EXCLUSIVE: The nation’s heated debate about guns and the Second Amendment is becoming the subject of a primetime drama series. Sundance Channel has put into development Cold Dead Hands, a family drama set against the backdrop of the National Rifle Association.
The project, whose title stems from the popular NRA slogan, will be written by author-journalist Scott Gold and produced by Tony Krantz’s Flame Ventures (NBC’s Dracula). It centers on the fictional and polarizing head of the NRA, Trip Thibodeaux, and the drama that swirls around him both at work and at home. Trip is a father and husband — and he also happens to be the nation’s most powerful gun-rights advocate and the de facto CEO of the gun industry. A charismatic and polarizing figure, he’ll be forced to navigate a volatile landscape in American culture and politics, as well as crises of his own faith, when his rarefied world spirals out of control. “The debate over gun violence and gun rights has many sides, and in order to help protect lives, promote gun safety and build a national consensus on the issues, we want to respect and understand all sides of this story,” Krantz said. Krantz and Gold will executive produce, with Flame’s Reece Pearson serving as co-executive producer.
Gold, repped by Verve, Media Talent Group … Read More »
OPINION: Is anyone surprised that, following a one-week waiting period since 20 children and six others were gunned down in a Newtown, Conn. elementary school, the National Rifle Association would surface to pass the buck and blame the carnage on violent Hollywood movies and video games?
It has only been a few months since the last gun massacre, when 12 were killed and 58 wounded by an assault weapon-wielding madman during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. In the aftermath, I asked a number of filmmakers — and even studio moguls assembled at our The Contenders panel — if that tragedy caused them to re-evaluate the violence they depict onscreen. It’s a no-win question for studio moguls, and they were circumspect; they said they understood the responsibility of movies that project into the culture differently than other forms of media. But they haven’t dramatically changed the decision-making process on the movies they finance and distribute to the masses because they feel they already exercise responsible restraint. Quentin Tarantino — whom I interviewed before the Connecticut massacre — flat out rejects the notion that movie violence leads to the real thing.
Related: NRA Blames Violent Movies And Video Games For Gun Deaths
“I think that guy was a nut,” Tarantino told me in Playboy Magazine, referring to the Aurora shooter. “He went in there to kill a bunch of people because he knew there would be a lot of people there and he’d make a tremendous amount of news doing it. That’s no different from a guy going into a McDonald’s and shooting up people at lunchtime because he knows a lot of people will be there.” When I asked him to address criticism that onscreen violence promulgates the real thing, Tarantino pointedly said, “I make violent movies. I like violent movies. I’m on record about how I feel there is no correlation between art and life in that way.”
Some of my favorite films, from The Godfather to Heat and Goodfellas, depict violence. I hate guns, have never owned one, and do worry about gratuitously violent films — particularly in the horror genre — and I won’t watch them. I do find it disconcerting that right after the last two major shootings that studios and TV networks had to alter movies like Gangster Squad and more recently change marketing on films like Jack Reacher because of parallels to tragic events. I don’t play video games, and personally loathe those that make players participants in warfare settings. That’s mainly because I feel it is the height of disrespect to the armed forces risking their lives, only to have their soldiering reduced to a form of mindless entertainment. But for a gun lobby to point the finger at Hollywood for semi-automatic killing sprees is preposterous and it’s too bad that we are only just waking up to that. Read More »
In its first public statement after the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the National Rifle Association today blamed “blood-soaked films” and video games as a large part of the problem of gun violence in America. “And they call it entertainment,” said NRA VP Wayne LaPierre in a public statement. He referred to violent films as “the filthiest form of pornography.” He named Hollywood’s “corporate masters” and films such as 2000′s American Psycho and 1994’s Natural Born Killers as glorifying violence. LaPierre added that “there exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people, through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse.”
Related: Opinion: NRA’s Anti-Hollywood Stance An Assault On Our Intelligence
LaPierre said that one way to prevent tragedies like the one in Newtown would be to promote gun use and increased security in schools. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” The NRA says that former Rep. Asa Hutchinson will lead its “National School Shield” effort, which supports the deployment of armed guards in schools. With all of the money going to foreign aid and other initiatives, … Read More »