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Will Smith: 'Barack Obama Stole My Idea'

James Hirsen By Tuesday, 11 December 2007 05:14 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Disappointing 'Golden Compass' Opening
2. Dennis Kucinich Snags Sean Penn 'Endorsement'
3. Will Smith: 'Barack Obama Stole My Idea'
4. Mel Gibson to Create Costa Rican Film Company
5. Oprah and Obama Draw 30,000

1. Disappointing 'Golden Compass' Opening

"The Golden Compass"'s opening turned out to be not so golden.

New Line Cinema's $180 million movie starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig brought in a measly $26.1 million for its opening weekend.

The execs of New Line were hoping to make avowed atheist Philip Pullman's children's trilogy, called "His Dark Materials," another "Lord of the Rings."

The primary theme of Pullman's books is the attempt by protagonists to murder God, something that New Line sought to downplay in the film.

But the antacid pills were likely flying on Friday when the news came down that the flick only brought in about $8.8 million.

Metropolitan critics didn't help New Line but instead were surprisingly negative on the movie.

Things won't be getting any easier for "Compass" in the coming weeks either.

The film will have to contend with competition from Will Smith's sci-fi movie "I Am Legend," Nick Cage's sequel "National Treasure: Book of Secrets," and Johnny Depp's musical creep show "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street."

New Line is the same studio that brought the anti-war screed "Rendition" to the theaters.

When is mainstream Hollywood going to learn that insulting customers isn't good for business?

2. Dennis Kucinich Snags Sean Penn 'Endorsement'

While giving a speech at San Francisco State University, actor, activist, and part-time journalist Sean Penn let the crowd know that he was not endorsing a candidate for president.

He then proceeded to endorse Democratic presidential candidate and UFO gazer Dennis Kucinich . . . kind of.

"We've got Iowa coming up; New Hampshire on it's a**," Penn exclaimed. "Do we sell out for electability?"

Standing in front of a "Kucinich for President" banner, Penn shared with the crowd his thoughts on endorsements.

"I'm not going to tell you who to vote for," he said, but then exhorted folks to "educate themselves on the Kucinich platform."

He described Kucinich as "the dominant voice of integrity." And "the one endlessly determined voice of peace." And "the most deserving and noble of candidates." And the most experienced in issues of policy." And the one who is "the least willing to play into the politics of personal power."

During his non-endorsement, Penn also spoke of the superficiality reflected in campaign commentary and coverage, although the Kucinich campaign may not have been all that happy with Penn's line of questioning.

"Is he too short? Does his haircut not appeal? Does he not appeal to the cult of personality?" Penn asked.

And he rhetorically added, "What if the answer is yes?"

3. Will Smith: 'Barack Obama Stole My Idea'

As I reported a while back in a previous column, Will Smith revealed a secret ambition to someday become president of the United States.

While out promoting his upcoming film "I Am Legend," Smith said in an interview with the U.K.'s Daily Mail, "I always wanted to be the first black president but Barack Obama stole my idea."

The actor even expressed some policy ideas for his campaign. He said he would start with universal healthcare and shelter, indicating that he could not "see that happening under Bush. Too many bad things have happened under his presidency."

Still, Smith distinguished himself from the Bush-hating fringe, saying, "I don't believe he is an evil man, I just think he has an unevolved perspective. It's a good thing he's served his time. Now it's time for Barack Obama."

Smith has contributed some campaign cash and appeared in a video extolling the qualities of the Illinois senator and presidential candidate, but his support of the Obama campaign has been overshadowed by daytime TV talk-show host Oprah Winfrey.

Evidently, Smith has no animus for Obama for attempting to take the same job that he himself had aspired to.

"That's OK with me," Smith explained. "Barack can go first and then I'll take my turn."

4. Mel Gibson to Create Costa Rican Film Company

Maybe it was all that running through the Mayan rainforest that has now drawn actor-director-filmmaker Mel Gibson to Central America.

Gibson is making moves to establish a Costa Rican branch of his movie company, Icon Productions.

He recently purchased a house in Costa Rica and is meeting with the country's political leaders.

"I'm here exploring opportunities to establish my film business in Costa Rica," Gibson explained.

Conveying his fondness for the place, Gibson said, "I love it here; it's a beautiful country, very stable. I like its people a lot."

And one other thing. "They have very good coffee," Mel noted.

5. Oprah and Obama Draw 30,000

"For the first time, I'm stepping out of my pew because I've been inspired," Oprah Winfrey recently told an audience of almost 30,000 who had just given the talk show host a resounding cheer.

It sounded like a college homecoming, appropriately so because the crowd was gathered at William Bryce Football Stadium where the University of South Carolina plays its games.

Oprah's speech was consistent with the themes that she has focused on over the years on her television show.

As an NBC reporter wrote, "Oprah's message was one of personal empowerment, similar to the stories she tells on her show every day, telling the crowd that asking Obama to wait to run was the same as someone telling someone that they should wait to try and better their lives."

At one point Winfrey invoked the dream speech of Dr. Martin Luther King.

"I've been inspired to believe that a new vision is possible for America," she told the crowd. "Dr. King dreamed the dream. But we don't have to just dream the dream anymore. We get to vote that dream into reality."

The Obama campaign indicated that 18 percent of the first 8,500 people who showed up at the event wanted to become volunteers. A full 68 percent of those who obtained their tickets online had never been contacted by the campaign before.

Meanwhile a fresh MSNBC/Mason-Dixon poll put Clinton's South Carolina lead over Obama at only three points.

"I got some sense, I know the difference between a book club and this seminal moment in our history," Oprah announced.

A celebrity of Oprah's stature is able to create a seminal moment, and this is one for the history books.

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Disappointing 'Golden Compass' Opening2. Dennis Kucinich Snags Sean Penn 'Endorsement'3. Will Smith: 'Barack Obama Stole My Idea'4. Mel Gibson to Create Costa Rican Film Company5. Oprah and Obama Draw 30,000 1. Disappointing...
Tuesday, 11 December 2007 05:14 PM
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