THE QUEEN’S MATE
By Richard Bonte and *Stephen Harman
“If you give away all your power, you have no one to blame but yourself when it is taken away”. (registered with WGA, 1991, 2005)
Logline: A high school teacher of strong principle but from a broken past confuses illusion with love as he struggles with his obsession for a New York dancer of questionable value.
Synopsis: When Robert Hines takes a sabbatical from Harvard to write his Ph.D. dissertation, he is also hoping to find a new life in the so-called “real world”. However, the new life he has chosen is that of a high school teacher’s in New York City, a low-stress job where he can preserve his tweedy life and keep in close touch with both his very old-school and rich New England mother, Clara Hines, as well as his fashion-model sister. When this sister, Peggy, and her photographer husband, Doug Gates, introduce him to Monica Rivers, a street-smart chorus dancer in a hot Broadway show, she takes a particular shine to him, and dumps her wealthy fiancé, plastic surgeon Jack Feldman. Possessing little self-esteem and blinded by the larger-than-life Monica—who makes it very clear that she is a real catch and Robert should spend money on her as if she were a Queen–Robert does just that: he spends his family company money like he’s never done before just because she ‘loves’ him–on restaurants, clubs, canary diamonds, not to speak of clothes, clothes, clothes… Within a month, Robert has proposed to her, but the wedding date never materializes. Robert finds that he has to buy out her two roommates so she can gain their insider rights to purchase her West Side apartment but once he does that, she decides she doesn’t want to get married.
Robert’s mother has taken a particular dislike to Monica, an obvious gold-digger. She tries to warn her son but he won’t listen to her as he blames his mother for having spoiled his own father’s happiness. When her son tries to buy Monica’s love with a red Mercedes sports car, Clara Hines intervenes to have the car repossessed and transferred to her. This pushes Monica to break off totally from Robert and return to Jack Feldman. Robert is now obsessed with Monica and can’t stomach to see her with his rival. One night, he follows Feldman back to his apartment building and bashes his head into an elevator door near his apartment. Angry, he thinks nothing of it and leaves him. But Doug Gates, his brother-in-law, who has come to borrow money from Feldman because he owes a drug debt to the Chinese Mafia, finds Feldman unconscious and steals thousands of dollars from his wallet. However, Feldman comes to and Doug has no choice but to kill him if he wants to keep the money and pay off his do-or-die debt.
To cover himself, Doug tips the police off that Robert might be to blame for the murder, since Robert, on the run from the police because he has kidnapped Monica, would have had a strong motive to kill Feldman. But the jail is his childhood room in his mother’s place, and the Matriarch has other plans for Monica…
*Stephen Harman, a writer and good friend of mine, co-wrote this second version of “The Queen’s Mate” from the original “Taken”.