Big Picture columnist Patrick Goldstein has missed the big picture in his 7.25 article about screenwriter Peter Morgan‘s third and presumably final Tony Blair movie, the first two being The Deal and The Queen. Goldstein said that Morgan “envisions the script,” called The Special Relationship, as “an intimate portrait of Blair’s relationship with Clinton, circa 1997-2000.”
Peter Morgan, Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, George Bush
Well and good, but what Goldstein doesn’t mention is that the script was first envisioned as a tragic tale of Blair’s downfall due to his misguided alliance with Bush over WMDs and the mounting of the Iraq War. Michael Sheen, who portrayed Blair in The Deal and The Queen, told me in the spring of ’07 about Morgan’s plan to eventually write a Blair-goes-down movie (and about his expectation that he would star in it).
On 10.1.07 Variety‘s Adam Dawtrey reported that the new movie will focus on Blair’s “reaction to the handover of power from Clinton, a natural liberal ally, to Bush, who came from the other end of the political spectrum, which Morgan sees as a pivotal moment when the special relationship between Britain and America changed.'”
What’s happened, in short, is that Morgan has gradually lost interest in the Bush-alliance downfall story and shifted focus to the lah-dee-dah Blair-Clinton relationship. It’s almost certain that whatever A Special Relationship turns out to be, Morgan will make it work and then some. He’s a very sharp writer. But I for one am disappointed. The Iraq War-downfall thing is about a smart guy going astray, drinking the Kool-Aid and screwing his career — clear and simple. What’s the Bush-Clinton story about? Two liberal-minded heads of state come to like each other during the ’90s and….what? I don’t see what it is.