“Gaslit”, with Julia Roberts and Sean Penn: beyond Watergate | Miniseries premiere by Starzplay

By early 1972, Richard Nixon re-election was assured. The only concern for the management of him was called Martha Mitchell and she was the wife of a strong man in the Conservative cabinet itself. In those days of republican fever, the woman accused the then president of having directed espionage to the opposition. She did it with a very loose body in the middle of the campaign that her husband managed. Finally, Tricky Dick would win the contest without disheveled (there was never such a difference between the two parties) although he would not finish his second term due to the watergate scandal. Gaslit (premiere of Starzplay on Sunday 24an episode every Sunday) recovers the story of the Deep Throat that, at that time, nobody wanted to hear.

“So much has been said and done about Watergate. In iconic movies like Nixon either All the president’s men the fact is presented on a grand scale. Woodward and Bernstein are the heroes and Nixon is the great villain. The portrait remains that they are people from another dimension. It is true that it was a period of special madness in the United States, as a phase that could not happen again. But there was a very human key in this scandal that is often overlooked and it was the clumsiness with which all those involved moved,” he says. Robbie Pickering, the show’s creatorinterviewed by Page 12.

In these eight episodesthe miniseries carefully portrays the case and the folds of that situation, but the one who gets all the flashes is the extravagant southern lady (Julia Roberts) that aired gossip about the ruling party without caring about the consequences. Meanwhile, her husband John Mitchell, Nixon’s attorney general (Sean Penn), planned and executed operations at the request of the White House. As far as genres are concerned, Gaslit He plays at various points with the KO blow that his leading duo implies. The interior drama is cooked with the absurd by this counter-espionage plan. While, a Penn unrecognizable by makeup He rubs shoulders in each scene with his cast partner. Of course there is a vindication who was branded crazy and whose course gave rise to a psychological category: the “Martha Mitchell effect” refers to cases in which a therapist takes the real perceptions of a patient for delusions.

Gaslit, whose basis was a podcastwas produced by the same team that gave rise to mr robot Y homecoming. Political thriller and conspiracy through, dusts off an opaque and forgotten side of one of the greatest embarrassments of American politics. “I have been an obsessive collector of the Nixon era since I was very young, but in this case what we wanted to point out was the worldly criminality and incompetence that went into that fact,” says the showrunner of him.

According to the series tagline, Martha Mitchell exposed the dark side of Watergate. But actually all the characters acted to make that happen, right?

-We wanted to explore a trend in those involved and with which anyone could feel identified. There was a lot of ambition on the part of people like John Dean, who was a White House adviser, and others who thought they were on a secret crusade. At the same time, you can flip the coin and find heroism in someone quite unsuccessful like Martha Mitchell. She was alcoholic and troublesome. Before Watergate she was involved in some pretty deplorable events, but she was also a hero. We play with those nuances. That is the unknown dark side of Watergate that we are targeting.

-John Dean (Dan Stevens) and his partner (Betty Gilpin) play a central role in the plot. Why the decision to mirror them to the Mitchells?

-When you have a scandal like this, a grenade is spread. A grenade can blow up relationships or bind them together to form a great bond. I think no one expected what happened to happen. In the case of John and Mo Dean this fact forged them. There was a very interesting synchronicity that was there for all to see and invited us to understand its meaning.

Gaslit it has portions of tragedy and satire, goes from thriller to psychological exploration. What were the wedges in the impersonations of Julia Roberts and Sean Penn?

-With the writing team we never really talk about the tone, because I trust more in the honesty of the characters. We asked each writer to choose characteristics of the characters with which they could identify. And they couldn’t choose good qualities: they had to be bad, the shameful ones. So you can see the villains with another eye. Satire gives you the carcass of the character by judging it from the outside. Here we are inside them. And we try to understand why they did what they did. That more honest look allows you not to divide everything in terms of comedy and drama, because in life it is like that, you do not divide into categories. Life is fun, painful, exciting and boring all at the same time.


-You were part of mr robota show with unhinged characters in a paranoid setting, compared to those of Gaslit which is based on a true event seem quite normal. Don’t you think so?

-Totally, though mr robot it raised a fantasy in which these characters could be more intelligent than in real life. In Gaslit we tried hard to make the characters as stupid as all of us are. We imagine committing crimes and, in my particular case, it would be terribly bad just like John Dean was.

-Although Gaslit portray the ’70s, isn’t there an echo about today’s United States? Coming to the point, to the Trump administration…

-It’s not just Trump. He can be Bolsonaro in Brazil, Putin in Russia, or Lukashenko in Belarus. If Le Pen were to win in France, it would be her. Fascism is the tyranny of the mediocre, it’s someone at the top of their game but actually an idiot. There is the magical and hypnotic power over those who support him and, if it were not for his fans, all those people subsumed by those values, they would be nothing. There is a complicity for a ridiculous company. Since it was a government that did it, it seems like a farce, but it has tragic implications to this day.

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