Since something as fabulous as Agora is rare and The Wicker Tree seems likely to be disappointing, I’ve been absently daydreaming about what kind of Pagan films I would make if I were a wealthy and powerful movie studio executive.
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix is one of my favorite Roman historical figures and one of those extraordinary people who become so famous they’re known by a single name, like Madonna or Pavarotti. Twice consul, he marched on Rome twice while Julius Caesar was still in short pants, became dictator, and then had the good sense to lay down the power and walk away at the appropriate time. A cunning general and politician, he grew up educated but poor, hanging out with actors and musicians. He maintained a real gift for debauchery his entire life, which was in stark contrast to the discipline he employed in office and on the battlefield. He came into his early fortune by mysterious means, served under the brilliant Gaius Marius only to then march against him later in life. He received the greatest honor a Roman soldier could ever attain: the Corona Graminea. A crown woven of grasses from the battlefield by soldiers whose lives he personally saved, it was a rare achievement. Without Sulla, there would have been no Julius Caesar as he both spared his life and stripped him of a restrictive priesthood, though he did so reluctantly, noting there were many a Marius in the ambitious young lad. Though he tried to prevent it, he was the stepping stone for the fall of the Republic. His boldness led later men, such as Pompey to take the attitude “If Sulla did it, then why not I?”
This is a movie that needs to be made, with Rupert Everett as Sulla, Anthony Hopkins as Gaius Marius and the kid who played Draco Malfoy as Julius Caesar. Draw liberally from Colleen McCollough’s Masters of Rome series to fill out his background and you’ve got quite a film!
Flavius Claudius Julianus Augustus was raised Christian, converted to Neo-Platonic Paganism, became Emperor, began to turn the Western world upside down, and died far too young by getting too cocky on the battlefield. His life was the knife’s edge on which the future of the Western world stood balanced. He was witty, snarky, moral and fearless. Enough drama in his life to make a soap opera look tame. I think Cory Monteith would be an interesting choice. He’s already played an underdog with serious moral conflicts who nonetheless is a successful and inspiring leader. Plus, I think he could rock the beard.
When it comes to modern Witchcraft, no one has been quite as flamboyant and influential as Alex Sanders. He consulted on a film with Sharon Tate, managed a rock band, reinvented Wicca and once caught his loin cloth on fire. His life is the stuff of legend, of tall tales and the most fantastic stuff is the stuff that might actually be true. Noel Fielding should play Alex and January Jones should play Maxine. The soundtrack should be full of Pentangle, Fairport Convention and The Rolling Stones.
What movies do you think should be made? One on Z. Budapest’s journey to America? One exploring the legends of Gerald Gardner’s life, including the ritual to repel Hitler? Or maybe a film on the Pagan soldiers who serve our country, and sometimes give their lives for it?