Hugh Jackman, the famous Australian actor known for playing "Wolverine" in different films of the Marvel universe, moves to politics. Figuratively, of course. In "The Candidate" he plays Democratic politician Gary Hart and, in his words, has been by far the most difficult role in his career. The script is based on the book of the former political correspondent of "The New York Times" Matt Bai, "All The Truth Is Out", and has been adapted to the big screen by director Jason Reitman and Jason Carson (former campaign advisor of Dean in 2004 and Clinton in 2008).
Although what is narrated in the film happened 30 years ago, the theme refers to the current context. "The candidate" puts us in the campaign of the favorite candidate to the Democratic party in the 1988 election. Everything seemed to play in Gary Hart's favor until an extramarital "affair" with Donna Rice sent her political career to the wink in a blink of eyes. All this came together with the heyday of the mix between the political press and the entertainment press, which was fueled by Hart's aspirations to regain his campaign.
– What attracted you to this controversial character?
-The first thing that interested me was Jason Reitman, the director. I find it very good telling stories.
-As an Australian, were you familiar with the story of this American politician?
-I had a slight idea of the matter. When I read the script and Matt Bai's book, I was surprised that an incident that happened so fast had such relevance. Like many other people, I myself wondered how it happened and how it is connected to what we live today. I think you get to understand Donna Rice and the rest of the women on the tape, as well as Gary Hart himself. You see his story from very different perspectives and that caught me.
– Does it make sense to rescue an "affair" of more than 30 years ago?
-Because I think it makes you understand very well the division and antagonism between politics and the press that extends to what we live today. It was a moment that made the press shift to another direction, making politics personal.
-It's a very different movie than what you've done so far, just as it's different from what Jason Reitman has been doing. For both is the first based on a true story.
-Effectively. We both really wanted to embark on this project, but at the same time we were quite nervous. The first person Jason taught the film was Donna Rice and then Gary Hart, who saw her with his wife and son. When you tell a story of this type there are consequences for the lives of the people that appear in the film and there is a certain responsibility. That was something that worried me. For that very reason I have prepared myself for this role more than for any other I have done before, I have read and researched as much as I could and I have seen a lot of material about Gary.
-What was Hart's biggest concern?
-Your family, now and in that moment. Also, he told me again and again that he did not understand how an actor like me was interested in interpreting him (laughs).
-And what was it like to do with him?
-A word I can use to define Gary is "elusive", which for an actor is somewhat overwhelming, because our task is to get into the character's skin. You have to understand it. Jason and I had conversations about it, we wanted the audience to feel more and more close to Gary to understand it, but when it seemed that you were getting to know it completely, to back off a bit. I have to thank the director for the help he has given me to interpret it. It has given me a lot of confidence.
-It only has praise for Reitman …
-Is incredible. I do not think I would have been able to do it without your support and help. He is a director who likes to collaborate with the actors, and that is greatly appreciated.
– Do you consider that the world of politics lost a good candidate?
-Definitely. It is true that now I consider myself a friend of Gary, but leaving that aside, I have realized that everyone who has worked with him has much appreciation. I also think that at that time people thought that the press had passed three towns with him. He was a man who politically had a very good vision of the future, something that most politicians do not have.
-After finishing the movie, what do you stay with?
– With pride for the result. When I see the film, I see Gary, and that makes me happy and also think that people are going to see the movie. It's going to make interesting things come up. I am very proud to have had this opportunity.
-I commented before that it has been the role for which you have done more research work ..
-Yes, I worked with an investigator who passed me all the tapes he could find. I had a great time watching a lot of raw material from the news of the time. I talked to all the members who were part of your campaign, with friends, family … I ended up with four folders full of notes. I was interested in understanding the political system, its history, where it came from, trying in some way to enter its mind.
– Did you have to gain weight?
-No, but I did have to put on a wig. Every day I went into makeup I asked Gary for forgiveness. As much as we tried, the hair was not as we would have liked. His hair was something people talked about a lot. It was said that he had the best hair of all American politics. I do not think my wig did it justice, but we had to get used to it.