The issue of the “migration” of people, involved in showbiz, into politics turned out to be inexhaustible. With the election of the president of Ukraine, former comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, the trend did not die, but continued to live and got a new name - Vakhtang Kikabidze. He also goes into big politics, not in Ukraine, but in Georgia, and this is strange because the favorite of Soviet women is running from the party of Mikheil Saakashvili. And Saakashvili, as you know, has settled in Kyiv a long time ago. The nomination of Kikabidze is an excellent occasion to remember those who took a step from the set to the presidential, government, or parliamentary building.
But first, a few words about Kikabidze.
At the nick of time
United National Movement (UNM) Georgian party, the informal leader of which is former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, applied for registration exactly three minutes before the deadline expired. It is difficult to say why the UNM was in no haste to register earlier.
Vakhtang Kikabidze, an 82-year-old actor and singer, is number one from the list of UNM for the parliamentary elections (which will take place on October 31). "This is our joint choice since Kikabidze is a symbol of patriotism and integrity," said Tina Bokuchava, one of the party's leaders.
Kikabidze is known for his pronounced anti-Russian stance. He categorically refused from touring the Russian Federation back in 2008 - after the Russian-Georgian war. But recently, the actor has not shown any political activity. As for the party, the above-mentioned Saakashvili was supposed to lead it to the elections. Back in August, he thanked Ukraine for its hospitality and said that he was returning home with the experience he had gained to reform and rebuild Georgia.
The local Ministry of Justice was terribly happy with this statement. Profile minister Teya Tsulukiani assured the "prodigal son" that he would have the most comfortable prison cell in the world (Saakashvili is suspected of committing a number of crimes in his homeland) so that he will only finally return.
Apparently, Saakashvili did not believe much in assurances about comfort in prison. Therefore, I decided to stay in Ukraine and gain some more experience. Instead of himself, he nominated his mother Giuli Alasania for the elections. Saakashvili's associates did not like this, who reminded that politics is "not a family business." Therefore, in the end, the UNM was headed by Kikabidze – at least for the duration of the current campaign.
We were unable to find any relevant comments from Kikabidze regarding such a step. This means that it is not clear what prompted him to participate in the elections. It is only known that in one of the last broadcasts of the Mtavari Archi TV channel, Kikabidze noted that Georgia, which broke off diplomatic relations with Russia in 2008, has nothing to talk about with Moscow.
Not by Reagan alone
Long-gone US President Ronald Reagan is not allowed to be calm in a better world. As soon as the list of those who have traded show business for politics begins, it is put forward like a war elephant. Reagan was not alone in making the transition, though.
And not just Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former governor of California. And, in the end, not only Donald Trump, who, as a stigma, stands for a few seconds episode from the film "Home Alone – 2."
Although Trump has nothing to do with it. The current head of the White House cannot be called an actor in the classical sense of the word. Yes, he acted in films, where he played mostly himself. And not only in "Home Alone" but also in the TV series "The Prince of Beverly Hills," "Sex and the City," "Little Rascals" and "The Model Male" films. But it was not acting, but rather the fun of a wealthy businessman and film producer.
Meanwhile, there are much more interesting and less well-known examples in the world of how the representatives of the establishment were shooting in films. Take the Kaczynski brothers. Almost no one knows that both the ex-president of Poland (Lech), who died in a plane crash and his brother (Jaroslaw), in childhood starred in the fairy tale film "Those who stole the moon." Media sources claim that this film is still popular in Poland.
But there are also more mature political actors. Below are some not-so-well-worn stories.
Joseph Estrada: just like in the movies
The President of the Philippines (1998-2001) began his career as mayor in the municipality of San Juan. He then became a Senator, then Vice President, and finally President of the Philippines. And then something went wrong.
Estrada was accused of bribery, corruption, and abuse of office, after which he was forced to resign, and then also sentenced to life imprisonment. And he should have been in prison, but Estrada was pardoned, returned to an active political life, and even won the mayoral elections in the capital of the Philippines - Manila. Estrada serves as the mayor to this day.
His acting career was no less intense than political: he played in more than 100 films. Joseph Estrada is a five-time winner of the Philippine Best Actor Award. It has also won Best Picture awards five times.
Morales and morality: from a vampire to the leaders of the state
Jimmy Morales, President of Guatemala since 2016, began his political career in 2011. He tried to run for mayor, but failed, after which he decided to join the small far-right party, the National Convergence Front, and became its general secretary. From this party, Morales was nominated for the presidency of Guatemala - and won. This was unexpected for everyone, especially for his rivals, because before winning the election, Morales was primarily known as a comedian, and not as a politician.
The future president received higher education in business administration and international relations but broke all templates, and instead of building a career, together with his older brother Samuel, he plunged headlong into the film industry. For 15 years they have been creating the comedy television program Moralejas ("Customs"). In it, they appeared in the images of either Roman patricians, or rich Arabs, or vampires, but most often they portrayed the rude and narrow-minded peasant guys Nito and Neto.
Canada is often called the best option since a large Ukrainian diaspora has settled there, which has achieved greater success than our citizens in their homeland. The state is headed - nominally - by Queen Elizabeth II of Britain, and the highest state post is held by the Prime Minister. Since 2015, Justin Trudeau, a man with a very rich biography, has been in the prime minister's chair.
Whoever he was! In particular, a boxer. And also a snowboard and bungee jumping coach. But few people know that Justin Trudeau also tried himself as a radio host and actor. He has only one role in his acting portfolio - in 2007 he starred in the CBC miniseries The Great War, dedicated to Canada's participation in the First World War. In it, he played the role of Major Talbot Papineau, who fell at the Battle of Paschendale.
Comedian Coluche: Vote for the idiot
In the fall of 1980, French politicians laughed long and loudly when the famous comedian Coluche (Michel Colucci) ran for the presidency. The laughter stopped when the results of opinion polls appeared, according to which 11% of respondents were ready to vote for Kolusha. Closer to the "D-day" the number of Coluche’s sympathizers had already grown to 16%.
For comparison: other leaders of the race, with the exception of President d'Estaing, had quite comparable ratings: the communist Marchaux had 14.5%, the socialist Mitterrand - 18%, and the current head of state d'Estaing - 32%. All these opponents were strong political "giants."
However, he also had a fair amount of work behind him but in a different field. Coluche was very popular in France for his comic plays and sketches mocking politicians. He rose to fame as an actor at the Théâtre du Gymnase and co-founder of the iconic Café de la Gare theater in Paris, where future movie stars such as Miou Miou and Depardieu have performed.
"They're trying to set us up as idiots, so let's vote for an idiot," Coluche urged. However, just before the elections, the actor refused to further fight. “I decided to withdraw my candidacy because it started to annoy me,” he explained to reporters.
Jon Gnarr: victim of bullying
The future mayor of Reykjavik (real name - Jon Gunnar Christensen) had a difficult, hopeless childhood. He was considered mentally retarded and spent a lot of time in the hospital until the doctors determined that he had dyslexia. Gnarr learned to read and write as a teenager.
His reaction to the bullying of his peers was a passion for the ideas of anarchism and playing bass in a punk band. He did not go to university, worked at a car factory, and was a taxi driver for four years. At the age of 27, Gnarr left music and began a career as a humorist. He worked in popular TV programs, starred in comedy series, and won the Edda Award for Best Actor of the Year three times.
Probably, this career would have continued without significant changes in the future, if not for the economic crisis of 2008, of which Iceland was one of the first victims. Consequently - amid falling confidence in traditional politicians in society - Jon Gnarr founded The Best Party in November 2009, which promises to make Icelanders' lives brighter and more fun, laughs at the political elite, and promises to bring the perpetrators of the financial collapse to justice.
Gnarr's party promised a lot more, including the importation of polar bears, but, be that as it may, in 2013 it reached a 38% rating. On this joyous note, Gnarr disbanded his party... to distinguish himself from the actions of traditional politicians.
Lenin in a wheelchair
One of the most controversial politicians in Latin America - Lenin Bolter Moreno - was born in 1953. His father was a teacher and admired the Bolshevik leader.
In 1998, when Moreno served as director of the National Federation of Chambers of Tourism of Ecuador, an event occurred that changed his life. During the robbery, one of the thieves shot Lenin Moreno in the back, which led to paralysis.
Moreno did not lose heart, but founded the Eventa Foundation, which promotes humor and laughter therapy, wrote the book "The best jokes in the world," "Theory and practice of humor," "Laugh, do not get sick," "Famous humor." After Moreno joined the team of leftist politician Rafael Correa in 2006, he was elected vice president of the country. And ten years later, he became the head of state, winning the 2016 presidential elections with a score of 51%.
Moreno is known for his verbal dives with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been hiding at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012. After Assange complained about disconnecting him from the Internet, Moreno said that this was his punishment for his careless attitude to the cat. Assange was ordered to take better care of the animal - to feed, entertain, and maintain hygiene.
Marjan Šarec: "new faces?"
A very recent example of how political heroes turn from movie heroes is connected with Slovenia. Since 2018, the government of this country has been headed by Marjan Šarec, a former comedian and TV show participant. He is best known for his sketches, where he played the peasant Ivan Serpentinšek, who was always dissatisfied with his life.
In 2010, Serpentisek remained in the past, while Marjan Šarec took a step into the political future. To begin with, he won the mayoral elections in the small town of Kamnik. And in 2014, he was re-elected as mayor by 64% of voters already as the head of his own party - Šarec List.
Three years later, in 2017, Marjan Šarec put forward his candidacy in the presidential elections and immediately found himself among the favorites of the race. His campaign was accompanied by criticism of the country's political elite, calls for politicians to listen to voters and take practical steps. In June 2018, Šarec List won second place in the parliamentary elections with 12.7% of the vote, and after a long coalition, the politician took over the country's government.
Local political analysts say that Šarec is a new face against the background of such Slovenian heavyweights as President Borut Pahor, who has been in politics for 30 years, or the conservative leader, former Prime Minister Janez Jansa, an ally of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. All these people are tired of their compatriots, who wanted something fresh and unusual. To a certain extent, their expectations were justified, but only to a certain extent.
A crisis of democracy?
In early 2020, Marian Šarec resigned. He stated that his minority government is unable to promote important laws. “With this coalition, this situation in parliament, I cannot meet the expectations of the people. I could fulfill them after early elections,” he explained.
Šarec is the third person on our list to act outside the box. Out of the box from the Ukrainian point of view, of course. The first was Coluche, who withdrew from the race, having every chance of reaching the second round and even winning the presidency. And the second is Jon Gnarr, who completed his political career (his own and his party), being at the peak of success.
Šarec did not give up the struggle but pointed out that its continuation is possible only in the event of early parliamentary elections and in the event of his transition from opposition to the majority. Otherwise, all his promises lose their meaning. Probably, it was an honest step - in any case, not every Ukrainian power holder is able to voluntarily leave his chair or mandate, indicating that his possibilities have been exhausted.