“In war movies there’s always an echo of the political right now, but we’re set in 2003, long before the politics of today, so that kind of frees you up,” said director Richard Linklater when discussing his new film “Last Flag Flying” at the 2017 New York Film Festival (watch above), where it was the opening night selection. The film tells the story of three Vietnam War veterans (Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne) who reunite under tragic circumstances in the early days of the Iraq War.
Linklater added, “I always felt that, politics aside, our job was to represent these guys’ politics, what they think. It’s a little ambiguous. They’re all very different people. I don’t know if I could tell you 100-percent who voted for who [in the 2016 election] — I’m pretty sure Mueller didn’t vote for Trump.” He’s referring to Fishburne’s character Richard Mueller, who has grown from a trouble-making young soldier to a principled reverend.
“Yeah, you’d be right about that,” Fishburne insisted.
But Cranston’s character Sal Nealon, still a hard-drinking cynic, could be another story. Linklater speculated, “I don’t know if crazy Sal [would have voted for Trump] just to throw a little ‘F you’ into the world.” Fishburne agreed, saying to Cranston, “You definitely voted for Trump.”
Though the film takes place more than a decade before Donald Trump‘s ascent to the White House, it was actually in production at the time of the presidential election, and co-star J. Quinton Johnson remembered, “The next day shooting was very quiet.” And Linklater added, “We were shooting at the base the next morning. We walked in and there were five flag-draped coffins. There was no one in those coffins, but it felt like [a funeral].”
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