A screenwriter is taking on the subject of religious coercion in the military, and specifically about the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and my friend Mikey Weinstein. The writer thinks it’s an opportunity to look at the larger societal context and military culture, which I think is a great idea.
On March 18, MRFF Founder and President Mikey Weinstein announced a deal with screenwriter and producer Jesse Maiman to tell MRFF’s story in a feature film or tv series.
“I am just thrilled to be able to announce this,” Weinstein said in a press release. “Jesse is a genuinely gifted young screenwriting talent. He has been able to grasp and capture the raw essence and myriad complexities of the often brutal MRFF civil rights advocacy mission as no one else in Hollywood has ever done before.”
“Mikey’s tireless advocacy on behalf of service-members and their families is not only an inspiration, but also a wake up call,” Maiman said. “It demands we ask the question, ‘Do we know what’s happening in our military?’ His stranger- than-fiction battles with politicians, pundits, power brokers, and zealots provide an entertaining tapestry for examining that core question.”
Religious coercion is a serious problem—and not just for religious minorities. Indeed, 95% of MRFF’s clients over the years have been Christians. MRFF’s struggle is not—as the religious right would have it—a battle of unbelievers against Christians. It’s a battle of all sorts of believers—and non-believers—in defense of religious freedom for all, and against coercion for anyone. It’s a struggle going on all across America, but with particular intensity inside the military, where dissent is especially difficult.
The article does ask the obvious question: Who’s going to play Mikey, a…unique personality, to say the least. His kids have joked that it could be Danny DeVito, but he’s a little too tall. That’s funny. But the requirement is to capture him physically — he’s very stocky and strong. I’ve said that he looks like what he is, a pit bull. So a few ideas: Bruce Willis, Vin Diesel, Michael Chiklis, Jason Statham. Whoever it is will have a real challenge capturing the essence of Mikey. He’s a one-of-a-kind character.