Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hillary Movie Plots Thicken

If they made a movie of your life, who would you want to play you?

Heated negotiations go on for a miniseries about Hillary Clinton as a well as a biopic about her youth. Republicans are in a dither over NBC producing it, but now Fox is showing interest.

The politics are a mess, of course, but rumors about which actresses will play the various Hillarys interest me more. Diane Lane, who won an Oscar for portraying an athletically adulterous wife in “Unfaithful,” will likely be the adult version, while Scarlett Johansson, Carey Mulligan and Jessica Chastain are mentioned as her younger embodiment.

All this recalls a party game I invented eons ago in a Park Avenue duplex at one of those gatherings where the privileged babble away with no human connection whatever. To keep the conversation going, I suggested a diversion: Name the actor you would want to star in a movie of your life. “As for me,” I said, nodding at Kirk Douglas across the table, “I see Kirk in the part.”

He smiled the familiar dazzling smile that never quite reaches his eyes, a flash of the amused anger that fueled his movie-star charm. I smiled back in what I took to be a moment of shared irony between Jewish boys of dirt-poor parents being wined, dined and bored by the very rich.

Another guest was vertically challenged Jack Valenti, who had been in the LBJ White House and was now head of the Motion Picture Association of America. “I guess,” he sighed wistfully, “they would have to get Mickey Rooney to play me.”

In an era now where the self-obsessed have merged their communities in Washington and Hollywood, such matters are no longer a game. The GOP chairman has threatened to bar NBC from his party’s debates if they went ahead with the Hillary project. If Fox takes over, what will he do?

Meanwhile, if you play the star game with friends, be kind.

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