Truth, a riveting movie about the famous scandal at CBS 60 Minutes that cost Dan Rather his nightly news anchorship, is based on Mary Mapes' account. A sassy, hard working producer, Mapes was fired in this incident calling into question George W. Bush's military record. Rather and Mapes knew they were reporting a true story, but many thought it was a take down of the president just as he was seeking re-election. Rather is played with gravitas by Robert Redford, but Mapes-- with Cate Blanchett in the role-- takes center stage. Not only is this a must-see movie for her stellar performance, but it is a reminder of a time when real investigating was the goal for television--and print--news. Mistakes were made and heads did roll, but not without some loss of journalistic ideals.
At the movie's premiere party at Armani Ristorante Wednesday night, the Australia- based Blanchett, talked about her interest in American politics. One character, Colonel Roger Charles (Dennis Quaid) observes, had Mary not been busy with her mother dying, Al Gore might very well have been president. He was speaking about Mapes' enthusiasm for reporting with integrity, but it was also a reminder of the close and controversial 2000 election.
Truth is writer James Vanderbilt's debut as director. He scripted David Fincher's Zodiac film prior to Truth, from Mapes' Truth and Duty: The Press, The President, and the Privilege of Power. On directing Redford and Blanchett, he simply said, you hire them for their extreme intelligence. As we chatted Damien Lewis came by for a photo with the Blanchett, as did Geza Rohrig, the star of Laszlo Nemes' Son of Saul; the Hungarian born poet plays a Sonderkommando at Auschwitz in the Grand Prix winner at Cannes. As to Blanchett, it is a toss up between this role and Carol, but another Oscar seems destined. When asked how she feels about Cate Blanchett playing her in a major motion picture, Mary Mapes turned it around, "How would you feel? She's six feet tall and gorgeous."
Dan Rather, now 83, enjoyed the party but left early to prepare for his trip to East Hampton. Truth opened the Hamptons International Film Festival on Thursday night, and Dan Rather is to participate in a "Conversation With" moderated by Alec Baldwin.
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