surprise. Because a short is like a literary dry run… a chance to test out a premise’s fledgling wings. Breathe first life into intriguing characters.
And then, if that short lives up to its promise (and more), a writer starts to feel a certain itch; the sudden need to expand. To truly explore a story’s potential. Go the distance with it, as it were.
And speaking of distance…
A little over a month ago, STS reviewed the short script Mile 42 (short version available here.) An evocative thriller with a unique premise. And a tantalizing main character: Jose Marquez – a long distance runner (the marathon equivalent of John McClane.)
Well, we here at STS feel the only thing better than a good thing is a lot more of it. So for your May 1st reading pleasure, we bring to you the feature of Mile 42: a thriller unlike others…
Picture this, if you will. A tractor trailer sneaks into Arizona in the dead of night. Its cramped cargo: fifty illegal Mexicans. Among the frightened passengers: Carlos and twelve year old son Toraido. The truck encounters unexpected company and makes a run for it. Horns blare. Tires screech. The trailer nose-dives over a ditch… resulting in wreckage, dead bodies, and a few (lucky?) survivors. Though injured, Carlos and Toraido make it out alive, along with a handful of others. The group splits up – running for their lives, and their freedom. Into drainage tunnels, and the night. For someone is still on their tail. Someone on the wrong side of the law.
…but they’re not the only ones running. You see, an ultra Badlands Marathon is underway. Over one hundred plus miles of grueling desert torture, deadly heat. Among the competitors is Victor Marquez: Doctor and Army Combat Veteran. Is he undertaking the race for fun? Well, not exactly. More like proving himself, and chasing his inner demons away. He whiles away the miles chatting with fiancé Cynthia on a radio scanner, attempting to keep his mind sharp while his battered body does what it can. At least until he loses the signal. Out of range.
Running may work for personal demons. But other nightmares aren’t as easily chased away. Which is what Jose discovers when he crosses paths with Carlos and Toraido. And someone else… with a rifle. As bullets fly, Jose is forced to flee with the others, in fear of his life. And finds himself caught between a deadly conspiracy – and an even more deadly desert heat.
A gem of a thriller, Mile 42 is custom made for an experienced indie director looking for that project to take him/her to the next level. Limited location. Tons of action. A three dimensional, sympathetic protagonist… and a premise that stands out from the cookie cutter crowd. Our recommendation? Grab this one. And run with it.
About the writer: John P. Dowgin is a playwright, screenwriter, director and actor, as well as a founding member of the production company The Porch Room (porchroom.com) for whom he directed the original work ‘Antony & Cleopatra: Infinite Lives” at the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival. Two of John’s plays have been published in the compilation “Accidents Happen” by Samuel French, and have been performed in New York, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, Toronto, Dublin, and Australia. A number of his screenplays are also in ‘development’, which he suspects to be a theoretical dimension like Oz. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and son.
Budget: Given the action scenes and extras, this one’s not meant for a newbie. But for a skilled indie director? That would be a perfect fit!
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