Travolta reveals Clinton's prime sense of humour

THE director of Primary Colors, the top film at the Cannes Film Festival, was yesterday accused of cutting an interracial love scene between Emma Thompson and black British actor Adrian Lester.

Emma Thompson plays the Hillary Clinton figure in the film, none too loosely based on the Clintons' journey to power. Lester plays the campaign manager.

In the novel from which the film is adapted, the two have a one-night affair. In the movie which opened the festival last night, although Lester comforts Thompson when she hears of her husband's infidelities, the pair just stare at each other meaningfully.

At a press conference in Cannes yesterday, veteran director Mike Nichols was challenged by an American journalist that he had "cut out an interracial love scene".

Nicols replied: "I did have it cut out after the first preview. I didn't think about the interracial element. I took part of the scene out of the movie because there was disappointment [in the preview audience] that these two were meant to be the good guys.

"They were meant to be more steadfast than this. I cut it down but not out. If you're looking for it, it's there."

John Travolta, who plays the Clinton figure, Jack Stanton, delighted questioners by revealing that President Bill Clinton, far from being hurt by the movie, invited Travolta to come to a party in character so that the two of them could do a speech together.

"I declined," Travolta said, "because I decided it was best to leave the character on the screen and not do parties. I think that shows the President's sense of humour. I was very tempted for a moment but I withheld my urge."

Emma Thompson interjected intriguingly at that point, saying: "He doesn't often hold his urge."

Thompson and Travolta both give excellent performances as the President and First Lady in the film which opens in Britain in August. Thompson plays Susan, a First Lady ruthlessly determined to help her husband to power and equally determined to survive in her marriage while implying her increasing suffering from the humiliations and embarrassments at the public disclosures of infidelities.

Thompson, in newly cropped, red hair set off by a bright orange sundress, stole the show at the press conference, clowning around when she wasn't speaking fluent French and translating for her colleagues.

She said she was "terrified" of the opening gala. "I hope the frock's all right," she said. "I was out in the sun yesterday so I've got all different colours."

Travolta said that Mr Clinton, who he knows socially, had not yet seen the film which has opened in America to good reviews but only average box office receipts.

It was interesting that Thompson and Travolta appeared to disagree about the cleverness of the characters they play in the film.

Thompson declared: "This woman has got more intelligence in her little finger than he's got in his whole body."

But Travolta claimed: "The man has high integrity in his political urges and I think he is a decent man. He is a complex human being.

"There's a naivete and innocence about this character which our own President has - I hope."

Thompson claimed she had not based her characterisation on Hillary Clinton: "I didn't want to do an imitation of her because that would be just an excuse to make people think `what has she got wrong?' It was more thrilling for me to create an imaginary character."

Anyway, she added, Ms Clinton spoke so rarely on television "partly because she is not given much of a voice. It's funny that the First Lady is the first person to hit the glass ceiling."

Travolta said he played the President as a composite of several presidents, "but mainly it reflects on Clinton".

Injecting an inevitable luvvyish touch, Thompson said that, in making the film, "we cried a lot actually.

"You get to a point where you think `that's so true about people!'"

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower