W. (Oliver Stone, 2008)

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Jeff
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W. (Oliver Stone, 2008)

#1 Post by Jeff » Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:50 am

Stone's Bush biopic starts shooting next month. Josh Brolin, reportedly, is uncanny in the title role. The role of Laura Bush has also now been cast.
[i][url=http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3ifa172cb36428eaac1750e6f3f24c37d1?imw=Y]The Hollywood Reporter[/url][/i] wrote:Elizabeth Banks is going from the world of adult films to the White House.

The actress, who recently wrapped shooting Kevin Smith's "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," is in final negotiations to portray Laura Bush in "W," Oliver Stone's biopic on the life and presidency of George W. Bush.

Josh Brolin already is on board to play Bush in the biopic, which begins shooting in late April in Shreveport, La.

Stone wrote the screenplay with his "Wall Street" co-writer Stanley Weiser.

Moritz Borman, who worked with Stone on "World Trade Center" and "Alexander," is producing, as is Jon Kilik.

Beverly Hills-based QED International is financing and handling sales.

Banks, repped by UTA and Untitled, next appears opposite Eddie Murphy in the comedy "Meet Dave" and then opposite Aaron Eckhart in "Meet Bill."

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#2 Post by hot_locket » Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:29 am

Why?

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John Cope
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#3 Post by John Cope » Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:56 am

Yeah, I have to admit that what's driving my curiosity about this particular project is that very question. I mean, what is Stone's real agenda here (you know he has one)? The thing I find most curious is that this highly guarded script has been put into production now to be released after the election but, presumably, prior to the inauguration. Does that suggest anything?

After the twin curiosities of Alexander and World Trade Center (both of which I loved) anything is possible.

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Fletch F. Fletch
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#4 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:59 am

From Variety:
Oliver Stone casts parents of 'W'
Cromwell, Burstyn to play Bush Sr., Barbara
By MICHAEL FLEMING

Director Oliver Stone has set James Cromwell to play George Herbert Walker Bush and Ellen Burstyn to play former first lady Barbara Bush in "W," a drama about the formative years of their son, President George W. Bush.

Josh Brolin is playing the title character, and Elizabeth Banks will play first lady Laura Bush.

Stone will direct from a script by his “Wall Street” co-writer Stanley Weiser. Moritz Borman is producing with Bill Block and Jon Kilik.

Block's QED International is financing the film, which will begin shooting Shreveport, La., at the end of April.

Cromwell recently made another fact-based foray in a film about an iconic political figure: He played Prince Philip alongside Helen Mirren in "The Queen."

Stone was calling the project "Bush" when he began showing it to buyers (Daily Variety, Jan. 21), but the filmmakers are now calling it "W." The film is expected to be ready for distribution possibly by the November presidential elections and certainly before Bush leaves the White House in January.

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Antoine Doinel
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#5 Post by Antoine Doinel » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:16 am

I fear that the most shocking thing about this picture will be that Stone will make every effort to make it "balanced" and "fair". I wonder who will play Cheney?

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#6 Post by skuhn8 » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:33 am

Antoine Doinel wrote:I wonder who will play Cheney?
Paging Philip Seymour Hoffman; paging Philip Seymour Hoffman.

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#7 Post by jbeall » Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:02 am

Antoine Doinel wrote:I fear that the most shocking thing about this picture will be that Stone will make every effort to make it "balanced" and "fair". I wonder who will play Cheney?
Well, if Stone wants his film to be balanced and fair, then it can only show Bush's presidency for what it's been: an unmitigated disaster. Sometimes the facts really do support an extremely one-sided conclusion.

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Marcel Gioberti
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#8 Post by Marcel Gioberti » Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:39 am

After eight years of this shit, two hours more seems honestly unbearable.

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#9 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:48 am

This is a great cast, maybe they'll be able to rise above their director and material.

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Jeff
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#10 Post by Jeff » Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:58 am

Antoine Doinel wrote:I wonder who will play Cheney?
I want Danny DeVito in his full Penguin attire.

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domino harvey
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#11 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:15 pm

Dick Cheney wouldn't be in the film if it only covers Mr. Bush's "formative" years. We will however get to see Elizabeth Banks kill someone with her car.

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King Prendergast
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#12 Post by King Prendergast » Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:18 pm

Hard to see what the tone of this is going to be....
The mock-sitcom section from Natural Born would seem to be the most appropriate.

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#13 Post by chaddoli » Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:27 pm

It's all taken very seriously. The film doesn't work because W. isn't a complex character. Weiser saddles W. with a very simplistic pleasing daddy complex and there's just not much more to the film. Everything W. does stems from it, baseball, governor, president, Iraq, etc. Most of the film takes place in 2002-2003, but there's an annoying flashback structure that tries to hide the simplicity of the character, but it's totally superfluous. Compared to Stone's rather excellent Nixon, which followed the man down like King Lear, W. is fairly worthless. Richard Nixon was a complex, fiercely intelligent individual brought down by selfishness, paranoia and insecurity. W. is a dumb loser, and so is the film.

This will be the best unintentional comedy of the year.

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#14 Post by Antoine Doinel » Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:45 pm

Does the film even bother to explore GB's cocaine and alcohol use/addiction? But from everything else you described, it sounds like exactly what I thought it would be. The only thing to make it worse would be cameos by real life Texas Rangers.

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#15 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:03 pm

I'd watch this just to see James Cromwell as H.W. Bush.

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Orphic Lycidas
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#16 Post by Orphic Lycidas » Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:32 pm

Oliver Stone is an increasingly reductive right-wing film-maker who has a habit of presenting his protagonists as great patriarchal figures, even if somewhat flawed. Nixon is perhaps the quintessential example of Stone's penchant for using this model to cover up any complex examination of his subjects. Does anyone really believe the transformation of Richard Nixon from a cowardly sniveling toad into a tragic hero like Oedipus the King? I believe it's the character Leonid Brezhnev in the film who utters an absurd line that goes something like this, "Oh! This man had the world in his hands! If only it were not for his hubris, what greatness he would have achieved! Aiai! Aiai!" I half expected a Greek chorus to come dancing in. His depiction of Jim Garrison and John F. Kennedy as saintly father figures is laughable. Garrison was a paranoid, albeit in all likelihood a very honest one. Stone was warned by the leading researchers into the Kennedy assassination -- people like Sylvia Meagher and Harold Weisberg (the latter having worked with Garrison during the Clay Shaw case) -- that his script was a complete fantasy. Now, before anyone jumps on me as a historical purist let me make clear what my criticism is here: Oliver Stone is too black/white a film-maker to have made a complex film; a film where Garrison was an up-standing yet flawed investigator prosecuting a man who was quite possibly innocent while members of his staff dissent or push him into obviously paranoid conclusions, or to see the JFK assassination as an example of internecine warfare within stateplayers on how to conduct the cold war. Instead you have Jim Garrison as the perfect heroic family man fighting against the evil murderous homos who crucified Jesus-The-Second-Coming. Same thing with his films on Alexander and Fidel Castro.

The fact that Stone decided to end "Nixon" with that repulsive eulogy by Bill Clinton in which he says that the world is a better more peaceful world because of Richard Nixon highlights the complete intellectual and moral vacuity of Oliver Stone. While it may be a little bit of an exaggeration to say that pure hero-worship if all the man is capable of, I think it sums up his fatal flaw as a film-maker. So I don't expect this "W" film to be anything other than poor Bush apologetics.

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#17 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:37 pm

the best and smartest film about Richard Nixon remains Dick, easily.

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#18 Post by Antoine Doinel » Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:38 pm

Not to derail this thread, but Jim Garrison was hardly portrayed as the perfect father figure. Stone pretty much shows him as one who was so absorbed by the case he alienated his colleagues, wife and children. Moreover, JFK does explore fairly explicitly the implications of the Bay Of Pigs and the forthcoming Vietnam War (and the players involved etc etc) as possible reasons for his assassination.

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Orphic Lycidas
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#19 Post by Orphic Lycidas » Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:54 pm

Antoine Doinel wrote:Not to derail this thread, but Jim Garrison was hardly portrayed as the perfect father figure. Stone pretty much shows him as one who was so absorbed by the case he alienated his colleagues, wife and children. Moreover, JFK does explore fairly explicitly the implications of the Bay Of Pigs and the forthcoming Vietnam War (and the players involved etc etc) as possible reasons for his assassination.
JFK was a controversial film that deals with an important historical event so I want to make sure I'm not criticizing Stone's historical interpretation (which I do disagree with but which is irrelevant to the point I'm making). I didn't see the conflict with the wife as being a criticism of the Garrison character as much as it is 1) a purely melodramatic plot-device in an otherwise excellent film, 2) a criticism of the wife who eventually realizes her error once RFK is assassinated and finally comes to side with her husband's heroic crusade. If this were simply one character in Stone's oeuvre I would not have a problem with him on this matter but it is the fact that in film after film (i.e. (Nixon, Commandante, Alexander, etc) he idealizes his characters to super-human proportions. And yes, I am aware these are world historic figures but that is no reason to continually whitewash their flaws to such a startling degree. Thus my extreme skepticism that this "W" project will rise above that level.

-- And yes, Dick is the greatest film about Richard Nixon ever made.

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#20 Post by King Prendergast » Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:12 am

Orphic Lycidas wrote:Oliver Stone is an increasingly reductive right-wing film-maker... While it may be a little bit of an exaggeration to say that pure hero-worship if all the man is capable of, I think it sums up his fatal flaw as a film-maker. So I don't expect this "W" film to be anything other than poor Bush apologetics.
You do know who Oliver Stone is don't you. Hardly right wing, and definitely not a fan of Bush.

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Fletch F. Fletch
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#21 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:13 am

Orphic Lycidas wrote:Oliver Stone is an increasingly reductive right-wing film-maker who has a habit of presenting his protagonists as great patriarchal figures, even if somewhat flawed. Nixon is perhaps the quintessential example of Stone's penchant for using this model to cover up any complex examination of his subjects. Does anyone really believe the transformation of Richard Nixon from a cowardly sniveling toad into a tragic hero like Oedipus the King? I believe it's the character Leonid Brezhnev in the film who utters an absurd line that goes something like this, "Oh! This man had the world in his hands! If only it were not for his hubris, what greatness he would have achieved! Aiai! Aiai!" I half expected a Greek chorus to come dancing in...
...The fact that Stone decided to end "Nixon" with that repulsive eulogy by Bill Clinton in which he says that the world is a better more peaceful world because of Richard Nixon highlights the complete intellectual and moral vacuity of Oliver Stone. While it may be a little bit of an exaggeration to say that pure hero-worship if all the man is capable of, I think it sums up his fatal flaw as a film-maker. So I don't expect this "W" film to be anything other than poor Bush apologetics.
I have to disagree with you. I don't think Stone's depiction of Nixon is as simple as you make it out to be. The film shows quite a complex arc to the man, from a persistent if not inept college student (I'm thinking of the football scenes where he is essentially a tackling dummy for his teammates), to amorally ambitious politician (his headline grabbing tactics during the Alger Hiss debacle), to living in the shadow of more dynamic politicians like JFK, to finally getting the Presidency but blowing it because of his own stubborn hubris. I don't really see Stone worshipping the man -- he certainly doesn't gloss over or excuse the horrible things he did, but rather I see Stone's thesis is that Nixon failed because he thought he could control the political infrastructure that exists (that the film refers to as an untameable Beast) and found out that it was he who was at the mercy of this system and he was ultimately defeated by it. If anything, Stone sees him as a tragic figure but one that was the architect of his own destruction. What makes the film work so well is that Stone spends plenty of time providing amble motivation for why Nixon did what he did.

From Entertainment Weekly:
Oliver Stone's George W. Bush biopic coming together

Mar 26, 2008, 03:26 PM | by Nicole Sperling

The cast that will portray President George W. Bush's inner circle in Oliver Stone's upcoming political biopic W is starting to come together. Elizabeth Banks (Definitely, Maybe) will join star Josh Brolin (pictured) as First Lady Laura Bush, James Cromwell is in negotiations to play George Bush Sr., and Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale) is in talks for the role of Colin Powell. But at press time, it was still unclear who will take the role of Vice President Dick Cheney. A source close to the production tells EW that Stone will reach out to Oscar winner Robert Duvall, though the actor's agency says that an offer has not yet been presented.
Wright as Powell? Duvall as Cheney? Interesting...

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#22 Post by rs98762001 » Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:19 pm

Considering Stone hasn't made a good movie for ages, and especially in the light of the embarrassment that was World Trade Center, it's hard to expect much of this.

However, while my initial instinct is to think that Stone's inevitable attempt to "humanize" another controversial conservative figure is doomed to fail, it's worth mentioning that David Hare's "Stuff Happens" did a very interesting job of dramatizing the Bush character.

But, clearly, Stone is no Hare, so...

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#23 Post by SoyCuba » Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:01 pm

I find it interesting that someone predicted over a year ago that Stone would do this movie and even got the name right. Or perhaps Stone searched himself on YouTube and thought the idea was good?

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Highway 61
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#24 Post by Highway 61 » Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:21 pm

For all Stone got wrong with JFK and Nixon, he did put together two of the best ensemble casts of the last twenty years, which is why I'm cautiously looking forward to this. I don't think there's been another director who has given so many great character and TV actors such perfect roles. Who else has gotten such fantastic performances out of Larry Hagman, John Candy, Brian Doyle-Murray, David Hyde Pierce, Mary Steenburgen, etc.? Which is to say nothing of the big names like Joan Allen, Gary Oldman, James Woods, and Kevin Bacon who all rocked.

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#25 Post by Antoine Doinel » Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:34 pm

Stone confirms the film won't be "anti-Bush".
Stone has said that the film, which will focus on the life and presidency of Bush, won’t be an anti-Bush polemic, but, as he told Daily Variety, “a fair, true portrait of the man. How did Bush go from being an alcoholic bum to the most powerful figure in the world?”

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