Jay Roach, the director of HBO’s Sarah Palin movie “Game Change” and an upcoming Lyndon B. Johnson biopic starring Bryan Cranston, weighed in on Donald Trump’s over-the-top 2016 presidential campaign.
“When did wisdom stop being a minimum basic requirement of candidacy?” he told TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman on Sunday at the Toronto Film Festival. “Is Donald Trump a wise man? He’s an honest man, and he’s an interesting man. But is he a wise man?”
Roach, who is promoting his new biopic “Trumbo” starring Cranston as blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, also lamented the descent of the 2016 campaign into “World Wrestling Federation conflict” that draws attention but may not serve the electorate.
“If you as a candidate are willing to say anything and you can come across as honest, more honest than the other candidates, you can say really bold things even if they’re partly untrue and get a lot of attention,” said Roach, won four Emmys for his directing and producing two HBO miniseries about presidential politics, 2008’s “Recount” about the aftermath of the 2000 election and 2012’s “Game Change” about John McCain’s 2008 campaign.
He noted that both parties are guilty of diminishing the quality of American politics. “I don’t think it’s a right-left thing,” he said. “Any minute someone on the left will figure out, ‘Oh, we’ve got to get back to doing Abbie Hoffman style and start doing pranks to get attention.'”
Roach also discussed his latest politically tinged film: a biopic of the Hollywood legend Trumbo, who refused to testify about showbiz Communists before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947 — and was shut out of credited work for more than a decade.
In his review of the film for TheWrap, Steve Pond described Cranston as “a force of nature in a title role that gives him a chance to chew the scenery with gusto.”