And here I thought tomorrow’s Oscar nominations were gonna be the only big entertainment story this week . . .
Variety reported yesterday that Oliver Stone has written and wants to direct a film based on the life of George W. Bush. Stone claimed that he wanted the film to be “a fair and true portrait,” not a hatchet job. He’s talking with Josh Brolin about playing the lead, and hopes to secure financing in time to start principal photography in April.
This is interesting. Not merely because someone with clout wants to make a film about a sitting President of the United States, but because that someone is Oliver Stone and that sitting president is George W. The Fuck Bush. The promise to make it an objective look at Bush doesn’t bother me, since no truly fair Bush bio could possibly be all that flattering. Besides, Bush supporters (there are still a few) will likely greet anything short of a Bush-centered King of Kings remake as character assassination. Maybe Stone could manage to produce something palatable to the pro-Bush crowd if he left out the privileged upbringing, the legacy-bought Ivy League education, the blatant Vietnam avoidance, the decades of alcoholism and drug abuse, and pretty much all of the last seven years. The magic of Hollywood.
What remains to be seen is which Oliver Stone will show up to direct the Bush movie, assuming he manages to get it made. If it’s the Stone who directed visceral, emotionally devastating masterpieces of kinetic cinema like Platoon or Natural Born Killers or Nixon, we might be in for a treat. If it’s the Stone who sleepwalked through portentous, boring monstrosities like World Trade Center or Alexander, we should plan to not purchase our tickets right now. Either way, at least we’ll finally know what role George W. Bush played in the Kennedy assassination.
I’ll at least give that one to Oliver, conspiracy-minded fella that he is: he might link everyone from Richard Nixon to Cynthia Nixon to the murder of JFK, but at least he’s not a 9/11 Truther. He’s out there, but he’s not a fucking moron.
He is in a hurry, however. According to the MSNBC story linked above, Stone wants to have the film ready for release by the November election, or, failing that, next year’s inauguration of the new president. That gives him between ten and twelve months to secure financing, hire his cast and crew, shoot, edit and distribute what sounds like a major film. That’s not much time. Oliver had better get his shit together and lock up his cast right now for that April shoot, especially if he wants Max Schreck to play Karl Rove. Schreck’s busier than you might think, mostly with theater these days, and he doesn’t like to work before sundown.