Chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America shares his top Washington spots.
WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST/LEAST ABOUT THE U.S SENATE?
The thing I miss most, apart from serving with remarkably good people, is the satisfaction of working with common purpose for the common good and having the opportunity to have a real impact on people’s lives while working on issues that I cared passionately about. What I miss least is — perhaps not surprisingly — is the personal demonizing of each other. If you want to be a legislator you need to work with people you don’t agree with — regardless of party — and unfortunately that is not happening on the Hill today.
WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU THE MOST ABOUT YOUR NEW JOB?
Discovering just how important the American film and television industry is to our country. Not just the billions of dollars it brings to our economy from around the world, but the number of middle class jobs it supports. There are 2.2 million people working in the industry in the United States with an average salary of $55,000 a year.
WHAT IS THE INDUSTRY’S BIGGEST CHALLENGE RIGHT NOW?
Online theft of its content. No business in the world, no matter how successful, can compete with free. Our challenge is to educate people about the cost of online theft, not just to our industry but to American consumers as well.
WHY ARE HOLLYWOOD STARTS SO DAZZLED BY WHAT GOES ON IN WASHINGTON?
Stars who use their celebrity to draw attention to important issues here and around the world are drawn to the opportunity to make a difference — Washington is the place to do just that.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU GIVE THEM WHEN THEY COME HERE?
My advice is to connect their celebrity and activism to why their cause should be meaningful to average people across the country. I recently went to Haiti with Sean Penn to see what he is doing there to help people rebuild after the terrible earthquake.While Julianne Moore was promoting “Game Change,” she was also working with Save the Children to highlight the fact that child poverty in America has increased over the past several years.
MY TOP SPOTS
1. Jimmy T’s is a Capitol Hill institution — small town diner where I love to have breakfast with my family on the weekends.
2. Park Café is a charming restaurant also on the Hill. They have a great steak.
4. Bike ride with my daughters to used book store Riverby’s on the Hill.
5. My daughters love to ride on the carousel on the Mall and explore the museums.
6. IMAX movies at Smithsonian museums are always a favorite with our family.
7. Of course, we love to go to the movies, and the Avalon Theater is a favorite.