NOVI, MI - MAY 3: Radio talk show host and conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh speaks at "An Evenining With Rush Limbaugh" event May 3, 2007 in Novi, Michigan. The event was sponsored by WJR radio station as part of their 85th birthday celebration festivities. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rush Limbaugh
I enjoy writing about Rush Limbaugh because any post about him is guaranteed to attract 50 nutjob liberal commenters complaining that Limbaugh is destroying the world, followed by 50 nutjob conservative commenters declaring that BARAK HUSSAYN OBAMA IS HITLER. Limbaugh’s quite adept at bringing the two lunatic ends of the political spectrum together for a furious bout of online dance fighting.
Well, producer James Sclafani believes Limbaugh’s ability to attract controversy makes him the perfect movie subject. Deadline explains that Sclafani is actively working on a Limbaugh biopic as we speak. Will it be a cheap hagiography designed to appeal to dittoheads, directed by Senor Spielbergo? Or will it be a devious liberal sendup? Well, Sclafani insists it will be neither:
Sclafani… has written a feature film about Limbaugh's life that is in the process of being packaged and shopped for financing. Sclafani, who recently sold his script Counter Kid to Bill Murray's Devoted Pictures, optioned The Rush Limbaugh Story: Talent on Loan from God, an unauthorized biography by longtime Gotham-based journalist Paul Colford, who currently heads media relations for the AP. The book served as the basis for the script.
Sclafani said the script he's written is a close cousin to the Oliver Stone-directed George W. Bush feature W, in that he tries to get beneath the surface politics and controversies and down to the ambition and demons that drove Limbaugh's success…
"This is Citizen Kane meets Private Parts, where you have a man who always had trouble relating to people in the outside world, but does it effortlessly in the booth," said Sclafani.
Two years ago, Zev Chafets of New York Times wrote a profile of Limbaugh (since turned into a book) that achieved the kind of complexity Sclafani is looking for. Politics aside, Limbaugh IS an interesting subject. An entire army of conservatives take their cues from him, but he seems a profoundly lonely man. Like Richard Nixon, he appears driven by a sense that the “elites” of the world will never accept him as one of their own, and constantly uses that phantom exclusivity against them. We’ve all felt excluded at times. We’ve all felt that there was some club of people who went to great lengths to keep us out, and we’ve always resented them for it. I know I’ve felt that way. Limbaugh, like Stern (always the Hollywood outsider), knows EXACTLY how to use those feelings to make great radio. Also, he's a recovering drug addict. And who doesn't like a good drug addict story?
Unlike Sarah Palin, Limbaugh really IS a shrewd person who knows how to extract the precise reaction he wants out of people, be they with him or against him. You never know if he’s being genuine when he’s saying something completely insane, and that’s the point. The question is: Can any movie look beyond the political bluster and find the soul of Limbaugh? It appears Sclafani will give it a go. Kevin Farley’s agent is already foaming at the mouth.