For a mere $15 million, Matt Damon and friends are going to bring you Hollywood’s version of the latest villain – hydraulic fracturing. The name of the picture is “The Promised Land.” I think they should have saved that title for a movie about drilling offshore Israel. Damon and John Krasinski of the television comedy series “The Office” wrote the screenplay about a salesman that arrives in a small Pennsylvania town and whose life is transformed after he finds out what fracing does to the environment. And, of course, you know that the two actors are experts on the oil and gas industry given how much gasoline they put in their cars. Gus Van Sant, who directed Damon in “Good Will Hunting,” will direct the film which is currently in pre-production. That is the movie for which Damon won an Oscar for best original screenplay. Rosemarie DeWitt and Hal Holbrook are also signed up to act in the movie. The film is expected to begin production in the Pittsburgh area in late April and run to mid-June. There was a casting call in Pittsburg on April 7 so you missed your chance to be a paid extra in the movie. It will be interesting to see what will be used to characterize the hydraulic fracturing. Will we only see drilling rigs? Will we see someone lighting the water faucet? Will they show the Environmental Protection Agency’s report stating that fracing is not polluting wells in Pennsylvania? I haven’t had much faith in the accuracy of Hollywood’s version of the oil industry since laughing my way through Steven Seagal’s version of fighting oil well fires in 1994 in “On Deadly Ground.” About the only film that has come close to capturing oilwell firefighting was John Wayne’s “The Hellfighters” in 1968. And, now, Damon is going to tell us about fracing. You know that the film will not be industry friendly. The research for the film will probably consist of watching “Gasland.” However, another film is being promoted by Ann and Phelim Media LLC, a Los Angeles-based film production company, that wants to produce a pro-fracing documentary called “FrackNation.” Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer are the two people behind the project. That particular endeavor is collecting donations on Kickstarter.com. For a donation of $1 or more, you can be an executive producer complete with film credits. The film was looking to raise $150,000 to fund the project. That is 1% of Damon’s project cost. As of April 6, the fundraising website noted that 3,305 people had pledged $212,265, or 141% of the budget. As the production company noted, the more money they raise, the better the end product will be. From the information on the Kickstarter.com website, the documentary would have a positive message for the industry. It probably won’t get the same reception in Hollywood that “Gasland” did. However, you can always request that your local theaters show the movie, just like other folks did for “Gasland.” I would expect Rocky the Squirrel and Bullwinkle the Moose to have guest appearances in Damon’s movie. Of course, Rocky and Bullwinkle would be promoting “Fractured Fairy Tales.” Contact the author, Scott Weeden, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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