This week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (no stranger to this particular phenomenon) enlisted his friend and fellow environmentalist Rob Lowe to entice the notoriously wary Chinese into a discussion about global warming while showing them a little showbiz flash.
So the politically savvy Lowe arranged, through ABC, to have seven high level Chinese government officials -- in town for Schwarzenegger's summit on climate change -- attend a Monday morning filming of " Brothers & Sisters" at the Standard hotel downtown. (Since the Chinese delegates had arrived in town early, the governor thought it would be fun to treat them to a "magic Hollywood day" before the summit got underway Tuesday in Beverly Hills.)
Lowe, an independent voter who campaigned for Schwarzenegger during his gubernatorial election, was happy to help. He had no problem being the governor's warm-up act, so to speak. "I thought it was really special that the Chinese were coming," Lowe said in an interview, noting that the communist state often turns down requests to attend such conferences. "It was one of those days it was great to be in show business."
Coincidentally, the "Brothers & Sisters" scene they were filming showed Lowe's character announcing his candidacy for governor at a large staged news conference. (How's that for a Charlie Kaufmanesque experience?)
The delegates, who were given their own director's chairs and headsets, were delighted. (They also told Lowe that they had seen many episodes of him on "The West Wing.") During a break in filming, Lowe went into diplomat mode. "I told them that we need to bring our countries to the table to have a dialogue to figure out how we can solve global warming together," said Lowe, who tools around in a little electric car.
By the time Lowe had finished his pitch, he could have had the delegation -- headed by Gao Guangsheng, the country's top environmental minister -- swearing off planes, trains and automobiles. There's no one more persuasive than a handsome actor with a mission.
"They were so lovely," said Lowe, who tried to speak Chinese to the delegates by recycling some of his lines from "Wayne's World." (They roared with laughter.)
Lowe says he hopes his small effort will make a difference: Of the 600 delegates attending the summit from around the world, the involvement of the Chinese is considered key. Without that country's participation, international efforts to address the environmental crisis could fail. Only time will tell.
After leaving the "Brothers & Sisters" set, the group went off to Universal Studios, where it was treated to a ride on Terminator 2: 3D. Talk about a hard sell.