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This weekend sees the wide release of J. Edgar, Clint Eastwood's attempt to tell the life story of one of the 20th century's most important people-- an attempt that didn't work out so well if you ask some people. But the biopic, as much as it's a genre that can turn boring and preachy, is also the opportunity to tell the life stories of a lot of really fascinating people. So even though this weekend's biopic effort turned out kind of dull, we're not ready to give up! Here are five more people who are totally worthy of their own life stories being told onscreen, and why it's high time they get their chance. From baseball players to Presidents to a really crazy Prohibitionist, here are five "based on a true story" movies we're still looking for.
But it wouldn’t be a compelling biopic if it was just about how Williams was one of the most gifted people to ever walk this planet. Over the course of his career he had a tumultuous relationship with both members of the press and the fans, and had multiple incidents over the course of his career that didn’t always leave Williams standing in the best light. Then, of course, there’s the drama that came with the man’s death. What better way to close out the film than by slowly tracking away from a shot of Ted Williams’ frozen head?
Nation isn't an easy feminist hero to stand behind like Susan B. Anthony or Harriet Tubman, and her stance against a vice we all enjoy greatly today would keep her biopic from becoming a moral screed. She's a great historical badass who wound up on the wrong side of history, and it seems just as fascinating to take a look inside her head as for the great undisputed heroes.
For various reasons, Revolutionary War-era stories -- and Civil War-era stories -- largely are overlooked by less-than-ambitious filmmakers. If you need a dramatic Vietnam War tale, I can point you toward 15 potential rentals. But the scope (and, no doubt, cost) of mounting a proper 18th century ode to historical legends like Washington, Ben Franklin, John Adams and the rest of the founding fathers keeps Hollywood in check.
So I’m lobbying hard for a Washington biopic. The narrative challenge – which Clint Eastwood couldn’t crack with his J. Edgar -- lies in selecting what section of Washington’s illustrious life a filmmaker should focus on. One easily could carve a trilogy out of the Colonial icon’s accomplishments. Start with the French and Indian War, transition into the Revolutionary War for a spectacular second film, then conclude the trilogy with Washington’s presidency. Because unless Hollywood gets its act together and tells Washington’s story properly, U.S. elementary school students searching for his name on YouTube are going to learn all about him from this.
Her contributions to the world as a Catholic are fairly well documented, but a more personal look into the life of this woman and the choices and sacrifices she made over the course her 87 years spent on earth could make for a fascinating and moving story. While controversy always sells, a film that goes out of its way to emphasize her flaws and attempts to expose scandal would be just as unnecessary as one that paints a perfect picture of her. Some of the most inspirational stories are the ones about people we can connect with and relate to on some level. If there’s a way to bring Mother Teresa’s life to the big screen and show us who she was as a human being, it could make for a fantastic, moving, and inspirational story.
Welles made a number of other masterpieces but never without struggling in an increasingly contemptuous relationship with Hollywood (that often forced to work in Europe). Like so many great artists, Welles struggled with addictions, becoming penniless and obese, often having to sleep on the couch of young admirers like Peter Bogdanovich. His weight ballooned and he eventually died of a heart attack three hours after appearing The Merv Griffin Show on October 10, 1985. One of the most brilliant minds in American cinema (and theater) was reduced to living on couches, compulsively eating and being unable to finish or start any projects. The portrait of an infinitely interesting and fiercely intelligent man but not without his share of demons.