DISNEY/MIRAMAX SET TO RELEASE FILM DEPICTING AMERICA MILITARY AS DRUG DEALERS, CRIMINALS; TIMING SEEN FUELING IRAQ WAR CONTROVERSY
"Here in the UK no one gets upset, but over there, where the President is fighting these military campaigns in the name of democracy, the first casualty seems to be freedom of speech, the cornerstone of any democracy." - BUFFALO SOLDIERS Director Gregor Jordan
The WALT DISNEY CO. is set for maximum controversy when it releases a "warts-and-all" portrait of U.S. Army life with the fuss-film BUFFALO SOLDIERS.
As American men and women put their lives on the line in Iraq and other locations throughout the world, DISNEY and its subsidiary MIRAMAX have set a July 25 opening for the story of enlisted man running a profitable drugs and stolen goods business out of an Army base!
[A promo snap for the film -- "Steal all that you can steal," a riff on the US Army's own pseudo-empowering "Be all that you can be" slogan, while below actor Joaquin Phoenix stands before an American flag -- comes as TIME magazine alleged in a cover story that American troops looted and vandalized the Baghdad airport after it was secured.]
The film's director Gregor Jordan describes SOLDIERS as a robust satire illustrating the corruption, drug use and violence that goes on in US Army bases.
At the film's open, a painted US flag is on the ground and is stepped on by marching soldiers.
The film features an excessive amount of profanity by senior officers, suggestive sex [oral sex in bed, sex in a car, sex in a swimming pool], theft of government property, and rampant drug use by soldiers.
Actor Phoenix explains, "I don't know why anyone would be offended. It wasn't a movie that was intended to offend. And if we don't show things as they really happen, then what's that about? Censorship!"
The movie studio has been receiving complaints from military insiders, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.
One letter written by a retired Army Colonel, representing the Ninth & Tenth [Horse] Cavalry Association, the group of real "Buffalo Soldiers," warns of the film's racial overtones.
"Scenes show MP's, who are black, committing acts of violence and engaging in corruption," writes Col. Franklin J. Henderson. "These scenes, intentionally or unintentionally, provide a bad image of black soldiers and degrade the sterling service of the real 'Buffalo Soldiers' who were mostly black men."
Director Jordan was so concerned by the mood of the country during the most recent military activity in Iraq that he asked for the movie's release to be delayed from springtime.
"I thought, This is not the time to be putting this movie out. If we leave it a couple of months, the war'll be over and off all the front pages. Then we'll go."
DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX SUN JULY 13, 2003 17:09:28 ET