I was talking with my boss Frank Beddor the other day and our conversation landed on childhood. No, we weren’t comparing trauma, we were talking about board games. I had brought up Monopoly and Frank brought up the fact that he had actually written a Monopoly movie with Eric Laster years prior. I thought he was making a joke but he was actually completely serious. He went on to say that he even had Ridley Scott attached to the project. Which is insane on a couple levels. Surface level being Ridley Scott directed Alien, Blade Runner, and Gladiator which seem like they would be a different tone than the Monopoly movie.
Immediately an intrusive thought came into my head of Joaquin Phoenix giving a thumbs down to a replicant who can’t make their rent causing a thimble to burst out of their chest. Which honestly is a great allegory for a landlord/renter relationship. The project, unfortunately, fell apart but I asked to read the treatment for the Monopoly movie.
After reading the treatment, I was blown away, I asked Frank if he minded me pitching a couple of jokes on it and he gave me the go-ahead. Frank told me that Kevin Hart and Tim Story are now attached to the project which is slated to come out in 2027. With a release date that far off it’s a safe bet that there is no script.
After immersing myself in Kevin & Tim’s catalog of movies I can confidently say that they would be perfect for this film. Kevin being a master at playing a “straight man” like characters and being thrown into impossibly wild situations causing him to become the comic and Tim’s mastery of comedic direction and use of the camera to enhance the comedy really are the missing thimble and wheelbarrow pieces to this monopoly movie.
Kevin would be great as Chuck Nash, a middle-aged, Monopoly-obsessed, man. Chuck works as a mid-level cog at the elite AlphaProperties real estate company while also pulling double duty at his family’s game store, where he lives… With his mother… Which I can’t actually make fun of because I hang out at my mom’s all the time, it’s tough out there and there is free food and coffee at her place. He’s also hopelessly in love with his high school crush Melissa but is “waiting for the right opportunity to ask her out.” Which we all know means that he is too nervous to ask her. I can make fun of this because, as an aspiring comedy writer, I’m the epitome of self-confidence.
The story starts off with a montage of Chuck as a child growing up and how monopoly has always been there for him. The first time he played it with his parents, the first time he bought a property, the first time he landed on a space with a hotel on it and flipped the board, arguing over the real rules of the game v.s. “house rules” that other use, him playing too aggressively while on a first date with a girl thus ruining his chances for a second date. You know, things we have all done. The montage ends with Chuck rolling the dice on himself, after noticing that his childhood neighborhood is taking a dark turn toward the vilest of beasts, gentrification.
Chuck creates a business plan to save his neighborhood, which he is going to propose to his bosses the Alpha Brothers, he calls the plan “Gentrification with a Soul.” His bosses love it, except they hate the soul part, you see, soul affects profit margins. So, now his neighborhood is going to get gentrified worse than New York. For those of you that don’t know, used to have the nickname “Fear City” but that’s all changed now that Harlem is full of kids from LA with rich parents.
His mother, who thinks his proposal went off like a success, surprises him with a gift, a first edition monopoly board. Not wanting to break the bad news to his mother, he does not tell her what happened. Little does Chuck know this board is special, and the next day he is in for a rude awakening when he goes to buy his morning cup of coffee, all he has is Monopoly money, his pockets are overflowing with the colorful cash that looks like Canadian money. The barista happily takes the cash, which is weird, but what’s even weirder is what he sees outside. That’s right, he’s in Monopoly world.
You may be wondering to yourself, “how did he end up in monopoly world? Was it magic? A portal to a different universe? Psychosis induced by lead exposure?” To which I answer you with a gracious, “you ask too many questions.”
Monopoly world is a sprawling, high-speed metropolis where businesses cannibalize each other for breakfast and have hostile takeovers for tea. It’s like Wall Street on cocaine… Scratch that, it’s like Wall Street and Succession had a baby and it was on twice as much cocaine but preferably with a PG rating, so like pixy stix? The city is a perfect representation of the board game coming to life. Single seater race cars zip through town, a cannon statue sits in the middle of the park, a wheelbarrow is pushed around, and someone has a thimble. Side note, why is the thimble a piece and how do I always end up being forced to use it?
In the center of the town is the Exchange, the central hub where all business takes place. Chuck thinks he is dreaming and makes a fool of himself, which as we have all seen before, Kevin Hart portrays perfectly on the screen.
After standing up for a woman who is being evicted named Julia who looks exactly like his real-world crush Melissa. When he offers to pay her rent, he learns that he actually has enough money to buy the whole building. As a renter myself, this is a dream I have on the first of every month. Chuck becomes the landlord of Vermont Ave. Which catches the eye of the Parker Brothers, the hyper-wealthy businessmen who are striving to have a monopoly over the city. They are actively buying up all the properties, booting those who live there to the slums of Baltic Ave. and turning them into overpriced hotels (which no one can afford to stay at). Their drive to get a monopoly not only comes from an insatiable thirst for cash but also because it’s the only way out of the city and back into the real world. They aren’t happy with one monopoly, they want two, a dualopoly if you will.
Chuck and Julia team up in an attempt to take down the Parker Brothers. This is no easy task since the Parker Bros also control the banks, cheating just like the person who always insists on being the banker.
In this wild adventure, Chuck stays at one of the Parker Brothers Serling-esque hotels, is kidnapped,, becomes a business magnate, shuts down the Exchange to cause a “Bank Error”, becomes monopoly obsessed, and uses the skills he’s learned from playing the board game to help him escape this crazy world in time to save his neighborhood from the encroaching assault of overpriced coffee shops that come along with gentrification. Maybe, just maybe, these events will give him the confidence to ask Melissa out.
Oh, and don’t you go another second worrying that Rich Uncle Pennybags isn’t in this movie, he makes constant cameos all over town as a driver, railway operator, therapist, masseuse, and perhaps even a mohel. Is it the same person or does he have a bunch of identical twins? Is he a poor man who has a bunch of odd jobs dressing like a rich man? Or is he an eccentric billionaire who enjoys life around town? Whatever the case, he’s hilarious.
If that little highlight reel doesn’t have your fancy tickled Mr. Hart and Mr. Story. Allow me to attempt to tickle it once more. I really have studied both of your films and I’ve noticed that while they are incredibly funny, the themes that are tackled are quite profound and are full of heart. This film, while being a perfect opportunity for Kevin to be his Kevinist and for Tim to get some hilarious action shots, will also examine the effects of gentrification, corporate greed, and wealth disparity as well as the fact that nothing good in life can happen unless you take a chance on yourself and on those around you.
Like the chance cards in the board game, you never know what the outcome will be until you roll the dice… I mixed up my metaphors just then but I’m sticking with what I said. To clear up what I’m trying to say with this metaphor, Kevin, Tim, want to discuss this over lunch? Frank’s buying.
Read the Original Los Angeles Times Article by Geoff Boucher for more details.
Jared Hoffman graduated from the American Film Institute with a degree in screenwriting. A Los Angeles native, his brand of comedy is satire stemming from the many different personalities and ego’s he has encountered throughout his life.