Not everybody in Hollywood loves Hillary or thinks that "An Inconvenient Truth" is the only truth. So a growing number of Tinseltown conservatives have launched a counterattack to what they call leftist films like "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Syriana."
"There is no question that there is a movement of people who are trying to make a difference out here," said Jason Apuzzo, co-founder of Liberty Film Festival, which showcases conservative films in Los Angeles. When it comes to politics, he described the modern movie biz as "almost comically" one-sided.
"It's definitely a problem," Andrew Klavan, a novelist, screenwriter and conservative, said of the liberal bent in Hollywood. Klavan is best known for his crime novels like "Don't Say a Word," which became a 2001 movie starring Michael Douglas and Brittany Murphy.
And, although Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., raised more that $1.3 million in campaign funds over Oscar week, not everyone in Southern California is tattooing "Barack" on their ring finger. (There are plenty of Hollywood types who are just as excited about former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a probable GOP presidential candidate.)
What is new about the politics in Boomtown, according to the industry's major conservative players, is the brand of liberalism being espoused — "a new strain of liberalism that's completely intolerant of other opinions," said Klavan.
"You're safer being a child molester in some circles in Hollywood," screenwriter Cyrus Nowrasteh said about the perils of being right wing in movie business. Nowrasteh wrote the screenplay for the controversial ABC miniseries "The Path to 9/11" — "a huge thing for our movement," according to one conservative source.
"I think there are a lot of diverse points of view in Hollywood. You just don't hear them," Nowrasteh continued, sounding annoyed. "I think that most shrill voices here are usually from that side of the aisle."
That side being the left.
George Clooney is a constant target for the right because of films like "Syriana" and "Good Night and Good Luck," which conservatives say push the liberal agenda.
Clooney's production company, Smoke House, did not return calls for comment. His agent, Stan Rosenfield, also wasn't available for comment.
But clearly people are listening to the conservative lilt.
The March issue of Vanity Fair profiled the industry's newest conservative darling, Pat Dollard, the super-agent who once represented director Steven Soderbergh.
Dollard, who admittedly indulged in the Hollywood fast life (i.e. drugs), spent a year in Iraq and is making a pro-war movie called "Young Americans."
And a 7,000-plus-word opus in a recent issue of The New Yorker chronicled the right-leaning tendencies of Fox's hit show "24" and the show's creator, conservative Joel Surnow. (He's also the brains behind the Fox News Channel's fake news show, "The 1/2 Hour News Hour.")
Producer David Zucker's anti-liberal mini-ads have been viewed on YouTube.com millions of times. They lampoon former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a Democrat, and James Baker III, hardly a flaming liberal (though Baker co-chaired the Iraq Study Group, whose report was critical of the U.S. war effort in Iraq). Zucker's mass marketing prowess also brought us "Scary Movie" I through IV.
"It's really urgent that they step forward and take the shots they're going to have to take," Klavan said of mainstream conservatives in the movie industry.
Industry guys like Nowrasteh, Zucker, Dollard and Surnow are valuable to the cause because they work inside the system, Apuzzo said.
But, he added, independent filmmaking is the future for conservatives in Hollywood — a lesson they learned from "Fahrenheit 9/11," Michael Moore's controversial documentary about President Bush's handling of the terrorist attacks.
"A lot of conservatives frankly looked at that and said, 'Well, I can do that,' " Apuzzo said.
"Fahrenheit," which made more than $200 million worldwide, spurred a surge of documentary filmmaking from the right, including Apuzzo's own "Terminal Island," about a terrorist who sneaks into the country via the Los Angeles harbor and goes on to stalk a young woman.
And there's much more where that came from. Apuzzo plans to greatly expand the Liberty Film Festival, which drew an audience of nearly 4,000 in November, although he declined to say how.
"Everybody out here is kind of sick of just complaining about it," Apuzzo said. "You start to want to do something about it."
In the meantime, Hollywood conservatives say the movie establishment continues to turn an icy shoulder to those who would support the likes of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., over any of the Democratic candidates.
Often, the slights are reduced to single words. California conservatives are described as having been "outted" or "exposed."
"You go to meetings in Hollywood and it frequently happens in the first five or 10 minutes that somebody will go off on President Bush," said Klavan, before adding thoughtfully, "and a lot of times these are people on whom you depend for your livelihood."
By Helena Andrews
TM & © 2007 The Politico & Politico.com, a division of Allbritton Communications Company