Marc Platt, producer of the recently opened “Bridge of Spies,” says that the Cold War era spy thriller in several ways mirrors today’s tensions between civil liberties and national security, as well as chilly relations between the U.S. and Russia.
“One can just look at the events in the past week and at the events that have transpired in Syria to understand that our government and the government of Putin in Russia are engaged in kind of a sparring match again, just as we were all those years ago during the Cold War,” Platt tells Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM.
“Conversations of nuclear disarmament and the potential of nuclear war couldn’t be more in the news in the last six months in our country, much as they were in the late 50s and early 60s, where the conversation was dominated by the fear of nuclear proliferation,” Platt adds. “So it is actually shocking how history mirrors itself, and how the specifics have changed, the technology has changed so that much of our discourse is through social media now, but the conversation is exactly the same.”
“Bridge of Spies,” directed by Steven Spielberg, is based on the true story of James Donovan (Tom Hanks), an insurance claims lawyer who is enlisted by his firm to take on an unenviable task, to defend accused Russian spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance). The task is all the more challenging in the Cold War suspicion of the time, when the judge in Abel’s case is willing to overlook major civil liberties in the name of a successful prosecution, although he does spare the accused spy the death penalty.
Platt says that Donovan’s role perhaps proved that politics and posturing could be transcended “when reasonable people sit across the table and actually talk and negotiate without all the rest of that formality to bear.”
He said that “one yearns for that in the world we live in today, where there is such great separation and discord between so many different factions in the world.”
Platt talks about some of the questions left unanswered from Donovan’s story.
Jimmy LaSalvia, author of “No Hope: Why I Left the GOP (And You Should Too),” talks about why he ultimately decided that it was better to work outside the party than within. He co-founded a popular LGBT conservative group GOProud, but found that too many leaders within the party were unwilling to speak out against the religious right.
LaSalvia played a role in enlisting Donald Trump to speak at CPAC, in what turned out to be Trump’s first major speech before a political group. LaSalvia found Trump to be uncharacteristically subdued before the speech — in what might have been nervousness.
“PopPolitics,” hosted by Variety’s Ted Johnson, airs Thursdays at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT on SiriusXM’s political channel POTUS. It also is available on demand.