Talking with the actor and with the filmmakers behind the Tribeca-premiered new film, Knife Fight
Few actors have more successfully bridged the gap between Hollywood and Washington, D.C. onscreen than Rob Lowe. From The West Wing to Parks and Recreation, Lowe is never better than when he's playing a character wrapped up in the machinations of politics and government.
So the veteran has been ideally cast as political strategist Paul Turner in the new movie Knife Fight, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday. Co-scripted by Democratic consultant Chris Lehane, and based on Lehane's experiences working with President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and others, the film follows Turner as he grapples with the scandals facing two of his clients at the close of hard-fought re-election campaigns.
Here, Lowe, Lehane and the film's Oscar-winning director/co-writer Bill Guttentag share their thoughts on political cinema and more.
What brought you back to the world of political entertainment?
Rob Lowe: When I got the script... what I loved was it felt real. It had all the things you want—funny, moving. I loved that this love letter wasn't cynical. So many movies in this space, and some of the ones I love—Wag the Dog, Primary Colors—there's sort of a cynicism about them. This doesn't have that.
Chris Lehane: I did an interview a couple weeks ago with NBC. It was a piece with Brian Williams on opposition research and how stories are worked, evolved and paced. There's a scene [in Knife Fight] where Rob has a conversation with a candidate and says her life is going to change. So they asked me, "Can you give us this speech?" So I did my version and they said, "That's good, but Rob is so much better than you are." And I said, "Well, there's a reason people pay money to see him onscreen." [laughs]