News Column

Lights, camera, Santorum [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA)]

June 28, 2013


NEWS ITEM: Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was named CEO of EchoLight Studios, a fledgling Dallas-based Christian movie production company. Santorum has no movie production experience. EchoLight has no movie releasing experience.

To: EchoLight creative team

From: The new boss

Re: Our first blockbuster


We need to do better.

When I took this job a few days ago, I was convinced we would be nipping at Paramount's heels in a year or two. I thought Warner Bros. was ripe for the taking.

Then I researched our company online. Whoa. Our most significant achievement has been reaching an agreement to distribute an upcoming offering by the winner of the short film category in the 2013 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.

That's not exactly anything that would knock "Monsters University" off its box office perch. We have to come up with grand cinematic ideas that would make the likes of Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and all the Pixar people green with envy.

Thankfully, I'm a visionary. I envision putting EchoLight on the map with a movie I believe could be both a commercial and critical smash.

The plot in a nutshell:

A man of great faith, in both God and himself, decides to spread the Lord's message by humbly assembling a large political base. He does this initially by running an improbably successful grass-roots congressional campaign, then vaulting to the U.S. Senate to perform the work of the Lord and K Street lobbyists.

At first, all goes well. The protagonist devotes himself to the pursuit of Scripture studies and becoming the Senate's third- highest-ranking member. But then Satan's emissaries, the media, attack him for making statements on sexuality, abortion and other topics that God agrees with but a majority of the sinning electorate does not.

The senator is voted out of office in humiliating fashion. His political career appears over. Several years go by, and he is working as a simple Fox News commentator when the Lord calls upon him to run for president.

The media mocks him as he begins that effort, alone in the Iowa cornfields, but his campaign gradually gains momentum. Challengers fall by the wayside, he grabs the Republican nomination and the former senator is vindicated for his perceived preposterous positions by becoming president!

What a dramatic arc -- and not too farfetched.

The movie would be an inspiring tale of a man who succeeds even while holding utter but understandable contempt for anyone who fails to embrace his righteous, rigid ideology.

I've even come up with a title: "Citizen Disdain."

Could somebody start working on a script? I'd like to have the sucker in theaters by Christmas 2015.

The Iowa caucuses occur a month after that, and I might be taking a leave of absence.

Eric Heyl is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412- 320-7857 or

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