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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  December 7, 2012 2:30pm-3:00pm PST

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right thing. i try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only halfway to completely eliminating hunger and we have work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. tavis: andy garcia stars in a film inspired by real-life speckles over water in south america. it is called "a dark truth."
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it is available from video on demand starting november 29. now, a scene from "a dark truth ." >> my wife -- she does not trust you. >> i know. >> she think our family will not be safe. >> is your family safe here? how long can they live like this? >> the answer is always the same until we die. >> come with me. we will stop them from doing what they did here, in other countries. you have to trust me. francisco. you must trust me.
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you must trust me. tavis: first of all, good to see you again. about this project -- i have been reading so much lately about how, into the future, whirs will continue to be fought, sadly. more and more, we are going to fight over is not religion, not geography, who has the right to decide the line. we are going to be fighting over water. >> it is a sustainable item. tavis: who controls the water sources? into the fray comes this wonderful project, "a dark truth." i will let you explain the character you play, then i want to get into the film. so many real-life issues run through this movie. i want to bounce back and forth, if i can.
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>> the character jack, at the beginning of the film, is a radio host in toronto. the show is called "the truth." he is trying to bring attention to situations in society that are untruthful. , but his past is one that is very dark. if he was involved in the cia he says in the movie that he has done things that are unforgivable and unforgettable. he is trying to get amends -- somehow make amends for that in his life. it is an impossible thing to do. according to the things he did -- he will never be able to make amends. but at least he has to try. thrown into this emotional baggage this character has comes this issue that has to do with forrest whitacker and eva longoria's character.
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forrest is a head of a peasant movement in south america. years before, i was responsible for putting him in jail for 10 years. he has been labeled an ego terrorist by a country -- company controlling the water rights. tavis: an ecoterrorist. >> there is a big break up. they end up killing a lot of people, quarantining areas, getting rid of the population. he gets wind of this. i am sent down and pulled out to rescue him and bring him back, so the truth comes out by a member of the actual -- the sister of the ceo of the company, who is not playing along. i have to basically go back and re-counter a man i put in jail many years before.
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he does not know that, but i do. that is where the story takes off. tavis: at this point, do you to certain projects -- do you choose projects based on the issues raised in the project? or is it just a choice of you find in good work that is entertaining? >> i think both. what you try to -- get the best piece of material possible. the subject matter is compelling and has resonance, like in this case. that is great. you still have to have a story or a genre that is called intelligently, sensitive to the issue you are raising. it is a bit of both. i do not go out searching for movies with a cause. sometimes, they seem to come to me. but that is ok. still, you are looking at how it is articulated. what is the articulation of the material? the script, i thought it was a
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good idea. it needed work. we worked on it for a while, as usual, before we shot it. we were fortunate to get forrest whitacker and eva involved. tavis: this project is based on some truth. you mentioned doing projects that are intelligent and sensitive. how do you tell a story like this, about a real-world issue, given what we raised in the beginning of this conversation? struggles over water will be increasing in the years to come. how'd you tell a story like this, that is intelligent and sensitive, but does not proselytize? sometimes, i see projects that have a worthy cause, but you go see it and feel like you were preached to. >> there has to be a level of entertainment. ultimately, what are the conflicts of the story? it is a genre picture. it is a revenge picture. in this case, there are elements
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of action-adventure, because he has to go down to this country. there is a ticking clock in our story. as dizzy gillespie said, there are only two kinds of music. good music and the music. if you want to provoke thought and have a resonance. -- good music and bad music. whether it is dramatic resonance or comedic resonance, things that touch on humanity, you want people to think about the picture a week later and say, that was a good picture, and think back on it and be part of their consciousness. tavis: since you mentioned is the, let me the tour. arturo sandoval's latest project is based on a, dizzy gillespie. i have had the chance to interview you a couple of times. six months ago, i had the opportunity of bringing him on stage at the hollywood bowl.
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i had a chance to reference in the garcia in my introduction. that arturo sandoval story -- >> that is great. i had the great honor to play with him on the record. he actually just finished writing the music for a movie of produced that co-stars vera farmiga, called "middleton," similar to "city island." arturo wrote the music for it. we are good buddies. tavis: let me go back to the story of the movie, "a dark truth." you play a talk show host that is a former cia agent. did you ever imagine yourself, given your views on the world, being -- >> cia? tavis: being a political talk show host. >> no, no.
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tavis: you do have views, though. >> we all have views. i choose to live my life as a bomb maker, as an artist. that is what i am interested -- as a filmmaker, as an artist. that is what i am interested in. we all have political views. we are interested in how the world affairs, and how we treat each other as human beings. but the political scene has no interest to me. people try to suck you in. unfortunately, i have an situations where there have been statements out there, in this modern day of the internet, when people were making statements as though you were making them. i had to shut down 6 facebook pages making statements i have never made. how you control that? there is no respect about each other's privacy. it is a free-for-all. i am sure you have had issues
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like that. all you can do is, the people who know you know you would not say that. you make a declaration and move on. it is a shame it has come to that, and there are no regulations. tavis: so that nobody else will be accused of saying this,, in your own words, that does not mean you feel a sense of pride on election day, when the latino community turned out in such huge numbers? >> it is important that everybody vote their conscience. we need to vote. everybody needs to chime in. however you want to, chime in. it is important that we chimed in. america is a very diverse country, as you know. the hispanic vote isn't -- it will elect either who president. the skew is what almost decided, the election. it will probably decide many elections to come. that section of society is growing more and more.
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tavis: there has been a lot of talk, of late. you mentioned rumors and half truths attributed to you on the internet. everybody seems to be on castro death-watch these days. every other week, there is a story that castro has died. everybody is bracing for an announcement out of cuba. because you are cuban-american, do you have thoughts about where this relationship is headed, post castro, with the u.s.? >> the whole regime has to end. it is not only fidel. it is role, his brother, and the whole concept of democracy. the whole system has to change, for the cuban people to really benefit from a relationship with america that is helpful to them. the internal embargo has to change. everybody talks about the embargo. it is really an internal embargo of rights. we cannot it is -- we cannot go
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to cuba and deal with a cuban citizen and open a business. you can only deal with the government. until the system changes, the people will never benefit from absolute freedom, basically. they trade with the entire world, but the country is an economic mess, because it is a centralized government. the people are not free to be entrepreneurs, to have opinions, to travel. it is a mess. unfortunately, it is one of those regimes. there has not been an election in over 50 years. this is a project i have been developing a couple of years, with hillary hemingway, his niece. it deals with the last 10 years of his life in cuba, during the time he wrote "the old man and the c." it is a film we have been financing for a couple of years. i have the honor to have support from sir anthony hopkins and
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annette bening. we are coming not to the finish line, but to the beginning. the finish line is at the end. it is an interesting place now. if you are in independent film, you have to go which it almost span the globe over there. you have to bring money from all over the world to make a movie these days. it takes time. especially when the project is ambitious, in terms of budget. tavis: i am glad you said that. you always seem to be working on other projects, and they always seem to take years to get done. >> the lost city. tavis: you work on these things a long time. tommy why you choose to spend your life as an actor, producer, director, spending and investing so many years on these passion
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projects? >> i think it is a desire to tell the story. if you have an idea for a story and you take it to warner brothers and they say, when can you start, i would say great. they are making certain type of movies with certain commercial parameters they are dealing with, for kids and stuff like that. if your project is not quite fit that, you are on your own. you have to decide. what are you prepared to do, if you want to tell the story? you have to take responsibility for them. that is what i do, if i have a passion for something. i am like a dog with a bone. however long it takes. tavis: would it be unfair to say when you do blockbusters like the ocean projects, you in part due those -- do those to finance the other stuff you want to do? >> it is very hopeful for an
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actor to be in a highly commercial film. those movies, the publicity machinery behind it, the commercial success, he enhances the value of all the actors associated. even the director. it is good if you are blessed to be in movies like that every so often. they continue to give you values in the international marketplace. then, when you have a passion project, you can tap those of use. maybe not as much as you would tap it financially for an ocean movie. but for hemingway or something, he will tap a reduced portion, but they will support it because of elements they can value commercially. tavis: speaking of how this industry has changed -- i suspect i will be doing this more, given how the industry is changing. i mentioned at the top of the movie comes out in january. >> theatrically, yes.
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tavis: video-on-demand, november 29. how does that work? >> i saw a picture with richard gere, released the same way. it is a new model. as we know today, more and more people have the widescreen at home. they might as well see the movie at home, because it is hard for them to get to the theater. the delivery system is changing. you got to change with it. there will be a time where someone makes an independent movie, and they go directly to the consumer. they will not even have a distributor. they will post it and you download it, you pay for it. the advertising is cheaper on line or on television. it is a model that has been going around for a while. i think he will see more and more films being released that way. if you have to release a movie
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on friday night at 3000 theaters on a big screen, theatrically, how much money do you have to spend on that release? it is a huge expenditure. that is the balance. you can have a movie that potentially can be released that way, but you have to spend $25 million to promote it. 3000 theaters. that is the big number. tavis: i am not asking for names. i would just look at the credits to see who gave the money. but when you take on the passion projects -- >> if i told you, i would have to kill you. tavis: i believe you on that, given some of the roles you have played. >> i protect my sources. there is only so much money to go around. tavis: have when i am not asking for details. but is there a profile of a person, given the changes in the industry? andy garcia has a passion
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project. you have to get funded summer. is there a profile of the kind of person who is still interested, in the world, wanting to finance independent projects? >> there are independent companies that are in that business, you know? it is a combination of equity and sometimes -- if you can find your whole movie with your equity, you have a partner where several partners and make the film. usually, it is a combination of equity with international pre- sales that you collateralize in a bank, and a gap loan based on future sales. that is the standard formula. other than that, you can approach anybody for equity. you can approach your dry cleaner. you can approach bill gates. there is no rule. there are people interested in art. art, looking back through
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centuries -- are always needs patrons. i think people will invest in film. they are patrons, in a way. it is a fairly high-risk investment. but there is a love of it and an interest in being involved in it. and an upside if it happens, obviously. there is always an element of artistic patronage, when it comes to investment in the arts, whether it be film or stage play. you look at the numbers. it is not like -- it is a higher risk type of investment. there is no doubt. tavis: i want to circle back to this project, "a dark truth." i want to talk about art and truth. they are not that disconnected, and it is real art. there is a lot in this film where you say, as the radio talk-show host, that people are not interested in truth. they are interested in
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entertainment. that is a line in the film. is that line true to real life? >> i think you could argue there is a lot of stuff on television these days that we are being presented as news. it is being -- it is not really news. it is more entertainment than anything else. it's used towards that, because everyone is chasing ratings. truth in journalism today is sometimes hard to find, you know? you do not know what the truth is, anymore. who taught in the show about the rampant use of falsehoods in the internet these days, you know? you look up tavis smiley, and you go, i never said that. i was not born there. all this misinformation. people are accepting it as the truth. it is unfortunate.
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i do not know how you control that. it is a slippery hill. tavis: another great line -- this movie is full of great wines. the family member at the company that hires you to go down to ecuador has a line. something like, "everything has a price, but everything ought not to be for sale." these sort of jump out at you. -- the lines sort of jump out at you. i raised that because i wonder, when you do the project, whether it it impacts you as an actor, and the way it impact me as a viewer. >> of course. for me, as an actor, you have to find these self-conscious and emotional truth in your own life that are parallel to the character you are playing, and
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the themes you are exploring. they force you constantly to reach inside and to open some doors, and provoke thought. maybe doors you have not opened in a while, or would rather not open, but you have to. there is a cathartic and analytical process to the work. tavis: finally, the most important question. i have not had a chance to get downtown this season. how are your lakers going to fare? >> they have been faring pretty well. it has been exciting to watch the team go out and play basketball, as opposed to being concerned about -- should i be in this corner? should i go over there? just play. it is a talented team. if the lakers take 100 shots and other teams take 100 shots, the lakers will win. the problem is when you do not
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have a free-flowing offense. you take one shot at the end of the shot clock, and you are dead. tavis: did the controversy through you? >> i was surprised phil's name came up. i thought he was gone, done. the surprise me if it was even brought up. it is hard to say what happens. you do not know what the inner workings of that is. we can only speculate as fans. for me, if you are going to reach out to fill, you have to reach out to hire him, not to taste him, to get a feeling. you cannot even say that is the way it went down. do we really know the truth of what goes down? i cannot say. they are, two great coaches. tony is a great coach. steve nash will be able to create, which is why he is here. they have been fun to watch the last couple of games because of that. tavis: the phil jackson thing
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will be a darker truth for a long time. >> and if a very tall guy shows up at your door, a very large silhouette, the careful, you know? "square shoulders, you know? tavis: speaking of a dark truth, that is the name of the new project from andy garcia. starring forrest whitacker. eva longoria. >> kim, from "sons of anarchy." tavis: that is our show tonight. thanks for tuning in. until next time, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with selling author michael connelly on the 20th anniversary of harry
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bosch. >> there is a saying that dr. king had that said there is always the right time to do the right thing. i try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only halfway to completely eliminating hunger and we have work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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>> be more. pbs.
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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: the economy added more jobs than expected in november, and the unemployment rate dropped to a four year low. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the "newshour" tonight, paul solman breaks down the latest report. and we debate the benefits of extending unemployment insurance amid washington's fiscal uncertainty. >> woodruff: then we turn to the


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