I have always loved the Founding Fathers. To me these men, with all their complexities, faults and intercenine battling are sort of like the Marvel superheroes of history - larger than life figures with feet of clay. Like, the idea that Thomas Jefferson could write some of the most profound and influential stuff about freedom while still owning slaves is just the kind of dichotomy that defines the dark and light sides of humanity. The same goes for Washington, who fought for independence but kept his own slaves, who was a great leader of men but had a really negative disposition, who found himself in the position to become the King of America and instead willingly gave up power. That's a complex man.
WIth the success of Hamilton there's a new focus on the Founding Fathers, and that focus is coming to Hollywood. The truth of the matter is that we have never had a great Revolutionary War movie, and I'm not quite sure why - read any history book about the Revolutionary period and you'll find colorful characters, stunning bravery from underdogs, resounding defeats that should have broken the American spirit, cunning reversals and bickering and rivalries between men on the same side. The drama and intrigue is thick in the Revolutionary War, but it's never been properly captured in a movie. For some reason we have better luck with the Civil War.
Now Martin Scorsese could be making a go of it; he's circling a script called The General, and it's about Washington's time leading the Continental Army in the Revolution. This is a truly fertile era for storytelling; in fact it's so fertile that I kind of hope the script zeroes in on a specific year or group of battles. I mean, you could do whole movies about losing New York or about the barbaric guerilla raid that followed the crossing of the Delaware or about the final triumph at Yorktown. You could do a Washington trilogy!
The script is by Adam Cooper and Bill Collage who, through no fault of their own I'm sure, wrote Allegiant. Darren Aronofsky was attached to direct at one point, and he compared it to Unforgiven. I can see that - Washington in the Revolution was a weary, battle-hardened man who had served for a long time. I always think of Washington as more of a grumbler than William Munny, but I can also see that version of him as well.
It's early days, yet. And there's another Washington movie, The Virginian starring Bradley Cooper, in the works as well. If Cooper is starring I'm betting that's closer to Washington's service in the French and Indian War, even though he's too old for that period of Washington's life (but he's also too young for the Revolution). Or maybe it's about Washington tending farm at Mount Vernon between the wars - real edge of your seat stuff. Whatever it is, there's plenty of room in my heart for many George Washington movies, and also many others featuring our brilliant, craven, brave, shitty, iconic and rotten Founding Fathers.