When looking at today’s seemingly out-of-control politics, it seems like the perfect time for a film about an American political scandal.
On Tuesday, the Writers Guild Theater in Los Angeles became a buzzing hub of activity for the red carpet premiere of the new film, “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House.”
The film stars Liam Neeson as Mark Felt, the whistleblower FBI agent who earned the nickname “Deep Throat” for leaking top secret information to the press about the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s. Felt’s actions proved disastrous for the White House and President Nixon resigned in light of the leaked information.
Neeson, writer and director Peter Landesman, and actors Tony Goldwyn (who plays Ed Miller) and Julian Morris (who plays Bob Woodward) all attended the red carpet. Members of the Felt family and producer Jerry Bruckheimer were among those who also showed support at the premiere.
“Mark Felt was the answer to the biggest political mystery of our time and one of the greatest political heroes we’ve ever had,” Landesman said. “To me, Mark Felt was the center of Watergate and his story had yet to be told. That piece of history had been left out.”
John O’Connor, who wrote the Vanity Fair article that outed Felt as well as the book, “A G-Man’s Life: The FBI, Being ‘Deep Throat,’ and the Struggle for Honor in Washington,” said the film captured the true essence of the story of Watergate and is especially important in the current political climate. O’Connor said that Neeson’s performance was “eerily similar” to the real Felt.
“The family said it’s amazing how well he got him,” O’Connor said. “There’s a certain steely integrity, he was a very smooth guy, and there was a sense of quiet swagger to him, so he was an interesting character and Liam Neeson nailed it.”
Neeson said that while he wasn’t too aware of the Watergate scandal when he grew up in Ireland, he enjoys learning about history and read a lot about Felt, the FBI, and the time period in preparation for the role.
“This was an incredibly important time in Western history when a president and his team committed criminal acts and the freedom of the press was proven to work. Democracy was proven to work, and we have to keep reminding ourselves of that,” Neeson said.
When asked about the recent news that he was retiring from action movies, Neeson laughingly said, “It’s not true, look at me! You’re talking in the past tense. I’m going to be doing action movies until they bury me in the ground. I’m unretired.”
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