You are a major star and your agent brings you a script, OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN, by Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt, about the White House being under attack. How do you react? LARRY OLIVER imagines the following.
AGENT: Knock, knock.
GB: What, I’m eating my porridge.
AGENT: I’ve got a great script.
GB: Oh, what’s it called?
AGENT: ‘Olympus Has Fallen’. There’s a part in it for you!
GB: Let me guess, a rugged warrior who is Zeus’ last hope?
AGENT: I think they’ve cast the centaur in the ‘Percy Jackson’ sequel. No, you play a secret service agent.
GB: Oh... Is it a comedy? Do I say, ‘This is GET SMARTER!’
AGENT: No, a drama. You let the First Lady die.
GB: Meryl Streep dies in a movie?
AGENT: No, the President’s wife.
GB: Oh, er, OK. She’s called Olympia Dukakis?
GB: Anyway, sounds the story of a man on the road to redemption.
GB: So, I sing a lot of songs.
AGENT: No, you get a job working for the Treasury.
GB: That’s logical. A man with my unique self-defence skill set has to balance the books. It does sound like a comedy.
AGENT: No, you’re a building opposite the White House when it comes under attack. A plane –
GB: A plane? Isn’t that a bit tasteless?
AGENT: No. A plane piloted by North Koreans. It gets shot down before it reaches the building.
GB: That’s sounds silly. Why do they fly a plane if the likelihood of it getting shot down is high?
AGENT: It’s a distraction. The real assault comes from strategically placed vehicles out of which pop some heavily armed North Koreans.
GB: Isn’t Kim Jong Il going to get pissed?
GB: He let some people out of his country and they don’t even TiVO MAD MEN.
AGENT: I don’t think Kim Jong Il watches TV.
GB: I wouldn’t think so if he comes up with a plot like that.
AGENT: Anyway, the President retreats to the bunker. Only the bad guys are in there with him.
GB: Of course, a Democrat President and a Republican House of Representatives. Gonna cause a lot of problems.
AGENT: No, it’s the Koreans.
GB: How’d they get in there?
AGENT: They were invited!
GB: Sounds like some crazy party. Any way I don’t buy that the heavily guarded White House would allow suspicious vehicles parked right outside to be there over two hours.
AGENT: May I continue? OK. So the North Koreans are the security detail of the South Korean President. They came with him on the plane. Bought duty free.... you know.
GB: Who did they get clearance?
AGENT: I dunno?
GB: They must have been deep under cover for years. They had to earn his trust. Buy his noodles.
AGENT: Isn’t that stereotypical?
GB: Of course not. Everyone knows you send the security detail out to get snacks.
AGENT: So the President is trapped in the bunker with his Secretary of State for Defence, Ruth McMillan.
GB: Hillary Clinton?
AGENT: No, they’re thinking of Melissa Leo. And the bad guys want the codes to Cerberus.
GB: Of course, the dog who guards the underworld.
AGENT: No, it’s an override code for the nukes.
GB: Is that a bit corny?
AGENT: Well, yeah! Anyway the North Koreans start torturing politicians for the codes.
GB: What filibustering? Reading the phone book?
AGENT: No, the usual ‘give me the code or I’ll carry out plastic surgery without the anaesthetic’.
GB: I heard that tagline once.... What then?
AGENT: So the bad guys get one code.
GB: And they get the next straight afterwards.
AGENT: Actually, there’s a bit of a gap.
GB: Then they get another code?
AGENT: Yes, they drag Oscar-winner Melissa Leo off as she pledges allegiance to the flag.
GB: You get an Academy Award for that?
AGENT: And then their machine gets the third code, the one the President Benjamin Asher –
AGENT: They were straight-faced when they wrote it. The code Asher says he’ll never give up.
GB: Wow, short movie.
AGENT: That’s where you come in: Special Agent Mike Banning. You shoot some bad guys in the head. Then you shoot some more bad guys in the head. Then you threaten the chief bad guy Kang, by stabbing him in the head.
GB: What’s with all this head stuff?
AGENT: It’s a no brainer. Anyway first you’ve got to save the President’s son, Connor.
GB: John Connor? Isn’t that like a different franchise?
AGENT: No, Connor Asher.
GB: If I was his mother, I’d jump off a bridge on Christmas day rather than let my son be called Connor Asher.
AGENT: That’s right!
GB: Two first names.
AGENT: Anyway, meanwhile Morgan Freeman takes over the Presidency.
GB: Of course, because he did that DEEP IMPACT movie.
AGENT: No, he’s the Speaker of the House.
GB: The voice of God.
AGENT: The Speaker –
GB: He told the penguins where to get off.
AGENT: No he doesn’t –
GB: He says ‘Thou shalt do the dance, Mr Wayne.’
AGENT: Not in this movie.
GB: ‘Yes... it comes in black.’
AGENT: That’s not right.
GB: So he takes over –
AGENT: And stares down General Briggs.
GB: He doesn’t drive Miss Daisy to the Piggly Wiggly?
AGENT: No, Mike Banning finds a radio which gets patched through straight to the Pentagon.
GB: Of course, every phone in the White House has the Pentagon on speed dial.
AGENT: Yes, no. Anyway, he finds Connor in the cavity wall, his favourite hiding place.
GB: His favourite hiding place, a cavity? I mean there is only so much you can shove up there.
AGENT: And he shoots some more bad guys. The North Koreans send one of his former colleagues after him.
GB: From the Treasury?
AGENT: The Secret Service. And Mike says, ‘Boy, am I glad to see you. I’ve just shoved the President’s son up a chimney.’
GB: He says that?
AGENT: His guard is down. And the other guy nearly kills him. Not before Mike gets him to phone up the Head Terrorist Kang and say ‘Mike Banning is dead’.
GB: Then Mike stabs him in the head?
GB: Did you tell me Angela Bassett was in it?
AGENT: Oh yes, Angela Bassett is also in the Pentagon. She just happens to be his former boss. She and Banning had coffee together before bad stuff went down.
GB: Why does Mike trust the bad cop agent when he sees him? Everyone else who looks vaguely American gets killed, right?
AGENT: Never mind.
GB: Does Banning know the good guys get Spark Plug? Or even know who Spark Plug is?
AGENT: Have you read the script? Anyway the villains order a helicopter and they get on it. And it blows up. Only Mike doesn’t think it sounds right?
GB: Yeah, I mean surely one of those Koreans knows how to fly a helicopter.
AGENT: He goes back down to the bunker and finds that Kang the chief baddie has activated Cerberus.
GB: The attack dog.
AGENT: The mission fail safe system – thing. If you don’t fire the missiles, they self-destruct.
GB: That’s a fail-safe system?
AGENT: There’s a fight. Kang nearly strangles Mike. But then the President, who is still alive and wounded in the chest says, ‘go on Mike!’
GB: And then he dies.
AGENT: And then he kills Kang.
GB: Stabbing him in the head.
AGENT: Exactly. He walks the President out of the door. He forgives him. Mike gets back with his wife.
GB: Hey, he’s married. I was wondering why there was no love interest.
AGENT: And then he gets his job back.
GB: One question.
GB: I’m Gary Barlow, the lead singer of Take That. Surely we should send this to Gerard Butler.
AGENT: You think?
[For American readers substitute, Garth Brooks for Mr Barlow.]