Few actors receive the treatment Jamie Kennedy endured from The Daily Beast earlier this month.
The “Scream” alum tried to promote “Roe v. Wade,” a film sharing the cultural moment behind the landmark Supreme Court decision, with the liberal news outlet.
The Daily Beast reporter pounded Kennedy with questions and dubious fact-checks about the movie, at one point comparing the film to Nazi propaganda.
Actors shouldn’t expect softball queries at every publicity stop. The Beast’s line of questioning felt more like a shaming session than an attempt to enlighten readers.
Kennedy rolled with every digital punch, to his credit. This week, he received a more fair hearing with syndicated talk show host Lars Larson. [Editor’s Note: this critic appears each Friday on Larson’s program]
Larson let Kennedy share more about his role in the film as well as the fallout from simply taking a paying gig. Kennedy plays Larry Lader, founder of the NARAL Pro-Choice America organization, in the fact-based drama. His character sees abortion as not just a women’s right to choose but a path to generate income.
“I’m playing a guy the Left should love … he was the super proponent on why Roe v. Wade was passed,” he said, adding the character’s financial interests show a darker set of impulses. “Still people are mad because there’s part of it that may be painted in a light they don’t like. You can’t win.”
Left leaning media outlets cheered on the Beast’s nasty interview with the star, leading Larson to ask a tough but fair question.
“Did you consider what the political implications [of taking the role] might be for a guy like you who makes his living in that environment, in Hollywood?” Larson asked.
“I did,” Kennedy admits. “But I thought, there’s all types of people in Hollywood… There’s a lot more people that have some conservative views [in the industry] but just don’t talk about it. They keep their heads in the sand. They’re scared of being shamed and stuff. I’ve never seen it this wild, this polarized.”
“Just because I’m in a movie that’s considered somewhat to the conservative side I’m lumped in [with the movement]. I’m just acting,” he said, adding his own belief system is complex and not easily described.
Larson asked the actor if the blowback he’s received from appearing in “Roe v. Wade” might dissuade him from other right-leaning projects.
“No. It empowers me,” Kennedy said. “This is an adult topic about adult themes that are very uncomfortable and ugly. It should be talked about … it’s not just a piece of escapism entertainment. This is a real world issue that has real world implications. I’m lucky to be a part of it. And if I want to grow as an actor. This is how I’ll do it.”
Kennedy suggested a growing fissure between the stories Hollywood wants to tell and what audiences authentically crave.
“If you don’t want to tell these stories it’s just gonna make Hollywood even more and more less viable,” he said. “I think Hollywood is on the brink of losing more audience than they’re even aware of. They’re almost making content for themselves. When I go out into the general population a lot of people are like, ‘man, I don’t agree with a lot of this stuff.”
Kennedy seems to be taking the “Roe v. Wade” fallout in stride. In fact, he thinks it’s absurd enough to be fine comedy fodder.
“I’m in ‘Scream,’ and I love ‘Scream,’ but there’s a lot of murders in that movie. No one was outraged by that,” he said. “There’s gonna be a lot of comedy to come out of this … my headline is, ‘Actor Gets in Trouble for Acting.'”
UPDATE: Kennedy expanded on his thinking during a recent Fox News interview.