July 25, 2005
A bestselling author said in an interview on the July 21, 2005 edition of the Laura Ingraham radio show that major motion picture studios have in the past rejected his popular novels for development into films because of studio executives’ leftward leanings and because they are frightened of violent reaction from Muslims.
Suspense novelist Vince Flynn (Memorial Day, Executive Power, Term Limits, and the upcoming Consent to Kill), in response to a listener’s question of when one of his books would be made into a motion picture, said there has been a lot of interest in using some of his novels for a Hollywood picture, but “when Memorial Day came out, [my agent and I] gave it to one of the higher-up people at Paramount, and her response [was to] call my agent and said ‘I hated it. It was more Bush than Bush!’”
A resident of Minnesota's Twin Cities region who is often compared with megaselling author Tom Clancy, Flynn laughed with Ingraham as he recalled the conversation with his agent, saying “I said, ‘What does that [mean]? Can’t we all agree that terrorists trying to set off a nuclear bomb in Washington, D.C. is a bad thing? Can’t we all get on the same page?”
He continued, saying regarding a previous book that was considered for development: “[In] Executive Power, I have Arab terrorists in the book, of course, because, you know, there aren’t any Scandinavian terrorists right now…and we got together with one of the studios, and they said, ‘How ‘bout we take the Arab terrorists and turn them into Filipino terrorists?’ So I said, let me get this straight – It’s OK to offend the Filipinos, but we don’t want to offend the Arabs?”
Flynn agreed with Ingraham that political correctness and not wanting to appear too “Bush” was a factor in his heretofore silver screen shutout, but that there is another element to a reluctance to embrace stories that are proven commodities: “Everybody out there, they are deathly afraid to do a movie about Arab terrorists…a lot of them are honestly afraid that they will be assassinated [in an incident] like the Van Gogh deal.” This was a reference to the killing of Theo Van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker and descendant of legendary painter Vincent Van Gogh, who was shot and stabbed to death in broad daylight by Mohammed Bouyeri, a radical Muslim Dutch-Moroccan. Theo Van Gogh had run afoul of Islamists when he created a short film about the abuse that Muslim wives sometimes suffer. Bouyeri pleaded guilty to murder charges July 12, but refused to apologize for the act, which he said was done “purely in the name of my religion.”
In 1976, when false rumors were spread that the motion picture Mohammed, Messenger of God featured actor Anthony Quinn as Islam’s holiest figure (a violation of Islamic belief that Mohammed's image should never be represented in movies), an armed extremist Muslim group stormed the Washington, D.C. chapter of B’nai Brith, an international Jewish organization, and threatened to blow it up if measures weren't taken to prevent the film's release. In reality, B'nai B'rith had no ties whatsoever to the film, which was directed by Arab film director Moustapha Akkad, and Quinn portrayed a confidante of the Qu'ran's holiest figure, not the prophet himself. The siege was ended without any loss of life, and the film was released, but the publicity doomed the movie at the box office. It is available on DVD under the title The Message.
Flynn contrasted the moviemakers’ reluctance to ruffle the feathers of devotees of Islam with another religion, saying that it’s “a major sore spot for me” that “anytime [the studios] can make a movie that rips on the Catholic Church, they’re on it.”
Paramount Pictures, which rejected the Flynn story as being ‘too Bush,’ is breaking a silent embargo on movies about the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 that brought down New York City’s World Trade Center and significantly damaged the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C. Chosen to direct the picture is director/revisionist historian Oliver Stone (Platoon, JFK, Born on the Fourth of July, etc.). Early reports about the screenplay (written by Andrea Berloff) indicate that the emphasis of Stone’s picture will not be the attacks by Muslim terrorists, but the aftermath, expanding on the real-life experience of two Port Authority officers trapped beneath the rubble of one of the collapsed Towers.
Flynn assured Ingraham and his fans that he would never allow filmmakers to change the nationality of the terrorists in his novels (Clancy has been widely criticized for allowing the ethnicity of Islamist terrorists in The Sum of All Fears to be changed to Neo-Nazis for its big-screen treatment). It is the lack of that political correctness that lets him enjoy being a story consultant for the Fox Television series 24, which has featured in its labyrinthian plots Muslim terrorist groups from the Middle East as well as Serbian terrorists. This past season of 24 depicted a Middle Eastern group's downing of the Presidential jet Air Force One and a plot to explode nuclear power plants across the country, but also featured an episode in which Muslim owners of a Los Angeles gun shop join U.S. intelligence agents in a shootout with American mercenaries hired by the Muslim terrorists.