Friday, January 10, 2014

Phyllida Lloyd's Lincoln

I’m ready for my big break, Hollywood, so, without further ado, I present to you: an excerpt from my screenplay.

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln as directed by Phyllida Lloyd, director of The Iron Lady

We open on a room in Petersen House on April 14th, 1865. On a bed is ABRAHAM LINCOLN in a coma. Around the bed are MRS. LINCOLN, Army surgeon CHARLES LEALE, and, for some reason, also LINCOLN’S #1 FAN.

LINCOLN: Breathes laboriously

LEALE: The fever is on him. Also the coma.

Or maybe it’s always been on him! Has he always been in a coma?

LEALE: Increase the morphine.

MRS. LINCOLN complies. She has the morphine because MRS. LINCOLN always carries morphine with her. Maybe LINCOLN was always on morphine!

LINCOLN continues to breathe and bleed and slowly die for like 20 fucking minutes while everyone stares at him. Finally LINCOLN’S #1 FAN approaches the bed.

LINCOLN’S #1 FAN: Mr. Lincoln, I just want to say you’ve been an inspiration to me.

LINCOLN: Says nothing because he’s in a fucking coma. Daniel Day Lewis does act the shit out of that coma, though.

LINCOLN’S #1 FAN: Your words and ideas have been so powerful.

LINCOLN continues to slowly die.

LINCOLN’S #1 FAN: Maybe you could say a few words for the ages.

LINCOLN’s non-responsive comatose state continues unabated.

LINCOLN’S #1 FAN: Uh…

MRS. LINCOLN: It’s alright dear.

LINCOLN’S #1 FAN walks away dejected because his hero turned out to have feet of clay and was no better than anyone else really.

MRS. LINCOLN: You know, a moderately supportive spouse would probably say something about how great a leader LINCOLN was, but I’m not going to do that. Instead I’m going to point out that this was the only time in like ten freakin’ years that he took me to the theatre. Ten years! I mean, I know there was, like, a war and stuff going on, but how could someone just ignore their family and spend all their time and energy leading a nation in crisis? I had stuff going on too! Like I took a carriage-driving class and one time I baked a cake. Where was LINCOLN when I needed him?

The camera does that zoomy thing into LINCON’S bullet-ridden skull so we know it’s time for some flashback-like hallucinations inside this “hero’s” brain, which incidentally is made of the same clay as his feet.
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It only gets better from there, let me tell you. We go through a series of flashbacks not of formative events in Lincoln’s life or illustrations of how his actions affected world events but of shit like his crippling guilt over his three dead sons, his depression, and his possible homosexuality. There’s also an extended sequence about his hat and beard. The comatose Lincoln wonders: did I spend too much time being President and not enough time exploring my sexuality and haberdashery options? How many people did I hurt by leading this nation to end slavery? Like at least two, right? And seriously, have I been in a coma this whole time?

Obviously Phyllida Lloyd is the ideal director for this picture, and I do hope Abi Morgan, writer of The Iron Lady, will come aboard to consult on my script. I think I do a good job of focusing on non-essentials and reducing a massively important historical figure to little more than a hairstyle, but Ms. Morgan can really take that to the next level of inanity for me.

Seriously, though, did you know that Lincoln was shot? In the brain? How good of a leader could he really be if he ended up with a brain that didn’t work? Plus his wife and children possibly weren’t 100% happy all the time. What’s up with that? Does his success as President really matter if his family were sometimes inconvenienced by his obligations?

Ah, well, at least he wasn’t a woman.

Fuck off, Phyllida,

S. Misanthrope

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