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Monday, 16 October, 2000, 14:26 GMT 15:26 UK
Democrats 're-edited' Oldman film
Joan Allen
The Contender: Claims of political bias in the film
Actor Gary Oldman has claimed his latest movie, The Contender, has been re-edited as anti-Republican propaganda.

Oldman claims the studio behind the political thriller paid for an edit to suit the political persuasions of DreamWorks' owners Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.

Christian Slater
Christian Slater co-stars in The Contender
The three men are high-profile supporters of the Democratic party.

The Contender, which also stars Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen and Christian Slater, focuses on a fictional Republican attempt to de-rail the nomination of a female Democrat as vice-president.

In an interview with Premiere magazine, Oldman and his manager Douglas Urbanski said the movie was biased.

Urbanski said the film, which opened in the US on 13 October, was "almost a Goebbels-like piece of propaganda".

He suggested that next month's presidential election was a factor in the changes, which he claims were paid for by DreamWorks and carried out by the film's writer and director Rod Lurie.


Lurie adjusted the movie in tiny ways in order to please his benefactors

Douglas Urbanski

Oldman told Premiere that when DreamWorks bought the finished film, Lurie was paid by DreamWorks to edit it so that Republicans in general were portrayed as villains.

The actor and his manager claim the question of who is just and who is not was left ambiguous before the final cut, and that Oldman actually saw his character as "the only true patriot".

In a later interview with Reuters news agency, Urbanski softened his line.

He said: "There's no question in my mind that not only did Rod Lurie adjust his political beliefs in order to advance his career, he also adjusted the movie in tiny ways in order to please his benefactors."

Jeff Bridges as President Jackson Evans
Presidential: Jeff Bridges plays the US leader
DreamWorks Pictures executive Walter Parkes denied there was any political motivation behind the final cut.

"There's no indication to me whatsoever that Rod ever felt pressured.

"One only has to look at the coverage of the [Democratic National] convention to see that the owners of this company have sympathies with the Democratic party."

He added: "Did those sympathies enter into the editorial process or the decision to buy the movie? Unequivocally, no."

Director Rod Lurie said that Oldman may be suffering from a strain of Stockholm syndrome in which "they begin to sympathise with their captors, and in this case, the captors are the characters that they play".

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See also:

16 Oct 00 | Entertainment
De Niro still box office leader
05 May 00 | Entertainment
Oldman joins Hannibal
21 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Spielberg and Scorsese 'form dream team'
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