On Sequel Thinking

For absolutely no reason at all today — except maybe that the subway train broke down in the tunnel between stops this morning — I worked out in my mind a sequel to a movie that maybe doesn’t need a sequel: Dave.

Dave, of course, is that charming Kevin Kline movie about a Presidential impersonator, Dave Kovic, who, through an accident, has to pretend to be the President of the United States when the real President, Bill Mitchell, has a massive and disabling stroke. Kovic comes to realize that he can make a real difference, but then the Chief of Staff, Bob Alexander, who masterminded this scheme, tries to bring down Kovic-as-Mitchell. In the end, things work out. A good man, Vice President Gary Nance, becomes President. Bob Alexander goes to jail. And Dave Kovic goes into local politics and gets the girl — in this case, the former First Lady.

Try this on for size.

It’s twenty years later. An Oliver Stone-type filmmaker is making an Oliver Stone-type biopic about President Bill Mitchell. Imagine something like Nixon. That’s the sort of film he’s making.

Dave Kovic has, by this time, been married to former First Lady Ellen Mitchell. Kovic’s political career is minor leagues; he got a seat on the city council, and a few years later was able to parlay that into a State Senate seat in Maryland. Jobs programs are still his thing, and he’s big into tech development. Basically, he’s still Dave.

There’s a great unanswered mystery of the Bill Mitchell presidency — how is it, why is it that, a few scant months after Mitchell’s death, his widow met and married a local politician of no great renown? The biopic is about to tear that question wide open.

You see, there’s Bob Alexander to consider. He served his prison time for the illegal activities that Bill Mitchell and he had orchestrated with failing savings & loans. He’s out of prison, not really a prominent person in the Republican Party because of his felony conviction, but he’s found a new career as a right-wing media personality. Think G. Gordon Liddy.

The film comes out. Director goes on the Bob Alexander Show. The filmmaker’s theory about the great unanswered question is this — Mitchell had affairs out the wazoo. This Dave Kovic character, who was really, by all rights, far outside the sphere in which Ellen Mitchell would have traveled, must have been her affair while her husband was alive. So, Ellen and Dave conspired to get Bill Mitchell out of the way, and they caused his stroke.

Complete bunk, and Bob Alexander calls him on this. “You want to know the real story?” he says. “I was there. I can tell you.”

And Bob Alexander, on national television, spills the story of Dave Kovic’s presidency.

From there, the direction is fairly obvious.

The media suddenly hounds this little-known Maryland State Senator. Who is he? Could this story possibly be true? And if it is true, what does it mean? Do laws passed then count?

Naturally, at first, everyone denies everything.

And that sets up the conflict for the final act; Dave eventually confesses, and this causes problems between him and Ellen, only for them to reconcile in the denouement.

Okay, it’s rough. It’s pointless. And I don’t see fun in it. Dave is a fun movie. It’s wish-fulfillment. I can’t help but love that movie.

This idea? Not so much.

Still, it’s a fun game. If you could take a one-shot movie and write a sequel, which movie would you pick, what would you do?

2 thoughts on “On Sequel Thinking

  1. Sorry, it’s been a few months – I just found this posting. A sequel to Dave isn’t the worst idea. Mostly because I love the characters and wouldn’t mind seeing what has happened to them since the original film. I’m sure there would be a way to integrate a “fun” element – no idea what or how to do so.

    Anyway, a sequel to Dave – I’ll definitely pay to see. I’d be curious how many of the original actors would be willing to reprise their roles.

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