Sometime in 2014. Chris the ex-librarian has just had his first movie script green-lighted and it is about to be put into production. But what next?
(Hollywood, California. A prominent unnamed movie exec’s office)
Exec: Come on in kid. What have you got for me?
Chris: First I want to thank you again. I know you have limited time.
Exec: Just make sure you don’t waste it. I just wanted to repeat how much I appreciated the originality of your ninja/coal miner story, but you know what they say…
Chris: You’re only as good as your next one?
Exec: Right. I have taught you well. So I repeat…what you working on?
Chris: (standing up to add emphasis to his pitch) I’m working on a remake.
Exec: A remake, eh? A real hit or miss proposition there. What are we remaking? Nothing Victorian I hope. Nothing prestige at all. That’s not in this year. This studio needs money, not awards. And no Westerns! Wait, I forgot about True Grit. Is it a Western? Wait. That’s still too risky. I need something with boffo special effects. Our CGI department is top of the line, you know. I think it’s time for a sci-fi. Is it sci-fi? I do hope it’s something sci-fi.
Chris: You could say that.
Exec: Let me guess. Probably something from the 50’s. Forbidden Planet? No, too cerebral. That movie where five people are left on earth. What was that called?
Chris: That was called Five.
Exec: Five. That’s right. That would certainly save money on casting. One of my favorites is Them! That might work. Our F/X team could make some killer ants. How about The Day the Earth Stood Still?
Chris: They already remade that one and it stunk.
Exec: Oh, yeah. I forgot about that. Why don’t you just tell me? Stop being so shy!
Chris: Well, it’s nothing 50’s. I’m working on an update to Back to the Future.
Exec: Oh! That’s going to be a tough sell. A beloved film for our generation. My kids still watch it. I still watch it. Obviously you still watch it. What’s wrong with the original version?
Chris: Nothing. But don’t you get it? The original is from 1985 and Marty McFly goes back thirty years to 1955. This version will be set in 2015 and he goes back to 1985. Get it now?
Exec: So it’s about mathematics. Thirty is your magic number. Is thirty a prime number? I’m going to buzz my secretary and see if thirty is a prime number or not. Never mind. That’s not important. Anyway, is that all you’re bringing me? It’s going to take more than addition and subtraction for me to sell a Back to the Future remake. So where else you going with this?
Chris: Listen to this. Marty goes back to 1985 and he doesn’t know what to do to get his parents together because nobody has cell phones. Right? And he keeps looking for a computer to get on and he can’t find one and goes to a library and all they have is books! He’s got to get them together before the big Terms of Endearment dance…
Exec: I’m a little interested, but I’m hardly blown away, kid. You got any more?
Chris: Well, a few political jokes. Obviously some Reagan one-liners. Just like in the first one. The real kicker is when Marty tells him that a black man is now president of the United States. It refers to Goldie Wilson the mayor from the first movie, right?
Exec: That’s okay. But there were already two sequels. We know about the future of the series from them.
Chris: They won’t exist in this universe.
Exec: Oh, a full-franchise reboot.
Chris: Reboot. Remake. Whatever! Let’s go for it, C. B!
Exec: Hold your horses. What about the cast? Michael J. Fox’s don’t grow on trees.
Chris: Glad you asked. I was thinking about Dakota Fanning.
Exec: Maybe a good choice for Marty’s mother. That might work. But what about Marty?
Chris: I am talking about Marty. Dakota Fanning as Marty.
Exec: You want Marty to be a girl this time?
Chris: NO! I want Marty to be a boy, but played by a girl. Sort of like Cate Blanchett in I’m Not There.
Exec: That Dylan movie? Are you kidding! How many people saw that? Eight, maybe? So who you got in mind for Doc Brown? You thinking Sean Penn?
Chris: Glad you asked. Here’s the kicker. The Doc Brown character will be changed. The new professor character will be, and remember this is 1985 now….Bill Gates! In between the building of Microsoft, he’s also built a time machine! I’ve got a lot of computer jokes to go with this. You know, we’ll make fun of people not knowing what a floppy disc is. Bill could see an apple and tell Marty how apples aren’t good for him. Get it?. And the catch phrase of the movie will have bad guy Biff saying, “What the hell is DOS?”
Exec: Wait. You got a few strained computer jokes, a female Marty McFly and the founder of Microsoft with a time machine. Have you got anything else?
Chris: Well, the Libyans are now Al-Queda. The Delorean is now an electric car. The clock tower scene would now be a digital clock scene, set at a bank. That would say something about the greed decade, right? And George McFly doesn’t become an author he….wait a minute.
Exec: What is it kid?
Chris: This is all wrong. This isn’t real. I just made this up. I made you up.
Exec: Now see here. You can’t come into my office and-
Chris: Shutup! You’re fictional. I just decided to think of a Back to the Future remake because I can’t believe it’s been almost thirty years since it came out. Thirty years! This is my therapy to deal with the passage of time.
Exec: And you’re trying to find a way to turn back the clock. Well, that explains a lot about me. I was beginning to feel pretty one-dimensional, I admit. Well, since we have determined my fictionalitization, may I go now to wherever it is fictional characters go?
Chris: I don’t think fictionalitization is a word.
Exec: I guess grammar is your problem, kid. By the way, the ninja/coal miner story…it stinks!
(The Exec disappears)
Chris shrugs and pulls out a copy of Back to the Future and decides to watch it again, but without thinking about it so much this time.