- The Washington Times - Monday, May 27, 2002

Hollywood no longer fears tackling terrorism. Case in point: last Wednesday's festive world premiere of "The Sum of All Fears," about a terrorist trying to spark World War III (the latest Tom Clancy novel to make the jump to the big screen).
Jittery movie producers delayed the release of "Big Trouble" and "Collateral Damage" for fear their terrorist content would alienate audiences following the September 11 attacks. On Wednesday, however, the crush of celebrities and politicians at the Warner Theatre appeared ready to see their fears realized on screen.
The starry-eyed fans who lined both sides of the street outside the theater weren't swayed by the film's terroristic threats, either.
Of course, that could have something to do with star Ben Affleck's marquee-worthy mug.
The square-jawed action hero, his fine brown hair expertly tousled, told the assembled press that he met members of the CIA prior to filming for authenticity's sake.
"Before pulling out a badge and saying, 'Jack Ryan,' I had to go visit these folks," he said, waving to fans crying out his name without missing a beat. "They're intensely patriotic and they get little or no recognition."
Fellow cast members, including Morgan Freeman, James Cromwell, Liev Schreiber and Bridget Moynahan joined Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Peter Pace, Paramount Pictures Chairman Sherry Lansing, Sens . Fred Thompson Ted Stevens, John B. Breaux, John Kerrey and Don Nickels, Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone and "Sum" director Phil Alden Robinson to drum up interest in the film, which opens Friday.
Mr. Robinson, accompanied by songwriting legend Carole King, said test audiences have approved of how they handled the explosive subject matter of "Sum."
"I made the film because it's a cautionary tale. The greatest danger now is complacency," Mr. Robinson said.
Mr. Clancy was less forthcoming, smiling when asked if the film held true to his book.
"If you cash the check, you have to be gracious about it," Mr. Clancy said of his ties to the film.
He did crack wise about the film's young star, the third actor to portray Jack Ryan on-screen, after Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford.
"He's a great kid, but he's too good-looking," Mr. Clancy said, adding that he always imagined the Ryan character looking like himself.
After the screening, the crowd crossed Pennsylvania Avenue for an exclusive party at the International Trade Center's Woodrow Wilson Plaza. Mr. Affleck's star wattage eclipsed his peers' at the tented soiree, where guests nibbled on Maryland crab cakes and Russian caviar.
The inside-the-Beltway-heavy crowd declared that the country was ready to see a film dealing with terrorism.
Mr. Kerry chatted with the lovely Miss Moynahan, who jetted to the premiere straight from filming "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," before giving the film his thumbs up.
"It's a provocative film that makes you ask a lot of tough questions," the Massachusetts Democrat said.

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