From the Screenplay Wilfred in Love (2018) by Paul Elsam
3 January 2018
1. EXT. SHELL CRATER. NIGHT
We hear the distant thump and thud of guns and shells. Sleet is falling. WILFRED, aged 24, is discovered in dim moonlight, lying very still in an awkward position. His tattered WW1 British Army junior officer’s uniform is spattered with blood.
It seemed that out of the battle I escaped down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped through granites which Titanic wars had groined.
Nearby there is what looks like a bloodied bundle of clothes – actually the mangled body of “TIM”, a fellow soldier. With great difficulty WILFRED raises his weight onto his elbows and looks around him. He sees the body of the fellow soldier.
Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned – too fast in thought or death to be bestirred.
WILFRED drops to the ground.
2. INT. LIVING ROOM IN TERRACED HOUSE – NIGHT. FLASHBACK
YOUNG WILFRED, dressed as a Bishop, has finished setting up his mock-church. It is beautiful – candles reflected through mirrors, coloured cloth, chairs doubling for pews, an overturned armchair doubling as the lectern. His family are seated: MOTHER SUSAN, YOUNG MARY, YOUNG HAROLD, and TODDLER COLIN. FATHER TOM is stood in the doorway, impressed but wary. YOUNG WILFRED lifts up a sheet of paper filled with writing, and is about to begin his sermon when…
3. EXT. SHELL CRATER. NIGHT
Back in the shell crater, WILFRED struggles back up onto his elbows and peers over at the body again.
“TIM”’S HEAD (with Liverpool accent)
Language for Christ’s sake. I thought you were a poet.
WILFRED looks baffled and drops to the ground again.
I can’t cope…
“TIM”’S HEAD is now raised up. It’s a real, almost-severed head with moveable jaw, the mouth wide open to expose a hole at the back of the head. The fixed expression is one of delight.
He can’t cope. What about me? Flippin’ artists.
“TIM”’S HEAD drops to the ground and is once again part of a messy bundle of dead soldier. The rainfall slows. WILFRED reaches across to a small mess tin beside him and checks it for sleet water. With some difficulty – everything aches – he manages a sip from the melted water on top of ice. He tries hard to compose himself, then stands slowly. Everything is in fair working order, except his sense of balance – he turns and falls face down. He stands again with difficulty. There’s a sudden zip of sniper fire and WILFRED throws himself to the ground, landing closer to “TIM”’S HEAD. WILFRED raises his own head.
(To “TIM”’S HEAD)
How close was that eh?
Owen – you are talking to a corpse.
The sleet has slowed to almost nothing. WILFRED looks around him, pondering how to get out of the shell crater. He discovers that he’s holding on tight to his own identity disc. He turns back to « TIM »’S HEAD.
Right. Need your tag old pal. Let them know who you are. – Who you were. Right.
WILFRED pulls himself nearer to his companion and reacts to the scene with disgust. He reaches gingerly into the iced bundle and tries to locate the dog tag. Finally, and with forensic caution, he takes hold of the head and lifts it up, looking to the neck area.
Where is it, you maggot-ridden old devil?
There’s a sudden loud explosion nearby – smoke and fragments everywhere. As the scene clears we find WILFRED thrown a few feet away from the body of “TIM”. WILFRED suddenly reacts with horror as he sees that his right hand is still inside “TIM”’s head. He tries to throw it away, shuddering with disgust as he slowly realizes that it is now stuck to him. After a struggle WILFRED gives up, frozen in shock.
Moon looks nice. – Can you please get your hand out. Please?
I can’t. I’m sorry.
Pervert. Sleet’s stopped. – I said sleet’s –
I heard! – Sorry.
Trying to make conversation. Not easy you know. I’m –
Tim. I know.
WILFRED has a sudden sharp itch. He goes to scratch it with his right hand. “TIM”’S HEAD
And pack that in as well…
‘Sorry sorry sorry sorry…’.
WILFRED is about to apologise. « TIM »’S HEAD silences him with a look. They rest in awkward silence as WILFRED tries to reach the itch with his other hand.
“TIM”’S HEAD stares back at him.
Try maggots in the brain mate. Now that is an itch.
They sit in companionless silence. It starts to snow.