Bill Clinton, CNN and Mad Max: The Strange Legacy of Contact.

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The cinematic landscape in 1997 looked very different than it does today. Jodie Foster was still considered a box office draw; Matthew McConaughey was just that guy from Time to kill; and Robert Zemeckis was still Robert Zemeckisriding a post-Forrest Gump a wave It is in this distinctive landscape Contact It premiered in the summer of 1997, promising a thrilling spectacle for fans of the thinking man’s science fiction.

The film doesn’t quite live up to its promise because, while insightful and exciting, it remains distinctly cold and clinical, detached from its human characters in favor of admittedly weighty themes. Still, time was kind Contact; it may never take place among all the times best science fiction movies, but it is a worthy opponent. One would have to be too cynical or self-contradictory not to admire the film’s sheer scope and uncompromising ambition. He’s hard to follow and he talks uselessly, but he remains an undeniably rewarding viewing experience.

And yet, Contact might be more interesting because of the twists and turns that happened before and after its release. The releases of most movies are going smoothly, maybe with some bumps, but Contact faced an uphill battle from the writing phase to the premiere and for many months afterward. A collection of controversies, misunderstandings, and even lawsuits, the film’s legacy is as complicated and unexpected as anything that happens in the film itself.

What did Bill Clinton say?

Complaints about a soon-to-be-released film must be a nightmare for any studio. However, special attention should be paid when these complaints come from the White House. Three days before Contactpremiere The White House released the letter in the name of Robert Zemeckis, condemning the use of then-President Bill Clinton’s tapes of two press conferences. The film used heavily edited clips to confirm the existence of extraterrestrials within the context of the story. In fact, Clinton plays such a significant role that Entertainment Weekly boldly stated that he could receive a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

The letter, which is an official White House document, condemns the use of President Clinton and warns against Hollywood’s use of his image. In response, the press secretary of Warner Bros. responded that the studio had been “honest and open with the White House about this issue.” The studio also claimed that they had sent the script and the final print Contact before the premiere on July 11. In a truly shameless act, they also said they never sought or received any permission from the White House to use Clinton’s image.

In this day and age, it would be unthinkable that a major studio like Warner Bros. would use a person’s image without their consent. Unbelievable, even unimaginable, that Warner, Zemeckis and everyone involved in the creation Contact there would be no problem in making it appear that Bill Clinton said something he did not. Since the film did not use an actor to portray Bill Clinton, it was a fact that Bill Clinton said things that seemed to confirm human contact with extraterrestrial beings.

Of course, one would think that viewers would have enough common sense to distinguish reality from fiction. But common sense is the least common thing in this world, and when a sufficiently modest person sees the President of the United States giving a speech that seems to confirm human contact with extraterrestrial life, could it be true? And that’s not even to mention the conspiracy theorists and paranoids, those who interpret crop circles and look for lizard people hiding in the crowd.

The controversy opened the door to a debate about the morality of using human likenesses in motion pictures. In his initial report on the incident, Diversity copyright and “fair use” experts have worried about what technological advances could mean for certain people’s digital recreation on the screen. And while this thought may have seemed far-fetched in 1997, we now live in this dubious reality. James Dean made headlines 65 years after his death, when it was announced that his digital version would be filmed in a Vietnam drama titled Looking for Jack. Peter Cushing also came back to life 22 years after his death quick cameo in 2016 Outcast alone.

As the lines between reality and fiction become even more blurred, it’s easy to see why the Clinton incident caused such a stir in Hollywood in 1997. As it turns out, the fears of lawyers and pundits were well-founded, and while their worst fears have not come true, it’s truly terrifying to think that they will come true sooner rather than later. If only the copyright experts could see us now.

This is CNN

Ellie in the spaceship turns left in Contact.

“Jodie Foster could be a star Contact, but she is not the one who attracts all the attention.” These were the first lines of a modern film reviewechoing the sentiments of many other critics and fans who were more concerned Contactquestionable ethical practices than with the film itself. The Clinton debacle was controversial enough, but the film also featured numerous CNN broadcasters, including Larry King and Bernard Shaw.

The presence of so many real-life CNN personalities has sparked a conversation about the ethics of CNN and Warner Bros. — both owned by Time Warner — who work together in fiction. Participation of journalists in Contact was supposed to promote the network during the summer months; however, CNN CEO Tom Johnson recognized the decision as erroneous, saying it creates “the impression that (CNN) is manipulating Time Warner” and that it “blurs the line.” Others agreed. Eric Ober, former president of CBS News, said it “blurs the line between fact and fiction and undermines the credibility of journalists.” The dispute eventually led to Johnson deciding that any future appearances would need approval from CNN’s ethics panel.

In retrospect, the reaction may seem a bit exaggerated. After all, it’s unheard of for news anchors to appear in movies and on television; a year earlier, many reporters starred in a summer blockbuster Independence Day. Enter Martin Lewis The world is not enoughSoledad O’Brien and Anderson Cooper appear Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Pat Kiernan is a mainstay in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, having appeared in four movies and several Disney+ shows. hell Katie Couric once appeared on Look and danced with Matthew Morrison.

In a way, the CNN scandal has paid off Contact a strange sense of legitimacy. Because while no one had a problem with a real-life reporter appearing in a ridiculous summer pastime like Abandoned World: Jurassic ParkZemeckis Contact was a serious film based on Carl Sagan’s book. It was entertainment for the thinking man, serious and full of weighty themes, not your usual trashy movie or action movie – and in the summer of 1997 there were a lot of them. Controversy is always a good thing when a project that weathers it can weather the storm and the CNN disaster persists Contact in people’s minds for years after its original release window. Is all advertising really good advertising?

Furious road to the finish line

Palmer and Ellie stare at each other in Contact.

George Miller is one of the most diverse and accomplished directors in the film business. He is also one of the few real authors working in today’s blockbusters, presenting insightful and exciting artwork that never sacrifices action or spectacle. Miller is behind some of the best films of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Mad Max 2, Babyand Max Max: Fury Road. As it turned out, Miller could also drive Contact.

In 1993, Miller signed a contract to adapt Carl Sagan’s famous novel worked on the project for more than a year. It was Miller who approached Jodie Foster first; the director also wanted several revisions to the story, including a subplot about the Pope. Contact was a typical story of studio desire versus creative need. Warner Bros. wanted it to be big, grand and bright; Sagan wanted to preserve the integrity of his novel by staying true to its lofty themes; and Miller wanted a million things, many of which would push Contact exceeded its schedule and budget.

In an interview with ColliderMiller admitted that he wanted to make a film with less exposition and instead show characters “going through it”, he compared his version to Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and stated that he had never seen Zemeckis Contact. In a recent interview with GriffinFoster called Miller’s script “incredibly long” and “crazy,” going so far as to remind her Rubber band. Back in 1997 on the cover for Entertainment WeeklyFoster praised Miller but called him “very naive about the business”, explaining how he was surprised by Warner’s decision to fire him.

Miller is not the only famous director involved in the Contact a ball In 1996, legendary film director Francis Ford Coppola sued Warner Bros. and Carl Sagan, who died a few days before, Contactright. Coppola claimed that Sagan’s novel was based on a short story they developed for an unproduced 1975 television special, First contact. According to Coppola, the agreement between the two said they would share any legal proceedings First contact and any novel written after Sagan.

A judge dismissed Coppola’s lawsuit in 1998, arguing that while Sagan had indeed violated some terms of the agreement, Coppola had waited too long before suing. The director appealed, but the appeals court dismissed his claim on the same grounds. The court further argued that Coppola did not think to sue until 1994, nine years later Contactpublication, while he was also pursuing a lawsuit against Warner Bros convicted Pinocchio project; that particular case, though just as fascinating and confusing Godfather trilogy, better left for another day.

Contact remains

Ellie and Palmer on the poster for Contact.

Twenty-five years after the premiere, Contact remains a fascinating example of the science fiction genre. It may not be 2001: A Space Odyssey, but it was one of the most ambitious films of the ’90s, a passion project that passed through many hands and minds without benefiting from any of them. It may not have done anything for Jodie Foster’s career, but it gave us plenty of juicy behind-the-scenes details and enough drama to support an episode of TMZ.

In addition, Contact takes pride of place in the pages of Hollywood’s hottest behind-the-scenes dramas. Think about it What Happened to Baby Jane?, Water world, The Island of Dr. Moreauand Miller’s own Mad Max: Fury Road. These films are pieces of Hollywood history; these projects aren’t about quality, as the drama surrounding them outweighs anything that happens on screen.

If you listen to the words of Miller, then Contact ours now pales in comparison Contact we could have. And given its convoluted and lengthy backstory, the film’s backstory may be more interesting than the finished product. However, this is not an insult Contact; on the contrary, it is a compliment. So what if the instructions are far more entertaining than the movie itself? at the end of the day Contact still remains a valuable piece of cinema. Who cares how it got there? At least it did, which is more than many other films can say.

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Bill Clinton, CNN and Mad Max: The Strange Legacy of Contact.

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