Fisher Stevens wants you to care about climate change. Even if you’re just talking about it is fine. Because we don’t anymore, not really. It’s no longer at the forefront of political arguments. That’s disturbing. Because in the decade since Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” climate change has gotten worse. Stevens, a filmmaker (“Stand Up Guys”) as well as a prolific actor (he might be best known for the “Short Circuit” movies), tries to make it a talking point again with “Before the Flood,” which upgrades from stodgy Al Gore to pretty Leonardo DiCaprio. The film follows the Oscar-winner as he travels the globe, talks to experts and tries to get us worked up enough to take action.
Stevens talks to us about trying to reach young people, not making another “Inconvenient Truth” and the simple reason that motivates deniers.
First off, it’s really chilling that climate change never came up in the three presidential debates, except for a brief mention where Trump said he never called it a hoax created by China, which, of course, he did say.
What’s even crazier is I read that in 2012 climate change never came up during the Romney-Obama debates. I find that really hard to believe, especially since Obama has become this environmental warrior. Hopefully when Hillary’s president she is going to not only take up where Obama left off but go further. And now that Roger Ailes is out of Fox News, I’m hoping they start to shift a little bit. A lot of this climate denialism is because of Roger Ailes. It wasn’t always a bipartisan issue. Fox News tried to polarize it, then Breitbart jumped on. It’s really sad. George W. Bush, not that he was great with climate, but he certainly wasn’t a climate denier. And his father really believed in the environment.
I’m not sure how I feel about all people pointing out how George W. Bush was a saint compared to Trump and the Republican party right now. Even if it’s true.
I know, I know. No one thought it could get worse. In 2004 I basically moved to Ohio, because all my political friends said if Kerry can win Ohio he will win the election. I spent three months of my life there, dedicated to getting George W. Bush and Dick Cheney out of office. All this is mindblowing. But don’t worry: You can go online and look at his speeches and you’ll cringe again, I promise you.
No offense intended here, but the existence of this film is depressing. “An Inconvenient Truth” was a huge deal, but 10 years later and a movie like this reminds us we’re still at square one.
We’re a lot worse off. We’re better because solar and wind is so much cheaper; there’s more way to get power. We’re better off because of the Paris Climate Accords. Then again, that just happened and they don’t even start some of it till 2018. And the population keeps growing. You can’t breathe in New Delhi and other places. It’s a bummer. [Laughs] No one took Al seriously.
Still, the film is nothing like “An Inconvenient Truth.” It’s not someone lecturing you; it’s a famous actor traveling around the world, trying to get people motivated.
We wanted to make the movie for young people, to energize and motivate them. Because they’re the people who are going to be most affected by [climate change]. We wanted to make the most accessible, broadest film possible. We made Leo an everyman, even though he’s not an everyman; it’s just a role he’s playing. You want people to step in his shoes and be engaged. We tried not to make it preachy. We wanted to make it a movie you saw in a cinema and had an experience.
It’s also important to stay hopeful. You can’t just bring the doom and gloom.
It’s easy to feel the doom and gloom, but then what are you going to do? You really want to inspire people to action.