by Shelton Bumgarner
Some thoughts on a classic movie.
by Shelton Bumgarner
Some thoughts on a classic movie.
I’ve written — and talked — about this before, but it’s true: I think a lot about how Mission: Impossible — Fallout deals with major, macro political issues in an entertaining manner. Now, one thing I noticed about that movie is they don’t talk about Democrats or Republicans. There are some allusions, but nothing concrete.
The novel I’m writing, in that respect, is definitely different. I kind of wallow in name brand politics for a very specific reason — this novel is kind of my Atlas Shrugged for my own particular brand of globalist, liberal politics. It’s my own personal critique of the Trump Era…in its own particular manner.
To put another way, I’m definitely writing this novel and seeing how I can deal with the issues of the day in a metaphorical manner. It may not be the first draft, but by the second or third draft, I suspect that will be pretty fleshed out. But anyway, I’m really enjoying writing this first draft so far and one of the things I’m using as a guide is what I remember of Mission: Impossible — Fallout. It’s probably not going to be very obvious to anyone who read this first draft (not that anyone will) but I really did like that movie and I liked how it was a “woke” (to a certain extent) action adventure summer tent pole movie.
That’s my ultimate goal for this tale I’m writing — that it would be a very accessible, rip-roaring yarn that when you put it down, the first thing you’re going to think is 1) what happens next 2) this should be a movie.
Regardless, I probably should be working on the novel right now instead of writing about writing a novel.
If you really wanted to get extremely bonkers with a movie concept, I got one for you.
It’s the near future and everything has gone to hell in a handbasket. We learn a super secret government agency has managed to clone several presidents — Washington, Lincoln, FDR, maybe even Kennedy. Anyway, they’re young men now and they live relatively anonymous lives. But they abruptly get a call from the Deep State — they have a secret mission for them.
What that mission might be, I’ll leave to your imagination.
I’m a concept guy. I have a real problem with plots. I can think up the scenario, but when it comes to populating them and having characters bang up against each other, I got nothing.
One concept that’s stuck with me for years now is something called “Afterglow.” In this movie, we see the life of a couple, maybe, through a series of vignette that open and close with that short moment of afterglow after sex. It would kind of 500 Days of Summer meets 13 Conversations About One Thing.
You could get kind of dark with this concept, or you could keep it wistful like The Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. Anyway. No one listens to me anyway.
This v-log is meandering and random. I start off talking about ROKon Magazine, the magazine I started in Seoul about 10 years ago and veer off into a discussion of heading to Hollywood for a few days to find someone to write screenplays with. But it’s kind of pointless unless I actually put in the work. No one will take me seriously if I just talk about all these great concepts I have in my head. I actually have to put in the work and be prepared to show it to someone.
I really enjoy at least attempting to write a screenplay because of its innately collaborative nature. The below video is me talking about that some. I’m struggling to write out a concept that might turn into a screenplay, but it will be months before anything comes of it for various reasons.
As I keep saying, buying a professional digital camera is at the forefront of my mind right now. But I definitely have an interesting concept for a science fiction movie. The screenplay would be a novel approach the concept of First Contact.
But there is much to mull, much to struggle with. I am perfectly horrible with plots and it could take me a while to the point where I’m able to not only write the screenplay but buy Final Draft so I can properly format it. The whole point is to give me something to believe in, something to hope for. I don’t live in LA, so it would be an enormous long-shot even if I wrote a really good screenplay with a strong concept.
Yet, whatever. I really enjoy daydreaming and I have a way of telling stories without even realizing I’m doing it. So, if I’m lucky, I’ll write something pretty much on autopilot. Not to say it won’t be a struggle to write something, it will. But it should be a lot of fun, also.
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.
It occurred to me today that Emily Ratajkowsk would be perfect to be featured in a remake of “10.” She is so much like Bo Derek in personality not to mention beauty that she would be an ideal person to use the role Derek made famous as a vehicle.
Both women are kind of languid and matter-of-fact about their sexuality that it would be cool to see Ratajkowsk play a role as as the one in 10. As for the male lead, I imagine someone like Seth Rogen would be pretty cool. Anyway, no one listens to me.
This thought just occurred to me.