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That Time 'Sound of Freedom' Producers Asked David Mamet to Write A Hunter Biden Script

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Some Angel Studios producers were trying to get some political spec scripts written? Surprised? Of course not.

But I do think it's an interesting story, no matter how political. And I do get to romanticize the notion of working with David Mamet for a few minutes.

So indulge me.

Hollywood film producers are continually looking for new material that lies in their wheelhouse of successful film, and I think this kind of story is no exception. But also, while I do think this kind of story is necessary today, I also can understand a hesitance to write this sort of script.

Because it's political? Yes. But there's other reasons too, and a great deal to learn from this scenario. Brietbart reports here, and the Andrew Klavan podcast contains some key quotes, below.

So, let's get into what legendary writer, David Mamet, says. And if you were wondering, yes, I did do a previous story on Mamet and his book, "Everywhere an Oink Oink," in the link down below.

David Mamet’s New Book “Everywhere an Oink Oink” Rakes Hollywood Culture Over Coals
A film lover who hasn’t heard of David Mamet has to check their bonafides, but for industry-types in Hollywood they may have been told falsely that he is another evil fascist. There’s so many of them to keep track of if you’re a Hollywood cult member, it’s up to half

First of all, what a great interview. He speaks of quite a few interactions with Hollywood execs and more silly people in entertainment, but I most love his openness on his own projects. And, speaking of his project requirements when meeting with these (Angel) producers, he said,

"I'm not going to call him Hunter Biden and it's not going to be a travelogue."

Citing as his reason for such a requirement he states that a biopic can easily become a catalogue of places they go to or events this person participates in. Also, clarifying the political nature of these things, he explains that how "interesting" the story is becomes more important than the historical character mentioned, in this case, Hunter Biden. He seems to be saying not only that biopics are difficult, but also that they undercut their own relevance in this way.

Many non-artists may not understand these requirements, but we deal with these questions all the time. All this, while others may assume that what they see around them (other biopics) becomes acceptable simply by virtue of their success or even simply by virtue of their existence. But good artists like Mamet look beyond this, which ought to make us respect him even more.

We can say, "what's wrong with a travelogue?", or "what's wrong with a film about Hunter Biden?" and we aren't wrong to ask these questions. But, we must remember that learning something from Mamet may be far more involved than we first assumed.

For example, we may not be able to understand or accept that good artists can often do two things. 1. They can know their own limitations. And, 2. they can hold themselves to standards that we do not hold ourselves to. Some of this is just about getting to know anybody at all, but some of this is also about how art is conceived.

So again, if you want the high standards that a writer like Mamet can accomplish, then we must try understanding why he doesn't want to make a film about (or at least not officially about) the infamous Biden's son (Mamet knows there are higher fruits on the tree than low-hanging political fruit). If we seek to understand Mamet's limitations, understand why he doesn't seek to do travelogue (he may not like it).

But, there is also something else here that many do not understand about artists, and especially storytellers like writers, directors, & actors. It is this... writing a lead character must be done with compassion and empathy. The charged nature of this story makes this difficult, or makes it hard to communicate. Falling in love with this character must occur, in a way. That may be hard, even for David Mamet to do. Expressing that empathy may be even harder.

Additionally, the high cost of paying a pro like him may not compensate enough for the journey to learn these things. That will depend upon many things, and we can learn it in other ways. But this journey to getting good quality work is often worth far more to us than we may believe. We may forge a long-lasting relationship, or learn more about art ourselves. And it will be with... David Mamet.

By the way, if you seek to learn more about Mamet, and his brilliance, here's a great video on him and the Master Class he made recently, with some great summation on his philosophy on writing (namely that character does not exist. And yes, by coincidence, I subscribe to a similar theory in my own work).

The beauty is, this journey can start even before you sign on the dotted line. For example, ask him if he doesn't believe he can do travelogues well, or ask if this is his hangup. Because I personally believe that travelogues are a muted way of saying adventure film. But that's just me. Embracing that more challenging journey to making an adventure film could be his solution.

Another solution is to ask why he doesn't seek to make it political by including the hot-button issue of using the Biden name? Sure, as many artists are, he may be bored of politics as a focus of discussion in film. But he also may believe that it muddies the waters of clear self-reflection, which art is often meant to facilitate. This can be a great point of agreement and cooperation.

For example: instead of it being a yes or no answer on his name, we can focus on making it about the human condition, not about the modern corruption in politics, or the fact that this calls into question the loyalties of our current President.

In other words, appealing to sympathy instead of outrage.

If you haven't picked up on it, you can see that this kind of thing excites me, because I really enjoy the "idea phase" of making great films happen with great artists alongside. In any case, I think it could have been accomplished, but I think this kind of raw and contemplative discussion is required to push it to the next stage... into a cooperative arrangement where we can learn more about each other. This becomes an accomplishment in itself.

So, many people can't do this, it's true. But if you seek to work with good artists, this is often more necessary than we'd like to think. And I think anyone should be honored to work with such a storied and prolific writer as Mamet.

Here's to hoping that both Mamet gets to make great work into the future, and also these now-storied film producers get to as well!

Did you enjoy this article? Did you learn anything about David Mamet, negotiating with artists, and understanding the pitfalls of political or biopic work? Let us know down below (with subscription) or on our social media!