Per National Review, “What do you get when you take Dean Cain, an actor famous for playing Superman on TV, and Kristy Swanson, the actress who was the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and give them the chance to play a couple of adulterous, wildly partisan FBI agents working at the highest levels of the Mueller Russiagate probe? You get FBI Lovebirds, an outrageous play that had its conservative audience of 500 people howling at its premiere last Thursday at Washington’s Ronald Reagan Center.” That’s especially nice because the Left tried to shut the play down with violent threats.
This post tracks developments in the Zack Snyder Fountainhead film adaptation, an upcoming third cinematic version of the controversial novel by Ayn Rand. The novel was previously made into a film by King Vidor in 1949 and by Indian director Agradoot in 1958.
The Playist reports that Zack Snyder commented on his version of The Fountainhead in a ComicBookDebate interview, describing the novel rather oddly as “super fun and crazy.” That might suggest he has no idea what he is doing; but what Snyder has said previously about it being a “thesis on the creative process” tells me that he does. Don’t underestimate him. It sounds like he’s on the defensive and trying to lighten the mood. You can imagine what it’s like doing an Ayn Rand film in Hollywood. “It’s still important to me, but it’s a really touchy subject right now,” said Snyder. “People will think it’s hardcore right-wing propaganda, but I don’t view it like that. I just think the story is super fun and crazy and melodramatic about architecture and sex.” Regarding Ayn Rand, he commented: “I think she’s incredible and insane and she always said story first, not regarding her politics…But it was easy for her to fall victim to her own popularity, and she drank her own Kool-Aid…She didn’t give a fuck. If she was alive right now she would’ve fucking murdered Donald Trump. She didn’t even like Reagan! She thought he was a nationalist. But I’m rambling now, sorry!”
In a recent interview, Zack Snyder seemed to be putting the Marvel comic world behind him, and hinting that he was about to make a major departure in his filmmaking. Reported CinemaBlend, “A lot of his success has come thanks to his work adapting stories from comics, and the truth is that it’s been nearly a decade since he made a film not based on the material. However, he does seem to be moving away from that arena with his in development projects…Could his desire to see fans open themselves up to material beyond the comic book realm be a reflection of his own trajectory?”
No one seems to be reporting on the connection, but Zack Snyder just launched his new production company under the moniker “The Stone Quarry.” It just happens that his next film, The Fountainhead, takes place, in part, in a stone quarry. “The new company will work on film, television, and animation, and which Snyder described as a ‘sacred creative space’ that was four years in the making.”
The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has created a page to track developments of the new Zack Snyder Fountainhead film, usually a good sign that it’s beyond the theoretical stage.
“Zack Snyder said in response to a fan question on the social-media site Vero that his next project will be The Fountainhead, an adaptation of Ayn Rand’s 1943 novel.”
It was only a recent comment in the press, but the fact that filmmaker Zack Snyder specifically mentioned he was continuing to work on his script for a remake of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead means there is still life in the project. Per Dark Horizons, “Snyder’s next film will be the Afghan war drama The Last Photograph which he’s tweaking and prepping for in coming months, while he’s also still working on the script for his adaptation of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.”
“Snyder’s views on heroism thus might be perfectly suited to properly present Rand’s Roark, whose heroism is expressed via the freely chosen expression of his own genius, ignoring or fighting against the pressures of the leading minds of his field, of the market, and of other people’s needs.”
“Zack Snyder’s announcement on Thursday that he has ‘been working on [Ayn Rand’s] The Fountainhead, because he’s always ‘felt like it was such a thesis on the creative process and what it is to create something’ only surprised those who haven’t been paying attention to Snyder’s particular brand of formally derivative, philosophically empty film-making, in which rich comic-book tapestries are ripped from their panels and transformed into pointless spectacles of sex and violence.”
Director Zack Snyder, best known for action and science fiction films, is working on film adaptation of The Fountainhead. “I’ve always felt like The Fountainhead was such a thesis on the creative process and what it is to create something. Warner Bros. owns [Ayn Rand’s] script and I’ve just been working on that a little bit.”
Tank is a chase film about an Army sergeant who uses his own Sherman tank to rescue his son from a corrupt local sheriff and make a run for the state border. This film has heart and would make a great family pick; it’s a popular film for Father’s Day.
After the Promise tells the story of a naive Depression-era widower who applied for welfare, only to be robbed of his family by state child protection bureaucrats, and who had to fight for years to get his kids back. It’s a tear-jerker of the first order, all the more so because it’s based on a true story.
Night Crossing tells the true story of a heroic and ingenious father who organized an escape for his family from East Germany to the West via a homemade hot air balloon.
Per the Babylon Bee…“Hate speech comes in all different forms,” said YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. “What might be a comical character to some, can be interpreted and used as malicious hate mongering by others. Restaurant owners and soup producers, in particular, could be deeply hurt and offended by this Soup Nazi content.” It’s a parody…or is it? YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest have all been playing games lately on a seemingly coordinated basis to ban prominent conservatives, i.e. “Nazis.”
Alistair Williams is a British comedian who has been getting noticed lately because he just won’t stop saying things he’s not supposed to say. In this age of comedic self-censorship and conformity to left-wing opinion, Williams stands out as a uniquely independent voice. He also happens to be extraordinarily funny. I recommend following him on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.
The Left has already started accusing him of being everything from Hitler to Genghis Khan, which in itself is funny because he’s transparently just a guy who says the plain truth but in a way that makes people laugh. But given what’s going on with free speech in the UK (it’s dying), I’d say watch him while you can. You can judge Alistair Williams for yourself from a few examples he has generously provided on YouTube…
“Smart, passionate, impressively quick witted and bursting with infectious confidence, this is stand up that grabs your attention and Alistair Williams is quickly solidifying his place as one of stand up’s most exciting rising stars.”
–The Comedy Club
What’s the big deal about the signing of Magna Carta on June 15th, 1215?
Well, from the earliest of recorded times, and for thousands of years, mankind was largely ruled by kings, military leaders, and oligarchies — all of them with essentially unlimited power. Early societies had laws and legal processes, of course, but at the end of the day those at the apex of power could generally do what they liked, including exempt themselves from their own rules. All that changed on June 15th, 1215, in England. For the first time, a king was forced to sign a legal document that ceded specific rights to his subjects, establishing unprecedented legal principles such as equality before the law, no taxation without representation, and the whole idea that the king was not a law unto himself.
The full story of Magna Carta is brilliantly told in the documentary David Starkey’s Magna Carta, which can be viewed in full here. For some shorter explanations of its significance, here are several short films on the subject. The 2010 film Robin Hood also celebrates the document.
Thirty years ago today, speechwriter Peter Robinson was told by US diplomats to write a speech for Reagan’s visit to the Berlin Wall, but was warned against any “commie bashing.” He didn’t take their advice, and Reagan loved what he wrote. “Tear Down This Wall” became an iconic moment of the Cold War.
Hollywood is out of movie ideas. Every single one of the top ten films of 2018 was either a remake, a sequel, or a film based on old comic book characters. And the remakes typically aren’t even as good as the originals, though they may be much more woke.
Does it need to be like this? Are all the great stories already told in film? Hardly. Never mind what movie ideas fiction still has to offer, let alone thousands of year of human history. Here are ten interesting stories — ten movie ideas for screenwriters — ripped from the headlines as it were of times either current or in the not too distant past, stories of real-life heroes and villains who have so far garnered only slight attention in books or documentaries, but who deserve so much more.
Less than twenty years ago, if you complained to a doctor of painful stomach ulcers, chances are you would be told the cause was stress. Take it easy. Try some antacids. Perhaps a psychiatrist could help. Or in an extreme case, maybe surgery. Of course, sometimes the ulcer would develop into stomach cancer, a terrible way to go.
But in 1981, Australian scientist Barry Marshall began to suspect that the bacteria Helicobacter Pylori was responsible. Unfortunately, professional gastroenterologists dismissed the idea. It was well established that stress was the underlying cause of ulcers.
Marshall needed more proof, but animal experiments were useless in this case, and human experiments were forbidden. He often saw patients in agony from bleeding ulcers, and was desperate to save them. He was sure he had the answer. In a moment of extraordinary medical daring, before anyone could stop him, he swallowed a vial of Helicobacter Pylori, the very disease he knew to be so dangerous. He took the ultimate chance to prove his cure. He experienced the predicted symptoms – and did indeed cure himself of it. But still no one listened. His discovery was dismissed and ridiculed for ten years. “The science was settled,” so he was told.
Then Proctor & Gamble took up the battle on Marshall’s side, after learning that the company’s Pepto-Bismol product was part of Marshall’s treatment against the disease (in combination with antibiotics). The company launched a PR campaign that brought Marshall’s discovery to the attention of the public – bypassing the “scientific” community. The public was interested, and pressure was exerted on the FDA to fast-track tests, which eventually confirmed Marshall had been right all along. At last, the millions suffering could be treated.
In 2005, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Marshall and Robin Warren (who had first discovered the bacteria), “for their discovery of the bacterium Helicobacter Pylori and its role in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease.”
As movie ideas go, it would be hard to find one with a more heroic main character or triumphant ending.
The Girls of Enghelab Street
On December 27, 2017, a one-woman revolution occurred in Iran, and that revolution has spread since. On that day, Vida Movahed climbed up on a utility box in Enghelab Street (Revolution Street) in Tehran, removed her hijab, tied it to stick, and waved it to an astonished crowd. It was an act of tremendous heroism, as the penalty for removing the hijab can be up to 20 years, and further defiance can be answered with death.
She was arrested, but thanks to international pressure was at least initially released, though it’s unclear what has happened to her since. Regardless, others have followed, some have been imprisoned, but more keep coming.
They have received very little support from virtue-signaling feminists in the West, many of whom are too busy donning hijabs in acts of solidarity with orthodox Islamic women.
Imagine the drama, the sacrifice, the risk – and the courage. Is this not worthy of storytelling?
Britain’s Other Finest Hour: The West Africa Squadron
After Britain passed the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which abolished the slave trade throughout the British Empire (thanks to the heroic efforts of William Wilberforce and other abolitionists), its anti-slavery efforts were taken much further, though hardly anyone knows this glorious history.
At great expense, the Royal Navy created The West Africa Squadron – at its height roughly a sixth of the entire navy — to patrol the coast of Africa for slave ships and free the slaves. The squadron’s efforts ultimately captured or destroyed 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 slaves.
The cost was enormous for Britain, in lives as well as money, as the death rate from tropical disease for British marines was extraordinarily high; it was considered one of the most dangerous assignments a marine could be given.
Eventually, their anti-slavery efforts were spread to North Africa and the Indian Ocean. The US also later joined in the cause, contributing a few ships from its much smaller navy.
To this day, the descendants of the freed slaves commemorate the West Africa Squadron, but many more should celebrate it as another of Britain’s finest hours.
Wikipedia: West Africa Squadron
The Farmers of Xiaogang Village
Mao’s Great Leap Forward triggered the single largest holocaust in human history, with an estimated death toll of 45 million; the details, long well-hidden, are only now coming out.
The short of it is that Mao decided to collectivize the farms, and then ordered at gunpoint that these new collectivized concerns meet arbitrarily high production targets, at the same time putting in charge military personnel who knew nothing about farming. The result was a famine of unprecedented scale.
However, in 1978, eighteen local farmers in the village of Xiaogang met and signed a secret agreement, by which they would break up the commune and reestablish private property, each receiving their own plot of land. If caught, it would have meant torture and death. But as recurring food shortages were a constant worry – the village had already lost half its population to famine – the farmers decided to go for it anyway.
In the first year operating privately, their combined efforts produced five times what had been produced on the same land as a commune. The bounty was so extraordinary that it couldn’t be hidden from neighboring villages, and the news gradually got back to Beijing. Luckily for the villagers, Mao had just died and the new leader, Deng Xiaoping, was a reformer in search of solutions to the country’s abject poverty. After learning the full story, instead of killing the farmers as Mao would have done, Deng ordered all farms to follow their lead. This is widely credited as the moment when China’s economy turned around and finally began its climb into modernity.
Probably never in the history of man have so few people – eighteen – been responsible for turning around a nation the size of China. Their courage has meant food and clothing and everything else for a nation of a billion people.
Wikipedia: Xiaogang Village
Saul & Me
Imagine a typical college student. She’s studying to become a doctor, economist, engineer, teacher, or maybe doesn’t yet know what she wants to be. She has hopes, perhaps, of a family, maybe has her eye on a special someone, enjoys time with her friends and perhaps a sport. In other words, she’s a normal kid launching herself on a happy path. That’s 99% of kids going to college.
Now imagine how different that young woman must be, not to mention perhaps a little weird, for her to discover, seek out, and befriend, of all people – Saul Alinsky, the godfather of thug politics — whose teachings, summed up in his book Rules for Radicals, spawned pretty much everything wrong with politics today and divided the country like never before.
That young woman was Hillary Clinton.
Hardly anyone knows it, but as a college student Hillary met Alinsky, arranged speaking opportunities for him, interviewed him, corresponded with him by letter (and continued to do so after college) and was so thrilled with his message she wrote a glowing college thesis on him. Yes, she wrote her college thesis on Saul Alinsky, the very essence of “by any means necessary” socialism. She adored him.
It’s a miracle that we know any of this, by the way. The Clinton White House requested Wellesley College to keep the thesis under lock and key, and it was only inadvertently later released to a Republican student who published it. That too should be part of any film on this subject.
Of course, in the end, Saul Alinsky did get one of his close progeny into office: Barack Hussein Obama. But just imagine if two Alinsky acolytes had held the White House in sequence, what sixteen uninterrupted years of Alinsky would have done to the US.
You have to wonder how many more of Alinksy’s hidden intellectual heirs are still out there.
Stanislav Petrov: The Man Who Stopped WWIII
On September 26, 1983, just three weeks after the Soviet air force had shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007, Stanislav Petrov, the officer in charge of the Soviet Union’s nuclear early-warning system, was told that US-launched missiles were airborne and on their way to Soviet territory. By standard practice, he should have communicated that information through the chain of command so that the USSR could return fire; had he done so, it’s not unlikely that millions would have died on both sides.
But Petrov had suspicions about the new Soviet technology being used to track missiles, and ground radar could not confirm the sighting. Every second mattered – getting it wrong might mean the defeat of his country, and solely due to his own incompetence. He later said about that moment “My cozy armchair [in the bunker] felt like a red-hot frying pan and my legs went limp. I felt like I couldn’t even stand up. That’s how nervous I was.” He alone made the decision to not return fire.
As it happened, he was right. The new technology was faulty. Petrov should have been awarded the highest honors humanity has to offer, but the Soviet military, though relieved a mistake was not made, was also embarrassed by Petrov. They reassigned him to a new job and he eventually suffered a nervous breakdown. In 1998, the BBC quoted Petrov as saying, “I was made a scapegoat.”
In 2006, Petrov was finally honored by the United Nations, and a few documentaries were made about him, but he is now little-known.
Wikipedia: Stanislav Petrov
Voice of Poland
The long occupation of Poland by the USSR was the usual story of socialist oppression, poverty, and desperation, and it seemed at the time like it would never end. But in the 1980s, the spirit of liberation was in the air, and people began taking great risks to move that forward.
One of the best ways to undermine a totalitarian regime is simply to break its monopoly on information, by creating alternative channels through which people can learn what is actually going on. Zbigniew and Sofia Romaszewski were a brave young couple who did just that, establishing an underground radio station at considerable risk.
However, their broadcasts had to be very short. The problem was that the source of the radio broadcasts could be quickly located by electronic surveillance, so they could only broadcast about ten minutes at a time before moving the equipment to a new location. It seemed a nearly hopeless exercise, and an extremely dangerous one for them.
At some point they began to wonder – was this worth it? Was anyone actually listening? If people were, of course, it was huge, because they were a sole voice of truth in a sea of government propaganda. But if they weren’t, they were risking their young lives for nothing.
One night they came up with the idea of asking those listening to blink their lights on and off. They hoped to see a few lights blinking somewhere out in their city of Warsaw. But when they looked out of their window, that was not what they saw. All night, in all of Warsaw, Poland’s largest city, lights everywhere were blinking on and off. The entire city had been listening.
Such efforts were part of a much broader Polish resistance, of course, but it’s notable that Poland was the first Soviet-occupied nation to revolt and declare its independence from the USSR.
That’s a story to inspire all who encounter tyranny, wherever it occurs.
It has been called “the US Navy’s finest hour,” and yet no narrative film commemorates what happened in the sea off Leyte Island in 1944.
The Pacific War was finally turning to the Allied advantage. The Japanese had suffered a series of major losses and the US had landed 100,000 troops on the Philippine island of Leyte, to begin the liberation of the Philippines and the final containment of Imperial Japan. The Japanese Navy was on the run, so it was thought, and there was little concern that the troops were in danger from sea or air attack.
However, the Japanese Navy had regrouped, and it had a plan. A few ships were used as bait to lure away the formidable US fleet, which pursued them thinking it was finishing off the stragglers. Meanwhile, 23 Japanese battleships and cruisers, which had remained concealed at sea, arrived at Leyte to bombard and annihilate the 100,000 largely unprotected American troops. Had their plan succeeded, it might have been the largest single loss of American blood in the entire war and dragged out the war immeasurably.
However, a small naval task unit, Taffy 3, made up of three lightly-armed destroyers and four destroyer escorts, called “tin cans” because they had no armor, had remained behind. They were support ships, not readied for major battle, and were largely staffed by reservists with scant experience. Nonetheless, these ships and the planes they carried engaged the enemy for hours and with such terrific ferocity, continuing to make attack runs even after they had run out of ammunition in an almost preposterous defense of their fellow troops on the island, that the Japanese commander became convinced that he was being attacked by the entire American fleet – and withdrew.
It’s one of the most incredible stories of heroism and loyalty in American history. A thousand US sailors died in the battle. If anyone deserves a major motion picture, they do.
Wikipedia: Battle off Samar
For the Children: The Eva Moscowitz Story
Eva was born in 1964 and grew up in Harlem, where she attended a public school that wasn’t very good. She prospered anyway because her parents were professors, and she had the advantage of being tutored by them at home. But she was keenly aware that other kids in her school did not have that advantage, and it seemed very unfair to her that these other kids had to just put up with substandard teaching and all that implied for their future.
When she grew up, she decided to do something about it. In 2006, she launched the Success Academy Charter Schools, which essentially put formerly underperforming public schools under new management and without the heavy hand of the teachers union. In each case, the schools she was given were ill-kept and indifferently staffed. Among the notes she jotted down from those times: “We have two weak 1st grade teachers. One is extremely emotional (cries every day) and they are inefficient instructors. Milk was frozen. Kindergartners cried. Mayhem resulted. Electricity went down again. Rugs were dirty.” She turned such places upside down.
Needless to say, to the United Federation of Teachers and to the NYC Democratic Party, she’s public enemy number one, and indeed has been threatened with violence more than once. Charter schools aren’t privatization, but they are a step in the direction of decentralization that is a direct challenge to the monopolists currently in charge.
Eva Moscowitz has overcome all obstacles including the NYC political environment, and today Success Academy is the highest-performing, fastest-growing charter school network in the country. This is a tremendous story of moral heroism, triumph, and hope – with the futures of kids at stake; a story of a courageous and caring reformer overcoming a threatening and formidable opponent, it would make a drama of the first order.
A School for Heroes: The Story of the Boy Scouts
In the early 1900s, the Boy Scouts were founded with the idea of inculcating boys with patriotism, courage, and self-reliance. Eventually an award system was created that recognized acts of extraordinary courage. Early records of the Boy Scouts are littered with accounts of boys saving people from drowning, from fires, from fallen electrical wires, etc.
However, a series of terrible tragedies also occurred in which young boys attempted to save others and lost their lives in the process. The leaders of the Boy Scouts had a moment of guilt and regret. They wanted to encourage the boys to great things, but they had underestimated the risks. After some soul searching, they reorganized, holding on to their original goals, but emphasizing safety training. Entire generations have since learned not just to be heroic, but how to be heroic: always be prepared.
Since the founding of the Boy Scouts, 110 million Americans have participated. An estimated 3 to 5 million people – roughly one in every hundred Americans — are alive today because they, or one of their parents or grandparents, had their life saved by a Boy Scout.
What a terrific family film that story would make. It’s one of the better movie ideas on this list.
It has been on again off again for FBI Lovebirds: UnderCovers, a stage play based on the texts of FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, texts that were made public in the course of the recent investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Now, it seems the play is on again.
Per Deadline, “[The play] is a 100 percent verbatim script constructed out of the secret texts from Peter Strzok and Lisa Page (aka the FBI Lovebirds) and I have included their closed-door testimony to the congressional committee that was investigating them.” The texts make it clear that the agents were determined to subvert the outcome of the election by any means necessary, and confirmed suspicions that the “deep state” that was supposed to be investigating outside influence was itself interfering.
It was announced in May that the play would get a staged reading at the Mead Theater in Washington, D.C., to be filmed and put on YouTube afterward. But the theater cancelled the play after receiving violent threats related to it. Someone apparently didn’t want it to happen. Now, however, it’s on again, as the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center has agreed to hold it.
Kristy Swanson and Dean Cain will star. Dean Cain has described himself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal (as has close friend Rob Lowe), though without using the L word…probably wise in the circumstance.
In advance of the June 4th Tiananmen anniversary, a lot of stuff is happening to erase the memory of that day. The latest is the vanishing of Li Zhi, a folk rock singer who sang a pensive ballad about the Tiananmen massacre, according to The Indian Express. One of the last posts in his social media account was the image of a hand wearing what appeared to be a hospital wrist band and the words: “Very sorry.”