MAY 30, 2015
IS Hollywood really ready to give a 67-year-old woman a leading role in a big-budget production?
Hillary Clinton’s campaign has echoes of various classic movies: “Single White Female,” with Hillary creepily co-opting the identity of the more trendy Elizabeth Warren; “My Fair Lady,” with Hillary sitting meekly and being schooled on how to behave by tyrannical Pygmalions (Iowa voters); “The Usual Suspects,” with Hillary’s hoodlums, Sidney Blumenthal and David Brock, vying to be Keyser Söze; and, of course, “How to Steal a Million,” a caper about a heist plotted by a couple that doesn’t need the money.
From a narrative point of view, Hollywood is more intrigued with the scenario of their old raffish Southern favorite, Bill Clinton, as the first First Lad than the earnest Midwestern Hillary as the first female POTUS.
On TV, after all, women presidents are old hat.
I recently interviewed several dozen Hollywood players, mostly on background because of fears about the famed Clinton vindictive streak.
They aren’t over the moon about Barack Obama anymore, and even feel burned. He was like a razzle-dazzle trailer that turned out to be a disappointing movie with mediocre box office.
You hear plenty of complaints about the president’s mingy care and feeding of donors.
“It’s not unheard-of to think that liking people is part of the job,” one political consultant to the stars said tartly.
Hollywood is mostly united behind Hillary, with a few Bernie outliers and Elizabeth dreamers. But it’s a forced march.
“There’s this feeling like, ‘Oh, damn! Now we’re all going to have to show up to Jeffrey’s event,’ ” said one studio big shot.
Drinking wine at his glamorous house, an Obama bundler who is trying to work up some Hillary enthusiasm, agreed: “‘Jeffrey Katzenberg is calling’ is a call that you avoid in a way that you couldn’t before.”
Because the Clintons have been in politics for decades, there is a throng at the teat, making donors, bundlers and retainers fret that the rewards and appointments will be spread thin.
“Hollywood needs perpetual attention from its presidents, from filming bar mitzvah congratulations to stays in the Lincoln Bedroom,” said one Obama associate in Hollywood.
The sheer size of the Clinton universe has caused, as a political consultant to bold-faced names says, “a palpable lack of energy amongst the people who have been insiders for years.” Not to mention a huge management challenge.
“Money in this town is value driven, ego driven,” one major fund-raiser said. “It’s not about tracking legislation as it affects our own interests.”
Hollywood helped create Clinton Inc., finding an early pop-culture affinity with the young governor of Arkansas and jumping in to be his A.T.M.
The symbiotic attraction between the two capitals of illusion peaked — and even got a little overripe — during Bill’s reign, when he acted like a Hollywood groupie, hanging with the moguls and stars under the palms into the wee hours. Even some in Hollywood thought it unseemly when he began flying around with high-fliers Ron Burkle and Steve Bing.
To read entire column, click here.