Since Stephen K. Bannon’s hiring as the new head of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the daily news cycle has churned out all kinds of information about the former Breitbart executive. From his financial connection to Seinfeld‘s syndication to promoting conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton’s allegedly poor health, the newly minted (but experienced) political operative’s otherwise shrouded history is leaking out into the spotlight. Case in point, the fact that he and his former Hollywood writing partner once adapted a William Shakespeare play into a rap musical about the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
According to The Daily Beast, Julia Jones helped Bannon craft the potential movie musical, The Thing I Am. Based on Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, a late tragedy about the Roman leader Caius Marcius Coriolanus, the pair converted the bloody tale into a modern story “even Lin-Manuel Miranda might find too aggressively left field.” While both worked on the project, however, Jones claims it was primarily “Steve’s idea” to “make a rap film out of [Coriolanus] set in South Central during the L.A. riots.”
Jones shared screenplay excerpts with The Daily Beast, and they’re … interesting. Highlights include the following:
Coriolanus‘s Menenius Agrippa, a senator of Rome, is recast as “Agrippa, ‘Mack Daddy’ of South Central, an ORIGINAL GANGSTA (O.G.) upper-echelon Blood.”
“You choose. To act and die — or lie ‘neath whitey’s boot!” the gang-member version of “BRUTUS” declares, standing on a chair, “talking trash, shouting to be heard.”
“Die, die, die!” the crowd roars back.
One of the more eye-catching exchanges reproduced by The Daily Beast involves a literal dick-measuring context between Brutus and Agrippa, in which the latter grabs the former’s aforementioned anatomy for dramatic effect. He even goes so far as to dub little Brutus “the great dick of this … assembly.” So yeah, that’s something one of Breitbart’s biggest names helped compose.
Jones, who hasn’t worked with Bannon since 2009, defended her former writing partner. She never “heard him make any racist jokes,” and claimed “his best friend was an African-American who went to [college] with him.” That being said, Jones admitted Bannon’s “elitism” was always on display for all to see: “He would always look down on poor people of any color. At one point, he told me that only people who own property should vote.”
This serves as a stark contrast to prior reports of Bannon’s desire to “destroy the state,” but there’s still plenty of time before November for the Shakespearean fat lady to sing.
(Via The Daily Beast)