Hugh Jackman spent a few days with former Senator Gary Hart and his family at his home in Colorado to prepare for "The Front Runner," a new film about the three weeks that thwarted his 1988 presidential campaign. Hart had been described as enigmatic and mercurial, so Jackman wanted to feel his personality. But Jackman also wanted Hart, 81, a former US senator. UU From Colorado, I knew he respected his story and handled it tactfully.
"I wanted him to know and could look me in the eye and know that I took his life and his legacy very seriously, and this is a difficult situation and something difficult to mention, but we were doing it with a noble and hopeful purpose. just something to review sensational stories, but to start a real conversation, I wanted you to know, "said Jackman.
During a panel discussion after a screening of "The Front Runner" at the Metrograph on the Lower East Side of New York, Jackman said that Hart, who met him in his car at the airport, was very nervous about the way that the movie would portray his wife. Lee Hart. But he, but ended up in love with the performance of the actress Vera Farmiga.
"Here was a script without heroes, or villains, just a bunch of humans in this extraordinary situation," Jackman said.
The film focuses on how the accusations of an extramarital affair in 1987 derailed Hart's campaign for the Democratic nomination, making it, as its title suggests, a favorite. Hart's most famous but not the proudest moment in public life was a harbinger of things to come: the omnipresent mix of entertainment and politics and the ruin of public careers based on private affairs. The film reflects on the role of journalism, the sanctity of the electoral process and what the public has the right to know, without giving easy answers.
The director / co-author of the film, Jason Reitman, said he took the film to Denver to see it with Hart. Reitman said he had not been so afraid to show anyone a movie since he presented his first short film for his father.
"The first thing Gary said was," Hugh Jackman is such a good actor "and then he said," Do I really talk like that? "His wife said:" Yes, dear. "This is how you talk," he said.
Longtime political strategist Jay Carson and Yahoo News national political columnist Matt Bai co-wrote the script with Reitman, based on Bai's 2014 book, "The whole truth is out: the policy of the week was tabloid" . Carson commented on his respective experiences as a campaign advisor and a journalist helped his ability to accurately portray both sides of that division.
"We did not write a movie where we made Gary Hart the hero," Carson said. "We put a really complicated character there and we let everyone here make their decisions. I bet if we had people filling private cards to say, "Hey, do you think it was the hero or not? Do you think it should have been the president or not?", It's divided 50-50. That's usually what we find with the public. "
Similarly, Reitman said that the filmmakers did not put their thumbs on the scale to suggest that any character is right or wrong in the general narrative or during particular scenes.
"Every time we had two people in a room, we tried to give each person the strongest and absolute argument against the other," he said.
Bai said that Hart's controversy was when the USA. UU They began to treat their political candidates more as celebrities and artists. He called it the moment when "the forces of entertainment and the forces of politics collide."
"When you create a process that treats politicians as celebrities and artists, you will inevitably get artists and celebrities as your candidates," said Bai. "It's something I talked about at the end of the book in 2014. I think the events starting in 2016 have made it much more relevant, much more timely, frankly more than we would like."
According to Bai, the core of the film is not only about privacy or scandal, but about the campaign process that everyone, journalists, politicians and voters, have helped to create the kind of people they attract.
In the film, actor Mamoudou Athie plays A.J. Parker, a composite of two real-life journalists, who is in conflict over media questions about Hart's private life and whether the public has a right to know the answers. How do we separate what is merely interesting from what is relevant and in the interest of the public?
Yahoo News chief research correspondent Michael Isikoff, who moderated the panel at the Metrograph, said people generally decide what these issues are focused on in each case.
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"I am very aware that an Australian who does not vote here, I often think to myself, of course I have opinions about it, but I think if this was overturned and you were all in Australia and acting as Australian actors." Speaking of dismissal, of course, when the queen got rid of Gough Whitlam in 1975, a big moment in our politics, how would I feel if a group of American actors told me what was wrong with our system? and me? I have a problem, even if I agreed with them, "Jackman said." So I'm going to let that happen. "
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