When Beau Willimon's play Farragut North opened in 2008, it was made clear that any resemblance between the thriller, about a young political operative working for a Howard Dean-esque presidential hopeful, and Willimon's real-life experience in the Dean press shop during the 2004 election cycle was purely coincidental. "The story is a fictional campaign," former Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi assured New York magazine. "These are fictional people." Lead John Gallagher, Jr. also told New York that Willimon "made it quite clear" the play wasn't intended as a roman-a-clef.
But watching the trailer for George Clooney's upcoming screen adaptation of the play, questionably retitled The Ides of March, we couldn't stop ourselves from speculating on the film's possible real-life inspirations from the 2004 campaign.
George Clooney is (not) Howard Dean
Dean was the governor of Vermont. Clooney's Governor Mike Morris, according to Broadway.com, comes from "a Midwestern state." And while we don't want to give away too much of the plot, the Morris campaign is imperiled by something far more damaging than an octave-too-loud scream.
Ryan Gosling is (not) Beau Willimon
Hyper-ambitious twenty-somethings are never in short supply on presidential campaigns, we admit. Plus, the script doesn't end with Gosling's character writing a play.
Philip Seymour Hoffman is (not) Joe Trippi, Dean's campaign manager
That's probably a good thing for Trippi, as the character Hoffman is playing, named Phil Zara, doesn't seem to be a very nice guy.
Paul Giamatti is (not) Karl Rove
The slippery "rival campaign manager" is (supposedly) also not based on John Kerry strategist Bob Shrum or Dick Gephardt's campaign Steve Murphy.