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PIERS MORGAN LIVE
Interview with Harvey Weinstein; Interview with Patrick Kennedy, Christopher Kennedy Lawford
Aired January 17, 2014 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: This is Piers Morgan Live. Welcome to our viewers in United States and around the world tonight. License to kill. You heard my interview with the man who paid $350,000 for the chance to hunt and kill a black rhino.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COREY KNOWLTON: I'm a hunter. I want to experience a black rhino. I want to be there and be a part of it, OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Tonight, I'll be continuing that debate with a man who says it's not OK. What happens when a hunter becomes the hunted?
Plus, Harvey Weinstein, the ultimate Hollywood power player, the man behind "Shakespeare in Love," "Pulp Fiction," and "August: Osage County." Tonight, I'll ask you why he thinks he could beat the NRA when even the President can't.
And listen up, Chris Christie, these Kennedy cousins have some unusual advice, (inaudible) by the scandal at Bridgegate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There may not be any dots to connect, but in people's minds, this is kind of Christie-like in the kind of way that it was done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: We'll begin with our Big Story, a big man in Hollywood taking on the might of the NRA. This year alone, the Weinstein Company earned another 11 Oscar nominations, eight Golden Globe nominations, 10 Critics' Choice, and seven Screen Actors Guild nominations. But Harvey Weinstein is also in the headlines for films in the planning stages, one that has gone advocate up in arms. And Harvey Weinstein joining us. Harvey, good to see you.
HARVEY WEINSTEIN, AMERICAN FILM PRODUCER AND FILM STUDIO EXECUTVE: Nice to see you.
MORGAN: Congratulations on your usual sweep of nominations and all the awards, it wouldn't be the same. You now have 331 nominations just for the Oscars alone, 78 wins in your time at Miramax and The Weinstein Company.
WEINSTEIN: Well, that was good to me.
MORGAN: It sounds extraordinary...
WEINSTEIN: If I was a baseball player, can you imagine the amount of money I could have? Forget A-Rod and Jeter together. I'd be making $60 million a year.
MORGAN: You are the best awards campaigner I had ever encountered and long way you continue.
WEINSTEIN: Can anybody just say that I have the best movies?
MORGAN: They could. Let's turn to guns because this was a really fascinating interview with Howard Stern. I want to play a clip for viewers who are not up to speed for this, from what you told Howard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEINSTEIN: I don't think we need guns in this country. And I hate it and I think the NRA is a disaster area and I'm going to actually make a movie, I shouldn't say this, but I'll tell it to you Howard, I'm going to make a movie with Meryl Streep and we're going to take this issue head on. And they are going to wish they weren't alive after I'm done with them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Big words. I mean, not many people in America in high profile positions have directly challenged the NRA. I've been beseeching people to do this. Obviously, I am delighted that you are actually going to publicly take it along, the leadership by not just the -- not the membership. Why are you doing this and why do you care so passionately?
WEINSTEIN: You know, it's funny, all the past school massacres and you know, I read about them in the newspaper, Columbine, Aurora, you know, we shield deeply for four or five days and then we get on with our lives, you know. We say, "God, let's fight for gun control. Let's do something about it." You know, when Sandy Hook in Newtown happened, it's 20 minutes away from where I live with my kids, and I mean, whatever. You know, I watch your shows and you know all during that time period. And you know, when it's in your backyard, you cannot ignore it, you know. I mean, I've done a good job of feeling sympathetic for it over the years but I've done also a good job of ignoring and say, "Well, that's somebody else's fight."
And then I met, you know, the Giffords, I mean whatever, and you know, they're amazing, Gabby, you know, and Mark, you know, and just incredible to me what they've done and what Mayor Bloomberg has done. And also...
MORGAN: What is it Harvey, about, what is the relationship culturally between Americans and guns because it's almost unique to anywhere in the world, certainly unique of any of the 23 richest countries. WEINSTEIN: Well, I have an English wife and a very, very English mother-in-law, you know, and English father-in-law, and just you keep hearing about these stories, you know, in your own country of England and how the, you know, the cops don't, you know, have guns all the time. I'm not advocating that they don't have -- the police don't have guns. But you know, just that there is -- it's not part of the culture. Here, it's become, you know, because it's such a prevalent industry, it's led by business. It's not led by our avocation, you know, and yes I think there should be hunting and all the other things there should be, but just the fact that a kid can get an AK-47 that you can just walk in and buy anything.
It's got to be regulated and I think even the hunters and the people who use guns legitimately will have no problem with that. Of course, the NRAs or you mean is always that it's they're mentally unstable, they're mentally unstable. And I have no problem with, you know, let's tighten up, you know, the laws, and let's try to help and educate, you know, the people too. But it's in my backyard now and it's not something, you know, as much as I want to ignore, as much as I want to go on with my regular life, I can't shake it this time.
MORGAN: What more can you tell me about the movie and Meryl Streep's involvement?
WEINSTEIN: Well, you know, first of all, all the people that are pro guns are mad at me. Meryl Streep is an actress. I want to make that clear right away, you know, and she is working as you know, somebody playing a part, so it's not her belief. And all the heat should come my way and I'm kind of used to the heat anyhow, you know.
MORGAN: Are you nervous about taking on the NRA?
MORGAN: Many politicians have been coward into abject silence, been bullied into not, I think following their conscience. But you're sticking ahead above the power. But does that worry you?
WEINSTEIN: No, because I've seen now what happens. It's only about money, usually everything else in the United States. And when Mayor Bloomberg and Gabby and Mark raised enough money, they beat NRA and Kennedy in three states. So all of a sudden, for the first time, it's money, you know. It's the same thing, you know, with you know, I mean some of the other conservative policies that aren't good for people but are good for business, you know. If there are good minded people like Jeffrey Katzenberg, or like, you know, Silicon Valley where there is money, you can beat these people. So I'm not worried. It's a money game, you know, and we can raise the money.
The movie will be an entertainment. The movie will be entertaining, but just I think that the antecedent for the movie, the best thing for the film and I know a lot of people figured out, I don't even know a word like antecedent.
MORGAN: Of course, president (inaudible). WEINSTEIN: Thank you, whatever. I polished up, you know. But you know, it's Mr. Smith goes to Washington. It's about a senator who faces them, and it mean it has to deal with -- and Meryl Streep will be that senator.
WEINSTEIN: And I think it's that story and I was, you know, I will tell you Piers, you know, we've been friends and I've been influenced by your shows during that week. It was astounding. And also, I know the president well and I've never seen him ever, you know what I mean, you know, I think he was in a state of shock, you know what I mean, and regret and I think the frustration that they've had. Sometimes, I know it's crazy but you wish a bill could just pass without all that fighting in Washington. Sometimes the movie carries the day, within my left foot -- I'll give you an example years ago. I got a phone call. This is in the days when people used to talk to each other. Senator Harkin and Senator Robert Dole, I mean, couldn't it be liberal, conservative, but both great guys.
They said we're having problems with the handicapped access bill. My left foot opens the door. Can you get Daniel Day-Lewis who is notoriously shy to come to Washington, D.C. and speak on the floor of the senate? Whatever I told Daniel, I said, "This bill is hanging by a few votes and we've got a republican and we've got, you know what I mean, a liberal democrat. Can we do this in a bipartisan way, Daniel, you know. And he went to Washington and by a few votes, there's handicapped access.
So I know the power of what a movie can do because a movie can galvanize a country.
MORGAN: OK. Let's get to the instant kickback that you've been receiving from all quarters. I'm sure you expected this. Miles, bar (inaudible) Ted Nugent was ahead off the blocks. I know that God is inspiring the subhuman punk Weinstein to create what is going to be the most powerful promotional tool for the NRA because people are smarter than he acknowledges. The Washington Times in a pretty staving piece. Before Mr. Weinstein and Ms. Streep's top production of their multimillion effort to persuade Americans to give up guns. They might want to look at the history books of what happens when you do. A dig there about I think the fact that you're Jewish and the history would be the Nazis.
Putting that to one side and I'm sure you expected all that let's talk about the main allegation against you will be one, of hypocrisy. Hey, you are a Hollywood mogul. You produced some very violent movies, "Django Unchained" and "Pulp Fiction" and others. So people say, "Come on Harvey, what about your law (ph). When do you guys in the movies going to stop glamorizing guns if you mean this so sincerely."
WEINSTEIN: I think they have a point, you know what I mean, you have to look in the mirror too, you know, and I have to just choose movies, I mean that aren't violent, you know what I mean, or as violent as they used to be. And I know for me personally, you know, I can't continue to do that. So the change starts here, you know what I mean, and has already...
MORGAN: That's a big statement to me.
WEINSTEIN: Yes, I know.
MORGAN: Because these are very successful films.
WEINSTEIN: I know, but for me I can't do it, you know, or I can't make one movie and say this is what I want for my kids and then just go out and be a hypocrite, so...
MORGAN: Do you want to make any more movies glamorizing guns?
WEINSTEIN: I don't think that, you know, I think -- I don't think you see a movie like "Lone Survivor", Peter Berg's movie. It's sensational and it's a tribute to the United States Special Forces. I would make that movie in a second. There's action scenes all over the place. People get killed in the movie, you know, that's one thing.
MORGAN: But not a movie that could be accused of glamorizing these guns for no sake.
WEINSTEIN: Yeah. I'm not going to make some crazy, you know, action movie, you know, just to blow up people and exploit people and make some, you know, crazy action movie just for the sake amazing. But I understand the criticism and I'm not playing anymore Ted Nugent music, you know. I'm not getting -- first of all, you know what, I've always like Ted Nugent and I'll ended up having a beer with him with -- and I'll go to the Washington Times guy and he's now...
MORGAN: His point is always the same which is it is his constitutional right to have guns.
MORGAN: That is the way the NRA have always frame this debate. Do you think that is a fair thing for people to stand behind that they have this constitutional right?
WEINSTEIN: I mean, I would imagine that there's got to be some way of judging someone's mental capacity before they have a gun, you know, in Connecticut, it doesn't need to have a gun. So, I think, you know, there is way -- there is ways to legislate it so that Ted Nugent, if he's a hunter, if he has legitimate reason or if it's protection in the situation and he's of sound body and mind, you know, why not.
MORGAN: On President Obama, you're a good friend of his. You've been a big supporter and campaigning for him. You know, I remember how emotional and passionate he was off the new term. I remember him telling the families repeatedly, I will get action on gun control. To date, he has singularly failed to achieve any action on gun control merely from background checks. Why is that and what is he got to do?
WEINSTEIN: Because he hasn't found. He keeps pressing it. You mean, I would just -- honestly, there is a congress that stalled, you know what I mean, even Democrats are stalled. You know, there is, you know, the National Rifle Association is an incredible organization that infiltrates the system. I believe that what, you know, Mark and Gabby and Mayor Bloomberg, and I mean, at the Bloomberg Foundation are doing is the fight begins now. You have to fight somebody on their own terms. You can't fight a bunch of congressman who are being lobbied and you know, will get lot of their election bills are being paid for.
It's not easy to be in the congress. You most -- a lot of time, you're just dialing for dollars...
WEINSTEIN: ... but the way the election must work in this country. These guys are on the phone saying, "Jesus, you know, I got to run $10 million worth of TV spots" and the NRA is always there to be helpful, you know, to these guys. So, Bloomberg Foundation is also there to be helpful and other people who are there to be helpful. Then maybe, they bought their conscience and not, you know what I mean, just both the experiencing the pragmatic of dollars.
Obama's a hero, and I mean, it's just when you face an enemy like that that you can't move is like going into quicksand in Washington. But I think you're seeing a light at the end of the time. When I saw John Boehner on television the other day, you know what I mean, when they went against the tea party and look like he had a twinkle in his eye, it looked like these guys were realizing they're just in touch with the American public anymore and they're just going to lose more and more and more elections.
MORGAN: And like you said at the start of this Harvey, on the gunsing (ph) and absolutely full script by this time. Somebody at least tried to take on the NRA in then strangle hold over American politicians.
WEINSTEIN: The male lead is available on this picture, Piers.
MORGAN: Me and Meryl.
WEINSTEIN: You and Meryl?
MORGAN: Morgan and Meryl. It's got a certain ring to it isn't it?
WEINSTEIN: Don't ask me for first billing. I know you're capable of asking me for that. I'm 50 years down.
MORGAN: I'm capable doing it. However, I'll ask you for it. Now, let's take a short break. Let's come back and talk movie. And also Michelle Obama turns 50 today. And at the same time, we see four of the five best actress nominees of yours that's all over 40. Is this the new renaissance? Is the older woman cool yet in Hollywood and in politics? You're the man of Oz Harvey. You're liking all the lady.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what to say with an Indian. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're called Native Americans mom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who makes that decision?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's what they like to be called.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They aren't anymore native than me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In fact, they are.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's wrong with Indians?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why can't you just call people what they want to be called.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll just call the dinosaurs Native Americans. All right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Clip from the "August: Osage County" which earned the Weinstein company to its 11th nomination this year. Best actress, Meryl Streep and best supporting actress to Julia Roberts. Pre-polity (ph) that it's a banner year for women over 40.
Director John Wells have joined us, and back with me is Harvey Weinstein. Before we get into the movie, Michelle Obama turns 50 today, looking pretty spectacular as to be said. And like I said before the break, at the time when most of the best actress nominations have gone to woman over 40 as well. What does that tell us Harvey?
WEINSTEIN: It just -- and look at the box office. Julie Densham, Meryl Streep, and Maggie Smith are 100 percent certified box office stars. Every time I have a movie with anyone of those three, I mean, we do fantastic. I give Meryl, you know, the credit because she was the forerunner of it all. She proves, and I mean, "Mama Mia" that's $600 million around the world. Incredible, and I mean, it just -- and "Devil Wears Prada."
MORGAN: Has there ever been a great movie star than Meryl Streep. Are we reaching the...
WEINSTEIN: Certainly, there never been a greater actress than Meryl Streep.
WEINSTEIN: 18 nominations. She broke the record with this one. And can there ever be a nicer person? No, even though she has chased me, George Clooney and John Wells are on the setting.
MORGAN: Oh, we saw a picture of you last night.
WEINSTEIN: Deservingly so.
MORGAN: Tell me. So you're attracted between Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep. You have a hard life, don't you?
JOHN WELLS: Yes. It's very difficult to be trapped between Meryl and Julia on a daily basis.
MORGAN: What is it like to direct to -- they're really great actresses really of all time.
WELLS: You know, you're not trying to tell them how to act. I always sort of describe it as much more like you're a conductor of a wonderful chamber (ph) because you're working with all this wonderful musicians and you're trying to make sure that the whole thing together sounds like what you wanted to sound like. And they're looking for you to help them talk about how they're going to fit into everything else that's going on.
MORGAN: Portrayed Meryl Streep particularly evil manner. You're proud -- is Bryan destroying thing (inaudible).
WELLS: You know, she's wonderful in the film. It's a difficult part. I would say, you know, Tracy Letts who wrote the piece won the Pulitzer Surprise for it on stage tells a wonderful story where when he showed that deserves roughly based on his grandmother and when he showed it to his mother and asked her to read it, she -- he was very nervous about it and after she finished reading it, she looked at him and said, "Oh son, you were very kind to my mother."
I would have to say that my -- that's she's much nicer than my grandmother. I think many of us have people in our families who are complicated that we love and also hate and desperately which we have to run away to get away from (inaudible).
WEINSTEIN: I got to tell you the story of why did this movie. My mother, you know, and I've told this John and my Aunt Shirly, my first daughter's name, Louie Shirly (ph). Every pass or every Hanukah, every Christmas, you name a holiday, these two would get in the room, so to cross from each other. The two sisters, plates would fly. I thought furniture -- I thought he's going to grow up to be an anterior decorator because I have more furniture flying in my -- and then the most amazing thing after four hours of the slag feast -- you did this, you're better to mom, you're better to grandma, you're better to this, I mean, grown men who are ducking in the room. That's why I say men will enjoy this movie. They're going to recognized that their families just as crazy or this might be the craziest family ever seen in a movie.
MORGAN: As a good crafty work, and tell you, it's exactly the same in the Irish Catholic families.
MORGAN: Quickly, on the Oscars generally -- a lot of talk about people being snub -- Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Oprah Winfrey, and others. My take -- I mean your take in it -- was it -- there's been a lot of good movies this year. And they couldn't all get nominated. Is that an accurate way looking at it or have people genuinely being...
WEINSTEIN: Well, I raise my hands on Oprah, you know, because Lee Daniels is about what is our film. You know, we had the decision to make. We could open the movie in August, and you know what I mean, and there's always the problem with the Oscars. You forget. I mean it's always the movies that open later in the year that get all the excitement and the heat. So, I made the decision to go in August. Look at the movie, it did $160 million here. But more even importantly, here's our first movie and a lot of it is because of Oprah, you know, that going outside of this country, it did $60 million in France, $10 million -- this would be a Black directed film with a Black cast that's going to do close to $100 million.
MORGAN: You were with her last night. Is she upset...
WEINSTEIN: No. Not in the slightest. Not in the slightest. She will bounce back. I mean I'm trying to find another role for her right away. She knows she's had her up, she's had her downs. She knows she's had a fantastic, you know, life and fantastic...
MORGAN: She's great in the movie.
WEINSTEIN: And she's great in the movie.
WEINSTEIN: And you know what, that's more of the date that I released that -- than Oprah Winfrey. And look at -- she's got Screen Actors Guild nomination in broadcast.
WEINSTEIN: But, all of the awards groups that came out early, she got nominated. She even got a British Academy Award nomination -- Oprah. So this is just a matter of timing.
MORGAN: You obviously directed George Clooney on "ER". Did he give you any tips about -- actually you directed many movies but now you're getting into this and basically just...
WELLS: He was very helpful. He produced the film along with Grant Heslov. And we had a lot of conversations about it. But it really came down to just talking about the material. You know, one of things we were talking earlier about our family stories. One of things are sort of wonderful about the film is when you see it, and we saw that's all through the testing the film and now we're showing it. People -- at the end, their talking about their own families. And what we spent a lot of talking about with George in Maryland and Julia was our own families.
MORGAN: Before we go to the break, Harvey, I just want to play a quick clip here. This is probably the biggest question I got for you in this entire interview which is can you confirm or deny what Amy Poehler and Tina Fey which find to alleged at the Golden Globes. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMY POEHLER, ACTRESS COMEDIAN: And I -- done...
TINA FEY, ACTRESS COMEDIAN: Oh no, don't you talk to me like that. You want to live with your father?
POEHLER: I can't. You won't tell me who he is.
FEY: Well, he's here tonight. So look around.
POEHLER: Ma, is it him?
FEY: No, Randy. Idris Elba is not your father. Think about it.
POEHLER: Is it him?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Well, come on, Harvey, are you Amy Poehler's secret father, yes or no.
WEINSTEIN: Well, I dealt with Georgina and I've had to tell her the truth that Tina and I -- we were drunk one night coming home from 30 Rock. She thought I was Alec Baldwin. And I didn't ruin that, you know, for her. And it, you know, yes.
MORGAN: It's a very funny moment. They are great host. Certainly, those two. Well, the ratings were way up again.
WEINSTEIN: They are spectacular.
WEINSTEIN: And nobody does it better or funnier.
MORGAN: Let's take a few break. I'm going to get about your other big movie, "Philomena", because we got the real-life Philomena Lee coming to join us. Very exciting.
WEINSTEIN: Fabulous. Thank you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was going to ask you, Martin, if it would be possible not to use my real name when you write the story. I was just going to call me, Nancy. I've always loved that name. Nancy. I have a niece called Nancy.
Or maybe they think it's her. What about Ann? Ann Boleyn? That's a lovely -- or somebody have that? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to have to use your real name, Philomena. That's the way this things work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Clip from Philomena , nominated for best picture, best actress, best screenplay and score. Joining me now is the real-life Philomena Lee, the inspiration for the movie. And back with me is Harvey Weinstein.
Philomena, it's lovely to meet you. How do you feel watching you there -- watching Judi Dench playing you in a Hollywood movie? Did you ever think ever this could ever happen to you?
PHILOMENA LEE: Did I ever? Never in my wildest dreams have I ever thought that Judi Dench -- Judi Dench which I've always admired -- I've watched everything on her James Bond, everything -- Judi Dench. When I actually told my friends about it, they were -- they thought I was going a bit, you know.
MORGAN: How did -- Harvey's been a both of-- a lot of controversy about the way he's alleged to portray the Catholic Church. People getting very agitated about it. You're obviously an Irish -- I'm an Irish Catholic too. What is your view about that allegation really that it makes the Catholic Church look bad deliberately?
LEE: When I started out, the only thing I started out was to find Anthony and to tell my story as it was -- as it happened completely having true story. Nothing against -- because I'm still a Catholic. The times in the 50's -- my mother died when I was six and I was put into a convent school in Limburg. So my whole religion was Catholic, Catholic. And I still believe I am -- believe in being a Catholic. And I lost it for little while after Anthony left.
MORGAN: It's a very powerful and moving story -- real story. And you try and find your son after all these years. And very sadly discovered that he's already died, but what is particularly pointed I think is that he actually went back and asked to be buried before he died in the very home where you gave birth to him...
MORGAN: ... trying to bring himself somehow back to you.
LEE: Yeah. When he went back looking for me, he went with his partner. And he requested from his partner said "when I die -- because the third time I think they still wouldn't tell you -- and he would say, "When I die, will you please bring my ashes back so that maybe one day Mama might find me," you know. So, he -- so intense. And I think from the age of three and a half, he did remember me, you know.
MORGAN: How did that make you feel when you discovered that?
LEE: I couldn't believe it. And apparently, he'd been there nine years before we found out. The partner brought a picture of -- when he was buried, you know, the -- sorry. All of the stuff at the home -- he was buried into lobby ruins within the ground. And they were all there. The priest from Dublin were there. They were all there and there are my -- and there was only 95 and had retired by the stage from nursing. So, you know, it -- some other things.
MORGAN: Very sad story
LEE: I still -- yeah.
MORGAN: But it's -- so the allegation is the nuns who took in your son ended up selling him to an American couple in Boston.
LEE: That's right.
MORGAN: Do you believe that is what happened?
LEE: Well, at that time I was only a young teenager. I didn't know the ethics of the Catholic Church or the hierarchy of the -- did I know, I just believed everything the nun showed us from the age of six to 18 when I left there and afterwards as well. But I didn't know that they were selling babies, all I knew is I had to stay there to live and find him a home, and they did find him a home. Good Catholic...
MORGAN: Harvey, it...
LEE: I didn't know anything about it.
MORGAN: Right. It...
WEINSTEIN: But the thing about it is, is when she tried to find her son later on. They never gave her the information. And then, when her son tried to find her they never gave him the information and they burned the records.
Today Piers, you know, there's a movement as a result of this movie. It's not coming from us, it's coming out of Ireland, it's coming out of the Vatican, it's coming everywhere which is there are 25,000 of these children like Anthony in the United States. They won't give the records. They will not. Even the Irish government won't give the records.
WEINSTEIN: So, they want to get those. And then there's kids all over the world. So today, I mean as I showed the United Nations is asking the Vatican. And today's story, United Nations as a result of this film -- the United Nations is going to ask the Vatican to intercede with the church to release the names of these people across the world and the 25,000 people a year.
Philomena was at a screening where a woman came up and said, "I was with Anthony, you mean at rose pray" I mean, you know, and we don't know who these people are. We don't know what happened to them are they in good homes... MORGAN: I suppose you'd say -- come on, Harvey, it's not the first thing that have popped off the Catholic Church. If you think an agenda against the Catholic Church or your Jewish and you don't like Catholics.
MORGAN: What do you say to that?
WEINSTEIN: Well Brent Bozell, Philomena was the one and mean a conservative columnist to, you know, accuse me of that. And I think Bill Donohue at the Catholic league. And it's not the first time.
You're right. I did the movie "Priest". And my mother almost whacked me for that movie. And then five years later in Boston a scandal breaks out which is exactly the theme of the movie which was that a priest was involved on the molestation of a boy in the choir and they heard about it in the confessional.
When I made the movie, you know, they -- that every bad headline you could imagine, you know, was raised against me but it's not an anti- Catholic basis. I made "The Price About Rubies" with Renee Zellweger. I criticized the (inaudible). You know, I've been on the side of the Palestinians with moral. I'm a story teller.
MORGAN: You based it to everybody haven't -- don't you?
WEINSTEIN: I don't ...
MORGAN: ... nondiscriminating...
WEINSTEIN: No, no, no. I'd ...
MORGAN: ... whacker of everything.
WEINSTEIN: ... I tell heroic stories. I mean when I write -- tell heroic stories about a woman like Philomena who finds her way. We tell heroic stories about people who take on the (inaudible).
MORGAN: Are you taking Philomena to the Oscars?
WEINSTEIN: I'm 100 percent.
WEINSTEIN: 100 percent.
MORGAN: How are you going to feel about that Philomena?
LEE: Oh I have to be -- I going to ...
MORGAN: Imagine being on the Oscars on the red carpet. I'm doing the red carpet for the CNN so ...
LEE: I can't believe ...
MORGAN: I can see you there.
LEE: ... I cannot believe it.
MORGAN: Well it's a delight to meet you and I'm so trilled for you that your story which is a very pointing in and emotional story, heart rending in many ways.
LEE: Thank you.
MORGAN: But it's a story of it's time and was a scandal that went on back in that era in Ireland. It doesn't go on today. We don't think and I've got no issue as a Catholic with this being highlighted whatsoever. And I think that it's important that these things do get exposed and they do get to debate them and ensure that it doesn't happen again.
WEINSTEIN: This woman has thought us all an amazing lesson about forgiveness. I never thought I'd have it.
MORGAN: It is a real pleasure to meet you.
LEE: Thank you very much Piers.
MORGAN: And best of luck at the Oscars. How exiting. And Harvey I'm going to wish luck. You're probably going to win a lot. You know, I mean it.
LEE: Thank you so much.
MORGAN: But it's good to see you.
WEINSTEIN: Thank you Piers as always.
MORGAN: Good to see. All right.
WEINSTEIN: Oh yes.
MORGAN: When we comeback, the latest of the story we first brought you last night, a man who's outraged people around the world. He paid $350,000 for the right to hunt and kill a rare black rhino. Does anybody think that is OK?
MORGAN: My interview last time with Corey Knowlton has erupted into a very heated debate. He's the hunter who paid $350,000 for the right to hunt and kill a rare black rhino. Other people are outraged about it, he came in the show explain his side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
How do you justify what you have done?
COREY KNOWLTON, PAID $350,000 TO HUNT AND KILL RARE BLACK RHINO: Well, I justified the name conservation, I justified in belief system and sustainable use. I'm very knowledgeable and very educated on the subject about what's going on. The money is needed I think I got a long list of justifications.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Joining me now are two men on opposite sides of this question, Jeff Flocken the Regional Director of North America, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and John Jackson, he's a Chairman and President of Conservative Force. He facilitated the auction and asked Corey Knowlton to bid. Welcome to both of you.
Jeff Flocken, let me go to you first, what was your reaction the interview with Corey Knowlton last night and his justification of what's doing.
JEFF FLOCKEN, INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR ANIMAL WELFARE: I'd say I strongly disagree, this is a case of a bunch of wealthy Americans auctioning of the right to kill a rare species. One of the last quickly endanger animal and trying to pass it off as conservation which could be further than the truth.
MORGAN: OK. John Jackson, you're supportive of Corey Knowlton, why?
JOHN JACKSON, CHAIRMAN AND PRESIDENT, CONSERVATIVE FORCE: This is what is all about. It's the fundamental principle of conservation that you have to have a revenue and you have to incentivize the local people. All wildlife conservation has to be done on the local level. Isn't that -- this in general was to suggest this is anything other than a conservation initiative to maximize revenue for the conservation of this species.
MORGAN: Will I -- this cannot stop it and what seems to enrage so many people is the trophy hunting element of what he does. If you look at his Facebook pages they're covered and littered with picture of great animals with him beaming away next to them with his guns proudly celebrating killing them. And he presumably -- he didn't deny it -- it's intensity with that the same thing with this rare endangered black rhino.
And he's back glorifying in the killing that really distresses people. Why do you -- why do people need to do that and why would you go along with that?
JACKSON: Hunters have a very special relationship with animals they pursue. Only hunters know the hunting relationship. It's old -- relationship was old as mankind. Very important one, they as -- they know the wildlife they pursue like no on else. And they also one stewards.
Conservation Force, my organizations and the business, so to speak is a nonprofit public charity. It's in the business of using hunting as force for the conservation of animals. We support what we call conservation hunting. Tweaking, the hunting programs so that they generate greater special benefits like revenue and local incentives to save the species. This is what it's all about.
MORGAN: In answer to my direct question are you comfortable with the prospect of Corey Knowlton posing next to the dead black rhino with a big grin of his face and his weapon of choice to kill, and then, posting that on social media. Are you comfortable with that?
JACKSON: I am. He's the one paying the bill. And this is a way of moralizing the experience, capturing it. That's just one of the ways. It's better than a memory. And it will help refresh the memory about the whole experience.
MORGAN: OK. Jeff Flocken, in terms of the validity of a hunter's right to hunt the black rhino particularly the elderly black rhino's who have no longer have breeding use and who would perhaps be killed anyway -- certainly it seems to be the suggestion that's not been disputed -- what is actually wrong in having it hunted in this particular way compared to any other way?
FLOCKEN: This is a case of critically endangered species being hunted for trophy. The message that it's sending the world is that the animal is worth more dead than alive. And that's the reason that's in the current crisis it's in. The animals being poached at a horrific rate for its horn which is valued in traditional Asian medicines as well as (inaudible) like ash trays or statutes.
And the reason it's so valued is it's rare. A trophy hunt that makes it spectacle of auction of the right for a wealthy horn to kill one is only saying has another reason why it's worth more dead that alive. And this animal...
MORGAN: OK. But let me -- OK. But let me pick you up, Jeff Flocken, on that point if you remove the hunting this of the photographic memory stuff that goes on with social media and distinct to the actual killing of this black rhino which would probably be killed anyway, what is the sensible argument against it?
FLOCKEN: Well, first of all, there are scientists who can clearly dispute the need to kill endangered animal. They're saying that it's non-reproductive. Well, they're many scientist say that we don't know how long a rhino is going to be reproductively important to the herd. It has a place in social structure and the safety particularly the dominant older males.
Additionally, it has a value to the herd in that or to -- sorry -- the revenue of African nation, the medicine draft, or ecotourism. Ecotourists raided millions more than hunting or went off hunt, they kill the animal and takes it out the national environment it were ever raised. So the claims that it has to be called or has to be killed I'm not buying it. And they're many scientists in conservation of the economies who agreed with me on this.
MORGAN: John Jackson, he's not buying it why is he wrong?
JACKSON: He is not the expert. Yes, I use Young African Rhinos Specialist Group a largest on conservation body in the world is the expert. 177 nations of societies and the scientific authorities that are determined this is in the best interest of the rhino. Or the authorities, the US Fish and Wildlife service has to make two different determination by two different divisions and they are the authorities. They found that it enhances survival of the species and it's not detrimental. There is -- virtually all of the experts in all the leading organizations and the industry of the -- environment and tourism in Namibia that determine this is the best thing to do.
MORGAN: Let me ask finally then, if Corey Knowlton suddenly have a dramatic change in mind and said to you, "I don't want to kill this black rhino it's an endangered species -- only 5,000 left in the world. So I want to keep them all alive but I will -- because I'm so dedicated to conserving these animals -- I will give a check for $350,000 and you can do with that whatever you wish."
I mean that surely will be a more preferable state of affairs than having these wealthy American hunter go over there, track it down, kill it, and then, post for his rather ugly trophy photographs.
JACKSON: If you asking me like the question is it's best that this rhino be eliminated because it's dangerous to the other animals -- calves, and the cows, and the young productive bulls? But will I accept this $350,000. We asked Corey to do this for conservation of the species. This is about conservation not his personal hunting interest. He didn't want to do this. We ask him to do it.
And we would accept his $350,000. We'll accept anybody's $350,000. We have public charity and we'll accept any dedicated donation at CNN.
MORGAN: OK. Will you pose for the picture with him when he's posing proudly by the dead rhino?
JACKSON: I will if he survives the encounter I'll congratulate him for knowing a rhino was only a hunter can do.
MORGAN: But would you pose with him for the picture if he asked you to?
JACKSON: I certainly would.
MORGAN: You would? OK. Well, then, we both know...
JACKSON: I would.
MORGAN: The most lightly outcome is not that Corey Knowlton will survived but the black rhino will survive. Anyway John Jackson, Jeff Flocken, thank you both very much for joining me.
When we come back, two many know all the rest to know about reinventing yourself in the political spot light. Kennedy Cousins, Christopher Lawford and Patrick Kennedy. The unexpected advice of the leader Chris Christie.
MORGAN: Ask Kennedys. My next guest has been around politics her entire lives. And who've been to talk about surviving a scandal like Chris Christie's Bridgegate.
Joining me now Christopher Kennedy Lawford, author of the new book "What Addicts Know: 10 Lessons To Benefit Everyone", also former Congressman Patrick Kennedy also the Mental Health Party and Addiction Acuity Act. He's the co-founder of One Mind for research and founder of the Kennedy Forum. Welcome to both you.
Before we get in to the book which is fascinating and extremely timely in many ways, let's talk about Chris Christie because no family knows more about the legal intrigue, and scandal, and winning and loosing elections than your family does. Patrick, what do you make in this?
PATRICK KENNEDY, FMR. U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: The difficult thing he has is that people think this scandal fits him and what they know of him. So he's kind of known as a bully who acts kind of intemperately. So people can picture him flying into a rage and saying we're going to have a pay back here for this guy. I mean it fits with what people know of him. That's the damage here. There may not be any dots to connect but in people's minds this is kind of Christie-like in the kind of way that it was done. So --
MORGAN: And you are a New Jersey resident?
KENNEDY: I'm a proud Jersey resident.
MORGAN: He is your Governor.
KENNEDY: He is and he has been very good on many things and it's the reason he got reelected so overwhelmingly. But we all have character flaws in certain things if they're exposed and they stick in the public mind, really stick because of the way people of us. And this is the kind of thing I think that fits with the guy that people know as Governor Christie. Because he is that kind of guy who is in your face kind of bully like sometimes and so people I think and look at this and say oh, that is an addict. I can picture him doing that. And that's the danger for him.
MORGAN: I mean he said that because I mean he would say look, I'm not a bully, I'm a straight talker, I'm a blunt speaker, I call things to what they are. I call people out when I see injustice or people attacking me whatever it may be. And to date nothing has come out which actually says he has lied about what he knew about this.
CRISTOPHER KENNEDY LAWFORD, AMERICAN AUTHOR, ACTOR AND ACTIVIST: He is the current political pinata, and that's what he is. And like pinatas, people put blindfolds on them and they just whack him. So he is going to have a lot of that. And, you know, if you can't see and he don't get in the kitchen. He may himself a natural figure. Everybody knew this day was going to come and we'll see how he fares when the spotlight is on you.
KENNEDY: I mean, they built him up and I've always felt they did it because they like to tear people down. And I've seen in my own life, I saw it with my dad. They brought him in. They said his poll numbers are great. Once he stepped into the race way, they did a (inaudible) on him.
MORGAN: Speaking of the dark side of politics, an upcoming book HRC State Secrets And The Rebirth of Hillary Clinton asserts that Clinton's presidential campaign in 2008 former list spreadsheets of Clinton supporters and detractors, your father, the late Kennedy was on that list as an early backer (ph) of Clinton's rival Barack Obama. What do you make of that?
KENNEDY: I knew that President Clinton particularly had a lot of misgivings with my dad's moving towards an endorsement for then Senator Barack Obama. I can understand that. President Clinton was very good to my family but of course my family played a role in helping President Clinton. It was a two-way street. But I can definitely understand where there were hurt feelings there. I think my dad took the long view and that was that his brothers were there in the civil rights movement, early on. And I think he felt an obligation not only to making a political decision but to his brother's memory. And I think he felt this obligation to be with this historic figure Barack Obama at that time. So I hope the Clintons understand that. I know at the heat of the moment, you can't because that's just the way things are.
MORGAN: We just move on to this book because what are these notes, 10 lessons from recovery to benefit everybody. What is the point of the book and what is the key thing that you want me to take away from that?
LAWFORD: Well, that people that recover from this brain illness have a lot to give the world that more than just their sobriety. People often look at this population ago as long as they're not using, they're fine. There are 23 million people in recovery in the United States of America, just in the United States. They have enormous experience, wonderful experience and they have a lot to give the world in terms of how to live life and how to have a happier life. Our culture is riddled with addiction. Not just substance of behavioral but technology, the materialism, all of it. And people are looking for answers, there are no answers there.
And we know that as a community, we know how to get -- we know how to become I think more fulfilled. These are not new principles by the way but that's the idea of it. This is a community that has a lot to give in. And basically, they do not deserve the stigma and the discrimination that they face once they find recovery.
MORGAN: What do you make (inaudible) ask you on this about the legalization of marijuana debate which is not raging, that was in Colorado. This year has already and made it pretty much, pretty illegal. In terms of the claim that people said it's the gateway to two other of the drugs, do you subscribe to that?
KENNEDY: Well, first off, he said war on drugs was an abysmal failure and I worked in Congress to try to move to treatment and treat these issues as health issues, not criminal justice issues. I still believe that. But understanding that legalization increases use and there's a corollary there particularly amongst young people is something that's hard to ignore.
So I can't be for legalization because I can't be for more teenagers using and then in my own case I started using as a teenager and nine of out 10 addicts started when they were teenagers. Your brain is still forming. This is a dangerous to time to be starting drugs and this notion that legal, it's just legal for 21 and over. We all know that's a lot of hooey that it's going to be a lot of kids that now use and I don't think our country Piers just at the end of the day --
MORGAN: I know lots of kids using it anyway and the argument they would get it.
KENNEDY: No, no because 52 percent of teenagers is alcoholic 'cause it's legal. Tobacco is the same thing. So it's only 8 percent. Of course there are probably more than that that's reported. The point is that a lot more will use if it's legal.
LAWFORD: That's too much damaging drugs on the planet or alcohol and tobacco. To the society and the individual, the question is do we need another one? Prevalence matters and when you legalize something prevalence increases.
KENNEDY: As a country we should try to do better. I mean just in general this is not what's going to make our country strong. It's going to stop our collective energy. As a society, I think we should try to care about where we as a country are going. We have a learning gap amongst kids. This is only going to widen that gap. We have a competitive in this gap around the world. We can't be a first rate nation and go to pots (ph). I mean that's just it.
MORGAN: "What Addicts Know, 10 Lessons from Recovery to Benefit Everyone" is available now. Christopher you'll be signing books in Boston, Philadelphia, DC later this month. For more information check it out at christopherkennedylawford.com. Great to see you both. Thank you very much. Good to see you.
KENNEDY: Thanks Piers.
MORGAN: Good to see you.
We'll be right back.
MORGAN: Monday night, "The Wolf of Wall Street," the movie is raunchy, raw and some people say crosses the line. But the story is all too real. And I'll talk to the man who inspired Leonardo DiCaprio's character, the real life Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort and he joins me exclusively as Monday night should be quite a night.