It doesn't exactly bode well for Elon Musk that the director of Requiem for a Dream has secured the rights to his recent biography, and the forthcoming film will likely be less glowing portrayal and more existential nightmare.
Variety brings us the news that indie studio A24 will be producing a film version of the Elon biography that just came out, and Darren Aranofsky is attached to direct the film. Per Variety, "there was heated competition to option [Walter] Isaacson’s book from studios and filmmakers alike, with A24 ultimately winning the bidding war."
We don't know who, if anyone, is being considered to play Musk.
In his infinite hubris, Elon Musk let biographer Walter Isaacson follow him around the last year or two, because why not? The guy wrote what may be the definitive Steve Jobs biography, and that was a big bestseller and mostly flattering. The same may not be said about Elon Musk, the book Isaacson published earlier this year — at least as far as flattery goes; it has been on the NYT Best Sellers list for eight weeks.
Musk hasn't had the best year, and another book just came out this week titled Breaking Twitter: Elon Musk and the Most Controversial Corporate Takeover in History by Ben Mezrich which makes it sound even worse. That book, which could also end up providing source material for this A24 film — unless a different studio options it — tells just the latest chapter in Musk's life as it pertains to buying Twitter in 2022, taking it private, and making a series of decisions that many feel will lead to the platform's ultimate, and oft-foretold demise.
The Isaacson book gave us revelations about his third child with Grimes, his problematic involvement in providing, and withholding, Starlink internet access in Ukraine, and the reported "demon mode" he goes into when he's focused on a project. (Since the book came out, Grimes has also sued Musk over parental rights for their newest born.)
It also provides Isaacson's insight that Musk, having been bullied as a kid, may have wanted to "own the playground" when sought to buy Twitter. And he suggests that this personal stake Musk had in the platform may ultimately turn it into his albatross, if it hasn't already.
"He got to a point where he locked himself in his office, was so upset that the Twitter employees were considering calling a wellness check by the San Francisco police because they thought he was going to self-harm himself," Mezrich said in an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box earlier this week. "I think he truly cares about his reputation, and he was shocked," Mezrich added.
As for Aranofsky's take, the filmmaker behind such dark films as Requiem for Dream, Black Swan, Mother!, and The Whale likely has an interest in this story that is not going to be about aggrandizing Musk — and if he is concerned with his public image, watch out. And unlike Isaacson, Aranofsky may not shy away from portraying Musk's antisemitic, white supremacist, conspiracy-obsessed grandfather, who died when Musk when was three but who led the family's relocation to Apartheid-era South Africa, as The New Yorker recently recounted.
This is also the kind of thing where the movie is going to be getting made while the story is still unfolding — kind of like how The Social Network came out in 2010, long before Facebook became the behemoth it is/was, and long before it became the center of controversies around data privacy and the 2016 election.
But Musk seems to think this is great, or he's pretending to anyway. He tweeted/X'd this morning, "Glad Darren is doing it. He's one of the best."
Fanboys are already chiming in with comments like, "It will be the best movie ever."
Glad Darren is doing it. He is one of the best.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 10, 2023
Photos: (left) Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images; (right) Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images