LOPEZ: Do you worry at all that some of the commentary in Undefeated will insult just some of the people who might be her natural allies?
BANNON: My film is not intended to either bring her allies or make her enemies. It’s to tell her story. The coda in the film is called “The Children of the Revolution,” and it is obviously a very controversial part of the film that features Mark Levin, Andrew Breitbart, and Tammy Bruce, who create quite a combustible mix. I did this to “pull the camera back” and set the arc of Governor Palin’s story into a historical context. And I admit it has been every bit as controversial as I thought it would be.
Sarah Palin is no idiot. But is there something to the critique that she’s not as up on issues as she should be? Granted, she’s got energy covered.
BANNON: People are going to have to come to their own conclusion about that, but I suspect that if someone goes to her Facebook page and looks at her postings over the last year and a half, one will see some fairly detailed postings and the outline of a real political philosophy. To wit, I don’t know any elected politicians who called out “QE2” as early and as vehemently as Governor Palin. I think if people did a modicum of due diligence they would see a very serious political leader.
LOPEZ: What’s so special about the Tea Party — that you’ve made more than one film about them now?
BANNON: Besides the fact that the Tea Party saved the country from an overreaching progressive movement that had taken over all three branches of government, nothing’s that special. If it weren’t for the Tea Party, the Republican party would be even more irrelevant than it currently is. The Tea Party absolutely stopped the Obama administration in its tracks in November 2010 with very little help from the Republican-party establishment. The Republican party should be on bended knee every night thanking God that the little relevancy it has is because of the muscle and energy of the Tea Party movement.
LOPEZ: What’s your approach to filmmaking? Is it directly related to your politics?
BANNON: My filmmaking definitely reflects values that I was raised on and believe in. All my films are imbued with the conservative populist values I was raised on in Richmond, Va.
LOPEZ: What does a Navy guy turned banker turned movie guy know about politics?
BANNON: Simple: “Politics” has to expand beyond the petri dish that is inside the Beltway of Washington, D.C. Our country is in jeopardy, and we have a political class that is detached from reality.
LOPEZ: Why did you go from Goldman Sachs to making movies about the Tea Party?
BANNON: I have had a fairly good run as a banker and as an entrepreneur, and it is now time to move on to another phase of my life and I want to focus on writing and directing feature films. I just found this populist revolt called the Tea Party an amazingly interesting story.
LOPEZ: Is Washington doing enough for the Tea Party? Is the current crop of candidates enough?
BANNON: Washington is doing zero for the Tea Party. After the great victory the Tea Party delivered in November 2010, the Republican establishment didn’t even have the common decency to give people like Congresswoman Bachmann, who had put their heart and soul into that victory, any kind of role in leadership. This insult has been articulated by Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler of Tea Party Patriots among others. The political class has less than zero interest in having any involvement with the Tea Party, and we’ll just have to see how this plays out over the next couple of years.