And you thought The Reagans was controversial:
Oliver Stone is flinging open French doors inside an enormous brick mansion in Shreveport, La., inspecting locations for his new film about the 43rd President of the United States. ''This one is too small,'' he says. ''This one looks like George Tenet's bedroom. Where did we decide to put Bush's bedroom? It's around here somewhere, isn't it?''In a sense, Stone is the perfect person to direct it. Some might have preferred that someone less controversial have done it, but why bother. Those few that still love Dubya are going to be inclined to despise the film no matter who directs it. And, in my view, Stone did a fine job at humanizing and providing a sympathetic view of the most unpopular Republican president before Georgie came along. In that light, Dubya's fans should be damn grateful that Stone is at the helm.
Shooting begins in less than two weeks on W (or dub-ya, as it's spelled out in the initial sketches for the poster), but not everything is exactly where it should be, and not only here in the house where the First Family's residence will be re-created. The 32,000-square-foot soundstage the production is renting across town stands empty, waiting for the Oval Office and Cabinet Room sets to get trucked in from Los Angeles. The screenplay still needs work too. It's gone through two rewrites since an earlier draft leaked to the press last month (some skeptics took it as an April Fools' joke), but Stone would still like one more pass at it (''It's evolving,'' he says). And while most of the cast has been assembled and outfitted with prosthetic noses and hairpieces — Josh Brolin will play President George W. Bush and Elizabeth Banks will star as Laura — there is one major character still in search of an actor: a heavy named Dick Cheney.
And if it is a little skewed against him, then I would consider it Cinematic Karma. Five years ago, a shameless hagiography of Bush came out before the presidential election. Now, before this next election where the Bush legacy will be buried and eulogized, Stone will present us with the story of the man who did become King ... at least for eight years.