Thanks to heddaparsons and nothingreallymatters for letting me know about this. To read the full article from the LA Times go HERE.
Iranian dissident Akbar Ganji arrived in town this week to an intimate gathering that included just about every politically active leading man around. Warren Beatty, Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Mark Ruffalo and Jake Gyllenhaal attended the reception at producer Mike Medavoy's Beverly Hills estate Wednesday night to meet Ganji, a human rights activist who was imprisoned in Iran for six years.
Ganji was unfazed by the celebrity attention, but the presence of Beatty caught Ganji's interpreter off guard. "Are you Warren Beatty? That's Warren Beatty!" she said. Medavoy, who moderated the event, joked: "None of us care." Said Beatty: "Yeah, that's for sure."
Addressing the standing-room-only crowd of about 75 people for an hour, Ganji urged complete disarmament in the Middle East. (The suggestion didn't go over well with media mogul Haim Saban, who argued that Israel needs its nuclear weapons as a deterrent.)
Ganji responded to Saban: "The only way is to ban the bombs for everyone."Pitt (clad in black) had to leave the event early — making a bit of a ruckus when he raced off on his motorcycle.
Penn, looking like a workaday actor in a rumpled blue suit, thanked Ganji for coming, saying people need to hear his message of non-violence. Ruffalo agreed. "This has put a whole new face on Iran for me," the actor said. "It deepens it and makes it more human."
After the speech, Ruffalo and Gyllenhaal retired to Medavoy's screening room, where they watched trailers for "All the King's Men" (starring Penn and produced by Medavoy) and their 2007 thriller, "Zodiac," about the real-life serial killer who terrorized San Francisco in the 1960s and '70s.
As the evening closed, Ganji — who is traveling the country addressing various groups — said he believed it was essential to meet with the Hollywood crowd. "I'm here to have a conversation," he said.
I'm not entirely sure what to make of this. It seems a little left-field. They sat and listened to an Iranian dissendent for over an hour and then watched trailers for their own movies?