awkwardly

Thursday

Why did I watch The Queen?

I'm not sure which seems more improbable -- that Brits still tolerate and pay for the Royals, or that a cast and crew of probably hundreds worked together to dramatize a conflict between Tony Blair and Queen Elizabeth over what her PR strategy should be regarding the death of Diana. And people paid to watch this as if it were dramatic! It made money!

I had already noticed a trend in the late 80s of fewer cop movies and tv shows, moving the drama into the sphere of lawyers and courtrooms. L.A. Law was great, and I can watch any iteration of Law & Order all day or night. But still, it seemed like they were moving away from the action of cops, to lawyers and witnesses describing action that happened off screen. Now we've moved further away from action to the drama of people debating over their public relations strategies. Not that there's much action to be found in the lives of Elizabeth or Albert or Charles or Camilla, but is this segment of their stories worth focusing on?

Helen Mirren in a deleted scene from The Queen.Screenwriter Peter Morgan has made a career dramatizing angles and moments you'd be hard pressed to give a shit about. Behind-the-scenes battle over public relations strategy in The Queen. A TV interview in Frost/Nixon. The drama of coaching a soccer team and all the public relations maneuvering involved in The Damned United. At least I can take heart that one of his more recent movies, The Special Relationship, was made for tv. Are the major studios recognizing that these are not worth making features about?

Here's my pitch for Morgan's next smash hit. Just give me a story credit and you can run with it...

Two towering figures of global importance. Christopher Hitchens. Charlie Rose. What better way to show the dramatic depth of their lives than to explore the narrative of Charlie Rose's associate producer discussing with Hitchens's agent whether their next interview will touch on the topic of Natalie Holloway's disappearance in Aruba. Or would that be too brutal and raw and close to the nerve? Perhaps we should pull back another level, further behind the scenes, and just show the children of Hitchens's agent that morning, arguing whether to have porridge, shredded wheat, or bangers & mash for brekki. (From their choice, we infer how the rest will play out.)

Working title: The Damned Weetabix

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