H'wood steps up war effort
With barely a peep, Hollywood has wrapped production on three war-related PSAs that will be carried on the bigscreen and TV nets in the weeks leading up to the July 4 holiday.Hollywood 9/11, the committee coordinating the showbiz war effort, got commitments from nearly every network to air the 30-second spots, and CBS, Fox and NBC aired two of the PSAs over Memorial Day. Development was overseen by a subcommittee headed by Paramount Pictures vice chairman Rob Friedman. “Freedom,” created by marketing guru Bob Israel, is a compilation of movie moments (ranging from “The Godfather II” and “Backdraft” to “The Patriot,” “Courage Under Fire” and “Gandhi”) highlighting America’s democratic principles. “Silence,” developed by Warner Bros., is a silent tribute to U.S. military personnel serving overseas. The third PSA, “Why We Serve,” is directed by Joe Pytka and features original footage of everyday heroes. It’s in post. Volunteerism is a major theme running through the spots, which end with a request that viewers contact USA Freedom Corps, set up by the White House after the 9/11 attacks. Hollywood 9/11 has more than 40 members, repping every segment of the biz. Friedman recently met with Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, while the State Dept.’s undersecretary for public diplomacy, Charlotte Beers, recently placed a call to MPAA prexy-CEO Jack Valenti to check up on the committee’s work. All sides insist, however, that the White House is in no way dictating content. Valenti tells Variety that Hollywood 9/11 also is developing PSAs aimed at overseas audiences, a more complicated task than domestic spots. And the committee continues to coordinate the shipment of theatrical releases to U.S. military forces overseas. “If you want to know what pleases our fighting men abroad, it’s that,” Valenti says. “We’ve had unbelievable feedback.”
Want Entertainment News First? Sign up for Variety Alerts and Newsletters!