The Darling Matter by John Lawson | Script Revolution

The Darling Matter



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A soccer mom runs into trouble with a local police agency and vanishes. This is the story of her family's disappearance. Comparable projects include Cop Cam, End of Watch, Lakeview Terrace, Searching, Paranormal Activity.

Opening with a terrifying emergency services call, the audience is then thrust into a real-life homicide scene where multiple people are injured and dying or already dead. At the center of this scene, we meet Meg Darling. The story, though found footage collected by the investigators of the aftermath, is told from her perspective. It’s her voice on the 911 calls and her conflict with the police remains unknown but thrilling through out the story. Janet Bauer, until the last moment of the script, an unknown entity has come into Meg Darling’s life because a new member of the local sheriff’s department appears to have been stalking Meg, her family and friends. A false motive, linking the stalking to her brother’s tumultuous divorce or work over-seas as a linguist, allows the audience to be fully drawn into a true-crime, female led, thriller and when Janet Bauer is finally revealed to be a US Marshal’s Service Witness Security Inspector assigned to “pull” the Darling family out of the cross hairs of a nearly unknown antagonist, the story feels like it’s just beginning. The police brutality, minor and major, that Meg’s family experiences is pulled from the headlines and very timely but the story has a nearly supernatural feel in how it’s put on the page. Witnessing three encounters on film with local law enforcement will take the audience inside of a situation that could happen to anyone and that is a thousand times more scary than any ghost story. The tenacity of the female protagonists and twists and turns will leave the audience in awe and have them begging for more action and thrills with these characters. The major characters are Meg Darling, Janet Bauer, Joseph Darling, John Walker, Steve Smith and a small cast of police characters with exciting potential for diversity and talent commitment. Janet and Meg are dream roles and create a set of female protagonists with strong stories that will ultimately make the actresses in the roles household names.

To quote the character as to the crux of the story, Meg Darling addresses the attorneys in the room during one deposition with this line “When this is over- When we find out who this is and what is going on, and we expose it- Who is going to protect us and make sure we don’t suddenly disappear?”

The heart of the story is how is Meg Darling, a PTA-President and Soccer Mom in the Southeast US, going to protect her family from the people you would normally call to protect your family. Janet’s decision to put the Darlings under Witness Security is the practical end of this story. She does so upon the realization that Steve Smith doesn’t actually exist and that the police agency has a deadly impostor in their midst. Her final line under interrogation by the same investigators the Darlings are avoiding is “Where would you like to start?” indicating she can now reveal her side of the story to her captors that she is federal law enforcement investigating a larger matter and then a final phone call from Meg Darling’s mother to another local police agency reporting that Meg and her entire family has vanished bringing the story full circle. The final realization that the “missing” Darling family isn’t missing at all but has been put into Witness Security because of the events of the film provides for a satisfying bow on this roller coaster ride of a story.

Attached Talent: 

Brett Leonard attached to direct.

Submitted: December 31, 2019
Last Updated: December 31, 2019
Times Downloaded: 4
Last Downloaded: May 7, 2020

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John Lawson's picture

The Writer: John Lawson

I am a filmmaker in North Carolina who has been writing movies since the 1990s. I started out as an actor (very young) and currently work with a producing partner and my sister as the people most likely to help me keep making movies. As long as I can make them, I will keep writing them. It's a lot of fun. I guess at some point, I should add up how many scripts I have currently and add that information here. Go to bio

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