I’m not one of the movie website guys who dreams of making my own films, but just like everybody else in LA I have a ‘project’ or two in my pocket. One of those can now probably leave my pocket; it was an idea for a biopic about John Brown, a radical, insane abolitionist commando who launched a war of his own on the US government. The story of Brown is utterly fascinating and little told. He was tried for his crimes and hung; his trial itself is awesome because he attended it in bed. I can just see the opening shot of my John Brown movie: a tight shot on an old man’s face as he lays in bed, reminiscing about his raid on Harper’s Ferry. As he talks the camera pans back and we realize this old bastard is in a court room!
Josh Brolin says that he’s looking into playing Old Mr. Brown, a guy who didn’t just attack a federal armory at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, but who also played a major role in the Bleeding Kansas period, as he and his supporters ran around Kansas slaughtering pro-slavery people (Bleeding Kansas is, in itself, a fucking killer movie as well. John Brown was only a component of that madness). Brown’s mission at Harper’s Ferry was to seize guns and give them to slaves; while he failed, he is credited with being the guy who really got the Civil War rolling.
Brolin is a little young for Brown, but that’s okay. I bet Brown was very spry right up til the end. Coming Soon says that the script for the movie comes from Mark Gordon, but I think he’s just producing it. Says Brolin: “It’s a great, great project. The script was already out there; I read the script, I loved it. It would be a very tough character for me to play. We’re going to do some tests once I’m done with this, but it’s a great script and story.”
I don’t mind losing this dream project of mine to someone like Josh Brolin. I hope he gets to star in a completely nuts, over the top violent take on Brown; that’s certainly what my film would have been like.