How Soon Is Too Soon? The Fastest Turnaround Times for Movies Based on True Stories
ManOfTheCenturyMovie Film How Soon Is Too Soon? The Fastest Turnaround Times for Movies Based on True Stories

How Soon Is Too Soon? The Fastest Turnaround Times for Movies Based on True Stories



How Soon Is Too Soon? The Fastest Turnaround Times for Movies Based on True Stories

These days, it seems like TV and film alike can’t get enough of the past; specifically, the very, very recent past. Shows based on true crime cases and extremely buzzy scandals flood streaming services; you only need to look at 2022, when “WeCrashed” and “Super Pumped” dramatized boardroom dramas at WeWork and Uber three years after they happened, and “The Dropout” depicted Elizabeth Holmes’ crimes while the woman was awaiting sentencing. Movie theaters meanwhile, hosted “She Said,” a film about the 2017 investigation into Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual assault that came out while Weinstein was in the middle of his second trial regarding his crimes. A common refrain from some about these projects was, by depicting scandals and events that were so recent and so current in the public consciousness, they were “too soon” to say something meaningful about them.

Although there’s definitely something to be said about the importance of distance and hindsight, the reality is that film has always been a reactive medium, with even the earliest silent films depicting some of the biggest news stories at the turn of the 20th century. In World War II, the United States and Britain pumped out plenty of films about the war before it actually ended, often depicting real events just months after they happened. Even beyond those early days, the tradition of a buzzy news story getting elaborated on in a book or magazine article which then gets its rights bought up by a Hollywood studio looking to make an adaptation quickly goes back decades; it’s how we got “All the President’s Men,” after all.

This September sees the release of “Dumb Money,” a dramedy based on the viral GameStop stock short squeeze spearheaded by members of the Reddit community r/wallstreetbets, which caused the video game retail chain’s stock price to soar artificially and led to several class action lawsuits and a congressional hearing. All of this took place in January and February 2021, meaning “Dumb Money” — from director Craig Gillespie and featuring an ensemble cast of Paul Dano, Pete Davidson, Vincent D’Onofrio, America Ferrera, Nick Offerman, Anthony Ramos, Sebastian Stan, Shailene Woodley, and Seth Rogen – is dramatizing events that occurred about two and a half years ago. That’s not exactly a massive time difference between real life and film (even if COVID does make things that happened two years ago feel like they happened in a previous decade). But it’s also not even close to the most rapid production and release cycle for a based-on-a-true-story film.

With “Dumb Money” now in theaters, let’s look at the times narrative features or streaming shows raced to be as timely as possible, releasing quickly after the big historical events that they depict. There’s no exact metric for how quickly a docudrama needs to come for the subject it’s portraying to be considered recent, but we limited ourselves to movies that were released within three years after the fact. To determine the time span between a film’s subject matter and release, we considered the absolute final chronological event depicted in the films and the rough date it took place. Then, we looked at the date of the film’s world premiere and calculated the years, months, and days between the two.

Documentaries, which are inherently capable of filming quicker and releasing faster, are excluded from this list. We also stuck to theatrical films and just two streaming TV series, omitting made-for-television films which have a history of dramatizing events months after they happened. This list is by no means definitive, as there are numerous other films with quick journeys from real life to film screens, but it helps provide a glimpse at some of the most notable times the industry responded rapidly to events that shook up the world. Read on for 10 movies and two TV shows that dramatized (very) recent history.

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