Friday, October 8, 2010

Jill Krementz covers 'Fair Game'

I'm hoping that one of the 10 films nominated for an Oscar will be "Fair Game," the Valerie Plame story, starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn and directed by Doug Liman.

"Fair Game" is based on the true story of Valerie Plame, a CIA operative who was outed by White House officials in order to discredit her husband's intelligence regarding the absence of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. The title refers to the governments's rationale that Ms. Plame was fair game for their revelation. It is also the title of Ms. Plame's memoir on which Liman has based his movie.

In honor of his dad’s public service programs at Legal Action Center and Yale Law School, Mr. Liman hosted a Director’s Premiere of his film at The Paris Theater.

Following the screening and discussion, Mr. Liman invited his friends to a party nearby at Pop Burger.
There was a discussion following the film with Doug Liman, Valerie Plame, Ambassador Joe Wilson, and Emily Bazelon. Ms. Bazelon is a senior research fellow at Yale and a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine.
Ambassador Wilson posited that the true story did not get reported because members of the Washington press corps are too often motivated by their need to protect their access to the White House -- "an offense on our Democracy. George Tenet's policy prescriptive got caught up in a locker room mentality of 'Let's go to war.'"

Emily Bazelon concurred: "This is not a movie that one watches and then gets up and is proud to be a member of the press."
Judith Resnik, who moderated the panel and has a cameo in the film, holds up a copy of Valerie Plame's book showing the blacked out versions because of CIA censorship. Professor Resnik is the Arthur Liman Professor of Law at Yale Law School. She has been running the Yale program for 13 years.
Ambassador Joe Wilson accepting the congratulations of a guest after the screening and discussion. Wilson broke his wrist, he said when I asked him later, "in a senior moment ... by falling off a ladder." Andrew Stein. That's his son in the
background, texting.
Vanity Fair's David Margolick. Sarah and Victor Kovner.
David Margolick and Victor Kovner. Edward J. Davis, who is a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine.
Director Doug Liman with his older brother, Lewis Limon. Lewis Limon with his wife Lisa, who was in the movie but ended up on the cutting room floor. However, her two children playing in the sandbox did make the final cut.
Valerie Plame. Valerie Plame's memoir, published by Simon & Schuster.
Doug Liman with Valerie Plame and Ambassador Joe Wilson. Ms. Plame and Ambassador Wilson now live in Sante Fe with their twins.
Ellen Liman, proud mother of the film director, with John Tishman. Mr. Tishman built the World Trade Center. Ellen Liman takes home a souvenir of the evening's special screening.
60 Minutes Correspondent Steve Croft at the after party. Graham Messick, Producer at 60 Minutes. Mr. Messick works mostly with Steve Croft on his stories.
William C. Paley shows off one of his La Palina stogies. Paley's father was the founder of CBS, but even more interestingly, his grandfather, Samuel Paley, the son of Ukrainian immigrants, was the founder of the Congress Cigar Company, which eventually manufactured La Palina.

Bill Paley, a philanthropist and former drug counselor, lives with his wife Alison in Washington, D.C., where he is on the board of The Legal Action Center.

Paley told me that his grandparents used to tell him about the reader at their company. The reader was a man who sat and read books ... like The Count of Monte Cristo ... out loud while the workers rolled their cigars.
Nurit Margulies and Paul Samuels. Dr. Margulies is a pediatrician who cares for children in Harlem. Mr. Samuels is the Director of The Legal Action Center, which hosted the evening. The couple , recently married, met at a matzo-ball party the day before Christmas.

The Legal Action Center is the only nonprofit law and policy organization in the United States whose sole mission is to fight discrimination against people with histories of addiction, HIV/AIDS, or criminal records, and to advocate for sound public policies in these areas.

LAC was founded in 1972 under the guidance of Arthur Liman.
Arthur Liman died on July 17th, 1997. He was 64. He was regarded as one of the best trial lawyers of his day. He was the chief counsel to the Senate committee investigating the Reagan administration's arms-for-hostages scheme known as the Iran-contra affair.

A graduate of Yale Law school, it is fitting that the evening celebrated his alma mater.

On November 7, 1992, I photographed Arthur Liman and his family — his wife Ellen, his daughter Emily and his two sons, Doug and Lewis. Doug had just started his career as a filmmaker.

Arthur Liman would have loved this movie.
Text and photographs © by Jill Krementz; all rights reserved.