a screenplay by James Cameron
Then two faint lights appear, close together... growing brighter. They resolve into two DEEP SUBMERSIBLES, free-falling toward us like express elevators.
One is ahead of the other, and passes close enough to FILL FRAME, looking like a spacecraft blazing with lights, bristling with insectile manipulators.
TILTING DOWN to follow it as it descends away into the limitless blackness below. Soon they are fireflies, then stars. Then gone.
2 EXT./ INT. MIR ONE / NORTH ATLANTIC DEEP
PUSHING IN on one of the falling submersibles, called MIR ONE, right up to its circular viewport to see the occupants.
INSIDE, it is a cramped seven foot sphere, crammed with equipment. ANATOLY MIKAILAVICH, the sub's pilot, sits hunched over his controls... singing softly in Russian.
Next to him on one side is BROCK LOVETT. He's in his late forties, deeply tanned, and likes to wear his Nomex suit unzipped to show the gold from famous shipwrecks covering his gray chest hair. He is a wily, fast-talking treasure hunter, a salvage superstar who is part historian, part adventurer and part vacuum cleaner salesman. Right now, he is propped against the CO2 scrubber, fast asleep and snoring.
On the other side, crammed into the remaining space is a bearded wide-body named LEWIS BODINE, who is also asleep. Lewis is an R.O.V. (REMOTELY OPERATED VEHICLE) pilot and is the resident Titanic expert.
Anatoly glances at the bottom sonar and makes a ballast adjustment.
3 EXT. THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA
A pale, dead-flat lunar landscape. It gets brighter, lit from above, as MIR ONE enters FRAME and drops to the seafloor in a down blast from its thrusters. It hits bottom after its two hour free-fall with a loud BONK.
4 INT. MIR ONE
Lovett and Bodine jerk awake at the landing.
(heavy Russian accent)
We are here.
EXT. / INT. MIR ONE AND TWO
5 MINUTES LATER: THE TWO SUBS skim over the seafloor to the sound of sidescan sonar and the THRUM of big thrusters.
6 The featureless gray clay of the bottom unrolls in the lights of the subs. Bodine is watching the sidescan sonar display, where the outline of a huge pointed object is visible. Anatoly lies prone, driving the sub, his face pressed to the center port.
Come left a little. She's right in front of us, eighteen meters. Fifteen. Thirteen... you should see it.
Do you see it? I don't see it... there!
Out of the darkness, like a ghostly apparition, the bow of the ship appears. Its knife-edge prow is coming straight at us, seeming to plow the bottom sediment like ocean waves. It towers above the seafloor, standing just as it landed 84 years ago.
THE TITANIC. Or what is left of her. Mir One goes up and over the bow railing, intact except for an overgrowth of "rusticles" draping it like mutated Spanish moss.
TIGHT ON THE EYEPIECE MONITOR of a video camcorder. Brock Lovett's face fills the BLACK AND WHITE FRAME.
It still gets me every time.
The image pans to the front viewport, looking over Anatoly's shoulder, to the bow railing visible in the lights beyond. Anatoly turns.
Is just your guilt because of stealing from the dead.
CUT WIDER, to show that Brock is operating the camera himself, turning it in his hand so it points at his own face.
Thanks, Tolya. Work with me, here.
Brock resumes his serious, pensive gaze out the front port, with the camera aimed at himself at arm's length.
It still gets me every time... to see the sad ruin of the great ship sitting here, where she landed at 2:30 in the morning, April 15, 1912, after her long fall from the world above.
Anatoly rolls his eyes and mutters in Russian. Bodine chuckles and watches the sonar.
You are so full of shit, boss.
7 Mir Two drives aft down the starboard side, past the huge anchor while Mir One passes over the seemingly endless forecastle deck, with its massive anchor chains still laid out in two neat rows, its bronze windlass caps gleaming. The 22 foot long subs are like white bugs next to the enormous wreck.
Dive nine. Here we are again on the deck of Titanic... two and a half miles down. The pressure is three tons per square inch, enough to crush us like a freight train going over an ant if our hull fails. These windows are nine inches thick and if they go, it's sayonara in two microseconds.
8 Mir Two lands on the boat deck, next to the ruins of the Officer's Quarters. Mir One lands on the roof of the deck house nearby.
Right. Let's go to work.
Bodine slips on a pair of 3-D electronic goggles, and grabs the joystick controls of the ROV.
9 OUTSIDE THE SUB, the ROV, a small orange and black robot called SNOOP DOG, lifts from its cradle and flies forward.
Walkin' the dog.
SNOOP DOG drives itself away from the sub, paying out its umbilical behind it like a robot yo-yo. Its twin stereo-video cameras swivel like insect eyes. The ROV descends through an open shaft that once was the beautiful First Class Grand Staircase.
Snoop Dog goes down several decks, then moves laterally into the First Class Reception Room.
SNOOP'S VIDEO POV, moving through the cavernous interior. The remains of the ornate hand carved woodwork which gave the ship its elegance move through the floodlights, the lines blurred by slow dissolution and descending rusticle formations. Stalactites of rust hang down so that at times it looks like a natural grotto, then the scene shifts and the lines of a ghostly undersea mansion can be seen again.
MONTAGE STYLE, as Snoop passes the ghostly images of Titanic's opulence:
10 A grand piano in amazingly good shape, crashed on its side against a wall. The keys gleam black and white in the lights.
11 A chandelier, still hanging from the ceiling by its wire... glinting as Snoop moves around it.
12 Its lights play across the floor, revealing a champagne bottle, then some WHITE STAR LINE china... a woman's high-top "granny shoe". Then something eerie: what looks like a child's skull resolves into the porcelain head of a doll.
Snoop enters a corridor which is much better preserved. Here and there a door still hangs on its rusted hinges. An ornate piece of molding, a wall sconce... hint at the grandeur of the past.
13 THE ROV turns and goes through a black doorway, entering room B-52, the sitting room of a "promenade suite", one of the most luxurious staterooms on Titanic.
I'm in the sitting room. Heading for bedroom B-54.
Stay off the floor. Don't stir it up like you did yesterday.
I'm tryin' boss.
Glinting in the lights are the brass fixtures of the near-perfectly preserved fireplace. An albino Galathea crab crawls over it. Nearby are the remains of a divan and a writing desk. The Dog crosses the ruins of the once elegant room toward another DOOR. It squeezes through the doorframe, scraping rust and wood chunks loose on both sides. It moves out of a cloud of rust and keeps on going.
I'm crossing the bedroom.
The remains of a pillared canopy bed. Broken chairs, a dresser. Through the collapsed wall of the bathroom, the porcelain commode and bathtub took almost new, gleaming in the dark.
Okay, I want to see what's under that wardrobe door.
SEVERAL ANGLES as the ROV deploys its MANIPULATOR ARMS and starts moving debris aside. A lamp is lifted, its ceramic colors as bright as they were in 1912.
Easy, Lewis. Take it slow.
Lewis grips a wardrobe door, lying at an angle in a corner, and pulls it with Snoop's gripper. It moves reluctantly in a cloud of silt. Under it is a dark object. The silt clears and Snoop's cameras show them what was under the door...
Ooohh daddy-oh, are you seein' what I'm seein'?
CLOSE ON LOVETT, watching his monitors. By his expression it is like he is seeing the Holy Grail.
Oh baby baby baby.
(grabs the mike)
It's payday, boys.
ON THE SCREEN, in the glare of the lights, is the object of their quest: a small STEEL COMBINATION SAFE.
14 EXT. STERN OF DECK OF KEDYSH - DAY
THE SAFE, dripping wet in the afternoon sun, is lowered onto the deck of a ship by a winch cable.
We are on the Russian research vessel AKADEMIK MISTISLAV KELDYSH. A crowd has gathered, including most of the crew of KELDYSH, the sub crews, and a hand-wringing money guy named BOBBY BUELL who represents the limited partners. There is also a documentary video crew, hired by Lovett to cover his moment of glory.
Everyone crowds around the safe. In the background Mir Two is being lowered into its cradle on deck by a massive hydraulic arm. Mir One is already recovered with Lewis Bodine following Brock Lovett as he bounds over to the safe like a kid on Christmas morning.
Who's the best? Say it.
You are, Lewis.
(to the video crew)
Brock nods to his technicians, and they set about drilling the safe's hinges. During this operation, Brock amps the suspense, working the lens to fill the time.
Well, here it is, the moment of truth. Here's where we find out if the time, the sweat, the money spent to charter this ship and these subs, to come out here to the middle of the North Atlantic... were worth it. If what we think is in that same... is in that safe... it will be.
Lovett grins wolfishly in anticipation of his greatest find yet. The door is pried loose. It clangs onto the deck. Lovett moves closer, peering into the safe's wet interior. A long moment then... his face says it all.
You know, boss, this happened to Geraldo and his career never recovered.
(to the video cameraman)
Get that outta my face.
15 INT. LAB DECK, PRESERVATION ROOM - DAY
Technicians are carefully removing some papers from the safe and placing them in a tray of water to separate them safely. Nearby, other artifacts from the stateroom are being washed and preserved.
Buell is on the satellite phone with the INVESTORS. Lovett is yelling at the video crew.
You send out what I tell you when I tell you. I'm signing your paychecks, not 60 minutes. Now get set up for the uplink.
Buell covers the phone and turns to Lovett.
The partners want to know how it's going?
How it's going? It's going like a first date in prison, whattaya think?!
Lovett grabs the phone from Buell and goes instantly smooth.
Hi, Dave? Barry? Look, it wasn't in the safe... no, look, don't worry about it, there're still plenty of places it could be... in the floor debris in the suite, in the mother's room, in the purser's safe on C deck...
Hang on a second.
A tech coaxes some letters in the water tray to one side with a tong... revealing a pencil (conte crayon) drawing of a woman.
Brock looks closely at the drawing, which is in excellent shape, though its edges have partially disintegrated. The woman is beautiful, and beautifully rendered. In her late teens or early twenties, she is nude, though posed with a kind of casual modesty. She is on an Empire divan, in a pool of light that seems to radiate outward from her eyes. Scrawled in the lower right corner is the date: April 14 1912. And the initials JD.
The girl is not entirely nude. At her throat is a diamond necklace with one large stone hanging in the center.
Lovett grabs a reference photo from the clutter on the lab table. It is a period black-and-white photo of a diamond necklace on a black velvet jeweler's display stand. He holds it next to the drawing. It is clearly the same piece... a complex setting with a massive central stone which is almost heart-shaped.
I'll be God damned.