Although his new movie pokes fun at George W. Bush, director John Sayles (search) hopes viewers will think about politics beyond the White House.
The Sept. 17 release of "Silver City" was planned to affect voting — whether it's by getting people to the polls, changing their vote or merely getting them to think about politics, Sayles said Wednesday at a National Press Club (search) news conference.
"We felt like it was important to make this movie and get people thinking about it," Sayles said, adding that it ought to influence "elections I know nothing about."
Sayles and his producers are working with progressive groups to spread the word about the film and they're hoping the activist group MoveOn.org (search) will adopt the film.
They even plan to delay the movie's release in Ohio until October, when they can get young voters interested via a three-day "Swing State" bus tour of the state's universities.
Sayles is known for his thought-provoking, independent films, such as "The Return of the Secaucus Seven" and "Eight Men Out", about the 1919 baseball scandal with the Chicago Black Sox. He didn't shy away from any satire when it came to "Silver City," his 15th film.
It's easy to draw parallels between the movie's main character — a right-wing, first-time candidate for Colorado governor — with George W. Bush and his run for Texas governor in 1994. Like Bush, Dickie Pilager comes from a political family — his father is a senator — he's a born-again Christian and is "grammatically-challenged," as Sayles puts it.
Pilager's Web site (http://www.dickiepilager2004.com) could easily be confused with any of the hundreds of candidates running this November, with its requests for donations, bright colors and links to real voter registration sites.
The plot is simple: the filming of an environmental TV spot goes awry when Pilager, played by Sayles staple Chris Cooper, fishes a corpse out of a lake. His Karl Rove-like adviser, played by Richard Dreyfuss, whisks him away and sets out to find the truth behind the prank.
The movie will amuse, Sayles said, but ultimately provoke viewers to think about their own voting choices.
"'How does the guy I'm voting for — or not — stack up? Do I even know? How informed am I as a voter?'" he said.