So, the wonderful and half-trashy 2003 BBC journalism/politics/murder/sex miniseries State of Play has, inevitably, crossed the pond to become a Washington-based, Halliburton-referencing thriller starring Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck (with, in a crime against Art, Helen Mirren replacing the heroic alcoholic tabloid editor Bill Nighy). The original was nobody's idea of All the President's Men (hard to be, with your journalist-hero covering up for his politician friend when not fucking his wife), and yet the L.A. Times headline about the new movie adaptation is the following: "'State of Play' pays homage to print journalism's role."
The first few grafs of that curious interpretation:
"What happens when journalists aren't there to ask the difficult questions of politicians?"
That's just one concern Kevin Macdonald, the 41-year-old Scottish documentary filmmaker turned director, is raising with his new political thriller, "State of Play."
The movie, which stars Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Helen Mirren and Rachel McAdams, is set during these tumultuous times for the fourth estate. The backdrop for this tale of inside-the-Beltway conspiracy and intrigue is a Washington, D.C., newspaper, similar to the Washington Post, except without the benevolent Graham family as the owners, and it does capture the feeling of an industry in transition, perpetually under economic pressures from the outside, while inside a battle for supremacy reigns between the brash but unseasoned young bloggers and the traditional hard-charging gumshoe reporters.
As the email correspondent who alerted me to this story (cough *Cavanaugh* cough) put it, "Dinosaur kisses own ass hard enough to cause extinction event."
Bonus Ben Affleck metaphor-bender about newspapers:
Even Affleck, who saw the worst of tabloid journalism during his days dating Jennifer Lopez, sees the value of traditional news gathering organizations devoted to public service. "It's the horse and buggy thing," he says. "Newspapers are the horse and buggy, and they're now making cars. But I think the bigger danger is letting go of the horses and buggy entirely while not making sure we keep from them the things that were valuable to this culture -- the history of excellence in journalism."
Um, maybe he means making newspapers like those horsey carriages in Central Park?
As garbled as that might be, Affleck as media analyst makes tons more sense than me as...Ben Affleck.