God is Not a Republican!

These days, it seems like God will have to intervene before people will make room for people with different beliefs under the same umbrella.
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So, I'm here to stump for my new picture, "When Do We Eat?", the best I've appeared in since Twelve Angry Men. But then I notice that this is a very political place and I'm afraid you won't listen to me if I'm not political too. And yet, I only got invited because of the film, and like Sam Goldwyn said, "You want to send a message? Call Western Union." This is a tough nut.

OK. I'm gonna do what the movie does. I'm gonna talk about something so controversial, I may get kicked out of Hollywood. I'm 83 and I still work regularly in my first and greatest love, legit theater, so if my head rolls off the studio lot, so be it. And what is this incendiary matter Hollywood won't touch? God. Man, if there's one thing they don't want to talk about in this town, it's God. Unless George Burns plays Him. But since George passed, forget about it. Well, actually there was the Mel Gibson thing but, uh, let's just say I'm Jewish and leave it at that.

I'll come back to what the movie says about God in a minute -- now I'm gonna get political for you. Remember, I'm a lifelong Democrat. Never vote any other way. And as a Democrat, I want to say this to the Democratic Party, "GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN!" Get that? Heard me clearly? Read it again. That's why I wrote it in capital letters.

We live in a religious country. Get over it. And not only that, but religion is not a superstitious bromide for the ignorant. There is tremendous wisdom, accumulated over centuries of deep thought, in all the major traditions, and all those folks who invest their time and energy in faith are NOT idiots. Why is this a political thought? Because our party has set itself up as the party that's against God, and as long as it does that, we will keep losing power. If we were to do all the same things we're doing now, however, and somehow extend an olive branch to the faithful, we could swing the Washington pendulum hard and fast to our side. Think about it. There are plenty of religious people who respect women's rights and believe in evolution - that's not the point. The point is, as Abraham Lincoln said, "Both sides pray to the same God." God is not a Republican, and it's about time we gave Him equal opportunity on our platform.

And now, if I may, a word about "When Do We Eat?" I loved making this picture. Michael Lerner and Lesley Ann Warren are pros and play the parents of this large Jewish family, with such a fine touch for the script Sal Litvak & Nina Davidovich wrote. The kids, Ben Feldman, Max Greenfield, Shiri Appleby and Adam Lamberg, all had terrific instincts. Even better, they were smart enough to ask great questions while we were working. And our director, Sal, on his first picture, knew exactly what he wanted, how to get it, and most valuable of all,when to let go because the actors were giving him a gem.

Where does God come into it? Well, the picture takes place at a Passover seder. This family doesn't have much of a connection to God, or even to its own past. All they want to know is, "When do we eat?"

But one of the kids slips Dad a dose of LSD, things get screwy, and before you know it, a miracle happens. It's not that God appears. He doesn't. The miracle is these people make a choice - they're gonna stay in that room until they figure out why they're yelling at each other, and stop it. That's it. That's the miracle, but these days, it seems like God will have to intervene before people will listen to each other, ask questions respectfully, and make room for people with different beliefs under the same umbrella.

This kind of picture doesn't come along very often. Put down your ten bucks. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll take home something to think about. I'm a betting man, and I would bet on that.

It opens April 7.

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