INT. DARKENED ROOM - DAY
The blade of a knife.
Pulled from its sheath, intricate tribal etchings on the
blade catching the light.
The blade being pulled across a sharpening stone. Swoosh-
swoosh-swoosh. Rhythmic. A well-practiced hand. A muscular,
The blade held up. Razor sharp. The glow of a TV in the
darkened room is the only illumination.
We see images on the TV:
GLOBAL AND URBAN STRIFE slums barricades poverty
starvation demonstrations repression refugee
camps barbed wire prisons riot police tear gas
Then the images settle to now, BREAKING NEWS:
FOOD RIOTS IN ROME. Images of a protest march. A crowd
filling the streets. Soldiers moving into position. We see
placards: "DOGS MUST EAT," "MEAT WAS MADE FOR MOUTHS."
The man sharpening the knife watches the images. His eyes are
cold. Almost disinterested.
Then he stops.
Frozen in mid-stroke.
Something on the TV suddenly rivets him.
His eyes no longer cold.
The TV shows one of the soldiers, a high-ranking officer.
Imperious. Giving orders. We will come to know this is a man
as Caius Martius -- Coriolanus.
TULLUS AUFIDIUS, the man sharpening the knife, gazes at the
image on the screen.
He leans forward. Emerging from the darkness. We see his
He is a handsome and imposing figure, magnetic in his
personality. Charismatic, yes, but also neurotic and edgy.
Uncomfortable in his own skin. Some demons there.
He watches the face of Caius Martius on the TV screen.
Then he puts the point of his knife against the screen.
Against Caius Martius' heart.
Holds it there Presses the point against the screen
Muscles knotting in his forearm As if he could thrust the
knife through the screen and into the heart of Caius
His nemesis His dark angel.
Sharp cut to--
EXT. ROME - STREET - DAY
We move with an intense woman down the street. She is
nervous. Checks she is not being followed.
She is TAMORA, an extreme figure on the political landscape.
To the Roman elite she is a dangerous anarchist -- to her
supporters she is an ardent patriot and democrat.
As she moves, we take in Rome.
It might be Mexico City. Or Chechnia. Or El Salvador. Or
Detroit. Or Baghdad. Or London.
This Rome is a modern place. It is our world right now:
immediately recognizable to us. Elements of classical
architecture loom over decay. Monolithic modernism and brave
public monuments are lost in a sea of brazen advertising
billboards, neon shopping plazas and drab super-highways.
Splendor and squalor sit side-by-side.
It is a volatile, dangerous world.
William Shakespeare's Rome.
She comes to a graffiti-covered apartment building. Looks
INT. APARTMENT - DAY
A secret political meeting in a police state.
Tension. Cigarette smoke hangs in the air. Men and women
gathered, hushed and urgent tones. A cell meeting of the
political opposition, the resistance.
A TV shows the food marches elsewhere in the city. The
CASSIUS is a leading proletariat organizer:
Before we proceed any further, hear me
speak -- You are all resolved rather to
die than to famish?
The others agree. They are not wild-eyed radicals. They are
normal people, from all walks of life. You and me.
First, you know Caius Martius is chief
enemy to the people.
A voice from the back of the room:
Let us kill him.
The others turn. Tamora, just entering, pulls off her coat,
joins the others:
And we'll have corn at our own price. Is
it a verdict?
Some are unsure. She is too extreme for some.
We are accounted poor citizens, the
patricians good The leanness that
afflicts us, the object of our misery,
our sufferance, is a gain to them. Let us
revenge this with our sticks ere we
become rakes! I speak this in hunger
for bread, not in thirst for revenge.
A woman, a YOUNG MOTHER, protests:
Will you proceed especially against Caius
Against him first.
A COLLEGE PROFESSOR, speaks up:
Consider you what services he has done
for his country?
Very well, and could be content to give
him good report for it -- but that he
pays himself with being proud.
Nay, but speak not maliciously.
She has over-played her hand. Pretends to back down:
I say unto you, what he hath done
famously, he did it to that end...
(a snarky smile)
He did it to please his mother.
Some laugh at her gossip.
Then the TV image switches to a BREAKING NEWS update:
From the Roman Senate. An august press room. A Senator is
moving to a podium to make a statement.
He is Senator MENENIUS is a seasoned and wily politician.
Silver hair, perfectly tailored suit. He is known as a folksy
"man of the people." It is a role he plays to perfection.
Soft, who comes here?
Worthy Senator Menenius, one that hath
always loved the people.
He's one honest enough; would all the
rest were so.
Why, masters, my good friends, mine
Will you undo yourselves?
I tell you, friends, most charitable care
Have the patricians of you,
For your wants,
Your suffering in this dearth, you may as
Strike at the heavens with your staves as
Against the Roman state--
(speaking to the TV)
Suffer us to famish, and their
storehouses crammed with grain--
The others shush her.
Alack, you are transported by calamity
Thither where more attends you; and you
The helms of the state, who care for you
When you curse them as enemies--
Cassius mutes the TV. We see Senator Menenius continuing with
his speech; his attempt to calm the dangerous situation.
Care for us? They never cared for us yet!
If the wars eat us not up, they will: and
that's all the love they bear us.
The others are growing increasingly restive -- shifting --
Why stay we prating here?
No more talking on it!
To the Capitol! Come! Come!
EXT. STREETS - DAY
Tamora, Cassius and the others are now in the midst of the
protest march. The crowd has become a mob, with a life and
will of its own. The crowd surges forward--
They round a corner and suddenly stop--
For a formidable sight awaits them-
Rows of black uniforms. Full riot gear with plexiglass
shields and dangerous truncheons.
A few soldiers on horses as well.
The crowd starts and shifts nervously, unsure how to proceed.
Should they launch themselves against this monolithic
A long, tense beat.
One of the horsemen trots forward...
He rides a beautiful white horse...
It is CAIUS MARTIUS. (Soon to be given the honorary title
Coriolanus.) He is intense and patrician. Uncompromising. A
man of steel. A soldier. He wears a crisp, military uniform.
From his position on the horse, Martius looks over the
His gaze is ice...
A long beat...
Then he dismounts...
He slowly walks to the unruly mob...
With no hesitation, unarmed...
He stops before them...
And speaks with absolute disdain.
What's the matter, you dissentious
That, rubbing the poor itch of your
Make yourselves scabs?
We have ever your good word.
He that will give good words to thee will
The crowd is hushed. Taking in his every word.
We note a TV news crew has moved into position and is filming
eagerly. Some in the crowd film with cell phone cameras.
Streaming video. We intercut some of these perspectives.
What would you have, you curs?
He that trusts to you,
Where he should find you lions, finds you
Where foxes, geese.
He walks along the front of the crowd. Some are frightened by
the great Martius. Some are even awed. Others glare at him
Who deserves greatness
Deserves your hate...
Hang ye! Trust ye?
With every minute you do change your
And call him noble that was now your
Him vile that was your garland.
He continues along the crowd, his cold eyes taking in face
What's the matter,
That in these several places of the city
You cry against the noble Senate, who,
Under the gods, keep you in awe, which
Would feed on one another?
He stops and glares at the mob with seething anger.
He climbs back onto his horse. Stares down at them.
Go GET YOU HOME, YOU FRAGMENTS!
A tense beat.
The riot police shift nervously.
The crowd is unsure.
The TV news crew films everything.
Cassius looks around. He sees the police ready with tear gas.
He sees old men, women and children in his crowd. He doesn't
want this to explode.
He exchanges a few whispers works with Tamora. Word is passed
and the crowd begins to disperse. Some run off in a panic.
Others walk away.
The danger has passed.
Senator Menenius, who has been watching from nearby, gestures
for Martius to join him. He is an old family friend of
Martius' as well as his mentor and chief political advisor.
Menenius is relieved bloodshed has been avoided.
These are almost thoroughly persuaded;
For though abundantly they lack
Yet are they passing cowardly.
They are dissolved. Hang 'em.
Senator Menenius watches the crowd. Disturbed.
I would they were abed.
I would they were in Tiber.
They move off.
INT. DARKENED ROOM - DAY
We see the TV image of Martius railing at the people from
Go GET YOU HOME, YOU FRAGMENTS!
Tullus Aufidius is leaning in. Watching so closely.
From his POV: the pixilated close-up of Martius' face on the
He runs his knife blade back and forth. Turns it in the
light; the reflection of Martius' face distorting as he
rotates the blade.
Then Aufidius leans back again.
Back into the shadows. Disappearing.
EXT. MILITARY COMMAND CENTER - DAY
Rome's military headquarters. A high security building like
INT. ROMAN WAR ROOM - DAY
Martius is seated with several MILITARY OFFICERS and AIDES.
Also with him is TITUS. He younger than Martius, an old
friend and comrade-in-arms. Like Martius he has seen a lot of
COMINIUS, an older general, enters. He is an experienced
commander of men also used to dealing with the necessary
politics of civilian oversight. West Point bearing.
All salute. Cominius returns the salute.
The news is the Volsces are in arms.
An aide presses a remote. Grainy video images play on a
monitor: Volscian soldiers, jeeps, tanks.
One section shows a quick image of the rebel leader, a
striking man called Tullus Aufidius, riding past in a jeep.
They have a leader,
Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to it.
I sin in envying his nobility,
And were I any thing but what I am,
I would wish me only he.
You have fought together?
He is a lion
That I am proud to hunt.
Martius takes the remote control. Stops the video. Rewinds to
the unclear image of Aufidius.
Titus Lartius, thou
Shalt see me once more strike at Tullus'
Lead you on.
Martius rewinds and plays the image of Aufidius again,
rewinds and plays it again, almost obsessively.
We push in on the video image of Aufidius...
Aufidius appears to be staring right back at Martius...
And this takes us to...
INT. APARTMENT BUILDING-WAR ROOM - NIGHT
The same face.
Aufidius, who is the leader of the rebel Volscian forces,
stands deep in thought.
The Volsces are an insurgent force challenging the monolithic
might of Rome: rebels that suggest to us Latin American
revolutionaries or Hamas fighters or Chechnian separatists.
They are a dangerous guerilla force.
We are in the Volsce war room in an old apartment building. A
basement. No windows. Secure.
OFFICERS and some civilian POLITICIANS. The room is filled
with military maps, weapons, surveillance photos.
So, your opinion is, Aufidius,
That they of Rome are entered in our
And know how we proceed.
Is it not yours?
Tis not four days gone since I heard
We never yet made doubt but Rome was
To answer us.
And it is rumored Martius, your old
enemy, leads in their preparation.
He tosses a glossy magazine on the desk, a picture of Martius
on the cover.
Aufidius' eyes spark at the image of Martius.
He picks up the magazine and carefully tears off the cover
picture of Martius, looking at the picture deeply.
He continues with a strange and grim fire:
If we and Caius Martius chance to meet,
'Tis sworn between us we shall ever
Till one can do no more.
By the elements,
If ever again I meet him beard to beard,
He's mine or I am his.
EXT. MARTIUS VILLA - DAY
A beautiful butterfly. Catching the light perfectly, almost
It floats before a palatial mansion in the suburbs of the
great city. Manicured lawns. Formal gardens. Classical
This fine home of aristocratic privilege seems a world away
from the urban blight of Rome.
In the immaculate front gardens YOUNG MARTIUS, Martius' son,
is playing. The boy is about ten. There is something grim and
lonely about him, without charm.
Young Martius chases after the butterfly, trying to catch it.
He fails. The butterfly flits away. Young Martius leaps after
it. Again he misses.
Finally the frustrated boy manages to catch the butterfly. In
his rage he tears it to pieces, brutally shredding it.
We realize he is being observed...
INT. MARTIUS VILLA -- LIVING ROOM - DAY
. VIRGILIA, Martius' wife, stands at the window. Disturbed
by the sight of her son ripping apart the butterfly.
She sees Young Martius stop and look at the tiny bit of blood
on his fingers. Young Martius is unmoved. He glances up.
Locks eyes with his mother.
She turns away.
Virgilia was well-chosen for her role as wife to one of
Rome's most aristocratic men. She is beautiful and graceful
but -- like Diana thrown into lion's den of the Windsor
family -- woefully out of her depth. We feel an inner
fragility to her.
The room is spacious and elegantly appointed. A lovely Roman
statue in one corner. This is a place of wealth, order and
A fine flat-screen TV flickers with images of war. We see
helicopters zooming over desert landscape Imbedded war
correspondents Tanks Combat Romans . Volscians.
VOLUMNIA, Martius' mother, stands and watches the TV. She is
an imposing woman, handsome and tall, impeccably dressed.
Adamantine in her strength.
Virgilia moves from the window. Sits on a sofa. She watches
the TV news footage of the war, upset by the images.
A frozen silence.
I pray you, daughter, sing, or express
yourself in a more comfortable sort. If
my son were my husband, I should more
freely rejoice in that absence wherein he
won honor than in the embracements of his
bed where he would show most love.
She moves across the room to fetch a cigarette. She moves,
always, with stately grace.
She walks past a series of photographs. They tell the story
of Martius' life: the happy baby; the stern dead father; the
rigid young military cadet; the formal wedding; the
restrained and unsmiling adult.
In the photos we sense a transformation: innocent boy to
experienced, severe looking soldier. Volumnia is present in
most of the pictures.
When yet he was but tender-bodied and the
only son of my womb, I, considering how
honor would become such a person, was
pleased to let him seek danger where he
was like to find fame.
She lights her cigarette.
To a cruel war I sent him, from whence he
returned, his brows bound with oak.
But had he died in the business, madam,
Then his good report should have been my
(she rivets Virgilia)
Had I a dozen sons I had rather have
eleven die nobly for their country than
one voluptuously surfeit out of action.
A MAID enters. She speaks to Volumnia (the true mistress of
the house) not to Virgilia.
Madam, Senator Menenius is come to visit
Tell Menenius we are fit to bid him
The Maid goes.
Beseech you, give me leave to retire
Indeed, you shall not!
She turns off the TV and goes to a bar to mix drinks. She
mixes the drinks aggressively, strangely inspired by the
discussion of war:
Methinks I hear hither your husband's
Methinks I see him stamp thus, and call
"Come on, you cowards! You were got in
Though you were born in Rome." His bloody
Then wiping, forth he goes.
His bloody brow? 0 Jupiter, no blood...
Away, you fool! It more becomes a man
Than gold his trophy.
Heavens bless my lord from fell
Auf idius ...
He'll beat Aufidius' head below his knee
And tread upon his neck.
Senator Menenius enters, he is comfortable in this house and
an old ally of Volumnia's.
My ladies both, good day to you.
Volumnia hands him one of the drinks she has been mixing: a
perfect martini. She knows how he takes his drink. She is not
above flirting with him when it suits her ends.
How do you both?
And how does your little son?
I thank you, sir; well, good.
He had rather play with swords and hear a
drum than look upon his schoolmaster.
On my word, the father's son!
He and Volumnia laugh.
Menenius has sensed Virgilia's tension. Tries to cheer her:
Come, I must have you play the idle
housewife with me this afternoon.
No, good sir, I will not out of doors.
Not out of doors!
She shall, she shall.
Indeed, no, by your patience. I'll not
over the threshold till my lord return
from the wars.
Fie, you confine yourself most
I cannot go hither.
You would be another Penelope; yet they
say all the yarn she spun in Ulysses'
absence did but fill Ithaca full of
No, good sir, pardon me; indeed, I will
Go with me and I'll tell you excellent
news of your husband.
0, good sir, there can be none yet.
There came news from him last night.
Volumnia pounces, moving in:
Your lord and Titus Lartius are set down
before the Volscian city of Corioles.
They nothing doubt prevailing and to make
it brief wars This is true, on mine
honor; and so, I pray, go out with us.
Give me excuse, good sir. I will obey you
in everything hereafter.
Let her alone. As she is now, she will
but disease our better mirth.
She takes Menenius arm and pulls him out, eager for more news
of her son.
Virgilia sits for a beat.
Then she presses a button on the remote control. The TV goes
on again. More news reports of the war.
We see images of the Volscian town of Corioles. A "BREAKING
NEWS" scroll runs across the bottom of the screen The
Battle for Corioles
Virgilia watches the war footage, her eyes haunted.
Hard cut to--
EXT. CORIOLES - DAY
BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! A series of explosions jolt us.
Corioles is a small urban center. Smoke billows up from areas
of the city. The steady crack and rattle of gunfire. The
occasional thud of explosions.
We see urban street-to-street fighting. The images are
startling in their familiarity: this could be Basra or
The battle is photographed in a gritty exposure. Color is
drained out -- blood is a darker red like oil. Soldiers are
dark forms moving through shadows and smoke.
Martius and Titus, leading a platoon of around twenty Roman
SOLDIERS, run into view and take cover. Bullets zip and snap
The Roman soldiers wear modern battle fatigues and body
armor, tricked out with all the latest tech gear. The
Volscians, being a poor guerilla force, wear thrown together
uniforms that look almost tribal.
Martius calls over the incessant din of battle to Titus and
They fear us not, but issue forth their
Sniper bullets slam into a wall near him. He coughs away the
smoke and debris. This only makes him more angry:
They do disdain us much beyond our
Which makes me sweat with wrath!
He that retires, I'll take him for a
And he shall feel mine edge!
Martius leaps up and races on. The others follow in military
The Roman soldiers move along the street -- it is chaotic --
explosions, smoke and sniper fire -- they duck into doorways
and behind abandoned cars -- returning fire as best they can--
Martius leads -- firing stead bursts from his machine gun--
It is slow and bloody going--
Finally the Romans turn a corner and are stopped by a
roadblock: a burning bus that fills the entire street--
The Volsces use this roadblock to ambush the Roman soldiers--
We see glimpses of Volscian soldiers darting for position --
firing from rooftops and from inside shops--
INT. BLASTED HOTEL ROOM - DAY
Aufidius runs into a blasted hotel room. Some of his soldiers
He goes to the window. Scans the street below. Sees Martius
and the others trapped at the bus. He gestures to an aide for
EXT. CORIOLES-STREET - DAY
In the face of the crossfire, the Roman soldiers start
Martius refuses to yield -- pushing and shoving his men
toward the burning bus -- screaming in fury over the noise:
You souls of geese,
That bear the shapes of men! PLUTO AND
All hurt behind! Backs red, and faces
With flight and agued fear! Mend and
Or, by the fires of heaven, I'll leave
AND MAKE MY WARS ON YOU!
An EXPLOSION -- dirt and brick shards slash across Martius'
face -- blood--
This only pushes his fury to white rage--
Look to it. Come on!
He leaves his soldiers behind--
Moves alone to the burning bus and fights his way through the
Martius is in his own world now. He doesn't even realize he
is alone. He has become a sort of killing machine. A shark
moving through the ocean. Ruthless and efficient.
We become the warrior.
From Martius' POV:
We move through disorienting curtains of smoke...
Continue down the street...
Firing a heavy machine gun...
Volscian soldiers contort and die, torn to pieces by the
The heavy machine gun is empty, we drop it and use a sidearm,
firing strategic shots...
Volscian soldiers dart up -- fire -- and die...
We keep moving steadily forward...
Shadowy shapes moving nearby, we fire. Killing civilians. The
fortunes of war...
Strange surreal images. We smash into a house. An OLD MAN
crouches, terrified, in a corner. He reaches forward. He is
offering us water. An act of kindness amid the carnage...
We move on...
Panicked civilians, scattering in terror...
Volscian soldiers rush us, attacking, we slam them aside...
We duck down, roll under a car, emerge and fire...
More Volscians die...
We continue forward...
Then the pistol is empty, we drop it and pull a machete-like
Still moving relentlessly forward...
Slashing and killing...
EXT. CORIOLES-ALLEY - DAY
Aufidius and his aides are racing down an alley, trying to
get to Martius--
Roman fire stops them--
They return fire as they divert down another alley, trying
for a better strategic position, running flat out--
EXT. CORIOLES - LATER
Titus and the soldiers are still pinned down at the burning
bus. Two soldiers race back to Titus to report, they dive for
What is become of Martius?
Slain, sir, doubtless.
He is himself alone,
To answer all the city.
Thou art lost, Martius...
Titus has no time to mourn. He looks over the hopeless
situation. Scanning the rooftops, windows and shops.
Then he stops He sees something Past the burning bus
Through the smoke and flames...
He glimpses a ghostly figure...
That does appear as he were flayed?
0 gods! He has the stamp of Martius.
It is indeed Martius.
A shocking sight.
Drenched head-to-toe in blood.
His face splattered with gore.
His eyes wild.
Lost in something like rapture.
Come I too late?! Come I too late?!
Ay, if you come not in the blood of
But mantled in your own.
Martius laughs wildly and embraces Titus, who comes away
splattered with blood:
0, let me clip ye
In arms as sound as when I wooed, in
As merry as when our nuptial day was
SUDDENLY -- a deafening explosion -- and RPG EXPLODING from
nearby. Then gunfire. Bullets shatter windows. The Volscians
are attacking again.
The Romans instantly begin diving for cover and taking up
Martius scans the location. Sees the attack is coming from an
old Hilton hotel. Now pockmarked with bullets and artillery
shells. Most of the windows shattered.
This is the Volscian stronghold. The last stand. He sees
flashes of Volscian soldiers moving on the roof and
balconies, and snipers firing from windows.
There is an open plaza, littered with bodies and debris, in
front of the hotel.
Martius stops scanning with his binoculars--
Sees Aufidius moving in the hotel, directing the battle--
There is the man of my soul's hate--
Piercing our Romans.
Worthy sir, thou bleeds.
Thy exercise hath been too violent
For a second course of fight.
Sir, praise me not.
My work hath yet not warmed me.
The blood I drop is more medicinal
Than dangerous to me. To Aufidius thus
I will appear and fight.
He turns to some soldiers, imploring them to join him. His
bloody visage and intensity are strangely inspiring, his
If any such be here-
As it were sin to doubt - that love this
Wherein you see me smeared; if any fear
Lesser his person than an ill report;
If any think brave death outweighs bad
And that his country's dearer than
Let him alone, or so many so minded,
Wave thus, to express his disposition,
AND FOLLOW MARTIUS!
The soldiers are pumped up -- like Marines straining for
0, ME ALONE! MAKE YOU A SWORD OF ME!
Zigzagging across the plaza toward the hotel--
Titus and the others provide covering fire--
EXT. CORIOLES-PLAZA - DAY
Martius zigzags with his men across the dangerously exposed
They return fire at the hotel as best they can, but the
barrage from the Volscians is murderous--
Roman soldiers contort and fall, blood spraying--
Bullets snap and ricochet everywhere around them--
But still they keep up a steady pace, reloading and firing as
Then Martius is hit--
But still he keeps on--
The front of the hotel is closer now--
Martius and his soldiers race to the hotel and crash into the
INT. CORIOLES-HOTEL-LOBBY - DAY
Martius and his soldiers battle the Volscian defenders in the
It is the weird and incongruous nature of modern urban
warfare: soldiers fighting to the death among hotel couches
and tatty corporate artwork--
It is brutal--
Martius and his soldiers cut a bloody swath across the hotel
Another HUGE EXPLOSION rocks the hotel -- like a seismic
blast -- an ugly 1970's chandelier falls--
Martius and his men move into a stairwell--
INT. CORIOLES-HOTEL-STAIRWELL - DAY
Martius and his men race up the stairway-
Volscians are firing down at them--
Bullets ricochet crazily in the confined stairway, refracting
from concrete walls and twisting metal railing, sending up
sparks and clouds of dust--
Then Martius slows to a stop.
Aufidius is on the stairway above. Glaring down at him.
A long beat as they lock eyes. Both panting for breath in the
heat of the combat.
I'll fight with none but thee, for I do
We hate alike.
Then Martius does something astounding.
He holds out his arms to his sides and drops his weapons.
They clatter down.
Aufidius does the same.
The Roman and Volscian soldiers watch.
None daring to interfere.
Martius and Aufidius continue to glare at each other --
dropping weapons -- disarming -- Martius climbing up the
stairs, Aufidius coming down -- moving closer and closer--
At an instant-
They slam together-
Fighting without weapons--
Grappling brutally. Tearing at each other. Twining together.
Fingers grasping. Teeth snapping. Hands pulling.
It is a bloody, terrible, graceless struggle.
They crash and slam awkwardly in the claustrophobic
stairwell. Smashing into the walls. Falling from level to
Another EXPLOSION rocks the hotel--
Part of the roof COLLAPSES--
Concrete SLAMS down--
A cloud of smoke, dust and debris obscures everything-
Martius is tossed violently to the ground in the action--
Aufidius is pulled away by several of his men. They drag him
to safety. Roman soldiers fire after them. The sound is
deafening in the confined garage.
But Aufidius and his comrades disappear into a cloud of dust.
Martius glares after him. Wipes blood from his eyes.
INT. CORIOLES-HOTEL-LOBBY - NIGHT
The hotel lobby has been turned into a hastily assembled
emergency triage station.
The moaning and screaming of the injured are constant. Roman
medics attend to the wounded: administering IVs; arranging
evacuations; performing battlefield surgery.
Martius sits, dried blood covering his face, looking over his
injured and dying soldiers as a medic stitches up a wound in
his arm. Titus is with him.
General Cominius enters with several attending officers,
going to congratulate Martius.
If I should tell thee over this thy day's
Thou would not believe thy deeds.
Martius is barely listening. His attention is on a YOUNG
SOLDIER across the room. The Young Soldier is injured, pale
and thirsty. Dying.
But I'll report it
Where Senators shall mingle tears with
Where great patricians shall attend and
In the end admire and say: "We thank the
Our Rome hath such a soldier."
Pray now, no more. My mother,
When she does praise me, grieves me.
I have done as you have done - that's
what I can;
Induced as you have been - that's for my
Martius continues to look at the poor dying soldier.
Rome must know
The value of her own. It were a
Worse than a theft,
To hide your doings.
I have some wounds upon me, and they
To hear themselves remembered.
The surgeon finishes stitching Martius' arm. Starts to clean
Should they not,
Well might they fester against
Too modest are you.
Impatient, Martius rises, painfully and slowly. He takes his
canteen and crosses to the Young Soldier. Gives his canteen
to the boy. The Young Soldier drinks. His deep, sad eyes gaze
up at Martius.
Martius watches as...
The Young Soldier dies. The light goes from his eyes. His
head hangs awkwardly. His boyish face is leaden.
Martius suddenly finds himself exhausted. Morally and
I will go wash;
And when my face is fair, you shall
Whether I blush or no Howbeit,
Martius stares at the dead soldier.
EXT. CORIOLES-STREET - NIGHT
Aufidius and some of his Volscian soldiers, bloody and
filthy, are on foot.
They are moving through the outskirts of Corioles, leaving
the city. Exhausted after the long and failed battle.
Fires burn from blasted shops and homes. The Romans have
clearly laid waste to this part of the city.
There is a minivan stopped ahead of them. Bullets holes
everywhere. Bodies inside.
They walk to it. Aufidius looks in. A dead family. Father,
mother, kids in the back. Bloody toys on the floor of the
Aufidius gazes at the bodies. His face hardens.
He whispers to himself:
Five times, Martius,
I have fought with thee; so often hast
thou beat me,
And would do so, I think, should we
As often as we eat.
He becomes aware some of his men are looking at him,
disturbed at his fervor.
I thought to crush him in an equal force,
True sword to sword, I'll stab him some
Or wrath -- or craft -- may get him.
He's the devil.
Bolder, though not so subtle.
A beat. Aufidius continues with prayer-like intensity:
My valor, poisoned with him,
Shall fly out of itself ...
Nor sleep, nor sanctuary, being naked,
Sick, the prayers of priests,
Nor times of sacrifice,
Shall lift up their rotten privilege
Against my hate to Martius.
In the shattered glass of the minivan window, Aufidius
suddenly sees himself.
He studies his own face, nurturing his dark thoughts.
Where I find him, were it
At home, upon my brother's guard, even
Will I wash my fierce hand in his heart.
INT. POLITICO BAR - DAY
Back in Rome, we are at a comfortable restaurant/bar near the
Senate where politicians gather to eat, drink, gossip and
conspire. The business of state is conducted over steak and
Comfortable red leather booths. Wooden panelling.
Two Tribunes -- Senators chosen to speak for the people --
are having lunch.
BRUTUS is a large man in a rumpled grey suit; a sweating bear
with a taste for bare-knuckle politics. SICINIUS is smaller
and vulpine; crafty and cold.
Both are ambitious politicos used to manipulating the people
and the press for their personal ends. With them sits
Cassius, the political agitator we met before.
The TV over the bar shows images of Martius' victory:
parading Roman troops; Volscian prisoners; flags; adoring
crowds; triumphant slogans; "Mission Accomplished."
Was ever man so proud as is this Martius?
He has no equal.
When we were chosen Tribunes for the
Marked you his lip and eyes?
Nay, but his taunts.
They see Senator Menenius approaching. Sicinius nods to
Cassius, who quickly goes.
Menenius stops by on his way out. He is jolly, knowing the
victory will assure his protege's political future:
The augurer tells me we shall have news
Good or bad?
Not according to the prayer of the
people, for they love not Martius.
Nature teaches beasts to know their
You blame Martius for being proud?
We do it not alone, sir.
Subtly, the polite chit-chat is turning more serious and
pointed; Menenius growing sharper. The gloves are coming off.
I know you can do very little alone
You talk of pride: 0 that you could turn
your eyes toward the napes of your necks,
and make but an interior survey of your
good selves! 0 that you could!
What then, sir?
Why, then you should discover a brace of
unmeriting, proud, violent, testy
magistrates, alias fools, as any in Rome.
The saturnine Sicinius' response seems almost a threat:
Menenius, you are known well enough too.
I am known to be a humorous patrician,
and one that loves a cup of hot wine with
not a drop of allaying water in it; one
that converses more with the buttock of
the night than with the forehead of the
morning. What I think I utter, and spend
my malice in my breath.
Come, sir, come, we know you well enough.
You know neither me, yourselves nor
anything You are ambitious.
A tense beat. They are formidable adversaries.
Good-e'en to your worships. More of your
conversation would infect my brain, being
the herdsmen of the beastly plebeians
I will be bold to take my leave of you.
He goes. The Tribunes watch him cut through the lunch crowd
EXT. SENATE - DAY
The Roman Senate is constructed with classical symmetry and
clean, square lines. Probably the most striking and beautiful
building in Rome.
INT. SENATE-CORRIDOR - DAY
Volumnia, Virgilia and Menenius are hurrying down a corridor,
excited. All are well-dressed, for an important public event.
Honorable Menenius, my boy Martius
approaches! For the love of Juno, let's
Is he not wounded? He was wont to come
0, no, no, no...
0, he is wounded! I thank the gods for
So do I too -- if it be not too much.
Brings a victory in his pocket, the
wounds become him. Has he disciplined
Titus Lartius says they fought together,
but Aufidius got off.
In truth, there's wondrous things spoke
of him. Gods grant them true.
(an exhalation of scorn)
I'll be sworn they are true. Where is he
Volumnia and Menenius now gleefully add up her son's wounds
like accountants -- or campaign managers.
In the shoulder and in the left arm.
There will be large scars to show the
people, when he shall stand for his place
He received in the repulse of Tarquin
seven hurts in the body.
One in the neck, and two in the thigh -
there's nine that I know.
He had, before this last expedition,
twenty-five wounds upon him.
Now it's twenty-seven. Every gash was an
We focus on Volumnia's face as she thinks about her son.
He carries noise, and behind him he
Death, that dark spirit, in his nervy arm
Which, being advanced, declines, and then
They hurry to the stop of a grand staircase, where there are
INT. SENATE-STAIRS - DAY
They join Cominius and other dignitaries at the top of a
An honor guard of Roman soldiers in dress uniforms are
waiting. Roman flags flutter. All very ceremonial.
Martius enters below. The honor guard snaps to attention.
Martius -- hereafter called Coriolanus -- slowly begins to
cross to the steps. We see that walking is very difficult
for him. His wounds are severe and every movement is agony.
He has paid a steep price for his victory.
Photographers flash photos and a TV crew film the ceremony.
Coriolanus finally reaches the steps leading up. He takes a
breath and slowly begins to climb the stairs, each step a
Volumnia looks down on him. Unmoved by his pain.
Virgilia is distraught.
As Coriolanus slowly hauls himself up the last few steps,
General Cominius speaks into a cluster of microphones and
addresses the press:
Be it known,
As to us, to all the world, that Caius
Wears this war's garland And from
For what he did before Corioles, call
With all the applause and clamor of the
"Caius Martius Coriolanus!"
Bear the addition nobly ever!
The soldiers salute in a grim sort of chant:
Caius Martius Coriolanus!
Coriolanus has reached the podium. An awkward beat. Cominius
gestures for him to speak into the microphones.
He tersely does so:
No more of this; it does offend my heart.
Pray now, no more.
An awkward silence. Cominius elegantly tries to covers the
Look, sir, your mother.
You have, I know, petitioned all the gods
For my prosperity.
He kneels to her -- slowly, with great difficulty -- she lets
Nay, my good soldier, up.
(he slowly rises)
My gentle Martius, worthy Caius, and
By deed-achieving honor newly named -
What is it? - Coriolanus must I call
She laughs coquettishly, thoroughly upstaging her son.
Then, almost an afterthought:
But, 0, thy wife...
Coriolanus greets Virgilia with the clumsy and stiff
formality that marks their marriage.
My gracious silence, hail.
An awkwardly tender kiss. He notes her tears. Reacts coldly.
Would thou have laughed had I come
That weeps to see me triumph? Ay, my
Such eyes the widows in Corioles wear,
And mothers that lack sons.
Now, the gods crown thee!
(greets him warmly)
And live you yet?
I know not where to turn. 0, welcome
And welcome, general. And you're welcome
A hundred thousand welcomes!
Coriolanus is surrounded by well-wishers and political
admirers. Volumnia and Menenius usher him along.
We see the image from TV: The noble warrior returned home.
Devoted family. Flags waving. The future golden.
INT. VILLA-BATHROOM - EVENING
And then the hard reality.
Coriolanus' body is a battleground of scars. Some are livid
and red, fresh and still oozing blood. Others are pale and
blue, discolored and dead.
His body is something monstrous. Stitched up. Patched
together. Slashed around. Frankenstein's monster.
He is leaning against a sink, stripped naked. His muscular if
shattered body exposed.
Volumnia sits and dresses her son's wounds. As she always has
done. As she always will.
It is a disturbing, intimate image.
The good Senators must be visited;
From whom I have received not only
But with them change of honors.
He shifts painfully as she continues to treat one of his
I have lived
To see inherited my very wishes
And the buildings of my fancy. Only
There's one thing wanting, which I doubt
Our Rome will cast upon thee.
He catches her eye in the mirror, very firm:
Know, good mother,
I had rather be their servant in my way,
Than sway with them in theirs.
They stop when--
She stops in the doorway. It is embarrassing for her, as if
she has interrupted two lovers. A long moment.
She looks to her husband.
They stare back.
There is no way she can compete with their intimacy.
Surrendering, she silently goes.
INT. VILLA -- HALLWAY - EVENING
Virgilia wanders a long hallway, past a fine collection of
antique Roman weaponry. She seems lost.
She stops and opens a door, glances into her son's bedroom:
Young Martius is asleep.
Her eyes move across his room. The military toys. The little
cadet uniform carefully hung. The polished boots waiting.
All stern and joyless. Not like a child's room at all.
Virgilia closes the door and continues down the long hallway,
disappearing into darkness.
INT. SENATE-OFFICE - DAY
Darkened office. Brutus and Sicinius sit, heads together,
He cannot temperately transport his
honors, but will
Lose those he hath won.
I heard him swear,
Were he to stand for Consul, never would
Appear in the marketplace nor
Showing, as the manner is, his wounds
To the people, beg "their stinking
It was his word.
INT. SENATE-CORRIDOR - DAY
Brutus and Sicinius continue as they hurry to the Senate
So it must fall out with him,
Or our authorities at an end.
We must suggest to the people in what
He still hath held them.
They enter the Senate Chamber...
INT. SENATE CHAMBER - DAY
Brutus and Sicinius make their way to their seats as we hear:
As the main point of this our after-
To gratify his noble service that
Hath thus stood for his country...
The interior of the grand Senate is an airy, sweeping chamber
that suggests the Israeli Knesset or U.N. General Assembly.
Again, classical symmetry is the rule with tiers of seats
facing a central dais. An imposing piece of outdated modern
art suggesting the might of Rome looms over the chamber like
a bird of prey.
Network TV cameras purr quietly from a corner.
Menenius, Cominius, Coriolanus and several other politicos
are seating at a central table on the dais, facing the rows
Menenius is standing at a podium, speaking into a microphone:
Therefore, please you,
Most reverend and grave elders, to desire
The present Consul, and last general
In our well-found successes, to report
A little of that worthy work performed
By Caius Martius Coriolanus.
Speak, good Cominius.
General Cominius rises and moves to the podium.
But then Coriolanus abruptly stands--
Nay, keep your place.
Sit, Coriolanus. Never shame to hear
What you have nobly done.
Your honors' pardon.
I had rather have my wounds to heal again
Than hear say how I got them.
Pray now, sit down.
I had rather have one scratch my head in
When the alarum were struck than idly sit
To hear my nothings monstered.
Coriolanus moves across the dais and exits into a hallway.
The door shuts after him.
Menenius sighs. Nods to Cominius.
Cominius moves to the podium and begins to read his speech
from a Teleprompter. This all has the rehearsed quality of a
campaign nomination speech.
The deeds of Coriolanus
Should not be uttered feebly. It is held
That valor is the chiefest virtue, and
Most dignifies the haver. Alone he
The mortal gate of the city,
And struck Corioles like a planet,
From face to foot
He was a thing of blood...
Brutus and Sicinius exchange a glance, bored by the political
INT. SENATE-SERVICE CORRIDOR - DAY
Meanwhile, Coriolanus stands in the service corridor beyond
the chamber. Green industrial walls. Ugly fluorescent lights
He leans against a wall, alone with his thoughts.
Cominius' voice can be heard droning inside.
Then Coriolanus glances up. A CUSTODIAN is pushing a garbage
can down the long corridor. He stops when he sees Coriolanus.
Coriolanus' cool, uncompromising stare makes the Custodian
uneasy. He turns around and goes back.
Coriolanus waits. His face strangely vacant.
He flexes his wounded arm. It hurts.
He hears Cominius finish. A good round of applause. He hears
his name being cheered: "Coriolanus!"
Coriolanus closes his eyes, steels himself, and then re-
enters the chamber...
INT. SENATE CHAMBER - DAY
Menenius greets him and escorts him to the podium for his
The Senate, Coriolanus, are well pleased
To make thee Consul!
Menenius steps back.
Coriolanus stares at the Senators. At the TV cameras.
He leans awkwardly into the podium microphone:
I do owe them still
My life and services.
For an acceptance speech, rather terse. Menenius jumps in to
salvage the moment:
It then remains
That you do speak to the people.
I do beseech you,
Let me overleap that custom, for I cannot
For my wounds' sake to give their
Please you that I may pass this doing.
From the Senate floor, Sicinius jumps on this:
Sir, the people
Must have their voices!
The Senators, led by Brutus, clamor their agreement.
Tradition must be obeyed.
(calming, to Coriolanus)
Pray you, go fit you to the custom.
It is a part
That I shall blush in acting, and might
Be taken from the people.
Menenius quickly turns off Coriolanus' microphone.
Mark you that?
To brag unto them "Thus I did, and thus!"
Show them the unaching scars which I
As if I had received them for the hire
Of their breath only!
Menenius sees Coriolanus is getting angry, this could be
He elegantly gestures for Cominius to escort Coriolanus out
immediately -- as he addresses the Senators and TV cameras:
To our noble Consul
Wish we all joy and honor!
He applauds. The applause is taken up by the Senators. Some
cheering as well for the hero of Rome The two Tribunes,
however, are already whispering maliciously to other
Menenius seems pleased with the general response. So far, so
INT. VILLA -- LIVING ROOM - DAY
Volumnia is pleased as well.
She sits, watching the events unfold on TV.
The sound of the cheering fades as we go to...
INT. MENENIUS' LIMO - DAY
The limousine winds through the pedestrian traffic toward the
Coriolanus sits with Menenius. Coriolanus is both angry and
embarrassed. He is wearing a sharp business suit.
Have you not known
The worthiest men have done it?
Custom calls me to it.
What custom wills, in all things should
What must I say?
"Look, sir, my wounds.
I got them in my country's service."
O me, the gods!
You must not speak like that. You must
To think upon you--
"Think upon me"? Hang 'em!
I would they would forget me.
You'll mar all!
The limo stops. They are at the marketplace. The moment has
Menenius takes a breath. Urges calm:
Pray you, speak to them, I pray you,
In wholesome manner.
Bid them wash their faces
And keep their teeth clean.
He leaves the car.
EXT. MARKETPLACE - DAY
The commercial heart of Rome. A large town square, since
antiquity used as a marketplace.
But now it is filled with tatty stalls selling cheap purses
and knock-off watches. Paltry fruit stands alongside shabby
Advertising billboards surround and pollute the square --
SONY. COKE. NIKE. MCDONALDS -- obscuring any classical
architecture that might have survived.
Tamora and Cassius, the political activists, are in the
crowd. They watch closely.
Coriolanus slowly walks to the center of the marketplace. He
stands, feeling ridiculous and not at all humble.
He looks around.
Waiting for something to happen.
The CUSTOMERS and SHOPKEEPERS just look back at him. Some are
curious. Some are amused. Some hostile and most indifferent.
But no one approaches.
Then Coriolanus understands. He must g to them: beg for
He prepares himself and then slowly moves through the various
stalls, weaving in and out. Trying to maintain his dignity.
He sees the Citizens from before and goes to them. We glimpse
Brutus and Sicinius amongst the crowd.
You know the cause, sir, of my standing
We do, sir. Tell us what hath brought you
Mine own desert.
Your own desert?
Ay, but not mine own desire.
How not your own desire?
No, it was never my desire yet to trouble
the poor with begging.
You must think, if we give you anything,
we hope to gain by you.
Well then, I pray, your price of the
The price is to ask it kindly.
Kindly, sir, I pray, let me have it. I
have wounds to show you, which shall be
yours in private Your good voice,
sir. What say you?
You shall have it, worthy sir.
A match, sir. There's in all two worthy
voices begged. I have your alms. Adieu.
Business done, so he thinks, Coriolanus crisply moves on.
Cassius is not convinced.
But this is something odd.
Coriolanus continues on. He sees a large JAMAICAN WOMAN with
her CHILDREN, carrying plastic grocery bags, talking to a
SHOPKEEPER. He goes to them:
Pray you now, if it may stand with the
tune of your voices that I may be Consul.
You have deserved nobly of your country,
and you have not deserved nobly.
You have been a scourge to her enemies;
you have been a rod to her friends
You have not indeed loved the common
You should account me the more virtuous
that I have not been common in my love
Therefore, beseech you, I may be
We hope to find you our friend, and
therefore give you our voices heartily.
You have received many wounds for your
I will not seal your knowledge with
showing them. I will make much of your
voices, and so trouble you no farther.
The gods give you joy, sir, heartily!
Coriolanus is warming to the task, it's easier than he
thought. He moves to a central, open area and declares
Your voices! For your voices I have
Watched for your voices; for your voices
Of wounds two dozen odd; battles thrice
I have seen and heard of!
A crowd is gathering. We note Brutus and Sicinius in the
crowd. Menenius, too, has moved in.
For your voices
Have done many things, some less, some
Your voices! Indeed, I would be Consul.
He has done nobly, and cannot go without
any honest man's voice!
RACE TRACK TOUT
Therefore let him be Consul!
The gods give him joy, and make him good
friend to the people!
The Citizens applaud and give their support:
Amen, amen. God save thee, noble Consul!
Menenius, with Brutus and Sicinius, goes to him:
You have stood your limitation, and the
Endue you with the people's voice.
Is this done?
The custom of request you have
The people do admit you, and are summoned
To meet anon upon your approbation.
Where? At the Senate?
I'll keep you company.
Will you along?
We stay here for the people.
Coriolanus and Menenius go, relieved the trial is over.
Brutus and Sicinius, however, have work to do. This has not
gone as they wanted. They are urgent:
How now, my masters! Have you chose this
He has our voices, sir.
We pray the gods he may deserve your
Amen, sir. To my poor unworthy notice,
He mocked us when he begged our voices.
He flouted us downright.
No, it is his kind of speech; he did not
He should have showed us
His marks of merit, wounds received for's
Why, so he did, I am sure.
No, no! No one saw them!
(inciting the crowd)
Was not this mockery?
Brutus presses hard:
When he had no power,
But was a petty servant to the state,
He was your enemy, ever spake against
Did you perceive
He did solicit you in free contempt
When he did need your loves, and do you
That his contempt shall not be bruising
When he hath power to crush?
Cassius and Tamora carefully lead the crowd in expressing
growing alarm and resistance to Coriolanus:
He's not confirmed; we may deny him yet!
And will deny him!
I'll have five hundred voices of that
I twice five hundred and their friends!
The crowd roars approval. A frightening, animal sound.
Let them assemble,
And on a safer judgment all revoke
Your ignorant election.
Enforce his pride,
And his old hate unto you!
And presently, when you have drawn your
Repair to the Capitol.
We will so!
We will so! All
Repent in their election!
Cassius and Tamora lead the crowd. It is a terrifying
spectacle of sudden mob rage, only a razor-thin edge to
Brutus and Sicinius watch, satisfied, like Robespierre and
Saint Just looking over the bloody guillotine.
INT. SENATE-CORRIDOR - DAY
Coriolanus, dressed again in his familiar uniform, emerges
from an antechamber with his comrade Titus.
Menenius, General Cominius and several pro-Coriolanus
Senators follow them. They stride down the corridor.
Tullus Aufidius then has assembled a new
He has, my lord.
Saw you Aufidius?
He is retired to Antium.
Spoke he of me?
He did, my lord.
How often he had met you, sword to sword;
That of all things upon the earth he
Your person most.
At Antium lives he?
I wish I had a cause to seek him there,
To oppose his hatred fully.
They hear the growing rumble of a crowd. Curious.
They continue on and turn a corner to...
INT. SENATE-CENTRAL LOBBY - DAY
The central lobby of the Senate is an open, airy space.
Through the glass doors at the front of the lobby an unruly
crowd can be seen gathering. Police. Barricades.
Sicinius and Brutus are waiting to intercept them.
Behold, these are the Tribunes of the
The tongues of the common mouth.
Pass no further.
Ha! What is that?
It will be dangerous to go on. No
What makes this change?
Hath he not passed the nobles and the
Coriolanus steps closer to Brutus. The mob sees him through
the glass doors. The tension immediately increases.
Have I had children's voices?
Tribunes, give way.
The people are incensed against him.
(glancing to the growing
Are these your herd?
Be calm, be calm.
The people cry you mocked them, and of
late called them
Time-pleasers, flatterers, foes to
But this was known before.
You show too much of that
For which the people stir. If you will
To where you are bound, you must inquire
The crowd outside is growing restless, sensing and responding
to the building tension. The police try to hold them back,
keeping them away from the doors. The crowd presses in.
We see Cassius and Tamora at the forefront, urging the crowd
Let's be calm--
The people are abused, set on--
Not now, not now--
Not in this heat, sir--
Coriolanus strides angrily toward the doors and exits--
The others follow--
EXT. SENATE-COURTYARD - DAY
Coriolanus launches himself into the crowd with blistering
My nobler friends, I crave their pardons.
For the mutable, rank-scented crowd,
Let them regard me as I do not flatter,
And therein behold themselves. I say
In soothing them, we nourish against our
The cockle of rebellion, insolence,
Which we ourselves have ploughed for,
sowed, and scattered,
By mingling them with us!
Well, no more!
No more words, we beseech you--
The mob has surrounded them all by now.
The police are getting nervous, eyes darting uneasily from
the unruly crowd to the volatile men.
This all has the potential of sparking to violence.
We note a TV news crew moving into position, covering the
action. Others film with cell phone cameras. We intercut some
of this footage.
(to Coriolanus, provoking)
You speak of the people
As if you were a god to punish, not
A man of their infirmity.
It were well we let the people know it.
Were I as patient as the midnight sleep,
By Jove, it would be my mind!
It is a mind
That shall remain a poison where it is,
Not poison any further.
Hear you this Triton of the minnows? Mark
His absolute "shall"?
Why, should the people give
One that speaks thus their voice?
I'll give my reasons,
More worthier than their voices!
Menenius tries to pull him away, Coriolanus shakes free and
continues the attack:
By Jove himself,
It makes the consuls base; and my soul
To know, when two authorities are up,
Neither supreme, how soon confusion,
May enter 'twixt the gap of both and take
The one by the other.
The crowd roars angrily -- Coriolanus spins on them:
Thus we debase the nature of our seats,
and make the rabble
Call our cares fears; which will in time
Break ope the locks of the Senate, and
The crows to peck the eagles!
Enough, with over-measure.
(calls to the mob)
He has spoken like a traitor, and shall
As traitors do!
At the word "traitor" Coriolanus loses all reason, he is
Thou wretch, despite overwhelm thee!
This is a Consul? No!
Hence, old goat!
Coriolanus grabs Sicinius roughly and flings him aside--
At this -- the crowd ROARS in outrage -- the TV crews hustle
Menenius pulls Coriolanus off:
On both sides more respect!
(calling to the crowd)
Here's he that would take from you all
The crowd reacts angrily -- surging forward against the
restraint of the police.
We see grim RIOT POLICE marching into position. The crowd is
not intimidated, they are spoiling for a fight.
The Tribunes provoke the crowd even more, escalating and
building the fever:
You are at point to lose your liberties!
Martius would have all from you, Martius,
Whom late you have named for Consul.
What is the city but the people?!
True! The people are the city!
We do here pronounce, upon the part of
Martius is worthy of present DEATH!
A huge roar from the mob. Panic and violence building. Fast
Guards, seize him!
No, I'll die here!
Lay hands upon him!
(to the crowd)
HELP, YE CITIZENS!
At his cue--
The civil violence threatened from the opening moments of
this story finally EXPLODES--
With Cassius and Tamora in the forefront, the crowd attacks
Riot Police march in, slamming ahead with riot shields and
The mob fights back with anything at hand -- some are armed
with clubs and knives, others snatch up garbage cans and
newspaper vending machines, throwing them, smashing windows,
battling the police, kicking and punching and screaming--
It is civil disobedience. But it is also drunken, thug
violence. Terrifying in its intensity--
Menenius gets Titus and Cominius to hustle Coriolanus away--
Go, get you to your house! Be gone, away!
All will be naught else--
Come, sir, along with us--
They hurry Coriolanus away--
The Riot Police, outnumbered, start firing TEAR GAS into the
TV news crew filming--
Chaotic, flurried violence--
Shaky TV images, cell phone video--
Choking, acrid gas--
It is a terrifying descent into public madness as all order
Rome is bloody.
INT. SENATE-OFFICE - DUSK
Menenius and the Tribunes are gathered in a darkened office
for some high-stakes politicking.
Tamora, her face bloody from the riot, is with them. So too
some supporters on either side.
As I do know the Consul's worthiness,
So can I name his faults--
Consul! What Consul?
The Consul Coriolanus.
It is decreed
He dies tonight.
He's a disease that must be cut away.
0, he's a limb that has but a disease:
Mortal, to cut it off; to cure it, easy.
What has he done to Rome that's worth his
Killing our enemies?!
He sees that his words are having some effect, he presses the
The blood he hath lost --
He dropped it for his country.
Some in the room murmur agreement.
We'll hear no more--
Consider this: he has been bred in the
Since he could draw a sword, and is ill
In graceful language Give me leave,
I'll go to him, and undertake to bring
Where he shall answer by a lawful form,
In peace, to his utmost peril.
It is the humane way.
The other course
Will prove too bloody, and the end of it
Unknown to the beginning.
Sicinius is about to retort when Brutus stops him.
Brutus assents, assuming the voice of reason:
Be you then as the people's officer.
Menenius and Coriolanus' supporters are relieved.
If you bring not Martius, we'll proceed
In our first way.
I'll bring him to you.
He goes quickly.
Brutus turns to Sicinius and Tamora and begins to quietly
explain his plan.
INT. MARTIUS VILLA-CORRIDOR - DAY
Coriolanus strides angrily down a long corridor, in and out
of shafts of light, seething to Titus:
Let them pull all about mine ears,
Death on the wheel or at wild horses'
Yet will I still be thus to them--!
I muse my mother
Does not approve me further!
He slams through a door to the living room...
INT. VILLA -- LIVING ROOM - DAY
And stomps to confront his mother, who is currently
conspiring with Menenius and a few Senators.
(to Volumnia, angrily)
I talk of you!
Why did you wish me milder? Would you
False to my nature? Rather say I play
The man I am!
She is equally tough with him, not giving an inch, snapping
0, sir, sir, sir,
I would have had you put your power well
Before you had worn it out.
You might have been enough the man you
With striving less to be so!
Let them hang!
Av, and burn too!
Her outraged fury matches his. Overpowers his.
Come, come, you have been too rough,
something too rough.
You must return and mend it.
Coriolanus turns away.
Pray, be counseled.
I have a heart as little apt as yours,
But yet a brain that leads my use of
To better vantage.
Well said, noble woman!
What must I do?
Return to the Tribunes.
Well, what then? What then?
Repent what you have spoke.
For them? I cannot do it to the gods.
Must I then do it to them?
You are too absolute,
Though therein you can never be too
(upset, walking away)
Why force you this?
She pursues him:
Because that now it lies you on to speak
To the people, not by your own
Nor by the matter which your heart
But with such words that are but
Your tongue, though but bastards and
Of no allowance to your bosom's truth...
She moves closer to him. Her voice lower. A sort of
I would dissemble with my nature where
My fortunes and my friends at stake
I should do so in honor...
She is very close now. Whispering. She touches him gently,
like a lover.
I am in this your wife, your son,
These senators, the nobles
A long beat. All are silent, watching her spin her web.
I prithee now, my son,
Go and say to them
Thou art their soldier, and being bred in
Has not the soft way
In asking their good loves; but thou wilt
Thyself, forsooth, hereafter theirs.
This but done, even as she speaks,
Why their hearts were yours.
Go, and be ruled...
(laughing to him)
Although I know thou hadst rather
Follow thine enemy in a fiery gulf
Than flatter him in a bower.
Coriolanus smiles. A genuinely sweet moment between them.
Cominius enters with several other political supporters.
Sir, it is fit
You make strong party, or defend yourself
By calmness or by absence. All's in
Only fair speech.
I think it will serve, if he
Can thereto frame his spirit.
He must -- and will.
Prithee now, say you will, and go about
With base tongue give my noble heart
A lie that it must bear? . Well, I will
But he is still agitated. Volumnia shares a concerned glance
Away, my disposition, and possess me
Some harlot's spirit. A beggar's tongue
Make motion through my lips, and my armed
Who bowed but in my stirrup, bend like
That hath charity received!
The thought of begging is too much, he rejects it, breaking
I will not do it!
Lest I cease to honor mine own truth
And by my body's action teach my mind
A most inherent baseness.
Volumnia snarls at him, exasperated, building to a thunder
that dwarfs his:
At thy choice, then!
To beg of thee, it is my more dishonor
Than thou of them. Come all to ruin! Let
Thy mother rather feel thy pride than
Thy dangerous stoutness, for I mock at
With as biq heart as thou! Do as you
The words echo.
It is as if he has been slapped. His resolve vanishes.
Pray, be content...
Mother, I am going, chide me no more.
He awaits her approval.
She will not yet grant it.
Look, I am going...
Commend me to my wife. I'll return
Or never trust to what my tongue can do
In the way of flattery further.
She graciously bows to him.
Do your will.
Then she kisses him.
And she goes.
Like a queen. Volumnia triumphant. Always.
Then a shocking hard cut to:
INT. TELEVISION STUDIO - DAY
A crowded TV studio. The audience stands are filling up.
Television cameras. Lights. Heavy security.
On the stage: the set for a chat show. Translight of a city
skyline behind the set. Two standing microphones.
At the side of the set, Sicinius and Brutus are conspiring
with the two citizen activists, Cassius and Tamora:
In this point charge him home: that he
Tyrannical power. If he evade us there,
Enforce him with his envy to the people.
Have you a catalogue
Of all the voices that we have procured
Set down by the poll?
I have; it's ready.
When the people hear me say "It shall be
In the right and strength of the
Commons," be it either
For death, for fine, or banishment, then
If I say "Fine," cry "Fine!" - if
"Death," cry "Death!"
We shall inform them.
Cassius and Tamora hurry off to instruct and manipulate the
crowd as best they can. They mix with the audience in the
A gloomy but resolved Coriolanus walks with Cominius and
Menenius between the tiers of audience, on the way to the
To answer mildly, for they are prepared
With accusations, as I hear, more strong
Than are upon you yet.
The word is "mildly." Pray you, let us
Let them accuse me by invention, I
Will answer in mine honor.
Ay, but mildly.
Well, mildly be it then. Mildly!
Coriolanus steels himself as they emerge from between the
stands and head toward the set.
TV news crews are waiting. Blinding lights snap on.
The crowd, on seeing Coriolanus, lets out a ROAR. Deafening
We see Cassius and Tamora moving through the crowd,
instigating, convincing, imploring.
Coriolanus ignores it all. Imperious to the end.
Brutus and Sicinius wait on the set.
(whispers to Sicinius)
Put him to choler straight.
Coriolanus and his supporters move to the stage. Coriolanus
glares at the Tribunes. The TV crews take up position.
Menenius gestures for Coriolanus to step to the microphone,
whispering to him:
Calmly, I do beseech you.
Coriolanus steps to the microphone.
Brutus gestures for the crowd to quiet down.
We see bits of this scene through the monitors on the TV
When the crowd is silent, Coriolanus begins to make a
The honored gods--
But his voice echoes badly with reverb. Menenius adjusts the
microphone. Coriolanus begins again, quickly and by rote:
The honored gods
Keep Rome in safety, and the chairs of
Supplied with worthy men. Plant love
Throng our large temples with the shows
And not our streets with war.
A noble wish.
His boilerplate speech over, Coriolanus turns to Sicinius who
is at the other standing microphone:
Shall I be charged no further than this
Must all determine here?
I do demand,
If you submit you to the people's voices.
I am content.
INT. VILLA -- LIVING ROOM - DAY
Volumnia watches the proceedings closely on TV. She is
pleased with her son's performance so far.
INT. TELEVISION STUDIO - DAY
Menenius, ever the People's Friend, steps to the microphone:
Lo, citizens, he says he is content.
The warlike service he has done,
Upon the wounds his body bears, which
Like graves in the holy churchyard.
(uncomfortable with this)
Scratches with briers,
Scars to move laughter only.
INT. APARTMENT - DAY
Aufidius sits with several of his officers, leaning forward,
watching the drama unfold on TV.
INT. TELEVISION STUDIO - DAY
That when he speaks not like a citizen,
You find him like a soldier. Do not take
His rougher accents for malicious sounds,
But, as I say, such as become a soldier.
Coriolanus cuts in, his impatience getting the better of him:
What is the matter
That being passed for Consul with full
I am so dishonored that the very hour
You take it off again?
We charge you that you have contrived to
From Rome all seasoned office, and to
Yourself into a power tyrannical
(the coup de grace)
For which you are a traitor to the
Coriolanus responds, a cobra striking:
Nay, temperately! Your promise.
The fires in the lowest hell fold in the
Call me their traitor, thou injurious
Mark you this, people?!
The crowd responds, egged on by Cassius and Tamora. A murmur
of voices, a chant growing, "Traitor traitor
Brutus cleverly plays the reasonable voice, knowing his words
will further rile Coriolanus:
But since he hath
Served well for Rome--
What do you prate of service?
I talk of that, that know it.
I'll know no further.
Let them pronounce death, exile,
Flaying, pent to linger
But with a grain a day - I would not buy
Their mercy at the price of one fair
INT. VILLA -- LIVING ROOM - DAY
Volumnia watches, alarmed now. She knows this rage will prove
to be disastrous for her son.
INT. TELEVISION STUDIO - DAY
Sicinius seizes the moment to destroy Coriolanus, barking
into the microphone:
In the name of the people
And in the power of us the Tribunes, we,
Even from this instant, banish him our
In the people's name,
I say IT SHALL BE SO!
Well-rehearsed by Cassius and Tamora, many in the crowd
respond with a fierce cry:
It shall be so! It shall be so! Let him
He's banished! IT SHALL BE SO!
It shall be so! It shall be so! It shall
Cassius and Tamora keep the crowd at a fever pitch--
They keep chanting and railing--
A building seismic rumble--
Hear me, my masters, and my common
He's sentenced. No more hearing.
Let me speak!
The crowd's fury is building--
It is all about to erupt--
There's no more to be said, but he is
As enemy to the people and his country.
IT SHALL BE SO!
It shall be so! It shall be so! It shall
His rage is volcanic--
He SLAMS the standing microphone away--
His dragon's ROAR silences the entire studio--
YOU COMMON CRY OF CURS!
A collective intake of breath--
The crowd is stunned--
Whose breath I hate
As reek of the rotten fens, whose loves I
As the dead carcasses of unburied men
That do corrupt my air...
(each word an attack)
I BANISH YOU!
The crowd is silent. No one dares to even breathe.
AT THE VILLA: Volumnia watches, frozen, breathless.
IN THE APARTMENT: Aufidius stands, riveted.
BACK IN THE STUDIO:
Here remain with your uncertainty.
Let every feeble rumor shake your hearts!
Your enemies, with nodding of their
Fan you into despair! Have the power
To banish your defenders, till at length
Your ignorance - which finds not till it
Making but reservation of yourselves;
Still your own foes - deliver you
As most abated captives to some nation
That won you without blows!
The TV cameras hum. The crowd is silent.
Menenius and the others watch in amazement.
Coriolanus slowly takes one last, long look at the people of
For you, the city, thus I turn my back.
He turns and slowly walks toward one of the tunnels leading
from the studio.
The crowd follows every step with their eyes.
There is a world elsewhere.
And he goes down the tunnel.
Disappearing from view.
A silent beat.
Then, a chilling cry of absolutely Jacobin bloodlust from the
The people's enemy is gone!
The crowd SCREAMS their approval.
The SAVAGE CRY echoes around the studio.
The echoing roar takes us to...
EXT. WASTELAND CHECKPOINT - DAWN
The outskirts of Rome are an urban wasteland. Abandoned
factories. Rusting cars. Overgrown vacant lots. Collapsing
There is a lonely gas station in the distance, its neon sign
glowing a lurid green in the gray dawn light.
We are at a Roman checkpoint on the highway into the city. A
guardhouse and barrier. Some barbed wire barricades. Bored
Several cars pull up to the checkpoint. Two Roman security
SUVs. Menenius' familiar limousine. And Volumnia's enormous
Security Guards climb out of their vehicle, light cigarettes
and chat with the soldiers manning the checkpoint. Menenius,
Titus and Cominius climb from Menenius' limousine.
INT. VOLUMNIA'S BENTLEY - DAWN
Meanwhile, inside the Bentley, Coriolanus is comforting his
wife and mother:
Come, leave your tears. A brief farewell.
With many heads butts me away.
0 HEAVENS 0 HEAVENS
Volumnia has tears in her eyes as well. Coriolanus is
surprisingly unsentimental and tough with her:
Where is your ancient courage?
Now the red pestilence strike all trades
And occupations perish!
Nay, mother, I shall be loved when I am
She nods to him, she has regained her composure.
Only then do they climb from the car.
EXT. WASTELAND CHECKPOINT - DAWN
Coriolanus takes his leave:
Bid me farewell.
Cominius, droop not, adieu.
I'll do well yet.
He goes to Menenius, who is genuinely distraught. For all his
political machinations, he truly cares for Coriolanus.
Coriolanus is moved to see Menenius so emotional.
Thou old and true Menenius,
Thy tears are salter than a younger
And venomous to thine eyes.
If I could shake off but seven years
I'd go with thee every foot.
Then Coriolanus knows it is time to go. He picks up a
traveling bag and slings it over his shoulder.
Looks back at his friends and family.
A certain darkness creeps into his expression. An ominous
You shall hear from me still.
He turns and looks to the distance.
Miles and miles of wasteland and desolation.
I go alone,
Like to a lonely dragon.
He strides off.
The soldiers manning the checkpoint raise the barrier.
Coriolanus walks under it. And begins walking down the long
highway away from Rome.
The only sound is the cold, lonely moan of the wind.
We fade to...
EXT./INT. EXILE SEQUENCE - DAY/NIGHT
We see his long odyssey. It is a grueling physical journey --
and also something of a spiritual challenge. He is solitary
and without comfort: vulnerable to the elements and also to
the demons of his own psyche.
We see him as...
He walks along the barren highway. Trash piled along the
road. A car zooms past. Whoosh. He is lost in dust...
Blazing heat, like a furnace, as he trudges over desert
terrain. Burning oil wells blacken the sky in the distance...
Isolated, within himself, as he walks past the detritus of
war a burned out tank a mountain of rusted artillery
shells skeletons bleached in the sun...
His clothes are dusty and dirty now. A sandstorm. He wraps a
scarf around his head, like a burnoose. Only his eyes visible
A gypsy boy in tattered clothing riding a white horse passes
him. The boy looks at him intently as he passes...
We get a sense of him moving into different terrain, up into
a mountain range, climbing...
Then descending. Pouring rain. Lightning sparking. He is
almost a Romantic figure now. Byronic. Wrapped in a cloak
against the wildness of nature; the chiaroscuro flashes of
light illuminating his haunted eyes...
We end at...
EXT. OUTSIDE ANTIUM - NIGHT
Coriolanus stands. Like a statue. All his life in his blazing
eyes. He is staring at a small town in the distance.
We see a sign: ANTIUM.
His destination since he began. The home of his nemesis, the
He begins to walk to the town.
INT. POLITICO BAR - DAY
Meanwhile, back in Rome, Brutus and Sicinius are having lunch
at their usual hangout.
They see Volumnia entering the restaurant, pulling Virgilia
after her. An ambush. She heads toward the Tribunes.
Volumnia's eyes have the grim intensity of a predator. She
looks strangely wild.
Here comes his mother.
(prepares to go)
Let's not meet her. They say she's mad.
Volumnia stalks up to them:
0, you're well met. The hoarded plague of
Requite your love!
The Tribunes try to leave, she won't let them:
Will you be gone?
You shall stay too. I would I had the
To say so to my husband.
Are you mad?
Ay, fool, is that a shame? Note but this,
Hadst thou craft
To banish him that struck more blows for
Than thou hast spoken words?
(trying to escape)
0 blessed heavens...
Volumnia is creating a scene. Heads are turning.
She continues her attack on Sicinius, but is distracted and
More noble blows than ever thou wise
And for Rome's good. I'll tell thee what -
Nay -- but thou shalt stay too -- I would
Were in Arabia, and thy tribe before him,
His good sword in his hand.
He'd make an end of thy posterity.
Bastards and all.
Menenius has entered the bar, seeing the trouble he goes to
them, tries to calm Volumnia:
Come, come, peace...
Pray, let us go.
He tries to leave the bar. Volumnia stops him for final
attack, something like a curse in its power:
Now, pray, sir, get you gone.
You have done a brave deed. Ere you go,
This lady's husband here, this, do you
Whom you have banished, does exceed you
Well, well, we'll leave you.
Why stay we to be baited
With one that wants her wits?
I would the gods had nothing else to do
But to confirm my curses!
Menenius gently restrains Volumnia and the Tribunes finally
escape the bar.
Volumnia takes a breath, controls herself.
Could I meet 'em
But once a day, it would unclog my heart
Of what lies heavy to it.
You have told them home;
And, by my troth, you have cause. You'll
sup with me?
She turns to him. A cold and killing fire in her eyes.
Anger's my meat. I sup upon myself,
And so shall starve with feeding.
She takes Virgilia's hand and drags her out.
Menenius watches. Saddened.
Once proud Volumnia, reduced to this.
EXT. ANTIUM - NIGHT
Antium is an old Volscian city gone to seed. It is Latin in
flavor, something like Havana.
There is life to the place, a certain humid vitality. Someone
is singing in a bar. Old men are playing dominos on a patio.
Flickering TV and radio babel from terraced apartment
Coriolanus, his face still shrouded in the burnoose, like a
Hamas soldier, moves through the streets.
He takes in the life of the town as he walks. Studying the
faces of the Volscians around him.
Coriolanus sees a heavily-guarded apartment building at the
end of the street. Jeeps and SOLDIERS.
Coriolanus approaches with stealth, moving in and out of
shadows along the street, ducking into doorways and alleys,
taking advantage of the darkness.
He stops. Steps into the shadows. For he sees...
Walking with a few of his officers.
Aufidius is beloved in Antium. He has an easy manner with the
people. He stops and chats. Laughs with them. He dances for a
moment with a little girl.
Coriolanus watches from the shadows, his expression complex.
There is real envy . Aufidius has such a comfortable way
with the common people, he's natural, unaffected.
Aufidius jokes with the little girl's parents for a moment
and then moves on.
Coriolanus watches Aufidius and his men go into an apartment
He scans the building with the eye of a Special Forces
soldier. He sees that the soldiers guarding the building are
bored, it is perfunctory work.
Two YOUNG WOMEN, perhaps hookers, move past the front of the
building, flirting with the soldiers. The soldiers call and
whistle to them, delighted.
Coriolanus uses this distraction to slip into the shadows
behind the soldiers and sneak into the building...
INT. APARTMENT BUILDING-CORRIDOR - NIGHT
Coriolanus moves again with stealth, heading toward what is
clearly the center of the action: a noisy room on the second
The doorway is guarded by two serious GUARDS. These are not
the bored soldiers out front, these are grim and intense
Coriolanus considers his course.
Decides. Takes a breath. Focuses.
He is like ice now.
A steady stride--
He walks right up to the Guards--
Before they can even respond--
He punches one HARD in the throat -- the Guard recoils,
gasping for air--
Simultaneously, Coriolanus SLAMS his other hand violently
over the entire face of the second Guard -- grabbing his face
firmly and SHOVING him back into the door--
So hard that the door slams aside--
And Coriolanus shoves the Guard into--
INT. AUFIDIUS' CHAMBER - NIGHT
Aufidius is having dinner with some of his men, their wives
and some children--
The soldiers bolt up, upsetting the table, smashing dishes --
pulling guns -- alarmed--
As Coriolanus powers in, still holding the second Guard by
He flings the Guard aside--
Aufidius and his men, all pointing weapons at Coriolanus, are
A long beat.
Coriolanus' face is still masked by the burnoose. Only his
cold eyes are visible.
Whence comes thou? What wouldst thou? Thy
Coriolanus does not respond.
Aufidius is growing uneasy. His men are tense, ready to open
fire at any second.
Speak, man! What's thy name?
A name unmusical to the Volscians' ears,
And harsh in sound to thine.
The other Guard from outside, and several other soldiers,
rush in. Weapons drawn, surrounding Coriolanus.
He doesn't move a muscle.
Aufidius, intrigued by the stranger's courage, waves his men
Say, what's thy name?
Thou has a grim appearance .What's thy
Know'st thou me yet?
I know thee not Thy name?
Finally, Coriolanus removes his burnoose. His face is
exposed. The Volscians are stunned.
My name is Caius Martius, who hath done
To thee particularly and to all the
Great hurt and mischief; thereto witness
My surname Coriolanus.
The Volscians look to Aufidius, very nervous, unsure how to
proceed. Aufidius just stares back at Coriolanus, staggered.
Only that name remains.
Aufidius doesn't understand. Coriolanus explains:
The cruelty and envy of the people,
Who have all forsook me, hath devoured
And suffered me by the voice of slaves to
Whooped out of Rome. Now this extremity
Hath brought me to thy hearth, not out of
Mistake me not - to save my life; for if
I had feared death, of all the men in the
I would have avoided thee, but in mere
To be full quit of those my banishers,
Stand I before thee here.
Coriolanus dares to take a step toward Aufidius--
The Volscians react. Guns are raised, fingers tight on
triggers, an instant from opening fire--
Coriolanus carefully holds out his arms. He's unarmed.
Aufidius nods to his men. They hold their fire.
Coriolanus slowly crosses the room toward Aufidius. Step by
step. Their eyes are locked. Nothing else in the world
I will fight
Against my cankered country with the
Of all the under fiends. But if thou
Dares not this, then I present
My throat to thee and to thy ancient
Coriolanus stops right in front of Aufidius and slowly,
carefully, undoes his collar. Exposing his naked throat.
Bending back his head.
Ready for execution.
Which not to cut would show thee but
Since I have ever followed thee with
And cannot live but to thy shame unless
It be to do thee service.
A long beat.
Aufidius stares at Coriolanus.
The Volscians watch, eyes wide, too tense to do anything now.
Aufidius just continues to stare at Coriolanus.
Coriolanus blinks some sweat from his eyes. This tiny, human
response sparks something in Aufidius.
O Martius Martius
Each word thou hast spoke hath weeded
from my heart
A root of ancient envy.
He offers his hand.
Coriolanus takes it. Aufidius continues to hold him by the
hand, rather intensely, speaking low:
Let me twine
Mine arms about that body.
He embraces Coriolanus.
Aufidius' men finally relax. Weapons are lowered. Relieved
Some of the Volscians, though, are clearly suspicious of
Coriolanus. They watch Aufidius and Coriolanus, concerned.
Aufidius still can't quite believe his ancient enemy is now
his newest ally.
I loved the maid I married; never man
Sighed truer breath. But that I see thee
Thou noble thing, more dances my rapt
Than when I first my wedded mistress saw
Bestride my threshold.
Coriolanus glances to him, perhaps a little disturbed or
embarrassed by the intensity of Aufidius' words.
Aufidius steps away from him, gestures for Coriolanus to sit.
Why, thou Mars, I tell thee,
We have a power on foot, and I had
Once more to hew thy target from thy
Or lose mine arm for it. Thou hast beat
Twelve several times, and I have nightly
Dreamt of encounters 'twixt thyself and
Aufidius continues quietly, almost whispering:
Had we no quarrel else to Rome, but that
Thou art thence banished, we would muster
From twelve to seventy, and, pouring war
Into the bowels of ungrateful Rome,
Like a bold flood, overbear it.
INT. SHOWER ROOM - NIGHT
Coriolanus sits, naked. He has finally washed off the layers
of dirt from his journey.
An old woman is using an electric razor to shave his head.
Aufidius is standing in the doorway to the room. Watching.
His eyes move over Coriolanus' body, adding up the scars and
Then Aufidius goes to the old woman. Takes the razor from
her. She goes.
Aufidius continues to shave Coriolanus' head himself.
It is a deeply personal act, even intimate Yet Aufidius
employs the same methodical rhythms as when he was sharpening
his knife at the opening of the story.
INT. APARTMENT BUILDING-WAR ROOM - NIGHT
The Volscian military command center. Maps, recon photos and
radio equipment. Stacks of grenade launchers and arms.
Aufidius' CAPTAINS and AIDES wait alongside some bedraggled
Volsce POLITICIANS in ill-fitting suits.
Aufidius ushers Coriolanus in:
0, come, go in,
And take our friendly senators by the
Coriolanus shakes hands with the politicians:
You bless me, gods.
Then Aufidius takes him to a huge military map laid out on a
pool table. Rome and her territories. Strategic markers
denote Roman forces and Volscian forces.
Therefore, most absolute sir, if thou
The leading of thine own revenges, take
The one half of my commission.
The Volscian soldiers and politicos are shocked. Aufidius is
giving Coriolanus command of half his forces!
And set down---
As best thou art experienced, since thou
Thy country's strength and weakness---
thine own ways,
Whether to knock against the gates of
Or rudely visit them in parts remote,
To fright them ere destroy.
Aufidius looks at Coriolanus hard. There it is. The gauntlet
is thrown down. Coriolanus will have to completely betray
Rome: expose her military weaknesses, tell her secrets.
For all his neurotic intensity, Aufidius is a shrewd man.
Coriolanus nods and turns to the battle map, moving various
markers around to show Rome's defensive positions.
Aufidius watches him with Machiavellian calm.
INT. POLITICO BAR - DAY
Several weeks later, back in Rome, politics go on as usual.
Menenius is passing the Tribunes' table. They josh with him:
Is this Menenius?
'Tis he,'tis he! 0, he is grown most kind
of late. Hail sir!
Hail to you both.
Is not much missed, but with his friends.
All's well, and might have been much
He could have temporized.
Where is he, hear you?
Nay, I hear nothing. His mother and his
Hear nothing from him.
Caius Martius was
A worthy officer in the war, but
Overcome with pride, ambitious past all
I think not so.
And Rome sits safe and still without him.
They are distracted when people begin talking loudly,
alarmed, at the bar. They hush each other and watch the TV
over the bar. Something has happened.
On the TV: a SPECIAL REPORT. Breaking News. A scroll across
the bottom of the screen reads "The Volscians On The March?"
Reports the Volsces with two several
Are entered in the Roman territories,
And with the deepest malice of the war
Destroy what lies before them...
The whole bar is growing quiet now. All watching the TV,
which shows grainy indistinct images -- like cell phone
pictures -- of troops and tanks.
Who, hearing of our Martius' banishment,
Thrusts forth his horns again into the
Come, what talk you of Martius?
It cannot be the Volsces dare break with
The nobles in great earnestness are going
All to the Senate House. Some news is
That turns their countenances...
(he listens to his ear
piece for a second)
Yes, the first report is seconded, and
More fearful, is delivered.
The TV picture switches to a flustered TV REPORTER outside
the Senate. A lot of nervous activity behind him.
It is spoke freely out of many mouths -
How probable I do not know - that Martius
Has ioined with Aufidius--
There is an audible gasp in the bar -- quickly silenced and
hushed so all can hear the TV:
--He leads a power against Rome,
And vows revenge as spacious as between
The youngest and oldest thing.
Something close to terror on the faces of the politicos.
Menenius, without a word, goes.
He does not want to believe this is possible.
INT. VILLA -- BEDROOM - NIGHT
Virgilia lies on her bed.
On the TV an imbedded WAR CORRESPONDENT is giving an update,
intercut with shaky and unclear images of the Volscian army
on the move:
TV WAR CORRESPONDENT
A fearful army, led by Caius Martius
Associated with Aufidius, rages
Upon our territories, and have already
Overborne their way, consumed with fire,
What lay before them.
INT. VILLA -- LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
Volumnia sits, almost frozen, smoking, watching the TV. Her
emotions are deep and dark.
Her son, to her the model of all Roman virtues, has betrayed
TV WAR CORRESPONDENT
Martius has joined with the Volscians -
He is their god. He leads them like
Boys pursuing summer butterflies
Or butchers killing flies.
Close up on Volumnia's face.
She gives away practically nothing.
She takes a slow drag on her cigarette.
EXT. VOLSCIAN CAMP - DAY
Urban industrial wasteland. Old factories and abandoned
warehouses. Broken asphalt. Smashed windows.
The Volscians have set up camp here. On the decaying fringes
of the city. We see military hardware. Guns. Missile
launchers. Armored vehicles.
Soldiers are cleaning weapons, cooking meals, sleeping,
playing video games.
An incongruous sight...
An old barber chair floats past. Moving across the blue sky.
Carried overhead by a group of Volscian soldiers.
But there is something different about these Volscian
soldiers. They have altered their uniforms into something
pagan and primitive. All have shaved heads. Many have face
tattoos or wear striking war paint.
It is like something from LORD OF THE FLIES.
They set the barber chair down outside an abandoned factory.
This shattered and abandoned factory is Coriolanus' domain.
It is decorated with human skulls.
The CAMP BARBER, a fat man in a greasy butcher's apron,
begins to strop his razor.
Hard core young soldiers line up to have their heads shaved.
They are Coriolanus' ACOLYTES.
There is no sign of Coriolanus himself.
Aufidius and his LIEUTENANT stand on the fringes, disturbed
by the strange cult of personality that has grown up around
Do they still fly to Coriolanus?
I do not know what witchcraft's in him,
Your soldiers use him as the grace before
Their talk at table, and their thanks at
And you are darkened in this action, sir.
He bears himself more proud,
Even to my person, than I thought he
When first I did embrace him.
They turn and walk to the building where Aufidius is
Sir, I beseech you, think you he'll carry
I think he'll be to Rome
As is the osprey to the fish, who takes
By sovereignty of nature.
Aufidius nods to the guards outside his quarters and enters
with his Lieutenant...
INT. VOLSCIAN CAMP-AUFIDIUS' QUARTERS - DAY
A shattered building. Old graffiti on the walls. Weapons.
Maps. Aufidius' gear.
Aufidius sits on his cot, deep in thought.
He pulls a folded bit of paper from his pocket. Carefully and
lovingly unfolds it. He has been carrying this paper for
We realize it is the glossy magazine cover with the picture
of Coriolanus that Aufidius tore out earlier.
He gazes at the picture, his fingers smoothing the paper,
tracing the contours of Coriolanus' face...
Whether t'was pride,
Whether defect of judgement,
Or whether nature,
Not to be other than one thing,
Made him feared,
So hated, and so banished.
A beat as he studies the picture.
His lieutenant watches him closely, disturbed by Aufidius'
obsession with Coriolanus.
So our virtues
Lie in the interpretation of the time.
He brings the picture closer, whispering now:
One fire drives out one fire; one nail,
Rights by rights founder, strengths by
strengths do fail
And when, Caius, Rome is thine,
Thou art poorest of all -- then shortly
art thou mine.
INT. ROMAN WAR ROOM - DAY
Rome is at war now, so the room is busy and tense. Maps and
video footage chart the enemy's progress. Soldiers confer
urgently outside the door.
Menenius stands with the two Tribunes, Brutus and Sicinius.
With them are several SENATORS and GENERALS.
Menenius snaps angrily:
No, I'll not go!
Go, you that banished him!
A mile before his tent fall down, and
The way into his mercy.
They stop when Titus enters with General Cominius.
Titus is dusty, has just come from somewhere. He is pale.
Menenius and the others crowd around him, waiting for his
Titus sits, takes a moment to pull himself together, and then
reports with the grim severity of a death sentence:
He would not seem to know me.
I urged our old acquaintance, and the
That we have bled together. "Coriolanus"
He would not answer to, forbade all
A long beat. They wait for him to go on.
Titus searches for the words to continue.
He was a kind of nothing.
(a difficult beat)
Till he had forged himself a name in the
Of burning Rome.
He has no more to say, his head drops.
Menenius begins to leave the room. The Tribunes stop him,
leading him to a secluded corner:
If you refuse your aid
Would be your country's pleader, your
More than the instant army we can make,
Might stop our countryman.
No, I'll not meddle.
Pray you, go to him.
What should I do?
Brutus stops him, with real emotion:
Only make trial what your love can do
For Rome towards Martius.
Well, and say that Martius
Return me, as Titus is returned,
Unheard - what then?
Yet your good will
Must have that thanks from Rome.
Menenius thinks about it.
You know the very road into his kindness,
And cannot lose your way.
Menenius, despite all still a patriot at heart, decides.
I'll undertake it
I think he'll hear me.
The Tribunes are relieved. Cominius nods and escorts Menenius
Brutus and Sicinius return to Titus.
He'll never hear him.
I tell you, he does sit in gold, his eye
Red as it would burn Rome.
EXT. CHECKPOINT-HIGHWAY - DAY
The Roman checkpoint on the desolate highway. A formidable
military presence here now: soldiers, heavy weapons, tanks.
Volscian troops and a jeep can be seen down the highway.
We see Menenius' limousine pull up.
He and General Cominius climb out. Menenius is out of place
in his trim business suit: a politician among soldiers.
Menenius steels himself then passes through the Roman
He walks down the highway toward the distant Volscian troops.
EXT. VOLSCIAN CAMP - DAY
Menenius is blindfolded, roughly pulled by two Volscian
We hear some of the soldiers hooting at him. We stay close on
Menenius' blindfolded face, sharing his feeling of
disorientation and suspense.
The Volscians drag him into the abandoned factory--
INT. ABANDONED FACTORY - DAY
Finally his guards stop him and pull off his blindfold--
He is no longer Roman. He is not Volscian. He is, as Titus
said, "a kind of nothing."
He sits in the barber chair. His head is completely shaved.
His face is marked with martial face painting. These striking
totemic markings also cover his scarred body.
He is primitive. Inhuman. Like a dragon.
The Angel of Death.
His young warrior Acolytes -- similarly shaved and painted --
are gathered around him; his personal bodyguard and cult.
A long beat as Menenius stares at his friend, stunned at the
Coriolanus just gazes back at him.
Menenius finally pulls himself together and approaches, with
The glorious gods sit in hourly synod
about thy particular prosperity, and love
thee no worse than thy old friend
Menenius does! 0 Martius, Martius!
He steps forward to hug Coriolanus. Two of the Acolytes stop
him. He can approach no further.
Menenius accepts this. No matter. He is completely confident
he will be able to manipulate his protege. He always has in
Thou art preparing fire for us. Look
thee, here's water to quench it. I was
hardly moved to come to thee, but being
assured none but myself could move
thee, I have been blown out of your gates
with sighs, and conjure thee to pardon
A long beat.
Menenius waits for an answer. Grows uneasy.
How? . Away?
Wife mother child I know not.
Are servanted to others.
Menenius can't believe this cold response--
Therefore be gone.
His frigid eyes slice into Menenius:
Another word, Menenius,
I will not hear thee speak.
Menenius stares at him, shaken to the core.
The Guards pull Menenius away.
Coriolanus doesn't even glance at him.
EXT. CHECKPOINT-HIGHWAY - DAY
Back at the Roman checkpoint, Menenius strides toward his
limousine. He has been deeply shaken by his interaction with
the transformed Coriolanus.
General Cominius follows urgently, Menenius doesn't stop:
This Martius is grown from man to dragon.
He has wings; he's more than a creeping
He stops at his limo.
He turns back to Cominius. We see the pain in Menenius' eyes.
There is no more mercy in him than there
is milk in a male tiger.
He climbs into his limo. Shuts the door.
The limousine drives off, sending up a cloud of dust that
swirls around Cominius.
INT. MENENIUS' LIMO - DAY
Menenius sits in the back of his limo as it speeds back to
The rejection by Coriolanus has wounded him. Also he is
plagued by guilt. He helped create this monster. He pushed
Coriolanus into politics. And now Coriolanus has lost his
soul, even his humanity, and Rome is to be put to the sword.
All his fault.
This preys on him.
EXT. TRAIN TRACKS - DAY
Menenius' limousine pulls over by an isolated set of railroad
tracks. Weeds springing up. Battered advertising posters. An
old chain link fence.
Menenius climbs out of the car and walks along the tracks.
He sits on the railroad tracks.
Pulls out a little pocket knife and, in the Roman fashion,
efficiently slits his wrists.
He stares out over the hideous landscape.
Blood begins to pool around his stylish shoes.
From afar we see him, sitting on the railroad tracks, alone
and forlorn in this surreal urban wasteland, like a Samuel
He slumps over.
Menenius is dead.
INT. ABANDONED FACTORY - SUNSET
The red glow of dusk is shining through the cracked and dusty
Coriolanus, still in the barber chair, broods silently.
Aufidius sits nearby, watching him.
The visit from Menenius is troubling Coriolanus.
My partner in this action,
You must report to the Volscian lords how
I have borne this business.
Aufidius is curiously formal in his response, the
estrangement he feels toward Coriolanus growing:
Only their ends
You have respected; stopped your ears
The general suit of Rome; never admitted
A private whisper, no, not with such
That thought them sure of you.
This last old man,
Whom with a cracked heart I have sent to
Loved me above the measure of a father.
Shouts and whistles from outside the factory draw their
EXT. VOLSCIAN CAMP - SUNSET
Volumnia, Virgilia and Young Martius stride past the soldiers
and mountains of military hardware. Volumnia leads, pulling
the others by the hand.
Some of the soldiers whistle. Some spit. Others laugh and
make lascivious noises. Many just watch with grim dislike.
Volumnia appears to be completely impervious to the whistles
and cruel taunts. Her head is high, back straight, eagle eye
forward. She was never more a Roman patrician.
She is magnificent.
INT. ABANDONED FACTORY - SUNSET
Coriolanus stands as Volumnia, Virgilia and Young Martius are
led into the factory.
He tries to register nothing, assuming a sort of glacial
Volumnia and the others stop -- taking in Coriolanus' savage
new demeanor and appearance -- taking in the Acolytes and
Volumnia just stands, peering sternly at her son. As if
daring him not to crumble before her. He doesn't.
Aufidius watches everything closely.
It is Virgilia, finally, who bravely approaches:
My lord and husband--
He stop her, almost a warning, with:
These eyes are not the same I wore in
The sorrow that delivers us thus changed
Makes you think so.
Best of my flesh,
Forgive my tyranny, but do not say
For that "Forgive our Romans."
She shows great courage. Stepping forward and kissing him
deeply. A long kiss.
0, a kiss Long as my exile, sweet as
It is a perverse response. In his monomaniacal imagination,
his wife's kiss is obsessively equated with his revenge on
He finally moves to Volumnia, simply can't resist her orbital
You gods I prate,
And the most noble mother of the world
Leave unsaluted. Sink, my knee, in the
He kneels before her. It is done with a sense of duty and
protocol, not affection.
0, stand up blest.
Then with no softer cushion than the
I kneel before thee.
She quickly and dramatically kneels before him. It is a coup
de theatre and a masterpiece of manipulation.
What is this?
Your knees to me? To your corrected son?
Thou art my warrior;
I hope to frame thee.
She indicates Young Martius:
This is a poor epitome of yours,
Which by the interpretation of full time
May show like all yourself.
(to his son)
The god of soldiers,
Inform thy thoughts with nobleness, that
thou may prove
To shame invulnerable.
Volumnia pulls Young Martius down:
Your knee, sir.
She pulls Virgilia down:
Even he, your wife, and myself,
Are suitors to you.
All three kneel before Coriolanus. A pitiable sight. But he
has no pity.
He turns, sits in the barber chair.
I beseech you, peace!
Or, if you'd ask, remember this:
Do not bid me dismiss my soldiers, or
Again with Rome's mechanics. Tell me not
Wherein I seem unnatural. Desire not
To ally my rages and revenges with
Your colder reasons.
Volumnia stands, assuming again a position of strength.
0, no more, no more!
You have said you will not grant us
For we have nothing else to ask but that
Which you deny already; yet we will ask,
That, if you fail in our request, the
May hang upon your hardness. Therefore
Aufidius, and you Volsces, mark; for
Hear naught from Rome in private.
(coldly, to her)
Should we be silent and not speak, our
And state of bodies would reveal what
We have led since thy exile. Think with
How more unfortunate than all living
Are we come hither, since that thy sight,
Make our eyes flow with joy, hearts dance
Constrains them weep and shake with fear
Making the mother, wife, and child to see
The son, the husband and the father
His country's bowels out.
Coriolanus' face is a study in aloof neutrality. Yet he is
listening intensely and Volumnia's words are affecting.
She fights back emotion. It is impossible to tell if this
real or feigned.
For myself, son,
I propose not to wait on fortune till
These wars determine. If I cannot
Rather to show a noble grace, thou shalt
March to assault thy country than to
Tread on thy mother's womb
That brought thee to this world.
Ay, and mine,
That brought you forth this boy, to keep
Living to time.
Young Martius stands as well and approaches his father,
challenging and warlike:
You shall not tread on me.
I'll run away till I am bigger, but then
Coriolanus stares at him -- the intensity of the boy's
aggression is disturbing. And familiar.
I have sat too long.
He rises and turns as if to go--
Nay, go not from us thus!
Her command stops him. She appeals, quickly getting to the
point of her argument:
If it were so that our request did tend
To save the Romans, thereby to destroy
The Volsces whom you serve, you might
As poisonous of your honor. No, our suit
Is that you reconcile them -- so the
May say "This mercy we have showed," the
"This we received," and each in either
Give the all-hail to thee and cry, "Be
For making up this peace!"
Coriolanus does not respond.
Speak to me, son...
Still he does not respond.
His emotions are roiling.
Still she is soft and vulnerable...
Why dost not speak?
But softness is not a note she plays naturally. She knows it.
Her natural aggressiveness comes out, anger and outrage
gradually boiling to the surface:
Thinks thou it honorable for a noble man
Still to remember wrongs? Daughter, speak
He cares not for your weeping. Speak
Perhaps thy childishness will move him
Than can our reasons. There's no man in
More bound to his mother, yet here he
lets me prate
Like one in the stocks!
She is assaulting him now, on the attack:
Thou hast never in thy life
Showed thy dear mother any courtesy,
When she, poor hen,
Has clucked thee to the wars and safely
Loaded with honor. Say my request's
And spurn me back; and the gods will
That thou restrains from me the duty
To a mother's part belongs!
Coriolanus can take no more, turns and begins to walk away--
Volumnia reacts like lightning -- grabbing Virgilia and Young
Martius and dragging them to the dirt with her--
Down! Let us shame him with our knees!
She claws at the dirt -- like Hecuba -- keening -- a shocking
explosion of raw emotion -- almost an incantation:
Down! An end! This is the last. So we
will home to Rome,
And die among our neighbors. Nay, behold!
This boy, that cannot tell what he would
But kneels and holds up hands for
Does reason our petition with more
Than thou hast to deny it.
She remains kneeling, panting for air.
Coriolanus looks at her. His noble mother. Clawing in the
dirt like an animal. Filthy. Despairing. Her face wet with
She looks back up at him. She senses she has failed.
Come, let us go.
She rises slowly, her age showing. Her spirit broken. Or
She stares at Coriolanus as she rips off the Roman Eagle
medal she wears and flings it to the ground.
The blood red sky of sunset behind her reflects her passion
as she summons up all her strength for a lacerating and icy
This fellow had a Volscian to his mother;
His wife is in Corioles and his child
Like him by chance Yet give us our
I am hushed until our city be afire,
And then I'll speak a little.
She turns and begins to go.
We see finally Coriolanus crack.
Like a great building crumbling.
Like fissures cutting across marble.
Emotion floods into him.
He lunges forward and grabs her hand. Volumnia stops.
Time stands still.
He doesn't speak.
O mother mother...
What have you done?
He falls to his knees, clutching her hand.
Behold, the heavens do ope,
The gods look down -- and this unnatural
They laugh at.
He buries his head in her, like a lost child:
O my mother, mother! 0!
You have won a happy victory for Rome;
But for your son - believe it, 0 believe
Most dangerously you have with him
(he looks up at her
If not most mortal to him.
She looks down at him. His meaning, his foreshadowing, is
clear: she has saved Rome, but he knows he is doomed. Rome
will live. He will die. This is the price for her victory
She is willing to pay that price. So is he.
A moment between them.
He accepts his destiny.
But let it come.
He stands, regains his composure. He slowly walks to
He leans close, speaking intimately:
Aufidius, though I cannot make true wars,
I'll frame convenient peace. Now, good
Were you in my stead, would you have
A mother less? Or granted less?
I was moved withal.
I dare be sworn you were.
And, sir, it is no little thing to make
Mine eyes to sweat compassion. But, good
What peace you'll make, advise me.
We study Aufidius' face. He gives away nothing.
Coriolanus turns back to Volumnia. Looks at her.
She is victorious.
The crimson sky looms over her ominously.
And we go to...
INT. FORMAL MINISTRY HALL - DAY
A solemn peace treaty signing ceremony.
Coriolanus represents the Volscians. Cominius represents the
Romans. They sit side-by-side at desks signing the treaty.
Volumnia and Virgilia, gorgeously dressed, are present. So
too Brutus and Sicinius. The press films everything.
It has the stiff formality of a White House ceremony.
Cominius concludes signing:
A merrier day did never yet greet Rome,
No, not the expulsion of the Tarquins.
We have all
Great cause to give great thanks.
He looks to Volumnia.
Behold our patroness, the life of Rome.
She is erect and exalted. "The Life of Rome" personified.
She ignores her son.
Coriolanus will not look at her.
EXT. TRUCK STOP - DAY
A rundown Truck Stop in an industrial wasteland.
Garish, buzzing neon. Filthy 18-wheelers refueling. Music
droning from a radio.
Aufidius, his Lieutenant and seven of his men are waiting
outside the dusty diner.
The men with Aufidius are thugs and killers, the most brutal
Volsces he could find. We note a couple of Coriolanus'
Acolytes among them. They have turned with great venom on
They are like a mafia hit squad, waiting for Coriolanus to
return with the peace treaty.
Aufidius is deep in thought.
His Lieutenant breaks the silence:
How is it with our general?
As with a man by his own charity slain.
Our soldiers will remain uncertain whilst
'Twixt you there's difference; but the
fall of either
Makes the survivor heir of all.
I know it,
And my pretext to strike at him admits
A good construction.
A beat. He continues more to himself than them, almost
I raised him, and I pawned
Mine honor for his truth; who being so
He watered his new plants with dews of
Seducing so my friends.
At the last
I seemed his follower, not partner, and
He waged me with his countenance as if
I had been mercenary.
So he did, my lord.
The army marveled at it; and in the last,
When he had carried Rome and that we
For no less spoil than glory--
Aufidius works himself into an intense, neurotic rage:
There was it!
For which my sinews shall be stretched
At a few drops of women's rheum, which
As cheap as lies, he sold the blood and
Of our great action -- Therefore shall he
And I'll renew me in his fall.
Therefore, at your vantage,
Ere he express himself or move the people
With what he would say, let him feel your
Which we will second.
Say no more.
In the distance they can see a Roman military truck
approaching. Clouds of dust billow up.
They exchange a look. This is what they have been waiting
for. They stand, stretch and prepare.
The truck stops across the highway from them and Coriolanus
gets out. He holds a copy of the peace treaty in a leather
portfolio. He is unarmed.
He sees Aufidius and the thugs. Waiting for him. Like a death
Coriolanus looks at them.
He knows exactly what's going to happen.
He is ready.
He nods and the truck drives off.
Coriolanus slowly crosses the highway to the truck stop, like
a gunslinger walking down Main Street.
There is something new to Coriolanus here. A sort of
acceptance. He knows his time is past.
Aufidius and the thugs go to meet him. The thugs spread out a
bit, strategically, getting ready to strike. Coriolanus'
experienced eyes miss none of this.
They meet in the parking lot.
I am returned your soldier,
No more infected with my country's love
Than when I parted hence, but still
Under your great command.
He hands the treaty portfolio to Aufidius:
We have made peace
With no less honor to the Volscians
Than shame to the Romans.
(handing the treaty to
Read it not,
But tell the traitor, in the highest
He hath abused your powers.
Coriolanus is ready for Aufidius' ploy. He is amused at the
obvious attempt to anger him:
Traitor? How now?
Ay, traitor, Martius.
Ay, Martius, Caius Martius! Dost thou
I'll grace thee with that robbery, thy
He spins to the others, making the case against Coriolanus
with cutting bitterness:
He has betrayed your business and given
For certain drops of salt, your city Rome-
I say "your city" - to his wife and
Breaking his oath and resolution, like
A twist of rotten silk; never admitting
Counsel of the war, but at his nurse's
He whined and roared away YOUR VICTORY!
Coriolanus tries to contain his anger:
Hear'st thou, Mars?
Name not the god, thou boy of tears.
Measureless liar, thou has made my heart
Too great for what contains it. "Boy"? 0
Coriolanus' eyes miss nothing a Volscian thug shifting
a bead of sweat on another one secretly reaching into
his coat for a weapon.
Some of the Volscian thugs are clearly nervous.
Coriolanus is ready. He prepares himself mentally to die. He
is acutely controlled:
Cut me to pieces, Volsces.
Men and lads, stain all your edges on me.
It is a dare. A challenge.
"Boy"? False hound.
If you have writ your annals true, 'tis
That, like an eagle in a dovecote, I
Fluttered your Volscians in Corioles.
His gaze burns into Aufidius:
Alone I did it "Boy."
Let him die for it.
At this command, his men move--
Aufidius steps back as--
The Volscian thugs attack--
With knives, machetes and tire irons--
Coriolanus fights bravely -- disarming two, grabbing their
weapons, killing them, fighting back--
Slashing and cutting his way through the killers-
Closer and closer to Aufidius, who just watches--
Blood spattering and spraying-
But the thugs overpower Coriolanus, there are just too many--
They stab him -- slicing with knives -- battering with chains
and clubs -- finally emptying pistols him into him--
It is graceless and brutal carnage.
But still he comes on. Body riddled with bullets and cut to
bits. He refuses to fall. Like something immortal. An obscene
demon of blood.
Finally the thugs move away.
Coriolanus still stands. Teetering. His face is a swollen
mask of blood and gore. Blood flows from his body, pooling
around his feet, spreading across the parking lot.
Aufidius steps forward.
What is left of Coriolanus glares at him through blood.
Aufidius slowly pulls his knife. The same knife he was
sharpening so carefully at the opening of the story. It has
finally found its purpose.
Coriolanus looks at him.
Then slowly Coriolanus tries to raise one bleeding arm
this requires superhuman effort his slashed fingers
clutch his shirt he rips it open exposing his breast.
He locks eyes with Aufidius.
Aufidius steps to him. Takes his neck. Pulls him onto the
knife. Driving it into him. Cradling his head like a lover.
They stand like this.
Then Coriolanus falls.
Take him up.
No one moves.
Abrupt cut to--
EXT. TRUCK - DAY
Coriolanus' body is awkwardly tossed into the back of an open
truck. Like a sack of potatoes.
EXT. TRUCK - SUNSET
A crowd of Volscians are gathered around the back of the
truck. They have come to see Coriolanus' body.
We watch their faces. Normal people. A range of grim emotion.
One raises a cell phone. Takes a photo.
More phone cameras come out. Streaming video. Recording the
INT. VILLA -- LIVING ROOM - DAY
On the TV:
The footage from the cell phone video.
Coriolanus' body in the back of the trunk.
Looking at her son.
His body sprawled ungainly in death.
No ritual or ceremony. No honor.
Snap to black.