Hugh Jackman unveiled a first look at himself as 1980s Presidential candidate Gary Hart in the new biopic The Front Runner, which started production today. While the actor will be surrounded by an all-star supporting cast, we only get to see our leading man, which appears to be taken during one of Gary Hart's events during his Presidential campaign, before things went completely off the rails in 1987, helping spark a new era in political journalism.
This first look photo was revealed on the official Hugh Jackman Twitter. The film is based on the book All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid by Matt Bai, who also had a hand in adapting the screenplay alongside director Jason Reitman (Up in the Air) and Jay Carson (House of Cards). In 1987, U.S. Senator Gary Hart was easily considered the front runner for the Democratic Presidential nomination for the 1988 Presidential election, after narrowly losing the nomination to Walter Mondale in 1984, who would be utterly crushed by incumbent Ronald Reagan, winning only his home state of Minnesota. After Mario Cuomo decided not to run for President in February 1987, Gary Hart became the obvious front runner, but his campaign was over in a matter of months.
There had been rumors that Gary Hart was having an extra-marital affair, which he consistently denied. The woman was ultimately identified as Donna Rice, who will be played by Sara Paxton in the film. The Miami Herald tracked Rice on a flight from Miami to Washington D.C., and a team of reporters staked out Hart's townhouse, where they saw Hart and a young woman together. When Hart was confronted about this relationship in an alley by Herald reporters, he denied being in any sort of inappropriate relationship. After the Herald published another story that alleged he spent most of the previous weekend in his townhouse with this woman, Hart then issued an infamous statement to reporters.
"Follow me around. I don't care. I'm serious. If anybody wants to put a tail on me, go ahead. They'll be very bored."
The next day after that quote made headlines, the woman was identified as Donna Rice, who revealed at a press conference that she did not have a sexual relationship with Gary Hart, and while there was never any concrete proof that an affair happened, Gary Hart suspended his Presidential campaign a week later, after the Washington Post threatened to run a story about the woman Hart dated when he was separated from his wife, while Hart's wife and daughter also became fodder for tabloid stories. Before this scandal, political journalists rarely dug into the private lives of politicians but that certainly changed.
The cast also includes Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons, Mamoudou Athie, Josh Brener, Kaitlyn Dever, Tommy Dewey, Molly Ephraim, Spencer Garrett, Ari Graynor, Toby Huss, Mike Judge, Alex Karpovsky, Mark O'Brien, Sara Paxton, Kevin Pollak, and Steve Zissis. Bron Studios has not yet set a release date for this film, and it isn't clear if the production company has a distribution partner lined up quite yet. Director Jason Reitman also shared his own photo from the set, revealing the first slate used for the film, which you can check out below.