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Oliver Stone's 'W': The NPR Interpretation

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Oliver Stone's 'W': The NPR Interpretation

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Oliver Stone's 'W': The NPR Interpretation

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RACHEL MARTIN, host:

So, an early draft for the screenplay for Oliver Stone's movie, speaking of movies, "W," a biopic about George W. Bush, has been leaked to ABC News. The Guardian has reported on it, as has Slate. The Hollywood Reporter put up a couple of scenes online. The reason we're going to all the trouble of telling you all these sources? Well, we checked out the script, and kind of can't believe it's real.

ALISON STEWART, host:

Some of the dialogue, not so believable. Now, of course, it is considered an early draft, allegedly, and the working title "Bush." Sometimes the screenplay doesn't come to life until, let's say, it's performed.

MARTIN: That's where we come in. Ladies and gentlemen, the BPP Players performing "Bush," verbatim. Laura Conaway will play Chief Speechwriter. Ian is Karl Rove. George W. Bush, Win Rosenfeld. Condoleezza Rice, Tricia. Rice's assistant Stephen Hadley, Angela.

STEWART: Pashman is Dick Cheney. Rachel and I are Bush's frat brothers back at Yale. Seriously. And the first voice you'll hear, director Jacob Ganz as Stage Directions.

(Soundbite of screenplay "W")

JACOB GANZ: (As Stage Directions) Interior White House, Oval Office. Day. January 2002. On chief presidential speechwriter, boyish, 40s, talking to second speech writer.

LAURA CONAWAY: (As Chief Speechwriter) Axis of Hatred? I don't know. Something about it just misses...

GANZ: (As Stage Directions) Seated around the table, Bush and his inner circle. Vice President Cheney, Karl Rove, 50s, pudgy. Condi Rice. Her assistant Stephen Hadley, bespectacled, late 40s. Rove.

IAN CHILLAG: (As Karl Rove) Well, then what about Axis of the unbearably odious?

GANZ: (As Stage Directions) Bush, intent, scowls at him.

WIN ROSENFELD: (As George W. Bush) Don't get cute, turdblossom.

GANZ: (As Stage Directions) Nickname for Rove.

ROSENFELD: (As George W. Bush) This is serious.

CONAWAY: (As Chief Speechwriter) What about Axis of Evil?

GANZ: (As Stage Directions) Bush thinks for a moment.

ROSENFELD: (As George W. Bush) Axis of Evil! I like the ring of it. That's it.

GANZ: (As Stage Directions) Rice.

PATRICIA MCKINNEY: (As Condoleezza Rice) But Mr. President, how are we going to tie them all together? It's not like they're Germany, Italy and Japan who were on the same side.

GANZ: (As Stage Directions) Hadley.

ANGELA ELLIS: (As Stephen Hadley) Yeah, they're not aligned with each other.

GANZ: (As Stage Directions) Rove.

CHILLAG: (As Karl Rove) Who gives a (bleep)? It plays.

ROSENFELD: (As George W. Bush) They may not be aligned, but they're threats to our security. Iran and Iraq is trouble, next door to trouble. And they have to know that this president is telling them they've got a problem. With us.

ELLIS: (As Stephen Hadley) Still, I think the Iranian people could take offense in being lumped together with the Iraqis and North Koreans. After all, they have a president who was democratically elected.

MCKINNEY: (As Condoleezza Rice) It could send a wrong message to the Democracy movement, sir.

ROSENFELD: (As George W. Bush) No, Hatch, you don't get it. It could tide me along with the students, the reformers, they'll understand! They want freedom! It'll give legitimacy to their struggle against the hard-liners. The dead-enders, the ayatollah cockamamies. Iran stays in.

GANZ: (As Stage Directions) Rove opens a bottle of non-alcoholic beer for the president. Cheney finally chimes in.

DAN PASHMAN: (As Dick Cheney) Anyone can go to Baghdad. Real men go to Tehran.

GANZ: (As Stage Directions) Bush smirks, clinks beer bottle with Cheney's coffee mug.

ROSENFELD: (As George W. Bush) Real men.

GANZ: (As Stage Directions) Cut to...

(Soundbite of song "Louie Louie")

GANZ: (As Stage Directions) A giant bottle of vodka. Interior DKE frat house. Basement. Night. Young George W. Bush pours the cheap vodka into a large garbage can, while fellow pledge, Clay Johnson, mixes in orange juice. W leans over, takes a snoot-full, then belts out a chorus of the Yale Whiffenpoof song:

ROSENFELD: (As George W. Bush) (Singing) We're poor little lambs who have lost our way. Baa! Baa! Baa!

GANZ: (As Stage Directions) A nerdy pledge, Brian Pringle, stirs the screwdriver mix with a ladle, also singing. The door opens. In walk 40 frat brothers. DKE president, Walter Bennington, smooth uber-patrician steps up to W., other pledges.

STEWART (as Walter Bennington): Good evening, young fellows, DKEsters-in-waiting. This is pledge week. If you made the grade, you will become a brother. And DKE brothers are men of honor and decency and God-given character. That, along with our family fortunes, is why we rule the world.

GANZ: (As Stage Directions) His lieutenant, Tom Francis, hulking athlete, barks at W. and his roommates.

MARTIN: (as Tom Francis) (Shouting) You are all pieces of garbage! You don't care about each other. You don't deserve each other.

(Soundbite of song "Louie Louie")

STEWART: End scene. And if you don't believe us, that that is the actual text that is floating out there, we will link to those script pages on our blog npr.org/bryantpark. Thanks for the Bryant Park Project Players.

MARTIN: And that does it for this hour of the Bryant Park Project, which is directed by Jacob Ganz and edited by Tricia McKinney. Our technical director is Manoli Wetherell.

STEWART: Our staff includes Dan Pashman, Ian Chillag, Win Rosenfeld, Angela Ellis, Caitlin Kenney, Nathan Deuel, Zena Barakat and Mark Garrison.

MARTIN: Our interns, Laura Silver, Elsa Butler.

Ms. CASSIE MCKINNEY: Butler. Hehe. Butler. Hehe.

STEWART: Hey, we say good-bye to our intern William Hoffman today. Put on the shades, buddy. Your future is bright for sure.

MARTIN: Indeed. Tricia McKinney is our editor. Laura Conaway edits our website and our blog. Our senior producer is Matt Martinez. Sharon Hoffman is our executive producer. I'm Rachel Martin.

STEWART: I'm Alison Stewart. We're online all the time at npr.org/bryantpark. And this is what Rachel really thinks of the staff...

(Soundbite from earlier in the broadcast)

MARTIN: (as Tom Francis) (Shouting) You are all pieces of garbage! You don't care about each other. You don't deserve each other.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: This is the BPP from NPR News.

(Soundbite of laughter)

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