At Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor on October 10, Amagansett’s Alec Baldwin interviewed veteran newsman Dan Rather for “A Conversation With…” during the Hamptons International Film Festival. Now that interview is available to listen to online as an episode of Baldwin’s Here’s the Thing podcast.
The talk concerned Rather’s entire life and career, with a special focus on the 2004 controversy that ended Rather’s tenure as the anchor of the CBS Evening News, and the film that those events inspired. Truth, which was was the festival’s opening night film, dramatized the events leading up and following the airing of a 60 Minutes segment that offered evidence President George W. Bush was lying about his time in the National Guard. When it was discovered that memos concerning Bush’s service were not verified to be authentic, it cost Rather and 60 Minutes producer Mary Mapes their jobs.
The film was based on Mapes’ book, Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power, and directed by James Vanderbilt.
Rather explained, “Early on they came to me and said they had bought an option on Mary Mapes’ book and that they intended to make a movie. I did not say to them, but I did sort of say to myself, ‘I’m more likely to become the pope of Rome than they are to get this movie made.’ I never thought they’d get the movie made.”
He only believed the film was getting made once he learned that Robert Redford and Cate Blanchet were attached to star as himself and Mapes.
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