In what qualifies as one of those special perks of governing,
Obama toured the DreamWorks Animation studio of one of his top
political benefactors, Jeffrey Katzenberg. All other tours must
have paled by comparison.
He saw motion capture technology on
display and he shook hands — well, bumped elbows — with Steve
Martin before the actor-comedian-banjo player transformed
himself into the villainous Capt. Smek from the upcoming movie
But nothing could beat the short clip of another character in
the film, Oh, intoning in the familiar cadences of Obama's
voice: "Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. Welcome to the White
"That'll impress the girls," Obama, thinking of his
daughters, said delightedly.
Martin and actor Jim Parsons of "Big Bang Theory" were there
to demonstrate voice recordings for the DreamWorks movie "Home"
about a civilization of aliens called "Boovs." It's scheduled
for release in November of 2014.
Speaking to a few thousand staff and others gathered on
DreamWorks' campus, Obama praised the entertainment industry for
helping transmit values of tolerance and diversity and
overcoming adversity, calling it part of American diplomacy.
"Hundreds of millions of people may never set foot in the
U.S., but thanks to you they've experienced a small part of what
makes our country successful," Obama said. "We have shaped a
world culture through you."
"Can't wait to see your next movie," Obama added with a grin.
Entering the studio earlier for his tour, Obama extended a
hand to Martin, who informed him he had a slight cold. So the
commander in chief and the once wild-and-crazy guy bumped elbows
"How's the banjo playing?" Obama asked
"Better than ever," Martin replied.
Obama mentioned that Martin had played the banjo at the White
"The fact that I played banjo at the White House was the
biggest thrill (pause) of his life," Martin cracked.
"That's how I felt," Obama deadpanned. "Biggest thrill of my life.