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The Weinsteins Recut 'Seal Team Six' To Better Position Barack Obama, Claim It's Not Politically Motivated

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by Joe Cunningham
October 24, 2012 12:56 PM
5 Comments
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Seal Team Six: The Raid On Osama Bin Laden

It’s election season. Hurray for democracy! So far that’s had a slight impact on the movie world, other than the Will Ferrell/Zach Galifianakis (in this writer’s opinion laughless) comedy “The Campaign” arriving in theatres this summer. While much more powderkeg type movies in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" and Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty" won't arrive until after election day to prevent any accusations of trying to sway the vote, it seems that loveable old scamp, Harvey Weinstein, isn’t worried about falling into the same trap. He's gone ahead and recut the television drama “SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden” to more prominently feature President Barack Obama.

Weinstein picked up the film for $2.5 million at Cannes earlier this year, and it’s set to air on the National Geographic Channel on November 4th (two days before polls open), ahead of a debut on Netflix the following day. The doc tells the story of a hunt and ultimately the assassination of bin Laden by Navy Seals and intelligence operatives, but since Cannes it has been recut to strengthen Obama’s role and offer more insight into decision-making in the White House. Weinstein and the film’s director, John Stockwell, maintain that the changes (which have mostly come about from news and documentary material gathered by producer Meghan O’Hara (“Sicko”)) have been made to provide a greater sense of realism and are not politically motivated.

That assertion is being doubted because Weinstein is known to be a long-time Democratic contributor and one of the most vigorous contributors to Obama’s campaign – and it’s not beyond the realm of possibility to imagine the Weinsteins exerting whatever power they have to get what they want. It’s something that Stockwell vigorously denies though, and he argues that the changes have actually shrunk Obama’s screen time and said that he had also insisted that a scene in which Mitt Romney appeared to oppose the raid be removed. National Georgraphic meanwhile simply say that airing the film before the election is a case of taking advantage of their fall schedule, and it will help the picture gain publicity after spending months in the shadow of Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty."

We’re going to simply raise an eyebrow at this one, but at the same time we don’t think a TV drama airing on one of the country’s lesser watched cable networks is going to make much of a difference anyway – unless most of Ohio tunes in, that is. [THR/New York Times]

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5 Comments

  • Sean | October 24, 2012 11:18 PMReply

    I say GOOD! Wth. Do your thing Harvey. Psshh. Go Obama. And Go my SF Giants in the World Series (just had to throw that in there haha). But as to the article, they should include Obama in there more it was his final call for the raid.......

  • cinematic_high | October 24, 2012 4:49 PMReply

    The bigger issue with this is how nobody is addressing the fact that the dude on the far right looks like Xzibit.

  • Sean | October 24, 2012 11:19 PM

    It is lol

  • Zinjo | October 24, 2012 2:43 PMReply

    Considering how much the GOB and it's allies are trying to blatantly influence the outcome of this election, one should not be surprised the Democrat's allies would do the same.

  • Kevin Klawitter | October 24, 2012 1:32 PMReply

    Of course, you fail to mention this passage from the article:
    "But Mr. Stockwell said he had included Mr. Obama as a character in his film from the beginning, and had actually shrunk his screen time somewhat. And Howard T. Owens, the chief executive of the National Geographic Channel, who joined the call, said his company had insisted on removing a scene that showed Mitt Romney appearing to oppose the raid."

    I'll wait until seeing the movie to decide what the film's political and artistic merits are. But knowing Weinstein, I would imagine he probably thought the election would help the movie as much as, if not more than the movie would help the election.

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