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‘American Sniper’ Writer to Humanize George Washington

Jason Hall will write and direct a new movie about the life of America’s first president. 
By  · Published on August 23rd, 2017

Jason Hall will write and direct a new movie about the life of America’s first president. 

Jason Hall is establishing himself as a huge fan of our soldiers. He was nominated for the Best Screenplay Oscar for American Sniper, and his upcoming directorial debut, Thank You For Your Service, focuses on veterans during their transition back to home life. His next film? The Virginian, a biopic about American Revolution general turned first US president, George Washington. According to Deadline, the film will focus on how he used his drive and ambition to conquer his own demons and then inspire the country to fight with him.

Hall says the film will be a like The Last of the Mohicans meets There Will Be Blood. If that’s the case, I have to expect Daniel Day-Lewis to be involved since he’s in both of those films.

In all seriousness, that combo makes sense. The picture of Washington that Hall wants to paint sounds like the positive characteristics of the main protagonist from the latter, while the conflict seen in the former is the same as we’ll see Washington fighting in The Virginian. Keeping in line with Hall’s penchant for soldier-focused movies, the plot will follow the future president as a young man as he first joins the British Army for a dangerous mission during the French and Indian War.

Washington’s military career began during the French and Indian war, before he became during the Revolutionary War. In The Virginian, we’ll see him as an ordinary soldier. This isn’t a side to Washington we really see portrayed in film or television, as most projects focus on Washington during the American Revolution. By placing him in a more common environment, he becomes more relatable. Unlike other projects, which show him as a great leader, The Virginian will most likely start him at the bottom rank in the military. We’ll get to see the inner workings of Washington as he became the leader we know him as today. Hopefully, Hall will treat this version of Washington like he’s treated his two other military leads.

American Sniper and Thank You For Your Service focus on internal conflicts of soldiers. Although the films show the war they fight in (the Iraq War for both), they’re mostly interested in what the service does to the men and how it challenges them to better themselves. They try to put a positive spin on their heroes’ experiences at war. If we take the same format and apply it to an 18th century war film, we could have a whole new perspective on Washington.

Hall’s films make us feel for these soldiers and realize the massive burden they take on to protect us. These films fill us with pride for our country and more specifically, the amazing people who protect our country. When you hear about the achievements of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and his work as a sniper, you’re proud to have people like that protecting your freedom. But when you see the emotional turmoil he deals with because of that record, you realize he’s not just a soldier, he’s a regular human. You see that anyone can become a war hero if they just have the attitude to do so. The same goes for George Washington.

We’ve learned about him since we were in primary school, but if we see him in a way that humanizes him, he becomes an individual who used his passion and his drive to become a founding father and even a president. When we skip over the story of his struggles and his path to becoming a leader, we feel disconnected from him because it feels like he’s always been this American hero and icon. When we watch him fail, watch him struggle to compete against his fellow soldiers, and watch him be something other than a leader, he becomes one of us. George Washington will always be an important member of American history. But, to truly see him as an equal, we need to see him before he became the George we know and love.

Jason Hall has a unique opportunity to give us a side of George Washington that no cinema audience has seen before. If he chooses to follow the more traditional route and focus on the historical significance of Washington’s time in the British military, so be it. But with Hall’s track record so far for creating a good patriotic film, it’s time George Washington got that treatment.

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