The Fall Guy

Years ago, I was working on a screenplay for a dystopian movie. I ultimately shelved it to work on books instead, though I did put some elements of it into The Start of the Majestic World.

There were two plot threads in the movie: one was the personal story of the main character, his girlfriend, and a rival for her affections. The second thread was about change in society generally, and how it goes back and forth from hedonism to brutal tyranny. The idea was that the “societal” themes formed a backdrop to the more personal story. I called the two threads “micro” and “macro”.

The macro plot involved a popular, charismatic and transformative President at the end of his term, campaigning for his chosen successor. And his successor was a member of his administration who had worked well with him, but who had the dull personality of a bureaucrat.

But his successor faced a surprise challenge from a radical candidate, who was dangerous and reckless, but also very charismatic and popular. The challenger wanted to dismantle all of the old administration’s policies.

In the second act, the challenger won in spite of the government’s best efforts to stop him. After which, everything went to hell.

My working title for the screenplay was “The Fall Guy”, because the main character ends up taking the fall for a lot of stuff done by the original administration once the challenger takes over.

I set the screenplay aside about 6 years ago, mostly because the dialogue had gotten too heavy on political philosophy for a movie. But I’ll admit, I’ve recently thought about revisiting it…


  1. Fiction then, a little too true to life today. Robert Bloch wrote a short story in 1958 about a man who goes up in a tower and starts shooting people. He couldn’t sell it because the editors all said it wasn’t believable. Sometimes reality takes time to catch up to the literary mind.

    1. It reminds me of a story about the futuristic video game “Deus Ex” (another influence on “Majestic World“): The beginning of the game was set in New York City, but they didn’t have enough memory to render the World Trade Center in the background. So they explained it away by having the plot say the towers had been destroyed by terrorists. The game was released in 2000.

  2. Prescient? Oh man, I hope it doesn’t work out that way. But definitely go for it! Such a good idea and to say timely is an understatement.

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