A screenplay by JD.CLAIR
[Opens with a clean home in a bright suburban town. Children outside are playing. Inside dad is
playing a loud monstrous game with his children, a 3 year old boy Chance, and a 5 year old girl
Charlotte, when a knock interrupts the playing.]
Eric Kelly (Dad)
“Hold on… Hold on… Get off me. I have to get the door.”
[The dad says trying to change from playful to stern, picking up some toys on his way to the door.
Opens the door to find a man standing with a little girl.]
“Hello… Eric Kelly?”
[Nervously twisting his hands around the strap on an expensive courier bag.]
“I’m sorry have we met? Is your daughter in Charlotte’s ballet class?
[The kids rush to the door to see what is going on.]
[smiling adoringly at the Charlotte]
“My name is Arron Kells. This is Cheryl. I’m sorry. Is your wife home?
“She stepped out to get some things from the store. Can I help you with something?”
I don’t even know where to begin. Do you mind if we come in? [Eric looks sternly without an exact
response] I… This is hard to say. I believe we have the wrong daughters.”
“I don’t know who you are Mr. Kells, but get off my property.”
[Steps inside and closes the door]
[Steps inside and closes the door]
April 14 th , 2011… Gottlieb Hospital.
[opening the door back up]
“What are you trying to do here?
I just want to discuss.
[Erik Kelly allows Aaron and Cheryl to enter.]
“Take Cheryl into the playroom, Honey. I need to talk to her dad.”
[The two men sit down at the table. Aaron looks at the counter covered in bottles of prescribed pills]
“Can I offer you something to drink?”
“Water please. “
“So, what makes you think that our children were switched?”
“Last year my wife, Hannah, was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Since we met she had been in and out of the hospital for various infections and digestive problems. Unfortunately, we learned very late what was causing her problems and she passed away 4 months ago.”
“I’m very sorry to hear that Mr. Kells.”
“It turns out that Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disorder. We never saw any symptoms of it in Cheryl but we wanted to have her tested, just in case. Fortunately she doesn’t have it. Unfortunately, she didn’t have any genetic similarities to either Hannah or myself. Tell me Mr. Kelly. Does Charllote have digestion problems?“
“This is a joke. You’re kidding right? That’s my little girl. How would that even be possible? The hospital had tracking devices and name bands. “
“I know it’s hard to believe but somehow they got the names confused. Charlotte Kelly and Cheryl Kells were similar enough to mix it up. Even our names Aaron and Eric sound similar, Mr. Kelly. “
“I… No… No.. this isn’t right. Do you realize what you’re saying Mr. Kells? And what exactly is your plan here?”
“I’m here to take my daughter home.”
“You are welcome to leave any time.”
“That’s not what I mean. I saw the medicine you have Charlotte on. I know you guys are trying your best, but really you aren’t equipped to handle her Cystic Fibrosis.”
“ Now that we know what the problem is we can help her. You can’t really expect to come into my
house and take my daughter. My little girl who I’ve poured my life into for the past 5 years. I’m trying to remain calm, but I have to warn you that I’m struggling to not punch you right now.”
[Aaron opens his courier bag, and sets a stack of papers on the table.]
“What is this? What are you a lawyer.”
“That’s right, Mr. Kelly. And this is a court order. I have a legal right to my child… To the last piece of my wife I have left in this world.”
“You have Cheryl! The daughter you raised. Leave my family alone.”
“You don’t understand. This is bigger than your family. This is about each of our families. Each of our little girls who have a right to grow up with their fathers. To be a part of the blood that created them. I know this is a lot to take in but you need to consider what is best for everyone. “
[Erik punches Aaron in the face]
“Get out of my house!”
[Aaron rushes out of the house, leaving Cheryl inside, and begins calling the police.]
“C’mon Cheryl. Your dad is leaving. You need to go too.”
“... But I thought you were my daddy.” [sadly]
“You’re her daddy too? Does that mean we’re sisters?!” [excited]
Another sister? YUK!
“No… No… [becoming emotional as he stares into the familiar face of his estranged daughter]Your daddy is a little confused right now and you need to go.
“Hello, police. I’m going to need an office to assist with a possible kidnapping. It’s more of a domestic dispute at the moment but a man is holding my child under false pretense. I’ll wait for the officer here.”
[Eric’s wife Anna arrives home.]
“What’s going on?”
“He’s trying to take our little girl?”
Because she’s really his daughter.
[Erik says pulling at his hair as if he’s going crazy]
[The adults are discussing the situation. Aaron is showing the court order as well as the supporting
documents. The birth certificates. The DNA reports.]
I’m sorry Mr. Kelly, but based on the information Mr. Kells presented me I’m required by law to let him take his daughter home.
But she’s in my custody. I’m her father... guardian… whatever.
[Still trying to calm Erik down].
I understand. However, the law states that the child must remain in the custody of their parent. While I believe you have legal precedent, he has a court order proving he is the biological parent of this child. You can appeal the court order and regain custody at a hearing with the judge.
This can’t be happening
I’m required to accompany Mr. Kells to gather Charlott’s belongings.
“You can’t let him take our little girl.”
“What if I refuse to let you take her.”
“After your assault on Mr. Kells you’re lucky he hasn’t decided to press charges. Adding resisting court orders and kidnapping would almost guarantee that you won’t remain in custody of this child tonight or any night in the foreseeable future. “
[Officer helps pack clothing and items. Anna and Chance are holding one another while Erik stands in shock. Mr. Kells sympathetically looks at the Kelly family. ]
“We will be in contact. I don’t want to leave things this way but I hope that one day you understand why I felt this was the best thing for both of us.”
[Flashing lights of the police car can be seen swirling as the officer escorts Aaron Kells’ car with
[screaming from her car seat]
[Erik runs after car.]
[Charlotte peals herself out of the car seat… crying in the rear window, hand against the glass.]
[Erik sprinting at full speed screaming “CHARLOTTE” but the sound is cut out for dramatic music. ]
[Glimpses of Erik feeding baby Charlotte.]
[Glimpses of Erik and Charlotte playing at the park. ]
[ Glimpses of Erik and Charlotte reading together. ]
[Glimpses of Charlotte being tucked in… all flashing on the screen. ]
[Erik collapses in the street, weeping into his hands as Cheryl comes up to him and lays a hand on his
shoulder as the camera backs away. ]