Hollywood heavyweights put climate change manifesto on TV

Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:51am EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As temperatures continue to rise and habitats come under threat, a group of Hollywood heavyweights is seeking to bring the spotlight back on climate change with a new documentary.

"Years of Living Dangerously," a nine-part documentary beginning Sunday on CBS Corp's premium cable network Showtime, chronicles the human impact on the global climate and the consequences for humans of climate change.

From the disappearing forests of Indonesia to the increasing frequency of California's wildfires and the crippling Texas drought, the documentary wants to put the focus back on an issue that has lost visibility since the days of the 2006 Oscar-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."

"This is such a critical time," said James Cameron, best known as director of blockbuster films "Titanic" and "Avatar" and an executive producer on "Years of Living Dangerously."

"The devastation to the planet that we'll be experiencing in the next century is really, I think, pretty unfathomable for most people, and I think that what the series can do is to bring it home and make it real, make it real in people terms."

To do that, Cameron appealed to well-known Hollywood actors to act as correspondents, including Harrison Ford, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Jessica Alba, Michael C. Hall and Arnold Schwarzenegger, also an executive producer on the documentary.

In the first episode, "Praying for Rain," Cheadle travels to Plainview, Texas, where residents face economic hardship due to the severe drought in the region that forced the closure last year of the meat-packing plant owned by Cargill Inc, the town's chief employer.

Cheadle meets a former employee who has fallen on hard times since Cargill's closure and believes the drought is "biblical."   Continued...

Director James Cameron is interviewed in Manhattan Beach, California April 8, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson