As the paparazzi lined up along the red carpet to snap photos of celebrities for the Dec. 10 premiere of the film “Charlie Wilson’s War” — the true account of a Texas congressman’s efforts to help fund a Cold War defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan — they had the chance to shoot the movie’s stars, including Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Dick DeGuerin. Wait a minute. DeGuerin? As it turns out, the Houston criminal-defense lawyer played a behind-the-scenes role in the making of the movie, which opens Dec. 21. The film recently was nominated for five Golden Globes, including Best Picture (Comedy/Musical), Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Screenplay. DeGuerin was the guest of Joanne King Herring, a Houston socialite who Roberts portrays, at the premiere of the movie at the Universal Studio AMC Theater in Hollywood. “Joanne King was and is my client and friend,” says DeGuerin, a partner in DeGuerin Dickson & Hennessy. “She’s the one who really got Charlie Wilson to do what he did.” King was an honorary consul to Pakistan in the 1980s. She convinced Wilson, then a member of the House Appropriations Committee, to help funnel money to the Afghan mujahedeen, the resistance fighters who eventually drove the Soviets out of their country. Pakistan played a role in the conflict in the 1980s, because the country served as a refuge for thousands of Afghans who fled their homeland during the Soviet occupation. Pakistan urged the United States to become involved in the war. Wilson’s story made for a popular 2003 book “Charlie Wilson’s War” and the new movie of the same name. But when Herring was leaked a copy of the movie script, she was not happy, DeGuerin says. “They had written a script that had her cussing like a sailor and doing things that she never did. She got me to threaten the producers with a lawsuit if they didn’t change it. And they did,” DeGuerin says. DeGuerin ended up sitting next to Herring at the premiere and met Hanks, who plays Wilson — proof that everyone was “very happy” after the resolution of the script conflict, he says.
-- John Council