Studio Notes on the 2016 Presidential-Election Screenplay – The New Yorker
Over all, we LOVE what you’ve done. (So many unexpected twists!) However, we feel like we’re not quite there yet. Excited to see you incorporate these notes into the next draft!!
1—Hmm. Does Donald have to be orange? Not sure how that would read visually. Seems like it would be sort of grotesque? He’s such a big character that we’re worried it’s just too much. What if he had a regular human skin tone and just owned up to being bald?(I can’t even imagine what “a conch-shaped hair-hat the texture of corn silk” might look like, but it’s certainly going to eat into our effects budget.) Also, please cut the word “rapists” from his opening line!
2—Wait, wait, wait: Why does everyone ALREADY hate Hillary? Need some sort of explanation here. Like, what if she used to be a hit man or she’s an avowed satanist or something? The flashback where we learn that she was “really sneaky about e-mails” years earlier doesn’t cut it.
3—Please change “I like people that weren’t captured” to “This man is a hero.” Or just cut the line.
6—O.K., are we supposed to be rooting for Jeb? All the early emphasis on Jeb is distracting. Maybe get rid of this character altogether.
12—Minor note: If Ben is the world’s best brain surgeon, why is he written like Pauly Shore with carbon-monoxide poisoning? Is this “anti-comedy”? Most people aren’t going to get it.
19—On the other hand, the old guy, Bernie, is SO MUCH FUN. (Maybe he’s our R2-D2??? I’m imagining plush toys!) But he needs a pithier catchphrase than “The billionaire class has mortgaged your future to Wall Street.”
20—“Blood coming out of her wherever” is going to get us an NC-17 rating. Please cut.
21—The Bernie supporters are reading a little broad. Also, we’re never going to be able to get Susan Sarandon for this.
24—“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, O.K.?” is too on the nose. This should be subtext.
28—I kind of feel like the smart choice would be for them to pick Marco, no? You need to make us understand why nobody wants Marco.
41—Oof. I had to go all the way back to the beginning here, because I didn’t remember who Kasich was. Is there any way Kasich could be more . . . something?
43—Way, way too many protester beatings. We get it. Only need to see this once.
47—In that same vein, let’s lose all the “Mexican judge” stuff. Latinos make up an increasingly large portion of the moviegoing audience. It just doesn’t make sense to needlessly alienate them with something like this.
53—I could use ninety per cent less Ted. Ted makes my skin crawl. I feel like Ted belongs in a different movie (a David Lynch movie about peeping Toms).
66—Tim who? Feels weird to suddenly introduce a major new character at the beginning of Act III. What if instead of Tim it were Elizabeth here? We LOVE Elizabeth. She is so cool and tech-savvy, we want to see more of her! If it absolutely HAS to be Tim, can you at least give him some Elizabeth-style zingers? I feel like he’s introduced and then never says anything ever again.
71—The “evil Russians” thing has been done to death.
74—Spending twenty thousand dollars of his charity’s money to buy a gigantic portrait of himself is cartoonish and, again, way too on the nose. Also, after Donald has done ALL of this, we’re expected to believe he’s somehow STILL polling around forty per cent? Please change this to a more realistic number, like three per cent.
81—“Basket of deplorables” is clunky. I can’t imagine this on a movie poster.
82—Huh? Why would the media give her a hard time for catching pneumonia? Everybody gets sick occasionally, right? I can’t help still thinking that this character should have done something to deserve all the vitriol. Like maybe she appears to consistently support a hyper-interventionist foreign policy and THAT’S what people criticize her for. Or she drowns puppies. Really anything more substantial than private servers and phlegm.
90—I know we’ve gone back and forth on a couple of endings, but none feel quite right. (Especially the super-scary one! It’s not a horror movie!) This is way out of left field, but we were thinking: What if Barack, from the first film, comes back and somehow wins this election, too! And then he gets to be President again! (Maybe forever?) We feel like this might be an ending that audiences could really get excited about.