Tuesday, December 18, 2012
The success of Profiles in Courageousness has made many readers ask me what my next project will be. I am actually currently working on a screenplay for a movie that I am tentatively calling President Lighting. It takes place during the 1936 Berlin Olympics and it's a piece of historical fiction. Or is it?
In 1935, the Nazis worried about being embarrassed at the Berlin Olympics the next year kidnap Jesse Owens. It looks like they will be unstoppable in track and field until a crippled President and a discredited ex-President from the other party team up to take it to Hitler. He was born to lead, but he was made to run. They call him President Lightning. Here's an excerpt.
[INT - THE OVAL OFFICE]
FDR is in his power blue track suit sitting behind his desk in the Oval Office. He is smoking a cigarette and he looks sullen. Herbert Hoover is standing in front of the desk in a brown suit. He holds a clipboard and a stop watch. Beads of perspiration run down Roosevelt's forehead and sweat stains mar the otherwise pristine look of Roosevelt's track suit. There is an uncomfortably long pause as Hoover looks like he is about to say something, but thinks better of it.
FDR: [Flicking a cigarette ash] This is insane Herbert. I'm barely out of my wheelchair. I can't win a race. Somebody else will have to run.
HOOVER: Dammit Franklin! Why can't you pick yourself up by your own boot straps. That's what Theodore would have done.
FDR: Damn you Hoover! I'm not him. The other Roosevelt had two good legs. All I've got is a big social program which has prolonged the Great Depression and a very unattractive wife who is even more liberal than I am.
HOOVER: If you think that's all you've got Franklin, then you've lost already.
FDR: What do you know about it anyway? You're not even a real track coach.
HOOVER: [Snatches the cigarette out of FDR's mouth] Spit that thing out. Those Germans are fast and I'm not training you so I can look foolish! Look, I may not be a real track coach, but I am a real American and what I know is that an American is never licked as long is he's got a breath in his body and a fight in his heart. You think you've got it tough Mr. President, well I've got news for you. Thanks to all your big government spending a whole lot of people have it tougher than you do. If I hadn't organized all those Hoover-villes they wouldn't have anywhere to go. You think you've got it tough? Try raising a family of 8 when you're factory just closed down.
FDR: [Angrily] I'm trying to everything I can.
HOOVER: Trying isn't good enough Mister President. What are you going to do?
FDR: I don't know
HOOVER: I said what are you going to do?
FDR [Getting out of wheel chair] I'm going to run Hitler's socks off.
WHITE HOUSE MAID: [She is a rather rotund black woman who has been secretly listenning in on the two men's conversation] Lordy Mister President, I had hoped you'd say that. I don't like that Mister Hitler none anyway. You go run circles around them Nazis. Jesse Owens was running for my people Mister President, the way I figure it you're running for all of us too now.
FDR: I intend to Dorothy. Now why don't you fix me some of them biscuits you make. All this training's going to make me mighty hungry
[Here we have a training montage as FDR goes from being unsteady on his feet to being a world class athelete thanks to his hard work. Show Hoover looking displeased at first, but gradually lightening up as FDR improves. This montage not only shows FDR's ability improving, but a bond developing between the two men. This montage is an excellent spot for an uplifting rock song.]