Danny Glover and Hugo Chavez Join Forces to Produce Two Movies

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," May 23, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

GERALDO RIVERA, GUEST HOST: The "Big Outrage": He starred in "Lethal Weapon," and now he partners with a lethal weapon. Actor-turned-director Danny Glover is teaming up with Venezuela's communist dictator Hugo Chavez to help spread — well, really a socialist, Hugo Chavez — spread his message on the big screen. "Big Story" correspondent Douglas Kennedy has more on this odd couple, the director and the dictator's upcoming Hollywood production. Doug?

DOUGLAS KENNEDY, "BIG STORY" CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Geraldo, this should be interesting. Danny Glover has never directed a film before, but that's not stopping Chavez from giving him money. Critics are calling it a propaganda ploy.


KENNEDY (VOICE-OVER): Actor Danny Glover is making two new movies. No, they're not sequels.

MEL GIBSON, ACTOR, "LETHAL WEAPON": Well, now you done it. Now he's really pissed.

KENNEDY: But critics charge they may put a lethal weapon into the hands of a man who does not like U.S. policies.

REP. CONNIE MACK, R-FLA.: Well, once again, we have a well-known American who is deciding to be part of a propaganda machine for Hugo Chavez.

KENNEDY: To make the movies, Glover has accepted nearly $20 million from the Venezuelan government, headed by the anti-Bush President Chavez. Glover is a long-time supporter of Chavez, hosting him at a rally in upper Manhattan last September.

DANNY GLOVER, ACTOR: The president of Venezuela was in Harlem. He is a friend of mine. He is also my brother.

KENNEDY: And in fact, just before the Harlem event, Chavez created controversy by referring to Bush as the devil at an address in front of the United Nations. Chavez supporters say the Venezuelan president simply opposes Bush on Iraq, as well as his economic policies, which they say hurt the poor.

MARK WEISBROT, CENTER FOR ECONOMIC & POLICY RESEARCH: Well, the Bush administration has a, I think, a deep antipathy towards Chavez and his government. They supported a military coup against it in 2002. And they've been trying to get rid of him, you know, really ever since.

KENNEDY: Glover's movies will detail the lives of Haiti's revolutionary, Toussaint L'Ouverture, and Venezuela's own Simon Bolivar. Both are viewed in South America as liberators who fought against colonial oppression — subjects not high on the list of big studios.

WEISBROT: I think it's great that the Venezuelan government is willing to fund movies like this that are important and that wouldn't necessarily be funded by the usual Hollywood sources.

MACK: It's just wrong. I don't think it's right for any American to participate in that kind of propaganda machine.


KENNEDY: On a Web site, the Venezuelan government says parts of both of these films will be shot inside Venezuela. The Web site does not say, however, when production will start on either film. So we don't know yet, Geraldo, when we will be able to see these movies.

RIVERA: "The General in His Labyrinth" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a wonderful book set in Venezuela. So that, I guess, makes sense. But it's kind of hinky to take money from someone who is really sticking his nose up at the country that you represent. I don't know. I feel bad for Danny to do that.

KENNEDY: Yeah, well, you know, as supporters of Danny Glover say, hey, you know, all of the states in the United States pay money for...

RIVERA: That's right, New York City.

KENNEDY: Yeah, New York, California, Massachusetts. They'll pay you to make movies. So, is this the same thing?

RIVERA: I guess not. I don't know. I want Chavez to give more oil to the poor. Just give all of your oil away. Give it all to the poor.

Doug Kennedy, thank you.

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