Movie Article

Oliver's Twist

Oliver Stone's new flick -- The controversial director follows up ''Natural Born Killers'' with the biopic ''Noriega''

The good news is that Oliver Stone's next movie after Natural Born Killers won't have anything to do with the Vietnam War. The bad news — at least for former President George Bush and former Lieut. Col. Oliver North — is that the director will tackle the Iran-contra affair in Noriega, a biopic about the former Panamanian dictator starring Al Pacino.

Sources close to Stone say Bush and North will be portrayed as big-government bad guys. But according to Noriega screenwriter Lawrence Wright (whose script Stone is revising), the film will adopt a somewhat sympathetic view of the dictator, who's serving 40 years in a federal prison on drug charges. ''This is a film about Noriega's spiritual journey,'' says Wright, who adds that the film will attribute the dictator's downfall not to corruption, but to his failure to cooperate with covert U.S. intelligence operations.

Fortunately for North, who's running for the U.S. Senate in Virgina, the movie won't be released until 1995 and will have little, if any, impact on the election this fall. A North campaign official and a Bush spokesman in Houston both offer no comment. Meanwhile, an associate of Stone's claims the director is ''deathly afraid'' the media will pounce on Noriega's political content (as it did with JFK) before it gets made. Says the associate, ''Oliver is feeling very emotional now.''

Originally posted Mar 11, 1994 Published in issue #213 Mar 11, 1994 Order article reprints