Pow! Bam!! Captain Ukraine
The Superhero Producer Pitch Letter
Hope you’re doing well and have finally gotten over that Bouchon lunch check already. It’s been 11 months now and I did offer. You’re just too fast on the draw, buddy.
Because you’re so on top of things — covering tabs with your Amex Platinum and zeroing in like a heat-seeking missile on the next megahit, I am pitching this one exclusively to you. Don’t say I never gave you anything!
You’re a busy man. So, without further ado, my gift to you, wrapped up in sunflower gold and blockbuster blue:
The next superhero in the Marvel franchise, the juggernaut from Ukraine, the superhero with the chutzpah to stand up to global superpowers and stare down evil empires and KGB ‘manly men’: Slava Ukraini!
In case you’ve been living under a rock (and I know you better than that), Slava means glory, as in Glory Ukraine! The character is based on Captain Ukraine himself, the real-life, real-deal, Q Score-soaring President Volodymyr Zelensky.
He’s everywhere. Everyone loves him. Everyone wants to be him, meet him, carry him through the streets. My daughter tells me that ‘I need ammo, not a ride,’ t-shirts are the absolute coolest in statement apparel — followed closely by ‘Russian warship, go f*** yourself’ sailor caps.
Marty, this guy has ‘It’ factor stamped all over his mensch self! And isn’t it time, in our town and our industry, to showcase one of the Tribe? Someone less neurotic and cringy than Woody? Less Zoolander-silly than Ben? Less cranky old uncle than Larry?
Slava is a hero with heart. He’s David with a slingshot standing up to Goliath. A comedian who’s starred in TV and film before making his way — hipper Gipper-style — to the political stage. He hosted — and won — Dancing with the Stars. A triple threat, I’m telling you!
There’s already plenty of buzz about Jeremy Renner playing Zelensky — but I’ll leave that to you and your creative team. Whatever you do, though, don’t put him in a muscled suit, ala Affleck’s Batman fail.
What more could you ask?
OK, you might ask for a villain. Check and done! Just 3-D print Vladimir Putin and ta-da! — you’ve got the antihero of all time, the pinnacle of evil, the archetypical villain. An assassin, for crying out loud, who rides a freaking tiger! Chris Walken could do a kick-ass Putin, especially with a set of those ‘dead eye’ contacts. Or Gary Oldman? Your call, of course. Just spit-balling.
Every superhero needs a posse, right? Some fun and fierce sidekicks. Well, there’s plenty to pick from in this script-that-writes-itself: You can take the traditional approach, casting folks like the gangsta-looking cabinet members who surrounded Zelenskyy in his film noir-style ‘We’re Here’ selfie (I’m telling you, the guy knows stagecraft!)
Or you put together a ‘common man’ crew, capitalizing on the everyday heroes: The hot air balloon pilot who offered to assist with air cover. Librarians postponing their annual conference while they ‘vanquish their invaders.’ Grandpas dusting off old-as-dirt rifles. Moms sheltering children in subway cars. Citizens standing between tanks and a nuclear power station — c’mon, how badass is that?!
This is rich, Marty — richer than all your exes combined. It’s f***ing EPIC.
Everyone is rooting for Ukraine and Zelenskyy. Everyone. Were you at the SAG awards? Sure you were. Well, you heard it there — and in every store and bar and business meeting you’ve been to lately. This one’s universal, my friend. A moviedom grosser of colossal, Cossack proportions!
We’re talking TV rights, streaming and VOD. Foreign sales. Myriad distribution channels. Video games! And the merchandising opportunities: Nesting wooden dolls — a slam-dunk for Disney! Action figures. Painted Easter eggs that explode (PG-safely, of course). Designer babushka scarves.
And Slava isn’t a one-hit wonder, no siree. I see an action-packed trilogy — prequel, sequel, power to the people!
Think about it, Marty. But don’t let the ice in your non-Russian vodka melt. We’ve got to strike while the iron (curtain) is hot.
So hit me up. We’ll do lunch. My treat this time.