By James Hirsen, Special for USDR
With the multitude of scandals that are swirling around the current administration, one might think that Hollywood would pick out an incident or two of intrigue to document.
No such cinematic integrity is yet being demonstrated. Instead it looks as though two major Hollywood-based artists are moving forward with film oriented material that more closely aligns with their unyielding ideologies.
There are only a few individuals in the entertainment business who can guarantee that a proposed movie project will be greenlighted. George Clooney happens to be one of them. The producer-director-actor recently chose a new project that is sure to delight partisan liberals in Hollywood and elsewhere. The “Good Night, and Good Luck” and “Syriana” star is reportedly gearing up to direct a movie based on the book “Hack Attack: The Inside Story of How the Truth Caught Up With Rupert Murdoch,” penned by Guardian investigative journalist Nick Davies.
“Hack Attack” is not easy source material. The book is a somewhat tedious 400-page accounting of Davies’s circuitous pursuit of the facts in the phone-hacking scandal at News of the World, a tabloid that was under Murdoch’s corporate umbrella.
The book covers the events involving private investigators who illegally hacked the voicemails of politicians, celebrities, royalty, and other newsworthy individuals. The excessive tabloid journalism that has been part and parcel of the British media is an integral part of the tale.
Davies’s recap regarding the content of numerous phone calls, the publishing of hacked material, and the stonewalling by government officials may make for a good non-fiction tome or New York Times multi-part article, but it does not necessarily translate into movie-sized compelling drama, the likes of which filmmakers typically seek.
The book does, however, have two components that seem to be drawing Clooney like a moth to a flame. First, it is a serious subject that is based on a true story, a formula that usually generates major interest among Academy Awards members. Second, and more importantly, it is yet another chance to deride conservatives, all while feigning to be merely providing entertainment product. This, incidentally, also happens to be a formula for garnering the attention of Academy voters. Production on Clooney’s latest Oscar-chasing vehicle is set to begin next year.
Robert Redford is another legendary name that when attached to a venture helps the project to secure financial backing, obtain distribution, and ultimately see its release materialize. The producer of “Lions for Lambs” and the executive producer of “The Motorcycle Diaries” and “Chicagoland” television mini-series documentary has chosen yet another mega-partisan project.
“Truth” is a film that will purportedly chronicle the “Rathergate” controversy, a scandal associated with Dan Rather that eventually ended the longtime career of the liberal CBS news anchor.
Screenwriter James Vanderbilt, who penned “White House Down,” “The Amazing Spider-Man,” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” is reportedly writing the script for the upcoming “Truth” movie. Redford is slotted to portray Rather, with Cate Blanchett playing the anchor’s producer, Mary Mapes.
One of the glaring issues with the project is the source material. “Truth” will be an adaptation of Mapes’s 2005 memoir titled “Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power.” The book is an unabashed attempt by Mapes to revise the factual record of the “Rathergate” incident that took place in September of 2004, when Rather used forged documents in a report that claimed President George W. Bush had received special treatment while serving in the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.
In the book, Mapes creates an imaginary past in which the counterfeit documents that Rather actually used in his news report are somehow “transformed,” curiously becoming legitimate ones. Mapes proceeds to attack right-wing bloggers for having hoodwinked the mainstream media into reporting that the memos Rather used were authentic.
Little Green Footballs, one of the blogs Mapes rails against in her book, had retyped the contents of the CBS memos into Microsoft Word, resulting in a matching document. After an internal investigation, Mapes was relieved of her position, but she and Rather continue to this day to insist that the reporting was sound.
It turns out that, based on the typography of the times, the documents that Rather presented in his report could not have been generated during the time period that the CBS segment had cited.
CBS News President Andrew Heyward conceded at the time, “Based on what we now know, CBS News cannot prove that the documents are authentic, which is the only acceptable journalistic standard to justify using them in the report. We should not have used them. That was a mistake, which we deeply regret.”
Still, liberals in Hollywood are famous for giving the rewriting of history a theatrical assist. In a July 2014 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Rather indicated that he was “cautiously optimistic” about the upcoming “Truth” film and said, “Although I have no illusions, not everybody is going to like the idea that a film is being made. And not everybody is going to like the film, however it turns out.”
Vanderbuilt’s production company, the entity that is developing the script for the “Truth” film, has a suitable name that seems also to be a pretty good summation of what the public should expect to see when the film hits the screen—Mythology Entertainment.