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Candidate Coleman: a movie

August 24, 2003|Michael T. Jarvis

Alex Kogan doesn't want to be blamed if actor Gary Coleman becomes governor of California. He will admit, though, that he pitched the actor-candidate a treatment for a mockumentary titled "Mr. Coleman Goes to Sacramento" in 2001, with Coleman starring as a candidate for state Senate.

"Gary was receptive to the film," Kogan says, "but he didn't like the title. It was changed to 'Vote Coleman.' "

Kogan wrote the original story with Lanny Horn but went solo on the final script. "In the course of the campaign, Gary gets caught renting pornos in Odyssey Video on one of their dollar days," Kogan says of his story. "Then he and his wife adopt a 13-year-old Jewish boy so he can have his bar mitzvah during the campaign." Coleman's fictitious campaign is reinvigorated with cash after supporters suffer food poisoning at a rally and sue the caterer.

When debate opponents pressure him to repeat the trademark line "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout" from his character Arnold Jackson on the long-running sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes," Kogan's over-the-top Coleman pulls a gun, fires two shots, mayhem ensues, and the campaign is over. Corey Feldman wins the Senate race.

Kogan planned to produce "Vote Coleman" with Wayne Hopkins through their company Smitty and Hoppy Productions, but Coleman abandoned the project, Kogan says. "I think he read the script, didn't like it and refused to return my calls."

Kogan prefers his story to the current campaign reality. "In the context of the time, this all made sense because it was a farce and fiction." He won't vote for Coleman, he says, but is leaning toward Gray Davis or Larry Flynt.

-- Michael T. Jarvis

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