×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Hugh Jackman on Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Friendship: ‘We Don’t Talk Politics’

It was inevitable that conversation at the New York premiere of “The Front Runner” would turn to politics. “I think I’m like anyone alive today,” director Jason Reitman told the audience at the Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday evening. “I wake up, I pull out my phone, and I go, ‘F—!’”

On the red carpet, he explained how that feeling had brought him to “The Front Runner,” a drama about Sen. Gary Hart’s (Hugh Jackman) alleged extramarital affair that ended his campaign for the presidency in 1987. “I look around me and go, ‘How the hell did we get here?’ And in this story, I found a thread that I wanted to pull on — this story about the line between our public and private life, about how journalists and candidates get along, and that touched on gender politics,” he told Variety. His hope for the film, co-written by Matt Bai and Jay Carson, is that “1987 acts as a prism through which you can have a calm conversation about tricky topics.”

While “The Front Runner” doesn’t provide any easy answers, Reitman was clear about his own values and the issues he’s watching ahead of the midterms. “I’m pro-the environment, I’m pro-gay rights, I’m pro-trans rights — there’s a lot of things that, in my opinion, are going in the wrong direction right now,” he said. But more than anything else, he hopes people voice their opinions at the polls.

Sara Paxton was just as passionate. “So much is at stake: the environment, healthcare, women’s rights, women’s issues, gerrymandering — I’m really concerned with a lot of things,” she told Variety.

Dixon was born the year after the Hart scandal broke, but she was interested in it long before she saw the screenplay. She first encountered the story in a Radiolab episode and came away fascinated by the woman she would go on to play in “The Front Runner” — Hart’s alleged mistress Donna Rice. “I didn’t know what version of her was going to show up in the script — she could’ve been the villain from 30 years ago, this caricature, this one-dimensional person — and when I read the script, I was so happy she was written with respect and dignity,” she said.

That opportunity, exciting as it was, came with the pressure to do Rice justice. “When I got the role, I was jumping up and down, and then I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m playing a real person, a woman who is alive and who can watch the performance and hear what I’m saying!’ It was very intimidating; it felt like a really big responsibility to portray the darkest moment of her life,” Dixon admitted. “But Jason [Reitman] told me that she saw the film and loved it, and that is the most gratifying thing to hear, that she was happy with my performance, because she was the critic that I was most concerned about.”

Jackman also managed to impress his subject. “I did a lot of research. I talked to all the people who worked with him, and then I spent time with him,” Jackman told Variety. “When you’re entrusted with someone’s legacy, someone’s story, the worst three weeks of their life — that’s a responsibility I took very seriously.” The work paid off: Hart, like Rice, has already seen the film, and “he was very positive to me.”

Though Jackman had less to say about the upcoming elections than his American castmates, he made it clear that his friendship with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner is not a reflection of his values. Jackman’s recent birthday party made headlines because Trump and Kushner were among the guests. “I’ve known those guys for 15 years,” he said, “and we don’t talk politics at birthday parties.”

Asked whether he did have a political message to share, Jackman’s answer was simple: “Vote! I’m an Ozzie, so I don’t get to vote, but if you can, you should vote.”

That call to action recurred throughout the night — Tommy Dewey even sported an “I’M A VOTER” pin. “I don’t think we get the people we deserve unless we all vote,” he said. “It doesn’t work right unless people turn up — we have no right to complain if we don’t show up and do it.”

Ari Graynor, who plays legendary White House correspondent Ann Devroy, voted just before her arrival on the red carpet. “Just taking that one action alleviated some of the anxiety that I’ve been carrying around,” she said. “It’s hard to get out there and keep fighting with the world that we’re living in, but that’s the most important thing to do.”

RELATED VIDEO:

More Politics

  • tammy brook

    FYI Brand Group Launches Social Impact Division

    FYI Brand Group, the music and fashion brand marketing and public relations firm founded by Tammy Brook, is launching a social impact division dedicated to campaigns centered around creating a call to action for social good. Organizations that have signed on to work with FYI include the American Cancer Society and Black Lives Matter; the [...]

  • Lauren Ash44th Annual Gracie Awards, Show,

    Politics and New Abortion Ban Laws Dominate 2019 Gracie Awards

    Female empowerment was in the air Tuesday night as showrunners, writers and performers gathered at the 44th annual Gracie Awards to celebrate women breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings within the entertainment industry. Sandra Oh, Patricia Arquette, Rachel Maddow and Connie Britton were among the honorees at the ceremony, which took place at the Beverly [...]

  • Jeff Daniels MSNBC

    Jeff Daniels Says 'It's the End of Democracy' if Trump Gets Re-Elected

    Jeff Daniels took a swipe at President Donald Trump and the GOP during an appearance on MSNBC on Monday. Daniels spoke with Nicolle Wallace on MSNBC about his role as Atticus Finch in the Broadway production of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a story about racial politics and discrimination in 1930s Alabama, and spent the segment [...]

  • James Marsden attends the 2019 MOCA

    New Abortion Ban Laws Take Center Stage at MOCA Gala

    Forty years ago in Los Angeles, the decision to invest millions in a museum dedicated exclusively to contemporary art — not to mention its formerly desolate downtown location, where the vibe was more apocalyptic than artsy — was a risky proposition. But now that the city’s cultural heart has shifted south of Hollywood, it seems [...]

  • Spectators watch the 2019 Eurovision Song

    U.S. Music Industry Delegation Convenes in Tel Aviv for Eurovision

    This past weekend, squeezed between a string of Eurovision Song Contest parties, Tel Aviv’s posh Norman hotel played host to an intimate, invite-only dinner of music industry delegates from the United States. The rooftop-set event was designed as a highlight on the itinerary of the Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) weeklong trip to Israel. CCFP, [...]

  • Robert De Niro Calls for Impeachment,

    Robert De Niro Calls for Impeachment, Imprisonment for Trump, Says Maybe Al Pacino Should Lead Instead

    Robert De Niro honored Al Pacino, his longtime friend and four-time collaborator (with Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film “The Irishman” marking their latest pairing), at the American Icon Awards, and then called for a different type of tribute for President Donald Trump — “impeachment and imprisonment.” “You didn’t think you were going to completely get away without [...]

  • CEO of T-Mobile John Legere (L)

    FCC Chairman Backs T-Mobile, Sprint Merger With New Conditions

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai gave a thumbs-up to T-Mobile and Sprint’s proposed $26 billion merger, after the companies committed to enhanced 5G buildout commitments and agreed to spin off Sprint’s Boost Mobile. T-Mobile and Sprint first announced their plans to merge in April 2018, looking to combine forces to take on industry leaders AT&T and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content