It sounds almost unimaginable, but it isn’t the script of a new Hollywood movie: the Pentagon has literally forced movie producers to turn villains into heroes, add U.S. Military rescues, as well as changing scenes that they deem “sensitive.”
Producers and directors say they are literally being forced to re-write scripts. If the United States Department of Defense deems their content inappropriate, the changes are strongly “suggested.”
The relevant files about this military involvement in Hollywood, from the California-based Department of Defense Entertainment Liaison Office were released after a Freedom of Information Act request by Bath University’s Dr Matthew Alford, whose research focuses on the relationship between entertainment, political power, and propaganda in the United States.
The 1,400-page military document can be downloaded as the 2004-5 weekly reports here and the 2005-6 weekly reports here.
The sheer size of the DOD’s involvement in the entertainment industry is mind-boggling. The full DOD film list details just how much the military has involved itself in Hollywood.
Such involvement includes altering scripts to accommodate Pentagon requests, many have in exchange gained inexpensive access to militarylocations, vehicles and gear they need to make their films.
One switch that was reported on by the British newspaper, The Mirror, which involved directors re-working a character in the 2001 war film Black Hawk Down. In the original script, the character was a pedophile, but the Pentagon asked them to change this to portray soldiers in a better light.
The US military has also shown interest in the Transformers series, as well as shows including American Idol, Hawaii Five-0 and even Cupcake Wars.
“It is shocking that the Pentagon is poking its nose into a mind-boggling range of TV shows. Many have nothing to do with the military,” Dr Alford said.
“It is alarming that the Pentagon keeps secret the changes it makes, leaving it open to accusations that it’s waging a pernicious PR campaign to recruit TV-addict kids and rewrite history.”