Podtalk: Director Jason Reitman Votes for ‘The Front Runner’

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CHICAGO – The year 1988 marked a border crossing in the way that the media covered national candidates. Senator Gary Hart seemed destined for president, until a extramarital relationship with Donna Rice became the focus of media attention. Director Jason Reitman tells the story in a new film, “The Front Runner.”

Hugh Jackman as Gary Hart Meets the Press in ‘The Front Runner’
Photo credit: Columbia Pictures

In a remarkable transformation, Hugh Jackman portrays Hart, communicating the dismissal that the candidate had when reacting to the allegations… “Follow me around. I don’t care. I’m serious. If anybody wants to put a tail on me, go ahead. They’d be very bored.” That situation came to pass as the Miami Herald sent reporters and a photographer to stake out Hart’s Washington D.C. town home, and they discovered Donna Rice (Sara Paxton) was there. Hart’s denials of impropriety and the media’s unrelenting coverage derailed his presidential campaign. “The Front Runner” is an extensive re-creation and deep dive into the story, and chronicles a significant moment in history, when the media changed the way they covered the private lives of the candidates.

Co-writing the story and directing the film is Jason Reitman, son of comedy director Ivan Reitman (“Ghostbusters”), who became a filmmaker himself with “Thank You for Smoking” (2005), followed two years later by the very popular “Juno.” Other films include “Up in the Air” (2011), “Men, Women & Children” (2014) and this year’s “Tully,” an overlooked and unusual film about a woman (Charlize Theron) dealing with the postpartum pressures of a new baby and motherhood, written by Reitman’s “Juno” collaborator Diablo Cody. “The Front Runner’ is Reitman’s eighth feature film.

Director Jason Reitman of ‘The Front Runner’
Photo credit: Joe Arce for Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

In a conversation with Patrick McDonald and Jon Espino of HollywoodChicago.com, director Jason Reitman of “The Front Runner” talks about how the media landscape changed after the Gary Hart incident, what the circumstance means to us today, and why he’s lucky to be a filmmaker.

“The Front Runner” opens in Chicago on November 16th, part of a nationwide release. See local listings for screenings and show times. Featuring Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons, Alex Karpovsky Alfred Molina and Sara Paxton. Written by Jason Reitman, Jay Carson and Matt Bai. Directed by Jason Reitman. Rated “R”

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2018 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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