Three Kings: According to The Hollywood Reporter, Filmmaker David O. Russell planned to distribute a new anti-war documentary along with an upcoming Warner Bros. DVD release of his 1999 movie Three Kings. But studio executives now say his finished documentary isn't what they had in mind, so they're giving it back to him. The move by Warner Bros. is notable in a year when the Walt Disney Co. cited political sensitivity for its refusal to distribute Michael Moore's blockbuster Fahrenheit 9/11.
Three Kings starred George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube as three American soldiers searching for gold in Iraq during the Gulf War of the early 1990s. The heads of Warner Bros. rejected the documentary this week, the New York Times reported Thursday, saying it was inappropriate to distribute a documentary about the director's personal political views in conjunction with his 5-year-old drama.
"This came out to be a documentary that condemns, basically, war," Warner Bros. spokeswoman Barbara Brogliatti told the newspaper. "This is supposed to be a special edition of 'Three Kings,' not a polemic about war." Brogliatti said the studio made the decision after seeing the completed documentary, which features interviews with Iraqi refugees and veterans of the current war in Iraq.
The studio expected follow-up stories to the real lives of Iraqi extras and advisers who worked on Three Kings. Brogliatti said the documentary cost about $180,000 and the studio was planning to give it to Russell to distribute independently. "It was definitely a surprise and a disappointment," Russell said. "But they are being very gracious and letting me take it back."