CATEGORIES Casting, New Releases, Celebrities and Controversy, Box Office, Politics, Movie News, UK Box Office, New Releases, Cinematical, UK Box OfficeYesterday's New York Post contained a gossip item in Page Six taken from the book party for James Rosen's The Strong Man: John Mitchell and the Secrets of Watergate in New York, where attendee Tony Danza expressed an interest in playing Richard Nixon aide H.R. Halderman -- maybe in a movie version of Rosen's book. Halderman, who died in 1993, worked for Nixon as White House Chief of Staff until the Watergate scandal landed him eighteen months in prison in 1973. His story, partially recounted in The Strong Man, involved a longstanding relationship with Nixon going back to the 1950s and the tense moments immediately before and after the president's resignation. In between, he was involved in a botched attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro and other tumultuous events dutifully recorded in Halderman's diary, which became available to the public years later.
Many political scandals often revolve around a single corrupt individual, but it's the right hand man whose story can be most revealing. (Roy Cohen's personal drama has way more twists than that of Joseph McCarthy, for example.) There's little doubt that Halderman's experiences would work well on the big screen, but this wouldn't be the first time: IMDb lists no less than five actors who have portrayed Halderman, including James Downing in The Pentagon Papers, as recently as 2003. Would Danza make sense in this role? And will any film have a chance at getting people interested in this story after Frost/Nixon nabs the spotlight later this year?