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The Cindy Sheehan Play

Tuesday, 13 December 2005 12:00 AM

A Political Look at Hollywood

Cindy Sheehan is the subject of a new play by Nobel laureate Dario Fo.

Fo is a left-wing playwright who won the 1997 Nobel Prize for Literature.

The annoying title of Fo's play is "Peace Mom."

The Peace Mom herself was in the audience at a recent London premiere.

Based on Sheehan's writings and letters to President Bush, the one-woman show was performed beneath some pictures that included a tank in the Iraqi desert and photos of Sheehan's son.

Apparently, the play was rushed into production to coincide with the end of a one-day anti-war conference.

Fo's wife and artistic partner, Franca Rame, stars in the play and will reportedly also star in a longer version of the production that's set to open in Italy.

"Frances did such an amazing job of conveying my feelings of anger and betrayal," Sheehan told Reuters through her tears.

Sheehan said she hoped the play would help "put a human face" on the war.

Could a Sheehan movie be far behind?

The Left Coast Report suggests that if they do make a Sheehan movie perhaps Dame Edith would agree to play Cindy.

Miramax's old partner Disney made its mark with an amusement park.

Universal followed in the mouse's footsteps with a studio-themed attraction of its own.

Now there's word that Harvey Weinstein of "Kill Bill," "Sin City" and "Fahrenheit 9/11" fame, among other flicks, wants in on the amusement park biz.

The New York Post issued an admonition in its Page Six report. "Hide Your Children," the opening line read.

A spokeswoman for the Weinstein Company asked, "Can you imagine how amazing a roller coaster would be if Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez collaborated on its design?"

Such a "Sin City" ride would most likely have to be "R" rated, the duo having been involved in the creation of the degrading film.

Weinstein may be dead serious about the Disney-like idea. Word has it that he recently did lunch with chairman of Six Flags Dan Snyder, Goldman Sachs' Joe Ravitch and former ESPN exec Mark Shapiro.

Included in the Weinstein Company's latest releases are such non-theme park flicks as "Mrs. Henderson Presents," a movie about an English widower who operates a nude revue on the West End during World War II; "Transamerica," the story of a would-be transsexual who discovers that he fathered a child out of wedlock; and "The Libertine," a film about the Earl of Rochester who drank his way to an early grave and whose movie tagline is "He didn't resist temptation. He pursued it."

The Left Coast Report can't picture moms and dads being all that enthusiastic about taking the tykes to the "Pulp Fiction" bungee ride, "The Cider House Rules" carousel or the "Bad Santa" sleigh ride.

Unsettling stories abound about how expressions of Christmas cheer are being met with complaints, bans and lawsuits.

But a story out of Cranston, Rhode Island, shows that some Christmas decorations may indeed need to be dumped.

Joe Moretti, a 38-year-old designer who was arrested last year for trespassing on Martha Stewart's property in Maine, has decided that the spirit of Christmas is best depicted with amplified images of Paris Hilton.

Amid the strings of pink Christmas lights that garnish the front lawn of Moretti's middle-class neighborhood home are huge stills of the hotel heiress posing provocatively for passing motorists.

For animal lovers Moretti has even included a portrait of Hilton's pet Chihuahua, Tinkerbell.

The Left Coast Report guesses that if objections are launched at Moretti's decorations, the ACLU will probably sue to protect his right to display the underdressed heiress; that is, unless she happens to be wearing a cross.

Remember at last year's Academy Awards how Chris Rock told filmmakers that when casting their movies they ought to wait for bigger names?

"You want Tom Cruise and all you can get is Jude Law? Wait!" Rock ranted.

"You want Russell Crowe and all you can get is Colin Farrell? Wait!" Rock bellowed.

"You want Denzel [Washington] and all you can get is me? Wait!" Rock insisted.

Well, apparently the Academy is taking his advice and is waiting for someone other than Rock to host next year's Oscars.

"He is not hosting the Academy Awards," the comedian's publicist Matt Labov wrote in an e-mailed statement.

The word on the street is that Rock's hosting didn't sit well with some of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Academy Awards producer Gil Cates is expected to announce his host selection in the next few weeks.

Rumored to be in the running are late-night personalities Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien and former Oscar emcees Steve Martin and Whoopi Goldberg.

David Geffen is no stranger to the art of the deal.

On his way to becoming a billionaire the former talent agent and music producer formed Asylum Records, a company he sold to Warner Communications in 1972 for $7 million, and Geffen Records, another company that in 1990 he sold to MCA for $1 billion. Not bad for a guy who never graduated from college.

In 1994 Jeffrey Katzenberg started a company with Geffen and Steven Spielberg after then-CEO Michael Eisner picked someone else to be Disney's president.

Now it looks as if Geffen has scored another sale. Viacom/Paramount has reportedly made a deal to pay $1.6 billion to acquire the trio's film company, DreamWorks SKG. But there's more to the story than meets the eye.

The sale was expected by Hollywood. The buyer, on the other hand, was not.

The conventional wisdom was that DreamWorks was going to be bought by NBC Universal (owned by General Electric). The two companies had been talking about making a deal for a while.

Enter Paramount, the film division of Viacom.

Viacom/Paramount was looking at making an offer for DreamWorks a couple of months ago but Viacom's board nixed the idea due to its plans to split in two. (Viacom reportedly plans to split into two entities by year's end. Viacom and Paramount will apparently stay in one company and the CBS television network and Infinity Broadcasting in the other.)

Up until recently NBC Universal was in the catbird seat as the only bidder to acquire DreamWorks. But a seasoned dealmaker like Geffen would need another player.

NBC Universal had given Geffen a little gift when it altered a portion of its overseas distribution. A provision in the distribution contract allowed for DreamWorks to escape the agreement the next time it expired (2006).

Geffen would be able to pack some leverage into a potential DreamWorks transaction by letting it be known that Universal's distribution arrangement would be over at its expiration.

Geffen had indicated that he wasn't happy with what he perceived as a slow pedantic negotiation style of executives at Universal's parent General Electric. In the talks to buy DreamWorks, Universal tried lowering Geffen's asking price from $1.5 billion to $1.4 billion.  But Paramount came back to the bargaining table with an offer at a higher price. And this time the purchase appealed to the Viacom board since private investors would share the risk of the acquisition.

Deal watchers assumed that the Viacom/Paramount offer was a ploy to induce Universal to up the ante. But for Paramount, the move was necessary to increase its production slate. (DreamWorks has nine films ready for release in 2006.) The studio would also acquire a library of about 60 films as well as a certain renowned director by the name of Steven Spielberg.

Geffen took the new bid from Viacom/Paramount and did what sellers often do: Play the offers against each other. He purportedly gave Universal a last chance to meet or beat the Viacom/Paramount price.

Apparently, Universal didn't bite.

Instead it seems that the Viacom/Paramount deal was sealed for $1.6 billion at a meeting where Geffen and Spielberg sat down with Viacom CEO Tom Freston and Paramount chairman Brad Grey.

Grey, like Geffen, is a former talent agent. Grey was a manager for Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt, while Geffen managed to bring Bob Dylan to his record company.

The Left Coast Report says it looks like their prior vocational training came in handy at just the right merger moment.


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THE LEFT COAST REPORTA Political Look at Hollywood Cindy Sheehan is the subject of a new play by Nobel laureate Dario Fo. Fo is a left-wing playwright who won the 1997 Nobel Prize for Literature. The annoying title of Fo's play is "Peace Mom." The Peace Mom herself...
Tuesday, 13 December 2005 12:00 AM
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