Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A Gift for Shia

Assuming that Shia LaBeouf is still working in Hollywood after his 30th birthday, it stands to reason that someone in his camp--perhaps even he himself--will decide he needs to win an Oscar. Which is to say that he'll enter the Will Smith stage of his career.

When he gets there, I have an idea for him. One that NPR gave to me. It concerns the composer Felix Mendelssohn. Here's the pitch:

We open on Germany. Circa 1936. We're in the back office of a library in Berlin. A slender, bespectacled woman whose bunned librarian hair is slowly unraveling scrambles abruptly around the office. She gathers composition sheets that contain lines filled with notes and melodies we do not yet know. Sliding those sheets carefully into an unmarked envelop.

Outside of the library is the prelude to chaos. Soldiers file through the streets. Berlin is not yet a military zone, but it is being transformed into one. Fearful Germans of not-so-pure heritage and the apathetic elite flee the city. Dutifully and orderly.

The librarian slinks through the library's back door to mount a bicycle. She pedals sternly and anonymously. For a dozen or so blocks. Until she reaches a train station where she meets another woman. A slightly older version of herself. The older woman asks, "Is this all of Felix's work?"

"Yes."

"Thank you."

The older woman discreetly slides the unmarked envelop into her purse and disappears into the crowd. We squeeze zoom out on that crowd and fade to black.


From there, the story of how Felix Mendelssohn's music nearly became a casualty of history unfolds. We learn about Felix's creative nonchalance, the fantastic popularity of his work, his early death, the posthumous assasination of his character, the valiant efforts to preserve his work after it was outlawed by the Nazi party and the 21st century rediscovery of his genius.

The part of Felix, obviously, would be played by a thirtysomething Shia LaBeouf. If done right, it could be an amazing film. 'Cause it's already an amazing story. And, I'd bet, someone somewhere in Southern California has already blazed through the first 50 pages of a screenplay.

If I were sometimes known as Sam Witwicky, I'd only ask that they attach me to the project. Like, now.

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