'Three Kings' Director Says Warner Nixed DVD Due To Politics

He'd wanted special edition with anti-war documentary out before election.

Filmmaker David O. Russell was set for a fall release of a special-edition DVD pairing his 1999 Gulf War film, "Three Kings," with an anti-war documentary he directed called "Soldiers Pay." Instead, he received a surprising bit of news from Warner Bros., the studio behind "Three Kings."

"Once I said in The New York Times that I hoped it would be released before the election, Warner Bros. said, 'Not from Warner Bros. — it won't be released at all by Warner Bros.,' " recalled the director, who is currently in theaters with "I Heart Huckabees" (see "Huckabees: How A Very Strange Film Got Its A-List Cast"). "They canceled their plans to release 'Three Kings' before the election, so now 'Soldiers Pay' is being released by Cinema Libre."

The 35-minute anti-war documentary features interviews with veterans fresh from Iraq as well as refugees, human-rights workers and even military brass. "I interviewed a two-star Republican general who has a lot of questions about this war and doesn't like it," Russell said. The documentary is currently in limited release on a double bill with "Uncovered: The War on Iraq." Both will hit stores on DVD on October 19.

But even without "Soldiers Pay" attached to it, Russell isn't optimistic that a new DVD edition of "Three Kings" — starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube — will ever see the light of day. "They say they'll re-release 'Three Kings' after the election — they say. I don't know that they'd make 'Three Kings' today. They weren't owned by AOL five years ago, and they were more independent. I went to them and said, 'Are we really going to make this movie?' And they said, 'We make Oliver Stone movies; we're not afraid of this.' I haven't seen too many of those movies coming out of Warner Bros. lately."