“Crash” director Paul Haggis has been MIA this awards season. And The Dish Rag found out why when we spoke to him exclusively at the March 4 Artists for Peace and Justice fundraiser. Haggis co-hosted the event, which was sponsored by Vanity Fair and Brioni, along with Gerard Butler and “Precious” director Lee Daniels (pictured above).
“I haven’t kept up with anything Oscar because I’ve had my head in a basket because of Haiti,” Haggis said. “Hollywood has really stepped up (for Haiti) but I’m also afraid it’s going to be forgotten soon. I’m doing my best that it won’t be. ”
]]>Haggis added, “Many Hollywood people are doing a ton of work there. Sean Penn has been there too working night and day. He’s relentless. We’re all really trying to keep this in the public eye.”
Penn also made controversial headlines for his remark about critics of the Haitian earthquake relief efforts. In a recent CBS interview, Penn was asked about cynics who feel money is wasted on Haiti. “I haven’t had an awful lot of time to pay attention to them,” Penn said. “Do I hope that those people die screaming of rectal cancer? Yeah, you know, but I’m not going to spend a lot of energy on it.” Gerald Butler, who’ll be starring along side Jennifer Aniston on March 19 in the romantic action comedy “Bounty Hunter’, is also helping Haiti keep a high profile. He tells us how he got involved. “I had a meeting three days before the earthquake with the CAA Foundation about this charity and then did a whole bunch of research on them,” explains Butler. “Two days later it (the earthquake) happened and 17 out of the 18 schools I was looking at were gone. There was serendipity and synchronicity I just couldn’t ignore. But again, in the midst of all this Oscar stuff, Haiti is being forgotten, I hope that doesn’t happen.”