Dennis Quaid Promotes Bush Satirization On Today
Actor Dennis Quaid was on this morning's Today show promoting his new movie American Dreamz whose movie poster proclaims: "Imagine A Country Where The President Never Reads The Newspaper, Where The Government Goes To War For All The Wrong Reasons And Where More People Vote For A Pop Idol Than Their Next President." But according to Quaid the movie is, "not a political statement," and that he’s "not a Bush-basher." Katie Couric outed Quaid as a Gore voter in 2000 but tried to give him cover by noting he voted for Bush in 2004, however she had praise for Quaid’s co-star Mandy Moore’s performance in Saved, a movie that mocks Christians.
The following is Quaid and Couric’s discussion about American Dreamz:
Katie Couric: "It is hard to believe that Dennis Quaid has been on the big screen for more than 30 years, particularly since he's just 35. He has more than 50 films under his belt and now he can add one more to that list. In his latest role Quaid plays a president who's looking for a way to boost his popularity so he becomes a guest judge on a hit reality show. The movie is called American Dreamz and Dennis Quaid is here to tell us all about it. Hi, Dennis how are you?"
[Clip from American Dreamz]
Dennis Quaid: "That was me as the president, not the guy singing."
Couric: "I know that, I know that. Well you know you do kind of a very satirical portrayal of the President of the United States and..."
Couric: "...and, and, and quite frankly I know you say you throw a little Clinton, a little Reagan in there but to most observers it's very much a portrayal of George Bush."
Quaid: "You think? I mean it's, other than the fact it's modern day and there's a war in Iraq and my, my closest adviser has a bald head."
Couric chuckling: "So you're not trying to distance yourself from this?"
Quaid: "Oh no, there's, no, not at all."
Couric: "But at the same time you say it's not a political statement. You voted for Gore in 2000."
Quaid: "It's not a political, it's not a political statement. This is a satire and everybody's up for grabs as far as satire goes and, and the way this. It's not mean-spirited really, in, in a sense unless you want to take it that way. But I think it's really more a satire on the American public."
Couric: "And on popular culture right?"
Quaid: "Yeah, than, than anything else because the President goes on American Idol type show and becomes a guest judge to boost his ratings. But it's, it's, more people vote for American Idol than vote for the president."
Couric: "Isn't that amazing?"
Quaid: "Yeah I play President Staton. He wakes up after his re-election and he's very tired and he decides that he's a little confused and he wants to start reading the newspaper."
Couric chuckling: "He decides, yeah, he wants to kinda take a break too."
Quaid, referring to sound bite played earlier on Today from the President: "Yeah and he finds out some very interesting things and during the course of the movie he becomes the decider."
[Laughter in the studio]
Couric: "Now, you know, now I want to come to your defense just because some people might get a bee in their bonnet about this portrayal. You did vote for Gore as I mentioned in 2000 but you voted for President Bush in 2004. You are a Texan."
Quaid: "I voted yes, I, I voted Republican and I voted Democrat in my life. I consider myself to be an independent but I'm not a Bush-basher and..."
Couric: "You did, so why did you want to do this role? You just thought it would be fun?"
Quaid: "Well basically I wanted to do it because of Paul Weitz. I worked with him In Good Company, he's the director."
Quaid: "And he's such a great writer and he asked me to do this part when we were in Spain on with, In Good Company and, and I basically said yes without even reading the script."
Couric: "Here's a scene with you Dennis and your, your chief of staff who's played by Willem Dafoe talking through your political problems. Let's listen and then we'll talk some more."
Quaid: "Willem Dafoe is so good in this."
Couric: "Willem Dafoe is, well he's a great actor, don't you think and..."
Quaid: "Yeah he's fantastic actor."
Couric: "And there have been some other sort of political satires out there now. Scary Movie 4 was released last Friday and Leslie Nielsen plays the President. I haven't seen it yet but he pokes fun at, at the current sort of political situation. Do you think the timing is right for this or when do you think it crosses the line Dennis from, from appropriate sort of humor to maybe disrespectful?"
Quaid: "I don't know. I think we've lived in an age of being, everybody's being so politically correct for so long and I, and I really would kind of hope that era is over. And you know people are not afraid to speak out or make fun or speak their minds about, about things."
Couric: "Also Mandy Moore is in it. Marcia Gay Harden who's a great actress and..."
Quaid: "Yeah. Mandy Moore was probably the, the biggest surprise of the entire movie. She was, I did not expect to, the character to come out of her who's, she's so sweet and then she's so ruthless at the same time."
Quaid: "She's the perfect American Dream-style contestant."
Couric: "Have you seen that movie Saved?"
Quaid: "No I haven't."
Couric: "She's really funny. You should check out that movie. She's really good."
Quaid: "Yeah she's hysterical."