We Demand a Recount
Most people will recognize the adorable Danny Strong from his role as Jonathan, part of the evil-nerd trio on Buffy the Vampire Slayer or as Paris Gellar's loyal boyfriend on Gilmore Girls. For his latest gig, Strong's stepped behind the scenes to pen the new HBO movie Recount (debuting Sunday, May 25 at 9 PM) all about the Gore-Bush kerfuffle in Florida during the 2000 Presidential Elections. (Remember all those hanging chads?) The flick boasts an all-star cast that includes Kevin Spacey, Denis Leary and Laura Dern, so Strong must be pretty psyched, right? We were curious to know how he made the leap from acting to writing -- about politics, no less. So we got on the horn with him to get all the dirt.
TWoP: What made you want to write a movie about the 2000 presidential election, and why now?
Danny Strong: It was completely inspired by the play called Stuff Happens that I saw at the Mark Taper Forum... it was about the build up to the Iraq War told from different perspectives. I was so moved by this piece that as soon as the play ended I thought, 'I really want to write something just like that.' Within 30 seconds, I kid you not, the idea of Recount popped into my mind.
TWoP:When was that?
DS: That was in the fall of 2005. So it was quite a while ago. Then I started researching it and ordered a number of books on it. I discovered it was a completely fascinating chapter in US history that I knew so little about, and felt most people knew little about. We all knew [about] Katherine Harris and hanging chads and the Supreme Court.
TWoP: Right, I had just followed it on TV.
DS: Yeah, that's it. And what was on TV was really confusing. None of it really made complete sense, and I think the true story of what was going on behind the scenes, I just thought could be turned into a really fantastic film.
TWoP: Did you do any interviews, or was your research just based on documents you read?
DS: The majority of the film is based on four books. It was only 36 days so four books cover it pretty well. And they all overlap, it is the same story, most of what is in these film is double, triple or quadruple sourced from these books. But I did go out and interview many of the actual participants, as well as many others on the periphery who aren't characters in the film. I did about 40 interviews.
TWoP: Did you meet any of the folks who are major players in the film?
DS: Yeah, a lot of them. I interviewed Ron Klain, James Baker and David Boies, Margaret Tutweiler, Ben Ginsberg, Kerey Carpenter, Clay Roberts and Warren Christopher.