A Summit to Remember?
The box office receipts for Washington political movies have been pretty dismal, but Hollywood's still mining these parts for gold. Now comes one of the more unlikely subjects: The Reykjavik Summit, ready for a silver-screen treatment by Ridley Scott.
The 1986 meeting between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev "not only captures an important moment in modern history that led to the eventual end of the Cold War, it also provides a window to view two of the most influential leaders of the 20th century," the director of "Gladiator" and "Black Hawk Down" wrote us in an e-mail.
Don't think a policy debate on nukes sounds like edge-of-your-seat entertainment? Au contraire, says Ken Adelman, Reagan's arms-control guru and a producer on the film: "This was great drama, great history and two great characters."
Adelman, who was in Iceland that fateful weekend, recalls scenes of Reagan and Gorby going mano a mano, negotiating teams pulling all-nighters in the haunted Hofti House (the CIA and KGB sharing basement space), U.S. and Soviet officers clutching their nuclear footballs on the sidelines. As the leaders drew closer to an agreement, Adelman persuaded the Gipper to stay for one more round of talks. "Nancy expects me home for dinner tonight," protested Reagan. "Well, Mr. President, she knows where you are," responded Adelman.
Scott's hoping to get a finished script and start filming this year. Whom would he cast as Reagan? "I have someone in mind, but I would like to keep private. Perhaps you'd like to pose that question to your readers?" firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sununu Offers a Helping Heimlich
At least one of the collisions between press and pols in primary-crazed Manchester, N.H., had a happy outcome over the weekend: Sen. John Sununu came to the aid of a choking Al Hunt with some quick-thinking Heimlich action Friday night.
"John Sununu was fabulous," Hunt told us.
Bloomberg News's executive editor for Washington Bloomberg News was with a group of about 40 political reporters and politicians dining at the Hanover Street Chophouse; the junior senator from New Hampshire was with the group just two seats away. Hunt said a piece of chicken "went down the wrong way." He stood up and struck himself, catching the horrified attention of others in the room (including Hunt's wife, Judy Woodruff, and Bloomberg colleague Margaret Carlson), but in an instant, Sununu walked over, grabbed him and squeezed him around the middle, forcing up the errant morsel.
"I've never had anything happen like that before," said Hunt, who turned 66 on New Year's Day. "The whole thing took seven seconds. And then I felt great."
Other nerves were rattled, though. Minutes later, when Hunt stood to give a toast, a woman in the room fainted, apparently flustered by the incident.
After Five Seasons, Bringing It Down to 'The Wire'
Before the curtain went up at the premiere of the fifth and final season of "The Wire," creator David Simon delivered one last disclaimer about the gritty HBO cult series that so often blended Baltimore fact and fiction.
"I understand the mayor might be here tonight?" he said, scanning the room for the city's chief exec, Sheila Dixon. "There's a scene coming up. . . . The [show's] city council president is not you."
Could it be it's really just a TV show? We scoured those so-familiar faces at the post-screening party at Baltimore's Tremont Plaza Hotel on Saturday (Marlo . . . Bubbles . . . Detective Lester Freamon) -- turns out they're all just actors!
* Dominic West, in hipster specs and an ascot, looking less like rascal Baltimore cop Jimmy McNulty than the dashing London stage star he is. He played the evil Theron in "300"; does he never get to play the nice guy? "I used to play young lover types, then I was [cad] boyfriends, now I'm villains. But the Devil gets all the best lines."
* Wendell Pierce, known as jolly alcoholic detective Bunk Moreland. Do fans expect him to be Bunk? "I get a lot of free drinks. Everyone wants to get drunk with the Bunk."
* Michael Kostroff, who told us he often gets recognized as slimy gang defense lawyer Maury Levy. "I was picking out tomatoes at the grocery store when I heard this guy saying, 'You [expletive expletive].' I said, 'Thank you very much.' "
* Gbenga Akinnagbe, known as glowering gang enforcer Chris Partlow. Turns out he grew up on the mean streets of, uh, Montgomery County, was a star wrestler at Bucknell. Smiles a lot; doesn't look like he'd beat a man to death with his bare hands; now has a role in neurotic indie comedy "The Savages."