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Film Studies 101
Feature
Lee Daniels On The Butler’s Presidents
A director's blow-by-blow on Cusack, Rickman and co

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Alan Rickman As Ronald Reagan

"I was really excited about Reagan at that time”, Daniels remembers, “not knowing what I know now. I think I might have voted for him.” The part of the actor-turned-prez was handed to Alan Rickman, the film’s only non-American president, so fittingly, the unofficial year of Die Hard In The White House ends with Hans Gruber himself seizing control of the place. Who needs detonators when you’ve got red buttons? “Was I quoting Hans Gruber lines at him?” laughs Daniels, “Come on, I have to be director! I have to pretend to have some dignity.”

Alan Rickman As Ronald Reagan

“Alan walked like an Englishman, he didn’t walk like a cowboy. I had to get him to walk like a cowboy. Originally he was very tempted not to do the part, because he defines thespian. He’s an actor’s actor’s actor – it’s by the word and to the syllable – and he has to be very thoroughly prepared, whereas I work off the fly, ripping up scenes, starting from scratch, and sometimes improvising. So he and I were like oil and water, but again... magic. He taught me something that I didn’t even know I had, which was the ability to make the word work, because oftentimes I don’t think the word is working. He’s there to make that word work."

"Early in the film's development I'd thought about casting [non-name actors]. Denzel Washington, who’s one of my good friends, was a collaborator at the beginning and his concern was that these actors were going to take you out of the movie: “Is it going to feel like a movie of the week?” My counter to that was: “Possibly... possibly.” But I’d been brainwashed by the studios to think that nobody would go see this movie. None of the studios believed there was an audience for it, so I felt that to get that we needed names. I’d have put your mother in it if she’d had a fanbase (laughs). It was important to get as many names in the film because I felt that, each name, if they were cast right and it worked, I’d have more of a chance of their fans coming to see it. That was my logic, but I could have easily fallen on my ass."

 
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I thought robin Williams was playing Truman. More

Posted by seanofthedead on Friday November 15, 2013, 18:58


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