The Obama press contingent was abuzz last night with the news that Davis Guggenheim, the Oscar-winning director of “An Inconvenient Truth,” has apparently been enlisted to direct Barack Obama’s biographical convention film.
The news was leaked via a pool report gathered during Obama’s appearance in Butte, Montana, for Independence Day.
The report states, “Davis Guggenheim spoke briefly to your pooler before realizing he shouldn’t be. He then said he was merely traveling with his son in Montana and doing some interviews. He promised to speak more after he consulted with the campaign.”
Guggenheim’s father, Charles, was a famous documentarian who won four Oscars, including “Robert Kennedy Remembered,” a tribute film that was shown at the 1968 Democratic convention and went on to win an Academy Award for short subject.
Although presidential campaigns have a tenuous history of drawing on Hollywood talent to craft their messages and images, they do often seek the industry’s top creative minds to produce convention films. Harry Thomason produced Bill Clinton’s “Man from Hope” in 1992, and James Moll directed John Kerry’s film short in 2004, with an assist from Steven Spielberg.
Perhaps most infamously, Spike Jonze, fresh off of “Being John Malkovich,” directed Al Gore’s convention film in 2000 (below), although the campaign never screened it again in what some of the helmer’s adherents insist could have better humanized the candidate and perhaps changed the results of the race. Jonze, who had merely followed Gore around with a video camera, released the movie in 2006, the first time it had been seen by a wide audience since the convention.
As you can see, the Gore film did capture some of the candidate’s irrereverence, something that rarely came across on the campaign trail but was captured in Guggenheim’s “Truth.”