Hugh Jackman has shared the first image from the set of Jason Reitman’s political biopic The Front Runner. Jackman stars in the film as Gary Hart, the 1988 Democratic presidential candidate whose promising campaign was derailed when he became embroiled in a sex scandal that exploded into one of the biggest tabloid stories of the era.

Based on All the Truth is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid by Matt Bai, The Front Runner tracks the rise of Hart from his days as a Colorado senator to his run for the Democratic nomination in ’88 when he was positioned as the inspiring Kennedy-style candidate. Hart was considered the front runner when news of his affair with model Donna Rice broke in the legitimate press and then, in a prelude to the explosion of sensationalism that would sweep the media in the next decade, became fodder for innumerable lurid tabloid headlines. Hart was forced to withdraw in disgrace, leading to the eventual nomination of Michael Dukakis who went on to be crushed in the presidential race by George H.W. Bush. Many still wonder how American history might have been different had the dynamic Hart gone on to oppose Bush instead of the relatively bland Dukakis.

Related: Hugh Jackman’s The Front Runner Casts Vera Farmiga and J.K. Simmons

Hugh Jackman has been tapped to play Gary Hart in Reitman’s film of the politician’s rise and fall, and the actor has shared the first image from the set. The image shows Jackman as Hart looking to be engaged in a debate in front of a crowd of what mostly looks like young people.

The Front Runner marks the return of writer-director Jason Reitman to the kind of topical filmmaking he has mostly shied away from since his well-reviewed debut feature Thank You For Smoking where he tackled the powerful D.C. tobacco lobby. Reitman’s career hit a peak in 2009 when his film Up in the Air snagged six Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. Reitman’s last film, 2014’s Men, Women & Children, made relatively little impact despite a timely story and impressive cast.

With the decidedly dynamic and ever-theatrical Jackman in the lead, perhaps Reitman can get people interested in his depiction of a political scandal that has largely been forgotten over the years, becoming completely overshadowed by subsequent bombshell political stories including president Bill Clinton’s own sordid, tabloid-fueled sex scandal. Reitman himself has described the movie as a comedy with a bittersweet quality, and has said he is making the film to help understand how the political and media landscapes evolved to become what they are today.

Next: Hugh Jackman Joins Jason Reitman Political Drama The Frontrunner

The cast of The Front Runner also includes Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons, Kaitlyn Dever, Mike Judge, Sara Paxton and Kevin Pollack.

Source: Hugh Jackman/Twitter

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