'Our Brand Is Crisis' Jane Isn't A Real Person, But She Is Significant In One Major Way
You may have heard by now that Sandra Bullock's role in the upcoming political dramedy Our Brand Is Crisis was originally written for George Clooney, her pal. What you may not know is that the film is a dramatization of a 2005 documentary also titled Our Brand Is Crisis, about the tactics that political firm Greenberg Carville Shrum put to work when they were hired to back a candidate in the Bolivian presidential election of 2002. Bullock's character Jane Bodine does represent what I hope is the first in many cases of casting the actor instead of the gender, but is she based on an actual hotshot political consultant, male or otherwise? In other words, is Our Brand is Crisis' Jane a real person?
You'd think so, since the movie is based on an account of true events. While the candidates were written to represent the men who really sought Bolivia's presidency over 10 years ago and Billy Bob Thornton is playing an obvious take on strategist and Bill Hader SNL character James Carville, Jane Bodine is a fictional creation. There's no other version of her, except the alternate universe version where she's a male consultant with the face of co-producer George Clooney.
Though Bullock's character doesn't have a direct real-world counterpart, Bodine is just the latest in a long line of unforgettable political consultants to be featured on film. Audiences love a good wheeler-dealer, especially when he or she is especially angry and/or morally bankrupt. Here are a few examples of the movie strategists you'd want working your campaign.
Richard Jemmons In Primary Colors
Our Brand Is Crisis actually marks the second time that Billy Bob Thornton portrayed a version of James Carville. Primary Colors made a political and pop culture impact by offering audiences a thinly veiled look into the first campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Bill Clinton (here, "Jack Stanton.") Jemmons is a shrewd strategist who will do anything to win in this 1998 comedy.
Tim Wattley In The Campaign
Consultants don't get much more unsavory than Dylan McDermott's character in the Will Ferrell/Zach Galifianakis comedy The Campaign. Wattley eggs on the mud-slinging (and certifiably insane) tactics employed by both candidates, and is exposed at the end of the movie as a criminal wanted around the globe.
Stephen Meyers In The Ides Of March
Clooney also teamed up with Our Brand Is Crisis colleague Grant Heslov for this 2011 political thriller, based on the stage play Farragut North. Hotshot young actor Ryan Gosling plays hotshot young strategist Stephen Meyers, who's put on the fast track to power and success when he's tapped to work on Mike Morris' (Clooney) presidential campaign. To put it mildly: things get messy.
Conrad Brean In Wag The Dog
Robert De Niro plays an image magician who's forced into extremely desperate measures when a president who's seeking reelection is embroiled in a sex scandal. Skipping over the regular channels and marketing machines, he hires a Hollywood director to stage a war to distract the nation. Why hasn't Olivia Pope ever thought of that?
Notice anything all these political consultant characters have in common? They're all dudes. Ideally, Bullock's performance in Our Brand Is Crisis will tip the huge gender imbalance in this particular niche role.
Image: Warner Bros. Pictures