You probably assumed this was happening. There are a host of would-be screenwriters in Hollywood seeking to dramatize people connected to the Trump administration or to the conservative media they blame for electing Trump. Naturally, everyone on the right is assumed to be a monster in Hollywood but that creates a problem. Because as much as Hollywood is a liberal town that gives loads of cash to Democrats and their causes, it’s also a business town that knows its business. In this case, it knows that no one wants to sit through a preachy film in which everyone is a monster.
It takes place on page 63 of the script, where we find ourselves in the late 90s as a young Matt Drudge—the eponymous creator of the Drudge Report—is lying in bed listening to a police scanner; his cat, creatively called “Cat,” lounges nearby. To put into perspective who Drudge was at that point in history, there’s a pretty good chance that if we transported him to today, Drudge wouldn’t have a Web site that gets almost a billion-and-a-half page views a month, but would rather be posting cat memes and conspiracy theories on 8chan. In other words, he’s a loser. Back to page 63: Poor Drudge looks like he’s been crying after a falling-out with his only friend and only employee, an equally young and pathetic Andrew Breitbart…
The current national unpleasantness requires origin stories, and so the content machine is churning them out. Drudge is just one of the scripts that includes the Conways and Coulter, Drudge and Breitbart, and has been hopping from desk to desk of producers and agents in town…There are so many stories and screenplays in Hollywood about how Trump got to where he is that it can feel as though every single breath taken on earth for the past 70-plus years somehow led to November 8, 2016.
Portraying everyone on the right as losers with no friends is as sympathetic as Hollywood can get toward “narcissists and monsters.” But that creates a potential problem of its own: Some people might actually feel sorry for them.
There’s no shortage of material. And while the goal of mostly liberal writers is to paint a picture of narcissists and monsters, the dramatic and commercial imperatives require that reality be transformed, and that can be problematic. Read any of these scripts and you will notice that the characters surrounding Trump have been given the good old studio note to make our protagonists (or antagonists) “likable” so that the audience can identify with them. Reading about poor little Drudge, whose parents didn’t love him (literally, according to the script), and Breitbart taking hits from a bong alone on Christmas, you can’t help but feel sorry for these guys. They don’t come across as villains, but rather as the most pathetic people on earth who just so happened to have a Packard Bell 486 with an 850-megabyte hard drive. And yet they both went on to become villains, changing the shape of America by peddling divisive content, probably because their parents didn’t love them (literally) enough. CUT TO: Trump being elected.
And that just won’t do for some hardliners in Hollywood who want to make sure the audience knows who the villains are:
When I called a well-known screenwriter to hear his take, he admonished the thinking behind making these people likable just so people will sit and watch a show or film. “It’s like you’re overlooking the fact that these people are monsters because it doesn’t make for good film or television,” he said to me. “It defeats the entire purpose of making these things in the first place; these are not moral people we’re talking about, they are not just, they are not good, they are evil and deserve to be painted as such, or not painted at all.”
So Hollywood is hell-bent on creating content intended to paint a large portion of the country (everyone who voted for Trump) as dupes. This is, by definition, divisive content. And the big takeaway in this Vanity Fair piece is that you know Drudge and Breitbart were monsters because they peddled “divisive content.” I guess that makes a lot of sense if you’re living in a bubble and can’t hear yourself.
If you ask her, Hillary has lots of thoughts about why she lost the election. Most of those seem to involve some combination of James Comey and Vladimir Putin. So why isn’t Hollywood making movies with them as the villains? Why focus on Drudge and Breitbart? I suspect it’s because Drudge and Breitbart, as media companies, are rivals to Hollywood’s cultural power in ways that Comey and Putin are not.
No doubt some of these scripts will sell and some will get made. Most of them will be awful for one simple reason: The people they are writing about aren’t monsters. Until Hollywood finds a writer who gets that, this is just going to be boring progressive propaganda.