(By Ray D.)
No Consequences for Gary Busey and Billy Zane in America?
The big movie blockbuster in Turkey today is "Valley of the Wolves Iraq." The film, which vilifies Jews and Americans, has become so controversial in Germany that Bavarian Governor Edmund Stoiber has called on movie theaters to stop showing it and unleashed a nationwide debate. In just ten days the film has attracted 200,000 primarily young Turkish immigrant viewers.
So what makes the film so controversial? For starters, American soldiers are portrayed as violent, brutish, trigger-happy, civilian-murdering, hyper-religious, sadistic gun-nuts. The star villain is an arrogant, murderous character named Sam Marshall (played by American actor Billy Zane), who is killed by the Turkish protagonist at the film's end. Another stereotypical villain is a Jewish doctor (played by American actor Gary Busey) stationed at Abu Ghraib prison who extracts human organs from prisoners for export to Israel, England and the USA.
Zane's Character "Sam William Marshall": Let Us Guess: Allusions to Simplistic Bush Stereotypes?
The movie is the most expensive and one of the most successful ever made in Turkey. Some supporters have defended the movie by comparing it to Rambo or other violent US action flicks. Of course one major difference is that that Turkey is an ally of the USA, the Soviet Union was not. And since when did America's First Lady or Congressional leaders heap praise on violent, racist films? The Washington Times reports:
"A new film riding on a wave of anti-Americanism is attracting record audiences in Turkey and has drawn approving comments from the wife of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Gum-chewing U.S. soldiers shoot Iraqis in cold blood at a wedding in one scene from the movie. In another scene, set at that the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, a Jewish-American doctor harvests Iraqi prisoners' kidneys for sale to Israel and the West. (...) "I feel so proud of them all," said Emine Erdogan, wife of the prime minister, comfortably ensconced in a seat next to the actor playing Alemdar.
Although Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul insisted that the film was no worse than some of the productions of Hollywood studios, Turkish parliament leader Bulent Arinc praised its "realism."
Above all, American audiences should be aware that two relatively well-known Hollywood actors, Billy Zane and Gary Busey, are profiting from a film that is spreading hate of Americans and Jews to a massive, worldwide audience. Johnny Depp and Whoopi Goldberg have taken heat for far less harmful deeds.
Update: CBS, ABC, CNN and MSNBC have posted articles on Busey and Zane so the media has picked up on the story. However, the coverage has not been particularly prominent nor has it sparked much attention. Perhaps Busey and Zane are too pathetic (washed-up) for a scandal? The New York Times reports of Zane:
"Mr. Zane, who got his start in "Back to the Future" and has a great number of grade B credits since then, said he was not bothered by the movie's anti-American tone, adding that the horrors of war should be exposed. "I acted in this movie because I'm a pacifist," he said in a televised interview. "I'm against all kinds of war."
This gossip column report indicates Busey has a few screws loose as well...
Update #2: Here's a report from the New York Daily News (scroll down):
"A Busey-Zane career massacre?
Who knew Gary Busey and Billy Zane were so hard up for roles?
Even Hollywood liberals may be shocked that the American actors took part in a Turkish film that portrays U.S. troops as savages who slaughter Iraqi civilians.
"Valley of the Wolves: Iraq" shows G.I.s crashing a wedding, where they gun down dozens of innocent guests, shooting the groom in the head and blasting away at a boy in front of his mother.
The soldiers drag the ones who live to Abu Ghraib prison, where a Jewish-American doctor (played by Busey) disembowels them - explaining their organs will be sold to rich people in New York, London and Tel Aviv.
Zane plays a rogue American officer who calls himself a "peacekeeper sent by God."
Zane and Busey aren't known as outspoken critics of White House policy. So why did they take the parts?
A rep for "Titanic" star Zane didn't return our call.
A rep for "Buddy Holly Story" star Busey told us: "It was basically a payday for him."
Anti-American feeling has been brewing in Turkey since a 2003 incident in which U.S. Army troops held Turkish special forces officers captive because the G.I.s thought they were Iraqi insurgents."
It was "basically a payday" for him? How much did he get...30 silver pieces?