“Might” being the operative word here, as director Darren Aronofsky habitually signs on to various projects before bailing for one reason or another (see also: Robocop and The Wolverine). He hasn’t even started principal photography on his actual next film, the Biblical action/adventure, probably sacriligous epic Noah , starring Russell Crowe in the title role. So, it’s highly likely that even if Paramount Pictures — who currently has a first-look deal with the filmmaker — agrees to make his follow-up, The General , there’s still no guarantee Aronofsky will see the movie through to its fruition. Which would be a shame, because with a single compound word descriptor, his supposed genre-bending biopic about George Washington sounds like it could be pretty great.
That descriptor? “Unforgiven-like.” If the idea of a western influenced movie about the United States’ first President excites and finds you dumb in equal measure, then you are not alone. Clint Eastwood’s violent meditation on the genre that made him famous is a truly great movie, but it’s a very specific tale — the old man coming out of retirement to kickass and chew tobacco, and he’s all out of tobacco. Seeing George Washington deliver a freedom-loving boot up a few Red Coats’ bums is just the sort of thing Americans love, and I am, if anything, an American. But I was at a loss as to how that particular narrative could work for a Washington biopic, after all, it’s not like he did anything that awesome after retiring from the Presidency. Then, with Wikipedia’s help, I remembered that the general had retired once from military life after the Seven Years War before eventually returning to the battlefield with his fellow founding fathers. So, if The General really will be “Unforgiven-like” then it stands to reason that Washington’s coming-out-of-retirement motivation (to pull off one last job) will be the American Revolution.
That is awesome. Maybe even more so than the header image by artist Jason Heuser. And Wikipedia already has a tagline ready to go: “He did not return to military life until the outbreak of the revolution in 1775.” And boom went the flintlock pistol.
Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his ware can be purchased here (if you’re into that sort of thing). He would also suggest Stephen Lang as the badass commander-in-chief in question.