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Michael Moore Sharpens the HMO Knives

Tuesday, 02 August 2005 12:00 AM

A Political Look at Hollywood

Studios Line Up for Mel Gibson's Next Epic

When Mel Gibson shopped the idea for his "The Passion of the Christ" film, the Hollywood elite gave him the cold shoulder.

He ultimately financed the movie himself. 

When production was complete and Gibson was seeking distribution, the studios showed no interest.

Undeterred, Gibson worked out an independent deal.

This time around, when Gibson offered the domestic distribution for his upcoming film to the major movie studios, his production company got an enthusiastic response.

What a difference a blockbuster makes.

The Walt Disney Co. has confirmed that its studio won the bidding to distribute and market the Gibson film domestically.

Sources close to Icon tell me that the "studios were standing in line" to make a deal on the flick.

And Daily Variety reports that at least three other studios were interested in the film before Disney inked the deal.

The movie is called "Apocalypto," a Greek word meaning an unveiling or new beginning.

The writing, directing and producing credits will go to Gibson, but he currently has no plans to star in the movie.

Characters in the film will speak a Mayan dialect, and the cast will include Maya local to the region of Mexico where shooting will begin this fall.

Because Gibson is providing the financing for "Apocalypto," in the Hollywood trades his arrangement with Disney is being compared with George Lucas' production deals.

The Left Coast Report doesn't think the Lucas comparison is accurate, since Gibson doesn't limit himself to sequels of past hits. If he did, we might be seeing "The Passion - Episode III, The Empire Strikes Back."

Jane Fonda's Greenie Anti-War Bus

Jane Fonda claims that war veterans she met on her nationwide book-signing tour have motivated her to speak out on the Iraq war.

Fonda will begin an anti-war tour, which will kick off in March and travel via bus. 
"I've decided I'm coming out," Fonda said. "I have not taken a stand on any war since Vietnam. I carry a lot of baggage from that."

About the tour, she said, "I can't go into any detail except to say that it's going to be pretty exciting."

This is, of course, the same "concerned" citizen who in the 1970s headed over to Hanoi, played into the hands of the communists and accused POWs of committing war crimes.

With concern this time for the environment as well as tanks, Fonda assures everyone that the bus will not waste gasoline.

The anti-war touring vehicle will be powered by vegetable oil.

The Left Coast Report hears that for the leftover fuel Martha Stewart suggests a spring salad mix with a sprinkling of lemon vinaigrette.

Michael Moore Sharpens the HMO Knives

Looks like Michael Moore is already engaged in press manipulation for his next flick.

The schlock-umentary maker babbled on about his upcoming movie to reporters at his first Traverse City Film Festival.

Moore told the press that he has the HMOs panic-stricken over his proposed documentary titled "Sicko."

He admitted that he hasn't shot any scenes yet but seemed to take delight in a belief that he may have HMOs shaking in their scrubs.

"At this point we haven't shot anything yet and they're [the HMOs] totally discombobulated," Moore snickered.

Meanwhile a counter-festival called the Traverse Bay Freedom FilmFest, put on by conservatives, was held in the same town as Moore's at a place called the Horizon Cinema.

Co-founded by Genie Aldrich and Cheryl Felicia Rhoads, the counter-event featured films that included Steve Bannon's much-heralded "In the Face of Evil."

Actress Morgan Brittany, who starred in the popular TV series "Dallas," made an appearance as well.

The Left Coast Report hopes that for his sake, should Moore ever need medical treatment, the doctors and nurses are members of MoveOn.org.

Kelly Preston Enters Cruise-Shields Fray

While out promoting her new movie, "Sky High," Kelly Preston defended fellow Scientologist and "Jerry Maguire" co-star Tom Cruise.

Preston also gave a verbal critique of Brooke Shields' situation.
After Cruise criticized Shields for writing a book about surviving postpartum depression with psychiatric drug assistance, a war of words between the two celebs erupted.

Enter Mrs. John Travolta.

"I have had, as you know, two babies, and I do believe that there are ways to handle it," Preston said.

When asked whether she had ever had postpartum problems, Preston replied, "The one thing that's very interesting is that you have [Shields'] doctor saying that ‘her hormones were very elevated, so I gave her an antidepressant.' That makes no sense. Why don't you help her with what's actually going on? Her hormones are out of whack. There are so many different things that you can do for that."

The Left Coast Report believes Preston tops Tom in the hormone credibility department.

Bible Thumping, NBC-style

NBC has plans for a show called "The Book of Daniel."

Before you start thinking that NBC has stumbled upon the Good Book, let me tell you that the main character is a pill-popping Episcopalian priest.

This man of the collar regularly talks with a youthful, hip version of Jesus Christ. Also featured on the show is a gay Republican character in the form of the priest's son.

Aidan Quinn plays Rev. Daniel Webster, whose family has its share of Hollywood-type drama-laden problems. Wife Judith chugs martinis. Daughter Grace deals drugs. And son Peter is a Log Cabin Republican.

The Vicodin-addicted priest routinely tangles with his female bishop, played by Oscar winner Ellyn Burstyn.

Writer for the show Jack Kenny is himself openly gay. "I pull from my own life, but I don't have a gay agenda. Peter is not me, to use an example," Kenny told the New Jersey Star Ledger.

"He's a conservative, middle-of-the-road Republican gay man, and that's not me," he added.

Execs at the peacock network apparently passed on the show for the fall lineup but have given the green light for its use as a mid-season replacement.

The Left Coast Report suspects that with the volatility of programming these days, the new series will likely show up as a sub-in before year's end.


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THE LEFT COAST REPORT A Political Look at HollywoodStudios Line Up for Mel Gibson's Next EpicWhen Mel Gibson shopped the idea for his "The Passion of the Christ" film, the Hollywood elite gave him the cold shoulder.He ultimately financed the movie himself.  When...
Tuesday, 02 August 2005 12:00 AM
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