Hollywood braces for "Blood Diamond" War
Nelson Mandela will act as a spokesman for the international diamond cartel to defuse any negative publicity caused by Ed Zwick's new film "The Blood Diamond," starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly and Djimoun Hounsou, due out in December.
The film, a fictional tale, is set during the all-too-real '90s decade of African civil wars when rebel armies seized control of diamond mines, traded conflict diamonds for arms and murdered, raped and mutilated thousands of innocent people.
The film's barely finished shooting but the World Diamond Council has already asked Zwick, the film's producer/co-writer/director to add a disclaimer at the end that puts the nasty rough diamond trade in the past and the current industry in a better light.
Honest, those creepy rebels with nasty amputation habits are gone. Today's mining conditions are way improved and diamonds are now carefully documented thanks to the Kimberly Process, a voluntary industry agreement made in 2000, which tracks and certifies the movement of rough diamonds.
Human rights groups such as Amnesty International don't buy it. But if you do, I've got some great New Orleans property near some lovely new levees you might also like. Zwick's response? He gave it to E! Online yesterday.
A bitter battle is clearly brewing. But how will Team De Beers, headed by Mandela, do against Team Zwick? Let's compare the players. Ready for their turn at bat are the "Blood" actors, all politically active and involved with a variety of humanitarian causes.
DiCaprio is outspoken about ecology and global warming issues. His website was redesigned and launched in 2004, the same year he joined the boards of NRDC and Global Green USA. Hounsou was born in Benin, near Niger. He participated in Amnesty International's Live for Darfur concert series last fall. It's safe to say that he has strong opinions on the illicit diamond trade's impact on Africa peoples. And Jennifer Connelly was just named Amnesty International USA's (AIUSA) Ambassador for Human Rights Education last winter.
But Zwick may also have a trump card, an actress who could give his team an unbeatable hand....