Thursday, December 11, 2008

How Do You Talk About RN? Carefully

As the "Frost/Nixon" promos come fast and furious, one's inner Columbo issueth forth.

On the CBS morning show, director Ron Howard said:

There is no part of Frank Langella's personality [that] has anything to do with Richard Nixon whatsoever. He is not only making us believe and understand and relate to somebody we think we kind of know, but it has nothing to do with his personality.
Whereas the actor has repeatedly stressed a sense of commonality with his subject.

This week, Howard said his 1972 vote for RN was a gesture of thanks for his enfranchisement:

That was my first opportunity to vote. He had been the president that sort of made it possible for people under 21 to vote and I went back and forth. And, ultimately, decided to vote for the incumbent...

Whereas last month, Howard (though sounding less sure about whom he voted for) said is was all about Vietnam:

I did turn 18 that year. Richard Dreyfuss, when we were doing “American Graffiti,” was pumping me to vote for McGovern. But I think I wound up going for Nixon. I thought he could get us out of the Vietnam War quickly. Ha.

That version, told to the New York Times, didn't quite wash, since the Paris Peace Accords were signed around the time the President was sworn in for his second term, which would seem to have been quickly enough for anyone.

In short, this most admirable of movie business figures gives the impression of being able to calibrate his comments about RN to suit the expectations of his audience. Perhaps he too is called to public service.

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