Dear Charlotte and Fred:
Here's our first memo on your script. The team was excited when we learned you were working on a dystopian drama in which a hack reality TV star gets elected president. Crazy plotline! We're interested, but it needs a lot of work.
No audience is going to buy the current version. In one five-minute scene you've got the president's big campaign guy getting convicted of a jillion different financial crimes, while at the same time the president's old lawyer-fixer is admitting that the leader of the free world told him to use hush money to pay off former sex partners. We love scandals, but this is just too, too over the top.
Also, while we understand you're going for laughs, we're pretty sure there is no such thing as a python-skin coat.
We can't buy the scene where the president goes to a rally right after all these stories break and he's got the crowd yelling, "Drain the swamp!" This is the same time you've got his first two congressional supporters hit by corruption indictments. I know it's supposed to be irony, but it's teetering on insanity.
However, we don't want you to drop the congressmen completely. We liked the detail about one orchestrating an insider trade at the White House picnic. And having the other use campaign funds to get a plane ticket for his pet rabbit was a nice touch. Would you think about making it a fuzzy puppy? Then when everybody gets off the plane the puppy could try to lick the president and our hero/villain would recoil. Nothing audiences like better than hating a man who hates dogs.
For the lead, we're wondering if we could talk Liam Neeson into gaining 50 or 60 quick pounds for the part. And maybe a younger Ray Liotta type for the sleazy fixer.
We're not buying your current version of the president's other lawyer. He's supposed to be a big hero from 9/11 and yet every one of his lines screams "incompetent great-uncle who gets drunk at Thanksgiving." At minimum, give him a different background, like fixing parking tickets. If we can work that out, we're thinking maybe this is a job for Danny DeVito.
The cheery Republican House leaders who ignore everything that's going on don't have a big part, but we think it'd be a terrific acting opportunity for the Backstreet Boys.
As to the women — we like the stripper. (Reese Witherspoon? Jennifer Aniston?) When she gets paid off to keep quiet about having sex with the about-to-be president, can you give her some special phrase we could feature in the promos? Like "Kazowi, Mr. Candidate!" Or "Real leaders use condoms."
We're a little concerned you've made all the lead characters so repulsive that people aren't going to want to go see the film. Mandy has a good suggestion — take a second look at the wife. Right now she's way too wooden, and nobody will believe that pair has had sex since Dick Cheney was in power. How about making her a former federal prosecutor who gave up the chance to be attorney general to stand by her man? Is he grateful — or ticked off that she didn't take the job and shield him from investigators? Not a plot twist we've ever seen before.
We're looking for serious international sales, so definitely let's take this guy to a big meeting with leaders overseas. Maybe a little bit of action when he runs over the head of the European Union in his golf cart.
However, nobody here likes the whole Russian subplot. It just doesn't make sense. You've got a lead character who's in trouble for that girlfriend payoff plot, and for having a whole pile of crooks in his administration. (How many characters, by the way, can get indicted before the credibility fizzles?) And then you have this other whole huge subplot about colluding with the Russians to fix the election. Sorry, any president who had all these messes at once would be out the door in five minutes.
Another problem with the first lady: You gave her an immigrant background and a heavy accent. (This is the point where we start fantasizing Meryl Streep.) But you've also got your lead railing all the time about stopping immigration. Does that make sense? Just don't believe you're going to get anybody to buy that package.
This is an important note from Larry: At the peak of the action, our main man is six feet deep in investigations and he goes out to give a speech to his supporters. In which he keeps reminding them that he won the Electoral College. Now our audience is going to hear that and realize this is a president who didn't win the popular vote.
Larry thinks you should drop that detail and let him win the popular vote. Otherwise, he's so compromised from the get-go that people will start walking out with the opening credits.