Correction to This Article
A Reliable Source photo caption in the Oct. 25 Style section misidentified the wife of reporter Sam Donaldson. She is Jan Smith.

Peace Not Dramatics: Carter's Cordial Movie Premiere

The ex-president greets Sam Donaldson and wife Jan Fox at the screening of Jonathan Demme's
The ex-president greets Sam Donaldson and wife Jan Fox at the screening of Jonathan Demme's "Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains." (Jeffrey Snyder -- Reuters)

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By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, October 25, 2007

Jimmy Carter has always struck us as more like a Sunday school teacher than a movie star. Nonetheless, Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme wanted to shoot a documentary about the 39th president and followed him for three weeks when Carter's "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" was published last year.

"It's a very dramatic presentation of a book tour," Carter told reporters Tuesday night at an MPAA screening of "Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains," which opens in D.C. next week.

Demme was clearly hoping for fireworks, but the 83-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner doesn't get mad (or even) and faces critics of his support for the Palestinian cause with calm certainty -- for the film's entire two hours. Carter was equally equable at Tuesday's Q&A after the screening, which was filled with former aides and policy wonks. He calmly whacked the current administration's Middle East initiatives ("There hasn't been one day of good-faith talks in the last seven years"), Congress and the current crop of presidential candidates for avoiding the subject -- which drew protests from Rep. Jane Harman. "Many of us do care about the plight of the Palestinian people," the California Democrat told him.

The party, such as it was, broke up shortly after that, and Carter stood at the door saying goodbye to everyone -- just like in church.

Coming Soon: Jack Bauer's Mission to D.C.

Six years into the run of "24," Jack Bauer has now had several longest-days-of-his-life. We're guessing he'll feel like the next is really his longest: It'll be the first season of Fox's popular torture-and-ticking-time-bomb drama set primarily in Washington.

Even worse: It will open with Bauer (played by Kiefer Sutherland) testifying before a Senate subcommittee. (Please, someone set off a suitcase nuke and end the poor man's agony!)

Kiefer & Co. are headed here for several days of shooting in early November -- surprisingly the first time the drama has ever filmed here, the capital of national-security paranoia. Despite subplots involving the White House and Pentagon, location shooting has centered mostly on SoCal (where the show's former POTUS had an excellent ranch-style crash pad). Chris Alexander, a spokesman for the Fox studio, said cast and crew will likely return to D.C. in coming months for more shooting. (Sutherland, of course, will be serving time for his recent DUI plea during filming breaks. Hey, Kief, we'll drive you around town when you're here!)

The new season will take place after the government has disbanded Bauer's super-secret Counter Terrorist Unit and handed terror-fighting duties to the FBI. Also, there's a lady president (stage star Cherry Jones). Beyond that, Alexander said, "it will be a very bad day for Jack Bauer, as it always is."

The Genesis of USA Today and Its Founder's Last Supper

One picture you won't see in the soon-to-be-reopened Newseum: Al Neuharth dressed as Jesus Christ.

Shortly after launching USA Today, Neuharth summoned the paper's execs to Florida, blasted their management, then ordered them to join him at a local restaurant. "I looked in and beheld the most extraordinary sight I'd ever seen," writes former publisher Cathie Black in her new book, "Basic Black." "Al Neuharth was sitting at the table, dressed in a robe, a crown of thorns perched atop his graying head. With his hand he was steadying a giant wooden cross."

Had Neuharth gone off the deep end? Nah, he was just trying to make a point, Black says: He was giving his lifeblood for the paper and wanted his team to give their all, too. Alas, Black didn't snap a photo, so we'll just have to imagine Al in all his glory.

Hey, Isn't That ...

* Rachel McAdams touring The Washington Post and chatting up some of our colleagues in preparation for her role as a journalist in the new political thriller "State of Play." The "Wedding Crashers" star (tiny in a pink top, black pants, hair pulled back, perfect skin, dark eyeliner) did not, happily, cause an unseemly newsroom meltdown as her co-star Brad Pitt did last month.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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