"He Wears Black and Has a Beard"

Open Letter to Danny Boyle

Toby Roworth

Nov 25, 2013

Dear Danny Boyle (or any other directors up for taking this on - I'm not fussy, it just seems like his sort of thing),
I'v had an idea for a film - it's pretty good, but needs an artsy-type like yourself to get the most out of it.
The film is about the future of my mate Tom Sherrington. In this future, he works for a billionaire genius, loosely based upon myself. Said genius owns a massively successful company, making widgets and things, and generally making shedloads of money off the genius' ideas.
The film isn't about the genius however - he's a minor character, which is very important. A film about a genius billionaire is far too easy to make, and was done in Iron Man, Batman Begins, Iron Man 2, The Dark Knight, Iron Man 3 and The Dark Knight Rises. This film is about the man who makes the tea.
The genius stands in his board room most of the day, coming out with ideas. His board listen, nod and make good noises. However, they're basically yes-men - admittedly yes-men who are very good at accounting, HR, IT and other things businesses need directors of, but they all value their jobs too much to tell the genius when his ideas suck. And lets face it, no-one comes up with only good ideas, as Clive Sinclair showed.
But in the corner is Tom. He sits there all day, drinking tea. And yet he earns millions upon millions of pounds each year. This is because he performs the most important job in the company. Whereas anyone can be a genius, only some people have the true gift - discerning a genius' genius. And Tom can do this very well.
The Genius is sprouting crap left, right and centre, the board are lapping it up, but he's not happy yet. Until he has the great idea (for the sake of argument, this is "Selling Oil to the Arabs"). Amongst other ideas, he mentions "maybe we could sell oil to the arabs". At which point, Tom looks over.
He picks up his cup of tea.
He sips from his cup of tea, in a gentlemanly manner.
He looks the genius in the eye.
He puts the cup down.
He says "Yes, do that one".
The genius jumps into action. "Stop the presses, cancel every project - we've got the one. This'll be bigger than Google, better then Branston and faster than James May. I want reports, I want sketches, I want prototypes. No-one sleeps until we've made the first million. GO GO GO!".
The idea goes on to earn the next billion pounds for the company, of course. Thsi earns Tom a very tidy bonus - he spotted the idea, after all. But, back in the board room, right after the excitement, Tom looks down at his cup, and see's it's empty.
"Anyone want a brew?" says Tom, just like always. And then he goes to make the tea.
Should you like this idea, I'm happy to discuss terms.
The film itself would run in a kind of backwards fashion. This scene just depicted turns out to be the last great idea of the company, before the two friends retire. And so the film reminisces about the past life of Tom, and how it intertwines with that of the genius.
For instance, one scene could involve the first day they met. The (boy) genius says "I've had this great idea for a new game of tag..." to which Tom says - "wonderful, let's play it", before taking a swig of his Lucozade.
And maybe there's a dark patch. The pair separate for university and, devoid of the genius' ideas, Tom drinks alcohol instead of tea, with dire consequences.
I'm sure you get the picture by now.
As for actors, Tom would be played by Michael Caine - such a tea-drinker needs to be a refined British gentleman. The genius would be played by Orlando Bloom, although his face isn't quite so pretty as the real-world inspiration for the part, it's probably as close as Hollywood will get. The genius' wife, Natalie Portman, will be played by Natalie Portman, or maybe Kiera Knightly, in case Natalie's filming schedule is too busy to allow her to fully realise the philosophical issues with playing herself.
Kind Regards,
Toby Roworth Designer and Sound Engineer