Oliver Stone presents biopic ‘W’ at Thessaloniki Film Festival

THESSALONIKI – Oliver Stone was in town yesterday to present his latest presidential film at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, «W,» a biopic on outgoing US President George W. Bush. «People assumed a lot about Bush,» the celebrated American filmmaker told a packed press conference yesterday, «they ‘mis-underestimated’ him – to use one of his own terms. People see him as a failure, but this is not quite true because the Bush ‘doctrine’ is well in place.» Stone knew Bush back in their student days at Yale University – though Stone never graduated – and he remembers him as being the fraternity type. Later, when Bush was re-elected as governor of Texas in 1998 in a landslide victory, the director of such landmark political films as «Platoon,» «Born on the Fourth of July,» «JFK,» «Nixon» and more, admits to being «impressed with his confidence and cockiness.» Observing the course of his presidency, Stone says that «by 2004 or 2005, it was clear to me that this man was a force of nature.» George W. Bush, says Stone, «pushed every button he could find… He brought America to a place I never thought I’d see it go in my life.» Like many other Americans, the filmmaker is also concerned about how the country will deal in the future with the can of worms opened by the Bush administration. «America has become a national security state in a big way and its has become a military empire. How is the country going to pay for all this? I do not know,» he said. As far as his ability to influence the course of events with a film, Stone is not too optimistic. «I did three movies about Vietnam and these did nothing to prevent the war in Iraq,» he said. «Maybe, though, the next generation will pay attention. Maybe the next time they see a Sarah Palin or a George W. Bush – a wolf in sheep’s clothing – they will look a little bit deeper.» «W» is slated for release at mainstream Greek theaters later this month. It stars Josh Brolin as George W. Bush, Ellen Burstyn as Barbara Bush, James Cromwell as Bush Sr and Richard Dreyfuss as Dick Cheney.