Dear Mr. Stone,
I understand that since you’re under pressure from the White House to stop production on your vehicle ‘W’ you are shopping for new script ideas. Since remakes are hot, and Chuck Heston just died, why not remake one of his films? I know that they’re not appropriate for today’s audiences, but with a few tweaks we can stay faithful to the original and still turn out something that will delight the hicks in flyover America.
Here’s my first pass; you’ve got my numbers if you want a treatment on any of these:
Old Angle: Dude has chariot race, kills old friend.
New Angle: To tell the real story of a fallout between two male friends in the early days of the Roman Empire, think “Brokeback Mountain” meets “Gladiator”. Guaranteed 200 million plus domestic box office.
The Ten Commandments
Old Angle: A bunch of preachy blather and unrealistic special effects. Who’s going to believe the whole staff-to-cobra thing?
New Angle: This movie needs a radical reimagining. Cyborgs are hot; why don’t we set this in the year 2200 and have Moses be leading his people out from under slavery to the Cyber-Pharaoh, who is forcing them to build a giant digital storage system where they will be enslaved to provide power for his legion of robots? The Pharoah’s name could be Bush 8.4.
Alternate New Angle: If you want a ripped-from-the-headlines feel, you could pick up where Moses leads his cronies into their so-called “Promised Land” and find it inhabited, so they begin massacring the Palestinians, the rightful owners of the land. We could even mix in some footage from today to show that this dynamic has been repeating over and over for the past 4,000 years.
Planet of the Apes
Old Angle: Lost astronaut meets talking monkeys.
New Angle: Unfortunately this got remade recently with Donnie Wahlberg (or was it Mark? I can never keep them separate), the strychnine of box office receipts. We’ll have to take a pass on this. Which is too bad, because we could get a lot of mileage out of having the emperor ape named George and having an evil priestess ape named Hillary and having the hero be the noble Barack.
Old Angle: Overpopulation leads to overacting.
New Angle: It’s the year 2020, and the rise in temperatures has led to a nightmare that makes Ted Turner look optimistic. With cannibal gangs running amok in America’s heartland, one brave scientist has to work to find a solution to stop global warming and secure the food chain before rising sea levels drown us all. Possible Keanu Reeves vehicle, since he did so well in “Chain Reaction”.
Old Angle: Terrorists are bad, marriage is good.
New Angle: A middle eastern falafel stand owner and his mistress must stop a diabolical government plot by the US Government to detonate nuclear weapons in the Venezuelan heartland and bring down noble president Hugo Chàvez, all without being discovered by the hero’s deranged wife who is always railing about their marriage vows being ‘sacred’ or some other crazy religious code word. Possible problem is the only Middle Eastern actor I know is Tony Shalhoub, and he seems weird.
Old Angle: Vampires chase only human left.
New Angle: Actually, that’s a pretty good angle, with one change: the human is actually a WEREWOLF! I bet you didn’t see that coming, did you? Plus, there’s a population of Franknesteins that worship an atomic bomb living in the catacombs beneath the city.
Old Angle: How the hell should I know ? This movie was way too complicated to follow. They fought a battle after the war was over? WTF?
New Angle: US troops commit atrocities against Iraqi civilians without any remorse whatsoever, then return to the states to commit atrocities against citizens without any remorse whatsoever. The screenplay practically writes itself!
So give me a call so I can get working on this. It's time we put that new writer's contract to work for each other!