Thursday, February 23, 2006

Clooney Gets Moonves to Play ... Himself


(image via ejeanlive)

And when we say Clooney got Moonves to "play himself" that's exactly what we mean. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) Is there anything more "meta" than a network executive starring as a network executive on a drama on his own network? Master of the Universe Les Moonves will take on the Ned Beatty-Arthur Jensen role in the CBS remake of Paddy Chayefsky's seminal masterpiece "Network." Liz Smith informs us:

"Well, screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky's satire from 30 years ago, has turned, scarily, into our daily dose of small-screen reality. And because everything old is new again - especially when it is so relevant - 'Network' will be remade for television by CBS. Although the rumor of such a project has been around for years, Les Moonves, the CEO of the Tiffany Network, made it official at the TV Critics Association Convention in Pasadena a few weeks back.

"The last time the rumor floated, it featured George Clooney, who said he would direct. (The actor was then in the midst of doing publicity for his Edward R. Murrow flick, 'Good Night, and Good Luck.') Clooney also revealed that because it was Moonves who suggested the remake, he would actually cast the TV titan himself as . . . a TV titan. He wanted Moonves for the Ned Beatty role.

"So the film is going ahead, and Les Moonves, who once acted for a living, says he will take the role of the network chief. He thinks it's 'a fun part.' (Moonves also said he expects the remake to be as scathing as the original. 'Everything works today . . . it's not dated at all!') But Clooney, with all those Oscar nominations on his plate, has changed his mind - he won't be the director."

Way to bait and switch, George! Clooney, to be sure, will be busy getting his daily supply of premium starlet pussy while Moonves -- as Arthur Jensen -- speechifies one of Chayefsky's most intense media criticisms ever.


Ned Beatty plays Moonvesian executive. (image via americanrhetoric)

We can hardly wait to see if Moonves has the script "softened." Here's a taste of the original Network script (Note: Moonves will play JENSEN):

"He leads HOWARD down the steps to the floor level, himself ascends again to the small stage and the podium. HOWARD sits in one of the 200 odd seats. JENSEN pushes a button, and the enormous drapes slowly fall, slicing away layers of light until the vast room is utterly dark. Then, the little pinspots at each of the desks, including the one behind which HOWARD is seated, pop on, creating a miniature Milky Way effect."

MoonvesJENSEN: Master of a simulacrum of the Universe. Fucking brilliant:

"A shaft of white LIGHT shoots out from the rear of the room, spotting JENSEN on the podium, a sun of its own little galaxy. Behind him, the shadowed white of the lecture screen.

"JENSEN suddenly wheels to his audience of one and roars out:

"JENSEN: You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it, is that clear?! You think you have merely stopped a business deal -- that is not the case! The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back. It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity, it is ecological balance! You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations! There are no peoples! There are no Russians. There are no Arabs! There are no third worlds! There is no West! There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of dollars! petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars!, Reichmarks, rubles, rin, pounds and shekels! It is the international system of currency that determines the totality of life on this planet! That is the natural order of things today! That is the atomic, subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and you will atone! Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale?"

Fucking brilliant. Checkmate, Clooney. (The Corsair lowers his tricorn pirate hat in respect)

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