Hey guys! This is coming along nicely. Even though we're in closed pre-production, there's already a ton of Internet buzz, and with Will on board
, we expect it to be relatively smooth sailing from here on out.
Wanted to get you our feedback on the draft…I think with a little--or possibly massive--retooling, this one will be guaranteed Oscar-bait.
We wanted the script to start off with some upbeat energy, and we’re glad to see you’ve done that. But I think we can do without the rap introductory sequence. On page 8 you’ve got Obama singing:
So I’d like to take a minute
Just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I became the President
Of the United States of America.
First off, if we’re going to have a theme song, let’s get Will involved. He’s had a lot of success with that type of thing, and I’ve recently become confident that he knows how to rhyme better than you.
But frankly, we thought you could accomplish the same effect with a scene of young Barack at a student rally, or maybe try replacing the “rare cab driver” character with an AIDS clinic worker.
Also, we’re pretty sure Obama never said “smell you later” to anyone, let alone to George W. Bush on his inauguration day. You’ve done a really great job showing Barack’s Hawaiian roots. But after the luau, hula competition and surf camp scenes in the opening twenty minutes, do we really need Barack to wear a lei throughout the whole rest of the movie?
Just because we’ve got a popular black comedic actor in a sappy biopic doesn’t mean we can cut corners. Pages 56 to 72 are just the screenplay for Ray with the words “but he can see” pasted after each stage direction. At least replace the piano with a podium, something.
Of course, we’re all hoping that this thing will get some awards. It’s a touching portrait of an incredible man. But we also don’t want to count our chickens before they hatch. In other words, it might be a good idea to cut the in-character Oscar acceptance speech after the credits (but leave the blooper reel; really takes the edge off the assassination ending).
BARACK OBAMA IS NOT A ROBOT. I cannot stress this enough.
I hate to say it, because it was one of our favorite scenes, but Pg. 34-39 has got to go. Oliver Stone’s people said they’re definitely not cool with a W. crossover, and I’m afraid the Step it Up: 2 Tha Streets people felt the same. Obama and Hillary will just have to find some other way to settle their differences.