Liam Neeson is the whistleblower known as "Deep Throat" in the trailer for the film Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House. Watergate, the scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon in 1974, has been well-documented in film over the years. The definitive Watergate movie is All the President’s Men, from 1976, in which Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman played Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, as they broke the story of the scandal. Oliver Stone’s Nixon, from 1995, touched on the scandal, as did various other cinematic descriptions of Nixon, such as Secret Honor and Frost/Nixon. The 1999 comedy Dick even provided a comedic version of the Watergate story.
One of the more iconic aspects of All the President’s Men was actor Hal Holbrook’s portrayal of “Deep Throat,” the mysterious Watergate source, often seen in shadow and smoking a cigarette while meeting with Woodward in parking garages. The real Deep Throat’s identity was a closely guarded secret for decades, until former FBI Associate Director Mark Felt admitted in 2005 that he was in fact Woodward’s source. Now, Felt is about to get his own Watergate movie.
Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House is set for release in September, and it stars Neeson as Felt, as the trailer above illustrates. Diane Lane costars in the film as Felt's wife, with Michael C. Hall playing John Dean and Julian Morris playing Woodward.
In the two-minute trailer above, he meet a silver-haired Mark Felt as a square-jawed, traditional FBI man. However, when he hears about the Watergate break-in in 1972, Felt discovers various corrupt actions of the Nixon Administration, and decides to blow the whistle. Soon thereafter, he meets with Bob Woodward in, yes, a parking garage - and yes, he’s told that his nickname at the Washington Post is “Deep Throat.”
The Mark Felt mystery galvanized political junkies and presidential historians for decades. His story was told in a memoir, published prior to Felt’s death at age 95 in 2008, as well as a follow-up book by Woodward, but for all the impact Deep Throat has had culturally, Felt’s own story has never been the focus of a screen adaptation before. And as iconic as Holbrook’s performance was in All the President’s Men, Neeson will have the advantage of knowing the identity of the man he’s playing.
On the other hand, the director is Peter Landesman, whose last two films were Parkland- a not-so-beloved film about the assassination of John F. Kennedy - and Concussion, a movie about the NFL’s CTE crisis that didn't exactly wow critics; meaning, his name being attached to Mark Felt doesn't inspire much confidence. In addition, the events of Watergate were some 45 years ago now, so these films about touchstone events of the baby boom generation are starting to reach the tail end of their shelf life.
Source: Sony Pictures Classics
- Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (2017) release date: Sep 29, 2017