A Perfect Candidate: Oliver North for Senate
It's being called a nonfiction variant of Nashville, with the black humor of Bob Roberts, in the style of The War Room, with shades of All the President's Men. It's A Perfect Candidate, R.J. Cutler and David Van Taylor's backstage look at Oliver North on the campaign trail.
Who would have thought G. Gordon Liddy would be obsessed with sex? At the nerve center of his syndicated talk radio show, tacked up on the sound booth wall, is a tabloid headline: "SEXY DJ TURNS ME INTO JELLY!" and there the former Watergate burglar sits, smoothing admonishing an admired fan not to diddle herself when she listens to his voice on the car radio.
"He's not an ideologue; he's a madman," whispered independent film producer R.J. Cutler moments earlier in the lobby of Infinity Broadcasting station WJFK in Fairfax, Virginia, where "Mr. Geeee," as Liddy calls himself, broadcasts daily.
It's just over two weeks before the election, and today is a special day for Liddy. His guest is the Senate challenger from Virginia, and Liddy's political soul mater, former Marine lieutenant colonel Oliver North.
We first spot him on the surveillance monitors, striding down the corridor in a crisp blue jacket and tie. Seconds later, North is outside the sound booth window, and he quickly spreads his palms against the glass, like a Garfield toy suction-cupped onto a car window, grinning goofily.
Moments later, the Marine anthem trumpets over the airwaves, and North and Liddy swing into action, alternating conservative campaign rhetoric with phone calls from North's fervent admirers.
Wedged into the tiny sound booth is a documentary film crew. There's Cutler, who produced The War Room, the 1993 film on the Clinton campaign. Shouldering the Beta SP camera is director of photography Nick Doob, also a War Room veteran. Handling audio is David Van Taylor, producer of Dream Deceivers, the 1992 documentary about the trial of heavy metal band Judas Priest following the suicide of one of their fans.
The film is Semper Fi [renamed A Perfect Candidate], which the New York-based Van Taylor, 32, and L.A.-based Cutler, 33, are coproducing and codirecting on a "Siamese twin model." It will be a verity look at the 1994 Virginia Senate race, focusing on the most controversial candidate: Oliver North, the former national security aide to President Reagan whose claim to fame was his central role in the Iran-contra guns-for-hostages affair. They've been trailing North since he announced his challenge to Senate incumbent Charles Robb in January 1994 and plan to shoot until election day. [...]
Published in the January/February 1995 issue of The Independent Film & Video Monthly.