Dustin Hoffman: Bill Clinton had “Wag the Dog” filmed in the White House

“Dustin got recognition, you know, ‘See? I told you Bill would let us do it!’” recalled hairstylist Michael White during the film’s 25th anniversary.

Dustin Hoffman knew how to reach the leader of the free world.

While producing the political satire Wag the Dog, Hoffman convinced then-President Bill Clinton to allow actors to film outside the gates of the White House. In true “Bowfinger” fashion, Hoffman allegedly staged a scene in front of White House security to make it appear as if the actors were exiting the building.

“Dustin eventually persuaded the White House guards to open the front gate to make it appear as if our actors were walking out,” production designer Wynn Thomas told Vanity Fair in celebration of the film’s 25th anniversary. “Initially they walked in front of the White House.”

Hoffman’s hairstylist, Michael White, recalled that Hoffman earned access to the production of “Wag the Dog” because of his kindness to President Clinton.

“No, you can’t just convince a guard at a White House gate to film there, whether you’re Dustin Hoffman or Tom Cruise. There’s too much security,” White added. “I heard Bill Clinton stopped by to see them or he was around and they went out to lunch. Dustin said, “We’re going to get that shot at the White House gate,” and Clinton said — Dustin called him “Bill” — if we need anything, you know, “the President will make it happen.” opened and they went out. It wasn’t just “Oh, let’s shoot here”. Because I remember Dustin getting credit, you know, ‘See? I told you Bill would let us do it!’”

Producer Jane Rosenthal shared that Robert De Niro “actually has a picture of Dustin trying to explain to Clinton what the movie is over this lunch.”

Based on Larry Beinhart’s novel American Hero, the 1997 film starred Hoffman as a Hollywood producer who plots a fictional war in Albania to divert attention from a presidential sex scandal. De Niro played the Spin Doctor mastermind behind the con, which is quickly gaining very real traction. William H. Macy, Denis Leary, Willie Nelson, Craig T. Nelson and the late Anne Heche also starred. “Wag the Dog” premiered a month before Clinton’s infamous scandal involving White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

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https://www.indiewire.com/2022/12/dustin-hoffman-convinced-bill-clinton-wag-the-dog-film-white-house-1234794088/ Dustin Hoffman: Bill Clinton had “Wag the Dog” filmed in the White House

Lindsay Lowe

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