Monopoly actually inhabits a very cool universe. Everybody has memories of late Saturday nights extorting family members and laughing, as cash and properties practically spill out all over the table begging for an accountant to step in. I’m just not sure whether this universe needs to be reimagined beyond the game. But Frank Beddor has that idea, as he explains to the LA Times, and wants to turn it into a kind of Alice in Wonderland story. Here is his full explanation of the plot.
“I created a comedic, lovable loser who lives in Manhattan and works at a real estate company and he’s not very good at his job but he’s great at playing Monopoly. And the world record for playing is 70 straight days – over 1,600 hours – and he wanted to try to convince his friends to help him break that world record. They think he is crazy. They kid him about this girl and they’re playing the game and there’s this big fight. And he’s holding a Chance card and after they’ve left he says, ‘Damn, I wanted to use that Chance card,’ and he throws it down. He falls asleep and then he wakes up in the morning and he’s holding the Chance card, and he thinks, ‘That’s odd.’”
Yes, this is all going where you think it is. Beddor continued:
“He’s all groggy and he goes down to buy some coffee and he reaches into his pocket and all he has is Monopoly money. All this Monopoly money pours out. He’s confused and embarrassed and the girl reaches across the counter and says, ‘That’s OK.’ And she gives him change in Monopoly money. He walks outside and he’s in this very vibrant place, Monopoly City, and he’s just come out of a Chance Shop. As it goes on, he takes on the evil Parker Brothers in the game of Monolopy. He has to defeat them. It tries to incorporate all the iconic imageries — a sports car pulls up, there’s someone on a horse, someone pushing a wheelbarrow — and rich Uncle Pennybags, you’re going to see him as the maître d’ at the restaurant and he’s the buggy driver and the local eccentric and the doorman at the opera. There’s all these sight gags.”
It’s easy to imagine him saying all that without taking a single breath. The concept sounds very much like Jumanji in reverse. Ridley Scott seemed to fall into the film naturally after the pitch, but even Breddor seemed surprised that Scott wanted to direct it. The entire project has the mad scientist feel, and it might be a more exciting experiment if boardgame films weren’t becoming a disturbing trend. It’s just very hard to picture without some absurdity, but I suppose that’s why he is Ridley Scott.