Steve Braunias: The Secret Diary of the They Are Us script

OPINION:

FADE IN
INTERIOR, SUBURBAN HOME — MORNING

We open in the bedroom of a modern suburban home. Cheerful breakfast radio music plays in the background. A female voice hums along. We see JACINDA ARDERN sitting in front of her vanity mirror in a short black slip. She pouts her lips and applies a scarlet red lipstick. Then she brushes her long, silky hair, which falls over her bare shoulders. One of the straps of her slip falls down.

CUT TO
INTERIOR, GYMNASIUM — MORNING

The gymnasium is fitted out in shining steel with mirrored walls and a black floor. Loud heavy metal music plays at top volume. A male voice screams along. We see SIMON BRIDGES bench-pressing 400kg. Sweat pours down his face and over his unshaved jaw, which is clenched in agony. His eyes burn with a maniacal zeal. He has an insignia tattooed on his neck. Oh yeah and a small toothbrush moustache.

CUT TO
EXTERIOR, ROTORUA HOT POOLS, DAYTIME

Ancient Māori music plays on a kōauau (flute) and pūtatara (shell trumpet) as reproduced on Pro Tools virtual synthesiser and studio software. We see mist rising from a thermal hot pool. An owl hoots in the background. We see WINSTON PETERS sitting in the hot pool with a huia feather in his long, grey hair. His eyes are closed. He looks very wise and solemn. Actually he’s probably just asleep.

CUT TO
INTERIOR, SHOWER

More cheerful breakfast radio music plays and we hear JACINDA ARDERN singing along, with beautiful vibrato and perfect pitch. We see her blurry outline through the shower glass. Steam rises from the shower. A lot of steam. It’s really quite steamy.

CUT TO
EXTERIOR, MOUNTAIN TOP WITH A REALLY BIG CROSS ON IT

A mass choir of women in long white frocks with a big yellow bow tied at the front link arms and sing a Christian hymn. We see DAVID SEYMOUR with outstretched arms. He has a Bible in one hand and a flaming torch in the other. He is quite old, but virile, with a red face and dark chest hair visible at the top of his open-necked shirt. He begins talking in tongues. His eyes go back in his head. He looks maybe a bit like Brian Tamaki.

CUT TO
INTERIOR, NINTH FLOOR OF THE BEEHIVE

Silence. JACINDA ARDERN sits at her desk, weeping. WINSTON PETERS looks out the window, smoking an ancient Māori cigarette.

WINSTON

Ehara taku toa, he takitahi, he toa takitini.

JACINDA

Can you please provide a sub-title in English for that whatutaki?

WINSTON

Yes. My success should not be bestowed on to me alone, as it was not individual success but success of a collective.

JACINDA

Do you really believe that?

WINSTON

No, but I can’t be held accountable for an insane and ridiculous script which should never, ever be made into a film about March 15.

FADE IN
EXTERIOR, ROTORUA HOT POOLS, NIGHT

A full moon bathes the black waters of a thermal hot pool. We see JACINDA ARDERN lying back. Her scarlet red lipstick is perfectly applied despite the conditions. There’s a lot of steam. She gets out of the pool just as the steam clears.

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