Taking the Imus story to the big screen

Aging white radio personality (Bill Murrary) gets fired for racist remark. His career appears to be over until he’s hired by the owner (Bernie Mac) of a struggling, urban (Detroit?) radio station. Seems the radio personality saved the station owner’s life in the jungles of Viet Nam.

The station manager (Queen Latifah) doesn’t like the idea at all but the program director (Jack Black) –a white man who longs to be black– sees big ratings.

The local minister/activist (Eddie Murphy) keeps the heat on to get rid of “this loud-mouthed saltine!”

The station sales manager (Regina King) sees nothing but angry advertisers but soon finds herself falling in love with the repentant Murray character.

As with all my movie ideas, I have no third act, but know Kay will come through as she always does. I guess I need a title, too. Maybe, “What’d I say?”

6 thoughts on “Taking the Imus story to the big screen

  1. Dazed and Confused has already been done, I think. I forgot the title. I have no idea on that. I think they test the heck out of titles…so it might as well wait ’til after the movie’s made.
    More thoughts: Billy Bob Thornton has already done this character, so who else could pull it off? I went to a weird movie starring Steve Martin once — just a bunch of facts thrown at you. My movie mate almost got up and left 20 minutes in. The guy who played Al Bundy was in the movie, too. Anyway, it would be great if Steve Martin played the lead — without being funny. Again, if we’re thinking about a drama here.
    Now, about the washed up part. Which of us is washed up in the movie version of this? And I do think there’s a previous post on that particular idea.

  2. Damn. I throw these silly script ideas up here and then Kay comes along with some kind of killer plot twist and ending that leaves me thinking, shit… that could be a movie.
    Not to get too meta on you, but…
    How about a radio news director who gets discovered by a Hollywood producer after she posts brilliant script ideas on the blog of a washed up screenwriter with terminal writer’s block.
    Has that already been done? I’m getting confused.

  3. Finally getting around to putting my mind around this concept, Steve. If you go with your “romantic comedy” formula, then I think your casting is a great start. But what jumps to my mind is Monster’s Ball with Billy Bob Thornton. He transformed an unredeemable character into someone for whom you felt sympathy by the end. You understood his transformation, and you rooted for the relationship with Hallie Berry to work.
    So, for the darker drama I envision you’ve got to cast someone in the lead who can pull that off — and make the love story credible. I don’t think Bill Murray is your man. I watched Murray in Broken Flowers and his performance left me unimpressed. So I might like to see a Billy Bob, or perhaps a Sean Penn in the lead, and some unknowns or other “serious” actors in the other roles.
    Now, on to the ending. If it’s a romantic comedy, the two leads have to come together in the end and the movie has to end on a high point. So, we have something hanging, like the female love interest gets hired at the NY radio station that kicked the male love interest off the air. The old radio star’s last shot is his voice coming out of her radio as she’s packing; some on-air confession that he is a down-and-out white man in love with an up-and-coming woman who has no business being with him — ending with her jumping in her car (with the radio on, of course) as she listens to his confession. She rushes in the studio, makes some declaration, he announces to his radio listeners that he’s done with radio and is going to NY. Gotta work on that, but it would be the dramatic romantic ending the audience is expecting.
    If it’s a drama, the aging white radio jock marries the women who dies — and he winds up raising her daughter….think about that!

  4. See? Studio heads CAN make the story better. I agree with all of Bob’s suggestions. How about a title, Bob?
    After further reflection: I like Christopher Walken and Rip Torn but this needs to be a _romantic_ comedy and I don’t think either of them can pull that off. Murray can. Same goes for Lewis Black (post below). Lots of comic edge, but hard to see him in a tender moment.
    I’m not married to Murray for the lead if someone else can make the love interest work. So who can do “edgy” and “romance?”
    Remember, we’re not making The Don Imus Story here. We’re makig a movie loosly based on a character LIKE Don Imus.

  5. Steve —
    Love the concept, babe. Let’s have your people and my people do lunch. I’m seeing someone “edgier” in the Imus role, like Christopher Walken or Rip Torn. And make Queen Latifah the station owner and Bernie Mac the PD . . .
    Bob

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