An excerpt from my script review for The FOunder which will be available 01/23/16:
3.) Quality of Characters
It’s interesting that Ray transforms from our “down on his luck” hero to the villain of the story.
Right from the get go, you feel for him, and having done door to door sales myself, it sucks and I wanted him to succeed.
Then he discovers the “speedee system” of the McDonald brothers.
So is he “the founder” of McDonald’s?
In my opinion, yes.
Ray saw what the brothers were doing, and marketed it.
The brothers’ version of McDonald’s would be unrecognizable to us today, so in essence Ray took it to the next level, making “the Golden Arches” an American icon.
The brothers were content to do exactly what they were doing, with limited locations.
Ray saw more.
Now again, he was absolutely despicable for the second half of the script, and not someone we should look up to, but the vision of what Mc Donald’s was his.
Lying, deceitful, selfish, sure, but a savvy businessman. (In the version we’re presented, anyway.)
And what did he steal?
The name? He did technically purchase the rights to use it.
The “speedee system”? Going back to my example of Henry Ford applied to food service, implementing an assembly line in a restaurant isn’t revolutionary.
(Patent law always cites “non-obvious improvements” and the argument could be made this was an obvious application of something that already existed.)
He did steal Joan from her husband, divorcing Ethel, which sucked, considering she stood by Ray during all his schemes.
And lastly, his final monologue, which he cherry picks from a popular “self help” positive thinking record used earlier in the script.
(Mine was Lead the Field by Earl Nightingale when I was in sales, lol.)
We don’t like him, and we’re not supposed to, but he gets away with it anyway despite our lack of approval.
Giving us a character to hate can still make for good writing.
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