The Reluctant Prince and the Good Witch – Script Excerpt

The Reluctant Prince and the Good Witch

Prince Robert is terrified of witches. Transported to the cottage of a red-haired specimen and her talking cat, he does the only sensible thing. He runs. But as his battle weary future self warned him that very morning, this is only the beginning of his bad luck.

Genre
Fantasy
Type
Comic Script
Status
Manuscript In-Progress

PAGE 1

Frontispiece of title and ‘Book of Hours’ inspired medieval illustrations. The Reluctant Prince is on the left and the Good Witch is on the right with Hercules the cat. The castle, forest, cottage with sunflowers, and a vast gray landscape are represented.

PAGE 2

CAPTION

Once upon a time . . .

PAGE 3

PANEL 1

High shot of castle bedroom, where Prince Robert is sprawled across the bed, fast asleep. The room holds the detritus of his life. Mostly books and maps, rather than the heroic princely items preferred by his younger brother.

PANEL 2

Medium shot. The door to the bedroom is ajar. A pudgy ginger cat slips into the room, tail low in preparation for mischief.

PANEL 3

Close on cat’s leer, which is particularly toothy.

PANEL 4

Close on sleeping prince, who is oblivious to the approaching cat, even as its shadow grows with menacing intent.

PANEL 5

View from behind the cat as it raises a paw with sharp claws extended, ready to swipe at the prince’s exposed neck.

PAGE 4

PANEL 1

The bedroom door flings open, and the Chamberlain barges in with a panicked expression. He is wearing gaudy robes festooned with ribbons and medals of distinction. The ginger cat rears back from the prince with a snarl.

CHAMBERLAIN

Awake! Awake!

PANEL 2

As the Chamberlain gestures wildly, the cat leaps out the door.

CHAMBERLAIN

There is an emergency! You must awake at once, your highness! Without delay!

PANEL 3

The Chamberlain continues to panic, but Robert doesn’t even bother to open an eye.

ROBERT

What did my brother do now?

PANEL 4

Close on panicked Chamberlain, who is wringing his hands.

CHAMBERLAIN

He’s . . . He’s missing!

PANEL 5

Return to a medium shot. Robert still hasn’t moved, but the Chamberlain is leaning over him, hopeful that he’ll show some sign of concern.

ROBERT

Princess? Monster? Duel?

CHAMBERLAIN

It could be all three!

PANEL 6

ROBERT

How fun for him. 

PAGE 5

PANEL 1

CHAMBERLAIN

Yes, well, today is rather an important day and, your highness . . .

PANEL 2

Close on Robert as his eyes open at last. Terror.

PANEL 3

Wider shot of the room as Robert rises in bed, panicking.

ROBERT

Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. He can’t be missing today!

CHAMBERLAIN

We’ve searched everywhere, your highness. Everywhere.

ROBERT

Search again!

PANEL 4

Medium shot as the Chamberlain tries to glean information from Robert, who is running a hand through his unruly brown hair in brotherly frustration.

CHAMBERLAIN

Prince Edward didn’t mention anything to you, did he?

ROBERT

No, he never tells me . . .

PANEL 5

Robert freezes as he remembers a conversation he had with his brother the previous evening.

ROBERT

Oh, dear.

CHAMBERLAIN

What? What is it? Is it dangerous? He likes dangerous.

PANEL 6

ROBERT

It’s blonde.

PAGE 6

PANEL 1

CHAMBERLAIN

Heavens. Well, there’s nothing for it now. You’ll have to take his place.

ROBERT

Take his place? But, today is the harvest festival!

PANEL 2

Several pages march through the doorway, bearing gaudy festival clothes for Robert.

CHAMBERLAIN

You like the harvest festival.

ROBERT

Of, course I do. Everyone likes the harvest festival. There’s all the eating, and singing, and juggling, and dancing . . .

PANEL 3

The pages try to assist the prince into the clothing, but Robert is staring in absolute terror at the Chamberlain, who has just reminded him of his least favorite activity.

CHAMBERLAIN

And the jousting! You can’t forget that.

(cont.)

A prince always leads the first charge. So magnificent!

PANEL 4

Robert is panicking and flailing, while the pages try to help him into a jacket and leggings.

ROBERT

I can’t joust! I’ll . . . I’ll hurt the horse. The other rider too. Probably even several commoners!

CHAMBERLAIN

You were eight, your highness.

PANEL 5

The pages have finished their duty, but Robert’s sash is entirely askew.

ROBERT

Have I really changed that much?

PANEL 6

With a sigh, the Chamberlain fixes the sash.

CHAMBERLAIN

Well, we can hope for the best. 

(cont.)

Your people will be very excited to see their eldest prince riding. Think how pleased they will be.

PAGE 7

PANEL 1

A long hallway. The pudgy ginger cat is in the foreground, looking back over his shoulder. He is watching Robert and the Chamberlain leave the bedroom.

ROBERT

Not when I fall and break my princely head.

PANEL 2

Multi-panel. The cat trots through the castle hallway, passing servants, who are finishing preparations for the festival. Among them are pages lugging banners and bits of armor, kitchen staff carrying elaborate cakes, and servants with baskets.

PANEL 3

The cat reaches a doorway, through which is a stairwell, where a red haired young woman disguised as a page is waiting.

JESSICA

Where have you been?

PANEL 4

The cat simply stares.

JESSICA

Oh, never mind. This way!

PAGE 8

PANEL 1

Jessica leads the cat up a spiral staircase. The staircase fills the entire page. They appear several times as they progress up the stairs. There is a single door at the top.

PAGE 9

PANEL 1

Jessica shushes the cat as they enter the wizard’s room at the top of the tower. The study is filled with piles of books, papers, scrolls, and maps. There are also several skeletons of small mammals and a covered bird cage. The wizard is snoring loudly in the background.

SFX

Snrrk-snew. Snrrrrrrk-snew.

PANEL 2

Multi-panel. Jessica and the cat search the room, sifting through the wizard’s many belongings.

PANEL 3

Close on Jessica as she frowns at a large scroll with a map on it. There is an open window behind her.

PANEL 4

Jessica looks to the cat, who has leaped up to sit on the window ledge.

JESSICA

Well? What do you think?

PANEL 5

Farther back, as Jessica rolls the map under her arm, and glances out the window. The cat has also moved to peer outside, his tail twitching.

PAGE 10

PANEL 1

Far shot, over the top of Jessica’s head, of the festival below in the castle courtyard.

PANEL 2

Wide shot showing chaos of festival. Among the crowd are knights with their horses, pages running errands, ladies gossiping, a bard singing loudly, and a very large muscled man selling fried frog legs.

In the far right background, there are two signs. “JOUSTING? THINK TWICE!” and beneath it, in smaller letters, “Enter Here”.

PANEL 3

Robert stares in terror at a docile horse and the grim Jousting Master. There are elaborate banners behind them and a gilded sign for “Royal Start”. Robert looks very uncomfortable in his armor.

ROBERT

Can’t you find a smaller one?

PANEL 4

The Jousting Master says nothing, but stares impassively at Robert. Insulted, the horse glares at him.

PANEL 5

Jousting Master leaves without a backward glance. The horse glares even more fiercely at Robert.

ROBERT

Please . . ?

PAGE 11

PANEL 1

Behind Robert as he rides the horse into the tournament field. There is a large crowd on either side. On the right is a royal pavilion bedecked with numerous heraldic banners and streamers. The Chamberlain stands in front of the royal pavilion, shouting from afar.

CHAMBERLAIN

To begin the tournament, His Royal Highness Prince Robert!

PANEL 2

Robert waves uneasily and the crowd groans.

SFX

Awwwwwww.

PANEL 3

Robert is staring down at his helmet unhappily.

CHAMBERLAIN

Joining him in the celebratory course, famed throughout the Southern Kingdoms, Gregory the Giant.

PANEL 4

Robert looks up in panic, and drops the helmet.

ROBERT

Oh, no.

PANEL 5

The other knight enters the field and the crowd roars. He is in the foreground, HUGE and waving. Robert is tiny in background.

PANEL 6

Robert almost falls off the horse, but the Jousting Master holds out a single hand to push him back, the helmet is in his other hand, the spear tucked under his arm.

ROBERT

He’s . . . He’s three times my size!

PANEL 7

The Jousting Master puts the helmet on Robert’s head.

SFX

KURLUNKT.

JOUSTING MASTER

Don’t break nothing important.

PAGE 12

PANEL 1

From Robert’s point-of-view across the field, we see the enormous knight.

ROBERT

(Gulp.)

PANEL 2

Wide view of tournament field. Chamberlain announces start of joust by waving a large flag. Enormous knight starts forward in a cloud of dust.

PANEL 3

Robert ready to charge on his horse.

ROBERT

Charge!

PANEL 4

Horse has not moved.

PANEL 5

Robert moves wildly, trying to get horse to move.

ROBERT

C’mon! Charge! Gallop! Run!

PAGE 13

PANEL 1

Robert leaning over yelling at horse in the foreground, as the charging knight gets closer and closer.

ROBERT

Race! Dash! Do something!

PANEL 2

Close on charging knight.

PANEL 3

Robert is frantic.

ROBERT

Anything!

PANEL 4

The horse sits, and Robert falls backwards off him, just as charging knight passes, looking back in surprise at what is happening.

PANEL 5

Robert falling to the ground.

PANEL 6

Blackness.

PAGE 14

PANEL 1

Blackness.

PANEL 2

Blackness begins to part. Robert sees Jousting Master, Chamberlain and a page, all staring down at him.

PANEL 3

Robert is starting to sit up, his helmet has already been removed. Jousting Master frowns at him. Page is holding helmet. Chamberlain is delighted.

CHAMBERLAIN

He’s alive!

PANEL 4

Crowd is disappointed.

CROWD

Awwwww.

PANEL 5

Queen shakes her head.

QUEEN

Oh, Robbie.

PAGE 15

PANEL 1

Castle hallway. Robert only has one arm of armor left, the rest is clutched by five pages, who are following him. Robert is shuffling down the hallway, shoulders low. There is straw in his hair and stuck to his clothes.

PANEL 2

Wide shot from behind Robert as he enters an elaborate bathroom, followed by the pages. The wall to his left is lined with four mirrors with gilded frames. They are hung above a long wash basin. There is a door at the far end of the wall that leads to a storage closet. To the right, there is a group of three minstrels seated on a long bench. They are all half asleep, clutching their instruments. 

PANEL 3

Surprised, two of the minstrels start playing disjointedly, while trying to wake the third. The pages with the armor gather around the prince, intent on helping him disrobe.

SFX

(Warbly music notes.)

PANEL 4

Surrounded on all sides by attendants, Robert snaps.

ROBERT

Oh, leave me alone!

PANEL 5

Quaking with frustration, Robert watches the pages and minstrels file out of the bathroom. They all look rather insulted.

PANEL 6

Robert’s shoulders lower again.

ROBERT

(Sigh.)

PAGE 16

PANEL 1

Robert stands before one of the mirrors, shown at a slight angle so that we can see his reflection as well as him. Both are covered in bits of straw.

PANEL 2

Robert leans down to splash water on his face.

PANEL 3

When Robert straightens, his reflection has changed. The reflection version of him is wearing armor and has dirt smeared on his face.

ROBERT’S REFLECTION

Is this a bad time?

PANEL 4

Farther back. Startled, Robert reels back from the mirror, tripping over his own feet.

PANEL 5

Robert stares up at the mirror from the floor.

ROBERT’S REFLECTION

I’m in a bit of a rush, you see. There’s a battle in the courtyard.

(cont.)

I wouldn’t be wearing this armor otherwise. It’s very uncomfortable.

PANEL 6

ROBERT’S REFLECTION

I wanted to use a tapestry or one of the portraits in the grand hall, but Jess thought the probability of contacting you through a mirror was better.

PANEL 7

Silence as both versions of Robert stare at each other.

PANEL 8

ROBERT’S REFLECTION

You have a lot of hay in your hair.

PANEL 9

Robert’s reflection suddenly has a familiar panicked look.

ROBERT’S REFLECTION

Oh, no. I’ve gone too far back. Jessica said to be careful mixing the two vials. I must have added too much yellow. 

(cont.)

Or was it too much green?

PAGE 17

PANEL 1

ROBERT’S REFLECTION

This isn’t going to make any sense to you.

ROBERT

Oh, I’m already certain that this proves my insanity.

PANEL 2

While his reflection continues, Robert clutches his stomach as if indigestion can explain this hallucination.

ROBERT’S REFLECTION

It get’s worse. Now, don’t forget what I’m about to tell you. It’s important. Very, very, very important. 

(cont.)

Probably the most important thing anyone has ever told you.

ROBERT

I should never drink mead on an empty stomach.

PANEL 3

ROBERT’S REFLECTION

Don’t listen to the witch. Head north. And . . . Your brother’s a pig.

ROBERT

Maybe I’m dehydrated. These robes are rather heavy and . . .

PANEL 4

Robert frowns as he looks back at the mirror. It’s returned to normal.

ROBERT

Did you say witch?

PANEL 5

Grasping the wash basin, Robert peers up at the mirror, but he is only staring at himself. 

ROBERT

There hasn’t been a witch in over a century. That would be terrible news.

PANEL 6

Farther shot, Robert is still staring at the mirror. The red headed page has entered the bathroom. Her bag has a twitching cat tail.

ROBERT

Imagine! A witch!

JESSICA

How did you know?

PAGE 18

PANEL 1

Surprised, Robert turns to face the door. Jessica suddenly appears nervous.

ROBERT

What?

PANEL 2

Close on Jessica as she readjusts her cap.

JESSICA

I mean, where’s there a witch, sir? Better . . . uh . . . alert people.

PANEL 3

The cat tail swishes against Jessica’s satchel.

ROBERT

There isn’t a . . . I mean, there can’t possibly be a witch.

JESSICA

Oh. Good.

PANEL 4

They stare at each other.

PANEL 5

Robert frowns as he remembers where they are standing.

ROBERT

This bathroom is for royals only.

PANEL 6

With no apparent regard for tradition, Jessica passes him, heading for the storage closet door.

JESSICA

I know. I’ll be gone in a jiff.

PAGE 19

PANEL 1

Jessica goes into the closet, while Robert watches incredulous.

ROBERT

That’s a closet. 

JESSICA

Absolutely. 

PANEL 2

Robert stares at the closed storage closet door.

PANEL 3

Brushing some straw from his hair, Robert approaches the closet door.

ROBERT

Look, I’m sorry if I scared you. Intimidation is part of the whole royalty thing. Whether you want it or not really.

(cont.)

There’s no reason for you to hide in a closet. I swear, I won’t tell anyone that you were in the royal bath.

PANEL 4

He stops in front of the door, hands on his hips.

ROBERT

I don’t remember meeting a red-headed page before, so you must be new. 

(cont.)

Did Sir Gregory take you on? He’s too old to teach anyone, but he’s practically deaf, so no one can convince him otherwise.

PANEL 5

ROBERT

Listen, there’s no reason for you to stay in there. I’m much nicer than people say. Now, if you’d run into my brother, you’d be in for a real lashing.

PANEL 6

Robert presses his ear to the door.

ROBERT

You’re awfully quiet. 

(cont.)

Have you fainted? Not a good start, if you’re trying to be a knight, but I promise I won’t tell anyone.

PANEL 7

Robert puts his hand on the door knob.

ROBERT

I’m just going to open the door, all right?

PAGE 20

PANEL 1

View from inside closet looking at Robert, who has opened the door and is peering into the blackness.

ROBERT

Hello?

PANEL 2

Robert tentatively enters the closet, avoiding the various crates and forgotten furniture in his way.

ROBERT

There’s no reason to stay hidden. You can trust me.

PANEL 3

The bright doorway is getting smaller as he continues into the dark closet.

ROBERT

Huh. This closet is a lot bigger than I thought. 

PANEL 4

The door closes with a thud behind Robert.

SFX

KTHUCKND!

PANEL 5

Robert is in complete darkness.

ROBERT

Well, this is unfortunate.

PANEL 6

Robert’s dialogue travels through the dark closet. It’s headed in the wrong direction, toward the left, but he has no idea.

ROBERT

When I get out of here, I’m ordering this closet marked as dangerous. I should have known a page would be trouble! 

(cont.)

Trespassing . . . Luring people into unusually large closets . . . 

(cont.)

Why do I always have to be concerned about people? Why couldn’t I be more like Edward? 

(cont.)

He never worries about anyone but himself. And everyone loves him! 

PAGE 21

PANEL 1

In the darkness, there is a slim corner of light that might indicate the edge of a door.

ROBERT

A light! At last!

(cont.)

Now, if I could just find the . . .

PANEL 2

The door falls open, and Robert tumbles through into a bright mud room of sorts, with cozy furniture and lots of clutter. He immediately collides with what appears to be a coated person.

ROBERT

. . . door!

PANEL 3

Robert is blinded, trapped in a tangle of coats and hats. His arms are outstretched.

VOICE (NO TAIL)

Well, this is unfortunate.

PANEL 4

Robert sits up. Wider shot to show that he has in fact collided with a coat rack, not a person.

VOICE (NO TAIL)

Jessica has the worst luck. I tell her over and over to be more careful, but does she ever listen?

PANEL 5

Robert tentatively lifts a coat sleeve. He is convinced that the clothing is speaking to him, like the mirror.

ROBERT

You’d better not have an important message for me. I’ve had enough of objects with opinions today.

VOICE (NO TAIL)

Important message? I don’t think so.

(cont.)

Do you need glasses or something? I’m over here.

PAGE 22

PANEL 1

Robert looks around the room, but doesn’t see anything that might talk. There is a bookshelf with battered volumes, a window seat with plush pillows upon which lies a very relaxed ginger cat, and a rainbow afghan.

HERCULES (NO TAIL)

As catastrophic as your arrival is, I’m not getting up. The sunlight is purrrfect at this angle.

(cont.)

Besides, Jessica should return at any moment. She just stepped into the back garden for some thyme.

PANEL 2

Close on Robert squinting.

PANEL 3

Close on ginger cat. Smiling. Very toothy.

HERCULES

Hello.

PANEL 4

Robert scrambles to his feet, stumbling back toward the door through which he arrived. He is pointing in terror at the cat.

ROBERT

CAT!

PANEL 5

Close on Hercules as he buries his face in the pillow, returning to sleep.

HERCULES

Well, this is going to be fun.