You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Joan Allen

'The Contender'

In “The Contender,” Joan Allen’s character makes a heroic stand as a woman who in front of a national stage refuses to divulge past moments of her personal life. As much as she admires vice presidential nominee Laine Hanson, the actress admits she would have a difficult time withstanding the barrage that Gary Oldman’s conservative committee chairman unleashes.

“Though there a lot of political views that I share with Laine, I don’t think I could do what she does,” Allen once remarked. “I couldn’t handle that assault. That’s what makes acting so much fun. You couldn’t do that in real life.”

She compares working with “Contender” director Rod Lurie, a relative helming newcomer, to top-tier veterans Oliver Stone and Ang Lee.

Lurie, for his part, calls Allen “the actress who has given by far the best performances of the ’90s,” which might lead some to think of Meryl Streep. Not so, he says.

“I don’t compare her to another woman,” says the director, “I compare her to Gregory Peck. The point of comparison is the incontrovertible dignity she has. She also has Gregory Peck’s unshowy style.”

Lurie admits mentioning to Allen in passing Peck’s performance in “To Kill a Mockingbird” as something to think about for the role. He also gave her tapes of President Ford’s confirmation hearings and Congresswoman Blanche Lincoln as reference points. But the real focus for Lurie was setting Allen free to do her thing in a role he wrote specifically for the actress, nominated twice for supporting actress Oscars for “Nixon” (1995) and “The Crucible” (1996).

Says the director, “More than anything else, what you get with Joan is you give her a direction and leave her to find the mechanics.”

More Film

  • Jane Fonda appears in Jane Fonda

    Sundance Film Review: 'Jane Fonda in Five Acts'

    In “The Contender,” Joan Allen’s character makes a heroic stand as a woman who in front of a national stage refuses to divulge past moments of her personal life. As much as she admires vice presidential nominee Laine Hanson, the actress admits she would have a difficult time withstanding the barrage that Gary Oldman’s conservative […]

  • 'I Think We're Alone Now' Review

    Sundance Film Festival: 'I Think We're Alone Now'

    In “The Contender,” Joan Allen’s character makes a heroic stand as a woman who in front of a national stage refuses to divulge past moments of her personal life. As much as she admires vice presidential nominee Laine Hanson, the actress admits she would have a difficult time withstanding the barrage that Gary Oldman’s conservative […]

  • The Happy Prince

    Sundance Film Review: 'The Happy Prince'

    In “The Contender,” Joan Allen’s character makes a heroic stand as a woman who in front of a national stage refuses to divulge past moments of her personal life. As much as she admires vice presidential nominee Laine Hanson, the actress admits she would have a difficult time withstanding the barrage that Gary Oldman’s conservative […]

  • Sundance Film Review: 'Skate Kitchen'

    Sundance Film Review: 'Skate Kitchen'

    In “The Contender,” Joan Allen’s character makes a heroic stand as a woman who in front of a national stage refuses to divulge past moments of her personal life. As much as she admires vice presidential nominee Laine Hanson, the actress admits she would have a difficult time withstanding the barrage that Gary Oldman’s conservative […]

  • Bajrangi Bhaijaan - Salman Khan

    Eros Confirms Wide Release in China for Salman Khan's ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’

    In “The Contender,” Joan Allen’s character makes a heroic stand as a woman who in front of a national stage refuses to divulge past moments of her personal life. As much as she admires vice presidential nominee Laine Hanson, the actress admits she would have a difficult time withstanding the barrage that Gary Oldman’s conservative […]

  • Lion

    Hollywood Increases Domination of Australian Box Office in 2017

    In “The Contender,” Joan Allen’s character makes a heroic stand as a woman who in front of a national stage refuses to divulge past moments of her personal life. As much as she admires vice presidential nominee Laine Hanson, the actress admits she would have a difficult time withstanding the barrage that Gary Oldman’s conservative […]

  • Frances McDormand SAG Awards

    SAG Awards: Actors Fall Hard for 'Three Billboards' but the Oscar Race Is Far From Over

    In “The Contender,” Joan Allen’s character makes a heroic stand as a woman who in front of a national stage refuses to divulge past moments of her personal life. As much as she admires vice presidential nominee Laine Hanson, the actress admits she would have a difficult time withstanding the barrage that Gary Oldman’s conservative […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content