As a nervous public braces for this year's presidential election, Hollywood has amassed politically themed movies and TV shows that will hit big and small screens even as the candidates hit the campaign trail. Julia Louis-Dreyfus' highly anticipated "Veep" comedy (Al Gore was one of two real vice presidents she said she spoke to for the part) lands on HBO in April, while Julianne Moore portrays the real-life vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, in the channel's "Game Change" movie March 10.
ABC is soon to bring us Shonda Rhimes' "Scandal" series, with Kerry Washington as a top-of-the-very-top D.C. political crisis manager — assisted by the genuine article, Co-Executive Producer Judy Smith, whose history in behind-the-scenes Washington action goes back to the Iran-Contra affair and includes Monica Lewinsky. (Theirs is a soapy business; the "Grey's Anatomy" creator serves up a character who is having an affair with the president, Tony Goldwyn, in "Scandal.")
Rob Lowe, who has a way of being cast as a political guy ("West Wing," "Brothers and Sisters," real life) plays a political media mastermind in the upcoming feature "Knife Fight." Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis play presumably funny Southern politicians in their August-release "Dog Fight" movie, which also stars Dan Aykroyd, John Lithgow and Dylan McDermott. And then there's "College Republicans," with Paul Dano as a young Karl Rove, about when Rove and Lee Atwater first met.
With all that and the drama of the real election, it sounds like a whole lotta over-saturation could be going on by November.
A SALUTE: Dean Cain says he's getting a particular kick out of playing an Army colonel in his currently-shooting "Operation Cupcake" TV movie because it's a part that's in line with a family tradition. "I have a lot of military in my family and have enormous respect for men and women in uniform, so this is a great thing for me," says Cain, who rose to fame as the Superman of the 1990s.
According to Cain, his grandfather was a commander in the Navy, his uncle a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force. "I've been out to Iraq with our troops. I've visited them all around here. I'll do anything I can, charity-wise, to support them — the Wounded Warrior project. Those guys — those men and women — are amazing, and I can't do enough to support them," he says.
As you no doubt deduced from the title, Cain's character isn't going to be seen in the middle of a war zone. "My character has missed a lot of his kid's life because he's always been away on deployment. So he's back for a couple of months, and he's considering whether to be promoted to a general or to leave the military," says Cain. "It's really about a guy coming back and trying to get back into a family." Kristy Swanson also stars as Cain's wife.
In his real life, Cain is the devoted father of Christopher, 11, who sometimes travels with him to film locales — and in consideration of whom he likes doing family-friendly fare. "My son is perfect, wonderful. He's so tall and so funny and so sweet. He's such a good boy," Cain extols. "I'm more proud about being his Dad than anything in the world. He just got his report card, and it was really good, so I'm very happy."
MEANWHILE: "Operation Cupcake" is among nine original movies that the Hallmark Channel plans to air during the first half of 2012, and Cain was among the stars on hand the other night for the elegant sit-down dinner hosted by Crown Media Networks for visiting press at the Pasadena, Calif., landmark Tournament House, the official home of the Tournament of Roses. Also, there were names including Steven Weber, Luke Perry, Candace Cameron Bure, Jane Seymour, Jamie Kennedy, Valerie Harper, Vivica Fox, Joely Fisher and the gorgeous Stacy Keibler, a.k.a. George Clooney's girlfriend, who is not one of those tall women who wears flats to downplay her height.
The 5-foot-11 former WWE diva with the famously long legs wore black pumps with rhinestone-encrusted heels that raised her into the stratosphere, where she towered over most of the guests. Keibler was an absolute knockout in her very short black-and-white scoop-neck dress.
THE BIG-SCREEN SCENE: It was reported weeks ago that Aaron Sorkin was considering writing the script for a Sony film about the late Steve Jobs; it would be based on Walter Isaacson's bestseller. But evidently at least one other Jobs flick is in the making, since casting has been under way in Los Angeles and Dallas for the Apple founder — ages 25-34 — and all the key personalities in his young adult life (Steve Wozniak, Bill Fernandez, Dan Kottke, Patty Jobs, etc.).
Considering Jobs' impact on the world, it would almost be surprising if there weren't more than one project in the works.
To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.