It's official: Volkswagen's diesel emissions scandal is now a movie. Well, it will be. Just as soon as all the investigations and hearings and lawsuits wrap up. And the tell-all book is written. And someone turns that book into a screenplay.
But, you know: details, details. The important thing is: MOVIE.
The movie will be based on Too Big To Fail, a book that's been proposed by Jack Ewing. Presumably that's the Jack Ewing who writes about economics for The International New York Times, not the author of Monkeys Are Made of Chocolate: Exotic and Unseen Costa Rica. (Though the latter could probably work in some killer "monkey business" jokes.)
Rights to the as-yet-unwritten page-turner have been acquired by Paramount and Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way production company.
That suggests that Leo plans to appear in the film, but as whom?
In our fantasy version of the film, DiCaprio would play Klaus Geppetto, a simple German puppet maker who builds an army of marionettes that turn into real people and begin spinning fantastic lies. We haven't pitched that to Leo's reps yet, but we're working on a backup plan with the following cast:
John Goodman as Daniel Carder, the West Virginia University researcher who broke the news of Volkswagen's emissions-test-cheating software in 2014, but no one would listen to him. We like Goodman because the thought of him doing the "Whaaaaat?" face when he makes his discovery already has us in stitches. Plan B: Hilary Swank.
Jeffrey Jones (aka Principal Ed Rooney from Ferris Bueller's Day Off) as Martin Winterkorn, the CEO of Volkswagen who fought a long, public battle in early 2015 to remain at the helm of the company, only to be undone by a few lines of highly illegal code written by someone who's probably never seen Wagner performed live. Plan B: Dabney Coleman. Surely he could use the work.
Michael Fassbender as Matthias Mueller, head of Porsche, who ascended to Volkswagen's corner office after Winterkorn was given das boot. Plan B: Toss-up between Udo Kier and Tilda Swinton. Maybe both as conjoined twins.
Christoph Waltz as Michael Horn, Volkswagen's U.S. chief, because, well, he's got the accent down. And seriously, the guy can do anything. Plan B: Kanye West. Because we'd love to read the reviews.
Ralph Fiennes as Chris Grundler, Director of the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality, because he's able to play that kind of boring. Plan B: Idris Elba. He seems like he's in everything, so why not this?
Kate Upton as Neo Raucher, the renegade coder who wrote the software that allowed 11 million cars to cheat on emissions tests. Plan B: Keanu Reeves. Because he already played a guy named Neo.
Leonardo DiCaprio as John Smith, a small-town Volkswagen dealer in south Florida who sees his dreams of a happy retirement crumble because of the Dieselgate scandal and subsequently vows to take revenge. He's the emotional center of the film and the character who turns it from a legal/corporate thriller into something more like Christine meets The Shining. Plan B: There is no Plan B.
Supporting cast: Jon Cryer, Molly Ringwald, Lindsay Lohan, Jennifer Anniston, Justin Theroux, Janice the Muppet, Dick Van Dyke (yup, still alive), Elizabeth Berkley, Vin Diesel (obviously), Gavin MacLeod, and Charo.
Did we forget anyone? Make any grievous errors? We're still in the planning stages, so feel free to share your suggestions.