PARKLAND recalls the chaotic events that occurred in Parkland Memorial Hospital after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In light of the new film, we are looking back in cinema history at the best movie presidents of all time.
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS –Lincoln (Lincoln)
Daniel Day-Lewis transformed into President Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar Winning film, Lincoln. The famously eccentric method actor prepared for his role as the iconic president by pouring over Lincoln’s writings and biographies, looking at photographs of the President, and talking in Abraham’s infamous high voice for over three months. Undoubtedly, this representation of Lincoln was the most notable presidential role to date; Lewis received an Oscar for his performance.
FRANK LANGELLA—President Nixon (Frost/Nixon)
Frank Langella became President Nixon the Academy Award nominated movie, Frost/Nixon. To prepare for the role Langella visited the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, Calif., spent hours watching tapes of the Paley Centre for media, the Broadcasting Museum in Manhattan and interviewed Mike Wallace, Barbara Walters, Frank Gannon— many people who actually knew the President. Langella received an Academy Award Nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role.
ANTHONY HOPKINS – John Quincy Adams (Amistad)
The Hannibal Lector actor Anthony Hopkins transformed into an aging John Quincy Adams in Spielberg’s Amistad. For his preparation for the role, Hopkins memorised a seven page courtroom speech and Spielberg refused to call Hopkins anything but Adams for the duration of the shoot. Hopkins has also played President Nixon in Oliver Stone’s “Nixon”. He won an Oscar nomination for both roles.
BILL MURRAY – Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Hyde Park on Hudson)
Taking a break from his more eccentric roles, Bill Murray stars as America’s 32nd president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in Hyde Park on Hudson. The plot focuses on the love affair between Roosevelt and his distant cousin Margaret “Daisy” Suckley. Although it was nominated for a Golden Globe, the film was criticized. Peter Travers said of Murray, “He’s got the look, the charm, the gravitas and the mischief. But his buoyant performance can’t lift the leaden script . . . and the mis-direction.”
PAUL GIAMATTI – John Adams (John Adams)
In the HBO seven part mini- series “John Adams”, Paul Giamatti plays the eccentric second president of the United States. To prepare for the role, the actor read several books about Adams as well as letter exchanges with his wife, Abigail. In addition, he shaved his head to better accommodate the hairpieces and wigs of the time. The program went on to be one of the most successful miniseries in television history, winning four Golden Globes and thirteen Emmy Awards.
JOSH BROLIN – George W. Bush (W)
No Country for Old Men actor Josh Brolin plays George W. Bush in the controversial film W. Brolin did not want to just impersonate Bush, he wanted to transform into the character. Josh dug into the life of the politician and read as much as possible to find the “inner-voice” of the 43rd President. The film received mixed reviews from critics, however, W did appear on some critics top ten lists of the best films of 2008.
Brett Stimely – John F. Kennedy (Watchmen / Transformers Dark of The Moon / Kill The Dictator / Parkland)
The latest actor to take up the presidential mantle is no stranger to playing the pres. In fact, Brett Stimely is no stranger to playing JFK… he has acted as the ill-fated president four times including most recently in Parkland. Covered in prosthetics for Watchmen and heavily made up for Transformers, Brett nailed the movements but let his make-up help him out. With his later films the FX are stripped back and Stimely is able to put more of his acting into the role.
Check out the prolific president player in PARKLAND – in cinemas November 22nd.