July 28, 2005
LOS ANGELES (Reuters - Hollywood Reporter) - Both the creator and star of ABC's upcoming drama "Commander in Chief" are acknowledged Democrats, but they pledge that it is more of an "East Wing" type of show that won't dwell exclusively on political intrigue.
"Commander in Chief" stars Geena Davis as a married mother and independent vice president who is thrust into power after the death of the Republican president, battling concerns by her predecessors' advisers and cabinet as well as her family and associates...
...Lurie, who directed the 2000 feature "The Contender" starring Joan Allen as a female politician who becomes vice president, said he's staying away from political statements on the show, though he said he is a Democrat. He said there wasn't a temptation for Davis' character to be anything other than an independent because he wanted someone who isn't beholden to the party structure.
"We don't want to be caught on the left side of the world at all," Lurie said.
Davis, who later said she was a Democrat, joked: "I'm involved in the politics of making sure that ABC and (Disney corporate sibling) Touchstone are very happy with this show..."
...Parts of the pilot are being reshot; the second episode will feature Davis' character's search for a vice president. ABC said Peter Coyote ("Erin Brockovich") has been hired to play a vice presidential nominee beginning in the second episode; former "Third Watch" actor Jason Wiles will play a deputy press secretary.
So...should we believe it when Rod Lurie says he will pull back the reins on political statements?
Before you make up your own mind, consider these facts: In the 2004 campaign cycle, Lurie donated a total of $4,000 – the $2,000 maximum individual contribution for Wesley Clark, and then John Kerry.
Peter Coyote has made $15,566 in campaign contributions since the 1988 cycle. Some of the names of the recipients are striking -- he gave to the Clinton/Gore campaign in 1996, but in 2000, he went for Green Party candidates Ralph Nader for President and Medea Benjamin (of Code Pink fame/infamy) for Senate. In 2004, he not only supported the doomed candidacy of way-out leftie Dennis Kucinich, but also the Congressional campaign of Vermont's Bernard Sanders, the only avowed Socialist on Capitol Hill.
Geena Davis tops them all: Since 1990, the statuesque brunette has given $32,850 in campaign cash, mostly to groups such as the Hollywood Women's Political Committee, Emily's List, and two whopping $10,000 checks to the Democratic National Committee.
Does this mean that Rod Lurie doesn't have any artistic integrity? That he's being sly and deceptive about not putting his own personal spin into his new series? Not necessarily. But before taking Lurie at his word, remember what one of the stars of his last politically-themed work -- Gary Oldman -- alleged happened on the way from the movie's set to your local megaplex.