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If You Don’t Release My Movie, Then The Terrorists Have Won

You have to give it up for Albert Brooks (in full costume and make up, below)

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Even if the old man isn’t exactly on People magazine’s Sexiest People Breathing Unassisted by Ventilators hot list, he still knows how to whip up some press on the cheap.

Today, Reuters bought into the marketing plan of his new movie with gusto: Basically, Brooks claims its title, “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World” so terrified the execs at Sony, who suppossedly feared reprisals from al-Zarqawi, or as they say in the rental car business – “or similar” that they passed on his new docu.

One can almost hear the heavy sigh of Columbia Pictures flack Steve Elzer as he read the canned studio quote to Reuters’ Arthur Spiegelman:

“To those looking for truth in this manufactured controversy, here it is: We made our decision to pass on Brooks’ movie the same way we did to accept ‘Fahrenheit 9/ll’ — on the merits, with neither fear nor favor.”

Helpfully, for those looking for actual al-Qaeda tantalization, the government has been kind enough to put online an actual al Qaeda manual , available for download from the Dept. of Justice website. Even in it’s redacted form, it’s truly fascinating.

Then again, downloading this at work might be even more dangerous than prank calling the IRS commissioner. You’re on your own here.

Below, we’ve obtained a shot of Brooks (center left) and an assistant (center right, not identified) meeting with Sony’s president of production, Matt Tolmach (backbround, smiling) last month. Tolmach passed on the picture.

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“Looking for Comedy In the Muslim World” will now be distributed by Warner Independent Pictures, in January after its president Mark Gill (below, second from left) conferred with some friends and decided it was just the kind of documentary he liked.

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