Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Patrick Stewart, Poop Emojis, And Making Movies About Social Media

News broke this week that Patrick Stewart—the inimitable actor know for roles like Capt. Picard, Professor X, and “A Patrick Stewart type”—booked the most coveted role in Hollywood. Many actors called their agents, furiously demanding an audition, shouting things like “Don’t you know what this will do for my career?” and “This character truly speaks to me on an elemental level.” But Stewart proved he was the man to play the role of his lifetime:

Yes, Patrick Stewart will voice the “Poop,” the apt name for the poop emoji in the upcoming and creatively titled The Emoji Movie. (Just when you thought Hollywood was out of ideas…) Stewart was unavailable for comment because, as per his representative, Stewart’s “been living in toilets and letting dogs lick his crack” to find the essence of his character.

Move over, Jared Leto, because a new Method Acting King has come to town.

That apoocryphal story—apocryphal, typo, sorry—got us thinking. As studios and Hollywood mine digital culture for its influence and potential, what other stories are just waiting to move into the big screen? What narratives need to be told, just waiting for someone to realize that hidden source material?

We had some ideas.

AIM man, played by Ashton Kutcher

Why This Actor: Not-too-recently,  Ashton Kutcher had a job title of “Actor.” I know, hard to believe. But at one point Kutcher performed as characters in front of cameras. Then—*spoilers*—that footage somehow could be seen on TVs and movie screens. AIM was social media before social media existed. You checked friends’ summary pages, messaged to check their cheeky, rotating away messages. It’s where social networks first connected. Now it’s time for both to reclaim their previous mantles.

The Pitch: For sweet little Aimon, the world was his oyster from a young age. Adoration and adulation shouted his way whenever he crossed the street. Always so desired, Aimon lived the fast lifestyle, perpetually on the move and chasing his next high. Then came the fall. Thrown into obscurity, Aimon must learn to stop messaging people away and re-connect with himself, if he has any hope of reclaiming that which he so desperately yearns: dozens of friends to small talk.

Twitter Bird, played by Charlie Day

Why This Actor: Okay now. Deep breath: Charlie Day is a character actor who only has one character and that’s himself, dishing non-sequiturs and stream of consciousness thought that often isn’t funny or that convincing, but because of its inflamed energy and overwhelming repetition, you let the overwhelming tsunami numb you into acceptance, praying it will just end, like this sentence, until you gasp, defeated, “I guess.” How is this not Twitter?

The Pitch: Twitter Bird is but one tweeter in a family of carrier pigeons. Though he wants to strike out on his own, a family tragedy saps him when an ivy vine strangles Twitter Bird’s Father. Income strapped and heartbroken, Twitter Bird begins delivering messages for illegal underground crime syndicates, a lucrative yet morally corrupt business. When he learns the messages he’s been delivering could spell apocalyptic doom for the world, Twitter Bird must face himself and his sordid past, and decide if this is truly the bird he wants to be.

Michael Jordan Crying Meme, played by Michael B. Jordan

Why This Actor: We swear to god it’s not because they—it’s because they have the same name.

The Pitch: No matter how hard he tried, MJ could never succeed. Picked on in high school, a klutz, all his pants displaying stains, he was the symbol for epic failure. This is why MJ couldn’t stop crying. He didn’t want to cry, but a slip and fall during a pickup basketball game, or a peek on his feeds would prompt the waterfalls. In an Oscar-worthy performance, Michael B. Jordan has never been better, demonstrating the human condition with devastating exteriority and eyeball-rupturing tears. Caveat: This film can only be viewed on mobile devices.

Snapchat Ghost, played by Tilda Swinton

Why This Actor: Tilda Swinton is known for her fierce versatility and ability to disappear into roles. Old, young, sexy, schlepp, intelligent, intentional, quiet, loud—Swinton can work whatever angle you want. Her very self is mutable and Tilda Swinton the Person can become transparent if need be. She is proof of everyone’s Snapchat goals. Plus she rocks the fuck out of a dog filter.

The Pitch: In one of her hungriest, Look-How-Transformative-My-Acting-Is roles ever, Tilda Swinton plays the teenager Go. A product of her generation, Go’s always changing her look and can never found in one spot longer than 10 seconds. Until one day, when Go’s sense of self disappears altogether. To learn who she is, Go pushes into her Memories, losing herself in nostalgia. This fraught coming-of-age tale showcases the troubles and tribulations of growing up in an age where identity is politics and politics makes no sense.



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