Josh Young
April 30, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Ron Howard, un-American? Rep. Diane Watson and 26 members of Congress have criticized Hollywood’s Mr. Nice Guy for ”outsourcing” filming of Cinderella Man (which began April 19) to Canada. ”While we applaud the effort by Universal Studios to tell the triumphant story of James J. Braddock [Russell Crowe, inset]…one of our nation’s greatest boxing heroes, we are deeply concerned,” Watson said in an April 5 letter to MPAA chief Jack Valenti, which cited the ”hundreds of U.S. jobs affected.”

Valenti says the decision was ”influenced by one compelling advantage”: Only Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens could stand in for NYC’s Depression-era Madison Square Garden. ”To single out Ron for making Cinderella Man with the artistic integrity that is the hallmark of his movies is bizarre,” says a senior studio exec. Especially in light of the fact that Howard’s last 16 films were made on U.S. soil.

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