John McCain taped an interview for the 20th anniversary DVD release of “Hanoi Hilton,” but director-writer Lionel Chetwynd says that he’s been told by Warner Home Video that he can’t even screen the film before its Nov. 11 release.
The reason given? Election law — and that the studio was constrained from doing anything that might impact the current campaign. But other than equal time provisions that apply to television stations, it’s an odd argument to make. Under that reasoning, Lionsgate could be in trouble for releasing “W” this weekend, or the slew of documentaries this month would somehow come under the scrutiny of the Federal Election Commission. And it goes without saying that “Fahrenheit 9/11” would be a minefield.
Chetwynd sat down with McCain before a fund-raising event in May to get his experiences as a POW. The interview was to be part of the film’s bonus footage.
Jeffrey Ressner also has more details in The Politico.
I called Ronnee Sass of Warner Home Video, but got no immediate response. But she did tell Michael Cieply of the New York Times that their decision to not allow any screenings “is just us trying to be cautious and not affect the election one way or the other.” She said the studio initially blocked showings out of concern that it would violate election law, but later concluded that it would not but could be considered electioneering.
Chetwynd has been consulting with his attorney. Otherwise, the McCain interview will not be seen until after the election.