During primetime on November 2nd, the National Geographic Channel will air the hotly anticipated SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden movie with a very special star: President Barack Obama. Yes, you did that math correctly. That's two days before the election, and it would appear that the movie's pro-Obama producers know it. According to The New York Times, "the film has been recut, using news and documentary footage to strengthen Mr. Obama's role and provide a window into decision-making in the White House." This has nothing to do with re-electing the president, though. They swear.
"We wouldn't air this if it were propaganda," said the film's director, John Stockwell, on Tuesday. In a way, it does seem like Stockwell and company struggled with the Obama issue. Stockwell and Weinstein say that the film was recut in order to make the film more realistic. And really, it did seem like Barack Obama was a pretty key character in the whole story.
Things get weird, though, when we learn what didn't make the cut. For instance, the scene that depicted Mitt Romney appearing to oppose the raid. That and the fact that Harvey Weinstein, who paid $2.5 million for the rights to the film at Cannes earlier this year, is "a longtime Democratic contributor and one of the Obama campaign's most vigorous backers," in the words of The Times. Weinstein is one of those Hollywood types that has held a $35,000 a plate dinner for the president. At one of these expensive dinners a month ago, Obama thanked Weinstein and his co-host Anne Hathaway for "doing so much for us" in both this election and the last.
We have not seen the film, and so it's hard to make any judgements about how prominently and how heroically Obama is depicted. The timing of the premiere two days before Election Day is curious, sure. (Howard Owens from the National Geographic Channel say it was scheduled on November 4th in order "to take advantage of our fall schedule.)" The recut to make Obama more prominent, also curious. The idea of Hollywood shilling for the Obama campaign? That's old hat.