Danny Glover cares about poor Hatians so much…
…that he’ll probably not hire any for a starring role in his upcoming Hugo Chavez-financed film about Haitian independence hero Toussaint L’ouverture. As the New York Daily News reports:
Haitian President Rene Preval believes Glover should film “Toussaint” in the country where the story took place – not in Venezuela.
“The entire world should be proud of our patrimony,” Preval tells us. “We had the first successful revolt against slavery in this hemisphere. It’s our contribution to humanity. If Danny Glover can bring it to the screen, we will be happy. But I hope he will shoot it here.”
Haitian-born [rapper/musician/producer] Wyclef Jean agrees that Glover owes it to the struggling nation, a land with nothing like Venezuela’s oil wealth, to film there.
“We want it shot in Haiti,” the music star tells us. “If a portion of the movie is not shot in Haiti â€¦ I would definitely feel disappointed.”
“You can’t film in Haiti,” Glover told us when we last spoke to him about his dream project. “It doesn’t have the infrastructure, unfortunately.”
Yet the same could now be said of the country ruled by Glover’s benefactor, thanks to years of centralized planning, as New York Times reporter Brian Ellsworth reported last year:
Venezuela, a country awash in cash from a wave of a high oil prices, is also mired in infrastructure problems. Its leader, President Hugo ChÃ¡vez, has been spending the billions of dollars in annual oil profits to provide education, health and social services to millions of poor Venezuelans.
Meanwhile, Venezuela’s roads and electrical grid have been suffering. Government statistics show the number of major electricity blackouts jumped to 80 in 2005 from 49 in 2004, despite increased government spending in each year.
The main highways linking Caracas to the eastern and western parts of the country also are in disrepair, and bridges on those routes may face collapses as well. News media are reporting that the government reduced its budget for road maintenance in 2006.
So now Hugo Boss is spending his nation’s oil wealth on…a movie? To be fair, the story of Toussaint L’ouverture’s role in the struggle for Haitian independece is worth telling, but in the hands of this pair, it promises to turn out as an exercise in anti-Western propaganda. And doesn’t repairing crumbing bridges take priority, anyway? (On backing Glover, Chavez’s investment seems more based on ideology rather than experience or skill — this would be Glover’s directorial debut.)
Finally, if Glover — who routinely shows how much he cares about porverty and oppresison by hanging out with every far-left tyrant he can find — hopes to use the film to improve the lot of the world’s poor, so far he’s not making any noises about doing so through the actual making of the film. Notes the Daily News:
Glover has spoken with Don Cheadle, Mos Def, Wesley Snipes and Angela Bassett about starring in the film – a marquee of American names that angers some Haitians.
But Glover argues, “It’s a $30 million film and you have to bring people in [with stars].” He adds, however, “We haven’t started casting yet. I’m sure there will be many Haitian actors in this.”
Any in starring roles perhaps?