Mark Felt

The Man Who Brought Down The White House

More than 40 years after the Watergate scandal, there are still revelations to be found. Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down The White House features Liam Neeson as the FBI associate director who, as the anonymous informant ‘Deep Throat’, leaked information to Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein that would topple Richard Nixon’s presidency in the 1970s.

Provisional poster for the political drama Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down The White HouseYet as much as the film is about Watergate, what’s equally important is Felt’s marriage to wife Audrey (Diane Lane) and his hunt for missing daughter Joan (Maika Monroe). ‘It reveals Felt to be a stoic hero at an unparalleled level. He was dealing with all of these traumas and crises at the same time,’ says director and former investigative journalist Peter Landesman, who started working on the project soon after Felt confessed to being Deep Throat in 2005.

The Man Who Brought Down The White House spans the year between the death of J. Edgar Hoover in 1972 – when Patrick Gray (Marton Csokas) was named FBI director and Felt became his second-in-command – and Felt executing his plan to bring down the Nixon administration.

‘In order to save the FBI from the corruptions of the Nixon administration and save the country, he had to betray the FBI’s deepest code, which was that classified material and ongoing investigations have to be protected,’ Landesman says. ‘He realized that Nixon was going to get away with it. The FBI’s reputation was completely imperiled, so he betrayed the FBI to save the FBI.’

There were personal stakes for Felt as well. He was married to a very troubled, complex woman and when his daughter went missing, there was a fear that she might have withdrawn into the political counterculture he was hunting. That was as crucial to his motivation as Nixon was.

Landesman had multiple interviews with Mark Felt in the last three years of his life (he died in 2008 at age 95), and was impressed by Felt’s integrity, nobility and unapologetic acceptance of what he’d done.

The filmmaker found it fascinating following recent headlines about President Trump and ousted FBI Director James Comey, another man ‘trying to navigate the moral and ethical desert of Washington to try to do the right thing,’ he says. ‘We’re seeing a lot of the elements of Watergate being replayed in front of us: Trump is Nixon, Comey is Felt. It’s a bizarre, almost snowglobe window into what we’re looking at now and maybe in the coming months.’

– Brian Truitt, USA Today
 

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