I just finished reading an article about a couple in New York City that has literally set my mind racing with creative possibilities. I am purposely leaving the names and specific details of this couple’s story out of my account because I feel that creative license sometimes makes for a better read, show, or movie. Think about this: If Forrest Gump had been a documentary, do you believe his life would have been blessed with such perpetual happiness and good fortune? Hell no! Forrest’s life would have more closely resembled that of Carl Childers in Sling Blade. In a real world, Forrest would have been eating French-fried-pertaters and sleeping in a hole in the tool shed out back. Plus, doesn’t the idea of Tom Hanks doing his treasured role, with the same accent but with Carl’s voice and body just get you all giddy inside like it does me? I love both movies, but part of what makes them memorable is the creative journey on which both fictional films take us. I plan to do the same with this story. I plan to use this blog post to look at all the possibilities my overactive, Disney influenced mind can come up with.
I think what makes this story so interesting is the fact that we can’t help but to put an “Americanized” spin on it in our heads. We hear “leader of a people” and we think of all the hoopla that surrounds our leaders. We think of the great wealth, power, and praise given; albeit mostly unjustified, to those in positions of power in our country and it becomes hard to picture a leadership system like the ones that must exist in remote lands like the one from which this couple hails. Our laws, values, and beliefs hold no bearing whatsoever on the day to day lives of the people in that part of the world. The idea of carrying a little dog around in a purse while flashing your vagina as you exit a shiny car is as confusing a thought to them as string theory confirmation is to non-physicists. The money that they have made here in the United States, while probably not a staggering sum, is most likely more than anyone in their African neighborhood can imagine. Okay, let’s take a look at the creative inspirations that immediately bounced around my brain as I read this story before I get too wrapped up in a comparison of America and Africa. Just remember this if you get confused……Africa = Very rarely does anyone flash their vagina while exiting a vehicle; has lions. America = NO Lions; Vaginal flashing has essentially replaced the handshake as a form of greeting in parts of L.A.. I want to explore the possibilities that Hollywood would come up with had this true story been a fictional manuscript submitted to them by a hungry young author.
IDEA ONE: Sleepless in Ghana – Mr. Zemeckis could turn this story into cinematic gold as a love story in which the tribal leader of the proud Akwamu people agrees to move to America so that his beloved wife may feel the love he has for her. In Ghana, she is just the wife of the king; always present but never receiving any of the adoration cast at her husband. The husband, caring little about his celebrity and deeply for his wife, agrees to move to America and to, get this…..work for his wife as a cab driver. Toss in an evil corporation trying to buy the land on which she runs her cab company, a few perfectly placed supporting cast-members, some witty banter and humorous cultural confusion, and a community bonding victory over ‘the man’ to end the film and this thing could be one of those movies that women watch with a tub of ice cream and a box of Kleenex after a breakup. Oh, and somebody has to have a really cute kid with a couple of innocently memorable lines to make the whole thing work.
IDEA TWO: Blood Yams – The Coens could take a stab at the dark side of the annual Yam harvest in the Eastern border towns of Accra. Made to look like a festival, but covering up a sinister plot that has plagued the region for centuries. The annual harvest festival provides the perfect cover for the bold escape the ruler of the region must make to save not only his own life but the life of his beloved bride as well. Landing in America but constantly looking over his shoulder for the one they call The Tuber Assassin, the fugitive ruler slips into a realm of madness few of us will ever encounter. The freedom of America becomes his prison as he fears death at every corner. I’m picturing Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as the mysterious assassin, but with Javier Bardem’s haircut from No Country For Old Men.
IDEA THREE: Coming to Adenta – How could you not picture Eddie Murphy in the role of a tribal chief who thought he had escaped the political demands of his family decades ago only to find that he is now the chief and ruler of five African towns? Opening with Eddie Murphy in a stereotypical argument with another cabbie who has just slammed into the back of his vehicle, Mr. Murphy receives information (in a predictably lighthearted manner) that he is now the exalted chief of a tribe in Africa. Telling his wife, who has been his boss for nearly three decades, that they are moving to Africa where she will “worship him” would be a scene worth seeing by itself!
IDEA FOUR: The Truth – If you haven’t taken the time to read the New York Times article i linked above, please do so. I am very rarely a fan of the New York Times and my dependence on them for anything newsworthy is even less frequent, but I was led to this particular article via several others. The truth, as it is written by Ms. Haughney, is just as fascinating as anything Hollywood could create. Sure, there would have to be some fictional supporting characters sprinkled in, and maybe a few minor changes to the scenery that make movies more appealing than reality, but all in all…… this is a story that’s just waiting for a cinematic adaptation.
Well, that’s about it for today’s wisdom. I hope you don’t actually feel dumber having read this dribble, but I appreciate the fact that you’re still reading if you have gotten this far. I’m sure something will happen over the weekend that inspires a more typical rant on Monday.
Thanks for playing!