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Tag: Politics (1-10 of 64)

White House denies report shutting down official movie screenings during Oscar season -- UPDATE

When you’re president of the United States, literally everything you do or don’t do has political ramifications — even the movies you watch. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the White House will curtail official movie screenings so as not to impact the Oscars race. Some industry heavyweights are sensitive to the fact that Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom was welcomed at the White House with a special screening, while a movie like 12 Years a Slave has not been invited. Since Mandela is a Weinstein Company film, critics implied that the film received such a warm embrace because Harvey Weinstein is a high-profile Obama backer. “If you look at the films they do invite for the big event screenings, it’s obvious you can buy your way into the White House,” a 12 Years exec told the Reporter. “We were not big donors to Obama. Do we wish they would have us? Of course. But it’s not that important.”

UPDATE: Nov. 21, 10:45 p.m. ET. A White House spokeswoman declined to respond to the accusation reportedly made by an anonymous 12 Years a Slave executive, but said in an e-mail, “The White House enjoys the opportunity to screen movies and will continue that tradition. Any reports to the contrary are not accurate.”
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'Mandela' to screen for President Obama at White House

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The Nelson Mandela biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom will get an audience from President Barack Obama, as well as a screening at the Kennedy Center hosted by Hillary Clinton.

The Weinstein Co. tells The Associated Press that Obama will screen the film Thursday at the White House. Mandela’s daughters Zindzi and Zenani Mandela will join, as will the film’s stars, Idris Elba and Naomie Harris.

The film will also screen Nov. 20 at the Kennedy Center, with Clinton hosting the gala.

Though there have been other films about the former South African president, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom has long had Mandela’s approval and the cooperation of his family. It premiered Sunday in Johannesburg with much of Mandela’s family in attendance.

Mandela opens in U.S. theaters Nov. 29.

'Innocence of Muslims' director meets the press, plans movie and TV series

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The writer/director of Innocence of Muslims, the anti-Islam movie that provoked deadly riots and demonstrations in the Middle East when a 13-minute trailer appeared on the Internet in September 2012, has been released from a California halfway house after serving almost a year in detention for probation violation. Though Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a.k.a. Mark Basseley Youssef, a Coptic Christian who emigrated from Egypt, feels horrible for what happened — “I felt I did a big mistake,” he says. “Some people died because of my movie” — he’s moving ahead with projects that will help spread the message that he insists is at the center of his controversial film.

“My movie was not a religious movie,” he says. “It’s a political movie against terrorism, which has a root. We have to dig; we have to dig the root out to be terrorism free. Believe me, I grow up in this culture and I know how they think. That’s why I try to deliver my information. Somebody get mad, so what.”
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Leonardo DiCaprio's next history project? Woodrow Wilson.

Leonardo DiCaprio, who portrayed longtime FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and squirrelly billionaire Howard Hughes, is digging into early 20th-century history books again for another big-screen biopic. The Great Gatsby star is in talks to produce and possibly star in a Warner Bros. movie about Woodrow Wilson, the 28th U.S. president, who guided the country through World War I and established many of the progressive policies and bureaucracies that still define American government 100 years later.

Warner Bros. is interested in optioning a recent biography from Pulitzer-winning writer A. Scott Berg (Lindbergh), who spent 12 years digging into Wilson’s life and presidential record, one that has long been overshadowed by the liberal New Deal policies of his spiritual successor, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Wilson was a proud Southerner whose views on race reflected his family’s Confederate sympathies during the Civil War, a college professor who became president of Princeton University before entering politics, and a shrewd politician who was re-elected president in 1916 by promising to keep America out of World War I — and then almost immediately entered the war against Germany and her allies. As the war came to a close and he became the leading proponent for a League of Nations, a peace-keeping organization that Congress ultimately voted against joining, he suffered a debilitating stroke that was hidden from the public and left his wife secretly making presidential decisions.
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Jim Carrey won't endorse the violence in 'Kick-Ass 2'

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Jim Carrey has had a change of heart about Kick-Ass 2. In the upcoming sequel to the violent 2010 adaptation of Mark Millar’s comic book, Carrey plays Colonel Stars and Stripes, an oddball vigilante who teams up with the titular hero (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz). But over the weekend, Carrey tweeted word that his work on the film is weighing on his conscience, in light of the school massacre at Sandy Hook. “I cannot support that level of violence,” he wrote on Sunday. “I am not ashamed of [the movie] but recent events have caused a change in my heart.”

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Jon Stewart talks timeless satire and fearful politicians in 'Herblock' documentary -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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This week, the documentary
Herblock -- The Black & the White, about the life and legacy of the revered political cartoonist Herbert Block -- who earned three Pulitzers, total editorial control, and the warning "Don't mess with Herb" around The Washington Post newsroom where he spent 55 years -- premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival. It should come as no surprise that it features insights from Daily Show host Jon Stewart. "From the nearly three years it took to assemble the 40-plus interviews that make up [the film]

, we heard from so many how Jon Stewart is an heir in many ways to Herb and his satirical style,” director Michael Stevens tells EW in an email. “When we interviewed Jon — he was our last — he called Herb a ‘touchstone’ for all of those comics, writers and satirists who feel it’s their job to take on the powerful and stick up for the little guy.”

Watch a sneak peek of Stewart below, cut exclusively for EW by Stevens, who’s won four consecutive Emmys for shepherding The Kennedy Center Honors with his producing-partner father, George Stevens, Jr. (a streak that, it’s worth noting, began with the 2009 telecast that included Stewart delivering a benchmark tribute to honoree Bruce Springsteen). READ FULL STORY

'Argo' strikes a 'really raw nerve' in New Zealand

Thirteen minutes into the movie, CIA agent Tony Mendez asks supervisor Jack O’Donnell what happened to a group of Americans when the U.S. Embassy was stormed in Tehran.

“The six of them went out a back exit,” O’Donnell tells Mendez, played by Ben Affleck. “Brits turned them away. Kiwis turned them away. Canadians took them in.”

That’s the only mention of New Zealand in Argo, but it is rankling Kiwis five months after the Oscar-winning film was released in the South Pacific nation. Even Parliament has expressed its dismay, passing a motion stating that Affleck, who also directed the movie, “saw fit to mislead the world about what actually happened.”

New Zealand joins a list of other countries that have felt slighted by the fictionalized account of how a group of Americans was furtively sheltered and secreted out of Iran during the 1979 Islamic Revolution. But nations such as Iran and Canada were much larger participants in the historical event the movie depicts. READ FULL STORY

'2016: Obama's America' team preparing a follow-up film

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The team that created the conservative documentary 2016: Obama’s America, which last year became the second-highest-grossing political documentary of all time, are re-partnering with conservative talking head Dinesh D’Souza for a film simply titled America, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The new film, which is not described as a sequel so much as a companion piece to 2016, will be directed by John Sullivan and produced by Gerald Molen, who won an Academy Award for his work on Schindler’s List. The duo worked together on 2016, as well. READ FULL STORY

Iran threatening 'Argo' with lawsuit

Iran is planning to sue Hollywood over the Oscar-winning Argo because of the movie’s allegedly “unrealistic portrayal” of the country, Iranian media reported Tuesday.

Several news outlets, including the pro-reform Shargh daily, said French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre is in Iran for talks with officials over how and where to file the lawsuit. She is also the lawyer for notorious Venezuelan-born terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as Carlos the Jackal.

Following the 1979 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days, but six embassy staffers were sheltered by the Canadian ambassador. Their escape, using a fake movie as a cover story, is recounted in Argo.

After its Oscar win in February, Iranian officials dismissed Argo as pro-CIA, anti-Iran propaganda. READ FULL STORY

Michelle Obama not shocked by criticism of her Oscar cameo

Michelle Obama says it was “absolutely not surprising” to her that her satellite appearance at the Academy Awards ceremony provoked a national conversation about whether it was appropriate, after some conservative critics accused her of selfishly crashing the event in an attempt to upstage it.

She attributed the chatter to a culture shift that has spawned legions of bloggers, tweeters, and others who talk about anything and everything all the time.

“Shoot, my bangs set off a national conversation. My shoes can set off a national conversation. That’s just sort of where we are. We’ve got a lot of talking going on,” the first lady said only somewhat jokingly Thursday before an appearance in Chicago, her hometown. “It’s like everybody’s kitchen-table conversation is now accessible to everybody else so there’s a national conversation about anything.” READ FULL STORY

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