Gary Hart, a former senator from Colorado, becomes the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1987. Hart’s intelligence, charisma and idealism make him popular with young voters, leaving him with a seemingly clear path to the White House . All that collapses when the denunciations of an extramarital affair surface in the media, forcing the candidate to face a scandal that threatens to derail his campaign and his personal life.
Initial release: November 21, 2018 (USA)
Director: Jason Reitman
Based on: The whole truth is out: the politics of the week was tabloid; by Matt Bai
Screenplay: Jason Reitman, Matt Bai, Jay Carson
Producers: Jason Reitman, Helen Estabrook
Ten years before the Articles of Prosecution against President Bill Clinton in relation to his relationship with the then White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, the campaign of presidential candidate Gary Hart crashed and burned after his own scandal. The Front Runner, which opened on November 21, chronicles this defining moment in the political history of the United States, one of which may have escaped your attention if you were too young to have experienced the tabloid drama at the time. in what happened. In the film, Sara Paxton plays Donna Rice, a young woman with whom Hart (Hugh Jackman) was suspected of having an out-of-wedlock romance, pushing her into a hot spotlight that she certainly had not been looking for. Although Paxton did not meet the royal woman in preparation for the role, she was determined to give Rice the consideration and respect that had been denied her in the past.
“You are asking him to relive the darkest moment of his life,” says the actor when we sat at the Crosby Street hotel in New York City. “And after 30 years ago, she was represented as a one-dimensional person, a caricature, which must be so terrifying.”
It was a relief to Paxton when he read the script and discovered that Rice, now president of a nonprofit organization that fights against child exploitation, was not simply used as a point of conspiracy, the obstacle in Hart’s political upsurge. “I felt that they finally gave him the voice he did not have 30 years ago,” he explains.
- Senator Hart was considered – he guessed it – the candidate for the 1988 presidential race, but he retired before the election.
- Per Time, and as the film portrays, Hart’s house was defended by reporters working for the Miami Herald after receiving advice on the candidate who saw another woman. They saw Hart and Rice going in and out of their residence in Washington, D.C. Both sides denied that this was the test of an affair, and to this day, they maintain that they did not have a sexual relationship and that they were only friends. Still, both were harassed by the press.
- “The only two people who really know what happened are Donna and Gary, and they refuse to talk about it,” says Paxton. (And it is worth noting that the film itself is not reduced from one side to another).
- “But they were punished as if it happened, ‘alleged’, but they were given the full punishment anyway.”
- When she talks about Rice, the actress radiates empathy for what she lived at the time and how this film could awaken those unpleasant feelings. She tells me that Rice was one of the first people with whom filmmaker Jason Reitman shared the movie.
- “I heard that she loved it, and I heard that I was really happy with my interpretation of her, so it was like … that’s all,” says Paxton, visibly relieved. “She is the critic for which I was more nervous.”
There are some key scenes in the film that make the difference between Rice being a fully formed presence and not just another (supposed) “lover” character. In one of those moments, she trusts Hart’s campaign manager, Bill Dixon (JK Simmons), who had been making decisions throughout his life that he thought would make sure men would not look at her “the way he you look at me well. ” now. “As Paxton says, Rice was an” intelligent, educated and ambitious woman with agency, “who was” proud “of her work as a successful pharmaceutical sales representative, and if she did what the media accused her or not, it was reduced to public opinion to be just that. “That reduction is something that Paxton has also experienced, with a little asterisk.
WASHINGTON – When Gary Hart, annoyed by media coverage of his relationship with Donna Rice, pulled out of the 1987 presidential race, he said: “I trembled for my country when I think that, in fact, we can get the kind of leaders that we deserve. ” . “
Jason Reitman’s new film, “The Front Runner,” is a look at the wall of that one-week campaign, its impact on Hart (Hugh Jackman), his wife Lee (Vera Farmiga) and Donna Rice (Sarah Paxton) . ), but above all in the questions that the media face about how they covered the presidential candidates.
Since then, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump have survived the scandal to win an elective office, but it is a bit simplistic to say that the public has learned to ignore and ignore personal issues.
Matt Bai, who wrote the film with Reitman and Jay Carson, tells Variety’s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM that after the Hart-Rice scandal, “the definition of leadership is much more linked to an idea of how you survive. What are you willing to do, what are you willing to sacrifice, what privacy are you unwilling to give up and can you exist in an environment without shame? I do not think it’s about the public becoming more desensitized, I think it’s more about the process which rewards different skills and different ethics. ”
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The film is based on Bai’s book, “The whole truth is out: the week when politics was a tabloid”, which shows how the Hart-Rice scandal was a key point in the media reporting on life staff of politicians.
Hart believed that his personal life was not a matter of the media, as he tried to focus on his progressive ideas for the presidency (among other things, he predicted the stateless era of Islamist terror and a shift towards an Internet-based economy).
However, when Hart was harassed by women’s rumors, the Miami Herald sent reporters to follow Rice from Miami to Washington just after the start of her campaign, guarding Hart’s home in Georgetown and seeing Rice enter one night. They were never shown to have an affair, and both denied it, but the stories of the visit involved Hart’s presidential ambitions.
The film is also a reminder of how much the incident has been badly remembered over the years, including the fact that an infamous image of Rice sitting on Hart’s lap aboard a cruise to Bimini was actually published by the National Enquirer approximately one month. After Hart retired from the race.
Reitman was only 10 years old in 1987, but he said that after Bai’s book came out, he thought, “This sounds like a movie, it felt like a thriller, and all sorts of questions came up that we’re still trying to address today.”
“The story generated many questions, but it also had a beginning, middle and end, and that is not always found,” he said.
An inspiration for the film was “The Candidate” by Michael Ritchie, not only in the sense but in the way it leaves the viewer asking questions about the process, and does not judge whether the fixing of questions about personal character has been good or not. bad for democracy