October 03, 2005

Leading Man

Hollywood Quote of the Day:

"...I'm really lucky. Most people don't get to do what I do, and they certainly don't get movies that I'm trying to get made made. And you know, they'll take that away from me pretty soon. You only get it for a little bit. So when you do it, you might as well do it and get in some trouble."
- George Clooney, in a great interview at Salon.com

Remember what I said recently, about making movies that matter? Well, a few years back (God, have I really been writing on this blog for THAT long?!?!?), I posted an interview about the film Solaris, starring Clooney, directed by Steven Soderbergh, and produced by Soderbergh & the "King of the World" himself, James Cameron, under the banner of Clooney & Soderbergh's production company, Section Eight. Clooney & Soderbergh founded Section Eight with an eye to produce quality projects, the likes of which you'd probably only find among independent films, but, in this case, with studio money & the security of a studio environment.

Now, while they haven't made much money doing it (Ocean's 12 & 11 were their only big hits), they have managed to make some extremely interesting projects, including:
The talk is that they intend to dissolve the company soon, but, they're definitely going out with a creative bang.

The first project, "Good Night and Good Luck", is Clooney's sophomore effort in the director's chair and details CBS News legend Edward R. Morrow (played by David Straithairn) kamikaze attack on Joe McCarthy & the Blacklist era. Morrow eventually helped McCarthy crash, but largely at the cost of his own career. In light of the mainstream press's recent appetite for speaking a tiny bit of truth to power, it couldn't be more timely.

The other, "Syriana", stars Clooney as real life CIA agent Robert Baer, and his account of the agency's 10 year war against Islamic extremists in the face of government inertia & oil industry resistence.

Both films are coproduced with a company called Participant Productions
, which ties socially conscious, activist marketing campaigns to the films.

For "Good Night", they've created "Report It Now", a site that encourages the audience to go out and actually shoot their own news reports on issues that each individual thinks is important and hasn't gotten enough attention. Then, like the old Farmclub.com website, on a regular basis, people will vote on the one they think is the best while giving these neglected issues a voice.

And, for "Syriana", they've sponsored the even more ambitious project called, simply "Oil Change", which continues to draw the link between oil & national security and is intended to promote the means by which we can ween ourselves off of foreign oil.

All and all, not bad. Billy Friedkin said "a movie can change a life". I think these guys have significantly upped the ante on these films. Check them out.
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