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Posted at 9:53 AM ET, 03/ 4/2011

'Adjustment Bureau': How several well-known political figures made their way into the movie

By Jen Chaney

During an early scene in "The Adjustment Bureau," which opens in theaters today, Matt Damon's character, David Norris, converses with several political big shots while campaigning for U.S. Senate.

Jesse Jackson. New York Mayor Michael Blomberg, Madeleine Albright. They all show up onscreen, followed a short time later by James Carville and Mary Matalin, who do some political commentary about Norris's political future on a faux CNN show.

How did "Adjustment Bureau" director George Nolfi and the film's crew wrangle so many well-known names? During a visit to D.C. -- during which time I spoke with both Nolfi and "Bureau" co-star Anthony Mackie, who is profiled in this Sunday's Style section -- the filmmaker explained it all.

George Nolfi: "Surprisingly, everybody we asked pretty much wanted to do it. I specifically wanted Carville and Matalin because I wanted the Republican/Democrat combination talking about how this was kind of an exciting candidate who could go far. So I contacted them through some people who knew them and also contacted them through CNN, or my production did.

Bloomberg was an obvious one because I wanted a sort of -- he's sort of post-partisan, nonpartisan, very centrist. I wanted to put David out there in as non-partisan a way as possible. And I thought it would be great to get an actual endorsement form someone who matters.

Matt was at the Clinton Global Initiative giving a speech, being honored for his work on water ... we asked CGI to let us come there [with cameras], and we went up to people there and said we’re doing a movie and Matt’s playing a Congressman -- some of them I sort of knew through other people. Jesse Jackson I just walked up to and said, I’m a director and Matt's playing a congressman and here’s the background: are you interested in being in the movie? And we’re filming all this so you get the consent on camera. Everyone was game.

Jen Chaney: Did anyone say no?

Nolfi: We were at CGI, so we had Matt with [Bill] Clinton and his people said ultimately he didn’t want to be in the movie. But they were all fully aware -- there were two cameras at all times, one on Matt and one on them. Most of them, you can’t hear that much of what they’re saying, but most of them went into the mode of ad libbing for the role very effectively. Did you ever see "Traffic"? "Traffic" has a lot of real politicians in it and I’ve worked with [Steven] Soderbergh several times and you know, he said these guys are going to be great because they do this all day long. You just say, here are the circumstances, just do what you normally do.

Terry McAuliffe gave [Damon] a political strategy pep talk. I wish I had the time in the movie to show the whole thing ... And John Podesta was like, 'I think what Hillary showed is that you’ve got to go upstate.' And he talked about counties and stuff. It was like, we don’t have time for that! [Laughs] But it was amazing. Madeline Albright talked to him as Matt but she talked to him about a real issue, how important it was to think about countries abroad that get left off the geopolitical strategizing map. It was great. Obviously in the movie, [the interviews] are really trimmed down because that’s the nature of trying to do an hour and 39 minute movie."

By Jen Chaney  | March 4, 2011; 9:53 AM ET
Categories:  Movies  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Charlie Sheen sets new Twitter record; Selena Gomez not punched by a Justin Bieber fan
Next: Does Topher Grace, star of 'Take Me Home Tonight,' know his '80s trivia?


Just a foot note, but those who know the SF stories will see tht this film has more to do with "Beep" by James Blish than with the PK Dick short story. Very little of that story made it to the film. The directors are the kings of their worlds.

Who ever pays attention to a writer?

Posted by: GaryEMasters | March 4, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Jen, do you realize it's been a full week and not a mention of the Razzies? The Razzies were made for this column. So much snark, so little talent (the Razzie winners).

Posted by: epjd | March 4, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Is this all we get for the Morning Mix now? Not much sustenance here :-(

Hi, ep!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | March 4, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Nosy I was thinking the same thing. :-(

For a while we had updates of all sorts every hour (at least it seemed that way) & sometimes that seemed like too much & now that we're down to 3 or so a day (maybe more I didn't count) it seems like not enough.

We're a hard to please bunch aren't we? :-)

ep, I'd guess the Razzies weren't mentioned cause Jen was in LA working the Oscar beat & Liz was trying to get ready to leave the Island. But by Friday we shoulda heard something about 'em.

Here's a start!

Anyhoo, all this Charlie Sheen talk got me thinking about Robert Downey Jr. Hit had to hit several bottoms (no chick in a Wonder Woman costume pun intended) before he got his act together.

AND Mel Gibson, of all people, funded his insurance bond for his "comeback" flick, "The Singing Detective."

That train of though led me to the Elton John video RDJ did & so, just to make the ladies day, here it is!

And just for good measure to cleanse the palate of that awful visage of Charlie Sheen that happens to be on every channel all the time lately, here's Daniel Craig & Hugh Jackman at the beach, though not together, we wouldn't want head 'splodin' 'round the island.

Posted by: wadejg | March 4, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

wadejg, You're hired!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | March 4, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Great. Like Matalin and Carville don't get their faces in front of every camera as it is....and Jesse Jackson! Terry Macauliffe! Does anyone like this annoying creep? I'll skip this one, even though it's proabably very good.

Posted by: dbunkr | March 4, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

It's 2PM & no update!

Oh well.

I had the RDJ pic linked below up on my wall at work & everyone asked about it & asked why I had it up & my answer was "Aren't we all just a hooker or 3 & some blow away from that?"

Here's a couple of better ones

Oh to be that cigarette...

Posted by: wadejg | March 4, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

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