“The Revenant,” an epic historical drama starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a gritty fur trader, is heading into tomorrow’s Academy Award ceremony with some serious buzz.
The film is based on a book, “The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge,” whose author, Michael Punke, has an amazing day job: He’s the US Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation, as well as the Deputy United States Trade Representative.
Punke, who somehow found the time to write a novel between negotiating trillion-dollar trade deals, studied international affairs at George Washington University and served as the editor-in-chief of the international law journal at Cornell, where he recieved his JD.
Because of his position, Punke hasn’t really been able to soak up the spotlight. Federal ethics rules prevent him from any “self-enriching” activities like signing copies of his book, or sitting down for interviews, according to The New York Times.
His colleagues at the WTO are impressed, however.
“We think it’s quite cool,” Keith Rockwell, a spokesman for the W.T.O., told The New York Times. “The W.T.O. isn’t normally known for having a Hollywood connection.”
Punke’s fascination with the American West started when he was a kid growing up in Wyoming. He spent his summers working as a historical re-enactor at a national park site near his home.
“He’d go out there in this heavy wool army uniform, baking bread and firing up the cannons, when most kids were delivering pizzas or doing paper routes,” Tim Punke, his brother, told The New York Times.
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