Why Laurie Metcalf's Hillary Clinton Won't
Why Laurie Metcalf's Hillary Clinton Won't

John Lithgow and Laurie Metcalf on Playing the Clintons: 'There's a Tremendous Undertow of Melancholy'

Don’t expect any pantsuits or fake noses in the “Hillary and Clinton” Broadway show.

Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow’s theatrical portrayal of the former president and first lady has banned blonde wigs and any other type of distracting, appearance-altering props.

“The minute you do an impression, you become a ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch,” Lithgow told Variety for the March 12 cover story. “That’s not what this play is at all. It deals with things that everyone thinks about these days in terms of politics and in terms of these two very well-known people.”

Created by Lucas Hnath, the four-person play takes place during the lead-up to and direct aftermath of Hillary Clinton’s victorious New Hampshire primary during her 2008 presidential campaign. Hillary’s chief strategist Mark J. Penn and the eventual President Barack Obama round out the small cast.

“There aren’t that many people who live through these campaigns and are operating at this level of politics,” Metcalf said. “How would you ever begin to know what happens and the stress level and what you have to juggle?”

Set eight years before Hillary Clinton’s loss to President Donald Trump, the show doesn’t make overt references to current-day politics, but Lithgow says that audiences will inevitably bring in their own “obsessions of the moment.”

“There’s a tremendous undertow of melancholy — certainly if you were a fan of Hillary Clinton’s and voted for her — that we don’t address directly, but it hangs in the air,” Lithgow said. “It’s an incredibly powerful element of the play. A lot of that power comes from the fact that in 2008, neither of these people knew what was coming.”

More Uncovered

  • chris hemsworth variety Cover Story

    Chris Hemsworth Talks 'Men in Black' and Playing Hulk Hogan in Upcoming Biopic

    In Variety’s latest cover story, Chris Hemsworth opened up about tackling back-to-back blockbusters with “Avengers: Endgame” and the upcoming “Men in Black: International,” in which he stars opposite Tessa Thompson. “I had just come off of ‘Avengers,’ and I was looking for another sort of fantasy larger-than-life driven sort of entertaining film, and this came [...]

  • George Clooney (L) and Christophr Abbot

    George Clooney Watched 'Girls' 'Religiously' but Christopher Abbott Hasn't Seen 'ER'

    For this week’s cover story, “Catch-22” co-stars George Clooney and Christopher Abbott sat down with Variety to discuss their upcoming Hulu miniseries and overall body of work. Abbott admitted he has never seen “ER,” which Clooney starred in. Clooney, on the other hand, said he watched Abbott’s HBO series “Girls” “religiously.” Abbott said “Solaris” is [...]

  • Bette Midler: Climate Change is 'The

    Bette Midler: Climate Change Is 'the Most Important Story of the Age'

    Bette Midler turned her worries into action. “I think that climate change is real and I think that it’s actually the most important story of the age,” the Power of Women honoree told Variety. “I also worry very much about the oceans and the fact that there’s so much plastic in the oceans now, and [...]

Most Popular

  • Big Little Lies Emmys 2019

    Emmys: Why Your Favorite Shows Aren’t Nominated

    Variety‘s Elizabeth Wagmeister explains why some fan favorite shows weren’t nominated this year. They weren’t snubbed, they just weren’t eligible. Shows like “Big Little Lies,” “Stranger Things,” “The Crown,” “The Loudest Voice” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” all missed the eligibility window of having its first episode air between June 1, 2018, and May 31, 2019.

  • Chance The Rapper at The Lion

    Chance the Rapper Was a Nostalgia Consultant on ‘The Lion King’

    Chance the Rapper said Donald Glover brought him on as a nostalgia consultant for “The Lion King” because he was such a “‘Lion King’ aficionado,” he told Variety‘s Marc Malkin at the LA premiere. He also revealed that Glover, his friend and voice of adult Simba in the live-action/CGI remake, had him record lines for a […]

Access exclusive content