Oliver Stone Talks Republican Primary Circus, Flawless Blake Lively
What's worse than the Kardashian divorce drama? The Republican primaries. So says perpetually disillusioned director Oliver Stone about the sensational headlines we've seen this week (possible public drunkenness, sexual harassment allegations, a singing performance), not from those krazy reality stars, but from the folks running for the highest office in the land.
"I know it is good drama, but to me it plays out like reality television, like 'Survivor.' It's just a joke. It's made a joke of our political process," Stone told me at the Savannah Film Festival, sponsored by the Savannah College of Art and Design.
The director of "Wall Street," "Platoon," "JFK," "W," "Nixon" and an upcoming adaption of the life of Robert Moses, "The Power Broker," sees this primary season as little more than an elaborate elimination ceremony.
"Who's hot right now? Who's going to be thrown off the island next? They devote so much media to these clowns over 18 months that the country loses complete focus over the big issues that are important ... climate control, wars in foreign countries that we created," Stone said. "It's disgusting. It's as bad as it was when Clinton was impeached. That was the most ridiculous thing but people love it. They love the news cycle."
Stone admits he is trying to tune out some of the Republican presidential candidates as best he can these days.
"Who cares who the Republican candidate is because ultimately the differences between them are minor, the differences between the Republican and the Democrat are a little bit more but they're not major. Both parties have tremendous flaws. We have a very weak democracy," Stone said. "I don't follow the details. It is endlessly boring and trivial. It's like reading People magazine."
But there has been one bright light in Stone's life recently -- Blake Lively. Yes, the "Gossip Girl" herself, who is starring in Stone's upcoming adaption of "Savages." The name 'Lively' brings a giant smile to the director's face and is apparently one of the best young actresses with whom Stone has ever worked (and he's worked with Meg Ryan, Cameron Diaz and Angelina Jolie, to name a few). He even went so far as to compare Lively to a young Carole Lombard.
"She is a lot more than what people have seen. She has a natural beauty and smile that the camera loves. She has a freshness and I think frankly she is going to be a movie star," Stone said. "She's smart as a whip. She knows character. She really knows how to absorb material and she knows how to inhabit a character from working on that television show."
Stringing along Dan Humphrey for five seasons does take a lot of depth. But out of the "Savages" cast that includes Salma Hayek, Uma Thurman, John Travolta and Benicio Del Toro, Stone said Lively contributed the most.
"Of the five major actors in the movie, she is one of two who contributed the most to the screenplay. She's not overbearing but she certainly gives back. I enjoy her," Stone said.