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Sure there's a biopic about grade-A slimeball John Edwards in the works, but if you want a really snaky Southern politician you've gotta go for Lee Atwater, the Republican strategist who came up with the race-baiting "Willie Horton" ad, insinuated that a Congressional candidate had been "hooked up to jumper cables" as treatment for depression, and played in a blues band on the side. Atwater died at the height of his power in 1991, and though he was a general force of evil in the world, I still kinda love him-- he hails from my home state, after all, and my aunt says he used to pick up women in bars by telling fake sob stories about his tragic childhood.
Apparently I'm not the only one fascinated by the man who was the subject of a documentary titled The Boogie Man. None other than Adam McKay, who revealed some political leanings with the sharp closing credits for The Other Guys, is apparently working on a biopic of the wheeler and dealer. Better yet, he's brought on Oscar-nominated In the Loop co-writer Jesse Armstrong to help him out. I an interview with AICN he had this to say:
Another script we're working on is the Lee Atwater story. We have Jesse Armstrong working on a draft of that, and we have research being done. That would definitely be a smaller movie. I don't think you'd get more than $8 million or $6 million to do that; even with a giant star, I don't think you'd get more than that.
It's unclear who he means by "we," though you presume his Gary Sanchez Productions is involved, and what McKay's role on the project would be-- provided they ever even rustle up $8 million to make it. A straightforward biopic of Atwater would be interesting enough as it is, but I'm dying to see how McKay's sense of absurdism and Armstrong's sharp political wit would fit into a story about a guy who's been rightly demonized for the last 20 years. Hopefully they'll see in him what I do, a wily and clever and very amoral guy who saw a niche that no one else was filling and took total advantage of it. Biopics about heroes are always boring anyway-- McKay and Armstrong are trying to tell the devil's story, and I can't wait to see what they come up with.