Docu to explore 'Cigarettes, Cinema and the Myth of Cool'

HOLLYWOOD — It’s not exactly “The Insider: The Next Generation,” but Hollywood and tobacco will again be united in a smoke/screen connection.

The American Lung Assn. of Los Angeles County is producing a documentary exploring artists’ First Amendment rights and responsibilities in depicting tobacco use in film and TV.

Through August, Terry Moloney, who’s producing and directing the film, is interviewing showbizzers from both sides of the issue.

Michael Crichton, Rob Reiner, 20th Century Fox Film prexy Tom Rothman, Ed Sherin (exec producer of “Law & Order”), actor Jeremy London, Stephen Nemeth (head of film production at Rhino Films) and Laura Ziskin are among those so far coughing up their unfiltered opinions.

The docu, tentatively titled “Where There’s Smoke, There’s Ire — a Dialogue Exploring Cigarettes, Cinema and the Myth of Cool,” will premiere next spring at a benefit for the Lung Assn.’s STARS (Seeking Tobacco Alternatives with Realistic Solutions).

Pic is from a STARS grant, aimed at opening a dialogue with showbiz execs and talent to discuss Hollywood’s unintentional glamorization of smoking to minors.

However, the intent is not to point a nicotine-stained finger at the entertainment industry, said Deirdre Imershein, a producer of the film who is communications director for the STARS Project, Los Angeles.

“Our goal is to begin a dialogue about how the industry has been used by the tobacco industry to further their own agenda. We believe this film has tremendous potential to illustrate that there are many choices when it comes to tobacco depiction.”

According to Moloney, the film’s target audience is the filmmaking community, both young and old. “Everyone’s point of view counts, from the up-and-coming filmmakers, to veteran Hollywood decision-makers.”

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