Thursday, June 25, 2009

Selling The Struggle

As Iran continues to experience social upheaval, we in the States look on, concerned, frightened, angered, inspired -- at least for a good two-to-three minutes.

Face it: most Americans are just too "on the go" to stop and watch beautiful women be gunned down, heads crushed, bones shattered, democratic aspirations chained to cinder blocks and dumped in tyranny's dark waters. There's work to avoid, porn to masturbate to, plus the summer TV season is heating up.

So how does Iran grab a larger US demographic? Simple.

First, the Iranian opposition needs to be more violent. Marketing data consistently shows that American men between 18-40 are serious action fans, a demographic that is increasingly female as well. That's a solid, core audience. If Iranian protesters dropped their placards and picked up automatic weapons, their cause would resonate across the US.

Now, it's doubtful that armed Iranian protesters could actually overthrow the current government. And prolonged guerrilla warfare would cause significant, perhaps irreversible audience drop-off. So what's needed is a noble but doomed Iranian armed insurrection, something that can be dramatized in a Hollywood film, with Zac Efron in his first dramatic role as Kamal, an apolitical college student swept up by history and destiny, who leads a ragtag street army against a powerful but vulnerable foe. A Persian John Connor assisted by Nazy, a frustrated religious tutor who yearns to be a sexy, dancing bartender, played by Hayden Panettiere.

I'm not quite sure how this movie ends. Depends on the title. If it's called "Lightning In Tehran," then perhaps Kamal and Nazy embrace for a final stand while lightning tears through the sky. If it's called "The Persian Puzzle," Kamal and Nazy might realize that they'll never fully understand, much less overcome, Iran's rigid power structure, finding solace in love and bootleg DVDs. If it's called "Mr. Kipler's Marvelous Cabinet Of Dreams," then heads are gonna roll, because that's a stupid fucking title.

Okay. Scrap all that. Let's think bigger. How about Angelina Jolie as an Iranian double agent who, while wearing a veil and being subservient, learns the mullahs' plans for the demonstrators, then strips down to street fighting wear, taking on the religious police singlehandedly, bringing the pain while paving the road to democracy, where she's elected Iran's first woman president, but turns it down so she can motorcycle through the Middle East, seeking new causes to fight.

Call her, "The Emancipator."