“Bourne Supremacy” star Matt Damon, “Lost in Translation” actress Scarlett Johansson and other celebrity artists are donating their talents — not just their cash — to an online effort to unseat President Bush.
The Internet political group MoveOn.org on Tuesday premieres 10 new anti-Bush ads created by award-winning directors and starring popular Hollywood actors. An independent group not connected directly to Democratic candidate John Kerry, MoveOn has promised an unconventional approach to the election.
“It makes a real difference when performers and visual artists can use their talent as an attraction,” said Marty Kaplan, a scholar of politics and pop culture at the University of Southern California.
“MoveOn’s campaign is a clever way of leveraging star power to get people to pay attention to the message in the ad.”
MoveOn showed its populist appeal with a “Bush in 30 Seconds” contest that generated hundreds of online anti-Bush ads, then spent millions airing the winning ad. With the latest ad campaign, it’s stepping up to a new level of sophistication.
John Sayles, the writer-director of “Sunshine State” and “Eight Men Out,” teams with actor Martin Sheen for one ad. Doug Liman, who directed “Swingers” and “The Bourne Identity,” reunites with Damon for another MoveOn spot.
Rob Reiner, the director of “When Harry Met Sally” and “The American President,” uses Bush’s own words to form the core of his 30-second ad. They come from an April news conference in which Bush struggled to answer whether he’d made mistakes as president.
Despite their star wattage, some of the ads may never get airtime. While MoveOn spokeswoman Laura Dawn said the group has committed to a “sizable” national cable buy for its first ad, the rest may simply remain on the Internet as a motivator for MoveOn members.
“Whether they go on TV or not depends on how they are tested (with voters),” Dawn said.