Completely Untapped Movie Protagonists We’d Like To See
Every now and then it becomes clear that there are actually still unlimited ideas Hollywood hasn’t explored fully. Take the Metal Heavy film for instance. Sure, it’s going to be short, but can you name another indie project that essentially amounts to a fictional biopic of a local metal band on a quest for stardom? It’s a fairly simple idea but one that, done well, should be unlike anything we’ve seen from the film industry in years.
This got us thinking, not necessarily of full film ideas, but of some of the main subjects and protagonists that have gone completely (or at least largely) untapped over the years. It’s a fun exercise for anyone with an appreciation for film and fiction, and we’d encourage everyone to give it some thought. In the meantime though, here are some of the sorts of characters we came up with that we’d love to see.
A Fantasy Villain In Downtime
Think about all of the fantasy villains you’ve ever seen on screen: Saurumon and Sauron in The Lord Of The Rings; Voldemort and Bellatrix in Harry Potter; the Night King in Game Of Thrones; the Emperor and Darth Vader in Star Wars. One thing they all have in common is that all of them are almost entirely invisible save for when they happen to be dealing with the good guys.
There are a few brief exceptions – Voldemort summoning followers, Vader and the Emperor having a sinister meeting, etc. – but for the most part, we never get to see these characters in their downtime. We aren’t privy to the combat training, the evil scheming, or even the casual banter with friends and subjects that should theoretically be going on behind the scenes.
It’s been done once or twice with regular villains – most notably Karate Kid’s Johnny Lawrence in the decades-later sequel series Cobra Kai, wherein actor William Zabka explains that Lawrence is “just trying to get his own.” The show fairly effectively shows what a guy we all grew up thinking of as a villain does in his everyday life. But we haven’t seen such a project for a true, larger-than-life fantasy villain, and as strange an idea as it may be, it could be a pretty interesting one.
An Established Tech Billionaire
Think of the tech billionaires you’ve seen on screen and you’ll probably struggle to come up with powerful examples. There’s Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks) who runs the fake social network The Circle in the film of the same name; there’s Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed), the unintentionally spoof-like head of a Facebook mimic in the film Jason Bourne; and there’s Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) in The Social Network. These roles exist, but they aren’t very satisfying for anyone curious about a film depicting the dramas of an actual, established tech billionaire – which, really, is a pretty central character concept in modern society! The Bailey and Kalloor characters are lazily drawn, and while Eisenberg was terrific as Zuckerberg, The Social Network told of Facebook’s founding rather than Zuckerberg’s time as one of the most powerful people alive.
A Betting Prodigy
This is partially about playing into trends in America, but also makes for an
interesting idea. Trend-wise, legislation in New Jersey and Pennsylvania has
resulted in functioning online sportsbooks and paved the way for actual, legal betting in the U.S. (which is new, in most places). Considering this from a screenwriting perspective, there could actually be an intriguing opportunity.
Now, this doesn’t mean anyone would watch some random person sitting at a computer screen placing bets. But when you think about it, most peripheral sports figures in films – which is to say sports movie protagonists who aren’t players or coaches – are largely portrayed as losers: Tom Cruise’s Jerry Maguire (Jerry Maguire) is barely hanging on as an agent; Kevin Costner’s Sonny Weaver Jr. (Draft Day) is on the verge of being fired as a general manager…. It might be fun to see a sort of pseudo-sports movie about someone on the periphery who actually succeeds. Plus, plenty of drama could surround a successful sports bettor.
A Ride-Sharing Driver
Here again, we’re playing into modern trends a little bit, but it’s kind of
amazing a high-profile ride sharing movie hasn’t been made yet. There are
multiple films about taxi drivers (hot take: Collateral is the best one), but we
don’t really have a noteworthy example in which a protagonist is an Uber or Lyft driver. It’s not just that Uber and Lyft happen to be companies of our time, either. A character who provides rides for strangers for a living is a perfect vehicle, so to speak, for all kinds of thriller, mystery, horror, and/or action concepts. This, plus the pure relevance of ride-sharing to the moviegoing public, would seem to lay a foundation for a potential blockbuster – even if it’s kind of silly.