I consider myself an enormous fan of cinema. Every now and then, I catch myself planning a movie and thinking, “Why has no one done that yet?” For all the Hollywood executives who no doubt read the Talon on a daily basis, here are some of my favorite would-be film pitches.
- Calvin Coolidge: The Major Motion Picture
One of America’s least-known presidents would make for a great movie. Truth be told, I think every president would make for a great movie, but no one wants to read a list called “44 Presidents Who Should Have Their Own Movie,” so I’ve limited myself to two. First, we have Silent Cal. We would open with the 1919 Boston police strike, where we meet the reserved but quick-witted Calvin. This movie wouldn’t even touch on his policy — even I know mainstream audiences wouldn’t go nuts for a one-term chief executive’s economic strategies. But this is a guy who played hide-and-seek with the Secret Service without their consent. He was the master of funny one liners, he had a heart of gold and he kept a pet raccoon in the White House. Get Clark Gregg in the role, and this is a winner.
- “National Treasure 3”
How has this not happened yet? Seriously, there is so much American history for Nicolas Cage to uncover and whisper about. The missing Roanoke Colony, Amelia Earhart, the Zimmerman Telegraph, old Hollywood, the Red Scare, etc., etc. There are endless possibilities for this series. We need Cage, of course, and Justin Bartha as Riley above all. Maybe Michael Fassbender and Sean Bean could team up as the European villains, and throw in Bruce Greenwood as the president for good measure.
- Make me laugh, Daniel Day-Lewis
Considered one of the greatest actors of his or any generation, DDL has won three Academy Awards out of five nominations. He is also notably discerning about what roles he takes, starring in only 13 movies since 1988. His penchant for method acting is legendary; read this link, it’s amazing. He is undoubtedly one of the most versatile and untouchable performers ever. But there’s one field in which he hasn’t had the chance to shine: comedy. Not a light-hearted dramedy à la Harrison Ford or Liam Neeson. I’m talking pure, goofy comedy. Many comedians agree that it’s harder to make someone laugh than cry, so let’s see if the greatest actor in the world can rise to that challenge. Remember, goofy is not synonymous with stupid. Get Lord and Miller to direct and write, and Day-Lewis could make it.
- Multi-Faceted World War III Movie
This one is more abstract. It’s a series of action/thriller movies, each focusing on a major player in the next world war. We have the president dealing with the carnage at home from the Oval Office, the soldiers on the field interacting with one another and reacting to the advanced technology, the covert agent sneaking behind enemy lines to stop it all. Mainly, I want to see how a modern world would react to a global conflict. What alliances would form? Where would the battles take place — in cities like Beijing and Buenos Aires, at sea or in the air, or in the vast expanses of arctic Russia and Africa’s savanna? We would get to see every nation playing a part in the conflict, the politics, the back-door deals, the reluctant allies. It’d be massive, intricate and amazing.
- Inception prequel
Normally, I am staunchly against prequels. I am also staunchly against building off of a movie that is already perfect. But I desperately want to see what happened before the events of Christopher Nolan’s “Inception.” Nolan built an entire world in that film, and there are so many nuggets that could be explored. The story would involve Cobb, played again by Leonardo DiCaprio, infiltrating a specific target’s dreams to steal secrets. It’d be a heist movie, plain and simple. In “Inception,” we constantly hear about how Cobb is the best “extractor” in the world, yet we never see him in action — in the original movie, he is planting an idea, using methods entirely different from thieving. Here, we would get to see him pull out his bag of tricks. He can interrogate projections in the dreams for information, break into a physical bank vault full of secrets, play with the physics to trick his mark’s dream security. The possibilities are endless.
- A modern-day Spielberg action extravaganza
I want to see the great director at the helm of a huge action movie. He has had great success in the genre with “Indiana Jones,” “Minority Report” and “The Adventures of Tintin,” but they are all more “adventure” or “science fiction” than straight action, and none of these movies take place in the modern day. I’d love to see him channel his immense talent and eye for excitement into a big, fun action flick with Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham or the like. He could direct the next “Mission: Impossible,” or maybe adapt one of his video games, or something entirely else. He’s the master.
- George Washington: Gentleman Warrior
Here’s the other president I promised you. Based largely on the book George Washington: Gentleman Warrior by Stephen Brumwell, this movie would focus on sides of Washington that are generally overlooked: the feisty young frontier officer and the tough commander of the revolutionaries’ Continental Army. He was also a “gentleman” among the unruly militia, and his strength of character was often the only thing keeping the soldiers from deserting. The Battle of Trenton would feature prominently, and there would not be a dry eye in the theater during the climax: the little-known Newburgh Conspiracy. Put someone charismatic like Robert Downey Jr. or Kenneth Branagh in the role and get ready for a hit.
- Tag-team directing
Just think: Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan making a movie together. Or Woody Allen and Wes Anderson. Or Tim Burton and James Cameron. George Miller and Brad Bird. The Coens and the Russos. We could have two masters of the same genre working as one, or we could have genres crossing like never before. Imagine Michael Mann collaborating with Rian Johnson to make a sci-fi gangster flick, or Danny Boyle and Kathryn Bigelow making an amazing adventure/thriller. However, I fully realize this is impossible. There’s no way such big-shot, A-list directors would ever work together. Also, this could just be a terrible idea — I like pizza, and I like cake, but a combination of the two would be nasty. Some genres or styles simply don’t mix, however amazing they may be separate. Two great directors together would not necessarily yield a doubly awesome product. But just maybe an incredible movie could come out of this experiment, and it would all be worth it.