If you were old enough to pay attention to politics in 1988, odds are you’ve heard this story before. U.S. Senator Gary Hart was running for President of the United States, and was considered the front runner for the Democratic party to do so, when suddenly his campaign was derailed by a scandalous love affair. Canadian director Jason Reitman loved the story so much that he decided to make a movie about it, and he pulled Hugh Jackman with him to star as the disgraced Senator.
In a press conference for the film, Jason Reitman admitted that the movie was a different type of movie for him to make. First it was about American politics, and being Canadian, not to mention eleven years old at the time it happened, meant he didn’t really follow the story when it was happening. It is also a true story, which meant it deals with real people and their lives, something that Reitman had never had to deal with before and something that he found to be a little scary. He did say however that the film was still relevant today, which is why he decided to make it. In the end he thinks everyone will have a different experience after viewing the movie, which he hopes will lead to conversations. He wants people to talk about it. And while movies always have to take at least a little creative license, he stated that the facts in the movie are the facts. They are relevant, and what we need to know about the scandal.
Hugh Jackman told the crowd that when the events portrayed in the film were happening in real life he was around 19 years old, and probably drunk somewhere. Being from Australia, he hadn’t even heard anything about the scandal until the script was put in front of him. He knew however that he wanted to make the film, because he liked the idea of working with Reitman. As a journalism major in school, Jackman really enjoyed the story and he thought that it still connected to today’s world. To prepare for the role, Jackman spent a lot of time with the real life Gary Hart and his family, and during his research he kept hearing the man described as being smart, yet an enigma. Jackman himself found Hart to be very smart, interesting and knowledgeable, and in the end found that he respected him. He believes the world would be a very different place if Hart had ended up getting elected. One thing Jackman learned while filming the movie is that he has even less desire to run for public office than he did before, because he doesn’t think he could handle the journalists looking for flaws to take him down.
If you go into The Front Runner thinking the film will make you look down upon the whole Democratic process, and be disheartened by the things that happen behind the scenes, think again. Reitman believes in voting, and thinks we just need to ask ourselves what sort of flaws are we fine with in our elected officials. Jackman on the other hand thinks that even though the process is broken, that it is fixable and worth fighting for. We couldn’t agree more.
By: Roderick Thedorff