One of the oddest revelations in the Sony mega-leak features a pitch to remake the 1986 Danny DeVito film Ruthless People as a take on Donald Sterling, starring Will Ferrell as the former Clippers owner and Melissa McCarthy as his wife Shelly.
The treatment, shared with Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman Amy Pascal and New York Giants chairman/film producer Steve Tisch, proposes Kristen Wiig in the role of the billionaire's mistress. "Donald Sterling is the funniest way to update this movie," the pitch insists, with a suggestion that Disney would front half the money for production "which will be a huge success."
In 1986 "RP" was contemporary but I've figured out how to remake it for 2016, the Donald Sterling angle is a gift from the comedy gods and Will Ferrell as "Ronald Sperling" is perfect.
The Most Hated NFL Owner in America gets kidnapped a week before the Super Bowl and nobody wants to pay any ransom for him — it reinvents Ruthless People to perfection, everyone is angry —
There's no evidence yet that a script exists, or that Will Ferrell would ever agree to something so stupid; Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talladega Nights) is suggested as a director.
The kidnappers don't realize just what a huge pain he is going to be, they are shocked that nobody wants to pay any ransom to get Sperling back and by reversing the genders in the update with a Donald Sterling sports team NFL owner it's perfect. His wife and his mistress were going to blackmail him with the secret audio of his racist rants but now they can't blackmail him he's been abducted so they decide to sell the tape recording of him to TMZ so they can ruin him and make some money by selling all their tapes of him.
The bad guys kidnap him right after his big NAACP Award Dinner and before TMZ audio tape goes viral and the whole world learns what a horrible racist he is, he was valuable as a hostage for ransom before TMZ but now he is worth nothing to them. Nobody wants him back except for the Mayor and D.A. to prosecute him for Hate Crimes.
He was the most beloved sports owner in America now he's Most Hated Man in the World. He was so popular there were groups urging him to run for President but not any longer.
The wife Melissa McCarthy and the mistress Kristen Wiig are so happy to have the kidnappers by the balls they are not going to pay any money at all to get him back instead they are going to sell their audio recordings of him to TMZ and once it makes news the National Sports League is furious but Sterling is still a kidnap victim — news media goes crazy — where is he?
Where has Sperling run off to? He must be in cahoots with his "kidnappers" "it's a fake kidnapping to gain sympathy!" No it's real, the kidnappers thought they were abducting a very popular and beloved sports team owner but now they realize what an arrogant racist jerk they are stuck with. The kidnappers are black and hispanic and asian and Ronald Sperling insults them nonstop.
They can't kill him and they can't give him back; they have to try and somehow rehabilitate his image so his value will go back up and they can get a nice big ransom — they thought his wife and the Sports League would pay them $250- Million for this guy to get him back but nobody wants him, everyone wants him to be prosecuted for being such a racist. So they are stuck with him and they will set up a TV interview with a famous real life cable TV news personality it will be done by computer video chat and now the news media is even more obsessed with finding the guy — not so he can be set free from kidnappers they are seen as heroes but they would still go to prison — the news media and everyone in the world wants the Sterling character to go to jail for being an arrogant obnoxious racist jerk with audio recordings much worse than the real ones.
So the comedy climax of the movie will see Sperling escape from his captors, they are holding him in a warehouse downtown, he will take a bus with many poor minorities to the Coliseum, awkward and funny. He knows the NFL has banned him for life from any games so he will have to sneak into the stadium to get up to the press box, then try to explain to the worldwide TV audience what happened to him. He has had the worst week ever, he looks like hell, a week's worth of stubble. He gets to the stadium for the final quarter of play and his TV interview will be the primary focus — the cameras and announcers focus on Sperling. Not the game.
The players stop playing to watch the Live interview on the giant video screens.
And yet the real Donald Sterling is still more bizarre than the movie version.
Photo credit: AP