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Look out for more coverage of
Man of the Year in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Man of the Year

THE STARS:
Robin Williams • Christopher Walken • Laura Linney • Jeff Goldblum
DIRECTOR: Barry Levinson

President, by mistake… THE CONCEPT:
Acerbic late night political comedian Tom Dobbs, (Williams), decides to run for the Presidency, and becomes President-elect due to a faulty computer. But a scrupulous voting-software analyst, Eleanor Green (Linney), discovers the computer glitch, and goes on a mission to tell Dobbs the truth.

U.S. RELEASE: October 13 2006, Nationwide
• Rated: PG-13

THE COMMENTS:

BARRY LEVINSON (Writer-director):
“Following the [2004] election, there were many questions about the computer systems in Ohio and other states …whether or not they were ‘hackable.’ The ideas coming out of this election seemed a good basis from which to construct a screenplay.”

ROBIN WILLIAMS on what his election slogan would be if he ran for President:
“’Why not? Try me! What could be so bad?’ It’s a very Jewish campaign! But the idea of running; it’s not for me. Like my character, I believe I serve a better purpose just being able to make fun of everything.”

LAURA LINNEY:
“Robin is not just a comedian, he’s a Julliard trained actor, and he really listens and he works with everybody who he’s working with, he’s not just a geyser of energy, entertainment and razzmatazz. I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody who’s made so many people happy. His generosity is staggering, and he’s very brave, he’s not afraid of people the way that a lot of us are and shut down to protect ourselves, he’s not afraid of giving.”

LEVISON:
“It’s not difficult to control Robin, it’s relatively simple. There is a script and as I’ve always said, this is what is written, and if we can improve upon something at any given time we’ll do that. A lot of times if I think that I have the take that I need, than we’ll just try something else and if it’s better and more interesting, great. The good thing about Robin is he has enough discipline as an actor to know where the boundaries are.”

WILLIAMS:
“I wanted to say something about the whole system, how is it working? Is everyone happy with the way things are? If you look at most countries, how do we stand in the world? How do we stand nationally? How come we have not rebuilt New Orleans yet? And on both sides, not the idea of divisive politics, but the idea of united as in U.S. being us, and the idea of disagreeing and being able to work it out. The system, as comics, we’re saying, ‘Here’s the absurdity.’ You can look at any given day and go, ‘That’s insane.’”

LINNEY:
“I think you want freedom from the predictable (when you do a political satire). With great drama and great satire it’s the pitch that you’re going for, the pitch that will allow you to hear something, not being afraid of going too far in any one direction and then having it balance, and that’s where Barry is amazing. “

LEVINSON:
“My movie Wag the Dog was made in a more innocent time. We’re in a much darker period, a much more cynical period than, say, where Wag the Dog was in the ‘90s.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Images above ©
Feature © 2006 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #676, November 2006 cover

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