Seeing the Forest for the Trees

What would Morgan Freeman do? From his reprised role as God, comes “the first green movie,” Evan Almighty, released last Friday and topping the box office at $32 mil. It’s first green director/producer, Tom Shadyac, understandably boasts of his environmental effort to reduce the comedy hit’s footprint.

Besides the timely ecologically-themed update on Noah and rising sea levels, Shadyac gifted 400 cast and crew with bicycles to reduce car usage during the shoot and supplied HtoO (Hope to Others), his own bottled water company, which donates 100 percent of its profits to charities. (Others spotted drinking HtoO water: Kate Hudson, Jessica Simpson, Matthew Perry, Snoop, Vin, Damon…recycle the bottles, please). Shadyac admits, recycling bins and double-sided scripts required re-training folks, but didn’t take long…

Working with the Conservation Fund to calculate the carbon emissions from vehicles, construction, power, etc. to “zero out” the production’s estimated 5.2 million pounds of CO2, trees were planted in wildlife refuges in California and Virginia (near the ark’s site) as a gesture of gratitude to the community. Instead of dumping lumber, windows, and materials, salvaged stuff and landscaping shrubs were contributed to Habitat for Humanity.

Strolling down the premiere’s green (literally) carpet, comic Steve Carell lent an amusing take to the eco-message along with co-starring comedian Wanda Sykes (seen tooling around Toontown in her hybrid). The party included edible centerpieces and reusable goodie bags with organic snacks and CFL bulbs. 

NBC Universal’s environmental commitment displayed on their “Get On Board” website encourages fans to plant a virtual tree in “The Almighty Forest” for a mere $5 donation to combat global warming and a mention on the DVD (at last count, over 29,000…how will the names all fit?!). Also, GE’s Ecomagination campaign is running spots on 13,000 screens about the environmentally conscious movie and sponsor Travelocity now links customers to offsets for flights.

With just so much land on the planet, Shaydac acknowledges that tree planting for zero-carbon is a limited notion and recognizes the hypocrisy of the ad campaign’s plane-dragged banners, but he’s working on a “green movie” certification process and bringing ecological issues to mainstream audiences—instead of just preaching to the converted. Hallelujah!  

Last LAFF: Last Sunday, the LA Film Festival screened 50 eco-themed shorts for “Live Earth Day,” commissioned by Al Gore’s SOS (Save Our Selves), including flicks from Chad Lowe, Casey Affleck, Rob Reiner, and Madonna’s “Hey You” video for her ditty for the concert (the audio wasn’t enough?)…