Danny Elfman starts pre-election PAC

Composer driven by 'President Palin' issue

By his own admission, Danny Elfman is something of a recluse. But that isn't stopping him from making a very public statement about John McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Concern about Palin's level of experience, coupled with what Elfman saw as a less-than-satisfying pushback "at the ground level," has compelled the film composer to created his own political action committee, OurGreatestFear.org. In addition to a Web site dedicated to educating voters about the possible outcome should McCain win the presidency, Elfman put his money where his mouth is by creating a 30-second ad that is airing in battleground states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania.

So what triggered Elfman's newfound activist impulse?

"Total frustration," he said. "I wasn't seeing the direct responses I was hoping for. And the 'President Palin' issue and the reality of McCain's chances of not finishing out a term were simply too important to not deal with."

When putting together the TV spot, which features McCain morphing into Palin, turned out to be a bit more daunting than Elfman imagined, the composer's family and friends came together for what he now fondly calls a unique "family project."

"My daughter Lola is very politically active, and she kind of helped get me started and advised me throughout," he said. "My nephew Louis did all the Web site work. My daughter Mali helped with links and proofing. Then my friend Dany Wolf, who has produced some great films, came on as our producer and really helped get everything going. Another good friend who is a great effects guy jumped in, and we all realized that we could really do this ourselves. There were so many great people that began coming enthusiastically on board. It was amazing."

While Elfman has flirted with politics in his music -- he frequently took an irreverent look at social issues as a songwriter in his former band Oingo Boingo, and has composed the scores for such politically charged films as Errol Morris' "Standard Operating Procedure" and Gus Van Sant's upcoming "Milk" -- he said there is nothing in his past to suggest this level of political involvement.

"I've always been a complainer, never a doer and certainly not an activist, whatever that means," he said.