Great news: Hollywood to make Rush Limbaugh biopic

posted at 10:12 am on June 4, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Even better news: Deadline says the effort will be similar in tone to Oliver Stone’s W.  The pitch line, according to screenwriter James Sclafani, is Citizen Kane meets Private Parts, except of course for one key point (via Slashfilm):

He’s the country’s top-rated talk radio host, beacon of conservatives, a lightning rod for controversy. Is Rush Limbaugh movie material?

Writer/producer James Sclafani thinks so, and has written a feature film about Limbaugh’s life that is in the process of being packaged and shopped for financing. Sclafani, who recently sold his script Counter Kid to Bill Murray’s Devoted Pictures, optioned The Rush Limbaugh Story: Talent on Loan from God, an unauthorized biography by longtime Gotham-based journalist Paul Colford, who currently heads media relations for the AP. The book served as the basis for the script.

Sclafani said the script he’s written is a close cousin to the Oliver Stone-directed George W. Bush feature W, in that he tries to get beneath the surface politics and controversies and down to the ambition and demons that drove Limbaugh’s success. The film will include contradictions that have gone against his radio diatribes, from the dubious 4-F draft status during Vietnam (unearthed in Colford’s book) to a get-tough stance against drug abusers that was contradicted by the revelation that he himself was addicted to prescription painkillers and got them illegally.

“This is Citizen Kane meets Private Parts, where you have a man who always had trouble relating to people in the outside world, but does it effortlessly in the booth,” said Sclafani, adding that Limbaugh is the proverbial fat kid, ignored in high school, and determined to prove everyone they were wrong about him. “There’s this anecdote about a game of spin the bottle in high school. The bottle pointed at him, and the pretty girl who was supposed to kiss him ran away, and that stayed with him,” Sclafani said. “When he came up in radio, he was culturally opposed to everything happening in the 60s and 70s, and all this left him with something to prove. He is an underdog, and became an extremely determined person with something to prove.”

Howard Stern told his own story in Private Parts, from his own autobiography.  Sclafani used an unauthorized biography for his screenplay.  Citizen Kane was another thinly-veiled unauthorized “biography” written by Orson Welles about William Randolph Hearst, another media titan of his time, as a means of casting Hearst as a bogeyman at about the same time Hearst was going broke.  It’s a brilliant film, perhaps the best American film ever made (my money is on Casablanca), but it’s hardly a model of unbiased truth.

This seems much less incisive.  We’re to assign Rush’s conservatism and his will to succeed to a game of Spin the Bottle?  Well, heck, I played Spin the Bottle in high school too, but the girls didn’t run away from me.  Does that make me a hippie?  It’s hardly a Rosebud moment, although according to the film RKO 281, “rosebud” wasn’t a reference to a sled in Hearst’s life, and is closer to Spin the Bottle than snow-covered hills.

If Sclafani himself wants to compare his script to W, a political hit piece that the Washington Post called “a rushed, wildly uneven, tonally jumbled caricature,” few of Limbaugh’s fans will hurry to correct him.  If he’s using that as a pitch, Sclafani may want to check the box office of Stone’s magnum dopus.  It cost over $25 million to make and only made $25 million in domestic sales, only stayed in theaters a total of six weeks, and made less than $60 million worldwide despite skewering a deeply unpopular Bush.

Addendum: Congratulations are in order for Rush, though, as he gets married tomorrow.

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Comment pages: 1 2

Did they really do a Che Guevara biopic?

I thought that was just a running gag on the right-wing blogs.

JohnGalt23 on June 4, 2010 at 11:08 AM

Yep. Benicio Del Toro played him, and off-screen talked about what a hero and a champion and a god he was.

I can’t watch anything with him in it anymore. Except Traffic. I can’t help that he’s there. Same with Val Kilmer and Heat.

MadisonConservative on June 4, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Hollywood executives and producers may have a deeply liberal bent, but I’ll be surprised if this guy can find enough people willing to finance this movie. With the down economy and the lackluster box office so far this summer, studios are slowing down production schedules. They’re having trouble finding enough cash to make a movie that will be huge – “The Hobbit.”

Sure, they hate Rush but are they willing to simply waste millions to insult him? Usually I’d say yes, but in this economy, it’s hard to say.

Slublog on June 4, 2010 at 11:21 AM

You’re all a bunch of pikers.

Everybody knows that “Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace” was the all-time, undisputed, greatest movie ever made!!!!!!!eleventyhundred!!1111!!!!!!

(Did anyone mention “Plan 9 From Outer Space?”)

CurtZHP on June 4, 2010 at 11:22 AM

In Bruges was a SICK movie!

blatantblue on June 4, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Citizen Kane …….. a brilliant film, perhaps the best American film ever made (my money is on Casablanca)

Not better than any “Ernest” movie ……. know what I mean, Vern ??

Jerome Horwitz on June 4, 2010 at 11:24 AM

the best part of this movie is that there will be a couple dozen folks employed and getting paid for a couple months. Grips and best boys need love too you know

billhedrick on June 4, 2010 at 11:24 AM

Not better than any “Ernest” movie ……. know what I mean, Vern ??

Jerome Horwitz on June 4, 2010 at 11:24 AM

Ernest Goes To Jail is possibly the greatest accomplishment of all cinema.

MadisonConservative on June 4, 2010 at 11:27 AM

Addendum: Congratulations are in order for Rush, though, as he gets married tomorrow.

Well jeez, why didn’t I hear about this sooner?! Good for him. I hope he finally found a woman he’ll be happy with.

disa on June 4, 2010 at 11:28 AM

What, no John “babydaddy” Edwards biopic? Nothing on Dave Letterman and his Worldwide Pants either? Of course Hollyweird isn’t biased.

Laura in Maryland on June 4, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Same with Val Kilmer and Heat.

MadisonConservative on June 4, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Wonderland.

Brilliant and disturbing performance.

JohnGalt23 on June 4, 2010 at 11:31 AM

Ernest Goes To Jail is possibly the greatest accomplishment of all cinema.

MadisonConservative on June 4, 2010 at 11:27 AM

Only until someone gets the gumption to make “Married with Children: Attack of the Shoe Shoppers”.

Laura in Maryland on June 4, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Read more details about the wedding at the Palm Beach Post web page. It’s been talked about there since 5-27.

Kissmygrits on June 4, 2010 at 11:34 AM

Well, heck, I played Spin the Bottle in high school too, but the girls didn’t run away from me. Does that make me a hippie?

In context or without, that is teh funniest riff I’ve read all week!
CAPTAIN ED: CLOSETED HIPPIE?

TC@LeatherPenguin on June 4, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Unintended consequences: The movie, no matter how biased, no matter how inaccurate, no matter how cruel will probably make Rush richer and more popular than ever.

Daggett on June 4, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Forrest Gump = “Stupid is as stupid does”.

Apocalypse Now = “Terminate with extreme prejudice”.

Godfather = “We’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse”.

True Lies – “I gotta lie to women to get laid … I got a little d-ck, it’s pathetic.”

True Lies – “Boy I remember the first time I got shot out of a cannon.”

True Lies – “Uh, sir, you’re gonna hafta sign for that aircraft.”

True Lies – “Sweet Jesus Harry, you really screwed the pooch last night, didn’t you.”

=========================================

“Have you ever killed anyone?”

“Yeah but they were all bad.”

=========================================

“Is there anything you’d like to tell us before we begin?”

“Yeah, I’m gonna kill you pretty soon.”

=========================================

“They call him the ‘Sand Spider’.”

“Why?”

“Probably because it sounds scary.”

—————————————

Hence, True Lies is the greatest movie ever (even if the director is a moron).

Tony737 on June 4, 2010 at 11:46 AM

I bet $5 that this Sclaf guy doesn’t even listen to Rush.

Oh, and:

Godfather: AWESOME

Citizen Kane: overrated and boring; took me years to just sit and finish it in one viewing

Casablanca: good movie, but the hype didn’t match my reaction after finally viewing it.

Can’t think of my #1 all time fave (it might be The Godfather 1&2), but I think most of the movies on the AFI’s list are the best ever.

Dubn8tr on June 4, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Citizen Kane: overrated and boring; took me years to just sit and finish it in one viewing

Just like the textbook liberal elites it defines.

I always tell people, “If you want a textbook definition of a liberal elitist, just watch ‘Citizen Kane’.”

Charles Foster Kane is the quintessential example.

CurtZHP on June 4, 2010 at 12:02 PM

This. will. not. end. well.

di butler on June 4, 2010 at 10:17 AM

Ha, my reaction too. At this point, I have no idea of what Rush will do, but I’m sure that whatever it is, it’ll be masterful.

petefrt on June 4, 2010 at 12:15 PM

I always tell people, “If you want a textbook definition of a liberal elitist, just watch ‘Citizen Kane’.”

Charles Foster Kane is the quintessential example.

CurtZHP on June 4, 2010 at 12:02 PM

I totally agree!
I’ve seen Citizen Kane many times–it never disappoints!

As for this Rush bio pic, if it’s anything like “W” it will be AWFUL.
The Left is truly wee-weed up since that Hopey-Changey thing didn’t work out so great for them.

Jenfidel on June 4, 2010 at 12:16 PM

Kathryn Rogers – picture

petefrt on June 4, 2010 at 12:21 PM

It seems they are never gonna learn. Attacking a guy with an audience bigger than Oprah and three hours a day to do his thing is just dumb.
Rush is the very best at what he does and he will make this bunch tap out.

Big Orange on June 4, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Yet ANOTHER Hollywood movie I won’t be seeing…

Khun Joe on June 4, 2010 at 12:29 PM

petefrt on June 4, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Hmmmmmm.

So, was/is that the SC mistress?

CPT. Charles on June 4, 2010 at 12:33 PM

It won’t find financing. Basically he just spec’d a script and is looking to generate buzz.

John the Libertarian on June 4, 2010 at 12:55 PM

There’s no such thing as bad publicity.

mugged on June 4, 2010 at 1:03 PM

So, was/is that the SC mistress?

CPT. Charles on June 4, 2010 at 12:33 PM

No, the SC mistress is a lady friend of Rush’s.
He calls her his “mistress” as a running joke.

Jenfidel on June 4, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Anybody who puts “Citizen Kane” in the same sentence as “Private Parts” has got to be a hack. Did this guy used to write scripts for porno movies?

Captain Kirock on June 4, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Rush has the rights to his own life story, and he has the money to defend those rights. A really good attorney should be able to tie this up long enough for the financial backing to dry up.

motionview on June 4, 2010 at 10:35 AM

Absolutely wrong. Amateur lawyering is never a good idea.

dakine on June 4, 2010 at 1:46 PM

Best American film ever made? Meet John Doe

JohnJ on June 4, 2010 at 1:52 PM

Did this guy used to write scripts for …?

Captain Kirock on June 4, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Umm, they have scripts???

Mary in LA on June 4, 2010 at 1:57 PM

Mega best wishes to El Rushbo!!!

Angry Dumbo on June 4, 2010 at 2:34 PM

Ed, I’m with ya on Casablanca. Never has been, never will be a better movie.

Hearst lost his mind when Citizen Kane was being made. Tried to buy up the prints. Absolutely Wells’ best work. Even better than his War of the Worlds radio bit. Made stars out of all of the Mercury players.

BTW, “rosebud” is a reference to Hearst’s real life mistress. It seems that was his pet name for her “lady parts.” Wells really got to the guy.

gary4205 on June 4, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Best American film ever made? Meet John Doe

JohnJ on June 4, 2010 at 1:52 PM

I like the cut of your jib!

Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwick. Great movie. Cooper was my mother’s favorite actor, and who she named me after.

BTW, if you haven’t seen it, the Hudsucker Proxy borrows a whole lot from this movie. A whole lot.

gary4205 on June 4, 2010 at 3:01 PM

How about the best American film that’s never been made…?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLcmAwBJgng

rollthedice on June 4, 2010 at 3:12 PM

Rush to be played by Robert Davi.

BHO Jonestown on June 4, 2010 at 3:18 PM

Rush to be played by Robert Davi.

BHO Jonestown on June 4, 2010 at 3:18 PM

Philip Seymour Hoffman

rollthedice on June 4, 2010 at 3:30 PM

There is nothing more laughable and inaccurate than a Liberal’s view of Rush Limbaugh.

BetseyRoss on June 4, 2010 at 3:51 PM

Rush to be played by Robert Davi.

BHO Jonestown on June 4, 2010 at 3:18 PM

Philip Seymour Hoffman

rollthedice on June 4, 2010 at 3:30 PM

Wayne Knight.

Mary in LA on June 4, 2010 at 4:01 PM

Addendum: Congratulations are in order for Rush, though, as he gets married tomorrow.

Holy Moly—congratulations. He never mentions it on the air. If he does, I ain’t heard it

ted c on June 4, 2010 at 4:12 PM

I say just let them run with it and get it as badly wrong as they obviously plan to.

When the space aliens are implanting control chips into the brains of innocent radio executives so they will play Rush, the audience will just walk out and get their money back.

Failure is the best lesson.

Merovign on June 4, 2010 at 4:39 PM

cretinous liberals, deliberately attempting to urinate on his wedding / honeymoon.
Moving right next door to Palin to write a smear book.
Liberals are seriously f’ed up in the head.

rayra on June 4, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Rush to get married this weekend

congma on June 4, 2010 at 5:55 PM

You’re all a bunch of pikers.

Everybody knows that “Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace” was the all-time, undisputed, greatest movie ever made!!!!!!!eleventyhundred!!1111!!!!!!

(Did anyone mention “Plan 9 From Outer Space?”)

CurtZHP on June 4, 2010 at 11:22 AM

FTFY.
(BTW, that’s Star Wars, no freaking episode anything, No redone FX and HAN SHOOTS First!)

opusrex on June 4, 2010 at 7:59 PM

Well, I am just pissed off. I wanted to be the next Mrs. Limbaugh. Dang it, Rush.

skeedro on June 5, 2010 at 10:10 AM

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