Jon Voight and Chris Cain, star and writer/director of September Dawn, discuss the controversy around the Mormon’s Mountain Meadow Massacre.
HH: Special couple of hours coming up. On Thursday, on screens across the United States, you will see September Dawn debuting. And September Dawn is a tremendous…Friday. Jay just told me it’s Friday. Doesn’t is always sneak preview on Thursday night somewhere, though? Okay. It’s Friday, September Dawn comes out. Joining me in studio to talk about this move, and the controversy surrounding it, Chris Cain is the director and the producer, Jon Voight is its star. Welcome, gentlemen. Jon Voight, good to have you back in studio after the last time.
JV: Good to see you again, Hugh.
HH: I had so many compliments of the last time you were here, we talked about the war, that we’ve got to go back to that conversation.
JV: Oh, great.
HH: But let’s begin with the movie. Chris Cain, nice to make your acquaintance. Young Guns, tremendous movie, everyone in America knows Young Guns. Then you go into retirement, and now you’re back with September Dawn. Why this movie right now?
CC: We felt that this movie had some relationship to the world we’re living in today. You ask yourself why would a kid that’s like 25 years old, 20 years old, strap a bomb on his back, walk into a bus, and blow himself and everybody else up? You ask yourself that question, and you can easily dismiss it as that bunch of nuts on the other side of the globe. We looked at this story, which was kind of an unknown story to most of the American public at this time, and thought that there was some relationship to this one specific event in our own backyard at this one point in history, and to help explain and to help understand a little bit how these things can escalate to that point.
HH: Now Jon Voight, we talked about this the last time you were here. You say it’s not an anti-Mormon movie, and it’s not an anti-Mitt Romney movie. In fact, yesterday’s Boston Globe, you’re quoted as saying Mitt Romney’s very clear about this enemy, he’s one of those fellows that we can count on to understand what we’re facing at this time. Is it unfortunate that this movie has come out in the middle of a campaign, the first serious campaign by a Mormon for president?
JV: Well, I think that people can distinguish between this motion picture and the history 150 years ago, and know that this isn’t pointed against present day LDS Church members, and especially not Mitt Romney. And you know, Mitt Romney, the candidacy for Mitt Romney was not in the picture when we made the film. And so it just happened to coincide. But no, I don’t think that it’s going to stir more than just looking at this past, and learning the lessons from this past, just as I think John Kennedy, when he ran, you know, he had to deal with the Catholic Church and their history, too. But it didn’t bother his plans for his candidacy.
HH: Now let’s…before we get to the specifics, I’ll ask you, Chris, to set up the Mountain Meadow Massacre of September 11th, 1857. Give the summary of what happened, and why, as you go into this movie making it, what you understood to have happened and why.
CC: Well, it was an interesting kind of a period in history for…the Mormons had been driven out of Missouri, and out of Arkansas, and they finally found a place to settle in Utah. And they were, there was some paranoia going on about whether they were going to be driven out of Utah, and where they were going to go after that, so they had kind of set up their own little militia, and their little world to protect themselves. Wagon trains were moving from the East Coast to the West Coast, this wagon train happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. There were rumors that the people in the wagon train who were from Missouri were involved in the assassination of Joseph Smith, who was the founder of the Mormon religion. And just the spirit of that particular time at that one particular place caused this incendiary thing to happen.
HH: And that incendiary thing is what?
CC: There were 120 men, women and children in this wagon train that were slaughtered. They were slaughtered by, in the historians’ opinion, by Mormons.
HH: And with some accomplices among the Indians who were local to that place.
HH: The Mormons don’t deny that. In fact, I believe Gordon Hinckley’s going down there on September 11th this year to help commemorate the massacre that occurred. So they don’t deny that. What’s the controversy about that? Is it the treatment of Brigham Young in the film?
CC: I think so. I think the controversy is the involvement of Brigham Young.
HH: And what’s your understanding of that involvement?
CC: Well, we did a lot of research on this, and tried to dig up everything we could find. And in our opinion, and in the opinion of a lot of historians, and even quite a few Mormon historians, that he certainly knew about it, certainly was created a spirit for that specific time in history to allow this to happen, if not giving direct orders.
HH: And Jon Voight, your understanding of what Brigham Young did?
JV: Yeah, well, first, let me say that the LDS Church just came out very recently, and perhaps because of the film, with a rather comprehensive statement that was by their managing director of family and Church history, the department there, and his name is Richard E. Turley.
HH: Oh, I’ve got that, the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
HH: It’s a good statement.
JV: Very, very strong statement that really parallels everything that we have in the film, right up to the door of Brigham Young. It doesn’t pass that threshold, but it really does a very, I think, a very scholarly job of describing the events. So anyway, what is my opinion? And I have to say, when I read the script, it was very shocking to me, but it was, I read it very quickly in one sitting, and then I went right to the computer, and I looked up all the stuff that I could, and printed out all the pages that I could possibly absorb, and then went to a couple of books. And in all of the research that I’ve come up with, and the most telling, I believe, was by Mormons themselves, a fellow by the name of Josiah F. Gibbs, who wrote some twenty years or so after the massacre, was a child at the time of the massacre, and the confession of John D. Lee himself, who maintained his loyalty to the Mormon Church to the end, but felt he was a scapegoat, and was the adopted son of Brigham Young, and you know, some people in our contemporary world have written books recently, and one was the Blood of the Prophets by Will Bagley, a whole array of stuff. What I have come to understand from all my reading, and I can go, I can give you, you know, line and verse and all of that, I would say he definitely knew. And I would say that because it was an autocracy at that time, and I don’t think any Mormon would describe it any differently, knowing the history of their own Church, that he would have to have known.
HH: And Chris Cain, do you think it’s an open and shut case? Or is there a legitimate debate about Brigham Young’s participation in this?
CC: Well, I think there’s a legitimate debate. As to whether he knew about it, I think it’s an open and shut case. As to whether he specifically ordered the demise of this specific wagon train, I think there’s a debate there, and the debate in my mind would be if I were to say to you remove those people, that can mean send them on their way, or it can mean remove them physically. So whether somebody misinterpreted what was said, whether someone misinterpreted what was done, or whether he actually meant remove them totally is probably the only place I think there’s room for debate.
HH: Jon Voight referred to the Turley piece, the Mountains Meadow Massacre…
HH: …which was in the Ensign magazine, which is their online publication from this September.
HH: Let me read to you what they say about communication too late. President Brigham Young’s express message of reply to hate, who’s the guy in charge on the scenes, dated September 10th. Arrived in Cedar City two days after the massacre, his letter reported recent news that no U.S. troops would be able to reach the territory before winter. So you see that the Lord has answered our prayers, and again averted the blow designed for our heads, he wrote. In regard to emigration trains passing through your settlements, Young continued, we must not interfere with them until they are first notified to keep away. You must not meddle with them. The Indians, we expect, will do as they please, but you should try and preserve good feelings with them. There are no other trains going south that I know of. If those who are there will leave, let them go in peace. While we should be on the alert on hand and always ready, we should also possess ourselves in patience, preserving ourselves in property, ever remembering that God rules. Chris Cain, what do you make of that letter? Was it an intentional manipulation of the record?
CC: Nobody’s really ever found that letter. In Brigham Young’s deposition, they asked him about the letter, and asked him if he had it, and he said he searched for it, but was unable to find it, unable to locate it. So it’s one of those things where nobody’s ever seen the letter. It’s never surfaced. Or the guy that supposedly took it.
HH: Oh, that’s interesting. I didn’t know that. And so the defense offered up of Brigham Young by Brigham Young defenders is based upon what? Heresay? Is that where that came from?
CC: I don’t know where it came from. Nobody really knows where it came from.
HH: Jon Voight, and so you don’t consider that as dispositive either?
JV: Well, there is controversy about the letter, so that is one thing. And then in his testimony from the government, he said something about the first time he heard about it was from floating rumor, something like that, didn’t he?
CC: Yeah, they asked him when he had first heard about it, and he said they asked him if he’d heard about it, and he says only through floating rumor, so the idea being if he’d only heard about it through floating rumor after the fact, why would he have sent a letter before the fact?
JV: There’s some controversy, in other words.
HH: The movie opens Friday, September Dawn, 800…how many theaters, Chris?
CC: 850 and change.
HH: 850 theaters across the United States, and probably elsewhere.
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HH: Chris Cain, let me ask you, my friend, Michael Medved, a colleague of mine, says look, just put aside the film for a moment. Why doesn’t Hollywood make stories, if they want to talk about religious extremism and nuts, about the religious extremists and nuts of today? Why is Hollywood not producing movies with fanatical Islamist villains as opposed to going back and using as stand-ins the Mormon massacrers of 1857?
CC: Well, I think we will. I think that we tend to make movies about historical facts, things that have happened that are over, so you have some kind of a conclusion to them. I think that’s part of the reason. Part of the other reason is we even talked about making a movie that involved the situation in Iraq. But the lag time from the time you start developing a project until you get it in the theaters, the entire situation in Iraq may be over, done, or totally different, and entirely change from what we’re looking at right now. So that’s why we make movies about things that have happened in the past, because we know the conclusion, we know where they ended up.
HH: Now Jon Voight, on the last time you were here, plus in some of the writings you’ve talked about, religious extremism in one box, and why do people go this crazy in service of a god that they can’t really get a telegram fund. Since you were here three months ago, have your conversations with your Mormon friends and fans changed your mind about whether it was good to use this example to illustrate religious extremism?
JV: Well, I haven’t had any…you know, it’s a hard movie, and there’s some of my Mormon friends have been shocked by it, but others have been applauding it. So I think that people understand that every chapter of history has to be looked over, and the truth has to be brought to it, otherwise we are threatened with going ahead and making the same, recreating horrors in the future. And in regard to that, I have to say that I’ve said this before, but every religion has the responsibility to new generations as to what their religion says or does. And both good and bad. And if any religion carries blood on their hands, as with this incident, as with the Christian world, too, you have to go back, and you must wash your hands pure. You cannot teach doctrine to new generations without a total full disclosure of what has been said and done that is truly not Godly, so that in the future, and when I say that, I’m looking at what’s happening in our present day world, and I’m looking at this religious takeover, which is a takeover of a religion for justification of murder, I’m looking at this horror that is at our present doorstep, and I’m saying that the future, we must clean these things out, we must address them. And there are Muslims today who are very brave, and are saying the strongest kind of words. They are very, very few, a handful, but they are very brave people, so that this religion must find a way to translate, to interpret their doctrine in a way that is wholesome, so that Catholics and Mormons and Muslims will, in the future, find a way of brotherhood with a common bond, and never stepping on each other’s toes, and all searching for God. Now if I can go on one more step, because…
HH: Please, go ahead.
JV: …I…Hugh knows I have some notes in front of me. I wanted, I did take this note with me, which was something I had said and I found recently that I had wrote some notes, I went to, I was invited to St. Patrick’s to speak on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of John Paul II.
HH: In New York?
JV: In New York.
JV: So that was a big deal for me to go to St. Pat’s, which has a lot of history for me. And when I went there, I thought of the things to say, and I wrote down this. I said it was the greatest honor for me to be able to portray the Holy Father, it changed me in many ways, and the very first thing I said was I feel a great urgency to remind us all of his most important message. We must remember we are all born into different faiths, but each faith leads in one direction, and that is to God. So I thought that was some kind of a message from this great one for all religions, and we all have to, you know, find a way to go forward into a world that is going to be tolerant of each other, encouraging of each other, even, and we have to clean each, you know, each religion, and those religions can be cleaned by going into the past and seeing the lessons to be learned.
HH: Now you’ve obviously played a lot of difficult roles in your day, so you’ve had to do a lot of character examination, a lot of study of history in different settings.
HH: Are you surprised by the reaction to this movie from Mormons?
HH: This is a wild jump. When you portrayed Adolf Rupp…
HH: I mean, did you step on any toes at that point? Because he’s close to God in Kentucky. So I mean, did people get angry with your…
JV: (laughing) It was a religious portrait, Hugh.
JV: I tell you, the man is God.
HH: And you portrayed John Paul II. Did you step on toes then? Or is this the most you’ve offended people?
JV: (laughing) What a…you have a delightful way of expressing your questions.
JV: You know, giving a warm and nurturing embrace around your guest. I have to say that this character is a character who is, what can we say? He’s a destructive force, he’s evil, and he’s hateful.
HH: Not Brigham Young, the bishop you played.
JV: The bishop that I portray. In my work on this character, I think what makes him even most dangerous, and most pernicious, is the fact that he’s human and understandable. That’s what I thought about in creating the role, is how does this man get to be where he is?
HH: What’s the answer to that? How did he get to be where he was?
JV: Well, many different things. One is that he felt himself a victim of life, and he felt that those leadership, the leadership of this Church offered him a chance to be a god, he says, but to be somebody, do you see? So we have a fragile ego in the first place, and then in the course of the history of his life, he has to, someone takes his wife away, the wife that he loves deeply. And he has to watch her murdered, but by the Church at that time, because she came back to see her children after she had been taken by one of the disciples. And he had to witness that and let that go. And it was such a…he in many ways, he’s a broken figure. So when he clung to his religious beliefs at that time, and even the extreme aspects of it, his hurt was deep, his need for revenge for things was deep, you know, so he had a lot of troublesome aspects when he approached this particular chapter.
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HH: Chris Cain, before break, September Dawn, about the Mountain Meadow Massacre, before break, I asked were you appreciative of the Mormon history that went into the paranoia, and I use that term advisedly, because James Buchanan, the president, had dispatched 1,500 people, 1,500 troops, to destroy the Mormons in their Utah stronghold, when you began the project? Did you have an appreciation for the LDS story?
CC: Yeah, I did, absolutely. You can’t look at the history at that time without appreciating the trials and tribulations that they had gone through at that point.
HH: What do you make of Joseph Smith?
CC: Well, he was a charismatic man. He’s a charismatic guy that’s strong enough and powerful enough to start a religion on his own beliefs. There’s a lot of controversy over the tablets, and whether or not they were real, or they were a figment of his imagination.
HH: What about Brigham Young? What’s your estimate of Brigham Young?
CC: Great leader, great leader. He led these people to…the difference between the two is that Joseph Smith was a charismatic futurist who looked at the future and tried to determine ideas, Brigham Young was an organizer, leader. He was able to take these ideas and organize them, and organize a group of people, and turn them into what they’ve become today.
HH: Was the concern of Brigham Young about the American government’s assault upon Utah justified after, in your mind, after doing all the research?
CC: Well, it was in his mind, which is probably what’s more important than what’s in my mind. Probably, the paranoia was probably justified.
HH: And how did you come to this project? I mean, it’s such an unusual project.
CC: I was minding my own business…
CC: Offending no one in particular at the time. And the lady named Carole Whang Schutter, who was the co-writer of the screenplay with me, came to me with this idea. It was probably about the hundredth idea she’d come with. She wanted to be a screenwriter, and I wanted to not be a filmmaker anymore. And I kept saying yeah, great idea. This came to me, and I thought well, that’s pretty interesting, so I did the lazy thing, and I said well, go write a screenplay, thinking that would be the end of it. And she did. She went off and she came back with a screenplay. It wasn’t a movie, but it was a screenplay, and it had an awful lot of research in it. So I started looking at that, and looking at the research, and following the story, and finally got an idea how to tell this story so that it became a movie, and not a documentary, that it became not a historical drama, but it became…
HH: But you must get hundreds of scripts.
CC: Well, I used to.
HH: Still, right? I mean, people find ways to get scripts to people who make movies.
CC: Yeah, they do. They do. We were in Washington, D.C. some time ago, and a member of the House of Representatives went into the back room, came out and handed me a script.
HH: Okay, so why this one? Why did it jump out at you?
CC: Well, I think a lot of things. I think the September 11th date jumped out at me, and I thought well, that’s ironic, and I thought well, it probably was one of the days during the siege. It turned out to be the exact date that the total massacre would take place. I found that interesting. And then I got hooked into the relationship between then and now, the relationship between that one little specific event that took place here, and what we’re living in globally now.
HH: And Jon Voight, you can make pretty much any movie you want…
JV: Well, thank you very much, Hugh.
HH: Academy Award winner…I know, I’ll tell Hollywood that. But I mean, you’ve just made Transformers…
HH: You’re making National Treasure 2, you obviously…why this one?
JV: Well, I said when I read it that it really was a real power to it, and I wanted to know if it was authentic. And then when I saw that it was in my mind, I related it immediately to what is going on in the world today to religious fanaticism as we see it with the Islamo-fascists, which is quite frightening, quite horrific, and I feel that…and I made another movie by the name of Deliverance.
HH: Oh, yeah.
JV: And that movie was about civilized men not being able to understand how to confront evil, and that they had to almost learn all over again to stand up to it, and to do what was appropriate, which was dangerous.
HH: What do you think Petraeus is going to say? We have 30 seconds to the break.
JV: Ooh. Well, I have a great…obviously, the people in Washington are thinking that something’s happening, because we’re getting these statements all over the place, and he’s stirring up many things. From the soldiers that I’ve talked to, and I’ve talked to many soldiers, they think he’s a very strong, capable guy, and that he’s really the man, and that a positive report is forthcoming.
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HH: Chris Cain, Jon Voight’s been in the news a lot because he’s been out there talking politics. Now you’re going up to Montreal, Jon, to receive the lifetime achievement award from the Montreal Film Festival. Congratulations on Friday.
JV: Thank you.
HH: But when he started making this movie, Chris, did you know you had a political guy with you?
CC: No, I had no idea at all.
JV: He still doesn’t know, Hugh. Don’t tell him.
HH: And did you talk politics…don’t…did you talk politics on the set at all?
CC: No. In fact, he wouldn’t even talk to me on the set. (laughing)
JV: (laughing) I was really smart.
HH: When did you become political?
JV: Well, you know, when you say political, I mean, I think we’re all political, aren’t we?
HH: Willing to speak about things political.
JV: Well, I think that this film gave, you know, a theme that required some answers on the political front because of its relationship to religious fanaticism. So I stepped up into that area. But in the process of doing the film, or in the time since we made the film, I’ve not only taken an interest in what we’re facing, which I have, but I’ve also started visiting the troops at the hospitals, which I recommend for anybody, just to support our troops, of course, you know? It’s not an issue of partisan politics. This is, we’ve got to support our guys, give them love, and also some nurturing and a big thank you, and that will help a long way toward their healing, the wounded warriors that are coming back. I can tell you that. You know, we talk about all the things that they’re carrying, any warrior from any war will tell you that they need that kind of support, you know? So anyway, I’ve done a lot of that. And in the process of that, I was asked a lot of questions, and so I started answering the questions as I saw them at the time, and this made me a little bit unusual on the scene, because most Hollywood people are, the Hollywood people we hear from, are extremists, I think.
HH: Have you shared a screen with Sean Penn?
JV: Have I shot a what?
HH: Shared a movie with Sean Penn?
JV: No, I have not.
HH: So he shows up in Caracas next to Hugo Chavez…
HH: …who is the Mugabe of Central America and South America.
HH: I don’t expect you to comment on Sean Penn, but the industry generally. Do they realize who Hugo Chavez is? Do they realize he’s a butcher, and an ally of Ahmadinejad, and an ally of the people who are killing American soldiers? Does your community get that?
JV: Well, some of them obviously don’t. Yup, some of them don’t. We’re in a very disturbing time. As a matter of fact, you know, some of the people who are speaking out are more dangerous to us than the enemy would seem, you know? They are taking such positions, and the kind of dialogue that comes out is quite debilitating to our country’s best interests.
HH: Chris Cain, you left a lot of this behind until someone found you on the ski slope, and gives you a script, and you come back. Has the industry changed a great deal since you did Young Guns, and this huge success, this important movie? Has it gone to the left since you were there in the middle of it?
CC: I think it’s always been left. I think it…the people in our industry have this need to be at the forefront of something. Right or wrong, they need to be seen, they need to be heard, they need to be talked about. And it’s easier to do it from a very liberal standpoint, and shock people, than it is to do it from a wholesome conservative standpoint.
HH: Are you conservative?
CC: About what?
HH: Just generally. People walk up to you and say, you know, are you an Indians fan? Are you conservative?
CC: Well, I think I’m conservative on a lot of issues, and I’m probably liberal on some issues.
HH: How about on the war?
HH: And so you think it’s being waged justly and appropriately?
CC: I think it’s being waged necessarily.
HH: And is the industry afraid of the Islamic radicals? Is that…I know you had your argument about there’s a time lag, but we’ve been in this war, at least obviously since 9/11, we’re coming up on the seventh anniversary. I don’t think we have a serious picture about the enemy, do we?
CC: No, I don’t think so.
HH: Why is that? Seven years is a long time. It doesn’t have to be like what’s going on in Iraq right now, but just one serious picture about the enemy.
CC: Well, motion pictures, unlike books, are very expensive to make, and at some point, if you’re going to make a movie, you have to have two things. You have to have the money to make them, and you have to have the ability to get them in front of the public somehow. Both of those things are very expensive. The people that are making those decisions right now, I think probably, for the most part, are not supportive of the effort.
HH: Is the kingdom from what…I don’t even know if either of you know anything about The Kingdom, the big movie that’s coming out at Christmas, is that an anti-terror movie? It looks like it, but the trailer could be deceiving.
CC: I think it might be. I haven’t seen it, either, but I think it might be.
HH: And do you see scripts, Jon Voight, that intimate that there’s a turn coming, that the industry is heading that way?
JV: Well, I would hope so. I think that some…you know, some of this, most of this war has been politicized from its inception, because the people who’ve spoken out so against our President and his efforts, and this war entire, had a different tone in 2002. Their statements were just as strong as anybody’s at that time, or in 1998, when we had the Iraq Freedom Act, you know, the statements of our president then, Bill Clinton, were just as strong as anything that our President Bush has ever said. So there was a turn politically. It became a partisan aspect. And I think that this partisan aspect was only because of power seeking, you know, thinking of this presidency coming up. The heat turned on in the last presidential election, it seemed like, it seemed to me that the Democrats took a big turn to an extremist position, and that’s what they’re burdened with at this present time. They have, their two major candidates, the two frontrunners now, are trying to find a moderate place, but they’re carrying this albatross of the platform, which was an extremist platform.
HH: You know, you’ve become very unpopular on the left wing blogs and the web, because you’ve just said things like that.
JV: I can’t believe it.
HH: Yeah. Do you bother reading them?
JV: I’m shocked. And all of the love that I’ve given these people over the years? Hugh…
HH: (laughing) I’ll be right back.
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HH: Did you help write it, Chris?
HH: And when you sit down to do that, did you go to the Salt Lake City people first and say to them, I’m going to write a movie that’s got Brigham Young in it, do you have any tips?
CC: No, I did not do that.
HH: Are you glad that you didn’t? Or do you regret that you didn’t?
CC: Oh, we did the research. We’re in a time when you have computers. You can find almost anything you want on the internet, now. Most of our research was done through the internet. A lot of the stuff came out of the Mormon library.
HH: Do you think of yourself as anti-Mormon, pro-Mormon, or neutral?
HH: Jon Voight, anti, pro or neutral?
HH: And to the people who are criticizing you as having made a movie that indicts Brigham Young, what’s your response to them, because I want to make sure they hear it if they’re only listening to one hour.
JV: Well, I think that if you look at the stuff available on the websites, if you look at the stuff that came out, the reportage that came out during that time, as a beginner, in other words, you want to get some authentication, look at Josiah F. Gibbs, and his reportage which is a piece that he had written for a paper around twenty years after the time period of the incident. And that’s about 26 pages. Also, about the same amount of pages is the Confession of John D. Lee. And then if they want to do something that’s more contemporary and comprehensive, look at the Blood of the Prophets.
HH: It’s really just because of the Brigham Young…I mean, we’d be talking about it as a movie, and we haven’t yet talked about it as a movie…
JV: Yeah, when I say that, I say there’s information there, and we did our homework, and there’s a lot to be looked at. And every word that Brigham Young says in the film was taken from things that he actually said around those weeks around the massacre. So you get an idea from the tone…
HH: Were you fair to the context, do you think?
JV: What do you think?
CC: Oh, obviously, I think I do, or I would have done it differently. But I believe that I’m comfortable with the…
HH: But filmmakers do have to, you know, build tension, and even if it’s the written record, you can still leave out…well, it’s like listening to the Watergate tapes. You can build a case that Nixon didn’t know what was going on if I grab a line here and a line there. Is it fair for people to worry that you plucked here out of context, and there out of context, Chris Cain, as the writer?
CC: Well, they can worry about that if they want to, but we don’t think we did. We think that the context, that you can never take and make everything that you’re doing in context, but what you try to do with the best effort you can is to create the spirit of exactly what the intent was at the time of the individual.
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HH: We’ll take your calls, but before we go back there, Chris Cain, during the break, we were talking about the fact you make a movie, and you put it in the box, and then you start showing it, and depending on who’s seeing it, you’re getting reactions you never dreamed of.
CC: Yeah, you find out what your movie’s about after you finish it.
HH: Explain that to people.
CC: Well, this particular movie we just made this time, if you’re a Mormon, it’s going to be one kind of movie. If you’re a ex-Mormon, it’s going to be another kind of a movie. And depending on what seat you sit in, and what your background is, you will relate to different movies in different ways.
HH: And you’ve got critics like Jeffrey Lyons who love it as a movie…
HH: And Michael Medved who doesn’t like it for reasons not really related to the plot or the acting, but to the history and what’s not being made like that. So it’s coming up all over the map.
CC: Well, this movie, more than any other movie I’ve made, probably is like that. It’s like you love it, you hate it, you kind of like it, you really like it, but it’s not about the movie, which is a funny thing. It’s about the subject matter this time. It’s about what the movie is about, and you could call this a spin if you want. I’ll tell you the spin on Young Guns when I made Young Guns. When we made Young Guns, we tried to get it made at all the studios. Nobody would touch it because it was a western. I kept saying it’s not a western, it’s a biker movie on horses. They didn’t buy that. But when I made the movie, that was the attitude with which me made the movie. This is like a biker movie, but they just happen to be on horses. And I think that’s why the movie was successful. This one, this is not a movie about Mormons. It’s not a movie about Muslims. It’s a movie about an idea. And the idea is, how does this happen? How do otherwise good people follow a path with a leader down a path that takes them to a place where they do terrible things that otherwise they would never do?
HH: What’s the answer to that, Chris Cain? When you’re at the end of the day here, you’re almost at the end of this process, where do fanatics come from? And I am not, I want to make clear to my Mormon friends, I’m not saying Mormons are fanatics. I’m saying where do religious fanatics come from?
CC: It’s a good question. You know, I’m not sure I know where the fanatics come from. I know where the followers come from. The followers come from people who believe, who have a faith, and who follow a religion, in itself, is a good thing. Almost every religion, well, probably all religions in themselves are a good thing. They build hospitals, schools, they educate people, they help the poor, they help the needy. But when a leader fins a position where he can use his position and his power to take them down the wrong path, that’s when a religion goes bad.
HH: Sure, I’m just thinking now of Nasralah, the leader of Hezbollah.
HH: Hezbollah builds hospitals, they take care of children, they hand out food, they clothe people in cold weather, and then they attack Israel, kidnap soldiers, and kill innocents and rain down 1,400 missiles on a defenseless Northern Israeli population. So Jon Voight, when you’re done just studying this generally, at what point do they click over? Because we’ve got to figure that out, because there are an alarming number of fanatics in the world, and they’re not getting fewer in number except those who happen to be fighting against the United States military in Iraq.
JV: Well, I think that what we’re facing in Iraq and around the world right now is a totalitarian movement. And you can ask about how totalitarian movements evolve. I look at this time in our history as a time not dissimilar to 1938, when everybody was saying well, Hitler is this, Hitler is that, just talk to him, and all of that. And then we realized that we’re in grave, grave danger. And finally, after you know, the population gets enough and then we have Pearl Harbor, we realize what’s at stake, and we realize we’re in the gun sight, right? And then we had communism, which is another totalitarian movement. And it comes from many different things, but it comes from a person saying everybody’s got to think our way, or they’re out. And that’s why I don’t…I feel religions are very, very important. I think morality comes from religions, and our country is based on religious principles. And yet, you know, they can be distorted and used toward a totalitarian aspect. And that’s why I don’t like proselytizing. I think that the danger is, finally, proselytizing has got to go. We can’t insist that everybody see the world through our glasses. We have to look at everybody as individuals, and we have to be able to have dialogue with all religions, and we have to respect each other. Once that respect happens, then religions can come together and we have some fun.
HH: You know, you may be the guy other than actual uniformed members of the services and their families who spent more time with the wounded that I know, someone who’s actually been to the hospitals and talked to them. When you talk to these young men and women in the American military who’ve come back from battle and are hurt, do they hate the enemy now? Or are they forgiving of the enemy, and thinking that it’s the fanatics who’ve taken and hijacked this religion?
JV: Oh, they know who the enemy is. They see it, you know. They have the experience of being with the people of whatever country they’re in, and they know all the different aspects of the intimidation through terror. These people are terrorized. In Iraq, the people who stand by our side, who give us information, who love the American soldier, they are jeopardizing their families’ lives and futures. But anyway, the American soldiers are, they’re an amazing group. Hugh, I have to say, that the true heroes of this hour are on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. And when you cross those thresholds into those hospital rooms, you realize you’re in the presence of some of a generation that is of extraordinary character. And this is amazing when you compare it to their peers who are, as they are presented by the news media most especially, into shallow interests. And we say well, where’s the American character? And I say well, boy, it’s really there. And I’ll tell you what I think, when I heard that the surge was having effect and sheiks were coming over to our side, and there’s a movement there, I’ll say one of the ingredients of that movement are the character of the American…these young Americans over there. They’re the best ambassadors I think we ever had.
HH: That is a great…you’re choked up, because you’ve been with these guys, right? And a lot of them are very badly banged up. Do you have an organization…
JV: But you know, these guys don’t want anybody’s pity. I’ll tell you, these guys are most extraordinary. I always, when I leave talking with these young men and women, mostly of course young men, but young women, too, I feel you know, so good about this country, that we can produce a generation of this character, you know, that they have plans…there’s not…98% of them want to go right back into it, and…
HH: Jon Voight, this is obviously sincere on your part.
JV: They’re amazing people.
HH: You’ve got tears in your eyes, and you’re choked up. Why…
JV: And I’m not very eloquent.
HH: No, it’s very eloquent. I want to tell people, why can’t we get a film that shows who these people are to the American people? Is that so hard to ask? I don’t want to blame you. I’m not blaming Chris Cain. But why can’t, out of all of Hollywood, we find a film that even intimates 10% of what you feel when you talk about these American heroes?
JV: Yes, they should. There should be many, many films. I mean, and hopefully, there will be. You know, I was thinking, Hugh, when we talked about something a little bit before, I was thinking that the American people have been programmed to play down the danger to this country. It seems amazing that we’ve forgotten so quickly 9/11. Certainly, the families have not forgotten. But we have had seven hundred and something attacks that we have averted on our shores since 9/11, and we don’t get much publicity there. But you know, just around the world, when we see these doctors trying to incinerate these women in a club in London, when we see the different horrific things that are happening, the Taliban shooting down girls going to school because they don’t believe that women should have an education, maybe we’re starting to get it, that this is a pernicious, relentless force of evil. That’s the only way you can describe it. And we have to stand up to it. And the guys who are doing it, we should applaud and thank and be in awe of them.
HH: Do you have a particular charity…we do the Semper Fi Fund here, www.semperfifund.org.
JV: Right, right.
HH: But do you have any in particular?
HH: When they get back.
JV: When they get back, and the Yellow Ribbon Fund, which you know, does everything to get the families taken care of, the Fisher House…
HH: The Fisher House is wonderful, yeah.
JV: The hero miles, or whatever it’s called, so that the families can come visit, so that you can take your own miles, if you have an Express card or whatever it is, you can give miles to the Fisher fund, and families can get to see their wounded warriors.
HH: And we’ll make sure all those are up at the web. Don’t go anywhere.
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HH: Before we go back to the phones and back to the controversy around…I just want to ask a pure movie question, Chris Cain. You made Young Guns, horse movie. I know, bikers on horses, but a horse movie.
HH: And now you’ve got more horses in this thing, I assume. I haven’t seen it yet.
CC: Yeah, it has horses in it.
HH: Lots of horses. John Ford made all these horse movies. Is the ability…do you know how to ride, is my question?
CC: I do.
HH: And do you have to know how to ride to make a horse movie?
CC: Probably not. Probably not. But it helps if you know a little bit about horse sense.
HH: And the quality of the riding from Young Guns, which is…what year is Young Guns?
HH: ’87. So it’s been twenty years.
HH: How’s the quality of horsemanship in Hollywood?
CC: It’s terrible.
HH: Is it terrible?
CC: It’s terrible. Yeah, well, you do a western, the first thing you do is have two months of riding lessons for the cast.
HH: And they can get it by then?
CC: They can pass by then.
HH: Can you ride, Jon Voight?
JV: I can ride a little bit, better than, perhaps, most actors. But that doesn’t say very much.
HH: It must be very hard to direct horses…
JV: I have a couple of buddies that…
HH: That take you out there and roam around?
JV: …that take me, and they’re good guys, some cowboys that I know.
HH: All right, first question from the public. Does the movie address atrocities perpetrated on the Mormons such as Haun’s Mill, which is the massacre of Mormons in Missouri, I can’t remember the exact year. Does it, Chris Cain?
CC: It touches on it. It has a scene the recalls the murder of Joseph Smith.
HH: And so in that one scene are the many atrocities, because Haun’s Mill was a bad deal. That was a real bad deal.
CC: Yeah, no, there’s just the death of Joseph Smith.
HH: All right, to the phones. Dennis in Pasadena, you’re on with Chris Cain and Jon Voight.
Dennis: Hey, morning glory.
HH: Evening grace, sir.
Dennis: Thank you for having me on. I am a descendent on John D. Lee, and certain points were made about him being an adopted son of Brigham Young, categorized as an evil man, and my grand-uncle, John Wesley, and my cousin, Vernon Lee, both historians of the family and archivists that have huge collections of John D. Lee’s things and records…
HH: Okay, Dennis, and your opinion of him is?
Dennis: Well, that he isn’t evil. He was…one thing that needed to be brought up is that he was a bodyguard to Joseph Smith, and made a promise that figured in heavily on his tenaciously going after people who had claimed to have purchased or owned a gun that killed Joseph Smith.
HH: Now that is part…let me pick up on that, Dennis. Jon Voight, that is part, or Chris Cain, that is part of the narrative, that prior to the massacre, some of the wagon train people had been in the town of Cedar Creek, and said we’ve got a gun that was used to kill Joseph Smith.
CC: That’s not part of the…that’s one of the controversies. The rumors began within the Mormon community that this wagon train was from Missouri and Arkansas, which it was, and that they had bragged about the gun, but that gun’s never surfaced, and that’s one of those questions.
HH: One of those aspects. Jon Voight, what did you make of this man’s defense of his ancestors?
JV: First of all, I want to say to you as a descendent of John D. Lee, that John D. Lee is portrayed in this film as having tremendous doubts, and being very reluctant to carry through this order. And this is consistent with his confession, which he’s very, very clear about that.
HH: Does he say Brigham Young gave him an order?
JV: He doesn’t say Brigham Young did it, but he said there are his superiors in the Church did. You know, he claims that he was a scapegoat. But you can read his confession, and we stuck pretty much to it.
HH: All right, Dennis, thank you for that. And to Colorado Springs, Rob, you’re on the Hugh Hewitt Show with Jon Voight and Chris Cain.
Rob: Hi, folks, how are you doing?
Rob: Hey, before I take issue with you, I want to say that I agree with you folks that it is important to search out and explore the roots of stuff like this when they happen, even if they happen to one of your own. I am a Mormon, and coming to grips with this has been quite a challenge for me. But the issue I want to take is when you look at the trailer, the scene opens with Joseph, or excuse me, Brigham Young making a comment to something to the tune of I am the voice of God, and anyone who doesn’t like it will be hewn down. Where did that quote come from?
HH: Chris Cain?
CC: I don’t have the quote in front of me, but I can’t tell you exactly. I should have brought the quotes with me, but I didn’t bring them with me.
HH: But you’re certain it’s a quote from a published and reputable source?
Rob: Well, let me tell you where I’m coming from. I participate regularly in an apologetic message board where the critics and apologists come together, and both sides of the aisle have tried to search the source of this quote, and we can’t find anything that’s older than a couple of years. It seems to have not existed until a couple of years ago.
HH: Chris, will you send me what you believe to be the source of that, and then I’ll makr sure I post that at Hughhewitt.com.
CC: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.
HH: I hope that works for you, Rob, because obviously, we can’t get to the bottom of it now, but I’ll look up, and I will follow up on it. Carl, Santa Cruz, California. Carl?
Carl: Hugh, I wish you would have seen this movie. I know that you read all the books before you do the interviews, but I have two comments to make about the motivation that’s stated for this, one about Mitt Romney, and one about religious fanaticism. About Romney, the level of both Republicans and Democrats, where these men have friends, all knew about Romney, they knew about his presidential timber back, at least by ’94 when he was running against Kennedy. So they’ve been watching him, they knew he was going to run for ten years. I’m talking about the top level of the parties. The second point is this Mountain Meadows is not about religious fanaticism, it’s about a frontier issue with Indians, and social issues, and different parts of the country. And they didn’t bring up the point that Mormons at this time were outnumbered about ten to one by Indians. They were living on the edge with the Indians.
HH: Carl, but are you saying the Mountain Meadow Massacre was justified?
HH: All right, so…
Carl: I’m saying that there was something there that the Indians said that their cattle had been killed, some people had been poisoned and murdered, and they might have said to the Mormons you help us, or we’re coming after you.
HH: Okay, one more question to follow up with you. Do you think Chris Cain and Jon Voight are part of an effort to get Romney?
Carl: I think this is not a coincidence. There are some coincidences here like probably (?) was murdered just a year before. He’s a direct ancestor of Mitt Romney. The other coincidence is that it’s a hundred and fifty years since this thing happened.
HH: Well that’s not a coincidence. That’s good movie marketing. But let me go to Chris Cain, and have him respond to you. Chris, obviously, you’ve run into this kind of a caller before who believes you’re part of the get Romney machine.
CC: Well, he’s wrong. The bottom line is you’re wrong. We’re not part of the get Romney machine. I rather like the man myself.
HH: Would you vote for him?
CC: I may at some point.
HH: How about you, Jon Voight?
JV: Same thing.
HH: So when you hear that, though, this goes back to, obviously, he’s very sincere. Are you surprised by that kind of level of hostility to your project?
CC: No. When I first started making movies, I would have been surprised, but I’m not anymore, because whatever seat you sit in, you see an image in a certain way. And he’s seeing an image in a certain way, because of the seat he sits in. And I understand that, but he’s wrong.
HH: Jon Voigt, are you surprised by that?
JV: Well, obviously he has a very strong point of view, and he’s going to see things through that lens, you know? But I don’t think he’s done an awful lot of work on this history, on the history available to him about this particular event.
– – – –
HH: Back to the phones. Carol in Los Angeles, hi, Carol, you’re on with Chris Cain and Jon Voight.
Carol: Oh, hi. I am a descendent of one of the surviving children, and my dad and I got to see a preview of the movie in the spring, and I just wanted to thank you both for making the movie. I thought it was very well done. I know you had to have a dramatic something to tell the story around, and so that’s why you included the love story, which didn’t really happen. But it was a good device to tell the surrounding story.
HH: Jon Voight?
JV: Well, that’s very nice of you to call, Carol, and put in those words for us. I think that the love story is a telling aspect. I agree with you, it does give a little, it reflects a little bit of something that is proper to the theme, which is the getting together of these two religions, and how the closeness of these people transcended the differences of their religions. I thought it was a very positive note in the piece.
HH: Thanks, Carol. You’ve got a Romeo and Juliet story here, Chris Cain, obviously. The young people who play in your movie, I don’t know them, your young stars.
CC: They’re both new. Tamara Hope and Trent Ford.
JV: Trent Ford.
HH: Are they surprised by the controversy? I mean, this is, they’re young, they haven’t been around, all of a sudden, they’re in this movie that’s kicking up dust all across the United States. What’s their reaction?
CC: Well, they’ll be more surprised next week.
HH: (laughing) Are they working still? Have they gone on and got other additional gigs?
CC: Yeah, they both work, they both work.
HH: Back to the phones. Bob in Glendora, you’re on with Jon Voight and Chris Cain.
Bob: Well, first of all, I’d like to thank Mr. Voight for his comments on our American soldiers in Iraq. I say Amen to that. I’m looking forward to seeing this movie, and I thank Mr. Cain for making it. As in all historical movies that Hollywood makes, I’m worried about the history in it, but we seem to make it through that anyway. Mr. Voight, the bishop which you play in the movie, I’ve only seen the trailer, I’m looking forward to seeing the movie.
Bob: Is he an historical person, or is he a compilation of many people?
JV: He’s a compilation of two or three people, and I think he’s a very good device whereby we get to see a lot of the background. For instance, he was a witness to the death of Joseph Smith. So we are able to see some of the terrain of the piece that we need to in order to put the massacre in context. But every word that I say, I think pretty much every word, came from exactly that time, those months around the massacre from different people.
HH: Thanks much, Bob. Can I ask you a question, and we’ll come back, don’t worry, America, I’ll get back to your calls. Jon Voight, when you go to Montreal and you receive this lifetime achievement award, now that you’re outspoken on the war on terror, how’s your reception going to be? This is not a friendly crowd you’re going to talk to, is it?
JV: Is it?
HH: Even though…
JV: I don’t know. I’m going to address them in French. I will tell everything. I will, you know, I’ll kiss a lot of people. I don’t know. I make friends, you know.
HH: So it hasn’t crossed your mind at all…
JV: They are our neighbors, after all.
HH: Have you lost any friends in the last two years over your outspokenness on the war?
JV: You know, I don’t…no, I haven’t lost any close friends, no.
HH: All right.
HH: San Jacinto, Ralph, you’re on the Hugh Hewitt Show with Chris Cain and Jon Voight.
Ralph: Hi, this is Ralph. Hi, how are you doing? Actually, I’m a Mormon, and my ancestors go a way back. In fact, one of my ancestors was with Joseph Smith, or excuse me, Brigham Young, and his house was burned down. I find it hard to believe that a prophet, or a head of the Mormon Church, would order the execution of people, because of the way the Mormons believe. They’re very conservative. And I e-mailed you a write-up from Slant Magazine. I think you may have got it. It’s about September Dawn, and basically, what they said about it was that it’s an exploitation flick.
HH: All right, now I’ve got get to before we go to the break, Ralph. Is it an exploitation flick? I don’t have the Slant Magazine, Chris Cain.
CC: Well, it certainly wasn’t intended to be.
HH: Jon Voight?
JV: No, it’s not an exploitation…obviously, we feel that it has something to say, and it has something relative to say about our present world. So I think religious fanaticism is an appropriate subject matter for a film today.
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HH: Chris, when we went to break, I had this e-mail.Your guests have been very straightforward. Who produced the movie about the Mormon massacre, who funded it, and what studio is distributing it – Owen.
CC: It’s being called a Hollywood movie by a lot of the critics. It has no connection to Hollywood at all. It was developed, the screenplay was developed in Colorado, it was funded by individual investors in Colorado and outside of Colorado, it’s being distributed in house by our own company. So it has no relationship to Hollywood at all. Was there more to that?
HH: Interesting…funded it, you said individual investors. So they’ve got money riding on this thing. All right, Jon Voight, during break, we were talking about people should not be offended if they’re Mormon today, and not be defensive about it.
JV: Right, this is not pointing the finger at the LDS Church today. It’s 150 years ago. After all, 150 years ago, people believed in slavery, and we certainly wouldn’t, if we made a movie about slavery, it wouldn’t be inappropriate to put that in its proper place. In this, the Church has changed much over those years, and of course, we have many very strong people from the Mormon community who are serving our country in Congress, and I have great respect for them.
HH: All right, let’s go back to the phones. Steve in Dallas, hi, Steve, you’re on the Hugh Hewitt Show.
Steve: yeah, gentlemen, thank you for taking my call. My question is what was the thinking behind the promotion of the movie? What did you want to make sure you said, or didn’t say, so people wouldn’t easily misinterpret it the wrong way? Was there a serious conscious effort to how you promoted it?
HH: That’s a pretty interesting question, Chris Cain. That would be on the producing side.
CC: It would be.
CC: Well, the main reason behind the promotion of any picture is to get you to go see it. That’s the reason we’re here today, too.
HH: Do you mind the controversy? Or is it good for a movie to have people, even if they’re mad at you?
CC: Well, somebody’s going to be mad at you no matter what you say or what you do. People have been mad at you when you wrote A Mormon In The White House?
CC: I’m sure you went through the same thing. The idea behind the movie, the promotion of the movie is that it has been kind of kept under the rug for a long time. You won’t find the Mountain Meadow Massacre in any history book that I’ve ever seen, so it was a bit of a secret that’s being revealed.
HH: All right, back to the phones, go to Fort Worth, Texas, Gene. Hi, Gene, you’re on with Jon Voight and Chris Cain.
Gene: Thank you. I want to thank Mr. Cain for making the movie, and Jon Voight for playing in the movie. I’ve always liked your movies. But I’m an historian, and from a historical concept, you cannot justify what happened, of course, and I hope the movie doesn’t try to do that. The Fancher party was promised safety if they gave up their weapons to these Mormons, and they did, and then, of course, these Mormons killed, massacred them. And you cannot justify that, no matter what historical incidents otherwise happened.
HH: And Gene, I don’t think anyone…have you guys seen the Mormon Church…I don’t think they attempt to justify this in any way, shape or form. They condemn it. I mean, that’s my understanding of Gordon Hinckley and the Quorum of the Twelve, and their operation, vis-a-vis this massacre, everything I’ve read.
CC: Yes, I think you’re right, absolutely right.
HH: Got to read this e-mail. Hugh, please tell Jon Voight he’s a blessing. A Hollywood heavyweight like Jon to come out and support our troops has to be a very special person. Jon is obviously his own person, he’s a brave man of strong character. My family and I will never miss any of his movies. He has renewed my faith in mankind. What a breath of fresh air coming out of Hollywood. – Tom in Sacramento. P.S. Jon Voight for President.
JV: Well, we’ve got a good President.
HH: (laughing) Okay. Jim in Sacramento, you’re on with Jon Voight and Chris Cain.
Jim: Thank you for taking my call. First, I’d like to thank Carol for calling in to give her perspective, and the gentleman who just called as well. But I’d like to go back, Hugh, to your question of context. For example, in the state of Missouri, they had…and by the way, I condemn this massacre, there’s no standing behind it as all, but as far as context, the state of Missouri had the extermination orders that pretty much made it legal to kill the Mormons.
HH: Boy, am I glad you brought that up, because this is one thing. The governor of Missouri signed an extermination order before they were driven out Nauvoo. Is that intimated in the movie? I know you’ve got Joseph Smith being assassinated, which is the most dramatic moment in Mormon history after the revelations that Joseph Smith says he had. But an extermination order is a pretty significant thing. Did that get in?
CC: No, that’s probably a movie in itself.
HH: Well, the Missouri fight…yeah, it is a movie in itself.
CC: Yeah, it probably is a movie in itself. No, that’s not in there. We’re limited to a two hour movie. And the history that you put into the movie, it’s a dramatic movie, and we’re telling a story other than just the history of it, too. So…
HH: All right. That’s the answer. It’s not there. Pam in Hawaii, hi, Pam, you’re on the Hugh Hewitt Show.
Pam: Greetings and salutations. First of all, I want to praise Jon Voight. You are a very accomplished actor. I praise you for the challenging work you do. I praise you, sir, as the producer and the director of this movie. Overall, I feel that the message that all of these types of movies dictate is that history does repeat itself, and this is something that in America, we need to look, we need to look at our history, where we came from, what it caused us, and cost us as Americans, to come to this society today.
HH: Well put, Pam, thank you. I want to read an e-mail, I want to get a lot of voices in quickly. It sure looks like a Mormon Romney hit piece from here, writes Richard. Now that we’ve done the murderous Jew movies, Munich, The Passion, and the murderous Mormon movie, is there any chance that someday we might see a murderous Muslim movie? Or do we have to do the murderous Amish movies first? Now obviously, that’s sarcastic in the extreme. Do you think you two are catching some heat because Hollywood is not doing its job, in a patriotic sense, about movies? Do you think that that’s…I’ve kind of heard that in some of the…that Hollywood hasn’t done its job vis-a-vis the war on terror, and that therefore, anything that gets close to religious fanaticism and isn’t about the war on terror gets hit doubled. Chris Cain?
CC: Yeah, I think we’re getting hit for that. I think we absolutely are.
HH: Jon Voight?
JV: Well, I think that’s an answer, but I just think that you know, going back into these histories that are dark histories and difficult histories, to learn the lessons is very important. I think if people understand the madness of men, no matter what their faith, maybe it will prevent future horror, and I think that that’s the reason why we did it, and I think it’s an important reason.
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HH: I want to close out our time with Jon Voight and Chris Cain, asking them to tell you why you want to take some time to go see this movie, September Dawn, which opens on Friday, if you have been thinking about it. Chris Cain, it’s obviously been a work for a long time for you, and you’re kind of out of semi-retirement to come and do this. Why do you want people to go see this picture?
CC: Well, we don’t make many movies anymore about things, I mean, about ideas. We make movies about cartoons and superheroes and things, and I think sometimes, it’s important for people to go to a movie that stays with them for a couple of days, and they think about what might be the ramification of the movie. And I think this movie will cause you to think. It’ll touch your emotional nerves, also, but it will cause you to think, and I think it’s important to do that.
HH: Outside of the idea, in terms of the craft, do you rank it as pretty as Young Guns? As cinematically fulfilling?
CC: Cinematically, it’s gorgeous. Juan Ruiz Anchia’, who I made three other movies with in the past, shot this for me. It’s the first time we worked together in twenty years.
CC: And it was like we’d never separated at all. But he’s one of the masters of the cinema. It’s a gorgeous movie.
HH: Who scored it? Because it’s got to have a great…you have a great opportunity here for music. I haven’t heard it yet.
CC: Well, again, the score is a Bill Ross score. He’s probably, in my opinion, one of the three or four top composers in the country, film composers in the country. His credits go on forever. He’s a contemporary John Williams of composing.
HH: Look forward to hearing that.
HH: And Jon Voight, why do you want people to go out and see this?
JV: Well, I think it’s a film that’s very powerful, I think it’s a theme that’s very pertinent, as I’ve said before. It gives us a way, an architecture of religious fanaticism, so that we can perhaps better understand our present world.
HH: And about that, let’s close with that present world. You go out and you see these troops a lot, you’re talking more about the war, what’s the one message you want people who are listening today, having seen all these troops, to understand about this conflict?
JV: Well, I think that I’ve been actually trying to figure a way to get them to speak for themselves, maybe to take a camera down there and just have the troops speak for themselves.
HH: You were just at Bethesda two week ago and Balboa last week?
JV: Yes, and I think that they are remarkably eloquent, and just hearing their own voices…and you can do that by just…every time you see a, you know, every time you see a fellow in uniform, go up and give him a pat on the back, thank him for his service, and then listen to the fellows who come back, especially the wounded warriors. Give them all the love in the world.
HH: Jon Voight, thank you very much. Congratulations on the lifetime achievement award in Montreal on Friday night. Jay Hoffman, thanks for making this happen. Chris Cain, thanks for coming down and spending the afternoon, now struggling with all the afternoon traffic.
End of interview.