Fyre Festival: The Movie

Why The Fyre Festival blunder deserves a big screen adaptation

Some people call him a con-artist, others call him a visionary. No matter what you think of Billy McFarland, there is no doubt his narrative is fascinating. McFarland, the subject of two, made for television documentaries, was at the center of a viral news story that you can’t quite put your finger on why it’s interesting, you just know it is. Back in April 2017, McFarland masterminded the now infamous Fyre Festival, a new luxury music festival featuring bands like Blink 182 and Major Lazer, that was set in the Bahamas and was going to be the next Coachella or Burning Man. Great music, exotic locations and beautiful people from all over the world, what could possibly go wrong?

Due to horrible mismanagement and delusions of grandeur, the festival turned into a living nightmare for attendees and the laughingstock of the country. The festival was over before it started (not one band played) and McFarland was eventually arrested on several charges of wire fraud stemming from the vast amount of contributions he was able to obtain in order to appear legit. It seems like the story should have ended there, with McFarland quietly whisked away to serve his time. Fast-forward to the present and along comes the documentaries Fyre on Netflix and Fyre Fraud on Hulu. Judge for yourself which documentary you feel best illuminates the story but that’s not really the point. The thing is, enough people thought this story was interesting enough to make 2 documentaries about it. And I will admit, I watched both of them. Maybe I fall into the category of rubbernecking the latest “thing”, after all, I did watch Bird Box. But there is something about this story, the grand scope of fraud and failure that leads me to believe this should be more than just a documentary. It needs to be made into a movie. So, I sat down with my wife and we hashed out a potential director and cast for Fyre Festival: The Movie.

*note: it helps to have seen at least one of the documentaries in order for any of this to make sense*

Director: Adam McKay– This guy was making silly Will Ferrell comedies, then one day he woke up and said to himself, I want to be a real director. McKay has been putting out some solid dramedies lately like The Big Short and Vice so I can totally see him helming this film. And it seems like McKay really has something to say about money and it’s power to corrupt so he’d make a perfect fit. I would have chosen David Fincher or Harmony Korine but they’ve already made their own bratty millennials films.

Billy McFarland: Shia LaBeouf– LaBeouf tries so hard to be anti-establishment, anti-Hollywood that you know deep down inside, he really wants to be at that party. That’s McFarland in a nutshell; he wanted to be “the man”, he just went about it the wrong way. LaBeouf would bring that level of energy to this role and for what its worth, LaBeouf is a good actor.

Ja Rule: Shameik Moore– I first saw Moore in Dope and thought he was great. He was also in The Get Down so he has some hip-hop background. This feels like the kind of indie-film that Moore would thrive in, possibly stealing every scene he’s in.

A side note, how does Ja Rule come out looking so innocent after all this? No seriously, I need to know. Part of me thinks is reverse racism, no way a black guy could be able to pull off a Ponzi Scheme like this. Curious…

Grant Margolin: Harry Melling– If you’re thinking, really, Dudley Dursley from the Harry Potter franchise, trust me, watch The Ballad of Buster Scruggs then come holla at me!

Keith van der Linde: Alfie Allen– I mean, they look just alike, it’s a no-brainer.

Calvin Wells: Tom Hiddleston-This one’s kinda tough cause they don’t necessarily favor each other but in a sense, Wells’ character could be seen as a “bad guy” in the movie. Who better to play a likable bad guy than Hiddleston?

Andy King: Rainn Wilson– If you saw the Netflix version, then you know King has one hell of an embarrassing story to tell. Anyone willing to tell that story on celluloid has to have a sense of humor about themselves. I feel Wilson would play that role perfectly based on how he portrayed Dwight from The Office.

Mick Purzyck: Matthew Lewis-Yet another Harry Potter alum but these kids received great acting experience working on those movies. I don’t know of Lewis in anything other than that franchise but I liked the evolution Neville Longbottom went through from meek student to a capable leader. Purzyck is the CEO of Jerry Media so I can see Lewis commanding that role.

Brett Kincaid: Jason Ralph– This one’s my wife’s’ pick. She’s a huge fan of the show The Magicians on SyFy and thought of this guy. I’ve only seen a few episodes but yeah, he could do it.

Samuel Krost: Justin Bieber– Hear me out on this one. Krost seems like the kind of guy that always wears the freshest sneaks and knows all the lyrics to the dopest rhymes. Not sure how committed Bieber is to acting but this would be a great role to get his acting career off the ground.

Marc Weinstein: Rami Malek– Malek is on a roll after his Golden Globe win for Best Actor in Bohemian Rhapsody. This feels like a movie he would have made right before Rhapsody but Weinstein has a pretty significant role to play in connection to the Fyre Festival, which would give Malek a lot to work with as an actor.

Mdavid Low: Milo Ventimiglia-I can not overlook the hair aspect of this casting, both dudes can grow a pretty awesome beard! But I’ve seen Ventimiglia in This is Us and he seems like a solid enough actor to pull off this role.

Michael Ciccarelli: Cameron Monaghan-another one of my wife’s’ picks. I don’t really know enough about the guy but I trust my wife’s opinion. He’s in Shameless so he’s gotta be a decent actor.

JR: John Boyega-This movie would be perfect for Boyega. He’d be coming off the grueling Star Wars shoots where he’s jumping and spinning and fighting all the time. This would be a great chance for him to get back to a more baseline acting job. Plus, he’d get to spend 2 months in the Bahamas so there’s that.

Mary Ann Rolle: Regina King-I’ve been a fan of Regina King since back in the day when she was on 227. She was just nominated for her 1st Oscar for If Beale Street Could Talk. After watching the Netflix documentary, Mary Ann Rolle was one of the more sympathetic characters and would need to be played by an actress that would bring a lot of weighty emotion to the character. If you’ve seen King in Jerry Maguire, you know what I’m talking about.

Shiyuan Deng: Kelly Marie Tran-I need to see more from Kelly Marie Tran other than what she did in The Last Jedi. I know there’s a solid actor there, give her something good to work with people!

Kendall Jenner: Amber Heard-I would also take Ariana Grande or Selena Gomez. Jenner’s role is unique. She plays a huge part in the overall story because her social media post announcing The Fyre Festival is what started all this bruhaha (she got paid an estimated 250k for the post announcing the Fyre Festival) but she doesn’t really show up in the documentaries. I think it’s important to discuss the growing impact of social media influencers and the responsibility they have to their fans.

I can honestly say, I believe that Billy McFarland did not intend to fraud anyone with the Fyre Festival, I imagine he wanted it to be a success. His unwillingness to listen to the smart people in the room and him blindly reaching for the internet’s version of a pot of gold was his downfall. Plus, he does not come off looking good with the stunt he pulled directly after being arrested (again, you’ll have to watch the docs to find out). This movie needs to be made as a cautionary tale for all those people out there that decide to chase money instead of their dreams. I have a feeling this isn’t the last time we’ll be hearing from one Billy McFarland.

 

Mike