Spielberg shapes Dems’ Kerry biopic

Helmer helped select Moll to produce project

BOSTON — Steven Spielberg may not be in Boston, but he has had a hand behind the scenes on the John Kerry biopic material to be screened at the Democratic confab.

Spielberg helped select James Moll, the filmmaker who is producing the biopic introducing Kerry Thursday evening before the candidate’s big speech. Spielberg is also playing an advisory role on all the film bio elements shown during the convention.

After 1992, when longtime Bill Clinton pal Harry Thomasson introduced the world to the governor of Arkansas in “The Man From Hope,” there have been higher expectations for candidate bio films. Moll and June Beallor — the senior producer and director for the film unit at the Democratic National Convention — made the Oscar-winning doc “The Last Days,” about survivors of the Nazis’ rampage through Hungary. He worked with Spielberg on another doc released with a “Schindler’s List” DVD package.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Moll was still in the editing room working feverishly over the Kerry pic, and the producer for the entire convention, Don Mischer, had yet to see a final cut.

“You know filmmakers,” remarked Spielberg spokesman Marvin Levy. “They will go kicking and screaming to try to get a finished product out of their hands. They fret over every detail.”

But Mischer has full confidence that Moll and his team will pull off the effort without a hitch. He’s not even breaking a sweat — even though he has yet to receive via satellite the biopics that will run on different speakers that evening, and it’s already after 1 p.m.

“In a situation like this, there are a lot of last-minute decisions that are made, and you just have to be flexible and roll with it,” Mischer said.

Mischer ought to know. He produced the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and numerous awards shows including the Emmys and the Tonys.

But those events are self-contained and relatively short-lived. Mischer and deputy Rick Kirschner have to produce a full evening of speeches and events and then get up the next day and do it all over again.

“It’s like five days of the Oscars,” he said.

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