China Pique Spurs 'Red Dawn' Tweak; Palin-Sheen Poll a Leftist Ploy

Tuesday, 22 Mar 2011 06:49 PM

By James Hirsen

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The Left Coast: A Political Look at Hollywood

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Conservative Producer: Industry Bias Buried 'The Kennedys'
2. Sarah Palin Attacked Through Nonsense Poll
3. Michael Moore Slams Obama Over Libya
4. Valerie Plame to Write Fiction (Again)
5. 'Red Dawn' Tweaked to Please China
 

1. Conservative Producer: Industry Bias Buried 'The Kennedys'

Joel Surnow, one of the rare openly conservative producers in Hollywood, recently saw his docudrama series, "The Kennedys," canceled by the History Channel.

Given the subject matter, Surnow told Entertainment Weekly, he was aware that if it became known that a conservative was involved in the production "it might be a problem down the line for someone."

"It didn't escape me that could be an issue," added Surnow, who is best known for the hit TV series "24." Still, the producer was adamant that the series "was never a political show. This was never about anything other than telling a family story."

According to Surnow, History employed an in-house historian, Steve Gillan, to examine the script at every step of the production. The cable network brought in a second historian, Robert Dallek, who has written books on the Kennedys, ensuring that the project was historically accurate.

Surnow revealed, "If anyone has known my work for the last 25, 30 years, I'm not agenda-ized, I'm not even a political writer. I'm an agnostic filmmaker. I'm an agnostic writer. I go where the story is. It really felt like discrimination to me at the end of the day."

Despite reports that Caroline Kennedy was instrumental in spiking the show, Surnow doesn't blame the Kennedy family. The producer instead cites "people at the highest corporate levels."

"It's when the people who are inside our business, the ones making decisions who bend to that and cave to that, even when there is nothing valid about the objections being leveled against us, you have to start thinking about discrimination and censorship," the producer said.

A&E TV Networks, the company that owns History, claimed that the miniseries was "not a fit for the History brand."


2. Sarah Palin Attacked Through Nonsense Poll

The obsession with Sarah Palin continues in the hate-filled offices of mainstream media outlets.

Under the guise of a supposed survey, Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling asked about a presidential match-up between Palin and actor-spectacle Charlie Sheen.

The poll touted findings that independent voters preferred Sheen over Palin, 41 percent to 36 percent, while President Barack Obama topped Sheen among the same group, 57 percent to 22 percent.

The polling group reported that Sheen was "one of the most unpopular figures we've ever polled," yet he still beat Sarah. The mainstream media picked up the meaningless drivel as if it were news that a tabloid headline-making sitcom star would beat a potential GOP candidate.

What went underreported by the hacks: The same poll showed Republican voters would rather have Charlie Sheen run the country than the current occupant of the White House.


3. Michael Moore Slams Obama Over Libya

In a move that may have others in Hollywood following his lead, Michael Moore laid into President Obama for the current military action in Libya.

The documentary maker used his Twitter account to lob a series of critiques at the Obama administration's policy.

It would be unusual if all of the Hollywood critics of President Bush's Iraq war effort stayed on the sidelines after Obama, while on vacation in another country, launched 110 Tomahawk missiles at military targets in Libya.

Among Moore's tweets:

• "It's only cause we're defending the Libyan people from a tyrant! That's why we bombed the Saudis last wk! Hahaha. Pentagon=comedy"

• "And we always follow the French's lead! Next thing you know, we'll have free health care & free college! Yay war!"

• "We've had a "no-fly zone" over Afghanistan for over 9 yrs. How's that going? #WINNING!"

• "Khadaffy must've planned 9/11! #excuses"

• "Khadaffy must've had WMD! #excusesthatwork"

• "Khadaffy must've threatened to kill somebody's daddy! #daddywantedjeb"

In his tweet screed, Moore even recommended that Obama give back his 2009 accolade, the one you may recall that was awarded to him for his potential as opposed to anything he had actually accomplished.

"May I suggest a 50-mile evacuation zone around Obama's Nobel Peace Prize? #returnspolicy," Moore posted.


4. Valerie Plame to Write Fiction (Again)

Valerie Plame continues to get patted on the back for her part in the media attack on former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Hollywood feted the alleged victim's tedious and factually challenged book, "Fair Game," with a big-screen adaptation starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts. The production cost around $22 million and so far has only taken in $9.5 million, which officially makes it a bomb.

Still, Plame has just snagged a book deal with Penguin. She's been enlisted to write fiction; someone at the publishing company must have recognized her expertise.

Plame is purportedly creating her own female secret agent, Vanessa Pearson, as the main character in a series of suspense novels.

Plame's husband, Joe Wilson, who has also demonstrated that he's adept at writing fiction, will not be participating. Instead Plame will have the assistance of a best-selling mystery writer, Sarah Lovett.


5. 'Red Dawn' Tweaked to Please China

China routinely stifles dissent, imposes censorship, and engages in human rights violations. But despite the oppressive environment and hardship created by their government, the Chinese people have somehow managed to develop a healthy appetite for Western cinema, and the Chinese market is a huge one.

Hollywood, being the big biz that it is, must always be concerned with maximizing profits for its products. Consequently, one Hollywood studio has seen fit to significantly alter its remake of the Cold War cult classic, "Red Dawn." The changes were made out of concern for the sensibilities of the Chinese government, which ultimately decides whether or not a movie makes it in onto Chinese screens.

In the 1984 "Red Dawn" original, the villains happened to be Russian. For the remake, the script tagged them as Chinese.

That's not good for the Chinese market.

After the film had already been shot, MGM, mindful that distribution prospects in China could be detrimentally impacted, went about making a change to the ethnicity of the villains once again.

Through the magic of digital technology, the dastardly ones were converted into North Koreans. The studio was able to tweak the footage during post-production at a reported cost of less than $1 million.

It wasn't really a difficult decision for the Hollywood executives since North Korea doesn't provide Hollywood with significant economic opportunity.

The original movie starred the late Patrick Swayze, his iconic movie dance partner Jennifer Grey and, believe it or not, Charlie Sheen. All played U.S. teens fighting invading Soviets.

Back in 2009, the decision came down to make the new "Red Dawn" bad guys Chinese. Since then, the international film market has changed dramatically: The Chinese market has grown to approximately $1.5 billion a year, and it's one of the fastest growing movie markets in the world.

The Chinese government already sent a message when it disallowed the distribution of "The Dark Knight" because a villain in the flick was Chinese.

Pursuant to a recent World Trade Organization ruling, the Chi-coms are initiating a policy of allowing more foreign films into the country, and in the future, MGM would no doubt be pleased as punch to distribute franchise films such as the "James Bond" series.

Interestingly, writers are concerned that world leaders and PC police alike are whittling away at their choices of villainous characters.

Guess soon they'll only be picking villains from countries that have bad box-office numbers.

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