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The Risks of a Gabrielle Giffords Movie

Megan Angelo is right that Hollywood will likely go absolutely insane for the rights to the book Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly have just agreed to write. Back in April, there was word that Law & Order: Los Angeles was going to do a Giffords-themed episode, though I’m not sure it ever came to fruition, and the show was cancelled in May. I’m certainly glad Giffords and Kelly are going to be able to make some money to help with what, even with congressional health insurance and general community support, has probably been and will continue to be huge medical bills. But I’m curious as to how the book — and an inevitable movie adaptation — will shake out.

Part of the question is how the story ends. Giffords’ survival, and her survival as someone who can communicate, albeit in a limited way, is an astonishing act of fortune. But it’s not clear to me that she’s going to be able to be an active member of Congress, much less work, ever again, so it may be hard to tell this as a straightforward story of triumph.

And it’s not that every story has to be a straightforward narrative of triumph over obstacles. But I hate the possibility of Giffords being reduced, in an adaptation of her own story, to an incapacitated woman being cared for by her remarkably devoted husband. We’ve already got a movie like that coming out soon:

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What’s interesting about Giffords and Kelly is the tender stuff, sure, but the spiky stuff, too, the making it work over distance and between two people with crazy-ambitious careers, the fact that he went back to training for his final space flight even after she was shot, her trip to see him go away from her. And before she was a shooting victim, Gabby Giffords was a good progressive lawmaker who was a solar energy advocate, an opponent of the immigration law Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law, someone who stood strong against Medicaid cuts. She is more than what Jared Lee Loughner did to her, and I would hope that anyone who jumps on the story with a mind to adapt it remembers that.