Reel life drama 

I am not sure quite why it has happened this way, but I seem to have heard a number of Ron Howard interviews recently.

He really does come across as one of the nice guys of the entertainment industry – in the occasional ‘junket’ interview I have listen to, he has always seemed engaged, interested and very courteous. The two most recent ones I listened to, though, were long-form interviews and covered a lot of his films, including a couple of collaborations he has had with Peter Morgan.

Peter Morgan’s work has been in a lot of people’s living rooms lately as the latest project covered with his fingerprints is the Netflix TV series, The Crown, which I had heard much raving about. It follows the life of the young Princess Elizabeth, her accession to the throne and (in the first season at least), her relationship with Churchill and her new role as monarch as she navigates the technicalities  of constitution. I watched half an episode, thought it was OK, then later went to watch other half and when I next looked at the clock, five hours had slipped by and I was halfway through the season.

So this week I revisited the film Frost/Nixon, which is based on Morgan’s play of the same name. I had been listening to Howard talk about the soundtrack, which was by Hans Zimmer and had not seen the film for years. I had completely forgotten almost everything about it: the seventies sensibility, the structure of the film with the various talking heads and the mix of drama and documentary style.

What I had remembered was the amazing central performances by both Michael Sheen and Frank Langella in the title roles but forgotten about the two researchers – one played by Sam Rockwell – who are hired by the team to prepare for the show.

There is obviously stuff that is added in to heighten the dramatic tension, but it is a great watch and given the recent political events, perhaps a reminder of how today’s seemingly insurmountable political upheavals, will one day be slightly less overwhelming and confined to an interesting and challenge event in a nation’s history by the distance of time and the safety of a DVD.


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