As reported months ago on CHUD, Oliver Stone is preparing to leap back into the biopic business with his take on rise and blunder of President George W. Bush. When pressed back in September as to when he might get around to making this film, Stone would only say, “Soon”. But with Pinkville off the menu thanks to United Artists’ post-Lions for Lambs reticence to make any political films not about the failed assassination of Adolph Hitler, the time is evidently right for Stone to take a whack at what is currently titled Bush.
Just don’t expect a complete evisceration of the country’s forty-third president; Stone tells Variety‘s Michael Fleming – as ever, thanks for crediting the original story, Mike! – that he is intent on delivering “a true, fair portrait of the man”. In other words, he’ll eviscerate the prick.
But Stone is adamant that this is not the case. Here’s how he describes the project to Fleming: “How did Bush go from an alcoholic bum to the most powerful figure in the world? It’s like Frank Capra territory on one hand, but I’ll also cover the demons in his private life, his bouts with his dad and his conversion to Christianity, which explains a lot of where he is coming from. It includes his belief that God personally chose him to be president of the United States, and his coming into his own with the stunning, preemptive attack on Iraq. It will contain surprises for Bush supporters and his detractors.”
It will also contain Josh Brolin as George W. Bush. This is either inspired casting or a case of going with the acting good luck charm of 2007; though I worry about Brolin burnout, this is also the kind of role you just can’t turn down (to be fair, he’s only booked one more film for ’08: Gus Van Sant’s Milk). According to Stone, Brolin possesses the same “drive and charisma that Americans identify with Bush”. I don’t know about “same”; I haven’t seen Brolin evince that pathological need to be liked, and I’ve definitely never seem him react with childlike petulance when things don’t quite go his way. There’s a serrated edge to Brolin’s folksiness. On second thought, maybe that’s what Stone is going for psychologically.
Fortunately for Stone, Stanley Weiser’s script was turned in prior to the WGA strike (Weiser also wrote Wall Street). Moritz Borman and John Kilik will produce. The film could begin shooting as soon as April.
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