Hugh Jackman will star as Senator Gary Hart in The Frontrunner. In 1987, Senator Gary Hart announced his candidacy for president. He had also run four years earlier, losing the Democratic nomination to Walter Mondale — who in turn lost the election to Ronald Reagan. This time, Hart seemed to be the frontrunner. Until accusations that he’d had an extramarital affair surfaced. Hart decided to drop out of the race, rejoined, and then dropped out a second time. The Democratic nominee ended up being Michael Dukakis — who lost to George H.W. Bush.
While he never made it to the White House, Hart’s political career survived. He worked under Bill Clinton studying Homeland Security and became Vice Chair of the Homeland Security Advisory Council under Barack Obama. Also for President Obama, he was the Special Envoy for Northern Ireland. His marriage to Lee Ludwig also survived the scandal, they have been married since 1958. Hart even considered a third run for the presidency — in 2003 — but chose to endorse John Kerry instead.
Now Jason Reitman will be making a movie about Hart’s 1987 campaign and scandal. Variety is reporting that Hugh Jackman will be starring in the film as Hart.
After 17 years of playing comic book hero Logan/Wolverine, it would appear that Jackman is moving on by playing a few real people. His next film is The Greatest Showman which chronicles the life of circus proprietor P.T. Barnum. Following that will be The Frontrunner. This will be the first time the Australian actor has appeared in an American political drama.
It is not the first time for Jason Reitman, however, who has penned the script for The Frontrunner in addition to directing. He previously directed and wrote Thank You For Smoking, which took a look at lobbyists in Washington D.C.
There is no other casting announced at this time. Presumably Reitman will be looking for actors to play Hart’s wife, his children, Donna Rice — the woman he was accused of having the affair with — Michael Dukakis, George H.W. Bush, and some of the reporters who followed the story of Hart and Rice.
Even if Hart had won the Democratic nomination, there was no guarantee that he would have become the president. Still, the entire history of the United States was potentially affected by this scandal. Perhaps The Frontrunner will give audiences the opportunity to learn a little more about Hart, and to consider how things could have been very different.
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