After working with several actors while performing the Frost/Nixon play, actor Michael Sheen was given a strong supporting cast to help him translate his role as David Frost from the stage to the bigscreen.
Rebecca Hall ( Vicky Cristina Barcelona ) plays Caroline Cushing, Frost's love interest. For her role in the film, the 25-year-old actress approached the research process in the same way that many people in her generation would.
“I did look at a lot of TV footage from the 70’s on YouTube," Hall admitted to B OXOFFICE.
While figuring out how to portray the mannerisms that her character would have displayed during the specific time period in the film, Hall found that she also became obsessed with Richard M. Nixon himself.
“I got the Nixon bug that I think a lot of people get. You know, you get interested in the Nixon administration and suddenly you find that you bought four biographies on Nixon and you can’t get enough," said Hall.
Before playing the role of John Birt, Frost's producer, Matthew Macfadyen ( Death at a Funeral ) had the opportunity to meet the man himself at lunch.
Still, Macfadyen was able to keep the meeting in context.
“I wasn’t setting out to do an impression of him or an impersonation,” Macfadyen told B OXOFFICE. “It was just useful to get what the feel was like at that time because they were all young men at the height of their careers.”
Oliver Platt was also able to meet the character he portrays in the film, journalist Bob Zelnick.
“I got to speak to Bob Zelnick himself," Platt told B OXOFFICE. "I contacted him by phone and we had a couple of great conversations on the phone and I also drove up to Boston where he lives. ...I took him out to lunch and he was tremendously helpful in terms of, you know, zeroing me in on what was going on then and his personal perspective about the interviews.”
For Hall, Macfadyen and Platt, Frost/Nixon holds a relevance to events that are still taking place today. After all, it's hard not to wonder if George W. Bush will encounter a feisty inquisitor after he leaves office just like Nixon did. Will there be another set of riveting interviews when Bush steps in front of the camera post-presidency?
“Listen, it could happen and it probably will," said Platt. "But I don’t think whatever is said will be that surprising. You have to understand that Nixon was extraordinarily well protected in his presidency and Bush has already given so many more interviews than Nixon did.”
Frost/Nixon opens in New York and Los Angeles this Friday.