DENVER—After hosting a lunch in support of helping diabetes patients at the restaurant Panzano, the Creative Coalition gathered its merry band of New York-based celebrities into a back section of the restaurant to get on with the showbiz-oriented non-profit’s lesser known agenda this year: a documentary, called Poliwood, featuring their historic voyage to the Democratic National Convention, directed by Barry Levinson.
The scene in the backroom featured a pep talk from a frumpy looking guy with a bad toupee on refining the rhetoric of Democratic talking points, followed by a Q&A among the actors in attendance, including Susan Sarandon, Anne Hathaway, Josh Lucas, Richard Schiff, Giancarlo Esposito and others.
Mr. Levinson wondered how celebrities might change their elitist, out-of-touch image. "The fact is 90 percent of the people in the entertainment business come from the working class," he said. (Not making documentaries about learning how to be better celebrities might be a good place to start!)
Ms. Sarandon recommended an enduring commitment to specific causes and cited a recent poll in that "awful newspaper in LA" (the Los Angeles Times), which she said had vindicated her activism. She went on to scold the lecturer for encouraging them to get passionate. The key, she insisted, is to be genuine in your beliefs.
Ms. Hathaway wore an especially serious, absorbed look for the camera. Mr. Esposito wondered if telling people their own stories, where they’ve come up from, might help people take actors’ opinions more seriously. Ms. Sarandon asserted that asking questions was a better way to get people thinking.
"In other words, talking like a Jew," another audience member chimed.
Mr. Levinson explained that the comment was a reference to the fact that he was Jewish.
This led the lecturer to recall his own Jewish upbringing. Both his mother and rabbi had employed the tactic of answering questions with more questions. "I never got an answer to anything!" he exclaimed, adding that the technique was indeed very effective.
Then the Daily Transom was spotted with a tape recorder and told the taping was off limits to reporters, save the New York Daily News‘ George Rush, who had gotten the okay from Mr. Levinson himself.