- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 28, 2008

It’s colossal, it’s stupendous. In exactly five days, Jon Voight will become the ghost of George Washington, leading a forward attack on those who would sully America.

“An American Carol,” a frantic satire that takes on filmmaker Michael Moore, Rosie O’Donnell and a host of liberals, opens Oct. 3. And Mr. Voight, indeed, plays the first president of the United States in white wig and sleek Colonial uniform, taking the Moore-inspired character to task for his lack of patriotism, his paucity of Yankee vim. It is a very Scrooge-ian exchange.

Mr. Voight does not need to channel John Wayne or even Uncle Sam for the part. The Academy Award-winning actor is hard-wired with love of country, a silver screen conservative who pines for a Hollywood filled with stars who also are star-spangled. Celebrities and patriotism do mix in the Voight world; appreciation of the U.S. of A. is no sin. He is downright annoyed with his thespian peers.

“I’m very angry about our community, about anti-American films. I have to say that. I have to say, look guys, I know you think this and that. But we should have a dialogue, especially before you take a slap at America,” Mr. Voight said recently.

“We’re a force for good in the world, and we’re a necessary force for good in the world. The world depends on us. Whenever there’s a problem, who do people come to? They come to America. And does America respond? Every time,” he continued.

He’s not done yet.

“So stop slapping America and start understanding we have to be strong and united to be safe and sane,” Mr. Voight said, adding, “You’d think Republicans were the enemy of the country. This is completely nuts.”

He provides ample evidence that, yes, 70 is the new 50.

At 69, Jon Voight can stroll down the red carpet in elegant tuxedo with white satin scarf, somewhere between Errol Flynn and Van Johnson, with some Ronald Reagan-the-actor mixed in. He can take an ideological stand, charm the ladies, dance a spirited hora, fend off countless inane inquiries about his beautiful daughter Angelina Jolie and be brought to tears when he considers Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her very real family matters.

But wait, there’s more.

“Getting to know Jon over numerous lunches and dinners, he often discussed his special affinity for George Washington and his desire to play our first president,” said David Zucker, director of “An American Carol,” along with “The Naked Gun,” “Airplane” and other high-powered parodies.

“Fortuitously during the writing of ‘An American Carol,’ we created a scene in which Washington appears and speaks to the main character, Michael Malone. I knew Jon had to be our Washington.”

But amid parody, there’s history.

“George Washington of course is renowned for starting the American tradition of having no kings, quite revolutionary at the time. King George III, when informed of Washington’s refusal of a crown was quoted as saying ‘if this is true, he will be the greatest man in the history of the world.’ I agree with Jon Voight that this is one of the many debts we owe George Washington and one of our greatest American traditions,” Mr. Zucker said.

Mr. Voight’s performance in the film will follow his high-profile appearance at the Republican National Convention earlier this month, plus his multiple guest shots on Fox News, talk radio and other news outlets, talking up America, Sen. John McCain and Republican causes in general.

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