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Barry Levinson's New PoliWood Documentary Explores the Intersection Between Celebrity and Politics

PoliWood Asks: Should Celebs Get Political?

Wag the Dog director Barry Levinson has tongues wagging at the Tribeca Film Festival with a new documentary called Poliwood, which premiered this weekend. As the name suggests, the film explores what happens when Hollywood celebrity gets all smooshed together with DC politics. Featuring celeb cameos from Spike Lee, Josh Lucas, Anne Hathaway, and more, the doc goes behind the scenes of the 2008 campaign, including the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.

The film is backed by the Creative Coalition, a nonprofit group of politically active actors and other artsy types, so don't expect a straight-up skewering. But Levinson isn't afraid to insert his own perspective on the potential confusion that PoliWood promotes. He says,

"Well, I think what happened is, you have this television screen, and everything has to go through that screen — and at a certain point, I don't think that we can tell the difference between the celebrity and the politician. They both have to entertain us in some fashion."

Do you think that celebrity and politics have become inextricably linked? Do you like it when celebs get political, or would you rather actors just stick to acting?

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Karelynn Karelynn 6 years
I see no problem with celebrities speaking out about their political beliefs. I think it's great that they're being politically involved, and using their power to educate their fan base and anyone else who reads or hears their views in the media.
Phil Phil 6 years
Would you rather just stick to writing? Would we rather have Mark Bittman stick to food journalism instead of advocating agricultural reform and responsible eating? Should Shakespeare have just stuck to writing plays instead of directing his creative energies to his sonnets? It's perfectly fine that celebrities are politically active. Isn't it what any good citizen would do, trying to make the country a better place, doing anything within their power to influence people toward the direction they feel would most benefit the commonwealth? I don't see how an outspoken celebrity is such a bad thing, even if I don't necessarily agree with them. At the very least, it sparks conversation, dialogue that may lead to larger conclusions, but like if anyone else were to become outspoken about the issues that matter most to them.
itsme3683 itsme3683 6 years
I won't fault them for saying what they feel, but I think that making official endorsements or going on and on about it is a little much. I mean, they're allowed to say what they want, but when they go on about it I just feel like it's a little insulting--like they are so much more informed than everybody else, or something.
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