Below is a pitch for a book I don’t think I could ever get made so I present it here to you for your consideration. Enjoy.
In the 1970s, Stan Lee was amazingly dedicated to breaking into Hollywood and he thought his four colour creations were his ticket to the top of this red carpet heat. He was right.
At a party in the hills, Lee starts talking with Roman Polanki about the characters of Marvel Comics. Polanski is fascinated by the sexual representation he so clearly sees in all of these spandex clad do gooders, Lee is just glad someone is taking him seriously. Francis Ford Coppola sees the opportunity for the highest sense of drama matched with a budget not to be believed and he starts getting the wheels turning in a more serious manner.
For two years, Stan Lee, Roman Polanski, Paul Schrader, Francis Ford Coppola, and Robert Towne share an office space at the Hollywood Hotel. Their bid to take over the silver screen with superheroes begins with its biggest step, they are going to adapt The Avengers into the mightiest movie the world has ever seen.
Coppola wants amazing set pieces, Polanski wants emotional repression and violence, but it is Paul Schrader and Robert Towne who dominate proceedings by grounding these gods. They focus on the lives of the men, and women, and they match them to their surroundings. The film isn’t going to be set in Marvel’s New York, they will put these wonders right in the middle of a real New York. ‘Super heroes but terrible men’ is how Schrader explains it. The script undergoes eleven major revisions before they are ready to cast.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: Robert Towne
Produced by Francis Ford Coppola
Jeff Bridges as Steve Rogers/Captain America
Robert De Niro as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Harvey Keitel as Clint Barton/Hawkeye
Cybil Shepherd as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch
Peter Fonda as Loki
Hulk – never truly seen, an apparition, we see the aftermath
James Caan as Bruce Banner
Jack Nicholson as Hank Pym/Ant-Man
Susan Sarandon as Janet Van Dynn/The Wasp
Robert Duvall as Jarvis
Robert Redford as Matt Murdock
Marlon Brando as Odin
Roman Polanski, Paul Schrader, Stan Lee as the script doctors
The movie is going to focus on Captain America’s sense of loss and displacement which leads to him disconnecting from the world he inherits and becoming the ultimate General, dissociative, brooding, emotional. Tony Stark follows an arc of being the wunderkind to being the drunk who gets a team member killed. He will end the movie in jail. Clint Barton is a street thug brought in for his body bagging ability and this becomes the lynch pin upon which the world will focus on to build their distrust of the self appointed team. Overreactive Hank Pym is planned as a scene stealer, comedic in the way he only speaks from the Id. Bruce Banner is the uncertain scientific genius who feels abandoned by the world. The Hulk is to never actually be seen on screen, merely his destruction and aftermath are presented, or the reactions of those who see him. He is a force of nature, a representation of what can happen when a man goes wrong. Loki is to be the mastermind behind the entire plot of Hulk’s anguish. He’s nasty and sneaky and yet he comes undone when the sexuality of the Scarlet Witch is used against him.
The film, being set in New York, shows the reactions of people towards this new breed of superhero. The minds behind the movie are venting frustration at how they feel they are perceived by so many. The superpowers represent their skills of the new cinema and they are sick of being treated as people breaking the system rather than fixing it and even creating a new and better one.
The action of the movie is the aspect Stan Lee fights against the hardest and then loses the biggest. All the fights are mostly settled with fists, limited powers, and generally feel more grounded and brutal. Citizens pull guns on the heroes, Tony Stark is stripped of his suit but still manages to use a baseball bat to work his way out of a dire predicament in a bloody and drunken fashion, and every action has a consequence.
This five issue comic miniseries will showcase scenes from the film, so as to analyse its makers, but it will mainly focus on the making of the film. From scripting to casting, backstage fights and trailer fornication, The Avengers ends up being the biggest film of all time on and behind the screen. Stan Lee ends up leaving Hollywood, though with his pockets full, a generation of filmmakers and actors are inspired to tackle Marvel properties to analyse their own issues, and one crew death will never be solved.
We can hint at the hook ups on and off camera, the fights mostly behind the camera, and the way these Marvel heroes have so often and perfectly represented the true heart of the real world around them through each era.
If we thought the drama on the pages of Marvel Comics was anything then we haven’t seen a thing until we see the most volatile creative force ever seen in the 20th Century tackle it for four years. Four colour drama mixes with the seedy underbelly of Hollywood to create one of the greatest tales of all time that really should have been.