by Shelton Bumgarner
I’ve talked about this before and, as usual, no one paid me any attention. But I write this more for my own benefit than anyone else’s. There is a movie to be made about Trump in the most unlikely of places: the long forgotten Foundation saga of books by Isaac Asimov. The books heavily influenced Star Wars, so such an extent that adapting them might be nearly impossible. People would take one look at any such movie and scoff, saying it was a “rip off” of Star Wars when, in fact, the opposite is the truth.
And as far as I know, Foundation is in “development hell” somewhere in the bowels of HBO.
Having said all that, it is interesting that if you look at The Mule portion of the saga, you could probably produce a pretty epic movie. Like, under the right stewardship, you could not only produce a biting allegory of the Trump era, but use it as a jump start of a movie adaptation of the entire great Foundation Universe. It would be really, really cool. A huge amount of money is to be made if someone would just get their head out of their butt and do something with it.
I say all of this because of what happens with The Mule. In the series, The Mule is described as this annoying, comical character who everyone assumes is a fool until the very end when we discover he’s been slowly taking over the galaxy using his super special mental abilities. He’s call The Mule, because, duh, he can’t have children. But there are some pretty great scenes I can imagine in my head.
The whole thing would be amazingly great. You see, as I recall, you have four people zooming around the galaxy looking for information on The Mule, or somesuch. You have an older professor type, two young people and this weird annoying guy (who of course we learn is The Mule.) So, in my fevered imagination, you get a really great director with a very unique world view, an auteur, if you will, to create this universe. I suggest this only because if you get just a generic hack to make this movie, they’re probably just going to copy Star Wars and the whole thing will be moot.
But if you got a well known auteur, like Ridley Scott or even, say, Wes Anderson or Spike Jonze or Quentin Tarantino, to direct this movie something magical could happen. For the professor, who I just remember for saying “Great Galaxies!” a lot, I would get a well known older actor. Maybe Gary Oldman? For the two young people, I would suggest Finn Wolfhard and Millie Bobby Brown. Casting The Mule is tougher. You need someone who could be the comic relief for most of the film, only to turn on a dime to a dark, sinister character who would become iconic.
There are a few people I could think of. Jack Black, maybe? Someone like him. Even Dave Chappelle might do the trick. But with the right writer and director, the character of The Mule could be quite meaty. Character defining. Add to this what a devastating indictment of Trump this movie could be, it would be one of the best movies of the decade if you did it right.
It seems obvious that the key to making a successful Foundation movie is it has to be different than Star Wars. It needs to be more adult. It wouldn’t be about selling toys to little kids, it would be about making adults think about the world they live in. Anyway, all of this is just me mulling an interesting concept. It’s not like I have a script of even the rights to the Foundation series. I guess this has to do more with my frustration with this storytelling goldmine just sitting there in plain sight and no one doing anything with it.
What is amusing is there are plenty of people who grew up reading the Foundation books who would love to see a Foundation movie. You’d tap into an unexpected fan base, I guess is what I’m saying. But no one listens to me. But it is definitely fun to write about.
Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va.