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The Script BSE - WHITE HOUSE DOWN vs. OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN Beat Sheet
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Listen to the BSE Podcast for "WHITE HOUSE DOWN vs. OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN" on iTunes!
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https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-script/id602272713?mt=2
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WHD Directed by Roland Emmerich, Screenplay by James Vanderbilt
OHF Directed by Antoine Fuqua, Screenplay by Creighton Rothenberger & Katrin Benedikt
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The Script - Beat Sheet Edition: "WHITE HOUSE DOWN" vs. "OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN"
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Blake Snyder Beat SheetWhite House Down BEATs (DN)"Olympus Has Fallen" BEATs (DN)Chris Durham's White House Down BEATs
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Opening ImageA safe sleeping child, awoken to see Marine 1 land at the white house.The American flag waving.Emily Cale watching Marine 1 and convoy approach. This is a touching moment demonstrating a little girl's passion for politics and her faith in the president - who we later learn is her hero. This is also a horribly saccharine moment about hope, especially when it is punctuated by President Sawyer's flyby of the Lincoln Memorial
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Theme StatedJohn Cale says he's trying to be a better dad. He's trying to make Emily a priority.Second chances, redemption.John Cale's wife says that he's never there for emily
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Set-up-John Cale (Agent StepUp) has a less than exciting duty as a capitol policeman privately protecting the Speaker of the house. He would like a better job and more respect as a Secret Service Agent. But in his interview its revealed he had a history of being a rule breaker and general screw-up until he enlisted, went to Iraq and became a war hero (saving the speaker's nephew).

-Sawyer is the noble black president who wants to end poverty and pull out of the middle east. We don't know much more about him.

-Agent Martin Walker is berieved having lost his son to war in the middle east.
-Agent Banning (Leonidas) and President are good friends until a tragic accidental death of the President's wife, Banning cannot save her and so the two become estranged, and banning is off his detail

-North Korea is saber rattling, the President wants to help South Korea without starting a war, invites the President of SK to the WH

-A "Cleaning Crew" is fixing the sound system in the white house movie theater...
Cale is good at his job as Capitol police and is dedicated to it, protecting the Speaker of the House. But he's got a history of impulsive and irresponsible behavior.
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CatalystTerrorists use a diversionary attack, bombing the Capitol Building, to assault the White House.Terrorists use a diversionary attack, air assault on the Mall, destroying the Washington Monument, to assault the White House.
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Debate-Capitol Police Officer Cale was seperated from his daughter in the White House tour, wants to go after her, but is prevented by the Secret Service.

-The President is evacuated to the PEOC (Presidential Emergency Operations Center)
-Agent Banning witnesses the attack from an adjoining building.

-The President and the South Korean Delegation are evacuated into the PEOC (Presidential Emergency Operations Center)

-The President's detail fights off terrorists in the white house until the last man, "Olympus has Fallen"
The question of Cale's responsibility as a father gets tied up in the question of is ability to protect the president. The president is still his daughter's hero. Carol Finnerty doesn't think he can do the job in the Secret Service. He lies to his daughter and is called out on it by the President. He's a failue both ways.
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Break into Two-Office Cale FINDS AND PROTECTS PRESIDENT SAWYER

-Officer Cale GOES TO SAVE HIS DAUGHTER (You could call CALE PROTECTING SAWYER the B Story which intertwines and complicates the A Story of CALE SAVING HIS DAUGHTER. This I see as a major flaw in White House Down-- What is the A Story? How can Cale ever justify leaving his daughter in danger to single handedly try to save a President he isn't sure is alive when he isn't even in the Secret Service? )
-Agent Banning rushes over to the White House to intervene in the terrorist assault.Cale decides to go save the president. Another possibility is the decision to go find his daughter, but I think that's such a part of who he is at this point, it's still part of the setup. Going after his daughter is a no-brainer. Going after the president too is a high-stakes decision.
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B Story-Cale & Sawyer becoming friends, Cale earning Sawyer's respect after the private "You shouldn't lie to your daughter." comment.

-Cale's daughter's admiration of the president, and Cale earning her respect by saving him, is a great example of a B Story crossing with an A Story resulting in a character arc. But which should be primary? Obviously this should be a movie about saving a president, but the setup with Emily is confusing.

-C Story - Skip Tyler, the hacker, working on gaining access to launch codes
Where is the President's Son?The President. Cale has already met him, but this is where their relationship really begins. It's also a reflection of his A-story relationship with his daughter, because he has to come to relate to his daughter through the president a bit, and vice versa
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Fun and Games-Terrorists Assault the white house with general impunity
-Presidential succession passing
-Betrayal of Agent Walker, head of SS
-Cale searches the WH house for the President
-Emily evading the terrorists
-Get the president out the secret tunnel
-Nerdy Hacker sets up shop
-Terrorists assault the white house with general impunity
-Presidential succession passing
-The SK delegation is actually populated iwth NK terrorists
-Kang Yeonsak is the brains and the braun of the NK operation
-Agent Banning is not fooled by the Killer Sanitation Truck
-Sexy Hacker sets up shop
-Terrorists torture cabinet members for launch codes
-Banning fights terrorists hand to hand
All the sneaking through the white house stuff. Killing bad guys. Emily sneaking around. The funnest of the games is the Limo chase.
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MidpointThe terrorists have Cale's daughter and know who she is. President is presumed dead.-Agent banning must find the President's son, if the terrorists find him, they'll use him to get the last launch code from the President.Cale finds out the bad guys have Emily and know that she's his daughter. The car crashes into the pool and they find themselves temporarily captured. False defeat
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Bad Guys Close In-Air Force Two is shot down, Speaker becomes pres
-Cale & President evade terrrorists in various elevators
-Presidential Limo chase on front lawn, President fires an RPG
-Turns out the terrorists don't want $$, they want to Nuke the middle east
-Banning rescues the President's Son
-Banning takes prisoners, TORTURES them, KILLS one in cold blood to get intel on Kang
-Hacker is breaking into a vault / breaking codes of some kind
-Kang & Banning chat over the radio, a la McClane & Hans Gruber
-Dylan McDermut's SS agent resurfaces in a "Bill Clay" moment and first fools, then redeems himself to Banning for being a traitor
-Turns out the terrorists don't want to unify Korea, they want to Nuke the United States
Now that the president is presumed dead, this becomes more of a political intrigue/thriller thing. The pieces in the master plan start falling into place. It becomes more and more about the decision to destroy the whitehouse to hide the true agenda. There's a new president, but he dies in the plane attack along with his staff. There's a failed attack on the whitehouse. NORAD is compromised. There are fewer bad guys to kill, but Cale is now going after mini-bosses and working his way up as we come closer to nuclear war.
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All is Lost-Terrorists finally grab the President
-Delta Force Assault on white house is stopped, hostages are in danger. (Whiff of death)
-Speaker Trumbell sends the Seal Team in to get massacred by the "Hydra 6", Banning salvages some of their lives (Whiff of death)
-Kang assasinates another cabinet member (Double Whiff)
-Speaker gives in to terorrists demands
The president gives himself up to Save Emily.
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Dark Night of the SoulEmily understands the president's decision, pretty sophisticated little girlBanning has some private moment after the assault with the dead Seals.Sawyer won't give authentication to launch and Emily says she understands why he won't even though it will kill her. This is the good guys conquering all, sacrifice at all costs.

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Break into ThreeCale burns down the WH to distract the terrorists and go after the President and his daughter.-Banning assaults the PEOC

(calls Kang first to tell him he's a dead man)
Cale sets fire to rooms of the WH, reflecting the image they saw in the painting earlier during the tour. This sets of sprinklers and he's on the offensive now, rescuing hostages, killing Stenz.
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Finale-Cane vs. Emil, hand to hand on the roof.
-Hacker is thwarted
-Oh yeah, the Speaker/Acting Pres is behind the middle eastern plot, taking away any depth from Walker's character
-Hacker breaks code, "Opens the Gates of Hell", begins detonation of nuclear arsenal in silos.
-Banning breaks in, defeats Kang hand to hand, then stops the nuclear count down.
-Banning redeems himself to his friend, The President
Air strike in bound, the president presumed dead again, Cale rushing in to danger again, Emily takes the flag out and waves it around to stave off the attack and save the day.
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Final ImageThe same child from the OI is now safe on Marine One as it departs.American flag tattered but still, waving.Marine 1 buzzing the Lincolm Memorial again, this time the meaning is reinforced by the line about Abe took a bullet for me, referring to the watch but having deeper meaning. Unfortunately, I think this really nice line was delivered kind of as a throwaway.
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DN, CD