The sort of people who habitually fall back on the phrase “you couldn’t make it up!” usually couldn’t.
Still, there must be thousands of wannabe screenwriters out there slowly chipping away at a creative block the size of Belgium, and while a little artistic license is always going to be crucial, we reckon the newsstands are a good bet for stumbling on some primo Hollywood fodder..
So we've taken a few recent news stories and pitched them as movies. Studios - stick yer rights requests in the comments...
Reality: Pet dog gets lost at sea, swims through shark infested waters, survives for four months on a desert island eating wild goats.
Adaptation: This one hardly needs messing with at all, but we’d certainly play up the ‘swimming through shark-infested waters’ bit – perhaps even a knuckle-gnawing CGI scrap sequence? Oh, and also, our dog would be able to talk. And it wouldn’t end up all vicious and post-traumatic and bitey at the end. It’d become the world’s most successful (and only?) lifeboat dog.
Starring: Get the 22 different Labradors used in the making of Marley & Me on the phone - this is going to be an epic.
Title: Paws vs Jaws
Tagline: How do you go walkies when you’re five miles from land?[page-break]
Reality: The massive Conflicker virus has spread itself pretty much everywhere. We just don’t, er, know what it does. Yet.
Adaptation: The nerdy teen author of the virus, which was originally just a MMORPG hack that mutated, reveals his nefarious demands in a series of YouTube videos uploaded from a secret location.
A young female hacker, assigned to the FBI on a plea deal, is the only one who can stop the countdown to online Armageddon – but, unbeknownst to either party, they’re currently dating on Second Life. The final showdown takes place entirely in cyberspace.
Starring: Dakota Fanning and Frankie Muniz
Title:1337. Obviously, this will also be the number at which the virus activation countdown begins.
Tagline: The world is doomed. Virtually...[page-break]
Reality: Stuck for an idea for his 40th, a woman gives her husband 365 nights of sex
Adaptation: As an outline for an offensive gross-out comedy, this one writes itself. He can’t get it up! She’s on her period! They’re grief-stricken by a death in the family! But rut heedlessly on they must! Etc etc.
The art of montage is going to be key here - we’d better start securing the rights to some ironic Eye Of The Tiger-type ‘80s anthems, and sharpish.
Starring: Eugene Levy, obviously, and Catherine O’Hara as his increasingly rueful spouse.
Title: Come, Rain Or Shine
Tagline: She’s got the perfect gift - but how many times can he unwrap her?[page-break]
Reality: Small-town Aussie newspaper finds a live Port Jackson shark dumped on its porch.
Adaptation: Like a sort of cross between Finding Nemo and Michael Haneke’s Hidden, a deranged local angler takes his frustrations out on a local journalist, after the latter uncovers a murky betting scam behind the neighbourhood’s annual crabbing contest.
The Port Jackson is only the beginning - soon the journo is having to sweep giant squid and wheezing Orca off his desk of a morning. He must stop this madman before his career is derailed. But how?
Starring: Matthew Broderick as the journo, with Bill Murray as the crazed angler.
Title: A Fishy Story
Tagline: He’s going down hook, byline and sinker.[page-break]
Reality: An ancient Andean tribe are facing extinction due to their river drying up.
Adaptation: The plight of a noble indigenous tribe is the result of some giant, faceless corporation - let’s call them AridCon - draining the land as a testing ground for some experimental GM doomsday crop.
A semi-mythical lake in the neighbouring mountain range is the tribe’s only hope, but nobody has ever ventured that far into those treacherous foothills. At a meeting of the village elders, three small boys and a plucky donkey step forward...
Starring: Authentic newcomers. This one really has to pluck at the heart strings.
Title: Sea Of Wishes
Tagline: Who do we turn to when hope has run dry?[page-break]
Reality: A policeman has won an prestigious Orwell award for his tell-all blog.
Adaptation: Night Jack, English Detective, is a modern-day Sherlock Holmes type with a drinking problem and a marriage on the rocks.
He’s out busting Machiavellian chops by day, but at night he’s earning a fanbase for his damning behind-the-scenes exposé of the Scotland Yard suits who smother him in red tape at every turn. With the criminal underworld now using his blog to their advantage, Night faces a moral conundrum.
Starring: Ed Norton
Tagline: The web is closing. Question is, on who?[page-break]
Reality: Van Gogh Didn’t Cut Off His Own Ear
Adaptation: There's never been a break-out big bucks Vincent Van Gogh flick, but perhaps that's because we've only just found out about the centrepiece scene of the film - Van Gogh having a ruck with his sword-wielding mate outside a brothel, getting his ear chopped off, then conspiring to cover it up by claiming he did it himself.
Oh, and did we mention he gave his ear as a gift to a plucky prostitute? There's your tart with a heart (severed ear?) sub-plot right there.
Starring: Jeremy Irons
Title: Ear You Gogh
Tagline: You don't have to be half-deaf to tell half-truths...
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