Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ron Silver as Henry Kissinger Actor Lobbied for the Role of Adviser to Richard Nixon

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ron Silver as Henry Kissinger Actor Lobbied for the Role of Adviser to Richard Nixon

Article excerpt

RON SILVER lobbied with a politician's zeal for the role of Henry Kissinger in the new TV film "Kissinger and Nixon."

"You don't see a script like this very often," Silver said.

The movie (7 p.m. Sunday TNT cable) spotlights President Richard M. Nixon and his national security adviser in their machinations to finish the Vietnam War.

"It was a very sophisticated text that dealt in a profound way, particularly for television or the movies, with a very complicated and serious event - the endgame of the negotiations in Vietnam," Silver said.

The movie, based on Walter Isaacson's best-selling biography, examines the period August 1972-January 1973 as the United States and Vietnam grappled for a political end to the war - and as Nixon campaigned for re-election.

Personalities, policy and ambition collide, sometimes openly, sometimes under layers of secrecy that historians like Isaacson are beginning to strip away.

Silver plays opposite Beau Bridges as Nixon in the movie, emerging the same month as Oliver Stone's theatrical release "Nixon" to create a mini Nixon film festival.

Both Silver and Bridges were transformed for their roles by mask-and-makeup artistry; Silver adds an uncanny impression of Kissinger's freight-train rumble of a voice.

Also featured are Matt Frewer as Gen. Alexander Haig, George Takei as North Vietnam's foreign minister Le Duc Tho and Ron White as Nixon chief of staff H.R. Haldeman.

The close but wary - relationship between Nixon and Kissinger, who later served as secretary of state, is the stuff of great drama, Silver believes.

"In some ways there was a tremendous amount of respect and disrespect they had for each other," he said. "I think Claudius said of Hamlet `madness in great ones must not unwatched go.'

"I think at some point Kissinger was very protective because he saw this downward spiral that Nixon was on," Silver said of the president eventually forced from office by the Watergate scandal.

The actor already has proven himself adept at rendering a real-life character, playing a memorably feisty Alan Dershowitz, the attorney, in the film "Reversal of Fortune."

When it came to "Kissinger," Silver's interest was excited by more than writer-producer Lionel Chetwynd's solid script: He was a student of politics who had considered a CIA career and was an admirer of Kissinger's skills. …

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