M. SCOTT MORRIS: Ricin Circus’ on big screen?

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

If I were writing a screenplay about recent Tupelo happenings, I’d have to include the elephant shooting.
That’s where everything starts, in the early morning hours outside the BancorpSouth Arena. The circus is in town.
Two guys, both of them drunk, are arguing in a primer-coated Trans Am. They’re trying to figure out for all time who’s the nastiest blankety-blank in Lee County, and they’re making good cases.
The driver takes a long pull from a nearly empty Jim Beam bottle, then catches sight of Carol the elephant, who has nowhere to run.
He grins, revealing a gold tooth, and says, “Hey, you (Censored)! Watch this!”
He shoots. The passenger spits out a surge of profanity – not for the elephant’s sake, but because the driver clearly earned blankety-blank bragging rights.
The camera follows them around the arena and into the Tupelo night. Drunken laughter drowns out the Trans Am’s engine.
Cue opening credits for “Ricin Circus.”
Make no mistake: Our continuing ricin letters saga will reach the big screen.
If you close your eyes and float on the pop-culture ether, you can hear furious fingers tapping on keyboards across the country, as screenwriters attempt to turn Tupelo’s current events into a cohesive story.
I wonder who will portray Kevin Curtis, the Elvis tribute artist and first suspect who has his name cleared. Who will play his nemesis, James Everett Dutschke, who’s getting the federal government’s attention lately?
If it were up to me, I’d give Matt Damon whichever part he wanted to play, then Nicholas Cage gets the other. Do you feel the electricity?
A big portion of the budget probably will go toward high quality Elvis costumes for Damon or Cage, depending on who plays whom.
What about feisty legal eagle Christi McCoy? I say Jennifer Lopez. It might be a stretch, but Jennifer brings her own fans to the film. I’m talking about ticket-buyers, people. You’ve got to think about such things if you want “Ricin Circus” to turn a profit.
Based solely on their names, Skeet Ulrich and Scoot McNairy should play the Trans Am guys. They’ll show up throughout the movie to interact with Damon and Cage, and maybe even steal camera equipment from a Mighty Daily Journal photographer.
We might never learn who actually shot that elephant, so I say name the characters Skeet and Scoot because, come on, Skeet and Scoot sound like guys who’d drink whiskey and shoot elephants.
We don’t yet know how “Ricin Circus” turns out, but the story is bubbling over with big-screen potential. You can feel it, can’t you?
I just hope they film it here, so I can get autographs from Skeet, Scoot, Matt, Nick and Jennifer, not necessarily in that order.
More importantly, if Tupelo’s going to get a national reputation for blankety-blank wackiness, people around here ought to cash in. Don’t you think?
M. SCOTT MORRIS is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@journalinc.com.

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