Newsweek, July 2, 2007

The Reel Problem
Holly Bailey
236 words

Fred Thompson may be able to finesse GOP voters when it comes to his old positions on abortion and campaign-finance reform. But as he prepares to launch a presidential bid, is Thompson ready to answer for his embarrassing film roles? "There were a few that I'd say were not my finest hour," Thompson recently admitted to "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno. Apparently, he's not the only one who's thought so. According to records found in Thompson’s Senate archive on file at the University of Tennessee, his staffers once debated whether to mention Thompson’s box-office bombs in his official Senate biography. According to an undated series of revisions, one film always made the cut: "The Hunt for Red October," in which Thompson played a tough Navy admiral. Another, "Days of Thunder," skirted by because of Thompson’s well-known costar. An unnamed aide suggested adding "starring Tom Cruise." But several other films weren't deemed worthy, including "Curly Sue," "Baby's Day Out" and "Aces: Iron Eagle III," a B-list takeoff of "Top Gun" that starred Thompson as a bad guy caught up in a South American drug war. His staff also wavered on "Born Yesterday," a comedy in which Thompson played a corrupt senator. But in the end, someone apparently intervened. A final version of the bio found in Thompson’s files included his entire Hollywood repertoire, including TV guest spots on "Roseanne" and "Matlock.”

Holly Bailey

GRAPHIC: On Screen: In 'Born Yesterday'