Why don’t ex-presidents appear in the movies?

If someone asked me to be in a movie, I’d say yes. Just for fun. Just to act, although I know zilch about acting. Just to be there on set and recite my lines and do multiple takes and then to sit down that evening for rushes and to see myself up there on the silver screen.

If Clinton or Bush wanted a part, they could get one in a second. I’d write one for either of them in half that time. Look, Schwarzenegger is already back on location, with no wife or office to moderate his groping. If Reagan hadn’t been deep into his bout with Alzheimer’s before his second term was up, he would have mounted El Alamein, his favorite horse, once more. I’ve seen the scripts. The studio was going to film on his ranch, with his Secret Service agents lurking behind the cameras. Before he got too sick for the project to be practical, Nancy kept the negotiations going, which included her comeback as well as Ronnie’s. Sunset Blvd. moves north to Santa Barbara!

Chester Arthur died too soon, but Benjamin Harrison might have snuck onto early film before his death in 1901. Cleveland, too. TR died in 1919. Perhaps he appeared in an early flicker or two; it wouldn’t surprise me. Taft went to the Supreme Court. Wilson and Harding died too soon. Coolidge just wanted to go back to Vermont and stay there. Hoover was a brainiac who couldn’t be bothered with the movies. FDR died too soon, and his disability was never shown in the media, which would have ruled him out anyway. Truman would have done it, would have brought Margaret with him, but Bess wouldn’t let him go. She had put up with him out of Missouri more than enough; no way he was going to Hollywood. Eisenhower and LBJ had bad tickers, or something might have been done there. JFK became the subject of movies, not the star in them.

Now, Nixon, that guy… My dad begged him to come over to the studio for a talk. Nixon was right there at San Clemente. He wanted vindication. Sure, he was writing his books, but he knew in his heart that nobody would read them, especially after a few years had passed. My dad sent a screenplay over to him, in which, yes, Nixon played a President brought down by a Democratic (sorry, Democrat) conspiracy. Nixon was interested. For one thing, Pat was on the sauce again and he needed something to help distract her. His books sure weren’t doing it. There were the San Clemente gardeners (undocumented, of course, in both senses), but I’m not going there. Anyway, my dad set up a meeting with Nixon, but then the studio heads got wind of it. Nixon was a bigger anti-Semite than Mel Gibson, of course, and the studio heads put the kibosh on the meeting in a thrice. They especially hated the part in the screenplay that suggested that Nixon was mainly brought down by the Jews.

Nobody cared about Ford, or ever wanted to see him again. Carter was off being a do-gooder; no time for fun. GWB was so intertwined with the Washington bureaucracy and Texas oil and Haliburton that he was never going to be allowed outside the fold and onto film.

Which leaves Clinton and Bush. I have feelers out to both. Maybe it’s a little low, but my Clinton feeler is a Lewinsky lookalike with the morals of a skate.

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6 Responses

  1. Doesn’t Clinton have a cameo in Hangover 2?

    Also, aren’t some of those presidents pre-movie?

  2. Say, that’s good movie knowledge! Clinton filmed a cameo for Hangover 2 but i thought that it was cut. Did it actually make it in? I haven’t seen the movie.

    As for the presidents, none of them were pre-movie. Movies started in, say, 1894, so Grover Cleveland could have been in one (died in 1908). McKinley got shot, so we can’t count him.

  3. I googled it. I also googled “morals of a skate” but all I could find was your blog.
    I haven’t see the movie, but I’m sure I will. There’s a groundswell of enthusiasm about it in my house.

    Obviously, I don’t know the presidents very well. Except for the ones that start with Wilson, the rest are a mist of guys with mutton chop sideburns.

    I sent you an e-mail with some questions about procrastinating. As you are so clearly engaged in that activity, you should read it and answer it. I don’t think it would take more than 15 minutes.

    • Hmm. I did read your email and answer it. I’m obviously having trouble with my accounts.

      I said that your experiment doing a 20-minute riff seemed quite successful and worthy of posting. So much easier than laboring over a piece for hours. The question is, is doing these quick posts creative and useful, or procrastination in disguise, or both, or neither.

      Your mention of David Foster Wallace and his final book put me in mind of the apotheotic Finnegans Wake.

    • Skates (e.g., Raja rhina) like to get down and dirty in the sand and aren’t too particular whom they do it with.

  4. Oh, I got that one. But then I asked you a followup question. Which you answered in one zen-like sentence. So, I asked you another followup question. I believe that e-mail is waiting for you now. Inching ever closer to FW status, L

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