Deadline reports that Wall Street and W. screenwriter Stanley Weiser has been hired to script a biopic about Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling for the Bureau of Moving Pictures—a film production arm that sounds appropriately ominous and monolithic for a Twilight Zone-related project. (“Picture, if you will, a world where all entertainment is handled by a faceless bureacracy… This was Earth all along.”) Anyway, Serling’s life story is certainly an interesting one, with his mordant point of view being shaped early on by his experiences as a paratrooper and in a death-prone demolition squad in World War II, a setting that is always a bonus for biopics. The horrible things Serling witnessed there went on to shape his storytelling in various formats but most notably on The Twilight Zone, where he would orchestrate twisty morality plays that often ended horribly for their protagonists, all while Serling just stood there, chain-smoking and immutable, because it’s about time you learned that life is horrible.
Serling also became known for his frequent clashes with producers and executives over scripts that promoted progressive commentary on race and gender equality—another bonus when it comes to biopics, as is his later outspoken protesting of the Vietnam War. Serling’s story also has its requisite dark elements, what with the suggestion floated in some of his biographies (and glimpsed in his story’s themes) that, despite his political beliefs, he was deeply cynical about other people, often to the point of total misanthropy. And as if all of these qualites weren’t already tailor-made for the movies, Serling’s life even has something of a twist ending, as the cigarettes he sucked down while coldly presiding over other people’s supernatural miseries—in addition to his frequent bouts of rage and hypertension—ended up doing him in at the relatively young age of 50. In short, it shouldn’t take a particularly large key of imagination to unlock this door. We’re officially cautiously optimistic.
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