Recount (film)

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Recount
Recount (film).jpg
Official poster
Distributed by HBO
Directed by Jay Roach
Produced by Michael Haussman
Danny Strong
Len Amato
Jay Roach
Sydney Pollack
Paula Weinstein
Written by Danny Strong
Starring Kevin Spacey
Denis Leary
Laura Dern
Tom Wilkinson
John Hurt
Ed Begley, Jr.
Bob Balaban
Music by Dave Grusin
Cinematography Jim Denault
Editing by Alan Baumgarten
Production company Spring Creek Productions[1]
Country United States
Language English
Original channel HBO
Release date May 25, 2008 (2008-05-25)
Running time 116 minutes

Recount is a 2008 television film about the 2000 United States presidential election. The political drama was written by Danny Strong, directed by Jay Roach, and produced by Michael Haussman. It premiered on HBO on May 25, 2008. The DVD was released on August 19, 2008.[2]

Plot[edit]

Recount chronicles the 2000 U.S. presidential election Bush v. Gore case between Governor of Texas George W. Bush and U.S. Vice President Al Gore. It begins with the election on November 7 and ends with the Supreme Court ruling, which stopped the Florida election recount on December 12.

Key points depicted include: Gore's retraction of his personal telephone concession to Bush in the early hours of November 8; the decision by the Gore campaign to sue for hand recounts in Democratic strongholds where voting irregularities were alleged, especially in light of the statistical dead heat revealed by the reported machine recount; Republican pressure on Florida’s Secretary of State Katherine Harris in light of her legally mandated responsibilities; the attention focused on the hand recounts by media, parties, and the public; the two major announcements by Florida Supreme Court spokesman Craig Waters extending the deadline for returns in the initial recount (November 21, 2000) and ordering a statewide recount of votes (December 8, 2000), and later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court; and finally the adversarial postures of the Supreme Courts of Florida and the United States, as well as the dissenting opinions among the higher court's justices.

Production[edit]

Director[edit]

In April 2007, it was announced that Sydney Pollack was going to be the film's director;[3] by August, weeks away from the start of principal photography, Pollack withdrew from the project due to a then-undisclosed illness.[4] Pollack died of cancer on May 26, 2008, one day after Recount premiered on HBO.[5] Director Jay Roach replaced Pollack.

Casting[edit]

On September 24, 2007, it was announced that Kevin Spacey would star as Ron Klain.[6]

Filming[edit]

The film was filmed mostly in Tallahassee, Florida. Many scenes were shot in city hall, the federal courthouse, and in front of the Florida Capitol building. Other scenes were shot on location on November 3 and 4, 2007, inside the actual courtroom of the Florida Supreme Court building and outside its front exterior in Tallahassee. Some scenes were filmed in Jacksonville, Florida. This was the first time a Chief Justice of Florida, in this case R. Fred Lewis at the request of Craig Waters, granted permission for the filming of a major motion picture on the Court's property.[7]

Cast[edit]

Actor/Actress Character Notes
Kevin Spacey Ron Klain Nominated for Emmy Award, Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award
John Hurt Warren Christopher
Laura Dern Katherine Harris Won Golden Globe Award; nominated for Emmy Award and SAG Award
Tom Wilkinson James Baker Nominated for Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award
Denis Leary Michael Whouley Nominated for Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award
Ed Begley, Jr. David Boies
Bob Balaban Ben Ginsberg Nominated for Emmy Award
Bruce McGill Mac Stipanovich
Paul Jeans Ted Olson
Bruce Altman Mitchell Berger
Alex Staggs Craig Waters
Doug Williford Mark Fabiani
Gary Basaraba Clay Roberts
Stefen Laurantz Joe Allbaugh
Mitch Pileggi Bill Daley
Jayne Atkinson Theresa LePore
Marcia Jean Kurtz Carol Roberts
Mary Bonner Baker Kerey Carpenter
Bob Kranz Bob Butterworth
Raymond Forchion Jeff Robinson
Steve DuMouchel John Hardin Young
Marc Macaulay Robert Zoellick
Antoni Corone Tom Feeney
Matt Miller Jeb Bush
Terry Loughlin William Rehnquist
Judy Clayton Sandra Day O'Connor
William Schallert John Paul Stevens
Bruce Gray Anthony Kennedy
Michael Bryan French David Souter
Howard Elfman Stephen Breyer
Jack Shearer Antonin Scalia
Benjamin Clayton Clarence Thomas
Bradford DeVine Charles T. Wells
Candice Critchfield Judge Myriam Lehr
Annie Cerillo Barbara Pariente
Brewier Welch Harry Lee Anstead
Derek Cecil Jeremy Bash
Robert Small George J. Terwilliger III
Patricia Getty Margaret D. Tutwiler
Christopher Schmidt John E. Sweeney
Olgia Campbell Donna Brazile
James Carrey Chris Lehane
Brent Mendenhall George W. Bush
Grady Couch Al Gore
Carole Wood Tipper Gore
Mark Lamoureux Reporter
Tom Hillman Brad Blakeman
Adam LeFevre Mark Herron

Reception[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

2008 Emmy Awards:

2009 66th Golden Globe Awards:

2009 Directors Guild of America Award:

  • Won: Jay Roach - Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television/Miniseries

2009 Writers Guild of America Award:

Reviews[edit]

Recount received a rating of 76% from critics aggregated by Rotten Tomatoes (13 fresh and 4 rotten reviews).[8] Mark Moorman of Het Parool, gave the film a rating of four stars on a scale of five, calling Recount an "amazing and funny reconstruction".[9]

Response to fictionalization[edit]

Some critics have made charges of bias against the film. Entertainment Weekly wrote, "Recount may not be downright blue, but it's not as purply as it wants to appear. Despite its equal time approach, Recount is an underdog story, and thus a Democrat story."[10] Film critic Roger Ebert disputed claims of bias in his review of the film, stating, "You might assume the movie is pro-Gore and anti-Bush, but you would not be quite right."[11]

In an interview with CNN's Reliable Sources, director Jay Roach responded that the film, "wasn't 100 percent accurate, but it was very true to what went on....That's what dramatizations do: stitch together the big ideas with, sometimes, constructs that have to stand for a larger truth." Roach cited All the President's Men as an example.[12] Jake Tapper, an ABC newscaster who was a consultant for the film also stated in response that the film is "a fictional version of what happened" and "tilts to the left because it's generally told from the point of view of the Democrats."[12] The Washington Post further stated that Tapper noted that "while some scenes and language are manufactured, 'a lot of dialogue is not invented, a lot of dialogue is taken from my book, other books and real life.' "[12]

Florida Supreme Court

Florida Supreme Court spokesman Craig Waters agreed that the script departed from the actual statements he made on live television from the courthouse steps in the fall of 2000. "But the words spoken by the actor who played me [Alex Staggs]," Waters said, "are accurate paraphrasis of the things I actually said or of the documents released by the court at the time."

Warren Christopher, who was sent by Gore to supervise the recount, has objected to his portrayal in the film. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Christopher:

...has not seen the film, but he read transcripts of scenes featuring his character, who is portrayed as a high-minded but naive statesman. In one scene, Christopher, played by John Hurt, suggests to former Secretary of State James Baker, who was spearheading Bush's Florida legal team, that they try to resolve the recount through 'diplomacy and compromise.' 'That's absurd,' Christopher says. 'Both Baker and I knew this would be a fight to the end that only one side could win.'

Baker agreed that the film exaggerated his rival's stance: "He's not that much of a wuss," said Matea Gold of the San Jose Mercury News.[13]

Democratic strategist Michael Whouley has objected to the amount of swearing he does in the film, and was also uncomfortable with a scene involving a broken chair.

In contrast, Bush legal advisers James Baker and Benjamin Ginsberg have largely given the film good reviews; Baker even hosted his own screening of it, though he does refer to the film as a "Hollywood rendition" of what happened.[13]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike. "Vet Producer Paula Weinstein Joins Tribeca As Exec Veep". Deadline. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Recount Dimples DVD's Chad
  3. ^ Pollack 'making Bush poll movie', from the BBC News website
  4. ^ Ill Pollack steps down from film, from the BBC News website
  5. ^ US director Sydney Pollack dies, from the BBC News website
  6. ^ Fleming, Michael (2007-09-24). "Spacey to star in HBO’s ‘Recount’". Variety. 
  7. ^ Florida was perfect climate for HBO's "Recount"
  8. ^ Recount @ Rotten Tomatoes
  9. ^ Moorman, Mark (2009-02-19). "Siamese punk and a recount". Het Parool. p. A&M 23. 
  10. ^ Flynn, Gillian (2008-05-16). "TV Review, Recount". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  11. ^ Ebert, Roger (May 25, 2008). "Movie Reviews, Recount". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b c Truth and Chad Hang In the Balance Of 'Recount'
  13. ^ a b Gold, Matea (22 May 2008). "HBO's 'Recount' revisits hanging chad debacle". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2008-05-26. 

External links[edit]