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Saakashvili Is Ready For His Close-Up

Andy Garcia shooting a scene at the Avlabari Presidential Residence in Tbilisi
Andy Garcia shooting a scene at the Avlabari Presidential Residence in Tbilisi
In March, Russian television aired “Olympius Inferno,” a made-for-TV thriller based on the first days of the Russian-Georgian war of August 2008. That is, based on the Kremlin’s version of the start of the war.

Now Hollywood is taking a crack at the subject, RFE/RL's Russian and Georgian services report. Finnish-American director Renny Harlin is in charge of a production under way in Batumi and Tbilisi -- and perhaps bringing to it the same action-genre esthetic that he brought to his earlier work, like “Die Hard 2” and “Cliffhanger.”

It’s not clear whether the film will be as slanted in favor of Georgia as the Russian TV movie was in Moscow’s favor. But Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is getting a star makeover; he is played by the Cuban-born American actor Andy Garcia. (More production photos on RFE/RL's Georgian site here.)

The production team is Georgian-influenced as well; Reuters writes that Papuna Davitaia, a parliament deputy from Saakashvili's ruling United National Movement, is one of the film’s producers.

But as Reuters reports, the point is not to exonerate either side:

The plot revolves around an American reporter who gets caught in the crossfire as war engulfs the country, testing his impartiality as a journalist....

"Our main concern was to show war as a bad thing," executive producer Michael Flannigan told Georgian television. "We had an opportunity to make a really anti-war film."

There’s been no word on whether Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin or President Dmitry Medvedev will be depicted in the film -- and what Hollywood actors will get the roles.

-- Margot Buff

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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