Director Jason Reitman on The Front Runner, Gary Hart, and the Private Lives of Politicians

Reitman and his co-writers, Matt Bai and Jay Carson, on what their new film reveals about today's politics.


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"We live in a culture that kind of revolves around shame," says director Jason Reitman. "If you're someone who experiences shame, you drop out of the race. If you're someone who doesn't experience shame, not only do you stay in, but you thrive."

Reitman's new film, The Front Runner, starring Hugh Jackman, is based on the true story of Gary Hart's 1988 democratic presidential campaign, which was derailed on allegations that Hart was having an affair with model Donna Rice.

The director Reitman—a self-described libertarian whose prior credits include Thank You For Smoking (2005) and Juno (2007)—also co-wrote the screenplay with political reporter Matt Bai and former political operative Jay Carson. It chronicles Hart's doomed campaign through the experiences of his family, campaign aides, and a press corps wrestling over whether the candidate's sex life should be treated as newsworthy.

Reason's Meredith Bragg sat down with Reitman, Bai, and Carson to discuss the film, how the interest in Hart's scandal changed the way the media covers political figures, and the filmmakers' search for a "reasonable conversation."

Produced, edited, and interview conducted by Meredith Bragg.
Cameras by Todd Krainin, Austin Bragg, and Mark McDaniel.

Photo credit: SUN/Newscom.

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