The Playgoer: About that Mamet "Anne Frank"...

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

About that Mamet "Anne Frank"...

After initial reports, it's apparently now not happening.

In August Variety had reported that Disney had recently acquired the rights to the film, which would be produced by Andrew Braunsberg (”Being There”) and writer-director Mamet. The Oleanna and Race playwright, it was then reported, had based his film’s script on the famed diary and the original Albert Hackett-Frances Goodrich play.

According to a Sept. 23 article on, Mamet’s version — “a pro-Israel exploration of anti-Semitism movie set in contemporary times” — has been deemed “too dark” by Disney, and it is unlikely the film will be made. “It’s very intense, and dark and scary,” a Disney executive told “It’s not a film version of ‘The Diary of Anne Frank.’ The story evolved into something more intense.”

Intense? Dark? Scary? What does he think this is, a Holocaust story?

Actually, to be fair, Mamet does seem to have left behind the Anne Frank story, per se. That story claims:
the screenplay is not a retelling of the famous Holocaust drama taken from the diaries of Frank, but about a contemporary Jewish girl who goes to Israel and learns about the traumas of suicide bombing.
Curious if he goes ahead and makes the film anyway on his own. Or else it will probably just end up as an episode on his pro-War on Terror series, The Unit.

Meanwhile, his new play about gay actors in ancient Rome starts previews at the Atlantic tonight!

Some of you may recall a great old Phil Hartman SNL sketch positing the idea of a "Gay Communist Gun Club" as the most unlikely of political parties. Well I'm not saying David Mamet is gay, or a communist. But if anyone could write a story with a hero who would join such a group, it would be this politically eclectic oddball.


99 said...

I guess they were expecting something more like this:

Tom Shea said...

Didn't The Unit get cancelled?

Playgoer said...

I guess you're right, Tom. Didn't realize. Hardly surprise given what was probably a small audience. Still, for all its militaristic posturing, I found it usually well written and terrifically acted. Dennis Haysbert especially excellent.

And thanks, 99, for the Hillary Duff/Anne Frank spoof. Hilarious. I recommend anyone with the stomach for such things follow the link.

Tom Shea said...

I liked it as well. Pro-military without being jingoistic, and well-produced.

I once did a production of the Weill/Nash/Perelman "One Touch of Venus "and re-wrote a scene from the musical in the style of Mamet. That was a fun exercise.

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