|Moore Brings Home 'Bacon'||1995 Copyright Hollywood Reporter|
|Kirk Honeycutt||May 30, 1995|
|Too bad Michael Moore didn't bring his camera crew to Cannes.
Wandering along the Croisette, observing all the wonderful nonsense, he might have made a documentary to rival "Roger & Me," his smart 1989 satire of the devastation visited on his hometown of Flint, Mich., when General Motors head Roger Smith shut down the auto factories.
In Cannes for the world premiere of his controversial first feature film, "Canadian Bacon," which stars the late John Candy, Moore sees Cannes as a place where logic has been stood on its head.
"What interests me is that crowds of French will stand for hours, hoping for a glimpse of Andy Garcia," said Moore. "Nothing against Andy, but I've seen him. I don't know if I would stand behind the barricades with the French Foreign Legion holding me back for a glimpse of him.
"Then I noticed that the most talked about party was for Pamela Anderson," he continued. "I've seen posters for her film, 'Barb Wire,' and I thought, 'That looks like an interesting picture. Where can I see it?' 'No-no-no-no, it has not been made yet,' I was told. So the biggest party of the week is for a film that doesn't exist.
"You don't need to make a film to come to Cannes. Just a poster. They roll out the red carpets for you. I've been thinking about posters I can do. Like 'Apollo 14.' My pitch is: 'Nothing happened but I got the rights.' Or how about 'Roger & Me: The Musical' with Bea Arthur as Roger Smith? I think that might work."
About his comedy, however, Moore is very serious. The $ 10 million "Canadian Bacon" was the source of a long battle between him and Propaganda Films, the PolyGram division that funded the film.
The problem, he said, was that Propaganda wanted the politics removed from a film that is essentially a political satire about an American president who cooks up warlike tensions between the United States and Canada in order to improve his standing in the polls.
The genesis of the movie began during the Gulf War, Moore said. "We as an American people will accept what our government tells us. If the government says 'go to war,' we go to war ... against a country we know nothing about," he said. "I thought what would be the most absurd example of this and came up with Canada. We are entirely ignorant of our own neighbor."
Moore said 38 production entities turned down his script. Once he attached Candy and Alan Alda, PolyGram agreed to fund the film. PolyGram has since decided not to distribute the film through its MGM deal, as that would require a 1,000-print release; the film will go out in September through Gramercy Pictures, Moore said.
After all the turndowns and subsequent battles with Propaganda, Moore was heartened by the reaction to the film at Cannes, where it played in Un Certain Regard.
"I was very encouraged by the laughter and applause," he said with obvious relief. But Hollywood is clearly uneasy about his attempt to combine comedy with politics, Moore said.
"Charlie Chaplin made comedies about the politics of his time. Where are these films today? These are the films I want to make," he said. "It's difficult to pull off -- making people laugh and think at the same time. Hollywood seems to think those two things are incongruous."
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