Having been rather ill this week, I’ve had some time to think about the idea of a film version of Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, which I discussed a lot with my favourite guy, Eric, in the many hours I couldn’t sleep or during which I was drugged up on cortisone and antibiotics. I’m not sure how to put it all into words, but Eric had said something about political cartoons and Assassins the day before and I had kind of thought about it a lot more when I couldn’t sleep during the night.
The gist of it was that the whole thing might become a kind of animated political cartoon with a framework in which the Proprietor was the cartoonist/animator musing over his drawings, which then come to life in animation and enact the material we see in the stage show. So we might get shots where we see the hands sketching the characters, like in “Brazil” from Sauldos Amigos:
Or – and this is definitely more what I had in mind – in this video of Billy Joel singing “When You Wish Upon a Star”, the whole animator:
I kinda like the idea that the Proprietor might appear as a live action figure, as the Geppetto-styled animator in the latter video does. So it would recall, structurally, the 1940s animated Disney compilation features and the animated sections, featuring the assassins, would be styled using the conventions of political cartoons, in the way Sleeping Beauty uses medieval tapestry or Aladdin uses the techniques of Al Hirschfeld in the way it uses line.
And, of course, “Something Just Broke” would be cut immediately. It doesn’t belong in the show on stage, and it doesn’t belong in any decent film adaptation either.
I think it’s a pretty neat idea. I’d go watch it.
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