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August 03, 2008

Quote of the Day

It's just that simple sometimes.

David Zucker on his transformation from liberal to conservative:

Zucker was still nominally a Democrat when George W. Bush was elected in 2000. "Then 9/11 happened, and I couldn't take it anymore," he says. "The response to 9/11--the right was saying this is pure evil we're facing and the left was saying how are we at fault for this? I think I'd just had enough. And I said 'I quit.'"

A bit more on the casting of An American Carol, with three conservatives hiding their politics in famously-tolerant Hollywood.

Zucker had originally hoped to cast Dan Whitney (aka Larry the Cable Guy) as Malone, but a timing conflict kept him from getting it done. After briefly considering Frank Caliendo, a fellow Wisconsinite, a colleague passed him a reel from Kevin Farley, the younger brother of the late Chris Farley, and Zucker, who recalled seeing Kevin Farley in an episode of Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm, was interested.

Zucker and Sokoloff met Farley in April 2007. Zucker described his new film with words he had chosen carefully. "I figured he was like everyone else in Hollywood--a Democrat," Zucker recalls. "And we knew that this was not a Democrat movie." It would be a satirical look at the war on terror, he told Farley, and explained that he and Sokoloff were political "moderates."

Farley hadn't seen any of Zucker's ads and assumed he was like everyone else in Hollywood--a Democrat. So he answered with some strategic ambiguity of his own. "I consider myself a centrist," he said, worried that they might press him more about his political views.

Zucker gave Farley the script and, concerned that Farley's agent would advise him against accepting the role because of the film's politics, told the actor not to show it to anyone. Farley, best known for his recurring role in a series of Hertz commercials, read the script and called back the next day to accept.

When he met Zucker and Sokoloff on the set as shooting on the film began, he told them that he, too, had long considered himself a conservative. "I couldn't believe it," says Sokoloff. "We were afraid that he would not want to be involved in something that was so directly taking on the left and that he would not want to play the Michael Moore character."

Farley told me this story during a break in filming at the Daniel Webster Elementary School in Pasadena, last April, with Steve McEveety, the film's producer, listening in.

"I thought that the minute we started talking about politics that would be the end," Farley recalls. "There was this dance that we did--a dance familiar to conservative actors in Hollywood. Lots of actors have done it."

"All three of you," said McEveety.

"Yeah, all three of us."

Farley is not aggressive about his politics and has chosen simply to opt out of political discussions when they have arisen on other projects. "I usually just bite my tongue unless it gets too ridiculous," he says. "The only thing that really bothers me is when they go off about the president. It just gets annoying."

If Farley is nervous that his proverbial big break is coming in a film with politics that might make getting his next big role more difficult, he doesn't show it. "If it's the last movie I do, I'll go work for Steve's company," he says.

"If this doesn't work," McEveety deadpans, "I won't have a company."


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posted by Ace at 06:01 PM

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