The Politico’s Jeffrey Ressner writes that the script for Oliver Stone’s “W” “revolves around two major conflicts: the complex psychological struggle between the president and his father, as well as the failed early White House planning that led to the Iraq War.”
Free from the script: The highly loaded conspiracy theories that showed up in “JFK” AND “Nixon.”
In the script, the movie opens with Bush “shown with his inner circle and his speechwriters, refining the phrase “axis of evil,”” Ressner writes.
“Then comes a flashback in which the audience meets the young Bush as a Yale freshmen inhaling vodka and orange juice mixed in a garbage can at his frat house.”
The pic draws on past profiles and news sources for its dramatizations, including one scene where the younger Bush challenges his father to a fight. Stone takes dramatic license in the timing of some events, Ressner writes.
Ressner writes, “Other potentially embarrassing scenes in the early draft: the President choking on a pretzel, his “Mission: Accomplished” aircraft carrier landing, approving a 1994 smear campaign against then-Texas Governor Ann Richards, rhetorical gaffes (“Is our children learning?”) and often showing more concern about his pets and his workout routine than critical world events.”
“In contrast, George H.W. Bush comes across as an honorable president and a sincerely caring father, though the script stresses his problems communicating with his son, and his tear-filled dismay at losing the 1992 presidential race to Bill Clinton.”