What, Hollywood? You think that America is captivated only by old-timey pirates? Poppycock! On the contrary, the nation is riveted by the story of Richard Phillips, the captain of some barge that was hijacked by Somali pirates off the horn of Africa this week. To those pirates, Phillips is the only thing standing between them and annihilation-by-Navy-destroyer. Also, Phillips made a bold but unsuccessful escape attempt yesterday. But this is far less exciting then a couple of washed up actors racing tricked-out Nissans. And surely no one would watch The Pirate Show when a semi-talented teen is screeching out cover songs on the next channel.
Until now, the dilemma with the modern pirate movie / TV series pitch has been a lack of an American angle. Typically, the pirates target ships with lower-paid, barely trained workers from other countries. But thanks to this week's events, the threat is suddenly (finally!) real to people in Peoria.
My pitch presumes it's just a matter of time till pirates get up the nerve -- and the military might -- to launch an attack off American shores. Now: What U.S. region boasts the kind of ship and yacht traffic that would lure pirates for a big score? South Florida, of course, a region in dire need of improved television and film treatment, not to mention a few tourist bucks.
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Picture this: two handsome young Somali pirates, desperate but still conscience-ridden, like those lil' rascals in Slumdog Millionaire. Their crew captures a yacht owned by some horrible Madoff-type, who just happens to have a beautiful daughter bored stiff by privilege. She hates her tyrant father the way the young Somalis hate their tyrant uncle pirate boss. Can people from such different worlds really make a connection? You'll believe it when you see it!
Film the action aboard the Athena (pictured), which is available for rental (just a half-mill / week!) and is currently gathering dust in the armpit of the 17th Street Causeway. I know of a Fort Lauderdale bar that would make a perfect scene. I'm thinking Olivia Wilde as the daughter of capitalist crook played by Tom Wilkinson. In the Somali roles we can cast...oh, who cares? Vin Diesel couldn't ruin this plot. I'm too lazy to market this idea myself, so can someone please make this happen?