Logline: After the suspicious deaths of two of her brothers, a brash young princess is named Crown Prince of the realm by her delusional father and faces a host of courtly adversaries.
The New Dynasty
ACT ONETEASERFADE IN:EXT. GAMING ARENA -MORNINGA falcon, its wings spread majestically, its beak open screeching a call as it flies across the sky. We follow it into the sun, then tilt down from the blinding glare of the sky and into a crowded arena. It appears as though the entire city is crammed into the gaming arena. The men are adorned in linen kilts; the women in thigh-length sheaths.In the stands sit the noble class, distinguished by the jewels dripping low off their persons and their hawk noses held high in the air.Crammed shoulder to shoulder below the nobles, stand commoners, all dressed in their best rags. There is excitement in the air, but no one pays much attention to the archery contest currently underway. Instead, all eyes sneak darting glances at -CUT TO-the Royal Family, seated high above all. The sun shines bright behind a massive, brown man, PHARAOH THOTHMES I, who looks every bit the incarnation of a ruthless, sun god -only bigger, and meaner.Seated directly beside Pharaoh is QUEEN AAHMOSE, Royal Consort, she is beautiful, lithe, regal, with kind eyes and a gracious smile. Seated a step behind the king and queen is MUTNOFERT, Second Wife. Where Aahmose is the hieroglyphic picture of the winged Maat, the Goddess of Balance, Mutnofert is the embodiment of the Goddess of Fertility -Hathor, who appears as a rotund rhinoceros.CUT TOThe stands. Three older noblemen feign interest in the archery. INENI, jovial and relaxed, wears the mark of Vizier and an easy smile as he watches the festivities. MENENA, sour-faced, he wears the garb of High Priest. PEN-NEKHBET, clean-cut and serious, wears the mark of Treasurer. He turns and focuses on Pharaoh.PEN-NEKHBETDo you think he will do it today?INENIPerfect time to do so. Our time in service is quickly coming to a close.MENENASpeak for yourselves. I have no intention of leaving my post to these children.CUT TOLower down in the stands. Three young adults of the noble class are also feigning interest in the days events. AMIT (18), the picture of a proper Egyptian noble lady. MENKH (20), handsome but the permanent bored, superior look inherent on his face detracts from it. And HAPUSENEB (20), classic handsome features, an easy smile which he bestows on the nobles and commoners alike.Amit turns to Hapuseneb.AMITDo you think he’s made his choice?Hapuseneb turns his easy smile on her, but his eyes remain on the field. So, he doesn’t catch her quick intake of breath or the dreamy look that skates over her eyes before she composes herself.HAPUSENEBThere is nothing to choose. Prince Thothmes is the oldest.AMITBut the people love Prince Amenmose. He is clearly the favorite.MENKHFavor comes and goes.AMITOh come now, Menkh. Even you can not feign disinterest in the succession.MENKHWhat do you care about succession? You’re only here to scout potential husbands. I remember the days when our dear Amit favored Prince Amenmose.AMITEvery little girl dreams of becoming a princess. But I no longer desire to be an Egyptian princess.(to Menkh)Forced to marry a brother-She turns to the royal section of the stands.AMIT (CONT'D)Or to be a co-wife.THIS SAID OFF a profusely sweating Mutnofert. Menkh follows her gaze.MENKHCould you imagine being saddled with a rhino, all for the sake of a treaty? I would race to the trenches.BACK TO STANDS.HAPUSENEBSpeaking of princesses, where is Hatshepsut? She loves a good tourney.AMITShe loves to participate, not watch.The comment starts as a shared joke among friends. But then, both Amit and Hapuseneb freeze in dreadful realization.AMITYou don’t think…She wouldn't…Its not clear if that’s a question or a statement.HAPUSENEBNo…no.Hapuseneb gives a decisive shake of his head, but he can’t hide his worry.A hush falls over the crowd as the final competitors are vacating the arena floor. An ANNOUNCER walks to the center podium.ANNOUNCERWe celebrate the golden Horus, the Mighty Bull, beloved of Maat, Lord of Nekhbet and per-Uarchet, he who is diademed with the fiery Uraeus, making hearts to live, son of the sun, Pharaoh Thothmes the First, living forever.The crowd cheers as the Pharaoh looks on graciously.ANNOUNCERWe sing the praises of Royal Consort, Aahmose, lady of the two lands, beloved of Pharaoh, mother of Prince Amenmose, Princess Hatshepsut, and the departed Prince Wadjmose.More cheers. Aahmose smiles graciously. Pharaoh watches her appreciatively. She returns his visual caress with a loving smile.ANNOUNCERAnd the lady Mutnofert, second wife, mother of Prince Thothmes the second.Mutnofert receives less applause and no attention from Pharaoh. Her bitter scowl rests on Aahmose.ANNOUNCERToday we are blessed to see the fruit of the great warrior’s loins; the hope and future who will one day rule the lands of Egypt. Allow me to present Prince Amenmose…The crowd begins to cheer again as a young man enters the arena. AMENMOSE (20), simply beautiful, his features perfectly chiseled, his body sculpted. He favors Aahmose who smiles encouragingly at him from the stands.ANNOUNCERAnd Prince Thothmes, the second.THOTHMES (22), does not have the beauty or grace of Amenmose. He is squat and round, and visibly shaking; sweat pours off him like rain. He looks to the stands for support, but meets the narrowed, demanding eyes of his mother, Mutnofert.A fresh bull’s eye has been placed some distance from the princes. Thothmes eyes it with trepidation. Amenmose turns an encouraging smile on his brother and hands him an arrow.AMENMOSEYou are the elder. You should go first.Thothmes gulps, but steps up to the mark on wobbly feet. He raises his bow and pulls the arrow back.CUT TOTHOTHMES’ POVThe bull’s eye is blurry, unfocused and it looks farther than it really is.BACK TOThothmes releases the arrow, which hits powerfully…into the ground. Disappointment spreads like an audible plague through the crowd. In the face of Pharaoh, which Thothmes pointedly avoids glancing at, it festers as his nostrils flare.Amenmose walks over and gives him another arrow, along with an encouraging nod.AMENMOSEFocus, brother.Thothmes does and this time…it hits! But its the farthest ring from the eye of the target. There is moderate, polite applause from the crowd. Thothmes sulks off the mark.Amenmose steps up. He pulls his bow taut.CUT TOAMENMOSE’S POVThe bull’s eye is clear and in focus, but the view dips and focuses instead on the outer ring at the edge where Thothmes’ arrow has struck.BACK TOAmenmose releases his arrow, which hits powerfully…just below Thothmes’. There is another gasp in the crowd, but not of disappointment or surprise. This sound is utter incomprehension.Amenmose is already stringing his second arrow. He releases and it hits powerfully -Impossible! Below Thothmes’ arrow again! The crowd isn’t sure what to make of this.A quick glance at Pharaoh shows barely contained rage at the poor, dare-say deliberate, display. He stands to go. The Announcer motions to someone to clear the bull’s eye.ANNOUNCERThis has been a most…triumphant occasion-HATSHEPSUT (O.S.)Wait!The entire audience turns and they are confronted by…a girl. And she’s dressed in a boy’s kilt. HATSHEPSUT (18), she has the beauty of her mother and the harsh glare of her father.CUT TOSTANDSAmit and Menkh are stunned. Hapuseneb looks to the heavens, closes his eyes, and shakes his head.HAPUSENEBOh, gods.BACK TOARENA FLOORHATSHEPSUTI have not had my turn yet.ANNOUNCERHighness, my lady, this is a tournament for men-Hatshepsut sends him a cutting look that leaves his lips working and his tongue silent.HATSHEPSUTDid you not say earlier that this was a time for all subjects to witness the fruits of Pharaoh’s loins?The Announcer nods meekly.HATSHEPSUT (CONT'D)Am I not one of those fruits? Or are you insulting my mother?The Announcer, still unable to find his voice, shakes his head fervently, turning his head to Pharaoh…who is chuckling? He turns to his daughter.PHARAOHGo on then.Hatshepsut’s childish indignation disappears and is replaced by a huge grin that sneaks its way over the Pharaoh’s face. Hatshepsut turns and passes her brothers. The chatter in the crowd has grown. She reaches her hand out to Amenmose. Amenmose walks over and hands her an arrow. His look is warning, a silent command from an older sibling.AMENMOSEIt is his day.Hatshepsut’s smile is full of mischief.HATSHEPSUTIt is not decided yet.Amenmose looks as though he’d like to say more, but Hatshepsut turns from him and pulls her bow taut.CUT TOHATSHEPSUT’S POVThe bull’s eye is clear and in focus. Then the view dips lower to Thothmes’ arrow at the outer ring.BACK TOHatshepsut, still with a mischievous smile, releases her arrow, which hits powerfully…and -Impossible! It shreds Thothmes’ arrow! The crowd gasps, too stunned to applaud.Hatshepsut reaches out her hand to Amenmose for her second arrow, a faux-innocent smile on her beautiful face. Amenmose regards his sister, another warning on his face. Then he sighs. Its no use. He hands her the arrow. Hatshepsut takes the arrow and looks past Amenmose to Thothmes, who stares dejectedly at the ground. Hatshepsut rolls her eyes and turns back to the target, pulling the bow taut. She releases, and…there’s a thunderous cheer! She’s hit the bull’s eye!STANDSUpon closer examination, we can see the cheers come from the commoners. The nobles are stunned or outraged in silence.AMITWhat does this mean? Is Hat the successor now?MENKHDon't be stupid. Woman can't rule. Tell her, Hapu.But Hapuseneb is looking at Pharaoh who beams at his daughter -its the first true smile we’ve seen on his harsh face. Queen Aahmose looks on with worry; Mutnofert with hatred. Thothmes sulks off the field, leaving Amenmose staring at his sister with unmasked disapproval. But she doesn’t care. Hatshepsut raises her bow in triumph.END TEASER