The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that major industry figures are planning a Ronald Reagan biopic
, which is slated to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 million. The figures involved are Mark Joseph, Ralph Winter, and Jonas McCord. Joseph optioned the wonderful Paul Kengor books The Crusader
and God and Ronald Reagan
; he’s is a marketing and development exec who worked on Ray
, and The Passion of the Christ
. Winter, produced the four X-Men movies, two “Fantastic Four” movies, and the remake of Planet of the Apes
. McCord wrote Malice
and The Body
Joseph and Winter clearly lean right politically; Joseph commented, quite rightly:
“Only in Hollywood could you make an insulting, condescending movie about a much-loved historical figure, hire an actor who loathes the man, watch it flop and then somehow conclude that Americans don't want to see a movie about him. I watched Americans line up and wait for 10 hours for the simple privilege of passing by his closed casket. They love this man.”
I was one of the Americans who lined up to pass by his closed casket. I am an unabashed fan of Ronald Wilson Reagan. And I couldn’t be more excited about this movie.
The movie is supposedly going to cover Reagan’s life from birth to the assassination attempt on him by John Hinckley, Jr., which was a transformative moment in the Reagan presidency. Presumably there will be some coverage of Reagan’s impact on winning the Cold War and creating the largest peacetime economic boom in American history.
This movie is a necessary first step toward conservative re-establishment of itself in this town. For too long, conservatives have run screaming from the fray, ignoring culture altogether and going to war with Hollywood rather than attempting to infiltrate it.
The question, though, is whether this strategy – picking an openly conservative figure and lionizing him in artful fashion – is the best strategy toward integrating what is a open-conservative-rein
industry. Conservative movies have made money before (The Passion of the Christ
being the most obvious example), but they haven’t opened the industry to more conservatives. If anything, the success of openly conservative movies has made militant liberals in the industry more reactionary, attempting to shut out those kooks who were involved with Passion
, for example. And the follow-up from conservative investors in film and television projects has been meek, at best; we still don’t have the backing of enough money to provide true competition to the liberal-dominated Hollywood machine.
In order to wield true power in the industry, therefore, conservatives will have to pursue pure entertainment projects as well as conservative shout-out pieces. That means more Dark Knights
and less Passions
. Hollywood is a town run by two competing forces: profit motive and leftist political motive. The way to help the first motivation overcome the second is to render the second motivation moot by making creative and entertaining films sans political content. Then, once conservatives have entered the industry – once they’ve joined the social clique that Hollywood is – liberals will be more willing to accept them. The fact is that conservatives do work in the industry, but only if they’ve spent substantial time building ties before making their politics clear. We can either yell at the system from the outside, or we can do something about from the inside.