Sunday, January 14, 2007


Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee Meets Law and Order...

I hope this is good news. Underneath the cynicism...I’m still an optimist.

Sidebar: my dad worked in the movie industry most of his life. He was a film editor, starting back in the ‘forties when they were called “cutters.” A book was written about one of the movies he worked on, and described him as “crusty.” I like to get the idea.

At the risk of alienating those friends who are Jews, I want to say that what happened to American Indians was genocide. No way around it. Not as efficient as the one the Germans created, but America is a young culture and hasn’t yet had time to perfect those skills.

How many separate acts of genocidal terror are there in Dee Brown’s book? How many massacres, murderous deceptions...a lot more than can be put into a 2 ½ hour TV special. If they tried to put half of the ones into a movie it would leave audiences gasping, revolted, feeling horribly guilty. Yeah, they should! How else can a nation face up to it’s past without avalanches of emotional pain? It would certainly promote a field day for the pharmaceutical industry…

HBO’s retelling of the real American epic won’t be anywhere near as horrible as, say, the real Trail of Tears or The Long March or Sand Creek… But maybe it will wake up a few people to how America is really a parasite living off the still living hosts...

Dick Wolf Makes Time for 'Wounded Knee'
By Lisa de Moraes
Saturday, January 13, 2007; C01

PASADENA, Calif., Jan. 12 Dick Wolf, the network-saving, moneymaking machine, is doing his first work for HBO, an upcoming 2 1/2 -hour adaptation of the early 1970s book "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," which documented the subjugation of Native Americans during the latter half of the 19th century.

"I'd do anything HBO wants me to, given the strictures I'm under contractually," Wolf, the brain trust behind NBC's "Law & Order," told the media at Winter TV Press Tour 2007. Wolf's production house is set up at NBC Universal, which doesn't leave him a lot of time to do work elsewhere.

Working with HBO was "an amazing experience. I'd love to send some network people to intern there for a while," he said, getting a laugh from the crowd.

One critic wanted to know what the broadcast network interns would learn. He admitted he'd been flip, adding, "It's a little unfair -- they're two completely different business models."

He said: "The attention to detail on every level at HBO is different than a network, but a network has 22 hours to be filled every week. It's a completely different set of parameters. But I can say it's wonderful to be with people whose only aim is to get on the screen the best possible film they can get up there.

"The networks have a tendency -- they're in the numbers game, the daily numbers game. . . . It leads to decisions that are not necessarily artistic."

HBO isn't nearly as rushed to get product on-screen as are the broadcasters, he said, noting that this project was five years in the making.

"I'm not kidding. I think this picture was fast-tracked at HBO." HBO, he said, is "famous and notorious for taking a great deal of time between the first meeting and [my being] up here talking to all of you. The reality is, they end up doing it right. Sometimes it's way too expensive, like 'Rome,' but 'Rome' was one of the most awesome TV [projects] in the last 20 years. You look at it and say, 'Wow, they really didn't care how much it cost!' "

"Wounded Knee" is scheduled for a May premiere on HBO. It stars Aidan Quinn, Adam Beach, August Schellenberg and -- as President Ulysses S. Grant -- former Republican senator and "Law & Order" regular Fred Thompson.

Wolf said he hopes "Wounded Knee" not only "affects people's way of thinking about this part of our history" but also gives them pause when thinking about "other things this nation becomes involved with."

One TV critic asked him if he was referring to Iraq. "If Iraq was the only thing you could reference, maybe," he said. "When any society says to another group, whether indigenous, offshore, next-door, that our way of life will be better for you and we have a better way than you have, you get into real trouble. That's why the world is multicultural and multicolored. What works here is not necessarily going to work there."

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© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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