The buzz of “Bowling for Columbine” still ringing the length of the Croisette, docmeister Michael Moore opened the first Variety session Sunday, regaling a packed audience with his takes on filmmaking, American society, Oscars, 9/11 and the media.
“I originally wanted to make a feature,” said Moore in one of many mirth-inducing moments, “then decided a documentary was better. The NRA has 40 million members and I thought if I could persuade maybe 5 million people to join I could defeat Heston and disband it. Or return it to its roots as the National Rifle Assn., not the National Uzi or Cop-Killer Bullet Assn.”
Moore paid kudos to the unsuccessful bidders for “Bowling” (“they’re all good people”), saying his one demand on United Artists is “they show it in color.” He quickly returned to the serious: “There will be an incredible amount of pressure in the U.S. I believe UA are very courageous and will not let anyone attack it.
“It’s very difficult to get Americans to understand the country they live in — Hollywood is out of touch with the vast majority — we, government and society, have created a climate of hate.”
Moore fessed up to being funded by foreign powers, “Bowling’s” $2 million budget coming from America”s friendly neighbor to the north, “and some Germans. And I usually get funding from the Brits.”
An avid moviegoer (“two, three times a week”), he laments American movies” inability to “entertain and move. My expectations are so low now, if you entertain for two hours you’ve made a contribution.”
Moore also read a list of questions he, and millions of others, would like the Bush administration to answer about ties to the Taliban, Bin Laden, Enron and other 9/11-related issues. The answers “may mean nothing, but I want — deserve — answers. One of our line producers was on one of those planes.”
As strong as the buzz is on his film, he shied from wanting official accolades. “I hope it doesn’t get submitted for the Oscars. The documentary section has been so abused.”