Everyone loves a good movie. In fact, the whole concept of Dudeism centers around The Big Lebowski and the character of The Dude. There’s just one problem with all these movies we’ve been watching our entire lives: they’re male-dominated. Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with the guys, there are just way too many of them compared to the number of films featuring strong, intelligent female characters.
We think there need to be more films created for and produced by women that feature characters who never look expectantly at a guy and utter those horrible words, “I don’t know what to do next.” We want to see films where women have the answers, the creativity, and the know-how to solve problems for themselves just like real women have been doing for centuries.
So, we created and developed these five films someone needs to make right now. We’d do it ourselves but the Old Man doesn’t have a freakin’ clue how to produce a movie and besides, if he did it that would just be perpetuating the same male-dominated environment that needs to just go away for a while.
We would like to see the women at major film studios grab hold of these concepts and run with them. To help, we’ve created both imagery and storylines to help get you through the pitch process. If you need more, you can contact us here, or here, or here, or here, or here. We’re rather easy to find and the Old Man is in a deal-making mood. Also, if you want to see all the pictures related to these concepts, you can find them here.
Enough banter. Let’s get to those stories!
The Woman Who Would Be Pope
Cardinal John Wallace O’Malley was one of the most revered and respected Cardinals in the Catholic Church. A man of integrity and faith, he was known for possessing a wisdom just short of God himself. When Pope Alexander VIX died, the College of Cardinals quickly elected Cardinal O’Malley on the first ballot. Rejoicing commenced throughout Catholicism.
Taking the name of Pope John Paul III, O’Malley began his duties as pope much as any other man who held the office: selecting a cabinet, meeting with world leaders, and setting out his agenda for the Church. Like any good Catholic, he understood the Pope to be specially ordained, the representative of Christ on Earth, and as such, infallible. He was careful in choosing his words so there could be no doubt that he was speaking for God. For the first time in centuries, the Church was united behind a pope they considered both doctrinally sound and socially compassionate.
Six months into his reign, however, the Pope had a late-night encounter that changed his life. Wandering the quiet halls of his personal residence, John Paul was met with a vision of Christ himself who confronted him with a secret from his childhood.
“You know you were not conceived to be a man. There was a biological error in your birth. Your father intended for you to be a woman. You cannot serve me while denying who I intended for you to be. Repent of this lie and serve me as who you really are.”
John Paul returned to his room deeply troubled. Surely Christ had not asked him to do something that would be in direct violation of how he and the Church interpreted scripture. He decided to chalk the experience up to some bad sausage and attempted to proceed as normal.
The vision of the Christ would not go away, though, and with each iteration of the message John Paul was confronted with memories from his childhood when he had explored his sexuality and been told that he was wrong, that he was a sinner most vile, and that he needed to repent of wanting to be a woman. The challenge had become so great that it had driven the young John Wallace O’Malley into the priesthood. Yet, now the very image of Christ himself was telling him to repent and become a woman!
John Paul weighed the options. Perhaps he was going crazy and the visions were a sign of his senility. Sure, 58 years old was a little early for dementia to kick in, but it wasn’t unknown and would explain such visions. He considered the possibility of a demon impersonating the Christ as well, but found that argument lacking given the holy ground on which he resided. Either way, John Paul saw no option than to resign his post and go into quiet exile.
Sitting down to write his resignation, however, another miracle occurred. Every time he started to write words to the effect of stating his resignation, the paper would catch fire and become consumed. Trying repeatedly, the Pope became fearful that all the smoke would set off the fire alarm. Only when he changed his mind and wrote a sermon outing himself and coming out as a trans woman did the paper stay intact.
The reaction upon reading the sermon was predictable. The Pope had changed his name from John Paul to Pope Magdalene. She had implored those in attendance to refer to her as Pope Maggie and the press had blasted the news across the world. While the secular response was supportive, though, within the Church there was an immediate backlash. Cardinals in the Vatican immediately began resigning. Charges of heresy were formally filed with the College of Cardinals the next day. The L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, ran the headline, “Il papa è diventato pazzo,” or “The pope has become crazy.”
Magdalene was expecting a fight, but she wasn’t prepared for just how severe it would be. Leaving the balcony from which she had declared the transition, one of the Swedish Guards appointed to the pope’s protection attempted to kill her. Similar attacks from within the Vatican became so prevalent that Magdalene had to hire an outside, non-Catholic security firm to protect her. Within the College of Cardinals, there was loud vile and contempt for what many saw as a deception against God and proceedings were undertaking to unseat her, something that hadn’t been done since the days of the antipopes.
Through it all, however, Magdalene kept going. Her messages of love and inclusion were accepted by parishioners who loved her, even as their own priests preached against her. Then, an amazing thing began to happen. Nuns began to voice their support. Other women in the church became vocal in their support as well. Two months later, a bishop in Germany announced his desire to transition to a woman as well. With each incident, support for Pope Magdalene grew, becoming a force the Cardinals found difficult to fight.
Ultimately, a showdown occurs when, void of any legal precedent, Magdalene reluctantly agrees to resign if it can be shown that her papacy has no support in the Church. Convening a tribunal of Cardinals, charges of heresy are leveled against Magdalene in a speech that is harsh and full of hate. Then, at the end of a passionate defense advocating God’s love of everyone, Magdalene if there is but one who will stand by her side. Dramatically, an aging and crippled nun, Mother Agnes, make her way through the crowd to stand by the Pope. As she does, others in the assembled audience stand and do the same. Crowds watching on large screens in Vatican Square cheer in response, a yell so thunderous that it is heard inside the proceedings. The Cardinals realize they have lost and rule in favor of Magdalene.
Note: Making this film carries some inherent dangers. Not only is the Church going to officially oppose its production, the very question of unseating a pope for heresy was raised just this past summer. Be sure the Vatican will apply what influence it has in an attempt to stop the movie. However, history has shown that such controversy only improves ticket sales. Who wants to miss what the Pope has forbidden?
Also, we should mention that the model in the related images for this concept is herself a trans woman. If Hollywood is serious about supporting all women, they will cast a trans woman in this role, making it all the more authentic and impactful. Yes, there’s going to be controversy, but it’s the kind that results in wonderfully free PR and fills theatre seats when released.
Reporting From Home
Fade in from black to the sights and sounds of yet another firefight somewhere in the Middle East. A squadron of U.S. Marines has the enemy on the run but the action is violent and loud. Grenades and mortar fire explode as mud and rocks and pieces of walls splatter in front of the camera. We see bodies fall, blood on the ground, and the forceful yell of Marines as they move forward.
Sounds of battle fade and over the video we hear the voice of embedded reporter Jennifer Ashton-McCullough narrating the action. “We moved forward with caution, knowing that the next step could be our last. IEDs were invisible beneath a layer of mud, blood, and dying bodies. The platoon leader, Gunnery Sergeant Ryan Lockey, moves deliberately through the rubble following well-established rules for this kind of no-holds-barred engagement. 15 years across Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria has taught these Marines to not take chances.”
A thunderous explosion occurs and as the camera fades to black the sound of the explosion is replaced with equally thunderous applause. The scene changes to a large banquet hall where an audience in formal dress cheers the awarding of a Pulitzer prize to Jennifer Ashot-McCullough. As she accepts the award dressed in a sparkling evening gown, there is no sign of the blood and mud of the battlefield. In fact, the reporter seems to have escaped the experience unscathed. She delivers a gracious acceptance speech supporting the Marines with whom she was embedded and more applause follows.
As they’re leaving the ceremony, Jennifer’s editor, Margaret Attenborough, reminds her that she needs to get her expense report turned in and then asks if she’s ready to get back out in the field. Jennifer looks at her editor incredulously, complaining that she hadn’t been back home long enough for her houseplants to die from neglect. Attenborough offers to re-assign the reporter for a month while she considers the offer.
Jennifer returns to her surprisingly small and cramped New York City apartment, changes from the evening gown into sweats, and pulls a box of leftover Chinese delivery food from the refrigerator before sitting down at the small table and opening her laptop. She’s checking through email and Facebook messages, laughing at memes and fawning over friends’ baby pictures when Skype dings with a video request.
The Skype window fills the laptop screen and we see a Marine of the other end of the call, Corporal Lindsay Rice. Jennifer is excited to see her and as they go back and forth asking each other how they’re doing and how much each misses the other it becomes obvious the two are a couple, though we’re not quite sure whether it is a matter of convenience or deep emotion. The banter is light, slightly flirtatious, but cautiously appropriate to avoid questions from Corporal Rice’s bunkmates.
After a few moments, Jennifer tells Lindsay about Attenborough’s question. “What do you think? Can you handle being my eyes and ears for another round?” she asks.
Lindsay leans in close to the camera and whispers, “Are you crazy? Do you know how close I came to getting caught out there? Brass has already been snooping around asking how you had such intricate knowledge of our operations when they don’t have any record of you actually being here! If I get caught both our careers are over!”
Jennifer responds, “I have a new, smaller camera, won’t interfere with your other comm gear, practically microscopic …”
Lindsay eventually agrees to wear the camera and as the movie goes back and forth between Jennifer, Lindsay, and the newsroom, we begin to realize that Jennifer has never been embedded with the Marines. Instead, she uses the camera Lindsay wears to watch everything from her apartment, taking screenshots and treating them as though they were live photos Jennifer splits the extra pay and expense money with Lindsay on the premise of saving up for a wedding when the Corporal is discharged.
.Everything seems to go well for a while. Lindsay gets the new camera and works it into a position on her hardcover where it isn’t noticed. When she’s deployed back onto a patrol again, Jennifer watches every move, making careful notes that then become her “front line” articles the next day.
Trouble begins brewing when a Marine inspector shows up at the newsroom questioning Attenborough about Jennifer’s reporting, accusing her of revealing classified information. When he tells Attenborough that they have no record of Jennifer’s attachment to any detail, the editor defends her in the moment but begins to wonder what’s really going on.
Jennifer, for her part, is careful to only come and go late at night when few people are likely to notice. She leaves her mail piled in the box, her door looking as though no one has been in or out. She doesn’t know she’s being followed.
Then, one evening, Jennifer is watching Lindsay on patrol when a firefight suddenly erupts. Without warning, there’s an explosion and Lindsay’s cam goes dark. Jennifer assumes the camera was damaged but the news the next day reveals the sad truth. Five Marines killed in fierce fighting. Listed among the dead: Corporal Lindsay Rice.
Jennifer knows the gig is up if she doesn’t act fast but she’s not sure what to do and there’s no one to whom she can confide. Ignoring the ever-increasing phone calls and incessant knocking at her door, she realizes she’s being followed and starts using the fire escape to sneak out of her apartment.
Meanwhile, back at the newsroom, Attenborough expresses concern about the safety of her reporter who seems to have gone missing. Missing, that is, until someone delivers a flash drive with pictures of Jennifer coming and going at her apartment. Attenborough is furious at the deception.
In the closing moments of the film, police force their way into the apartment only to find it empty, Jennifer’s laptop and other personal belongings, any hint of her correspondence, as well as her Pulitzer, missing.
Flash to a scene at Parris Island Marine Recruit Depot where a freshly-shaved recruit is being sworn in. “I, Jennifer McCullough Rice …”
Note: this story has the potential for all the action and mystery one wants to pack into it. There’s also plenty of personal drama as Jennifer deals with the loss of her lover and the dilemma of what to do next. Her decision to honor Lindsay by enlisting and taking her last name should pull extra hard on every emotional string a viewer has. The emphasis has to be on Jennifer’s desire to humanize a war politicians created with deference to the brave men and women losing their lives. The troops, especially the women in “support” roles, are the heroes while the politicians who put them there are the ultimate bad guys.
The Girl Without A Tattoo
Set in the near future, say 20 or so years from now, The Girl Without A Tattoo is a tale of cunning and survival in a society where looks not only matter, they can mean life or death.
We open on a table at a restaurant where six young adults are gathered, laughing, finishing up their meal. As the camera pans around the table, we see the various tattoos each of them has. One young woman has a heart on her wrist while her partner’s entire arm is covered with a floral sleeve. A waiter passes with a tribal tattoo on his face and the backless dress on a passing patron reveals an elaborately tattooed scene. We get the impression, correctly, that everyone in the room is sporting some kind of tattoo.
Finally, the camera comes to rest on Caroline Mocambo, a 26-year-old consultant for a major agency. She’s attractive, sexy, quick with a smile, and flirtatious with everyone at the table, especially the other girls. No one pays attention to the fact she’s wearing a jacket and slacks, never a dress, never short sleeves. Caroline has always complained about being cold so no one makes a big deal over her attire.
Someone at the table suggests they all walk over to Arctic Tang, a nearby nightclub, where they can dance. Everyone is in agreement and they start paying their tabs. Most of the young adults pay with their cell phones, but one young woman at the table holds up her hair and has the server scan a barcode tattoo on the back of her neck. The payment is recorded and the girl’s phone beeps with a receipt. No one acts like the procedure is anything out of the ordinary.
As the group approaches the bar, we see a line queued outside and a person scanning the back of people’s necks. “Wait, when did they start scanning here?” Caroline asks/
“This week, I guess,” one of the other girls answers. “No big deal just slows down the que a bit.”
Caroline feigns a sudden illness and, blaming her condition, excuses herself and hurries home. When the young woman gets home, though, we see her in a full-scale panic attack. Rushing to the bathroom, she holds her hair with one hand and a hand mirror with the other so that she can check the back of her own neck. Unlike everyone else, there’s nothing there.
Flashback to a night 14 years prior when Caroline is a girl of twelve. We see her parents hurriedly packing their car while Caroline stands nearby with tears in her eyes.
“Don’t worry, baby,” her mother reassures her. “Canada’s not that far away. Everything’s going to be alright. We’ll have a new house, you’ll make new friends, and everyone will be safe.”
Flash forward to the family car successfully crossing the US/Canadian border, then again to Caroline walking into an empty bedroom in their new house.She walks back downstairs where a newspaper sits on top of a stack of boxes. The headline reads, “Mandatory Tattoo Leads To Mass Immigration.”
Flash forward once more to a 24-year-old Caroline, fresh out of college, driving back across the Canada/US border. She pulls into the parking lot of an apartment building where she is greeted by friends who have already moved in. When one of them suggests they go out for pizza, Caroline quickly excuses herself and runs to the restroom. There, we watch as she removes a temporary tattoo from her purse and applies it to the back of her neck. As the camera pans to her open purse we see that she has several tattoos available for use.
Back in the original timeline, it is the next morning. Caroline is in bed and hears something in the hallway. She reaches into her nightstand and pulls out a taser. She tiptoes toward the hallway and is about to fire the taser when she sees her boyfriend, Jeff, in the kitchen making coffee. She hides the taser in the pocket of her robe and kisses him on the cheek. “I didn’t hear you come in,” she says.
He gives her a discomforting look and suggests she have a seat. He tries to gently break the news that her friends were murdered as they left the nightclub. He tells her of his relief in coming home and finding that she hadn’t been with them. Then, he shows her a picture police are circulating of the prime suspect. The picture is Caroline.Police are asking for help identifying her because they can’t find a matching bioscan.
Jeff suddenly grabs Caroline’s hair and looks at the back of her neck. Seeing nothing, he is incredulous. “Who the fuck are you?” he asks. “We’ve been dating for almost two years and there’s always been a tattoo back there. What the fuck is going on?”
Panicking yet again, she runs to the bedroom and begins throwing clothes in a suitcase. She knows she has to get away. Jeff tries to get her to stop, begs for an explanation, and even offers to help her prove her innocence. Tearfully, Caroline reminds him that if he helps her and she’s found guilty that he will be executed as well. She kisses him and leaves.
Knowing that police will be checking private cars and public transportation out of the city, Caroline sneaks her way into a cargo container bound for Canada. Once there, she heads to her parents’ house. Her mother welcomes her in and together they begin trying to piece together all that had happened and how to clear Caroline’s name.
Caroline and her mother visit an underground tattoo parlor that gives them a specially-inked tattoo sufficient to fool government scanners. The catch: the ink is radioactive and, if left for more than a week starts to affect the nervous system. They sneak back across the border and start looking for the killer only to find that Caroline’s friends aren’t dead at all. Jeff had set everyone up, telling the other girls that Caroline was dead. As they are talking, though, they are ambushed by an unseen shooter. Caroline’s mom is hit and later dies after Caroline sneaks her back to Canada.
The women band together, assuming Jeff is behind the shooting. When they start looking for him, though, they find he’s already dead as well.
As the mystery unravels Caroline begins to feel the effects of the radioactive ink. She starts feeling dizzy, has trouble remembering what she’s been told, and eventually collapses in the middle of a parking lot. Someone calls emergency services and Caroline is whisked off to the hospital before her friends have a chance to respond. If the hospital discovers Caroline’s tattoo is faked, she’ll be euthanized.
This is a tale full of endless twists and turns that keep viewers guessing at every step of the way. Part conspiracy theory, part spy thriller, the movie follows Caroline through dark streets and moments of self-doubt as she maneuvers through the various events. While she survives the ink and makes it out of the hospital alive, the personal toll is high. She loses friendships, family, and a bit of sanity, ending up alone.
Note: Being set slightly in the future, the opportunity exists to incorporate fictional technology that doesn’t yet exist but reasonably could. There is also a chance to do some sociological shaping by showing what are currently non-traditional relationships as though they are generally accepted and normal. Body modification and tattoo art should be emphasized as well, increasing the rate of acceptance for those who enjoy both.
Magnetic opens with close up shots of a young woman bathing from an old-fashioned ceramic washbasin. Natural light streaming through sheer curtains is the only illumination. The young woman, Muriel, Plant, carefully braids her hair, weaving strips of foil into the braid before putting on a slip and wandering into the kitchen, dominated by a wood stove with a smoldering fire. She stokes the fire, adding more wood, then steps outside to a hand pump to draw water. As the camera pans around the kitchen, we see there is nothing electric. No appliances, no clocks, no phones. In many ways, the viewer might be tempted to think the scene is set in the late 19th century, save for city’s tall silhouette in the background.
Muriel Plant is a unique young woman, an orphan raised in an Amish community because it was there that her parents had died in an automobile accident. She was never actually one of them, though, and was kept at a distance. Muriel knew she was different, she just didn’t know why or to what extent. While other Amish teens were given the option of returning to the community after their Rumspringa, Muriel was not. Her adopted parents gave her the money they had saved for her then sent her away, telling her she needed to find “her own kind” and live with them.
Not that Muriel had any idea who “her own kind” were. Having had no contact with the modern world, she was lost in the city. Everywhere she went, chaos ensued as lights suddenly turned off, cars stopped working, electronics went dead, and anything with a motor fell silent. Confused by what is happening around her, Muriel finally lands a job in a flower shop, employed by a sympathetic older woman who doesn’t understand Muriel’s challenge but is willing to work around it.
With the money her parents give her, Muriel rents a small house nearby and settles into the simple lifestyle to which she had grown accustomed. A very quiet and introspective young woman, she is liked by everyone at work, is very friendly and engaging with customers, and seems to have a natural knack for floral design. Outside of work, though, she keeps to herself, choosing to stay home and reads that her boss, Grace Hoffsteader, borrows for her from the local library.
Muriel is also aided by a slightly-older co-worker, Clarice West. Clarice is the first person of color that Muriel has ever known and has a lot of questions. Clarice finds Muriel’s innocence endearing and humorous, especially when she takes Muriel home with her for Sunday dinner. Clarice appoints herself both Muriel’s educator to the ways of the city as well as her protector from its more predatory citizens.
One afternoon, while Grace is away from the flower shop, a middle-aged, professionally dressed woman enters looking for an “exceptional” floral arrangement for a dinner party she’s giving that evening. Clarice shows the woman several different options but nothing meets with her satisfaction. Looking past Clarice, the woman sees Muriel putting together a new arrangement of her own design and falls in love with it. Muriel tries explaining that she was merely experimenting and that the arrangement wasn’t intended for sale. The woman won’t accept no for an answer, though, and offers them an extraordinary amount of money for the flowers.
When Grace returns and hears of the sale, she promotes Muriel to lead designer and gives Clarice more sales duties, which pleases everyone. Grace tells the women that her mother is in ill health and that she’s depending on Muriel and Clarice to keep the shop running during her frequent absences. The only catch is that Muriel has to stay in the back room to avoid interfering with the point of sale system, an arrangement that suits Muriel just fine.
A few days later, the businesswoman returns and this time insists that Muriel create another custom arrangement for her. Expecting another large sale, Muriel is taken back when the woman not only approves of her design but announces she needs several copies of the arrangement for a banquet being held in two days. Again, she pays the women a large amount for their services.
The business woman’s visits become more frequent and each time she insists upon working directly with Muriel. We find out her name is Evelyn Caskill, owner of a large electronics firm in the city. She’s a powerful businesswoman with a political agenda that has her rumored to be running for mayor in the next election.
Clarice notices that Evelyn is using any excuse she can find to visit Muriel almost every day. With each visit, she lingers a little longer, stands a little closer, and even starts to laugh at Muriel’s innocent sense of humor. When Clarice mentions to Muriel that she thinks Evelyn is attracted to her, Muriel finds the idea appalling and is sure that Clarice is wrong.
Speculation ends, though, when a couple of visits later Evelyn gently leans in and kisses Muriel on the lips.Muriel panics and runs out of the shop. Evelyn tries to apologize but Clarice tells her, “You have no idea what you’ve just done to that poor girl’s world.”
Grace sends Clarice to check on Muriel who is at home, sobbing. Muriel confesses to Clarice that she rather enjoyed the kiss but that same-gender relationships go against everything the Amish had taught her. Clarice has to carefully help guide Muriel to an understanding that love is love and that no one gets to dictate to her what kind of love is right or wrong. Love simply is.
The next day, Evelyn returns to the shop in hopes of apologizing but is surprised when Muriel, in her own clumsy, innocent way, kisses her. When Evelyn asks what changed, Muriel responds, “Love is whatever love chooses to be.”
Evelyn invites Muriel to her home for dinner and, without thinking about her personal magnetic issues, accepts. Naturally, from the moment Muriel arrives at the mansion heavily-endowed with electronics, things stop working and the whole evening turns into a frustrating disaster that has Muriel running home, crying.
When Muriel returns home, though, she finds a woman dressed in a dark suit waiting for her. She says she knew Muriel’s parents and has come to take her “home.” The woman explains that Muriel’s magnetic problem is because she’s not actually human, but an alien race that has been living among humans for several centuries. She gives Muriel a necklace that reverses her body’s natural polarization, making it possible for her to live peacefully among humans for a time but with the warning that the longer she wears the necklace the more her alien body will begin to fail. The necklace is not a permanent solution.
Given two weeks to get her affairs in order, Muriel is faced with multiple daunting decisions complicated by the death of Grace’s mother, making her more dependent on Muriel than ever. Her relationship with Evelyn strained and unable to explain her predicament to Clarice, Muriel struggles between what her heart wants to do and what she’s been told she has to do.
Angry when Muriel quits the flower shop, Clarice follows her home only to be surprised by Muriel’s new alien mentor. Once Clarice understands Muriel’s dilemma, she helps her formulate a plan where she can stay at the flower shop, renew her relationship with Evelyn, and not die from having to wear the necklace all the time.
This is a unique love story that should be both teaching and endearing. The challenge is a careful treatment of the alien aspect so as to not make it too weird or given to the aspirations of outrageous science fiction. The alien aspects need to be believable. One possible outcome might be discovering that Evelyn is of the same race, which is what has allowed her to become a technological power.
Note: I would like to think this story is best served with a light touch, nothing too heavy, nor judgmental, and definitely not preachy. There are plenty of opportunities for humor as well as a chance to teach about overcoming biases and bigotry in the context of loving whom one wants to love. The story could become an endearing favorite as long as no one feels an ideology is being shoved down their throat.
Writing My Life Away
Meet Danica Erkholster, a dynamic and independent young woman who likes living life on the edge, wears her clothes in strange pairings, colors her hair with bright colors, is fluid about who she loves, and forceful in her opinions. Danica is that person who makes mainstream adults uncomfortable from the moment she enters a room challenging everything within the status quo but manages to do so in such a way that everyone wants to be part of her social circle.
Complicating Danica’s life, though, is her decision to not speak to anyone, ever, under any circumstances. Her reasons are both personal and political. Having seen her younger sister become the victim of and eventually commit suicide because of sexual assault, Danica is on a mission to not only challenge laws that allow perpetrators to hide but also confront and embarrass the powerful people, both men, and women, who commit such acts. The silencing of those victims is Danica’s motivation
Danica’s primary means of communication is the iPad she carries with her everywhere but she also is very adaptive when it comes to leaving messages on just about any surface from coffee cups to the sides of skyscrapers. Danica even outs a powerful businessman by draping a banner off the side of his company’s headquarters with pictures of his sexual assault victims.
While Danica’s public life looks exciting and important, though, her lack of willingness to talk makes personal relationships difficult. One night stands with both men and women that have the potential to develop into relationships end before they start when Danica refuses to make exceptions to her no talking rule for any of her lovers. As a result, she spends large amounts of time alone, depressed, and suffering in her silence.
Danica’s campaign takes her from city to city, her unique and alternative appearance providing a strange sense of anonymity as people tend to dismiss her as punk which allows her to gain access to information without being noticed. She realizes she may be in over her head, however, when she uncovers damning evidence showing that the president raped and killed a young coed while he was in college. Danica feels a moral obligation to bring the president to justice but knows that doing so could easily put her life as well as those of her friends in danger.
At first, Danica’s friends encourage her to ignore the president’s crimes, perhaps wait a couple more years until he is out of office and less protected. She is inclined to take that advice but the more she tries to step away from the case the more she stumbles across evidence proving him to be a very dangerous person. Before long, Danica and her friends become convinced that the president must be stopped before he enacts laws that would make it almost impossible to bring perpetrators like him to justice.
As Danica gets closer to the president, she knows she needs an ally on the inside of the system and finds that ally in Special Agent Colette Murkoff of the FBI. Colette works on a special sexual assault task force and is frequently the person tasked with arresting perpetrators after Danica has exposed them. She admires Danica’s commitment to gathering firm evidence before making an accusation against someone and tries with each case to convince the young woman to join the ranks of the FBI. As Danica builds a stronger case against the president, however, Collette is torn between orders from within the agency to stop the troublemaker and her personal admiration for what Danica is doing.
Convincing her supervisors that she’s working to gain Danica’s trust, Colette gets increasingly close to Danica and their relationship eventually becomes physical. When Colette becomes aware that Danica is about to receive some information that would convict the president, however, she whisks her away on a passionate weekend at a private chalet in Vermont, causing Danica to miss the connection.
Colette doesn’t realize, however, that Danica long-ago hacked the special agent’s communication devices, including her supposedly secure laptop, and has been aware of every instruction the FBI has given her lover. When Danica “misses” the connection because of the weekend in Vermont, she knows the FBI intercepts the information and promptly steals it from them.
When the theft is discovered, the Deputy Director obtains a warrant for Danica’s arrest, advising agents that she is a threat to national security and should be eliminated through any means necessary. He then attempts to call Colette back in, but Danica intercepts the messages.
Much of the remainder of the movie becomes a matter of Danica staying two steps ahead of those who are trying to kill her. She knows she has enough evidence to convict the president but the only way to stay safe is to go into hiding. Armed only with her iPad, she slips away from Colette and disappears into Northern Europe where her appearance blends in and provides her with even greater anonymity.
A complicated game of cat and mouse ensues and government agents know that silencing Danica isn’t enough. They have to make sure she hasn’t shared the evidence with anyone. While Danica sits alone in an apartment in Oslo, Norway, Colette is charged with treason for interfering with the case against Danica. When news of Colette’s arrest reaches Danica, she sees an opportunity to not only bring down the president, but the head of the FBI as well, all while freeing Colette and escaping to Switzerland.
There’s no shortage of drama here and supplemental characters could provide necessary plot twists and unexpected shifts in the storyline. Is Danica successful in her quest to bring down the president? In today’s political climate that is a matter full of controversy and might be seen as attempting to take advantage of public opinion for political gain. That controversy could certainly help fill theater seats, though, especially with a strong script rooted in contemporary headlines.
Note: The biggest challenge to this concept is the fact that the heroine never speaks. Ever. In fact, frequent and creative use of subtitles is necessary so that the audience is aware of what Danica is typing on her iPad. Casting a strong actress who can communicate through facial expressions and body language is ultimately what determines whether this movie is successful. The story can go any of a dozen different directions and all fail if the actress playing the role of Danica doesn’t nail the part from the very beginning.
Who Is Going To Make These Movies?
We’ve laid everything out and given someone everything they need to begin turning these basic concepts into reality. All of the movies fit contemporary issues and concerns, making them viable for audiences right now. The only question remaining is who is going to take the risk of producing these movies?
Obviously, we would love to see a major studio such as Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Disney, Universal, Sony, Dreamworks, MGM, New Line Cinema, or Paramount. Yet, I’m realistic enough to entertain offers from independent filmmakers as well who can put together a reasonable offer. We’ve seen smaller studios produce some amazing films over the past 20 years so it would be crazy to leave them out.
What is critical in all of these is that the strong female roles are not compromised. We cannot continue treating women in film as though they are somehow inferior. The stories we’ve presented offer ample opportunity for character development and work best with actors whose talent is strong enough to overcome some of the inherent biases the characters might bring with them.
We need more images of strong women in film. We need fewer images of women being helpless, dependent, and in need of being rescued. I hope we’ve provided someone the inspiration to bring those films to life.