President, Miramax Productions
Let’s bust that box office wide open! Soccer is the global wave of the fut-chah, and if we don’t surf it you’ll be less cool than Bristol Palin on Vanilla Ice. I’m tellin’ ya, Harve, this script is a killa of a thrilla!
The title is still ‘working’. I’m thinking ‘Qatar Late than Never’? ‘Qatar Off Dead’? ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Qatar’? Let’s go Bond … ‘Qatar of Solace’! Yeah!
- We open in Zurich. (It’s a tease, see, ‘cause nothing underhanded ever happens in Switzerland. Especially with money involved.) At a big ceremony. Poo-bahs in fancy dress. A guy walks up to the podium … envelope, please … and the Globe goes to … Qatar! (Research says it’s pronounced ‘cutter’, but I think ‘guitar’ rocks harder, so it’s ‘guitar’ all the way through). And up comes the president? king? sheik, right, of Qatar (let’s get Andy Garcia) to accept. Lightbulbs flash! Flash flash!
On the way out Andy shakes the hand of Pep Guardiola (Sam the Eagle should be available). Sam shrugs. He’s a man tortured by conscience. We travel with Sam back to … Barcelona! Gwyneth loves Barcelona. (Can we get Gwyneth? Maybe as the flight attendant.) Sam meets with Boss Rosell (someone mentioned Jon Cryer but I like Duckie). Boss pats Sam on the back. Boss knows, and Sam knows Boss knows, and so we know that Sam knows Boss knows. But know what, see? That’s the hook.
At home Sam manhandles a jersey. It’s blue and red with ‘Unicef’ on it. Sam looks at a picture of himself with little, hungry kids. He pours himself a drink, and another … fade to flashback, back when Sam had hair. He’s playing soccer. In a big stadium. A big soccer stadium. In Qatar. Fans cheer. Sam goes into the lockerroom. Everybody slaps him on the back. (We better get Sam some kind of back pad.) He gets a phone call from Andy Garcia. Sam glances at a newspaper. The banner has his picture. And the word ‘Drugs’. A scandal! Sam hangs up and crumples the paper angrily.
A doorbell chimes in Barcelona. Sam jerks back to the present. It’s Johann Cruyff. (I saw Max on Syfy last night, the guy will do anything). The men sit in darkness. They mumble. Sam wrings his hands a lot, like Leo when he’s acting. Max hands Sam a picture. It’s Leo, but another one. A soccer Leo. Then he hands him another picture. It’s not Leo. But it looks like one. It’s a look-alike. It’s a pretentious, untalented, snarky, evil look-alike. It’s Dwayne from ‘Little Miss Sunshine’! Boss is going to replace Leo with Dwayne if Sam doesn’t play ball. Max puts a hand gently but firmly on Sam’s shoulder. Sam must do the right thing.
Back to Qatar. Where the nightmare began. Sam must save Barcelona … Gwyneth … those little kids … himself … from Dwayne. He wears dark glasses. He goes into an enormous beige palace, lots of extras and palm trees. He’s taken into a salon with ladies. It’s a Bond-like Lady Lair. (Research says we’ll have problems with the Anti-Defamation League but if we keep the dress gauzy but long it might work. Think ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ meets ‘Ishtar’.)
In the center of the Lady Lair (let’s backlight her at first) is … she steps into light … Sheika Mozah Nasser Al-Missned. (I’m seeing Sophia Loren from ‘El Cid’ but if she’s not around we can get Angelina.) She extends a beautifully-manicured hand to Sam. She is lovely and mysterious and speaks impeccable English with an alluring (throaty?) accent. Sam is charmed. Sophia presses a button. There’s lots of buttons and gadgets around. Sam spends a lot of time eyeing the gadgets when he’s not ogling Sophia. An oak panel slides back to reveal, in a hermetically-sealed case, the blue-and-red jersey. But ‘Unicef’ is gone. It says ‘Qatar’ (in English but with swirly Arabish letters).
Sam gasps in disbelief. Sophia pauses. Sam refuses. Sophia beckons toward a gold door. She presses a button. He follows, wary but intrigued. It’s a man cave draped in blue and red. Blue and red Christmas lights, party streamers, upholstery, carpet … and there, in the center on an ha-yuge ottoman, munching on dates and exclaiming loudly to a humongous HD state-of-the-art – no, hologram – television tuned to GolTV is … Andy Garcia. Wearing a Barça ‘Campions’ scarf around his head.
Suddenly Sam sees. Andy’s a fan, see. A fanatic. He even blogs about it. And he wants this team. He wants it as his own. And Sam owes him. So Andy owns Sam. Sophia retires. Sam hangs his head. What will he do? Those poor kids. But he really hates that Dwayne guy.
We’ve got a couple of endings for the test audiences in editing. We need some explosions and a chase scene. There isn’t enough sex, either, although Sam can get it on with flight attendant Gwyneth and maybe dream about Sophia. In any case, it’s a big boom boom. If we go arty, we can let Andy sail off into the horizon on a yacht while Sam goes to ruin on Las Ramblas. But if we want cash, we’re gonna need Max and Sam to strap on some AKs and take that chic sheik down. And if Miramax wants another Golden Statue, we’re gonna have to go for broke.