World News – CA – Jeff Daniels’ « Instant Credibility » Makes James Comey a Hero in « The Comey Rule »


Withdrawn by President Donald Trump in May 2017, former FBI Director James Comey’s first reaction to writer-director Billy Ray and producer Shane Salerno’s adaptation of his 2018 memoir was  » Hell no, « he said in a recent live Washington Post Zoom interview » I didn’t want to be part of such a thing. They convinced me « 

Ray wrote « The Comey Rule » to talk about how heartbreaking it can be to be a public servant. It is because of this hold that Comey finally agreed, after months of resistance, to give him the right to ‘Adapting its « Greater Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership » The resulting two-part limited series premiered Sunday on Showtime

On some level, Comey’s reluctance was understandable. « Start with the fact the guy to play him was on ‘Dumb and Dumber,’ said Emmy winner Jeff Daniels (‘The Newsroom’) , which, in fact, brings its decency and seriousness to the role (He’s also 6’3 ″ to 6’8 ″ from Comey)

But Ray wanted Daniels because « he brings instant credibility, » Ray said in a phone interview. « You know the guy is telling you the truth With someone as polarizing as Comey is a important hiring Jeff is someone you trust in America « 

Equally important, Comey is calm and content; he has a poker face. « I needed an actor so confident he wouldn’t mind Trump being the bells and whistles fireworks display in this show, » Ray said,  » an actor who can trust his calm and quiet and know a lot to be able to do this « 

“The movie shows you what he thinks,” said Daniels, who listened to Comey read his own audiobook “You put the thought in your head and show what he thought I had so many, I could hear his voice in my head We tried to show him to you thinking about what to do, moment by moment His decisions were so often between a rock and a hard place « 

According to Comey, his literary agents must have forced him to include the book’s most incendiary material: his one-on-one encounters with Trump, who is played with a powerful threat by Brendan Gleeson. « I didn’t mean to write a book, « said Comey, who jotted down notes after every Trump meeting. » I wanted to put the Trump stuff out of the way… I wanted to share a message about institutional values, about these people and the values ​​they represent in the American life I am sensitive to criticism I don’t like the narrative that I am a showboat the idea of ​​a screen production of my book made me cringe « 

It turned out that Ray « had a lot to say about the Trump presidency, » he told me. « It was driving me a little crazy, the way he was talking about the Deep State, which didn’t is that a group of officials concerned about their country and the apolitical intentions of its most important institutions I was looking for a way to express this idea « 

Salerno told Comey that this is how he could get his message across to more young people than his bestselling book ever would read. When Comey chatted about it with his wife Patricia (played on the show by Jennifer Ehle), they decided to cooperate, after all, without conditions

Comey chose Oscar nominee Ray (for the screenplay adapted from « Captain Phillips ») for the adaptation « Because I Knew He Would Tell the Truth I’m a Human I Have Strengths and Weaknesses I didn’t care how I was portrayed I wanted the institution to be shown honestly There are a lot of things flying around the FBI; I knew Billy had a passion for the truth This is what sold me « 

And Ray returns the compliment In all of the research and phone, email, and in-person interviews he’s done with dozens of players including Comey, he told me, he « didn’t. » never said a word in public that turned out to be wrong, never, not even questionable You can’t say that about Trump or [Michael] Flynn He’s telling the truth You may disagree with that interpretation of things, but this guy doesn’t lie, manipulate, or spin « 

Billy Ray, Jeff Daniels and James Comey in a live video interview for « The Comey Rule »

To air some criticism on Comey, Ray has US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (Scoot McNairy) exposes the showboating request right at the top of the « I know people are in conflict over James Comey » show, he said to me « Who better than Rod Rosenstein to preach this, because he’s the Salieri of Comey’s Mozart He’s the guy who would like to be a leader but doesn’t have it He’s the one asking to James Comey: “Come talk to my leadership team”

One criticism of the « Comey’s Rule » is that it glorifies Comey as a benefactor of Washington. « I never thought of it that way, » said Ray, who went from film to television with this series « I never thought of making Comey a hero. I thought to myself, ‘Let’s put the world in Jim Comey’s place for five minutes, create a story, and let’s go inside the rooms and decisions that ‘he took that deeply affected the electorate »

« We speak the truth and present the facts » he said « This is what Jim Comey was facing Here are the facts, pressures, constraints and political realities » What would you have made? » It’s not my way of saying he did the right thing or the wrong thing It’s the thought process that led to these decisions, and the staff around him [most of whom have since left the FBI] , challenging and / or amplifying these decisions It was a noble process, the intentions of the process were pure « 

In fact, « The Comey Rule » refers to the Achilles heel of the former FBI chief. After all, it was the executive that insisted on investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails on the eve of the presidential election that swung in favor of Trump As Ray spoke to the folks at DOJ, one of them told him that they coined the term, he said, « because when you have such a fierce belief in your own point of view that it replaces the DOJ standards « 

After his research, Ray came up with a 144-page treat to the networks, selling the project to CBS because it could be shown on either the CBS All-Access streamer or the premium cable Showtime. The drama was easily split into two parts Night One ends with the election of Trump and Night Two begins with his assumption of duty “At the end of Night One, we argued that there was a shark in it. ‘water,’ said Ray, ‘and as we break up, our hero is in the water,’ Now what’s going to happen? ‘ I thought about «  Jaws  » a lot while we were doing this: the decision not to see the shark as long as humanly possible, so that when you do, it really shows up You don’t see the shark so much. that your hero does not see it « 

Having directed two feature films (« Shattered Glass » and « Secret in their Eyes »), Ray was eager to take the reins of the four-hour, $ 40 million limited series after another director left. In a way it was the same, he says « I shot ‘Shattered Glass’ on a 28 day schedule and it was two movies on a 51 day schedule We were going faster » , he said

How to deal with Trump’s first dramatic performance caused some anxiety – it would be so easy to overplay him « We’re not doing a cartoon version of Trump, » Ray said « I think if we portray him with precision, it is by definition cartoonish, so we made the decision to play it straight out as far as we could. His hair couldn’t be a joke even though the hair is as ridiculous as Trump, and his costumes look better We didn’t do a ridiculous voice or ridiculous manners « 

And Trump makes a powerful villain Gleeson, who initially resisted accepting the role, doesn’t call him stupid. « You would never call a Mafia boss a fool, » Ray said « Brendan is a brilliant actor with incredible physique Most importantly he’s fearless He was worried [how he would be received] That’s why he’s sitting in Dublin right now without making the press He knows how much backlash is going to be He’s hiding under a rock 8,000 miles from here « 

Comey was shaken as he sat in a director’s chair on set while filming his one-on-one dinner scene with Trump « I was about to throw up on my shoes, ”he said,“ sitting in the dark as they recreated what I was going through in a way that I found very disturbing I found it really hard to relive… it got me hit like a wave « 

He recalled how his mind circled around as he wondered, « How can I protect the FBI? What do I say? I tried to keep the distance « How can I do this now? » Watching this scene Jeff said nothing, but you can see the turmoil looking at his eyes and the way he holds his jaw « 

“That’s my job in a nutshell,” Daniels said, “without saying much, to show you all of it. If the guy I’m playing saw it, touchdown! I am here « 

« The Comey Rule » was scheduled to air late in May or June, but some senior Showtime officials, parent Viacom, decided to air the series after the election Ray objected, saying the cast delivered spectacular performances, including Daniels After his letter of apology to his cast leaked to the New York Times, Showtime remade the series « We wanted the world to see as many people as possible. possible, « said Ray, » to get it out before the election is scorching a lot of eyeballs After it’s a historical artifact you don’t get that many « 

Comey remains surprised that 53 Republicans, members of the US Senate, « took an oath to support the Constitution and distorted it, » he said, referring to the vote on the second count of impeachment of Trump, that of obstructing Congress « They told each other a story, that ‘the American people need me, and if I stand up I could lose a primary or deprive the American people of my services »We have to remember what is happening so that it does not happen again »

In case anyone was wondering, Comey endorses Joe Biden « A new attorney general will work to restore commitment to values, » he said

« The rule of law is also written on the ballots, » Daniels said « If we don’t have this we are no longer America, we keep telling everyone that we are »

« The Comey Rule » airs its second episode Monday, September 28 at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime The limited series will then be available to stream in full on Showtime

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This post is linked to: Television and tagged Billy Ray, James Comey, Jeff Daniels, Showtime, The Comey Rule

James Comey

World News – CA – Jeff Daniels’ « Instant Credibility » Makes James Comey a Hero in « The Comey Rule »


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