Monica in "Wag the Dog": Urban Legend?

Does infamous intern make a cameo appearance in political satire? See for yourself

By Marcus Errico Sep 25, 1998 10:30 PMTags
The new slasher flick Urban Legend got us to thinking about some of our favorite Hollywood urban legends: Life cereal's Mikey eating pop rocks and dying; Richard Gere and the gerbil; the "ghost child" in Three Men and a Baby; the suicidal Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz.

Of course none of those is true. Mikey's alive and kicking, even appeared in a new Life commercial a few years back. Gere's E.R. visit is a variation on a hoary yarn. That Three Men and a Baby ghost--reputedly a child who killed himself in the room where a movie scene was shot--is merely a cardboard cut-out of Ted Danson. As for the poor Munchkin (he supposedly hanged himself on the set and his shadow is visible in one scene), he's a myth; the shadow is really a misplaced boom mike.

But another Tinseltown-style urban legend has been making the rounds lately, this one concerning Monica Lewinsky and her cameo in the political spoof Wag the Dog. Several people have even emailed E! Online about the seemingly uncanny coincidence.

Here's one reader's version of the Lewinsky legend:

As we all know, Wag the Dog was filmed months before the current scandal involving the president made headlines. However, a rather spooky connection with reality can be found within the movie (other than the plot!). In the scene where Robert De Niro first enters the White House, you will notice a large photograph displayed in the shot. Look closely--it is the picture of President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky (complete with that ugly hat) that was featured on many news programs when the scandal broke! As if that weren't enough, the picture is featured again in another scene of a television news broadcast!

Sure enough, a slow-motion look at the title scene reveals an easel-mounted photograph of familiar-looking gray-haired man with his arm around a beret-wearing female. An image (a fuzzy version is included in this story) that could easily be mistaken for Clinton and Lewinksy (see above). But it's not.

The photo in Wag the Dog--which was theatrically released almost two months before anyone ever heard of Monica Lewinsky--is of the film's president and the "Firefly Girl" he molests. Although striking, the resemblance is purely coincidental.

Still, the filmmakers behind Wag the Dog, screenwriter David Mamet and director Barry Levinson, must have been checking out their crystal balls before making the prescient movie. In addition to the freaky Lewinsky-like picture, there was the whole sex-scandal-blunted-by-war storyline (virtually repeated in real-life when the embattled Clinton bombed Sudan and Afghanistan) that was almost prophetic. Almost.

"The world's media right now are giving the filmmakers far too much credit for being clairvoyant," says Levinson's spokesperson. "The filmmakers put together a movie that was entertainment, and it was well received, but that's what it was: entertainment. Anything that is happening in the world today really has nothing to do with the movie."

From Rod and Zsa Zsa to Eddie and the Beav, check out these Hollywood urban legends. Are they truth...or fiction?