Stone says no malice intended in "W."

Fri Oct 10, 2008 11:16am EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oliver Stone's film portrait of President George W. Bush was always going to be controversial given the director's liberal leanings.

So Stone decided to open "W." in U.S. theaters less than three weeks before Americans select their next president -- a calculated move aimed at prodding voters to think about the past eight years and the future.

The movie is part drama, part satire, yet the director of "JFK" and "Nixon" argues it is no hatchet job on Bush -- and so far, critics agree. The final verdict awaits the October 17 debut for one of this fall's most widely anticipated films.

"Whoever wins this election, Bush's impact has changed the world," Stone told Reuters. "This man has left us with three wars -- in Iraq, Afghanistan and the war on terror -- and the legacy of the pre-emptive strike.

"These are legacies that will haunt his successor for years. It's good for people, before the election, to think about who they elected eight years ago and about where we are as a country right now," the three-time Oscar winner said.

With Josh Brolin in the title role, "W." is a rare movie about a sitting U.S. president, made by a director whose past films have been criticized for mixing fact and fiction.

Yet Stone says audiences will not find the partisan portrait his critics might expect from the director of Vietnam war film "Platoon" and Cuban documentary "Looking for Fidel."

"It was not our intention to bring malice or judgment on George W. Bush and his administration. He and his administration clearly speak for themselves," Stone said.   Continued...

<p>Director of the movie "W." Oliver Stone poses for a portrait in Los Angeles October 7, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>