I'm still fuming over the bad review in Sunday's paper about the movie, Cowboys and Aliens. It beat out every other movie this past week-end in box office receipts. People like it no matter what the talking heads that write the reviews say. (And you know who you are.)
When I was in Hollywood a few years ago pitching a western screenplay, they all talked about high concept movies. Heck, I was so green I didn't even know what they were talking about. But fortunately my screenwriting partner, Pat Smith, had been around the industry for awhile, and she knew exactly what they meant. That's why we had written a different kind of screenplay hoping it would be high concept enough for them. Instead of a straight western, we wrote a time travel western. A young reporter from 2003 ( is that how long it's been?) travels back in time to 1876 where he becomes friends with Wild Bill Hickok right before the famous gunman is killed in The Number 10 saloon. Many of the characters in Deadwood are the same people he knew in New York, although they don't know they are. Think Wizard of Oz. The screenplay is terrific and got a lot of attention, even being requested by a production company headed up by Paul Haggis, Mathew McConaughey and Sandra Bullock. Then because of their read, it was requested by Tom Selleck, who asked that it be turned back into a straight western because he "doesn't do Sci/Fi." Although nothing has happened with either screenplay, yet, there's still hope because apparently they are now producing "high concept westerns." So Pat, get that Academy Award Dress out of mothballs, there might be a phone call any minute.
And just so we're completely ready for that phone call, I guess we'd better decide who we want to play Wild Bill. Here are my two choices. Although they're both probably too up there in age, Hickok led a wild life and probably looked a whole lot older than he was.