The Cage by Sara McDermott Jain | Script Revolution

The Cage



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The Cage (novel by Audrey Schulman; screenwriter holds adaptation rights)
A female photographer joins an all-male expedition into the arctic to photograph polar bears and must contend with deadly temperatures, a predatory team member, and starving polar bears before making it back to civilization.

Note: The Cage is based on the best-selling and award-winning novel by Audrey Schulman. Screenwriter currently holds the adaptation rights.

Beryl is a timid woman of small stature who is consistently dominated by her over-protective parents, friends, and significant others. She’s the last person you’d expect to go on a dangerous expedition to examine one of the deadliest land predators known to man. However, when Natural Photography offers her a spot on an otherwise all-male expedition team photographing polar bears from inside “the cage” - a tiny contraption that will put her within inches of the bears - Beryl, desperate to change her life, is all-in.
Almost as soon as she meets her team, though, there’s tension. Butler, the naturalist, is a hyper-macho chauvinist who seems to think Beryl is his property. He also doesn’t take kindly to the cameraman, David. As a little person and a homosexual, David’s physical appearance and sexual orientation go against everything Butler views as “masculine.” Finally, when Beryl and Jean-Claude, the leader of their expedition, form a romantic relationship, Butler’s jealousy makes life almost unbearable.
Between Butler and the challenges of “life on the ice,” it’s soon clear that Beryl is in way over her head. Within a few days of her arrival in Churchill, Manitoba, Beryl becomes disoriented in a storm, loses both her pinky toes to frostbite, and is almost ripped apart by a hungry polar bear. She meets and befriends the town’s “polar bear watchman,” a woman named Maggie, only to see Maggie have her face mutilated by the same bear. The expedition crew assumes Beryl will quit the team...after all, there’s no way that this frail woman is cut out for this journey...but Beryl refuses to give up and boards the bus to venture out on the tundra as soon as she’s healed.
Once out of town, though, Butler’s advances toward Beryl become even more predatory, progressing into all-out threats.
Just when it seems as though the team members might not survive each other, let alone the elements and the bears, their bus breaks down, leaving them stranded forty miles from civilization, with no radio, no phones, and no heat.
Beryl, despite her terror, knows they must make a choice: they can either stay on the bus in sub-zero temperatures, freezing to death as they wait for a rescue that may never come, or take their chances and head back to Churchill on foot, past the starving bears.
The team begins to make the trek back to Churchill. They make progress, until Butler bullies the group into taking a shortcut across the frozen inlet. When the sea ice gives and a member of their team is lost in a polar bear attack, the race to stay alive becomes even more desperate. Given the horrors they’re experiencing, Beryl and Butler are able to form a tentative truce, but it’s clear that the cold and the bears will continue to pick off team members one by one.
With Churchill now in sight and Beryl hanging on to life by a thread, she’s finally able to break free of her real “cage”: the expectations of others. Knowing she can survive even though no one else thinks she can, Beryl keeps going past every possible obstacle until she’s the last “man” standing.

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Sara McDermott Jain's picture

The Writer: Sara McDermott Jain

Sara McDermott Jain is a produced screenwriter. She is also the founder of the Princeton Independent Film Festival ( As a screenwriter, her feature screenplay LEFT, written while at Emerson College, won the Evvy Award for Best Script Drama before being purchased by Gaddis Visuals. The finished film released this year on Amazon. Additionally, Gamger Media has recently hired her as head writer for their new upcoming series and comic book tie-in, LEGENDS OF THE CURSED BLADE, and acquired the rights to several of Sara's original projects.  Go to bio

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