Some of you may have read about the scandal that is currently shaking China. The PBS clip above has The Asia Society’s Orville Schell talking about the implications of the Bo Xilai affair. For those of you who fell asleep just by the mention of PBS, allow me to boil it down to a sentence: A while ago, the corrupt police chief of the 30-million strong city of Chongqing desperately fled to the U.S. consulate seeking asylum as a way of protecting himself from Bo Xilai, the all-powerful head of the region’s Communist Party, who has spent the last years illegally enriching himself and his family, which includes his wife Gu Kailai – who is now also suspected of having poisoned a British businessman, Neil Heywood, to death.
The tale of Bo is one of a rise and fall from power that embarrasses the leadership of the nation just as it prepares to hand over the presidency to a new generation. There are so many exciting ingredients in this story that I can’t wait to see the first film adaptation – and Martin Scorsese ought to do it. Considering its political implications, it can’t be done in China. I’ve been thinking about this, and I seriously think that the Departed director should do it. First of all, this is a traditional gangster movie but set in a nation that Scorsese should find interesting. The script could either tell the story as it is, which is thrilling enough as it reflects the modern state of China with its bizarre blend of “Communism” and capitalism (with corruption as an expected consequence). Bo’s authoritarian rule of Chongqing should provide much of the action, sexed up by Gu and her shenanigans, which involves the mysterious relationship with Heywood.
Another, much more ambitious, alternative would be to tell the story using Mao Zedong and his wife Jiang Qing as a backdrop, going back and forth between modern times and one specifically chosen era from Chinese history that best illustrates similarities between Bo and Mao. That would complicate the story (considering how Bo and his father suffered through the Cultural Revolution), but also turn this into a three-hour epic.
Sounds promising? I think so. What about the cast, you ask. Well…
- How about Chow Yun-Fat as Bo?
- And Gong Li as Gu?
- As for Heywood, Brendan Fraser might be an interesting choice.
I realize that I just picked China’s two greatest movie stars simply because I don’t know of any others… but they would do a great job. As for Fraser, this could be a chance for him to escape the kind of type-casting he seems to suffer from right now. And, no, I don’t think this movie is for Leonardo DiCaprio.
As you can tell, I’ve given this some thought. I haven’t gone as far as designing a photoshopped movie poster… but I did come up with an appropriate tagline:
His thirst for power was rivaled only by the government’s desire to hold onto it.
Marty… potential studio heads… you’re welcome. Just remember to cut me a percentage.