Hugh Jackman has been cast as former George McGovern campaign manager, Colorado senator, and failed Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart in director Jason Reitman’s upcoming political drama The Frontrunner.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the 48-year-old Logan star will play Hart, who was widely considered the frontrunner to secure the Democratic nomination for president in 1988 before news reports alleging an extramarital affair between the Colorado senator and Donna Rice sank his campaign.
In May of 1987, Hart famously told the New York Times to “follow me around” after rumors had surfaced about the candidate’s alleged affair; the Miami Herald published a report the same day claiming that Hart had spent the weekend at his Washington, D.C. townhouse with a woman later identified as Rice. Hart was also famously photographed with Rice on a yacht named “Monkey Business,” on which the pair sailed to Bimini in March, 1987.
The candidate suspended his campaign later that month, though he returned to the race briefly in December before dropping out again. Mike Dukakis ultimately earned the Democratic nomination, but lost the general election to George H.W. Bush.
The screenplay for The Frontrunner is based on political journalist Matt Bai’s 2014 book All the Truth is Out and was co-written by Reitman, Bai and former Hillary Clinton press secretary Jay Carson, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Jackman is set to appear next in The Greatest Showman, in which he plays legendary circus man P.T. Barnum. Reitman is reportedly in post-production on the Charlize Theron-starring comedy Tully.
News of Jackman’s casting as Hart comes as several other in-demand actors have been cast as politicians in recent weeks. On Tuesday, The Fault in Our Stars actor Ansel Elgort signed on to play former president John F. Kennedy in the historical drama Mayday 109, while Oscar-winner Christian Bale will reportedly play former Vice President Dick Cheney in an upcoming film from The Big Short writer-director Adam McKay.
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