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Showtime's hit shows usually depict life-and-death situations in a heightened version of the world around us. But the cable channel's new docu-series Years of Living Dangerously aims to shine a light on a real-world issue that could be just as dangerous: global warming.
A project three years in the making, the nine-episode series sends celebrity correspondents such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Harrison Ford to areas around the world and throughout the U.S. affected by global warming. The stars interview experts and ordinary people alike about the impacts of climate change and also ask questions on behalf of the audience. According to executive producer Jerry Weintraub, co-creators Joel Bach and David Gelber wanted to use Hollywood A-listers not just for star power, but as a way for the average viewer to understand the enormity of the issue.
Showtime is taking on "the biggest story of our time" with the documentary series Years of Living Dangerously.
In the upcoming 9-episode series, celebrities including Matt Damon, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ian Somerhalder, Harrison Ford and more will act as correspondents delving into the different impacts climate change has had and is projected to have on the world. The project aims to show the current and intensifying effects on everyday Americans, while demonstrating how they can take action and be part of the solution.
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"The things [scientists] talk about sometimes don't resonate with the public," Schwarzenegger told reporters during the show's Television Critics Association panel. "There are very simple messages, but only actors will get the ultimate attention. This is why it's important when you're [famous] that you look at the power of communicating and use it for something positive."
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It all started, oddly enough, on the set of director Steven Soderbergh's gritty, Oscar-winning 2000 drama Traffic. "Steven said to me, 'You ever think of playing Liberace?'" remembers Michael Douglas of the first time he was approached to portray the ultra-effeminate yet closeted pianist who was the world's highest-paid entertainer for decades. "And I thought, 'This guy's f---ing with me. I'm playing the drug czar! Is this some kind of director's trick?'"