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Extensive Look at Oliver Stone’s W

Written by: Big Ross, CC2K Staff Writer

ImageSource: Entertainment Weekly

We’ve got the skinny on EW’s in-depth look at acclaimed and controversial director Oliver Stone’s upcoming George W. Bush biopic W (pronounced dubya, according to early poster designs).

As you may know Josh Brolin is set to star as President Bush, and Elizabth Banks will portray First Lady Laura Bush.  Vice President Dick Cheney has yet to be cast, and Stone won’t comment on reports that Paul Giamatti is in talks for the role.  And even though an early draft of the script leaked online a few weeks ago, it has already gone through two re-writes since that time and Stone would like even more time with it – “It’s evolving,” he tells EW.  As for reports that W will be out in time for the November Presidential election, Stone isn’t so sure.

"I could have it in theaters before the inauguration without a problem, but October?  It depends on how fast an edit I do. It would cost money to rush it, but I've done that kind of thing before. This would be the fastest of my life, but it's not impossible. I can do it."

Stone reportedly had difficulty casting the role of the male roles in this film, and EW reports it took quite a bit of convincing on Stone’s part to bring in Brolin for the part of the President.    Once he agreed, Brolin says he’s been working for months attempting to master Bush’s style of speaking and mannerisms.

"Sometimes I'll call hotels in Texas and talk to the people at the front desk just to listen to their accents. And I've been watching a lot of video of Bush walking. It changes over the years, how he walks in his 30s, how he walks in foreign lands, before 9/11 and afterwards. People hold their emotions in their bodies. They can't fake it. Especially him."


Josh Brolin as George W. Bush

Based on reviews of the early, leaked draft of the script W will flash between Bush's wild youth and more recent years as President, and it gives equal time to his rise to power as well as his low points.  From EW's article:

There's a scene of 26-year-old Bush peeling his car to a stop on his parents' front lawn and drunkenly hurling insults at his father (''Thank you, Mr. Perfect. Mr. War Hero. Mr. F—ing-God-Almighty!''), while another scene set a few years later finds Bush nearly crashing a small plane while flying under the influence. Some of the bits inside the White House are even more harrowing. ''Just keep your ego in check,'' Bush snaps at Cheney during one chilly exchange. ''I'm the president. I'm the decider.'' In one Strangelove-like moment, he tries to sell Tony Blair on the idea of provoking war with Iraq by flying a U.S. plane painted with U.N. colors over Baghdad, baiting Saddam to shoot it down. ''Plan B is assassinate the sonofabitch,'' Bush informs the horrified prime minister. 

And while Stone's portrayal of the current President has drawn fire from multiple angles challenging the accuracy of his depiction of events, Stone has remained resolute in his vision.

''I'm tired of defending the accuracy of my movies. I'm past that now. JFK was a case to be proven, Nixon was a penetrating biography of a complex and dark man. But I'm not bound by those strictures anymore. Bush is not a complex and dark man, so it's different. This movie can be funnier because Bush is funny. He's awkward and goofy and makes faces all the time. He's not your average president. So let's have some fun with it. What are they going to do? 'Discredit' me again?"

"I think history is going to be very tough on him. But that doesn't mean he isn't a great story. It's almost Capra-esque, the story of a guy who had very limited talents in life, except for the ability to sell himself. The fact that he had to overcome the shadow of his father and the weight of his family name — you have to admire his tenacity. There's almost an Andy Griffith quality to him, from A Face in the Crowd. If Fitzgerald were alive today, he might be writing about him. He's sort of a reverse Gatsby."

Click HERE to read the full article.