Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Paul Haggis and George Bush

Is Paul Haggis intent on becoming the next Michael Moore? Unfortunately, it certainly appears so.

Where Haggis once had his Hilary, he just might now have his Hillary. And just as Moore took on George W. Bush for the war on terror, Haggis is set to travel down this same tired path.

According to my favorite daily newspaper, The Hollywood Reporter, Haggis is in final negotiations to direct and produce "Against All Enemies" for Columbia Pictures.

To quote THR, “Based on Richard A. Clarke's best-selling memoir, "Enemies" chronicles how the Bush administration handled the al-Qaida threat before and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Clarke, a former U.S. terrorism czar, offers the ultimate insider's account into the nation's security apparatus, featuring a cast of power brokers that includes President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and Clarke.”

So why does this news leave me at least a little bit queasy? First of all, because Haggis is a heavy-handed director who enjoys preaching much more than entertaining. He almost managed to drain the life out of "Million Dollar Baby," based on a short story by the great boxing writer F.X.Toole, and he managed to render "Crash" unwatchable.

Second, when has Hollywood ever had a positive impact on a presidential election? Michael Moore couldn't do it in 2004, and Warren Beatty certainly couldn't do it when he tried to foist George McGovern on the world. Ironically, the only president truly driven to the White House through Hollywood was Ronald Reagan, a man most of these high-minded cineastes reviled.

About the only fun in this is speculating who might get to play the power players. Timothy Bottoms of "The Last Picture Show" would make a great Bush, as he already did on the short-lived but very funny Comedy Central show "That's My Bush."

Sam Neill would do fine as the crusading Clarke, but even more fun would be seeing Paul Giamatti transform himself into Dick Cheney or maybe Thandie Newton minxing things up as Condy Rice.

You see, if you try hard enough, you can find a silver lining in anything.


chutry said...

I'd love to see Brian Cox (25th Hour, The Ring) as Richard Clarke, but yeah, I've been consistenetly disappointed by Haggis, so not sure how I feel about this one.

And to be honest, I don't think Hollywood matters either way.


Reel Fanatic said...

Good point ... I love Brian Cox, and would love to see him get regular work in movies much better than "The Ringer"