Thank You Hollywood, No Thank You

Dear Mr. Hollywood,

Austin Hargrave
Austin Hargrave

I read with interest your letter and proposed film adaptation of Two Pumps for the Body Man. Though your concept falls short of my artistic vision for a film version of the book, I’m not opposed to exploring the matter further if you will concede a few preliminary points:

1. Our femme fatale needs to be younger than what you propose. True, Angelina Jolie is ruinously beautiful, but she’s also ruinous, period. I can’t see past her lips.

sjInstead I suggest Scarlett Johansson. I do not like her very much, and find her unwatchable even in good movies like Lost in Translation—can Bill Murray cameo as Ambassador Glyder?—but when the two collide, personal taste must be subservient to artistic vision.

Ms. Johansson possesses all the right qualities for the role of Vanna Lavinia, a full-bodied mix of intelligence, assertive beauty, and blondness. There is something lascivious in her that is both repugnant and attractive at once. I want this.

chiwetel-ejiofor-april-2014-bellanaija-012. Jeff Mutton, our poor gumshoe on the diplomatic beat, needs to be trim, sharp, and assured—until he becomes distracted, frightened, and overwhelmed by the threats—real and imagined—that surround him. I’d be willing to take your suggestion of Edward Norton for the role, but that does nothing for diversity in Hollywood.

Instead let’s get Chiwetel Ejiofor to play the part. He’s smart-looking, sexy, and knows how to act like a man under threat. Just re-watch 12 Years a Slave, which even the Academy had to admit deserved praise despite having so many black people in it. (I do worry about Ejiofor’s British accent, though. Can you do anything about that?)

While we’re on diversity: major characters such as my one-handed explosives specialist GLASSCOCK, my spy chief No-Lips, Colonel Windsock from the Office of Overseas Predator Strikes (OOPS), the Marines, Nurse, and the FARSA party coordinator Miss Wellstone, all should be representative of our diverse society. Ditto on the secretive submarine crew of Listoner, Buzz, and Specs.

3. Starter Roles: The novel’s other secondary figures need to be young unknowns who will turn around to become Tom Cruise and Rob Lowe after The Outsiders, or Jon Voigt after playing Joe Buck and Milo Minderbinder; Josh Brolin years after Goonies; Kevin Bacon after Animal House; Leo after What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?; ditto Johnny Depp and Nightmare on Elm St.

ceraThe exception to this rule is getting Aziz Ansari or Aasif Mandvi. Either will lend a swell comedic turn to the tragic fate awaiting the lone Muslim-American, Mohammed Amr Khan. Another exception on unknowns: I want Michael Cera, that lovely, lovable, dark Canadian dork. He can play anything, and play it well. He can bring out the pinstriped nerd in Tinker, the dark force behind bomb-builder GLASSCOCK, even the wry bemusement of our all-seeing Marshall Clements.

4. Director Finally, because the cast is necessarily low on female talent, zero-motivationlet’s put a woman in the Director’s chair. Talya Levie. Her 2014 satire of life inside a female unit of the Israeli Defense Forces, Zero Motivation, gives me hope of striking the right blend of Catch-22 and M*A*S*H. And there are important geopolitical implications to having a female Israeli Director for a film set in Saudi Arabia—perhaps a turning point for peace in the Middle East?

5. Finally, I will not attend film festivals and award ceremonies. Period, please, and thank you. But I am ok with hosting after hours parties. I’d like to get Tom Petty, Dire Straits, and Jack Johnson to play. At midnight, we can switch to Flo Rida and have him duel it out with Green Day.

Zeig heil to the president gasbag
Bombs away is your punishment
Pulverize the Eiffel tower
Who criticized your government

floIf you are ready to concede these points, I’ll allow you to review a draft of my overall cinematic vision (attached).

Peace out,
B.A. East

Read the original cinematic statement here.

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