I live a mundane life. I think that’s part of the reason I love biographies. Reading them, I can get all the action and adventure a nerd needs, from the comfort of the public library.
So I couldn’t help myself when I heard rave reviews of Issac Deutscher’s three-volume biography of Russian Revolutionary Leon Trotsky. And when I say “rave” I mean worshipful. Famed novelist Graham Greene called the trilogy “among the greatest biographies in the English language.” Kudos don’t get much better than that.
I’m now trudging through the approximately 1,500-page account. I don’t want to get bogged down in the politics. Rather, I want to say how surprisingly riveting it is —from a purely literary perspective. It would make a great movie!
It’s 1917. Picture Trotsky in the heady days of the October Revolution, delivering bombastic speeches before crowds. During the subsequent civil war, he criss-crosses Russia in his armored train, leading the Red Army. After leader Vladimir Lenin dies, he loses the battle of succession to Joseph Stalin. He’s exiled to Mexico, where he romances the artist Frida Kaulo. And, finally, the film ends at his assassination — with an ice ax — by a Stalinist agent.
All in all, his larger-than-life story is made for the big screen. Hollywood should put it into production immediately! But who would play Trotsky?
Daniel Radcliffe of “Harry Potter.” With his round glasses, dark locks and intense stare, he’s a dead-ringer. Plus, as his lightning scar in the wizard films proved, he can convincingly fake a traumatic head injury. No one will doubt his performance when he comes face to face with some lethal climbing equipment.
Jim Cramer, of MSNBC’s Mad Money, would make an excellent Lenin. He’s got the gesticulating rants down pat. And with his facial hair and male-pattern baldness, we’d save a bundle in the makeup department. Throw him a newsboy cap and some lines about proletarian dictatorship and we’re good to go!
Despite having played a sociopathic killer in “No Country for Old Men,” Javier Bardem would have to step up his game to play the purge-loving Stalin. One might say the two don’t have a physical resemblance, and that’s true. But squint a little bit, imagine a walrus mustache on Bardem’s face and, voila: a murderous dictator! Only Super Mario, of countless Nintendo games, has an equal claim to the style. Besides, we need a real actor to round out these jokers.
So, Hollywood producers, why don’t you return my phone calls? I’ve got a movie to pitch you.