The Chang-Yang Family - Part 1

The Chang-Yang Family - Part 1

INT. HOGWARTS EXPRESS - AISLE - AFTERNOON

                 STUDENTS fill the corridor. They're talking, laughing,
                 kissing, holding hands, watching videos on their mobile
                 devices, being casual, being carefree.    



                 INT. HOGWARTS EXPRESS - COMPARTMENT - DUSK

                 MICHELLE CHANG-YANG, 15, Black, sits in a compartment
                 with her friends. 15 year old AISHA GOLDSMAN, a girl with
                 rich brown skin and long, deep red braids, is reading
                 BLACK MAGIC, a hair & beauty magazine and laughing at:

                 JAMES POTTER, also 15, a tall, brown haired boy, whose
                 makeup keeps being altered by LYRIC SCAMANADER, 16.
                 Lyric's light brown skin and bright, red afro glow as she
                 debates with James over the softer pallet she prefers on
                 his skin rather than the dark and bold color scheme he
                 usually wears.

                 Michelle holds a book that she doesn't read and sits
                 still, her attention caught by whatever is on her mind.  

                 The train zooms by the moors of SCOTLAND, beautiful and
                 bone-chilling, but she doesn't seem to notice. Her
                 friends laugh raucously and still, nothing draws her gaze
                 from her hands.



                 EXT. PLATFORM 9 3/4 - NIGHT

                 CHO CHANG, 49, Chinese, stands on the train platform and
                 doesn't interact with any of the waiting families. She is
                 dressed to kill in a bright, color blocked pants-suit,
                 hair and nails perfectly manicured. In front of her face,
                 a screen floats. Cho uses her wand to scroll down and
                 read the next few paragraphs of the report displayed.

                 SMALL AND LARGE GROUPS OF FAMILIES have clustered in
                 their winter gear, making mindless chatter about their
                 yule plans and stealing glances at Cho who doesn't even
                 wear a coat.  

                 In moments, the HOGWARTS EXPRESS, in all of its crimson
                 and black glory, roars into the station and the air fills
                 with anticipation. Cho waves her wand to disappear the
                 screen. Suddenly she is excited and scans the crowd of
                 students eagerly. The too-cool-for-school business woman
                 of 2 minutes ago completely disappears when Cho spots the
                 person she's looking for.

                                        CHO
                           Bones! Bones! Shelly Bones!

                 Cho's waving and calling out isn't helping. She rushes
                 past the crowd in front of her and catches up to
                 Michelle, who is moving quickly towards a column to exit.

                                        CHO
                           Bones!

                 Michelle turns around, surprise evident on her face.

                                        MICHELLE
                           Mama?!

                 Cho embraces her daughter tightly. Michelle is still
                 surprised but returns the hug.

                                        CHO
                           Where are your friends? I told
                           Harry and Ginny we'd bring James
                           home.

                                        MICHELLE
                           He's going to the movies with Ish
                           and Lyric. So, what's up? What are
                           you doing here??

                                        CHO
                           Baby, it's your 16th birthday. I
                           know you didn't think I would let
                           someone else be here.

                                        MICHELLE
                                (rolling her eyes)
                           My birthday is NEXT Saturday.

                                        CHO
                           Your birthday is the month of
                           December. And nobody is picking up
                           my baby from the train for her
                           16th birthday visit-but me. I
                           forced all of the UK to
                           accommodate my schedule only for
                           my daughter to be unimpressed by
                           my appearance.
                                (She lets out a
                                 dramatic sigh)
                            Ready to go?

                 Cho takes Michelle's hand and begins walking towards the
                 column.
                 There is a short line of people waiting to go through but
                 she goes to the front and steps in front of the family
                 beginning to push themselves into the brick column.

                                        CHO
                           Hi, sorry, just got word. Big
                           emergency. Happy Christmas to you.

                 Cho steps through the column, leaving Platform 9 3/4
                 behind. Michelle glances at the stunned family,
                 embarrassed. She mumbles something unintelligible and
                 follows her mother through the column.



                 INT. CHANG GRANDPARENTS DINING ROOM - NIGHT

                 Michelle and Cho sit on opposite sides of a small dining
                 room table. At the head of the table is GRANDPA CHANG,
                 60s, kind with a bright twinkle of humor in his eyes, and
                 GRANDMA CHANG, 60s, the resident bearer of truth in the
                 family, sits across from him.    

                 All dialogue in italics is in Mandarin

                                        MICHELLE
                           The only class I'm worried about
                           is Defense Against the Dark Arts.

                                        GRANDMA CHANG
                           Do you need an OWL in that?

                                        CHO
                           She wants an OWL in all her
                           courses Mama.

                                        GRANDPA CHANG
                           Of course she does.

                                        MICHELLE
                                (staring at her
                                 plate)
                           It's because I don't know what
                           career I want.

                                        CHO
                           Right now, she wants to work in
                           Magical Law as much as she wants
                           to be a Healer.

                                        GRANDPA CHANG
                                (proud)
                           And last month, you thought it
                           would be fun to be an author.

                                        GRANDMA CHANG
                           You have so many interests little
                           one.

                                        CHO
                           It's that curious mind you have.

                                        MICHELLE
                           Yeah.

                 The adults look at one another questioningly. Michelle is
                 pushing the food around on her plate but has hardly eaten
                 anything.

                                        CHO
                           Your father said you're doing
                           really well in Transfiguration.

                                        MICHELLE
                                (Michelle's head
                                 snaps up at this)
                           ...yeah.

                 They all look at her expectantly.

                                        MICHELLE
                           It helps that he teaches it? I'm
                           not afraid to try anything in that
                           class.

                 Michelle gives them a small smile and takes a bite of
                 food before another question can be asked. Everyone is
                 quiet for a moment.

                                        CHO
                           You alright honey?

                                        MICHELLE
                           Yes Mama, I'm fine.

                 Grandma Chang pats her daughter on the hand
                 understandingly. Teenage girls, what are you gonna do?

                 They carry on the conversation and leave Michelle to her
                 thoughts.



                 INT. CHANG GRANDPARENTS LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

                 Michelle and Grandpa sit on the floor, an elaborately
                 Chinese styled game of Wizards Chess between them.
                 Grandpa is the clear winner at this point.
                 Several of Michelle's bronze pieces lie destroyed on the
                 floor in front of him while his red pieces stand tall
                 across the board.

                                        GRANDMA CHANG
                           You know, little one, I haven't
                           beat you this bad since last year.

                 Michelle barely laughs.

                                        GRANDPA CHANG
                           Let's call the game a draw, hm?
                           And talk about you.

                                        MICHELLE
                           I never draw.

                                        GRANDPA CHANG
                           Then let's talk about what's on
                           your mind then finish playing. I
                           don't like playing against a
                           zombie. It's not a good game.

                 Michelle doesn't speak right away. Her eyes stay on the
                 Chess board, and the piece she's holding. Grandpa sits
                 patiently.

                                        MICHELLE
                                (so low it's almost a
                                 whisper)
                           I've made a big decision but I
                           don't know how to tell Mama.

                                        GRANDPA CHANG
                           Your Mama is a strong girl. Tell
                           her whatever it is.

                                        MICHELLE
                           What did you think when she
                           brought me home the first time?

                 This time it's Grandpa Chang who doesn't speak right
                 away. After a moment, he looks Michelle in her eye and
                 doesn't look away while he responds.

                                        GRANDPA CHANG
                           I thought my daughter had went
                           crazy.

                 Michelle absorbs this, still holding his gaze even though
                 she doesn't want to.

                                        GRANDPA CHANG
                           32 years old, no husband, no
                           boyfriend. Busy job. A 2 year old
                           child she found in a building.
                           Black girl. I think 'ah, she
                           finally fall apart from the school
                           boyfriend's death.'

                                        MICHELLE
                           It was an orphanage, Grandpa. And
                           she's told me about him. He sounds
                           really nice. Do you think they
                           would've gotten married and had
                           their own family.

                                        GRANDPA CHANG
                           Own family?

                                        MICHELLE
                           Their own children.

                                        GRANDPA CHANG
                           Who's child are you then?

                                        MICHELLE
                           I know I'm Mama's child. I just
                           wonder if she would've had her own
                           children if she could.

                                        GRANDPA CHANG
                           She can. She chose you. She said
                           you were born to belong to each
                           other.

                 Grandpa Chang takes the piece from Michelle's hands and
                 moves it on the board. He begins playing against himself.

                                        GRANDPA CHANG
                           Talk to your Mama, little one. She
                           will help you. You belong to all
                           of us and we belong to you.



                 INT. CHANG HALLWAY - NIGHT

                 Cho and Michelle side along apparate into the front
                 hallway of their home.

                                        CHO
                           Pretty soon, I'm going to miss
                           that. You're growing up so fast, I
                           lose a little bit of you every
                           day.  

                 She places a kiss on her daughter's forehead and lets her
                 go.

                                        MICHELLE
                           Mama...Mama, I need to be Chinese.

                 Michelle looks at her mother expectantly but Cho can't
                 pretend like she understands. She can't even follow where
                 this conversation is going.

                                        CHO
                           Can you give me a little more?

                                        MICHELLE
                           I've been working on a spell.
                           Since last year. It'll...make me
                           Chinese.

                                        CHO
                           Baby, I don't understand.

                                        MICHELLE
                           I want to look like my family. I
                           need to look like my family.

                 Cho finally registers what's going on just stares. She
                 can't believe this.

                                        MICHELLE
                           The spell is permanent.

                 Cho cries out but Michelle, unable to stop now that she's
                 begun, continues.

                                        MICHELLE
                           I've chosen my birthday as the
                           transformation date so I need to
                           get back to Hogwarts next week.
                           Dad's going to be there to help me
                           and make sure nothing goes wrong.

                                        CHO
                           Okay, just. Wait.

                 Cho puts her hands up, gesturing for Michelle to stop.
                 They stand there, looking at one another, each needing to
                 express more. More thoughts, more questions, more
                 beliefs, more viewpoints. But they can't. So they stand.



                 INT. HOGWARTS HEADMISTRESS OFFICE - DAY

                 Cho is no longer standing. She's pacing. Furiously. She
                 is a ball of tightly wound energy and when MICHAEL YANG,
                 38, Chinese, the consummate academic, enters the room,
                 she unleashes it all on him. The door to the Headmistress
                 of HOGWARTS' office hasn't closed before Michael has been
                 disarmed and pinned to the wall in a burst of incensed
                 magic by Cho.

                 HERMIONE GRANGER, 49, Headmistress, is alarmed but
                 instantly aware that she will have to be the voice of
                 reason. She quietly calls out to Cho from her desk.

                                        HERMIONE
                           Cho. Can you please let my
                           professor down from the wall?

                                        CHO
                                (she only has
                                 attention for
                                 Michael)
                           How. Dare. You.

                                        MICHAEL
                           Let me down. Now!

                 Cho doesn't budge. She is all fire and fury. Hermione
                 disarms her, releases Michael and has them both pinned to
                 the seats in front of her desk in a matter of moments.

                 Cho watches as Hermione draws another spell with her wand
                 and encloses them in a large, clear cube. A thin,
                 transparent wall stands between her & Michael's chairs
                 from floor to ceiling. Cho leaps from her chair, her rage
                 temporarily directed to Hermione but the air outside the
                 cube seems to be peaceful & undisturbed.

                                        HERMIONE
                           The cube is soundproof. I assume
                           this...conversation is about your
                           daughter so I can't hear a word
                           you're saying. Yell, scream, do
                           whatever you need. My office was
                           chosen for a reason so just let me
                           know when you're done and ready to
                           explain what my role is supposed
                           to be.  

                 Hermione turns her back on them.

                                        CHO
                           I hate that bitch!

                                        MICHAEL
                           Cho.

                                        CHO
                           Don't say my name! Don't you dare
                           say my name! How could you
                           Michael?!

                                        MICHAEL
                           She asked me.

                                        CHO
                           And the answer is no! You don't
                           get to help my daughter feel like
                           she's not good enough!

                                        MICHAEL
                           You need to listen to OUR daughter
                           about what she wants. We don't
                           have the right to tell her no.  

                                        CHO
                           Yes we do Michael! We're her
                           parents. It's what the fuck we do!
                           She's young, she wants to make a
                           decision that will affect her for
                           the rest of her life and WE TELL
                           HER NO!

                                        MICHAEL
                           Have you even talked to her about
                           it? She came to me because she
                           knew you wouldn't listen-

                                        CHO
                           AND YOU, YOU WORTHLESS ASSHOLE,
                           YOU SHOULD'VE COME TO ME
                           IMMEDIATELY!

                                        MICHAEL
                           My name is Michael. And you're not
                           the only one that cares about-

                                        CHO
                                (disbelieving)
                           If you care about her, act like
                           it!

                 Cho walks to the edge of the cube and bangs on it to get
                 Hermione's attention.

                                        HERMIONE
                                (as though on a loud
                                 speaker)
                           Is everything alright?

                                        CHO
                           Let us out of here.

                 She gestures, remembering Hermione's instructions that
                 they can't be heard.

                                        HERMIONE
                           Are you done? I can't have you
                           throwing Professors all over my
                           office Cho.

                 Every portrait hanging in the office voices their support
                 of Hermione and their outrage at Cho's behavior.

                                        CHO
                           Just let us out.

                 Hermione vanishes the walls surrounding Michael and Cho.
                 They don't take their seats again but they stay on
                 opposite sides of the room.

                                        HERMIONE
                           So...why are we here?

                                        CHO
                           Professor Yang, please.
                                (she gestures
                                 invitingly)
                           Why don't you continue the
                           conversation I'm sure you've been
                           having with Professor Granger.
                           Certainly you and my daughter
                           haven't set these grand plans to
                           take place on school grounds next
                           week and not shared them the
                           Headmistress.

                                        HERMIONE
                           Professor Yang?

                                        MICHAEL
                           Michelle came to me at the
                           beginning of the school year and
                           informed me of an advanced
                           transfiguration spell she's been
                           working on-

                                        CHO
                           You knew about this in September?!

                                        MICHAEL
                           -to permanently alter her
                           appearance.

                 Cho makes a noise of frustration. The Headmasters hanging
                 on the wall are shocked but Hermione urges Michael to
                 continue.

                                        MICHAEL
                           Her entire family is Chinese and
                           she wants to...look like the rest
                           of us.

                                        HERMIONE
                           Am I to understand that Michelle
                           is planning to perform a spell
                           that will permanently make her
                           appear Chinese?

                                        CHO
                           I'm being quiet because if I say
                           anything, I'll scream.

                                        HERMIONE
                           Certainly, Professor Yang, you
                           wouldn't allow a student to
                           perform that kind of experimental,
                           and likely illegal, magic on the
                           premises.

                                        MICHAEL
                           She's done the research, there are
                           no laws on record outlawing the
                           magic.

                                        HERMIONE
                           Currently.

                                        MICHAEL
                           The spell combines 3 forms of
                           interchangeable magic in a way
                           I've never seen before. It's a
                           transfiguration spell supported by
                           a charm and a potion, both of
                           which she also created. It's quite
                           remarkable Professor Granger.

                                        CHO
                           That doesn't make it right,
                           Michael!

                                        HERMIONE
                           As impressive as the magic sounds
                           Professor Yang-

                                        MICHAEL
                           -It's a personal project and would
                           take place when students aren't in
                           term! Michelle is not a student
                           next week, she's my child visiting
                           me at my home.

                                        HERMIONE
                           Which is my school.

                                        CHO
                           My daughter is Black, she is
                           beautiful and she's going to be
                           both of those things forever.

                                        MICHAEL
                           Our daughter is brave and
                           brilliant and determined to do
                           this!

                                        HERMIONE
                           That may be the case but she can't
                           do it here at Hogwarts. If
                           Michelle wants to return to school
                           with a new...face, that's a family
                           matter, that I would expect the
                           ministry to weigh in on, but I
                           cannot allow you to carry on this
                           experiment here. And I'm very
                           disappointed in you Professor
                           Yang, that you would abuse your
                           position in this way.

                                        CHO
                           Michael Yang, you listen to me.
                                (she's crying now)
                           You cannot do this. Don't do this.  

                                        MICHAEL
                           At 14 years old, Michelle created
                           a spell that most hundred year old
                           witches and wizards can't fathom.
                           And she is very clear about her
                           reasons for doing so. You don't
                           get to tell her who to be Cho. You
                           think that's your job as her
                           parent but it isn't.
                           I'm telling you in no uncertain
                           terms that she has my full support
                           and will have my full assistance
                           however SHE chooses to see this
                           through.
                                (to Hermione)
                           Professor Granger, I apologize.

                 Michael wordlessly calls his wand to him and storms down
                 the stairs.

                                                        TO BE CONTINUED...

 

Roxanne, On The Train Platform

Roxanne, On The Train Platform

Alfred Thomas

Alfred Thomas