[WATCH] Rod Lurie (‘Killing Reagan’) on adapting Bill O’Reilly bestseller for TV

“It doesn’t take much to attract me to an interesting piece of history,” reveals director Rod Lurie as we chat via webcam (watch above) about his new telefilm Killing Reagan,” based on the best-selling book by Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. This TV adaptation, which debuts on the National Geographic channel on Sunday (Oct. 16), recounts the 1981 assassination attempt on U.S. President Ronald Reagan by John Hinkley Jr. Although the liberal-leaning director disagrees politically with both author and subject, he readily admits, “the book itself is really entertaining, and it’s non-partisan.”

Find out how ‘Killing Reagan’ will do at the Golden Globes this year

To take on the iconic roles of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, the director chose two-time Emmy nominee Tim Matheson (Drama Guest Actor for “The West Wing” [2002, 2003]), and double Emmy champ Cynthia Nixon (Comedy Supporting Actress for “Sex and the City” [2004] and Drama Guest Actress for “Law & Order: SVU” [2008]). “They’re some of the best actors in America,” praises Lurie. Matheson, “really dug into this role,” going so far as to learn, “that Reagan breathed in sentences in a really specific way.”

Dish the latest TV news with Hollywood insiders in our notorious forums

Lurie is no stranger to films with a political slant. His “The Contender” (2000), which won the BFCA’s Alan J. Pakula Award for artistic merit, scored Oscar nominations for Joan Allen (Best Actress) as a US Senator whose past threatens to derail her confirmation hearings for the Vice Presidency, and for Jeff Bridges (Supporting Actor) as the President hoping to appoint her. “I was really looking into the double-standards of how women are viewed,” he explains, relating it to today with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Sign up to get Gold Derby’s free newsletter
with experts’ latest predictions and breaking news

He also spoke about her Republican rival Donald Trump, who he believes, “has made it so that even Democrats today are nostalgic for Reagan.” He acknowledges, “as much as I don’t like Reagan as a President,” he does, “admire him as a man’s man, as an example of how to behave, how to carry oneself. He had tremendous dignity.” Whereas, “Reagan was just a performer that appealed to the best in us,” the New York billionaire and reality TV star, “is overtly trying to appeal to the worst in us.”

Make your Golden Globe predictions now; change them till Dec. 12

Make your early Golden Globes TV Awards picks now and tell industry insiders which shows and performers you have out front to win on January 8. You can keep changing them until just before nominations are announced on December 12 at 5 am PT/8 am ET. But it is important to register your initial predictions now both to lock in those all-important starter odds and let Hollywood know who has the inside track for these kudos. Be sure to make your predictions right here. You’ll compete for a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s nominees). Read our contest rules.

More News from GoldDerby

Loading