GOP in Hollywood: Endangered Species?

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," Sept. 10, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR: ... those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say, "Don't be an economic girlie-men."


NAPOLITANO: Being a Republican in Hollywood (search) can be lonely, but Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) isn't the only star who leans to the right. There's a now documentary about Tinseltown conservatives, “Rated R: Republicans in Hollywood,” that's the name of it and it premieres on AMC Sunday at 10 p.m. ET.

Producer and Director Jesse Moss is here to talk about it. Here's today's big question, Jesse: is it hard to be a Republican in Hollywood today?



MOSS: It has been hard, but I think Arnold's campaign has mobilized and energized Hollywood Republicans. It's brought them together and given them a role model and they're starting to speak out more.

NAPOLITANO: Now, how many well-known Republicans are there in the Hollywood community? Is it five, is it 50, is it 500? What kind of a number are we talking about?

MOSS: Well, I don't know what your criteria for well-known is, but I'd say it's around 50, well-known perhaps, Republicans, people who are sympathetic to Republican causes.

NAPOLITANO: Well, there's Drew Carey. Who are Republicans whose names we would know from show business?

MOSS: Well, I'd like people to watch my film. I don't want to name names here.

NAPOLITANO: Give us a couple of names, besides Arnie and...

MOSS: Well, I can tell you who's in the film.

NAPOLITANO: OK. Tell us who's in the film.

MOSS: Drew, of course, is a Libertarian, but Patricia Heaton, from "Everybody Loves Raymond" a very outspoken, politically active, very successful. She's in the film talking about her politics. Lionel Chetwynd, the screenwriter, John Milius, a conservative, a legendary Hollywood screenwriter and director, directed Arnold in "Conan the Barbarian." Ben Stein, of course, the comedian and game show host.

So, I think there's actually a longer list than people think.

NAPOLITANO: Did Arnold Schwarzenegger do something that even Ronald Reagan didn't do when he became governor? Did Arnold make it easier, give you more cover for coming out, so to speak, as a Republican in Southern California? And if so, why?

MOSS: I think, well, it's interesting, because Arnold kind of ran away from Hollywood when he ran for governor. At the same time, for young conservatives and young Republicans in Hollywood, his campaign, I think the apparatus of his campaign kind of brought people together. They got involved in the campaign. They had something to celebrate. Again, they had a role model: a successful Republican who'd done as well as you can do in Hollywood.

So, I think his campaign energized them.

NAPOLITANO: We were talking during the break that I worked on a show for FOX, and there were maybe 80-85 people in the crew. We worked long days, 6:30 in the morning till 8, 8:30 at night, 10, 12 days a month. It was during the presidential campaign last time around.

I think of the 80 or 85 people, I was the only person who was not an open card-carrying Democrat. Is that to be expected?

MOSS: Well, I think they're out there, and there are more of them.  And they're increasingly comfortable talking about their politics. Some people prefer to keep it private, but some people enjoy the give and take.

So, just to go back to Arnold, I think what's too, is that conservatives in Hollywood have new social networks now that they didn't have maybe a few years ago. So they have a chance to associate with one another.

NAPOLITANO: A few years ago could a conservative Republican actually not get a job, an acting job, a job on a particular show because of the perception of that person's politics? Was there a blacklist?

MOSS: I don't think there's a conservative blacklist. I think that in Hollywood if you're good, you get work. In a film, Drew Carey, a libertarian, a conservative, very successful, highly paid; Patricia Heaton, again, one of the most successful actors in television. Someone who's out about her politics. Hasn't suffered. I interviewed a top agent at William Morris, Sam Haskell, who's a conservative. He said he has never run into an occasion where a client of his has lost a job because of their politics.

NAPOLITANO: OK. So, why did you make this movie?

MOSS: I realize that I don't know anybody who voted for George W. Bush. I didn't know any Republicans. I'm from the documentary community:  it's a very progressive community.

NAPOLITANO: Are you a Republican?

MOSS: I'm a Democrat. I used to work in democratic politics, but I thought it was my duty to go out and meet some Republicans.

NAPOLITANO: And you found them?

MOSS: And I found them. They agreed to talk to me.

NAPOLITANO: What's the most surprising thing about the movie?  Without blowing the climax?

MOSS: For me, the most surprising thing was that I liked a lot of the people I interviewed.

NAPOLITANO: Aha! The Republicans in Hollywood were nice people?

MOSS: Most of them.

NAPOLITANO: OK. OK. Why should we watch the movie?

MOSS: Well, I think, we've heard a lot from the Hollywood left.  Let's listen to the Hollywood right and see what they have to say about the issue of the blacklist. Or, has Arnold changed things for them. I think the film answers those questions.

And I think, just to correct you, the film is on Tuesday night on AMC at 10:00 p.m.

NAPOLITANO: OK. I appreciate that. How long is the film?

MOSS: It's 47 minutes: a TV hour.

NAPOLITANO: And obviously, the "R-rated" is a play on the word, R for Republican? It's not literally "R-rated" and children can watch it?

MOSS: Absolutely. It's family friendly.

NAPOLITANO: OK. Jesse Moss, making a movie about Republicans in Hollywood. Thank you very much.

MOSS: Thank you.

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