- - Thursday, August 9, 2018

An in-production movie about the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision legalizing abortion has attracted more attention for actors it didn’t cast than for the recognizable stars it did, a development its writer-director attributes to “fake news.”

Actor turned filmmaker Nick Loeb said his production of “Roe v. Wade,” in which he makes his directorial debut, is under siege by unfriendly media that are reporting erroneously about the film. He cites as a key culprit the Daily Beast, which reported that actors Kevin Sorbo of TV’s “Hercules” and Stephen Baldwin of “The Usual Suspects” — both veterans of faith-based movies — turned down the project after reading the script.

“The ‘fake news’ is incredible. They’re falling all over themselves to lie and spin the truth,” Mr. Loeb said of the media’s treatment of the film. He added that both actors had prior commitments.

Mr. Sorbo backs up Mr. Loeb’s account, saying his schedule prevented his participation in the pro-life film. During a break in his movie project in Calgary, Alberta, Mr. Sorbo told The Washington Times by phone: “I wanted to do the movie. I loved the movie and loved the part.” He said “Roe v. Wade” would have allowed him to work alongside Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight, a friend and fellow conservative.

Mr. Loeb and co-writer/co-director Cathy Allyn said a Daily Beast reporter intruded on the set during filming at the Lincoln Memorial, distracting the cast and crew in the process.

“We have actual audio of him verbally abusing one of our interns,” said Mr. Loeb, who posted a brief audio account of the incident on the film’s Facebook page.

“The Daily Beast reporter barged onto the set, trying to write down all of their lines,” Ms. Allyn said.

The co-directors said an intern on the film intervened as Daily Beast reporter Will Sommer hurled obscenities.

Neither the Daily Beast nor Mr. Sommer responded to requests from The Times for comment.

In an account shared in The Washington Post, Mr. Sommer said a crew member grabbed his notepad, crumpled the pages of notes and gave it back to him.

“Roe v. Wade” features several stars with strong conservative bona fides. With Mr. Voight, the cast includes Robert Davi of “The Expendables 3” and Stacey Dash of “Clueless,” as well as apolitical talents such as William Forsythe of “Raising Arizona,” Joey Lawrence of TV’s “Blossom,” Jamie Kennedy of the “Scream” franchise and Steve Guttenberg of “Three Men and a Baby.”

Mr. Loeb and Ms. Allyn declined to confirm or deny press reports that conservative pundit Tomi Lahren and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos will appear in the project. They did say to expect several surprise cameos, though.

The pair also blasted press reports about details supposedly in the film such as graphic images of dismembered aborted fetuses. They said the movie is still in production.

“How do you know what’s in a film until it’s done?” Mr. Loeb said.

The filmmakers are eyeing a quick release, given that abortion once again is a hot topic. President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy has prompted many to consider the fate of Roe v. Wade in a right-leaning court.

Erroneous press reports are only part of the problems plaguing “Roe v. Wade.” The Hollywood Reporter said actors and crew originally attached to the project had fled, reportedly because of the disturbingly graphic nature of the material. One person even reported feeling pressure from fellow actors to quit.

Ms. Allyn said two major Hollywood agencies discouraged their clients from participating in the film.

“Hollywood has turned into a Stalinist society. Anyone who doesn’t agree with what they want to say will be silenced,” Mr. Loeb said. “Why can’t you come out and talk about what you believe?”

Mr. Sorbo slammed an industry he has called home for decades.

“There’s a total lack of free speech, all a one-way street,” he said of liberal Hollywood, discounting media reports of talent fleeing the movie after learning details about its narrative. “Nobody goes into a [project] not knowing what the subject is about.”

The filmmakers are raising more money via GoFundMe to complete the production in hopes of it hitting theaters in the fall. Ms. Allyn said her team has some distribution deals in the works.

The crowdfunding site, aiming to raise $1 million, offers a blunt description of the Supreme Court case in play: “ROE V. WADE is the untold story of how people lied, how the media lied, and how the courts were manipulated to pass a law that has since killed over 60 Million Americans.”

The filmmakers based the story on 40 research books on the subject and used “two sources for every fact we stated,” Ms. Allyn said.

“Our movie’s not a courtroom drama, but there is a portion of the movie where the justices talk about their feelings and why the case was heard,” Mr. Loeb said. “It’s an interesting look inside the Supreme Court, which is about to flip for the first time in 60 years.”

As for the resistance against their film, Ms. Allyn has a simple question: “What are they so afraid of?”

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