Ann Coulter has demanded that a great scene where she gets her skinny ass handed to her be cut from the documentary Al Franken: God Spoke. The film, which follows Franken’s book tour for Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, his involvement in liberal radio network Air America and his eventual decision to run for office, includes a scene where Coulter and Franken engage in a public debate at The Connecticut Forum in 2004. In the scene they briefly argue about the late Minnesota senator Paul Wellstone, then they’re asked a question about which historical figure they would like to be. Coulter says FDR, so she could never introduce the New Deal. Al Franken quickly and easily decimates her with his answer – he’d be Hitler, so he could stop the Holocaust. It’s a great moment, and not one that was a secret between then and now – it’s been a favorite laughing point for bloggers. But then on Monday directors Nick Doob and Chris Hegedus were informed that Coulter wouldn’t give them permission to use the footage, even though the film has already screened at the Tribeca Film Festival with the scene intact.
“I’m heartsick about it, frankly,” Franken told me today. “It’s a funny scene, with the Hitler thing. And also she’s awful.”
“We went under the unthinking presumption that it was a public event and we could shoot it,” says co-director Nick Doob. “It was really, in fact, a miscommunication in our office. To use that footage we had to have permission from Ann Coulter.”
The filmmakers don’t know what Coulter’s exact problem is with the footage. “We don’t really know,” says Doob. “She just didn’t want it in the film.” If I had to guess I would say it’s a two-pronged thing: she doesn’t want to be in the movie getting owned, and she wants to spite Franken.
Explains Franken: “We don’t get along at all. I don’t like her and she doesn’t like me.”
Chris Hegedus says that they’re still trying to figure out how to patch the hole. “We have added some other footage in of Ann and Bill O’Reilly talking about Al. It’s funny, but it doesn’t do what the other did for our film. We still have some last ditch efforts, but it probably won’t happen.”
Al Franken: God Spoke opens September 13. Look for my complete Al Franken interview that week.