Charlie Wilson on ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’
Story by Chris Graham
So you have Charlie Wilson in front of you, and he’s open to questions on any and all topics.
Naturally my first was …
“What did you think of the movie?”
I’m not a goober for going there on the second question of the press conference.
“I liked the movie,” said Wilson, a former congressman from Texas whose role in getting the United States involved in supporting Afghan rebels against their Soviet Red Army invaders in the 1980s was chronicled in the critically acclaimed “Charlie Wilson’s War” now out in theaters.
Few had even heard of Wilson before the release of the movie, starring Tom Hanks as Wilson and Julia Roberts as a wealthy Texas socialite who shared Wilson’s zeal for the Afghanistan conflict. Now, understandably, Wilson is high in demand on the lecture circuit – and he was the rock star of day one of the 2008 Mock Democratic Convention at Washington and Lee University on a schedule that included former presidential candidate Jesse Jackson and 1984 Democratic Party vice-presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, who did raise one objection about one of the decisions of the casting director on “Charlie Wilson’s War.”
“He’s better-looking than Tom Hanks,” Ferraro told reporters after her address to the convention.
Wilson, for his part, was not a passive subject of a biopic.
“My wife and I spent a lot of time on the set. We went to Morocco with them to shoot all the big action scenes,” Wilson told me.
Not that he didn’t have some objections of his own about the movie.
“I think anytime you have a movie made about you, particularly if it’s a product of a book, that you’re going to regret some of the scenes that have to be left out. But the truth of the matter is, you can’t get a 500-page book into an hour-and-45-minute movie. So I think they did a pretty good job,” Wilson said.
“The movie seemed to me to be over quickly. But that might have been because I was a little bit overly interested in it,” Wilson said.