Archive for the ‘Media’ Category
The following is an excerpt from acclaimed British film director Sir David Lean’s recently discovered autobiography, “My Epic Life: A Humble Take on a Modern Genius” – chapter 12, “You Said It, Neil Armstrong!”:
Of course, I blame it all on Franky Capra. He was the one who told me the “Why We Fight” series was “a dream to make,” and that he couldn’t have asked for a better producing partner than “the good old U.S. of A.” Truly a blind patriot if there ever was one.
It took be all of thirty seconds to realize they’d not only butchered my cut of “The Moon Landing,” but they’d also shortened the whole film by nearly three minutes without my permission. Here Robbie Bolt (the scribe) and I had spent just short of thirteen weeks carefully crafting and recrafting the script and one hectic weeks shooting those ungrateful American astro-NOTS and they proceeded to unceremoniously discard all but one sentence of the production. I had come to expect such disrespect from MGM, but from NASA as well? Sufficed to say, it was the last time I ever shot a film for the United States government.
And now, as one last cuff to Uncle Sam’s pasty Yankee chin I give you the script in its entirety for “The Moon Landing,” written and filmed for NASA by myself and the astonishingly talented Robbie Bolt in the year 1968.
EXT. THE MOON
Neil Armstrong steps off the moon lander in full astronaut garb and onto the surface of the moon.
NEIL ARMSTRONG: One small step for man… one giant leap for mankind.
Buzz Aldrin pokes his head out of the lander and pumps a fist mightily.
BUZZ ALDRIN: You said it, Neil Armstrong!
NEIL: I find it fitting that the greatest country in the world is the first country in the world to have a man discover another world.
BUZZ: I am with you on that one, Neil Armstrong!
NEIL: Can you imagine what would have happened if the Moon had been touched first by the boot of a Communist Russian Cosmonaut?
Buzz Aldrin steps off the ladder and onto the surface of the moon.
BUZZ: Whoa! Slow down, Neil Armstrong! Don’t scare me like that.
NEIL: Yet again America has proven she’s smarter than the rest of the world.
BUZZ: And better at science and math!
NEIL: I’m proud to be an American. And of that I know I’m sure.
Neil Armstrong pulls an American flag out of the moon lander.
BUZZ: Amen to that, Neil Armstrong!
NEIL: Thank God and Jesus for my civil liberties. And for allowing me to earn an honest living in a nation where I’m free to do whatever I want with whomever I choose, as long as I follow the morally and religiously just laws of our great government in Washington.
BUZZ: And pay your taxes! Don’t forget about paying those taxes!
NEIL: I wouldn’t dream of it. I’m also registered for the Selective Service and ready to lay my life down for my country, if need be.
BUZZ: Wow! I hope it doesn’t come to that! Just think if those Communists in Red China or Russia or Communist Cuba decided to invade us. They combined Red Army would be bigger than our entire population! That’d be a nightmare and a half!
NEIL: And they’re sure moving closer every day, too! If I were the United States government I would be keep a close eye on those sneaky Southeast Asians.
BUZZ: Did you hear that, President Nixon? America’s with you all the way!
Neil Armstrong plants the American flag into the Moon’s surface.
NEIL: As great as America and Americans are, aren’t those Brits also great?
BUZZ: They sure do make a helluva good movie.
NEIL: Did you see that “Doctor Zhivago” flick?
BUZZ: I sure did. What a story! Sir David Lean’s sweeping tale of a doomed romance, set in Revolutionary Russia, sure left my wife weepy and me mad at those Reds!
NEIL: Yeah, they sure wouldn’t leave the good Doc alone.
BUZZ: What do they have against poetry in that country anyway?
NEIL: Hey, I can’t wait to catch the next masterpiece by Sir David Lean.
BUZZ: Well, you’re in luck! Next summer you can take the little lady to see “Ryan’s Daughter.”
NEIL: Oh, yeah. I heard about that one. Isn’t that Sir David Lean’s sweeping tale of a doomed romance set in war-torn Ireland?
BUZZ: That’s the one! And it stars surly American actor, Robert Mitchum, to boot!
NEIL: Wow, it sounds like our country’s future is bright!
BUZZ: See you real soon, America!
NEIL: And remember, when you smoke, make it a new Salem Menthol!
FADE TO BLACK.
If you’re reading this it means I’m dead. Kidding! I hope you still have your sense of humor, Future Self, because I’m going to level with you — right now that’s kind of all you have going. I really hope this is my five to ten year Future Self, and not my one year, because I’m confident that my five to ten version will be able to laugh. Not so sure about my one year.
Things are bad now, man. You took some chances and they didn’t pan out. That’s Present Me for you, though – a risk taker! In an effort to “show them” you quit your job with nothing lined up. I bet in retrospect getting reprimanded for coming in two hours late and parking in the CEO’s spot seems reasonable. You weren’t there, though. Larry’s tone was condescending, and it was a big deal at the time.
Speaking of big deals, what were you thinking ending it with Chase? Now that I think of it, he was pretty fantastic. I look to you for answers, F.S., because you’re older, wiser, more mature. I’m just a silly old kid, and to me, wanting to spend time with your sick grandma seems boring, and I hate to say it, but kind of cliche.
You’re cracking up right now, aren’t you? I bet you’re sitting in your mansion, doubled over, trying to wrap your head around the notion of “bad times.” Good for you. You deserve a good laugh. With all the hard work you do, plus your daily five am yoga classes, you could use it.
And hey, I’m sorry about that scar on your forehead. That was just plain idiotic. But ’til the day I die, I will stand by the fact that if Mindy didn’t force-feed me that eighth cup of mulled wine I never would have leap-frogged Charlie. At least not handcuffed. Although I guess I could have just been acting out because I was getting arrested. Whatevs. The point is, I can admit when I’m wrong. There’s probably, like, really high-tech machinery to laser scars out now though, right? What, do you just go into a booth and zap, come out scar-free, Jetsons-style? I bet it’s something like that. Probably kind of pricey, though. But with your paychecks, that’s just a drop in the ol’ bucket! (Assuming modeling/acting/singing still pays well.) I wonder if you’ve become an aristocrat? Do you have a butler? Do you use cloth napkins? Hey – whatever you do, don’t forget the little people, sister.
All these shenanigans – or should I say lessons – made you/me stronger, didn’t it? I bet it helped define who you are. Thanks to Present Me’s devil-may-care ways, you’ve learned so much through trial and error. That’s why you’re so different now. Do you still like soy cherry chocolate ice cream from Trader Joe’s? Do they even make that in the future? (Note to Current Self – stock up.) I know you still like Led Zeppelin. That’s probably the only thing you and I have in common right now.
Anyway, back to the present. Well, the past for you. Charlie finally got WWE SmackDown vs. Raw for Wii, so Mindy and I are going to head over there to do some damage. Who knows, maybe you’ll get a great story out of it! Show me a really fancy dinner party you won’t kill at now, girlfriend! You’re welcome.
This piece was originally rejected from McSweeney’s.