Monday, April 15, 2024

Ex Spy Valerie Plame Puts Rupert Murdoch On the Peace Train


Valerie Plame Wilson: you remember her. She was outed as an undercover CIA agent by now-deceased journalist Robert Novak. He’s in jail. Valerie was married (and still is) to diplomat Joseph Wilson, who was critical of Bush/Cheney. The reveal was said to be retribution against Wilson. This all happened in the beloved Cheney administration.

Now Plame has a lot going on. The Doug Liman directed film about her life, called “Fair Game,” will debut in Cannes next month. Expect a lot of heat.

Plame and Liman were guests last night at a screening of a new documentary about nuclear disarmament called “Countdown to Zero.” It’s directed by Lucy Walker and produced by Lawrence Bender, who’s mounting a massive online and college campus campaign akin to his “Inconvenient Truth.” This gang is going all out to spread the word about the scary realities of nuclear war.

Plame was drafted into the cause because her specialty at the CIA was working on whether or not Iran had a nuclear weapon. Now hat’s ex-CIA, Plame can talk about the dangers of nuclear weapons, who has them, who’s trying to get them, and why it all has to stop now. She’s an effective speaker–it turns out she’s also a knockout–and communicates well on film and off.

During a Q&A after dinner at the Plaza Athenee dining room–in front of a room of media types and politicos–Plame introduced herself as “no longer the scandal girl.” She was “outed” in 2003. She’s finally been able to move on. “I’ve had a lot of time to get used to not being with the CIA,” she told me.

Interestingly: in this crowd of liberal minded types were Rupert and Wendi Murdoch. Mrs. M. heartily congratulated Walker when the film finished. (I wonder if Murdoch will start pushing peace on Fox News. After all, James Baker is in the movie.)

Other guests included famed attorney David Boies (he argued for Al Gore in front of the Supreme Court), Sports Illustrated editor Terry McDonell; Queen Noor of Jordan; advisor to everyone David Gergen; CBS’s Bob Simon; media expert Gerry Byrne; veteran network journalist Bob Jamieson; writers Susan Brownmiller and Alix Kates Shulman; directors Bob and Leslie Zemeckis; and Participant Films’ Jeff Skoll, who underwrote the film.

:Countdown to Zero” will open July 9th in a limited run. It’s a terrific film, must-see viewing this summer. No one likes to think about nuclear weapons and war, but Walker makes the subject clear and fascinating. More on “Countdown” closer to release day.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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