You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

MPAA prexy Glickman makes his H’w’d debut

Topper hoping to alter biz's partisan image

Dan Glickman, in his first address to a Hollywood crowd since becoming Motion Picture Assn. of America prexy, said the perception in Washington, D.C., that the movie industry is uniformly Democratic is hurting biz interests.

Movie industry lobbyists have had difficulty getting things done this year in Congress, where Republicans are steamed about both the large number of celebrities who were outspoken in favor of John Kerry as well as the MPAA’s decision to hire Glickman, a Democrat, to succeed Jack Valenti.

“A congressperson told me, first it was Whoopi Goldberg, then it was Dan Rather, and now there’s Dan Glickman,” he said.

He said his job in D.C. is to underline that “the business of Hollywood is nonpartisan. I can’t do my job and the studios can’t do their job if we are perceived as partisan.”

‘Culture Vulture’

Luncheon was hosted by the L.A. World Affairs Council at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Monday. Glickman, who was most recently the Secretary of Agriculture in the Clinton Administration, used the opportunity to introduce himself to the crowd, underlining that his cabinet post largely dealt with international trade matters.

“Soybeans and Spielberg are both big export items for America,” he said.

He also passed on his wife’s advice to him on how to soothe worries that his resume has no previous entertainment experience: “Tell them the biggest part of the word ‘agriculture’ is ‘culture.'”

‘Moral Victory’

Speech outlined the studio trade org’s strategy to fight piracy, including the move to sue individual downloaders of films, and weighing the implications of the “moral values” vote in last week’s election.

In a Q&A afterward, Glickman was asked whether the high number of voters who cited “moral values” as their most important issue in last week’s presidential election presaged more culturally conservative criticism of Hollywood entertainment.

“I think it’s a good question,” he said, “but it’s one I think I have to be a little vague on.”

Referencing his work primarily in “the reddest of the red states” as agriculture secretary and his nearly two decades as a Democratic Congressman from Kansas, he added, “I think I can be a good bridge builder. But I don’t know where they are going to go, or how long they are going to be.”

‘Piracy Issues’

On piracy, Glickman said the MPAA’s current strategy is to use lawsuits against individuals to enforce the law, to promote the idea that piracy is theft, and foster legal movie services that satisfy consumer demand.

“The truth is we would much rather pull people into theaters than drag them into courtrooms,” he said. But the MPAA wanted to battle online movie piracy before technology makes it as common as music piracy has become.

“Our big fear,” he said, “is that it becomes mainstream behavior and then there is no way to stop it.”

In addition to lawsuits and ad campaigns, Glickman said another way to fight piracy is to encourage more indigenous film industries in foreign countries so that other countries feel they have more of a stake in protecting entertainment intellectual property rights.

More Film

  • Boots Riley arrives at the 34th

    Boots Riley: Spike Lee Yelled at Me After 'BlacKkKlansman' Criticism, But We're Good Now

    “Sorry to Bother You” director and musician Boots Riley, who wrote a scathing criticism of Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” for its positive representation of law enforcement, said that he and the “Do the Right Thing” auteur are good now. But it took some time (and drama) to get there. Last year, Riley called Lee’s Oscar-nominated “BlacKkKlansman” [...]

  • Dr. Donald Shirley (Mahershala Ali, right)

    Read Variety's 1957 Review of 'Green Book' Pianist Don Shirley

    “Green Book” viewers who are not totally versed in the ways of ’50s and ’60s jazz may come away from the heavily Oscar-nominated movie wondering just how well known and respected the film’s central musical figure, Don Shirley (played by Mahershala Ali), really was in his heyday. The answer: revered enough to have picked up [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Steven Spielberg Remembers 'Friend and Early Mentor' Stanley Donen

    As news of the death of prolific director Stanley Donen spread Saturday, the industry was quick to remember the helmer of so many classic musicals. Donen directed such hits as “Singin’ in the Rain,” co-directed with and starring Gene Kelly; “Funny Face” with Audrey Hepburn; and “Charade,” with Hepburn and Cary Grant. “Stanley Donen was [...]

  • Aubrey Plaza Spirit Awards

    How to Watch the 2019 Spirit Awards Online

    The Spirit Awards are taking over television Saturday from Santa Monica, Calif., but viewers don’t need a TV to tune in. Hosted by “Parks and Recreation” star Aubrey Plaza, this year’s Spirit Awards are set to air on IFC at 2 p.m. PT and again on Feb. 24 at 9 p.m. ET. However, indie lovers [...]

  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

    Oscars, After Repeated Tumbles, Takes Center Stage in Hollywood

    At least the weather will be sunny for Sunday afternoon’s Oscars ceremony following one of the stormiest —  and strangest — awards seasons in memory. Expectations have been turned upside down in key categories amid a historic lack of consensus among guild and critics groups. The 91st Academy Awards will be the first in three [...]

  • Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his Night

    Box Office: 'How to Train Your Dragon 3' Speeding to Series-Best Debut With $58 Million

    Universal’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is far and away the box office champ for Academy Awards weekend with an estimated debut of $58 million from 4,259 North American locations. Three holdovers and an expansion will make up the other top four spots, with the sophomore frame of sci-fier “Alita: Battle Angel” [...]

  • Stanley Donen

    Stanley Donen, Director of Iconic Movie Musicals, Dies at 94

    Stanley Donen, the director of such stylish and exuberant films as “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Funny Face” and “Two for the Road” and the last surviving helmer of note from Hollywood’s golden age, has died at 94. The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips tweeted that one of his sons had confirmed the news to him. Confirmed [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content