You may not have heard of Karl Welzein yet. As of now, he exists only in the realm of Twitter, but has amassed a following of nearly 25,000 Twitter Followers, a number which is constantly growing (he had around 4,000 followers in March, when What Should Bale Do began following him.)
Karl Welzein is a fictional character, whose day-to-day life is documented on his Twitter account, the bizarrely and immaturely named @DadBoner. Since his Twitter account began, he has become separated from his wife, estranged from his children, suspended from his job for defecating behind the work dumpster, and now lives with his buddy Dave, who he describes as “a sack of crap.” (And yes – I am clearly labeling him as fictional. Some people debate whether he could actually be real, but I consider that to be beyond discussion. Although no, of course, I don’t know who the author is.)
The rest of Karl’s life and story are not necessary to recount on here – just go to his Twitter account and start following his account. It’s an unending narrative, full of ups and downs, drunken debauchery and workplace ennui, and the bold flavors of Gardetto’s and Burger King. And yes, it has been analyzed by a few blogs so far, some of which have gone so far as to (rightfully) declare him “a profound literary construction.”
Bale is no stranger to portraying profound literary constructions, considering he’s previously been such literary constructions as Jim Hawkins, Patrick Bateman, Jesus Christ, Batman, and Demetrius from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He can easily take on the role of an overweight, down-on-his-luck working class dad whose hero is Guy Fieri, and whose dream is owning Kaptain Karl’s Pizza Ship, a restaurant all about “bold flavors, value booze, and busty sea wench waitresses.” And pizzas with Cheeto’s on top of them.
It’s likely (but not quite inevitable) that @DadBoner will eventually be adapted for the screen – following in the path of @shitmydadsays , the first Twitter to lead to a television show thus far. The lazy route would be to cast Zach Galifinakis or Will Ferrell in the role – but neither of them can really capture the depths of Karl’s character. The tale of Karl Welzein is about far more than just cheap laughs and Tequila drinking competitions. It would take an actor with the talents of Bale to really delve in and reveal the humanity of Welzein that reaches out to everyone who has followed his Twitter account.
However, another challenge about properly adapting Welzein’s story for the screen is that it could absolutely not be a movie. It would need to be a television series. It’s about time for Bale to do a TV show. Welzein’s life could be adapted to an HBO or Showtime series – but one problem with this idea is that part of what makes the Twitter account so rich is its continual reactions to real-life events. Such as when Karl gets offended by the idea of giving Hormel chili to Japanese earthquake survivors under the logic that they would be insulted by it, or celebrating Bin Laden’s death by skipping work, drinking and grilling. Yet even as a TV series, the production time on a @DadBoner show would have to be incredibly short, in order to stay abreast of current events. This would be the greatest challenge, and if done incorrectly it would be the main reason the show would fail.
It would be nearly impossible to do justice to this genius Twitter account – but if anyone can do it, the actor is Bale. He is known for dramatic weight loss for his roles, but he has not yet become obese for a role. He also has sported a number of beards throughout his films – this is a perfect opportunity for another drastic change in appearance, accompanied by a true soul-searching performance. And like many comedic performances, the story of Karl Welzein has many elements of tragedy. An experienced actor like Bale is needed to tell the full tale of Karl’s troubles. In addition to this, Bale can bring out the dark side of Karl while still retaining his humanity: after all, Welzein is a terrible father and quite often unabashedly racist and sexist (characteristics Karl shares with many of Bale’s previous roles.)
It would also be amazing to hear Bale uttering Karl Welzein classics, such as “a shot contest is like a gunfight. Women need to stay out of it.” And, of course, “Really lookin’ forward to the weekend, you guys.”
Should @DadBoner really be adapted into a television series or film? No. Absolutely not. It could only fail, or become a washed-up husk of itself. The glory of Karl Welzein lies in his immediacy, his honesty, his ability to capture the most embarrassing and candid pieces of our zeitgeist and broadcast them out to the world before no one else has the chance to articulate them. Twitter is a new medium that our world is still adjusting to – and it is a perfect medium for tales like the narrative of Karl Welzein. To adapt his story to any other medium would be to destroy it.
But, if someone does make the poor choice of trying to do it, they have to cast Bale.