Archerd: Koppel Hooked on Drugs 

Archerd: Koppel Hooked on Drugs 
Posted by FoM on March 16, 2001 at 17:14:43 PT
By Army Archerd, Daily Variety Senior Columnist
Source: Reuters
Ted Koppel went to see ''Traffic'' twice -- and now ABC's ''Nightline'' will air five segments on the picture, starting March 19, ''examining the issues behind this Academy Award-nominated film.'' Koppel said. ''We ('Nightline') have done over 5,000 shows and I don't think a movie has ever prompted us to do ONE show. But I went to see 'Traffic' twice and was so impressed by it and the honesty with which they showed it.'' 
Koppel was accompanied, on his first viewing of ''Traffic,'' by son Andrew who is a legal aide, ''and most of his clients are related to drugs.'' Koppel said his wife was afraid to see it. But she did on his second viewing -- and she, too, loved it. Koppel reminded us that ''Nightline'' episodes on crime and punishment revealed that seven out of 10 women in prisons are there because of drug-related crimes. ''Nightline'' executive producer Leroy Sievers admitted, ''We've all covered drug stories for years, but we saw this movie and thought it terrific and we read your column.'' On Feb. 28, I wrote: ''Is life imitating art or -- ? Steven Soderbergh's 'Traffic' has gone where politicians fear to tread.'' I went on to write about the effect the picture had begun to generate in D.C., Colombia, Mexico, editorial pages of the N.Y. Times, two forums by the New Republic, etc. Koppel said, ''We made contact with Steven Soderbergh who couldn't have been more pleased.'' The TV troupe duplicated the scene at the U.S.-Mexico border where drug czar Michael Douglas was shown the ropes by the U.S. Border Patrol's Rudy Camacho -- with Koppel acting exactly as Douglas did. Koppel was told that, for the movie's scene, Camacho was told by director Soderbergh to ''ad lib it.'' He and Douglas did -- and it played perfectly. Koppel allowed of his appearance with Camacho, ''We matched it (the movie) pretty well!'' Producer Sievers said they were also shown (Mexican) rooftop sites from which drug dealers ''spot'' cars being checked by the patrols, then re-route their drug-carrying vehicles. The TV reality continues with an interview between Koppel and Mexico's President Vicente Fox. The consensus of those on the show is that the cartel won't go after the president but cabinet members may not be so lucky. A Mexico newspaperman who was targeted now wears a bullet-proof vest to work. Soderbergh gave his OK for use of some film clips -- but ''Nightline'' has footage of (other) real people -- including a Mexican general and a tortured suspect. Source: ReutersAuthor: Army Archerd, Daily Variety Senior ColumnistPublished: March 16, 2001Copyright: 2001 Reuters UnlimitedWebsite: News Nightline with Ted Koppel Official Web Site Articles - Traffic
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