LOS ANGELES - Boyle Heights - 2022
A series of shots puts us in a studio apartment-turned-guerilla radio station… old school hip-hop records, an acoustic guitar, stacked speakers, Beats headphones being slipped on by our RADIO DJ ZOE. Her morning broadcast plays over…
The hood buzzing with life. Street market salesmen setting up their booths. School buses turning corners. Commuters waiting for the subway. Barbershops flipping their “OPEN” signs… all the while, a pattern emerging: African-Americans keep to their own community, and so do the Latinos. No cross-pollinating, even though they all live and work in the same small hood.
WILL (Black, 15) and ISABELLA (Latina, 15), are the exception to the rule. They’re in love, but keep their relationship a secret from their parents, as the status quo is to only keep company with “our own people.” We meet them in an alleyway with their closest friends. On one side, it’s Will’s friend MARCUS (Black, 15, dorky) and KIM (Black, 15 track and field star). On the other side, a pyromaniac wild card named TITO (Latino, 15) playing with firecrackers. Besides Will and Isabella, the kids all remain segregated and keep their distance from each other.
We meet MIKEY (8, white) in the back of his dad’s patrol car as it pulls up to the local 7-Eleven, where his dad runs in for something quick. Mikey approaches looking to hang, and Will and Isabella quickly take to the boy. But when a snide joke causes a standoff between Will and Isabella’s friends, things almost come to blows. That is, until Mikey’s dad rushes out of the store and orders everyone up against the wall. He nearly writes up everyone there, until the police siren starts to sound from his patrol car. It’s MIKEY, distracting his dad who decides to just let everyone off with a warning. The boy just did them all a solid.
LATER -- During a block party that’s gotten the entire neighborhood out of their homes, the streets are lit up with music and people dancing. You almost don’t notice when--
BOOM! A nearby window BURSTS TO PIECES -- SMASH! Car windshields cave in -- ZAPP! Telephone lines sparking, toppling over -- People scrambling into violent stampedes towards safety. But these aren’t gunshots or pipe bombs… it’s a meteorite shower! Will sees Isabella in the chaos and starts making his way to her. But then, FWAP...! He’s caught in the crosshairs and knocked unconscious.
On the other side of town, eight year-old Mikey watches from the backseat, as his dad steps out of his patrol car to see what’s going on. Before Mikey’s eyes, his dad gets suddenly POUNCED on by an alien, killed in an instant and dragged away.
SOMETIME LATER, Will snaps awake to find a very different Boyle Heights. Decimated businesses... trash fires...lone stragglers who haven’t made it to shelter yet. Among them, Marcus and Kim, who link up with Will. All the locals have dispersed into two makeshift fortresses: the African-Americans in an abandoned warehouse; the Latinos in the underground subway station. With Marcus and Kim in tow, Will decides to check in on Isabella at the subway station, where--
Isabella is fleeing from her family to find Will. Her older brother JOSE (16) catches her in the act and tags along to keep a watchful eye on her, along with his friend Tito (the pyro kid from earlier). The three of them head for the warehouse, just missing Will as he and his crew rush to the subway station.
At the subway station, Isabella’s mother, distraught that her daughter’s missing, berates Will for ever getting involved with her. “I knew you were trouble,” she says. Meanwhile at the warehouse, Isabella asks for Will but instead gets an earful from Will’s father. “Where’s my son?!” he demands. “If he’s dead, his blood is on your hands,” he tells her.
While local authorities set up a perimeter to contain the chaos within Boyle Heights, we meet two eleven year-old orphans -- one black and one Latino -- scurrying through the streets looting abandoned businesses for toys, candy, etc. Including a POLICE CAR, which they steal and take for a joy ride until Mikey -- still in the backseat from earlier -- rears his head and scares the daylights out of the orphans. They veer the car off the road and crash into the side of the power plant. There, the orphans and Mikey bear witness to the unthinkable…
A mother, or “Queen,” alien, bulging with hundreds of unborn offspring. She’s made this power plant her makeshift nest. The three of them quickly get chased away and up into a caged footbridge at the plant where they maintain the high ground with a view of the city at large. Where--
Will and his crew link up with Isabella, Jose and Tito. Tensions are high between Jose and Will, but before things get ugly, they all encounter one of the creatures. A cat-and-mouse chase ensues.
Meanwhile, their friends and families deal with a new threat of their own… Local and federal officers sweeping through the warehouse and subway station, arresting everyone under marshall law and detaining them within a pseudo-quarantine zone on the outskirts of town they call the “containment area.”
Just as our protagonists shake their alien pursuer loose, they catch a glimpse of the last prisoner transport making its way to the containment area. With nothing keeping them here in Boyle Heights, they all agree to take their chances venturing to the edge of town before the perimeter seals them in for good.
Along the way, they’ll have to overcome their differences to survive, and face a tough decision when they see something that makes them rethink their objective… Mikey, trapped in the “nest” at the power plant. He and the two orphans are sitting ducks unless someone steps up to rescue them, and our protagonists are their only hope. Is this divided band of unlikely heroes really willing or able to unite and put their lives on the line for people they don’t even know? For a neighborhood that the world has written off…