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Duvall critical of Spielberg's Cuba trip

Spielberg wants an end to the 40-year-old trade embargo
/ Source: Reuters

Actor Robert Duvall probably won’t be making any movies for DreamWorks any time soon.

In a CBS “60 Minutes II” interview set for broadcast Wednesday, the Oscar-winning performer sharply criticized filmmaker and DreamWorks SKG studio co-founder Steven Spielberg for visiting Cuba in November 2002.

“Spielberg went down there recently and said, ‘The best seven hours I ever spent was actually with Fidel Castro.’ Now, what I want to ask him, ... ‘Would you consider building a little annex on the Holocaust museum, or at least across the street, to honor the dead Cubans that Castro killed.’ That’s very presumptuous of him to go there,” Duvall told Charlie Rose, according to excerpts of the interview released by CBS.

The actor, who won an Academy Award for his role in the 1983 film “Tender Mercies,” added, “I’ll never work at DreamWorks again, but I don’t care about working there anyway.”

Director denies making Castro remark
Spielberg’s spokesman, Marvin Levy, responded by issuing a statement saying the remark Duvall attributed to the director about his meeting with Castro is “totally false.”

“He never said it, or anything like it,” Levy said, adding Spielberg’s trip to the Communist-ruled island had been authorized as a cultural exchange by the U.S. government.

Spielberg spent four days in Cuba, launching a showcase of eight of his movies, meeting with Cuban filmmakers and paying visits to Havana’s largest synagogue and a memorial to Holocaust victims at the city’s Jewish cemetery.

The Oscar-winning director of “Saving Private Ryan” and “Schindler’s List” also dined with Fidel Castro, spending about eight hours with the Cuban leader discussing art, politics and history.

During his trip, Spielberg made headlines by calling for an end to the 40-year-old U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, saying it was time to bury old grudges from the Cold War and expand interactions between Americans and Cubans.