Industry News

[June 16, 2007]

Michael Moore says he did not interview Smith for "Roger & Me"

(Associated Press WorldStream Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) BELLAIRE, Michigan_Michael Moore says he has not seen "Manufacturing Dissent," a film that accuses him of dishonesty in the making of his politically charged documentaries.


But he denies one of its most explosive allegations: that he did interview Roger Smith, then-chairman of General Motors Corp. and the subject of Moore's 1989 debut "Roger & Me," but left the footage on the cutting room floor. In the film, Moore tries unsuccessfully to interview Smith many times.

"Anybody who says that is a ... liar," Moore told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday after a showing of his new film, "Sicko," in the northern Michigan village of Bellaire.

Toronto-based filmmakers Rick Caine and Debbie Melnyk released "Manufacturing Dissent" in March. It includes a clip of a question-and-answer exchange between Moore and Smith during a May 1987 GM shareholders meeting.

Caine and Melnyk say it undercuts the central theme of "Roger & Me" _ Moore's fruitless effort to interview an evasive Smith about the effects of GM plant closings in Flint, Moore's hometown.

In the AP interview, Moore acknowledged having had "a good five minutes of back-and forth" with Smith about a company tax abatement at the shareholders' meeting, as reported by Premiere magazine in 1990. But that was before he began working on "Roger & Me" and had nothing to do with the film, Moore said.

Besides, he said, the film wasn't primarily about interviewing Smith, but getting him to observe the economic devastation in Flint, his hometown near Detroit.

"If I'd gotten an interview with him, why wouldn't I put it in the film?" Moore said. "Any exchange with Roger Smith would have been valuable." And GM surely would have publicized it in response to the movie, he said.

"I'm so used to listening to the stuff people say about me, it just becomes entertainment for me at this point," Moore said. "It's a fictional character that's been created with the name of Michael Moore."

On Saturday, Moore gave a sneak peak of his new movie about the American health care system, "Sicko," in Bellaire, a tourist village about 250 miles (400 kilometers) north of Detroit. It was a fundraiser for the Democratic Party in rural Antrim County, where Moore lives. His wife and the film's executive producer, Kathleen Glynn, is the local party's vice chairwoman.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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