The conversation was heavily political at a special screening of Alchemy’s “The Runner” at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood on Wednesday night. The political drama arrived in a timely fashion – what with the first GOP presidential debate coming less than 24 hours after its special L.A. screening.
The feature follows the life of an ambitious and popular Louisiana politician, played by Nicolas Cage, following the 2010 BP oil spill. His career comes to a halt when the congressman is attached to a sensationalized story – an extramarital affair.
Stark admitted to being inspired by sex scandals attached to former president Bill Clinton and former U.S. congressman Anthony Weiner when penning the story. At the screening Cage expressed the opinion that the country’s scandal-plagued political history has always distracted voters from the nation’s real issues.
“I made the film,” Cage said, “from a place of neutral to reflect what I see happening in our country at an increasingly high rate of speed — the phenomenon of the American political sex scandal used as a tool to get people out of races to win elections.”
With the Bayou State as the backdrop, the film also stars New Orleans natives Bryan Batt and Ciera Payton. “The Runner” became the first feature to touch on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill since it devastated the Gulf Coast in the country’s largest-ever environmental pollution disaster.
“It really dipped into the tourism market so many people were affected… a lot of businesses,” said Batt. “This is the worst oil spill in the world; it doesn’t go away that quickly.”
Payton echoed her co-star’s thoughts. “Just being from there, I know how important it is for the people to tell these stories, and we’ve had these tragedies from back to back,” she said. “This movie is so important to me because it highlights that, highlights politicians, and it’s just a human story.”
A private after-party followed the screening at Wood & Vine in Hollywood. The film opens Aug. 7.