Oliver Stone's 'W.' an 'ego'-driven biopic

Director says Bush story gave him a wealth of material

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Q&A: Oliver Stone

DUBAI -- Oliver Stone's George W. Bush biopic may have been turned down by every studio and agency in Hollywood, but the controversial filmmaker received a warm welcome at the "W." news conference ahead of the film's opening of the Dubai International Film Festival on Thursday night.

In front of a group of Arabic and Western journalists, there was no holding Stone back in his opinions on his biopic's subject, who he described as having a "bone-headed arrogance" and a "gigantic ego."

"I hear that Bush was a fan of Josh Brolin's performance in the movie," Stone said. "But that's only because Josh managed to make him look perhaps a little better."

Stone, who was joined by "W." co-star Geoffrey Wright at the presser, said that the impetus for the project could be attributed to the dramatic wealth of the Bush storyline, coupled with the role he expects the Bush presidency to play in American history.

"He marked the U.S. deeply, and I believe that the period from 2000-08 will stand out as a key time in the history of the U.S. empire," he said. "As a filmmaker, his biography provides the best dramatic material since Kennedy."

"In many ways, Bush was a reflection of the aspirations of a component of the American people who maybe had certain aspirations but not the knowledge of the geopolitical landscape needed," he said, adding that he had created an "apathetic portrayal of someone who was perhaps overly challenged in the role."

Questions at the conference ranged from who Stone thought was really running the country to what subject in the Arab world he would most like to tackle. "I don't consider myself a journalist out to hit every spot on Earth," he said, adding that he had made the film for personal reasons.

If Stone continues to follow the financing model of "W.," that perspective might have to change.

Stone financed the film through partners in Hong Kong, France and Germany, then shot the project in 46 days in Louisiana. "This really should be called an independent production," he said.
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