Biden preps for State of the Union by speaking to actors who have played the president

‘One of the things that I came out of that with my speech to people – hope, hope is the strongest voice we have in this country,’ Morgan Freeman told President Joe Biden

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Thursday 07 March 2024 21:47 GMT
Biden Takes Advice From Past ‘Presidents’ Ahead Of State Of The Union Speech

Ahead of his State of the Union speech, President Joe Biden spoke to a star-studded line-up of actors who have played the US president in various films and TV shows.

Mr Biden will deliver his final State of the Union speech before the 2024 election on Thursday night, with the speech set to begin at 9pm ET in the chamber of the House of Representatives.

Hours before the speech, Mr Biden posted a video on X, formerly Twitter, showing him speaking to actors including Morgan Freeman and Michael Douglas.

“I’ve never spoken to so many presidents all at one time. Some of you might know what a big speech like I have to do is coming up – the State of the Union. Any advice you have for me in delivering my speech?” Mr Biden asked the actors.

Freeman, who played President Tom Beck in Deep Impact, told Mr Biden: “In my capacity as President, all I had to deal with was a meteor”.

“One of the things that I came out of that with my speech to people – hope, hope is the strongest voice we have in this country,” Freeman added. “It’s the most useful and the most effective. My advice is just keep telling us how you're working for us, and building hope.”

Tony Goldwyn, who played President Fitzgerald Grant III on the TV show Scandal, told Mr Biden: “Looking back on my own presidency, I behaved very badly in a lot of situations”.

“In preparation for your speech, it’s just one piece of advice that meant a lot to me when I was president ... tell them that you exist for them. Tell them that they make you a better man. And yeah, that's pretty much that's pretty much it. Oh, and also, when I used to give big speeches, I would always wind down with popcorn and red wine ... Do that with ice cream, I highly encourage it,” he added.

“I know from experience, obviously, what a what a tough job it is. And, you know, when I was president, it seemed like every week, there was some new crisis that I had to face,” Geena Davis, who played President MacKenzie Allen in the TV show Commander in Chief, chimed in.

“I do feel I should just point out one thing, it always bears remembering – There's no crying in politics.”

“What I hope is my politics doesn't make anybody else cry,” Mr Biden responded.

Michael Douglas, who appeared as President Andrew Shepherd in The American President, told Mr Biden that “having a loving partner changes everything”.

“Love and compassion as a leader are strengths, not weaknesses, and are key to your character ... let that shine through in your speech. And don't forget to save a dance for the first lady in East Wing,” he added.

“We've had a lot of lines to learn ourselves. It’s nice to watch somebody else have to get it all together rather than us,” Bill Pullman, who appeared as President Thomas J Whitmore in Independence Day, told Mr Biden. “You know, in Independence Day, I had it easy ... we just had invaders from outer space coming in wanting to mess with us.”

“And that tends to unify people, and I'm not so sure it was the greatest speech ever, but I did manage to say two things. One is that we can't be consumed by our petty differences and we will be united in our common interests. And somehow these words became something to remember,” he added. “So I had the thought, Mr President, that, you know, when people look at all that you've managed to do, they're going to remember, time will remember always the importance of your words, when you say that thing about, ‘There's nothing that we can't do when we do it together’. Those are good ones.”

On Thursday night, Mr Biden is expected to address several key campaign issues including reproductive rights, conflict in Gaza and lowering healthcare costs.

Each of Mr Biden’s previous State of the Union speeches have all been just over an hour long.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in