Across the street from General Motors Corp.’s palatial headquarters where the Detroit premiere of his new film “Capitalism: A Love Story” was taking place, Michael Moore was doing press interviews in a decidedly less-glitzy hotel ballroom.

“We’re not supposed to be here,” Moore says. “We were going to be over there, sitting in the lobby while people were watching the movie. And GM said no, I can’t be there if I’ve got any of you (reporters) around.”

Moore has had a nearly two-decade-long feud with GM, beginning with his 1989 landmark documentary “Roger & Me,” which chronicled his quest to interview GM chairman Roger B. Smith — the man whose decision to shut down several plants devastated the economy of Flint, Moore’s hometown.

“They should kind of get over it, whatever the problem is with me,” Moore said. “I’m not walking around saying ‘I told you so,’ and they should be gracious about it.”

Here, he is referring to the prophetic nature of “Roger & Me,” which exposed the outsourcing and foolish corporate decisions that crumbled the once-invincible automobile industry in Michigan.

Even still, Moore isn’t proud he was one of the first people to call out GM on its poor economic practices.

“I try to think about what I did wrong. I set out with that film to change things, to wake people up about General Motors,” he said. “I had this fantasy that somehow people would go see this movie, everyone would wise up to this company and it wouldn’t end up the way it has now. The fact that it has failed, that it has thrown even more people out of work, it makes me question, could I have done something? Could I have said something else, in a different way?”

Moore’s films have a tendency to be ahead of their time. Aside from “Roger & Me,” released almost 20 years before GM’s bankruptcy, he also admits that his previous film “Sicko” was released two years too early — the health care debate in America wasn’t fully amplified until this summer.

But with “Capitalism,” Moore thinks he has nailed current public sentiment.

“This film is going to come out and perhaps be the most relevant film (audiences) have seen this year,” he said. “And they will see things in this movie they will not see on the evening news.”

The film revolves around last fall’s economic crisis, tracing its origins from the deregulation during the Reagan administration to the multi-billion dollar bailouts doled out in the past year. Moore gives a comprehensive-yet-simplified explanation of what went wrong, leading to an all-out attack on the ideals of capitalism and the troubles it has created in our country.

“I don’t define capitalism as working hard, making money, doing well, being inventive,” he said. “Capitalism now has become about money – making money off money, moving money around, investing money in money, taking bets on money, derivatives on money, turning Wall Street into a casino and guaranteeing the richest 1 percent get the biggest hunk of the pie.”

“Nobody is talking about dividing the pie equally, that we’re all going to be paid the exact same amount — just divide it fairly,” he added.

Despite its heavy-handed ideas, Moore is optimistic that “Capitalism” will connect with audiences.

“People are run down and full of despair right now,” he said. “But this is a movie for them to go to and have a cathartic experience, watching the bad guy get his comeuppance.”

The studio certainly expects people to come in droves. Fresh off critical praise from its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, “Capitalism” will be released to more than 1,000 screens on Oct. 2 — Moore’s biggest opening to date.

Michael Moore is one of the few filmmakers who can construct a mass-appeal film about political issues, but for “Capitalism,” the process was far from a breeze.

“Who wants to go to a movie about an economic theory? That was the challenge,” Moore explained. “Now how do I make this really interesting, fun, exciting, damning, dangerous movie that people would want to see on a Friday night? And by the way, let’s put the word ‘capitalism’ in the title.”

“If you think about taking your date out on a Friday night, ‘Let’s go see that ‘Capitalism’ movie’ — not exactly what’s going to get you what you want at the end of the night.”

Times have certainly changed for Michael Moore. The last time he filmed without a permit on Wall Street for Rage Against the Machine’s “Sleep Now in the Fire” music video, he was taken away by the police. Moore’s Wall Street prank in “Capitalism” is certainly less bombastic — he wraps crime scene tape around culpable banking institutions — but he was nevertheless surprised by the reaction from the authorities.

“The cop says to me, ‘Mike, the guys inside this building lost a billion dollars of our NYC police pension fund. You take all the time you want.’ So wow, the police are on my side now.”

The fuzz isn’t the only unforeseen group joining his crusade — Moore mentions that in preview screenings, “Capitalism” has tested better with Republicans and conservatives than any of his prior documentaries. And he knows why.

“When you have one foreclosure every seven and a half seconds in this country, that doesn’t know any party lines. Or class lines. Or racial lines. Everybody is getting smeared.”

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