The promotional poster screams ” Risk Taker. Rule Breaker. Game Changer”; I’ve watched the trailer at least half a dozen times, and it is finally here. According to an article I read in the newspaper yesterday, Tom Hanks turned down the role, and that’s how Michael Keaton ends up as Roy Kroc the founder of McDonald’s empire. One of the things I want to find out is why Tom Hanks (one of my favourite actors) turned the role down, and I’m still not sure I have the answer even after the end credits have rolled.
Credit must be given to Michael Keaton who is absolutely the right actor to play the contorversial Ray Kroc. Anyone who has ever eaten a McDonald’s burger should watch this film, even if none of their favourite actor is in it, so that they know the true story behind McDonald’s, and know that Roy Kroc is not the real founder but brothers Dick and Mac Mcdonald ( Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch) are.
The story starts in 1954, when Roy Kroc is a struggling salesman who takes very big risks (including sacrificing his marriage in the process), persistent enough to break rules and dares to be innovative. It is due to him that McDonald’s has gone on to transform the world’s consumption habit (it now feeds 1% of the population), a bit like changing the culture of food and even beyond food – speediness, disposable.
Roy Kroc is actually a fascinating and talented man, hardworking and with a lot of ambition and determination. (“When is enough going to be enough? Never!”) It is only when he falls back on payment of a bank loan (which he has secured mortgaging the marital home) that he realises that he needs to get into the real estate business and that is when he becomes manipulative (“If you can’t beat them, buy them”).
Although the brothers end up ‘losers’ (despite the $1.35 million that Kroc paid them, because he renegaded on a handshake deal that promises to pay them 0.5% -worth billions- of all future franchise revenue), they agree on one thing: McDonald’s is family. (The brothers driven by their love for their product and employees and Kroc driven by the fear of being poor and unsuccessful.)
The man in charge of the music is relatively unknown (Carter Burnwell?) and of the dozen songs in the movie, I recognised only one (“Pennies From Heaven”) and that’s because Kroc and the woman who would become his second wife sang it (and played the piano) in one scene.