Hollywood on the Potomac
Are lawsuits out of control? Just ask Mike Lampe, a small town lawyer in California: Filmmaker Paul Johnson did.
Johnson was the guest of honor at a private screening of his upcoming film “Unsettled” at P.J. Clarke’s in downtown Washington, DC. His previous films include “Benched: The Corporate Takeover of the Judiciary.”
The documentary unravels hostile and frivolous lawsuits. In this case, it centers on those brought against businesses for asbestos. Asbestos is the name given to a group of minerals that occur naturally in the environment as bundles of fibers that can be separated into thin, durable threads. These fibers are resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals and do not conduct electricity. For these reasons, asbestos had been used widely in many industries and often in homes and schools as fire retardants, but banned in the late 70’s when it discovered the backlash disease called mesothelioma.
Award-winning actor Michael York discussed the challenges he faces with the rare disease of Amyloidosis and how he became a spokesperson for this little known ailment at a luncheon at The National Press Club. Amyloidosis occurs when abnormal protein builds up in organs. His attitude and resilience is remarkable. For someone who has appeared next to Liza Minnelli in the cinema version of Cabaret, starred in the all-star Murder on the Orient Express, as d’Artagnan in The Three Musketeers, and an actor who has shared the stage with nearly every show business legend from Laurence Olivier to Elizabeth Taylor, he accepts his role as spokesperson with dignity and hope. He first told us about his disease at the Kennedy Center Honors Brunch several years ago. His most recent film is The Mill and The Cross. His wife Pat is a talented and renowned photographer and his stepson is Star Wars producer Rick McCallum.
Prior to the luncheon, we had a chance to discuss York’s other mission for being in town. It’s called The Medical Musical Group. The MMG brings together doctors, nurses and other volunteers from medical centers, schools and communities all over the US. It’s “Music with a Message” – A message of healing, hope, inspiration, and patriotism at home; and peace and international friendship overseas that serves as goodwill ambassadors for America in over 20 nations. In addition, MMG concerts highlight health causes and performances have been at Carnegie Hall (New York), Kennedy Center and Constitution Hall (Washington, DC), Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall (Alexandria, VA) as well as for the US Congress, the United Nations, and at the White House.
“I just got this email saying would you be involved? It sounded so wonderful, you know,” York told Hollywood on the Potomac. “We owe so much to our veterans, and as a child of World War II, it all made sense. Also, the artistic involvement is a beautiful concert of words and music, so I was thrilled to do it!”
Deepwater Horizon is an upcoming 2016 American biographical disaster thriller-drama film directed by Peter Berg, written by Matthew Sand and Matthew Michael Carnahan. The film stars Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Dylan O’Brien and Kate Hudson. It is based on the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Principal photography began on April 27, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is scheduled to be screened at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival and opens in Theaters in September.