LOGLINE: A grieving female CIA analyst goes undercover on a mission to stop a Frenchman from smuggling uranium to Iran, only to learn that he is also undercover and both of them are being manipulated by the murderer of her husband.
Script Type: Feature
Genre: Thriller / Action/Adventure
Length: 112 pages
Est. Budget: $1M - $5M
Laura Kelman, wife of CIA Case Officer John Kelman, wants to be more of a working partner than a spouse. As a CIA analyst, she helped her husband develop a plan to intercept a suspected flow of uranium secretly being funneled through the Congo Trail to Iran.
When John is killed on the job in Jordan, she makes it her goal to become a case officer and take over where he left off.
Pipe Dreams is the story of Laura's relationship with Jean Claude Benoit, a Frenchman who has been selling American aircraft parts to Iran for their fleet of American aircraft purchased during the administration of the former Shah. In a twist, he is actually working for Mossad, and the yellow cake he is smuggling is embedded with GPS tracking devices to discover Iran's secret enriching facilities.
Using a cover as a documentary field producer with a TV crew filming gorillas in neighboring Rwanda, Laura engineers an escort with Jean Claude's convoy to the border of South Sudan. Laura is caught sneaking into the back of one of Jean Claude's trucks where she discovers the uranium. She and the television crew are left to die in the jungle as Jean Claude continues his operation with their possessions and vehicle. Later he finds a sat-phone in Laura's backpack and discovers CIA routing numbers that were called, so he backtracks to find her in order to learn what information she passed on. He saves Laura and her crew from poachers who kidnapped them for ransom and once again they are on the road.
A SEAL rendition team intercepts the convoy and Jean Claude is flown back to the US for prosecution, but he hijacks the plane and turns it around to complete the mission. During this time he convinces Laura his true motive is to find Iran's secret nuclear facilities. They develop a relationship which culminates in Port Sudan, the site where the shipment leaves for Iran.
All is lost for Jean Claude when the load is stolen by the drivers, but Laura saves the day by convincing the thieves to take smuggled diamonds and the trucks, instead of the uranium, thus avoiding a gunfight and allowing the uranium to proceed.
All is lost for Laura in her quest to be more of a macho case agent than a beautiful woman when she realizes she enjoys Jean Claude's seduction.
The Iranian facilities are discovered, but in another twist, it is not Israel who has been working with Jean Claude, but instead a Saudi double agent. Saudi Arabia destroys the Iranian facilities and the U.S and Israel are blamed. The Saudi double agent who misled Jean Claude is identified as one of the hit men sent to Istanbul to kill Jamal Khashoggi. He attempts to kidnap Laura to get to Jean Claude, but Laura reveals true grit in a searing action scene where she kills the Saudi hit man who also murdered her husband. Jean Claude is killed in the incident and Laura is left to continue her work as a now-hardened and respected case officer, but ironically she decides to quit the dangerous job to search for the life her husband wanted in the first place, and then Jean Claude professed was also his intention: to settle down and find someone to marry and raise a family.
FROMCOVERAGE: This is a geopolitical action thriller in the tradition of Blood Diamond, Traitor and Sicario.
The scriptis timely with a geopolitical urgency that sets it apart from generic actionscripts. The market potential for the script continues to increase since Sicario: Day of the Soldado, Jack Ryan, TheNight Manager, Operation Finale, and Beiruthave proven a considerable audience for grounded geopolitical thrillers.
The notionof a female agent being tasked to the Congo to combat a uranium smugglingoperation is inherently interesting and full of stakes. In terms of the hookand severity of concept, the premise is big.
Thematicallyspeaking, the script has some uncommonly impactful elements, particularly giventhe genre. The emotional stakes of the mission coupled with incendiaryconversation spiced with romantically-charged sparks between divergentpersonalities builds to a heartbreaking finale.
Pipe Dreams boasts a high degree of externalconflict and stakes with genuinely well-crafted action sequences and reversals.It succeeds in creating an immersive espionage world that seems convincing andappealing, dense in terms of details. Laura and Jean Claude are surrounded byan espionage ecosystem that comes across as fluid, volatile, and oftenexplosively violent and unstable. They feel like players in a much largerworld-to a certain extent, underdogs. This makes them more compelling and moreinteresting. There is a plausibility to the narrative-and this extends both tothe action scenes and the intelligence community briefing and interrogationsequences as well. Authentic details that build out the world and immerse thereader reverberate throughout the script.
About This ScreenplayThis screenplay is based in parts on a true story. It won the Platinum Award for Best Screenplay at the 2018 International Independent Film Festival. It has been covered and the following comes from the coverage:
This is a geopolitical action thriller in the tradition of Blood Diamond, Traitor and Sicario. Having a competent, tough but still human and feminine protagonist gives Pipe Dreams current market appeal, and the script is well-paced and has three distinct acts. There is an appealing blend of both physical action and spectacle-driven set pieces with clever verbal jousting and intellectual one-upping.
The script is timely with a geopolitical urgency that sets it apart from generic action scripts. The market potential for the script continues to increase since Sicario: Day of the Soldado, Jack Ryan, The Night Manager, Operation Finale, and Beirut have proven a considerable audience for grounded geopolitical thrillers.
The notion of a female agent being tasked to the Congo to combat a uranium smuggling operation is inherently interesting and full of stakes. In terms of the hook and severity of concept, the premise is big. Thematically speaking, the script has some uncommonly impactful elements, particularly given the genre. The emotional stakes of the mission coupled with incendiary conversation spiced with romantically-charged sparks between divergent personalities builds to a heartbreaking finale.
Pipe Dreams boasts a high degree of external conflict and stakes with genuinely well-crafted action sequences and reversals. It succeeds in creating an immersive espionage world that seems convincing and appealingly, dense in terms of details. Laura and Jean Claude are surrounded by an espionage ecosystem that comes across as fluid, volatile, and often explosively violent and unstable. They feel like players in a much larger world—to a certain extent, underdogs. This makes them more compelling and more interesting. There is a plausibility to the narrative—and this extends both to the action scenes and the intelligence community briefing and interrogation sequences as well. Authentic details that build out the world and immerse the reader reverberate throughout the script.
Producers are looking for action and thriller features that can be packaged with up-and-coming talent, and with strong international appeal - certainly, Pipe Dreams fits this mandate.