June 27, 2005
Hollywood skews right
Weird piece in the Times today about the growing efforts of the political right to get their movies made in Hollywood. These filmmakers, and the article that profiles them, continue to conflate "right-wing" and "Christian." A lot of stereotypes about liberals running the media get thrown around among these guys, who say being a Christian in Hollywood is a "political liability" and make it sound like they are an embattled people who have to lurk around in the shadows of L.A. and eat lunch in unfashionable restaurants because of their persecuted viewpoints.
Since The Passion of The Christ made over $600 million worldwide, and since the actual political and legislative powers in this country are totally dominated by the right, I'm not so sympathetic of their perceived marginalization in Hollywood. Especially when you look at some of the names dropped in this article as those who form some loose coalition of the right: the producer of X-Men, Clint Eastwood, Ron Silver, Mel Gibson, Gary Oldman (who is described as a "conservative libertarian." ??!!) and people behind projects like the upcoming The Chronicles of Narnia and the ever-growing Left Behind series. It looks like the Christian right is already established in Hollywood, and its influence is growing.
However, there is one obstacle facing right-wing filmmakers that no one has yet figured out how to solve: whether they will be able to make movies that appeal to typical American audiences, who tend to like a steady diet of movies featuring exploding planes, sexy naked people, savage murders, organized crime, poop jokes, and generally anything involving a whole lot of sex and death. The Passion of The Christ was a big hit, but how many people are going to pay $10.75 to see a Catholic-themed documentary on cloning, which one of The Passion's producers is now making?
One conservative producer says, "We have the money, we have the ideas. What we don't have - and what the left has in spades - are great filmmakers."
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