30 Day Challenge: Day 24 – Perspectives (Screenplay Extract)




MELANIE MCCORNICK (39) is usually a no-nonsense, sharp-tongued and witted, type A woman, but right now? She’s lying in a hospital bed in a plain room, restrained with ties on her wrists and ankles. She looks very pale, what’s left of her makeup is smudged across her face and her hair is matted from an unsettled night.

ZAINA KHAN-TRENT (34), who with her bohemian style looks more like a quirky art teacher than a psychiatrist, stands by Melanie’s bed. Her voice is very calming, annoyingly so. Her presence irritates Melanie.

ZAINA: Mrs McCornick? Are you comfortable?

Melanie glances towards her wrist and ankle ties, the rough looking bed sheet, the stained walls, the mouldy window which doesn’t close properly, the tray of inedible food attracting flies on a table next to the bed – of course she’s not ’comfortable.’

ZAINA (CONT’D): Melanie- May I call you Melanie?

Melanie shoots Zaina a look of indifference.

MELANIE: That’s my name…

Zaina sits down on a chair which has restraints on the arm rests.

ZAINA: I’m Zaina. Zaina Khan-Trent. I’m going to be checking in on you while you’re staying with us. Do you understand why you’re here?

Pause. Melanie stares at Zaina – despite being tied to the bed, she is controlling the room.

ZAINA (CONT’D): Your husband is very worried about you.

Melanie smirks.

ZAINA (CONT’D): Melanie, this whole process will go a lot more smoothly if you co-operate. I’m on your side. I’m here to help you.

MELANIE: I don’t need your-

Melanie’s sentence is finished by:

NATHAN (V.O.): Help.


NATHAN MCCORNICK (50), a silver-fox with a charming, kind look about him, sits in front of Zaina. He looks emotionally drained and close to tears. He has a long thin knife cut along his neck.

NATHAN (CONT’D): That’s what she needs… I trust you’ll keep her stay here discreet. The press are sniffing around and I know she’d hate for anyone to know…

ZAINA: Of course. Confidentiality is a key value here at Hope Found…

Nathan smiles appreciatively, but Zaina can see his sadness.

ZAINA (CONT’D): I understand this must have been difficult, Mr McCornick, but you did the right thing. This is the best place for Melanie at this time…

NATHAN: I just… I need my wife back.

A tear rolls down Nathan’s cheek. He brushes it away, clearing his throat, trying to pull himself together. Zaina smiles sympathetically.



Melanie stares at Zaina coldly. Zaina doesn’t quite know how to take Melanie.

ZAINA: Your husband asked for our help.

Pause. Zaina stares back at Melanie – both seem to refuse to break their eye contact.

ZAINA (V.O., CONT’D): Yes, that Melanie McCornick…


Zaina is stood outside the hospital, cigarette in hand, though she forgets to smoke it, only taking a drag occasionally. She talks on the phone discreetly.

ZAINA (CONT’D): Yeah, he was here. He brought her in. (beat) No, of course I didn’t! (beat) What could I have said? Sorry your wife’s a little, you know, woohoo, but would you mind signing this for my husband? He’s a big fan… (beat) No, he looked terrible. I hardly recognised him…


Zaina and JAMES TRENT (33 in present day scenes), a well-groomed, preppy looking man, sit cuddling on the sofa, in a small apartment that is fairly basic in terms of furnishings. There are unpacked boxes which seem to have become part of the furniture. They are watching the news on the television. The date in the corner of the television screen reads 28 June, 2011. We watch the news report along with Zaina and James.

NEWS REPORTER (ON TV): Foreign Secretary, Nathan McCornick, earlier had this to say.

The news report cuts to a press conference. Nathan stands in the centre, while Melanie stands to the side, looking glamorous, in front of a reasonably large crowd of REPORTERS.

NATHAN (ON TV): This morning I spoke with Secretary Clinton and together we have agreed on a united stance in reaction to the events that took place in Iran yesterday.

The news report cuts to Melanie, looking on, proudly.

NATHAN (ON TV, CONT’D): As we have done so before, we will be working with the

United States in order to successfully negotiate with Iran and to…

Back to Zaina and James – the news report carries on in the background.

JAMES: McCornick will go down as one of the best foreign secretaries we’ve had, mark my words…

Zaina looks on at James, who is staring in adoration at Nathan on the television. Back on the TV: Nathan flashes a winning smile, then:



Nathan stands to the side, looking exhausted and heartbroken while Melanie is dragged through the reception kicking and screaming by TWO MALE NURSES. Zaina watches on from the front desk, along with everyone else in sight.

MELANIE: Get the fuck off me!

Melanie physically assaults one of the nurses holding her. They manage to keep hold of her, despite one of them bleeding.

NATHAN: Mel, please, just stop…

MELANIE: Don’t talk to me! You did this!

NATHAN: Please, Mel-

MELANIE: You’re a liar! You’re a fucking liar!

NATHAN: (to the nurses, defeated) Just take her, please.

A DOCTOR, pill cup in hand, walks over to Melanie. Nathan turns away from the scene.

MELANIE: (panicked) No! No, I don’t need to be here! I’m not insane, he’s lying! He’s lying about me!

DOCTOR: Melanie, we need you to calm down now…

MELANIE: I can’t calm down! He’s doing this on purpose! I’m not crazy! It’s him!

DOCTOR: Melanie, I’d like to give you a sedative, just to relax you a little, ok? If you take this pill, you’ll begin to feel nice and calm-

The doctor holds out the small cup with one pill in it.

MELANIE: What? No! I’m not taking any pills! I’m not insane! Nathan, tell them I’m not insane!

Nathan turns back to face Melanie.

NATHAN: Mel, you tried to kill me-

MELANIE: You fucking LIAR!

DOCTOR: Melanie, since you have refused an oral sedative, I have no choice but to administer intramuscular sedation. I have to inject you. Do you understand?

MELANIE: No! No, don’t!

A nurse hands the doctor a needle.

MELANIE (CONT’D): NO! I don’t need anything! I’m not fucking crazy!

Though she puts up a fight, the doctor manages to inject Melanie with the needle. She continues struggling, while the sedation slowly kicks in.

MELANIE (CONT’D): No! NO! Nathan, tell them to stop! TELL THEM TO STOP! NATHAN!

DOCTOR: Melanie, you’re ok. We’ve got you. It’s all done. You’re going to feel relaxed real soon. We’re going to help you, all right?

Melanie begins to relax. The nurses have to hold her up. The nurses carry her through to a private room, while she continues mumbling.

Nathan stands back, looking shell shocked. He glances at Zaina, who smiles sympathetically.



Zaina, still on the phone, drops her cigarette to the floor and presses her foot over it.

ZAINA: Yeah, she’s going to be a handful, definitely.


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