20th Century Fox

The first rule of writing a Hollywood movie as a high-ranking U.S. government official is you can’t talk about writing a Hollywood movie as a high-ranking U.S. government official.

The Revenant—in which Leonardo DiCaprio plays a 19th-century fur-trapper who nearly perishes on the Western frontier—is in theaters this week. But DC lawyer Michael Punke, who penned the book that inspired the film can’t even talk about it because he’s currently the deputy U.S. trade representative and ambassador to the World Trade Organization. “Federal ethics rules prohibit him from doing any side work—even a little promotional campaign—that might enrich him and potentially abuse his high-ranking office in the process,” as the Washington Post’s Ben Terris explains.

According to Punke’s family, it’s killing him to have to stay silent about the film while he’s thousands of miles away negotiating wonky trade deals. But at least he was spared having to explain what does and does not happen between DiCaprio and a bear in the movie.