In an article in Wednesday’s New York Times about the vacation plans of the “God of Carnage” cast, Hope Davis spoke about how it takes a village — not to mention a good makeup artist and costume shop — to turn her into Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom she is playing in a biographical film about the Clintons and Tony Blair.
We asked Ms. Davis if she was taking any special preparations for the role in the film, which is called “The Special Relationship,” and is written by Peter Morgan (who wrote “Frost/Nixon” and “The Queen”). Here is her answer, as well as additional photographs of her transformation process:
“To play Hillary Clinton? I’m kind of winging it. No, are you kidding me? I prepared obsessively. I mean, as much as I could in the time that I was given. Of course, with someone like Hillary Clinton, obviously, anything you want is on YouTube and at your fingertips there. This movie takes place in the mid-90s through the year 2000, so it was very easy to get a hold of stuff. So yes, I did as much preparation as I could.”
“It’s a drama, it’s not a comedy, so you don’t really want to be really imitating someone in the way that Darrell Hammond is able to do people’s voices kind of perfectly, and that becomes the show. It’s not really what they wanted us to do here. The director [Richard Loncraine] here has basically said, ‘I don’t care what her accent is like, that’s not what we’re doing. We’re telling a story.’ We did, of course, want to get as close visually as we could. I’m wearing some wigs and some teeth. The pantsuits have been made exactly to spec. There are some bright pantsuits.
And I’m definitely trying to get the flavor of her speech across. But she’s hard to imitate. Her accent has changed a bit over the years. In 1992, when she became first lady, she had quite a bit of Arkansas still in her speech from her 13 years there. That’s really gone now. So her accent has kind of shifted over time but she’s lived in very different places. So that became tricky. We’re trying to get the flavor of it without being overly specific.”