The buzz around Lincoln is huge; no doubt Daniel Day-Lewis is making room for an Academy Award on his Ikea LERBERG shelf unit. But it’s not the first time someone’s portrayed a president in the movies – in fact, good as his performance was, it may not even be the best of all time. Who could forget Anthony Hopkins’ stirring turn at John Quincy Adams in Amistad, or Anthony Hopkins’ dark and awkward performance in the title role of Nixon? At one point I was sure Anthony Hopkins was attempting to play every president, and was greatly looking forward to his interpretation of the wild-eyed president from Buffalo in Rockin’ the Fillmore.
I’ll delve more deeply into this world of presidents in film in the coming weeks. Here’s a good starting point: one, Bob Mondello’s piece for NPR about Lincoln’s Screen Legacy, tracing the history of Celluloid Abe from Henry Fonda and Ralph Ince to the Spielberg-and-Vampire-Hunter era we’re in now.
I’m also going to look into another area presidents end up on occasion: video games. The best one, hands down, is the game Bad Dudes, where two, well, bad dudes go on a secret mission because “the president has been kidnapped by ninjas.” And there’s a movie adaptation! Well, sort of.