‘The Front Runner’, starring Hugh Jackman, recreates the story of Senator Gary Hart’s controversial 1988 presidential campaign. Now, the writers are explaining how this film can shift the way we look at politics!
Hugh Jackman stars as Senator Gary Hart of Colorado in The Front Runner — in theaters November 21! The Jason Reitman directed biopic is entertaining, witty and enlightening, all in one. Not only does the film, which recreates Hart’s controversial 1988 presidential campaign, deliver multiple political perspectives, but it creates intelligent conversation, and even debates. — Things we desperately need in today’s political climate.
The Front Runner tells the story of the implosion of American Senator Gary Hart’s presidential campaign, where his run is derailed when he’s caught in a scandalous love affair. Hart is actually the first character Hugh Jackman has portrayed in a biopic that is still alive in real life. To that, Jackman told us at the New York premiere of the film, that it was “nerve wracking” to play him because of that, to say the least!
We had the privilege of speaking with the film’s writers, Jay Carson and Matt Bai, who encouraged the viewers to allow this film to drive conversation. Both Carson and Bai emphasized that their intentions when sitting down and writing the film, were not to create a “message movie.” They did not want to stir perspectives and opinions in one particular direction in terms of today’s political atmosphere. But, they did want you to think. And, they’ve done just that.
Additionally, both writers agreed when asked if they felt any pressure creating a political film, especially with what we’re seeing going on in today’s White House. The answer is NO. What makes these two brave writers not fear scrutiny or backlash, even from the highest in power? Read more of our interview with The Front Runner writers Jay Carson and Matt Bai, to find out!
Is there a central theme or message viewers will walk away with after seeing The Frontrunner?
Matt Bai: Yeah, I mean, I bet that you would walk away thinking and talking to other people who saw the film. This is not a message movie. There’s enough out there that tells you what to think with politics and art. This is not us banging you over the head with information. This is us asking some really hard questions about the process, about the responsibility of people who run, who cover people who run, and people who run campaigns like Jay did, and people who vote like all of us. I think and I hope that you and others who see the film will walk away thinking about all of that, debating it, having different perspectives and different takeaways because that’s what we’re really trying to do here.
Do you feel some sort of pressure to tell this story the right way, especially because of the political climate that we are in?
Matt Bai: I think you always feel the pressure to tell a story in the right now. I’ve been a journalist for about 20 years and you know, like you, I always want to get it right. I always think about the people involved and their humanness and the fact that they have families and legacies, so, it’s no different here. With our movie here, it is different than a work of journalism, but you want to do respect both to the people and to the complexity of the themes and ideas involved. I’m very proud to say I think we did that.
Jay Carson: The emotional truth of what’s going on is central to adapting a movie. We think we got that right. We tried to show a lot of complicated human beings faced with difficult choices and trying to do their best in tough situation.
How did you both know these actors and actresses were the right people to portray these characters in the film.
Matt Bai: Well, Jason did the casting and he did an amazing job. I know Gary Hart and I’ve spent time with him, and I know Hugh made a real effort playing a person who is alive and real and he mad a real effort to understand who that person was and embody him. I can tell you he does just an amazing nuance portrayal of all of the facets of that personality were all contradictions and Hart’s a contradiction and Hugh captured them all in such a huge technicolor and with such subtlety that I’m kind of in awe over that.
Jay Carson: Hugh was playing a character that is tough to do. The guy is absolutely brilliant and we cannot wait to work with him again on anything and everything we do.