“This is Citizen Kane meets Private Parts, where you have a man who always had trouble relating to people in the outside world, but does it effortlessly in the booth…”
These are the words of James Sclafani, producer and writer of a script based on the unauthorized (but unchallenged) biography The Rush Limbaugh Story: Talent on Loan From God. The book was written by AP Media Relations exec Paul Colford and digs into Limbaugh’s past to find the origin of the radio pundit’s aggressive pursuit of mass success and controversy.
Sclafani is currently shopping around for the cash to back the project, and a director to helm it. What kind of scope with which the film approaches Rush’s life and career is unclear, but Rush’s controversial Vietnam draft situation, as well as his painkiller fiasco are specifically mentioned as subjects that are tackled in the film.
It would be hard to think of a modern American figure more polarizing than Rush Limbaugh, whose entire existence is based on being either demonized or deified, with no shades of gray in-between. Even Oliver Stone was able to approach his controversial right-wing figures with angles that made them universally relatable, even admirable, but whoever attempts to bring this titan of controversy back down to earth is in for a challenge. There’s little chance that Rush’s enormous audience is going to accept any film that impugns his character, and Limbaugh may just be too downright distasteful to his detractors for any of them to even attempt to relate to him. Is there even an audience here?
Sclafani (who is a registered Democrat, Deadline is careful to note) believes there’s an underdog story to get behind here though…
“There’s this anecdote about a game of spin the bottle in high school. The bottle pointed at him, and the pretty girl who was supposed to kiss him ran away, and that stayed with him… When he came up in radio, he was culturally opposed to everything happening in the 60s and 70s, and all this left him with something to prove. He is an underdog, and became an extremely determined person with something to prove.”
Politics aside (if that’s even possible here), I have no doubt that casting will be key to any success this film could have. A wise casting choice could do a lot to bridge the audience gap between those that want to see Rush doing no wrong, or doing nothing but wrong on the screen.
Source | Deadline