New Michael Moore film to focus on the Bushes and bin Ladens
May 2003

While the words "fevered auction" and "documentary" should never be used in the same sentence, they fit the post-Oscar bidding battle orchestrated by Endeavor. Gibson and Bruce Davey's Icon won with a bid worth eight figures in upfront cash and potential backend. Deal comes as Moore's Oscar-winning "Bowling for Columbine" moves toward the $40 million worldwide gross mark. The $3 million film is one of the most successful documentaries ever. "The primary thrust of the new film is what has happened to the country since Sept. 11, and how the Bush administration used this tragic event to push its agenda," Moore said. "It certainly does deal with the Bush and bin Laden ties. It asks a number of questions that I don't have the answers to yet, but which I intend to find out."

Moore has put a year's worth of research into the film. He'll finish it in time to be submitted for Cannes, 2004, and released in time for the presidential election that fall.

The Bush-bin Laden tie, if only circumstantial, begins with a business relationship between the former president and Mohammed bin Laden, the Yemeni-born father of Osama who was a Saudi construction magnate. He died and left his future terrorist son about $300 million that has been used to finance global violence. The young bin Laden was among the freedom fighters propped up by the CIA as they battled the Soviets in Afghanistan when the elder Bush headed that agency. And bin Laden's Al Qaeda campaign began after Bush put U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. A decade later, bin Laden's Twin Tower attacks made the battle against terrorism the prime focus of George W.'s presidency.

"The senior Bush kept his ties with the bin Laden family up until two months after Sept. 11," Moore said. "The bin Ladens invested heavily in the Carlyle Group, which has its hands in a number of pies and is the 11th largest defense contractor even though it mostly buys failing defense companies and sells them for profits."

Excerpted from Variety, March 28, "Moore tools up for another furor" by Michael Fleming.

(Thanks to Bill Hutchinson for alerting us to this news.)

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