Political Times And The Art Of Hollywood

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Political Times And The Art Of Hollywood

Political Times And The Art Of Hollywood

When major political events, such as the one we are now enjoying, are taking place, most low information people don’t really understand what they are all about. That is, until Hollywood steps in and makes a movie about it. That was the case with Watergate in 1972, and more recently, the Pentagon Papers. “All the President’s Men” and “The Post” explained both events for the average uninformed person.

Many people don’t remember the real names of the people involved in these dramas, but they do recall who played them in the movie reincarnation. Robert Redford, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep become more real than Bob Woodward, Ben Bradlee  and Katharine Graham. And so it will be when the movie about 2018 turmoil is made.

To give Hollywood some help, we have begun casting the current episode, even as the first books are just appearing. It is, of course, tricky business, for we don’t know yet which of the dozens of figures whose faces are associated with current events will warrant a place in the movie when it all is put to bed. And we also have to find a role for some actors who are necessary to guarantee artistic success. Tina Fey, for instance, and Tom Hanks. Hanks should be easy to place, for he manages to look and sound like anybody he plays, and a number of figures in this film are reasonably close to his age and racial profile. Actors should bear some resemblance to people they play. Mickey Rooney would not be an ideal Shaquille O’Neal. Hanks could play most of the male roles in this drama. Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, for starters.

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Bob Woodward is a must, since his new book has gotten so much ink, and most people recognize him. Although somewhat older, Robert Redford played him the last time around and, at age 82, he can still remember his lines if called on to repeat his interpretation of the 77-year-old Woodward.

Stormy Daniels, the pornographic film star who alleges a relationship with President Trump, could be played by any number of blondes. We might title it “All the President’s Women.” We think Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, has star quality and should have at least a small role in any film. If he had not died 33 years ago, Yul Brynner was born to play him. Maybe Yul has a grandson.

Robert Mueller, of course, is a given. He’s the “Deep Throat” of this saga. Jason Robards, who played Ben Bradlee in “All the President’s Men,” would be just right in his prime, but his prime ended with his life in 2000. In a pinch, there’s always Tom Hanks.  With “Saturday Night Live” doing hilarious impersonations of public figures, Kate McKinnon owns the Jeff Sessions part, as well as that of Hillary Clinton, if the former first lady gets a minor role. In truth, Ms. McKinnon could play the entire cast.

James Comey warrants major time, but presents a tall problem because of his height­—he’s 6 feet, 8 inches tall. Back in the day, James Stewart (6 feet, 3 inches) would be a good choice, but alas he passed on in 1997. Looking over the lineup of tall actors currently alive, Liam Neeson (6 feet, 4 inches) stands out. Also 6-foot-3-inch Will Ferrell. He’s not too young for the 57-year-old Comey and he has a background in comedy, which could be an asset in this film.

Interestingly, in these kinds of productions a president does not need an actor. They tend to show up in actual film clips, or are viewed briefly from behind. Now, Melania is a different story. We need to get her in this flick, if only to justify the drawing power of Tina Fey. Unfortunately, her only part will be slapping her husband’s hand a couple times. No lines. Just like the original.

Dustin Hoffman for Carl Bernstein
Robert Redford improved his looks in the 1976 film, as did Dustin Hoffman for Carl Bernstein.
young Bob Woodward
A young Bob Woodward with Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee during the Watergate era.
Woodward and Redford
They are both 42 years older, but Woodward (above) and Redford are still going strong.
Jason Robards
Jason Robards looked and sounded like Ben Bradlee. Today he could make a decent Robert Mueller.