RICHARD DREYFUSS & HIS PASSION: POLITICS

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FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

God, I love RICHARD DREYFUSS.

I don’t care that he’s old enough to be my dad and that he’s probably about five inches shorter.

He’s smart as a whip, deliciously funny, has raging charisma and he’s got a dazzling pair of azure eyes. Plus he’s brilliantly talented. I had a huge crush on him growing up.

He has been in my home town shooting the odd film here and there over the years.

Would have been wickedly awesome to meet him.

*sigh*

Of all the causes actors have chosen to champion, RICHARD DREYFUSS admits his passion lacks, well, a certain pizzazz: Civics.

“Don’t call it civics because civics is easily the most boring word in America,” he commented. “Call it what it is: political power.”

RICHARD brings an actor’s dramatic pacing and a historian’s licks to his cause, erasing any notion that this lesson will be boring. He’s bombastic, predictably brash and yet professorial during a 90 minute interview in a bland hotel suite in this Virginia seaport, where he was honoured at a film festival earlier this year.

Kicked out of college for confronting a professor who criticized MARLON BRANDO’S performance in JULIUS CEASAR, RICHARD recently studied at ST. ANTONY’S COLLEGE at the UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD to develop a curriculum for U.S. public schools.

Called THE DREYFUSS INITIATIVE, the curriculum would use scholarly presentations in videos and the ACADEMY AWARD winning actor (according to an outline) “as a storyteller, to engage, enlighten and empower students of all ages in an entertaining way.” RICHARD said he would work with civic and educational groups to promote the teaching tools.

While the program has not been used in any classroom yet, RICHARD has launched a fundraising campaign to produce videos and the curriculum.

“I’ve got a very simple thing here. I’ve got a nonprofit initiative to get K 12 grades back to civics, to give our children real world knowledge and hopefully wisdom about how to run this complex governance system. That’s it. That’s enough.”

These days, he devotes most of his public appearances to addressing the origins of our nation and lamenting a citizenry that he believes has lost its way.

“I stopped defining myself as an actor and I went to Oxford because I believe that America is a miracle. And I think that there is nothing easier in the world than for us to lose this miracle and to be reduced to words on paper.”

He fears just that – that future generations will view our freedoms as a fairy tale.

“It’ll break my heart and it should break yours.”

RICHARD blames a lack of civil discourse, the din of television and any number of distractions for moving us away from understanding our origins as a nation.

He is comfortable discussing the sweep of human history, but he’s especially drawn to the drama of the Civil War.

In March, he was the star attraction at a Washington, D.C., event for the CIVIL WAR PRESERVATION TRUST, which annually releases a report on endangered battlefields. His interest in the Civil War goes way back.

RICHARD was recruited as a reenactor at the battle of Cedar Creek in northern Virginia while filming WHAT ABOUT BOB? which was set at New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee but filmed at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia.

But he’s still acting. He has a supporting role in the NIA VARDALOS romantic comedy MY LIFE IN RUINS, which opens this Friday.

RICHARD won an OSCAR in the late 70s for THE GOODBYE GIRL. He was only 29, making him the youngest male lead to win the trophy at that time. For him the honour wasn’t necessarily a good thing.

“I was too young. I didn’t know until later that I am built to be in pursuit. I am not built to have achieved. I’m happiest when I’m on the hunt.”

2 Responses to “RICHARD DREYFUSS & HIS PASSION: POLITICS”

  1. FORUM ON AMERICA’S CIVIC CRISIS SET FOR JANUARY 17, 2011

    A national forum on the deepening crisis in our civic culture will be held on JANUARY 17. The forum will be simulcast from The Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC and The Kroc Center For Peace & Justice at The University Of San Diego starting at 1:00 p.m. EST.

    It’s Time For A Talk, The National Conversation On Revitalizing America’s Civic Culture
    http://www.timeforatalk.org/ brings together leaders from across the political spectrum to review the current civics crisis and the loss of decorum and civility in our public processes.

    “When those who serve our nation and citizens participating in open public processes are gunned down we have to take action,” stated RICHARD DREYFUSS, ACADEMY AWARD winning actor and President of THE DREYFUSS INITIATIVE.

    “The January 17 forum will review a crisis that was years in the making and seek solutions for moving America back from the brink.”

    The panel will include John Fund [WSJ], Bob Edgar [President, Common Cause], Roy Romer [Former Governor & School Superintendent], Admiral Bruce Boland [ret], Frank Luntz [Pollster], Rick Shenkman [VoteIQ] and Diane Ravitch [commentator].

    RICHARD DREYFUSS will make opening remarks. Scot Faulkner [former CAO of the House Of Representatives] will moderate the event.

    For more information visit: http://www.timeforatalk.org/

    Coverage of the event and media availability of panelists before and after the event should be arranged with:

    San Diego: Eva M. Stimson, EMS MC, Inc.,
    828/832-8297, 858/864-8536 (mobile), emsmarketing1@cox.net
    Washington, DC: Scot Faulkner, Executive Director, The Dreyfuss Initiative
    304-535-2757, 703-598-5548 (mobile), smf53@aol.com

  2. Linda Ivanov Says:

    RICHARD DREYFUSS ANNOUNCES MAJOR INITIATIVES

    RICHARD DREYFUSS, President and Founder of THE DREYFUSS INITIATIVE on civics, will announce major new program initiatives during a live broadcast from the NATIONAL CONSTITUTION CENTER on JUNE 8TH.

    Contact – SCOT FAULKNER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

    sfaulkner@TheDreyfussInitiative.org or 703-598-5548

    NEW YORK, JUNE 7, 2011

    RICHARD DREYFUSS, President and Founder of THE DREYFUSS INITIATIVE on civics, will announce major new program initiatives during a live broadcast on CBS RADIO from 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. EDT, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8.

    This live event will be hosted by DOM GIORDANO (1210 WPHT) at the NATIONAL CONSTITUTION CENTER in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    The new initiatives include:

    •The first annual AMERICAN HISTORY PLAY COMPETITION (AHPC). The AHCP will award $350,000 to playwrights and theatre companies for an original play that focuses on an event, person or place in American history. The prize money will be allocated $245,000 (70 percent) to the playwright and $105,000 (30 percent) to the theatre company. The first cycle of eligibility will be for new works produced from September 2011 to June 2012. The first awards will be announced in July 2012.

    “Rebuilding of America’s Civic Culture must address who we are and why we are,” stated Mr. Dreyfuss.

    “One way to reawaken our national identity is to inspire playwrights and theatre companies to write and produce plays focusing in America’s history.”

    •The establishment of the GEORGE WASHINGTON INSTITUTE on the Enlightenment [GWITE] an educational centre for scholarship on, discussion and dissemination of, and preservation of the documents, history and principles of the Enlightenment. GWITE is being formed because the futures of Republican Democracy, freedom and popular sovereignty are at risk. Understanding how this pivotal era in world history formed America’s system of government and influenced all democracies is vital to preserving its foundational principles for future generations. Leaders, scholars and young people need to see that the Enlightenment is just as relevant in the 21st Century as it was at the time of our Founders.

    •The acquisition and restoration of HAPPY RETREAT, the home of Charles Washington, the brother of George Washington. This will be done in partnership with FRIENDS OF HAPPY RETREAT, which is led by Walter Washington, a direct descendant of Samuel Washington. HAPPY RETREAT will serve as the global headquarters for GWITE.

    “George Washington was the embodiment of Enlightenment values and thought. His entire life, including how he learned from mistakes, is a model for how the Enlightenment can be applied to daily life and to leadership. Washington remains a timeless role model for leaders in all sectors.”

    •The formation of a Curriculum Enhancement Project Team to develop, disseminate and support new learning modules and tools for preparing young people to become effective and engaged citizens. THE DREYFUSS CURRICULUM will offer mobile tools that create an agile mind. Learning modules and tools will focus on Reason, Logic, Clarity of thought, Clarity of expression, Critical analysis, Values of debate, dissent and civility, Rumination & contemplation and Ethics. The curriculum is designed to support the Common Core Standards and the national standards for Social Studies and English Language Arts.

    THE DREYFUSS INITIATIVE is in partnership discussions with several major universities for the joint development, dissemination and support of the curriculum.

    “This is a pivotal moment for The Dreyfuss Initiative,” Mr. Dreyfuss stated.

    “My hope is that these first of many steps will bring civics back to center stage. The current crisis in America’s civic culture was many years in the making and was the result of many sins of omission and commission. Our Initiative is committed to working with like minded groups across the political spectrum to forge an effective and lasting solution.”

    For more information visit http://www.thedreyfussinitiative.org

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