Gary Oldman Dishes on 'Contender'

Cantankerous actor Gary Oldman is openly badmouthing his new movie, The Contender, just one day before its release date — which happens to fall on Friday the 13th, with a full moon in the sky. Will Friday be the film’s unlucky day?

Oldman, a Republican, is fuming about editing cuts made to The Contender, which he alleges were made due to the studio’s Democratic leanings. In the new issue of Premiere magazine, Oldman and his manager, Douglas Urbanski, accuse DreamWorks honchos Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg — all Democrats — of turning the political drama upside down to make it mesh with their pro-Al Gore agendas.

“If your names are Spielberg, Katzenberg, and Geffen,” Urbanski declares, “you can’t have a film with a Republican character … who is at all sympathetic … being released on Oct. 13 [less than a month before the presidential election].”

White House Hanky Panky The Contender focuses on a female presidential candidate (Joan Allen) who comes under fire when her opponent, a Republican congressman (Oldman), reveals a scandalous skeleton in her closet.

Oldman says when DreamWorks bought the film rights, the company forced director-writer Rod Lurie to turn The Contender into an unbalanced, Democrat-friendly tale. Urbanski cuts to the chase by alleging that the film is “a Goebbels-like piece of propaganda.”

DreamWorks spokesman Walter Parkes denies the charges. “There’s no indication to me whatsoever that Rod [Lurie] ever felt pressured,” he said. “One only has to look at the coverage of the [Democratic] convention to see that the owners of this company have sympathies with the Democratic Party. Did those sympathies enter into the editorial process … or the decision to buy the movie? Unequivocally, no.”

Aside from Oldman’s disgust, much of The Contender’s pre-release buzz has been positive, with many industry folks speculating on the film’s Oscar potential.

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