November 18, 1995
Web posted at: 7:40 a.m. EST
From Correspondent Ron Tank
HOLLYWOOD, California (CNN) -- Imagine going on a date with
a guy who is surrounded by four or five Secret Service agents
plus three or four White House aides. That's sort of what it
would be like if you dated the president of the United
"Do you want to get a doughnut or something?" the president asks his date. From that first question, the film "The American President" tells the tale of a widowed president, Michael Douglas, who begins dating a congressional lobbyist, Annette Bening.
Bening says the role opened up some very interesting
questions about dating one of the most high-profile people in
the world. "What if I was standing next to the president and
I was beginning to feel like, attracted to him, what would
that be like?" Bening says. (98K AIFF sound or
"I had the best time," Douglas says of his role as commander-in-chief. "I'd come out of the trailer and (people would say), 'Morning, Mr. President.' It's a lot of fun when you're acting it."
Martin Sheen, whose own acting resume includes roles such as president and attorney general, is chief of staff in the film. He says that when the cameras rolled, Douglas became the president. "I didn't have to pretend to be chief of staff to the president; I was," Sheen says.
Michael J. Fox, David Paymer, Anna Deavere and Richard Dreyfuss round out the rest of the administration.
Robert Redford once considered playing the president, but dropped out during development. "What he described to me was more of a traditional kind of romantic comedy in the vein of a 30's or 40's screwball comedy," producer and director Rob Reiner says.
Reiner wanted more of a message film, one that, even the cast admits, leans more to the left than the right.
And what will the real Mr. President think of the film? "I think he'll like it a lot. When we were researching the movie, they certainly were aware of basically what it was about. They were very kind to us at the White House and let us come in," Bening says.
Set designers also got a chance to get a look at the White House and recreated some of the most famous rooms in the White House in the same painstaking way as the designers for another presidential movie, "Dave."
Michael Douglas said that the designs for "The American President" were so realistic that he was a little intimidated at first. "There was a strange moment, actually the first scenes I had in the Oval Office, going behind the desk, that felt sacrilegious. And there was a moment of thinking, 'I shouldn't be doing this.' or 'I can't do this.' And that was quickly followed by, 'this is a lot of fun,'" Douglas says.
So on your next date, why not go see the president out with his date on Capitol Hill?
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