“Dustin was taking credit for, you know, ‘See? I told you Bill would let us!'” hairstylist Michael White recalled at the film’s 25th anniversary.
Dustin Hoffman was able to reach the leader of the free world.
During production of the political satire “Wag the Dog”, Hoffman convinced then-President Bill Clinton to allow the actors to film outside the gates of the White House. In “Bowfinger” fashion, Hoffman allegedly staged a scene in front of White House security guards to make it look like the actors were exiting the building.
“Dustin, at one point or another, persuaded the White House guards to open the front door to make it look like our actors were walking out,” production designer Wynn Thomas told Vanity Fair in the frame of the 25th anniversary of the film. “At first they were walking in front of the White House.”
Hoffman’s hairstylist, Michael White, recalled that Hoffman took credit for access to the production of “Wag the Dog” because of his friendliness with 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 is that Bill Clinton came to visit or was nearby and they went out to lunch. Dustin said, ‘We’re going to do this shot at the door of the White House,’ and Clinton said – Dustin called him ‘Bill’ – that if we need anything, you know, ‘the president will make it happen.” They wanted the door to open and they would come out. It wasn’t just, ‘Oh, let us shoot here.’ Because I remember Dustin taking credit for, you know, ‘See? I told you Bill would let us! »
Producer Jane Rosenthal shared that Robert De Niro “actually has a picture of Dustin trying to explain what the movie is to Clinton over that lunch.”
Based on the novel “American Hero” by Larry Beinhart, the 1997 film starred Hoffman as a Hollywood producer who concocts a fictional war in Albania to distract from a presidential sex scandal. De Niro played the spin doctor mastermind behind the hoax who is quickly gaining very real traction. William H. Macy, Denis Leary, Willie Nelson, Craig T. Nelson and the late Anne Heche also performed. “Wag the Dog” premiered a month before Clinton’s infamous scandal with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
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