Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics

By Steven J. Ross | Go to book overview

8
PRESIDENT BULWORTH,
OR, WILL MR. BEATTY GO
TO WASHINGTON?
WARREN BEATTY

The atmosphere at the Beverly Hilton Hotel was electric as 1,000 guests and a frenzied media mob of 200 reporters gathered in the main ballroom on September 29, 1999, waiting to hear the answer to the question on everyone’s mind: Would Warren Beatty run for president of the United States? At 9:13 P.M., in a performance straight out of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, the potential candidate strode to the platform and began addressing the audience in a nervous and quiet voice filled with “ums” and “ahs.” Ten minutes into his speech, the Jimmy Stewart shyness was suddenly replaced by a strong, resonant voice that spoke passionately about the great disparities of wealth in America, about poverty, joblessness, the need for universal health care, and the destruction of democracy by big money interests. At 9:48 P.M. Beatty ended his speech with a plea for all Americans to “speak up for the people nobody speaks for.”1 It was a performance that could have won him an Oscar. The dynamic truth-speaking politician from Bulworth (1998) had

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