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!'"

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

JavaScript Developer (Angular, Web Forms, HTML5, Ext JS,CSS3)

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: JavaScript Dev...


£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice