Concerned that the health care industry will lash out at Michael Moore’s docu “Sicko” after its world preem, the Weinstein Co.’s Harvey Weinstein has brought aboard political strategist Chris Lehane as a consultant on the Cannes-bound pic.
Gotham-based praiser Ken Sunshine — who reps clients in entertainment, public affairs, labor and health care — has been brought on as well and will travel to Cannes with Lehane, Moore and the Weinstein Co. team.
Lehane is no stranger to Moore docs, having served as a press strategist for the release of the firebrand filmmaker’s anti-President Bush screed “Fahrenheit 9/11” in 2004. Lehane was Al Gore’s press secretary during his the 2000 presidential run and served as a White House spokesman and lawyer for President Clinton. He’s worked as an adviser and consultant to various Democratic candidates. He is a partner in California-based communications firm Fabiani & Lehane.
“If the HMOs strike, I’m going to need two guys who can strike back,” Harvey Weinstein told Daily Variety Wednesday.
TWC tapped Lionsgate earlier this week in a deal for the latter to book domestic theaters and a feevee deal with Showtime while the Weinstein Co. handles all marketing, PR and P&A costs on the U.S. health care critique.
TWC targeted Lionsgate because of Lionsgate’s output deal with Showtime.
Weinstein’s hiring of Lehane and Sunshine seemed timely on Wednesday, the same day Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America senior veep Ken Johnson issued a statement bashing Moore’s “Fahrenheit” follow-up.
“A review of America’s health care system should be balanced, thoughtful and well-researched,” the news release stated. “You won’t get that from Michael Moore.”
“Michael Moore is a political activist with a track record for sensationalism. He has no intention of being fair and balanced.”
TWC is handling all world rights on “Sicko” but won’t offer them until after the pic’s Cannes preem.