Late in 2003, Michael Moore’s ”Fahrenheit 9/11” crew shot an interview with an American businessman who was on his way to Iraq, seeking to capitalize on postwar opportunities there. As it turns out, the man was Nicholas Berg, whose kidnapping and beheading by terrorists in Iraq earlier this month caused international outrage. Salon.com learned of the Berg interview and sought comment from Moore, who issued a statement saying that the footage had not been used in the completed film, which won the top prize at Cannes last week, and that he was talking to Berg’s family about their wishes regarding the clip. ”We have an interview with Nick Berg. It was approximately 20 minutes long,” the statement read. ”We are not releasing it to the media. It is not in the film. We are dealing privately with the family.”
Moore’s camp would not discuss the nature or contents of the interview, or how they came to interview Berg in the first place. It’s also not clear whether any of the Berg footage ever made it into a cut of the movie, which was screened to the public for the first time at Cannes on May 17, six days after Berg’s killers released a video of the beheading.
While it’s unlikely that the public will ever see Moore’s Berg interview, it’s not clear when we’ll be seeing the rest of the film, either. According to The Hollywood Reporter, ”Fahrenheit” still doesn’t have a distribution deal in the U.S., even though it’s been two weeks since Disney, which declined to let its division Miramax release the avowedly partisan documentary, agreed to sell it to Miramax’s Harvey and Bob Weinstein and let them find their own distributor. Those in the running include indies ThinkFilm, Lions Gate, and Newmarket, as well as Universal’s art-house division Focus. Moore has said he wants to see the film in theaters by the July 4 weekend.