The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

28 November 2005

Where there's a Will

The Downtown Guy says that for the state's centennial in 2007, we need something to grab the nation's interest:

A movie. A wide release movie that hits theaters across the country. Of course, it can't be something corny. It can't be a remake of Oklahoma. It's got to fit in with what today's audiences are looking for.

Think about some of the biggest critical hits the past few years: Ray. Walk the Line.

Now, who is widely held up as one of the best representations of Sooner pride, someone whose life story was pretty incredible?

Will Rogers. I'll let someone far more qualified than I take up this argument and explain why his life story is so perfect for the big screen, and why it's time to retell his story to today's generation.

It's time. With Gray Frederickson and others in state, and maybe some help from E. K. Gaylord II's movie studio, is it really such an impossible idea?

Get a good script writer, convince Frederickson and his young charges that this is the opportunity to make something great, something that can pay off big dividends for their state, and then present a plan to Gaylord's studio that suggests that maybe this can make money and draw in crowds, and if not, it would still be a great service to his state.

I like. And both these guys have a decent track record — Frederickson's won an Oscar, fercryingoutloud — which might make the project easier to sell upstream.

Last time Hollywood tried this tale was in 1952 with The Story of Will Rogers, directed by Michael Curtiz (Casablanca), and starring Will Jr. as his dad. Obviously we don't have this option today, and we probably shouldn't figure on getting an A-list cast, so as to keep the budget within reason. And we don't have a whole lot of time, since 2007 is a mere 13 months away. If you have casting suggestions, drop them into Comments.

Posted at 1:20 PM to Soonerland


I'd give my left eye to play the part of Wiley Post.

Posted by: Mel at 3:49 PM on 28 November 2005

You'd need someone that has died more recently.

Posted by: aldahlia at 5:32 PM on 28 November 2005

"You'd need someone that has died more recently."

They told Ken Burns no one really cared about Mark Twain, too. Will Rogers' story, told and marketed well, should do well.

Posted by: Mr. Snitch! at 8:03 PM on 28 November 2005

Intriguing idea, but Frederickson isn't the guy to do it, I don't think. Who would play Will? Bill Paxton? Tim Robbins? (that choice would infuriate a lot of Okies, no doubt, but after "Mystic River," I'm convinced that guy could pick up any accent).

Also what about a biopic about Jim Thorpe, for that matter?

Posted by: Chase at 2:19 PM on 29 November 2005

I wouldn't mind that at all. Then again, a lot of people think Jim Thorpe has something to do with Pennsylvania. :)

Robbins as Will? I can see that.

Posted by: CGHill at 3:20 PM on 29 November 2005