‘Insider’s’ night out

Acad preem filled with irony

One insider’s comment after Thursday’s Acad preem of “The Insider” was that “here you have Hollywood doing a movie about censorship on network television and network television won’t do the story.”

The comment came from Lowell Bergman, the former “60 Minutes” producer portrayed by Al Pacino. Bergman said the first time he saw the actor play him “it was an out-of-body experience and I couldn’t focus on the film.” Seeing it this time, he felt the pic captured “the stress levels of what was going on.”

Bergman added that his favorite line is when Pacino says, “The press is free for those who own one,” which originally comes from A.J. Liebling. With performance by Pacino and dialogue from Liebling, Bergman does all right.

As for the film’s other co-focus, tobacco whistle-blower Jeffrey Wigand, he said it was “surreal” seeing Russell Crowe doing “a very high-fidelity emulation” of himself.

Wigand says of the pic: “there are a lot of truths taken out of it, but the big truth is Big Tobacco intimidated corporations and individuals to keep the truth from coming out. That comes out loud and clear.”

Among those hearing the message were Disney’s Dick Cook, Joe Roth and Geoff Ammer; director Michael Mann; stars Pacino, Crowe, Christopher Plummer and Gina Gershon; plus 1,000 guests including Tom Sherak, Lou Pitt, Sandy Climan, Harry Hamlin, Vince Scully, John Lithgow, Madeleine Stowe, Karl Austen and Mike Marcus.