Alec Baldwin Wanted to Make a Movie with Me - Conservatives Should Do the Same

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File

“Let’s make a weird little movie together.”

I was getting DM’d from Alec Baldwin. Yes, that Alec Baldwin. It was 2016 and the famous actor (and now famously bad movie set safety expert) had seen a short video I had made. It was a black and white reel for a young singer who was about to go on American Idol. She would make it into the top ten, where my photographs and film of her would be seen by a lot of people. One of them was Baldwin, who contacted me praising my work. He wanted to work with me and asked me to “take me through what you want to do shot by shot.”

It didn’t work out - he had to go shoot one mega-expensive movie - but I never forgot my interaction with Baldwin. It revealed something I’ve known for years. The left is better at supporting artists than the right. Liberals find talent and funnel it into a system of grants, fellowships, and general encouragement like that Baldwin showed to me. This in turn produced the art that becomes the culture.

The difference can be seen by comparing my interaction with Baldwin to another brush I had with Hollywood,  In the fall of 2018, I got a call from an experienced Hollywood actor and producer. This person had been in several movies, including one with Johnny Depp.

“So,” he said, “how many offers have you gotten for your story?”

“None,” I replied. 

He was incredulous. I had just survived an attempted hit by the Stasi left in one if the most dramatic episodes in modern American history. I had been swept up in the attempt to destroy Brett Kavanaugh, then a nominee for the Supreme Court. They had used extortion, opposition research, and even a honey trap to try and get me to destroy Kavanaugh, a high school friend. 

My story was a movie - or so thought the actor on the other end of the line. I even wrote a book about it - The Devil’s Triangle: Mark Judge vs the New American Stasi. 

It’s just so typical,” the voice on the other end said. “Our side just doesn’t have the guts or vision to pull something like this off - a brilliant study that will reveal the evil of the left is just dropped in our laps.”

He went on: “One thing was absolutely clear: had  you failed, had you buckled under to the American Stasi and lied and sunk Kavanaugh, Hollywood would immediately be in production depicting a film about it - indeed, there would have been several films in production.”

Conservatives can’t complain about Hollywood and the culture if we can’t make a simple movie about something as dramatic and pivotal as the Brett Kavanaugh battle.Its as simple as buying the rights to The Devil’s Triangle and hiring someone to help me write the screenplay.

The actor who called me in 2018 knew this. He was marveling that no conservative had expressed interest in making a movie about what had happened to me. The drama was obvious. I was a man in the middle: the left hated me because I had defied them during the scandal, not to mention being pro-life. I was also a “flawed character” – a former drinker with a bit of a wild past. As Alec Baldwin knows, flawed protagonists make for compelling characters. 

The caller then put his finger on it: “This entire thing is a psychological thriller that involves a flawed protagonist. You’d have to go back to the 1970s, to All the President’s Men and The Parallax View, to get the feel of it, although the flashbacks yo the 1980s would also be great, Imagine the soundtrack!”

Conservatives might say we’re doing better. They might point to Ben Shapiro, whose Daily Wire is now producing films. The three they have released are Run Hide Fight, Shut In, and Terror on the Prairie. All three are damsel-in-distress dramas wherein a single woman fights off outside marauders. All three are basically the same movie. We need the boldness to make not just holy roller movies or films offering binary moral choices, but films with some ambiguity and darkness. The Devil’s Triangle would be rated R. It’s exactly what conservatives need.

Several years ago, some conservative friends and I took on a massive project. We attempted to make a film about Whittaker Chambers, arguably the greatest American anti-communist of the 20th century and the author of Witness, a Bible of the American right. In Chambers’ journey from atheism to a kind of Quaker Christianity; a pivotal moment was the day he examined the ear of his infant daughter, and realized that something so exquisite had to have a creator. This was the same daughter that his communist allies had told Chambers to abort. One can only imagine what a director like Martin Scorsese could do with such a scene. The ear was a central part of the script we spent a couple of years working on as we tried to raise money from donors. 

In the end, we did not succeed. When conservatives fail to mobilize behind a movie about Whittaker Chambers, this is like liberals not supporting a film about Martin Luther King. The right doesn’t seem to understand that one film with themes about honor, courage and dying tyranny—say, Zack Snyder’s 300, about the Spartans at Thermopylae—has a greater impact than a thousand think tank position papers.

The difference between the silence and shrugging shoulders that have met the pitch to make The Devil’s Triangle into a film and my interaction with Baldwin is telling. It was easier to connect with Alec Baldwin, a famous actor who, like me, had grown up in an Irish-Catholic house that idolized John F. Kennedy, than to get any support from the right for The Devil’s Triangle. The left had a financial and emotional infrastructure that supports and lives its artists. Conservatives have the money; they just lack guts and imagination.

Alec Baldwin gets a lot of grief from conservatives, and rightly so, but his family had been working class, and Baldwin had risked everything to go into acting. He is much more working class and risk-taking than Ben Shapiro, As s result, Baldwin makes art that affects culture. I wish our side could do the same.

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