Al Gore in 2006’s An Inconvenient Truth.
A version of this story first appeared in the April 11 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Al Gore might need to dust off his projector. The creative forces behind the Oscar-winning environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth are hatching plans for a sequel to the film that raised global awareness of climate change. "We have had conversations," producer Lawrence Bender tells THR. "We've met; we've discussed. If we are going to make a movie, we want it to have an impact."
The first film certainly did. Released in 2006 by Paramount and JeffSkoll's Participant Media, the Davis Guggenheim-directed doc grossed nearly $50 million worldwide and helped propel Gore, its narrator, to a 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. But Bender believes that during the ensuing years, the fossil-fuel industry has changed the dialogue with a misinformation campaign. "They did a really good job of pushing back and confusing people," he says. "Some people actually believe global warming doesn't exist."
Environmental activist Laurie David also believes a sequel should be on the agenda. "God, do we need one," she says. "Everything in that movie has come to pass. At the time we did the movie, there was Hurricane Katrina; now we have extreme weather events every other week. The update has to be incredible and shocking."
Despite the desire, a sequel is far from a sure thing, and producer Scott Z. Burns says he "would only support doing a follow-up if we have a really, really amazing way of attacking the issue and reinvigorating it."
But Inconvenient Truth and the issues it raised were on Bender's mind as he accepted an award during a Beverly Hills fundraiser March 21 that collected $700,000 for UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. At the gala, hosted by Jeanne and Anthony Pritzker, the producer called for renewed activism on climate change and cited the film's impact. "At the time, we hoped to provoke a global conversation about climate change," Bender told the audience, which included Courteney Cox, Anjelica Huston, Johnny McDaid, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. "Our new inconvenient truth is that not nearly enough concrete action has been taken."