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Why We Are Long Overdue a Hit Drama Show Based on PayPal and Tesla Founder Elon Musk

In recent years several hugely successful biographical movies have been released focusing on some of the more charismatic, eccentric, or otherwise noteworthy innovators, tech giants and digital trendsetters of our times. These include the Golden Globe winning “The Social Network” starring Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg depicting the early years of Facebook’s development and marketing. Similarly, the simply titled “Steve Jobs” follows the early years and decades of the man’s work in the tech industry, itself based on the much-celebrated biographical book of the same name.

What the box office, book sales and continued raging interest in these individuals demonstrates is that timeless fascination with the real geniuses and creators of our times. In our digital society, people such as Zuckerberg and Jobs are the true trailblazers in defining how we relate to technology, each other and ultimately ourselves. Few others would even qualify to be mentioned in the same space as them, but one who really stands out is Elon Musk; recently becoming the world’s richest man and for a long time one of the most dynamic characters to stand out in the tech media sphere. 

Elon Musk’s Persona

Known for his not always well-considered or carefully worded outbursts and jibes, Elon Musk has both wowed, entertained, and frustrated journalists, celebrities and regular people alike. At times his remarks are witty and accurate, and sometimes they are just outrageous, misdirected or even libellous. An example of the latter is his accusations directed towards Vernon Unsworth, a hero for rescuing schoolboys from a flooded cave in Thailand. Musk’s highly unsavoury remarks ultimately led to a prolonged lawsuit.

Having someone so instantly recognizable globally, both by name and by appearance, also be so outspoken and unfiltered via social media is the perfect foundation for film (or even television) drama. While Zuckerberg and Jobs both lived exciting lives worthy of fine biographies – Musk’s life may have the kind of edge and depth needed to expand a biography from film to show format.

Elon Musk’s Life and Career

The briefest summary of Musk’s life is to state that he was born in South Africa, was educated chiefly in Canada and the United States and then moved on to build a career in Silicon Valley. His most famous and most successful business ventures have undoubtedly proven to have been PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla. Each of these companies are household names today but PayPal is undoubtedly the most widely used and is today ubiquitous in online shopping. Although acquired by eBay back in 2002, PayPal continues to innovate in Musk’s tradition – today crypto can be used to checkout and there are even PayPal slot games that can be played using PayPal cash.

Indeed, this very drive to innovate and push boundaries is what has clearly motivated Musk in his business career beyond PayPal. He is bold in his investments and financial dealings, famously putting all of the proceeds from Paypal into his new projects as he moved on. Today this stroke of committed genius and driven hunger for technological progress is manifest in his enormously ambitious projects with Tesla (developing electric cars) and SpaceX (exploring space and developing space tourism). Famous around the world as a Tony Stark-styled billionaire tech genius, eccentric philanthropist and brilliant investor, Musk is the foremost example of this particular archetype. A movie or show based on his life and career would be a great drama based solely on the above, and that’s before even adding the tantalizing details, mysterious past and alleged connections of Musk.

Questions Surrounding Elon Musk

Musk’s childhood and early life are in fact to a certain extent shrouded in a cloud of mystery. Somewhat juxtaposed to his modern-day reputation as a self-made man, it seems that his father, Errol Musk, lived a life of luxury in apartheid South Africa, developing properties and even owning an emerald mine in nearby Zambia. Being born into great wealth and a lifestyle of expensive holidays, luxury yachts and huge houses certainly undermines Musk’s preferred self-image of a gifted scientist and businessman who got to where he is today because of his own hard work.

To what extent is this mythos of him as a working-class hero curated, and to what extent is it even accurate? How much of his success was merely the logical conclusion of growing up with a great fortune sourced from the highly problematic apartheid system? The fact that these questions exist also call into question how many of his ideas were truly his own – how many of his business strategies and inventions might have in fact come from others that he has afforded to employ? In essence, the fundamental question a drama show based on Musk’s life would have to tackle is this: how much of his image is real, and how much is carefully created and maintained to further his own interests?

The Elon Musk Show

The questions raised above merely form a small part of the tantalizing full story that a hit drama show based on the life and career of Elon Musk would tell. Beyond themes such as myth vs reality, or image vs man, there is ample room to explore Musk’s family, both chosen and immediate. For example, Elon Musk’s brother Kimbal was allegedly set up with a girlfriend by the infamous Jeffrey Epstein, seeding yet another narrative strand of the fascinating personal life of Elon Musk – strands which taken together would weave into a hugely popular show.

Yet for all the mention here of Elon Musk’s character and personal life, the tale of either PayPal or Tesla alone provides sufficient material for an entire movie, let alone both combined together with the stories of SpaceX, Neuralink, The Boring Company, etc. alongside! Indeed, one cannot do anything other than conclude that we truly are overdue a hit drama show based on Elon Musk and drawing on his fabulous career, enigmatic past and unique personality.