The documentary film-maker Michael Moore - who has made a fortune out of attacking America's obsession with guns, its health care system and the Iraq war - is not a man to hold his tongue and doff his cap. In fact, far from holding his tongue, he has proceeded to bite the hand that feeds and attacked his own studio bosses.
In an outburst at the Venice Film Festival that could spell the end of his Hollywood career, Moore turned on a roomful of executives from the film company that bankrolled his latest movie and ridiculed them as the perfect example of a capitalist corporation he criticises in his new film, before pointing out that he is now wealthy enough to make his own.
Moore, whose film ‘Capitalism: A Love Story' is in the festival's official competition, stood in front of executives from the big-budget studio Paramount and openly mocked them. “Why would these companies give money to me, a guy who is diametrically opposed to everything they stand for?” he said.
“One of the beautiful flaws of capitalism is they will use the rope you give them to hang themselves if you can make a buck. Every single movie I have made over the past 20 years has made a profit. There are not a dozen people who can even say that. I'm in a very desirable club,” he said.
But Moore, whose film is a scathing critique of America's Wall Street bankers whom he brands “gamblers”, said he may never make another Hollywood-backed film after this damning indictment of capitalism.
“I got the sense that they (Hollywood's moneymen) don't care what I think or feel . . . I thought, ‘Why don't I make a movie that will guarantee me never getting a dime from them ever again?'
“I think this is the last time they will give me that money. They are not an ideology, they are just about money,” he said.
Moore added that he had been saving his millions so that when Hollywood finally turns against him, he will be able to fund his own documentaries.
His documentary ‘Fahrenheit 9/11' — which argues that George W Bush waged a war on Iraq “based on a lie which he knew was a lie” — was made on a budget of around €1.4m yet made a worldwide profit of €84m, an astounding achievement for a documentary.
Moore's film is one of six US entries in the running for the prestigious Golden Lion to be awarded next weekend.
The Venice festival has increasingly brought Hollywood glamour to the red carpet over the years. The healthy selection of American films this year has attracted the likes of Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes and George Clooney to the Lido in Venice.