The Dubai International Film Festival opened Thursday with a screening of Oliver Stone's W. , based on the life of George W. Bush. Apparently stung by criticism that the movie presents a tenderhearted portrait of the president -- costar Richard Dreyfuss called it a "shockingly empathetic picture of Bush" -- Stone indicated that he had not intended to portray him positively. "I empathize with him, but I don't sympathize with him," he told a news conference." Stone later told the English-language Gulf News, "I think he is a stupid man, and I really don't think it's an act. I think he really is that stupid." He said that one of his goals was to show people "in this part of the world ... how things happened in the U.S. and who was making the decisions which I believe have changed the world." Numerous Hollywood celebrities were on hand for Thursday's screening, including actors Ben Affleck, Danny Glover, Goldie Hawn and director Terry Gilliam. Nicolas Cage, Salma Hayek, Laura Linney, Casey Affleck, and Brendan Fraser are also expected to attend the festival.

12/12/2008