Inside the Beltway: The ‘Reagan’ movie

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At last, some Hollywood news of interest: silver screen conservative Jon Voight is likely to take on a meaty role as a Soviet agent in “Reagan,” an upcoming $35 million independent production backed by an unapologetic, determined team of creatives, including producer Ralph Winter, a force behind the “X-Men” film series, plus Mark Joseph, a producer associated with “The Passion of the Christ” and “The Chronicles of Narnia.” Mr. Voight, 74, would play Viktor, an operative who tracked President Reagan back in the glory days.

The film portrays “the life of one of the most consequential men in American history, Ronald Wilson Reagan,” the team says. “He led a revolution for the things he believed in an ordinary man with extraordinary vision who accomplished extraordinary things.” Visit the project here: reaganfilm.com. The movie itself is based on “The Crusader” and “God and Ronald Reagan,” both written by Paul Kengor, a fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.

“Viktor is actually a character based on a number of KGB agents and Soviet analysts who we now know were tasked with keeping tabs on Reagan,” Mr. Kengor tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Tinseltown, meanwhile, has become Gipper-obsessed, but with partisan frills.

“The former U.S. president is a fairly hot commodity in Hollywood nowadays, with multiple projects in the works that will feature Reagan. ‘The Butler,’ for example, already has generated controversy for casting liberal activist Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan while Alan Rickman plays Ronald Reagan. The Weinstein Co. film is expected to open in 2013,” says Paul Bond, a correspondent for the aforementioned publication.

“‘Reykjavik’ from Participant Media will feature Michael Douglas, also a liberal activist, as Reagan. Participant has backed several politically charged movies, including Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln‘ and former Vice President Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’” Mr. Bond adds.

HISTORIC HOLIDAY

“Just across the way from the White House stand the two great emblems of the holiday season: a Menorah, symbolizing the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, and the National Christmas Tree, a beautiful towering blue spruce from Pennsylvania. Like the National Christmas Tree, our country is a living, growing thing planted in rich American soil. Only our devoted care can bring it to full flower. So, let this holiday season be for us a time of rededication.” (President Ronald Reagan, Dec. 23, 1981)

BUMPER PATROL

“Is it 2016 yet?”

- Bumper sticker spotted in Warren, Ohio.

THEY SAID IT

Brace for impact. Here come the 40 most “obnoxious quotes” of the year, as judged by John Hawkins, founder of Right Wing News. A sample from the motley utterances:

“It is a major crusade of mine and that is to get rid of the Star-Spangled Banner. Now I know you’re going to say I am not a true American I’m not patriotic. I don’t think patriotism has anything to do with it. The National Anthem is just absolutely monumentally un-singable. I mean there’s so much wrong with it.” (Talk radio host Bill Press)

“Seniors love getting junk mail. It’s sometimes their only way of communicating or feeling like they’re part of the real world.” (Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid)

“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” (President Obama)

“I’m asking everybody watching nationwide to waste your vote on me.” (Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson)

“As a reporter I’m torn about joining in the pledge of allegiance/national anthem at rallies. I’m a rally observer, not a participant.’ (National Public Radio correspondent Ari Shapiro, in a tweet.)

Please note that a few of the quotes include expletives, by the way. See the other 35 here: rightwingnews.com, under the “Columns” heading.

THE REAL LINCOLN

Yes, audiences still buzz about the intensely crafted movie “Lincoln.” But consider that the Library of Congress on Jan. 3 will display the actual first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, handwritten by Abraham Lincoln. It is intended to mark the 150th anniversary of the proclamation’s signing as part of “The Civil War in America” exhibit, highlighted here: loc.gov.

Lincoln read this very draft to his cabinet July 22, 1862, to mixed response, says Michelle Krowl, a Civil War specialist at the library.

“Some worried about the aftereffects. Some wondered about how it might affect the midterm elections. And others pointed out that the Union army was not doing so well at that time, and that it might be advisable to wait until the Union army had a victory so the document would be presented with a backdrop of strength rather than weakness,” Ms. Krowl continues.

Lincoln hold off until the Union victory two months later at Antietam. On Sept. 22, he put forward the official preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. The final was signed Jan. 1, 1863.

“The Emancipation Proclamation was presented as a war measure, freeing slaves as a way of weakening the enemy by taking away their labor force. It was one of a series of documents and actions that paved the way for passage of the 13th Amendment that would permanently abolish slavery,” the analyst says.

POLL DU JOUR

• 51 percent of Americans say “it’s good for the country” that Republicans control the U.S. House of Representatives.

• 93 percent of Republicans and 15 percent of Democrats agree.

• 43 percent overall say the GOP control is “bad for the country”; 6 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of Democrats agree.

• 50 percent overall say if “fiscal cliff” tax increases and spending cuts occur in 2013, it poses a “major problem” for the U.S.; 54 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Democrats agree.

• 24 percent overall say the increases and cuts would be a “minor problem”; 17 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of Democrats agree.

• 20 percent overall say it would be a “crisis”; 22 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of Democrats agree.

• 4 percent say it would be “no problem”; 3 percent of Republicans and 5 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A CNN/ORC poll of 620 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 17 to 18.

Tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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