January 7, 2005
George Bush: The Sequel (Or: "The Rove Script")
You’re Karl Rove.
You’re probably the best screenwriter (and script doctor) in the history of American politics. You just got your man re-elected by squeezing every little last bit of juice you could out of the 9/11 episode. The story line you built, though, (“Terror War”) is wearing thin, particularly in foreign distribution. Also, the part of the script that those pointy-headed neocons inserted about Saddam Hussein has gone through innumerable rewrites, but just keeps getting more dismal. (In fact, the latest version tested so badly, it nearly handed the Oscar to a second rate actor from some blue state studio.)
Knowing the last script was a little dark — and that the public can only absorb so much of the war and spy genre, you set your mind to creating a completely new plot concept. So you start sketching out a few ideas. (Hey, how about a superhero who rescues America from an aging Franklin Roosevelt, who, having never really died, has turned into a monster?)
Suddenly, just sitting around the house the day after Christmas, you see that a giant wave has risen up and devastated a large swath of Southern Asia. Besides killing over a hundred thousand people, it’s rumored to have killed more than three-thousand Americans. More than three-thousand Americans. After finally rousing the boss (who doesn’t like to be disturbed, especially on vacation) you start thinking about this.
Having just extended your contract, your idea was was to create a whole new picture, giving your leading man a more domestic feel. You envisioned a a family-type story, set in the heartlands. On the other hand, you spent so much time setting up all that international intrigue, the Islamic thing, the good versus evil– and now, this huge Asian thing is going down.
So, instead of starting from scratch, maybe the idea is to create a sequel. You still go the warm fuzzy route, but on an international scale. Instead of shooting in Baghdad, however, you get some new locations, starting off in Indonesia, and the tropics — places with more color and softer light, and where they need a lot of help. You can even introduce the hero’s father and brother in the first scene. And, what of those other loose ends? You could cast a few Frenchmen. And Germans. Hey, maybe even do a love scene at the U.N.!
In fact, why not start off by basically redoing the 9/11 scenario? Except, this time, the disaster is a natural one. Again, the media can costar. TIME magazine. Diane Sawyer. They’ll think it’s a completely new script. Just one thing, though. Most of that war/terror stuff has got to come out. If fisticuffs are needed, keep it to the back-story.
This time, it’s gonna be all human face.
(Image 1: Missing person photo at Phuket International airport in Phuket, Thailand, Monday, Jan. 3, 2005. Credit: AP/Richard Vogel on YahooNews)
(Image 2: Colin Powell in front of missing persons billboard outside tsunami relief center in Phuket, Thailand, Tues. Jan. 4, 2005. Credit: AP/Vincent Yu on YahooNews)