Dennis Quaid finds his own 'Special Relationship' with the role of President Clinton
The Ministry reveals the following because it's the public's right to know: In the new HBO film "The Special Relationship," the scene of Bill Clinton in his PJs foraging in another world leader's refrigerator is drawn from the former president's, shall we say, culinary reality.
"I spent a weekend at the White House with him," said Dennis Quaid, Clinton's screen double, at Wednesday's premiere for the film that airs May 29 and costars Hope Davis as Hillary Clinton. "We went to play golf and took the presidential limo, and lo and behold, there were Subway sandwiches in the back."
Naturally, the after-party expressed the film's geopolitics in Bill Clinton's favorite medium: snacks.
The movie is the third in a trilogy starring Michael Sheen about former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's relationships with world leaders -- so some buffets served up fried chicken and mac ‘n' cheese while others had bread pudding and beef sandwiches.
The British Sheen, who now lives in L.A., took a diplomatic approach to his munching. He refused to take sides, grazing instead on hand-passed lamb chops. As for Quaid, well, the guy is red, white and blue through and through. He's such a patriot, he didn't even make it through the screening.
"I slipped out in the middle and had some fried chicken," he said, looking quite a bit trimmer -- by 35 pounds to be exact -- than he did in the movie.
"There were three things," Quaid said of creating the character: "weight, voice, hair." Altogether, it's a pretty dramatic transformation.
And yet, he said, "I almost said no to this."
"A fear of sucking. A fear of failure, for print. And I don't really look like him. We don't have the same mannerisms, and I don't really see myself in him."
Maybe a little more after Thursday night?
Said Quaid: "It's the second time I've seen it and I feel a little less like a fraud. But I'm not hung up on it. If people respond to it, I really do appreciate it."
Also cruising the trans-Atlantic buffets were Quaid's golfing buddy Luke Wilson, director Richard Loncraine, "True Blood's" Michelle Forbes, Bill Maher, Brenda Vaccaro, Lorraine Bracco and executive producer Frank Marshall.
– Irene Lacher
Photo: Michael Sheen, left, Hope Davis and Dennis Quaid hit the red carpet on Thursday. Credit: Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic.