Idea for new Titanic Movie

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Have a Titanic sequel. How about having Cameron and Oliver Stone collaborate on a movie about the Senate Hearings? I think it would have the potential to be outstanding, just not sure they could work together with egos perhaps getting in the way. Another idea might be a movie based on the Californian with most of scenes shown from the Californian as Titanic was sinking. Only problem there would be it would be difficult to please both camps. Still, even if they went all Pro-Lord or Anti-Lord, it would still spark much debate and perhaps spark new interest and maybe more books on the subject. Do you think either of these movies would sell enough tickets? Shoot away =-)

Michael Koch
I have thought the Senate hearings would make a fine movie for some time, and have said so on this board. My family and some Titanically interested friends have had fun selecting an imaginary cast, even!

Pat Cook has done a play based on it, and Inger Sheil has told me of a ghastly German language made-for-TV movie, which has Lightoller portrayed as Ismay's toady.

What's needed, however is a book on the subject that presents a more balanced view than Wyn Craig Wade's Titanic: End of a Dream which strongly favors Senator Smith. The most interesting drama here is with the people he was questioning, and their point of view has not been really considered. This is especially true of the officers and crew. To create a good screenplay, a writer needs a good source, and none exists at the moment.

(So, how do you like Dustin Hoffman as William Alden Smith?)

Pat W.

Don Tweed

I would make the movie with a cast of unknowns.
Big name stars seem to distract viewers from the content of the vehicle.
Just my opinion mind you.
I would simply like the audience to be drawn to the movie for its content not because Brad Pitt or Julia Roberts was in it.
Well, if somebody is brave enough to play with the Californian, I think they would do very well to show the thing from the point of view of the witnesses and let the chips fall where they may.

The main scene would be the inquiries, but the flashbacks would be to represent what each witness testified to.

Oliver Stone as a co-producer? Hmmmmm...Conspiracy Theories meet the Titanic? (The berg behind the Grassy Knoll did it!)
LOL, Mike! I was thinking the same thing about Stone.

There's an article in the New York Herald of April 20 that could serve almost verbatim as the opening scene. It describes the scene as the crew disembarked from the Carpathia and were herded on board tugs to be taken to the Lapland.

Another fun thing that my gang was considering was what would be the love interest in such a film, since this is Hollywood, folks and that's almost obligatory. Suggestions ranged from the outright hilarious (Fred Fleet and fictitious socialite?) to the barely possible (Harold Lowe and Irene Harris-- properly platonic, of course)

Pat W
(grin) No, no Julia Roberts or Brad Pitt. Dustin Hoffman as Willie Alden I can see. Love to see a copy of that Herald article.

Yep, I thought the same about Stone too, weirdly enough. Maybe Kenneth Branagh for Lightoller?

We could always go for the worst cast possible. Chris Rock as Smith, Leo DiCaprio as Lowe...mwahahahaa. The horror is endless.

Tracy Smith

Some good ideas. I wouldn't mind seeing the Titanic story through the eyes of Stanley Lord, including the hearings.
Sounds interesting. My only concern is if it ended up resembling the "Nuremberg" mini-series. That was a fine and entertaining film (with much better acting than the "Titanic" mini-series) but I keep thinking Senator Smith will end up resmbling Jackson and Lightoller resembling Goering.
A long time ago on PBS was a special, I think maybe only an hour long, but quite unusual yet interesting; The Mozart Inquest. It took place in a modern courtroom, and when witnesses were called, they were led from a very 18th century room, complete in costume and character, and took the stand.

I realise this is a stretch of the imagination, suspended disbelief, etc. But isn't that something we have pondered on? If I could go back in time and ask the participants directly...? And with a modern setting, yet incorporating the "true players", I think it would be rather involving with an audience.

Of course, a straight-up period inquiry/hearing setting could have "flashback" vingettes of that night, but that could be tricky. The flashbacks tell the story, the hearings the afterward analysis.

If done right, or at least thought provoking, I'm all for it. Whether it happens...

Take care-
I think there's still room for a straightout telling of the Titanic story, made with a decent budget. Both the inquiries are too tedious and lack dramatic points. The film could include Captain Lord but leave his guilt an open question. Devote some time to Captain Rostron and even the other would-be rescuers. Perhaps cross to New York for the slowly emerging story and include Franklin's 'unsinkable' remarks. Show the impact on Southampton, where hundreds of men were lost.

For the romantic, there are quite a few couples. There's Morley and Phillips, if you want a bit of scandal, and there's the perfectly respectable Lucian and Eloise Smith. There are the Sage and Goodwin families to be brought to life. Start working in time for 2012 and you're on a winner.
Tell it there's a novel thought. I think that there would be some room for including some highlights of the inquiries, but whatever any prospective producer does, I hope they wouldn't be dumb enough to bring up the Louis Klien affair. Talk about a distraction!

Pat Cook

For what it's worth, I can tell you what I did, with "Echoes From The Titanic", published by Eldridge Plays in Florida.

First, I knew the play was for schools so it's in a one-act (approx. 45 minute long) format; this was so the show could be done during a class period, if the need arose, for the whole school. I say this to show how I had to pick and choose my points carefully.

Next, I decided WHICH points I wanted to bring out; which questions were needing answers. Obvious ones: why some of the boats were half filled?, were there shots fired?, was anyone shot? and how did BRUCE ISMAY escape himself. In my case, I used ISMAY as the 'backbone' for the work - it begins with his "I understand you gentlemen have been appointed as a committee...we have nothing to conceal", speech. Then, as suggested above by others, I used his reference to others to fade to other's testimonies and then flashbacks as to the event spoken of. Of course, the classic LOWE/ISMAY joust ("The Chairman is examining me!") is there as is his "Ice" reply to the obvious question. I do have LORD there, giving his own replies to questions but do not dwell on this aspect of the disaster. The play ends with SEN. SMITH asking ISMAY: "What are your own immeditate plans?" to which ISMAY replies, "I understand... (looks out)...that depends on you."

Not to blow my own horn, which is blatantly what I've been doing, some of the school presentations of my play and, indeed, the Titanic story have been QUITE good. In fact, there's one webpage up now if you'd care to see it -

I hasten to add that, in this case, this group added some of their own lines - my guess is they did some of their own research.

It WAS a daunting task, taking months (recall the hearings are over 1160 pages lone) but well worth the time and effort.

Best regards,
- OK, here's the pitch - we see it as a combination of ' A Few Good Men' and, well, ' Titanic '

- Mmm I'm listening

- We get Anthony Hopkins to play this guy Ismay who's, like, the villain - but a really charismatic villain...

- I don't like Hopkins . Too English. Too old hat.. How about Jack Nicholson ?

- No one plays a villain like Jackie boy

- Too American ?

- Whadd about Ian McKellen ?

- Ain't he a fruit

- Cool, so he'a a fruity villain - just like Alan Rickman ...

- No way is Costner gonna be in this movie...

- I ain't saying he is. I see Ben Affleck as the prosecuting layer.

- Who the hootin heck wants to see Ben Affleck as a lawyer ?

- Who knows - the kids ? Anyway, Ben Affleck or Josh hartnet or anyone else i could mention if i threw a stick along Malibu beach. And we see Marlon Brando as the judge

- Brando ? Why Brando ?

- Cos Burgess Meredith's dead.

- OK - so what's the angle ?

- Well, I read this book review on that said that the whole thing was a conspiracy theory to screw over the insurance company.

- Is that true ?

- Who knows - it's got four stars against it on the review boards so it's gotta be a good idea.

- OK - what about love interest ?

- Kate Winslet, natch

- natch

- And how about Angelica Houston as an evil scheming villainess, that chick offa Buffy for a poor serving wench, Famke Jansenn and Traci Lords as glamorous society type broads, and Bette Midler as Molly Brown... or Roseanne

- It's negotiable... how's it end ?

- Well, President Wilson, played by Morgan Freeman, makes an impassioned plea for justice, the court erupts into cheers and Ismay gets the chair.

- I don't like it.

- I got another one about this talking mule that gets accidently blasted into space...

- I like it !!! Ron Howard, you've done it again !!!

Sunday, Monday !!! Happy Days !!!
As far as courtroom scenes being undramatic, consider the Caine Mutiny. That seems to have done pretty well. I don't see a real Captain Queeg in the Titanic Inquiry-- although some might be tempted to take either Ismay or Lord as a cheap shot.

I think the dramatic potential is more behind the scenes. Why did Fleet describe Hichens as "Not one of us?" Was there any friction between Lowe and Lightoller over Lowe's mocking of Ismay? Who was the mysterious woman with the crush on Murdoch?... If you get into the newspaper accounts of the Inquiry, rather than reading only the transcripts, you get some of that.

Pat W.
LOL Dave...the witticisms of the "Simpsons". It needs a talking pie! Alan Rickman for Lord, perhaps...Rickman's very good at playing charismatic maybe-villains.

You also need Nicolas Cage as the hapless and misunderstood Italian immigrant, complete with his God-awful "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" accent.

The soundtrack must have a theme with some New Age waif warbling and screeching, and throw some rap in there. Everyone knows any movie needs crap music.

All right, so how about the Les Miserables-Titanic-Mutiny on the Bounty epic story of the torture of a British crew in the aftermath of a terrible disaster. Harried beyond bearing by a sadistic anti-British Senator out to nail their collective balls to the wall (for stealing a loaf of bread!), these brave specimens of British maritime manhood, lead by irate and courageous Harold Lowe and Charles Lightoller, incite a mutiny. Maybe we can go with more "Bounty" and have them schlep Smith out to sea in one of Titanic's boats?

Let's see. It needs a riot, some tasteless and gratuitous sex, a doomed love affair, guns, lots of "blowing shit up" (as guys love to say) and a villain with a sneer and a mustache to twirl. Oh yes, and a high-speed chase. high speed as 1912 gets.

Wait till you see my cliche-ridden script ideas for a movie about the DKM Bismarck (eyes alight with glee).

Seriously, though...the behind the scenes matter is as interesting as that which was (scrupulously) reported.

Pat, I argue with your use of "mocking". :) I don't think Lowe was setting out to mock Ismay. He barely knew the man--he didn't even know he had told the President of the Line to go to hell until some steward told him. To mock somebody you sort of have to know them enough to know you dislike them! Lowe's Ismay impression seems more part of Lowe's show for the crowd...the dramatic gestures and pantomime, etc., than any sort of genuine malicious intent.

Though whether Lightoller saw it as there's the crux of that matter. The two don't appear (so far as I know, admittedly not far!) to have kept touch in later years, as Lights apparently did for others of the crew.

Perhaps there were words over the matter, for all we know, and I doubt either would have minced words in an exchange of opinion on each other's way of testifying as both weren't precisely known for tact (Lowe least of all).

Or it may have simply been that the two of them just weren't each other's cup of tea, as their personalities were pretty different. In any case, the wake of the disaster probably wasn't a good time for the two of them to get acquainted, as neither of them knew each note that Lowe doesn't seem to have felt to be "one of the guys". my. So much possibility there.

And the woman with the crush on Murdoch really gets me wondering. He was a married man, after all, and nothing I've seen would indicate he kept a girl in every port, so...was she some officer groupie? After all, it seems mercantile marine officers were rather popular figures in 1912, and some ladies might well have fixated on one or another (no wonder Lowe avoided them...)

Oh, the possibilities!
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