Michael Moore and Oprah: ‘A Love Story’?
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When it comes to the most eagerly anticipated movie showing at next week’s Toronto Film Festival, the hands-down winner has to be Michael Moore’s ‘Capitalism: A Love Story.’ Arriving 20 years after the debut of ‘Roger & Me,’ it is being billed as Moore’s magnum opus on the horrific impact of corporate dominance on the lives of everyday Americans, which means that the film should spark a conflagration of debate between Moore’s always ferocious advocates and detractors.
But when I called Overture Films, which is releasing the film later this month, eager to set up an interview with Moore, I got bad news. The filmmaker was willing to do interviews after the film premieres in Toronto on Sept. 16, but Overture said that all interviews were embargoed until Sept. 23, the day of the film’s release in New York and Los Angeles. Why? Because Moore is doing a sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey, which won’t air until Sept. 22. And if Oprah wants an exclusive, she gets it, since when it comes to books, movies or music, no one offers a better promotional platform than La Winfrey.
Of course, this being the modern-media age, the embargo isn’t quite as tightly shrink-wrapped as it first sounded. It turns out that the New York Times has a big Sunday feature interview with Moore scheduled to run on Sept. 20, while Jay Leno has booked a Moore appearance a few days earlier. Since both of those interviews were booked pre-Oprah, they’ve been allowed to wiggle out from under the embargo.
This puts a reporter-blogger like myself in a tricky spot. Like most journalists, I want to run my stories as competitively as possible. But if I agree to an embargo, my story would definitely lack a lot of sparks, having to come after both Oprah and the New York Times. I’ve also never held a story from a film festival. The whole idea of covering a festival, especially for a blogger, is to provide timely reaction and analysis to the big events of the day.
I’ll be huddling with my editors, figuring out how we plan to cover the movie. But I’d be curious to hear from readers: Is it worth the wait to hear from Michael Moore? Or should I just see the film and offer my own thoughts in a more timely manner? What do you think?