DC at Night

DC at Night

Friday, March 29, 2013

The White House Falls Again ... And Again ...

The White House under attack: Images of DC destruction
When it opened last week, director Antonine Fuqua's new movie Olympus Has Fallen was accurately described by many critics as Die Hard in DC. But apparently a lot of people like to see terrorists kidnap the President of the United States, lay waste to the White House and other surrounding monuments, and then get their comeuppance. The movie, with Gerard Butler as the fearless, innovative, wise-cracking lone Bruce Willis-type hero, was the #2 movie in the country, grossing $30.5 million during its opening weekend.

We got to see a special screening of the movie here in DC before its official opening. (You can read that post about the event by clicking here). The day after the post appeared in The Prices Do DC, I got an email from my friend Jimmy Overstreet telling me that the movie's premise strongly resembled the story line in Transfer of Power, a novel featuring covert government CIA operative Mitch Rapp by best-selling author Vince Flynn.

Apparently, Jimmy wasn't alone in his observation. So many fans tweeted and Facebook messaged Flynn that the author responded to the similarities in the latest issue of the monthly newsletter he publishes online.

"My team and I have noticed the similarities as well," Flynn wrote. "It is very difficult to prove where a producer, director or screenwriter gets an idea, or to prove how their ideas may have been inspired. It is exceptionally difficult to prove in court, costs lot of time and money, and usually amounts to a great deal of frustration."

"My team and I have decided to stay focused on the Rapp franchise - writing one great Rapp novel a year -  and getting American Assassin (which, in an interesting turn of Die Hard fate has Bruce Willis signed to star) made into a movie," he added.

"I appreciate you looking out for me and your concern for my intellectual material. In many ways, your comments have allowed me to stay calm and focus on what I love most, which is writing a kick-ass Rapp novel," Flynn concluded.

But there are even more coincidences on the horizon. This summer director Roland Emmerich, who, if there were an award for such things would surely get the title of The Director Who Most Often Destroyed the White House (by aliens in Independence Day, by ice in Day After Tomorrow and by a tsunami in 2012) plans to release White House Down, which features lone hero Channing Tatum rescuing Jamie Foxx as the president when domestic enemies topple the White House.

There is apparently even more idea borrowing going on. Emmerich admits his film was influenced by Seven Days in May, the 1960s political thrilling novel about an aborted White House coup by military leaders. "It (White House Down) is not only about taking over the White House; it's actually doing a coup d'état. It's like Seven Days In May, which I always felt was a movie I wanted to do," Emmerich says. "I really believe that, as Lincoln said, the only way that America can destroy itself is from within."

Without (Transfer of Power - Islamic terrorists or Olympus Has Fallen - North Korean terrorists) or within (White House Down - domestic enemies) one thing is clear - it's proving to be a rough year for the White House and its fictional occupants.

Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
You can make some of your own comparisons to the 2 movies and the Flynn novel. Click here to see reviews for Transfer of Power. Click here to see a trailer for Olympus Has Fallen. Click here to see a trailer for White House Down.

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