Susan Sarandon Dubious on The Donald; Theaters Ban Jesus

Tuesday, 05 Apr 2011 07:13 PM

By James Hirsen

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The Left Coast Report: A Political Look at Hollywood

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Susan Sarandon Dubious About The Donald
2. ‘Kennedys’ Actor Utters ‘Bad Word’: Conservative
3. David Schwimmer: Online Imagery Erodes Innocence
4. Rutgers Pays Snooki $32K to Air Her Views
5. Easter Ad Banned for Use of ‘Jesus’
 

1. Susan Sarandon Dubious About The Donald

Donald Trump has sucked the media air away from many of the other GOP presidential hopefuls, giving a series of interviews in which he refreshingly talked about subjects that even hardcore conservatives have been reluctant to mention. Most notably, the real estate mogul seems undaunted by the prospect of being labeled a “birther.”

Trump’s possible 2012 candidacy has even caught the attention of Susan Sarandon. The actress dismisses the recent spate of political talk by the host of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” as a publicity stunt.

“He’s just trying to get attention,” Sarandon told New York Magazine, while attending the opening night of the new Robin Williams play, “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.”

As for Trump’s skepticism about President Obama’s sub-par birth documentation, Sarandon said, “I don’t think he could possibly believe that. No, he’s too smart to actually believe that; I think he’s just fooling with you.”

Trump will be able to discuss the “birther” issue or anything else that’s on his mind, since he has landed a regular weekly gig on Fox News Channel’s morning show, “Fox & Friends.”

A recent Fox promo trumpeted the Trump slot with an announcement that “The Donald now makes his voice loud and clear every Monday on Fox.”

Ironically, The Donald is getting airtime just as Fox News cut loose former contributors Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum because of their budding presidential candidacies.


2. ‘Kennedys’ Actor Utters ‘Bad Word’: Conservative

Promoting the recent premiere of “The Kennedys,” the actor who plays Bobby Kennedy in the series shared his thoughts on how Hollywood looks at conservatives in the industry.

Barry Pepper, who also appeared in the hit Western, “True Grit,” told Entertainment Weekly that after studying the 500-page “Kennedys” script, he was impressed by the project’s expert research. He also revealed that the whole cast pored over books, listened to audio and put in “painstaking effort” to “source the truth.”

“We were deeply concerned about accuracy, and respect for the family,” Pepper said of the project from “24” producer Joel Surnow, who is open about his conservative ideology.

“The Kennedys” series was unceremoniously dropped by the History Channel, but it ultimately premiered successfully on ReelzChannel, scoring 1.9 million viewers for the debut installment.

The miniseries stars Greg Kinnear as President John F. Kennedy, with Katie Holmes as First Lady Jackie.

Asked about the controversy over producer Joel Surnow’s political convictions, Pepper answered with an understatement: “I think for some reason being conservative has become a bad word in Hollywood.”

If Charlton Heston were here to comment, he’d likely take issue with Pepper’s implication that it’s a new phenomenon.


3. David Schwimmer: Online Imagery Erodes Innocence

Now that David Schwimmer is about to become a parent — the former “Friends” star and wife Zoe Buckman are expecting — he appears to be taking a new look at modern media, and doesn’t much like what he sees.

The actor-director is stunned at how easy it is for kids to get access to “some kind of pornography online.”

“When I was 13 it was a real challenge to get your hands on Playboy,” he told the FOX411 website. “But today unfortunately most kids before the age of 13 have seen pornography online and not just a still image — moving pictures.

“If you're a 9- or 10-year-old, and your first encounter with sexuality is some kind of pornography online, than that's definitely a loss of innocence,” Schwimmer added.

He also expressed his dismay at the imagery of commercial advertising. “There used to be a big uproar about Brooke Shields in her jeans 15, 20 years ago, but now people take it for granted.”

Schwimmer reflects more deeply about the ramifications of the all too accessible sexually themed images that exploit our young people.

“I find it pretty disturbing to see a huge billboard in New York,” he said. “You see a young girl that looks 15 maybe, although you can't tell. You're like, ‘Wait a minute she's in her underwear on the floor of a dirty hotel room or something.’ But you just drive by and you're used to it. I think it's a problem.”


4. Rutgers Pays Snooki $32K to Air Her Views

In yet another sign that the reality show culture has infiltrated the far corners of our American institutions, Rutgers University spent about $32,000 to bring “Jersey Shore” star Snooki, a.k.a. Nicole Polizzi, to the campus.

The university is now fielding criticism, first for providing a speaking opportunity to someone with questionable credentials, and secondly for paying the “famous for being famous” celeb such an inflated speaking fee.

Complicating any effort to defend the Snooki snafu is the fact that the reality star was paid $2,000 more than Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winning author Toni Morrison, who is speaking at the university’s graduation ceremony in May.

Parents of Rutgers students may be questioning the huge tuition payments they are shelling out.

More than 1,000 people reportedly turned out to hear the “Jersey Shore” cast member. Some of them probably skipped class just to hear some spray-on tanning advice.


5. Easter Ad Banned for Use of ‘Jesus’

It seems as though each year, just in time for the Easter season, mainstream media sources decide to feature content that questions whether Jesus Christ rose from the dead and if he actually ever lived at all.

A church in Orange County, Calif., is trying to counter the secular media spin this season with a novel advertising approach. The Compass Bible Church created an ad to be shown in movie theaters prior to the feature film.

At a time when theaters routinely show previews of films with images of sex, violence, and drugs, one would think that a church ad for an Easter service might be a welcome change.

This type of advertising is typically sandwiched between previews and has been proven to be quite effective. The church’s spot was seeking to bring nonbelievers to the Aliso Viejo congregation's annual Easter service at the University of California, Irvine.

The 30-second ad features one-liners about what some conspiracy theorists believe may have happened to Jesus Christ more than 2,000 years ago. The ad closes with the line: “Find out what we believe about the resurrection at Compass Bible Church.”

Surprisingly, Pastor Mike Fabarez received a rejection from NCM Media Networks, a firm that handles pre-show advertising displayed on many Southern California theater screens.

What was the reason given for the rebuff? It wasn’t conspiracy theories or the church invite that caused the firm to ban the ad. No, it was the fact that the ad includes the name “Jesus.”

NCM Media released a statement claiming that the ad was rejected because Compass Bible Church chose not to revise it so it would conform to content guidelines.

The firm maintains that it gave to Fabarez guidelines that disallowed nudity, drug use and the promotion of religious figures.

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