Roger L. Simon

All the President's Dudes


Hey, William Goldman.  You’re getting a little long in the tooth — we all are — but America needs your Oscar-winning brilliance for a new screenplay, a must-do sequel to your original called All the President’s Dudes.

You won’t be able to use Hoffman and Redford this time.  They’re also, er, a little long in the tooth to play, say, Tommy Vietor.  But there are a number of younger players out there.  (I see Justin Bieber as Tommy.)

Look, I know you’re a liberal and want to protect the fort.  But don’t you think things have gone a bit far with this Benghazi business?

I know. I know. It’s not over yet. We need a Deep Throat or at least a John Dean to put an icing on the proverbial cake.  Maybe we’ll have one.  But even if we don’t, think of the dramatic possibilities.

Let’s start with that ten p.m. phone call between Obama and Hillary on the night of the terror attack. (I’m sorry –video demonstration.)  We don’t know what they actually said.  And since it was only the two of them, we probably never will.  But we do know this — they hate each other. But at the same time their futures were inextricably tied in this case.  Talk about drah-mah…. all that gnashing of teeth and swallowing of emotion while being forced to agree on their farshtinkener story. The dialogue writes itself.

And speaking of the former secretary of State, how’s this for a scene — Hillary at the Benghazi victims’ funeral reassuring the grieving parents they’ll get that “evil filmmaker” who’s behind their sons’ murders when all the while she knows that’s baloney?  Wow.  Great stuff. Straight out of a vampire movie — Dracula or even the classic Nosferatu.  Angelica is just made for it.  (I know wrong hair color, but that can be fixed and she’s been there before.  She killed as Morticia Addams.  Just think what she would do with the scenery chewing iconic “What difference does it make?” scene?   Ladies and gentlemen of the Academy, need I say more?)

Now as an older screenwriter myself I know what you’re thinking.  Wrong demographics.  Who wants to make a movie filled with old people? They’re all staying home watching Downton Abbey. But as you and I know, that’s  a canard.  Because of the nature of the Obama administration,  All the President’s Dudes would be filled with, well, dudes and, naturally, dudettes.  Half of Obama’s speechwriters are barely old enough to drive.  Except for the reliable Chicago crew, POTUS doesn’t seem to enjoy surrounding himself with equals.  He’s a little insecure.  But we can keep that between us.  You don’t have to put it in the movie.  Just concentrate on the dudes and dudettes, letting them do what the hormone-infused young do,  and casting will handle the rest. Rest assured they’ll ignore the cliche about Washington being Hollywood for ugly people. You can even do a little vicarious living of your own in the process.

So what do you think?  Do we have a deal?  If not, I have a possible sweetener.  As you know, Press Secretary Jay Carney has been having a little difficulty lately dealing with the truth.  In your 1983 Adventures in the Screen Trade, you coined what may be the most famous phrase about Hollywood ever — “Nobody Knows Anything.”  Why not make that about politics and have Carney repeat it endlessly? The phrase could then be employed by every press secretary from now into the future.  It might be the ultimate stonewall, but it could save everybody a lot of wasted effort.