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Oliver Stone to make George W Bush film
23 Jan 2008
Oliver Stone is planning to make a new film about the life and presidency of George W. Bush, and is in talks with actor Josh Brolin to play the title role.
The director has begun quietly running the script by his "Wall Street" co-writer Stanley Weiser past financiers and is hoping to start filming by April.
The plan is for the film to be released by November, when presidential elections are held, or at latest by January when Mr Bush's sucessor will take up his or her place at the White House.
Mr Stone - who has expressed strong views on Mr Bush's decision to invade Iraq - has said, in an interview with Vanity Fair, that he intends the film to be a "fair, true portrait" of the outgoing US president, focusing on his family relationships, his childhood and his conversion to Christianity.
The focus on key moments in the president's life would help explain how Mr Bush came to power, the director said, in a structure that would be similar to the film The Queen.
"It will contain surprises for Bush supporters and his detractors," said Mr Stone. "It's a behind-the-scenes approach, similar to 'Nixon,' to give a sense of what it's like to be in his skin.
"But if 'Nixon' was a symphony, this is more like a chamber piece, and not as dark in tone. People have turned my political ideas into a cliche, but that is superficial.
"I'm a dramatist who is interested in people, and I have empathy for Bush as a human being, much the same as I did for Castro, Nixon, Jim Morrison, Jim Garrison and Alexander the Great."
Mr Stone - who has made films about President John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon declined to give his personal opinion of George W. Bush. "I can't give you that, because the filmmaker has to hide in the work," Mr Stone said.
"Here, I'm the referee, and I want a fair, true portrait of the man. How did Bush go from an alcoholic bum to the most powerful figure in the world? It's like Frank Capra territory on one hand, but I'll also cover the demons in his private life, his bouts with his dad and his conversion to Christianity, which explains a lot of where he is coming from.
"It includes his belief that God personally chose him to be president of the United States, and his coming into his own with the stunning, preemptive attack on Iraq.
"It will contain surprises for Bush supporters and his detractors."
A White House spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.
Bush has acknowledged that he was a heavy drinker in his younger days, but has long been sober.
Mr Stone, who has had his battles with drink and drugs, earned three Oscar nominations for his 1991 conspiracy film "JFK."
In 1996, he also received a script nomination for "Nixon," which starred Anthony Hopkins. He won best directing Oscars for the Vietnam sagas "Platoon" and "Born on the Fourth of July."
His efforts last year to film a documentary about Mr Bush's nemesis, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also hit turbulence. His request for access was denied with an official reportedly dismissing the filmmaker as "part of the Great Satan."