Of course, Moore's scathing look at the American health care and insurance industries was plagued before it even began. "I couldn't get insurance to start shooting the film for about five months," explained the director to his audience, including Russell Simmons, Shalom Harlow, Richard Belzer, "Super Size Me" director Morgan Spurlock and "Traffic" writer Stephen Gaghan.
"It had a preexisting condition," joked one of the nurses.
"Yeah, me," retorted Moore.
He must be enjoying having the last laugh, however. "It's the only time I've ever seen a standing ovation at a New York premiere," said Harvey Weinstein at the after party at Azza.
The next day, Moore showed up at the Brasserie Ruhlmann in Rockefeller Plaza, where he wasted no time calling it as he sees it. In a Q&A with attendees like Kushner, David Zinczenko and Hendrik Hertzberg, Moore lamented the fact that Al Gore is not currently running for president, noting the only Democratic candidate with a universal health care plan is John Edwards, and that it wasn't any good. When asked whether he regretted supporting Ralph Nader in 2000, he said the politician had "lied" to his constituency when he said he wouldn't campaign in swing States. "Then he went down to Florida," said Moore. "We found out he was crazy." One topic he didn't want to discuss was the subject of his next movie. Moore said he'd begun work on it already, but didn't want his subjects to sharpen their knives on him just yet, "So I'm not going to talk to you about it." — Elisa Lipsky-Karasz and Jacob Bernstein